Oil, climate change, and bubbles – headlines

June 24, 2013

NOTE: Images in this archived article have been removed.

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Shale gas won’t stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis

Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian
A new report out last week from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has doubled estimates of "technically recoverable" oil and gas resources available globally. The report says that shale-based resources potentially increase the world’s total oil supplies by 11 per cent.

Acknowledging fault-lines in its new study, contracted to energy consulting firm Advanced Resources International Inc. (ARI), the EIA said:

"These shale oil and shale gas resource estimates are highly uncertain and will remain so until they are extensively tested with production wells."

The report estimates shale resources outside the US by extrapolation based on "the geology and resource recovery rates of similar shale formations in the United States." Hence, the EIA concedes that "the extent to which global technically recoverable shale resources will prove to be economically recoverable is not yet clear."

Two years ago, following the publication of the EIA April 2011 report a New York Times investigation obtained internal EIA communications showing how senior officials, including industry consultants and federal energy experts privately voiced scepticism about shale gas prospects…

A Post-Carbon Institute study authored by geologist David Hughes, who worked for 32 years as a research manager at the Geological Survey of Canada, analysed US production data for 65,000 wells from 31 shale plays using a database widely used in industry and government. While acknowledging that shale has dramatically reversed "the long-standing decline of US oil and gas production", this can only:

"… provide a temporary reprieve from having to deal with the real problems: fossil fuels are finite, and production of new fossil fuel resources tends to be increasingly expensive and environmentally damaging."

Despite accounting for nearly 40 per cent of US natural gas production, shale gas production has "been on a plateau since December 2011 – 80 per cent of shale gas production comes from five plays", some of which are already in decline…
(21 June 2013)

Oil giants could feel major pain should world get serious about reducing global temperatures

Thomson Watson, Financial Post
…"Smart investors can see that investing in companies that rely solely or heavily on constantly replenishing reserves of fossil fuels is becoming a very risky decision," says Lord Nicholas Stern, a London School of Economics professor…
(13 June 2013)

Why you should be cautious about the next oil boom forecast that you hear

Steve LeVine, Quartz
If you go by futures traders, global benchmark crude oil five years from now will sell for $90.77 a barrel, or 12% below the current price of about $104 a barrel. That view aligns with that of a large body of analysts who believe that the global oil boom, led by the US shale revolution, will deflate average oil prices for years to come.

But Bernstein Research says that such pricing disregards the exploding costs of oil drilling. In a note to clients, Bernstein says that the cost of producing the most expensive barrels of Brent crude on the market—a key metric known as the “marginal cost of production”—rose by 13% over the last year, to $104 a barrel from $92 a barrel…
(11 June 2013)

Catastrophic Oil Spill Threat to Canadian River Basin

Paul Brown, Climate News Network

Image RemovedCatastrophic Oil Spill Threat to Canadian River Basin (via Climate Central)

By Paul Brown, Climate News Network LONDON – The Mackenzie River Basin, a vast globally important area in Canada, is at great risk from climate change and a catastrophic oil spill from the tailing ponds of tar sands mining, according to a panel of nine Canadian, American and British scientists. The…


Tags: Carbon Bubble, Oil, oil spill, peak oil, Shale gas, tight oil, Water Supplies