The new “Golden Age of Oil” that wasn’t

Last winter, fossil-fuel enthusiasts began trumpeting the dawn of a new “golden age of oil” that would kick-start the American economy, generate millions of new jobs, and free this country from its dependence on imported petroleum. It turns out, however, that the future may prove far more recalcitrant than these prophets of an American energy cornucopia imagine.

The peak oil crisis: oil & the arctic meltdown

Last week brought the news that this summer the Arctic icecap shrank to an all-time low of roughly half the size it was in 1980. While this is the lowest ever seen since satellite monitoring began 33 years ago, some experts are saying that the summer of 2012 was probably the smallest the icecap has been in the last million years. The announcement triggered a spate of newspaper and magazine stories pondering the meaning of this development.

It now appears that the arctic is melting much faster than the models have been predicting.

Profiteers of Climate Change in the Arctic

Seventy percent of the Arctic’s natural gas reserves are thought to be on Russian territory. It’s no wonder then that Russia is particularly active in the Arctic at the moment. Last year a deal was announced between Rosneft, Russia’s largest state petroleum company, and ExxonMobil to extract petroleum and gas in the Arctic. Billions are to be invested in these projects over the coming years. Jonas Grätz is convinced: “Russia is one of the major winners from the situation in the Arctic.” Grätz is a scientist at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich and has just published an analysis of the conflict potential in the region.

Energy – May 10

– Thomas Homer-Dixon: Exploring the climate “mindscape” (oil supplies and energy junk)
– Government influence is negative for energy fuel policy
– The German Switch from Nuclear to Renewables
– Scientists’ Arctic drilling plan aims to demystify undersea greenhouse gases
– Ancien directeur de TOTAL: Nouvelles découvertes et gaz de schiste retarderont à peine le pic pétrolier

ODAC Newsletter – Apr 13

The IEA poured oil on troubled waters, so to speak, in its April Oil Market Report this week, suggesting a possible “turning of the tide for market fundamentals”. The agency said supply is ahead of demand for the first time since 2009, though geopolitical threats remain…

Deepwater Horizon: Lessons from Petroleum Engineering and the Roman Empire

Why did the Deepwater Horizon blow up last year, kill 11 workers, and cause the massive oil eruption into the Gulf of Mexico? You’re likely to get different answers if you talk separately to a petroleum engineer or an anthropologist. When they team up, it gets really interesting. Anthropologist Joseph Tainter (author of The Collapse of Complex Societies) and petroleum engineer Tad Patzek talk about the new book they’ve co-authored: Drilling Down: The Gulf oil debacle and our energy dilemma.

Climate & environment – Nov 17

– Investment firm to encourage Arctic drilling
– Climate change: there is no plan B
– Battle to Save an Unsung Fish Critically Important to Ocean’s Ecosystem (menhaden)
– Obama Re-election Strategy Is Tied to a Retreat on Smog
– BBC drops Frozen Planet’s climate change episode to sell show better abroad