The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, February 10 proclaimed “Oil-Price Rebound Predicted” according to the IEA. – Not true.
Put this in the category of things that can’t be true, but that are nevertheless affirmed with a straight face: The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, does not issue forecasts, at least not long run forecasts.
The Fracking Fallacy debate is important because it casts doubt on the reliability of government estimates of our natural gas supply. If U.S. gas production is in decline by the early 2020s as described in the Nature article, or sooner as I suspect, then important policy decisions about the export of natural gas and the retirement of coal-fired electric power plants have been based on questionable information.
Most climate activists believe that talking about limitations on fossil fuel supplies hurts their argument for swift, decisive action on climate change. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The great Monterey Shale oil myth got its start back in July 2011 when the EIA stapled a cover on a contractor-produced “study” that it paid for entitled Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Oil Plays.
It turns out that the oil industry has been pulling our collective leg. The pending 96 percent reduction in estimated deep shale oil resources in California calls into question the premise of a decades-long revival in U.S. oil production and predictions of American energy independence.
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Like children looking through a kaleidoscope who are unaware of its actual workings, the media and the public have been misled into believing that early production results in the shale natural gas and tight oil formations in the United States will be repeated again and again across the United States and the world.
On March 4, David Frum, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush, published an article on CNN.com titled "Peak Oil doomsayers proved wrong" in which he not only claimed there was no danger of a shortage of oil, but also that "our oil problem is that we’re producing so much of the stuff that we are changing the planet’s climate." Mr. Frum is only the most recent contributor to a growing list of luminaries to declare that we need not worry about any future shortage of crude oil. The only problem with these reassuring proclamations is that the physical evidence does not support them, and does in point of fact, warn of a looming imbalance between supply and demand with troubling implications for the U.S. economy.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released a report on 5 December, 2012 which examined the question of economic benefit to the US of natural gas exportation. Last December, Deloitte issued an independent report regarding exportation which had hauntingly similar conclusions. Interestingly enough, many of the conclusions in the Deloitte report are now known to be erroneous only one year later.