and here’s another one to stimulate your thoughts and decisions this week
Tag Archives: Peak Oil
Peak oilists, who gather every year at ASPO-USA, are happy that mainstream media and politicians are acknowledging the concept of diminishing production.
Former BP Chief Petroleum Engineer Jeremy Gilbert just gave an excellent presentation that responds to every argument against peak oil and emphasizes the need for immediate action.
1. Oil and the Global Economy
Oil prices were little changed for the week: first climbing on the threat posed by hurricane Isaac; then falling as the hurricane proved to be less of a danger to oil production; and finally recovering on Friday as Fed Chairman Bernanke hinted that the US might have to launch a stimulus program. Such a program would likely weaken the dollar, thereby boosting oil prices. NY oil futures closed at $96 and London at $114, a dollar or so below recent highs.
With a hurricane churning through the Gulf, US stockpile numbers become less meaningful. Imports rose the week before last as tankers rushed to unload cargoes and get out of the area before the well-advertised storm hit. Last week major oil import terminals were closed and about 24 percent of US oil production was shuttered for several days. Flooding and lengthy power outages in the Mississippi valley likely curtailed additional gasoline production and consumption. Read the rest of this entry »
Confidential cables published by WikiLeaks suggest that the U.S. is worried about declining production capabilities and stated oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest producer of oil.
The cables were written between 2007-2009, including the time of global oil price peaks in 2008.
One exchange warned that Saudi Aramco, the state oil production company, no longer possessed the ability to influence global prices by raising oil output.
“A series of major project delays and accidents over the last couple of years is evidence that Saudi Aramco is having to run harder to stay in place – to replace the decline in existing production,” the cable read.
Dr. Saded al-Husseini, a former exploration engineer and board member of Aramco, said based on current production rates, Saudi Arabia would likely reach the “peak oil” inflection point – where new production cannot sufficiently make up declining older fields – in around 17 years. By that time, peak oil for the world as a whole will have already come and gone.
This contradicts other recent statements from Aramco executives, who have boasted that their levels of oil production can be maintained for a century. Read more..
The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that King Abdullah has ordered a halt to new oil exploration to preserve the Kingdom’s vast hydrocarbon resources.
“I told them [the Cabinet] that I have ordered a halt to all oil explorations so part of this wealth is left for our sons and successors,” King Abdullah told Saudi scholars studying in Washington. However, a senior oil ministry official told Zawya Dow Jones that the King’s words should not be interpreted as a full-fledged ban, but rather as a warning that future explorations should be carried out mindfully with an eye towards future generations.
Saudi Arabia possesses the world’s largest recoverable oil resources with 260.1 billion barrels at the end of 2009. It is the largest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and recently announced the discovery of a new oil field and a non-associated gas field to add it its substantial holdings. Saudi Arabia pumped an average of 8.26 million barrels a day in June 2010, about 209,000 barrels above its target.
Data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy shows global energy consumption fell by 1.1% last year, with oil and and natural gas usage down across the board.
Global coal use, however, has remained steady. In fact, as a percentage of world primary energy usage, coal has risen to levels not seen since 1971.
On the other hand, oil’s percentage of global energy usage has fallen consistently over the past decade; from 39.00% in 1999 down to 34.77% in 2009.
As oil production becomes more difficult and expensive, coal is increasingly being employed as a source of transportation fuels. Nations like South Africa and China have been expanding their coal-to-liquid (CTL) programs, and China reportedly has six major CTL projects under development.
CTL processes may present an alternative way to generate liquid fuel, but it comes at a price. CTL produces nearly double the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional fuel production from oil, and many climate and environmental advocates worry that if CTL programs become more widespread the world would experience increased emissions levels.
Global demand for oil is climbing as the economy gets back on track, however, upstream project cancellations and delays as a result of the recession last year may lead to a supply crunch in the near future. Many believe it is only a matter of time before the next oil price spike, and believe a future barrel price of $150 is not out of the question. If prices skyrocket once more, what industries will be affected most?
The following chart displays credit ratings agency Fitch’s picks for top winners and losers in a future era of expensive oil as seen in the FT blog “Energy Source”