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End of oil becoming mainstream.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 6:53 pm    Post subject: End of oil becoming mainstream. Reply with quote

The peak oil theory goes mainstream.

You’ve all heard it before. Oil production is about to peak and then begin the inexorable decline. The year of peak oil will be the year humanity produces the most oil it ever will. Then we leave the age of increasing supplies of cheap oil and enter the era of always decreasing supplies of ever vastly more expensive oil. Some geologists are saying that peak oil could hit some time in the next 5 years — the figures are a little fudged because Saudi Arabia keeps their oil reserves a national secret — but the overall picture is clear. Soon we will be living through the beginning of the end of the oil age.

You’ve heard the doomsday consequences before. Airlines going bankrupt, international tourism collapsing, many Pacific Islands going bankrupt overnight as their tourism dollars dry up. Then there’s freight companies collapsing, and food rotting in warehouses a thousand miles from the citizens that need to eat that food. Groceries stores emptying in panic buying. Eventually the economy sorts itself out with some rationing imposed by the governments of the world… and just as we adjust to that year’s oil shocks, it gets worse each succeeding year because oil production is now decreasing each and every year!

You’ve heard it before — but did you know it is now going mainstream? Did you know that serious newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, along with highly acclaimed science shows like ABC’s Catalyst, are now discussing these scenario’s as highly probable!? It really does look like the age of sweet oil is about to turn very, very sour.

We will turn to the above sources shortly, but let’s first see who else is talking about an imminent peak in world oil production. One of my favourite peak oil interviews happened on Australia’s ABC youth radio station, JJJ. After interviewing some scary peakniks like James Howard Kunstler, the JJJ team then turned to Australia’s main celebrity scientist Dr Karl who verified peak oil is here now. (Listen to the half hour interview here.) This man is the face of science for Australia today.

But what would he know — he only reads every science journal known to mankind in an attempt to keep up — he is not actually in the industry.

Well, let’s turn to governments and see if it is becoming mainstream enough for them to discuss. First we have Sweden heartily adopting everything that ASPO international says, and vowing to be oil free in 20 or so years! Please read how the Swedish Prime Minister thinks we are at peak oil.

Queensland state parliament has been addressed by Andrew McNamara who after stating that there is no alternative energy source ready to scale up as cheaply and in the same volumes as oil, states we will have to relocalize everything we do!
The challenges we face after peak oil will require localised food production and industry in a way not seen for 100 years. Local rail lines and fishing fleets will be vital to regional communities. Self contained communities living close to work, farm, services and schools will not be merely desirable; they will be essential.

Get the parliamentary report here.

There is even a Federal Peak Oil enquiry in Australia and within a few states of Australia, as well as various task forces in the USA including the former CIA director.

And of course there are reports to the US Department of energy. Indeed, the Hirsch report to the US Department of Energy on peak oil makes very alarming reading.

Oil is the lifeblood of modern civilization. It fuels the vast majority of the world’s mechanized transportation equipment – Automobiles, trucks, airplanes, trains, ships, farm equipment, the military, etc. Oil is also the primary feedstock for many of the chemicals that are essential to modern life. This study deals with the upcoming physical shortage of world conventional oil -- an event that has the potential to inflict disruptions and hardships on the economies of every country.

From the Introduction, page 8.
The world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary. Previous energy transitions (wood to coal and coal to oil) were gradual and evolutionary; oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary.

From the Hirsch summary, page 64.

We’ve finished with government reports that rely on other sources — let’s now move on to the geologists themselves.

Chris Skrebowski is the editor of the Petroleum Review for the UK. He was a one time 'early peak' critic who is now a ‘true believer’ trying his best to promote peak oil awareness. His latest project estimates
a peak as early as 2010! This guy was a critic, but eventually the math breaks through even to hardened geologists and head editors of Petroleum magazines.

It’s fairly basic really. History and math speak louder than bullish big-oil propaganda.
Let’s look at some very basic facts.
The most oil ever discovered was in 1965.
Discovery peaked in the 1960’s.
One has to find the oil before we can extract it.
The last time we discovered more oil than we consumed was in 1981.
That means we have been eating into previously discovered reserves, without discovering new oil to replace what we have been burning, for about 25 years.
The growing gap is getting wider and wider.
We now burn about 6 times more oil than we discover, and it is getting worse as we consume more and discover less.

These basic facts should make anyone sit up and take stock of our situation, especially oil geologists. So let’s see what some others are saying.

Now we move onto TOTAL Petroleum in France.
"TOTAL: "120 million barrels per day will never be reached"
Monday, 10 April 2006
"Christophe de Margerie, head of exploration and the likely future chairman of TOTAL, has acknowledged that oil production capacity will never reach the huge targets forecast by the international Energy Agency."

It also seems about half the practicing geologists in Australia believe the world is at peak oil right about now... and this was on our ABC's premier science flagship called Catalyst! You can watch it at the bottom of the transcript here... it's only 12 minutes.

And a very senior Saudi oil geologist has stated to the New York Times that he believes Saudi oil will peak at about 12.5 to 15 million barrels a day. After that point, there can be no more growth in sour supply no matter what the world demands! The New York Times interviewed Sadad al-Husseini, who retired last year after serving as Aramco's top executive for exploration and production. This interview could not be more important. When Saudi Arabia peaks, the world has peaked. The New York Times writes...

When I asked whether the kingdom could produce 20 million barrels a day -- about twice what it is producing today from fields that may be past their prime -- Husseini paused for a second or two. It wasn't clear if he was taking a moment to figure out the answer or if he needed a moment to decide if he should utter it. He finally replied with a single word: No.

This one small statement should have been international headlines across all networks, all day every day until the world got the message — we have to get off the oil, and fast. Sadly, vested interests in 'business as usual' saw the message fizzle and whimper straight out of the public eye.

Saudi Arabia already produces about 9 million barrels a day. Basically, by my rough rule of thumb calculations looking only at the major players we have about 3 to 6 mbd to increase before we reach the absolute maximum oil we will ever produce, and then it’s all downhill.

OPEC have even admitted that light sweet crude is in decline.

Finally we come to Chevron's CEO, who bluntly says "The era of easy oil is over!"

So where are we?
An imminent peak in world oil production seems highly likely. According to the Hirsch report, it appears it will take decades to prepare. We must get to work now… but our governments are holding mere talk-fests (except for Sweden.)

It’s this simple. We should apply the Precautionary Principle to peak oil and start to get ready even if there is a chance the early peakers are wrong. If we redesign our cities and lifestyles around less energy, and massively invest in renewable energy and find that there is more oil than we thought… then we are all clear. We will have cleaned up our act and prevented global warming, and saved oil as a vital construction material for our children which can produce everything from plastics and toothbrushes through to Kevlar. If on the other hand the early peakers are right and we blunder blindly into the last oil crisis (which I think has already happened) then a Great Depression is inevitable — and it may just spiral out of control into some far worse than even that scenario. It’s time to get busy. Put up a free poster today.
2008 — World oil production begins to decline,
stockmarkets crash, airlines bankrupt, and the
Greater Depression begins — Welcome to the end of the oil age!

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