Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Peak Oil Slowly Getting on the Radar

Peak Oil stories are starting to make the news even if they are relegated to the back pages. Stories like the following should be on the front page every day. This was in Friday's Johnson City Press, Explorers Taking Big Risks to Find Crude.

MIAMI — The world’s thirst for crude is leading oil exploration companies into ever deeper waters and ventures fraught with environmental and political peril.

The days when the industry could merely drill on land and wait for the oil — and the profits — to flow are coming to an end. Because of that, companies feel compelled to sink wells at the bottom of deep oceans, inject chemicals into the ground to force oil to the surface, deal with unsavory regimes, or operate in some of the world’s most environmentally sensitive and inaccessible spots, far from ports and decent roads. All those factors could make it difficult to move in equipment and clean up a spill.

From the Arctic to Cuba to the coast of Nigeria, avoiding catastrophes like BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill is likely to become increasingly difficult and require cooperation among countries that aren’t used to working together.
But that isn't even the story. How much oil you expect to get in those deep waters?
Exploration companies have discovered huge oil fields in the South Atlantic off Brazil, with deposits believed to exceed 8 billion barrels. Reaching them will require drilling not only in waters nearly two miles deep, but through salt layers up to three miles below the ocean floor. The BP well that blew out was in water a mile deep.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic region holds up to one-quarter of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas, including 90 billion barrels of crude — most of it offshore.
"Huge oil fields"? Hardly. The world consumes a billion barrels of oil every eleven days. The big find off Brazil of eight billion barrels would last us until Ground Hog's Day. The 90 billion barrels of crude in the Arctic region? Three years, tops assuming they got it all. If that is a quarter of the undiscovered oil, that isn't much friends.

The lesson here is not to be fooled with what looks like large numbers especially when the media says "huge oil" fields. The fact is that discoveries peaked in 1964. We currently extract four barrels for every barrel we discover.

Rather than a midnight movie, I have two midnight powerpoints. The first is from Robert Hirsch, The Impending World Energy Mess.

The second powerpoint should make folks take notice.

This is from former BP executive Jeremy Gilbert.

It would have been nice if Mr. Gilbert had blown the whistle when he wasn't an "ex" but, I guess, better late than never.

Former BP Exec Jeremy Gilbert Just Shot Down Every Argument Against Peak Oil.

Change is coming.