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News from September 2011

Peak Oil and Faith Based Energy Debates

Peak Oil and Faith Based Energy Debates thumbnail

Dan Yergin’s weekend essay on peak oil in the Wall Street Journal (summary: don’t worry) has certainly stirred up passions in the blogosphere. Lynne Kiesling and Michael Giberson, both at Knowledge Problem, are big fans: economic forces and human ingenuity, they agree, will stave off the feared peak indefinitely. Christopher Mims, writing at Grist, seems […]


China’s oil demand continues to slow from its torrid rate

China’s oil demand continues to slow from its torrid rate thumbnail

All the signs point to a continued softening of Chinese demand in this month’s Platts survey. The most relevant figure might be the rate of growth year-on-year. It’s still high, but it’s less than 7%. It was regularly double-digits just a few years ago. You can read Platts analysis here.


BRIC nations call for fertilisers output hike

BRIC nations call for fertilisers output hike thumbnail

BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) yesterday joined Africa in calling for effective measures to convert challenges into opportunities for enhancing the production of fertilisers in view of the rising demand due to burgeoning world population. Diverse perspectives on current climate in the internal fertiliser market were highlighted at the concluding day of the […]


The Peak Oil Crisis: The German Army Report

The Peak Oil Crisis: The German Army Report thumbnail

In the last five or six years at least 20 major studies have been published by governmental and non-governmental organizations that either deal with or touch upon the possibility of severe energy shortages developing in the near future. Studies done by governmental entities, however, are rare for nearly all of the world’s governments still prefer […]


Africa: Households Turning to Cow Dung for Energy

Africa: Households Turning to Cow Dung for Energy thumbnail

There are dusty barrels carefully positioned outside many of the family compounds in the Léona neighbourhood of Kaolack, a city of 20,000 in western Senegal: signs of success for a project to introduce the use of biogas as a source of fuel. Amadou Faye, whose family herds cows, goats and sheep as well as growing […]


EPA issues permits to Shell for oil drilling offshore Alaska

EPA issues permits to Shell for oil drilling offshore Alaska thumbnail

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued final air quality permits Sept. 19 necessary for Shell Oil Co. to proceed with oil and natural gas exploration drilling in the Arctic offshore Alaska using the Noble Discoverer drillship and a support fleet of icebreakers, oil spill response vessels, and supply ships. EPA permits assure compliance with air-quality […]


Peak Oil – Now or Later? A Response to Daniel Yergin

Peak Oil – Now or Later? A Response to Daniel Yergin thumbnail

In a recent article called There Will Be Oil in the WSJ, Daniel Yergin once again attempts to debunk the concept of peak oil and sees global production capacity growing to 110 mmbpd by 2030, followed by slow decline. In this short report I will take a quick look at his key arguments in an […]


More Thoughts on Peak Oil

More Thoughts on Peak Oil thumbnail

In Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, gave his explanation of what’s wrong with peak oil. Here’s why I don’t find his analysis altogether convincing. Yergin does not offer a statement of exactly what he means by “peak oil”, though his essay refers to it as a “fear” […]


Per Capita Oil Consumption Around the World

Per Capita Oil Consumption Around the World thumbnail

Following up on yesterday’s post of global oil production per capita, the above graph shows oil consumption per capita for an illustrative selection of countries around the world (along with the world line in black for comparison).  You can see that the developed countries all had peak consumption in the 1970s, fell in the early […]


America’s New Production and the Farce of Peak Oil

America’s New Production and the Farce of Peak Oil thumbnail

Recent Discoveries Put Americas Back in Oil Companies’ Sights … New Fields May Propel Americas to Top of Oil Companies’ Lists … Brazil has begun building its first nuclear submarine to protect its vast, new offshore oil discoveries. Colombia’s oil production is climbing so fast that it is closing in on Algeria’s and could hit […]


Peak Oil Per Capita

Peak Oil Per Capita thumbnail

A reader asks to see a graph of global oil supply per capita – here it is.  The global population data are from the US census bureau, and the oil supply data are from ASPO through 1979 and EIA total liquids after that (the two sources agree to within a percent or so in the […]


The Incredible Global Transition Back To Coal

The Incredible Global Transition Back To Coal thumbnail

There are many unfortunate outcomes to Peak Oil. One of the more serious is the world’s transition back to coal. Expensive BTU from crude oil has influenced the energy adoption pathway of the Developing World for ten years now, pushing the five billion people in the Non-OECD towards coal. My work has documented this shift […]


Daniel Yergin Comments on Peak Oil: It’s More a Plateau

Daniel Yergin Comments on Peak Oil: It’s More a Plateau thumbnail

Oil expert, consultant and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Daniel Yergin discusses theories surrounding peak oil and puts some fears to rest in his recent Wall Street Journal article. For decades people have feared running out of oil. As prices for oil rise, and the demand grows every year, that fear increases. Yergin says this is “the […]


Is the World Running Out of Oil?

Is the World Running Out of Oil? thumbnail

Every few years or so, the question is raised about whether the world is approaching peak oil. Reports are written and apocalyptic visions are cast about the consequences of such an event. It’s one of the reasons given for diversifying to new energy sources like wind and solar power. The price of oil is also […]


OPEC’s El-Badri Says WTI Oil Is Unsuitable as Price Reference

OPEC’s El-Badri Says WTI Oil Is Unsuitable as Price Reference thumbnail

OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla El- Badri said U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude is unsuitable as a reference for international oil trading and North Sea Brent crude isn’t perfect either. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries official spoke to reporters in Dubai today about the widening gap between WTI and Brent. “In the past, the reference […]


Oil price differentials, not emissions, the key to Keystone

Oil price differentials, not emissions, the key to Keystone thumbnail

If activists fail to stop Obama from approving the tar sands pipeline, the recession could still kill the project. James Hansen, NASA’s lead climate scientist, says if TransCanada Pipeline’s Keystone XL mega-project connecting Alberta tar sand producers to Gulf Coast refineries is approved, it is game over for the planet. It certainly won’t be game […]


Kunstler: The Rainmakers

Kunstler: The Rainmakers thumbnail

This much can be stated categorically about the USA these days: the more distressed our economy gets, the more delusional thinking you will encounter. People want to assign the cause of their misery to this or that (socialism, abortion, Jews, the New World Order). People want to believe that their world is a safe place […]


What happens if the population forecasts are wrong?

What happens if the population forecasts are wrong? thumbnail

The assumption that global population will peak around 9-10bn may be overly optimistic — and if it is, population will continue to rise, placing enormous strains on the environment In a mere half-century, the number of people on the planet has soared from 3 billion to 7 billion, placing us squarely in the midst of […]


Peak Oil, Daniel Yergin & Impending Doom

Peak Oil, Daniel Yergin & Impending Doom thumbnail

The theory known as “peak oil” has at its core the belief that we are rapidly running out of oil.  Reasonable people can agree or disagree on this of course. The oil expert, consultant and author, Daniel Yergin addresses peak oil theories in this lengthy piece in the Wall Street Journal.  I recommend reading the […]


Forget Tar Sands: Canada’s Geothermal Resources >1 Million Times Electricity Consumption

Forget Tar Sands: Canada’s Geothermal Resources >1 Million Times Electricity Consumption thumbnail

Cleantechnica has a post on a recent report on geothermal power in Canada – Forget Tar Sands: Canada’s Geothermal Resources >1 Million Times Electricity Consumption. Canada’s sitting on “massive” geothermal resources, according to news reports, more than 1 million times its current electricity consumption. “As few as 100 projects could meet Canada’s energy needs,” notes […]


Oil Gateway

Oil Gateway thumbnail

Stop the Flows is the working title for subMedia.TV’s next project. Over the next five years we will document resistance movements that are working towards stopping the flows of hydro carbons, mineral extraction, natural resources and capital, through grassroots and underground organizing. We will publish our dispatches as we complete them with the goal of […]


Hubbert’s Peak or Yergin’s Plateau?

Hubbert’s Peak or Yergin’s Plateau? thumbnail

In 1956, Shell geologist M. King Hubbert correctly predicted that oil production in the United States would reach a peak around 1970. Since his Peak Oil theory fits so well with the Malthusian worldview of “Progressives”, anti-capitalists and anarchists, Hubbert has become a posthumous hero to the Left, an unusual role for a scientist polluted […]


Turkey, Egypt to Drill for Natural Gas in the Mediterranean, Threatening Israel’s Energy Dreams

Turkey, Egypt to Drill for Natural Gas in the Mediterranean, Threatening Israel’s Energy Dreams thumbnail

What a difference fifteen months makes. In May 2010 Israel’s cold peace with Egypt was viable, the country was celebrating massive Mediterranean natural gas finds and Tel Aviv enjoyed a military alliance with Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation. Two events have changed that picture beyond all recognition – Israel’s 31 May 2010 attack on the […]


Sick Gulf residents continue to blame BP

Sick Gulf residents continue to blame BP thumbnail

Just weeks after BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, 2010, Fritzi Presley knew something was very wrong with her health. The 57-year-old singer/songwriter from Long Beach, Mississippi began to feel sick, and went to her doctor. “I began getting treatments for bronchitis, was put on several antibiotics and rescue […]


Oil Spring Eternal

Oil Spring Eternal thumbnail

Writing The Prize (1991) , and winning a Pulitzer for it, brought Daniel Yergin automatic creds in the energy industry. Through Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) , he has consistently maintained a cornucopian viewpoint about the future availability and price of oil, to the point that the energy depletion community has defined a Yergin unit […]


Dublin Seminar Oct 10th: Managing the Risks – Oil Scarcity & the Global Economy

Dublin Seminar Oct 10th: Managing the Risks – Oil Scarcity & the Global Economy thumbnail

Following up on our June seminar Energy Security and Competitiveness in a Rapidly Changing World, our next seminar expands on the recent warning from the IMF, published in their April 2011 World Economic Outlook, on the risks of oil scarcity to the global economy. Access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a matter of […]


Daniel Yergin’s letter to the peak oil community, and a rebuttal

Daniel Yergin’s letter to the peak oil community, and a rebuttal thumbnail

Daniel Yergin, Wall Street Journal For decades, advocates of ‘peak oil’ have been predicting a crisis in energy supplies. They’ve been wrong at every turn, says Daniel Yergin. — Since the beginning of the 21st century, a fear has come to pervade the prospects for oil, fueling anxieties about the stability of global energy supplies. […]


A Marshall Plan to Build a Smart Grid — in China

A Marshall Plan to Build a Smart Grid — in China thumbnail

I wrote in last week’s column about the three most interesting insights into the future of grid-connected energy storage offered last week at the 2011 NAATBatt Annual Meeting and Conference by David Mohler, chief technology officer of Duke Energy.  It occurred to me after posting my article that I neglected one other important insight.  The […]


Are we all rogue traders now?

Are we all rogue traders now? thumbnail

Last week authorities apprehended a trader for UBS, the huge, international Swiss bank, on suspicion that he lost $2 billion of the bank’s money in unauthorized trades. It’s not the first time something on this scale has happened. In 2008 a trader at Société Générale, the giant French bank now so much in the news, […]


Tech Talk – pipelines from the Arctic

Tech Talk – pipelines from the Arctic thumbnail

Art Berman commented, in regard to my last post on the oil and gas reserves offshore Alaska, that at one time companies looked for an estimated 1 billion barrels in reserves before they would consider starting down the long road to bringing them to market. With the rising price of oil, that number may have […]


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