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Page added on October 27, 2013

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World Energy Congress report dismisses fears of peak oil


Fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy sector for the foreseeable future, after a report issued by the World Energy Council made it clear that fears expressed in respect of so-called “peak oil” were unlikely to be realized within the next forty years at least.

Following the recent World Energy Congress in Daegu, Korea, Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the WEC said that the chances of the world running out of oil were slim, citing the fact that global reserves of the engineering resource were 25 percent higher than in 1993 while production has increased by 20 percent. According to Canada’s Financial Post, the WEC report demonstrates two potential scenarios for the energy industry, both of which include the implementation of renewable sources, and fossil fuels remain the dominant factor in both.

“Our latest World Energy Resources report shows that ‘peak oil’ has moved into a far future. It is clear that coal, oil and gas are going to keep powering the economies of many countries for many years to come,” said Frei, in a WEC press release. “Renewables will play an important role in our future energy mix. In particular, our World Energy Scenarios study sees that solar PV will have a bright future.”

Dominant resource
The release of the report comes at a time when proponents of renewable or alternative energy sources are pushing hard for a greater acceptance of the technology, with a number of governments across the world already dedicating significant amounts of engineering research into ways to diminish reliance on fossil fuels. Renewable energy is seen by many as a logical step in reducing the current level of carbon emissions present in the atmosphere, with a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicting that the appetite for renewables will increase.

“Our study finds that although fossil fuels continue to dominate, renewable energy and the investment appetite for them are growing from strength to strength,” said Guy Turner, Chief Economist at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “With wider deployment, the price of renewables will fall, reducing the risk for investors, and we expect to see greater uptake over the years.”

However, according to the WEC report, fossil fuels are expected to maintain their position as the dominant resource, with 80 percent of global energy currently produced by either oil, gas or coal. To put that into perspective, renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal or marine only provide 1.5 percent, despite significant financial investment by both the private and public sector.

“The growth of new renewables, namely wind and solar, has been mainly dependent on generous government support and subsidies especially in the EU,” said Alessandro Clerici, executive chair of World Energy Resources. “In addition, integrating a high percentage of intermittent renewables into the grid has remained challenging due to the high cost of storage and backup power. Intermittent renewables such as wind and solar will have an increased share in future electricity generation but they will still remain marginal in the global primary energy supply for decades to come.”

Need for efficiency
While the report highlighted the continuing influence of and need for fossil fuels, it did showcase the need for governments and electricity producers to develop more robust energy efficiency programs. According to the study, buildings account for nearly 40 percent of all global consumption, while power plants have an average efficiency rate of around 34 percent. At the same time, the report noted, the electric system could be improved from its current efficiency level of 20 percent up to a potential rate of 50 percent.

“Energy efficiency presents an immediate opportunity to reduce both energy intensity and emissions,” said Clerici. “However, as energy-efficient systems are capital-intensive, decision-makers must abandon the usual short-term mentality to finance projects based on initial costs, to also account for the lower lifecycle costs.”

17 Comments on "World Energy Congress report dismisses fears of peak oil"

  1. Mike on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 8:31 pm 

    Oh Cool, better close down the site admin. Make room for something else. Thanks for wasting my time and everything!

  2. rockman on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 8:36 pm 

    I must agree: I have no fear of PO. Neither me, my cohorts nor the members of the WEC are too worried now that oil is bouncing around $100/bbl. In fact, we’re feeling pretty dang good at the moment.

  3. dissident on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 8:40 pm 

    This is like the silly LooneyTunes cartoons where some character has run off the cliff and only starts falling when they notice it. “Far future”. LOL.

  4. shortonoil on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 8:53 pm 

    “Our latest World Energy Resources report shows that ‘peak oil’ has moved into a far future.”

    Apparently, $100/b oil is not a problem, or an indication that something might not be quit right. Which implies that $200/b oil shouldn’t be either! With almost every nation on earth already buried in smothering piles of unserviceable debt, things can’t get any worse?

    With such perceptive, and scientifically minded leadership at the helm, the world has absolutely nothing to worry about!

  5. rollin on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 9:24 pm 

    What a mess this is going to cause. Whole towns will be taken over to move port facilities inland. Massive storms will keep wrecking homes, business and infrastructure. High summer temps will cook animals and people while weather variability will confuse the ignorant.
    Tropical diseases moving into semi-tropical and northern regions while forests burn, water runs out and food production fails. More pollution, noise, crowding.

    Sounds like a plan to me. If you disagree with this plan for your future world tell your representative, king, mayor or whomever runs your life. I am sure you will get some action by the time peak oil is well behind us.

  6. rune on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 10:40 pm 

    Geopolitically, the price of oil at right around $100 is right where it should be. Because that is where the price needs to be for the Saudis and others in the ME to control their populations.

    And, to some extent, the price of oil HAS been assetized by Wall Street hedge funds, ETFs, managed futures funds, etc. If these were not in effect (and not made possible by the Commodities Modernization Act), the price would probably be $20 – $40 lower than it is.

    But I think it is true that increased demand from China and other asian countries has pushed the price way up from its level in the 90s.

    Dr. Paul Stevens, a long-time oil analyst with Chatham House talks all about this stuff in a variety of pdf papers you can download. Just google his name and read all about it.

  7. Wheeldog on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 10:58 pm 

    NET! Net oil production! EROEI! The issue is not “how much” (gross) oil is produced but rather how much oil gain is accomplished after subtracting the energy required to bring the oil based products to market. Production costs include the full spectrum of exploration, test wells, production drilling, transportation developments, pipelines, refining and distribution. It takes in the cost of rigs, pipes, cracking plants, labor, environmental mitigation, etc. When the total cost of producing oil significantly narrows the benefits it accomplishes we will have effectively arrived at peak oil. It’s a basic reality of economics.

  8. Others on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 11:28 pm 

    Did anyone in the congress predict that Solar power will increase from 1 GW in year 2000 to 100 GW in year 2012.


    Renewable energy is expanding rapidly.

    These guys know only Oil and slightly about Coal & Natgas.

    Conventional onshore oil is already running out and the oil companies are racing to Deep Sea and Arctic to get the Oil.

  9. Kenz300 on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 12:02 am 

    The price of oil, coal and nuclear keeps rising and causing environmental damage.

    The price of wind and solar keeps dropping and its safe and clean…….

    The transition has begun and the speed of transition increases every year as prices for wind and solar continue to fall.

  10. Dave Thompson on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 12:42 am 

    This is another example of the multi-national corporate bankers, military industrial media complex doing what they do. People see this and parrot the talking points. Pleased that gas prices are down, gearing up up for the all important consumer season.

  11. BillT on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 2:20 am 

    I can tell you that the world will never run out of hydrogen either, but most of it will not be recoverable. EROEI. Laws of Nature have no ‘work around’, they just are.

  12. Keith on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 4:28 am 

    Maybe PO is far in the future for the 1 percent, maybe this is who WEC is speaking to when they make these statements. As far as they are concerned, we the masses, are becoming irrelevant. 200/b oil is not a problem for them. We are witnessing the cleaving, the separation of are society into two societies. PO has arrived for us, but not them, at least not for the foreseeable future.

  13. Keith_McClary on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 5:03 am 

    Maybe we should rename the Cornies “Roadrunners.


  14. Arthur on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 11:53 am 

    High prices for fossil is exactly what is needed right now, because it enables us to pass the break-even point with renewable energy. And the rise of fracking and the coming ‘golden age of gas’ could keep the price of fossil on a plateau for a considerable time, giving us time to sort things out with renewables (panels, turbines, grid, storage).

    I am not saying this happy scenario is going to happen, but that it could happen.

    Obviously the downside of this ‘happy scenario’ is the assault on the environment and then there is the possibility that a calm transition could be interrupted by a financial collapse. But I no longer doubt that Mother Earth will provide us with sufficient fossil fuel until at least 2030.

  15. Mike999 on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 1:39 pm 

    If you’re Exterminating Canadian Forest, Fresh Water and Game for Tar Sands, then You’re AT PEAK OIL.

    Because Only a FOOL would extract Tar Sands.

  16. GregT on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 3:01 pm 

    Mother earth did not “provide us with fossil fuels”. Mother Earth sequestered CO2, and stored it in the form of fossil fuels, which ‘provided’ us with a planet capable of supporting the myriad of life that we so foolishly take for granted.

    We are merely releasing all of that CO2 back into the natural environment, and placing all life as we know it, at great risk.

    Mother Earth provided us with an amazing place to live our lives. Our flawed sense of thinking, that the planet exists merely for our consumption, is destroying that amazing place. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. There will be no turning back.

  17. rollin on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 5:36 pm 

    Good one GregT. If we don’t learn to love nature, nature will stop loving us.

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