Category Archives: Oil

US can become world’s biggest oil producer in a decade, says IEA

“The US could become self-sufficient, while 90% of Middle Eastern oil could go to China, according to new estimates…” (Source: The Guardian)

Yes and pigs CAN fly. I would like to know how much pressure was put on Fatih Birol and his team  to produce this PR report for big oil. Any investigative journalist can go after the real story behind this? And if the figures are correct, get ready for more and faster climate collapse.

Read the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2012 pages.

Critical coverage of this report can be found here (more later):

US Elections: what no candidate says about energy and the economy

"What if tools of the past no longer fit the economy of the future? Economic growth, as we have known it, is being constrained by an unprecedented slowing of growth in world oil supply. America’s path to future prosperity needs to recognize and confront this new energy reality, and adapt our economy to run on a lot less oil." (Source: The Hill)

What would you expect as long as “the American Way of Life is non-negotiable”? Americans (as well as Europeans BTW) just “can’t handle the truth”.

Degrowth, expensive oil, and the new economics of energy

"Expensive oil … does appear to be suffocating the debt-ridden, global economy, just as it is trying to recover …

Unfortunately, mainstream economists, including those in government, seem oblivious to the close relationship between energy, debt, and economy, and this means they are unable to see that expensive oil is one of the primary underlying causes of today’s economic problems. Consequently, they craft their intended solutions (e.g. stimulus packages, quantitative easing, low interest rates to encourage borrowing, etc) based on flawed, growth-based thinking, not recognising that the new economics of energy means that the growth model, which assumes cheap energy inputs, is now dangerously out-dated. When growth-based economies do not grow, household, firms, and nations struggle to repay their debts, and quickly things begin to unravel in undesirable ways." (Source: Energy Bulletin)

Excellent analysis by Dr Samuel Alexander of the links between global energy descent, rising commodity prices, the end of growth and the Great Depression.

From the conclusion of this report:

Economic growth requires energy, especially oil. Stagnating oil production, however, is happening at a time when demand is continuing to rise. This means that oil is going to get more expensive – a consequence already playing out – but it is not clear that our economies can function on oil prices much above $100 per barrel or when total oil expenditure exceeds roughly 5.5% of GDP. The exact figures can be debated, and will be debated. But a strong case can be made that the price implications of slow-to-negligible growth in crude oil production is causing the global economy to stagnate, leading, among other things, to the inability of many households, firms, and nations to meet their debt obligations. This is causing significant economic instability around the world, and as oil prices rise in the future the situation is probably only going to get worse. This is not a happy message to convey, but in order to respond to problems effectively it is important that first their gravity is recognised and acknowledged.”

Fool me twice, shame on me: The oil industry repackages the fake abundance story (from the late 1990s)

"Only the oil industry would now have the audacity once again to peddle a story that it has gotten wrong for more than a decade as if it were brand new. Enlisting the media and its army of paid consultants, the industry is once again telling the public that oil abundance is at hand. And, what is doubly audacious is that it is promoting this tale as oil prices hover at levels more than eight times the 1999 low. Clearly, the industry is counting on collective amnesia to shield it from ridicule." ( Source: Resource Insights blog )

Good analysis by Kurt Cobb on how the pusher (the oil industry) is keeping the junkie (the economy) hooked on his stuff by offering dreams and fantasies. And how the media are working for the pusher.

IMF Working Paper predicts doubling of oil prices in coming decade

A new internal working paper for the International Monetary Fund acknowledges physical constraints for oil production (peak oil) and foresees higher oil prices with negative impacts on economic growth. Although this working paper does not reflect official IMF policy, the fact that this institution is working on it confirms that the peak oil reality is starting to hit the financial elites of this world. Now the next step is recognising that this new reality will lead to a “post-growth” society and what this will mean for future global governance.

Read the full working paper “The Future of Oil: Geology versus Technology”.

On her blog Our Finite World, Gail Tverberg does an excellent analysis of this important working paper and comments on its weaknesses.

A new energy third world in North America?

"Here, then, is the energy surprise of the twenty-first century: with operating conditions growing increasingly difficult in the global South, the major firms are now flocking back to North America. To exploit previously neglected reserves on this continent, however, Big Oil will have to overcome a host of regulatory and environmental obstacles. It will, in other words, have to use its version of deep-pocket persuasion to convert the United States into the functional equivalent of a Third World petro-state." (Source: Energy Bulletin).

Brilliant and provocative analysis by Michael Klare about the new extreme energy curse of America.

Here is one remarkable quote from this must-read article:

The formula for making Canada and the U.S. the “Saudi Arabia” of the twenty-first century is grim but relatively simple: environmental protections will have to be eviscerated and those who stand in the way of intensified drilling, from landowners to local environmental protection groups, bulldozed out of the way.  Put another way, North America will have to be Third-Worldified.”

Overseas aid to Africa being outweighed by hefty costs of importing oil

Sub-Saharan states need to move to renewable energy sources as $15bn in aid is outstripped by $18bn in oil imports, says IEA…” (Source: The Guardian)

But not only Africa is affected by high oil prices. Europe will suffer competitiveness loss as a result of oil dependence. "…for every $1 that countries do not spend on cleaner fuel, they will have to spend $4.3 within the next two decades to make up, for their reliance on fossil fuels".  EU oil bill is more than 550bn per year, the "equivalent of a Greek crisis – very year".

There Will Be Oil—and That’s the Problem

Excellent article in Time on the future of oil. Unconventional oil – although not complety making up for declining conventional oil production – will lead to higher energy prices and will ultimately cook the planet.

And still political decisionmakers keep denying this very obvious reality. What is worse? Climate deniers or politicians in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry?

“… the new supplies are for the most part more expensive than traditional oil from places like the Middle East—sometimes significantly so. They are often dirtier, with a greater risk of more devastating spills and accidents. The decline of major conventional oil fields—coupled with the rapidly rising demand from countries like China and India—means the spare production capacity that once cushioned prices is melting away, ushering in an era of volatile market swings. And there’s climate change—burning all this leftover oil could lock the world into dangerous warming. “I’m less concerned about the absolute disappearance of fossil fuels than about the environmental consequences of pursuing what’s left,” says Michael Klare, an energy expert and the author of The Race for What’s Left.”

Fossil fuel subsidies: a tour of the data

What’s particularly baffling is that while government support given to environmentally beneficial renewable power sources is subject to seemingly endless media and political scrutiny, the 500% larger subsidies given to oil, gas and (to a much lesser extent) coal rarely get much attention.”   (Source: Datablog The Guardian)

Another great article on governmental subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

Zakaria: Why oil prices will stay high

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria has this telling article on high oil prices and why they will stay this high. His explanation: global politics.

Nothing about the fact that the age of cheap oil is over (says the IEA) and we now have moved to "extreme" and expensive oil.  

Read the comments to see why we need more energy literacy and education and less dumb ideology.

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