Sep 10, 2009

Peak Oil and IEA truth doesn't make the truth go away.

"We are facing a serious threat" - From post by LB VIA TOD (The Oil Drum)
Chris Holtom, the former head of British military intelligence, "Peak Oil is a potential Black Swan event, where the consequences are so great that after it we spend most of our time justifying why we didn't anticipate it… It is a global issue and global bodies need the clout and courage to address them."[LB] There is a parallel here with what happened with the financial crisis and the failure of regulative authorities to control the banking sector at that time. The same is happening now in the energy sector. By the time we realize this, the crisis will be real and… uncontrollable.

As the US Joint Forces Command concludes:
"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD… The implications for future conflict are ominous..."[LB] Dr. Fatih Birol, Chief-Economist of the International Energy Agency (the agency which advices OECD countries on oil, including the US) and "one of the most powerful men on earth"... reported of saying that the world was heading for a catastrophic energy crunch that could cripple a global economic recovery.

The article added, "In an interview with The Independent, Dr Birol said that the public and many governments appeared to be oblivious to the fact that the oil on which modern civilisation depends is running out far faster than previously predicted and that global production is likely to peak in about 10 years – at least a decade earlier than most governments had estimated".

In fact, in 2008 the IEA conducted for the first time a detailed field-by-field analysis of global oil production and its findings are bleak.

They come to the conclusion that decline rates are far higher than previously thought, between 6.7 and 8.6% a year[LB]. As result, they now estimate that to maintain the current levels of oil production (about 85 MBD) by 2030 the world would need to develop and produce 45 MBD; as said by Dr. Fatih Birol, approximately four new Saudi-Arabias.

Simultaneously, they have analysed all the projects that are financially sanctioned in all the countries in the world (about 230) up to 2015. As it takes five to ten years to produce oil from a new field, they have a clear image of the coming situation. When they add all the projects together (if all of them see the light of the day –unlikely with the current credit crunch-) they will bring about 25 millions barrels per day. However, because of the important decline rates, the world will still be short of "at least" 12.5 MBD before 2015. Asked by a journalist if this means Peak Oil, Dr. Birol answered, "We are facing a serious threat".

During the conversation, Mr. Rech also mentioned the difficult topic of global population in a post-Peak Oil world:
"(Dr. Colin) Campbell effectively says that agricultural production will collapse because fertilisers will run out, by a lack of fuel and that the variable of adjustment to the problem will be the global population. Frankly I don't know. It is so cataclysmic that me, I, I reach my limits. I reach my intellectual limits on that."[LB]

So while the British Government (and many others) declares that it "does not feel the need to hold contingency plans specifically for the eventuality of crude oil supplies peaking between now and 2020"[LB], a senior energy expert at the IEA –the body that advices our governments on oil- who wrote part of the 2008 WEO, cannot rule out the death of a significant part of humankind in the coming decades.

Similarly, the newspaper The Guardian reported that another "IEA official" who was at the Poznan conference with IEA's Executive Director, Nobuo Tanaka, admitted that, "There's a real risk that this thing could collapse"[LB].

Maybe one day politicians and mainstream media will finally start to investigate what is really going on in the energy sector ....

Read more VIA TOD (The Oil Drum) - From post by Lionel Badal