Nov 25, 2009

"There is still no alternative to oil"

Please read full at Energy Bulletin from Roger Blanchard

George Will had quite a few figures in his commentary "There is still no alternative to oil" that suggested there are no supply problems concerning oil...

Why isn't non-OPEC production increasing as the price of oil increases??? Due to the large number of declining oil fields throughout the world, it presently takes about 4 mb/d of new production each year just to maintain global production at a steady rate.

Mr. Will talks glowingly about deep-water fields without appreciating the technical and economic difficulties of extracting the oil. As an example, much has been made in the U.S. media about 2 relatively recent discoveries in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico (US): Jack and Tiber. Both fields are at roughly 30,000 ft in depth. Because of economic and technical difficulties, the fields are not projected to start producing oil before 2020 if they are developed at all. By then, all of the presently producing deep-water GOM fields will be in deep decline. Only the larger deep-water fields are likely to ever be developed.

Mr. Will also talks glowingly about how much oil is in the Athabasca Tar Sands region of Canada. He doesn't appear to appreciate the difference between volume of oil, the possible maximum rate of production and how quickly the rate can be increased.

Finally, it's unfortunate that Mr. Will places so much importance on "proven" oil reserves inasmuch as the figures are essentially worthless. There is no independent organization that audits the "proven" reserves of individual countries to give credence to the figures. It's well known that many countries highly inflate and don't update the figures they provide.

More news from Energy Bulletin