After a quick drop of $3-4 a barrel the week before last, oil prices steadied last week as the markets contemplated just how effective the OPEC/NOPEC production freeze will be in the short term. Speculators had enthusiastically embraced the production freeze when it was announced late last year and drove open interest in futures to record highs. The cuts, however, did not come fast enough or be deep enough to offset increasing oil production from other countries and lower demand. As one important trader put it, “The OPEC cuts were good enough to prevent a repeat of the glut of last year, but it’s a different story if you want to have oil at $60 or $70.” For now, the physical oil market continues to indicate an oversupply situation.
In reviewing BP’s latest Statistic Review of World Energy, the big story for world oil last year was obvious: the USA’s third straight record-breaking increase in average annual production. Just over 75% of the net increase in world oil production during 2014 came from the USA; add in Canada and 90% of the total increase came from North America. Throw in Brazil’s first significant increase in three years and you have all the world’s net gain in world oil production accounted for by three non-OPEC players. Production from all other producers combined was flat. So the question for 2015 is straightforward: will we see a repeat of those gains…and the flat-liners?
A National Energy Program – A White Paper on Achieving Energy Independence and National Transformation. By Lawrence Klaus. Revised and Updated, January 2015. In a recent post, we marked the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo–an event that has had profound economic and geopolitical aftershocks for the United States. The embargo itself lasted […]
By Steve Andrews and Tom Whipple – Editors, Peak Oil Review 1. Oil Price Crash The great price crash of 2014 could well turn out to be one of the defining events of the decade, for it has the potential to bring major changes to the oil markets, not only for the next five years, […]
2014 ASPO-USA Update—Prepared by Richard Vodra. Introduction The story of America’s new energy abundance has been accepted uncritically by too many people. A closer look at the realities of today and the last decade, coupled with a better understanding of our energy and oil systems, reveals risks that must be discussed and included in planning […]
There has been considerable talk in the US of late about not only future energy exports but even about using an “energy weapon” against Russia. While that might be nice, it’s wishful thinking. An energy commentator who thought in depth about the US’s energy policy back-story and the myth of oil independence was Randy Udall, […]
By David Hughes (Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent ASPO-USA’s positions; they are personal statements and observations by informed commentators.) “Natural gas output from US’ Marcellus edges closer to 15 Bcf/d: EIA” declared the headline in Platts that attracted my attention, since the latest data on the Marcellus shale gas play of PA and WV indicated production […]
Dr. Richard G. Miller, trained as a geologist, joined BP as a geochemist in 1985. He studied peak oil matters since 1991, when BP asked him the following year to devise a wholly new way to estimate global oil resources. In 2000, he was tasked with creating an in-house projection of global future oil demand […]
By Steve Andrews “False optimism leads to very poor investment decisions.” – Jeremy Grantham, Co-founder, Chief Investment Strategist, GMO Ten years ago this month the Oil & Gas Journal published a story from CERAWeek—an annual elite conference for the oil industry put on by Cambridge Energy Research Associates—that bears revisiting.Why go back? Three reasons. First, CERA arguably has maintained […]
By Steve Andrews. Last week the U.S. Senate’s Energy Committee held the first hearing in decades on the question of whether exporting US crude oil, prohibited by law since the 1970s, should be allowed again. Attendees heard proponents say that allowing crude exports would hold prices down with opponents claiming the opposite case. To be […]
By Steve Andrews. Since the autumn of 2011, a storyline of “oil revolution” and oil abundance–even “North American energy independence”—has taken the US media by storm. That storyline seems to have lifted off in rough tandem with an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by Daniel Yergin—“There Will Be Oil”—followed not long thereafter with a […]
By Steve Andrews. (Commentaries do not necessarily represent the position of ASPO-USA) The key take-away from the US EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook released one week ago jumps out in the graph below: US crude oil production should peak in 2016 at a level 26% higher than that projected just one year ago. That’s an additional […]
On October 19, 1973, the Organization of Arab Oil Exporting Countries (OAPEC) proclaimed an embargo of oil exports to the United States, in response to U.S. support for Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The embargo, which was accompanied by cuts in overall production by OAPEC countries, lasted until March 1974. Oil prices shot up […]
By Steve Andrews. Early last week, Shell Oil announced it was shutting down its oil shale research project in western Colorado. Combine their departure with Chevron’s exit back in February 2012 and you can count another nail in oil shale’s coffin. Yet since this unconventional resource ranks among the largest in the world, estimated by […]
By Jan Lars Mueller. I learned last night that Al Bartlett–professor emeritus of physics at the University of Colorado, and a long-time friend, advisor, and guiding light for ASPO-USA–had died over the weekend. The news did not come suddenly, Al had shared that a previous illness had reasserted itself and that he and his family […]
ASPO-USA Co-founder Steve Andrews recently talked with Canadian geoscientist David Hughes on the outlook for shale oil. Q: Andrews–Production from shale oil plays has been impressive and has taken the national energy dialogue by storm. When did you sense that the shale oil plays had the kind of muscle they are currently showing? A: Hughes—The […]
Below are excerpts from an interview with noted peak oil commentator Martin Payne by ASPO-USA Co-Founder Steve Andrews Q: The industry deserves major kudos for the largest year-over-year increase in US oil production during 2012. What’s your sense for how long that type of gain might continue? A: Both the Bakken and Eagle Ford are […]
By Sally Odland, Steve Andrews, and John Theobald There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is. – Albert Einstein Last week our universe was rent asunder by the untimely death of our great friend, colleague and mentor, […]
By Steve Andrews and Randy Udall (Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent the position of ASPO-USA) Last week Michael Lynch and Daniel Yergin pummeled the concept of peak oil in two mainstream media outlets. Lynch’s feisty but nearly fact-free op-ed for the New York Times and Yergin’s more scholarly reflection in Foreign Policy whipped up further discussion […]
(Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent the position of ASPO-USA.) “New technology is almost as alluring as sex. Once humans have experienced any invention that eases physical effort, they will not give it up. That is the behavioral characteristic that may destroy us as a species. Curiously, only in sports do we agree to eschew […]
(Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent the position of ASPO-USA.) Saudi Arabia recently announced that it had halted a $100 billion oil production expansion plan to raise capacity to 15 million barrels a day by 2020. At this point, the country claims to have capacity of 12 million barrels a day. What does this mean […]
If one can’t rely on Daniel Yergin for soothing reassurances about the state of the global oil market, who you gonna call?
Daniel Yergin and his associates at Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) have consistently predicted a 20% to 25% increase in global total liquids production (which consists of crude oil, condensate, natural gas liquids, refinery gains and other liquids such as low net energy biofuels).
Reasons for interest in electric power generation from wind are multifold. First, wind is a renewable energy source. It is not likely to deplete over time, which is not the case for oil, coal, and natural gas.
Second, wind electric power generators use no water, which is in declining supply in many places in the world.
The 2011 ASPO-USA Conference, held in Washington, DC November 2-5, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, attracted more than 300 participants from many walks of life. These attendees were brought together, presumably, by a belief that we are entering an era of inexorable decline in fossil fuel production and a desire to face head-on this very serious yet underreported predicament.
Last week we and other representatives of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas USA (ASPO-USA) stood on the steps of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to call for “Truth in Energy” concerning one of the most serious threats to our economy, national security, and environment: the prospect of an impending decline in world oil supply. The consequences of this milestone are far-reaching and potentially catastrophic. After a news conference at DOE, we delivered a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu summarizing our concerns and requesting answers to specific questions about DOE’s response to this monumental challenge.
By itself, the concept of having to get by on just a little bit less oil each year seems to be manageable enough. Some think that a steadily, or even sharply, rising price will merely reduce demand and promote exploration and that everything will more or less normally work itself out through well understood market mechanisms. Perhaps it will, but I think the odds are stacked against a smooth transition to a future of less net energy.