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June 07, 2010

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Ideally, we would have started the energy and urban retrofit in the 1970s. We had a president - Carter - who "got it". We still had the financial capability, and our middle class was still strong. The thirty years that followed were not merely wasted, they made this nation's decline inevitable and unstoppable.

Even today, it's not as if Americans can think outside the box of Reaganite entitlement and optimism. We are believers, first and last. The few contrarians among us only serve to highlight the righteousness of believers who think "abundantly". Credibility is conferred on those who deny housing bubbles, peak oil, global warming, and downers like science.

The BP oil spill might have contributed some dizzy spells in the form of cognitive dissonance. Fortunately, we've decided Obama is to blame for "dithering". So, believers can command the high ground by blaming the government and demanding more off-shore drilling. If only the government would get off our backs and start plugging the damned hole.

We're going to saunter down this oil-slicked path to a hellish and dystopian future. None of it will be our fault, of course. Since the Right has the megaphones, we'll have menu choices of whom to blame. Say, environmentalists, liberals, Democrats, and Hollywood.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"The Bush/Cheney administration was taking the (I kid you not) Carter Doctrine to its logical extreme by invading Iraq."

According to the Iraq Atlas (IHS), "there could potentially be another 100 billion barrels of oil in the Western Desert of Iraq". If so, has production peaked?

http://www.ihs.com/News/Press-Releases/2007/IraqAtlas.htm

"Oil prices will be high (tellingly, oil never dropped to a level appropriate to an abundant commodity during the financial panic) and get higher."

WTI crude oil spot price fell to $30.28 a barrel on December 23, 2008.

A broader point that keeps getting ignored in discussions of this issue, is that even according to classic market principles, oil prices are not determined by production capacity alone: they are determined by production capacity versus demand.

Mr. Talton and others would have us believe that high oil prices will wreck the economy while SIMULTANEOUSLY world demand will remain high. That's contradictory. If oil prices rise high enough to slow developed economies, it will slow demand for products produced by exporters like China to the U.S. and Europe. Slower demand for China's exports means decreased production by China, which means decreased demand for oil for production by China and other developing export economies.

Just like now!

"The ugly detail in all this is that we're unlikely to find an energy source that was as abundant and cheap as the light sweet crude which built the economy of the 20th century."

Sunlight is even more abundant and cheap than oil, and there is an indefinite supply. We already have the technology to tap it, and unlike solar thermal, standard solar panels don't require much water.

True, it's looked down upon by private industry, because it isn't as productive as solar thermal, but that's only a problem if your company is run by shareholders who expect profits as a return on their investment, and have to charge high prices per watt of electricity (versus coal-fired plants) to realize that profit (since otherwise they will invest their money in companies with more lucrative returns).

If such plants are instead publicly financed, owned, built, and operated, the only cost is the up-front cost (big) and the relatively small annual operating and maintenance cost. Build huge solar panel farms, hundreds of square miles. Thereafter, you'll get all the electricity you need, virtually free, because sunlight is free, labor costs to operate are low, and there are no private investors looking to make profits. The government can charge whatever it wants, perhaps along a sliding scale. Inexpensive electricity.

OK, so these may need to be supplemented by other power plants until such time as the storage problem is solved (solar panels only produce electricity when the sun is out). The keyword is "supplemented". It isn't a question of EITHER we continue as we are OR we have something which will completely replace the status quo immediately.

But there a way around this, because the sun is always out somewhere. When it's night on one side of Earth, it's daylight on the other, and vice-versa. All we need is two or more countries thus located, with solar panel plants, and an agreement for each to supply electricity to the other during off-peak hours. Electrical energy can be sent via underwater cables or converted into microwave energy and beamed.

A related concept depends upon the fact that the sun is always out in space, where it can then converted into microwave beams and sent to Earth's surface, but that's a little too sci-fi so let's stick to dovetailing solar production compacts by geographically separated countries.

And here's how you fund the new solar energy infrastructure:

"This week, the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute floated the idea of a national transaction tax that would raise $100 billion to $150 billion a year. The tax, at a rate of 0.1% to 0.25% of the value of the trade, would be levied on all financial transactions such as stock trades, but not on consumer transactions such as with credit cards."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125512957855977163.html

That's a trillion dollars over ten years from a tax of one-tenth of one percent. Double it to two-tenths and you get two trillion. You get the idea.

By the way, for an overview of establishment forecasts on peak oil (yes/no/when) it's hard to beat this 2007 report by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (part of the U.S. Department of Energy) -- see especially the seven quote-tables:

http://www.netl.doe.gov/energy-analyses/pubs/Peaking%20of%20World%20Oil%20Production%20-%20Recent%20Forecasts%20-%20NETL%20Re.pdf

"Mitigation will require an intense effort over decades. This
inescapable conclusion is based on the time required to
replace vast numbers of liquid fuel consuming vehicles and
the time required to build a substantial number of substitute
fuel production facilities."

Emil, I read that DOE report and that paragraph really jumped out. This is the problem in a nutshell. We should have started decades ago preparing for a rough transition from oil to alternative energy. Instead, we can't even get an energy bill through Congress in 2010. After 2010, Republicans will ensure Big Oil gets what they want.

Americans are living in denial not only about peak oil but global warming and diminishing water resources. In the meantime, political will has been decentralized and fragmented to various media like talk radio and cable news, bending popular opinion to reflect corporate interests. In our political discourse, there is no empirical counterargument to the fantasy that oil or some future techno-fix will maintain indefinitely our vaunted "way of life". The conversations we have here are not even in shouting distance of the mainstream.

I can imagine the future optimistically when so constrained. Maybe Hispanics will start voting and send the Republican Party to its much-deserved political graveyard. Maybe once Boomers start dying off, young people with a greater stake in the future will make their voices heard. But given the average citizen's instinct to simply deny environmental and resource issues, I'm not sure even they will engage the future so much as fall victim to the tides we blindly unleashed.

As you've noted before, pessimism is not a plan. Of course, neither is wishful thinking. The reason a Jeremiah like Talton commands attention is a willingness to tell unwanted truths even at the expense of his own career. still, I would prefer your scenario emerge victorious. We would enter a new Eden of low-cost, abundant energy. And instead of Arizona becoming increasingly scorched and scoured by heat and drought, the world will stablilize the climate with prudential action. Instead of this nation drifting into armed camps and 3rd World favelas, we might create a high-functioning social democracy. I want all that.

I'm a pessimist for personal reasons. I just don't see any of this happening. But then, I'm bitter and disappointed by time itself. Please: prove me wrong but never underestimate the challenge in front of you.

If you're as interested -- and frightened -- about Peak Oil as Mr. Talton appears to be, then I suggest you pick up a copy of Paul Roberts' book "The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World." It is a stunningly clear analysis of what is likely will be most serious economic crisis the industrialized world has ever faced.

@Emil,
" If oil prices rise high enough to slow developed economies, it will slow demand for products produced by exporters like China to the U.S. and Europe. Slower demand for China's exports means decreased production by China, which means decreased demand for oil for production by China and other developing export economies. Just like now!"
That's quite true. Because we have reached a plateau of oil production (since 2005) the mechanism you mentioned is in place. This is a cycle of medium-term length where demand reaches capacity -> prices rise to take 6-7% of GDP -> recession -> demand declines -> prices decline. Repeat. The next iteration will start next year at the earliest, 2015 at the latest.

This mechanism is somewhat tolerable, although developed economies can't really grow and continue to be priced out of the oil market, since emerging economies have so much more to gain from increased oil consumption than OECD countries (even if oil is $100+). The real question is: when does oil production start to decline? When it does, and depending on how steep the decline is, the oil price spike can no longer be "resolved" by recession. Then we will be "chasing" the crisis, i.e. permanent recession (-> more loan defaults -> another financial crisis?).

The NETL report assumes a decline rate of 2%, necessitating a crash program 10-20 years ahead. If decline turns out to be 5% or more, then God help us.

After the IEA, Total, UKERC, Hess, Petrobras, US military and so on, the Energy Information Administration has joined the "pessimistic" fray:

http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2010/06/eia_hard_core_p.html

Notice they predict production to rise 0.6%/year for the foreseeable future. That is a stark statement. Barring a worldwide economic crisis, oil demand usually rises 1.4-1.7% every year. So we will have another crisis in the medium term.

We don't know whether this plateau or the next spike in 2012-2015 is THE peak. 2020 +- 3 years is in my opinion a good estimate.

What is clear is that "Time is running out!" - quote Obama. I think he knows all about peak oil and its dilemmas. But he can't really say something explicit about it for fear of pulling another "Carter" or causing panic. People can't take too much reality. That's natural and understandable. It took me 1-2 years to calm down. But if there is no awareness then there will be no support for the hard mitigation measures - especially ahead of time. Realistically, people could have waved their arms about the financial crisis 5 years ago (some even did) but nobody listened. Peak oil will be another example of us getting hit by a risk we haven't encountered before and therefore don't understand.

Time to watch some videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ASPOVIDEO

Many of you are missing a key idea. We will transition to natural gas, which we have in abundance. Yes, it generates CO2, but we will kick that can down the road. Longer term we'll be building nuclear plants. So, I don't see energy costs wrecking the economic landscape as many of you do. Yes, it will be messy and there will be winners and losers, but civilization won't end.

That Peak Oil still needs to be explained says enough. That some still dispute the general dynamic exposes the pervasive and perilous misunderstanding of complexity; and serves to confirm the theory. The only decision left to us is whether to push towards a cliff of our own making, or to work towards a more gentle descent. How does your garden grow?

"A Winter" wrote:

"...the Energy Information Administration has joined the "pessimistic" fray:

http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2010/06/eia_hard_core_p.html

"Notice they predict production to rise 0.6%/year for the foreseeable future."

In fact, however, the EIA report describes world USE, not production. Here's a copy of a comment I posted to the EconBrowser blog:

* * *

Steven Kopits wrote:

"Petroleum liquids supply...will creep up from 86 mbpd today to approximately 92 mbpd to 2020, but that is not much growth, and indeed, is about the same as current global liquids production capacity."

This is incorrect. The report says that USE, not "supply", will increase this way:

"World use of liquids and other petroleum grows from 86.1 million barrels per day in 2007 to 92.1 million barrels per day in 2020, 103.9 million barrels per day in 2030, and 110.6 million barrels per day in 2035."

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/highlights.html

Note also that "liquids and other petroleum" includes liquified natural gas (LNG) -- see footnote #2 in the report -- and that the report expects LNG production capacity to increase 240 percent by 2035 with significant gains in the next decade:

"World natural gas trade, both by pipeline and by shipment in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG), is poised to increase in the future. Most of the projected increase in LNG supply comes from the Middle East and Australia, where a number of new liquefaction projects are expected to become operational within the next decade. In the IEO2010 Reference case, world liquefaction capacity increases 2.4-fold, from about 8 trillion cubic feet in 2007 to 19 trillion cubic feet in 2035. In addition, new pipelines currently under construction or planned will increase natural gas exports from Africa to European markets and from Eurasia to China."

* * *

Mr. Talton wrote:

"Peak oil means the world has reached a point where half of the planet's oil has been burned up (see, "climate change"). The remainder will be increasingly hard to reach and more expensive to refine."

This seems to be an article of faith. Why should the recovery of known, existing, conventional oil reserves become more expensive at the half-way mark? Because there's less oil? Wasn't that also true when the 1/4 used mark was reached some decades ago? What's so special about "1/2"?

Given the assumption that fully half of the world's known, conventional oil reserves remain, production costs should remain independent of remaining reserves for decades to come.

The real question is whether production can be increased to meet new demand. Even if we limit ourselves to considering existing, known, conventional oil reserves, what is to stop producers from (a) drilling more wells, (b) installing more pumps; (c) installing faster pumps?

To argue that, if this were possible, it would already have occured, begs the question.

Oil producers have no economic incentive to maximize production. Their incentive is to maximize profits. When increased demand from China bid up prices, their profits soared.

OPEC has been trying for its whole existence to set an artificial price floor by limiting production. The increase of demand accomplished what their fiat production ceilings never came close to doing. It must have seemed like a dream come true -- until the economic collapse. Now, producers know that profits cannot be maximized if they cannot be sustained. So do speculators.

Note that it also takes time to increase production capacity substantially. Oil prices didn't even rise consistently above $80 a barrel until September, 2007, and the price spike from $100 to $150 occurred in middle 2008.

That's just two years ago, and the recession has decreased demand since then. Even assuming that the spike was demand driven rather than speculator driven, producers haven't had time to increase production capacity, even assuming that they wanted to.

This leads to a final distinction. "Excess capacity" refers to existing production capacity over and above existing production. It doesn't say anything about potential production capacity. Sure, existing wells would be used up much faster if they were drilled and pumped at a 20 percent higher rate, but so what? Doesn't that still leave decades of reserves?

As for cost to producers to increase capacity, what is increased demand but more money? The real question is how they decide it all balances out: if they don't increase capacity they make more money as increasing demand bids up existing prices per barrel. On the other hand, if the price gets too high and world economic activity is restricted, the price goes down anyway.

Obviously they are interested in total profits, so it depends also on maximizing (barrel-price X number of barrels sold) not just barrel price itself.

"AWinter" wrote:

"The real question is: when does oil production start to decline?"

Not for several decades yet, even if reserves are overstated. Take a look:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves#Estimated_reserves_by_country

"The NETL report assumes a decline rate of 2%, necessitating a crash program 10-20 years ahead."

I must have missed that. Yes, it talks about the necessity of broad, extensive transitional measures taking 10-20 years; but that was predicated upon the cost and extent of transition. Where was a prediction of an annual production decline of 2 percent?

I try to avoid "articles of faith" on this blog. I covered the oil industry as a journalist, including the historic Texaco/Pennzoil trial. The best evidence is that much of the remaining half will be higher in sulfur and other impurities than light sweet crude. It will be more expensive to refine as a result. The remainder is also heavily located in countries that don't like us and/or is hard to reach (see, Deepwater Horizon). Meanwhile world demand will continue to rise until the gears slip as peak is felt. Life will go on after global peak. Just not the life we prepared for from 1950 through today...

Just to make it clear, I didn't mean an article of faith personal to Mr. Talton -- rather to the peak-oil thesis, of which he is one advocate.

If I'm wrong I'm willing to be educated. Mr. Talton wrote:

"The best evidence is that much of the remaining half will be higher in sulfur and other impurities than light sweet crude. It will be more expensive to refine as a result."

This is certainly his best case, if true.

...But is it true?

Mr. Talton's comment/rejoinder about remaining oil supplies resolves into two primary components: (1) the remainder is heavily located in countries that don't like us and/or is hard to reach; (2) that much of the remaining half will be higher in sulfur and other impurities than light sweet crude and will be more expensive to refine as a result. Let's take these in turn:

According to the EIA's interactive map, the top countries with proven oil reserves in 2008 were: Saudi Arabia (262.3), Canada (179.2) Iran (136.3) Iraq (115.0) Kuwait (101.5), United Arab Emirates (97.8) Venezuela (80.0) Russia (60.0), Libya (41.5) Nigeria (36.2) Kazakhstan (30.0), United States (21.0) China (16.0) Qatar (15.2) Mexico (12.4) Algeria (12.3) Brazil (11.8), with 78 other countries each possessing less than 10 billion barrels but perhaps resulting in a large total nonetheless.

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/country/index.cfm?view=reserves

Of these, the only real stand-outs in terms of hostility are Iran and Venezuela; but we haven't imported any oil from Iran since the 1980s, by choice; and seldom in the real world has political hostility resulted in a refusal to sell oil to monied buyers if the latter want it.

The U.S. currently imports about 21 percent of its oil from Canada (by far the largest single-country source), 12 percent from Mexico (admittedly a serious concern given its moribund supplies), 11 percent from Saudi Arabia, 10.5 percent from Venezuela, 8.5 percent from Nigeria, about 5 percent each from Iraq and Angola, 3.2 percent from Brazil, and in amounts ranging from 3 percent to 2.5 percent each for Algeria, Columbia, and Russia, and about 2 percent each from Kuwait and Ecuador. (This accounts for about 88 percent of U.S. oil imports.)

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_epc0_im0_mbblpd_a.htm

With the possible exception of Venezuela, it doesn't look too bad on a hostility index, though (as always) many of these countries are unstable and that could change quickly. Still, the greed of dictators dependent on oil-exports for income usually trumps their shrill political rhetoric.

Here's part of what the EIA country report says about our top import source, Canada:

"Canada’s oil production has steadily risen over the past decade, as new oil sands and offshore projects have come on-stream to replace aging, mature fields. Overall, EIA expects that oil sands production will increase even further in coming years and more than offset the decline in Canada’s conventional crude oil production...The country sends over 99 percent of its oil exports to the U.S., and it is consistently the top source of U.S. oil imports."

So, yes, oil sands are more expensive to process. But that is already the case, since "in 2008, oil sands production represented approximately half of Canada’s total crude oil production".

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Canada/Oil.html

As for the sulfur question, many (including myself) might be surprised to find that Saudi oil already is, and has been, for the most part "sour":

"Of Saudi Arabia's total oil production capacity, about 65 to 70 percent is considered light gravity, with about 25 percent considered medium gravity, and the rest heavy. The country is moving to reduce the share of the latter two grades. Lighter grades generally are produced onshore, while medium and heavy grades come mainly from offshore fields. Most Saudi oil production, except for "extra light" and "super light," is considered "sour," containing relatively high levels of sulfur."

So, most of its oil has always been sour, but that doesn't seem to have hurt the market too much. Also, it's moving to increase the (already high) proportion of light (sour) crude. Some of the notes on projected production increases are worth reading also:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Saudi_Arabia/Oil.html

Iraq: "Geologists and consultants have estimated that relatively unexplored territory in the western and southern deserts may contain an estimated additional 45 to 100 billion barrels (bbls) of recoverable oil." (Just substitute Iraq for Saudi Arabia in the above link to get this country report.) More, untapped, recoverable oil, in large quantities.

Kuwait: "The 70-billion bbl Greater Burgan area, which comprises the Burgan, Magwa and Ahmadi fields, is widely considered the world's second largest oil field, surpassed only by Saudi Arabia's Ghawar field. Producing oil since the 1950’s, Greater Burgan generally produces lighter crudes with API’s in the 28°-36° range, and has a production capacity of 1.6 million bbl/d. The South Magwa field (discovered in 1984) is estimated to hold at least 25 billion bbl of light crude...

United Arab Emirates: "UAE crude streams are a light and sweet composite." Note that UAE is the fifth largest in terms of reserves, but currently a negligible source for U.S. oil imports.

Venezuela: "Much of Venezuela’s crude oil production is also very sour, i.e. containing high levels of sulfur. As a result, much of Venezuela’s oil production must go to specialized domestic and international refineries." But that's been the case, so nothing changes.

Nigeria: "Over half of the country’s oil production is exported to the United States (see exports below) and the light, sweet quality crude is a preferred gasoline feedstock." Looks OK. But note this: "Consequently, disruptions to Nigerian oil production impacts trading patterns and refinery operations in North America and often affect world oil market prices."

Those are all the biggies except for Iran (which we haven't bought oil from, by choice, since the Shah was overthrown), and Mexico (which, barring unforeseen developments, is toast).

Now, admittedly, I'm not a journalist, and I'm only using one source here. Also, I haven't been studying the problem for a long time as Mr. Talton has. So, don't jump to definite conclusions. That said, I'm not convinced. And the peak-oil thesis (as opposed to Mr. Talton's formulation of it, which is more sophisticated) seems to place undue emphasis on the "half-way mark" without explaining why, in and of itself, this should result in higher oil prices (see previous comment). Many peak-oil advocates (not Talton) seem to think that there is some economic factor or function which becomes particularly relevant at one-half, but if so I've yet to read what this consists of or how it works. Most peak-oil advocates simply begin with it as an unexamined premise, and build from there.

Emil,

one of the things that I learned reading about peak oil and energy is "Oil is not oil, and energy is not energy." It means different types of oil or liquids cannot readily substitute one another and the same goes for different forms of energy. E.g. NGLs can't just be poured into gastanks. They may be useful for getting more stranded gas to the market and maybe we will get some more natural-gas-powered cars (high infrastructure cost) but the majority of NGLs will be used by existing gas users not in transportation. The same goes for your vision of massive solar power. When someday realized, that solar power will produce heat and electricity not readily usable liquid fuels. Even if solar power can numerically replace the Kilojoules of oil it can't replace the highly concentrated fuel at the same scale and quality or the basis for over 70,000 chemical products.

The unconventionals lead me to another important point that people have to understand: "Reserves don't say much about production rates." There may be a lot of oil there but how fast can it come out?
Notwithstanding the extremely slow and costly production of unconventionals (very high reserves there), the reserves may very well be there to increase production and delay the peak. Here, the "above-ground factors" come in. Everybody agrees that the increase will essentially have to come from the middle East/Opec while the rest of the world is declining. But who makes the decisions there? National oil companies always invest less than IOCs. Resource nationalism and other political/economic factors will only allow a modest expansion of production. The commercial reasons Emil described are in the same vein.

What would be required for a turnaround? Peace in Iraq with a very fast technological upgrade, Iran scrapping their fuel subsidies and opening their oil fields to outsiders, governments on the Arab peninsula changing their long-standing policy of conservative production. Iraq may one day drive up production but the rest is practically impossible.

So what causes the decline? World oil production is heavily dependent on giant fields. Most of that oil comes from fields older than 40 years. 50% of daily oil is produced by just 110 fields, more than 2/3 by 800 fields. The rest comes from the other 70,000. Once the big fields start to decline it doesn't take long for overall production to decline. All the other fields with their peanut-size production rates can't reverse the accelerating trend. Since the sixties fewer and fewer giant fields have been found which ultimately points to a near-time global peak. It won't be the halfway point of reserves. That's only true for specific circumstances (unconstrained exploration & production). A left-oriented curve is possible where the remaining reserves are larger than produced volume. The curve could be a plateau with a very moderate subsequent decline rate. But who knows? We're flying blind.

A good explanation of Peak oil (admittedly a counterintuitive idea) is in:
http://www.aspousa.org/?dl_id=450

(The 2% decline assumption of the Hirsch report is in chapter VIII.G)

Mr. Talton wrote:

"When someday realized, that solar power will produce heat and electricity not readily usable liquid fuels. Even if solar power can numerically replace the Kilojoules of oil it can't replace the highly concentrated fuel at the same scale and quality or the basis for over 70,000 chemical products."

Yes, but while energy is not equivalent it IS fungible: for example, the elimination of motor vehicles running on gas or diesel, in the U.S. and other developed countries, by (say) 2030, will reduce our and their demand for oil. That leaves oil which otherwise would have been refined for gasoline, to be available for other purposes. The elimination (or reduction) of coal-fired plant usage by developed countries has obvious benefits for the carbon footprint.

The big potential fly in the ointment is heavy conventional development by China and India (e.g., tons of new gas burning cars on the roads, and increased coal-fired electrical generation). In a way, it might be better that their development should be greatly slowed until it can be placed on a sounder environmental footing. The current inverse relationship between oil prices and economic growth may accomplish just that. (If we're lucky.)

"(The 2% decline assumption of the Hirsch report is in chapter VIII.G)"

That's an older report and is only referenced as a footnote (without explicitly mentioning 2 percent). Here's the link for those who want it:

http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/others/pdf/oil_peaking_netl.pdf

Note that the report in question suggests that peak production might be considerably higher than at present.

To try to put my earlier skepticism of the "one-half" theory in a nutshell, I don't see why peak production should coincide with the use of half of world oil reserves. There has been less oil at every point since we started using it.

I think it's important to separate the two issues, because peak production could easily occur before or after the half-way mark.

Then, we need to distinguish between actual (in practice) production versus potential production levels. This complicates the discussion but makes it more worthwhile.

Actual production depends upon technological, economic, and political factors, as much as geological factors.

Here's something addressing speed of development:

"Since 1980, Canada’s total energy production has increased by 87 percent, while its total energy consumption has increased by only 44 percent. Almost all of Canada’s energy exports go to the United States, making it the largest source of U.S. energy imports."

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Canada/Background.html

And that despite the fact that 95 percent of its oil is in oil sands, and that by 2008 half of its oil production was from oil sands.

This just in:

"The world's thirst for oil abated last year, with global consumption dropping by 1.2 million barrels a day in the biggest decline since 1982, according to a study released Wednesday by BP PLC (BP). . .

"We can't know how durable this recovery will be," he added. "But the data show changes in the pattern of global energy consumption that are likely to indicate long-term change."

Proven oil reserves rose by 700 million barrels to a total of 1.33 trillion, thanks to increases in Brazil, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Indonesia, according to BP's statistical review for 2009.

It also showed proven reserves fell in Mexico, Russia, Norway and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, refining capacity around the world grew by 2.2% to 2 million barrels a day during 2009, due mostly to increases in China and India, BP said.

At the same time, U.S oil production surged by 460,000 barrels a day, the biggest increase in the world and the strongest U.S. growth in 40 years.

Globally, the report indicated that oil production fell by about 2 million barrels a day, due mainly to a reduction of about 1.1 million barrels in Saudi Arabia's daily output.

http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=201006090743dowjonesdjonline000378&title=worlds-oil-consumptionproduction-on-the-declinebp

Here's a kind of slide-show or powerpoint presentation from a speech given by the EIA's chief administrator in 2005 before the 10th Annual Asia Oil and Gas Conference. It's a quick and easy view, and says a lot about EIA assumptions and methods in a very short space.

Page 16, "Canadian bitumen: A potential path from resource base to production" (about oil sands) is particularly interesting. So is page 19 showing peak rate of production under three scenarios.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/speeches/Caruso061305.pdf

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