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Survive Peak Oil: Peak Oil: Laherrère, Real Curves, and Official Curves

Survive Peak Oil: Peak Oil: Laherrère, Real Curves, and Official Curves.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Peak Oil: Laherrère, Real Curves, and Official Curves

The graph above is Figure 11 from Jean Laherrère, “World Oil and Gas Production Forecasts up to 2100,” The Oil Drum, July 16, 2013. Retrieved from www.theoildrum.com/node/10009
Notes on some of Laherrère’s abbreviations:
AEO = Annual Energy Outlook (from EIA) (= US Energy Information Administration)
Tb = trillion barrels
U = ultimate recoverable
WEO = World Energy Outlook (from IEA) ( = International Energy Agency)
WOO = World Oil Outlook (from OPEC)
The thin blue line at the top right is Laherrère’s prediction of the grand totals, differing considerably from the others.
He explains: “The confidential technical data on [mean values of proven + probable reserves] is only available from expensive and very large scout databases. . . . There is a huge difference between the political/financial proved reserves [so-called], and the confidential technical [proven + probable] reserves. . . . Most economists . . . rely only on the proved reserves coming from [the Oil and Gas Journal, the US Energy Information Administration], BP and OPEC data, which are wrong; they have no access to the confidential technical data.”
The difference between his figures and the various government figures is enormous. It reminds me of the 1950s, when M.K. Hubbert and others were saying one thing, and the government was saying quite the opposite.
A few years ago I met someone who told me that his father had been a geoscientist in the 1950s. Back in those early days, the father had told the son about “peak oil” (in the years to come), but the father also said he would risk being fired if he made any public statement.
It’s considered bad for business to tell your investors that you’re going to be running out of product to sell. To me that sounds in some ways like superstitious nonsense. Surely if a product becomes rarer, each unit of that product gains more financial value for its owner. I suspect the real answer to that question, though, is closer to what Colin Campbell said to Adam Porter in 2004: “If the real figures were to come out there would be panic on the stock markets. . . .”
The general public must be kept happy but ignorant. Well, maybe not too happy, but certainly ignorant, as anyone knows who has had tried to deal with any important global issue, from pollution to population. Newspapers aren’t allowed to print bad news, at least not bad news that would shake anyone up. And the only books one is supposed to read are high-school romances. Orwell had it right, a perfect score (except for the title) when he wrote 1984. Reminds me of a conversation I have at irregular intervals with people I meet. They say, “Everyone knows what Freud/Marx/Darwin said. He was a terrible man.” “Have you ever read any of his books?” Without embarrassment, the answer is an angry “no!” In other words,”Why should I read the books of such a terrible man?”
Oh, well, even Galileo had to deal with disinformation, so who am I to complain?
BP. (2013). Global statistical review of world energy. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bp.com/statisticalreview
Heinberg, R. (2013). Snake oil: How fracking’s false promise of plenty imperils our future. Santa Rosa, California: Post Carbon Institute.
Höök, M., Hirsch, R., & Aleklett, K. (2009, June). Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production. Energy Policy, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp. 2262-72. Retrieved fromhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2009.02.020
Hughes, J. D. (2013, Feb.) Drill, baby, drill; Can unconventional fuels usher in a new era of energy abundance? Executive Summary. Post Carbon Institute. Retrieved fromhttp://www.postcarbon.org/reports/DBD-report-FINAL.pdf
Klare, M.T. (2012).The race for what’s left: The scramble for the world’s last resources. New York: Picador.
Simmons, M. R. (2006). Twilight in the desert: The coming Saudi oil shock and the world economy. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

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