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Revisiting the IEA's World Energy Outlook 2013 » Peak Oil BarrelPeak Oil Barrel

Revisiting the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2013 » Peak Oil BarrelPeak Oil Barrel.

I was going over the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2013 and noticed a few things you might find interesting. Exactly what is their opinion on Peak Oil? Here, cut and pasted from the report.

IEA 2

Got that? The URR is great enough to delay any peak until after 2035. Here is one of their graphs that indicate how much they think is left, coal, gas and oil.

IEA 1

Okay 54 years of proven reserves. That puts the peak out to well past mid century. Likely well past 2100 if you count those remaining recoverable resources. And just who has all this oil?

IEA 10

2.2 trillion barrels of conventional crude oil resources. However only 1.7 trillion barrels of that has a 90% probability of being recoverable. Of this the Middle East has the lions share, 971 billion barrels of resources with a 90% probability of recovering 813 billion barrels of that.

 

The Middle East, of course, mostly OPEC. And if you count the four OPEC countries of Africa and the two in South America, the vast majority of the world’s oil reserves are in OPEC nations. In fact OPEC claims 81% of all the proven reserves in the world.

OPEC Reserves

So with 81% of the world’s proven reserves what is the IEA expecting from OPEC in the future?

IEA 6
IEA 22

A word of explanation is needed here. New Policies Scenario: A scenario in the World Energy Outlook that takes account of broad policy commitments and plans that have been announced by countries, including national pledges to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and plans to phase out fossil-energy subsidies, even if the measures to implement these commitments have yet to be identified or announced.

450 Scenario: A scenario presented in the World Energy Outlook that sets out an energy pathway consistent with the goal of limiting the global increase in temperature to 2°C by limiting concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to around 450 parts per million of CO2.

Current Policies is business as usual. Or, basically, we will keep on doing what we are doing. Which is of course exactly what will happen. However what the IEA sees as happening, above, is not exactly what will happen, far from it.

So, looking at Conventional Crude Oil Production in 2012, 2020 and 2035 we find this. All data on all charts below are in million barrels per day:

IEA 23

Well hell, OPEC production will be lower in 2020 than it is today. And non OPEC production will be lower in 2035 than it is today. But not to worry, total conventional crude production will be up 2.9 percent in the 23 years between 2012 and 2035.

But they are expecting Natural Gas Liquids to increase by almost 57 percent.

IEA 24

And let us not forget about Unconventionals. What are Unconventionals?

IEA 26

IEA 25

Unconventionals, Light Tight Oil and Oil Sands increase from 5 mb/d to 10.6 mb/d in 2020 to 17.1 mb/d in 2035. That is an increase of 242 percent in 23 years.

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Cassandra's legacy: Post peak countries: the collapse of Yemen

Cassandra’s legacy: Post peak countries: the collapse of Yemen.

Image from “Our Finite World

When I saw for the first time the data about oil production in Yemen, I was so impressed that I wanted to know more. I found a news source in English – the “Yemen Times” and I placed the link in my feed. For several months, by now, I have been reading the news from a place where I have never been and, probably, will never go, but that I find incredibly fascinating.

The stories in the Yemen Times read as a tragedy written by Shakespeare: for a taste of this feeling, you may read the article titled “Carrying out a death sentence,” but it is just an example of a never ending series of disasters taking place in the country, which include some 4000 people murdered every year, including a fewtaken as target by American drones flying over the country.

Surely, not everything that’s taking place in Yemen is to be attributed straight to crude oil but, surely, with oil production now crossing consumption, with the government getting about 70% of its revenues from oil, and with Yemen producing very little that can be exported apart from the “Qat” drug, then some kind of disaster is to be expected. And consider that population continues to grow: Yemen has now about 25 million people (and 50 million guns).

What is perhaps most startling of the news that you read on the “Yemen Times” is that crude oil is rarely mentioned – except to say that everything is fine and production will soon increase. It seems that the real reason of collapse must remain hidden from those who are experiencing it. Yemen, surely, is not the only case.

Although oil depletion is rarely mentioned in the Yemen Times, sometimes it is and recently an article appeared that does mention oil; actually, barely mentioning it but at least providing a merciless analysis of the Yemen situation. Qais Ghanem defines the future of Yemen as “bleak”, and correctly so. But it is not just about Yemen’s future: living in post peak countries seems to be bleak everywhere.

Yemen’s future looking very bleak

Published on 27 February 2014 in Opinion
Qais Ghanem (author)
Why such a pessimistic headline? Why not speak about hope in order to encourage people in near despair? It is because the situation is dire, and an author has a duty to describe the situation as he or she sees it. Even more so as urgent action is required, if a disaster of monumental proportions is to be avoided.

Multiple disasters are looming for Yemen.

One that is rapidly approaching is that of water shortage. Already, the per capita water availability in Yemen is the lowest in the world. A 2005 study by Al Asbahi estimated the total annual water requirements of Yemen to be 3.4 billion cubic metres. At the same time renewable sources, such as rain, can provide up to 2.5 billion cubic metres. There is, therefore, a deficit of 0.9 billion cubic metres, which has to come from the aquifers deep underground, which are progressively depleting, and may run dry by the time US President Barack Obama finishes his term, and starts writing his autobiography! We know this because wells have to be dug deeper and deeper, many as deep as half a kilometre.

The mismanagement of water resources is shocking. Due to a lack of maintenance, loss from leaking pipes can be as much as 60 per cent. Contamination of water, by sewage seeping into the ground, is difficult to measure but significant. Wasteful flood irrigation is the norm in Yemen, whereas drip irrigation would be 50 per cent more efficient.

As expected, agriculture uses 90 per cent of the available water, but half of that is squandered on growing qat, the infamous mild stimulant of Yemen and the countries of the Horn of Africa, which have a per capita GDP of under $1,000 (Dh3,673), the lowest in the world.

Yemeni farmers grow qat because it sells and has profits that are at least five times higher than other crops. In July 2013, Foreign Affairs website published an article titled ‘How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry’.

Yemen has the occasional floods caused by heavy rains, as happened in 2010. But it does not have the dams or expertise to save such huge quantities of water—for a non-rainy day!

Unlike some countries in the Gulf region, Yemen can neither afford the cost of desalination nor of pumping water uphill from the Red Sea level to the mountains of the capital. Sana’a’s current population of two million is projected to reach four million in a decade.

The consequences are predictably serious. First, food production will suffer, and food prices will skyrocket. When farmlands run out of water, the animals also die of hunger and tourists stop coming. When poverty reaches a critical level, neighbours begin to fight over water resources. In a country that has 25 million people and 50 million guns, civil war is just waiting to erupt. Even today, an estimated 4,000 people are killed every year in disputes over land—many more than the victims of terrorism or drones.

It is not only water that is steadily depleting—oil is too. Foreign aid is very unpredictable, and comes with strings attached, such as a carte blanche to assassinate Yemenis with Obama’s drones.

The prospects are even worse when we factor in the fertility rate in Yemen, one of the highest in the world. Last week, I attended a one-day conference on Yemen at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, where I learned that there would be a huge increase in the teen population over the next 15 years.

Ordinarily, that would be an encouraging development. Not in this case, as these youngsters will be unemployed but will be well-versed in social media, and therefore well connected and presumably well informed — the requirements for riots and revolution.

So, if these dire predictions above are correct, what should Yemenis do?

I would respectfully suggest to my kith and kin that they first and foremost realise that the solution needs to come from them. The international community will only take feeble, temporary and strings-attached actions.

Second, Yemenis must find a way to ban qat. There! I said it! There will be many who might say that I have lost my mind. It won’t be easy. It will require an intensive and extensive educational pan-Yemen campaign, like the one mounted against smoking, and it will need to be a gradual one—over five years.

Yemenis should be watching numerous daily TV ads about how to help themselves, instead of wasting time watching the contrived comings and goings of the president.

Fortunately, qat is not an addictive drug, because it does not cause classic withdrawal symptoms. Many Yemenis who moved to GCC countries abandoned qat and are now very prosperous. Water, thus saved, could be used for human consumption, as well as for tourism and for the growing of vegetables and fruits. Farm animals should then thrive.

If Yemenis are not willing to do that, then let them stop complaining about thirst, diarrheal and liver diseases and ulcers, poverty, the absence of a modern state, and corruption. Let them also stop seeking handouts. It is ironic that the Kingdom of Sheba established its prosperity with the construction of the Mareb dam — 3,000 years ago.

Dr Qais Ghanem is a retired neurologist, radio show host, poet and author. His novels are ‘Final Flight From Sana’a’ and ‘Two Boys from Aden College’. His latest co-authored non-fiction work is ‘My Arab Spring My Canada’ (Amazon.com) and his combined English/Arabic poetry book is ‘From Left to Right’. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/@QaisGhanem

 

Cassandra’s legacy: Post peak countries: the collapse of Yemen

Cassandra’s legacy: Post peak countries: the collapse of Yemen.

Image from “Our Finite World

When I saw for the first time the data about oil production in Yemen, I was so impressed that I wanted to know more. I found a news source in English – the “Yemen Times” and I placed the link in my feed. For several months, by now, I have been reading the news from a place where I have never been and, probably, will never go, but that I find incredibly fascinating.

The stories in the Yemen Times read as a tragedy written by Shakespeare: for a taste of this feeling, you may read the article titled “Carrying out a death sentence,” but it is just an example of a never ending series of disasters taking place in the country, which include some 4000 people murdered every year, including a fewtaken as target by American drones flying over the country.

Surely, not everything that’s taking place in Yemen is to be attributed straight to crude oil but, surely, with oil production now crossing consumption, with the government getting about 70% of its revenues from oil, and with Yemen producing very little that can be exported apart from the “Qat” drug, then some kind of disaster is to be expected. And consider that population continues to grow: Yemen has now about 25 million people (and 50 million guns).

What is perhaps most startling of the news that you read on the “Yemen Times” is that crude oil is rarely mentioned – except to say that everything is fine and production will soon increase. It seems that the real reason of collapse must remain hidden from those who are experiencing it. Yemen, surely, is not the only case.

Although oil depletion is rarely mentioned in the Yemen Times, sometimes it is and recently an article appeared that does mention oil; actually, barely mentioning it but at least providing a merciless analysis of the Yemen situation. Qais Ghanem defines the future of Yemen as “bleak”, and correctly so. But it is not just about Yemen’s future: living in post peak countries seems to be bleak everywhere.

Yemen’s future looking very bleak

Published on 27 February 2014 in Opinion
Qais Ghanem (author)
Why such a pessimistic headline? Why not speak about hope in order to encourage people in near despair? It is because the situation is dire, and an author has a duty to describe the situation as he or she sees it. Even more so as urgent action is required, if a disaster of monumental proportions is to be avoided.

Multiple disasters are looming for Yemen.

One that is rapidly approaching is that of water shortage. Already, the per capita water availability in Yemen is the lowest in the world. A 2005 study by Al Asbahi estimated the total annual water requirements of Yemen to be 3.4 billion cubic metres. At the same time renewable sources, such as rain, can provide up to 2.5 billion cubic metres. There is, therefore, a deficit of 0.9 billion cubic metres, which has to come from the aquifers deep underground, which are progressively depleting, and may run dry by the time US President Barack Obama finishes his term, and starts writing his autobiography! We know this because wells have to be dug deeper and deeper, many as deep as half a kilometre.

The mismanagement of water resources is shocking. Due to a lack of maintenance, loss from leaking pipes can be as much as 60 per cent. Contamination of water, by sewage seeping into the ground, is difficult to measure but significant. Wasteful flood irrigation is the norm in Yemen, whereas drip irrigation would be 50 per cent more efficient.

As expected, agriculture uses 90 per cent of the available water, but half of that is squandered on growing qat, the infamous mild stimulant of Yemen and the countries of the Horn of Africa, which have a per capita GDP of under $1,000 (Dh3,673), the lowest in the world.

Yemeni farmers grow qat because it sells and has profits that are at least five times higher than other crops. In July 2013, Foreign Affairs website published an article titled ‘How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry’.

Yemen has the occasional floods caused by heavy rains, as happened in 2010. But it does not have the dams or expertise to save such huge quantities of water—for a non-rainy day!

Unlike some countries in the Gulf region, Yemen can neither afford the cost of desalination nor of pumping water uphill from the Red Sea level to the mountains of the capital. Sana’a’s current population of two million is projected to reach four million in a decade.

The consequences are predictably serious. First, food production will suffer, and food prices will skyrocket. When farmlands run out of water, the animals also die of hunger and tourists stop coming. When poverty reaches a critical level, neighbours begin to fight over water resources. In a country that has 25 million people and 50 million guns, civil war is just waiting to erupt. Even today, an estimated 4,000 people are killed every year in disputes over land—many more than the victims of terrorism or drones.

It is not only water that is steadily depleting—oil is too. Foreign aid is very unpredictable, and comes with strings attached, such as a carte blanche to assassinate Yemenis with Obama’s drones.

The prospects are even worse when we factor in the fertility rate in Yemen, one of the highest in the world. Last week, I attended a one-day conference on Yemen at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, where I learned that there would be a huge increase in the teen population over the next 15 years.

Ordinarily, that would be an encouraging development. Not in this case, as these youngsters will be unemployed but will be well-versed in social media, and therefore well connected and presumably well informed — the requirements for riots and revolution.

So, if these dire predictions above are correct, what should Yemenis do?

I would respectfully suggest to my kith and kin that they first and foremost realise that the solution needs to come from them. The international community will only take feeble, temporary and strings-attached actions.

Second, Yemenis must find a way to ban qat. There! I said it! There will be many who might say that I have lost my mind. It won’t be easy. It will require an intensive and extensive educational pan-Yemen campaign, like the one mounted against smoking, and it will need to be a gradual one—over five years.

Yemenis should be watching numerous daily TV ads about how to help themselves, instead of wasting time watching the contrived comings and goings of the president.

Fortunately, qat is not an addictive drug, because it does not cause classic withdrawal symptoms. Many Yemenis who moved to GCC countries abandoned qat and are now very prosperous. Water, thus saved, could be used for human consumption, as well as for tourism and for the growing of vegetables and fruits. Farm animals should then thrive.

If Yemenis are not willing to do that, then let them stop complaining about thirst, diarrheal and liver diseases and ulcers, poverty, the absence of a modern state, and corruption. Let them also stop seeking handouts. It is ironic that the Kingdom of Sheba established its prosperity with the construction of the Mareb dam — 3,000 years ago.

Dr Qais Ghanem is a retired neurologist, radio show host, poet and author. His novels are ‘Final Flight From Sana’a’ and ‘Two Boys from Aden College’. His latest co-authored non-fiction work is ‘My Arab Spring My Canada’ (Amazon.com) and his combined English/Arabic poetry book is ‘From Left to Right’. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/@QaisGhanem

 

Should we be worried about ‘peak oil’?  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

Should we be worried about ‘peak oil’?  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

Every now and then, in reading about global warming and other environmental issues, I come across a reference to ‘peak oil’, usually as yet another example of how humans blindly pursue their own short-term interests, scarcely heeding the crisis that is waiting for them ahead. And of course we humans do have a tendency to do just that, some of the time, at least.

Anyway, I marked down ‘peak oil’ as a subject to read about, and after some time at the computer, protected by air-conditioning that is doubtless increasing the heat outside, offer you the results of my reading. First, ‘peak oil’ is as contentious as AGW itself. The phrase itself prompts 55,600,000 hits on Google, and there are a dozen or so variants of the phrase as well. You may not be surprised to learn that there are ‘peak oil deniers’ as well.

What is it, exactly? ‘Peak oil’ is defined as the moment of maximum production from a well or basin, when approximately half the recoverable oil is left, so there can be only a declining productivity. It’s not the same as ‘depletion’, which occurs during a period of falling reserves and supply. The term ‘peak oil’ was invented by Marion King Hubbert, a Shell geoscientist who also worked as an academic at Stanford and Berkeley and as a research scientist for the US Geological Survey. He was a serious and distinguished contributor to the geosciences.

Hubbert argued that the supply of oil was finite (no one much would now disagree), and that US production would peak in 1970, which seemed at the time to have been the case. He also predicted that global oil production would peak in 1995 ‘if present trends continue’. This prediction has been much less easy to verify, if only because the expansion of the oil industry from the 1980s onwards, both geographically and in scale terms, has made it much more difficult to say how much oil there actually is.

Both oil companies and oil-producing countries have become coy about how much of their own information they release publicly, and international agencies that monitor energy and oil have to rely on what countries and companies say. BP’s 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy provides the data for the following diagram, constructed by Willis Eschenbach, and the trends are most interesting.

 

Very simply, proved American oil reserves, according to this chart, have continued at much the same level for some 35 years, while production has gone onwards and upwards. At about 1988 the reserves would have seemed to have equalled total production to that point, which should have meant declining production. But no. New fields came into production that had not been known about in the past.

How long can this go on? We don’t know. In the AGW domain, the scare has moved from ‘right now’, which was the case ten years ago, to the second half of the century. In the case of peak oil, some estimates now say we may reach peak oil globally in 2035. Others say we have already passed it, or it’s next year. You take your pick. One assessment I read suggested that peak oil was an almost silly concept, because both supply and demand for oil are greatly affected by the world price (and oil is a globally traded commodity with global prices for different grades of oil). What will happen, from this perspective, is that oil will become slowly more expensive, to the point where we change what we are doing in many diverse ways: engines made more and more efficient, we shift to different forms of transportation, we bring in alternative forms of energy, and so on. You can see that these changes have occurred to some degree already.

I came to the conclusion that worrying about peak oil is probably unnecessary. It may be that most of the easily recoverable oil has already been recovered, but when a well is ‘dry’ there is still about 40 per cent left: at the moment no one knows how to get it out cheaply enough for the effort to be worthwhile. The ‘unconventional’ oil held in oil sands, shale and other forms is very much larger in volume again, and while, yes, it is also more expensive to get the oil out from shale and sands, that is a technological matter, and technologies do tend to improve, especially when there is a big money prize awaiting. Oil was once very cheap, and its very cheapness was a basic cause of industrial expansion everywhere. Now it is much more expensive, but then GDP has risen a great deal everywhere, so we can still afford it. It’s unlikely to be cheap again.

And here’s a final thought. Australia still had 3.9 thousand million barrels of oil left in 2011, according to BP, and in 1992 we only had 3.2 thousand million barrels left. So we seem to have followed the global trend, as has ‘oil-rich Brunei’, to our north. Actually, Brunei has much less oil than Australia. But there are only a little more than 400,000 people in Brunei, compared to the 23 million in Australia, so its oil-richness is simply a function of its population. You can find out all sorts of interesting things when you can get your hands on some data!

Jean Laherrere uses Hubbert linearization to estimate Bakken shale oil peak in 2014  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

Jean Laherrere uses Hubbert linearization to estimate Bakken shale oil peak in 2014  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

In his latest research on shale oil French oil geologist Jean Laherrere from ASPO France

http://aspofrance.viabloga.com/texts/documents estimates a Bakken shale oil peak in 2014.
He uses a Hubbert linearization to calculate a total of 2,500 mb to be produced
In global terms, a total cumulative of 2.5 Gb is just around 10% of annual crude production and 1.3% of daily production.
Well productivity in Bakken is stagnant at around 130 b/d for a couple of years now.
There has been a peak in the number of drilling rigs. A shift of the rigs curve by 2 years suggests a production peak in 2014.
Jean’s research is in line with that published by David Hughes in November 2013:

Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil?  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil?  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

A new analysis concludes that easily extracted oil peaked in 2005, suggesting that dirtier fossil fuels will be burned and energy prices will rise

Despite major oil finds off Brazil’s coast, new fields in North Dakota and ongoing increases in the conversion of tar sands to oil in Canada, fresh supplies of petroleum are only just enough to offset the production decline from older fields. At best, the world is now living off an oil plateau—roughly 75 million barrels of oil produced each and every day—since at least 2005, according to a new comment published in Nature on January 26. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) That is a year earlier than estimated by the International Energy Agency—an energy cartel for oil consuming nations. 

To support our modern lifestyles—from cars to plastics—the world has used more than one trillion barrels of oil to date. Another trillion lie underground, waiting to be tapped. But given the locations of the remaining oil, getting the next trillion is likely to cost a lot more than the previous trillion. The “supply of cheap oil has plateaued,” argues chemist David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and former chief scientific adviser to the U.K. government. “The global economy is severely knocked by oil prices of $100 per barrel or more, creating economic downturn and preventing economic recovery.”

Nor do King and his co-author, oceanographer James Murray of the University of Washington in Seattle, hold out much hope for future discoveries. “The geologists know where the source rocks are and where the trap structures are,” Murray notes. “If there was a prospect for a new giant oil field, I think it would have been found.”

King and Murray based their conclusion on an analysis of oil data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Looking at use and production trends, the two note that since 2005 production has remained essentially unchanged whereas prices (a surrogate for demand) have fluctuated wildly. This suggests to the authors that there is no longer any spare capacity to respond to increases in demand, whether it results from political unrest that cuts supply, as in the case of Libya’s political upheaval last year, or economic boom times in growing countries like China. “We are not running out of oil, but we are running out of oil that can be produced easily and cheaply,” King and Murray wrote.

Other statistics, however, argue against a plateau. Oil company BP found in its most recent analysis that oil production was actually more than 82 million barrels per day in 2010, higher than the proposed plateau of 75 million. That difference may be the result of the increasing use of “unconventionals”—Canadian tar sands or the natural gas liquids co-produced with oil extraction. Rising production in the China, Nigeria, Russia and the U.S. also hints that technological improvements may allow greater production from existing fields than the new research suggests.

Plus, the price of oil may argue against any such plateau. Adjusted for inflation, today’s $100 per barrel is roughly equivalent to prices in 1981, according to environmental scientist Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba. Smil also notes that in the last 20 years enough oil has been found to satisfy the demands of two new consumers—China and India—nations that now import more oil than is consumed by Germany and Japan.

Some of that price stability is the result of increased efficiencythe potentially vast reserve of unused oil. The U.S. and other developed countries have maintained economic growth while reducing the amount of oil (and other energy) required for that growth, although some of this apparent efficiency has come from outsourcing energy-intensive economic activity, such as steel production. “We have about halved oil intensity since 1981,” Smil argues. “We could halve it again, so we could do with so much less oil—why should we panic about producing less, even if that were the case?”

If King and Murray are correct about 2005 marking the end of easily extracted oil, however, then Smil’s additional halving of demand, plus conservation and a rapid deployment of alternative energy, would be required to avoid even more economically painful oil price shocks in the future. As it is, the U.S. spent more than $490 billion on gasoline in 2011—$100 billion more than in 2010, even though the number of miles driven was similar, according to data from the New America Foundation.

An easy-oil plateau is not good news for the climate, either. Harder to extract oil means increased burning of dirtier oil like that from the tar sands—or even dirtier coal. In fact, there are trillions more barrels of carbon-intensive fuel out there in the form of huge coal fields, such as the one currently being brought into production in Mongolia. “There will still be enough CO2 produced to result in significant climate warming,” Murray notes.

Even with large supplies of coal and natural gas, the world faces a potential energy shortfall, one reason that the U.S. Department of Energy suggested in a 2005 report (pdf) that a “crash program” to cope with any decline in oil supplies be instituted. The report argued this program should start 20 years before peak global production to avoid “extreme economic hardship.” That’s because it will take decades for any kind of energy transition to occur, as evidenced by past shifts such as from wood to coal or coal to oil.

In fact, King and Murray argue that global economic growth itself may be impossible without a concurrent growth in energy supply (that is, more abundant fossil fuels, to date). “We need to decouple economic growth from fossil-fuel dependence,” King adds. “This is not happening due to industrial, infrastructural, political and human behavioral inertia. We are stuck in our ways.”

Scientific American

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