Archive for the ‘Peak Oil’ Category

IEA Acknowledges Peak Oil?

December 6, 2010

Sometime between the International Energy Agencies (IEA) 2009 and 2010 World Energy Outlook reports, the topic of ‘Peak Oil’ went from ‘doesn’t rate a mention’ to ‘Thats so 2005’.

Not claiming to be an expert, I am not 100% sure what ‘New Policy Scenario’ means  but at a guess it has something to do with a lot of things that may or may not happen to allow total  liquid production (natural gas liquids, unconventional oil production like tar sands, coal-to-liquids, etc) to continue and   increase ever so slightly up to 2035.

The graph they put up is interesting in itself. I used to think that peak oil was about normal crude oil which according to this graph happened sometime around 2006. What a relief though that conventional oil supplies will basically plateau (at least until 2035) thanks to all of those fields ‘yet to be developed’ and ‘yet to be found’ saving the day. The drop off in known production is a little alarming though considering we had 100 years going up and looks like we will be dry by maybe 2050. If you take out the ‘yet to be found’ which seems reasonable considering they haven’t found anything for a while now, the down curve should still ring alarm bells. And the ‘yet to be developed’ I’m guessing a lot of that is Iraq and how long have they been trying to get to that now?

I heard an interesting analogy the other day. Imagine that the untapped field in Iraq is equal to one bottle of Champaign. At three and a half glasses per bottle, one glass is about equal to global demand for one year. On that basis we have already drank 11 bottles and we have another eight left in the fridge. According to this graph there are few bottles laying around somewhere in the cellar but we don’t know where they are, and there is a bit of summer wine knocking around if you’re not too fussy.

Have a look at the report though if you can get hold of a copy. I did a search on the word peak not expecting to find anything, but it does pop up in the executive summary and there is some discussion about peak albeit, mostly the ‘no need to be alarmed’ kind of thing.

Interesting that this wasnt a news item of note, not anywhere in my part of the world anyway.