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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Nice to see someone who actually knows what he's talking about, as opposed to some granola eating numbskull or PR person with an (oil industry) agenda, present some facts about the world's oil supply:


If you haven't read Daniel Yergin's book "The Prize," do it. You'll find out that there were oil and gasoline scares all the way back in the 1800's. And Standard Oil was going out of its way to drive up prices during WW1.

Link to the article below. Text from the media, from the Kansas City Star, with my smartypants comments, follows;


Oil historian's study challenges peak-oil prediction
McClatchy Newspapers

Daniel Yergin dismisses talk of peak oil in the next few years. “This is really the fifth time we’ve ‘run out of oil.’?”

WASHINGTON | The world’s oil reserves are three times some popular estimates, and peak production is about a quarter-century away, according to a study by oil historian Daniel Yergin.

The remaining oil resource base is about 3.74 trillion barrels, according to a report released Tuesday by Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which Yergin runs.

That compares with the 1.2 trillion barrels that peak-oil theorists suggest.

The Cambridge Energy report, which is titled “Why the Peak Oil Theory Falls Down,” challenges an increasingly popular view that the world is about to run out of oil. On the contrary, Yergin’s organization argues that the world is likely to begin running out of oil between 2030 and the middle of the century.

Even so, the organization says, efforts are needed now to push that date back, such as new oil-field discoveries, new technologies for improved recovery, energy conservation, and alternative energy sources.

Peak-oil theorists say the world is on the cusp of a disastrous and rapid decline in oil production. A leading proponent of the theory is oil banker (NOTE: no conflict of interest there) Matthew Simmons, who in the book Twilight in the Desert suggested that the world’s top producer, Saudi Arabia, had entered an oil-production decline and would take the world down with it.

The peak-oil theory has gained supporters since late 2004, when surging global demand for oil began tightening available supplies and driving up world oil prices. The price hit $78.40 a barrel in July, but has fallen to less than $60 a barrel in recent months.

One benchmark oil, light sweet crude for December delivery, declined by 30 cents Tuesday and settled at $58.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Cambridge Energy study counters the Hubbert Peak Oil Theory, first espoused in 1956 by geologist M. King Hubbert. Working at the time for Shell Oil Co., (NOTE: no conflict of interest there) he predicted that world oil production would follow a bell-shaped curve in which production grew steadily until it peaked, followed by a rapid decline.

Hubbert was accurate on the timing of U.S. peak oil production, coming within two years of 1970, the year experts now recognize as the peak of continental U.S. production. His theory did not recognize that new technologies enabled reserves to grow over time.

That is why Yergin dismisses talk of peak oil — at least in the next few years.

“This is really the fifth time we’ve ‘run out of oil,’?” Yergin said in a teleconference Tuesday with journalists.

He recalled predictions dating from 1880 of an end to oil or gasoline production.

Yergin’s views carry weight because he won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1991 book The Prize, an exhaustive history of oil economics.

He and colleagues think that the decline in oil availability will play out as an “undulating plateau,” in which annual production produces a series of ups and downs, eventually peaks and then declines slowly.

“We see the undulating plateau existing one or two decades, rather than a sharp decline,” said Peter Jackson, Cambridge Energy’s director of oil industry activity.

He sees outright decline beginning no earlier than 2030 and perhaps after 2050.

Future supplies will be accessible by new technologies permitting drilling more than 7,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, or extracting oil from tarlike deposits in Western Canada, he said.

“Ours is not a view of endless abundance of resources,” said Jackson, cautioning that he did not want the latest findings to “distract us from addressing real issues.”

Another source of optimism emerged this week from a technical paper from think tank Rand Corp. It ran 1,500 simulations of varied energy prices and technology costs to estimate future supplies of renewable and nonrenewable fuels.

It concluded that up to one-quarter of the electricity and motor fuels consumed in the United States in 2025 could be produced from renewable sources, up from only 6 percent today. For that to happen, the price of fossil fuels must remain high and the costs of producing alternative energy must keep falling.

Together the two reports give hope that energy will be plentiful for another generation or more.

“I’ve never seen so much activity in terms of energy technology all along the spectrum,” Yergin said. “I think the system is responding.”

3,445 Posts
I've seen several articles, I can't remeber where, that put a theory out there about oil being stored in the earths mantle. This oil is supposedly 15 miles deep. One of the oil fields they were discussing is in the Gulf of Mexico, off of Louisianna. It was estimated that it would be for all purposes dry in the mid 80's. It has kept producing oil beyond the original estimates and it seems like everytime they think it should be empty it fills back up.

I've heard of several fields in Saudi Arabia that were thought to be dry in the late 70's they went back in the early to mid 90's to use a new technique and found there was more oil in the ground than the original find.

It's kind of like global warming or cooling. Just when we think we are certain what is happening, the Earth throws us a curveball.

Great articles, thanks BA.

98 Posts
Just think of it this way. The tarsands in Alberta have 2.2 trillion barrels alone. There there is the oil shale in Colorado that has another 1.1 trillion barrels. That is enough oil to supply the world including the rate of increase for about 500 years alone. Shell said they can get the oil shale to the market for $30/barrel.

1,196 Posts
I buy & sell large energy contracts (futures & cash) every month as a CFO/Energy Manager for a heavy industrial. Odd job combo huh? For the last two years, fundamentals (supply & demand) have had little to do with market prices. The "Market" has been manipulated by what are essentially a bunch of Vegas gamblers in the form of large institutional speculative buyers & sellers. These are banks and fund managers that control and trade billions in energy futures every day. They're not just betting on tomorrows price but the prices 6, 12 or even 24 month in the future. And the bets have something to do with supply/demand but also fear and greed.

It's not just the producers like Shell & Exxon gaming the system. It's everyone from the people who own the natural resources reacting to their own political agenda, the oil companies wanting to keep prices up, financial speculators looking to make money on the way up and down with financial instrument hedges on NYMEX and other exchanges, and finally wholesalers wanting to get as much as they can from their retail customers.

Basically anyone at the end of the pipe (retail), whether you are the schmuck pulling up to the pump or a medium sized industrial without the smarts and staff to play the game every single day, gets taken for the ride.

The long winded point I'm making is that even if there is no shortage for the next 30,50, or 100 years, you can be sure of getting screwed the entire time. Panic, fear, and uncertainty are the friend of the speculator.
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