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Thread: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    'The boat is sinking'

    As our appetite for oil hastens climate change, who will speak out for the alternatives? One possible champion is Lord Ron Oxburgh, the distinguished geologist who also happens to be chairman of Shell. He tells Aida Edemariam why the time for complacency is over

    Wednesday June 15, 2005
    The Guardian

    When Lord Ron Oxburgh visited the Hay festival a couple of weeks ago he arrived during a spell of weather best described as unsettled. A record-breakingly warm Friday was followed on Saturday by a wild, gusting wind and, in the festival marquees, a great howling and a flapping of canvas.
    The lighting rigs creaked with the strain, and pictures of Hay, projected on to screens behind the performers, bucked and swayed; it was a glimpse of how it must feel to sail a boat into a storm, and an almost too appropriate backdrop to chief government scientist David King's calm laying out of the basic facts of climate change: that since the industrial period carbon dioxide levels have risen from 270 parts per million (classical for all previous warm periods) to 379ppm today, and are rising at 2ppm per year. In 10 years' time they will be at 400ppm; at 500ppm, Greenland's ice will melt entirely - it's already receding by 10 metres a year - and the sea level will rise, drowning coastal cities and entirely changing the contours of the earth. Most scientists now agree that unless we stabilise the earth's atmosphere by 2050, there will be no way to halt the disaster.


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    Oxburgh, the non-executive chairman of Shell in the UK, on the dias with Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale, listened to King with increasing impatience, his abundant black eyebrows knitting restlessly under windblown white hair. As soon as he decently could, he grabbed the microphone, strode to the front of the stage and launched into his speech, contemptuous of the lectern, glancing only occasionally at his notes, leaning in towards the audience as if, like an evangelist, he wanted to pick everyone up and shake sense into them, just as the wind was shaking the tent. "We have roughly 45 years. And if we start NOW, not in 10 or 15 years' time, we have a chance of hitting those targets. But we've got to start now. We have no time to lose."
    We meet later but, returning to the speech, I suggest to Oxburgh that there is a certain inconsistency to his position. He heads one of the biggest petrochemical multinationals in the world; a multinational, moreover, whose recent track record includes an attempt to scupper the decommissioned Brent Spar oil platform; a series of North Sea gas leaks; struggles in the Niger Delta with the Ogoni tribe, who believe Shell's riches are being acquired at their expense; failure to halt the execution by the Nigerian government of Ken Saro-Wiwa, who campaigned for the Ogoni; oil spills and ground-level flaring in the Delta. The Climate Justice Programme has called this practice "environmental racism", as it seems only to happen in developing countries; Oxburgh, somewhat unconvincingly, insists the locals appreciate the flares as a heat source for drying fish.

    And then there was the unfortunate moment last year when Shell announced it was downgrading the size of its oil reserves by 20%, greatly upsetting its investors. Shell was subsequently investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and Oxburgh's predecessor lost his job - though in 2004 Shell somehow also posted the biggest profit of any British company ever: £9.3bn. So if the logical solution to the trouble we're in is to stop using oil, surely Oxburgh's comrades at Shell aren't too happy with him? "I think most of the people I work with talk in the same way. Though they might not talk about it so publicly." Also, many of them are, principally, businessmen; "the difference is, I have worked for a lot of my life as a research scientist. And if I don't say it, who's going to?"

    Oxburgh always wanted to be a scientist, but despite the support of his parents, who had themselves left school at 14, his teachers steamrollered him into classics at Oxford. After five terms he'd had enough, so he looked around and saw that the head of the geology department was also the man who had climbed furthest up Everest (this was before Edmund Hillary), "and I guess because I was a climber" he joined the geology department. "Geology was an incredibly boring subject in some ways, but for the fact that it got you out into the mountains." At Oxford he and his friends climbed every building they could, the prize being the crumbling cupola of its historic library, the Radcliffe Camera. There were no indoor climbing walls, so they practised on the mantelpieces in their rooms. He's 70 now, and doesn't climb any longer, but he loves orienteering, gleeful that it allows you to rely on your wits rather than physical fitness, and thus to beat people far younger than yourself.

    Shell made him his first job offer after he had finished a PhD at Princeton, where he made major contributions to the discovery of plate tectonics. But they wanted to wait until he had done military service; when the military rejected him, Oxford offered him a short teaching contract. He stayed for 18 years. Since then he has taught at Cambridge, been Rector of Imperial College London and was chief scientist at the MoD during the six years in which Russia imploded, the Berlin Wall came down, and the first Iraq war began. Now a KBE and crossbench life peer who sits on the House of Lords select committee on science and technology, he joined Shell as a non-executive director in 1996. He is tough, but approachable; he gives the impression of idealism, and smilingly refuses to be drawn into any criticisms of his company.

    But Oxburgh also has a reputation for independence and, in these last two months before he retires from the chairmanship, a fierce need to talk about the future. "Look, Shell is an energy company, not an oil company, and the fact is that neither Shell nor any other energy company is going to be doing business in the same way in 25 years' time." Already Shell "can't actually make enough solar panels at the moment to satisfy demand". So far it has spent $1.5bn, more than any other company, he says, on renewables. (To put this in context, the cost of getting one oilfield up and running can reach $10bn, though funding can come from a variety of sources.)

    But these are early days for biofuels and renewable energy, and early days too for a method many including Oxburgh tout as a possible eureka: carbon sequestration, which involves trapping the CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels and storing it, usually underground, in the cavities where the oil, natural gas, or coal came from in the first place. It's a possible option in the North Sea and in the US, but more difficult in India and China, where abundant cheap brown coal produces relatively high levels of CO2 but where there are few obvious places to store it.

    Which brings up another, potentially far greater, problem. As Oxburgh points out, China, India, Brazil and Mexico are rapidly emerging markets, and "as countries grow and become more prosperous, they use more energy. It is a sad fact that if these countries experience the perfectly legitimate growth in GDP [gross domestic product] that they have a right to expect, and they do so in the same energy-inefficient way that we have seen our prosperity grow, then I think we are wasting our time. Because, frankly, the numbers of people are so large, and the rate of change is so great, that there will be simply no hope of meeting our targets by 2050." China, for example, "is opening a new, old-fashioned, dirty, full-sized power station at the rate of one a fortnight." (The developing world, not surprisingly, will be most affected by climate change: Africa is forecast to get warmer at double the rate of anywhere else and, says David King, will soon be feeling the effects of climate change at a level rivalling the effects of the HIV epidemic.)

    This is the sort of issue that must be dealt with at government level, and governments are notoriously blind beyond the next election, not to mention worried about upsetting powerful corporations. Yet just a couple of weeks ago Shell and 12 other signatories, including BP, sent an open letter to Tony Blair, in which they pointed out that "governments tend to feel limited in their ability to introduce new policies for reducing emissions because they fear business resistance, while companies are unable to take their investments in low-carbon solutions to scale because of lack of long-term policies," and urged immediate action. Oxburgh advocates that government uses the controls at its disposal: "Regulate biofuels. Or subsidise. Or tax" - any incentive really, but "what we don't want to see is in two years' time the government simply becoming bored with climate change after we've invested a lot of our shareholders' money. Remember, those shareholders are pension funds and other similar organisations." The prospect of big business forcing government to regulate it would be funny, if it weren't so serious.

    Meanwhile, the price of oil is high at $55 a barrel, and the oil companies don't see it falling substantially in the near future. At the current rate of progress, says Oxburgh, "we are going to be really quite dependent on fossil fuels for another 50 years. And nothing is going to slow the world economy more, and inhibit our control of the greenhouse gas problem, than a world recession. So, fundamentally, what we are trying to do worldwide is to make sure that we have enough of a supply of oil and gas." Paradoxically, the high price of oil is also good for renewable energy, as it forces the speedier development of alternatives, and Oxburgh just views this as a further business opportunity: corn ethanol, to take the example of a biofuel currently in use, currently costs nearly as much as oil.

    Shell, therefore, is in no trouble. But the planet is, and Oxburgh sees no point in mincing words. "The boat is sinking, and we have to use everything that we possibly can."
    Of course, global warming is all rubbish and there's nothing to worry about, is there...

    If people won't believe the science perhaps they will believe it when an oil company tells them?
    "The only thing I've gotten out of this thread is that Navaros is claiming that Satan gave Man meat. Awesome." Gorebag

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    Barbarian Member Ldvs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Unfortunately, if I'm not mistaken, both Shell and British Petroleum are... British. Unless at least an American oil company has the balls to acknowledge this, I fear the Americans will still deny it and claim their government spends a lot of money to clean the air and water and that's only scientists' fancies and part of a plot solely designed to hamstring the USA's economy and...

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    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Quote Originally Posted by Ldvs
    Unfortunately, if I'm not mistaken, both Shell and British Petroleum are... British. Unless at least an American oil company has the balls to acknowledge this, I fear the Americans will still deny it and claim their government spends a lot of money to clean the air and water and that's only scientists' fancies and part of a plot solely designed to hamstring the USA's economy and...
    Yeah, well eventually their shareholders are going to start asking what happens to their dividends when half the world suddenly discovers it's flooding. So eventually, hopefully, the business will change. Oil reserves will be pretty low by 2050 anyway, so some alternative will have to be found by then.

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    zombologist Senior Member doc_bean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    A lot of money is being spent on fusion research, which I think is the only viable alternative at this point.

    Until someone cracks it however, were going to remain dependant on oil and uranium.
    Yes, Iraq is peaceful. Go to sleep now. - Adrian II

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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Oil rigs work on water and ships need oil.

    So you can expect the shareholders to be investing in off shore oil rigs and shipping companies.
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Quote Originally Posted by doc_bean
    A lot of money is being spent on fusion research, which I think is the only viable alternative at this point.

    Until someone cracks it however, were going to remain dependant on oil and uranium.
    I have a feeling some Country like UK or Germany is going to discover cold fusion before the United States. Bush's alternative energy bill is mostly geared towards the use of Coal, Wind Power, Nuclear Power Plants, and Dams... and almost no money going into Cold Fusion research. I have a feeling the discovery of cold fusion will happen in my lifetime, but I doubt it will be first discovered by the US. The First countries to use Cold Fusion will quickly become the dominate economic leaders, countries like the USA (fossil fuel dependents) will become only 2nd Class Countries, until they themselves starting getting into the act... and trust me, a competitive country like the US will find out the secret Very quickly.

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    zombologist Senior Member doc_bean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazikashi
    and trust me, a competitive country like the US will find out the secret Very quickly.
    Well of course, the EU and the UN are funding a lot of the research, so when it gets developed it will be for the common good.

    I guess that's why Bush doesn't think it's worth the effort, very little personal profit to gain.
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    Lord of the House Flies Member Al Khalifah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Japan or the EU are the most likely.
    Russia, China and the US are next in line.
    Cowardice is to run from the fear;
    Bravery is not to never feel the fear.
    Bravery is to be terrified as hell;
    But to hold the line anyway.

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    Scandinavian and loving it Member Lazul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Some swedish company just started testing some sort of wave-energy thingi. I know very little but it works with something floating on the surface and the waves pull it up and down and magnets work to pull it down and so on.
    It sounded very promising, maybe it could help while other alternatives are explored.
    www.overspun.com

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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    The wave energy convertors are sometimes referred to as ducks and are an old idea. One of the problems is wear and tear caused by the waves and salt waters.
    Our genes maybe in the basement but it does not stop us chosing our point of view from the top.
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    A Veteran Wargamer Member kiwitt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Did anyone catch this comment
    China, for example, "is opening a new, old-fashioned, dirty, full-sized power station at the rate of one a fortnight."
    Now that is scary.
    We work to live, and to live is to, play "Total War" or drive a VR-4

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    Alienated Senior Member Member Red Harvest's Avatar
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    Fusion research is very lightly funded considering its potential. It's funding level is at hibernation/life support level. It ain't happenin' (Dubya talk translation.) It will take a real Manhattan or Apollo project effort--and a lot more time than both of them combined--to get something viable. Recreating the conditions necessary for fusion in a sustainable form, and being able to extract the energy? Lots of money, lots of time. Maybe we will get lucky and the breakthroughs will come sooner, but someone still has to do the research for that to happen. Cold fusion...yeah, right. I wouldn't hold my breath. That's like not investing for retirement while buying a lotto ticket once a week.

    I also wouldn't bet on the U.S. being the one to do this...until the U.S. gets some apocalyptic wake-up call. The U.S. is only going to undertake such a project when the average Joe is truly white knuckled fearful. Unfortnately, with the coming energy crunch, it might be a bit too late this time around.

    Afterall, we have a great space telescope that has advanced understanding by leaps and bounds, but we won't service it anymore and are going to let it die instead... Yet we are going to send men to the moon again? Or Mars? The gulf between reality and the perception of where we are at the moment with regards to cutting edge scientific research is measured in lightyears.
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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    One thing you left out is this guy was just hired by Shell to improve their image. Its not like hes been the head of Shell UK for a long time. Its a publicity stunt.
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    zombologist Senior Member doc_bean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Whether or not you believe in global warming, you can't honestly believe that we can keep depending on fossil fuels.
    Yes, Iraq is peaceful. Go to sleep now. - Adrian II

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    Alienated Senior Member Member Red Harvest's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Quote Originally Posted by doc_bean
    Whether or not you believe in global warming, you can't honestly believe that we can keep depending on fossil fuels.
    Now don't go and let reason spoil the neo-con/Bush fantasy. The real plan is that the CO2 global warming issue will resolve itself when fossil fuels become scarce. Bush is doing his part. When he unveiled his Ken Lay/Dick Cheney "Energy Policy" it was all about exploration to recover more oil sooner. When asked about the lack of any conservation or energy efficiency initiatives his curt response was, "Conservation is not the answer." (That is one of my all time favorite gut busters from him.)

    What can we expect from someone who can't understand basic math (Dubya)? The relationships are simple...energy use in the US grows each year. Our reserves in the US are dwindling. So we should ignore conservation...that way we use it all up more quickly. Oh, and let's pump our remaining reserves out before our neighbors do to feed our voracious appetite for a short term fix. That way we can pay 10 or 100 times more for foreign oil a few years later. Personally, I think we should sit on ANWR for another decade or two, not for ecological reasons, but for financial ones. That oil's value is going to inflate exponentially as scarcity becomes an issue due to the inelasticity of energy demand.

    If Bush had a true energy policy, he would have been pushing heavily for conservation and alternative energy sources. It would not have prevented a push toward exploration and recovery either... When you have dwindling reserves of it is the pinnacle of stupidity to make no attempt to even control the increasing rate at which you are consuming them. It takes time to make an impact, so just achieving no net increase in energy use would be an excellent start toward getting a handle on the beast. Anyone with rudimentary math skills can appreciate the resource will last longer if we just stop using *more* of it every single year.

    But, hey, what do I know? I warned my company's execs during some strategy sessions that their price projections were out of whack for oil (and our feedstocks) for the next several years...back when we were at ~$25 and it was just a few short months before prices took off. According to the forecasts were were to be at $27/barrel right now...and inflating a few percent a year. Of course according to the projection there was to be a short *decline* in price before the increase. I told them they might want to look at the economies of China and India before believing their industry projections, as it was counter to the long term worldwide consumption trends, and the inability or exploration/recovery to keep pace. Oh well, I wasn't projecting sustained prices north of $50 in the near term either...although I was correct about the trends and drivers.
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    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Harvest
    Now don't go and let reason spoil the neo-con/Bush fantasy. The real plan is that the CO2 global warming issue will resolve itself when fossil fuels become scarce. Bush is doing his part. When he unveiled his Ken Lay/Dick Cheney "Energy Policy" it was all about exploration to recover more oil sooner. When asked about the lack of any conservation or energy efficiency initiatives his curt response was, "Conservation is not the answer." (That is one of my all time favorite gut busters from him.)

    What can we expect from someone who can't understand basic math (Dubya)? The relationships are simple...energy use in the US grows each year. Our reserves in the US are dwindling. So we should ignore conservation...that way we use it all up more quickly. Oh, and let's pump our remaining reserves out before our neighbors do to feed our voracious appetite for a short term fix. That way we can pay 10 or 100 times more for foreign oil a few years later. Personally, I think we should sit on ANWR for another decade or two, not for ecological reasons, but for financial ones. That oil's value is going to inflate exponentially as scarcity becomes an issue due to the inelasticity of energy demand.

    If Bush had a true energy policy, he would have been pushing heavily for conservation and alternative energy sources. It would not have prevented a push toward exploration and recovery either... When you have dwindling reserves of it is the pinnacle of stupidity to make no attempt to even control the increasing rate at which you are consuming them. It takes time to make an impact, so just achieving no net increase in energy use would be an excellent start toward getting a handle on the beast. Anyone with rudimentary math skills can appreciate the resource will last longer if we just stop using *more* of it every single year.

    But, hey, what do I know? I warned my company's execs during some strategy sessions that their price projections were out of whack for oil (and our feedstocks) for the next several years...back when we were at ~$25 and it was just a few short months before prices took off. According to the forecasts were were to be at $27/barrel right now...and inflating a few percent a year. Of course according to the projection there was to be a short *decline* in price before the increase. I told them they might want to look at the economies of China and India before believing their industry projections, as it was counter to the long term worldwide consumption trends, and the inability or exploration/recovery to keep pace. Oh well, I wasn't projecting sustained prices north of $50 in the near term either...although I was correct about the trends and drivers.
    Wow... That made more sense than any other analysis of the subject I have ever read.

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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Now don't go and let reason spoil the neo-con/Bush fantasy. The real plan is that the CO2 global warming issue will resolve itself when fossil fuels become scarce
    Once more there is no scarcity of fossil fuels. In fact the US has a bigger reserve of them than any nation on earth. The plan is to make the US the major source of energy in the world.
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    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Quote Originally Posted by Gawain of Orkeny
    Once more there is no scarcity of fossil fuels. In fact the US has a bigger reserve of them than any nation on earth. The plan is to make the US the major source of energy in the world.
    Back this up.

    I don't think you will be able to. The problem is everyone who releases reports does so to prove something.

    ie Greenpeace does it and we have 5 minutes left, an oil company does it we have an infinite amount etc.

    Regardless, their production has peaked, and the amount India and China want is surging.

    The standard unit to measure crude oil is a barrel (bbl). One barrel is equal to 159 liters. The volume of crude oil reserves worldwide is estimated at 160 trillion liters, of which some 4 trillion are to be found in the United States. By far, the majority of petroleum reserves (67%) are to be found in the Middle East Interesting to note is the fact that though the United States is the second largest producer, and by far the largest consumer of oil, it holds only 2.2 percent of the world's proven oil reserves. The majority of the US reserves are located in Alaska, California, and Texas.
    In fact this is even more interesting:

    given that those responsible for measuring the supply have a vested interest in making it appear high, the accuracy of their estimates cannot be taken for granted
    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0402-10.htm
    Last edited by BDC; 06-19-2005 at 21:10.

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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Back this up.
    I have numerous times before. But if you insist.

    The End of the Age of Oil?
    By Chris Bennett - November 26, 2004
    © 2004 WorldNetDaily.com


    According the Washington Post (June 6, 2004) , the world is on the verge of oil famine.

    BBC News declares "as certain as death and taxes, we shall one day be forced to learn to live without oil." Further, "people in middle age today can probably expect to be here" for the terminal oil shortages.


    CBS, NBC and ABC have all presented grim and frightening reports of rapacious oil executives, unfeeling consumers, gas-guzzling SUVs and declining oil stocks, mostly in the powder keg countries of the Middle East. The unmistakable conclusion: An energy disaster of epic proportions is just around the corner.

    Literally dozens of books and hundreds of websites paint a consistent and alarming picture of the decline of the American Empire and the end of the Age of Oil.

    Could this be true? Are we really sliding downhill into a future defined by scarce resources, alternative fuels and mandatory conservation – a nightmare of strong governmental controls and diminished expectations?

    The surprising answer: No.

    The world has plenty of oil.

    According to the United States Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Energy and many, many other reputable sources, we have sufficient oil resources for at least the next several hundred years, maybe longer. The costs of extraction will likely be higher, but scarcity? No.

    Without the emotional "the end of the world as we know it," paranoia from the traditional media, let's actually look at world oil reserves.

    Currently, the world's recognized reserves of oil are higher than at any time in history. And, contrary to conventional media hysteria, the world's clearly identified reserves are growing every year. The USGS reports in the "World Petroleum Assessment 2000" that world reserves of conventional crude oil total 3,000 billion barrels. This estimate is an increase from a similar estimate in 1994 of 2,400 billion barrels, up from 1,500 billion barrels in 1990.

    But this report considers only "liquid" or conventional oil – oil that's accessible and readily available from underground reservoirs. This does not include highly viscous oils, oil-tar sand deposits or oil shale.

    The major media focus with myopic intensity on conventional crude reserves, ignoring stunning reserves of oil located in tar sands and oil shale. At best, this is difficult to comprehend.

    For example, little media attention was accorded the dramatic increases in Canadian oil reserves. A December 2003 report in Oil and Gas Journal notes that Canada's oil reserves now total more than 180 billion barrels of oil, with most found in economically recoverable oil-tar sand deposits. In contrast, Saudi Arabia's reserves are estimated at 264 billion barrels.

    The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers sees the oil sand reservoir at a stunning 2,000 billion barrels of crude, of which 315 billion barrels is currently recoverable. This is oil economically viable at prices between $18 and $20 per barrel. Worldwide, recoverable reserves of oil found in oil sands are currently reported in excess of 1,000 billion barrels.

    But by far the largest potential reservoir of future oil is held in oil shale.

    The U.S. Department of Energy, in a March 2004 study, reports oil shale reserves in the United States alone of over 2,000 billion barrels. Worldwide, oil-shale reserves are estimated as high as 14,000 billion barrels.

    To put this in perspective, U.S. oil-shale reserves alone would be sufficient to provide 100 percent of U.S. crude oil consumed at current usage for over 200 years.

    Worldwide reserves of 14,000 billion barrels are sufficient to provide the world's crude oil requirements for at least several hundred years.

    The truth is, the history of oil prognostication is littered with scaremongers proclaiming false declarations of approaching oil famine. In fact, doom merchants have used oil as a vehicle for "end of the world" scenarios since before World War I. Consider:

    In 1914, the U.S. Bureau of Mines declared that the United States would run out of oil in 10 years.

    In 1939, the Department of the Interior predicted that oil reserves would last only 13 more years.

    In 1950, when the world's estimated reserves were thought to be 600 billion barrels, the Department of Interior again projected the end of the age of oil by 1963.

    Move forward to the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which prompted the highly respected journal Foreign Affairs to publish an article on "The Oil Crisis: This Time the Wolf is Here."

    In 1981, a respected textbook on economic geology predicted that the United States was entering a 125-year-long energy gap, expected to be at its worst in the year 2000 with dire consequences to our standard of living.

    In 1995, a prominent geologist predicted that petroleum production would peak in 1996 and that after 1999 many of the developed world's societies would look like Third World countries.

    In 1998, a Scientific American article titled "End of the Age of Oil" predicted that world oil production would peak in 2002 and that we would soon face the "end of the abundant and cheap oil on which all nations depend."

    All of these predictions were wrong. In fact, from 1950 to the present, the world's recognized oil reserves have increased virtually every year.

    The current USGS world estimate of 3,000 billion barrels of conventional crude is probably conservative. Consider Iraq. Only 2,300 oil wells have been drilled in Iraq, compared with over 1 million wells drilled in Texas. Furthermore, only 22 of the more than 80 major Iraqi oil fields have been fully explored.

    Iraq is reported to have 112 billion barrels of oil reserves. But based on unexplored reserves, many geologists believe that actual number is more than twice current estimates.

    Even North American reserves of conventional oil are probably understated since recent deep oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has identified a huge vat of oil. President Fox has stated that the new reserves may be as large as 56 billion barrels. Deep oil wells are drilled to 25,000 feet below ground surface and represent a new frontier in oil exploration.

    A classic example of oil reserve understatement is the Kern River field in California, where production wells were first drilled in 1899. By 1942, after 43 years of continuous pumping, remaining Kern River oil was estimated at 54 million barrels. Pumping continued, and over the next 50 years, the field produced over 736 million barrels. In 1986, using 3D mapping technology, the reservoir was reported to contain an additional reserve of over 970 million barrels.

    Eventually the world will move from an oil-based economy to something better. But given the huge reserves of world oil, it's likely that technology will drive this change, not scarcity.
    Guess who has the worlds biggest shale oil reserves? We have over a trillion barrels. So even if crude oil was spent we would still be in good shape. Plus we have vast reseves of coal. You have to stop believing everything the mainstream media tells you. We are not running out of fossil fuels.
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    zombologist Senior Member doc_bean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    But they'll get even more expensive, extraction will cost more and demand will most likely be higher.

    Regardless of global warming, regardless of the size of the reserves, I still don't believe fossil fuels are the way forward.

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    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    But they'll get even more expensive, extraction will cost more and demand will most likely be higher.
    Yes, this will be a problem. Especially when the people who want it most will be poorer.

    Perhaps it will be a poorer nation then which discovers cold fusion or whatever? India has a lot of well educated people...

    "end of the abundant and cheap oil on which all nations depend."
    I don't see anything wrong with that. It might be there, but if it costs so much to extract it that it is no longer viable as the main fuel, then it may as well have run out. Prices are already pretty high (more to do with politics though), but can you imagine paying ten times as much per barrel? Would be pretty expensive to run anything on it, even in the west.
    Last edited by BDC; 06-19-2005 at 22:17.

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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    A trillion barrels or 1000 billion barrels or a third of the crude supplies.

    Not to mention that the shale oils energy required to acquire and refine is quite high compared with the energy that it provides as a petrol. Shale oil is definitly an option energy wise, just not a wise energy option.

    Oil reserves are very easily 'salted' to be bigger then they should so that the petroleum companies share price increase. Now it is not an issue if they find enough oil and it shouldn't be as the price of oil now covers exploration costs of oil hansomely.

    But as fast as oil reserves increase (and they are a finite resource albeit they can replenish over millions of years) the increase in consumption from India and China more then make up for any real oil reserve increases.

    The best projections run from 50 to 25 years in oil supplies and that has been a near constant since the 70's. When the oil reserves suddenly comeback and say we have 25 years +1 per year, yet worldwide consumption will double in ten years we will have only 12 years reserves + 0.5 years.

    The problem is what lead time would we need to set up refineries to go from sweet crude oils to shale oils to other resources?

    Will we have enough time or will we hit a energy crunch for a period of time?
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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Not to mention that the shale oils energy required to acquire and refine is quite high compared with the energy that it provides as a petrol. Shale oil is definitly an option energy wise, just not a wise energy option.
    In order to be profitable the cost of oil has to be over 35 dollars a barrel for shale oil to be worth refining. We have passed that price long ago. Our problem is more one of not building any new refineries not a lack of fossil fuels. We will have a new source of fuel I have no doubt long before we run out of fossil fuels.
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    A Veteran Wargamer Member kiwitt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    I agree Gawain.

    While I believe we will run out of oil one day. Today's high prices is caused by a lack of investment in required infrastructure, because of when prices were only $15. We need to build more refineries, supertankers, oil wells, etc. i.e. it is just a production capacity problem.
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    Alienated Senior Member Member Red Harvest's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Quote Originally Posted by Papewaio
    A trillion barrels or 1000 billion barrels or a third of the crude supplies.

    Not to mention that the shale oils energy required to acquire and refine is quite high compared with the energy that it provides as a petrol. Shale oil is definitly an option energy wise, just not a wise energy option.

    Oil reserves are very easily 'salted' to be bigger then they should so that the petroleum companies share price increase. Now it is not an issue if they find enough oil and it shouldn't be as the price of oil now covers exploration costs of oil hansomely.

    But as fast as oil reserves increase (and they are a finite resource albeit they can replenish over millions of years) the increase in consumption from India and China more then make up for any real oil reserve increases.

    The best projections run from 50 to 25 years in oil supplies and that has been a near constant since the 70's. When the oil reserves suddenly comeback and say we have 25 years +1 per year, yet worldwide consumption will double in ten years we will have only 12 years reserves + 0.5 years.

    The problem is what lead time would we need to set up refineries to go from sweet crude oils to shale oils to other resources?

    Will we have enough time or will we hit a energy crunch for a period of time?
    I agree. People forget the melt down aspect of usage growth outpacing production and reserves.

    I doubt we will have the time to react in the case of the next major shock, because we continue to deny the present one. This latest price rise caught the world with their pants firmly planted upon their ankles and the rose tinted glasses in place. The lead times for a lot of this investment is substantial. The investments are gigantic even for the largest multinationals and the projects won't happen overnight. They won't do it until the situation exists long enough that they are certain it isn't going away stranding them with an uber-expensive albatross. I'm not pointing fingers, it is the nature of large corporations to be hesitant to take on this level of risk.

    This price rise has been mild. It is not the one I'm concerned about. We still have the pumping capacity to keep up at the moment...just. Contrary to the rosey scenarios, fields are playing out. Plants and refineries shut down when nearby fields reach that point (personal experience.) I don't trust rosy industry projections of reserves.

    There is little elasticity to demand: look at Enron's manipulation of western energy pricing for a very clear, very recent example of an energy price shock. (California has historically had an irresponsible "not in my backyard approach" to energy production, so I think this also illustrates the danger of that shortsighted impractical view; but they were 100% right when they pointed their fingers at Ken Lay. And it wasn't just California that got the shaft--neighbors, and every investor in the country got burned, whether they realize it or not.)

    People talk about refineries...why? Refineries are not the issue. Refining capacity can be added if needed. We aren't building new ones, we are expanding old ones. There is a lot more at work here than gasoline pricing. Unfortunately, the only thing most people in their SUV's seem to notice is the price at the pump. That's not forward thinking...that is driving forward while concentrating on the view in the rearview mirror.

    Coal gasification has some ability to replace oil for many chemical feedstocks. But it takes a major restructuring to replace the current supply chain with coal gas. It is all so interconnected, and coal gas isn't a direct plug in to replace oil. It will give you a new spectrum of material for downstream products, that you then have to convert into what you really want. This means building whole chains of new facilities to use the various products. There is no single magic bullet (even working fusion.)

    If anyone wants an indication of how bad things can get when you exhaust a natural resource and completely alter your environment at the same time, study Easter Island. It suffered a man made ecological apocalypse. While I don't see the end of the age of oil as a global apocalypse, I don't feel very comfortable with the position my own country is setting itself up for as the world's largest energy user. We can certainly forget about garnering any sympathy if we end up in the ditch as the result of our own excesses.
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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    WE denied Germany oil in WW2 and they made their own just as we invented synthetic rubber. Again I have no doubt that the things to relace fossil fuels are already on the boards. Theres just no need for them yet. To much is based on oil to change it now. They could have been getting 80 mpg long ago if they really wanted to. Nessicty is the mother of invention. Or is that Frank Zappas band?
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Look what happened to Germany... they lost the biggest tank battle in WWII because of fuel shortages, > 250k men in Stalingrad trying to get to the oil fields and > 250k men captured in North Africa from lack of oil.

    Japan went to war so it could capture the oil fields in south east asia.

    Synthetic oil cannot be that good given those efforts.
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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Quote Originally Posted by Papewaio
    The problem is what lead time would we need to set up refineries to go from sweet crude oils to shale oils to other resources?

    Will we have enough time or will we hit a energy crunch for a period of time?
    Actually, I understand the shale oil is extracted in an already partially refined state due to the nature of the extraction. Basically, wells are dug, then the rock is heated causing the oil to run into the wells where it is harvested. As Gawain said, I think the estimated costs of oil made this way is about in the $30-35 a barrel range.
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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    If anyone wants an indication of how bad things can get when you exhaust a natural resource and completely alter your environment at the same time, study Easter Island. It suffered a man made ecological apocalypse. While I don't see the end of the age of oil as a global apocalypse
    Did you read the article I posted?

    The U.S. Department of Energy, in a March 2004 study, reports oil shale reserves in the United States alone of over 2,000 billion barrels. Worldwide, oil-shale reserves are estimated as high as 14,000 billion barrels.

    To put this in perspective, U.S. oil-shale reserves alone would be sufficient to provide 100 percent of U.S. crude oil consumed at current usage for over 200 years.

    Worldwide reserves of 14,000 billion barrels are sufficient to provide the world's crude oil requirements for at least several hundred years..
    There is NO SHORTAGE OF OIL. Get over it. Again dont believe the hype the mainstream press and liberals feed you.
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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oil Company chairman in global warming shock

    Hmm, according to the chairman of Shell we can't run out of oil soon enough for the sake of the planet....

    Still, Big G was right when he said a few posts back that the US is busy buying other peoples oil rather than extracting its own so it can be the last man standing when it comes to oil running out. That, or if we try to tax it to stop a complete catastrophe, the US can just extract its own and continue to choke the planet.

    I just wish the rest of the world was as in your face self interested as the American government. (not, NB, the american people, towards whom their own governments policy seems to vary between indifference and active malevolence.)
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