The latest peak oil news is simply astounding: a whistleblower inside the International Energy Agency (IEA) claiming that “the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.”
The fact that this report appeared in the Guardian, which has published questionable articles on peak oil, is suggestive.
First and foremost, one is tempted to conclude that this story represents poor reporting, bringing to mind an earlier Guardian story claiming that Fatih Birol, the IEA official in charge of the World Energy Outlook, acknowledged peak oil. It turns out that Fatih was misquoted. And while I might be biased, considering Fatih a friend, the nature of the present story is close to ridiculous, rather than misleading.…
The recent Houston Chronicle op-ed, ostensibly written to respond to my New York Times op-ed, is worthy of reading for a variety of reasons, but primarily entertainment. The reference to me as Stephen Lynch was apparently an editor’s error, but the analogy of oil fields and glasses of water was quite enlightening as to the state of the debate. The three gentlemen comment on the difference between a straw in a glass (a supergiant field) and a puddle of water on the table requires many straws.
In fact, I know of no supergiant fields that have not required many straws, since oil fields are not ‘pockets’ of oil but rather oil that is in rock, rather as water is in a sponge. Drawing all of the fluid from one spot doesn’t mean that all of the oil will flow freely and uniformly to the straw: to the contrary, a given well usually drains a very limited area, and supergiant fields typically have numerous wells, hundreds even thousands, depending on the geology and geography.…
“Some commentators hope that new technology will lead to important deepwater finds. Some new deepwater areas with giant potential, such as the Perdido Trend in the western Gulf of Mexico, will no doubt be found, but generally, the geology of most deepwater tracts is not very promising.”
– Colin Campbell (founder: Association for the Study of Peak Oil), Noroil, December 1989.
The past week was a bad one for peak oil enthusiasts, as three separate announcements indicated the abundance of undiscovered petroleum.
First, BP announced that it has found a field in the Lower Tertiary basin in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, named Tiber, containing something on the order of 3 billion barrels.
Next, Petrobras announced another discovery in the pre-salt basin, this one Guara, containing about 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil.…