09 July 2008

Celebrating Political Peak Oil: The Only Kind of Peak Oil the World is Likely to See

In Kurdistan, North Iraq, oil bubbles to the surface--Kurds are at risk of drowning in oil. But since politicians in Baghdad are dragging their feet on oil legislation, the oil cannot be sold. Political peak oil.
“I am not expecting to find another [giant oil field like] Kirkuk,” says Ashti Hawrami, Kurdistan’s plain-talking minister of natural resources. “But I think we will find a lot of fields that add up to Kirkuk.” If he’s right, Kurdistan’s three provinces could hold more than 25 billion barrels of crude. That’s roughly five billion barrels more than the remaining proven reserves of the U.S.

So what’s the problem? Companies pumping oil in the semi-autonomous region can’t export their oil until Baghdad straightens out national oil legislation. So the new production isn’t landing on world markets or doing anything to take the punch out of rising oil prices. Meanwhile, the companies are spending millions and watching their share prices sink.

Kurdistan and Iraq put a finer point on the “peak-oil” debate wracking the industry: No one disputes oil is getting harder to find. The question is whether the current problems are “below ground” or “above ground.” That is, is the world’s oil keg ringing hollow, or is the tap just off-limits to oil companies thanks to issues like resource nationalism, sketchy politics, and violent insurgencies?

For a long time, many Western companies and energy experts like Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates have maintained that the problem is above-ground—even where oil is plentiful, they can’t get at it for one reason or another. __WSJblog
Of course, North America is sitting on trillions of barrels of oil-equivalent that Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi refuse to allow US energy producers to access. Why? Global warming catastrophe fears. Oh, and an apparent deep desire to inflict economic hardship on Americans in the runup to the November elections. The opinion of Boxer, Pelosi, and the current Congressional leadership seems to be that if times are hard, the Republican Party will be blamed on election day.

But political peak oil of the Boxer/Pelosi variety can turn around and bite the two Peter Principle trophy hags in the sagging sacroiliac. There is a long time between now and November, ladies.

Sponsored by Onyklent Green [OTC:OYNK]


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Blogger JackofBlades said...

So Al fin Care to cite you sources on the supposed "trillions of barrels of oil in the U.S." ?
If you're speaking of Oil Shale. You do realize that it won't save us from Peak. We are at Peak now. And it isn't political peak it is in fact geological peak.
I would have thought you would not be in denial still...Al Fin. The writting is on the wall. The "doomers" got it right this time. Predictions they have made are coming true, open your eyes and look.

Wednesday, 09 July, 2008  
Blogger Loren said...

Geological peak also relies on an organic source for oil. There's considerable evidence that it's inorganic, which means very different problems for peak oil. Likely, the "peak" would be matching how fast methane percolates out of the mantle and becomes the heavier hydrocarbons.

I'll let Al take care of the trillions of barrels. It's well documented, and I'm sure he has the links handy(which I don't, but provided them, I can spread them around).

Wednesday, 09 July, 2008  
Blogger SensibleEnergy said...


Not that I don't think we shouldn't reduce our use of oil, but it's worth keeping things in perspective.

Get out a globe and find the state of Connecticut. A cube the size of that state filled with oil would last for 1,000,000 years at today's rates.

Wednesday, 09 July, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

"Trillions of barrels of oil-equivalent in North America." It is important to be precise and not to misquote a source, JOB. Try to keep it straight.

Green River Basin oil shale in the western US comprises over 1 trillion barrels of oil equivalent. Wiki

Athabascan Oil Sands in Canada (also part of North America by the way) contain at least 1.7 trillion barrels of oil equivalent. Wiki

Canada has additional large deposits of heavy oils and oil sands beyond the Athabascan fields.

The US portion of the Williston (Bakken) deposits have been estimated by geologists to contain hundreds of billions of crude. These fields are just in the early stage of development and exploration.

Coal to oil conversion is gaining popularity due to improved economics, and conversion costs are around US $35 per barrel. The US has proven coal reserves equal to twice Saudi oil reserves.

Gas to liquid fuels is another area where the US may achieve improved domestic liquid fuel production.

Offshore oil deposits are unknown due to restrictions by the US government. ANWR deposits in Alaska are likely to contain far more oil than the current estimates (25 billion barrels).

Check out Non-conventional oil. It is only a starting point, and you can follow links from there.

Al Fin has long promoted bio-energy approaches to replacing petroleum such as algae biofuel, non-palm oilseeds (jatropha, moringa, pongamia, etc), cellulosic biofuels and cellulosic electricity (torrefaction etc), gasification of biomass by numerous routes, etc. etc.

Al Fin has also long promoted expansion of clean nuclear power, and development of modular nuclear power plants for proper scaling.

Al Fin has always said that petroleum and coal are dirty power sources and should be replaced. But, getting from here to there needs to be done thoughtfully, based upon the best scientific, technological, and economic methods available.

Current oil, gas, coal, and other oil-equivalents can provide a transition to a relatively petroleum-free future.

Peak oil doom and collapse is not a wise approach, when alternatives are available. The US Congress is the main obstacle to to moving from current energy practises to sustainable cleaner energies in the future. Therefore the US Congress will continue to receive the bulk of Al Fin's contempt.

Wednesday, 09 July, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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