NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Peak Oil Discussion Continues

I stumbled across this update on NCFocus:
- it seems Russ is coming to believe in the reality of global warming) Russ points out that from Heinberg's website, he doesn't appear to be as mainstream a guy as he was onstage and as Pat suggested ("...did not appear to be a granola-munching vegan..."); I agree with Russ on this point, but think it's not a good reason to disregard the message, given that plenty of mainstream experts - including oil executives - are also sending it.
Some comments:

Global Warming: The facts show the world is warming, what has not been shown is that humans are the main cause. Read this latest evidence at Bad timing for Kyoto redo.

Peak oil: I have been quite clear, you cannot know when the peak is unless you know how much oil is available. We have no idea how much oil is available. Most is controlled by national oil companies controlled by governments, such as Mexico which has made very little investment in exploration. One early claim for an off shore discovery was it could be as large as Saudi Arabia. Who knows, the Mexican government controlled oil company is not saying. Saudi Arabia will not say how much oil they have, they could be running out, or with new technology could double output. Russia does not know how much oil could be recovered with existing technology, they refuse to let US companies try. Much of Asia’s island nations have not been explored, due to political conflict. We have not drilled off the coast of Florida and stopped drilling off the coast of California for environmental reasons. We know there is oil there, but not how much. Same on the Alaska Wild Life Reserve, we know oil is there, but not how much. Much of Canada’s Arctic regions is yet unexplored, yet we know they have large tar sands deposits. Oil has been discovered in Utah, yet more exploration is needed to determine how much. For example we do not know how much oil is in Iraq:
Of Iraq’s 74 discovered and evaluated oil fields, only 15 have been developed. Iraq’s western desert is considered to be highly prolific but has yet to be explored. There are 526 known structures that have been discovered, delineated, mapped and classified as potential prospects in Iraq of which only 125 have been drilled. Six of the 74 known fields are deemed giant, containing more than 5 billion barrels, while some 23 are classified as large (between 500 million-5 billion barrels) and the remaining 45 labeled as medium (50-500 million barrels) to small (less than 50 million barrels). This according to a Case Study by Donald Ian Hertzmark is an independent oil consultant based in Washington, DC. Amy Myers Jaffe is a Senior Fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University.
Government regulations control how much a publicly traded company can say about potential reserves. All estimates are very conservative.

Bottom line, we have no idea how much oil is really available. To say we have peaked, or will peak soon, requires we ignore what we do not know.

For a private comment to Russ or George, for public comment select comments below.

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