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Monday, June 09, 2008

Thoughts on a couple of articles

Just caught a couple of articles in today's news that got me thinking.

In light of all the claims that we are running out of oil, like, yesterday, I found this interesting...

Oil shortage a myth, says industry insider

Current estimates suggest there are 1,200 billion barrels of proven global reserves, but the industry's internal figures suggest this amounts to less than half of what actually exists.

The misconception has helped boost oil prices to an all-time high, sending jitters through the market and prompting calls for oil-producing nations to increase supply to push down costs.


Explaining why the published estimates of proven global reserves are less than half the true amount, Dr Pike said there was anecdotal evidence that big oil producers were glad to go along with under-reporting of proven reserves to help maintain oil's high price. "Part of the oil industry is perfectly familiar with the way oil reserves are underestimated, but the decision makers in both the companies and the countries are not exposed to the reasons why proven oil reserves are bigger than they are said to be," he said.


The environmental implications of his analysis, based on more than 30 years inside the industry, will alarm environmentalists who have exploited the concept of peak oil to press the urgency of the need to find greener alternatives.

"The bad news is that by underestimating proven oil reserves we have been lulled into a false sense of security in terms of environmental issues, because it suggests we will have to find alternatives to fossil fuels in a few decades," said Dr Pike. "We should not be surprised if oil dominates well into the twenty-second century. It highlights a major error in energy and environmental planning – we are dramatically underestimating the challenge facing us," he said.


Visit the full article here.

In this next article from Times Online, it's not the article itself that perked my attention, but rather the comments below. When I first started researching AGW a couple of years ago, an alarmist article like this one would be filled with comments agreeing and making even more extreme claims. Instead, more and more, I'm seeing commentors recognizing the double talk and contradictory claims - in other words, more commentors that are actually thinking critically about what they're reading, rather then blindly accepting what was said. I find that encouraging.

Global warming turning sea into acid bath


  1. Just a comment: Maybe the major oil companies underestimate reserves but sometime look at the history of reserving by small-cap Canadian oil equities. They always over-estimate reserves. Most of them even always over-estimate potential.

    WCRX-LP editorial collective

  2. Small-cap Canadian oil equities... I'm unfamiliar with this area. I'll have to look into it. About all I can say for sure is things like Saskatewan's oil sands are conservatively estimated to be even larger than Alberta's (they require a different method of extraction and the technology is being worked on), plus there's a huge light crude deposit straddling the Canada/US border that, from what I've read, doesn't need any new technologies to access. There are others that are known; it's just a matter of either technology to get at it, or the political will to allow access.

    There's also a lot of areas that are potential sources of oil. We really have no idea how much oil there actually is in the world. The oil supply is also assumed to be finite, which I'm starting to doubt, too. Meanwhile, proven reserves are always changing as our technology improves. Of course, if those oil-exuding algae turn out to be a viable source, that's going to shift things, too.

    The more I look into it, the more I think we're in no danger of running out of oil for a very long time. Certainly not before some viable alternative is finally discovered, whatever that turns out to be.


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