When Oil Companies Disagree
By EV World
Five news items headlined the list of topics EV World's editor discussed with ODAC newsletter editor, Doug Low, who is headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland, in the heart of the British oil and gas industry.
First they discussed comments made by Cambridge Energy Research Associates vice president Robert Esser who called talk of "peak oil" garbage. He and others in the energy industry believe there is plenty of oil yet to be found. An official with Saudi Aramco stated this week that only about 18% of the world's oil reserves have been extracted and that there's 140 years of oil left even at current consumption rates. Low contends that while this may apply to all "carbon" sources including tar sands and shale oil, that the easy to extract and refine liquid crude is becoming harder to find and exploit.
So, if light, sweet crude is becoming dear, we can always turn to biofuels, right?
Not according to both Lester Brown and Volkswagen, both of whom made the point this week of called the trend towards utilization of food crops for fuel folly. In a Washington Post oped, the head of the Earth Policy Institute warned that we risk "Starving the People to Feed the Cars."
Exxon has been drilling for oil and gas off the Russian Federation's Sakhalin Island over the past couple years and apparently thought that part of the agreement with the Russian government was access to adjoining fields that it contends are part of the same geological formation. Wrong, says Moscow, who apparently wants to continue the process of nationalizing its oil reserves.
Meanwhile, both Total Petroleum, a French-based oil giant, and Chevron are using public service ads to ask consumers to become conservers, voluntarily reducing the amount of oil they consume. Why? not because of concerns over peak oil -- at least obstentiably, though Total has said peak oil will occur in 2020 -- or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, Low believes, they are asking for conservation to reduce demand and thereby reduce the price of petrol/gasoline. Whether that's the real reason or because both companies are, in fact, concerned about supply constraints, we'll have to wait and see.
Finally, increasing numbers of homeowners in the UK, like here in the US are falling behind in their mortgage payments, causing the IMF to issue warnings about a potential collapse in the UK housing market, which has overheated and seen prices double in the last several years. Compounding the situation of high mortgage payments are high energy bills for electric power and heat due directly to increasing natural gas prices in the UK.
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