International Energy Agency: Oil shock’s a comin’

The International Energy Agency is the independent (supposedly) group that watches out for problems with energy supply – primarily oil – for the world’s largest economies.  It was created in the wake of the first global oil shock in the 1970s, in order that we would never again be caught with our shorts down when it came to energy problems.

We’ll, this time they are warning that we are facing another oil shock of serious magnitude.   But don’t worry, it won’t happen for 25 years. And it needn’t happen at all if we’d just get real about getting off carbon -“we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels” they say.

Uh oh…..didn’t we just elect  a lot of human-like creatures who don’t believe that we should ever give up carbon?  So, whether it’s in 2 years or 25 (bet on 2, hope for 25) we’re in for the oil shock to end all oil shocks.  And with it will go the last vestiges of our economy.

Look at this graph – it clearly shows that we have reached peak oil:

It’s really all about that flat blue line.

The dark blue is oil we know about.  As you can see, that line is falling.  That means that of all the oil we know about, then we have reached the peak time.

Now, to make up the difference, they color in an area and call it “crude oil fields yet to be developed or found.”  They might as well say that this is the oil that comes from the land of Unicorns.  Ain’t happening.  Oil discovery peaked in the mid-1960s – nearly 50 years ago.  Don’t bet that there’s some out there hiding. Even if you suspend belief for a minute, look at how much more oil we have to find and produce each year to keep that blue line flat.  That’s a lot of pressure in this area, cause if it don;t happen, then that blue line goes limp. When it goes limp, look out.

Then, on top of the Unicorn oil, they put in a large amount of liquefied natural gas.  Could happen.  But then the cost of it will go through the roof.  Meaning higher home heating bills, more expensive food, etc….you know, the same issues as peak oil.

And finally, they show a little bit of increase in “unconventional oil.”  That’s the tar sands.  Tar sands will never save us.  They are just to damn hard to use.

I’m just dying to know how they plot the graph out to 2050.

In the end, this graph tells me that we are going to have to get used to a LOT less energy very soon.  It’s that flat blue line that stretches out from 2010 that tells me that.  Cause, if that line isn’t flat, then it must go up or down.  Ain’t nobody saying it’s gonna go up.  That means it that line doesn’t stay flat, then it must come down.  And all the things perched on top of it comes down to. And with that, we simply have less energy to use.


IEA sees oil peak looming

Muriel Boselli and Zaida Espana, Reuters · Monday, Nov. 8, 2010

PARIS/LONDON — Global oil supplies will come close to a peak by 2035 when oil prices will exceed US$200 a barrel, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday, as China and other emerging economies drive demand higher.

The IEA, in its 2010 World Energy Outlook, said it expected conventional crude oil output to flatten out in the next 10 years.

“Production in total does not peak before 2035, though it comes close to doing so,” the Paris-based IEA said in the executive summary of the report. That projection was according to the central scenario of the report.

The agency, which advises 28 industrialised countries, also raised its mid- and long-term oil price forecasts, despite slashing oil demand estimates by 2035, citing growing supply uncertainty.

Oil prices would rise even further if governments did not act to curb consumption, the IEA’s chief economist and lead author of the report, Fatih Birol, told Reuters in an interview.

“The message is clear, the price will go up, especially if consuming countries do not make changes in the way they consume oil, especially in the transport sector,” Mr. Birol said.

Oil hit US$87.63 a barrel on Tuesday, the highest since October 2008, after hovering around US$70-80 most of the year.

The world needed higher oil prices to change consuming habits substantially and spur investment as markets were becoming less sensitive to price changes, Mr. Birol said.

“All the net growth comes from non-OECD countries, almost half from China alone, mainly driven by rising use of transport fuels,” the IEA said in the report.

The growing concentration of oil use in transport and the shift of demand towards subsidised markets were limiting the scope for higher prices to choke off demand, the IEA said.

“If subsidy policy does not change, with increasing price assumptions, these US$312 billion in subsidies for 2009 will reach US$600 billion in 2015. That’s huge,” Mr. Birol said.

While the IEA saw higher prices, it also cut its world oil demand estimate for the next 25 years by 6 million barrels per day (bpd) to 99 million bpd.

That remained an increase of 15 million bpd, equal to one and a half times the output of top global producer Russia.

Conventional crude oil supply would flatten out in the next 10 years, the IEA said.

“Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 million barrels a day by 2020, but never regains its all time peak of 70 million barrels per day reached in 2006.”

Last year’s edition of the report said global oil production was not forecast to peak before 2030 and conventional oil production was “projected to approach a plateau towards the end of the projection period.”

Read more:

More needs to be done to avoid oil spike, IEA says

By JANE WARDELL, AP Business Writer

LONDON – Governments need to do more to increase energy efficiency and boost green technologies to avoid a spike in oil prices as China drives a 36 percent spike in world energy demand through 2035, a global watchdog warned Tuesday.

The International Energy Agency said that oil supplies will be pushed near their peak over the coming decades, endangering government pledges to limit the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius.

The Paris-based IEA — the energy arm of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a grouping of the world’s richest nations — said that global energy consumption will reach 16.7 billion metric tons of oil equivalent by 2035.

China’s demand will jump 75 percent, accounting for more than a third of that surge in energy use, the IEA predicted in its annual World Energy Outlook.

“It is hard to overestimate the growing importance of China in global energy,” IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka told reporters in London. “How the country responds to the threats to global energy security and climate posed by rising fossil fuel use will have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world.”

But other countries will also have a major impact on the way that world energy demand and supply shapes up over the coming decades, Tanaka said.

“Recent events have cast a veil of uncertainty over our energy future,” Tanaka said. “We need to use energy more efficiently and we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels by adopting technologies that use a much smaller carbon footprint.”

Tanaka said the Copenhagen Accord on tackling global warming and an agreement among G-20 countries to phase out subsidies are positive steps but more needs to be done to use energy more efficiently.

Nations meeting in Copenhagen last December pledged varying reductions to their carbon emissions by 2020 — ranging from 17 percent for countries including the United States and Canada to 45 percent for China.

The agency lowered its 2035 estimate for oil use by 6 million barrels a day to 99 million barrels — up from 84 million barrels last year, because of government pledges to curtail carbon emissions under the Copenhagen Accord.

Its assumption that government policy commitments will be met also led to a slowing in annualized energy demand to an average of 1.2 percent from 2008 to 2035, from 2 percent over the previous 27 years.

But it remains doubtful of some of those promises.

“Whether or not these countries fulfill their targets is a big question,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. “We consider Copenhagen to be a failure … some of the pledges are very vague.”

The IEA report predicted that oil prices could soar as high as $135 a barrel and are expected to average $113 a barrel by 2035, compared to an average of $60 in 2009, as higher prices are needed to bring demand into balance with supply.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will account for 50 percent of the worlds oil supply by 2035 as production from outside the group falters, the IEA said.

OPEC, which already pumps around 40 percent of the world’s oil, last week forecast that world energy demand will rise by 40 percent in the next three decades even as the appetite for oil shrinks because some of the need will be met by other sources.

In its annual World Outlook, the 12-nation oil producers’ bloc forecast that world oil demand will grow to a daily 105.5 million barrels in 2030, an increase of 21 million barrels a day over last year.

It added that crude’s role in fueling the world will fall “over time,” although it will still be over 30 percent by 2040. It suggests renewables and natural gas could become increasing alternatives.

But the report added that fossil fuels overall will remain dominant, satisfying 80 percent of energy needs.

The IEA — a policy adviser to 28 member countries, mostly industrialized oil consumers — said the use of renewable energy is expected to expand rapidly to 2035 but the rate of growth depends on the intensity of government policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and diversifying the energy supply mix.

It said that investment of $5.7 trillion is needed over 2010-2035 to produce electricity, while biofuels need another $335 billion.

The IEA also forecast that consumption of natural gas will increase 44 percent to 4.5 trillion cubic meters in 2035, from 3.1 trillion cubic meters in 2008, according to the agency.


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