Iraq war: 10 years on

It is now ten years since the Second Gulf War began. During recent days I have seen several programs on BBC World News that have taken up various aspects of the war. The Guardian has a series of articles collected under the headline ”Iraq war: 10 years on". What amazes me is that none of the articles discuss the connection of the war to the oil in Iraq.

In contrast, if one visits CNN this connection is mentioned and the following headline gives the message clearly: ”Why the war in Iraq was fought for Big Oil”.

“Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: Big Oil. It has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom’s bombs first landed in Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.

Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies.

PEAK OIL: Challenges and opportunities for the GCC countries

At the beginning of January I was invited to give a presentation and participate in a panel discussion on Peak Oil. Maybe this is not such a huge surprise but what was surprising was that the invitation was to a symposium titled “Peak Oil: Challenges and Opportunities for GCC Countries” that is to be held in Doha, Qatar. The lead organiser of the meeting is the “Arabic and International Relations Forum” and “Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute” that is part of the Qatar Foundation. At first, I did not know what nations were included in the GCC but a search revealed that GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Council, is a political and economic union of the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf and located on or near the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. I am very pleased that these nations are interested in Peak Oil. The following message naturally made the invitation even more interesting, “Part of the conference aim is really toward public awareness. So, Aljazeerah Mubasher will broadcast the whole symposium”.

Comments on the hearing on “American Energy Security and Innovation” before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power

“Many small creeks make a large stream” is a Swedish saying that describes well the production of shale oil and shale gas. Equivalent English sayings are, “Many a little makes a mickle”, (that originated in Scotland and then President George Washington used in a text of 1793) and “Many drops make a river”. If one looks at a map of the Bakken showing only the top 20% best producing wells one cannot deny that there are many “drops”. The hearing that the Subcommittee on Energy and Power (US House of Representatives) held on 5 February, investigated whether all these many wells can amount to “American Energy Security”.


The Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ) is one of those for which the Global Energy Systems research group has a subscription.

Comments on US Energy Secretary Chu’s plans to leave the DOE


The USA’s Secretary of Energy, the Nobel Prizewinner Steven Chu, has decided to leave Washington and return to California. His thoughts about his past four years as Secretary of Energy were given in a letter to the employees of the Department of Energy (read the letter). Before we look a little more closely at that letter I would like to remind you that there were many of us who had great hopes when he was first appointed – at last a person with a scientific background would control the USA’s Department of Energy. Today there are many who are disappointed. There are those who think that the transition to renewable energy was a flop. They think that the money invested in that did not give the expected return, but there are certainly more who think that the investment was much too small.

Der Spiegel: “Full Throttle Ahead: US Tips Global Power Scales with Fracking”

Barack Obama

In the German in issue 5/2013 (January 28, 2013) of DER SPIEGEL you can read about fracking, shale gas and shale oil from a European horizon. The article is translated to English and presented in Spiegel Online International with the title “Full Throttle Ahead: US Tips Global Power Scales with Fracking”.

Comment on Nature's editorial ”Change for good” (Aleklett)

I (Kjell Aleklett)have now also made a comment on the Editorial in Nature. (Read the Editorial)

2013-01-31 05:57 AM

Report this comment | #54593
Kjell Aleklett said:
When one reads the editorial "Change for good" in Nature one is given the impression that Canada's oil sands, shale oil and shale gas are good for our climate,

"The Obama administration might be able to put the United States on track to meet its Copenhagen commitment to reduce emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020."

What is not described is the enormous volume of natural gas that, every day, is flared off in association with production of shale oil. During President Obama's first presidential term shale oil production has increased by 1.5 million barrels per day and the light from flaring off of associated gas in the Bakken and Eagle Ford areas is now is so great that these areas glow like brilliant jewels when photographed at night by NASA's satellites.

Comment on Nature editorial ”Change for good” (Lardelli)

Michael Lardelli is great when he translates my blog "Aleklett's Energy Mix" and my book "Peeking at Peak Oil" to English. He is also very good to make his own comments about gas and oil. Nature has the editorial article “Change for good” that you should read before you read Michaels comment (read in Nature):

Michael Lardelli said:

From these two statements,

" electricity generation another boost towards using plentiful natural gas"


"The president can also take advantage of rising domestic oil and gas production to defuse concerns over energy security"

demonstrate once again that Nature's editorial staff really do not understand the peer-reviewed scientific literature on fossil fuel depletion.

Gas flaring at Bakken and Eagle Ford

Since the IEA presented its World Energy Outlook report of 2012 the world’s press has spread the news that the USA can become a larger oil producer than Saudi Arabia. They have also reported on increased production of shale gas. During recent years production of shale gas has increased so greatly that the price of natural gas has fallen to levels where it is no longer profitable to drill new wells. I have previously described how drilling rigs are leaving the shale gas fields. Today, the Oil&Gas Journal reported that, “Oil prices rise in mixed market but gas ‘falls off cliff’”.

Production of shale oil occurs primarily in two areas, the Bakken of Montana and North Dakota and the Eagle Ford area in Texas. Historically, some natural gas has always been produced in association with oil and from the beginning this has been burned (“flared off”). Nowadays, oil companies are trying to utilise this gas. This is good for the companies’ economies and is also good for the environment since burning natural gas forms carbon dioxide (although CO2 is a less potent greenhouse gas than natural gas [methane] itself).

IMF and resource scarcity

During the past week the future of the world economy has been discussed in Davos, Switzerland. Below, I think it is appropriate to quote Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In her speech of 23 January she presented the following viewpoint:

The burning question is this: how we can make sure that all regions grow strongly, converge rapidly, and succeed in meeting the aspirations of their people? To answer this question, we need to reflect upon some of the megatrends shaping the future. Many thought leaders are pondering this issue, including here at the World Economic Forum. I would submit the following four pivot points:
• First, a growing demand for individual empowerment, including for women, and a growing sense of a single global community.
•Second, a reallocation of political and economic power across the world. By 2025, for example, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in Asia. This can lead to greater cooperation or to greater tension and competition.
•Third, a seismic shift in demographics, as the “youth bulge” in various emerging regions rubs up against the “graying” populations elsewhere.

Total to cut US shale gas investment

Associate Editor: Total to cut US shale gas investment (

Not long ago, supermajors, both foreign and domestic, entered into multi-million and multi-billion dollar agreements with US independents to get in on the North American shale gas boom. With deflated gas prices, it seems some companies may be looking to decrease their level of investment.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Peter Hutton reported in a note to investors Thursday that Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie confirmed to French newspaper Le Monde that the company will decrease additional investments in US gas.

In January 2010, Total paid $800M to enter the US shale gas business—earning a 25% interest in Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s gassy Barnett Shale assets by way of a joint venture agreement.

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