”Global Energy Systems 2013” and ASPO

The conference, “Global Energy Systems 2013” in Edinburgh, UK, has now concluded with great success. The initiative to hold a conference in Scotland was taken when ASPO International met in Vienna in 2012 after the successful conference there. According to our regulations a meeting of ASPO International members should occur when an ASPO conference is held and in 2012 we decided to try to organise a conference in the UK. Euan Mearns from Aberdeen, the prolific writer for The Oil Drum website, took upon himself the task of assembling a group to organise a UK conference and report back to the ASPO International. We decided that Uppsala would be the backup destination for the next ASPO conference if the UK idea failed.

ASPO International is an entirely non-profit organisation without a budget and so the financing of a conference by a national ASPO organisation can be a difficult issue. During the organisational work it became evident that a conference on Global Energy Systems would find sponsors while a traditional Peak Oil conference would have difficulties.

Peak Oil: preparing for the ‘second half of the age of oil’

In the journal, Science Omega, James Morgan has published an interview with me where we discuss how we can prepare for "the second half of the age of oil". In light of the fact that so many articles in the last half year have tried to convince us that we do not need to worry about Peak Oil, it was a pleasure to discuss how Peak Oil will affect us in future. The title of the article, "Peak oil: preparing for the extinction of 'petroleum man' ", indicates that it is taking a very long term view but before he becomes extinct 'petroleum man' will contract and the hope is that 'the alternative man' will, instead, grow forth.

Future oil production in Canada

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has just released a report ”Crude Oil – Forecast, Markets & Transportation”. In 2007 we wrote our article on production from the Canadian oil sands titled, “A crash program scenario for the Canadian oil sands industry” and since then I have followed developments in Canada. Therefore, it was with great interest that I downloaded CAPP’s report. Before we study the report in more detail, we should note the disclaimer on the first page, “This publication was prepared by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). While it is believed that the information contained herein is reliable under the conditions and subject to the limitations set out, CAPP does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. The use of this report or any information contained will be at the user’s sole risk, regardless of any fault or negligence of CAPP.”

The first thing that strikes me is that, under the descriptor “crude oil” CAPP discusses all oil types. We are so used to the price of oil (e.g.

Oil Production in the Polar Regions

by Kjell Aleklett and Colin Campbell

Oil in the Polar region

Today, the Arctic Council’s eight foreign ministers from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Canada and the USA meet in Sweden to discuss, among other things, oil production in the Arctic. They will attempt to agree on a binding joint treaty regarding what preparations will exist in case of an oil spill/accident. The amount of oil that is accessible for production is limited and large fields are required for such production to be profitable. The thing that distinguishes the polar region from e.g. the area between the UK and Norway is that the oil-bearing sedimentary layers are much older and have been subjected to more extreme conditions than those under the North Sea. This means that the likelihood of finding oil is less. So far it is mainly in Alaska that they have been able to extract oil but the reserves there have begun to run out.

Did the Russian jets practice defense of the oil export route in the Baltic Sea?

At the end of April the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet led with the story that “Russian aircraft practiced attack against Sweden” (This is an article in English about this event). In the explanatory graphics accompanying the article we read, “Instead of flying their usual route south out in the middle of the Baltic towards Kaliningrad, the six Russian aircraft turned towards Gotska Sandön [an uninhabited Swedish island]” In an article in DN on 10 May headed, “Russia did not conduct exercises against Swedish targets” our foreign minister Carl Bildt asserted that “There is no foundation in substance for the idea that they practiced an attack against Sweden”. He would not explain what led him to make this statement. We who grew up in the shadow of the threat from the Soviet Union and who remember how every maneuver during our military service ended with a victory over the enemy from the east possibly have difficulty imagining any other reason for the Russian movements than a planned attack against Sweden.

New natural gas discovery in Australia

I have just picked up this news on a new natural gas discovery off the coast of Western Australia. The idea is for the gas to be cooled in order to liquefy it. They do not state the volume of this discovery but the text at the top of the figure states that 21 discoveries since 2009 together amount to 10 trillion cubic feet of resources”. Recalculated as oil equivalents this is around 1,900 million barrels. We will see how significant this discovery is when they convert these resources into reserves.

The Oil and Gas Prime Ministers of the UK

Margaret Thatcher, one of the United Kingdom's greatest leaders has died. We can hear on the radio and see on TV how she is praised for her political deeds. Many consider that it was the changes in the economic system and her economic liberalism that led to the UK's economic success in recent decades. Of course those factors may have had a significant influence but what is not mentioned is that Margaret Thatcher took power in the UK when it was in a very favourable position - i.e. the oil companies had found oil and natural gas under the North Sea and production was increasing. The need to import oil and gas reduced and the UK became an oil exporter. The increased gas production meant that the UK could convert away from coal for heating and so the coal mines could be shut down. Of course, there was much conflict over this but it was obvious that coal could not compete with gas. This was also good news for the environment.

‘Qatar confident of future gas demand’

The conference “Peak Oil: Challenges and Opportunities for the GCC Countries” in Doha, Qatar, has ended. It was a very interesting Peak Oil conference and was the first to be held in the Middle East. I was given the honour of summarizing the conference and will write a summary when I am back in Sweden. Until then you can read the notice regarding the conference that was published in the Qatar Tribune: “‘Peak Oil’ meet begins”.

Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, is very important for Qatar. At breakfast this morning I read the Qatar Times and in it was an interesting article on LNG: “LNG gas shipments to Japan soar as Europe demand declines”. It is an article that the newspaper purchased from Reuters. Qatar is one of the world’s largest producers of natural gas and the nations economy is dependent on the income from sales of LNG.

The Voyageur oil sands project is stopped

According to the World Energy Outlook 2012 report, the IEA is anticipating production of tight oil, shale oil etc., will increase dramatically in the USA at the same time as Canada’s oilsands industry will thrive. In this light, the information released by Canada’s largest oil company Suncor Energy Inc. on 27 March must come as a great disappointment for the IEA. Suncor has decided to abandon its upgrading project Voyager. We can read in an article in the Financial Post that, “Canada’s largest oil company said Wednesday the multibillion-dollar plant, a joint venture with France’s Total SA, will not be built”. The installation was intended for upgrading of bitumen from oilsand into synthetic crude oil. Production was to have been 200,000 barrels per day. The business plan was that the synthetic crude oil would be sent to the USA for refining, but when that plan was drawn up they had not anticipated the developments in the Bakken field: “Things change,” said one executive in the refining business.

Peak Oil conference in Doha, Qatar, April 3-4

The next very important Peak Oil event will be the Peak Oil conference in Doha, Qatar 3-4 April 2013: Peak Oil: Challenges and Opportunities for the GCC Countries. Read about the conference and if you are interested you can participate.
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