oil

Implications of Peak Oil for Industrialized Societies

Publication date:
2008-05-06
First published in:
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
Authors:
G. McPherson, J. Weltzin
Abstract:

The world passed the halfway point of oil supply in 2005. World demand for oil likely will severely outstrip supply in 2008, leading to increasingly higher oil prices. Consequences are likely to include increasing gasoline prices, rapidly increasing inflation, and subsequently a series of increasingly severe recessions followed by a worldwide economic depression. Consequences may include, particularly in industrialized countries such as the United States, massive unemployment, economic collapse, and chaos.

Published in: Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Volume 28, Issue 3, May 2008, Pages 187-191
Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0270467608316098

Potential Iranian hegemony in oil producing islamic countries - inplications for oil geopolitics

Publication date:
2010-01-31
First published in:
International Problems
Authors:
J. Leigh, P. Vukovic
Abstract:

In recent decades world supply of oil has been increasingly held in the Islamic countries around the Persian Gulf. The fact that the level of oil production is high in these countries and that they possess most of the world’s oil reserves could be extremely significant. This
“petropower” could lead to strategic geopolitical developments when oil is used as economic and political weapons. It may be that the apocalyptic appeal of militant Islamism coming out of Iran can weld both Shia and Sunni people of the region to the cause of establishing a world Islamic “caliphate”. This may appear in a new world of a tripartite mix of superpowers, one of which could be an Iranian-led oil rich Islamic bloc of Gulf states. Each superpower would vie for advantage, and particularly two of these superpowers would seek favour in maintaining supplies of oil imports increasingly from a potentially Iran dominated mix of oil producing Islamic countries.

Published in: International Problems, Volume 62, Issue 1, 2010
Available from: Institute of International Politics and Economy

Estimate of global oil resource and the forecast for global oil production in the 21st century

Publication date:
2009-04-01
First published in:
Russian Geology and Geophysics
Authors:
A.E. Kontorovich
Abstract:

A probabilistic estimate of the global conventional recoverable oil resource was performed based on the concept of the Earth's sedimentary cover as a holistic system. A forecast for global oil production was made for the period till the end of the 21st century. It has been shown that the global oil production will most likely peak at 4.2–4.7 billion tons a year in 2020–2030. For that period, the top oil-producing regions in the world will be the Persian Gulf, West and East Siberia. The upstream sector at that time will turn its focus to the Arctic shelf. Annual oil production could be maintained at a level of 4.2–4.5 billion tons till the late 2040s.

Published in: Russian Geology and Geophysics, Volume 50, Issue 4, April 2009, Pages 237-242
Available from: ScienceDirect

Oil as a finite resource

Publication date:
1998-06-01
First published in:
Natural Resources Research
Authors:
J.J MacKenzie
Abstract:

Fossil fuels are finite and nonrenewable. In due course, they will become scarce and costly. Their role in powering modern economies is so vital as to warrant a review of ultimately recoverable reserves and of plausible future consumption patterns. Over the past 50 years, many oil companies, geologists, governments, and private corporations have performed scores of studies of Estimated Ultimately Recoverable (EUR) global oil. Taken together, the great majority of these studies reflect a consensus that EUR oil reserves lie within the range of 1800 to 2200 billion barrels. Given this range, a simple model is used to calculate that world oil production is likely to peak sometime between 2007 and 2019. The global transportation sector, almost totally dependent on oil, could be especially hard hit unless vehicles fueled by sources other than petroleum are developed and rapidly deployed.

Published in: Natural Resources Research, Volume 7, Number 2 / June, 1998, Pages 97-100
Available from: SpringerLink

Reserve Growth in Oil Fields of West Siberian Basin, Russia

Publication date:
2003-06-01
First published in:
Natural Resources Research
Authors:
M.K. Verma, G.F. Ulmishek
Abstract:

Although reserve (or field) growth has proved to be an important contributing factor in adding new reserves in mature petroleum basins, it is a poorly understood phenomenon. Although several papers have been published on the U.S. fields, there are only a few publications on fields in other petroleum provinces. This paper explores the reserve growth in the 42 largest West Siberian oil fields that contain about 55% of the basin’s total oil reserves.

The West Siberian oil fields show 13-fold reserve growth 20 years after the discovery year and only about 2-fold growth after the first production year. This difference in growth is attributed to extensive exploration and field delineation activities between discovery and the first production year. Because of the uncertainty in the length of evaluation time and in reported reserves during this initial period, reserve growth based on the first production year is more reliable for model development. However, reserve growth models based both on discovery year and first production year show rapid growth in the first few years and slower growth in the following years. In contrast, the reserve growth patterns for the conterminous United States and offshore Gulf of Mexico show a steady reserve increase throughout the productive lives of the fields. The different reserve booking requirements and the lack of capital investment for improved reservoir management and production technologies in West Siberia are the probable causes for the difference in the growth patterns.

The models based on the first production year predict that the reserve growth potential in the 42 largest oil fields ofWest Siberia for a five-year period (1998–2003) ranges from 270–330 million barrels or 0.34–0.42% per year. For a similar five-year period (1996–2001), models for the conterminous United States predict a growth of 0.54–0.75% per year.

Published in: Natural Resources Research, Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 105-119
Available from: SpringerLink

Energy and the U.S. Economy: A Biophysical Perspective

Publication date:
1984-08-31
First published in:
Science
Authors:
C.J. Cleveland et al
Abstract:

A series of hypotheses is presented about the relation of national energy use to national economic activity (both time series and cross-sectional) which offer a different perspective from standard economics for the assessment of historical and current economic events. The analysis incorporates nearly 100 years of time series data and 3 years of cross-sectional data on 87 sectors of the United States economy. Gross national product, labor productivity, and price levels are all correlated closely with various aspects of energy use, and these correlations are improved when corrections are made for energy quality. A large portion of the apparent increase in U.S. energy efficiency has been due to our ability to expand the relative use of high-quality fuels such as petroleum and electricity, and also to relative shifts in fuel use between sectors of the economy. The concept of energy return on investment is introduced as a major driving force in our economy, and data are provided which show a marked decline in energy return on investment for all our principal fuels in recent decades. Future economic growth will depend largely on the net energy yield of alternative fuel sources, and some standard economic models may need to be modified to account for the biophysical constraints on human economic activity.

Published in: Science 31 August 1984, Vol. 225. no. 4665, pp. 890 - 897
Available from: ScienceMag

The Future of Oil

Publication date:
1972-09-01
First published in:
The Geographical Journal
Authors:
H. R. Warman
Abstract:

Oil, which plays an important role in modern industrial society, is a finite mineral resource being consumed at an ever increasing rate. This paper considers the general nature of oil occurrences, and examines the whereabouts of existing oil reserves and the rates at which they have been found. It also considers estimates of likely future reserves and how these compare with apparent demand. Brief mention is made of the alternatives to conventional crude oil. The conclusion is reached that we are likely to be dependent on conventional crude oil for a few decades and that the likely available world reserves may prove inadequate to allow continued expansion of our rates of off-take for more than another ten years or so. Alternatives are available but the implications of extra cost will have serious repercussions on the economics and social patterns of our society.

Published in: The Geographical Journal, Vol. 138, No. 3 (Sep., 1972), pp. 287-297
Available from: JSTOR

The Peak and Decline of World Oil and Gas Production

Publication date:
2003-10-22
First published in:
Minerals & Energy - Raw Materials Report
Authors:
K. Aleklett, C. Campbell
Abstract:

Oil and gas have been known since Antiquity but the modern oil industry had its roots in the middle of the 19th Century in Pennsylvania and on the shores of the Caspian. In the early days, the discovery of oil was a hit or miss affair, but in later years it became a decidedly scientific and technological process. Perhaps the most important development was a geochemical breakthrough in the 1980s that made it possible to relate the oil in a well with the rock in which it was generated. That in turn led to an understanding of the very exceptional conditions under which oil was formed in Nature. Advances in computer science also brought great progress in seismic surveying that made it possible to determine with great accuracy the nature of deeply buried geological structures.

These scientific advances have not however been matched by clarity in reporting the results, which are clouded by ambiguous definitions and lax reporting practices. In short, it has been another example of poor accounting. Estimating the size of an oilfield poses no great technological challenge, although there is naturally a quantifiable range of uncertainty. Extrapolating the discovery trend of the past to determine future discovery and production should be straightforward, and the size distribution of fields should be evident. But the atrociously unreliable nature of public data has given much latitude when it comes to interpreting the status of depletion and the impact of economic and political factors on production. This has allowed two conflicting views of the subject to develop.

The first is what may be called the Natural Science Approach, which observes the factors controlling oil accumulation in Nature and applies immutable physical laws to the process of depletion. It seeks to base its conclusions on three simple questions:

  • what was found, referring to the different categories of oil and gas?
  • how much was found? and
  • when was it found?

(see Bentley, 2002; Campbell 1997,1998; Deffeyes, 2001; Laherrère 1999; Ivanhoe, 2000; Perrodon, 1999; Simmons 2000; Youngquist, 1997)

The second is what may be called the Flat-Earth Approach, in which the resource is deemed to be virtually limitless, with extraction being treated as if it were controlled only by economic, political and technological factors. It seeks to explain discovery as a consequence of investment, in the belief that supply always matches demand under ineluctable economic principles. It supposes that as one resource is depleted, its place is seamlessly taken by a better substitute: “the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stone” is a favourite aphorism. (see Adelman, 1995; Odell, 1999.)

There is little scope for consensus because one approach relies on the measurement and observation of Nature, the other on faith in the Mastery of Man. The debate, if that is the right word, is itself further clouded by vested interests with motives to obscure and confuse. On the one side have been the oil companies who have had good commercial and regulatory reasons to under-report the size of discovery, so that the subsequent upward revisions gave an encouraging image of steady growth to the stockmarket. On the other side are governments and international agencies that have found it easier in political terms to react to a crisis than to anticipate one. The depletion of oil, which furnishes 40% of traded energy and 90% of transport fuel is by all means a sensitive subject for all governments because it heralds a discontinuity of historic proportions. It is easy for the economists who advise most governments to map short-term economic cycles but it is very difficult for them to deal with major discontinuities, especially those that undermine the very foundations of their subject.

This paper will endeavour to present the evidence for the Natural Science Approach, addressing the geological constraints; the technical basis of reserve estimation; the distribution of field sizes; and the obvious correlation between discovery and production after a time lag. It will further explain the reporting practices, and present both a realistic assessment of the resource and a practical model of depletion.

Published in: Minerals and Energy - Raw Materials Report, Volume 18, Number 1, 2003 , pp. 5-20(16)
Available from: IngentaConnect

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