On a finite planet economic and population growth are suicide for humanity!
IEA 2013 World Energy Outlook
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[IEA 2011 World Energy Outlook]
[IEA 2012 World Energy Outlook (1)]
[IEA 2012 World Energy Outlook (2)]
[15 years IEA WEO - from 1998 to 2012]
[IEA 2013 World Energy Outlook]
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[Some oil depletion graphs of different countries]
The IEA 2013 World Energy Outlook ends again in 2035:
Yesterday, 12 November, 2013, the IEA launched its 2013 World Energy Outlook. As usual, Mr Fatih Birol is pretty optimistic about the future: increased production and more consumption till 2035, and the regurgitated fairy tale of US-American energy independence. Unbroken faith in unconventional oil and gas finds, and technology. After 2035 the world ceases to exist for the economist soothsayers.
[A more detailed review is planned, when we've had the opportunity to study the WEO 2013 in detail.]
"Other voices are more careful, like this one, Mohammad Al Sabban, from Saudi Arabia, published in the Financial Times of 12 November 1013.
About the 2012 WEO we wrote:
In essence, fossil fuel demand and production will grow till 2035. Tight oil and fracking will continue, never mind critical voices of independent specialists saying that these sources may be short-lived.
Dr. Fatih Birol presenting the WEO in Bern:
Fatih Birol 11 Dec 2012 (audio)
Vortrag des Bundesrats Doris Leuthard
Other IEA WEO presentations:
Press launch in London on 11 November 2012
At the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm on 29
Nov. 2012 (begins at 10 min from start of the video)
A summary review of 15 IEA World Energy Outlooks shows the following pattern.
- The WEOs are embedded in a positivist pattern of futher growth and progress, as if the world were flat and resources infinite.
- Resource scarcities and climate change are mentioned but the IEA is confident that technology can provide the solutions.
- The forecasts generally cover a time span of 30 years, after which the IEA world ends.
- The WEO occasionally refers to environmental problems such as biodiversity loss, water, desertification, and food production for a steadily rising world population. The "solutions" "must" be found, as if the use of the imperative would mean that solutions can be found.
- Trade, economic growth, lifting poor countries out of poverty, and employment are the common theme for the positivist trends. No question is asked whether the earth can support ever more people and their products, and what happens when we have used up all natural resources, which include living matter and minerals, as well as soil fertility and livng space.
- The unreflected BAU ideology that 1.4 billion people should get electricity, and thus get access to all electric amenities of the overdeveloped world, never mind where this electricity could come from.
- Hydraulic dams are still seen as an option to increase electricity production, in spite of the fact that there is no water that could be used without harming biodiversity and food production.
- The usual finger is pointed at energy subsidies, although some countries may have valid social reasons for such subsidies.
- The IEA is blindly confident in the environmental harmlessness of unconventional oil and gas exploration, "if" the correct rules and technologies are applied.
- Energy efficiency is seen as a solution, even allowing more economic growth, without questioning growth and concluding that growth is a suicidal policy on a finite world.
- The IEA follows the prevailing opinion that greenhouse emissions and the effects of climate change can be mitigated by investment, i.e. technology and innovation. In reality there is no technology that could significantly reduce emissions and/or sequester greenhouse gases. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) can only be applied to power stations, and it is a questionable technology without any guarantee of long-term storage.
Some IEA excerpts
"Perspectives for international oil markets
hinge on Iraq’s success in revitalising its oil sector." [Strange that the world oil market should depend on the production of one single country. Is this an indirect admission that all other countries have reached the maximum oil extraction capacity?]
"[...]the critical challenges facing
the energy system: to meet the world’s ever-growing energy needs, led by rising incomes and
populations in emerging economies; to provide energy access to the world’s poorest; and to
bring the world towards meeting its climate change objectives."
"Our Efficient World Scenario shows how tackling the barriers to energy efficiency
investment can unleash this potential and realise huge gains for energy security, economic
growth and the environment."
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America’s oil finds will not sideline Saudi Arabia
By Mohammad Al Sabban
The rise in US output is likely to have little impact and be shortlived, writes Mohammad Al Sabban
There has been celebration in the US over the fact that it will become the leading producer of oil and liquefied natural gas by 2014. Some reports describe as the start of a dramatic reshaping of the global energy industry. Others say the prospect is already reshuffling the cards of international energy diplomacy. US energy independence could be achieved by 2025, rather than 2035 as forecast by the International Energy Agency 2013 Energy Outlook.
However, the celebrations may be premature and the projections exaggerated.
America’s daily oil production was the highest in the world from the time oil was discovered until the mid-1970s. Average US production over that time period was about 10m barrels per day – far higher than the output of Saudi Arabia. However, that level of daily oil production did not garner the US any significant influence in international oil markets. Nor did it improve US energy security – it continued to import oil in ever greater quantities. Moreover, output levels have since declined.
Even if the US reaches 11m b/d of crude oil production in 2014, this will not make it the leading producer. The Saudi output is about 11.7m b/d, and poised to increase. Further, Saudi Arabia has a ready spare capacity of an additional 2m b/d of crude. In addition, Saudi Arabia is by far the largest exporter of crude oil and products of crude oil. Its average exports for most of 2013 are about 7.6m b/d; the US exported just 1.9m b/d.
Finally, most of the increase in US production comes from tight oil that is produced primarily in two areas: Bakken in North Dakota and Eagle Ford in Texas. However, the US Energy Information Administration acknowledged in its latest report: “Tight oil development is still at an early stage, and the outlook is highly uncertain.” This is because, for the production of tight oil to continue at increasing rates, the industry must overcome environmental challenges. According to the 2012 report from the US Environmental Protection Agency, fracking produced 280bn gallons of toxic wastewater, 45,000 tons of air pollution and 100m metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent global warming pollution.
The economic challenges facing tight oil are also numerous. They include diminishing rates of return, high depletion rates and the need for higher oil prices to justify investing in new shale wells.
Given these environmental and economic challenges, one must seriously question the sustainability of production of tight oil. One must also question the sustainability of subsidised biofuels that contribute about 10 per cent to the fuels used in the transport sector. With US budget cuts across the board, and the moral issue of the world food crisis, the subsidies for such fuels are likely to be phased out.
In short, this rise in US output is likely to have little impact on energy markets because this boom could be shortlived. Second, it remains highly uncertain that the US will be able to achieve energy independence in coming decades.
What is certain, however, is that developments in the US and other oil-producing nations will affect the investment plans of the leading oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, given the uncertainty created about demand for their output.
Riyadh has already announced that it may not increase its oil production capacity beyond 12.5mbd in the foreseeable future. This is a reaction to the energy production boom in the US and elsewhere, coupled with a decline in demand for oil in OECD countries since the second half of the past decade. Even if it is premature to hail the US as the world’s leading producer, it could also be too soon to rule out long-term technological improvements that could trigger large-scale tight oil production in the US and worldwide. After all, just five years ago, no one seriously thought the US would be able to produce tight oil.
Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia will continue to be the most influential energy producer for years to come because of its record of moderate pricing and as the most dependable, secure source of oil.
The writer is professor of economics at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. He was senior adviser to the Saudi oil minister
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November 12, 2013 7:26 pm
Shale gas boom to fuel US lead over Europe and Asia for decades
By Ajay Makan and Neil Hume in London
The shale gas boom will boost US manufacturing and jobs until at least 2035, the world’s most respected energy body predicted yesterday, reinforcing America’s economic edge over Asia and Europe for the next two decades.
The International Energy Agency said that shale would continue to fuel the American economy even after the US starts ramping up exports, despite fears that selling the cheap gas to overseas customers would erode the country’s competitive advantage.
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