ABC Catalyst Bombshell: Peak oil is now official

ABC’s Catalyst reports that the IEA have moved their position from one of peak oil Denialism to it being a real and present danger. But did anyone take notice?

The Sydney Morning Herald saw it.

Whereas five years ago the IEA expected total production – including oil from deep-sea drilling and unconventional sources such as tar sands – could rise to 120 million barrels a day by 2030, the agency now expects production will reach only 96 million barrels. And Birol reckons there are no guarantees it can be brought out of the ground in a timely fashion.

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”Existing fields are declining so sharply that in order to stay where we are in terms of production levels, in the next 25 years we have to find and develop four new Saudi Arabias. That is a huge challenge.”

In the lucky country, of course, we’ll be fine. Rising income from coal and gas exports will help us pay higher oil prices, even as our oil trade deficit blows out and oil hits $US200 ($A183) a barrel, as is forecast often enough. Can we go back to sleep now?

Not when the climate implications are taken into account, says Ian Dunlop, a former Shell executive and deputy convenor of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil.

Dunlop says the manifestations of peak oil were temporarily masked by the financial crisis – itself partly triggered by high oil prices which hurt struggling homeowners in the US subprime mortgage belts – but are now confronting us as the developed world increases consumption. The world faces a 20-30 per cent reduction in oil availability by 2020, he says.

The problem with future oil production, Dunlop says, is the amount of energy you get out for the energy you expend – your return on investment – is dropping.

”Cheap oil is disappearing. A lot of major exporting countries in the Middle East are now finding they need more for domestic markets, and there’s not as much available for export.”

The Brisbane Times saw it, and ran the same article. A dad I know at my kid’s school saw it. But the PM? Nah, she was getting ready for the Royal Wedding. So while the rest of the world and their dog knows about peak oil, we’ll just continue to spend 4 times as much money on roads as we do on public transport. Way to go Australia! šŸ˜‰

On another sad note, this episode of Catalyst also ran a report basically condemning nuclear power in Australia. I’m not even a scientist and I found myself yelling at the TV! They presented the same old myths:

  • We don’t know what to do with the waste.
    (Wrong! With Gen4 reactors, nuclear waste is not a problem but the SOLUTION as today’s waste could run the world for 500 years!)
  • Nukes would take too long to build
    (Wrong! With GE’s S-PRISM nearly ready to go, we could order a bunch from America or China or India, whoever gets the GenIV’s coming off the production line first).
  • Nukes would use too much water.
    (Wrong! Build them on the coast and we’ll have all the water we need).
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2 Responses to ABC Catalyst Bombshell: Peak oil is now official

  1. specialletters says:

    You have to watch this Yelling at the TV!

    BTW where are the four new Saudi Arabia’s?

  2. Eclipse Now says:

    Some people believe the 4 new S.A’s are in them thar tar sands and shale oils matey… but they’re ignoring the water limits, the ERoEI limits, and the energy limits. Tar sands are rumoured to require a bunch of new nukes to power the whole extraction process. It makes me scratch my head. Why not just plug the nukes into the grid and power a bunch of electric cars and trolley buses instead, without totally trashing most of Canada’s wilderness? (Let alone the Co2 implications).

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