Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish all the people that have been reading my blog a Happy New Year! This year has been by far the most successful year since I started writing the blog with 10.000-17.500 hit per month. I would like to thank all the readers for your support and for sharing my blog through E-mail, Social Networks and on forums. A special thanks also goes out to The Survivalist Boards (SB) and the American Preppers Network (APN).

If you like the blog please vote for it at the site Survival Top 50, this is also a site where you can find many other survival related blogs and additional information.

It’s often popular to make prediction concerning what the New Year will bring; but I will try to refrain from this. I personally think that the previous Year has been very interesting with many developments like the Arabian Spring, The Occupy Wall Street Movement, The Current Economical Crisis in Europe and the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant Disaster. That Peak Oil is starting to get more and more attention is also an interesting development even if the US Energy Information Agency is not raising the subject. So to all of you out there; I wish you the best of luck with your preps and efforts for 2012.

Sibi Totique

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Travel Safety and Travel Safety Kits

Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags and Pocket Survival Kits is often focused on Natural Disasters and other types of severe Crisis Situations. An area that is often not discussed in the Prepper and Survivalist community is Travel Safety. Today a large number of people travel all over the world to meet new people and experience new places. The price of airline tickets are currently very low and even people on a low budget can afford to travel long distances. This article will address some of the measures you can take reduce risk while travelling. Travelling to areas where the comforts we are normally used to may not be available. This article will focus on travelling and what you can do to increase your own safety.

Context Matters
Just like with Bug Out Bags or Get Home Bags context matters when it comes to Travel Safety. The precautions you take must make sense for the journey you’re planning. If you are planning on a mountain expedition in an arctic region the measures taken will be very different from the measures you should take if you’re planning on going to large city for the holidays. Some of the factors that will affect what measures you should take:
• Are you going to an Urban or Wilderness Setting?
• What Kind of Activities Do You Plan To Engage In?
• How Long Are You Planning on Staying?
• Are You Travelling Alone or in a Group?
• Are you familiar with the Region your Traveling to?
• Can you Speak and Read The Local Language?

Making Your Research
In order to be able to take the right precautions it’s important that you know as much as possible about place you’re travelling to. I suggest that you start with researching the country’s political system and modern history
• What type of political system does country have? One good source for information is the site Freedom House that ranks countries depending on the Political Right and Civil Liberties. Also check the your State Departments Current Travel Warnings.
• Make a basic research on the History and Cultural of the country you’re travelling to. Are there any cultural taboos that you should be aware of?
• Are there specific hazards in the region like crime, armed conflict or natural disasters? Are there any specific regions or parts of cities that should be avoided?
• If you’re travelling to another country what has the relation between your country and this country been? Have there been any recent cases of internal conflict or terrorist attacks within the country or armed conflict with neighboring countries?
• Another good idea can be to check the current domestic development by reading news reports from the country and check the state department’s recommendations for travel to this country.
• Is the water generally safe to drink or should you be drinking bottled water?
• What type of climate and weather can you expect?

Many popular places for travel have political systems that are corrupt or they can be dictatorships. This is often not something that is noticed by tourists; but if you for some reason get involved in an accident or get charged with a crime this can become a very serious problem. There can also be political protests against regimes like during the Arabian Spring or in Thailand. Other countries may also be very hard against journalists other how try to report on the abuse from regimes. If you’re travelling to such a country make sure that you are aware about if there are any specific locations where the opposition normally meets or if they carry some type of clothing or other markers to show their support for the opposition. Knowing the geography of the place you’re going to can also be critical; what type of terrain can you expect; are there any specific landmarks etc. Today tools like Google Maps can provide a free service for making this type of research.

The Basic Precautions
Before we get into the Travel Safety Kit there are some basic safety measures that should always be taken. Do you
[ ] Have the proper insurance if you would get hurt during your trip?
[ ] Have some extra cash or money if you would get stuck in the country for an extended period of time, unexpected expenses would arise or if you would have to book a new ticket back home?
[ ] Have a good understanding of the country you’re going to and the risks you’re facing?
[ ] Have you made a general physical check-up lately to make sure that you are in good health?
[ ] Have you checked you dental health and taken care of any problems?
[ ] Checked if there is any specific diseases that may require immunizations in the region? For travel to some countries having the right immunizations and an immunization card to prove it is mandatory; make your research.

One of the most common problems for people is that a trip can turn out to be more expensive than anticipated or unexpected expenses may. Airplanes can get delayed or stopped because of severe weather or even natural disasters like volcanoes. Other more common problems can be that the airline misplaces your luggage or that it gets stolen forcing you to get new basic supplies like clothing.

The health aspect is also critical; do what you can in order to minimize the risk that you will get injured or Ill during your trip and check up on your general health and dental health before you go. If you would get hurt it’s also critical that you have the right type of insurance that will cover your expenses. If you have any specific medical conditions like asthma or diabetes make sure that you bring some extra medication with you and that you bring your prescriptions for these. If the country does not share the language of your own get prescriptions translated to this language if possible to minimize complication in the customs. Also learn the name of your medical condition and medication in this language so that you can communicate with medical personal if you have to.

The clothing you pick must be suitable for the climate and weather you will be experiencing; dressing to warm or cold can become a serious problem. Also try to wear clothing that blends in and does not attract too much attention. Avoid designer clothing and expensive brands, jewelry and expensive watches that may attract attention and make you a target. Just like when you’re going on a hike; break in your shoes before you leave. It may be tempting to get a new pair of footwear just before you go but it can mean that you will spend your trip with blisters and feet that constantly hurts.

The Plan
When planning your travel it can be a good idea to leave the details of your plan with a friend or family member so that they know how you’re planning to travel, what routes, where you’re planning to stay, when you’re planning to go and return etc. Leaving a copy of your passport, airline tickets, insurance information etc can also be a good idea.

The Travel Safety Kit
Fire Alarm / Burglar Alarm
Fire Safety is just as important when travelling abroad as in your home. There are a number of companies that makes portable Fire Alarms that you can take with you on your travels. There is also Fire Alarm that doubles as burglar alarms that can be attached to doors warning you if someone tries to enter your room, one model is made by the company Deltronic Security. A door stopper can be a good complement to a burglar alarm since it makes it harder to enter a room and gives you more time to respond to situation if someone tries to enter your room. When entering new accommodations check out what alternative routes you can use during an evacuation.

First Aid Kit and Medicines
A small medical kit that includes some plasters and disinfection wet wipes should be a part of any travel safety kit. How comprehensive your kit depends on what type of location you will be traveling to and how available medical assistance will be. A few pain killers and anti-diarrheal tablets is another good complement.

In regions where medical facilities may lack sterile equipment it can be a good idea to bring a basic sterile kit so that medical personal can use sterile equipment. This can be very important in order to prevent that you get diseases like AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis.

Prescription Tablets and Medication
If you need some type of prescription medication remember to include your prescriptions and if possible make sure to get the prescription in the same language that is used in country your travelling to in order to minimize problems in customs. Always bring a supply for at least a few more days than you planning to stay. This is the basics that I would recommend everyone to bring with them; but if you are going on a longer trip or engage in high risk activities like extreme sports your medical kit should be adjusted accordingly.

Protection from the Sun
If the climate is warm and sunny don’t forget to bring Sun Screen along with you. This can also be a serious problem in the arctic where the white snow reflects the rays of the sun during the spring. Remember to apply the Sun Screen before you go outside; when you start feeling pain from you burns it’s generally too late. Go for a Sun Screen that’s has the Highest Protection you can find. Protecting your eyes is also critical; especially in arctic conditions when you can get “snow blindness” if you don’t protect your eyes.

A compact flashlight or headlamp is a natural part of Travel Safety Kit (TSK) and especially useful in regions where black outs is a common problem. I suggest that you get compact model that use either one AA or AAA battery since this types of batteries generally are widely available. Examples of models can be the Fenix LD-10, Sunwayman M10A, 4Sevens Quark AA Tactical or ZebraLight H51. The Petzl E+Lite and Petzl Tikka XP2 are two compact headlights that can provide both white and red light.

Survival Knife
A knife can be a tool for many uses; from everything to open a wine bottle, a can of food, to cut your nails or more serious work like cutting a seatbelt after a car crash. Before you decide on what type of knife you should bring with you on your travel make your research; what types of knives are legal to carry and where are they legal to carry in the area you’re traveling to. Remember not to carry your knife on your person or hand luggage if travelling by plane; this normally means that you will lose the knife and you may also get in legal trouble.

A pocket knife can be a valuable tool for all types of situations. In general I recommend either a Swiss Army Knife because of the versatility they provide or a Folding Knife. A Swiss Army Knife can provide with all types of tool like a bottle opener, can opener, scissor, wine opener and blade just to name a few of the features that is often included. Swiss Army Knives are also known by most people and does not attract much attention. As a general rule I do not recommend tactical knives, double edged knives, knives with a one hand opening or assisted opening no matter of the laws in the areas your visiting simply because this type of knives easily can scare others and attract unwanted attention. If you want to bring a knife of this type I suggest that you bring another knife with a more peaceful look that you can use if you ever have to use your knife in public.

No matter what type of knife you decide to get make sure that you get a high quality model; a cheap copy can fail when you need it the most. It’s important that you can rely on your blade if you would ever need it.

There are more models of knives on the market than I can name here. As I stated before in general I would recommend a Swiss Army Knife; Victorinox and Wenger both make high quality models. Find a model that has the tools that you personally need. For folding knives I would recommend that you start with looking if there are any famous models from the country or region you’re travelling to; if there is choosing such a model can help you blend in among the public. The folding Knives from Opinel are relatively cheap, comes with wooden handles and a blade look that both that can secure the blade both when it’s out and folded back into the handle. These knives are not ideal for bush craft but works well for everything from cutting bread, food and other light work during travel. If you want a more reliable folding knife with a higher quality steel Folding Knives like the Fällkniven U2, U4 or TK3 can be interesting alternatives.

I also suggest that you include some type of items that you can help you start a fire like a simple BIC lighter or a small Fire Steel. For BOB or GHB I would suggest that you normally double up so that you have at least two methods for starting a fire; but if you’re going to a Urban area one items is often more than enough and will most likely just be used to light someone’s cigarette or a candle.

If you don’t know the language normally spoken in the area you’re travelling to writing down some common phrases and words in a notebook in combination with a pocket dictionary can be helpful. A Kwikpoint Translator can be very valuable tool to bring with you since it can allow you to communicate without words.

Pen and Notebook
A compact notebook and a pen should also be a part of any travel security kit. Before you leave I suggest that you write down information like where you can find the nearest embassy, the address and phone number to important locations like the place where you will be staying, people you know in the region etc. The Notebook can also be used to write down phrases and other information. The Fisher Space Pen Bullet and Fisher Space Pen Trekker is two relatively compact high quality pens that can be worth considering for TSK.

Sewing Kit and Repair
A small sewing kit is something that can be very useful to repair clothing. A few needles, safety pins and some strong thread is normally everything you need. There are several very compact credit card sized kits on the market if you want to be a preassembled sewing kit. If you are going on a longer expedition and may have to repair packs, boots or tents made from heavy duty materials a Speedy Stitcher can be an excellent addition. Some paracord, duct tape and super flue can also be good for travel when you won’t be able to replace broken equipment.

Other Items
Having a map of the area your travelling to can be a very valuable tool, when you don’t use the map try not to show its since it’s a quite strong indicator that you can find your way. A compact compass like the Suunto M-9 or Cammenga Wrist Watch can be good for keeping your direction.

A Travel Radio can be a good tool for keeping up to date; make your research in order to know if there are any local stations broadcasting news in your language.

Cell Phones work very well in most regions; there are however places where the cell phone net does not operate. There are also countries that can have different cell phone standard than you have in your own country; this can mean that your normal cell phone won’t work. The most common problem is that it can be very expensive calling using your own number, check with your operator for the prices before you go; if the prices are high and staying for a long period of time it can be better to buy a prepaid SIM-card. The prices for sending text messages are often relatively low. Note: The prices for using data traffic from Smartphone can sometimes be enormously high; there are cases when people have gotten bills for thousands of dollars: if you have a smart phone check the prices with you operator before leaving.

If you are travelling to remote areas where Cell Phones don’t work a SPOT can be a good tool in order to signal other if you require assistance. The new generation of SPOT:s can also send messages with your progress so that your friends and relatives can see how your travel or adventures progress. Satellite phones are relatively expensive but if you have the money they can be an invaluable tool in remote areas.

Money Belts and Hidden Pockets
One of the biggest risks you’re facing is losing your equipment either from simply forgetting your pack somewhere, getting pick pocketed or mugged. This happens to many people all over the world no matter what location there travelling to. I have personally traveled with people how have lost their bag containing everything from their passport; their wallet, id, driver license, credit cards, all their cash, cell phone, the keys to their home and the keys to their accommodation. This can happen to anyone.

Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Separate your gear so that you have some spare cash, ID and a credit card in a separate location like an ankle pouch or money belt. If you’re travelling through an area where robbery is common it can be good idea to carry an extra wallet containing an old ID card and a little cash can be a good idea.

Pick Pockets
No matter how careful you are its very hard to protect yourself from pick pockets. Tourist are especially vulnerable since they often don’t know the terrain, where the risks are greatest and they often stand out from general crowd and may be distracted trying to find their way to other locations.

Pick Pockets are often very skilled at what they do and they can often deploy techniques like camouflage and distractions; working either alone or in teams. In short; no matter how careful you are, you always have the disadvantage. The only thing you can do is to reduce the chance you will become a target.
• Keep your wallets and other possessions in safest location you can; the back pockets on your pants is one of worst places you can carry your wallet.
• Avoid handbags where the content can be easily accessed from the top. Backpacks can also be vulnerable since people can access them from a position where you can’t see them. Safety Pins can be used to secure zippers and make it harder to open zippers in bags and clothing.
• Be especially aware when you’re travelling with public transport like buses, subways, trains, elevators and escalators since these environments often are packed with people making it hard to notice everyone around you.
• Avoid displaying expensive jewelry, watches, hand bags and expensive clothing since this signals that you might have expensive possessions worth stealing.
• Avoid travelling alone, especially during the night or in unsafe areas.
• Keep attention. Don’t walk around with headphones so that you can’t hear what’s going on around you. In some culture physical contact is much more common when talking to others; this can be used to mask the attempt of picking your pocket and stealing your equipment.
• Avoid drinking too much alcohol or use other drugs; this makes you an especially easy victim.

Travelling is an activity that can be related to risk. Leaving your normal setting may mean that you will have to adapt a different culture, climate, terrain and situation that you are normally use to. Even if this article has focused largely on potential threats when travelling I still would like to emphasize that all activities life is related to risk. For many people travelling can be some of the best experience they will have their life meeting new people and making friends for life. But travel can also become a very unpleasant experience if you’re not careful. Learn to plan and do what you can to manage the risk you take.

Other Articles:
Travelling with Vehicles during a Crisis or Survival Situation

Monday, December 12, 2011

Peak Oil and Our Mental Models. The WikiLeaks Cable and The World’s Largest Oil Fields.

In the two previous articles on Peak Oil I have discussed the future Outlooks concerning Oil made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In this article I will focus on two aspects in depth. The first aspect is to focus on the World’s largest Oil Fields and see what importance they play for the world oil production. The second aspect is to focus on the secret diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks from US embassy in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

In the 2011 World Energy Outlook by the IEA the Production of Crude Oil from the oil fields that produce oil in 2010 in expected to drop by over Two-Thirds by 2035. Quote: “We project that crude oil production from fields that were producing in 2010 will drop from 69mb/to 22mb/d by 2025 – a fall of over two-thirds”. But the IEA still expects the crude world production to remain at 67,9 mb/d per day 2035 from Crude Oil Yet to be found and Yet to be developed (WEO 2011: 122-123).

The WikiLeaks Cable
In 2010 WikiLeaks made the largest publication of classified material in history when a large number of US diplomatic cables were released. Among these cables one cable from the US Embassy in Riyadh from the 10th of December 2007 was released. This cable focus on an interview with Dr Sadad al-Husseini. Al-Husseini was formerly the Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production at Saudi Aramco, he also has Ph.D. in Geological Sciences. In this interview al-Hussseini warns that the Saudi Oil Reserves may be overstated by as much as 40%. Concerning the implication of this statement al-Husseini believes that:

“In al-Husseini’s view, once 50 percent depletion of original proven reserves has been reached and the 180 billion bbls threshold crossed, a slow but steady output decline will ensue and no amount of effort will be able to stop it. By al-Husseini’s calculations, approximately 116 billion barrels of oil have been produced by Saudi Arabia, meaning only 64 billion barrels remain before reaching this crucial point of inflection. At 12 million b/d production, this inflection point will arrive in 14 years.”

“While al-Husseini believes that Saudi officials overstate capabilities in the interest of spurring foreign investment, he is also critical of international expectations. He stated that the IEA’s expectation that Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will lead the market in reaching global output levels of over 100 million barrels/day is unrealistic, and it is incumbent upon political leaders to begin understanding and preparing for this “inconvenient truth.””
According to the cable al-Husseini describes himself as optimistic about the future outlook of energy even if he contradicts the official Aramco line. It’s clear that al-Husseini probably is one of the people in the world with the best insight concerning the future of oil production in Saudi Arabia based both on the man’s education, experience and firsthand knowledge from leading the Exploration and Production unit in Aramco.

The World’s Largest Oil Fields
The number of producing oil fields 2007 was around 70.000; in total these fields produced around 70 million barrels oil per day (WEO 2008: 225-226). As previously noted the IEA expects that production from fields that was producing oil in 2010 is expected to drop from 65 mb/d to 22 mb/d in 2035. But the IEA still expects new finding to replace this lost production. This raises the question about what type of future findings we can expect. So let’s take a look at the World’s Largest Oil Fields.

The Top 10 Producing Oil Fields in the World 2007
1.) Ghawar 5,1mb/d
Ghawar In Saudi Arabia in undoubtedly the King of Kings. Ghawar was discovered in 1948 and has been producing enormous amount of oils ever since. Ghawar alone has historically produced somewhere between 55-65% of all oil coming from Saudi Arabia. The Fields Peaked in its production 1980 with a production of 5,58mb/d, the production was still at an amazing 5,1mb/d 2007.

2.) Cantarell 1,6mb/d
Cantarell in Mexico is the World’s Second most producing Oil Field. The Field was discovered in 1977, peaked in its production in 2003 with a production of 2,05mb/d a figure that had dropped to 1,6mb/d in 2007.

3.) Safaniyah 1,4mb/d
Safaniyah in Saudi Arabia was discovered in 1951. The field Peaked in its production 1998 with a production of 2,12mb/d, in 2007 the production has dropped to 1,4mb/d.

4.) Rumaila 1,25mb/d
Rumaila was discovered 1953 in Iraq. The field Peaked in its production in 1979 with a production 1,49 mb/d, in 2007 the production had dropped to 1,25mb/d.

5.) Greater Burgan 1,17mb/d
This oil fields in Kuwait was discovered in 1938, the production peaked in 1972 with a production of 2,415 mb/d a figure dropped to 1,17mb/d in 2007.

6.) Samotlor 0,903mb/d
This Russian Oil Field was discovered in 1960, it Peak in its production in 1980 with an enormous production of 3,435mb/d, a figure that had dropped sharply to 0,903mb/d in 2007.

7.) Akwaz 0,77mb/d
This Iranian Oil Field was discovered in 1958 and peaked in its production in 1977 with a production just over 1 million barrels and dropped to 0,77mb/d in 2007.

8.) Zakum 0,674mb/d
This oil field in Abu-Dhabiwas discovered in 1964, peaked in 1998 at 0,795mb/d and had dropped to 0,674mb/d in 2007.

9.) Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli 0,658mb/d
This oil field in Azerbaijan was discovered in 1985 and hadn’t peaked in yet in 2007 with a production of 0,658mb/d.

10.) Priobskoye 0,652mb/d
This Russian oil field was discovered in 1982 and hadn’t peaked yet in 2007 when it has a production of 0,652mb/d.

From these figures we can see several trends. The World’s Largest Oil Fields play a very important part for supplying the world’s energy demand. The Top Ten Fields produced 14,26 mb/d; around 20% of the World’s Total Oil Production. If the next ten fields were added the figure was around 25%. In total there was around 70.000 Oil Fields producing oil in 2007 and 20 of these fields produced a fifth of all the oil (WEO 2008: 225-226).

Another fact also stands out very clear; none of these fields has been discovered recently; the ones that was discovered the latest was discovered in 1982 and 1985. Only two of these fields hadn’t reached their Peak in production in 2007; the rest where on decline. During the summer of 2011 there were big headlines concerning an unusually big oil find outside the coast of Norway that is expected being able to produce up to 500-1200 million barrels of oil. Ghawar with its production of 5 million barrels of oil per day produces this amount of oil in 100-210 days. The trends of smaller and smaller findings are something often stressed by researchers within the Peak Oil movement; smaller and smaller fields of oil are being discovered even though the technological tool available to search for new fields constantly develops.

Peak Oil and Our Mental Models
If Peak Oil is truly here or not is not a question that I can answer. In this article I have lifted the trend of largest oil Fields in the World and classified information from WikiLeaks concerning the situation in Saudi Arabia. No matter what information that I present I almost always the same response; people simply agree or totally disregard the possibility of Peak Oil. One aspect that I would like to raise is mental models and mind-sets. This is one the major subjects that Richard Heuer lifts in the book Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Heuer believes that people construct their own reality based on the information that they observe. We are influenced by many factors like cultural values, education and past experiences but also by factors like the role we are expected to fill and norms within organizations or communities (Heuer 1999: 4-5).

This is a critical aspect that is not lifted enough: We do not focus upon our own mental models. There was a time when most people believed that world was flat. Economical Growth and an increase in the standard of living has been the truth for a long period time. We expect things to get better and better, we expect that the standard of living will be higher and higher. This is one of our cultures most central ideas and a message that reach us every day from multiple sources. One things that Heuer lifts is that when a paradigm change, as the end of the cold war takes place the experts how knew the most about the subject is those how have the most to unlearn when it comes to adapting to a new reality (Heuer 1999: 5). Heuer also focus on the fact that when a mental form is created and the new information is assimilated into the existing model. We continue to use models that worked well in the past long after they have become outmoded (Heuer 1999: 8-11, 73).

If the IEA forecast concerning the fields that were producing oil 2010 turns out to be correct the production from these fields will drop by 45,9mb/d until 2035. By the same period of time Natural Gas Liquids, Unconventional Oil and Bio Fuels is expected to increase from 15,6 mb/d to 32,9mb/d, an increase with 17,3 mb/d. This would mean that we still need to bring oil fields that can produce 28,6 mb/d online just to remain on same total production that we have today of liquid fuels (WEO 2011: 122-123).

I would like to focus on some critical aspects from this information
• The positive forecast depends on two critical components
1.) The Production of alternative fuels will double during this period of time
2.) New Oil Fields will be found and developed that will able to offset the drop in 45,9mb/d in production from existing Oil Fields.
• This is assumptions that are required for this analysis to be correct.
• The analysis made by the IEA focus on a scenario when Saudi Arabia will increase their production from 10mb/d in 2010 to 13,6mb/d in 2035.

So how do the classified information from WikiLeaks and the trend concerning the World’s biggest Oil Fields fit in this projection? The IEA expects the production in Saudi Arabia to go from 10mb/d per day in 2010 to 13,9 mb/d per day in 2035. As the diplomatic cables from 2007 released by WikiLeaks even al-Husseini, the former Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production at Aramco is skeptical towards this prognosis. It’s fully possible that al-Husseini is incorrect in the assessment; but the central role within Aramco and the man’s technical expertise is hard to deny.

From looking at the World Largest Oil Fields today it’s clear that the greatest findings have taken place several decades ago. New findings have taken place but none of them have the capacity of the top 20 Oil Fields producing Oil today. The Top 20 Oil Fields in the World produce around 25% of the World’s Oil; around 19,16 mb/d. If you compare this to the 45,9mb/d required to compensate for the fall from fields producing in 2010 up until 2025 it clear that we will either have to be very lucky in our explorations or find an enormous amount of small fields.

Bloggers and researchers often tend to present dramatic forecasts that get a lot of attention. Instead I would suggest that you do something else. No matter where you stand concerning the subject of Peak Oil I would suggest that you ask yourself what your mental-model of the situations is and what assumptions this model relies upon? What data challenges your assumptions and what data confirms your assumptions? From there I suggest that you make up your own mind.

Other Articles
Is Peak Oil Already Here?
The US Energy Information Administration - No Peak in World Oil Production in another 23 years
Peak Oil

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The US Energy Information Administration – No Peak in World Oil Production in another 23 years

In the previous article I discussed the International Energy Agency reports World Energy Outlook. Peak Oil is a highly debated subject and a Peak in the Global Production of Oil may seem like a bizarre scenario to many people. We have had an enormous access to cheap energy for several generations now. For a long period of time the United States was the world’s leading producer of oil, this changed however in 1972 when the US reached its Peak with a production around 9,5 million barrels per day (mb/d), today the US production of Oil is only around 5,5 mb/d. Today the US imports around 10 mb/d making it the world number one oil importer.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) also provides statistical information and forecasts just like IEA. In the most recent report International Energy Outlook 2011 the EIA provides a completely different analysis than IEA. Like you might remember from the other article IEA believed that the world production of crude oil would continue to increase by around 1% per year until 2030 up until the World Energy Outlook 2010 report. In the 2010 report the IEA assessed that the world production of crude oil peak in 2006. This was a sharp turn compared to the previous reports.

The 2011 report provides by the EIA provides a completely different forecast. The EIA believes that the World Production of Crude Oil will continue to increase by 0,7% per year up until 2035. In short: According to the IEA the Peak in Crude Production is at least 23 years away. In addition to this the EIA also believes that oil sands will increase from 1,8 to 4,8 mb/d in 2035, Coal to Liquids from 0,2 to 1,7 mb/d, Gas to Liquid from 0,1 to 0,3 mb/d, Shale oil from 0,0 to 0,1 mb/d and bio fuels from 1,5 to 4,7 mb/d (IEO 2011: 28).

The EIA discussion also lacks a serious discussion about the Oil Reserves in the Middle East. This is a subject that was raised by Matthew Simmons in the book “Twilight in the Desert”.

Simmons lifts several key notions:
• The production in Saudi Arabia is concentrated around a few giant fields; Ghawar alone produces somewhere between 55-65% of the total Oil Production in Saudi Arabia.
• The fields have been producing oil for several decades
• The Proven Reserves increased to 150 billion barrels in 1979 when the management of Aramco was taken over by nationals. The number continue to rise to 160 billion barrels in 1982 and in 1988 another 100 billion barrels was added to the proven reserves leaving Saudi Arabia with the largest oil reserves in the world; over 260 billion barrels.
• Since 1988 over 47 billion barrels has been produced just until 2005 and still the proven reserves of 260 billion barrels has not reduced.

This is also a subject that was highlighted after the WikiLeaks release of US Embassy cables when report that suggested that the reserves in Saudi Arabia may in fact be 40% less than stated was released. None of these issues is discussed by the EIA.

The future projections Energy has been very positive for a long period of time. The IEA started to change their projections in 2010, the EIA still holds on to the same type of prognosis that the IEA presented in 2009. It’s very hard to know if the IEA or EIA got it right; only time can tell. But it’s important to understand that the analysis that the US politics is based upon relies on a much more positive outlook. If it turns out that EIA is wrong in their analysis it means that the policies and planning implemented by the US has been based upon incorrect information.

I have yet not seen any political party that has lifted Peak Oil as a potential problem. Peak Oil is a concept that challenges the expectation of growth, something that we have been used to for a very long period of time. It’s my guess that we are now starting to go from a period with a steady economical growth to period where the old truths may no longer be valid. We are now seeing a process when political and economical institutions are trying to make sense of what is going on. I do not believe that the world will run out of fossil fuels, but I do believe it’s possible that the access to these fuels may start to decrease instead of increasing. This presents a problem for all the economical and political institutions of the world since it means that they will have to adapt to a reality that does not corresponds to the situation that they have encountered in the past.

Other Articles
Peak Oil and Our Mental Models - The WikiLeaks Cable and The Worlds Largest Oil Fields
Is Peak Oil Already Here?
Things You Can Do In Order To Prepare For Peak Oil

Monday, December 5, 2011

Is Peak Oil Already Here?

The International Energy Agency is the leading international agency when it comes to forecasting the world’s future energy use. In the report World Energy Outlook the international institution presents its forecast. The first report in this series was presented in 1994. From 1994 IEA has presented a very positive outlook for future energy. In the first report from 1994 the World Oil production was expected on increase to 94 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2010. From 2002 to 2009 World Energy Outlook the forecast for oil production was expected to increase to 120-105 mb/d. In the 2008 World Energy Outlook Oil Production was expected to increase with 1% per year up until 2030. In 2010 a new analysis was presented. In this report the Peak in world production of oil was believed to have taken place in 2008 with a World Production of around 70 million barrels per day. This report suggests that Peak Oil may in fact already have taken place. If this analysis is correct it means that instead of having 20 years of additional growth in Oil Production ahead of us we may now be on the other end of Hubberts Peak. Peak Oil has been a highly debated subject for a long period of time. The future forecasts have often been described as very positive with future growth in production and reserves. Many of the researchers within the Peak Oil Movement have provided a more problematic analysis.

Oil is one of the most important commodities in today’s world. It has very energy content and is crucial for many areas like transportation, agriculture and the petrochemical industry. Research has also shown that there is a strong correlation between economical development and the access to cheap energy.

Peak Oil is only one of many complex problems that the world may face. If we have truly reached the Peak in world oil production or not can only history show. There are a number of other problems that also interact; the world population has recently reached 7 billion people and is expected to reach 10 billion in 2050. At the same time we also have a demographical development in many rich countries with low birth rates that will produce a situation when few young will have to support and aging population. Man Made Global Warming is another trend that may also interact with these problems with more severe weather and increased water shortages in some part of the world.

It’s my guess that we may have reached or is starting to reach a point when many of the resources that our current way of life depends upon will start to decline. I do not think that we have reached this point for all natural resources but it’s possible that we have started to reach this point for some of them. If this is correct we may face a future when an increasing world population will have to make do with less and less resources and that this problem will get increasingly worse over time.

Our political and economical system is today very focused on short term profits and growth. Economical growth and increased average life span has increased for a very long period of time. This is all that our political and economical institutions know and it’s also something that is deeply rooted in all of us from the stories that’s being told throughout our societies.

During the last year we have seen a series of events around throughout the world like Arabian Spring, a severe economical crisis for some of the countries within the European Union and The Occupy Wall Street Movement. It’s my belief that these developments are symptoms at least partly related to other underlying factors like Peak Oil, The Depletion of Renewable and Non Renewable Resources, The Increasing World Population, The Demographical Development and Global Warming and that these factors may continue to put an increasing press on our political and economical system.

Other Articles
Peak Oil and Our Mental Models - The WikiLeaks Cables and The Worlds Largest Oil Fields
The US Energy Information Administration - No Peak in World Oil Production in another 23 years
Peak Oil