Secrets So Complex

January 3, 2011

Last year’s BP oil spill will apparently exacerbate our slide down the backside of peak oil — from Consumer Energy Report today — Further: The 220,000 barrel per day loss will be made up by importing more oil, and the loss of that oil from the market will add to the upward pressure on oil prices. There will be some savings from conservation as prices continue to climb, but mostly the shortfall will just result in billions more dollars that will flow out of the U.S.

And this on the sense that those peoples in charge of production numbers are not telling the truth.

According to Business Insider, oil production had a ‘very disappointing’ 2010 in that production is running at 2005 levels — another pie-hole in the purpose of peak oil — given even the non-OPEC sources, i.e., like the massive Cantarell field in Mexico, dropping 800,000 barrels per day, down from a ‘peak‘ of 3.4 million barrels per day five years ago, and the big, important North Sea region (produced via the Brits, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany) has just lost 25% of its production in less than 24 months, falling over a million barrels a day.

(Illustration found here).

The record keeping of oil production levels is a complex, twisted doo-doo of a misrepresentation — another numbers game.
Also from Business Insider:

One of the methods EIA Washington and IEA Paris have increasingly relied on in recent years to obscure the very serious and now very real problem of oil depletion is to include biofuels and natural gas liquids in the accounting of global oil production.
The technique that both agencies use to conduct this obfuscation is a familiar one, in which the key information is aggregated (buried) into a much larger barrage of data and presentations.
For a scholarly look at the methods governments use to work around their obligations to inform the public, do watch the one hour lecture that Jay Rosen gave to the World Bank earlier this year.
Rosen’s deconstructions of the media have been very helpful to me, over the past two years. See his blog here:
Rosen describes the use of opacity as a kind of hiding in plain sight, or secrecy by complexity.
In order to rebut this Secrecy by Complexity it’s the obligation of responsible energy analysts to explain the falsehood of adding biofuels and natural gas liquids to measures of oil production.
The reason is simple: natural gas liquids are not oil, and they contain only 65% of the BTU of oil. Worse, biofuels are barely an energy source themselves and are the product of a conversion process of other energy inputs. Accordingly, the world is not producing 84, or 85, or 86 million barrels of oil per day.
Nor will the depletion of oil be solved by the production of biofuels in the future.
When the EIA in Washington falsely composes such forecasts, aggregating future natural gas liquids and ethanol into a supply picture for “oil” as they do each year in The Annual Energy Outlook, this disables the public’s ability to accurately understand the true outlook for global oil supply.
It’s not surprising that the government uses opacity and secrecy by complexity to handle this extremely important issue.
The loss of cheap energy, the loss of the cheap BTU that oil has provided to OECD nations for the past 70 years, is a crucial factor in the dilemma the West now faces: a newly chronic economic restraint that refuses to go away.

There’s also the demand versus production theory — a good explanation found here — in which as the production of oil declines, the demand also declines.

The future is still not so bright either way.

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