Declines Everywhere But In the News

Jim Brown
 
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Crude oil production seems to be declining aggressively around the world but the press is not reporting it. This is due to the efforts of the IEA and EIA to disguise the numbers in order to fill their political mandate.

The IEA is the "official" watchdog for 28 countries and is tasked with keeping track of energy production and demand and they get paid a lot of money not to find any problems.

You see the problem with politicians is they don't want any life changing problems while they are in office. Peak oil coming soon? Just make sure the news does not break until I am out of office with a lifetime pension.

Obviously the mandate is not quite that direct but the result is clear. Any warnings of future shortages that are brought to the attention of the member countries have to be phrased in such a way as to give political cover to sitting politicians. They need to always be able to say, "the data did not show the problem was serious. It is not my fault."

In order to disguise the future the IEA has resorted to numerous bits of sleight of hand. The most important trick recently has been the acknowledgement that Peak Oil has already arrived but don't worry production is still rising. Obviously if Peak Oil had arrived we would not see production continue to arise.

The trick here is to classify only "conventional oil" as having peaked and non-conventional oil is still rising. That gives the IEA some political cover as well. "We told you in 2010 conventional oil production had peaked. Don't blame us!"

As long as the end result of their lengthy reports is an estimate for greater production to meet rising demand, it can be filed away in the government archives as an insurance policy against the day when oil does peak and politicians start getting the blame for not doing something about it.

The amount of "liquids" production is still rising thanks mostly to the monster rise in natural gas drilling. The big increase in natural gas liquids (NGL) is helping to delay the real arrival of peak oil. However NGLs are not oil. NGLs have only 65% of the BTU of oil. They do offset some of the demand for oil and as such are a useful commodity. The IEA also includes in total production the reasonable things like oil sands and deepwater oil but they also are now including biofuels. By throwing every conceivable liquid into the mix they can continue the scam that "oil" production will continue to grow.

It may surprise everyone to know that "conventional" oil did peak in 2005 at 73.718 million barrels per day. The world has not produced at that level in the five years since. We have however, produced oil from five miles under the ocean and from the Canadian oil sands. Canadian production plateaued at 2.6 mbpd in 2006 and they are struggling to maintain that level. Canada is supposed to be a major supplier of oil to the U.S. in the years to come. How are they going to do that when their production is slowing?

Mexico has been a major supplier to the U.S. but everyone has heard about the sharp declines in the Cantarell field, the largest in Mexico. Our neighbor to the south peaked in 2005 at 3.4 mbpd and can barely produce 2.5 mbpd in 2011. That is a big drop for our closest southern supplier.

What you probably have not heard is the North Sea, (UK, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands and Germany), has declined from 4.0 mbpd to 3.0 mbpd in just the last 24 months. That is a 25% decline in production but the press has been totally silent.

All of this data is presented by the IEA so they can claim innocence when the real peak appears. They hide it in their reports in what Jay Rosen calls secrecy by complexity. They make it so hard to read that the normal person would never recognize the problem. They hide the data in plain sight but buried under reams of useless statistics. They focus the report on global warming or some other topic so they can add a hundred pages of useless fact, figures and conclusions that do not relate to their general mandate.

This secrecy by complexity has obscured the real problem but kept their payments flowing and their status as the world's energy watchdog secure. Alan Greenspan admitted to using this tactic when he was Fed chairman. When he had a topic he had to cover that would cause problems in the market or when a lawmaker asked a pointed question he did not want to answer he would resort to Greenspeak. He would confuse the answer with big words, rambling sentences, circular references to other known facts, and just plain BS.

Unfortunately the topic of Peak Oil is far too important to let some high priced foreign politicians continue to pull the wool over our eyes. We need to be observant to the facts and aware of the timing of the potential peak in ALL forms of all production. It is coming regardless of what the IEA says in their high dollar reports.

Jim Brown

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