Published on Mar 1, 2012
All the oil majors and energy agencies – including ExxonMobil, BP, the IEA and the EIA – project that we can meet growing world oil demand for the next two decades with increased production from OPEC, more unconventional oil production, biofuels, better extraction technology and massive growth in the uptake of hybrid cars.
But there’s something wrong with this picture. Not only might this not be possible; it might be simply unthinkable, at least for unconventional oil production.
Oil industry boosters and their enablers in the media and financial community are currently crowing about fracking for shale oil, the controversial practice of injecting chemicals, sand and water into rock under pressure, kilometres under the earth, close to vital water aquifers. This process is being spruiked as having turned around US oil production.
Well, this is true to a degree, as it has caused an increase in US oil production, but is a long, long way from equalling the peak of production in 1970-71, and it is very unlikely that it will ever do so. The process is expensive, the wells peak very quickly, the economics are debatable, and the environmental impacts are highly undesirable.
Australia’s ABC recently travelled to the US to “meet the frackers”, and see what it would be like if we decided to roll out fracking to meet our oil production needs.
Check it out yourself. See what living amongst oil rigs would be like. Then ask yourself whether this is the sort of world you would want to live in.
For those that are interested, I have a longer explanation, and take a thorough look at shale oil production in the US, on my blog at: http://ianmcpherson.com/blog/?p=1839
Visit the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent page:
Recorded on my iMac using EyeTV.