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Sludge Feedback: Fear Not, There’s Oil A Plenty

In This Edition: A Sludge Report reader has replied remarkably quickly to "Sludge Report #96 – If Life Is A River", expressing a healthy dose of scepticism - C.D. Sludge Replies.

NOTE: Authors of this report will be anonymous and wide ranging, and occasionally finely balanced. Indeed you are invited to contribute: The format is as a reporters notebook. It will be published as and when material is available. C.D. Sludge can be contacted at sludge@scoop.co.nz. The Sludge Report is available as a free email service..Click HERE - http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/myscoop/ to subscribe...

Sludge Report #96 Feedback

Fear Not, There’s Oil A Plenty

RE: http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0107/S00064.htm
Sludge Report #96 – If Life Is A River

Dear C.D. Sludge,

You really need to get out and about a bit more. Sitting in your room typing does not widen your horizon much!

I have the privilege of being one of New Zealand's exporters, that un-appreciated group who generate the income to pay for much of the fuel we import. My background is in dealing with the oil industry amongst others. In a sales trip to the Middle East earlier this year, I asked the questions that you raised about the future. Did you know that they are discovering new supplies with greater reserves each year, than they are pumping?



In the north of Kuwait for example, there is a massive field totally untouched. They are looking at a multi billion dollar development project right now. But the most commonly reported concern in the Arab States is not running out of oil. They are convinced that oil prices are doomed to fall below the cost of oil recovery, brought about by the rapid increase in alternative technologies. So its almost a "cash in now" attitude.

In Brunei in the past two years, three new oil fields have been located. But I doubt that they will even start to work on those because their current reserves are considered good at least until the turn of this century. Even here in New Zealand, where you may have forgotten that we grow some of our own, we keep finding new oil and gas sources.

I recall my teacher in primary school back in the 50's, telling me that the world only had 30 years of oil reserves left. You are still saying the same thing! Fear not, the oil we have will see you and I out. And despite your negative views, all sorts of projects and developments are going on that are aimed at reducing our dependence of oil, and they will work.

Regards
HC

C.D. Sludge Replies

Dear HC,

You wrote: “Did you know that they are discovering new supplies with greater reserves each year, than they are pumping?”

I must say given the research I have done that I would be surprised if that were so, and would encourage someone who can authoritatively answer these questions to come forward.

One of the most remarkable things about this subject is the lack of accurate information available about matters which ought to be relatively simple and straight-forward, and openly discussed.

It is possible that your anecdotal evidence is correct, and that Kuwait and some other Gulf States may indeed be in such a position – i.e. finding more oil than they are pumping. But even if it is true, that is a long way short of total global production being replaced each year with new discoveries.

You wrote: “The most commonly reported concern in the Arab States is not running out of oil. They are convinced that oil prices are doomed to fall below the cost of oil recovery, brought about by the rapid increase in alternative technologies. So its almost a "cash in now" attitude.”

This would tend to indicate that the propaganda that has succeeded in convincing the rest of us that we have nothing to worry about because of the imminent arrival of new technologies, has also convinced the Arab world.

Perhaps that is a key part of the intention of those spinning these stories about mythical new technologies, i.e. to keep the oil pumping, the price down, and the profits flowing.

However C.D. Sludge remains of the view that, if there were any magic bullet technologies out there, then we would know about it by now. People have been talking about hydrogen and water powered cars for decades. In truth we don’t know of any such technologies, and so it would seem far more reasonable to believe there aren’t any, just as there is no way to make gold from lead.

I thought that the rationalists in this world believed relying on fairies coming to their rescue was a somewhat naive position to hold.

You wrote: “I recall my teacher in primary school back in the 50's, telling me that the world only had 30 years of oil reserves left. You are still saying the same thing! Fear not, the oil we have will see you and I out.”

Your teacher was probably right at the time. Since then a great deal more oil has been found and burnt, and the rate of consumption has probably increased by a factor of more than ten. And now 50 years later the warning your teacher gave you is coming true.

Secondly even if the oil we have left does see “you and I out". What about subsequent generations? Or should we just assume that the world might as well just end once we are gone?

Finally you wrote: And despite your negative views, all sorts of projects and developments are going on that are aimed at reducing our dependence of oil, and they will work.

Like what! Cars running on used vegetable oil and alcohol? Shell's renewables project that they spend more money advertising than they actually spend looking for renewable energy sources?

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