C. J. Campbell The Coming Oil Crisis

ISBN 13: 9780906522110

The Coming Oil Crisis

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9780906522110: The Coming Oil Crisis
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The history and current status of the important oil industry are reviewed in this study of the geological origins of oil and gas. Assessed are how much oil and gas has been produced, what remains in known fields, and what is yet to be found, with attention to how to properly interpret published numbers, many of which are false or distorted by vested interests. The contention is made that the growing Middle East control of the market is likely to lead to a radical and permanent increase in the price of oil before physical shortages begin to appear within the first decade of the 21st century. The book further argues that the coming oil crisis will create economic and political discontinuity of historic proportions, as the world adjusts to a new energy environment.

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From the Author:

The book reflects the experiences of a worldwide oil explorer and major oil company executive that led to an understanding of the oil and gas resource base and its depletion. It unfolds almost in the form of a detective story, written in non-technical language. It starts with the occurrence of oil and gas in nature, explaining the extraordinary combination of geological circumstances that lies behind a productive oil and gas province, and the fields within it. It moves on to examine the colourful history of the oil business, identifying the technical and political factors that shaped it, along with some of the extraordinary individuals whose work and exploits built the great oil companies which are household names today.

Then comes the essence of the book: an analysis of the amounts found, to-be-found, produced and to-be-produced, explaining the analytical techniques supporting the estimates. It looks behind the scenes to explain how reserves are estimated and reported, touching on the increasingly unreliable database. Many published numbers are variously overstated and understated by vested interests. It assesses recovery factors and the impact of technology, which are not quite what they seem to be.

That in turn leads to an evaluation of the depletion of what remains, showing that the inevitable imminent global production peak will be modified by the control of just five Middle East countries, which own about half of what remains to produce. How governments manage the oil business and how the companies manage themselves are discussed. A chapter covers the important illustration of Norway, now exporting more oil than Kuwait. Will the country make good use of its windfall? and how long will it last? What can be learnt from the Norwegian experience? How will Europe react as North Sea production heads into rapid decline within the decade?

Through a spectrum of scenarios, it examines the consequences for Mankind of the end of cheap oil-based energy that has fuelled his prosperity over the past century. Each scenario represents a logical sequence of actions and reactions as the world and it governments comes to grasp the implications. Some seem extreme and even unreasonable - but are they? It will not be a temporary interruption in supply but the onset of a new and very different world of growing shortage.

Almost all oil produced to-date is what is called Conventional oil, most free-flowing from wells, which will also dominate supply until long past peak. After peak will come increasing gas supplies together various non-conventional oils, including the heavy oils and tarsands of Venezuela and Canada. These resources, which are described in the book, are very large but production is slow, difficult and expensive. We are not yet running out of oil, just cheap oil.

It is not a doomsday message because a more sustainable world may be a better one. There are solutions in developing non-conventional oil and gas, renewable energy and above all by using what is left more efficiently. The problem lies in the transition - there is not much time to prepare.

The book contains a series of interviews with other experts in the field that bring to bear different viewpoints to amplify an understanding of the issues. They are themselves very revealing. It is well illustrated and contains many graphs and tables adding meat to the bone. An appendix provides detailed depletion plots of the main producing countries.

The book is designed for the general reader although passages perforce cover difficult technical subjects. Oil industry executives should find it food for thought: is it fair comment? how close does the description fit their current experience? and is there anything to learn from such a wide ranging review? Do explorers exaggerate the size of their prospects? and do engineers prefer a too cautious initial estimate of the reserves? How much oil is found every year? and how much is consumed ? Are their investments based on the right oil price assumptions ?

Investors should take heed of the financial implications of a major economic discontinuity as the price of world's economic lifeblood escalates. Timing is critical. Academia can find much here for course material on a wide range of subjects, including economics, petroleum studies, resource constraints, environmental issues and politics. Governments and international agencies in particular should use it to better interpret the often misleading economic advice with which they are fed. There is much in it too for the general reader who needs to be aware of the issues that will affect his life so greatly.

About the Author:

Colin Campbell spent many years as an oil exploration geologist before becoming an advisor to the industry and to governments.

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Publisher: Multi-Science Publishing Co., 2004
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