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To Peak or not to Peak, is that the question?

2010-06-24

Whilst the oil keeps streaming from the hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, it is fascinating what different responses it causes in the professional world.

Whilst all are devastated by the effects it has on nature and the floral and faunal world, there seems to be a dichotomy on what this spill actually means.

Whilst in the Peak Oil movement the simple fact that BP was drilling for a field with an estimated reserve of apparently only 50 mm barrel, seen as a sign how desperate the world is for new reserves and the difficulties oil companies are prepared to go through to find new oil, other analysts have a different story.
 
According to another reading, the BP-leak is much more than an instrument malfunctioning, causing a spill of hitherto unknown dimensions. Here we can read that the drilling was in a very sensitive spot and basically tapping in a grand vein of possibly a-biotic oil with very large reservoirs below it.
Also the estimation of the amount of oil leaking in both “camps” differ radically, whereas latest figures are now actually moving toward a daily leaking of about 100.000 barrel a day, through what one analyst describes as: “what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be the size of Mount Everest.”
 
When this information was passed on the several experts in peak oil, the response was one from disbelief and rejection: a-biotic oil does not exist!

To bring you in the loop: The theory of a-biotic oil, developed long ago in the USSR and successfully applied in finding provinces that would not have had oil according to the normal geological calculations, says that oil actually is formed deep inside the planet and slowly works itself to the higher levels of the earth”s crust, where it can be found.

The conventional theory about oil says that it is formed in earlier times as a result of decaying natural material (algae, plants etc.) that got locked in over time and after a very long time (millions of years) under high pressure and temperature became oil and migrated to places where we now can find it.

Personally I have never understood the animosity between the two “camps“, as both theories do not exclude each other and both have their merits.
As anyone that has ever put his boot in a canal with black mud knows: if you withdraw your foot, an oilfilm most probably appears on the water: the result of decaying natural material that turns in an oil-like substance: this is the oil of the future.

At the same time there is the tale that the North American Indians called oil “the blood of mother Earth”, which makes perfectly sense, as the Earth is a living organism and it has been proven that oil is formed up in deep layers, migrating up, gathering in pools that we find later as oilfields.

Of course it may need a different mindset to give credit to the possibility of a living earth and oil forming up as a natural fluid within the planet. That its original purpose may not be, to be burned by humans to “fire up the economies” and pollute the atmosphere may be clear.

Nevertheless it is there and is an important part of our living today.

The deep dichotomy between the experts appears in the evaluation about possible reserves. The biotic oil-school is trying to make the world take notice that we have found most of the easy oil and that we need to find alternatives and need to prepare ourselves for the eventuality of it being only limitedly available. Peak Oil.

The people from the a-biotic oil-school are saying that there is enough oil still to be found, would we only look different and elsewhere, and try to invalidate or ease the worry or unrest (or hype?) about the imminence of physical shortage in reserves.

Peak oil supply is another issue, about which the worries have been reduced the last years due to the combination of economic recession and subsequent reduction in demand, and new capacity in the market.

What is further causing unclarity about this is that the speculators have been jumping on the bandwagon of the peak-oilers, as this can be used for scare-scenarios that help to drive the prices. (Recently a new record was broken with only in the NY and London future markets 2,5 billion barrels being traded in 1 day, 29 times daily global demand, tendency growing).

Whatever may be the case: if BP was only drilling into a small field, the disaster may still be limited, albeit of enormous proportions.

If BP actually ruptured a vein of planet earth and has caused a kind of “arterial bleeding”, we may be in deep trouble, as this may be very difficult to repair.

When the leak continues, the oil (and the dispersal-chemicals) will start to enter the warm Gulf-Stream and oil will start to reach the shores of England, Ireland and Scotland in not-to-far-distant times. Whether this will have grander effects due to the changing of the consistence of the water in the gulfstream, we do not know yet, nor what this would mean for the climate in Western Europe, which is mild due to this stream of warm water.

Time will tell and we can only hope the best.

Stay flexible,

Alexander

 

Alexander's Commentary

Change of face - change of phase

In the period of July 20 till August 3, 2015, Alexander will be out of the office and the site will not or only irreg

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