Saturday, August 28, 2010

Plotting The Coming Oil Shock

28 August, 2010 A study based on the Hubbert model of peak oil suggests a coming global oil shock may begin as early as 2014 – which ties in with the timeline suggested in a variety of other reports and statements.

Peak oil, the concept that geological constraints dictate a time must come when oil production reaches its natural limit, makes it clear a diminishing supply will soon be on a collision course with soaring demand. Despite getting a showing online, and in the occasional business report, it’s yet to break into the mainstream media. More >>>

Monday, August 23, 2010

World's Quickly Running Out of Helium

It may not match peak oil in terms of a global crisis, but the world is running out of another non-renewable resource: helium.  

According to a report in the The Independent, scientists estimate the world may have little more than 25 years left of the gas. What will the kids do without their balloons!?!?! (Watch TIME's video on the helium crisis)
The problem stems from a U.S. policy which has driven down the price of helium artificially. The U.S. holds a massive store of the gas in the U.S. Natural Helium Reserve, but this must be sold of by 2015. "In 1996, the US Congress decided to sell off the strategic reserve and the consequence was that the market was swelled with cheap helium because its price was not determined by the market. The motivation was to sell it all by 2015,"  Professor Robert Richardson of Cornell told the Independent.

Helium accumulates on earth through the gradual degeneration of radioactive rock, with no means of artificial synthesis currently in existence. The world running out of helium could spell the end for certain technologies like MRI scanners (where helium is used as a coolant) and some nuclear technology.
Richardson told the Independent he believes the price of the helium used to fill a typical-sized balloon should be set at $100, to better reflect the gas's scarcity Read more >>>

Friday, August 20, 2010

They Died Before the Oil Ran Out

The FINANCIAL -- There is an open secret in the oil industry that dare not speak its name: peak oil. Well, two did speak its name and gained no acclaim for it. 

One, M. King Hubbert, died years ago. The other and the most controversial, Matthew Simmons, died at his Maine summer home Aug. 8.

The peak oil idea is simple: Oil is a finite commodity, and one day we are going to use up all of it.

Hubbert, a geologist, began speculating on the effects of the gradual decline in worldwide production in the 1950s. He expressed this in a simple graph, which became known as “Hubbert’s pimple.” More >>>

Friday, August 13, 2010

Matthew Simmons Showed the Supply of Oil Is Finite

The late Matthew R. Simmons’ greatest contribution was showing that the supply of oil is finite, said Edward Morse, the New York-based head of commodities research at Credit Suisse Group AG.
Simmons, an energy investment banker and leading proponent of the “peak oil” theory that claims the Earth is running out of crude, died Aug. 8 at 67 in an accidental drowning at his home in North Haven, Maine, local officials said. He made “remarkable contributions” in making the energy market transparent and helping the U.S. understand Saudi Arabia, Morse said.
“Perhaps the most important thing he drew attention to was the nature of decline,” Morse said in a radio interview today with Tom Keene on “Bloomberg Surveillance.” “Decline curves are real and they have to be dealt with and it’s an issue of policy as much as it is of investment.” More >>>

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Will Small Businesses Survive Peak Oil?

From Yahoo to Virgin, big business is waking up to the threat of peak oil.  

So much so, that Virgin bross Richard Branson believes we should bemobilizing for peak oil as if for war. But what about the little guy? It's often assumed that because peak oil will make global shipping a challenge, that we'll just transition back to smaller, more local economies. I suspect the truth will be a little more complicated than that.

As much as we TreeHuggers like to espouse the virtues of local business and human scale economies, there can be few businesses out there—big or small—that find themselves immune to the threat of rising energy prices or economic volatility. And as recent events have shown, while corporations may find themselves on shaky ground, there is often a helping hand out there to stop the giants from failing. Will that be the same for the small operators? A small social enterprise in the UK is aiming to ensure that we head the problem off before it becomes a crisis . More >>>

Thursday, August 5, 2010

China threatens U.S. energy security

PARIS, July 20 (UPI) -- A rising energy appetite from the booming Chinese economy creates concerns for energy security in the United States, political analysts said. 

The International Energy Agency said in Paris that the surging Beijing economy has redefined the global energy sector as China passes the United States as the world's largest energy consumer.
The IEA in its latest report said China outpaced U.S. energy consumption by 4 percent in 2009. The United States, the report said, has been the largest energy consumer in the world since the dawn of the 20th century.
David Pumphrey, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said China's economic growth could affect U.S. energy security. More >>>