The second highest average occurred in —the same year Egypt experienced violent clashes over government- subsidized bread in different cities, leading to 15 people being killed and arrests. While these crises have ameliorated, the risk that they could converge again is likely. It is precisely the continued prevalence of those structural problems which meant that even after the overthrow of Mubarak, the replacement of his rule by the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood party led by Mohamed Morsi failed to ameliorate domestic grievances.
A month before Morsi himself was ousted in the wake of mass protests that led former army chief Abdul Fateh el-Sisi to oust the Brotherhood leader in a de facto coup, Egypt was experiencing a spike in urban inflation from 7. These responses have apparently ameliorated the HSD trajectory, but only temporarily—they do not address the deeper ESD processes underlining the crises that triggered the chaos. The discovery of the Zohr field has offset this prospect for some years, and will allow Egypt to dramatically increase its gas pro- duction, with a view to serve both renewed exports and surging domestic demand.
Yet it is unclear whether the project can retain sufficient profitability relative to production costs due to chronically low gas prices Ghafar It is equally unclear whether Egypt will be able to sustain the investments neces- sary to secure production of Zohr, without fatally denting its own ailing foreign cur- rency reserves. This, in turn, has widened economic losses, leading to declining exports and declining foreign reserves. Zohr is forecast to reach 2.
It is therefore only a matter of time before the exist- ing framework of Egyptian political economic order that is attempting to clampdown on HSD is broken, as ESD processes of climate change, water scarcity, agricultural decline, and energy depletion continue to worsen. Rather than the states virtually collapsing into internecine civil war, they ultimately responded with extensive pro- grams of domestic militarization justified under the rubric of counter-terrorism. However, such militarization obviously has no prospect of addressing the deeper ESD dynamics that generated the seeds of HSD in the first place.
Yet it has been able to temporarily offset HSD. Nigeria has had limited success with this offsetting, which means that as the cor- rupt mismanagement of its oil industry continues, it will be forced increasingly into a cycle of violence as its energy capacity continues to plateau amidst other converg- ing crises. India and China are widely believed to be destined to become the economic powerhouses of the future, and the locus of a global economic shift to the East. Whether or not such a shift takes place in any form, missing from this picture painted by pundits and politicians alike are the impacts of biophysical ESD pro- cesses which are already unravelling the Indian and Chinese development trajecto- ries.
This, however, is precisely the period in which Middle East exports are expected to dramatically decline as the major oil exporters begin to scale the limits of their oil export capacities IEA As Fig. Unfortunately, this increases the temptation for India to ramp up its domestic coal production, which would have extremely dire environmental consequences— not least for India itself. One study puts the date for peak coal in India at —and while this would provide ample scope to burn enough coal to help trig- ger dangerous global warming, it would not keep up with the pace of projected demand growth in India Nandi India faces not just a looming energy crisis, but also a converging water and food crisis, radicalized by climate change.
In , India experienced its worst water crisis on record, with a quarter of its population suffering from a second successive drought, leading to crop failures. Climate change will lead to increasing crop failures, and escalating food prices, which in turn will have debilitating impacts on rural economies. As of , India has an estimated population of 1.
This would continue to rise to 1. Yet such impacts are not merely slated for the seemingly distant future, they are already happening. The agricultural decline meant that in , India began to import corn simply to bring down local prices Bhardwaj In , the Chamber of Indian Industries conceded that India was already consuming twice as much as its natural resources can sustain. The pathway toward a crisis convergence that could lead to protracted systemic state-failure will therefore be fundamentally distinctive to that experienced in pres- ent or former oil exporting countries in the Middle East.
As India is historically a net energy importer with minimal domestic fossil fuel resources, the growth of its econ- omy has always been structurally dependent on its ability to access cheap energy from abroad. That convergence point in turn will be accelerated by the myriad societal impacts of climate change, particularly on water and food scarcity.
The global industrial economy runs on oil.
Its neighbor, Pakistan, faces similar challenges Pracha and Volk Total conventional and unconventional oil production is likely to peak around K. Wang et al. China is also facing peak coal. As with India, China is already embarking on an ambitious investment plan for renewable energy, but it is widely recognized that the current commitment is sub- par, and cannot possibly make-up for the decline in fossil fuels. Although the rate of population growth is already slowing—its current population of 1. Consumer spending by this class is expected to more than double over the same period ICEF Yet like India, China faces the problem that as we near , net exports from the Middle East will track toward zero at an accelerating rate.
This declining rate of economic growth will be exacerbated by climate change according to a study published by the World Health Organization. Projections show that global warming along with land conversion and water scarcity could reduce Chinese food production substantially in coming decades. Earlier studies have been more ambiguous on the potential climate impacts on Chinese agriculture. China is a major importer of food grain, and climate change is likely to increase the gap between its domestic consumption needs and national food production.
HSD will begin to accelerate within this period in the region in the form of widening outbreaks of civil unrest. Depending on how the Indian and Chinese states respond, it is likely that these out- breaks of domestic disorder will become more organized, and will eventually under- mine state territorial integrity before This is not a foregone conclusion, but it is the most likely outcome of a business- as-usual scenario in which India and China continue to pursue policies driven by their capitalist endless growth imperative.
Similarly, China is on the brink of entering a new era of domestic energy scarcity. Both will therefore become increasingly vulnerable to climate-induced water and food crises. The fabled shift of core power to the East, therefore, is unlikely to happen in the way envisaged by some, simply because the Indo-Chinese developmental trajectory in its current form is destined to become increasingly cannibalistic.
For these econo- mies to continue growing will require an ever increasing consumption of resources in terms of food, water and energy. In this way, the very foundations of economic growth in India and China will, as we approach , increasingly accelerate the environmental and energetic costs of that very growth, in turn undermining growth itself.
Chapter 10 Biophysical Triggers of Crisis Convergence in the Euro-Atlantic Core The uncertain fates of India and China raise awkward questions about develop- ments from Russia, to Europe, to America, where energy depletion is either rapidly underway, or imminent within the next decade. Within Europe, resource depletion has meant that the European Union as a whole has become increasingly dependent on energy imports from Russia, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
Yet exports from these regions will become tighter as major oil producers approach production limits. Further, geopolitical turmoil that has unfolded in Ukraine provides a compelling indication that such HSD processes are rapidly moving from the periphery of the global system into the core. For the most part, the Euro-Atlantic core—traditionally representing the most powerful sections of the world system—has insulated itself from global crisis convergence impacts by diversifying energy supply sources.
In the next decade, the Euro-Atlantic core will be forced to contend with this reality as oil exporters in the periphery of the world system breach their production limits and see their net exports begin to plateau and decline. Meanwhile, the quantity of oil produced within the EU is declining. For its part, Romania passed peak oil in Shale gas plays in Sweden and Turkey have also been found to lack economic feasibility Weijermars While there remains considerable uncertainty over the prospects for shale gas in Europe, Russia, which is the leading supplier to the EU, is on the brink of its own production peak.
In Eastern Siberia, production is forecast to rise nominally over the next few years, then plateau at around 1. If Europe is hoping that exports from the key Central Asian producers, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, will help—they will not. Within the same period, Saudi Arabian net oil exports have been forecast to decline to zero, which means that the EU faces not simply an ongoing decline in its domestic production of liquid fuels, but is simultaneously experiencing a decline in imports, which will be mirrored in other parts of the world.
As we approach , climate change will increasingly disrupt European agri- culture. While crop yields are forecast to grow in northern Europe, in southern Europe and the Mediterranean water shortages and extreme weather will lead to decreased yields, exacerbating the North-South divide within Europe. Bindi and Olesen However, the biggest pressure on Europe will come from outside.
Economics Solar Energy
By — , vast swathes of the Middle East and North Africa will become uninhabitable due to searing surface temperatures under local impacts of global warming. US conventional oil production is in decline, meaning that the increas- ing shortfall is being made-up using unconventional sources see Fig. There remain strong reasons to remain skeptical of hype over US shale gas pros- pects. US experience suggests that shale gas plays are very heterogeneous, whereas most assessments of recoverable resources assume that productivity is uniform Fig. He forecasts that both shale oil and gas in US will peak in Berman and Leonard As its domestic consumption needs have grown, it is increas- ingly consuming its own oil, which has reduced its export capacity.
This places Mexico on a trajectory toward systemic state-failure between and If US-Mexico border issues have been considered problematic to date, they will become truly intractable in that time-frame. In Canada, conventional oil production peaked around , while unconventional production has increased but is likely to reach a plateau in the next few years also see Fig.
Unlike Northern Europe, North America will be quite vulnerable to converging climate impacts in terms of water scarcity and reductions in crop yields. The California drought has so far produced the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture, reducing river water for Central Valley farms by a third. This would also lead to its upstream twin, Lake Powell, becoming permanently dry Barnett and Pierce That means by , the US will begin to experience a deepening national water and food crisis. This will also create a permanent dent in the global food system, effectively removing a large chunk of US food exports from world food markets, thus contributing to a resurgence of global food prices that would likely exceed the unprecedented spikes of The US will once again be forced to rely on increasing energy imports, yet as we approach , the world oil market will face a situation of plateauing exports from OPEC and the Middle East even as demand rises dramatically in Asia.
This would likely play out in either of two potential business-as-usual scenarios: 1. The lower resource quality EROI of the global energy system may act as a fundamental geophysical ceiling on the capacity of the economy to grow. It may act as an invisible brake on growth in demand, potentially meaning that fossil fuel prices would remain at chronically low levels endangering the prof- itability of the fossil fuel industries. Endangered hydrocarbon energy production would feed back into the global system as a further lowering of resource quality, manifesting in a protracted and self-reinforcing recessionary economic process.
This would escalate vul- nerability to water, food and energy crises and hugely strain the capacity of European and American states to deliver goods and services to their own populations. Scarcity of net exports on the world market may manifest in a resurgence of oil prices. However, previous slashing of investments and cut- backs in exploration—much of which has already taken place—will mean that only the most powerful sections of the industry would be able to capitalize on this, meaning that production is unlikely to be able to return to previously high levels.
In effect, the global economy would likely still experience a self-reinforcing recessionary economic process. Prices spikes and shortages in water, food and energy would be experienced by general populations as a dramatic lowering of purchasing power, leading to an overall decrease in quality of life, an increase in poverty, and a heightening of inequality. This would undermine their internal cohesion, giving rise to new divisive, nationalist and xenophobic move- ments, and lead states into a tightening spiral of militarization to police domestic order.
While much of the West has so far avoided the most important aspects of such disruptions the writing is on the wall that no country can feel completely safe from its potential impacts. Each case study explored here represents the reality of emerging ESD—HSD along with local amplifying feedback processes, where the convergence of energy and environmental crises feeds into, and in turn is fueled by, political and economic crises.
As such, biophysical ESD processes have triggered interlinked social, political and economic crises leading to the breakdown of traditional order HSD. Within the last decade, local ESD—HSD ampli- fying feedback loops have broken out in major countries in every key continent. Taking a holistic, planetary perspective suggests that local ESD—HSD amplify- ing feedbacks have already reached a global pandemic scale, even though this pan- demic still remains in a nascent state. This in turn suggests that after , both the Euro-Atlantic core, as well as the fast-rising Indo- Chinese periphery, will begin to experience their own symptoms of systemic state-failure.
The cases examined here thus point to a global process of civilizational transi- tion. As these sub-system failures driven by local ESD—HSD amplifying feed- backs accelerate and converge in turn, they will coalesce and transmit ever more powerfully to the core of the global system. As this occurs and re-occurs, it will reach a system-wide threshold effect resulting in eventual maladaptive global sys- tem failure; or it will compel an adaptive response in the form of fundamental sys- temic transformation.
In this context, it is precisely the acceleration of global system failure that paves the way for the possibility of fundamental systemic transformation, and the emer- gence of a new phase-shift in the global system. Human civilization is in the midst of a global transition to a completely new system which is being forged from the ashes of the old. Yet the contours of this new system remain very much subject to our choices today. The very breakdown of the prevailing system heralds the potential for long-term post-breakdown systemic transformation.
This requires on the one hand an accelerat- ing investment in cleaner, alternative energy technologies that are renewable. But it also requires a reduction in energy consumption that recognizes that the neoclassi- cal ideology of endless growth that animates conventional economic thinking must be rejected. That further requires a level of environmental consciousness that looks to the long-term in a serious way. It is quite possible that a worst-case business-as-usual scenario for climate change, for instance, does indeed transpire. Yet this is no reason to resort to a fatalistic response.
On the contrary, it requires pushing forward the vision for systemic transformation of the human species many centuries into the future, to a point when the planet is able to return to some form of equilibrium. Whatever that future equilibrium looks like, whatever levels of existence are possi- ble in such a context, human societies will require principles and modes of organi- zation very different to what is taken for granted today. The thinking and technologies for that future will still need to be planted. In the meantime, the evidence discussed here demonstrates that substantive renewable energy investments are not merely a societal and economic dividend, but constitute one of the most important long-term sources of resilience from the desta- bilizing potential of system failure.
Yet renewables are not a panacea. They do not provide the potential for unlimited material production and consumption that is integral to capitalism as we know it, and to transition to them rapidly still requires vast levels of investment for which the political will does not presently exist. To that extent, they may also help catalyze wider neces- sary political and economic structural transformations. The technical and logistical potential for this exists, even if it is incom- mensurate with an endless growth economic model.
Simultaneously, and equally urgent, is a rapid shift toward forms of food and water production and distribution which are completely independent from fossil fuels. Numerous companies are taking the concept seriously in the recognition of current and looming environmental risks to their supply chains, but human civilization must begin to do so in the wider context of a recognition that the animating ideology of the current phase-shift of civilization is deeply misguided.
The rejec- tion of that orthodoxy as limited springs from the recognition that the doctrine of unlimited economic growth is nothing less than a fundamental violation of the laws of physics. In short, it is the stuff of cranks—yet it is nevertheless the ideology that informs policymakers and pundits alike. The magical thinking of endless growth must make way for a post-materialist ethic of human interconnectedness with itself and its biophysical context.
This body of work also demonstrates that meaningful prosperity in the sense of providing for human needs and well-being in high tech- nology societies remains possible in a fundamentally re-organized post-capitalist economy. In this framework, human progress can continue but within a new para- digm in which limited material development is mobilized to meet fundamental human needs through extension of human relations instead of market relations, a deepening of democracy, enhancing ecosystems, and more equal distribution of wealth.
Inevitably, therefore, post-capitalism will be incommensurate with the fea- tures of endless growth associated with industrial forms of capitalism: namely, con- tinuously growing material throughput driven by ever growing consumption by unrestrained population growth Victor ; Fournier ; Schneider et al. Instead, the unsustainable nature of contemporary capitalism opens up the urgency of working toward a new post-capitalist era built on the following components: regu- lation of market mechanisms and corporate activities; support for social enterprises organized as community cooperatives; democratic money creation processes, includ- ing community currencies, in place of debt-based fractional reserve banking; com- munities reclaiming the commons, especially in the sense of communal land stewardship systems; redistribution of income and capital assets; a diversity of pro- duction scales and modes, including small-scale, subsistence and self-employment to widen economic democracy Johanisova and Wolf Such a vision may, in the current context, appear impossibly utopian.
In the absence of accurate interpretations of the information we have—action- able knowledge—human civilization collectively is bound to pursue a dysfunctional maladaptive path toward protracted global system failure. The impacts of this are already palpable, in the sense that larger numbers of educated citizens than ever before around the world are aware of the risks of various global crises from climate change, to economic inequality.
However, there is very little in the way of a holistic understanding of the biophysical triggers for these crises, their fundamental interconnections, as well as their aggravating causes in the present structure of human civilization—a matter in which the vast majority of global population remains in deep denial. Meanwhile, the opportunity of the internet is being rapidly coopted by the Global Media-Industrial Complex.
Despite this, the inherently decentralized dynamic of the internet means that with every effort of top-down cooptation, the potential for bottom-up innovation increases. This actionable knowledge must, in holistic fashion, encompass both the diagnosis of the global problem, as well as the prognosis in the form of exploratory visions and practical actions for active participation in civilizational transition to an inevitable post-carbon future.
The systemic target for such counter-information dissemination, moreover, is eminently achievable. This can help build local resilience to local sub-system failures, while also pushing back against the growing global ESD—HSD pandemic, and potentially even facilitating the pandemic to pave the way for renewed adaptive responses. Such a new program must focus on excavat- ing and integrating the dynamics of sub-system failure across multiple domains from climate, to energy, to economics, to explore the tangible, real-world actualities of how such processes are playing out today.
However, this call for a new action-research agenda comes with caveats.
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For the most part, not a single one of the cases discussed here was ever modelled or pre- dicted by any scientist or scholar. Due to the sheer complexity of the phenomena under examination, it is unlikely that any single model alone would be capable of realistically capturing all their features in a way that would produce a meaningful model-run of their crisis-trajectories. This is particularly important to understand because of the one critical factor that no model can fully capture—human agency. It is for this reason that a renewed effort must be made for modelers and theoreticians to come together in integrating their work to create more robust paradigms by which to understand human societies.
The most obvious port of call for funding for this new action-research agenda includes national governments, local authorities, and intergovernmental institu- tions, many of which have departments with some interests in funding such issues. Military, intelligence and security agencies with a direct interest in developing intel- ligence to assess contemporary challenges and forecast future events and scenarios should be at the forefront of such funding in order to augment and rapidly rectify their existing analytical capabilities.
Given the scale and complexity of the issues, these crises have already overwhelmed their abilities to make sense of them enough to properly inform viable national and international security policies. Emerging post-carbon, post-capitalist industries, such as the renewable energy sector, may also be quick to recognize the importance of such an action-research program. My focus here has been on demonstrating the biophysi- cal basis of contemporary geopolitical chaos in every major region of the world. Further research is required to draw on multiple political, social science and economic theories to develop the theoretical contours of this frame- work.
However, neither of these avenues can succeed if they proceed separately.
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Yongsheng Wang and William E. The relation between projected image, reflected image and whoever activates the image puts three tension vectors in space, necessary to create what Eisenstein defined as image dynamism. The fourth element is the space itself. Cruelty in war has no limits. What it brings are many new ways of generating electricity and heating and moving things.
In other words it will get more difficult over time when fossil fuel back up has to be closed down. At the start of the energy technology revolution the economy is maxed out on debt which is only sustainable with very low interest rates. Depletion in the oil and natural gas sector are driving that sector into bankruptcy because the sector cannot recoup its rising costs from rising prices — a stagnant economy cannot charge rising energy prices without crashing the economy.
Developing a new energy system takes energy — a renewables infrastructure is first of all dependent on fossil fuel based energy to build it and if the fossil fuel industry is in trouble at an early stage in the development of a renewable system that is going to be a serious problem. All these things can be summarised as saying that the digital revolution occurred while the global economy still had expansion capacity. The energy revolution has to be made in totally different and much more difficult times — while the global economy is in retreat.
It will be difficult to bring a new energy sector into existence when the economy is stagnant and people will struggle to afford expensive innovation. Paradoxically in these circumstances it is likely to be many older technologies that will make sense again — perhaps in a reworked form. That is what makes the work of Kris de Decker written up in the Low Technology Magazine and its companion, the No Technology Magazine so important — rediscovering a multitude of solutions from history.
Below are links to two fantastic articles written by Kris de Decker in Low Technology Magazine — well researched, clear and easy to understand and full of relevant technical data. What they show is that trying to build an electrical energy system mainly with wind and solar that would be able to meet the demand for electricity at all times as we have now is a futile endeavour.
It would be way too expensive in money, resources and energy. We must get used to the idea of using electricity only when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing enough. The second article develops in more detail the idea of running the economy on renewables when the energy is there and is an important complement to the first article. There have been no end of new articles on the demise of the oil industry lately. While the Mainstream media continues to put out hype that technology will bring on abundant energy supplies for the foreseeable future, the global oil and gas industry is actually cannibalizing itself just to stay alive.
Increased finance costs, falling capital expenditures and the downgrade of oil reserves are the factors, like flesh-eating bacteria, that are decimating the once great oil and gas industry. However, if we look past all the over-specialized data and analysis, we can see how bad things are getting in the global oil and gas industry.
The global oil industry only found 2. There is a good reason why we have just recently tapped in to oil sands and shale oil…. Now, to put the above chart into perspective, here are the annual global conventional oil discoveries since You will notice the amount of new oil discoveries 2. Furthermore, the world has been consuming about an average of 70 million barrels per day of conventional oil production since the total liquid production is higher, but includes oil sands, deep water, shale oil, natural gas liquids, biofuels and etc.
Conventional oil production has averaged about 25 billion barrels per year. Except for the large orange bar in of approximately 35 billion barrels, all the years after were lower than 25 billion barrels. Thus, the global oil industry has been surviving on its past discoveries. According to the newest data put out by the U. The majority of negative oil reserve revisions came from the Canadian oil sands sector:. Of the 68 public traded energy companies used in this graph, total liquid oil reserves fell from billion barrels in to billion barrels in So, not only are conventional oil discoveries falling the lowest since , companies are now forced to downgrade their total liquid oil reserves due to lower oil prices.
These 68 public companies have been producing between billion barrels of oil per year. Because of the downward revisions in and , net oil reserves have fallen approximately 16 billion barrels, or nearly two years worth of these 68 companies total liquid oil production. But… what happens if the oil price continues to decline as the global economy starts to really contract from the massive amount of debt over-hanging the system? Thus, the oil industry could likely cut more reserves, which means… the 12 years worth of reserves will fall below 10, or even lower. My intuition tells me that global liquid oil reserves will fall even lower due to the next two charts in the following section.
Over the next several years, the amount of debt that comes due in the U.
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The amount of debt as outstanding bonds that comes due in the U. The reason the amount of debt has increased so much in the U. This is pure nonsense. Again… most energy analysts are just looking at how a company could producing a barrel of oil that year, without regard of all other external costs and debts. Moreover, to give the ILLUSION that shale oil and gas production is a commercially viable enterprise, these energy companies have to pay its bond debt holders dearly. How much? Some of us may be familiar with this concept when we have maxed out our credit cards and are paying a minimum interest payment just to keep the bankers happy.
And happy they are as they are making a monthly income on money that we created out of thin air… LOL. As an example of rising debt service, here is a table showing Continental Resources Interest expense:. Continental Resources is one of the larger energy players in the Bakken oil shale field in North Dakota. However, we can plainly see that producing this shale oil came at a big cost. In relative terms, that is one hell of a huge credit card interest payment. The folks that are receiving a nice 4. It has added a massive amount of debt to produce very low-quality Shale Oil-Gas and Oil Sands just to keep the world economies from collapsing.
The falling oil price, due to a consumer unable to afford higher energy costs, is gutting the liquid oil reserves of many of the publicly trading energy companies.
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At some point… the massive amount of debt will take down this system, and with it, the global oil industry. If you have well balanced portfolio in these three asset classes, then you are in serious financial trouble in the future. I have to say, I found the whole Qatar thing rather bizarre, but this commentator thinks that Saudi Arabia is already in trouble. As Bloomberg notes, OPEC and its partners will be hoping their efforts to curb output will be enough to support prices and counteract any fears of growing downside risk. The Oilocene, if that term ever catches on, will have only lasted years.
Which must be the quickest blink in terms of geological eras…… This article was lifted from feasta. What people do not realise is that it takes oil to extract, refine, produce and deliver oil to the end user. The Hills Group calculates that in , the average energy required by the oil production chain had risen so much that it was then equal to the energy contained in the oil delivered to the economy.
So there you go…… as I posted earlier this year, do we have five years left…….? A pdf version of this paper is here. Please refer to my presentation for supporting images and comments. In I was sitting on an eroded barren hillside in India, where less than years previously there had been dense forest with tigers. It was now effectively a desert and I was watching villagers scavenging for twigs for fuelwood and pondering their future, thinking about rapidly increasing human population and equally rapid degradation of the global environment.
I had recently devoured a copy of The Limits to Growth LTG published in , and here it was playing out in front of me. Their Business as Usual BAU scenario showed that global economic growth would be over between ; and today 45 years later, that prediction is inexorably becoming true. Since any semblance of growth has been fuelled by astronomically greater quantities of debt; and all other indicators of overshoot are flashing red. One of the main factors limiting growth was regarded by the authors of LTG as energy; specifically oil. Conventional oil is or was the high quality, high net energy, low water content, easy to get stuff.
Its multi-decade increasing rate in production came to an end around as predicted many years earlier by Campbell and Laherre in The rate of production peaked in and has since been in decline IEA Recently it admitted that its oil production forecasts were based on economic projections rather than geology or cost; ie on the assumption that supply will always meet projected demand. Furthermore, it raises a number of vital questions which are the core subject of this post. How likely is it that remaining reserves will be produced at the rate projected?
How much will it cost to produce all these various types? How much energy will be required, and crucially how much energy will be left over for use by the economy? Surprisingly perhaps, oil is also crucial to production of all other forms of energy including renewables. We cannot mine and distribute coal or even drill for gas and install pipelines and gas distribution networks without lots of oil; and you certainly cannot make a nuclear power station or build a hydroelectric dam without oil.
This figure speaks entirely for itself. I am a renewable energy consultant and promoter, but I am also a realist; in practice the world runs on oil. The economy, Global GDP and oil are therefore mutually dependent and have enjoyed a tightly linked dance over the decades as shown in the following images. Note the connection between oil, total energy, oil price and GDP clues for later. Click on image to enlarge.
Since when the rate of production of conventional oil slowed and peaked, production costs have been rising more rapidly. Oil and gas company debt soars to danger levels to cover shortfall in cash By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Yet costs have continued to rise relentlessly. Companies have exhausted the low-hanging fruit and are being forced to explore fields in ever more difficult regions.
Global output of conventional oil peaked in despite huge investment. Steven Kopits from Douglas-Westwood said the productivity of new capital spending has fallen by a factor of five since The following images give a good idea of the trend and breakdown in costs of oil production. Getting it out of the ground is just for starters. The images show just how expensive it is becoming to produce — and how far from breakeven the current oil price is.
The following images show that the many different types of oil have obviously vastly different production costs. Note the relatively small proportion of conventional reserves much of it already used , and the substantially higher production cost of all other types of oil. Note also the apt title and date of the Deutsche Bank analysis — production costs have risen substantially since then.
Even before the oil price collapse of , the global oil industry was in deep trouble. Debts are rising quickly, and balance sheets are increasingly RED. In addition to the oil majors, shrinking oil revenues in oil-producing countries are playing havoc with national economies. Virtually every oil producing country in the world requires a much higher oil price to balance its budget — some of them vastly so eg Venezuela.
Their economies have been designed around oil, which for many of them is their largest source of income. Even Saudi Arabia, the biggest global oil producer with the biggest conventional oil reserves is quickly using up its sovereign wealth fund. It appears that not a single significant oil-producing country is balancing its budget. Their debts and deficits grow bigger by the day. Everyone is praying for higher oil prices.
Who are they kidding?