We have reached, I would suppose, a period of complacency in the perception of the coming of Peak Oil. We are in a period where, as recent posts have shown, the promises of bountiful supply are built on increasingly tenuous propositions. Unfortunately, the evolving story of the mess that we are heading into is at a point where the critical aspects of the problem rate minor paragraphs in articles that largely talk about something else. And the potential of the fossil fuels that lie within shale have commentators drooling over the benefits that will come from this abundant resource. Unfortunately, within this euphoria there are sufficient concerns that need airing, since overall, the situation has not changed that much since the Hirsch Report was published, just over eight years ago.
The major Russian current development is taking place in the Yamal Peninsula, where the Bovanenkovo field, which came on stream last October had been projected to yield 4 Tcf by 2017, increasing 5 Tcf in the out years. Other adjacent fields, Kharasaveyskoye, Kruzensternskoye, Tambey and Nonoportskoye, were scheduled to follow in order to meet anticipated demand.
But those plans are now being scaled back. Russia has already lost some of their Chinese natural gas market to Turkmenistan, and now it can see that the US might take some of the European market. It cost $41 billion to develop Bovanenkovo, which made it “one of the most expensive industrial projects in the world.” Gazprom is cutting production by around 83% of capacity this year, and expects it may have to go lower. The natural follow-on to this will be a slowing of investment and development in Yamal, which also produces oil.
My concern is that in the current Western euphoria, if all the current plans and projections for alternative supplies and conservation fail, those who must invest to build the alternative infrastructure that will provide sufficient fuel will not be motivated to make those investments in a timely manner. If they do not, or have not, then we will still need the 20-years that Robert Hirsch and his committee projected, when we run out of that time. (That clock is ticking). Unfortunately, those whosing this song, like Cassandra, are less likely to be heard in this interval.
The full article is here.