Crude monster is here and we cannot deny that. We saw what happened in Chennai. We know the demand supply gap in Bangalore. It’s time we face reality and react. As Jack Welsh wrote The art of leading comes down to one thing: facing reality, and then acting decisively and quickly on that reality.
Now, what’s reality, lets look at today’s newspaper, rising inflation – reason crude oil prices, rising import bill – reason crude oil prices, rising budget deficit – reason crude oil prices, rising balance of payment deficit – reason crude oil prices,rising dollar – again crude oil prices, rising interest rate – blame oil again. Now there are various speculations as to why crude oil prices are rising. It’s not hoarding, it’s also not that the world is choked of its reserves. The reason then is anybody’s guess.
We need to accept that given the energy dependency of India – the government can no longer insulate us. It’s going to hit us and that too hard. all the vicious circles are pointing to a global slow down. but we should not loose our composure. Looking back to the 1970s – we are in a much stable and stronger position now to fight back the monster. but we need to fight together and if we do the world will be at our feet. We should not allow the crude monster to hold India by neck and choke it out of energy.
Now, how do we act. Each and every one of us should take lead in saving energy – whatever form it is. We need to decrease or least reduce the pace of demand for oil from India. There are innumerable ways to do it. Some would take time like driving vehicles that use alternative energy sources. using energy saving devices. Installing solar energy devices at homes and office etc. but a lot can be achieved by a slight change in life style. Pool Cabs to office, even and odd numbered vehicles on roads, consuming locally produced items – will reduce demand for truck transport and consequently demand for oil. these are just ideas. I know we can think a lot better and be more innovative if we do it together. We need to energize every body to think save energy and once we do that all of us would be winners. India had showed the world the way to run back offices. Now it’s time to show the world the way to save energy. Lets join hands and save ourselves from the monster.
We have a very interesting suggestion by a fellow mate – WWW.
Now, whats WWW? Its not the usual world wide web that we know of, instead it stand for why not Walk to Work
Yes, why not all of us walk a kilometer every day to work. I think its great. Assuming an average mileage of 10 km per litre, we would save a litre of oil if 10 of us decide to walk a kilometer to work. Isn’t it wonder. just think of the number, lets do some math over here. 10 people can save a litre every day, in fact lets make it both to and from work i.e. 10 people can save 2 litres a day.
Taking the 2001 population census of top 27 cities in India, if we assume that 5% of the top 27 city population would join us, we would end up saving close to US$ 0.6m a day (at crude price of 1 barrel = US140 and 1 barrel = 159 litres).
All of us would have played the game of ‘sticks’ during our childhood. and if we had we would know the strength of bundle as against an a single stick. Nobody knows the extent of oil reserve earth has – therefore decreasing consumption would not affect oil prices – To answer this we need to understand why oil prices are rising
Yes, its partially correct to say that no body knows the extent of oil reserve earth has. However, it does not affect us. what affects us is Producible Proven Reserve (known as P1) and we do know how much of this reserve we have.
Also, to a certain extent engineers and scientists can and do measure reserves over and above P1. in fact if you add all possible and probable reserves (not proven) to P1 you get P2 and further if you add reserves in the form of oil shale and tar sands you get P3. Globally P3 is considered as the max oil reserve the earth has and it includes geological estimates of the oil lying below the Artic bed, which is extractable only if the ice in Arctic melts – a possibility given the current global warming scenario.
Oil reserve is not only measured but tracked and reported daily, weekly, monthly and yearly by organisations like Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) , World Petroleum Council (WPC) , American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) , Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers (SPEE), US Department of Energy, US Geological Survey, Energy Information Agency (EIA), Cambridge Energy Research Associates and others.
There are 4 key numbers that are reported by all organisations viz. Oil reserve (P1, P2 and P3) in terms of billion barrel, current production in million barrels per day, reserve life (years) and current consumption demand in million barrels per day.
Some examples – If oil reserve cannot be measured, why do we say that Saudi Arabia has more than a quarter of world’s P1 reserve.how did Goldman Sachs predict in early 2005 that crude prices will touch US$ 100, and more recently how and on what basis did Morgan Stanley predict that it would touch US$ 140.
However, there are certain limitations to reserve measurement.
Saudi Arabia stopped disclosing its quantum of oil reserve since 1982. However, Matthew Simmones in his book Twilight in the Desert published in 2005 argued that Saudi Arabia’s production is at its peak. Saudi Arabia has since never increased its production. only recently after much pressure from oil importing countries it agreed to increase production by a mere 500,000 bbl per day.
The only country with proven but undeveloped (unmeasured) reserve is Iraq. However, continuous civil unrest and two rounds of Gulf Wars have made it impossible for Iraq to maintain even current production.Industry experts feel that an investment of US$ 1 billion per day would be required for Iraq to reach its peak production of 1974.Further, it would require an investment of minimum of US$ 100 billion to develop its till now undeveloped reserve. Oil from these reserves would take 10 years to reach us, save politics.
Very few know that an Oil crisis similar to the one we are seeing today was avoided in 2007 when new technologies enabled commercial production using tar sand – what I am trying to point out is the current reserve that is being reported is based on current operating and technological capability. It does not factor decrease in extraction loss etc due to technological advancement.
Now, with this background let us understand WHY OIL PRICES are rising -
The Global oil reserve is NOT coming to an end. We still have proven reserves (P1) that at current production rates would last for more than 100 years.
Also, no one is HOARDING OIL. Hoarding is not a concept in Oil and Gas Industry. what is prevalent is Global Strategic Petroleum Reserve – which most of the oil importing countries maintain and it should be as per International Petroleum Stockpiling Law. Oil importing countries can stockpile oil to support max 90 days of consumption. India currently has a stockpile of 37 days, 2 reserves are in Karnataka, 1 in Andhra. US has the max reserve of c. 700 billion barrels enough to support c. 180 days of consumption. However, given the current price rise, very few countries are increasing its Strategic reserve.
What is happening now is that the current production is not sufficient to meet current consumption demand and this sudden surge has come from the growing emerging economics like China, India, Latin American countries. Countries like Indonesia have become net importer of oil from net exporter till recent years.
Can current production from P1 reserves be increased – NO – not much, it is curtailed by technological and geological limitations. It cannot be increased without new technological break through or without new investment (as in case of Iraq).
How much time will P2 and P3 will take to start production – MIN of 10 years. Some believe that new finds can increase the production of oil, but that will happen only after 10 to 15 years and not now, also the historical ratio of P2 and P3 converting into P1 in very low. moreover, law of diminishing return works here too. Its more difficult to find the last traces of gold (here liquid gold).
There is a theory of Peak Oil (production) according to which all wells reach a production peak after which their daily production capacity decreases. even Nitrogen Injection is not good enough to increase oil production. If we go by bottoms up approach and start adding the estimated production for all oil wells around the world we can draw a global Oil production curve.
Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, Hubbert Curve, Export Land Model and even the documentary film The end of Suburbia point to a fact that Oil production has or is about to reach its peak. Most of these studies point out 2008 to 2012 as the years in which world oil production would be at its peak.
So, we have a situation where, the peak (or near peak) production is not able to meet world demand which is expected to grow substantially, given the current lifestyle and emerging economies. Imagine a situation where world demand continues as it is now while the production cycle trips over to the right side of its time scale peak. We expected a situation like this to happen post 2012 era.
So, how do we tackle it – DECREASE CONSUMPTION.
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