If humanity is unprepared for Peak Oil, here are some of the guilty people

One reason the arrival of peak oil might catch the world by surprise is the repeated false predictions by peak oil experts.  Confident predictions, often contemptuous of mainstream experts.  The quality of their work is often shoddy, their admissions of error are rare.  Repeatedly crying wolf is the opposite of alerting people to a danger.

Today’s news provides yet another example.  (At the end are links to other examples).  Yes, Greenland might have large oil reserves.

Greenland Oil Rush Looms“, Bloomberg, May 2010 — Excerpt:

Cairn Energy Plc is betting $400 million this year on striking oil off Greenland, a campaign that will be closely watched by producers such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. that hold rights off the island.  The potential rewards may justify the cost of Arctic drilling: Greenland’s waters could hold 50 billion barrels of crude and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates, enough to meet Europe’s energy demand for almost two years. More companies are on the way. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA were among bidders in this week’s auction of offshore drilling rights.

This builds on USGS work indicating that Greenland might have large oil fields.

  1. Fact Sheet for the World Petroleum Assessment 2000, USGS
  2. Global Petroleum Reserves — A View to the Future“, Thomas S. Ahlbrandt and J.McCabe (United States Geological Survey), Geotimes, November 2002
  3. New Oil and Gas Assessment of Northeastern Greenland“, USGS, 28 August 2007

The USGS estimate in 2000 was greeted with derision by several peak oil experts.

(1) Estimates of Oil Reserves“, Jean Laherrere, presented at a EMF/IEA/IEW meeting, 19 June 2001 — Excerpt:

These simple numbers with a huge range show that they come from nowhere, being just pure guesses and wishful thinking! From this ungeological assessment, Monte Carlo simulation gives a beautiful distribution. No scientific credence can be given to work of this sort.

(2) A Reply“, Colin J. Campbell, ASPO Newsletter, December 2002 — A response to the Ahlbrandt-McCabe article.  Excerpt:

Ahlbrandt and McCabe have written an elegant article choosing their words with extreme care to present what seems to be an authoritative account of the world’s oil and gas situation, based on a study made by the United States Geological Survey in 2000. But on closer inspection, it is in fact a thoroughly flawed study that has done incalculable damage by misleading international agencies and governments.

… In, for example, the famous case of little known NE Greenland, the study states with a straight face that there is a 95% subjective probability of more than zero, namely at least one barrel, and a 5% probability of more than 111.815 Gb (billion barrels). A Mean value of 47.148 Gb is then computed from this range, being incorporated in the global assessment. Can we really give much credence to the suggestion that this remote place, that has so far failed to attract the interest of the industry, holds almost as much, or more, than the North Sea, the largest new province to be found since the Second World War?

Articles debunking much of the peak oil literature

From the great Peak Oil Debunked website:

  1. TWILIGHT IN THE DESERT, MY ASS
  2. A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH MATT SIMMONS
  3. NATURAL GAS “CLIFF” BENDS THE WRONG WAY
  4. JIM KUNSTLER: WORLD’S SHITTIEST FORECASTER
  5. THE MANY WRONG PREDICTIONS OF KEN DEFFEYES
  6. SIMMONS’ PREDICTIONS FLOP… PATHETICALLY
  7. KEN DEFFEYES STARTS BACKPEDALING — “By 2005 we’ll be back in the stone age”
  8. COLIN CAMPBELL: WRONG AGAIN
  9. THE “AMAZING” BOONE PICKENS

On the FM website:

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