Peak Oil In The Washington Post  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

Coby at A Few Things Ill-Considered points to a Washington Post series on peak oil called "Oil Shock". From Calif. Field Goes from Rush To Reflection of Global Limits:

In May 1899, a pair of oil prospectors wielding picks and shovels dug into a bank of the Kern River where some gooey liquid had seeped to the surface. About 45 feet down, they hit oil, and when the local newspaper printed the news, it set off an oil rush that swept up hundreds of fortune seekers, oil companies, a big railroad and even some enterprising school districts that bought up tracts in hope of turning a profit.

Today, on an arid square of land the size of Manhattan, thousands upon thousands of black derricks crowd the landscape, bobbing gently up and down and sipping crude oil from the field discovered a century ago. The wells aren't gushers these days, but they still squeeze out a few barrels a day here, a few more there.

Chevron has injected steam into the reservoirs, coaxing the sedimentary rock into giving up millions of barrels of heavy oil that was too thick and sticky to retrieve using the technology of decades past.

But the Kern River field, like most U.S. oil fields, is in decline. After surging to new highs during the 1980s, Kern River production has dropped to just over 80,000 barrels a day, more than 40 percent below its peak. Enhanced recovery techniques will continue to prolong its profitable life, but its days are numbered.

Kern River is the story of America's oil supply. Four decades ago, the United States was the world's biggest oil producer. But U.S. crude oil output peaked in 1970, at 9.6 million barrels a day, which was enough to cover the bulk of the country's needs back then. Now, U.S. crude production stands at 5.1 million barrels a day. Together with liquids derived from natural gas and other inputs, domestic production covers only 42 percent of the country's needs. The balance comes from imports. Ever since President Richard Nixon called for "Project Independence" in a 1973 address to the nation, U.S. energy independence has been little more than a throwaway line in political speeches.
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The United States is at the leading edge of what may lie ahead for worldwide oil production. Global petroleum output is still rising, but the rate of growth is slowing. Supply is not increasing fast enough to keep up with soaring global demand, putting ever more upward pressure on oil prices.



Over at the WSJ they report that the neoconservative "Prince of Darkness", Richard Perle, is getting in on the Iraq oil theft - Perle Linked to Kurdish Oil Plan.
Influential former Pentagon official Richard Perle has been exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan, according to people with knowledge of the matter and documents outlining possible deals.

Mr. Perle, one of a group of security experts who began pushing the case for toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein about a decade ago, has been discussing a possible deal with officials of northern Iraq's Kurdistan regional government, including its Washington envoy, according to these people and the documents.

It would involve a tract called K18, near the Kurdish city of Erbil, according to documents describing the plan.

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