The World Without Us

Slow news day. I am going to spend time looking further into multilevel modelling for some work I’m beginning, as well as return to reading Alan Weisman’s excellent book The World Without Us (I rather like the cover image). This was the analysis that gave us this memorable graphic:

world without us

Meanwhile, The Big Picture is recapping various contributions thus far to the lexicon of inflation.

The Oil Drum, when you’re done with that, is discussing oil supply. Specifically the ongoing bluffing game between OPEC and Everyone Else. In this case, The International Energy Agency, and the Energy Information Administration have both decided that OPEC needs to increase supply (so that we don’t face a crunch driven by prices). OPEC says the balance is fine. The difference is about a million barrels a day. The question is, can OPEC even do it?

Back in 2006, the Oil Drum listed the status of the the Ghawar oil field’s peak/decline as unknown. Today, I’d say it’s knowable. The Saudis have been using the intrusion of gas and water to get to the remaining oil for a while now, and production has every appearance of having peaked. I posted these a while ago, I think (or did I just show them to students?). The Oil Drum’s figures (based upon EIA, IEA and Baker Hughes data) show a decline in Saudi Oil

saudi oil decline

Even as rigs are rapidly increasing

saudi rigs

If that doesn’t indicate the problem, nothing does. I also heard probably the best argument in yesterday’s posted documentary. At least one interviewee commented that, if the Saudis had the production capacity, why wouldn’t they use it in an increasing market?

Over at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, I found a different view put forth by ex-Saudi-Oil-guy Sadad Al-Husseini (he’s still Saudi Arabian, just not in oil exploration and production).

There has been a paradigm shift in the energy world whereby oil producers are no longer inclined to rapidly exhaust their resource for the sake of accelerating the misuse of a precious and finite commodity. This sentiment prevails inside and outside of OPEC countries but has yet to be appreciated among the major energy consuming countries of the world.

Which, to be fair, is a fair point. There’s no reason why the provider’s of oil need to be as gluttinous, avaricious and near-sighted as the countries demanding it. I still say Ghawar’s production will continue downwards. There are other views. There are also still a few fields in Iraq that have …yet to be properly stabilised..


2 comments so far

  1. peter sivey on

    you probably already know this but look into gllamm for multilevel modelling..


  2. zooeygoethe on

    I’m seeing whether it is suitable, although I’m not sure it will be – I will most likely be putting my likelihoods through ml directly, and just bashing it out (non-affiliates: Peter is referring to the gllamm programme available for Stata).

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