Energy Strategy, Technology, and Current Issues in the Oil Industry
Energy Overview / Current Issues in Energy

Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.


Issue:
Alternative Energies: Easy-to-find, cheap-to-produce oil no longer exists.

 
Alternative energies have been caught in bubbles as well, although as a long-term solution, they will definitely continue to be of interest as technologies improve.

According to many to pundits, the clean energy bubble popped in 2009, resulting in an opportunity to rebuild now.

Cheap, easy, convenient oil has more or less disappeared. Right now, oil reserves cost more to exploit. They are in harsh environments (deepwater offshore, remote jungles, and in the arctic), and require extreme technology (imaging for subsalt reservoirs).  There are also enhanced oil recovery efforts in mature basins, which present technological and environmental challenges.
 
On the other hand, other industry experts and leaders claim that the concept of “peak oil” is groundless. For example, Bob Dudley, chief executive of BP claims that oil production will increase along with gas from unconventional sources.
 
They are controversial, however, because they utilize so much water and they require energy to produce them.
 
There will be a great deal of effort expended in piggybacking alternative / renewable energy with the extraction of non-renewables to make a more environmentally friendly solution possible.

Readings:

Solar Energy Outlook for 2013
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/01/the-solar-outlook-for-2013

Wind Energy Fact Sheet
http://www.awea.org/learnabout/publications/factsheets/index.cfm

Global Renewable Energy Market Outlook 2013 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
http://about.bnef.com/files/2013/04/Global-Renewable-Energy-Market-Outlook-2013.pdf

Biomass Energy Industry Outlook: Dogged by Regulatory Uncertainty
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/12/biomass-industry-outlook-2013-dogged-by-regulatory-uncertainty
 
Energy sources will be increasingly important as global energy demand is projected to continue to increase at an average of 2% per year until 2020, and then by 1.3% by 2030, with most of the increased demand coming from China and India. (Harvey, 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/16/peak-oil-theories-groundless-bp)
 
Harvey, Fiona (2013) Peak oil theories ‘increasingly groundless’, says BP chief. The Guardian. Jan 16, 2013.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/16/peak-oil-theories-groundless-bp 

Geothermal Energy CoProduction with Oil and Gas
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/07/oil-and-gas-coproduction-expands-geothermal-power-possibilities
 
Time to Move On to the Next Bubble: Clean Energy
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2008/01/time-to-move-on-to-the-next-bubble-clean-energy-51203

Guiding Questions:
 
What is the key argument in favor of the idea that we do not have to worry about oil or gas shortage?
 
What are some of the points that Bob Dudley makes? Do you agree?

How is the world demand for energy increasing? Where is it increasing? Why? What kinds of energy are under the most pressure to expand?

Why and how could clean energy growth be a bubble? What would cause unsustainable growth?