Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dr. Clifford Wirth's Big Mistake Super Sized My Oil Glut

(Fair warning: this is a long one, so grab a drink:))

Dr. Wirth screwed up bad. He tried to pull off a miracle upset for the peak team on the game's last play, but his Ph.D. couldn't save him from his own stupidity. Yesiree... after he "Lambeau Leaped" into the stands to celebrate his 45-yard touchdown run... he realized, after the fans' clawing wrath, he scrambled into the wrong end zone and the clock axed his team!

I first remembered Dr. Clifford when he roamed around the halls of the Internet last year, incessantly screaming this blathering doom prophecy like an annoying banshee:

"Oil prices are set to skyrocket: According to energy investment banker Matthew Simmons and most independent analysts, global oil production is now declining, from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time demand will increase 14%.This is equivalent to a 33% drop in 7 years. No one can reverse this trend, nor can we conserve our way out of this catastrophe. Because the demand for oil is so high, it will always be higher than production; thus the depletion rate will continue until all recoverable oil is extracted. Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining

This is what happens when you become Mexico's finest peak freak: you don't realize that you can run tractors/combines (hydrogen and electric), trains (you're embarrassing yourself, Clifford), ships (it's the armed forces, but they gave us the internet), semis, and mining equipment on electric power! Didn't he know diesel locomotives are actually diesel-electric hybrids - have been for decades? The diesel engine is, in effect. a diesel generator; we’ve had electric trolleys since the 19th century.

Anyway, Dr. Clifford recently went to Tijuana to load up on peak oil kool-aid for his best performance; this is what he blathered while hooked up to the half-barrel...

“Global crude oil production had been rising briskly until 2004, then plateaued for four years. Because oil producers were extracting at maximum effort to profit from high oil prices, this plateau is a clear indication of Peak Oil.Then in August and September of 2008 while oil prices were still very high, global crude oil production fell nearly one million barrels per day, clear evidence of Peak Oil (See Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of "Oil Watch Monthly," December 2008, page 1)”

Since peakers have a memory retention of a bumble bee when recalling their failed predictions, I decided to make sobering sense out of info. seen through kool-aid goggles. First, he had the wrong address (you can find it here); secondly, his puzzle was solved in a matter of minutes, plus I made a bigger discovery - additional light on the size of the glut and how much bigger it could have was gained. Let's start with this:

Okay, production dropped by a million in September, and another thing Clifford didn't mention, it dropped more than a million the month before. This is nothing to worry about and everything will be explained in a bit. Let me explain August: The August drop was caused by a sharp, but coincidental and momentary drop in production by a group of non-OPEC producers. Such drops are known to occur, with instant rebounds coming a month or so down the road. For example:

Aberizan took an August vacation in 2007, and rebounded in September with no effect; and production went into the infirmary last year, around August, taking roughly 500,000 bpd with it. This chart only goes to October.Also among our list of guilty partners, we have (EIA goes to October):

And Norway with four weeks of European vacation in August...

But non-OPEC was back in the swing of things by October; look, by November (EIA goes to October) production was nearly healed to prior levels, and were fully functional by X-mas. Onto September...

The month Dr. Wirth referred to was easy. One perpetrator was primarily responsible: the United States. An all-star hurricane season, led by Captain Ike, barreled through the Gulf of Mexico. Where does America get 25% of its 5 mbpd (2008 numbers; crude only, no liquids) of production? You're a genius! Check out the graph below and pat your intelligence on the back:

America’s fat ass raced against Nicole Richie to see who could lose the most weight in a month. All hands to the star-spangled winner of the Biggest Loser: One Million Barrel Edition!

Now for the real kicker. A drop of over 2 mbpd of production over two months is a major cut, especially when oil prices were high. Yet, despite the added jet propulsion from the drop, Wiley E. Coyote's jet pack, fueled by expensive oil, couldn't keep him falling to the ground from the upper stratosphere - because it was built by greedy speculators, not honest Acme factory workers:)

If these production cuts had not occurred, OPEC and Russia would have been flabbergasted with even bigger financial problems; would Russia have had deja vu of Boris Yeltin's spectre laughing his roasted drunk ass off? The more than 2 mbpd drop was a blessing in disguise for these lads. Remeber when Iran proclaimed oil markets were oversupplied by 2 mbpd late last year? Just think of how much more things could have been bloated...

The oil game was blowout, the peak team has a long off-season to drag out before the Mayan doom date. They're pissed off at the current collapse-trend driving doomers' hearts into primal urges - the finance crisis. Dr. Wirth, your peak oil career is over, there's no room for you on the team's bus except in the septic tank. It's time to take one for the team.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wirth, if you ever come to your senses and decide to come back to the states, we have one career perfectly suitable for your background (Clifford Wirth taught public policy and public administration). You can start by helping these people plan sustainable communities:

- Brewskie

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