May 26, 2012

"Center of gravity in oil world shifts to Americas."

WaPo reports.
From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East....

Oil produced in Persian Gulf countries — notably Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq — will remain vital to the world’s energy picture. But what was once a seemingly unalterable truth — that American oil production would steadily fall while the United States remained heavily reliant on Middle Eastern supplies — is being turned on its head....

Production has risen strikingly fast in places such as the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, and the “tight” rock formations of North Dakota and Texas....

Perhaps the biggest development in the worldwide realignment is how the United States went from importing 60 percent of its liquid fuels in 2005 to 45 percent last year. The economic downturn in the United States, improvements in automobile efficiency and an increasing reliance on biofuels all played a role.
What will the world be like when we don't depend on the Middle East anymore? They depend on our dependence. What will they be like if/when we don't particularly care?

And what will South America be like 10 years from now?

And what's stopping you from moving to North Dakota?

ADDED: Romney should make oil independence a big issue. This is a very exciting development — economically and geopolitically — and Obama is vulnerable.

61 comments:

Rusty said...

Despite everything the current administration is doing to keep usfrom developing our domestic supplies.
"Foot on the neck" of the oil industry and all that.

MadisonMan said...

And what's stopping you from moving to North Dakota

Winter.

Mitchell said...

Wait a minute. Does this mean we invaded Iraq for nothing?

David said...

Peak oil! Peak oil! Sky falling! Stop reproducing! Turn off the lights! Sky falling! Peak oil!

Unknown said...

Highly recommend reading "The Next 100 Years" by George Friedman for an advanced discussion of the world's realignmnent because of oil and population issues.

Ron said...

One more reason President Palin would be kicking serious butt right now, as opposed to President KnowsWhatsGoodForYou.

David said...

Even this article is misleadingly worrisome. One might say--damn, we still import 45%. But most of that is from Canada and Mexico. There is great potential for oil from South America (though the Brazil pipeline to the Pacific tells you where that will be going.) There's got to be a lot of undiscovered oil in the far east too, maybe in China itself.

The left is naturally predisposed to pessimism. It's their worst trail, because it's what leads to the statism. The economic and human potential of the world--not just the USA--is immensely larger than most believe. Right now it is shackled by government nearly everywhere.

traditionalguy said...

The Argentines have also found a mega oil and gas formation in Patagonia, also bigger than the rest of them found.

I'll never forget the sneering put downs I endured from educated economists that based their reality on an assumption that " a finite amount of oil exists in the world."

When I suggested that assumption was untrue, they hooted and treated me as if I was an ignorant flat earther.

Well, at least I was not a Young Earther, and I only wanted them to re-think it.

Closed minded science is the not worth a cup of warm spit.

Paddy O said...

I've long said that the shame of the Middle East is that this should be their century, they are making billions of dollars in a relatively brief stretch of time in which what they have is highly important to the rest of the world, and what they have is a gift to use or abuse. For all that money, though, what do they have to show for it? Fabulously wealthy sheiks but societies that have very little of their own industrial capability.

So, when oil runs out or becomes unimportant? Very sad for that whole region, which may turn out to be just a plague of grasshoppers, not industrious ants.

What will happen to Islam when the oil money runs out? That's what I'm curious about.

Greg Hlatky said...

...and an increasing reliance on biofuels...

And together Henry and Tommy Aaron hit 768 home runs.

Paddy O said...

"went from importing 60 percent of its liquid fuels in 2005 to 45 percent last year."

And yet, gas prices averaged about $2.00 a gallon in 2005, and is more than double that now.

Alan said...

And what's stopping you from moving to North Dakota

Spoken like someone who has never been to North Dakota.

edutcher said...

It's said we could be the Saudi Arabia (and probably the whole Middle East) of this century if we tapped all our fuel reserves, but Dictator Zero and his cronies won't let us.

Instead, they want us to impoverish ourselves with entitlements and "health care" that will only cover us from ages 5 to 65.

This is why Zero acts like a Banana Republic dictator. That's what he wants for us, so we can be ruled over by his ruling class.

rhhardin said...

They don't understand center of gravity.

Test your understanding.

A high jumper's center of gravity goes under the bar.

Sorun said...

"What will the world be like when we don't depend on the Middle East anymore?"

Are the Arabs are going to end up like a lot of pro athletes (e.g., Dennis Rodman)? I think so.

Paco Wové said...

President Palin

Except that she wasn't running for President. Did you have some, ah, plans for Cranky Gramps McCain?

chickelit said...

A high jumper's center of gravity goes under the bar.

That remark gave me pause and a moment of inertia.

JAL said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the UA could act like a grownup with its oil policy? Get rid of Barack Obama and the enviromental fascists.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the Islamic world lose its grip on the playground when all the other "kids" weren't forced to play by the Arab world's rules?

So much for jihad and Sharia.

Sweet.

With a good oil supply there would be time to prepare for when things changed. New ideas, methods, innovations occur. Ramming electric cars down everyone's throats -- which RUN OFF OIL, COAL and/or HYDRO DAMS, truth be known -- is not the answer.

Not to mention that a huge amount of everyday things which make our lives more productive and easier are "fossil fuel" based.

Drill, Mittens, drill!

The Drill SGT said...

and an increasing reliance on biofuels all played a role.

yeah, going from 1% to 2% is a 100% increase.

JAL said...

That's USA, not UA.

Out to mow.

Jay said...

edutcher said...
It's said we could be the Saudi Arabia (and probably the whole Middle East) of this century if we tapped all our fuel reserves, but Dictator Zero and his cronies won't let us.


oh you stop!

That's because oil rigging, building pipelines & refineries, and heavy construction aren't the "right" kind of jobs!

We need to send our kids to college so they can be Web designers (like Julia) or diversity managers, you silly dinosaur!

Ron said...


Except that she wasn't running for President. Did you have some, ah, plans for Cranky Gramps McCain?


You mean that they just made that Game Change movie outta fear of President McCain? Huh!

Bruce Hayden said...

But, but,,, but remember that if we drill for all that oil, then the earth is going to burn up with global warming, or at least global climate change, and that can only be avoided by eliminating all carbon usage, except for that used to fuel private jets and limos. Oh, and did I mention fracking - that is going to destroy the inside of the earth, while burning hydrocarbons burns up the outside with AGW.

EDH said...

While they may no longer hold the rest of the world hostage by restricting supply, it's what is eventually done with their still considerable oil revenue that will remain key to their influence and danger.

rhhardin said...

The middle east has no porn reserves.

We can always trade for oil.

Bill Harshaw said...

Which liberal newspaper had an article revealing the latest scandal? Some President succumbed to Shell Oil's wiles to approve their offshore drilling in Alaska. I guess it never happened, at least I don't see it recognized in these comments. Obama habitually splits the baby, give Shell offshore Alaska drilling, but not in Anwar.

Ross said...

Don't worry my fellow green comrades. I'm sure Obama will mess this up somehow. He's good at that. /snark

AllenS said...

Oil is abiogenic. We will never run out.

Michael McNeil said...

I'll never forget the sneering put downs I endured from educated economists that based their reality on an assumption that “a finite amount of oil exists in the world.”

When I suggested that assumption was untrue, they hooted and treated me as if I was an ignorant flat earther.


Well, the Earth is finite in size. Ergo, the amount of oil that it can possibly contain is also finite. Q.E.D.

Original Mike said...

"What will they be like if/when we don't particularly care?"

I don't care.

Michael McNeil said...

Oil is abiogenic. We will never run out.

That assertion runs counter to prevailing geological wisdom, which holds that oil stems, not from “dinosaurs” (pace popular opinion) or even land plant remains such as forests (which produce coal), but rather from oceanic and freshwater plankton (which rains down in vast quantities onto the seafloor as well as lake bottoms).

While that's not quite conclusive in the case “free” oil (the jury is still slightly out on that), it's definitely true for shale oil and its ilk — because the oil in those rocks is still locked into its original formations, where plantonic remains are typically also included in situ.

(“Free” oil has been earlier liberated via heating from such sites, afterwards migrating through porous rocks until trapped by impermeable formations.)

AllenS said...

Coal comes from dinosaurs and ancient forests.

Michael McNeil said...

Erratum: “plantonic” → “planktonic”

PatCA said...

Can you imagine how powerful an energy alliance with Canada and Mexico and the US would be?

Instead, we diss Canada and send guns to Mexico.

n.n said...

AllenS:

It is derived from both abiotic processes and processed organic material. The latter is present in small, finite (but renewable) quantities. It has been misclassified due to natural and unavoidable contamination -- at least from our perspective.

Michael McNeil:

The process to produce and recycle hydrocarbons, including oil, is continuous. The only constraint we suffer is that it is finitely accessible, both from a technical and economic perspective.

Michael McNeil said...

Coal comes from dinosaurs and ancient forests.

Which is what I just said, in the case of forests. As for dinosaurs, animal remains are too low a proportion of overall biomass to contribute significantly.

Michael McNeil said...

The process to produce and recycle hydrocarbons, including oil, is continuous. The only constraint we suffer is that it is finitely accessible, both from a technical and economic perspective.

While new oil is continuously produced from the recycling of biologic remains, we're now using it far faster than it can be regenerated naturally.

However, nuclear fuel will last us for geological ages of time, at anything like present rates of energy consumption.

Cedarford said...

traditionalguy said...
The Argentines have also found a mega oil and gas formation in Patagonia, also bigger than the rest of them found.

I'll never forget the sneering put downs I endured from educated economists that based their reality on an assumption that " a finite amount of oil exists in the world."

When I suggested that assumption was untrue, they hooted and treated me as if I was an ignorant flat earther.

====================
Well, in this case, like the Trayvon one, you are ignorant, tradguy.
There IS only a finite amount of oil, gold, deuterium, iron, etc on or in the Earth.
What changes is if new means and new technology make more of it commercially extractable.
But there are limits and even those that recognize "finite supplies" are true cannot summon the Gods of Miracle High Technology to find more when supply does indeed run out.

Palestine is tapped out on groundwater use, for example, and no amount of 'exciting!' new technology has made new water acquifers available since the 60s.

Miracle high tech made it easier to hunt and kill whales - and then the resource depleted and no amount of "newer and better miracle high tech" made more whales.

Cedarford said...

AllenS said...
Oil is abiogenic. We will never run out.

===========
That theory was put out in the 1980s as part of certain right-leaning thinkers "endless oil, endless resources, endless population and freedom growth for All Us Freedom-Lovers".

Later studies of isotopes from formations that rightists thought was abiological and 'continuously replenishing" completely discredited the claim. All oil and gas we have found, all coal obviously....is of biological origin.

Cedarford said...

Mitchell said...
Wait a minute. Does this mean we invaded Iraq for nothing?

================
Unfortunately, yes. Had we invested that trillion squandered on Neocon dreams of "uplifting the Arabs into Freedom-Loving, pro-Israel Westerners" - into domestic energy production instead - we would be far better off from both an economic and avoided casualty standpoint.

The "Heroes" died and got maimed and we pissed away massive treasure..in a foolish nation-building war.
We actually ended up giving Iran a new, faithful ally with Iraq shiites pledging kinship and common purpose with the Ayatollahs. And discredited US diplomacy and degraded our clout globally.
The only plus about Iraq was the Kurds ended up better off..but that small positive does not erase Bush and the Neocon's Great Blunder.

Bush's "noble Arab" freedom lovers vs. 1 trillion into making 180,000 new jobs in the oil and gas industries and getting our foreign oil dependence down from 45% now to what would have been 18-20%.

Original Mike said...

"Miracle high tech made it easier to hunt and kill whales - and then the resource depleted and no amount of "newer and better miracle high tech" made more whales."

Then we moved onto oil.

"Palestine is tapped out on groundwater use, for example, and no amount of 'exciting!' new technology has made new water acquifers available since the 60s."

Desalination.

William said...

I think the middle east without oil revenue will look a lot like Yemen. The same dysfunction but with cheaper weapons.

David R. Graham said...

"And what's stopping you from moving to North Dakota?"

Wind.o

AllenS said...

We'll never run out of Jews either.

Mary Beth said...

Even if we lessen our need for Middle Eastern oil, won't there still be a big demand from China and Europe?

Jose_K said...

The Venezuela´s president sold the venezuelan oil of the next 20 years to China . 5$ a barrel fixed . He recived 20 billions that went like smog and will receive almost nothing for 20 years. So at least Venezuela wll be a ghost country

Rusty said...

Michael McNeil said...
Oil is abiogenic. We will never run out.

That assertion runs counter to prevailing geological wisdom, which holds that oil stems, not from “dinosaurs” (pace popular opinion) or even land plant remains such as forests (which produce coal), but rather from oceanic and freshwater plankton (which rains down in vast quantities onto the seafloor as well as lake bottoms).



So what you're saying is that in all the subduction zones around the palnet oil is being created as we speak.

Michael McNeil said...

So what you're saying is that in all the subduction zones around the palnet oil is being created as we speak.

The oil that is presently being tapped around the world is from sediment beds that have not been subducted — where temperatures have not been high enough to destroy the large hydrocarbon molecules of oil. Sedimentary oil-containing materials subducted down into the extremely hot mantle of the Earth likely would be disrupted and broken down by the conditions encountered there. It's probable I think that nothing more complicated than methane (natural gas) would rise up from the mantle proper — if that.

Alex said...

So maybe the sky isn't falling and our real problem isn't geologic but political. Translation - we should tell our "greens" to FOAD.

X said...

only a superstitious economic ignoramous president would not capitalize on this.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Other commenters have noted that the vast majority of oil used by the US is produced in the Western Hemisphere, so in that sense we are not, and never have been, ``dependent'' on oil from the Middle East.

But oil is a commodity with a global market, so instability in the Middle East will always produce high oil prices for the US: energy ``independence'' does nothing about that. The Middle East will remain a cause of high oil prices until such time as they are no longer significant suppliers to any one, regardless of whether we never buy another drop of their oil again.

Michael McNeil said...

But oil is a commodity with a global market, so instability in the Middle East will always produce high oil prices for the US: energy “independence” does nothing about that. The Middle East will remain a cause of high oil prices until such time as they are no longer significant suppliers to any one, regardless of whether we never buy another drop of their oil again.

Not necessarily so. All that's required is that the Mideast loose its dominance allowing it to set oil prices. Once that happens, they'll have to follow overall world prices on oil.

Ipso Fatso said...

"And what's stopping you from moving to North Dakota?"

Ipso Fatso said...

Spring, summer, winter & fall.

Peter Hoh said...

And yet, gas prices averaged about $2.00 a gallon in 2005, and is more than double that now.

If I understand it correctly, domestic oil production goes up when the price of oil rises, and slows when the price drops.

hawkeyedjb said...

"And yet, gas prices averaged about $2.00 a gallon in 2005, and is more than double that now."

Yeah, and we keep imprisoning all these criminals, even as the crime rate goes down! What's up with that??!?

Darrell said...

Oil is abiogenic...

Actually, The Soviets have been the prime promoter of this theory.
Which would complement biogenic oil and gas theories, btw, not replace them.

Seeing Red said...

I'm sorry I missed this thread because I've been asking that question since 9/11. If you think they hate us now, wait until the cash flow stops.

Egypt, the breadbasket, can't even feed itself.

jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael McNeil said...

Obama overseeing a signifigant decrease in dependance on foreign oil makes him vulnerable?

That change in oil production was “overseen” by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, not Barack Obama, who has basically done all he can to inhibit production.

The long-term environmental impact of highly toxic processes like fracking & mining tar-sands are likely to be very dire indeed -

Who says? A bunch of arm-waving activists? Theoretically, fracking should cause very little harm to surface environmental conditions such as water aquifers — simply because thousands of feet of impermeable rock typically lie between the levels where fracking occurs and, e.g., groundwater.

As far as practice matching theory, many studies (including a number of recent ones) have backed up that expectation of little or no harm to the environment.

Far wiser to go solar

That's fine in the longer term (decades), but for the present and shorter-term future, solar and other “alternate” energy sources are not at all ready for prime time, and are incapable of supplying the vast quantities of energy required. The only non-polluting (in terms of greenhouse gases) energy source that is ready for prime time is nuclear power.

I suggest that we make use of the oil that's available, as well as greatly ramping up nuclear power production, and then, when alternative sources are technologically mature, we can effectively transition over to them.

Paul Ciotti said...

"What's stopping you from moving to North Dakota?"

One thing for sure. I got on Google Earth and viewed a small town in street view. A more lifeless place I never want to see. Vast empty spaces between buildings. Small depressing houses. No people. Empty playgrounds and ball fields. It looked like an episode of "Life After People." Doesn't anyone live in North Dakota?