How Australia will run out of oil by 2020 revisited

31 07 2011

Remember this inconvenient chart of Australia’s oil production?  Well, it looks like Shell believes it’s real too….  they are going to close their Clyde refinery in Sydney.  Is this the start of a rout..?  Time will tell, but I’m sure keeping an eye on this one.

Australia’s failing oil production

Shell to stop refining at Clyde

Updated: 20:38, Wednesday July 27, 2011

Shell has confirmed it will stop refining at its Clyde Refinery and will import petroleum products into Sydney because it can’t compete with Asia’s mega refineries.

Shell announced on Wednesday it will convert the Clyde Refinery and Gore Bay Terminal in Sydney into a fuel import facility by mid-2013.

Now of course, the question is why can’t shell compete with Asia’s mega refineries?  Could it be lack of oil?  Or that perhaps as we start scraping the bottom of the barrel the cost of bringing the dregs to the surface is too costly?  it will be interesting to see just what the other oil majors do next..


I have found more proof we are in deep shit at

According to statistics published by the WA government in April 2011, WA’s crude oil resources including contingencies are depleted by around 75% at end 2010 up from 63% at end 2006. The annual depletion rate is therefore around 3% pa. Crude oil production in 2010 has increased from new fields (Van Gogh, Pyrenees) but the reserve/production ratios in some of these new fields are only 4-5 years. Fields which started in 2004-2008 (Mutineer, Enfield, Styborrow, Vincent) have already peaked and are in decline.

Conclusion: Barring new substantial discoveries, WA’s crude oil has entered its last quarter. As extraction rates in new fields are very high (offshore environment) depletion levels will increase by between 3-4% pa on current trends to reach around 85% – 90% by 2015. This will dramatically worsen Australia’s net oil import balance. Given that global crude oil exports have already peaked in 2005 there is a major oil import crisis ahead. Neither banks – who are still financing new tollway projects like the M2 widening in Sydney – nor the general public have been properly informed about these facts.



6 responses

23 01 2013

Here’s a recent alternate (and supported) viewpoint about global peaking. It ignores EROEI, but that just means the “due date” for fossil fuels is closer than the 2100 from the article. That’s still quite a bit later than the 2005 oil peak we used hear a lot about.

Short version: fracking changed everything.

The Peak Oil narrative has tempered and waned a bit in the last few years. Sometimes this reverse-alarms me a bit because I have structured so much of my life around its near-term inevitability.

23 01 2013

From Chris Martenson himself…:

There has been a very strong and concerted public-relations effort to spin the recent shale energy plays of the U.S. as complete game-changers for the world energy outlook. These efforts do not square up well with the data and are creating a vast misperception about the current risks and future opportunities among the general populace and energy organizations alike. The world remains quite hopelessly addicted to petroleum, and the future will be shaped by scarcity – not abundance, as some have claimed.

Further, an American correspondent of mine went to last year’s ASPO conference in Austen Texas. An oil geologist who made a presentation there said that at any one time, 50% of all the oil produced in Texas was…. drilled YESTERDAY!

The fact that the straightdope article ignored ERoEI says a lot……

23 01 2013

I’m well-versed in the standard peak oil narrative. I drunk the kool-aid so much that I quit my career and bought a 22-acre property that I’m applying permaculture principles and techniques to in order to secure a future in a peak-oil world. How’s that for membership?

That said, even I can admit that “something magic happened”, just like the annoying economists predicted, when fracking went big-time. No, the US won’t be energy independent from it – that’s over-hype. But fracking did change the energy outlook. Even us cranks perched on rocking chairs with shotguns across our laps can admit that.

Chris’ article uses a liquid fuels graph from 2009, and he only devotes one paragraph to fracking – reserving the rest of the many pages to regurgitating the same peak oil stuff. The world may be addicted to fossil fuels, but Chris may be addicted to his narrative.

All I’m saying is that fracking was a surprise, and that it changes the outlook. Straight Dope’s summary (with hard numbers) was the first updated treatment of the issue I had seen.

23 01 2013

Here’s a link to the EIA’s 2011 projections. Annoyingly, the seem to not have re-done any of their data since their 2009 report. The liquid fuels graph looks the same. What are we paying these guys for?

24 01 2013

Here’s an explanation of why I’m not sold on fracking being a game changer…

The Real Bakken Shale Well Decline 5 comments
Dec 10, 2012 5:39 AM | about stocks: CLR, CHK, UNG, EOG, COG, JRCC, ANR, ACI, BTU

In a previous article “The Real Natural Gas Production Decline”, I discussed a simple and effective way of estimating the real declines and realistic EURs (Estimated Ultimate Recovery) of shale wells based on two things that shale gas and oil producers can not lie about: number of wells added during a period of time, and the total daily productions.

The Simple and Effective Method of Estimating EUR

The idea is simple. All shale wells are in steep decline. Thus as the producers put new wells into production, a considerable portion of the new production merely compensates the decline of existing wells. If we assume producers add just enough wells to exactly compensate for the decline, then the EUR times number of wells added equals the amount of production during the same period.

24 01 2013

Having just posted the above, I have just noticed this…….:

Brisbane company Linc Energy says it has discovered a shale oil reserve of up to 233 billion barrels in the Arckaringa Basin in South Australia’s far north.

The company says independent consultants have confirmed the finding, after drilling and seismic explorations in the area around Coober Pedy.

Linc Energy holds rights over more than 65,000 square kilometres in the area.

South Australian Energy Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis says the value of the finding could be worth $20 trillion and could turn Australia into an oil exporter.

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