Truth, Lies, Oil and Scotland

On BBC One Scotland at 22:45 this evening (Wed 4th June) Hayley Millar explores the history and future of North Sea oil and reasons for the recent run up in the oil price in the documentary Truth, Lies, Oil and Scotland.

Watch a clip here.

On BBC Two, Newsnight Scotland (23:00) will host a live debate on Peak Oil featuring an interview with Chris Skrebowski and discussion with Bill Jamieson (Executive Editor of The Scotsman) and Euan Mearns (Editor of The Oil Drum Europe).

These transmissions are on the Scottish regional versions of BBC One and Two, but anyone with a satellite receiver in the UK should be able to find the Scottish versions on Sky channels 971 and 990.

UK oil production peaked at 2.9 million barrels per day in 1999 and now stands at 1.6 million barrels per day. This is below UK oil consumption levels making the UK an oil importer.

The oil companies are of course to be applauded for their enterprise and tenacity for maximising recovery from the North Sea. However, in presentations like this the optimistic out look masks the dreadful and detereorating state of the UK energy balance with imports of oil, natural gas and coal growing year on year, destroying our trade balance.

Apache's endeavors on Forties are to be applauded but this must be placed in context. The field revival is that little bump in the tail end of Forties production in 2004/5.

Talisman too have done a great job of nurturing mature assets through their twilight years. It is worth mentioning though that Dr James Buckee, former CEO of Talisman is a patron of the Peak Oil movement and is about as gloomy as they come for the outlook of global oil production.

The UK North Sea has produced about 25 billion barrels of oil. A Hubbert Linearisation decline analysis suggests that the UK may ultimately produce between 28 and 30 billion barrels, so with 25 billion already gone that leaves 3 to 5 billion in remaining reserves. The BP statistical review (published 2007 with figures for 2006) quotes 3.9 billion barrels of reserves for the UK.

To suggest that the UK may produce as much oil in the next 40 years as it has done in the last 30 years is irresponsible pipe dreaming. All our biggest and best fields are near empty and are lining up to be decommissioned. Our politicians need to face this grim reality and then act accordingly to ensure that the UK can provide for its future energy needs. This will involve truly massive expansion of alternative energy sources and legislating for energy efficiency in transportation and power generation.

go on Euan!

I think some simplistic approach like "what time is it when there is as much left as you have used" bartlett style is called for

the impression from the BBC website site is muddled thinking.

it will be hard to get the average viewer to understand that decreasing the depletion rate with increased effort means an inevitable increased inflexion and increased depletion rate... falling off a cliff

perhaps others have ideas on conveying this more now=less later idea

good luck


suggest that the UK may produce as much oil in the next 40 years as it has done in the last 30 years is irresponsible pipe dream

You could argue, if put to you that even if your wrong and this estimate is correct the profile of production will not follow a flat plateau or rise until all the oil is gone.

aside from being irresponsible even if correct they basically admit to peak!

it makes no difference


Oil industry metaphors used in newspaper headlines that set my teeth on edge...

  • Pipe Dream
  • Oil's Well At company name
  • Slick as a synonym for clever or even just good
  • Profits Gush At company name
  • Any others?

    Not oil industry, but...

    'With the onrushing food crunch, investors are ploughing into agricultural commodities.' a little nauseating... and seems to be 'cropping up' quite frequently ;)

    My jaw dropped in disbelief as I heard this discussed on Radio 4 this morning.

    A quick back-of the envelope calculation reveals that the extra 30 billion barrels they're talking about is equivalent to around one year's global oil consumption.

    It's too much to ask reporters these days to do simple arithmetic.

    Or even to consider multiple factors at the same time.

    There was NO mention at all in that "news" report this morning of climate change and the need to drastically reduce fossil fuel consumption.

    The BBC is making a habit of this, decoupling oil from climate change at every opportunity.

    Phantom oil is very low in carbon emissions, I believe.
    The real stuff is different.

    Sadly the pace of change will prove too quick for the unresponsive nature of government and big business even if there is another 40 years.
    Just have a look at how long it's taken to try and 'adapt' eight helicopters !

    Hi there,

    for anyone who does not have a satellite receiver Newsnight Scotland is available on the bbc iplayer.

    Daniel Maxwell
    Newsnight Scotland



    But on the terrestrial tele-visual device, you have set up schedules this way:

    Truth and Lies - 22:45 TO 23:45.

    Newsnight Scotland : 23:00 +

    Wasn't deliberate was it :-)

    IF you are in the UK, or know how to get around the geo limits.

    Pity its not on prime time across the UK - then maybe there would be less ill informed comments - from the public and TV talking heads alike.

    To: Daniel Maxwell, BBC Newsnight Scotland.


    My heartfealt apologies and thankyou from the bottom of my heart for your extremely well presented piece.

    Your cute little blonde put forth a superb piece. I can only look forward to my grand children finding a lucrative and life-long career in the oil industry.

    Furthermore, I am most grateful that you corralled Skrebowski and Mearns onto a minority report slot on another channel at the same time.

    Words cannot express my gratitude. My wife admires your bravery and vision.

    Is there any possiblity that Professor Odell could be given a weekly slot on Newsnight Scotland?

    You see, I wish to sell my house, down size , cash out. I need all the help I can get between now and 2012.

    That Sir, is my plan. I would sell this year, but the credit crunch has severely dented the market. However, your piece tonight , plus (I hope) other programmes starring Odell will enable me to offload my house to some poor sucker before it all goes pear-shaped. And leave me with a tidy sum for my dotage.(or my Widows dotage).

    I cannot express my delight any more than I have. Please continue the good works - at least until the brief rebound in the housing market in 2011.

    That way, I can leave the table with a few chips.

    Bravo Sir, Bravo.

    Hey, you sold my plan!

    I have already put my Thai place on the market as I don't expect to be able to afford the price of the air fare in 5-10 years...

    I hope to 'cash out' of London ~2011/12 (b4 the main % decline phase hits IMO)...

    This little timeline should help plan:


    A word of warning - Newsnight Scotland is only available on BBC Iplayer for 1 day vs 7 days for Newsnight England! You'll need to view it within next 6 hours.

    Can we TOD ers here in the states receive the broadcasts?

    BBC iplayer is available worldwide:

    Site currently shows last night's Newsnight Scotland program available for another 4 hrs.

    I've just read that BBC iplayer might not work outside UK. If that's the case I'm not sure why as BBC Radio internet broadcasts are received more or less everywhere.

    Here's an MP3 of the audio.

    One of the talking heads "gets it" (I'm paraphrasing here)

    "The crunch will come in 2010, plus or minus 2 years... You have to look at the flow rates... beyond 2011, the flow rates go down"

    (cut to Hayley Miller, who clearly doesn't "get it")
    "But I want to find out how long it will last"

    Mind you, there is the economist view "It's all speculators; the real price is $40 per barrel", so she's not doing too badly.

    "There is no shortage of supply, as the declared reserves have grown by 2.5% per year" - that person really needs to be hit with the clue bat. "It's the flow, stupid!"


    On R4 this morning I heard the chief exec. of the BWEA being interviewed and she proudly stated that 33 gw of wind capacity is half the uk requirement. Numbers are wonderful things, misunderstanding them is something else!
    The subject was about releasing more Crown Estate coast line, which would extend potential wind capcity to 33 GW from the 15 or so GW proposed for 2020.

    One of the talking heads "gets it" (I'm paraphrasing here)

    "The crunch will come in 2010, plus or minus 2 years... You have to look at the flow rates... beyond 2011, the flow rates go down"

    That was Leggett, the only talking head worth listing to on the programme. He was badly introduced though, she said he was an environmentalist and head of the country's largest solar power company. All true - but she omitted to mention his background in petroleum geology as a faculty member at Imperial College working on source rocks for Shell and BP... Why not mention his background in geology and oil?

    (more from the programme)

    "The easy oil has run out, but we now have the technology to go after the harder stuff"

    (as an aside, a description of drilling technique amused me "It's like standing on the top of the Wallace Monument [just off Edinburgh's Princes St], and dangling a piece of spaghetti downwards, and steering it through a letterbox in someone's door in Leith [about 2 miles away] ")


    Yes, that amused me too.

    However, if memory serves me right, it was that impressive gothic structure, the Scott Monument he mentioned.

    I really enjoyed the historical footage, hearing the politicians and civil servants talk and the music - including clips of Edinburgh's finest, the Bay City Rollers (!), but the impression given to the viewer was very misleading.

    Jeremy Legget's comments were spot on, but taken completely out of context.

    I live in Leith, and was alarmed to see spaghetti start snaking through my letterbox last night.

    Damn you BBC Scotland!

    (still more...)

    "Most oil reservoirs allow only about 30-35% recovery. Many of the North Sea reservoirs can achieve 60-65% recovery"

    Interestingly though, it doesn't say how fast the output from 35% to 65% is.


    Interesting comment.

    It is possible for most of the Norwegian fields (based upon NPD data) to plot how fast the first 50 % of recoverable oil was produced (or extracted) and how much time it takes (or will take) to recover the last 50 % and this will also suggest how price sensitive the last part is.

    Truth, Lies, Oil and Scotland was extremely disappointing. Shockingly bad that the BBC could produce such a bias investigation. In an hour long programme about North Sea oil industry’s history and future nothing was mentioned about the peak in production, the fact production is approximately half what it was a decade ago, the fact we’re now a net importer...

    And to come out with such absurd statements as there being 25bn barrels left – conservative estimate, that the price should be $35-40 were it not for speculation, that there’s as much to produce again as we’ve produced in the past is very irresponsible.

    I haven’t watched Euan on Newsnight yet. Shame they ran the two programmes simultaneously.

    You would think they could at least look at the government's own projections here:

    The graph on page 5 tell's its own story.

    The BBC has never taken the public's license fee in order to inform them.
    It was set up to convey the viewpoint of the elite and fake impartiality in order to control the masses.
    The intellectual bankruptcy of it's pretensions has never troubled them, as long as they get the loot, especially by issuing gross threats to the poorest in society should they miss their poll-tax.
    Old records that have been released make it quite clear that there concern has always been with 'avoiding causing public alarm' and so forth, never with telling the plain old-fashioned truth.
    In this case the thought that we might be short of oil might cause alarm, so is an obvious victim of the BBC's filtering.

    Chris and Euan were sincere, academic and forthright as you would expect. A little nervous, but what the hell. Sincere forthright academics dont give good face.

    Odell : Well, what can I say? . A mummified economist. A dangerous liar at best.

    I intended to tape the bimbo and watch newsnight, but decided it wasnt worth the electrons. Watched Newsnight and switched back to the bimbo.

    The bimbo came up to expectations wrt the piece in the Sunday Times Eccosse section.

    Expect no questions in the house.

    For my money?

    Peak was declared in the UK tonight.

    Sad bit?

    It interviewed people who do know better. But if there is a pay cheque involved people will believe in Atlantis.


    not every night that PO gets full billing. Who here would believe that two years ago?

    Simmons was right.


    Euan and Chris have been hiding the truth from us.
    Neither has told us how damnably good looking they are!
    Shame that the interviewer did not let Euan have much of a say, but he did quite impress me when he asked the economist geezer that if the price was down to speculation, where was the stored oil?
    The really unfortunate thing though was that the program tied in with the radio program, and so was built on the assumptions of that, which (I haven't listened to it) sounded like a far more shoddy affair, with vast resources suddenly appearing.
    I was expecting it to be announced any moment that following important agreements with Mac Lir signed in the house with the feathered roof, the resources of the Isles of the Blessed were due to come on stream shortly.

    The news night thing was ok(ish)... presentation is everything.

    Its a complex subject that needs to be simplified and made charismatic.

    I think the self contradictions of "anti-peak" thinking are more snappy a target than trying to explain peak oil from a constructive premise.

    never underestimate negative campaigning. people like to see others owned

    you have to be able to see this problem from the ignorant side of the screen.

    I know its basic and crass and perhaps not newsnight but you know what i mean.


    I’ve now watched the simultaneously broadcast Newsnight. Better, they mentioned peak oil how people talking about peak oil were generally considered as cranks but that the days of cheap oil are behind us.

    Sadly they also repeated the recently discovered “fact” that the North Sea has almost as much oil left as has already been produced. It included comments like “there may be another North Sea’s worth of oil off the West coast of Scotland” and this gem “how we’d square that with a desire to stave of global warming would present an agonising choice but at least we’d have a choice”.

    The Skrebowski interview was good. Nice to see him getting a few minutes on the telly. He had a some good answers to the presenter's anti-peak oil questions.

    Euan had good points “we should be very concerned about future all supplies”, OPEC spare capacity gone since 2004, so demand drove price...

    Good slug of realism from Mearns and Skrebowski however it wasn't debate, it's was poor questions and zero follow-up to their responses.

    they also repeated the recently discovered “fact” that the North Sea has almost as much oil left as has already been produced

    I think this sort of statement is huge easy to hit target . A person making such a remark can be humiliated and made to look a total fool... and should be.

    when these sort of statements pop up the response should be...

    " I would like to comment on the statement in the piece you showed..etc"

    and have devastating rebuttals on hand.

    when ever the opportunity to comment on such thinking arises.. it must be crushed mercilessly

    preferably with memorable comic delivery


    Hi Euan,

    always good to see what others look like -perhaps we could get an image clip into the bio section of TOD?

    There's a pic of me in my "Peak Oil Joining The Dots" document here (it was my attempt at 'simplifying for the masses'):

    Have you found any good info / predictions on what oil/gas decline is going to do to the UK (e.g. balance of payments)?


    At one point of time North Sea and the oil production by UK and Norway were seen as a counter balance to the Middle East pressure on oil prices. Today it is difficult to accept that UK will (if not already has) become a net importer of oil.
    I feel that UK should take more actions in utilising the coal reserves by adopting clean coal burning technologies at the earliest

    What clean burning techniques are those?
    No-one knows how to do it outside of a laboratory.
    Widespread adaption of this is about as far off as fusion is.
    What we actually know how to do build fission reactors - France has run it;s grid mainly on that for years.

    The North Sea is not running out at all, industry, analysts say.

    The full extent of reserves in the sea has never been known - and it has always been a commonly-held perception that supplies will soon dry up.
    But latest analysis suggests there may be enough in reserve to equal all the oil recovered from under the sea since the Seventies.
    Some experts believe that up to 30billion barrels are still in the ground.
    And following evidence that 300 fields off the coast of Britain are still to be explored and tapped properly, reserves could be even greater, it is thought.
    The details have led to calls for a windfall tax on the oil industry, which is sitting on estimated £4.3billion of excess profits caused by spiralling prices.
    Yesterday, Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, wrote to the Prime Minister asking for a North Sea oil tax to benefit Scots.

    Explaining the size of reserves in the North Sea, Alex Kemp, professor of petroleum economics at Aberdeen University, said: 'There is still a substantial amount left. The remaining reserves on central estimates could be 20-22billion barrels equivalent, and on optimistic estimates could be over 30billion.'

    Professor Peter O'Dell, of the Erasmus University in the Netherlands, agreed.
    He believes there are 44 years of oil left. '

    WHAT are they up to?

    The idiocy starts with the notion of "how long will it last" and "running out"

    anybody using such questions basically doesn't understand the problem.

    when analysts say this sort of thing and some numpty comes along and says "see no problem" they have placed themselves in the "haven't got a clue" camp

    its not just the false projections on the amount of oil that need refuting but the actual mode of argument.. given their own numbers they are idiots.

    take reserve growth.... right.. well first off to the layman its just a minefield of misinformation. Do you argue trying to wrestle with with all the different standards of reserve booking and backdating

    or do you just side step the whole nonsense for the sake of simplicity.

    just pointing out that reserves only "grow" on paper and the amount of oil in the ground only decreases with production. the thing that really "grows" from a production POV is our ability to pull it out of the ground. reserve booking creates the impression there is "somehow" more oil

    the amount of oil in the ground is the amount of oil in the ground.. thats something your average joe can get.. now I know for all you technically aware dudes you going to talk URR and all that but you need to dumb down yet remain insightful

    if your talking to the man on the street you need to slice through this reserve issue with an axe and just stop the argument in its tracks..

    basically as soon as someone says "reserves" on one of these talking head shows or articles they need to be taken out and shot in the back of the head

    Odell is an absolute shocker


    I read it in full.

    And now I get it.

    Last chance tax grab and push for independence.

    Very telling that Alec Salmond claims that 'Shell and BP are under reporting to aviod tax'

    Odell has a lot to answer for - Though he no longer pedals Abiotic oil theory as he did in the Telegraph in 2003. Kemp is a useful idiot.

    Odell needs to be tar and feathered with that gem from the telegraph every time he appears on the Radar.

    basically an ad hom I know but the argument is he has no argument except changing his argument hence credibility is an issue.


    I am wondering if the BBC is operating outside of it's charter here.
    They have presented on outlier of reserves in the North Sea as the central forecast in the radio program, and worked off the back of that in the Newsnight program - a good technique to avoid proper examination of the premises, especially if they are on at the same time.
    I did not hear the radio broadcast, but it is my understanding that they did not explain that by the Government's own reckoning reserves of this size were unlikely, as are prices of $40-50/barrel.

    the newsnight piece was not great from our POV but the presenter raised many points that contradicted the geezer from the scotsman. he shot down the speculative argument for instance.

    though the presenter himself seemed overwhelmed by the research he had done on the issue.

    the documentary just sounds appalling


    I thought the presenter did a good job, although I was disappointed that he did not give Euan more of a chance.
    The bias was built in though, as they operated using the figures given in the radio broadcast as the median case, when it is clearly an outlier for resources and costs.

    (just watched the Newsnight piece on iPlayer)

    While Newsnight (or 'Newsnicht', as the Scottish version has been labelled) attempted to be more "grown up", the audience for it is already quite small - many people don't have as much interest in current affairs analysis as they should (I would probably include myself in that one ;-) ).

    The documentary, on the other hand, while pandering to the "reserves is all; production is unimportant" school of thought, was far more "user friendly" - by including some of the archive footage of the golden age of North Sea exploration, it allowed Jim Public to do a "I remember that!", and so kept them watching, while the "neat new technology" was also, in some ways, a recruitment drive, to ensure (as was mentioned in yesterday's DrumBeat) that there will be a next generation of oil engineers to manage the production of the remainder (get them on board, and then tell them that the flow is still going down).

    As a complete picture, it was certainly lacking. As a useful "start here, but continue researching", then it probably did more to get the message of "you need to think about this, folks" than the Newsnight piece did.

    Just my 2p worth.

    I'd love to know and we will all know for sure in 2-3 years - 'may you live in interesting times' - cursed indeed.

    My response to the Daily Mail :

    >>This piece cannot go unanswered.
    The UKCS peaked in 1999 and has fallen since. All of the major finds in the UKCS have followed typical production profiles and all are now producing oil at significantly lower rates of production. It is typical of an Oil Province to find and produce the larger fields first. This was true of the North Sea with such finds as Forties, Ninian, Brent and Magnus. New finds and new technology applied to mature and depleted fields cannot offset the depletion curve that impacts overall UK production and consequently, UK overall production will fall year on year. This fall in production is irreversible.
    There may be minor new fields here and there. There may be a few fields in the Atlantic Margin, but to quote Odell and believe that there may be 30 billion additional barrels of reserves is frankly madness. The UK as an oil province has passed peak. So too has Norway , Denmark and Holland. It will be more or less over for the UKCS by 2025.<<

    Wade in as you see fit.

    This whole strategy starting with the Sunday Times Article by Millar and culminating in last nights agitpropoganda is new and disturbing.

    Sounds as though Gordon could make Alex a generous offer.
    Scotland pays and extra 50% of the oil price in to the UK coffers for the first 10bn barrels of oil, then the UK not only lets Scotland keep al revenues above 10bn barrels, but will pay 50% above world market price for all barrels over 15bn.
    Let's see the money! :-)

    This has been a co-ordinated play from Kemp, O'Dell and Salmond. The girl from the BBC was suckered in by their academic credentials and just didn't know better. I think MUDLOGGER is right, the agenda here is a last chance tax grab.

    The incredible thing with this week's media coverage is the totally omission of the fact that North Sea production has fallen by a half within a decade. How can so much be said without at least mentioning this rather important fact?

    then they are villains

    what is Odell's motivation.. his he corrupt? or on some weird ego trip?



    He kicked off the referendum campaign for Independence last night with the promise of untold riches. It started last night and Salmond will play this out in full.

    There is a general election in about 2 years time. He will look for a Scottish mandate based on last night and will look for a tax grab in the meantime.

    Has spent his life saying we will never run out of carbon fuels and is therefore unlikely to say 'All my life's work is wrong'

    He is hardly going to say its game over by 2020. - What would that do to student numbers in 'Petroleum Economics'?

    Odell is the kind of "expert" the BBC wheels out so they can show "balance". In the same way until recently they would always feature Myron Ebell on radio 4's Today programme to spread his disinformation about climate change to "balance" the scientist with the bad news message. They've stopped doing it now. How soon until peak oil moves on in the same way? I'd say about 2 years from now when declines will probably be a bit more difficult to disguise.

    The whole concept they use of balance is completely flawed - it is much better to have people arguing their case, preferably on a lot of different channels so that you can't get a monolithic party line as you always do on the BBC.
    Interested political parties are just challenged to seize what is alleged to be the 'balance' point, just as the Scottish Nationalists have done with these reserve estimates.
    So on the BBC you will always have the 'Peak Oil Theory' right up until it becomes set in stone as a dogma.

    I completely agree - I think it stems from an obligation in the BBC charter to show impartiality in the presentation of news. The effective result is distortion.

    It's quite deliberate, of course, and openly set up as a propaganda tool.
    A 'balanced viewpoint' is whatever the elite wants it to be - different fractions fight it out form time to time.
    So we are stuck with something which is about on Sunday supplement level, the chat and cant of 'polite society'.
    The geographical locations for these viewpoints are Knightsbridge, with an outlier now provided by the Scottish mafia who take such a disproportionate part in the Governance of the UK.
    Other areas of the UK and their concerns are of little moment.
    Northern Rock had it's way with the public purse since it is closely associated with Brown's constituency.
    Our rulers are a vile set of jobbers.

    In 2006 (Energy Institute Conference) , Kemp forecast UK oil production would be around 2 million bpd in 2008. The reality is around 1.6 mmbpd.

    Similar to this 2004 offering

    400,000 bpd * 365 * $100 = a $14.6 billion error of judgement - for 2008 alone.

    The UK balance of trade is going down the tubes, and optimistic rubbish like that dished up last night only serves to forestall the urgent action required by government.

    The unrealistic forecasts by Odell etc are all over the UK press today; Prof Kemp is also extensively quoted and one of his more telling statements (which I'm not sure the journalists properly understand) is that the average size of the estimated 300 fields not yet in production is sub 20m bbls.

    If we use the same R/P ratio as Buzzard the above fields would struggle to produce more than 7k bbls/day each...and steep declines would set in after around 4 years. Not least the fields would have to be clustered close together to have any chance of necessary (huge) infrastructure investments being made...and due to poor ERoEI I doubt that would change much at $500 oil. We only have to look at NW Hutton field which was tied in to existing infrastructure (Brent p/l) and yet both the operator and DTI saw fit to abandon it at a time of sharply rising oil prices. I don't know its final flowrates but in the late 90's it was still producing 6k bbls/day i.e. not much less than average potential of Kemp's 300 fields. If NW Hutton couldn't run with existing infrastructure what chance for many of those stranded fields?

    In the meantime todays Aberdeen Press and Journal continues to clamour for a major upgrade of the A9 Perth / Inverness trunk road and for an 'energy development corridor' for all of the 30 miles between Aberdeen and Peterhead which, unsurprisingly, no longer has a rail connection. The P&J has also been heavily promoting the AWPR, a major ($800m+) road around Aberdeen for which the Scottish Government have denied objectors at the forthcoming public inquiry from referencing future traffic studies, energy supplies or CO2 emissions.

    Journalism of the type seen in parts of the BBC programs and wider press does us no favours by focussing on nonsense such as 'around half of N Sea reserves remain to be extracted'. The problem is that such reporting will influence decision makers at local and national level most of whom have far less knowledge energy matters than many on this forum. In short such reporting makes it more likely that we will build yet more roads and runways at a time when we should be re-designing our infrastructure to reflect the energy-scarce world into which we are rapidly headed (and that's not to mention the coming UK trade deficit as we try to import energy to maintain BAU).

    Pretty much my sentiment exactly. We are spending our precious capital on the wrong things. Roads with no cars and airports with no planes - but hey with 30 GBs still to produce in the North Sea there is no problem. And we gotta assume Norway will have just as much. I gather Alex believes that the oil companies are hiding reserves. A bit Ironic then if StatoilHydro are doing the same - ha ha.

    An electric tram / light rail system in Aberdeen would be cool. Running on renewable electricity.

    You should write a guest post for The Oil Drum Local on transport issues in Aberdeen - and you may want to elaborate on the fact that the local authority is within a whisker of being placed in administration.

    Incompetence rules?

    That was painful to watch. You'd almost think that North Sea oil production wasn't declining at a massive rate per annum watching it. The closest they come is admitting is that the reserves left is less than half of what has been pumped, and that there's no easy oil left.

    Instead we get Scottish patriotic porn - Scotland's innovation, confidence and overall awesomeness and how all the money was stolen by Westminster.

    What a waste of effort.

    My impression of regional TV programming is that it always carries the message "Hey, what a great region we live in!", with the implied message "it's better than those other regions".

    I didn't see the "Lies...." program, but it sounds true to form.

    There was one section on how new companies and new technology were driving North Sea growth. Much was made of the tremendous success Apache had had with the Forties field. It was stated that production was up to 66,000 barrels per day. The problem was that no context was provided.

    Here's what that tremendous success looks like:


    Hello Chris,

    interesting to see how production (in the diagram) grows with the growth of the oil price as from the fall of 2004.

    The rise isn't (directly at least) related to the price. Apache acquired BP's 96% stake in the field in 2003. At the time production was 45,000 barrels, today Apache has increased it to 66,000 (according to the programme last night). The point is that this was presented as evidence that there's decades of positive life in the North Sea yet. When the context is considered I don't think it shows this at all, it changes virtually nothing.

    Chris, according to the figures at the BERR website, the average daily oil production from Forties for the twelve months Mar 2007 to Feb 2008 is just over 55000 barrels.

    Chris, thank you for your reply.

    Do you know the reason for the reversal of the decline, i.e. is it due to deblocking of process facilities, infield drilling, increased injection (water and/or nat gas), use of chemicals, other measures or combinations?

    On NCS it can be observed that after the oil prices started to grow (since mid 2004) some of the fields have reported a reduced and even a reversed decline rate. This is also due to infill drilling, oil previously left behind becoming economical to develop due to the growth in oil price. Improved regularity and throughput through the process facilities (due to improved water treatment, lowering of inlet separator pressure etc.).

    What remains to be seen is if this is sustainable and if this is increased, accelerated or a combination recovery of the remaining oil. As many of these fields are now in their late life producing from their tail they become increasingly sensitive to an eventual cooling of oil prices.

    huzzar north sea oil is infinite, we can simply use our imagination to get it out faster an we will all be saved.

    I watched the doc last night - it was so bad I don't know where to start (spent an hour with my head in my hands saying "oh for f**ks sake").

    On the plus side: the UK oil industry is an incredible technological and economic success story and we don't hear nearly enough about it. The doc redresses some of that balance, and included some interesting history. And the soundtrack was good.

    On the negative side:

    - as others have noted, no sign whatsoever of the peak in production. Nada. Zip. Were they unaware of this basic fact? Did they think it was irrelevant, or wouldn't interest the audience? Or does somebody have an agenda?

    - numbers were often rattled off without any context. For example, how does X million barrels compare to daily Scottish, UK or global consumption? How does current production compare with past production? A chart is a good way to show that .. but then a chart would show a peak (or two). I think I see their problem.

    - what graphics they did use were laughably confusing and uninformative. When they showed the equation for energy content of a barrel of oil I almost choked.

    - while it's interesting to know that oil costs less than a bottle of Evian, that just shows how expensive mineral water is. Try comparing it to tap water (though that's also meaningless).

    - I think Legget's comment on the "supply crunch" was taken out of context. She was talking about the North Sea, while I suspect he was referring to global supply. And "crunch" is ambiguous - he certainly didn't mean to imply that the North Sea would run dry.

    - the focus on reserves, covered by others above, is completely misleading. The final talking head mentioned that the first oil field in Canada was still producing 150 years on - about 100 barrels a day. Excuse me if I don't dash out to buy Talisman shares.

    - They talked to McCrone, but never once mentioned the McCrone report. Perhaps it was a condition of the interview, but what a missed opportunity.

    - What were the "Lies" and what was the "Truth"? I saw precious little of either, but plenty of speculation.

    I came away with the impression that this was basically a campaign ad for the SNP. The past oil bonanza bankrolled Thatcherism (and Thatcher is bad - Scots hated Thatcher. Showing footage of her press secretary Bernard Ingham to a Scot is like waving a red rag in front of a stickleback). There's plenty of oil remaining and lots of potential tax revenue, and if Scotland had a sniff of it (like those canny Shetlanders) we'd be as rich as Croesus.

    And one more thing - not a whisper about CO2 emissions.

    The Scottish Govt has pledged to cut CO2 emissions 80% by 2050, but if they allow companies to extract all this oil then there's a good chance someone's going to burn it.

    Why do they take responsibility for CO2 emitted in Scotland, but no responsibility at all for emissions from the fossil fuels they extract? It's hardly an unrelated issue - why did it not even merit a mention?

    I presented the newsnight scotland programme which has been discussed here.

    first of all, i should thank euan mearns for appearing on the programme. incidentally we found eauan in aberdeen because we were familiar with the oil drum site, so you are making waves.

    i've found the discussion here fascinating. could i just make a few points:

    1) bbc scotland has broadcast a week of programmes connected with the oil industry. hence the cross reference to the documentary.

    2) i accept that talking about "the oil running out" is a simplification. But as you guys are probably more aware than most, this is a very complicated area and it's difficult to present in a simple way to a TV audience. I think in the body of the interviews we tried to take the discussion on to a more complex level.

    3) i agree euan did not have enought time. i would have been happy to continue the discussion for another ten minutes or so. but that's tv scheduling for you.

    4)as for your correspondents' views on whether i understood the issues or asked the right questions, well that is for them to judge rather than me. but i do reject the idea that i was somehow deliberately asking "anti-peak oil" questions of chris skrebowski. the WHOLE POINT of doing an interview is to put contrary points of view so that the interviewee can outline their ideas or be challenged on them. in the interview with chris, i'm sure he would agree it was more the former than the latter.

    sadly, the chances of settling debates which consume hundreds of thousands of words on your website are slim.

    very much enjoy reading the oil drum!


    Why did you schedule the two to appear on at the same time. Not you personally, but the BBC?

    The Truth, Lies and Scotlands Oil was one of the most biased pieces of jounalism the Beeb has ever put out.

    It is astonishing that you give credit to Odell.

    The man was pedalling abiotic oil as late as 2003 in the Telegraph.

    Last night may cause great and lasting damage to an understanding of the reality of the UK position with respect to oil depletion and ultimately the fate of Scotland - inside or outside of the UK.

    Stick around, you and your colleagues may learn something here.

    I look forward to some investigative journalism on the real situation facing the UK.

    The BBC failed in its remit to tell the truth last night.

    Thanks for joining in the discussion.
    I think it is fair to say that most here found some of your questioning to the point, especially when you asked if speculation was the cause of the price rises, what was happening to the oil?
    Many also remarked that you had obviously been reading up on the issue.
    The problem then is not with your presentation.
    It is with the assumptions which lay behind the program and especially the radio program.
    The BBC has a duty to try to convey a balanced viewpoint.
    It was nowhere made clear that oil was being produced at half the volume as at peak, that there is now a large deficit and that the augmentations of existing fields are comparatively tiny.
    Also the Governments own projections of likely future extraction from the North Sea was ignored, in favour of a wildly optimistic projection of as much oil remaining as has already been extracted.
    The chances of that are vanishingly small, the costs huge.
    So the overall impression given by the programs were entirely misleading.
    We accept that the issues have to be presented for a more general interest non-expert audience, but the balance of likely resources was wildly skewed.
    Perhaps you would call the same participants back in a years time, and see how their predictions have fared.
    You might ask the optimists where the oil is.
    No-one in the media who always refer to the head of CERA as an expert has ever called him to account for his completely inaccurate predictions.

    Gordon - thanks for joining the discussion and also thank you to the BBC for inviting me to speak yesterday.

    But as you guys are probably more aware than most, this is a very complicated area and it's difficult to present in a simple way to a TV audience.

    This is spot on. Personally I thought you did a very good job and was actually quite impressed by your level of insight to this complex subject - which has no definitive answer. I'd be interested in Chris Skrebowski's views on this. My own performance was more questionable and whilst I think I looked serious enough and sounded OK - what I chose to say could have been a lot better. But hey, that was my first time (apart from TV Italia) and the circumstances are a bit unusual to say the least - sitting in a room "alone" with a camera, lights, ear piece and microphone.

    The scheduling was rather unfortunate. I've not yet seen Hayley Millar's documentary. I watched the first 15 mins in the foyer of the BBC in Aberdeen and caught snipits when I got home. This combined with the web presentations does suggest to me that this was a very poor portrayal of reality and I will email Hayley copying in whoever else I can at the BBC making key points. I can't find this program on the ipalyer - how do I get a copy?

    The comments on this thread are mixing the two programs, one which I thought was fair and the other which seems may have been not so good.

    Whilst talking about the iplayer it is rather unfortunate that you have to reside in the UK to watch these web-based archives. Why? (one for the lords of the BBC) The Oil Drum has a global audience and I believe a large % of readers work in academia, finance or media and would be interested in this material.

    High energy prices and energy depletion (UK and global) are not problems that are going to go away IMO. This will be a Long Emergency. The situation with UK, European and Global natural gas supplies is potentially more critical than oil. These are problems that will affect us all and so I hope the BBC continues to cover the subject with increasing frequency and in increasing detail and rigor.

    Brian Wilson IMO has one of the best overviews of UK energy of any former senior politician. In fact he seems to have greater knowledge of this subject that the collective Brown cabinet. David Strahan, former broadcaster, is also knowledgeable. Thus I will definitely tune in tonight to listen.

    Later this evening (or tomorrow morning) I will post proper answers here to your questions that I feel could have answered better yesterday.

    All the best,



    The documentary is on the iPlayer front page. Or it was last time I checked. Edit: No longer on front page but I found it on iPlayer eventually. Link below.

    Well done by the way!

    Found it. Here's the link to the show

    I can't find this program on the ipalyer - how do I get a copy?

    Euan, I've a recording on hard disk and can make you a DVD.


    On point 2) I'd say that showing a graph on the telly screen with the UK's oil production profile pretty much wraps it up. Goes up; peaks; declines.

    I haven't seen the programme yet, but having Euan there was a sort of a milestone for TOD:E. Thanks, and keep showing up, you're input is quite welcome.

    yes The graphic says it all really.. not only the basic rise and fall but also the thinning out of the fields as time goes on demonstrates the increasing effort required to get "the second half"

    some one just talking that through should be enough to convince viewers of moderate intelligence

    we at TOD should build some sort of animated graphic adding in the fields as they go

    In fact I will give it a go


    Boris - send me an email and I can send the xl file - I seem to recall it took quite a long time to sort the data from the format of the DTI archive.

    An animated chart adding the fields as they are brought on would be great to have.

    One thing though, some of us are graphics driven whilst other folks just don't see what graphics orientated folks see.

    But for me its a story nearly impossible to tell without charts.


    check your email for mididoctors



    Better tonight on Newsnight Scotland.

    Wilson and Strahern came across well.


    Work up a riposte to the egregious Odell and the ridiculous Kemp on Truth , lies and Oil.

    Yes well I think I will be doing a post on Truth, Lies, Oil and Scotland (as part of my on going lies series) - though have yet to watch the program - and so will not pre-judge.

    I will also be mailing the BBC encouraging them to interview a senior economist from BERR with this question:

    How much oil will the UK produce this year, how much will we consume, how much will we import and what will the cost be to the UK economy?

    And is it true that this will be worse next year, and the year after that.

    Same questions for gas and coal.

    Could also ask if this is connected to the collapsing pound (against € and NOK) which is pouring on inflationary pressures for a debt soaked populace.

    Gordon - the answers I should have given:

    You asked if I agreed with what Chris Skrebowski had to say:


    But to make it more interesting I picked up on what was a slip of the tongue by Chris when he said that we were in the foot hills of peak oil. We are in fact on plateau or close to peak - I'm pretty sure Chris agrees with that.

    How can I say that? you ask.

    Well climbing a hill alone in a fog of incomplete data, miss-information, government propaganda, corporate propaganda and international insecurity it is tricky to know when you reach the top.

    Global Total Liquids production and oil price, January 2002 to present. Production data from the IEA, data files supplied by Rembrandt Koppelaar. Monthly average WTI oil prices from Economagic.

    Since 2004 the gradient of the slope has changed (tricky to convey that without a graphic). What's more, much of the growth in supply is now LNG, ethanol and syncrude. Where we once produced malt whiskies we are now producing alcho pops.

    The flattening of the slope at a time of escalating price seems to be a clear signal that we are proximal to peak. But the inventory of mega projects in the pipeline adds uncertainty, hence no responsible peak oiler will want to call peak just yet - since Crying Wolf does untold harm.

    The change in gradient of the slope is due to OPEC spare capacity falling to zero - which is the point I tried to convey.


    Can I provide a 4th reason for the recent run up in oil prices?:

    Well the oil price has in fact been rising exponentially since around 2002 - with a curious excursion down late 2006 - from which the price is still recovering. I see little unusual about the recent run up in price since it is a continuation of this exponential trend caused by demand running ahead of constrained supply.

    But if you are wanting more reasons:

    On the supply side, Russian oil production has now been falling for around 6 months. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE. Russia is the most important provider of imported energy to Europe (oil and natural gas). Their falling oil production in the 1990s led to / resulted from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since 2000 their oil production recovered but is now maybe showing signs of peaking. Russia is one of the worlds largest oil producers and exporters and if the trend of falling production continues we are in deep trouble.

    The OECD has virtually no control over the oil supply side but we could have control over demand for oil if we wanted to. Governments could and should be legislating on energy efficiency across the board to reduce demand. Reducing demand for oil will lead to the price coming down. Doing this in a proactive positive way is different to allowing high price to destroy demand - which is what is happening now - and this will lead to widespread energy poverty throughout poor countries and throughout poor people in rich countries.

    But no, instead of doing all they can to conserve energy the UK Government is pro-active in building roads and supporting the expansion of all our major air ports - hence stimulating demand for oil - and so they must share the blame for the current situation.

    In the coming years you will likely be covering stories of old folks in Glasgow freezing to death in winter either because they cannot afford their power bills or because the electricity is off. You probably have no idea how precarious our electric grid is, increasingly dependent on natural gas the supply of which is more precarious than oil.

    This is a model I have been working on for many months now for UK natural gas supplies - I like making simple charts:-)

    I was getting excellent support from BERR in constructing this model which is not yet published since there's just not enough hours in the day. This is provisional unaudited work in progress. A few years back we were gas exporters - the yellow is the gas we will need to import in future. Will we be able to source all this gas? How will we pay for it?

    PS - the unfounded rumor of a pending US strike on Iran is the likely cause of the $7 run up in the oil price yesterday.

    thanks for that euan. i thought you were rather good the other night, by the way, especially as you are not used to television appearances.

    this is, needless to say, a subject newsnight scotland will return to,


    I often wondered how UK government investment could be so optimistic regarding future oil supply.

    Then I discovered that BERR rely on IEA for their oil supply figures (in effect, since they justify their projections by referring to the IEA), and the IEA have effectively assumed that supply will rise to meet demand.

    But now IEA have started questioning their own approach - since apart from anything else they completely failed to anticipate the recent run up in oil price.

    The IEA won't report until November, but their current tone is pessimistic. Nothing is certain - the IEA play a political game, and are no doubt aiming to encourage OPEC to increase supply. However, if their forecasts do change, I wonder how long it will take for the UK to follow suit, and revisit some of its spending commitments.

    Euan, I wonder if you have any good figures on deaths from cold in Britain? The age concern figures sound rather exaggerated, but some on this forum are trying to say that no-one in Britain dies of cold, nor will they if power supplies are interrupted, since it does not get cold enough here!
    Congrats on your Newsnight appearance - the word is starting to get out, unfortunately rather late in the day.

    The Office for National Statistics publish annual excess winter mortality figures for England and Wales. Those from November 2007 show about 24,000 excess deaths from December 06 to March 07.

    Not all will be the direct effect of the cold, though I expect the correlation is pretty high. Annual cold deaths will be higher still, since the rest of the year can be rather chilly in the UK as well.

    Scotland I believe has a much larger share of poor quality Council Housing than the UK as a whole and we get much colder winters - skiing in The Cairngorms in May this year.

    Agreed that I am perhaps being a bit dramatic here, but with BERR plans to use some of our existing power to bury CO2, the nuclear fleet enjoying its twilight years and nat gas supplies as far as I can tell in fairly precarious state - every year our indigenous production is down - there is a view that the UK grid may fall over in less than 5 years.

    Privatisation apparently does not provide a good framework for strategic planning of grid integrity and security - hence we are still living on the legacy of the CEGB. Chris Vernon and Hugh Sharman know much more on this topic than I.

    You're right - the equivalent figures for Scotland in 06/07 are proportionally worse.

    - 2,750 excess winter deaths in Scotland = 0.054% per capita (population 5.1 million)
    - 23,900 excess winter deaths in E&W = 0.046% per capita (population 52 million)

    Regarding strategic planning, I heard the same point made by several speakers at the ALL Energy conference in Aberdeen a couple of weeks ago. They were effectively calling for the large-scale renationalisation of the electricity sector.

    Naturally, no-one suggested a framework that would damage their particular interests, but I was surprised at the degree of consensus - even among City financiers (though perhaps Northern Rock has given them a taste for nationalisation).

    City financiers & consultants would love large-scale renationalisation of the electricity sector, plus other sectors. After all once you have made money by selling off things then you can make more money by bringing them back in-house; same goes for mergers & demergers.

    If there's any posible way to make money then it will be invented, e.g. liar loans, sub prime, CFD, CDO, CPDO, "managed" funds, fund of funds, Enron .......

    "Never appeal to a man's better nature he may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage" Sorry can't remember who first said this.

    Naturally, I think a Scot put it best:

    "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages."

    -- Adam Smith

    Thanks Munin - the other key factor to be aware of in this debate is that in the past most of our gas was sold on contract at prices struck many years ago - i.e at very low price. Many of these contracts are now expiring to be replaced with spot market prices - current 59p therm compared with 22 p a therm a year ago. Contracts struck at say less than 10p / therm may get replaced by prices that are approaching 100p / therm next year. As these contracts expire and roll through the system.... need I say more.

    I'm all in favour of the private sector running our industry, but certain strategic issues like planning, designing and building our power generation and grid requires a strategic lead from government. I gather that SSE are pretty desperate and bemused by the current situation.

    PS - the unfounded rumor of a pending US strike on Iran is the likely cause of the $7 run up in the oil price yesterday.


    Israel to attack Iran unless enrichment stops: minister

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites looks "unavoidable" given the apparent failure of sanctions to deny Tehran technology with bomb-making potential, one of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's deputies said on Friday.

    "If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective," Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz told the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

    "Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable," said the former army chief who has also been defense minister.

    ...Mofaz also said in the interview that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, "would disappear before Israel does."

    I thought your programme was very good, in stark contrast to "Truth, Lies Oil and Scotland". It would be great if you could engage Hayley Millar about this issue. She had clearly done quite a bit of research for the programme but despite that missed the concept of flow rates completely. Does she understand the nature of the debate between the cornucopians and the peakists?

    Any chance of getting more on UK-wide TV? Jeremy Paxman and John Humphries both appear to 'get' peak oil to some extent, judging from interviews and broadcasts they have given in the last year.

    look, i'm not trying to dodge the issues here, but as i am working today as well i have not had a chance to watch the documentary or listen to the radio programme. obviously i would not want to comment on the work of my colleagues anyway.

    but as for newsnight, i think virtually all the points which were made in the previous post were made by either chris skrebowski or euan mearns.

    and while i would not argue that having newsnight and the documentary on at the same time was the greatest piece of scheduling in world history, newsnight scotland at least is available on the bbc iplayer and the documentary may be too.

    if any of you are gluttons for punishment we are returning to the subject tonight with brian wilson, former uk energy minister, and david strahan of the oil depletion analysis centre,




    as a state-registered glutton , I look forward to it.

    It will be interesting to hear Brian Wilson's response. Last time he was in my local pub, He had a deeper understanding of Peak Oil and Energy issues than would appear from his public persona. (a lot of people round here have more than a laymans interest).

    Think long and hard about the story you want to tell in the coming years.

    The common weal may hang in the balance on it.

    Think on.

    The BBC has a duty of care. - And that involves enlightenment and truth.

    I thought you did ok and its not your role to make the argument so to speak

    but..... there lies the problem.. you have to understand this issue to allow the debate and presentation to be balanced

    and I can see how this is a dilemma for the impartial holy cows of broadcast journalism because essentially once you "get it" your bias towards... well the truth!

    thats a real square peg in a round hole situation you have on your hands there.

    Having Odell up on screen even as a clip is pretty much equivalent to debating history with David Icke on one side and AJP taylor on the other and giving them both equal billing.

    I don't envy your position but the weight on your shoulders on this absurdly unreported issue is .. is what? .. well the phrase "of monumental world importance" is not an understatement

    we need to revisit this issue with an in depth probe of the cornucopian position and their motivations to paint a rosy picture.. every one likes a tale of lies and deciet...

    well their you go

    there is a trail of absurdity and denial going back to Hubbert and the USGS in the early 60's through to the great OPEC reserve debacle of the 80's and onto to simmons calling aramco out at CSIS in 2003

    at which point the abiotic oil thing appeared all over the net

    you guys are the journalists you join the dots...

    why does a man like Odell get awards from OPEC?

    there's a story


    >>David Icke on one side and AJP taylor on the other and giving them both equal billing.<<


    Best I have heard ever.

    Tonight's show was great. The contrast between Wilson today and Wicks yesterday is quite incredible. I was at a peak oil conference in 2005 where Wilson was very wishy-washy on peak oil. Now he's clear. It's such a shame he can only speak the truth in retirement and his successor Wicks, feels he can't whilst still in office.

    Keep up the good work Gordon, you are breaking vital new ground raising the profile of peak oil. You can count on The Oil Drum to assist with any future research and support.

    Brian Wilson I believe is a director at Scottish and Southern Energy, one of our most progressive and successful utilities, recently purchased Airtricity. Its interesting isn't it how folks with foresight, like Jim Buckee did at Talisman, can lead companies to success.

    Actually, I believe he was on the board of Airtricity, though he may have inherited a position with SSE following the takeover.

    He's also a director of AMEC Nuclear Holdings, amongst other things.

    second that


    That was much better. It is obvious from that that the powers that be are well aware of peak oil, although perhaps not sure of how close if is.
    The accelerating nature of the problem as per West Texas's ELM was not within the Ken here though, and the feeling was that a bit of insulation and a smaller car would do the trick.
    When the true nature of the problem hits home then panic will ensue.

    Excellent follow up. Watch it if you can. iPlayer link

    Here's the audio for those outside the UK.

    Hi Gordon, thanks for joining in.

    I'm not an Oil Drum regular, but I think Wednesday night's programme covered the issues pretty well. It's a shame it's disappeared from iPlayer so others can't judge for themselves (the audio is still here).

    My main complaint would be (as Euan has admitted above) that the contributors didn't really address your questions. While the points they made were interesting and relevant to the issue, I think the resulting discussion would have been difficult for the uninitiated to follow.

    I expect Thursday night's show will be less contentious to this forum, though I would like to have seen a more adversarial debate. Kemp v Mearns, anyone?

    By the way, it would be great if you could encourage someone from the TLOS documentary to engage with this forum.

    ...though I would like to have seen a more adversarial debate.

    Be fair now. They included a "peak oil nutter" and an "establishment figure"!

    Just turns out they agreed :-)

    Gordon, you're a brammer to note the substantive analyses published here, and to offer your thoughts and views on the topic. All too often, journalists are over-worked and cannot devote enough time to the myriad subjects they must cover. Your ken of the peak oil problem and your attention to this subject is a positive reflection on your understanding of Scotland's (and indeed the world's) true priorities. Of course, if Odell suggests himself for the show, I'd tell him "awa an bile yer heid, nyaff". It was nice, though, to see Euan boo tae a goose, yahoorsur.

    There's a Jeremy Leggett piece criticising the programme:

    When one of the contributors to a documentary feels the need to rip it apart in a national newspaper the next day you know the film makers did something wrong!

    I am what I would describe as a "progressive and moderate Peak Oiler". I have wondered about where all the oil comes from for a couple of decades and tried to mentally visualise how large oil fields must be. In 2003/2004 when Lord Browne was saying there was no reason for oil to be as high as $40/barrel and Gordon Brown was requesting OPEC to increase output I decided to browse the internet. Initially my work colleagues took the piss, which I saw the funny side my self and we all had a good joke about the religion of "peak oil". The boot's now on the other foot!

    Compare this piece from the Daily Mail by Rosie Boycott with the piece on plentiful Oil earlier this week:

    The Daily Mail is waking up.

    >>Nine meals from anarchy - how Britain is facing a very real food crisis

    By Rosie Boycott
    Last updated at 1:41 AM on 07th June 2008

    The phrase 'nine meals from anarchy' sounds more like the title of a bad Hollywood movie than any actually is. genuine threat.

    But that was the expression coined by Lord Cameron of Dillington, a farmer who was the first head of the Countryside Agency - the quango set up by Tony Blair in the days when he pretended to care about the countryside - to describe just how perilous Britain's food supply

    Scroll down for more<<


    I read somewhere that the rollicking rise in Crude spot prices is mainly due to diversion of huge sums of money by US Retirement Pension Funds from Stocks to commodities (mainly Crude). Can one such factor lead to phenomenal rise in oil prices?

    And now this from the Telegraph.

    Peak oil debate will rage as long as doubts remain over Opec’s reserves

    Last Updated: 11:56pm BST 06/06/2008

    The debate over the cartel's capacity rages as American legislators look to make it pump more black gold, writes Elizabeth Eldridge

    >>Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert, a book arguing that the sun is setting on the giant oil fields of Saudi Arabia, said: "The odds of the kingdom having any spare capacity, in my opinion, are low. The odds that their crude oil production is now starting into permanent decline are getting quite high."<<

    >>And as Rembrant Koppelaar, from the sector forum, points out: "The question of spare capacity is a difficult one because it is based on trust, not on any fact."<<

    I've duplicated a post I made on Drumbeat, as on reflection it is perhaps more relevant here:
    The BBC is in a flap coming out with the most absurd comments on 'reasons' for the oil price rise.
    One of them was said to be ......rising unemployment in the US!
    They then had their economic 'expert' on, who admitted that supplies had not grown in the last few years, but then came out with the masterstroke:
    'Oil has doubled in price in the last year, but demand has not doubled, so it must be speculation!'
    He does not appear to have heard of pricing at the margin.
    This is sheer economic illiteracy!

    They are so desperate to make a comment, and give a 'reason' that they are just coming out with random statements - appalling editing.
    The guy who came out with the statement that rising unemployment was causing rising oil prices must have picked it out of a bin of prompt cards, and went to the wrong bin, the one marked 'reason to dish out if oil prices fall'

    Joe Lynam is the wonderful economics 'expert' they have coming out with this tripe.

    EDIT: Lynam is the guy who feels that prices rise no more than demand increases.
    It was a different idiot who thinks that rising unemployment increases oil prices.

    I have already contacted the BBC - perhaps others would care to do so, so that he can enthral us all with his explanation of why rising unemployment should be one of the causes of oil prices jumping, and why demand has to double to cause prices to double.

    Does anyone have a link to the Chris Skrebowski/Euan Means interview?
    I have found and watched the programme "Truth, Lies oil and Scotland" but can find no trace of the interview.

    Thanks for that, Got them.