An expanded version of what I meant to say on the Beeb

Let me preface this remark by thanking BBC5 for the chance to be on their program, and ProfG, Ianqui and SuperG for letting me draw the short straw and represent them.  And, because it is true, I will exempt the Beeb from the tenor of the next paragraph.

I was struck, coming back to watch the news tonight, how quickly Katrina was disappearing from the riveted attention of the MSM.  And this, as one of the reporters commented, at a time when they could not drive out of downtown New Orleans to assess damage, because their car got a flat from driving over debris hidden by the water on the road.  I bring this up because the time of allowed public attention differs from that over which the extent of this disaster will unfold.  As ProfG just noted, it will not be until tomorrow that the helicopters can go out to examine the rigs and platforms and to see how much they were damaged.  Testing the LOOP, the pipelines and support infrastructure to begin oil flowing back to the refineries around New Orleans will take time, and bringing them back on stream will also be something that cannot occur immediately.

Beyond that there is some question as to the sandbars outside the port, and whether they have moved, and so this will have to be surveyed.  And if there is too much sediment in the channels, then they must be dredged.  None of this necessarily assumes great amounts of damage, but all of it requires time.  To take a different segment from the story on the Florida situation in Rigzone article

``It's not going to be pretty,'' said Jim Smith, president of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. ``We're totally dependent on that water-borne route.''
Thus, despite the current perception that damage was not as great as anticipated, it is going to be later in the week, and perhaps through next weekend, before we begin to understand the full impact of this storm.

And, because I suspect not all our readers in Europe were willing to get up at 2:30 am to hear me on the Beeb a few minutes ago, let me make the point I made there again.  The shortage that we will face, due to the refinery and GOM platform outage is relatively immediate.  Shipping additional oil from Saudi Arabia (avoiding the question we keep asking as to which field it will come from) will not get here in less than about 6 weeks.  Any shortages that will develop will likely occur before then, and if they do, then the oil can be withdrawn temporarily from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, since some of the caverns are right there in the Louisiana parishes. The likely problem is going to remain not with the crude but with the refined product. And that will be resolved only as all the refineries come back on line.

And with respect to the ongoing discussion with Halfin in the comments, I am glad we got our new site back, because in last Saturday's techie talk, I hopefully finally explained the scientific background to the decay in production from oilwells.  Thus, if you have a certain number producing, all will be in some stage of depletion, and the only way to increase production is to drill more wells.  And if you only have 37 rigs in operation then you can only drill that many wells at a time.  So no matter who asks you for more oil there is only so much you can do!

UPDATE: Just checking around I see that Michael Lynch is quoted in Bloomberg

``There is a big surplus of crude oil and the loss of a few million barrels will not be a big deal,'' said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts.
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By and large, HO, the MSM "story" right now is that Katrina weakened somewhat and turned slightly to the East as it struck land. So, New Orleans did not get flooded to the extent anticipated.

Also, the market remained "calm" today but drilling rig and refinery damage has not been assessed.

So, we are waiting for the extent of the short-term damage and the long-term impact on supplies and prices. Enjoyed your segment on the BBC5.
Re: Lynch's "There is a big surplus of crude oil and the loss of a few million barrels will not be a big deal," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusett.

I wonder what, exactly, would be a big deal? Another big asteroid or comet hitting the Earth in the Yucatan (as happened 65 mya), would that be a big deal? Al-Quaida blowing up Ras Tanura, would that be a big deal?

Is there nothing that can disturb the complacent equanimity of this man? As the band The Cure once wrote, Why can't I be you?
Can you give a link to the BBC5 segment? I can not find it..Mark
it's the other post below...and it won't be up until tomorrow, so says the producer.
Thanks Prof. G I will look for it tommarow..
In a way, Mr. Lynch is correct, it's just that I believe the crude inventories are mainly the wrong kind of crude: heavy/sour. Valero's refinery, which is adept at this more difficult refining (v. lighter/sweeter crudes) will be sorely missed. Light/sweet crude, which requires less volume than heavy/sour to make equivalent volumes of light and middle distillates, is in very short supply, and I believe has peaked. My Lynch has also has conveniently left out the fact that gasoline stocks are quite low at this time... One should keep in mind Mr. Lynch has done work for the short-sellers and the Saudis. In my opinion, his words should be understood in that context, and mainly serve only as an attempt to talk the market down.
Very interesting take on Lynch.  I don't believe he's stupid, so you have to wonder whether he simply has an agenda.  If the Saudi's and short sellers are signing his paychecks, that might explain things.  

Do you have a link/confirmation of clientele?

I think that Mr. Lynch is biaised but definitively not stupid! who's not biaised anyway in this business! There is an interesting discussion between Lynch (aka spikre) and posters at Michael Lynch - Disputing Peak Oil
His criticism of the PO proponents should be carefully analyzed and not just simply dismissed.
Here's your confirmation:

"Lynch's principal role seemed to be one of resuscitating the audience after Campbell 's address. He backed up the Saudi Aramco claim that its definition of "oil initially in place" (according to Society of Petroleum Engineers, World Petroleum Congress and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists) is the "volume or the amount of oil that's presently in the subsurface." Lynch also disclosed during the talk that he has worked off and on for the Saudis and does work in the short sell market, saying "I'm sure there'll be questions about that." Curiously, there were none. "
I completely agree that mainstream news has already begun to reduce Katrina coverage, but you have to understand that, being mainstream, they were primarily concerned with loss of life.  Now that it's clear that there won't be many deaths, they're switching to property damage stories.

However, on ROBTV, a Canadian business television channel, the focus is completely different.  Katrina and oil prices are most of what they're talking about.  Maybe that's a little strong.  Katrina and oil prices are being related to everything else that happens in the markets.  Among other things, they've broached the possibility of a gasoline shortage because of Katrina and understand that it may take weeks to get everything back online.

But honestly, if I want coverage of world events, with an eye towards the coming energy shortage, I come here first.

Actually, I just wanted to correct myself.  I just watched a Katrina segment on CTV NewsNet (a mainstream 24-hour Canadian news channel) and they followed it with a few statements about a rise in the cost of consumer goods.  So maybe they are starting to see the bigger picture.

As it should be, the focus is definitely on New Orleans and the developing humanitarian crisis.  However, most of the morning/evening/late news doesn't seem to be pushing much beyond that.

Maybe Katrina will be the event that triggers a mainstream interest in peak oil.