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Oil yet to peak, says ExxonMobil Australia head

Source:  Copyright 2006, Herald Sun
Date:  September 12, 2006
Byline:  Cameron England
Original URL: Status DEAD


THE end of oil was "nowhere in sight" according to ExxonMobil Australia chairman Mark Nolan.

Speaking at the Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference in Adelaide yesterday, Mr Nolan said figures from the United States Geological Survey refuted "peak oil" theory, showing there were more than three trillion barrels of conventional recoverable oil resources.
"So far we have produced one trillion of that," Mr Nolan said.

"Conservative estimates of heavy oil and shale oil push the total recoverable resource to more than four trillion barrels.

"It is important to note that as an industry and a society we have always underestimated the global resource base and the ability of technology to extend both the life of oil and gas fields, and to find new resources.

"We should not forget that we can recover almost twice as much oil today as when we first discovered it over 100 years ago. And when you consider that a further 10 per cent increase in recoverability will deliver an extra 800 billion barrels of oil to our recoverable total we have reason to be sure that the end of oil is nowhere in sight."

Mr Nolan said peak oil theories which posit that the world's oil production will peak in the next 20 years, then enter a terminal decline, had bubbled since the 1920s and tended to surface at times of high oil prices.

"Our view is that the world has abundant energy resources and that there is no peak oil theory of value."

Mr Nolan said ExxonMobil relied on the US Geological survey which showed the world had only used about one third of the world's oil resources "and beyond that, technology, we are confident, will continue to find more".

This view is in stark contrast to proponents of the peak oil theory, who believe the industry is in denial.

Chris Skrebowski, a trustee of the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre and editor of the Energy Institute's Petroleum Review in Britain, told an Adelaide audience last month peak oil was real and imminent.

"Oil supply will peak in 2010-11 at around 92 to 94 million barrels a day," he said. "We have just 1500 days to peak. Collectively, we are still in denial.

"Peak oil is when flows can't meet the required demand. This will cause an economic tsunami."

Mr Nolan would not speculate on the future of petrol or crude oil prices.

He said ExxonMobil did not support carbon credit trading as a way to address climate change.

"ExxonMobil recognises that the risk of climate change, and its potential impacts on society and ecosystems, may prove to be significant.

"Policies should promote sensible, economic actions now to reduce emissions, recognising that only technology can provide a long-term solution to reducing emissions."

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