PEAK OIL IS OVER! We found more oil!
Mexico's President Vicente Fox has announced the discovery of a significant new deep-water oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. AP:
President Vicente Fox climbed aboard a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday to formally announce a new deep-water oil discovery [called Noxal] he said could eventually yield 10 billion barrels of crude oil. [...]
Government estimates say the find could exceed reserves at the giant offshore field Cantarell, Mexico's largest oil field, which has seen its production decline but is still expected to yield 1.9 million barrels a day this year.
Luis Ramirez, chief executive of Mexico's government-run oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said Noxal is the fourth deep-water well explored by Pemex.
Ramirez said that while production tests will be conducted in coming weeks, "evidence found is sufficient to infer potential reserves to be discovered that could reach 10 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent."
"This number, compared with annual production of 1.6 billion barrels of crude, shows its strategic importance," Ramirez said, adding that crude oil production at Noxal likely won't begin for eight to 10 years. [Emphasis added]
10 billion barrels is a significant find, but here are some things to bear in mind:
10 billion barrels is being cited as a best-case number. It remains to be seen if 10 billion barrels can actually be recovered. The world currently uses 10 billion barrels of oil every four months. Production at Noxal is 8-10 years away. By that time, other Mexican production will have declined significantly. As we saw a month ago, Mexico's Cantarell field, the world's second largest producer, is facing precipitous decline. Noxal will simply plug part of the hole left by declines in other fields. According to an industry insider quoted at The Oil Drum, the new find "is supposed to be nearly as big as Cantarell, but is a lot heavier." That's what we would expect in a peak oil world: the light, sweet crude has mostly all been discovered. Now we're on to the harder-to-find, harder-to-produce, harder-to-refine oil.
All that being said, this discovery may indicate that Mexico's deep-water exploration has been spottier than previously thought. It's possible they'll find more. Which is good news on the peak oil front (though not wildly good news — as noted above, it just postpones peak by a few months).
But every new find is bad news on the global warming front, and that is likely to turn out to be the bigger problem in the long run. Every new find is that much more carbon that will be pumped into the atmosphere, and it's that much longer that people will delay doing what has to be done to reduce carbon emissions and start to get a handle on the accelerating rate of increase in atmospheric CO2.
People tend to follow the path of least resistance. As long as we've got relatively cheap oil, the path of least resistance will be to continue to burn it.
So there you have it! A new four month supply 10 years from now ends all arguements. The next time you tell someone that we're running out of oil and they say, "someone will find more," you can tell them. Yup! We just found another 4 month supply that'll only take 10 years to tap! CRANK UP THE SUV!!!!