Industrialized Cyclist Notepad

Daniel Yergin is a shame

Everything Yergin says here is true. He gives the impression of someone who chooses his words carefully. He won a Pulitzer and wrote two giant books about oil. But he somehow always leaves out half the story. Just doesn’t get it or pretends it doesn’t exist.

Yergin is a self-described optimist who believes human ingenuity (and higher prices) will produce as much oil as mankind would ever want or need. Like many of his ilk, he emphasizes various sources of supply that are on the verge of coming on line, and new sources of supply like the Bakken that are adding to existing supply. He mentions “disruptions” in supply, and indeed there are many of those. Disruptions are always on the verge of being restored to their rightful levels, you see. What he and his cornucopian brethren never mention is the ongoing natural depletion of existing giant oil fields. And his predictions never seem to take this depletion into account — which means his predictions (and those of his firm IHS CERA) have been absolutely laughable. I mean, they will make you lol those old predictions. The existing world of oil makes a lot more sense if you take into account the phenomenon of depletion; unfortunately the future looks a lot more bleak.

“Pulitzer Prize-winning Daniel Yergin” gets trotted out repeatedly, because his blind spot on depletion is quite useful to the contingent that thrives on the false belief that excessive regulation is throttling production in the US. And there is oh so much cash behind that fakery. Yergin’s paycheck depends on his not acknowledging depletion. The whole circus is really quite shameful, isn’t it?

Here he is in the WSJ optimistically listing factors that could keep the price of oil down, counteracting tensions with Iran. Optimism! Let’s see: New supply in the US, and various potential new sources of supply around the world. Check. Also, reductions in demand. Check. He doesn’t mention that “new supply” would have to amount to a Saudi Arabia’s worth every few years just to make up for ongoing depletion. In fact, he doesn’t mention depletion at all. Well done, Daniel.

New petroleum supplies could come into the market over the year from a variety of sources—from Iraq and Angola to Libya and Colombia. And notably, 300,000 barrels per day or more from the United States—primarily from North Dakota and Texas and from a rebound in off-shore production.

The other offset could come from reductions in demand. U.S. gasoline consumption so far this year is down over last year. China’s new economic growth target of 7.5%—down significantly from the 10% or so of recent years—would mean lower growth in its petroleum consumption. Of course, a rebound in global economic growth would increase demand, not only in China but in the U.S., Japan and Europe.

via Daniel Yergin: What's Behind Rising Gas Prices? –