The End Of Oil? I Think Not!
By Paul Homewood
h/t Patsy Lacey
From the Telegraph:
‘I usually put a £5 bet on the oil price – and I’m collecting,” smiles Prof Dieter Helm.
It’s not difficult to imagine his tally of modest wagers adding up. The highly regarded Oxford University economics professor is a long-time industry observer. Today, he is in central London after taking meetings with major oil executives. He is also a familiar face in Whitehall and Brussels, where he advises – both formally and informally – on the trends reshaping the global energy markets.
Still, his stakes will be trillions of dollars lower than the energy leaders he advises
If Helm is to be believed the oil market downturn is only getting started. The latest collapse is the harbinger of a global energy revolution which could spell the end-game for fossil fuels. These theories were laughable less than a decade ago when oil prices grazed highs of more than $140 a barrel. But the burn out of the oil industry is approaching quicker than was first thought, and the most senior leaders within the industry are beginning to take note.
In the past, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has faced down criticism that its global energy market forecasts have overestimated the role of oil and underplayed the boom in renewable energy sources. But last month the tone changed. The agency warned oil and gas companies that failing to adapt to the climate policy shift away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner energy would leave a total of $1 trillion in oil assets and $300bn in natural gas assets stranded.
For oil companies who heed Helm’s advice, the route ahead is a ruthless harvest-and-exit strategy. This would mean an aggressive slashing of capital expenditure, pumping of remaining oil reserves while keeping costs to the floor and paying out very high dividends.
“They’d never do it because no company board would contemplate running a smaller company tomorrow than today. It’s not in the zeitgeist of the corporate world we’re in, but that’s what they should do,” Helm says.
I sometimes wonder where supposedly intelligent “experts” park their brains where climate change is concerned.
This is of course the same load of drivel that we have had on many occasions from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Mark Carney and co. And as usual, it contains the same fallacies:
1) The low oil price is certainly leading to reduced capital expenditure, but what will that lead to?
As with every other boom and bust in oil and mining sectors, a shortfall of supply, followed by a spike in price.
This will inevitably lead to a mad dash to open new reserves, followed by a market glut, etc etc etc.
2) While oil companies profits are affected by the downturn in revenue since prices peaked, great strides in technology have also reduced costs.
There is no reason at all why the industry cannot remain profitable at current prices.
If it cannot, supply and demand will simply find a new equilibrium.
3) Low oil prices have conversely made electric cars even less attractive than they already were before.
Continued low prices will encourage greater consumption. This is particularly true of natural gas, which has transformed energy markets in recent years, supplanting coal in power plants.