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So, who do we believe here then?

Investment in oil and gas production will be needed for the next three decades if the world is to avoid more shortages and price swings, BP has warned.

The oil giant said in its annual energy outlook published on Monday that fossil fuels are still likely to account for about 20pc of primary energy in 2050 even under a significant tightening of climate policies.

Well, there’s an expert view.

Greta Thunberg told world leaders at Davos earlier this month that new extraction should be stopped immediately, while UN chief António Guterres said last June: “New funding for fossil fuels is delusional.”

And there are two non-expert views.

Toughie, who do we believe then?

13 thoughts on “So, who do we believe here then?”

  1. I suspect that BP’s view is still optimistic given we’re still struggling to support base power load for those days when it ain’t windy or sunny enough for renewables.

    That has to come from somewhere and I’m guessing in 2050, it will still be mostly coming from gas in some form.

    I doubt we’ll do anything more with nuclear other than to replace existing outdated power stations with a roughly equivalent amount of fission power and even in 2050 I suspect that fusion will remain under development.

    No matter how much solar and wind you build, that base load problem doesn’t go away and the only way of covering the difference is gas, coal or oil (the latter two being even more unacceptable).

    So, it’ll be gas then.

    I worked for many years in oil, gas and power, including BP Oil Trading.

  2. The timeline for exploration, approval, construction and production takes us out to around 2050. But worldwide spend on exploration has halved in the last few years. Either geologists and gun makers have got 100% better or we’re going to be paying quite a lot for our gas in 2050.

    As John Galt says, BP has a trading arm. And it is very profitable indeed. Even if BP stopped production tomorrow it would still be in the FT100.

    The Swedish SEND’s only effect will be to make energy more expensive. Since progress since the Industrial Revolution has been based largely on cheap energy and decent sewerage life in 2050 may not be all that comfortable.

  3. I remember when South Australia blew up the power station at Port Augusta. The first thing they did after their glorious green transition was to whinge that everyone else wasn’t providing them with electricity.

    The ratbags in New South Wales and the complete ratbags in Victoria have prevented drilling for the necessary gas to provide them with power. They are whinging that Queensland isn’t providing it.

    I read that the Greens are pressuring Albo to ban all future investment in such obscene horrors. Coal of course is just unspeakable.

    So JG, I have to agree with you. But I suspect DocBud is right, and we’ll get 40-50% of our energy from oil and gas, and just have to do without the rest.

    For some reason, I seem to be thinking of my favourite hero, Crassus. I really admire the way he used to line the streets with the corpses of the crucified.

  4. Also we’re only talking here about demand for oil and gas for “heat, light and mobility”. Even if/when we get to satisfying all that demand with renewables and nuclear, the demand for petrochemicals and feedstocks will not go away. At the most basic level, even electric cars need tarmac to drive on (bitumen), synthetic rubber and plastic for tyres, plastics for most of the interior and so on

  5. @FA

    Yeah this is the bit I don’t get. Industrial uses of oil and gas aren’t the majority use of them, but at least for energy there are some pie in the sky explanations of what we can replace them with (nuclear, or renewable if someone can invent massive storage capacity solutions in the near future). I haven’t seen an attempt made for most of the industrial uses, so how are we going to get by if we order no more exploration?

  6. Just on pendantry, I wouldn’t regard BP, Thunberg and Guterres as offering more or less expert views on particular aspects of the future. They all have agendas and they are all expert at promoting them. For instance, BP’s figure of 20% of the 2050 energy pie for fossil fuels is complete placation propaganda. Even its 55% “new momentum” scenario is preposterous on a global scale. They’re all expert liars.

  7. They are all lying that the transition can be cheap, fast and effective. Pick any two. Actually pick none of them as they are all delusional, to quote MC up thread.

  8. “Well, there’s an expert view.”

    No; there’s a bid as high as he dare make in the current climate of opinion among those who hew to our new civic religion.

  9. The pretty chart in the article looks only at the rated capacity of “renewables” and the discussion takes no account of the unreliability of windpower (variation of 140: in peak average to low average output, probably more than 1000:1 in actual peak to actual nadir). The storage requirement if they want more than 50% of the total to come from “renewables” is mindboggling and cannot be achieved with current technology.
    The elephant in the room is China which burns more coal than all the rest of the world put together, generates over 30% of the world’s greenhouse gases, and doesn’t care what happens to the non-Chinese so isn’t going to stop just because others will suffer.

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