Friday, April 07, 2006

Exxon Chevron Peak Oil Ad War

Chevron Corporation has run several ads combined with its WillYouJoinUs campaign, warning about the bleak future of oil.

“It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil. We’ll use the next trillion in 30,” claims Chevron.

“One thing is clear” says one of the ads, “the era of easy oil is over. What we all do next will determine how well we meet the energy needs of the entire world in this century and beyond.”

ExxonMobil, on the other hand, takes a very different position. “a peak will not occur this year, next year or for decades to come” says Exxon ad. The ad concludes with “With abundant oil resources still available peak production is nowhere in sight.”

They both agree that up until now, we have used about one trillion barrels of oil. What they don’t agree is how much is left. They certainly also agree on what is left in terms of proven. The biggest uncertainty is how much is yet to be discoevered. And for that, one way or the other, they rely on the results of the latest USGS 2000 study, which is conducted by using the data for 1995.

That is why I do not believe that both Exxon and Chevron, and any other oil company, are serious when making such claims.

An industry, making billions of dollars of profit on one hand, and yet relying on a 10 year old study, on the other hand, cannot be taken serious. If they were realy serious they would have spent a peanuts amount of money, have brought their geologists and other experts together, and would have come up with an updated estimate. When it comes to talking, it is them who are proud of their technological advancements.

When it comes to projects, it is also them, who proudly say that they think of long term.

No, they stick their head into already unreliable reserves figures (whatever the source is), but do not want to do anything on resources. That is why I do not believe that they are serious.

Look at the cartoon on the Exxon ad. A guy looks at the top of a mountain surrounded with clouds. What Exxon forgot was to put the dollar signs in each cloud. This is what oil companies see, but they don’t want us to show what they see.

Let’s finish with a joke which would fit well into that situation.

The CEO of Exxon was in an-air balloon. Soon he found himself lost. Eventually, he happened to float over a man who was playing golf.

He leaned over the basket and yelled out, "Hello! Where am I?"

The man on the ground replied, "You're about 100 feet above the ground in a hot- air balloon."

The balloonist cursed him and shouted back, "You must be the CEO of Chevron."

"Why do you say that?" asked the man on the ground.

"Well," shouted the balloonist, "You're absolutely correct but your answer was completely useless."

"Oh I see," replied the walker, "And you must be the CEO of Exxon."

"Actually, you're right," said the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the walker, "First you were lost. Then, after working out what information you needed to sort yourself out, you asked someone else to get it for you. Now, that you have the information, you're still lost, but it's someone else's fault."


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