Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Peak Oil Contrarian: Another Day In The Desert

Via peakoil.com I discovered a fascinating article in the Canadian The Globe And Mail, regarding a new piece of research attempting to rebut Matt Simmons' Twilight In The Desert, called Another Day In The Desert:
Another Day is the most widely read piece of research ever put out by independent Calgary energy consultancy Ross Smith Energy Group Ltd. and the paper supports what many technical minds had suspected: That Twilight's attempt to assess the capacity of Saudi Arabia's oil reservoirs is flawed.

"The book posits a crisis where in our opinion none exists," wrote Jim Jarrell, president of Ross Smith and author of Another Day. "We believe Twilight attempts to turn benign technical matters into crisis-level evidence."


"I got a comfortable feeling that [Saudi Arabia has] an unprecedented record of reservoir operations and management," he said. In his paper, he concluded that Saudi reserves are likely not overstated, that production is unlikely to collapse and that the exploration potential of the kingdom is probably better than anywhere else on Earth.

Simmons responds, with an anecdote:
"He said: 'I'm the dean of the petroleum department at the University of Texas and I've got to tell you your book was stunning. I think it's the best textbook anybody's ever done on reservoir mechanics.' ..... I've had too many responses like that to have any doubt."

Mr. Simmons said Mr. Jarrell puts too much faith in things the Saudis have said about their oil fields, suggesting that the odds of a collapse are far higher than the kingdom's assertion that it can notably boost production rates.

Ross Smith's homepage has a link to a related review (PDF) of their report appearing in the Financial Times. Well: with both sides quite certain the other's wrong, it'll be an interesting read, no doubt....