Oil Fields Forever

January 7, 2013 | 00:00

Oil Fields Forever

If I had to select one outstanding feature of the Energy Year 2012, I would say it's how much the perspective has changed on the availability of oil and gas resources.

Just a few years ago, when oil prices went through the roof, the notion of peak oil finally seemed to have become mainstream opinion. Even CEO's of large energy companies warned in no uncertain terms about the new Age of Oil Scarcity that was upon us.

Now all that has changed. The revolution in "unconventionals" (shale gas and tight oil) in the US has led to a widespread expectation that all over the world, much more oil and gas can be found than was thought previously. Talk of peak oil has all but stopped. It is a matter of history repeating itself of course: we went through many "end of oil" phases in the past, all of which proved to be premature.

Whether "unconventionals" will live up to the current high expectations is not quite certain yet. There are still many questions that need to be answered. What does seem certain, however, is that the new "optimistic" outlook on energy availability will have a huge impact on energy markets in 2013 – and not just on the oil and gas markets. In our feature article of today, EER takes an in-depth look at the ramifications of the unconventional boom (or, if you will, hype).

Of course for readers of EER, the New Optimism will not come as a surprise. We published several articles on this topic, which our readers were quick to seize on. Indeed, by far the best-read article of 2012 was Robin Mill's anti-peak oil argument, Cheer Up: The World Has Plenty of Oil. This was read over 11,000 times on our website, making it our best-read article ever. Another excellent article on this topic, by BP Group Chief Economist Christof Rühl, was also among the most read articles of the year, as was Noé van Hulst's article Peak Oil Revisited.

Talking about most-read articles, it has become something of a tradition at EER to publish an annual top-10. Well, we have the 2012 Greatest Hits for you today! As you can see from the list, two other themes that clearly attract the attention of our readers are the German Energiewende (and more generally the future of renewable energy in Europe) as well as the vicissitudes of the European gas market.

Here's the full list:

  1. Robin Mills, Cheer up: the world has plenty of oil 
  2. Timon Dubbeling, The end of the honeymoon period for renewables 
  3. Karel Beckman, It's finally coming: the great European gas market transformation 
  4. Katharina Mikulcak, German government backtracks on energy transition 
  5. Rick Bosman, How Germany's powerful renewables advocacy coalition is transforming the German (and European) energy market 
  6. Kirsten Westphal, The four great challenges for the European gas market 
  7. Marcel Crok, The optimistic message of Fritz Vahrenholt, climate dissenter and CEO of RWE Innogy: "The sun is giving us time to come up with smarter solutions for the Energiewende"
  8. Sonja van Renssen, Interview with EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger on renewable energy targets and emission trading: "Four instruments may be too much" 
  9. Christoph Rühl, "Availability of affordable energy no obstacle to long-term growth" 
  10. Alex Forbes, The exciting future of LNG – and how it will transform the global gas market

I am also happy to say that the number of unique visitors to our website grew by almost 25% in 2012. In the top-7 countries nothing changed: the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, the US, Belgium, France and Italy harbour the majority of our readers. In addition, EER was read in 45 countries by at least 1,000 unique visitors.

We hope you stay with us in 2013. 

(Respond? karel.beckman@europeanenergyreview.eu)

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