DVD Review: A Crude Awakening, The Oil Crash

Discussion of books relating to oil, sustainability and everything else talked about here.

Moderator: Peak Moderation

Aurora
Posts: 8501
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:38 pm

DVD Review: A Crude Awakening, The Oil Crash

Post by Aurora »

http://www.chud.com/index.php?type=dvd&id=11630
The era of cheap oil is a thing of the past. A Crude Awakening explores the fact that oil production has already peaked and as a result the planet will soon be facing economic meltdown and conflict over oil, the planets most valuable resource. Included is rare archival footage and oil's rocky relationship with human progress spotlighting various communities around the world.

A Crude Awakening is a solid documentary that presents the facts in a straightforward manner which is refreshing.

(continued)
User avatar
Kentucky Fried Panda
Posts: 1744
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:50 pm
Location: NW Engerland

Post by Kentucky Fried Panda »

I got my copy ages ago from Canadian DODGY TAX AVOIDERS, loaned it out, it hasn't come back yet :x
Aurora
Posts: 8501
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:38 pm

Post by Aurora »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... ossilfuels

'A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash' opens in UK cinemas this week
Guardian Unlimited - 04/11/07

Oil is 'the bloodstain of the earth's economy' and will soon trigger a global conflict that will cost millions of lives. That is the stark claim of a controversial new film, which says a crash in oil production is about to set off worldwide recession and economic collapse.

A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash, which opens in UK cinemas this week, shows stark images of rusting Texan and Venezuelan wells and fuel riots in Asia and Africa. Such scenes will be repeated thousands of times around the planet in the near future, argue the film's makers, who say the world is facing changes 'more frightening than a horror movie'.

Article continues ...
I can't see the sheeple queueing up to see this movie (no Bruce Willis) but every little helps when it comes to bringing the issues of PO to the attention of a wider audience. :)
Smithy
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:29 pm

Post by Smithy »

So how can we persuade the sheeple to watch it? I'm sure it will help raise awareness. Perhaps it will be seen as a horror film, and the sheeple will fear being seen as chickens...

It's peaking around about ... now!:
The US Energy Information Administration said recently it believed production had peaked last year. Others say it has not yet occurred but is imminent, a point backed by geologist Professor Stuart Haszeldine, of Edinburgh University. 'If we have not reached peak oil already, then I am sure it will be upon us within the next two years.'
Hopefully a change here could give us a breathing space:
At present, energy companies exploit a field only if they think they can get oil out of the ground at a cost of less than $18 a barrel. This is a very conservative estimate, given current prices.
and then again they have to believe that oil isn't going to get much cheaper again (due to a recession caused by the credit crisis?):
Certainly, I doubt oil will be cheaper than $40 a barrel again, so that means many more fields which once seemed uneconomical will become better bets for exploitation.
Not something that can be left to the profit motive. Russia and China have it right by focusing on Security First as evidenced by their oil grabs. The rest of us are too `fluffy`...
User avatar
Erik
Posts: 1544
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:17 pm
Location: Spain

Post by Erik »

Aurora wrote:I can't see the sheeple queueing up to see this movie (no Bruce Willis) but every little helps when it comes to bringing the issues of PO to the attention of a wider audience. :)
Well it should draw a few BNP folk out to the cinemas:
http://www.bnp.org.uk/reg_showarticle.p ... entID=2791
User avatar
PowerSwitchJames
Posts: 932
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Location: London
Contact:

Post by PowerSwitchJames »

A review from an uneducated 'energy journalist'

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/arti ... hp?id=9885
What happens when we run out of oil? Given that almost every aspect of our lives either wholly or partially depends on the steady extraction and refinement of the black stuff, its end is a scary prospect. Forget about air or road travel using the combustion engine. Forget about anything made from plastic or other synthetic fibres. Get ready for a financial meltdown, as petrodollars shrink and the world?s economies contract faster than you can say ?alternative energy.?

Or at least this is the kind of fear A Crude Awakening, the latest eco-film to hit the screens, wants its viewers to feel. The film?s premise is that the end is nigh: we have already extracted (or ?produced,? as the energy industry misleadingly describes the process) over half of the world?s oil reserves. And as demand continues to rise in line with economic growth, the downward slope on the graph of the remaining reserve is going to get steeper and steeper.

The film has already won a host of awards and is likely to prove popular in Britain. It might even prompt some debate about the world?s addiction to oil. After the success of Al Gore?s An Inconvenient Truth, A Crude Awakening will add more momentum to the push for renewable energy.

The problem is that the film?s main argument?that the world is on the verge of an oil crash?is wrong. However entertaining its gallop through the history of oil and its transformation of our way of life, A Crude Awakening ignores a number of its own inconvenient truths along the way.

The theory of ?peak oil,? the view that the world is on the verge of an oil crash, has been around for decades. That?s not to say it isn?t true?after all, oil is a finite resource, so the end will come some day?just that its proponents have a shaky history of predicting when the peak will happen. The apocalypse just keeps slipping by.

Part of the problem is in the methodology. Peak oil theorists talk in ?gross depletion.? If an oil field is discovered to have 5bn barrels of crude and a company produces 50,000 barrels a day from it, the field will deplete in just over 27 years. But that?s not the way oil fields work. Their reserves change over time, with technology and discoveries constantly adding (and sometimes subtracting) from the true reserves figure. A more accurate methodology, called ?net depletion,? takes account of those changes. Extended to the total global reserve, it is the reason why the best estimations of total years' worth of remaining oil have, for the past two decades, remained at more than 40 years. That is to say, despite growing consumption and increasing extraction of oil, new discoveries have continued to keep the amount of oil we believe we have left roughly steady.

That methodological distinction might be too boring for a mass-audience movie, but it is a crucial one. And there are other problems with the film?as with peak oil theory. Both ignore the impact of the market. Many fans of this film won?t be fans of the way global markets work, but the oil one is efficient. When oil prices rise too high, as they did in 1973 and 1981, demand drops off and new alternative sources become viable. Whatever one might read about ?record oil prices? this year, they remain lower than the real price high of 1981. And given that consumer economies now use oil less intensively (a legacy of the shifts made in the 1970s and 1980s), the markets suggest that there remains considerable upwards scope for oil prices before they start to bite into the world economy. When they do, oil demand will drop and demand for other sources will increase.

A Crude Awakening ignores the cyclical nature of the oil markets. The history of oil consumption suggests that peak oil will be less of a crash and more of a plateau. In fact, we probably won?t ever run out of oil. As Sheikh Yamani, Saudi Arabia?s oil minister during the price shocks of 1973 and 1981, famously said: ?The stone age didn?t end because we ran out of stones. And the oil age won?t end for a lack of oil, either.? The quotation is repeated in A Crude Awakening?but the film doesn?t seem to understand its meaning.

The methodological simplicity of A Crude Awakening makes for a good campaigning documentary. But it doesn?t make for a solid argument. Nor do other more egregious omissions. The oil sands of Canada, the biggest single reserve of oil outside of Saudi Arabia, barely get a mention. When they do, they are used as proof of how desperate the situation is?if oil companies need to dig oil out of tar in northern Canada, it shows how little of the good stuff is left elsewhere.

Not really. It shows that the easy oil is increasingly in countries that don?t much like foreign oil companies now and where it is risky for them to operate. Canada, meanwhile, offers the most generous tax regime in the world to oil companies; is next door to the world?s most important consumer market; and is about as risky as brown bread. And it also holds up to 3 trillion barrels of oil in the ground.

Then there are the misleading juxtapositions. Images of ugly, desolate oil fields in Azerbaijan, Venezuela and Texas contrast with footage of those places in their producing heydays. It is a picture of the decline we can expect everywhere else. Azerbaijan, we are reminded, was once the world?s largest producer of oil. What the film forgets to say is that Azerbaijan?s oil output is far higher now than at any time in its history. Production will soon be three times its record highs in the Soviet period or before. And Lake Maracaibo, another image of dilapidation in the film, remains one of Venezuela?s most important producing regions?albeit dwarfed by the vast reserves of extra heavy crude in the Orinoco, another reserve ignored by A Crude Awakening. Basil Gelpke, one of the film?s directors, told me those images were there to show the environmental cost of depletion. It is a valid point?I?ve been to that field in Baku (see right) and it is a disgrace to the oil industry. But it is not the point that his film makes.

A Crude Awakening?s many misrepresentations undermine its credibility. But it is right about one big thing: we can?t go on using a finite resource at the same rate or greater and expect the situation to last forever. If demand continues to rise as groups like the International Energy Agency forecast, world production will need to grow from 85m barrels a day now to some 250m barrels a day by 2050. But it won?t need to, because such demand projections themselves belong to the fantasy land of economic modelling. Prices won?t let demand grow that high?and if they do, it will be because the world has, miraculously, found yet more oil to support such demand.

The film says the remaining reserve is less than half what we?ve already extracted, meaning under a trillion barrels. Conservative oil industry projections say the remaining reserve is closer to 4 trillion barrels. Who is correct? No one really knows how much oil the world had to start with, so it makes any estimation somewhat academic. But given the world?s addiction to oil, it is safe to say that one prominent group will be happy with any perception of scarcity if it means their valuable resource grows ever more profitable: oil producers and their companies. That might be the true conspiracy of the peak oil theory.

A Crude Awakening will be released in Britain on Friday 9th November
www.PowerSwitch.org.uk

'Being green is not what you think, it is what you do.'
User avatar
PowerSwitchJames
Posts: 932
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Location: London
Contact:

Post by PowerSwitchJames »

A review from an uneducated 'energy journalist'

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/arti ... hp?id=9885
What happens when we run out of oil? Given that almost every aspect of our lives either wholly or partially depends on the steady extraction and refinement of the black stuff, its end is a scary prospect. Forget about air or road travel using the combustion engine. Forget about anything made from plastic or other synthetic fibres. Get ready for a financial meltdown, as petrodollars shrink and the world?s economies contract faster than you can say ?alternative energy.?

Or at least this is the kind of fear A Crude Awakening, the latest eco-film to hit the screens, wants its viewers to feel. The film?s premise is that the end is nigh: we have already extracted (or ?produced,? as the energy industry misleadingly describes the process) over half of the world?s oil reserves. And as demand continues to rise in line with economic growth, the downward slope on the graph of the remaining reserve is going to get steeper and steeper.

The film has already won a host of awards and is likely to prove popular in Britain. It might even prompt some debate about the world?s addiction to oil. After the success of Al Gore?s An Inconvenient Truth, A Crude Awakening will add more momentum to the push for renewable energy.

The problem is that the film?s main argument?that the world is on the verge of an oil crash?is wrong. However entertaining its gallop through the history of oil and its transformation of our way of life, A Crude Awakening ignores a number of its own inconvenient truths along the way.

The theory of ?peak oil,? the view that the world is on the verge of an oil crash, has been around for decades. That?s not to say it isn?t true?after all, oil is a finite resource, so the end will come some day?just that its proponents have a shaky history of predicting when the peak will happen. The apocalypse just keeps slipping by.

Part of the problem is in the methodology. Peak oil theorists talk in ?gross depletion.? If an oil field is discovered to have 5bn barrels of crude and a company produces 50,000 barrels a day from it, the field will deplete in just over 27 years. But that?s not the way oil fields work. Their reserves change over time, with technology and discoveries constantly adding (and sometimes subtracting) from the true reserves figure. A more accurate methodology, called ?net depletion,? takes account of those changes. Extended to the total global reserve, it is the reason why the best estimations of total years' worth of remaining oil have, for the past two decades, remained at more than 40 years. That is to say, despite growing consumption and increasing extraction of oil, new discoveries have continued to keep the amount of oil we believe we have left roughly steady.

That methodological distinction might be too boring for a mass-audience movie, but it is a crucial one. And there are other problems with the film?as with peak oil theory. Both ignore the impact of the market. Many fans of this film won?t be fans of the way global markets work, but the oil one is efficient. When oil prices rise too high, as they did in 1973 and 1981, demand drops off and new alternative sources become viable. Whatever one might read about ?record oil prices? this year, they remain lower than the real price high of 1981. And given that consumer economies now use oil less intensively (a legacy of the shifts made in the 1970s and 1980s), the markets suggest that there remains considerable upwards scope for oil prices before they start to bite into the world economy. When they do, oil demand will drop and demand for other sources will increase.

A Crude Awakening ignores the cyclical nature of the oil markets. The history of oil consumption suggests that peak oil will be less of a crash and more of a plateau. In fact, we probably won?t ever run out of oil. As Sheikh Yamani, Saudi Arabia?s oil minister during the price shocks of 1973 and 1981, famously said: ?The stone age didn?t end because we ran out of stones. And the oil age won?t end for a lack of oil, either.? The quotation is repeated in A Crude Awakening?but the film doesn?t seem to understand its meaning.

The methodological simplicity of A Crude Awakening makes for a good campaigning documentary. But it doesn?t make for a solid argument. Nor do other more egregious omissions. The oil sands of Canada, the biggest single reserve of oil outside of Saudi Arabia, barely get a mention. When they do, they are used as proof of how desperate the situation is?if oil companies need to dig oil out of tar in northern Canada, it shows how little of the good stuff is left elsewhere.

Not really. It shows that the easy oil is increasingly in countries that don?t much like foreign oil companies now and where it is risky for them to operate. Canada, meanwhile, offers the most generous tax regime in the world to oil companies; is next door to the world?s most important consumer market; and is about as risky as brown bread. And it also holds up to 3 trillion barrels of oil in the ground.

Then there are the misleading juxtapositions. Images of ugly, desolate oil fields in Azerbaijan, Venezuela and Texas contrast with footage of those places in their producing heydays. It is a picture of the decline we can expect everywhere else. Azerbaijan, we are reminded, was once the world?s largest producer of oil. What the film forgets to say is that Azerbaijan?s oil output is far higher now than at any time in its history. Production will soon be three times its record highs in the Soviet period or before. And Lake Maracaibo, another image of dilapidation in the film, remains one of Venezuela?s most important producing regions?albeit dwarfed by the vast reserves of extra heavy crude in the Orinoco, another reserve ignored by A Crude Awakening. Basil Gelpke, one of the film?s directors, told me those images were there to show the environmental cost of depletion. It is a valid point?I?ve been to that field in Baku (see right) and it is a disgrace to the oil industry. But it is not the point that his film makes.

A Crude Awakening?s many misrepresentations undermine its credibility. But it is right about one big thing: we can?t go on using a finite resource at the same rate or greater and expect the situation to last forever. If demand continues to rise as groups like the International Energy Agency forecast, world production will need to grow from 85m barrels a day now to some 250m barrels a day by 2050. But it won?t need to, because such demand projections themselves belong to the fantasy land of economic modelling. Prices won?t let demand grow that high?and if they do, it will be because the world has, miraculously, found yet more oil to support such demand.

The film says the remaining reserve is less than half what we?ve already extracted, meaning under a trillion barrels. Conservative oil industry projections say the remaining reserve is closer to 4 trillion barrels. Who is correct? No one really knows how much oil the world had to start with, so it makes any estimation somewhat academic. But given the world?s addiction to oil, it is safe to say that one prominent group will be happy with any perception of scarcity if it means their valuable resource grows ever more profitable: oil producers and their companies. That might be the true conspiracy of the peak oil theory.

A Crude Awakening will be released in Britain on Friday 9th November
www.PowerSwitch.org.uk

'Being green is not what you think, it is what you do.'
newmac
Site Admin
Posts: 431
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Location: Kennington, London

Post by newmac »

James

He's a friend of mine by the way and pretty educated....
"You can't be stationary on a moving train" - Howard Zinn
User avatar
clv101
Site Admin
Posts: 8908
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Contact:

Post by clv101 »

newmac wrote:He's a friend of mine by the way and pretty educated....
Well he doesn?t show it in that article. Maybe you could write to him and explain little things like how peak oil ?theory? is an observation, how R/P works, how conventional oil extraction has been in decline for over 2 years already, how the market is not able to respond to peak oil (see Hirsch), the implications of current structure (large amounts from deep water) on post peak decline rates, the irrelevance of Canada?s ?3 trillion barrels??

I think Bower is ?wrong? on almost all the points he makes in that article.
newmac
Site Admin
Posts: 431
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Location: Kennington, London

Post by newmac »

I personally was not massively impressed with the film. Not enough science and too much speculation. I also get fed up with so much historical and cartoon footage.

The film's target audience is those who won't go and see it. Those would will go and see it needed something in more depth and not endless pictures of cars. And 2 minute clips of talking heads.

It dealt very badly with coal, nuclear, wind, gas etc etc

I took my girlfriend and she thought that Peak Oil is a fairly obvious concept and would have liked more depth. After a while she just got annoyed with it.
"You can't be stationary on a moving train" - Howard Zinn
Aurora
Posts: 8501
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:38 pm

Post by Aurora »

Another negative review of the film was published on Monday:

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php? ... icle/4066/

:roll:
newmac
Site Admin
Posts: 431
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Location: Kennington, London

Post by newmac »

Chris

Peak Oil theory is not purely an observation. Observations can lead to many conclusions depending on where you are standing and how you want to observe. They also need to become put into a hypothesis to explain them and then a methodology for prediction - even if that methodology is purely "the future will follow the same trend".

I also disagree with much of the article (especially the bit on depletion), but agree with some - especially about the way it was filmed.

Derek is more than open to be convinced (although I believe that because of the unknowns, its impossible to be totally convinced), and has not ruled out we are near peak, so why don't you put a response together outlining your points. That would be a lot more helpful than some of the subjective rants he is currently receiving, which apart from making us look like irrational idealogists do little else.
"You can't be stationary on a moving train" - Howard Zinn
User avatar
clv101
Site Admin
Posts: 8908
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Contact:

Post by clv101 »

newmac wrote:...so why don't you put a response together outlining your points.
Love too - but it won't be for a couple of weeks as I'm critically short on time at the moment. Besides, the subjects have been covered well already. For example he could read Strahan's "The Last Oil Shock" for decent coverage of these points.

To talk of Canada, 4 trillion barrels, the ?The stone age didn?t end because we ran out of stones. And the oil age won?t end for a lack of oil, either.? quote as he does... just shows lack of research.
User avatar
Bandidoz
Site Admin
Posts: 2705
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Location: Berks

Post by Bandidoz »

newmac wrote:Peak Oil theory is not purely an observation.
I would dearly love to slap everyone who uses the word "theory" in this domain.

The word "theory" carries a connotation of there being uncertainty about the principle, as though it's unproven.

Peak oil as a concept has been proven by experience (observation) many times over. It may have been a theory (hypothesis) in 1956, but it stopped being one a long time ago.

Please can we be careful and consistent with the f**king language we use! ;) :P


PS: The following line deserves a punch in the face. It's a truly damaging piece of word-wank:
That might be the true conspiracy of the peak oil theory.
Olduvai Theory (Updated) (Reviewed)
Easter Island - a warning from history : http://dieoff.org/page145.htm
newmac
Site Admin
Posts: 431
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Location: Kennington, London

Post by newmac »

Rubbish on a number of levels:

Firstly, you have allowed your view of "theory" to be tarnished by Creationists. We still refer to evolutionary theory, theory of relativit etc. There is nothing wrong with the word theory.

Secondly, Peak Oil, although sensible and extremely probable is not a proven fact - even for historical countries.

Thirdly, its commonly known that Peak Oil refers to the belief in a near term peak. If everyone had to refer to it as "the prediction that oil production would peak in the near term (0 to 10 year)" then we'd get more confusion and less people talking about it.
"You can't be stationary on a moving train" - Howard Zinn
Post Reply