Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2007
(Podcast) For a senior oilman Gareth Roberts holds some fairly unusual views: peak oil is coming soon; crude oil is too precious to burn as transport fuel; and Big Oil should be investing massively in alternative energy.
But then Roberts is the CEO of Denbury Resources, a rare example of an oil company whose strategy is driven by an explicit recognition of peak oil. Founded in 1990, the company has grown into a $5bn independent by buying up mature fields on the Gulf coast of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and applying CO2 flooding to yield as much as 17% more of the original oil in place. But this ‘tertiary production’ technique does not come cheap, and the conviction that peak will mean ever higher oil prices helps the company to justify the additional investment.
Denbury is by far the largest operator of CO2 flooding, although even it currently produces just 15,000 barrels of oil per day from the process. But Roberts reckons that in thirty years’ time the technique could yield 2mb/d globally.
Speaking on the sidelines of an oil depletion conference in Cork, Roberts put those numbers in context, and explained why much of Big Oil still refuses to acknowledge peak oil.
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