June 12, 2013 | Ronda Jambe

Can you trust the International Energy Agency?

The IEA is hardly a left wing think tank. They advise governments on energy and are now warning that climate change poses a threat to the oil rig platforms in the North Sea. In an article by Tom Bawden in the Independent , the bigger waves and storms could add to the danger and expense of drilling for oil and gas.

To those who still think solar activity or maybe poltergeists are responsible for the intensification of storms, floods, fires, droughts and tornados, perhaps the view from the IEA will reveal the scale of the risks.

But then, wouldn’t it be ironic if the very climate change caused by burning fossil fuels causes an end to drilling for fossil fuels?

Quoting from the article:

Announcing that global greenhouse emissions jumped by 1.6 per cent to a new record
last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the world is on course for a
4C temperature increase in the long-term. This is double the 2C global warming goal
agreed by nearly 200 countries but yet to be translated into a legally-binding

"A 2C difference doesn't mean that you just need to take your jacket off, it would
have devastating implications," said IEA chief economist Fatih Birol.

Unless the world takes dramatic action to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, we
can expect "sudden and devastating" consequences, such as a significant increase in
the frequency and severity of storms, he warned.

A temperature rise of anything approaching 4C would hit the North Sea oil and gas
industry hard, fostering stronger and more frequent storms. The stormier weather
would add "hundreds of millions" of pounds to the costs of the North Sea oil and gas
industry, in the form of damage, lost production and, most of all, the construction
costs to strengthen the platforms, Mr Birol said. And even if the temperature rise
is less dramatic, the hydrocarbon producers should take pre-emptive action now and
invest heavily to boost their infrastructure, he added. "Oil companies need to
strengthen their platforms. This will lead to higher costs but will improve the
resilience of the structures," said Mr Birol.

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 10:16 pm | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Then why has the Queensland government said they will punish those of us who have invested in our own solar panels? They’ve already reduced reasonable feed-in tariff prices thereby encouraging homeowners to go back to fossil fuelled electricity generation.

    Comment by Guy Hickey — June 13, 2013 @ 8:34 am

  2. Conventional oil rigs may well have had their day Ronda.
    Indeed all that threatens them, also threatens all marine transport and commerce.
    I have for some time advocated we drill any new oil or gas wells with submersibles.
    Robotics have advanced to the point, where we can now carry out very delicate surgery; and, with much superior results than less precise surgeons hands.
    Submersibles are not subject to the vagaries of the weather.
    Super tanker sized cargo carrying submarines, could even utilize various underwater currents, to cut down transport times. Sometimes running in opposite directions at different depths! Time is money!
    Given submersibles are not subject to wave action, they could be built longer than conventional ships. To accommodate whole length roll on roll off, very rapid (standardised) trains?
    This would reduce load and unload times, to just a few short hours.
    Roll on roll off ferries, would then function to link land masses, with much of the bulk forwarding conducted by very rapid rail transport? i.e., one could run a daily service, between here and Singapore, which function as a hub for us and all Asian points north; including mainland China?
    Time is money.
    Moreover, given submersibles are rarely if ever, subject to wave and wind action, the ride could be as comfortable your favorite armchair!
    And the submersible could almost always leave on time, regardless of surface weather conditions, which rarely if ever, affects them!
    And new materials, like acrylics, have allowed us to visit the very deepest trench in the pacific, in an Australian made sub.
    And new steam powered venturi drive systems, allow hitherto unavailable, underwater speeds. Particularly in acrylic mini subs, that all but fly through the water!
    Add even stronger carbon fibre nano tubes and the world’s strongest material, graphene; and even stronger escape capsules/mini subs, could replace conventional life boats.
    That said, the sooner we replace conventional oil with endlessly sustainable fuel, that would cost far less, the better.
    And given they would cost far less, affordable in even the poorest parts of the globe.
    I’ve seen estimates, which price Algae sourced petroleum products at just 45 cents a litre, with a fuel excise and handsome margins included.
    The fuel is produced by selecting a single variety of algae, which is then sun-dried and crushed to produce ready to use diesel or jet fuel!
    And preheated jet fuel, (heated by the exhaust manifold) could even power conventional petrol engines, with just a few modifications? And turbo-charging creates a 20-30% cleaner burn.
    Algae absorb 2.5 times their bodyweight in Co2 emission; and under optimised conditions, literally double that bodyweight/Co2 absorption-oil production capacity, every 24 hours!
    Hydrogen also presents as a fuel of the future, and can be easily and very cheaply produced, for just 1-2 cents per cubic metre, utilising endlessly available sea water, virtually costless solar thermal heat and the catalytically assisted, water molecule cracking method. Albeit, seriously modernised.
    None of these things will ever occur by themselves; and in decades too late, if left to the whim and caprice of the current oil industry!
    And therefore need govts and Govt. money, to kick start them and wean us off fossil fuel.
    And you can bet your very last dollar, that the incredibly powerful oil industry, is going to resist that change with all their might an main; given the annual trillions they stand to lose.
    Unless they are well led and get into alternatives themselves, well ahead of the curve!?
    Nonetheless, even that much change ought not prevent intelligently led govts, from getting into the alternative energy industry themselves, or on their citizens’ behalf.
    And in so doing, reclaim for their nations, their lost or stolen economic sovereignty!
    And also, virtually turbo-charge their respective energy dependant domestic economies!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 13, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

  3. sorry, Guy, the gov is more than fallible.

    Alan, the future is algal, but you can’t do that at home. We need to make them listen!

    Comment by ronda jambe — June 13, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

  4. Yes Ronda, if enough of us consistently put the incumbent member, last on the ballot paper, we could actually make enough of them listen, from both sides of the political divide, to make a difference!?
    Some years ago, CSIRO made a microwave sized, solar powered hydrogen producer, that made enough H to power the family wagon, through the daily commute.
    As memory serves, the technicians responsible estimated a retail price of around $5,000.00 per unit?
    With a little tweaking, conventional engines will run on pure hydrogen or decomposed H2o.
    Since then we have seen the invention of the ceramic fuel cell, regenerative braking and an inboard electrolysis unit, [more Aussie innovation,] that utilises, spare alternator capacity/regenerative braking, to make additional Hydrogen, used as additional fuel.
    The addition of a cobalt catalyst, to the inboard electrolysis unit, virtually doubles the amount of hydrogen that can be produced, for the same energy quantum, in this currently conventional manner.
    The hydrogen made inboard is added to one end of the inlet manifold, with the oxygen introduced at the opposite end, for safety reasons.
    If water vapour is added to each cylinder, with every sixth power stroke, one can do away with the energy absorbing radiator, pumps and fans.
    The steam created, adds to the available power and torque.
    A couple of these things are doable at home, with technicians/automotive engineers available, (hopefully, occasionally) to complete the rest. And or, not beyond the scope of the mechanically minded?
    All of it good doable stuff, that pays for itself over time, as energy prices rise and rise!
    One can imagine that some of the more astute entrepreneurial service station owners, [or disenfranchised former ford outlets} who currently make next to nothing from fuel sales, tooling up, to provide the very conversions identified here?
    Cheers, Alan.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 13, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

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