Friday, May 24, 2013

A superb dissection of global oil & gas depletion

Any analysis of oil and gas depletion is always tricky and often coloured by opposing arguments, disinformation, politics, tangential debates about the resource curse hypothesis and extractive techniques. Given this backdrop, veteran industry analyst Colin J. Campbell’s attempt to tackle the subject via his Atlas of Oil and Gas Depletion, currently in its second edition, is nothing short of historic.
 
This epic work banks on decades of painstaking research undertaken by Campbell in his quest to provide definitive and pragmatic commentary on the subject of depletion. Nine parts and 77 chapters split this weighty, authoritative volume on the subject; wherein part by part, page by page it examines oil and gas depletion by region and jurisdictions. Not only has geology been taken into consideration but also the political climate of each region and country in question. The author also discusses the impact of emergent technologies and the costs involved relative to each E&P jurisdiction with a separate examination of conventional and unconventional sources.

Accompanying discourse on the history of the oil and gas business is carved up into two halves – the first half discusses the formation of the oil industry, which oversaw (or rather fuelled) the exponential growth of the global economy. The second half talks of a contraction as the easy to extract supplies dwindle, and the barrel spent per barrel extracted equation starts getting more and more worrying.
 
Campbell also discusses reporting practices and industry data interpretation techniques. The Atlas switches seamlessly to a country-by-country analysis in alphabetical order by continent. Every country imaginable in the context of the oil and gas business and even those that are unimaginable in mainstream discourse about our 'crude' world are examined, substantiated by industry data and accompanying graphics.
 
For purposes of reviewing the contents, the Oilholic selected 10 jurisdictions commonly associated with the E&P industry and another 10 jurisdictions, hitherto considered net oil importers. This blogger was quite simply blown away by sincerity and effort of the research, along with the brevity with which jurisdictional summation was provided duly taking each country’s 'crude' history into the equation. As a reader, you appreciate a book when it adds to your knowledge; Campbell’s Atlas certainly did it for yours truly.
 
If you are looking for an authoritative analysis of oil and gas depletion, minus caricature, clichés and political statements, but full of rational and apolitical scrutiny of the costs involved with extracting oil and gas, then look no further than this book. For an evolving industry, which has a finite natural resource as its core offering, Campbell’s Atlas of Oil and Gas Depletion is likely to stand the test of time.

The Oilholic is happy to recommend this book, and humbled to provide a review for the research conducted by an analyst of Campbell's credentials. The Atlas will educate and inform those interested in the oil and gas industry's future and the challenges it faces – be they existential or commercial. In particular, those professionals involved with policymaking, petroleum economics, history of the oil and gas business, academia and market analysis.
 
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To email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

© Gaurav Sharma 2013. Photo: Front Cover - Campbell’s Atlas of Oil and Gas Depletion © Springer 2013

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