3000 billion tons of coal off Norway’s coast
Andy Lees writes:
http://www.energybulletin.net/node/11901 suggests that Norway is sitting on 3trn tons of coal on the Norwegian shelf which compares with today’s 900bn tons of proven world reserves. “By injecting oxygen we can ignite the coal where it is. This will produce a mix of gas which we can recover and use for energy production. The problem however is that one of the components of this gas mix will be greenhouse gas CO2. We have to research a lot before we can utilise the resource in a way that doesn’t harm the environment”. They are talking decades away before this can be used. Statoil is evaluating what to do with the coal. “We have to map the reserves better, but we still haven’t decided if we are going to continue working on this. What’s important to us now, is that Norway as a nation knows that the resources are there. This will probably be similar to the development of the oil industry after the North Sea oil reserves were discovered. No one thought it would be possible to drill on water that deep, but today we are drilling far deeper”.
I can’t say how dangerous this is, but at a minimum it shows that there are plenty of fossil fuels out there. If the price of oil is high enough, there will be fuel switching to natural gas or coal. As for this coal deposit, the article Andy cites clearly states that we are a long way off from being able to tap this resource. Statoil says we can recover this fuel "perhaps in a generation". That doesn’t help much now.
Meanwhile, demand for oil continues apace. In the U.S., we saw strong sales figures yesterday, with 13.4 million vehicles produced on an annualised basis in January, up from the 12.6 million pace from December. Andy writes:
GM led with a 46% sales gain, stoked by incentives averaging USD3,700 per vehicle. Nissan similarly saw a 32% gain in February after offering its own aggressive incentives. Perhaps it should not be a surprise that it was the best single month since August 2009 when the cash for clunkers deal supported demand. Sales of trucks, SUVs and other light trucks were up 32% despite the gasoline price rises.
UPDATE: see the video below talking about the same problem with oil supply and the probability of fuel switching. Coal could gain from this says Steven Leer, CEO of Arch Coal. Note, the Norwegian deposits article is touting the discovery as a North Sea type find. It is certainly a huge deposit. But the deposits have not been exploited – nor can they be for quite some time. The article was from late 2005.