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石油需求很快见顶,新能源时代即将来源

Geoffrey Smith 2016年11月10日

毕竟,石器时代结束,并不是因为石头用完了。

 

如果全球开始认真执行《巴黎协定》(Paris Accord),控制气候变化,那么在十年内,“碳氢化合物时代”就将来临。

这并非环保战士对全球能源趋势不切实际的预测,而是石油输出国组织(Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC)的想法,这在他们对全球石油市场的最新预测中已有阐述。

OPEC在展望报告中指出,新能源技术的发展,以及饱受污染之苦的新兴市场施加的政治压力,导致人们对“石油峰值”的担忧与十年前相比发生了巨大的变化。过去,人们担心这种不可再生能源会迅速耗尽,如今却开始担心更新更环保的技术将迅速取代它。

诚然,在石油供应量占据全球总量超过三分之一的OPEC内部,针对此事也没有达成共识。OPEC认为,原油需求量仍将有上升趋势,到2040年达到每天将近1.1亿桶。而今年的全球原油需求量大约为每天9,420万桶。

不过这家总部设在维也纳的组织认为,在这两种可能的情境中,随着世界各国纷纷在节约能源和研究更加环保的可替代能源上进行投资,原油的需求将提前见顶。如果采用电动汽车和其他可替代能源的步伐加快,在进程推进最剧烈的情况下,原油需求的顶点将为每天1.009亿桶。

OPEC的数据,掩盖了他们目前在组织战略上的巨大争端,尽管他们并不会承认这点。争端的最新体现就是本月OPEC成员国的部长会面,他们可能会通过决定,自2009年以来首次减少石油供应量。在过去两年中,沙特阿拉伯强迫合作伙伴接受更低的油价,并警告他们称,如果他们试图把价格抬高到繁荣年代,新技术就会迅速让他们没饭可吃,“让依赖石油美元的国家破产。”

在预测原油需求见顶方面,OPEC甚至不是最危言耸听的:欧洲最大的石油和天然气供应商荷兰皇家壳牌(Royal Dutch Shell)的首席财务官西蒙·亨利在上周表示,原油的需求可能会“在今后5至15年内”达到顶点。但是壳牌也有自己的想法,做出这样的预测,很大程度上是因为他们预计天然气将在全球经济的许多方面取代石油。壳牌拥有大量天然气资源,尤其在他们去年斥巨资收购BG Group之后。

因此,对包括位于美国的石油和天然气公司而言,这种预测拥有十分明显的现实意义。美国证券交易委员会和纽约州总检察长(New York Attorney General)调查埃克森美孚的原因之一,就在于他们怀疑该公司在估值资产——主要是尚未开采的石油和天然气时,瞒报了发达国家和发展中国家政策重点的迅速转变导致的油气跌价对其资产的影响。

世界上的原油消费量长期来看一直处于上升轨道,而且最便宜的原油会最先被开采出来,因此我们可以认为,使用较昂贵的剩余原油储量仍然是一种经济的选择。不过如果连原油最忠实的信徒OPEC都开始对此产生怀疑,这种看法就显得站不住脚了。上周五,美国最大的石油和天然气集团也首次透露出这种观点,表示其有可能减少多达46亿桶油当量的原油储备。(财富中文网)

译者:严匡正

The sun could start setting on the “Hydrocarbon Age” within a decade if the world gets serious about implementing the Paris Accord on limiting climate change.

That’s not the dream of eco-warriors wishing away the realities of global energy trends. That is the opinion of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as expressed in its latest outlook for the world oil market.

The forecast underlines how the development of new technologies and the political constraints of pollution-choked emerging markets have turned on its head worries about “peak oil” that dominated thinking barely a decade ago. Whereas concerns once centered on the exhaustion of a finite resource, they are now focused on how quickly new and cleaner technologies will substitute it.

Admittedly, it’s still not the base case scenario for the cartel that accounts for over a third of world oil supply. That still sees oil demand still on a rising trajectory (if only just) at a little under 110 million barrels a day of crude by 2040. That compares to global demand of an estimated 94.2 million b/d this year.

But in two “alternative scenarios,” the Vienna-based group expects demand to peak earlier, as countries around the world invest both in saving energy and in getting it from other, more environmentally friendly sources. In the most aggressive scenario, which assumes an accelerated timeframe for the adoption of electric vehicles and other alternative fuels, demand peaks at 100.9 million b/d

Although it wouldn’t admit it, OPEC’s figures belie the bitter current dispute over its strategy, the latest installment of which is due at the end of the month when ministers will supposedly meet to agree to their first coordinated output cuts since 2009. For the last two years, Saudi Arabia has pressed its partners into accepting lower prices, warning that if they try to squeeze prices back to boom-era levels, then new technologies will eat their lunch faster than you can say “bankrupt petrodollar state.”

OPEC isn’t even the most alarmist in terms of Peak Oil Demand: Simon Henry, chief financial officer of Europe’s largest oil and gas producer Royal Dutch Shell plc rds-a , said last week that oil demand may peak “between five and 15 years hence.” But Shell, too, has its agenda: its forecasts owe much to the fact that it expects oil to be superseded in many parts of the world economy by natural gas, a resource it has an awful lot of–especially after its massive bet on acquiring BG Group last year.

The forecasts thus have very clear real-world implications for oil and gas companies, including in the U.S. One of the reasons that the Securities and Exchanges Commission and the New York Attorney General are investigating ExxonMobil Inc. XOM 0.66% is that they suspect it of valuing its assets–mainly oil and gas still in the ground–on assumptions that don’t take into account how quickly policy priorities in both the advanced and developing worlds are changing.

In a world where the long-term trajectory for oil consumption is ever-upward and the cheapest oil is being produced first, there’s nothing unreasonable in assuming that reserves more expensive to develop are still economic. But if even OPEC, the truest of true believers in oil, is doubting that scenario, then that assumption looks less safe. Last Friday, the U.S.’s biggest oil and gas group took its first step to admitting as much, saying it could write down its reserves by as much as 4.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

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