BOOK REVIEW: Daniele Ganser, a Swiss energy economist, wrote one of the most intriguing books concerning German oil imports and their future outlook. The book certainly lends itself to explore German energy markets in more depth. Daniele has thoroughly researched current oil and gas use in Europe. The book goes beyond common knowledge and facts. What most of us in the energy industry already know is that Daniel has a considerable amount of expertise in studying the impact of oil production on the Swiss and German energy markets.
In a previous article we have dealt with the development of peak oil production in the modern economy. Oil demand and supply are an important theme in this book. As Europe embarks on an energy transition of enormous proportions, we are likely to see more upheaval in the energy sector. The energy transition itself is related to the shortage of energy resources in Europe.
The pronounced shortage of oil and gas resources, mainly confined to the North Sea basin, will create a desire for alternative energy sources to replace these hydrocarbon sources. We remain dependent on oil and gas reserves and our connections with the rest of the world, especially the United States and the Middle East.
1. A concise overview of the trends, history, and geopolitics of the petroleum industry.
Colin J. Campbell wrote the foreword. This already shows the seriousness of this book and it is a unique compliment that Colin J. Campbell has given credit to this work.
An overview of the trends, history, and geopolitics of the petroleum industry. Daniele is really getting into the midst of it all, when he discusses his own analysis that peak oil for conventional hydrocarbons has been reached back in 2006. This implies that we now rely on unconventional hydrocarbons. His criticism is such that statistical agencies and oil producers include these unconventional hydrocarbons under conventional hydrocarbons. This confuscates the whole picture, and makes statistics unreliable.
Hydrocarbons may (or may not) decline by 4% every year, which means there is an urgency to build up renewable energy.
The book focuses mainly on the European energy markets. Europe has played a significant role in the world energy markets for almost the entire 20th century. Europe still holds a significant share in the overall global energy supply chain.
We may provide some context. The political influence that Europe has today in the energy industry is much less than what Europe had a century earlier. In fact, Europe’s political influence has always been an important factor in world trade. Gradually, we have seen erosion and decline vis-à-vis the growing power of China and East Asia in global energy markets.
2. Chartering New Waters; in the Midst of Energy Turmoil
If you are interested in the history of the oil industry and its foreseeable future trends, this book is a very good read for you. It is quite digestible because it tells a story, the history of the energy markets in the European context. For better or worse, this is an important part of world energy history. The book sheds light on the political dimensions of the oil industry from various perspectives and places a strong emphasis on the upstream oil business. It presents a wealth of valuable facts that support the arguments presented.
The book may be a little less suitable for your bookshelf if you are not particularly interested in Germany and Switzerland or have only a limited interest in the European energy market. Daniele speculates on some occasions about where future trends will take us, but we think this gives the book an intuitive dimension. Given the nature of the oil industry, trends and macroeconomic forecasts play an important role in assessing the framework within which oil companies operate.
Ganser D., 2017, Europa im Erdölrausch, 8th edn, Orell Füssli Verlag, Zürich.