Europe’s Oil Rush (Daniele Ganser, 2017) – Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: Daniele Ganser, a Swiss energy economist, recently 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, and what most of us in the energy business already know. Daniel examines the effects of oil production on the Swiss and German energy market.

In a previous article we have dealt with the development of peak oil production in the modern economy. Oil demand and supply is an important topic in this book. 

1. A high-level perspective on historical trends in the petroleum industry

Dr. Colin J. Campbell has written the preface, so the laurels he had so long preserved were bestowed to Daniele only. 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. It is well known in the peak oil community that hydrocarbons 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. The political influence that Europe currently has in the energy industry is much less than that which Europe had a century earlier. In fact, Europe’s political influence has always been an important factor in world trade, but has generally declined with the growing power of China and East Asia. 

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 less suitable for your bookshelf if you are not particularly interested in Germany and Switzerland or have 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.

3. References:

Ganser D., 2017, Europa im Erdölrausch, 8th edn, Orell Füssli Verlag, Zürich.

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