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The Peak Oil Crisis:
Synthesizing the Power Points

Tom Whipple, Falls Church News-Press
… Last week ASPO-USA, a not yet fully formed organization, had its first meeting in Denver . Some 450 people showed up to hear an array of knowledgeable speakers on nearly every aspect of when world oil production will peak and what we can or should do about it.

The top issue —is peak oil imminent and if so when— was discussed in depth by five respected and highly qualified speakers. The heart of their presentations was simple:

* The world is currently producing about 85 million barrels per day (mb/d).
* As long as the world’s economy continues to grow, it will need another 1-2 mb/d each year.
* Production from the fields that are currently producing our 85 mb/d is continuously dropping. The optimists say this depletion is as little as 2.5 percent each year, while credible pessimists are saying 8 percent a year may be more realistic.
* The answer to the rate of depletion question (and we won’t know for several years) is the key to the “when” of peak oil. If the depletion rate is only 2.5 percent then existing fields will still be producing about 74 mb/d in 2010. This amount can possibly be offset by production from new fields with a little left over for some economic growth. If the depletion rate is much higher then supply will not cover demand and we will see much higher priced oil.

This is the peak oil debate in a nutshell. It is the interplay between the worldwide demand as determined by price, the rate at which existing fields are depleting, and the oil industry’s ability to bring new fields into production in the next five years. All this will determine the year when production peaks.

… The highlight of the first ASPO-USA conference may have been when Congressman Roscoe Bartlett asked if we really want to “mitigate” by spending all our treasure to produce oil substitutes after peak oil arrives. Would we not be better off if we started moving towards a world with minimal consumption of liquid fuels as soon as possible?

…This indeed my turn out to be mankind’s key decision for the first half of the 21st century. Do we power down gracefully to a greatly reduced liquid fuel world; or do we thrash around for a decade or two trying to maintain life as we have known it?
(17-23 November 2005)

Full throttle decline rates?

Roland Watson, New Era Investor
It was somewhat frightening to read that UK North Sea oil production is now averaging annual decline rates of 8%-10% according to this report…

…This was after analysts predicted decline rates of more like 5%. How could they be almost 100% out in their predictions?

…In the end, the self-interest of producing nations may hold sway. With reserves reducing, but still in the billions of barrels and guaranteed high prices for decades to come, they may decide to tighten output and nationalize resources. We can see Russia moving in the direction of the latter action, the UK government at this point in time is content just to tax the output.

One thing I am fairly certain of is that the 8% or more depletion rates that would happen with increasing frequency after Peak Oil will simply not be allowed to happen. By then, oil will be regarded as too precious a resource to fritter away.
(18 November 2005)

Alaska seminar to address declining oil production

R.A. Dillon, Fairbanks News-Miner
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will hold a free public seminar Saturday afternoon on the effect declining oil production will have on the local economy.

Rich Seifert, an energy specialist with the extension service, is among some who believe that petroleum production around the world is reaching its peak and is expected to start declining by 2010–an event that could cause energy and other costs to increase.
(18 November 2005)

Shaping the peak of world oil production
The bell curve has a sharp crest, and you can’t see it coming

Robert L. Hirsch, SAIC at
To gain insight into the potential time-varying shape of world oil production peaking, this author examined regions that have already peaked. Unencumbered regions and countries were considered. All had significant peak production and all are past their peak. Their experience shows that the onset of peaking can occur quite suddenly and is not obvious, even a year prior to the event. The peaking of world conventional oil production may or may not follow previous trends, but these observations may be valuable for planning.

World production of conventional oil will reach a maximum – a peak – and then decline. The timing is uncertain; some think it could occur within a matter of years, others in a decade or two. 1 – 11 Without a major effort to mitigate related oil shortages starting well before the onset of peaking, the economic consequences worldwide will be dire. 12
(October 2005)
Mobjectivist provides background on this report as well as praise for author Robert Hirsch: Hirsch has scientific capital.

World at tipping point; oil peak arrives

Larry Chin, Online Journal
The American empire is an energy junkie in its death throes, punching for new veins and final fixes, knowing that the supplies of its drug of choice — cheap oil — are virtually depleted.

According to geologist Kenneth Deffeyes, author of Beyond Oil: The View from Beyond Hubbert’s Peak, this long-anticipated world oil peak is now — Thanksgiving 2005. The holocaust of imperial thrashing — epitomized by the Bush administration’s Peak Oil-fueled criminal atrocities — promises to intensify, along with the denial and cover-up.

Confirmation of Peak Oil crisis is everywhere. Oil supplies may be lower than OPEC wants to admit. The second largest oil field in the world, situated in Kuwait, is running dry. The US trade deficit just hit another all-time high.
(17 November 2005)
The subject of peak oil crops up occasionally on Online Journal. The site describes itself as striving

to provide people with information, analyses and viewpoints that they won’t find in the corporate media. While we openly take a liberal position, we are not a mouthpiece for Democrats, Greens or any other group.

Elsewhere they say:

We are now in our eighth year of fighting the monsters that not only want to turn the US into a fascist police state, but take over the world.


“Real oil crisis” on Australian TV Nov 24

ABC TV Thursday, November 24 – 8:00pm
Real Oil Crisis
What would happen if the world were to start running out of oil? Conventional wisdom says we’ve got 30 years, but there’s a growing fear amongst petroleum experts it’s happening much sooner than we thought – that we are hitting the beginning of the end of oil now. So how soon will the oil run out, and can we stop our economy collapsing when it does? How prepared are we for the real oil crisis?

Reporter/Producer: Jonica Newby
Director: Greg Swanborough
(November 2005)