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Bush may be taking the idea of peak oil seriously

John P. Judis, The New Republic
…Bush’s proposal for solar or safe nuclear power will not lead energy prices to fall anytime soon. So while it’s true that, like most Bush statements, this one clearly contained a kernel of politics, it may also have reflected genuine concern about a real problem: America’s dependence on oil, regardless of where it comes from. This concern, which originated decades ago among maverick geologists, has spread recently to Bush’s Department of Energy (DOE) and may have been at least partly responsible for his surprising and uncharacteristic remark about the country’s addiction to oil. If so, it’s a welcome admission–even if the solutions Bush is proposing fall woefully short.

…Until recently, the Bush administration’s DOE appeared to side more with [PO skeptic] Yergin than with [PO writers] Deffeyes and Goodstein, but a DOE report issued last February, along with recent comments from Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman, suggests it might be rethinking its position. The report, “Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management,” by Robert L. Hirsch, Roger Bezdek, and Robert Wendling, argues that the predictions of imminent peaking must be taken seriously. “

…The authors of the DOE report do not offer a prediction of their own about when the peak will be reached. Instead, they argue that the dire forecasts rest on a sufficiently “robust geological foundation” that policymakers must now take into account. “Prudent management calls for early action,” they conclude. And the department is clearly worried. Bodman, a former professor of chemical engineering at MIT–and, unlike some of his colleagues, eminently qualified for his cabinet post–recently ordered another report on peak oil.
(14 February 2006)
Has anyone else heard about another DOE report on peak oil?
The article just went behind a subscriber-only wall. Except for the mention of another DOE report on Peak Oil, there is nothing in it new to people following peak oil. -BA

UPDATE Feb 16: Reader KC suggests that the study being referred to is the one described in Can oil production satisfy rising demand? (USA Today)

UPDATE Feb 17: Reader SA: “Others will no doubt have noticed this as well, but Robert Hirsch said in his Nov 2005 interview with David Room that SAIC had a contract for a second study. I think it was to deal with national responses.”

BBC: Why oil will hit $100 a barrel

Nils Blythe, BBC News
The era of easy oil is over, but growing demand from countries like India and China is forcing oil firms to enter unusual territory.

…”The easy oil has already been found”, explains Mike Watts on a sandy hilltop overlooking the Mangala discovery well which made his company’s fortune. Oil companies are having to look much harder for major new oil finds.

And while some new finds are being made, like Cairn’s in Rajastan, few people in the oil industry believe that new discoveries will match the vast oil fields found in the 20th century.

And demand for oil is likely to go on rising.
(15 February 2006)
Related the section of the BBC website Fuelling the Future, with articles, audio and video. Way to go, Beeb!

Peak oil on BBC’s Prime Time
Nils Blythe, BBC Radio 4
Interview with Lord Browne of BP — Last of a series on Peak Oil. The segment starts at about minute 46 in the broadcast and lasts for about five minutes.
(14 February 2006)

Gentlemen, start your engines
(“Peak oil is not for amateurs”)

Byron King, The Daily Reckoning
Bloomberg writer Matthew Lynn just published an article entitled “Cancel That Apocalypse – The Oil Crisis Is Over.” Oil prices have recently pulled back, and the auto industry is re-tooling to manufacture smaller cars that get better gas mileage. Hence, presto-chango, “The Oil Crisis Is Over.” For a minute, I thought he was kidding. But no, this Bloomberg-man is serious.

This is exactly why amateurs should not fool around with issues of Peak Oil. They confuse their readers with rah-rah bromides, and will cause people to hurt themselves. These type of party-hardy cheerleaders idealize the workings of the so-called “free market” (dollar-denominated, so how “free” can it be?), while ignoring the inexorable march of resource depletion and the irreversible decline in future amounts of available liquid fuels. They confuse a temporary market retreat with the equivalent of the Russians defeating the Germans at Stalingrad, and mark an otherwise minor trading event as the start of the end of the Great War. But of Peak Oil, allow me to paraphrase Churchill after El Alamein, “This is not the end, nor the beginning of the end. This is not even the end of the beginning.”
(14 February 2006)

Hubbert talk: “Nuclear energy and the fossil fuels”
M. King Hubbert,
The evolution of our knowledge of petroleum since Colonel Drake’s discover of oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania, nearly a century ago, resembles in many striking respects the evolution of knowledge of world geography which occurred during the century following Columbus’s discovery of America. During that period several continents, a number of large islands, and numerous smaller islands were discovered, but how many more might there be? Also during that period geographical charts had to be continuously revised in order to incorporate the new discoveries that were repeatedly being made, and also to correct some earlier speculations which had proved to be seriously in error. In addition, more detailed knowledge of the shore lines and other features of the areas discovered earlier was rapidly accruing, which also had to be added to the charts.

Then, as now, a voyager starting out on a major expedition of discovery needed to equip himself with charts of two kinds. He needed the large-scale detailed charts for piloting along known shores, and the comprehensive charts of whole oceans, or even of the known world, as a guide for his major navigations.

Likewise for the petroleum industry the last century has been a period of bold adventure and discovery. Whole petroleum provinces analogous to the continents have been discovered and partly explored; a few tens of very large fields, corresponding to the large islands, and hundreds of small fields, the small islands, have been discovered. But how far along have we come on our way to complete exploration?
(8 March 1956)
Hubbert’s prepared remarks prepared remarks (57 pages) for the March 1956 meeting of the American Petroleum Association in San Antonio, Texas. Suggested by JB, keeping in mind that March 7, 2006 is the 50th Anniversary of Hubbert’s prediction. More of Hubbert’s writings are available at

Willits: Regional localization networking conference

Jason Bradford, Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL)
Improving and coordinating the efforts of groups working towards sustainable, localized economies is the focus of a conference to be held in Willits, CA from April 7-9, 2006.

The conference aims to share best practices on group organization and activities, develop consistent messages for the public, politicians and business leaders, and foster on-going communication among localization practitioners. A Saturday evening presentation by David A. Schaller, Sustainable Development Coordinator of the US Environmental Protection Agency is included in the weekend activities.

The “relocalization” movement is especially active in Northern California and Oregon (see:, and while anyone is welcome to register, preference is given to attendees from this region. Each local group is encouraged to send one application form with a list of delegates to the conference. These forms are available at:

Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL) sponsors this event. WELL’s mission is to foster the creation of a sustainable economy based on local resources. (See:

Contact: Spring Senerchia, 707-459-1256; [email protected]
(14 February 2006)