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Salon gives “OilCrash” a big thumbs up

(original: “Beyond the Multiplex”)
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
… The best movie I saw at SXSW this year was “OilCrash,” a terrific work of investigative journalism-as-film that will scare the living crap out of you. Sure, you’ve read a little about the “peak oil” hypothesis, you disapprove in some theoretical way of the planet’s massive (and rapidly worsening) fossil-fuel addiction, you’re in favor of alternative energy sources and all that. You may even have the sense that things will get fairly bumpy as we try to develop cheaper solar power or new hydrogen technologies or whatever. Am I right so far? Well, Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack’s film paints a vastly grimmer picture than that, and here’s the thing. Their sources are not eco-freaks from Vermont or Berkeley in Peruvian clothing, but scientists, financial insiders and retired oil executives, many of them bedrock conservatives. Their message: The era of oil is nearly at an end, and the social and economic consequences are barely imaginable.

“I’ve been doing TV news for a long time,” Gelpke, a Swiss television journalist, told me after the premiere. “I’m not easily impressed. But as soon as I started researching this I could tell it was the most important story I had ever come across.” Does his electrifying film, which combines a history of the oil industry’s boom and bust with well-informed (if dire) speculation about what lies ahead, paint too bleak a picture? Is it really possible that gasoline will cost $75 a gallon in two decades, and that air travel will become a luxury available only to the super-rich? “It’s a call to arms,” says McCormack, Gelpke’s Irish-born directing partner. “In order to have an impact you have to simplify and dramatize, and I’m prepared to defend that. It’s only a depressing story if you’re afraid to change.”

“We hope we’re wrong,” adds Gelpke. “Listen, I’ve got kids and I love cars. I’d like to keep traveling places. Like almost everybody in the film says, I hope we’re wrong. But I don’t think we’re wrong.” Whether or not you buy the doomsday scenario of “OilCrash,” it’s one of the most important films of the year. A distribution deal should soon be announced.
(17 March 2006)
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Review of OilCrash! at The Oil Drum

plunsfo, The Oil Drum
I saw the World Premier of OilCrash! at the SXSW Film Festival. Extremely powerful — very sobering. Very comprehensive discussion of the peak oil issue. Quite impressive.

Includes Bartlett, Simmons, Matt Savinar, David Goodstein, former OPEC Oil Minister and Iraq Oil Minister, several senior oil industry folks, Colin Campbell, other experts and so on.

The film is very good for folks who don’t really understand or “buy in” to the idea of Peak Oil yet, but is also an excellent resource of facts, sometimes startling, for those of us who do.

Numerous statistics and lots of logical analysis, and understandable. During the Q&A almost every audience member began their questions with, “Thank you, thank you for doing this film” or “I had no idea, I’m stunned.” One question was, “…so when I talk to my family about this, what is your best estimate of the timeframe of when the sh– will hit the fan?”

The Producers, journalists from Switzerland, reported that they are actively seeking a Distribution Agreement. They have hired a firm in NY to help with this. They also repeatedly stated that they had no political agenda in the making of this film, rather they are simply journalists — they researched as best they could and put together what they learned. They said even they were shocked with the truth of what they discovered in the making of the film. They understand the importance of the film and will post updates on their website,“.

Present for the post-film Q&A for the world premier were David Room and Matt Savinar, and on the second screening included Jim Baldauf (interim President of ASPO-USA).
(15 March 2006)
This short review appeared in the “comments” section at The Oil Drum.

Oil shortage threatens military

Marianne Lavelle, US News
A grim view of the nation’s energy future, and its implications for the military, emerges in a just released report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The days of inexpensive, convenient, abundant energy sources are quickly drawing to a close,” says the report, titled “Energy Trends and Their Implications for U.S. Army Installations.” [PDF] It concludes that at the current rate of consumption and production decline, the lifetime of proven domestic oil reserves is only 3.4 years. It projects the lifetime of proven worldwide oil reserves at 41 years, but with declining availability, noting that Saudi Arabia – home to the bulk of those reserves – has not increased production in three years.

The report was completed in September but was not released publicly until a request was made earlier this week by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Maryland Republican who has made several speeches in recent months warning that the world is in the grip of “peak oil” – a time of declining production and rapidly escalating prices. The theory is highly controversial, and the oil industry maintains that there are abundant untapped resources, although admittedly more expensive to develop than has historically been the case. In a speech on the House floor Tuesday night, Bartlett quoted extensively from the report.
(15 March 2006)
You heard it here first at Energy Bulletin!

Peak Oil
(“The Corps of Engineers energy report should be required readin “)

Editorial, Patriot News (Pennsylvania)
Consider the manifest impli cations of this statement: “The days of inexpensive, convenient, abundant energy sources are quickly drawing to a close.”

…The above quotation is not from some radical environmental group. It is from an Army Corps of Engineers study of the energy situation the Army will face in the coming years. The report was completed in September but was only brought to broad public light by U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., the leading governmental voice on the peak oil phenomenon, who quoted extensively from it during a speech on the House floor Tuesday evening.

The Corps’ report contains a number of succinct and profound statements, including…

…The Corps of Engineers energy report should be required reading for policymakers at every level of government. The shadow of a looming energy crisis already is upon us. Actions, not words, are needed today. Waiting until the crisis is in full evidence is the fool’s option.
(16 March 2006)

The Peak Oil Crisis
Canada, the US, and oil — an increasingly bizarre relationship

Tom Whipple, Falls Church News Press
The issue is back again. This time a trio of Canadian research organizations has released a harsh report entitled Fuelling Fortress America, that calls into question the basis of Canada ‘s energy relationship with the US.

The story goes back to the 1980s when the Mulroney government dismantled Canada ‘s National Energy Policy by stripping regulatory powers from its National Energy Board, allowing US oil companies to invest in Canada , and removing a “vital supply” policy that required the country to have a 25 year reserve of oil and gas available before exports were allowed.

The situation was complicated further by the incorporation of articles into the 1989 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that banned Canada from placing any restrictions or taxes on exports of gas and oil to the US .

… Moving on, the report calls for Canada to develop a real long-term energy policy controlled by its National Energy Board and not by the profit motive of unregulated foreign oil companies. Moreover, the authors call for Canada to obtain an exemption from the absurdity of the “proportional sharing” clauses of the NAFTA agreement. Failing this, they recommend Canada withdraw completely from the agreement. As long as Canada is required by treaty to export the bulk of its oil and gas to the US , there is no way it can ever obtain energy security.

With a population of 33 million, Canada is one of the few industrialized nations in a position to supply its own oil and gas needs for the foreseeable future. The ball is now in the court of the new Conservative Canadian government. Although their instincts are probably on the side of laissez-faire and let-capitalism-do-its-thing, peak oil will soon bring new set of pressures on Ottawa . Canadian oil prices are now inextricably bound to the world market. The next time world gasoline prices spike, the demands from Canadian citizens will force new policies.

Warning to America ! Unrestricted exports, proportional sharing, and dreams of unlimited access to what the oil companies like to call “oil sands” do not have much of a future. “Secure” Canadian oil just might turn out to be much less secure than we think.
(16-22 March 2006)

Imperial College to Host “Nuclear Power in Context of Peak Oil” Event

PowerSwitch, press release via EV World
…“Nuclear Power and Peak Oil” will address these questions with talks from Dr. David Fleming and Paul Mobbs, followed with a questions and answers session. Paul Mobbs is an independent environmental consultant and author of the influential book Energy Beyond Oil. Dr. David Fleming is author of “Energy and the Common Purpose – descending the Energy Staircase with Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs)”. Dr. David Fleming will give his critique of Nuclear Power and Paul Mobbs will talk about the other options available as the world begins to deal with declining global oil supplies and looks to find the path to sustainability. There will also be a 30 minute screening of the acclaimed ‘The End of Suburbia : Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream’.

…Nuclear Power and Peak Oil’ is presented in association with SOAS, Imperial Green Societies and PowerSwitch. It will take place at the Read Lecture Theatre, Sherfield Building, Imperial College on Tuesday 21st March 2006 at 6.30pm. Entry is free. For more information visit or call James Howard of PowerSwitch on 020 8123 2500.
(16 March 2006)

Australia’s future oil supply and alternative transport fuels

Submissions received by the Committee
Senate, Parliament of Australia
Found by Big Gav of Peak Energy who comments:

The Australian Senate Enquiry into our future oil supply has received a fairly impressive 156 submissions (the list of submitters makes interesting reading – and I must admit I’d love to know who all the CONFIDENTIAL submissions are from – oil companies, inteligence agencies or just shy individuals). I only read a couple, but the Institute of Engineers submission looked good, as did David Holmgren’s.

(14 February 2006)