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Peak Oil Hits the Third World
High Oil Prices Bring Energy Shortages

Chris Nelder, Energy and Capital
…I’ve been watching and waiting for these signs for about five years now: Not just high prices and declining exports, but the slowing of commerce, interstate trucking and air travel, food shortages and similar indications.

But the actual feeling of peak oil didn’t really hit me until this week, as I perused a page on Jim Kingsdale’s excellent Energy Investment Strategies site, listing countries that are currently experiencing serious fuel shortages and grid blackouts.

Here in the first world, we still have the luxury of armchair theorizing about peak oil, and paying a bit more for gasoline, but the third world is actually feeling the pain of peak oil today. Rising oil prices are acting as a regressive worldwide tax, pricing poorer countries right out of the market.

Since their experience must to some extent herald ours as peak sets in, let’s see how peak oil feels to those who are undergoing it firsthand.
Asia and Middle East

Nepal: Gasoline and diesel shortages are crippling the country. In July, the Kathmandu valley was hit with its worst energy crisis in history as the state-owned petroleum importer and distributor stopped supplies to gas stations entirely. Fuming taxi drivers subsequently parked their cars before the heart of the Nepalese government center to protest the shortfall. The Nepal Oil Company (NOC) has been facing cuts from its sole supplier, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), because of mounting debts owing to Nepal’s subsidies, which force NOC to sell fuel below cost.

Pakistan: Chronic power shortages have led to riots in the streets in Karachi. At one point this summer, the gap between supply and demand reached a peak of 3,000 megawatts (MW). Due to chronic underinvestment in energy infrastructure, the country’s Planning Commission estimates that its shortfall in oil supply will grow to 3.2 million tons of oil equivalent (TOE) in 2010, and 21.5 TOE in 2020. …
(10 August 2007)
UPDATE: Sharon Astyk comments: Here’s What Peak Oil Actually Looks Like.

Technology isn’t going to rescue us from oil

Rolf E. Westgard, St. Cloud Times (opinion)
The new U.S. Energy Information Administration 2007 Annual Energy Outlook projects a continuing increase in U.S. daily oil consumption.

It is expected to rise to 26.8 million barrels a day in 2030, from 20.7 million in 2005. Oil imports are projected to rise from 13 million barrels per day to 17 million. The EIA also forecasts that polluting coal’s share of electric energy production will rise from 49.93 percent in 2005 to 57.44 percent in 2030.

Highly touted ethanol is projected to be less than 1 percent of U.S. energy supply in 2030. Wind is forecast at just 0.89 percent of electric energy fuel in 2030, up from 0.33 percent in 2005.

This is in stark contrast to the “alternate energy – technology will save us” rhetoric blowing in our federal and state capitals. And it also points to the tough choices and realities Americans face in the coming years. This EIA data have dire implications for our energy security, global warming, atmosphere quality and our massive trade deficits.

Presidential delusion about America’s energy security began with Nixon’s response to the 1973 Arab oil embargo. He announced Project Independence and declared that “by 1980, the U.S. will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need.”

…All this political wind is deluding the public into believing that technology replacements for hydrocarbons are just over the horizon. As a result, they are not ready to accept hard choices such as substantial carbon taxes, which would pay for energy-efficient public transportation, and major alternate energy research.

But as we look toward our energy horizon today, energy analysts don’t see those multi-colored rainbows our political leaders are depicting. The only color out there is coal dust black.

This is the opinion of Rolf E. Westgard, a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Dallas chapter of the American Association of Drilling Engineers. He is a regular speaker to civic groups on Peak Oil and Alternate energy.
(10 August 2007)
Contributor Rolf Westgard writes: Alternate energy mirage is preventing effective political action on peak energy

Peak Oil Media 8-10-07

Professor Goose, The Oil Drum
First up, if you have not listened to it yet, you really must listen to this interview by George Kenney of Electric Politics interviewing David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock (70 mins). (Mr Strahan kindly mentions The Oil Drum.) (link to interview), (link to David Strahan’s book site)

Next up, Jim Jubak is senior markets editor for MSN Money. He’s talking about peak oil in a surprisingly lucid way…(good catch Khebab!)

Under the fold, a CNBC ethanol discussion and a link to Richard Heinberg’s latest.
(11 August 2007)

Declaration of Independence from Oil

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Philadelphia chapter
July 4, 2007

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for the people to rid themselves of a government which has abandoned the sound principles upon which it was founded and that increasingly threatens their lives and liberties for the sake of the Oil Industry, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

…The History of the Government of the United States since the Second World War, fully exposed under the current King George II, is a history of repeated Imperial Adventures, all having in direct object the establishment of an Empire of Oil, founded upon a domestic Tyranny over these States, and a Colonial relationship with all peoples living in petroleum-rich areas of the Earth. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid audience.

· The government of these United States spends half of one Trillion of our dollars on Military Expenditures and War each Year, while neglecting the basic needs of our population, such as Health Care, Education, Employment, Housing, Transportation and Clean Energy.

· They have time and again used large Armies and networks of covert agents to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny upon democratically-elected governments, and in their stead installed pliant Authoritarian Regimes of a brutality scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages.

… · They have combined with the Oil Lobby to impose upon us an Addiction to Oil and its many Derivative Products:

  • Gasoline, to transport us in increasingly large vehicles, over longer distances created by sprawl.
  • Pesticides and Fertilizers, to grow our food through unsustainable methods that deplete the soil.
  • Pharmaceutical drugs, to placate our emotions and lock us into a dependency upon chemicals.
  • Plastics, which make up the Artificial Environment we are captives of.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. We have warned the Masters of this Imperial system from time to time of the Cruelty of their unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. Yet their Media have failed to carry our Messages, refused to serve as outlets for Truth, and they have denied us access to the Public Airwaves. We have appealed to their High Courts and Political Parties. Those too have been deaf to the voice of justice.

Now, in the year Two Thousand and Seven, when the Global Production of Oil has reached its Ultimate Peak, these forces have neglected to prepare for a future of Oil Shortages and Petro-Collapse, as the finite supply of Fossil Fuels in our Earth can no longer sustain this machine of infinite Appetite. What future could we hope to inherit if our Enslavement to these Oil Tyrants were to continue?

(posted 11 August 2007)

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was the New Left organization of the 60s. Recently, it has been resurrected by a new generation of students.

I’m not sure if all the dysfunctions listed in the SDS proclamation can be laid at the doorstep of the oil companies. Similar phenomena occur in countries which have national energy companies (Gazprom in Russia, for example) rather than private ones. It would be convenient to have a distinct set of villains, but I think the problem of petroleum madness goes much deeper. -BA

A contributor writes:
On July 4, 2007, Philly SDS protested SUNOCO’s “Welcome America” festival where The Declaration of Independence was read in front of Independence Hall. SDS made a spectacle against the War in Iraq, read their statement declaring independence from oil, and staged a die-in when fighter planes flew overhead.

UPDATE: SDS website