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The Age of Petroleum draws to a close (Audio and text)
Dheera Sujan, Radio Netherlands
If oil is the planet’s drug, then cold turkey time is coming up way faster than we think. The moment of ‘peak oil’ – the moment when the maximum global petroleum production has been reached – could be just a few years away according to some estimates. Yet by 2030 the world is projected to need nearly double the quantity we are using now.
The previous thinking said that Saudi Arabia had enough reserves to take care of our future needs but that line has been all but squashed now. The Saudi oil fields have seen their best days and though their reserves are still vast, the idea that they could almost double their output in the next 20 years is simply not feasible.
There is actually not that much easily accessible oil available in the world, and the places where the oil does flow are increasingly going to be the venues where the superpowers will be circling, poised to fight for control.
Oil and blood have always gone together hand in hand – and nowhere more so than the Middle East according to Professor Michael Klare, author of the book Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum. He was recently in Amsterdam for a lecture for the Society for International Development. Mr Klare says:
“Whoever controls the Persian Gulf controls the economic power of the world.”
He calls the Bay of Hormuz in the Gulf, which sees the transport of 40 percent of the world’s oil, as a strategic prize because it’s ‘the spigot’ to the world’s oil.
“And the United States won’t let anyone else control the spigot.”
According to Professor Klare, it is not so much about having the oil for domestic use, as much as having the control of who gets to have the oil.
That’s why Jimmy Carter already declared 30 years ago that the region was a priority American strategic interest and that any move by a hostile power to gain control of the Persian Gulf area would be regarded “as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America”. This policy known as the Carter Doctrine has governed US strategy in the Gulf since.
Michael Klare warns that The Age of Petroleum is drawing to a close and yet the newly emerging economic giants such as China, India and Brazil are increasing car production, building new highways and their fuel consumption is skyrocketing.
But is it fair for the wealthy West to ask the developing world to slow down its oil consumption? After all, it is still the United States, and Europe who are still by far the largest oil consumers and the worst offenders in terms of carbon emissions.
Michael Klare doesn’t disagree that the people of the developing nations are also allowed the comforts and luxuries we in the West enjoy, but he urges a different kind of development. He advises not to follow the American model of the huge house, several cars, and so on. Perhaps, he says, the Dutch model would be better: railway networks, bicycles and smaller cars.
(22 November 2007)
Petroleo at The Oil Drum reports on an article in De Telegraaf which mentions peak oil.
Oil Production Forecasts on NPR (with Matt Simmons)
Diane Rehm Show, WAMU, National Public Radio (NPR)
Some industry experts are forecasting global oil production to plateau by 2012. We’ll talk about oil supply and demand forecasts and their implications for both global security and climate change.
Matt Simmons, chair, Simmons & Co International, a specialized energy investment banking firm and author of “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy”
David Kirsch, manager, market intelligence service, PFC Energy, an energy consulting firm
Larry Chorn, chief economist, Platts, an energy and commodities information division of McGraw-Hill
Mike Toman, director, environment, energy, and economic development program at the RAND Corporation
(26 November 2007)
Contributor Greg Thornwall writes:
Link to the audio :
New column: So maybe those peak oil people weren’t crazy after all
Justin Fox, TIME Magazine (blog)
I’ve got a column in the new issue of Time with the brain map on the cover (or, in Europe, the inescapable mime), and online here. It begins:
In July 2006, the world’s oil rigs pumped out crude at a rate of nearly 85.5 million bbl. a day. They haven’t come close since, even as prices have risen from $75 to $98 per bbl. Which raises a question of potentially epochal significance: Is it all downhill from here?
It’s not as if nobody predicted this. The true believers in what’s called peak oil–a motley crew of survivalists, despisers of capitalism, a few billionaire investors and a lot of perfectly respectable geologists–have long cited the middle to end of this decade as a likely turning point.
… Regular Wall Street Journal readers will notice a lot of similarities between this piece and an article that ran on page one of the WSJ on Monday. I had already written most of the column when that came out (plus I’d already blogged on the topic), and this is kind of an important subject and all, so I decided to treat the article as yet more support for my argument rather than as a reason to write about something else.
(23 November 2007)
Background on the recent TIME column on peak oil. Author James Fox is the “The Curious Capitalist,” business and economics columnist for Time. He had blogged earlier in November on peak oil: It’s official: Peak oil is here and “the long emergency” has begun. -BA
ODAC News – Monday 26 Nov
Douglas Low, Oil Depletion Analysis Centre
Peak Oil / Demand Outstripping Supply
1/ The penny begins to drop, a bit late
1a/ Demand, and high oil prices, are here to stay (Houston Chronicle, Sat 24 Nov)
1b/ Threat of $100 crude raises global alarm (Financial Times, Wed 21 Nov)
1c/ Rod Dreher: Reaching our peak oil supply (The Dallas Morning News, Sun 25 Nov)
1d/ The needle and the damage done (The Toronto Star, Sun 25 Nov)
Preparing for Peak – USA
2/ Legislators want state to plan for oil shortage (The Advocate [Connecticut, USA], Mon 26 Nov)
Economy – USA / Global
3a/ Countdown to lift-off (The Economist, Thu 22 Nov)
3b/ Banks gone wild (International Herald Tribune [NY Times], Fri 23 Nov)
3c/ Rising Rates to Worsen Subprime Mess (Wall Street Journal, Sat 24 Nov)
3d/ Bet your bottom dollar tensions will follow (The Telegraph, Sat 24 Nov)
‘Time’ Covers Peak Oil
4/ Peak Possibilities (Time, Wed 21 Nov)
Peak Oil / Oil Crisis in the Media – UK
5/ Apocalyptic vision of a post-fossil fuel world (The Telegraph, Thu 22 Nov)
Economy – UK
6a/ Debt crunch sparks bankruptcies (The Telegraph, Wed 21 Nov)
6b/ Markets poised for severe fall, says King (The Telegraph, Thu 15 Nov)
6c/ Mortgage approvals dive to record low (Reuters UK, Fri 23 Nov)
6d/ Turning the screw back to 1973 – or perhaps further (The Financial Times, Sun 25 Nov)
6e/ Fund managers raise exit penalties to prevent property collapse (The Independent, Mon 26 Nov)
6f/ House prices drop again as slowdown deepens (The Telegraph, Mon 26 Nov)
6g/ Average Briton is now £33,000 in debt (The Telegraph, Mon 26 Nov)
Natural Gas – Turkmenistan / Russia/ Europe
7/ Turkmenistan calls for gas hike (Financial Times, Fri 23 Nov)
Petrol / Diesel Shortages – China
8/ Troubled waters (The Economist, Thu 22 Nov)
Tupi – Offshore Brazilian Oilfield
9/ Tupi, the new kid in town (The Oil Drum: Europe, Thu 22 Nov)
Global Oil / US Gas Production Forecasts
10/ Long-Term Trends in Global Natural Gas and Crude Oil Supply and Demand Point to Much Higher Prices (The Market Oracle, Sat 24 Nov)
Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari
11/ Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari
(26 November 2007)