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Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller
Ed Crooks, Financial times
Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: What the Price of Oil Means for the Way We Live
By Jeff Rubin
Virgin £18.99, 304 pages
FT Bookshop price: £14.39
This is a book about the implications of Peak Oil: the theory that the world’s oil production is past the highest level it will ever reach, or very close to it.
Merely by writing that sentence, I have ensured a healthy crop of angry correspondence for the FT. Believers in Peak Oil are quick and often intemperate in defence of their views.
Their zeal is understandable. If you had uncovered a truth that would mean the end of civilisation as we know it, but were being universally ignored, you too might seem a little wild-eyed. Yet that intensity often makes it hard for the Peak Oilists to get their message across.
It does not help that many of them are engineers and scientists, unskilled in the subtle arts of persuasion. Some, who stockpile shotgun shells and tins of beans with grim satisfaction, seem actively to relish the prospect of a harsher but simpler world after society has broken down.
Others have made dogmatic assertions about future oil production that have been proved wrong. For financially literate FT readers, the Peak Oilists’ credibility is further undermined by their suspicion of market forces. “Economist” tends to be a term of abuse in Peak Oil circles.
Yet for all their crankiness, the Peak Oilists are on to something. Energy supplies of all kinds, and oil in particular, are becoming increasingly problematic. And there is a profound public complacency about the extent to which our economies are dependent on reliable supplies of cheap energy – supplies that are becoming ever more difficult to guarantee.
That is why Jeff Rubin’s book is so welcome
… This book paints a vision of a world of energy scarcity that seems more appealing than the apocalyptic warnings of many Peak Oil believers. Rubin also fails to tackle the threat of a bitter struggle for resources as countries and individuals try to grab for themselves the dwindling reserves that remain, which some experts see as a real risk. No doubt Rubin will draw flak from the more extreme end of the Peak Oil movement for his Panglossian optimism, the economist’s perpetual failing.
For the rest of us, his book is a thought-provoking introduction to a future that, sooner or later, the world is inevitably going to enter.
Ed Crooks is the FT’s energy editor
(6 June 2009)
Looks like peak oil has passed another step in acceptance:
Step One: Peak Oil is a fantasy
Step Two: Peak Oil is wrong
Step Three: Peak Oil advocates are dogmatic, but …. they’re right
Peak oil’s impact on energy policy
Don Stowers (editor), Oil & Gas Financial Journal
n the past week, I’ve read several interesting commentaries that give pause for thought. Just this morning, Raymond James sent out its weekly newsletter with an observation about peak oil. Marshall Adkins and the folks over at Raymond James’ Houston office noted that global oil production peaked sometime in the first quarter of last year.
How do they know this, you may ask. Well, here’s their rationale: OPEC oil production reached a high point in the first quarter of 2008, while non-OPEC production peaked even earlier in 2007. Worldwide, they note, total oil production rose to its highest level to date in 1Q08 (about 79.3 MMbpd).
Although no one knows what future oil production may be, Raymond James explains, “It is entirely intuitive to conclude that if both OPEC and non-OPEC production posted declines against the backdrop of $100-plus oil – when the obvious economic incentive was to pump full blast – those declines had to have come for involuntary reasons, such as the inherent geological limits of oil fields.”
This makes sense. Why would countries or companies curb production when they could make so much money by producing more and more oil?
Although energy demands have since declined due to the global economic recession, the reality is that the economy will come back and when it does there are serious doubts as to whether the supply of oil will be adequate to sustain the economic engine. So all those doubters who criticized Matt Simmons’ view about peak oil may soon have to come to grips with the reality that oil scarcity may become a fact of life in the near future.
(5 June 2009)
Five Easy Leases: Ghawar’s Discovery Wells
JoulesBurn , The Oil Drum
A few months back, Saudi Aramco commissioned a story about the first wells in the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest. With the title “Ghawar’s Magnificent Five”, it was published first on the Saudi Aramco website but has subsequently appeared elsewhere. Saudi Aramco later published the same article along with the companion piece “Still Going Strong” (subtitled “57-year-old super-giant Ghawar oil field productive as ever”) in the Fall 2008 issue of SA Dimensions magazine, also available on their website1. “Magnificent Five” is the newly minted moniker2 for the group of discovery wells, one for each of the five major production areas of Ghawar: ‘Ain Dar, Shedgum, Uthmaniyah, Hawiyah, and Haradh.
These articles are remarkable in that Saudi Aramco rarely reveals production details for specific wells in Ghawar, but something in this myth-building exercise is amiss — both in the consistency of the numbers provided and their use as indicators for the state of the wells and the overall field.
In this article, I will examine the data provided for these wells and cross check with other available information including satellite imagery available within Google Earth. There is definitely more to the story, and this uncut version is actually more interesting than what Saudi Aramco has released to theaters.
(4 June 2009)
Aleklett in Australia
Staff, ABC News (Australia)
An energy expert says the world has already reached peak oil supply.
Professor Kjell Aleklatt heads an energy research group at Uppsala University in Sweden.
His team has found oil production will fall 25 per cent below a level widely accepted by policy makers and economists by 2030.
Professor Aleklatt says all governments must act now to reduce the world’s energy consumption.
“If we don’t have the energy, society will crack, so there is not one solution,” he said.
“We should use everything, we should use energy more efficient, we should use other forms of energy, renewable energy is a must of course.”
(5 June 2009)
Kjell Alaklett is on a speaking tour in Australia next week. Details at
ASPO Jahrestagung 2009 (May ASPO Germany meeting) now online
ASPO, Blandow, 02. Juni 2009: Erstmalig fand am 19. Mai die Jahreshauptversammlung des ASPO Deutschland e.V. in Verbindung mit einem öffentlichen Veranstaltungsteil zum Thema “Peak Oil” statt. Gastgeber war das Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, welches der ASPO Veranstaltung einen würdigen und angenehmen Rahmen verliehen hat. Etwa 70 interessierte Zuhörer und Journalisten fanden sich ein.
Nach der Begrüßung durch den Vorsitzenden von ASPO Deutschland Prof. Wolfgang Blendinger folgte der mit Spannung erwartete Vortrag von Dr. Colin Campbell in dem er viele persönliche Erfahrungen und Einsichten aus der Welt des Suchens und Findens von Öl vermittelte. Er stellte dies insbesondere in einen Kontext wie die Ölfirmen aktuell agieren und welche Schlüsse daraus gezogen werden können. Anschließend stand Dr. Colin Campbell ausführlich und geduldig Rede und Antwort zu den unterschiedlichsten Fragen von Peak Oil und möglicher Entwicklungen.
Da sich Dr. Colin Campbell altersbedingt zunehmend in seinen verdienten Ruhestand zurückziehen möchte war dieser Vortrag in seiner Geburtsstadt Berlin auch für ihn ein schönes Erlebnis. Sein Vortrag kann als MP3-Datei herunter geladen werden.
Anschließend referierte ASPO Mitglied Prof. Klaus Bitzer über die Rolle von Peak Oil in der Öffentlichkeit und insbesondere in den Medien. Ausgehend von der Kernfrage, warum trotz höchster Relevanz für unsere Gesellschaft weder Politik noch Wirtschaft angemessen auf Peak Oil reagieren, hat Prof. Bitzer über 2 Jahre umfassend die Medien auf die Berichterstattung über das Erdölfördermaximum untersucht. Die Ergebnisse finden sich in seiner Präsentation
(2 June 2009)
EB contributor RS writes:
A summary of the annual ASPO Germany meeting held in Berlin on May19th, 2009 and presentations are now available at
(mainly in German though….)