US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015

Terry Macalister, Guardian
The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be massive shortages by 2015 with significant economic and political impact.

The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.

… The warning is the latest in a series from around the world that has turned Peak Oil – the moment when demand exceeds supply – from a far off threat to a near-time risk.

… there are signs that the US Department of Energy might also be changing its stance on Peak Oil. In a recent interview with French newspaper, Le Monde, Glen Sweetnam, main oil adviser to the Obama administration, admitted that “a chance exists that we may experience a decline” of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 if the investment was not forthcoming.

Lionel Badel, a post-graduate student at Kings College, London, who has been researching Peak Oil theories, said the review by the American military moves the debate on.

“It’s surprising to see that the US Army, unlike the US Department of Energy, publicly warns of major oil shortages in the near-term. Now it could be interesting to know on which study the information is based on,” he said.

“The Energy Information Administration (of the department of energy) has been saying for years that Peak Oil was “decades away”. In light of the report from the US Joint Forces Command, is the EIA still confident of its previous highly optimistic conclusions?”
(11 April 2010)
We covered this story first:
Joint Operating Environment 2010: Oil Supply Concerns (review) by Rick Munroe on March 11.

Washington considers a decline of world oil production as of 2011 (mentioned in the Guardian story above) by French journalist and EB ally Matthieu Auzanneau, March 25).

The Pentagon also expects an imminent oil shock also by Matthieu Auzanneau (Apr 7)

The US mainstream media still hasn’t picked it up.

Will Peak Copper Haunt Us Before Peak Oil?

Leon Kage, Triple Pundit
… Copper accounts for one-third of Chile’s exports, and by some estimates, is the backbone of one-half of the Chilean economy. One-third of the world’s supply of copper comes from Chile. Despite the global recession, the demand for copper continues. Just drive through the Inland Empire along I-10: billboards warn you not to steal copper pipes from foreclosed homes in this region. After iron and aluminum, copper ranks as the third most important metal for industrial use, thanks to its ability to conduct electricity, provide strong piping, and its necessity as an alloy. But some suggest that copper may be reaching its peak production. So will are we facing a copper crisis analogous to the future depletion of oil reserves?

Unlike oil, copper can be recycled. Unfortunately, too much of it ends up in a landfill, due to the disposal of consumer goods and construction materials. Mining copper is also a dirty and fuel-intensive enterprise, and as more copper is extracted, mining companies venture farther in procuring this valuable metal–with the possibility of ecologically disastrous results. Some suggest that in the future, landfills will become the new copper mines. That possibility, however, is unlikely, as the amount of energy required to extract copper from such as source would be far too expensive and akin to gleaning copper out of very poor quality ore. And like oil, the use of copper increases as more people climb into the middle class: just as consumers in India and China will drive more automobiles in the future, they will also buy more electronics and other products that require the use of copper.

So when will the production of copper reach its peak? Most reports indicate anywhere between 2020 and 2025; others suggest it may be decades. But what is frightening about an impending copper shortage is that there really are no viable substitutes for this metal.
(7 April 2010)

Energy Secretary Chu provides an optimistic view of our energy future at EIA conference

Gail Tverberg, The Oil Drum
Energy Secretary Chu gave a talk at the EIA/SAIS Energy Conference on April 6-7. I want to share a few highlights of it, and give my impression. Both the Powerpoint slides and audio can be accessed at this link.

My general view of the talk is that Chu is extremely optimistic, in terms of what he thinks can be done. He also fails to tell listeners what our real problems are.

…Wow! Slide 2 indicates that Chu thinks America has the opportunity to lead the world in a new industrial revolution. How does he think that is going to be done?

The first industrial revolution was during a time of increasingly available energy, because of the new use of coal. That is very unlikely in the future, both because of peak oil, and because of hoped-for constraints on fossil fuel use because of climate change issues. Net energy available to society is likely to be going down, not up! It is hard to understand an industrial revolution under those circumstances, unless it is a retooling to a much lower level–but later slides make it clear that is not what he is thinking of.
(10 April 2010)

German study quantifies speculative premium in crude prices

Dr. Steffen Bukold, Energy Comment (German)
On behalf of the German parliamentary fraction of the Green Party (contact: MP Bärbel Höhn) Hamburg-based EnergyComment analyzed and quantified the impact of crude oil speculation on German fuel prices. One of the results: Additional cost for German car drivers amounts to €5bn per year. The analysis suggests that, in the face of peak oil and distorted price signals, oil futures markets and energy policies need to be revised.

The study is titled “Inflated Car Fuel Prices in Germany and Crude Oil Speculation” and was authored by Dr Steffen Bukold. A PDF-File including an English summary and the complete German study can be ordered for free from the Green Party in Berlin or from the author.

Studie: Spritpreise und Spekulation auf Rohölmärkten

Studie von Dr. Steffen Bukold im Auftrag der Bundestagsfraktion von Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (MdB Bärbel Höhn): Ölpreisverzerrung kostet deutsche Autofahrer 5 Milliarden Euro pro Jahr.
Die Analyse (30 Seiten) quantifiziert und untersucht den Einfluss von Finanzinvestoren auf die Ölpreise.
Detailliertere Statistiken der amerikanischen Terminmarktaufsicht (verfügbar seit Herbst 2009) und die Sondersituation eines überversorgten Ölmarktes seit Anfang 2009 ermöglichen erstmals eine plausible Schätzung.

Die Studie ist kostenlos (PDF-Datei). Bitte senden Sie mir bei Interesse eine Email: Kontakt oder rufen Sie mich an: 040 209 11 848.
(7 April 2010)

Horse Drawn Hummer
(photos and video)
American artist and filmmaker Jeremy Dean took his life savings (and combined it with some contributions from friends) and bought an 8mpg (3.4km/liter) HUMMER H2 and turned it into a horse drawn carriage.

His interactive sculpture, dubbed CEO Stagecoach, is part of the larger Back to Futurama project exploring peak oil and the collapse of the automobile industry.

“This project uses an American symbol of power and status to question our future by looking at a past response to excess and subsequent collapse,” explains Dean. “If we don’t rethink our reliance on a hyper-inflated, consumption-based oil economy, we may be left with no other options than to hook our cars up to a horse.”

(10 April 2010)