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NYT: German Military Braces for Scarcity After ‘Peak Oil’

John Collins Rudolf, Green (blog), New York Times
A study by a German military think tank leaked to the Internet warns of the potential for a dire global economic crisis in as little as 15 years as a result of a peak and an irreversible decline in world oil supplies.

The study was produced by the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a branch of the German military. It was leaked in August, and its authenticity was confirmed last week by the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

The study states that there is “some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later.”

The concept of “peak oil” is a controversial one, as it signifies the point at which global oil production reaches its maximum level and then enters a permanent decline. As oil is a finite resource, most energy experts consider the eventual peak and decline of world oil production to be an inevitable reality.

But the timing of this zenith — whether in the near term, or some distant future — is a subject of fierce debate.

… The German military is not alone in its concern over the implications of peak oil. According to an Aug. 22 report by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, British government ministries have been privately canvassing opinions from the energy industry and scientists on peak oil, while publicly dismissing fears of an imminent oil shortage as alarmist.

Fueling suspicion, the British government has rebuffed news media requests to turn over policy documents related to peak oil…
(9 September 2010)
One of the few mentions of peak oil to get past the New York Time’s blackout on the subject. -BA

Defense Energy Resilience: Lessons from Ecology
Dr. Scott Thomas, Mr. David Kerner, Strategic Studies Institute
Brief Synopsis
Energy security is a fundamental requirement for national security, and global energy competition threatens to make Department of Defense (DoD) missions increasingly vulnerable to the whims of energy suppliers. DoD’s approach to energy security must accommodate a highly uncertain outlook for energy resource availability. Although U.S. energy security needs are currently met, the shrinking gap between global supply and demand draws the world closer to a point at which competition disrupts social and geopolitical normalizing forces, and conflict becomes likely. While DoD expresses concern over trends that are threatening energy security, Defense planners still operate as if adequate energy supplies will continue to be available without interruption into the extended future. What limited energy-related planning that is currently done addresses only the symptoms of a systemic over-reliance on very few energy resources. This analysis offers key insights into what a shifting energy security environment is, and the paper provides a novel theoretical framework for how the United States can best respond to this ever changing energy security environment.
(13 August 2010)
sent in by EB reader Scot Gale. The 55-page report can be downloaded for free off the website page.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Remains Below Surface, Will Come Ashore in Pulses, Expert Says

Lousiana State University, Science Daily
Gregory Stone, director of LSU’s WAVCIS Program and also of the Coastal Studies Institute in the university’s School of the Coast & Environment, disagrees with published estimates that more than 75 percent of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident has disappeared.

Stone recently participated in a three-hour flyover of the affected area in the Gulf, where he said that subsurface oil was easily visible from overhead.

“It’s most definitely there,” said Stone. “It’s just a matter of time before it makes itself known again.”

Readings from WAVCIS indicate that the direction of the ocean currents near the middle and bottom of the water column are aimed offshore; in other words, this submerged oil will be pushed out to sea, where it will then rise higher into the water column and be washed onto land, particularly during storms.

“It is going to come on shore not consistently, but rather in pulses because it is beneath the surface,” he said. “You may get one or two, maybe even five or 10 waves coming ashore with absolutely no oil … but eventually, it’s going to come ashore.” He also cautions that whatever oil doesn’t remain suspended in the water column may simply sit atop the seafloor, waiting to be mixed back into the currents.
(9 September 2010)