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Germany and the UK Prepare for Peak Oil
Jeffrey Rubin, Huffington Post
Why are the folks at the Bundeswehr Transformation Centre, a German military think-tank, already planning for peak oil? Probably for the same reason the British Department of Energy, in concert with the Bank of England and the British Department of Defense, has ordered similar--and equally secret--studies on its impact.
Despite repeated government assurances to the contrary, the global oil supply doesn't seem to be growing much anymore. In fact, the Bundeswehr Centre study says that oil production may peak this year.
Most people judge peak oil concerns by the prevailing oil price. That prices have plunged from their triple-digit perch is proof enough to them that we need not worry about any imminent peak.
What they forget is where we're coming from. The deepest global recession in the entire post-war period can cut oil prices lots of slack while demand is contracting; peak oil isn't a problem if the economy it powers is shrinking. For the first time since 1983, world oil demand fell last year, bringing oil prices tumbling down. But recessions, even the deepest, only last so long.
(14 September 2010)
Exclusive interview: Robert Hirsch
Matthieu Auzanneau, Oil Man (blog), Le Monde
PART ONE: ‘Peak Oil’ : Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of Energy sounds the alarm
James Schlesinger, President Carter’s Energy Secretary, wrote the foreword to a book written by Dr Robert Hirsch, an former US official who predicts a fall of the oil production within 5 years.
Never before has a high-ranking political figure like Schlesinger given his support to such a prognosis. The book will be published in the US on October the 1st. Here is an exclusive interview with its author.
Dr. Robert Hirsch has a unique place in the ‘peak oil’ issue. Back in 2005, he was the main author of the first pessimistic report ever published by a public administration (presentation on Wikipedia).
... (*) The Impending World Energy Mess, by Robert L. HIRSCH, Roger H. BEZDEK & Robert M. WENDLING. The three authors are associates in a small compagny dealing with energy information, MISI, Inc., based in Alexandria, VA. Foreword by Dr. James R. Schlesinger, first U.S Secretary of Energy. Publication scheduled on October the 1st. Apogee Prime. 256 pages, $29.95.
oil man: In the book that you are about to publish, your case is that ‘peak oil’ may happen very soon indeed. According to you, when might we be getting into trouble ? In ten years, in less than ten years ?
Let me begin with this : the background is the production. World oil production had been rising and then it’s been flat, fluctuating, since the middle of 2004 : it's been on a ‘plateau’. The economic recession led to a decline in demand, but not much.
The world demand is going up again. It’s back to where it was before the beginning of the crisis in 2008.
Correct. And the oil production fluctuates in a band of 4 or 5 %. It’s not very big. I think that the world oil production cannot go higher than that.
. . . oil man: - What happened after you published your 2005 report on ‘peak oil’ for the US Department of Energy (DoE) ?
The people that I was dealing with said : « No more work on peak oil, no more talk about it. »
People that were high in the administration hierarchy ?
The people that I was dealing with were high in the laboratory level. They were getting their instructions from people on the political side of the DoE, at high levels.
After the work we did on the 2005 study and the follow-up of 2006, the Department of Energy headquarters completely cut off all support for oil peaking and decline analysis. The people that I was working with at the National Energy Technology Laboratory were good people, they saw the problem, they saw how difficult the consequences would be – you know, the potential for huge damage – yet they were told : « No more work, no more discussion. »
That was in 2006, under Bush administration. Has anything changed with the Obama administration ?
It has not changed. I have friends who simply won’t talk about it now. So I have to assume that they are receiving the same kind of instructions.
(16 September 2010)
Analyst Charles Maxwell: Bracing For Peak Oil Production By Decade's End
Wallace Forbes, Forbes
Global oil production will max out in the next 5 to 10 years. Weeden & Co.'s Charles Maxwell lays out the investment impact.
Charles Maxwell: The use of petroleum in the world is now up to about 30 billion barrels per year. The rate at which we have found new supplies of petroleum over the last 10 years has fallen to an average, of only about 10 billion barrels per year.
We're obviously in an unsustainable situation. We are now using up a greater number of barrels that we have found in the recent past and that we have reserved in the ground. We are now beginning to use it up relatively quickly--with scary consequences for the future.
The peak of production usually comes sometime between 30 and 50 years after the peak of finding oil. "The peak of discovery," as they call it. For instance, in the North Sea, the peak of discovery was in the late 1960s, and the peak of production was in the late 1990s. So it was around 30 years between the peak of finding oil and the peak production of that oil.
Charles Maxwell is senior energy analyst at Weeden & Co. Maxwell discusses where oil's production peak is and how that affects investments.
(13 September 2010)
Comment by Robert Rapier: Maxwell Forecasts Peak Oil in Seven Years.
Have we passed the point of Peak Oil?
Glen Allen, Oye! Times
In commemoration of OPEC's 50th anniversary and the fact that, in recent days, I've read articles in the mainstream media like this one printed in Macleans that do their best to debunk the idea that the issue of peak oil is still an issue that faces us, I thought I'd take a look at the world's oil production and consumption situation. I'm concerned that media reports that dismiss the concept of peak oil paint a picture that hurts the cause of conservation of what is so obviously a finite resource.
To give you some background, I am a geoscientist with nearly three decades of experience in the oil industry.
... In summary, while we may not have reached peak oil, we certainly have reached peak cheap oil. My instincts tell me that we have reached peak oil and that the world is going to be an entirely different place for the coming generations. Quite honestly, I think that we should err on the side of caution when it is an issue that is so important to our way of life.
(14 September 2010)
Future Fear (video and transcript)
David Brill, Dateline, SBS (Australia)
Killer comets, global tsunamis and super volcanoes might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but some people in the United States are taking such threats to the planet extremely seriously.
Video journalist David Brill has been to meet the Kramer family in California, who’ve already bought space in an underground shelter, ready for the ‘cataclysmic disaster’ they believe could happen when a ‘galactic alignment’ takes place in 2012.
He also meets shelter owner, Robert Vicino, whose website counts down the seconds to the end of the world, and offers space in his hotel-style solution to survival for tens of thousands of dollars per person.
Others are approaching the future differently, believing the biggest threats we’re facing are problems that we’ve caused ourselves. Richard Heinberg is one of the world's foremost peak oil experts, who warns that we’re addicted to fossil fuels and must adapt before they run out.
David takes us to a Los Angeles suburb to meet the Dervaes family of so-called ‘urban homesteaders’. They've already adapted and are living self-sufficiently and almost entirely off-grid.
But are they all being over cautious, or will the rest of us be under prepared?
See David’s report and make up your own mind.
(12 September 2010)
I had a chance to read the transcript -- mmmm ---
We at EB generally the point of view of Richard Heinberg and Jules Derves, We always appreciate coverage of peak oil but it is rather uncomfortable to be lumped in with the bunker-and-gun people. Personally, I feel like the old-time Hollywood press agents, for whom any news is good new. But I know that other people in the "movement" get pretty heated over it.
At EB we make a point of relying on information from reliable sources, such as scientists, government reports, etc. Although we publish a lot of different viewpoints, we emphasize rational thought and plausible visions of the future.
I myself am a boring analytical guy, who's worked as a journalist and technical writer for Hewlett-Packard.
But I'm afraid that people like me don't make as good copy as the bunker folk!