No New Oil

Preface

First noticed this issue in the mid 1970s. When my friends and I started researching these pages, looking into dwindling hydrocarbon reserves, there were only a couple of books and a few  scatted (Northern Hemisphere) websites.  Rather than regurgitating what other folk where already doing well, it was our  intention for these pages to get a different angle on the issue. Via critiquing and hyper-linking existing web sources we hoped to coalesce plausible future scenarios (with  a focus on impacts beyond North America & Europe).  Of late there has been a noticeable explosion of media articles,  books, website & blogs.   If you are new to this  whole issue I would strongly recommend that you either get a hold of the new book "Peak Oil Paradigm Shift" or skim  eclipsenow.org   website for agood balanced introduction to this complex issue, before proceeding with our more disparate pages here.

cheer-up now,   Rupert Edwards

Long Time Coming with Little Surprise:

Since my early days in school I have been vaguely aware that world only has finite supplies of oil, which at some point in the distant future would be all used up. With school-boy optimism I  believed  my economics teacher that market mechanism of demand and price would successfully manage the resource until alternatives where developed by science.   The 1973 OPEC (Organisation of  Petroleum Exporting Countries) embargo and resulting price spike at first looked like the market mechanisms were going to work correctly,  as the ensuing Energy Crisis heralded a scramble for energy efficient  public policy along with a timely boost in the development of alternative renewable energy solutions.  The 1992 Rio Earth Summit with its' raft of international initiatives, was at the time, another reassuring sign  that the Governments of the world where seriously working on the problems. Unfortunately rather than facing up to the problem it has become the great modern taboo.  

In the mid 1990s I read "The Decline of the Age of Oil"(Pluto Press Australia 1995,   ISBN 1 86403 021 6  (there is a good thumb-nail online here))  by Brian J. Fleay,    this was my first exposure to the work (in the 1950s) of the geologist Hubbert.  Brian's book projected somewhere around 2020 as the point where the world would in an everyday commercial sense run out of affordable  oil.  At the time 2020 was still a long way off and Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol & Greenhouse Gas abatement were more worrying issues. However energy saving measures flowing from targets for cutting  Greenhouse gas in the Kyoto Protocol may have coincidentally postponed the looming Oil shortage by curtailing wasteful oil consumption. 

Unfortunately at this critical point in history the good citizens of the  USA decided that they should replace a goof-off President Clinton with a dumber George W. Bush. (And before any bleeding heart Democrat hacks try and blame the Gore loss on the Nader campaign, please explain why nearly  half the country's population wasn't inspired to vote at all!  In most of the worlds democracy such deficient voter turn-outs would have voided the election altogether.)  But I'm digressing, the point is that the  countries like those in Europe that have attempted to meet the Kyoto targets are far better placed to ride-out the Oil shock that is coming, than a USA addicted to gasoline guzzling SUV fantasies.  National Geographical, June 2004 issue bluntly states " the U.S. remains the king of consumers, slurping up a quarter of the world's oil - about  three gallons a person every day - even though it has just 5 percent of the population."
 

 

Graph after Colin Campbell's "Oil & Gas Liquids 2004 Senario" at  www.asponews.org

Problem Background:

On the web there is now oodles of information running the full gamut from insanely optimistic to the rabid doom-sayers [see Collapsing Fears ], just punch the technical term "Peak Oil" into your favourite search engine.  For starters Matt Mushalik has a cool, rational, look at the approaching energy crisis in his easy to read story on PNN.  If you haven't found them already eclipsenow.org is a good balanced readable introduction, while the New Zealand website  www.oilcrash.comhas gathered then ordered lots of the must-read articles about Peak Oil ( in English  &  Italiano) together in one place. Then for where Peak Oil will certainly first catch public awareness is Brian J Fleay's 1998 essay "Climaxing Oil: How Will Transport Adapt?" ( Murdoch University, Western Australia).  But failing oil & gas resources will also impact dramatically on food production (by loss of fertilizers & pesticides), then all those other modern things manufactured from hydrocarbon feed stocks; plastics, pharmaceuticals, etc. etc.

For a more in-depth, scholarly treatment go to  "The Association for the Study of Peak Oil "(ASPO) <http://www.peakoil.net> an oil industry think tank worrying about the timing and implications of Peak Oil.  What we are talking about is not so much the world having no more oil left but rather reaching 'Peak Oil' production when the demand for oil exceeds the maximum production of all the worlds reserves.  The excess demand will push the price of oil ever upwards, how high and how quickly will depend a lot on other factors like the bad weather, wars and the economy.  Every year after the peak, the situation just get worst as long as demand continues to outstrip production.  As the oil fields slowly dry-up possible production plummets, because it gets harder and more expensive to scavenge the last few drops oil from the exhausted finite resources. "The Uppsala Hydrocarbon Depletion Study Group " < http://www.isv.uu.se/uhdsg >  are now predicting the Peak in 2008, that  is much earlier than 2020 last-time I looked at the issue in the late 1990s! (Uppsala is a Swedish University) Another competent site is named after that famous geologist M. King Hubbert who in 1956 accurately projected  that oil production in the continental USA would peak in 1970 and decline thereafter, that was called the "Hubbert Peak "< http://www.hubbertpeak.com >.  While there don't miss TheDebate and The Experts Speak pages.   


Inferences:

The English website "The Wolf at the Door" is a readable look at what European life maybe like after the Peak.  Ted Trainer ( a great thinker from around Sydney town) has a good paper "The Death of the Oil Economy"   at <www.dieoff.org/page116.htm> .  Dieoff.org (not without good reason as they see it) on the whole can be a touch too doom & gloom.   To quote Zaphod Beeblebrox "nothing contracts the mind better than imminent death."  ( or words something like that).   That said Jay Hanson's 1997 article "FossilGate" at <www.dieoff.org/page122.htm >  is well worth the read. For most countries outside of the USA, I'm not too pessimistic but I would not want to be inside the Lower 48 States of the USA when the crisis eventually does bite, this will definitely be a case of the higher you fly the harder the fall!  There are some good scholarly (but now a little dated) papers on  the net by Walter Youngquist,  his "The Post-Petroleum Paradigm & Population" highlights the economic & sociological bitter tastes that Persian Gulf countries must face as their solely oil income stream dwindles to insignificant drips of lost dreams!

In the following pages and links we attempt to flesh out what life will most likely actually be like.  Analysis the mess so that we humbly offer some concepts & strategies if adopted may smooth out some of the bumps in the ride ahead.  Please forward any reaction or comments to us for possible inclusion as this grows.

 

>Disingenuous Markets of the Long Flat Oil Peak:

>Entanglements:  Uncle Sam's Days of Energy Woes.

>Hydrogen Economy  >Atom Power

 

Peak Oil Webring

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Last update: January 2007 Southern Summer
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