The Twilight Zone  

Posted by Big Gav

The ASPO conference in Scotland is getting plenty of press, with both the Independent (The Twilight Zone) and the Guardian (Analyst fears global oil crisis in three years) running peak oil stories today - there should be a bit of a buzz about this in the UK at least (Reuters also had a wire article - I'm not sure about the Times or the Telegraph).

From the Guardian:

One of the world's leading energy analysts yesterday called for an independent assessment of global oil reserves because he believed that Middle Eastern countries may have far less than officially stated and that oil prices could double to more than $100 a barrel within three years, triggering economic collapse.

Matthew Simmons, an adviser to President George Bush and chairman of the Wall Street energy investment company Simmons, said that "peak oil" - when global oil production rises to its highest point before declining irreversibly - was rapidly approaching even as demand was increasing.

"This is a new era," Mr Simmons told a conference of oil industry analysts, government officials and academics in Edinburgh. "There is a big chance that Saudi Arabia actually peaked production in 1981. We have no reliable data. Our data collection system for oil is rubbish. I suspect that if we had, we would find that we are over-producing in most of our major fields and that we should be throttling back. We may have passed that point."

And from the Independent:
From time to time, the world is taken by surprise by a high-impact phenomenon that ought to have been foreseen. How, for example, did governments not manage to spot that CFCs would attack the ozone layer? What about global warming?

The answer is that some scientists do know these things are happening, but nobody listens. We have failed to learn the lessons made clear by such "oversight phenomena", and are currently facing the biggest short-term threat to our economic wellbeing that the modern world has ever seen, involving the commodity that society is most dependent on.

Almost nothing, however, is heard of the phenomenon of "peak oil". According to conventional wisdom, we have plenty of oil left. The current high oil prices will come to an end, whereafter we will be able to look forward to a return to cheap oil, and continuing supplies of it well into the century. Ergo, our oil-addicted economies can remain healthy and continue to grow. We have plenty of time to develop alternatives to oil. No need for concern, much less panic.

Yet, according to increasingly vocal whistleblowers, oil is depleting fast, and the age of cheap oil will soon be over. Economies can't function without cheap oil. We have no time to develop energy alternatives. Economic depression akin to that of the 1930s lurks around the corner.

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