Posted by Big Gav
The Guardian has an article looking at a new <a
military report</a> (pdf) which mentions peak oil - <a
military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by
<blockquote>The US military has warned that surplus oil production
capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious
shortages by 2015 with a 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.
"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear,
and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10
million barrels per day," says the report, which has a foreword by a
senior commander, General James N Mattis.
It adds: "While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic,
political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it
surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing
and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other
unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the
path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both
China and India."
The US military says its views cannot be taken as US government policy
but admits they are meant to provide the Joint Forces with "an
intellectual foundation upon which we will construct the concept to
guide out future force developments."
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
distant threat to a more immediate risk.
The Wicks Review on UK energy policy published last summer effectively
dismissed fears but Lord Hunt, the British energy minister, met
concerned industrialists two weeks ago in a sign that it is rapidly
changing its mind on the seriousness of the issue.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency remains confident that
there is no short-term risk of oil shortages but privately some senior
officials have admitted there is considerable disagreement internally
about this upbeat stance.
Future fuel supplies are of acute importance to the US army because it
is believed to be the biggest single user of petrol in the world. BP
chief executive, Tony Hayward, said recently that there was little
chance of crude from the carbon-heavy Canadian tar sands being banned
in America because the US military like to have local supplies rather
than rely on the politically unstable Middle East.</blockquote>