Thursday, May 10, 2007

are we listening?

You might remember that back in March 2006, The Oil Drum put together a great summary analysis of why it looks like we are peaking in global oil production right now, at the very beginning of the 21st century. Stuart Staniford said,

This post is for the benefit of those readers whose friends or relatives just spat out their coffee over their morning New York Times in surprise that oil is starting to run out and nobody warned them before now. If you are looking around for more background information, I would like to summarize a series of arguments and analyses that have led me to the view that peak oil is most likely occurring about now, give or take a year or two. My personal coffee-spitting incident occurred about a year ago, and this is some of what I've figured out in the meantime.

He went on to offer supporting explanations like no spare capacity in Saudi Arabia and faulty Middle East reporting on reserves.

Then last November we got this press release from the OPEC saying it had decided to cut production by 500,000 barrels per day. That after cutting production one month earlier in October by 1.2 million barrels per day to, “halt a 10-week, 25 percent price decline.” - a decline that had seen oil prices crash… to about $60 per barrel.

Now we get this coming from Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi,

"Our feeling now is that with the thrust and push for conservation, for efficiency of use, for use of alternative-sources energy, we probably need not go beyond 12.5'' million barrels a day, the capacity projected for the end of 2009, Naimi said."

That’s right, as reported by Bloomberg and carried by Energy Bulletin,

Saudi Arabia, holder of the world's largest oil reserves, may not need to increase its oil-production capacity after 2009, the country's oil minister said, because conservation and alternative energy sources could curb the consumption of oil.

Hooray! In two years the world will have conserved its way into voluntary energy descent! Seriously, this country makes billions of dollars a year and has developed a completely unsustainable society on that income, and now they're telling us that they think oil will just be less necessary in 2 years and therefore they probably won’t need to raise their production level? Is anybody believing this?

Again America, this is a warning. The Saudis have peaked. They won’t be able to turn their faucet open any wider. They are trying to tell us in a way that doesn’t instill fear and panic that we don’t have to go home but we have to get the hell up out of there. We must, as quickly as possible, move towards the exits of the oil era and create alternative living arrangements that aren’t totally (and increasingly) dependent on oil.

The question is, are we really listening?

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