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6 juli 2004   |     mail dit artikel   |     print   |   
Oil scarcity soon becoming worldwide problem
Peak Oil: End of oil era in sight
The Dutch in the original article has been translated into English by Marienella Meulensteen.

The recent screaming headlines about the problems at Shell bear witness to a much larger and gloomy reality than the 'structural decline' of a company. This reality can be summed up with the words Peak Oil. Peak Oil is the moment that an oilfield of the worldwide oil production has reached its peak, after which it becomes more and more difficult to pump up the oil reserves, and finally the costs will exceed the benefits. Without affordable oil, the world economy will collapse, and the consequences will be famine, chaos and war. What has to happen is that necessary measures are taken to absorb to damages of the scarcity of oil as best as possible. Leaders and citizens must be prepared, lifestyles must be adapted and alternatives must get free range. Unfortunately, up to now the only measures that have been taken are to insure that the U.S. has access to oil.

'Shell finds itself in a structural decline', headlined the NRC on June 23.  The company had to 'readjust' more than one fifth of the predicted oil reserves. At the same time, the price of gas is rising. On July 5 NRC cites CBS, which states that because of the increase of fuel prices, the consumer index has risen. Courier DHL wrote recently to its customers: 'Due to constantly rising fuel prices, DHL is obliged to implement a fuel surcharge'. The demand for oil keeps rising (just think of the lifestyle of the U.S. and the developing lifestyle of China), while the reserves are shrinking.

Peak Oil near
Peak Oil is a problem because the peak is very near. CNN writes in connection with a publication in New Scientist: 'The world's oil reserves are up to 80 percent less than predicted, a team from Sweden's University of Uppsala says'. The CNN article dated from 2003 and in the meantime, the researchers adjusted their predictions, downward that is: the oil peak will not take place in 2010, but in 2008. And the gas peak follows soon thereafter. The research team is being led by Colin Campbell, founder of ASPO, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, and Professor Kjell Aleklett of the Universiteit of Uppsala, who says: '"The thing we are surprised of is that people in general are not aware of the decline in supplies and the extent to which it will affect production. "The decline of oil and gas will affect the world population more than climate change." 'George Bush and Dick Cheney may have meant it when they said that the American way of life is not negotiable. But it most certainly is on life-support and being sustained by cruelty, brute force and lies', writes research journalist Mike Ruppert.

Promises energy industry were false
Research journalist Mike Ruppert has been following the subject of Peak Oil diligently for several years and reports at the annual conference on Peak Oil by ASPO: 'In his presentation, Matthew Simmons, CEO of Simmons and Company International, the world’s largest investment bank reeled off a litany of “mistakes” made by the energy industry over decades. He described some of these mistakes as: Demand was never understood properly; Supply was merely aspiration (not actual reality); Decline curves became waterfalls [...]. Simmons described these mistakes as cascading and compounding over time and suggested that the underlying cause of all of them was the inherent assumption pushed by the financial markets that growth could possibly be infinite when nothing else in the physical universe is; when no organism or species has ever avoided the cycle of growth, maturity and decline that governs the natural world'.

Largest oilfield nears end
Ruppert: 'Economic growth is not possible without increased energy production.' So new oilfields have to be discovered immediately. There is a big search going on, but nowhere is there 'anything near the two or three Ghawar fields we need to find immediately to avert a crisis'. Ghawar is the largest oilfield in the world, but according to Ruppert it is old and running out, just like the other large oilfields of Saudi Arabia. 'As William Kennedy, a UK observer at the conference noted afterwards, “For the record, Ghawar’s ultimate recoverable reserves in 1975 were estimated at 60 billion barrels – by Exxon, Mobil, Texaco and Chevron. It had produced 55 billion barrels up to the end of 2003 and is still producing at 1.8 billion per annum. That shows you how close it might be to the end. When Ghawar dies, the world is officially in decline”'.

'Crisis and war inevitable'
Dr. Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari is Vice President of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Ruppert: In his presentation, Bakhtiari told the conference, ‘The crisis is very, very near. World War III has started. It has already affected every single citizen of the Middle East. Soon it will spill over to affect every single citizen of the world. Syria’s oil production is in terminal decline. Yemen is following. Major Middle East producers, including Saudi Arabia, will peak soon or have already peaked.’ Off the stage he was even more direct, “The present war cannot be confined to the Middle East. It will soon spill over to the rest of the world. The final implications will upset the global applecart”'.

Solutions for the problem
Solutions are hard to find, but are being prepared. According to Ruppert, coal was the word that was on everybody's tip of the tongue during the conference on Peak Oil, but coal is more of an antiquated patch than a structural solution. Hydrogen, according to Ruppert, cannot be called a reasonable and applicable alternative, considering the figures; He does not even talk about free energy. Formerly cited Matthew Simmons sees solutions in the more efficient use of energy and working in shifts, instead of everyone working from nine to five. 'Public Enemy Number One, according to Simmons, is not SUVs [large cars] but air conditioning.'
Possibly it is too early to talk about solutions. The transitory phase is at least of equal importance. First things first. Read all about it in the Uppsala Protocol, a guide for the transitory phase, written by Professor Kjell Aleklett of the Universiteit of Uppsala, and Colin Campbell, founder of ASPO. Ruppert notes another interesting point Campbell made: According to Campbell, BP is an even bigger magician with numbers than Shell. Keep your eye on the newspaper, and on DeepJournal, because also in the future we will keep reporting on Peak Oil.


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