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Re: SC52

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October 25, 2007 06:25PM
http://www.fcnp.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1984&Itemid=35

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Message from Houston

..............Peak production of conventional oil came 30 months ago and although new production projects will come on stream in the next few years, they will have a hard time balancing the depletion from existing fields which various speakers placed at 4-5 percent a year and probably increasing. As a greater share of world production shifts to undersea production, which is expensive and is usually water flooded to get the oil out as quickly as possible, some believe the annual world depletion rate could increase to six percent or more.

The most ominous development for countries such as the U.S., which must import most of its oil, is the emerging concept of “peak exports” which was discussed by several speakers. Peak exports simply means that oil-producing countries are using more and more oil at home – leaving less to sell abroad. Moreover, sentiment is starting to develop in many nations that they must save some oil for future generations, not just sell it to the foreign devils as quickly as possible.

This clearly means that major oil importers will face a shortfall in their ability to obtain oil many months or years sooner than they had been anticipating. The fall in the amount of oil available for purchase is likely to drop much more quickly than declines in production. When world oil exports fall, if they have not started doing so already, effects are likely to sharp and painful.

For me, the most interesting insight of the conference had nothing to do with oil production but rather was an insight I gained into the psyche of the American people. A keen observer of the American scene pointed out that most literate Americans are aware that we have some sort of energy problem. If for no other reason than unprecedented gasoline prices and the TV ads featuring yellow corn-fueled cars, most have at least an uneasy feeling that some sort of transformation is coming.

The problem is that most have no concept as to how soon the transformation will start and how much their lives are going to change. The President, his government, the Congress, the oil companies, and indeed the media have left us with the impression that we have the transformation to an alternative fuel future well in hand. Bills mandating and increasing the supply of ethanol have been passed or are in the hopper. The President makes periodic references to hydrogen-powered cars. The oil companies allege there is no problem and the media takes it all in and remains mute.

The peak oil problem is not that most of us don’t recognize a transition is coming – if for no other reason than reducing our dependence on “foreign oil” – it is that we don’t recognize that the transition will come soon and will inflict more economic pain and social dislocation on the American people than we have experienced since the Civil War or perhaps ever.

Thus the message from Houston was “it will be soon and it will be bad, very bad,” much sooner and much worse than 99 percent of the American people realize......................
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SC52

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