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After Oil PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 December 2004

This is an article from 2000 by David Fleming, policy analyst, and is a fantastic article on the situation, especially with regards to the problem of leaving it to the market to solve.  Well worth reading.

"Governments are now in a dilemma. Is this analysis, with its appalling implications, to be taken seriously? Can it really be true that the institutional spokesmen on energy are united in error, and that for good information western governments must rely on the academic literature, on cautiously worded statements from official bodies, but above all on independent geologists and energy analysts, mainly working outside the institutional mainstream? Will governments, or indeed oppositions, be willing to recognise what the true situation is before the first consequences of an oil deficit hit the economy? Probably not: the barrier between rational thinking and institutional complacency is holding well, and there is no reason to believe that it is about to be breached. "

Read it all : After Oil

Also:  The Consequences of Oil Shortages & A vision of civility for a world in trouble.

These are all excellent pieces and should be read.


This is from ASPO NEWSLETTER #28

ASPO made a submission to the UK Government consultation process, which was evidently ignored by its flat-earth advisers.  Dr Fleming comments on the issue as follows

To The Editor, ASPO Newsletter



The U.K. Government’s Energy White Paper, Our Energy Future, is flawed in two ways which, if not corrected, could have serious consequences. First, it exaggerates the quantity of oil that will be available in the future, claiming that conventional oil reserves are sufficient to meet projected demand for 30 years. In fact, the consensus of the reputable studies is that, by the mid thirties, total worldwide oil supplies, including non-conventional oil and natural gas liquids, will be down more than 30 percent from the present level.

Secondly, it places a great deal of confidence in gas supplies from Norway and, later, Russia. Norway’s gas production can be expected to peak and start to decline around 2018; unfortunately, it is highly uncertain that Russia will be able to take over. The giant Russian Urengoy field is declining rapidly; the new fields such as Shtokmanovskoye are tiny by comparison, and it seems likely that Russian gas production (excluding the Asian fields such as Sakhalin) will be well on the way down from its peak by 2020.

It is clear that the target of a 60 percent cut in emissions by 2050 will be met quite easily, but not because of climate policy. Consumption of oil and gas will have fallen because the fuels themselves will be in deep decline. Indeed, we do not need to look so far ahead, for disruptions in the supply of oil can be expected to occur with increasing frequency after 2010, when world oil production turns down and the only thing on the way up is the dominance of producers in the Middle East.

There is, of course, room for debate about the detail and timing. However, the extraordinary thing about the White Paper is that, on the question of supply it has relied largely on information from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA is not a primary source; all it can do is survey opinion in the field of energy supply, and it is, in any case, under tremendous political pressures of its own. The overwhelming urgency now is for the UK government to commission its own comprehensive study of energy security. The government has ducked this issue time after time, for reasons which are unclear. There is now good, solid research about prospects for oil and gas, widely shared in the literature and conferences around the world, as well as on the Internet. It is really not good enough that the government should insist on being the only kid on the block not to know about it.

Yours faithfully,

David Fleming, Director
The Lean Economy Institute, 104 South Hill Park, Hampstead, London NW3 2SN


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