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Professor Goodstein discusses lowering oil reserves (23.11.04, ABC's Lateline)

Running out of oil (23.11.04, ABC’s Lateline)

Oil prices to remain volatile: BHP Billiton CEO (9.11.04, ABC’s PM)

Oil prices push up the cost of dairy processing (3.11.04, ABC Rural News)
This article is an example of the importance of oil at each level of production of products as simple as milk.

Energy agency urges more oil investment (29.10.04, SMH)
The [International Energy Agency’s] annual world energy outlook report warned of a drop in oil production and shortfalls in supplies if there is not huge investment, totalling $US3 trillion in the next three decades, in everything from developing new fields to building more tankers, pipelines and refineries.

Don’t fret — oil price jump has its positives (23.10.04, SMH)
"Is the sky-high price of oil only temporary? Sure. Will oil prices stay high forever? Sure."

High oil price threatens economy (18.10.04, ABC’s The 7.30 Report)
A recurring question has taken on new urgency in recent weeks — how far can oil prices climb before the world’s economies, Australia included, begin to buckle under the stress? Crude oil touched new record highs in Asian trade today — at $US55 a barrel, almost three times as expensive as it’s been for most of the past 15 years. Historically high oil prices have tended to tip the world into recession in the past and already we’re paying for this latest price surge in ways well beyond the petrol pump. So, is oil going to spoil Australia’s economic party this time?

The impact of high oil prices doesn’t stop at the petrol pump (13.10.04, ABC News)
When it comes to rising oil prices, this is only part of the story. Plastic comes from oil -- and plastic is everywhere. You may think of plastic as cheap, but it’s cheap no longer… If you think above US$50 a barrel of oil is bad, try US$120. That’s what the world could be facing, if you believe some experts who say that production has either peaked now or will do within 10 years. And the knock-on effects would flow on to plastics and many chemicals. Greg Bourne has looked at fuel from both sides now. He used to be the regional president of the energy giant BP and he’s now the Australian head of the World Wildlife Fund. He says society needs to begin conserving petroleum for essential products.

How to Transition from the Car Culture to the Bike Culture Paradigm (Curt Sommer —

Oil’s not well with the world (5.10.04, The Australian)
AS the finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-7 sat down to dinner in Washington on Friday night, meeting for the first time with their Chinese counterparts, the price of oil had just closed at its highest ever level, $US50.12 a barrel. ‘Oil prices remain high and are a risk,’ said a G-7 official. There was now ‘a recognition that oil was scarcer than was thought a few years ago’. These are ominous words for a G-7 official. They even tend to corroborate the ‘alarmist’ view that the world is running out of oil and that high prices are here to stay -- a structural phenomenon rather than a spike… Now, belatedly -- and despite the brave face put on it by the US and other importing nations -- there is an encroaching acceptance that the world’s oil reserves are in decline and we may have a crisis on our hands.

Oil: The World Over a Barrel (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
A documentary series that explores the global oil industry in the form of a journey through the world’s most remote and challenging oil-producing regions.

Decline in World Oil and Gas Production (16.8.04, ABC’s Perspective)

OPEC’s liquidity trap (16.9.04, The Economist)
OPEC’s oil output is now almost as high as it can go. Raising quotas may thus have no discernible effect on production… The soft patch America’s economy is currently suffering is due ‘in large measure’ to the steep rise in energy prices, Mr Greenspan has said. He has also given warning that the future balance between supply and demand in the oil market will remain ‘precarious’.

By 2070 we’ll be hotter, drier and thirstier (7.9.04, SMH)

Import crisis as our fuel tank runs low (4.9.04, The Age)
According to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, on current trends, in 10 years Australia will be producing about 230,000 barrels of petroleum liquids per day, while consuming around 1,030,000 barrels. That would leave us 78 per cent dependent on oil imports, compared with our current 30 per cent dependence. On the optimistic assumption that prices fall back to $US30 a barrel, Australia’s daily oil import bill would be about $US24 million ($A34.4 million), or $US76.4 billion over 10 years.

The end of cheap oil? (5.9.04, ABC Radio National’s The National Interest)
Recent sharp rises in the price of petrol are a sign of things to come as global demand for oil increases but global supplies do not.

High oil prices here to stay: IEA (29.8.04, ABC Inside Business)
ALAN KOHLER: Do you think that if more super-giant oil fields are not discovered soon and Saudi Arabia, in particular, invests that the world will have to get used to higher oil prices, around the $50 level, possibly even more? ANTOINE HALFF: Well, we’re not there yet, but there’s a widespread sense in the market that fundamentals have shifted, and we’re now in an era of higher oil prices for the sustainable future. I think there’s probably a lot to say for that theory.

Australia: Slippery slope to recession? (8.8.04, The Age)
$US40 has become the bottom of the range price, with $US50 just around the corner.

Oil demand will soon outstrip supply: industry planner (9.8.04, ABC PM)
I could see easily prices of three or four dollars very, very soon for every litre of petrol.

Oil prices hit fresh record high (3.8.04, BBC World Service)
US oil prices have hit record highs after the president of Opec said the producers’ cartel was unable to push any more supplies into the market.

Pumping all they can (4.8.04, The Economist)
With this uncertainty likely to continue, OPEC likely to keep brushing up against its capacity limits, and Yukos certain to remain under fire, the world may just have to get used to oil of $40 or more a barrel.

2024 Dreaming- Beyond the Gridlock: An Impossible Dream? (21.8.04, ABC Science)
How will we travel in 2024? The cost of car crashes in this country alone amounts to $17 billion. It is estimated that the humble traffic jam costs America US$100 billion. And then there’s the cost of wars to keep the oil flowing. How much longer can we afford to continue along these lines in future?

Plan to protect our oil supply (21.8.04, The Australian)
Australia is particularly vulnerable to an interruption in supply because of its declining self-sufficiency in oil — we import 40 per cent of our oil needs — and because it has no strategic oil stockpiles. Comment: The best way to protect Australia is to make us less dependent on the stuff. For example, the federal government could fund cycleways so that children could ride safely to school. Result: less parents driving kids to school, reduced childhood obesity, and it’s a cheap solution.

BP has released its annual Statistical Review of world energy. Australian oil production for 2003 continued its decline after it peaked in 2000, this time by a whopping 15.6%. See BP Review page.

Australia not facing up to reality of energy resources (ABC PM, 18.6.04)
Greg Bourne, who retired as regional president for BP Australasia last year, and now Chairs the sustainable Energy Authority in Victoria, and is on the New South Wales Greenhouse Advisory Panel, states: “I think we will have a [oil] price issue much quicker than people expect… we are seeing incredibly fast growth in demand from China, fast growth from India as well, and other parts of the world, and supply at the moment can keep up with it, but I do not think that’s going to last for very much longer. And as supply and demand get closer together, we always see price spikes.”

Warning on oil hunt slip (7.6.04, The West Australian)
“Surging oil prices should be seen as a warning and not a cure for declining oil and gas exploration which threatened to leave Australia dangerously reliant on overseas supplies, the head of the nation’s peak oil and gas body warned. ‘We just had a week in which every news service in this country has been running stories about instability in the Middle East, how OPEC does not have any more supply capacity and how Chinese demand is growing. If all that is correct … then this country has a real problem. But where is the urgency in policy-making, and the people saying this is a serious issue? Waiting 10 years for this to hit us is not an answer.”

Break out the bicycles (8.6.04, George Monbiot — Guardian Unlimited)
Oil is running out, but the west would rather wage wars than consider other energy sources

When Oil Runs Out… (2.6.04, ABC Radio National Breakfast)

Another oil shock? (1.6.04, Buttonwood — The Economist)
The world depends for low oil prices on an unstable country that seems to be falling apart. No wonder they are rising… the rise in the cost of crude oil could be inflationary or it could be contractionary or it could be both. And if Saudi Arabia falls apart all bets are off: for the Americans will be damned if they step in and damned if they don’t; the price of crude will rocket; and the world will be talking about a fourth oil shock.

Californians want no truck with petrol prices (2.6.04, SMH — Paul McGeough, Chief Correspondent)

From Amsterdam to Beirut (28.5.04, The Economist)
These lesser players are already cheating on their quotas, and may already be producing as much oil as they can. Their physical limits, not the official limits set by OPEC, are what constrains their supply. Raising or removing quotas would simply bestow the cartel’s blessing on what these countries are doing anyway. No matter how OPEC votes on June 3rd, it will not change the fact that the world is operating with less spare capacity than at any time in the past 30 years: down to just a few million bpd.

The threat to Saudi oil supply (28.5.04, The Economist)
Terrorists are now targeting Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure. How bad could things get? … Typically, a decision by OPEC to increase quotas cools prices. This time may be different. A soaring world economy has sucked global inventories dry. Nearly every OPEC producer, save Saudi Arabia, is already producing about as much oil as it can. That means that any new OPEC promise of oil will have to come chiefly from the Saudis themselves—and that is not good news… Today’s fast-shrinking spare capacity of about 2m bpd is less than 3% of demand—and it is entirely in Saudi hands. And yet, ‘normal’ threats to supply that fall far short of doomsday terrorist scenarios remain. Venezuela and Nigeria both face political tests in coming weeks that could cripple oil exports. The coalition in Iraq is due to hand over power to local authorities at the end of June, and terrorist attacks are possible. Whether the Saudis can handle the consequences of all this is entirely unclear… A witch’s brew of soaring oil demand, private-sector destocking and lack of investment in new production capacity by OPEC has left the world with an extraordinarily tight oil market today. There is less spare capacity than at almost any point in the past 30 years.

Amsterdamned (24.5.04, The Economist)
Not every OPEC country is as keen as Saudi Arabia to pump more oil, because not every member is capable of doing so. Most, including Libya and Venezuela, are already producing at something close to full capacity. Higher quotas would be of little use to them. Normally, when members’ quotas are raised, higher sales make up for the impact of lower prices on their oil revenues. This time, however, it may be only Saudi Arabia that has any spare capacity to bring to market. An increase in quotas would simply legitimise Saudi over-production, leaving everyone else selling no more than before, for a lower price… Oil prices of $50 per barrel no longer look an immediate prospect. But, by the same token, oil prices of $25 per barrel may, as the Venezuelans insist, belong to a bygone era. If the Chinese economy continues to grow and security fears continue to mount, there may be little anyone, in New Amsterdam or Old, can do.

OPEC’s failure to boost oil output spooks markets (24.5.04, The Australian)
In Australia, the Government is about to receive an industry report on our oil stocks. It comes as the Government is preparing a major energy statement that is expected to address the looming shortage of transport fuels as Australia’s domestic oil production declines.

Saudi pledge tempers oil tensions (24.5.05, SMH)
The era of cheap oil may be over, Venezuela’s Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

Crude awakening (22.5.04, The Australian)

Oil — Still at its mercy (20.5.04, The Economist)
sensitivity to oil continues to bedevil the world economy. Incomes and jobs around the world still hinge on the price of a commodity which comes chiefly from extremely unstable parts of the world, supplied through a market that is rigged at every turn. When the price does next subside, and the opportunity again arises to use taxes to weaken OPEC by discouraging western consumption of oil, America’s government, especially, might bear this in mind.

Deputy PM Confirms Peak Oil Risks
The deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, John Anderson, acknowledged that "at some stage in the next few short years global [oil] production may very well peak" in an interview with the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy from the Insiders show. The issue has also been covered in the SMH and National Geographic.
Interview John Anderson, Deputy Prime Minister (16.5.04, ABC Insiders)
Deputy PM confirms oil crisis (17.5.04, SMH, Margo Kingston)

Oils ain’t just oils, they’re to die for (16.5.04, SMH, Margo Kingston)

The End of Cheap Oil (June 04, National Geographic)
You wouldn’t know it from the hulking SUVs and traffic-clogged freeways of the United States, but we’re in the twilight of plentiful oil.

So why wouldn’t oil prices rocket? (19.5.04, SMH, Alan Kohler)
One of the most important assumptions underlying the oil market is that the Saudis can act as almost swing producers in the event of a supply disruption. That is far from clear. But as Americans prepare their SUVs for the driving season, OPEC is running at full capacity and the non-OPEC producers are in decline. There may well be a short-term correction back to below $US40 a barrel if OPEC quotas are raised and Saudi Arabia maintains its over-production but it is far from clear that the successors of M. King Hubbert are wrong about the big picture. No one’s making oil any more.

A Crude Shock (New York Times — Op Ed By PAUL KRUGMAN, 14.5.04)
So far, the current world oil crunch doesn’t look at all like the crises of 1973 or 1979. That’s why it’s so scary.

Hubbert’s Peak goes global — Commentary: Why the coming oil crisis will be structural (13.5.04, By Paul Erdman,

The Oil Crunch (7.5.04, New York Times — Op Ed By PAUL KRUGMAN)

Incentive for intrepid oil drillers (12.5.04, SMH)

Budget cash to shore up oil reserves (11.5.04, The Age)
The Federal Government will launch a major push to find another Bass Strait-type oil reserve to combat concerns over Australia’s looming oil supply crisis as part of a wide range of giveaways in today’s federal budget.

Oil crisis looming: Greens (10.5.04, SMH)
Spiralling oil prices would force an economic crisis in Australia within 15 years if authorities failed to act now, the Australian Greens said. Senate candidate Drew Hutton said if Australia had any chance of weathering the shockwave caused by the ballooning oil prices, it had to stop building bigger road systems, switch to hybrid electric cars and upgrade its woeful public transport systems as soon as possible… He said experts predicted the world had now reached its peak oil reserves with all major wells now tapped and nowhere else to look for another substantial find.

Oil Price Hits $40 per Barrel: Oil Crisis Looms (Drew Hutton Blogg)

Dollar slump adds to pressure at pump (11.5.04, SMH)
The dollar’s plunge, coupled with a 13-year high in the oil price, could see motorists paying up to $1.10 a litre for petrol in the weeks ahead, some analysts say.

Dancing with oil prices and rates (11.5.04, Alan Kohler-SMH)
we are now in a fully fledged oil shock. The benchmark price has risen 120 per cent in two years and 55 per cent in a year. It’s now back to where it was after the oil shocks of the 1970s and the first Iraq war.

Rising oil prices pose a threat (10.5.04, SMH)

Asia’s oil wars (The Economist, 29.4.04)
China and Japan are locked in a fierce diplomatic and economic struggle to win access to Russian oil

World oil crisis looms (Jane’s Defense Weekly, 21.4.04)

Greenspan calls for increased global trade in natural gas (SMH, 28.4.04)
The United States needs to expand the global trade in natural gas as a way to prevent future sharp price increases from harming its economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said. 

When the last oil well runs dry (BBC Online, 21.4.04)
Just as certain as death and taxes is the knowledge that we shall one day be forced to learn to live without oil. Exactly when that day will dawn nobody knows, but people in middle age today can probably expect to be here for it.

Houston analyst upsets Saudis in squabble over oil reservoirs (Houston Business Journal, 9/4/04)

Oil market tightness is likely long term (15.3.04, JEFFREY RUBIN, Globe and Mail Newspaper)
"Has the world already seen the peak in conventional crude production? Not only has conventional production not grown over the past four years, but there is virtually no spare capacity left among producers belonging to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries… You can call it just-in-time inventories or you can call it what it really is -- Saudi Arabia running out of reserves."

Crude Arguments (The Economist — Buttonwood Column, 23.3.04)
"Goldman Sachs now thinks that the world economy will grow by 3.8% this year, not the 4.6% it had originally forecast. The main reason for this sharp reduction is the sustained rise in the price of a commodity long dismissed by most economists as having little impact on mature economies: oil."

Crude Calculations — Barron’s (, 15.3.04)

Petrol price heading above $1 a litre (SMH, 19.3.03)
reduced refining capacity in the Asia region, and rising demand for petrol in China and India, meant Australian motorists would have to get used to regularly paying more than $1 a litre.

US oil surges to 13-year high (ABC Online, 18.3.04)

Oil Prices — Painful for some, but hardly a crisis (The Economist, 18.3.04)

The only thing certain is that the world’s oil reserves won’t last forever (Mark Lawson, Online Opinion, 5.1.04)

There’s been a new book on Peak Oil by another respected scientific authority: Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil, by David Goodstein. Goodstein is a professor of physics and vice provost of the California Institute of Technology, one of America’s headiest institutions. He’s been interviewed about it:
Dried Up? Are We Running Out of Oil? Scientist Warns of Looming Crisis (Special to, )
Crude Awakening (Newsweek, 17.2.04)
A prominent physicist warns in a new book that the world is running out of oil and we’re not doing anything to stave off the coming crisis.

Let’s see them stick to this one — OPEC’s Surprise Production Cut (The Economist, 11.2.04)
American and Chinese demand is part of the reason why the oil price has remained so high for so long after the end of the war in Iraq (see chart). Many thought the combination of Iraq’s newly liberated, newly productive oilfields and a ramping-up of production by Russia—the world’s second-biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, though not a member of OPEC—would be enough to bring oil prices down, perhaps to below $20 a barrel. But this was not to be. Why? Quite simply, the oil supply has not flown as easily as oil-hungry consumers had hoped… [Shell’s cut in its proved reserves estimate] has highlighted a problem that all the big oil companies face: working out how they are going to replace the oil that they lift every year. Oil companies must look increasingly to less and less stable regimes and trickier geology to bolster their reserves… There are also rumours in the market that the Saudis are finding it more difficult to lift oil out of the ground.

Running Out of Oil — and Time (LA Times, 7.3.04)

If…the lights go out (BBC Documentary)
Will power cuts be a way of life in the future? Could Britain be facing a widespread, catastrophic power cut in the future? The short answer is yes. "Unless we make decisions now our electricity will start to run out within five years," Professor Ian Fells, World Energy Council. In our scenario, set in the winter of 2010, Britain is struggling to generate enough electricity to cope with demand.

Controil (5.3.03, Jack Robertson on SMH’s Webdiary)

North Sea exploration a loser, say oil experts (Times Online, 26.1.04)
As the North Sea continues to deplete after peaking in 99, companies are getting out: "OIL GROUPS face growing pressure to quit the North Sea amid evidence of global failure to find big new oil deposits. The world’s top ten energy companies are failing to find enough new crude to replenish their reserves, according to Wood Mackenzie, the oil consultancy, which sees exploration in the UK North Sea as the industry’s biggest waste of money over the past five years. "

OPEC to cut oil output by 10 per cent (SMH, 11.2.04)
In a surprise move, OPEC will cut excess production of crude at once and lower output quotas by 1 million barrels a day effective April 1, several oil ministers said… The combined cuts, if effective, would curb OPEC’s production by about 10 per cent, or 2.5 million barrels a day.

Plan Now for a World Without Oil (MICHAEL MEACHER — UK environment minister 1997-2003, Financial Times-London, 4.1.04)
It is hard to envisage the effects of a radically reduced oil supply on a modern economy or society. Yet just such a radical reduction is staring us in the face..The conclusion is clear: if we do not immediately plan to make the switch to renewable energy — faster, and backed by far greater investment than currently envisaged — then civilisation faces the sharpest and perhaps most violent dislocation in recent history.

What price for the last drops? (Platinum Asset Management, June 2003)
Even fund managers are now covering Peak Oil. Their blurb: "It is not so much that we are about to imminently run out of oil ­ more that man’s ingenuity has ensured that we have probably discovered nearly all the readily exploitable reserves, that depletion is occurring much faster than new additions to reserves and all this is happening just as the great populations of China and India climb aboard the energy-consuming treadmill".

Has global oil production peaked? (Christian Science Monitor, David R. Francis, )

The Bottom of the Barrel (George Monbiot, 2.12.03)
“Every generation has its taboo, and ours is this: that the resource upon which our lives have been built is running out. We don’t talk about it because we cannot imagine it. This is a civilisation in denial… Oil itself won’t disappear, but extracting what remains is becoming ever more difficult and expensive. The discovery of new reserves peaked in the 1960s. Every year, we use four times as much oil as we find. All the big strikes appear to have been made long ago: the 400 million barrels in the new North Sea field would have been considered piffling in the 1970s. Our future supplies depend on the discovery of small new deposits and the better exploitation of big old ones. No one with expertise in the field is in any doubt that the global production of oil will peak before long”.

David Holmgren, co-originator of the Permaculture concept, has written a book on Permaculture and its role in ‘energy descent’, titled Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability. In an article based on his lectures, Permaculture and the Third Wave of Environmental Solutions, he refers to oil production peaking and the role that permaculture can play in ‘energy descent’.

Hopes of $50bn gas sale (The Age, 14.1.04)
Australia is confident it can win liquified natural gas contracts with the United States worth up to $50 billion, amid warnings that America is facing a looming energy crisis… The Bush Administration has admitted that America’s capacity to meet its voracious hunger for energy through domestic production is limited. Mr Macfarlane warned that the US could face an energy crisis that would rival the 1973 and 1980 oil price shocks. Both events triggered a combination of soaring inflation and economic stagnation in the major economies of the world. ‘The US have only very recently become open about their energy requirements, and some say it’s as big a crisis, or potential crisis, as during the oil shocks,’ he said.

Shell’s shocking news (The Economist, 15.1.04)
A dramatic cut in Shell’s reserves has the oil world buzzing… the firm’s rate of replacement of reserves—which are inevitably depleted as firms pump hydrocarbons out of the ground—was not 105% as previously thought, but an abysmal 57%, significantly below that of both BP and Exxon Mobil (see chart). Recalculated, Shell’s ‘finding and development’ costs in that period jump from an already relatively high $4.27 per barrel to $7.90 per barrel.”

Gore Vidal Interview (ABC Sunday Profile, 15.1.04)
“Gore Vidal: It [the US Bush administration] has no aims other than more oil and gas because Cheney had a study done about a year ago that by the year 2020 the entire world would be practically out of fossil fuels, they‘re going to grab all of it and the biggest supply is in the Caspian area and all those countries whose names end in ‘stan’. That’s what our eye is on.”

Natural Gas Exports (ABC’s RN The Business Report, 13.12.03)
By 2020 the Bush Administration has documented it will need fifty per cent more natural gas to fuel America. Its own source of natural gas, the Rocky Mountains, is running out; so it’s looking to other sources. So we’re trying to sell them our own gas, from WA.

CSIRO Sustainability Network Newsletter — 9 September 2003 (PDF, 512Kb)
This newsletter has a couple of very interesting articles. ‘The myth of the efficient car’ looks at the vast inefficiencies of our car based cultures.
In ‘What Is Sustainability?’, David Holmgren, co-originator with Bill Mollison of the Permaculture concept, looks at the broader picture of sustainability in the context of ‘energy descent’. His latest book, Permaculture:Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability, is the distillation of a life lived by the principles of permaculture:
“I want to emphasise how an understanding of the global energy peak and resultant energy descent defines and reshapes both environmental concepts and strategies. I use the term ‘descent’ as the least loaded word that honestly conveys the inevitable, radical reduction of material consumption and/or human numbers that will characterise the declining decades and centuries of fossil fuel abundance and availability. I believe the third wave of environmental solutions will be seen as a response to both the realisation of the limits to consumption (first wave) and the limits to pollution and global warming (second wave). Permaculture is the whole-hearted engagement with energy descent as the opportunity for a better world where less is better… With a global oil peak now unfolding all around us, the failure to recognise and understand its signs and symptoms pervades not only the anti-environmental reactionaries, but also much of the vanguard of sustainability.”

The Economist marked the 30th anniversary of the 1973 Oil Crisis in October with two articles highlighting growing energy risks and problems, including the the production peak of key non-OPEC fields, the growing power of OPEC, the risks in our over-dependence on a shaky Saudi regime, the huge and hidden costs of oil in transport, and increasing costs and risks over the next two decades. It recommends demand side measures, such as energy/carbon taxes.
The end of the Oil Age (The Economist, 24.10.03)
The article stresses our risky addiction to Saudi oil, and considers the response: “If treating the West’s addiction to oil will be costly, is it really worth doing? To be sure. Petro-addiction imposes mighty costs of its own…Oil still has a near-monopoly hold on transport. If the supply is cut off even for a few days, modern economies come to a halt, as Britain discovered when tax protestors blockaded some domestic oil depots two years ago… The final disguised cost of oil [after OPEC inflated prices] is the damage it does to the environment and human health… The best way to curb the demand for oil and promote innovation in oil alternatives is to tell the world’s energy markets that the “externalities” of oil consumption—security considerations and environmental issues alike—really will influence policy from now on. And the way to do that is to impose a gradually rising gasoline tax.”
OPEC — Still holding customers over a barrel (The Economist, 24.10.03)
It makes some very important points:
— OPEC is once again gaining power: "Once again there is talk of scarcity and crisis. The Middle East is again on the brink of chaos, not only because of Arab countries’ resentment over America’s support for Israel, but also because of its military occupation of Iraq. And, after years of weakness in the 1990s, OPEC has sprung back to life".
— As non-OPEC fields pass their production peak: "Unfortunately for consumers, however, [non-OPEC fields in Alaska and North Sea] are about to enter a period of dramatic and irreversible decline. This poses an enormous challenge for the big oil companies, which must somehow replace their lost reserves or see their share prices punished by Wall Street… In a forthcoming study, the International Energy Agency (IEA), a quasi-governmental group of oil-consuming nations, estimates that the oil industry needs to invest as much as $2.2 trillion over the next 30 years in exploration and production. Much has been made about the soon-to-soar energy needs of fast-developing giants like China and India, but only a quarter of that $2.2 trillion is required to meet growth in oil demand; the rest is needed, the boffins say, merely to replace production that is already in decline or soon to decline. Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an industry consultancy, says: “Every day the head of every major oil company wakes up focusing on how he is going to replace his reserves. The pressure is relentless.” If western oil companies do not manage to find new sources of supply, OPEC’s market share can only increase—and with increasing market share comes more power".
— There are no quick and easy alternatives to cheap to produce Saudi oil: "the market share held by countries in the Middle East—especially Saudi Arabia—can only increase over the next two decades… the harsh reality of today’s oil market: it is Saudi Arabia’s willingness to be the swing producer that now insures the world’s economy against oil shocks".
— Which means energy risks will increase: "As the centre of gravity of the world’s oil production shifts inexorably closer to Riyadh over the next two decades, this risk can only grow".

The International Energy Agency has released its World Energy Investment Outlook, which highlights the huge amounts of money they think is required to make up production for the increased future demands, a huge chunk needed just to maintain current production, due to depletion and old infrastructure (assuming that more money will equal more energy, of course, which it may not). In their words, “The total investment requirement for energy-supply infrastructure worldwide over the period 2001-2030 is $16 trillion…A substantial proportion of all this energy investment is required simply to maintain the present level of supply. Oil and gas wells are depleting, power stations are becoming obsolescent and transmission and distribution lines need replacing…The bulk of the $4 trillion of upstream investment [required] in the oil and gas sectors will be needed simply to maintain production capacity at current levels.” Who will pay for this? How will this affect energy prices?

Pipeline Cowboys: Rustling for oil (New Internationalist, 10.03)

Oil Futures (ABC The National Interest, 2.11.03)
Argument is intensifying about the future of oil and gas. The question is not when oil will run out, but when global production will peak and begin its long decline. An influential group of retired oil industry geologists who have formed the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) believe that the crisis is almost upon us.

2030: The Dangerous Decade (ABC Radio National’s The National Interest, 19.10.03)
Former Democrat Senator Colin Mason says we should be worried about the decade 2030 because this is when our environmental chickens will come home to roost. Terry Lane speaks to former Australian Democrat Senator Colin Mason about his new book “The 2030 Spike”, which predicts a catastrophic future for the globe through the convergence of six driving forces — depleted oil supplies, water shortages, population growth, climate change, nuclear proliferation and poverty. See the 2030 Spike site.

The US must follow Europe’s lead and turn its back on oil (Guardian, 10.10.02)
The world is moving into the sunset era of the great fossil-fuel culture… once global oil production does peak, two-thirds of the remaining oil reserves will be in the Middle East, the most politically unstable and volatile region of the world. What this means is that countries still dependent on oil will be locked into a fierce geopolitical struggle to maintain access to the remaining oil fields of the Middle East, with all of the grave risks and consequences that accompany that sober reality.

Energy at the Crossroads (The Guardian, 30.10.01)

Grim picture painted for 2020 (BBC, Nov 03)
All our lives in the year 2020 could be startlingly different from today, the UK’s Environment Agency believes. Using a fictional family called the Dumills, the agency describes a Britain where solar power dominates and every loo has a robot to analyse excrement. We can look forward to cleaner air, better public transport and an end to infuriating traffic jams, it suggests. EA’s Vision of Life in 2020:
- High oil prices mean imported foods are no longer affordable — local produce dominates
- A household windmill and solar panels generate surplus electricity which is pumped back to the grid, earning the family money
- Homes have their own purification plants”

Bass still cooking with gas (SMH, 22.10.03)
Esso and BHP Billiton have signalled they intend to stay in the gas market in south-eastern Australia. "The joint venture’s enthusiasm for Bass Strait gas comes as oil production from the fields continues its natural decline". Australia’s oil production is predicted to decline steeply over the next decade, after having peaked in 2000.

This war on terrorism is bogus (The Guardian, 6.9.03)

WA Minister Acknowledges Oil Depletion and initiates Transport Energy Strategy.
Alannah MacTiernan
, WA Planning and Infrastructure Minister, has recently acknowledged that "oil will be in increasingly short supply in the coming 10 to 20 years" and has as a result launched a Transport Energy Strategy. This strategy will seek to shift Perth away from its high car dependence towards more sustainable modes, such as rail, cycling, and walking. See Transport Energy Strategy home, which states that “It is widely recognised throughout Government, industry and the community at large that … Oil is finite and cheap commercially exploitable oil will be increasingly in short supply in the next one to two decades.”
The committee has released an interim report, which states “… We do believe that there is a problem coming, and the best course of action for the community, is to:

In a media release launching the report, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said “We must start reducing our dependence on oil, so that we are not vulnerable to the great price increases expected over the next decade as demand outstrips production.”

Dwindling Oil (ABC Radio National Breakfast, 7.8.03)
“The world is running out of oil and it’s running out fast… Even pumping the 1.1 trillion barrels of oil that remain becomes harder and harder as time goes by… This means we’re likely to reach a peak in production well before we run out of oil altogether.
“Once demand outstrips supply, we can expect oil prices to skyrocket, dragging the global economy into a recession of apocalyptic proportions.”

CSIRO Energy and Transport Sector Outlook to 2020 (PDF, 3MB)
One of the two key drivers for change in the next decades is a “significant decline in oil production”, the other being greenhouse gas emissions:
“Global oil production is anticipated to peak about 2020 and production will become increasingly concentrated in the Middle East, Former Soviet Union and West Africa. Demand is forecast to continue to increase at about 2% p.a. The timing for production peaking is debatable and will depend heavily on the ability of the Middle East to attract capital and develop the very large amount of new production infrastructure required.
Australia is facing a similar outlook. Oil has been consumed in Australia three times faster than it has been discovered here for the past 7 years. The petroleum industry forecasts that the need to import oil will increase rapidly from the traditional 15% up to 60% of annual needs by 2010. This will have a negative balance of trade impact of $7–8 billion p.a.”

The Western Australia government has released its Sustainability Strategy — Hope for the Future.

The International Energy Agency has launched a dedicated site to cover oil issues and news.

The 2003 BP Statistical Review of World Energy has been published, including an Energy Charting Tool and detailed world production data. Australian production has decreased since 2000, as predicted by industry. So has world production overall.

George Monbiot Discusses Oil Depletion with Phillip Adams (ABC’s Late Night Live, 24/07/2003)
(Real Audio file)

ASPO Newsletter — July — Russia
Includes a brief article by Brian Fleay, an Australian oil commentator.

Natural Gas Crisis (From The Wilderness, 23/6/03)
A paper by Dale Allen Pfeiffer on the worsening situation in North America. “Fertilizer Prices Up 55%; US Chemical Industry Suffering — Jobs at Risk; Cities Facing Brownouts; The Shape of Things to Come”

The Petroleum Plateau (MuseLetter, No. 135 — May 2003)
by Richard Heinberg

Interview with James Howard Kunstler (Global Public Media, 7.3.03)
Discussing suburbia as an endangered species (in the light of oil peak & human social needs). Kunstler is a trenchant critic of the US suburban disaster, author of Geography of Nowhere, Home From Nowhere, & most recently The City In Mind, which considered examples of both fine & failed cities across the planet.
“…the fabric of our daily life, the suburban cul-de-sacs, the strip malls, the parking lagoons, the commercial highway strips, you know, all the stuff that Americans are familiar with as the daily setting of their lives, really does not lend itself to retro-fitting for a different kind of future, for a more energy efficient future, or a different kind of energy future.
“I think that the story of the 21st century is going to be about the re-localization of American life, a tremendous need to reconstruct local networks of economic interdependence, including the occupational niches and social roles that went with them, which were systematically destroyed by the kind of cheap oil behavior that spawned activities like Wal-Mart and all of its imitators.”

The yawning heights — looking out from the great oil peak (Letter From Earth, Jan 2003)
A series of Internet radio talks by Julian Darley for general distribution and syndication.

General Knowledge in the Post-Carbon Age (Lecture by Julian Darley to MENSA, Vancouver, Canada, 10.11.02)

Why America Is Running Out of Gas (Time Magazine, 21 July 2003)

ASPO, ODAC see conventional oil producton peaking by 2010 (Oil and Gas Journal Online, 16 June 2003)

The worldwide oil and natural gas industry faces increasing challenges in replacing reserves and growing production, according to 2002 statistics from the Merrill Lynch Global Securities Research & Economics Group. Recently, companies have announced missed production targets and have slashed 2003 production forecasts. Merrill Lynch publishes views on worldwide oil and natural gas industry (36321,

Let‘s turn world fuel crisis around (Douglas Low, Edinburgh Evening News, 24 May 2003)

Taming the Oil Beast (John Carey, Business Week, 24 February 2003)

The Oil Endgame (Mark Sardella, Research Director, Southwest Energy Institute, 15 October 2002)

The Future of the Oil and Gas Industry: Past Approaches, New Challenges (Harry J. Longwell, Director & Executive Vice President, Exxon Mobil Corporation, )

End of the Fossil-Fuel Era (Jeremy Rifkin, The Washington Post, 26 September 2002)

Analysts claim early peak in world oil production (Oil & Gas Journal, 12 August 2002)

ASPO, ODAC see conventional oil producton peaking by 2010 (Oil and Gas Journal Online, 16 June 2003)

Why Societies Collapse: Jared Diamond at Princeton University (ABC’s Background Briefing, 12.1.03)

Oil and the politics of war (ABC’s Lateline, 5/2/2003)

Bush Energy Adviser Discusses Oil Production Peak at Conference (ASPO website, 12.6.03)
Matthew Simmons
, an investment banker, energy analyst, and energy advisor to the Bush Administration, discussed the peak of world oil production at a recent conference by ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas): “the worry that peaking is at hand; not years away”.

Alan Greenspan Raises Energy at Testimony
US Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, has raised energy prices as a concern for the US (and therefore the world) economy at a recent testimony to a congress committee:
‘Although forward-looking indicators are mostly positive, downside risks to the business outlook are also apparent, including the partial rebound in energy costs and some recent signs that aggregate demand may be flagging among some of our important trading partners. Oil prices, after dropping sharply in March on news that the Iraqi oil fields had been secured, have climbed back above $30 per barrel as market expectations for a quick return of Iraqi production appear to have been overly optimistic given the current security situation.
Also worrisome is the rise in natural gas prices. Natural gas accounts for a substantial portion of total unit energy costs of production among nonfinancial, non-energy-producing firms. And as I noted in testimony last week, futures markets anticipate that the current shortage in natural gas will persist well into the future. Although they project a near-term modest decline from highly elevated levels, contracts written for delivery in 2009 in excess of $4.50 per million Btu are still at double the levels that had been contemplated when much of our existing gas-using capital stock was put in place.’

US backs down on representative council for Iraq (SMH, 10.7.03)

BBC Looks at Iraq in Light of Oil Depletion (BBC2, 36244)
The advocates of war insist it’s not about oil. But global oil production is on the brink of terminal decline and when the West begins to run short of supplies — Iraq could be a lifeline.

Energy Crisis Will Hit Transport (Sustainable Transport Coalition, 36319)

The Iraq factor (The Economist, 13.6.03)
“The first contracts for the sale of Iraqi oil since the end of the war have been concluded. Will exports from Iraq complicate OPEC’s efforts to control the price of oil?”

Reconstructing the Middle East — But it all depends on Iraq (The Economist, 26.6.03)

Paris Peak Oil Conference Reveals Deepening Crisis (ASPO)
May 30, 2003, PARIS – Research presented on May 26th and 27th at the French Institute for Petroleum (IFP) by a wide variety of experts from varying and often competitive perspectives disclosed that, in the year since the first conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) supply, constraints have worsened and the realities of energy depletion are becoming more apparent. A year of violent political history centered on oil and ever-more unforgiving production results have begun to force reluctant political and economic acknowledgement of Peak Oil’s threat to civilization. Yet ASPO’s founder, Professor Colin Campbell, and his colleagues, retired TotalFinaElf Exploration Manager, Jean Laherrère, and Physics Professor, Kjell Aleklett, have good reason to be pleased with the second-ever ASPO conference. Hundred and fifty people from more than twenty countries attended this year, doubling attendance for the inaugural event held last May in Uppsala, Sweden. In an acknowledgement of Peak Oil’s penetration of official consciousness, the event was partially subsidized by the French Institute for Petroleum, the oil services firm Schlumberger, and the French oil giant, Total. The fact that it was held at a government institution was, according to Campbell, evidence of the fact that Peak Oil can no longer be completely ignored, even by politicians.
See Conference Procedeedings

Hydrogen Use Conference Held in Broome (ABC Radio National — Business Report)
“The car manufacturers I think have understood that they depend to 99% on petrol. That petrol probably will not be as cheaply available in the future as it has been in the past, due to very simple facts. It looks like we go to the maximum of cheap oil production world-wide, and secondly we have a lot of emerging countries like China, India, Indonesia, Latin America; who get motorised, and it’s not very likely that they will get motorised on existing cheap available petrol fuel to be made available in a timely manner.
“So those car companies over the last five, six years, have realised that hydrogen can be a way out, and simply due to the fact hydrogen has the maximum feedstock flexibility. You can produce it from fossil sources, but you also can produce it from all renewable sources.”

Western Australia: Beyond Oil?
Government, business and community groups meet to examine how to deal with shrinking world oil supplies. “The WA Government is leading Australia, and possibly the world, in acknowledging world oil vulnerability and our role in contributing to growing oil consumption.” Beyond Oil will include discussion by WA State Government ministers and bureaucrats about practical policies to begin reducing our oil dependency. Companies such as BP and Wesfarmers EnergyLtd will look at how business can lead the development and adoption of alternative energies.

The unrepentant oilman (The Economist, 13/3/03)
"Unlike many of his rivals, Exxon’s Lee Raymond thinks oil is unambiguously good"

The oil industry — A convenient war, perhaps (The Economist, 6.3.03)

The evil empire of oil addicts — A Nick Possum Adventure
This adventurous investigator looks at Iraq and oil.

Western Australia: Beyond Oil?
Government, business and community groups meet to examine how to deal with shrinking world oil supplies. “The WA Government is leading Australia, and possibly the world, in acknowledging world oil vulnerability and our role in contributing to growing oil consumption.” Beyond Oil will include discussion by WA State Government ministers and bureaucrats about practical policies to begin reducing our oil dependency. Companies such as BP and Wesfarmers EnergyLtd will look at how business can lead the development and adoption of alternative energies.

Oil becomes prime battle target (SMH, 4.3.03)

Robert Fisk Interview (Late Night Live — ABC Radio National, 28.2.03)

Hydrogen power (The Economist, 13.2.03)

Energy and the environment — A greener Bush (The Economist, 13.2.03)

War ‘would mean biggest oil shock ever’ (The Observer, 2.2.03)

War on Iraq: The USA-Europe split (Late Night Live, ABC Radio National, 27/1/03)

SUVs: Weapons of Mass Destruction? — The Detroit Project
An American group that is challenging drivers to reflect on the relationship between their 4WDs (SUVs) and funding of terrorism. They’ve created “a campaign to create a series of TV ads designed to win the hearts and minds -- and change the driving habits -- of American consumers by asking them to connect the dots and think about the effect energy wastefulness is having not just on the environment, but on our foreign policy.”
They have an interesting FAQ.

Oil behind annihilation plan, warns ex-UN official (SMH, 27.1.03)
“A former UN official warned in Baghdad today that the US and UK were ready to "annihilate" Iraqi society in order to control the country’s oil wealth. Meanwhile, a Pentagon adviser claimed the French were trying to undermine the US to protect their own oil interests in Iraq.”

How oil corrupts (The Economist, 23.1.03)
São Tomé is about to strike oil. Bad luck, perhaps.

Car wars (The Guardian, 18.1.03)
The US economy needs oil like a junkie needs heroin — and Iraq will supply its next fix.

Occupying The Iraqi Oil Fields, Or How America Restores Its International Credit Rating, by by Marshall Auerback (, 14/1/2003)

Crude gesture (The Economist, 13.1.03)

Our Options on Iraq — A SMH Cartoon (SMH, 13.1.03)

Iraqi oil may be taken as ‘spoil of war’ (SMH, 11.1.03)

Fields of dreams — On Caspian Oil and Politics (The Economist, 9.1.03)

Weapons of Mass Consumption (SMH Moir Cartoon, 9.1.03)
A visual commentary on war on Iraq.

UK signals push to secure Iraqi oilfields (SMH, 8/1/03)
“In London, the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, told a meeting of 150 British ambassadors that security of energy sources was a key priority of current British foreign policy… some British ministers and officials say privately that oil is more important in the calculation than weapons of mass destruction.”

There’s no denying the obvious, but look at the possibilities (SMH, 7/1/03)
"An occupation of Iraq which served merely to fuel 4WDs would be immoral"

Missing strategy a ‘black hole’ (SMH, 6/1/03)
"The push is on for a long-term plan to ensure that western Sydney can flourish in population and lifestyle."

Pumping up the price (The Economist, 3/1/03)
"The oil price began 2003 at a two-year high thanks to moves by OPEC, a strike in Venezuela and impending war with Iraq. Will the black stuff grow even more expensive over the next few months?"

Defence redefined means securing cheap energy (SMH, 26.12.02)
“Behind George Bush’s high-minded rhetoric on why America may go to war with Iraq is a long history of weighing the price of securing its oil supplies.”

Defence redefined means securing cheap energy (SMH, 26.12.02)
“Behind George Bush’s high-minded rhetoric on why America may go to war with Iraq is a long history of weighing the price of securing its oil supplies.”

It’s time we got back in the saddle (The Herald, 18/12/02)
An opinion piece calling Scots to get on their bikes.

Iraq, Venezuela spark oil shock fears (ABC’s The World Today — 17/12/2002)
"some fear we could be heading for a new, contemporary energy crisis"

Gridlocked Britain (The Economist, 12/12/02)
“Within a year of the M25 being widened, traffic nearly doubled between Junctions 9 and 10, wiping out any benefits….a big road-building programme without road pricing is as ludicrous as giving a heroin addict a last fix… Transport pundits pretty much all agree that charging is the way to go. Now even the road lobby has come round to the view that demand for scarce road space has to be managed”.

Hydrogen Economy (ABC Radio National Breakfast, 31/10/02)

Mobile Metropolis Forum (ABC’s Comfort Zone, 1/12/01)
“Car dependence is oil dependence, and when fuel goes up the value of fringe properties immediately goes down. The onset of the world peak in oil production, which is now quite clear, is with us, and increased dependence on Middle Eastern oil is there. Suburbia therefore has a long-term question mark over it, and particularly after September 11.”

Why Blair is an appeaser (George Monbiot column on The Guardian, 5.11.02)
“Britain plays poodle partly because the US is stitching up the world’s oil supplies”

Energy Prices (SMH, 4/12/02)
An example of the price elasticity of energy (meaning that a small change in the supply of energy causes a huge change in its price). Recently, due to the bushfires in the Transgrid easements the supply of electricity fell below demand. The wholesale spot price rose from $35 per MWhr to $3895. The price of oil is famously elastic: yet another reason to reduce our dependence on the sticky stuff.

CSIRO warns of drastic curbs on the good life (SMH, 4/11/02)
Warns of oil shortages from 2015 and natural gas shortages from 2030.

Saudi Arabia and the US: Deadly Contradictions (ABC Background Briefing, 20/10/02)

Why Societies Collapse: Jared Diamond at Princeton University (ABC Background Briefing, 27/10/02)

Oiling or spoiling the recovery? (The Economist, 8.4.02)

All blowing over? (The Economist, 11.4.02)

America and the Arabs (The Economist, 21/Mar/2002)

Survey: The Gulf (The Economist, 21/Mar/2002)

What Americans have learnt — and not learnt — since 9/11 (The Age Opinion, 7/9/02)

BP head issues warning over Iraq (ABC The World Today, 1/11/02)
“The head of Britain’s most powerful oil company, BP, has just issued a warning to the Bush administration not to carve up Iraqi oil interests for its own companies after any war there.” It reflects “anxiety that the Bush administration really intends to use the occupation of Iraq to turn Iraq into an American oil supply enterprise.”

Don’t mention the O-word (The Economist, 12/9/02)
“Sheikh Zaki Yamani, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister during the shocks of the 1970s, gave warning last week that if America invades Iraq, Mr Hussein could attack Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and so send oil prices to $100 a barrel.”

Saudi Arabia and the US: Deadly Contradictions (ABC Background Briefing, 20/10/02)

Why Societies Collapse: Jared Diamond at Princeton University (ABC Background Briefing, 27/10/02)

Do We Still Need the Saudis? (Time Magazine, Sunday, Jul. 28, 2002)
“Oil has sustained the alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia for decades. But extremism in the kingdom is putting those ties to the test”

Oil — Depletion and Denial (ABC’s Late Night Live with Phillip Adams, 5/11/2001)

Fossil-fuelled boom times are close to running out of steam (SMH, 24.9.01)

Transport (ABC Earthbeat,12/09/98)
“What I think we have to realise is that the world is entering a new era in the next century we are sort of leaving what’s called the golden age of oil and we’re entering a period where world oil production is going to peak and world oil production will then be in decline. And what is going to happen is the price of oil is going to escalate. There will be manoeuvering at a political level between countries to secure oil supplies and it is the potential actual conflict in the Middle East as this manoeuvering takes place. What is going to happen is China, being a large country, is going to come head on in competition with all the other big oil consumers around the world to try and get their share of oil. It simply will prove, I believe, just far too expensive and far too problematic to secure that level of oil just to run automobiles around cities very wastefully.”


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