Latest on peak oil

Well actually it’s not the latest because this story was published on Monday, but…

It seems the world is much closer to running out of (extractable) oil than official estimates have been admitting.

[Question: If officials admitted we were close to running out of oil, what do you think would happen? Is it in their interest to tell us?
Alternatively, if they don’t tell us, and then we run out, what happens next? Is that a better outcome for them?]

Oil Production ForecastA senior official at the International Energy Agency has claimed that there has been a deliberate policy of under-playing the coming shortages, for fear of triggering panic buying.

The USA, allegedly, “played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.”

The British Government, meanwhile, has long been using IEA statistics rather than producing figures of its own, and their position has consistently been that there is little threat to long term oil supplies.

MP John Hemming, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on peak oil and gas, says the revelations confirm his suspicions that the IEA have underplayed how quickly the world was running out of oil. This clearly has profound implications for government energy policy.

Colin Campbell, a former executive with Total of France told a conference: “If the real [oil reserve] figures were to come out there would be panic on the stock markets … in the end that would suit no one.”

You can read the Guardian story in full here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/09/peak-oil-international-energy-agency

That page also includes an audio interview you can listen to here:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/audio/2009/nov/10/oil-international-energy-agency?popup=true

There is also a rather excellent ‘Energy’ section, here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/energy

And one on Oil here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/oil

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