From The Wilderness Publications
By Michael C. Ruppert
I had a horrible experience the other night. It was brief but it knocked me on my butt for a second. We were at my engagement dinner (that's right, I'm getting married to a wonderful woman next Spring). One of our guests looked at me and said, "You know, I just don’t believe in Peak Oil. It's in the media every day now and I never believe what I see in the mainstream media."
It was not the time to talk back. That night was a celebration with a wonderful group of friends. Maybe now I can say what I was thinking. The following story from the Financial Times makes it essential.
Look, you have no idea how hard so many people have worked to get Peak Oil into the mainstream media; or for how many years; or at what price. I am a newcomer. I’ve only been at it for about four years. M. King Hubbert started in 1956. Ken Deffeyes, Colin Campbell, Richard Duncan, Walter Youngquist, Jay Hanson and others have been trying to get people to listen for decades.
It’s easy to admit something that can no longer be concealed: the proverbial elephant in the room. But to admit only half the truth is a damnable lie and it further endangers the lives and safety of billions and I’ll be damned if I’ll shut up or be politically correct.
Big Oil tells us that actual peak is further away than we know it to be. And the fact that in some cases they are even acknowledging a possible peak in three to five years means that it’s probably here right now. Remember Karen Silkwood?
Big Oil tells us that the problem is basically solvable. It is not. In the present reality, mankind is faced with only a partial chance of success in a desperate bid to soften the blow.
Big Oil makes this startling admission now, when just two years ago their annual reports to shareholders and press releases painted a completely different picture. In fact, they flatly contradict what Big Oil is saying today. Do the shareholders care? If we had a real SEC, it might care. Hail Caesar!
Big Oil tells us this now, when they are sitting – and I mean sitting – on mountains of cash that could actually be saving lives. It was Big Oil that lobbied to have American mass transit systems ripped up and destroyed in the 1950s. It was Big Oil and chemical companies like Monsanto that laid waste our farmland and our seed stock. Monsanto and other large corporations have actually patented living things. It was Big Oil that took away the American people’s basic knowledge of farming and gave us unfarmable pavement. It was Big Oil that unleashed a global warming which now breathes down our necks like a hungry Saber-toothed tiger.
Noticed any hurricanes lately? Been a little warm this summer? Heard of any blackouts anywhere? If this winter is cold you’d better know something about cold weather survival and candle making. Global warming does that by the way. It starts Ice Ages that spread rapidly. FTW will soon be offering a book for sale that shows that one ice age cold snap enveloped Europe in less than a year about 11,000 years ago. The book is dramatically understated about “anthropogenic” tinkering with the environment. Mankind is, at minimum, accelerating a mechanism that was already in place.
My fianc�e, who is finishing a Master’s degree in Ecological Agriculture, casually said something to me yesterday, almost in passing. It was profound:
“Isn’t it possible that Mother Earth is developing a fever to rid herself of an infection?”
In a slightly more rational world, Big Oil’s money could be providing tax write-offs while at the same time being poured into a crash program for “remedial” energy sources before it’s too late. That money could be used to rebuild America’s railroads. That, more than anything, could save tens of millions of lives in the next fifteen years.
Nothing will replace oil and gas and we are now seeing that clearly. There is no more serious oil left to find or extract, even at a ridiculous cost. Has anyone noticed that the whole world is rushing to buy into the Canadian tar sands? China is already there. Now France’s Total is buying in. If there were anyplace else to go for oil, people, countries and corporations would be rushing there. We need three new Saudi Arabias today just to replace the impossible-to-hide-anymore global decline rates, especially in Norway, Indonesia and Mexico. They aren’t there. The world has not discovered a single 500 million-barrel field for more than two years. A 500 million barrel (“mega-”) field is conservatively just 1/500th of the estimated oil in Saudi Arabia that might be recoverable as of today.
Big Oil is lying about a lot. Most assuredly it will do everything possible to conceal and mislead about its responsibility for placing the entire human race in jeopardy and getting us into this mess in the first place.
Or, when the new energy bill is signed by George W. Bush, Big Oil might just start buying up (along with Warren Buffet) every major power and water utility in the country. They will be allowed to do that now for the first time since the Great Depression. Then – with the help of PROMIS software – Big Oil just might shut off the power selectively to any Enemies of the State it wishes: especially those who are too loud.
This new advertising is bullshit and no one should mistake it for any kind of victory or any reason to slack off and take a break.
© Copyright 2005, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.
Big Oil warns of coming energy crunch
Carola Hoyos in London
August 4 2005
International oil companies have advertising campaigns warning that the world is running out of oil and calling on the public to help the industry do something about it.
Most of the executives ofThe world's five largest energy groups generally maintain that oil projects are viable with the price at which they test a project’s viability is within the around $20 a barrel. range. But their advertising and some of their companies' own statistics appear to tell a different story. [FTW reprints this damaged paragraph exactly as it appears on the Financial Times website. – FTW]
ExxonMobil, the world's largest energy group, said in a recent advertisement: “The world faces enormous energy challenges. There are no easy answers.” And the companies' statistics back up the sentiment. In The Outlook for Energy: A 2030 View, the Irving, Texas-based company forecasts that oil production outside the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the cartel that controls three-quarters of the world's oil reserves, will reach its peak in just five years.
Chevron, the US's second-largest energy group, sends a similar message, but goes two steps further. “One thing is clear: The era of easy oil is over. We call upon scientists and educators, politicians and policy-makers, environmentalists, leaders of industry and each one of you to be part of reshaping the next era of energy. Inaction is not an option,” was the message in a recent advertising campaign. The company has even set up a website, www.willyoujoinus.com, warning of the pressures of high demand and fewer fields and offering a forum of discussion.
A recent simulation exercise showed that, even with passage of an energy bill, the US has few tools to counter a sudden reduction in supply.
One senior executive at an oil company not involved in the advertising campaigns speculated that his counterparts were attempting to buy themselves some slack to go after the messier, more expensive, dirty oil. Another executive said it may buy some sympathy for the difficulty many companies are having in growing developing [sic] their production and reserves.
Total, the French oil company, this week made the latest acquisition in Canada's vast Athabasca oil sands, where companies are extracting extra tar-like bitumen from sand in an expensive and environmentally tricky mining operation.
Yves-Marie Dilibard, Total's director of communications, explaining the logic behind its campaign, said: “Tomorrow's energy needs mean developing new energy techniques, going further and deeper in the search of oil and gas. That's at the heart of Total's work today.”
Royal Dutch Shell and BP, Europe's biggest energy groups, have recently felt the effects of venturing into more difficult frontiers. Shell was forced by environmentalists to reroute a pipeline that threatened rare whales in Russia's arctic and last month warned of a $10bn (€8bn, £5.6bn) cost overrun at its Sakhalin project there. Meanwhile, BP battled with a platform in the deep waters of the US Gulf of Mexico that was severely bent by hurricane Dennis.
In its advertisements BP touts new energy alternatives, while ExxonMobil, which has unapologetically abandoned alternatives that have not been profitable, says in one advertisement: “Wishful thinking must not cloud real thinking.”
But answering the concerns of the consumer, even about the possible shortage of oil, is not the primary job of an oil company. Its most important stakeholders are its stock shareholders, some of whom have been left perplexed by the advertisements after hearing an altogether different message at last week's earnings conferences.
Neil McMahon, analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said: “We think these messages are at odds with the comments normally made to investors regarding future oil prices and the ability of producers to meet demand, and we wonder if perhaps those messages are actually a better indicator of the companies’ thinking.”
Consumers are also not the primary concern of an even more important group: the national oil companies of producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has as its first priority its growing population and the stability of the regime. This – together with the increased difficulty of finding new oil – is part of the reason for the capacity crunch, analysts and executives agree.
No amount of advertising is likely to change that dynamic.