Peak Oil News: Oil and the Three Wise Monkeys

Monday, April 18, 2005

Oil and the Three Wise Monkeys

Resource Investor

 Ross Louthean

PERTH ( -- The two most powerful industries in the world today are technology and the oil and gas sector and by 2020 the former may not be secure and the latter will have undergone significant change.

A left field keynote paper at the Australian Petroleum Producers Association (APPEA) in Perth said that by 2020 70% of the types of jobs existing in the world today won’t exist because 80% of technology has not yet been imagined.

Futurist Anni Macbeth told the audience that every five seconds there is a new web site, every five minutes a new technology developed, every day there are 15 million new web pages and every five days a new product or service.

The Canadian said that the amount of change happening in one day is what our grandparents saw in a year.

The three monkeys she saw for the oil and gas industry as being: Oil companies – hear no evil; governments and international agencies – see no depletion; and all agree it would be best to – talk no depletion.

She provided graphs from a series of agencies including Energy Files Ltd’s projection in April last year by Douglas-Westwoods Ltd that global oil supply could peak in 2012 on known reserves, affected by both OPEC and non-OPEC oil peaking along with deepwater oil and the only increasing buffer being oil sands.

China’s voracious appetite for energy and resources could see indigenous oil set for the slippery slide before 2010, based on the discovery rate to date.

Australia’s forecast oil production is moving into a big taper, mainly with the rundown of Bass Strait reserves.

She cited Chris Skrebowski of the Institute of Petroleum on asking questions about why oil depletion forecasts are being played down.

“Do you wish to kill your career, head the redundancy list, be blamed for starting the panic?,” Skrewbowski reportedly asked.

Macbeth said everyone agrees change is inevitable and the choice for those in the petroleum industry is to understand the forces of change or to be a “victim of (the) future.”

What is helping influence change is the breaking of 200 years of economic dominance by Europe and North America to where the sphere of influence is swinging to the Western Pacific Rim. Culturally, there has been a swing from Christian domination of 500 years to a more Confuscian-Islam influence, though Macbeth noted that an estimated 2 billion watched the televised coverage of the Pope’s funeral, a man who embraced other religions.

The bringer of change are the four generations who were categorised as:

Baby Boomers: Aged between 45-60 years who were into materialism, were economic rationalists, profit driven, had material values and science was their religion.
Generation X: 30-45 years who were clones of the boomers, materialists but aware of the need for sustainability.
Dotcoms: 15-30 years strongly into sustainability, had a global identity, were into co-opitalism and relationships and were for holistic win-win-win scenarios. They were also part of what were the “cluetrain manifesto where the marketplace is a conversation.
The Ferals: 0-15 years who see no limits, no boundaries, a parallel universe, live on the internet where they gain perceptions and create their world.

Macbeth said she was unaware what ferals meant in Australia until a farmer explained that you either shoot or poison them.

As an impact on the energy industry the ferals would see values shifting towards sustainability, more cooperation than competition. The changing generations would mean for Australia’s energy industry a need to look at values shifting to sustainability, closer relationships with Asian partners, economic rationalist power and “she’ll be right, mate” science.

A cartoon she used to illustrate the thinking of ferals showed two young girls playing on a beach sandcastle with one saying: “I’m never having kids. I hear they take nine months to download.”


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