North Americans are putting a lot of energy into getting
angry over the price of gas these days. Oil companies are ripping us off.
Enough is enough. We’re being fleeced. It’s all a scam.
Well I’ve got news for you. You ain’t seen nothing yet!
We are past “peak oil” and this is what the future looks,
only much worse.
In 2005 Matthew Simmons wrote a pivotal book on peak oil
called “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World
Economy.” Simmons was an energy investment
banker who also served on George W. Bush’s Energy Working Group. He spent a
great deal of time and energy looking at the research done by geologists from
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest producer of crude oil. For years the Saudis
had denied that there was any problem with their ability to supply endless
cheap oil, but Simmons disagreed. He looked at the reports that their
geologists presented at conferences and realized that the problems they were
discussing indicated that their wells were starting to slow down. When this
happens you start pumping water in to push out what oil remains and their main
well, Ghawar, the largest oil well ever discovered, was having massive amounts
of seawater pumped into it to extract oil. Since the Saudi oil company Saudi
Aramco is owned by the government, they are not required to tell anyone how
much they have and there is proof that their numbers are heavily fabricated.
Simmons was part of a growing number of geologists and other
people who work in the oil industry that are starting to talk about peak oil.
They formed the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) http://www.peakoil.net/ People in the
mainstream media and the oil industry often lumped these professionals in with
the tin-foil hat crowd who suggested the Apollo space landing was filmed on a
sound stage. When you mentioned peak oil you’d often be referred to as one of
those “peak oil nuts.”
The implications of the world hitting peak oil are profound.
If you live in suburbia, commute to work, heat with a fossil fuel, buy your
groceries at a store that someone else has grown for you, peak oil is going to
change your life quite profoundly.
In one of his best interviews Simmons made the point that
the individuals who deny peak oil have vested interests in the status quo, with
carrying on business as usual. People like Simmons, who put forward the peak
oil theory, had nothing to gain. There was no way for them to profit from
warning the world about peak oil. They just realized the implications and felt
that they should ring the alarm bell.
Fatih Birol is the Chief Economist for the International
Energy Agency, the group that advises world governments about energy issues.
For years he denied the existence of Peak Oil. For years he assured the world
that we have nothing to worry about. He told the world to ignore those peak oil
doomsayers. Until 2008 the IEA basically denied that peak oil would ever
Then recently he completely changed direction and suggested
that Peak Oil had occurred in 2006. Huh? What about the tin foil hats, to keep
the aliens from reading those peak oil nuts’ brains? Did the alien rays get
through? Peak oil has happened? And not only did he admit that we’re past peak,
he suggested that it would have been good if governments had started planning
for it a decade ago. Huh? But a decade ago you said it would never happen! The
U.S. Government Department of Energy commissioned a report in 2006 by Hirsh http://www.energybulletin.net/node/12772
and he warned that the implications of peak oil on the U.S. economy would be so
profound that they should have started planning two decades before.
And yet here we are. We are past peak and no government has
even acknowledged it. The mainstream media won’t discuss it. That leaves people
screaming at the oil companies. It’s not the oil company’s fault that we’re
past peak oil. It’s also not their fault that people in China and India and all
over the world are buying cars and trying to emulate our North American
lifestyle. Do you ever, even for a second, stop to contemplate how much freedom
a gas-powered vehicle provides us? It’s unbelievable.
The fact is that the oil companies only control about 6% of
the oil that is out there. Government-run oil companies like Saudi Aramco, and
Petrobas in Brazil, and Gaz Prom and Lukoil in Russia, and Pemex in Mexico
control the rest. The reality is that they can’t control the price of oil. It’s
determined on world energy markets by forces greater than them. Look at me,
defending the oil companies! I’m not saying they would never hose us, or be
reckless and cause spills, I’m just saying, these things are out of their hands
You need to stop putting so much energy into complaining
about the price of gas today. A decade from now you’ll look back at 2011 as the
good old days of cheap gas. You’ll be driving a lot less. Your life will be
much different. It’s not because the oil companies conspired. It’s because
there was only so much oil created on this planet, and we’ve removed all the
easy stuff. The reason that they are drilling for oil 3 miles below the surface
of the Gulf of Mexico at the Macando oil field (the one that blew out last
summer) is because that’s all that’s left. It’s hard to get at and it’s
expensive to extract and it isn’t going to be cheap by the time it gets to your
local gas station.
You need to do is to start taking steps that will help
minimize the effects of peak oil on your family. When I wrote “Thriving
During Challenging Times” many people were
still telling me I was nut bar for even suggesting that peak oil would ever
happen. For years I’ve been giving workshops and telling my audiences that we
hit peak in 2005. Hundreds of people who looked at me quizzically can verify
this. Apparently, as out of step with reality I might have seemed at the time,
I was correct. I take no glee in knowing that I was right because it’s going to
mean profound changes in all of our lifestyles, including mine. You can either
put your energy into wishing it wasn’t so, or you can get proactive and start
taking steps to minimize its impact on you.
The truth was out there. The mainstream media wasn’t
providing you with that truth, and they continue to ignore it. The markets have
recognized peak oil and they are behaving rationally. You need to start
behaving rationally too, accept the new reality and get on with mitigating its
impact on you.
The Australian Broadcasting Company just did a great
“Catalyst” documentary on this topic. Take 12 minutes and watch it http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3201781.htm.
If you’ve never heard of peak
oil or doubt we’ll ever hit, it could the most important 12 minutes you’ll ever
spend.When you see
Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Airlines, telling you to start preparing, it
puts it in a whole new perspective.