"My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet-plane. His son will ride a camel."
Saudi Arabian saying
«Humanity is approaching an unprecedented crisis when not enough oil and gas will be produced to keep industrial civilisation running, the world's top oilmen warned last week.
The warning – which is being hailed as a "tipping point" on both sides of the Atlantic – marks the first time that the industry has accepted that it may soon no longer be able to meet demand for its products. In "Facing the Hard Truths about Energy" (sumário do relatório a verde), it gives authoritative support to concern about impending shortages, following a similar alert by the International Energy Agency less than two weeks ago.
The 420-page report, the most comprehensive study ever carried out into the industry, has been produced by the National Petroleum Council, a body of 175 authorities that reports to the US government. It includes the heads of the world's big oil companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum, Shell and BP.
It is also remarkable for the conversion of its chairman, Lee Raymond, the recently retired chief executive of ExxonMobil, who led opposition against action to tackle global warming, and became environmentalists' most prominent bogeyman. The report argues for "an effective global framework" to manage emissions of carbon dioxide – "incorporating all major emitters" – and urges the US to cut the pollution that causes climate change.
The report concludes that "the global supply of oil and natural gas from the conventional sources ... is unlikely to meet ... growth in demand over the next 25 years". It says that "many observers think that 80 per cent of existing oil production will need to be replaced by 2030" to keep up present supplies "in addition to volumes required to meet existing demand." But, it adds, there are "accumulating risks to replacing current production and increasing supplies".
Though vast amounts of oil and gas remain underground, "complex challenges" and "global uncertainties" are likely to put an end to "the sufficient, reliable and economic energy supplies upon which people depend". And the crunch could come sooner, with oil production becoming "a significant challenge as early as 2015". This chimes with the International Energy Agency's prediction that oil supplies could become "extremely tight" in five years.
The predictions should send a shiver down humanity's collective spine as a shortage of oil and gas has been predicted to cause industrial collapse, market crashes, resource wars and a rise in poverty. Some forecast that fascist regimes will rise out of the chaos.
Chris Skrebowski, editor of the Energy Institute's Petroleum Review, said the report's publication showed the industry "'fessing up that it really has a problem on its hands". Until now, he said, "companies, full of share options, have been terrified of frightening the markets" by revealing the truth.
The report says the fuel efficiency of cars should be increased "at the maximum rate possible" and there should be a crackdown on 4x4s. It calls for "aggressive energy efficiency standards for buildings, and measures to "set an effective cost for emitting carbon dioxide" to combat global warming.» Artigo retirado do jornal "The Independent"
Análise ao Relatório no Energy Bulletin.