Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Before the wars

Are we seeing the prelude to the Oil Wars?

Some (possibly connected) facts:
  • President Obama last week said the US will reduce oil imports by 33% by 2021.
  • Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, & Mexico are saving their oil for their own economic growth.
  • China has four years of its own oil at current rates. India has almost none.
  • A current urban myth in the US is that the equivalent of "three Saudi Arabias" is in oil shale in the northern Rockies.
  • In fact this "oil" is a wax that needs lots of energy to cook it into oil.
  • The NYT recently announced that the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast has 3.8 billion barrels of oil.
  • The US uses 7 billion barrels of oil a year.
  • This equates to 20 million barrels a day.
  • Proven reserves of US natural gas amount to 4-6 years at current rates.
  • Natural gas heats the majority of US homes and businesses.
Who wants to predict the main item of US foreign policy in 2020? Doesn't take much thought, does it? Once the people who live 70km outside Minneapolis or Miami have to pay for $US200/barrel oil to get to work, we'll see the era of Happy Motoring vanish before our eyes. And when it blows snow across the plains in January while they debate whether to turn the heating back on, watch the resentment grow. After a winter without oil, the US would invade Norway if they thought they could get away with it. I suspect the Norwegians would win.

And how about the energy policy of that clever little nation down under, New Zealand - they'll do something innovative and intelligent, won't they? Oh no, more fossil fuel developments? It's OK, it's just the National Party having one of its head-in-the-sand days.

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