The Wages of Denial
1st April, 2003
We are all about to pay the price of ignoring the coming energy famine. By David Fleming
It has been known for a long time that there would be oil trouble around the turn of the century. A Blueprint for Survival told us so in 1972. The warning came again in a paper by the UK Department of Energy in 1976, and in the Global Report to the President (1980). And there was something else they agreed on: it would take many years to develop new sources of energy on the necessary scale, so the sooner it started, the better. Fortunately, there was a period of grace – some 25 years – to begin to take effective action.
Nobody blinked. America, having watched its own oil pass its peak in 1971, simply started to buy it in. It now imports most of its oil, as do most other nations. The world’s main supplier is Saudi Arabia, which, thanks to its super-giant Ghawar oilfield, has on its own been able to keep the world supplied with nearly 15 per cent of its steadily growing demand. However, the period of grace is now over.
The new situation has been researched in detail by a small group of geologists with careers in the flourishing oil industry of the 1960s and 1970s. The person who did most to make possible an accurate view of the global future of oil and gas was the late Harry Wassall,...
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