by Jerome a Paris
Mon Mar 29th, 2010 at 03:04:18 AM EST
Washington considers a decline of world oil production as of 2011
The U.S. Department of Energy admits that “a chance exists that we may experience a decline” of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 “if the investment is not there”, according to an exclusive interview with Glen Sweetnam, main official expert on oil market in the Obama administration.
This is rather striking news, even if if comes only from an interview with a blogger, and it shows that medium term availability oil remains a fundamental preoccupation. With oil prices trading in a fairly narrow range for almost a year now, far from its recent highs and lows, the topic has seemingly completely disappeared from media attention, but the mere fact that oil stayed at $70-80 (a price unheard of just 3 years ago) in the face of a savage recession, with unprecedented falls in energy demand, should in itself be a warning. There was another significant tidbit last week:
Energy minister will hold summit to calm rising fears over peak oil
Lord Hunt, the energy minister, is to meet industrialists in London [on Monday 22 March] in a bid to calm mounting fears about the disruption that could follow a sudden shortage of oil supplies.
In a significant policy shift, the government has agreed to undertake more work on whether the UK needs to take action to avoid the massive dislocation that could be caused by the early onset of "peak oil" – the point that marks the start of terminal decline in global oil production.
But this has not triggered widespread awareness so far. Oil companies and their faithful servants like CERA have managed to deflect the attention through the notion of "peak demand," ie the idea that production could, but will not need to, rise because demand will be lower. Tales of energy abundance have once again been pushed following the boom in shale gas production last year, despite doubts that this can be sustained.
Stay tuned for oil to get back in the news, though.