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Scoop Link: Kevin Drum - Crude Awakening


Crude Awakening

The only hope for meeting growing world demand for oil, say experts, is to tap Saudi Arabia's reserves. A Bush advisor on energy says those reserves don't exist.
By Kevin Drum
June 2005 - Washington Monthly

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As recently as a few years ago, only two groups of people were interested in the arid subject of oil depletion. The first was Texas oil moguls and their lobbyists who roamed the halls of Congress searching out ever juicier tax breaks from our elected representatives. The second was a tiny group of cranks and conspiracy theorists who not only wrote for Scientific American but also frequented the sparsely inhabited corners of the Internet and begged the world to pay attention to the obscure topic of “peak oil”—whether the world wanted to pay attention or not. Fast forward to 2005, and the oil moguls haven't changed much. The peak oil cranks, on the other hand, are cranks no longer. In fact, they've practically become rock stars. Half a dozen books on the subject have come out in the last two years, and magazines from Rolling Stone to National Geographic also have published articles on the subject. The “end of oil” is suddenly a hot topic.

It's not hard to understand the change. As the 1990s came to a close, the world was awash in oil. Oil company executives counted themselves lucky to get 10 bucks for a barrel of crude oil, and analysts were predicting that even this price might be cut in half. Forever. When former oil executive Colin Campbell, the dean of the peak oil doomsayers, warned that the end of cheap oil was only a few years away, he was easy to dismiss. After all, hadn't he said the same thing five years before? And five years before that?

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