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Pepperel Attends Oil And Gas Depletion Conference


Councillor Pepperel Attends Oil And Gas Depletion Conference

The imminent decline of the world's oil and gas supplies was discussed at the National Convention of the RunningOnEmptyNZ research group last Sunday, 23 November in Miramar. Wellington City Councillor Brian Pepperell attended to consider the implications for Wellington and New Zealand.

The group is forecasting that New Zealand and most other countries will, within this decade, face dramatic increases in the price of natural gas, petrol, diesel and other forms of energy.

OIL AND GAS WELLS EMPTYING

Quoting evidence from the Hubbert School for Petroleum Studies in Colorado and other authorities, the Moderator, Mr. Bruce Thomson, explained that there had been a global peak in oil discoveries in 1960, and that for the past forty years, the amount of oil discovered has consistently declined despite all technological innovations.

"At present the world consumes four barrels of oil for each barrel discovered. Most of it's from oil fields discovered decades ago. Within this decade, even those fields will start declining forever, beginning fierce international competition for the dwindling oil, and very high prices," said Mr. Thomson.

There were comparisons with the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, but this time there would not be a restoration of supply. In those crises, the shortages were political action, but this time the oil wells were in final, permanent decline. Another speaker, Robert Atack, who runs a website www.OilCrash.com, reported that natural gas was also about to decline in North America according to Matthew Simons, who is a prominent investment banker and advisor to George W. Bush. New Zealand's Maui gas is expected to be depleted in about 2007 according to the Natural Gas Holdings Corporation (NGC).

PREPARATIONS

At the meeting Mr. Pepperell conferred with the group about best preparatory measures. It was agreed that the energy decline problem needed exposure when transport and roading plans were proposed, because scarcity and high price of fuels would reduce traffic. "Asphalt is created out of crude oil too", said Mr. Pepperell. "It is already becoming a problem because of increasing cost."

Localizing business activities would help protect companies from insupportable costs for fuels. Because the problem was global, imported goods would become much more expensive than local alternatives. Agriculture would be affected because soil productivity was currently magnified several times by fertilizers created out of natural gas.

In general it was agreed that the media had not covered the issue much, despite its serious implications to the public. This was changing though, as news emerged of the Maui gas field expiring, and the USA's motives for invading Afghanistan and Iraq were questioned internationally.

The group has a website summarizing their views, at http://www.geocities.com/RunningOnEmptyNZ

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