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Peak oil and four principles of PR By Kurt Cobb

Peak oil activists and the mass media have had a rocky relationship. Activists often don’t understand how the media works and can’t fathom why reporters and editors are not better informed about energy issues. Those working in the media are constrained by the interests of their advertisers, their corporate owners and the necessity of focusing on ratings and circulation.

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The Problem of the Middle Way By Sharon Astyk

To everyone’s collective enormous relief, the IEA’s 2010 World Outlook reassured the world that while oil prices may rise and conventional crude oil production may have peaked in 2006, we don’t have to worry about dramatic, longer-term energy-price increases. IEA predicts a gradual creep towards $113 per barrel by 2035. By 2015, we do have to worry that we might get up to $90 per barrel, with the high costs that imposes on ordinary people and the burdensome effects on the economy, but we’ve got five years, we are assured.

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Review November 1, 2010

It was a rather quiet week with oil hovering around $82 a barrel and closing on Friday at $81.43. Large US crude inventories continue to keep a lid on prices as does the lack of much positive news on the economy. The oil markets continue to move along with the US dollar which is currently mired in the debate over whether another round of quantitative easing (QE2) by the Federal Reserve would lead to faster economic growth. Traders are concerned that QE2 could lead to a still weaker dollar and higher oil prices unrelated to the fundamentals of supply and demand. During the week the US dollar fell to a 15 year low against the yen.

France’s oil port strike was called off on Friday so that refining and oil product distribution should be back to normal in a week or two. At one point the strike had forced the shutdown of one of Switzerland’s refineries which receives its crude by pipeline from France.

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The Impact of Peak Oil: An Alternative View

At the ASPO Conference in early October 2007, Robert Hirsch presented his view of the impact of peak oil on the economy and society. While most of his assertions are readily supportable, the historical record is nevertheless perhaps more nuanced and deserves consideration in thinking about future events.
To begin with, there have been to date arguably two peak oil recessions. The first of these, the period of the Iran-Iraq war after 1979, was artificial. Saudi Arabia decided to defend a high oil price with production restrictions, despite the fact that production capacity was largely adequate to meet global needs. As a consequence, oil production fell in a pattern similar to that which we might expect after peak oil. By contrast, the oil shock of 2008 was arguably the first, true global peak oil recession. Unlike the shocks of the 1970’s, there were no supply disruptions. The world simply ran out of spare capacity. While the oil supply did not peak in the accounting sense, for the first time, it was structurally unable to meet growing global demand. These two periods, then, tell us something about the future course of oil shocks resulting from peak oil.

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