evil empire of oil addicts
was an air of gloom and foreboding in the Brushtail Café. Even
patrons who normally took no interest in world politics were muttering
that George Dubya Bush was an imperialist madman.
God, this man is just nakedly telling every country in the world theyll
do things Americas way or theyll be bombed, invaded, then
ruled directly from Washington. Its like were in a timewarp
and 19th century imperialism is back again, but this time theres
only one imperialist power and its got nuclear weapons and air
supremacy, said the old retired brigadier who dropped in for lunch
on most days.
Possum, stirred from his usual position at the end at the bar. Forget
September 11 and the fear of terrorism, theyre just excuses for
war and conquest. You can sum it all up with one word -- oil,
he remarked. Whats really behind this is that the American
elites know the end of the age of oil is at hand, and theyre desperate.
it as simple as that do you think? asked Joadja.
Yep, Old said, taking another swig of cider. This is the
fundamental position: The worlds geology is now very well understood
and oil geologists arent expecting to find many more really big
oilfields. Nowadays theyre only finding smallish fields and usually
theyre difficult to exploit.
offshore in deep water for example. So the fact is, the oil industrys
finding new oil at a fraction of the rate at which its being used.
Over the last few years weve been burning the stuff four times
faster than weve been finding it.
now theres agreement throughout the industry that what they call
the midpoint of world production has already been passed or will shortly
be passed. Experts differ here, but not by much. The pessimists think
weve probably already passed the midpoint and optimists think
its only eight or ten years in the future. Whatever. Fact is,
from the midpoint, world production will fall as rapidly as it rose,
so that by 2050, oil will be very scare indeed.
thats where the American obsession with controlling the Middle
East comes in. The biggest oilfields are in the Arab world, and with
the smaller oilfields in other parts of the world starting to go out
of production, the proportion of the industrialised nations supply
coming from the Middle East -- its now something like a third
-- is rising relentlessly and on top of that, China is starting to import
oil in a big way, bringing more competition to the market.
the US elite are terrified the economic and political leverage of the
Arab states will increase and unless the world economy goes deeper into
slump and consumption falls, oil prices will inevitably rise -- steeply.
and I read somewhere the other day that the US is already running a
record current account deficit, something like $500 billion, or 5 percent
of GDP, no wonder theyre terrified of oil price rises. I
surely, thats capitalism, thats their Great God Market,
Joadja snorted. If the Yanks were smart theyd accept the
inevitable and use their vast wealth and technological prowess to convert
their industries and cities to green power, stuff like solar and wind
but itd still be tough, very tough, Old possum said. The
scale of the problem is huge. America is absolutely addicted to cheap
oil. The US consumes 26 per cent of world production and they import
just over half of their oil. Most of their cities rely totally on the
cars and buses for mass transportation. Were talking petrol rationing,
queues at the petrol stations, big price rises in the supermarket. Then
theres their agriculture which absolutely depends on oil for irrigation,
plowing, harvesting, not to mention the production of fertilizers. No,
theyre desperate to dominate the worlds supply before the
decline sets in and if a US empire in the Middle East is the price,
then so be it.
is the nasty big picture stuff mainstream politicians dont want
to talk about, I said, contemplating another stubby of cider.