This might make sense out of Bush/Cheney's ferocious drive to fight for "democratic reforms" only in oil-rich countries. In many nefarious ways.
Excerpts from Technology Review, an MIT publication. It's urgent that you read the entire article here. I found this article via Cyberedoubt.
The End of Oil? by Mark Williams, Febuary 2005
If the actions—rather than the words—of the oil business’s major players provide the best gauge of how they see the future, then ponder the following. Crude oil prices have doubled since 2001, but oil companies have increased their budgets for exploring new oil fields by only a small fraction. Likewise, U.S. refineries are working close to capacity, yet no new refinery has been constructed since 1976. And oil tankers are fully booked, but outdated ships are being decommissioned faster than new ones are being built.
If those clues weren’t enough, here’s a news item that came out of Saudi Arabia on March 6, 2003. Though it went largely unremarked, the kingdom’s announcement that it could not produce more oil in response to the Iraq War was of historic importance. As Kenneth Deffeyes notes in Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert’s Peak, it meant that as of 2003, there was no major underutilized oil source left on the planet....Globally, according to some geologists’ estimates, we have discovered 94 percent of all available oil.
The Saudis’ announcement arrived right on schedule—at least, once the three-year delay imposed by OPEC’s anti-U.S. embargo and production cutbacks of the 1970s was factored in. In 1969, the prominent geologist M. King Hubbert predicted that a graph of world oil production over time would look like a bell curve, with a peak around the year 2000. Thereafter, he argued, production would drop—slowly at first, then ever faster.
Hubbert had a track record as a prophet: his 1956 forecast that U.S. domestic oil production would peak in the early 1970s proved correct. Kenneth Deffeyes, who started out in 1958 as a young petroleum geologist at Shell’s Houston labs working alongside Hubbert, became so convinced by the man’s theories that by 1963 he had left the oil business, except for occasional consulting work; he is now a professor emeritus of geosciences at Princeton University....
The prognosis? Deffeyes has no doubt that by 2019, the year in which Hubbert’s theories indicate global oil production will drop to 90 percent of current rates, human ingenuity will have found replacement energy sources.... In the short term, he foresees continually rising oil prices that force industry after industry closer to the wall. He fears not just escalating resource wars around the world but also mass starvation in some countries...
Because 15 years ago we failed to begin developing the new energy sources and technologies we need now, Deffeyes argues, in the immediate future we’ll have to rely on what we’ve got. In Beyond Oil, he examines how we might optimize the use of our geologically derived energy sources....
Ultimately, says Deffeyes, we may just have to resign ourselves to relying more on coal, wind, and nuclear fission for electricity and switching to high-efficiency diesel and hybrid automobiles in order to ration our remaining oil reserves for as long as possible.
Abundant energy from fossil fuels was a one-time gift, Deffeyes concludes, that lifted humanity up from subsistence agriculture and has led to a future based on renewable resources.