Tuesday, September 20, 2005


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Article Last Updated: 09/20/2005 07:40:40 AM

Oil and prophets and the truth

OIL COMPANIES and governments are betting — at least in public — that new discoveries and technology will keep the world supplied for at least the next generation. And there are those who would welcome the tipping point, believing the psychological impact will push the world into a serious drive to wean itself off oil.

The U.S. Geological Survey has predicted that a peak in recoverable oil production won't come until 2037. More recent predictions also focus on high demand and lagging resupply exploitation efforts, noting a worrisome drop in oil discoveries in recent years.

In a speech six years ago, before he became U.S. vice president, Richard Cheney spoke of estimates of 2 percent annual growth in global oil demand and at best a 3 percent annual decline in production from existing reserves.

Some people have been reading the handwriting in the desert sands for a long time and have been trying to get the world's attention. But like all true prophets, they only get the attention of a few, and those few aren't enough to make a difference. It will be a while before the effects really start to be felt. Production will peak and then slowly fall away.

The oil cartel has money on its side, so don't expect a lot of publicity to be given to this. And then every time a true prophet brings this up, you can be sure he or she will be ridiculed. But that's the way it goes for true prophets.

Ted Rudow III,MA

Menlo Park

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