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Friday, April 16, 2010

US military warns of severe oil shortages by 2015

The US military is warning of serious oil shortages by 2015.

The US Joint Forces command issued a Joint Operating Environment report earlier this month that states that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and that there could be serious shortages by 2015.

This was quoted in the UK Guardian newspaper:

"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early
as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day,"
says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N
Mattis.

It adds: "While it is difficult to predict precisely what
economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it
surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and
developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved
tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse,
and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India."

The US military says its views cannot be taken as US government policy but admits
they are meant to provide the Joint Forces with "an intellectual foundation upon
which we will construct the concept to guide out future force developments."
Clearly, the US army has to plan for contingencies. And fuel supply is a major one, considering the US army because it is believed to be the world’s biggest single user of gasoline.

It follows a recent interview in French newspaper Le Monde, in which Obama’s main oil advisor Glen Sweetnam admitted “a chance exists that we may experience a decline” of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015.

This moves the peak oil debate forward. No longer an aluminum foil hat brigade thing, it’s something being discussed by the world’s major superpower – both government and military.

It's something we should all fear, as, according to the Guardian:

The Joint Operating Environment report paints a bleak picture of what can happen
on occasions when there is serious economic upheaval. "One should not forget
that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought
economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest," it points out.

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