Is the Government Covering Up the Truth about Global Oil Reserves?
The revelation that British government ministers are gathering views from industry and the scientific community about â€œpeak oilâ€, the point at which oil production reaches its maximum and then declines, has prompted speculations about their concerned for a future supply crunch.
The British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has refused to hand over policy documents about â€œpeak oilâ€ under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, despite releasing others in which it admits â€œsecrecy around the topic is probably not goodâ€.
David Mackay, chief scientific adviser to the DECC, sent a letter asking for information and advice on peak oil amid a growing campaign from industrialists for the government to put contingency plans in place to deal with any future crisis. A spokeswoman for DECC, however, insisted the request from Mackay was â€œroutineâ€ and said there was no change of policy other than to keep the issue under review.
Documents obtained under the FoI Act show that a â€œpeak oil workshopâ€ brought together staff from the DECC, the Bank of England and British Ministry of Defence among others to discuss the issue. A ministry note of that summit said that the governmentâ€™s public lines on peak oil needed to take account of climate change and put more emphasis on reducing demand and also the fact that peak oil may increase volatility in the market.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted in the 2009 World Energy Outlook published last November that oil demand would grow from 85m barrels a day today to 88m in 2015 and reach 105m in 2030. The IEA presumes the challenge of meeting that demand can equally be met by a mixture of higher OPEC production and considerably more output from unconventional sources.
The note of the peak oil workshop distributed last year suggests officials stress the IEA believes there are sufficient reserves to meet demand till 2030 as long as investment in new reserves is maintained. However, the IEA, based in Paris, has come under increasing scrutiny from a growing group of critics who believe its optimism is misplaced.
An internal IEA source said: â€œMany inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible, but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources.â€
The IEA has denied the any kind of internal dissent and sticks by its figures. But Kjell Aleklett, a professor of physics at Uppsala University in Sweden and author of a report â€œThe Peak of the Oil Ageâ€, claims crude production is more likely to be 75m barrels a day by 2030 than the â€œunrealisticâ€ 105m projected by the IEA.bank of england, british government ministers, british ministry of defence, clean energy renewable energy, climate change, contingency plans, department of energy, industrialists, industry, international energy agency, national energy, oil demand, oil reserves, opec, opec production, Paris, peak oil, policy documents, power, Solar Investment, Sweden, unconventional sources, world energy outlook
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