Anyone interested in oil politics should listen to the BBC’s great new series on oil, by Tom Mangold, called Driven By Oil. Today’s first programme was on Peak Oil.

Asked when we should have started to worry about peak oil, Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, replies “The best thing to have done was started 30 years ago. But we didn’t. It would have been great if we had started 5 years ago, but we didn’t. Starting today is an awful lot better than waiting for tomorrow. We need to stop debating about whether theoretically we have a problem and theoretically we don’t”.

Stephen Leeb, one of Wall Street’s most respected analysts, who runs Leeb Capital Management, also says we have a real problem: “Wall street economics to a one right now believe that the oil price in 5-6 years from now will be dramatically lower then they are today – that is a prediction completely in conflict with the idea of peak oil”.

Leeb agrees that the US is in a state of denial about the problem. “We are addicted to oil, we have a president who has not come out – which could be for political reasons – and said peak oil is around the corner. He says that we are addicted to oil but doesn’t say we didn’t have enough oil to satisfy our addiction”.

Listen to the programme here.


  • The BBC’s Driven by Oil progamme was great, as you say – by why then do they restrict us listening again to it, unlike for some more trivial programmes. I missed the opprotunity to hear the 11th September programme, and then missed it again because it was only available on their Listen Again service for seven days.
    Is there any way in which I can get hold of a transcript?

    your etc.

    Peter Southgate

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