Ever since the dark days of the Bush Administration we have known that the US Administration, under pressure from its oil buddies, can manipulate data. But that was mainly to do with climate.
We also know that the true amount of oil in the world’s depleting oil fields is one of the most hotly guarded topics – no more so than in Saudi Arabia, where ther have long been accusations that they do not have as much oil left as they say they do.
Whilst we have concentrated on the blog recently more on the demand side predictions, peak oil is never far away. Today’s Guardian has a really interesting story that will get those interested in peak oil twittering like mad.
A whistleblower has apparently told the paper that the world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit. A senior official claims the US has played “an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.” The US has wanted to deliberately underplay a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
Of course these allegations will raise serious questions about the accuracy of the IEA’s latest World Energy Outlook, due to be published tomorrow and which has already been heavily leaked.
A senior IEA source who had left told the paper, that a key rule at the organisation was that it was “imperative not to anger the Americans” but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. “We have [already] entered the ‘peak oil’ zone. I think that the situation is really bad,” he added.
But we should also not forget the other side of the equation. The IEA said that global demand may only grow by roughly 6 million barrels a day from current levels to a total of around 91 million barrels a day by 2030 if a deal is struck at Copenhagen. The projection is far below the 94 million barrels a day the IEA forecast a year ago for total demand in 2015.
“This [downward revision] is a result of the financial crisis and demand policies that developed nations are putting into place,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol.
So although supply is dipping, demand is also not rising as rapidly as once expected. But when all this means the world will reach peak oil no one really knows. It may already have happened. It all depends on how badly those figures have been manipulated.
But the main thing is not to panic!!!