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New translation, the Magna Carta
article archives at abelard's news and comment zoneoil archives
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oil 1-1

from GM, the largest car producer on the planet
“In the last quarter century, the combination of technology and cleaner fuels has helped the auto industry reduce: carbon monoxide emissions by 96 percent, hydrocarbons by 99 percent and NOX by 90 percent.”

The report is wishy-washy and very short on overall numbers.
This suggests either secrecy, or some obfuscation, because getting from where we are, to where we need to be, is far from easily achieved.

Link source: Gareth C

the web address for this article is








item 1: world oil reserves and oil-based fuel development

Figures for oil, gas, coal, nuclear, hydro provided. The report provides tables of reserves over extraction rates for a large number of oil- (and other power resource-) producing countries. It also gives details of the patterns of world consumption. Some of the figures have been tabulated here at

Note that proven reserves run at about 1 trillion barrels (1 barrel = approx 35 gallons; a gallon varies in amount between the USA and Britain). It is useful to note that the figure was also a billion barrels 10 years ago! (For more detail, read the third item below.)

Currently, oil is being extracted at the rate of about 75 million barrels per day, or approximately 27 billion barrels a year. Current reserves are approximately 1 trillion barrels and, therefore, represent something like 35 – 40 years of current production.
(1 trillion is 1,000,000,000,000!)

from item 1:
“World oil consumption in 2001 was down marginally on the year before: the first decline since 1993.”
“The main cause of demand weakness in 2001 was the downturn in the world economy: world economic growth dropped to 1.5%, well below the 10-year (1991 – 2001) annual trend of 2.7%.”

For much information on ‘unconventional oil - tar sands and shale oil - see the briefing document, Tar sands and oil shale.

In Brazil, for example, petrol contains 28% plant ethanol.
Brazil has another try at running its cars on ethanol made from sugar cane
[Economist, 14.09.02]                                    Also see earlier ecology news item.

item 2: Getting over oil is a neat thoughtful general write-up, with some history. Note particularly,
“At the time of the embargo (early 1970s), for example, almost one-fifth of U.S. electricity was generated by petroleum; today the figure is less than one one-hundredth. In 1973, one out of every four houses in the United States was heated by crude oil; this year it is fewer than one out of ten.”
Note that this highlights the prime use of oil as a fuel for mobile vehicles.
Note that despite the American profligacy with oil, “U.S. per-capita energy consumption that is, consumption per American actually declined slightly from 1973 to 2000.”

item 3: The Imminent Peak of World Oil Production
This document is mainly about oil. It gives some warnings on the reliability of figures, the likely possible future of extraction, and a touch on the original formation of oil. Remember that, as prices rise, consumption invariably falls while replacement sources become more attractive.

item 4: Renewable or sustainable energy
A useful link to some of the work going on in the renewables field.


in two parts
russian oil production threatens gulf cartel....1
russian oil production threatens gulf cartel....2.

why the west is not nearly as vulnerable to the power of the middle eastern oil cartel as is widely reported.

also keep in mind that they have to sell their oil to someone, as their economies are highly dependant upon oil revenues.


understanding big oil and government corruption

The West is in a far better and stronger position to enforce democracy in the Middle East that most propaganda would have you believe.

article in four parts:
understanding big oil and government corruption......1
understanding big oil and government corruption......2
understanding big oil and government corruption......3
understanding big oil and government corruption......4

article extract: “Oil is becoming more abundant but relatively less important. For each dollar of GDP, the United States used 49 percent less oil in 2000 than it did in 1975. Compared with 1975, the amount that energy efficiency now saves each year is more than five times the country's annual domestic oil production, twelve times its imports from the Persian Gulf, and twice its total oil imports. And the efficiency resource is far from tapped out; instead, it is constantly expanding. It is already far larger and cheaper than anyone had dared imagine.”

authors: Amory B. Lovins, a physicist, and L. Hunter Lovins, a lawyer and political scientist, founded and lead Rocky Mountain Institute, a market-oriented, nonpartisan, nonprofit applied-research center in Snowmass, Colorado. They are long-time consultants to major oil companies and have advised the Department of Defense on energy security.

commentary by abelard

These two (father and son, if I remember) are long-term, knowledgeable, environmentally concerned campaigners. They tend to be independent-minded.

The Lovins’ site can be found here.

The following, fairly recent, book is a round up of some of the thinking of the Lovins’s. They basically reckon that aiming for 4X efficiency in the use of energy is well within reach.

from Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use
by von Weizsacker, Lovins and Lovins four GoldenYak (tm) award
£12.95 (
1998, Earthscan Publications Ltd., 1853834068

Remember Bush and co. are in hock to the oil industry. Remember, government interference does not just refer to the welfare state, but also to subsidies - often called corporate welfare.


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