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Why has Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Stopped All Future Oil Exploration?
Breaking News
Monday, December 20, 2010
Ed DeShields

Two years ago King Abdullah stated that unless oil went to $75 per barrel it wasn’t worth exploring for new oil reserves.   Now, he’s halted all oil exploration to save some for his heirs.  Really? 

What’s the King actually up to?  The newly released World Energy Outlook 2010, published by the International Energy Agency may finally be foreshadowing the truth;   Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the world may be running out of oil – and probably much faster than previously thought. 

Saudi Arabia, and for that matter all world oil producers, are not increasing the flow of oil but decreasing it – even as 2010 became the 2nd most expensive year for oil on record.   The latest WEO shows that world reserve estimates have been readjusted lower each year since 2006.  And by reading between the agency’s own graphs and reports, Peak Oil may have actually have already occurred as far back as 2005.     

Abdullah has also stopped his farmers from growing wheat and barley due to a critical shortage of water.  Instead Saudi Arabia is building massive grain handling and storage systems.  Is Abdullah hoarding oil for a future guarantee for food to feed its people? 

Further, why has the U.S. banned deep water drilling for oil in the Gulf at a time when the production of oil is dropping precipitously and our need is growing steadily?   Was it because of the environment, or is the government about to nationalize our reserves?  Could it be that King Abdullah and President Obama know something we don’t?

While there are many questions we do have certain facts, or trends we can use to start a deciphering of coming events. 

In 2008, the year of record prices should have forced more production.   If oil prices were up to $147 per barrel, why didn't these countries bring on their excess reserves to capture these record profits?   I think the answer is now becoming clear.   It may not be possible.  According to independent estimates conventional oil reserves should be revised downward to 850 – 900 Gb from 1200 – 1300 Gb, and production should be restated to terminally decline between 2010 – 2015.

There is no objection, from any scientific circle, that the world’s oil supply is finite.  The record keeper for reserves is the domain of the IEA.   The IEA’s own reports show global oil reserve discoveries peaked in the 1960's and they’re now reluctantly shows that new oil discoveries have been declining since then, and the new discoveries have been smaller and in harder to access areas (e.g., smaller deepwater reserves). The volume of oil discovered has dropped far below the volume produced in the last two decades.  But in order to show reserves increasing the IEA has loaded the reserves with questionable alternative energy sources while showing miraculous reductions in consumption through 2030.  

Since 2006 the WEO report has been slowly changing its story about our future with oil.  It has expanded its role of oil consultant to now include two other scientific reporting duties; global warming (yes, it’s not dead), and food production.   Wonder why?  Could it be they are spinning a huge conservation lie in order to hide the truth about our oil supplies in the name of global security?  

It turns out the truth is being drippled out, via the WEO 2010 report and other sources.  Saudi Arabia and the other Middle-East Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) may have stretched the truth back in the 1960’s by wildly overstating their reserves when the concept of oil quotas originated.  A cover-up has been underway ever since.   And, it may include each of the 28 countries OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) who fund the IEA to report where the world stands with regards to its oil future. 

In a new report issued by the University of California, at Santa Barbara, its author Tariel Mórrígan (PEAK ENERGY, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND THE COLLAPSE OF GLOBAL CIVILIZATION The Current Peak Oil Crisis by TARIEL MÓRRÍGAN) presents an ugly picture of deception and its pending crisis of where we are, and what we may not be able to do about it.    It’s a stunning work product packed with 270 pages of facts and graphs that are difficult to rebut.  You can download the report free at:   http://www.global.ucsb.edu/climateproject/papers/pdf/Morrigan_2010_PECC2.pdf

The message of Peak Oil is upon us.  The author of the above research study states our current predicament with an executioner’s poinantancy worthy of considerable thought:

“Peak energy resources, peak phosphorus, dwindling mineral and natural resources, the passing of thresholds for dangerous climate change, a human-driven global mass extinction event, peak economy, possible peak food production, and peak globalization – this convergence of events all at the same time will surely create multiple systemic crises throughout the world, which will undoubtedly lead to a collapse of the current paradigm and the emergence of a new world order.

The best and the worse of humanity will express itself in these coming times after peak oil. While civil unrest, revolutions, coups, conflicts and wars will likely occur as an indirect result of peak oil, the overall global outcome could either be relatively peaceful and benevolent or catastrophic.  The international and local communities can come together and cooperate to create a benevolent and sustainable new world order, or they can drive the world to further humanitarian and environmental catastrophe.

Currently, economies worldwide are unraveling as the global economic system can no longer support itself without cheap and abundant energy resources. The world is beginning a rapid and volatile transition: currency and trade wars; deteriorating wars in the Middle East and elsewhere; countless regional and international conflicts and coups; rapidly shifting and volatile geopolitics; the mobilization of extremist movements; the decline of the West and East; exponential population and economic growth; soaring food prices; increasing natural resource scarcity; energy shortages; accelerating rates of extinction; and accelerating environmental degradation and climate change.

At this point, even a global nuclear war might be possible, if either or both state and non-state actors escalate multiple crises into bitter conflict.

This current transition of economic decline that was triggered by the oil price shock starting in 2007 and will likely accelerate and become more volatile once oil prices exceed $80 – $90 per barrel for an extended time. Demand destruction for oil may be somewhere above $80 per barrel and below $141 per barrel.

So, it is likely that very few will be able to afford to produce or purchase oil in the near future.  This will likely occur once global production enters terminal decline and major supply shortfalls occur in the near-term.  At this point, the global economy and world order will pass the edge of the cliff into collapse without a transcendent effort by the international community to cooperate and manage the collapse as harmoniously and securely as possible.

With global civilization approaching the proverbial cliff's edge, there is little time left to prepare for peak oil and the collapse of global civilization. The new world order that will emerge will be largely determined by local and international governance responses. Peak oil will surely destabilize the world as confusion and collapse ensue.  Climate change will further challenge societies' abilities to adapt and prosper.  Nevertheless, the human species has the unprecedented opportunity from this unprecedented crisis to radically change the world for the betterment of all humanity.  The world also has the opportunity and capacity to turn this opportunity into a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions.

One way or another, the ending of the Age of Oil is the beginning of very uncertain times”.

One of the more amazing instances supporting peak oil comes from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.   Glen Sweetnam, former director of the International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), admitted in an interview that “a chance exists that we may experience a decline” of world liquid fuels production between 2011 – 2015, “if the investment is not there”.

Sweetnam also admitted that the solution to the issue of knowing when, where, and in what quantities additional sources of oil should be put into production is “unidentified”. He indicated a possible decline of liquid fuels production between 2011 – 2015 could be the first stage of the “undulating plateau” pattern, which will start “once maximum world oil production is reached”, followed by the possibility of a near-term and unexpected fall of global liquid fuels production.

A peak in global conventional oil production so far occurred in 2005 – 2008; and since then global production has demonstrated an undulating plateau pattern.

Therefore, Sweetnam's projection may have already started to occur as early as 2005.

Until April 2010, Glen Sweetnam was the main official expert on the oil market in the Obama administration. He also headed the publication of the DoE’s annual Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) and International Energy Outlook (IEO), which are considered a couple of the most influential annual energy reports for the outlook of the U.S. and international energy markets, respectively.  Until recently, he was also vice president and principal at Houston-based Lukens Energy Group.

In April 2010, Sweetnam was transferred to the post of senior director for energy at the U.S. National Security Council, where he is now under direct authority of the White House. 

And, that’s a signal that can’t be mistaken for business as usual. 

NOTE:  Certain content was extracted directly from the report published by Mr. Mórrígan with permission and placed in this article.  I encourage to download and read it from the URL posted above.    

About Ed DeShields

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