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Blueprint or Scramble? Earth at Crossroads Says Big Oil.
Prophecy - Signs
Monday, February 28, 2011
Ed DeShields

Big oil is out of the closet with a startling outline of world’s probable future scenarios as it prepares for a population explosion complicated by a dwindling energy supply.

The picture painted by Shell Oil’s Energy Scenarios is remarkably frank and delivered with the emotionless impact of a doctor announcing that while there is hope, we’re in for a long and hard fight for survival.   Before you dismiss this analysis you should note that this latest report is an update on previous scenarios that have been historically precise.   

Here’s our first warning:  Shell explains that there are three hard truths driving a world they describe as “now entering an era of revolutionary transition”.   These are strong words from a public corporation.  The operative word is “now”.

We are “now” seeing the birth pangs of this revolution unfolding in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world. 

Here’s the problem they say:  first, the population is growing faster than previously expected. 

Second, there has been a huge surge in energy use -- almost twice as fast as originally expected, to be precise.  Oil producers are struggling to keep up with demand while recognizing the supply of liquid petroleum is finite.

One way or another the global oil industry will have to produce six million barrels per day more oil than last year to offset the four million barrels per day that is permanently lost to depletion each year, and the nearly two million barrels per day of new crude demand that another year of global economic growth will generate.  

To put this into perspective that means we’re going need 7% more oil each day this year than last year, 14% in 2012 and so forth.  According to Shell, by 2020, life will have become volatile and uncertain“.   Translation; we’ve got far less time than we think.   

The oil situation within OPEC has only very recently become an enormous and unavoidable issue; such as in Egypt and Libya.

Confidential cables from the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia released recently by WikiLeaks confirm what others have long suspected: As the world looks to OPEC to make up for increased demand, it has little more to give.  

Social unrest in the Middle East is occurring largely due to pressure caused by higher costs of oil and food.   For example, both Egypt and Libya’s unrest was triggered just a few years after it was determined that oil supplies had peaked thereby triggering higher prices.  Egypt and Libyan oil production is down over 30% in the recent years. 

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, "The region is being battered by a perfect storm of powerful trends.   She says, "This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable."  It is the fear of water and oil shortages running out” that won’t allow governments to hold back the tide of change in the short-term.

With no functional spare capacity left in OPEC, any significant supply disruption in the region could easily see prices spike and test the $147-a-barrel mark set in 2008, the price peak hit just before the most recent global recession.  Once speculators start challenging the mythology of OPEC spare capacity, they will invariably squeeze the market.

But the real danger from the Middle East is not the risk of temporary supply disruptions, or the speculative betting that it will encourage.  It is that we lose sight of the levels that oil prices had climbed to even before this latest crisis began, and the basic supply-and-demand forces that pushed them there.

We are now living in a world of revolutionary era of triple-digit oil prices.  The massive changes this will compel won’t be limited to regime change in the Middle East. 

Third, our climate and resources are being stretched to their limits and shortages are occurring that are now creating social and supply stress.   Wealth will be transferred to those who own the primary sources of minerals and other earth’s resources like a stand of trees on land and forests or minerals under the ground.

The Shell Scenarios predict one of two basic outcomes called either “Scramble” or “Blueprint” and how the world might deal with them.  

In the Scramble world, no one takes control of the problem because governments and politics are local and therefore no one can agree on what to do about it.  Politicians move to protect their societies and their own interests thereby causing great chaos unlike the world has never seen.

In the Blueprint world, the world must band together and collectively solve the energy dilemma.   The eastern oil countries (mainly Muslim countries where the majority of oil is now centered) will join with the old guard in the west to unify the world with a host of energy solutions thereby re-engineering the planet into the new era. 

It is interesting that these facts have been in plain view for decades, building into economic and social pressures that were suddenly unleashed in a wave of social and political unrest that we’re witnessing real time.   It isn’t freedom or democracy we’re watching.  We’re witnessing the earth shake as it deals with such obvious things that have escaped notice for so long – right before our very eyes.

We should brace ourselves against the idea that this is just the way things might just work out.   One way or another.

About Ed DeShields

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