• Recent important reports and news items

    ASPO-Australia updates its Peak Oil Summary from time to time. The current update (January 2015) is available here.

    In November 2014,  Wally Wight and Bruce Robinson were invited to speak at the NG Oil & Gas Summit in Cairns.
    was first, followed by

    Bruce also provided a briefing to some staff from the Cairns Regional Council suggesting an updated Oil Risk Strategy to build on the earlier FNQ Peak Oil study

    A proposal for an Oil-Risk Strategy for the Great Southern region  Kojonup  October 8th 2014

    POSSIBLE FUEL SHORTAGES: an overlooked factor in risk management in the resources industry.  An article published in National Resources Review, July 2014 issue.  "Australia’s oil vulnerability is very high, and future fuel supplies cannot be guaranteed.  Already 91% of our fuel is imported".

    Senate Fuel Indexation Submission:  27th-June-2014  
    Australia’s serious oil vulnerability greatly strengthens the case for fuel excise indexation The proposed indexation is a crucial first step, but in addition we should go much further.  Australia should follow the lead of a past UK Conservative Government and increase fuel excise on a fuel-tax escalator by CPI plus 5% or so.  The additional fuel excise raised should not be hypothecated to ever more roads, but used for education, hospitals, aged care and all the other services which are not properly funded

    Rail line closures will worsen our serious Oil Vulnerability  The WA Government is closing rail lines used for grain transport, without considering oil vulnerability implications.


    Peak Oil and Oil Vulnerability:  What are the implications for industrial agriculture and communities” Monash Masters thesis by Donald Coventry

    Modern agriculture’s high levels of production and global markets have been made possible through vast inputs of fossil fuels for machinery, transport, fertilizer, chemicals, crop and processed food production. Consequently, the peaking and depletion of oil, which eventually will be followed by gas, will challenge how we both produce agricultural output and live in rural and remote Australia 


    The foreshadowed petrol tax rise is an important step towards reducing our oil vulnerability, ASPO-Australia convenor, Bruce Robinson said. Europe and the Ukraine are dangerously reliant on imports of Russian gas, but Australia is even more dependent on imported fuel and oil. An NRMA report on the nation's liquid fuel security shows that 91% of the fuel for our cars, trucks and planes is imported, either directly or as crude oil to be refined in Australia. AUSTRALIA would grind to a halt within three weeks with almost no deliveries of food or medicine if its overseas oil and fuel supplies were cut off. The government has allowed the country to become too dependent on foreign supply of liquid fuels. The report says there are no coherent contingency plans to deal with the devastating impact of any cut to overseas supply because of war, economic turmoil or natural disasters, instead adopting a "she'll be right" approach. Waiting for a catastrophic failure before acting could result in damage to our security, our economy and our way of life. And the longer we wait to act, the fewer options we will have. The Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil says it is crucial that our serious oil vulnerability is reduced.  Raising fuel taxes to European levels via a fuel tax escalator would greatly encourage fuel-saving strategies and provide funding for improved public transport.  It would also help us value petrol as a scarce resource, just as the big drought forced us to value water supplies. Global oil production has been almost static since 2005 and is forecast to start declining soon.  The output from most of the world’s major oilfields is already in decline, just as Australia’s oil production has been falling steadily since 2000. 

    The Government is to be congratulated on starting to tackle the sacred cow of fuel taxes.  (Download news release)


    NRMA Fuel Security report 2014    (full report)

    Courier Mail article (5th-April-2014)

    AUSTRALIA would grind to a halt within three weeks with almost no deliveries of food or medicine if its overseas oil and fuel supplies were cut off    Article in The Australian 28-February-2013
    NRMA report and summary NRMA infographic  

    An Oil Risk Strategy for Margaret River?  Slides for a presentation on 29th April  Bruce Robinson (22MB)

    Perth's phantom mailout enthusiast.  ASPO-Australia has been getting quite a lot of letters returned by Australia Post.  However, we did not send them. Some enthusiasts have been sending Peak Oil information around with ASPO-Australia logos etc on the envelopes.  These letters are sent anonymously, so we can't get in touch to thank them for their efforts or to encourage them to include their names and addresses when sending out Peak Oil information.  We would like to touch base with the poster(s), please.  Bruce Robinson, Convenor, 9384 7409 

     2014 Energy White Paper   first submission
    Main Submission      Appendix 
    We hope that this time, oil vulnerability will be taken seriously.  However, there are no signs from the issues paper that this will happen.  For information about the current unfortunate line of thought see 
    http://ewp.industry.gov.au/   for the EWP Issues Paper
    National Energy Security Assessment (2011)
    Liquid Fuels Vulnerability Assessment

     Inexpensive oil vanishing at alarming rate. Toronto Globe and Mail, Dec 13 2013 

    The propaganda campaign against peaking fossil fuel production
    published by PeakOil.com, Nov 5th.    Michael Lardelli, University of Adelaide   Fenner Conference on Population, Resources and Climate Change: “Implications for Australia’s Near Future, Canberra, October 2013

    An oil crash is on its way and we should be ready
    New Scientist 4th November 2013 Jeremy Leggett
    Five years ago the world was in the grip of a financial crisis that is still reverberating around the globe. Much of the blame for that can be attributed to weaknesses in human psychology: we have a collective tendency to be blind to the kind of risks that can crash economies and imperil civilisations


    US will always remain a crude oil importer.

    US shale oil has so far replaced 2 mb/d of its crude oil imports which peaked at around 10 mb/d in 2005. If this effort can be doubled the US would still need to import around 6 mb/d. Matt Mushalik in Resilience.org

    Eureka Report on Peak Oil.  The prominent investors' "Eureka Report" ran a detailed report (20th September 2013) on Peak Oil by Matt Mushalik 

    Sustainable Transport Coalition Seminar at DoT(WA) October 2013
    Moving People in Perth   Craig Wooldridge, DoT draft policy
    Walking Catchments   David Rice  A relevant view of active transport
    Walking and Cycling as Economic Activities:  Short presentation by Ian Ker. Bikes 50c/km health benefits, $1/km avoided parking costs


    Will Global Oil Shortages Occur in the Short-Medium Term? 10MB presentation to the Next Generation Oil & Gas Summit, Perth, 5th September 2013, Bruce Robinson


    Oil Security Index  International comparison

    The Oil Security Index is an analytical tool designed to be an intuitive tool for policymakers, business leaders, and the general public to easily measure and compare the relative oil security of more than a dozen countries around the world


    Economic vulnerability to Peak Oil
    Important paper by Kerschner, Prell,  Feng and Hubacek in Global Environmental Change (2013)


    Peak Oil and Energy Independence:  Myth and Reality  Prof James Murray and Jim Hansen,  succinct important paper published in EOS American Geophysical Union 9th July 2013


    Supply Chain Oil Vulnerability: Mitigation and adaptation  (10MB PPT)  an invited presentation by Bruce Robinson, Convenor, ASPO-Australia to the big Supply Chain and Logistics SmartConference, Sydney 26th June 2013

    Australian Oil Vulnerability Risk Management Conference  Brisbane  June 4th 2013   The conference was very successful, and ASPO-Australia is grateful to Griffith University and Sunshine Coast Regional Council for support.   Programme     Media Release    
    Peak Oil, Climate Change and Global Sustainability - The Case for Emergency Action,  Ian Dunlop    Slides,  Audio (100MB)
    City of Stirling Oil Risk Strategy   Ross Povey   Slides,  Audio (45MB)
    Oil Vulnerability in Australian Cities: Transition and Challenges   Jago Dodson  Text,  Audio (50MB)
    Oil Vulnerability Implications for Planning    Wally Wight  Slides,  Audio (40MB)
    Peak Oil Preparedness and Parturition   Dr Kirsten Small   Slides Audio (53MB)
    Planning for Post-Carbon Mobility: How to Successfully Manage Coming Transport Revolutions  Prof Antony Perl  Slides   Audio (70MB)
    The panel discussion at the end of the Symposium was recorded and was broadcast on ABC Radio National "Big Ideas" on Monday 10th June at 8pm.  Available online at the ABC
    Big Ideas programme.

    Increase fuel taxes - ASPO.    Politicians should confront the ‘Sacred Cow’ status of petrol prices and increase fuel taxes in this budget and in subsequent years, according to the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO).   ASPO convenor, Bruce Robinson says as well as providing vital funds for education, health, public transport and safer roads, increasing fuel taxes will help people reduce their unsustainable dependence on car travel.   Mr Robinson says Australian cities are being increasingly throttled by traffic congestion and our dependence on imported fuel leaves us very vulnerable to oil shocks and future global oil shortages.

     “A recent report by Air Vice Marshall John Blackburn for the NRMA warned that governments have allowed us to become too dependent on foreign supplies for our liquid fuels,” says Mr Robinson. “85% of our transport fuel is now imported, either as crude oil for Australian refineries or direct as refined fuel. The report warned that Australia would grind to a halt within three weeks with almost no deliveries of food or medicine if our overseas oil and fuel supplies were cut off.”

    Full media release

    Vale Dave Kilsby  

    We are very sad to have learned recently that David Kilsby, the founder of ASPO-Sydney, died in May 2012.  He was a very skilled urban and transport planner aware of the serious implications of Peak Oil.  He compiled the ASPO-Australia Urban and Transport Planning Working Group submission to the 2006 Senate Inquiry and appeared in person with Ali Samsam Bakhtiari in Sydney. (Hansard report)  He also prepared the Cairns Oil Vulnerability Report for Queensland Transport in 2007.  He had been handicapped in recent years by a degenerative neurological disease.    and his website with copies of a lot of Peak Oil papers and others.



    AUSTRALIA would grind to a halt within three weeks with almost no deliveries of food or medicine if its overseas oil and fuel supplies were cut off     Article in The Australian  28-February-2013
    NRMA report and summary NRMA infographic

    Energy Watch Group  Update of world oil, gas coal and uranium forecasts. An invaluable independent assessment from Werner Zittel in Munich.  March 2013



    Bruce Robinson met some peak oil people in NZ in February 2013.  Susan Krumdieck, U Canterbury, and Gareth Hughes, Green MP.  PPT for NZ  News Release 

    NZ Parliamentary Library Research Paper.  "The Next Oil Shock"   October 2010
    NZ Oil Emergency Response Strategy (2008)


    Selected videos on ASPO-Australia's Youtube

    Also very highly recommended.  Prof Susan Krumdiek Confronting the Status Quo  Please look at the beginning of the presentation at least

    NG Oil & Gas Summit,  Cairns 8-Nov-2012  "Peak Oil:  Will Global Oil Shortages Occur in the Short-Medium Term ?",   Presentation (22MB), news release.

    Stirling Oil Risk Strategy
    The City of Stirling is Perth's biggest local government.  The Oil Risk Strategy, adopted in July 2012, is the result of long and patient work by Council staff over some six years. It is a major achievement and sets a standard that we can only hope State and Federal Governments will follow, to actually accept and discuss Peak Oil and its implications

    ATRF Workshop 27-Sept-2012  Peak Oil presentation  (18Mb) Bruce Robinson   and Peak Car presentation, (58Mb) Peter Newman,   Workshop Summary (1MB) Ian Ker  Australasian Transport Research Forum, Perth

    Richard Heinberg's tour of Australia
    A transcript of the energy section of his Canberra talk  and  Canberra Times article. He spoke Curtin University (CUSP Fremantle) and the University of Western Australia Business School on 27th September  News release

    Monbiot says he was wrong on peak oil but the crisis is undeniable
    Many within the fossil fuel industry are sounding alarms. Society ignores such warnings – and listens to potential bubble-backers like Monbiot – at its peril.   Jeremy Leggett, Guardian blog 4th July 2012
    Se also David Strahan, about Maugeri   "Monbiot peak oil u-turn based on bad science, worse maths" 30th-July-2012

    Peak Oil and Global Governance  Invited talk to Curtin University students 22-May-2012 (20 MB)
       Bruce Robinson

    Oil Vulnerability of WA's Health System   Dr James Barson, Convenor of ASPO-Australia's Health Sector Working Group  Seminar at Curtin University, Fremantle 16th May 2012   JAPH paper by Hess et al. referenced by Dr Barson

    Energy White Paper Submission
    Comments on the inadequate coverage of the risk of future oil shortages in the draft Energy White Paper                                 The coverage of the real risks of future global oil shortages in the Energy White Paper is very seriously inadequate and displays a common but unfortunate tendency in Government and business to overlook or discount crucial risk factors. “Predictable Surprises” is the title of an essay published in the Harvard Business Review and a subsequent book.  “Why do leaders consistently ignore looming signs of crises even when they know the consequences could be devastating? Most events that catch us by surprise are both predictable and preventable, but we consistently miss (or ignore) the warning signs  Another analogy is “The Optimism Bias”, where only the most positive and favourable outcomes are considered in planning. This is an unconscious bias.  However, the associated “Strategic Misrepresentation” is a related deliberate deception towards an unrealistically optimistic outcome.  A number of documents were included as appendices Predictable SurprisesOptimism Bias, Peak Oil Summary, Economic explanation of Peak Oil,  Megaprojects approach , Nature-Peak Oil , Aleklett-IEA-review  and BITRE 117


    Anaesthetics, Peak Oil & Complexity:   A poster by James Barson, our Health Sector Coordinator.     


    Prof Aleklett's book is available from Amazon.com                           


      ASPO conference  Vienna, 30th May-June 1st 2012
    Vienna hosted the 10th annual ASPO Conference, a gathering of international top experts on the depletion of fossil fuels and energy availability. The conference provided attendees the latest updates on a wide range of energy issues including fossil fuel availability, short and long term economic consequences of increasing energy prices, and energy supply and demand scenarios. Our wide ranging audience of decision makers, scientists, the business sector, public authorities and NGOs ensured discussions and networking opportunities on an international in-depth level.
    This year´s International ASPO Conference took place at the medieval “Palais Niederösterreich” in Vienna´s beautiful city center during May 30 – June 1, 2012.


    Govt should release 2009 “Peak Oil” report The Federal Government has been accused by a Sydney newspaper of hiding a valuable “Peak Oil” report which forecasts global oil shortages by 2017. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) prepared a valuable 400 page report in 2009 “Transport Energy Futures: Long-term oil supply trends and projections which models future oil production from very detailed data.  The report concludes  "The modelling is forecasting what can be termed ‘the 2017 drop-off’. The outlook under a base case scenario is for a long decline in oil production to begin in 2017, which will stretch to the end of the century and beyond". 

    Copies of the report are available on the Australian Institute of Energy website here ,and via other links on ASPO-Australia below   News Release


    Peak Oil on "The Project".  11th January The popular Channel Ten current affairs programme  ran a good short light-hearted overview of Peak Oil featuring ASPO-Australia

    From the Energy Bulletin, a review by Ugo Bardi (ASPO-Italia)  "One of the most interesting talks at the recent meeting on Energy organized by the Club of Rome in Basel, was the one given by Ian Dunlop, of ASPO Australia. It was not so much on energy, but on the interconnection of energy with climate change. It was up to date and saying the things that needed to be said. That is, Ian Dunlop didn't shy away from saying that climate change is threatening the very existence of our civilization and that we must do something quick about it. It was an excellent talk, give a look to the slides if you have a moment, here is the link "  Also available at ASPO-Australia here

    Transport Energy Futures:  Long-term oil supply trends and projections
    Report 117  BITRE 2009 Dr David Gargett 

    "The  modelling  is  forecasting  what  can be termed ‘the 2017 drop-off’. The outlook under a base case scenario is for a long decline in oil production to begin in 2017, which will stretch to the end of the century and beyond".
    This report is no longer available from BITRE, but no reason has been given for its withdrawal.
      ASPO-Australia was asked to take it off our website.  However, the report is available at the Australian Institute of Energy, here,  from Ian McPherson of SydneyPeakOil (here) and on a French website

    "Labor has tried to hide the evidence" Jan 20th article in the DailyTelegraph here.  The article is a bit muddy, muddled and sensationalist, but it has brought BITRE 117 to the public attention

    Peak Oil - Environmental Implications and Policy Options.   Slides of a presentation to the Office of the WA Environmental Protection Authority  30th Sept 2011  (27MB)

    An economic explanation of Peak Oil.  Chris Skrebowski.  Sept 2011

    WA Energy Summit, Perth, 25th May 2011.  Peak Oil: Probabilities, timing and possible impacts  (27MB) Invited presentation.  Bruce Robinson   News release

    Peak Oil Policy Options for Australia.  Invited written paper for ASPO-Brussels conference, 27-29th April 2011.  Bruce Robinson   Slides of the presentation (28MB)     Watch full video of the presentation and slides (26 min)

    The ASPO9 conference presentations and video are available at www.ASPO9.be   I recommend watching those by Aleklett, Skrebowski, Rubins and Murphy first, but there are lots of interesting talks.

    ABC TV Catalyst  Nationwide Peak Oil  programme Thurs 28th April.  or Watch on You-Tube
     In just a century, we’ve become entirely dependent on cheap oil. We rely on oil for just about everything, from the food we eat, to our transport systems and even our economic stability. So what would happen if we ran out? There’s a growing fear amongst petroleum experts that it’s happening much sooner than previously thought – that we are hitting Peak Oil now. So how soon will demand outstrip supply, and will we be able to avoid the global economy collapsing when it does? How prepared are we for the Oil Crunch?

    International Monetary Fund:  World Economic Outlook  April 2011 
    1. Global oil markets are in a period of increased scarcity, reflecting rapid growth in oil demand in emerging economies and a downshift in oil supply growth.
    2. Gradual and moderate increases in oil scarcity––which seems to be the most likely scenario––would have a small impact on medium-term global economic growth. However, risks remain that scarcity or its growth impact could be more significant.
    3. A persistent adverse oil supply shock would imply a surge in global capital flows and a widening of current account imbalances.
    4. Policies should aim at facilitating adjustment to unexpected changes in oil scarcity and at lowering risks from larger-than-expected medium-term oil scarcity.

    Science Show ABC Radio, 23-April.  Long interviews with Chris Skrebowski, Fatih Birol and Jeremy Leggett  (interviews by Jonica Newby as part of her Catalyst preparation)

    Oil supplies are rapidly dwindling and demand is increasing leading analysts to warn of an impending oil crunch. The global oil supply has lost the equivalent of the volume of the North Sea oil reserve in 15 months. By 2014, supply is expected to fall short of demand. Other factors could bring that forward. Fatih Birol says the age of cheap oil is over and we all need to prepare ourselves for higher oil prices. Further he says no government is prepared for what lies ahead. Jeremy Leggett describes the oil crunch, when global supply fails to meet demand.

    Submission to the Prime Minister: 30th March 2011.  When the PM was opening the National Trust property, the home of Australia's wartime prime minister, John Curtin, I took the opportunity to introduce myself, and to request a "Garnaut-style" independent inquiry into Australi's oil vulnerability.  I handed her the submission.  I also gave a copy to Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, and Cabinet Minister, Senator Chris Evans.   It was informal, and the PM had been chatting to our neighbours over the back fence just before I talked to her about the future oil shortages.

    News Release: "Australia will soon not be able to import enough oil to meet demand because of Peak Oil"

    Tour of Australia:  Prof Kjell Aleklett, Global Energy Systems group, Uppsala University  2010 
    Public events:

    Excellence in Oil & Gas Sydney, Feb 28 – March 2, 2011
    The 6th annual  Excellence in Oil & Gas summit is Sydney’s largest event which stimulates investment in the oil and gas sector, by connecting the finance and investment communities with oil & gas companies.
    "Peak Oil-What is it, and what does it mean for investors" Invited presentation by Bruce Robinson 1st March 2011

    An Oil Vulnerability Assessment for the Albany region.  3rd Nov 2010    Bruce Robinson  News release and recommendation, Peak oil summary  and  Presentation for the City of Albany, Great Southern Development Commission and Denmark Shire Council

    Bunbury should start preparing for coming global oil shortages.  6th October 2010

    Oil depletion expert, Bruce Robinson, has recommended to the Bunbury City Council that it should start preparing an Oil Vulnerability plan.  (recommendation, and Peak Oil summary)

    Global oil production is likely to start its inevitable decline sometime in the next few years, perhaps by 2015 or earlier.  "Peak Oil" is the time when oil shortages begin as the total production from the world's giant oil fields begins to decrease, instead of rising steadily as it has done over the past 100 years.   Cities that prepare in advance for the future oil shortages will have tremendous advantages over those that keep believing that business will always be as usual.  Bunbury is well-equipped to handle fuel shortages, as travel distances in the city are much shorter than those in Perth.  If fuel gets towards the CSIRO scenario of $8/litre by 2018, there will be a lot of changes needed in people's travel habits.  Oil Vulnerability Planning should be commonplace, just as people assess their bushfire risks and have emergency plans in case there are major bushfires. 

    Peak Oil is almost sure to hit Bunbury people much sooner and much harder than Climate Change, but all the current planning is for Climate Change and none for increasingly severe oil shortages.

    Mr Robinson is national Convenor of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO-Australia).  He will be speaking at a seminar arranged by Engineers Australia at ECU Bunbury at 6pm Tuesday evening 5th October and at ECU at noon on Wednesday 6th October For further information contact Bruce Robinson on 0427 398 708 

    Lasers or Longbows? A Paradox of Military Technology Major Cameron Leckie, Australian Defence Force Journal August 2010 (44-56)
    The advantage provided by the increased complexity of a military capability increases the vulnerability of that same capability to systemic collapse due to its reliance on complex supply chains
    Peak Oil is just one of the problems facing defence forces, but perhaps a critical one in that the globalisation of manufacturing and supply depends on it 
    Because of a number of converging threats,  it appears unlikely that current levels of complexity can be maintained indefinitely. These threats are likely to present themselves as a series of ‘strategic shocks’ that will precipitate the transition from abundance to scarcity industrialism.  Based on an analysis of the factors leading to this paradox, the most effective
    response appears to be a reduction in the complexity of military capabilities.


    Peak oil is the villain governments need  Using the threat of a high oil prices is a sell the public will buy into – unlike intangible arguments over climate change Guardian.  11-Aug-2010

     Vale Matt Simmons:  One of the great pioneers of popularising Peak Oil died August 9th 2010.   Matt Simmons was a Republican investment banker who could communicate with the big end of town and advise George W Bush on energy matters.  His many presentations were a valuable tool for us.  They are now archived on the Ocean Energy site.

    Matt gave a paper at the first ASPO conference in Uppsala in 2002.  He is pictured (right) being interviewed for Swedish TV at the time.  See the Energy Bulletin tribute

    Australian Financial Review "Peak Oil Threat Becomes Harder to Ignore"  (full article)  13th July 2010. AFR Peak Oil  

    An Oil Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Management Plan is needed for Geraldton.  See the recommendation and the background summary  (July 28th 2010 )  GWN TV coverage

    from the Economist, June 17th 2010

    Petrol taxes should be increased each year to prepare us for Peak Oil

    News release.  Henry Tax Review 


    xổ số miền trung phú yên hôm qua

    Global Energy Systems Group, Uppsala University  Oct-Dec 2010 

    Expressions of interest are invited to make use of Prof Aleklett's expertise infuture world oil supply scenarios and to help arrange his visit.  Details here


    Global downturn cushioned peak oil impact

    27th April 2010  ABC News On-Line and radio("PM")

    Profs. Peter Newman and Kjell Aleklett


    US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015  Guardian 11th April 2010

    • Shortfall could reach 10m barrels a day, report says
    • Cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel soon
      Full US report

     Oil reserves 'exaggerated by one third'
    Sydney Morning Herald  March 24, 2010

    The world's oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, Britain's former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years.
    The scientist and researchers from Oxford University argue that official figures are inflated because member countries of the oil cartel, OPEC, over-reported reserves in the 1980s when competing for global market share.

    cover of UK Peak Oil reportBusiness calls for urgent action on “oil crunch” threat to UK economy
    London, 10 February, 2010:
    A group of leading business people today call for urgent action to prepare the UK for Peak Oil. The second report of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) finds that oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilise economic, political and social activity potentially by 2015.

    Branson warns that oil crunch is coming within five years  UK Guardian article 7th February 2010

    Peak Oil and Public Transport.  ABC TV Stateline (WA), Dec 4th 2009.    Story featuring Dr Jim Buckee, past President and CEO of Talisman Energy, ASPO, public transport, WA Minister for Transport

    Brisbane Courier Mail summary of Macquarie and Guardian stories below (21 November 2009) 

    The UK Guardian: Nov 9th 2009  The world is much closer to running short of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying. The 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 Peak of the Oil Age - analyzing the world oil production Reference Scenario in World Energy Outlook 2008 by ASPO President Prof Kjell Aleklett and a team including Adelaide's Michael Lardelli
    This paper details the errors in IEA analysis and their 25% overestimates of future oil production, as outlined in Prof Aleklett's tour of Australia in June. "In total, our analysis points to a world oil supply in 2030 of 75 Mb/d, some 26 Mb/d lower than the IEA predicts". 
    IEA output forecasts are 'outside reality': In a direct shot at the most widely followed estimates of future oil flows, a leading peak oil proponent said the International Energy Agency's supply projections are significantly inaccurate

    The IEA World Energy Outlook 2009 was released in London 10th November.  It offers nothing much new about oil production, and repeats the unsubstantiated claims made in WEO-2008, that are refuted clearly and simply by the Uppsala Global Energy Systems Group (above).  They do provide free the chapter from WEO-2008 about global oil field decline rates. (here)

    Maribyrnong City Councils Peak Oil Contingency Plan. A first for Australia


     Peak oil expected in 2009: Macquarie
    Spare capacity of 5.2 million bpd will be wiped out by 2012, Australian bank says Sep. 16, 2009 Peak oil supply will be hit this year after the economic crisis and low prices in the first quarter of 2009 slashed much needed investment, a senior executive at Australian investment bank Macquarie said.
    “This is our view – capacity has pretty much peaked in the sense that declines equal new resources,” Iain Reid, head of European oil and gas research at Macquarie, told Reuters.  (this was covered in North America papers, but not in Australia)


    Visit by Prof Aleklett, Global Energy Systems group, Uppsala

    Prof Kjell Aleklett heads the Global Energy Systems group in the Department of Physics at the University of Uppsala, and he is President of ASPO-International.  He and his colleagues have published widely about Peak Oil and future oil supply forecasts, and about the rate of decline of giant oil field production.  He was in Australia as a plenary speaker for the Supply Chain and Logistics Conference, SmartConference, in Sydney, June 10th 2009.

     A highlight was the SmartConference workshop,(details below)

    Sydney Morning Herald article  "Highly vulnerable to oil shortages"  (11th June)

    Media alert here Media contacts welcome via Bruce Robinson 0427 398 708
    ( or Bruce dot Robinson at ASPO-Australia dot org dot Au )

    His plenary lecture was entitled "Future Transportation Fuels:  Business-as-usual is not an option" (download)

    University of Adelaide public seminars:  10 am June 5th ,   and  5pm June 5th   

    Canberra June 9th. Departmental briefing at BITRE (download ) and a public Senate committee inquiry hearing (investment in public transport) download , Hansard transcript

    Public forum: Peak oil by 2012? Will Sydney’s transport system cope? Professor Aleklett, spoke about peak oil and forecasts for supply (download ). Dr Garry Glazebrook (UTS) outlined the transport needs of the greater Sydney region (download ) and Councillor McInerney presented transport plans for the City of Sydney (June 11th at UTS)

    Recent papers and articles from Prof Aleklett and the Global Energy System group

    IEA output forecasts are 'outside reality': In a direct shot at the most widely followed estimates of future oil flows, a leading peak oil proponent said the International Energy Agency's supply projections are significantly inaccurate.  Platts Conference, Geneva 28th May 2008

    Peak-Oil and the Evolving Strategies of Oil Importing and Exporting Countries:
    Facing the hard truth about an import decline for the OECD countries  (actual OECD PDF version)
    European Conference of Ministers of Transport,
    Joint OECD/ECMT Transport Research Centre      September 2007

    Fossil motor fuels around 2050
    Abstract of paper to be presented at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences international energy symposium, Energy2050, to be held on 19-20 October 2009

    Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production
    Mikael Höök, Robert Hirsch & Kjell Aleklet  Energy Policy, June 2009, 2262-2272

    Oil production limits mean opportunities, conservation 
    Oil & Gas Journal  21st August 2006
    In the face of looming oil production shortfalls, all individuals as well as nations as a whole will have to use less oil. And now is the time to begin developing programs accommodating the need for less oil. The coming shortage could provide excellent opportunities for those able to identify them and act strategically.

    Mikael Höök (completing a PhD with the Global Energy Systems Group) gave a valuable presentation to the "Managing Risks in Oil and Gas Exploration Forum", Amsterdam, 4th June. 






    Senate: Public Transport (and oil supplies)

    The Senate inquiry into Public Transport has been holding hearings around Australia.
    Details of the inquiry, lists of submissions on the Senate website etc here.
    ASPO-Australia made a main submission, one from ASPO-Sydney and one from the Defence and Security working group.  We were invited to appear at the Perth hearing (Hansard)
    As well there were individual submissions from Dave Kilsby, Garry Glazebrook, Alan Parker and Matt Mushalik (with the prize for the biggest submission, 18MB), and from the Cycling Promotion Fund and Prof. Peter Newman amongst the 142 published so far


    Infrastructure Australia Submission
    We have prepared a submission to Infrastructure Australia.

    Download the full report: Peak Oil and Australia's National Infrastructure: Submission to Infrastructure Australia.

    The Executive Summary is reprinted below.

    Executive Summary

    World oil production is at or near its historic peak and will most likely begin to decline within several years. Net exports of oil available on the world market have probably entered a decline that will continue more steeply than the declining rate of production. Compounded by the impact of geopolitical circumstances, extreme weather events and other economic trends, the decline in oil availability will see dramatically increasing and highly volatile oil and fuel prices, oil supply shocks and impacts on economic growth, employment, demographics and transport patterns.
    IEA World Energy Outlook released

    Executive Summary: http://www.iea.org/weo/docs/weo2008/WEO2008_es_English.pdf

    Key graphics: http://www.iea.org/weo/key_graphs_08/WEO_2008_Key_Graphs.pdf

    Press release: http://www.iea.org/Textbase/press/pressdetail.asp?PRESS_REL_ID=275 .

    As a result of all the leaks and pre-release publicity, the actual release has not attracted as much notice as it deserves. 

    The New York TImes had covered the pre-release of the Executive Summary of the IEA World Energy Outlook 2008 :
    The global economic slump that has curbed energy demand and pushed oil prices down in recent months may provide only a short-lived respite for consumers, according to the world’s top energy forecaster. The International Energy Agency, which advises industrialized nations on energy policy, warned on Thursday that the supply shortfalls that pushed oil prices into triple-digit territory this year are far from resolved, and could lead to a new period of high prices.

    The IEA asked us (10th November) to remove our copy of the Executive Summary which was released on Thursday 6th November but not made publicly available in spite of media reports to the contrary. The formal release for the full report was Wed 12th November (links above)

    Jeremy Gilbert, Garnaut "Consider Peak Oil" & ASPO-7 Barcelona

    Jeremy Gilbert, previously Chief Petroleum Engineer for BP worldwide, visited Australia.  He gave a presentation to the Municipal Association of Victoria, (1st October) and the keynote address to the Fuelling Food conference at the University of Western Australia (3rd October).  He gave a seminar at UWA on 6th October, "Reserves Growth, the Myth in the Peak Oil Debate".


    ASPO-Australia has written to Prof Garnaut, suggesting that much more consideration be given to oil depletion in the lead-up to the 2009 Copenhagen conference.

    "We are deeply concerned that your Draft Report explicitly rejects the notion that oil depletion will constrain economic growth within the next 50 years despite very strong evidence to the contrary. In our view the resulting analysis, conclusions and policy recommendations are flawed and will probably exacerbate the climate change mitigation problem. 

    The purpose of this letter is to draw your attention to growing acceptance of oil depletion in the scientific community and even by the IEA in its revision of the energy forecasts and emissions scenarios in the forthcoming World Energy Outlook 2008, a document intended in large part to inform negotiations in Copenhagen. Our view is that this will substantially improve the prospects for an effective agreement around a target atmospheric CO2 concentration of 450ppm."

    The full detailed letter to Garnaut (written by Stuart McCarthy in Brisbane) is available here.



    Pedro Prieto, of ASPO-Spain, has written to say the final program of the seventh ASPO conference is available at  www.ASPO-Spain.org/ASPO-7  20th-21st October 2008


    The theme of the conference is "From below ground to above ground" and more detailed information is available from the conference website above, and in the letter from Pedro Prieto below


    Latest News Items

     Peak oil - the trigger for global sustainability Ian Dunlop, Deputy Convenor, ASPO-Australia, (etc) ABC Radio "Ockham's Razor" presentation 27th July.  Transcript and Audio available

    Customs strategyFuture oil shortages prominent in Customs forward planning document.
    Main Trends to 2015   Availability of oil and oil-based fuels will become a critical issue http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/strategic_outlook.pdf

    News Release, 25th July 2008
    An attack on Iran could cripple Australia's transport
    An attack on Iran could cripple Australia's transport, Bruce Robinson, Convenor of ASPO-Australia said.  A third global oil crisis is very likely if Iran is attacked, as 20% of the world's oil is shipped through the narrow Strait of Hormuz.  Iran also produces about 5% of the world oil (~4 M bbl/day). 
    A conflagration in the Persian Gulf could make a 30% reduction in petrol and diesel supplies, similar to WA's gas shortage, but with much more severe and widespread consequences.   
    In the 1973 and 1979 oil crises, Australia was shielded by Bass Strait production, but these fields have been in decline since 1985, and almost 80% of our petroleum products now come from imported oil.  Australia is now exceptionally vulnerable to a sudden petrol and diesel shortage. 
    ASPO-Australia called on Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to caution Condoleeza Rice against any attack on Iran, because of its probable impact on Australia. We are not well prepared to handle a sudden petrol shortage.  There are no adequate plans in place to allocate scarce fuel to those in greatest need.  If there is petrol rationing, then we will also need to ration public transport, as it does not have enough spare capacity.
    Contact Bruce Robinson  08-9384-7409   0427 398 708 
    Reference: Australian Institute of Petroleum  http://www.aip.com.au/industry/supplyreliability.htm 
    In 2006-07, Australian refineries supplied around 75% of total Australian demand for petroleum products. That is, around 25% of product demand was met by imports.  Around 70% of crude oil used in Australian refineries is imported (30% is from Australian oilfields).  Australia exports a fair proportion of its oil production while importing other oil, so our overall net oil self-sufficiency is higher than the figures above, but we are very vulnerable in the short-term if imports drop.

    The Sydney Morning Herald, one of the nation's leading papers, sums it up in a perceptive cartoon SMH cartoon 10th July 2008 












     CSIRO Future Fuels Forum released its report "Fuel for thought - The future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities" at GM Holden, Melbourne on 11th July 2008.

    Petrol tipped to hit $8 a litre by 2018    ABC News
    A new report by the CSIRO has warned the cost of petrol could rise to as high as $8 a litre in the next 10 years. The Fuel for Thought study by the Future Fuels Forum says that would be the worst-case scenario if oil production does not keep up with increasing demand.

    Petroleum engineer Phil Hart from the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas believes it will not be long before the demand for oil will outstrip supply.  "Oil production has been essentially flat since 2005, and we have only another couple of years at this same sort of level of production before we start seeing oil production going into decline," he said.

    Doctor John Wright from the CSIRO has told ABC's AM program the study also suggests that such an oil shock would have a greater impact than a carbon emissions trading scheme.

    Media coverage naturally focussed on the $8/litre scenario, examples below
    Phil Hart on ABC Stateline, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk1HyUnZAgk

    ASPO-Australia contacts for further comment, if needed
    Phil Hart  0438 037 567
    Convenor, Bruce Robinson  0427 398 708   08-9384-7409, Perth
    Sydney      David Bell,   0413 594 154   Ian Dunlop  0412 586 798
    Brisbane    Stuart McCarthy  0447 095 141
    Adelaide    Sam Powrie  0414 307 413

    Preparing for the Petrol DroughtsAn evidence-based approach
    Peak Oil, and what we can do, a review.  Bruce Robinson 11th July 2008
        Global oil production is quite likely to halve by 2030, with the decline possibly starting very soon.  A Federal Office of Oil Vulnerability and a National Oil Vulnerability Mitigation Strategy (as being prepared in Queensland) are essential urgent first steps for Australia.  We need to collect and analyse the evidence on which to base future policies to reduce our oil vulnerability across all portfolios.

    ASPO Australia spokesperson Phil Hart gave this speech at the launch of the report:

    The Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil congratulates CSIRO for leading the Future Fuels Forum and thanks all the participants for the constructive dialogue that led to this final report. We have all learnt new things along the way. I have been personally encouraged to hear of the many changes businesses have been making – there are more pro-active changes under way than even I realised.

    2007 began with oil prices falling back to near $50 a barrel – because the speculators got it wrong. Many forum participants would have choked on a prediction of $8/litre early last year, but tight supply and the rapid increase in prices since then have given them courage to accept these dramatic model outcomes now. No one can know the precise future of oil prices, but such high figures reflect how hard it is to transform our cities and economies built on cheap oil when we are faced with declining oil production.

    Peak Oil: The Elephant at the Summit
    The Peak Oil, oil crisis, and petrol rationing plans are topics that should have been on the agenda at the 2020 summit.    Bruce Robinson, Convenor of ASPO-Australia, says that governments are ignoring the probability that global oil shortages will start to hit Australia in the next few years, just as our own production continues to decline.  We could be facing a crippling oil trade deficit of $100 billion pa by 2015, four times the figure mentioned by Martin Ferguson, unless we can take serious steps to reduce our oil vulnerability. Many bnght people from the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil nominated for the summit, but none were selected. 

    ASPO is concerned that the threats that Peak Oil poses are being systematically ignored and there will be chaos if oil shortages hit Australia.  We should plan well ahead for petrol droughts and oil crises, just as we do for cyclones and bushfires.  Oil vulnerability assessment should be a routine risk management feature, not a rarity.  The most probable date for Peak Oil is 2012 (+/- 5 years)


    ABARE's determined forecasts of falling oil prices have been consistently wrong for five years, as it is geological limits that control oil production not economics.  Economists do not realise that geological forces are more powerful than market forces.  A random number generator would perform better than ABARE's forecasters.  See graph at www.ASPO-Australia.org.au/References/Bruce/abare-mar-08.jpg

    For more information contact Bruce Robinson  08-9384-7409  0427 398 708 or David Bell  0413 594 154
    Australia Pumping Empty: the Looming Peak Oil Crisis

    The DVD is now available to buy from Aquila Productions.
    Highway of Diamonds

    Transcript of an address given March 4 to the Brisbane Institute by the Honourable Andrew McNamara, Queensland Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation.

    I’d like to pay my respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we gather this evening.

    I want to thank the Board of the Brisbane Institute for the invitation to address this gathering.

    Tonight I want to talk about capital S Sustainability.

    By that I don’t mean the usual narrow environmental concept of sustainability in agricultural production and land use.

    I mean the future of our society, our economy and our environment; the structure of our cities, their energy and water sources and demand profiles; the treatment of these sources of our wealth; the imminent peaking of world oil supplies; our use of finite resources like gas and coal; and the way we dispose of those resources when we’re finished with them.

    I will begin by considering what sustainability means to me.


    Rachel Nolan - Peak Oil Speech in Qld Parliament
    Speech to Parliament
    Ms Rachel Nolan MP - Member for Ipswich
    13th March 2008

    Ms NOLAN (Ipswich—ALP):

    On Monday night in Ipswich two local engineers, Steve Posselt and Stuart McCarthy, in conjunction with the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Ipswich Green—an organisation of which I am a cofounder—ran an Ipswich leaders forum to outline to the community the serious challenge of sustainability.

    Their timing could not have been better. Today the price of a barrel of West Texas crude oil passed through the $US110 mark. This is the highest price oil has ever reached, either in current or inflation adjusted terms.

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