Klare on the end of the oil order
The Collapse of the Old Oil Order
The article originally appeared on TomDispatch.com. Click here to listen to a podcast of the author explaining how resource scarcity is driving protest and much else on our planet.
Whatever the outcome of the protests, uprisings and rebellions now sweeping the Middle East, one thing is guaranteed: the world of oil will be permanently transformed. Consider everything that’s now happening as just the first tremor of an oilquake that will shake our world to its core.
For a century stretching back to the discovery of oil in southwestern Persia before World War I, Western powers have repeatedly intervened in the Middle East to ensure the survival of authoritarian governments devoted to producing petroleum. Without such interventions, the expansion of Western economies after World War II and the current affluence of industrialized societies would be inconceivable.
Here, however, is the news that should be on the front pages of newspapers everywhere: that old oil order is dying, and with its demise we will see the end of cheap and readily accessible petroleum—forever.******
...if one traces a reasonable trajectory from current developments in the Middle East, the handwriting is already on the wall. Since no other area is capable of replacing the Middle East as the world’s premier oil exporter, the oil economy will shrivel—and with it, the global economy as a whole.
Consider the recent rise in the price of oil just a faint and early tremor heralding the oilquake to come. Oil won’t disappear from international markets, but in the coming decades it will never reach the volumes needed to satisfy projected world demand, which means that, sooner rather than later, scarcity will become the dominant market condition. Only the rapid development of alternative sources of energy and a dramatic reduction in oil consumption might spare the world the most severe economic repercussions.