• Apr 15th 2010 at 7:49PM
  • 62
The U.S. military thinks we're one step closer to peak oil, the point at which oil demand will forever outstrip oil supply, and therefore we're one step closer to fighting over the last rusting cans of gasoline like so many scraps of meat. On the plus side, we're also one step closer to finally equipping our cars with superchargers and massive gas tanks rigged with explosives a la Mad Max and his archetypal peak-oil sled, "the last of the V-8 Interceptors."

The U.S. Joint Forces command has issued a Joint Operating Environment report that states that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and that there could be serious shortages by 2015. From the report:
By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day, While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.
The Joint Operating Environment report didn't go quite as far as saying it was time to start dressing in leather, eating canned dog food and carrying sawed-off shotguns, but it didn't exactly paint a rosy picture of what post-2015 America could look like. "One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest," the report points out. Ruthless conquest? They might as well say "massive oiled-up dudes wearing hockey masks and riding around the desert on tractors."

We're not sure where the U.S. Joint Forces command got their numbers from, but their conclusion does seem to jibe with a peak oil assessment by a Kuwaiti study and an estimate by Richard Branson's energy taskforce, all of which means we're off to practice our welding skills.

[Source: Guardian | Image: Clinton Steeds - C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 62 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Could this be why the Chinese are going all over the globe buying up every drop of oil they can?
      Before the actual shortage hits, the oil price will go through the roof. That will wreck the entire economy, as demand for other goods & services disappears, taking millions of jobs with it. I think oil production will peak in 2016. If Iraq can achieve their goal of producing 12,000,000 barrels a day by 2016, push that date back until after 2020.
      That is a big if, but not impossible.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Could this be why the Chinese are going all over the globe buying up every drop of oil they can? "

        Ummm, yes. Just to add, they are buying long term above current market price delivery contracts - so that they get their deliveries locked in for the long term. No buying off the market. Its as if they are preparing for a shortage to be coming....

        Everyone else, like us (US), just buy the oil off the market for the most part - and since most economists tell us that its just demand and supply and don't take into account its a finite supply - we'll all go over that cliff together.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If those long term Chinese oil contracts are honored, as oil goes to $200, then $300, then $400 a barrel, I will be more shocked than when I first watched 'Ghost Rider Uppsala Run' on the Internet. Without a blue water navy, they might be in trouble. I wouldn't want to live in Siberia when the first refineries start to shut down in China from lack of crude.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For those who have followed the story of peak oil and looked at the facts with some seriousness it shouldn't come as a surprise The US military,unlike most of politics, took this peak oil thing very seriously a few years ago already so we can trust that they are well informed on the problem.

      Few realize how big the implication of peak oil will be for our civilization. What we take for granted like cheap transportation and cheap everything will be turned upside down
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have to say, on the topic of the military and the United States - it is perhaps the most amazing achievement of our society that the greatest military the world has ever produced is largely a-political in perhaps the wealthiest nation ever.
        It is not like I think everyone in a uniform is a saint....
        But let's be clear about who invades nations (and any other thing like that)... it is the people we are foolish enough to elect - not the military.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Trust the military?

        Never thought I would hear that one here. I was brought up to believe that all they do is invade nations of brown skinned people while dropping bombs that conveniently miss every one of the enemy while hitting nothing but women, children, schools, and hospitals.

        Cool.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The obvious answer - for North America - is to convert ALL vehicles to natural gas - since the continent has a 200 year supply.

      Of course, this won't solve the problem for everyone else!

      Again, Obama needs to declare a state of emergency, and start a "Manhattan Project" for alternative sources of energy.

      We were warned in 1973 (the first shortage) and we wasted time - now there IS no time!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oil hit $83 per barrel yesterday; let's see: wasn't gasoline at $4 when oil hit $100 last time? Did you notice there are no more 99 cent deals on engine oil? And, didn't the President just approve drilling in places thought off limits by Democrats? And now 2015 is named as oil's peak year by the military. Must be a message there somewhere being fully ignored by current American drivers. Well, I'm not in that club...I've got my name as a buyer on two BEV lists and the first one available has my money. Go ahead and listen to the PR crap and continue to think you can't get along without the huge SUV or Truck. It will make a good planter, sitting beside the house rotting because you can't afford to drive it and no one want to buy it.

        • 5 Years Ago
        That "200 year supply" is just snake oil. Depletion rates of shale gas is very high. Moreover even the claimed 200 year supply is at current consumption rates - not if all transportation is converted to NG.

        Here is some excellent analysis on this.

        Why Natural Gas Vehicles Won't Decrease Oil Dependence

        http://seekingalpha.com/article/187096-why-natural-gas-vehicles-won-t-decrease-oil-dependence-part-i
      • 5 Years Ago
      Perhaps if the aholes in the military stopped using up so much fking oil fighting wars, we'd have more of it for a rainy day and better use.

      What a fking waste these people are.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "What a fking waste these people [the military] are."

        Says someone using the massive WAN that started as ARPANet, funded by the US Military through DARPA.

        As others have already said, it's the politicians who are to blame for the things the US military does. The US military can be a force for good or evil, depending on how it's used. I doubt people in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami thought they were a "fking waste". People in Haiti probably don't think so either. And don't forget the numerous technologies, from the Internet to cell phones to modern aviation, that are the result of military-funded innovation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Almost as much of a waste as mouthbreathing blog posters and WoW players using computers made mostly of plastic (oil) sitting on chairs at desks also made of plastic (oil), wasting electricity to talk smack about their intellectual, physical, moral and penile betters. ;-)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well said.

        They use practically all the oil driving countless, massive vehicles up and down this planet like there's no tomorrow.
      • 5 Years Ago
      you can't really blame them, they tried their best. they killed a million people. that's gotta count for something.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Incidentally, when I first enlisted in 1985, our maintenance vehicles all had dual fuel gas and LNG fuel systems. We'd start on gasoline and run on natural gas once the engine was warm.

      So everyone who was doing likewise has moral credibility to comment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When one prevents access to over a trillion barrels of shale oil in Colorado and stops access in Alaska and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, peak oil comes a WHOLE lot sooner.

      And this is what the US government is currently doing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Military vehicles over time have guzzled more and more fuel because these vehicles are growing in armor mass as time goes on and mass is the most important variable in the fuel economy equation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        On flat land mass is only important up to 45mph, above that speed areodynamics are far more important.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I guess we have been adding more armor to some military vehicles over time, but is it a bad thing if it protects the soldiers inside? Saving lives is surely a better reason than vanity to add weight to a car, wouldn't you think?

        If you would like to lead the charge on reducing vehicle armor in the name of fuel economy then be my guest.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The US military has had a program of certifying all its vehicles for B-50 fuel for several years now. Never heard of B-50? It's a 50/50 mix of regular diesel and coal based Fischer Tropsch fuel. The US and the PRC have huge coal fields. It's going to be an environmental hit if we switch over to FT based fuels (their manufacture is dirtier than current gasoline production) but much preferrable to Mad Max style societal breakdown.

      We have a solution to peak oil that will save us from the end of the world as we know it. Now we just have to find better ones so we don't step back at all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ROFLMAO!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well US Military, who's fault is that?

      Your absolute failure in Iraq was supposed to secure America's oil for the next two decades. Now what are we going to do? How are the fatso's going to get their fat derriere's through drive throughs? Walk. What a disgrace. WHAT A DISGRACE!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The current state of Iraq is not the military's fault, that's for sure. Some very delusional people gave them a miserable, hopeless, and mostly thankless job.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wherever do you get the idea Iraq was about oil? Production and shipping figures don't lie. Iraq's oil is hard to reach, harder to ship, and we're not doing it.

        That's what you get for drinking media Kool Aid.

        Now, a smart person might notice we have bases in allied territory in the Gulf, and the 'Stans, and in Afghanistan and Iraq, all brand new and able to take all our aircraft...in a neat ring around Iran.

        If a smart person were looking at a map, reading about construction, and thinking ten years ahead, instead of drooling in front of CNN and PMSNBC.

        A smart person might also be agitating for nuclear power, which seems to work so well for Canada, France, Japan, China, India and the US Navy, instead of hysterically spitting on a petition for bicycle generators and windmills.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Totally agreed Matt, you guys have a great military and great people in the US. It's your corrupt politicians and the industrial military complex corruption as usual who's really at fault there. I was just be sarcastic.

        Poor Iraqi's, just for having oil under their feet look at the hell they've suffered and are suffering.

        US Military should say they're sorry. Sorry their politicians are imbeciles. Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld.


      • 5 Years Ago
      "that's gotta count for something."

      You forgot. "We don't count bodies".

      http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
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