Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, is nervous. Speaking earlier this month, he said that alternative fuels should be called "supplemental" and that "These sources cannot contribute meaningfully to the world's energy mix until they have attained levels of affordability, accessibility, acceptance and sustainability." So far, so good. Kind of dismissive of the biofuels' potential, kind of realistic. But, he went on:
We frankly court disaster if these supplemental resources on which such high hopes for energy security and sustainability are pinned do not fulfill the high expectations. While all viable energies will ultimately have a role in meeting world demand, many of these sources are either in their infancy or face too many unresolved sustainability issues to serve as more than supplemental resources for some time. Just as the oil industry needs a long-term horizon, so do many alternatives.
In years to come, if traditional energy supplies should prove inadequate because capital expenditure was curtailed due to unsustainable prices, unreliable indications of future demand, or hopes for a substitute for oil cannot deliver, such a supply crunch would be catastrophic.

"Court disaster." "Catastrophic." "In their infancy." These are logical statements for someone who represents the Saudi oil industry, but it sure sounds like someone is working hard to dial down expectations for anything that threatens the dominance of oil. You can watch Al-Naimi's comments here (starting at minute 9 in the video).

[Source: New York Times via Domestic Fuel]
Photo by nightthree. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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