Financial Times: World will face oil crunch ‘in five years’

The Financial Times is one of the world’s most respected newspapers, more or less the Wall Street Journal for the UK if you will. So when they run a story with a title like this, you’d hope people would sit up and notice. The story is behind a paywall, but you can find the whole article here.

The story is pretty short but it covers several salient points that more people need to be aware of:

  • the International Energy Agency said “oil looks extremely tight in five years time”
  • there are “prospects of even tighter natural gas markets at the turn of the decade”.
  • The IEA said that supply was falling faster than expected in mature areas, such as the North Sea or Mexico, while projects in new provinces such as the Russian Far East, faced long delays. Meanwhile consumption is accelerating on strong economic growth in emerging countries.

Another interesting twist to all this is Jeffrey Brown’s Export Land Model, in which oil consumption rises in oil-producing nations (due to increases in per-capita income, subsized gas prices, etc), further limiting the supply available for exports.

So, if you believe the Financial Times, we’ve got between three and five years left in our “Long Weekend” before we really start feeling some economic pain. Most people in the Upper Midwest and Canada rely on natural gas for heating in the winter, so we may very well get a sneak preview of peak oil in the form of peak natural gas.

It’s time to start preparing for a world where we travel less and spend more of our income on basic necessities like food. Three or four years is enough time to start honing your skills at gardening and collecting any thing you think might come in handy in the next decade or so. My list includes things like sweaters, for example, since I doubt I’ll be able to afford to keep the house at 70F in 2015.

HT: Urban Survival

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