The writing's on the wall...

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Sun Mar 6 14:21:42 GMT 2011

Hash: SHA1

...pity our political class can't read!

A whole slew of statistics and reports after the last few months all point to 
the oil and economy issue beginning to bite -- it might start with fuel 
prices, but it'll bite next year in food prices (the cycle time from fuel rise 
to food price rise is 10 to 16 months).

Have a look at a few of the latest 'rave reviews' from the media this week.

Perhaps 2012 will be the 'end of the world' -- for the Clarkson wannabe's at 
least ;-)


Oil prices: Urgent steps needed to wean UK onto other energy sources, MPs say

Toby Helm, Guardian On-line, Saturday 5 March 2011

Ministers will be ordered to adopt urgent measures to wean the country off oil, 
amid rising concern that the Libya crisis has left the economy exposed to a 
dramatic rise in fuel prices.

With fears growing that the cost of petrol could hit £2 a litre if instability 
in the Middle East persists and deepens, every government department will be 
told this week to comply with a new national "carbon plan" aimed specifically 
at "getting off the oil hook".

The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, told the Observer that the UK had no option 
but to speed up efforts to move away from oil. "Getting off the oil hook is made 
all the more urgent by the crisis in the Middle East. We cannot afford to go on 
relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and 
secure energy from low-carbon sources," he said. "The carbon plan is about 
ensuring that the whole of government is engaged in a joined-up effort to lead 
us into a low-carbon world."

The transport secretary, Philip Hammond, who has infuriated green groups by 
floating the idea of raising the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 80mph, will 
be told he must produce a nationwide strategy to promote installation of 
infrastructure for electric cars by June.


The 2011 oil shock:
More of a threat to the world economy than investors seem to think 

The Economist, 3rd March 2011

THE price of oil has had an unnerving ability to blow up the world economy, 
and the Middle East has often provided the spark. The Arab oil embargo of 
1973, the Iranian revolution in 1978-79 and Saddam Hussein’s invasion of 
Kuwait in 1990 are all painful reminders of how the region’s combustible mix 
of geopolitics and geology can wreak havoc. With protests cascading across 
Arabia, is the world in for another oil shock?
The markets’ reaction has been surprisingly modest. The price of Brent crude 
jumped 15% as Libya’s violence flared up, reaching $120 a barrel on February 
24th. But the promise of more production from Saudi Arabia pushed the price 
down again. It was $116 on March 2nd—20% higher than the beginning of the 
year, but well below the peaks of 2008. Most economists are sanguine: global 
growth might slow by a few tenths of a percentage point, they reckon, but not 
enough to jeopardise the rich world’s recovery. 

That glosses over two big risks. First, a serious supply disruption, or even 
the fear of it, could send the oil price soaring (see article). Second, dearer 
oil could fuel inflation—and that might prompt a monetary clampdown that 
throttles the recovery. A lot will depend on the skill of central bankers. 


Shell chief Peter Voser warns oil demand could outstrip supply

Peter Voser, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, believes the $116 oil 
price caused by the Middle East crisis will soon ease back, but warned of a 
longer-term shock where "supply cannot meet demand". 

Rowena Mason, Torygraph, 4th Mar 2011

Lack of investment over the past two to three years will most likely be the 
biggest driver of high oil prices, he said on Friday.

"We may face a situation at one stage where supply cannot meet demand," Mr 
Voser said. "That's where OPEC spare capacity will help but we have to replace 
significant barrels because of natural decline over time."

The boss of Europe's biggest oil company said he had confidence in the ability 
of OPEC, the oil cartel, to compensate for the loss of 1m barrels per day of 
production from Libya. More than half the North African country's production 
has been lost as uprisings worsens and the nation heads towards civil war.

"I think as OPEC has highlighted there is enough spare capacity to actually 
replace the shortage of oil out of Libya and it will over time balance itself 
again," Mr Voser said. 


- -- 


"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see

Read my 'essay' weblog, "Ecolonomics", at:

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
email - mobbsey at
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