Peak Oil and the Iraq War

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  • #42852 Reply
    Courtenay Barnett

    I was so outraged back in 2003 and later on when the so-called “Downing Street Memorandum” ( compliments of ‘Poodle P.M. Blair to President Bush – was discovered) that I put my thinking cap on about the dynamics of global oil supplies and the real causes of the Iraq war. Took me 3 years of research and thinking before I published ( but I still think that I did not get it wholly right): –

    Oil, conflict and the future of global energy supplies

    In 2006 the article was first published; I was invited to give a public lecture on it and a ‘Dr. somebody or the other’ from the US State Department was in attendance. During the question and answer session he asked 8 out of the 10 questions coming from the audience. He was technical and astutely avoided any overt questions on the politics of the Iraq invasion and/or the obvious violation of International Law. But, my real point of doubt presently arises as follows:-

    1. Is the ‘peak oil’ theory accurate by reference to the term ‘fossil’ fuel’: or

    2. Is global oil supply actually coming from a deep place of supply ‘well’ ( pun intended) beneath the Earth’s surface – which is being constantly replenished?

    The questions are important and are more directed to scientists and geologists who may be on this thread – or – to any suitably qualified person who can proffer a credible answer. I am not so qualified; hence, both my doubt and belated questioning of myself and my actual level of accurate understanding.

    #42873 Reply

    Hi Craig. I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve read extensively around the issue of peak oil and resource depletion over the last decade or so. The “abiotic oil” theory (that’s the deep self replenishing stuff you write about above) is, to the best of my knowledge considered crackpot pseudoscience by most petrogeologists.

    The best source of information I’ve found on this issue is Richard Heingberg. He’s been writing well researched, coherent books and essays about it for a long time. He has a website here: His book, The Party’s Over (2003) details how the issue was viewed back around the time you’re talking about.

    #42892 Reply

    Courtenay, the mainstream view is that oil is indeed a fossil fuel, and not being replenished. This apparently fits with many branches of science. Peak production and the Huppert production curve has been well established empirically; lower 48 US states’ production peaked in the mid 1970s, and North Sea production peaked around 1999, as predicted geologically.

    The abiogenic theory was pursued in by scientists in the USSR when they were cut off from the wider world, and its recent popularisation has been almost exclusively by Thomas Gold. A summary can be found here; as always with Wikipedia, follow the citations:

    But for a couple of reasons it might not make much difference:

    * We must not burn even known oil reserves because of global warming.

    * Liquid fuel is still essential to industrial economies, and in particular to military operations, therefore powerful nations will fight over it no matter what its origins.

    It may be worth noting that the countries the US alliance attacks are invariably countries that propose selling oil in currencies other than US dollars. Iraq and Iran both proposed an ‘oil bourse’, Libya was proposing a new currency, the Gold Dinar, and Venezuela was proposing dealing in euro and yen. Try a search on the following term: petrodollar

    #42893 Reply

    You may also find the following site useful:

    Should it go off-line (as it did once when I wanted it), it is archived at*/

    #43101 Reply
    Eric Lavoie

    The biggest motivator for US oil isn’t really controversial, in fact, it’s a well known historical lesson. When Germany decided to ship all of its Panzer and Tiger divisions from the Eastern Front to France to meet the invading Americans they did so at great cost to their supplies of oil and refined fuel. By the time they arrived Germany was out of gas. The first push in the Battle of the Bulge ran through American and British troops like they weren’t there and had they not ran out of gas, they likely would have won the war. American military doctrine from that day forward has been 1.) never run out of oil 2.) control the enemies oil supply. From 1980’s Afghanistan to Kuwait to Venezuela right now, same thing. Control China and Russia’s access to oil.

    #45019 Reply
    A Cassandra

    There was an interesting research Documentary produced by James Corbett [link 1 below] tracking the power shifting dynamics pre-WWI of Great Britain’s empire wrestling against the economic rise of Germany. A central tenet being the development of the Eastern railroad to Baghdad allowing the overland freight of ME oil to industrial Germany avoiding UK naval controlled territories. His echo is the current BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) by China avoiding US naval controlled sea passages, and gives China direct access to Asian and Euro Asian markets and the threat caused to US dominance.

    Such theories are difficult to flesh out with hard facts given security of backroom geopolitics. Fuel abundance certainly tracks empire growth. In Lawrence of Arabia’s WWI destruction of that “Orient Express” railroad he nobly pushed for Arab chambers of control knowing the “Great powers” of the day would not serve their interests. The current slow motion car crash of Saudi Arabia and its looming Bankruptcy make more curious it’s military action in Yemen, presumably to secure Saudi (US) control Yemenese Oil fields as well as access to further Gulf of Aden/Somali reserves (and their extraction supply chains) is suggestive that there’s scant resource left in Saudi Wells and it’s a cornered Lion gambit. The saga of their KSA Aramco Oil delayed/on/off/relocated IPO asks many awkward questions for stock market due diligence professionals, but essentially “Why sell the golden egg?”

    The other side of the Suez Egyptian Arab spring leader Morsi (toppled by US loyal military coup) and the western support tap switched back on after his fall. Erdogan in Turkey is buying Russian S300 air defence – which is not software blocked so WILL shoot down NATO aircraft, so he likely will feel a little safer if he has to be chased through the skies again in another coup attempt. After the Qaddafi’s (also illegal) overthow, new pipelines were run across Algeria/Spain to Europe. I’ve nothing new to add to the Syrian story that Craig has well documented, other than to remind readers of the murky Clinton supervision of the ex-Libyan army weapons “rat run” network from Benghazi to Homs. (Bill Clinton as Governor under Reagan signed off Mena Airport black ops shuttles to Contra’s, later as President was instrumental in fermenting the Yugo war, orchestrating essential conflict-fuelling weapons supply to multiple opposing factions priming the post-Tito tinderbox. Once out of office handing over the “how to make war” team baton to his wife for (at least) Benghazi-Syria operation Hillary preferring destruction of US Consulate and US diplomatic deaths to publicity of murky operations there). Further afield one month after Chavez’s decision to switch sale of Venezuelan oil to China and reduce supplies to the US – the principle Venezuelan refinery exploded. Craig can shed some light on how long it takes to green light a covert op. but lets just say the timing is at the very least suspicious. Seen in light of US actions in Venezuela to date, more so.

    Steven Gaghan who wrote screenplay and directed Syriana from CIA agent Robert Baer’s book of his history and operations in ME titled “See No Evil” Gaghan said of his research and the comments form players in these interweaving of conflict and oil markets: “Oil and the Bullet are the same thing, they are the SAME business”

    Cassandra was gifted to see the future, she was also cursed that no one wanted to believe her.

    Link 1

    Echoes of WWI: China, the US, and the Next “Great” War


    See “The Weight of Chains” I / II
    *sometimes* available online.

    #46588 Reply

    Excellent comment Cassandra; it tallies with much that I have read over the years.

    #52266 Reply
    michael norton

    Not much use for oil these days.
    Virgin Australia has just gone broke, nobody flying anymore.
    Brent Crude trading at less than $20/barrel, today
    Texas much cheaper.

    #52274 Reply
    michael norton

    Brent has dropped by 1/3rd today
    now trading at
    Price dollars per barrel($/barrel)

    This will see off fracked oil
    and probably spell the Death Knell for the North Sea.

    #54281 Reply
    michael norton

    Unprecedentedly the BBC
    has not shown any movement in Crude, neither Texas or Brent for a week.
    This has never happened before.
    Perhaps the end is nigh?

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