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Future Proof Kilkenny

On 29th October the Irish Times ran an article in the Business section summarising the findings of a leaked report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). A longtime skeptic of peak oil, the IEA has over the last year conducted a review of the world’s oil producing fields for it’s upcoming World Energy Outlook 2008 report due to be published in November. Putting it mildly, the contents are alarming. Below the fold is how the Irish Times ran the story:

“A draft report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) has claimed that output from the world’s oilfields is declining faster than previously thought. Without extra investment to raise production, annual output will decline by 9.1%”

Its worth repeating that: annual output will decline by 9.1%

“The findings suggest the world will struggle to produce enough oil to make up for the steep decline in existing fields, such as those in the North Sea, Russia and Alaska, and meet demand in the long term. The effort will become even more acute as prices fall and investment decisions are delayed….Even with investment [estimated at $360Billion per year] the annual output rate will decline by 6.4%. The decline will not necessarily be felt in the next few years because demand is slowing down, but with the expected slowdown in investment, the eventual effect will be magnified.”

After I read this article my Wife asked me why I looked so pale. If it is true it is astonishing. Most peak oil activists, myself included, have been citing decline rates of 3%, with 5% being a worst case scenario. 6.4% let alone 9% is off the scale and will require a National emergency plan to be put in place as soon as possible. After a restless night I expected that the next days papers would be full of the story. To my surprise, not a mention. Forgotten about. The headlines instead, focused on the continuing saga of the UK’s celebrity phone pranksters. It would be nice to find out that the IEA are also winding us up.

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