COMMENT: A recent WikiLeaks State Department cable disclosure gives a boost to the “Peak Oil” hypothesis as well as laying the foundation for a further run-up in the price of oil. Quoting a former Saudi official (who may have been speaking from bitterness), the cable says the Saudis’ oil reserves are very much lower than publicly advertised.
In past discussion of “Peak Oil,” we have noted its genesis with the major cartel firms than control the global economy, as well as the use of theory to justify a Nazi-style elimination of human beings.
NB: It was WikiLeaks, recall, that disseminated the East Anglia documents that lent fuel to the argument that global warming was a myth. It turned out that the documents, as edited, were misleading and that leak served the interests of the petroleum industry and its adherents on the far right.
EXCERPT: While the world remains transfixed by the Egyptian revolt, a crisis with equally profound global consequences is quietly brewing elsewhere in the Middle East: WikiLeaks this week released U.S. diplomatic cables suggesting that Saudi Arabia may have vastly overstated its oil reserves — if true, that could dramatically accelerate the arrival of the long-feared “peak oil” moment, when oil production hits its final high before slowly declining, keeping prices rising for the foreseeable future and slowing global economic growth. But not all industry analysts are convinced by the claims in the cables.
The diplomatic cables from the U.S. embassy in Riyadh between 2007 and 2009 cite a former senior executive of Saudi Arabia’s state-run Aramco oil company as revealing to American officials that the country’s official estimate of 716 billion barrels of oil reserves is, well, hogwash; the real figure is about 40% lower than that, according to the oil executive, Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist who until 2004 headed Aramco’s exploration department — a seemingly impeccable source. WikiLeaks released the four cables on Tuesday.
As a private citizen no longer representing the company, Husseini was apparently free to speak candidly. And in a November 2007 meeting with the U.S. economic officer in Riyadh, he broke the sobering news that the country’s reserves were nowhere near as big as officials were claiming. “First, it is possible that Saudi reserves are not as bountiful as sometimes described,” the U.S. Consul General John Kincannon in Riyadh wrote to State Department officials in Washington, reporting on Husseini’s analysis, “and the timeline for their production not as unrestrained as Aramco and energy optimists would like to portray.” (Read “Is Peak Oil Coming Soon?”) . . .