Unlikely Agreement: Peak Oil

Can you guess where these words came from (uttered in Sept 2005)?

I’ll give you a hint.. it is a US Government Agency.

World proved reserve lifetime for oil is about 41 years, most of this at a declining availability.

They are one of the largest consumers of petroleum products in the world.

Domestic [US] oil production peaked in 1970 and continues to decline. Proved domestic reserve lifetime for oil is about 3.4 yrs.

They have their own “TLD”.

Our current throw-away nuclear cycle will consume the world reserve of low-cost uranium in about 20 years.

They’re on land, sea, and air.

The proved domestic [US] reserve lifetime for natural gas at current consumption rates is about 8.4 yrs.

They are the single biggest expense in the US Budget.

Unless we dramatically change our consumption practices, the Earth’s finite resources of petroleum and natural gas will become depleted in this century.

They are, the US Military. Specifically, the US Army Corps of Engineers

The above words are from a report tabled in September entitled “Energy Trends and Implications for U.S. Army Installations”.

It is clear that the Corps thinks the world is at or very near a turning point. This is the same Corps who expended vast amounts of energy building the Alaska Highway… and who also built some of the largest Energy projects in the world including the Hoover Dam. (Correction: David Billington corrects me in the Comments, the Hoover Dam was not constructed by the Corps, my bad.)

If they’re worried about the supply of oil, shouldn’t we be as well?

(hattip: The Oil Drum)

Here is the full 86 page report. I will be dissecting it over the next few days. It has quite a few things to say about “alternatives”, including the viability of the Hydrogen Economy.

One reply on “Unlikely Agreement: Peak Oil”

  1. Chris,

    Hoover Dam was built by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, not by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

    The uranium projection in the USACE paper gives the wrong impression that there is a real supply problem and that causes me to wonder about the other projections. Here is a link to a paper on uranium supply:


    Although we’re not going to run out of uranium, I don’t think nuclear power can sustain our way of life in the long run, and fossil fuels certainly can’t. There is no alternative to renewable energy unless exotic new sources (eg. zero-point energy) become practical.

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