Clinton raises alarm about oil depletion
by Charlie SmithFormer U.S. president Bill Clinton has urged newspaper editors to focus more attention on the depletion of the world’s oil reserves. In a June 17 speech to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention in Little Rock, Arkansas, Clinton said a “significant number of petroleum geologists” have warned that the world could be nearing the peak in oil production. . . .
During a question-and-answer period, the Georgia Straight asked Clinton if he believed that Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates had exaggerated claims about their proven oil reserves. The four Persian Gulf states are among the six nations with the greatest listed proven reserves. (Canada and Iraq are the other two.)
“I don’t know if they’re overstating their reserves,” Clinton replied. He added that he expects oil prices will reach US$100 per barrel “in five years or less”.
Texas-based energy-investment banker Matthew Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2005), told the Straight last October that 60 percent of all Saudi oil has come from one field, Ghawar. Simmons said that after the Saudis nationalized the industry, they increased their proven reserves by 100 billion barrels without making any new discoveries. In 1998, retired petroleum geologists Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrère wrote an article in Scientific American, claiming that Saudi Arabia and several other Oil Producing and Exporting Countries had also increased their proven reserves. This enabled those countries to export more petroleum under OPEC’s quota system.
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Clinton also recommended that everyone at the convention read The Empty Tank: Oil, Gas, Hot Air, and the Coming Global Financial Catastrophe (Random House, 2005), by Jeremy Leggett, a petroleum geologist and international campaigner for Greenpeace.
Clinton also emphasized the importance of developing the alternative-energy industry and weaning his country off its dependence on imported oil. He claimed that promoting renewable power would also stimulate the American economy.