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Claude Moraes MEP’s response to my letter concerning peak oil preparations

February 2, 2010

22 January 2010

Dear Mr Mowshowitz,

As a Labour MEP, all the issues surrounding European energy policy are very important to me, including climate change, economic prosperity, heating and maintaining homes and intra-European transport. On this basis, both the European Parliament and the European Commission are aware that some scientists assert oil production has peaked, or will peak in the next decade. At this stage, it is the case that these concerns constitute a theory. Other scenarios include the potential enhanced recovery of oil through new technology, and the further development of renewable energy sources. The European Commission is constatnly updated on developments in both peak oil theory and the debate surrounding it.

The European Commission is also following all developments affecting energy supply. In fact, the energy industry is also questioning whether supply can continue to keep up with increases in demand over short, medium and long term.

In addition, given the challenges and draw backs of using oil as an energy source, and regardless of peak oil theory, it is obvious that Europe needs a re-invigorated, common energy policy to cope with all the challenges facing energy use. The European Commission is thus currently building policy frameworks which should lead to a sustainable and highly efficient long-term energy profile within the European Union.

Yours sincerely,

Claude Moraes MEP
Labour Member of the European Parliament for London

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Oil companies continue to spend more on buying back their own stock than on new exploration

January 27, 2010

Historically oil prices have always behaved cyclically. Whenever demand outstrips production levels for whatever reason, the price of oil goes up along with the value of oil company shares. Oil companies then have the financial incentive to fund more expensive exploration projects that were previously unaffordable. Eventually new sources of oil begin to enter the market and the prices are driven back down.

In recent years the oil companies have started behaving somewhat differently. A report published by Bloomberg.com in October 2007 stated the following…

Theres a steady liquidation of the world oil industry. […] Exxon is buying back about $30 billion of its shares each year. If that continues, Exxon will have repurchased all its stock by about 2024.

It has continued. In October 2008 CNN issued this report…

Exxon said it spent $6.9 billion on oil exploration in the third quarter, a jump of 26% from the same period last year. […] Exxon also has an aggressive program for buying back stock, with 109 million of its shares repurchased during the third quarter, at a cost of $8.7 billion.

This behavior is not unique to Exxon – the ‘big 5’ (Exxon, BP, Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips) are all frequently spending more on buying their own stock back than they are on new exploration.

Department of Energy and Climate Change responds to my letter regarding peak oil sent to Lord McKenzie of Luton

January 22, 2010

As you can see below, I’d sent a letter to Lord McKenzie of Luton largely concerning the urgency of preparing for oil shortages in the next few years. His office did not engage with the subject matter other than to forward it on the relevant department, in this case the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The response from the DECC is even more worrying than that of the International Energy Agency and all of the other government responses I’ve received thus far. It is patronizing, dismissive and shortsighted. This to me epitomizes the ruling party’s general attitude towards its constituents. This attitude is totally inadequate with regard to any acknowledgement of the need for preparations for the impact of peak oil whether it begins in earnest within a 5 year period or by 2020. It confirms my worst suspicions that those in power skew even further towards business in terms of the interests they represent than I had previously thought possible.

Worst of all the correspondence officer is quoting last year’s World Energy Outlook (WEO ’08) even though my letter was prompted by events pertaining to the release of WEO ’09  which had occurred a week before I’d written my letter.

Dear Mr Mowshowitz

Thank you for your letter of 17 November to Lord McKenzie of Luton regarding peak oil. The matter you have raised is the responsibility of Department of Energy and Climate Change. The Energy Minister receives a large amount of correspondence every day and cannot answer all of it personally. I have been asked to reply.

As part of the Government’s goal to deliver affordable, secure and clean energy to UK businesses and citizens, DECC looks at a wide range of academic and industry studies that analyse future world oil supplies. DECC also meets with experts to discuss this and other oil market issues, including investment and exploitation of new reserves.

One of the more thorough analyses in the area of global oil reserves is conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which published its World Energy Outlook (WEO ’08) in November 2008. Based on its extensive analysis of oil reserves, demand trends and field decline rates, the WEO ’08 states that, “[the] world is far from running short of oil” and that, “the immediate risk to supply is not one of global resources, but rather a lack of investment where it is needed”. This is based on a detailed analysis of, among other things, 800 of the world’s largest oilfields.

The UK is an active member of the IEA and also looks to other sources, but sees no compelling evidence that runs counter to the IEA’s assessment.

We agree with the IEA that the risk to supply is not one of resources but of converting these reserves into production. Thus, additional investment will be required to meet oil demand in the future and the challenge lies in bringing these resources to market in a way that ensures sustainable, timely, reliable, and affordable supplies of energy. We need to ensure that there is a well-functioning oil market that helps market participants have the confidence to make these necessary investments and respond in a timely manner.

The risks of underinvestment, which could imply higher fossil fuel prices in the future, are also a key reason why we are already putting in place policies that will reduce the energy intensity of the UK economy and help increase its resilience to shocks in energy supplies. Indeed, many of our climate change policies, such as the Renewable Energy Strategy, that will promote more renewable heat and transport, and the Government’s energy efficiency policies, have the added benefit, in addition to reducing carbon emissions, of increasing the diversity and hence resilience of our energy system.

In summary, with sufficient investment, the Government does not believe that global oil production will peak between now and 2020 and we are actively encouraging investment in the oil market to ensure secure, competitively priced supplies.

I hope this is helpful.

Yours sincerely,
Violetta Kucharski

Letter to Sarah Teather MP concerning US military diversion of relief in Haiti

January 21, 2010

Dear Sarah Teather,

Once again I thank you for all of your continued efforts and for all of your responses to my many messages, particularly the last one concerning Peak Oil. I must now bring your attention to an urgent matter, that of the humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

The US military is now occupying Haiti in earnest. US Commanders are actually turning away legitimate relief in favour of controlling the population for private, moneyed interests and to prevent refugees from entering the US. This is indicative of disaster capitalism and must not be tolerated by the international community. The following links illustrate these claims:

  1. Haiti’s suffering is a result of calculated impoverishment
  2. Doctors group complains Haiti supplies diverted
  3. Things to Remember While Helping Haiti
  4. In Rebuilding Haiti, Opportunity Knocks and Companies Profit
  5. What You’re Not Hearing about Haiti (But Should Be)

I urge you to raise this issue in Parliament and call for an an international forum demanding that the US government put a stop to these actions immediately and instead focus efforts on routing humanitarian aid to those who need it.

Yours sincerely,
Seth Mowshowitz

Full thread with Syed Kamall, Conservative MEP for London, concerning peak oil

January 12, 2010

Syed Kamall’s final reply | Wed, 6 January, 2010

Dear Seth,

Thank you for clarifying the intention of your email.

I will investigate how we can prepare for oil shortages. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Regards,

Syed

SYED KAMALL
Conservative MEP for London
http://www.syedkamall.com

My response to Syed Kamall’s initial reply | Tue, 15 December, 2009

Dear Syed,

Thank you for your response. I do correspond regularly with my MP Sarah Teather who continues to do an outstanding job of addressing my concerns. She has received a similar letter from me already.

My comments below are aimed at all government representatives worldwide including but not limited to the British Government. I believe that anybody who is in a position to effect change in government policy whether domestic or international ought to be engaging seriously with these issues as they pertain to policy and society ubiquitously and immediately.

As Jimmy Carter said in the late 70s: “The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we must face them.” Following this statement we had three decades of reckless, wasteful abuse of hydrocarbon energy on an unprecedented scale at the expense of the environment, the labour force and the global economic system. This we can no longer afford.

I am not looking for a response from you. All I can do is appeal to your common sense and humanitarian instinct and hope that you will investigate these matters yourself and raise your voice whenever relevant.

Kind Regards,
Seth Mowshowitz

Syed Kamall’s initial reply | Tue, 15 December, 2009

Dear Seth,

Thank you for your email. I apologise for the delay in replying.

I appreciate your concerns about Peak Oil. Since your comments are aimed at the British Government, please may I suggest that you contact your
local MP regarding this matter. Your local MP is Sarah Teather and she can be contacted at teathers@parliament.uk.

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Syed

SYED KAMALL
Conservative MEP for London
http://www.syedkamall.com

Mary Honeyball MEP’s response to my letter highlighting the urgency of preparing for the impact of oil shortages

November 21, 2009

Dear Mr Mowshowitz,

Thank you for taking the time to write to Mary Honeyball MEP.
The issue of Peak Oil is one which rightly will affect the future of the
developed and industrialised nations of the world.
It is part of the debate on the climate changes that are increasingly seen
to be the result of usage of fossil fuels.
We are seeing a series of engagements at national and international level
and increasing commitments to deal with the results of expanding
industrialisation.
Your MEP will be alert to the proposals and developments in this area and
thanks you again for sharing your views with her.

Yours truly

Colin Ellar
Casework assistant

Charles Tannock MEP’s response to my letter highlighting the urgency of preparing for the impact of oil shortages

November 18, 2009

Having corresponded largely with my MP Sarah Teather of Brent East for the last year and with Glenda Jackson before that it seems I’ve become a bit spoiled in terms of government representation. Not only did Charles Tannock MEP not respond directly to my letter (please see my previous post of 16.11.2009), his PA has done nothing but limply regurgitate the Conservative party line. A disappointing response.

Dear Mr Mowshowitz

Dr Tannock is a foreign affairs specialist nevertheless takes a keen intersts in energy policy and is well aware of the peak oil arguments though as of yet the case for it to be an immediate concern is not proven and in the next few years it is posiible that large new gas finds will be made through shale, biofuels will be a significant source to replace oil use, clean coal technology will kick in along with more nuclear, and renewables (wind, tidal, wave, geothermal etc)so the amount of oil use is very unclear. The Conservatives are committed to Kyoto plus targets and are well aware of the impact of climate change on the globe and that oil is a finite resource even if the time frame for global reserves and peak production is far from clear. We will follow these mattesr very carefully and David Cameron as probable next PM of the UK is as you probably know particularly keen on the green agenda and conserving the environment.

Kind regards

Dr Silvia Janicinova

PA