Back during the early days of the Bush-Cheney administration, countless articles and even official statements by the International Energy Agency and various governments proclaimed the onset of what was termed Peak Oil. This was a time when former Halliburton CEO, Vice President Dick Cheney, was named to head the White House Energy Task Force. In the run up to the March 2003 war on Iraq, peak oil or absolute decline in world oil reserves seemed a plausible explanation, if not justification, for the G.W. Bush invasion of Iraq. This author was also for a time persuaded that could explain the oil war. Yet, today we hear little about peak oil. Why, is interesting.
Peak Oil was and is an invention of certain financial circles along with Big Oil to justify among other things ultra-high prices for their oil. The peak oil theory they promoted to justify the high prices, hearkened back to the 1950’s and an eccentric oil geologist with Shell Oil in Houston named King Hubbard.
Bell Curves and such
While working for Shell Oil in Texas, Marion King Hubbert, or King, as he preferred to be known, was asked to deliver a paper to the annual meeting of the American Petroleum Institute in 1956, an event that would become one of the most fateful examples of scientific fabrication in the modern era.
Hubbert posited all of his 1956 conclusions, including that the US would reach oil peak in 1970, on the unproven assumption that oil was a fossil fuel, a biological compound produced from dead dinosaur detritus, algae or other life forms originating some 500 million years back. Hubbert accepted the fossil theory without question, and made no evident attempts to scientifically validate such an essential and fundamental part of his argument. He merely asserted ‘fossil origins of oil’ as Gospel Truth and began to build a new ideology around it, a neo-Malthusian ideology of austerity in the face of looming oil scarcity. He claimed oil fields obeyed the Gaussian bell curve, itself an arbitrary heurism.
For the giant British and American oil companies and the major banks backing them, the myth of scarcity was necessary if they were to be able to control the availability and price of petroleum as the lifeline of the world economy.