Shell Admits Cheap Oil Is Running Out

Will the grab for the easily accessible oil that's left be a "scramble" or a well-planned ride?

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I'm getting a ton of E-mail, from the congressional peak oil caucus and others, about Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer's acknowledgement that the world is running out of oil—at least, cheap oil. Here is what van der Veer writes about the two new future energy scenarios that have been developed by the quintessential business-scenario writers at Shell: "We are experiencing a step-change in the growth rate of energy demand due to rising population and economic development. After 2015, easily accessible supplies of oil and gas probably will no longer keep up with demand." The future, according to Shell, will be either a "scramble" for resources or a cautious, well-planned ride into a changing future.

The Oil Drum views it as "a clear acknowledgement of the reality of peak oil." Says Climate Progress: "The oil company with the best strategic planning says the day of reckoning is nigh." Island of Doubt says Shell's concerns seem "precious," given the outstanding profits the company and its industry fellows are making.

Shell's van der Veer talked about the energy challenges facing the world in an interview last August with my colleague Alex Markels.