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Oil Depletion Overview
Introduction PDF Print E-mail
This is a modified version of a paper prepared privately for the Australian Transport Research Forum in Adelaide, 29 September 2004. As a result, this review still shows vestiges of its transport origins and hence focusses on demand-side rather than supply-side countermeasures.
Bruce Robinson


Perhaps the most compelling (but still largely unrecognised) evidence of the lack of even short-term sustainability in Australia is our very serious dependence on rapidly declining petroleum sources. Petroleum is currently essential for agriculture and most facets of Australia's community life and economic systems as well as for transport. Many people assume, wrongly, that medium and short-term supplies are assured. There is rapidly mounting evidence from the oil industry itself that this complacency about future oil supplies may well be very misplaced , for example Akehurst (2002).
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Oil Production Decline PDF Print E-mail
Australian oil production decline

Australia has been shielded from past oil shocks by our domestic oil production from Bass Strait. Hence, as a nation we have not learnt as much about oil conservation and transport planning as European countries, especially the Netherlands which radically changed its transport planning policy to reduce its oil dependence after the 1973 oil crisis.
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Studying Peak Oil - ASPO International Workshops on Oil Depletion PDF Print E-mail
Annual International Workshops on Oil Depletion are held in Europe by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, ASPO. The most recent, and by far the largest and most prominent, was hosted in Berlin by the German Geological Survey, BGR in May 2004. Papers and presentations are available at www.PeakOil.net. Oil depletion experts from the US, Europe, Russia and the Middle East gather to discuss the growing body of evidence that world oil production will reach a peak then decline relatively sharply within a decade or at most two.
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Preparing for Oil Decline PDF Print E-mail
Preparation for Probable Oil Shocks

There is a great deal that can be done to prepare for the likelihood of future oil shocks and hence to ameliorate the effects when (or if) they hit us. Many possible precautions will be "no-regrets" options already justified on equity, environment, health, social or economic grounds. Australia's existing reserves of uncommitted natural gas coupled with local understanding of demand management (especially in water use efficiency and TravelSmart individualised marketing) provide an encouraging opportunity for the nation to both forecast and to weather the coming storms better than many other regions. It is particularly important that the issues be tackled seriously and urgently at all levels in the community. WA Planning and Infrastructure Minister, Alannah MacTiernan (2004) said, in opening the "Oil: Living with Less" conference "It is also certain that the cost of preparing too early is nowhere near the cost of not being ready on time."
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Acknowledgements and References PDF Print E-mail
Acknowledgements

The author would like to express special appreciation to Brian Fleay for his pioneering interest in oil depletion (eg Fleay (1995) (1998)). This paper is derived in part from the background paper prepared for the WA State Sustainability Strategy (Robinson, (2002)). The efforts and encouragement of Prof Peter Newman in this area amongst others should be recognised. Encouragement over the years from Bruce Hobbs is also appreciated.

References
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