Fears Grow Over Peak Oil

On Charlie Rose (rebroadcast yesterday), oilman-turned-hedgefunder Boone Pickens added his voice to the Roscoe Bartlett camp, saying we have passed the peak of oil production and will be facing shortages. The optimistic Pickens spoke of “rough times” with $100-a-barrel oil, but steered clear of predicting catastrophe.

Yet another voice belongs to Navy Secretary Don Winter, who warned last week at the Naval War College that just recently, the “fear factor” coming from the spike in oil prices had made an impact in the world economy “in the billions.” In the subsequent press conference, I asked Winter whether Roscoe Bartlett wasn’t a prophet, in his belief that unless we start conserving now, there will be civil disruptions over oil. “I’ve talked to the congressman, I’ve had several engagements with him,” Winter, a fellow engineer, said, and though he stopped short of endorsing the Bartlett view, said, “A lot of what he has said has come true.” Hark.