Bartlett Briefs Bush on Peak Oil Crisis

July 2nd, 2005 - by admin

Hon. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) – 2005-07-02 23:12:57

(June 29, 2005) — Congressman Roscoe Bartlett met with President George W. Bush at the White House on June 29 for an extensive discussion about peak oil–the end of cheap oil. Congressman Bartlett declined to discuss or characterize any of his private conversation with the President, but said that he was very happy about the meeting.

Congressman Bartlett has discussed peak oil extensively in the past seven weeks in a series of Special Order speeches to the U.S. House of Representatives. Copies of text, charts and video of peak oil speeches and presentations are posted on Congressman Bartlett’s website at

American Shell Oil scientist M. King Hubbert identified peak oil in the mid-1950s. He discovered oil field production follows a bell curve. It rises to a maximum–or peak–and then declines. At the top or peak of the curve, about half of the oil is extracted. The second half is harder and takes more time and money to produce. “Peak oil is not the end of oil, but it is the end of cheap oil,” said Congressman Bartlett.

Congressman Bartlett was a guest on a one-half hour program, E&E TV’s “On Point” on April 18. Host Colin Sullivan, Editor of Environment and Energy Daily, moderated the discussion about peak oil with Congressman Bartlett and Mr. Roger Diwan, Managing Director, Markets and Countries Group, PFC Energy. A transcript can be downloaded from E&E TV’s website at

Congressman Bartlett discussed the importance of investments in renewable energy sources at the first of six Energy 2050 Policy Briefings sponsored by Resources for the Future, GLOBE USA and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation on June 21, 2005 at the Library of Congress:

Congressman Bartlett said, “America has only 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves. We produce 8 percent and consume 25 percent of the oil produced worldwide and import close to 2/3 of the oil we use. We imported 1/3 at the time of the Arab Oil embargo. M. King Hubbert predicted U.S. oil production would peak in 1970. Oil production in the U.S. did peak in 1970 and has declined every year since then. Alaska and Gulf of Mexico oil slowed, but haven’t and can’t change that trend. America’s largest oil field, Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, peaked in 1987 and now produces 75% less oil. Energy experts agree that America can never produce enough oil domestically to meet our current or future demand.”

“Hubbert was right on about oil production peaking in the United States,” said Bartlett. “He predicted global peak oil in 2000. He could not have known about the Arab oil embargo or the worldwide recession in the 1970s. However, there is no reason to doubt global peak oil will occur. There is a consensus among energy experts that global peak oil is fast approaching. Forty percent of the world’s oil is shipped through the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf that is vulnerable to terrorist attacks. China increased its oil imports 25 percent last year. China is investing in oil projects around the globe and quickly building a blue water navy to secure oil shipping lanes. They built or bought 10-11 subs last year compared to 1 by the U.S.”

“A major contributor to America’s balance of trade deficit is from oil imports. 77% of oil production comes from nationalized companies in countries with governments that are not democratic, are hostile or unstable. Many of these companies’ operations are not transparent or independently verifiable. That poses both a national security and economic security threat.”

Since 2000, Venezuela has received $76 billion more from trade with the US, with a projected 19% increase in the trade deficit in 2005.

Since 1995, Saudi Arabia has received $61 billion more from trade with the US, with a projected 8% increase in the trade deficit in 2005.

Since the US started importing more than exporting with Iran in 2000, they have received $569 million more from trade with the US, with a projected 35% increase in the trade deficit in 2005.

(US Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics)

Congressman Bartlett noted, “ExxonMobil projects that world energy demand will increase 50% by 2030 and that 80% of that increase will occur in the developing world. China is predicted to increase its consumption by 100% and India by 129%. World oil discoveries peaked in the 1960s. You can’t pump what you haven’t found. Where will that additional oil production come from and at what price? Oil is now at $60/barrel, the highest since 1983 adjusted for inflation. Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs predicted it would rise to more than $100/barrel. That would top the 1980 price peak in the U.S.”

Congressman Bartlett said, “The United States is the most efficient and productive country in the world. We do lead the world. We cut our use of energy per $1 of GDP by 50 percent since the early 70’s. That’s really good. However, with only 2 percent of reserves and 8 percent of production, we’re depleting our reserves four times faster than the rest of the world.”

“American needs a national energy policy and a program on a scale of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II to prevent or mitigate the consequences of global peak oil. To avoid a really bumpy ride, what we need to do is dramatically reduce our consumption. The cheapest oil is oil we don’t use. Second, we need to invest in greater energy efficiency. Third, we have to invest our limited resources of time and current energy sources to make rapid advances in the development of alternative, renewable sources of energy.”

Congressman Bartlett said, “We can’t change the past. We can only start now. Doing nothing or doing too little too late will lead to a global economic and geopolitical tsunami with potentially devastating ramifications. I’m confident about the ability and ingenuity of Americans to overcome the national security and economic security challenges of global peak oil.”