Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An Open Letter to my Friends in the Media

by Jeffrey Brown

To my friend in the media:

Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia as World’s Leading Oil Producer — OPEC
Created: 23.08.2006 11:24 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 13:39 MSK

"According to OPEC, in June 2006 Russia extracted 9.236 million barrels of oil, which is 46,000 barrels more than Saudi Arabia. The statistics also showed that Russian production in the first half of this year increased to 235.8 million tons, a year-on-year improvement of 2.3 percent."
I assume that most media outlets that report the captioned story by the Moscow News would describe it as good news regarding Russian oil production. What the Moscow News is not reporting is that current Russian production is 2.8% below its December level. As I outlined in a recent article regarding net oil exports, "Net Oil Exports Revisited", I estimate that oil exports from the top 10 net oil exporters are probably now falling at a double digit annual rate. The captioned article provides additional evidence of the decline, since the June production number is below the May (EIA) production number for Russia.

I have a question for my friends in the mainstream media. Who among you is going to have the courage to step forward and "break" the story that the lifeblood of the world economy--net oil export capacity--is now declining?

I just read this morning in the Dallas Morning News that a builder is breaking ground on a new suburban McMansion subdivision that is closer to the Oklahoma border than it is to downtown Dallas. Perhaps if we had a mainstream media that reported the hard truth about our energy supplies, we would not see stories like this suburban insanity. Builders in the Dallas/Fort Worth area continue to pave over prime farmland for suburban McMansions that will soon be wildly unsustainable, covering up the very farmland that we will soon need to feed the cities.

As I said in an "Open Letter to Two Texas Newspapers", the US media have two choices regarding the Peak Oil issue. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, you can now have either your honor or the status quo. If you do nothing regarding Peak Oil, you will soon have neither the status quo nor your honor.

I should mention that, to its credit, the Dallas Morning News did prominently feature a pro and con segment regarding Peak Oil. However, this is not a one time story. We are looking at a fundamental transformation of our society. Richard Rainwater said that Peak Oil was the only scenario that he had seen that made him concerned about the survival of the human race. I agree with Mr. Rainwater.


Jeffrey J. Brown

Jeffrey J. Brown is an independent petroleum geologist in the Dallas area. His e-mail address is