Baku is at the heart of early oil industry history and Daniel Yergin’s book “The Prize” is one of the most readable accounts of the history of oil. This city was one of the reasons why the Battle of Stalingrad took place during WWII as in the early part of the twentieth century, the Baku oilfields accounted for almost half of the world’s oil.
The Russians were not the only conquerors. The history of Baku reads like a Who’s Who of major political powers through history:
“Since 1873 an oil belt of Baku began to be formed which was known as a Black City. Within a short period of time departments and representations of Swiss, English, French, Belgian, German, Swedish and American firms were established in Baku, among them were the firms of the Nobels and Rothschilds. By the beginning of the 20th century almost half of the oil reserves in the world had been extracted in Baku.
On May 28, 1918 the Azerbaijani fraction of the Transcaucasian Sejm proclaimed the Independence from Russia. The first Azerbaijani government was located in the western part of the country, in Ganja. In Baku, however, a coalition of Bolsheviks, Esers, Dashnaks and Mensheviks fought against a Turkish-Islamic army led by Nuru Pasha. This coalition known as the “Baku Commune” also inspired or tacitly condoned the massacres of local Muslims by well-armed Dashnak-Armenian forces during the March Days. This coalition, however, collapsed and was replaced by a British-controlled government known as Central Caspian Dictatorship in July, 1918. British forces under General Dunsterville occupied Baku and helped the mainly Dashnak-Armenian forces to defend the capital. However, Baku fell on September 15, 1918 and an Azeri-Ottoman army entered the capital, causing British forces and much of the Armenian population to flee and since that time Baku was a capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-1920). On April 28, 1920 the 11th Red Army invaded Baku and occupied the city. The National Government had to flee to Europe. Many Azeri personalities in Baku were killed by the Russian troops.”
So why is the peak oil concept important?
Well, I don’t know about you but using my car is 50% of my energy consumption. The cost of petrol directly has a huge impact on my budget even if I’m not taking account of the environmental costs. About the time the price of petrol first started going up I heard a radio interview with someone who knew the industry rather well. He suggested that we should expect the price of oil to go up to US$120/barrel. I think the cost must have been about $20-30 about then. At the moment it is up to $80/barrel.
Peak oil according to Wikipedia is:
As first expressed in Hubbert peak theory, peak oil is the point or timeframe at which the maximum global petroleum production rate is reached. After this timeframe, the rate of production will enter terminal decline. According to the Hubbert model, the production rate will follow a roughly symmetrical bell-shaped curve. This does not mean oil will suddenly “run out”, but the supply of cheap conventional oil will drop and prices will rise, perhaps dramatically.
We may have hit that point already.
As well as the direct cost of filling up the car, think about the cost of anything that gets freighted. Business will pass those costs on. So everything will go up in price accordingly. We need to start thinking about possible solutions now. And those solutions don’t have to be all apolcalytic as some commentator suggest. Some of the most effective things are very simple.
My best petrol saving tip? Well, I reduced my fuel consumption by 25% by simply watching the tachometer and not letting the revs get over 3000 rpm. Getting an extra 100 km on a tank of fuel is a significant difference!