Out of 98 oil producing nations, 64 are on terminal decline. What will happen when all wells dry up?
1973: The first oil shock was caused by an Arab oil ban directed at Israel's supporters in the Arab-Israeli war: primarily US, Japan, the
Netherlands, Portugal and South Africa. The price of oil hit to almost US$12 a barrel.
1979: The second oil shock followed the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Exports from Iran stopped, causing a loss of about 5 per cent of supply and
price rise of 150 per cent. Oil averaged about US$32 a barrel. And in 1980, the battle between two major oil producers, Iran and Iraq, cut 8 per
cent of world demand. Oil price averaged about US$37 this year.
Scene 1: A playground of a school, located right at the heart of a typical Indian city >>
Shamik: Hey, hey Godhuli, you know what? I found a brand new reality game on the Net last night... It’s called “World Without Oil”. It has a whole
lot of fun stuff, video footage. But... but… it’s quite scary really.
Godhuli (looks up from a book she is reading): Scary, why?
Shamik (sits down beside her): It just feels too real for comfort, you know. It begins with a message ‘Play it – before you live it’. It’s more like an
experience that will soon not be a game to play, but a reality in which we live. I lay awake thinking about it all night.
Godhuli (smiles): Is it the game only that is bothering you Shamik? Or did you watch the news on the television last night as well? And perhaps
you read the banner headlines on frontpages of all the dailies…
Shamik (looking bewildered): What do you mean?
Godhuli (shaking her head impatiently): Oh come now, you can’t be that blind. Everyone is talking about it for months now. It’s the latest ‘oil shock’
that has turned the entire world upside down.
Shamik: Of course, I know about it. Everyone — from my father to Gyanji, our neighbour’s chauffer — is complaining about how the fuel prices
have shot through the roof.
Godhuli: Well, it seems to have done more than just upset your neighbourhood. All world leaders, including our own netas, are quarrelling
viciously amongst themselves on this.
Shamik: You are right Godhuli. I must have had nightmares last night because I have been hearing incessantly about the oil crisis for so many
weeks now. Listen, I have a brilliant idea. Aren’t we looking for a topic to work on our class project? Why don’t we choose this?
Godhuli (jumping up): You are a genius! Come, let’s go find our Economics teacher, Money Shankar Sir. He will tell us more.
Scene 2: The school corridor >>
Money Shankar: You are right Godhuli. Managing the oil crisis has now become the central problem of global politics. It has triggered a major
upheaval in the economies of the nations. Because the current rise in fuel prices is unprecedented. In 1999, the price of oil hovered around
US$16 a barrel. By early 2008, it had crossed the US$100 a barrel mark. Now it has jumped by more than 40 per cent. And experts are
predicting that this trend will continue at least till 2012!
Shamik: So is the world really facing such a huge energy crisis?
Money Shankar: Yes, my dear. Even the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Nobuo Tanaka recently declared, “We are clearly
in the third oil price shock”.
Godhuli: Third oil shock! This means the world has already faced similar situations?
Money Shankar: Yes, we have – during the 1970s. Fortunately, they were temporary. But this time, it might be the onset of a new, and permanent
Godhuli: A ‘condition’? Doesn’t it mean that there will be no energy reserve in the world?
Money Shankar: Not exactly. The immediate issue is not so much that there will be no oil or energy resource, as it is not having enough to keep
the economies running. See, the world economy does not need to deplete its entire reserve to collapse. Let me explain this with an example.
Human body is 70 per cent water. The body of a 50kg girl has 35kg (or litres) of water. Because water is so crucial to everything the human body
does, she does not need to lose all 35kg of water weight before collapsing due to dehydration. Even a loss of as little as 4-5kg of water is
||“By looking for alternative sources of energy ofcourse...
Shamik: So, we can still recover from this shock… but how?
Money Shankar: The challenge will be to come up with a strategy that combines bold new initiatives in the realms of science, economics and
politics. But here comes Ms Testubewallah, our science teacher…Why don’t you ask her how this fuel crisis can be diffused?
Ms Testubewallah: By looking for alternative sources of energy of course, and switching as soon as
Godhuli: Alternative sources of energy… you mean solar and wind energy?
Ms Testubewallah: Not only solar and wind powers. There are other options too. Here, let me tell you about some of them.