National Petroleum Council pictures life after conventional crude

There’s a new voice in the crowd shrieking about waning oil supplies: the National Petroleum Council. OK, they’re not actually shrieking. But in a draft report released this week, the group — headed by former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond — confirms that conventional crude oil supplies won’t keep up with global demand in the next quarter century. Which is tantamount to shrieking, for an industry that has long maintained the opposite. The report, “Facing the Hard Truths About Energy,” will be presented to U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman later this week. It recommends an array of future approaches, such as improving vehicle fuel economy “at the maximum rate possible”; pushing biofuels, oil shale, and tar sands; opening off-limits areas to “environmentally sensitive” drilling; and curbing carbon dioxide. The work of the 175-member council will, predicts Daniel Yergin, a council member and chair of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, “shift the framework of the policy debate in the United States.”