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World Without Oil is part of Issue 115 of The Escapist, “Crowdsourcing to Victory.” My favorite part of Nova Barlow’s article: “The last week was an agony of sorts – no one wanted the game to end, but I had to end it. It was really hard.”

Alan Greenspan: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” From his book The Age of Turbulence, as reported in the Guardian and widely elsewhere. Greenspan’s comment follows an article by George Packer in the Sept 17 New Yorker that quotes David Kilcullen, a top advisor to General Petraeus, as listing “maintain flow of oil and gas” as the #1 objective for the continuing operations of U.S. forces in Iraq – ahead of fighting Al Qaeda, containing Iran, or preventing Iraqi genocides.

World Without Oil made clear what’s at stake with continued access to petroleum energy. The official reason for the war seems to change monthly… WMDs, democracy, freedom, anti-terror – it seems to be anything BUT oil.

The price of crude oil closed above $80 a barrel for the first time on Thursday, as a hurricane in Texas raised supply concerns. US light crude hit $80.20, two cents higher than the price it touched on Wednesday. Oil prices have risen 30 per cent since the start of this year and are four times higher than their 2002 level.

The latest figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that global liquid fuels production in August was almost a million barrels per day lower than the same period in 2006.

Lord Oxburgh, one of the most respected names in the energy industry, said a rapid increase in the price of oil was inevitable as demand continued to outstrip supply. He said: “We can probably go on extracting oil from the ground for a very long time, but it is going to get very expensive indeed.”

As reported in The Independent today.

France-Belgium border, 2000 - BBC NewsI posted earlier about the oil mini-crisis in Europe in 2000. Reading some more about it today… fascinating stuff. Especially this analysis by Will Hutton of the Guardian, which pegs this crisis as a “smart mob” before that term came into vogue. Also pay attention to the lessons about “just in time” supply and how worker loyalties fall, when push comes to shove. From his article: “In other words, the new mania to maximise shareholder value above any other strategic corporate objective has exposed the whole delivery and supply system… If the Government wants more protection against a repeat, it will need to calm down the British corporate sectors’ increasing preoccupation with profit and self-interest.” As I said, fascinating.

Photo from BBC News archive

The good news is, Hurricane Felix didn’t brew into a huge storm and come ashore at Galveston, as we predicted in WWO. The bad news: he did brew into a huge storm that came ashore on the Miskito Coast of Central America, killing people there. Of course, although some things change, some things stay the same.

It was the world's first serious alternate reality game, a cooperative pre-imagining of a global oil crisis. Over 1900 players collaborated in May 2007 to chronicle the oil crisis with their own personal blog posts, videos, images and voicemails. The game ended after simulating the first 32 weeks of the oil shock, but its effects continue, as game designers analyze its unique gameplay and we all watch the continuing drama with global oil prices and supply.