What Japan’s Disaster Tells Us About Peak Oil

Explosion and fire at Cosmo refinery in Ichihara, Chiba, following the 11 March 2011 earthquakePhoto: Cranky5 (CC)

Explosion and fire at Cosmo refinery following the March earthquake. Photo: Cranky5 (CC)

From the Guardian:

For large parts of eastern Japan that were not directly hit by the tsunami on 11 March 2011, including the nation’s capital, the current state of affairs feels very much like a dry-run for peak oil.

This is not to belittle the tragic loss of life and the dire situation facing many survivors left without homes and livelihoods.

Rather, the aim here is to reflect upon the post-disaster events and compare them with those normally associated with the worst-case scenarios for peak oil.

The earthquake and tsunami affected six of the 28 oil refineries in Japan and immediately petrol rationing was introduced with a maximum of 20 litres per car (in some instances as low as 5 litres).

On 14 March, the government allowed the oil industry to release 3 days’ worth of oil from stockpiles and on 22 March an additional 22 days’ worth of oil was released.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which serves a population of 44.5 million, lost one quarter of its supply capacity as a result of the quake, through the closedown of its two Fukushima nuclear power plants (Dai-ichi and Dai-ni), as well as eight fossil fuel based thermal power stations.

Read more here.

, , ,

  • BananaFamine

    What a frightening scenario, my heart goes out to the people of Japan. Peak Oil and its associated crises will be quite a challenge for our civilization. I hope we can at least maintain our humanity throughout it.

  • BananaFamine

    What a frightening scenario, my heart goes out to the people of Japan. Peak Oil and its associated crises will be quite a challenge for our civilization. I hope we can at least maintain our humanity throughout it.