The German magazine Der Speigel has published part of a leaked draft German military analysis of the possible consequences of peak oil.
The study was carried ou by the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank set up to fix a direction for the German military.
Last week the Guardian newspaper reported that the British Department of Energy and Climate Change is also keeping documents secret which show the UK government is also far more concerned about an impending supply crisis than it publicly admits.
According to the German report, there is "some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later". The report says that the political and economic consequences for Germany will include:
- Oil will become a decisive factor in determining power. Oil producing nations "are using the advantages resulting from this to expand the scope of their domestic and foreign policies and establish themselves as a new or resurgent regional, or in some cases even global leading powers."
- Oil producing nations will have an opportunity to implement their economic, political and idealogical plans but only for a limited time. "This could result in a more aggressive assertion of national interests on the part of the oil-producing nations."
- The free market in oil will become restricted. "Bilateral, conditioned supply agreements and privileged partnerships, such as those seen prior to the oil crises of the 1970s, will once again come to the fore."
- Since the transportation of goods depends on oil and oil is used in the production of 95% of all industrial products, price shacks could occur in almost any industry at any stage of the supply chain. "In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse."
- Since almost all economic sectors rely heavily on oil "government rationing and the allocation of important goods or the setting of production schedules and other short-term coercive measures" is possible.
- Not all countries will be willing or able to do the necessary restructuring in time, leading to regional economic crashes. Germany would not be able to escape these because it is tightly integrated into the world economy.
- Parts of the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil "as a general systemic crisis." This would create "room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government."
- States dependent on oil imports will be forced to "show more pragmatism toward oil-producing states in their foreign policy." For example, Germany would have to be more flexible towards Russia and could not afford to unconditionally support Israel.