In 2002, Petrol Geologists Knew Afghanistan and 9/11 Were All About The Oil

Jump to eight minutes into the interview (but feel invited to watch the prior and subsequent segments, or all of them).

In this interview from April 2002 – TWO THOUSAND TWO – Colin J. Campbell, petrol geologist, precisely  analyzes what happened on 9/11 and why, and what the result will be in oil costs.

The Caspian Sea had just been promised at 200 billion barrels of oil – some 7 years of world supply, easily contributing to 20 years of stability. The Caspian is served by a pipeline through Afghanistan.

It was then, in 2001, that ‘we’ (the US) started looking for “the man in the cave in Afghanistan” (bin Laden).

Then by 2002, it was clear that the 200 billion barrels was a myth – there were possibly 9 to 13 of sulfurous, difficult to extract oil – and both BP and Shell backed out of the project.

And the United States walked away from Afghanistan, the man in the cave, and all… and turned its attention to Iraq.

Which is reckoned to have about (perhaps) 90 billion barrels (and declining) of oil, with some 50 or so belonging to three large fields. And suddenly in 2003, Iraq became enemy number one.

It’s about the oil. It’s always been about the oil. And if you don’t think peak oil is what it’s all about, then put your left foot in, put your left foot out – and tell me what your shoes are made of, where they were manufactured, and how they got to your house.

That’s the hokey pokey, and that’s what it’s all about.



  1. The official story now circulating about oil from shale and fracking is “100 years of energy independence.” More reasonable estimates put it closer to 12 years, and as low as 10 (no – as low as 7), with concomitant environmental damage as an unavoidable consequence.

    But what if we just drill everything, everywhere? The ocean, the beaches, the outer continental shelf?

    Maybe we’ll be alright for…30 years. Maybe 40. As Saudi oil depletes and Iraqi oil first surges then dwindles – we’ll be staring at an abyss while we should be building a wind and solar electrical network – not a grid – and killing the individual automobile.

    What will we do? Well, we’d better all become acquainted with the conversation – or, just eat, drink and be blind, deaf and dumb.

  2. Sooooo gloomy, Liam!

    If we’re truly nearing the end of oil very soon, here, do you have any ideas and suggestions about what we all do to survive?

    • Not at the end of oil – at the near end of cheap, easily-available light, sweet crude oil.

      That means that the society we’ve built on an increasing scaled volume of barrels per day – now reaching 90 million – will decline – sometimes in fits and shocks.

      I don’t suggest that we all will survive! I suggest that we all do die at some point – but, if you mean “we all” as “society,” then I suggest we start talking loudly and clearly about peak oil, peak energy and real sustainability. Not “Tesla” or “Alien” technology – not fracking or tar sands –

      but a fundamental and massive change in the way we live. We now live in a ‘constant growth’ society. This cannot last when the energy source is not growing. We must ‘decline’ and contract to a smaller, less energy intensive way of living.

      I suggest we start learning all about it – wind, solar – and re-localizing farming, food production, water procurement and every other thing we need and do.

  3. “I don’t suggest that we all will survive! I suggest that we all do die at some point”

    Yay!!! Death!!! :-)

    Ok, dark humor aside…

    WE, as a culture/society aren’t even VAGUELY realistic about, well, anything. I just don’t see how “WE’RE” going to live-slash-grow. Sorry. Not trying to be gloomy. Food and oil are quite limited commodities, unless I’m mistaken.

    For ME…I’m VERY aware of the natural resources near to me…blackberries, huckleberries, raspberries, chanterelle mushrooms, miner’s lettuce, salmon (for God’s sake!), walnuts, pecans, black walnuts (a gourmet delight!), blueberries, huckleberries, hazelnuts (in ABUNDANCE!)…the list goes on here in the Pacific Northwest! I feel VERY fortunate to live in such a place with a wonderful abundance of wild foods. So…when EVERYTHING goes to hell in a handbasket :-), I’M living somewhere with wonderful amounts of wild food.

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