Oil, leaks and peaks

30 March 2011
Lindsay Clark, international news editor, Supply ManagementAlthough Shell may not like the thought of leaks, some significant research from the firm does seem to have trickled out. While a couple of niche websites picked up on the report from the oil giant, published earlier this month, it was a Guardian blog that brought it to my attention.   It’s worth a look for those future gazers in the procurement fraternity. It predicts we’re in for a troubled time with oil, as demand massively outstrips supply. That is until things settle down by 2050, when somehow we’ll be accustomed to the new reality. Whether this represents a ramping up of peak oil talk remains to be seen. Certainly US cables made available by Wikileaks suggest Saudi Arabia would, in the future, be more limited in its ability to mitigate oil shocks buy boosting supply. I think buyers could be in a good position to help forward-thinking companies adapt to a high-price oil economy. You don’t need me to tell you that oil underpins the costs of many goods and services coming from your vendors. Nurturing suppliers with a credible strategy to wean themselves off oil may serve your organisation in the long term and could help meet some sustainability targets in the more immediate future. Whether procurement can get the CFO to buy into a plan that may not hit ROI for 20 years, however, is another matter. But it’s better than no plan at all.
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