ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference in Denver - Early Registration Discount Extended to Aug. 21

ASPO-USA has extended its early registration until tomorrow, Friday, August 21. To let as many people know about this as possible, they have asked me to publish the following article:

August 20, 2009

International Experts to Speak at ASPO Conference

DENVER, Colorado – With our world at the convergence of peak oil and climate change, ASPO's 2009 International Peak Oil Conference, titled System Reset: Global Energy and the New Economy, brings together experts from around the world to offer timely perspectives on the future of oil and its impact on the global economy. The event will be held at the Sheraton Hotel, Denver, Colorado, October 10-13, 2009; early registration ends Friday, August 21. Details can be found at

The conference features three days of panel discussions and seminars that preview the eventual repeat of high prices and resource scarcity which could send our fragile economy into a tailspin. With the U.S. importing 64 percent of its oil – sending almost $25 billion overseas to purchase 354 million barrels of oil during June alone - examining the origins of our most critical fuel source becomes more pressing over time. While America focuses on job losses and tight credit, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil believes America - and much of the world - largely ignores the issue of peak oil, and fails to plan for its enormous socio-economic implications.

With more than 20 internationally recognized experts already confirmed, ASPO’s event will present critical new insights, update production and consumption trends and forecasts, and present intelligent, reasonable responses to the challenging predicament of oil depletion. Comprising a broad array of disciplines related to fossil fuel, finance, geology, economics, resource use, and public policy, the speakers bring unparalleled expertise to ASPO-USA's fifth annual conference.

The three basics of oil are said to be geology, economics, and politics - and politics is a major issue with one of America's primary suppliers, Venezuela. Experts from Latin America slated to examine that link include Carlos Rossi, a Caracas-based professor, now principal economist for the Venezuelan Hydrocarbon Association AVHI; Dr. Marcio Rocha Mello, employed for 24 years by Petrobras and developer of the major offshore Tupi oilfield in Brazil; and RoseAnn Franco, a risk consultant employed by PFC Energy for international oil and gas projects in South America.

Placing the expansive topic of fossil fuel energy before the public, international journalists who will speak include Chris Skrebowski of London, editor of the Petroleum Review and author of the Oilfields Megaprojects Report; Peter Maass, a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and author of "Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil," to be released in September, and David Shields of Mexico City, author of "Pemex: An Uncertain Future."

Burgeoning demand from Asian powers like China and India represent a complex brew of resource nationalism, pollution and population problems. Chronicling the explosive growth and impact of China's energy needs will be Mike Rodgers of PFC Energy, with a long working history in that country. Thoughtful analysis on the Middle East, Russia, and the rest of the world will be provided by Ray Leonard, who has been employed by Kuwait Energy Co. and Yukos in Russia; Jeremy Gilbert, retired Chief Petroleum Engineer from British Petroleum (BP), and Kjell Aleklett, Professor of Physics at Uppsala University, Sweden, leader of Global Energy Systems research, the Uppsala Hydrocarbon Depletion Study Group, and the President of ASPO International.

Several Oil Drum staff members will be speaking, including Jason Bradford, Jeff Vail, and Gail Tverberg.

We haven't entirely firmed up who will be speaking with respect to The Oil Drum staff. I expect that decision will be finalized in the next few days.

Besides being on a panel, I may play a small part in Richard Vodra's pre-meeting session on Saturday afternoon called "Survive and Thrive after Peak Oil: Creating Personal Plans for the Upcoming Decades".

"Survive and Thrive after Peak Oil: Creating Personal Plans for the Upcoming Decades".

This sounds really interesting. Will you be writing a post on it soon?

I'll be there on Saturday too supporting Richard. It will be good to meet you!

The headline says Sept 21, the italics say Aug 21. Which is right? I fear the latter.


It is August 21. Thanks for the heads up.

Oops! Fixed it.

I would love to be able to spend three days in Colorado on this but due to a number of reasons cannot.

However, I do have a suggestion. For a small fee I would be prepared to select and watch the proceedings online fairly soon after the presentations. It could be a source of revenue for TOD even...

Online viewability would open up the proceedings to a much larger audience, save masses of carbon and delay the onset of Peak Oil (by about 5 minutes ;o)


I attended last year's ASPO conference in Sacramento and found a wealth of information available to me that is not available anywhere else. As a planning commissioner in my city, I found the information relevant to my work there, and also it gave me a wealth of knowledge to share with my colleagues and with my elected officials.

The current plan by ASPO-USA is to have video proceeding available within a few days after the conference for a charge of $95. ASPO-USA is the one incurring all of the costs of the conference, as well as the cost of taping the talks, so it is right that the cost of the videos will go to them. The video cost will go toward paying the expenses involved.

This is one of the aspects of ASPO that disturbs me. Why can't they have all the speeches, as audio files, available for free download from Rapidshare (or some other free file repository)? Do they have an altruistic intent, or not? Do they want to disseminate information, or make money? Why do we only get the video-on-DVD option, when mp3s are good enough for most of us?

My understanding is that the videos will be online this year, instead of DVDs, but there will still be a $95 charge for them.

It is expensive to get video crews to record all of the talks (and to pay other costs of the conference). ASPO-USA is a not-for profit, so it is not trying to make money on this operation. The issue is more that the cost of the conference plus all of the recording is quite high, and they need to get funds to cover their costs in some manner.

Surely one of the participants must have a laptop with voice recording software? They would need a flash drive to save all the presentations and then post the presentation plus the voice recording on rapidshare - that wouldn't cost anything to do and would get the message out there.

TOD could even offer to host the data on this website?

Singo, exactly! Gail seems not to understand my post, and only talks about video. Gail, I'm talking about a PODCAST, an AUDIO file. imagines that the $95 price is to cover the cost of the conference, but why is it being held at the Sheraton?

Surely expensive industry conferences are one of the symptoms of modern, consumerist, profligate society - all of the things that are most susceptible to peak oil. Why isn't this a green conference, perhaps hosted on the internet (Second life?), that way everyone around the world could attend for free (or perhaps a very minimal cost) and there wouldn't be the consumption of fossil fuels for getting all the participants there in the first place. If there isn't an internet company that offers this then I'm going to start one, because there must be huge demand.

Don't get me wrong, I think what ASPO and TOD is trying to do is great and I'm fully a peak oil convert, but an expensive conference that charges $95 for non-attendees to access the information is not in line with the messages that are likely to be discussed.

Wasn't it Ghandi who said "you must be the change you want to see in the world"? A bank boss taking a private jet to congress to explain how they are cutting costs doesn't work; a ASPO conference (where one of the key themes is sustainability) being operated in this way is similarly myopic.

3 Days of proceeding is an awful lot of data -even at Mpeg rates. I'm not against charging something for the capture, hosting and distribution: all these things take time and money. I do think there is a very 'long tail' of people who would be OK paying a smaller amount and watching slides and low-rate audio...

Does ASPO have the sole rights to this?


In the past, ASPO-USA has posted the slides that go with the presentations for free. I have found them more helpful than the videos (or an audio) for myself, especially because I like to look back at the numbers and the graphs.

In the past, the videos have not tended to show the slides very well. If nothing else, one can't take an extra minute to look at a slide which one doesn't understand. The fixed slides are better for that.

Gail, Singo makes some excellent points about the hypocrisy of a "Peak Oil" conference held in a luxury hotel and attended by Jet-transported experts. This does not smell right. You have not addressed his points.

There is a point in getting together. Apart from ASPO-USA meetings, most of the Oil Drum staff would never have met each other (and many of us still have never met). There are a lot of others that we have gotten acquainted with, and lot of projects have been started as the result of cross-pollination and better acquaintanceship. The number of speakers is quite high relative to the number of people there. That way everyone lots of people get to talk a little about what they are doing.

People who are going are not necessarily staying at the hotel. I know I am staying with relatives. Two of Oil Drum staff who will be speaking live in the Denver area, and will be staying at home.

Also, ASPO-USA is headquartered in Denver. Its staff will not need to stay at the hotel. I think Denver was chosen as a location to cut down travel for at least ASPO-USA staff.

ASPO-USA picks out the hotel. It wants it to be nice enough place that people who are just somewhat interested in Peak Oil will feel like it is a nice place to come and meet other people. The hotels in recent years have been at least as fancy.

I don't have a huge problems with taking jets. They will fly, whether or not ASPO-USA speakers are on them.

I don't have a huge problems with taking jets. They will fly, whether or not ASPO-USA speakers are on them.

Ah, there we have an example of the tragedy of the commons.

The simple fact is that not much new emerges from these conferences. I've watched/listened to a few now, and it's becoming repetitious.

Some soul-searching is in order.

these get togethers serve as the social glue that keeps people writing, sharing, and thinking on resource depletion. without meeting others face to face it is much more difficult to collaborate/volunteer ones time in a vacuum. I doubt theoildrum would have existed this long without these various conferences.

Your points are acknowledged, but I'm not sure what options there really are. We exist in two worlds - depletion conferences are one of the bridges.