For the past century, the picture of this country in terms of the supply and costs of its energy has been one of bright sunny days. Now and then a few clouds have appeared over certain areas ? there was, for example, the great oil shortage scare just after World War I, when it was thought that this country's oil resources were being exhausted. By and large, however, there was unrelieved sunshine. Within the past year, in contrast, we have seen for the first time the gathering of ominous storm clouds all around the horizon. It is possible that the storm can sweep down upon us from any direction, or even from all directions at once. During this year there have already been certain isolated thunderstorms, so to speak. There are some who say we shall never see the sun again, at least for the next decade or so, and that the storms will be upon us within the next year or so.

It's time to give that metaphor a rest, but at least it sets the mood. What I'm talking about, of course, is the Great Energy Supply Crisis of 1970. The truly extraordinary thing about the crisis is not so much that it has occurred, but that it developed with such extreme rapidity and, in so doing, was unforeseen and unforeseeable.

Now to say this to a group of oil men may verge on the foolhardy, but I think at least I have gotten your attention. How can I say that it was unforeseen and unforeseeable when the petroleum industry has been crying the alarm for years about inadequate incentives and the decline in the reserve position? How can I say it was a rapid development when exploration activity has been tumbling for many years?

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