52. PEAK OIL ALREADY HAPPENED
In the August 2005 ASPO newsletter(pdf), Colin Campbell (see #29) went on the record stating that conventional oil peaked in 2004. You can see it in the chart on page 2:
There are a few interesting angles on this one:
1) Isn't this the most damning evidence possible that peak oil is a bunch of hype? It already happened, and nobody noticed. Conventional oil production peaked, but "oil" production is soaring, and the world economy is booming.
The doomer position has always been that oil is special, and alternatives like gas and unconventional oil can't take up the slack when conventional oil declines. And yet that's exactly what's happening. According to Campbell himself, heavy and NGL (Natural Gas Liquids, which aren't even oil at all) accounted for 11% of world "oil" production 5 years ago. So when are we going to start switching to alternatives? The answer is: we already started a long time ago.
2) Campbell's forecast value of 82mbd for world production in 2005 is clearly wrong. Look at the actual stats from the EIA (world oil production in thousands of barrels per day):
2004 average: 83,024
2005 5-month average: 84,277Source
3) Since ASPO is on the record stating that peak oil has already occurred, we can calculate the decline rate.
These are the ASPO production figures for conventional oil:
2004: ? mbd (peak production)
So what was conventional production in 2004? Well, if all the doomer hysteria about "damaged fields" and "bottle-brush drilling" and "falling off a cliff" is right, then we should have fallen about 17% from 2004 to 2005. That would give us a figure of 79.5mbd for 2004 which (interpolating the table) would give a total figure (including non-conventional) of about 95mbd of total production in 2004, which then dropped to 82mbd in 2005. That obviously didn't happen, so the evidence is clear. We're one year into the post-peak period, and conventional oil is not falling off a cliff.
4) Moving the conventional peak date into the past was a big change. The date in the previous July newsletter (pdf) was 2006. So why didn't Colin Campbell say a thing about it?