283. LAHERRERE MORPHING INTO ODELL?
Looking at Laherrere's liquids forecast in the previous entry (#282), I couldn't help but notice the striking similarity to some old charts from the uber-cornucopian economist Peter Odell.
First, take a look at the peak oil forecast from Campbell & Laherrere's 1998 Scientific American article:
According to the caption in the article, the red line indicates conventional + unconventional oil. Note that the graph tops out prior to 2005 at a global production level of about 26Gb/year = 71mbd. This was substantially in error because the world is currently producing about 85mbd.
Now let's contrast this with Laherrere's most recent 2006 chart (referenced in the previous entry):
What a difference 8 years makes, eh? In the new chart, conventional + unconventional tops out around the year 2020 at 92mbd. Interestingly, Laherrere not only includes the likely case (unconventional = 1Tb) but also an "unlikely" case (unconventional = 2Tb). This is clearly a hedge. If 2Tb was truly unlikely, why even put it in the chart? It's almost as though he's toying with possibility of an unexpectedly large flow of unconventional oil.
Now compare Laherrere's new chart with this chart from a 2000 paper* by Peter Odell:
Isn't that resemblance striking? Laherrere starts out in 1998 with no secondary unconventional hump. In 2006, he commits to a little mini-hump (the purple dashed line indicating 1Tb of unconventional). But, at the same time, he hedges his bets with an "unlikely" full-size secondary hump (the orange dotted line indicating 2Tb of unconventional). And this "unlikely" hump sits side-by-side with the conventional hump, just like in Odell's 2000 paper! Laherrere seems to be slowly inching his way into the chilly waters of cornucopianism.
*) This paper "The Global Energy Market in the Long Term: The Continuing Dominance of Affordable Non-Renewable Resources" has been removed by the site which formerly hosted it, and can only be found now in the Google cache. If you're interested, you should download it before it disappears. It is located here.
-- by JD