free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 428. EVEN HUBBERT WAS WRONG

Thursday, November 15, 2012


The founding myth of "peak oil" has always been Hubbert's 1956 prediction that US oil production would peak in the early 1970s and decline, never to rise again. This myth is being disproved as we speak. Thanks to technological breakthroughs, US oil production is rising again:
The trend is set to continue. From yesterday's Los Angeles Times:
By 2015, U.S. oil production is expected to rise to 10 million barrels per day and increase to 11.1 million barrels per day by 2020, overtaking second-place Russia and front-runner Saudi Arabia, according to the IEA's World Energy Outlook. The U.S. will export more oil than it brings into the country in 2030, the report said. Link
 In other words, even the great Hubbert is set to be embarrassed in the next few years. Don't buy into the hype folks. Peak oilers have an incredible knack for getting things wrong.


At Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 4:51:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 5:47:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 5:48:00 AM PST, Blogger Ralfyman said...

In order to argue that peak oil is a myth, we need to show that conventional oil production can easily meet growing energy demand. Unfortunately, conventional oil production hasn't met energy demand since 2006, which is why we are now resorting to non-conventional production.

More important, we need to look at oil production per capita, as it is more logical to look at production in light of the population that it serves.

Unfortunately, according to BP, oil production per capita peaked back in 1979.

Current U.S. oil consumption is 19 Mb/d. The 2020 forecast of around 12 Mb/d will not even meet that.

The same IEA reports that by 2030, we will increase global energy production from oil and gas sources by 9 pct. But in order to maintain economic growth, we need to increase energy demand by up to 2 pct each year.

At Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 11:48:00 AM PST, Blogger ReserveGrowthRulz said...

JD, welcome back! After your experiment with not eating food derived from fossil fuels some of us became worried!

As for Ralfyman, son, Hubbert never said his concept only worked for conventional oil, so why would you assume such? It is one of the new tactics used by peakers to count only the oils they want as fuel manufacturing takes place and makes mincemeat of Hubberts predictions. And of course, once the Prophet takes a hit, the disciples are obliged to as well!

Also, energy use per capita was a Duncan argument, and in case you missed it, his 2008 prediction of the Cliff went so well, there aren't any permanent rolling blackouts to stop you from posting!! Amazing that, albeit disappointing for the gold, guns and ammo crowd.

You are referencing IEA projections, which have been already discredited by their 2006 peak oil call, don't you have anything better? Certainly you can't use peak oil references at this point because...I don't think there are any left! Or any that aren't just playing kick the can ad nauseum anyway.

At Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 10:36:00 PM PST, Blogger JRip said...

Recent Peak oil predictors seem like folks seeking their moment of fame.

I think Hubbert in the 1956 paper had more integrity than he is given credit for here.
Basic Thesis of the paper is a study of exponential growth in consumption of a finite resource.
He made points that: - there can only be so many doublings and if you took his model and assumed there was 150 billion barrels of proven reserves remaining it would peak in about 1965 under a certain set of consumption growth assumptions and if you assumed. 200 billion it only moved the peak to about 1970.

But he also mentions 2.5 Trillion barrels of oil in shale in the USA. At that time this was not counted as a Proven Reserve just a potential.

So there was a peak in 1970-1971 and he became famous. I think he would be amazed to see the innovations in drilling and fracking in use in North Dakota today. In the last year they cut the time to drill 2 miles down and 2 miles over from 40 days to 20.

But nothing has changed - If you take a finite resource and use it up - it is gone. You have to do something else.

With a few trillions of barrels in shales and sands it will be a while.

At Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 11:12:00 AM PST, Anonymous Jason Marr said...

Welcome back :) Whatever happened to "Ace's" predictions that you wrote about some years back?

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At Friday, November 23, 2012 at 8:43:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

Hubbert also predicted world oil production would peak in 1995, based on 2 trillion URR. He was wrong on both accounts.

Hubbert's basic failure (as is most peak oil doomers), was simply underestimating URR. That number could be as high as 16 trillion barrels. In which case, oil production would not peak from a lack of supply for several hundred years.

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At Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 2:03:00 AM PST, Anonymous Tom S said...

It just astonishes me that this whole peak oil/energy decline movement is still ongoing. By now, they've wrongly predicted the end of civilization about ten times in a row. What's more, they've gotten everything else drastically wrong, too. Month after month, year after year, every one of their predictions fails dramatically. It's a depressing methodical drumbeat of stunningly failed doomsday predictions. Nevertheless, they just keep chugging along. They keep repeating the same ideas, and they keep making similar predictions about energy decline.

I just don't understand those people. I really don't. They baffle me. Why don't they ever realize that that stuff is just wrong? How many times must their predictions fail before they begin to suspect?

-Tom S

At Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 10:59:00 AM PST, Blogger ReserveGrowthRulz said...

I do understand them. Accept them as a religion, a cult, a belief system, and their anti-fact, anti-reality, kick the can ridiculousness makes perfect sense. They only need to BELIEVE, everything else is irrelevant. Something drives them to want humans to die, they despise themselves and those around them, the cultures they create, the actions of their neighbors, successful people, Hummer drivers, anyone who appears to live in the world they hate and do not object to.
Once upon a time I thought that arguing, debating, facts, reality would be enough. It isn't, and it isn't because they are ignorant or stupid (certainly a majority fit that category, but not the ones worth talking to) but because their belief system gets in the way. Humans are bad, therefore they must die, and peak oil is the mechanism they believe in to do it. Bing bang bong, just that simple.

At Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 12:48:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

There certainly is a group that hates themselves, hates their country, and most of all, hates BIG OIL! But I believe the majority of doomers are acting on their own fears of "what might happen". This is most likely a survival instinct. And generally speaking, most people are extremely gullible. Enter the charlatons. The Kunstlers, The Oil Drums etc, selling their articles books and DVDs. These people may, or may not actually believe what they're saying. But they most certainly believe there is a market for doom. So you have an ongoing industry. Until the general public actually starts thinking for themselves (and that could be a very long time) you will have peak oil. Something of a niche industry though. Most people either don't believe it, or have never even heard of it.

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At Monday, November 26, 2012 at 12:04:00 PM PST, Anonymous DB said...

Heh JD,

Glad to see you back making a post. I've been holding the fort on the anti-doomer side on but like you I got a little bored debunking the doomer automatons when to anyone with an ounce of analytical ability it's obvious that the whole "peak oil" shenanigan will be solved by substitutes. Anyways, welcome back.

At Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:53:00 AM PST, Anonymous SG said...

For anyone interested, there's a video of Hubbert putting forth his theories here:

At Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 9:40:00 PM PST, Blogger Philips said...

This is most likely a survival instinct!
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At Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 11:11:00 AM PST, Anonymous Jason Marr said...

Also some updates:

-Matt Simmons hit "peak life" before peak oil actually occured.

-Matt Savinar took his money and ran. He no longer runs LATOC, which is now defunct. He now runs a business that is based on Astrology services(lol). The long con on all the doomer idiots who bought MRE's from LATOC, lining Matt's pockets.

-Ruppert no longer runs FTW blog. He now runs a collapse network website that asks for $1000 for a lifetime membership.

K, gonna go back to bed now, just hit the snooze button on peak oil. Snore.

At Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 3:05:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

Jason Marr wrote:

"Ruppert no longer runs FTW blog. He now runs a collapse network website that asks for $1000 for a lifetime membership."

Hmmm. If society collapses, wouldn't that render the internet inoperative? Why would you need a lifetime membership to a website? Sounds a little fishy to me. I guess it makes sense to doomers.

At Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 7:04:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that Savinar runs an Astrology Service business is no surprise to me. I've never heard of a doomer who didn't believe in some other kind of nonsense as well.

Basset Hound

At Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 7:05:00 PM PST, Anonymous Basset Hound said...

The fact that Savinar runs an Astrology Service business is no surprise to me. I've never heard of a doomer who didn't believe in some other kind of nonsense as well.

Basset Hound

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At Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 5:48:00 PM PST, Anonymous Freddy Hutter, Trendlines Research said...

Hey, good to see y'all. Milestone: with 2013 we usher in the 25th year of the "imminent peak oil" myth. Colin Campbell was certain 1989 All Liquids extraction (66-Mbd) would never be surpassed!

That said, it's unfair to throw this on Hubbert. His '56 & '74 global and USA projections were for regular conventional oil ... only one of 12 All Liquids streams. Shale (tight) oil is one of those non-conventionals. He didn't make any A/L predictions. His USA (lower 48) estimate is intact. His global URR of 2,000-Gb is also holding up. My PS-2500 model calculates RCO to be 1,983-Gb with a peak in May 2005. It is presently on a 62-Mbd plateau which should hold 'til 2023.

It is this plateau which is at the root of the failed McPeakster forecasts. All of 'em assumed the Campbell's projected 2012 target for light sweet crude (59-Mbd) was a given - but instead my plateau thesis is holding...

For an update on my recent charts, the 15-model consensus tier-1 avg for Peak Oil has been stretched to 99-Mbd in 2029. My own PS-2500 has it @ 100-Mbd in 2030. No sign of Peak Demand 'til 2036...

On oil prices, the recent collapse is related to a decline in the Stress Premium price component (incl geopolitical issues, weather & disaster) from a $30/barrel high (April/2011) to a mere $8 today. Avg extraction costs have risen to $43/barrel. See the new Barrel Meter charts for a breakdown of all seven fundamental & non-fundamental components. USA RACrude finally attained equilibrium in June 2012 and should trade in a $84 - $107 channel for several years. WTI is usually four bucks cheaper.

Evalina & I are still in the Yukon (8 yrs). We have about 5 hours of sun this week. It's been down to -37 already and there's two feet of snow outside...

the charts:

At Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 4:51:00 PM PST, Blogger ReserveGrowthRulz said...

Hey Freddy, long time no see! In the years since we were banned from for actually knowing things, those things reflecting poorly on the intellectual abilities of those particular web "experts", they have changed quite a bit. Revisionist historians are busy changing oil definitions, pretending all the old calls for peak oil weren't REAL peak oil calls but something else, coming up with all sorts of reasons to explain away why the tractors are still running and peak oil hasn't even done in that most basic pest of metropolitan life, the traffic jam. Quite fun to watch, but the membership has dropped off quite precipitously, and I thought it was pretty hidebound back in the day, nowadays it is groupthink on heroin. With only about 10 people doing the talking.

I thought I would mention, I've seen some of your graphs used in professional presentations about 6 months ago, properly referenced, there are people who study these issues for a living who know what you do, so keep up the good work.

At Monday, December 17, 2012 at 12:51:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

Hi Freddy,

With regards to Hubbert, in the 1956 paper he clearly states URR for conventional oil is 1.25 trillion. So if the 1974 article stating 2 trillion is also for conventional oil only, then this is a massive upward revision. Interestingly, he still provides a similar peak date, and bell curve with either figure.

Also, Hubbert's 1956 paper quotes estimates for oil sands in Venezuela and Alberta combined to be 300 - 800 billion barrels. This has been proved to be a major underestimate.

Also, with regards to US production, it is much higher at this point in time than Hubbert had predicted. And is increasing, which Hubbert claimed was not possible.

Hubbert got everything wrong. Why so many people regard him as a genius is puzzling.

At Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 4:20:00 PM PST, Blogger ReserveGrowthRulz said...

Sorry SG, he certainly does NOT say conventional oil in his 1956 paper. He specifically includes in his production totals oil produced from offshore, heavy oil, condensates, shale oil, just about everything except tar sands.

At Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 5:11:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm looking at page 17 where he states 1.25 trillion for "crude oil".

Then on page 19 & 21 he gives the estimates for shale and tar sands. The high estimate for shale is 3 trillion, so obviously, the 1.25 trillion cannot contain the figures for shale. He then goes on to the estimates for tar sands of 300-500 billion.

Can you point me to which page where he states the 1.25 trillion number contains shale and heavy oil?

At Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 5:13:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

The above post was mine, the SG didn't show up for some reason.

At Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 6:37:00 PM PST, Anonymous Freddy Hutter, Trendlines Research said...

Hubbert '56: 34-Mbd peak in Y2k - 1,250Gb
Hubbert '74: 111-Mbd peak in 1995 - 2,000Gb

light sweet crude only


At Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 7:50:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

Hi Freddy,

Did Hubbert ever have an explanation as to why he was so far off with his original estimate? It seems to me that if he was wrong once, he could be wrong again.

If I'm hearing Rex T. correctly here, he's saying there are still 3 trillion barrels of conventional oil in the ground:

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At Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 3:46:00 PM PST, Blogger ReserveGrowthRulz said...

SG, he doesn't draw the distinctions claimed by the mcpeaksters nowadays. When he says "oil", he uses the term all of us "once upon a time field hands" use, which is to say stock tank barrels. So his projections include all of the previously mentioned oil types, and he also then draws no particular distinction when he casts those numbers forward into his "future discoveries" category. The way I found this was by getting the same API reference work he used in 1956 to check his numbers, and find out what that reference said they were counting. Sure enough, they were counting the condensates and Penn Grade crude in Ohio prior to 1900, as well as the heavy oils of California, offshore oils of Louisiana and Texas, basically everything considered "oil" in the oifield sense, versus the nonsense shuck and jive routine mcpeaksters have been doing trying to avoid reality for years now.

At Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 3:51:00 AM PST, Anonymous Tom S said...

I just wrote a new blog entry about my own predictions for the future of fossil fuel supplies. It's longish, but I don't think it's too technical. You can take a look at bountifulenergy dot blogspot.

-Tom S

At Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 3:52:00 AM PST, Anonymous Tom S said...

Oops bountinfulenergy dot blogspot dot com.

Or, just click my name.

-Tom S

At Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 10:49:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

Hi Tom,

The timing of Peak Oil really comes down to whom you believe is accurate. I'll take Abdullah S. Jum'ah over Deffeyes. If you're not familiar, Jum'ah believes there could be as much as 16 trillion barrels of recoverable oil still in the ground. That's over 500 years of production @ current rates.

However, I do believe fossil fuels will be legislated out of production long before that. Perhaps by the end of this century. JMHO

At Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 2:47:00 AM PST, Anonymous Tom S said...


Interesting stuff. It's hard for me to tell whose oil prediction is correct. I study economics, not geology or petroleum engineering, so I don't really know.

I spend most of my time debunking the economic aspects of energy decline theory. Bear in mind that most of energy decline and peak oil theory has been a folk economic theory, which posits that the industrial economy will collapse in the face of even slight reductions in oil supplies. That much I know is incorrect.

However, I can't say whether the predictions of future oil supplies by ASPO etc are also incorrect. I just sort of take their word for it, as a worst-case assumption.

I definitely entertain the possibility that we have 2 trillion barrels of conventional oil remaining (this is the USGS view) and several trillion barrels of unconventional oil. If this were so, then we might have 5 trillion barrels remaining, and are only 17% of our way through it so far. If so, then we would experience peak oil after 2050, assuming modest growth rates in oil consumption.

If that happens, I expect that the peak oil community will still be predicting the IMMINENT DEMISE of civilization, continuously through 2050. I can't imagine that Heinberg et al would still be alive at that time. However I'm sure they can attract a few younger converts in the interim.

-Tom S

At Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 7:55:00 AM PST, Anonymous Paxmax said...

So that's the gross number of barrels increase, but there is no mention of the increased COST of extraction (drilling horizontally, offshore and fracking cost time, resources) and also no mention of the ERoEI of this oil. I.E what's the NET production worth excluding costs and energy?

At Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 12:16:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...


2012 showed the world could survive $100 oil, and still have economic growth.

This means we have several hundred years of oil production left including deep water, heavy oil, tar sands, and enhanced oil recovery techniques.

This also means alternatives like biofuel, and solar are economic @ current prices. Those alternatives are virtually unlimited.

Why people obsess over energy supplies running out is rather puzzling.

At Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 10:11:00 PM PST, Anonymous Tom S said...


I don't think the EROEI of oil matters very much. Even if the EROEI for unconventional oil were 1:1, then it would still be a way of converting natural gas to liquid fuels without energy loss, since the energy input for unconventional oil is usually natural gas. If we could convert all natural gas to liquid fuel at an EROEI of 1:1 then it would change the game tremendously wrt future oil supplies. Bear in mind that CTL and GTL both have EROEI less than one and may still be worth it.

-Tom S

At Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 5:48:00 PM PST, Anonymous Freddy Hutter said...

SG, Hubbert had grossly underestimated URR in his '56 study. By 74 he had nailed it perfectly. Who of us would want folks to see what we predicted 18 years ago, eh?

On Peak Demand, my work says high prices won't impact via demand destruction 'til US RACrude hits $264/barrel in 2036. This is based on a definitive oil price to GDP ratio being breached at that juncture. It will be the fourth and final encroachment.

I am using a 6.9-Gb URR for All Liquids presently. There are only 0.857-Gb of regular conventional oil remaining in ground. This light sweet crude will exhaust in Year 2103. Other stuff will last another 400 years thereafter.

At Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 7:54:00 PM PST, Anonymous Tom S said...


In my opinion, peak demand will be determined primarily by the price of the next best alternative to oil. For example, peak demand will be determined by the price of batteries for plug-in cars. When batteries and electrification become cheaper than oil as a form of propulsion, then we will have reached peak demand.

To some extent, the timing of peak demand will depend upon technological advancements in battery technology. If battery optimists are right, and future batteries cost $250/KwH and have more charge/discharge cycles than now, then peak demand could occur considerably below the $200/bbl mark (2012 USD). Since I doubt the battery optimists are right, the actual figure of peak demand will be higher than $200/bbl.

A wrinkle in this analysis, is presented by the possibility of fuel switching to natural gas. For example, almost all shipbuilders are already constructing ship engines which can use either bunker oil or natural gas as fuel. The entire fleet of ships will be able to use natural gas as fuel within 2 decades, at this rate. Trucking companies might also start doing the same, soon enough. Taxicab companies, rental car companies, and other high-mileage forms of transport may also do the same, insofar as they could quickly recoup the money spent on more expensive fuel tanks for natural gas. This could cause a premature peak demand for oil, until natural gas becomes scarcer.

I would guess that peak demand for oil is around $215/bbl (in 2012 USD). This figure is independent of URR. Peak demand would be reached at that price, whether there are 500 Gb remaining or 5000. At that price, our transportation infrastructure will transition to electric power. Although prices could go above $215/bbl TEMPORARILY, they will revert to approximately that level in the longer run, in my opinion.

The end result of peak oil will depend upon battery technology at that time. I would guess that most people will drive slightly smaller cars, will drive slightly less, and will pay about 15% more per mile to drive than now (2012 USD). Costs for transportation of goods will increase too, by an amount which is so small that it will be barely perceptible.

-Tom S

At Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 11:49:00 AM PST, Anonymous SG said...

Freddy & Tom,

What you both seem to be missing is the effect of regulations on demand. Gasoline demand in the US has already peaked, and will only continue to go down, as more regulations are introduced. Price and supply are not the controlling factors.

At Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 12:00:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

"We think going forward that because of the emphasis on energy efficiency, ongoing improvements in vehicle miles standards and hybrid (cars), that motor vehicle gasoline demand is down, is headed down, and is going to continue to head down," Rex Tillerson

At Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 10:25:00 PM PST, Anonymous Tom S said...


You make an important point. I grant that peak demand may have already occurred in the USA, in Japan, and in Western Europe.

However, demand is still increasing rapidly in China, India, and the 3rd world. China alone has doubled its oil consumption in the last 10 years. Still, China's oil consumption per capita is only half that of European levels.

I believe that China, India, and the 3rd world will continue to increase their oil consumption, until peak supply is reached. They will overwhelm any reductions in demand in OECD countries. I can't see how peak demand will be reached while the 3rd world is still growing rapidly and while oil remains cheaper than alternative forms of energy for transport.

-Tom S

At Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 11:37:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...


There are a few studies out there that suggest world peak demand by 2020. I personally find the peak demand argument more plausible than a geological peak in oil supply.



At Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 3:56:00 AM PST, Anonymous Vimec said...

Nie mogę przestać o tym myśleć

At Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:40:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, I don't check JD's blog for several months and when I finally do come back - ka-BAM! - JD's got another post up.

The next item that's going to really put the doomers into fits is Texas oil production. From everything I've read, Texas stands a good chance of breaking its early-70's oil production record.

Good recent article:
Shale playground in W. Texas
But if the Eagle Ford seems big, get ready for what's happening in West Texas, where oil and gas production is ramping up in shale layers such as the Wolfcamp in and around Midland.
“They're getting thousands and thousands of feet of pay zone,” said Ken Morgan, director of the Texas Christian University Energy Institute, who spoke Wednesday at Palo Alto College. “It's like the Eagle Ford on steroids. They haven't even begun. We're just in the toe of this thing.”
Morgan, who spoke as part of an Eagle Ford Consortium and Alamo Colleges event, said it's going to take “decades and decades” for companies to work through the shale reserves in West Texas.

Oil production in Texas has already started going parabolic and has recently surpassed 2 million bpd.


At Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:38:00 AM PST, Anonymous Wyrzykowski said...

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At Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 6:50:00 PM PST, Anonymous illumined said...

Welcome back JD. I haven't been to any of the peak oil boards in a while, I got tired of the intellectual bankruptcy that was constantly on display. Anyway in addition to the increased production in the US there's also those huge undersea oil fields in the South China Sea that, entirely for political reasons, are completely untouched. It seems clear that the oil age is far from over.

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Dobry wpis. Dzięki.

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At Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 10:41:00 PM PST, Anonymous standardspeak said...

Let's run through some of the peak oil denial arguments:

1) Hubbert wasn't completely correct therefore there is no such thing as peak oil. The logic of this argument is obviously unsound but the more salient rebuttal is that Hubbert was far more right than he was wrong. For example shale oil production is a technology he couldn't predict so therefore his model and predictions were quite accurate for what HE UNDERSTOOD oil extraction to be. Did oil extraction OF THE TYPE THE MODEL DESCRIBED follow the model he devised? Yes. Was it roughly chronologically correct? Yes.

2) Shale oil extraction is an example of technology allowing us to continue expanding oil supply so therefore the theory of peak oil is disproven. Firstly, shale oil extraction technology is over two decades old and its use now shows the DESPERATION we currently experience in sustaining oil extraction rates. Secondly, the predicted long term rise in US oil production is an extrapolation of the rise in extraction over the last two years. However we know that a typical shale oil 'well' has an effective life span of a year. Therefore to sustain the increase in production year on year means replacing depleted wells AS WELL AS building new ones. The pattern goes roughly like this: 1000 new wells first year, 2000 new wells second year, 4000 new wells third year, 8000 new wells fourth year, 16,000 wells fifth year and so on ad infinitum. Does this pattern seem likely to persist for long?

3) A number of peak oil theorists have been mistaken in their predictions therefore peak oil will not have any effect on us. Another example of false logic. And it ignores the elephant in the room. Peak oil theorists have routinely predicted that oil extraction rates would decrease over time and they have been proved correct. No matter how anyone plays semantics, the TYPE OF OIL EXTRACTION that allows cheap oil supplied at high rates of extraction is the 'reservoir' method. Need we quibble about the definition of oil when the unconventional extraction methods of oil are either piddling in rate or are so technically demanding and expensive as to be a different species of resource extraction altogether?

4) Peak oil theorists are misanthropic so peak oil is a deviant philosophy rather than an accurate assumption of what happens to a finite resource over time. This argument is straw man bullshit.

And those are the best arguments! Any that remain devolve even further into the realm of wishful thinking and puffery.

At Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 2:34:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...


Unconventional oil production was well underway in Hubbert's time.

Hubbert's 1956 paper did include estimates for oil sands, and heavy oil reserves. The fact that Hubbert didn't include those resources in his bell curve, and peak oil predictions, is rather puzzling.

Hubbert was also well aware of increasing extraction technology, yet failed to account for it in his peak oil predictions.

Also, peak oil predictions in Hubbert's time were nothing new. Failed peak oil predictions date back to the 19th century. Hubbert's was just another in a long line of failed predictions, that continue to today. And will no doubt continue well into the future.

Peak oil "believers" are mostly a bunch of confused leftists. Hoping against hope that peak oil, and/or global warming, will come to their rescue. And put an end to modern civilization, and capitalism.

Your best course of action would be to go see a psychiatrist.

At Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 3:47:00 PM PST, Anonymous standardspeak said...


So if you are right that Hubbert didn't account for unconventional oil then it follows that his model was correct for conventional oil which has peaked. The present day scramble to mitigate this peak seems to confirm this.

Repeating the 'peak oil theorists are deviants so peak oil is not a concern' argument after I just pointed it out was a bit careless.

So if we are now relying on unconventional oil to maintain supply where does that leave us? Permanently economically crippling high oil prices anyone?

But not to worry as conservation and electrification will ameliorate our dependence on oil and we won't have to worry about high oil prices. Nice theory but suffers from a lack of thought as to how this would work. Conservation is already taking place yet it seems to be from less miles driven than anything else. That's not conservation without consequence that's the beginning of society shutting down. The recent surge in car sales has not shown anything like the move to greater fuel efficiency that is assumed to be adopted once 'conservation' takes place.

Electrification of everything! Well except shipping, air, plastics, pharmaceuticals, the huge amount of car, trucks and farm equipment that aren't electric years into even the most subsidised transfer programme.

At Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 4:24:00 PM PST, Blogger Tom said...


I commend you for posting on a website which disputes peak oil beliefs. In that regard you are different from many peak oil adherents who talk mostly to each other these days.

That said, I disagree with everything you said.

You said:

"Hubbert was far more right than he was wrong."

The mathematical technique of Hubbert Linearization has been used by Hubbert himself, Colin Campbell, Ken Deffeyes, Matt Simmons, and many, many others. Colin Campbell (really the father of contemporary peak oil theory, not Hubbert) used these methods to predict peak of ALL LIQUIDS in 1989, three times in the 2000s, and once around 2010. Furthermore, other peak oil adherents used the HL method and generally showed declines beginning around 2005. Every time the technique of Hubbert Linearization has been used, the result has been drastically, drastically wrong, not just for unconventional oil but also for conventional oil. The HL technique has failed badly even with relatively short-term predictions; for example, ASPO's 2008 prediction shows that ALL LIQUIDS had already peaked in 2007 and would decline by about 15% by now; it was very wrong when looking only 4 years in the future.

The HL method has also failed badly when applied to resources other than oil. The HL method was used to predict peak gas in the late 2000s (the famous "natural gas cliff") and peak coal in 2011 (Patzek's paper). Those predictions were also totally wrong even when looking only a few years ahead.

The repeated failure of HL is not surprising since the method has mathematical and logical flaws which were fairly obvious beforehand.

"Firstly, shale oil extraction technology is over two decades old and its use now shows the DESPERATION"

This is not correct. The oil industry has always extracted the easiest oil first, then gradually moved to harder sources of oil. Furthermore, the oil industry has always gradually improved its techniques of extracting the harder oil. That's business as usual, not DESPERATION.

"A number of peak oil theorists have been mistaken in their predictions therefore peak oil will not have any effect on us."

That is a straw man. Doubters never claimed that oil will NEVER peak or it would never have any effect on us. Obviously, oil will peak some day and then decline, forcing a very gradual transition to alternatives.

What doubters actually claimed, is that peak oil was not imminent, that the decline would not be rapid, that ASPO and related people were wrong, that techniques like Hubbert Linearization are useless to predict future oil supplies, and that prognostications about the imminent collapse of civilization were absurd. Thus far, the doubters have been correct and believers have been drastically wrong on all points.

I should also point out what you are forgetting or ignoring. The peak oil movement claimed with near certainty that civilization would abruptly collapse and revert to a pre-industrial state circa 2006. That view was widely shared (although not universal) in peak oil circles at that time. Needless to say, that prediction was drastically wrong also.

In short. The peak oil movement has a 100% failure rate of prediction. Furthermore, most of their predictions were just drastically wrong. I'm not saying that oil is infinite. However, I am saying that all the methods used by the peak oil theorists to predict future resource supplies have been clearly and totally refuted, as have all their theories about the fate of civilization. Therefore, those methods and theories should be abandoned, or at least heavily modified.

-Tom S

At Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 4:58:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...


I do not believe that conventional oil production has peaked. Or had peaked in 1995-2000, as Hubbert had predicted. I also do not believe conventional URR to be 2 trillion barrels. Many others in the industry also believe Hubbert's estimate of 2 trillion URR is far too low. Recall that Hubbert had approximately doubled his own estimate of URR from 1956 - 1974.

I could also argue what exactly constitutes conventional oil. The oil now being extracted from shale formations through fracking, is light sweet crude. Even though most people are calling it "unconventional". I would think "enhanced oil recovery" would be a more accurate term.

Now with regards to price. The current price of oil is far more than what it costs to produce. This is true for conventional oil, unconventional oil, oil sands, heavy oil, offshore, enhanced recovery, etc. And if the world was in recession (shutting down), this would drive the price much lower, as it did at the end of 2008.

Also, one should consider the effect of the devaluation of the dollar. And the resultant price inflation. Oil is not the only commodity to experience price inflation over time. Thus, the high oil price does not necessarily indicate a lack of supply.

At Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 5:27:00 PM PST, Anonymous standardspeak said...


Thank you for the polite and well structured, evidenced message.

The basis of your message seems to be that a peak in oil extraction rates is not imminent or of great concern.

You seem to argue that an all liquids peak will happen in the future but at a time not likely to be soon. It would follow that you are confident that we have time to develop transition infrastructure in the mean time so as to make the lack of energy-rich liquid fuels less painful.

We are already at a stage where desperate measures are being taken to maintain oil supply (check the meaning of desperation, it means that choices are taken that would not be taken given a better option). We are already at a stage where oil prices are causing an economic meltdown. We are already at the stage where the 'alternatives' have every reason to take the strain yet they are lacking. We have passed the rubicon already.

Predictions are as useless as you indicate. Yes there hasn't been a sudden end to civilisation at the date given by couple of hotheads. But we are already experiencing the descent. There's no need to predict a future cataclysm when we are living through it already.

It seems to come down to perspective. I see the tearing apart of our complex systems having begun and due in large part to energy supply problems rooted in the peak of conventional oil extraction rates. You see a world where there is always a fix around every corner.

History might imply that you are right because how could have got so far if we hadn't managed to deal with our problems? However history is also a fabric of massive human suffering and the collapse of civilisations.

At Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 7:17:00 PM PST, Anonymous standardspeak said...


I am happy to believe that conventional oil extraction rates reached a maximum in the last few years but I will admit that it is remotely possible it may be just the 'truth through repetition' from unreliable sources. However the weight of evidence to the contrary is so slight as to make your view seem petulant.

I'm not sure if renaming unconventional oil makes much difference to the situation.

Your assumptions about price don't seem rock solid. Is there really a such a large gap between all production costs and price? How can it be so when development projects seem to wither or succeed depending on small variations in the oil price? Is there really such a strong correlation between inflation, a slight dip in the value of the dollar and the price of oil for a period in which it has more than quadrupled in long term average price? The maths nowhere near supports that assumption. And in the deepest dip in economic activity in late 2008 how did oil's lowest price maintain a level that was four times the price (inflation adjusted) encountered during much less severe recessions? In the recessionary environment that has continued since 2008 we have seen the oil price maintain its highest long term average in history. If you don't think we have been in a recessionary environment since 2008 then you need to remove yourself from whatever source of economic news you have and look for a better one.

I would appreciate the alleviation of my dread concerns about the fate of the civilisation that allows me to live so comfortably. But I have not found it here. Not because I am unwilling but because the arguments seem to me constantly 'reaching' and unwilling to accept the obvious. The drive to argue against peak oil seems as flawed as the belief that it will improve the human condition by wiping out a corrosive civilisation.

At Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 9:27:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

Tom S. wrote:

"Obviously, oil will peak some day and then decline, forcing a very gradual transition to alternatives."

IMO, oil production will decline not from supply or demand, but from ever increasing regulations. Most of the world's oil will stay in the ground.

At Monday, February 18, 2013 at 6:08:00 PM PST, Anonymous SG said...

standardspeak wrote:

"I would appreciate the alleviation of my dread concerns about the fate of the civilisation that allows me to live so comfortably."

Perhaps if you heard directly from some industry experts, it would help.

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At Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 11:21:00 AM PST, Blogger eldorado2768 said...

If you simply looked at recoverable oil, then sure, there is enough oil and coal left in the ground for hundreds of years. The question is recoverable at what cost. It is EROEI that determines whether a well continues to pump or not. Tar sands and shale oil is only about 1:5 at the most. As drilling goes deeper, EROEI goes down. That is the essence of Hubbert's theory. Most of you pointing out that technology will solve everything are correct in the sense that horizontal drilling and hydrofacturing certainly have brought new life to old fields. But you miss an important side of the equation - the demand side. At $150/barrel, the U.S. and Canada will be drilling in every crack and crevass using the most advanced drilling technology available. Problem is that no one will be able to afford it at that price.

The other fly in the ointment is population growth. At an increase of 200,000/day, that translates into another billion people on the planet by 2025. Saudi oil may have already peaked and to meet world demand world production would have to increase by 3 billion barrels each year. Someone tell me where all that new production is going to come from?

At Monday, February 25, 2013 at 10:45:00 AM PST, Anonymous SG said...


More people = more labor to produce more oil, and other types of energy products. And also, more innovation to invent new technologies.

Of course the doomer viewpoint is that people are just useless empty mouths to feed.

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At Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 11:13:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Optimistic Bob said...

Oil use in the US is declining so between increased domestic production and Canadian oil they could well be independent of non North American sources. The real issue is that we need to stop wasting such a precious resource by burning it in engines so much.

Thankfully over the next thirty years or so technology will be moving the generation of electricity to greener sources. Even the gulf states are starting to realize that they need to preserve oil for the future.

Oil production does not need to keep up with population growth be cause we are shifting to alternatives. The ship starts to turn slowly but it has begun to turn. Even in china the talk is now of limiting coal and green tech.

Doomers are the useless eaters! Do something positive rather than going on and on about how fucked we all are!

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At Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 5:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger juan said...

A Malthusian catastrophe (also phrased Malthusian check, Malthusian correction, Malthusian crisis, Malthusian disaster, Malthusian fallacy, Malthusian nightmare, or Malthusian theory of population) was originally foreseen to be a forced return to subsistence-level conditions once population growth had outpaced agricultural production. Population and growth size has a negative impact on the environment. Later formulations consider economic growth limits as well.

The term is also commonly used in discussions of oil depletion.

Malthus was wrong during his lifetime and neo-malthusian peakers continue the disproof......

At Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 7:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger juan said...

Heavy Oil Resources of the Orinoco Oil Belt, Venezuela
One of the Largest Recoverable Oil Accumulations in the World
Republished from a USGS Fact Sheet from October, 2009


The Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit of the La Luna-Quercual Total Petroleum System encompasses approximately 50,000 km2 of the East Venezuela Basin Province that is underlain by more than 1 trillion barrels of heavy oil-in-place. As part of a program directed at estimating the technically recoverable oil and gas resources of priority petroleum basins worldwide, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the recoverable oil resources of the Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit. This estimate relied mainly on published geologic and engineering data for reservoirs (net oil-saturated sandstone thickness and extent), petrophysical properties (porosity, water saturation, and formation volume factors), recovery factors determined by pilot projects, and estimates of volumes of oil-in-place. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean volume of 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil in the Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit of the East Venezuela Basin Province; the range is 380 to 652 billion barrels. The Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit thus contains one of the largest recoverable oil accumulations in the world.


At Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 7:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger juan said...

Tom S,

No one knows with certainty

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