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Q: Peak in worldwide oil production ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Peak in worldwide oil production
Category: Science
Asked by: alyx-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 14 Oct 2005 07:19 PDT
Expires: 13 Nov 2005 06:19 PST
Question ID: 580221
I have been doing some research on timelines for peaks in worldwide
oil production.  I am interested in scientific opinions on this
matter.  We are frequently exposed to economists giving their opinions
and I wanted a geological perspective.  So, my question is, what is an
estimated date of a peak in oil production worldwide.  My information
shows that US and Argentina have already peaked in their production. 
It also seems that the increase in energy usage in the developing
world (China & India) has skewed the projections from just a few years

I am not interested in information about burgeoning technological
advances that will make crude oil obsolete.  I have that information
coming out of my ears.  However, if any one would like to provide
opinions on how the oil production peak will impact our society, I
would be interested.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Oct 2005 07:39 PDT
Depends an awful lot about one's assumptions about the future, but
that hasn't stopped folks from trying to guess.

The US Department of Energy and the US Geological Survey created world
oil projections that -- assuming levels of growth remain about the
same as they are today -- predict a peak somewhere between 2026 and

Differing growth rates can push the peak back earlier, or extend out
as far as 2075.

Is this the sort of information you're seeking?


Clarification of Question by alyx-ga on 14 Oct 2005 08:22 PDT
I am actually already aware of DOE's statements.  I want more specific
information that has been gathered by anyone else interested in this
subject.  DOE assumes some rather outlandish facts.  DOE assumed
technological advances would outpace demand.  Like being able to heat
shale to extract oil from places that have been deemed too expensive
or energy intensive to extract.  Many of these facts are very far from
being proven. DOE also drastically underestimated the impact of
China's growing usage.  Exxon stated that they were thinking only 5
years until a peak in production.

The information I want is informed guesses regarding production in
specific locations.
Subject: Re: Peak in worldwide oil production
Answered By: wonko-ga on 17 Oct 2005 13:08 PDT
There are a wide variety of views on this issue, ranging from a
likelihood that we have already reached peak oil production to a
belief that such a peak is well off in the future.  Two widely
published experts on this issue are Matthew Simmons of Simmons & Co.
International and Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research
Associates.  An summary and comparison of their views can be found in:
"Debate brews: has oil production peaked?"  By David J. Lynch, USA
Today (October 16, 2005)

In his book, "Twilight in the Desert," Mr. Simmons puts forth the view
that Saudi Arabia is on the verge of a sizable decrease in oil
production, meaning that peak oil production has either been reached
or as near at hand.  There are a number of references describing his
views, as well as publications of his materials:

"All Pumped Out" by Stanley Reed, Business Week (August 1, 2005)

"The Real Oil Shock" by Matthew Simmons, Time (October 2005),9171,1106299,00.html

"Depletion and Peak Oil: A Serious Issue or an over Exaggerated Fear?"
 By Matthew Simmons (July 25, 2005)
 He includes four graphs of estimates for production for four major
oil fields.

Mr. Yergin's believes that peak oil production will not be reached
until at least 2010.  His views have also received significant

"Oil & Liquids Capacity to Outstrip Demand Until At Least 2010: New
CERA Report" Cambridge Energy Research Associates (June 21, 2005),2318,7453,00.html.  A multimedia
conference call about this report can be found at:

"It's Not the End of the Oil Age" by Daniel Yergin, Washington Post
(July 31, 2005),2318,7533,00.html

"Approaching Empty" CBS News (September 11, 2005)

"Energy leaders search for crude solutions" by John W. Schoen, MSNBC
(September 19, 2005)

For additional material on peak oil production, you can also visit the
Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas at  This web site has links to many articles and
reports discussing the issue, some of which make predictions.  For
example, "A French government report on the global oil industry
forecasts a possible peak in world production as early as 2013."



Search terms: Peak oil production
Subject: Re: Peak in worldwide oil production
From: brix24-ga on 14 Oct 2005 14:43 PDT
A book by David Goodstein, a physicist at Cal Tech, was reviewed in
the New York Times on Februrary 8, 2004. Here is a quote from that
review that gives the peak as being within this decade or, if things
go well, within the decade after that:

"It has already happened in the United States. In 1956, Marion King
Hubbert, a geophysicist with the Shell Oil Company, predicted that oil
production in the United States would peak sometime around 1970. His
superiors at Shell dismissed the prediction, as did most others in the
oil business. But he was right. Hubbert's peak occurred within a few
years of when he said it would, and American oil production has been
declining ever since. There was no crisis, because this country tapped
the world's reserves, and the supply increased along with demand.

Now Goodstein and many others have shown that the same methods, when
applied to global oil production and resources, predict a Hubbert's
peak in world oil supplies within this decade, or, in the best-case
scenarios, sometime in the next. Once that happens, the world supply
of oil will begin to decline gradually, even though large quantities
of oil will remain in the ground. The world demand for oil will
continue to increase. The gap between supply and demand will grow. But
this time the gap will be real; there will be no other source of oil
(from the moon, Neptune or Pluto?) to flow into the system."

The site for this review is:

Note: there is no line break between the "?" and the following "ex" in
the URL of the web site. This break may or may not appear in this
posted comment; the break does appear to be in this comment before
Subject: Re: Peak in worldwide oil production
From: frde-ga on 15 Oct 2005 03:47 PDT
An alternative approach would be to look at the historical sizes of
'known reserves'

With a few notable exceptions, oil companies are conservative in their
estimates of 'known reserves'.

Also increases in oil prices trigger more exploration and brings in
sub marginal fields.  There is a time lag, but while individual fields
'peak' globally the 'peak' tends to get pushed further into the

I'm slightly puzzled why heating shale should be energy intensive, it
is not as if the heat is being let off into the atmosphere, heat can
be 'recycled'.
Subject: Re: Peak in worldwide oil production
From: qed100-ga on 19 Oct 2005 08:01 PDT
"I'm slightly puzzled why heating shale should be energy intensive, it
is not as if the heat is being let off into the atmosphere, heat can
be 'recycled'."

   Well- heat can be "recycled" only in the sense that it can be "less
wasted". In other words, a process which uses heat might be carefully
made as efficient as possible. But in thermodynamics it cannot be made
100% efficient; some of the heat will always be leaking out into the
larger envronment.
Subject: Re: Peak in worldwide oil production
From: kathy2202-ga on 27 Oct 2005 14:42 PDT
I have also done research on a wide varity of related issues. The most
notable and frequently quoted sources of information come out of
Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
Another informative and easily read avenue is, Thom Hartmann's book
"The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight".
Also, In "Time's" October 31, 2005 issue, the article "How to Kick the
Oil Habit" by Michael D. Lemonick.

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