Sunday, October 30, 2005

Oil Peak in 2005? - Dale Pfeiffer's Blog

See blog entry here.

More evidence is coming in weekly to suggest that world oil production peaked in 2005. Within this past month, two notable petroleum geologists have produced statements to that effect. First there was Ali Samsam Bakhtiari, who said this past October. "In my humble opinion, we should now have reached 'Peak Oil'. So, it is high time to close this critical chapter in the history of international oil industry and bid the mighty 'Peak' farewell... At present, global oil output fluctuates around 82 mb/d as some institutions try vainly to push 2005 statistics towards 83 and 84 mb/d (as they always do). But they will be obliged to backtrack as 'actual' oil supplies fail to follow their 'paper' ones."(1)

This was followed by Colin Campbell's announcement at a conference in Rimini, Italy on October 28th that 2005 could be the year when world oil production peaks, to be soon followed by an irreversible decline. According to Dr. Campbell, "the maximum peak of production as far as the normal so-called oil has come this year; after that will be a long decline. Meanwhile, for other types of hydrocarbons… the peak will occur by 2010."(2) (Translated from Italian.)

These two statements, taken in concurrence with OPEC's August market report that total light, sweet oil production was declining,(3) and declining extraction rates from all the major oil companies except BP,(4) make it a safe bet that global oil production did indeed peak in 2005. I must offer a note of thanks to Chris Vernon for making both of the observations listed above in this paragraph.

If world oil production has indeed peaked, then demand and production are diverging and the trend will be towards rising oil prices from here on in. However, the real problem lies not so much with the peak and with the irreversible decline that will follow. How serious our problems will be depends in part on how steep this decline is, and—possibly in larger measure—on how we react to the divergence and decline.

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