But the debate is affecting oil company marketing. A Chevron ad asks: "The world consumes two barrels of oil for every barrel discovered. So is this something you should be worried about?"
The NPC study is intended to answer that question. The roster of the 175-member body, created in 1947 by President Truman, reads like a "who's who" of the petroleum industry. The council is chaired by Raymond, CEO of the nation's largest oil company.
That causes Simmons to doubt whether the NPC will endorse the peak oil camp. But Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., who met with President Bush this summer to urge government action, says: "Any thinking person has to recognize at some point the world is going to face a crisis."