# Outrun Change

## Encore question: What Peak Oil? – #36

Some commenters on the ‘net did not agree with my previous post which combined the U.S. production of crude oil with natural gas (dry) and NGPL.

Fair point.

I redrew the graph showing crude oil only.

Will draw Dr. Hubbert’s peak natural gas curve and actual production another time.

Update: The time is the next day. See the graph of actual versus predicted for natural gas:  What Peak Natural Gas? #1. Can you say busted?

Peak Oil

Peak Oil theory is outlined by Dr. M. King Hubbert, starting in his 1949 article, discussed here.

For anyone tuning into the discussion, here is the theory in very brief, key terms: Peak oil production will be reached at a determinable date, after which production will enter an inevitable, permanent decline. The rate of decline is calculable. The graph of production is calculable. Dr. Hubbert calculated the total amount of crude oil under the surface of the earth and within the U.S. remaining to be extracted. He made the same calculations for natural gas. He also calculated the total amount of crude to be extracted from within the state of Texas. Update: When the production appears to hit a peak, that is the point at which 50% of the resource has been extracted. Future production will be about equal to the sum of actual production and proven reserves at that point.

Graphs of Peak Oil production resemble a bell curve with a peak in 1970. His landmark 1956 paper (available here) calculated the amount of total U.S. crude oil production through 2050. The peak of the 200 billion barrel curve is about 1970 with a gradual decline. In about 2010 or 2011, the production level is one-third the peak level.

Don’t take my word for it – see Figure 21.

With that in mind, consider the following graph:

Just a few questions:

If you are new to this discussion, here are a few questions for you to consider:

Does it look like the production after the high point looks like a mirror image of the runup in production before the high point?

Does it look like the production in 2010 or 2011 is about one-third of the high point on the curve?

Dr. Hubbert calculated the total crude oil production in the U.S. through the year 2050 would be between 150 billion barrels on the low side and 200 billion barrels as an upper limit. The EIA tells us that cumulative production in the U.S. through the end of 2013 was 208.9 billion barrels. Has production of crude oil in North Dakota and Texas and California and Alaska shut down this year?

Are we out of oil? We should be based on the professor’s calculations.

If you are new to this discussion, please don’t take my word for what Peak Oil doctrine says.

Please check out the Peak Oil sites. Those that are still operating will give you plenty of details.

By the way, comments are allowed on my blogs if they are professional. Ad hominem attacks are not professional.