Peak Oil is still wrong. Peak Oilists are the new Flat Earthers – #39

Apparently it is necessary to point out that Peak Oil doctrine is still wrong.

Ronald Bailey explains Hubbert’s Peak Refuted: Peak Oil Theory Still Wrong.  He points out an author who has written multiple books defending Peak Oil.

I just checked Amazon and can find four books from the mentioned author, written in 2001, 2005, 2008, and 2010. All are selling well. Not great, but okay. I’m astounded that so many people still believe that foolishness.

Article gives some info I’ve not seen before:

As I have explained earlier geologist M. King Hubbert famously predicted in 1956 that U.S. domestic oil production in the lower 48 states would peak around 1970 and begin to decline. In 1969 Hubbert predicted that world oil production would peak around 2000.

Yes. The ol’ gig of my precisely calculated, ironclad calculation of the date of disaster is totally wrong so I will just fine tune my calculations and pick another date.

Usually we see that with false-doctrine-advocating religious “teachers” who have calculated the exact date Jesus will return. That is in spite of the Bible verse saying no one, not even Jesus when he was on the earth, knows when that would happen. Those teachers, however, are smarter than the bible. When the world is still here the day after their precisely calculated date, they quickly make another calculation.

Dr. Hubbert and his disciples are in good company.

(Is that ridicule? Yes. Well deserved too. Sometimes making fun of the foolishness of an idea is the best way to illustrate its foolishness.)

Here’s a superb explanation of Peak Oil doctrine from the article:

Hubbert argued that oil production grows until half the recoverable resources in a field have been extracted, after which production falls off at essentially the same rate at which it expanded. This theory suggests a bell-shaped curve rising from first discovery to peak and descending to depletion.

Article points out that author’s books continue the revisionism habit by calculating new dates of the always-soon-to-arrive afternoon we will finally hit Peak Oil.

In one book, anyone who disagrees is labeled a “flat-earther.”

With rapidly rising oil production, article asks:

Who’s a flat-earther now?

Author introduces a phrase I’ve not seen before, but which fits well:

Peak oilists

Flat-earther is also a good description for the Peak Oil disciples.

6/10 – Say Anything Blog – Who Are the Flat Earthers Now? – Article pointed me to the one I just discussed. Thanks, Mr. Port!

The production surge in North Dakota of the last five or so years is merely the latest in a long string of proofs that Peak Oil is false.

Article rephrases the comments I’ve seen so many times, especially from Prof Mark Perry. Mr. Port’s comment:

But our understanding of the world is always evolving, and we should never underestimate the ability of humanity to invent, innovate, and adapt.

The ignorance proudly on display by commenters show another reason it is still necessary to point out that Peak Oil is completely, totally false. There are still lots of true believers.

Oh, two more articles that blow apart core components of Peak Oil doctrine:

6/10 – Yahoo Finance – U.S. Ousts Russia as Top World Oil, Gas Producer in BP Data – Data from BP shows that the U.S. is world’s biggest producer of hydrocarbons, surpassing Russia for the first time.

Most of that oil production is from fields that were technologically untouchable two decades ago. There was no one on the planet that had any possible idea on how to get the stuff out of the ground. Yet today shale oil and shale gas has moved the US past Russia in output.

5/27 – Rigzone – Norway Has More Oil than a Decade Ago The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced that the country has more recoverable oil now than it did 10 years ago.

New fields have been discovered, existing fields have been explored and proved recoverable, reservoirs understood better, development solutions improved, and drainage strategies optimized.

I don’t know (and won’t bother to look up) how much oil Norway has pulled out of the ground, but they have more that is economically and technologically recoverable today than a decade ago.

Let me make that point again, since so many people hold to the false doctrine of Peak Oil: in spite of all the oil Norway has produced, they have more technologically and economically recoverable oil today than they did 10 years ago.

Update:  NPD announcement is at: More oil than ten years ago.  Their report is Evaluation of reserve growth for oil – 2005-2014.

4 thoughts on “Peak Oil is still wrong. Peak Oilists are the new Flat Earthers – #39”

  1. Empty essay, devoid of any science whatsoever. You appeal to neoclassic economist authority quite well, however. Meanwhile, U.S. rig count is down 55% since last year, and U.S. production – the only nation maintaining overall global production growth – has officially flattened. Bakken has actually dropped for months now. That’s because the economics of tight and heavy oils just isn’t there, and never has been, kept alive by easy credit and abundant borrowing.

    Calling resources suddenly “economic” and “recoverable” so as to grease the skids on drilling leases doesn’t mean much. Economic for who? The earth-raping, profit-first companies that extract it? Well, that’s not the case, currently. They’ve almost all been “losing their shirt,” and that was with oil prices around $100 last year. It’s a absolute tailspin at $60. You realize there’s a lag time between a price drop and production drop, yes? Economic for consumers and municipal budgets? Ah, no. Not even close, as we’re seeing all over the globe in increasing frequency.

    But nevermind that. Do continue the hopium addiction. It’s what the Ponzi’d globally economy bubble relies upon to continue business as usual.

    1. Hello Mr. C.

      I doubt we will be able to connect much. Our respective opinions and worldviews are self-evident.

      Bakken production has dropped in 4 of the last 7 months. April production was the 8th highest ever. Here’s a graph of production.

      The terms technically recoverable and economically recoverable are well defined.

      Any thoughts on the date we will hit Peak Oil?

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  2. I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove. Peak oil is a fact unless you consider the earths resources infinite or believe in abiotic oil theory. The issue I think you’re trying to address rather badly is when a date is put on the peak. Hubbert was absolutely correct with his US peak. His world peak however failed to factor in fracking and the like. Does that mean we continue business as usual? I take out insurance on my house even though I’m at very low risk and unlikely to have a house fire and less likely to fall victim to a natural disaster. In the event that it does happen I’m prepared. In the case of peak oil (which is not a matter of if, but when), we may well be at the peak now, maybe in 5 or 10 years but our pitiful efforts at weaning ourselves of oil and being prepared to go to great lengths to maintain the addiction (tight oil, tar sands etc) will simply make matters worse when production declines with world population climbing and industrialized farming methods incapably of feeding them all (think tractors, combines, fertilizer).

    Your problem is summarized in your second to last paragraph.
    ‘I don’t know (and won’t bother to look up) how much oil Norway has pulled out of the ground…’
    One of the best Norwegian oil fields recently discovered is Johan Sverdrup, likely to come online in 2019. It contains at least 1.8 billion barrels of oil which sounds impressive until you realize that’s roughly what the world consumes in three weeks. The sad thing is, finds like this are more an more infrequent and costlier to recover. World oil discoveries peaked a long time ago while the likes of Norway are currently in decline by 7 to 8% per year. Even when Johan Sverdrup comes online at an estimated 315,000 barrels a day will not offset the production decline in existing fields.

    1. Hello Mr. Gardner:

      Thanks for your comment. You are stretching my brain. Gave me several ideas for new blog posts.

      Just pulled data from US EIA on proven reserves and production in the US. In 35 of the last 36 years, we have increased our proven reserves more than the amount produced. In the last five years we have averaged an increase in proven reserves of about 2.4 barrels for every 1 pulled out of the ground. The engineering and petroleum wizards are increasing reserves faster than the production wizards can pump crude out of the ground.

      You state:

      Peak oil is a fact unless you consider the earths resources infinite or believe in abiotic oil theory.

      There are multiple other possibilities you haven’t considered: finding more oil we didn’t know about or figuring out how to get to oil that was untouchable before, or oil that was uneconomical to to drill becomes economical.

      The Peak Oil concept is another variation of Malthusian thinking. You touch on that concept another way when you suggest we won’t be able to feed the growing number of people on the planet – That is the original Mathusian argument that we will inevitably run out of food.

      In Figure 20 of his 1956 paper, Dr. Hubbert calculated worldwide cumulative production of crude oil was 90B barrels with proven reserves of 250B barrels. The Hubert curve precisely calculates there will be 910B of additional oil discovered in the future. That means total worldwide production of crude oil for all of time will be 1,250B barrels.

      Proven worldwide reserves today are about 1,700B. Won’t bother to look up how much oil has been drilled in the last 60 years. Add those together gives a number far higher than what Dr. Hubbert calculated. Worldwide production today is somewhere around two and a half times higher that the production graph he drew.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Thanks also for ideas on several new posts.


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