Peak oil doctrine is still false. Please point out to me on my graph the irreversible decline in production after 1970. #45

An article explaining why Peak Oilers are in hiding prompted me to graph worldwide oil production.

Peak Oil doctrine was wrong when announced by Dr. Hubbert. It was wrong at the turn of the century before the energy revolution was kicked off by technology that was unimaginable 50 years ago. Peak Oil doctrine is still wrong. It will continue to be wrong.

Check out my graph to see a visual explanation of the foolishness.

1/21 – Hit and Run blog at Reason – Where Have All the Peak Oilers Gone? – Article points out that four of the most visible Peak Oilers are in hiding. Another one of them is still speaking out. In addition, he wrote a new forward in 2010 to his 2007 book proclaiming yet again oil production will go into an irreversible, inevitable slide.

Two data points that provide more proof of the foolishness of Peak Oil doctrine: Continue reading “Peak oil doctrine is still false. Please point out to me on my graph the irreversible decline in production after 1970. #45”

We ran out of oil in 2011. You didn’t know that? (Peak oil #42. Oops #44)

A prediction from 1976:

“We need to have, uh, a realization that we’ve got about 35 years worth of oil left in the whole world. We’re gonna run out of oil.”

That scientific certainty was from candidate Jimmy Carter during the 1976 Presidential Debate.

Check it out for yourself:


Here is some math: Continue reading “We ran out of oil in 2011. You didn’t know that? (Peak oil #42. Oops #44)”

Peak Oil doctrine is still wrong. And still dead. #41. Oops #43

Each of those little brown spots is a well pad with 1 or 4 wells, each of which can produce around half a million barrels of oil that was completely unrecoverable two decades ago. Photo by James Ulvog.
Each of those little spots of light brown is a well pad with 1 or 4 wells, with each well likely to produce around half a million barrels of oil. Two decades ago every drop of that oil was completely unrecoverable. Visual proof of the foolishness of Peak Oil. Photo by James Ulvog.

Remember that Peak oil doctrine states unequivocally that production peaks and then begins an irreversible, inevitable, unavoidable slide to zero. The curve of production inevitably follows a pattern that looks roughly comparable to a bell curve.

That means that by 2015 we should have already approached the point of very minimal oil production worldwide. Yesterday’s post described a century’s worth of failed predictions.

Where is production today? Umm…not exactly approaching zero.

Production is running so high in spite of collapse prices and in spite of increasing demand that there is a worldwide glut of crude. Having enough space to store all of the surplus oil is becoming an issue.

Here are just a few of the articles I have seen in the last week on point. This does not include another six or eight articles I’ve seen in the last month that make the same point.

Continue reading “Peak Oil doctrine is still wrong. And still dead. #41. Oops #43”

More failed predictions that we have already passed Peak Oil #40. oops #42

According to conclusive predictions over the last 100 years, the oil coming out of those wells can't exist, because we have already run out of all oil. Photo and sarcasm by James Ulvog.
According to conclusive predictions over the last 100 years, the oil coming out of those wells can’t exist, because we have already used up all the oil on the planet. Perhaps the wells are just a figment of my imagination that is as fertile as the plains of North Dakota. Photo and sarcasm by James Ulvog.

It is so entertaining to read about all the failed predictions of when we will run out of oil or some other critical resource. I keep coming across more and more absolute guarantees of when we already ran out of oil.

At its core, Peak Oil is merely another variation of the long discredited Malthusian arguments that we will run out of stuff. Such thinking is foolishly and fatally flawed.

Remember that until just a few years ago it was universally agreed by eeeeeevery scientist and researcher on the planet that we would absolutely run out of oil. It was settled science. No debate or argument necessary. No disagreement allowed.

For this particular journey down the trail of failed predictions, I thank Rob Port, writing at Say Anything Blog, for pointing me to the trail head for this expedition. In his article Settled Science: America Will Be Out Of Oil By 2015, he wrote

Because, you see, peak oil was settled science. Except, it also turned out to be wrong science, as most malthusian projections do, because it failed to take into account humanity’s infinite capacity to invent and innovate. In 2015 the big problem for the oil industry isn’t that they can’t find more oil, but rather that the market is being flooded with oil and that’s driving down prices.

The article points to a discussion at PaleoFuture on 9/18/15 which points us to an Article from 1975: The World Will Be Out of Oil by 2015. It quotes a 1975 article from Brownsville Herald which was syndicated by UPI and printed in many newspapers: Continue reading “More failed predictions that we have already passed Peak Oil #40. oops #42”

“Everybody point and laugh” at Peak Oil doctrine – #41

What oil production curve should have been for last decade according to Peak Oil doctrine. Image courtesy of
What oil production curve should have been for last couple of decades according to Peak Oil doctrine.  Image courtesy of

Ridicule is the appropriate way to address the false idea that oil production follows a bell curve and at any moment production will drop off and head to zero. Gonna’ happen any hour now. It is an undisputed scientific certainty…

Only problem is the inconvenient truth that production has consistently blown out every prediction from the peak oilists. It’s almost like the entire concept is bogus.

8/11 – Ronald Bailey, author of The End of Doom, at Reason – Peak Oilers Shut Up Forever Please One of the main apostles of Peak Oil precisely calculated the peak of oil production would be Thanksgiving Day in 2005 with an inevitable, unavoidable decline thereafter.

The absolute peak production, never to be seen again?

85M bopd.

Please remember Peak Oil doctrine clearly states that production will drop the day after the peak and enter a bell shape curve decline, quickly heading to zero. Production graphs are supposed to have already resembled the image at the top of this post.

Petroleum liquids in July 2015?

Continue reading ““Everybody point and laugh” at Peak Oil doctrine – #41”

North Dakota oil production hits second highest level ever in May 2015

Production state-wide rose 2.75% to average of 1,201,159 barrels per day. That is the second highest ever, only behind December 2014 which was 1,227,529 bopd. Keep in mind this is with a slump in drilling.  I’m guessing that flat production is not what the OPEC ministers were expecting when opened the spigots of their production.

Here is what the average production looks like in Bakken field only and state-wide: Continue reading “North Dakota oil production hits second highest level ever in May 2015”

Peak Oil doctrine is still dead. #40

Previously discussed an amazing article by Mark Perry at Carpe Diem. Post provides yet another reminder that Peak Oil is a failed concept.

Check out the June 23 post from Carpe Diem at American Enterprise Institute:  Bakken updates: 1) Williston as ground zero for the American spirit and 2) Here comes Shale 2.0!

Recoverable oil

The post quotes a correspondent who works for a drilling company and has deep knowledge. This correspondent says the expectation at the beginning of the boom was 3.5% of the original oil in place would be recovered. Industry estimates today suggest the recovery rate is 15-18%. With additional technological developments, the correspondent’s guess is there could be another 5% of the oil recovered.

Get a fresh cup of coffee and journey with me as my little brain processes through what this means.

Continue reading “Peak Oil doctrine is still dead. #40”

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: Continue reading “Peak Oil is still wrong. Peak Oilists are the new Flat Earthers – #39”

Oil exploration and production moves to manufacturing stage

The shale revolution is transitioning into a manufacturing stage where production can be turned on and off based on minor price fluctuations.

6/1 – Donald Luskin and Michael Warren at Wall Street Journal – The Shale Boom Shifts Into High Gear / Oil production is becoming a modern manufacturing process, with frackers using the ‘just-in-time’ approach

Think of it as Moore’s Law applied to oil production.

Combine two factors, increased efficiencies and rapid depletion. Continue reading “Oil exploration and production moves to manufacturing stage”

Crude production increase in 2014 is largest in 100 years. What Peak Oil – #38

The Energy Information Administration says the increase in crude oil production (counting lease condensate also) during 2014 was 1.2M bopd. That is the largest increase since 1900, when record keeping started. The percentage increase is 16.2%, which is the largest percentage increase since 1940.

Is the cratering of crude oil prices going to crater oil production as OPEC wants to make happen? Not quite.

EIA expects crude oil will increase by these amounts:

  • +8.1% – increase in 2015
  • +1.5% – increase in 2016

What Peak Oil?

Continue reading “Crude production increase in 2014 is largest in 100 years. What Peak Oil – #38”

Has the U.S. just stopped making stuff? Yeah, I’d think so too if industrial output in the U.S. wasn’t at all time record high.

There’s an idea that we don’t make anything in the U.S. anymore. Well, we do import a huge portion of the good stuff we enjoy everyday. Yet we still make a huge amount of stuff here.

Check out this indicator of total industry production in the US. The peak production level is today:

industrial production 2-15

This is from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, which has a humongous database called the Federal Reserve Economic Data, or FRED.

What does the index above cover? From the FRED site:

The Industrial Production Index (INDPRO) is an economic indicator that measures real output for all facilities located in the United States manufacturing, mining, and electric, and gas utilities (excluding those in U.S. territories).(1)

So industrial production in the U.S. is at a record level. Cool.

Want to check out manufacturing only? Okay, here is it: Continue reading “Has the U.S. just stopped making stuff? Yeah, I’d think so too if industrial output in the U.S. wasn’t at all time record high.”

A discussion about finite oil

A commenter on my blog has asked a few questions. We have a pleasant discussion running.

Yesterday he asked if the amount of oil is finite.

As I started to reply, I just kept writing and writing. Decided to move my comment to a separate post so the conversation is more visible.

On December 9, Stig Helmer (self-identification) said: Continue reading “A discussion about finite oil”

Peak Oil debunked over and over and over again – #37

The Wall Street Journal has a delightful editorial today on Peak Oil. That prompted me to pull together several articles I’ve been wanting to talk about.

Just in case you wondered, the devotees of Peak Oil are alive and well. Many of the big names are reportedly in hiding. Do a few minute search on the ‘net and you can still find a lot of them.  I’ve had a dialogue over the last few days with one gentleman on my blog.

Haven’t pointed out the foolishness of Peak Oil doctrine since July, so it’s time to look again. Here we go…

12/5 – Wall Street Journal – ‘Peak Oil’ Debunked, Again – And again. And again.

Gotta’ love the opening paragraph:

It has been 216 years since Thomas Malthus gave birth to the idea that mankind’s appetite for natural resources would outstrip nature’s capacity to supply them. There have since been regular warnings that the world is running out of soybeans, helium, chocolate, tunsgsten, you name it—and that population growth has become unsustainable. The warnings create a political or social panic for a while, only to be proved wrong.

Peak Oil is the current fad of ‘we will run out by the day after tomorrow.’

The run up in oil over the last several years to a high of around $112 this past summer has encouraged entreprenuers, or perhaps we should call them petroprenuers, to figure out how to get massive amount of shale oil out of the ground. Continue reading “Peak Oil debunked over and over and over again – #37”

What Peak Natural Gas? – #1

While researching for my post, Encore question: What Peak Oil – #36, I browsed a bit more of Dr. M. King Hubbert’s 1956 paper, Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, which you can find here.

In addition to a precise calculation of the total crude oil that will be extracted through 2050 from Texas, the U.S. in total, and from the entire planet, he also made some calculations for natural gas.

In Figure 22 on page 32, he calculated the production curve of natural gas in the U.S. through 2075, at which point production is indistinguishable from zero. The calculations are to three significant digits.

The graph is based on the same logic and analysis as Peak Oil. Namely that the total amount of a resource that will ever be extracted can be calculated and the production curve graphed with reasonable accuracy. There will be a peak followed by a slow, inevitable, unavoidable decline to near zero. When the production turns a corner at what appears to be the peak, 50% of the total that will ever be extracted has been pulled, which means roughly the same amount will be extracted in the future.

That concept applied to natural gas is a complete failure for the same reasons as Peak Oil is a failure.

The conceptual reasons are discussed in the series of posts addressing What Peak Oil?

A graph showing the failure of Peak Natural Gas is more dramatic that the graph of Peak Oil.

Graph of actual production and Dr. Hubbert’s prediction.

I pulled the natural gas (dry) and NGPL data from EIA for 1930 through 2011.

I don’t have the raw data for the curve Dr. Hubbert drew and don’t have the software to calculate the curve. 

So I pulled approximations from the graph in Figure 22. Made estimates for 1925, 1934, 1950, 1956, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 2000, and 2025. Then I interpolated the years between those data points.

The resulting graph I drew is visually comparable to Dr. Hubbert’s graph in Figure 22. Specifically, the 1956 data matches, the peak is around 14T in the mid-‘70s, and the 2000 data point is below 8T.

If you have more accurate data, let me know and I’ll redraw the graph. As a rough comparison, I’ll bring in another graph in a moment.

So, here is the comparison of actual production to my rough redrawing of Dr. Hubbert’s prediction:

gas prod actual and hubbert

Please, please don’t take my word for it. Please check Figure 22 for yourself.

Can you say busted?

Continue reading “What Peak Natural Gas? – #1”

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:


barrels by year 1949-2013

Just a few questions:

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

Continue reading “Encore question: What Peak Oil? – #36”