Posted by: righthandblink | May 19, 2016

Has Peak Oil Occurred Yet?

Has Peak Oil Occurred Yet?

M. King Hubbert

The guy that basically is most renown for the peaking concept was a person named of Dr. M. King Hubbert. Hubbert was probably the most famous and influential geologist of the Twentieth Century. He worked for the Geological Survey. He worked for oil companies like Shell in their research division.

In 1956 at some industry convention Hubbert made a startling speech combined with a bunch of graphs that basically said that early in the 1970s, the United States was going to peak in oil production and once we reached that point it didn’t matter how much we drilled or how fast we drilled or how much the price of oil was, we would basically start in decline.

Few people took him seriously in spite of the fact that he was so universally respected. If you go back and you read the U.S. petroleum history, one of the most incredible ironies was that in 1970 Dr. Hubbert’s reputation was in shambles. His critics said all the time, at least in print, you remember that old guy that said we were g oing to run our of oil in the early ‘70s. Look, the United States has never produced as much as this year.

That was the year it peaked. It seemed to take the better part of a decade or more before the oil experts in the United States looked back and said isn’t this interesting, we clearly peaked.

Went on to predict a global production peak for the 1990s which probably would have been accurate if not for the oil shocks of the 1970s which drove oil prices so high that they destroyed demand and a result of that oil production actually decreased for the first time in history during the first part of the 1970s and this had the effect of delaying the global peak for ten to fifteen years.

M. King Hubbert, said “. . . an economic model based on infinite growth but fueled by finite natural resources is doomed“. Oil is a finite resource and without it, everything we hold dear, our way of life, is just not sustainable. Ironically, there’s also a saying from oil-rich Saudi Arabia that goes: “My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel.”

Peak oil “discovery” in the United States was in 1930. The U.S. peak “production” was in 1970. Global oil discovery was back in 1964 and there have been no ‘significant’ discoveries of oil since then. To
understand the term “Peak Oil,” think of it as in terms of the flow rate of crude oil; the point at which they can’t pump any more, any faster, out of the ground.

Peak production occurs about 40 years after the peak discovery. You can only observe peak production after it has happened, like looking in the rear view mirror of your car.

Oil was first discovered in 1859 and it took us until May 2005, 146 years, to use up the first trillion barrels of oil. What is shocking is that we will use the second trillion up in 31 years, or 23 years from now. With no allowance for raising demand nor the difficulty for getting the more difficult stuff out of the ground.

So Has Global Peak Oil Occurred Yet?

Yes. Global production of oil peaked in May of 2005. That is the conclusion of Matthew R. Simmons, Chairman, Simmons & Company International, who determined the date for peak oil by analyzing actual production figures.


Coinciding with that, in the September 2005 issue of Scientific American, Chevron, one of the world’s largest oil refiners, ran a two-page advertisement saying. “It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil. We’ll use the next trillion in 30 years.”

That 30 years added on to 2005 makes it 2035 when Chevron predicted that we would run out of oil. Keep in mind that running out of oil only means that there won’t be enough oil to feed our voracious appetite. There will always be oil on this planet.In May 2005, the world was consuming 91 million barrels of crude per day (mbpd). If you divide the remaining one trillion barrels of oil by 91 mbpd and then divide the result by 365 to convert it to years, the answer is, again, the year 2035.

According to a report from the National Petroleum Council, July 2007, “HARDTRUTHS, Facing the Hard Truths About Energy” (a comprehensive view to 2030 of global oil and natural gas) “total global demand for energy is projected to grow by 50-60 percent by 2030, driven by increasing population and the pursuit of improving living standards.” A 50 percent increase to that 91 mbpd would make it about 140 million barrels per day, and, if they could pump that much, it would push that 2035 date back to 2024. Less than one decade away.

This same report indicates that the problem here is the decline of existing oil fields, and it’s a problem that gets very little public attention. Not only does the oil industry need to steadily increase total output to meet the world’s appetite for oil — by at least 50 percent in the next 25 years — it must also replace output that vanishes as existing fields get older.

The same shift is apparent in another report also issued in mid-June 2007 by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Here the IEA statistics are startling. The agency calculates that non-OPEC fields have an average decline rate of 4.6 percent a year, with some fields — including many recent deepwater developments — declining at a stunning rate of 15 to 20 percent a year. This is yet another verification that in mid-2007 we had already passed global peak oil.

Yet for some reason, the IEA, and, for that matter, everybody, have refused to actually use the words “peak oil” to describe this year-over-year decline in the oil supply.


Fractioning is a relatively new method used to remove oil and natural gas from shale. With the advent of fracking there has been an increase in the production of oil and gas in North America. They have been drilling hundreds of wells every month. Some experts say that the United State could be self-sufficient within 20 years, however, it should be pointed out that the increase is no where near of sufficient quantity to make us self-sufficient. Five or ten million barrels of fracking oil every year does little to quench our consuming 91 million barrels of crude per day (mbpd).

What is more discouraging is that a new well goes dry in 6 to 9 months and each well required 4 to 5 million gallons of water of which one million gallons becomes toxic and unusable. There is already a water shortage in the United States, so where are they going to you get the water and where are they going to put all that toxic water? These are serious problems. In our quest for the all-mighty buck, are we really going to trade energy for water? We can live without energy. We can’t live without water.

Cummulative Affect of Declining Oil Supply

It’s not the running out of oil that should be of concern. It’s the declining supply. The cumulative affect of declining oil supply can be illustrated with the formula: 1- (0.96 ^ 5). A 4 percent decline over 5 years will result in a total 18.4 percent reduction of oil on the world market. That’s in just 5 years. To give you some context, the oil shortage during 1973 that caused lineups at gas stations throughout North America, was caused by just a 4 percent constriction in the supply of oil. Imagine what a 18.4 percent constriction will do? This will probably be an end to the gasoline supply as we have come to know it. What gasoline that will be available will probably be reserved for government and military use.

Even if we are wrong as to the exact date, we shall be feeling the affects of the constriction long before the oil is gone. The constriction will probably strangle that’s left of our economy. If you wait until then to put your lifeboat survival plan together, your Plan B, it will be too late.

A peak in world oil production will also trigger a peak in world food production. Then we have to consider what is happening with climate change. As oil supplies are becoming scarcer and less secure, many countries are looking to other fossil fuels such as coal. New technologies can make coal much cleaner, but a large increase in coal use alongside continuing dependency on oil could magnify the greenhouse effect. In other words, peak oil is going to accelerate global warming.

Today, government’s goal is to build our economies and it is all based on growth. The father of the peak oil movement, U.S. geologist M. King Hubbert, said “. . . an economic model based of infinite growth but fueled by finite natural resources is doomed. Oil is a finite resource and without it, our way of life is just not sustainable. Ironically, there’s also a saying from oil-rich Saudi Arabia that goes: “My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel.”

Since petroleum is the life-blood of everything we do (and I mean everything), without it, everything (and I mean everything) stops. The eventual depletion of oil reserves and its far-reaching effects will take us and the next generation to a life that existed some 200 years ago.


Renewable, Green and Healthy . . . for a Sustainable Tomorrow!

© 2016, Right Hand Blink




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