The Bell curve in oil…

The Bell curve in oil supply. Are we at the top?

From the always fascinating

Princeton Geologist Kenneth Deffeyes, author of Hubbert’s Peak, The Impending World Oil Shortage, which I reviewed in 2002, has an update on world oil production dated January 16, 2004. To review, Hubbert’s Peak says, in essence, that world oil production will peak sometime in this decade, “never to rise again.” Deffeyes, looking to tune up his prediction, writes:

At the end of December, Oil & Gas Journal published their oil production figures for calendar year 2003. From 2000 to 2003, world crude oil production has been essentially flat, which is to be expected as we roll over the top of the bell-shaped Hubbert curve. . . . There was some speculation that the year 2000 might stand as the single largest year of oil production. (Production in 2001 and 2002 was not as large as the year 2000.) However, 2003 squeaked ahead of 2000 by one-half of one percent. The important news is that growth has essentially stopped.

This is Big News, but you won’t read it in the ‘papers.

An energy analyst wrote in response to the post

We are in the process of changing the definition once again. The new definition will include tar sands, LNG, Deep/ultra-deep water, etc.

Once changed, there looks like plentiful supply until past 2020.

Fuel switching is a big issue . . . the question is not if, but when. Can we make the switch successfully and profitably? Jump too soon and we may be over invested in capacity before demand exists (the question currently facing LNG, and by extension hydrogen), jump too late and all the good opportunities may be gone.

This analyst did, in effect, say yes there is going to be a shortage unless we do something major, like fiind whole new ways of getting oil or converting to another power source.. However, if oil is much harder to get, won’t it then be much more expensive? And I’m a little leery of someone, who faced with a shortage, simply redefines the terms so there’s magically more of it.

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