I emailed Professor Gorelick:
Having been interested in the subject of peak oil for years now, I bought your book ("ouch!", by the way). It's excellent. But it doesn't seem to have come under any attack by the ODACs and ASPOs of the world. Have any peak oil activists criticized it?
Thanks for your kind remark. I've seen a few comments, but I am sure there are many I haven't seen. Overall, the book has been well received and got positive reviews in Science, print media, and various journals. Some of the comments appear on Amazon. Actually, the comments from the peak oil community have been more subdued and even more positive than I expected. Some of the peak oil folks defend the good science, factual content, and fair treatment of arguments from both sides. Some have taken on their fellow peak oilers in questioning their assumptions. Some of the blogs show quite a bit of reason, which is nice to see. Of course, many folks are into dogma and blind curve fitting, while others vehemently and perhaps quite reasonably believe that there is a known amount of oil that has to disappear soon according to a prescribed formula without regard to supply/demand/substitution economics. One blog called the book, the worst book ever written. I'd expect that remark from a fervent proponent of Hubbert's approach in a way that I think Hubbert himself never would have supported. Hubbert was a scientist and scholar, ultimately not a zealot. When confronted with the many incorrect predictions of global peak oil production and the systematic increase in the oil endowment estimates, I bet Hubbert would have been more curious and less defensive than those who follow him.
Wiley-Blackwell priced the book. So sorry about their high price. Hope you got it on Amazon -- at least they offer a discount. I get almost nothing, and might some day make enough to pay for the figures getting drafted for publication and my personal expenses collecting the info for the book. Even I had to buy copies to give to friends and family -- so I'm well in the red on this effort. Obviously I did not write the book for the money. I just wanted to inject a bit of multidisciplinary thought along with facts and historical perspectives into the the oil depletion debate.
The binding, paper and print in this book are all very high quality (if merely black and white). I wonder why Wiley-Blackwell chose to do this? It's only 256 pages. Why not just make it a paperback and sell it for $12?
At any rate, the section covering Hubbert's bell-curve method for predicting peak and decline of petroleum production is just taken completely apart by facts alone. Hubbert was dead wrong most of the time and had to continually enlarge his estimates of the total oil endowment to keep alive his assumption that the ultimate oil endowment can be a known quantity.
The whole section on reserve growth will be familiar to everyone here but it is expressed very well and backed up, as always, with the best references available. An enlightening (for me) section describing the peak and decline of the lower 48. It describes the peak as having at least as much to do with supertankers and the availability of cheaper foreign sources than any supply-driven peak.
The absence of Scarcity Rent
in the history of petroleum production also,I admit, was a new observation for me, but an important one.