In this article I will not undertake an exhaustive re-examination of the peak oil theory and its counter-arguments, but I will attempt to assess the lessons from the roller-coaster of the oil market of the last four years. I will discuss four areas in which key evidence has emerged explaining recent oil history and supporting a broadly optimistic view on our oil future: OPEC policy; new exploration plays and advances in unconventional oil; the reaction of the economy to oil shocks; and geopolitics, particularly in the world's oil hub, the Middle East.
Intellectually, the peak oil movement appears to have moved on to preparation for collapse (or at least an end to growth). Peak oil has become conflated with other real or potential crises: the recession, climate change and overpopulation.
This is very reminiscent of the 1970s, and indeed features of OPEC strategy, rising costs, new resource types and technologies are also familiar. There are clearly different ways the oil market may evolve over the next five to ten years. A continuation of high prices in the face of production disappointments and strong Asian growth is plausible. So is a kind of re-run of the 1980s, with new supplies, growing efficiency and intra-OPEC competition driving down prices. What is not on the horizon is a resource-limited peak in production, nor an associated economic collapse.
Good, detailed article.