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Peak oil, 20 years later: Failed prediction or useful insight?



20 years ago, in 1998, Scientific American published a paper by Colin J. Campbell and Jean H. Laherrère titled “The End of Cheap Oil” [1], starting a debate on oil depletion continuing to the present day. It was the return of a viewpoint on oil depletion which had been proposed more than 40 years before by Marion King Hubbert [2]⁠ and, in later years, largely forgotten. In their paper, Campbell and Laherrère updated Hubbert’s model with new reserve estimates and proposed that the world’s crude oil production would peak around 2004–2005, and then start an irreversible decline. Shortly afterward, Colin Campbell proposed the term “peak oil” for the highest global oil production level. The term was to become popular over the following decade, generating a true movement of ideas sometimes called the “peak oil movement.” Today, these predictions turn out to have been only partially correct, mainly because the role of “non-conventional” oil was underestimated. The peak oil movement seems to have faded away, while the concept seems to have disappeared from the debate and to be commonly described has having been “wrong.” The present paper reviews the cycle of the peak oil movement, examining how the peak oil concept was understood with the public and the decision makers and what caused its diffusion and its demise, at least up to the present time.




Peak oil
Oil depletion
Hubbert Model
System dynamics
Mineral resources

In March 1998, Scientific American published a paper titled “The End of Cheap Oil,” [1] ⁠ signed by two petroleum geologists, Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrère. It was a re-examination of a model developed for the first time by Marion King Hubbert in 1956 [2]⁠ ⁠ which assumed that the oil production in a large geographical region follows a symmetric, bell-shaped curve. According to this interpretation, the peak production is reached when approximately half of the available oil resources are extracted. The concept was also occasionally referred to as the “oil mountain” [3]⁠ ⁠ although the term “bell shaped curve” or “Hubbert Curve” remained always more popular. In 1956, Hubbert had applied his model to the United States, finding that production would peak around 1970. It turned out to be a correct prediction and the US production approximately followed the model until the early 2000s. Regarding the whole world, Hubbert proposed that the production of conventional oil would peak around the year 2000.

Hubbert’s ideas had been largely forgotten in the 1990s as the result of the general optimism arising from the collapse in the oil prices of the second half of the 1980s. The low oil prices had convinced nearly everybody that oil depletion was not a problem for the foreseeable future but, in 1998, Campbell and Laherrère [1] updated Hubbert’s predictions using the same “bell-shaped” model and updated estimates of the global oil reserves. Their results were broadly consistent with those obtained earlier on by Hubbert: according to the new estimate, the global oil production would peak approximately in 2004–2005 and then start an irreversible decline.

The paper by Campbelland Laherrère had a considerable international resonance and, in 2001, Campbell founded the “Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas” (ASPO) which collected scientists and experts interested in oil and energy matters. The association published a popular newsletter [4]⁠, mainly authored by Campbell himself, which appeared in 100 issues, the last one published in 2009 [5]⁠. The term “peak oil” contained in the name of the association became well known and it generated much interest both on academic journals and on the mainstream media. ASPO’s later estimates moved the peak some years forward, to around 2010, but that didn’t change the interpretation based on the bell-shaped curve. In the discussion on the consequences of peak oil, it was generally agreed that the world would see a situation similar to that of the oil crisis of the 1970s: high oil prices, long lines at service stations, double digit inflation, and other negative effects. Some commentators went as far to predict that peak oil would generate the end of civilization as we know it. For general reviews on the subject of peak oil, see Sovacool et al. [6], Bentley et al. [7], Jacobsson et al. [8], Heinberg et al. [9], and Schneider-Mayerson [10].

Today, 20 years have passed since the publication of the ground-breaking Scientific American report [1]. The expected world peak has not arrived, at least in terms of a reduction of the global supply of liquid fuels [11] and, in general, the concept of peak oil has faded from the mainstream discussion as well as from the scientific literature. ASPO international seems to have disappeared as an active association around 2012–2013, although some national branches of the association still exist. The generally accepted explanation for the fading interest in the concept attributes it to the “wrong predictions” of the date of the peak and, from there, most mainstream reports tend to define the whole concept as wrong and misleading (see e.g. the article by Luts in 2012 on Forbes [12]).

The present paper has the purpose of examining the cycle of the peak oil movement, mainly in terms of how the public and the policy makers react to assessments that we could define as “predictions of doom.” The paper is organized as follows: first it examines how the peak oil model fared in predicting real world trends, then it examines how the popularity of the model surged and then declined, and, finally, discusses the reasons for the decline. The conclusion is that the decline of interest in peak oil is only marginally related to the validity of the concept as a predictive tool. Rather, it appears to be related to a “clash of absolutes” that sees the idea of decline caused by resource depletion incompatible with the current mainstream views of the economic system.

First of all, let’s examine how the ‘peakers’ predictions fared over the past 20 years. Of course, there was no single prediction produced by people using the bell-shaped curve but, rather, a whole range of predictions, most of them seeing the global production peak to occur within the first 2–3 decades of the 21st century. In most cases, these models used as an input an assessment of the “ultimate recoverable resources” (URR), the total amount of oil that could be reasonably produced globally. The URR was determined by means of a combination of geological data and statistical methods aimed at obtaining reasonable estimates for areas for which no geological data were available. As obvious, the value of the URR for a certain region could be potentially affected by political considerations and, already in 1998, Campbell and Laherrére had noted suspiciously sharp increases in the reserves reported by some OPEC producing states [1]. In addition, they noted that new oil discoveries had not been matching production starting in the late 1980s, a phenomenon termed “the growing gap” and illustrated several times in the ASPO newsletter. This gap was considered as evidence that oil production was depleting the reserves faster than they could be replaced. An alternative approach was to use the historical data to determine the URR. In some cases, that was accomplished by means of the “Hubbert Linearization Method” [13].

In the simplest approach, used for instance by Deffeyes [14], the URR was one of the parameters of a model that fitted the historical production data with the derivative of a logistic function – the area under the curve was constrained to correspond to the URR. In other approaches, the expected lifetime curves of single production provinces were summed up in order to obtain a global curve – this was, for instance, the method used by Campbell and Lahèrrere [1,4]. In 1998 [1], they stated that the production of conventional oil would reach a maximum around 2005 at a level of about 74 million barrels per day and that, in any case, “the decline will begin before 2010.″ Later ASPO estimates updated the prediction and added “non-conventional” oil to the model. Fig. 1 shows the last forecast for the global production curve published on the ASPO newsletter in 2010. The peak for “regular oil” is supposed to appear in 2008. If other kinds of oil (heavy, polar, etc.) are included, the production peak appears later, around 2010, at about 80 million barrels/year. Estimates reported by other researchers placed the peak at later dates. For instance, a 2004 report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) placed the peak within a range going from 2026 to 2047 [15]. Nevertheless, the predictions of the ASPO group remained at the center of the interest in the field.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1. The projection of oil production appearing in the 100th (and last) issue of the ASPO newsletter in 2009. It shows the peak for “regular oil” to appear around 2008, while the peak for “all liquids” (the sum of conventional and non-conventional oil) appears around 2010 [5].

An important problem, here, is what’s to be intended exactly as “oil”. In the oil industry, it is customary to class liquid hydrocarbons into two categories, “conventional” and “non-conventional.” This classification has historical origins: in the early times of the industry all oil was referred to as “crude oil.” Still today, crude and conventional oil are considered synonyms and are defined as “relatively light, flowable oil found in fields” [7]. “Non-conventional” oil, instead, includes a wide range of substances, such as high density “heavy” oil, “deepwater oil”, “polar oil,” and everything that can be turned into a liquid fuel, from shale oil to the oil obtained from coal processing. Some of these liquids are not even fossil hydrocarbons, as it is the case for biofuels, sometimes added to the total. Then, the International Energy Agency (IEA) normally includes “refinery gains” in the total liquids production, that is, increases in volume resulting from a lower density of the final product. It should go without saying that these gains add nothing to the quantity of energy produced by a certain volume of oil.

The variety of types of oil adds a considerable complexity to the debate and it surely clouded the discussion on peak oil. In the text of their 1998 article, Campbell and Laherrere stated more than once that their prediction was for conventional oil only. But in the figure caption of the main graph of the article, the curve is described as referring to “both conventional and unconventional.” According to Kjell Aleklett [16] this statement is an editorial intervention performed without the consensus of the authors but that’s a further element of confusion in the story. In later issues of the ASPO newsletter, Campbell added the “non-conventional” category to his projections, but these new data didn’t include some forms of liquids that would become important later on, such as shale oil. In general, it seems that most authors who were part of the peak oil movement tended to underestimate the role of non-conventional oil. For example, in the 2005 book, “Beyond Oil [13],” by Kenneth S. Deffeys, non-conventional oil sources are mentioned, but the conclusion is that (p. 108) these sources, “are not going forward on a scale large enough to postpone the Hubbert peak.”

Having clarified, as much as possible, the methods and the assumptions used by the proponents of the peak oil idea, we can list the ASPO predictions over the 1998–2010 period as follows:


The world’s oil production should follow a bell-shaped curve.


The global production peak of conventional oil should occur not later than 2010 at a level of the order of 70–75 million barrels per day (Mb/day).


The discoveries of new crude oil resources should remain well below consumption.


Oil prices should rise sharply.

Let’s now examine how these predictions fared, one by one.

1. The bell shaped production curve. The examination of a large number of productive regions confirms Hubbert’s intuition that the bell-shaped production curve is a common feature, even though the curve is not necessarily symmetric. Brandt [17] found that in most historical cases production follows the curve, although the decline is slower than growth. It has been argued that the opposite could be true in the global case [18] or in cases of isolated systems [19]. However, in many cases, it was found that a single bell-shaped curve is not sufficient to describe the production cycle of a certain region. This is the case, for instance, of Russia and the US, where the decline after peaking was reversed by a new cycle of growth. In the case of the world’s oil production, the bell curve is not clearly detectable today, but it could also be argued that peaking and declining are going to occur in the near future. Therefore, we can say that the result of this prediction is correct.

2. Peak oil occurring before 2010 at no more than 75 Mb/day for conventional oil. Considering conventional oil only, the IEA data indicate that production has been increasing slowly during the whole 21st century up to now, even though the phases of growth have been interrupted by periods of stasis. The current production is reported to be around 82 Mb/d [11,20,21], still slowly increasing. Some studies indicate that the global peak may be imminent [22,23], in this case we could say that the ASPO predictions were pessimistic, but not too far off the mark. On the contrary, if we consider “all liquids”, Campbell (Fig. 3) predicted the peak around 2010 at about 82 Mb/day, while the available data indicates that the global production reached around 97 Mb/d11in 2017. On the basis of these data, we can say that the prediction of the peak date was incorrect.

3. Discoveries not matching consumption. By definition, this prediction can be applied only to regular (flowable) oil, since non-conventional resources, such as shale oil, do not normally need to be “discovered,” their existence and location is known. Recent results have been reported by Bloomberg [24] on the basis of data from Rystad Energy (, clearly indicating a large gap between discoveries and consumption which has been ongoing for at least two decades in the past. This prediction can be considered as correct.

4. Rising prices. The historical data (Fig. 2) show considerable oscillations but, clearly, the average price of oil has been rising after the turn of the century, in correspondence to the approaching of the production peak of conventional oil. So, this prediction can be considered as correct.

Fig. 2

Fig. 2. Oil prices corrected for inflation and expressed in 2016 US dollars. 1900–1944 US Average, 1945–1983 Arabian Light posted at Ras Tanura. 1984–2016 Brent dated. $2016, deflated using the Consumer Price Index for the US. Data from

Overall, we can say that, even though the role of non-conventional oil sources was not correctly evaluated and the date of the peak missed at the global level, the Hubbert theory produced correct predictions and, in general, a valuable warning of difficulties to come. So, there never were compelling reasons based on historical data to dismiss the peak oil idea as wrong or untenable. Nevertheless, this is what happened. The interest on peak oil in the mainstream debate can be quantified by means of data from “Google Trends” ( which report the number of times that a certain term was searched for in the Google search engine (Fig. 3). The use of this tool as a reliable measurement method has been discussed and validated, for instance by Anderegg et al. [25], by Ortiz et al. [26], and Proulx et al. [27].

Fig. 3

Fig. 3. Relative number of Web searches of the terms “peak oil” and “crude oil”. Data from “Google Trends”.

From the figure, we can see that searches of the “peak oil” term peaked at some moment in 2005, then gradually declined. This trend is confirmed by examining related terms, such as “oil depletion”. The record oil prices reached in 2008 led to a temporary spike in interest but didn’t change the overall trend. The curve shows a typical “viral” dissemination mechanism, that is, the interest in the concept grew by means of a positive reinforcing feedback [28]. Note, however, how the more generic term “crude oil” behaves differently, with the number of searches increasing again around 2014, apparently as a consequence of the collapse in the oil prices that started in that year.

In terms of academic research, a search using “Google Scholar” leads to the results shown in Fig. 4. In this case, the interest peaked around 2012, to decline afterward. Similar results were obtained from the data available on Considering that an academic paper requires some time from its inception to its appearance in a journal, typically a few years, the timing of the decline of academic interest may be approximately the same as that of the mainstream debate.

Fig. 4

Fig. 4. Number of academic papers mentioning the term “peak oil.” Data from “Google Scholar”.

Comparing these data with the predictions based on the peak oil theory, a point appears clear: the decline in interest started much before there were reasons to claim that the peak date had been missed and that, therefore, the predictions had been “wrong”. The mainstream interest peaked in 2005, at least five years before the ASPO prediction for the peak (2010). Therefore, something else generated the decline.

A possible explanation may be searched in the weakness of the theoretical basis of the peak oil concept. Hubbert never proposed a theory that should have explained the reasons for the “bell shaped” curve [2]. In their 1998 paper, Campbell and Lahèrrere stated that “Adding the output of fields of various sizes and ages usually yields a bell-shaped production curve for the region as a whole.” That is an empirical description of the method they used, but hardly a theoretical model, but it has remained the standard one, even in recent times [7]. A specific problem, here, is that, if one assumes that the bell-shaped curve is the result of summing up the production curves of single fields, there follows that it is determined mainly by geological factors. But, if it is geology that determines production, how is it that double or multiple production peaks are often observed? [29]. Consider the case of Russia. It has been argued that the increasing costs associated with peak oil were the main factor generating the political and economic collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 [30,31]. But Russia inherited most of the oil resources of the former Union and then managed to start a new cycle of oil production. Clearly, he political collapse couldn’t change the geology of the Russian territory and so other factors must have been at play. This weakness gave ammunition to the critics of the peak oil theory who tended to see the bell shaped curve as little more than a magic trick, not necessarily related to the real world (see e.g. the 2004 article by Leonardo Maugeri, eloquently titled “Oil: never cry wolf – why the petroleum age is far from over” [32]).

These were serious problems, but it must also be said that the weakness of the theory ceased to exist when it was understood that the bell shaped curve is just a simplified version of the general theory of mineral depletion [33] based on the concepts developed first by J. Forrester [34] and by the authors of the 1972 “Limits to Growth” report [35] (For a modern version of these models, see the recently developed MEDEAS model at In short, the basis of the bell shaped curve is in the decline in the net energy of extraction, a concept often expressed in terms of “Energy Return On Energy Invested” (EROI or EROEI) [36,37]. So, the peak oil idea was based on solid theoretical foundations. The quote “when I have new data, I change my interpretation, what do you do, sir?” is attributed to John Maynard Keynes and one wonders why it was not applied to the peak oil theory. With new data in input on the consistency of the non-conventional oil resources, the theory could still provide useful information on the future of fossil fuels, but this was not done. Instead, most commentators preferring to engage in an activity that we could define as “Hubbert-bashing.”

So, if we want to identify the causes of the decline of the peak oil idea, we must look at subtler elements which have to do with people’s perception. A key factor in this assessment is the similarity with other predictive models which also produced pessimistic results. An example is that of climate change and global warming, studied by Anderegg and Goldsmith [25]. They found a continuous decline of interest starting in 2007, sporadically interrupted, but not changed, by events such as the “Climategate” episode of 2009. Clearly, there was no compelling evidence available in 2007 that could justify this decline – there is none even now. A similar cycle of interest could also be observed for the 1972 “The Limits to Growth” study [35]. As extensively discussed in [38], the decline started in the 1980s, well before the study could be said to have generated “wrong predictions” as it was commonly accused to have done.

These three cases – Peak Oil, Climate Change, and Limits to Growth – are related to each other and have in common the fact that the models on which they are based predict the unavoidable decline of the world’s economy or, at least, the impossibility for it to keep growing for a long time. This view easily leads to a “doomerish” vision of the future and the peak oil movement tended to regard peak oil as an apocalyptic watershed for humankind, an interpretation surely not based on anything that the model in itself could support. Perhaps in agreement with this millenaristic attitude, the peak oil movement mostly failed to generate a political proposal. This point is well described by Schneider-Matherson [10] who shows how the members of the movement tended to prepare for the event in individual terms, emphasizing local and personal resilience. In some cases, they adopted or proposed a survivalist strategy, including stocking food, guns, and ammunition in expectation of the imminent collapse. Needless to say, this attitude didn’t endear the movement to the mainstream decision makers.

We may therefore conclude that the peak oil predictions were considered incompatible with the commonly held views that see economic growth as always necessary and desirable and depletion/pollution as marginal phenomena that can be overcome by means of technological progress. That was the reason why the peak oil idea was abandoned, victim of a “clash of absolutes” with the mainstream view of the economic system. In the clash, peak oil turned out to be the loser, not because it was “wrong” but mainly because it was a minority opinion. The future will bring new data and, with them, the concept of peak oil might regain popularity for a second time, just as it did for the first time with the 1998 work of Campbell and Lahérrere.

sciencedirect, UgoBardi

45 Comments on "Peak oil, 20 years later: Failed prediction or useful insight?"

  1. makati1 on Mon, 19th Nov 2018 5:20 pm 


    “US shale oil forecasts too optimistic, even IEA agrees”

    “Bakken Prices Crumble On Pipeline Woes”

    Not looking good for American energy “independence”. LOL Slip slidin’…

  2. Davy on Mon, 19th Nov 2018 5:28 pm 

    Billy, old news, MOB already covered that earlier today that quit injecting redundant comments please.

  3. Cloggie on Mon, 19th Nov 2018 9:55 pm 

    The peak oil crowd made the mistake of equating:

    peak oil = peak conventional oil
    peak gas = peak conventional gas
    peak coal = peak conventional coal

    Three major mistakes.

    In reality there are not enough oxygin molecules in the atmosphere to burn all fossil combustable material in the ground. Fossil depletion is non-existing. What is depleting is the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb ever larger quantities of CO2.

    On top of that the price of renewable energy is rapidly declining. In 10 years time we’ll have 300W thin film panels for €30 rather than €300.

    Peak oil is a joke. We are steering towards a solar economy. I think that 2050, a date set by the EU to achieve that solar economy, is hopelessly pessimistic. I bet 2030-2035 for Europe. Fossil will be destroyed on price alone in the coming few years.

  4. print baby print on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 1:21 am 

    Cloggie you must be new here, I welcome you and I hope you are right

  5. Cloggie on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 5:17 am 

    Southstream via the Turkish backdoor:

    Turmstream nears completion. The pipeline lands merely 50 km from the Bulgarian-EU border. Ukraine as US colony is almost finished as a transit country.

    Real Russian goal remains gas deliveries to Russia-friendly Austria.

  6. Cloggie on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 5:21 am 

    Tory ‘rebels’ admit: “we are dad’s army”

    No-confidence bid going nowhere. Britain on the path to turn from fully fledged EU-member into economic vassal, all by choice… because of lack of alternative.

  7. JuanP on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 9:03 am 

    Delusional Davy “Billy, old news, MOB already covered that earlier today that quit injecting redundant comments please.”

    Mak’s comment was productive and related to the subject. It also provided links. What did your comment provide? More lies, falsehoods, and bullying, as usual. You are the useless one here, Davy, not Mak! LOL!

  8. JuanP on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 9:12 am 

    China becoming key player in global soy market.

  9. Davy on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 9:37 am 

    Billy’s comment was more of the same out of you dirty bias anti-Americans. The least he can do is comment on topic and without redundancy. He is here too often as it is. It is wonderful you are hardly here anymore. The place is less offensive with foul language and needless cheerleading.

  10. Dredd on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 3:51 pm 

    That is a cool format, and a very well done paper (I saved a PDF of it).

    Peak oil happened when there mas more oil than at any other time.

    Peak oil is also considered the time when conventional oil no longer was the low hanging fruit.

    It can mean a lot of things, including “where is this heading (On Resplandy Et Alia, 2018) ?

  11. Anonymous on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 7:09 pm 

    Peak oilers failed to account for development of new methods. They were warned of this issue but still did it. Hubbert had similar errors. He admitted that his methods did not account for new innovations but claimed they would be small. They weren’t.

    There is a reason why ASPO shut down, TOD shut down and Staniford, Hamilton, Savinar, etc. have left the oil analysis game. They were not really interested in analysis. They were interested in a particular result that fascinated them. When the production continued to rise, they stopped commenting on oil.

    I guess it is better than Berman and Hughes just refusing to admit error and making new negative predictions. But not by much.

  12. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 7:41 pm 


    As M. King Hubbert (1956) shows, peak oil is about discovering less oil, and eventually producing less oil due to lack of discovery.

    Oil discoveries in 2017 hit all-time low –Houston Chronicle

    IEA Chief warns of world oil shortages by 2020 as discoveries fall to record lows

    Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Warns of World Oil Shortages Ahead

    Saudi Aramco chief warns of looming oil shortage

    A Regional Oil Extraction and Consumption Model. (Dittmar 2017)

    HSBC Global Bank: 81% of world liquids production already in decline and world oil shortages ahead

    Projection of World Fossil Fuels by Country (Mohr, 2015)

    Australian Government (Leaked) 457 pg Study: concludes world peak oil around 2020

    There will be an oil shortage in the 2020’s, Goldman Sachs says

    The early peak oilers were off by around a decade..It happens..

  13. Cloggie on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 11:34 pm 

    “Yabut you need oil for heavy equipment liking mining!”

    No you don’t:

    “Swedish Mining Equipment Manufacturer Will Be 100% Electric In 5 Years”

  14. Cloggie on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 11:40 pm 

    Australian Government (Leaked) 457 pg Study: concludes world peak oil around 2020

    The mobster fool is posting articles from 2009!!!!


  15. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 3:05 am 


    The study doesn’t have oil peaking till around 2020..And you don’t usually wait till the last minute to do a study about something so important..M King Hubbert’s original study done back in 1956 took 14 years till be validated..

    Sorry, your straw man’s have no power here!

  16. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 3:07 am 


    A Regional Oil Extraction and Consumption Model. (Dittmar 2017)

    HSBC Global Bank: 81% of world liquids production already in decline and world oil shortages ahead

    Projection of World Fossil Fuels by Country (Mohr, 2015)

    There you go..No need to cherry pick you piece of soggy white bread..

  17. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 3:44 am 

    Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years

    I hate to say it, but with climate change and a global oil shortage headed our way..A major nuclear war to depopulate the planet would make a lot of sense

  18. Davy on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 4:43 am 

    “Yabut you need oil for heavy equipment liking mining!” No you don’t:”

    Neder, mining consists of many different aspects and applications. Electricity will struggle to cover many of these. Your example is not a slam dunk. There is a lot of heavy equipment that can be converted to electricity. A lot already is run by electricity. Equipment run by electric motors and powered with electricity and diesel and or gas is a more likely in many application. The problem occurs with economics with applying electric solo to multiple mining applications and especially in remote locations.

  19. Davy on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 4:49 am 

    “The mobster fool is posting articles from 2009!!!!ROFL”

    DITO and making us believe he is intellectual about it. He does not even fully understand what he posts. Yesterday he quoted Hubbert and how his theory concerned oil discoveries. MOB is intellectually sloppy. I am a firm believer in a longer term less catastrophic outcome of peak oil dynamics. Traditional peak oil of my fellow peakers of 2005-2012 is dead. The smart peakers have adapted or become irrelevant like MOB.

  20. Cloggie on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:00 am 

    The study doesn’t have oil peaking till around 2020..And you don’t usually wait till the last minute to do a study about something so important..M King Hubbert’s original study done back in 1956 took 14 years till be validated..

    Neither King Hubbert in 1956 nor the Australian government in 2009 had any clue about fracking.

  21. Davy on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:12 am 

    “I hate to say it, but with climate change and a global oil shortage headed our way..A major nuclear war to depopulate the planet would make a lot of sense”

    You don’t “hate to say it” You relish the idea of a die off but you hope it is mostly older people and whites. Your life centers on collapse and then the violence you hope will result. You want to join a gang and rape and pillage. You forget that people like you will likely be dealt with by a summary execution. Yea, MOB, your end will likely come with a bullet to the head or a rope after you are caught from a joy ride. This has generally always been the case eventually once the dust settles. You might want to think about that before you leave your house to rape and pillage. You are an example of the lowest human common denominator of a sociopath combined with psychopathic fantasies further combined with unintelligence parading as intelligent.

    A small NUK war will likely kick the current civilization into collapse economically. It may never recover from that. That would lower economic activity maybe but the people that are left will burn whatever is available including all nearby forests so would the results be less carbon? Would a small NUK war cure climate destabilization through an unintended geoengineering result? I doubt it. You can’t inject 412 PPM carbon into the carbon cycle and expect a cure even temporary by a geoengineering type result of a small NUK war. Why don’t we just NUK a remote location and get all that dust up in the atmosphere now? They don’t because it is temporary and the results of radiation terrible. Climate change is more than carbon it is also land use changes. It is about the extinction occurring to the web of life responsible for carbon management. It is about the oceans being warmed and needing thousands of years to cool. Personally I feel there is no solution to climate disruption only adaptation and mitigation. Nature will handle all this over time but not our time frames. Humans are screwed.

  22. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:13 am 

    CLogg and davy

    Existing oil reserves are scheduled to begin a catastrophic crash within 1 to 3 years. When it hits the economic and social damage will be catastrophic. The end of Western Civilization, from China to Europe, to the US, will not occur when oil runs out. The economic and social chaos will occur when supplies are merely reduced sufficiently….

    Existing oil reserves are scheduled to begin a catastrophic crash within 1 to 3 years. When it hits the economic and social damage will be catastrophic. The end of Western Civilization, from China to Europe, to the US, will not occur when oil runs out. The economic and social chaos will occur when supplies are merely reduced sufficiently….

    Davy looks like your trust fund will be gone shortly..

  23. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:16 am 


    Chevron CEO warns US shale oil alone cannot meet the world’s growing demand for crude

    Peak U.S. Shale Could Be 4 Years Away

    Is Peak Permian Only 3 Years Away?

    Oil discoveries in 2017 hit all-time low –Houston Chronicle

    HSBC Global Bank: 81% of world liquids production already in decline and world oil shortages ahead

    Fracking is headed for bankruptcy..And can’t make up for the entire worlds declining conventional legacy fields..Its just a stop gap measure..

  24. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:19 am 

    The easy oil is gone

    Oil discoveries peaked in the 1960’s.

    Every year since 1984 oil consumption has exceeded oil discovery.

    In 2017 oil discoveries were about 7 billion barrels; consumption was about 35 billion barrels

    Of the world’s 20 largest oil fields, 18 were discovered 1917-1968; 2 in the 1970’s; 0 since.

  25. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:21 am 

    All That New Shale Oil May Not Be Enough as Big Discoveries Drop

    2020s To Be A Decade of Disorder For Oil -Former head of EIA

    Wood Mackenzie warns of oil supply crunch and world oil shortages around 2020

    People are almost completely ignoring a looming crisis for oil

    Energy watchdog warns oil and electricity shortages could develop as investment falls

  26. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:22 am 

    IEA Chief warns of world oil shortages by 2020 as discoveries fall to record lows

    There will be an oil shortage in the 2020’s, Goldman Sachs says

    Growing demand for oil will lead to shortage and high prices in 2020s

    German Military (leaked) Peak Oil study: oil is used in the production of 95% of all industrial goods, so a shortage of oil would collapse the world economy & world governments

    Imminent peak oil could burst US, global economic bubble – study

    I emailed Professor Douglas B Reynolds PhD, Oil and Energy Economics, University of Alaska.

    And I asked him if our upcoming oil shortage will cause a global economic collapse?

    He replied;

    “Yes, it will be like that, but may be worse with other extenuating circumstances such as war or the decline of international trade. Hyperinflation as happened in the Soviet and Post Soviet economy is a certainty.”

  27. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:23 am 

    Permian Won’t Be Enough – Prepare for Supply Gap and ‘a Decade of Disorder’

  28. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:25 am 

    Simple really….when the World Economy Collapses everything shuts down…the end… We’re talking about grids down all over the world and 7.5B people dropping like f*** flies in short order. The collapse will be absolutely horrible..There is no collapse or horror movie ever produced that has even come close to imagining what the collapse of BAU might look like. I’m talking about every corporation and every social program going bankrupt at once. I’m talking about people eating people. I’m talking about the Worst Catastrophe to ever happen in the history of mankind. Nothing has ever, or will ever come close…(Meadows, 1972) (Motesharrei, 2014) (Turchin, 2010) (Ehrlich, 2013) (Turner, 2014) (Korowicz, 2012)

  29. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:27 am 

    I should stop..Destroying ignorant and uneducated whack job boomers like Davy and Clogg is too easy..

    Don’t worry when the oil shortage hits and society collapses you can just blame in on the “Deep state/Illuminati/lizard people”..

    What ever your mental illness tells you..


  30. Davy on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 5:42 am 

    your mental illness is saying the same thing over and over daily hoping the more you say it the more true it will be. LOL. Wackjob kid.

  31. Antius on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 6:27 am 

    I continue to be impressed by the potential for autonomous taxi vehicles as part of the energy transition away from fossil fuels. Many advantages have been discussed already, such as reduced parking space needed on streets; reduced cost of car ownership for consumers; improved safety; lower embodied energy, and so on. The importance of the concept to energy transition is often overlooked.

    As Mob pointed out in a previous post, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) face considerable obstacles in providing any sort of replacement for privately owned internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Batteries are expensive, have high embodied energy and their effective lifetime in automotive applications is limited to ~1500 charge-discharge cycles. The vehicle must have range exceeding 300km and must be capable of recharging quickly. This requires a very large and expensive battery and places a heavy strain on the grid, as the power levels required to charge millions of high capacity batteries quickly, are formidable, even if total annual energy demand is modest. This is why simply replacing ICE cars with a fleet of Teslas will shift energy consumption to natural gas; gas turbines are typically used to meet peaks in power demand. The energy stored on energy invested (ESOI) of the battery is poor, because most of its capacity is rarely used and its effective lifetime is short. As can be seen from the page 28 of the link below, some 94% of car journeys in the UK (and likely other European nations) have distance less than 25 miles (40km). Only 6% have length greater than 40km and an even smaller proportion have length greater than 100km.

    The great opportunity with autonomous taxi vehicles is their potential to allow individual vehicles to be tailored to individual journeys. If I am hitching a ride some 20km in a taxi, it is of no interest to me whether that vehicle has a range of 30km or 300km. Provided the start and end points of the journey are known, a computer can determine the most appropriate vehicle in terms of its proximity and range. People are also far less likely to care what the vehicle looks like, as they do not own it and will be in it for an hour at most. The huge advantage here is that it enormously relaxes the propulsion requirements of most vehicles. For most urban and suburban journeys, vehicle range need not exceed 50km and speed need not exceed 60km/h. This removes the requirement for large batteries and allows vehicles to be powered by much simpler systems using compressed air.

    Using the Tesla 3 as a basis for design: Energy consumption is 0.14kWh/km and curb weight is 1600-1800kg. A tank of compressed air with pressure 30bar and volume 3 cubic metres will contain 30.6MJ of energy. Assuming this is expanded isothermally in an air engine with an efficiency of 70%, it will provide a range of 41.7km. A spherical compressed air tank made from low alloy steel with tensile strength 400MPa and a design factor of 3, would weigh 840kg – about half the curb weight of the vehicle, which is tolerable given the low weight of an air engine.

    Compressed air tanks are relatively expensive for the energy value of the air that they contain compared to batteries. However, they offer two huge advantages over BEV vehicles. Firstly, all components are constructed from low alloy carbon steel, which is an abundant material with relatively low embodied energy and no imminent problem in terms of resources availability. Secondly, whereas batteries wear out after a few thousand charge-discharge cycles; air tanks made from low alloy steel have practically unlimited stress cycles. Pressure vessels built over a century ago, are still used in steam engines. An automated taxi running on compressed air could be in continuous use, making dozens of journeys per day and refilling at least a dozen times each day. For relatively low pressure compressed air systems, refilling can be very rapid, because air can be stored in pre-stressed concrete buffer tanks or underground cavities, fed by a compressor with relatively constant power output over the course of a day. It is even possible to allow the compressor to run intermittently, absorbing wind and solar fluctuations, provided the buffer tank is sized appropriately. For large underground CAES, the compressor could be directly coupled to a wind turbine, without the need for intermediate generation of electricity. This simplifies the system and improves EROI.

  32. Cloggie on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 6:44 am 

    British study:

    Self-driving car fleet means the end of both oil and car companies.

    Good riddance to them.

    The fact that most people have location-aware smart-phones, makes meeting supply and demand of autonomous vehicles extremely easy. You can see on your phone where the car that is about to pick you up, currently is.

  33. Cloggie on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 6:47 am 

    We’re talking about grids down all over the world and 7.5B people dropping like f*** flies in short order. The collapse will be absolutely horrible..There is no collapse or horror movie ever produced that has even come close to imagining what the collapse of BAU might look like. I’m talking about every corporation and every social program going bankrupt at once. I’m talking about people eating people.

    Wishful thinking of a nihilist nutcase with suicidal tendencies.

  34. Cloggie on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 6:59 am 

    The unstoppable rise of European populism:

    from 1998-2018: 8 to 25%, and counting.
    The strength of populism is directly proportional with the number of immigrants.

    In Calais/France, with a 6,000 “jungle camp” on a population of 50,000, some 50% voted Front National last time.

    Note, in Europe, populism is grassroots. Europe didn’t have to wait until some rogue billionaire jumped on a soap box in 2016. In many Western-European countries (France-FN, UK-BNP, Austria-FPO, Italy-Lega, Holland-CD, Belgium-VB), populism began as early as in the seventies. In Italy and Austria they’re now in government and cementing their position.

  35. I AM THE MOB on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 7:59 am 


    No matter how much we deplore something it does not stop it from being true..

    -Richard Dawkins

  36. Antius on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 9:11 am 

    A few more thoughts on a compressed air powered autonomous transport system.

    Looking at maps of service stations for the M25, M6 and M1, the three most significant motorways in England, there are only a few gaps between service stations that are larger than 50km. For the Netherlands, the situation would appear to be similar.

    On this basis, autonomous vehicles powered by compressed air, should be capable of providing transport within and between any two urban locations in Northern Europe, with only a modest increase in total infrastructure. If air can be stored in buffer tanks, refilling can be carried out in just a few minutes, comparable to refilling with gasoline or diesel. It would increase total journey times by perhaps 10%, with a stop every 40km or so.

    In England in 2014, people travelled an average of ~5500miles (8850km) by car. Assuming an average of two passengers per car, that amounts to some 442.5billion vehicle km. At 0.14kWh per km and an approximate 50% charge-discharge efficiency, total energy consumption would be 124TWh per year. That is equivalent to about 33% over the UKs existing electricity consumption. As noted previously, much of this could be provided directly from wind turbines generating compressed air. Assuming a flat demand pattern and about 70% efficiency of air engines, a total of 255GWh of air would be consumed each day. Assuming that buffer tanks provide some 12 hours of reserve storage, their total volume would need to be 44.9million cubic metres. That is equivalent to 1000 spherical concrete buffer tanks with diameter 44m. That would seem quite achievable. Tanks of this type should be relatively cheap to build because non-destructive testing should be unnecessary, as strength depends upon hundreds of independent steel cables, with huge redundancy. These can be individually inspected and replaced during operation without significantly degrading the safety factor of the tank.

    Provided the AI function can be made to work, there would appear to be no fundamental problem producing a personal transport system that functions as well as the one we have today, that runs entirely on low pressure compressed air produced from intermittent energy.

  37. Cloggie on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 9:48 am 


    Two largest CAES plants in the world:

    1978/Huntorf-Germany(Lower Saxony) – 3420MW (42% efficiency)

    1991/McIntosh (Alabama, USA) – 54% efficiency

    ADELE-project Germany:

    CAES-Efficiency should and could be increased to 70%

    The EU is working on CAES in RICAS:

    The Swiss have a project aiming at 75% efficiency:

  38. Antius on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 11:17 am 

    Thanks Cloggie. Undersea CAES looks very promising. A simple ballasted concrete tank is something that it should be possible to make very cheaply. We come up with standardised designs and simply cast them by the thousand. We could ballast a tank with sand and gravel, tow it to the correct location and then flood a ballast tank to sink it. The Norwegian trench in the North Sea has a depth of up to 700m. The pressure at this depth is about 70bar. The trench is 50-95km wide and hundreds of km long. It has sufficient volume to house as much compressed air storage capacity as Europe will ever need. Air can be piped onshore for distribution through polypropylene pipes.

    One way of reducing the cost and losses associated with CAES is to eliminate two unnecessary energy transitions. Typically, we convert (1) wind power into mechanical power; (2) Mechanical power into electricity; (2) Electricity into mechanical power in the CAES compressor (95% efficiency); (3) Mechanical power into compressed gas energy (75%). And then we reverse the whole process.

    If wind energy is instead converted directly into compressed air energy via a directly coupled compressor within the wind turbine nacelle and compressed air is stored, distributed and converted directly to mechanical work in vehicles, two energy transitions are eliminated and we replace complex electrical generation and distribution systems containing rare earths and copper, with simple rotary compressors, air motors and distribution pipes made from carbon steel and plastics.

    Wind turbines in the North Sea could be configured to produce compressed air directly and feed it into concrete storage tanks within the Norwegian trench. This could then be distributed via a network of pipes to smaller buffer tanks throughout Western Europe. Using autonomous vehicles, it could power the transport system of the entire continent.

  39. Simon Rodgers on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 11:29 am 

    Pumped Storage in old coal mines, its cool, its green(ish) and nothing above ground unlike those pesky windmills

  40. Cloggie on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 12:43 pm 

    British CAES company Storelectric has big storage plans for Britain and the Netherlands (in cooperation with Shell and Exxon):

  41. Cloggie on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 12:47 pm 

    Pumped Storage in old coal mines, its cool, its green(ish) and nothing above ground unlike those pesky windmills

    You are missing the point: the idea is use excess electricity from “pesky” but inevitable windmills and store it in old coal mines, like this other project, so even flatlanders (Holland, Heartland USA) can enjoy the advantages of pumped hydro storage:

    No windmills, no need for storage.

  42. Simon Rodgers on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 3:15 pm 

    Cloggie …. Sarcasm mate, Sarcasm

    most exciting thing about windmills is the new ability in SEMO to aggregate smaller ones together for bidding, that’s cool

  43. Wolfie52 on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 8:19 pm 

    Wow, been about 3 months and the same dipsticks arguing with each other, trying to convince the same 3 or 4 people they are right!

    Get out of mom’s basement and start enjoying life. Seriously, get a life.

  44. Davy on Thu, 22nd Nov 2018 4:19 am 

    yea, and the same shit out of you wolfie. So what is the difference? Are you afraid to make a comment or maybe you are not smart enough and lack balls. People like you show us what cowards are.

  45. Cloggie on Thu, 22nd Nov 2018 4:50 am 

    Wolfie doesn’t like a site without censorship.

    For the rest, Wolfie has zero opinions about oil and energy. Get lost.

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