BACK AT THE PEAK
February 16, 2006
We passed the peak in December 2005.
Hubbert postulated that the
rate of new oil discoveries depends on the fraction of the oil
that has not yet been discovered. In the same way, the rate
of oil production depends on the fraction of oil that has not yet been
This is self evident after
reflection. Consider that no matter what we measure: the frequencies of
words in texts, the size of human settlements, the file size distribution
of Internet traffic or the size of sand particles, meteorites or craters,
the distribution pattern is the same -- commonly
expressed as the "80-20
this power law is called a
Pareto distribution but it is also known as the law of the vital
few or the principle of factor scarcity. We shouldn’t be
surprised, therefore, that oil field sizes follow the same rule.
The February 2006 edition of the
contains a history of Exxon Mobil’s discoveries and calculates total world
reserves at 2.013 trillion barrels. If those estimates are accurate, and
there was no reason to think they are not, world peak would happen when
1.0065 trillion barrels have been produced.
As pointed out by
Professor Kenneth S. Deffeyes, the cumulative world production at the
end of 2004 was 0.9812 trillion barrels and in 2005 it reached 1.00748
trillion. Therefore we passed the halfway mark round about the middle of
December. Surprise, surprise, compared to 2004, world oil production was
up 0.8 percent in 2005 but this was nowhere near enough to compensate for
the rise in demand of roughly 3 percent.
The Swedish Prime Minister, Göran
Persson, has founded a non-political committee with the intent of making
Sweden fossil fuel-independent by 2020 and acknowledged that peak oil was
a fact. Its time we all not only acknowledged our addiction, but outlined
our national 12 step program, AA style.
give me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the
things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the one from the other."
Deal with it or it will deal with