For several years now, a number of peak oil advocates such as Matt Simmons, T. Boone Pickens (aka “I believe in free markets, but give me subsidies”) and Ken Deffeyes have been arguing that May 2005 was the peak of world oil production. They arrived at this by noting that crude plus condensate (excluding natural gas liquids, biofuels, etc) peaked and declined in that month. Matt went so far as to wager with me that we would never surpass that amount.
Aside from the fact that C+C production has peaked and dropped several times in the past 2 decades, only to recover, it has, on preliminary data, surpassed that again this July. However, there is a distinct possibility that the numbers will be revised downwards leaving May 2005 as the highest point to date. (Earlier this year, when I suggested Matt pay up on the bet, he argued that the spring data might be revised down enough to keep the earlier record intact, and this proved to be so.)
Since the most recent peak in July, OPEC has sharply cut production enough so that it is likely to keep the May 2005 record intact until economic recovery is well under way. Low prices will certainly reduce the attention paid to peak oil, but the true believers won’t be persuaded, so this issue is not as dead as it deserves to be.