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Posts from December 0

The Undulating Oil Plateau: Peak without Decline

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#m_lynch">Michael Lynch</a> -- December 3, 2009

For some peak oil advocates who are nervous about the idea of a post-apocalyptic vision of society, it has become popular to argue for a peak and plateau rather than a peak and decline of 3–5% per year, as some of the original work postulates. This seems more palatable than calling for a global upheaval, Hollywood notwithstanding.

The original peak and decline scenario was based on the bell curve popularized by M. King Hubbert. A number have disputed the shape of the curve, arguing for a Gaussian curve instead, for example. But they are avoiding the basic question of causality. The appearance of a bell curve appears to be more coincidence than anything else, since it is not often replicated in reality. The 1998 Scientific American article, “The End of Cheap Oil,” by Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere, contained the laughable figure of several stylized oil fields’ production curves surmounted by a bell curve and the assertion that the one aggregated to the other.…

The Peak Oil Secret is Revealed!

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#m_lynch">Michael Lynch</a> -- November 11, 2009

The latest peak oil news is simply astounding: a whistleblower inside the International Energy Agency (IEA) claiming that “the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.”

The fact that this report appeared in the Guardian, which has published questionable articles on peak oil, is suggestive.

First and foremost, one is tempted to conclude that this story represents poor reporting, bringing to mind an earlier Guardian story claiming that Fatih Birol, the IEA official in charge of the World Energy Outlook, acknowledged peak oil. It turns out that Fatih was misquoted. And while I might be biased, considering Fatih a friend, the nature of the present story is close to ridiculous, rather than misleading.…