The author of Our Finite World is Gail Tverberg. She has an M. S. from the University of Illinois, Chicago in Mathematics, and is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Some of her writing can be found under the name “Gail the Actuary,” a pen name she used while writing at The Oil Drum between 2007 and 2013.

Gail is involved with oil and other limits in several different ways:

  1. As a researcher. Gail regularly goes back to data from government and other web sites, and creates her own graphs and does her own analysis. She also follows the work of others doing research.
  2. As an actuary. Gail is interested in what the implications of reduced oil supply are for the economy and for financial institutions.
  3. As an educator. Gail is interested in bringing the message about what is happening to as broad an audience as possible.
Gail Tverberg Charles Hall Joe Tainter and Mario Giampietro

Gail Tverberg, Charles Hall, Mario Giampietro, and Joe Tainter in auditorium in Barcelona, Spain. They would later answer questions from students from 11 high schools in the area. Translation from Catalan to English was provided by headphone.

Gail became aware of the impact oil shortages could have on insurance companies back in the 1973 – 1974 period, when oil shortages were first a problem. In 2005, she began reading books on the subject, including Jeremy Leggett’s The Empty Tank.

Gail did further research about the situation, and wrote her first article about the potential impact on the property-casualty insurance industry in early 2006. This article was called Oil Shortages: The Next Katrinna? Since then, she has written a number of other articles from an insurance or actuarial perspective. Several of these are listed in the sidebar.

In early 2007, Gail decided to devote full-time to issues related to oil shortages, and other shortages, and their impact on the economy. She initially wrote primarily on this blog, but eventually switched to writing posts for TheOilDrum.com, where she was  first a contributor, and then an editor until the site ceased operation in 2013.  A list of some of her posts at The Oil Drum which are not on Our Finite World has been provided for reference purposes. Posts from Our Finite World are now copied by a number of sites, including Zero Hedge, Financial Sense, The Energy Collective, Business Insider, OilPrice.com, Investing.com, The Bull, Resilience, and other sites.

Gail Tverberg also speaks on finite world issues, including the connection between oil shortages and the economy. She has been an invited speaker at many conferences, as well as to other groups. She has spoken in many countries around the world, including Italy, Spain, China, and India. She has spoken to academic groups, actuarial groups, “peak oil” groups, and more general groups, such as religious groups and graduate students.

A paper related to her talk at the Seventh Biennial International Workshop in Energy Studies in Barcelona, Spain in 2010 was published in the Journal Energy. It can be accessed at this link: Oil Supply Limits and the Continuing Financial Crisis. An unofficial version can also be accessed at this link.

Gail can be reached at GailTverberg at comcast dot net or at (407) 443-0505. Her twitter feed is @gailtheactuary.

29 Responses to About

  1. RedHatty says:

    What a great post! You need to join us in the campaign! Be a Netizen Hero!




  2. Michael says:

    Keep up the great work. If you stand back from all the data and just take a general over view of whats happening it all starts to make sense. The sudden massive rush into ethanol plants,Iraq, the calm on the markets of a $93 dollar barrel of oil, Where is the panic? Why is there no panic?

  3. winston smith says:


  4. Hello Gail,

    I have been lurking on TOD for quite some time and just read your article on the limits to growth. I published a three part series in the journal Quest (a magazine for members of Global Underwater Explorers)a couple of years ago entitled Growth and Sustainablility: An Ecological Perspetive. I have these articles in PDF format and Quest would not mind if they were released to The Oil Drum. If you are interested in seeing them I would be happy to email the PDF’s to you for your review.

    As a short biography I have a Ph.D. in Ecological Sciences from Old Dominion University and currently work as a biology professor at Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg S.C.


  5. Murray Duffin says:

    Gail, I am a lurker in disagreement with your March TOD piece on the economic impact of peak oil. I hoped to write a detailed reply, but for various valid reasons cannot find the time. Also I don’t know how to submit a contribution to TOD. As a result I have come up with the following quick summary of another scenario that I feel is more likely than yours. Please give it due consideration.
    USA present production is >5mb/d. Running that down carefully and working over all of our old fields with modern technology should provide 2-3 mb/d for at least 30 years. Canadian tar-sand can provide us with 2-3 mb/d for the foreseeable future by 2015 or so.. The Bakken shales should have recoverable oil of >20 Gb, and can likely supply 2-3 mb/d for > 20 years, starting in 20 years starting in say 10 years. We should be able to maintain imports of >2 mb/d for decades. Biofuels of all kinds can easily provide 1 mb/d for as long as we need. That adds up to 60% of present consumption. Our imports ex-Canada can drop from the present 13 mb/d to 2 mb/d over 15-20 years, while we increase fuel use efficiency by factor 3 and we can continues to grow our economy at a modest rate, giving us some decades to evolve to a no growth economy. Trip efficiency and intelligent conservation can provide a cushion as needed of up to 4 mb/d during the transition. This scenario allows for non-Canadian imports dropping 8%/yr for 20 years while we make the needed adjustments. Even staying 100% with ICEs we can triple automotive fuel efficiency. Hybrids, BEVs, switch to rail, etc., will provide the needed additional efficiency for trucks and planes to get the entire transport sector to >3x.
    As global warming ceases to be an issue, and scarcity/price bite, we will open all of the off-limits prospects to development.

  6. Tom L says:

    The IEA has a world oil survey available as a free download showing oil flow of products by country.


  7. RJ says:

    I’m curious where you’re coming up with all of this information.

  8. outtanames999 says:

    Well, the only comment I have is, good stuff on oil, but now what do you know about credit markets because the oil bubble has subsided and the issue of finite quantities has shifted to credit markets which are seizing up.

  9. Lee Wells says:

    I’m totally and completely overpowered by what I see as the TOTAL lack of interest in the PRIMARY problem here.

    The problem is really OVERPOPULATION. We would not be *NEAR* peak oil if we had listened to Paul R. Ehrlich and the Club of Rome. Of course we didn’t listen to Jimmy Carter or even Richard Nixon about this.

    With 74% of oil producing countries past peak oil, I would think it would be obvious to most casual observer, that we have to many people being born.

  10. oak barrels says:

    I think offshore drilling is a must. I live on the Gulf Of Mexico, in Brownsville,Tx and I know Texans are all for it.
    Richard A. Weisberg

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