Peak Oil: What’s Ahead?

This is Chapter 3 of my booklet that I am working on with the help of folks from TheOilDrum.com. Chapter 1 can be found here; Chapter 2 can be found here; a PDF of Chapter 3 can be found here.

A number of analysts are saying that peak oil is here now (see Chapter 1, Question 8). Suppose they are correct — what kind of changes can we expect to see in the years ahead?

In this chapter, we will look at the implications of peak oil now — how we can expect oil production to change between now and 2030, and how this decline in production is likely to affect the economy. While there are many who believe that peak oil is still a few years away (the newsletter of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas of Ireland predicts a peak in 2011, for example), this analysis will assume that the peak year is 2006, with the decline starting in 2007. If this assumption turns out to be a little early, the worst that will happen is that we will be a little ahead in our planning.

1. If peak is now, how much of a decline in world oil production can be expected in the next few years?

Figure 1 shows historical world oil production, together with two projections of what the future will bring: Continue reading