The inaccuracy and fallacies of pick oil theory Part 1

The peak oil theory was wild spread after the the U.S. oil production peaking in the 1970s and sank for decades since then. Just when everyone starts to believe in the peak oil theory because what Hubbert said in it did happened exactly in reality, something dramatic happened: the oil production starts rising rapidly again since 2009 till now. Some scholars enunciate that the peak oil theory may have some reasonable points but in general, it’s nothing but a fallacy. The “peak” in 1970s is just a coincidence. More and more people start to believe that the technology will keep unlocking the limits of the oil production in the future. According to the article “Why Peak-Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True”  written by Russell Gold, the mathematical model of peak oil theory is too simple because Hubbert oversimplify the problem and the situation we are in: “To the peak-oil adherents, this is just a respite, and decline is inevitable. But a growing tide of oil-industry experts argue that peak oil looks at the situation in the wrong way. The real constraints we face are technological and economic, they say. We’re limited not by the amount of oil in the ground, but by how inventive we are about reaching new sources of fuel and how much we’re willing to pay to get at it.”. “Technology moves so quickly today that any looming resource constraint will be nothing more than a blip,” says petroleum economist Phil Verleger. “We adjust.”. Arun Gupta explained the problem of peak oil theory more specifically in his article “Why the Crash in Oil Prices Should Bury “Peak Oil” Once and for All” punished this year.  He points out that the socio-economic system is the one determining the the actual production of oil. “the last decade of spiraling oil prices was caused by Middle East wars, Wall Street commodities speculation, and ecological disasters like Hurricane Katrina, not by natural limits.” said Arun Gupta. He also argued that even the term “peak oil” itself has problem. He described this name, “peak oil”, as “obscuring how the energy industry works”. According to his arguments, “We may imagine oil as gushing out of a steel derrick in a barren desert, but energy companies are after any form of hydrocarbons that can be profitably refined. ”

The peak oil seems to be unable to serve the contemporary global situations any more. Maybe just as some of these scholar said, it’s a theory only suit a certain time period which is already past for too long. Or maybe, it’s just oversimplify the situation and the complexity of the oil problem.


Why Peak-Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True


Why the Crash in Oil Prices Should Bury “Peak Oil” Once and for All




1 thought on “The inaccuracy and fallacies of pick oil theory Part 1

  1. Gordon Rogusky

    I found your post very intriguing as it is different from the common liberal discourse I have become accustomed to hearing around my friends. They believe in peak oil and promote a societal transition to renewable energy.
    I liked your post, though, because in a way I agree; the concept of “peak oil” is extremely hard to quantify by any reasonable standard. As you pointed out, that intractable “peak” is so ambiguous because the amount of “economically extractable oil” is impacted (defined) not only by the current capabilities of technology, but by the projected rate of technological developments that might enhance extraction capabilities, the state/projections of/for the economy and market for fossil fuel, and finally by the political relationships between nations. Very complicated and interesting topic.

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