Hubbert’s Peak

October 26, 2006 at 8:54 pm | Posted in Books | 1 Comment

Last December, I attended a Caltech lecture featuring petroleum engineer Ken Deffeyes. He explained the theory behind Peak Oil, taking M. King Hubbert’s prediction regarding US oil production and applying it to world oil production. According to Deffeyes, world oil production peaked on November 2005.

I finally read his book Hubbert’s Peak. The first six chapters are quite informative for engineers not familiar with the petroleum industry, though it may be too technical for most people. It describes the nature of oil – how it is formed, where it is found, and how it is extracted from the ground; nothing that would cause controversy. The interesting material are chapters 7 and 8, where the prediction is made using statistics and historical data. Hubbert’s 1956 paper correctly predicted US oil production for the next 40-45 years. Deffeyes’ prediction of a 2005 peak will be tested in the next 10 years. The book actually predicts a 2003-2006 peak, but that was narrowed in his next book Beyond Oil.

His rebuttal to those who say that high oil prices will increase production is simple – American oil exploration was at its highest during the 1930s, during the Great Depression when gas was less than 10 cents per gallon.

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  1. […] Over a year ago, petroleum industry expert Kenn Deffeyes predicted the peak of world oil production as November of 2005. His book Hubbert’s Peak is worth reading now, especially with Saudi Arabia’s 2006 production data now available. […]


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