Geologists Vote that Peak Oil is a Concern

This year's Petroleum Geology Conference in London included the following item on the agenda:

Peak Oil: Advancing the topical debate over the timing of peak oil & gas

The aim of the Geological Society's Peak Oil evening meeting is to further discuss and debate the timing and impact of Peak Oil & Gas. Have we become so efficient at exploring and producing petroleum resources that we are we already there as Colin Campbell (ASPO) would argue? Or will technology solutions and a move to more unconventional deposits save the day as Mike Daly (BP) and Glen Cayley (Shell) would suggest? And let's not forget gas. Malcolm Brown (BG Group) sees a longer future for gas but will the progressive use of gas as a substitute for oil hasten its decline? Lots of questions, but do we really have the answers? Come along to the Geological Society . . . and join in the debate. Our four invited speakers will present their case, to be followed by a panel discussion.

The debate took place in the plenary session, with a change in speakers from the original announcement. BP chief geologist David Jenkins argued for the motion that peak oil is "no longer a concern," and Jeremy Leggett argued against, incorporating the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security conclusions into his case. At the end of the debate, approximately five hundred oil-industry geologists voted. Only about a third voted in favor of the motion "Peak oil is no longer a concern." The debate has been written up in November's issue of Petroleum Review.

In this post, I ask Jeremy Leggett a few questions about how he interprets his experience.

Q: Were you expecting to win this debate?

No way! I thought I’d be lucky to get 10% of the vote. I expected it to the one of those masochistic experiences I put my hand up for, from time to time, in the possibly misguided feeling that it is better to preach to the unconverted than the converted. And I don’t kid myself that ten minutes of woffly rhetoric from me changed any minds, or that David’s arguments were so poor that he converted people for me. This was a pre-formed group opinion.

Q: What do you think the result means?

The result seems to suggest that the rank-and-file practitioners hold a very different view of peak oil from the BP/Shell/Exxon etc. top tables. In this, the forthcoming energy crunch seems very different from the run up to the credit crunch. Presented with the motion that "major downside risk in derivatives is no longer a concern,” a hall full of investment bankers would no doubt have been near unanimous in support of the motion.

I increasingly think there are worthwhile comparisons between the financial crunch and the coming oil crunch. Before the financial crunch, only a few maverick economists and financial journalists were blowing whistles. Ahead of the oil crunch, many people in and around the oil industry are busy sounding off. So are some companies spanning a wide spectrum of petroleum-user industries, and so is the IEA – the equivalent of the World Bank warning of a financial crash several years ahead of the reality.

Q: If it is true that the footsoldiers don't buy into the top tables' analysis, why don't they speak out more?

If I knew the answer, I’d be a better campaigner than I am. Pensions? School fees? Some misplaced sense of brotherhood? An oil company geologist told me once that it is viewed almost as an unspoken act of treason to voice doubts about the industry’s ability to meet projected demand. Perhaps that explains why so many geologists wait until retirement before speaking out.

Q: When was your own realisation that peak oil might be a problem with peak oil?

This is a shocking story, and I hold my hand up with an appropriate amount of shame and embarrassment, to help make an important point. It was March 2004, and Shell dropped a bombshell. We are sorry, dear financial regulators, but we don’t seem to have as much oil as, er, we said we have. Our CEO and head of exploration have been telling the board, well …. lies, we fear. The biggest scandal in British corporate history duly unfolds. Why, I ask myself? I had always assumed there would be enough oil for decades to come, but maybe not: not if other companies are in anything like the mess Shell seems to be in.

I knew that a few geologists had been saying, since the mid 1990s, that the peak of production would come all too soon. The dean of the early peak oil camp is Colin Campbell, a geologist like me trained by legendary stratigrapher Stuart McKerrow at Oxford. I always assumed – simply assumed, I’m ashamed to say – that Colin was wrong. My response, I now see, was a cultural knee-jerk. So I checked out what was going on. I finally did some homework. And so my peak oil moment came, belatedly.

I think there is an important lesson here. Cultures have all sorts of dysfunctional ways of protecting themselves: the “social silences,” the unspoken erection of information screens and the like. Since joining Association for the Study of Peak Oil, of course, I have met some of the psychologists at work on this kind of thing. None of this will be surprising to them.

Q: How do you think the peak oil drama is going to play out?

We will find out who is right about peak oil before the decade is out – earlier, rather than later. The discontinuities will be seismic. My preferred scenario is this one. Within just a couple of decades, the world will be floating on a sea of cleantech energy technologies, and enjoying a renaissance built around the many social value-adders inherent in those technologies. Oil shocks, oil wars, and all the other dismal paraphernalia of the hydrocarbon age will seem so very ….twentieth century. I elaborate in my books “Half Gone”, and “The Solar Century.” Of course, there are other scenarios.

Q: You're known as a climate-change campaigner as much as a peak-oil whistleblower. How do you think these two issues are related?

Peak panic will prompt a race to mobilise oil-replacement technologies. If cleantech wins out, we win, and renaissance beckons. If coal-to-liquids and tar sands win out, we lose, and we are on a road to hell. We start destroying wealth faster than we create it well before the mid point of the century. Again, I elaborate in my books, and keep the drama updated on my Triple Crunch Log website,

For those interested, this is a link to the Petroleum Review article.

Thanks, Jeremy! I understand you will be around some on Monday to provide some additional comments. The vote is definitely surprising, compared to what we read in the newspapers.

It seems like some oil companies seem to be moderating their stance on peak oil. For example, Chevron with its willyoujoinus campaign, and Total with its statements by Christophe de Margerie that world oil production will never exceed ____ million barrels a day. Might it be that there is a difference by company in how geologists are voting, with perhaps geologists at BP and Exxon most strongly anti-peak oil, and some of the others more moderate? Or do you think it is only a lower rank/ upper rank issue?

Several years ago I spoke to someone at Chevron about their "will you join us" campaign. He admitted that insiders call it the "do not blame us" campaign.

Hi Debbie, and Gail,

This is interesting, Debbie.

From the first Chevron ad, I was shocked and dismayed because of the "spin" of the ads. What really got me was the amount of "work" that went into the subtle touches - the use of collage, the careful choices of the little "vision bites" that made up the collages. (This was in the later ads.) That first ad with the "next trillion" - not saying "Hey, is there even a 'next trillion'?"

The ads served to completely negate the "peak oil" message.

And they did so in a way that would fool people who didn't already know the facts. I even did an informal survey - showed the ads to people and asked them what the "take-home message" was. Everyone said a version of: "Oh, oil is a concern, but things will be fine."

The opposite of the facts and their implications. The opposite of what is needed in order to have decent policies to avoid the worst.

Sad. Expensive. Costly in terms of human life.

Some of the ads talk about the fact that the amount of oil the world finds in a year is only a fraction of the what we use each year. Some ads talk about using less. The web site discusses things like the balance between biofuel use and food use for land.

"Don't blame us," may be one way of interpreting these ads--but really, is it Chevron's fault if they couldn't find more oil? The ads have raised awareness that there is a problem. They are a whole lot better than Exxon's, "No peak as far as we can see," ads in retaliation. If we were to design an ad campaign for an oil company, what would we do? I am not sure we would do a whole lot better.

It is very clear when one looks at the various "things" Chevron does--"heavy oil", very deep oil, pipelines, even a little electricity that they are aware that the "easy oil" is mostly gone.

Is your only issue that the ads don't come out and say, "Peak oil is here now?"

Peak oil a "Concern"???

I would call it more like a tragic "Horror".

Check back in about 10 years to see the real results.....

The Gaurdian (British paper) just posted a piece that looks like a bombshell regarding mapipulation of oil data at the IEA.

Try this:

The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

What a momentous breakthrough!!!

Perhaps in another 10 years they'll vote that action needs to be taken.

My first thought on things like this is that "reality is what persists whether it is believed in or not", so it doesn't matter much (or for very long, at least), if some segment believes or disbelieves.

I imagine any corporate position will always follow financial advantage and the pursuit of market-share. Perhaps that is the case with the vote, and alternative energy production may be looking to some like the next Ghawar, and subsidized as a bonus. That would be better than what we have had.

Jenkins leads off with this:

Peak oil concerns are entwined in a wistful recall for the days when cheap energy underpinned the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) rapid economic growth.

That certainly doesn't reflect the consensus here, but is definitely indicative of what obtains in most of the world.

In another 10 years??? No, no, no, Peak Panic will come long before that. I am predicting Peak Panic to come no later than 2013.

Thanks for the phrase "Peak Panic" Mr. Leggett, I think we will see more use of it from now on.

Ron P.

Past trends show that geologists are notoriously slow in adopting new ideas. I have seen references to the idea of continental drift not taking hold until the 1960's among academic geologists.

If it is the case that the geologists simply needed a good explanation for drift and that they won't adopt a new idea until they see the mechanism proved, this careful deliberation may make sense. The fact that the theory of plate tectonics only gained steam in the 1960's seems to support this. Perhaps without plate tectonics, continental drift was just conjecture?

So what happens if the geologists are just waiting for a real scientific Peak Oil "theory"?
That's my theory anyways :)

Something in that WHT.
Our Geology Prof at University in 1961 told us he could get fired if he taught us plate tectonics ("not knowledge"), but went on anyway to introduce us to the increasingly indicative and solid evidence.
But later on I met several eminent inheritors of what I take to be the intellectual underpinning derived from Logical Positivism, and who were more rigidly minded. There were several of these experts serving on UK 'government' risk assessment committees where I was a minor cog in the 80s and middle 90s. It was convenient to exclude possible scenarios on the basis that the 'knowledge' was not yet 'scientific'. Serious minefield stuff it turned out, genetic engineering of crops and food and next door the committee helping bring on the BSE saga. Which brings us to Jeremy L's "cultural screen"; Governor of the Bank of England and several others as recent exhibits, etc.
Very glad Jeremy had his Revelation and did some drilling around of his own.

So what happens if the geologists are just waiting for a real scientific Peak Oil "theory"?

Then we must move without them while others attempt to get their ponderous heads current.

I'm of the view that for a clear-seeing person (i.e. they are willing to set aside their preconceptions for a spell), the evidence takes some time to sift through but is ultimately clear. Apparently the energy team at the UK Energy Research Centre agrees with me:
"Despite large uncertainties in the available data, sufficient information is available to allow the status and risk of global oil depletion to be adequately assessed."

They further say:
"A peak in conventional oil production before 2030 appears likely and there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020. Given the lead times required to both develop substitute fuels and improve energy efficiency, this risk needs to be given serious consideration."

I don't think you do anyone any favors by continually pointing out that there is no rigorous theory ('rigorous' in your view, anyway).

I understand that you have a different opinion.


As Phil Harris implied in the comment above, "knowledge" is a slippery thing. We are under the impression that there is a linear flow to science and that the previous knowledge get displaced with new knowledge. Right now, the theory of peak oil is in this transition. At the time Phil was taught plate tectonics, it wasn't part of the core knowledge. The instructors were told that it was "not knowledge". Knowledge in fact is whatever the scientific community currently believes to be true based on some core theory.

So it is not up to what I think about the situation, I am just fishing for angles on how to best convey the ideas. If we have to invoke some formality or rigor, I am OK with that.

When I was digging us some info on plate tectonics, I found this quote from an interesting presentation:
“Facts are not knowledge. Facts are facts, but how they form the big picture, are interconnected and hold meaning, creates knowledge. It is this connectivity, which leads to breakthroughs …”

Although I usually nod my head in agreement upon reading your posts aangel, I have to disagree here. The geologists are the experts here, not us true believers following this blog. I appreciate your concern that we need to act now not in 10 or 20 years but this is an important group of people to have on your side when trying to convince the public.

Furthermore, I think wht's continual work and prodding to find some coherent theory is extremely useful. Empiricism has it's place but the first question a politician is going to ask once convinced of peak oil is 'what will the decline rate be?'. And regardless of how much historical data one has, the utility of a predictive model is greatly reduced without modeling what is happening mechanistically.

Welaka, I'll say a little bit more about my view.

First off, I'm not saying "don't create a rigorous theory." What I am saying is, "Don't wait around or make it a critical point to have a rigorous theory." I say this for several reasons.

First, it might take a very long time to get that done, time we don't have (as you point out).

Second, it's not strictly necessary to make the case. The people who want the formal theory are the scientists and engineers. The rest of the population doesn't care. We could find ourselves in the exactly the position the climate change folks are in. They have a rigorous theory (started 150 years ago with Arrhenius) and the "other side" still disputes it on every technical point. Lately the "denialists" have had a great deal of success using technical points that have been handled long ago convincing people that climate change isn't a problem.

I first saw how issues can become technical fist fights in the computer software field. Before too long, two experts are talking at a level that no one else understands or cares about and forward movement stalls. In those cases, it usually took a business person to come in with a different set of evaluation criteria to settle the issue. The best technical solution didn't always win because there truly are other considerations (like price, ease of support, ease of implementation, track record and so on).

Now, it's true that technical arguments will likely happen anyway at some level. I'm trained as an engineer and I understand that math matters. Also, TOD is the perfect place to hash out a technical theory.

So by all means let the experts find one.

And if someone asks for a "rigorous theory," let them know that there are people working on it and point them to WHT.

But for everyone else, let's be sure always to say, "We're working on the math for people who really want it. However, there is more than enough evidence to make the case for peak oil right now. Here, let me walk you through the logic."

do you believe there is a infinite amount of petroleum on a finite planet?. a positive answer, should be followed by a "good-day, i have other things to do." Damn, folks. who really cares. If you don't see things now, based on your profession, your part of the problem. Mark Twain said it so much more succinctly than I ever could: "You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."

Suggestion. grab a chair, got out in your yard or on your patio. sit down and figure where you can plant something. make sure you are sitting down while you are thinking, because you don't want your mind to be clouded by extraneous activity. Think about it. we are in massive overshoot. things are happening faster than many predicted. give up hope on things getting better. go to plan b. remember you are about to enter a working relationship with nature. she is a tuff taskmaster. first you got to get the soil thing down. remember it will do most of the hard work. start learning now! the learning curve is steep, so you need to stop worring about geologist and others still debating the obvious. don't you feel it yet? and remember this african proverb, "the best place to store your extra food is in your neighbors belly."


stop worring about geologist ...

Wasn't that the subtitle of that Dr.Strangelove movie?

I think the subtitle was "or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb" The title actually was "Dr. Strangelove"
One of the best movies ever!

rube - mark twain also said something like: "researchers have cast much darkness upon the subject. if they continue their investigations we may soon know nothing at all about it." but i am sure this does not apply to geologists.

aangle -- I understand where you're coming from. But you can stop waiting for us geologists to come forward with proof of the PO "Theory". As I described below PO is a very old and accepted fact in the petroleum geology community. As a general matter we seldom discuss it amongst ourselves...just very old news to us. Except for those few PO advocates with such technical backgrounds who jump into the public debate the rest of us know not to waste our time. And there are enough retired/independent geologists to talk for days on the subject (we geologists do tend to love the sound of our own voices). We know that even if you get the public/politicians to listen to us it won't matter IMHO. The public/politicians are not going to accept our words until a point in time comes when it's to their benefit to do so. As you notice I don't hesitate to ramble on here at TOD. But it might surprise you to know that I rarely bring the subject up in public even when someone gives me an opening. Life is too short to waste it on the intellectually blind.

Interesting POV. I will give you a different scenario, Rockman. Take what you wrote and replace the phrases PO with Global Warming and petroleum geology with climate science. In that case, if it played out like PO, James Hansen would have been working his usual gig at NASA talking to his colleagues about weird temperature anomalies but collectively shrugging their shoulders, saying "big deal (yawn)".

Fascinating that the one scenario did not play out (Hubbert came close but never had an official "theory"), yet we have Hannsen, Mann, Schneider, etc who caught the public's attention with theories and science. Sounds of crickets on the geology side apart from Deffeyes, Campbell, and Laherrere, who essentially work with heuristics. Deffeyes especially is a sloppy scientist who would rather tell a good story than to do a thorough job, IMO.

Those are my observations and it is hard to argue about the general state of things. Peak oil may be one of those events like the flooding of New Orleans that will get studied more by historians.

A good analogy IMHO Web. I don't know any climatologist personally. I wonder if the majority of them, outside the folks grabing for headlines, have that same attitude as we in the oil patch have: "doesn't matter what we think or say, the public is too obstinent to listen". I suspect some of our TODers hang out on thos web site...any sense of what the rank and file climatologists think about the situation?

Rockman....agreed, I have no intention of waiting for the "formal math." As you point out (and I pointed out), people who don't want to budge will find a way to deny the math anyway.

I am predicting Peak Panic to come no later than 2013.

This will be proceeded by peak denial, a peak drilling boom, a nice big bump in the curve, followed by a peak decline rate.

I thought geologists understood deep physical processes intuitively. For example I understand the potted history of CO2 goes like this;

Palaeozoic - air unbreathable by human standards due to excess CO2. Plankton and land plants start to make oxygen.
Mesozoic - steamy swamps and shallow seas sequester billions of tonnes of CO2 to eventually form coal, oil and gas. Tough break for some eg dinosaurs.
Cenozoic - flowers and mammals one species of which decides to dig up and burn all that buried carbon partially reversing CO2 levels. Tough break for some eg humans.

I'm not a geologist but if they don't see some truth in this they haven't learned their chops.

Boof, it seems obvious but it escapes many. For instance, I now scan the page of any new article at TOD for "climate" or "warming" to see if climate change and/or global warming have even been mentioned. It's shocking that this existential threat to mankind —and believe me when I tell you that this is exactly how scientists see it— is barely rated a mention on most pages at TOD. Most articles blather on about oil running out and how we must grow our own food ... people, wake up! You won't be able to grow your own food when you have severe drought and water restrictions (eg SW USA), or destructive flooding.

So it hardly matters that oil is running out. We can't afford to burn what's left anyway.

"The survey found nearly 9 in 10 scientists accept the idea of evolution by natural selection, but just a third of the public does. And while 84 percent of scientists* say the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, less than half of the public agrees with that."

Americans value science, but not all of it.

(* - and about 98% of current climate scientists )


I am mightily concerned with the problems associated with climate change.

The problems associated with peak oil are however just as important because the two are so intertwined-we won't be able to do much about cc because we are likely to be too busy trying to deal with the short term effects of peak oil.

We are almost certainly going to lose the energy battle and as a result we will lose the cc war.We may have lost it already.

It is interesting to note that nearly all the older folks I know are quite comfortable with the fact that this part of the world is heating up and that the weather is getting both drier and more violent.

But as soon as you mention the words global warming or climate change they go instantly into denial mode.

So far as I can make sense of this paradox, it is the result of the message of cc having been intermingled with the message of liberal politics in general-which the locals see as an assualt on thier way of life-thier religion, thier culture, thier personal freedoms,and thier wallets.

What we need is an Al Gore with conservative credentials.

Nixon, being a well credentialed anti communist was able to establish a working relationship with China-something no liberal could have pulled of at that time.

While this is an important and a welcome sociological signal, it would have been perhaps even more to know the answer to the question:

Which of you have done your own due diligence, that is formed your own answer rather than appropriating that of somebody else, by doing the calculations yourself from ground up?

The number of hands raised for that would probably have been much less. I think that is a potential problem. Geology, oil production and peak oil movement all need hard-nosed analysts in addition to a critical mass of believers.

This vote looks impressive. But I wonder how representative it is. Maybe mainly geologists joined this session who were interested in PO (and at least partly convinced), whereas those who didn't buy into this "nonsense" didn't want to waste their time with this session?
It might help to know the number of attendees of this session compared to the number of attendees of the entire conference.

Could you get all those geologists who put up their hands to sign some sort of peak oil declaration document in the same way scientists put their names to climate change? Although raising your hand in a crowd is one thing and a signature is another, especialy if you think your job might be at risk by doing so.

Leggett says in this interview:

We will find out who is right about peak oil before the decade is out – earlier, rather than later.

That would mean by the end of next year, about 13 1/2 months from now. And he says earlier rather than later, so does that mean in the next 4-8 months? It would have been smart for the interviewer to have asked a follow up question, as to why he thought there would be such a short period of time before knowing one way or the other regarding peak oil.

I took his comment to mean in the next ten years, even if it wasn't really stated correctly.

Thanks for getting back to me on that Gail. 10 years?! I'm in the 'peak oil occurred in 05 camp', due to a lack of production capability to meet increasing demand from 05 to 08, that in turn caused prices to increase to 147. Also some post evidence that Ain Dar peaked in 05, which conincides with Simmons prediction that when Ghawar peaked, so would world oil production. So for Leggett to make the prediction that it will take until 2020 to know for sure, isn't much of a prediction.

Sure you don't want to do a follow up question to confirm he meant 2020 vs. 2010?

The issue is really the time frame over which the "peak oil drama plays out". That is not just the act of production dropping a bit. It is how it affects the rest of society. One would expect that to take a number of years. The fact that he is saying a decade, and sooner rather than later, to me means that he thinks "peak oil" has already taken, or is about to take place in the immediate future, and will have quick impacts on society.

I meant the next decade. Sorry if not clear.

Thanks for the clarification Jeremy.

Regarding the Shell reserve scandal, this NYT story from 2004 is relevant. Note that the chairman was saying something publicly that was not supported by the actual production data:

The Royal Dutch/Shell Group's oil production in Oman has been declining for years, belying the company's optimistic reports and raising doubts about a vital question in the Middle East: whether new technology can extend the life of huge but mature oil fields.

Internal company documents and technical papers show that the Yibal field, Oman's largest, began to decline rapidly in 1997. Yet Sir Philip Watts, Shell's former chairman, said in an upbeat public report in 2000 that ''major advances in drilling'' were enabling the company ''to extract more from such mature fields.'' The internal Shell documents suggest that the figure for proven oil reserves in Oman was mistakenly increased in 2000, resulting in a 40 percent overstatement.

David Shields noted the same phenomenon with Pemex, i.e., the public projections made by the company differed from internal projections.

I have referred to this as the "Generally Assume the Opposite Rule," i.e., when a government official or energy company spokesman talks about energy, one can generally assume that the truth is the opposite of what is being said.

I am a semi-retired international exploration geologist. Worked basins in 52 countries. Peak Oil is real! Geochemically, the oil window is limited to certain depths depending upon the geothermal gradient. Exploration geologists have looked at all of the world's basins and have a pretty good idea of what is left and where it is left. Corporate leadership is generally dominated by business majors, accountants and engineers who have not looked at the world's basins and do not fully understand geology or geochemistry. They do understand corporate politics.

I thought that the placid assurances from BP were interesting in light of the balance of net exports/imports from the North Sea area.

I understand that five countries have a share of North Sea oil & gas production: Norway, Denmark, UK, Netherlands and Germany. EIA data show that the production (from all sources) and consumption balance for the five countries resulted in a combined net export surplus of 0.74 mbpd in 1999, when overall North Sea crude production peaked. Only nine years later, the five countries had gone from a collective net export surplus to combined net imports of 1.13 mbpd, a swing of 1.87 mbpd. This is especially interesting because all five countries showed flat to declining consumption over this time period.

An important and a salient point.

Have you considered doing a guest post update on ELM, but this time with geographical consumption zones aggregated together and compared against their internal consumption growth rates?

That would be a very interesting post.

Impressive story! For me this has some of the strongest evidences debunking the don't-worry-bogus of the resource industry.
For example this one:

The sensitive matter, according to the report, involves negotiations over bonuses that the company can win for in-creasing reserves.
The basis for the bonus is a less rigorous standard -- called expectation reserves -- than the proven-reserves yardstick that the company is required by American rules to list in periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The report said ''the expectation reserves may be overstated.''

There is a recurring theme here, a reliance on TFD--Technological Fairy Dust*. Because of TFD, the Saudi oil minister suggests that the total Saudi oil resource base may approach a trillion barrels of oil. I can offer you my personal assurances that the Saudi oil minister is at least as honest as the former chairman of Shell oil.

*For reasons not yet completely clear (there have been some suggestions of renegade West Texas Communists and Vegan terrorists in the North Sea), TFD has not yet been sufficient to bring Texas and North Sea production back to peak levels.

Don't worry Tex.

Obviously TFD works just fine but the supply ran short due to the unexpectedly strong showing of the Chinese(Imitation IS the most sincere form of flattery, is it not?) and the tptb were caught short in a supply crunch.TFD, like any medicine or fertilizer , only works well when the dose or application is adequate to the job.

The word came down from the top sometime back however and the TFD industry is ramping up and we are now seeing the early results of this soon to be wartime type effort.

(Unfortunately the industry is technogically advanced nowadays and highly automated and while it does require the services of a few highly paid maestros such as Micheal C. Lynch it will not help much-directly- with the unemployment problem.)

I have it on good authority from my own confidential sources that congress will soon be voting a substantial subsiby for TFD expansion and things will get better even faster.

Peak oil.Bah Humbug!

I almost forgot-the TFD people are saying that the Treasury is using up electrons so fast that there may necessarily have to be a showdown at the highest levels of management to insure that they are adequately supplied-they warn that they will not be held responsible for failure due to lack of resources.

OK everyone...sit down and be quiet. I'll will explain one more time the realities of PO as seen through the eyes of professional petroleum geologists. In my 34 years I have never met one petroleum geologist that didn't understand PO. From exploration staff to production hands it dominates our daily existence. As I've said many times we don't use the term "PO" and probably never will unless talking to outsiders. It has always been the "reserve replacement issue". When I started with Mobil Oil in 1975 this subject was THE subject on the inside. And still is today. Public company concerns have been, and will continue to be, reserve growth. If one doesn't believe a public oil company's reserves will continue to grow in the future there is no reason to buy the stock. Many times during my career I've been tasked with convincing third part auditors that my company's in ground reserves were actually greater then what we thought. And I am very good at it. I smoked some of the sharpest consulting companies in the business. Just need enough time and data to confuse them. I wasn't paid to make the world more knowledgeable about PO. I was paid to help bolster the company's stock value. And that's the fact for every geologist working for a public company. Don't like that fact? Get over will never ever change.

Geologists have one primary function: drill successful wells. The secondary function is to drill any well even if it doesn't work. This pressure is similar to the "publish or perish" pressure academics face. I won't try to explain why so many geologists didn't vote acceptance of PO: perhaps intimidation, didn't like the term PO, maybe they worked international and thus see only some of the big opportunities that have popped up lately. As far as the management position goes, if I were the chairman of the board of a public company whose CEO admitted to PO I would fire his butt on the spot. The role of a CEO is not to inform the public of the truth. Their job is to promote the company stock. This is not a shot at those CEO''s a shot at those folks who think they should be saying otherwise. BTW -I've never met one CEO/high level manager who didn't fret over PO on a daily basis. I've lost count of how many corporate pep talks I've sat through that encouraged/threatened us to struggle with the reserve replacement issue.

Every day for 34 years I've watched geologists struggle to generate viable drilling projects. I've seen them misrepresent and outright lie to get wells drilled. What do you call a geologist who consistently fails to generate drillable prospects? Unemployed. I can't speak much about the international arena but domestically I can assure you that generating a viable drilling project is extremely difficult. And has been for my 34 years. Perhaps if they polled only US geologists the percentage would have been closer to 100. Now I work for a privately owned company. How accurate are our reserve estimates? Brutally honest. My new company came into existence six months ago for just one reason: the reality of PO. Our entire business plan is structured around PO and the anticipated crash. We are not unique in our expectations. Most in the industry would do exactly as we are: drilling as fast as possible. The difference is that we have $300 million dedicated to the effort while many others don't even have the capital to keep their doors open.

I'm not going to try defend every dumb statement from every dumb geologist. But the main reason I enjoy contributing to TOD is to counter the misconceptions, often promoted by the MSM, about the views of industry insiders. No one knows who I am nor who I work for (you'll never see a press release about our successes...very private owner). Thus I can say exactly what I believe. Might not always be nice. Might not always be correct. But it is the view from the inside that's probably closer to reality then you'll likely see anywhere else IMHO.

You started making a lot more sense after you switched to the exploration side :)

I don't know what your experience has been, but my experience has been that virtually all the pocket protector crowd (petroleum engineers) I know are adamantly opposed to near term Peak Oil concepts, while geologists tend to be more accepting of near term Peak Oil. Two examples are Economides and Deffeyes, engineer and geologist respectively.

WT -- I suspect the problem with PE's is that they are dominated, first, by daily concerns. Secondly, they are looking at the life cycle of individual reservoirs that are currently producing...not one's that will come on line down the road. In that sense, we shouldn't really expect a PE to grasp the significance of PO anymore then a layman. Maybe even less considering how wrapped up they are in the moment vs. the future. That forest for the trees thing, you know.

And yes...I'm doing exploration now. But with the cold calculating eye of a career development geologist. No fantasies allowed here.

RM - As a PE I should be offended by your scurilous insult to my profession but, having been around for a while, I am all too familiar with those types. It reminds me of a Joke that was told by the PH.D instructor at a 40 hr hazmat training course I attended years ago:

What do you call a consultant from out of town with slides?

An expert.

Also, his definition of heavy metal contamination was getting run over by a backhoe when you were in a level A protective suit.

Any opportunities to invest in your company? It sounds like you know what you're doing

Good insult intended. I do almost as much engineering as geology and understand how one can get lost in the details. Nope...we're privately owned. First time in my career I've worked daily with the guy who's money we're actually spending. Does tend to make you try all the harder to be correct.

In my opinion that seems like a pretty poor stereotype, and it has not really been my experience. I have known plenty of geologists over the years that are absolute idiots just as I have petroleum engineers.

The first day I showed up as a summer intern 22 years ago I asked the operations engineering manager something to the extent of if he thought there would be a future in petroleum engineering? He answered that he thought there was (and he was obviously right), but that he definitely thought that oil was a finite resource. I can’t see how any petroleum engineer with half a brain could not see this. Every well we look at has a decline curve! All but possibly one field I have ever worked on is well past its peak! How could you not believe in peak oil?

I think the problem is that most engineers (and geologist too) don’t look at the big picture. I was about twelve years into my career before I really realized how much oil the world burns on a daily basis. That was pretty much the watershed moment for me. After that time I quickly became an ardent believer in peak oil and I have spent a lot of time researching it since then. I am personally surprised it has not become a bigger issue yet, but I did not anticipate the world wide recession and the drop in demand.

Thanks for your insightful comments.

Maybe the language that's been used does not give the proper impression on those who hear the message. Talking about Peak Oil (PO) doesn't convey the impact to whomever might be hearing it. With full tongue-in-cheek, I suggest we start using the phrase "Peak Oil Production", or simply "POP".

Using that abbreviation, one could say something like this. Once the oil production POPs, the oil dominated economy of debt based financial bubbles will also POP, perhaps permanently. Might as well "kill two birds with one stone"...

E. Swanson

Dog -- Not sure if POP will get the job done but I've felt for a long time that "PO" get's too confusing for the public. It allows the bad guys to use "proved reserves", "ultimate recoverable reserves", and all the other misleading volumetic values to cloud their minds. If we could get folks to stick with a production rate metric such as max delivery or some such phase then the public might be less confused. But I think we've gone too far down the road with "PO". But it wouldn't hurt if we tried to discipline ourselves to be more correct. Might catch on even against the odds.

So you've been blowing smoke up the bankers butts for over three decades and everyone else for that matter. Why would you care about it, you're making a lot of money with it. Enough to ease your mind apparently. You are currently anticipating PO to make as much profit as possible. And you are trying to sell us that PO is real to get us in the panic mode.... Surely, this must be another one of your smokestacks.

Conclusion, there is no PO anytime soon.

I couldn't agree with you more Styno. I'm just very thankful most are not as clever as you and we can keep this game running until my retirement.

Oh, I'm not nearly as clever as you're suggesting here. Just very cynical at this point.

Styno -- As a poster child myself for the cynical I can't fault you.

Thanks Rockman, this explains a lot. I am saving this post for future reference.

Ron Patterson

ROCKMAN, your post above has to be the most important post I've read to date on TOD. The following comments are in no way meant to reflect negatively on you, whose posts I look forward to on a regular basis.

A primary failing of the human species is greed. It is a rare human who, given enough distance between them and an immoral act, will not participate in financial gain resulting from that immoral act. Most large corporations, especially those in the financial sector, rely on the fact that the majority of their shareholders are more interested in profits than how those profits are obtained.

Thus we have a corporate system which "forces" competing companies to continually lower their moral standards in order stay competitively profitable. Companies with monopolies follow a similar pattern except they overcharge their customers and illegally work behind the scenes to stifle competition. Again, the majority of their shareholders don't want to know the details; they simply want to see the stock go up.

This is the fundamental flaw in the corporation/shareholder system. It allows shareholders to ignore immoral/illegal behavior by corporate executives. There is no solution for this. I simply point out the fact that it is the rare corporation who feels it has a responsibility to the good of all mankind. Corporations justify this attitude by saying if they stop their immoral/illegal behavior someone else will step in and take their place. They are correct.

We are simultaneously facing the three worst problems (on a world scale) in recorded human history. A complete breakdown of the worldwide financial system, climate change, and peak oil. The reason we will not solve any of them is greed. Greed allows for massive contributions to politicians whose own greed prevents the massive change in policies and laws we desperately need. Greed allows the funding of organizations and shills whose purpose is spreading disinformation in order to protect corporate profits. Because of greed, every society in the world will have to deal with the horrendous results of our inability to act as responsible species.

We can't change our species, we can only try to survive the consequences of our flaws. Most of us I fear, won't.

Good comments all around. I am always puzzled by the fact that the geologists seem to understand the "reserve replacement issue" yet no one has ever really quantified it. Hubbert tried but as Rockman indicated previously, it was more of a hobby for him. It must have been the geologists equivalent of the management "don't go there" admonition.

I find this fascinating because in all my years of science and engineering, I can't think of a "don't go there" situation (outside of dealing with co-workers on personality issues, of course), that we didn't take head-on. Those were always the situations that held out hope for new opportunities or ideas. Or else these became challenges that certain scientists felt they had to solve, especially in academia. I guess I will never understand the oil industry. Could it potentially have more in common with treasure hunting than science? (that was a rhetorical question of course)

Web -- Rhetorical hell. My owner is a clever man to say the least. And he's following his investment model with hard cash. But deep down he is a raving romantic. It's the hunt he enjoys...the hunt for treasure. He has all the toys he needs for a dozen life times. In fact, he doesn't need to make a penny off of our efforts. He probably wouldn't lose too much sleep over that. But to not find the "treasures"...that would be a real heart break for him.

I think you hit on the real problem: in my experience academics love to attack the "don't go there" issues. I don't know how it is in other tech areas but there is a huge disconnect between the oil patch and the academics. Very few geoscience academics have any practical experience in the oil patch. Many actually avoid it. I was fortunate in that my thesis advisor was a retired (and brilliant) petroleum geologist. I will tell you that many PG's would sign on to battle the "don't go there" issue. Just put them on a retainer and sign that invoice every month. And that's the real shame of it: with the down turn in the oil patch right now the Feds could sign up a couple of hundred geologists/pet. engineers over night and in less than a year they could put together one heck of a convincing story.

And we both know that will never happen.

X -- I couldn't agree with you more.

Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower....

Q: What do you think the result means?

The result seems to suggest that the rank-and-file practitioners hold a very different view of peak oil from the BP/Shell/Exxon etc. top tables.

Or that the geologists on the ground, are more down to earth, than the upper crust with their heads far above the peaks, seeing only the rosy clouds... ;-)

the geologists on the ground, are more down to earth, than the upper crust with their heads far above the peaks, seeing only the rosy clouds...

Or take another group with their heads in the clouds, NASA management. They estimated the chances of a space shuttle main engine failure at 1 in 100,000.

The engineers at the manufacturer thought it was more like 1 in 10,000, the engineers at NASA thought it was about 1 in 300, and independent consulting engineers thought it was 1 or 2 in 100.

Guess who has been found to be closest to the truth. Fortunately the space shuttle has three engines, but if you were an astronaut, wouldn't you like to have ejection seats, too? (Or maybe a completely different spacecraft.)

“While he managed not to alienate NASA engineers, whose work he respected, Feynman’s quick and analytical mind uncovered numerous faults with the space program and the Washington bureaucracy. Many in Washington resented and ignored his dressing down of NASA’s management. As Feynman put it: “In science, you learn a kind of standard integrity and honesty,” not commonly found in Washington."

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

Richard Feynman

So many useless managers so few Richard Feynmans, he at least had a greater respect for the engineers at NASA than he did for the stuffed shirts with ties in Washington.

During the 2008 meeting of the American Meteorological Society, I sat in on the meeting of the Energy Committee; and at the end of it, the committee members allowed me to speak. Committee meetings are open to all members. I raised the issue of Peak Oil and encouraged the AMS, through the Energy Committee, to begin drafting a statement regarding its position on this momentous event, something like this: meteorology, as a discipline, has much to offer in capturing wind, wave and solar energy, and that capture it, we must. The deleterious consequences of Peak Oil will assuredly affect industry, commerce, public health and agriculture. The committee members listened and politely declined to take any action, as I had almost expected. Also during the conference, I met with one atmospheric scientist in a policy office of the Department of Energy, who stated that his group would do nothing in terms of addressing Peak Oil until after the election—and they have done nothing. At the local level, I have approached my county supervisor, who referred me to a county planner, who was an absolute waste of my time, a hotshot know-it-all who actually believes the EIA. Now that the geologists are willing to accept reality, I shall continue my efforts. The Oil Drum is a tremendous resource for staying abreast of this critical and crucial time.

No surprises there. Climatologists in Australia are also divided over peak oil. It is incomprehensible that scientists who work every day with partial differential equations and thermodynamic laws can't understand that fluid mechanics in reservoir rocks determine the peaking of oil production in an oil field and that thermodynamics limit the energy efficiency of alternative fuels.

Everything will be decided in the next 10 years. I have started a series of posts on the best slides shown at the ASPO 2009 conference.

My latest is here:

The world needs to save at least 3 mb/d by 2020 for China to grow. Any volunteers?

The previous post was about Matthew Simmon's question “How many years of falling supplies until we accept that oil peaked?”, Gail's peak oil = peak credit and Dave Cohen's wave of next oil price shocks

The world needs to save at least 3 mb/d by 2020 for China to grow. Any volunteers?

Only those that will be "volunteered" by increasing prices. Much of the population in Africa. Poor people in the US/Canada and (I expect to a lesser degree) in Europe. At the margin, factories and newly wealthy individuals in China can and will outbid poor people all over the world.


...Much of the population in Africa....

They consume so little, any saving will be negligible. Example Malawi, 15 million population, consumes just 8 (eight) kb/d or 1/10,000th of world consumption.

10 years ago there were zero billionaires in China. Now 261.. Plus the Chinese government will use it's surplus (as it is doing now) to lock up oil supplies.

We can't turn back time we need to adapt. Take a look at this article The Great Transition:

Very interesting.

But let us keep in mind that the act of 'voting' on a factual question neither proves nor disproves the question, but only provides an indication of the degree consensus.

Very likely, the learned men of Europe circa 1300 would have voted by a resounding majority that the sun revolves around the earth.

As a more contemporary example, if a vote were taken circa 1950 on whether a computer with the massive memory and power of an ordinary modern PC were within the realm of possibility, I suspect that the majority of scientists at the time would have 'voted' that it would be impossible due to the physical limits of trying to miniaturize vacuum tubes.

This is not to say that I disagree with the notion of Peak Oil, as I only wanted to point out that voting and polling does not in and of itself establish facts. Science, like most things that humans engage in, is not immune from the herd mentality.

Joule, voting does reveal changes in thinking. It reveals whether people are changing their minds toware any concept or not. If you polled geologists in 1950 concerning plate tectonics, you would have found likely less than one percent believed in the concept. If you pollet geologists in 1965 you would have discovered a ground swell of believers but probably still less than 50 percent. Poll again in 1980 and you would have found near 100 percent now understood and believed the concept.

The same holds true for geologists concerning peak oil. It is nothing more than a measure of the progress we are making.

Ron P.

Yes, voting on something does not establish the truth, it only establishes that there is a consensus.

And the consensus is often wrong. Examples include the consensus that the sun revolved around the earth, that continents were immobile and could not drift, and that the dinosaurs died out slowly and not in one big, catastrophic event.

In the computer biz, the consensus was that you needed a mainframe to do really important stuff. So, when the PC came along and could do most things a mainframe could do at considerably lower cost, there was considerable resistance among the mainframe software developers who felt that this should be impossible. Eventually upper management had to solve the problem by ditching the mainframes, firing all the old mainframe developers, and bringing in a bunch of PC-oriented kids. Once again, the dinosaurs died in one big, catastrophic event.

It's usually disastrous to be on the wrong side of a paradigm shift (to use that often-abused but highly relevant term). Unless you're in government, of course, where being fired for being wrong seldom happens.

On the other hand, being on the right side can be highly profitable (just ask Bill Gates.)

Good point Guy. I seem to recall some folks actually being burned at the stake for not accepting the "fact" that the Sun revolved around the earth. Soon enough, when PO hits home hard, the world will know the truth: the Sun actually revolves around petroleum geologists. Long live St. Hubbert!!!

Science advances one funeral at a time.

Max Planck

Hi Darwinian,

You just won the quote of the month prize.

Four out of five TOD readers would agree.

"Science advances one funeral at a time."

Then, if PO results in mass deaths in the near future, I suppose science may undergo some major advances relatively soon. ;o)


Speaking of deaths and dieoffs-in the current issue of Foreign Policy (free online) there is an article titled Revolution in a Box dealing with the influence of television on brth rates as the idiot box spreads thru the third world.

The news is suprising to me at least and suprisingly good-the idiot box appears to cause the birth rate to fall substantially as poor women mimic the behavior of thier soap opera role models, who have few children.

Then, if PO results in mass deaths in the near future, I suppose science may undergo some major advances relatively soon. ;o)

Yeah, assuming we are able to hold mass funerals, since the deaths in and of themselves have very little if any consequence :-(

Venezuelan Orinoco heavy is overlooked. OPEC spare capacity is overlooked. Dozens of untapped OPEC fields are overlooked. Presalt is overlooked. NG condensates/liquids are overlooked as more LNG plants are brought onstream. Greater fuel efficiencies coincide with rising prices. All these things to overt panic in the near term. There are 20 billion barrels of heavy oil on the north slope of Alaska and it is too deep to steam flood. Special pumping systems might recover 10% of that oil. Looks like oil depletion will eventually overtake E&P, it seems like everyone knows this, no arguement except as to when.

What did they do in the 19th century, how did any survive without luxury sedans, the T.V., Internet, or genetically engineered seeds? Ingenuity will look for inventions. Pessimists may sit idle.

10% of 20 billion is 2 billion which at 85 million barrels a day of world consumption will last for 20 days (not counting the energy that it will take to extract and move).

How much could you expect expect oil companies or foreign governments to invest in Venezuela to extract oil when it is run by a government that thinks it is perfectly ok to seize assets anytime they desire?

OPEC has been hiding there true reserves for years and even the ex-head of Saudi Aramco has said there isn't likely to be more production.

LNG could help but there are potential issues there too including eventual world gas shortages and supply issues.

I do agree ingenuity will triumph and life will go on. It will just look a lot simpler (less distant vacations, small cars, smaller houses) in the U.S. particularly but there will also be a lot of financial pain in the transition process for many (inflation especially in the cost of transportation and food, a new and unfortunately worse housing crisis, etc.).

When John's SGS Alternate gets to 50% (sometime this coming decade, is what I'm planning for), we will be living in a very, very different world:

So true Wallstreet. But I'll make one little correction to you story: China isn't ingoring Vz's heavy crude. They cut a deal last year: China will build 4 special tankers to haul that crud to China to be processed in 3 new refineries designed to handle that nasty stuff. They are also in the process of buying the second largest refinery in the western hemisphere (Valaro in Aruba). At the same time they cut a big deal for more VZ heavy....think it might end up in Aruba? Don't know myself but I wouldn't bet agaisnt it. Why not...that plant has a great market...most of the products are shipped to the US.Gulf Coast refiners have always bitched about having to handle VZ heavy bit always assumed it was theirs for the asking. Not o. And now that Mexico is sliding farther down the declie curve the VZ heavy is become a much more relevent issue.

The US is standing with their hands in their pockets while China is securing future oil production all around the globe.

Agreed that China is out to get and buy Vz oil but I am not sure how much they would actually invest in fixed assets in Vz. Given that I wouldn't be surprised if Vz totally or partly mismanages their production,it could be slow might not be, but we certainly cann't count on it.

You're so right about the U.S. standing around with hands in its pockets except it is not just in ours but China's as we keep borrowing. That won't last forever with a 53 Trillion deficit.

Which gets me back to my favorite line of all time, Margaret Thatcher's "the problem with socialism is eventually the socialists run out of other peoples money to spend". We have already run out but don't know it yet. And my new favorite fact which is that there is an 86% correlation between the money supply and oil prices. So flood the market with greenbacks, even without peak oil, and there is only one way to go... or ... what if the correlation effect is also that the dollar gets weaker as oil prices go up?

I keep hearing lately more stories latey about your inflation run up. Great for me but will be terrible for most folks. I haven't heard of the Chinese putting much hard assets on the ground in VZ. That might be their secret: generate a big market for VZ heavy refining outside of Vz and what will VZ do? Not sell to China and lose a big source of competition. Just a guess but from my experience seeing the insides of a few Chinese deals I woundn't bet on the Vz gov't ever coming out on top.


I also expect to benefit from oil inflation but am concerned about everyone else. I am interested in how you are positioned to benefit from inflation and I would bet a lot of other people would like to know or could benefit.

wallstreet -- Unfortunately most can't benefit from my primary position: I'm working on a successful efforts basis -- when we sell the company I get a piece. If we establish enough reserves in the ground before oil inflation kicks in big time again I'll benefit greatly. Unfortunately for the vast majority of our fellow citizens it will unavoidably lead to more pain. Other then the job I've done as many others have done: reduced debt, etc. If you were asking if I play futures/equities the answer is hell no. I learned a long time ago I was pretty good at fnding the grease but didn't know crap about predicting the future of oil.

Thanks for the interesting info. I would hope you could benefit from reserves even after oil inflation kicks in unless there is a special contingency. I guess I will stick with Canadian oil companies as my hedge.

Mr. Leggett is enthusiastic, albeit less careful when referring to clean energy. For example, batteries for electric cars need rare earth materials that will be in short supply even without electric cars. Currently, China produces 92% of the world demand. There are extremely few resources outside China. China needs more and more for herself and in the case China is building electric cars then the rest of the world will be starved. Numerous analysts pointed out that electric cars cannot replace conventional ones unless new materials are found to replace the use of rare earth materials.

... batteries for electric cars need rare earth materials that will be in short supply even without electric cars. Currently, China produces 92% of the world demand. There are extremely few resources outside China. ...

There's more available than you appear to think. The Chinese deposit was the best to exploit, so prices will rise; but there's at least as much mineable rare-earth ore outside China as inside it. The situation is not the same as for oil.

Just one example:

There are other alternatives, too. Compressed-air powered "commuter cars". Taking the bus. Living a walking distance from work. Again, it's not the same as with oil, for which there are few substitutes, and those much inferior.

We don't have a resource problem for "green" technologies. Our problem lies in the cost of the capital required to re-tool for the new products. The capital will be much more costly if western governments continue to divert it into failing old fossil-fuel-based industries and bankers' pockets.

The world as a whole is not running out of oil a peak. A peak is defined as a transitory event having a rise and then a decline. What counts is the likelihood of crude oil extraction using present and future technologies. So, production of many field will decline steadily while new field with high production costs and frenetic efforts will come on line to stem the tide of world oil decline, at least in part. In my view there will be an undulating plateau for some years before a steep decline. If this is the scenario then the phrase "peak oil" is not describing such an event but a closer fitting description would be "plateau oil"


The key point omitted from synopses like yours, which is pretty much standard, is that during the "undulating plateau" the rate of capital consumption will increase exponentially - more and more wells will be drilled, each providing (on trend) less and less incremental oil. You will have heard of the "Red Queen Problem", from Alice Through The Looking Glass - where you have to run as hard as you can to stay in the same place, and if you want to get anywhere you must run much faster than that. That's the Plateau.

It is interesting to me that BP are among the PO deniers and the Scientific American has become so revisionist. I have a few historical anecdotes which in a just world would give TBTB in both organisations some pause for thought.
I came into this about 1970 and started writing papers about it. BP's Chief Geologist at the time was Harry Warman and he published a paper in the Geographical Journal Vol 138 September 1972 entitled The future of Oil. The abstract says that "...we are likely to be dependent on conventional crude oil for a few decades and that the likely available available world reserves may prove inadequate to allow continued expansion of our rates of off-take for more than another ten years or so."
I wrote to Warman and had a nice letter from him dated 1 November 1972. He said "It is certainly desirable not to be alarmist and of course the position is far from simple. My original paper in the Petroleum Review was aimed a oil explorers and made no attempt to consider the role of oil in the total energy picture.... I think there is a real problem looming up in the next 10 or 15 years during which shortages of oil reserves will begun to make themselves felt...The problems consist of a mixture of speed of technological development, capital requirement and policy decisions at a Government level regarding the full social implications which you cover in your papers." He incidentally thanked the BP Board for permission to publish his paper. BP were the good honest guys at the time.
My other great source of information at the time was the Sept 1971 issue of the Scientific American. It had a paper by Hubbert in which he looked at The Energy Resources of the Earth. The most concrete of his analyses was oil in which he went through the various estimates of URR and showed his peak around 2000.
His and Warman's analyses were grist to my part in a campaign to oppose the building of a system of circular freeways in London which we won. It also determined the direction of my future career. These days I follow the TOD debates with much interest.

A great addition Alexander. I'll toss my little anecdotes in from time to time but none have the impact of the contribution you just made.

Mucho thanks from Texas