Staff Biographies

Editorial board

Arthur Berman (aeberman) is a petroleum geologist with 32 years of industry experience. He has been an independent geological consultant since 1999 and worked for Amoco Production Company for 20 years before then. He is an editor of The Oil Drum and a member of the National Petroleum Council. He has published more than 50 articles on petroleum, geology and technology over the past several years. He has made more than 30 presentations to investment and petroleum industry conferences, scientific society meetings, and E&P companies over the past year. He has done television interviews on CNN and BNN, and is widely quoted in the national and world press for his views on the oil and gas industry. He has a BA from Amherst College and an MS from the Colorado School of Mines.

Rembrandt Koppelaar is co-founder and former President of ASPO Netherlands (Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas Netherlands) from 2005 to 2010. He holds a BSc in economics from Wageningen University of Life Sciences. Currently he is towards a Research Master degree in environmental economics. His main research interests lie in the management of finite resources.

Brian Maschhoff (JoulesBurn) earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of New Mexico and a Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. He has worked at several academic institutions and government laboratories, and currently engages in a wide variety of scientific and technical pursuits. His research on the oil fields of Saudi Arabia is also posted at Satellite o'er the Desert.

Euan Mearns has B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in geology from The University of Aberdeen. He worked as a researcher at The University of Oslo and then The Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology for a total of 8 years. In 1991 he set up a company in Aberdeen, Scotland providing isotope analyses to the international oil industry. His company worked for over 60 exploration and production companies world wide but eventually ran out of reservoirs to characterise and the company was sold in 2001. Since 2009, Euan has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen. His main interests lie in understanding energy systems, forecasting, and energy policy.

Paul Sears was born in the UK, and did a Ph.D. in chemistry at Cambridge. Since first coming to Canada on a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Western Ontario in 1973, he has worked at the University of Toronto and in the Canadian Federal Government in Ottawa. Most of his work since the mid 1970's has been on the supply and use of energy in one form or another. His interest in the limitations to oil supply dates back to about 1962, when he was at school watching a promotional film from an oil company. The subject of the film was oil exploration, and this caused him to wonder about the dependence of our society on oil and the limits to supply. Other interests are canoeing, kayaking, skiing, hiking, camping, keeping planted aquaria and learning Mandarin Chinese. Sadly, Paul Sears passed away on September 13, 2012. You can read an obituary here.

Dave Summers (Heading Out) is now a Curators' Professor Emeritus of Mining Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (he retired in 2010). He directed the Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center at MO S&T off and on from 1976 to 2008, leading research teams that developed new mining and extraction technologies, mainly developing the use of high-pressure waterjets into a broad range of industrial uses. Since he has drilled a lot of holes in his time, he tends to write more on the technical aspects of energy production. His last work before retirement dealt with developing technologies for the more efficient mining and processing of mineral ores and the underground cultivation of algae in unused spaces. While one of the founders of The Oil Drum, back in 2005, he now also writes separately at Bit Tooth Energy.

Gail Tverberg (Gail the Actuary) is a writer and speaker on issues related to "energy and our future", including the connection between oil shortages and the economy. She has been an invited speaker to many groups, including the Seventh Biennial International Workshop in Energy Studies in Barcelona, Spain and the 2nd International Biophyisical Economics Conference. She has been interviewed on BNN, and her writings have been published by the Casualty Actuarial Society and by Contingencies Magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries. Her actuarial work has spanned a wide range of issues, from the evaluation of the expected direct and impacts of proposed tort reform legislation to the development of rates and pro forma financial statements for proposed new insurance companies. She is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries, and has a Master's Degree in Mathematics from the University of Illinois in Chicago. Her blog is called Our Finite World.

Chris Vernon holds masters degrees in Computational Physics and Earth System Science, has studied energy systems and environmental decision making and is currently working towards a Ph.D. in glaciology focusing on the Greenland ice sheet. He has a decade's engineering experience in the field of cellular telecoms, specialising in radio network architecture and off-grid power systems in emerging markets. He is also a trustee at the Centre for Sustainable Energy and to get away from the computer he competes in triathlon events.

Selected contributors

Big Gav studied Engineering at the University of Western Australia in Perth. Since then he has travelled widely and worked in the oil and gas, power generation, defence, technology and banking industries. He has been blogging about peak oil for almost 3 years at Peak Energy (Australia) and is probably the most prolific example of a techno-optimist in the peak oil world. He may be alone in thinking that peak oil represents a great opportunity to switch to a clean energy based world economy, rather than the trigger for the end of industrial civilisation.

David Murphy is an adjunct professor and post-doctoral research associate within the Division of Environmental Science at the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). David's most recent research, accepted for publication in Ecological Economics Reviews, focused on the role of fossil fuel consumption in economic growth. In other research, published in Environment, Development, and Sustainability, he measured the energy return on investment of corn ethanol production in the United States, and the International Journal of Climatology published a paper that measured how regional temperatures were changing due to urbanization. David has lectured about energy and economic systems to local town committees, non-profit organizations, national conferences, and financial institutions. David received a B.A. in Biology from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2003. He received an M.S. in Environmental Science in 2007 and a Ph.D. in the same discipline in 2010, both from SUNY-ESF.

Hannes Kunz (hannes) holds Masters degrees in Law and Economics from the University of Zurich, and a PhD in Economics from St. Gallen University. He worked as a senior manager in a number of industries and as a partner in international management consulting companies with assignments in Europe, the Americas and in Asia. Today, Hannes is President of the Institute for Integrated Economic Research, an independent non-profit research institution founded in 2007. The key focus of the IIER is the integration of macroeconomic theory with resource-based views and the development of systemic views on human ecosystems.

Jeff Vail (jeffvail) is an energy intelligence analyst and former US Air Force intelligence officer. He has a B.S. in engineering and history from the US Air Force Academy and a Juris Doctor from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. His interests are in global energy geopolitics and the the "rhizome" theory of social and economic organization. He is the author of the political anthropology book A Theory of Power and maintains a blog at

Jérôme à Paris is an investment banker in Paris, specialised in structured finance for energy projects, in particular in the wind power sector. After graduating from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, he wrote his Ph.D. in economics in 1995 on the independence of Ukraine, with a strong focus on the gas relationship between Ukraine and Russia, and he worked on financings for the Russian oil & gas industry for several years after that. He is the editor of the European Tribune, a community website on European politics and energy issues. He has written extensively about energy issues, usually from an economic or geopolitical angle for the European Tribune and for DailyKos where he led a collective effort to draft an energy policy for the USA, Energize America.

Luís Alexandre Duque Moreira de Sousa (Luís de Sousa) is a researcher at the Public Research Institute Henri Tudor in Luxembourg and a Ph.D. student in Informatics Engineering at the Technical University of Lisbon. Luís created the first Portuguese language website dedicated to Peak Oil in 2005 (; in 2006 he would be one of the founders of ASPO-Portugal and later that year integrated the team that started the European branch of The Oil Drum. Since then he has continuously written about Energy and its interplay with Politics and Economics, both in English and Portuguese. Luís is regular presence at the collective blog European Tribune and writes on the broader issues of life on his personal blog AtTheEdgeOfTime.

Nate Hagens recently completed his PhD in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont where he studied the relationship between debt and energy on the supply side and the evolutionary underpinnings of behavioral obstacles to changing our consumption patterns on the demand side. Previously, Nate has an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago and a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nate serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future (non-profit publisher of The Oil Drum), the Institute For Integrated Economic Research, and the Post Carbon Institute. A recent video of Nate and his research can be seen here: Part 1, Part 2.

phil hart studied Materials Engineering at Monash University in Melbourne before spending five years with Shell UK Exploration and Production. He worked on two new North Sea oil and gas field development projects before joining the Brent field maintenance team as a corrosion engineer. In late 2006, Phil returned to Melbourne and is an active member of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil. He has provided briefings to local government, fund managers and other businesses and presented on the issue at community events and local oil industry forums.

Robert Rapier has a master's degree in chemical engineering, and bachelor's degrees in chemistry and mathematics. He has 15 years of experience in the petrochemicals industry, including experience with cellulosic ethanol, gas-to-liquids (GTL), and butanol production. He holds several U.S. and international patents, and is currently employed by a major oil company. Robert maintains an energy blog at