Peak Oil Drum?

Environmental and Urban Economics notes that our visits peaked in September, and speculates the decline since then is due to declining gas prices. A graph of visits to both our old and new sites shows:

Monthly visits to the Oil Drum, both the old site (prior to August), and the new (after August). August is a sum of figures for both sites).

My own speculations about the graph would be that the rapid growth of the early months represent both growth in awareness of Peak Oil, and growth in awareness of TOD within the Peak Oil community. I think September was primarily driven by hurricane related traffic. Our hurricane coverage was linked to by some of the largest blogs and even the MSM (such as MSNBC). It was not surprising to see a falloff after Katrina/Rita.

I would agree with EUE that gas price declines may explain part of the October to November decline. Another factor could have been that Prof G. was obliged to spend too much of his time on his real life for a while - he normally does a lot of behind the scenes stuff to promote the site and to keep our content fresh and topical (he reports that things are slowly returning to normal).

Overall, I'm not worried. Just as oil prices are going to be volatile across the peak, interest in peak oil websites will be volatile month-to-month too. As long as we are basically right about oil peaking, interest will overall get stronger and stronger until such time as we are substantially past peak and society has figured out basically what it is going to do in response.

It does appear to me that the Oil Drum core user least those that post comments regularly...has continued to more or less maintain its level the past few months. I don't write too many comments myself, but as an avid reader I do know the 100+ response threads can get very unwieldy and overly time-consuming. If (or when) this site reaches near the current level of DailyKos you will see a lot more of those!
It seems there is a strong correlation between oil or gas prices and visitors to "peak oil sites" ;-)

I run the Spanish spoken Crisis Energética, and I superposed the visitors between April 2004 and March 2005. This is the result:

Las August, with prices around 70$, we doubled visitors, from 4000 daily to 8000.

Also correlates with the chart of Encana (and just about any other big oil/gas producer) below:

Stock markets act the same way - when they go up, they attract the money and when they correct, the volume drops off.

This is a cautionary lesson for those who would like to see government play more of a role in the oil market. I've noticed that people who make such suggestions always assume that government will follow their own ideas about what to do. In effect "put the government in charge" is just a shorthand for "put me in charge".

But in practice government has its own rules and its own dynamics. There is no reason to expect it to follow the dictates of the Peak Oil community. When PO is hot, yes, government will want to show that it is taking action against the problem. But the population is fickle and will soon loose interest, as demonstrated by the graph above. At that point government's priorities are likely to change.

Historically what we tend to see is regulatory capture, where the parties supposedly being regulated by government come to control the regulations for their own benefit. They never lose interest, you see. When the public turns away, they will still be present, lobbying for their views to be heard and accommodated.

Last month we learned the Burgan field in Kuwait is declining, yesterday we learn from PEMEX that thier production is declining, and now Peak oil drum visits are declining? This is too depressing for one person to take. I need a double, on the rocks!

Either the visitor are looking for solutions to peak oil, or they are looking to verify the validity of production decreases through the discussions. Maybe it went right over thier heads, and they moved on. I for one am curious and trying to learn about this.

The other website seems to be pretty busy, maybe compare stats with them. It is a big site too. That was my first intro to peak oil, i don't go there anymore. I prefer the intelligent dialog here!

"I need a double, on the rocks!"

Fortunately, we are still decades away from Peak Alcohol!

It's gas prices that drive traffic to peak oil sites.  The graph looks the same, and it's a long-established site.  
Gee, looks like the administrators from all the PO sites are here!

Traffic statistics for the Energy Bulletin are following the same trend as at TOD, though not as extreme.  I think you got the spike in hits for Sept for your outstanding coverage of the hurricanes.  

Otherwise, traffic seems to jump when gas prices jump, then drops off to a consistent level.  I think there was a similar jump in EB's readership last year.


I found TOD during the hurricanes, it was linked from somewhere - I think to one of the radar animations that was posted.  I've stayed because it's the most rational and thought provoking dialog on the subject, period.  Weblogs have a life cycle of their own, and it will evolve and change - hopefully it will retain it's character and focus on facts.  I have to say that I learn even from those comments I disagree with, and I often find that I'll agree with the poster later on a different topic.  The best way to test your theory is to try to defend it.

This business of predicting the future has its rough edges - I'm determined to find the best path through this that I can.  And coming from outside the oil industry, I have no access to the technical information, or at lest am too ignorant of the terminology and sources to find it.  I think sites like TOD are a great illustration of the power of the exchange of information and the internet.  Thanks to all those that contribute!

And those that lose interest - well, some will take the red pill, and some will take the blue.  I prefer the reality based community.

The chart looks quite promising to me . Compare April to November .  Nice increase .  Isn't July a traditional Vacation month ?  August and September fell during what appeared to be a local apocalypse .  Good news !  The visitors knew where to look .  
Christmas and new year's celebrations and responsibilities should interfere with visits .  Additionally, differential equations do not typically draw a crowd .  
What I see is an increasing awareness of problems with world energy production .  That is good .  
I'm expecting (or at least hoping) that we'll surpass November levels as the winter goes forward and energy issues "heat up" again.
I was checking TOD semi-hourly during the Katrina/Rita storms. Nowadays maybe I check in a few times a day. Just like CNN gets super ratings when a war is on and then after a while I just turn it on a few times a week for a quick update.

The key data is not "hits", it is "unique visitors". I have no doubt that everyday, this site is generating more and more awareness of peak oil and all of its complexities. I'm not sure exactly how many TOD users there are but I'm sure it has continued to increase over time.

IMHO, this is the best oil depletion site on the web considering the outstanding work done by the editors and some stories done by us contributors and some excellent guest posts. I look sometimes at the other forums but find that their discussions do not meet the high standards TOD tries to meet.

The ASPO-USA conference was a real eye-opener for me. Most people were familiar with the information services provided by TOD and all commments were positive.

By and large, I would say that peak oil issues are still rather marginal in American culture as a whole but are getting more widely known due, in no small part, to websites like this. Still, it's an uphill battle, there's no doubt about that.
I'm guilty of helping with the decline.  I've gone from 8 checks a day (during the storms) to 2 or 3.  I agree, plot "unique visitors/day" over the same timeframe and I'll bet the drop off doesn't look nearly as bad.
I found this site during the Katrina crisis however I now visit it most days because of the outstanding information available here.

Now all you have to do to boost your ratings is engineer a quick crisis :-)

I am a very minor player in the PO community and get some traffic off the big sites in the form of links.  My peak month was august, w/ sept close behind.
viewer hits...who cares??...i came to TOD via aspo then energy bulletin, and find TOD the most interesting, thought provoking site , bar none. just keep up the great work everyone does here..early adaptors are not popular usually.
Hear, Hear. Agree exactly.
Who cares?  I do, for one simple reason: The more widely understood our energy situation is, the more likely it is that people will act (both collectively and individually) to minimize its impact.  That helps you, me, and everyone we care about.

I think of us on the leading edge of this issue as being the people trying to perform a drug intervention with the rest of the world.

I trust only year to year comparisons.
Um! We haven't been going a year yet.  We only started last April.  And the site has become as successful as it has because of the input of the readership - so a quick thanks


This site is most useful for energy speculators and the scientifically minded.  Therefore it will never be the most visited PO website.  So what?  A staggering 51% of the people in the US believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years!  Such a populace hardly has the mental equipment to study PO as presented here.
Indeed, there are a lot of people who don't understand peak oil or the theory of evolution. But you don't win people over to your side by insulting their intelligence!
I'll be the one to break your rule.

I am a Christian, and know and feel strongly about peak oil.

"Such a populace hardly has the mental equipment to study PO as presented here. "

 Excuse me for saying this but, you are wrong.

 The folks that bury their head in the sand might be who you are speaking of, but in general I know a Lot of Christians that do worry about these things.  Though I do not know a lot that think the "rapture" will be engineered by our own actions.

  When "the end" happens,  it will be final, no lingering issues to worry about. Over, done with!  

IMH(umble)O, the folks preaching the "rapture" could fall into "cult" status. Or as Christ said "false prophets".

So not all Christians are to dumb to read this page or others.

I also found the TOD in August, during hurricane rita I believe.   This sited has fabulous editors, and the technical information and diverse participation are superb.  
Isn't it the trend that's important? In a little over half a year, this site has gone from (judging from the graph above) maybe 20,000 hits per month to what seems about 130,000 or more last month. The drop-off from well over 250,000 in September is striking, but to use a business analogy there's obviously a strongly expanding customer base.
Good thing this isn't the oil business itself, though, where you'd have to decide whether to massively increase production in order to meet peaks in demand (or alternatively, just pretend the oil's there and underestimate the demand for it, as the IEA does in its reports).
Hey Sekiyu - great name! I recall fondly getting that fuzzy headed feeling after being in a room heated by a Sekiyu stobu when living in Kyoto.
TOD, 110 on a scale of 100!
I have been here for a few months, I got wind of you from my regualr visits to the Yahoo groups ROE2 and EnergyResources.  Over there the discussions can get a bit over the top and heated even degrading to name calling.

I have known about Peak Oil as a concept for 3 years, but knew we had problems as much as 20 years ago doing my own reading.  I have been on the internet for 16 years, back in the days of IRC (Inter Relay Chat), and BBS's (Bulletin Board Services).  Even back then the talks on the more widely used sites could get into energy issues.

 All in all this is a very good and technically rich site, giving thinking people lots of things to think about that we might not have found on our own.

Thank You