David Feldman

Myths about Energy – The Real Limitation of Oil Supply

Blog Post created by David Feldman Champion on Oct 25, 2016

Peak Oil is an idea that eventually the world will run out of oil production. While it is true U.S. oil production declined between 1970 and 2000, globally it has increased at a consistent rate from 1964 to 2015.


In 1956 geologist and physicist M. King Hubbert said, “The end of the oil age is in sight, if present trends continue production will peak in 1995 -- the deadline for alternative forms of energy that must replace petroleum in the sharp drop-off that follows.”  When Hubbert made this prediction it was based on the idea that there were only 628 oil reserves and failed to include the idea of using other fossil fuel sources such as shale and tar sands. Since Hubbert didn’t take into account multiple fuel sources and advancement in extraction technology, his theory has become largely outdated.


 Now, due to a rapid increase of advanced technology in drilling and exploration tactics production shows very little sign of running out. According to the latest data from Energy Intelligence Group, oil production is firmly above 90 million barrels per day.


While Hubbert’s reasoning might be outdated, it doesn’t mean he was entirely wrong about having a “drop off.” The reality of the situation is much different from oil simply running out.


A more plausible likelihood than the world simply running out of oil, is that low wages and lack of debt availability will keep production from rising. This effect would slow extraction for oil producers; costing them more time, money and ultimately giving them no reason to continue investing in technology to keep up production. If there’s a threat to oil production it’s less likely to be from running out of resources, and more likely to be from the negative effects of economic disruption.