Jim Hamilton almost forensically takes apart Dan Yergin for the latter’s nonsensical anti-peak oil column in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal:
Yergin does not offer a statement of exactly what he means by “peak oil”, though his essay refers to it as a “fear” and a “specter”. Let me therefore begin my remarks with a clarification of exactly what I intend to discuss. I propose the following three propositions as the core claims that need to be evaluated:
1. The annual flow rate of oil production from a given reservoir eventually reaches a maximum, after which it declines.
2. The annual flow rate of total global oil production will eventually have to decrease as a necessary consequence of (1).
3. This peak in global production will be reached relatively soon.
Of these statements, I honestly don’t understand how a reasonable person could dispute (1). You could almost take it as tautological, and furthermore point to many, many examples of fields that passed their peak production long ago. I likewise see neither a conceptual nor an empirical basis for challenging (2). Thus it seems to me that the relevant debate is whether proposition (3) has any merit, and exactly what one means by “soon.” That question may or may not be what Yergin was intending to address with his essay. But since for me it is the core question, I would like to comment here on the implications of what Yergin wrote for what I perceive to be the main question of interest.
Read the rest here: More thoughts on peak oil.