The peak of oil discovery was passed in the 1960s, and the world started using more than was found in new fields in 1981. The gap between discovery and production has widened since.

By Colin J. Campbell (ASPO's founder, ASPO Honorary Chairman, ASPO : Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas - www.peakoil.net)

Oil was formed in the geological past under well understood processes. In fact, the bulk of current production comes from just two epochs of extreme global warming, 90 and 150 million years ago, when algae proliferated in the warm sunlit waters, and the organic remains were preserved in the stagnant depths to be converted to oil by chemical reactions. Natural gas was formed in a similar way save that it was derived from vegetal material. It follows that these are finite natural resources subject to depletion, which in turn means that production in any country or region starts following the initial discovery and ends when the resources are exhausted. The peak of production is normally passed when approximately half the total has been taken, termed the midpoint of depletion.(…)

The peak of oil discovery was passed in the 1960s, and the world started using more than was found in new fields in 1981. The gap between discovery and production has widened since . Many countries, including some important producers, have already passed their peak, suggesting that the world peak of production is now imminent . Were valid data available in the public domain, it would be a simple matter to determine both the date of peak and the rate of subsequent decline, but as it is, we find maze of conflicting information, ambiguous definitions and lax reporting procedures. In short, the oil companies tended to report cautiously, being subject to strict Stock Exchange rules, whereas certain OPEC countries exaggerated during the 1980s when they were competing for quota based on reported reserves. Despite the uncertainties of detail, it is now evident that the world faces the dawn of the Second Half of the Age of Oil, when this critical commodity, which plays such a fundamental part in the modern economy, heads into decline due to natural depletion. A debate rages over the precise date of peak, but rather misses the point, when what matters — and matters greatly — is the vision of the long remorseless decline that comes into sight on the other side of it. The transition to decline threatens to be a time of great international tension. Petroleum Man will be virtually extinct this Century and Homo sapiens faces a major challenge in adapting to his loss. Peak Oil is by all means an important subject.

“On a time scale starting at year 0, experts are convinced there will be a peak in the production of oil between 2000 and 2100.” Kjell Aleklett, President of ASPO

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