Technology and exploitation of unconventional sources can’t defer the long-predicted decline in global oil production
IN 2007 former US energy secretary James Schlesinger claimed the arguments in favour of peak oil – the key theory that global production must peak and then decline – had been won. With production flat and prices surging towards an all-time high of $147 per barrel, he declared, “we are all peakists now”.
Five years on and production has risen by 2.7 million barrels per day to 93 mb/d, prices have recently slumped to around $100 a barrel and those who dismissed the idea that the rate we extract oil from the ground must inevitably decline jeer in delight.
In June a much-touted report by Leonardo Maugeri – an Italian oil executive now at the Geopolitics of Energy Project, based at Harvard University and part-funded by BP – forecast that far from running out of oil, this decade will see the strongest growth in production capacity since the 1980s and a “significant, stable dip of oil prices”.