peak oil

For decades, eco-radicals and Malthusians have been crying wolf at the calamitous and ever-imminent phenomenon of “peak oil,” when extraction reaches its highest possible rate and the wells will start running dry — leading to famine- and war-inducing energy price shocks that will send humanity into an economic and environmental tailspin, so everybody start running for the hills!

Obviously, oil and gas’s critics have an interest in perpetuating the time-bomb fear of peak oil (all the better that we forcibly commit to their preferred ‘green’ energies, on the double), but we have amazingly managed to bypass all of these forecasted benchmarks without incident. Meanwhile, thanks largely to hydraulic fracturing in just the past few years, the world’s proven reserves have only continued to expand.

Here are just some of the latest numbers on why “peak oil” is still just an environmentalist boogeyman, from Vaclav Smil at AEI (emphasis mine):

When the final figures for the fourth quarter of 2012 are in, the world will have a new crude oil production record: the total for the first three quarters was about 1 percent ahead of the 2011 total. This is a remarkable achievement for a commodity with annual output that now surpasses, for the first time ever, 4 billion metric tons and which has been, for decades, the largest source of fossil energy and the most valuable item of international commerce. …