"The world is not running out of oil—at least not yet. What our society does face, and soon, is the end of the abundant and cheap oil on which all industrial nations depend." Campbell and Laherrère, 1998

The Oil Depletion Resource Page

Photo evidence of 
the energy gluttony 
of North America

Please note: This section of gulland.ca was put online in 2000 when there were very few sites on the internet providing accessible information on Peak Oil. It hasn't been updated in several years because it was rendered unnecessary by the appearance of such great sites as The Oil Drum and Energy Bulletin. I leave it on the server as a kind of artifact of my thinking and that of other commentators at the time before 'peak oil' was the term widely used to describe the depletion problem.

The End of Cheap Oil
Campbell and Laherrère, 1998

Matthew Simmons Feb '05
Saudi Oil May Have Peaked Already

USA's Triple Energy Whammy
Brian J. Fleay, 2001

Methane Madness
A Natural Gas Primer
Udall & Andrews 2001

The End of the Road
Mike Neligh, 2000

A conservative bank sounds the alarm
Ottawa Citizen, October 6, 2000

Energy in the New Economy:
The Limits to Growth

Matthew Simmons, 2000

Has Production Peaked?
David Brown, 2000

Want more detail?
Go here:

World Oil Consumption
In real time

Energy Bulletin
Best collection of news and background on peak oil

The Oil Drum
Extremely technical discussions by experienced oil people

Home of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil&Gas

This site was the original source, but is fading a little now


About the pioneers:


Understanding our physical limits

. . . and some tools for interpreting unfolding events

For the past several years I've spent a lot of time studying the problem of petroleum supply, the question of when oil production will reach its peak and begin an inevitable decline.  It's a kind of morbid hobby. 

I've learned that the present instability of the world price of oil is a symptom of peaking production, which, according to the most experienced independent geologists, will occur between 2005 and 2010.  That is soon -- soon enough to start making plans.

Back in the 1950s a Texas geologist named M. King Hubbert developed the Hubbert curve, which has become the primary analytical tool for understanding and predicting the yield of an oil field, from its discovery to its exploitation, depletion and abandonment.  Then he used the curve to predict the peak in US oil production, then world production by analyzing all the oil fields.

Worldwide consumption is now about 84 million barrels of oil a day, or about 30 billion barrels per year.  Demand has been increasing at 3 per cent per year.  Realistic geologists think there only ever were about two trillion barrels of recoverable oil and half of that is now gone.  Hubbert accurately hypothesized that production peaks at the half way point and declines thereafter rather steeply.  As you can see, we have a problem.

So I've assembled a short list of articles that I have found most useful as an introduction to the various issues involved.  These are also the ones I've found most accessible, well written and well researched.  

Some of those who are aware of this issue have undertaken to help others understand oil depletion so they can plan accordingly.  This page is my contribution to the effort.  

The awareness of petroleum depletion has caused me to change my behavior.  While planning for their financial future is a preoccupation of most middle-aged people, at our household we are devoting more effort to planning our energy future by reducing our demands and using renewable energy resources.

Below are some quick reviews of the articles.

The End of Cheap Oil
Campbell and Laherrère, 1998
This is the famous article that got so many people's attention when it first appeared.  An excellent overview of the mechanisms of oil depletion (including politics) from two of the most experienced and respected geologists in the world.  A must-read article for anyone wanting an introduction to oil depletion.

USA's Triple Energy Whammy
Brian J. Fleay, 2001
Anyone interested in some deep insights into the current energy chaos in the US will find this article enlightening, if not frightening.  The message: start conserving energy.  Right now.

Methane Madness: A Natural Gas Primer
Randy Udall with Steve Andrews, 2001
This is a direct link to a pdf file on the dieoff.org site.  Only four pages long, this article is worth printing out and circulating.  It includes this great quote from veteran petroleum driller Charlie Brister:
"We live in the most energy intensive civilization the world has ever known, and yet the average American knows nothing about energy.  But things may have to get a lot more critical before the public is ready to hear the truth.  You piss everyone off if you try to explain to a typical Republican that: 'There's not enough oil in the U.S. for us to be self-sufficient' or tell a typical environmentalist that 'Wind and solar cannot meet 100% of our energy needs.'"

The End of the Road
Mike Neligh, 2000
I marveled at this article when I first read it in draft form.  In fact I liked it so much I proofread it and offered some editorial suggestions to Mike as he refined it.  I have now read it many times and still find this tragic story compelling, as it weaves together the human and geologic sides of petroleum depletion.  

A conservative bank sounds the alarm
Ottawa Citizen, October 6, 2000
Considering the fact that almost no classical economists understand or recognize the problem of oil depletion, I was surprised to see this recent article reporting on Jeffrey Rubin's report for CIBC.  Its appearance is a signal that others may soon sit up and take notice.

Energy in the New Economy: The Limits to Growth
Matthew Simmons, 2000
This speech is included because the last thing Simmons wants to do is admit the physical limits of the oil patch.  But he has no choice.  You can hear the regret in his voice.  The speech is important for who gave it and who it was given to.

Has Production Peaked?
David Brown, May 2000 edition of The Explorer
"The world is running out of crude oil.  No, it isn't.  
And there you have the two sides of a simmering controversy in petroleum geology and the oil industry in general."

That is how David Brown began his article on oil depletion and is the reason I wanted to read it.  It is worth the read.

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