Yergin takes on Peak Oil

The McClatchy Newspapers report that oil historian Daniel Yergin and his merry band at Cambridge Energy Research Associates say Peak Oil is still at least a quarter-century away. 

He and colleagues believe that the decline in oil availability will play out as an "undulating plateau," in which annual production produces a series of ups and downs, eventually peaks and then declines slowly.

"We see the undulating plateau existing one or two decades, rather than a sharp decline," said Peter Jackson, CERA's director of oil industry activity. He sees outright decline beginning no earlier than 2030 and perhaps after 2050.

For such a lengthy article, it's sure thin on detail.  It asserts that CERA believes world oil reserves to be 3.74 trillion barrels — triple the Peak Oil estimates — but reveals no evidence proffered by CERA to back that up.  (Looking at CERA's executive summary, it appears Yergin and Co. put a lot of stock in "probable" and even "possible" reserves.)  Later the article even says, annoyingly, that the study "debunks" Hubbert's curve.  (Really now? A newspaper writer has objectively concluded that CERA has debunked the theory?  The study might "rebut" Hubbert's curve, but it certainly doesn't "debunk" it.  Sorry, I'm a journalist too, and sloppy use of the language like that really frosts me.)  But again, no evidence to back up that assertion, other than the usual technology-will-pull-our-collective-butts-out-of-a-sling thing.

I will leave it to others with far more expertise than I (Byron? Justice?) to review CERA's report and offer up a well-crafted riposte.  Until then, I'll just point out what Jim Rogers pointed out in his book "Hot Commodities."  Yergin predicted in February of 2003 that oil prices were set to decline significantly — just before they doubled in less than two and a half years.

Update:  Dang, that was fast.  Byron King has the first of a two-parter up at Whiskey and Gunpowder.  There you'll learn the reason the news coverage has been so superficial.

The Daily Reckoning