Peak Oil And The Natural Resource Optimists

by Patrick Appel

Michael Lynch wrote yesterday that peak oil is a myth. Free Exchange is skeptical of some of the assumptions Lynch makes:

Currently, there are about 6.7 billion people in the world, who use about 4.8 barrels of oil per year each, for about 32 billion barrels per year. By 2020 there will be nearly 8 billion people. If oil prices remain low, it's reasonable to expect per capita consumption globally to rise to perhaps 5.5 barrels of oil per year each by then. That would give us an increase in annual global petroleum consumption of nearly 40% in a decade's time. Does it seem reasonable that global production can expand at even half that pace using only supply that can profitably be withdrawn at $30 per barrel?

The Oil Drum is not impressed:

Peak Oil has never been about the amount of hydrocarbon molecules that exist, but flow rates, timing and costs. This post from 2007 gives a general overview of the differences between those concerned about a near term oil peak, and the unconcerned.