Back in the [ASPO] USA!
By EV World
It was at a meeting of the American Petoleum Institute in 1956 that an American-born geophysicist named Marion King Hubbert, who was working for Shell Oil at the time, predicted that oil production in the lower 48 United States would peak and begin to decline sometime in the late 1960s to early 1970s.
He pretty much hit it exactly. It is now widely recognized that U.S. oil production peaked in 1970 and began a steady decline which continues to this day.
How could he have been so prescient? He saw the phenomenon repeated over and over again in various oil fields. Following a bell-like curve, oil production would ramp up gradually, reach a maximum level of extraction and then begin to decline. He simply extrapolated that the phenomenon would apply to an aggregate of all the nation's oil fields, based on the time production began, the rate of extraction and the estimated size of the field.
Hubbert's forecast was largely ignored for decades by the energy industry and government policy makers, and attempts to apply his methodology to world oil production is still met with skepticism.
The founding European branch of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) met for its very first conference in Upsala, Sweden some three years ago. Its subsequent conferences convened in Berlin, Paris and Edinburgh. Despite the fact that the father of "peak oil" was an American, it wasn't until 2005 that the first official conference finally was held here in the United States, under the auspices of the newly-formed American chapter of the (ASPO USA).
Ironically, on the very first day of the Denver World Oil Conference, the government of Kuwait announced that its largest oil field had peaked and is going into decline.
To quote the Arab Middle East News Service, "The news about the Burgan oil field also lends credence to the controversial opinions of investment banker… Matthew Simmons.
"The implications for the global economy are indeed serious. If the world oil supply begins to run dry then the upward pressure on oil prices will be inexorable. For the oil producers this will come as a compensation for declining output, and cushion them against an economic collapse.
"However, the oil consumers then face a major energy crisis. Industrialized economies are still far too dependent on oil".
Appropriately, it was investment banker and author of "Twilight in the Desert", Matthew Simmons, who made the announcement during his luncheon address.
Simmons was joined by other respected oil industry analysts including Chris Skrebowski, the editor of the Petroleum Review; Jeremy Gilbert, BP's chief petroleum engineer (retired); Henry Groppe, founder of Groppe, Long & Littell; and Thomas Petrie, the co-founder of Petrie Parkman Co.
It was Petrie, who on the morning of the second day of the conference, recapitulated the main themes of the first day's presentations. It is his remarks that we are making available to all EV World visitors in MP3 audio format. The complete audio of each presenter he mentions will be available shortly on EV World for our Premium subscribers.
To listen to Mr. Petrie's summation of the first day's speeches, use the MP3 Player in the right-hand column just below the photo of the Sherman Events Center. Or feel free to download the file to your computer hard drive for playback on your favorite MP3 device.
EV World expresses its thanks to ASPO USA, Steve Andrews and Randy Udall for giving us permission to attend and record this historic event. The next conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts in 2006.