The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production

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World oil demand is forecast to grow 50 percent by 2025. To meet that demand, ever-larger volumes of oil will have to be produced. Since oil production from individual oil fields grows to a peak and then declines, new fields must be continually discovered and brought into production to compensate for the depletion of older fields and to meet increasing world demand. If large quantities of new oil are not discovered and brought into production somewhere in the world, then world oil production will no longer satisfy demand. Peaking means that the rate of world oil production cannot increase; it does not mean that production will suddenly stop, because there will still be large reserves remaining.

At the time of publishing, Robert Hirsch was a Senior Energy Program Advisor for SAIC. Previous employment included executive positions at the US Atomic Energy Commission, the US Energy Research and Development Administration, Exxon, ARCO, EPRI, and Advance Power Technologies, Inc. Dr Hirsch is past chairman of the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems at the National Academies. He has a PhD in engineering and physics from the University of Illinois.