Saturday, November 26, 2005

The shape of the peak

I just came across Robert L. Hirsch's article about the shape of the curve that describes the peak of oil production. He looked at regions that had already peaked to check out the assumption that it would be a gentle slope. Here is what he found:
  • In all cases, it was not obvious that production was about to peak a year prior to the event
  • The peaks were sharp, not gently varying bell curves and not flat topped, as some forecasters have hoped
  • Post-peak production declines were much greater than our 2% benchmark in some cases
  • Pre-peaks occurred in three cases

The implication is that we may not have much time to adapt to a post-peak world.

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