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Skip to 0 minutes and 2 seconds Let’s shift discuss the Peak-oil theory. What is the Peak-oil theory? Who invented it? Why is it important? How did the shale revolution change the Peak-oil theory? As originally formulated by M. King Hubbert in the 1950s, the concept holds that worldwide oil production will rise approximately the half of the world’s global petroleum inheritance has been exhausted, once this point is reached, daily output will hit a peak and begin an irreversible decline. Geologist Hubbert first predicted that U.S. oil production would peak in 1970 and then start declining rapidly. His prediction turned out to be partly true, as U.S. crude oil production peaked that same year, not to be eclipsed again until the shale oil boom began.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds Since the concept burst into public consciousness several years ago, its proponents and critics have largely argued over whether or not we have reached maximum worldwide petroleum output. In a way, this is a moot argument, because the numbers involved in conventional oil output have increasingly been obscured by oil derived from “unconventional” sources, such as deep-offshore fields, tar sands, and natural-gas liquids, for example. All of these are being blended into petroleum feedstocks used to make gasoline and other fuels. More recently this has made the calculation of petroleum supplies ever more complicated. As a result, it may be years more before we can be certain of the exact timing of the global peak-oil moment.

Peak-oil theory

The peak-oil theory holds that once the world’s oil supply has hit its maximum output, it would eventually decline.

Do you think we have reached maximum worldwide output, or peak-oil? If so, what are the ways to clarify the exact timing of global peak-oil?

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Global Resource Politics: the Past, Present and Future of Oil, Gas and Shale

Hanyang University