When Oil Peaked

( 2 )


In two earlier books, Hubbert’s Peak (2001) and Beyond Oil (2005), the geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes laid out his rationale for concluding that world oil production would continue to follow a bell-shaped curve, with the smoothed-out peak somewhere in the middle of the first decade of this millennium—in keeping with the projections of his former colleague, the pioneering petroleum geologist M. King Hubbert.
Deffeyes sees no reason to ...

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When Oil Peaked

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In two earlier books, Hubbert’s Peak (2001) and Beyond Oil (2005), the geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes laid out his rationale for concluding that world oil production would continue to follow a bell-shaped curve, with the smoothed-out peak somewhere in the middle of the first decade of this millennium—in keeping with the projections of his former colleague, the pioneering petroleum geologist M. King Hubbert.
Deffeyes sees no reason to deviate from that prediction, despite the ensuing global recession and the extreme volatility in oil prices associated with it. In his view, the continued depletion of existing oil fields, compounded by shortsighted cutbacks in many exploration-and-development projects, virtually assures that the mid-decade peak in global oil production will never be surpassed.
In When Oil Peaked, he revisits his original forecasts, examines the arguments that were made both for and against them, adds some new supporting material to his overall case, and applies the same mode of analysis to a number of other finite gifts from the Earth: mineral resources that may be also in shorter supply than “flat-Earth” prognosticators would have us believe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Deffeyes, a geologist and former oil researcher, continues the conversations he began in Hubbert's Peak with this level-headed look at the earthly limits of our natural resources. According to Deffeyes, oil production peaked in 2005; "On a time scale somewhere between one hundred and three hundred years, our civilization has to come around to sustainable and renewable resources. Most energy will be, directly or indirectly, solar." Offering the admittedly unpopular alternatives of uranium and coal until that happens, he discusses means of minimizing dangers and reducing energy consumption; his comparison of the efficiency of various forms of transportation may make readers think again about barges coming from China. And overviews of topics ranging from worldwide metal resources to biofuels leads to a consideration for where natural resources originate. Offering his own take on historical oil prices and the Great Recession, Deffeyes doesn't hide his bias, but presents data to support his arguments. Concluding with recommendations for a better future, the author suggests a market volatility tax and urges readers to create their own vision of what a sustainable future looks like, even while positing two extreme options himself. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“For peak oil devotees, When Oil Peaked is a special treat, an eminently welcome update from a heavyweight within the field . . . And for those who insist on the opinion of a bona fide oil expert, it doesn't get more bona fide than Ken Deffeyes.” —Frank Kaminski, Energy Bulletin

 “Kenneth S. Deffeyes’s book Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage was the first serious analysis that revisited M. King Hubbert’s theory on peak oil. It was a breakthrough piece of research. His new book continues this tradition of staying way ahead of conventional wisdom by using solid scientific facts. It is a must-read!” —Matthew R. Simmons, Chairman, Simmons & Company International, and author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy
“Kenneth S. Deffeyes got it exactly right in his first pathbreaking books on Peak Oil, educating many thousands of readers about the geological and mathematical basis for forecasts of declining world petroleum production. An avuncular ‘I told you so’ is now in order, and Deffeyes delivers it with his usual wry humor, along with equally prescient and informed analyses of prospects for replacing oil with other energy sources, like uranium and natural gas. Everyone who cares about energy and the future of our economy should read this book.” —Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute
“This book addresses the critical issue of Peak Oil, when production begins to decline thanks to natural depletion. Very readable recollections of the early research into the subject and the personalities of those involved are followed by valuable ideas and recommendations for the future. Despite the serious nature of the subject, a delightful sense of humor permeates the pages. It is essential reading given the central role of oil-based energy in the modern world.” —Colin J. Campbell, founder and honorary chairman, Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas
“In the summer of 1958 my path crossed that of M. King Hubbert and Kenneth S. Deffeyes at the Shell Research Laboratory in Bellaire, Texas. As an undergraduate technician in a chemistry lab, I was invisible to these gentlemen, but the buzz that still filled the building from Hubbert’s 1956 prediction of a 1970s peak in U.S. oil production caused me to notice them. Now, a half century later, there is not only confirmation of Hubbert’s prediction, but also a realization that Deffeyes’s prediction of a 2005 peak in world oil production is likely to be true as well. This marvelous book takes us along on that wild ride.” —Tom Tombrello, Professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology, and former director of research, Schlumberger-Doll Research Center
“Professor Deffeyes was among the very first on the scene carrying the news of our global oil destiny. He brings a disciplined voice of science to a topic that a superstitious public would prefer to deny and ignore.” —James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency

“strongly expressed and well-argued” —John R. Coyne, Jr., The Washington Times
“This is another useful book from Kenneth S. Deffeyes. Some of his claims continue to be controversial, but his basic point is beyond reasonable dispute: Oil and other fossil fuels are finite. Continued use of them requires more and more costly extraction and is not sustainable. Someday, before long, the realization that we are on the downward slope of the supply curve will trigger irresistible economic and psychological forces which will accomplish what wars, environmental disasters, transport expenses, and public health epidemics have failed to do—move us to sustainable methods of energy production and use.” —Representative Rush D. Holt, Jr.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809094714
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,320,975
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth S. Deffeyes, a former researcher for Shell Oil Company, is emeritus professor of geology at Princeton University.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An academic analysis of the world's energy future and the alternatives

    Forecasting the date of peak oil production is serious business, and this short book tackles the predictive methodology, geology, economics and mathematics head-on. Princeton professor emeritus Kenneth Deffeyes presents the techniques used by petroleum geologist M. King Hubbert to validate his prediction as to when oil production would peak. Deffeyes, who worked with Hubbert, further validates Hubbert's work, as he did in his earlier book, "Hubbert's Peak". He presents the pros and cons of various alternative energy sources, how oil prices contributed to the recent global recession and the status of the oil industry today. This is a technical book; Deffeyes is an engineer, geologist and oil heavyweight, and he makes detailed presentations requiring advanced knowledge not provided in the text. getAbstract considers this an important text and recommends it to people interested in the most rigorous assessment of future energy trends and climate change.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Good Easy Read

    I have read about 10 books on the subject of peak oil in the last year, to include Kenneth S. Deffeyes' previous two books on the subject ("Hubbert's Peak" and "Beyond Oil"). With no doubts, Dr. Deffeyes is an expert on the subject of geology and petroleum geology. His previous books were like textbook primers on the subject of petroleum geology and how oil and gas are formed, and how these are extracted. I learned a lot and almost felt like I was in one of his classrooms at Princeton.

    This latest work does not really add much to Dr. Deffeyes' previous works. When Oil Peaked is not a bad read, but it meanders back and forth across the subject and diverts down rabbit trails. The main thrust seems to be that world oil production stopped growing in 2005 and mankind mankind has about 100 years to move away from fossil fuels to completely solar energy sources.

    There are other authors who have delved more into the possible social and economic impacts that the end of the age of oil will bring. Richard Heinberg's "The Party's Over" (2003) and James Howard Kunstler's "The Long Emergency" (2005) come to mind.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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