The last decade has seen a significant change in the terms of the debate around the concept of “peak oil”. Ten years ago the focus was on when oil resources would start to run out and was still based on a concept developed in the 1950s by a Shell geophysicist called M King Hubbert. Hubbert saw in the life story of an individual oil field, which rises to maximum production and then usually rapidly declines, a model that could be applied to the industry as a whole. As a finite resource, global oil would inevitably reach a point where the only prospect was decline. Numerous worthy individuals and companies believed they could identify the peak. The US Energy Department has produced an invaluable list of those predictions. In 1972, Exxon said the peak would come around the year 2000. In 1977 with typical precision Hubbert himself put it at […]