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Whatever Happened to Peak Oil?

The Wall Street Journal re-examines the doomsday scenarios of Peak Oil now that fracking has pushed oil production to record levels.
September 30, 2014, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sergio Russo

A surprising thing happened on the way to peak oil, according to Russell Gold: "U.S. oil production did peak in the 1970s and sank for decades after, exactly as the theory predicted. But then it did something the theory didn't predict: It started rising again in 2009, and hasn't stopped, thanks to a leap forward in oil-field technology."

Gold cites "a growing tide of oil-industry experts" who think that "[we're] limited not by the amount of oil in the ground, but by how inventive we are about reaching new sources of fuel and how much we're willing to pay to get at it."

Gold goes on to detail the history of the concept of peak oil, which originated with M. King Hubbert, a geologist with Shell Oil, and to forecast the future, which includes the possibility of a post-oil market that never reaches peak oil.

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Published on Sunday, September 28, 2014 in The Wall Street Journal
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