Tom Whipple, a retired CIA analyst has a good article up this week about oil production and our future:
The key remaining question of the peak oil crisis is just when world production is going to start on an unstoppable decline. A few years ago those analysts who were deeply enmeshed in the problem were saying that 2011 or 2012 looked like the fateful year.
But then the unexpected happened — a great recession came along and the demand for oil plunged. Although global oil production set a nominal high during the great price run-up back in the summer of 2008, production soon fell away as the deepening recession cut demand by some 4 million barrels a day.As long as the additions to our capacity to produce oil do not get too far below the pace of depletion, there would seem to be no reason for wild spikes in oil prices – in the near term. If the world continues to bump along in its current state for the next 3 or 4 years, it would seem that the availability and price of oil will not upset the apple cart with shortages or unaffordable gasoline prices. After 2013, however, all bets are off as there does not seem to be enough new production starting up to balance depletion.
This train of thought seems to say that somewhere around 2014, world oil production, which has been on a rough plateau since 2005, will start to decline, perhaps rapidly.