Pickens on Oil Peak
By EV World
"Some industry veterans think that as the years go on, it will only get harder to keep up with demand [for oil]," begins National Public Radio's segment on the future of world oil production. One of those "veterans" is T. Boone Pickens, an oil industry geologist and take-over artist who built Mesa Petroleum into an agressive acquirer of other, often larger energy companies, whose acquisitions included natural gas fields in Kansas to the largest oil field in the North Sea, which he named Beatrice, after his wife.
"The world is producing 82 million barrels of oil a day. I think that's all we'll every have," he told NPR's Steve Inskeep. "So you have a supply situation that isn't getting any better and the demand situation that is going up."
"I think you're peaking now," he said, referring to the belief that oil production, whether in an individual field or globally, gradually rises as more wells and improved technology extract larger quantities of oil. Eventually, depending on geology and the extent of the field(s), the maximum amount of oil that can be extracted at a given rate peaks and then the field begins to produce less and less oil as it is "depleted". This is known as "peak oil" and it is now occurring worldwide, with the only exception possibly being the oil-rich Middle East, and even here, experts are starting to worry. (See Chip Haynes' Ghawar Is Dying and Sixty Days One Summer).
Inskeep also interviews Professor Kenneth Deffeyes, who predicts -- with obvious tongue-in-cheek -- world oil production will begin decline on America's Thanksgiving Day, 2005. He also talks to Paul Roberts, the author of the "The End of Oil" and Phil Flynn a Chicago commodity trader.
EV World felt that Picken's remarks were so revelatory, that we decided to re-record the program and make it available in MP3 format. The program is also available on NPR in RealPlayer format.