Expert Testimony on Peak Oil

US House of Representatives' Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee heard testimony from Robert W. Esser, CERA Senior Consultant and Director, Global Oil and Gas Resources at Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) on December 7th, 2005. His testimony can be found at www.globalpublicmedia.com/articles/586.

Esser downplays the concerns, by saying that the "world is not running out of oil in near or medium term". He further says that we will not experience a "peak", but an "undulating plateau" in three to four decades from now.

Yet, despite many of the things he says to relieve our concerns are offset by other parts of his testimony, where he paints a picture of hardship in the coming years. He says "meeting the energy needs of a growing world in an environmentally-sound fashion will be a major challenge." He goes on to say "many significant risks to production capacity loom on the horizon." But he downplays these concerns because he says they are risks "above the ground" rather than lack of oil. I say, who cares why we can't get the oil, it is these looming risks that could send us into global recession.

He concedes that oil from non-OPEC sources will peak, and begin to decline by 2010. This will put the world at the mercy of OPEC's whims. Despite saying early in the testimony that an "undulating plateau" would occur in three to four decades from now, he then says that there is no evidence of a "peak" before 2020, just 14 years from now.

Certainly it seems possible that a "peak" could be further away than many radical activists suggest, it seems that this expert, Esser, can't say much to convince me that we won't see oil production disruptions in the coming years.

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