A Toy Model of Peak Oil


Wednesdays@NICO Seminar, Noon, February 24 2010, Chambers Hall, Lower Level

Dr. Richard Wiener, Research Corporation for Science Development


I will present a toy model for oil production based on simple physical considerations. The model provides a basic understanding of Hubbert's empirical observation that the production rate for an oil-producing region reaches its maximum when approximately half the recoverable oil has been produced. According to the model, the production rate at a large field must peak before drilling peaks. I will use the model to investigate the effects of several drilling strategies on oil produc-tion. Despite the model's simplicity, predictions for the timing and mag-nitude of peak production match data on oil production from major oil fields throughout the world. I also will discuss the effect drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would have on overall US oil production.