Today the Energy Information Administration released the December 2008 oil production numbers. Peak Oil 2005 is now history. 2008 has officially eclipsed the previous 2005 peak for the all-time annual oil production record, albeit just barely over 2005. Average daily production in 2005 was 73.737 million barrels per day (crude oil plus condensate) and average daily production in 2008 was 73.791 million barrels per day. For the year, 93.6 million more barrels were produced in 2008 than in 2005. Had prices not collapsed in the 2nd half of 2008 – causing many producers to dial production back – the record would have likely been much higher.
Just in case you are keeping score, the monthly record also now resides in 2008. July 2008 checked in at 74.8 million barrels per day. One wonders what that makes Ken Deffeyes, who after calling the peak in December 2005 (at 74.2 million bpd), said “I can now refer to the world oil peak in the past tense. My career as a prophet is over. I’m now an historian.”
The numbers may be found here: Crude Oil Including Lease Condensate
I have been saying since 2006 that I didn’t think the 2005 peak would stand (and sometimes getting into heated arguments with dogmatic believers as a result). But due to the economic collapse, I expect 2008 will stand as the record for a while – and quite possibly forever. It all hinges on how long it takes for demand to recover. OPEC has shaved about 2 million barrels a day off of production since summer, and I suspect they will be very slow to open the taps back up if prices head higher. If we don’t eclipse the 2008 production numbers within 3 years or so, I don’t think we ever will.