- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Roger Johnson claims there is no historic basis to assert that oil production has peaked (“Pique-a-boo,” Letters, Dec. 14). However, history shows that America’s oil production peaked in 1970, as did oil production in Libya and Venezuela. Production in the United Kingdom peaked in 1999 and in Mexico in 2004. Though world oil production may not have peaked yet, it is bound to peak sooner rather than later given that countries are producing less each year.

Mr. Johnson says I should take comfort in the fact that world discoveries in the first half of this year were 10 billion barrels - the highest since 2000. It is important to note, however, that we have burned roughly 30 billion barrels so far this year. I don’t find it comforting that record-setting discoveries come nowhere near to matching our consumption.

Mr. Johnson is correct that many oil experts believe we still have abundant oil reserves. But the easy-to-produce oil has largely been produced. Now we chase after smaller oil fields in ever-more remote locations and process greater amounts of ever-weaker deposits of tar sands and shale to try to keep production up. The sooner we face up to our predicament, the less traumatic our future will be.


Rockville, Md.

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