There's a pretty good article here in Scientific American October 2009.

It discusses a number of reasons about how we may not be reaching peak oil any time soon. It points out that current extraction methods only extract 30% or so of the oil in the ground and discusses ways that may extract a larger percentage of the oil underground. It also discusses that we're extracting oil from areas that weren't economical to drill before, and areas that haven't been explored due to better drilling technology.

I'm a little surprised that they published this. In the past decade or so, Scientific American should have been called Peseudoscientific Treehugging American Propaganda.

They didn't even throw in a line about "this means we need more government action to curb CO2 emission because we're not really running out of oil.

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"Scientific American should have been called Peseudoscientific Treehugging American Propaganda."

It's strange Mr. Davis -- I've been reading this magazine for decades and you are the first person I've seen make this claim....
the clean easy oil has been found, the dirty oil is harder to find and costs more to extract and clean up. combined with world population increase. i consider this pie in the sky stuff.
Conventional oil production peaked in 1972 in the U.S. This is wishful thinking; there is nothing "Scientific" about this article.
The point of the article, if you take the time to read it is that most of the sedimentry basins of the world have not even been explored. Many areas are just hard to reach, have political instability, are currently too expensive, or just plain off limits (Antartica caomes to mind, it was once a tropical contienant).

Yes, US production has long since peaked, but world production continues to rise.

I have read the print copy. It has many good graphics and maps as well a little more depth. I suggest you check it out.
Don't forget tar sands and oil shale. If (IF!) they become viable through improved technology, or higher prices, they represent a lot of oil.

It wasn't that long ago that the Haynesville Shale was a pipe dream, too.
Tar sands are viable. it just depends on the price of oil. It costs about $30/bbl to produce from the alberta tar sands, compared to about $1 in Saudi.
There are environmental/political/water supply issues with the tar sands. I presume that there are also some tar sands that are easier to exploit than others.

Not saying it won't work, just that it's not a done deal.
Tell that to the people of Alberta who have made a forturne exploiting the tar sands there.

The Alberta Tar Sands produced 1.3 mmbbl/day in 2008, expected to triple by 2018.
Agreed, tar sands are producing. They've only extracted a few drops out of the ocean of oil that's available from tar sands. There's LOTS of potential there. The question is whether they'll be able to continue and expand production. In particular, there is getting to be more and more environmental concern over the production.

I hope the profits involved will outweigh the overblown environmental considerations. Look at the huge amounts of offshore oil we're ignoring here in the US because of the NIMBY's.
at $70/bbl, tar sands look pretty good.
So would drilling the Atlantic continental shelf.
Interesting and informative article in TOD last year,, which states the immense amount of CO2 produced to mine these unconventional oils. Let's hope we find a vast pool of bubbling crude and soon.


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