This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
"Peak oil" is a load of rubbish. In about 1940, it was reported in Life Magazine (I have that issue stored away) that any vegetative matter could be converted into the equivalent of "sweet" crude oil. Two pilot plants have long since been constructed which were doing so at least 20 years ago, at a cost of about $15 per barrel.
Along about 1950 (when I was a high school student), one of the "popular" science magazines ran a story about a high school chemistry teacher in Texas who made, in his garage, a device by which he was producing his own gasoline, lubricating oil abd lubricating grease, using newspapers for heat, and yard waste for a feed source. About 8 gallons of gasoline per week, all he needed at the time.
Here in the US of A, we have more equivalent barrels of oil, that is, coal, natural gas and crude oil, in known and workable deposits, than any other nation. Enough known crude oil deposits to last at least 400 years at any previous known useage levels before the present. This does not include shale oil deposits, which themselves are huge indeed.
Would you mind elaborating on
In reply to Andrew, in the interests of 'keeping up to date' I've checked EIA's website and I can't see anything about a near-term peak oil prediction on there. I found a document called 'Statement of Richard Newell, Administrator, Energy Information Administration, US Dept of Energy before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, US Senate' dated Feb 3rd 2011 which gives their current position:
In this document Figure 4 indicates EIA expect oil production to keep going up at least up to the year 2035 (which is as far as the graph goes). This projection is based on 'unconventional oil' going up which is of course the sources of oil (like tar sands and deep water wells) that the Green movement is most intent on making sure isn't used. I suppose if you took out the unconventional oil, you might technically just about have peak oil (a peak in the global production rate), and the Green movement would then get whatever political advantages they think they get from that situation.
As I remember it, EIA was set up in the aftermath of a (failed) peak oil prediction by US president Jimmy Carter in 1977, given in this televised speech:
Carter, under the influence of some doomster called James Schlesinger and the emerging Green lobby, predicted peak oil would occur in the early 1980s. Later than he should have done, Carter set up the EIA body in 1978 so that there was an independent US government agency advising on energy issues.
Reading through this thread again, I've just realised that Andrew was talking about IEA (International Energy Agency) rather than EIA.
Out of the two organisations I'd say EIA is much more important than IEA. IEA is a reasonably well-respected body, but I'd say Western governments would generally rate the advice of their own national experts above international technical bodies like the IEA. The Green movement seems to have convinced itself that Western governments act solely on the advice of IEA, and have even got some 'whistleblowers' co-operating with them in IEA. The UK government did give a global peak oil prediction back in 1976 in a Department of Energy report by Walter Marshall (who was later made head of the CEGB) which was the year 2000, but after that one the UK government seems to have given up making any predictions public.
OK, I'll check IEA's website for a peak oil prediction. This seems to be the most current document, 'Key Graphs' from the World Energy Outlook 2010:
The relevant graph is on page 7 of the document, 'World oil production by type in the new policies scenario'. This graph is showing overall oil production going up from the current 80 million barrels per day to 96 million barrels per day in the year 2035, not as optimistic as EIA who were forecasting 110 million barrels per day in 2035. I'd say there's no imminent peak oil prediction there. The IEA graph presentation does play into the hands of peak oilers a bit in that it says crude oil production is going into a plateau for the next 25 years and it refers to oilfields that have not yet been discovered which a peak oiler will assume will never be found.