The believers in peak oil are much quieter these days. The prophecies of the peak occurring by 2010, 2011, 2012, have, well, they have all got a few years added on to them. This is the fate of all such prophecy.
Perhaps the most clear evidence of the death of a near term peaking in oil production has been the resurgence of US oil production. Here is a time series of the last century of US oil production.
What do yearly changes in production look like? Here are the year to year changes since 1900:
As you can see, the biggest annual increase in American oil production occurred last year. In fact, the three biggest increases in production happened in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
What about this year? So far production data is only available for the first quarter. But we can look at year on year changes for that quarter and compare them with the historical data.
Here is historical production in the first quarter:
Oil production in the first quarter was very close to the all time high. In fact, it has only been higher in 1970 and 1971. But clearly one more year of growth like this year’s and first quarter production will be a record high.
What does the annual change in production look like? Year on year growth in the first quarter was greater than that in 2014. With the same exception of 1951, the growth figure was greater than any year on record. Lower oil prices do not seem to have stopped the rapid growth of oil production.
Note on data
I have taken historical US production figures from EIA.