Peak Oil Quotes

Statements by key individuals


Yves-Louis Darricarrere, President of Total's oil and gas exploration division at CERAWEEK, March 2012

"We think it will be difficult to produce more than 95 to 97 million barrels per day in the foreseeable future." View reference

John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil interviewed on CNBC, February 2012

"I think OPEC is about maxed out. when people talk about spare capacity in OPEC, I don't see it. I just don't see it coming through and I'm not sure it's there. And it's not just that they're greedy, but they're really producing what they can produce." View reference  


Chris Huhne, Uk Energy Secretary, December 2010 interviewed on BBC Radio 4, Today Programme

"...we don't know when exactly the oil is going to start peaking and production is going to start running down, but...we don't as a nation want to be putting ourselves in these sorts of markets..." View reference

International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2010, November 2010

"Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d, by 2020, but never regains its all-time peak of 70mb/d reached in 2006." View reference

Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, September 2010 interviewed on BBC One Planet

"It is definitely depressing, more than depressing, I would say alarming, which is what we try to do, to alarm the governments. In many OECD countries....oil consumption came to a peak and it is slowing down, but the growth of the demand is coming from China, the Middle East, India. So demand will grow. The question is, whether or not we will be able to increase the production to meet that demand growth. According to our projections in the World Energy Outlook, even if we were to assume, and this is very important, even if we were to assume the next 20 years global oil demand growth was flat, no growth at all, in order to compensate the decline in the existing fields we have to increase the production about 45m bpd just to stay where we are in 20 years, which means to find and develop 4 new Saudi Arabias, and this is a major challenge.

If we look at the theoretical potential that we have conventional and unconventional oil, then maybe we have a possibility to meet that challenge. But there are tremendous challenges." View reference

Rebuilding Security - Conservative Energy Policy for and Uncertain World, March 2010 "The last two years have seen extraordinary volatility in the global price of oil. Prices have swung from $147 a barrel in July 2008 to $32 a barrel in December of the same year, and by the end of 2009 prices were back up to between $70 and $80 a barrel – despite the impact of the recession. With most economies now in recovery there are fears of further pressure on prices. As the Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (consisting of leading companies from the power, engineering and transport sectors) warned this year: “The era of cheap oil is behind us. We must plan for a world in which oil prices are likely to be both higher and more volatile.”" View reference

The US Joint Operating Environment 2010 report, February 2010 "By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD." View reference

Chris Barton, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), February 2010 - "We don't have a firm view on what the future holds for oil supply and demand but we do recognise the risks" View reference

Thierry Desmarest, Chairman of the Board at Total SA, January 28th, 2010 - "The problem of peak oil remains. We have always been relatively prudent in our assessment of a peak oil date in Total between, I would say, the International Energy Agency which was extremely optimistic a few years ago - a bit less today - and some so called experts who were announcing that the peak oil has already taken place. In our opinion it will be very difficult to raise the oil production above 95 million barrels/day, which is something like 10% above today's level - so its not enormous. Its not that we lack reserves, there are plenty of oil to produced but a lot of it is difficult to be produced. Huge resources like the Athabasca oil sands for instance - when you look to the newsflow of the last 2 or 3 years you have just seen a lot of postponements of projects, not that much because of lack of profitability of projects but also with environmental concerns, as an example among others. So I think we must keep in mind that in a few years from now the market may be in a relatively difficult position in, the energy security concerning oil (because I think for gas we have certainly more time), will be a big problem."


Andrew Sentance, member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, September 2009 - "On the energy front, I can see substantial upside risks to prices over the coming recovery as demand picks up across the global economy and Asia plays a leading role in the growth of the world economy. Against the background of supply constraints, this creates the potential for continuing price volatility. I do not see supply developments and environmental policy moves changing the energy price environment which became established in the mid-2000s until much later in the next decade." View reference

Iain Reid, Head of European Oil and Gas research at Macquarie Bank, September 2009 - “This is our view – capacity has pretty much peaked in the sense that declines equal new resources,” View reference 

Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total, September 2009 - "We are running the risk of another oil crisis when demand outstrips supply around 2014 or 2015. There won’t be enough oil and gas by the middle of the next decade." View reference

Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, August 2009 - "Many governments now are more and more aware that at least the day of cheap and easy oil is over... [however] I'm not very optimistic about governments being aware of the difficulties we may face in the oil supply," View reference 

Vince Cable, Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, June 2009 - "Long-term thinking is difficult in the current political crisis, when most politicians are obsessed by tomorrow's headlines,...but our future as a country depends much more on our ability to plan ahead for the next oil shock and the post-oil world." View reference

Andris Piebalgs, EU Energy Commissioner, May 2009 "The current relatively low oil prices give a respite to prepare for the coming new oil crisis. We have to reduce our dependency in all those areas in which black gold is not indispensable... And in all sectors, we have to accelerate our efficiency being aware that every barrel of oil that we are using is one of the last." View reference

Christophe de Margerie , CEO Total, February 2009 The world will never be able to produce more than 89m barrels a day of oil, the head of Europe's third-largest energy group has warned, citing high costs in areas such as Canada and political restrictions in countries such as Iran and Iraq. Christophe de Margerie, chief executive of Total, the French oil and gas company, said he had revised his forecast for 2015 oil production downward by at least 4m barrels a day because of the current economic crisis and the collapse in oil prices. View reference


Katsuaki Watanabe, President, Toyota– June 2008 "Our view is that oil production will peak in the near future. We need to develop power train(s) for alternative energy sources." View reference

T. Boone Pickens, Chair BP Capital Management hedge fund – 17th June 2008 "I do believe we have peaked out at 85 million barrels a day globally," View reference

Shokri Ghanem – head of Libya's National Oil Corporation, 8th June 2008 “The easy, cheap oil is over. Peak oil is looming” View reference

Jeroen van de Veer – CEO of Shell, 22nd January 2008 “Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand.” View reference

Rick Wagoner - ex GM Chairman and Chief Exec, at the Detroit Motor Show, 13th January, 2008 "There is no doubt demand for oil is outpacing supply at a rapid pace, and has been for some time now,...As a business necessity and an obligation to society we need to develop alternative sources of propulsion." View reference

Dave O’Reilly - Chevron, 15th February 2008, "We're seeing the beginnings of a bidding war for Middle Eastern oil between east and west," View reference

Fatih Birol - IEA, writing in The Independent 2nd March 2008 – “We are on the brink of a new energy order. Over the next few decades, our reserves of oil will start to run out and it is imperative that governments in both producing and consuming nations prepare now for that time. We should not cling to crude down to the last drop – we should leave oil before it leaves us. That means new approaches must be found soon..... The really important thing is that even though we are not yet running out of oil, we are running out of time.” View reference

George W. Bush, March 5th 2008 "We gotta get off oil, American has got to change its habits,".. "It should be obvious to all, demand has outstripped supply, which makes prices go up." View reference

James W. Buckee -Retired President and CEO of Talisman Energy Inc., 29th January 2008. "If you think that at the moment the world is consuming 30-plus billion barrels a year of oil and is finding seven or eight billion barrels a year, and this state of affairs has been going on now for 20 or more years. "It's obviously unsustainable and the world is increasingly drawing on the bigger, older fields. You couple that notion with the irreversibility of decline and you've got a very alarming picture." View reference

Jeremy Leggett and Shell - Advertisement appeared in Time Europe Edition, one of the CNN Principal Voices series, 31st March 2008 “A premature topping point in global oil production would wipe out economic plans currently on offer in boardrooms and finance ministries around the world. This is because such plans assume growing supplies of affordable oil for several decades to come.“ View reference


Sadad al-Huseini - former head of exploration and production at Saudi Aramco, 31st October, 2007 “The evidence is that in spite of the increases - very large increases - in oil prices over the last four years, we haven't been able to match that with increasing capacity. So, essentially, we are on a plateau.” View reference

Christophe de Margerie - CEO Total, 30/31st October 2007. "100m barrels per day is now in my view an optimistic case…" View reference

Fatih Birol - IEA, interviewed in Le Monde, June 2007 “From now to 2015, the market and the oil industry will be severely tested. In the next five to ten years, oil production from non-OPEC producers will reach a peak before starting to decline, for lack of sufficient reserves. As each day passes, new evidence of this fact appears. At the same time the peak of the economic expansion phase of China will take place. The two events will coincide: the explosion of the growth of the Chinese demand, and the fall in production of non-OPEC oil. Will our oil system be it able to answer this challenge, that is the question.” “If production does not increase in Iraq in an exponential way between now and 2015, we have a very big problem, even if Saudi Arabia meets its obligations. The figures are very simple, you do not need to be an expert. It is enough to know how to do a subtraction. China will grow very quickly, India also, and even Saudi Arabia projections of the 3 Mb/day will not be enough to meet the rise of Chinese demand.” View reference

Lord Oxburgh- former CEO of Shell, September 2007 “’ve got three main variables: rising world demand, and it’s a bit hard to predict exactly how fast that is going to rise; how much oil is going to be available; and how fast substitutes for oil come to market (synthetic fuels can be made in quite a number of ways). But all of that said I don’t think this is going to happen in the next five years, and I would be surprised if the difficulties ahead had not really emerged within the next twenty.”

“The message in short is that we are just about to enter hot water, quite serious hot water. And the danger is that we sit there blissfully like the frog in the pan of water gently heating on the stove until – as the Irish would say – it wakes up to find itself dead. In other words we may be sleepwalking into a problem which is actually going to be very serious and that it may be too late to do anything about it by the time we are fully aware.” View reference


Dr. James Schlesinger - former US Energy Secretary, 16th November 2005 “In the longer run, unless we take serious steps to prepare for the day that we can no longer increase production of conventional oil, we are faced with the possibility of a major economic shock—and the political unrest that would ensue.” View reference

Dave O’Reilly - CEO, Chevron in their Real Issues Ad, 12th July 2005 “Energy will be one of the defining issues of this century. One thing is clear: the era of easy oil is over. What we all do next will determine How well we meet the energy needs of the entire world in this century and beyond.” “It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil. We’ll use the next trillion in 30.“ View reference

References from the press


The Financial Times, 21st April, 2010 “Are policymakers, economists and peak oilists starting to speak the same language? A rash of papers, comments and interviews have made us think this recently. It’s not as simple as ‘policymakers are waking up to peak oil’, but that all those groups — and indeed, industry — are increasingly talking about the same issues looming in fossil fuel production, even if they’re using different terminology.” View original article


The Independent Lead Article, 28th April 2008 “In the broader context, this crisis must be seen as part of the global energy squeeze. It has been clear for some time that global demand for oil has been outstripping supply. That is what is pushing up prices around the world. That a relatively minor industrial dispute such as this can have such a knock-on effect demonstrates how dependent Britain is on a relatively small number of supply outlets. The Grangemouth dispute will eventually, no doubt, be settled, but the chronic crisis of our economy's total reliance on environmentally damaging and dwindling oil supplies will continue.” View original article

Financial Times Lead Article, 17th April 2008 “Preparing for the age of peak oil - Russia's vast oil and gas reserves were seen not so long ago as the best hope of meeting growing world energy demand. No more. This week a top Russian oil executive echoed earlier official warnings that oil production could fall for the first time in a decade.” View original article


Independent, 17th September 2007 “Oil Industry ‘Sleepwalking into crisis’ - Former Shell chairman says that diminishing resources could push price of crude to $150 a barrel’ View original article – 7th August 2007 “Why oil won't hit $100 - New production, new energy sources and some conservation could push down prices by 2010 - but don't expect $20 a barrel anytime soon.” View original article

William Rees Mogg, The Times, 16th July 2007 “Oil ruled the 20th century; the shortage of oil will rule the 21st. There is now no doubt about the rising trend of oil prices.” View original article

Financial Times, 10th July 2007 “World will face oil crunch in five years – IEA says supply falling faster than expected.” View original article