Peak Oil is not, and never has been, about "Running out of Oil"

It's common these days to hear the optimists claiming that "A few years ago people claimed we were running out of oil..." before launching into a breathless discussion of new oil discoveries. Funny that they never actually mention who these "people" they imagine are. Nor can they produce actual quotes from prominent Peak Oil educators claiming that we're "running out of oil." They don't exist.

It's a clever two-for-one piece of propaganda. First, it tries to convince the listener that there were people out there claiming that oil was running out. Second, it tries to convince people that Peak Oil is about oil running out. It's not. Peak Oil is the maximum rate of production for an oil field, province, or the world. It's about how much you produce per a unit of time such as per day or per year. Once you reach max production, there's still lots of oil left. If anything, Peak Oil is about running out of cheap oil.

More from Chris Nelder in his latest article:

Peak oil was never about “running out.” That’s a strawman argument. The word “peak” in peak oil simply refers to the maximum production rate of oil, as I have explained ad nauseam. While oil producers constantly trumpet new discoveries and rising reserves, they tend to avoid talking about production rates.

But reserves are meaningless if they don’t amount to an increasing rate of production. If you had a billion dollars to your name, but could only withdraw $1,000 a year, would you be worried about running out of money or paying your bills?
— Chris Nelder

If you want a great example of this type of misinformation at work, watch this panel discussion that took place yesterday on Huff Post live.