Hard to believe that Peter Maass' New York Times magazine article "The Breaking Point" is 8 years old today. Re-reading it is an interesting step into the past.
- There's Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi assuring a Washington DC audience there is absolutely no lack of resources worldwide - as oil stood at $55/barrel.
- The Hirsch report, which had only been out a few months at the time, predicting the inevitable peaking of conventional world oil production. (It wasn't as common then to hear about total liquids and unconventionals as we do today)
- There's Daniel Yergin misinterpreting Peak Oil and using the same "This is not the first time that the world has 'run out of oil'" line that he still uses today.
- There's Matt Simmons studying over 200 S.P.E. papers on Saudi oil fields.
- There's Sadad al-Husseini suggesting that the world will need to find multiple Saudi Arabia's every year.
- It's interesting to note what actually did happen to demand these 8 years. Demand growth did slow under high prices, hanging between 85-86 mbpd between 2006-2009, even dropping slightly because of the 2008 oil spike. But growth continued 2010-2012 and the world used 89.7 mbpd in 2012.
- And while the article doesn't necessarily predict the growth of shale (few did at the time) - it does pretty accurately describe what eventually happened as prices rose and how that affected the US and Saudi Arabia.
- Forbes would later call Peter Maass their "Dunce of the week" and the article indirectly led to the $10,000 Simmons/Tierney bet. (wiki)