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US Congressman says GAO report points to arrival of peak oil

A draft US Government Accountability Office report finds that, though it is difficult to assess whether the world has reached "peak oil," a large number of experts surveyed for the report believe the world may have reached the peak for conventional petroleum supplies, said Representative Roscoe Bartlett, Republican-Maryland.

Bartlett, who has raised concerns that the world has produced more oil than remains in reserves, ordered the report from GAO -- the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress -- and will release it within the next month.

He said the report authors did not get a fix on how much oil is left in the world because principal oil suppliers would offer no information about how much oil they have left.

"They have no reason to tell us and little reason to be truthful," Bartlett said, so it is "very difficult to determine a date specific" when the world will reach peak oil.

But he added that the GAO report found that "the largest number of [experts] believe that it has occurred, that conventional supplies have peaked."

See original article at Platts for the rest of the article.

Editorial Notes: This could be big. Already we've been contacted by a reporter from the national media about it. For background on the GAO report, see Tom Whipple's columnn from November 16, 2006: The Peak Oil Crisis: The Studies (also posted at EB.) Thanks to Douglas Low of the Oil Depletion Analysis Center (ODAC) for pointing to this article in today's ODAC newsletter. UPDATE: Comment from westexas (Jeffrey Brown):
For me, the most compelling observation is that the average monthly Brent spot crude oil price in the 20 months prior to 5/05 was $38 per barrel, while the average monthly Brent spot crude oil price in the 20 months after 5/05 was $62 per barrel. So far, based on EIA data, 5/05 is the record month for crude + condensate. The cumulative shortfall between what the world would have produced at the 5/05 rate and what we actually produced (through 11/06) is in excess of 300 million barrels of crude + condensate. However, as have discussed, I think that Net Oil Exports are falling much faster than overall world crude oil production is falling. When we get the EIA data for December, I'll do another oil export estimate, for all of 2006.

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