Technology Is Turning U.S. Oil Around But Not the World's

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  03 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6068, pp. 522-523
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6068.522

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


For at least 20 years, oil "peakists" have been warning of an imminent maxing out of world oil production. Daniel Yergin, chair of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, thinks not. Instead, Yergin says, technological innovation driven by higher prices will make hard-to-extract North Dakota "tight oil," Canadian oil sands, and far-offshore deposits accessible and profitable. That opening of new, abundant sources will help put off the much-feared peak until "perhaps sometime around midcentury," Yergin writes in his recent book, The Quest. Less-optimistic analysts remain unconvinced. Many think it will barely offset the declining output of aging fields. Because harder means slower, Yergin's midcentury timing of the peak remains dubious for many analysts.