Industry urged to watch for regular oil production peaks, depletion signals

Depletion is an everyday experience: The glass of beer starts full and ends empty. We are born, pass prime, and die. Yet strangely, oil depletion is counterintuitive: Nothing quite like it has happened before. As the Flat-Earth community likes to say: "The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stone." (It ended because we found that bronze made a stronger tool.) But this time we do face the decline of a critical resource on which we all depend, and we do so without sight of a better substitute. "Hydrocarbon Man"—now the sole surviving human subspecies—will be extinct this century. It is not too soon to start thinking of a successor. Did Darwin get it quite right with the...

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