This is a nice article introducing the peak hydrocarbon concept with lots of helpful references.
“According to the 2009 BP Statistical Review, the world has precisely 42 years of oil left.4 Those numbers come from a very simple formula, the R/P ratio, which consists of dividing the official number of global oil reserves by the level of today’s production. Nevertheless, this methodology is dangerously defective on several key points as it ignores geological realities. Oil production does not consist of a plan level of production that brutally ends one day; it follows a bell-shaped curve.
Indeed, the important day occurs when production starts to decline, not when it ends. As it is a non-flexible commodity, even a small deficit in oil production can lead to a major price surge. Finally, the R/P ratio does not acknowledge that production costs increase over the time; the first oil fields to be developed were logically the easy ones and so the most profitable. It is well recognized that remaining oil fields consist of either poor quality oil or remotely located fields which need high technologies and expensive investments. Therefore, relying on the R/P ratio gives a false impression of security while the actual situation is critical.”
This is an extremely level-headed and easily read review of the concept of Peak Oil. It is abundantly clear that we must transition to alternative energy sources.