Three oil companies announced a significant find of a large new oil field (between 3 and 15 billion barrels) in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday. This is exactly the kind of discovery and technological tour de force that the US Geological Survey's 2000 World Oil and Gas Assessement suggested will delay any global peak in oil production until at least after 2030. To wit:
—As drilling and production within discovered fields progresses, new pools or reservoirs are found that were not previously known.
— Advances in exploration technology make it possible to identify new targets within existing fields.
— Advances in drilling technology make it possible to recover oil, and gas not previously considered recoverable in the initial reserve estimates.
— Enhanced oil recovery techniques increase the recovery factor for oil and thereby increase the reserves within existing fields.
Of course, political factors (say, instability or orneriness in Iran and Venezuela) could cause a temporary oil crisis tomorrow. For more detail on why peak oil is at least a generation away see my Reason article "Peak Oil Panic."