The term peak oil comes from the thought that the quantity of crude oil is ultimately fixed. The production of crude oil into components such as petrol, diesel etc. etc. then must inevitably reach a peak and then it is from this peak where it has to go into decline.
Peak oil has its origins from the work of M. King Hubbert, a geologist working for Shell in the 1950s. In the mid 1950’s he published a prediction of US crude oil would peak in about 1970. That was a very accurate calculation.
However the US discovered massive oil reserves in Alaska, and this created a massive new source of oil. Then in the past 5 years US Shale Gas has bought new reserves on lines. So perhaps we hit peak oil too early ?
Well since 2009, the trend of declining US crude oil production reversed, and since then the US output has surged upwards until in 2013, production was higher than any year since 1988-89.
Perhaps Peak Oil has been hit, but then again, perhaps we may find new reserves. Only time will tell.