The visionary and legendary M. King Hubbert. He was surely considered a tinfoilhatter when he predicted in 1949 that the U.S. would hit its production peak soon and then they were ready to put him in a straight-jacket when in 1956 he predicted that the U.S. would not only peak soon, it would peak between the years 1966 and 1972. The actual U.S. oil peak occurred in 1971. Then in the 70s Hubbert predicted a world peak at about 2000 - obviously he was a little early, not wrong, just a little early.
Hubbert was a world-reknown geophysicit long before he got into the Peak Oil predicition business. In 1937 he resolved a standing paradox regarding the apparent strenght of rocks that form the Earth's crust. In the early 1950s, he showed that underground fluids can become entrappped under circumstanes prevously not thought possible, which resulted in the redesign of techniques employed to locate oil and gas...the list of his accomplishments in the fields of geophysics goes on and on. Hubbert is finally receiving the respect he has always been due, too bad he died in 1989. Hubbert taught at Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, and at John Hopkins University. Some Hubbert publications:
- Nuclear Energy and Fossil Fuels; M. King Hubbert, 1956
- Energy from Fossil Fuels; M. King Hubbert, 1949 (PDF) http://energycrisis.biz/hubbert/science1949/
Book titles with no known source:
- Degree of advancement of petroleum exploration in United States
- U.S. energy resources, a review as of 1972;: A background paper
Colin J. Campbell - Ph.D - Harvard, 1957. Worked for Texaco and Amaco among others as an exploration geologist. Created the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO). His most famous publication is The Coming Oil Crisis and Oil Crisis
One of Campbell's primary hypotheses is that the OPEC nations have purposely overestimated their reserve figures (from 42 to 197 percent!) and were highly motivated to do so because the higher the reserves are the more a country is allowed to export. A hypothesis that Matthew Simmons has greatly expanded on lately...but I'll get to Simmons in a minute.
Campbell wrote an article with Jean Laherrere, in The Scientific American The End of Cheap Oil", in March 1998 in which they predicted that peak oil will occur "before 2010." http://dieof.org/page140.htm
Princeton University professor emeritus of geology Kenneth S. Deffeyes Deffeyes is mainly known from writing these books: Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage (New Edition) (2001), and Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak (2006), and When Oil Peaked (2010)
Deffeyes really goes into some detail about petroleum geology. He say's he doesn't really like to predict an exact date but that data he has seen using variations on Hubbert's methods that set the date somewhere between 2004 and 2009 seem to be valid, but he became somewhat infamous for making what I believe was a tongue in cheek prediction that peak oil would happen on Thanksgiving Day of 2005.
Kjell Aleklett - President of ASPO International and head of the world’s leading research group on Peak Oil, writes about the decade-long journey of Peak Oil from extremist fringe theory to today’s accepted fact: Global oil production is entering terminal decline. Peeking at Peak Oil
L.F. Ivanhoe - founder of the M. King Hubbert Center for Petroleum Supply Studies at the Colorado School of Mines. He is geologist, geophysicist, engineer, and oceanographer with 50 years of experienced in Petroleum exploration with such companies as Chevron and Occidental Petroleum - He puts peak at about 2010 - read this: http://hubbert.mines.edu
Walter Youngquist, retired Professor of Geology at the U. of Oregon - wrote Geodestinies: The Inevitable Control of Earth Resources over Nations and Individuals (1997) - a quote from Youngquist: "by 2005 at the latest, it will take more energy, on the average, in the United States to explore for, and drill for, and produce oil from the wells than the wells will produce in energy." Youngquist backs up this claim with some impressive charts and statistices.
L. B. Magoon A geologist with the USGS that maintains a peak oil type website - check it out: http://www.oilcrisis.com/magoon/
Richard Heinberg, Ph.D. - Teaches courses on "Energy and Society" at New College of California. Has written a slew of books - some of them having nothing to do with Peak Oil. But his most famous Peak Oil books are Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World (2004), and The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (2005), and Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (2010)
James Kunstler. An excellent investigative journalist whose one big contribution to the Peak Oil discussion has been his recent offering The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century (2005) This book tells the whole story from when Spartans poured hot oil on their enemies to the depletion of wood and the beginning of the use of coal in 12th century England to Spindletop to Peak Oil and what the world might look like afterwards.
Matthew Simmons Who describes himself as a lifelong Republican. Simmons experience comes from running an Investment Company for 30 years that specializes in the energy business. Simmons just wrote a new book - hot off the press - Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy - Simmons does a great job of debunking the Saudi reserve fantasies and brings a unique economic perspective to the issue due to his years as an investment banker. Here's a great online interview with Simmons: http://www.oilcrash.com/articles/blackout.htm