Pierre-Noël Giraud, Aline Sutter, Timothée Denis, Cédric Léonard
As conventional oil reserves are declining, the debate on the oil production peak has become a burning issue. An increasing number of papers refer to Hubbert's peak oil theory to forecast the date of the production peak, both at regional and world levels. However, in our views, this theory lacks microeconomic foundations. Notably, it does not assume that exploration and production decisions in the oil industry depend on market prices. In an attempt to overcome these shortcomings, we have built an adaptative model, accounting for the behavior of one agent, standing for the competitive exploration-production industry, subjected to incomplete but improving information on the remaining reserves. Our work yields challenging results on the reasons for an Hubbert type peak oil, lying mainly "above the ground", both at regional and world levels, and on the shape of the production and marginal cost trajectories.