Last week, the Raymond James & Associates firm of financial advisors published a report discussing the possibility that world oil production has already peaked. The event was noted by no less an authority than the Wall Street Journal environmental blog who facetiously counseled that we should all brush off our survivalist manuals and prepare for dystopia (opposite of utopia).

The Raymond James analysts say they are convinced that global oil and natural gas liquids peaked in the first quarter of last year and that it represents a paradigm shift of historic proportions. The authors continue to say that “while some still fight the concept of ‘peak oil,’ we have been convinced that it is both inevitable and imminent since oil is a non-renewable, and hence finite, energy source.”

The arguments used to support the proposition that world oil production has peaked are well known – declining production from mature fields is offsetting those regions where production from new fields is increasing. When declining investment due to low oil prices and the spotty availability of credit are factored in, the most likely conclusion is that world production will never again reach the high seen last year.  But it will be several years before this assessment is confirmed or disproved.