The Oil Drum

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The Oil Drum

The Oil Drum is a web-based, interactive energy, peak oil and sustainability think tank and community devoted to the discussion of energy issues and their impact on society. The Oil Drum is facilitated by the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future, a Colorado non-profit corporation[1]. The site is a resource for information on many energy and sustainability topics, including peak oil, and related concepts such as oil megaprojects, Hubbert Linearization, and the Export Land Model. The Oil Drum has over 25 online contributors from all around the globe.

The Oil Drum was rated one of the top five sustainability blogs of 2007 by Nielsen Netratings[2], and is read by a diverse collection of public figures, including Roscoe Bartlett[3], Paul Krugman[4], James Howard Kunstler[5], Richard Rainwater[6], Matthew Simmons[7], and Radiohead[8]. In 2008, the site received the M. King Hubbert Award for Excellence in Energy Education from the U.S. chapter of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO)[9].

The Oil Drum was started in March 2005 by Kyle Saunders (username "Prof. Goose"), a professor of political science at Colorado State University, and Dave Summers (username "Heading Out"), a professor of mining engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (then known as University of Missouri-Rolla)[10]. The site first rose to prominence following its coverage of the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on oil and gas production[11][12]. Since then, the staff has grown by dozens and the site has become well-known for rigorous, quantitative analysis of energy production and consumption[13]. Notable examples include editor Stuart Staniford's analysis of the depletion of Saudi Arabia's Ghawar oil field (Depletion Levels in Ghawar)[14] and Saunders's analysis of Chinese cement production and consumption (A Pretty Stunning Graph of World Cement Production)[15].

The site has steadily increased its global reach by adding localized sites for Europe, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand, as well as a site about local activism.

The site started out on the Blogger platform, moved to Scoop in August 2005, and to Drupal in December 2006[16].


  1. "Support The Oil Drum". The Oil Drum. 2009-04-22. 
  3. Bartlett, Roscoe (2008-02-28). "Congressional Record: PEAK OIL". 
  4. Krugman, Paul (2008-04-19). "Commodity prices: Deja vu all over again". New York Times. "…the peakers I read…" 
  5. Kunstler, James Howard. "Jim Kunstler's Forecast 2007". "…the web's best oil debate site…" 
  6. Ryan, Oliver (2005-12-26). "The Rainwater Prophecy". Fortune (magazine).  Reference appears in print version only; corroborated by .
  7. Pulplava, Jim (2007-08-07). "Financial Sense Newshour: The GAO Report on Peak Oil". Financial Sense Online. "…the most sophisticated energy blog on the internet…" 
  8. "DEAD AIR SPACE". Radiohead. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. 
  9. "2008 ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference Proceedings". 
  10. "Staff Biographies". The Oil Drum. 
  11. Vallance, Chris (2005-08-29). "Up All Night Pods and Blogs program summary". BBC Radio 5 Live. 
  12. Maciulis, Tony (2005-09-22). "Connected: Coast to Coast: What's on the show Wednesday". MSNBC. 
  13. Lavelle, Marianne (2008-01-07). "Beyond the Barrel: The Oil Drum: $100 a Barrel Quickens the Beat". U.S. News & World Report. 
  14. Hamilton, James D. (October 2007). "Running Dry". Atlantic Monthly. 
  15. "All Things Considered: Cement Contributes to China's Bad Climate Rap". National Public Radio. 2008-06-21. 
  16. "Software upgrade". The Oil Drum. 2008-12-25. 

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