The virtual collapse at Cantarell — the world's second-biggest oil field in terms of output at the start of last year — is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. Cantarell's daily output fell to 1.5 million barrels in December compared to 1.99 million barrels in January, according to figures from the Mexican Energy Ministry.Cantarell's problems are not Cantarell's alone. The entire global oil industry is facing this problem: new technology is so good at extracting oil at high speed that the collapse comes quickly, and without warning. (The North Sea is another good example, or Burgan in Kuwait.) It's data like this that makes me pessimistic about Peak Oil -- I'm betting, like Ken Deffeyes, that we'll never see our May, 2005 production levels again.
A temporary seasonal decline in oil prices really shouldn't blind us to the problems we face.