The Myth of the Oil Crisis
Overcoming the Challenges of Depletion, Geopolitics, and Global Warming
by Robin M. Mills
August 2008, 336pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35479-3
$55, £43, 48€, A76
Paperback: 978-0-313-36498-3
$35, £27, 31€, A48
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35480-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

An oil industry insider debunks myths surrounding the black gold and shows that we have plenty of oil left in the ground to keep homes warm and cars running for decades to come.

With oil around $100 a barrel, drivers wince whenever they pull into the gas station and businesses watch their bottom lines shrink. Watch out, say doomsayers, it will only get worse as oil dries up. It’s a plausible argument, especially considering the rate at which countries like China and India are now sucking up oil. Even more troubling, the world’s largest oil fields sit in geopolitical hotspots like Iran and Iraq. Some believe their nations need to secure remaining supplies using military force, while others consider dwindling supplies a blessing that will help solve the problem of global warming. But wait—is it really the end of oil? Absolutely not, says geologist, economist, and industry-insider Robin Mills.

There is no other book by an industry insider that effectively counters the peak oil theory by showing where and how oil will be found in the future. There also is no other book by an insider that lays out an environmentally and geopolitically responsible path for the petroleum industry and its customers. The Myth of the Oil Crisis, written in a lively style but with scientific rigor, is thus a uniquely useful resource for business leaders, policymakers, petroleum industry professionals, environmentalists, and anyone else who consumes oil. Best of all, it offers an abundance of one commodity now in short supply: hope for the future.


According to Mills, many ideas about petroleum depletion and its consequences are not just grossly overstated but plain wrong. Calmly and persuasively, he argues: The supply of oil and gas is much larger than imagined by the pessimists. -Seeking political, military, or commercial control of oil supplies is unnecessary, self-defeating, and exorbitantly expensive. -Oil is merely one convenient source of energy. -Opportunities exist to decrease the global consumption of oil radically while maintaining a healthy economy. -The environmental impact of fossil fuels is the most serious problem the world faces today. But a portfolio of solutions can solve it.


"Geologist, economist, and petroleum industry insider Mills makes an intelligent case for oil's continuing role as a major, growing energy source. A Herculean task, one would think, given public sentiment on the matter. Mills manages it by first neatly dividing opposing viewpoints into five camps: geologists (those who espouse peak oil theory), economists (the markets will work it out), militarists (use power to secure energy supplies), environmentalists (fossil fuels: no), and no-Luddites (fossil fuels, consumption, and materialism: no). He then conquers their positions with lively, exhaustive sourced arguments to say that there may be more conventional oil than reported, colossal unconventional sources, and plentiful energy substitutes. Mills shows deep understanding of the complexity of the issue, and while promising no easy fixes, he is yet hopeful: gloomy predictions do not resemble the real world and take no account of human integrity."—Library Journal, Starred Review, September 1, 2008

"A debate is currently raging among geologists and economists over whether global oil production has peaked. One school of thought, buttressed by mathematical models and some empirical evidence, argues that the peak production of conventional oil occurred sometime over the last two decades. Kenneth Deffeyes' treatise is the classic statement of this position, and Matthew Simmons' application of the argument to recent Saudi production has attracted much attention. Contrarians argue that the peak-oil theorists may be right -- eventually -- but that the relative lack of new oil discoveries owes far more to underinvestment and geopolitics than to geology. Technological breakthroughs in extracting hydrocarbon from shale and deep water, they note, may be pushing out the time when peak oil might hit. Robin Mills offers a solid version of the contrarian case." Reviewed with: Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage. By Kenneth S. Deffeyes. Princeton University Press, 2001. Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. By Matthew R. Simmons. John Wiley, 2005. —Foreign Affairs, December 4, 2009

"Robin Mills's The Myth of the Oil Crisis is an intellectual nail in the coffin of the peak oil lobby's claims for the end of oil. There is no such drama, as this in-depth analysis demonstrates with empirical lucidity, wide-ranging discourse, and persuasive argument to demolish these modern mythologies and proclaimed wisdoms about our world oil future."—Duncan Clarke, Author of Empires Of Oil and The Battle For Barrels

"Robin Mills's book, The Myth of the Oil Crisis, is a very welcome and intellectual insight into the role of oil and gas in our future societies. It demonstrates with very clear and well-informed arguments why the theory of Peak Oil is invalid and based on an incomplete set of assumptions. Mills book is well balanced in its mix of industry insight, world politics, and humanitarian interest and anyone with a keen interest in world energy should read it!"—Dr Simon Vroemen, Vice President Portfolio Management, RWE-DEA

"Robin Millis's The Myth of the Oil Crisis is one of the most insightful books on debunking peak oil theory. With deep industry knowledge, persuasive arguments and some of the best quantitative analysis, his book demonstrates that Peak Oil Theory is a hot air balloon with more PR mileage than real insights. His comprehensive view of green energy includes 'green hydrocarbons'; acknowledging hydrocarbons will continue to play a key role in meeting increasing energy demand across the world. This is a must-read for anybody concerned with energy and environmental issues."—William Zhao, CEO, Gaia Carbon Control Systems
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