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Google Search Trends For Peak Oil Have 'All But Disappeared'

Peak Oil Google Search Trends Basically No Longer Exist|Bernstein

When oil was flirting with the $150 per barrel mark, people were flocking to Google to search for the term "peak oil." Today, Google (Alphabet Inc GOOG 0.13% GOOGL 0.11%) searches for "peak oil" are all but nonexistent.

Peak oil refers to a term that oil prices can only rise over time given the fact that supply is limited while global demand for the commodity is rising. This theory was popular in the early- to mid-2000s and popularized in the 2005 film 'Syriana."

Since then, the concept of peak oil hasn't played out, as oil prices are drifting yet again to below $40 per barrel, and the resiliency of U.S. shale producers helped bring in new supply to the market.

Oswald Clint and Mark Tabrett, analysts at Bernstein, were quoted by Bloomberg as saying in a research report that a lack of concern over peak oil based on search trends is a useful indicator of how tens of millions of people are thinking.

In fact, the analysts noted that Google search trends have picked up a series of "supply searches," including terms such as "oil inventories," "oil demand" and "oil supply."

In addition, Google search for the term "too much oil" now outranks searches for "peak oil," marking a notable reverse in trends when searches for "peak oil" outnumbered "too much oil" by nearly 100 to 1 in 2005–2006.

"As interest in shale-led supply peaks, then naturally interest in the old concern of 'Peak Oil' has all but disappeared after the surge in focus on this during the mid-2000s," the analysts wrote.

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