First the unknown: Peak Oil assumes a biogenic origin of hydrocarbons. Here is a link that questions that assumption:
|Data Source: EIA - US Energy Information Administration|
All that being said, we should be developing new oil and gas resources and solar, wind, wave and geothermal sources of energy. I am not a fan of using food crops (corn ethanol) as fuel and driving up world food prices while reducing exports to poorer nations.
The development of alternate technologies to replace oil will likely require technical breakthroughs that are unimaginable at this point in the process. The Whipstock for directional drilling was first developed (in Houston, TX) in the 30's and evolved from that beginning into today's horizontal drilling techniques over a period of +/- 75 years. The first oil well in Pennsylvania was drilled in 1859. It has taken over 150 years to become an oil economy. It is likely to take as long to replace it with something else.
Here is a useful link to the Energy Information Administration:
http://www.eia.gov/ and another to the EIA spreadsheet of World Proved Crude Oil Reserves (WPCOR) (1980-2009):
Some interesting highlights: Since 1980 WPCOR has increased 697.27 Bn bbls or 108.12%, an average of 2.71% (year over year) for 29 years. Only 5 of 29 years have shown declines in WPCOR.
Here is a corresponding link to historical oil consumption from the EIA.
and some interesting tidbits for the same period (apples to apples) since 1980: 24 of the 29 years show increases in oil consumption. Only 5 years show decreases (1981, 1982, 1983, 2008 & 2009). All are recession years.
If one calculates Consumption Years Remaining (CYR) by simply dividing WPCOR by Annual Consumption it appears that CYR is increasing annually and is up 55.74% since 1980. This may seem counter intuitive but increasing reserves is not simply a function of exploration. Production methods, technological innovation and the steadily advancing science of exploration and extraction all contribute.
There is no doubt that it is important to develop alternate energy resources and technologies. And if one considers historical fact, there can be no doubt that it is going to take time. Therefore, as a nation, or if you are a “citizen of the world”, as humankind, we must pursue oil and gas exploration and production which, if the theory of abiotic genesis proves to be correct, will never deplete and; if the theory is not correct, provides a bridge, at full production, to its replacement. We should also simultaneously pursue other “green” alternatives being careful not to damage or destroy the existing oil and gas business in the process. There currently is no replacement.