Peak Oil is dead -- or at least the website dedicated to educating the world on the theory is, as the popular Oil Drum website will cease publishing new content at end of the month. The theory just doesn't seem to have much relevance these days, when North America is in the midst of a massive energy production boom. While we are a long way from celebrating Energy Independence Day, we've at least pushed back the date when Peak Oil will again become a major topic of conversation. With that as context, let's look at five of the companies that have made Peak Oil no longer relevant.
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK )
The nation's No. 2 natural gas producer is really the main company to point the finger at when it comes to bringing down Peak Oil. In discovering many of the top unconventional natural gas plays, the company's prolific use of fracking technology helped spark the move into oil and liquids production from shale. Today, Chesapeake is focused on balancing its production by increasing the amount of unconventional oil it produces. That focus led to 22% year-over-year increase in oil production for the company, as it has developed its acreage in the Eagle Ford, Granite Wash, and Mississippi Lime. Chesapeake has a massive inventory of future wells, which should keep it very busy over the next decade.
SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD )
Speaking of the Mississippian, SandRidge is one of the biggest advocates of that emerging oil play. The company expects the play to deliver 64% year-over-year oil production growth, which will enable its total oil production to grow by 19% this year. SandRidge has leased about 1.85 million net acres in the Mississippian, which gives it more than a decade of oil production growth opportunities.
Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG )
Another big culprit in the demise of Peak Oil is the Bakken Shale of North Dakota. Its development has enabled companies such as Kodiak to annually deliver triple-digit oil production growth. It is quite astonishing to think that in 2010 the company produced an average of 1,260 barrels of oil equivalent per day, while this year it expects to deliver an average of nearly 31,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. With an inventory of more than 950 future drilling locations, investors can expect Kodiak continue to grow oil production well into the future.
Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE: PXD )
Not only have we seen many new oil fields such as the Bakken and Eagle Ford emerge, but older oil fields such as the Permian Basin continue to be the gift that keeps on giving. They've helped companies such as Pioneer enjoy double-digit production growth over the past few years. New technologies have helped it unlock additional areas of this prolific basin to the point where the company sees the potential for 40,000 future drilling locations and the potential to recover 7 billion barrels of oil equivalent. In fact, it's believed the Sparberry/Wolfcamp field could be the second largest oil field in the world, with nearly 50 billion barrels of oil equivalent reserves.
Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN )
In addition to all the great U.S. oil plays, we simply can't forget about the massive oil finds by our neighbors to the North. Among the many examples, the Canadian oil sands helped Devon deliver 14% oil production growth last quarter. Looking ahead, the company sees its oil production from the oil sands growing by up to 19% annually through 2020. When combined with its strong position in the Permian, as well as an emerging position in the Mississippian, Devon has strong, highly visible future oil production growth potential.
Final Foolish thoughts
Oil production growth in North America has been truly amazing. Further, as seen from this handful of examples, these companies have very visible oil production growth opportunities to keep them busy for at least the next decade. It's that growth potential that really is what has put Peak Oil out to pasture.
All that being said, obviously, oil is a finite resources meaning it will eventually run dry. What's changed in the meantime is our ability to technically and economically produce it. What that doesn't mean is that the price of oil is heading lower as most of these new resource basins require high oil prices in order to remain economical. So, if you're looking to profit from this dynamic you might want to check out The Motley Fool's special report highlighting "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." For free access to this special report, simply click here now.