Laherrère studied at the Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Nationale du Pétrole in Paris and worked for 37 years with Total S.A., a French petroleum company. His work on seismic refraction surveys contributed to the discovery of Africa's largest oil field. Since retiring from Total in 1991, Laherrère has consulted worldwide on the future of exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
He is the co-founder and an active member of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, and continues to contribute detailed analyses and projections of the future of world energy production. Laherrère is an advisor for the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre.
In 1998, with co-author Colin J. Campbell, Laherrere predicted that most likely "world production of conventional oil will peak during the first decade of the 21st century".: 81 While unconventional oil production from tar sands and tight oil kept growing, conventional crude oil has entered a plateau phase since 2005.: 43
In 2003, Laherrere predicted that the combined natural gas production of Canada and the United States had peaked in 2001, and would continue to decline, falling approximately in half by 2020. He wrote: "It means that the future gas production is fairly settled for the next 30 years, except miracles!"
In 2007, Laherrere predicted that United States marketed natural gas production, including unconventional gas, had already peaked in 2001, at 20.6 tcf per year, and would continue to fall, to about 12 tcf by 2020. Instead, US marketed gas production has continued to rise through 2017, when it reached 28.8 tcf.
- Biography of Jean Laherrère
- Campbell, Colin; Laherrère, Jean (March 1998). "The End of Cheap Oil". Scientific American: 78–84. ISSN 0036-8733. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-06-03. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
- Papers and publications of Jean Laherrère
- Andruleit; Franke; Ladage; Lutz; Pein; Rebscher; Schauer; Schmidt; von Goerne (August 2019). BGR Energy Study 2018 (PDF). Data and Developments Concerning German and Global Energy Supplies. Vol. 22. Hannover: Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources. p. 43.
Although global conventional crude oil production has stagnated since 2005, it still retains a share of around 79 % of total production, and will therefore continue to play a most significant role in the long term in supplying liquid hydrocarbons (Fig. 3-4).
- Jean Laherrere, [www.hubbertpeak.com/laherrere/encyclopediaofenergy.doc Oil and natural gas resource assessment: production growth cycle models], draft 16 July 2003.
- Jean Laherrere, North America natural gas discovery and production, figure 5, 20 August 2007.
- US EIA, US natural gas marketed production, accessed 12 June 2018.