Exxon seems to have made a suprising turn in the face of the NY Times Op-ed piece. They replied to it.
Of course the Exxon advertisement is full of misleading numbers but that's not the point. The bear has been dug out of his hole which now presents the opportunity to unleash the dogs on Exxon. While most of the large petroleum players have to some extent or another tactly acknowledged the coming challenge and made bit investments in alternatives Exxon has stood out as the one that stood fully oblivious to the issue.
Exxon's response creates the potential for, well, a conversation. The basic problem in the discussion of oil depletion is the poor data available to the public. And once a more engaged public discussion begins it becomes more difficult to diffuse without more data leaking out.
One has to ask the question, who is more crediable to the man or woman on the street? Exxon/Mobile or some unnamed peak oiler? It is somewhat akin to the polling where the 'unnamed Democrat' defeats the incubant and not so popular Republican. In the end, I think this is as much a victory for the peak oilers as was the original NY Times op-ed. It raises their profile and gives them an easy target to shoot at.