Friday, September 14, 2007

The occasional Peak Oil post

The Hindu Business Line (what, you're not a subscriber?) says that the facts of oil production are increasingly corresponding with not just one, but all four of the competing theoretical predictions for Peak Oil. The key part:
In the Graph, the ‘all liquids’ fuel production shows a peak in July 2006 at about 85.39 mbpd and production by May 2007 was down by about 1.2 mbpd to 84.17 mbpd. Again, this is line with the estimates made by Matt Simmons and Dr Campbell in their studies.

This is even more remarkable considering that we have not had any major disruptions due to above-ground factors such as hurricanes or a drop in Iraq production due to political factors since 2005.

So in all probability we would have passed the peak oil scenario within this decade with 2006 as the most likely candidate for the event.
But this is something I didn't know, and I've been reading Skrebowski for years:
Chris Skrebowski started his ‘Mega Projects Database’ study to disprove the peak oil theory and after completing the study, became a convert to the peak oil camp.
Meanwhile, more evidence that the Ghawar oil field, the world's largest, has peaked:
The Ghawar oil field is the kingdom’s crown jewel. Stretching for more than 150 miles beneath the desert, it is the largest known deposit in the world. It produces perhaps twice as much oil as any other field, and has doubtless accounted for more than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Yet the Saudis have been removing oil from this reservoir for half a century. Sooner or later, its production must fall....

But the total amount that the kingdom produces has been declining, down a million barrels a day over the last two years of data.

The Saudis have claimed these cuts have been in response to weak demand. However, the big drop in production began in the spring of 2006, when the price of oil was rising from $60 to $74 a barrel; the claim that no one wanted to buy Saudi Arabia’s light crude strains credulity. The drop in production has also coincided with a huge new Saudi effort to find and pump more oil: The number of active oil rigs in Saudi Arabia has tripled over the past three years.
Declining production at the same time as massively increased efforts in exploration is pretty much the definition of peak production (the same situation Canadian natural gas production is in, btw.)

So we've got a cataclysmic decline at Mexico's Cantarell field already happening, and the potential for a similar decline at Ghawar. The North Sea is collapsing as well, and non-OPEC production can't make up the margins.

Good time not to own a car.

No comments: