Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grinding gears need oiling

Long detailed post on world oil projections.  It is noteworthy in that it does not have us already at our plateau, but accepts some increases going forward.  Still the news isn't all that great.

How Soon Will the World Oil Production Peak?: A Hubbert Linearization Analysisa
Ron Patterson, Peak Oil Barrel, 4 May 2014
Regarding the future of the world oil production, the most important challenges seems to be that the entire rest of the world (the world total less the eleven top producers) has passed the peak and is currently in decline. The rest of the world still accounts for about 30 percent of the world total oil production. The decline has been accelerated by political instabilities that exist some parts of the world (Nigeria, Libya, and Syria etc.). The current tendency is for the rest of the world’s oil production to decline by 16 million tons per year. The declining pace may accelerate to 33 million tons per year for the decade 2021-2030.
Even though this paper projects that oil production in Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Canada, Iraq, UAE, and Kuwait will continue to growth in the near future. Their combined growth is insufficient to offset the decline from the rest of the world. Only the US oil production growth can bring about rising world oil production in the next few years.
As a result of the current projections, world oil production is projected to peak in 2018, with a production level of 4.4 billion tons. But if political stability returns to some of the key oil producing countries, the gap between the actual oil production and the projected oil production may be closed. This may allow the world oil production to grow for three or four years after 2018.
I like the charting of the cumulative growth rate across cumulative total production as a way to bench mark the mid-point.
Note that there is some potential for high tech induced extensions, and recovery in some areas suppressed production areas (Libya, Iran, Iraq). To some extent Russia's increased production seems to be simply getting it back to where they were prior to Glasnost: something of a double peak.  So I am not sure they are even saying that 2018 is all that hard and fast.  But even so, it would take some extremely optimistic estimates, and some very small increases in the demand for oil, to push the number all that much further out.
But it does seem to be more the numbers of slow grinding decline to the modern energy driven economy, interspersed with localized societal unrest/chaos, than the global fast collapse scenario.

1 comment:

Sunnybrook Farm said...

We may have a lot of oil on paper but so much of it is hard to extract to where it is as bad a deal as ethanol and takes nearly a gallon of fuel to make a gallon of product. When you look at it like that it is not worth extracting so we really don't have as much useable oil as it first appears.