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The Oil Production Story: Pre- and Post-Peak Nations


BP just released its latest annual Statistical Review of World Energy.  ASPO-USA co-founders Randy Udall and Steve Andrews first collaborated in 2005 on a summary table to highlight key parts of the BP data.  It has been updated annually with each new release from BP.   The latest update with commentary by Steve Andrews is provided below.  Randy Udall died in 2013, but his memory and legacy live on–in this and many other ways.

Download summary table of BP oil production data

The news media continue to chant that “peak oil is dead” and see the U.S. shale oil miracle as a sustainable turn of events, not a term-limited booster.

But listen to a few analysts who worry about what the slowdown in investments by oil super-majors portends, and question why many shale oil and gas companies can’t turn a profit during this incredible drilling and production boom.  Watch what’s happening to oil production outside of North America. Note the struggles to boost production from Brazil’s presalts.  Reflect on internal struggles in Syria, the Sudans, Venezuela and Nigeria and how those drag down oil production and quality of life. Follow violent events in the Middle East.

If you do, you’ll sense that the peak oil issue is far from dead, especially since world crude oil production has been mostly on a plateau since 2005. So the world is still trying to fuel GDP growth by using lower-energy fuels like natural gas liquids and biofuels, which makes for tough sledding.

In reviewing BP’s latest stats, the “Top 10″ nations still dominate the realm of oil, producing 66% of the world total.  Our summary table highlights two important pieces of the oil production story:

1) Nations that are past peak (see “Peak Year,” highlighte d in turquoise )–because of geologic limits (e.g., Norway, the United Kingdom) or for above-ground reasons;

2) Nations that have yet to clearly peak.

It appears that about half of the Top 20 nations have seen their all-time highs in production.  In a number of others, production is currently increasing, with America the record-setting poster child. Yet during 2013, only four nations increased by over 100,000 barrels/day-year vs. 15 in 2004, while four nations experienced declines of roughly 100,000 b/d-year vs. three in 2004. And most importantly, Russia and China are likely near peak production.

All things considered, world peak oil appears close–likely within the next few years, almost certainly before 2020–but it’s not quite here, delayed rather than dead. It’s disguised by the inclusion of still-increasing natural gas liquids in BP’s accounting, which shows world liquids production up 4.7 mbd since the crude plateau in 2005.  Looking ahead, key themes to follow are: violence in the Middle East, the rate of investment in new projects, the state of China’s economy, and the status of peak oil exports. While contemplating the numbers, please forget about American “energy independence.” Despite the happy talk, the world’s petroleum future may not be a romance with abundance, but rather a plea bargain with depletion.


22 Comments on "The Oil Production Story: Pre- and Post-Peak Nations"

  1. Plantagenet on Wed, 25th Jun 2014 3:39 pm 

    Not only are we at peak oil, but ongoing wars in Iraq and Libya are cutting global oil production even more.

    Look for gas prices to go higher and higher.

  2. sparky on Wed, 25th Jun 2014 5:24 pm 

    That’s pretty much as expected ,
    the sting is in the increasing cost of discovery / extraction all the oil companies are moaning about taking care of their shareholders.
    a spike in price is NEEDED to create a sharp increase in companies assets
    so they can borrow to develop new fields

  3. Makati1 on Wed, 25th Jun 2014 8:25 pm 

    Another article that predicts 2020 as the maximum time before the SHTF. That has been my date for years. It appears that that too may be years too far. I’m seeing more and more evidence that 2016 may be more realistic. Are you prepared?

  4. Tedman on Wed, 25th Jun 2014 9:58 pm 

    2016? I was predicting 2013? I already shot my load!

  5. Beery on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 4:19 am 

    I’ve been predicting 2015 since 2012. But I hope it’s 2020 – by then I should have paid off virtually all my debt including my mortgage. If it could be 2023, I’d be even happier.

  6. Davy, Hermann, MO on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 5:16 am 

    Beer, I feel 2020 is a good date if nothing else in the abstract for conversation here. We know all the tipping points and predicaments ahead. Yet, BAU has a momentum and latent heat so to speak. Like the climate it is a complexity and will adjust slowly until it bifurcates. The disequilibrium we are in will break at some point and the longer it wait the worse the break. Ideally we need a significant crisis to focus attention on mitigation efforts and away from those components of the status quo in BAU with no future. Those energy intensive wasteful lifestyle activities that come with the peak of entropic decay. Beer, one other point, is paying off debt a good idea? I have a small mortgage on a house my boys and mom live in. It is very low interest almost free money. Do I pay that off or enjoy using someone’s money? Will there be a debt holiday at some point. In that case more debt the better if you can service it without danger in status quo BAU. I imagine the laws and their consequences will outlast BAU so getting out of debt is basically a good policy. Because in that first year of a collapsed BAU it is going to be a mess for debt service.

  7. TomGood on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 5:17 am 

    Beery, I was lucky enough to get my mortgage paid off a couple of years ago – that’s when my worries started. What do I do with my money now? I used to not have to think about it. All my earnings went to paying off the mortgage, now I listen to everyone telling me that whatever I have hitherto thought was a safe investment is about to meltdown. I’m starting to think cash in the mattress may be the only solution. I have a self-sufficient (food-wise) place in a smallish town so I’m well set up, and having no debt is definitely better than having debt. But if the s?$t really is about to hit the fan, where do we keep our money safe for when we can no longer earn it anymore?

  8. simonr on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 5:30 am 

    I have no debt, no mortgage, but living in france just got given my tax bill 18 months in the future, if you cant earn, no worries, simply pay it off and wait for the re-imbursement.
    Not that I am bitter and twisted 🙂

  9. Davy, Hermann, MO on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 5:38 am 

    Tom, start buying 1/10 oz gold for a start. Have some cash hidden well near your person. Have some cash in the bank. Make this a trifecta of options with the 3 in proportion. All three examples have utility. The problem with cash is the loss of confidence in cash may render it useless. Bank cash can be confiscated and cash on your person stolen. In the case of worthless paper money, we will be desperate anyhow. In that case food is the best currency. Gold is a great insurance policy and store of value but less liquid. The buying and selling of it problematic with transaction loss. Do not be in the market unless you have money to blow and or you want to play the game to the bitter end. Stock up on trade and barter items. Stock up on long shelf life storable food. Food in this package can be traded as currency in hard times. Buy art work that has intrinsic value and can be traded and sold later. Any plan is better than no plan.

  10. Davy, Hermann, MO on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 5:41 am 

    Simon, what are you doing on this board get out and feed your horses…lol. Good to hear from you!

  11. steveo on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 7:05 am 

    “Will there be a debt holiday at some point.”

    Or will the system come unglued to the point at which there is no functioning corporation left to collect on the debt?

  12. BC on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 7:14 am 

    silver coins a large stash may be useful tom spread your bets that is what I am attempting, get some chickens bartering may become the new normal if it all goes to shite

  13. Pops on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 7:19 am 

    My “prediction” of 10 years ago was that growth in oil production would cease in 5-10 years (about now) and prices would soon rise to well over $100/bbl. I thought that price would severely impact the economy via stagflation and even deflation, and cause widespread unrest- even resource wars.

    “I don’t believe there will be an oil “crash” soon, but there certainly could be an economic crash as the cost of oil and virtually everything else begins its inevitable rise. That is the wild card; how long do we have to prepare before the cost of preparing is out of reach or the necessities unavailable? ”
    Pops – 3/4/04

    Missed it by THAT much …

  14. Juan Pueblo on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 8:02 am 

    Ten years ago I thought we would be worse off by now. I didn’t foresee the shale boom after prices increased. I am glad for the extra time, I admit I am selfish and just want BAU to last as long as possible, even knowing it is the most costly option for survivors in the long run.
    I will stay as long as the getting’s good. My main concern is my wife’s wellbeing.

  15. Arthur on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 9:19 am 

    A collapse of sort will not come from fossil fuel becoming scarce; there is great potential for demand destruction first under the pressure of increased prices. No, finance is going to be first. 2008 was the first warning shot, with the US the most vulnerable.

    So TomGood, it is certainly ok to have a few months cash reserve, the rest I would spend on durable goods: solar panels, gold, silver, food reserves, clothings, shoes.

  16. bob on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 9:20 am 

    Don’t get gold!!! Gold will get you killed…Imagine a world were everybody is broke and you are walking around trying to barter with gold on the black market? If it is worth a lot they will follow you kill you and still your stash….Better to stick with silver coins…Better yet join a church or some sort of civic group…friends will be worth more than gold…

  17. bobinget on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 10:06 am 

    Agreeing with ‘bob’ on gold, permit me to amplify.

    Gold can double in price, who gets hurt?
    Oil, OTOH has absolutely crucial value.
    Events in Africa, the Mideast, Eastern Europe, have altered timelines forever. Unless measures are taken at once to bring stability to these oil regains, higher oil prices, a near certainty at this point, threaten to bring down world economies.

    A few hours ago, Nigeria’s Boko Haram began its Southern offensive.

    Abuja: A bombing blamed on Boko Haram in the heart of Nigeria’s capital raised fears on Thursday of a worsening Islamist insurgency, with the security forces struggling to prevent attacks in remote villages and near the seat of government.

    Wednesday’s blast, which killed at least 21 people, shook the crowded Emab Plaza in downtown Abuja during the afternoon rush as shoppers were buying groceries an hour ahead of the country’s World Cup match against Argentina.

    The explosions struck “a very prominent street and it sends a very loud message”, said Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria researcher at the International Crisis Group. “The message is that everywhere in the city is vulnerable.”

    Boko Haram’s five-year uprising to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria has killed thousands but there were hopes earlier this year that the violence had been contained in the remote northeast, the group’s stronghold.

    An April 14 bombing at a bus station on the outskirts of the capital and copycat attack at the same spot on May 1 cast doubt on claims that the insurgents had been weakened.

    “The security situation in the northeast is very grim and the return of bombings in Abuja really raises questions about how much progress has been against the insurgency,” said Obasi. “It is embarrassing for the government.”

    Near misses

    Dozens of soldiers and police guarded the Emab Plaza on Thursday, with the main road running past the plaza closed off, traders denied access to their shops and the burnt out shells of cars littering the blast zone.

    Shellshocked shopkeepers and witnesses swapped stories of near misses as they returned to the scene.

    “I ran after a customer who was at that gate to give him his phone which he forgot in our shop,” said trader Suleiman Mohammed.

    “I saw a large crowd of people there. The bomb exploded before I got back to the shop.”

    Police and the country’s National Information Centre said on Wednesday one suspect had been arrested after the explosion, while another was shot dead by troops as he tried to escape on a motorbike.

    The blast, at the entrance to the mall, was powerful enough to blow out windows in buildings on the opposite side of the street, an AFP correspondent on the scene said.

    The area, sandwiched between two other shopping centres and one of the busiest in central Abuja, was littered with body parts in the immediate aftermath and soaked in pools of congealed blood.

    “I saw a woman who almost (went) mad yesterday looking for her husband. According to her, she left her husband parked in his car waiting at that gate while she stepped into the plaza to buy something,” Bisi Adeoye, another trader, told AFP.

    “She had not bought anything when the incident happened. Nobody knows what happened to the man now.”

    Fellow shopkeeper Osaretin Odafe spoke of seeing “many bodies dismembered”.

    Heightened fears

    A security officer for a foreign company who asked to remain anonymous said his firm is advising employees in Abuja to stay home aside from going to work and “to avoid crowded places.”

    Such advice underscores the broader security decline in Nigeria’s capital, which had been spared Boko Haram violence for nearly two years prior to the April 14 bombing.

    Checkpoints were set up across the city following an August 2011 bombing at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja.

    The Boko Haram conflict has received unprecedented global attention in recent weeks following the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in April, which sparked worldwide outrage.

    For Ryan Cummings, a South Africa-based security analyst for Red 24, “discrediting and undermining the Nigerian government in terms of both domestic and international onlookers may very well be the motivation” for renewed attacks in Abuja.

    Nigeria has since May of last year been waging an offensive in the northeast to crush the uprising, but the operation has been widely criticised as failing to stem the unrest, with more than 2,000 people killed already this year.

    Obasi, of the Crisis Group, noted that a military bombardment of Boko Haram’s northeastern bases would do little to limit bomb attacks in the capital.

    “The terrorists can always find a place to hit… a soft target,” he said.

  18. J-Gav on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 11:49 am 

    Yeah BC – Silver coins sound good to me – if only I had some money to invest in them and a safe place to store them (outside the banking system).

    On the subject of our ‘bungled predictions,’ I’ll confess my own: From about 2007 I went on record for 2016 (by averaging out what I thought what was the best literature on the subject) as the year the inevitable ‘energy crunch’ would become clear to all and create havoc in most markets.

    I had no inkling that the ‘unconventional boom’ was about to change the complexion of things. Missed it entirely. That said, it has only caused me to push that date out closer to 2020. But, of course, something else could come along in the meantime. Ah, predictions! They’re so much fun and so useless most of the time.

  19. Davy, Hermann, MO on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 12:25 pm 

    Guys, there is nothing wrong with silver. In fact there has been talk silver has more room for a value increase relative to gold. My problem with silver is it is bulky compared to gold. If you have a place to hide that much more metal fine. If you get small gold coins the value to purchase issue for trade and barter is reasonable. Yea, 1 oz coins are expensive and hard to make change for 1/10oz much more reasonable. I like the small gold coins because if you have to hit the road you can carry allot of value in a small place and still use them to purchase stuff without large conversions issues. Be very careful with any valuables and the banks. I have a bank box but I am ready very quickly to pull valuables out if the situation warrants. Confiscation is an ever present worry. I would also be Leary of paper gold. I would be Leary of rolling a 401K into a gold account even physical. If you do this the Gov has your gold on record and ready for confiscation. I would not put all my eggs in one basket. Diversify with other items of value in a post collapse world. If you have room by good quality items like a grain grinder, copper alcohol still, and or AltE equipment for example. Something that is made to last and has a survival purpose and or something people will trade for. Buy a bike and store it for future use as a further example.

  20. bob on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 8:23 pm 

    What about guns and bullets? I have long distance covered still working on the short game…

  21. GregT on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 8:38 pm 

    Guns and bullets for the short term. Hopefully, once/if the dust settles, there will be a need for trade again. Gold and silver have been used as currency for 6000 years. I see no reason for this time to be any different. See present day Zimbabwe for an example.

  22. Davy, Hermann, MO on Thu, 26th Jun 2014 10:02 pm 

    Bob, definitely guns and bullets. I would be competent with a gun to which means practice. I am not a gun freak but I am prepared. The problem in America is the country is full of idiots with guns. If it were not for the idiots I would not be so well armed. Guns and bullets trade well too. Around here there hunting will supplement people’s diet if a collapse comes.

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