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TRENDLines: Peak Oil Depletion Scenarios

TRENDLines: Peak Oil Depletion Scenarios thumbnail
Compilation, representation and consensus avg of the world’s 16 most accurate recognized Peak Oil Depletion Scenarios, based on data by BP (UK), CERA (USA), EIA (USA), Deutsche Bank (USA Division – Sankey, Clark & Micheloto), ExxonMobil (USA), Sadad Ibrahim al Husseini (Saudi Arabia), Freddy Hutter (the Yukon/Canada), IEA (OECD-Paris), Richard Miller (BP-UK), OPEC (Vienna), PFC Energy (USA), Chris Skrebowski (UK), Michael Smith (UK), Total (France), Turner-Mason (USA) & Peter Wells (UK):

Consensus based on 16-model Tier-1 avg:

Peak Oil: 97 Mbd in 2025

Post-peak Decline Rate to 2050: 0.8%/yr avg

The year 50% of URR/EUR has been extracted: 2040

The year flow breaches below today’s 88 Mbd: 2042

The year flow is 1/2 of today’s 88 Mbd: 2088

The year we virtually run out of oil: 2294 (less than 8 Mbd & mostly BTL)

Global URR/EUR: 4,205 Gb (1,256 Gb consumed to 2010/12/31 excl 4 Gb BTL)

Today’s Global Depletion: 31% of URR (Net Depletion Rate: 1.1%/yr)

Tier-1 Scenarios Chart Archive w/o text: “charts only” from 2004 to 2012 available at MemberVenue

Tier-1 Scenarios Chart Archive “with text” from 2004 to 2012 available at MemberVenue


In 1972, the Club of Rome attempted to shock stakeholders and policy makers with its Limits to Growth study forecast of All Liquids Peak Oil: 117-mbd in 1995. Their attempt at awareness that natural resources are finite and in jeopardy with a growing global population was underscored in 1974 with M K Hubbert’s similar prediction: 111-mbd in 1995 (excl NGL, deep sea, polar, Orinoco & tar sands).

Because OPEC manipulation invalidated both these projections, Colin Campbell attempted to update the long term prospects for All Liquids. The Irish geologist stunned many when in 1989 he declared that All Liquids flow (65.5mbd) would never again re-attain its 1979 pre-crisis Peak of 67-mbd (see all 3 charted). Well, he was very wrong (86mbd today!). This episode made it quite clear that the uncertainty & price volatility caused by such pessimistic reports (even by well-intentioned professionals) required addressing by the energy sector.

In that regard, we saw OECD’s IEA, USA’s EIA, OPEC and major IOCs step forward with their own annual & bi-annual long term projections in an attempt to set the record straight and stabilize the marketplace. It didn’t happen.

As the ranks of McPeaksters were swelled by a growing element from the lunatic fringe, their well-intentioned message was hijacked and discourse deteriorated to the realm of economic and social collapse as the world runs out of oil. As the rhetoric escalated, we thought it would be constructive to provide a comparative platform for these opposing views of the future.

Trendlines Research has been analysing the world’s very best All Liquids long term production profiles (and the not-so-good ones) since 2003. Our database includes six decades of forecast studies. A year later we commenced to share these results at our website.

Back in 2005, the 7-model Average indicated a 94 Mbd PEAK in

2020. Our not-so-hidden agenda has been to provide a venue where collaboration and comparison encourages a merging of the pessimistic/optimistic camps. After screening hundreds of scenario proposals, we are humbled with this project’s contribution to the narrowing of the spread by an incredible 2.3 Mbd/yr: reduced from 41 Mbd (Campbell 85 & CERA 126) in 2005 to today’s 27 Mbd (Laherrère 86 & CERA 113) spread. Interested in who had the best forecast a dozen years ago? Scroll to our Top-16 Vintage Predictions Scoreboard.

The initial “original six” Depletion Scenarios chart appeared in 2004. A blended average of its expanded 13 Outlooks was added two years later and this neutral unique production profile has become the première indicator of future oil depletion. After reaching a membership of two dozen in 2008, TRENDLines decided that to maintain the integrity of the data it provides for international petroleum studies, only Tier-1 Scenarios would be added in the future whilst inferior and stale-dated Outlooks would be purged. The unique depiction has become the hallmark indicator for future oil depletion with worldwide use among global educational institutions, Gov’t agencies, stakeholders and policymakers in over 100 nations.


Peak Oil: 97 mbd in 2025

Feb 24 2012 delayed FreeVenue public release of Nov 24th MemberVenue guidance ~ Today’s monthly revision: (a) updates Tier-1 Outlooks by IEA, OPEC, Chris Skrebowski & my own Hutter Peak Scenario-2500; (b) introduces the Charles Maxwell scenario as a Tier-2 Outlook & (c) updates the Invalidated Outlook by Robert Hirsch

Global All Liquids production has increased dramatically since the Recession low of 83.1 Mbd (Jan/2009), setting yet another monthly record (89.1 Mbd) in Sept/2011 and is just weeks away from shattering last year’s annual record. Albeit the Barrel Meter model warns there will be an absence of new extraction records in the near future ’til the USA contract Crude Price drifts back below the PEAK Demand Barrier ($102/barrel today), the 16-model consensus avg infers monthly production is on pace to finally break the 90-Mbd threshold in Jan/2013 & the 95 milepost in 2019.

Prices have firmed due to international inventories having dipped below the 5-yr avg, but improving fundamentals should see Crude Price enjoy a brief flirtation with $79/barrel by May/2013. 5% of global capacity is presently idle and eagerly awaiting record Demand. It is little known the 2009 pause in global production was actually the 11th annual decline since 1975. The PS-2500 model incorporates similar disruptions during potential cyclical business cycle recessions (or soft landings) in 2017, 2026 & 2034.

The World Production Records venue has higher resolution charts depicting current extraction at the global level as well as by the Top 7 nations. Historical analysis of crude & gasoline price components & future target prices (out to 2035) can be viewed via the Gas Pump & Barrel Meter charts.

Today’s Model Reviews:

Got to say I am elated with improvements in this month’s IEA release of WEO-2011. I severely chastised WEO-2008 for its ludicrous proposal All Liquids UDRO (underlying decline rate observed) would avg a meagre 2.0% on the journey to its 106-Mbd 2030 target. Granted, WEO-2008 had done well in trimming Peak Rate from the lofty 121 high and 116 in 2007. Confident its newer target was still unrealistic, it was not surprising to see WEO-2010 downgrade its peak rate to 102. Still clinging to its 2% UDRO and utilizing smoke&mirrors to hide 2-Mbd of “mystery liquid”, last year’s effort left room to pare even more…

This brings us to 2011: a reduced 99-Mbd target and sporting a commendable UDRO avg of 3.0% thru to 2035 (compare to PS-2500’s 100-Mbd & 3.2%). BTL & GTL are projected to increase by 3.0 & 3.5-Mbd respectively. The current Russian All Liquids plateau is forecast to continue for another twenty years. The oil sector will spend $10 trillion on infrastructure (upstream/refining/transport) thru to 2035. Crude Price will rise to $192 (down from $206). A cold awakening statement in WEO was its forecast that over the next 25 years non-OECD nations will account for 70% of global economic growth and 90% of both population growth & new energy demand. IEA’s climate change module predicts avg temperature will rise 3.5C by 2100.

OPEC released its WOO-2011 a day before the OECD event and in raising its PEAK to 110-Mbd in 2035 (from 106 2030) becomes the 3rd most optimistic Tier-1 Outlook. Its long-term OPEC crude price target is increased to $133 in 2035 (from $106 2030).

In the week prior, Chris Skrebowski shocked attendees at an ASPO-USA conference by boosting his projection for PEAK Oil out to 94 in 2015. As a reminder, it was the Godfather of bottom-up scenarios who proclaimed (May/2005 ASPO-Lisbon) PEAK Oil was imminent and would occur “no later than December 2007”. The pace of his upward revisions finally exceeds Colin Campbell.

Skrebowski‘s presentations in 2011 reflect his recent collaborations with failed forecasters James Hamilton (Univ of California), Steven Kopits (Douglas-Westwood) & Robert Hirsch (DC lobbyist). Chris has finally adopted my premise that maximum oil production will be induced by PEAK Demand … not resource constraint.

In that regard, he now proclaims PEAK Oil discussion can be simply narrowed to a struggle between a depletion-inspired PEAK in 2015 (new capacity fails to match Underlying Decline Observed (UDO); or a demand-induced PEAK occurring upon Brent crude price surpassing $132/barrel in 2014. The latter episode relies on the ability of Skrebowski et al to excel in accelerating their learning curve in being able to successfully forecast crude prices and related ramifications.

Hamilton & Kopits rhetoric often mimics McPeakster-like proclamations, but in so doing illustrate they confuse correlation with causation. Recent case in point: “high oil prices induced 10 of the last 11 American Recessions”…

James Hamilton’s infamous Spring 2008 prediction of TEOTWAWKI was founded on McPeakster talking points and revealed himself as a neophyte with respect to even general knowledge of the oil sector when discussing Saudi Arabia, Underlying Decline Rate Observed (UDRO) and Megaproject estimates. USDollar Debasement is a forcing which escaped the academic completely … as did the concept of demand destruction.

Steven Kopits proved his own limited knowledge of the latter factor via a prediction at a USA House of Representatives Energy Subcommittee appearance (2011/2/18) that both American and general worldwide economic Recessions had already commenced due to WTI having exceeded $86/barrel over the past twelve weeks. By the end of April WTI had climbed to $114. Then BEA announced Q2 GDP @ 1.4%. No Recessions … for Kopits & Douglas-Westwood, it was thoroughly embarrassing, eh! So, 13 years after Colin Campbell testified in Washington, yet another reminder why McPeaksters are regularly dismissed by gov’t officials, media, family, co-workers, neighbours & friends … crying wolf on false pretences.

Crude oil is a miniscule portion of the consumer price index in most nations and thus breach of the $86/barrel threshold passed unceremoniously. The IMF reported in October 2011 global Q2 GDP was running at a robust 3.7% pace. The Barrel Meter model addressed this very forcing long ago and found only when USA contract Crude Price attains the definitive Petroleum/GDP ratio (G-20 Recessions Threshold) represented currently by $121/barrel would there be headwinds sufficient to induce a new round of global contractions.

Last year Skrebowski borrowed from PS-2500 by adopting a “future Megaprojects” variable into his model. Similarly this Summer, he has attempted to construct an economic module on loose application of the thresholds and barriers within my Barrel Meter model. I am flattered, but his/their efforts are completely misapplied.

A favourite contribution to this 16-model Depletion study is of course my own Peak Scenario-2500. The only depletion model that publishes updates monthly, its current revision reflects three factors: (a) target for annual Underlying Decline Rate Observed (UDRO) by 2050 increases to 4.7% (from 4.4%); (b) the projected annual New Capacity trend to Year 2100 increased to 4.4 Mbd (from 4.2 Mbd); & (c) 2 Gb increase in URR/EUR.

In its early life, the PS-2500 model revealed the onset of terminal decline in a petroleum province is usually brought on by either (a) constraints in securing sufficient proved reserves at will on an annual basis, or (b) due to the magnitude of rising annual Underlying Decline Observed inevitably surpassing the annual New Capacity installations. Because it appears the potential capacity peak is being truncated by a waning growth rate in consumption, PS-2500 is currently monitoring two scenarios: Geologic PEAK & PEAK Demand.

The Geologic PEAK scenario extrapolates the 1-Mbd/yr production pace in play since 1970. The other reflects a sea change occurring in July 2010 when my newly implemented Peak Demand module began to detect a waning growth rate in long-term Demand. The module’s feedback serves to explain the inability of Consumption to mop up the growing global surplus capacity in the system (6-Mbd) after the G-20 Great Recession.

Building on the success of my Gas Pump model’s USA Light Vehicle Sales Collapse Threshold in predicting (12 months ahead) the 2011Q1 truncation of the auto sector rebound upon gasoline surpassing $3.26/gal ($90/barrel crude), the PS-2500 suggests there is a similar petroleum/GDP ratio that induces Peak Demand on the global scale.

PS-2500 analysis reveals as Crude Price rose in the recent past, Consumption twice (2008 & 2011) was blocked from rising to new heights by a line-in-the-sand it could not breach ’til Price receded. Directly related to a definitive petroleum/GDP ratio and coined as the Peak Demand Barrier, this invisible line rises with economic output. It was $89 (USA contract crude price) in late 2007, was $98 in early 2011 and the long-term outlook within the Barrel Meter projects it will rise to $260 by 2035.

The Peak Demand Barrier is today represented by a $102/barrel oil and will be next (and permanently) breached in 2028 … upon Crude Price surpassing $204/barrel. PS-2500 currently predicts Consumption at that juncture will be 100-Mbd and will never rise above this level in the future. In order to avoid both excessive international Inventory build and Surplus Capacity, production will peak virtually simultaneously, with post-peak decline averaging o.4%/yr over the following two decades.

Conversely, when the PEAK Demand module is deactivated, PS-2500 projects there is sufficient capital, Proved Reserves (573-Gb) and a demonstrated build rate for global production to attain a Geological PEAK of 105-Mbd in 2030 (110 Capacity).


(November Depletion Scenarios update cont’d above… )

The Peak Demand Barrier & USA Light Vehicle Sales Collapse Threshold are both based on the realities of demand destruction. Taken together, the Gas Pump, Barrel Meter & Peak Scenario-2500 models present a reasoned warning to policymakers, stakeholders & legislators to aim their strategies for completion of the transition away from gasoline/diesel transportation fuels at 2028 – the year it appears traditional fossil fuel vehicle manufacturing will face permanent downturn.

The model gauges the pace of Underlying Decline Rate Observed is 3.2% in 2011 and destined to rise to 4.4% by 2050. Its cyclical nature and projected performance can be viewed via a 1970-2050 (UDRO) chart. The model estimates 77 Mbd of the 120 Mbd of All Liquids Capacity added since 1970 addressed Underlying Decline Observed; and a further 94 Mbd is required to attain the 103 Mbd capacity target for 2035 in the PEAK Demand scenario: 12 to increase present capacity and 82 Mbd will address future UDO.

Visit the PS-2500 venue for lots more details and charts on non-conventional dynamics, Underlying Decline Rate Observed & the inherent flaws (and myths) associated with the McPeakster fraternity.

One of the long-term crude oil price forecasts charted by TRENDLines is a projection by American consultant Charles Maxwell ($286/barrel by 2020). This month he unveiled his first All Liquids depletion Outlook, but it appears to be more-or-less a conjecture-based effort proposing a 90-Mbd peak in 2015. At this time, it is relegated to the Tier-2 Scenarios presentation.

Robert Hirsch updated his 2011 Outlook for a second time in November, but it remains a very simple conjecture-based effort much inferior to most studies. It revises last month’s version by postponing the center of its 85-Mbd Peak Plateau to 2014. It now sports an outrageous 7.7% post-peak decline rate and thus an inferred URR of only 1.85-Tb. As its PEAK Rate target has been far surpassed, the Hirsch Outlook retains its Invalidated status.

Further to the 16 Tier-1 models, 17 lesser quality outlooks are regularly charted as Tier-2 scenarios. For discussion and posterity purposes, 4 Regular Conventional Oil projections & 11 Invalidated Outlooks are charted as well. But, it is the consensus average of the 16 Tier-1 models that offers up the very best professional guidance, such as the findings below:

Future Extraction Rates:

2008 85.6 Mbd
2009 84.4
2010 86.9
2011 87.7 (pending)
2025 97 Peak Year & Peak Rate
2033 94 extraction passes 2 trillion
2036 92 50% Extraction of URR
2042 87 first year flow is less than today
2050 79 milestone
2052 77 today’s 1256-Gb of proved reserves exhausted
2071 59 extraction passes 3 trillion barrels
2088 43 flow is 1/2 of today
2100 36 milestone
2111 31 100 yrs down the road…
2200 14 flows limited to X-Heavy, GTL, CTL & BTL
2300 8 flows limited to mostly renewable BTL

Estimated Ultimate Recoverable Resource (EUR-URR)

The consensus Avg URR/EUR Estimate for the 16 Tier-1 practitioners is 4,205 Gb when one deducts from the nominal average the volume attributable to renewable BTL (biofuels-to-liquid) as calculated by the Hutter Peak Scenario-2500 model. It estimates a cumulative 617-Gb BTL will have been produced thru to Year 2325. This net economic resource number compares remarkably well to the 3,991 Gb Avg derived by the 22 estimates within our similar URR Study with its slightly different mix of practitioners, some of whom only track conventional liquids.

TRENDLines calculates Global Past Consumption (to 2010/12/31) to be 1,261 Gb for All Liquids of which 1,101 Gb is attributable to Regular Conventional Oil (light sweet crude) & 4-Gb to BTL.

Exhaustion of the first trillion barrels of All Liquids reserves occurred in 2002. Via the 16-model avg, the second trillion will have passed by Year 2033; then the third by Year 2071 (excl BTL). Annual flow will finally breach the 8-Mbd threshold in Year 2294 … signifying the virtual exhaustion of fossil fuels. From that juncture, only BTL sourced renewable liquids along with the last vestiges of CTL provide Supply.

Of the Tier-1 model contributors, the lowest URR tally is the 2,560 Gb inferred in the PFC Energy Outlook. Highest is EIA‘s 9.0 Tb URR.

Peak Date & Peak Rate

The 2025 97-Mbd PEAK indicated by the 16-model consensus avg rests atop a backdrop Plateau (defined as within 2 Mbd of Peak Rate) running from 2019 to 2033. As such, even minor Peak Rate variances of the average can result in significant shifts of the PEAK DATE. Six years ago our first exercise in averaging, using seven models, indicated a 94-Mbd PEAK in 2020. The multi-model “avg” for PEAK DATE in our Depletion Scenarios’ updates since 2005 has ranged from 2013 to 2030; and we had reported “avg” PEAK RATE running from 91 to 97-Mbd. BTW, last month’s update was the first ever suggesting the target rate of 97-Mbd.

Today’s Tier-1 models’ Peak Date ranges from 2015 by Chris Skrebowski & Richard Miller to Year 2036 by IEA … a span of 21 years.

Today’s Update contains a Peak Rate range from 87 Mbd by Sadad al Husseini to CERA‘s 113 Mbd … a difference of 26-mbd.

I am truly humbled with this project’s contribution to the narrowing of the spread by an incredible 2.5-Mbd/yr. Today’s high-to-low spread of 26-Mbd has been diminished from 41 (Campbell 85 & CERA 126) just six years ago. While the pessimists have only upped their forecasts by a mere o.3 Mbd/yr in that time frame, the optimists have in turn been dropping by 2.2 Mbd/yr. Trivia alert: if this unholy methodology continues, by 2023 the camps should merge with both agreeing to a peak rate of “89”!


A well, field or province depletes from the first day it is drilled. The total crude extracted from a field thus far divided by its original volume is its status of Depletion. Using the 16-model avg, and excluding 4-Gb accrued BTL, the 1,256 Gb of consumed petroleum divided by the 4,205 Gb consensus avg URR reveals global Depletion of 31% (to 2010/12/31) … the passing of one third of URR is near at hand.

The global Gross Depletion Rate (32 Gb annually extracted liquids as a percentage of global URR) is 0.8%/yr today. If measured as a percentage of remaining resource (2,949-Gb), the Net Depletion Rate is a higher 1.1%/yr.

The consensus 2025 PEAK occurs at 42% Depletion. The 50% crossover of the inferred URR avg will occur in 2036. These results would appear to confirm our position that the classic Hubbert bell curve, itself well designed to forecast max production for Regular Conventional Oil (light sweet crude), is not applicable to projecting the cumulative peak of All Liquids and its seven streams, each with their own unique production profile (see PS-2500 below).

Underlying Decline Rate Observed (UDRO)

The IEA WEO-2008 calculates that the Natural Underlying Decline Rate is 5% in post-peak Regular Conventional Crude fields and as much as 15% in non-conventional post-peak Deep Sea fields, for a weighted avg of 9%. A Producer’s EOR activities can improve extraction results and diminish the loss factor. After EOR activity, IEA calculates the loss to be 6.7% for Conventional & Deep Sea fields.

I call this net absolute figure, more applicable to our depletion studies, Underlying Decline Observed (UDO). It is expressed in millions of barrels per day (Mbd) per annum. More commonly, analysis of RCC or All Liquids is conducted in percentage terms per time interval – appropriately the Underlying Decline Rate Observed (UDRO). To maintain a production plateau, Production Capacity must be incrementally increased each year to match UDO loss. And, when the New Capacity trend no longer exceeds the UDO trend, Terminal Production Decline will commence.

(November Depletion Scenarios update cont’d above… )

Since Nov/2007, Peak Scenario-2500 has uniquely provided regular monthly reporting of Global UDO/UDRO status. Its (charted) long-term analysis found that over the last 40 years, UDRO has averaged 2.7% annually. This means that of the 120 Mbd of new facilities built since 1970, 77 served to address UDO & only 43 Mbd raised Extraction Capacity from 48 in 1969 to 91 Mbd by year-end 2009. The UDRO rises & falls with surges coinciding with the American economic Recessions. Below, the PS-2500 finding is compared to short/medium term practitioner estimates of annual present/future All Liquids UDRO: 1.9% – Adam Brandt (2007 – sole peer-reviewed contribution) 2.1% – CERA (2009-2030 avg) 3.0% – IEA (2011-2035 avg) 3.2% – Hutter Peak Scenario-2500 (2011, cyclical & rising to 4.7% by 2050) 4.1% – Matt Simmons (2009-2030 avg) 4.2% – Jeff Rubin (2009) 4.5% – EIA (2009-2030 avg) 4.5% – OPEC (2008) 4.7% – Chris Skrebowski (2010) 5.0% – Total (2009) 5.0% – Deutsche Bank (5% in 2009, rising to 8% by 2030 … 6.7% avg) 5.2% – Schlumberger (2009-2030 avg) 5.25% – Sadad al Husseini (2009) 6.0% – PFC (by 2030) 7.0% – UK Energy Research Centre (2009) 9.0% – consensus at theOilDrum & PeakOildotcom (2009) Post-Peak Decline The absolute volume of decreased annual production in a post-peak well, field or petroleum provinces is its Decline; often quoted in percentage terms as an annual Decline Rate. The TRENDLines 16-model consensus avg declines at 0.8% per annum measured from the 2025 PEAK to Year 2050. This is quite manageable for policy makers, politicians and stakeholders when compared to the most aggressive rate mathematically possible (2.0%) as illustrated in the hypothetical Worst Case Scenario. Alternatively, when calculated from PEAK to the 10-Mbd exhaustion threshold in Year 2252, the decline rate will average 1.0% annually.Among our Tier-1 practitioners, predictions of First Year Production Decline range from Year 2016 by Chris Skrebowski & Richard Miller to Year 2037 by IEA.The avg post-peak Decline Rates to 2050 within the models ranges from IEA‘s 0.3%/yr to 1.9%/yr by Chris Skrebowski. Worst Case Scenario This hypothetical projection was introduced in Feb/2008 to put in perspective the ludicrous & persistent “running out of oil” comments by McDoomer & Lunatic Fringe elements within the McPeakster fraternity! Using the lowest recognized estimate of All Liquids URR/EUR (2,427-Gb by World Oil 2010) and assuming flow collapses after 2011 (87.7-Mbd), this projection depicts the Average Decline Rate (2.0%) required mathematically to completely exhaust this very conservative Resource figure. Significantly, this exercise reveals that half (44) of this year’s 88-Mbd All Liquids production rate will still be flowing in Year 2047, and in fact won’t dip below 10-Mbd ’til Year 2074. After 2079, All Liquids flow is limited to sourcing via BTL (biofuels-to-liquid). A post-peak production decline rate higher than 2.0% “strands URR” … and that phrase is an oxymoron. Ignore all pundits that suggest a decline rate for post-peak production of over 2.0% in their musings. And especially, please read their alarmist TEOTWAWKI forecasts with these hard numbers in mind… TrendLines Vintage Predictions Scoreboard

Practitioner 2008 Forecast (actual 85.5) 2009 Forecast (actual 84.3) 2010 Forecast (pending 86.0) URR (Gb) 3-yr Error Score
Jean Laherrère ’97 85.0-mbd 85.5-mbd 86.0mbd 2700 1.7mbd
Jean Laherrère ’99 86.0 86.0 86.5 2750 2.7
EIA 1995 86.0 87.1 88.4 2273 5.7
Peter Odell Y2k 88.2 89.5 90.7 6000 12.6
Michael Lynch ’96 88.0 90.0 92.0 2273 14.4
EIA 1996 90.0 91.0 92.1 2273 17.5
EIA Y2k 89.6 91.4 93.2 3000 18.6
EIA 1999 89.8 91.5 93.2 3000 18.9
Colin Campbell ’99 92.6 93.0 91.7 2625 21.7
IEA 1995 91.5 93.3 95.2 2300 24.4
EIA 1998 91.3 93.4 95.5 3000 24.6
IEA Y2k 91.2 93.6 95.8 1919 25.0
EIA 1997 92.6 94.1 95.6 3000 26.7
IEA 1996 93.3 95.7 97.1 2300 30.5
IEA 1998 96.2 97.1 98.0 2300 35.7
Colin Campbell ’89 36.7 35.6 34.5 1575 148.8

Post OPEC-Crisis forecasting of an All Liquids PEAK commenced in 1989. Our archive of pre-2001 projections reveals Jean Laherrère’s 1997 Outlook (France) as current title holder for best overall vintage predictions, by merits of its least cumulative errors over a three year span.

Second place goes to Jean Laherrère’s 1999 Outlook & third place to EIA’s 1995 Int’l Energy Outlook (USA).

We also add 3 honourable mentions to the Jean Laherrère 1997 Outlook for its best forecast for all three of the monitored years … all of ’em being accurate to within 1-mbd! (rev 10.0930)

Methodology revisions

a) If an Outlook does not fully address post-peak production Decline, a progressive decline rate (to ultimate R/P = 10) is arbitrarily applied to exhaust its designated URR.

b) Outlooks exhibiting extreme “doglegs” not reflective of conventional/non-conventional transitions, but rather created by our reconciliation with URR risk are downgraded to Tier-2 status

c) To improve the integrity, accuracy and due diligence of both the Scenarios illustrated and more importantly their cumulative Average, Outlooks with unreasonably optimistic medium term flow rates have been routinely disqualified since Feb/2008. In the spirit of transparency, Trendlines Research has been publishing the qualifying threshold: via current MegaProject analysis, we calculate the 2014 potential flow rate to be 97.6-mbd (incl Surplus Capacity and UDO discrepancy), albeit the probable rate is 90.8-mbd (PS-2500) or 95.3-mbd via IEA 2011 MTOGM.

It is suggested inferred flow rates breaching the 97.6-Mbd 2014 threshold to the upside are seriously flawed. This newer rate gives 6.8-mbd latitude above the probable 90.8-mbd target rate. It is felt this is overly generous but grants consideration to differing opinions by modellers wrt Surplus Capacity & Underlying Decline Observed. To date, 5 Outlooks have been downgraded to Tier-2 status due to this trigger.

d) Where a practitioner provides two or more Outlooks, we often use discretion to feature the more conservative version & their “Hail Mary” scenario is relegated to the Tier-2 presentation.

e) Scroll down to view Footnotes for: Tier-1 Scenarios, Tier-2 & “Hail Mary” Scenarios & Invalidated Archive Scenarios.

f) Scroll further for the 1989-2011 Colin Campbell Depletion Model tracking, Regular Conventional Crude tracking & Excluded Practitioners

g) For comparative purposes, all Scenarios are adjusted to the 2011 EIA All Liquids baseline and thus their Peaks and mileposts may vary from published data

h) In the interest of data integrity for the 16-model Trendlines consensus average, Outlooks may be downgraded to Tier-2 after a failure to update for over 36 months

i) Where an Outlook fails to address BTL (biofuels-to-liquid), a 5-mbd BTL flow is attributed to its exhaustion tail

j) Post-peak decline rates are calculated from first year of decline to Year 2050. Previous to Nov/2011, the rate was measured to 10-Mbd exhaustion threshold.

Underlying Decline Observed (UDO), Underlying Decline Rate Observed (UDRO) & Underlying Decline Rate (UDR) are terms coined by Freddy Hutter of TRENDLines in our 2008/11/12 & 2007/12/19 Depletion Scenarios updates

McPeakster: coined by Freddy Hutter of TRENDLines in our 2008/2/11 Scenarios update

McDoomer: coined by Freddy Hutter of TrendLines in our 2009/1/23 PS-2500 update, but he originated the term at the PeakOildotcom forums in June 2008

“Demand Destruction Barrier” was coined by Freddy Hutter in the November 2009 Barrel Meter Discussions

“New Car Sales Collapse Threshold” & “Light Vehicle Collapse Threshold” (Feb/2011) were coined by Freddy Hutter in the Gas Pump Discussions.

“Peak Demand Barrier” was coined by Freddy Hutter of TRENDLines in the October 2011 update of PS-2500 (2011/10/17)

Also, please visit our 22-model URR Estimates venue for a similar composite addressing of this topic. Please email me if u can suggest a worthy Presentation candidate, new Outlooks, questions, comments or permissions. Thanx to all that participate and provide feedback…

Tier-2 & Archived Invalidated Outlooks The compilation above has included at times Outlooks which are still valid but have become stale-dated. And some Outlooks have unconventional definitions or suspect due diligence. I call these Tier-2 candidates. Then there are situations where Tier-1 model practitioners’ releases included two or more scenarios. I usually choose to depict the conservative case, leaving the other “optimistic” case in limbo. We will call those orphans our “Hail Mary” class. Over the years, some Outlooks have become invalidated by rising oil production eventually exceeding their Peak Rate and/or Peak Date targets. The first victim was M King Hubbert’s 1956 forecast, for within ten years of its release, extraction was already 10-Mbd over its forecast pace.

None-the-less, it is felt that all these efforts have merit and were/are significant for their time and as such TrendLines Research is pleased to provide a venue. Where we adopted a conservative case Outlook above, the orphaned optimistic “Hail Mary” cases are grouped with aforementioned dated studies in the Tier 2 Presentation below. Outlooks ultimately surpassed by Production realities are eventually shifted to the Invalidated Archive Presentation further below.

Thus, presented below are our 2 depictions of 30 inferior Peak Oil Depletion Projections based on the data of: Kjell Aleklett (Sweden), Ali Samsam Bakhtiari’s WOCAP (Iran), Pierre-René Bauquis (France), Brandt-Farrell (USA), Colin Campbell (Ireland), William Carlson (USA), Club of Rome (USA), Duncan-Youngquist (USA), EIA-Guy Caruso (USA), EIA-Glen Sweetnam (USA), Energy Watch Group/Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik (Germany), EU WETO/Poles (EU), Robert Hirsch (USA), 2 by M King Hubbert (USA), IHS (France), ITPOES (UK), Rembrandt Koppelaar (Netherlands), Jean Laherrère (France), Ray Leonard of Kuwait Energy, Michael Lynch (USA), Charles Maxwell (USA), Peter Odell (Netherlands), OPEC (Vienna), Fredrik Robelius (Sweden), Royal Dutch Shell (Netherlands), Jeff Rubin (Canada), Nansen Saleri (USA), Matt Simmons (USA) & Wood Mackenzie (Scotland):

Trendlines Tier-2 Peak Oil Depletion Scenarios: Feb 24 2011 delayed FreeVenue public release of Nov 24th guidance @ the MemberVenue ~ Today’s revision introduces to Tier-2 the 2011 Outlook by Charles MaxwellOne of the long-term crude oil price forecasts charted by TRENDLines is a projection by American consultant Charles Maxwell ($286/barrel by 2020). This month he unveiled his first All Liquids depletion Outlook, but it appears to be more-or-less a conjecture-based effort proposing a 90-Mbd peak in 2015. At this time, it is relegated to the Tier-2 Scenarios presentation.

Outlooks within the Tier-2 presentation are still viable forecasts but exhibit one or more deemed flaws:

Stale-dated: Pierre-René Bauquis 2008, EIA-Sweetnam 2008, EU WETO/POLES 2007, IHS 2007, Kuwait Energy-Leonard 2007, Robelius 2007, Wood Mackenzie 2007, EIA-Caruso 2005 & Lynch 1996

Poor reconciliation with URR – Low projected Peak and/or overly aggressive post-peak decline rate results in a future “dogleg” to exhaust remaining resource: Koppelaar 2009 (2030) & Robelius 2007 (2050)

Overly optimistic medium term targets – 2014 is only three years away. Megaproject analysis suggests flow rate will be 92-mbd. Considering practitioner differences wrt Surplus Capacity & Underlying Decline Observed, flow could be 97.9-mbd potentially albeit highly improbable. Outlooks with deemed unachievable 2014 targets: Brandt-Farrell 2008 (105.2mbd by 2014), IHS 2007 (104), Lynch 1996 (100), Wood Mackenzie 2007 (99.5) & Robelius 2007 (98.5)

Hail Mary Scenarios – Practitioner has a more conservative outlook that has been featured in Tier-1: EIA-Caruso 2005, EU WETO/POLES 2007 (reference) & Royal Dutch Shell 2008 (blueprint)

Mathematical Models – Lack robustness to depict inferior non-conventional flows: Carlson 2007

Inadequate robustness or Conjecture-based: Charles Maxwell 2011, Royal Dutch Shell 2011, ITPOES 2010, Hirsch 2009, Odell 2009 & Lynch 1996

Invalidated Outlooks Archive ~ Feb 24 2012 delayed FreeVenue public release of Nov 24th MemberVenue guidance: update of Robert Hirsch Outlook

Robert Hirsch updated his 2011 Outlook for a second time in November, but it remains a very simple conjecture-based effort much inferior to most studies. It revises last month’s version by postponing the center of its 85-Mbd Peak Plateau to 2014. It now sports an outrageous 7.7% post-peak decline rate and thus an inferred URR of only 1.85-Tb. As its PEAK Rate target has been far surpassed, the Hirsch Outlook retains its Invalidated status.

Invalidated Outlooks in general forecast low Peak Rates and/or harsh post-peak Decline Rates. Typically they are constructed on URR/EUR platforms less than the geology-based Worst Case Scenario

Current Production exceeds Outlook Peak Rate: HK Hubbert 1956 (34-Mbd), Matt Simmons (84.4), Samsam Bakhtiari (81), EWG-LBST (85), Kjell Aleklett (85) , Jeff Rubin (85), Colin Campbell (66 & 86), Robert Hirsch (85) & Jean Laherrère (86 in 2012, 87 in 2016)

Outlook’s Peak Date surpassed: HK Hubbert 1956, HK Hubbert 1974, Colin Campbell 1989, Duncan-Youngquist 1999, Samsam Bakhtiari 2003, Matt Simmons 2007, EWG-LBST 2008, Kjell Aleklett 2009, Jeff Rubin 2009, Colin Campbell 1989 & 2011,

Dec 21 2010 ~ Today’s update adds Colin Campbell’s 2010 Outlook. Authored in July, it re-confirms his position that All Liquids peaked @ 85-mbd in 2008 and is founded on a 2,434-Gb URR. Our chart tracks all the production profile revisions over his career. Its forecasts of Peak Year have ranged from 1989 to 2012. In fact, December marks the 21st anniversary of Campbell’s initial All Liquids declaration that oil had Peaked. To be accurate … a sub-peak. In December 1989, he declared that the All Liquids production had reached its physical limits @ 66-mbd and would never again attain the 67-mbd Peak of 1979.

Campbell’s estimates for Peak Rate spans from that virgin call of a 66-mbd sub-peak in 1989 to his 2008 forecast of a 97-mbd peak in 2010. His underlying All Liquids URR estimates range from 1575-Gb (1989) to 2900-Gb (2002).

Our last last two chart revisions have excluded Campbell’s 1991, 1996, 1997 & 1998 projections as we have determined those studies forecast Regular Conventional Oil … not All Liquids. His current (2010) forecast for RCO can be compared to the only three other such projections for light sweet crude at our Scenarios venue. The highlighted years of distinction are: 2008 (highest peak 97mbd), 2002 (2900-Gb URR high), 2010 (current update), 2004 (Colin Campbell’s dark days call: 80mbd peak coming in 2006) & 1989 (Campbell’s initial 66-mbd scenario which declared that All Liquids would never breach the 1979 record).

Because the Depletion Model newsletter graphic ends in 2050, it was not apparent that five of his early All Liquids projections failed to exhaust Campbell’s designated URR. The 200-yr outlook resolution view of our chart exposes the methodology errors of the Depletion Model in 1999, Y2k, 2002, 2003 & 2004 for which we have corrected via compensating plateaus or “doglegs”. In short, these particular production profiles employed peaks that were too low and/or decline rates that were too harsh.

Scroll down to see how the latest (2010) Campbell Depletion Model measures up against the only other three studies that have addressed Regular Conventional Oil (light sweet crude) over the years

click chart for full discussion & more on Peak Oil History…

Freddy Hutter’s Peak Scenario-2500 compiles each month the long term production profiles of the 7 main component flows that comprise All Liquids.

click chart for the November 2011 update charts & discussion …

Regular Conventional Oil Scenarios:

Dec 17 2011 ~ Over the years, there have been only 4 modellers worldwide who have published long term production profiles for Regular Conventional Oil … the light sweet crude: Albert Bartlett (USA), Colin Campbell (Ireland), M King Hubbert (USA) & TRENDLines’ own Freddy Hutter (Yukon Canada).

Hubbert‘s initial RCO thoughtful graphic bell-curve presentation commenced the general discourse on Peak Oil in 1956. It’s Y2k Peak Date (35-Mbd) was intuitive but the model was flawed by its lowly 1,250-Gb estimate of URR. His 1974 update boosted the resource base to 2-Tb, a figure that is still relevant by modern standards, but his second projection and its 1995 111-Mbd peak were truncated by OPEC intervention the following year.

Also sporting a 2-Tb URR was the 1998 Bartlett model with its forecast of a 73-Mbd peak in 2004.

In actual fact, RCO extraction peaked in 2005 @ 69-mbd. The midpoint of its (2.04-Tb) URR/EUR was crossed in June 2007. RCO production declined at an annual rate of 2.3% from 2006-2009 to 63-Mbd, but has since been in plateau. 2011 extraction was 64-Mbd.

Jean Laherrère & Colin Campbell have been the sector’s most stalwart peak oil study practitioners. Both have openly shared their annual analysis with fellow modellers for over two decades. In May 2011, I coaxed Campbell to come out of retirement for a second time for another update. Campbell‘s 2011 Depletion Model continues to extend RCO‘s dramatic 2.3%/yr post-peak decline rate thru to 2030. It increases RCO’s URR by 84-Gb to 2,047-Gb … a career high estimate for Colin.

Conversely, the Hutter Peak Scenario-2500 (the sole active model) has trimmed last Spring’s URR estimate by another 24-Gb to 2,038-Gb. While Campbell forecasts the annual flow rate will deteriorate to 38-Mbd by 2030, Hutter takes the position 58-Mbd is more probable. On the longer term, whereas Campbell predicts the annual Decline Rate softens after 2050, Hutter sees major resource constraint after 2038.

As a 73% component of All Liquids, the short-term demise of Regular Conventional Oil will determine whether Peak Oil is imminent or has another couple of decades to play out. The PS-2500 model determined in 2008 the steep RCO decline (2.3% 2006-2009) was not the result of rapid depletion but rather a mirage masked by shifts in global Surplus Capacity. As such, Hutter has been stalwart in his position RCO extraction had entered a twenty-year plateau, forming a solid foundation for non-conventionals to take All Liquids to ever increasing heights. With light sweet crude rising to 64-Mbd in 2010, stable in 2011 and forecast to rise in 2012, the universe appears to be unfolding as it should…

Using the proper historic narrow definition of Regular Conventional Oil, these production profiles exclude NGL, processing gains & the non-conventionals (Bitumen, X-heavy, Arctic, Deep Sea, Biofuels, GTL, CTL & Kerogen). Hence, we have excluded the wider “conventional” projections by Guseo, Korpela, Kuwait University, Laherrère & Walsh. RCO comprises only 73% of All Liquids production today, and it is clear NGL & the non-conventionals play an ever increasing role. The PS-2500 model projects RCO will fall to less than 50% of All Liquids in 2040 … a significant threshold for posterity.

8 Comments on "TRENDLines: Peak Oil Depletion Scenarios"

  1. BillT on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 3:18 am 

    Look out your window at what is happening in the real world, not the statistical one. Petroleum (oil) peaked in 2006 or 2007 if not sooner. How else do you explain oil going from $60 in 2006 to $125 today? (inflation adjusted numbers.)
    Speculation? Maybe, but prices only go up that much when something is becoming scarce, not plentiful. This article is a ‘feel good’ piece of fluff, not reality.

  2. BillT on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 4:12 am 

    BTW: This article claims 97 mbd in 2025. 97 mbd of what? Moonshine? Rubbing alcohol? Vodka? Certainly not high energy crude oil. That is already declining. What we need is a graph of ACTUAL NET ENERGY that these liquids contain. That would show that we reached max net energy a long time ago. At least last century. All these articles do is spread the propaganda of Big Petro that there is plenty and just subscribe to our BS site or buy our stock and you will get rich.

  3. Keith_McClary on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 5:23 am 

    It does show that even the most insanely optimistic predictions peak in 15-20 years.

  4. BillT on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 10:06 am 

    Keith, yes, but too many will believe the maximum time projections instead of the real world facts. This article will be used to support their claims that peak oil has not happens yet, when all indications show that it has. Subtract out ‘liquid fuels’ and it becomes obvious.

  5. Cloud9 on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 11:22 am 

    Hope puts peak oil off till 2025 while the change is being spent at the pump.

  6. rebecca on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 12:20 pm 

    My question is this. The graphs all show a pretty steady decline rate out to between 2075 and 2300. In the real world it seems to me that the shock of supply not meeting demand by only a few million barrels/day would send the global economy into a tailspin that it would never recover from. If this is the case, wouldn’t that suggest that the furure investment of oil production could be completely erased? I mean if the world’s currencies fail and capital and savings evaporate, who will be in the oil business? Demand will be crushed, killing incentives for any more serious projects and the projects that are currently in operation may fold. Am I wrong here?

  7. BillT on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 1:46 pm 

    Rebecca, you are saying the same thing I am. The age of petroleum will end with maybe trillions of barrels still in the ground, but the huge financial system necessary to access it will not be there.

    We cannot find another Spindletop where the oil gushes out of the ground from a well only 1,134 foot deep and can be financed out of pocket by a few men.

    “… January 10, 1901, at a depth of 1,139 ft, what is known as the Lucas Gusher or the Lucas Geyser blew oil over 150 feet in the air at a rate of 100,000 barrels per day(4,200,000 gallons). It took nine days before the well was brought under control …”

    Now we spend billions and drill beneath 8/10 of a mile of water and several miles of rock for oil and then expend great amounts of energy to pump it to the surface. When there is no financial system to make that happen, nothing happens.

  8. steve on Tue, 27th Mar 2012 12:16 pm 

    Oil is just one part of the problem that receives most attention. The truth is, however, that there are many other natural resources we are gradually running out of and little attention has been paid to it thus far. I was surprised when I read about these resources which are not so well known but whose depletion would pose a serious problem for some industry sectors especially for the world of information technology. I am really concerned about whether the scientists will be able to find an effective solution to this problem other than the devastation of one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources – the ocean as suggested in the article.

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