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Pre- and Post-Peak Nations 2015

Pre- and Post-Peak Nations 2015 thumbnail

In reviewing BP’s latest Statistic Review of World Energy, the big story for world oil last year was obvious: the USA’s third straight record-breaking increase in average annual production. Just over 75% of the net increase in world oil production during 2014 came from the USA; add in Canada and 90% of the total increase came from North America.  Throw in Brazil’s first significant increase in three years and you have all the world’s net gain in world oil production accounted for by three non-OPEC players.  Production from all other producers combined was flat.  So the question for 2015 is straightforward: will we see a repeat of those gains…and the flat-liners?

The second-biggest oil story from 2014 came at year’s end: the oil price crash.  While that event came too late to impact production data for 2014, it is already slowing the USA’s shale oil train and dominating investment decisions–near- and long-term–throughout the non-OPEC oil sector.  The early indication is that the history-making growth rates from North America during 2014 will be significantly reduced during 2015.  If so, where might 2015 production growth come from?

In pursuing possible answers to that question, here are three additional trends from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2014 to consider going forward:

  • Production declines related to violence and political upheaval in Libya, Syria and Yemen totaled 521,000 b/day during 2014 on top of 673,000 b/day drop during 2013, with Libya accounting for most of that decline.  How likely is a reversal of that trend during 2015?  Might production in adjacent nations be impacted?

  • Russia and China, the world’s #2 and #5 producers, together produced nearly 18% of the world’s oil.  But recently, their annual gains have been shrinking: BP’s Review shows Russia’s gain during 2014 was 0.6% and China edged up 0.7%.

  • Iraq and Iran have the potential to make significant production gains going forward.  Iraq increased by 144,000 b/day last year, its 9th consecutive annual increase, and BP shows Iran increased a notable 89,000 b/day after declining a total of 848,000 during the two previous years.  What are the odds that production from either or both of those two volatile producers will increase as dramatically as some analysts hope and expect?

The chart below tells a story about: 1) nations that are past peak (see “Peak Year,” turquoise fill) because ot geologic limits (e.g., Norway, the U.K.), or for above-ground reasons; and  2) nations that have yet to clearly peak.  It appears that 8 of the top 20 producing nations have seen their all-time highs in production.  But in a number of these, production is temporarily increasing, with the USA leading the way.

Adding it all up, peak oil appears close but is not yet here, delayed rather than dead (as widely written in the media since 2012), and disguised by the inclusion of natural gas liquids in BP’s accounting.  Apart from the three items discussed above, there are upside possibilities (improved application of technology, new discoveries, a retreat from violence, improved energy efficiency, new policy initiatives, etc.) and downside risks (increased violence, geopolitical twists, financial system disruptions, policies, demand destruction, etc.). Despite all the happy talk about “American energy independence,” our petroleum future includes a peaking in world oil production, and the adjustments that is likely to require.  Put this writer down for a likely (80% odds) peak in oil production between now and 2020.


46 Comments on "Pre- and Post-Peak Nations 2015"

  1. JuanP on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 7:02 am 

    “So the question for 2015 is straightforward: will we see a repeat of those gains…and the flat-liners?”

    I think this guy must have been on vacation these past six months if he still doubts whether last year’s oil extraction increases in the Americas can be sustained this year. The USA’s shale, Canadian tar sands, and Brazilian pre salt oil extraction increases, if any materialize, will be insignificant compared to 2014’s oil extraction increases.

  2. rockman on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 7:24 am 

    So true Juan. And that along with his consists ce and foolish focus is on the timing of PO. He doesn’t even connect the one BIG DOT most PO daters like to pitch: when PO hits prices will soar. Rather ironic that the period when global PO is reached might also be a long and sustained period of low price.

    Cash flow might be considered the king but the POD is the Master of the Universe. LOL

  3. Hello on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 8:05 am 

    What is POD? The silly attempt to tie everything to oil?

  4. waltz on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 8:39 am 

    “What is POD? The silly attempt to tie everything to oil?”

    Only an attempt to connect the economy to reality and the Laws of Thermodynamics…..

    Silly Physics!!

  5. Hello on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 9:20 am 

    Let’s tie everything to monarch butterflies instead. In a unified MD (Monarch-Dynamics) theory.

    After all in the universe everything is tied to anything and anything influences everything.

    Maybe monarchs have a bigger influence on everything than PO?

    Silly Physics, but I try it anyways. Next time I miss a deadline at work I will blame it on POD.

  6. waltz on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 10:14 am 

    Hmmm, I have never heard of the Laws of Monarch Butterflies. You should write a peer reviewed paper and submit it to the Journal of Science and I will take an objective look at it.

    Until then I will stick with the Laws of Thermodynamics.

  7. Dubya on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 10:28 am 

    Hello, Hello.

    I can only think of one thing that oil has any relationship to – I suggest you drive out to some crop land somewhere nearby and look at how many machines are working. Then explain how to feed the 7 billion of us if for any reason those machines don’t work. Still, that’s only one thing and what does it matter?

    Of course there is no proof that there are 7 billion people; I only know a few hundred, myself. I suspect scientists just make up that data to protect their jobs.

    I was watching Fox News yesterday and they had a contrarian population scientist who had proof that human population growth does not exist and is not human-caused.

  8. Nony on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 10:38 am 

    POD was Rock’s touting of hundred plus prices. POD failed miserably. Now Rock is saying ANY price validates POD. What a load of nothing!

  9. BobInget on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 10:42 am 

    I wish these articles were dated. Posting older material does give perspective on how BP, XOM tout their ‘books’ but it’s confusing to readers, nevertheless.

    Today, oil rallies. Observers call that a ‘relief rally’ or short covering, ya never know, or do we?

    I choose to believe traders are paying attention to auto and truck sales, aircraft orders, jobs creation, housing starts, interest rates, USD’s powerful lead. Lastly 20,300,000
    barrels p/d burnt 24/7 in the USA.

  10. Hello on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 10:42 am 

    Nony: exactly

  11. BobInget on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 10:49 am 


    Folks calling for deflation just aren’t paying attention.
    California’s drought, water shortages put
    million of acres out of production.

  12. waltz on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 11:01 am 

    I do not know how POD is defined or generally understood but refuting “POD” appears like a classic two-bit strawman argument.

    How about refuting this one boys. Let us call it the “Second Law dynamic”:

    High order energy is required for all work at <100% efficiency. (2nd Law)

    Oil is the primary high order energy for the economy (95%+ for all transported goods).

    The economy requires never ending growth as it is based on a debt based fiat money system.

    No High Order Energy source can grow indefinitely on a finite Planet (1st Law), including oil.

    QED. No butterflies, no BS.

    The rest is just noise, troll away all you like.

  13. Davy on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 11:21 am 

    hELLO SAYS “What is POD? The silly attempt to tie everything to oil?”

    You can discount its primary importance but outright dismissal makes one look a fool.

  14. Davy on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 11:25 am 

    NOo, regarding your Rock critique are you the pot calling the kettle black? The recent months events put many of your earlier points to shame.

  15. ghung on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 11:27 am 

    Since Bob brought it up:

    Economic Analysis of the 2015 Drought For California Agriculture

  16. penury on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 11:36 am 

    Somebody once said “everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however you are not entitled to your own facts.” reading some of the comments causes me to question whether some of the commentators even understand the difference. The stupid -it burns.

  17. jjhman on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 11:42 am 

    I think I have finally figured out the perfect analogy for peak oil. It is exactly like your aging Aunt Annie dying.

    Everybody knows she is sick. All of the folks expecting some inheritance keep coming up with reasons why she’s gonna kick this year. All of her tenants keep driving her to the doctor to get treatment.

    The fact is she’s gonna croak when she croaks.

  18. rockman on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 11:44 am 

    waltz – Don’t waste you time trying to explain ghe POD to those who intentionally try to define it incorrectly.

    Here’s a simple test to tell if someone understands the Peak Oil Dynamic: do they understand that the boom in shale drilling, the huge increase in US production as well as the current low oil prices are a direct result of the looming energy crisis resulting from the world’s march towards global peak oil?

    If by now they don’t they are either clueless beyond hope or they are intentionally misrepresenting the situation because they are slimey attention whores. LOL

  19. marko on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 11:58 am 

    bravo rockman , my thoughts as well,

  20. GregT on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 12:28 pm 

    Absolutely Rockman,

    This stuff really shouldn’t be that difficult to understand. But then again, I find it amazing that some people can actually tie their own shoelaces.

  21. Nony on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 1:08 pm 

    “Since 2008, the dramatic increase in oil and gas production from shale formations in North America, and the abundance of shale resources around the world, has discredited theories about peaking oil production.

    The simple theory that supplies will run out has been reframed as a more sophisticated one about rising prices.”

  22. rockman on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 2:20 pm 

    waltz – See once again an intentional effort to confuse folks about the true nature of the POD: “The simple theory that supplies will run out has been reframed as a more sophisticated one about rising prices”. As most already know PO has nothing to do with “running out of oil”. Nor is PO alone the determining factor in oil prices…neither high or low.

    The effort to frame PO as a single metric is often done to just solicit debate that the instigator hopes will allow them victory on a complex dynamic. There is no right or wrong position with regards to the POD. It simply depends upon accepting all the complex relationships and feedback loops.

  23. BC on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 2:31 pm 

    Amen, brother rock.

    Nony, I estimate from my work and experience that no more than 10% of the population actually understands Peak Oil, and perhaps not more than 1% understands Jeffrey Brown’s ELM and ANE concepts.

    Probably 0.1% understands short’s Etp work. 🙂

    BTW, do you know that US oil production per capita is at the level of the late 1940s and has fallen 45% since 1970 and is in an inexorable log-linear decline of a depletion regime?

    Do you know that world oil production per capita is at the levels of 2004-05, i.e., Peak Oil?

    Do you know that world C+C production per capita is barely above the level of 2001, i.e., the onset of “secular stagnation” and the US slow-motion depression?

    Do you know that together the US and China import about half of all available oil exports, leaving half available for the entire rest of the world?

    Do you know that US oil production is at the fastest 5- and 10-year rates since the late 1920s to early 1930s? But that has resulted in barely a blip for the long-term depletion regime per capita.

    Do you know that the debt-money (M3) value of US oil production today per capita is at the level of the 1930s to early 1960s, in spite of the boom/bubble in shale and debt and GDP increasing many multiple times?

    I would make a friendly wager that you don’t know these facts AND you don’t know that you don’t know and that you should know, and you’re likely to respond that you don’t care, which implies that you lack sufficient information to fully understand Peak Oil and its implications.

    But I could be wrong. 🙂


    P.S. If one thinks that Peak Oil is about “running out of oil”, then one is not even in Peak Oil county, let alone the city and near the ballpark. 🙂

  24. BC on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 2:40 pm 

    BTW, short, if you’re reading this thread, I enjoy revisiting your site frequently, but the color of the page background for the “Commentaries” gives me “Lucy-in-the-Skies” flashbacks. 😀

    The color of a “White Rabbit” would work for me. 😀



  25. BC on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 3:03 pm 

    BTW, Nony, Professor Hamilton is one of the 90% who does not fully understand (publicly, at least) Peak Oil, overshoot, LTG, etc., and he’s a smart, thoughtful dude. 🙂

  26. GregT on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 3:24 pm 

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    Try to keep in mind that Hamilton is Professor of eCONomics. Also, the Reuters article that Nony linked to was written buy a market analyst, who also happens to be an eCONomist.

    Neither one of them appears to fully (or perhaps even partially) understand POD or LTG.

  27. Nony on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 3:44 pm 

    I expect an economist or a market analyst to have much better intuitions about supply and demand than a mediocre geologist.

  28. Davy on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 3:58 pm 

    NOo, it is obvious that the whole field of economics and market analysis is a failure or we would not be in this mess. This means you are a failure if you are holding them to a higher standard.

  29. GregT on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 4:01 pm 

    Therein lies the problem.

    Supply and demand has nothing what-so-ever to do with the laws of Physics.

    They may as well be arguing about marshmallows. Irrelevant.

  30. BC on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 4:03 pm 

    Nony, your response is impressive in that it did not disappoint my expectations. 😀

    Yours truly, an eCONomist also with an “education” in physics and computer science.


    P.S. ECONomics is politics. War is the continuation of politics with other means. War is the business of empire with other means, and war is good business for imperialists.

    Ergo, eCONomics is politics is the intellectual, legal, moral, and self-interested rationalization for the the state’s use of violence via imperial wars for territorial expansion, expropriation of labor and resources for profit, co-opting of foreign elites, expansion of markets, exacting imperial tribute from client-states, and genocide and ecocide in the process.

    To date, no one in history has done empire better on a global scale than the Anglo-American, militarist-imperialist, rentier-socialist corporate-state. WE’RE NUMBER ONE!!! WE’RE NUMBER ONE!!! WE’RE NUMBER ONE!!! God bless ‘Merika . . . ???

  31. BC on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 4:04 pm 

    Davy and GregT, second that.

  32. Boat on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 4:56 pm 

    I am in the truly hopeless camp because I am trying to figure out the next mad max type crash. Per Capita means shyt, them charts of shorts mean shyt. The only thing that matters is that most of the people using oil will continue to get it until the masses have solar for power and electric cars. If it happens quick enough we can prevent mad max. Climate change will not affect my generation to much. The hype about it now is just that, the damage comes later, not in the next 20 years to any kind of scale.
    You guys play the smart man in the room, ok with me. But I will not live in fear and we will see through the test of time what happens.

  33. Boat on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 5:24 pm 

    We all agree there is oil depletion. We certainly don’t agree on the effects of it. Record high production world wide, record high consumption world wide. Low oil prices showing a collapse is nuts. There are over 1600 rigs out there waiting for a higher price which they will get and resume drilling. Demand destruction did effect the worlds growth when oil was at $100, that’s growth I say.

  34. apneaman on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 5:35 pm 

    “Climate change will not affect my generation to much. The hype about it now is just that, the damage comes later, not in the next 20 years to any kind of scale.”

    Sure thing boat – you and the rest of Texas know best. Keep ignoring all the unprecedented damage that is being recorded everyday – keep telling yourself it doesn’t really count. Keep redefining scale and keep telling yourself and everyone else that you know more than the entire multidisciplinary scientific community. There are no heatwaves or forest fires that you are spending $150,000,000 a week on in the US alone. No mass wildlife die offs, sea level rise eating away coastlines and infrastructure, no floods or ongoing droughts or water shortages, climate refugees. All those people in all those places all over the world are making it all up and the pictures and video we see everyday is just photo shoped. And even if it was happening it’s not like we can’t afford the hundreds of billions of dollars a year it’s costing – that doesn’t count. It’s all hype and the damages are not allowed until I’m dead. Also, there is just no way that one of the major already underway positive feedback loops could go critical any day now. That can’t happen because Rush said so and that’s all the evidence I need.

    Top Scientist — Threat of Catastrophic Permafrost Thaw is “Real and Imminent”

    “There’s a lot of carbon stored in the Arctic’s thawing permafrost. According to our best estimates, it’s in the range of 1,300 billion tons (see Climate Change and the Permafrost Feedback). That’s more than twice the amount of carbon already emitted by fossil fuels globally since the 1880s. And the sad irony is that continuing to burn fossil fuels risks passing a tipping point beyond which rapid destabilization and release of those carbon stores becomes locked in.”

    “Global permafrost coverage as recorded by the World Meteorological Organization. A 2 C global warming threshold is generally thought to be the point at which enough of the Arctic permafrost will go into catastrophic destabilization, to result in a global warming amplifying feedback that then thaws all or most of the rest. The 2 C threshold was chosen because it is the bottom boundary of the Pliocene — a time when this permafrost store formation began. However, there may be some risk that enough of the store could become unstable at lesser levels of warming — crossing the tipping point sooner than expected

    At issue is the fact that most of this carbon has been stored during the past 2 million year period of ice ages and interglacials. Due to human fossil fuel burning, we are now entering a period in which the Arctic is becoming warmer than at any time in at least the past 110,000 years. And with atmospheric CO2 levels now hitting and exceeding concentrations last seen during the Pliocene of 2-3 million years ago, large swaths of that carbon store may be in jeopardy of rapidly thawing. Such a thaw would release yet more CO2 and heat trapping methane into the atmosphere.

    It’s something to worry over even if you’re not one of those, like Sam Carana, who’s concerned about a potential catastrophic methane release. And it doesn’t take a climate scientist to tell you that we’ve already seen some disturbing increases in methane emissions from thermokarst lakes, from permafrost regions themselves, through the permafrost and duff-destroying mechanisms of Arctic wildfires, from submerged seabed tundra in the ESS, and from the odd new features we’re now calling methane blowholes.”

  35. Boat on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 5:56 pm 

    Research conducted by the Global Footprint Network suggests that about 2 billion people is the number the planet can sustainably support, if everyone consumes the same amount of resources as the average European (which is about half the amount of the average American). Secondly, U.N. experts predict that, unless we change course, world population will continue increasing until after 2100, with a “most likely” prediction of over 11 billion people by the year 2100.

    And all this problem is by the middle class eh. End immigration, migration and trade and there ya go. Save some permafrost. I have read all about the permafrost decades ago and I don’t disagree with you about the effects of melting future. But for the sake of argument it will not happen today or tomorrow or effect our economies to scale for decades. You could argue we shouldn’t have planted millions of trees. It used to be fires would take out entire state areas. Only people and smart phones are here to capture it instead of a few indians hiding in the rocks.

  36. apneaman on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 6:28 pm 

    Boat your basically babbling like a fool now. Nothing you are saying makes any sense at all and it has nothing to do with “agreeing” with me. I present you with the brand new evidence and within minutes you come back with a jumble of nonsensical arguments. Good luck buddy.

  37. GregT on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 6:49 pm 

    “But for the sake of argument it will not happen today or tomorrow”

    It is already happening Boat. It is continuing to happen today, and will continue to happen tomorrow. Our time to take action came and went decades ago.

    You are ignoring the signs all around you. If current trends are the new norm, much of North America will be in very dire circumstances within a few short years. If, or rather when, tipping points are reached, runaway warming could render the Earth mostly uninhabitable in as short a period of time as one decade. The IPCC left out numerous positive self re-enforcing feedback mechanisms in their reports. Any one of which will affect all of the others. The only one that I am aware of that we could have stopped, was drilling for oil in the Arctic. Which it appears that we are going to do regardless of the consequences..

    It has been generally accepted for decades, that sustainable human population numbers globally are ~ 1 billion people. That was with a healthy natural biosphere. The biosphere is in dire shape now Boat. Every single ecosystem on the planet is in a state of decline. Our species is reliant on biodiversity, and a healthy natural ecosystem. Without both, our only means of survival would be to build ourselves self contained bases, generating our own atmosphere, and synthesizing our own food. Even if that were possible, it wouldn’t be much of a life.

  38. Boat on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 7:24 pm 

    No it hasn’t happened yet. All I hear about is the mad max scenario. BC said 6 months, (he’s got 5 months left come weekend. At least it seems you two will commit to a few short years. Davy waffles between 5-10 years every other day along with comments of noncommitment to a date. When we see a famine of 50 million I will sit up and take notice. That happened in the 50’s in China. If people get shot off the border wall due to starvation that would be a beginning sign.

  39. apneaman on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 7:57 pm 


    Congratulations Boat you just became the living representation of last weeks “the Onion” feature article. You are either the dumbest motherfucker who ever lived or the most clever and entertaining paid disruptor yet. Thanks for making my weekend.

    Climate Change Deniers Present Graphic Description Of What Earth Must Look Like For Them To Believe

    “The skeptics laid out four conditions that must be met for them to accept that climate change isn’t simply a theory: 100 named hurricanes a year, the full evaporation of the Mississippi River, nine-month-long heat waves, and the complete extinction of every animal in the class Reptilia.”

    “For us to accept that the average surface temperature of the Earth has risen to critical levels due to mankind’s production of greenhouse gases, we’ll need to see some actual, visible evidence, including a global death toll of no less than 500 million people within a single calendar year,” said spokesperson William Davis, 46, of Jackson, NJ, who added that at least 70 percent of all islands on the planet would also have to become submerged under rising seas before he and his cohort would reconsider their beliefs. “To start, we’re going to have to see supercell tornadoes of category F4 or higher ripping through Oklahoma at least three times a day, leveling entire communities and causing hundreds of fatalities—and just to be perfectly clear, we’re talking year-round, not just during the spring tornado season.”
    ““I don’t think it’s too much to ask to see a super hurricane destroying the Southeast U.S. and another one at the same time decimating the Pacific Northwest before I make up my mind about this,” said global warming skeptic Michelle Wilkinson of Medina, MN”

  40. Makati1 on Thu, 27th Aug 2015 8:14 pm 

    It is not the number of barrels that matter. It is the NET energy that they provide for use at the end point. THAT number has been declining for decades and is fast approaching 1:1.

  41. freak on Fri, 28th Aug 2015 1:16 am 

    The consequences of global sea level rise could be even scarier than the worst-case scenarios predicted by the dominant climate models, which don’t fully account for the fast breakup of ice sheets and glaciers, NASA scientists said

  42. GregT on Fri, 28th Aug 2015 1:57 am 

    Boat said: “When we see a famine of 50 million I will sit up and take notice.”

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2012-2014. Almost all the hungry people, 791 million, live in developing countries, representing 13.5 percent, or one in eight, of the population of developing counties. There are 11 million people undernourished in developed countries

    Sitting up yet Boat? Or still in complete denial?

  43. GregT on Fri, 28th Aug 2015 2:11 am 

    Freak said: ‘The consequences of global sea level rise could be even scarier than the worst-case scenarios predicted by the dominant climate models”

    As much as the MSM likes to keep spouting off about the SLR red herring, SLR is of the least of our worries in regards to CC. People in coastal communities can always migrate elsewhere. The biggest of our worries will be lack of oxygen for us to breath.

    “Mention climate change and everyone thinks of CO2 increasing in the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect heating the earth, glaciers melting, rising sea levels, floods, hurricanes, droughts, and a host of other environmental catastrophes.”

    “The simultaneous decrease in ocean oxygen not only threatens the survival of aerobic marine organisms, but is symptomatic of the slow-down in the ocean’s thermohaline ‘conveyor belt’ circulation system that transports heat from the tropics to the poles, overturns surface layers of into the deep and vice versa, redistributing nutrients and gases for the ocean biosphere, and regulating rainfall and temperatures on the landmasses. This dynamical system is highly nonlinear, and small changes could make it fail altogether, with disastrous runaway effects on the climate More importantly, it could wipe out the ocean’s phytoplankton that’s ultimately responsible for splitting water to regenerate oxygen for the entire biosphere, on land and in the sea”

  44. Kenz300 on Fri, 28th Aug 2015 6:36 am 

    Climate Change is real….. the transition to safer, cleaner and cheaper alternative energy is growing around the world.

    India Set To Auction 750 Megawatts of Solar Projects – Renewable Energy World


    Solar Beats Gas in Colorado – Renewable Energy World

  45. rockman on Fri, 28th Aug 2015 10:22 am 

    ” I expect an economist or a market analyst to have much better intuitions about supply and demand than a mediocre geologist.”

    Can’t find fault with that: who would understand the process of finding those supplies (supplies that are obviously just a small component of the supply/demand dynamic) then someone that has never generated a drilling prospect or mapped an oil reservoir in his entire life? LOL.

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