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World Oil Production Outlook

World Oil Production Outlook thumbnail

Peak oil was supposed to have arrived a decade ago, but then the US tight oil boom spoiled the party. Can looking into the rear vision mirror now help us understand what is likely to happen from here?

We will find out by going through the last 30 years of production by continent, starting with North America:

Mexico tipped over into decline 15 years ago and is producing at half its 2004 peak. Mexico is now a net oil importer. Canadian production, mostly from oil sands, continues to steadily increase. US conventional production is in a long downtrend from its 1973 high. The recent uptick is from deepwater fields in the Gulf of Mexico, which have a capex per barrel developed approaching US$20/bbl. Tight oil production, which is almost exclusively a US phenomenon due to a combination of geology, drilling costs and taxation regime, was still in steep uptrend by the end of 2019.

Though production was increasing, the US oil rig count was dropping through 2019 and into 2020 before the virus struck. Which in turn means that the then prevailing oil price at about US$60/bbl was not enough to maintain activity. The tight oil drillers increased their well productivity by high-grading the wells drilled. The high-grading of prospects drilled means that the economics of the remaining prospects falls. Combined with the fact that drilling activity had been falling at US$60/bbl, this means that a price higher than US$70 or perhaps $80/bbl is needed to increase US tight oil production. Another thing that drove the tight oil boom was near-zero interest rates. It will be hard for money to get any cheaper from here.

In South America, Argentinian oil production tipped over into decline 20 years ago. Brazilian production is increasing from deep water fields. Colombian production has also increased. Venezuela’s decline due to socialism is well known. The country’s enormous oil resource remains but Venezuela’s high population growth rate means that the country is stuck in a poverty trap.

Europe is the poster child for peak oil. Their peak was 20 years ago and the rest of the world will eventually follow. The odd major field, such as the Johan Sverdup field in Norway, might be found but the end of European oil production is in sight. Being all offshore fields, they have high operating and abandonment costs so there won’t be a long tail, as per US conventional production. The Europeans have been trying to force their religion of global warming on the rest of the planet so the crunch is going to be interesting. Europe could respond with a nuclear power plant build combined with electric cars. They also have a belt of lignite deposits from Greece through the Carpathians up to Lithuania which could be used for petrochemical feedstock.

Azerbaijan, now back to killing Armenians again, is now in decline. Kazakhstan is increasing production. Russia, despite its tax rates and corruption, continues to grow its production level and looks like it has decades to come at this level.

Twilight in the desert? Most of the major producing countries in the Middle East have been increasing production. Iraq had a reserve base similar to that of Saudi Arabia and therefore, politics allowing, production from the Middle East is likely to continue to increase and then have decades of plateau production. So the Middle East is destined to go back to sucking in the rest of the world’s cash, as it did in the early 1980s.

In Africa, Algeria and Angola have tipped over into decline. Other than the political problems of Libya, production has been flat so the total effect is likely to be gradual contraction of oil production.

The Asian region is a big demand centre, but produces a fraction of its consumption. Australia’s production outlook is lumpy with potential for more deepwater discoveries off the northwest coast. China has tipped over into decline and is likely to follow the Mexican example of production halving over the next 20 years. China has some coal to synthetic fuel plants and more of those plants could be built. But China may be near its peak coal production also. Indonesia has been in decline for decades.

The figure above combines historic production levels from the BP annual energy report with a projection to 2030.  The continents and countries in the bottom half of the chart, from Asia through to Russia, peaked in 2010 and their decline rate since then is expected to continue. If Middle Eastern production increases, at best it is likely to only offset that decline.

Mexican decline offsets the Canadian production increase. It is evident from the chart that the world would have been in deficit for the last ten years if it weren’t for US tight oil production. If tight oil production goes back to its level prior to the virus-caused crash, there will still be a 10 to 20 million barrel per day shortfall of production by the end of the decade relative to the established demand trend line which is rising at 1.3 million barrels/day/year.

The days of cheap oil are nearly over. A tightening oil market will cause the LNG price to go to the oil price in energy content terms. The next big buffer will be coal to synthetic fuel which requires US120/bbl to provide a return. But oil will be at that price soon enough.


David Archibald is the author of The Anticancer Garden in Australia


19 Comments on "World Oil Production Outlook"

  1. Antius on Mon, 9th Nov 2020 4:34 pm 

    “Europe is the poster child for peak oil.”

    Yep. The problem is that as the EROI of fossil fuels continues to gradually decline, less energy remains for investment in alternatives, as society desperately tries to maintain the status quo. Through ZIRP we end up trying to bring future wealth forward. But the end result is fiat currency collapse amid a tidal wave of debt and monetary oversupply.

    This is why much of the oil contained in theoretical reserves will end up being left in the ground.

    Russia is well positioned to be last man standing. Might be wise not to piss them off.

  2. Go Speed Racer on Mon, 9th Nov 2020 9:20 pm 

    There are 2 types of nuclear reactor, either of which produces unlimited power at low cost. Either technology is 100% safe against melt-down.

    One is “pebble bed” which looks like a bunch of pool table 8-balls piled into a reactor vessel. The heat is taken out using super-heated gas, typically helium.

    Pebble bed uses predominantly uranium fuel (but lots of opportunity to mix in other
    stuff like thorium or old carrot peelings)

    The other one is Liquid Thorium, where the fuel that’s reacting flows freely at orange heat. The pipes and vessel are ceramic. This is also a fabulous method and is melt-down proof.

    Unfortunately approximately 51% of USA society is mentally retarded nowadays, and votes for Joe Biden and Kommie Harris. As such, far too stupid to ever develop any of these technologies.

    Both pebble bed, and liquid thorium, are totally un-pressurized, with an open top on the reactor. This does allow tossing in an occasional sofa or old tire, into the orange-hot reactor, with no ill effects and it will be 100% consumed. (Optional tall chimney required, to take away the radioactive smoke)

  3. 150344BC on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 3:20 am 

    Your political model is broken. I voted with the 77M (52%) and I have designed parts of nuclear power plants. Now who’s the one looking stupid. Why are you talking about nuclear power and politics at all. Subject here is oil reserves. Try to maintain focus.

  4. zero juan on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 3:58 am 

    Another dumb night with JuanP

    150344BC said Racer, Your political model is broken. I voted wi…

    IFindThisFunny said Chicago issues stay-at-home advisory, new restrict…

    FamousDrScanlon said Thanks Antius. Great article. “Those who don…

    FamousDrScanlon said Peak oil cancels the current world order. CWO

    roccofire said Duncan Idaho I agree 100%! I grew up watching, re…

    Mich said MUST WATCH! Dr.SHIVA LIVE: MIT PhD Analysis of Mic…

    Davy said American thinker is a oxy-moron Famous Dr. Scanlon…

  5. FamousDrScanlon on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 4:22 am 

    “Michigan State Senators Request Full Election Audit Citing Voting Irregularities”

    “At least two Michigan Republican state senators have requested a full election audit, asking the Michigan secretary of state’s office for a full recount before the election results are certified, according to a letter they sent to her office on Thursday. State senators Lana Theis and Tom Barrett wrote that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and canvassers that are reviewing allegations of irregularities and voter fraud made in lawsuits filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign. They are requesting a “full audit” of the election, saying it needs to be done before the state certifies the election results…Their letters made reference to allegations made by Trump’s legal team, claims of witnesses about irregularities at polls, and a glitch that switched 6,000 votes from a Republican official to a Democratic official in Antrim County that was later corrected and acknowledged by the secretary of state’s office, although the Michigan GOP said the same software – Dominion Voting Systems – was used in dozens of other counties…Other allegations from the two lawmakers include ineligible ballots being counted, poll workers being told to backdate ballots, counting the same ballots several times, and other claims…Trump on Thursday accused Dominion of deleting 2.7 million votes for him across the United States and cited a One America News report. Twitter flagged Trump’s claim, saying, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.” Other lawmakers have raised serious concerns about the software, although Dominion has denied such claims…Theis and Barrett said there are allegations about unsecured ballots arriving at the TCF Center in Detroit without a chain of custody and without any envelopes, saying it included a batch of about 40,000 ballots that came early on Nov. 4, the day after Election Day. They also said there have been reports of “illegal and official intimidation and interference” with election observers and poll watchers, including harassment of challengers, unequal treatment of challengers, refusal to record the challengers’ claims, and removal of challengers “if they politely voiced a challenge.” They said that more than 100 Michiganders, in sworn statements, have made the claims about interference at the polls. “These claims deserve our full attention and diligent investigation to ensure fairness and transparency in our election process,” said the two lawmakers. Michigan’s secretary of state’s office hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment about the two lawmakers’ letter.”

  6. JuanP on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 4:23 am 

    Thanks Dr for the great election fraud updates. You are the greatest

  7. bochen787 on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 4:30 am 

    “Official Overseeing Arizona Vote-Count Process Previously Tweeted About Trump’s “Neo-Nazi Base”

    “Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is overseeing the vote counting process in the swing state, previously tweeted about President Trump pandering to his “neo-nazi base.” In an August 2017 tweet that is receiving fresh attention, Hobbs asserted, [email protected] has made it abundantly clear he’s more interested in pandering to his neo-nazi base than being @POTUS for all Americans… That wouldn’t be much of a shock for someone who lists her pronouns in her Twitter bio along with her support for Black Lives Matter, but given that Hobbs is now instrumental in the Arizona voting process, Trump supporters are understandably concerned. “Anyone think we could possibly get a fair shake in front of this activist???” asked Donald Trump Jr…The Secretary of State has already exercised her power to prevent an inquiry into Arizona’s voting machines. “In recent days, the President of Arizona’s State Senate, Karen Fann, called on Hobbs’ office to authorize an independent review of the state’s voting machines. A call that Hobbs immediately shot down,” reports National File. “It is patently unreasonable to suggest that, despite there being zero credible evidence of any impropriety or widespread irregularities, election officials nonetheless have a responsibility to prove a negative,” Hobbs wrote in response.”

  8. JuanP on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 4:30 am 

    Great find Bo chen. Keeep em coming

  9. Mich on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 4:43 am 

    “Giuliani alleges there is enough UNLAWFUL ballots to turn election in Trump’s favor”

    “President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News host Lou Dobbs Thursday that he and his team have uncovered enough unlawful ballots in Pennsylvania and Michigan to turn the election in Trump’s direction. The former New York City Mayor told Dobbs that the Dominion Voting machines used in the election that the “machines can be hacked.” Giuliani went through the history of the company and accused the company of having connections to Venezuela and Spain. Dobbs stated that the states have no ability to audit the ballots that are cast because of proprietary issues that inhibit a true assessment of the votes. Giuliani alleges that are more than 300, 000 unlawful ballots in Pennsylvania, as well as a similar amount in Michigan. He said that the Trump campaign has multiple witnesses regarding irregularities that occurred on or before Election Day. “This is a stolen election,” said Giuliani. “I know the elites don’t want to hear it but it’s a stolen election.”

    Dr.SHIVA LIVE: MIT PhD Analysis of Michigan Votes Reveals Unfortunate Truth of U.S. Voting Systems.

  10. JuanP on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 4:43 am 

    Gooood work Mich!

  11. FamousDrScanlon on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 4:51 am 

    “Pennsylvania Judge rules in favor of Trump campaign: Sec State did not have authority to change election deadline”

    “In what is amounting to a significant victory for President Donald Trump’s campaign, a Pennsylvania judge ruled Thursday that the state may not count segregated ballots, saying the Secretary of State “lacked statutory authority” to override election law. “[T]he Court concludes that Respondent Kathy Boockvar, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Commonwealth, lacked statutory authority to issue the November 1, 2020, guidance to Respondents County Boards of Elections insofar as that guidance purported to change the deadline …for certain electors to verify proof of identification,” stated Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt in the court order. The court order also noted that “Respondents County Board of Elections are enjoined from counting any ballots that have been segregated.” In effect, it means that ballots from voters who submitted missing identification between Nov. 10 and Nov. 12. Ballots will not be counted, while those with “cured” ID issues received before aren’t being challenged by the Trump campaign, according to the court ruling. According to Pennsylvania state law voters have until six days after the election, which would be November 9 this year to take care of issues regarding a lack of proof of identification. The situation became more precarious because after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that mail-in ballots could be accepted three days after Election Day, Boockvar submitted guidance stating that proof of identification could be provided up until Nov. 12, which is six days from the ballot acceptance deadline. Boockvar issues those changes just two days before Election Day. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the decision by the Pennsylvania court a “Victory” for the Trump campaign. She noted that “anti-Trump Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar exceeded her authority in trying to count ballots arriving AFTER Election Day.” “Article 1, Section 4 fo the U.S. Constitution Matters,” added McEnany, who also appeared on Fox News Sean Hannity Thursday night to address other irregularities in Pennsylvania. Democrats downplayed the Trump win. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said the order is “a narrow ruling on very few ballots. Doesn’t affect ballots received by 11/6. None of this changes the election results.” Just by Shapiro’s Tweet you can see it was eating at him that the Trump campaign won this victory in the court but I believe his nervous smugness has more to do with about what’s to come.”

  12. JuanP on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 5:00 am 

    Big Data to the Rescue: The Electoral College Meets Data Pattern Science

    The Electoral College has a “do-over button.” States fail to certify the vote, and Congress decides. Remember, Congress is the house of the people — Nancy Pelosi notwithstanding. Madison and his pals actually thought that through over two hundred years ago, no kidding. It applies only to the presidential vote, not to senators or representatives. The Founders knew how important it was to get the executive thing right. So just how do we make a case to the Electoral College that massive voter fraud, on an industrial scale, thwarted the will of the American people? Remember, the Electoral College at this point means six Republican legislatures in swing states! Well, there are ways that will not work. One of them is the long, slow slog through interminable, dusty election precincts, counting one vote here, a dead guy who voted over there, three ballots where the local team filled out the missing fields. That is the loser road. James Madison, meet Big Data. Actually, meet statistical data pattern analysis and together, grasp hands and speak to America. Fraud at an industrial level is not a new thing. It happens every day…Our team built the fraud engine for the largest online auction house. You may have used it. We uncovered industrial fraud at most of the top 10 property and casualty insurers. We did this with big data analysis…Here’s the summary: For the election returns in many precincts to happen the way they did, Biden would have to flip a coin 1,000 times and get heads every time. We aren’t done here. He would also have to do it over and over again, in scores, perhaps hundreds of precincts. Welcome to big data analysis. Industrial fraud is always discovered with statistical analysis like Andrea’s subjects do quite well in this video. Industrial fraud is pretty cool because from the outside, it is invisible. Remember the doctor getting paid in prison, above. When subject to statistical analysis against known patterns, industrial fraud stands out like a dinosaur walking through a field of peanut butter. It is unmistakable. Is such analysis proof? Yes, it is proof that there is an anomaly of such proportions that it must be investigated. And this isn’t hard. Remember, all the data you need to do the analysis is after-the-fact voting data. You do not need to see a single ballot. Like Andrea’s subjects, you just need to know that in precinct after precinct, there is an unmistakable pattern that the more people vote for Trump over Biden the greater the number of Trump votes the counting machines scoop from Trump to Biden. The pattern is one that can only be done by machines, like a computer. There are too many transactions, with too straight a line, across too many precincts, to be the guys with the ballot boxes arriving in the middle of the night. They are extra fraud. What’s next? Using big data, measuring against historical trends, enables many of the math geeks who inhabit the internet to find these frauds. Andrea’s boys did a good job but there will be many more. They will all find the same thing – industrial-scale voter fraud. This isn’t going away and there is much more to find.”

  13. Davy on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 5:01 am 

    Great work JuanP, friend

  14. JuanP on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 5:17 am 

    2020 Election Fraud on Steroids

    “The media has no right to select a President. This falls exclusively under the domain of the American people. Anyone who has been paying attention should not be surprised that we are currently dealing with election fraud. But the current situation has reached a significant and unprecedented scale…Sydney Powell is an attorney for the president. You may also recognize her as the attorney for General Michael Flynn. She has been lead counsel in 500+ federal appeals cases, 350 of which were as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Past president of the American Appellate Lawyers and Bar Association of the Fifth Appellate Circuit, member of the American Law Institute, and author of several books. She brings much credibility to the table… Powell states that they have over 450,000 ballots from key states with only Biden selected and no down-ballot votes. That would not only be extraordinarily odd but also mathematically impossible. Additionally, there are other Republican candidates whom she claims have had a win stolen from them, including Doug Collins of Georgia and John James from Michigan. Additional evidence, says Powell, shows that Democratic operatives were changing ballots from Trump to Biden. Powell states that 3% of the vote has been compromised in this way. That’s over 8 million votes! According to Powell, “Hammer & Scorecard” is a cyber warfare software application used to intercept electronic vote transfers to change votes to favor Biden. A modified algorithm runs to calculate how many votes Trump has over Biden’s votes, so the systems can accurately offset that number to Biden’s benefit. To be clear, this software package is designed for intel-agency use only. The U.S. uses this against our enemies. So, it would appear that Democrat operatives that have both clearance and access to this tool have adapted it to throw an election. This may explain the 3-hour simultaneous vote count shutdown by key states on election night between 1 AM and 4 AM. These shutdowns occurred immediately after Trump was up by huge margins between midnight and 1 AM. When the shutdowns ended, Biden was curiously up by more than the number needed to overcome each state’s deficit. Coincidence? I’d say that it just doesn’t pass the smell test for any reasonable person. Stated differently; that dog don’t hunt. More Software “Glitches” Now, several outlets have reported that the Dominion Voting System software package, which provides “service” for 35% of the country, is responsible for 6,000 Michigan votes for Trump going to Biden. Those 6,000 votes that we know of were in one county only. There are 50+/- other counties in Michigan that use the same system. Each state has different guidelines regarding recounts and run-offs. The following is a chronology of upcoming election events: Once the dust has settled, each governor is must prepare a Certificate of Ascertainment listing the electors for competing candidates. December 8 is the deadline for naming electors so that Congress cannot challenge them. The Electoral College gathers in each state capitol to meet the first Monday after the second Tuesday of December. This year that date is December 14. Failure to meet the December 14, 2020 deadline could mean that the state’s electors wouldn’t count in the tally. December 23 is the deadline for states to submit their votes to Congress. We should fully expect the U.S. Supreme Court to get involved in this resolution after review by respective state Appellate Courts and U.S. Appellate Courts. Buckle up!
    Image: Sidney Powell on Fox. Twitter screengrab.”

  15. Davy on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 5:18 am 

    Awesome JuanP awesome!!!!

  16. JuanP on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 5:23 am 

    Here is another Davy

    The Founders Outsmarted the Presidential Election Fraudsters
    By Gary Gindler

    Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

  17. Abraham van Helsing on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 5:28 am 

    You don’t want a winner, you just want conflict and chaos, from which the deep state/swamp can be destroyed and something new can be born.

    Like a nice, new Yankee republic:

    There are no easy, comfortable solutions. Americans have been enjoying comfort for far too long. An enormous backlog of unresolved issues emerged from that complacency. Gonna be a difficult decade for America, just like the 1991-2000 years were extremely difficult for Russia. But in the end there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Made in China.

  18. bochen787 on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 6:38 am 

    All that Chinese money paid off. It always does. Corruption is the handmaiden of power!

    “We Respect The Choice Of The American People” – China Among Last Major Nations To Recognize Biden Victory
    Profile picture for user Tyler Durden
    by Tyler Durden
    Fri, 11/13/2020 – 05:47
    At the end of a week that saw China stamp out one of the last bastions of political dissent in Hong Kong, a power play that – while not unexpected – may have been encouraged or accelerated by Joe Biden’s “victory” last week, according to some, the CPC has finally reached out to congratulate Biden, becoming one of the last major nations to do so, according to the AP.

    Notably, the congratulatory message comes less than a day after the Trump Administration slapped new restrictions on US investment in a few dozen Chinese companies with ties to the PLA, a sign that the Trump White House indeed intends to keep the pressure on until after inauguration day (that is, assuming all election results reported by the media are validated by the final count). The timing makes China’s message of “respect” even more interesting, as many expect Biden to soften Trump’s hard-line stance and move the Sino-US relationship back toward ‘the way things were’ during the Obama Administration (when Biden’s son, Hunter, was busy striking lucrative deals with businessmen who were also reportedly connected to China’s military and intelligence services.

    “We respect the choice of the American people,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin. “We congratulate Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.”

    Wang gave no reason for the delay but said, “the result will be confirmed according to U.S. laws and procedures.”

    As the world waits to see whether Biden will maintain Trump’s aggressive stance toward China, the AP points out that “a tough stance on China has broad support across the political spectrum.” However, Biden has already helped implement one set of very different foreign policy priorities during his time as VP.

    Political analysts expect Biden to try to resume cooperation with Beijing on climate change, North Korea, Iran and the coronavirus. And they say Biden might pursue a more traditional, predictable policy toward China. However, economists and political analysts expect few big changes due to widespread frustration with Beijing’s trade and human rights record and accusations of spying and technology theft. “A tough stance on China has broad support across the U.S. political spectrum,” Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics said in a report this week. “Biden’s own pronouncements and policy program suggest he will continue to try to maintain the U.S. technological lead and to attract manufacturing activity.” Some forecasters suggest the change from Trump, who rejected multilateral alliances, to Biden might increase pressure on China if Washington forms a coalition with other developed countries to push for policy changes. China has tried to recruit Germany, France, South Korea and other governments as allies against Washington but all have refused. They criticized Trump’s trade tactics of surprise tariff hikes, which also were used against allies, but echo U.S. complaints that China is violating its free-trade commitments. Some Chinese trade experts have suggested Beijing might try to renegotiate the “Phase 1” agreement signed in January as a first step toward ending the trade war. It calls for China to increase purchases of U.S. goods in exchange for postponing further tariff hikes. But that came before the coronavirus derailed global trade, leaving China behind on meeting its commitments. Renegotiation might fit a “more strategic, longer-term orientation” expected from a Biden administration, but he “cannot be seen to be ‘soft’ on China” after the “hard rhetoric” of the campaign, Kuijs said.

    With one term on the clock, and the US economy headed for another 4-6 week lockdown, according to one of Biden’s own advisors, will the “president-elect” display the same temerity to stand up to Beijing shown by his predecessor? It’s doubtful. And the events of this week suggest that both Beijing, and Washington, expect a much “kinder, gentler” approach toward America’s biggest geopolitical foe.

  19. Cloggie on Fri, 13th Nov 2020 7:08 am 

    The autonomous driving era is now beginning in earnest:

    “Vision AVTR – The Car to End All Cars”

    As of 2021, level 4 autonomous driving will be allowed in Germany officially.

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