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October 11, 2007

Past Peak Peak Oil

A very interesting post on yesterday's Oil Drum summarizes world oil production over the last seven years. First, a graph:

Each band shows, for a country or group of countries, the difference between its production level and its minimum production level over the period covered by the graph. The authors call this "incremental" production. The baseline is the thin grey bar at the bottom. Taking the baseline and stacking the incremental production bands on top gives total production.

There's a thick black line about two-thirds of the way up. The countries below the line are in decline (or at least not growing). Notice how steeply the black line begins to fall starting in 2005: the declining countries are declining rapidly. (Production in those countries is 3.8 million barrels per day less than it was just 2.5 years ago.) That decline needs to be offset by growth elsewhere just to maintain the status quo. The countries below the black line include: US, Indonesia, Australia, Denmark, Argentina, Oman, Colombia, Gabon, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, UK, Norway, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Ecuador, Vietnam, Qatar, India, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Iraq, and some others.

The bands above the black line are areas where production is still growing. These include: China, Russia, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Eq. Guinea, Brazil, Canada, Kazakhstan, Angola, Azerbaijan. Some, like China and Russia, are expected to peak in the next few years. Others, like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, are likely to hit a plateau because of pipeline constraints. Hence, the ability of these growth regions to continue making up for decline elsewhere is doubtful.

The bottom, maroon band is the US. Notice the sharp dip in late 2005. That's when Katrina hit, taking out a lot of production in the Gulf. The authors adjusted their figures by extrapolating what US production would have looked like were it not for Katrina and got this:

Without the dip caused by Katrina, it looks like world production peaked in the latter half of 2005. I.e., Katrina obscured that fact that we're already past peak.

Posted by Jonathan at October 11, 2007 10:15 AM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb