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Ron Patterson

Ron Patterson

Ron Patterson is a retired computer engineer. He worked in Saudi Arabia for five years, two years at the Ghazlan Power Plant near Ras Tanura…

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Did Peak Oil Arrive in 2014?

Did Peak Oil Arrive in 2014?

The recent price crash in crude oil, if it lasts for any length of time, will certainly affect oil production. The question is, just how great an effect will it have and how soon? But in this post I want to concentrate on what is, or was, happening to world oil production even before the price crash.

Russia, the largest producer of crude oil in the world, will peak in 2014. There are various estimates of how fast their production will decline but best case, for Russia, puts their decline at about 2% per year. They say they are depending on the Bazhenov Shale and Arctic offshore just to keep production flat in 2015. Well that is not going to happen, not in the next few years anyway. And if prices stay in the current range it is unlikely to ever happen.

OPEC is a wild card but there is little doubt that they are producing flat out right now. Only Iran has any real any real chance of increasing production very much and only if sanctions are lifted. While Libya has increased production significantly and may yet increase even further, the likelihood is that production will decline given the violent political instability in the country.

Related: Big Oil Going Big In The Gulf Of Mexico

But before we go any further let’s look at what the EIA is predicting for 2015 for both the USA and the rest of the non-OPEC producers. The below charts are from the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook. Current data is through October 2014 and the projected data is through December 2015. All data is in million barrels per day. Also, very important, the data is Total Liquids which includes NGLs, bio fuels and refinery process gain. The EIA, for US production even counts refinery process gain on imported oil.

United States vs Projected

The EIA is predicting US average production total liquids will be up 1.49 million barrels per day in 2014 and up another 1.1 mbd in 2015. (I always use m for million and k for thousand.)

Total Non-OPEC Liquids

The EIA is predicting non-OPEC average total liquids will be up will be up 1.88 mbd in 2014 but only about half that, up .95 mbd, in 2015.

Total Non-OPEC liquids Less US

By removing the US we get an entirely different picture. The EIA has non-OPEC total liquids, less US, up .39 mbd in 2014 but down .15 mbd in 2015.

We get a slightly better picture by looking at annual production instead of monthly production.

US Total Liquids

It is a little easier to see the EIA is predicting US production growth will slow slightly in 2015.

Non-OPEC Liquids Total

That same slowdown of growth is apparent in their non-OPEC total liquids prediction.

Non-OPEC Total Liquids Less US

The EIA is saying that they expect that non-OPEC total liquids outside the USA will decline next year.

World Less USA

This chart is Crude + Condensate and the data is through July 2014. I show it to emphasize the point that only the US is keeping the world from peak oil. And what you see above is many nations that have improved production in the last 5 years or so but have now peaked. Only a couple of non-OPEC nations will increase production next year and those by only a tiny amount. Most nations will see a decline next year.

But what will happen to US production? The price decline will most definitely affect production but how long will it take for that decline to show up? After all, at the end of September there were 610 Bakken wells awaiting completion. That is a three months’ supply. That means any slowdown in drilling will take several months to show a decline in wells completed. However, elsewhere it may not take nearly that long.

US Production kbd

When the price collapsed in 1985 the decline was rather dramatic. However the price collapse in 2008 led to no noticeable decline in either US or other non-OPEC production. There was a huge decline in OPEC production in 08 and 09 but that was a deliberate cut.

Related: Something Doesn’t Add Up In Bakken Production Figures

I believe non-OPEC production less US production will be down between .5 and 1 million barrels per day next year. And I believe it unlikely that US production will be able to offset that. OPEC is still the wild card but I think it is more likely their production will decline rather than increase.


Bottom line, it is obvious that we are on the cusp of peak oil and only the seemingly ever-increasing barrels from US shale oil production is keeping it at bay. But it now looks like that party is about to be over. I think it is very likely that peak oil has already arrived, if not this year then 2015 for sure.

For clarification: Peak oil for me is when C+C peaks. I do not count bottled gas and bio-fuels as oil. I would like to exclude condensate but no one except OPEC, Mexico and Norway gives up “crude only” stats so we are forced to count Crude + Condensate. I posted the EIA’s “total liquids” charts here because they make no predictions for C+C and the data they do post only goes through July 2014.

By Ron Patterson

Source - http://peakoilbarrel.com/  

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Leave a comment
  • T DORMON on December 02 2014 said:
    liked your story.but its like the end of the world,everyones been saying it is almost here since the beging of time.i know it must be coming but when
  • Jim C. on December 15 2014 said:
    It's always risky to predict official Peak Oil dates, since the human demand factor has proven unpredictable. I find it unfortunate that so many people are ignoring the math on U.S. shale fracking and treating it like some magic forever supply.

    Divide North Dakota's total estimated recoverable reserves by U.S. daily consumption (7.4B/20M) and you get about a year's worth of oil if that's all we used. But the hype artists make it seem like ND is good for decades. Adding Texas to the mix only gives another year or two of total supply. Without high conventional crude oil production, shale's contribution is a pittance.

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