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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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How Much Are The World’s Giant Oil Fields Depleting?

I am starting this post off with a news article because it explains why JODI has U.S. production numbers wrong for July.

No, U.S. Oil Production Probably Didn’t Rise in July

The Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) releases monthly oil supply-and-demand data for about 80 countries, which it gathers by directly surveying the countries. It is widely cited by analysts, especially for its figures on demand, imports and exports.

The latest JODI data released Sunday showed that U.S. crude-oil production rose from 9.3 million barrels a day in June to 9.5 million barrels in July.

But the EIA’s latest forecast called for July production to fall to 9.2 million barrels a day in July, continuing the trend of declining U.S. production as companies cut spending in the face of low prices.

For the charts below I have used JODI data for all Non-OPEC nations except those that do not report to JODI. For them I use the EIA data and carry forward the same data that the EIA reported, (April). For the USA, since the JODI data is obviously wrong for July, I simply carried forward the June data which also came directly from the EIA. And for OPEC I use the OPEC MOMR’s “secondary sources.” JODI also uses the MOMR for their data but uses the “direct communication” data instead of the secondary sources data.

The data below is through July 2015 and is in thousand barrels per day.

(Click to enlarge)

In July we remained at or near the world’s all-time peak at 75,631,000 barrels per day, down just 15,000 bpd from June. Related: VW Scandal Bad News For Diesel

(Click to enlarge)

JODI Non-OPEC stood at 44,100,000 bpd in July, down 567,000 bpd from the peak in December.

(Click to enlarge)

JODI Non-OPEC less USA stood at 34,804,000 bpd in July, down 900,000 bpd from the most recent high in December 2010. Related: Canadian Oil Trapped Without More Pipeline Capacity

The below table, Giant Oil Fields of the World Data as of 2013 is from Art Berman. It was compiled by Mike Horn and Associates and is on the AAPG records. The Excel file that I received was far more extensive than the below. It contained the 738 largest oil fields and 1048 total oil and gas fields. I have shortened it to only fields above 5 billion barrels of oil, ultimate recovery estimate.

Five fields above 5 billion barrels ultimate recovery are not included. Three, Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky, Kaigan-Vasyugan and Kurmangazy (Russia and Caspian), because there was no data and Manifa and Khurais (Saudi Arabia), because of decades of being mothballed offline, I found their data to be inaccurate. Mike Horn and Associates apparently calculated production from the date they first came on line and made no allowance for their decades off line. They had Manifa and Khurais far more depleted than I thought to be the case. But that still left 56 giant fields above 5 billion barrels ultimate recovery.

Horn and Associates calculated the decline, from first production, using three decline rates, 6.7 percent per year, 3.4 percent per year and 1.4 percent per year. Then they calculated the decline rate using an average of those three decline rates. The average of the three is the one used here when I calculated the remaining reserves from the original ultimate recovery estimate. The average of those three works out to be 3.83% decline per year. I think that number is very conservative.

(Click to enlarge) Related: Is This The Bottom For Oil Prices?

Unfortunately Horn and Associates did not calculate remaining MMBO, only MMBOE. For the 733 total oil fields with ultimate recoverable one billion barrels or more, the total ultimate recoverable oil came to 1,435,993 MMBO. That is 1.436 trillion barrels of oil in giant fields only. But the MMBOE in those 733 fields came to 4,674,021 MMBOE. That’s 4.674 trillion barrels of oil equivalent.

Of that original 4,674,021 MMBOE 1,479,623 MMBOE or 31.66% of the original ultimate recoverable oil, gas and condensate remain.

There were 310 other fields in this study but they were gas only fields and none of those were included in any of the calculations above.

By Ron Patterson

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Leave a comment
  • Bill Stewart on September 27 2015 said:
    So I can conclude (because you did not) that if the oldest field is about 70 years, and it has about 30% left, we have about 20 years more of current production. So no worries! No wonder the oil price has declined.

    I say this because even though we are well past the "peak", and in fact on the downward slope, the production level has remained flat or increased.
  • David on September 27 2015 said:
    Shaikan missing in this table! How big is this field? New CPR due this week at GulfKeystone Petroleum. Will we see 21bn OIP as Todd Kozel has mentioned before?

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