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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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EIA Ups Global Oil Production Forecast

The EIA recently updated its International Petroleum statistics. World Crude plus Condensate  (C+C) output was 80,577 kb/d in Feb 2017 an increase of 72 kb/d from the previous month, this was 1695 kb/d below the monthly peak output of 82,273 kb/d in November 2016. The most recent 12-month average (centered on August/September 2016) was 80,501 kb/d, 3 kb/d less than the previous most recent 12 month’s output. The 12-month centered average peak output was 80,574 kb/d in June/July 2016 as previously predicted by Ron Patterson and currently the 12-month average output is 73 kb/d below the peak.

Conventional crude plus condensate is defined in several different ways. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) uses the categories “conventional” and “continuous” oil resources, where continuous resources include light tight oil (LTO), Canadian oil sands, and Venezuela’s Orinoco belt. Conventional C+C output has been relatively steady from 2005 to 2014, with an increase of 1.7 Mb/d by 2016 due to increasing OPEC output over that period (a 2 Mb/d increase). Over the earlier 2005-2014 period OPEC output increased by about 1 Mb/d while conventional non-OPEC output decreased.

(Click to enlarge)

Using the USGS definition of conventional oil we can use Hubbert Linearization to estimate World Conventional URR.

(Click to enlarge)

The vertical axis is annual conventional C+C production divided by cumulative conventional C+C production and the horizontal axis is cumulative conventional C+C output. Related: Saudis, Russia Will Do “Whatever It Takes” To Bring Oil To Balance

The noticeable kink in the data in 1993 (725 Gb cumulative) leads to the choice of 1991-2016 for the data used for the red trend line with a URR of 2400 Gb. The blue line uses all data from 1983 to 2016 and suggests a lower URR of 2200 Gb. Over time the Hubbert Linearization (HL) estimate tends to increase, for example an HL on the data from 1983 to 1995 points to a URR of 1650 Gb and over the years this has gradually increased to 2200 Gb or even 2400 Gb. The tendency of this method to underestimate the URR is a major shortcoming, though it might point to a lower bound for the URR.

In 2000, the USGS estimated a conventional World URR of 3000 Gb, my guess is about 2700 Gb due to a combination of discoveries and reserve growth, but only if progress in developing alternatives to petroleum for transportation is slow. Rapid progress in reducing our dependence on liquid petroleum would result in lower oil prices and potentially a low conventional URR of 2400 Gb or even 2200 Gb in the most optimistic scenarios for rapid technological change.

By Peak Oil Barrel

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