Oil production in the world close to peak

Mar 30, 2007

In a worst-case scenario, global oil production may reach its peak next year, before starting to decline. In a best-case scenario, this peak would not be reached until 2018. These are the estimates made by Fredrik Robelius, whose doctoral dissertation estimates future oil production on the basis of the largest oil fields. The dissertation will be publicly defended at Uppsala University in Sweden on March 30.

Fredrik Robelius bases his forecasts on studies of global oil reserves, historical production, and new finds. He focuses on the very largest oil fields, so-called giant fields, which produce a total of at least 500 million barrels of oil.

Giant fields comprise only about one percent of all oil fields in the world, but they nevertheless account for more than 60 percent of total production. Unfortunately, the trend is heading downward when it comes to new giant-field discoveries, both in terms of the number of fields and the volume of the fields located. The majority of the largest giant fields are found around the Persian Gulf and are more than 50 years old.

“The dominance of giant fields in global oil production supports the thesis that they will be crucial to what future production will look like," says Fredrik Robelius.

He developed a model based on historical production, the total exploitable reserves of the giant fields, and their rate of diminution. The model assumes that oil fields have a constant rate of diminution, which Robelius has verified by studying a number of giant oilfields where production has waned. The analysis shows that an annual rate of diminution between 6 and 16 percent is reasonable.

To be sure that the future production of a field will wind up inside the interval of the model, Robelius used both pessimistic and optimistic estimates. Then he combined the results from the model with field forecasts for deep-water production, new finds, oil sand in Canada, and heavy oil in Venezuela to construct his forecasts.

“All cases studies show that global oil production will begin to drop off at roughly the same time as the giant fields. According to the most pessimistic scenario, the peak will be reached in 2008, whereas the most optimistic scenario, assumed to follow a 1.4-percent annual increase in demand, places the peak in 2018."

Source: Swedish Research Council

Explore further: TRMM satellite sees Tropical Storm Phanfone fragmented

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists unlocking oil reserves in the North Sea

Sep 25, 2014

Heriot-Watt researchers are a step closer to maximising oil reserves from the North Sea by developing methods that can more cleanly and cheaply extract valuable remaining oil from existing fields.

Rubber technology important in reducing CO2 emissions

Sep 23, 2014

Despite numerous measures taken by manufacturers, the worldwide level of CO2 car emissions is still increasing at an alarming rate. The automotive sector is working hard to develop lightweight constructions, ...

A success in managed pressure drilling

Sep 16, 2014

As one of BP's top 40 wells globally (and the only UK well qualifying for that category in 2012), the successful delivery of the Harding field's 'Producer North East 2a' well (referred to as PNE2a) was crucial to the business. ...

Recommended for you

NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

11 hours ago

NASA and NOAA scientists participating in NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel (HS3) mission used their expert skills, combined with a bit of serendipity on Sept. 17, 2014, to guide the remotely piloted ...

Tropical Storm Rachel dwarfed by developing system 90E

16 hours ago

Tropical Storm Rachel is spinning down west of Mexico's Baja California, and another tropical low pressure area developing off the coast of southwestern Mexico dwarfs the tropical storm. NOAA's GOES-West ...

NASA ocean data shows 'climate dance' of plankton

19 hours ago

The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the growth cycles of phytoplankton—microscopic aquatic plants ...

Glaciers in the grand canyon of Mars?

21 hours ago

For decades, planetary geologists have speculated that glaciers might once have crept through Valles Marineris, the 2000-mile-long chasm that constitutes the Grand Canyon of Mars. Using satellite images, ...

NASA support key to glacier mapping efforts

21 hours ago

Thanks in part to support from NASA and the National Science Foundation, scientists have produced the first-ever detailed maps of bedrock beneath glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. This new data will help ...

User comments : 0