How much oil is left?

The latest estimate of oil production from ASPO

June 2014 The Oil Production Story: Pre- and Post Peak Nations

In reviewing BP’s latest stats, the “Top 10″ nations still dominate the realm of oil, producing 66% of the world total.  Our summary table highlights two important pieces of the oil production story:

1) Nations that are past peak (see “Peak Year,” highlighte d in turquoise )–because of geologic limits (e.g., Norway, the United Kingdom) or for above-ground reasons;

2) Nations that have yet to clearly peak.

It appears that about half of the Top 20 nations have seen their all-time highs in production.  In a number of others, production is currently increasing, with America the record-setting poster child. Yet during 2013, only four nations increased by over 100,000 barrels/day-year vs. 15 in 2004, while four nations experienced declines of roughly 100,000 b/d-year vs. three in 2004. And most importantly, Russia and China are likely near peak production.

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This is a complex question, because the quality of the oil matters as well.  We’ve gotten the good stuff, the light, easy oil, and a lot of the remaining oil will take a lot more energy and complex refineries to process.

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil has been studying this for over a decade and has many country-by-country reports.

Robert Rapier. Jun 25, 2012. How Much Oil Does the World Produce?

Cornucopians keep coming up with rosy predictions.  This article: Don’t worry, be happy, there’s plenty of oil, natural gas, & coal left has a list of articles that rebut their arguments, good summaries of how much oil is left and why peak oil is nearly upon us.

Robert Hirsch estimates oil shortages will begin roughly 2012-2015 and that even a worldwide depression won’t affect that time-frame by more than a few weeks.

Finding More Oil

Deffeyes dismisses proposals to simply explore more or drill deeper. Oil was created by specific circumstances, and there just isn’t that much of it. First there had to be, in the dinosaur era, a shallow part of the sea where oxygen was low and prehistoric dead fish and fish poop could not completely decompose. Then the organic matter had to “cook” for 100 million years at the right depth, with the right temperature to break down the hydrocarbons into liquid without breaking them too far into natural gas. Almost all oil, he said, comes from between the hot-coffee warmth of 7,000 feet down and the turkey-basting scald of 15,000 feet down – a thin layer under the surface, and then only in limited areas. We could drill the deepest oil, he said, back in the 1940s.

“More than 70% of remaining oil reserves are in five countries in the Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman,” said Dean Abrahamson, professor emeritus of environment and energy policy at the University of Minnesota. “The expectation is that, within the next 10 years, the world will become almost completely dependent on those countries.”

“In 2000, there were 16 discoveries of oil ‘mega-fields,'” Aaron Naparstek noted in the New York Press earlier this year. “In 2001, we found 8, and in 2002 only 3 such discoveries were made. Today, we consume about 6 barrels of oil for every 1 new barrel discovered.”

The Power of Exponential Growth: Every ten years we have burned more oil than all previous decades

Study this picture. It is why we are going to hit a brick wall, also known as the “net energy cliff”:

exponential 7pct oil needed

 

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