Preface. Recently the IEA 2018 World Energy Outlook predicted an oil crunch could happen as soon as 2023. Oil supermajors are expected to have 10 years of reserve life or more, Shell is down to just 8 years.
Political shortages are as big a problem as geological depletion. At least 90% of remaining global oil is in government hands, especially Saudi Arabia and other countries in the middle east that vulnerable to war, drought, and political instability.
And in 2018, the U.S. accounted for 98% of global oil production growth and since 2008, the U.S. accounted for 73.2% of the global increase in production (see Rapier below). What really matters is peak diesel, which I explained in “When trucks stop running”, and fracked oil has very little diesel, much of it is only good for plastics, and yet America may well be the last gasp of the oil age if production isn’t going up elsewhere.
2019-10-27 The Biggest Oil & Gas Discoveries Of 2019
Conventional oil and gas discoveries have fallen to their lowest in 70 years. All in all, this year has seen new discoveries of nearly 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent, compared to 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent discovered last year, so only one barrel out of every six consumed is being replaced with new resources.
Not only has the pace of discovery declined, but discoveries are also in much more challenging geological venues and typically offshore, which means it could take many years just to bring new resources online.
The age of discoveries onshore is over. The future game of discovery is decidedly in deep waters.
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report ]
Rapier, R. 2019. The U.S. accounted for 98% of global oil production growth in 2018. Forbes.
Earlier this month BP released its Statistical Review of World Energy 2019. The U.S. extended its lead as the world’s top oil producer to a record 15.3 million BPD (my comment: minus 4.3 million BPD natural gas liquids, which really shouldn’t be included since they aren’t transportation fuels). In addition, the U.S. led all countries in increasing production over the previous year, with a gain of 2.18 million BPD (equal to 98% of the total of global additions),… which helped offset declines from Venezuela (-582,000 BPD), Iran (-308,000 BPD), Mexico (-156,000 BPD), Angola (-143,000 BPD), and Norway (-119,000 BPD).
Peak demand? Hardly: “the world set a new oil production record of 94.7 million BPD, which is the ninth straight year global oil demand has increased.
Fickling, D. 2019. Sunset for Oil Is No Longer Just Talk. Bloomberg.
An oil company that doesn’t increase its reserves eventually runs out of product to sell, so having 10 years of reserve life is traditionally considered a bare minimum for oil supermajors (for our purposes, take these to be Shell plus Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc, Total SA, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, and Eni SpA). Shell crossed below the 10-year level all the way back in 2016, and the figure at the end of 2018 stood at just 8.5 years.
Williams, A. March 31, 2017. Down 10%, Mexico Oil Reserves Gone in 9 Years Without New Finds. Bloomberg.
Mexico’s existing oil reserves are dwindling so fast the country could go dry within nine years without new discoveries according to the National Hydrocarbons Commission, which said reserves fell 10.6% to 9.16 billion barrels in 2016, from 10.24 billion barrels a year earlier. Once the world’s third largest crude producer, Mexico’s proven reserves have declined 34% since 2013.
The decline in proven reserves is driven by record-low drilling activity the last three years. State-owned producer Petroleos Mexicanos drilled 21 wells last year, a record low, after averaging 31 per year since 2010.
Kaufman, A. C. 2016-10-26. Exxon Mobil could be on the brink of irreversible decline. Huffington Post.
Exxon Mobil Corp. may be facing “irreversible decline” as the oil giant fails to cope with low oil prices and mounting debt, a report released Wednesday found.The Texas-based company has suffered a 45% drop in revenue over the past 5 years as it bet big on drilling in oil sands, the Arctic and deep-sea sites ― decisions that proved expensive, environmentally risky and politically controversial.
Combined with a two-year plunge in oil prices, ballooning long-term debt to cover dividend payments to shareholders and an evaporating pool of cash, Exxon Mobil’s finances show “signs of significant deterioration,” according to new research from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a nonprofit based in Cleveland.
“Investors right now are getting less cash from Exxon than they have historically, and are likely to get less cash in the future,” Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the IEEFA, told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. “This is going to be a much smaller company in the future, and the oil industry is going to be much smaller in the future.”
In April, Exxon Mobil was stripped of Standard & Poor’s top credit rating for the first time since the 1930s. The rating agency said it worried Exxon took on billions in debt to fund new drilling projects at a time when oil prices were high. Now, with the price of crudebelow $50 per barrel, that debt looks risky. Despite S&P specifically citing such payments in its downgrade, Exxon Mobil actually increased its dividend by 2 cents the next day.
Usually, dividends go up as a company’s stock price thrives. But shares of Exxon have trailed the S&P 500 for 10 quarters in a row, the report noted, and that’s before factoring in the risks of climate change.
Exxon Mobil is embroiled in a bevy of legal fights, notably with a handful of state attorneys general who are investigating the company for spending decades covering up the role of burning fossil fuels in global warming. The firm has repeatedly insisted such probes are politically motivated, and claimed that subpoenas seeking internal documents on climate change violate its constitutional rights.