free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 323. LARGE BLOCKS PLATEAU FOR DECADES

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Peak oil analysts tend to focus on two extremes:
  1. Individual countries: These have rapid patterns of rise and fall, sometimes following the classic Hubbert curve, sometimes not.
  2. The world: Regarded as a sort of "big country" which will hit a peak, and rapidly decline shortly thereafter.
However, the evidence I presented in the previous entry (#322 below) suggests that large blocks (continents and other supranational units) will behave differently than the individual countries which make them up.

The evidence bears this out. The following chart shows liquids production for the 6 large blocks used in the BP Statistical Review 2007 (click to enlarge):

As you can see, large supranational blocks are very different from individual countries. They have a tendency to plateau for extremely long periods of time. For example, North America has been on an undulating plateau of about 14-15mbd for almost 30 years:

1979 13578kbd
1980 14063
1981 14344
1982 14790
1983 14838
1984 15226
1985 15304
1986 14792
1987 14730
1988 14642
1989 14014
1990 13856
1991 14182
1992 14050
1993 13899
1994 13807
1995 13789
1996 14052
1997 14267
1998 14182
1999 13678
2000 13904
2001 13906
2002 14069
2003 14193
2004 14137
2005 13695
2006 13700

Asia-Pacific has been on a plateau of 6-7mbd for almost 20 years. South/Central America has logged a couple of long plateaus, most recently a plateau of about 6.5mbd for 10 years.

The evidence suggests that the world (as the largest supranational unit) will plateau for a very long time -- even decades -- just like CERA says.

12/28/2007 Postscript)

More examples of long plateaus by large blocks in the BP Stat. Rev. 2007:

12-year plateau by FSU from 1978-1990 at roughly 12mbd:
1978: 11531
1979: 11805
1980: 12116
1981: 12260
1982: 12330
1983: 12403
1984: 12297
1985: 12040
1986: 12442
1987: 12655
1988: 12601
1989: 12298
1990: 11566

10-year plateau by non-Opec (excluding FSU, including Angola) from 1997-2006 at roughly 35mbd:
1997 34925
1998 35028
1999 34887
2000 35507
2001 35415
2002 35933
2003 35673
2004 35661
2005 35343
2006 35162

by JD


At Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 9:13:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to thank you for your title and the contradictory Disclaimer. Anti-PO people google PO debunked, get your website and without thinking they use it as evidence against PO. By doing this they immediatelly show their ignorance and not to mention prove that peakoil is real, according to you.
So thanks again! :)

At Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 9:43:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems to me that the primary reason for the phenomenon you're describing in this post is that small collections of fields decline in production, in part, because cheaper oil is discovered elsewhere. When you look at the planet as a whole, it is clear no cheaper oil will be discovered, so we shouldn't necessarily expect the same pattern to play out.

At Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 2:30:00 PM PST, Blogger al fin said...

Excellent look at a small part of the complexity of oil supplies, pricing, and production.

The high price of oil (anything over US $70/barrel) brings more oil into play that otherwise would be considered "past peak."

The term "plateau" is far more accurately descriptive of what production is likely to be like for the next few decades. At times diminishing, at times increasing--production will not follow the script of peakers.

Production will certainly crash, when the price that consumers will pay for oil drops. That will be when they no longer need it. No one knows when that will be, but I suspect it will happen between 15 and 20 years from next Tuesday.

The incredible simple-mindedness of those who believe "peak oil" involves a sharp peak followed by ever-diminishing production is difficult to describe. Perhaps being forced to wipe the drool off their chins would serve better than words.

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 12:13:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PO is just another Global Warming, acid rain power play. In twenty five years it won't matter anyway. The United States will be overrun by 70 to 100 million Mexicans. On average the US IQ already dropping in the face of rising superstition and junk science will be roughly 85. We will become more third world soaking up the stupidest people on the planet. I call this the peak IQ theory. Thus even if we have a small number of smart people that could solve many technological problems, we will have an electorate with their hands out looking for more welfare and benefits so they don't have to work or think. We already have peak marriage, and peak children with birth certificates so clearly we have a good start to arriving at peak income. I think I can safely say the America you see today will be one large Mexico City tomorrow. When that happens who will give a freaking crap about Peak Oil?

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 3:40:00 AM PST, Blogger JSD said...

Ah, yes. Nevermind about running out of energy or increasing runaway global temperatures. The brown people are coming! The brown people are coming!
Lord Robot:Thus even if we have a small number of smart people that could solve many technological problems, we will have an electorate with their hands out looking for more welfare and benefits so they don't have to work or think.
Oh, yeah, except that, Jobless rate higher for U.S.-born than immigrants.
But, never mind. As long as we can keep the brown people out, everything will be okay.

At Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 4:51:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo JD, you've countered a faulty analogy with ... a faulty analogy.

If production fell and comsumption fell that is a totally different scenario then if production falls and consumption rises.

A better analogy all around might be "what happens when a person's food intake declines?" And the answer should be, "That depends."
We all know Americans eat too much (use too much oil). So this wouldn't cause starvation (TEOTWASKI).

What if Japan's "calories" were restricted by 10%? Africa's?

What if America had 5% fewer calories every year?

At Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 2:08:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon @ 09:43:00 AM,

rather than "it is clear no cheaper oil will be discovered", it is in fact clear that, if 'cheap' = cheaper to produce, we do not/cannot know this with such certainty.

al fin @ 02:30:00 PM,

within the current futures determined oil price regime, price can collapse for reasons other than physical production/consumption relations. I've never been able to understand why most peak and not-peak adherents fail to understand this unless they've never bothered to study the actual mechanisms of price formation which have developed since 1987, as well as those which were superceded.

Lord Robot.

You're post quite effectively demonstrates 'the peak IQ theory' in action. Let's instead call it 'the who can I blame theory' (blame is always the easiest way out; the easiest level of idiocy)

BTW Folks, if any of you took the time to study the full history of the post-1960 origins and development 'peak oil', well, they might come as a surprise. Hint, think 'social-industrial complex'.

At Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 7:21:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh, yeah, except that, Jobless rate higher for U.S.-born than immigrants."

Umm, these stats are from 2006 and obviously don't apply in the current economy. These stats have got to be suspect anyway. How easy is it to track the employment figures for a group of people that don't "officially" live here?

"But, never mind. As long as we can keep the brown people out, everything will be okay."

Perhaps won't make everything okay, but at least it is one less intractable problem that we would have to deal with.

The continued balkanization of the U.S. may not currently be an issue with this group. But at some point in the future, not very distant, it will be an overriding issue as the U.S. is hollowed out, becomes increasingly dangerous, and those of Northern European ancestry in desperation start to return to Europe.


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