Industrialized Cyclist Notepad

UK Oil production quietly plummeting

For any modern nation, a 22% decline in oil production would be significant over the course of a decade. A 22% drop over a mere 12 months ought to be front-page news, yet this radical decline has passed relatively unnoticed.

via UK Oil: Plummeting production vs media inattention | Energy Bulletin.

Daniel Yergin is a shame

Everything Yergin says here is true. He gives the impression of someone who chooses his words carefully. He won a Pulitzer and wrote two giant books about oil. But he somehow always leaves out half the story. Just doesn’t get it or pretends it doesn’t exist.

Yergin is a self-described optimist who believes human ingenuity (and higher prices) will produce as much oil as mankind would ever want or need. Like many of his ilk, he emphasizes various sources of supply that are on the verge of coming on line, and new sources of supply like the Bakken that are adding to existing supply. He mentions “disruptions” in supply, and indeed there are many of those. Disruptions are always on the verge of being restored to their rightful levels, you see. What he and his cornucopian brethren never mention is the ongoing natural depletion of existing giant oil fields. And his predictions never seem to take this depletion into account — which means his predictions (and those of his firm IHS CERA) have been absolutely laughable. I mean, they will make you lol those old predictions. The existing world of oil makes a lot more sense if you take into account the phenomenon of depletion; unfortunately the future looks a lot more bleak.

“Pulitzer Prize-winning Daniel Yergin” gets trotted out repeatedly, because his blind spot on depletion is quite useful to the contingent that thrives on the false belief that excessive regulation is throttling production in the US. And there is oh so much cash behind that fakery. Yergin’s paycheck depends on his not acknowledging depletion. The whole circus is really quite shameful, isn’t it?

Here he is in the WSJ optimistically listing factors that could keep the price of oil down, counteracting tensions with Iran. Optimism! Let’s see: New supply in the US, and various potential new sources of supply around the world. Check. Also, reductions in demand. Check. He doesn’t mention that “new supply” would have to amount to a Saudi Arabia’s worth every few years just to make up for ongoing depletion. In fact, he doesn’t mention depletion at all. Well done, Daniel.

New petroleum supplies could come into the market over the year from a variety of sources—from Iraq and Angola to Libya and Colombia. And notably, 300,000 barrels per day or more from the United States—primarily from North Dakota and Texas and from a rebound in off-shore production.

The other offset could come from reductions in demand. U.S. gasoline consumption so far this year is down over last year. China’s new economic growth target of 7.5%—down significantly from the 10% or so of recent years—would mean lower growth in its petroleum consumption. Of course, a rebound in global economic growth would increase demand, not only in China but in the U.S., Japan and Europe.

via Daniel Yergin: What's Behind Rising Gas Prices? –

Sometimes you have to go to Canada to find people who understand the concept of depletion

Like this Eric Reguly character of the Globe and Mail:

Why hasn’t the high price triggered a production surge? The biggie, it seems, is that the non-OPEC countries are simply not up to the job. As Barclays points out, non-OPEC supply last year landed at a full one million barrels a day less than forecast by the International Energy Agency. The North Sea (whose production is shared by Britain and Norway) continued its terminal decline. Brazil and Azerbaijan were also the scenes of production disappointments.

Meanwhile, OPEC, dominated by Saudi Arabia, is sweating exceedingly hard. OPEC production volumes are at three-year highs, to the point that the cartel has only about 1.6 million barrels a day of spare capacity, and still prices are climbing.

via CTV News | All the signs point to a falling oil price – except supply.

January 26, 2012, 22:18
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A new article in Nature acknowledges apparent peak in crude oil supply around 2005, and associated bits of nasty math, including depletion of existing supergiant fields and sharp decline in shale gas wells. Here’s the citation for the article:

Murray and King say “we need to start immediately” to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil. But the effects of Peak Oil are already mitigating us.

via Energy Bulletin:

click to enlarge

2011: ‘Odd year’ for oil
January 7, 2012, 15:00
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He said, “Any disappointments on the demand side have on average been outweighed by disappointments on the supply side, and in particular the spectacular deceleration in non-OPEC supply after the first quarter started off on a strong note with non-OPEC supply in January increasing by almost 1 million b/d, continuing the momentum seen across the fourth quarter of 2010.” Despite strong growth in production of unconventional liquids, non-OPEC supply growth virtually ground to a halt. Horsnell blamed underperformance in the North Sea, technical issues in Brazil and Azerbaijan, decline rates in China, fires in Canada, strikes in Kazakhstan, and geopolitical disruptions in Sudan, Yemen, and Syria.

“The only bright spot has been the US where the momentum in oil shales has continued to tick higher, helping offset some of the weakness from the rest of the world,” he said.

via 2011: 'Odd year' for oil – Oil & Gas Journal.

Could be what Peak Oil looks like.

Oil will decline shortly after 2015, says Rech
January 5, 2012, 11:57
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Q: What do you foresee? Let’s begin with the non-OPEC producers (which represent 58% of production and 23% of global reserves).

Rech: Outside OPEC, things are clear: of 40 million barrels per day (mb/d) of conventional petroleum extracted from existing fields, we face an annual decline on the order of 1 to 2 mb/d.

via Oil will decline shortly after 2015, says former oil expert of International Energy Agency | Oil Man.

Roughly 5% annual decline in conventional supply ongoing.

Saudi production down, rig count up
November 20, 2011, 15:55
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That’s not an encouraging sign for the “all is well” team. We might expect some lag-time, however. Look at the graph. From 2005-7 the rig count shoots up as production falls. Then production shoots up while the rig count plateaus.

Graph from Stuart Staniford’s blog.

The Timing of Energy Transition
November 17, 2011, 04:27
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“And it remains to be seen how much additional supply will balance out depletion in the coming years.”

That is the question. Or, at least, one of the big ones. But Nelder clearly feels that depletion will overpower new supply.