Saturday, July 18, 2009

OilDrum: Is Peak Oil Real? A List of Countries Past Peak

This is a guest post by Praveen Ghanta, known on The Oil Drum as praveen. Praveen is an IT consultant in Atlanta, with degrees in economics and computer science. This was originally posted on Praveen's blog, at truecostblog.com.

Only 14 of the 54 oil producing nations in the world are still increasing their oil production. The era of cheap oil is definitively over, as shown below.

Is peak oil real? The BP Statistical Review of World Energy provides the data needed to answer this question. Using the 2009 edition, I have compiled a list of all oil producing countries and regions in the world, along with the production status of each, ordered by year of peak production. BP groups minor producers into categories like "Other Africa", and "Other Middle East", and that notation is used here. All production numbers are quoted in thousands of barrels/day.

Country
Peak Prod.
2008 Prod.
% Off Peak
Peak Year

United States
11297
7337
-35%
1970

Venezuela
3754
2566
-32%
1970

Libya
3357
1846
-45%
1970

Other Middle East
79
33
-58%
1970

Kuwait
3339
2784
-17%
1972

Iran
6060
4325
-29%
1974

Indonesia
1685
1004
-41%
1977

Romania
313
99
-68%
1977

Trinidad & Tobago
230
149
-35%
1978

Iraq
3489
2423
-31%
1979

Brunei
261
175
-33%
1979

Tunisia
118
89
-25%
1980

Peru
196
120
-39%
1982

Cameroon
181
84
-54%
1985

Other Europe & Eurasia
762
427
-44%
1986

Russian Federation
11484
9886
-14%
1987*

Egypt
941
722
-23%
1993

Other Asia Pacific
276
237
-14%
1993

India
774
766
-1%
1995*

Syria
596
398
-33%
1995

Gabon
365
235
-36%
1996

Argentina
890
682
-23%
1998

Colombia
838
618
-26%
1999

United Kingdom
2909
1544
-47%
1999

Rep. of Congo (Brazzaville)
266
249
-6%
1999*

Uzbekistan
191
111
-42%
1999

Australia
809
556
-31%
2000

Norway
3418
2455
-28%
2001

Oman
961
728
-24%
2001

Yemen
457
305
-33%
2002

Other S. & Cent. America
153
138
-10%
2003*

Mexico
3824
3157
-17%
2004

Malaysia
793
754
-5%
2004*

Vietnam
427
317
-26%
2004

Denmark
390
287
-26%
2004

Other Africa
75
54
-28%
2004*

Nigeria
2580
2170
-16%
2005*

Chad
173
127
-27%
2005*

Italy
127
108
-15%
2005*

Ecuador
545
514
-6%
2006*

Saudi Arabia
11114
10846
-2%
2005 / Growing

Canada
3320
3238
-2%
2007 / Growing

Algeria
2016
1993
-1%
2007 / Growing

Equatorial Guinea
368
361
-2%
2007 / Growing

China
3795
3795
-
Growing

United Arab Emirates
2980
2980
-
Growing

Brazil
1899
1899
-
Growing

Angola
1875
1875
-
Growing

Kazakhstan
1554
1554
-
Growing

Qatar
1378
1378
-
Growing

Azerbaijan
914
914
-
Growing

Sudan
480
480
-
Growing

Thailand
325
325
-
Growing

Turkmenistan
205
205
-
Growing

Peaked / Flat Countries Total
-
49597
-
60.6% of world oil production

Growing Countries Total
-
32223
-
39.4% of world oil production

Only 14 out of 54 oil producing countries and regions in the world continue to increase production, while 30 are definitely past their production peak, and the remaining 10 appear to have flat or declining production [1]. Put another way, peak oil is real in 61% of the oil producing world when weighted by production. Since 2008 capped a record run for oil prices, most countries and oil companies were trying all-out to increase production. While a handful of producers (think Iraq) might be limited by above-ground factors, the majority of producers simply couldn't do any better in 2008 [2].

The evidence of the demise of the cheap oil era has become insurmountable. In the face of the highest oil prices on record, the great majority of the world's oil producers were incapable of taking advantage and producing more oil. Many nations including the US saw their oil production peak decades ago - there simply is no turning the clock back. This list shows that we are relying on a small number of countries to keep providing cheap oil. We need to move faster to alternatives and greater energy efficiency, before the last fourteen peak as well.

* More information on these countries:

  • Russian Federation - Russia's oil production collapsed by the early 90's as the Soviet Union collapsed, but despite a decade of growth, Russia's own oil execs don't think the old peak can be surpassed.
  • India's production appeared to plateau in 1995, and has stayed within a steady range since. The EIA forecasts Indian oil production to remain flat or decline slightly in the near future.
  • Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) hit a production plateau in 1998, though current production is still very close to 1999 peak levels.
  • Other Central & South America - The remaining countries of the Americas hit a production peak in 2003, though it's still too soon to know if this will be final peak.
  • Malaysia has been on a production plateau since 1995, and the EIA projects flat or falling production.
  • Other Africa - Oil production in much of Africa is potentially impacted by above-ground constraints, so it's definitely possible that production will rise here. It will rise from a low base of only 50,000 bpd however, and may not have much impact on total world production.
  • Nigeria is impacted by domestic insurgencies in its oil-producing regions, and may be able to lift production if the political situation improves.
  • Chad's oil production history is too short to definitively identify a peak in production, but the drop-off since 2005 has been dramatic.
  • Italy has been on a production plateau for over 10 years, and it's unlikely that a mature economy is significantly under-exploiting its resource potential.
  • Ecuador's production grew rapidly until 2004, but has leveled off and declined somewhat since then.

[1] To be considered past-peak, a producer's current (2008) production has to be at least 10% less than its best year, and the best year must have occurred prior to 2005. Some countries' production has been artificially constrained by political and other non-geological considerations. But in some of these cases, it will be difficult to pass an old peak because decades of depletion have occurred since that peak. Iraq peaked in 1979, making it all the more difficult to pass that now.

[2] While OPEC maintains formal production quotas, it is widely believed that only Saudi Arabia had true spare capacity in 2008, while all other OPEC nations were producing at capacity. The truth is unclear, since OPEC nations do not provide detailed reserve statistics for their oil fields.

Total has created its own short list of oil producers past peak, and Wikipedia has a list here.