It is not a question of "if" but "when".
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG.com
- February 20, 2006
The sun setting on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
I was surfing the EIA website this morning and created a spreadsheet showing an example of what peak oil looks like from a US perspective as well as our ever increasing imports to make up for the shortfall. Once on a roll, why not create an article out of it.
What you see below is 90 years of US Crude oil production and import data. As shown, the lower 48 states crude oil production peaked in Oct. of 1970. The second peak shows the Alaskan field’s peak production arriving in Dec. of 1987 and thus the subsequent lower peak. Even with the GOM (Gulf of Mexico) production, the US Crude Oil output is still in decline although in recent years, the production slide has flattened with new wells being punched from one end of the 48-States to the other.
Unfortunately, even with $100/BBl oil, the US has long surpassed its past peak with the inevitable only decades ahead unless prices rise enough to make unconventional means of extraction profitable. This too will occur and that supply will also dwindle away with an ever more populace planet and its insatiable demand for the "black stuff".
Peak Oil does not mean production disappears, it means a gradual falloff in supply. With output becoming more and more scarce, prices for what is left climb higher until a new supply/demand equilibrium is reached with upward pricing pressure continuing until a replacement energy source is found.
A few others that have peaked in the recent past according to the EIA’s International Energy output data
MBD = Millions of Barrels per Day
Argentina in 1998 = .846 MBD. 2003 Output = .741 MBD
Australia in 2000 = .721 MBD. 2003 output = .512 MBD
Norway in 2001 = 3.20 MBD. 2003 output = 2.85 MBD
Oman in 2001 = .970 MBD. 2003 output = .819 MBD
UK in 1999 = 2.68 MBD. 2003 output = 2.1 MBD
Overall, here are the regional breakdowns …
peaked in 1984 at 13.1 MBD but Canada is increasing output via the Tar Sands at a faster rate then depletion vs. the rest of the continent. This is helping to stabilize output at or around 11 MBD +. God Bless the Canadians! I have no data on Ethanol production throughout the North American continent other than the .261 MBD produced here in the US in 2005. I see Ethanol production increasing at a geometric rate until such time that the main ethanol feedstock in the US (corn) has pushed corn based food prices out of reach in that problematic supply/demand scenario. .261 MBD of Ethanol is just a touch above 1% of our daily consumption of crude (20.9 MBD).
Central and South America
peaked in 2000 at 6.60 MBD with 2003 output at 5.87 MBD. Ethanol production inside of Brazil is not taken into account so overall, they actually have more overall energy production but crude output has fallen off.
peaked in 1997 at 6.30 MBD with 2003 output at 5.66 MBD. I made no mention of Rapeseed for the production of Biodiesel in Europe but have read that once Crude reaches $70/BBl, many farmers in the UK will switch to rapeseed for production of Biodiesel vs. potatoes given the income earned from that crop will exceed that of the ubiquitous potato! That should scare just about everyone
Eastern Europe and the former USSR
peaked in 1998 at 12.3 MBD with 2003 output at 9.93 MBD. Russia in particular appears to be increasing output year over year since 1996 which helps alleviate the shortfall from the rest of the area … Russia is a real wild card here as there are a number of unexplored areas across its vast expanse. To its detriment, the country is an absolute mess in terms of exploration, setup, production, and transportation of Crude supply. Who knows how this will turn out?
peaked in 2000 at 21.2 MBD with 2003 output at 21.0 MBD. I believe the Middle East as a whole has now surpassed the peak in 2000 thus are still in a rising trend as far as supply is concerned. Rumors of Saudi production being increased at the expense of longevity w/ a massive increase of sea water injection into their largest field (Ghawar) is disturbing at best … Iran? It would behoove them to pull back on the spigot and watch prices rise. Crippling the West and America in particular appears to be one of their goals with oil income a secondary outcome. Kuwait last Dec. dropped their internal reserve estimates from 99 Billion BBl’s’ to just 48 Billion BBl’s overnight. Not all reserves can be pumped and reserve data from anywhere in the world is as close to magic as one can imagine unfortunately.
is still experiencing increased output with development of the Sudan and Nigerian fields. How long this area can be considered a reliable supplier to the worlds insatiable demand is yet to be proven. The recent news of internal Nigerian instability is already raising fears of disruptions both real and imagined from that continent.
Asia and Oceana
(whatever Oceania is
) peaked in 2000 at 7.54 MBD with 2003 output at 7.327 MBD. There is a lot of offshore fields yet to be discovered and exploited so this area of the world has some promise for future production.
A small note about ethanol production from corn in the US … The largest corn producing state in the US is Iowa. Approximately 17% or 375 Million bushels of Iowa’s ~ 2.2 Billion bushels of corn output for 2005 were dedicated to the production of Ethanol. My home state of Illinois’ is the second largest corn producing state in the US. Of the approximately 1.7 Million bushels grown in 2005, approximately 17% was consumed in the production of Ethanol. The third largest Corn producing state is Nebraska. Of Nebraska’s 1.3 Billion bushels of Corn output, almost 25% went to the production of Ethanol. This should help add some perspective to the amount of Corn used in the production of Ethanol in the US as of late 2005. The US as a whole produced ~ 11.0 Billion bushels of Corn for the 2005 growing season and ~ 1.3 Billion bushels were used to supply just a small fraction above 1% of our daily liquid fuel needs. In other words, almost 12% of the entire US’ corn crop is directed to Ethanol production which supplies < 1.2% of our daily transportation fuel!
I suspect we will see an expansion of Ethanol production over the next 5 - 10 years with technology improvements and switch grass vs. corn as the feedstock in cellulosic production facilities but this is just whistling passed the graveyard at this point in time given the sheer magnitude of liquid fuel we consume on a daily basis
All is not lost however. In regards to the fuel supply question(s), we will see articles on Tar Sands, Oil Shale, BTL (Biomass to Liquid) fuel, and CTL (Coal to Liquid) fuel in the not too distant future …