The BusinessWeek story cited below, along with King Abdullah’s April announcement that they will not be opening new fields, provides evidence that we are near — or perhaps even at — Peak Oil.
- It may be political peaking;: perhaps the Saudi’s could invest to increase production, but choose not to (an obviously sensible decision).
- It may be geological peaking, if the Saudi’s are unable to increase production. But whether geological or political peaking, the long-discussed event may be starting now.
Since America prefers to base its energy policy on inspired guesses, nobody has modeled the possible outcomes. A few million dollars for a multi-disciplinary team to gather and analyze data would have better prepared us for this moment.
So we have no plans (hope is not a plan). We have no foundation of comprehensive data and research on which to make plans. We can only speculate at what happens next. If we are near or at peak oil, the next decade or so probably will not be pretty (that means painful, but not the end of civilization). We can take solace in the knowledge that through our fecklessness we have earned what we are about to receive.
Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.
Robert Louis Stevenson, perhaps apocryphal
“Saudi Oil: A Crude Awakening on Supply?“, BusinessWeek, 10 July 2008 — “The Saudis say they can ramp up production to 12.5 million barrels a day. But a field-by-field breakdown obtained by Business Week shows that’s not likely “ This may be great investigative work; it may be a semi-official leak. Excerpt:
However, it appears that for at least the next five years, and possibly longer, the Saudis are likely to produce less crude than promised, according to fresh data on the kingdom’s oil fields obtained July 9 by BusinessWeek. Saudi officials have said they would increase production capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day next year, from the current 10 million barrels a day, and could even ramp up to as much as 15 million barrels a day if the market demanded it.
… But the detailed document, obtained from a person with access to Saudi oil officials, suggests that Saudi Aramco will be limited to sustained production of just 12 million barrels a day in 2010, and will be able to maintain that volume only for short, temporary periods such as emergencies. Then it will scale back to a sustainable production level of about 10.4 million barrels a day, according to the data.
BusinessWeek obtained a field-by-field breakdown of estimated Saudi oil production from 2009 through 2013. It was provided by an oil industry executive who said he had confirmed it with a ranking Saudi energy official who has access to the field data. The executive, who has proven reliable over several years of reporting interaction, provided the data on condition of anonymity to protect his access to the kingdom and the identity of the inside contact who confirmed the information.
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For more information about Peak Oil
Here are some of my posts about Peak Oil.
- When will global oil production peak? Here is the answer! (1 November 2008)
- Links to articles and presentations of some A-team energy experts (11 November 2008)
- The most dangerous form of Peak Oil (8 April 2008)
- The three forms of Peak Oil (let’s hope for the benign form) (23 April 2008)
- The world changed last week, with no headlines to mark the news (25 April 2008)
- Peak Oil Doomsters debunked, end of civilization called off (8 May 2008)
- When the King of Saudi Arabia talks about oil, we should listen (2 July 2008)
Here is an archive of all my articles about Peak Oil.
Here are other resources to learn about Peak Oil.