Friday, May 6, 2011
For those who would like to continue to believe that oil has already peaked, I did find a data series that will support you in that belief, at least for now. The Oil and Gas Journal maintains statistics on crude oil production. I paid my $75 for the latest version of the data, which goes through January 2011, and lo, at that point it had not exceeded the 2008 peak (above).
At this point, with the US economy apparently wavering, and uncertainty over whether Saudi Arabia can/will raise production, it's unclear to me whether oil production will continue to rise further or not in coming months. So it is at least conceivable that this particular series will have an all-time peak in 2008 (though far from certain).
However, I would argue that this is not the most sensible thing to look at. It excludes Canadian syncrude production for example, which is certainly every bit as usable as any other kind of crude. It presumably also excludes condensate (though I haven't been able to confirm that, as the spreadsheet lacks any definitions or notes). If so, that's also pretty restrictive. Look at Marathon's data here, for example. Their condensate is 95%+ compounds with 6-10 carbon atoms - ie definitely stuff you could put in your gas tank and it would make your car go. The fact that it initially comes out of the ground in the gas stream rather than the liquid stream doesn't make much difference to how it can be used once it's on the surface.
But still, for early peak oil diehards that would like to hole up in their own intellectual Alamo, here it is.
(Notes: graph is not zero-scaled to better show changes. I have excluded a data point in 2005 for almost 78mbd that I take to be a clerical error.)