Friday, May 6, 2011

A Refuge for 2008 Peakists

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.)


skanky said...

The IEA think it happened in 2006:
(requires Flash)

Click on the interview with Fatih Birol, it's about 40 seconds in.

NB: (a) I don't know the date of the interview (b) you may have already seen this as I have only recently been following the blog. Apologies if it's out of date.

Fixed Carbon said...

I have become a plateauist, a high plainsist, aka a tablelandist, a cross country skiist rather than a downhiller. What does the future hold?

KLR said...

Thanks for shelling out, Stuart! We should pass the hat and chip in on some of this proprietary data every year. It pays off, the TOD analysis of IEA WEO 2008 was well worth the cash for instance, and now that EIA will be out of the picture we'll need any source available.

My hunch would be that the O&GJ data is just a bit more conservative than others - EIA July 2008 was 74729.14 kb/d, for instance. The gap couldn't all be condensates, could it? There's a corresponding gap between EIA and IEA, the latter being higher, I notice - and why did they disassociate a few years ago, with the IEA trending higher since? Would be marvelous to know exactly how much condensates actually contribute.

I know what condensates are good for, too - if anything casinghead gasoline is a higher value product than most of the crude streams out there. Deffeyes wrote about his Dad fueling his pickup with the stuff in the 1930s. Can be done.

I'm not pounding the table insisting that peak was 2008 or 2005 or whatever, too, just that something is amiss, yada yada. Gail T had a nice chart of % production growth over the decades in her Peak Oil April 2011 Update, that illustrated things quite well. We simply don't seem to be able to crank out the oil like we used to. Last year I whipped up a graph of producing nations which were contracting production vs those which were expanding - that shows a clear trend towards the former, too.

Would like to know what the riposte to these simple illustrations are. Where's that 95 mb/d you promised? Incidentally Mike Lynch was quoted in the HuffPO today - opposing offshore drilling, or explaining that it won't be a price panacea. Don't think I've ever heard him ever have anything negative to say about the wonders of the fossil fuel industry, ever. More U.S. Oil Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices, Experts Say

petemason said...

No, not out of date.
Aleklett's comments were filmed by ABC last November, but the programme aired at the end of April 2011 and Birol's comments are new.

See comment on the program on Aleklett's blog, google "Aleklett's energy mix"

KLR said...

Covered here, and elsewhere of course: Early Warning: IEA Acknowledges Peak Oil

y said...

I'm not the type prone to analyzing data very precisely, although enjoy a lot looking at the analysis (thanks stuart for that ! :) )
But I also thought IEA had announced peak crude in 2006, with a rather clear definition of crude : conventional on shore + near shore (not deep off shore), and then of course there is the timing interval used (month, year, etc), to determine whether a date should be considered peak or not.
But in any case, "crude" shouldn't be (or let's just say isn't) defined by its "usability" as oil or not, like in :
"which is certainly every bit as usable as any other kind of crude."
Indeed the point is to measure the production rate (that is the extraction rate) of a "certain kind of ressource", and not the end products that can be produced from it.
But so, from these data crude oil peak is in 2008 and not 2006 ? Or is it a matter of what is measured or the timing interval used ? (but on the curve, even with one year around march or may 2008, seems to be higher than 2006)
Otherwise, what doesn’t it mean not being a peakist ? That there will be constant growth, or that the peak isn’t a major issue ?

buck smith said...

I was an electric wireline engineer for Schlumberger in the early 80s. I worked on a bunch of wells off the shore of Venezuela. They turned out to all be gas wells and were capped. To my knowledge none of those formations have ever been produced. But we would flow test the wells and take a sample of condensate. It looked and smelled exactly like gasoline.