Friday, April 13, 2012

March Liquid Fuel Supply

I have updated my graphs with initial estimates of March total oil supply from OPEC and the IEA.  There continues to be an appearance of a small plateau the last few months.  According to the IEA this is due to outages:
Non-OPEC supply fell by 0.5 mb/d in March to 52.7 mb/d. Decline was widespread, but notable in the UK and at synthetic crude plants in Canada. Unplanned outages reached 1.1 mb/d in 1Q12, restraining non-OPEC output to 53.2 mb/d, albeit 0.5 mb/d higher than 1Q11.
If so, we may get a bump up in supply shortly.  If not, I would expect prices to move up further before too long.

The graph above only goes back to 2008, and is not zero-scaled: it's intended to show recent movements in close-up focus.  If we broaden our view back to 2002, and add prices on the right scale, we get this:

Which shows the "bumpy plateau" in oil supply since 2005 (and I've been maintaining a version of this graph for that long).  Note that this month I have updated the inflation adjustment basis for prices from Jan 2010 to Jan 2012.

Finally, I received a request from the staff of Congressman Roscoe Bartlett for a version of this data that shows a still wider view and is zero-scaled.  So here is one that adds annual data back to 1970 and is zero-scaled:

That's global liquid fuel production on the left scale (EIA for the annual data and average of OPEC, EIA, and IEA for monthly).  Price is on the right scale (BP for annual data and Brent spot prices for monthly - all CPI adjusted to Jan 2012 price level).

Current prices are well above the levels of the 1970s oil shocks in inflation adjusted terms.


Kenneth D. Worth said...

So, since 1980 we have had about .9% annual supply growth. Admittedly, there was much voluntary reduction at first, but all the same, total output increasing at only .9% per year for over thirty years, and that includes all the non-oil stuff that gets counted as liquid fuels now.

The log scale graph from 1880's (not within my technical capabilities, sorry) would show a more or less 45 degree line for about a hundred years to 1980 (about 7% a year growth) and then a flat line for the next 30. This might reasonably be described as a large topping process.

Unless someone else has a better explanation.

Nice work, as usual, Stuart.

Stuart Staniford said...

Kenneth - there are some graphs very much along those lines here:

Kenneth D. Worth said...


clifman said...

Stuart - Thanks for this update, and the link to that TOD post from '06. One could make the argument based on your graphs in that post that the 'undulating plateau' began in '74 or '79. So we've been on it for about 35 years.

I think it would be great for you to update that work for a new TOD post, and include - as I always advocate for - an adjustment for energy content (biofuels and NGLs being only 2/3rds that of crude), EROEI, and population growth, therefore declining per capita net energy availability.