Monday, June 8, 2009

Non-OPEC Production Offers Optimistic Peak Oil Prelude

Doom-sayers in the peak oil community warn of an impending oil crash once global peak kicks in: it will be like the Titanic, one year after another, with wave after wave of chilling ocean water conquering compartment after compartment. There's no way but down.

Many debunkers beg to differ: many of us argue that declines in oil production will occur at a steady, manageable pace over years that will allow the global community to adjust with ease; and there appears to be evidence to suggest the case.

Non-OPEC crude production has been declining since its record-setting year of '04.

Did you know that? Have you felt it? Do you care?

Right here's the proof. Puts a cratered yawn in your face, doesn't it?

Average crude production has only dropped about a rough million barrels since '04; production is even up a little this year over last. This is with N Sea production dropping at a good clip, and Cantarell falling faster than a meteor. So far, the decline is a far cry from the 5%, 6.5% or even 8% annual decline-rates many doomers have been warning us about. On the other hand, total liquids has been kicking ass and driving up production, nullifying the loss in crude production:
But here's the real gold-plated money shot, the graph that really counts. Remember, folks... China is considered apart of the OECD.

So there you have it. Non-OPEC crude has been in decline since 2004, and the developed world has been sleepwalking through it all without a care. Best of all, OECD demand has fallen roughly 5 mbpd since '05.
Of course I'd like to America's own peak as an example. The typical doom chant in any peak oil convention is the numb-minding reminder that America's oil production peaked in 1970 at 9.5 mbpd. Yup, it certainly did, and today we produce about 8 mbpd - making us the the 3rd largest producer in the world, double of OPEC's second largest producer, Iran. If Japan had our production, it would easily fill all of its consumption needs, plus have enough leftover to be a Top Five exporter. Is Alaska helping us? Alaska crapped out long ago! Production isn't America's problem, it's consumption.
For more info. on the argument for a slow decline, check out this excellent post by JD of Peak Oil Debunked. Pay attention to N America's own oil production statistics - it's been in a plateau of about 14-15 mbpd for the past 30 years. Has this impacted your life? Are you still able to drive your car? Are the freeways devoid of commuters? Has this impacted your ability to buy cheap plastic crap from the shelves of Target? Maybe you should stay in your doom bunker until it's safe!
- Brewskie

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