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19--model Tier-1 avg infers world oil production will not fall below today's level 'til 2038

click to enlarge ... more peak oil charts @ my SA Instablog & website
Based on 19-model Tier-1 Avg:

          Peak Oil:  94-mbd in 2023

          Post-peak production Avg Decline Rate to 2050:  0.7%/yr

          The year 50% of URR/EUR has been extracted:  2036

          The year flow breaches below today's 88-mbd:  2038

          The year we virtually run out of oil:  2290  (less than 7mbd & mostly BTL)

          Global URR/EUR:  4,125-Gb  (1,260-Gb consumed to 2010/12/31 incl 4Gb BTL)

          Today's Global Depletion:  30% of URR  (Net Depletion Rate:  1.1%/yr)

Trendlines Research monitors the major forecasts of peak oil depletion from around the globe.  The top 19 (and their average) are plotted on a graph and each month this Tier-1 presentation is posted to the website.  The remainder are plotted on a Tier-2 chart.  For purists, a third chart plots the only 4 forecasts using the narrow definition of Regular Conventional Oil (light sweet crude ... which peaked in  2005).  For posterity purposes, a final chart tracks the noteworthy historic but failed predictions since 1956.

July 31 2011 delayed FreeVenue public release of April 30th guidance @ our MemberVenue ~ Today's monthly revision:  (a) updates Tier-1 Outlooks by EIA AEO 2011 & our own Hutter Peak Scenario-2500; & (b) downgrades to Tier-2 outlooks by EIA-Sweetnam 2008 & Royal Dutch Shell 2011

We're pleased to report 2011 global production is smashing the annual record set last year.  A new quarterly record was set in Q1 & the 88.6-mbd flow in January set a new monthly mark.  Present flows indicate flow is poised to break 90-mbd in Autumn 2012.  Monthly flow, which had slipped from its 86.7-mbd record of July 2008, slipped to only 83.2 (Jan-2009) due to the recent Recession.  See our World Production Records venue for higher resolution charts of current extraction.

Historical analysis of Crude & Gasoline Price components & future target prices (out to 2035) can be viewed via our Gas Pump & Barrel Meter charts.  See the chart comparing our projections with long term Crude Oil Price Forecasts by Deutsche Bank, EIA, IEA, IHS & OPEC.  On the lighter side, this chart includes "to the moon Alice" forecasts by Charles Maxwell, Jeff Rubin, Michael Smith, Matt Simmons & theOilDrum.


In 1972, the Club of Rome attempted to shock stakeholders and policy makers with its Limits to Growth study forecast of All Liquids Peak Oil:  117-mbd in 1995.  Their attempt at awareness that natural resources are finite and in jeopardy with a growing global population was underscored in 1974 with M K Hubbert's similar prediction:  111-mbd in 1995 (excl NGL, deep sea, polar, Orinoco & tar sands).

Because OPEC manipulation invalidated both these projections, Colin Campbell attempted to update the long term prospects for All Liquids.  The Irish geologist stunned many when in 1989 he declared that All Liquids flow (65.5mbd) would never again re-attain its 1979 pre-crisis Peak of 67-mbd (see all 3 charted).  Well, he was very wrong (86mbd today!).  This episode made it quite clear that the uncertainty & price volatility caused by such pessimistic reports (even by well-intentioned professionals) required addressing by the energy sector.

In that regard, we saw OECD's IEA, USA's EIA, OPEC and major IOCs step forward with their own annual & bi-annual long term projections in an attempt to set the record straight and stabilize the marketplace.  It didn't happen.  As the ranks of McPeaksters were swelled by a growing element from the lunatic fringe, their well-intentioned message was hijacked and discourse deteriorated to the realm of economic and social collapse as the world runs out of oil.  As the rhetoric escalated, we thought it would be constructive to provide a comparative platform for these opposing views of the future.

TrendLines Research has been analysing the world's very best All Liquids long term production profiles (and the not-so-good ones) since 2003.  Our database includes six decades of forecast studies.  A year later we commenced to share these results at our website.

Back in 2005, the 7-model Average indicated a 94-mbd PEAK in 2020.  Our not-so-hidden agenda has been to provide a venue where collaboration and comparison encourages a merging of the pessimistic/optimistic camps.  After screening hundreds of scenario proposals, we are humbled with this project's contribution to the narrowing of the spread by an incredible 2.3-mbd/yr:  reduced from 41-mbd (Campbell 85 & CERA 126) in 2005 to today's 27-mbd (Laherrère 86 & CERA 113) spread.

Interested in who had the best forecast a dozen years ago?  Scroll to our Top-16 Vintage Predictions Scoreboard.

Today's Model Reviews:

Since 2008, the EIA production targets have been blended with the 2090 peak projected within its long-term outlook by analyst Glen Sweetnam.  Unfortunately, this excellent study has become stale-dated and our methodology requires its downgrade to our Tier-2 presentation.  The EIA AEO 2011 outlook with its target for 2035 of 111-mbd hence becomes our depiction of that agency's scenario for Peak Rate/Date.  We look forward to updates by Sweetnam.

A favourite contribution of this 20-model Depletion study is of course my Peak Scenario-2500.  The only depletion model that publishes updates monthly, its current revision reflects three factors:  (a) increased UDRO 2050 target to 5.0% (from 4.1%); (b) the tenth run of our new Peak Demand module & (c) the projected annual New Capacity trend to Year 2100 increased to 4.0-mbd (from 3.8-mbd).  For the seventh month PS-2500 is predicting Peak Demand (98-mbd in 2033) will pre-empt potential Peak Supply (117-mbd in 2041).

The model revealed in its early life that the onset of terminal production decline was going to be brought on by either (a) constraints in securing sufficient proven reserves at will on an annual basis, or (b) due to the magnitude of rising annual Underlying Decline Observed inevitably surpassing the annual New Capacity installations.  The current pegged dates by PS-2500 for these two events are 2057 & 2048 respectively.  The earliest of these two factors had been establishing the first year of terminal production decline.  Status quo has been truncated.

As with most depletion models, the long-term Supply growth rate assumed continuation of the 1-mbd/yr pace in play since 1970.  However, a sea change occurred in July 2010 when my newly implemented Peak Demand module began to detect a waning growth rate in long-term Demand.  The module's feedback serves to explain the inability of Consumption to mop up the growing global surplus capacity in the system (6-mbd) since the end of the 2009 G-20 Recessions.

At this time it appears Demand will peak in 2033.  Post-peak production decline will average 0.3% during the first two decades.  Conversely, when the Peak Demand module is deactivated, PS-2500 projects a potential Supply Peak of 117-mbd in 2041.

In tandem with the Barrel Meter module, Peak Scenario-2500 warns policy makers to target their strategies for transition away from gasoline/diesel transportation fuels at the 2030 time frame when Crude Price faces a permanent breach of a definitive Oil-cost/GDP ratio threshold that historically threatens domestic light vehicle manufacturing and sales.

The model gauges the pace of Underlying Decline Rate Observed @ 3.5% in 2011 and destined to rise to 5.0% by 2050.  Its cyclical nature and projected performance can be viewed in a 1970-2050 (UDRO) chart.  The model estimates 76-mbd of the 119-mbd of All Liquids Capacity added since 1970 addressed Underlying Decline Observed; and a further 94-mbd is required to attain its 103-mbd capacity target by 2035:  12 to increase present capacity and 82-mbd will address future UDO.

Visit our PS-2500 venue for lots more details and charts on non-conventional dynamics, Underlying Decline Observed & the inherent flaws (and myths) associated with the McPeakster fraternity.

Royal Dutch Shell has released the 2011 update of its two 2050 scenarios (scramble & blueprints).  The preferred Scramble Scenario revises Peak Oil to 101-mbd in 2030 (from 97 in 2020), but the All Liquids portion of this Energy analysis has been found to be disappointingly inadequate in robustness compared to its peers.  As this deterioration has been developing for some time, the Shell outlook has been downgraded to Tier-2 status.

Further to the 19 Tier-1 models, we regularly track 15 Tier-2 & Hail Mary outlooks.  For discussion and posterity purposes, 4 Regular Conventional Oil projections & 11 Invalidated Outlooks are presented as well.  But, it is the Average of the 19 Tier-1 models that offers up the very best guidance, such as:

Future Extraction Rates:

2008 85.5


2009 84.3 -
2010 86.4 -
2011 87.8


2023 94 Peak Year & Peak Rate
2033 91 extraction passes 2 trillion
2036 89 50% Extraction of URR
2038 88 first year flow is less than today
2050 78 milestone
2052 76 today's 1268-Gb of proved reserves exhausted
2073 58 extraction passes 3 trillion barrels
2075 56 9.2-billion peak in global population
2100 37 milestone
2111 31 100 yrs down the road...
2189 43 flow is 1/2 of today
2200 13 flows limited to X-Heavy, GTL, CTL & BTL
2300 7 flows limited to renewable BTL

(end of highlights ... complete free April "Scenarios" report at my website;  July release @ MemberVenue)