March 17 2012 delayed FreeVenue public release of Dec 17 2011 MemberVenue guidance ~ Over the years, there have been only 4 modellers worldwide who have published long term production profiles for Regular Conventional Oil ... the light sweet crude: Albert Bartlett (NYSE:USA), Colin Campbell (Ireland), M King Hubbert (USA) & TRENDLines' own Freddy Hutter (Yukon Canada).
Hubbert's initial RCO thoughtful graphic bell-curve presentation commenced the general discourse on Peak Oil in 1956. It's Y2k Peak Date (35-Mbd) was intuitive but the model was flawed by its lowly 1,250-Gb estimate of URR. His 1974 update boosted the resource base to 2-Tb, a figure that is still relevant by modern standards, but his second projection and its 1995 111-Mbd peak were truncated by OPEC intervention the following year.
Also sporting a 2-Tb URR was the 1998 Bartlett model with its forecast of a 73-Mbd peak in 2004.
In actual fact, RCO extraction peaked in 2005 @ 69-mbd. The midpoint of its (2.04-Tb) URR/EUR was crossed in June 2007. RCO production declined at an annual rate of 2.3% from 2006-2009 to 63-Mbd, but has since been in plateau. 2011 extraction was 64-Mbd.
Jean Laherrère & Colin Campbell have been the sector's most stalwart peak oil study practitioners. Both have openly shared their annual analysis with fellow modellers for over two decades. In May 2011, I coaxed Campbell to come out of retirement for a second time for another update. Campbell's 2011 Depletion Model continues to extend RCO's dramatic 2.3%/yr post-peak decline rate thru to 2030. It increases RCO's URR by 84-Gb to 2,047-Gb ... a career high estimate for Colin.
Conversely, the Hutter Peak Scenario-2500 (the sole active model) has trimmed last Spring's URR estimate by another 24-Gb to 2,038-Gb. While Campbell forecasts the annual flow rate will deteriorate to 38-Mbd by 2030, Hutter takes the position 58-Mbd is more probable. On the longer term, whereas Campbell predicts the annual Decline Rate softens after 2050, Hutter sees major resource constraint after 2038.
As a 73% component of All Liquids, the short-term demise of Regular Conventional Oil will determine whether Peak Oil is imminent or has another couple of decades to play out. The PS-2500 model determined in 2008 the steep RCO decline (2.3% 2006-2009) was not the result of rapid depletion but rather a mirage masked by shifts in global Surplus Capacity. As such, Hutter has been stalwart in his position RCO extraction had entered a twenty-year plateau, forming a solid foundation for non-conventionals to take All Liquids to ever increasing heights. With light sweet crude rising to 64-Mbd in 2010, stable in 2011 and forecast to rise in 2012, the universe appears to be unfolding as it should...
Note - Using the proper historic narrow definition of Regular Conventional Oil, these production profiles exclude NGL, processing gains & the non-conventionals (Bitumen, X-heavy, Arctic, Deep Sea, Biofuels, GTL, CTL & Kerogen). Hence, we have excluded the wider "conventional" projections by Guseo, Korpela, Kuwait University, Laherrère & Walsh. RCO comprises only 73% of All Liquids production today, and it is clear NGL & the non-conventionals play an ever increasing role. The PS-2500 model projects RCO will fall to less than 50% of All Liquids in 2040 ... a significant threshold for posterity.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.