onsdag 14 december 2011

Oil - What's really available?

When you study the world oil production even IEA now is in agreement the production of world crude oil has peaked in 2008 and that we're in for future constant decline in production.

World oil production peaked in July 2008 at 74.82 million barrels/day (mbd) and now has fallen to about 71 mbd. It is expected that oil production will decline slowly to about December 2010 as OPEC production increases while non-OPEC production decreases. After 2010 the resulting annual production decline rate increases to 3.4% as OPEC production is unable to offset cumulative non-OPEC declines. The forecast from the IEA WEO 2008 is also shown for comparison.

But this however doesn’t mean this total oil production will be available for export. After having reduced these production numbers with e.g. what the oil producing countries themselves consume domestically we end up in what is known as World Oil Exports. That number peaked three years earlier that world oil production.

With one more country assessed, World Oil Exports (WOE) remain little changed. 2005 continues to be the peak date, now with nearly 39 Mb/d of oil traded internationally. The fast decline in the second decade of this century continues to be present, falling from over 36 Mb/d in 2011 to under 26 Mb/d by 2020.

So this means that actually available for non producers of oil to buy now on the world market today is less than 36 mbd. That’s then a number that is expected to be reduced to under 26 mbd by 2020. That’s then equivalent of a decline rate of available oil exports on the world oil market 2011 to 2020 of some 30%.

Just imagine oil producers starting to slow down on their investments to add new capacity on line or lessen their focus on trying to maintain current production volumes not mentioning starting to really use oil as a strategic resource not really making it available on the traded world export markets.

Yet another alternative would be that more and more importers of oil try to seek direct and longer term agreements with the produces thus shortcutting the world export markets making these traded and available for all oil markets even smaller and more constrained in the future.

With just a few million barrels of lessened availability on these traded markets these markets really can indeed become very nervous in absolute no time.

“Saudi Arabia recently announced that it had halted a $100 billion oil production expansion plan to raise capacity to 15 million barrels a day by 2020. At this point, the country claims to have capacity of 12 million barrels a day. What does this mean for its future?

Let’s take a look behind the figures. Deutche Bank analyst Paul Sankey estimates that Saudi Arabia now
needs $92 a barrel to break even fiscally because of greater social spending, up from $60 barrel in 2008. If exports decline in future years as production falls and consumption rises, further escalation in the break-even price can be expected. Once new programs are put in place, it is difficult for a government to remove them.

News releases from Saudi Arabia emphasize the supposedly rosy world oil situation: Saudi production can still rise to 12 million barrels a day, and there will be plenty of oil from other sources, such as Iraq or a shale oil revolution. Furthermore, the world economy may need less, because of recession.

All of these statements are far from proven. They appear to be crafted to make Peak Oil look like it is not a
problem, and to keep people from asking, “Why would a country whose entire economy revolves around oil, and that supposedly has the world’s largest oil reserves, announce that it is cutting back its plans for expansion? How can it possibly maintain its programs, if it doesn’t keep expanding?”

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