RE: Middle East oil supply (fwd)

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Thu May 23 2002 - 09:37:42 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Middle East oil supply"

    Hi Preston,

    I saw the review you posted when it was first published. I will comment on a
    couple of things.

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: Preston Garrison []
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 8:16 PM

    >Volume 295, Number 5559, Issue of 22 Feb 2002, p. 1470.

    >There are good reasons why Hubbert's methods worked for oil in the
    >United States
    >but have failed elsewhere. Trends in petroleum discovery and production are
    >affected by much more than just resource depletion. They are also
    >shaped by a
    >large variety of economic, technologic, and political factors.
    >Hubbert's method
    >is best suited to circumstances of rapidly increasing consumption and
    >little restriction on exploration and production.

    I absolutely agree that Hubbert's methodology is much better with
    unrestricted exploration, production and with no economic downturns. But
    that doesn't fundamentally change the reality that there is only so much oil
    in the earth to extract. The North Sea has had 2 peaks of production. The
    first downturn was because of the price collapse in 1986. This last one has
    been due to the oil running out. Mexico looks like it peaked out a couple
    of years ago, but it is due to lack of investment. Mexico has huge potential
    left which their political system isn't allowing to be exploited. But that
    being said, it doesn't change the fact that the world for 20 years has been
    pumping more oil out of the ground than we have been finding. How long does
    anyone really think that can continue?

    That situation is
    >more closely
    >approximated by onshore oil production in the United States than
    >by natural gas
    >or by oil in the rest of the world. Since Hubbert's time, a
    >considerable body of
    >work has developed more sophisticated assessment methods, but of
    >these Deffeyes
    >seems to be unaware.
    >Hubbert's method retains some popularity for two reasons. First,
    >it requires
    >only modest data and human resources. This endears it to those
    >practitioners who
    >are retired from academia, the petroleum industry, or (like Deffeyes) both.
    >Geological analyses at a more detailed level can have very large
    >data and staff
    >requirements. For example, the 1995 USGS national assessment (3)
    >and the 2000
    >USGS world assessment (4) each involved about 100 person-years of effort.

    I would point out that very few in the oil industry believe that
    100-personyear report. Mere human labor doesn't make a government
    bureaucracy correct!

    Robertson REseach over here studied half the oil basins in the world and
    predict that the world production will peak in 2008. They also spent
    100-manyears or so in effort. And their assessment sounds much more
    realistic to me. I have to go to work now, but I will try to find the url
    for that report.


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