Discovery vs production

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Wed Sep 18 2002 - 22:00:30 EDT

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    Since some on this list think I am a sole proprietor of doom and gloom,
    oil-wise, I thought that some stuff from First Break, the journal of the
    European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers might be of interest.
    Each year they update the discovery rate for certain countries and compare
    it with the amount of oil produced. Only a few countries (those with very
    little oil production are finding more oil than they produce. Here is the

    Top 15 non-OPEC producers (excluding North America) in 2001 liquid reserves
    replacement from NFW discoveries 1992-2001
                              % replacement
                       1997-2001 1992-2001
    1 Russia 21 15
    2 Mexico 12 19
    3 Norway 37 31
    4 China 37 31
    5 United Kingdom 21 27
    6 Brazil 79 188
    7 Oman 38 33
    8 Kazakhstan 889 517
    9 Argentina 22 33
    10 Egypt 32 33
    11 Australia 130 94
    12 Angola 694 447
    13 Malaysia 27 35
    14 India 23 18
    15 Colombia 10 26
    "Statistics Show 2001 Was No Vintage Year for Discoveries and Production
    World-Wide," First Break 20:9 Sep. 2002, p. 537
            "IHS Energy Group estimates that remaining reserves of oil
    and gas liquids
    stood at 1112 billion barrels at the end of 2001. Gas reserves (conventional
    gas only) were estimated to be 6054 trillion ft3. Reserves-to-production
    ratios (R/P) for liquids and gas thus now stand at 41 and 64 years
    respectively. For liquids this shows a slight decrease from 42 years in
    2000, with the overall trend for the decade also being downward, showing
    that demand for oil continues to outpace discovery. For gas, the R/P figure
    also shows a decline from 66 years in 2000, again reflecting the decade's
    trend and indicating that demand continues to outpace discovery."
    "Statistics Show 2001 Was No Vintage Year for Discoveries and Production
    World-Wide," First Breat 20:9 Sep. 2002, p. 537

    Lest anyone make the mistake of thinking that we will run out of all
    production in 60 years because that is what the R/P says, it ain't so. As
    the oil in the ground gets less, the production rate will get less

            "Estimates of volumes of new hydrocarbon discoveries made in
    the year for
    the world less North America was almost 9 billion barrels of liquids and 42
    trillion ft3 of gas." "Statistics Show 2001 Was No Vintage Year for
    Discoveries and Production World-Wide," First Break 20:9 Sep. 2002, p. 537

    We produced 26 billion barrels last year but only found 9 billion new
    barrels. Not a good thing. And as to the reserve numbers, which Walter
    questioned me on last time, I didn't do a great job on that answer. Here
    is some more data on that issue:

    ýThe members of OPEC have faced an even greater temptation to inflate their
    reports because the higher their reserves, the more oil they are allowed to
    export. National companies, which have exclusive oil rights in the main OPEC
    countries, need not (and do not) release detailed statistics on each field
    that could be used to verify the countryÝs total reserves. There is thus
    good reason to suspect that when, during the late 1980s, six of the 11 OPEC
    nations increased their reserve figures by colossal amounts, ranging from 42
    to 197 percent, they did so only to boost their export quotas.ţ
    ýPrevious OPEC estimates, inherited from private companies before
    governments took them over, had probably been conservative, P90 numbers. So
    some upward revision was warranted. But no major new discoveries or
    technological breakthroughs justified the addition of a staggering 287 Gbo.
    That increase is more than all the oil ever discovered in the U.S.ˇplus 40
    percent. Non-OPEC countries, of course, are not above fudging their numbers
    either: 59 nations stated in 1997 that their reserves were unchanged from
    1996. Because reserves naturally drop as old fields are drained and jump
    when new fields are discovered, perfectly stable numbers year after year are
    implausible.ţ THE END OF CHEAP OIL by Colin J. Campbell and Jean H.
    Scientific American, March 1998


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