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OPEC countries ignore West’s agenda

Rolf Westgard, St Cloud Times
American drivers wince as they pull up at the pump to pay $3 and more for a gallon of gasoline.

Our leaders respond by asking OPEC to produce more oil. Congress passes a ludicrous bill making it illegal for oil-producing countries to manipulate prices by withholding “our oil” from the market.

Washington apparently didn’t note the recent statement of Saudi oil executive Sadad Al-Husseini: “There has been a paradigm shift in the energy world whereby oil producers are no longer inclined to rapidly exhaust their resource for the sake of accelerating the misuse of a precious and finite commodity. This sentiment prevails inside and outside of OPEC countries, but has yet to be appreciated among the major energy-consuming countries of the world.” ..

Oil-producing countries are starting to appreciate the longevity of that “precious resource” and the importance of gaining maximum value from each barrel. ..

Today, most of OPEC’s investments are going into value-added refineries and petrochemicals, not increased oil production. Three fourths of the $70 billon Saudi Arabia will invest in the next four years will be in downstream refineries and petrochemical facilities.

They intend to export more gasoline, ethylene and plastics, using their advantage in lower oil costs. GE saw this and sold its plastics division to Saudi Basic Industries for $11.5 billion. As Dave Cohen of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas puts it, “The kingdom’s future is plastics.” ..
Rolf Westgard is a portfolio manager with investments in the oil and gas industry, a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and a regular speaker to civic groups on peak oil and alternate energy.
(17 Jul 2007)

Updated World Oil Forecasts, including Saudi Arabia

ace, The Oil Drum
Executive Summary

1. World total liquids supply production (Fig 1) remains on a peak plateau since 2006 and is forecast to fall off this peak plateau in 2009. As long as demand continues increasing then prices will also continue increasing.

2. Forecast world crude oil and lease condensate (C&C) production retains its 2005 peak (Fig 2). The forecast to 2100 shows declining C&C production, using a bottom up forecast to 2012 (Fig 3). The forecast to 2012 shows a 1%/yr decline rate to 2009, followed by a 4%/yr decline rate to 2012.

3. World oil discovery rates peaked in 1965 (Fig 4) and production has exceeded discovery for every year since the mid 1980s. Discoverable reserves in giant fields also peaked during the mid 1960s (Fig 5). The time lag between world peak discovery in 1965 and world peak production in 2005 of 40 years is similar to the time lag of 42 years for the USA Lower 48 (Fig 6).

4. World C&C year on year production changes to March 2007 and April 2007 (Figs 7,8) show significant declines for Mexico, North Sea and Saudi Arabia; significant increases for Russia, Azerbaijan and Angola. As Russia is likely to be on a production plateau and Saudi Arabia has probably passed peak production, the world C&C production will continue to decline slowly.

5. Key producer Saudi Arabia recently released an updated project schedule which does not show originally scheduled expansions of Shaybah phase 2, 0.25 mbd and Al Khafji Neutral Zone, 0.30 mbd. Consequently, it is now almost a certainty that Saudi Arabia passed peak C&C production of 9.6 mbd in 2005 (Figs 9,10).

6. World natural gas plant liquids is forecast to increase due to new OPEC projects (Fig 11). World ethanol and XTL production is forecast to double by 2012 (Fig 12). World processing gains are forecast to decline slowly to 2012 (Fig 13).
(19 July 2007)

Dubai Crude Output Down Rapidly As Govt Moves To Crimp Decline

Matt Chambers, Dow Jones Newswires
Production of Dubai’s crude oil has fallen as much as a third in the past two years and is a fraction of that recorded in some government statements, company documents show, undermining the already fragile position of one of the world’s top three oil price reference points.

Current output in the booming Persian Gulf sheikdom, one of seven semi-autonomous enclaves in the United Arab Emirates, is some two-thirds below the figure released by the national government, according to calculations by Dow Jones Newswires using data from the previous operators of the fields. It has fallen as much as a third in the past two years.

The Dubai government took over operating the oil fields in April from a joint-venture led by ConocoPhillips Corp. (COP), which has since complained of poor financial returns due to the structure of the previous operating agreement.

Daily output in the first three months of this year fell to between 65,000 barrels and 80,000 barrels against the 240,000 barrels stated on the U.A.E. government’s Web site.
(15 July 2007)

Iraqi Oil Production Still Below Target

Associated Press
he U.S. has spent $2.7 billion to try to reconstruct the Iraqi oil industry, but has had little success amid security problems, sabotage, widespread corruption and theft, the investigative arm of Congress said Wednesday.

Iraq produced more than 2 million barrels per day of oil in May, short of the U.S. government’s goal of 3 million barrels of daily production, a level that hasn’t been reached in nearly 30 years, the Government Accountability Office said in written testimony to a House subcommittee.

The lack of Iraqi laws to determine how oil revenues get distributed and define the rights of foreign investors is a major problem, the GAO said. Without that legislation, the report said, “it will be difficult for Iraq to attract the billions of dollars in foreign investment it needs to modernize the sector.”
(18 July 2007)

ODAC News – July 18

Douglas Lowe, Oil Depletion Analysis Centre
Headlines and commentary from a peak-oil perspective.
(18 July 2007