Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Total production by the five « major » oil producers has fallen by a quarter since 2004

Matthieu Auzanneau, Oil Man, Le Monde
The combined crude oil production of the five main international oil companies (Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron and Total) hit a historic high in 2004. Since then, it has fallen by 25.8%.

The total crude oil produced by the majors was 10.760 million barrels per day (MB/D) in 2004. In 2012, it reached only 7.981 MB/D. It has decreased by 2.779 MB/D in 8 years (-1/4).

Is this a clear early indication of an imminent decline in the worldwide production of black gold, a phenomenon predicted since 1998 by former oil company scientific executives, from the French Total group in particular?…
(21 February 2013)
Translation from the French original courtesy of Laura Bennett:

Ten Reasons to Take Peak Oil Seriously

Robert J. Brecha, sustainability
Forty years ago, the results of modeling, as presented in The Limits to Growth, reinvigorated a discussion about exponentially growing consumption of natural resources, ranging from metals to fossil fuels to atmospheric capacity, and how such consumption could not continue far into the future. Fifteen years earlier, M. King Hubbert had made the projection that petroleum production in the continental United States would likely reach a maximum around 1970, followed by a world production maximum a few decades later. The debate about “peak oil”, as it has come to be called, is accompanied by some of the same vociferous denials, myths and ideological polemicizing that have surrounded later representations of The Limits to Growth. In this review, we present several lines of evidence as to why arguments for a near-term peak in world conventional oil production should be taken seriously—both in the sense that there is strong evidence for peak oil and in the sense that being societally unprepared for declining oil production will have serious consequences…

View full report PDF
This report was included in the special issue of Sustainability: 40th Anniversary of ‘The Limits to Growth
(12 February 2013)

‘Peak oil’ doomsayers proved wrong

David Frum, CNN
Five years ago, some oil market speculators became convinced that the world was nearing the limits of oil production. Sometime soon — the 2010s? the 2020s? — oil production would begin a long steady decline.

Think again. World oil production continues to rise. Leading the oil renaissance: the United States. The International Energy Agency predicts that the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become (again!) the world’s leading oil producer by 2017. If the agency’s estimates prove correct, the United States and Canada together will become net energy exporters by about 2030, and the U.S., which uses 20% of the world’s energy, will achieve energy self-sufficiency by the mid-2030s…

David Frum, a CNN contributor, is a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He is the author of eight books, including a new novel, "Patriots," and a post-election e-book, "Why Romney Lost." Frum was a special assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002.
(4 March 2013)

Is shale oil losing its lustre?

Saadallah Al Fathi, Gulf News
Is shale oil losing its lustre? Operators are no longer accelerating production ‘due to very high costs and infrastructure bottlenecks’. Saadallah Al FathiPublished: 12:47 March 3, 2013 Share on facebookShare on linkedinShare on liveShare on twitterMore Sharing Services3 When my column “shale oil is no threat to oil producers” was published here, I received two comments by E mail. Both were from highly professional people long enough in academia and the business for their views to be respected.

The first comment from an expert in an oil producing country said that “shale oil as far as I can see is an American version of mid-summer night dream and that even nuclear explosion cannot release the oil from shale rock”. Of course this view is extreme as shale oil is already produced. I suspect the comment meant that the recovery is so little compared with the original oil in shale plays.

The second comment came from an expert already involved in shale oil production. He said that operators are no longer accelerating production “due to very high costs and infrastructure bottlenecks”. The reason for the original enormous acceleration in drilling is to maintain the operators hold on their land leases which are tied to production and that once production is achieved, “companies are reducing their capital expenditures and going into full development in a much more controlled fashion in the hope that costs will come down and infrastructure issues are resolved.” Furthermore, the hype about US energy independence “is based on brokers drawing straight lines through growth of the past few years and extrapolating it 20 years into the future, which any rational, thinking person knows is never going to happen.” I may add that this kind of rhetoric is political as I explained in the above mentioned column and is intended to hurt the interests of producing countries…

The writer is former head of the Energy Studies Department at the Opec Secretariat in Vienna.
(4 March 2013)

Doomsday warning on fuel stock

Cameron Stewart, The Australian
AUSTRALIA would grind to a halt within three weeks with almost no deliveries of food or medicine if its overseas oil and fuel supplies were cut off…

The report, written by retired RAAF Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn, finds that 85 per cent of transport fuel comes from overseas crude oil or imported fuel…


Austrailia liquid fuel infographic
View full size infographic

View the report
(28 February 2013)

A hard tap to turn

The Economist
ON MAPS and spreadsheets, Iraq’s abundant oil reserves—143 billion barrels, 9% of the global total—seem to offer the world its best hope for boosting oil supplies and keeping prices stable. The country is already the world’s third-largest exporter, after Saudi Arabia and Russia. Its oil is easy to get at and test wells rarely come up dry. And there could be plenty more, as much of the west of the country has hardly been explored. The bonanza for Iraq could be vast…

A petroleum law that Iraq’s cabinet endorsed in 2007 to bring fresh investment has yet to make it through parliament. And the government needs to spend a lot on pipelines, ports and other infrastructure to reach its production targets. That can only be paid for by pumping oil now, which means delays today slow growth in the future. As things stand, Iraq’s oil production looks likely to disappoint all but the pessimists.
(2 March 2013)