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Published on March 10th, 2010 | by Nick Chambers

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Kuwaiti Scientists Say Peak Oil Will Arrive in 2014

New research out of Kuwait, using a new method of calculating the crude oil production potential of 47 of the world’s largest oil producing countries, has found that peak oil — the period in time when oil production reaches a maximum and then begins to decline — will come much sooner than expected… 2014 to be exact.

Peak oil is an important concept to fully understand in our modern world, given that we are so heavily dependent on petroleum products for everything from transportation to plastic. With the onset of peak oil, many expect that governments, economies, and cultures will start systematically collapsing as demand for crude oil overwhelms supply — unless we can do something to wean ourselves off of it before then.

Over the last few decades, much has been debated about peak oil and when it will come. However the majority of petroleum scientists in this area of research have consistently said that it will arrive some time past 2020, perhaps even as far away as 2050. Although 2050 sounds like some far off date, those 40 years may be just barely enough to reduce our petroleum dependence enough to avoid catastrophe. So, when scientists from one of the most oil rich nations on earth start saying that peak oil will come in 2014… it causes a bit of alarm.

The scientists’ new method for evaluating world peak oil timing stems from the well-tested, popular and generally accurate Hubbert method — which was the first model to accurately predict when oil supply would peak from United States oil fields in the 1970’s. However, the Hubbert model has been scrutinized as not accurately depicting individual, widely-varying, country-specific items such as changing technology and politics. To address these criticisms, the researchers modified the Hubbert model to calculate oil production trends that also include individual variations from country to country, and then applied it to the 47 largest oil producing countries in the world.

Not only did the researchers find that world crude oil production would peak in 2014, they discovered that the world is already depleting its oil reserves at a rate of 2.1% per year. Although these findings are alarming, the researchers are clear to point out that their conclusions are only made with the best available information:

“Forecasting is not accomplished by consulting a crystal ball or a mystic of some sort, but by appraising the past, inspecting present conditions, and projecting these into the future based on the best available information. It is well-known that the ultimate oil recovery of any field in the world is only determined when the production management decides to abandon the field for good. This does not occur until the projected oil revenues fall below expected costs and human ingenuity is unable to reverse this relationship.”

“Therefore, it is not a sin to acknowledge that the economic production life of any field is almost impossible to predict efficiently. Hence, forecasts should be flexible to adjustment whenever additional information becomes available or as conditions change. Even though it is inevitable to preclude the possibility of minor inaccurate forecasting results, still it is of paramount importance that the forecast be conducted. Without the forecast, a valid decision or public policy debate on a national or global scale cannot be made.” —Nashawi et. al, 2009

If you are of the scientific type, and have the interest, you can read the whole paper for yourself on the next page.

Source: EurekAlert!

Image Credit: Nestor Galina’s Flickr photostream. Used under a Creative Commons License.




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  • ChuckL

    The first and obvious error is the use of only in production oil fields. That completely discounts the oil and gas available from Montana and the Dakota fields that have yet to be developed. Jobs for Americans exist there, but we do have the “NO OIL” contingent to contend with.

  • ChuckL

    The first and obvious error is the use of only in production oil fields. That completely discounts the oil and gas available from Montana and the Dakota fields that have yet to be developed. Jobs for Americans exist there, but we do have the “NO OIL” contingent to contend with.

  • Dean

    Chuck…

    All of the easy to find oil has been drilled already…

    Next up…absolute peak oil. Where you have to use/expend an energy equivalent of a barrel of oil to get a barrel. Can you say “Game over?”

  • Dean

    Chuck…

    All of the easy to find oil has been drilled already…

    Next up…absolute peak oil. Where you have to use/expend an energy equivalent of a barrel of oil to get a barrel. Can you say “Game over?”

  • Laffer

    Next up…absolute peak oil. Where you have to use/expend an energy equivalent of a barrel of oil to get a barrel. Can you say “Game over?”

    Um, no. Actually energy gets more efficient as time goes on, and that includes the production chain. Or haven’t you heard of hybrids or electric transport? …maybe not. I’m sure there are other articles in need of your 2 sentence witticisms with absolutist conclusions. Move along…

    Has anyone noticed that ‘peak oil’ happens every year? You can find different people, usually authors with a book to sell, who’ve named every year since 1998 as ‘peak oil’. I’m glad the Kuwaitis have extended it though, because I need more time to dig my bunker.

  • Laffer

    Next up…absolute peak oil. Where you have to use/expend an energy equivalent of a barrel of oil to get a barrel. Can you say “Game over?”

    Um, no. Actually energy gets more efficient as time goes on, and that includes the production chain. Or haven’t you heard of hybrids or electric transport? …maybe not. I’m sure there are other articles in need of your 2 sentence witticisms with absolutist conclusions. Move along…

    Has anyone noticed that ‘peak oil’ happens every year? You can find different people, usually authors with a book to sell, who’ve named every year since 1998 as ‘peak oil’. I’m glad the Kuwaitis have extended it though, because I need more time to dig my bunker.

  • Ron

    It`s a worry when the arabs are concerned about P.O.

    By the way, lets not quibble about dates. Peak Oil will come one day and every thing we do is connected to oil!

    Technology may not advance enough to help us adapt to lesser supplies.

    Most people insure their houses or cars.

    Why are we not insuring ourselves against the possility of PEAK OIL

  • Ron

    It`s a worry when the arabs are concerned about P.O.

    By the way, lets not quibble about dates. Peak Oil will come one day and every thing we do is connected to oil!

    Technology may not advance enough to help us adapt to lesser supplies.

    Most people insure their houses or cars.

    Why are we not insuring ourselves against the possility of PEAK OIL

  • Harry

    Laffer

    Wake up dude.

    And can you back up your theory that ‘peak oil’ is said to happen every year by scientists…?

  • Harry

    Laffer

    Wake up dude.

    And can you back up your theory that ‘peak oil’ is said to happen every year by scientists…?

  • Alan G

    Holy sh*t! I thought there were going to be 9 billion of us soon, what are all these extra people gonna use for energy?

  • Alan G

    Holy sh*t! I thought there were going to be 9 billion of us soon, what are all these extra people gonna use for energy?

  • Alex

    Typical. Let’s just go ahead and drill every last square inch of planet Earth into oblivion to satisfy our energy needs without thinking about the consequences or trying to come up with another solution until it’s too late. I guarantee that if this 2014 date is correct, my previous statement will come to fruition.

  • Alex

    Typical. Let’s just go ahead and drill every last square inch of planet Earth into oblivion to satisfy our energy needs without thinking about the consequences or trying to come up with another solution until it’s too late. I guarantee that if this 2014 date is correct, my previous statement will come to fruition.

  • JM

    In a way these are interesting times we are living. We see talk of other alternative technologies and fuels. I follow it with a passion. I love to read about wind generation, solar, and other renewable energy. Will we run out of oil soon? Probably not. It will cost more but that makes other areas such as oil sands and shale accessible. I would like to see the non-polluting technologies become more cost effective.

    Then we have this natural gas revolution going on in North America. The sheer amount that shale gas has added may well affect the world and more is being found if the plays in Poland, Ukraine, and China pan out. I would love to see an electric natural gas hybrid. Then there is nuclear and all this new technology for it from personal reactors to pebble bed designs.

    Oil is running out but perhaps not in our lifetimes and there is more than enough excitement for alternative methods as cost go up.

  • JM

    In a way these are interesting times we are living. We see talk of other alternative technologies and fuels. I follow it with a passion. I love to read about wind generation, solar, and other renewable energy. Will we run out of oil soon? Probably not. It will cost more but that makes other areas such as oil sands and shale accessible. I would like to see the non-polluting technologies become more cost effective.

    Then we have this natural gas revolution going on in North America. The sheer amount that shale gas has added may well affect the world and more is being found if the plays in Poland, Ukraine, and China pan out. I would love to see an electric natural gas hybrid. Then there is nuclear and all this new technology for it from personal reactors to pebble bed designs.

    Oil is running out but perhaps not in our lifetimes and there is more than enough excitement for alternative methods as cost go up.

  • Erasmus

    The peak seems to have been reached some time ago:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5177

    (regarding efficiency and hybrids etc, the Jevons paradox comes to wreck the game. So no help there.)

  • Erasmus

    The peak seems to have been reached some time ago:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5177

    (regarding efficiency and hybrids etc, the Jevons paradox comes to wreck the game. So no help there.)

  • Dean

    “Um, no. Actually energy gets more efficient as time goes on”

    Oh really…which law of physics states that?

    Waiting for your witty reply…move along…

  • Dean

    “Um, no. Actually energy gets more efficient as time goes on”

    Oh really…which law of physics states that?

    Waiting for your witty reply…move along…

  • http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/ Jonathan Callahan

    Interested readers may wish to review the data on oil production & consumption themselves by looking at the graphs at the Energy Export Databrowser:

    http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/

    This interactive educational tool allows users to interrogate the British Petroleum Statistical Review and presents the results as a series of graphs of production, consumption, imports and exports for all oil producing and consuming nations. Quickly flipping through the charts for various oil producing nations will paint a pretty sobering picture of current and future availability of energy supplies.

  • http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/ Jonathan Callahan

    Interested readers may wish to review the data on oil production & consumption themselves by looking at the graphs at the Energy Export Databrowser:

    http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/

    This interactive educational tool allows users to interrogate the British Petroleum Statistical Review and presents the results as a series of graphs of production, consumption, imports and exports for all oil producing and consuming nations. Quickly flipping through the charts for various oil producing nations will paint a pretty sobering picture of current and future availability of energy supplies.

  • http://jean.posterous.com Jean

    This is a great model to predict the past but it does not take into account the arrival of EVs, because they have not arrived.

    EVs and their batteries will stabilize the price of oil to match the ROI of EV batteries.

    I can’t tell you what this price is but it does exist and will be met at some point because the price of oil will increase while the cost of batteries will decrease.

    After this point, as the cost of batteries continue to go down, more EVs will be produced because of the better ROI, less oil will be consumed, and the price of oil will decline.

    This means that instead of a bell curve, oil reserves will have a long tail, decreasing at a slower rate after batteries ROI meet oil.

    Alternative energies in general, not just EV, will force the long tail.

    There will therefore be no collapse of our civilization due to peak oil, just another adaptation to new market conditions.

  • http://jean.posterous.com Jean

    This is a great model to predict the past but it does not take into account the arrival of EVs, because they have not arrived.

    EVs and their batteries will stabilize the price of oil to match the ROI of EV batteries.

    I can’t tell you what this price is but it does exist and will be met at some point because the price of oil will increase while the cost of batteries will decrease.

    After this point, as the cost of batteries continue to go down, more EVs will be produced because of the better ROI, less oil will be consumed, and the price of oil will decline.

    This means that instead of a bell curve, oil reserves will have a long tail, decreasing at a slower rate after batteries ROI meet oil.

    Alternative energies in general, not just EV, will force the long tail.

    There will therefore be no collapse of our civilization due to peak oil, just another adaptation to new market conditions.

  • Dean

    “There will therefore be no collapse of our civilization due to peak oil, just another adaptation to new market conditions.”

    Jean:

    I wish I had your crystal ball that allows you to see the future so clearly…

    One problem with your theory…the population of the Earth is increasing in an exponential fashion. Oil is not the only commodity that will peak…there are finite sources of lithium available (think EV batteries)as well as water, copper, iron…

    Couple this with the developing nations (China, India…) demanding the same standard of living and consuming the finite resource pool at the same rate as the West historically has. I’m afraid the philosophy of “business as usual” is not going to work, and the world is in for a massive wake-up call.

    Check this out for a great in depth study of this very topic:

    http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse/chapter-3-exponential-growth

  • Dean

    “There will therefore be no collapse of our civilization due to peak oil, just another adaptation to new market conditions.”

    Jean:

    I wish I had your crystal ball that allows you to see the future so clearly…

    One problem with your theory…the population of the Earth is increasing in an exponential fashion. Oil is not the only commodity that will peak…there are finite sources of lithium available (think EV batteries)as well as water, copper, iron…

    Couple this with the developing nations (China, India…) demanding the same standard of living and consuming the finite resource pool at the same rate as the West historically has. I’m afraid the philosophy of “business as usual” is not going to work, and the world is in for a massive wake-up call.

    Check this out for a great in depth study of this very topic:

    http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse/chapter-3-exponential-growth

  • douglas prince

    Dean, Laffer, Harry — Please, please, folks. Let’s try to keep this conversation in an adult and reasonable manner. There is no need for sniping or nit-picking. We should be able to discuss this topic with respect and consideration to each other’s feelings and mentalities.

    You stupid turd-monkeys…

  • douglas prince

    Dean, Laffer, Harry — Please, please, folks. Let’s try to keep this conversation in an adult and reasonable manner. There is no need for sniping or nit-picking. We should be able to discuss this topic with respect and consideration to each other’s feelings and mentalities.

    You stupid turd-monkeys…

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