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Energy Insights: Energy News: Is 2015 The Year Of Peak Oil Production?

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Is 2015 The Year Of Peak Oil Production?



I follow the JODI World Oil Database primarily because it is now four months ahead of the EIA international data base. I make some adjustments however. I use the OPEC MOMR “secondary sources” for all OPEC data where JODI also uses the MOMR but uses their “direct communication” data instead. The OPEC portion of the JODI data is “crude only” and will therefore be somewhat less than the EIA reports.

I use the Canadian National Energy Base data for Canada instead of the strange numbers JODI has for Canada. And I use the EIA data for the few small producers that JODI does not report.

With these Changes I think I have composed an excellent World Oil Database from this composite data. And with the October data just released I have composed the below charts. The data is through October and is in thousand barrels per day.

World oil production peaked, so far, in July at 76,702,000 barrels per day and in October stood at 76,128,000 bpd or 574,000 bpd below the peak.

Non-OPEC peaked, so far, in December 2014 at 45,530,000 bpd and in October stood at 44,662,000, down 868,000 bpd or just under 2% in 10 months.

Related: Latin America Moving Quickly On Renewable Energy

For the first time in 4 years Non-OPEC production has dropped below the level it was the same month the previous year. This means the 12 month trailing average has turned negative, though just barely.

Non-OPEC less the USA has been on a 12 year bumpy plateau. In fact it stood at 35,422,000 barrels per day in October, 214,000 bpd less than the level reached in December 2003.

(Click to enlarge)

The data here, prior to 2012, is from the EIA. Russia and the USA are, by far, the two largest Non-OPEC producers. At best Russia has plateaued but most analysts predict she will begin to decline next year. I think that prognostication is correct. Russia, I believe, will slowly decline beginning in 2016.

The data for 2015 is the average for the first 10 months. Russia has increased production every year since 1999 except 2008 when we had the big crash. Some were expecting a similar crash in 2015. They were surprised: Siberian Surprise. I was not and I don’t expect a crash next year either. I just expect production in 2016 to be slightly less than this year.

Non-OPEC less USA and Russia is clearly in decline. Five years of oil prices above $100 could not prevent the decline. But $100 oil has brought a lot of Non-OPEC oil on line. What it did do was prevent this decline from being a lot steeper had oil been in the $60 or below range.


Of course if we are talking peak oil we must include OPEC. Above is OPEC crude only production through November. It is obvious, to me anyway, that OPEC is producing flat out.

Only Iran has much potential to increase production. Most analysts think they can only increase production about half a million barrels per day. But that will only likely replace decline in other OPEC nations. OPEC production will likely hold steady for the next four or five years before starting a steady decline. OPEC production will not prevent peak oil.

Bottom line, I am more convinced than ever that 2015 will be the year world crude oil peaked.

By Ron Patterson

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