by Jerome a Paris
Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 04:48:13 AM EST
The US government has released its official view on future energy trends, and the Oil Drum has actually gone through the numbers in detail and prepared a thorough debunking.
Bottom line; the official statistics are either lies or absurdly incompetent. Go read the whole post over at the Oil Drum (home page)), but here are a few tidbits and, of course, selected graphs.
So join me in the bright happy world of plentiful energy of the EIA:
Focusing on oil, the Oil Drum comments this graph:
They analyse where the EIA expects the oil to be coming from, and focus specifically on the output from OPEC, with the following conclusion:
In short, those OPEC production numbers didn't come from some complicated model of OPEC reserves and decision-making. Instead, they came from a fixed percentage of the top-line production.
I think this tends to support what many of us suspected about the EIA projections: they start with what they think will be a politically acceptable demand projection, and then tweak the supply assumptions to add up to that.
Fixing the facts around the policy? Hmm, where have we seen this before?
But there's worse. The EIA has this to say about North Sea oil:
In the IEO2006 reference case, the decline in North Sea production is slowed slightly relative to past outlooks, based on the implementation of strategies for redeveloping mature fields. Production from Norway, OECD Europe's largest producer, is expected to peak at about 3.6 million barrels per day in 2006 and then decline gradually to about 2.5 million barrels per day in 2030 with the maturing of some of its larger and older fields. The United Kingdom sector is expected to produce about 2.2 million barrels per day in 2010, followed by a decline to 1.4 million barrels per day in 2030.
And the Oil Drum kindly provides the graph or recent production from that region:
Their polite comment: "what planet are they living on?" Production is already declining starkly, is set to continue on that trend, and is thus already reaching the levels expected only for 2030. So the IEA numbers bear no relation to reality whatsoever.
In the comments, jimmyboy33 adds the following info:
Current situation in UK north sea is that decline is running at 7% per year from peak ( production halves every 10 years) after new production etc brought on.
The Buzzard Field is due on in late 2006 at 200K bpd. This will slow the decline for a couple of years(they hope). this field was discovered 5 years ago. No field produring over 100K bpd at present.
Decline rate in existing fields probably 15%.
Everybody is running hard to hold the decline at 7%.
The finds being made are small. The government and the industry talk up the future but the reality is decline.
The OD post also looks at Mexican production, oil sands production, and oil prices, with similar conclusions.
In the comments, westexas also points out that they have been full of shit about Canada as well:
In the IEO2003 they stated:
"Canada's conventional oil output is expected to increase by more than 200,000 barrels per day over the next 2 years, mainly from Newfoundland's Hibernia oil project, which could produce more than 155,000 barrels per day at its peak sometime in the next several years. Canada is projected to add an additional 500,000 barrels per day in output from a combination of frontier area offshore projects and oil from tar sands."
Assuming the total increase of 700,000 b/d for Canada was for the 2003 to 2005 period, the US DOE/EIA was only off by 710,000 b/d. In 2003, Canada's total liquid hydrocarbons (TLHs) production was 3.11 mb/d and in 2005 it was 3.10 mb/d (US DOE/EIA data/I used TLHs data because they include NGLs in their forecasts), a decline of 10,000 b/d.
And Khebab summarises how the IEA's data are not even internally consistent:
I think the EIA is definitively in love with straight lines! If you look at the third figure from the top (World production of oil by source 1990-2030):
- The total conventionnal oil produced from 1990 to 2005 is approximatively 420 Gb. The forecast from 2006 to 2030 predicts that an additionnal 870 Gb (more than three Saudi Arabia URR!) will be produced without any visible peak.
- The figure below about reserves is showing a world reserve around 1,300 Gb in 2006 (i.e. URR ~ 1,300 + 1,100= 2,400 Gb) which means that we will consume 870/1,300= 67% of our reserves in the next 24 years! or (1,100 + 870) / 2,400= 82% of the URR will be consumed in 2030 without experiencing any decrease in production rate whatsoever!
- Even worse, if we are taking out the 200 Gb dubious increase in Middle East OPEC reserves, we get (1,100 + 870)/(2,400-200)= 90% of the URR consumed in 2030!
Now, here is the problem:
Never has been observed a production curve that is showing a production increase past the point in time where cumulative production is past 60% of the URR. The only possibility is that the world URR is in fact around 2,900 Gb and that a future 2,900-2,400= 500 Gb (+38%) jump in conventional oil reserves increase is waiting for us somewhere. Talk about an act of faith!
Faith based predictions? Again familiar...
Stuart Staniford, the author of the story, kindly provides another graph which shows how unrealistic these predictions are:
This matters because everybody uses the statistics from the Energy Information Agency (or that of its international cousin, the International Energy Agency), and their absolutely optimistic reports provide great coverage for the politicians to do nothing about our current predicament: "see, there's plenty of oil, really - the experts say so".
Again, go read the whole story, and read the Oil Drum regularly, as they look (hard) at the data and come up with a lot of excellent information and commentary.