1200 days to peak oil
Posted on Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

(Podcast) There are only 1200 days to go until global oil production reaches its all-time peak, according to the editor of the Petroleum Review. Worse, says Chris Skrebowski, the chances are the crisis will break even sooner.


Skrebowski made the claim at the ASPO conference in Houston last week on the basis of the latest results from his Megaprojects model, which he explains in an interview with Unlike other peak oil forecasters Skrebowski does not extrapolate future production from estimated reserves or resources, but balances the additional supplies expected from fields that are currently being developed against the decline in existing production capacity, which the International Energy Agency estimates at about 4% per year. By this measure, peak output will arrive in 2011, and from then on supply will fall increasingly short of predicted demand.

This approach is possible because on average it takes the oil industry over 6 years to turn a newly-discovered field into one that actually produces oil, so the maximum additional oil production capacity that is likely to come on stream is fairly well known for about 6 years in advance. However, in an industry plagued by shortages of skilled staff and rampant cost inflation, projects are often delayed, and fields sometimes produce less than expected.

Skrebowski’s forecast chimes with the IEA’s Medium Term Oil Market Report issued in July, but their conclusions are very different. The IEA describes its predicted shortfall in 2012 as a “supply crunch”, while Skrebowski talks of a “historical discontinuity”, or peak oil.

Listen to the interview with Chris Skrebowski.

NB Some listeners have reported problems with podcasts using Quicktime, but they seem to play perfectly well on RealPlayer and Windows Media Player.

4 Comments on “1200 days to peak oil”

Jeff Jones Says:
October 24th, 2007 at 9:27 pm

I hold alot of respect for Chris’s theory… I don’t think the Chinese and Indian markets are being correctly accounted for in the usage column from now until 2011. If you look at purely Barrels per day #’s… hard to imagine global production ever hitting the 86mbd mark again.
I say we have peaked, July 2006, and we will be on the “Rocky Plateau” for a couple of years with up and down numbers but steadily heading down by 3-5% a year after 2009… by 2011 we will be in a full withdrawal from the happy motoring utopia and involved in a all-or-nothing resource war with the “New Axis”… China, Russia and the MIddle East. “may you live in interesting times”

Guy McPherson Says:
October 25th, 2007 at 11:05 pm

We’ll fall off the oil-supply cliff next year. Expect $150 oil and supply disruptions by July … sooner, of course, if Cheney has his way in Iran.

Duffy Says:
October 26th, 2007 at 8:36 am

America has gone to devils, and madness rules the day. The resource wars have already begun, and they will not end until most of us our dead. We didn’t deserve this planet.

Good luck everyone.

Stuart Says:
November 25th, 2007 at 5:57 am

The second the demand exceeds supply we are not talking $150/ a barrel, more like $400 a barrel, people will bid it up as far as their salaries will take them, they will cut our their luxuries, (once credit has been maxed of course), then you will see only the “fat cats” driving cars, the rest will be defacto forced onto 2 pedal power and mass transit, at last the air will be clean in London and NY and Bangkok, but the question is when the supply demand threshhold is crossed, if Bush barrels into Iran expect 4 million barrels a day of production wiped off the earth for the short term and an oil shock /price shock that will stun the entire world.

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