April 2, 2007

Peak oil forecast between 2008 and 2018, says Swedish researcher

Uppsala, Sweden – A researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden has developed a forecast model for global oil production that predicts a peak in production between 2008 and 2018, according to a report by the Green Car Congress.

Fredrik Robelius’ model is based heavily on a field-by-field analysis focusing on “giant” oil fields, which are fields that will ultimately produce more than 500 million barrels of oil. Although giant fields represent only about one per cent of all the world’s oil fields, they account for more than 60 per cent of total production. Both the number and volume of new giant-field discoveries are decreasing.

Robelius says that in his worst-case scenario, global oil production may peak next year, and in best-case, it will peak in 2018.

The first giant oil field was discovered in 1868 in Peru; one of the latest was found in 2003 in deep water outside Brazil. Most of the largest giant fields are found around the Persian Gulf and are more than 50 years old.

Robelius’ model is based on historical production, the total exploitable reserves of the giant fields, and their rate of decline. The model assumes that oil fields have a constant rate of decline, which Robelius says he has verified by studying a number of fields where production has waned, and says that his analysis shows that an annual decline rate between 6 and 16 per cent is reasonable. The study combines results from the model with field forecasts for deep-water production, new finds, Canadian oil sands and heavy oil in Venezuela to produce the forecasts.

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