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Kuwait Researchers Forecast Global Conventional Crude Oil Production Will Peak in 2014; New Multicyclic Hubbert Model

World crude oil production model. Credit: ACS, Nashawi et al. Click to enlarge.

Scientists from Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company are forecasting that world conventional crude oil production will peak in 2014—almost a decade earlier than some other predictions. Their study is in published the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

Ibrahim Nashawi and colleagues point out that rapid growth in global oil consumption has sparked a growing interest in predicting “peak oil”—the point at which oil production reaches a maximum and then declines. Scientists have developed several models to forecast this point, and some put the date at 2020 or later. The Hubbert forecast model—one of the most famous—accurately predicted that oil production would peak in the United States in 1970. The model has since gained in popularity and has been used to forecast oil production worldwide. However, recent studies show that the model is insufficient to account for more complex oil production cycles of some countries. Those cycles can be heavily influenced by technology changes, politics, and other factors, the scientists say.

The new study describes the development of a new version of the Hubbert model that accounts for these individual production trends to provide a more realistic and accurate oil production forecast.

Even though forecasting should be handled with extreme caution, it is always desirable to look ahead as far as possible to make an intellectual judgment on the future supplies of crude oil. Over the years, accurate prediction of oil production was confronted by fluctuating ecological, economical, and political factors, which imposed many restrictions on its exploration, transportation, and supply and demand. The objective of this study is to develop a forecasting model to predict world crude oil supply with better accuracy than the existing models.

Even though our approach originates from Hubbert model, it overcomes the limitations and restrictions associated with the original Hubbert model. As opposed to Hubbert single-cycle model, our model has more than one cycle depending on the historical oil production trend and known oil reserves. The presented method is a viable tool to predict the peak oil production rate and time. The model is simple, accurate, and totally data driven, which allows a continuous updating once new data are available.

—Nashawi et al.

Using the new model, the scientists evaluated the oil production trends of 47 major oil-producing countries, which supply most of the world’s conventional crude oil—essentially, every country around the globe that has a proven oil reserves higher than 0.468 BSTB (billion stock tank barrels). They also classified the countries into OPEC and non-OPEC countries. Among their findings:

  • The world’s ultimate crude oil reserve is estimated to be 2,140 BSTB

  • Remaining recoverable oil is 1,161 BSTB

  • World production is estimated to peak in 2014 at a rate of 79 MMSTB/D.

  • OPEC has remaining reserve of 909 BSTB, which is about 78% of the world reserves. OPEC production is expected to peak in 2026 at a rate of 53 MMSTB/D.

  • Non-OPEC countries have already reached their peak production of 39.6 MMSTB/D in 2006. According to the analysis, the ultimate reserve of these countries is 819 BSTB and their future recoverable oil is 252 BSTB. Non-OPEC countries hold 22% of the world crude oil reserves, which are being depleted at an annual rate of 5.6%.

  • On the basis of 2005 world crude oil production and current recovery techniques, the world oil reserves are being depleted at an annual rate of 2.1%.

Despite the current world economical crisis, the authors speculate that OPEC will remain the main world supplier of crude oil up to the end of this century.


  • Ibrahim Sami Nashawi, Adel Malallah and Mohammed Al-Bisharah (2010) Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model. Energy Fuels, Article ASAP doi: 10.1021/ef901240p



These drawings of global peak oil graphs that show a sudden and sharp drop in the production of oil after the peak are pure fantasy that disregards basic economics about supply and demand.

Sure at some point there will be a peak as the earth’s oil reserves are finite. However, the global peak will be followed by price increases that enable previously non-economic reserves to be economically exploited. That will go one and as a consequence it will be a slow prolonged decline in oil supply at steadily increasing oil prices. At some point alternatives will start to expand rapidly (for example, the invention of inexpensive lithium batteries at 150 USD per kWh) and after that the supply of oil may drop sharply towards zero.

To conclude, the sky will not fall down and nobody will have to queue at the gas station but gas will gradually be more expensive. In fact the rise of oil prices from 2003 from its level of 30 USD per barrel may be interpreted as the beginning of a global peak oil situation because prices simply needed to go further up in order for oil companies to be able to make money producing more oil. Before 2003 it was possible to increase production at 30 USD and still be profitable. This is no longer the case as the marginal cost of oil drilling is increasing every year now.


That would probably be a bad thing. I know the knee-jerk reaction for many left-ists in the forum would be to give more tax-credit incentives for purchasing electric vehicles.. but i would caution you to say that the only true way to achieve long-term success is by providing ample research dollars to build a better battery (or fuel cell, ultracap, etc.).. not just make the current ones cheaper.

Stan Peterson

Picking the 'date' for 'conventional Peak Oil' is as useful as medieval theologians discussing how many angels, can dance on the head of a pin.

There are enormous amounts of 'unconventional' oil available to last for centuries if not Millenia. Ther si lotsof undiscovered, 'conventional oil', too.

The Canadian oil sands, the USA shale oils, the Brazilian deep sea oils, and even synthetic and manufactured bio-fuels, are all unconventional oils, as is GTL and CTL conversions.

Canadian say there is more recoverable oil in the tar sands than in the Mideast. And the US shale reserves dwarf th Canadian Tar Sands.

Hugo Chavez' regime sits on the enormous 'heavy oil' reserves of the Orinoco, but without someone to help the buffoon get it out, it will sit there until that socialist ass joins Edi Amin in the dust bowl of history.

More propaganda to scare us, and help mainain the ridiculous prices for a resource that si artificially way over the price of production and normal profit, and has been for forty years now.


I predicted late 2012 but this sounds about right. I agree that it will not be a steep decline. I figured we would peak this side of 100 million barrels per day and demand would keep rising. It may not be the end point so much as what happens between now and then, be prepared.


Wasn't it announced here recently that peak oil had already occurred, in November of 2008 or so?

I suspect 'peak oil' is a lot like 'global warming'; something that will forever be just around the corner, and forever avoidable only by giving research grants and seed money to the usual suspects.


"2014—almost a decade earlier than some other predictions"
how about a decade later than some other predictions


I'm with those that think the back end of the curve will not look like the before peak front half. Where we have seen the back end of the curve already (e.g. the continental USA) there has always been other sources of oil to keep the price down. We've never seen a global peak before. If the curve does look the same then it will most likely be due to resource switching.


A) Will higher prices, increasing demands and declining reserves provoke peak oil production?


B) Will lower cost alternative cleaner energies, e-vehicles & machines progressively reduce demand for fossil fuels and provoke peak oil production?

Historically, major changes did not come about because the world ran out of the previously used commodity. We did not run out of horses and buggies, we progressively switched to ICE vehicles for many other reasons. We did not stop to smoke because we ran out of tobacco, etc.

I'm in favour of B) and a progressive transition out of liquid fossil fuels in favour of other much cleaner, lower cost energies. The second electrification revolution (2010-2030+) may be responsible for for peak oil production thru reduced demands.

The frowth of Wind and Solar energies will surprise many.



last line should read...The growth of


Like always mister Stan Peterson likes to BS on things he knows nothing about. Worse he hasn't even bothered to look at some data that are available (like the price of extraction of Tar sands for example) . Please bring yours data that there is oil for Millenia or centuries or that 80$ is a ridiculous price for oil when it cost 60$ to produce a barrel of syncrude from Tar sands.

To all the idiots who think that peak oil is a fantasy of Cassandra, they should look at the history of production of oil in US over the past 100 years. And for the same idiots, let me remind them that in 1955 Kings Hubbert heard the same idiocies, as wrote above, of peak oil skeptics when he presented his theory, but at the end he was proven right...

Believe me when when we will massively replace conventional oil by unconventional oil, the world will look a lot different, better hope that we will not have to do that transition and that we find something else instead.


It seems like there will continue to be strong world demand for oil past 2020, which is only 10 years away. Many oil fields are in decline but others are being discovered, there will be a peak and decline, but the decline will not be as steep as shown ...IMO.


Since the price of all kinds of alternatives to conventional oil keeps to come down and the price to produce conventional and unconventional oil will increase (partly due to inclusion of the price for pollution), simple economics will soon cause 'peak oil'.



This simplistic theory that we will always find a new resource to replace a vanishing one might be true for oil whale that have been replaced by crude oil or wood by coal, problem : we were all confident that coal was being phased out in the 70 because its production had been down for more than 40years, even with the introduction of nuclear coal production has bounced back and increased steadily in the 40 past years to level never achieved before and it is clear now that nuclear will not displace coal in any reasonable period of time if ever. But it is always amuzing to see that one can BS a solid proven theory as Hubbert's one by shaky and unproven theory...

their curve is for conventional oil only, consensus in the oil industry is that unconventional oil production will be about 10MBd in 2030 so can maintain the whole thing flat for some time as best. Yes natural gas and liquefied coal might fill the gap until mid century, but development cost will be a serious issue in heavily indebted countries like the whole industrialized world is moving to...


To summarize: Treehugger has it right. All of you who criticized this report by claiming 'high prices will bring unconventional oil to the market' failed to read the first line; "Scientists from Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company are forecasting that world conventional crude oil production will peak in 2014—almost a decade earlier than some other predictions." Unconventional oil is a separate issue. Yes, rising prices MAY make alternate sources of oil more profitable but only because rising prices of conventional oil will make ALL alternate sources of energy more profitable and, as Alain pointed out, "since the price of all kinds of alternatives to conventional oil keeps to come down and the price to produce conventional and unconventional oil will increase (partly due to inclusion of the price for pollution), simple economics will soon cause 'peak oil'."

Furthermore, It would seem to me that as the price of fuel goes up people find alternatives to "driving" itself (, which lowers the demand, which oil companies can only meet by lowering prices, which is something they can't do if the actual COSTS of getting the oil goes up because they are now getting more of it from unconventional sources which are only profitable at higher prices. Or am I missing something?


Unconventional oil reserves will only be viable at high oil prices, thus peak oil is about the end of cheap oil, heck at $4 a gallon of gasoline it becomes profitable to make gasoline from coal via gasification and F-T synthesis. Obviously Unconventional oil will have to compete against biofuels and electrics which will allow cleaner and perhaps cheaper alternatives, economics will thus push for alternative energy on it own.

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