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