Helping America Navigate a New Energy Reality

The Oil Production Story: Pre- and Post-Peak Nations

By on 13 Jun 2011 in commentary

(updated June 2011 with 2010 data)

The world oil production data below tell a story about:   1) nations that are past peak (see “Peak Year,” turquoise fill), because of geologic limits (e.g., US, Norway, etc.) or other reasons; and  2) nations that have yet to peak (see “na” under “Peak Year;” Saudi Arabia, UAE, China), or if they have peaked it is not yet clear.  An equally interesting trend is–irrespective of peaking–whether or not nations are increasing (first column; Brazil); have either flat or volatile production (second column, in blue; Iran, Iraq); or are experiencing decreasing production (third column, in red); the 2009 OPEC quotas continue to complicate the overall numbers here.  Also, follow the trend of oil production nations whose exports are declining.   Six non-OPEC nations increased by over 100,000 barrels/day-year (vs. 12 in 2004); two non-OPEC experienced declines over 100,000 barrels/day-year (also two in 2004).  Peak appears to be close but not yet; we were on relatively plateau production during 2005-2008, then down in 2009, up strongly in 2010, up so far in 2011.  Keep following the increasing roles of economic-driven demand destruction, violence, the Arab Spring, resource nationalism, timing of production investment and peak oil exports.

BP’s data show 2010 world oil production at 82.095 million barrels per day, up 2.2% vs. 2009 to a new high.  Note that the Top 10 producers account for 61% of world oil production and that the Top 20 account for 84%; all Top 20 produce over 1 million barrels per day.  So it is the production trends of the Top 20 world oil producers that will determine when world oil production peaks. During 2010, new oil importers included most importantly Egypt.

Note how many nations have likely peaked: 6 of top 10, 10 of the top 20; etc. Despite big gains from China and Russia, they could peak (Russia repeak) soon.

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