Posts tagged “oil production”
Over the past three weeks, there have been numerous headlines insinuating that a freefall in oil prices is underway. Last week I read that the various causes were a slowdown in China’s economy, OPEC’s decision not to cut production, and America’s growing oil production. Based on the headlines, one might suspect that we were right in the middle of a major bear market for oil.
Just how far had the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fallen? All the way to $92 a barrel. Keep in mind that WTI opened 2013 at $93.14 a barrel. Since then it has traded between $98/bbl and $87/bbl. (In my Five Energy Predictions for 2013, I predicted that the price of WTI would average less this year than last year, and that the Brent-WTI differential would narrow. To date both predictions have proven to be accurate). CONTINUE»
While U.S. benchmark (WTI) crude-oil futures were up 4.6% since the start of 2013, the futures prices of the global benchmark Brent was down. Analysts suggest that the investment demand for exposure to oil prices was supporting these numbers, not physical demand growth. So what information content is behind oil prices, and how do we parse reality from the hype?
The U.S. is experiencing a boom in the production of oil. Only since the beginning of 2011, oil production in the U.S. has gone up by 30%, from 5.5 million barrels per day (mbd) to 7.2 mbd. Just this week, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that the amount of technically recoverable oil in North Dakota was tripled from a previous estimate – so this boom is unlikely to fall away in the short term.
At the same time, U.S. and European demand for petroleum products are declining. The economic troubles in the Euro zone have dampened economic activity (and petroleum demand), while in America, economic growth has returned, but the consumption of petroleum products are down as consumers change habits and lifestyles to drive less. At the same time, the low price of natural gas, particularly in the United States due to the boom in shale gas production, has some analysts predicting that gas will increasingly act as a substitute for oil whenever possible.
Given all this – an increase in production of oil coupled with a decline in demand – an elementary Economics 101 class would say that prices should be in a steep decline. Over the past several months, there have been a slew of articles predicting that oil prices are bound to drop.
In last week’s note: 2013 Crude Oil Outlook: Supply & Demand, we looked at the more immediate trend in global supply and demand. But this week, I want to examine the long-term oil production challenge facing the industry.
Current global oil consumption is running just under 90 MM b/d, with wellhead production at about a little over 85 Mm b/d, or a deficit or about 4.7 Mm b/d. As we pointed out last week, overall global oil consumption since 2000 to 2012 has been running at a per annum rate of 1.2%; should global consumption continue to grow at this rate, we will hit roughly 100 MM b/d by 2022, or in ten years. If global oil consumption should slow to a per annum rate of 1.0%, we will hit 100 MM b/d only two years later by 2024.
In last week’s column, we examined some oil production trivia involving US states. This week, we look at some international oil trivia covering the 5-year period 2007-2011, as well as some individual trivia from 2012.
In this case, the data sources are the 2012 BP Statistical Review of World Energy and the Energy Information Administration. A table showing the Top 15 countries with the highest percentage increases in oil production over the past five years follows the quiz. Answers are at the end.
1. Which country had the largest percentage increase in oil production from 2007 to 2011?
b. United States
Oil Demand Shift
From 2000 the increasing industrialization of the developing world has been the primary catalyst driving the demand for global crude oil. Among non-OECD nations, China and India have led the charge, with Chinese oil demand growing at a torrid 6.7% per annum rate and India’s oil demand growing at 4.0% per annum. Overall non-OECD demand for oil has increased at a comparable rate of 3.6% per annum, with the Asia/Pacific region growing oil demand at roughly 2.7%. Developed nations, however, have seen diminishing oil demand with a negative -.04% per annum growth rate.
As I shall point out, the decline in OECD oil demand is not enough to offset the rising demand for oil from the developing world, so the net result going forward will be an increasing supply/demand imbalance. My analysis points to an increasing deficit — gap in global wellhead oil supply — to meet demand. CONTINUE»
As a result of the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) revolution, US oil and natural gas production have been rising for several years. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), US oil production has risen by 27% over the past 5 years.
In reviewing the data for individual states, I came across some interesting trivia. So I decided to put together a little quiz. The data source is the EIA. A table showing the Top 15 states with the highest percentage increases in oil production follows the quiz. Answers are at the end.
1. Which state had the largest percentage increase in oil production over the past 5 years?
b. North Dakota
Let’s build upon last week’s long-term bullish case for crude oil. Much has been said about, “Global Peak Oil” production in the last few years, and probably for good reason. We know that U.S. crude oil production peaked in the early 1970s just as Mr. King Hubbert predicted back in the late 1950s.
But, is peak global oil production just around the corner?
Energy industry analysts believe that global oil production will peak sometime between 2015 and 2025. That sounds like a fairly broad range. However, the reality is that it’s a fairly short timeframe in geologic time that does not even register a notch, and it’s rapidly coming upon us.
(Read More: Five Misconceptions About Peak Oil)
I’m not a forecaster, but I have studied oil supply and demand for the last 20 years, and I do believe that global crude oil production has reached a plateau, and may very well peak sooner than we think.
Why? For one thing, on average, the global natural decline rate of producing wells is roughly 7% plus or minus 1% or 2%. That means production has to grow at least 8% a year to register a net positive increase.
A few years ago, I made the observation that the best thing that could happen to mitigate against some of the potentially severe consequences of peak oil was for oil prices to rise, and remain high in the years before oil production peaked. That would have the effect of encouraging conservation, as people adapted to a world in which oil is no longer cheap. High oil prices would also incentivize oil production, which would have the effect of preventing steep declines in global oil production — which some had predicted would lead to severe economic crisis or possibly economic collapse.
We have certainly seen both conservation and increased oil production, but I have been really surprised by some of the details of how it has happened.
For example, as oil prices raced to $100, consumption in the US and Europe declined as I expected. But consumption in all developing regions increased sharply — so much so that the net impact was for global consumption to increase.
(Read More: Petroleum Demand in Developing Countries)
I didn’t expect this; rather I expected that we would see oil consumption decline across the board.
Increased Domestic Oil & Gas Production, Declining Demand and Shrinking Imports
The American energy revolution is starting to come into focus. Technological breakthroughs in shale gas and tight oil production are poised to make the United States — not Saudi Arabia — the world’s largest producer of crude oil as early as the end of the decade, according to the latest World Energy Outlook published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA’s analysis found that the United States could even be a net exporter of oil by 2035, a position the United States has not been in since the 1940s, when it had one of the world’s few developed oil industries.
At the same time, U.S. demand for crude oil is in decline and its crude oil imports are shrinking. Higher fuel efficiency standards in U.S. vehicles have contributed largely to depressed demand, with U.S. oil imports falling from 56 percent of total consumption to 46 percent between 2008 and the end of 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. By 2035, the United States could be importing less than 2 million barrels a day, down from more than 8 million barrels today, according to the IEA. (Read More: Top 15 Sources for U.S. Crude Oil Imports in 2011)