Monday, November 03, 2008

The International Energy Agency's Report on the State of the World's 400 Largest Oil Fields

I'd posted back in May about the International Energy Agency (IEA)'s concerns about the decline in global oil production. At the time, they were planning to release a report this November about the depletion profiles of the world's top 400 oil fields. A recent article by Richard Heinberg on the Post Carbon Institute website states that the Financial Times has leaked some of the results of this report. According to Heinberg, the IEA found that "Without extra investment to raise production, the natural annual rate of output decline is 9.1 per cent." He states that according to the leaked information, we can only conclude that global oil production has now passed its peak, which would have been this past July.

According to Heinberg (and many others), the drop in oil prices over the past month or two means that the sort of investment needed to explore new oil projects just isn't going to happen, and even if it did, it would involve the exploration of expensive and / or environmentally devastating projects similar to the Alberta tar sands -- projects whose outputs very likely couldn't ever keep up with current and future demands for fossil fuels.

It'll be interesting to see the full report when it comes out on November 12.

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