What is Peak oil?
"The term Peak Oil refers to the maximum rate of the production of oil in any area under consideration, recognising that it is a finite natural resource, subject to depletion."
World Energy Outlook 2012 – NYT article focusing on the USA
Submitted by Kjell Aleklett on Tue, 2012-11-13 12:29.
Today the IEA’s World Energy Outlook for 2012 was released. I will comment on the report when I have had an opportunity to read it. At the moment numerous newspaper articles have misunderstood the contents of WEO2012. For example, an article in the New York Times has been published under the headline: U.S. to Be World’s Top Oil Producer in 5 Years, Report Says. The errors in the article were so serious that the NYT was forced to publish the following correction.
Correction: November 12, 2012
The IEA published the prognosis for future US oil production shown above before WEO2012 was released. Conventional oil production will continue to decline while unconventional oil is estimated to grow to around 5 million barrels per day between 2020 and 2025 before declining. The IEA’s estimate for increased unconventional oil production is greater than those presented by experts in the oil industry. At a conference in China at the end of September Laura Atkins presented a prognosis that could, instead, see maximal production of unconventional oil in the USA at 4 Mb/d, i.e. 20% lower than the IEA’s estimate.
She made the following comments regarding the prognosis (Source: Hart Energy and Rystad Energy):
The first area where shale oil began to be produced was Montana’s section of the Bakken field. As shown in the figure above, this area already reached maximal production of shale oil in 2006 at 9 million barrels per quarter, i.e. 100,000 barrels per day. We do not know at which level the falling production rate will level off but it could be 50,000 barrels per day. If this production profile is characteristic for the Bakken field then production in North Dakota will also reach a maximum within a few years and then decline to a level of about half the peak rate. This means that a plateau of US shale oil production lasting 15-20 years from around 2020 until 2035 or later that Laura Atkins presents probably is unrealistic. All together, this means that the prognosis made by the IEA for the maximal rate of shale oil production in the USA may be an overestimate by around 2 Mb/d.
Production of 3 Mb/d of shale oil will not transform the USA into a