Forecasting world crude oil production using multicyclic Hubbert model

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Publication date: 2010-02-01
First published in: Energy & Fuels
Authors: I.S. Nashawi et al


The year 2008 has witnessed unprecedented fluctuations in the oil prices. During the first three-quarters, the oil price abruptly increased to $140/bbl, a level that has never been reached before; then because of the global economic crisis, the price dramatically plunged to less than $50/bbl by the end of the year losing more than 64% of the maximum price in less than three months period. The supply of crude oil to the international market oscillated to follow suite according to the law of supply and demand. This behavior affected oil production in all exporting countries. Nonetheless, the demand for crude oil in some developing countries, such as China and India, has increased in the past few years because of the rapid growth in the transportation sector in addition to the absence of viable economic alternatives for fossil fuel. The rapid growth in fuel demand has forced the policy makers worldwide to include uninterrupted crude oil supply as a vital priority in their economic and strategic planning.

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 data driven, which allows a continuous updating once new data are available. The analysis of 47 major oil producing countries estimates the world’s ultimate crude oil reserve by 2140 BSTB and the remaining recoverable oil by 1161 BSTB. The world production is estimated to peak in 2014 at a rate of 79 MMSTB/D. OPEC has the 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. By 2005 world crude oil production and current recovery techniques, the world oil reserves are being depleted at an annual rate of 2.1%.

Published in: Energy & Fuels, Volume 24, Issue 3, February 2010, Pages 1788–1800
Available from: ACS Publications

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