ACS Paper Predicts Peak Oil Within the Next Few Years

In an American Chemical Society paper, "Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model" authors Ibrahim Sami Nashawi, Adel Malallah and Mohammed Al-Bisharah propose:

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 totally 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 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. On the basis of 2005 world crude oil production and current recovery techniques, the world oil reserves are being depleted at an annual rate of 2.1%.

It looks like this is an interesting attempt to adapt Hubbert Linearization to other factors. It is interesting, and the major news sites seem to have taken notice, which is good. That said, they seem to be using high estimates for Kuwait, perhaps because the paper comes out of a Kuwaiti University. But I think what's important is the degree to which the paper validates Hubbert's methodology. You can quibble about the OPEC projections, or any given figure - since reserves are such a contentious subject, what I think is more important is that it is coming out of an OPEC country, with a peak date in the near future.

Sharon

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