An example to explain the worry

Yibal decline
Originally uploaded by Heading Out.
I have mentioned that there is a big concern that production at the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia could go down very quickly at a certain point in the production of the field. The reason for this worry is that they are using similar techniques to get the most oil out fastest as were used at the Yibal oil field in Oman.

Jean Laherrere has plotted the way that the Yibal field declined. If the largest fields in Saudi Arabia were to go the same way we would be in a world of hurt really quickly. However the Saudi's are trying something a little different, though I think they have only just started with it, that may help a bit.

The oil is pushed out of the well by underground pressure, and to keep that pressure up both the Saudi and those in Oman inject water below the oil. But as the water level rises it starts to reach the well and mixes with the oil. As time goes on more and more of the flow from the well becomes water rather than oil - at Ghawar, now, water is more than 30% of the flow. Unless the inflows can be controlled then this will steadily get worse to the point that the field dies.

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There is a great article today with links to video and all at

I wish you had an email or suggest a story link so I would not have put it here on the comments :)

Love your blog BTW...

That is a very, very disturbing graph.