Is Peak Oil Real? A List of Countries Past Peak

This is a guest post by Praveen Ghanta, known on The Oil Drum as praveen. Praveen is an IT consultant in Atlanta, with degrees in economics and computer science. This was originally posted on Praveen's blog, at

Only 14 of the 54 oil producing nations in the world are still increasing their oil production. The era of cheap oil is definitively over, as shown below.

Is peak oil real? The BP Statistical Review of World Energy provides the data needed to answer this question. Using the 2009 edition, I have compiled a list of all oil producing countries and regions in the world, along with the production status of each, ordered by year of peak production. BP groups minor producers into categories like "Other Africa", and "Other Middle East", and that notation is used here. All production numbers are quoted in thousands of barrels/day.

Country Peak Prod. 2008 Prod. % Off Peak Peak Year
United States 11297 7337 -35% 1970
Venezuela 3754 2566 -32% 1970
Libya 3357 1846 -45% 1970
Other Middle East 79 33 -58% 1970
Kuwait 3339 2784 -17% 1972
Iran 6060 4325 -29% 1974
Indonesia 1685 1004 -41% 1977
Romania 313 99 -68% 1977
Trinidad & Tobago 230 149 -35% 1978
Iraq 3489 2423 -31% 1979
Brunei 261 175 -33% 1979
Tunisia 118 89 -25% 1980
Peru 196 120 -39% 1982
Cameroon 181 84 -54% 1985
Other Europe & Eurasia 762 427 -44% 1986
Russian Federation 11484 9886 -14% 1987*
Egypt 941 722 -23% 1993
Other Asia Pacific 276 237 -14% 1993
India 774 766 -1% 1995*
Syria 596 398 -33% 1995
Gabon 365 235 -36% 1996
Argentina 890 682 -23% 1998
Colombia 838 618 -26% 1999
United Kingdom 2909 1544 -47% 1999
Rep. of Congo (Brazzaville) 266 249 -6% 1999*
Uzbekistan 191 111 -42% 1999
Australia 809 556 -31% 2000
Norway 3418 2455 -28% 2001
Oman 961 728 -24% 2001
Yemen 457 305 -33% 2002
Other S. & Cent. America 153 138 -10% 2003*
Mexico 3824 3157 -17% 2004
Malaysia 793 754 -5% 2004*
Vietnam 427 317 -26% 2004
Denmark 390 287 -26% 2004
Other Africa 75 54 -28% 2004*
Nigeria 2580 2170 -16% 2005*
Chad 173 127 -27% 2005*
Italy 127 108 -15% 2005*
Ecuador 545 514 -6% 2006*
Saudi Arabia 11114 10846 -2% 2005 / Growing
Canada 3320 3238 -2% 2007 / Growing
Algeria 2016 1993 -1% 2007 / Growing
Equatorial Guinea 368 361 -2% 2007 / Growing
China 3795 3795 - Growing
United Arab Emirates 2980 2980 - Growing
Brazil 1899 1899 - Growing
Angola 1875 1875 - Growing
Kazakhstan 1554 1554 - Growing
Qatar 1378 1378 - Growing
Azerbaijan 914 914 - Growing
Sudan 480 480 - Growing
Thailand 325 325 - Growing
Turkmenistan 205 205 - Growing
Peaked / Flat Countries Total - 49597 - 60.6% of world oil production
Growing Countries Total - 32223 - 39.4% of world oil production
Only 14 out of 54 oil producing countries and regions in the world continue to increase production, while 30 are definitely past their production peak, and the remaining 10 appear to have flat or declining production [1]. Put another way, peak oil is real in 61% of the oil producing world when weighted by production. Since 2008 capped a record run for oil prices, most countries and oil companies were trying all-out to increase production. While a handful of producers (think Iraq) might be limited by above-ground factors, the majority of producers simply couldn't do any better in 2008 [2].

The evidence of the demise of the cheap oil era has become insurmountable. In the face of the highest oil prices on record, the great majority of the world's oil producers were incapable of taking advantage and producing more oil. Many nations including the US saw their oil production peak decades ago - there simply is no turning the clock back. This list shows that we are relying on a small number of countries to keep providing cheap oil. We need to move faster to alternatives and greater energy efficiency, before the last fourteen peak as well.

* More information on these countries:

  • Russian Federation - Russia's oil production collapsed by the early 90's as the Soviet Union collapsed, but despite a decade of growth, Russia's own oil execs don't think the old peak can be surpassed.
  • India's production appeared to plateau in 1995, and has stayed within a steady range since. The EIA forecasts Indian oil production to remain flat or decline slightly in the near future.
  • Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) hit a production plateau in 1998, though current production is still very close to 1999 peak levels.
  • Other Central & South America - The remaining countries of the Americas hit a production peak in 2003, though it's still too soon to know if this will be final peak.
  • Malaysia has been on a production plateau since 1995, and the EIA projects flat or falling production.
  • Other Africa - Oil production in much of Africa is potentially impacted by above-ground constraints, so it's definitely possible that production will rise here. It will rise from a low base of only 50,000 bpd however, and may not have much impact on total world production.
  • Nigeria is impacted by domestic insurgencies in its oil-producing regions, and may be able to lift production if the political situation improves.
  • Chad's oil production history is too short to definitively identify a peak in production, but the drop-off since 2005 has been dramatic.
  • Italy has been on a production plateau for over 10 years, and it's unlikely that a mature economy is significantly under-exploiting its resource potential.
  • Ecuador's production grew rapidly until 2004, but has leveled off and declined somewhat since then.

[1] To be considered past-peak, a producer's current (2008) production has to be at least 10% less than its best year, and the best year must have occurred prior to 2005. Some countries' production has been artificially constrained by political and other non-geological considerations. But in some of these cases, it will be difficult to pass an old peak because decades of depletion have occurred since that peak. Iraq peaked in 1979, making it all the more difficult to pass that now.

[2] While OPEC maintains formal production quotas, it is widely believed that only Saudi Arabia had true spare capacity in 2008, while all other OPEC nations were producing at capacity. The truth is unclear, since OPEC nations do not provide detailed reserve statistics for their oil fields.

Total has created its own short list of oil producers past peak, and Wikipedia has a list here.

Gail, thanks for a very informative post.

There is always a lot of confusion when looking at any list of oil production because of the difference in what the databases are tracking. You are using BPs data that includes all crude oil plus condensate plus NGLs. The IEA's data includes crude+condensate, NGLs plus all other liquids such as biofuels. The EIA does the same thing but their data on different countries is C+C only. That, the EIA, is the database I use almost exclusively.

Nevertheless there are no glaring contradictions concerning peak dates between BP's Crude + NGLs data and the EIA's C+C data...except one. And that exception is Equatorial Guinea.

According to the EIA Equatorial Guinea peaked in 2004. Using monthly data, their peak month was December 2004 at 393,000 bp/d. The last data the EIA provides is for April 2009 when Equatorial Guinea produced 329,000 bp/d a decline of 16%.

On a yearly basis, Equatorial Guinea produced 365,000 bp/d in 2004 and the average for the first four months of 2009 is 329,000 bp/d a decline of 10%. And both the yearly chart and a monthly chart of their production shows a clear and consistent downward trend since 2004.

On another note, Non-OPEC, which produces approximately 58% of the world's crude, peaked in 2004 and also shows a clear descending chart. 2008 non-OPEC production was skewed downward because of the hurricanes in the GOM and serious gas leak problems in Azerbaijan, shutting down massive amounts of oil production there. So I expect 2009 non-OPEC production to be either flat or a slight increase over 2008. However taking that into consideration, the downward trend of non-OPEC production continues.

Ron P.

If Praveen is using the BP database, it doesn't have the benefit of 2009 production yet. Once that is in, it will no doubt clearly show Equatorial Guinea is post-peak. If the only difference is one small country which is close to borderline, the methodology is doing pretty well.

Darwinian, I actually like the BP data because it includes all fossil fuel liquids - so it makes for an easy top line number. Good catch though - I will edit the original post to be clear on what's in the numbers.

When I wrote the post, I had in mind friends of mine who really haven't bought into the reality of peak oil yet. I was aiming to show in a simple way just how far along the curve we are. When I couldn't find any comprehensive lists, and when I found the BP data set (very nicely compiled and easy to use), I thought this would be a good way to express the point.

I also think 2008 is a good cut off year for comparison at the moment, because 2009 production is impacted by the financial crisis (reduced investment) and by reduced demand as a result of the global economic slowdown. The fact that oil producing countries couldn't just magically turn on the taps in 2008 (or in 2004-2008) provides a good rebuttal to many of the naive arguments out there.

I recently compiled a list of about 15 exporters that have slipped into net importer status (in the past 20 years) or that are showing recent net export declines. Without exception, all of them showed a net export decline rate that is in excess of their production decline rate (or rate of increase in production in the case of China). Furthermore, all of the former net oil exporters--China, Egypt, the UK and Indonesia--showed an overall accelerating rate of decline in net oil exports.

The most scary future scenario will be Iran. Already in 2007 we were warned:

"..... export extinction in 2014–2015 is preceded by a decline to 33–46% of 2006 exports by 2011. Notice, however, that export declines are substantial, even in the least likely, most optimistic scenario. Because government revenue could be sustained only by rising price in all scenarios, absent such a price rise political challenges might overwhelm the regime long before exports go to zero."

Friday prayer in Tehran, 17th July 2009

The pnas document is interesting, with its calculations of the amount of investment needed. I don't remember seeing it before.

Sam's projections for Iran are a little more optimistic, with a middle case of 2029 for Iran approaching zero net oil exports, within a range from about 2020 to 2041.

In any case, there is a Drumbeat story about OPEC ("Spike, then slump in oil prices. . . ") that was reported from Cairo, which has a small element of irony. Egypt's final production peak was 1996, and from 1996 to 2006 their production dropped by 28%, while consumption increased by 29%, resulting in a 97% drop in net oil exports. The overall 10 year production decline rate was -3.3%/year, with an overall net export decline rate of -29.3%/year. Egypt became a net importer in 2007. EIA net oil exports/imports for Egypt:

Thanks, wt. Would it be possible/difficult to add export data to Gail's list to get some idea where we are in country by country detail with actual oil available on the world market. If this has already been done somewhere, a link would be much appreciated. Thanks again.

I'll second that request please.

Matt asked me to post this forecast by Dr. Bakhtiari of Iranian production / consumption:

The forecast can be found at

Matt has superimposed EIA's production data on the same graph with Dr. Bakhtiari's forecast.

IIRC, the Iranians have subsidized gasoline prices, and they are obscenely low. Ultimately it is the exports that they sell that help to pay for this. When the exports start to drop it will create a huge financial problem for them.

Sam's low case for net oil exports pretty closely matches Dr. Bakhtiar's projection. Here is Sam's production & consumption outlook for Iran:

Saudi Arabia continues to show export declines to IEA member countries. In March and April 2009, exports were below 3.5 mbd, well down from January and February even though Saudi Arabia's crude production has stayed constant at about 8.1 mbd from January to April.

It appears that Saudi Arabia has less oil to export as internal oil consumption increases at high rates. Saudi Arabia's oil consumption increased by 40% from 1.44 mbd in March to 2.01 mbd in May 2009. May 2009 consumption was 18% greater than May 2008.

One reason for Saudi Arabia's increasing oil consumption is that natural gas shortages are forcing the use of oil to generate power as stated in Leanan's Empty Quarter article from today's Drumbeat.

Hello Ace,

Thx[S] for the KSA update.

IMO, the best National Security Strategy for the Saudis is to continue to move up the 'Element Value Chain' by increasingly extracting recovered-S for hoarding and high dollar S-sales later, plus exporting only finished petrochemicals and other finished goods, such as DAP, MAP, Urea, etc, by continually ramping industrial vertical integration.

IMO, this is the only way KSA will be financially able to stay ahead of their rapid pop. growth with its young population's vast need for vital desalinized water, A/C, and food imports as KSA's FF-depletion inevitably kicks into rapid-rate postPeak decline, sometime in the years ahead.

Although ELM-importers won't be happy reading this: KSA exporting raw crude only allows those importers downstream to reap the profits when they refine and further chem-process these Elements. Let's hope KSA can ramp Solar & Windturbines everywhere faster than their oil & natgas depletes. They sure cannot eco-engineer their countless miles of sand dunes back into lush Gardens of Eden in any forseeable timeframe.

Maybe not.

I actually suspect this path is effectively closed now. As the absolute volume of oil produced decline we will have massive overcapacity in all upstream operations. The only profit in the oil industry will be from producing existing wells with lower lifting costs than the current market price. Sure KSA can expand its upstream industry but why ? And next remember NG plays a huge role in upstream operations its really NG+Oil once your talking about upstream activities from refineries to chemical plants.

We simply don't need but a fraction of our existing upstream infrastructure and thus the oil producing nations have no way out as oil exports decline. This also include things like shipping and even Gas stations pipelines etc etc. Everything but pumping oil will be in a deep depression over the next several years.

Right now most of the upstream part of the oil industry is operating at a loss or minimal profit this can't last forever. Same for NG for that matter.

The collapse of the upstream oil industry from absolute declines in the volume of oil produced is probably the biggest issue thats been overlooked on theoildrum.

My sincere congratulations on your realization of the need to use punctuation and your greatly improved sentence and paragraph structure. Your values and analysis are too valuable for TOD's readers to be lost in a fog of word strings...

Thanks for the effort you have put into making it easier to understand the brilliant thoughts that you have been expressing ALL ALONG.

I had a few brewskies before that post maybe thats the key :)

Sometimes my writing seems better now. I still can easily go off the deep end.
I think dyslexia is a shitty problem to have its really aggravating I don't know for sure
if things came out right or not :) And of course I think fairly convoluted to begin with so
its not just a problem with expressing my self but translating my whacked way of thinking into
something that might transmit.
But my problems seem to make me a damned good programmer and I get paid well so .. :)

It makes the most sense for natural gas producers to move up the value chain. Natural gas is much more expensive to store and transport than oil. So shifting all NH3 (ammonia) production to Persian Gulf natural gas producers makes the most sense.

Also, the US government ought to encourage natural gas producers in the Middle East to build pipelines to their oil producer neighbors to maximally displace oil with natural gas for all industries that can just as easily use natural gas (e.g. electric power generators).

The US should also provide technical assistance and training to Saudi bureaucrats on how to administer regulations on efficiency of appliances, buildings, and manufacturing processes.

However, having said all that we really need to focus on getting ourselves ready.

So then Saudi crude exports have peaked? Did they peak in Dec 2004 or earlier?

I'd like to see a post similar to this one but oriented around when countries peak in exports rather than in production.

This is all academic of course - what we should be more concerned with is peak oil demand. The market can take care of itself. If the consumers demand more oil, than the invisible hand shall provide either more oil or alternative energy supplies which meet the same requirements oil. Everyone yaps about 2008 proving peak oil - oil demand actually started dropping in LATE 2007, it was therefore future speculation which pushed up the price of crude in 2008 (which i believe to be a good thing). Peak oil - yes, but peak demand.

Prayer To the Invisible Hand

Invisible Hand, Most Gracious and Giving Hand, I pray to you that you abundantly bless us with alternative energy. I know that you recognize, our need for a substitute to our daily supply of oil. Oh,Invisible Hand, I send up to you a prayer request for an energy blessing.

Invisible Hand I know that for you nothing is impossible, you just will it and it will happen. I thank you in advance for your magic. Release your alternative forms of energy that I may be a good steward over all that you have called on me to be in my energy Blessings with high EROEI.

Invisible Hand, for I know how wonderful and mighty you are and how if we just believe in you and and your magic powers and have the faith of a jathropha seed that you will pour out energy. I thank you now Oh, Invisible Hand! for the recent free energy I have received and for more free energy yet to come because I know you are not done with us yet.

In BAU's Name, I pray,


LOL! Sleight of the Invisible Hand.

That is great--if a little sacrilegious.

The key to understanding magic is to watch the hand you are not supposed to watch. Yet if the hand is invisible, what to do?

... scratches head

Brilliant! I rate this the most hilarious comment on TOD!

I copied it over onto the site for Oil Drum staff members--in case any missed it.

I noticed that Venezuela peaked the same time as the US and has declined at about the same overall percentage.

In the context of the Invisible Hand, I wonder what the analysis would look like from the perspective of the political science behind production rates?

Do countries with national oil companies have higher or low rates of depletion post peak? Do they have peaks that occur sooner or later from time of first discovery, etc.?

I think I know the answer to this without even doing the analysis, and perhaps it has already been done at TOD, but this looks like a good opportunity for review.

And if people say: "Hey, let's just let the market into those places that are closed to production from major oil companies" we'd have some good data to sort out if this will make a lick of difference.

In the context of the Invisible Hand, I wonder what the analysis would look like from the perspective of the political science behind production rates?

I also wonder how the analysis of the true costs to the environment and the ecological debt incurred will play out in the various political arenas of the impacted countries. I doubt that even the Invisible Hand, will be able, with a wave of itself, to easily clean up the mess.

venezuelan oil fields Pictures, Images and Photos

If the consumers demand more oil, than the invisible hand shall provide either more oil or alternative energy supplies which meet the same requirements oil.

That this is illiterate is strangely appropriate.

The market can take care of itself.

It shur can! And damn everyone else.

As I see it, peak price and peak demand are just opposite sides of the same coin. We have it embedded in our brains that the peak will come with peak price, but that isn't necessarily the way it is. You need credit to keep expanding for price to keep going up. But credit can only keep expanding as long as oil production keeps expanding and (as a consequence) the economy keeps expanding. When credit collapses, demand drops, price drops, and production drops.

But credit can only keep expanding as long as oil production keeps expanding and (as a consequence) the economy keeps expanding. When credit collapses, demand drops, price drops, and production drops.

Damn! That is so obvious, so blatantly obvious. Why cannot everyone see that?

Hell, who am I to talk. I was totally oblivious to this fact just one year ago myself. But we live and learn. Well, at least some of us do.

Ron P.

As it loses it's power-source, it seems that the invisible hand has now got at least one, visible finger..

or to put it less vulgarly, the Market sure is providing.. but only providing us with a lesson about outgrowing our resource base and not making our own plans to foresee where such actions will lead.

To let our future depend on a process that is completely REACTIVE.. well, you get what you pay for. Plus Interest.

This is not fair or true. There are lots of alt-technologies coming online. When they can compete they will take over.

Would you propose moer proactive efforts? Then maybe we could be out a few 100 trillions and have plenty of corn ethanol plants to boot. Maybe California would've figured out space based solar.

I would be all for a carbon tax, but other than that, I think gov't would just mess stuff up.

What we need is more transparency so people understand what is coming. Then the market will react better.

I'm all for the functional ALT-E technologies, the ones without clear environmental damages caused, including water resources strained..

but how much of that Lack of Transparency has been a function of healthy Market-Driven forces? XOM lying about climate science, GM buying up and dismantling Trolley Systems, "Cigarettes aren't addictive", etc etc.

It was the undermining of AntiTrust, Fair Use Doctrine, and Substantive Energy Regulation, and Nutritional Science to keep people actually healthy.. that are how Businesses have thrived without having to be answerable to the real needs of the society, and in fact, profiting off of the resulting diseases.

The 'players' in the Market have certainly been capable of looking ahead and not just reacting..but they have looked ahead to find ever more gluttonous ways to capture markets, to cheapen labor costs, and to make people addicted to inferior products, including the drugs that forestalled the health-risks from other products.. it has all been about the 'Captive Market' .. not the Free Market.. and has been continually revamped to improve the tools to mislead and deceive.

Don't know how long you've been on this site.. but the Alternatives that are coming online are WAY behind schedule, while XOM can look all innocent and wide-eyed about their scoring the largest corporate profits in the history of the planet. But the Market thanks you for your loyal support.

Are you agreeing with me or disagreeing? Yes, those companies profitted off of lack of transparency. That seems like a strong argument for more transparency. Then companies not doing that stuff will do better, one would think.

Behind schedule for what? To precent a crash? A crash is fine. It sets a new doable equilibrium from which to move forward. We had debt and loans in the 40's even though it took till the 50's to reach the same levels of GDP before the Depression.

'A new Doable equillibrium?' Good luck with that.

We don't know what kind of a crash we're in for, and we don't know what we can rebuild from it with. The 'Behind Schedule' means we're not using what margin we may have to build out some resilience for energy needs. Look at American Oil Production through those 40's and 50's.. that was a truly Herculean amount of power that enabled us to rebuild. It wasn't any invisible hand. It was the kind of 'invisible power' that we don't KNOW that we'll have access to again.

RE: Transparency
'Then companies not doing that stuff will do better, one would think.' If the LACK of transparency was so profitable, then exactly who in these companies is going to be insisting on changing that? How would those in such industries feel that they would keep people buying unnecessary plastic items, highly profitable junk food, junk pharma and excessive energy if they let it be known that many of these things were not actually improving the consumer's quality of life, their health or their pocketbook?

This is all academic of course - what we should be more concerned with is peak oil demand.

Peak demand is falling net energy. Neoclassical economics does not deal well with energy. This is one reason why biophysical economics is growing.

If you actually want to understand what is happening, then here are a few places to begin reading:

Here is an overview of why dropping net energy causes a contraction in the non-energy sectors of the economy.

"Peak Oil, EROI, investments and the economy in an uncertain future"

The following papers give a great detail of information about why the next energy transition will be far more difficult than the last. In short: because oil is the best transportation solution we have ever found, the market will fight against the transition the whole way.

Energy Grades and Historic Economic Growth

Energy Transitions Past and Future

Ten Fundamental Principles of Net Energy

If you want some insight into how the market will handle the energy transition, ask yourself why wind power drops in investment every time the production tax credit is cut. And how many years a market powered transition would take at the lower levels of investment. It is always worthwhile checking ones assumptions against reality.

The demand in producing countries that subsidize the price of gasoline should be examined. Certainly KSA, Iran, Mexico, Venezuela and other producers grow their economies and oil usage with subsidized oil. This subsidizing has the effect of reducing exports. At some point,given the price of getting new oil, oil in the ground is worth more than oil sold on the spot market for some NOCs and a few IOCS. In an oligopolistic oil producing market, the invisible hand theory doesn't work very well. The gross indebtedness of this Country, together with the weak currency puts additional strains on the invisible hand theory.

One of the premier examples of former net oil exporters becoming net oil importers--because of a rapid increase in consumption--is the US. We went from finding our largest Lower 48 oil field, in 1930, to a net oil importer in only about 18 years.

And probably the fastest all time record high decline from major net oil exporter status to net importer was the UK, which showed a very slight increase in consumption over the decline period.

By the way, tongue in cheek time again :-) Yeah, my typos didn't help.

As a career long chemical engineer I consider myself a member of the “invisible hand” society. We invisible hands can turn coal and gas into liquid fuels, chemicals, fertilizers, plastics, synthetic fibers, etc. We only require materials money machines, manpower and methods to make products that are essential to the modern economy and that have gotten cheaper over the decades. We have squeezed every inefficiency out of our processes and consistently produced more from less until we are approaching the limits of thermodynamics and technology. We are concerned now because the extraction costs of resources are exceeding our ability to use materials and energy more efficiently. Also, alternate energy and materials require more capital equipment, with its embodied energy and materials, which implies rising real costs. This is contrary to the Productivity Miracle of the last two centuries and means the end of the economy as we have known it.

It is one thing to look at the economy at a high level as an economist and quite another to understand the intricate details of production. Only a couple of economists understood that persistent high unemployment during the 1930’s was the result from the electrification of factories, agricultural mechanization and electrification. But the falling costs of production plus new technologies like appliances, radio, television, plastics, etc. led to a new era of the highest prosperity known to man.

A Century of Innovation: Twenty Engineering Achievements that Transformed Our Lives.

Myths of Rich and Poor: Why We’re Better Off Than We Think

Yes industrialization played a big role. But remember working along side the rapid technical advances during the time period where rapid "advances" in finance to underwrite the technical expansion. For our new depression one can see the expansion of computer technology as playing the modern equivalent to electricity.

One can literally spend your life looking at how what your saying works and esp if you throw in oil. Its a fascinating set of unique events that we take as business as usual.

One of the reasons I think we are on the verge of a deep collapse is that the marginal returns for technical advancement is declining rapidly twitter is not equal to a hydroelectric dam. And the hidden real costs are surfacing i.e. all the real costs with things like the green revolution must now be paid. So you have every hidden real cost coming due at the same time that technical advances really don't offer any more growth.

This is not just a mand made problem nature suffers this problem also. After and extinction event speciation provides huge benefits but as the ecological niches fill further tweaks and changes to the species offers less and less advantages. Sometimes even mother nature does something stupid like creating a smart ape that uses thinking to adapt instead of slow genetic modifications. But I suspect she has learned her lesson.

Yes. Also, looking at this one from the USA perspective, the USA does not stack up well against China going forward. The most powerful corporation in the USA is Goldman Sachs. The old saying was "what is good for GM is good for America"-I haven't heard one person try to sell that one using Goldman (except Barack). The Chinese stimulus program got a rapid and powerful response because that was the intent-the contrast with the USA "stimulus" is stark. IMHO the USA economy overall is being shorted and people are slow to accept this reality.

Yet another insidious twist in the age old plot :)

This is the other unsolvable problem which is concentration of wealth. Wealth begats wealth. Overtime it become increasingly harder for innovation to displace the status quo. In technology the striking example is Microsoft vs Linux. Only be effectively giving up on the traditional model of building software for profit has linux made advances agianst MS. In mother nature this can be seen as the creation of the top predator that has no natural enemies once one is established on destruction of the food chain displaces a top predator. There is in my opinion no natural answer to this problem only by recognizing it and forcing the system to recycle can you prevent it from happening. In nature this is accomplished because the predator prey relationship is unstable and subject to collapse. With humans its a bit more difficult since the collapse of the cycle can be messed with to allow top predators like Goldman and Sachs to continue to feast well past the survival level of the host middle class.

Thus instead of a cycle you get extinction. Perhaps the reason we had large dinosaur extinctions for example was not because of a direct killing of the top predator but because a natural event killed to many of the prey to fast leaving the system unbalanced i.e the bottom up collapse leads to extinction as the top survives to long. If you think about it this is exactly whats happening in the US with the bottom rapidly collapsing while the top uses its power to remain in power. If my conjecture is correct then and extinction event is certain.

This sort of unbalanced system also tends to decay explosively i.e collapse should increase rapidly. Given that this relations ship between top and bottom is also a sort of stair step in our society with each level resisting change to the maximum of their political power from the poorest illegal immigrant to our adored supreme leaders at Goldman we can also see its got a lot of amplification as every level viciously guts the level below. Thus it starts with intense competition over who gets to take out the trash and clean the shit off the babies of investment bankers and ends with the death of said investment bankers.

In America per capita oil consumption peaked in 1978.

Gail: Great posting. The big 4 decliners on a barrels per year basis from peak year are Mexico, UK, Norway and USA. Interesting setup for North America.

If you take out FSU and OPEC, the remainder is definitely declining. In fact, it peaked in 2002, with more or less a plateau from 2000 to 2004. Once the "Other" category started declining, FSU and OPEC either couldn't grow fast enough to keep world oil production growing, or chose not to. I think it is probably couldn't.

FSU ??

Sorry, I must have missed something.

EDIT: Oops, I got it! Former Soviet Union. (Slaps forehead.)

Gail and me did this post in March 2008:

The Disconnect Between Oil Reserves and Production


I should have updated Fig. 6 with the new BP data but I was too busy with writing submissions. Our governments here in Australia are doing one nonsense after the other (new free-ways, high-way upgrades, road widening etc)

We don't even have time for metro tunnels anymore:

Abandoned rail lines rusting and rotting away, overgrown by bush:

Thanks for these Matt. I really enjoyed the Tunnel Metro article. And I have been looking for the Horizon presentation since seeing that CERA graph, so I appreciate the link!

One of the things that I find interesting about the Total list linked in the article is that they actually call a Peak for Saudi Arabia in 2005.

I think the other thing that is interesting is that Total is an oil company. You wouldn't find Exxon-Mobil saying that. Some in the middle might say we need to conserve.

The prevailing opinion is that renewable energy can never be more than a footnote to the total energy picture. Therefore we must rely upon coal, nuclear, or lasers in outer space to supply the energy necessary to continue the human experiment as we face decreasing supplies of cheap fossil fuel energy.

As anyone who has visited there knows, Germany has a climate with poor solar energy potential, very ordinary wind energy, and a relatively high population density. Thus this study and computer simulation of a renewable energy mix capable of supplying 100% of Germany's future needs should be of interest to anyone who hasn't carved out an ideological position on the subject. Go to, and sharpen your pencils to see if you agree.


I watched the video - impressive. I would like to believe in this potential and am not ideologically predisposed in any direction. But, I do have concerns and would like to see some of the TOD folks weigh in on this.

- Does the sophistication level of the technology involved make it fragile/vunerable in any way?

- In a declining oil world, is there time enough to build all this stuff on a grand scale?

- Are there inherent flaws to this design due to a scarcity of materials that might arise on a large scale build-out?

- They mention mid century for 100% electrical supply - is this soon enough? And, does this include increased electricity for transportation purposes?

- If successful, would this result in a fortress problem for a highly advanced country like Germany versus the many countries that could never begin to build this type of infrastructure?

- Given adequate solar, wind, and biomass potential in the US, is this scheme really doable here?

I'm sure there are many other questions - but, it seems to me that this should be an important topic of debate. If the potential is all the video claims, then the world should be on a war footing to implement this technology. If there are serious flaws in this scheme, then they should be made evident.

Anyway, thanks for the video link and hopefully we will see more comment on this.

Large scale power systems operate more efficiently and require less manpower to operate and maintain and take fewer materials to build per equivalent output. Thus the trend to very large scale. For example, the largest steam turbine in 1903 was 5 MW. By the 1960's they were 200 times that size.

Power equipment such as boilers, turbines, generators and motors increase efficiency with size. With electric motors the efficiencies increase in a curve from around 50% at less than 1 hp to 80+ percent around 200 hp, although premium efficiency motors have been introduced in recent years. Also, new permanent magnet motors for appliances, HVAC and such are much more efficient. Simply upgrading to new high efficiency motors would save enormous amounts of energy.
Combined heat and power (CHP) uses discarded heat at the low end of the thermodynamic cycle for process or building heat, although 50 psig steam has a considerable amount of exergy which could be used for work or electricity generation. Hot water, or warm water, from the condenser at the end of the cycle is almost free energy. The problem is that it is unrealistic for neighborhoods to have steam turbines although there are some near a power plant, as in New York city and a few other places. In those cases it is the low pressure steam that is used.

Household power plants have always been possible but not for the non-mechanically inclined who are more likely to burn down or blow up their house, get carbon monoxide poisoning or pay exorbitant repair bills. I think it would be more practical to upgrade HVAC equipment and insulate homes than to install local power plants.

Ethanol may be a good fuel to use for CHP because it is clean burning and somewhat safer than gasoline on a neighborhood or household scale.

Time wise, it generally takes 55 years to be halfway through a transition such as in canals to railroads to highways to airlines.

I believe that 55 years would also apply a 50% replacement of housing to passive standards. High efficincy HVAC 50% replacement should only take 8 years and it has been about 3 years since 13 SEER AC has been the minimum.

The automobile fleet could have 50% replacement in 7 years if we had plug in electrics available. It is almost too late for hybrids because fuel will be unaffordable before we reach 50% replacement. Internet carpool matching/ride sharing will probably become popular when fulel gets scarce. Such a system should be a high priority national defense item.

The streetcar system of 1900-1920 was a rapid implementation with some cities having very well developed networks, only to be halted by autos and be peryed on by jitneys (jitney: a multi-pasanger taxi named for slang meaning 5c nickel coin)that front ran streetcars stealing their passengers.

Looking at early streetcar photographs of Canal St., New Orleans circa 1905, you see nothing but streetcars, six lanes of track wide, and a few horse drawn wagons (the best photo is not on a website). This was 12 years after the first line, St. Charles Ave., opened. There was no automobile traffic, thus commuter and pedestrian friendly. Over the years the number of automobiles increase and the number of streetcars decline. Buy 1964 there are no streetcars in the photos. (New Canal St. line opened 2004)

The St. Charles line is still operating, being the oldest continuously operated electric railway in the world. Two competing technology demonstration streetcar lines were previously built for the 1884 World Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition(100 years after the first cotton exports to England) at the site of what is now Audubon Park. The one mile streetcar lines carried steamboat passengers from the Mississippi River to the fair grounds.

This simulation is a "thought experiment" and as such draws an artificial boundary around a space called Germany. If the EU or a future political entity were to attempt to become energy self sufficient it would incorporate a much larger geographical diversity and hence the problem of matching energy input to demand cycles will be much easier to solve. (See developments in the DESERTEC proposal to link giant CSP projects in north Africa to the EU power grid)

In reality energy can be moved over long distances with very little power loss over HVDC lines. For example, in the US we move raw low quality coal from Wyoming to Georgia by train at a BTU/mile cost that is 5 times higher than moving the same energy in the form of electrons on a high voltage DC wire. There is no technical reason why North African solar, North Atlantic offshore wind, and Scottish tidal energy sources cannot serve as the background of the EU energy system. Such a system would certainly be more robust than dependence upon gas pipelines from Russia----.

The North American continent dwarfs the EU space in renewable energy potential. If fully exploited its solar resources alone could supply all our energy needs. A mix of ocean energy, geothermal, solar, hydro, and wind interconnected with a 20th century distribution grid could eliminate entirely the need for fossil fuels as energy providers.

But isn't modernizing the grid and integrating renewable energy sources impossibly expensive? Compared to the two trillion dollars the US has poured into the effort to militarily control the Middle East and gain access to the last cheap oil? Compared to the the hundreds of billions the Obama team has squandered in the first six months of it's Billions for Banksters program?

So do I think the political will to create a sustainable energy future can develop? Individually humans are capable of incredible intellectual achievements but remain socially conditioned animals. Collectively we seem to be no more intelligent than lemmings and are hell bound for the same fate.


...could eliminate entirely the need for fossil fuels as energy providers...

So do I think the political will to create a sustainable energy future can develop?

This is fairly frustrating. One one hand, we have your POV that PO, GW, and other energy problems can be resolved in a manner that allow humans to continue to enjoy life on our planet - probably not BAU, but neither the 4 horsemen. On the other hand, we have ignorance of the issues, disinformation, apathy, and "faith" in a blessed future (and whatever else).

The critical issue is - is your vision really feasible (my hope being that it is)? If it is, then we should be on a war footing to realize that vision. But, the silence is deafening. Notice how few TOD folks commented on your post.

What is it that I'm missing here? What is the fatal flaw with this idea, or why are we

hell bound for the same fate

If you are interested in how Germany is doing with developing its wind power you may find the article in the IEEE Spectrum of interest. It can be found at

It does not look good for wind power.

Hi Poppo,

The Spectrum article raises some interesting questions:

- Would Germany be much closer to reaching its goals for generating electricty from wind if (magically) the NIMBY and animal protection faction had never objected to the original turbine placement plans?

- Would Germany be much closer to the goals if they had started right away on improving the carrying capacity of their grid?

Mostly what I got from the article was information about the political difficulties in trying to implement their plans. I didn't see alot that would suggest that the technical feasibility was flawed if there were no political problems. Perhaps rolling backouts and lines at the petro station would make windmills more esthetically pleasing to have in one's backyard.

I'm still trying to understand if their proposed model is inherently flawed and would not work anywhere - as some have suggested.

Thank you Praveen for doing the leg work here. This is one of the simplest arguments of "why peak oil is real". It is hard to argue that elephants don't exit when 40 of them just trampled through your camp. Same with peaked countries.

Praveen and Gail:

I am surprised that this statement has not been corrected:

All production numbers are quoted in barrels/day.

Obviously there should be a (000's) omitted somewhere.

In the 1996 dedication issue of the Hubbert Center Newsletter, L. F. Buz Ivanhoe claimed that the BP data was suspect. The data was supplied by bureaucrats from various countries often with no verification by petroleum experts. For various reasons some countries may have exaggerated their reserves. Has this situation improved? Can the current BP data be trusted?

BP data now seems to track well with EIA data -- so it seems as good or bad as EIA data.

The line with EIA crude (and condensate) + 65% of other liquids is intended to be an estimate of the energy content of the liquids. The number for 2009 is YTD through April.

Thanks for his summary - the trend is hard as bedrock.

I have been looking for a some what detailed GLOBAL 'ALL HISTORY' CUMULATIVE OIL PRODUCTION chart/ tabel - with little success.

Can any of you point me in a proper direction - the chart has to go at least back to the initial decades of 1900's ? Thx upfront!
The chart should have a shape 'like this'... ALWAYS INCREASING.

Have you tried Jean Laherrere's work at ASPO France?

thx Jon for this. I will be checking this some more. I know my order is tall- "'MY chart" is hard to come by - and if I see one it is only a 'rough sketch'-type. But keep on hinting folks ..

Why don't you just add up the data from BP's excel-file ?

They have the production data from 1965. As production wasn't that high before you can simplify by extrapolating the earlier data (e.g. a linear or exponential fit starting at 0 in 1990).

You can also take some ideas from here
for the USA, being the largest oil consumer.

thanks drillo, Egil I presume ?

The thing is : I need a more detailed info from earlier oil history - and BP, EIA , IEA is 'not having' those data - to my knowledge - if some one know of such a source I'd encourage them to point me to it :-)

Brazil is listed as a country that is expected to increase production. I don't think that it will increase much more as a peak plateau could be entered within the next year.

Colin Campbell also forecasts a peak plateau starting about now for Brazil from his Jan 2008 newsletter.

In contrast, Petrobras expects Brazil's production to continue increasing towards 3 mbd in 2013, according to slide 37 of 2009 Strategic Plan.

Petrobras has just released their production figures for June 2009 and a decrease occurred.

The decrease happened because of scheduled outages and production ending on the FPSO Capixaba which will be detached from the Golfinho field.

The FPSO Capixaba, capacity 100 kbd, started production in mid 2006 from the Golfinho field.

In a May 2009 presentation by Petrobras' president, slide 13 stated that the FPSO Capixaba would be moved to Cachalote/Baleia Franca fields in the first half of next year.

It's surprising that FPSO Capixaba has only been in production on the Golfinho field for just 3 years, mid 2006 to mid 2009. That seems a very short time to me and is perhaps indicative of high decline rates in some of Brazil's offshore fields.

The chart below shows Brazil's annual capacity additions from 2006 to 2009 and production rates from Jan 2006 to Jun 2009. There are about 1.7 mbd of capacity additions from 2006 to 2009. Most of the capacity additions would have started by now and production has increased by only 0.25 mbd from Jan 2006 to Jun 2009. That increase appears very small in comparison to the gross capacity increase of 1.7 mbd. I think that the reason for this small increase is that Brazil's production from existing fields is declining at about 10% per year and that actual production additions are only about 65% of capacity additions.

The EIA May and June data are estimates derived from adjustments to Petrobras May and June data.

Brazil's production will grow from 2008 to 2009 by about 0.16 mbd but it appears that 2009 crude and condensate production will be just below 2 mbd, an an annualised basis.

The growth from 2009 to 2010 is estimated to be a lower 0.1 mbd as many of the capacity additions occur later in 2010.

The sub salt Santos basin may have huge potential but ramp up will probably be very slow due to huge technological challenges. Wood Mackenzie estimates that Santos production should increase "from a very minor 4,000 b/d oil in 2008 to some 675,000 b/d in 2015 and perhaps 1.3 mbd in 2020."
Santos production increases should be significant but the slow ramp up indicates that Brazil's total crude and condensate production will probably stay below 2.5 mbd.

Hello Ace,

Thxs for the Brazil info. Your Quote: "I think that the reason for this small increase is that Brazil's production from existing fields is declining at about 10% per year and that actual production additions are only about 65% of capacity additions."
A Peak-Oiler, but still in the closet? IEA’s 2008 Report
By Matt Simmons • on November 17, 2008

..As we fill up the funnel with ever-more new and small fields to compensate for the decline from the old Giants, we can see how it will accelerate global decline rates.

We have here analyzed “observed decline rates”-those in decline after investments have been made in the fields to slow the natural decline rate. “Natural decline” is when you just pump without maintaining or more drilling in the fields. It is like what happened in Russia post-1989.

The global natural decline rate for post-peak fields is 9%. This figure is expected to increase to 10.5% in 2030. Based on the tables above one has to ask oneself if this is being too cautious.

Two other interesting data points in the report: the IEA’s own analysis gives a world-wide natural decline rate growing from 8.7% in 2003 to 9.7% in 2007, in only 4 years. Similar findings were referred to in a Goldman Sachs study, where the natural decline rate for 15 major oil companies rose from 10.6% to 13% in the space of 5 years (2001 to 2006).
Perhaps your 10% decline is too optimistic for Brazil offshore? Yikes!

My speculative 'She comes down from Yellow Mountain..' postings [describing my 'Recovered-S Hoarding' proposal] allows immediate cash inflows so that IOCs & NOCs can continue some enhanced degree of E & P plus workovers; to hopefully reduce this accelerating, 'above-ground financing crisis' decline-trend, while at the same time somewhat crushing global FF-demand to hopefully be less than the accelerating, 'below-ground' geologic depletion.

In other words: since the recovered-S amount/barrel is expected to increase as we move to extracting from ever smaller flowrates from heavy & sour sources--it would best serve the IOCs, NOCs, and Natgas Corps to get an ever greater % of their revenue and profits from a high price/ton of S.

My thinking is this could be the Optimal Overshoot Decline method to get a 'best-case' fat-tail downslope versus the fast-crash shark-fin. IMO, selling recovered-S for the shipping cost/ton, or even less/ton, only further enhances my Rogue Wave Theory:

My thxs to the work of TODer Praveen for this keypost--It is always good to look at postPeak countries in as many ways as possible. Now if only we could get more up-to-date & accurate data on expected decline rates...

BTW, are the TOD Editors still trying to retrieve access node 5482 on TOD:EUR? It still doesn't work...aaarrrrgggghhhh!

My favorite Bloomberg story in recent months was about Brazil taking market share away from OPEC--pretty neat trick for a net oil importer, which Brazil was as of 2008 (EIA).

David Strahan also has an interactive map of countries which has passed peak and countries yet to peak.

It looks to me like Strahan is a fair amount more optimistic about some whose production is currently down. Strahan's peak dates:

Saudi Arabila - 2019
Canada - 2034
Ecuador - 2015
Nigeria - 2013
Congo - 2013
India - 2011

On a web site, it is hard to know how recently forecasts have been updated.

"Put another way, peak oil is real in 61% of the oil producing world when weighted by production."

Won't this percentage be declining as production in the post-peak countries becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of total world production?

Five years from now do we want to have people saying "Peak oil was real in 61% of the oil producing countries when weighted by production 5 years ago, but now it's real in only 57%"?


Ah but as the increasing countries reach their individual peaks they will be transferred to the list of declining countries. We are not adding (significant) new countries to the list of increasing countries. Eventually, as the last country peaks, 100% of oil will be from declining countries.

"To be considered past-peak, a producer's current . . . production has to be at least 10% less than its best year."

How many, if any, of the present pre-peak countries will become post-peak countries in the next 5 years?

Gail, great post (as ever).
One question though -- and maybe I'll slap my forehead too -- but what does the notation " 2005 / Growing" mean in the "peak year" column? Does it mean, for example, that some think that Saudi Arabia peaked in 2005 and others think that its production has not yet peaked?

I assume that it means a rebound in production to a level below the 2005 rate. On a total liquids basis, the EIA shows a -1.0%/year production decline rate for Saudi Arabia, from 2005 to 2008, with a -2.7%/year net export decline rate.

This is not really my post, but a guest post. I would assume that it means that it is too early to tell whether the country really had a peak in 2005. Production might in fact rebound, and exceed the 2005 level.

Thanks for this overview. I did the same last year with similar results. As far as I remember the statistical data from BP look more "pessimistic" than from other sources (iea, eia etc.), maybe due to other oil types included (biofuels etc.)

Instead of looking at the past-peak nations it is becoming increasingly important to have a closer look at the few nations with steady or rising exports. This list becomes even shorter if you substract those nations that have already announced a production peak or plateau, like Angola (after 2010) or China (between 2020 and 2030).
As far as I remember the few countries that won't peak soon can be counted with one or two hands - and it will a handful of OPEC countries.

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