The Top Twenty Fields: Are They in Decline? What Do We Know? (Updated)

Taking the lead from this thread over at, I thought a discussion of whether or not the top 20 fields were in decline, and then consolidating that into a reference resource would be a good idea.  Under the fold is the latest list with the sources beside the field.   Is this all we know?
1. Ghawar Unknown
2a. Burgan CONFIRMED DECLINE ~14% (Source)
2b. Cantarell CONFIRMED DECLINE ~14% (Source)
3. Bolivar Coastal Unknown
4. Safaniya-Khafji Unknown
5. Rumaila Unknown
6. Tengiz Unknown
7. Ahwaz CONFIRMED DECLINE ~64% (HOLY CRAP!) (Source)
8. Kirkuk CONFIRMED DECLINE Need Source
10. Gachsaran Unknown
11. Aghajari CONFIRMED DECLINE (Source)
12. Samotlor CONFIRMED DECLINE ~ 9% (Simmons' book IIRC)
13a. Prudhoe Bay CONFIRMED DECLINE ~11% (Multiple sources)
13b. Kashagan Unknown
14. Abqaiq I don't know, but have you seen the cross section? It's all water!
15. Romashkino Unknown
16. Chicontepec Unknown
17. Berri Unknown
18. Zakum Unknown
19. Manifa Unknown
20. Faroozan-Marjan Unknown
21. Marlim, Campos CONFIRMED DECLINE ~8% (Source)
please keep this data coming, it's why I keep coming to tod.
thanks for your hard work
I haven't seen anything about this yet on TOD, has this topic made the rounds in USA MSM? The Guardian reported yesterday about a ship:

The US Geological Survey is lining up a project with BP and Statoil to find oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean, under the auspices of a flagship scientific initiative intended to tackle global warming.

There seems to be a scramble by all the members of Big Oil to try and tap whatever resources there maybe in the arctic now that the ice is receeding due to GW making previously impassable areas easier to get to to survey and potentially drill.

Some UK scientists, notably Professor Chris Rapley, Director of the Antarctic society, are "very uncomfortable with a project that simply was out to log the hydrocarbon reserves of the Arctic as a geological activity. I don't think that fits very comfortably within either the scientific guidelines or the ethical underpinning of the IPY" [International Polar Year]

The Guardian points to some geologists reasoning for this but doesn't mention who they are

Geologists estimate that a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves lie under the Arctic, and analysts have predicted a 21st-century goldrush to tap them as the Arctic Ocean's ice cover retreats.

I'd like to know where this fits into the above table of proven reserves etc. I haven't found any more info that backs up this estimate, and I'm a bit cautious to believe it. If there are huge fields to be found in the arctic, should they be drilled? Theoretically if a huge new supply of resources came online, should we be encouraging it in light of climate change? Well, the clear puritan answer is no, but what do people think about postponing the peak versus preventing climate change. If we are facing a serious energy gap before we can implement any better solutions or reduce our consumption, should we risk more climate change problems and global warming as a last resort to prevent die-off?

I've brought this to the table but I don't know very much about the science, please enlighten me.

There's another related article here
And oil hit $72 Guardian attributes it to Iran, and mentions in the likelihood that it will stay there: "There could be spikes higher but the long-term trend should be down" hmm.

Venezuela Buys Oil to Meet Contracts

Another one to add to the list of Decliners?

Well, if they aren't in decline then this guy will be sure to help get them there.

Meet Dave Givens, an electrical engineer from Mariposa, Calif. Five days a week he drives 186 miles one way from his home to Cisco Systems Inc. in San Jose.

That's a round-trip journey of 372 miles a day, a drive that takes a total of seven hours.

He makes the trip five days a week and has been doing so since 1989.

Givens' commute means that every year he's motoring about the same distance as driving nearly 40 times from Richmond to Los Angeles -- a distance of 2,293 miles.

Givens was crowned "the ultimate road warrior" by Midas Inc. this week, the culmination of the muffler maker's search for "America's Longest Commute."

Givens out-drove thousands of other entrants for a grand prize of $10,000 in gas money along with four Bridgestone tires with a total value of $470.

The contest was part of Midas' celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Explaining his mind-boggling commute, Givens said in a statement released by Midas: "I have a great job and my family loves the ranch where we live. So this is the only solution."

Mariposa is in the Sierra Nevada mountains, near Yosemite National Park.

More here:

Thanks for that bit of grim amusement to accompany my morning coffee!  (I think this qualifies as an example of "gallows humor," right?)
Mariposa IS a nice place, close to Yos etc, been through there many times myself. But good lord, he works for CISCO!! If anyone should be able to telecommute 3 days a week it should be this guy...a knowledge worker for the biggest data switch/router manufacturer in the world. WTF is wrong with these people?
yea i have to agree with you. cisco has made their routers and switchs almost completely configurable remotely. for security reasons no less.
Cisco is reputed to be very telecommuter-friendly, both because it leads the industry in this technology, but also because of its location-- lots of its workers live a good distance from the high-priced San Jose area.

But the article says this guy is an electrical engineer (not IT engineer), so maybe he's soldering, making cables, testing components, or whatever an electrical engineer does at a company like Cisco.

Seems to me that either this guy really loves to drive a lot, or he has no choice due to the nature of his job.

He would probably use less gas flying a small plane and have more time with his family. There are people who do that in California. A Cessna 172 burns 1/2 the gas at twice the speed as a large SUV.
Truth is, though, it doesn't do any real good to hammer the people who do this stuff. Not yet anyway. There's no reason not to do this stuff until you understand the reasons not to. We ALL way overconsume compared to what's really sustainable.

When we get serious, this kind of thing will either be prohibited or subject to severe disincentives. And there will have been tons of programs and propaganda explaining WHY.

I don't mean that those of us who are aware shouldn't hold ourselves to a different standard. But until the whole society is restructured, making it feasible, it's difficult --- as you all know.

So exposing wretched excess, and commenting on its utterly
absurd nature is no good? I think pointing out what's wrong is
the first step to change, not waiting till all hell has broken loose.

It's the fire under the arse that gets attention, not complacence.

I would hardly describe what this guy is doing as 'feasible'.  This is far in excess of what most people would consider doing.

They didn't say what kind of car the guy drives - not that it makes any difference in terms of how long it takes to get to work, but the guy must be spending a fortune on gas too.

It would be interesting to hear what type of vehicle is being used for such massive commutes - a Hummer H2 would surely contribute to peaking!
This guy probably gets almost zero time with said "wife and kids who love living on the ranch."

Methinks perhaps marital bliss is a little short in their family.

Perhaps he does the commute to GET AWAY from the wife/kids?? Just theorizing here, wildly OT. (Sorry!)

Thxs for more info, Prof. Goose!

I am assuming all 21 of these oilfields used water pressurization to help sweep the oils to the boreholes.  Have most of these fields used superstraw technology like horizontal drilling, bottlebrush drilling, multi-directional branchdrilling, etc, to help them deplete faster than normal when they rollover peak production?  If that is the case, then all these large fields will probably decline greater than 10% a year-- Yikes!

So what should we expect for the total World decline rate?  How quickly will the geological decline drive the logistical decline down even faster?  It seems like energy depletion will be too fast for societies to economically mitigate--things will just spiral down out of control.

Of course, that means Westexas & Khebab's theory of accelerated importing depletion will be real ugly when it becomes evident.

Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I think that is why Matthew Simmons and others have placed such importance on water injection and so called "advanced" extraction techniques, because they throw out old depletion models, and change the downside curve...the peak comes virtually with no warning, and there is not as great a likelihood of a "flat topping" type plateau....

The concern may be great enough now to consider some emergency moves for critical transport over to CNG and Propane.  Of course, they are fossil fuels, for the renewable purists out there, but we may have to live with that to diversify out of "gasoline only.  We need a five way spread of 5 segments or so....gasoline of course, Diesel, of course, Propane, easily done and extracted from both natural gas and oil refining, some CNG in places where natural gas is relatively plentiful, (it won't be cheap, but it is still there in many places, and battery electric for in town taxi type and very short delivery work (think of the British electric milk floats and Postal delivery)
Notice I skipped bio fuels until we can show that they are not going to cost us more in natural gas than just burning the gas as CNG.
Local police and infrastructure maintainence fleets MUST seriously look at splitting their fleets, so that they can be able to use what ever fuel is available just in would be better to have a few police cars or phone or electric line maintanence vehicles sitting still that have the whole fleet shut down.
We cannot guess what the time situation is on needing to this, it may be next month or it may be 10 years, but the contigency planning must be there.

Maybe we'll be seeing more of this...:)

A New Crime Fighter, for $10 in Hay and Oats
(New York Times article today--you need to be registered.  I wanted to post the picture but I don't know how)

You, like Hirsch, missed the best partial solution to transportion, electrifing it by wire, not by battery.

  1. Electrify our freight railroads (like EU & Japan, and Russia is going great guns).  Move intercity freight to rail.

  2. Build Urban Rail plans already in development (Miami's "Subway in the Sky" is in active development for a 103 mile system that will put ~90% of the population within 3 miles of a station).  Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, San Jose, St. Louis, etc. all have active plans in development and more can quickly be developed (faster than propane cars can be built).

  3. Electric trolley buses on busy routes.

  4. Many more bikeways, even taking lanes from cars & trucks,

All three can be done faster than fleet conversions, infrastruture developments, etc.

Again, my paper is at:

Following is a summary for an article that I submitted to the Energy Bulletin.  I realize that I have a bias, since our March article predicted a decline in net export capacity, and since we are seeing a dropoff in US imports.  However, any production/import declines after the 50% of Qt mark are potentially far more important that declines before the 50% mark.  Fundamentally, there is only one market for light, sweet crude oil in the US (in the absence of SPR demand):  refineries.   If US refineries didn't need the light, sweet crude, I don't see how prices could be this high.

Proposed Summary:

The recent run up in oil prices since mid-February is widely attributed to geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.  However, an analysis of recent weekly total petroleum import numbers, supplied by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), suggests a different reason--total petroleum imports into the US started falling dramatically in the week ending February 10, 2006.  Therefore, an alternative explanation for the recent run up in oil prices is that US oil companies are having to bid up the price of light, sweet crude oil and of refined products, because of declining supplies worldwide.  

Thanx for the info, WT


Brent crude traded over $72 for a while today.  Kind of sounds like a bidding war between the US and Europe for available oil supplies.
Great.  First we'll bid up the price, then we'll buy some of it to repay the amount we "borrowed" after last year's hurricanes, uh?  Oh well, just run those printing presses faster!

Does anybody have real data on that IEA borrowing and returning issue?

Another reason for higher prices and tight export capacity 4084158.html

The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, who meets US president George Bush in Washington this week, said on April 16 that the Chinese economy grew at a pace of 10.2 per cent in the first quarter, faster than forecast. That might boost consumption in the world's second-largest energy user, where first-quarter oil imports rose 25 per cent.

For those interested, westexas article has just been published on Graphoilogy.
Can you put the countries next to each field name just for quick geographical reference?  I know about 1/2 of them, but it may be helpful to us less-knowledgable folks outside the industry.
The original article has them: it...and for those that don't want to flip back and forth.

Field, Country Size estimate

1. Ghawar, Saudi Arabia 75-83 billion barrels
2a. Burgan, Kuwait 66-72 billion barrels
2b. Cantarell, Mexico (often listed as a large complex of multiple smaller fields) 35 billion barrels

  1. Bolivar Coastal, Venezuela 30-32 billion barrels
  2. Safaniya-Khafji, Saudi Arabia/Neutral Zone 30 billion barrels
  3. Rumaila, Iraq 20 billion barrels
  4. Tengiz, Kazakstan 15-26 billion barrels
  5. Ahwaz, Iran 17 billion barrels
  6. Kirkuk, Iraq 16 billion barrels
  7. Marun, Iran 16 billion barrels
  8. Gachsaran, Iran 15 billion barrels
  9. Aghajari, Iran 14 billion barrels
  10. Samotlor, West Siberia, Russia 14-16 billion barrels
13a.Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, USA 13 billion barrels
13b. Kashagan, Kazakhstan 13 billion barrels
  1. Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia 12 billion barrels
  2. Romashkino, Volga-Ural, Russia 12-14 billion barrels
  3. Chicontepec, Mexico 12 billion barrels
  4. Berri, Saudi Arabia 12 billion barrels
  5. Zakum, Abu Dhabi, UAE 12 billion barrels
  6. Manifa, Saudi Arabia 11 billion barrels
  7. Faroozan-Marjan, Saudi Arabia/Iran 10 billion barrels
  8. Marlim, Campos, Brazil 10-14 billion barrels
hello everbody,

two questions, i don't know, where to post it...i already
asked the questions at yahoo(energyresources), i'm trying do do some reserch on it..

1a)what countrys are planning to price oil in euros, instead of usd..(is there anything going on..iranian petroleum exchange..etc)

1b) how credible are those plans ?

i need reliable background information, if possible.

thanks in advance...
thomas (germany)

The WSJ had an article yesterday on plans by Middle Eastern oil exporters to diversify their investments away from the US and into Japan and Europe.  
This is really an interesting question.  What do we have of value to offer oil exporters in exchange for their increasingly valuable oil?  There are legitimate questions about the wisdom of holding US debt.  One problem with buying assets in the US is that we use so much more energy per capita than Europe and Asia.  More energy efficient countries will do better post-peak that less energy efficient countries.

I think that the exporters are going to be thinking long and hard about:   how much oil that they want to sell; how fast they want to sell it and what they want in return for the oil.

We have arrived at Peak Oil with massive debt in a country where the majority of Americans live off the discretionary income of other Americans (e.g., Starbucks; Disney; Las Vegas; the list goes on and on) and a highly energy inefficient lifestyle where millions of people drive large Urban Assault Vehicles large distances to and from large mortgages.  

We are probably even now a net food importer.  So the question arises.  What do we have to offer in exchange for oil.   In effect, the question I am asking is:  what is a dollar worth?   If an exporter does not want to hold US debt or stock or buy US assets directly, why would they want to accept payment in dollars?    Look at the recent trends:  rising oil prices; rising gold prices; rising interest rates and falling petroleum imports.

Perhaps we have been literally reduced to threatening violence against exporters, via our military forces,  if they don't accept our dollars.  

In any case, as Jim Kunstler said, whether we like SUV's or not, we are going to be forced to change our lifestyles.   I predict that for sale signs in remote suburban areas are going to be spouting like weeds.

Following are my suggestions for a post-peak US:  

Economize--try to reduce your spending to 50% of current income.  Assume that you just got a 50% pay cut. What actions would you then take?

Localize--try to reduce the distance between home and work to as close to zero as possible.  Assume that gasoline costs about the same as Norway, $7 per gallon or more.  What actions would you then take?

Produce--look into becoming or affiliating yourself with a net food producer or net energy producer.  Or at least try to work with a company that provides basic needs, instead of "wants."  Today, the majority of Americans live off the discretionary income of other Americans.  Assume that US discretionary income drops by 50%.  What industries would you want to be in?

We need to radically rethink the kinds of careers that young people should go into, and parents need to think very hard about going into debt to unleash yet another law school graduate on the country.  

To your last point WT, what are your thoughts on good industries to be involved with?
Food; energy; energy conservation; basic energy efficient housing; basic energy efficient transportation; basic health care; repair and maintenance; water.

In a nutshell, you want to go long on companies that provide needs, and you want to go short on companies that provide wants.  This applies to countries too. On that basis, the US is a giant "short."  

In Thom Hartmann's book, "The last hours of ancient sunlight," he has a metaphor for the US economy.  He described a company that he consulted for years ago that was developing a new word processing program.  They went through several rounds of financing, each time expanding the company and moving to ever larger offices, until one day he stopped by and they were gone--offices empty. They had run out of money and couldn't raise any more.   The bottom line was that they had the appearance of great economic activity, but they never delivered a product.  

The US economy has the appearance of great economic activity, but how much of the US economy is dedicated to providing what we need to survive on a daily basis?

As I have said before, it may not be too long before US born college graduates are competing with illegal aliens for agricultural jobs.

The tragedy is that so many American families are going ever deeper into debt to support the big car, big commute and big house lifestyle--because people like Yergin are telling them that high energy prices are a temporary phenomenon.  

You might also want to invest in Community Supported Agriculture.  There's an organic farm here in Colorado where not only can you sign up for a share of the produce, but you can also spend a week working on the farm learning to grow your own.  Great idea!

(I Googled Community Supported Agriculture--over 32 million hits.  Shouldn't be too hard to find one in your area.)


right on the money with your post.  I keep hammering on the U.S. manufacturing sector.  How many physical things do we actually make in the U.S.?  Things like stoves, gloves, solar panels, wind turbines, food, lumber, metals, starch polymers, resistors, printed circuits, cement, etc. etc.  All these things require a process to convert something simple into something complex.  We only make a fraction of these now where we used to make all of them within our borders.

These needed products are required in our economy before we can build the wants of fashion, restaurants, entertainment, software applications, houses, vehicles, etc. on top of.  We take for granted that the needs will always be there to build on.  Bad assumption, IMHO.


I couldn't agree more.  For a number of reasons, I believe the lack of manufacturing will prove to be the Achilles heel for the US.

First, when the US$ tanks, imports will dry up beacuse no one will be able to afford them. This, in turn, will cause economic devastation since our economy is based upon washing each other's laundry.

Second, the US will not have the capital resources to bring the off-shored manufacturing back, especially when coupled with trying to adapt to less available energy.

Third, the vaunted energy efficiency (GDP per joule or whatever) of the US economy will seen to the the shame that it is.

As someone once said (roughly!!) oil may only represent 5% of the economy but try running the other 95% without it.
I am sadden that no one is playing devil's advocate or at least pointing out some issues with the argument that US does not have much substance to provide to the world besides entertainment like already mention.

US and the G7 combined own almost all the know-how on advanced manufacturing.  If you look at China and India, you will see that their manufacturing and engineering work are 100% dependent on the G7's technology and equipment.  Yes, manufacturing in US has been declining by a lot and it is outsourced to China and other countries.  The key here is that advance equipments and knowledge are coming from US in these factories.  Whenever China wants to built a new advance food factory, they have to come to US or other developed countries for equipment and services.  Until US loses the edge in advance technology, then US is doomed.  Many experts claim it is just a matter of time, but they have been wrong for the past 50 years.  Not even Europe who were supposed to surpass US in the 60' and 70's failed to so.  Japan in the 80's and 90's failed.  Will China and India succeed?  Most experts said it will be 20 years before they join Japan and Europe, so it will be at least 30 years or more before they can challenge US.

A note in point- Turbine technology, US had the lead in this, but in the 80's and early 90's, Japan thought they had caught up with US.  DOD with GE came up with a new turbine that is over 30% more powerful.  It can withstand more heat, etc.  This is not only for aircraft engines, which was what DoD was interested in, but also, powerplants, etc.

This is just one example.  There many from chemicals to motors, etc.

Second major point is that despite the rising price of oil, oil exporting countries like in Middle East are very undeveloped and if they had copied their spending habits in the 70's and 80's, these countries will be running big deficits.  The cost of providing a higher standard of living is way too expensive and most of the technology of this increase of living standard comes from US.

As I see it, the US has benefitted from a lot of bright immigrants that came here for more opportunities, to escape repression, etc.  Thus we have a surfeit of brainpower and creativity.  

If the US is no longer perceived as the land of opportunity, however, and if fewer bright minds escape to the US, will we continue to lead in all these areas?

How good are we going to look to immigrants when we're in the throes of a slow squeeze, or worse?  How good will we look after a few more questionable elections?  What happens when we start to look like a banana republic?

that's the way I see it, it's called brain drain
I absolutely agree that US is built by immigrants and continue to do so.  Just look at the top researchers and how many are foreign born.  

I think what's important here is that US graduate schools are being decimated especially those that specialze in techinical areas (espeically computer oriented).  Whether we want to admit it or not, graduate schools depend upon bodies.  

Not only are foreign schools far more competitive technically and financially, but some foreign students have had problems re-entering the US after visiting "home".  There have been several articles about foriegn students being denied re-entry in "Chemical and Engineering News."

Further, H1-B visas have whacked the hell out of salaries.

It's not that H1-B visas have whacked salaries, it's that they have whacked the immigrant's rights to their own intellectual property. With an H1-B visa, you are indentured to a particular company and can't leave and do as startup of your own with your own idea.
I do know that US immigration issues post 911 is hell for visiting students and yes, some grad students are denied entry.  I also want to point out that outside of computer- chemical, physics, and math are all dominated by foreigners.  Biology is mix- especially environmental biology.  

A few clarification points about H1-B Visas here:

1. H1-B has a small but significant effect on capping salaries.  During the dot com boom, many jobs went unfilled instead of hiring less qualified.  Also, salaries were checked, except for top engineers.  Companies rather leave jobs unfilled.  This point to salary increases will be limited with or without H1-B.

2. Employees under H1-B do not just go home when fired or layoff.  They get a period to find another employer.  In reality, many do not know that, and also, many feel their opportunities of finding other jobs are limited.  The fact is that H1-B employees are less likely to leave than non-H1-B.

3. Administration costs for hiring H1-B may be very high especially for corporations and large size firms due to bureaucratic paperwork.  For small companies, this is simpler as cost of administration is simply cheaper and less legal administration.  In short, for the first year of employment despite lower salary, H1-B will cost more on average in Fortune 500 firms than non H1-B.

If you look at China and India, you will see that their manufacturing and engineering work are 100% dependent on the G7's technology and equipment.

Seems to me we used to say similar things about Japan, as recently as the '60s.  Then they started kicking our butts...

It was also said back then that they would shortly rule the world/pass the us. Instead, their economy stagnaeted on account of internal inefficiency/lack of competition, particularly in services like banking, and their old/young ratio is climbing fast because, in japan, their was no baby boom. In China, their lack of democracy and, again, lack of competition in services such as banking, and their own old/young ratio on account of one child policy, will lead to similar difficulties.
Actually, I beg to differ.
People were calling for the rising sun in the eighties and early 90's, but Japan fell behind.

As I said earlier, EU and Japan were thought to overtake US, but they failed miserably.  It might change later on, but China and India at best will be the next Japan or Europe in the next 20 to 30 years.

If I were US, I will love China and India to rise to the ranks of G7.

So, who is the largest exporter? Its the country with the largest imports - us. While it may seem impossible to convert from a net importer to a net exporter, it will happen very fast, no doubt with some pain - and, our energy imports will decline as we reduce our consumption to below europe's current consumption/capita. The us still has many advantages, including being one of the world's largest, maybe the largest, energy producer.
Germany recently passed the US as the world's largest exporter.

I have long searched out and bought "Made in USA" goods.  The last (or one of) US eyeframe maker got my business (Artcraft from memory).  Just recently cannot find US made underwear.  Still a few socks.  US made shoes are par excellance (I like Cole Haan).  And money spent on good shoes is money WELL spent !

One VERY good thing about US made goods, they are now high quality.  To survive, the only market niche for higher cost goods is high quality.

Nations that will do well postPeak Oil are Switzerland, Germany, France, Brazil among others.

One must remember that money to oil exporters does not evaporate.  Some is invested but most is spent.  Those that sell today to OPEC, Russia et al will likely sell to them tomorrow (US sells food, arms & Boeing).  Brazil sells food & Embraer (but is self sufficient in energy), etc.

The sock business is going away. My cousin Rachel (an economics professor in North Carolina) studies the North Carolina sock industry and it's circling the drain. It only survived so long because a sock doesn't have much labor content.
So, who is the largest exporter?

Germany - $1016 billion (2005)
USA is second with $927.5 billion (3.5 times the population)
Then come China and Japan with $752.2 and $550.5 billion respectively.

Total Germany, China and Japan's imports are $1884 billion - just 9% over the US imports of $1727 billion.

Personally I find this statistics quite scary.

I think you'll find the US is still the world's largest exporter (goods and services).

Germany is the largest goods exporter.

[Actual 2005 figs for US were $892.5b goods, and $378.6b services, total $1271.1b]

Very succinct.

When reading other sites, not even especially conservative, it is stunning to see how Americans think of their economy as being something the world should emulate, and how American economic prowess is as much a given as America's military prowess.

When viewed from another perspective, neither seems to be based on much concrete or relevant any longer (apart from thousands of nuclear warheads and their varied delivery systems), but Americans still write things like how an embargo of German or French goods would hurt such weak and declining economies. Or how all the German engineers want to live and work in America, since unemployment is so high in Germany.

In its way, sort of like discussing peak oil in the sense of looking in Alice's mirror.

Interestingly, some of what I read just today talked about how Germans need to be educated to the world leading American level, how Germany needs a better education system so they could compete on a world level like America does, and how Germany is facing a disaster with its declining population, tired social welfare system, and outmoded economic practices.

I don't even bother to waste the time to comment anymore.

But thanks for a very compact contrast.


As I have said before, it may not be too long before US born college graduates are competing with illegal aliens for agricultural jobs.

Illegal immigrants that will be recognizable by the fact that they are overwhelmingly hispanics if I understand correctly. And that is a sure road to severe ethnical tensions.

Mind you, I am an European therefore I am not sure if my understanding is correct but I have the idea that worldwide ethnical tension will be one of the direct results of peakoil and the struggle for scarce resources. People in need tend to stick to agroup since that strengthens them. They will try to identify themselves as part of a group. Those groups will be on the basis of religious believes or on the basis of ethnicity. At least that is my great dark fear.

 It is not far wrong to say that the US borrows money from energy vendors to buy their oil so the US can devote itself to meddling militarily in their backyards.

 WT also brings up another critical point with regard to fiat currencies. Most countries in the world maintain a reserve of dollars. They need those dollars to defend their own currency if it were to come under speculative attack. It is this use of the US$ as a world reserve currency that has given the US its priviledged financial position vis a vis other states.

 Once states see the US$ as weakening they will move out of dollars into another "stronger: currency. The is little point to defending weakness in your own currency with another, possibly even weaker, currency.

 The result of this will be some form of world financial crisis. I suspect this crisis and the PO crisis will occur at the same time.

 I don't know how this crisis will play out but I suspect that currency which is backed by oil reserves will hold its value much better than by currencies which lack such backing and that regions may seek to establish their own regional reserve currency in association with a major producer country in the same area.

Electrify and/or Walk/Bike Transportation

Get close to electrified mass transit.  Only major intercity transport is Amtrak's NorthEast corridor (used by many commuter trains as well) and Long Island Railroad.  Many cities with small or large electrified transit (Dayton Ohio has electric trolley buses, surprisingly enough).

Live where most trips can be walked, biked, or take electric mass transit.

Diesel bus public transit will be hurting with higher fuel prices.  Increased demand and less service.

I can suggest one thing that the US can offer aside from military threats. Weapons. If there is nothing else in the US worth buying you can spend some your petrodollars on acquiring some refurbished f-15s. Maybe you want some fragment bombs? How about discounted surplus anti-personnel mines? Nightvision goggles? There's plenty on offer. Wanna see them in action? Let me just pop in this CNN special and give you this copy of (Insert Jingoist/Militarist Name) Magazine.
The US is not quite exporting as many weapons as the rest of the world put together. Not yet. Maybe next year. I'm not kidding about the next year.
We [USA] are probably even now a net food importer

- I've heard this in various places recently, but wonder what it really means.  It's sometimes interpreted as if the USA, with its large endowment of agricultural land, has somehow lost the ability to feed itself.  Although there are serious problems with soil erosion and nutrient loss, and with falling water tables, I don't think that this "net importer" thing has much to do with that.  Presumably the "net" here means net money, not tons or calories.  Remember the story seen here (?) some months ago, about planes landing in Africa, offloading food aid (simple grains) and then loading with fish to be carried to Western countries?  That load of fish is likely worth many times the load of corn/soy/millet/sorghum.  Isn't the US still a HUGE net exporter of grains (as far as possible with the NOLA port operating at reduced capacity)?  When TSHTF we'll eat our own grain (and less meat).  It's Africans who will do the starving, at first, as Leanan keeps reminding us.

The most striking thing for me was when I saw (years ago) New Zealand, free range, eggs ... $2.75 for a half-dozen in a California supermarket.  I haven't seen those in a while, but my local market does have French butter.

It's funny to see relatively fungible foodstuffs sold on subtle differences, across thousands of miles.  I mean, even if New Zealand eggs or French butter were better, I'm sure they could be recreated somewhere in the California climate.

So I'm with you.  I'm sure in calories we are huge net exporters.

Our household income is about 1/2 of 4 years ago. I was permanently disabled 3 years ago and where my wife worked went out of business last year. We filed for bankruprtcy last Oct and are close to foreclosure now. I know no one would could live on 50% of current income and not experience bankruptcy and foreclosure.
Re:  Loss of your house

I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties, but I have been in the same situation. We were totally wiped out when oil prices hit $10 per barrel in 1986.   We moved from a renovated turn of the century Victorian house to a small two bedroom 1 & 1/2 bath apartment.  

Four years ago, if you had known that your income would be cut in half, what moves would you have taken then?  (Since you are on disability, one suggestion I would have would be to move to a low cost of living area in order to stretch your dollars as far as possible.)  It's a cliche, but I think that it is true that for every negative there is a positive and for every positive there is a negative.

I have no financial interest (or any kind of interest) in the Urban Survival stuff, but George Ure has a pretty good PDF file that you can buy for $10 on how to live on $10,000 or less per year.  Key recommendation:  arrange your life so that you can live without a car.  I'm sure that there is lots of similar stuff out there.

One way to get around mental blocks is to visualize success and then figure out how you did it.  The irony of our present situation is that we need to visualize contraction, which is the new "success."  Or to put it another way, "cheap is chic."

So I suggest that we all assume that:  (1) our income has been cut 50%; (2) gasoline prices are above $7 per gallon and (3)  US discretionary income has dropped by 50%.  This is the new reality, so how you do we deal with it?  

When the oil guys were wiped out in 1986, no one noticed because the pain was so concentrated and the benefits so diffuse (no one really noticed that gasoline was a little cheaper).  The irony now is that the benefits are highly concentrated (in the energy sector) while the pain is very widespread.   In any case, I am trying to do what I can to warn those who will listen. I have only half-kiddingly suggested to my oil patch brethren that we need to blend in--I have suggested a 1990 lime green Volvo with Greenpeace stickers.  This is not the time to be driving an H2 Hummer with a bumper sticker saying "I'm in the Oil Patch and I love $100 oil."  

> 1990 lime green Volvo with Greenpeace stickers

What about a white 1982 Mercedes 240D (manual tranny) with "New Orleans - Proud to Swim Home" bumper sticker and a "Rebuild New Orleans Now" magnetic ribbon ?

(A parody on earlier New Orleans - Proud to Call It Home, along with "Proud to Crawl Home". "Oy What a Home !" etc.)

BTW, about a dozen old M-B diesels in my neighborhood. My mechanic is 5 blocks away.

It is not sane to rebuild New Orleans where it sits now. Given the geology, within a century the issues will be massively worse even without global warming. You are aware that there is no continental shelf out past New Orleans? That New Orleans is right at the edge of the shelf anyway and sliding further south all the time? I don't think spending hundreds of billions now on New Orleans just to see it slide into 4000+ foot oceans in a few hundred years is a very intelligent thing to do. And if we add in global warming, it's even worse sooner.

Rebuild New Orleans... somewhere else. Choose a sane location this time and engineer for a thousand year city. Of course, we won't do that, and we will waste billions (probably trillions) rebuilding the existing mess only to have it totally hammered again and again over the next 50 years.

I oppose rebuilding New Orleans where it is now. A poorer application of domestic tax dollars is hard to imagine.


Phoenix, too.

Hello Consume More,

Agreed, the Phx, Vegas, Tucson, LA areas, and other Southwest cities are predicted to become mostly ghosttowns postPeak by Kunstler and Jay Hanson, among others. Our extreme energy reliance to distribute water will do us in.  It easy easy to forsee 50 million people moving to the Columbia River Basin up North, but hopefully the Northwestern part of the US will have seceded before that happens to become a sustainable biosolar habitat:

Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello totoneila,

Good luck to the Jeffersonians.  There is also of course a movement in Vermont to secede and form an economic partnership with Maine and several of the eastern Canadian provinces:

Can't blame folks for wanting to make their world better!

Maine and vermont would be in pretty tough straits if not for tourism from the rest of us - they have already destroyed their fisheries.
Vermont doesn't have any fisheries. Maine is doing great. Whatever wiped out the cod brought back the lobsters.
I have to agree.  "Managed retreat" is the way to go, and not just in New Orleans.
today is the 100th aniversry of the san fancisco earth quake. if we knew then what we know about the the fault that lies under it would we have rebuilt s.f.?
probably, we're pretty studid
SF, like NO, was built where it is now because of shipping. Both need people there to service the rest of the country. Most areas are to some extent natural disaster prone - consider all of the south re: hurricanes, and all low lying coastal areas, eg not just FL but also NYC, eventually to be drowned if/when antarctica melts.
I am quite aware of the geology and geophysice around New Orleans and we are NOT "sliding off the contintental shelf"

Not in oen hundred years, not in one thousand, not in tne thousand years !

Utter and complete BS !!!

More later on other BS points later when I have time.

It would cost only $20 billion or so for Cat 5 levees.  The cultural vaue of New Orleans is worth FAR more than that.  Justthe established infrasturture is worth more than that (costs more to moev than fix).

One cannot practically relocate the Port of New Orleans more than a few miles upriver.  We are the lowest energy transfer point between barge, rail and ocean shipping.  Simple fact.

Rebuilding elsewhere would create a New Phoenix, but NOT a new New Orleans. All that makes New Orleans unique and valuable would be lost, replacing by typically American smaltz auto culture.

Only 20 billion - that's around $40,000 for each of the 500,000 or so inhabitants.  Probably more than double if you exclude the non economically active.
Will they pay? or will the businesses which will benefit pay?  If not, the assumption must be that the value, both culturally and economically, of New Orleans to the rest of the country exceeds the rebuilding cost.
Don't get me wrong here - I will be very pissed off if New Orleans gets abandoned before I get a chance to spend some time there.  I also suspect that most folk would fight like hell to preserve their own home towns.
My point is that more and more decisions are going to have to be made about the cost of maintaining towns and cities in hostile locations throughout the world.  I am thinking of sea level rise, increasingly violent storms, perhaps also droughts.  This will be against a background of increasing project costs and decreasing wealth post peak.  This is going to call for some pretty serious and pragmatic cost / benefit analysis.
By the way - what was the assumption of fuel and material prices used in that 20 billion estimate?
Well, the Evergaldes cost $10 billion to save and the Chesapeake Bay $12 billion, billions more for Lake Erie.

How many millions for each alligator and blue crab ?

The Louisiana wetlands have greater economic and ecological value than Chesepeake Bay and the Everglades combined.

But just give us half of the offshore oil & gas royalties and we won't bohehr you again, our "fellow" Americans.

PS: I have learned several things after Katrina.  The United States is no longer a great nation and there is precious little sense of community among Americans.

New Orleans is THE premier living example on American soil of what can be EXTREMELY livable and enjoyable post-Peak Oil.  The "New Urbanism" movement owes more to New Orleans than any other source, and they still "haven't quite got it right".  They need to see and learn what New Orleans is and can become for a sustainable model for the rest of the US.

But so many here, and elsewhere, want to kill what is good to save a nickel.  That will be your downfall, because if you abandon New Orleans, then there is no hope for your soul !

May you live in "Greater Phoenix/Las Vegas" forever more.  And enjoy whatever bubble gum music you prefer.

But New Orleans is not what America should be, according to so many perspectives I grew up around. You might be surprised at how many of your fellow Americans might believe New Orleans was just a warm-up for when God really gets to work. Or that New Orleans being ruined was simply the logical consequence of  human decisions. If there is an earthquake of real destructive magnitude in SF or LA, the reaction will be much the same.

And this rapid fracturing into my interest/your problem is one reason (among a number) that the U.S. is unlikely to handle the challenges coming down the road.

I believe many Americans have no idea of what you are talking about in terms of intangibles being of true importance. And they also have no idea of what tangible means in terms of actual industrial engineering / export economics either.

After all, since America is such a big exporter of services, America can certainly afford to write off the world's 4th or 5th (I have seen conflicting rankings) port - no big deal.

My mind boggles at our 'fellow' Americans, and truly, in a way Iraq wasn't, the handling of New Orleans has been a true eye opener world wide about what America finds important, and its true capabilities as a society.

Thank god I live in rural Scotland and would rather listen to Cowboy Junkies :-).  It's not my tax dollars involved so I have no personal axe to grind, I am more interested in how communities put a value on that which is threatened, as this is going to be an ongoing and increasing problem.
Levees always fail.  It's a question of when, not if.
Once every 10,000 years for Rotterdam, which is further below sea level than New Orelans.

If the US Army was not full of incompetent, criminal fools who KNEW, in 1985, that their "value engineered" design would fail long before it's design limits; then New Orelans would have suffered a fair amount of wind damage, power would have been out for up to a month in some areas, and we would be talking about the devastation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and what Rita did.

Rotterdam is probably doomed, too, due to rising sea levels.
Not to be too picky -
everything made by human hands will fail, it is a question of when, not that they won't.

It is how to measure the cost/benefits that provide the balance. Europe is not currently planning to give up numerous ports simply because the coastlines have shifted tens of miles over the centuries or because the dikes will need to be raised again, plans are not being made to abandon Venice or London, and sure, hurricanes are really destructive and not really part of what Europeans are familiar with.

The port of New Orleans is one of the planet's major transportation/infrastructure nodes, and simply giving it up because of the fairly definite truth that in the long run, it will be again subject to hurricanes or floodwaters is not exactly realistic.

On the other hand, the value of rebuilding in areas which seem to have become toxic dumps on a major scale is certainly a point in favor those believing rebuilding is not a very intelligent use of resources.

Ports, whether river or salt water, have always been threatened by storms and floods - it is part of the cost of doing business.

It is how to measure the cost/benefits that provide the balance.

Exactly.  And I think the costs outweigh the benefits...or will soon.  

Europe is not currently planning to give up numerous ports simply because the coastlines have shifted tens of miles over the centuries or because the dikes will need to be raised again, plans are not being made to abandon Venice or London, and sure, hurricanes are really destructive and not really part of what Europeans are familiar with.

What Winchester points out is that Europe has learned - the hard way - that there are good places to build cities, and bad ones.  They're already passed through the gauntlet, so to speak.  Europe is scattered with the ruins of cities that didn't make it.  The U.S. is too young.  We have no ruins...but we will.

And I'm not as confident as he is about Europe's cities.  Global warming may shake things up to the point that once good sites for cities become unlivable.

Not exactly a contradiction, but Northern Europe is not full of ruined cities - however, Southern Europe is.

The point about the ports was more along the lines that it is lots easier to dredge harbors and canals, or build dikes/levees, or otherwise deal with water than it is to move entire cities, as the cost of being a port is dealing with water and weather. The same applies to New Orleans as a port which quite literally handles the cargo of roughly 1/3 of an entire continent through its connecting river and rail systems.

In the same sense, there will likely be a city at the end of the Rhine, regardless of what happens in terms of sealevel rising or climatic changes. Whether that city will resemble what currently exists is another question, but no one is likely to simply abandon the idea of a port at the end of the Rhine because of natural disasters or rising sea levels.

Essentially, the idea of not having New Orleans as a functional port 'city' is simply not really an option. To what extent the city itself needs rebuilding beyond its function as port/administrative center is another question, but retaining the port is actually not really an option in terms of efficiently accessing a significant percentage of the entire agricultural land currently available to the human race.

On the other hand, with the way things seem to work in America, who knows? Somehow, from the outside, there are already certain strange premonitions that America is not actually capable of sustaining itself over the long term, and abandoning the port of New Orleans would certainly be a symptom of a society unable to look at the long term realistically - yes, hurricane damage is inevitable, but that has been true for centuries already. Sort of like cities in earthquake zones - places like Tokyo or SF or Lisbon are unlikely to be abandoned, because long term, the costs are outweighed by benefits which cannot be exchanged - there just aren't that many places on the Earth where major rivers end, or deep water harbors exist.

Winchester thinks San Francisco is doomed.  That's why he's in the news so much; the anniversary of the SF quake.

Yes, ports will always be important. But they don't stay in the same place.  The Mississippi River is moving west, as is the oil and gas industry.  Eventually, we won't be able to hold it in place any longer.  

If peak oil were not an issue, I would be confident in our ability to rebuild and retrofit, at least for awhile.  Earthquake proof buildings, ever higher levees, massive pumping stations that could bring water from desalination plants to desert cities like Phoenix.  

But with peak oil...we will be facing resource limits that will force us to make hard choices. We simply won't be able to afford to continue on as we have been.

If New Orleans is wiped again this year by a hurricane, and next year, and the year after many times will people be willing to rebuild?  And how long before the taxpapers get fed up and say, "No more"?

Actually, I agree - ports do move over time, for a number of reasons, and certainly, viewed over a long enough time span, things change.

But look carefully at New Orleans in regards how it is the center of one humanity's most vast transportation networks - it will not be abandoned unless humanity turns its back on a major portion of North America.

Of course, things change - but the world without a port of New Orleans looks very unlikely, regardless of who pays for it.

And even cities of lesser importance, like Tokyo, SF, and Liabon, all picked because of their utter destruction through earthquakes were rebuilt, because their geography, even with earthquakes, outweighed other considerations.

That nothing lasts forever is not a reason not to choose between alternatives - New Orleans was as important in 1910, at the cusp of the modern fossil fuel era, as it is now as one of the major ways to ship bulk agricultural products.

But I think part of this discussion hinges on the idea of what infrastructure means. I think rebuilding much of the entire Gulf Coast fairly short term thinking, and a poor investment, however defined, but a port at the end of one of the world's major river systems is something which an outwardly oriented nation/society cannot afford to lose.

Whether America is capable of overcoming a fairly routine natural disaster remains to be seen. And sure, with enough bad luck, New Orleans would be given up - in the short term. If things get bad enough socially/environmentally, in the medium term possibly. In the long term, almost inconceivable.

Rebuild somewhere else... makes sense by itself, but WHERE are you suggesting?

New Orleans was built where it sits because that's the high ground in an area where we NEED a city:  inland enough that Mississippi barges carrying goods to and from the heartland of the United States can reach it, but close enough to open sea for seagoing vessels to dock.

Moving makes sense, but you need to find a place that isn't much farther upriver, nor too much closer to the ocean, but on higher ground.  I think that you'll find that New Orleans sits at the best possible location.  River traffic is hugely important to our transport of bulk goods.

The Mississippi may not be there for long.  It's been trying to move west for decades, held in place by massive efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers.  They admit themselves that they can't hold it where it is forever.

What I fear is that in the future, we will no longer be able to afford to build and maintain such massive public works.  But the people whose lives depend on them won't be relocated.  They'll continue to live where they are, until catastrophic failure occurs.  We are setting them up for disaster.

To Alan, Leanan et al.
New Orleans is very probably sinking. Same goes for most delta systems. As the major river system debauches into a low energy environment, the particle load comes out of suspension and deposits. This causes substantial load and with time, warps/depresses the crust. Upside: depositional environments with trapped oil and gas.(Deltas are a useful source of oil and gas) Downside: sinking.
And a lot of dredging and levee / dijk building

Probably the same for the Thames-Maas-Rhine depocentre,
(Though the S East of England also appears affected by tilting of the NW of England and Scotland.) Nile and Niger delta, Mekong, Indus and Brhamaputra systems. The crust is quite flexible and subject to warping and flexing. Over time, this can appear and quite quickly.

Example: Celsius carved a waterline in a rock in Sweden(?check)in 1730. Due to isostatic adjusment, this water line is now about 1.5 metres higher than it was in 1730. This rebound is due to release of ice-loading since the last ice age. Increase loading in deltas has the opposite effect. The line and date are still there.

Just an observation...

I think the 'three days of the condor' or 'mad max scenarios' are more likley to get us than crustal warping.

Yours truly and at 360 feet above mean sea level.

> The Corps of engineers admits that they cannot hold it there forever.

I VERY much question that !  I would like to see a link.

I have toured the Louisiana Hydroelectric Plant which is part of the Old River Structure near Vidalia, Louisiana and in several discussions, that "fact" never came up.

There was a problem twenty plus years ago, which was resolutely fixed.  "PermanentlY' was the adjestive I heard.

I once thoght the same. Unfortunately, we need a city right where no is. Traffic from middle america coming down the miss must be loaded on ocean going ships, and vice versa. PO is not going to stop, or even slow, this critical trade, which was big before oil was first discovered in PA.
Proposal:  How about a once a week "Solution" Thread, where we talk about ways to cope with what is coming?

Re:  "No one can take a 50% pay cut and survive"  

I actually insisted on a 50% pay cut back in 1988.  I was working for a guy that had a couple of oil related businesses, and I was the "oil company."  Times were pretty tough, and I could see the handwriting on the wall; there were probably going to be some layoffs.  I was probably the most highly paid person that he had.  So I proposed that we cut my pay 50%, with the provision that I would receive an equity position in future oil and gas deals that I generated and sold.  My wife thought I had literally gone insane.  As I expected, there were layoffs, but I had moved myself from the top to the bottom, and I was not let go.

Within a year, I found a five million BOE field, which is tiny by world standards, but pretty big in West Central Texas.  At peak production, I made back the annual income I had given up with two weeks of cash flow.


There are literally hundreds of forums out there that have discussed this ad infinitum for years.  In fact, it has been beaten into the ground.  That doesn't mean that TOD members wouldn't profit by such discussions but rather that someone like myself who has participated in these discussions for around seven years (along with a lot of extremely long posts on my part) will find it hard to get cranked up to do it all again.  Here are just three forums/blogs:

The essential problem is reaching some sort of parity of knowledge - just like peak energy.  And, accepting that some individuals are into far more agressive actions that many people consider, how shall I say it, inappropriate, e.g. is a Glock better then a M1911 in close situations.

My personal sympathy !

If the average American household is forced to cut expenditures by half, bankruptcy develops quickly.  However, if one choses to reduce expenditures step by step it can be done (at least for everyone making over 2.5x minimum wage, choices get tougher when living off of 1.25x minimum wage).

I have a feast/famine income stream and situated myself where I can live comfortably on $1,100/month and cut back to ~$900/month when lean times are extended.  New Orleans was a quite cheap place to live and I was not the only one with a geographicaly diverse income stream that choses to live here (also LOTS of fun, comity, GREAT food, etc. :-)

I rent (cheap apt in 1890s house that has been cut up) but own a % of a premium rental house (my share = my rent + utilities).  2.5 blocks from streetcar, 5 places to buy groceries within 6 blocks, etc.

I own a permanent car (low mileage M-B 240D) that I use ~3 times/week and burn 6 gallons/month (preKatrina).  Low insurance rates, relatively low maintenance costs.

The major delta is the difference between chosing to reduce expenditures (which can be done step by step on one's own timetable) and being forced to.

Many Americans will be forced to soon, IMHO :-((

It is better to start the voluntary steps now.


You do sound like you are in a good position if things get as bad as reading this site makes one think they will. The evidence is really starting to give me pause. Reading Kunstler's latest book didn't help much either.

I mean here I am in one of the worst areas in the country for urban sprawl, Greenville, SC - a place that models itself after such gasoline intensive and socially isolationist areas as Atlanta and Charlotte.

Basically there is no densely settled urban area with a variety of grocery stores and skilled laborers within 400 miles of me. It's subdivisions all the way down (to paraphrase this quote).

And a lot of downtown areas these days, in southern cities, are really there for the entertainment of the upper middle class folks who come in FROM the suburbs for an expensive dinner, or to stroll the 8 zillion art galleries, or to look at the half million dollar lofts for sale.

At this point I'm trying to figure out where to go (oh yeah, and have a job). But, at least I'm thinking about it.

Moving to New Orleans will be a challenge.  Many of the services that one takes for granted elsewhere (postal service, fire protection, health care as examples) are WAY below par.  Debris is still common but shrinking.  The City of New Orleans is effectively bankrupt (FEMA is still not paying their 90% (as the law says) for repairs to public infrastructure from traffic lights to flooded fire stations, and the city foolishly spent their limited monies repairing the most critical infrastructure expecting 90% FEMA reimbursement), so expect limited public services to decline.

There is a HIGH degree of civic involvement and comity is VERY high.  Struggle to get a new appliance in and strangers off the sidewalk will help.  Exhaustion and cynicism as well.

I am willing to discuss more if you like.

You outdid yourself WT, great post.

I also think that in more and more cases the money spent on college will never be got back -- better just to use it to set a kid up in some kind of small business or let them invest it in euros or whatever.

But I would also add that the deterioration of the country is going to render individual survival dicey no matter what strategy is pursued. In that respect I would urge people to spend part of their time becoming political -- not just Dem & Rep -- but also becoming conscious of geopolitics, energy, etc. It's a revolutionary act to just to start talking to neighbors, relatives, about all this stuff. THEY will have us killing each other down the road if we do not develop a movement that encourages study, free and vigorous but respectful debate of all the issues confronting us.

It's the deadliest single thing about our culture, that we have become so atomized and fearful of other people. Look at the French kids! Can you imagine that happening here?

My girlfriends daughter is getting set up in a cemtary business, right when the world will be doing major dying off, how ironic is that.  Mom never went to college, but has practical hands on knowledge of food service and can cook.  I have hands on knowledge of that as well as a ton of other things.  

I have no idea how much money I will make this year, but I doubt I will make more than $3,000.  That is about 1/6 th what I made 2 years ago.  How am I making it? Um,  I live very very close to the bone.

When I move I will have to get a house livable as fast as possible, Just so that Things can be better suited for my Girlfriend,  Even if I still live in the shed, or in a small room in the house with a small maintaince rent.  I don't see myself earning more than 5 to 10 thousand this year if not the under 3,000.

Next year i have no clue,  I am literally a man without a home, I have a minivan and can do a lot of things. But beyond that I am as close to the ground as I can be without not having a roof over my head.

By the grace of God and help from my parents and brother.  Soon I'll be moved and I'll let you know then, where things stand

I second westexas on the issue of CSAs.

For those of you living around Sacramento, Ca there is an incredible Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in Fair Oaks. It's called Raphael Gardens and it's run by this very funny German farmer. This guy is a character. Unfortunately there are only about 40 or so shares.

He uses a technique called Biodynamics. It's supposedly the first type of organic farming, established back in the early 1900s in Europe. If you read up on the technique, it sounds a little wacky, but man this guys veggies and fruit is to die for.

For those interested the farmer's name is Harald Hoven, 916-965-0389.


I think someone else mentioned CSA, but I certainly support the idea.  

A very good idea for your high school students and college students looking for summer jobs:  suggest that they check out organic farms nearby.

here's a great site for finding a csa near you
Biodynamics is more than just a little wacky. It's based on a series of bizarre pronouncements made in 1924 by the Austrian occultist Rudolph Steiner. He founded his own religion - anthroposophy - of which biodynamics is a part. There's a partial explanation here (pdf warning): riculture.pdf

Geez, Stoneleigh, you really need to do some research before you blow your mouth off like that.

Rudolf Steiner was not an "occultist", he was a philosopher. And Anthroposophy is not a religion, it is a spiritual science.

He is also the founder of the Waldorf Education system which is used in over 900 schools around the world.  Indeed, a UK government backed study recommended that UK State Schools 'could learn from Steiner principles'.

I suggest you read through the extensive material at Wikipedia about Rudolf Steiner and his associated activities and then come back and read the comment you posted above to see just far from the truth you were.

By the way, my children are in a Steiner School and I have nothing but praise for the Waldorf Education system.

Nice save there DuncanK.
Hi Duncan,

I know all about Waldorf schools - my children attended one for 3 years and I taught there myself until I'd heard enough of Steiner's ridiculous pronouncements in staff meetings to last a lifetime. I have a very limited tolerance for anthropsophical discussions about karma, reincarnation, clairvoyance, hierarchies of spiritual beings etc. The playground was nice and my children learned to knit (the school was more interested in teaching them to knit than teaching them to read!), but the lack of accountability was intolerable and I couldn't stomach the anthroposophical underpinings of the curriculum.

Rudolph Steiner most certainly was an occultist - he made the claim himself. Spiritual science is an oxymoron. I prefer real science, which makes me a spiritually bereft materialist in the eyes of anthroposophists. Have you ever read any Steiner, by the way? Perhaps you could start with Knowledge of Higher Worlds and let me know what you think of it.

Apologies to other readers for the off-topic post.

"I have a very limited tolerance for anthropsophical discussions about karma, reincarnation, clairvoyance, hierarchies of spiritual beings etc."

Which means that you would be intolerant of most religions on this planet!

So the truth will out.  You are basically intolerant of anything that doesn't fit your own beliefs.

"the school was more interested in teaching them to knit than teaching them to read!"

this is, of course, one of the main criticisms of Waldorf Education, and as a state-trained educator, this would have been one of the most difficult things for you to accept.

It is certainly the first criticism in the Wikipedia page I referenced above and is very well countered with the paragraph:

"Studies in England have shown that, in fact, Waldorf pupils' reading skills tend to lag behind state-educated pupils in the first few grades, but they also show that by 5th grade (11 years of age) the Waldorf pupils have caught up and thereafter are ahead of children of the same age who are educated in state schools.  .....  It is worth noting that Finland, which sends its children to school at a comparable or later age, is one of the most literate societies in the world." (see the references on the wiki page)

I can also personally vouch for this approach as my oldest son did not learn to read until he was in class 2 (8 years old), but now, at the age of 11, he has a reading age of 16, and a comprehension age of 17+ (as tested using standard NZ PAT reading and comprehension tests).  He is no exception either, as the average reading age in his class in 14.

Oh, and by the way, my son is also an excellent knitter!  Indeed, if there is one educational system that best suits the direction we need to take with any coming 'powerdown', then Waldorf Education is definitely it.  As well as being a proficient reader, writer and knitter, my son has also learned (at the school) how to: grow organic (bio-dynamic) veggies, look after chickens, use rudimentary carpentery skills to build a small house, milk cows, identify medicinal plants, catch and prepare seafood, etc.

And since technological 'fads' such as TV, playstation, etc. are frowned upon by most of us in the Steiner community, he does not have the same energy footprint that most kids his age have got.

I personally count about half of the local school's college of teachers as personal friends, and I have served as chairman on the Parents Liaison group.  While there are always issues regarding some aspects of running the school, these have never been major failings of either the school structure or the curriculum, and indeed have not been as bad as other issues that have come to my attention in the state-sector (both my wife and her mother have worked in NZ secondary schools).

While you (and some of the individuals you referenced) may have had a 'bad' experience with Waldorf Education and Rudolf Steiner writings (and yes, I have read some of his writings myself), the same could be said for any other organised philosophy or religion.  For every anti-Steiner site you could show me I could show you a dozen sites which detail negative aspects of any of the major philosophies or religions in the world today.

And on the subject of Anthroposophy as a religion, the wikipedia page again has pertinent text:

"A debate on the religious nature of Waldorf education was settled in a case brought to the Federal District Court of California. The Court decided in favour of the Waldorf schools, ruling that the plaintiffs had not brought a single piece of admissible evidence to support the contentions that either Anthroposophy or Waldorf Education is religious in character."

I rest my case!

I really don't want to clutter TOD with off topic posts, but I'd be happy to debate the pros and cons of Waldorf education with you on the Waldorf Critics list. Briefly, the court case you mention is not settled, but is back in the appeals system.

I am an academic with a science background, not a state-trained educator. I have no particular reading age bias. I do, however, have a bias against pseudo-science, which I and many others have found to be rampant in the Waldorf education system, and other anthroposophical endeavors such as biodynamics and especially anthroposophical medicine. Did you know, for instance, Steiner taught that the heart is not a pump - that blood moves of its own accord due to its own 'vital force'? Waldorf high school students still learn this today. To me it is unacceptable to teach children that which is demonstrably incorrect.

"Did you know, for instance, Steiner taught that the heart is not a pump - that blood moves of its own accord due to its own 'vital force'? Waldorf high school students still learn this today. To me it is unacceptable to teach children that which is demonstrably incorrect."

Did you know that some US schools teach creationism over evolution?  So what's your point?  I would say there are aspects of any curriculum that someone would object to.

However, having said that, I must say that I have two friends who are trained Anthroposophical nurses who had been previously trained as 'proper' registered nurses.  I must ask them how they managed to 'unlearn' their knowledge of the heart.   ;-)

Of course I do not believe (and I'm sure you don't either) that modern Steiner schools teach only Steiner's version of how the heart works. I'm sure (and I will check this now) that they probably say something like: "Rudolf Steiner believed that the heart was not, in fact, a pump, but that the blood moved by itself".  I know my 10yo would probably giggle even at that statement.  As I said above, many of the teachers are friends of ours and I would have no qualms about telling tham that this theory is rubbish.

Bottom line: Yes, there are aspects of Steiner's writings and beliefs that some people find either offensive or simply stupid.  But that is their personal take on it.  I don't take everything that Steiner (or anyone else for that matter) wrote or said as gospel.  You would have to be pretty stupid to do that.  

But overall, IMHO, Waldorf Education is currently better at creating more rounded individuals than the state-school system here in NZ.

I want my kids to be prepared for a post-carbon world and there is nothing in the state-school system that would help in that regard.

I agree with quite a few things you have said. Certainly the practical skills Waldorf teaches will be valuable in a post-carbon world and a Waldorf lifestyle, with its much lower energy footprint, will be more sustainable. Far too many children waste vast amounts of time watching mindless TV and playing video games, which Waldorf is right to discourage IMO (although I would rather their reason wasn't that they see electronic appliances as being under the influence of the 'demon Ahriman'!). I would also agree that the state system is very far from ideal (my children attend a small private school).

My primary objection to the various anthroposophical initiatives is that far too many of the senior individuals running them do take Steiner literally. Parents and younger staff members who are just looking for a low-tech choice where the state is not involved in their children's education do not do this of course, but hardcore anthroposophists do. Steiner died 80 years ago, but serious anthroposophists still take everything he said as an ex cathedra pronouncement. Because they believe he was clairvoyant, they credit him with having had access to eternal truth (via the 'Akashic record'), hence they disregard the last 80 years of scientific advancement (as an 'Ahrimanic' plot). If you question anything Steiner ever said, you bring his supposed clairvoyance into question, which goes to the heart of the anthroposophical religion.

The trouble, Stoneleigh, is that you seem to be taking these Anthroposophical theories far more seriously than anyone I know in the local Steiner community.

Indeed, we had a local anthroposophical doctor give the parents a talk on technology last year, and nowhere in that talk did he mention anything about 'demon Ahriman'.

In fact, none of these weird theories that you talk about have ever come up in anything to do with Steiner or Waldorf education that I have experienced in the 10 years we have been affiliated with the school and it's community.

Perhaps it is you who is clinging to the existence of these theories?

It definitely isn't me clinging to Steiner's 'theories' - in fact I explicitly reject almost all of them. I've spent several years discussing Waldorf with hundreds of people worldwide (both pro and con) since the dreadful experience we had - it's sort of a morbid fascination I suppose. I'm familiar with Steiner's notions on a wide range of subjects and have personally sat in staff meetings where they are taken literally as gospel. I know of, and have compared notes with, many other people who have been in the same position.

Of course the schools don't mention the stranger things to the parents as that would put people off and school revenues would fall. You could try asking anthroposophical friends about root races or Ahrimanic influences or progressive stages of incarnation in childhood or the Archangel Michael as the time-spirit of our age or the reincarnated spiritual 'Masters' meant to guide humanity to the sixth post-Atlantean epoch(!) and see what they say. You could also read some more Steiner and get a feel for his supernatural worldview in his own words.

I invite you to debate the pros and cons on the Waldorf Critics list hosted at the link above (people from both sides of the debate post there). The archives are searchable if you're interested in any specific topic. The links I sent before (some from supporters, some from detractors and some from fence-sitters) offer a good basic introduction to Waldorf and anthroposophy, and I can come up with many more if you're interested.

Jesus, are you two married? What did Steiner have to say about oil?

I'm actually fascinated by this discussion. Is anthroposophy actually a word?

I've never read anything by Steiner on oil, but he strongly disapproved of science and technology (particularly electricity) as materialistic, by which he meant grounded in the natural/material world rather than the 'supernatural world'. Anything materialistic, and therefore dehumanising in his view, he called 'Ahrimanic' ('supernatural beings' of all kinds figure strongly in the anthroposophic religion - Lucifer is there too, but the Lucifer of anthroposophy is completely different from the Lucifer of christianity).

Waldorf schools are extremely low-tech as a result of Steiner's indications, which, as Duncan says, means a very low energy footprint. Children do learn far more practical skills than they would at any other school. I would argue, however, that critical thinking is de-emphasized in the early years (Steiner disapproved of teaching abstractions before the 'incarnation of the astral body' at puberty) and that academic skills can be compromised as a result. I took particular issue with the teaching of mythology as history.

Anthroposophy is an offshoot of theosophy, founded after Steiner had a row with the theosophical society and was expelled. His theory of root races (one of most racist religious doctrines I've ever seen IMO) comes directly from theosophy. Anyone interested can check out Steiner's writings online at the Steiner elib by googling Steiner and any of the anthroposohical terms I've used here. (Be prepared to wonder what he was smoking when he wrote them.)

Try this link for the basics on anthroposophy:

Tehcnically speaking, how is a 64% decline in the Ahwaz Bangestan field (Iran) possible ? Does anyone know what is particular in this field to this collapse or have the engineers just shut it down ? Is it really possible to ressuscitate this braindead field with gas injection ?
Sorry, 2nd question should read :

Does anyone know what is particular in this field to explain this collapse or have the engineers just shut it down ?

Why do you think it is not possible?
Why you think it needs to be shutdown?
I'm only just impressed by the figure. The idea of shutdown is only an image, to show that such a decline is really huge. I haven't seen a lot of such high figures for decline in such a large field. I would really like to know what is the cause for this. Was this field managed with gas-injection or only water injection ? Such a high decline could also mean that there is no more oil left (which in turn means that it would have been very well exploited) but it could also mean that it has been depleted way too fast. It could also mean that there is a geological feature leading too a monstrous water cut or limiting the flow of residual oil ... What is going on here ?
I am not sure this was the field, but Iran has done considerable damage to their oil fields by injecting oil into them or other stuff.

I do know they are not going to shut it down as long as production is good.

Were are the moderate 2-3% decline rates?
"Romashkino: Unknown"
Apparently in decline also, Ref:
Romashkino is in decline since 1973 at 1.6 mbpd, cumulative production around 15Gb (URR~16.5).

It's very obvious when looking at this graph from Lahèrrere. See also slide 7 of this Simmon's presentation.

Also, we should add the following info on each field (if available):
  • URR
  • peak data
  • peak production value
  • current production (in barrels/day or % of peak value)
  • cumulative production (in barrels/day or % of URR)
The depletion rate is not enough, for instance production from Romashkino rebounded recently thanks to western investments but production is still at 13% of the peak production.  
What do these numbers on individual field depletion rates do to Stuart Staniford's claim of a post-peak "slow squeeze?" Beteen %8 and %14 rates are significantly greater than Stuart's possible %2 net depletion.  This suggests that either the missing data on some fields will have significantly slower rates, and/or that new fields will be able to make up this substantial difference, and/or Stuart needs to revise his numbers.  In any case, >%5-6 year over year would be dramatic (understatement) and cause significant pain everywhere.
This fast depletion rate is the ten thousand pound gorilla in the room. As I have posted before, the Yibal field in Oman collapsed spectacularly because of advanced production and drilling techniques. The Ghawar and virtually every other modern field is using these techniques. Ten to fourteen percent decline will be the norm, not the exception.

When TSHTF, it will hit hard, fast, and from all directions. All of the soft pedalers who are wishing and a praying that physics will spare then just this one time are in for a big ole slap in the face.

Wake up, economy! Time to die!

Excellent post Prof. G.

You have filled a lot in since the original post showing more in decline now.  Keep up the hard data sets.  Much more useful to me than the general discussion about what might happen in the future interesting as they are.  

I have my own opinions about the future but all predictions must rest on accurate assessments of production and field reserves.

So why does the top 20 list have 23 entries?

Why are Burgan and Cantarell grouped together as 2a/2b when the only thing they have in common is a confirmed 14% decline?

Silly questions - until I have had some coffee, that will be the best I can do....

>> So why does the top 20 list have 23 entries?

Reserve growth?

In the original thread started at, a poster named Ancien_Opus presumably would have listed Cantarell at No. 3 position (based on its size ranking of 35 billion barrles) but slipped it in as "2b" instead because, as he or she noted, Cantarell is "(often listed as a large complex of multiple smaller fields)." So not counting Cantarell as a single field puts Bolivar Coastal as the next No. 3.

Prudhoe Bay and Kashagan were both listed as having the same reserves: 13 billion barrels. The statistically correct thing to there would be to list them both at No. 13 (or 13a and 13b is probably fine), call Abqaiq No. 15, and eliminate Marlim from a list of "20."

"14. Abqaiq I don't know, but have you seen the cross section? It's all water!"

This source:

claims its still going to increase a little, but also quotes Aramco as saying it was 75% depleted in 2004, which causes my crap detector to flash.

Snip from source:

Abqaiq produces 4% of Saudi Arabia's total oil production. Currently, Abqaiq has a production capacity of approximately 0.43 million barrels a day, and it is estimated to reach 0.44 million barrels a day in 2010. The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts Abqaiq's production capacity to decrease to approximately 0.36 million barrels by 2030. This is largely to due to natural depletion; Abqaiq has the largest depletion rate of all the Saudi oil fields. In 2004, Aramco estimated that 73% of Abqaiq's total reserves have been depleted, which would leave the field with approximately 5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

Just want to point out that Saudi Aramco operates in a different method than normal oil operators.  They have so much oil that they had decided to produce a little from large fields instead of producing near capacity.  This means that it can increase capacity despite the field being exhausted as it has a higher production capacity than actually been produced.
I'm not sure you can substantiate your claim. Certainly Simmons has stated he believes the fields have been overproduced. SA has had flat production for some time even at these prices, despite great increases in drilling. Depletion is a major factor, as they themselves have noted.
I am puzzled at what you think my claim to be.  I am saying if a field can produce 1mbpd and you only produce 300kbpd, you can increase the production to 400kbpd, despite passing the half way point. I have no idea how that relates to flat production after price spike and depletion of the oil field.  I am not saying you can produce 1mbpd after the half way point.

As for Saudi Aramco not increasing production after price spike, it is because of huge increases in demand and depletion that prevents SA from increasing production.  Don't forget that SA mostly produce 5-8mbpd.  It is not until the turn of the century that demands rocket pass 8mbpd for SA.  I would say they were not equipped to produce so much without proper development.  A lot of SA's large fields are exhausted.  SA before the 2004-5 oil spike was already planning on a multi billion dollar project to implement advanced enhanced oil recovery on their old fields.  They had view this as the best way to maintain oil production rather than invest in exploration.  They did authorized large explorations for natural gas, which we are seeing the fruits. The only change the recent run up in price is SA implementing expansion plans on existing oil fields.  Some old fields that were shutdown are now being restarted.  Some old fields are expanding production by drilling more holes and implementing enhanced recovery methods.  Very little investment in exploration and development of new oil fields if viewed from overall SA budget.  If SA is to increase production significantly, they must find new oil fields, in my opinion.

Simmons is not an expert and he only guesses on what is happening in Saudi due to lack of data.  He pieces his own data by reviewing what info is available.  His claim that SA is overpruduced is due to using enhanced oil recovery like water injections too aggressively.  He uses Oman as an example of collapsing oil production.  He does not talk about what affects will producing 100kbpd on a field that if exploited by Exxon will produce 300kbpd will mean now.  He does not have the data, so he does not say much.  He seems to think the largest field has hit peak and that all the oil in the other zones of this large field had drained to the wellheads that are in production.  SA disputes this and believes that if they drill in the other zones, they will produce more oil.  Simmons also believes that top producing zones are depleted, so producing in these other zones will fall woefully short of the declining production areas.  SA envisions drilling more areas to get similar productions.

After my investigation, I think Simmons is too pessimistic and SA is simply wrong that technology can increase their production without new oil fields being discovered and brought online.

I agree to the point that SA had spare capacity that went unused for many years, that now  they are pruducing, That allowed an increase in production without actually increasing capacity, which I think is consistent with what you are saying.

If capacity was slowly declining, it would have been masked by production from the spare capacity. Now that there is no more spare capacity (except for undesireable grades), we will see erality more clearly. I would be curious what data you uncovered in your investigation that Simmons didn't have that has convinced you that he is too pessimistic. I think only Aramco has the real data, and we have repeatedly seen national and private oil companies interpret their own data much too optimistically - US, Great Britain, Norway, Exxon, etc.

When regions "go 100%" due to struggles maintaining production, historically it hasn't helped.

Just thought I'd jump in on a Saudi themed thread. I read OPEC's monthly report and saw that Saudi's claimed oil production is 9.38 Mbpd and it seems to have been decreasing steadily since a high of 9.53 Mbpd in September. If Saudi have been pumping flat out for the past year or so, then it seems that their depletion rate is now greater than new production coming on stream. I have to admit to having no idea if this is a seasonal ebb and flow, but 6 continuous months of falling oil production seems to indicate that they might begin to be having problems.

I have also been keeping an eye on Mexico's oil production and it seems as healthy as ever. No sign of any impending catastrophic collapse. Just looking at the final figures and knowing nothing more, it seems to indicate that Mexico has no foreseeable problem (at least for another 3/4 months). Famous last words no doubt.

Yes, I'm impressed so far by the resilience of Mexican production. So far they are true to their word, they acknowledged the peak of Canterell in 2005-2006, but said they could manage to maintain overall production, which is just drifting slightly lower over the last 2 years.

We'll see how long they can maintain this pattern - still can't see any way they can maintain against a serious Canterell decline.

I don't have production data.  The only reason I feel Simmons is too pessimistic is based on SA's investments and plans to drill more holes in the other zones.  According to Simmons, this is fruitless activity.  SA says otherwise.

Since Simmons is not a geologists or an oil expert on fluid dynamics in situ, I will side with SA's experts' opinions.  These are not state press releases, but actual geologists speaking.

Yes, they can be too optimistic, but I doubt they are stupid enough to invest in millions drilling into the oil field.

Exploration is only expensive if you don't find oil. They went to the expense of looking deep into the empty quarter, a harsh and very expensive area to visit, much less produce oil, and found a single large field.

Drilling into old abandoned fields is, apparently, and according to their expert opinions, currently their best option. Does not look good.

I don't think he's saying it's fruitless, just that it won't prevent the peak in SA production if the big one is in decline. However, all that drilling will reduce the decline rate overall, as it has with Texas, where decline has only been at around 2-3% annually. Without the thousands of holes drilled, that would be a lot worse.
An admission that they cannot do what they have promised would be catastrophic for KSA. No Saudi specialist could take it upon him to undermine state security by such a statement.
SA like other oil companies fire people who drill empty holes.  I personally know a couple of people who have been fired due to drilling empty holes.  They now work as analysts just working with data and no longer part of the exploration group with Chevron.
This was the prevailing assumption in Texas also.  Almost everyone, except for Hubbert, was surprised at the very modest increase in production when Texas went to a 100% allowable in March, 1972, the year we peaked.  
"16. Chicontepec: Unknown"

Likly to increase, seems undeveloped at this time due to various issues according to this source:

Snip from source:
 Lacking Technology

The long-term solution to replace Cantarell will require investment of $17 billion a year to tap deep-water deposits and an onshore field called Chicontepec, which now contains 40 percent of Pemex's proven, probable and possible oil reserves, Ramirez said.

Chicontepec has remained untapped since it was discovered in 1926 because the small pockets of oil tucked in fractured rock require drilling technology that Pemex lacks. Pemex needs to spend $38 billion over 20 years in Chicontepec to drill 20,000 wells, more than during its nearly seven-decade history, Ramirez has said. Production cost per barrel in Chicontepec will be $12 a barrel, he said.

It's not often I see anything in the MSM as pointed as this editorial from the yahoo finance section:    

The Coming Oil Crisis  by Robert Kiyosaki
 Fair MSM article on yahoo finance re  oil crisis.  

Wow...a student of Kunstler!!
He is also a student of Buckminster Fuller, whose book Critical Path is an amazing read and very relevant to Peak Oil - in brief: live off current solar income.
Abqaiq: output peaked in 1973 (1.095 mbpd) (src: Simmons)

Berri: output peaked in 1977 (787,888 b/d) (src: Simmons)
, was producing 400 kbpd in 2004 (p. 10).

Safaniya-Khafji: was producing 1.500 mbpd in 2004.

Shaybah: URR~15.7 Gb, production started in 1998, was producing around 560 kbpd in 2004 (src: Center for Strategic and International Studies )

Also Ghawar is composed of several producing structures that have different delpletion level, from north to south:

  • Ain Dar,
  • Shedgum,
  • Uthmaniyah,
  • Farzan,
  • Ghawar,
  • Al Udayliyah,
  • Hawiyah,
  • Haradh
As I posted before Chicontepec is DEFINITELY not in decline, it is about to grow to 1 million b/day in ten or fifteen or twenty years according to Pres. Fox's March 03 announcmeent and later announcmeents.

The latest announcment is March 06

Pemex has announced that it will spend US$37.5 billion over the next 20 years to develop the 18 billion barrel Chicontepec reservoir in southern Veracruz. The field currently produces only 26,000 bpd. but Pemex hopes to raise that to 1 million bpd within 8 to 10 years. This increase in production will serve to offset declines in the Cantarell production.

I give credence to this because it makes economic sense at higher oil prices (heavy oil with low & slow production/well).  Perhaps Pemex will take 25 years, and perhaps 1 million b/d is too "round" a number. and actually peak will be 837,000 b/d, but this field is real and higher quality than tar sands or Orinico.

The large Chinese field is till missing from the list.

What is the criteria for "20 largest" ?  Twenty largest producers today ?  Twenty largest reserves today ?  This needs to be specificed.

Also, Manifa should not be in decline.

So No "Unknown" there !

I really think there should be no numerical limit on the list.  Any significantly large field about which someone has definite information should be included.

I.e., we need to assemble a comprehensive database to help forecast future decline rates.

And furthermore, it seems to me that Khebab is essentially correct with regard to the TYPE of information that we need about each field.  I am copying what he said about this matter earlier in this thread into my own post below:
Also, we should add the following info on each field (if available):


peak data

peak production value

current production (in barrels/day or % of peak value)

cumulative production (in barrels/day or % of URR)

The depletion rate is not enough, for instance production from Romashkino rebounded recently thanks to western investments but production is still at 13% of the peak production.  

Also, I think the list should include historically significant fields that essentially no longer produce today - such as the large fields in East and West Texas from the days of yore.  The reason for this is because these fields are STILL significant today with respect to the non-negligible amount of overall world URR that they embody (i.e., a small, but still significant fraction of the 2.013 trillion barrel figure of worldwide URR calculated by Ken Deffeyes).
There is a list of fields here (quote: 116 oil fields that produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil per day. These 116 fields produce almost half  the world's oil):
Mega oilfields

Middle East - Saudi Arabia - Ghawar mega field - 5,800,000 barrels a day (includes Ain Dar, Shedgum, and Uthmaniyah reserves, producing ~ 3.5 million barrels a day) -  recoverable reserves are supposedly 115 billion barrels of oil reserves (US billion, i.e.1,000,000,000) 70 billion already produced as at 2000 (range of estimates 95-125 billion barrels)  - ? oil type -  discovered 1948 - commenced 1951 - peaked 1981 (at 5,694,000 barrels a day). - Aramco (State)
South Ghawar - Hawiyah and Haradh - commenced production 1996
Ghawar total post 1996 - 5,772,000 barrels a day (2005 IEA report, includes Hawiyah, and Haradh III as part of Ghawar and may also include an unstated portion of condensate and natural gas liquids. Post 1996 peak - with the new Haradh III field included, but without liquids, have commentators estimating 'Ghawar revamped' will peak in 2010

Middle East  - Saudi Arabia - offshore - Safaniya - 1,728,000 barrels a day (IEA 2005 report on 2004 production) ? reserves - 28 API heavy oil - ? commenced - peaked 1981 (1,544,000 barrels a day, but see IEA supposed 2004 production)

South America - Venezuela - coastal - Bolivar -   contains 14-36 Gigabarrels ultimately recoverable reserves of oil - ? produced

Middle East - Kuwait - Burgan - 1,700,000 barrels a day - proven reserves 15 billion barrels - peaked (curent production about 14% less than peak)

East Eurasia - China - Da Qing - 1,000,000 barrels a day - peaked 2003.

Central Eurasia - Russia - Samotlor megafield  - Smatlor South (TNKBP concession only) - reserves 44.6 billion barrels oil equivalent in place, up to 47% may be recoverable, and 35% has been recovered to date -TNKBP

Central Eurasia - Russia - Samotlor megafield  - Smatlor North (TNKBP concession only) - reserves 8.1 billion barrels oil equivalent in place, up to 25% may be recoverable, and 18% has been recovered to date - peaked, production decling at about 9% pa - TNKBP

Very Large oilfields

Middle East  - Shaybah - 492,000 barrels a day - (IEA report 2005 on 2004 production) - 42º gravity Arab Extra Light sweet crude - discovered 1968 - production commenced 1998

Middle East  - Saudi Arabia - Abqaiq - 434,000 barrels a day (IEA 2005 report) -  peaked 1973 (1,094,061 barrels a day)

Middle East  - Saudi Arabia - offshore - Zuluf - 407,000 barrels a day (IEA 2005 report) - ? reserves - Not light oil - ? commenced- peaked 1981 (658,000)

Middle East - Haradh-III - 300,000 barrels a day (IEA 2005 report) -  commenced 2006

East Eurasia - Russia -Sakhalin basin area 1 - Chayvo field - commenced 2005 - 250,000 barrels a day (anticip. year end 2006) - reserves 2.3 billion barrels oil - ExxonMobil

Middle East  - Saudi Arabia - offshore - Marjan - 223,000 barrels a day (IEA 2005 report) - ? reserves - NOT light oil - ? commenced - peaked 1979 (108,000)

Africa - Angola - Deepwater offshore - Plutonio - 220,000 to 240,000 barrels a day - ? reserves - ? type - ? commenced - peak expected 2007 - BP, Sonangol (Angola State), Sinopec (China State)

Middle East  - Saudi Arabia - Berri - 213,000 barrels a day (IEA 2005 report) - ? reserves - 43 API very light oil - ? commenced - peaked 1976 (807,557 barrels a day)

Large  fields

Middle East  - Abu Sa'fah -189,000 barrels a day (IEA report 2005 on 2004 production)

Africa - Angola - Deepwater offshore - Girassol cluster (Jasmin, Lirio, Rosa fields) - 180,000 barrels a day in 2002 - reserves 1 billion barrels - 32º API oil - ? commenced - ? peak - Total, Fina, Elf, Sonangol (Angola State)

South America - Brazil - Deepwater offshore - Roncador 3  - 145,000 barrels a day - ? reserves - ? type oil - ? commenced - ? peak - PetroBras (State)

South America - Brazil - Deepwater offshore - Marlim Sul - 100,000 barrels a day - ? reserves - ? type oil - ? commenced  - ? peak - ? companies

Middle East - Iran - Azadegan - onshore - 100,000 barrels a day - ? reserves - ? type oil - ? commenced  - ? peak - ? companies

Middle East - Qatif- 100,000 barrels a day - (IEA report 2005 on 2004 production)

Middle East - Oman - Yibal - ?onshore - 80,000 barrels a day (2003)  - ? reserves - ? type oil - ? commenced  - peaked 1997 (225,000 barrels a day) - Shell

Medium fields and smaller

Middle East - Hazmiyah - 59,000 barrels a day - (IEA report 2005 on 2004 production)

Middle East - Fadhili - 50,000 barrels a day (IEA report 2005 on 2004 production)

Middle East - Munifa - 50,000 barrels a day - IEA report 2005 on 2004 production -

Middle East - Ghinah- 41,000 barrels a day - (IEA report 2005 on 2004 production)

West Eurasia - North Sea - Brent - offshore - 30,000 barrels a day  - ? reserves - ? type oil - commenced 1976  - peaked early 1980's (500,000 barrels a day) -

Central Eurasia - Russia - Kharyaga - 30,000 barrels a day - reserves of 0.71 Giga barrels

East Eurasia - Russia -Sakhalin basin area 2 - 70,000 barrels a day from the Molikpaq offshore platform - commenced production 1999 - low sulphur Vityaz crude -  Gazprom/Mitsubishi/Mitsui/Shell/Sakhalin Energy

Middle East - Harmaliyah - 28,000 barrels a day - (IEA report 2005 on 2004 production)

Middle East - Hawtah - 26,000 barrels a day - (IEA report 2005 on 2004 production)

Middle East - Saudi Arabia - Halfaa-1 - onshore - 6,000 barrels a day  - ? reserves - light oil - commenced 2005

Middle East  - Saudi Arabia - Khurais - 150,000 barrels a day in the 80's (currently mothballed) -  reserves "multiple billion barrels" - ? oil type- commenced 1964, mothballed 1980's due to poor flow requiring high investment to 'rework'  and extensively pressurise - ? peak

Central Eurasia - Russia - Urals/Volga basin - Romashkino - discovered 1948 - mature field in decline - ultimately recoverable reserves ~ 16 gigabarrels - produced so far ?

A very interesting discussion. I am reminded of Matthew Simmon's "oil production triangle" that he's used in a number of presentations over the years.

In his 2002 white paper, "The World's Giant Oilfields" (, he notes that a large percentage of our oil (26 percent) comes from a disproportionately small number of giant fields (26 fields, out of a worldwide total of 4,000+ producing fields). Simmons' "oil production triangle" is on page 16 of this document. Unfortunately my computer skills are not good enough to enable me to reproduce the graphic here...

I've already posted it yesterday:

  It would appear that Steve Forbes was on one of the Fox "News" yak shows over the weekend, giving his learned opinion on the recent problems regarding Iran. Among his pearls of wisdom was:

"FORBES: Well, it's interesting. And about $15 a barrel on the price of oil today is worry about Iran, that crisis.

HOST: So, without Iran, the price of oil would be $15 less per barrel is what you're saying.

FORBES: Yes, it would. There is real uncertainty, huge producer. But the bottom line with Iran is, when we have the confrontation, which we will have, we can really deal with that crisis. Then the price of oil will come down. The longer we let it fester, the higher the price of oil will stay. "

The cluelessness of the elite is truly shocking.

Subkommander Dred

So, Steve Forbes (and therefore, Fox News) is saying that the Iran issue is adding $ 15 per barrel ($70-$15=$55).

How much do you think is the "Iran penalty"?


Steve Forbes' cluelessness no longer has the power to shock me.
Fox news has certainly beat the war drum, every way they could.  We're lucky that this time the other networks are not following them.
Translation (of clueless-speak):  "Let's just get this war with Iran out of the way so we can go back to cheap gas and endless surburban utopia."
Forbes has to support the $35 price prediction he made last summer:

Steve Forbes <> credibility

"Steve Forbes contradicts oil price claim in latest investor newsletter
1st Sep 05
(Aus.)Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today accused Steve Forbes, host of the CEO conference at the Opera House, of playing deceptive games with the Australian public over oil price claims.

Steve Forbes told the Prime Minister and media on Tuesday that oil prices will come back down to around $35 a barrel within a year, and that high prices are a speculation 'bubble'. Overnight his investor newsletter has advised the opposite. ..."

I have constructed a simple spreadsheet of the data here. It is in Open Document Spreadsheet format and readable by multiple spreadsheet programs (but not the Microsoft Office suite, alas). I am currently hosting it at my own webspace.

If you need a free Office suite that can read Open Document format documents (which is increasing in use worldwide), one option is OpenOffice.

If someone else wants to update this, expand it, etc., feel free. Be sure to extend credit back here to the original Oil Drum thread as the source, which I have included in the document's metadata.

Great!  This is exactly what we need: A person both technically adept, and generous with his/her time, who is willing to lay the groundwork for an "Existing Fields Depletion Database."  Your efforts are much appreciated.
greyzone, after today's run, can you send me what you have in some sort of tab/comma delimited somethingorother?  I'd like to keep this coming at least weekly to see what new information we can add.
I can do that. I'll have more time to add to this a bit later this afternoon. I'll send you what I have at that point. I'm slightly busy right now and won't be able to get back to it in earnest for a few more hours. Plus we may have lots of other data here by then.
I got sidetracked today with personal issues, Prof. G. I will update all the data in here tomorrow and sometime tomorrow afternoon will upload both an updated .ODS file as well as a .CSV file for anyone who wants it. My apologies but life calls at times and I find myself having to answer. ;)
Well, there is more to life than TOD, after all.  But thanks again to everyone on this sub-thread for your efforts and enthusiasm.  Being tech-unsavvy myself, I have little to contribute to the effort myself OTHER than enthusiasm.

For what it's worth, Prof. Goose's idea of offering regular weekly opportunities for updates strikes me as a good one.

Unfortunately, I am getting hammered again today. Our CEO is coming to town to visit the local office so we're prepping for that. Consequently, I uploaded a CSV version of yesterday's spreadsheet to my webspace. If anyone wants to add to that, feel free. I will try to get back to all this soon as I want this data for my own reasons as well and I would appreciate being able to obtain any inputs that people add to it along the way.
Great initiative! as suggested by Prof. Gosse, a tab/space delimited text file can be imported by almost any software.
Perhaps we could also collect graphs of the history of production for these fields, as far as they are available?  Can this be done with relative ease?
It might be better to collect the production data, place each set in its own sheet in the spreadsheet, and generate a chart for each from that data. Then, if someone wants to add additional data per field, they could, or if they wanted to use the data in some way not anticipated by us, they could do that too.

While visually appealing, the data is more valuable than the graphs, and since the graphs had to have been produced from data, getting the data seems more useful overall.

Is there some type of a plug-in  or spreadsheet-reader that will do this? Do I have to install a whole office suite? Will Open Office and MS Office run together? How many Megs is Open Office?
It's about 275 megs installed. It reads all current MS Office formats of which I am aware. It's free, well supported, and available on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, BSD, etc.).

I'll upload a .CSV file tomorrow afternoon, but I'd suggest trying out OpenOffice. Many major corporations are beginning to discover OpenOffice, as well as state governments who are storing records and documents in Open Document formats. While OpenOffice is not the only software that can read files that adhere to the Open Document standard, it is probably the most widely used at this time. Microsoft currently refuses to support the standard but there are rumors they may do so in the next version of MS Office.

Yeah, I installed it. Not Bad. Curious to see what this "Math"  component can do? Do you know anything about it?

The database is very good especially the addition of line-by-line sources.

Can the file be saved in a comma (csv) or tab delimited spreadsheet format? That would allow any spreadsheet program to open the file, even a text editor.
Was mentioned before, my error
What happened to Daqing in china?
I thought that was the fourth/fifth largest field in the worlds, circa 1 mbbd?
A recent article put that decline at around 7% per annum.

Naresh UK

I was the last person to post on the preceeding thread on this topic, so I don't think this was seen. The following URL leads to another version of top oilfields with good information:

Simmon's "Twilight" book has a list of top 33 fields in the world and their production in 1971 and 2000 (when available). I put a # by the ones showing a decrease using his table, or that show a decrease from 1970s to 2000 by comparing 2 tables in his book. Most don't have data at both time points to compare.

I put a star by the fields we know are peaking now, a question by ones some of us think are peaking:

Top 18 Giant Fields (based on Robelius pdf)

Field Name        Country             Discovery year             Range of URR [GB]

Ghawar          Saudi Arabia                 1948                             66-100 ?
Burgan          Greater Kuwait              1938                             32-60 *
Safaniya        Saudi Arabia                  1951                              21-36 #
Bolivar          Coastal Venezuela         1917                              14-36
Berri             Saudi Arabia                  1964                              10-25 #
Rumalia N&S Iraq                               1953                              22
Zakum         Abu Dhabi                      1964                              17-21
Cantarell      Mexico                           1976                              11-20 *
Manifa         Saudi Arabia                   1957                              17
Kirkuk          Iraq                                1927                              16 #
Gashsaran    Iran                                1928                             12-15
Abqaiq         Saudi Arabia                  1941                              10-15 #
Ahwaz          Iran                               1958                              13-15
Marun          Iran                                1963                              12-14
Samotlor      Russia                            1961                              6-14 *
Agha Jari      Iran                                1937                              6-14
Zuluf            Saudi Arabia                   1965                             12-14
Prudhoe Bay Alaska                            1969                             13 *

Other than what I've noted, after much searching (mostl Google), it seems very difficult to get specific production rates, esp from Iran. However, just glancing down the list it is clear that declining fields are not an exception in this group.

Don't know why Daqing is left off, Simmons shows it at over 1.1 mbpd in 2000. I recommend reviewing production numbers in his book, but didn't feel I should copy his table for this thread.

Hmm! I see that Prudhoe Bay made the bottom of the last list, so this may be the point to insert today's news from up there.  From Platts
Slope production has held steady at just under 1 million b/d for the last three years after declining at an average 6%/year from the late 1980s. Output from two new fields, Alpine and Northstar, temporarly halted the decline in 2001. But with no large new fields due to come on line, the 6% decline rate has reappeared in 2006, state Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus said in the tax hearings. Corbus and other state officials are concerned they have been overestimating future production prospects for several years. For example, estimates made in 2002 and 2003 anticipated 2006 production at about 100,000 b/d more than expected actual output of 830,000 b/d this year.

     The state's lastest long-term production forecast, released April 4, has been ratcheted down by about 30,000 b/d throughout the forecast period, said Michael Williams, chief state economist in the Department of Revenue. But that may not be enough. Reservoir problems with new wells in heavy oil deposits now being produced have resulted in a slower-than-expected buildup of production, said a state petroleum analyst who asked not to be identified.

What about ANWAR? Is there actually any oil there worth developing?

I've heard different opinions about that ...

On precision, the Bolivar coastal in Venezuela is in fact a supergiant field complex composed of several fields:
  • Lagunillas (14 Gb)
  • Bachequero (8 Gb)
  • Lama (4 Gb)
  • Pueblo Viejo (2 Gb)
  • Ceuta (1.5 Gb)
  • Ceuta-Tomo (1.5 Gb)
  • Cabimas (0.75 Gb)
  • Ceuta SSE (0.75 Gb)

src: Newsletter No 22, ASPO
From The 4 biggest oil fields in the world are in decline, I have the following sources:

This BP presentation (pdf) on Samotlor

This article about Ghawar, FWIW, and, if you need them, more references for Cantarell and Burgan.

Thank You. The BP-TNK presentation is excellent.
Venezuela Buys Oil to Meet Contracts

Another one to add to the list of Decliners?