November 3, 2008

Unplugging the Saudis

Here are a few charts from Simmons that sums up his view of Peak Oil and of Saudi Arabia's role in it.

Below is a chart of the six big Saudi Fields. In Simmons' Twilight in the Desert, he poured over production statistics and concluded that there was no way the Saudis could keep up with the forecasts. Earlier official forecasts had presumed an ability to gin up Saudi production to 14 to 16 mbd. Simmons thinks that is utterly implausible, not to say impossible.

See Monthly Report of IEA for updates on Saudi production. The 10 October 2008 report indicates Saudi production increased from 8.48 mbd in 2007 to 9.19 mbd in the second quarter of 2008. It is my recollection that this level is considerably higher than Simmon's expectations from 2005 and 2006, though the inaccuracy of his predictions doesn't really affect the cogency of his overall view. He may just be a bit early.

On the veracity of predictions, see how Simmons' main adversary in the oil futures wars (Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates) has been faring in his price predictions. He was looking superbad in July 2008, when oil hit $145, but spot on in November, when oil fell to $53 (the close on 11/19). At various times in 2008, Simmons has ventured predictions of $300 to $500 in our future.

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