Thursday, November 19, 2009

Whatever Happened to Peak Oil USA?

The Peak Oil doom movement predicts rapid declines in oil production, once it has peaked. The peak for the US was supposed to have occurred decades ago. Yet instead of steady declines in US oil production, we are seeing increases. This was not supposed to happen.
US crude oil production for October averaged 5.36 million barrels per day, continuing at levels not seen since 2005, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Monthly Statistical Report.

Crude production from the Lower 48 states averaged 4.67 million barrels per day, up from both last year and prior months. Even though crude production last October had recovered from precautionary platform shut-ins in the Gulf of Mexico in the face of hurricanes Gustav and Ike last September, output levels then were still lower than this October’s by nearly 15%. Meanwhile, Alaskan output, at 696,000 barrels per day, slipped from last October by 2.8% but rebounded from this summer’s lows of less than 600,000 barrels per day.

The October production figures continue to detail the industry’s success story in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly the deep waters, as well as the way new technologies have helped bring on new production both offshore and onshore.

—API Statistics Manager Ron Planting

On the demand side, gasoline deliveries for October showed their first decline since May, dropping 0.5 percent from last October’s delivery surge that followed hurricane-related supply interruptions of September 2008. However, had deliveries a year ago followed a pattern more in line with historical patterns, API estimates that this year’s gasoline deliveries for October would have shown their fifth year-to-year increase in a row—though perhaps by only about one half of one percent. _GCC
No one knows how high oil production in the Bakken field of North Dakota may grow. No one knows how high oil production in promising offshore oil fields might grow.

What we have here, is political peak oil. If political kingpins around the world can initiate policies that clamp a lid on oil exploration and production, then oil production might easily stall, or drop.

But surely that is not the type of peak oil that has gotten so many fervent believers in such an uproar?



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