Articles tagged with "saudi arabia"
Under the desert in eastern Saudi Arabia lies Ghawar, the largest oil field in the world. It has been famously productive, with a per-well flow rate of thousands of barrels per day, owing to a combination of efficient water injection, good rock permeability, and other factors. At its best, it set the standard for easy oil. The first wells were drilled with rather rudimentary equipment hauled across the desert sands, and the oil would flow out at ten thousand barrels per day. It was, in a sense, a giant udder. And the world milked it hard for awhile.
However, this article isn't just about a metaphor; it is also about cows, the Holsteins of Haradh. But in the end, I will circle back to the present and future of Saudi oil production.
Posted by Heading Out on August 25, 2013 - 5:04am
Tags: alaska, bakken, colombia, kazakhstan, malaysia, non-opec production, north dakota, oil production, oman, opec, russia, saudi arabia, south sudan, sudan [list all tags]
The news that Saudi Arabia is planning to employ 200 drilling rigs next year (up from 20 back in 2005) suggests that there is a recognition that future reserves may not measure up to the planned volumes needed. Plans now include exploration of the shale deposits in the country, looking primarily for natural gas. There are estimates that this resource could run as high as 600 trillion cubic ft. Current plans are to drill seven exploratory wells in the Red Sea, off Tabuk.
This is across the country from the major oil fields currently in use, which lie more along the Persian Gulf coast, centered perhaps around Damman. It therefore suggests that they are looking for extensions of the Israeli and Egyptian fields into northern KSA. (Minister Al-Naimi said that they still “had to find them.”)
In discussing the venture Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi also noted that, choosing to look for – and presumably finding - natural gas, would take the pressure off the country to maintain its oil reserve.
Al-Naimi said that prospects for global production of shale gas and oil – including in China, Ukraine, Poland and Saudi Arabia – were so promising that the Kingdom might not need to continue with its decades-long policy of maintaining an oil-output cushion for use in global supply disruptions. “It is not a question whether Saudi Arabia has spare (oil) capacity. It is a question of whether we need to spend billions maintaining it at all,” Al-Naimi said.
Posted by Heading Out on August 18, 2013 - 3:17am
Tags: crude oil, crude oil price, ghawar, manifa, safaniya, saudi arabia, saudi crude production, saudi domestic consumption [list all tags]
From the time that The Oil Drum first began and through the years up to the Recession of 2008-9, there was an increase in the price of oil, and that resumed following the initial period of the recession, and in contrast to the price of natural gas, oil has recovered a lot of the price that it lost.
If one were to draw a straight line on that graph from the low point in 1999 though now, there hasn’t been a huge variation away from the slope of that line for long. That, of course, does not stop folk from pointing to the very short, roughly flat bit at the end and saying that oil prices are going to remain at that level, or are even about to decline.
To address that final point first, I would suggest that those making such a foolish prediction should go away and read the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Reports. Remember that, for just a little while longer, oil is a fungible product. OPEC make no secret of the fact that they continuously examine the global economy and make estimates on how it is going to behave. This month they note that the economies aren’t doing quite as well as expected, and have revised down global growth to 2.9%, though they expect next year to be better, and hold to their estimate of a 3.5% growth rate.
We are used to expecting that more investment will yield more output, but in the real world, things don’t always work out that way.
In Figure 1, we see that for several groupings, the increase (or decrease) in oil consumption tends to correlate with the increase (or decrease) in GDP. The usual pattern is that GDP growth is a little greater than oil consumption growth. This happens because of changes of various sorts: (a) Increasing substitution of other energy sources for oil, (b) Increased efficiency in using oil, and (c) A changing GDP mix away from producing goods, and toward producing services, leading to a proportionately lower need for oil and other energy products.
The situation is strikingly different for Saudi Arabia, however. A huge increase in oil consumption (Figure 1), and in fact in total energy consumption (Figure 2, below), does not seem to result in a corresponding rise in GDP.
At least part of problem is that Saudi Arabia is reaching limits of various types. One of them is inadequate water for a rising population. Adding desalination plants adds huge costs and huge energy usage, but does not increase the standards of living of citizens. Instead, adding desalination plants simply allows the country to pump less water from its depleting aquifers.
To some extent, the same situation occurs in oil and gas fields. Expensive investment is required, but it is doubtful that there is an increase in capacity that is proportional to its cost. To a significant extent, new investment simply offsets a decline in production elsewhere, so maintains the status quo. It is expensive, but adds little to what gets measured as GDP.
The world outside of Saudi Arabia is now running into an investment sinkhole issue as well. This takes several forms: water limits that require deeper wells or desalination plants; oil and gas limits that require more expensive forms of extraction; and pollution limits requiring expensive adjustments to automobiles or to power plants.
These higher investment costs lead to higher end product costs of goods using these resources. These higher costs eventually transfer to other products that most of us consider essential: food because it uses much oil in growing and transport; electricity because it is associated with pollution controls; and metals for basic manufacturing, because they also use oil in extraction and transport.
Ultimately, these investment sinkholes seem likely to cause huge problems. In some sense, they mean the economy is becoming less efficient, rather than more efficient. From an investment point of view, they can expect to crowd out other types of investment. From a consumer’s point of view, they lead to a rising cost of essential products that can be expected to squeeze out other purchases.
In January 1995 there was a total of 1738 oil and gas rigs drilling globally (excluding the former Soviet Union (FSU). By February 2012 that number had more than doubled to 3850. Global C+C+NGL production grew from 68 to 84 million bpd (24%) over the same period.
Global drilling for oil and gas is dominated by North America, in particular the USA. In January 1995 there were 737 oil and gas rigs drilling in the USA, 42% of the world total. By October 2011 this figure had grown to 2010 rigs, 55% of the world total.
Proportionally, the USA has increased it's drilling effort compared to the rest of the world and currently benefits from lower oil prices, significantly lower natural gas prices and higher economic growth than many OECD peers.
Does the rest of the world need to wake up and to drill baby drill?
Figure 1 Global oil, gas and total rig counts from Baker Hughes compared with global crude+condensate+NGL production from the EIA. Note that Baker Hughes does not include data for the FSU.
The overall structure of the global rig count data is controlled by North America. The fall in drilling activity in 1998 was due to chronic low oil prices less than $10 / barrel; the fall in 2001 was due to recession in wake of the dot com bust and the fall in 2008 was due to the financial crash. The annual cyclicity in the data comes from Canada, where drilling is reduced during the Spring thaw. The near term peak of 3850 rigs was in February 2012 and it remains to be seen how the fall in drilling activity since then pans out. It is possible this is linked to a realisation that drilling shale is not profitable. The huge switch from gas to oil drilling post-2009 is discussed below the fold.
Oil Watch posts are joint with Rembrandt Koppelaar.
Posted by Euan Mearns on November 28, 2012 - 3:45pm
Tags: algeria, angola, crude oil production, ecuador, iea, iran, iraq, kuwait, libya, nigeria, oil watch, opec, qatar, saudi arabia, spare capacity, united arab emirates, venezuela [list all tags]
OPEC is currently pumping at close to near term and historic highs of 31.2 mmbpd of crude oil. Outside of Saudi Arabia, the majority of spare capacity is deemed to lie in Iran and Nigeria. Iran could certainly pump more if permitted to do so by the international community. It is doubtful that Nigeria could. The UAE Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, Algeria and Venezuela are all pumping at close to capacity levels. Saudi Arabia alone has meaningful spare capacity of 2.1 mmbpd.
Embedded in the production stack (Figure 1) is an intriguing tale of general strike, international conflict, civil war and sanctions combined with masterly control of oil supply that has kept global markets in balance.
Figure 1 Monthly crude oil production for 12 OPEC countries. All data published in this interim report are taken from the monthly IEA Oil Market Reports.
From May 2007 to August 2010, Rembrandt Koppelaar published an e-report called Oil Watch Monthly that summarised global and national oil production and consumption data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) of the OECD and Energy Information Agency (EIA) of the USA. This is the second in a series of new Oil Watch reports, co-authored with Rembrandt and details crude oil production data for 12 OPEC countries (includes Angola and Ecuador, excludes Indonesia) as reported by the International Energy Agency. Earlier editions:
Posted by patzek on November 19, 2012 - 1:26pm
Tags: condensate, crude oil, demand, destruction, efficiency, energy, gain, independence, lpg, natural gas, petroleum, product, refineries, russia, saudi arabia, security, self-delusions [list all tags]
[Editor's comment: This article is by Dr. Tad Patzek, chairman of the Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Patzek's research involves mathematical modeling of earth systems with emphasis on multiphase fluid flow physics and rock mechanics. He is also working on smart, process-based control of very large waterfloods in unconventional, low-permeability formations, and on the mechanics of hydrate-bearing sediments. In a broader context, Patzek works on the thermodynamics and ecology of human survival and energy supply schemes for humanity. He has participated in the global debate on energy supply schemes by giving hundreds of press interviews and appearing on the BBC, PBS, CBS, CNBC, ABC, NPR, etc., and giving invited lectures around the world. This article first appeared on Tad's blog Life Itself.]
Before I discuss the logic behind negating a peak of production of anything, let me sum up where we are in the U.S. in terms of crude oil production. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA):
The United States consumed 18.8 million barrels per day (MMbd) of petroleum products during 2011, making us the world's largest petroleum consumer. The United States was third in crude oil production at 5.7 MMbd. But crude oil alone does not constitute all U.S. petroleum supplies. Significant gains occur, because crude oil expands in the refining process, liquid fuel is captured in the processing of natural gas, and we have other sources of liquid fuel, including biofuels. These additional supplies totaled 4.6 MMbd in 2011.
Let me parse this quote.
The latest OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) foresees that demand for OPEC crude oil will decline over the next year by about 300 kbd. This is largely in anticipation of additional production from elsewhere:
Non-OPEC supply is forecast to increase by 0.7 mb/d in 2012, supported by the anticipated growth from North America, Latin America, and FSU. In 2013, non-OPEC oil supply is expected to grow by 0.9 mb/d. The US, Canada, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Colombia are expected to be the main contributors to supply growth, while Norway, Mexico, and the UK are seen experiencing the largest declines. OPEC NGLs and non-conventional oils are seen averaging 5.9 mb/d in 2013, indicating an increase of 0.2 mb/d over this year.
Overall, OPEC sees demand staying below 90 mbd over the remainder of this year, with total growth in demand lying at 1.01 mbd.
Much has happened since the late Matt Simmons and Nansen Saleri got together back in February 2004 to debate scenarios for future oil production in Washington. While Matt had developed his research that led into the publication of “Twilight in the Desert”, this was the meeting where Aramco pushed back to explain that there would not be a global problem for at least fifty years. As this series of posts on Saudi Arabia comes to a conclusion and moves on to other countries, it is perhaps of some value to look back on the presentation by Mahmoud Abdul Baqi and Hansen Saleri to remember what was said. Back in those days, oil demand was expected to steadily rise with increasing rates to reach 100 mbd in 2015.
Saudi Aramco has stated that it designs the well layouts and extraction patterns from its oil fields so that they effectively decline at a rate of 2% per year.* If one divides 100 by 2 it yields 50. If one subtracts 50 from 2012, one gets the year 1962. Even for those with poor math skills, these are not difficult operations, and they lead to the conclusion that those fields which came into production in the early 1960’s and earlier are now reaching the end of their productive lives. They are not there yet, since production took time to ramp up, and some fields have been rested over the years when production was cut back, or even mothballed. But this gives you some perspective on the overall scope of the situation, without the need for complex mathematical modeling.
(*The IEA apparently believes that the figure is closer to 3.5%) (H/t Matt) Saudi Arabia states that, without using advanced recovery techniques and “maintain potential” drilling sites – often not in the same field as that being depleted – the rate would be 8%.(h/t Darwinian ).
This is a guest post by Stephen Sorrell, senior lecturer Science and Technology Policy Research, Sussex Energy Group, and lead author of the UKERC Global Oil Depletion report, and Christophe McGlade, doctoral researcher at the UCL Energy Institute. This post was slightly revised by the authors and updated here on 25/07/2012. Please see paragrapghs 8 and 9 below the fold for the updated text.
Commentary on: Oil: 'The Next Revolution: The Unprecedented Upsurge of Oil Production Capacity and What it Means for the World' - Leonardo Maugeri, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
Summary Maugeri's analysis and conclusions are critically dependent upon the decline rates applied to existing and future fields, and yet he does not explicitly say what these decline rates will be. However, Maugeri’s assumptions can be derived from his Table 2, which projects gross and net capacity additions over the period to 2020. Doing so suggests he uses an average annual decline rate for all fields of 1.6% over this period, which is less than half of the IEA and CERA estimates for 2008 (4.1%/year and 4.5%/year respectively). The discrepancy is even greater since the IEA and other analysts project an increase in average decline rates over the 2011-20 period. If we replace Maugeri’s 1.6% decline rate assumption with the IEA estimate of 4.1%, the projected loss of production capacity over the period to 2020 increases from 11 mb/d to 26.5 mb/d. In turn, the projected global production capacity in 2020 reduces from 110.6 mb/d to 95.1mb/d (a reduction of 14%). Since average decline rates would be expected to increase over this period, this projection must be considered optimistic.