Oil: the next revolution

Oil: the next revolution. The unprecedented upsurge of oil production capacity and what it means for the World / Leonardo Maugeri. Cambridge : Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, June 2012, 86 p.  (Discussion Paper ; #2012-10)


The study  shows that oil production capacity is surging in the United States and several other countries at such a fast pace that global oil output capacity is likely to grow by nearly 20 percent by 2020. This could prompt a plunge or even a collapse in oil prices. The findings by Maugeri, a former oil industry executive who is now a fellow in the Geopolitics of Energy Project in the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, are based on an original field-by-field analysis of the world’s major oil formations and exploration projects. (source : Belfer center Press release)

Executive summary (source : http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/22144/oil.html) :

Contrary to what most people believe, oil supply capacity is growing worldwide at such an unprecedented level that it might outpace consumption. This could lead to a glut of overproduction and a steep dip in oil prices.

Based on original, bottom-up, field-by-field analysis of most oil exploration and development projects in the world, this paper suggests that an unrestricted, additional production (the level of production targeted by each single project, according to its schedule, unadjusted for risk) of more than 49 million barrels per day of oil (crude oil and natural gas liquids, or NGLs) is targeted for 2020, the equivalent of more than half the current world production capacity of 93 mbd.

After adjusting this substantial figure considering the risk factors affecting the actual accomplishment of the projects on a country-by-country basis, the additional production that could come by 2020 is about 29 mbd. Factoring in depletion rates of currently producing oilfields and their “reserve growth” (the estimated increases in crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids that could be added to existing reserves through extension, revision, improved recovery efficiency, and the discovery of new pools or reservoirs), the net additional production capacity by 2020 could be 17.6 mbd, yielding a world oil production capacity of 110.6 mbd by that date – as shown in Figure 1. This would represent the most significant increase in any decade since the 1980s.

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