Thursday, January 29, 2015

ten years in 2


Ten years ago Matthew R Simmons’ book “Twilight In The Desert” was published.  And considering he most likely didn’t research it in a month or three, you can call the data even more than ten years old.  A book studiously ignored by all, Simmon’s merely pointed out a few inconvenient facts.  Such as, the average age of an oil field ( for profitable pumping, not total life of the field- a lot of wells with still recoverable oil are capped as they become non-profitable ), averaged over many countries and times, if it is not damaged by over pumping, is about forty years give or take a few barrels.  Not only was Ghawar, the mostest biggest oil field ever, a field that saved the US economy almost by itself, forty years old, it certainly HAD been handled most ungently at times with over pumping now and again.  Matt also said, hey, you don’t ask a barber if you need a haircut and you don’t ask the Saudi’s to tell you the truth if their oil is running out, so he took old data from before the Saudi’s nationalized the oil and did a bit of math and astonishingly, the Saudi data had a taint of unicorn dust in it and was shown to be as reliable as US FedGov statistics.  After about three hundred pages of mind numbing statistics and analysis, he made a case that the Saudi pumping was going to run into trouble soon and that most of the increased pumping to keep the numbers up was from nearby offshore wells, not Ghawar.


Saudi Arabia has pretty much kept production where it was ten years ago.  I’ll give them that.  But in that ten years, oil supply globally has slightly stagnated, despite huge amounts of new drilling.  The production numbers don’t appear to support that, but that is because all the Fake Oil out there, tar sands and other Pretend Petroleum, were changed to conventional crude on the stats sheets.  In that time period, when oil was $110 a barrel, Saudi production NEVER increased.  You don’t think they wanted a rainy day fund for when the price dropped?  They didn’t pump more because they couldn’t pump more.  And every time you hear of increased wells in their oil fields, their production doesn’t increase.  The added drills are to keep production from falling.  So please stop fantasizing that Saudi Arabia is a swing producer, or that they are part of a conspiracy to flood the world with oil to crush other producers.  Now, the thing is, even if our buddy Matt who kind of looked like an alcoholic from pictures before his death was really off in his analysis, you can’t tell me after the addition of ten more years that would still be the case.  An oil field that is now fifty years into production not diminishing in output?  After being over pumped?  All the added marginal fields brought online through desperation still increasing in output?  No one is saying Saudi oil dries up tomorrow.  But dropping in production?  You bet.  Just as our fracking fields die, so does Saudi present output?  Likely.


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