So, this is the second slide from my presentation at Birkbeck, University of London, last week.
When making an argument, it is best to start from consensus and well-accredited data, so I started with government analysis of the energy sector of the economy in the United Kingdom. Production of Natural Gas in the UK is declining, and imports are rising.
I did not go into much detail about this chart, but there is a wealth of analysis out there that I would recommend people check out.
Despite continued investment in oil and gas, North Sea production is declining, and it is generally accepted that this basin or province as a whole is depleting – that is – “running out”.
Here, for example, is more DECC data. The Summary of UK Estimated Remaining Recoverable Hydrocarbon Resources, published in 2014, had these numbers for UK Oil and Gas Reserves :-
|billion barrels of oil equivalent||Lower||Central||Upper|
|Oil and Gas Reserves||4.5||8.2||12.1|
|Potential Additional Resources||1.4||3.4||6.4|
The summary concluded with the estimate of remaining recoverable hydrocarbons from the UK Continental Shelf (offshore) resources would be between 11.1 and 21 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe).
Other data in the report showed estimates of cumuluative and annual oil production :-
|billion barrels of oil equivalent||Cumulative production||Annual production|
|To date to end 2012||41.3||0.6 (in 2012)|
|To date to end 2012||41.8||0.5 (in 2013)|
|Additional production 2013 to 2030||7.0||0.44 (average 2014 to 2030)|
|Additional production 2013 to 2040||9.1||0.21 (average 2031 to 2040)|
|Additional production 2013 to 2050||10.4||0.13 (average 2041 to 2050)|
Another source of estimates on remaining oil and gas resources, reserves and yet-to-find potential is from the Wood Review of 2014 :-
|billion barrels of oil equivalent||Low case||Mid-case||High case|
So it’s clear that British oil and gas production is in decline, and that also, reserves and resources to exploit are depleting. The Wood Review made several recommendations to pump up production, and maximise the total recoverable quantities. Some interpreted this as an indication that good times were ahead. However, increased production in the near future is only going to deplete these resources faster.
OK, so the UK is finding the North Sea running dry, but what about other countries ? This from the BP Statistical Review of Energy, 2014 :-
|Oil – proved reserves|
Thousand million barrels
At end 1993
At end 2003
At end 2012
|Natural gas – Proved Reserves|
Trillion cubic metres
At end 1993
At end 2003
At end 2012
Oil and gas chief executives may be in denial about a peak in global crude oil production, but they don’t challenge geology on the North Sea. Here’s what BP’s CEO Bob Dudley said on 17th February 2015, during a presentation of the BP Energy Outlook 2035 :-
“The North sea is a very mature oil and gas province and it will inevitably go through a decline. It peaked in 1999 at around 2.9 millions barrels per day and our projections are that it will be half a million barrels in 2035”.
That’s “inevitably” regardless of the application of innovation and new technology. New kit might bring on production sooner, but won’t replenish the final count of reserves to exploit.
So what are the likely dates for Peak Oil and Peak Natural Gas production in the North Sea bordering countries ?
Norway : by 2030.
Denmark : net importer of oil and gas by 2030.