Preface. There are two parts to Dittmar’s study. The first one concerns production, based on the most recent years of oil production. Dittmar found a strong pattern of oil decline after the plateau of 3% a year for five years, followed by a decline of 6% a year thereafter.
The assumption that OPEC nations (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, and Qatar) can continue producing oil at the current rate is based on potentially exaggerated reserve figures, which went up substantially in 1985 and haven’t budged a barrel down since then. But for OPEC, and all other regions and nations, Dittmar predicts the maximum possible production based on his model, and says that perhaps the Middle Eastern OPEC nations can continue to produce as much oil as they are now until 2050.
In my opinion, he overestimates the amount of North American tight shale oil and tar sands oil that can be produced given their low EROI’s and high energy/monetary cost, but since all his figures are the best possible, he assigns 4.5 million barrels per day (mbd) production for USA tight oil through 2030 and 3 mbd for Canadian tight oil plus oil sands.
Of course, no matter how accurate the model is, Dittmar points out that it won’t matter if a civil war, terrorism or natural disasters in any oil-producing or refining region occur, which would quickly reduce exports. Plus competition for the remaining oil might increase conflicts the current world’s major powers with catastrophic consequences. The model only applies to a stable world for the next 30 years.
Here are the nations already declining at 6%: the EU and Norway, Azerbaijan (2017), Asian nations Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam (2016), Algeria (2015), and Mexico (2014). All other oil-producing nations will join the 6% club by 2031 except OPEC. Many are already in their 3% decline state, which starts 5 years earlier.
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