2008 April 14 Monday
Russia Past Peak Oil Production?

Did Russian oil production peak in 2007?

Leonid Fedun, the 52-year-old vice-president of Lukoil, Russia’s largest independent oil company, told the Financial Times he believed last year’s Russian oil production of about 10m barrels a day was the highest he would see “in his lifetime”. Russia is the world’s second biggest oil producer.

In 2007 Russia showed the 3rd largest oil increase in the world (see context here). If Russia is going to join Mexico, Iran, Kuwait, and the lengthening list of other countries with declining oil production then the unfun times are just around the corner.

The Russian government hopes a tax cut on oil can help boost oil production. But with oil prices already very high the prospects of a tax cut making a difference seems remote.

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Russia will cut taxes on oil companies to overcome production ``stagnation'' after a decade of growth, Energy and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko said.

Russian oil production has started declining.

Russian output fell for the first time in a decade in the first three months of this year, according to the International Energy Agency, which represents industrialized oil-consuming countries. It said Russian production averaged about 10 million barrels a day, a 1% drop from the first-quarter of 2007.

My advice: When you move or take a job choose locations that reduce your commute distance. Also, work more hours and save your money. Also, insulate. Also, next time you buy a car buy a smaller one. If you can get a hybrid or a diesel then all the better.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 April 14 10:32 PM  Economics Energy

lowly said at April 15, 2008 2:39 AM:

Good advice.

Oil prices will undoubted pull back some now, just to fool everyone for a while longer.

Kenelm Digby said at April 15, 2008 2:47 AM:

I don't know how seriously to take this news.
Has the frozen, icy vastness of Siberia been properly explored and prospected?
What of the huge known methane reserves of Siberia?
What of the unimaginably vast amounts of methane known to be 'trapped' at the bottom of lake sediments in Siberia?

Wolf-Dog said at April 15, 2008 4:34 AM:

The new US government must start a Bronx Project for energy ASAP, at least $100 billion per year must be spent in parallel for R & D and construction in many areas.

In anticipation of the end of oil, Russia is quietly hoarding uranium.

French nuclear leader AREVA and Mitsubishi have developed new generation reactors. Although these are still pressurized water reactors, they will offer far superior fuel economy and also a lot less nuclear waste:


What we are doing in the United States, is criminal (in some countries, committing suicide is considered a crime and one can go to prison for this attempted suicide.)

Ned said at April 15, 2008 7:12 AM:

In addition to rapidly developing alternative energy sources, the US should begin immediately to maximize domestic production. The huge quantities of oil in the ANWR should be developed as soon as possible - the proven reserves there will equal our imports from Saudi Arabia for at least twenty years, and who knows how much more oil is really down there. Offshore and outer continental shelf fields should also be opened to exploration and development - about 85% of the US coastline is currently off limits to drilling. Admittedly, these actions are stopgap - as Randall correctly points out, the world is slowly running out of oil, and alternative fuels and energy sources need to be developed pronto. But maximization of domestic resources will ease the crunch and help moderate price increases for the next decade or two, until better alternatives appear. How offensive it is to see our congress critters posturing about high gas prices in "show trials" with oil company executives when it is these vary demagogues who are preventing domestic energy development and thereby guaranteeing continuing high prices.

Wolf-Dog said at April 15, 2008 8:47 AM:

Although Hillary Clinton did say that she is aiming at making 25 % of the power derived from solar, wind and biomass by 2025 (she is better than the Republicans in this case), she still calls herself "agnostic" about nuclear energy and that she would not subsidize the nuclear industry. But maybe Hillary does not understand that there is a difference between subsidizing the construction of existing light water reactors, and subsidizing research and development for new generation reactors which will not require "subsidies" at the construction level.

Here is an article about molten salt reactors that discusses its advantages:

Japan is working round the clock on this design. Understandably, money is needed for progress.

YT said at April 15, 2008 8:58 AM:

Japan is working round the clock on this design. Understandably, money is needed for progress.

Wolf Dog, you are expecting some kind of sanity/intelligent policy from our political system and elites. Give up. They fucking love higher energy costs, especially for average whites(who have to finance LIHEAP) who they want to see screwed(see public education, and Affirmative Action for some instructive examples). There is plenty of money, but who/what do you think it will be spent on? Japan can do this because they are a homogenous society without much deadweight or traitorous elites who want to destroy the nation for profit/and or idiotic fantasies about genetics and reality. Now get back to work. Millions on welfare are depending on you!

Wolf-Dog said at April 15, 2008 10:37 AM:

It is not so much the stupidity of the elites, but the lobbies of big oil companies, who made sure that they get subsidies, while sabotaging alternative energy sources. The integral fast neutron reactor was an good invention, but as soon as its feasibility was demonstrated, its financing was immediately canceled because the anti-nuclear groups worried that this might encourage new interest in nuclear energy. The anti-nuclear groups are not the only simply the environmentalists: the oil companies are also included, and paradoxically, the uranium mining industry also does not like the fast neutron breeders like the molten salt reactor, because this would mean that since the long term byproducts of the fission are burned as extra fuel, only 1 % to 1.5 % of the usual uranium fuel would be needed (this is more than 60 times more fuel efficient.) This would be a disaster for uranium miners. The coal miners also don't like it for obvious reasons. So it is not the stupidity of politicians, but actually the special interest groups their lobbies who own the politicians.

This is why we need method of controlling corruption. Genetically breeding new politicians that cannot be corrupted is an option.

Randall Parker said at April 15, 2008 8:48 PM:


World oil field discovery peaked in 1964 and we are nowhere near that peak and show no signs of getting near it again.

History of global oil discoveries, with extrapolation. Source: ASPO.

Note the chart that shows world oil discovery peaking in the mid 1960s and the huge drop-off since then. We aren't going to overcome that trend with explorations in Siberia or deep water.

Randall Parker said at April 15, 2008 9:05 PM:


In fact ANWR's estimated reserves are unproven.

Also, putting ANWR into production now is probably a bad idea. I figure we'll need that oil in the late 2010s and 2020s.

Ned said at April 16, 2008 5:46 AM:

RP -

Look at this:

Oil. Estimates of ANWR oil potential, both old and new, depend upon limited data and numerous assumptions about geology and economics. The most recent government study of oil and natural gas prospects in ANWR, completed in 1998 by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS), 2 found that there is an excellent chance (95%) that at least 11.6 billion barrels of oil are present on federal lands in the 1002 area. There also is a small chance (5%) that 31.5 billion barrels or more are present. USGS estimates there is an excellent chance (95%) that 4.3 billion barrels or more are technically recoverable (costs not considered); and there is a small chance (5%) that 11.8 billion barrels or more are technically recoverable. But the proportion that would be economically recoverable depends upon the price of oil. The USGS estimated that, at $24/ barrel (in 1996 dollars), there is a 95% chance that 2.0 billion barrels or more could be economically recovered and a 5% chance of 9.4 billion barrels or more. Roughly one-third more oil may be under adjacent state waters and Native lands. 3 However, these areas would be difficult to develop without access through Federal land.

Oil prices, geologic characteristics such as permeability and porosity, cash flow, and any transportation constraints, would be among the most important factors affecting the development rates and production levels that would be associated with given volumes of oil resources. The Energy Information Administration estimated that at a faster development rate, production would peak 15-20 years after the start of development, with maximum daily production rates of roughly 0.00015 (0.015%) of the resource. (http://www.policyalmanac.org/environment/archive/crs_anwr.shtml)

If we're going to need the oil in 10-20 years, the time to start development is NOW, since it will take close to a decade before the first crude hits the refinery. Note that estimates of recoverability are based on 1996 oil prices ($24/bbl). Oil's now running around $111/bbl, so most of it should be recoverable.

Randall Parker said at April 16, 2008 6:25 PM:


I've read much more skeptical takes on the potential of ANWR. Here, for example, is Jean Laherrere on ANWR:

There are several cycles in the creaming curve, with a possible future one but of small size. On February 6th of 2008, the US sold 488 leases in the Chukchi sea, totalling 2.2 G$; most leases were bought by Shell and Conoco. In 1989 and 1990 4 dry holes were drilled in this area plus a gas discovery at Burger (14 Tcf) which was relinquished by Shell in 1996. Shell bought back the Burger lease for 105 M$ (about the cost of one well in this area). The cost of the famous Mukluk dry hole in 1983 in the shallow waters of the North Slope was over 1 G$.

The USGS published in 2005 a report (FS2005-3043) on the central part of Alaska - Central North Slope – putting undiscovered Oil and Natural Gas resources at 4 Gb and 37 Tcf. In addition to that there's the potential of 7.7 Gb and 4 Tcf for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) (FS2005-1217) and also at the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA). The KIC well drilled in 1985 in the ANWR is still confidential, despite the rule of becoming public after only a few years! All these estimates seem in disagreement with the creaming curve. But the USGS past approach since 2000 has been too optimistic, where only one geologist is simply guessing solely the number of discoveries and the size to be forecast (seventh approximation sheet) and then a Monte Carlo run (50 000 transforms) These wild guesses result into a beautiful distribution that looks real. A better approach should be hoped for, based on the complete past data reviewed by several geologists.

The closest developed field to ANWR is Badami, operated by BP, with an initial estimate of 120 Mb for 300 M$. It was abandoned in 2003 after 4 years of production, totalling 4 Mb with a peak of 3150 b/d in 1999, ten times less than expected! For the Mackenzie delta (FS2006-302) the USGS estimates undiscovered Oil at 10 Gb, Condensate at 4 Gb and Natural Gas at 87 Tcf.

Wolf-Dog said at April 17, 2008 1:25 PM:

Here is a 2 cylinder diesel 4 seat car from Germany, with an astounding 120 miles per gallon. This economy is because they are using very advanced light weight materials that bring the weight of the car down to 550 kg (1200 lb) without compromising safety. This car will be sold at the end of 2009 for $13,000, and it is not a 2 seat car, this is a 4 seat car with room for luggage:




But in 2010, the pure electric version of this car will also be released with a range between 93 to 124 miles. As the battery technology becomes more advanced and cheaper, there is no question that the range will be increased to 300 miles by 2020. At the price of electricity in Germany, the electric consumption of this car would be such that 1 Euro would buy you 100 kilometers.

As I said before, by 2011 Denmark will have already built the infrastructure to charge electric cars in every street at any parking place.

Markus said at April 17, 2008 8:15 PM:

Maybe we aren't quite at the peak yet.

Brazil Finds World's Third Largest Oil Field

Engineer-Poet said at April 18, 2008 3:36 PM:

We shouldn't even think about drilling ANWR while Hummers and Escalades and Excursions are allowed on the roads.  Just raising the US fleet to European economy levels would do twice as much for our situation as ANWR and the Bakken formation combined.

We need demand destruction.  We should have been working on it since the 1970's, but we refused to fix our addiction.  Now the Middle East has us over a barrel.

Markus, the world burns about 30 billion barrels of oil a year.  The Bakken field is about 6 months for the US, about 1.5 months for the world.  ANWR, perhaps twice that.  We'd have to find a new 33-billion barrel field EVERY YEAR just to keep pace.

Unsustainable situations cannot continue, and this won't.  We WILL stop using so much oil.  The only question is whether we'll get efficient, substitute, or just watch our standard of living (and maybe our civilization) wither away.

hiding in canada said at April 21, 2008 12:51 AM:

leave the anwar alone--oil goons ----brazil oil field (new find ) 33 billion barrels --big deal ---you oil aholic americans use 9 billion barrels a year ( 25 million barrels a day) wow 3 years and a bit of supply-- your not the only gobbler of oil ---china puts 8000 new cars a day on the road-------india coming on line--- forget exploration, start working on light rail and bike paths, time for you big mac eaters to get some exercise. peak oil was in 2006--expect a 1 to 2% decline per year. the only ones that are gonna be driving are the rich--- 10 to 20 dollar a gallon.

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