BRICK oil production update Sep 2013

  • In September 2013 oil production in the BRICK countries was 19.4 million barrels per day (Mbpd) representing 22% of the global total.
  • Brazil, Russia, India and China are often bundled as a group of large developing economies. I’ve added Kazakhstan to this group since it is a major oil producer and former member of The Soviet Union.
  • Half of the production in this group comes from Russia where production continues to grow slowly, offsetting static / slowly falling production in each of the other countries (Figure 1).
  • While it is convenient to group these countries, Russia and Kazakhstan are significant oil exporters whilst China, India and Brazil are oil importers. Rising internal demand has resulted in static exports from Russia and Kazakhstan for 4 years (Figure 7) whilst growing demand in China, India and Brazil has resulted in major growth in oil imports in these countries since 1985 (Figure 7).
  • Falling oil production in Brazil for two years has put paid to that country’s ambition to become an oil exporter, for the time being at least (Figure 6).

Figure 1 Crude oil + condensate + natural gas liquids (C+C+NGL) production stack for the BRICK countries. Data from the EIA who have now updated statistics to end September 2013. Oil production for this significant group of producers has been static for the last three years. Click on all charts to get a larger image that will open in a new browser window.

Figure 2 Russia is the second largest oil producer in the world after Saudi Arabia. The rapid growth in production from 1998 to 2004 reflects recovery from the disruption caused by the break up of the Soviet Union. Since 2004 production has grown more slowly and is now being matched by growth in domestic consumption resulting in static exports (see Figure 7).

Figure 3 Kazakhstan’s oil production has grown significantly on the back of new field developments in the Caspian region. Production growth is / was set to continue with the development of the giant Kashagan field that was brought on stream late 2013. Kashagan is a sour gas (H2S) oil field presenting serious development problems and the field is currently reported to be shut down owing to gas leaks.

Figure 4 With oil production over 4 Mbpd China is a significant producer but an even more prodigious consumer of oil (Figure 7). Static production for 3 years suggests that the Chinese oil industry is fighting a losing battle against declines in the conventional oil fields. Only time will tell if shale developments push Chinese production higher.

Figure 5 With production below 1 Mbpd, India is oil poor compared with its size and population. The step up in production in 2009 / 11 was due to new oil fields discovered in Rajasthan, by Edinburgh based Cairn Energy, being brought on stream. 

Figure 6 Brazil’s oil industry has been hugely successful growing production from 700,000 bpd in 1994 to over 2 Mbpd in 2009. The country was on course to become self sufficient / net exporter of oil but production growth has faltered in recent years as Brazil learns the consequences of managing fields drilled in ever deeper water with complex geology and engineering challenges.

Figure 7 Using annual production and consumption data reported by BP it is possible to make a crude estimate of the net import-export balance for this group of countries. Balance = production – consumption. In 2011, exports from Russia and Kazakhstan were roughly equivalent to the imports of China, India and Brazil. In this group, demand growth is outstripping supply growth and the group seems set to become a significant net importer of oil in the years ahead.

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24 Responses to BRICK oil production update Sep 2013

  1. Nigel Wakefield says:

    Very interesting. Netting off the imports against the exports in the last chart to show an aggregate for the BRICKs would be very revealing – an object lesson in Jeffrey Brown’s Export Land Model for a significant block of fast growing emerging market economies

  2. A C Osborn says:

    Euan, are you sure that Brazil’s output is actually dropping, as by eye it looks reasonably stable after the initial increase up to 2009, it seems to be about 10% lower than the peek now.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      OK, you could say it has stopped rising. Most of the production is offshore (I think) and if Brazil goes way of UK and Norway they may have a ragged plateau for a number of years. It could also easily start rising again as they have vast sub-salt resources in very deep water. But this comes at high development and maintenance costs. They also become a victim of success. 2 Mbpd with 10% declines means they need to bring on 200,000 bpd new production every year to stand still.

  3. Patrick Reynolds says:

    So the BRICKS have gone from a net surplus in 05 of 2Mbpd to a net deficit in 12 of Mbpd. A 3mbpd turnaround. North America has recently added 3Mbpd. Knife-edge. How much longer can global supply keep up this balance in the face of constant decline and rising demand from developing and producer nations?

    And when US LTO starts its decline won’t people be a little surprised to find that the millions of barrels they used to import are now all going to new markets and will not be available at the current price? The spin on shale is truly a shameful work of bullshit. The American public don’t like nasty surprises…. Who will they blame? Some hapless bunch middle eastern states I guess.

  4. Euan Mearns says:

    US LTO and Saudi spare capacity is what is propping up oil supply today. The oil industry is in real difficulty, with cost of bringing on new marginal capacity spiralling out of control – they are backing away from new projects. So we need higher oil price – $150+

    Of course Greens would argue we need more renewables. My position is we certainly need more electrification of heating and transport powered by nuclear.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Euan,

      Is nuclear competitive with onshore wind when all costs are included (often decommissioning costs for nuclear and storage and disposal costs for spent fuel are left out of the calculations). Nuclear is ok with me, but I would much prefer windmills within sight over a nuclear power plant.

      The report at the link above suggests that wind and solar could work in that particular region (Northeastern US), the 90% solution is almost all onshore wind.


      • Kit P says:

        Dennis what planet do yo live on? All the evidence suggest that wind and solar does not work. If some college students who have never made any electricity write a report based on models that contradicts the physical world you live in, maybe you should ignore the report. Interesting learning exercises should not be confused with real life.
        Just for the record, the cost of decommissioning and storing spent fuel are in the cost of US plants. I work in the power industry. We have the responsibility of providing power when out customers need it. One of the criteria is not what you like to look at. Power plants are not art museums. The beauty of a power plant is how well it works to produce power on a cold night. The beauty of a transmission line is how well it holds up in an ice storm.

        • Patrick Reynolds says:

          So Kit your definition of ‘do not work’ is ‘is not exactly the same as’ . Intermittency is not a contradiction of the physical world. And do your glorious nuclear plants pay for their own insurance, are they imdemified against a right royal Fukushima, or do they rely on the people picking up the tab for those kind of events, like in Japan and everywhere else on the planet?

          Whether it suits your idea of business as usual or not renewables are the fastest growing new source of electricity even in the US and will increasingly be an important part of the mix. And yes structures and especially financial models of distribution and delivery will be changed by this. We can see in Germany and other places like Australia that renewables are extremely disruptive to current electricity supply business models. If you work in the industry I suggest there are big opportunities ahead in the necessary innovations that this new paradigm demands. This will probably prove more successful than railing against change. Especially one that is happening anyway.

          One example:

          • Kit P says:

            Intermittency = does not work
            This does not mean that wind and solar can not produce some power because we have a many robust sources of power. It is like giving a child a cookie after eating the food ‘needed’ for a health diet.
            Patrick is an example of what anti-nukes say when you point out their pixie dust solution is not very practical on the planet we live. What about this what about that what about something else.
            For the record, nuke plants in the US are fully insured. I think it is fair question to ask how an accident will be paid for where you live. In the US, the nuclear industry picks up the tab for US plants.
            Clearly Patrick does not understand BAU when it comes to producing power. We build power plants when we need them. The current new wind and solar are not being built to meet a need but fulfill a political agenda. Wind and solar will never be an ‘important part of the mix’ because it does not work.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Dennis, I have visitors this weekend and not much spare time to blog. Thanks for the paper. A couple of comments – capacity > 3 times max demand and this still provides only 90 to 99% load security and that is with mass storage. So I doubt this could be cheaper. UK grid is about 55 GW peak winter demand. Peak winter demand is about double minimum summer demand. There are periods in winter when the wind doesn’t blow anywhere in the UK. I’ll be back later today and post some links and charts.

        Folks who already live in site of nukes don’t mind them. Scotland (1/10) of UK could get all its power from 2 * 3 GW nukes. The alternative that we are experimenting with at the moment is windmills everywhere, escalating costs and declining security of supply.

        • Patrick R says:

          With respect. The old model will have to change. Renewables are now and will continue to disrupt it. All of the ‘impossibilities’ you mention are because you start from the assumption that current systems of generation, distribution, and their funding mechanisms, are a function of natural laws. They are not, they are human inventions that are adapted to those very real natural laws. Of course the physics doesn’t alter but our structures always have to adapt to changes in technology and economics. But hell, what would I know, let’s see what these guys think:

          • Roger Andrews says:

            Patrick R: Intermittent renewables such as wind and solar won’t replace conventional baseload generation until a way is found of a) smoothing out the surges so that the power can be admitted directly into the grid and b) supplying wind and solar power to the grid when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. This can be achieved only by storing the power for re-use in batteries or pumped hydro facilities. Innovative business models, new paradigms, market incentives, rooftop solar, regional interconnections, smart grids, phase-shifting transformers, energy efficiency and decentralized generation simply aren’t going to do it, much as some would prefer to believe otherwise.

          • Kit P says:

            “But hell, what would I know, let’s see what these guys think: ”
            The folks at UBS do not make electricity.
            “natural laws ”
            Of course Patrick did not bother to learn them. I always find it interesting that many who are interested in energy and the environment did not bother to do the hard work to understand them. I am sure that Euan and I took many of the the same basic science classes. A geologist can explain why a site might might not be a good location for a nuke plant. I suspect I do not have to explain Euan the photoelectric effect or that it requires the sun light to work. Euan and I can think of many many uses of the photoelectric effect. However, wind and solar does not work when it comes to supplying an industrial society with power. Without working in the power industry, Euan understands this.
            The point here is that there is an army of people who use science to meet the needs of others. Because a few provide power, other have time to learn how to make music that we enjoy. We even need lawyers and economists. If only we could get them to take more science to understand how to do their job better.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Dennis, I have written a number of posts on the impact of renewables on UK electricity supply based on real data. We now have a monitoring system that tells us where our electricity is coming from with 5 minute resolution and a blogging system that records this data and reports it in an easy to access format – see Gridwatch.

        Do you really think we can run a grid on renewables when the real data looks like this?

        Electricity supply and demand for beginners
        UK electricity demand GDP, and energy policy
        The changing face of UK electricity supply
        Parasitic wind killing its host
        Brave Green World and the Cost of Electricity
        The Coire Glas pumped storage scheme – a massive but puny beast
        Energy Matters’ 2050 pathway for the UK

        • Patrick R says:

          You all need to go back and read what I said:

          “Whether it suits your idea of business as usual or not renewables are the fastest growing new source of electricity even in the US and will increasingly be an important part of the mix. And yes structures and especially financial models of distribution and delivery will be changed by this. We can see in Germany and other places like Australia that renewables are extremely disruptive to current electricity supply business models.”

          Nowhere in here did I say that renewables will power the whole world [the strawman that you seem to be attacking]. My view, stated above, is that we are transitioning from a reliance on cheap [extremely handy] liquid fuels to more reliance on electricity. This will not be easy [especially around transportation]. And that this will be sourced from all sources including renewables and that as a consequence current structures must change. Anyone who thinks we can or will run the current system on 100% is deluded. But anyone who thinks that only engineers [or how how ever Kit self-describes] can understand the world is equally deluded. The UBS link is clearly about economics. This has a significant bearing on how things work out. It is also deluded to complain: ‘people are doing things because of politics’ no not deluded but rather naive: That’s what politics is; people doing things. I have heard this so many times from specialists: ‘the world must be run to our set of values only; all other views are deluded’. Good luck with that; a life of frustrated non-comprehension awaits.

          Euan I do read your continued attacks on renewables and always find that i learn a great deal about the problems ahead and feel that they are a useful addition to the conversation [and education in practicalities for someone like me- not a specialist] but I also think they suffer from being less pure enquiry than being by someone with an agenda seeking confirmation. I hope you don’t mind me saying this. Furthermore, and while I know the UK is particularly energy poor these days [and doing some very strange things as a result], it is interesting to witness the growth in renewables into the mix in other parts of the globe. [I should note that where I live, NZ, there are no subsidies for renewables and they are being built because they are effective and are more cost effective- wind in particular, that’s another story and I know it is particular as is every place].

          Here is a study from Australia last year that is an example of what can happen when separate economic decisions by rational individuals [people deciding to generate their own electricity- because it makes financial sense to them] has changed the entire game there. Essentially distributed solar in hot places has the effect of smoothing peak demand [afternoon air-con], and because, once installed, the marginal cost of these electrons are functionally free, this is profoundly distruptive to the current market, which is based on spot price profiteering and therefore is intensely reliant on those peaks.

          The problem here is one of abundance; enough of these panels and the lavish indulgence in cooling is not only possible but crazy possible. The coal burning baseload industry is furious. I watch with interest how this works out, not least how they resolve paying for the grid to be adapted to these new multiple micro generating sources. Big coal is already getting very nasty [Aussies play for keeps] so expect a great deal of politics to unfold along with the economics here too.

          • Euan Mearns says:


            find that i learn a great deal about the problems ahead

            I’d be interested to know what these problems are from your perspective.

            If you read the various articles and comments I’ve written you should find I am more favourably disposed to solar, especially at low sunny latitudes that lack seasons and have a lot of sun. At high latitude we don’t get much sunshine and there is strong seasonality of demand that is negatively correlated with supply – why would anyone want to support that?

            I’m also pretty supportive of hydro, but in Scotland the best sites are already used and I’m cautious on creating even more Green destruction of our natural environment.

            I’m also pretty supportive of country dwellers using locally sourced wood for home heat, although notice on cold calm days in winter, light smog forming over country towns.

            If you check out the EM 2050 pathway, you’ll see that I have a ton of solar and tidal power in there.

            I am deeply sceptical about renewables enthusiasts wanting to cover the whole of our landscape with energy infrastructure to create an unstable, unreliable and expensive grid when the alternative in Scotland is to have all our primary energy created at two small sites. And you need to note that The Scottish government policy is to generate the equivalent of 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020. You may not be bonkers but our politicians are.

  5. Luís says:

    Nice charts Euan. I stopped using BP data to compute exports years ago, the consumption and production figures refer to different things and give you weird results. Brasil has actually been a net exporter of petroleum for almost a decade, but since BP includes ethanol in consumption it wrongly flags this country as a net importer. This is even more awkward considering that Brasil is also a net exporter of ethanol.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Luis, I agree, this is a crude measure. The global trade in crude oil and refined products is complex. JODI provide a lot of useful data and I’m just getting around to updating these files. Did a lot of work on this with Rembrandt, that venture foundered because of too many countries and too much data. Got to work out some priorities.

      When you say Brazil is net exporter – based on what data / evidence?

    • Ralph W says:

      Not necessarily. In years of poor sugar harvest, Brazil has been a net importer of ethanol from the USA.

      Overall, Brazil has been approximately energy self-sufficient in the last decade. However, they have a very large population, and steadily rising consumption, whilst ethanol production is limited by agricultural land available (and the poor quality of ex-rainforest soils) , and oil production that is stalling in the face of difficult geology and very deep waters. At best they will not be competing for oil exports in the coming decades.

  6. Kit P says:

    “This can be achieved only by ”
    Roger, I understand what you are saying. It can not be achieved because wind and solar does not work. The power industry has no problem working around things we can predict like the wind dropping off or the rotation of the earth. Wind and solar does not work. Currently nuclear does not work in Japan because a natural disaster. We design nuke plants to withstand expected natural disaster. When a natural disaster occurs that is worse, it become the new design basis. It remains to be seen if nuclear power will work in a natural disaster prone county.
    I am still waiting to read an engineering report that says wind and solar works. There were a few nuke plants that we could not make work well enough. Wind and solar has to work well enough to replace how power is currently produced. Our current systems is very reliable. Not only does wind and solar have to work, it has to work better. Think about that for a moment. There was a time 20 years ago when nuclear power did not work well enough to build new plants. Many closed early because those operating them did not have the skill needed. Of course now, almost all nuke plants run very well. The same skills are applied to wind and solar but wind and solar has an inherent disadvantage of economy of scale. Until wind and solar works, storage is not needed.

  7. Ralph W says:

    Has anyone done an analysis of what ‘baseload’ electricity demand is, and how much it is essential to UK daily life? My domestic baseload is very low, night lights for kids, fridge and freezer (both A rated), timer controls on the central heating and IR detectors for the security lights. I leave TV on standby, ditto various other items I could turn off , but together they probably add 10 watts. Oh, also miniature electric blanket these cold nights.

    My city is in the process of replacing every street light with LEDs. Ditto traffic lights. Obviously institutions like hospitals and tube trains and other infrastructure will continue to need electricity, but in the 1970s there was a massive drive to Increase baseload consumption, to balance the otherwise unsalable electricty from nuclear and coal stations.

    Institutional attention to baseload energy demand will dramatically pay for itself in reduced costs in many areas. My company has cut its demand dramatically from by modernising its IT hardware and heating/cooling systems.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I’d guess that David MacKay and DECC will have looked at this. Have to assume that most households switch most stuff off at night and so base load must be dominated by industrial users – oil refineries, power stations, manufacturing plant etc.

      The focus is normally on the day time peak – reduce that and you reduce the generating capacity required to meet it. There must be a mass of simple behavioural measures that could be introduced to reduce peak demand – don’t understand why this is not being aggressively attacked.

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