OECD oil production update July 2013

OECD oil production is rising once again. In the North Sea, production peaked at 6.82 million barrels per day (mmbpd)  in November 1999 and has since fallen 56% to 2.98 mmbpd. This decline has been more than compensated by rising production in N America. The N American low point was 12.9 mmbpd in October 2008 and has since been lifted by shale oil and tar sands production to 17.1 mmbpd, a rise of 4.2 mmbpd.

Figure 1 Crude oil + condensate + natural gas liquid (NGL) production for 12 selected OECD countries. The 22 OECD countries that are not shown either have zero or negligible oil production. Data to July 2013 provided by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA). 14 more charts below the fold.

The Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) has 34 member states. Of those, only the USA, Canada, Mexico, Norway the UK and Australia have significant oil production (Figure 1). Only Canada, Mexico and Norway export oil. The production stack for these 6 together with 6 other member states with measurable oil production is shown in Figure 1. The remaining 22 countries have either zero or negligible indigenous oil supply which is a major factor in shaping the global political economy.

Figure 2 Oil production for the USA. The spikes down in 05 and 08 are due to hurricanes closing production in the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the recent growth in US production has come from shale oil.

Figure 3 Oil production in Canada. The steady growth in Canadian production has come from progressive exploitation of the Alberta tar sands, supplemented in recent years by shale oil.

Figure 4 The growth in Mexican production since 1994 was down to development of and nitrogen injection into the Giant Cantarel oil field. Once injected nitrogen hit the production wells the field went into decline. Nitrogen injection was then diverted to the neighbouring Ku-Maloob-Zaap complex of fields and this stabilised the decline in Mexican production. Once injected nitrogen hits these producers, Mexico will carry on down. With this knowledge, Mexico is now opening oil exploration to foreign companies.

Figure 5 Production stack for North America where production growth in the USA and Canada is leading overall OECD production higher.

Figure 6 Norwegian oil production plateaued around 2000 and since has been in relentless decline that seems typical for off shore developments. The annual cycle reflects scheduled maintenance that takes place late summer. Norway has some large new developments to come, especially the giant Johan Sverdrup field towards the end of this decade that will halt decline for a few years.

Figure 7 UK oil production, that includes a small amount of onshore oil, has been in decline since the year 2000. Despite record high spending in recent years, production has continued to decline, which is a worry for companies, Aberdeen and the UK government. There are a couple of large new developments in the pipe line that will provide a little respite.

Figure 8 Denmark is a small North Sea producer that has gone the same way as Norway and the UK.

Figure 9 Oil production stack for the North Sea. Norway has significant production off shore mid Norway and further North towards the Barents Sea that is all lumped together as “North Sea”. And the UK has a tiny amount of onshore production that is also included in this chart.

Figure 10 The Netherlands is a giant gas producer but was not endowed with significant oil. Current production is less than 50,000 bpd. The structure most likely reflects small new fields being developed.

Figure 11 Germany is also a small producer with less than 60,000 bpd production.

Figure 12 French production comes mainly from The Paris Basin which is mature and in decline. France is now an insignificant oil producer with less than 20,000 bpd.

Figure 13 Italy has a significant petroleum system in the southern Apennines providing about 100,000 bpd.

Figure 14 Australia is a significant OECD producer from several small basins scattered around the continent. Production is tiny given Australia’s size. With major gas developments in progress on the NW shelf, the NGL component may well rise in the years ahead.

Figure 15 New Zealand is a small producer, currently less than 50,000 bpd. The structure most likely reflects new field development.

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Other posts on Energy Matters

OPEC oil production update July 2013
UK North Sea Oil Production Decline

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7 Responses to OECD oil production update July 2013

  1. Hi Euan,

    Thank you for the thoughtful summary. Canada and the US really stand out from the crowd in these graphs.


  2. clifman says:


    Great graphs! Thanks. Interesting to note that a growing portion of US production is comprised of NGL, which as I understand it has only 70% the energy content of crude. So in round numbers eyeballed from your graphs, US total CCNGL has increased by 1.5mbd, from 8.5 to 10. But adjusting for the increased portion of NGL from 2mbd to 3mbd by that .7 energy content factor, means the US total has only gained 1.2mbd, rather than 1.5. A small thing, perhaps. But adding that to declining EROEI, and increasing population which means declining per capita gross production, we begin to see a real decrease in the net available energy per capita. If/as NGL becomes a greater portion of the total of CCNGL, this factor will become ever more measurable & meaningful…

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Clifman, I hear what you’re saying but feel such arguments have been a little overplayed in the past. Shale probably has high ERoEI. And improvements in efficiency tend to cancel the population growth aspect. Most of us are getting by just fine with energy availability at present. But the scarcity angle feeds through as high price and many are not managing so well on that front. US economy seems to be powering ahead on “cheap” energy – better to have expensive energy than none at all. And there is growing evidence for two speed society and economy at multiple levels. E

      • clifman says:

        Euan, thx for the reasoned response. Adjusting for energy content may have been overplayed by some, but Joe Average out there has not the foggiest of it, and sees only the total numbers reported, which are inflated by the lack of any EC adjustment. Also, while I’d have to partially agree with you on the population/efficiency offset, another take on it is that those of us in the OECD have simply off-shored our energy intensity to places like China. Globally, as the population not only rises, but the portion of that population participating in a ‘middle-class lifestyle’ grows, efficiency has its work cut out to keep pace in a world of flat to declining gross energy. Finally, I don’t really see that tight oil can be high EROEI. Just on the face of it all the 100’s of truck trips to deliver fracking water, and the fact that the oil is then mostly trucked from the site, and that the decline rates of those wells are horrific (the whole Red Queen metric) would belie a high EROEI. I give Charles Hall great credence in this arena. Here’s one link to his thoughts:

        • Euan Mearns says:

          Hi Clifman, I agree that the whole energy density, energy quality and ERoEI story needs wider exposure, not necessarily among Joe Public but among public officials and their presentation of national statistics, the press and how they report these statistics and politicians trying to make political capital. In the UK our Department of Energy and Climate Change has made big strides towards greater accessibility in published energy statistics (see links I have on right margin). One of the problems is they publish so much, how to make it user friendly. They do actually publish much data on energy consumed in energy production – but a lot of work is still needed to delve down to access it.

          Having once produced a “famous” graph of the Net Energy Cliff I am less convinced now that I was then of the value of this metric. Estonia mines oil shale and simply burns it (not shale oil but oil shale). The ERoEI argument about maturing that kerogen and extracting it simply disappears. I’m not saying ERoEI is not important, its importance is buried in a more complex web. I’ve been given numbers of 1.5 to 50 for shale. Difficult to make sense of this. But I share your view on intensity of development. In rural England where shale developments may take place, I wonder how infrastructure will cope and communities will react. One answer may be – “no problem”.

          Embedded energy in imports is another whole ball game. UK economy is supposedly going to be rebalanced towards an expansion of manufacturing. My main message here is that it must be towards low energy intensity, low raw materials, high value GDP.

          • clifman says:

            Yeah, I used that Net Energy Cliff graph as my e-mail autosignature for awhile (with appropriate credit given), so thanks. I think it still tells the tale writ large. And while we will burn shale, palm oil, the furniture and anything else we can get our hands on, that doesn’t mean that such low EROEI resources will allow anything like BAU to continue for long. A piece that I think is just not well enough understood is that what happens when the world peaks is different than what happens when any region peaks. When the US peaked in the 70’s, there was plenty of cheap oil to import from elsewhere. Now that the UK is in decline, and the globe is at peak (if not yet having turned over) the replacement energy is a bit more dear, eh? What’s it going to be like when we’re all in that boat – the entire OECD, China, India, and all the rest all scrambling for a shrinking pie. I believe that will feel different than the ’70’s, and different than the last 8 years of the global plateau. And I believe that same metric applies to EROEI as it does to gross energy. That is, while global energy is growing, we can throw stranded gas at the tar sands, and burn that Estonian shale, with little impact on the big picture. But when everyone’s fires are burning down at the same time, that Estonian stick and that Albertan btu are going to be dear to us all. And while we’re burning all that crud from the bottom of the barrel, I do believe we will also be dealing with a climate maelstrom, although I know your position on that differs. We shall see…

          • Roger Andrews says:

            Euan: I’m hesitant to jump in here because you guys have clearly forgotten more about this subject than I’m ever going to know, but I did come across an article that estimates the EROI of shale gas at “70 or greater” and gives numbers to back it up. Link below FWIW:


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