US oil production in 2012 increased by the largest amount ever. And 2013 will probably be better. – #16

Article in the Wall Street Journal indicates 2012 saw the largest increase in oil production since we started producing oil in 1859.

Here’s the lede from U.S. Oil-Production Rise is Fastest Ever:

U.S. oil production grew more in 2012 than in any year in the history of the domestic industry, which began in 1859, and is set to surge even more in 2013.

The article cites the American Petroleum Institute as saying U.S. production averaged 6.4 million bopd, an increase of 779k bopd.

The Energy Information Administration predicts 2013 production will rise by 900K bopd.

I looked for just a moment and couldn’t find the info at the API website.

Carpe Diem pulled data from the EIA site and produced an eye-popping graph showing the annual change in US production from 1860 through 2012. Check out the amazing change in the last four years at the post US oil production grew more in 2012 than in any year in the history of the domestic oil industry back to the Civil War. Astounding.

To give just a teeny tiny bit of credit to the Peak Oilers, if you looked at the two previous high points in the graph (one in the mid-1930s and the other in about 1949) and the string of large drops of production (see the 1980s and 1990) and drew some sort of large-scale overall trend, there would have been a peak in the 1940s and a continued drop in production through the turn of the century. Conclusion? Peak Oil!

The severe fallacy of that way of thinking is illustrated by two crippling errors.

That reasoning ignores human ingenuity and technological change.

Don’t use the past to make a straight line projection of the future. If we use that flawed concept, we could foolishly predict the increase in US production will go from around 400k bopd in 2009 to the 800K increase in 2012, surging quickly to 1,200K bopd increase in 2015, and a staggering 1,600K barrels of oil a day in 2018. That flawed logic would suggest an annual increase of a million and a half barrels a day by 2018.  That would be silly.

Just as silly as projecting a straight line from the big increases in the 1940s to the big drops in the 1980s.

As Professor Perry would say, Peak what?

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