After The Peak: Data supporting the Peak Oil concept

Some Data About Peak Oil

A wonderful interactive graphic about total US energy production and consumption can be found here.

The North Sea Oil Fields

North Sea oil was discovered in the 1960s and the first well produced in 1971. The North Sea was aggressively harvested after the rise in world oil prices in the 1980s. This lead to an economic boom for the United Kingdom, as it become an oil exporter for the first time. Partly due to the success of increased production, the North Sea began to decline in 1999, as the graphic shows. The UK is once again a net importer of oil today.

North Sea Oil Production

Ghawar in Saudi Arabia

Ghawar is the largest oil field on the planet. It accounts for almost 50% of the production of Saudi Arabia, which means that it accounts for nearly 8% of the entire world oil production. It's been in full production since 1948. Originally very easy to extract, oil has become more difficult to pump out; the injection of water has been used extensively in this very large field. Unfortunately, this hastens the day when the water level reaches the the level where it becomes impossible to use it to move any more oil to the surface.

The Saudis no longer share any significant data about their production, but recent studies in four different publications were collated and suggest that the production of oil giant, Ghawar, is finally beginning to decline. Graphic based on research by Stuart Staniford.

Ghawar Oil Production

Cantarell in Mexico (updated)

The Cantarell field reached an early peak in production of 1.1 million barrels per day in April of 1981 from 40 oil wells. By 1994 the production was down to 890,000 barrels of oil per day. At that time, cumulative production was 4.8 billion barrels. In 1995 it was producing 1 million barrels per day and the Mexican government decided to invest in that field to raise the production level. They built 26 new platforms, drilled lots of new wells and built the largest nitrogen extraction facility capable of injecting a billion cubic feet of nitrogen per day to maintain reservoir pressure. Doing this raised the oil production rate in 2001 to 2.2 million barrels per day. Today [2007] the field produces 2.1 million barrels.

Cantarell text is Copyright 2004, 2007 G.R. Morton. Original at

Cantarell production has dropped off drastically in recent years. In 2009 daily production had fallen to 500,000 barrels per day, (half a million BPD) and is expected to level off around 400,000 BPD. Basically, the acceleration of production with nitrogen injection has recovered more oil but depleted the total field faster. In general aggressive techniques for increasing yields end up meaning that the fall off in production will be steeper.

Cantarell Oil Production

some of the fun