Great Article from author Kurt Cobb
With the media awash in stories telling us how much oil is being discovered around the world, there is one word which the optimists quoted in these stories refuse to utter: Depletion.
The simple fact is that depletion never sleeps. It starts as soon as an oil well begins production and goes on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Furthermore, it is not exactly news that oil is being discovered all around the world. The industry has been spending record amounts to find it.
What’s critical is the difference between the annual additions to oil production capacity and the annual decline in the rate of production from existing wells, a decline which is running anywhere from 4 to 9 percent depending on whom you talk to.
Even at the low end of decline rate estimates, the world must find and put into production the equivalent of what is currently coming out of the entire North Sea, one the world’s largest finds, and we must do so EVERY SINGLE YEAR before worldwide production can rise. So difficult has this task become, that we’ve only just been able to keep global production on a bumpy plateau since 2005. For now, the oil industry is on a treadmill which requires ever more drilling just to keep production even.