Using the Hubbert curve to forecast oil production trends worldwide



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Texas A&M University


Crude oil is by far the most important commodity to humans after water and food. Having a continuous and affordable supply of oil is considered a basic human right in this day and age. That is the main reason oil companies are in a constant search of cost effective ways and technologies that allow for an improved oil recovery rate. This would improve profitability as well. What almost everyone knows and dreads at the same time is that oil is an exhaustible resource. This means that as more oil is being produced every day, the amount of oil that remains to be produced shrinks even more. With almost all big oil fields worldwide having already been discovered, the challenge of finding new reserves grows harder and harder. A question that has always been asked is ??????when are we going to run out of oil??????? Given the available technologies and techniques, no one could give an exact answer and if someone does, he/she would not be 100% sure of that answer. This study tries to approximate future oil production rates to the year 2050 using the Hubbert model. There are different models or tools to estimate future oil production rates, but the reason that the Hubbert model was chosen for this study is its simplicity and data availability. As any forecast, this study depends heavily on past trends but also factors in the current conditions. It is safe to say that this forecast (study) is as any other forecast, in which it will probably not mirror exactly what will happen in the future. Still, forecasts have to be done, especially for such an important commodity. This study predicts that the total oil to be recovered is 4.1 trillion barrels. It also shows that most major oil-producing countries are either passed or about to pass their peaks.