Twilight In The Desert ?  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , ,

Bloomberg reports that Matt Simmons may have been right after all - according to data released by Saudi Aramco the Ghawar field appears to have substantial production declines in recent years - The Biggest Saudi Oil Field Is Fading Faster Than Anyone Guessed.

When Saudi Aramco on Monday published its first ever profit figures since its nationalization nearly 40 years ago, it also lifted the veil of secrecy around its mega oil fields. The company’s bond prospectus revealed that Ghawar is able to pump a maximum of 3.8 million barrels a day -- well below the more than 5 million that had become conventional wisdom in the market.

The Energy Information Administration, a U.S. government body that provides statistical information and often is used as a benchmark by the oil market, listed Ghawar’s production capacity at 5.8 million barrels a day in 2017. Aramco, in a presentation in Washington in 2004 when it tried to debunk the “peak oil” supply theories of the late U.S. oil banker Matt Simmons, also said the field was pumping more than 5 million barrels a day, and had been doing so since at least the previous decade.

In his book “Twilight in the Desert,” Simmons argued that Saudi Arabia would struggle to boost production due to the imminent depletion of Ghawar, among other factors. “Field-by-field production reports disappeared behind a wall of secrecy over two decades ago,” he wrote in his book in reference to Aramco’s nationalization.

The new details about Ghawar prove one of Simmons’s points but he missed other changes in technology that allowed Saudi Arabia -- and, more importantly, U.S. shale producers -- to boost output significantly, with global oil production yet to peak.

The prospectus offered no information about why Ghawar can produce today a quarter less than 15 years ago -- a significant reduction for any oil field. The report also didn’t say whether capacity would continue to decline at a similar rate in the future.

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