GENEVA -- "World oil production will peak in 1999 at 65.6 million barrels a day (bpd) and then decline to 52.6 million bpd in 2010, according to a study by Petroconsultants.
By the year 2001 half of the world's presently known reserves will have been consumed and production will have fallen to 17.5 million bpd by 2050 -- almost the same level as in the 1950s, the study says.
The study, an oil depletion model, says that the midpoint of depletion, which has been passed or is fast approaching from most countries and for the world as a whole will be a critical turning point.
It asserts that major fields are found early, which gives a means of determining what remains to be found, whether that is calculated by special techniques and discovery patterns or based on intuitive or empiric judgement by experienced explorers.
"What matters is not so much the number itself but the acceptance of the concept that there is an end point to production and that the laws of nature impose a decline to oil fields ... " it points out.
The combination of the natural and inevitable decline of existing fields and the dwindling discovery rate means that production must begin to fall worldwide, as it demonstrably has in mature countries such as the United States.
The six Middle East Gulf producers have a unique endowment due to particular geological circumstances and are not remotely representative of the wider picture, it asserts.
For the present, cheap oil which was found long ago, sustains the world, coming increasingly from the Gulf producers.
As the supply of oil falls, the price will undoubtedly rise, assuming no radical diminution of demand.
At higher prices the boundary between the conventional oil, as considered in the study, and the unconventional will move, releasing more oil towards the latter end of the depletion cycle.
While that may lead to an upward revision in the value of the ultimate recovery, by then most of the world's endowment will have been consumed, and certainly all of its cheap oil, it says.
"Understanding depletion is critical to economic forecasting not only by the oil industry, but for businesses and government institutions everywhere seeking to chart their opportunities in a fast changing world, which with dwindling oil supplies will be a very different one from that we have known and come to assume," the study said.
The study divides the world into eight geographic regions."
The News, April 1, 1994, page 2