According to Business Week: *
Will Saudi Arabia manage to raise their production to 12.5 million barrels per day? BusinessWeek has a reliable source that says the Saudis can not ramp up their production nearly as much as they claim they will.
But the detailed document, obtained from a person with access to Saudi oil officials, suggests that Saudi Aramco will be limited to sustained production of just 12 million barrels a day in 2010, and will be able to maintain that volume only for short, temporary periods such as emergencies. Then it will scale back to a sustainable production level of about 10.4 million barrels a day, according to the data. BusinessWeek obtained a field-by-field breakdown of estimated Saudi oil production from 2009 through 2013. It was provided by an oil industry executive who said he had confirmed it with a ranking Saudi energy official who has access to the field data. The executive, who has proven reliable over several years of reporting interaction, provided the data on condition of anonymity to protect his access to the kingdom and the identity of the inside contact who confirmed the information.
Among those who dismiss Peak Oil fears oil reserves in Saudi Arabia were supposed to provide so much increased production that world oil consumption could continue to rise along with economic growth and increasing demand. But the great Saudi hope is a dud…
…On oil matters, the kingdom’s credibility has been clouded by intense secrecy. The Saudis, for instance, refuse, unlike Russia, Venezuela, and Norway, to release detailed assessments of their oil reserves, which has made many skeptical. “They are just a bunch of empty boasts,” Matthew Simmons, chairman of Houston investment bank Simmons & Co. International, says of the kingdom’s recent promises of 12.5 million barrels a day. He is also skeptical of Saudi reserve estimates.
One dramatic part of the data concerns a site called Ghawar, which has been the kingdom’s workhorse field for decades. It shows the field producing 5.4 million barrels a day next year, but the volume then falling off rapidly, to 4.475 million daily barrels in 2013. “That’s why Khurais is so important—to make up for that decrease,” said the oil industry executive who released the data. He was referring to a supergiant field that is to come online later this year and produce an estimated 500,000 barrels a day of crude. In last month’s gathering in Saudi Arabia, officials of the kingdom told journalists that Ghawar had produced just under 5 million barrels a day from 1993 through 2007.
Mainly the data show flat production; apart from the addition of Khurais and a heavy oil field called Manifa, no increases appear in any of the fields during the next five years. Production at Manifa is to begin in 2011 with 125,000 barrels a day, according to the data, and rise rapidly to 900,000 barrels a day two years later. Though 2014 is not included in the data, one of the fields listed—Shaybah—is to have a volume increase to 1 million barrels a day that year, from 750,000 barrels a day from 2009 to 2013, according to the oil executive.
Still, despite its enormous reserves and bullish statements, Saudi Arabia appears likely to fall well short of the daily production it has targeted in the near term.
Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to invest all of our hopes and dreams in the hub of world terrorism. But, now that we know better, isn’t it about time we told them to f*ck off?