Energy Policy, Vol.36, No.2, 881-889, 2008
Mitigation of maximum world oil production: Shortage scenarios
A framework is developed for planning the mitigation of the oil shortages that will be caused by world oil production reaching a maximum and going into decline. To estimate potential economic impacts, a reasonable relationship between percent decline in world Oil supply and percent decline in world GDP was determined to be roughly 1:1. As a limiting case for decline rates, giant fields were examined. Actual oil production from Europe and North America indicated significant periods of relatively flat oil production (plateaus). However, before entering its plateau period, North American oil production went through a sharp peak and steep decline. Examination of a number of future world oil production forecasts showed multi-year rollover/roll-down periods, which represent pseudoplateaus. Consideration of resource nationalism posits an Oil Exporter Withholding scenario, which could potentially overwhelm all other considerations. Three scenarios for mitigation planning resulted from this analysis: (1) A Best Case, where maximum world oil production is followed by a multi-year plateau before the onset of a monatomic decline rate of 2-5% per year; (2) A Middling Case, where world oil production reaches a maximum, after which it drops into a long-term, 2-5% monotonic annual decline; and finally (3) A Worst Case, where the sharp peak of the Middling Case is degraded by oil exporter withholding, leading to world oil shortages growing potentially more rapidly than 2-5% per year, creating the most dire world economic impacts. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.