The Oil Age Journal


Proved oil reserves data, such as those reported by the US’ EIA, or the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, are atrocious. Variously, they are significant under-estimates of the amount of discovered oil remaining; for some key OPEC countries they are significant over-estimates; and for roughly half of all countries the data do not change annually, often for very long periods of time. Conclusions drawn from these data, and especially from apparent evolution of the data over time, are nearly always erroneous.

Despite this, if such data are combined with additional information, surprisingly accurate forecasts can be made of a country’s oil production. This applies both for countries past their production peak of conventional oil (such as the US, UK and Indonesia), and those whose production peaks are still in the future, such as Russia, Brazil, Nigeria and most of the OPEC Middle East countries.

This paper is written in the form of a student exercise, and shows how such forecasts can be made both at the country level and globally; primarily for the production of conventional oil, but also for ‘all-oils’ if additional data are used. Finally, the paper shows how the forecasts can incorporate the different ratios of energy return on energy invested (‘EROI’) of different categories of oil, to yield forecasts of the net-energy that will be available to society.

Bentley, R. W. (2015) Forecasting Oil Production using data in the BP Statistical Review of World Energy The Oil Age. 1 (1) 59-74.

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