The Oil Age Journal


Understanding future oil production has often been bedevilled by lack of access to adequate data. To help clarify the situation, this two-part [subsequently, three-part] paper examines the availability and quality of the data required for oil forecasting. The paper is intended primarily for those that forecast oil production, but will be of interest also to those who use such forecasts, to judge the quality of the data employed and hence this aspect of a forecast’s reliability. The paper discusses the data by type and by data source, and points out areas where data are unreliable, or where especial care must be taken with their use. In general, proved (‘1P’) oil reserves data should not be used for forecasting, and instead, the oil industry backdated proved-plus-probable (‘2P’) reserves data must be used. In addition, apparent changes in proved reserves data are particularly misleading. Other areas where considerable caution is needed are in certain production data; in the use of the industry 2P reserves data for specific countries; in the likely future availability of oil from currently fallow fields; and in use of ultimately recoverable resource (‘URR’) estimates of conventional oil if these are significantly out of line with the discovery trend.

Laherrère, J., Miller, R., Campbell, C., Wang, J. & Bentley, R. (2016) Oil Forecasting: Data Sources and Data Problems (part 1) The Oil Age 2 (3) 23-121

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