Monday, January 17, 2011

Historical Spare Capacity

It's simple enough to find charts of this, but the actual numbers are MIA. The EIA provides them for the previous decade or so via their Short-Term Energy Outlook, select "11. OPEC Surplus Crude Oil Production Capacity" under the "Figures" section. It's a given that only OPEC have any SC these days, natch. You have your choice of graph or .xls. But STEOs I've checked out from the 80s/90s just seem to have graphs and helpful statements like "Significant excess oil production capacity is expected to exist in the OPEC member nations throughout the forecast period." They provide a table for International Petroleum Balance, but this juxtaposes production with product supplied, noting the difference between the two, which is neglible, at < 1 mb/d generally; good for tracking how much went into stock draws, but not spare cap. Stuart Staniford tackled this approach in Refining the Plateau, a 2006 TOD post, by noting the difference between production and refining capacity in the 2005 BP Stat Review, yielding this:


Two problems present themselves here, firstly that BP's production numbers are ex biofuels, and have late become quite divorced from other All Liquids measures; also this approach yields what seem to be quite implausible figures, like 2.1 mb/d for 2006, whereas EIA gives 1.42 mb/d. Numbers for the 80s from BP are even more out there, peaking at 18.7 mb/d in 1981. There was a lot of unused supply back then, but this deviates sharply from other estimates you see in graphs from professional research firms and government agencies.

A site I've found very useful is John Williams's WTRG, and its Oil Price History and Analysis page. This graph isn't there anymore, perhaps it's still stuck away in a corner of the site somewhere:




Well, I'll put my trust in John to deliver the goods, and have reverse engineered his numbers:

1970 4.4
1971 4.8
1972 4.8
1973 3.2
1974 4.5
1975 8
1976 4.7
1977 5.2
1978 7
1979 4.2
1980 6.1
1981 7.7
1982 9.8
1983 10.3
1984 9.6
1985 10.8
1986 8.8
1987 8.7
1988 6.7
1989 5.9
1990 3.3
1991 1.2
1992 2
1993 3.1
1994 3.2
1995 3.2
1996 3.2
1997 3.5
1998 3.6
1999 5.4
2000 3.6
2001 4.9
2002 6.2
2003 1

I made a graph of these numbers and superimposed it on John's, revealing a pretty tight fit. Close enough for government work, as my Dad used to say. Here's what the EIA have in the latest STEO:

2000 3.0
2001 4.1
2002 5.5
2003 1.9
2004 1.3
2005 1.0
2006 1.4
2007 2.1
2008 1.5
2009 4.3
2010 4.7
2011 4.7
2012 4.2

I rounded down to the 10th decimal place here, FYI. They expect a 200 kb/d build for this year. Yay! Their own data shows only 1.4 mb/d shut in from the July 2008 absolute peak, so the 2.8 mb/d difference is fresh oil, 1.2 mb/d from Khurais, which we are led to believe will provide 10 times its historic output. Wonder if that's ever been pulled off before...

Spare Capacity in the papers:

"Nearly 8 mb/d, compared to about <1.5 mb/d before the Middle East war last October" - The Milwaukee Journal - Dec 9, 1974

"In less than two years, it is doubtful that OPEC will have any spare capacity" - The Montreal Gazette - Nov 3, 1979

<3.2 mb/d from OPEC, less on a sustained basis, according to State Department rep: St. Petersburg Times - Nov 16, 1979

3.5 mb/d from KSA: The Milwaukee Journal - May 24, 1982

8 mb/d total from Arabian Gulf countries, according to Exxon rep: The Leader-Post - May 17, 1984

Herald-Journal - Jun 25, 1987e 10 mb/d according to DOE rep, 1 mb/d before the 70s oil crises, warns of SC drying up by the 90s without reserves additions.

2 mb/d, down from 14 mb/d in 1986, according to employee of DC firm the Petroleum Financial Company: NYT, March 6 1990

4% of total, i.e. ca. 2.5 mb/d: The Telegraph-Herald - Apr 9, 1990

Few solid figures are available in the 90s; starting in the middle of that decade more online web based commentary is available, as opposed to the earlier format of scanned newspapers; beginning about 10 years ago papers seem to start directly quoting the IEA's OMR and the like.

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