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Production cliff?

  • Mon, Sep 28, 2015 - 05:29pm


    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 24 2011

    Posts: 1189

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    Production cliff?

A bit off thread but important for the emissions aspects.

What I don't have a good feeling for is just how quickly world production ability could collapse? We know that old wells/fields have declining production, and we know that existing high costs production, such as shale fracking, are looking at production amounts taking a long walk on a short pier as costs and debt service catch up with their business plans, but now with capital expenditures for exploration and development lagging it seems that production will drop off a cliff at some point.

The only question seems to be whether the production drop will catch up with the demand drop or if a nascent demand recovery will collide with plummeting production. Neither of which will end happily. Assuming that rationality ever returns to the system, can development ever regain its place in slowing the global rate of production decline or are we forever foregoing higher levels of production by potentially extending out the time at which we could produce at lower levels?

From a climate perspective I am hopeful that we can get off of the high emissions track (RCP 8.5) that we've been on for decades but I am left wondering if we will end up at lower levels more because of our inability to do anything else than any reasoned choice to lower emissions voluntarily. Put another way, there will be claims that any reduction in emissions levels that should be credited to a country should be measured against the projection of highest rates from the recent past when the reality of the difference between potential and actual emissions will likely be something far smaller.