Retired BP Geologist Warns Global Oil Production Declining Over 4 Percent Annually

It’s been a long time since I last talked about peak oil production. Peak what? Yeah, the mainstream media would rather run stories about alternative energy and “unconventional” oil production, as if it will somehow make up for declining “conventional” oil production before we’re hit with another energy crunch.

I’ve been following this topic for close to a decade now. And some pretty informed individuals have deduced not only is the era of “cheap” crude oil gone, but global oil production is in the midst of a steady decline. Dr. Nafeez Ahmed wrote on The Guardian (UK) website on December 23:

A former British Petroleum (BP) geologist has warned that the age of cheap oil is long gone, bringing with it the danger of “continuous recession” and increased risk of conflict and hunger.

At a lecture on ‘Geohazards’ earlier this month as part of the postgraduate Natural Hazards for Insurers course at University College London (UCL), Dr. Richard G. Miller, who worked for BP from 1985 before retiring in 2008, said that official data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), US Energy Information Administration (EIA), International Monetary Fund (IMF), among other sources, showed that conventional oil had most likely peaked around 2008.

Dr. Miller critiqued the official industry line that global reserves will last 53 years at current rates of consumption, pointing out that “peaking is the result of declining production rates, not declining reserves.” Despite new discoveries and increasing reliance on unconventional oil and gas, 37 countries are already post-peak, and global oil production is declining at about 4.1% per year, or 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) per year

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Dr. Miller, who used to prepare the annual BP in-house projections of future oil supply, not only agrees with the conservative conclusions of an earlier study by the government-funded UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) which predicted “a sustained decline in global conventional production appears probable before 2030 and there is significant risk of this beginning before 2020,” but is dismissive of shale oil and gas preventing a decline in global oil production.

Dr. Ahmed wrote an incredibly insightful piece, which you should read in its entirety over at The Guardian website here, since this really isn’t on the radar of the American press despite EIA data showing it should be a concern.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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