Jean Laherrère worked for TOTAL for thirty-seven years in a variety of successively more responsible roles encompassing exploration activities in the Sahara, Australia, Canada and Paris. Since retiring from TOTAL, Mr. Laherrère has consulted worldwide on oil and gas potential and production. He has served on the Society of Petroleum Engineers/World Petroleum Congress ad hoc committee on joint definitions of petroleum resources and the task force on “Perspectives Energie 2010-2020” for the Commissariat Général du Plan.
Etat des reserves de gaz des pays exportateurs vers l’Europe, Club de Nice Energie et geopolitique [2007 nov 29]
La si difficile evaluation des ressources et reserves entre technologie, marche et geopolitique, Festival International Geographie de Saint-Die des Vosges [2007 octobre 7]
Thoughts of a geologist-geophysicist on climate change and energy forecast with lots of graphs for meditation
North America natural gas discovery & production [2007 August 20]
From USDOE/EIA-0534 1990 "US oil and gas reserves by year of field discovery" up to 1988 and EIA annual reports using new discovery and new reservoir in old fields after 1988, it is possible the approach the mean backdated conventional discovery (or proved plus probable) from 1900 to 2005.
National Petroleum Council, Conference Call Presentation [2007 August 22]
Comments on NPC Draft «Facing hard truths about energy» National Petroleum Council [2007 august 20]
NPC is using the right approach, asking the right people, but, despite many good points, the Draft did not deliver completely the hard truths and what I was hoping for a right balance between the many opinions.
Jean Laherrère kindly agreed to give an interview to TOD:E by e-mail. For several years he was virtually the sole researcher modelling Coal depletion in the same vein it is done for Oil and Gas. Despite being considerably different from the common sense of limitless Coal, his forecasts were this year confirmed by several studies and reports. TOD:E got some comments on this matter as so on the general Fossil Fuels depletion picture and our future beyond them.
Union des ingenieurs et scientifiques du Bassin de l’Adour, Pau [2007 mai 10]
-Principes de la nature et de notre societe:Uncertainty of data and forecasts for fossil fuels and annex on Climate Change at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha [2007 April 24]
Petroleum Africa [2007 April]
"As long as SEC regulations inhibit IOCs from reporting 2P reserves, and as long as OPEC quotas prevent members from accurately reporting reserves, reserves data will be flawed. Proved reserves are financial (SEC) or political (OPEC) data and should not be aggregated or used in forecasts about the future. Only proven plus probable estimates should be used and only annual production of mature fields is required for a good estimate of reserves, irrespective of all published estimates. Every country should release complete historical field annual production and most disagreements on reserves will disappear for those ready to plot the decline and to extrapolate it. Unfortunately it does not work well when field production is constrained by OPEC quotas or investment. But now quotas are less and less followed and investments are plenty from IOCs for countries which do not deny signed agreements as Venezuela, Bolivia and Russia."comments on Petroleum reserves and resources classification, definitions and guidelines relating to the SPE draft of November 2006 for the SPE/WPC 1997 task force on reserve definition, under the lead of Anibal Martinez [2007 January 31]
"... [T]he main recommendation is to do everything possible to obtain the change of the SEC rules to come in line with the rest of the world, in order that proved reserves will be replaced by best estimate reserves."Energy Dragons Rising: Global Energy Governance and the Rise of China and India Uncertainty of oil & gas supply and demand? Global Public Policy Institute, Potsdam [2007 January 18,19]
"Most of official forecasts are not based on real studies but on wishes, mainly to continue the past economic growth, being the scenario of BAU business as usual... IEA is a consumers club founded to oppose the OPEC producers club. But as OPEC includes now Angola, IEA should include China and India. Only the BGR in Germany is making a complete inventory of the world energy resources, when other[s] [e.g.,] the WEC -- World Energy Council -- [are] compiling heterogeneous statements.... Published proven oil & gas reserves are not at all proved but what the nations want to show, mainly for the OPEC countries. The SEC rules in the US stock market oblige oil companies to omit probable reserves and aggregation of proved reserves is incorrect. Only UK and Norway publish real true (2P) field reserves. A true dialogue between producers and consumers will improve security of oil and gas supply and demand. China and India will see a large shortfall in oil and IEA future demand seems difficult to occur. Unfortunately the solution seems to be, either energy saving with a behaviour change in the consuming society (unlikely), or an economic crisis as forecasted by Paul Volcker in 2004 in the next 5 years."Fossil fuels: what future? Global Dialogue on Energy Security, The Dialogue International Policy Institute, China Institute of International Studies, Beijing [2006 October 16-17]
"Saving energy should be the main goal but it seems contrary to our consumption society where growth is praised as solving everything. Saving energy will not be done with protocols or laws, but by convincing the consumer to change his way of life. Recent denials of oil & gas signed contracts seem to indicate that we are back to jungle conditions. Dialogue should prevail."Oil and gas: what future? Groningen [2006 November 21]
Pétrole et Gaz : quel avenir pour quel monde? Orthez [2006 September 26]
"Principes de la nature et de notre societe:Uncertainty on data and forecasts, ASPO 5, San Rossore Italy, Association for the Study of Peak Oil [2006 July 18-19]
Quelle mobilite apres le petrole? CERTU Club Mobilite [2006 mai 30]
"I am not sure how to find and to tell the truth, but for me a graph is worth a thousand words, but as long as data is not flawed! Reliability of data is the big problem..."
When will oil production decline significantly? European Geosciences Union, Vienna [2006 April 3]
"30 years from now, production of easy oil will be 35% less than to day but production of all liquids (including from coal and biomass) only 5% less than to day."Tout a un pic, ou plusieurs! Quand allons nous manquer de pétrole et de gaz? [2006 January 26]
"Les réserves sont incertaines, mais la plupart des définitions, comme les règles de la SEC, parlent de “certitude raisonnable” pour l’existence des réserves et refusent l’approche probabiliste à cause de l’aversion au risque des banquiers et des actionnaires."Réflexions sur les lois de la nature et les prévisions énergétiques [part 1] [part 2] UMR ESpace 6012, Université d’Avignon [2005 décembre 9]
"-une nouvelle théorie remplace une ancienne en apportant plus de solutions, mais elle sera ellemême remplacée plus tardRabi-Kounga oilfield in Gabon [2005 November]
"Rabi-Kounga produced by Shell looks like Yibal in Oman also produced by Shell. Both were overproduced with horizontal wells and the decline was drastic..."How the International Energy Agency Misrepresents a Shell Graph [2005 November 18]
"The story begins with a paper at the 12th European Gas Conference in Oslo 2003, by Malcolm Brinded, Shell's Vice-President of Exploration and Production. It was entitled Gas: the Bridge to a Sustainable Future. He reported that Shell's overall production forecast for 2020 was 2.6 Mb, although it did hint at some questionable additions by 2010...."La transition énergétique: quel modèle pour l’Europe, Club de Nice [2005 Novembre 17-19]
"Les perspectives pétrolières et gazières dans le monde et l’Europe"Tout a un pic, ou plusieurs! ATTAC Pays de Gex à Saint Genis Pouilly [2005 October 4]
Peak oil and other peaks, presentation to the CERN meeting [2005 October 3]
Review on Oil Shale Data [2005 September]
"Andre Combaz who led the GERB (Groupe d’Etudes des Roches Bitumineuses) in the 1970s gave me several boxes of documents on oil shale. This data with my own file and what I could find on the web is analyzed in this review. Three annexes (A2005, A1999-2004 and A1965-1980) gather most of the data and are attached to this review.
"I attended the OAPEC-IFP seminar in Rueil-Malmaison. The seminar has gathered less than 150 people... The technical level was low, because, most of the times, data were political and terms were not defined. Most of comparisons were made between different undefined objects (as conventional confused with unconventional, proved reserves confused with 2P reserves). The obvious fact that there are two contradictory sources being the published political and the confidential technical sources is completely ignored. It was neither mentioned during the seminar that the demand is for liquids (83 Mb/d in 2004) when all of papers speak about oil, mainly oil excluding NGL. In brief it was mainly comparing apples and oranges! Many do not want to accept that the world is several and cannot be reduced to a single global entity. Many do not want to accept that there are several practices of different values.... From my notes and the proceedings (without waiting to get the CD of the presentations), I have selected the following papers ..."Russian Oil Production, letter to Walter Youngquist [2005 June 19]
"Thanks for your ... letters with articles on Russia. Please find some previous forecasts... My [most recent] graph is from Lisbon (ASPO 2005) showing FSU and US"Energie et agriculture: tout a un pic, Conférence-débat du à Strasbourg (Schiltigheim) organisé par le conseil général, la chambre d’agriculture du Bas-Rhin, l’ADEME et le Crédit Mutuel sur les énergies renouvelables: une alternative au pétrole? [2005 avril 13]
"S’il faut faire des économies d’énergie, ce n’est pas pour le climat, mais pour laisser un peu de ressources à nos petits-enfants."Fossil Fuels Future Production, Romania Oil & Gas Congress, Bucharest [2005 March 22-24]
"Growth is the Santa Claus of politicians to solve all problems such as social security, retirement, but there is no 'Plan B' other than the next generation will pay for our excesses. Saint Exupery wrote: 'We do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children' (taken from old Indian popular wisdom)"
Quand va décliner la production de pétrole et de gaz? Salon du Livre [2005 Mar 20]
"-Politique et confidentialité
Comments on papers from Hubbert’s files at the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, by Jean Laherrère [2004 November 19]
"The weakest point of Hubbert['s] argument is that he used proved current reserves and he did not mention the problem of using mean values and backdated value."
Not if, but when: Oil production peak will bring hard transition, a Register-Guard Editorial [2004 September 27]
"By a happy coincidence, the day after The Wall Street Journal featured Colin Campbell on its front page with a headline characterizing him as a "doomsayer," one of Campbell's closest collaborators visited Eugene."
Present and Future Energy Problems, HEC MBA Sustainable Development Seminar [2004 September 8]
Review of USGS report on North Sea Reserve Growth (by Klett and Gautier) for Petroleum Geoscience by Jean Laherrère [2004 July 16]
Perspectives energetiques et scientifiques Presentation au club des jeunes dirigeants de Quimper, Brouillon [2004 avril 22]
Natural gas future supply, IIASA-IEW [2004 June 22-24]
Future of natural gas supply, Association for the Study of Peak Oil [2004 May]
Shell's reserves decline and SEC obsolete rules "Shell's recent reserves decline was a shock to the media and the stock market. How can such decline happen in what is believed to be proven?" [2004 February 27]
How to estimate future oil supply and oil demand? International conference on Oil Demand, Production and Costs - Prospects for the Future. The Danish Technology Council and the Danish Society of Engineers, Copenhagen, IDA Conference Centre [2003 December 10]
Oil and Natural Gas Resource Assessment: Production Growth Cycle Models, Encyclopedia of Energy, July 2003
Modelling future oil production, population and the economy, ASPO Workshop in Paris, May 2003
An older document just received in English translation: Will the natural gas supply meet the demand in North America?, International Journal of Energy Technology and Policy, sent November 21, 2001
Future of oil supplies, Seminar Center of Energy Conversion, Zurich, May 7, 2003
Hydrocarbons Resources: Forecast of oil and gas supply to 2050 at Petrotech 2003 in New Delhi, January 9, 2003
Réflexions sur les lois de la nature et les prévisions pétrolières presented at DEA-Paris 1 "Anthropologie des techniques contemporaines," Sorbonne, 9 décembre 2002 [en Français]
Economic use of hydrates: dream or reality?; some questions from an independent O&G explorer, September 5, 2002
Modelling future liquids production from extrapolation of the past and from ultimates What reserves and what production? International Workshop on Oil Depletion, Uppsala, Sweden, May 23, 2002
The word "reserves" may mean many things and is widely misunderstood. It may mean the estimated production from the beginning to the end of the field's life (ultimate reserves) or what is left to produce from a certain date. The estimates too may refer to what is "proved" so far, hence having a high degree of certainty (called also "reasonable certainty") or to what can be "expected" from the whole field over its full production life (called "mean" or "expected" value)...."
Is FSU Oil Growth Sustainable? The present oil price war between OPEC and Russia, Petroleum Review, April, 2002
Mr. Laherrere's comments on the book, Hubbert’s peak: the impending world oil shortage by K.S. Deffeyes, January 6, 2002
Comments on the new Shell scenarios, October 11, 2001
Forecasting Future Production from Past Discovery (Presented during the OPEC seminar in Vienna entitled "OPEC and the Global Energy Balance: Towards a Sustainable Energy Future"), September 28, 2001.
Comments on "Challenges and Concepts for Long Term Oil and Natural Gas Supply Modeling" by Vello A. Kuuskraa (Presented at PEW Workshop on Oil and Gas Markets, Stanford Energy Modeling Forum #19 Snowmass, CO, August, 2001), September, 2001.
Jean Laherrère comments on "Global Natural Gas Perspectives" by Nakicenovic, et al, (published by the International Gas Union for the Kyoto Council and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, October 2-5, 2000), August, 2001.
US Natural Gas Supply Update, February 12, 2001.
Perspective on False Reserves, US Production, Saudi Arabia and OPEC, questions from a reader and answers by Dr. Laherrère, January 3, 2001.
Vers un Déclin de la Production Pétrolière, a report given at the Institut Superieur Industriel de Bruxelles, colloque " Energie et developpement durable ". "La prévision est un art difficile comme le montre la météorologie où les données sont nombreuses, mais la prévision des productions futures sur des données incertaines de par une connaissance limitée des gisements, mais surtout biaisées par la politique, devient presque une tâche impossible..." octobre 11, 2000.
Call for Global Grouping of Oil Companies, Gulf News, October 8, 2000.
Is USGS 2000 Assessment Reliable? The United States Geological Survey has made periodic assessments of the world's conventional oil and gas endowment since the oil shocks of the 1970s. Its ... next study is due to be presented in Calgary in June . The full study is awaited but indications of its contents are becoming available through a press release (2) issued on the eve of a critical OPEC meeting, on the Internet (3) and in the Oil & Gas Journal (4). These indications suggest that there are serious flaws in the study. It is a matter of grave concern because the world is now approaching the peak of conventional oil production. It is important therefore that the claims of the USGS be subject to close scrutiny, lest they be given an undeserved credibility in the formulation of government policy. Demand and price are influenced by the belief in the availability of future oil and gas. May 2000.
See also Laherrère's comments on John Wood's presentation of USGS 2000, December 2000.
Oceanic Hydrates: an Elusive Resource . Methane hydrates are well known to the oil industry as a material that clogs pipelines and casing. They are also present in permafrost areas and in the oceans where the necessary temperature and pressure conditions for stability occur. Claims for the widespread occurrence in thick oceanic deposits are unfounded. Being a solid, methane in oceanic hydrates cannot migrate and accumulate in deposits sufficiently large to be commercially exploited. Published estimates of the size of the resource are highly unreliable and give flawed comparisons with conventional fossil fuels." Offshore, August 1999 and September 1999.
Reserve Growth: Technological Progress, or Bad Reporting and Bad Arithmetic?" While the concept of probability evidently has entered the daily life of Calgarians, it has yet to enter the assessments of oil and gas reserves in the provinces of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. April 1999
What goes up must come down: when will it peak? "Our civilization is accustomed to growth, and it is difficult to imagine that growth is a transitory phenomenon.... We do not like to think about our own demise, any more than we like to accept that oil production will peak and decline to eventual exhaustion. The United States has already witnessed its peak and is well into decline, but thanks in part to its military power it has been able to ignore the consequences by being able to import large quantities of cheap oil, especially from Saudi Arabia.... This arrangement cannot last as production in the world as a whole and later the Middle East itself are about to peak. However, this unassailable observation is no more popular than that which greeted Hubbert’s correct prediction of the situation in the United States itself.... [T]he transition to a low energy economy will be difficult after our experience of abundant cheap supply. The official forecasts that ignore the elementary resource constraints do us no service. Never listen to those who tell you only about rise without talking about peak." Nov. 1998
Evolution of "development lag" and "development ratio" "As many offshore marginal fields are now put into production as available capacity nearby becomes available, it appears that "development lag" ... is decreasing. But, as development moves to difficult areas as West Shetlands, and, as the Foinaven development is two years behind schedule, it could be the other way." World Oil, February 1998
Distribution and evolution of "recovery factor" "Uncertainty on reserves diminishes when production after decline sets in - larger uncertainty on volume in place estimated from seismic and wells, but knowledge does not improve from production data." From International Energy Agency's Oil Reserves Conference, Paris, November 11, 1997
Multi-Hubbert Modeling, King Hubbert in his famous paper of 1956 ("Nuclear energy and the fossil fuels," API drilling and production practice) describes the future production curve of the US 48 states as a symmetrical (or bell-shaped) curve. This so-called "Hubbert curve" was a derivative of the logistic curve of Verhulst (1845) which was used extensively by R. Pearl (1925) as the Pearl-Reed curve). Everything which goes up will come down (except if the velocity is high enough to escape the earth); likewise, every curve has to come down one day and a symmetrical curve works well to describe this most of the time. July 1997.
Future sources of crude oil supply and quality considerations from DRI/McGraw-Hill/French Petroleum Institute conference, "Oil markets over the next two decades: surplus or shortage?" in Rueil-Malmaison France. 12-13 June 1997.
Pétrole et Techniques Les prévisions en matière de production d'huile et de gaz sont d'un intéret capital. Il est superflu de le rappeler. Ces études reposent nécessairement sur les données de réserves et de ressources. Mais s'il est déjà délicat d'obtenir des valeurs fiables en matière de réserves dites prouvées, il est évidemment encore plus difficile d'avoir des estimations valables de celles restant à découvrir. Bulletin Association Francaise des Techniciens et Professionnels du pétrole, n·406 Jan-Fév 1997 [Note: Graphics not yet included as of this update.]
Upstream potential of the Middle East in the world context, a paper presented at the IBC in Dubai (in French with English summary). May 1996.
Parabolic fractal distributions in Nature describes the nature of the distribution of objects in natural domains. April 1996. [Long file]
Discovery and production trends, "It was stated at the recent World Energy Congress in Tokyo that there were no concerns regarding the supply of petroleum for the next 25 years. This statement was evidently based on the simple calculation that the reserves were sufficient to sustain consumption of oil for 43 years, and gas for 66 years. .... It is absurd to imagine that production can last for a given number of years and then stop overnight...." -- an article for the OPEC Bulletin published February 1996, p7-11.
"World oil reserves: which number to believe?", graphs from OPEC Bulletin, February 1995, p9-13.
List of Publications and Biography, Jean Laherrère
Acknowledgements: Our thanks to Petroconsultants for allowing the use of their data in preparing these papers.
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