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Sunday, November 06, 2005

FSU oil shock model

I took a shot at fitting the Former Soviet Union (FSU) oil production data using the oil shock model. This graph from peakoil.net shows the discovery data superimposed on to the production data.

I transcribed the data from the chart (ignoring the extrapolated data) and used the general model source code.

I used a mean value of 5 years for each of the fallow, build, and maturation phases. This came out shorter than the 8 year latencies that I chose for the global and USA-48 model.

The green curve assumes a proportional extraction rate of 0.09/year (1/e time of about 11 years). This follows the production curve up until about the time of political instability in the Soviet Union. After that point, c.1984, I added perturbations according to the following chart, leading to the red curve which overlays the production data points.

The glitch occurring after 1984 looks benign but evidently carried some punch -- according to some interesting remarks I found previously, Reagan had a hand in it:
It seems likely that the Reagan administration, which took office in 1981, bearing in mind the economic havoc produced when US production peaked in 1981, followed by the Arab oil embargo and the "oil crisis" of 1973-74 and the deep recession that followed, decided to use the "oil weapon" to destabilize the USSR. Reagan embarked on a major military buildup, putting the Soviet Union under pressure to keep up. Meanwhile, declining prices after 1981 forced the USSR to pump more oil to supply its clients in Eastern Europe and to sell in world markets for hard currency. Then in 1985 Reagan persuaded Saudi Arabia to flood the world markets with cheap oil. Again, the USSR had to increase output to earn hard currency. This led to the second peak in 1988.
I see a more of a dip followed by a recovery rather than a strict oil production increase, which I imagine could result from a lagged reaction to market forces. The Soviets had no choice but to shut down their pumps temporarily -- they did not have the technology or reserves to increase production beyond what the big red Soviet machine could already provide. By the time 1988 arrived, it became too late for them to do anything about it, as the eastern bloc started to implode.

The post-Soviet transition shows a severe reduction in extraction rates. Clearly, the new FSU republics no longer had to produce oil to continue militarizing their bloc countries and allies (including Cuba). True free-market forces replaced the fixed demand and the new capitalists also had their eye on the green curve (peak oil in 1990). Much like the USA after our peak in 1970, they likely wanted to modulate the supply.

So what explains the reverse shock (i.e. sudden extraction increase) in the last few years? Note that the BP data also shows this FSU oil production increase. I don't know why, but OPEC production hasn't really gone up much over the past few years, and the FSU clearly has, or at least had the production capacity during the Soviet era. I would imagine that somebody has to make up the potentially widening supply & demand gap.

The model shows that at the current proportional extraction rate, the FSU has probably hit its secondary oil peak. They can conceivably try to keep on increasing the extraction rate (seeing as they do have that Soviet-era spare capacity, unless, of course, it all got sold by Russian scrap-iron merchants in the ensuing years). But remember, the law of extraction: the steeper the hill, the faster the decline post-peak.

Thanks to Big Gav to get me motivated to work on this analysis.

"I pledge not to go to war for oil" -- Jimmy Smits, fictional presidential candidate on the TV show, West Wing.

Interesting live presentation of the show.

Funny how it takes a fictional debate to bring a good discussion of energy issues to the American prime-time audience.


Professor Blogger Big Gav said...

Well done.

Though one thing I do wonder about Russia is the potential for new polar finds (s they have rather a lot of polar coastline with some very big rivers flowing into it).

I'm sure an oligarch or two won't be unhappy to see some runaway global warming...

3:52 AM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

granted, and will add these to the dicovery stimulus as soon as they get discovered. :)

6:13 AM  

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