Steve Andrew a recueilli quelques déclarations marquantes, effectuées durant la conférence Oil & Money, qui rassemble chaque année à Londres les experts et les hauts responsables de l’industrie pétrolière. Si le représentant de l’OPEP affirme ne pas croire à la thèse du pic, son avis est relativement isolé. Nombre de professionnels du secteur estiment difficile d’augmenter la production, en raison du déclin des puits existants et de l’insuffisance des découvertes et projets de développement. Christophe de Margerie, le PDG de Total, prévoit que la production ne pourra pas dépasser les 100 mb/j, et Sadad al Husseini, ancien responsable d’Aramco, calcule que les 4,5% du PIB mondial consacrés au pétrole avec un baril à 90 dollars représentent une limite supérieure qui ne saurait être dépassée de beaucoup sans mettre en péril l’économie. Question : à ce niveau de cours, le pétrole « extrême » est-il encore rentable ? C’est peut-être là que se situe dans l’immédiat le véritable goulot d’étranglement.
Par Steve Andrews, ASPO, 2 novembre 2009 - (extraits)
Abdalla El-Badri, Secretary General of OPEC, said that among the reasons for extreme price volatility during 2008 is “...the peak oil theory, which in OPEC we don’t believe in. We know that we have a lot of resources, we can supply the world with oil for the foreseeable future.” He focused on the new level of trading volumes of paper barrels, pointing out that from 2003 to late 2008, the daily paper barrels trade increased from 900 million barrels to 3 billion barrels a day-roughly 35 times the amount of oil actually consumed per day.
Tony Hayward, CEO of BP Plc, stated that “I do think the market is driven by the fundamentals of supply and demand...Between 2004 and 2008, the growth in demand meant almost all of the world’s spare capacity had been consumed. As we came into 2008, spare capacity was probably somewhere just a bit above a million barrels a day...Declining production from existing fields, coupled with new demand, mean we’ll have to find ways of bringing on-stream nearly 50 million barrels a day of new capacity between now and 2030...The problem in meeting that goal isn’t geological. It’s political. We have the natural, human and financial resources...We need secure and reliable access to those resources. If the conditions are right, industry will invest.”
Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Paris-based Total SA, in his lunchtime talk said that, “...demand [will be] constrained by supply, and not the opposite. Demand will take time to recover, but production capacities are taking more and more time to come on-stream. It is our responsibility to be critical and vocal. It has nothing to do with being provocative. When I still hear people say we will develop more than 100 million barrels of day of production, I want them to come here, now, and tell me where is it going to come from ? Because it is not possible. Now the good news : we’ve made good discoveries and the reserves will last longer. Brazil is a brilliant result. But no production from those discoveries before 2016, 2020. Well, I’m not in charge of the road shows for Petrobras. It’s great, but it’s not for tomorrow. So tomorrow we will be short of capacity.”
Jim Mulva, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, stated that “the world economic downturn has caused the largest decline in oil demand that we’ve seen in 25 years. It took approximately 8 years to get oil up to $147...but they lost more than two-thirds of that increase in about 8 months ; and today, with the oil price around $75 a barrel we really don’t know whether that $75 a barrel is going to hold or not...And reserve replacement costs in our industry have more than doubled...Reserve replacement costs are not falling as quickly as the oil price [did].”
Sadad al Husseini, former VP of oil exploration and production for Saudi Aramco and now an industry consultant, started by saying “I am not a peak oil or flat oil or plateau oil [person] ; I think we just need to be good engineers and try to see what’s going on...It’s the short term and the long term-you’ve got to look at both the recent volatility and the longer term direction...
“In the long term, and that’s kind of where we probably miss the boat, we are depleting reserves. The clock is ticking. The replacement rate has not been very good...If you want to push production beyond say 70 or so million barrels a day, you have to move into higher cost alternatives.
“Other sources of energy we’ve talked about this morning...is coal going to displace oil ? The cost of clean coal is going to almost double the cost of electricity....Is [natural] gas going to displace oil ? The top 10 gas reserves holders have about 77% of the reported gas reserves...How realistic is it to count on them as a future alternative to oil ?...We get a little bit too facile with our talk about alternatives and switching and so on-there’s a problem with every source of energy.
“...as you go up to say $90 a barrel, you’re consuming 4.5% of the global economy [for oil]. That in itself is a ceiling-you cannot go indefinitely into more expensive alternatives without destroying [the] economy and therefore destroying demand. So we do have a ceiling on prices and how much expensive alternative fuel we can put into the market.
“...in spite of the fact that oil prices were going up, North American production was going down...We’ve had a very exciting development in Brazil with the subsalts, but on the other hand there’s Venezuela coming down and the rest of South America hardly moving. Another example : West African production is climbing very steadily, but Nigeria is declining ; in North Africa, Libya has increased but flattened out and the others are generally flat. So the relationship between real high prices and increased production does not hold when you don’t have the resources.
“One of the projects I do with my friends in Morgan Stanley is to track global projects...Here are 273 non-OPEC projects, country by country, [and assuming] a 6.5% decline rate ; at an 8% decline rate you need even more [projects]. Here are the OPEC projects including Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, at a 3.5% decline rate ; at a 5% decline rate means more intense production [is needed]. Combining OPEC and non-OPEC and looking at the global replacement rate, which should be around 4.5 million barrels/day per year, assuming conservative decline numbers, you just don’t have enough projects...Even if you have a very moderate increase in demand of about ½% per year, that shortfall becomes very substantial. I’m not saying this is the forecast-of course a lot has to be done to avoid this-but this is the reality as it stands today.