When forecasting how much oil will be available in future years, a standard approach seems to be the following:
- Figure out how much GDP growth the researcher hopes to have in the future.
- “Work backward” to see how much oil is needed, based on how much oil was used for a given level of GDP in the past. Adjust this amount for hoped-for efficiency gains and transfers to other fuel uses.
- Verify that there is actually enough oil available to support this level of growth in oil consumption.
In fact, this seems to be the approach used by most forecasting agencies, including EIA, IEA and BP. It seems to me that this approach has a fundamental flaw. It doesn’t consider the possibility of continued low oil prices and the impact that these low oil prices are likely to have on future oil production. Hoped-for future GDP growth may not be possible if oil prices, as well as other commodity prices, remain low.
Future Oil Resources Seem to Be More Than Adequate