As concerning as the fact that global oil production has plateaued over the past decade, despite trillions invested in trying to goose it higher, are Brown's forecasting model for oil exports. His Export Land Model shows how rising internal consumption can swing (and has swung) countries from major exporters to permanent importers within a dizzyingly short period of time:
So, what I think has happened is the actual crude oil production has basically flatlined while the liquids associated with natural gas production, condensate and natural gas liquids, have continued to increase. So, we ask for the price of oil, we get the price of Brent or WTI; but when you ask for the volume of oil, you get some combination of crude, condensate, natural gas liquids, biofuels. So, the fact is that substitution has worked and is working in that they’re bringing on alternative substitutes, but they're only partial substitutes. The actual, physical volume of crude oil production has probably been flat to down since 2005. Over the past ten years, it has taken us trillions of dollars, basically, to keep us on an undulating plateau in actual crude oil production. What happens going forward?
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