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Modeling Oil Exploration and Production: Resource-Constrained and Agent-Based Approaches
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Global Energy Systems. (Global Energy Systems)
2010 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Energy is essential to the functioning of society, and oil is the single largest commercial energy source. Some analysts have concluded that the peak in oil production is soon about to happen on the global scale, while others disagree. Such incompatible views can persist because the issue of “peak oil” cuts through the established scientific disciplines. The question is: what characterizes the modeling approaches that are available today, and how can they be further developed to improve a trans-disciplinary understanding of oil depletion? The objective of this thesis is to present long-term scenarios of oil production (Paper I) using a resource-constrained model; and an agent-based model of the oil exploration process (Paper II). It is also an objective to assess the strengths, limitations, and future development potentials of resource-constrained modeling, analytical economic modeling, and agent-based modeling. Resource-constrained models are only suitable when the time frame is measured in decades, but they can give a rough indication of which production scenarios are reasonable given the size of the resource. However, the models are comprehensible, transparent and the only feasible long-term forecasting tools at present. It is certainly possible to distinguish between reasonable scenarios, based on historically observed parameter values, and unreasonable scenarios with parameter values obtained through flawed analogy. The economic subfield of optimal depletion theory is founded on the notion of rational economic agents, and there is a causal relation between decisions made at the micro-level and the macro-result. In terms of future improvements, however, the analytical form considerably restricts the versatility of the approach. Agent-based modeling makes it feasible to combine economically motivated agents with a physical environment. An example relating to oil exploration is given in Paper II, where it is shown that the exploratory activities of individual agents can yield a U-shaped exploration cost path. Agent-based modeling appears to have significant potential for future development, but it is still unclear whether it will be the most useful in policy evaluation or more generalized systems research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala university , 2010. , 74 p.
Keyword [en]
Oil production, forecasting, modeling
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in the Science of Global Energy Resources
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-124822OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-124822DiVA: diva2:318026
Presentation
2010-05-27, 13167, Ångström laboratory, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-10 Created: 2010-05-06 Last updated: 2010-05-10Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. How reasonable are oil production scenarios from public agencies?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How reasonable are oil production scenarios from public agencies?
2009 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, E-ISSN 1873-6777, Vol. 37, no 11, 4809-4818 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to the long term scenarios of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), conventional oil production is expected to grow until at least 2030. EIA has published results from a resource constrained production model which ostensibly supports such a scenario. The model is here described and analyzed in detail. However, it is shown that the model, although sound in principle, has been misapplied due to a confusion of resource categories. A correction of this methodological error reveals that EIA’s scenario requires rather extreme and implausible assumptions regarding future global decline rates. This result puts into question the basis for the conclusion that global "peak oil" would not occur before 2030.

Keyword
Peak oil, Depletion rate, R/P ratio
National Category
Physical Sciences Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Global Energy Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-109736 (URN)10.1016/j.enpol.2009.06.042 (DOI)000271824600063 ()
Available from: 2009-10-23 Created: 2009-10-23 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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