Kevin Stevens
Kevin Stevens
Ready or Not, Peak Oil is Near
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Ready or Not, Peak Oil is Near

Yesterday, I published an in-depth analysis of DNV-GL’s 2020 Energy Transition Outlook. Today, BP released their 2020 Energy Outlook and while I haven’t had the time to fully dig-in, they’ve made a call similar to DNV-GL: peak oil is here.

Two quick, important notes:

  1. This is not peak natural gas. We are still several years (maybe decades) away from that milestone.
  2. We will still drill new oil fields for the foreseeable future. Even at a declining rate of use, we still consume more oil than existing fields can support.
Source: DNV-GL
Source: DNV-GL
Source: BP
Source: BP

COVID's Impact

These predictions hinge on the permanent impacts of COVID-19. BP and DNV-GL both believe that travel is not returning to the same levels as before. DNV-GL believes that business travel will never recover from COVID's impacts and predicts a permanent 10% decline in business travel.

Both reports also believe some form of work from home is the new normal and that the stall in global GDP growth that will take several years to recover from - particularly in emerging economies like India and Sub-Saharan Africa.

These are big unknowns in the energy world, but much like digitization was moved forward 2-3 years by COVID, it’s clear oil demand is also feeling similar effects.

Electric Vehicles

In addition to COVID, both reports are in agreement on transportation. The impending electrification of passenger vehicles is the largest threat to oil.

Electric vehicles are generally thought of as a Western phenomenon, but this is largely incorrect. The gains in EVs will also happen in China and India where micro-mobility is much more prominent. As with anything relating to the energy transition, China and India will have a big role and we're already seeing it play out in the EV sector.

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Peak oil was always destined to happen within the decade. There are too many innovations happening in the sectors oil and gas depend on for demand. Combine those advancements with consumer and financial pressure from firms like Blackrock and you have a recipe for major change.