Europe faces the threat of oil shortages and production is "irreversibly falling"

  •   11/06/2021 - 12h51
  •   DEHOUI Lionel

A report published on 26 May by the think tank The Shift Project announced that oil production in the 16 EU supplier countries has "irreversibly declined". Compared to the record high in 2019, the drop is expected to be around 12% by 2030.

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Europe faces the threat of oil shortages and production is

Europe's back is against the wall

In reality, discovering new areas for extracting black gold cannot offset the impact of the drop in production. At the same time, Europe is facing the challenge of a sharp increase in demand from high-growth countries. By 2050, production in the 16 countries studied will be down by 50% from the peak of the 2010-2020 decade.

Reducing the use of black gold is certainly essential in the fight against global warming. But oil self-sufficiency is also necessary as non-renewable resources are depleting.

In a study commissioned by the armed forces, the Shift Project announced that crude oil production will reach "an irreversible decline from the 2030s" in 16 countries. These countries, which supply 95% of the EU's resources, include Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States. According to current figures, it turns out that production is 12% below the 2019 record.


Reserves are running out

Compared to the ten-year peak of 2010-2020, this decline could reach 50% within 30 years. In presenting this report, the think tank relied on crude oil price assumptions made by Rystad. This is an independent energy research company that studies oil industry resources and reserves by country and by field, excluding shale gas.

Indeed, from the 2030s onwards, there does not appear to be any development potential that can prevent the decline in total crude oil production. In the countries studied, about 70% of the total crude oil reserves that have been extracted have already been consumed.

Therefore, it is difficult to imagine that sufficient reserves can be replenished to meet demand. Data shows that the discovery of new oil fields in all countries is declining and that over time, their size tends to decrease. This is to the extent that oil companies are now forced to look at very remote sites.


Europe still has a chance to save itself

The small number of discoveries over the past 20 years has led to the excavation of old oil patrimony. Sometimes these are sites discovered before 1980, but not developed because of too many restrictions," says Matthieu Auzanneau, director of the Shift project.

Moreover, European demand for oil may not fall as quickly as the force of production cuts. In addition, the region will face competition from fast-growing countries such as China and India. As a result, Europe's weaning will be even more brutal.

On May 28, the TotalEnergies group presented its sustainable development strategy. On this occasion, CEO Patrick Pouyanné defended the need to continue searching for oil.