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Scary Oil Interview With Matt Simmons

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JIM PUPLAVA:  Joining me on the program is Matthew Simmons. He’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Simmons & Company International, a Houston-based investment bank that specializes in the energy industry. Mr. Simmons serves on the boards of Brown-Forman Corporation, The Atlantic Council of The United States, he’s also a member of the National Petroleum Council and The Council of Foreign Relations. He has an MBA from Harvard University. And he’s here to discuss his new book Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.

Matt, I want to start out the discussion from the back of your book in Appendix B. Several years ago you did a study of the world’s major oil fields. What did you find?

MATTHEW SIMMONS:  It was really an incredible exercise of trying to collect the data no one had ever actually thought of doing before, and that’s, what are the top oil fields in the world – field by field. And the background for me doing this is that I’ve participated 2 years in a row in an energy supply workshop, conducted by the energy analysts of the CIA in Washington, where they got about 10 of the best oil experts together, and we’d spend a day doing a discussion of all the key countries, and how much oil capacity they had in place over the course of the coming 3 years. I sat there listening aghast at all of these experts with their laptops that kept looking at their supply models, and it’s how China will be producing 3,217,000 barrels/day this year, and 3,281,000 barrels/day. And I basically said: “how do you all even know that. What are the 3 or 4 top fields in China?” And no one had any answers.

So I decided it would be interesting and educational to see if you could actually put together a list of the top 20 oil fields by name. And I thought somebody must have done this before, and the more I dug the more I realized that no one ever had. So I basically decided – arbitrarily – 100,000 barrels per day [bpd] production was my cutoff of what constituted a giant oil field and all Fall of 2000, I believe this was, I basically took data from various areas and kept trying to hone in on the total list, and I decided once I got it done, I would circulate it widely to the 4 or 5 or 6 hundred people who really ought to know the areas a lot better, and that would flush out the real data. What I came up with was finding that there are about 120 oil fields in the world that still produced over 100,000 bpd, and that they collectively were 49% of the world’s oil supply. What I also found is that the top 14 fields that still produce over 500,000 bpd each, were 20% of the world’s oil supply, and on average they were 53 years old. The next thing I found was that in the Middle East you had basically, somewhere between 3-5 oil fields in each of the major Middle East oil producers that made up about 90% of their supply –  and until I did that I had just assumed the Middle East had hundreds of oil fields – and all these oil fields were old. And then what I found was – because we made it clear that anyone who wanted a copy could get one, but the caveat was that if you have any better information, let me know –  I probably shipped over a thousand of these copies out to people and I had about 5 responses of “here’s a field you missed, here’s a field you misspelled or here’s a field you said it was producing X, and I believe it’s probably producing Y.” Only about 5 responses, out of over a thousand people who got this. What I got from hundreds of people was “this is amazing, I’ve never thought about this before.” And these aren’t just sort of random people, these are people that are all passionate energy analysts. So that gave me the background, when I finally had my only trip I’ve ever taken to Saudi Arabia.  I knew ahead of time that they had these 5 key fields that must still be producing 90% of their oil, and it was that knowledge and data that allowed me to just peer into presentations we were having, so that I came away saying, “you know I really wonder whether in fact we’re sitting on an illusion that Saudia Arabia has all this vast amount of producible oil.” And I also then had an idea of what issues I should start trying to research, and within months I had discovered this phenomenal database of technical papers at the Society of Petroleum Engineers, that I spent all Summer, two years ago in Maine, plowing through, and it was at the end of that exercise that I decided I was going to write a book

Full interview transcript at http://www.financialsense.com/transcriptions/Simmons.html

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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