- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

On Tap at Belfer Center: Oil and Water

Winter 2012-2013

Study Shows Oil Production Capacity Much Greater Than Expected

Oil production capacity is surging in the United States and several other countries    at such a fast pace that global oil output capacity is likely to grow by nearly 20 percent by 2020—possibly prompting a plunge or even a collapse in oil prices.

This was the conclusion reached by Belfer Center researcher Leonardo Maugeri following his field-by-field analysis of the world’s major oil formations and exploration projects.

Maugeri, a Roy Family Fellow with the Belfer Center’s Geopolitics of Energy Project and former senior executive vice president of the Eni oil company in his native Italy, explained his findings in “Oil: The Next Revolution,” a paper released by the Belfer Center over the summer.

Maugeri’s findings have provoked significant interest and questions from energy and environment leaders and media from around the world. He is currently completing a paper responding to questions raised.

Contrary to some predictions that world oil production has peaked or will soon do so, Maugeri projects that output should grow from the current 93 million barrels per day to 110 million barrels per day by 2020, the biggest jump in any decade since the 1980s. What’s more, he says, this increase represents less than 40 percent of the new oil production under development globally.  These increases, Maugeri writes are projected to be greatest in the United States, Canada, Venezuela, and Brazil. The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. hosted an event to release the study.

“Leonardo’s conclusions are not only startling, but his paper provides a transparent explanation for how he reaches them—some- thing lacking in many studies,” said MeghanL. O’Sullivan, director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project. “His findings have major implications for geopolitics, suggesting important shifts in how countries interact and wield influence.”

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For Academic Citation: On Tap at Belfer Center: Oil and Water.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Winter 2012-2013).