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Technology and Petroleum Exhaustion: Evidence from Two Mega-Oilfields

John Gowdy () and Roxana Julia
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Roxana Julia: Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180-3590, USA

Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics

Abstract: . In this paper we use results from the Hotelling model of non-renewable resources to examine the hypothesis that technology may increase petroleum reserves. We present empirical evidence from two well-documented mega-oilfields: the Forties in the North Sea and the Yates in West Texas. Patterns of depletion in these two fields suggest that when a resource is finite, technological improvements do increase supply temporarily. But in these two fields, the effect of new technology was to increase the rate of depletion without altering the fields' ultimate recovery - in line with Hotelling's predictions. Our results imply that temporary low prices may be misleading indicators of future resource scarcity and call into question the future ability of current mega-oilfields to meet a sharp increase in oil demand.

JEL-codes: O13 Q41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-ino
Date: 2005-12, Revised 2006-04
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Journal Article: Technology and petroleum exhaustion: Evidence from two mega-oilfields (2007) Downloads
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