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  • New decade, new challenges: The harsh reality of unsustainable oil markets


    Matthew R. Simmons

    This past year turned out to be an ironic and bittersweet end to what was arguably the most important decade our global oil markets have ever experienced. Throughout the first 10 years of the 21st century, the world’s largest industry dealt with one surprise after another. Ranging from a staggering and entirely unplanned increase in global demand to a steady decrease in the number of new significant oil finds, observable declines took place in almost every key oil field around the world. These declines also included many relatively new fields that were designed to produce at unrealistically high flowrates, then expected to remain at those levels for several years. Furthermore, there were strong signs that global crude flows had probably reached their highest sustainable flowrates back in 2005. As the decade progressed, the number of surprises grew. All of this was reflected in a wild rollercoaster of oil price volatility.

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