But the detailed document, obtained from a person with access to Saudi oil officials, suggests that Saudi Aramco will be limited to sustained production of just 12 million barrels a day in 2010, and will be able to maintain that volume only for short, temporary periods such as emergencies. Then it will scale back to a sustainable production level of about 10.4 million barrels a day, according to the data. BusinessWeek obtained a field-by-field breakdown of estimated Saudi oil production from 2009 through 2013. It was provided by an oil industry executive who said he had confirmed it with a ranking Saudi energy official who has access to the field data. The executive, who has proven reliable over several years of reporting interaction, provided the data on condition of anonymity to protect his access to the kingdom and the identity of the inside contact who confirmed the information.
On oil matters, the kingdom’s credibility has been clouded by intense secrecy. The Saudis, for instance, refuse, unlike Russia, Venezuela, and Norway, to release detailed assessments of their oil reserves, which has made many skeptical. “They are just a bunch of empty boasts,” Matthew Simmons, chairman of Houston investment bank Simmons & Co. International, says of the kingdom’s recent promises of 12.5 million barrels a day. He is also skeptical of Saudi reserve estimates.
Oil took a small dive yesterday on speculation that global demand for oil will go down because of the high prices (which would be good). When you factor in the high demand from China and India, I wouldn’t look for them to go down much further. I was having a conversation with a friend this morning, and we talked about gas prices hitting $6.00 a gallon around Labor Day. We’ve already hit $5.00 in some places.