2. Oil Production with Improving Technology


Oil and gas companies have certainly become better at what they do over time. Originally, they drilled near natural oil seeps and hoped for the best, but now, a good team of geoscientists can “see” exactly where the oil/gas is, and engineers can drill with great precision and then “stimulate” the oil/gas-bearing rock formations to squeeze as much oil/gas as possible out of the rocks.

One way to incorporate this into the model is to change the rate of oil/gas production, r, so that it increases as time goes on. To do this, we make a simple equation that says r = 0.0005 x TIME, so then when TIME is 10 years, r will be 0.005 and when TIME is 100 years, r will be 0.05. Other than this change, the model is the same as in experiment 1. The value 0.0005 is called tech rate in the model, and we’ll see what happens if we change it.

Let’s see how this change affects the history of oil/gas production. Click this link to run the model and then answer the following questions on your worksheet or on a sheet of paper to be submitted to Canvas later. As you can see, the production of oil peaks in this case. It rises because r is increasing, but as r increases, the Proven Reserves is decreasing and eventually a point is reached where the product of these two numbers (the production) starts to decline.


2A. When does the production reach its maximum (peak) value?

2B. What is the magnitude of the peak in production?