I have written in earlier posts about the problems that the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System (TAPS) will face, as production declines below 500,000 bd. The conclusions from that post are pictorially summarized in a graph in the recent edition of the Oil and Gas Journal.
Looking at current figures, in September the pipeline had an average throughput of 524,181 bpd against the year-to-date average of 528,092 bpd. It has just passed below the upper limit at which operational difficulties can be anticipated, due in part to the flow being too slow to keep the temperature high enough to prevent wax from separating from the fluid, and starting to block valves and critical infrastructure. Because of the long lead times, and high capital requirements for the development of new fields in the Arctic, and the likely probability that these will not yield significant production until at least 2025, the article is pessimistic about both the fate of the pipeline, and future Alaskan production.
Despite those declines OPEC remains optimistic, in their October Monthly Oil Market Report that the world producers can continue to meet global demand as they foresee it rising to an average of 89.7 mbd this year, and then going up to 90.8 mbd on average next year. They foresee, for example, that non-OPEC supply will increase this year by 1.1 mbd (to 54.1 mbd) led by production gains from the USA, Brazil, Kazakhstan, South Sudan and Sudan. Next year they see an additional non-OPEC growth of 1.2 mbd with Canada replacing Kazakhstan among the five countries that will make up this additional production. In contrast OPEC itself is reducing production, with overall production reported to be down 390 kbd in September.