Export Land Model

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The Export Land Model, or Export-Land Model, refers to work done by Dallas geologist Jeffrey Brown, building on the work of others, and discussed widely on The Oil Drum.[1] It models the decline in oil exports that result when an exporting nation experiences both a peak in oil production and an increase in domestic oil consumption. In such cases, exports decline at a far faster rate than the decline in oil production alone.

The Export Land Model is important to petroleum importing nations because when the rate of global petroleum production peaks and begins to decline, the petroleum available on the world market will decline much more steeply than the decline in total production.


As world oil exports approach (or pass) a global peak, the price of exported oil increases and further stimulates domestic economic growth and oil consumption in Export-Land countries, creating a positive feedback process between declining exports and higher prices. Eventually, however, the level of export decline outpaces the increasing oil price, slowing domestic growth. In some cases, an Export Land eventually becomes a net importer. It is unlikely that an Export Land would constrain domestic consumption to help importing countries. In fact, many oil exporting countries subsidize domestic consumption below price levels defined by the world market.

Hypothetical example[edit]

Given a hypothetical oil producing country (known by the model as an Export Land) that produces 2 Mbbl/d (320,000 m3/d), consumes 1 Mbbl/d (160,000 m3/d), and exports 1 Mbbl/d (160,000 m3/d) to oil consuming countries around the world, the model would be applied as such (illustrated in the graph above):

Export Land hits the point of Peak Oil production, and over a five-year period production drops by 25%. Over the same time period, Export Land's consumption increases by 20% to 1.2 mbpd. This causes Export Land's net exports over the five-year period to fall from 1 mbpd to 0.3 mbpd, a decrease of 70% -- resulting from a combination of increasing domestic consumption in Export Land and a 25% drop in production. Counter-intuitively, the fractional decline in exports is much greater than the sum of the fractional increase in domestic consumption and the fractional decline in production.

Real-world examples[edit]

5-years change in production and consumption from 11 Export Land countries.[2][3] Figures in thousand barrels/day.
Country Production Consumption net exports [4]
2002 2007 2002 2007 2002 2007
Argentina 806 698 364 492 442 206
Bahrain 49 48 23 35 25 14
Colombia 601 561 222 228 379 333
Egypt 751 710 534 651 217 59
Indonesia 1289 969 1137 1157 152 -188
Malaysia 757 755 489 514 268 241
Syria 548 394 256 262 292 132
Turkmenistan 192 180 78 117 114 62
Vietnam 339 350 192 294 146 56
Yemen 438 360 112 143 326 217

Several real-world nations exhibit the characteristics of the Export Land Model as pictured in the image gallery above. These four nations exhibit increasing domestic consumption along with declining production. Indonesia has already shifted from oil exporter to oil importer while Egypt is hovering on the brink. Malaysia and Mexico also have the hallmarks of the Export Land Model.

Within 5 years, Mexico (the second biggest exporter of oil to the US) may become a net oil importer. Other nations where this may soon happen include Iran, Algeria and Malaysia.[5]

A recent report from CIBC World Markets also indicates that as much as 40% of Saudi Arabia's expected production increases will be offset by rising internal demand by 2010, and Iranian exports will decline by more than 50% for similar reasons. This report indicates that similar market pressures could reduce net worldwide oil exports by 2.5 million barrels per day (400,000 m3/d) (about 3%).[5]

Nations may also reach their peak of oil production without fitting the Export Land model. For example, the United Kingdom began importing oil in 2006, after decades of exporting, due to declining production. But as domestic consumption in the UK has remained essentially unchanged for the last 20 years, their rising import levels essentially match their falling production levels. Similarly, Norway's exports began declining in 2001, but at the same rate as their production because their domestic consumption was also not growing. Unlike many exporters, these two countries don't subsidize local market oil price and have high fuel prices by world standards,[6] thus one of the premises of the export land model (that domestic consumption should not be affected by world market price)[citation needed] does not apply to those countries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Export Land Model discussion archive. TheOilDrum.com.
  2. ^ All figure from BP statistical review 2008
  3. ^ [EIA http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/country/country_energy_data.cfm?fips=YM Archived 2011-01-10 at the Wayback Machine]
  4. ^ Defined as the difference between all liquids production and consumption, may be different from physical flows.
  5. ^ a b Clifford Krauss (2007-12-09). "Oil-Rich Nations Use More Energy, Cutting Exports". The New York Times.
  6. ^ [Gas price from around the world http://www.dailyfueleconomytip.com/oil-prices/gas-prices-from-around-the-world-2/]