Among the CEO’s of the world’s major oil companies, Total’s Christophe de Margerie has long been the most realistic about the prospects for further growth in world oil production. Last year he had hinted that production would peak at or below 95 million b/d. ┬áLast Friday, de Margerie broke new ground by telling reporters in London that world oil production may hit a plateau below 90 million b/d – less than earlier envisioned. De Margerie went on to say that “the capacity that the oil industry has to go to 93-95 million barrels per day is already over,”

According to de Margerie, this assessment is based on delays in heavy oil projects in Canada and Venezuela, which are constrained by high costs and low oil prices, plus the unlikelihood that Iraq and Iran will be able to increase production significantly in years ahead.

Other major oil companies such as Exxon and BP continue to maintain that there will not be any restraints on production in the foreseeable future. The IEA forecast last November that world oil production will rise to 106 million b/d, 20 million b/d above current production by 2030.