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Here is a chart of Saudi oil production from this source:

I did not expect that there was such a big dip in the 80's. The oil crisis was in the 70s, right?

Here are some factoids from there:

[In] large oil fields, the natural pressure of the reservoir forces the oil to the surface. But as more and more oil is pumped out, the only way to keep the pressure up is to inject water back into the reservoir.

After a while, this starts to damage the reservoir... the water starts to contaminate the oil. Author Paul Roberts found that at Ghawar, the amount of water mixed in with the oil is now 30%. That's a dangerously high level.

[Matthew Simmons found] that the water-injection technique that's keeping Ghawar on life support is also being used on every other major oilfield in Saudi Arabia - the fields that supply 10% of the world's oil right now.

[Look again] at that chart of Saudi oil production. It's gone up a lot since 2001. But Saudi oil exports have stayed flat! The Saudis need oil to fuel their growing economy.

[The] increase that started in 2001 was pretty much over by 2003. But since 2003, the number of drilling rigs in Saudi Arabia has tripled. Triple the drilling, triple the output, you'd think. But no...all that new drilling, and the country is still generating between 9-10 million barrels a day. So they've had to triple the number of wells just to keep running in place!

by das monde on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 07:01:23 AM EST
The 1973 oil crisis began in earnest on October 17, 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC, consisting of the Arab members of OPEC plus Egypt and Syria) announced, as a result of the ongoing Yom Kippur War, that they would no longer ship petroleum to nations that had supported Israel in its conflict with Syria and Egypt (the United States, its allies in Western Europe, and Japan).

About the same time, OPEC members agreed to use their leverage over the world price-setting mechanism for oil in order to raise world oil prices, after attempts at negotiation with the "Seven Sisters" earlier in the month failed miserably. Because of the dependence of the industrialized world on crude oil and the predominant role of OPEC as a global supplier, these price increases were dramatically inflationary to the economies of the targeted countries, while at the same time suppressive of economic activity. The targeted countries responded with a wide variety of new, and mostly permanent, initiatives to contain their further dependency.

The 1979 (or second) oil crisis in the United States occurred in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Amid massive protests, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled his country in early 1979, allowing Ayatollah Khomeini to gain control. The protests shattered the Iranian oil sector. While the new regime resumed oil exports, it was inconsistent and at a lower volume, forcing prices to go up. Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations, under the presidency of Dr. Mana Alotaiba increased production to offset the decline, and the overall loss in production was about 4%. However, a widespread panic resulted, driving the price far higher than would be expected under normal circumstances. In the United States, the Carter administration instituted price controls.

In 1980, following the Iraqi invasion of Iran, oil production in Iran nearly stopped, and Iraq's oil production was severely cut as well. In that instance, oil lines only reappeared in the United States in a few isolated incidents.

Wikipedia Oil crisis (disambiguation page)

The fundamental reason for these crisis in the US was that the US was no longer an exporter of oil, but an importer. Then with political backlashes came troubles.

In the 80'ies I think OPEC wanted to run up prices by lowering production, and that being what we see in your chart, but I am not sure of it.

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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 09:08:10 AM EST
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