(EnergyAsia, February 25, Wednesday) — World oil output could fall by as much as 30 million b/d by 2015, analysts at Merrill Lynch said.

In a special report, the world will have to deal with sharply lower oil supplies as a result of declining production rates, the rapid depletion of older fields, low investment levels and the high cost of finding and developing sizeable new reserves.

Non-OPEC production may have peaked already and could fall to 47 million b/d by 2015, depending on the severity of the current global financial crisis. OPEC rates would also decline.

As a result, Merrill Lynch warned that world oil prices will face upward pressure as early as 2010.

World oil production is running at around 85 to 86 million b/d, just slightly ahead of consumption.

The decline in world consumption last year and in 2009 is masking the reality of rapid depletion of most of the world’s major oil fields.