This is a scaled claim that will pay (10*(peak year-2020)) capped at or between 0 and 100. The peak year is defined as year with highest worldwide annual total of oil production according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
The claim should not be judged until one of the following four options occurs and then it should be judged.
A. 1. There is a subsequent year with worldwide annual total of oil production being over 5% below the peak year, and 2. This is not the year following the peak year, and 3. This is not due to temporary freak circumstances, and 4. There is widespread agreement amongst experts that there will be further falls in worldwide annual total of oil production.
B. 1. There are four years of declines in worldwide annual total of oil production in a four or five consecutive year period, and 2. The end year of that period has worldwide total of oil production over 2% below the latest year before the period starts that is not affected by temporary freak circumstances, and 3. None of the years in the period are affected by temporary freak circumstances, and 4. There is widespread agreement amongst experts that there will be further falls in worldwide annual total of oil production.
C. There is a subsequent year with worldwide annual total of oil production being over 10% below the peak year, and 2. This is not the year following the peak year, and 3. This is not due to temporary freak circumstances. Experts expecting rises in oil production have no effect under this C clause.
D. 2030 or subsequent year has highest worldwide annual total oil production.
The precise meaning of 'temporary freak circumstances' is at the judges discretion but should be expected to include things like natural disasters, terrorist action on oil production/refining or other facilities, wars that are significantly more widespread than previous years, pandemics, or government action like bans/rationing possibly taxes etc provided that the circumstances are expected to last 18 months or less and have highly significant impact on oil production.
Anything approaching normal operation of the market like OPEC deciding to pump less because they want to drive the prices up should not count as temporary freak circumstances unless it is clearly in response to some other freak event.
Temporary freak circumstances can turn out to last a little longer than 18 months without ceasing to be temporary. A maximum of 3 consecutive calendar (or whatever annual period BP Statistical Review of World Energy uses) years can be below 95% of the peak year due to temporary freak circumstances and not be used to cause the claim to be judged.
The judge has discretion on how and when to decide the temporary freak circumstances have ceased to have impact and may shorten the maximum 3 consecutive calendar (or whatever annual period BP Statistical Review of World Energy uses) year period. The 3 consecutive calendar year period should not be extended to 4 or more years unless there is a completely separate temporary freak event.
Government action like bans/rationing possibly taxes should be expected to last more than 18 months unless there is clear evidence that it is intended to be a short term measure. Note also that if this government action is a short term measure while politicians work out implications and other aspects of a different measure like a ban then this should be considered part of long term action and not a temporary measure.
Suppose governments ramp up taxes on oil products to deal with climate change (long term issue) and this is followed by oil producers funding a coup and toppling the offending governments and reversing the tax increases. The increased taxes should initially be considered a long term action unless there is clear evidence that it is intended to be a short term measure. If a full calendar year not immediately following the peak year shows oil production below 95% of peak then, when this is published, the claim should be judged as per the wording. If the coup(s) happen before the data leading to a true judgement is published then, the judge might want to consider whether circumstances of high taxes were 'temporary freak circumstances'. I would regard the taxes as something 'approaching normal operation of the market' and therefore unlikely to qualify as freak. The taxes were intended to be long term and while this should be reconsidered if it turns out to be temporary, in this case it was long term and abnormally ended rather than the event turning out to be temporary so unlikely to be considered temporary either.
However, there might be other circumstances where 'temporary freak circumstances' needs further explanation. The word freak is mainly there just to imply unusual circumstances that have significant impact on oil production but it also excludes things 'approaching normal operation of the market'. The temporary decision should mainly be based on whether it is intended or expected to last 18 months or less. If this isn't clear the judge doesn't have to make an immediate decision. If there is new peak or no circumstances requiring judgement if it is not temporary freak circumstances, then the decision doesn't have to be made. Usually it will be clearer whether it was a temporary effect later. However, if still unclear and decision is needed the judge has discretion but might decide to look at monthly data and see if more than an 18 consecutive month period has monthly oil production numbers that are generally below 95% of same month in the peak period in order to decide if it is temporary.
Unlike the increased taxes, coup(s) could well be 'temporary freak circumstances'. e.g. the coup(s) may reverse the taxes but have other downward effects on demand.
If taxes cause production to fall below 95% of peak starting in July 2024 but whole of 2024 (and previous years) stay above 95% of peak, then no judgement re 2024 numbers. Coup(s) in March 2025 is considered 'temporary freak circumstances' due to demand effects of the coup(s). If temporary demand effect of coup(s) and counter coup(s) cause oil production to remain below 95% of peak, then 2025, 2026 and 2027 might stay below 95% of peak without a judgement being given but if 2028 is below 95% of peak then the coup(s) and any counter coup(s) are no longer temporary. If there are no other temporary freak circumstances then after 2028 data is published, judgement should then be made.
If the coup(s) were in November 2025 and record equalling November production numbers plus record equalling December production numbers plus the actual production for the year to October 2025 would still leave oil production for 2025 below 95% of peak oil production: Then if it can be observed that: 1. 2025 actually turned out to be below 95% of peak production and 2. 2024 is not the peak year and 3. This is not due to temporary freak circumstances of taxes because taxes are normal not freak and nor is it due to temporary freak circumstances of coup(s) because it is the taxes and other events before the coup(s) not the coup(s) that did it, and 4. there is widespread agreement amongst experts that there will be further falls in worldwide annual total of oil production then judgement can be made. The judge has discretion to use a different method rather than using record month production numbers as indicated above if the judge considers it more appropriate.
If the BP Statistical Review of World Energy ceases to be produced then the judge should add a statement indicating a replacement source that is preferably similarly authoritative.
'Widespread agreement amongst experts that there will be further falls in worldwide annual oil production totals' will depend on sources available at that time and the judge has discretion on how to interpret this.
It is possible the claim will need to be kept open past the due date to see if a new peak is reached per D, or to see if oil production or expectations declines in order to satisfy A, B or C above or to see if widespread agreement of experts is reached or if circumstances remain temporary freak circumstances.
I intend to judge this claim on the original intent of the claim.
The key area of judgement is to decide whether there are "temporary freak circumstances" that have caused any decline from a peak that meet one of the four sets of criteria in the claim. I interpret this to only apply if the circumstances are unrelated to the normal operation of the oil market, which I understand as excluding changes in oil demand caused by voluntary shifts in consumer behaviour.
For example, a sudden drop in demand caused by a time-limited lockdown on travel by multiple governments in response to a pandemic might be considered "freak", but I would not consider a long term decline in demand caused by social changes (including regulated travel restrictions with broad public support) following such a pandemic "freak" for the purposes of the claim if the balance of evidence does not suggest that an increase in demand is imminent. Such persistent changes in consumer behaviour, even if to an extent triggered or exacerbated by a "freak" event, are in part what the claim is trying to predict.
I will interpret "widespread agreement amongst experts" from the claim and "balance of evidence" from my statement above as requiring agreement from experts both within and without the oil industry, and including both experts on oil as well as on more general economic and political matters. I will judge whether shifts in consumer behaviour caused or exacerbated by government policy (such as lockdowns) are "voluntary" or have "broad public support" by looking at polling and particularly election results. Whether circumstances are "temporary" or not is covered by the definitions in the claim.
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