Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

What Peak Natural Gas? – #1

While researching for my post, Encore question: What Peak Oil – #36, I browsed a bit more of Dr. M. King Hubbert’s 1956 paper, Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, which you can find here.

In addition to a precise calculation of the total crude oil that will be extracted through 2050 from Texas, the U.S. in total, and from the entire planet, he also made some calculations for natural gas.

In Figure 22 on page 32, he calculated the production curve of natural gas in the U.S. through 2075, at which point production is indistinguishable from zero. The calculations are to three significant digits.

The graph is based on the same logic and analysis as Peak Oil. Namely that the total amount of a resource that will ever be extracted can be calculated and the production curve graphed with reasonable accuracy. There will be a peak followed by a slow, inevitable, unavoidable decline to near zero. When the production turns a corner at what appears to be the peak, 50% of the total that will ever be extracted has been pulled, which means roughly the same amount will be extracted in the future.

That concept applied to natural gas is a complete failure for the same reasons as Peak Oil is a failure.

The conceptual reasons are discussed in the series of posts addressing What Peak Oil?

A graph showing the failure of Peak Natural Gas is more dramatic that the graph of Peak Oil.

Graph of actual production and Dr. Hubbert’s prediction.

I pulled the natural gas (dry) and NGPL data from EIA for 1930 through 2011.

I don’t have the raw data for the curve Dr. Hubbert drew and don’t have the software to calculate the curve. 

So I pulled approximations from the graph in Figure 22. Made estimates for 1925, 1934, 1950, 1956, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 2000, and 2025. Then I interpolated the years between those data points.

The resulting graph I drew is visually comparable to Dr. Hubbert’s graph in Figure 22. Specifically, the 1956 data matches, the peak is around 14T in the mid-‘70s, and the 2000 data point is below 8T.

If you have more accurate data, let me know and I’ll redraw the graph. As a rough comparison, I’ll bring in another graph in a moment.

So, here is the comparison of actual production to my rough redrawing of Dr. Hubbert’s prediction:

gas prod actual and hubbert

Please, please don’t take my word for it. Please check Figure 22 for yourself.

Can you say busted?

Read more…

Encore question: What Peak Oil? – #36

Some commenters on the ‘net did not agree with my previous post which combined the U.S. production of crude oil with natural gas (dry) and NGPL.

Fair point.

I redrew the graph showing crude oil only.

Will draw Dr. Hubbert’s peak natural gas curve and actual production another time.

Update: The time is the next day. See the graph of actual versus predicted for natural gas:  What Peak Natural Gas? #1. Can you say busted?

Peak Oil

Peak Oil theory is outlined by Dr. M. King Hubbert, starting in his 1949 article, discussed here.

For anyone tuning into the discussion, here is the theory in very brief, key terms: Peak oil production will be reached at a determinable date, after which production will enter an inevitable, permanent decline. The rate of decline is calculable. The graph of production is calculable. Dr. Hubbert calculated the total amount of crude oil under the surface of the earth and within the U.S. remaining to be extracted. He made the same calculations for natural gas. He also calculated the total amount of crude to be extracted from within the state of Texas. Update: When the production appears to hit a peak, that is the point at which 50% of the resource has been extracted. Future production will be about equal to the sum of actual production and proven reserves at that point.

Graphs of Peak Oil production resemble a bell curve with a peak in 1970. His landmark 1956 paper (available here) calculated the amount of total U.S. crude oil production through 2050. The peak of the 200 billion barrel curve is about 1970 with a gradual decline. In about 2010 or 2011, the production level is one-third the peak level.

Don’t take my word for it – see Figure 21.

With that in mind, consider the following graph:


barrels by year 1949-2013

Just a few questions:

If you are new to this discussion, here are a few questions for you to consider:

Read more…

What Peak Oil? – #35

Update:  Some commenters on the ‘net did not agree with a graph that combines gas and oil. Fair point. I’ll redraw the graph to include only crude oil.

The new graph does not change any comment made in this post. It stands as is.

Peak oil is still a failed concept.

Here is the new graph:

barrels by year 1949-2013


Again, here is the main question: Where is the inverted V drop after the peak that mirrors the runup to the high point?

Answer: It isn’t there.

2nd Update:  I appreciate folks pointing out the error of my ways. Further research produced the above graph which makes the point yet again. I also looked at natural gas production.

The fail of Dr. Hubbert’s theories is even more extremely illustrated by graphing natural gas production. Comparing actual to his predictions is staggering. Another post on Monday.

Two busted Hubbert theories from one post. Peak Gas is even more of a fail than Peak Oil.

3rd update:  Further discussion of the Peak Oil graph on the following post.

Original post:

Saw a graph containing production of oil and gas in the U.S. since 1950. Since that one is copyrighted, decided to make my own.

Check out this graph of the amount of crude oil, natural gas (dry), and NGPL from 1949 through 2013:

 oil and gas by year 1949 2013

Now, please look for the permanent, inevitable decline trending to zero after the never-to-be-achieved-again peak oil point of 1970. Also look for the inverted-V shaped drop after the peak that mirrors the runup.

Read more…

Update on solar power – 7/25 – solar #22

A few articles on the danger to flying birds, flying planes, and barely-flying economies.

flying birds

Intentional, willful undercounts of toasted wings – 6/25 – ReWire – Panel Discards Scientists’ Recommendation on Wildlife Kills at Solar Plant.

Read more…

Regulation of marijuana sales in Washington State – 3

Readers of this blog know I’m watching the impact of regulation on a brand new industry. The industry in recreational marijuana. The natural experiment of the impact of regulation is taking place in Washington and Colorado.

This is the third in a series of posts describing the regulatory structure for sales of recreational marijuana in Washington state. My hypothesis is the regulation will weigh heavily on the industry.

The Economist has more background on the issue:  The great pot experiment.

I’ll summarize some info on the regulatory regimen, then touch on couple of trend issues and overall background.

Both states allowed so-called medical use of marijuana before legalization. The reason Washington state has taken longer than Colorado is the medical use in Washington was very lightly regulated, if at all.

Read more…

More good stuff on the Bakken – 7/24

Here’s a few quick notes on interesting news that I won’t cover in a separate post: production levels, a forecast for slowing acceleration of output, employement, infrastructure, and  few other things.

Production level

7/16 – North Dakota oil production passes 1,039,000 BOPD in 5/14

5/30 – Million Dollar Way – That She Is! A Million-Bbl Bakken Well In This Boom – One well has finally crossed the point of producing 1,000,000 barrels of oil. It has been on-line for about 3.5 years. Let’s assume $90/barrel. That would be $90,000,000 gross, or about $26M per year. Still producing 24,000 bbl a month, which at $86 is about $2,000,000 each month. Not even on a pump yet. Initial production was an okay 803 barrels a day. Not great. Not bad. By 12/14, it will have produced $100M of oil.

5/30 – Bakken Shale – Is the Bakken America’s Last Boom?Read more…

Fire at Williston oilfield supply company

A large fire broke out at Red River Supply, an oilfield supply company in Williston in the early morning hours on Tuesday July 22. First reports of explosions were at about 12:15 in the morning.

Fire officials decided to let the fire burn itself out because of the nearness to the Little Muddy River. Water runoff from fighting the fire would be contaminated with oil and other chemicals which would then drain into the river.

Read more…

Update on wind power, 7/22

A few more articles on the damage from wind power. Seems that wind power isn’t good for birds, nearby little mammals, humans, or for reducing net emissions.

Official permission to slice-and-dice golden eagles - 6/26 – ReWire -Feds Set To Issue First Eagle Kill Permit to California Wind Facility- Read more…

Short-term and long-term predictions for North Dakota oil production

Production will likely increase 5% or 6% a month for June, July, and August of 2014.

That is the expectation of Lynn Helms, director of N.D. Department of Mineral Resources, in a conference call reported by Bloomberg: North Dakota Expects “Big Surge” in Summer Crude Output.

I’ll turn that into a specific number by combining that with 2% or 2.5% growth through November. Will use that cutoff instead of December, since weather could get bad in either January or December.

Starting point is 1,039,635 bopd in May.

Here’s a range of guesses for November 2014: Read more…

45th anniversary of Apollo 11’s flight to the moon landing — – 60th anniversary of 707’s first flight

July 20, 1969 is the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I vaguely remember watching. What an astounding accomplishment for humanity and the U.S.

Two fun articles:

July 15, 1954 is the day the Boeing 707 took its first flight.  The decisions made after the first flight revolutionized air travel.

Read more…

Regulation of marijuana sales in Washington State – 2

This is the second in a series of posts providing background on regulation of recreational marijuana sales.

An article in The Telegraph provides more info – Dopeless in Seattle:  legalised cannabis prompts pot shortage.

Focus of the article is on small number of shops opened on the first day of legal sales and the limited supply. That is a transition issue that will quickly resolve itself. This post will look at some comments in the article on the regulatory requirements.

The article describes the rules as

…a labyrinthine licensing system…

Read more…

For-profit college, Corinthian, pushed into closing by feds

I’ve been trying to sort out the situation with Corinthian Colleges. Under pressure from the Department of Education, the business agreed to sell off all its schools and close its doors. Here’s some articles and a few thoughts as I process.

7/4 – New York Times - College Group Run for Profit Looks to Close Or Sell Schools – Corinthian Colleges, which owns 100 different schools, will be winding down over the next six months.

Read more…

North Dakota oil production passes 1,039,000 BOPD in 5/14

Check out this pump working away to bring oil to the surface so you can drive your car. Shaky photography courtesy of James Ulvog.


Preliminary production data for the state is 1,039,635 barrels per day average in May 2014. That will be revised up a smidgen over the next two months.

At the average price for the month provided in the Director’ Cut report of $88.31 for 32.2M barrels, that is an economic output of $2.84 billion for the month. Very cool.

Here’s a few graphs:

Monthly production since 2008:

ND production 5-14

Two more  -

Monthly production since 1990:

Read more…

Regulation of marijuana sales in Washington State – 1

I’ve been following the state-legal, federal-illegal sales of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. I’m looking at legalization in those two states as a natural experiment in the heavy hand of regulation.

So you know my perspective and can filter my comments accordingly, my hypothesis is the heavy regulation imposed in each state will severely restrain, if not cripple, the new industry of legally selling banned pot. The legal infrastructure for sales is developing as regulators outline what is required.

Update:  Full disclosure is a good thing. That should even apply to the opinions of journalists writing articles. That is the reason I just described my perspective. You know where I’m coming from so you can filter my comments and coverage accordingly. I sincerely recommend you do the same thing with every news article and opinion piece you ever read.

You can see my posts in the regulation experiment tag. My very first post on Washington was here.

I’ll look at three articles in this series.  The first, from The Seattle Times on 7/5/14: State’s retail pot gets rolling Tuesday, provides a summary of regulation in Washington State and some indicators of prices.

A few tidbits on regulation:

Read more…

“If tragedy strikes, don’t lose hope. Transform it into an opportunity to make things better.”

The quote is attributed to Dalai Lama in an article at Philosiblog.

If you have not been hit by a horrible tragedy in your life, you are a rare person and I am happy for you.

In the Bible, Jesus says “in this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

We will leave for another time the long discussion of how Jesus overcame the world. Today, look at the first part of the sentence – if you are alive you will have trouble and problems and tribulation in life. It is inevitable.

What is not inevitable is how we respond. The quote from Dalai Lama and discussion by Philosiblog reminds us we have a choice to make after we finish grieving the tragedy.

Read more…

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