More on the foolish Malthusian mindset that we’re gonna’ run out of everything

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Here are three more stories in just the last week proving yet again the foolish of Malthusian thinking. The experts in a field have no clue, absolutely no clue, of the total amount of any resource available on this amazing planet. Whether it is water, crude oil, or helium, the experts don’t know what previously unknown field they will find next.

7/1 – The Million Dollar Way – Peak Oil? What Peak Oil? Huge Discovery For Hess, Exxon; $70 Billion at Current Prices – This post points to an article at Yahoo: Exxon Might Have Just Made The Largest Oil Find In Two Years ExxonMobil and Hess Corp are in a joint venture that just discovered a huge field in deep water 120 miles off the coast of Guyana.

The new field, called Liza, likely has somewhere between 800M and 1.4B oil-equivalent barrels. Yeah, that’s somewhere in the range of one and a half billion barrels of oil. That nobody knew about. Until now.

To put this in context, there have been only five brand-new discoveries in the last four years with recoverable amounts of over 500M barrels. Only five? ONLY? To my little brain that is astounding.

Continue reading “More on the foolish Malthusian mindset that we’re gonna’ run out of everything”

Graph of the certainty level of estimates for oil and gas reserves

Million Dollar Way pointed me to a great visual illustration of this idea, explained by the US EIA:

For many purposes, oil and natural gas resources are usefully classified into four categories:

  • Remaining oil and gas in-place (original oil and gas in-place minus cumulative production at a specific date)
  • Technically recoverable resources
  • Economically recoverable resources
  • Proved reserves

Check out this illustration, which is obviously not to scale:

reserves illustration

Illustration tells the story better than my words could.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration Oil and natural gas resource categories reflect varying degrees of certainty.


I’d be worried about Peak Oil if… (#30)

If exploration of the third shelf of Three Forks had been completed instead of just started,

if exploration of fourth shelf were done instead of *not* started,

if price increases didn’t make economically unrecoverable oil economically recoverable,

if new technology didn’t make technically unrecoverable oil technically recoverable,

Continue reading “I’d be worried about Peak Oil if… (#30)”

Another Bakken’s worth of oil discovered. And it’s underneath the current Bakken. Oh, and what Peak Oil?

The USGS updated their estimate of the amount of oil that is undiscovered, technically recoverable in the Bakken field. Second paragraph of their press release says:

The USGS assessment found that the Bakken Formation has an estimated mean oil resource of 3.65 BBO and the Three Forks Formation has an estimated mean resource of 3.73 BBO, for a total of 7.38 BBO, with a range of 4.42 (95 percent chance) to 11.43 BBO (5 percent chance). This assessment of both formations represents a significant increase over the estimated mean resource of 3.65 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in the Bakken Formation that was estimated in the 2008 assessment.

This means the mid-point (statistically correct phrase: mean) of the total oil that is technically recoverable with current technology is 7.4 billion barrels of oil. Their assessment is that the probability is 95% that there will be at least 4.4B and the probability is 5% that there could be as much as 11.4B.

Continue reading “Another Bakken’s worth of oil discovered. And it’s underneath the current Bakken. Oh, and what Peak Oil?”

Bakken as an illustration of reserve growth – how we find more oil in known fields that appear to be in decline. Peak Oil #8

Does oil just magically appear in a tapped out field or do the oil people learn how large the field really is, locate more oil, and develop new ways to get the oil out of the ground?

If you’ve read this blog for long, you know what I think the answer is.

Look at the monthly production data for the Bakken field, exclusive of wells elsewhere in North Dakota. You can find the data here. This data is for the Bakken, Sanish, Three Forks, and Bakken/Three Forks pools only.

  • December 1953 – One well is online producing 5,429 barrels. That’s for the month. A mere 175 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

Continue reading “Bakken as an illustration of reserve growth – how we find more oil in known fields that appear to be in decline. Peak Oil #8”

We will never run out of oil. Peak oil #1

I’ve come across a term that struck me as silly as soon as I read it – peak oil – That’s the idea that we’ve hit the maximum production and we will soon see production levels fall and then run out of oil.

The definition of proven reserves and a minimal knowledge of supply and demand makes it so obvious that we will never run out of oil.  A glance at this blog or the blogs I cite should make the concept of peak oil laughable.

I need to explain this across several posts.

The whole concept of peak oil becomes more astoundingly ignorant with every additional paragraph I read on the issue. Conceptually, there is a big problem. Practially, developments in the last couple of years should kill off the concept permanently.  Continue reading “We will never run out of oil. Peak oil #1”

Recoverable oil in Green River under Colorado and Utah might be equal to the current worldwide proven reserves

The astounding news just keeps on rolling in.  Here is another name to remember for energy issues – Green River.

Testimony to Congress this week from OMB’s Anu K. Mittal, Director, Natural Resources and Environment, indicates there are tremendous opportunities and challenges from oil shale underneath western Colorado and eastern Utah.

The written testimony is in UNCONVENTIONAL OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION – Opportunities and Challenges of Oil Shale Development

The Green River Formation has an astounding amount of oil shale.  From the report’s summary:

Tapping the vast amounts of oil locked within U.S. oil shale formations could go a long way toward satisfying the nation’s future oil demands. Oil shale deposits in the Green River Formation are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels of oil, half of which may be recoverable, which is about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.

Continue reading “Recoverable oil in Green River under Colorado and Utah might be equal to the current worldwide proven reserves”

Energy boom isn’t limited to the U.S.

I’ve mentioned the potential to see huge increase in oil and gas production in the U.S. in several posts. Start looking here, here, and here.

It’s not just the U.S. that could see huge increases in production. Check out these articles, courtesy of Carpe Diem:

Reuters:  Exclusive: UK has vast shale gas reserves, geologists say

New technology from the U.S. (that means fracking) could make large volumes of shale gas off the coast of UK economically viable, pushing England to the top of reserves worldwide.

Here’s the potential: Continue reading “Energy boom isn’t limited to the U.S.”

“An Energy Primer”

Fantastic primer on energy in the U.S. and world:

Hard Facts – An Energy Primer from the Institute for Energy Research.

I’ve just started reading it.  Superb stuff.  The first few tidbits that  jump out at me:

Estimates that there is more recoverable oil in the U.S. than in Saudi Arabia:

The United States is home to the richest oil shale deposits in the world—estimates are there are about 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil in U.S. oil shale deposits, nearly four times that of Saudi Arabia’s proved oil reserves.5

Vastly improved energy efficiency in the U.S. even with expansion in the per capita GDP:

• Energy use per person in the United States fell 12 percent between 1979 and 2010 from 359 million BTUs to 317 million BTUs per person.19

• Energy intensity—energy consumption per dollar of GDP—fell by 52 percent between 1973 and 2011.20

Are we running out of oil and gas we know about and can get to at economical price?

Continue reading ““An Energy Primer””