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.

Archive for the tag “peak oil”

The massive economic and environmental impact of fracking.

Wells being drilled by that rig have long since gone into operation and contributed their share to increased US production.

The impact of fracking is massive. Large increases in production of natural gas and crude oil has created a long list of favorable economic and environment impacts.

7/6/17 – Victor Davis Hanson at National Review – The Fracking Industry Deserves Our Gratitude – Prof. Hanson provides a fast survey of how much fracking has improved the American economy. Fracking is the combination of horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing.

The impact of fracking is staggering.

Ten years ago eeeeeeverybody knew for an absolute certainty that Peak Oil was here and we were about to run out of oil. The Secretary of Energy was wishfully musing that gasoline would rise from $4 to $10 a gallon.

In the last five years, gasoline prices are down about $1.50 a gallon, surge in natural gas production displaced coal consumption which has reduced our CO2 output by 12% in the last decade (surpassing the EU in cuts), and reduced our oil imports by five million barrels a day.

Let me rephrase that part about CO2…

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Peak Oil Demand. A real thing? Or only as real as Peak Oil Supply?

Photo of oil refinery courtesy of Dollar Photo Club prior to their merger into Adobe Stock.

Will demand for oil decline in the next decade or two? Or will demand continue to grow? Sorting out questions like that makes my brain hurt.

The Wall Street Journal had an extra report section 5/22/17 called Innovations in Energy. Some interesting comments:

5/22/17 – Wall Street Journal – Get Ready for Peak Oil Demand – In yet another complete repudiation of the foolish forecasts of Dr. M. King Hubert, there is a gathering consensus that instead of Peak Oil, meaning we will use up all the oil someday, we may be facing Peak Oil Demand, which is the idea that oil consumption may fall because of various factors such as improved  efficiency  in vehicles, electric/hybrid cars, and reliance on solar/wind power.

There are a lot of implications of Peak Demand, if that actually turns out to be a real thing.

For starters, there is massive impact on oil companies and the impact on oil prices. One additional factor is there would be an end to the severe pressure to always be finding more oil.

Article provides guesses from 7 major players in the energy world as to when we will see peak oil demand:

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What Peak Oil? I’m having trouble keeping up with all the billion barrel finds.

15 wells on 1 pad. Notice a drilling rig on right edge of view. September 2015 photo by James Ulvog.

Yeah, I’m still new to this effort of watching the energy field. One of the things that still amazes me is the frequency with which the geology wizards find another billion or so barrels of recoverable oil that ‘we’ didn’t know about and a decade ago couldn’t get out of the ground profitably even if the wizards had known for sure it was there.

3/9/17 – E&P – Repsol, Armstrong Strike Big Oil Find in Alaska’s North Slope – The two companies announced a find in the Nanushuk Play with 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Two wells confirm the find.

First production is expected in 2021, four years from now. Production level expected to hit 120,000 bopd, or 43.8M barrels a year.

Oh, what Peak Oil?

By the way, I’m having a hard time keeping track of all these massive new finds of oil which either nobody knew about a decade ago or it would have been technically impossible to ever get any of it out of the ground.

Read more…

Possible new technology to extract oil shale – Peak Oil #50

In a decade or so, will we get to see thousands of these above the Green River Formation? Photo of Bakken pump jack by James Ulvog.

In a decade or so, will we get to see thousands of these above the Green River Formation? Photo of Bakken pump jack by James Ulvog.

Here’s another brain stretcher for you in the realm of the open frontier in energy – how about using microwave to tease oil shale out of the ground?

11/4 – Oxy – Move Over Fracking, There’s a New Technology in Town – First, keep in mind that oil shale is not the same as shale oil. I have to wrap my brain around that every time the topic of oil shale comes up.

Shale oil is crude oil that is trapped in rocks. Fracking is the way to get shale oil out of the ground.

Oil shale is sort-of-like crude oil stuff (actually kerogen, but that label doesn’t register for me) that has to be heated, or cooked, out of the rock. Usually done by strip mining then cooking the stuff. Other option is steam injection to liquefy the oil shale which then can be pulled out of the well. Fracking won’t do the trick.

Try this on for size: Using microwaves comparable to the power of 500 household machines to heat the rock turning the oil shale liquid. The water, which is mixed in with the kerogen will be converted to steam, which in turn will help pull the liquefied oil to the wellbore.

So where could this be used?

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Musing on oil prices and the oil industry; future for shale is looking good

Out of focus picture by James Ulvog.

Out of focus photo by James Ulvog. (Yeah, yeah, I know – don’t give up my day job.)

First article below says that predicting oil prices is a fool’s errand. The payoff of trying to do so, it seems to me, is it requires diving into the dynamics and trying to understand the production and demand aspects underlying the price of oil. Second article below delves into the dynamics.

11/28 – The Million Dollar Way – Musings on Shale as We Anticipate the “OPEC Meeting” – Discussion points me to the next article, which I would have missed otherwise.

Mr. Oksol agrees with the major points: OPEC’s effort (meaning Saudi Arabia) to shut down shale producers has been unsuccessful. They tried this once before back in the 1980s.

On the second point, he agrees shale producers will respond fast to any rise in prices.

Author agrees that the phrase “big bet” is an acceptable way to describe the Saudi strategy to take out shale producers but thinks a more accurate description would be “trillion dollar mistake.” As for me, either description works well.

11/28 – Mark Mills at Forbes – Shale Wars: Whither Oil Prices As Saudi Arabia Lets The Big Bet Play Out? – The author, to whom you need to pay serious attention if you are otherwise reading my blog, asks two questions on his way to sort out where oil prices are going:

  • How much damage has Saudi Arabia caused the shale drillers? In other words will they be able to respond to any change in prices are they out of the game.
  • If the answer is yes, how fast will shale drillers be able to respond?

Read more…

Another 20 billion barrels of oil. What Peak Oil? – #49

We are gonna' see a whole lot more of those things in Texas over the next few decades. Photo by James Ulvog.

We’re gonna’ see a whole lot more of those things in Texas over the next few decades. Photo by James Ulvog.

Oh, by the way, the geology wizards just discovered another twenty billion barrels of recoverable oil where the wizards knew something existed but had no idea how much.

Twenty billion barrels. Billion, with a B.

11/15 – Star-Telegram – Permian’s Wolfcamp formation called biggest shale oil field in US – Estimate from USGS is the Wolfcamp formation in the Permian Basin holds 20 billion barrels of oil. There are four layers of shale that make up Wolfcamp. That puts this find somewhere in the range of three times the size of the entire Bakken formation in North Dakota.

Read more…

Two new fields found where the energy wizards didn’t realize there were billions of barrels of oil in the ground. Oh, what Peak Oil? #48

Smith Bay drilling site. Image courtesy Caelus Energy LLC, used with permission.

Smith Bay drilling site. Image courtesy Caelus Energy LLC, used with permission.

There are two big finds in the last few weeks of fields with a few billion barrels of recoverable oil each where the petroleum engineers didn’t realize there were billions of barrels of oil.

Still needs to be a lot of work to develop the fields, but major point is the wizards know today there is somewhere around 5 billion more barrels of oil “we” can use to power our comfortable industrialized life than the wizards knew about a month ago.

Not that it is really necessary, but those two big finds prove yet again that Peak Oil is a busted, bankrupt, invalid theory.

10/5 – New York Times – Oil Glut? Here Comes Some More! Author spends the first one-fifth of the article bemoaning the discovery of two new oil fields (yeah, I eye-balled the amount of pixels allocated to bemoaning).

The last thing the world needs is more oil and gas he points out, while typing at his coal-powered computer, which was constructed with plastic made from cracked natural gas, his words stored on a server farm powered by natural gas, his article delivered around the world at the speed of light, visible to me on my nuclear power driven monitor, which I read in my natural gas warmed office.

After the lamenting, he provides more detail.

Read more…

Timeline of Bakken oil production

ave daily production since 1990

For long-term archive purposes, here is a timeframe for the Bakken boom.

6/28 – The Million Dollar Way – The Bakken Is In Its Manufacturing Stage – Bruce Oksol provides a useful long-term perspective on how Bakken production has developed:

  • 2000: the Bakken boom begins in Montana
  • 2007: the Bakken boom begins in North Dakota
  • 2012: the Bakken hits its stride
  • early 2014: the Bakken setting new records, almost every month
  • late 2014: the Saudi Surge
  • 2015: the Bakken re-trenches
  • 1Q16 taxable sales 50% greater than 1Q10
  • mid-2016: the Bakken bottoms out — at least that is what the tea leaves suggest

For more perspective, here is the average daily production for each of the above years. I calculated the following from data pulled from the state website: Read more…

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.

Read more…

A glowing tribute to the founder of Peak Oil foolishness – peak oil #46

Comparison of Dr. Hubbert's 1956 prediction with actual gas production. Rough approximation of Dr. Hubbert's graph.

Comparison of Dr. Hubbert’s 1956 prediction with actual gas production. Rough approximation of Dr. Hubbert’s graph.

Professor R. Tyler Priest has a review at the Wall Street Journal of The Oracle of Oil by Mason Inman. His assessment is covered in the title:  Ignoring the Shale Revolution / U.S. oil production, at nearly nine million barrels per day, is nine times what Hubbert predicted it would be in the 21st century.

My rough graph above shows the lousy accuracy of Dr. King’s 1956 projections of natural gas production in the US.

Dr. M. King Hubbert fell in with a fellow named Howard Scott, whom Prof. Priest calls

a magnetic charlatan.

Mr. Scott dreamed of a glorious time in which scientists and engineers would run the world through a powerful Technate or Technocracy Inc.  As I have mentioned before, I’m not sure if this authoritarian system was more fond of fascism or communism, but it certainly was authoritarian. My inclination is this tended toward fascist, meaning our betters would let us peons own private property but they would tell us what we can do with our property and how we can live.

Dr. King was apparently not a very nice person. The review highlights Dr. King’s approach to knowledge:

It was not enough for him to be right. Someone had to be humiliated in the process. Mr. Inman appears uninterested in pondering the mixture of arrogance and resentment that shaped Hubbert’s personal interactions.

That Dr. King had an overabundance of arrogance is visible if you read through his 1949 and 1956 papers.

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Peak oil doctrine is still false. Please point out to me on my graph the irreversible decline in production after 1970. #45

An article explaining why Peak Oilers are in hiding prompted me to graph worldwide oil production.

Peak Oil doctrine was wrong when announced by Dr. Hubbert. It was wrong at the turn of the century before the energy revolution was kicked off by technology that was unimaginable 50 years ago. Peak Oil doctrine is still wrong. It will continue to be wrong.

Check out my graph to see a visual explanation of the foolishness.

1/21 – Hit and Run blog at Reason – Where Have All the Peak Oilers Gone? – Article points out that four of the most visible Peak Oilers are in hiding. Another one of them is still speaking out. In addition, he wrote a new forward in 2010 to his 2007 book proclaiming yet again oil production will go into an irreversible, inevitable slide.

Two data points that provide more proof of the foolishness of Peak Oil doctrine: Read more…

We ran out of oil in 2011. You didn’t know that? (Peak oil #42. Oops #44)

A prediction from 1976:

“We need to have, uh, a realization that we’ve got about 35 years worth of oil left in the whole world. We’re gonna run out of oil.”

That scientific certainty was from candidate Jimmy Carter during the 1976 Presidential Debate.

Check it out for yourself:

Here is some math: Read more…

Peak Oil doctrine is still wrong. And still dead. #41. Oops #43

Each of those little brown spots is a well pad with 1 or 4 wells, each of which can produce around half a million barrels of oil that was completely unrecoverable two decades ago. Photo by James Ulvog.

Each of those little spots of light brown is a well pad with 1 or 4 wells, with each well likely to produce around half a million barrels of oil. Two decades ago every drop of that oil was completely unrecoverable. Visual proof of the foolishness of Peak Oil. Photo by James Ulvog.

Remember that Peak oil doctrine states unequivocally that production peaks and then begins an irreversible, inevitable, unavoidable slide to zero. The curve of production inevitably follows a pattern that looks roughly comparable to a bell curve.

That means that by 2015 we should have already approached the point of very minimal oil production worldwide. Yesterday’s post described a century’s worth of failed predictions.

Where is production today? Umm…not exactly approaching zero.

Production is running so high in spite of collapse prices and in spite of increasing demand that there is a worldwide glut of crude. Having enough space to store all of the surplus oil is becoming an issue.

Here are just a few of the articles I have seen in the last week on point. This does not include another six or eight articles I’ve seen in the last month that make the same point.

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More failed predictions that we have already passed Peak Oil #40. oops #42

According to conclusive predictions over the last 100 years, the oil coming out of those wells can't exist, because we have already run out of all oil. Photo and sarcasm by James Ulvog.

According to conclusive predictions over the last 100 years, the oil coming out of those wells can’t exist, because we have already used up all the oil on the planet. Perhaps the wells are just a figment of my imagination that is as fertile as the plains of North Dakota. Photo and sarcasm by James Ulvog.

It is so entertaining to read about all the failed predictions of when we will run out of oil or some other critical resource. I keep coming across more and more absolute guarantees of when we already ran out of oil.

At its core, Peak Oil is merely another variation of the long discredited Malthusian arguments that we will run out of stuff. Such thinking is foolishly and fatally flawed.

Remember that until just a few years ago it was universally agreed by eeeeeevery scientist and researcher on the planet that we would absolutely run out of oil. It was settled science. No debate or argument necessary. No disagreement allowed.

For this particular journey down the trail of failed predictions, I thank Rob Port, writing at Say Anything Blog, for pointing me to the trail head for this expedition. In his article Settled Science: America Will Be Out Of Oil By 2015, he wrote

Because, you see, peak oil was settled science. Except, it also turned out to be wrong science, as most malthusian projections do, because it failed to take into account humanity’s infinite capacity to invent and innovate. In 2015 the big problem for the oil industry isn’t that they can’t find more oil, but rather that the market is being flooded with oil and that’s driving down prices.

The article points to a discussion at PaleoFuture on 9/18/15 which points us to an Article from 1975: The World Will Be Out of Oil by 2015. It quotes a 1975 article from Brownsville Herald which was syndicated by UPI and printed in many newspapers: Read more…

“Everybody point and laugh” at Peak Oil doctrine – #41

What oil production curve should have been for last decade according to Peak Oil doctrine. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

What oil production curve should have been for last couple of decades according to Peak Oil doctrine.  Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Ridicule is the appropriate way to address the false idea that oil production follows a bell curve and at any moment production will drop off and head to zero. Gonna’ happen any hour now. It is an undisputed scientific certainty…

Only problem is the inconvenient truth that production has consistently blown out every prediction from the peak oilists. It’s almost like the entire concept is bogus.

8/11 – Ronald Bailey, author of The End of Doom, at Reason – Peak Oilers Shut Up Forever Please One of the main apostles of Peak Oil precisely calculated the peak of oil production would be Thanksgiving Day in 2005 with an inevitable, unavoidable decline thereafter.

The absolute peak production, never to be seen again?

85M bopd.

Please remember Peak Oil doctrine clearly states that production will drop the day after the peak and enter a bell shape curve decline, quickly heading to zero. Production graphs are supposed to have already resembled the image at the top of this post.

Petroleum liquids in July 2015?

Read more…

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