Guest post by David Middleton
The U.S. Geological Survey has made its largest discovery of recoverable crude ever under parts of West Texas, the federal agency announced Tuesday.
A recent assessment found the “Wolfcamp shale” geologic formation in the Midland area holds an estimated 20 billion barrels of accessible oil along with 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. That’s three times higher than the amount of recoverable crude the agency found in the Bakken-Three Forks region in the upper midwest in 2013, making it “the largest estimated continuous oil accumulation that USGS has assessed in the United States to date,” according to a statement.
“The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more,” said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program.
Guidroz attributed that potential to “changes in technology” — i.e., the advent and perfection of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Such advances “can have significant effects on what resources are technically recoverable,” he said.
While I take issue with describing this as a “discovery” and with crediting the USGS for the “discovery,” this should not be surprising. Past history shows us that government agencies always grossly underestimate what the oil industry will find and produce. Alaska’s North Slope has already produced 16 billion barrels of petroleum liquids. Currently developed areas will ultimately produce a total of about 30 billion barrels. The government’s original forecast for the North Slope’s total production was 10 billion barrels. The current USGS estimate for undiscovered oil in the Bakken play of Montana & North Dakota is 25 times larger than the same agency’s 1995 estimate. In 1987, the MMS (now the BOEM)undiscovered resource estimate for the Gulf of Mexico was 9 billion barrels. Today it is 45 billion barrels.
The MMS increased the estimate of undiscovered oil in the Gulf of Mexico from 9 billion barrels in 1987 to the current 45 billion barrels because we discovered a helluva a lot more than 9 billion barrels in the Gulf over the last 20 years. Almost all of the large US fields discovered since 1988 were discovered in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1988, it was unclear whether or not the deepwater plays would prove to be economic.
Based on the government’s track record, the estimated 116 billion barrels of undiscovered oil under Federal lands is more likely to be 680 billion barrels. That’s close to 100 years worth of current US consumption – And that’s just the undiscovered oil under Federal mineral leases.
When you factor in unconventional oil plays, the numbers become staggering. “Peak Oil,” if it exists, won’t be reached for hundreds of years if the government would just get the Hell out of the way.
It’s just a matter of economics and technology. There will be periods of economic expansion in which demand out-paces supply and there will be periods of supply out-pacing demand… Like the past couple of years.
Technology improves economics. Smaller and smaller oil accumulations can be found and economically recovered even in an environment of stable inflation-adjusted prices because technology is continuously improving… And large discoveries continue to be made in plays that weren’t envisioned just a few years ago. Eventually, we will reach a point where the diminishing returns of technology can’t keep up with oil-related energy demand. But a properly functioning free market will already be delivering economical alternatives as oil begins to price itself out of the market.
Going back to the Gulf of Mexico, two of the eleven largest oil fields in the Gulf’s history (since 1947) were discovered in the late 1980’s and brought on production in the mid-1990’s. There have been several potentially huge discoveries made in the last 5-10 years in the ultra-deepwater Lower Tertiary play. These are currently being brought on to production.
The largest field in the Gulf, Shell’s Mars Field, was discovered in 1989. Prior to the Mars discovery, no one seriously believed that Miocene-aged and older reservoirs existed that far away from the established Miocene plays on the shelf. Since, the Mars discovery, many very large Miocene discoveries have been made in deepwater. The recent discoveries of even older, Lower Tertiary reservoirs in even deeper water was a huge surprise. These reservoirs were thought to have “petered out” even closer to shore than the Miocene reservoirs.
If we’re still finding “giant” fields in the Gulf of Mexico now, in plays that we couldn’t even imagine 30 years ago… What will we find in the 85% of the US Outer Continental Shelf that has never been explored? The handful of discoveries offshore California were made long before modern technology was available. The very few exploratory wells that were allowed in the 1970’s in the Atlantic’s Baltimore Canyon were drilled long before 3d seismic reflection data were available.
Technology also enables us to steadily improve the efficiency of oil recovery from reservoirs. The Bakken formation is thought to have over 40 billion barrels of oil in place. The trick is in recovery techniques. The USGS assumes that 10% is the maximum recovery factor. Twenty years ago, few people thought that Bakken recovery factors could exceed 1%.
Hubbert’s Peak Oil Theory is mathematically sound; however it is dependent upon the total recoverable resource potential. Hubbert’s “Peak Oil” prediction was based on the assumption that the total recoverable reserves in the US and our OCS (offshore) were only 150-200 billion barrels. The current DOE estimate is 400 billion barrels – And that estimate was before 2006 and the shale boom and it didn’t include unconventional resource potential (which dwarfs the conventional potential). Shale oil like the Bakken and Eagle Ford is not unconventional oil. It is plain old crude oil. The recovery is unconventional because it’s different than the prior norm; hence they are described as unconventional resources. Oil shale (Green River Formation) and tar sands (Athabasca oil sands) are unconventional oils because they are respectively bituminous kerogen and bitumen – essentially incompletely formed and degraded crude oil .
The Malthusian record of failed predictions is perfect. Every single Malthusian prediction in recorded history has turned out to be wrong…
Great moments in failed predictions
Posted on January 19, 2013 by Anthony Watts
While searching for something else, I came across this entertaining collection of grand predictive failures related to resources and climate change, along with some of the biggest predictive failures of Paul Ehrlich. I thought it worth sharing.
Exhaustion of Resources
“Indeed it is certain, it is clear to see, that the earth itself is currently more cultivated and developed than in earlier times. Now all places are accessible, all are documented, all are full of business. The most charming farms obliterate empty places, ploughed fields vanquish forests, herds drive out wild beasts, sandy places are planted with crops, stones are fixed, swamps drained, and there are such great cities where formerly hardly a hut… everywhere there is a dwelling, everywhere a multitude, everywhere a government, everywhere there is life. The greatest evidence of the large number of people: we are burdensome to the world, the resources are scarcely adequate to us; and our needs straiten us and complaints are everywhere while already nature does not sustain us.”
■In 1865, Stanley Jevons (one of the most recognized 19th century economists) predicted that England would run out of coal by 1900, and that England’s factories would grind to a standstill.
■In 1885, the US Geological Survey announced that there was “little or no chance” of oil being discovered in California.
■In 1891, it said the same thing about Kansas and Texas. (See Osterfeld, David. Prosperity Versus Planning : How Government Stifles Economic Growth. New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.)
■In 1939 the US Department of the Interior said that American oil supplies would last only another 13 years.
■1944 federal government review predicted that by now the US would have exhausted its reserves of 21 of 41 commodities it examined. Among them were tin, nickel, zinc, lead and manganese.
■In 1949 the Secretary of the Interior announced that the end of US oil was in sight.
UPDATE: reader Dennis Wingo writes in with this table:
Great article. I went into this myself in my book “Moonrush“, I took all of the predictions for the depletion of resources from the book and marked in red the deadlines that had already passed. All of the predictions failed.
Even bigger than the Bakken? There are a few Saudis who are rethinking their economic modeling. Invite the US into OPEC and restart the cartel?
No point in US joining OPEC.
Production in Cowboyistan can’t be controlled like production in other countries can. Ownership is too fractured.
Harold Hamm (likely our next Secretary of Energy) coined the term and explained the problem last year:
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
First chuckle of the day – actually a good full throated belly laugh (-:
Tom H. and vboring:
Regarding OPEC: my guess is that by the time the West TX Permian and other USA/North/South American fraccing play reserves are consumed there will be REALISTIC cost-effective competition from other energy sources … and that OPEC shares this view … as they realize their descendence toward semi-relevancy.
Note: i spent over a decade working in East and West Siberia during which time I read more than a few articles which were/are of the opinion that West Siberia non-conventionals contain about 60 times the volume of OIL resources as encountered in the Bakken. [Note: there is a different game entirely regarding migrating these resources to the reserves categories.] Of course, nobody knows the real number … but my bet is that they are not far off.
Yep, OPEC is worried … and I and many others are convinced that this is what is motivating their otherwise recent confounding actions. Certainly, OPEC is not dead, but, it is in no position to call the shots.
Note: beware of the Russian potential; not only with respect to production but, perhaps even more importantly, with respect to geopolitics … especially regarding their coziness with Iran [which may be the real wildcard, because of their primary motivations are cultish and not understood fully by the West].
My thought as far as OPEC was more in the direction of the Saudis trying to get “administered” oil prices again, something they might have obtained from Hillary Clinton.
If something really bad happens in the Mid-East/Persian Gulf to shut down China’s access to that oil, I would expect it to look hungrily toward Siberia.
From everything I have read, China is not only looking towards Siberia, but doing something about it as well.
Next big resource is via solvent extraction from tar sands and high volatile coals/peat One of the world’s largest coal resources in SE Australia has 395 billion tons on land and a further 1,200 Bt under Bass Strait. Net possible volatile (anes and enes) recovery is 20% by weight. Assuming an actually recovery of 60% this equates to 190 Btons of hydrocarbons or 1,400 Billion US barrels or about US$60T at current prices.
There is a larger resource in Germany/Poland.
So no, we are nowhere near Peak Oil and yes this is environmentally friendly as solvents are benign or fully recoverable and can be employed at a lower price as compared to current extraction techniques.
Generally, solvent techniques are not owned by oil companies. Hence the resistance to taking them up by BIG oil (national oil companies, Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron etc). The other major hurdle is BIG oils’s reserve valuations on their balance sheets. There is resistance to downgrading balance sheets to current prices. It affects debt prices dramatically. It makes bankers nervous. So at present, huge low cost reserves do not exist on paper. This will change with just one major putting it on their balance sheet.
It was noted in the article that it was a make-believe Republic, so using that train of thought the Republic of Cowboyistan conjures up an image of Unicorns prancing about the prairie, pissing oil and farting NG. Their natural defense when an Eco loon enters the Republic is to chase them out while poking them in the keister with that pointy thing on their head.
Now THAT’S what I call a hockey stick
I believe the Bakken might have 9 billion recoverable. The post appears to be very optimistic to me (I’ve been in the oil industry for 41 years). I arrived at the conclusion that we were in trouble as an industry around 1990, and I haven’t seen anything since then to change my mind.
I believe oil production will peak because we, as an industry, need more $$$ to extract oil as we move down the pecking order into lousier rocks and harsher environments. One reads a lot about “new technology”, but most of it depends on higher prices because it costs a lot.
This means that today we, as a worldwide industry, can’t make a living if the price drops below say $60 per barrel. Today we have fewer rigs, fewer people, and make a living cannibalizing equipment bought when prices went over $80. Cannibilizing equipment and squeezing contractors, taking on debt and cherry picking drilling spots only takes the industry so far. So I’m pretty sure prices will go above $60. And then they’ll have to go above $80, and $100, and so on. And eventually we will charge so much we won’t be able to compete with something else (I think that may be light weight plug in hybrids that get 60 plus miles per gallon).
Once our prices get high enough, and efficiency/competition reduce demand, if demand reduction isn’t offset by gains in poor countries, we will reach “peak oil”. But poor countries may simply not encourage more vehicles and choose to encourage mass transit.
The process is very hard to model, but it sure looks like peak oil would take place sometime between 2020 and 2040. Peak natural gas should take longer, and peak coal even more. But eventually we simply don’t have the raw resource base to compete with emerging technologies. And if those technologies don’t emerge we are toast. Population will drop and several hundred million will survive squeezing a living. But I’m pretty confident we won’t go extinct or turn into cave people.
By the way, the first time I sat in a discussion about the Permian basin I heard older engineers discuss CO2 flooding and how to fracture the Wolcamp and Spraberry. That was over 30 years ago.
Fracking isn’t new. The ability to precisely steer horizontal wells is the technological advance that opened up the shale plays.
Peak oil will occur when we have consumed half the recoverable resource. So long as the size of the recoverable resource keeps growing, the further out into the future it will push peak oil.
Hubbert’s equation is fine. The recoverable resource was simply about three times as large as he thought it was.
David and fernandoleanme: Thanks for taking the time to write this post and informed rebuttal. What did you think about “Peak Oil” when the concept became popular (in the late 1990’s?) It seems to me that Peak Oil gradually nears when prices have fallen for some time (as they did the early 1990’s) and gradually retreats into the distance after prices have risen (as they did around 2000). Given the relatively inflexible demand for gasoline, oil prices are fairly volatile, making Peak Oil a volatile concept. However, it takes a long time for changing prices influence public/government perceptions about the size of current reserves
As I understand it, converting coal to petroleum products becomes economically viable if petroleum remains above $100/barrel indefinitely.
“Peak Oil,” as in Hubbert’s equation is a very real thing. Peak consumption of a resource generally occurs around the time that half of that resource has been recovered, When someone can determine how much recoverable crude oil has been produced, exists as proved reserves and remains to be discovered, the Peak Oil calculation is relatively simple.
“Peak Oil,” as in the Olduvai theory has always been nonsense.
The Hubbert Equation is in the same class as the Drake Equation. Utter nonsense, as nobody knows what values the variables are.
Dave – Dead on. “Peak Oil”, coupled with the media-manufactured ME “shortages”, was the marketing ploy that allowed the players to walk the pump prices up with minimum squawk . They’ve been siphoning the Permian now what . . . a century or so? And Wallah! Never was an oil “shortage”. And they have stuff in Alaska they’re sitting on. Thoughts on A-biotic oil?
Frank, I’m not much into Hubbert and his peak oil theory. I come at this from the oil company end. Many years ago I looked at industry wide exploration results, and came to the conclusion we weren’t going to find enough to replace production unless prices rose. And prices did rise, which made exploration for plays like the Kara Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico deep water Eocene a “semiviable” venture. It also allowed more risk taking with extra heavy oil, and of course the “shales” (which is better called light oil in very tight rocks).
Horizontal wells help developing the tight rock, and some of the heavy oils, but the Permian Wolfcamp abd Spraberry are drilled with vertical wells. The “new technology” is more associated with the completion tools and the frac jobs. I’ve been around long enough that I see the new tool kit like a Boeing 787 compared to the 707. I have to look at the full package, and horizontal wells wouldn’t work unless the frac jobs can take place and at a cost that allows the well to produce enough to make a profit.
So what’s happening is enable by “little details” like coil tubing units, packers, plugs, sleeves, and other stuff that works like a charm compared to the brittle and clunky ones we had 30 years ago. And all of these enablers cost a lot more. Shale plays, extra heavy oil, deep water oil, Kashagan (a very difficult field in the Caspian) or Arctic oil just won’t fly at the average price we have had this year. Some of it can be cherry picked, but those huge figures we see don’t materialize unless prices rise.
One issue I bring up is that RCP8.5, the “business as usual” case used in the bulk of the climate model “disaster” scenarios, is a bunch of baloney. It has oil peaking at over 160 million barrels of oil per day. That’s sheer nonsense. If they use a more reasonable case, say an average of RCP6 and RCP4.5, the “damage from climate change” turns out to be negligible, because according to them the temperature increase is mostly locked in (they say the planet already has about 1 degree C temperature increase).
When I use a temperature sensitivity estimated by Curry et al and the emissions and carbon cycle model are used to estimate concentrations using a more reasonable fossil fuel reserve case, the temperature increase above what’s locked in is negligible. And this means the económics case for all the “emergency measures” are mostly worthless EVEN IF WE BELIEVE the models.
This is one issue most of you (to be honest) blow big time. They’ve shoved that RCP8.5 down the world’s throat and you never realize the scheme they use is bogus.
I agree with your date range. My target date is 2024 and the cause is economic, not geology.
I agree with your date estimates.
“Peak oil will occur when we have consumed half the recoverable resource.”
Not quite David
It’s when production begins to fall. That does not mean half way through the resource. If, as you would expect, we’ve extracted the easiest, cheapest and highest quality resource first, then production may begin to fall before we get to remaining half. Some proportion will be too expensive or energy costly to extract and will remain in the ground
“I arrived at the conclusion that we were in trouble as an industry around 1990, and I haven’t seen anything since then to change my mind.”
fernandoleanme, I’m curious. Are you saying you thought the oil industry was already in trouble in 1990? Has the intervening 26 years really done nothing to make you change your mind, even as far as the timing is concerned?
It seems to me that whenever the oil industry is in trouble, it will produce less oil. Less oil will cause prices to go up, which will help get them out of trouble, at least until production exceeds demand. Then prices will drop and put pressure on the oil industry again. It will always be a balancing act.
fernandoleanme: I’ve heard RCP8.5 described as an economic golden age fueled by coal, not petroleum or natural gas. If I understand correctly, coal can be converted petroleum products by Fisher-Tropch(?) process for the equivalent of $100/barrel. Doesn’t this make the RCP8.5 scenario at least possible?
I think is ridiculous to say that renewable energy is a viable option today AND that RCP8.5 is a plausible scenario for the future If renewable energy is viable today and there is any technological progress, RCP8.5 is unreasonable. If renewable energy is not a viable option today (say because the intermittency/storage problem is never solved) and new technological doesn’t emerge, then RCP8.5 becomes more plausible. Unfortunately, when the phrase “business-as-usual” is used, it assumes no technological progress – which is not business as usual.
As for “committed” warming, I ignore the models and rely on ARGO. With 0.5 W/m2 flowing into the deep ocean – the imbalance remaining from about 2-2.5 W/m2 of current forcing – I estimate that we current warming is 75-80% of the way to equilibrium warming for today’s forcing. Now, some people may say we are committed to a reduction in aerosols, or a saturation of sinks, or an increase in CO2 emissions. Or they are relying on models that are inconsistent with a current imbalance of 0.5 W/m2
Apart from OPEC, there are no “manufactured shortages,” no one is “sitting on” oil in Alaska or anywhere else in the US and the Wolfcamp isn’t new oil that was being hidden from the public. Much of the US resource potential, particularly Alaska, is off limits due to the Federal government’s malfeasance.
The Wolfcamp is a very active and mature play in a very active mature basin. The USGS assessment is largely based on the production results, which led to the conclusion that the Wolf camp contains far more recoverable oil than previously thought.
Read Hubbert’s 1956 paper. Hubbert’s peak oil prediction was based on the assumption that the total US recoverable resource was 150-200 billion barrels. Peak oil production was predicted to occur when half of that resource had been revovered.
Hubbert’s prediction failed because the total recoverable resource was much larger than his estimate…
Or this primer from the University of Chicago…
Louis: I was working with a group studying how to direct our investment. In 1990 we could keep relying on exploration, hoard cash and purchase weaker companies, risk investing in the former Soviet Union, shift to more gas and rely on LNG to market volumes, stockpile heavy oil molecules in Canada, gamble big time on deep water, or buy up garbage acreage with low quality rocks and wait for prices and technology to evolve.
What we knew was that cheap conventional oil was running out, most of it was in OPEC nations and even they had a limit (for example, we had a very good idea about the Arabian peninsula, Iraq, Iran and North Africa potential).
I, as a member of that particular group, suggested we shift to gas, stockpile heavy oil, buy some medium sized companies, and cut exploration to the bone. I didn’t think the tight oil would be such a good idea, but tight gas with some condensate was an excellent target. As it turned out tight oil works if the oil is very light and the rocks are overpressured (I blew that one).
Frank, converting coal to syncrude is feasible. But RCP8.5 carries separate oil and coal streams. Thus that model doesn’t care if the coal (which it assumes is consumed in prodigious quantities) is burned or converted to oil and burned. Their oil curve is for oil. And nobody in their right mind thinks we can produce upwards of 160 million barrels per day in the 2060’s.
Consider this: that 20 billion barrels is unlikely to peak above 3 million barrels of oil per day, and by 2030 it would be on an irreversible decline.
Fernando: If oil production in RCP8.5 is unrealistically high, then more coal than expected will be converted to petroleum products. Propelling cars with fuel made from coal releases more CO2 than using fuel made from petroleum. So the question is whether CO2 levels in RCP8.5 are unrealistic, not whether a particular mix of fuels will be used.
Historically, a significant growth in GDP has required a significant increase in energy consumption. If there is an economic golden age in the third world and little technological improvement, is RCP8.5 possible even if petroleum is limited?
Yes, this “News” was an article in “Oil & Gas Journal” over 3 years ago.
Detailed article about those that really discovered the potential using URT (Unconventional Resources Technology)
As David Middleton points out – there are amazing resources of Petroleum Energy yet to be “discovered” and made available to Make the World Great!
Environ-mental-ists just need to find a dark corner and cry, cry, cry…
Just stay the hell out of the way!
Peak oil? Ejoy this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cUg3lDgJ20
Bingo OB. I was afraid my lying eyes had deceived me again as I sat in gas lines during the 80’s due to a manufactured gas shortage after the “. . . Saudi’s turned their oil faucet off.”
They wouldnt have released this announcement had Hillary won, they would have announced half or less of the actual finding. Because Hillary would have interfering straight away, carbon tax, oil tax, selling 20% of it off to Qatar, allowing all her friends to get piece of the action and govt too.
So the timing of the release makes sense ie dont release before an election like this.
The big problem with predictions of depletion for metals, is that we don’t use up metals, we just throw them away. Should prices ever rise high enough, some enterprising young businessman will buy up old land fills and start to mine them for all the resources contained in them.
Land fills are just anthropogenic mineral deposits… 😉
The USGS estimates that the current proved reserves of these five metals (chromium, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten) are sufficient to meet demand for the next 20 to 59 years. For “fun” I estimated the crustal mass of all five metals and estimated how long it would take to literally run out at the current production rate…
My only quibble is that total crustal mass includes lots of deposits that are so diffuse that I don’t know if prices will ever rise high enough to make them economical. (Some form of substitute will be found long before prices rise to that kind of level.)
Regardless, eventually it will become cheaper to start mining landfills than it will be to chase these ever more diffuse deposits.
Needless to say, I don’t expect this to happen in my lifespan.
PS: If even one of the metals, etc. that are currently being stored in landfills ever does reach the point where mining landfills for them becomes economic, than the other materials would probably be recovered as well as a side product.
So essentially these resources are infinite. The only real limits are of our imagination and being humans we will never run out of that either. We are awesome!
It should be noted that current landfills are rather unique. So much concern was placed upon NOT allowing these aggregations to contaminate the local water tables that they are essentially sealed off. In the absence of moisture there has been very decay of even organic matter. Excavations have brought up years-old food stuffs (hot dogs) that look like they were discarded yesterday. I suspect that the future miners will mostly find a huge supply of paper products from packaging and junk mail.
For an entertaining and informative romp through the contents of our garbage dumps I recommend the book Rubbish by Rathje and Murphy. They are two archeologists from the University of Arizona who, over beers in the UA faculty club one day wondered just what we are throwing away. They and some students dug through several U.S. garbage dumps using normal archeological tools for sorting and cataloguing their finds. It destroys many of the green’s arguments on this subject.
Cool. If true we have paper resources for centuries to come, but doesn’t that also mean that all the other stuff in there is more easily mined too? As soon as all the over regulation is removed I think technology, or better said, entrepreneurs will find a way to recover all sorts of things at a profit. It’s what we Americans do.
The only metals that humanity loses are those that make up spacecraft that exit the solar system. This deficit is made up many times over by incoming meteorites.
Almost true. As ALL of the satellites placed into orbit will eventually return to mother earth, we won’t be recovering any of the materials sent off to the other planets. It should also be noted that most of the meteors/bolides/meteorites are not metallic but stony. I am unsure as to the amount of metals brought by meteorites raining down on earth versus the mass of metals and other materials being exported, but I believe it to be far less than we send up each year. And, each year we are sending up less and less metal as it becomes replaced with better strength/weight materials.
Even stony meteorites contain some iron and nickel, with the exception of very few, ie the achondrites, with little or no metals.
Estimates vary of how much cosmic dust and meteorites enter Earth’s atmosphere each day, but range anywhere from 5 to 300 metric tons, with estimates made from satellite data and extrapolations of meteorite falls.
To the extent that metals corrode, and the brittle corrosion products are dispersed into the environment at a concentration that makes them unrecoverable economically, there is a slow loss. Some high value metals like gold have very high recycle rates, others like steel, much less so.
Well, I don’t have access to a lot of data to add to these excellent posts on the future prospects of landfill mining, but I do have a personal observation that you might find interesting.
About 8 years ago (give or take a few) when the price of scrap metal got pretty high, some company with mobile car crusher/shredders went through Northern Indiana and cleared out all the old junkyards. Used to be every county had at least one, and usually several. Several acres of junk cars, along with a few piles of broken appliances, torn off tin roofing, and other scrap. All of it got shredded and loaded into hopper trailers and trucked off (to China according to local rumor).
Nowadays there are a few auto junkyards still around, but they usually only hold cars that are up to 25 years old, and only those that can be parted out for someone looking for a few used parts. Most of the scrap gets hauled across the scales at a recycling Plant like OmniSource. In fact, now every county has a metal recycling center, and usually several. ^¿^
We probably will one day mine the old town dumps and landfills, but they might not be as full of treasure as you’d think. Most of it isn’t making it there anymore.
Peak anything also depends on new technologies not expanding the existing reserves. One can never know what will happen in the future with technology and discovery. So peaks will exist for some things but it will be rare for us to know when it will peak or if it will be a permanent peak. Sperm whale oil could be something that has peaked but if it comes into demand and someone comes up with a biological (or other) way to make it outside the sperm whale, it will “unpeak”.
Other things may never peak as new supplies are continuously discovered and new technologies develop. More likely is what happened with whale oil for most uses: something better like petroleum will come along and fewer people will care about the former resource. As things approach peak, whether temporary or not (no one knows at the time if it is temporary), supply and demand may cause prices to rise, which can either drive new technology for that same resource or drive development of alternate replacement resources. Just thinking out loud here.
MarkW, you should see our landfill today as compared to 35 years ago. A tremendous amount of garbage is being separated and recycled. They are siphoning off methane gas and use to produce the electricity to run the operation and even feed excess into the grid. They chomp up yard waste and are turning it into compost and re selling it to the public. Are they getting all of it? Not yet but I believe eventually we will do better. I am not a warmist but even so we do need to take care of the place as best as we can ( One of my uncles in the 50’s actually became a multimillionaire being in the recycling business , it is nothing new)
Biggest problem is….people really have no concept of how big this planet really is…
…and how little of it we really know
…dang just realized I could have gotten one more really in there
You really should have tried.
You really should have really, really tried.
To paraphrase Billy Bob Thornton in Armageddon…
That begs the question where exactly the anus is located?
That’s easy. It’s a big-ass Earth and there are many anuses. Pick any big city or lawyer convention.
To Mr. Palmer. That reminds me of something I heard many years ago: “If you wanted to give the world an enema, you would stick the hose in (name of crummy blighted urban area).”
You can start by erasing all the oceanic plates from your oil prospecting map. Then take all regions where volcanics, granite and metamorphic rocks are at the surface or within 100 meters of the surface and erase that as well. Erase Antarctica. Erase every rock layer hotter than 250 degrees C. Erase everything deeper than 10 thousand meters below the surface. What’s leftover is where we can have a remote chance to produce oil. If there’s no source rock you can erase it as well. If it’s dilled up like say the Gulf of Mexico shelf or the large Saudi fields there’s very low chance of finding anything meaningful beyond what we already know about. There just isn’t that much we don’t know about that will make a difference.
Why erase Antarctica, except for political reasons? IIRC, there was some chatter about huge coal deposits being found there. Where there is coal, isn’t there frequently oil?
I think Antarctica was excluded for practical reasons — there may be oil, but it is too hard to get at.
The shelf’s “not dead yet.” I’m just one geo, working EC South Addition and a few other areas and I find at least a couple of million barrel plus prospects every March lease sale. I’ve discovered about 15 millions barrels in EC South Addition over the past ten years, mostly from one field that I’ve worked for four different companies since 1988. This was largely the result of reprocessing 1990’s vintage 3d data several times as computer technology advanced. I like to think that I am exceptional; but i’m probably only a bit better than average and there are a lot of other people doing what I do.
David, that oil you find doesn’t help worldwide oil production go above 100 million BArrels of crude oil and condensate PER DAY. (I don’t count NGL and biofuels). I have seen plans for mega developments in Venezuela, Russia, Kazakstan and Iran/Iraq. And even those cant help us from reaching a C&C peak by 2040. Why do you think all agencies and oil companies stop their forecasts by 2040? They don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.
When do you think that the abiotic theory of “fossil” fuel origin will become the new discovery. Tom Gold needs a disciple to carry forth his work.There is just too much oil under the earth’s surface.
Never. While it’s not impossible, there is absolutely no evidence to support it.
Just what evidence is there to support the biotic theory? This can be traced back to an idea originally put forward in the Eighteenth Century and not seriously reconsidered since.
The Russians are very supportive of the abiotic theory, and they are no slouches at petroleum geology.
Ah yes, the Russian claim. Funny, I’ve been to many international conferences, and still can’t find those Russians who are looking for abiotic oil. I worked on one of the largest fields on earth which produces from basement granite, Bach Ho in Viet Nam. The geologists from Viet Nam and their Russian partner, VietSovPetro were all of the opinion that the oil was produced in the Eocene organic shales which lap up onto the fractured granitic reservoir rock. I have a very nice Russian seismic line demonstrating that quite clearly.
It’s possible that oil forms in the mantle all the time. However, without viable migration pathways, it rapidly cooks off. It’s also possible that oil’s biogeochemical markers were leached out of organic rich shales rather than being formational components. There just isn’t any evidence to support either of these scenarios.
Biogenic vs abiogenic is really a poor way to characterize the issue. It implies that the formation of crude oil is either a biological or non-biological process. The process is thermogenic. The original source material is considered to be of organic origin because all of the evidence supports this. Every phase of the process can be observed in nature it has been repeated under laboratory conditions.
Ultimately, the entire debate is academic. “Oil is where you find it.” However it originally formed, it has to be found in economic accumulations.
Organic markers in the oil match the kerogen in the Oligocene shale. For the “abiotic theory” to work, the oil would have had to migrate out of the granite, leach the organic material from the shale and then migrate back into the granite.
Roger: What evidence is there to support the biotic theory?
For one thing, ALL deposits found to date are located where the biotic theory says the should be located.
Every attempt to find oil in other places has ended in failure.
Here’s an interesting item I posted on sci.space.policy, way back when, from Space Studies Institute”s “Update,Jan/Feb 1995, p. 3:
Organic Element Composition of Celestial and Terrestrial Sources(from J. Lewis, “Resources of Near-Earth Space,” p 552) The composition of (astroidal) meteorites is remarkably similar to fossil fuel sources on Earth. The resources available to humanity in non-planetary space are enormous compared to our knowledge base at the beginning of the space age.
COMPOSITION BY WEIGHT (Percent)
C1 Meteorite: carbon: 74; hydrogen: 5; oxygen:10; nitrogen:2;
C2 Meteorite: carbon: 78; hydrogen: 3; oxygen:13; nitrogen: 2;
Oil Shale, KY: carbon: 82; hydrogen: 7; oxygen: 6; nitrogen: 2;
Bituminous,PA: carbon: 82; hydrogen: 6; oxygen: 9; nitrogen: 2;
Anthracite: carbon: 89; hydrogen: 4; oxygen: 5; nitrogen: 1;
Petroleum: carbon: 85; hydrogen:11; oxygen:1; nitrogen:1;
“For the “abiotic theory” to work, the oil would have had to migrate out of the granite, leach the organic material from the shale and then migrate back into the granite.”
My understanding is the abiotic theory proposes mineral methane as the source and its conversion “biotically” to kerogens. While this is no holy grail, there is the problem of explaining why there appear to be orders of magnitude too much methane to have been produced by the living biomass thought to have ever existed.
Inorganically sourced methane is massively abundant. I’ve stated this several times.
Methane is not oil. It’s not even remotely close to being oil.
Regarding the fractured granite reservoirs. The oil has organic markers which match the kerogen in the adjacent shale formations. This means that the oil could not have formed in the granite.
Methane is not oil. It’s not even remotely close to being oil.
Crude oil is mostly made of Alkanes: C(n)H(2n+2)
CH4 (methane) is an Alkane, where n=1
Methane, ethane and other alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes and alkadienes are simple hydrocarbons.
Oil is a mixture of complex hydrocarbons:
Actually there is
Russia, who developed the theory and who Tom Gold (astronomer) plagiarized as his own in 1979 (he spoke and read Russian.) has 4,000 published scientific monographs describing how it works . . . all currently untranslated into English. Through lack of interest by western science who view it with the same disdain with which they greeted–and vilified–Wegener’s ideas on Continental Drift throughout the 20s/30s/40s/50s. That is, until a couple of adventurous Canadian geologists used Wegener’s ideas in the 60s to prove teutonic plates existed.
Evidence of the existence of abiotic oil is the massive Dneiper-Donatz Basin field in Eastern Ukraine, which was brought in using abiotic theory. Eastern Ukraine being the present site of geopolitical trouble, and where Joe Biden’s son is waiting to take the fields over.
This website contains some of the archival material about it; that is, what’s available in English.
Dr. J F Kenney, the only American scientist working with them, published a paper about it with his Russian colleagues here:
FYI: Alkane Genesis— The Evolution of Multicomponent Systems at High Pressures: VI.
The Thermodynamic Stability of the Hydrogen-Carbon System:
The Genesis of Hydrocarbons and the Origin of Petroleum.
Evidence of abiogenic crude oil would consist of an actual example of a significant volume of abiogenic crude oil. The possibility of something is not evidence of it.
You said, “It’s possible that oil forms in the mantle all the time. However, without viable migration pathways, it rapidly cooks off. ” What would be the nature of what cooks off — diamonds or methane?
I never understood the hydrocarbons from dinosaurs, hence the term fossil fuels. We are finding hydrocarbons everywhere we look for it in our galaxy. Regardless of what is an accepted proven theory, which is more plausible? That the subduction of rock, seawater and organic material into the mantle where under high pressure and temperature, hydrocarbons are formed. They rise to the surface and are sometimes blocked by impermeable rock and form underground reservoirs. Or at one time, dinosaurs ruled the galaxy.
There is no oil from dinosaurs. In the VietNam example nicely illustrated by Dave, it is from a laccustrine algae known as botryococcus. Algae, plankton, higher plants are the source, not the dinos..
The dinosaur nonsense is just one more example of abiotic oil affcianados being totally ignorant of the actual conventional theory of hydrocarbon formation.
Is the process of hydrocarbon formation the same from one planet to the next?
The dry gas doesn’t cook off. However, pressure and temperature eventually make the rock unproducible.
Jack Kenney of Gas Resources Corporation, collaborating with Ukrainian and Russian colleagues, has carried on Gold’s work. IMO there might be some abiotic petroleum or oil produced from deep microbes, but most if not all of it found to date is of biological origin. Gas is produced both biotically and abiotically, but IMO coal is of organic origin.
Gold stole the Russian’s work. It was Cold War time when he did it (1979, I think). No one thought to verify with the Russians.
Dr. J F Kenney describes it here:
Replying to Dan Kurt.
Gold made original contributions.
Nonsense on two levels.
1) We don’t bring oil fields on using any theories about hydrocarbon formation. The theory was deveoped from the observations of hydrocarbon accumulations.
2) Dneiper-Donetsk Basin has clearly identifiable sedimentary source rocks…
Gold is a charlatan and the abiotic oil idea is worthless.
Yep and mostly true.
The East Ukraine Dneiper-Donetsk Basin oil is proof of bringing in a field using the Russian/Ukraine abiotic theory.
Nonsense on two levels.
1) We don’t bring oil fields on using any theories about hydrocarbon formation. The theory was deveoped from the observations of hydrocarbon accumulations.
2) Dneiper-Donetsk Basin has clearly identifiable sedimentary source rocks…
There are big fights currently between the oil companies in a quest to get royalty agreements with landowners within the Wolfcamp formation. For the US, this is a huge deal. The oil is in an area that can be easily exploited and a lot of the infrastructure is in place to deliver it. And it is in a oil friendly state.
Saudi Arabia and Russia are in big trouble with this one. With oil supply probably just now matching oil consumption across the world and oil pricing at levels that can’t support further development of a lot of oil fields, they are counting on reduced overall production in the future to bring the price of oil up. This will just prolong soft oil prices. Both these countries main source of revenue is oil, and with Trump changing our energy policy to favor domestic production, I think what gives will be SA and Russia.
There is so much oil, that oil tankers are simply drifting about the oceans waiting for a buyer; consequently, the price will remain low. Once the EPA is off the backs of American fossil fuel energy producers, the price might be cheaper than a gallon of sea water.
Saudia Arabia and Russia are not the only OPEC members who need the benchmark price of crude to be to be significantly above $50 per barrel to balance their budget. These data showing the price of oil needed to balance the budgets of OPEC members are from a table that is about 1/2 way down in the article at cnbc.com/2015/12/03/oil-prices-and-budgetsthe-opec-countries-most-at-risk.html
Saudi Arabia $105.60
How sad for them! Not!
Ecuador is around $50 if the government delivers a better business environment. But the only big one we know about is ITT and that’s in a very delicate jungle. Venezuela is lower than $117 for the top rated sectors like say Carabobo 1 – if the government changes. I’ve seen these charts for where the prospects for a whole country are given a single value, but each country has dozens of tiers.
I’m extremely familiar with Venezuela, and there are some spots where, if the tax regime changes to a production sharing agreement and the government isn’t run by a nutty dictator, we can turn a decent profit at $50. The problem I see is that Maduro is incredibly stupid and a very repressive ruler, mentored by Raúl Castro, and Obama (and a majority of the USA illuminati) think Raúl Castro is a nice old man and deserves USA help. Big mistake. Might as well write off Venezuela if Trump doesn’t deal with Raúl Castro to get Maduro out of the picture.
What “gives” is easiest to predict. The follow up “takes” is more interesting scenario … how does Russia react when it needs to quickly adjust its economic model, & which direction does SA go when the disposable income is cut by 80%.
“The Malthusian record of failed predictions is perfect. Every single Malthusian prediction in recorded history has turned out to be wrong…” Despite that, the world is full of true believers.
People believe what they want to believe.
Also, people tend to believe that whatever their environment is, must be universal.
Thus people who live in crowded cities find it easy to believe that the entire world is over crowded.
Mere data can’t over come the view out their window, despite the fact that the percentage of the world being viewed out their window is microscopically minuscule.
You are so right about this. Even my fairly conservative friends (ie those not normally inclined to catastrophic doomsdaying) living in big cities complain about overcrowding. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about it. Having just driven across the country, from northern Idaho to Virginia, I can tell you, we’re not overcrowded one teensie little bit!
The interior is not crowded because 91% of the people live in big cities, mostly along the coasts, It would be a much different story if everyone were distributed uniformly. Even so, except for public lands in the west, there are few places one can hunt or hike on without trespassing. Also, if people were to migrate out of the cities, there would less agricultural land to feed everyone if homes were built on flat land. Your urban friends are viewing the future out their windows.
but are we past peak stupid yet?
Clyde, nobody has suggested moving people out of cities.
The point was that people’s personal environments impact their view of the world as a whole.
That is absolutely correct Mark. Well said.
Eschatology reveals more about human foibles than it does about the future.
Doomsday predictions have two things in common: they have a track record of being perfectly wrong, and they have an ability to gather believers.
“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” – Niels Bohr
Five posts to the “abiotic” troll. Might be a new record. All these rather impermiable organic shales producing oil after fracking are actually proof of the biotic origins of the hydrocarbons we produce. The hydrocarbons did not frack their way into those shales, they were deposited with them.
I don’t know what “too much oil” would be, but geologic time is a powerful fact. Slow sedimentation coupled with a high level of biologic activity can result in a layer of rock with one heck of a lot of oil in it when you have millions of years to work with.
On the other hand if you fiddle like Gold you can get a gig in Sweden drilling shield and metamorphics. I could use an idea for a gig looking for oil in Truk lagoon. It’s wonderful diving.
I’d sit that well in a heartbeat… 😉
Hark, what’s that sound? It’s the sound of greenie heads exploding. It’s like a symphony.
It smells like victory.
Just imagine how green the world would be with all that plant food.
Now that we have hope the EPA will revisit their notion of “Carbon pollution”, will they also publically acknowledge that CO2 is the base of the food chain, and the singular point of failure in the Carbon cycle of life?
Extracting as much efficiency as possible from fossil fuels is a worthy goal, but what’s the reason for weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels if CO2 is considered necessary for life?
fossil fuel burning releases tons of water in addition to carbon dioxide, and water is a powerful GHG. So why do we not hear about “Hydrogen Pollution”?
What, you’ve never heard of the Petition to Ban Di-Hydrogen Monoxide? 🙂
No; it’s actually Hydrogen Hydroxide ! or may be it’s Hydroxyl acid.
What the hell do I know ?
We already seem to be heading towards an optimum concentration, say 500 ppm. That amount of co2 won’t get down below 300 ppm for a while. And we do need to save coal to help us deal with future ice ages.
How will coal save us from an ice age? Are we going to spread it on top of the ice?
By keeping us warm… 😉
Evidently we can burn coal to increase CO2 content. Other options would be to raise huge amounts of cattle so they can raise methane concentration in the atmosphere. But I’m hoping we can come up with better molecules in the future.
One of the United States’ greatest untapped resources is the highway system in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas and other lightly populated and lightly developed states. Driving through these places, one is impressed by the vast and beautiful wilderness that fills most of the nation. Alternatively one could take a window seat on a transcontinental flight and enjoy the view instead of watching a movie.
I don’t think the Grand Tetons are nearly as impressive from the 30,000′ as they are from US 89.
I read somewhere that the Rockies used to be almost 7 miles high.
You may really like this …
IMO the Rockies were never that tall, but right after the Laramide orogeny, they formed a high plateau, like Tibet, probably about 20,000 feet above sea level. During the past 60 million years, erosion has stripped away the highest elevated rocks, revealing the ancestral rocks beneath. Glaciers from Pleistocene glaciations have carved the current shape of the range.
Chimp, from what I remember, they have found rocks that need to be under about 20,000 feet of rock at the surface in the Rockies.
Another reason is that the alluvial plains for the Rockies spread all the way out to Nebreska. Which is why it is so flat. You need a dang big mountain to form an alluvial plain that big.
Except scenic expanses are being polluted with windmills on the horizons.
I think they look pretty cool in West Texas.
Well, windmills do have the advantage that they can be seen at greater distances than tumbleweeds!
Where I work north of Amarillo they can be seen over 25 miles away – northwest of Vega.
What’s even more interesting is that there are a lot of well-proved reserves that we previously tapped and abandoned, that are perfect candidates for re-drilling and extracting with new technologies.
I know for a fact that there are a lot of big oil reserves under east Texas that were never touched because they only used conventional drilling at the time. My father used to sell oil rig drill bits in that area, and he used to show me all of the deposits that everyone knew were there, but were “impossible” to extract because of the geology. He actually talked about horizontal drilling, which wasn’t popular at the time because it was harder to control.
There’s also a lot of old abandoned oil wells that would probably be good producers if you could just drop a fracking package down the hole to open things back up. Unfortunately, due to some silly regulations, it’s illegal to reopen old wells…
It’s not that simple and it’s not a regulatory issue. Most of the oil production from East Texas is from conventional carbonate and sandstone reservoirs. Fracking or re-fracking these wells wouldn’t increase recovery. The wells either watered-out or pressure-depleted. While enhanced recovery methods like water-flood and CO2 injection could recover more oil, they are not currently economic in most cases.
Some plays in East Texas were among the first horizontal drilling and fracking success stories. While Mitchell Energy’s success in the Barrett Shale in North Central Texas got all the headlines, they also had a lot of success in the Bossier Shale in East Texas. However, the Bossier and most East Texas shale plays are gas-prone.
You’re considering the “easy” fields that were actually exploited – and not the ones that were passed over because they were uneconomic to produce at the time. There’s a LOT of stuff in between that was effectively ignored because it was too much trouble with the tech they had. Hell, there’s probably still wide stretches of that area that haven’t been seriously explored since the “set off some dynamite and listen for echoes” days.
Don’t look at the main body of the Bossier Shale, look at all of the little stuff west of there, out to about Dallas. There’s a crapton of oil there that was never touched because it was too hard to extract at the time.
There were quite a few fields that were irregular enough in contour underground that normal drilling wouldn’t touch multiple reservoirs – you’d be surprised. My dad knew those fields like the back of his hand, and talked about that sort of thing all the time, to the point where I still remember it decades later.
Don’t forget that the vast majority of “old” wells that slowed down too much to be uneconomic were never touched by enhanced recovery techniques, including just not even replacing the original 1920s pumpjacks when they wore out.
At a steady $200 per barrel we can send geologists down with toothbrushes to wash oil off the rocks. But $200 is probably a post peak oil price.
A lot if not all old wells have had the straw in the ground filled with concrete. Be much easier to drill ten feet or less away to get to the same destination.
That’s not legal, unless they’ve changed the rules recently. Supposedly, once a well has been capped, you can’t open it back up. Tax laws, too (writing off as a loss because it no longer produced enough takes it out of consideration, I think).
An abandoned well can be reentered. I’ve done it. Regulations change from country to country, and state to state. The problem we face is the junk they leave in, or drop down the well when they think nobody is getting back in there. When I’ve looked at re-entry I’ve found the junk and cement make it too much of a gamble. But we can drill a new well nearby knowing exactly what we will find, so it can be easy. Or it can be much harder if the old well dropped pressures so low we have trouble getting through the low pressure zone. I wouldn’t put much into the volumes to be produced from old abandoned wells. It’s peanuts.
Cornucopians tend to forget the concentration of the ores and the extremes we have to go now to get what we need, As the low hanging fruit has been already collected we have to go higher and with a greater expense to pick what is left.
There was a time when all we had to do was to make a hole in the ground and oil would simply come out in great amounts due to its own pressure. Nowadays we have to break the rocks to get tiny streams of oil and a thousand wells are required for what was obtained from a single one. The cost and energy required to continue obtaining our resources is and will always be on the increase to a point when we won’t be able to afford it, whether there is more left or not.
When that happens we will enter a permanent state of semi-crisis and while the rich will still get everything, a growing number of people will get less and less and they will get so unsatisfied that they will start voting with their feet… Oh, wait. That is already happening.
If that was the case, this curve would be moving in the opposite direction…
Not necessarily. Things can become less affordable because they are more expensive or because people have less means:
US real household median income.
And a third way things become less affordable to a society is when the cost is bore by others, like the effect of oil being cheaper that what it costs to be produced has on oil companies. Even if you don’t notice, society becomes poorer.
The picture seems to refuse to load
You can thank government for the fact that median incomes have been static.
David, Javier strikes me as one of those people who are emotionally invested in the notion that we are running out of stuff and the world needs people like him to force the rest of us to come to our senses.
It’s a lot like how people cling to various conspiracy theories. It gives them a sense of importance when they realize that they are one of a small group of people who have figured out the conspiracy that has completely fooled the rest of the population. That’s why they won’t let go of their delusion, even when presented with conclusive proof. To abandon the theory means abandoning the one thing that gives their life meaning.
Society is not becoming poorer…?w=612
And the cost of natural resources as a % of GDP exhibits no upward trend…?w=612
The global per capita food supply has steadily increased since 1960…
Source: UN FAOSTAT
Per capita real GDP has risen at the same rate as the population…
Per capita food supply has also risen with the population…
And… Amazingly… Per capita food supply and per capita GDP are highly correlated…
The percentage of the world’s population suffering from undernourishment has steadily declined over the last 40 years, despite a rising population…
Very few nations have failed to reach the MDG 1 target of reducing the percentage of their population suffering from undernourishment by 50%…
The world isn’t running out of water either. The UN FAO Aquastat data base showed that in the year 2000, the world’s total renewable water resource was 53,730 x 10^9 m3/yr. The total withdrawal was estimated to be 2,871 x 10^9 m3/yr. That’s a 5% utilization rate.
I am not arguing about what you have shown. The point at this time is which society? Asia is consuming an increasing share of world’s oil at the expense mainly of OECD. At the same time there is a transfer of wealth from Occident to Orient. OECD societies are in strain since 2008 and not getting significantly better. If OECD societies are not getting poorer on average, they are getting poorer on median, as the divide between richer and poorer is increasing. Where are you living? Why do you think people in Britain are so afraid of immigration as to vote out of the EU, and the same in the USA. Southern Europe is becoming left populist while Northern Europe is becoming right populist. Surely that is because we are all getting oh so much better and richer. At the same time central banks all over the world are inundating the system with new minted money to keep it afloat. We live in extraordinary times and this is related to the end of new cheap oil that took place around 2004. The expensive oil that we frack is no good substitute, so technology does not solve depletion. The cost of producing oil has been on the increase since, and making it cheap to the consumer by putting the load on the oil companies and oil nations is only a temporary measure.
Bullshit. Next thing you will tell us is that you live inside my head and that is how you know what I think and feel.
If you don’t have anything to add just shut, and everybody else would be grateful.
The “strain since 2008” is due to a sharp recession and the weakest recovery since 1947. We can’t undo the former and we fixed the latter on November 8.
Well good luck with that fix. Japan has been trying to fix its situation since 1990. A person can improve things or make them worse, but cannot change what it is beyond his powers.
Javier, Bullshit back at ya.
Society isn’t getting poorer. Just because your professors have programmed you to believe something, doesn’t make it so.
Your rich getting richer whine is cute, but it just shows that the only thing that matters to you is that there are people who have more than you do, and that makes you feel awful.
As to the east getting richer. So what, more power to them.
They aren’t getting richer at our expense, that’s discredited Malthusian thinking.
Javier: Japan has been struggling for years, and this proves that the current US recession is permanent?
Sheesh, that’s got to take a record in terms of shallow thinking.
Japan is stagnating because it has adopted the same failed policies that the Democrats want to force on the country. Raise taxes so that the government can spend more.
Javier November 16, 2016 at 9:35 am
Pretty picture. but what does it have to do with the price of tea in china? Our financial melt down in2008 was not caused by the cost of oil.
The interesting thing about the costs of oil coal and natural gas is almost everyone is on a equal playing field if you must import. You pay market price. A government can subsidize it so some industries pay less for power and can thus under cut foreign competition, but in the end that society is still paying market valve, they’re just shifting fool in their society pays. Th U.S. may be able to produce fuel for market consumption that is below extra national prices. That means we might re open the alum smelters and subsidize their foreign exports, do to the Chinese what they did to us. Wreck their industry. If the Brits ditch the Paris agreement like us and fire up oil and coal power plants they may also be able to start producing their own metals.
Note that your down word line coincides with all the green initiatives? Destroy jobs the household income goes down. And boy but does that green revolution, kill jobs
oops make that “shifting who” not fool. Then again that was I thinking?
Adjusted for ‘inflation’ (actually devaluation of the dollar over 37 years) the chart would be flat.
So far, we are being rescued by technology. We are doing a lot more and using less material. Consider the amount of material needed to make an old fashioned rotary phone. Compare that with a cell phone. Technical sophistication results in more and more efficiency.
Sometimes the saving is dramatic.
Jevons paradox explains why any apparent saving is turned into increased consumption. We are not being saved by anything. We are just marching on towards depletion. You cannot fool physics and this is after all a finite planet.
Increased consumption means each of us has more.
Why do you consider having more to be such a bad thing.
The planet may be finite, but intelligence is infinite. Intelligence allows us to find ways to do the same with less, or to use something else for the same purpose.
As I wrote above, nothing is really thrown away, it just goes into storage till we need it again.
MARKW says: “Increased consumption means each of us has more.”
That is not true. If the population of the planet doubles, and total consumption increases by 10%, each of us has less.
Being in a party with free punch is great. But sooner or later the party is over.
You are getting this quote backwards. Einstein said:
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
Henry, true, but not responsive to the point that Javier made.
IE, cheaper prices results in people just consuming more.
Javier, why do you work so hard to defend the disproven belief that things are getting worse?
I wasn’t referencing the Einstein quote. My point about human intelligence constantly finding better ways to do old things still stands.
From your attempts to evade rather than deal with that fact, I can only conclude that you agree with me.
That’s an opinion based on shaky assumptions. A look at the evolution of capital expenditures by oil companies over the last 25 years indicates that we might already be in trouble.
The graph is of “Listed Oil Majors”… It’s just the publicly traded major integrated oil companies like Shell, ExxonMobil, etc. It excludes about 85% of oil producers.
you won’t think that oil is getting more expensive only for IOCs, do you? It is not only the majors that are getting in trouble. Venezuela, Nigeria and Libya are having very serious troubles, but even Saudi Arabia has started selling huge amounts of bonds. 17.5 billions just last month. This is all an indication of business as usual, right?
Javier, there you go with that one dimensional thinking again.
There are many, many reasons behind why oil companies decide to make capital investments.
Your belief that it MUST be because they know we are running out of oil is cute, but unsupported by anything in this world.
Javier: Sheesh, study a little for once. You have a habit of taking any fact that might support your position and then torture it until it does.
Venezuela is in trouble because their communist government is corrupt and incompetant.
Libya is having trouble because their society is falling apart.
Saudia Arabia is having troubles because current oil prices do not support their domestinc spending budget.
Javier is right, MarkW is wrong. We as an industry need more $ to get a given amount of oil extracted. I won’t get into the details, this is a climate blog. Anybody who thinks we don’t face a long term trend of increasing input costs just doesn’t understand the industry. However, they are in good company, the bean counters at Morgan Stanley had “predicted” $25 per barrel. And I remember when the turkeys at The Economist wrote in 1996 that we faced $6 oil forever.
I’m going to play Devil’ Advocate here. There is good reason to believe that human intelligence will always save us because we have such a good track record. However, that isn’t proof. It is at least a possibility that our vaunted intelligence will fail us at some point in the future, or even if we know how to solve a particularly difficult problem, we may fail because of time constraints. Therefore, I’d suggest a little humility and at least entertain the idea that we are fallible. We should be looking forward and try to anticipate problems before they become a serious threat. Many people discount Hubbert’s Peak Oil theory. However, I think it at least gives us a guide to know what path we have to follow in the future. If we act like Pollyannas, and only live for the moment with the expectation that we will always be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat when needed, we may be very sorely disappointed in the future.
Increasing Capex for oil production is no more indicative of running out of oil than increasing Capex for automobile production is indicative of running out of automobiles. I do wish that increasing Capex required to elect politicians would be indicative of running out of politicians.
Javier, this is why it is a worldwide imperative that ALL govts must transition, sooner rather than later, from centralized command-and-control mode — where totalitarian govts see themselves as paramount — to ones of individual freedom where the protection of those freedoms, fairly and equally for all citizens, is the top responsibility of that govt.
Alas, worldwide, so few people, relatively speaking, comprehend, appreciate and desire this govt construct; however, most govts, especially the dictatorships, want to keep it this way. [read: global warming scam … which is the hoax of the century … used as a tool to keep people “under control”.]
Such has been the history of mankind, and, such will lead to our destruction unless we, as a global society, whether as individual nations, begin to transition much more proactively toward the welcoming of the universal freedom of the individual.
[a] it has been the totalitarian state — put any label on it that you may want: socialist, marxist, communist, etc — which have, and continue to be, responsible for, by far, the most destructive environmental practices and results. there are so many examples of this … and one can begin in the Paleolithic [and probably before].
[b] it is the societies of free people — where their freedoms are protected by the govts, by LAW as constructed by the citizens — where such societies have flourished and environmental concerns have been largely addressed. [read: mostly western-type societies … although, of course, far from perfect.]
There is a simple and basic reason for this: totalitarian govts — through lies, deceptions, mandates, brute force, etc — are motivated by holding their positions of power by ANY means necessary; on the other hand, free people, who are able to pursue their dreams, are motivated primarily by building their families and their communities and, as a rule, do not “soil their own nests”. [Happy people tend not to f**k with others.]
Further, oppressed peoples, third world peoples and etc are more concerned about living day-to-day … where environmental concerns are not front-burner issues [if they are issues at all].
There are no guarantees regarding the future of humanity and nature in our forward path, but, I have yet to hear a “reasonable” argument as to why any such totalitarian govt will not result in the same outcome — where “we will enter a permanent state of semi-crisis and while the rich will still get everything” — should we continue down the totalitarian path to any degree whatsoever. [We are all familiar with the adage: the definition of insanity is repeating the same things … and you know the rest.]
In the meantime, I and many others, are of the belief that with FREE PEOPLE the world may not find perfection, but, more than likely we will find “excellence” and we will find the “right way” and we will survive, and, perhaps thrive. [Note: we are NOT seeking “perfection”.]
How do I know? Ask our grandparents, their grandparents … ad nauseum. I am sure that they faced challenges, if not similar than much more difficult than ours … and they did okay … as we are the living proof of their acceptance of those challenges and their persistence in life’s struggle.
[Note: we can solve the man-made environmental problems very simply: total human suicide. Any takers? Otherwise, we have challenges to meet and work to do, and then, yes, we will die and most likley our offspring will carry on.]
Johnny Cuyana, thank you so much for a clear and concise comment on the cruel failure of totalitarianism and the bright hope of freedom. Far too many people lack freedom, and the solution to their suffering is freedom. Proof: Totalitarianism (Kings, Communists, Socialists, leftists of all kinds, etc.; anyone willing to enslave you for their own benefit) always produce death, suffering of all kind, and a poor life or the majority of their people. On the other hand, freedom brings health, wealth, and happiness to more people than any other system.
Thanks again for your insightful comments that show your love for your fellow man.
the world may not find perfection
perfection is the enemy of good.
the cost of perfection is infinite. so for example, if the EPA was to require 0.00000% pollution from all human activity, all human activity would be illegal.
however, if you require 0.01% pollution of less, this can be achieved at reasonable cost and the health effects will be minimal. The problem comes about because there is a bureaucratic tendency to “improve” upon good. So what starts out as 0.01% get changed to 0.001%, then 0.0001%, and ultimately to 0.00000% and what started as a good idea ends up as a nightmare of runaway costs chasing unobtainable goals.
Eventually the sun is going to run out of hydrogen as well.
Just because something is going to happen doesn’t mean that it is going to happen any time soon.
Yes, but we have gone from 2 billion to 7.4 billion in just 85 years tremendously increasing our resources consumption. In the same time we went from finding the giant oil fields of Arabia to crack the rocks to obtain oil. Somehow I don’t think we have eons to continue this game.
Nobody said we can continue this for eons. We have enough for 100 years or more. At the rate technology is advancing, I have no doubt that future technology will extend that time frame tremendously.
Beyond that, future technology that we can’t even imagine today may make oil obsolete long before it runs out.
This is a problem for our great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren to worry about.
PS: EVen the UN thinks the population is going to peak by 2050 at around 10 billion.
In reality the peak will be sooner and the max population lower.
Given current trends, the population should peak in the next 15 to 20 years with a max population between 8 and 8.5 billion.
Exactly so. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. 🙂
We are using a lot more stone per capita than during the stone age, and a lot more wood, and a lot more iron than during the iron age. So I guess that is not a good example.
We are using a lot less whale oil than one century and a half ago, and we almost exterminated whales. We would have exterminated them if we hadn’t stopped using it. And when the oil age ends, most of the oil will have been burnt, so our descendants will use a lot less oil per capita. There won’t be much oil but there will be plenty of stones. Perhaps a new stone age will be in order.
You are consuming too many bits – there is a finite supply of them you know. So to conserve bits, you should stop posting.
commieBob November 16, 2016 at 10:32 am
“Exactly so. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. :-)Exactly so. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. :-)”
I will agree it is a cute come back but a bit short sighted and may not be applicable in regards to oil. We have some wiggle room before a lack of new oil recourse starts taking effect but not forever. Next while we are all thrilled with the rate of tech advances, historically the human race has a habit of hitting a plateau and staying, stuck there from anywheres from a hundred to a thousand years.
Lets take our last great power, energy, do anything resource. The horse.
We relied on this sturdy beast for almost all of our power needs in one way or another. We refined and adapted our ways of employing good old “Mr Ed” over a span of six thousand years.
To replace the horse we needed several new techs developed at the same time. The ability to use AC and DC current reliably and the ability to forge steel and other alloys on a industrial scale.
The cascade of thinking and experimentation could have occurred at an time in the last five to six thousand years. There were individuals in the past who if they had made the mental connections could have then preformed the same early experiments that lead to the industrial revolution. The physical tools were there, and most of the great minds of the past used the scientific method though it wad not yet defined. Think Archimedes.
The human spark in the mind, took over five thousand years, we don’t know for sure if we are at a plateau as with the horse, just making refinements to existing technologies, or on the cusp of a new and radical leap in human knowledge and creativity.
Anyway we have enough alternative energy sources to keep us going, but we would have to do some adapting to how we do things, (Physically move people goods, methods and locations of production.) but not much in so far as what we do.
Consider the houses of our ancestors. A decent log house uses much more wood than a modern stick-built house. A decent stone house uses a whole pile of stone. How about an old iron cook stove, holy Moses they were heavy.
Have you ever had to split wood to heat a two hundred year old stone farmhouse?
Oh forgive spelling, the letters on my keyboard are gone on a lot of the keys the r t and i now all look the same and at a glance …
commieBob November 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm
Javier is totally one hundred and ten percent right. To paraphrase : What, DO YOU THINK WOOD GROWS ON TREES!
(someone had to say it)
Javier, as usual, your example does not support your point.
We stopped using whale oil because we found something better. Had we not found oil, the whales would be extinct by now.
Mike, the rate of advancement is increasing every year.
Yes, with we stayed with the horse for years, but during that time, we were improving.
Bareback to saddles. Horse collars, improved horse collars.
The wooden horse shoe, the metal horse shoe.
Eventually horse breeding to create a better horse.
5000 years ago, there may have been one or two people who qualified as “scientists” alive at any given time. So of course progress was slow.
As society got wealthier, we were able to free up more people to become scientists.
Something like 90% of all scientists who have ever lived, are living today, and that ratio is going to continue for the foreseeable future.
MarkW November 16, 2016 at 1:30 pm
“Something like 90% of all scientists who have ever lived, are living today,” Depends what you call scientists.
You can say the same thing about teachers politicians and priests.
And you’re pointing out all the refinements in regards to the horse is true, but you missed the point they kept making the refinements because it was all they had.
Yes we have a lot of what appears to be new stuff. But how much of it is just piling the same blocks just a different way.
The biggest deal breaker that I see is the 3D printer, can it become the anything box?
But we are going to have to find the next step in the use, creation and control of energy/power/force.
and I fear we are not even at the stage that we are imagining it. We are just making stirrups and horse collars. Yup we may be in one of those ruts. This is a concern some of those 90% of living scientists have pointed out.
But note, even if we are in one of those droughts we have centuries of playing with the adaption to existing knowledge, I just want to get there sooner.
Depends on how you look at it.
Each refinement improved the lot of the people who worked with horses.
Steam couldn’t develop until steel reached sufficient purity and strength as well as other developments. All of the necessary components were continually improving over time.
Even while people were still plowing with horses, first wind and then water powered mills were making products cheaper and better.
There was continuous improvement all during that time period. Then one day, there was enough accumulated improvement that people were able to use them to make a radically new invention. The steam engine. Then the steam engine began it’s slow process of improvement. Lighter, more powerful, etc.
If you want to fixate on one thing, IE the horse, yes we did use only the horse for a long time, but that is not evidence that society was stagnant, it was just that for a long time the horse was superior to all alternatives.
But there was continual improvement all the time, and as society became wealthier there was more money for people who did not have to spend all their waking hours worrying about where their next meal was coming from.
That’s the point about the scientists. Wealth makes science possible. More wealth will always equal more science. Some of it, like Women’s studies, will be wasted science.
To finish, your notion of plateauing is a result of fixating on a single thing and not noticing all of the improvements that are going on around it.
And as I pointed out, even though we were still using the horse, over time, we were able to get more work out of each horse.
Fixating on the horse, is like saying that since today’s vehicles and the Model T’s are both cars, that we have plateaued and there has been no improvement.
We don’t have enough for 100 years at say 100 million barrels of oil per day. And please don’t give me the baloney about ethane and propane being oil. I don’t want to have to give a basic course on oil molecules and refining.
Yes we do.
From the 2007 Simpsons movie :
“And if we kept our thermostats at 68 in winter…
We’d be free from our dependency on foreign oil in 17 years.”
Looks like it might happen even sooner.
Is this proper phrasing/attribution?
“The U.S. Geological Survey has MADE its largest DISCOVERY of recoverable crude ever under parts of West Texas, the federal agency announced Tuesday …”
Should this not be written, much more properly, thusly:
“The U.S. Geological Survey has RELEASED its ASSESSMENT of the largest PRIVATE INDUSTRY discovery of recoverable crude ever under parts of West Texas, the federal agency announced Tuesday …”
Q: Does the USGS — or any federal or state govt agency, for that matter — have any of its own wellbores, whether fully funded internally w/ taxpayer dollars or in partnership with industry players, by which it arrived at this “discovery”? Otherwise, for what reason does the USGS make this announcement of this “discovery” in this manner … with the clear implication that it is THEIR discovery?
I can think of a few reasons for which they did this … none of them flattering.
In defense of the USGS, it was the Texas Tribune who called it a discovery.
Koan Collier made the mis-atribution.
Er, Kiah. Damn auto-spell.
Abiotic oil? A for real paper, or BS?
Col. L. Fletcher Prouty on the Origin of “fossil” fuel.
The issue is academic. Inorganically-sourced methane is abundant. Heavier inorganically-sourced hydrocarbons have only been observed in trace quantities.
The chemistry is possible. There’s just not much evidence of inorganically formed complex hydrocarbons.
May I recommend Robert Zubrin’s book, Merchants of Despair?
Zubrin is a PhD nuclear engineer with 9 patents to his name, or pending.
Outlines the Malthusian/Darwinist roots of the anti-humanist “environmental” movement, & shows that our safe, clean & free nuclear powered future is being suppressed.
The issue is indeed academic.
For some other perspectives on this, I invite you to read The Petroelum Age has Just Begun, here: https://insuspectterrane.com/2016/05/25/the-petroleum-age-has-just-begun/
Great article Tom….
Thank you David for a most enlightening article: much appreciated.
“Past history shows us …”. The first word is NOT necessary.
Thanks and Regards,
Note to self: All history is past.
But don’t we speak of “recent history” and “ancient history?” Maybe “past” fits in between.
Not quite Clyde. All history is past. The only future history includes Isaac Asimov’s science fiction. recent history is newer than ancient history, but both are history.
There’s also future history.
Then I guess my joke is “history!”
“The U.S. Geological Survey has made its largest discovery of recoverable crude ever under parts of West Texas, the federal agency announced Tuesday.”
Er, no. The USGS did not discovery any oil. That was discovered by the industries’ hard working employees utilizing developing technology. The USGS people just counted the barrels.
Count the money
It’s all a question of cost of recovery. Oil at $200/barrel has no value to a society. Antarctica has a lot of coal, don’t hold your breath waiting for it to be mined….
The timing of course is interesting, it pretty much short stops any donkey baying, about us running out of oil, as an excuse to not stop funding “renewables” prior to Jan.20th.
Also the screeching, mouth foaming and teeth gashing with be so soothing and relaxing to watch.
Ah and some appropriate “mood music” as we con-soul with the anguish the poor CAGW mob must be sinking into at this very minute.
There is plenty oil, there’s no doubt about that, and plenty more to find. Which is why the left works so hard to stop it.
There isn’t that much oil. One issue that hasn’t been touched on is that “shales” produce at semi commercial volumes only if the oil is light, gassy, has very low viscosity, etc. This means we are producing a lot of very light oil which has more of the small molecules we use for chemicals, and aren’t nearly as good as say West Texas Intermediate.
I’m hardly a left winger, I’m more of a libertarian/Pat Buchanan type. And I just don’t see the rationale for that razzmatazz we get from neocons (I started voting GOP with Nixon, so I consider most of you youngsters who embraced the Bush-Fox News-Bill Kristol line neo-conservatives who have a long ways to go). The left, as far as I can see, peddles the idea that fossil fuel resources are nearly infinite. This they use to craft the idea that emissions will increase at a fast pace, which in turn gives him the ability to write thousands of crazy papers “showing” that global warming will bake the planet. It’s baloney, but some of you work very hard to fall in their trap. It would be funny if it wasn’t costing us so much.
again just a layman here and before i read any comments i want to point out reality, the earth makes oil 24/7……..oil does NOT come from fossils.
Earth makes oil 24/7… Correct.
Oil does not come from fossils… Sort of correct. Oil comes from organic material, mostly algae,which was quickly buried in mud at the bottom of oceans and lakes – So, it never had a chance to fossilize. Pressure, heat and time converted the organic material into kerogen, oil and natural gas…
As the biomass is buried more deeply in the sedimentary column, increasing pressure compacts it, increasing temperature cooks it and over time, the hydrocarbons slowly migrate toward the surface because they are less dense than connate/formation water. The kerogen first cooks to heavy oil, then light oil, then wet thermogenic gas, then thermogenic light gas, then cooks away…
Oil and gas simply can’t exist very long outside of their thermal maturity windows.
Crude oil cracks at temperatures above about 300°F. It can’t exist at depths anywhere close to the mantle. If oil was forming in the mantle, it would be flowing out of mid-ocean ridges (methane flowing out of mid-ocean ridges is not oil).
Walker Ridge 758 Chevron #1 is the deepest Gulf of Mexico active oil producer; drilled to a TVD of 28,497’ (8.7 km) in a water depth of 6,959’. It was completed in a Lower Tertiary Wilcox sandstone (26,831’ – 27,385’). The bottom hole temperature was 226°F. The oil migrated upward from deeper Mesozoic and Lower Tertiary source rocks. Even deeper oil reservoirs have been discovered in the oil window, many of these will be coming on production over the next few years.
There are no oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico with bottom hole temperatures outside of the oil window. The ultra-deepwater Lower Tertiary oil discoveries are well within the oil window. The shallow water Lower Tertiary gas discovery at Davy Jones is well out of the oil window, but in the gas window…
The depths on the chart are approximations based on a generalized geothermal gradient. The geothermal gradient is highly variable. Water and halite (salt) are less dense than most rocks. When the overburden consists of 8,000’ of seawater and 2,000’ of halite, 30,000’ of overburden weighs a lot less than it does when it’s all composed of more dense rocks.
The ultra-deepwater Lower Tertiary play in the Gulf of Mexico and the deep subsalt plays offshore Brazil are often cited as examples of abiotic oil because the reservoirs are supposedly too deep, too hot and/or too highly pressured to be in the oil window. This is simply abject nonsense.
Tabular salt acts like a radiator. It conducts heat away from the substrata toward the surface. The combination of thick layers of salt and deep water depths enable oil to exist at depths previously unexpected. Salt and water are also less dense than most other overburden. This enables reservoir quality rocks to exist at deeper depths than previously expected.
I’ve drilled wells deeper than 20,000’ in the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom hole temperatures were in the range of 215°F (100°C). Ten wells in the Gulf of Mexico, drilled to true vertical depths greater than 20,000’ have each produced more than 20 million barrels of oil. The maximum bottom hole temperature (213°F) was encountered in the Mississippi Canyon (MC) 777 TF001 well, drilled by BP. The average bottom hole temperature of those ten 20 million barrel producers was 197°F.
The process is very organized, has been observed at all stages in nature, can be quantified in a rigorous scientific theory and can be largely simulated under laboratory conditions. The only part of the process that cannot be directly repeated in the laboratory is time.
While it is possible for oil to form through mantle serpentinization or the Fischer–Tropsch process, there simply isn’t any evidence that any crude oil has ever naturally formed through these processes on Earth. There are very few crude oil accumulations that are even consistent with the abiogenic hypotheses and no significant accumulations inconsistent with the generally accepted theory of hydrocarbon formation.
hydrocarbons are common elsewhere in our solar system = PROOF beyond a doubt for me that they DO form without life being involved.
Then you are set to start looking for a significant abiogenic oil deposit. Once you find it you will become simultaneously rich and famous. No risk since you have such strong proof.
Bill nobody said hydrocarbons can only be formed by life.
Nice seminar. Can I steal your slides?
First off, a thousand thanks Dave. You’ve explained this perfectly.
Second, Jim Bob’s cross section there (Moffitt) is a thing of beauty, and folks watching this thread would be well served to pay attention to the left portion of the cross section.
Two key points on this: Note the part where the green colored section (representing Oligocene) goes from being laid down on top of the salt to magically being now under the salt layer.
First: This was a huge monster sized WTF in the geologic community when oil and gas executives realized what had happened. The geoscientists had argued it could happen – after all, it was a known thing in Europe, this so called “table” action of the salt. But geophysics couldn’t properly image below the salt layer. ( A “table” is formed when the salt moves up in the section and forms a new, conformable and mostly horizontal layer, isolating the younger section, and in this case, often forming a trap for the hydrocarbons generated below)
Second, the age of the deep water reservoirs. Oh, this was a mighty WTF, because (and I was there with one of the first discoveries in an unrelated role) when the folks studying the critters came back with Miocene as the age, the oil execs were convinced this was wrong. Later, other deep drilling came back with Oligocene (Wilcox) deep sea deposits literally hundreds of miles out of place. That the section was there was one thing. That there was porosity (sand and silt) there required a complete rethink of what went on during that part of the formation of the Gulf of Mexico.
Suffice to say, Mr. Moffitt has proposed that during the time when the Wilcox (Oligocene) was being laid down, the middle of the Gulf of Mexico was far less than a thousand feet deep. (he said 400 in a speech I heard him give) but I’m not sure which part of the Gulf he was referring to.
Many oil executives have had their minds changed by the facts of drilling and the results of modern engineering. And that’s a good thing.
Fernando… You’ll have to get permission from the people I stole the slides from… including Jim Bob Moffitt… LOL!
Walt… IIRC, they thought they were drilling for a Mid-Cretaceous target in Shell’s Baja well. They were shocked to find reservoir-quality Lower Tertiary sandstones.
The discovery of complex hydrocarbons (PAH and PANH) outside our solar system doesn’t provide any evidence about their origin,
Inorganically sourced methane is common throughout our solar system. Titan has seas of liquid methane. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are pollutants that occur naturally in crude oil and coal deposits and as the result of burning of carbon-based fuels.
The fact that Titan’s methane-rich atmosphere can generate PAH’s and trace amounts of heavy and complex hydrocarbons has no relevancy to how petroleum and natural gas liquids form on Earth. Even if it was relevant to the formation of petroleum, it would be totally irrelevant to how oil and gas accumulate in the Earth’s crust.
Methane is not oil. Methane, ethane and other alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes and alkadienes are simple hydrocarbons.
Oil is a mixture of complex hydrocarbons:
On Earth, almost all crude oil is found in and around sedimentary basins and contains geochemical markers which tie them to organic sources.
If the abiotic hypothesis had any merit, oil would be seeping out of the mid-ocean ridges. Abiotic, abiogenic or inorganically formed oil is possible. There might even be some traces of it in a well drilled into the Siljan Ring in Sweden.
Most of the other oft cited examples (crystalline basement rock reservoirs like Offshore Vietnam and in the Dneiper-Donets Basin) of abiogenic oil are obviously organic in origin.
As yet, no one has demonstrated that abiotic oil is anything more than a novelty.
Even if oil was commonly formed inorganically… It wouldn’t alter how and where oil companies look for oil. It still has to be trapped in porous and permeable reservoirs – Sandstones, limestones shales and other sedimentary rocks. Even the oil that’s trapped in fractured granites and other basement rocks, had to migrate through and be trapped by sedimentary rocks.
oil DOES seep out into the oceans in countless locations!
It seeps into the oceans from sedimentary rocks because that’s where it formed. If it was formed in the mantle, it would be seeping into the oceans from the mid-ocean ridges and volcanic vents.
Here’s the math…
The volume of organic carbon-rich sediment in the Earth’s crust is massively large. The Gulf of Mexico has accumulated more than 60,000′ of sedimentary column over the last 200 million years. The Cenozoic section, alone, is more than 40,000′ thick in places. The Quaternary can be more than 30,000′ thick in some locations. Most ot the sedimentary column is composed of thick, organic-rich shale.
Oil is still being formed and migrating from source to reservoir rocks in the Gulf of Mexico. The Pleistocene reservoirs are less than 2.5 million years old and many have only been charged over the last 275,000 years. The reservoirs simply aren’t being charged as quickly as we are producing them.
Red areas indicate ~20,000 meter sediment thickness.
Oceanic Sedimentary Isopach Map
Marine black shales, deposited under anoxic conditions are loaded with the stuff that oil is made of…
Total organic carbon (TOC) averaged 10% by weight.
The Cretaceous, in particular, was a hydrocarbon “kitchen.” Marine conditions couldn’t have been more favorable for the deposition of source rocks even if they had been designed for such a purpose…
“DSDP sites at which Cretaceous sediments rich in organic matter were encountered. From Dean and Arthur, 1986.”
The Lower Tertiary Eocene was also a hydrocarbon kitchen (up to 21% TOC).
There is no shortage of organic matter in the sedimentary basins of the Earth’s crust.
I will now wait a few million years for the inmature oil rocks to generate oil and for it to migrate to reservoir rocks. Wake me up when you find these new oil fields.
That will probably be beyond my permanent retirement date… LOL!
As for how long our lead and mercury will last: After 1971, we started recycling automotive batteries and that will make our lead supplies last longer. And starting sometime in the 1990s, 4-foot fluorescent lamps – the size that most fluorescent lamps are made in – were made with 1/8 as much mercury as they did in 1980 and before.
The eco lunatics aren’t going to like this, great news
Resources are infinite, because human ingenuity is: “The Ultimate Resource 2”, a book I highly recommend, by economist interested in population numbers, resources & the environment, Julian Simon, who won a 10 year bet against Paul Ehrlich & his sidekick John Holdren.
The “bear” is always just out of sight in the woods. For centuries, Malthusians have trotted out one invisible bogeyman after another (Malthusians pre-date Malthus by at least a few thousand years). The disaster is just over the horizon, just around the corner or lurking in the woods.
The Earth is finite; but humans have barely tapped its resources… We will still barely be tapping the Earth’s resources when we hit the 10 billion mark about 90 years down the road… And the Malthusians will still be warning us about the bear in the woods.
The only thing the world has a genuine shortage of is honest and competent people in gov’t. Almost all of our problems are due to political interference with market forces.
Indeed. Zubrin’s book I reco’d above makes the point, convincingly IMHO, that nuclear fusion power would open up the solar system, galaxy & universe to us. Simon’s book makes the point, convincingly IMHO, that human ingenuity will always find a solution to whatever problem faces us, & that, historically, larger populations correlate exactly to, & are a driver of human progress.
David Middleton, thank you for a great article and your great comments. Your depth and breath of knowledge of these areas if very, very impressive. Your data and knowledge are presented in a clear and pleasant way. I appreciate this, as the crude and unpleasant back and forth of some writers and commenters is tiresome and unnecessary.
Peak oil Indefinitely Postponed is a misleading statement based on this announcement. America uses 19 million barrels of crude oil per day. This find provides enough new oil for 1,053 days or 2.9 years (rounded ^.)
The title was meant to be “tongue-in-cheek”… However…
This Wolcamp one formation in one basin and it’s not new oil. The USGS just underestimated how much oil could be recovered in it. There are dozens of oil reservoirs in the Permian Basin…
The Permian Basin is just one of many sedimentary basins in the US…
And the world…
The odds are that the USGS underestimated the recoverable oil in most, if not all, of the the reservoirs they assessed.
Maybe. But I’m in the oil business, and a little map showing basins doesn’t cut it with me. I look at this with anal detail because I can get rich if we do find something. And I’m not seeing much out there. Nor do I see companies bidding up acreage or working it actively in all those brown spots in your map. And if we in the business don’t invest in it, then it’s mpnot ready for prime time. And please don’t tell me you are selling a shale lease on the North Slope.
$40 oil tends to do that.
Indefinite does not mean not-going-to-happen. It means “uncertain.” My doctor looked at me earlier this week and claims my death is indefinitely postponed. My response was, I was thinking of buying a young African Grey Parrot. Not a good idea he said, you are going to die, we just don’t know when.
Peak Copper at Wikipedia
Concern about the copper supply is not new. In 1924, noted geologist and copper-mining expert Ira Joralemon warned:
“… the age of electricity and of copper will be short. At the intense rate of production that must come, the copper supply of the world will last hardly a score of years. … Our civilization based on electrical power will dwindle and die.”
some here need to consider this reality……ONE person stood alone against the accepted science on stomach ulcers……he was mocked but in the end he was CORRECT and the rest were WRONG.
The odds are that he presented evidence for his stomach ulcer theory.
and hydrocarbons elsewhere in our solar system are PROOF of abiotic generation
It’s evidence of inorganically sourced methane and associated simple hydrocarbons. Methane and traces of other hydrocarbons don’t prove anything about how oil forms on Earth or whether it formed elsewhere in the Universe.
Inorganically formed methane is extremely abundant. Methane is not oil.
Oil is a blend of parafins, napthenes, aromatics and asphaltines.
Proof of abiogenic oil would consist of the discovery of a significant volume of abiogenic oil. So far, the closest thing to evidence has been the recovery of an “asphaltenic-type material removed from the drillstem at 5945 m [19,505 ft] in Well Gravberg-1 from the Precambrian granite, Siljan, Sweden.”