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View Diary: Shale Gas Bubble About to Burst: Art Berman, Bill Powers (89 comments)

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  •  It's worse than that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrometheusUnbound

    because on average, reserves figures rise every year.

    Most people have a horrible misunderstanding of reserves.  The reality is that there's hydrocarbons almost everywhere on the planet, and all that changes is the extraction cost.  So what is declared as "reserves" is a tiny fraction of the planet thats been explored (and just ignoring the huge amount of "across" that's not been explored, there's a practically limitless amount of "down"), which has oil that's economical to produce at today's prices, with today's technology.    But of course all elements of that picture are constantly changing.  The oceans and arctic are just starting to get explored, "deep" keeps getting cheaper, production from less viable reserves in general keeps getting cheaper, and any increase in prices raises the "reserves" figure by orders of magnitude.  Hence reserves tend to grow faster they're consumed.

    •  To put it another way... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Happy Days

      Picture that you're mining for gold, and there's rare loose surface nuggets, then an order of magnitude more gold dust in river sediments, then an order of magnitude more shallowly buried veins in rock, then an order of magnitude more that's deeper and more scattered, then another order of magnitude, then another, etc.

      You start mining by simply picking up nuggets with you bare hands.  Oh no, you're exhausting the easy to get gold.  But that's why you switch to panning.  Oh, but you're exhausting the gold dust!  So you switch to shallow mining of rich veins.  Oh, but you're exhausting them!  So you go deeper and sparser.  Etc.

      And what happens in reality?  Production doesn't decline - it increases.  Reserves don't decline - they increase.  Production cost doesn't increase - in the long term, compared to the cost of people walking around hand-picking nuggets, production cost decreases.

      Now this is perhaps a bad example because we're at the moment in the middle of a gold spike due to the economic crisis and gold markets are often distorted by other factors, but let it suffice to say that compared to preindustrial man's harvesting of gold when it was nice and convenient in surface nuggets, far less of the world economy's resources are dedicated to collecting it while many orders of magnitude more are collected.

    •  Peak CHEAP Oil, those extraction costs matter (4+ / 0-)

      We will NEVER run out of oil, because it will become so expensive that solar and wind will be far cheaper.  But if we don't subsidize solar and wind NOW, we may not have the cheap oil/gas resources to make the transition without huge economic contractions that will make 2008 look like a picnic.

      Fracking technology just digs that fossil fuel needle deeper into our economic arm and makes the coming cheap oil shock even more dangerous.

      •   (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Happy Days

        That's the point, there will not be "huge contractions".  The oil markets will always fluctuate because they're based on gambling (to be quite honest!).  The companies bet on what oil prices are going to be in the 10 years or so it takes to start a new project and pick which projects to begin based on that.  But you increase the projection price $20 and you double the reserves.  Increase it another $20 and you double the reserves again. Etc.  And the overall prices drop with time as tech advances.  Sometimes tech advances faster than reserve recovery challenge and demand growth and prices overall drop.  Sometimes reserve recovery challenge and demand growth rises faster than tech advances and prices rise.  As a whole, oil prices are pretty similar to what they were at the start of the 20th century, in inflation-adjusted dollars, back when oil abundant in near-surface gusher wells in convenient locations.

        Wind and solar have nothing to do with oil, try again.  

        •  Your discussion is missing something important. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TKO333, opinionated, pollwatcher

          EROEI. Energy Returned on Energy Invested.

          Back when the commodities reports still used the phrase "Pennsylvania light sweet crude", EROI could be as much as 100:1.

          Now that the easy oil is gone and we're drilling in 5000' of Ocean water (killing 11 men and almost ruining the GOM in the process) and pressure washing sand in Alberta to get the oil off of it, EROEI can be as low as 8:1.

          This is dirty expensive oil and we burn more and more fossil fuels as we try to extract what is left. I fear that we won't stop until EROEI reaches 1:1. By that time the human race is likely to be in a world of hurt not only from energy shortages but also global warming.

          Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

          by FrY10cK on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:32:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  EROEI is irrelevant concerning a single form of (0+ / 0-)

            energy.  It's like saying that if it takes more energy to make alkaline batteries than they contain that there's no purpose to making alkaline batteries.

            See elsewhere in the thread where I go into more detail on this.

            •  Batteries are a storage mediium not a source (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pollwatcher, zenyata

              of energy.

              What is your source that will provide an EROEI equivalent to easy 100:1 oil?

              You're right that there are huge fossil fuel reserves left. They're difficult, dirty, and expensive to extract. Likewise to refine. That's why the EROEI goes down every year.

              http://www.theoildrum.com Educate yourself.

              Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

              by FrY10cK on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 03:04:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oil can likewise be an energy storage medium. (0+ / 0-)

                There's no requirement that it has to be a net energy source.  THis equation makes no sense:

                2 MJ oil -> 1 MJ oil

                But the following do:

                2 MJ coal -> 1 MJ oil
                2 MJ nuclear -> 1 MJ oil
                2 MJ solar -> 1 MJ oil
                2 MJ geothermal -> 1 MJ oil
                2 MJ wind -> 1 MJ oil

                ... because you can't put any of the abundant things on the left hand side in your car.

                They're difficult, dirty, and expensive to extract.
                Dirty only matters for the environment not for economics.  And you double reserves figures every $20 or so you raise the base price of oil.  Every extra degree of "difficulty" puts orders of magnitude more oil on the market and the cost is hardly apocalyptic.
                •  Umm ... (0+ / 0-)
                  ... the cost is hardly apocalyptic.
                  Burning 1 MJ to retrieve 8 MJ when our industrial economy (especially agriculture) is predicated on 100:1 easy fossil fuels? Do you really think we'd be drilling in 5000' of ocean water (an amazing technological feat -- also dirty, dangerous and expensive) if there was an abundance of fossil fuels? Speaking of dirty, how much hot water do you think it takes to pressure wash Alberta tar sands to get the oil off of it? Where do you thing the dirty water goes?

                  Decreasing EROEI is a change the human race has not prepared for. Wind and solar are great except all of the equipment is manufactured using massive amounts of fossil fuels. Geothermal is great. In Wyoming and Iceland.

                  And when are all those new nuclear plants coming online? And what do you propose we do with all the spent fuel currently sitting in grid-dependent cooling ponds? You know what happens to spent fuel cooling ponds when the power goes out right? They catch fire.

                  The worst though is this: All your equations show an EROEI of 1:2.  How in the hell does that make any sense? We liquefy 2 MJ of coal to make 1 MJ of fuel for driving to Walmart and Dairy Queen? Now we add the greenhouse gasses from our Humvee fuel production to the emissions from the Humvees themselves?

                  Please start reading what the petroleum engineers and geologists have to say at www.theoildrum.com

                  Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

                  by FrY10cK on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 11:40:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're not even reading my posts (0+ / 0-)

                    Keep this up and I'll stop responding altogether.  

                    Burning 1 MJ to retrieve 8 MJ when our industrial economy (especially agriculture) is predicated on 100:1 easy fossil fuels?
                    To repost:
                    There's no requirement that it has to be a net energy source.  THis equation makes no sense:
                    2 MJ oil -> 1 MJ oil
                    But the following do:
                    2 MJ coal -> 1 MJ oil
                     2 MJ nuclear -> 1 MJ oil
                     2 MJ solar -> 1 MJ oil
                     2 MJ geothermal -> 1 MJ oil
                     2 MJ wind -> 1 MJ oil
                    ... because you can't put any of the abundant things on the left hand side in your car.
                    Argue against the points your opponent is actually making.  Otherwise you're hitting a straw man.
                    Do you really think we'd be drilling in 5000' of ocean water (an amazing technological feat -- also dirty, dangerous and expensive) if there was an abundance of fossil fuels?
                    Of course it's a huge technological feat.  It's also a massive freaking payoff.  A single multi-well platform on a good field can produce hundreds of thousand barrels of oil (tens of millions of dollars) per day, billions of dollars per year.  Billions, with a B.  Why should anyone be shocked that oil companies would want to develop them?  The industry will always go wherever the payoff is biggest.
                    Speaking of dirty, how much hot water do you think it takes to pressure wash Alberta tar sands to get the oil off of it? Where do you thing the dirty water goes?
                    Not only grossly misleading, but irrelevant for topics of energy and economics (you have this weird habit of mixing up the two topics), so I'm not even going to address it.
                    Wind and solar are great except all of the equipment is manufactured using massive amounts of fossil fuels.
                    Myth.  Modern wind and solar have energy paybacks in under a year.
                    Geothermal is great. In Wyoming and Iceland.
                    And EGS, anywhere on the planet.  The MIT geothermal study showed that the US has hundreds of thousands of times more geothermal capacity from EGS than it consumes.
                    And when are all those new nuclear plants coming online?
                    Your logic train is not only derailed but sitting at the bottom of a ditch.  "plans to build" != "capability to build".  Just like with oil, people will always produce only what economics dictates is the best option at any given point in time, not everything that is physically possible to produce.
                    And what do you propose we do with all the spent fuel currently sitting in grid-dependent cooling ponds? You know what happens to spent fuel cooling ponds when the power goes out right? They catch fire.
                    All of which has nothing to do with whether the world can power itself so I'm not even going to address it.
                    The worst though is this: All your equations show an EROEI of 1:2.
                    Which is half an order of magnitude worse than the worst oil recovery mechanism in use today.  And is even worse than the EROEI for most pure CO2 + water + energy methods to produce oil, the most energy intensive.
                    How in the hell does that make any sense?
                    Do I really have to quote myself a third time?
                    ... because you can't put any of the abundant things on the left hand side in your car.
                    Please actually Read The Post before you respond.  Heck, even read the title: "Oil can likewise be an energy storage medium."  It's amazing that people like you can often have no problem with the usage of a fuel cell, which wastes 2/3rds of its cycle energy and can't convert its waste product (water) back into fuel on-board the vehicle, requiring industrial recreation of the hydrogen using energy, but you can't even conprehend the concept of lossily burning and industrial recreating creating  (using energy) of hydrocarbons.  What part of "energy storage medium" is difficult for you?  

                    Yes, I've spent time at The Oil Drum before, and it's a magnet for kooks.

    •  You got some math, sources, or any other hard data (0+ / 0-)

      to support this insane reasoning?

      The oceans and arctic are just starting to get explored, "deep" keeps getting cheaper, production from less viable reserves in general keeps getting cheaper, and any increase in prices raises the "reserves" figure by orders of magnitude.  Hence reserves tend to grow faster they're consumed.
      Shell just gave up in the arctic.  "Too unsafe" I believe they said.

      Oh, and by the way, as prices go up, guess what happens to demand.

      Furthermore, once it takes one BTU invested to pull one BTU out of the ground, your so-called "reserves" plummet to zero!  Open a physics book.  Of course, by the time that happens, the gods will be basting us in our own gravy!

      •  Lol (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Happy Days
        Shell just gave up in the arctic.
        Indeed, Shell just ended their arctic activities - For The Year.  There's this little thing called "winter" you may have heard of.

        Look, I live in Iceland, don't tell me that the arctic isn't getting heavily explored for oil.  They recently even found some in Icelandic waters, in a region called the Dragon Zone.  It's big news here.

        Oh, and by the way, as prices go up, guess what happens to demand.
        Barely dropped when it hit 150.  But in all regards, why wouldn't a drop in demand be a good thing?  Oh, we'll eventually hit a "peak" alright, but it'll be a demand peak.  Same as the world didn't end when, for lighting, people switched from tallow to whale oil, whale oil to paraffin, paraffin to kerosene, or kerosene to electricity.
        Furthermore, once it takes one BTU invested to pull one BTU out of the ground, your so-called "reserves" plummet to zero!
        Utterly false and a very common misconception.  That only applies to energy in general, not a specific form of energy.  The Nazis powered their air force by using several times more energy in coal than they got out in aviation fuel.  And it let them run one of the most successful air forces in military history (until the allies bombed the refineries flat).  South Africa did the same thing during apartheid.  

        Oil is an expensive form of energy.  One can convert cheaper forms of energy into oil.  At a most basic level, oil can be produced from water, carbon dioxide, and any form of energy.  Of course, carbon dioxide is one of the most expensive ways to make oil.  Cheaper is biomass, cheaper still is coal, cheaper still is bitumen, and on and on.

        Now, you could argue that we're somehow going to hit "peak energy", but that'd be a pretty absurd argument.  The last EGS study in the US showed several hundred thousand times more geothermal potential than the US uses.  More solar energy hits the earth in an hour than the world uses in a year.  Breeder reactors and seawater fuel extraction could power the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years.  Etc.  Peak energy is an absurdity.

        •  Like I said. Open a physics book. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zenyata
        •  EROEI. Look it up. (0+ / 0-)
          Peak energy is an absurdity.
          Just look at all those molten salt LFTR's going up all over the U.S. No? Well maybe lot's of new Fukushima-style pressurized or boiling water reactors. No? That's okay. Fusion is only 25 years away.

          Lol.

          Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

          by FrY10cK on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:39:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Once again you seem to want industry to work again (0+ / 0-)

            economics.  People build whatever there is the best economic argument for at a given point in time.  Nuclear is more expensive right now than other forms of electricity.  Somehow in your mind that equals "impossible".

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