Category Archives: Peak Oil

Fire Ice–Biggest Source Of Natural Gas On The Planet


The US Geological Survey (USGS) cited estimates of the methane (CH4) trapped in global methane hydrate (aka methane clathrate, Fire Ice, etc.) deposits are 3600 times more than the 2016 US consumption of natural gas. The 2016 US   consumption of natural gas (natural gas is mostly methane), according to Donn Dears, was 27.5×10^12 cubic feet.

The estimate of trapped gas in the deposits ranges from 10^17 to 5×10^18 cubic feet*.  Those are estimates and further those estimates probably include some amount of methane hydrate that will never be economical to produce. Even so, oil reserves that were supposed to have peaked many years ago, keep growing because of new technology. eg. Fracking.  So, who knows?

*(For the non-engineer or scientist that might not know how much that is, it can be restated as 1 followed by 17 zeros to 5 followed by 18 zeros cubic feet of natural gas.)

Where are the hydrate deposits found?

Methane hydrate deposits are found (or predicted) to be associated with continental margins and onshore permafrost areas. The chart below global areas where deposits are to be found.


First, let’s discuss where the methane originates. Methane is largely produced by micro-organisms that act on the plankton that has accumulated deep in the ocean floor sediments.  In the upper layers of the sediment where the temperature and pressure are suitable, the rising CH4 bubbles are captured in very cold water and the hydrate is formed. While methane produced biogenically is considered the most widespread source, there is another source.  Thermogenic methane is produced where high pressures and high temperatures cook organic matter.

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Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?


Sixty Minutes sent a reporter to Oklahoma to find out if the significant upswing of earthquakes being experienced there is the result of fracking. He interviewed a number of home owners and a visiting geologist, and they convinced him that, yes, fracking is the cause.

Steven Hayward of “Powerlineblog.com” located a video from Stanford University’s Department of Earth Science that says their study finds that fracking is not the cause.

Before you view the 4 minute video, it probably will be helpful to have a little background on “produced water” which is central to the topic.

When wells are drilled they often encounter water which comes up with the oil or natural gas. This water is usually salty and/or has other contaminates so it can not be used for agriculture. This water is typically reinjected into the well for disposal. But sometimes the quantity is too great and other means of disposal must be found. Underground disposal in sites drilled deeply into the Earth is often used for this purpose. Produced water has long disposed of in this manner.

Other details about produced water will be provided after you see the video. Please note the speaker is very clear that the fracking is not the problem.

More background:

John Veil at the Ground Water Protection Council—Underground Injection Control Conference in February 2015 presented “New Information On Produced Water Volumes and Management Practices”.

There are nearly 1 million oil and gas wells in the US that generate large volumes of Produced Water.

He reported the estimated volume of produce water in 2007 21 billion bbl for the year.

Ninety-eight percent goes into injection wells.

His summary for the period from 2007 to 2012

US oil production increased by 29%.

US gas production increased by 22%

US produced water decreased by 2.4%

Viel notes:

Here is my hypothesis

  • Conventional production generates a small initial volume of water that gradually increases over time. The total lifetime water production from each well can be high
  • Unconventional production from shales and coal seams generates a large amount of produced water initially but the volume drops off, leading to a low lifetime water production from each well
  • Between 2007 and 2012, many new unconventional wells were placed into service and many old conventional wells (with high water cuts) were taken out of service
  • The new wells generated more hydrocarbon for each unit of water than the older wells they replaced.

So the conventional wells with hig levels of produced water were replace by fracked wells that generate less produced water per unit of production.

So, yes oil production, if ceased,  would probably make a big reduction in Oklahoma eartthquates. But fracking per se has not caused the problem. The  energy that is being released little by little will probably benefit someone  in the future.  I suspect if I lived there it would not be a big selling point. But of course,  oil and gas production are  the  big selling points to the people in the “oil patch.”

cbdakota

Mr President, You Owe American An Apology.


Rebloging a posting from Oilpro.com titled “Mr. President, you owe America an apology. We did drill our way to $2 gas.”  

The President has done about everything imaginable to make the price we pay for energy skyrocket. He has prevented drilling for oil on Federal lands but he obama-rising-gas-prices-cartoon-four-more-yearscould not do anything about State and private land. It is disgraceful that the media lets him get away with his retrospective claims that the lower prices were his doing. He even claimed he had approved oil being pipelined from Canada.

Anyway, Marita Noon tells of the misinformation that the President feeds to low information crowd.

cbdakota

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

MY PRESIDENT YOU OWE AMERICAN AN APOLOGY. WE DID DRILL OUR WAY TO $2.00 GAS.

“We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” President Obama told an audience four years ago at the University of Miami. Like this year, it was an election year and Obama was running for re-election. Later in his speech, he added: “anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.” He scoffed at the Republicans for believing that drilling would result in $2 gasoline—remember this was when prices at the pump, in many places, spiked to more than $4 a gallon: “You can bet that since it is an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, step three is drill.”

Well, Mr. President, you owe America, and the Republicans, an apology. Your snarky comments were wrong. The Republican’s supposed three-point plan, which you mocked, was correct.

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New Oil And Gas Find In The Mediterranean.


A large field (named Zohr) containing up to 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has been discovered off the coast of Egypt. The Italian oil group Eni, owner of rig_3424204bthis field, says it is almost 5000 feet below the water surface and covers an area of about 40 square miles. Eni proposes that it be piped into Egypt for use.

The Telegraph.co.uk posting titled ‘Supergiant’ gas field discovered in Mediterranean” says:

“Egypt consumed 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas last year, according to BP’s most recent Statistical Review of World Energy. At the same rate of consumption, the Zohr discovery could supply the country for almost two decades.

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OPEC Strategy Report Says Two More Years Of A Crude Oil Glut


frackingimagesOPEC meets 5 June in Geneva to discuss the cartel’s strategy for the coming years.  Reuters News Agency has obtained the draft report of OPEC’s long-term strategy. This report’s content will be a key discussion at the meeting. The report suggests that the global oil glut could persist for the next two years.   In general that seems like pretty good news for the world and specifically for U.S. if not for the OPEC cartel and Russia.

The drop in oil prices that began late last year did not shut down the fracking wells that were already producing as the wells continued to operate to cover their variable costs. It did cause drill rigs to be cut every week for 23 weeks. Reuters reports that only one rig was cut the week of 18 May.   Experts seem to agree that fracking can be profitable at a West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price around $60/barrel. That price level should bring on more fracking operations. Today’s price is $59.89. (changes often.)

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Peak Oil Not A Near-Term Threat


Peak Oil is that point in time when the world runs out of new finds of oil and from that point on,  oil becomes more scarce and more costly. The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency (EIA) forecast that in the year 2040 about 81% of our energy needs will be satisfied by fossil fuels. The following  data is from the  2014 EIA Annual Energy Outlook for U.S. energy consumption in 2040:

Quadrillion Btu % of total
Petroleum 35.35 33.25
Natural Gas 32.32 30.40
Coal 18.75 17.70
       Fossil fuel subtotal 81.45
Renewables 10.27 9.94
Nuclear 8.49 8.00

The Pacific Research Institute produced this video that reports we are not about to arrive at Peak Oil any time soon.  Which is a good thing as  the EIA does not expect renewables to be a significant contributor to our energy needs by 2040.

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cbdakota

Why Are Crude Oil Prices Falling? And Will We Regret It?


Saudi Arabia is a major producer and seller of crude oil as well as the unelected leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Saudi has, in the past, adjusted its production (and thus sale of crude oil) to keep the price OPECnetoilexportrevs2013chart2at a level that OPEC desired. For example, if global demand for crude softened, Saudi would cut back production to match demand thus stabilizing the price. The Department of Energy chart shows how Saudi dominates OPEC export sales.

This autumn the demand for OPEC crude fell—but, Saudi decided not to balance supply and demand.   Consequently the price of crude oil has dropped to about 50% of what it was at its high in June 2014.

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