Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Shown above is a bar chart displaying how "many" oil reserves (in billion barrels or gigabarrels) were discovered/booked on an annual basis, from 1930 until 2005. This simple graph is really what drives "Peak Oil". Namely, the amount of new oil that we discover each year "peaked" in the 1960's. Or put another way, we are not finding nearly as much oil now as we were in the 1960's. This despite major technological advances such as 3D seismic, horizontal drilling, etc. Interesting note: both 3D seismic and horizontal drilling are technologies that help us find or develop things that we couldn't find or develop otherwise - there's a message there.
Now realize that when we talk about the amount of oil discovered each year, we are talking about RESERVES. "Peak Oil" is really about the worldwide, maximum production RATE. But the maximum production RATE is reached ("Peak Oil") sometime in the future, following the peak in the discoveries. In other words, when you discover a field, it takes a years before you get it producing its first oil, then fully develop it, etc. Then at some point you have drilled all the infill and stepout wells you can in that field - and then the production begins to decline.
Note that the world currently consumes about 85 million barrels of oil per day. So, if we found 5 billion barrels in 2005, that would last an incremental ... 60 days. Now you are getting the picture. 5 billion barrels seems like a lot of oil - but not when you consume 85 million barrels per day. The recent 8 billion barrel, deepwater discovery in Brazil is wonderful, but we use that much oil in 94 days. It's that "SCALE" thing.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I guess I first started sending out these missives about two years ago, in late 2005. Some of you no doubt thought that I had fallen off my rocker. Well, that is probably true, but another reality is that the oil situation continues to unfold about as expected. Unfortunately.
Waxing a bit nostalgic, I have been studying oil and gas supply since the price plunge of the mid-1980's, when we started having "supply side" speakers at the API-Houston Chapter. I remember when Enserch found some arcane legal code with which to petition Reagan, which would absolutely force him to "do something." And when Lloyd Bentsen said 50% imports was a "peril point" and we'd "do something" if it ever got that high. (was about 35% imports then, around 65% now) Earlier, in the 1960's or 1970's a partner of mine witnessed one of the last really knowledgeable RRC Commissioners, Bill Murray, say, "You get a chance to manage a surplus, or you will have to manage a shortage." Really profound words. And of course, prophetic.
Well, no one wanted to manage the temporary surplus of the 1980's, so a huge number of rigs were cut-up or shipped away or rusted down (we had 4500 at one time; now after Herculean efforts, only slightly over 2000). The smart people became lawyers and MBA's. If I remember correctly, well over 500,000 jobs were lost in our industry. No one really cared, as John Q. Public generally loves to hate "oil companies" and anyone involved in them. Cheap gasoline was what everyone wanted, and that is what they got - for a while. Anything else (like restraining production just a little, an oil import fee, etc.) would have been price-fixing or "pandering to big oil". To wit, the recent attack on Aubrey McClendon and
Interestingly, I remember my father (38 years at Shell Oil) mentioning King Hubbert one time. As a teenager, though, I didn't pay much attention. Hubbert worked in the same facility as my dad, in the 1950's. My brother (16 years older than I am) swears he remembers Hubbert coming over for dinner once or twice, probably before I was born. Dad was chairman of the API-Houston Chapter at that time, and I have his bound monograph of the papers given in 1956, including the original Hubbert article. He obviously was interested in it, as he took the time to update the curve - in pencil - sometime in the 1970's.
It has been a busy couple of years, and the last few months have been exceptionally busy for me. I've been doing my level best to try to stem the tide of Peak Oil by trying to find more of the stuff! (Well, gas anyway.) Meanwhile I serve on the board of a non-profit which is documenting "wild plants" in
A few weeks ago, Oct 17 - 19, I attended the Association for the Study of Peak Oil's (ASPO's)
Peak Oil being far from the lunatic fringe realm any more, the following groups had speakers at the ASPO conference:
Merrill Lynch - Tom Petrie, Vice Chairman - spoke
Jeffries, Randall & Dewey - spoke
SAIC - Bob Hirsch - spoke
Canadian Geologic Survey - spoke - excellent graphs
Dept of Homeland Security - Scott Pugh, ret. Navy sub commander - spoke
Tom Whipple - ex-CIA analyst and editor of the Falls Church News Press (Virginia)
Department of Energy -
T. Boone Pickens
Henry Groppe - Groppe, Long, Littell
Bob Hirsch, who, in 2005, authored the landmark, revelatory study for the DOE, was one of the speakers I was looking forward to hear at the ASPO conference. He didn't disappoint - but only made my stomach grumble a bit more. Overall, there were quite a number of really excellent presentations. All are available on the ASPO website:
I highly recommend you download and view the presentations by:
- Bob Hirsch
- Vince Matthews - Director of the
Geological Survey Colorado
- Tom Petrie
- Stuart Staniford/Euan Mearns - www.oildrum.com - study of Ghawar
The "Key Take-Aways" from my notes are attached. Included in those notes are some of Hirsch's slides.
My observations and comments:
- The peak in oil production might have occurred in late 2005, and most in this group believe it will certainly happen prior to 2011 - 2012. If it hasn't occurred, my bet would be 2008, as I have believed since 2001 or so.
- It sure looks like Saudi has produced about half of its recoverable oil, meaning it is at or near peak, in turn meaning the world is at or near peak.
- Cantarell (second largest field in the world, in
) peaked in 2004 as I previously communicated to you, and is down from 2 MMBO/D (late 2005) to 1.6 MMBO/D today. It is on a trajectory near to the "worst case" scenario, as described by Pemex in early 2005, and later confirmed by the WSJ. Mexico
- Oil Export Withholding (Hirsch) seems quite likely, and was a new one to me. Means things will happen even faster.
- Jeffrey Brown's "Export Land Model" is similar, but is a “physics” rather than an economic/geopolitical phenomenon. Namely, when consumption in exporting nations is increasing in a low, but compounding fashion (as it is), and production begins decreasing in a compounding fashion, then those nations soon have NONE to export - much sooner than if they hadn't been growing their consumption. To wit:
, Indonesia - both exporters until very recently. UK
- GDP will drop about like the oil rate will decline - and continuously, year over year. (Hirsch)
- Rationing of gas and diesel are in our near (0 - 3 years) future.
- Inflation is far understated, and will rear its head soon. And at a time when the economy is deteriorating.
- There could be a series of "head fakes", ie prices drop for a time, due to new Rockies Express pipeline, LNG, Independence Hub online - or due to a rapid run-up in price causing demand destruction (for a short while) (Petrie)
- There is no simplistic "smoking gun, no reason" for Peak Oil, hence the public and the media can't "get it". So, the politicians won’t get it. (Whipple)
- Not yet a critical mass to move people and politicians.(Whipple)
- Behavior is not likely to change until there is a pronounced shortage at the pumps, hoarding.(Whipple)
- Politicians, in general have a "Don't have enough? Well, just get more." attitude.
- Although not related to Peak Oil, many minerals are now in short supply, controlled by foreign govts, either in our country or theirs. (Matthews)
- Still no battery or electricity storage solution for plug-in hybrids or pure electric vehicles.
- a huge real estate bust (and all that it entails) is in the early stages, due to a massive overextension of credit
- many of our financial institutions are being shaken to the core (Merrill, Citi, Countrywide, WaMu)
- oil ironically broke $90 the Thursday evening of the conference, now it is nearing $100.
- gold has been spiking, the dollar has been plummetting
- $250/bbl strike price calls are now available in 2010, $200 calls evidently have active trading in 12/08.
- the IEA just issued a really gloomy forecast, two weeks ago.
On the brighter side, though, is that old adage about the Chinese word for "chaos" being the same as for "opportunity".
ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil)
Annual USA Meeting, 10/17-10/19, Hilton of the Americas, Houston, TX
Sponsored by City of Houston, U of H
MP’s Notes - Key Take-Aways
Bob Hirsch, SAIC
ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil)
MP: Author of landmark study for DOE/NETL in 2004, which started being found in odd places on the internet in early 2005.
MP: Gist of Bob’s objective, 92 page paper from 2004 is that peak oil will occur, and it may be occur-ing, and that efforts to transition primarily transportation (but other things, as well, like the economy) take a finite amount of time, are not instantaneous. For instance, in 20 years, can convert fairly painlessly, in 5 years much pain to world economy. If wait (to take SERIOUS, pro-active actions) until AFTER peak - severe problems, dislocations!
MP: Initially, in 2/05, and for a good while thereafter, the paper was only found on a high school website in Chula Vista, CA
MP: Later that year World Oil (a very conservative trade journal) ran two Hirsch articles, subsets of his study.
Has been working on extending his study, updating effects, peaking profile. (MP: the few pundits to Peak Oil (CERA) seem to always site an “undulating plateau” – sounds so nice, and you often see those two words together. Jim Kunstler told me when I asked that they are “mellifluous” together.)
Found that the % drop in world GDP divided by the % drop in oil supply are about “1”, at least order of magnitude. Say ½ to 2. 10 is too high, 0.1 is too low. So, when world oil takes on a decline after the “plateau”, however wide, then the GDP drop in the world will likely mirror the oil decline rate.
Used 73 embargo and 79 crisis as models, among other things.
From USG’s “Oilshockwave” Scenario (Robert Gates), a 4% shortfall in oil led to $160/bbl, and led to a 4% drop in GDP.
Giant oilfield decline rates
Prudhoe produced at pipeline max of 1.5 – 1.6 MMBO/D beginning in 1982, started declining in 1988.
See 8 – 16 % initial decline (just past peak) in major field (MP: wow)
US production had very little plateau (MP: remember 10MMBO/D in 1970, only doing about half that now. All the new technology (3D, horizontal drilling, etc) didn’t do much for even the decline rate.
Europe had a 6 yr plateau (but that plateau included 3% variations – “remember the impact of a 3% drop/lack of supply”
NA had a sharp break then 3 % initial decline for 5 years. Remember, 3% for 5 years is 15% (he meant, think GDP drop)
Campbell – 2010 - 11 peak, 4 years to 4% decline, then 2% decline
Laherrerre – 2018 peak, 8 years to 4 % decline, then 2 % decline.
Most all analysts come up with 2 – 5 % annual decline for some period of time, just after peaking. (MP: implications for GDP again)
OEWS – something else he is studying
In 1950, 85% of reserves controlled by major oil cos., 15 % NOC controlled
Now: 10 % reserves control by majors, 90 % by NOC’s!
Thesis: Oil exporters WILL reduce exports due to windfall! (Putin did a thesis on this, interestingly)
Dwindling resource (MP: being exchanged for paper money of diminishing value)
Consumption rising (MP: most exporting nations subsidize/insulate their populace so as to ameliorate them, stay in power)
So, likelyhood of Oil Exporting Withholding”, or OEWS.
So, the REALITY is even worse – “effective peaking” will occur prior to peaking due to physics. (MP: and this is without major geopolitical problems, just the normal ones that lead to OEWS)
IEA watershed comments:
“doomed to failure”
“peaking in 2012”
but blame NOC’s – and have to wade through huge paper.
Best Case: 2-15 years, then 2- 5 % decline.
Middle Case: sharp peak, then 2 – 5 % decline
Worst Case: OEWS – early peak & worse than 2 – 5 %
Bottom-line: Need an immediate, crash program of conservation, demand mitigation.
Comments & answers to questions by Hirsch after Skrebowski spoke:
“Don’t see how we can do without rationing of transportation fuels.”
“Oil Shockwave exercise included supplies dropping 4 % for several years.”
“Non-equilibrium economics (MP: are scary as hell) – Markets/Demand can’t change as fast as decline takes place.”
“Futures market is looking to the past to determine the future – can be problematic at inflection points.”
“Not good at predicting the future, less good at doing something about about it.”
Chris Skrebowski, Editor, Petroleum Review, London - “How close are we?”
Best guess: 93 MMBO/D (v. 84 MMBO/D now) Peak in 2011/2012.
Assumption changes give a bit higher peak RATE, but don’t shift DATE/Curve that much!
Tom Petrie (formerly Petrie Parkman, now Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch)
What does it take to offset natural declines?
At 2 % decline, 8 MMBO/D
At 5 %, 16 MMBO/D
At 8 %, 24 MMBO/D
Mentioned Putin’s papers on national patrimony
Will price signals work? “OEWS” may be worse than expected.
China about to exceed in total emissions.
Russia-China have oil & gas linkages.
Iran – Russia – helping Iran go nuclear
China – Iran – crude oil deal
India-Iran-Pakistan – gas pipeline
Book: The Black Swan – The Impact of the Highly Improbable
“Capital Markets and Energy M&A are in “remarkable denial” – still view Peak Oil as improbable.”
“2nd, 3rd order consequences”
Turkey analogy – had a great life, lots of good food, got fat – until the day before Thanksgiving. Using as an analogy.
“Markets are beginning to embrace Peak Oil.”
“May get a “head fake” in 6 -12 month when Rockies Express, LNG, Independence Hub bring major gas to market – BS, FS at risk.
“Series of Petro-Driven “Black Swan” events.”
“Will have been perceived as highly improbable, but in retrospect they were highly predictable.”
10 of 14 LNG producers are OPEC countries.
“Don’t think historical economic behavior patterns will have predictive utility.”
“Inflation is FAR UNDERSTATED.”
“Problem with government/politicians – This is too real a problem to try to address!”
“Our system is designed to dumb-down things like this.”
CNBC asks: “What price to change behavior?”
“$30 - $88 is creating “cumulative drag” on the economyZ”
“$90 - $120/BBL will start to see change.”
“Europe less susceptible to adjustments because they have been taxing oil, seeing higher prices for a long time, increase will be smaller, percentage-wise.”
“Too much noise in financial systems to know what needs to be done strategically.” (MP: ie need to figure out what needs to be done with something other than price movements alone.)
“Abandoning economic growth?” POSSIBLE! (MP: wow, same Hubbert conclusion, but once again startling, coming from Petrie & Merrill Lynch)
“We are at a major historical inflection point.” “For many – pain. For the anticipatory – an opportunity.”
“If we jump to $120 quickly, demand elasticity will likely be triggered and price may drop to $45 for a short period.”
Tom Whipple - “Peak Oil and the Media”
Ex-CIA analyst, is often quoted in the Falls Church, VA paper, is Editor of Peak Oil News and Peak Oil Review. His summaries are found on www.energybulletin.net (a site I frequent), weekly.
Why is Peak Oil not in the Mainstream Media (MSM)?
“Never heard about it.”
“Nonsense – there is plenty.”
“No gloomy news – people don’t like that.”
There is no “smoking gun, no reason”. (MP: IMO, this is unfortunate but is also a reflection of the populace and TV-induced non-thought. This is an issue that requires pro-activity and lead time to prevent catastrophy. It appears that it is unlikely that major action will be taken before it is too late (and it may already be, but any time we wait only worsens the impact).
GAO, NPC studies which came out got close to zero MSM attention – but they were thick, seemingly confusing studies with nothing spectacular in their conclusions.
“Only MSM can bring widespread attention.”
Coverage is indeed changing/increasing slowly, scattered stories.
Not yet a critical mass to move people and the government.
10/17/07 article about $88 oil in NYT – had EVERYTHING BUT Peak Oil as a possible explanation. Some hints – spare capacity, harder to bring oil to market.
He thinks we are 80% there in terms of MSM getting it.
However, “only a pronounced shortage at the pumps may help explain it, price alone won’t do it.”
Vince Matthews, Director, Colorado Geological Survey (ex-UPR)
Oil, Minerals and The China Syndrome
In US, last nuclear plant built in 1996 (and it was started in the 1970’s)
World using 180 MM# of Uranium per year.
World only producing 100 – 110 MM# of Uranium per year.
Uranium was $10 in 2003.
Uranium increased to $130 in 2007!!! (below $100 now)
US using 60 MM# Uranium per year
US only producing 2 MM# of Uranium per year.
Many of the US extraction industries ARE now foreign-owned.
“Huge inflationary pressures are now built into the pipeline.”
“Worry of a “Mine the West” mentality.”
“Allegiance of the multi-nationals to the US?”
Stuart Staniford/Euan Mearns – Ghawar Field/Saudi Arabia
(Stuart and Euan are “editors” on The Oil Drum, frequent posters. Stuart has a Phd in Physics, MS in CS. Both have taken on the “reverse engineering” of Ghawar and other Saudi fields on a voluntary basis, due to their concern. Their work can be found on www.oildrum.com)
Saudi produced 8.25 MMBO/D in 03 – 04, then increased that to 9 – 9.5, until early 2006, then the rate has been decreasing linearly (interesting) since then to 8.5, leading many to wonder if this is voluntary or forced due to decline. However, there have been several flat months recently. It will be interesting to see if they can substantially increase production, and hold it there. Should know by summer 2008.
Ghawar produced 5 MMBO/D of the total, up through 2003 at least. It accounts for 1/3 of Saudi reserves, and 6% of global supply. Hence the focus on Ghawar.
5 major areas, from N to S: Ain Dar, Shedgum, Uthmaniyah, Hawiyah, Haradh.
The perm and porosity decrease from N to S, 19%, 640 md in N, to 14%, 52 md in South.
Hawiyah not developed until 70’s, 80’s, and Haradh not until 2006.
Pre-nationalization EUR was 211 GB with 91 GB remaining.
Saudi EUR jumped from 170 B to 260 B in 1987. Some of this was probably warranted, as a result of better information, reserve growth, new technology.
Hubbert linearization of Crude + Condensate (with new production areas) shows about 200 GB EUR.
Mearns: C + C + NGL: EUR 240 GB, can get rate to 11 MMBO/D, but still peak rate still occurs in 2011.
Colin Campbell has said EUR 275 GB
KSA has said OOIP around 700 GB. May be correct. KSA says 60 % RF, Stuart calculates 52% RF.
Given cumulative production is 120 MMBO, and EUR is around 240 GB, then they are about half depleted. According to the physics, a rate decline could begin at any time, and likely on or before 2011.
Investing in Unconventional Fuels – M/C by Leslie Haines with Oil & Gas Investor mag.
Gentleman with Raymond James
At $80 oil, $3.70 bushel corn (note, we sold our 3000 bu. in June at $2.75), ethanol still works.
PV Solar become breakeven at $150/bbl
PV has .05% of power market here, less than 1% in Germany (the world leader)
Wind, Geothermal, Ethanol, Biodiesel – all economic now!
PV had 23 % CAGR, last 10 yrs!
MP note: Not a word on SC based ethanol!
Dick Vodra, CFP – Spire Investment Planners, McLean, VA
Two decision levels (relevant to Peak Oil):
“PO will likely cause disruption at all levels and new rules at all levels” (wow, nothing new to us, but strange from a mainstream CFP)
Reduce personal debt
Reduce risk exposure generally
“... likely to create a world where transportation of all kinds is much more expensive ...”
Support farmer’s markets
Support local retail production
Participate in community organizations
Know your neighbors
Support alternative transportation.
“... likely to affect availability of products and services. Repairing and reusing will become common again. Self-reliance will be more important.
Become and stay healthy
Learn new skills
Keith Behrens – Energy Capital Solutions (Dallas)
Panda - $90 MM ethanol near Hereford, TX
It quickly became evident that ethanol is currently underwater, reeling substantially, probably due to a rush to market with so many plants, lack of distribution, marketing, increase in corn prices (notwithstanding the controversial economics/proposition in the first place)
132 ethanol facilities now, 27 more under construction.
Much supply, not much infrastructure.
Ethanol price dropped 33% last yr, corn increased in price
$0.50 /gal tax break with ethanol, so usually ethanol should be $0.50 above gas prices – not so now.
Not a WORD on SC ethanol!
George Baker – Mexico Energy Intelligence
Big Mexican fields:
Big Mexican fields:
Flat at 1 MMBO/D for 10 years
Then in 2000 began injecting 1 BCF/D of N2, increased rate to 2 MMBO/D in 2005. (MP: Mexico total then 3.4 MMBO/D)
In 2007: 1.5 – 1.6 MMBO/D
In 2008: 0.8 MMBO/D
In 2009: 0.6 MMBO/D
$7 Billion, 10 years, 100 wells, H2S, CO2, heavy oil, FPSO used for production when infrastructure was already in place???
Plan is from 2007 – 2016, to drill 10,692 development wells that each come on at around 150 BO/D, then decline to 50 BO/D!!! Impossible.
Claiming deepwater, 400 MMCF/D, 2012 – but that is just the gas, oil will take much longer.
Mexico Peaked in 2004.
Acting like “business as usual.”
KMZ, Chicontepec are suspect.
Deepwater on Mexican side, need 80 companies working on it, not one.
Cross-border fields may change government policy, or not? (MP: Draining them?)
David Hughes – Canadian Geological Survey – “Natural Gas and Coal: Some challenging facts.”
A series of nice, colorful graphs. In presentation available at link.
Bottom-line: Unfortunately, not much help from Natural Gas, nor even coal.
Scott Pugh – “Nuclear Power: Pros, Cons, and the Efficiency Card”
2005 retired from Navy as a sub commander, joined Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute as “Military Principal”, now works for Science and Technology Dept. of Homeland Security
It would take 1000 – 2MW nuclear plants to run all our vehicles, cost $3-4 Billion, at 10/yr take 100 years, and we’d run out of fuel before we were finished.
12 companies are “talking about” applying for 27 plants, now.
Utilities have small market caps compared to the cost of just one nuclear plant.
Would take 7 – 10 years to build a plant today.
Roger Bezder – Co-Author, Hirsch Report, NETL
DC to West Coast, recent discount ticket for $150. If fuel prices double, ticket would only have to got to $190, that is still a good deal.
“Peak Oil ECONOMIC EFFECTS will have a larger impact (and a significant one) on aviation industry, rather than the cost of fuel relating to continuing to operate.” (MP: also supply shortfall, shortages, rationing he implies later, rather than price per se.)
“Air traffic grows faster than GDP, and air traffic will SLOW faster than GDP.”
“Model: Assume peaking in 2008, then oil declines 2 %.”
Chronic excess capacity – chaos in industry and beyond.
100’s of billions of $ of stranded investment.
Tourism, cities that depend on travel will suffer.
AG, Healthcare, MFG, Emergency Services will have priority when fuel is in short supply.
Justin Ward – Toyota Motor Sales, USA – “Plug-in Hybrid Technology Update”
Bottom-line/stumbling block: Batteries not ready for EV, PHEV
Current Prius conversion batteries cost $15,000
Don’t warranty that long
Possible thermal management problems
Diesels: “Post 2007 rules require thousand of dollars of tailpipe cleaunup to meet CARB (CA) specs – which are no longer just CA but many states.” (Mercedes-Benz)
John Kaufmann, Oregon Dept. of Energy – “Summary from the Portland Peak Oil Task Force”
Sanctioned by the City Council
Major tenets of their group:
Peak Oil will happen – probably sooner rather than later.
It will be a “Long Emergency”, not sudden, not over quickly.
No Magic Bullet alternate supply alternatives.
Good presentation, is available on link.
Roger Duncan, Deputy Director, Austin Energy – “The View from a Municipal Utility”
Austin – no rate increase for 13 years – one is coming soon.
Takes 20 years to replace a 500 MW coal plant with solar.
Even with all the things they are doing in terms of conservation and alt energy in Austin, are not meeting load growth. Need new plants, costs are staggering.
Peter Bishop – Professor, U of H, “Houston after Peak Oil”, presentation online
“Puncutated equilibrium” – one era after another.
“Complexity of societyis a function of the energy it has.”
“Up to now, had an increasing energy density.”
“Transitions inevitably create problems.”
Houston – 50 % energy/chemical economy today, was 85% in 1983
Bottom-line (among other things):
Society that goes fewer places.
No internal combustion engines.