Posts tagged with oil

projections and history of US petroleum-product usage and production

by the US government via C-SPAN

  • huge projected growth in natural gas usage
  • Marcellus Shale obviously making a huge impact
  • increased profits to primary sector, but this will not hugely change GDP

The life forms on our planet have necessarily evolved to match the magnitude of [thermal] energy flows. But while “natural man” is in balance with these heat flows, “technological man” has used his mind, his back, and his will to harness and control energy flows that are far more intense than those we experience naturally….

A society based on power technology teems with heat transfer problems.

John H. Lienhard IV & John H. Lienhard V, A Heat Transfer Textbook

via the idea factory: learning to think at mit

Energy consumption per person since 1820. by Gail Tverberg


181 Plays

BHP Billiton from The Economist

  • the cut and thrust of dealmaking
  • putting finance types in the C suite rather than engineers
  • diversifying as mines are both very large and financially volatile

I was riding a bus through the western United States. From the eastern border of Wyoming down through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, … onward to my destination.

There was a young man who rode with us for a while. He came from Gillette, Wyoming: pop. 29,087 or 2.4 people per acre.

He told us that

  1. He had already tried dating every girl in his town
  2. He was riding the bus on a mission of love. He had saved up enough money by working in the oil fields to “rescue” his long-distance girlfriend.

Rescue her from what? was the response from most of the women to whom he told this story on our journey.


His girlfriend lived 3,000 kilometres away. They had never met in person. She was living with her ex-boyfriend, who, according to the young man on the bus, was still having sex with her (but she didn’t want to).

To the many women to whom he told this story during the 30-hour bus ride he relayed varying stories of the ex-boyfriend’s jerkitude, as well as of the strength of his relationship with this young woman.

  • They had talked every day for a year and a half.
  • She told him she loved him.
  • He was going out there to save her and bring her back to Wyoming to live with him.
  • (By the way: having given up the oil fields for some reason that slips my mind, he was working at a petrol station doing stuff like preparing pizza, slicing deli meats, and mopping floors. He lived with a roommate but I believe the roommate was willing to move out once he brought the young woman back to Gillette, Wyoming.)

To say the story was met with scepticism by the female co-Greyhounders would be a gross understatement. Many, ranging in age from (I guess) late teens to middle age, tried to warn the young man of the error of what he was doing.

  • He was missing the obvious signs.
  • She lives with the other guy.
  • You’ve never been next to her in person.
  • She’s lying to you, or to him, or both.
  • He was just lonely (and, they were too polite to add—ugly and lacking in social sense) to see things clearly.

But he was resolute. He had saved up enough money to rent a car to drive both of them back to Wyoming. He had brought duffel bags for her belongings. He had arranged for her to meet his foster parents in Colorado on the way home.

I never got to hear how the story ended.

  • Global oil consumption grew by 0.7% million barrels per day, or 0.7%, to reach 88 million b/d. This is a low growth number.
  • Global energy consumption rose 3.5% in 2011l, OECD consumption dropping little-by-little the past few years balanced against developing economies consuming 5% more energy per year. China’s consumption grew 71%.




BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012

I find pro-environmental chatter so much more credible coming from an old Texan engineer with a heavy drawl from the industry, than my normal stereotype of an anti-fracking activist.

Dale Henry, Petroleum Engineer (por CitizensShale)

deepwater horizon oil spill, day 100
via the jerry curl


The Future of Oil (por StanfordUniversity)

peak oil vs. “business as usual”

  • accounting & measuring issues
  • using the lower-48 states of the USA as a statistical basis for “what exhausting a given area’s geological reserves should look like” elsewhere in the world
  • new kinds of discoveries (deepwater, tarsands, seismic tools by geophysicists application to reservoir finding)
    • the first trillion bbl we’ve used
    • the second trillion bbl we know where it is
    • the third trillion bbl — ???
  • issues of stocks vs flows
  • We’re actually discovering more oil fields now (due to seismic & 3D reservoir modelling), but they’re smaller.
  • Saudi Arabia used to produce 12% of the world’s oil consumption with only a handful of rigs (12) — just very, very productive wells. Now they have several times that number of rigs
  • It’s not even that wildcatting (new drilling) is discovering less oil per year. But rather the second derivative <0. The growth in per-year wildcat additions is slowing. (Whilst it’s thought demand will grow ever faster as growing populations in developing countries finally get decent modern lifestyles supplied with electricity.)
  • We also know that we’ve already found all the big oil fields, because bigger (gigantic) oil fields are the easiest ones to find.
  • image
  • 48,000 oil fields but maybe 500 huge ones.
  • (World’s biggest oil field, in Saudi Arabia, produces 6% of the world’s oil per year, and has done so since the 1950’s.)
  • Daqing oil field produces half of China’s oil by itself. (how’s this for your long tail / powerlaw distro!)
  • Recovery rates vary from 20% to 70%, averaging 35%
  • The enhanced recovery methods use pretty “simple” or familiar solvents/methods. CO, heat, ….
  • (Kind of like cancer treatments, right? Burn, poison, and cut, all familiar to 1st-century Barbarians, although we do the burning with lasers and the cutting with robots.) But since air and water and heat are such simple stuff, we can do things on an industrial scale within adequate expence.
  • "Green" friendly idea: take CO₂ gas from eg a coal plant and pipe it back into the ground to sweep the oil over to the pump.
  • Not a lot of 30-somethings in petroleum engineering. So the 20-somethings getting more responsibility & pay early on in their careers.
  • Some projections about likely future production. He takes a humble position about his gut instinct on the projection.
  • But! This was 1 October 2009. And he says (at the 1-hour mark) he doesn’t think offshore drilling will lead to environmental catastrophe. Deepwater Horizon oil spill 6½ months later. But he was so humble about his other prediction I feel bad pointing this out.

These charts are undeniably beautiful, but they violate Tufte principles 1, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12.

Charts can look great but E Tufte says we should let the data do the talking, rather than the design. Adding some sparkle to the data is “wrong” or at least, Tufte-wrong, for data-graphics.

Here it seems like the talented artist has tried to “add some sparkle and theme” to “boring numbers” — rather than accentuating what’s exciting about the numbers themselves. To my way of thinking, if the message the numbers are telling you is interesting, then that makes the numbers worth looking at.

  • Did you say I could get a 25% raise?!
  • Did you say people are 30% taller than they were 250 years ago?
  • Did you say a 19% chance of rain on our wedding today? Or 90%?
  • Did you say the cost of electricity is one-one-hundredth of what it was 90 years ago?
  • Did you say my heating bill is double what it needs to be if I insulated better?
  • A man and a mouse are only one order of magnitude apart?
  • I could commute across America on a bike if I were two orders of magnitude faster?
  • Did you say that 99% of the people own 1% of the wealth? Or was it 99.999% of the people owning .000001% of the wealth? Or both? Wait, these numbers are actually crucial to the story!

Of course it’s no surprise that most people think cifras son aburridas — since their main memory of figures is through boring maths class, rather than as integral elements of a story.

What it’s talking about:

As in the wieners I drew, it’s not easy to make the logically beautiful look visually beautiful.