October 01, 2011

WSJ gets #PeakOil, #Bakken totally wrong

Peak Oil denialism and minimalization is perhaps not quite as politically predictable as climate change denialism, but, it's probably not that far away. And, when you can combine that with a faint hint of neoconservativism, all the better!

So, it's no surprise that Wall Street Journal/Cato nutbar opiner Stephen Moore says, with the help of a willing mouthpiece that North Dakota's Bakken oil shale formation means the Peace Garden State is the new Saudi Arabia and that OPEC's days are numbered.

And, when your nutbar is willing to do serious fluffing, all the better!
How much oil does Bakken have? The official estimate of the U.S. Geological Survey a few years ago was between four and five billion barrels. (Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources) disagrees: "No way. We estimate that the entire field, fully developed, in Bakken is 24 billion barrels."
Uhh, Hamm's beer doesn't have that much cheap canned crap. The estimates are held in common by  others, not just USGS, as this site notes. Wikipedia has more; per its links, the highest claim I've seen is 18 billion barrels, and that's with a highly controversial claim of 50 percent oil recoverability. To get to Hamm's 24 billion barrels, unless he's also moving the goalposts on estimated reserves, you'd have to have 67 percent recoverability. And, at what per-barrel price are harder-to-reach portions of the reserves here worth recovering?

Oh, and this does NOT make Saudi Arabia irrelevant. Even with whatever fluffing it's doing, KSA claims more than 250 billion barrels of reserves. And, as of last year, OPEC overall had more than 80 percent of world reserves. Beyond that, Hamm tells a flat lie; OPEC production as a share of world production is increasing. So, reality? Per other quotes in the story, this is just the WSJ and Moore finding an excuse to bash alternative energy. Moore goes on to downplay other issues with shale oil drilling and more, unsurprisingly.

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