February 21, 2018

No, shale oil has not refudiated #PeakOil

First, oil is a finite resource, contra a few Russian abiogenesis nutters. Therefore, even with perfect production techniques, we would hit a peak in production.

Second, don't believe the hype about shale oil.

Yes, we look to catch up to the US 1970 peak in production this year. We may pass it.

And it probably won't last that long.

For people who overhype the long-term prospects for shale oil (including, perhaps, some staff at the Houston Chronicle), this piece explains fully what I've said before. Shale wells look good because they have a high initial production — that drops off FAR more rapidly than older "conventional" wells. 

The piece notes that the Bakken and Eagle Ford may well already be past peak, and that the Energy Information Agency may well be overtouting the Wolfcamp formation in the Permian. (What, the EIA overtout something? I'm shocked there's gambling in this room.)

The OilPrice piece also notes that modern fracking, when oil tapers off away from an area's sweet spot, may partially parallel multiple holes in the past. Go read the whole thing.

In other words, it's kind of like running electricity through 220 volt lines rather than 110, while only having 20 percent more amperage, not 100 percent.

Or, for a better analogy, from natural gas, here in Texas? As one commenter on that site notes, nobody talks about the Barnett Shale any more. The Marcellus is cheaper, richer and the Barnett has seen its best drilling already.

And, (linked at the piece), read the Post Carbon Institute's take on the EIA's rosy assumptions in general. Here's a good extract from early on:
More aggressive technology, coupled with longer horizontal laterals, allows each well to drain more reservoir area, but reduces the number of drilling locations and therefore does not necessarily increase the total recovery from a play—it just allows the resource to be recovered more quickly at lower cost from fewer wells. 
Exactly. I've known that for years.

And visit the home site behind all this.

Is this more correct than the EIA's fluffing? Well, a previous Post Carbon Institute report a few years ago forced EIA to reduce its original fluffing on projected reserves in California's Monterey Shale by 96 percent.

David Hughes, the author of the Post Carbon piece above, was the person who also exposed the reality about Monterey:
Over the past decade, Hughes has researched, published and lectured widely on global energy and sustainability issues in North America and internationally. His work with Post Carbon Institute includes ... Drilling California (2013), which critically examined the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) estimates of technically recoverable tight oil in the Monterey Shale, which the EIA claimed constituted two-thirds of U.S. tight oil (the EIA subsequently wrote down its resource estimate for the Monterey by 96%); and Drilling Deeper (2014), which challenged the U.S. Department of Energy’s expectation of long-term domestic oil and natural gas abundance with an in-depth assessment of all drilling and production data from the major shale plays through mid-2014. 
Yeah, it's more correct than the EIA and the EIA has admitted that.

So, don't believe the latest BS, and don't believe journalists who don't push back against EIA data.

It's possible that, at least in the Permian, fracking may peak in just 4 years.

No comments: