Peak OIl
What is Peak oil theory Peak Oil is the point where global oil production maximizes and enters an irreversible decline. Peak Oil Theory is an extrapolation of a typical oil field’s production decline curve. The Peak Oil Theory doesn’t propose that the world is running out of oil; it just attempts to predict when the world will no longer be able to increase or even maintain its current daily production. Peak Oil Theory is simple science backed by years of empirical data gathered from tens of thousands of existing fields. Why is it important of understand peak oil? Acknowledging the validity of the Peak Oil Theory will go a long way toward removing the political barriers that currently hinder our efforts to move to a sustainable society. How much oil does the world use? The world uses about 100 million barrels a day; 36 Billion barrels a year; 1 trillion every 28 years. If this daily production was put into foot-high, one gallon containers and these containers were strung together, the string would circle the earth at the equator 32 times. ONE DAY’S USAGE! Peak Oil Theory models the production of all the worlds’ oil fields; how many are there? Presently, there are more than 65,000 oil fields around the world, with many of the largest located in the Middle East where thousands of oil fields have been discovered. Despite the large number of fields 94% of known reserves are concentrated in fewer than 1500 major oil fields. Of these 1500 fields approximately 500 are giant class fields (over 500 million bbls), with 40 of those reaching super-giant status (over 5 billion bbls). When were all the giant oil fields found? With a few exceptions, most of the major onshore oil fields/shallow offshore were found between 1926 and 1979. You don’t miss a major oil field, they are huge (Ghawar is 170mi by 20mi). Exceptions: 1998 onshore Shaybah The Empty Quarter- Saudi Arabia; 1979 offshore Ku-Maloob-Zaap- Mexico; 2009 onshore Shaikan and Sheikh Adi -Kurdish Iraq; and, the master of disaster, the poster child for the proof of peak oil, 2000 offshore (shallow) Kashagan- Kazakhstan. How much oil does the world have? The world’s Proven Reserves that currently total 1.7 trillion barrels are mostly in OPEC (about 80%). Proven Reserves refer to the quantity of oil that a company reasonably expects to extract from a given formation given the technology available and the current pricing (reserves can grow without any new discoveries; typically, 15-20% for any given field, but restated reserves do not impact the field’s decline curve). Proven reserves are established using geological and engineering data gathered through seismic testing and exploratory drilling. Oil (bitumen) sands and heavy oil represent over 50% of the worlds Proven Reserves. How many of the world's major oil fields have peaked? Onshore conventional oil production, the mainstay of our global economy for the last 90 years, peaked around 2011. All but 4 of the 25 largest onshore/shallow water oil fields ever discovered have peaked; with peaked meaning it’s impossible to raise the daily production regardless of how much oil is left in the play (or the price of oil). Below is a list of major oil fields that represent hundreds of billions of barrels of oil and millions of barrels of daily production. These are the fields that powered the world; THEY ARE ALL IN TERMINAL DECLINE. Meaning, that their production drops by a few percentage points every year. Ghawar peaked (5.7 Mbbl/d to 3.5 Mbbl/d); Samotlor peaked (3.2 Mbbls/d to 750 Kbbls/d);Burgan peaked (2.4 Mbbl/d to 1.2Mbbl/d); Romashkinskoye peaked (1.65 Mbbls/d to 300 Kbbls/d); Gachsaran peaked (1.2 Mbbl/d to 560Kbbl/d); Bolivar Coastal (it's Venezuela, it’s a mess!); Safaniya peaked (1.5 Mbbl/d to 1.3 Mbbl/d). Prudhoe Bay peaked (1.5 Mbbl to 300 Kbbl/d);Diqang peaked (1.1 Mbbls/d to 550 Kbbl/d); Cantarell peaked (1.16 Mbbl/d to 300 Kbbl/d); Marun (1.3 Mbbl/d to 350 Kbbl/d); Agha Jari peaked (1 Mbbls/d to 170 Kbbls/d) and Thistle which was mismanaged. So, when a field hits peak production, is it out of oil? No, an oil field that has peaked can have billions of barrels of oil left. The remaining oil because of the physics of oil production (pressure, water cut etc.) can only be extracted at an ever slower rate. Production typically declines by about 3% a year, but that decline can vary greatly depending on the success of the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) methods (water-flooding, gas injection etc.) deployed. Is the world finding more oil? Not onshore easy oil and not nearly enough to offset the world’s 36 billion barrels per year usage (we use about 11 times what we’ve been finding)! And in the last 10 years, with a few exceptions, ALL of the significant oil fields were found in deepwater (1000ft) or ultra-deepwater (5000ft). Examples: 2006 Lula/Tupi/Cernambi -Brazil; 2010 Johan Sverdrup- Norway; 2015 Stabroek block- Guyana; 2020 Orange Basin- Namibia. America has shale, it is energy-independent; right? The U.S. has lots of shale, but NO, America is not energy independent. Our alleged energy independence is based on a misunderstanding of the term “barrels-of-oil-equivalent” (boe). Shale is a very light form of crude, when a well is fracked a lot of NGL’s come up with the crude. NGL’s are not crude, yet many people conflate the two together; making it seem as if we are producing 20 Mbbls/d (see EIA charts below – we still import a lot of oil). The U.S. exports about 2.5 Mbbls a day of these NGL’s (ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and pentane). The world needs their plastic bags, too How much oil does the United States use? It’s complicated by mismatched refining capabilities, but the usual number quoted is 20 million barrels a day (7 Billion bbls/year). That represents about 20% of the world’s usage for a nation with just 4% of the world’s population. If the entire world used oil as the United States does production would need to be 500 Mbbls/day! What is shale fracking? Modern high-volume hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to enable the extraction of natural gas or oil from shale and other forms of “tight” rock (in other words, impermeable rock formations that lock in oil and gas and make “classic” fossil fuel production impossible). Large quantities of water, chemicals, and sand are blasted into these formations at pressures high enough to crack the rock, allowing the once-trapped gas and oil to flow to the surface. It’s very inefficient compared to conventional oil production, and its production is very transitory. How much oil does the U.S. get from fracking? The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that shale accounts for 66% of our domestic oil production and 79% of our natural gas.
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