Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
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Considering the EROEI of refining has been around 80:20 for the past century, probably worse in the past, we aren't looking at a very big drop in the total EROEI of oil's energetic products. The drop in the EROEI of extraction could have at worst dropped the EROEI of oil's refined energetic products, assuming refinery efficiency was the same in the past as it is now, which is unlikely AFAIK, from ~79:21 in 1930 to ~77:23 in 1970, and to ~72:28 as of 2000.AirlinePilot wrote:JD, I thought you knew where we would be? Come on Mr Cornucopia! We'll be awash in the stuff!!!
Professor Membrane wrote: Not now son, I'm making ... TOAST!
scubafox wrote:I had this same idea that we'd experience "Cliff Oil" back in 2006 http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/cliffoil.shtml.
And Global Warming is *real* so we'd better do something about that anyway; see "Global Warming: An Inconvenient-to-Understand Truth" http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/cloudyskies.shtml.
The estimated total energy cost of shale gas extraction is thus in the approximate range of 30 to 35 billion Btu while the estimated ultimate energy produced is in the range of 2.6 trillion to nearly 5 trillion Btu. The ratio of energy produced to energy expended for shale gas based on the approaches outlined above is thus at least 70 and perhaps well over 100. This is extremely good relative to the probable EROEI values for other current energy sources.
A valuable measure of a fuel’s usefulness and long-term viability is its energy return on (energy) investment (EROI)
But is it really low hanging fruit? Or has the industry been playing fast and loose with the numbers to draw in investors?OilFinder2 wrote:When some new "high-hanging fruit" is discovered p-the-starr is quick to point out its height from the ground. But when somebody proves a whole bunch of low-hanging fruit just got discovered, p-the-starr goes into a hissy fit of denial.
Some worry natural gas outlook is inflatedNatural gas companies have been placing enormous bets on the wells they are drilling, saying they will deliver big profits and provide a vast new source of energy for the United States. But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry emails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells.
“Money is pouring in” from investors even though shale gas is “inherently unprofitable,” an analyst from PNC Wealth Management, an investment company, wrote to a contractor in a February email. “Reminds you of dot-coms.” “The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work,” an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company, wrote in an email on Aug. 28, 2009. Company data for more than 10,000 wells in three major shale gas formations raise further questions about the industry’s prospects. There is undoubtedly a vast amount of gas in the formations. The question remains how affordably it can be extracted.
The data show that while there are some very active wells, they are often surrounded by vast zones of less-productive wells that in some cases cost more to drill and operate than the gas they produce is worth. Also, the amount of gas produced by many of the successful wells is falling much faster than initially predicted by energy companies, making it more difficult for them to turn a profit over the long run. If natural gas ultimately proves more expensive to extract from the ground than has been predicted, landowners, investors and lenders could see their investments falter, while consumers will pay a price in higher electricity and home heating bills.
“I think we have a big problem.” Deborah Rogers, a member of the advisory committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, recalled saying those words in a May 2010 telephone call to a senior economist at the Reserve. “We need to take a close look at this right away,” she added. A former stockbroker with Merrill Lynch, Rogers said she started studying well data from shale companies in October 2009 after attending a speech by the chief executive of Chesapeake, Aubrey McClendon. The math was not adding up, Rogers said. Her research showed that wells were petering out faster than expected. “These wells are depleting so quickly that the operators are in an expensive game of ‘catch-up,’” Rogers wrote in an email on Nov. 17, 2009, to a petroleum geologist in Houston, who wrote back that he agreed. “This could have profound consequences for our local economy,” she explained in the email. Fort Worth residents were already reeling from the sudden reversal of fortune for the natural gas industry.
That boom-and-bust volatility had raised eyebrows among people like Rogers, as well as energy analysts and geologists, who started looking closely at the data on wells’ performance.
Some doubts about the industry are being raised by people who work inside energy companies, too. “Our engineers here project these wells out to 20-30 years of production and in my mind that has yet to be proven as viable,” wrote a geologist at Chesapeake in a March 17 email to a federal energy analyst.
A cumulative production estimate for a typical Marcellus shale well for a 10-year period of 2.11 billion cubic feet was extrapolated to a 25-year period, yielding an estimate of approximately 2.9 billion cubic feet.
Pops wrote:I followed a few of the links back to the source of the big extrapolated total production figures which of course the good return numbers rely on - one looks like a webinar presentation to landowners about the ins and outs of leasing land to the drillers - I'm not sure of the impartiality of that source.
Another source is the eia and the link is dead.
* Gender: Male
* Industry: Environment
* Occupation: Research Scientist, Consultant, College Professor
* Location: Central New Jersey : United States
It's clear there's way more going on than initial perceptions reveal. With luck some of the skills I've gained in my varied career will help me see a little deeper.
* And education? Ph.D. in environmental science.
Dr. Mike Aucott has a Ph.D. in environmental sciences from Rutgers University, and works with NJDEP’s Division of Science, Research, & Technology. His work includes development of inventories of New Jersey emissions of greenhouse gases and researching potential impacts of climate change on the State. He currently heads up the Trends Team, which is responsible for development and regular updating of measurements and related trends relevant to the condition of the environment in New Jersey. The Trends Team maintains and updates the Environmental Trends report on the NJDEP/DSRT web site, http://www.state.nj.us/dep/dsr/trends2005/ . Mike has also developed inventories of New Jersey emissions of mercury, and has investigated releases of mercury from broken fluorescent tubes and has helped examine ways to minimize mercury releases to the environment from a variety of sources.
OilFinder2 wrote:So, I think it's fair to say this guy is more qualified to make a calculation such as this than ... probably 99% of this forum.
Pops wrote:Appeal to authority, OF, that's always your backstop,
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