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Peak oil debate

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 11:05:53

The way I see it, the heavy oil and the light one from Shale/fracking, was NOT used extensively before because the EROEI is not good.


completely incorrect. The US has been blending heavy oil and light oil to put into refineries for many years. The refineries were all retooled years ago to take advantage of returns from cracking heavier components. Previously the heavy oil came from a mix of countries but primarily Canada and Venezuela and light oil was imported from places like Saudi Arabia. The only difference that has occurred is that Venezuela has become less of a source of heavy with Canada replacing the volumes and the light oil that was previously imported for blending is now being replaced by US production of LTO.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 11:08:04

T - Is one of us misunderstanding what Revi posted: "I can't remember a time when diesel was more than a dollar more than gas." Your chart seems to confirm his post. Or am I confused?
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby marmico » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 11:26:26

Gasoline refining margins have collapsed and distillate (diesel) refining margins are above average. Aggregate the change in margins and the retail diesel-gasoline spread widens.

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=37612
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby Pops » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 11:35:48

Revi wrote:How about this?

Fuel oil is leftovers, the dregs. The amount of leftovers has fallen since 2007 because a) other uses like unleaded are more profitable, and b) declines in uses other than transport:

A little dated but good for context
Global fuel oil production was approximately 8.9 million BPD in 2015. Around 3.1 million BPD of this volume was used as a bunker fuel. At 35% of the total, bunker fuel was the dominant use of fuel oil. Fuel oil is also used for electricity generation, heating and for a variety of industrial purposes. In 2015, the fuel oil component represented only slightly more than half of the total bunker demand, with the rest being mostly distillates....

While bunker fuel demand has been slowly rising in recent years, nonbunker fuel oil demand has been falling for decades. Since 1986, nonbunker fuel oil demand is down by nearly 60% and further declines are expected through the next decade. By 2020, we estimate global nonbunker fuel oil demand to be slightly over 4.1 million BPD.

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http://www.turnermason.com/index.php/he ... er-bunker/
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby Pops » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 12:22:23

The decline in fuel oil use is probably in large part switching from oil to nat gas power generation.
Ironically, that's where fracking took off initially, wasn't it?
So the decline in fuel oil IS due to fracking!
LOL
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby MD » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 17:04:04

Two bucks a gallon here in Florida. I've given up crystal ball gazing. No idea what comes next. I'll just take each day as it comes, expecting each to be about like the last, until it isn't.
Stop filling dumpsters, as much as you possibly can, and everything will get better.

Just think it through.
It's not hard to do.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 17:17:54

rockdoc123 wrote:
The way I see it, the heavy oil and the light one from Shale/fracking, was NOT used extensively before because the EROEI is not good.


completely incorrect. The US has been blending heavy oil and light oil to put into refineries for many years. The refineries were all retooled years ago to take advantage of returns from cracking heavier components. Previously the heavy oil came from a mix of countries but primarily Canada and Venezuela and light oil was imported from places like Saudi Arabia. The only difference that has occurred is that Venezuela has become less of a source of heavy with Canada replacing the volumes and the light oil that was previously imported for blending is now being replaced by US production of LTO.

Really. I said extensively. In past times NO talk of a shale boom, or exploitation of the tar sands of Canada or Eagle Ford or Fracking or any of that. Conventional reserves were meeting very well world wide demand. Then in 2005, coinciding with this site going online, we hear of peak conventional crude. We have people freaking out here on this site, We have PO experts like Campbell and Laheire calling peak, we have the runup to $147 oil in 2008. So no you cannot say this was all happening before 2005 because it didn't.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby Pops » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 17:26:31

This is just memory but seems way back here we were talking about how thr refiners were retooling to take heavier crudes from CA, MX, Venezuela, because light sweet was beginning to dwindle
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 17:28:36

Pops wrote:This is just memory but seems way back here we were talking about how thr refiners were retooling to take heavier crudes from CA, MX, Venezuela, because light sweet was beginning to dwindle

Yes Pops 2005 and afterwards 8)
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 17:45:50

ROCKMAN wrote:T - Is one of us misunderstanding what Revi posted: "I can't remember a time when diesel was more than a dollar more than gas." Your chart seems to confirm his post. Or am I confused?


I was in a hurry when I posted it, the missing paragraph is
Tanada wrote:This chart shows wholesale prices reaching a level of over 80 cents a gallon in the last decade. Combined with local fuel taxes in Ohio and Michigan where I have lived the last decade that created a $1/gallon differential at the pump that lasted a seemingly long time, decreased for a few month below threshold and then went back above the $1/gallon mark again. At that time around here rail traffic almost doubled and road truck traffic took a steep hit.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 17:50:58

onlooker wrote:
rockdoc123 wrote:
The way I see it, the heavy oil and the light one from Shale/fracking, was NOT used extensively before because the EROEI is not good.


completely incorrect. The US has been blending heavy oil and light oil to put into refineries for many years. The refineries were all retooled years ago to take advantage of returns from cracking heavier components. Previously the heavy oil came from a mix of countries but primarily Canada and Venezuela and light oil was imported from places like Saudi Arabia. The only difference that has occurred is that Venezuela has become less of a source of heavy with Canada replacing the volumes and the light oil that was previously imported for blending is now being replaced by US production of LTO.

Really. I said extensively. In past times NO talk of a shale boom, or exploitation of the tar sands of Canada or Eagle Ford or Fracking or any of that. Conventional reserves were meeting very well world wide demand. Then in 2005, coinciding with this site going online, we hear of peak conventional crude. We have people freaking out here on this site, We have PO experts like Campbell and Laheire calling peak, we have the runup to $147 oil in 2008. So no you cannot say this was all happening before 2005 because it didn't.


Hold up there Onlooker, the Athabaska 'tar' sands started producing back in the 1980's and as prices started climbing around 2002 they started expanding production, at least that is how I remember it. Back in the beginning as RockDoc posted they used 'Arab Light' from the middle east as the blending component, but they were definitely blending Athabaska bitumen sands oil three decades ago.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 18:07:54

Well if you look at this link, you can see that production in Athabaska 'tar' sands, really took off in the period 2005-2012
2005 = 760,000 bpd
2012= 1.8 million bpd
So again, I am saying production really took off not started

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_oil_sands
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 18:21:39

onlooker wrote:Well if you look at this link, you can see that production in Athabaska 'tar' sands, really took off in the period 2005-2012
2005 = 760,000 bpd
2012= 1.8 million bpd
So again, I am saying production really took off not started

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_oil_sands


In your original post you said
onlooker wrote:The way I see it, the heavy oil and the light one from Shale/fracking, was NOT used extensively before because the EROEI is not good.


Now 'Extensively' is up for interpretation, but that 760,000/bbl/d of Canadian heavy was accompanied by Californian heavy and Venezuelan heavy, it wasn't just one item in isolation. Californian heavy has been declining for decades and VZ has had serious production problems for a decade so the logical place to increase production was, you guessed it, Canada. The fact that Fracking came on strong in North Dakota making it cheaper to make dilbit from the Canadian heavy oil sand output and the pipeline capacity has been increased significantly since 2005 for cross border shipping both were also factors in making Alberta a more profitable source of the heavy oil for blending. However it was used for that purpose in a steadily increasing amount even longer than I remembered going all the way back to the mid 1970's instead of mid 1980's.

It is nearly always a mistake to cherry pick a particular field/formation/country and try and use that as an example of what is going on everywhere. Laws and regulations on how a particular resource is exploited change every time you cross a state or national border. Economics of any particular source can vary widely due to cofactors like access to transport and thus access to markets that desire the particular production stream.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 18:36:19

Okay, I admit I get in over my head when I get into these technical detailed conversations related to Oil. But Tanada, would you not admit that the real ramping up of heavy oil and shale/fracking occurred 2005 and afterwards. I mean in comparision to levels of production before. And one has to inquire the reason. Which is to say that economics is the decisive factor but that stems from the EROEI as energy is priced like any other commodity. So, the EROEI was more favorable to exploit conventional reserves before these unconventional, LTO, Heavy oil, Shale/fracking etc. Just curious your opinion T.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 18:39:38

Really. I said extensively. In past times NO talk of a shale boom, or exploitation of the tar sands of Canada or Eagle Ford or Fracking or any of that. Conventional reserves were meeting very well world wide demand. Then in 2005, coinciding with this site going online, we hear of peak conventional crude. We have people freaking out here on this site, We have PO experts like Campbell and Laheire calling peak, we have the runup to $147 oil in 2008. So no you cannot say this was all happening before 2005 because it didn't.


well, I guess you weren't around before 2005, this history of inputs to refineries in the US and US production and imports is pretty clear.

First off the refineries were retooled for heavier blends well before 2005
Secondly, the US has been importing increasing amounts of heavy oil from Canada and Venezuela since the late eighties early nineties
Thirdly US production of medium and light oils which were used to blend with heavy oil has steadily fallen off since the late seventies, and that was offset by imports of lighter crudes up until that was no longer necessary due to the LTO boom.

OK. Here are a few graphs that explain what I was saying.
First, we look at US production by source. By 1970 lower 48 oil which was a mix of medium to light oil started its serious decline, some was replaced by light oil offshore but it wasn’t until 2004 that LTO started into its own and not until 2010 that it took off on its boom.

Image

Then we look at CDN heavy oil production. This has been on a steady rise from the mid-eighties through til now and outside of a small proportion being refined in Canada, the vast majority has gone to the US.

Image

That is reflected in the third chart which shows US imports by API. Note that heavier oils have steadily increased from the eighties onwards but also that imports of medium to light increased significantly from the nineties onwards. That was of course because US production of medium to light was decreasing and the refineries needed those fractions to blend with the heavy oil they were purchasing in increasing amounts. But by the time the shale boom took off the import of light oil dropped right off, simply because now the US was producing all the light oil it needed for blending to the optimal grade for existing refinery setups.

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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 18:46:29

"but it wasn’t until 2004 that LTO started into its own and not until 2010 that it took off on its boom."
Okay so this confirms what I said and as for heavy, well you have some clear data that refutes my contention, thanks
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 19:58:53

onlooker wrote:Okay, I admit I get in over my head when I get into these technical detailed conversations related to Oil. But Tanada, would you not admit that the real ramping up of heavy oil and shale/fracking occurred 2005 and afterwards. I mean in comparison to levels of production before. And one has to inquire the reason. Which is to say that economics is the decisive factor but that stems from the EROEI as energy is priced like any other commodity. So, the EROEI was more favorable to exploit conventional reserves before these unconventional, LTO, Heavy oil, Shale/fracking etc. Just curious your opinion T.


The reason why heavy oil production has been ramping up faster since 2005 is pretty much the reason this website exists. Demand for oil on a world wide basis boomed in the 1990's and has continued to boom since 1991 when the Coalition Kuwaiti Invasion threw Iraq out. China started rapid, as in doubling its economy every 4-5 years rapid, economic growth especially dated from the Clinton Administration negotiating most favored nation trading status encouraging American manufacturing to off shore production to China. This started slowly in the 1980's but by the end of the 1990's it was a virtual Juggernaut with more and more companies moving facilities to China as fast as the power grid and other infrastructure could support constructing factories there. At its peak China was adding over 1 GWe generation capacity EVERY WEEK to its grid to supply all this mass influx of manufacturing capacity.

Along about 2005 we hit a tipping point where world 'conventional' sourced oil alone could not meet world demand. However we had already been exploiting 'unconventional' reservoirs like 'tar sands' and to a much lesser extent immature kerogen containing shale and slates in places like Canada for the former and Estonia for the latter. The technology to grow Canadian heavy all production was well known and proven by 2005 having been progressively improved from the 1970's onward so adding Canadian heavy oil production was a 'no brainer' as it were.

At the same time unfortunately Chavez in Venezuela was doing a lot of the wrong things in terms of his oil production infrastructure and the dream of rapidly expanding Venezuelan Heavy oil production ran into one problem after another. At the same time his mismanagement was so bad VZ was struggling to increase its conventional production with moderate success at first to sell into the rapidly rising prices in the world market.

Against this backdrop the USA and elsewhere started straining everything to produce more conventional oil once world benchmark crude passed $35/bbl because at those prices going back and redrilling old fields was an economic winner. There was a miniature conventional oil boom across the USA from 2005-08 with thousands of old small deposits suddenly became economically exploitable. If you look carefully at the EIA data for 2005,2006,2007 you will see the very long term decline which had been happening since Alaska peaked actually stopped and started a slight increase because of the boom in reworking old deposits across the USA. Then we had the price peak in 2008 followed by the crash which reversed within six months and we settled into a new high price band at or over $80/bbl between 2008 and 2010.

While all that was going on in the Oil World the 'natural gas crisis' hit in the winter of 2004-05 when American natural gas shot up to $11/MBTU. That gave great incentive for gas drillers to try out their new expensive slickwater fracking ideas in the slow producing natural gas shale beds that had been exploited for a century or longer with simple vertical wells originally just left alone, then later fracked with chemical explosives and in the 1960's even tested with fission explosive fracking under the Atoms for Peace/Project Plowshare experiments. The slickwater fracking of these deep beds for natural Gas was so incredibly successful prices dropped almost overnight and by 2006 Natural gas was selling for under $2/MBTU. When Oil hit $147/bbl in summer 2008 people in the oil and gas industry decided to try out fracking in 'wet' gas regions and set off the boom in LTO entering the market. By the end of 2009 light Tight Oil was starting to have a significant impact, the USA was increasing total production for the first time since Alaska peaked out in 1988. World oil prices had recovered by then creating all the incentive necessary for the 2010-2014 fracking boom that succeeded in reducing American imports even faster than China/India were increasing demand. In fall 2014 OPEC decided to crash prices to punish America but this backfired hurting them a lot worse than it hurt the USA. In mid 2016 they gave up and started gradually cutting production to increase world oil prices. Last week they decided to keep doing that.

So SURE, production from unconventional sources has boomed since 2005, no argument there. However where we differ is economic drivers completely describe each and every step of the process which took place, which zero need to fall back on the EROEI theory as to why this took place.

To be clear I have never bought into the EROEI theory because the models do not have a set of standards to be used. this means modeler A can include the energy used to manufacture the well casing and operate the drilling equipment while Modeler B might include the energy cost of manufacturing the drill rig and modeler C might include the energy costs of manufacturing all the vehicles used by both the drilling operation and the employees who did the labor while modeler D includes the energy cost of building all the roads used in that region and modeler E includes even more embedded energy from some other place I did not mention. This causes two massive intrinsic problems, first you can not compare model runs from different sources because they use different standard inputs and secondly any modeler anywhere can 'tweak' their inputs to get whatever answer they want to get.

Out here in the real world I first ran into this issue dealing with models from activists opposed to nuclear power plants. See they developed models to demonstrate nuclear power was not only uneconomic in the present but that it would never be economic under any circumstances. They did this by tweaking the models through changing the values for the variables until they got the answer they wanted. For example most of the Uranium mined in the USA is procured through a process called in situ leaching. Two wells are drilled, the first one injects a mildly acidic liquid that flows through the uranium ore bed deep underground and the second well extracts the liquid which has dissolved uranium in it by the time it has passed through the formation to the collection well. this process is relatively speaking dirt cheap. But all the modelers opposed to nuclear power insisted on using the costs associated with a hard rock mine where people use explosives and massive machines to pull rock to the surface, crush it into powder and then leach the Uranium out in a big processing plant. That method was used in the 1940's but is increasingly rare in use today, especially in countries like the USA with advanced drilling techniques. They play the same game with every other step in the process from ore extraction all the way to waste disposal.

Learning about the way activists manipulated nuclear energy models made me automatically suspicious of any advocate for or against any technology. Nearly all of them play with the model until it gives them the answer they want to get before they even started working on it. In the energy industry you can see this with the people opposed to ethanol fuel who insist on using only corn as a biofuel input completely ignoring things like Sugar Cane use in Brazil or use of Potato or Yam as starch sources because all three of them have massively larger output for energy input compared to corn ethanol. You also see it when you get energy output models for things like Natural Gas to Diesel conversion plants or Coal to Diesel plants like those the South Africans have been hugely successful with since the 1970's. Here is a hint, when you take Methane from cheap Natural Gas and run in through a modified Fischer–Tropsch process you can manufacture clean sulfur free diesel fuel for about $1/gallon. The more expensive the gas the more expensive the fuel, but the real cost is in building the processing equipment and maintaining it. This lets you play games by saying the equipment only lasts (for example, not real numbers) 7 years before needing to be replaced when in the real world it lasts 28 years before needing to be replaced. that lets you quadruple the projected price without actually proving a darn thing.

It turns out every EROEI study I have ever looked at is just like that. There are literally an unlimited number of inputs you can choose to use and there are no set numbers for any one of those inputs, which lets the modeler adjust things to their hearts content and makes the model totally useless.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 12 Dec 2018, 21:04:32

Tanada

Good post. To add my own perspective of having been close to the "sand face" with regards to the decisions made to go forward with both heavy oil and unconventionals later I agree none of this was driven by a notion of EROEI.
The ramp-up in heavy oil in Canada was, as you say, driven by the opportunity proposal of greater oil demand. The mineable oil sands back in the late seventies had been pretty much unexploited mainly because we just didn't have the technology to make it work efficiently and the price of oil was just too low. Over the next couple of decades, those costs to mine and process oil sands dropped and the technology for the easy to get at non-mineable heavy oil also improved. A lot of money was spent on pilot projects that didn't work (example: Wabascaw fire flood) but through government support and continued effort on the part of a few oil companies the technology gradually improved to the point where when oil prices rose quickly due to global demand production of heavy oil was there to be had. The oil companies were looking to make profit out of the heavy oil (both mineable and thermal) that they had held for years and a technology/price point came into play, not EROEI.
And with respect to the unconventionals, I was there in several executive meetings where entry into the shale fracking space for natural gas was argued. It was all about guaranty of predictable production of natural gas beyond declines. With conventional reservoired gas it comes on strong and then declines rapidly without a long low declining phase which is contrary to the situation with unconventional reservoired gas. The hunt for oily unconventional reservoirs only came about as natural gas prices dropped and global oil prices rose so it suddenly made more sense to go after the more liquid-rich zones in the basin-centered plays. These decisions were not driven by a need to fill refineries but rather by oil and gas companies seeing a means to make their business more predictable given exploration in conventionals is anything but predictable.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby ralfy » Thu 13 Dec 2018, 07:40:22

One should not confuse theory with application.

Also, I have no idea how EROEI is still a theory, unless one can safely assume that no energy is needed to, say, extract and process oil.
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Re: Peak oil debate

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 13 Dec 2018, 08:05:23

ralfy wrote:One should not confuse theory with application.

Also, I have no idea how EROEI is still a theory, unless one can safely assume that no energy is needed to, say, extract and process oil.

I think Ralfy, Tanada and Rockdoc refer to EROEI theory as a way of modeling real world events via projections or analysis utilizing the metric of energy inputs and outputs. I do agree with Tanada, that modeling can be subject to subjective interpretation and manipulation. By the way the Hills Group ETP is a good example of this EROEI modeling. On the other hand your point is well taken. Energy as the driver of economic activity is uniquely prominent as a resource that should be keenly accounted for, measured and quantified. Can it really be done in a comprehensive accurate manner? I have no idea. But I do feel that economics alone does NOT give a full or totally accurate indication of the energy balance at any given time that an Economy is working with and by extension what the expected energy balance will be going forward. Tanada and Rockdoc, would say that it does not matter as economics will dictate the viability of continuing to utilize a particular energy source. The question for me is how precisely.
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