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What is PO?

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

What is PO?

Unread postby Pops » Thu 12 Jul 2018, 10:50:51

Here's what I wrote for the PO.com primer in 2005-ish, let's review.
any finite resource, (including oil), will have a beginning, middle, and an end of production, and at some point it will reach a level of maximum output


Probably should have quit right there.


Oil production typically follows a bell shaped curve when charted on a graph,

Image

Not a bell...


with the peak of production occurring when approximately half of the oil has been extracted.

This was the idea that fixed in my brain. Peakers remember "geology trumps economics." A nice platitude but geology only puts the oil there, in the human world, politics, technology and economics control if and how it comes out and the shape of the curve.


oil becomes more difficult and expensive to extract as a field ages past the mid-point of its life.

I'm not sure about this broad generalization but along with the bell it was central to my view. There is certainly a wide range of cost based on location and geography and as cheaper oil fails to meet demand, more expensive oil becomes viable. Not as catchy tho...

Image
Lots of colorful cost pictures here


In the US for example, oil production grew steadily until 1970 and declined thereafter, regardless of market price or improved technologies.

...


The amount of oil discovered in the US has dropped since the late 1930s.
40 years later, US oil production had peaked, and has fallen ever since.
World discovery of oil peaked in the 1960s, and has declined since then. If the 40 year cycle seen in the US holds true for world oil production, that puts global peak oil production, right about now; after which oil becomes less available, and more expensive.

Image

There's the money quote. Shifting the discovery curve forward 40 years to find the production curve seemed perfectly simple to my little brain. The problem is you can't put a number to "discovery" until the knowledge about what was actually discovered is perfected. Over time both the geologic and non-geologic factors that determine actual production come into play. And of course "discoveries" themselves are a slippery item, part marketing, part balance sheet asset, part political pawn.

Call it "Reserve Growth." Which I admit was not in my vocabulary and was anathema here and in most po venues (iirc, we banned a user named ReserveGrowthRules in fact).
Dennis Coyne does a good job explaining
How much oil can be extracted from known oil resources profitably? This depends on many factors, the price of oil and technological progress in oil extraction methods are the chief factors, but improved knowledge gained through the development wells drilled and the corresponding output and geological data as known reserves are developed is important as well. Oil reserves do not grow, they deplete as the oil is produced. With increasing knowledge, oil price, and improved technology and production methods, the estimate of oil reserves changes over time and on average these estimates tend to increase, this is what we mean by reserve growth.



Turns out the hard part of predicting the future is predicting the future

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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 12 Jul 2018, 11:26:20

I think what threw the monkey wrench in Hubbert's theory, and turned a simple bell curve into a multiple peak chart, was technological change.

Firstly and most important was digital technology. You can today analyze data from multiple sensors, everything from Earth-facing satellites to seismic studies to cores from boreholes, and process these in computers directed by knowledgeable geologists, and find the relatively few remaining petroleum reserves. YES, one could claim these are not new techs, but the enhanced effectiveness and accuracy is new.

Secondly is the advancing technologies of petroleum extraction, petroleum refining, and petrochemistry, collectively enhancing production and extending the life of existing fields, by using every hydrocarbon chain and minimizing residual petroleum wastes. Then there are the advances in petrochemical plastics recycling, and the digital efficiencies of computer managed ICE's extending the fuel supplies.

All these have prolonged the Age of Oil. Also, broken the hearts of those who thought they could predict when we would run out of oil based on past petroleum production records which were never that accurate and were always based on a prior level of technology. Today, anyone believing that analysis of the past can predict future events would obviously be a fool.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 12 Jul 2018, 19:48:21

Give yourself a break Pops. You are looking back on so many years of work, think of what you have learned in that time. There’s no way a newbie could absorb it, or trust it, even if explained. Just get the fundamentals right, you did, with a teaser to the effect that “temporal and localized factors skew the curves but the ultimate result remains constant.”

You did good.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby Pops » Thu 12 Jul 2018, 21:14:20

Thanks Newfie.

The thing I've learned is to be wary of true believers. If the argument is one side has the inside scoop and any skeptic is either a troll or a shill then be careful. Be extra special careful if you find yourself on either side of that line.

Having said that, I'll say this: I have no doubt about the basic premise:
There will be a point of maximum production.

.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby baha » Fri 13 Jul 2018, 06:29:58

Hi Pops :)

Welcome back. 10 years ago when I was uptight about all this stuff you were always the voice of reason. No need to get excited, just make a plan.

I knew even then the concept of peak oil was sound but the date was unknown. I expected it to come a lot quicker but I'm glad it didn't. Am I foolish to think the date is drawing near?

Since I am not a petroleum geologist or an economist I knew I would never figure it out so I just figured out my own solution. Now when it happens I will be at least somewhat prepared.

All those years I stayed in the background and just kept reading and watching the news. If you step back and look at the big picture it seems to me like events have followed the path predicted. We have been on a bumpy plateau the whole time. Fracking caused production to bump up while the Arab spring and other events caused it to bump down. The growth paradigm is fraying around the edges and people are starting to notice. I really do think the next few years are going to be a challenge. Investors who make their living predicting the future are beginning to see the end of the oil age. And are looking for alternatives.

You gotta love it. We here at Peakoil.com have had the inside information and have watched it all play out. At this point I'm done watching. It time for me to get out there and start pushing. :x
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 13 Jul 2018, 07:16:50

baha wrote:
You gotta love it. We here at Peakoil.com have had the inside information and have watched it all play out. At this point I'm done watching. It time for me to get out there and start pushing. :x


Baha is young and pushing. The generation following him will do the same. That is cool and therein lies the hope and clue to what happens moving forward. You don't just roll over and die when fuel costs go up and the planet slowly warms.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Fri 13 Jul 2018, 09:10:33

Good post Pops, you were always a smart guy, still are.

Talk about pushing- my current job burns nearly 1000 litres of diesel a week. Still behind the 4000 litres of gas a week i was burning 18 years ago blowing glass. By end of this year likely the trucks I'm driving will burn near that in diesel. Though meanwhile i got my yacht, & next career move is cutting my work days by half to two thirds.

Working building commuter suburbs & being a peaker, the clock ticking just keeps getting louder, the ignorance more astounding.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby Pops » Fri 13 Jul 2018, 09:47:10

baha wrote:Am I foolish to think the date is drawing near?

Hey baha, I first read the Campbell & Laherrere article, in an airport no less, 20 years ago and was an instant believer. The story goesthey were only modeling "conventional" reservoirs but editors of the magazine mislabeled their chart to say "both conventional and unconventional... decline is less than 10 years away."
Image


LOL, and so began the hairsplitting. Suffice to say, I don't really have a view regarding timing as there isn't any type of model that has proved future-proof. Currently we are seeing the future change daily in profound ways no one would have forecast only a couple of years ago. It's strange, like watching the bow wake in a canoe. Eventually someone will predict tomorrow is the peak and be correct and we'll see what happens. But my thought FWIW is to plan a lifestyle that you can maintain in both the rosiest and in the bleakest future you can stand to imagine— plan for anything to happen, including nothing.

Do what you enjoy and be ware that your crystal ball is likely just a mirror.

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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 13 Jul 2018, 12:05:48

Pops – “Probably should have quit right there: Oil production typically follows a bell shaped curve when charted on a graph,”

You were correct but left off one very important qualifier: “Oil production typically follows a bell shaped curve when charted on a graph FOR A MATURELY DEVELOPED TREND.” A qualifier Hubbert noted but so many ignorantly ignore. Hubbert prediction was correct and remains correct to this day…for the population he based statistical analysis upon. That population was the fields/reservoirs that had been heavily developed at the time of his analysis. In his report he specifically points out that future trends are not included in his analysis.

In addition to the mature level of the trends he analysed Hubbert had another factor working to benefit: stable oil prices. Stable oil prices as a result of the cartel like control wielded by the Texas Rail Commission. Had the TRRC kept prices below $35/bbl after 2005 we would not have seen the huge increase in US oil production from the shales. Those trends were well known and the technology was available. What was lacking was record high oil prices.

Without the impact of impact of oil price instability the production from the individual shale trends as well as the Deep Water GOM would eventually exhibit a bell shaped curve.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 13 Jul 2018, 12:14:54

Pops - 'Currently we are seeing the future change daily in profound ways no one would have forecast only a couple of years ago." And for good reason: NO ONE has been able to CONSISTANTLY predict the future price of oil. At least not since the TRRC lost control. Geology will still have ULTIMATE control but until then oil prices will the Big Dog.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby tita » Fri 13 Jul 2018, 12:34:59

Pops wrote:Thanks Newfie.

The thing I've learned is to be wary of true believers. If the argument is one side has the inside scoop and any skeptic is either a troll or a shill then be careful. Be extra special careful if you find yourself on either side of that line.

Having said that, I'll say this: I have no doubt about the basic premise:
There will be a point of maximum production.

These are really good thoughts.

I would add that there is no simple way to forecast this maximum point of production (if there is any). Oil markets go through busts and booms. The last bust didn't last long, as we are already at price levels similar to 2005 (inflation adjusted). A boom is maybe right around the corner now. Each boom gives its bundle of fears regarding the scarcity of oil, but improve reserve growth. Busts can devastate producers and reduce reserves.

2018 will be regarded as the year we hit a production rate of 100 Mb/d (all liquids), something thought impossible 10 years ago. Increasing this rate increases the amount of reserve we need to replace.

IMHO, the rapidity we returned to an boom situation is a clue to how near we are from peak oil. Peak oil is when there is no more bust and boom, just the inability to increase reserves in a seemingly boom market.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby Pops » Fri 13 Jul 2018, 18:05:35

ROCKMAN wrote:You were correct but left off one very important qualifier:

Which is kinda my whole point. ASPO was likely correct on each of their guesses too—with the qualifier of "based on xxx, excluding xxx, and of course xxx!"

I don't blame Hubbert, he was just doing his thing, but what is the point of having a model if it excludes the real world?

If the rule you followed brought you to this...

. 8)
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sat 14 Jul 2018, 10:46:16

Pops wrote:
I don't blame Hubbert, he was just doing his thing, but what is the point of having a model if it excludes the real world?


Scientists propose mathematical models all the time that turn out to be partly or even completely wrong. Hubbert's mathematical model has been falsified--it doesn't accurately predict the behavior of the real world.

Still, the world will continue chugging along towards peak oil, with or without a scientific model that accurately predicts how it will go down.

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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 15 Jul 2018, 15:43:44

tita – “Peak oil is when there is no more bust and boom”. Good point but I would qualify it a bit further. There will come a time when even a boom in OIL PRICES won’t result in a boom in OIL PRODUCTION. Geology will eventually have absolute control over production increases. Take the shales for example. The Eagle Ford Shale has been known to contain producible oil for more then 6 decades. But in the 1940’s the flow rates and cumulative production were not attractive. It eventually took new tech (horizontal drilling) and much higher oil prices to make this play viable. The same is true for the new Permian Basin shale plays.

But where are the new plays that have yet to boom? There are some out there already identified as POSSIBLE. But where are the ones to develop if and when those plays are developed? As you know I’m in the oil patch as are a few others here. I know of no other plays being speculated about except for those shale trends that have yet to boom. Even if they do eventually add to global production they will eventually decline just as those currently being developed?

That’s what I mean by the geology eventually having absolute control that tech and high oil prices will not be able to offset. There are a finite number of potential oil producing reservoirs on the planet. Nothing will change that FACT.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 15 Jul 2018, 15:49:02

Pops - Hubbert didn't exclude the real world. His model included the real world AS IT WAS KNOWN AT THE TIME. Name all the technologist that exist today that no one even fantasized about during Hubbert's time: were they also ignorant?
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby Pops » Sun 15 Jul 2018, 18:49:48

LOL rock, you seem to want to disagree with me. And you know me, I'm happy to argue with you but since we are saying EXACTLY the same thing I am at a loss.

Try these words: the only wat to predict the future of oil production — is to know the future of everything else.

For example who would have forecast a trump? In just a couple of years he's either begun or talked of:
Opening off limits land to exploration
reversed years of EPA regs
threatened to reverse CAFE
broken Paris agreement
broken the Iran agreement
30% tax on PV
Called KSA to increase
talked about opening the SPR

...I really don't know what all (kinda surprised there isn't more talk about such things here)

Who even knows the impacts of these and whatever other big ideas he finds up his twitter?
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby ralfy » Sun 15 Jul 2018, 21:12:20

Here's what I remember:

Hubbert stated in his report that he was looking at conventional production, for which that of the U.S. would peak in 1970 (which took place) and that of the world would peak in 1995. In 1976, he mentioned that because of the oil shock, the global peak would take place around 1995 + 10 years. The IEA confirmed this in 2006.

That means more reliance on unconventional production, including shale, for which the EIA gives only a few years because of higher costs. The IEA, meanwhile, believes that with technology conventional production can flatten out due to more findings and unconventional increased for the next two decades until both population and demand peak. That may be dependent on how much debt the industry can incur and if the world economy can withstand high prices. We've seen the effects of both.

With that, we will have to make more use of coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewables, etc., and that means a lot of sacrifices in terms of available goods and services because industrial civilization is heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

The problem is that the global economy on which all the businesses involved with these efforts find themselves in is capitalist and competitive. That means the opposite is desired: increasing availability and use of goods and services. It also needs debt levels that don't go up as much and cheap oil (i.e., not just low prices but low production costs).

Increasing availability and use of goods and services also mean increasing resource use (including that of oil) per capita. But oil production per capita peaked in 1979, and what affects oil also affects various resources used for other energy sources, from natural gas to uranium to copper.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby Pops » Sun 15 Jul 2018, 22:56:21

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/20 ... 54647b2a3b

Hubbert base prediction was US peak in '65 @ 7.7Mb/d,
US peaked in '70 @ 9.6.

His back-up guess was peak in '70 @ 8.2Md/d. He said peak in 9 years but it turned out to be 14, so time off by half and short by 20%.

His forecast of world URR at 1.3T/bbls was waaaay low.
His world peak production forecast was 34mmb/d is half of 2005 production = 72Mb/d.

He also said that after peak, decline would look like the prior increase. The shape of the US curve was right until recently but the world's been somewhere north of 72mmb/d for 13 years


Image
http://www2.energybulletin.net/node/13630


Here's the King, he was obviously skeptical that the US could come up wit "8 Texas's" worth of oil to make it to 1970 but at least slightly clear eyed about the reality of tech advances:
With due regard for these considerations, it is almost impossible to draw the production curve based upon an assumed ultimate production of 150 billion barrels in any manner differing significantly from that shown in Figure 21, according to which the curve must culminate at about 1965 and then must decline at a rate comparable to its earlier rate of growth.

If we suppose the figure of 150 billion barrels to be 50 billion barrels too low -an amount equal to eight East Texas oil fields - then the ultimate potential reserve would be 200 billion barrels. The second of the two extrapolations shown in Figure 21 is based upon this assumption; but it is interesting to note that even then the date of culmination is retarded only until about 1970.

One other contingency merits comment. By means of present production techniques, only about a third of the oil underground is being recovered. The reserve figures cited are for oil capable of being extracted by present techniques. However, secondary recovery techniques are gradually being improved so that ultimately a somewhat larger but still unknown fraction of the oil underground should be extracted than is now the case. Because of the slowness of the secondary recovery process, however, it appears unlikely that any improvement that can be made within the next 10 or 15 years can have any significant effect upon the date of culmination. A more probable effect of improved recovery will be to reduce the rate of decline after the culmination with respect to the rates shown in Figure 21.


Personally I glossed over the caveats he outlines here, kinda my whole point with the thread is to point out the cherry-picking (Hubbert's contingent prediction vs base for example) and the glossing-over i.e.: production in 2005 was twice his forecast for peak.

Kinda hard to say he was right when his world peak guess was half of the actual production. Was his URR wrong? Well, since we've used that much already we'd better hope so. If he was only off a little there is definitely
something in the water
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 16 Jul 2018, 10:55:50

ralfie – All I can do is repeat the same point over and over: Hubbert was predicting the peak production of those fields that comprised the population he was modeling. And yes, those fields were primarily conventional reservoirs…but not entirely. And again folks should read his report again: he specifically points out that his model does not include trends that have not been developed yet. Such as the shales and the offshore. The shales such as the Eagle Ford which had been proven to be insignificant AT THAT TIME. And the offshore which was in the very earliest stage of analysis.

His prediction of those fields he modeled has been proven correct. In fact, amazingly accurate. But as I’ve pointed out before: not meaning to minimize his projection those fields were already very mature and, for the most part, were at or close to their individual peak production. As far as secondary recovery efforts go they might change the decline side of the curve but it’s impossible for them to change the peak timing. Over decades they might add significant cumulative production but at such a slow rate to be meaningless in terms of the peak timing.

As global PO I don’t tend to pull apart his analysis since I’m not as familiar with foreign fields as I am with those in the US. But given very significant trends that developed after his report I suspect that’s were most if not all of the projection proved inaccurate.
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Re: What is PO?

Unread postby ralfy » Mon 16 Jul 2018, 22:50:41

Pops wrote:https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2016/09/08/what-hubbert-got-really-wrong-about-oil/#1854647b2a3b

Hubbert base prediction was US peak in '65 @ 7.7Mb/d,
US peaked in '70 @ 9.6.

His back-up guess was peak in '70 @ 8.2Md/d. He said peak in 9 years but it turned out to be 14, so time off by half and short by 20%.

His forecast of world URR at 1.3T/bbls was waaaay low.
His world peak production forecast was 34mmb/d is half of 2005 production = 72Mb/d.

He also said that after peak, decline would look like the prior increase. The shape of the US curve was right until recently but the world's been somewhere north of 72mmb/d for 13 years


Image
http://www2.energybulletin.net/node/13630


Here's the King, he was obviously skeptical that the US could come up wit "8 Texas's" worth of oil to make it to 1970 but at least slightly clear eyed about the reality of tech advances:
With due regard for these considerations, it is almost impossible to draw the production curve based upon an assumed ultimate production of 150 billion barrels in any manner differing significantly from that shown in Figure 21, according to which the curve must culminate at about 1965 and then must decline at a rate comparable to its earlier rate of growth.

If we suppose the figure of 150 billion barrels to be 50 billion barrels too low -an amount equal to eight East Texas oil fields - then the ultimate potential reserve would be 200 billion barrels. The second of the two extrapolations shown in Figure 21 is based upon this assumption; but it is interesting to note that even then the date of culmination is retarded only until about 1970.

One other contingency merits comment. By means of present production techniques, only about a third of the oil underground is being recovered. The reserve figures cited are for oil capable of being extracted by present techniques. However, secondary recovery techniques are gradually being improved so that ultimately a somewhat larger but still unknown fraction of the oil underground should be extracted than is now the case. Because of the slowness of the secondary recovery process, however, it appears unlikely that any improvement that can be made within the next 10 or 15 years can have any significant effect upon the date of culmination. A more probable effect of improved recovery will be to reduce the rate of decline after the culmination with respect to the rates shown in Figure 21.


Personally I glossed over the caveats he outlines here, kinda my whole point with the thread is to point out the cherry-picking (Hubbert's contingent prediction vs base for example) and the glossing-over i.e.: production in 2005 was twice his forecast for peak.

Kinda hard to say he was right when his world peak guess was half of the actual production. Was his URR wrong? Well, since we've used that much already we'd better hope so. If he was only off a little there is definitely
something in the water


I was referring to the contingency case in Fig. 21 and the point that a peak did take place.

For the point about world production, I am referring to part of his 1976 interview, and not the production rate but his argument that curtailing production during that time would extend the time to peak by around a decade or so.

One possible reason why it is difficult to predict production rates is because any model might be implicitly based on a given amount that producers and consumers are willing to pay, in terms of energy and dollars, to increase production, as well as what investors want in return for funding efforts to do so. This is implicitly raised in most of my previous post.
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