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The Oil Age – A new quarterly peer-reviewed printed journal

The Oil Age – A new quarterly peer-reviewed printed journal thumbnail

1. Background & Objectives

The journal addresses all aspects of the evolving ‘Oil Age’, including physical, economic, social, political, financial and environmental characteristics.
Oil and gas are natural resources formed in the geological past and are subject to depletion. Increasing production during the First Half of the Oil Age fuelled rapid economic expansion, with human population rising six-fold in parallel, with far-reaching economic and social consequences. The Second Half of the Oil Age now dawns.
This is seeing significant changes in the type of hydrocarbon sources tapped, and will be marked at some point by declining overall supply. A debate rages as to the precise dates of peak oil and gas production by type of source, but what is more significant is the decline of these various hydrocarbons as their production peaks are passed.
In addition, demand for these fuels will be impacted by their price, by consumption trends, by technologies and societal adaptations that reduce or avoid their use, and by government-imposed taxes and other constraints directed at avoiding significant near-term climate change. The transition to the second half of the Oil Age thus threatens to be a time of significant tension, as societies adjust to the changing circumstances.
The journal presents the work of analysts, scientists and institutions addressing these topics. Content includes opinion pieces, peer-reviewed articles, summaries of data and data sources, relevant graphs and charts, book reviews, letters to the Editor, and corrigenda and errata.

Editor Dr. Roger Bentley MEI, Visiting Research Fellow, Dept. Cybernetics, Reading University, UK. E-mail: [email protected] Phone: +44 (0) 1582 750 819.

Advisory Board
Dr. Kjell Aleklett, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University.
Dr. Ugo Bardi, Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Florence.
Dr. Colin Campbell, Chair, Retired petroleum geologist, Ireland.
Richard O’Rourke, Director, Kinetik NRG.
Dr. Colin Sage, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Geography, University College, Cork.
Chris. Skrebowski, Director, Peak Oil Consulting Ltd.
Dr. Michael R. Smith, CEO, Globalshift Limited.

Noreen Dalton, Chief Executive, Petroleum Analysis Centre, Ballydehob, Ireland.

For queries, or to subscribe to the journal, please contact Noreen Dalton at:
e-mail: [email protected] or by ‘phone to: +353 85 160 7001

To submit a manuscript, charts or a book review, in the first instance please send a short e-mail outlining the content to the Editor. Letters to the Editor, comments on articles, and corrections are welcome at any time.

—————————- // —————————

Issue-1, January 2015: Contents, Editorial & Discussion


Opinion piece:

The Oil Age in an Historical Perspective by Colin Campbell. This article sets out the reasons for the production of this journal.

Peer-reviewed articles:

– An article, also by Campbell, on his global hydrocarbon forecast model. This is a ‘field-aggregate’ model, where production across all fields within an oil or gas producing country is modelled as a single unit. Campbell has recently expanded his model to include accounting for oil and gas net-energy.
– An article by Michael Smith of Globalshift Ltd., on the company’s global hydrocarbon forecast model. This is a ‘bottom-up’ by-field model, forecasting production on the basis of individual oil and gas field data where available.
– A short article by myself. This is in the form of a ‘student assignment’, and shows that surprisingly accurate estimates of oil production can be made using primarily the public-domain data in the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.


Charts and graphs can be key to understanding any complex topic. This first issue includes:
– Data since oil price and oil supply since 1965 (BP Statistical Review).
– Estimated quantities of recoverable oil by category of oil, vs. production cost. This includes the relatively modest amount available from ‘fracking’ (IEA: Resources into Reserves).
– Three graphs from Jean Laherrère:
– Global oil and gas ‘2P’ discovery, and production, 1900 – 2010.
– Global oil reserves: Comparing 1P with 2P data, 1920 – 2012.
– Showing how a region’s ‘creaming’ curve can be used to estimate the region’s URR.


Welcome to the first issue of this journal. As the objectives state, the journal aims to cover the full range of topics associated with the transition through the ‘Oil Age’.
The emphasis in the first few issues is on physical aspects of the topic, including oil and gas modelling and net-energy, as readers may appreciate these foundations being laid. Future issues will cover wider topics, including the impact of changes in oil & gas supply on agriculture, industry and wealth creation, and on society in general.
Mankind has been fairly poor at understanding its oil-supply situation in the past. For this reason, articles related to the history of the ‘Oil Age’ are of interest, including problems with past oil and gas forecasting, to help explain ‘how we got where we are’.
Further still, it is the intention to include articles on the future of energy and other resources, including comprehensive energy/economic systems models; and also on the politics and governance of the ‘Oil Age’, whether this be ‘trust busting’, pro-rationing or cartels in the past, or possible transition paths, resilience policies, and scope for international collaboration in the future.
I hope that you find these articles useful. By all means write to me should you have corrections, criticisms or comments. – R.W. Bentley, Jan. 2015.


(i). OPEC & FSU Reserves data.
Campbell’s model (like that of Laherrère) in assessing future production of conventional oil significantly reduces the size of reserves that some industry datasets hold for specific OPEC and Former Soviet Union (FSU) countries.
For OPEC countries, this partly reflects the ‘quota wars’ probable reserves overstatements that took place mainly in the 1980s; while FSU countries reserves in some industry datasets are treated by both Campbell and Laherrère as closer to proved-plus-probable-plus-possible (‘3P’) values, rather than proved-plus-probable (‘2P’).

(ii). Net-energy.
As mentioned above, Campbell’s hydrocarbon forecast model has recently been expanded to account for net energy. This is an important step, and makes it – at least to my knowledge – the first detailed oil and gas forecast model to include this aspect.
Energy return on energy invested (EROEI; sometimes EROI in the US) is likely to be a crucial aspect of mankind’s energy future, but is almost always overlooked. It is important because nearly all of the ‘new’ fuels, whether from fossil hydrocarbons (oil from fracking, tar sands, Orinoco heavy, kerogen oil, GTLs, or CTLs; and gas from fracking, other tight gas, CBM, UCG, or methane hydrates), or nuclear or renewables, have – or will probably have when commercial – lower EROEI ratios than most current fuels, and in many cases very much lower. Thus moving to these sources of energy is likely to significantly reduce the amount of useful energy available to mankind.
But virtually all current energy modelling – whether from the IEA, the IIASA GES study, the UK’s DECC, or other ‘mainstream’ modellers, simply does not take falling EROEI ratios into account, and therefore paints almost certainly a far more optimistic picture than reality. It is a reasonable guess that in time all such models will come to include this aspect; and this journal looks forward to reporting on these as they become available.

(iii). Size of the URR for conventional oil.
When comparing oil forecast models (such as, in this case, Campbell’s with Globalshift’s) observation of many current models indicates that a large part of the difference lies in the assumption made for the size of the ultimately recoverable resource (‘URR’) of conventional oil. Such an assumption can be explicit; or be implicit by, say, summing the cumulative production of conventional oil to end-2100. This also is an important topic, and will be covered in more detail in future issues of this journal.

(iv). Use of public-domain data.
The background to the ‘student assignment’ given here is a little curious: For years I have told students that because the oil data in the BP Stats. Review are so poor, no useful forecast of oil production can be generated from these. This is primarily because the proved reserves (’1P’) data have not reflected the actual amounts of known reserves of oil, as indicated by the – generally very expensive – oil industry proved-plus-probable (‘2P’) reserves.
But provided some additional information is used, in fact fairly reasonable approximate oil forecasts can be made with the BP Stats. data. This is potentially quite important, because much of the current lack of comprehension of the oil situation has stemmed from the inability of many analysts to access the 2P data; and, indeed, often from their not knowing of the need to use these data in the first place. But by being able to make approximate forecasts primarily from public-domain 1P data, this lack of comprehension about future oil supply may well be reduced

Aleklett’s Energy Mix

27 Comments on "The Oil Age – A new quarterly peer-reviewed printed journal"

  1. shortonoil on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 6:59 am 

    The Second Half of the Oil Age now dawns.

    In attempting to estimate the size of the world’s petroleum reserve, a tremendous amount of effort has been applied. With 48,000 oil fields scattered across the planet that amounts to a lot of counting (and guessing) if done one field at a time. It is the method that reservoir engineers use to calculate the URR of a potential field. It takes fortitude, and a lot of persistence to undertake such a task on a world wide bases, and it is likely to include a number of errors.

    Because we are not interested in the potential production of a specific field we have expedited the process by using an energy analysis. We simply calculated the amount of entropy produced by the system for the the petroleum that has already been extracted. This has the advantage of not requiring the calculation of a huge number of fields. All that is required is knowledge of how much oil has “already” been extracted, and the EIA has graciously provided us with that information.

    Yes we are in the second half of the oil age – and then some. More specifically the world has already consumed 84% of all the oil that will ever be extracted. A more fitting noun to describe what is happening would be twilight. To say it is “dawn” is a little optimistic.

  2. Davy on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 7:56 am 

    Short human nature is such that your method and a more hands on method are need to check and support each other. One method alone especially one as abstract as yours will always be subject to negative critiques. Your method is extremely damaging to the BAUtopians. If more than one method can be gathered together supporting a message of depletion we have a chance of delivering a message.

    We then must mention the negative systematic effects of the depletion of a foundational commodity. I have no idea if any of this matters because it is not clear if we can survive a descent. It is not clear the realization of descent is beneficial at this point. A human nature system is subject to panic especially one in such unreality as our BAUtopian system clearly is.

    I guess it comes down to the good and bad of knowledge. Knowledge is a Pandora’s box. Do we ethically approach this as getting closer to the truth or the sheeples can’t handle the truth so let’s shelter them for their own good. Those decisions are playing God at some level. This is about survival at its most fundamental level so the knowledge of or not of a looming catastrophe must be evaluated.

    Will it? No. This is because reality has a mind of its own and individuals like Hills group or “The oil Age” are just a tool of reality. TPTB know or are aware of at a certain level BAU is unsustainable so they are part of the denial side of reality. It is the tension of denial based protection for human nature and the quest for truth of human nature that will play out.

    We have no control over the human nature of human nature. This statement may not be readily understandable but it is simply there is a human nature to control human nature for ends both good and bad. It is that tension and that play that is playing out. As BAU decelerates and her entropic decay becomes undeniable this tension will not matter as much. Panic and chaos are within a few years away or sooner regardless of who wins the truth battle.
    Who knows the answer to how this deceleration will play out but it can’t be good. Is it better to have truth or lies at the macro level? I trust truth because lies are a human construct. Human constructs almost always have self-interest involved. Self-interest is almost always for the benefit of the few instead of the many. So short how does it feel to be the tip of the tip of the spear of truth? That is a hell of a responsibility for some ordinary engineers and mathematicians. HA, bet you just spit up your coffee with that thought.

  3. shortonoil on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 8:28 am 

    Short human nature is such that your method and a more hands on method are need to check and support each other.

    Over the next five years we will see an avalanche of bankruptcies in the petroleum industry. Production will plunge!

    This is analogous to training a mule. First you get a baseball bat, and then you hit him square in between the eyes.

    That gets his attention!

    To address the reality of the situation the world needs a baseball bat. The world’s baseball bat is in the mail!

  4. theultravixens on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 10:17 am 

    I hope that the whole thing isn’t printed in Comic Sans.

  5. paulo1 on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 10:33 am 


    re: “Over the next five years we will see an avalanche of bankruptcies in the petroleum industry. Production will plunge!”

    Totally agree with this, plus, will there be any financing for projects of suspect value and return? There will be oil to pump, but I think a big key is the dynamic of finance, inefficient fields, and a general worsening economy. I have read your projections, and while I do not agree with your time frame, I certainly accept your statement that we are now in the 2nd half of the oil age and in decline. My God, when this is more apparent it will be like kicking over a wasp nest the size of Texas. It scares me imagine that unforseen consequences will create such havoc and upheavel the decline of oil will not be the top of the agenda.

    Always enjoy your comments. Thanks.

  6. Plantagenet on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 10:47 am 


    Please consider publishing your model in this new journal “The Oil Age”

  7. rockman on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 11:38 am 

    For the outsiders it’s good to understand the two different worlds in the oil patch. Shorty and I are more on the production/development side. We focus on what’s been produced and what that indicates in terms of what’s actually there as well as what’s left to produce.

    OTOH the exploration folks, like our buddy westexas, live in a fantasy world. And I say that with all due respect, actually. Think about it: an exploration geologist will try to talk someone into drilling a well where there is no proof that commercial hydrocarbons exist. Not only that but it will commonly be in an area that had been evaluated by dozens of other geologists. And some of them were able to talk someone into drilling there. And some of them were rewarded with dry holes for their effort.

    So you get two different sets of expectations: one from the shorty/Rockman of the world and one from the exploration arm of the oil patch. And they must differ significantly…otherwise no one would drill very many exploration wells. Thus I don’t fault those optimistic expectations. But I also don’t necessarily believe them.

    We all know the probability of winning a lottery. But that doesn’t stop $billions being spent on hundreds of millions of losing lotto tickets every year. I tease westexas about being an explorationist but without those guys there wouldn’t be much need for development/production hands like the Rockman.

    The tricky part for investors/bankers is to tell the difference between a wild ass explorationist like westexas that can make you a nice profit and some snake oil salesman. Both of their pitches will sound very similar.

  8. BobInget on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 12:07 pm 

    Swiped from another energy board.

    Energy Aspects thoughts on Iran’s ability to bring new production to the market if sanctions are eased:

    Increasing underlying production is the real challenge for Iran. Decline rates average over 15% at its fields and foreign involvement has been restricted for years. While Iran was producing over 3.6 mb/d in 2011 before the export sanctions, we believe much of that capacity has been eroded and it will require expensive and complex EOR techniques to restore output levels. New field additions have also been limited since 2012, leading us to the view Iran is already at close to full capacity at 2.8 mb/d. No doubt Iran has been trying to increase capacity and late last month the parliament finally approved a request to release $4.8 billion from Iran’s sovereign wealth fund to develop new fields. But most effort will be going into simply offsetting declines and without foreign input developing any new fields will be a slow process. So perhaps, at best, output could increase to 3 mb/d by the end of 2015 if export restrictions have been lifted, but a more substantial recovery is dependent on the return of IOCs, which is unlikely to happen even in 2016 under the deal we envisage.


    There has been a lot of talk about Iran bringing 1m barrels to the market if sanctions were to be removed, the reality however we are probably looking at 200K to 300K increase by the end of the year should a deal take place, not nothing, but this wont be enough to majorly pressure prices.


  9. BobInget on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 12:09 pm 

    This is one Intended to post:

    Data mining in North Dakota
    Looking over state government figures, here are some rough estimates, for the Bakken :
    [1] There were about 2205 horizontal well completions in 2014, which yielded a YOY production increase of about 290k BOD.
    [2] It would take a similar number of completions in 2015, to maintain YOY steady state production.
    [3] An average of 190 rigs active daily, through 2014, drilled an average of about 16 horizontal wells each, in 2014.
    [4] A backlog of 825 WOC horizontal wells accrued, mostly in Q4, by year end. All of those wells must be completed this year.
    [5] If ND averages 90 active rigs for 2015, total horizontal wells drilled will be about 1440. Assuming 1000 of those get completed this year, plus the 825 WOC inventory, production is likely to drop at least 150k BOD, by year end, even if one allows a 5% improvement over the 2014 average flush production of about 1300 BOD, per well.
    [6] At an average of 90 rigs per day, in 2015, Bakken WOC inventory heading into 2016 would only be about 440 wells, assuming 1000 new completions. Hard to see how the “fracklog” can counter 2015 rig reductions of 60%.

  10. BobInget on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 12:24 pm 

    As for Iran, Israeli voters settled that Wednesday.

    The Republican dominated US Congress, beholding to Israel, not any so called ‘Peace Process’, has already rejected, prior to reading,
    any nuclear agreements with Iran.

    This in turn, green-lights shirtless Putin to ride in on his white horse, offering Iran nuclear umbrella protection if Iran delivers Iraq , Yemen, Ecuador,
    Venezuela, into the ‘new’, reformed OPEC.

  11. shortonoil on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 1:34 pm 

    So you get two different sets of expectations: one from the shorty/Rockman of the world and one from the exploration arm of the oil patch.

    Diffidently a very pervasive observation. During the years of my consulting work the only specialists that I have had more conflict with than accountants has been geologists. You can’t straight line depreciate a piece of mining equipment that is being run 24 hours, 7 days a week, and you can’t dig a 20,000 foot hole to get to a high grade load of ore. Its called tunnel vision, and it seem to affect both groups about equally. Just because hydrocarbons were located, doesn’t mean you can justify drilling for them!

  12. Northwest Resident on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 1:53 pm 

    “To say it is “dawn” is a little optimistic.”

    Dawn of the END of the Age of Oil, maybe? That’s realistic, isn’t it?

    Too poetic? OK. How about this:

    Last chance to grab your cheeks firmly in hand, bend over and kiss yo’ ass good BYE!

    Too pessimistic, perhaps… Last try:

    Today is the first day of the remaining period of time that you have to prepare to endure and hopefully survive the financial chaos, food and water shortages and utter civil mayhem yet to come.

  13. Perk Earl on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 2:49 pm 

    This is out of context to the article and thread, but found this on another site and thought it was worth posting somewhere:

    Unemployment: 5.5% “and falling fast” – during the artificial economic depression (the cynically named “Great Recession”) we had rampant and open age discrimination making it virtually impossible for older adults to change jobs or to secure meaningful new jobs if they were out of their chair during that round of musical (job) chairs. Thus millions of people were eliminated from official unemployment statistics because of the irrational definition of U-3. U-6 is the correct unemployment figure and it was 11.0% in Feb 2015. Thus the US is manipulating employment statistics (“liars …” and all that).”

    What’s interesting is that US 11% U-6 unemployment figure is the same as Europe. So I’m wondering two things; is the way Europe figures their unemployment the same or similar to U-6?

    And, is part of the reason the dollar is going up relative to the Euro partly a perception mirage of much lower unemployment in the US?

  14. rockman on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 3:05 pm 

    shorty – Exactlyh now. I usually tease exploration geologists that offer me a risked reserve economic analysis of their prospect. In 40 years I have never been presented with a wildcat that didn’t have a great ROR…on paper. All exploratory wells look great on paper…otherwise we would never drill an exploratory well.

    I judge prospects not on probability of success but the logic that supports the POSSIBILITY of those potential reserves existing. Some of the most profitable wildcats I’ve drilled had the least amount of data supporting the possibility. And I’ve seen more then a few companies fail because they only drilled wells with a high prob of success…and thus didn’t drill enough to justify their overhead.

    This has always been a game of risk vs reward: if you don’t take risks it’s unlikely you’ll ever be rewarded.

  15. Northwest Resident on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 3:20 pm 

    Perk — My understanding is that when your unemployment benefits run out, hey, guess what, you’re no longer unemployed!! Not statistically counted as unemployed, anyway. And certainly not counted as employed. Simply, you cease to be counted, as in, you become a nobody.

    It is all part of a major propaganda campaign designed to keep the masses calm and unaware. And that campaign has been working amazingly well, still is.

    When I majored in Public Relations and got my BA Degree in that field, little did I realize at the time that I was studying all the tricks and techniques that the government and corporate partners would use to control the masses at the end of industrial civilization.

    When I studied PR, the focus was on helping non-profits raise cash and awareness, learning how to influence the masses for the their own personal benefit.

    Not that we weren’t taught that there is a very dark-side application of PR techniques, but I never thought I would see those sophisticated techniques used to such an extent and for such diabolical reasons.

    But then, who’s to say that keeping the masses stupid, ignorant, unaware and calm is diabolical. The argument could be made that it is for the best of humanity long term, that in order to protect the masses from their own panic and irrational behavior, they must be manipulated.

    It is all beyond me, to be honest. All I know is that this era of human civilization is coming to an end, and it isn’t going to be a happy ending either, just exactly the opposite.

  16. antaris on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 3:34 pm 

    Don’t panic the sheep, they may run into the fence.

  17. Northwest Resident on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 3:47 pm 

    rockman — When I was in the Navy, I used to gamble a lot with the guys for fun and thrills. Never big money, just change and $1 bills, maybe getting bolder and betting bigger as the beer count piled up. It never ceased to amaze me how some guys seemed to have just amazing luck when they were rolling the dice or drawing cards from the deck. I watched them carefully, everybody did. They seemed to just have lady luck on their side, damn them to hell.

    Is it kind of that way with drilling holes for oil too? You make it sound that way, almost. I realize there is a lot of skill and knowledge involved, but in a crowded field of skilled and knowledgeable geologists, how do we explain the success rate of some over the others? Lady luck? Pact with the devil? Time to fess up!!

    Note: I always won my money back on the pool tables, and got to the point where I totally gave up on gambling because why gamble when you can just sucker them in at the pool table.

  18. buddavis on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 3:49 pm 


    Every good prospect has a story to help sell it, and you can sometimes science your way out of a great discovery.

  19. Dredd on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 4:19 pm 

    Oh great, another let’s poison a planet journal.

    With all the brilliant folk who know how to count barrels of poison.

    Write poetry about poison, dissertations about poison.

    Celebrating the successes of the poison industry.

    Without ever calling it poison (“I was only giving them ‘enerty’“).

  20. Davy on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 4:49 pm 

    NR, how big is that Navy tattoo?

  21. Northwest Resident on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 5:12 pm 

    Davy — Glad you asked! Because while many of drunk shipmates were stumbling off to town to get those tattoos, spend all their money on bar women and otherwise have a good time, I was usually hanging out in a pool lounge trying to stay sober and sharking for newbies. A number of times I saw guys I hung out with stumbling back to the ship, drunk off their butts, proudly showing their gaudy tattoos, only to see them looking like death warmed over and severely regretting their new tattoos the next day. I was in a hospital corpsman during my one-year stay on that big floating ammo ship. We went on a Med cruise — Spain, Italy, all the islands — and during the seven months we were gone a lot of those guys used the time to get their tattoos removed. Daily, I would have two or three guys coming to sick bay, baring their arms, then I would start scrubbing away with the Epson salt, right over the top of the big raw red skinless part that I had scrubbed on before. We gave guys aspirin for the pain! Anyway, short story, I never got one, never was tempted. After my brief stay on the ship, I spent the rest of my 4-year enlistment on a Search and Rescue Marine Corp helicopter team where I only “worked” two days a week and spent the rest of my time living off base, hanging out with civilian buddies — far removed the companions who might try to talk me into getting a tattoo. Anyway, I always figured I have enough scars from fights, motorcycle accidents and other mishaps — who needs tattoos!

    How about you? Got a big “I LOVE MOM” tattooed somewhere special? 🙂

  22. Davy on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 5:19 pm 

    No, but an ex-girlfriend had a hot one in a hot spot on her cute butt. Does that count?

  23. Perk Earl on Thu, 19th Mar 2015 5:45 pm 

    “It is all part of a major propaganda campaign designed to keep the masses calm and unaware. And that campaign has been working amazingly well, still is.”

    Yeah NR, apparently working so well it’s giving the dollar a currency advantage.

    Here’s a very interesting one – maybe trying to head off what many think is a coming economic collapse, by somehow alleviating much of the developing world global debt.

    Sounds below like financial radicalization to keep BAU going, creditors be damned.

    UN Preparing For Global Sovereign Debt Restructuring

    …Noting that sovereign debt crises are a recurring problem that involves very serious political, economic and social consequences and that the restructuring processes of sovereign debt are a frequent phenomenon in the international financial system,

    Stressing the importance for developing countries, on a case-by-case basis, of debt relief, including debt cancellation, as appropriate, and debt restructuring as debt crisis prevention and management tools,”

    These debt relief strategies continue in the article. Too much to paste it all in.

  24. Northwest Resident on Fri, 20th Mar 2015 1:01 am 

    Perk, from that article you linked:

    “…Stressing also the need to continue to address systemic fragilities and imbalances and the need for continuing efforts to reform and strengthen the international financial system…”

    Too late. They don’t realize that the energy required to keep that financial system going is lacking, and growing ever scarcer.

    I think the UN means well. What they seem to be recognizing in this document is that financial and economic pressures are causing big problems for the economies of many (if not all) countries around the world. They’re helpless to prevent economic breakdown, but at least they see the need to try. They’re reacting to problems they are seeing, but the document demonstrates that they do not recognize the base causes. Which is to be expected, not many people do.

  25. Northwest Resident on Fri, 20th Mar 2015 1:20 am 

    Davy — I think that counts!

  26. rockman on Fri, 20th Mar 2015 6:47 am 

    NR – The old saying: “The harder I work the luckier I get” is so very true in the oil patch. I’ve seen truly brilliant work turn to crap once the well is drilled. But rarely have I seen crappy work provide brilliant outcomes. But it’s still true: if you aren’t drilling some dry holes you’ll probably never be a great success. Like your gambling: you’ll make beer money if you’re good enough but never enough to buy the Corvette with $1 raises.

    And instinct has little to do with success despite the BS some in the oil patch like to dish out. Every prospect has weaknesses as well as strengths. I ignore the strengths for two reasons. First, they wouldn’t be showing a deal if there weren’t some positives. Second, strengths often turn out to be misleading. I look at the weaknesses… especially the ones not offered in the presentation. And all prospects worth drilling have weaknesses. The question is whether the reward is worth taking a chance on those issues. And when I’m pitching a deal to someone I know is savvy I go right to the weaknesses of my project, highlight them and explain why I think they are acceptable given the reward possibility. That’s exactly how I convinced my owner to drill horizontal wells in a conventional oil field that everyone knew was depleted. And we’re about to drill the third well with the first two making 150 bopd each.

    I can usually flush a deal within 20 minutes of a presentation when I see them avoiding a discussion of the weaknesses every prospect has. They are following what we call “My sh*t don’t stink” sales pitch”. Yes: that really is a common short-hand phrase we use to describe that sort of sales pitch. Rarely is rejecting such a prospect proven wrong.

  27. Northwest Resident on Fri, 20th Mar 2015 9:45 am 

    rockman — Thanks for the explanation. It appears that being able to recognize and slice through the BS plays a major role in being a successful driller. And I accept that blind luck has nothing to do with being good at drilling for oil. But I’ll be that there is one other factor that does play a major role which you didn’t mention, and that is intuition. In my own field of software development/maintenance, intuition plays a major role, at least it does for me. In my career, when on rare occasions coworkers have asked me “how do you do it” and “what makes you so good”, my answer has been “intuition”. I instinctively “know” something that is key to getting the task done, I trust that instinct and I act on it, and I’m almost always right. You must also have a strong intuitive sense about the holes that you drill. I think that (some) humans have that strong intuitive sense, it is real even though it probably can’t be explained very well. Somehow, some people are just better at some things than others, and a lot of the time it has to do with their intuitive sense, and their willingness to trust and act on that inner voice that guides them.

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