Archives de catégorie : energy and fields

Biofuels: a long-standing illusion

by Prof. S. Furfari, April 4, 2019 in EuropeanScientist


The idea of replacing petroleum products with alternative fuels produced from agriculture dates back to the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. But apart from the development of bioethanol from cane sugar in Brazil, the idea had not come to fruition because it was not economically viable. It was the frenzy for some kind of sustainable development in the mid-2000s, combined with a perfect storm of realities, that led to the emergence of a political interest in biofuels.

Peak Ghawar: A Peak Oiler’s Nightmare

by David Middleton, April 10, 2019 in WUWT


Alternate title:

No… “The biggest Saudi oil field is [NOT] fading faster than anyone guessed”… Part Trois: Why Peak Oil Is Irrelevant and the Perpetually Refilling Abiotic Oil Field Is Abject Nonsense

 

Saudi Aramco’s recent bond prospectus has generated a lot of media buzz, particularly regarding the production from Ghawar, the largest oil field in the world. Reaction has ranged from “The biggest Saudi oil field is fading faster than anyone guessed,” (not even wrong) to more subdued reactions from Ellen Wald and Robert Rapier, that the prospectus doesn’t really tell us much Ghawar’s decline rate. One thing that the bond prospectus did do, is to paint a picture of the most profitable company in the world and one that is serious when it says it will produce the last barrel of oil ever produced on Earth.

How big is Ghawar? Has it peaked? Is it “fading faster than anyone guessed”? The answer to the first question is: FRACKING YUGE. The answer to the second question was not easily answerable before Saudi Aramco began the process of becoming a publicly traded company. The answer to the third question is: Of course not.

As Saudi Aramco proceeds towards a 2021 IPO, it has had to embrace transparency. This involved an audit of the proved reserves in their largest fields, comprising about 80% of the company’s value. The audit was conducted by the highly respected DeGolyer and MacNaughton firm (D&M). The audit actually determined that the proved reserves are slightly larger than Aramco’s internal estimate.

Global Energy & CO2 Status Report

by IEA, March 2019 (.pdf)


Key Findings 2018

Global energy consumption in 2018 increased at nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a robust global economy and higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world. Demand for all fuels increased, led by natural gas, even as solar and wind posted double-digit growth. Higher electricity demand was responsible for over half of the growth in energy needs. Energy efficiency saw lacklustre improvement.

Energy-related CO2 emissions rose 1.7% to a historic high of 33.1 Gt CO2. While emissions from all fossil fuels increased, the power sector accounted for nearly two-thirds of emissions growth. Coal use in power alone surpassed 10 Gt CO2, mostly in Asia. China, India, and the United States accounted for 85% of the net increase in emissions, while emissions declined for Germany, Japan, Mexico, France and the United Kingdom.

Oil demand rose by 1.3% in 2018, led by strong growth in the United States. The start-up of large petrochemical projects drove product demand, which partially offset a slowdown in growth in gasoline demand. The United States and China showed the largest overall growth, while demand fell in Japan and Korea and was stagnant in Europe.

Natural gas consumption grew by an estimated 4.6%, its largest increase since 2010 when gas demand bounced back from the global financial crisis. This second consecutive year of strong growth, following a 3% rise in 2017, was driven by growing energy demand and substitution from coal. The switch from coal to gas accounted for over one-fifth of the rise in gas demand. The United States led the growth followed by China.

Coal demand grew for a second year, but its role in the global mix continued to decline. Last year’s 0.7% increase was significantly slower than the 4.5% annual growth rate seen in the period 2000- 10. But while the share of coal in primary energy demand and in electricity generation slowly continues to decrease, it still remains the largest source of electricity and the second-largest source of primary energy.

Nuclear Power Can Save the World

by J.S. Goldstein et al., April 6, 2019


As young people rightly demand real solutions to climate change, the question is not what to do — eliminate fossil fuels by 2050 — but how. Beyond decarbonizing today’s electric grid, we must use clean electricity to replace fossil fuels in transportation, industry and heating. We must provide for the fast-growing energy needs of poorer countries and extend the grid to a billion people who now lack electricity. And still more electricity will be needed to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by midcentury.

 

To Peak or Not to Peak? That is the question.

by Mike Jonas, April 8, 2019 in WUWT


A lot has been written about Peak Oil recently – perhaps more in comments than in WUWT articles themselves – and the “Not to Peak”-ers seem to be in the ascendancy. In other words, the opinions that “Peak Oil” is a fantasy and/or oil production will keep increasing for a century or more seem to be dominant.

But just how realistic are the “Not to Peak”-ers?

I had a look back at my article of 4 years ago (Peak Oil Re-visited), and I’m pretty comfortable with what I said back then. NB. I defined “Peak Oil” as When the rate of oil production reaches its maximum. With this definition, Peak Oil is not when we run out of oil, and it is not when we can’t increase the rate of oil production. If you want to use one of those other definitions then different rules apply. And I’m only talking about oil, not about oil and gas, and not about fossil fuels generally.

What I said in 2015 was:

  • The reason for oil production reaching its maximum is not specified.
  • Peak Oil is not necessarily a disaster, it could even be a positive.
  • One idea which surely is not open to argument is the fact that oil production will peak.
  • Predicting Peak Oil has always been an unrewarding exercise. People have predicted Peak Oil for over a century and have been wrong every time.
  • The principal factors affecting oil supply are: Geology, Politics, Demand, Price, Technology.
  • In spite of economic booms and busts, oil demand has been relatively inelastic.
  • Although Peak Oil may occur after say 2040, it could well be much earlier.

The third bullet above (oil production will peak) was justified by this graph, which looked at past and likely future oil production on a scale of thousands of years:

 

The shale revolution (as BP calls it) has made a difference, but it still can’t dramatically alter the shape of the graph in Figure 1. Basically, it can push the peak up, and it can elongate the tail, but it can’t move the peak very far to the right.

Figure 1. World Total Fossil Fuel Consumption, past and predicted – the long view.

Higher energy demand drove up global CO2 emissions in 2018

by IEA, April 7, 2019


Higher energy demand drove up global CO2 emissions in 2018
We released our second annual report on global energy trends last week, highlighting that energy demand worldwide grew by 2.3% in 2018, its fastest pace this decade, thanks to a strong global economy and higher demand for heating and cooling.
Natural gas emerged as the fuel of choice, posting the biggest gains and accounting for 45% of the rise in energy consumption. Solar and wind generation grew at double-digit pace, with solar alone increasing by 31%. Still, that was not fast enough to meet higher electricity demand around the world that also drove up coal use.

As a result, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7% to 33 Gigatonnes (Gt) with coal use in power generation alone surpassing 10 Gt and accounting for a third of total emissions. The majority of that was from coal-fired generation capacity in Asia, with a fleet of young power plants that are decades short of average lifetimes of around 50 years.

What would life be like without fossil fuels such as gas and oil?

by Anthony Watts, April 6, 2019 in WUWT


Leftists like Bill McKibben of 350.org suffer from irrational fantasies that lead them to believe that we can move society forward without all the benefits that petroleum brings to our modern society.

They’re dead wrong of course, and this short humorous video illustrates just what life might be like without the many products and energy sources that are derived from petroleum. My favorite is ink, which if we didn’t get from petroleum, we wouldn’t have to see print editions of NYT, WaPo, and the Lost Angeles Times, to name a few.

You also wouldn’t be able to read this article, because the very keyboard I am typing this on is made from plastic, which you guessed it, is derived from petroleum.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), this is a list of petroleum products and their share of total US petroleum consumption in 2013.

  • Gasoline 46%

  • Heating Oil / Diesel Fuel 20%

  • Jet Fuel ( kerosene) 8%

  • Propane / Propylene 7%

  • NGL / LRG 6%

  • Still Gas 4%

  • Petrochemical Feedstocks 2%

  • Petroleum Coke 2%

  • Residual / Heavy Fuel Oil 2%

  • Asphalt / Road Oil 2%

  • Lubricants 1%

  • Miscellaneous Products / Special Naphthas 0.4%

  • Other Liquids 1%

  • Aviation Gasoline 0.1%

  • Waxes 0.04%

  • Kerosene 0.02%

Nuclear power excluded from EU’s green investment label

by C. Stam & A. Prager, April 3, 2019 in EurActiv


The text voted in Parliament also excludes fossil fuels and gas infrastructure from the EU’s proposed green finance taxonomy, which aims to divert investments away from polluting industries into clean technologies.

In a bid to prevent “green-washing”, the Parliament text also requires investors to disclose whether their financial products have sustainability objectives, and if they do, whether the product is consistent with the EU’s green assets classification, or taxonomy.

While activists applauded the move, they said the classification voted by the European Parliament was too narrow and applies only to a limited set of recognisable green assets, such as wind and solar power companies.

“Brown list” rejected

An amendment to publish a “brown list” to name and shame investments seen as damaging for the environment was rejected by Parliament.

‘L’impossible équation des écologistes’

by Prof. Ch. Leclercq-Willain, 5 avril 2019 in ScienceClimatEnergie


Depuis plusieurs années un des combats mené par les écologistes dans différents pays européens (Allemagne, France, Belgique, ..) fut et reste celui du nucléaire mené actuellement en parallèle avec celui de la réduction des gaz à effet de serre (GES). Les « verts » allemands ont obtenu la fermeture de presque toutes les centrales nucléaires et l’Allemagne a toujours une exploitation importante de centrales gaz-charbon. L’Allemagne est ainsi le plus grand émetteur de CO2 en Europe. Il en est de même des pays de l’Est et de la Russie qui exploitent essentiellement des centrales gaz-charbon. En Belgique, la fermeture définitive des centrales nucléaires est prévue pour 2025.

U.S. Arctic Oil & Gas Exploration: A Sense of Urgency

by D. Middleton, April 3, 2019 in WUWT


I ran across a very lucid and informative article on Real Clear Energy today. The author is Robert Dillon, “a senior adviser on energy security at the American Council for Capital Formation and the former communications director of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.” The article includes numerous links to supporting information, particularly the National Petroleum Council’s (NPC) 2015 report on U.S. Arctic oil & gas resource potential.

The key findings of the 2015 NPC report were:

  1. Arctic oil and gas resources are large and can contribute significantly to meeting future U.S. and global energy needs.
  2. The arctic environment poses some different challenges relative to other oil and gas production areas, but is generally well understood.
  3. The oil and gas industry has a long history of successful operations in arctic conditions enabled by continuing technology and operational advances.
  4. Most of the U.S. Arctic offshore conventional oil and gas potential can be developed using existing field-proven technology.
  5. The economic viability of U.S. Arctic development is challenged by operating conditions and the need for updated regulations that reflect arctic conditions.
  6. Realizing the promise of Arctic oil and gas requires securing public confidence.
  7. There have been substantial recent technology and regulatory advancements to reduce the potential for and consequences of a spill.

Figure 1-1. Arctic exploration wells by country and time period. (NPC)

China-built nuclear reactors may enjoy home advantage as delays and costs stymie foreign competitors

by Bloomberg, April 2, 2019 in SouthChinaMorningPost


China’s home-grown nuclear technology is gaining favour in the battle for the nation’s next generation of reactors, according to a state-owned developer, as it sought to recover from delays and cost blowouts from imported designs.

China’s reactor, known as the Hualong One, will be faster and easier to repair and maintain than competing foreign designs because it will be made at home, according to Chen Hua, chief executive officer of China National Nuclear Power company (CNNP), which builds and operates nuclear power projects.

“We prefer the Hualong One,” Chen said on Monday at a nuclear energy conference in Beijing.

The global nuclear industry has been awaiting a revival in China after cost overruns and stricter regulation after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan stalled the approval and construction of more units.

New Coal Power Projects Declining In India?

by P. Homewood, March 30, 2019 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat


Anybody expecting that retirements will start outstripping new builds soon will be severely disappointed however.

As we know, the UK has already shut many coal plants, and the ones left are generating very little power. Other EU nations are following suit, so there will soon be little scope for further retirements.

Meanwhile Germany and several eastern European countries, such as Poland have no intention of moving away from coal for many years to come.

In the US, coal power generation has fallen by 39% in the last decade, principally due to low gas prices. It now only accounts for 13% of global coal generation.

Worldwide, there is 574 GW of coal power in the pipeline, including 281 GW outside of China and India. Whatever the US and EU do will scarcely make a dent in that lot.

 

La transition électrique européenne, une impasse?

by J.P. Schaeken Willemaers, 29 mars 2019 in ScienceClimatEnergie


La transition énergétique est abondamment traitée dans les médias, souvent de manière univoque (ce que d’aucuns appellent le débat confisqué) en ignorant les conséquences socio-économiques. Dans ce papier, nous nous limiterons à sa composante électrique.
Rappelons tout d’abord que la finalité première d’un système électrique est d’assurer l’adéquation entre la production et la consommation d’électricité.


Il va de soi, quoique ce ne soit pas évident pour tout le monde, qu’il faut anticiper les adaptations nécessaires du système avant de procéder à la mise en œuvre du changement. Dans ce processus, l’analyse de l’impact sur la transmission et la distribution d’électricité et sur la continuité des services ainsi que la réalisation des travaux correspondants requis, sont prioritaires. Or aucun gouvernement ayant décidé de réduire drastiquement les émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES), ne s’est soucié des conséquences de leurs décisions. Ceci explique les déboires des pays qui se sont précipités dans une stratégie de pénétration accélérée de production d’électricité renouvelable intermittente.

China boosts coal mining capacity despite climate pledges

by M. Xu  & D. Patton, March 26, 2019 in Reuters


BEIJING (Reuters) – China added 194 million tonnes of coal mining capacity in 2018, data from the energy bureau showed on Tuesday, despite vows to eliminate excess capacity in the sector and to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Total coal mining capacity in the country was at 3.53 billion tonnes per year by the end of 2018, according to a statement from the National Energy Administration (NEA). That compares to 3.34 billion tonnes at the end of 2017.