In Part One of this series, we looked at Peak Oil and its irrelevance to energy production and also discussed the relevance of Seinfeld. In Part Deux, we looked at “abiotic oil,” a real(ish) thing that really doesn’t matter outside of academic discussions and SyFy blogs.
Part Trois will explore perhaps the most meaningless notion to ever come out of academia: Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI or EROI depending on spelling skill). EROEI is like what Seinfeld would have been if it was written by Douglas Adams.
In part one of this series, we looked at Peak Oil and its irrelevance to energy production. In Part Deux, we will look at “abiotic oil,” a real(ish) thing that really doesn’t matter outside of academic discussions and SyFy blogs.
A note on terminology
Some refer to this as “abiogenic oil.” This is not a useful term because all oil is abiogenic. The generally accepted theory of petroleum formation doesn’t state that it is a biogenic process. I discussed this in detail in a 2017 post. I don’t intend to restate it here.
In this post, “abiotic oil” refers to petroleum formed by processes that do not rely on biological source material. The carbon in “abiotic oil” must be inorganic.
A real example of abiotic “oil”
The Lost City Hydrothermal Field is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, about 15 km (~9 mi) west of the spreading center, in water depths ranging from 750-900 m (~2,500-3,000′) (Kelley et al., 2005).
Figure 1. Lost City location map. (University of Washington)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hydrocarbons—oil, natural gas, and coal—are the world’s principal energy resource today and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Wind turbines, solar arrays, and batteries, meanwhile, constitute a small source of energy, and physics dictates that they will remain so. Meanwhile, there is simply no possibility that the world is undergoing—or can undergo—a near-term transition to a “new energy economy.”
Italian oil and gas company Eni has announced a new gas discovery under evaluation in the Nour exploration prospect offshore Egypt.
The prospect is located in the Nour North Sinai Concession in the Eastern Egyptian Mediterranean, 50km north of the Sinai Peninsula. The concession covers a total area of 739km2, with water depths ranging from 50-400m.
This latest discovery was made at the Nour-1 New Field Wildcat (NFW) exploratory well, which was drilled by the Scarabeo 9 semi-submersible unit in a water depth of 295m, reaching a total depth of 5,914m.
The well has not yet been tested, but Eni said it had carried out an “intense and accurate” data acquisition.
The NFW well found 33m of gross sandstone pay in the Tineh formation of Oligocene age with “good petrophysical properties” according to Eni, as well as an estimated gas column of 90m.
New York (CNN Business)Move over, Saudi Arabia. America is about to steal the kingdom’s energy exporting crown.
The United States will surpass Saudi Arabia later this year in exports of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products, like gasoline, according to energy research firm Rystad Energy.
That milestone, driven by the transformative shale boom, would make the United States the world’s leading exporter of oil and liquids. That has never happened since Saudi Arabia began selling oil overseas in the 1950s, Rystad said in a report Thursday.
“It’s nothing short of remarkable,” said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank. “Ten years ago, no one thought it could happen.”
The expected breakthrough reflects how technology has reshaped the global energy landscape. Drilling innovations have opened up huge swaths of oil and natural gas resources that had been trapped in shale oilfields in Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere.
Led by shale, US oil production has more than doubled over the past decade to all-time highs. The United States now pumps more oil than any other country, including Russia and Saudi Arabia.
“The shale boom has driven incredible increases in production,” said Fitzmaurice. “US production is off the charts.”
Jude Clemente’s energy articles on Real Clear Energy and Forbes are always worth reading.
Major oil company (particularly European majors) predictions of a near-term peak in oil demand are 99.999% driven by politics and the need to appease the investment community.
According to baseball legend, the late, great Yogi Berra, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” So, make sure your timeline is long enough to evade having to take responsibility for failed predictions.
Malthuisan predictions have a 100% track record of being wrong.
Cyprus and ExxonMobil on Thursday announced a gas find estimated between 5-8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in an offshore field inside the island’s exclusive economic zone.
The discovery was made in the Glafcos (Glaucus) 1 well in Block 10 of the EEZ.
“Based on preliminary interpretation of the well data, the discovery could represent an in-place natural gas resource of approximately 5 trillion to 8 trillion cubic feet (142 billion to 227 billion cubic metres). Further analysis in the coming months will be required to better determine the resource potential,” the company said in a statement.
La stratégie des anciens président iranien et vénézuélien – Ahmadinejad et Chavez comme Maduro à sa suite – qui rêvaient de mettre à genoux les États-Unis grâce à leurs réserves de pétrole, a lamentablement échoué. Qui plus est, l’Iran et le Venezuela ne sont pas des pays où il fait bon vivre…
La révolution bolivarienne financée par le pétrole a complètement appauvri le Venezuela. Les idéologues socialistes avaient tout faux depuis le début.
Le paradoxe est encore plus étrange car le pays est très riche en ressources naturelles. Avec 303 milliards de barils (18 % du total mondial), le Venezuela détient les plus grandes réserves prouvées de brut au monde, loin devant l’Arabie Saoudite qui en possède 266. Pour mesurer leur ampleurs, observons que ces réserves correspondent à celles combinées de la Russie, des États-Unis et de l’Iran. Il possède également 6 400 milliards de m3 de gaz naturel – 3,3 % des réserves mondiales – soit près de quatre fois les réserves de la Norvège, considérée en Europe comme un grand du gaz.
La plupart des réserves de pétrole prouvées du Venezuela sont situées dans le bassin du fleuve Orinoco, où 220,5 milliards de barils de pétrole lourd gisent, pratiquement inexploités. Même s’il n’est pas de première qualité, c’est quand même du pétrole. La principale zone de production se trouve dans le bassin de Maracaibo, où l’on pompe près de 50 % du pétrole vénézuélien.
Du gaz et du pétrole de schiste sont découverts à profusion dans le monde, notamment aux États-Unis. Qui en parle dans nos grands media ? Serait-ce politiquement incorrect de l’évoquer ?
LE SUCCÈS DU PARI DU GAZ ET DU PÉTROLE DE SCHISTE
Le Texas aux États-Unis regorge de pétrole et de gaz de schiste au point que les gazoducs existants sont saturés ! Le gaz doit même être « torché » ou « éventé ».
En attendant la mise en service de nouvelles capacités de transport, la production doit être réduite faute de pouvoir exporter les quantités extraites. La production de pétrole de schiste doit aussi être réduite en parallèle car il est extrait avec le gaz (et vice-versa).
Des projets sont en développement pour évacuer le gaz vers le Golfe du Mexique pour le liquéfier (GPL) et pouvoir ainsi l’exporter par bateau méthanier.
Après avoir stagné autour de 6 millions de barils par jour (Mb/j) en moyenne de 1933 à 2013, la production a grimpé à 9,4 Mb/j en 2017, puis à 10,4 Mb/j en 2018, et elle passera à 11,5 Mb/j 2019.
La surabondance de gaz de schiste associé à l’extraction du pétrole de schiste a fait chuter les prix au terminal gazier à l’ouest du Texas jusqu’à 1 dollar par million d’unité thermique britannique (dollar/MM-Btu), alors qu’il vaut 13 à 14 dollars/MM-Btu sur le marché européen.
La géologie, une science plus que passionnante … et diverse