Friday, December 16, 2011

North Dakota (and Planet Earth) Still Building Toward Its Peak

In September, North Dakota pumped a record 464,129 barrels a day – a 439% increase from a decade ago and right on par with Ecuador’s production. The gushing isn’t done yet, though.

Within five years, Rick Mueller, of ESAI Energy LLC, predicts that North Dakota could be producing anywhere from 700,000 barrels to one million barrels a day. _WallStreetDaily


Imagine: Just one US state -- North Dakota -- is ramping up production toward a remarkable goal of close to 1 million barrels per day. Better technology is making it easier and cheaper to find oil & gas which would have been impossible to find and extract not so many years ago.
Wills Eschenbach WUWT
As you can see from the chart above, proved oil reserves and oil production continue to edge upward, year after year. It is almost as if the faster the oil is extracted, the more quickly additional proved reserves take their place.
Thirty years ago, we only had 30 years of proven oil reserves left. Estimates then said we would be running out of oil about now.

Twenty-five years ago, we had about forty years left. Ten years ago we had over forty years left. Now we have over forty-five years left. I’m sure you see the pattern here.

Second, this is only what are termed “proven reserves” (Wiki). It does not include “unproven reserves”, much of which is in the form of unconventional oils such as shale oil and oil sands. Even discounting the unproven reserves, while the rate of production has increased, the proven reserves have also increased at about the same rate. So the R/P ratio, the years left at the current rate of production, has stayed over forty years for almost a quarter century.. _WUWT

The shale gas boom is driving the oil to gas price ratio to record levels -- which opens up entire new industries of substitution and transformation. One new trend in North America is the building of giant chemical plants for cracking natural gas ethane into ethylene -- for plastics and other chemical uses. Other important trends resulting from the natural gas bonanza include new gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants, and liquified natural gas exports.

When cheap and plentiful natural gas is substituted for more expensive oil, the oil that is not used today will be available to be used tomorrow. When cheap natural gas is converted into diesel oil or gasoline, global demand for crude oil is less than it would have otherwise been.

Religious believers in peak oil have been doomed-down for many decades now. They have chosen this dooming down for themselves, and would like for everyone else to be doomed down as well, just like themselves. But some of us actually have things we would like to do with our lives, and goals we would like to meet. We cannot just sit around in a circular jerkular for doomers, and while away the hours. So it is fortunate for us that the reality of global energy is quite different from what would read at the doomer sites.

Once the people of the US and Europe choose to cast off their bureaucracies of energy starvation, the full spectrum of world energy can be utilised to fuel a better and more abundant future -- an open-ended future of innovation, rather than one of dooming down.

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