Posted by JoulesBurn on July 10, 2013 - 7:16am
[Ed: For those who may not have heard, James "Randy" Udall, a co-founder and driving force in building ASPO-USA, died recently while hiking in Wyoming's Wind River Range. Below is a tribute from three friends who enjoyed many years working alongside Randy as volunteer leaders for ASPO-USA. Their words speak for many of us. This remembrance was first published in Peak Oil Review.]
By Sally Odland, Steve Andrews, and John Theobald
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."
Last week our universe was rent asunder by the untimely death of our great friend, colleague and mentor, Randy Udall. The passing of this lanky, unprepossessing comet of a man with his wide-ranging intellect, uncompromising honesty and stiletto wit leaves a wide vacuum in its wake.
Dear Readers of The Oil Drum,
A few weeks ago the ISEOF board (The Institute for Energy and Our Future that facilitates The Oil Drum), Euan, Super G, JoulesBurn, and Myself, met to discuss the future of The Oil Drum. A discussion we have had several times in the last year, due to scarcity of new content caused by a dwindling number of contributors. Despite our best efforts to fill this gap we have not been able to significantly improve the flow of high quality articles.
Because of this and the high expense of running the site, the board has unanimously decided that the best course of action is to convert the site to a static archive of previously published material as of 31st July 2013. We will continue to post articles up to this date. Afterwards any articles will be held as a public archive into the foreseeable future, so that others can continue to learn from the breadth and depth of knowledge published by our many authors, over the 8+ history of this remarkable volunteer effort.
We sincerely thank everyone who has been part of the TOD community - authors, staff and especially commenter's and readers - for contributing to the success of the site. It is unusual for a site which is based primarily on volunteer effort to continue this long.
Drilling Faster Just To Stay Still: A Proposal To Use ‘Production Per Unit Effort’ (PPUE) As An Indicator Of Peak Oil
This is a guest post by Andrew McKay, who is a trained ecologist and currently works in fisheries in New Zealand. In his spare time he writes about peak oil and energy issues at Southern Limits.
Within the fields of harvest and fisheries management catch per unit effort (CPUE) is one method that is used to determine the health of a biological resource. The underlying assumption is that as a population declines it becomes harder to catch and therefore CPUE decreases.
Effort can be measured in a number of ways. In fisheries this unit of effort could be vessels in a fishery, days fished, hours fished, number of tows or sets in a season or any number of other units of measurement. Theoretically these should all show similar results.
As a very basic example of CPUE, if in the first year a vessel fishes 10 hours per day for the season and catches 4,500,000 kg of fish and in the second year still fishes 10 hours per day for the season and catches only 2,000,000 kg of fish the CPUE has dropped from 5000 kg/hr to 2778 kg/hr. A standardised CPUE would show a drop from maximum catch of 100 (the maximum of the data set) in the first year to 56 in the second year. A drop of almost half. All other things being equal this would give fisheries managers reason for concern as the effort has stayed the same while the catch has decreased. However, an increase or no change in catch can also sometimes mask an underlying problem. If in the second year the vessel fishes 15 hours per day for a season and still catches 4,500,000kg the CPUE drops to 3333 kg/hr. This is a standardised CPUE of 67. This represents an increase in effort for the same amount of catch.
There are a number of limitations to CPUE in fisheries management that largely come from fish stocks being highly mobile, impacted by a number of environmental conditions, disease and predation from other species. That being said, what if we applied the concept of CPUE to a non-biological resource such as oil? What if instead of catch per unit effort we calculate production per unit effort (PPUE)? This is exactly what I am proposing and what the rest of this post will address.
A June 6, 2013, article from Reuters is titled, “Lawmakers in new drive to slash Iran’s oil sales to a trickle.” According to it,
U.S. lawmakers are embarking this summer on a campaign to deal a deeper blow to Iran’s diminishing oil exports, and while they are still working out the details, analysts say the ultimate goal could be a near total cut-off.
My concern is that the new sanctions, if they work, will put the United States and Europe in a worse financial position than they were before the sanctions, mostly because of a spike in oil prices.
How much reduction in oil exports are we talking about? According to both the EIA and BP, Iranian oil exports were in the 2.5 million barrels a day range, for most years in the 1992 to 2011 period. In 2012, Iran’s oil exports dropped to 1.7 or 1.8 million barrels a day. Recent data from OPEC suggests Iranian oil exports (crude + products) have recently dropped to about 1.5 million barrels a day in May 2013.
If the ultimate goal is “close to total cut-off,” an obvious question we should be asking ourselves is whether it makes sense to handicap world oil production by close to 2.5 million barrels relative to 2011, or close to 1.5 million barrels relative to May 2013. Oil prices have spiked in the past when there has been an interruption in world oil supply. Why wouldn’t they this time? Furthermore, who are really handicapping: Ourselves or Iran?
The continuing conflict in Syria, and the slow spread of violence in the region around it continue to make it difficult to accurately predict the future of oil exports from the region. Within Syria itself, production had fallen into decline about ten years ago, before the current struggle began. The precipitate drop over the last two years has, however, been much more dramatic. As Energy Export Databrowser noted from the BP statistic review, production fell by 49% last year.
As with most oil-producing nations, oil consumption had, on the other hand, been steadily rising with net exports (some is exported as crude and re-imported as refined product) falling to around 100 kbd. The conflict has, however, also reduced internal consumption at similar rates earlier in the conflict.
Posted by Jonathan Callahan on June 18, 2013 - 2:31am
Tags: bp statistical review, brazilian oil production, energy export databrowser, north american oil production, uk energy production [list all tags]
The Energy Export Databrowser has been updated to the latest version of the BP Statistical Review. A few charts are provided below the fold that help illuminate the following stories evident in the data:
- The US is less reliant on imports from across the globe
- UK energy production from all sources continues its decline
- Brazil is unlikely to become a major oil exporter
The databrowser is available in the following languages:
The EIA has noted in This Week in Petroleum that, for the first time, the sum of non-OECD country demand contributed more than half to the total of liquid fuels consumed in the world.
It does, however, point out that the projections of the Short Term Energy Outlook are for the two curves to re-intersect at the end of 2014.
Posted by Rembrandt on June 10, 2013 - 4:27am
Tags: adam brandt, canada, energy return, energy return on energy invested, eroei, eroi, oil, oil sands, tar sands [list all tags]
Low energetic returns (e.g., EROI, NER) from oil sands extraction and upgrading have been noted as a potential limit to the development of the oil sands as a substitute for depleting conventional oil resources (e.g., Herweyer and Gupta, 2008). In this article we will examine this claim from a variety of perspectives. Specifically, we will examine the following questions:
- Are the energetic returns from oil sands extraction lower than conventional oil?
- How have the energy returns from oil sands extraction varied over time?
- What energy sources are used in oil sands extraction, and what are the implications of this sourcing for net energy availability from the oil sands?
- Will low energy returns limit the net output of energy from the oil sands industry?
This article is based on the peer-reviewed journal article: Brandt A.R., J. Englander and S. Bharadwaj (2013). The energy efficiency of oil sands extraction: Energy return ratios from 1970 to 2010. Energy.
Let me begin with two brief apologies – first, my last post on Iraq on TOD was hit with a vast quantity of spam that made it difficult to find all the pertinent comments; hopefully this post will have a little easier time. And secondly, although I used an EIA graph to show Iraqi production and consumption, Westexas was kind enough to point to an error in the domestic consumption plot. The more accurate consumption plot can be found here through 2011, and the figures for last year are up to 880 kbd, higher than the plot I showed, and close to the current capacity (900 kbd) of the refineries in the country. Some of the difference between the two plots comes about because Iraq continues to import significant quantities of refined oil products.
Last week I mentioned that while the potential production from current contracts in Iraq held great promise for the future, that it was unlikely that those targets would be reached. This post is meant as an explanation for that pessimism, but it should be noted that Iraq itself is now seeking to revise the initial targets since it perceives that too much oil in the market may well be destabilizing. This, even though growth is spread over the next decades, and demand is projected to increase at more than 1 mbd/year for the next few years.
There is often quite a debate in the Peak Oil community over the difference between a reserve and a resource. Simplistically a resource is, for the sake of discussion, the amount of oil that is in the ground in a certain country, while the reserve is the amount of oil that can be both technically and economically recovered from that resource. The numbers can differ quite markedly, and the judgment as to whether a certain body is a reserve is finally made when a well is drilled down, and production (or not) begins.
Just having the reserve available is not, however, within the global discussion of Peak Oil, an adequate sufficiency. Because oil well flow declines over time, it is important that the rate of oil production from that reservoir, and the timeliness of its arrival within the supply chain, be considered. This is particularly true in discussions about the help that the reserve will provide in ensuring that there is an adequate supply available when the global demand needs it. Normally, as noted, the decisions about production are made on geologic and economic grounds, but it would be foolish not to recognize that there are other factors. Consider the case of Iraq. It is a common the assumption that Iraqi oil production will rise considerably, with some suggesting it will reach the levels currently only achieved by Russia and Saudi Arabia, although there are some who project it might even rise to as much as 13 mbd, given that there are contracts in place, which if fulfilled on time, would raise Iraqi production four-fold to 12 mbd by 2017.
In their Special Report on Iraq last year, the IEA noted that the country is already the world’s third-largest oil exporter, with the potential and intent to increase production much further. And, as the EIA notes, Iraq became the second largest oil producer in OPEC when it passed Iran at the end of last year.
Iraq is currently producing around 3.1 mbd of crude and thus the potential production levels, and their contribution to reserves and to the daily global need for supply, still has a way to go. With so much oil potentially available, and yet with considerable question over the rate at which it will arrive, it is worth examining the conclusions that the IEA came to, before the current increase in violence occurred. This new spate of attacks comes after an interval when violence was decreasing in the country, and may prove a further impediment to significant growth in production.