Articles tagged with "alaska"
Posted by Heading Out on August 25, 2013 - 5:04am
Tags: alaska, bakken, colombia, kazakhstan, malaysia, non-opec production, north dakota, oil production, oman, opec, russia, saudi arabia, south sudan, sudan [list all tags]
The news that Saudi Arabia is planning to employ 200 drilling rigs next year (up from 20 back in 2005) suggests that there is a recognition that future reserves may not measure up to the planned volumes needed. Plans now include exploration of the shale deposits in the country, looking primarily for natural gas. There are estimates that this resource could run as high as 600 trillion cubic ft. Current plans are to drill seven exploratory wells in the Red Sea, off Tabuk.
This is across the country from the major oil fields currently in use, which lie more along the Persian Gulf coast, centered perhaps around Damman. It therefore suggests that they are looking for extensions of the Israeli and Egyptian fields into northern KSA. (Minister Al-Naimi said that they still “had to find them.”)
In discussing the venture Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi also noted that, choosing to look for – and presumably finding - natural gas, would take the pressure off the country to maintain its oil reserve.
Al-Naimi said that prospects for global production of shale gas and oil – including in China, Ukraine, Poland and Saudi Arabia – were so promising that the Kingdom might not need to continue with its decades-long policy of maintaining an oil-output cushion for use in global supply disruptions. “It is not a question whether Saudi Arabia has spare (oil) capacity. It is a question of whether we need to spend billions maintaining it at all,” Al-Naimi said.
Gasoline prices remain high, and Reuters recently noted that there are enough countries with civil unrest, technical problems, and bad weather with around a million barrels a day of possible supply that are not getting to the market. Yet with Saudi Arabia continuing to reassure that it is willing to pump more oil if needed, there appears to be, superficially, little cause for supply concerns this year. By the same token, concerns over supply in the longer term also seem to be increasingly discounted. For example, Citigroup has just released a new report on Energy 2020: North America as the new Middle East. The report suggests that there is really no concern with future supplies of oil and gas, perhaps most clearly shown with this plot:
I would argue that the numbers for Saudi Arabia and Russia are difficult to realistically justify. For the Kingdom, which is reported to be producing 9.9 mbd, to increase production by another 2 mbd is optimistic, given the aging of their primary fields and the decline in remaining volumes that I will discuss in future posts in the current series on that country. The projection of an increase in Russian production is a similar concern. With the decline in production from Western Siberia, there is not enough new production coming from Timan-Pechora and Eastern Siberia to sustain existing levels, let alone see an increase in production – a point that has been made by Russian officials in the past. However, the real concern lies with the relatively unrealistic image that is being projected for US production over the next eight years.
Posted by Heading Out on March 4, 2012 - 12:08pm
Tags: alaska, aldous major south, arctic ice, chukchi sea, havis, prirazlomnoye, russian production, shtokman, skurgard, timan-pechora, usgs, yamal [list all tags]
In the past few weeks I have been looking at the potential for sustainability in oil and gas production in Russia, now at a predicted recent peak of 10.36 mbd, when condensate is included. But the question increasingly becomes whether or not Russia can sustain these levels through this decade, as has been assumed by those suggesting there will be no supply problems in the near future.
In order to sustain this level of production against falling volumes from the current major sources in Western Siberia (estimated as 300 kbd in 2010), Russia is (so far) relying on bringing new fields into production in Eastern Siberia and Timan-Pechora, as well as having some increase in condensate as natural gas production continues to increase. However, as a broad generalization, these developing fields are at a size of about 500 mb each, with an anticipated maximum individual production level of around 150 kbd. Prirazlomnoye for example, which is coming on line has 526 million barrels in reserves, and will be producing at 132 kbd.
Since the high flow rates will likely not be sustained for long intervals, and declining production in Western Siberia will continue, Russia will need to continue major programs of development to find further fields to bring on line later in the decade and beyond. In addition, the declining production in other fields (which might increase overall decline in existing production to 5% or more, i.e. above 500 kbd) will add further pressure to sustain current levels, particularly given the criticality of oil and gas income to the Russian Government.
With much of the land already surveyed, the potential for large fields lies mainly offshore, and particularly in the various national continental shelves and the disputed underwater territory between them in the Arctic. This is a region where there are multi-national concerns and involvement, with the USGS having previously estimated that it is home to about one-fifth of the world’s undiscovered yet recoverable oil and natural gas resources, an estimate at the time of 44 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 Tcf of natural gas.
Posted by Heading Out on October 24, 2011 - 10:47am
Tags: alaska, crude oil production, governor jindal, governor perry, gulf of mexico, jobs, natural gas production [list all tags]
Editorial Comment: I usually would not consider this a technical talk but rather more political, and I have just about finished reviewing the potential for growth of the reserves in North America. In that context, as I delved into Governor Perry's recently announced Energy Plan, I realized that it followed fairly closely the recommendations of the American Petroleum Institute and other Energy Alliances. That it might be therefore be considered the "best shot" of the oil and gas industry to predict how to increase oil and gas production in the United States, I will treat it as such a plan, and have removed my own comments on this post, though I may make some in a following post. I am also using his numbers rather than other values that might be available.
One of the relevant (to this site) facets of the current Republican debates at the start of this presidential race has been the Energy Plan that Governor Perry put forward the other day. Because it actually gets specific about where some of the projected 1.2 million jobs he anticipates adding to the American economy will come from, but given that detail has not got a lot of publicity, I plan to briefly review it here, together with some of the source documents that were used to generate it. Please note that this is not an endorsement, but rather an illustration of one of the suggested plans. Here is the summary illustration.
When I originally started to write about the Alaskan fuel sources, I had intended to write only about the oil and gas reserves in the state, as I have done over the past few weeks. I was, however, also asked about coal in the state. And then, to reinforce the need to at least look at this fuel, there was this recent quote from the Chancellor of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Dr. Brian Rogers.
Rogers said he has heard objections to the construction of a coal-fired plant, but that it was the only cost-effective way to heat the campus in interior Alaska.
Until now, I have had only one chance to visit an Alaskan coal mine, the Usibelli mines near Fairbanks. Further honesty compels me to admit that I played hookey that day and took myself and my grad student off to have look at the Yukon River, the Dawson Highway, and the Arctic Circle (certificates provided) instead. Not that the coal mining in Alaska is not important and coal’s presence not also visually obvious, but I had seen a lot of strip mines in my time.
I have tried in the last two OGPSS posts to show some of the problems that are developing in the flow of oil from Alaska to the rest of the United States. Based on a falling volume of oil produced from the existing fields in the North Slope, the delivery pipeline from Deadhorse to Valdez is approaching levels of flow which will make it more difficult to deliver that oil. There are fields in the region that are still being developed. Alaska_geo has pointed to several developments that are likely to take place over the next year, mainly in exploration but including the development of the Umiat field. One of the mechanisms that the Alaskan Governor has proposed to help encourage industry was to provide a road up to Umiat. The oil reserve for the Umiat field is estimated at 250 mb, but the road may take another five years to finish.
As with the subjects of the last couple of posts not everyone knows where the different places are in Alaska, so since one of the intents with this post is to look at off-shore deposits, let me put up a new map.
When I wrote about the Alaskan Pipeline last week, I noted that the pipeline was currently flowing at a volume of 495 kbd after the Alyeska folk who run the system had just issued a report indicating that there would be problems once the flow fell below 600 kbd. Checking the flow rate for August (posted on Sept 1), the flow rate has risen back to 539 kbd, with average flow for the year-to-date running at 568 kbd. (The EIA reported final average for 2010 was 589 kbd)
The problems that come with low flow (including reduced revenues) are recognized within the state and Alaskan Governor Parnell has urged that enough new wells be brought on line to allow flow to be raised back up to 1 million barrels a day (mbd) within ten years. With the ongoing decline of current reservoirs, one has, therefore, to look at the reservoirs that lie north of the Brooks Range, in what is known as the North Slope (though it is rather flat) and see what can be brought on line.
It should be remembered as a part of this, that despite talk of global warming, Northern Alaska is not a place where you can just drive a rig to a promising site and drop a new well in place within a couple of weeks. Nor has it the same level of Government scrutiny. For while the President has encouraged renewed drilling in the region, Shell, who was planning on a new program this year, has had to postpone it until next year because of an EPA concern over air quality permits. The nearest community to the planned wells in the Chukchi Sea is some 70 miles away, and has 245 inhabitants.
Posted by Heading Out on August 28, 2011 - 4:57am
Tags: alaska, ice formation, north pole refinery, north slope, northumberland, pipe corrosion, prudhoe, wax buildup [list all tags]
The original Prudhoe is a small village with a medieval castle on the south bank of the Tyne, in the northeast of England. It lies in a coal-mining region within five miles of Prudhoe Colliery, where there were, over time, an additional 157 mines and pits and five working seams of coal in the 1860s. Not in itself out of the ordinary, but by 1828 Prudhoe had given its name to a region in Alaska. The naming recognized Admiral Algernon Percy, the first (and only) Baron Prudhoe (after the castle), who later became the fourth Duke of Northumberland. (His dad, the second Duke, led the British retreat from Lexington after the initial battle).
As with the region of Southern Alaska I mentioned last week, Prudhoe Bay would have faded into the obscurity of the original, were it not that oil seeps had been reported there by the Inupiat Eskimo. After the area had been prospected and surveyed between 1901 and 1919, President Warren G. Harding established the Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4, a region now called the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) in an adjacent area of the North Slope of Alaska, that region that lies north of the Brooks Range. This led on to further exploration, and on March 13, 1968, the Prudhoe Bay discovery well was announced.
I am going to forgo a discussion of the development of the fields that were then discovered in Prudhoe Bay and its adjacent fields until next time, because the oil reserve in Alaska is only a reserve if it can economically be accessed. Otherwise, it is only a resource and the transition from one to the other, in Alaska, came about with the development of the Alaskan pipeline.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is the conduit that makes it possible for oil to flow from Prudhoe Bay some 800.302 miles down to the ice-free port at Valdez. From Valdez it can be shipped by tanker (about 25 a month) to customer refineries further south.
Posted by Heading Out on August 21, 2011 - 6:32am
Tags: alaska, cook inlet, natural gas production, natural gas reserves, natural gas resources, oil production, oil reserves, usgs [list all tags]
Russian visitors had already noted the presence of oil seeps in Alaska, although they had not done anything about it by the time the tsar sold the land to America on March 30, 1867. Russian history would have it that some $165,000 of the $7.2 million of the sale was used to persuade doubting American legislators and members of the media of the value of the purchase. The oil can still be seen coming from current seeps such as this one:
These seeps occur both on and offshore, and as happened in the rest of the country, it was these seeps that brought prospectors to the region and where the first wells were drilled.
To steal a phrase “It is the best of times, it is the worst of times,” although the rest of the opening to A Tale of Two Cities (“It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,”) may also be appropriate. It is also interesting, and will become more so as the new Administration seeks to find a way forward out of the compounding problems that now face it. The WSJ has noted the statements by President-elect Obama earlier:
On the campaign trail, Mr. Obama argued that spending $150 billion over the next decade to boost energy efficiency would help create five million jobs. The jobs would include insulation installers, to make houses more energy-efficient, wind-turbine builders, to displace coal-fired electricity, and construction workers, to build greener buildings and upgrade the electrical grid.
It goes on to note that if renewable energy is only brought on-line to displace conventional coal power, then the net job losses from existing industries may well offset the gains in wind power. That topic brought a discussion in comments a couple of days ago. It is, however, perhaps worth pursuing in a little more detail.