Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Peak Oil

Contributed by TediousTrantrums (petem)

I was casually reading through my Tweets when I saw the following from Captain Ranty “The Russians will be pleased to see Libya normalise. They were the only f****** finding anything. BP – nowt. Shell – zip. Russia 7 wells, 7 finds.”

This reminded me of a bit of research I carried out a few months ago which was prompted by an article I’d read on the web about the success of Russian oil prospecting. They’d been very successful and this had been attributed to research, which had been carried out in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Due to a shortage of oil in Russia at the time and a lack of potential oil imports the Russian had decided to look at hard at what oil really was and where it was to be found.

They discovered that oil was, in fact, produced deep within the earth and flowed up through deep faults into reservoirs. At the time this was a fairly wild thing to suggest and it gained no traction at all in the West. Since then however, they have gone on to explore in areas, which do not fit the traditional topology for oil prospecting and have been pretty successful, just as Captain Ranty suggested in his tweet.

They drill deeply, very deeply. Much deeper than Western Oil companies which is no surprise given the traditional search for oil is looking for decomposed dinosaur and other creatures residue. The Russians don’t believe a word of “fossil fuels” or of peak oil for that matter.

Which brings us neatly to another group of people who have trouble with oil, our environmental friends or Greenies. They don’t like oil because it produces CO2, which is a very bad thing, although it isn’t. They have managed to have oil exploration completely stopped or curtailed to the extent that there are supposed shortages and of course it’s running out. The oil companies are no angels that’s for sure and neither are the futures commodity oil speculators.

So oil could be plentiful, cheap and last for a very long time.  The fact that it is becoming ever more expensive, duty hikes notwithstanding, causes us all major headaches and problems. The cost is passed onto to us for the petrol we buy, the goods we buy which are delivered to the shop using oil and of course every sort of item, which contains or is contained by oil based products. It is also still used for heating especially in its gaseous form the price of which also increases beyond which is sensible.

The bottom line is Russia has demonstrated significant success in finding new oil in significant quantities by using science to determine what is actually possible rather than relying on discredited science mixed with global warming fairy stories as we in parts of the west do.


John said...

I worked for a major oil firm in the late 70s - perception then was that limit on oil was what people were prepared to pay for it. As it gets harder to recover, price goes up and ppl would not pay for the very hard to get oil

banned said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
banned said...

^deleted for correction

That oil is not fossil based would go a long way to explain why I have been hearing about "peak oil" for forty years yet folk who work on North Sea oil rigs tell me they see no need for a career move any time soon.

CopPorn said...

"Peak oil" does not mean that oil production is about to cease entirely. It simply means that annual production of oil has peaked.

This can be very good for oil companies - flat output with increasing demand makes for higher prices and vastly increased profits.

So in fact, "peak oil" doesn't predict that anybody should be leaving their career in the oil business any time soon.

For the a-biotic theory of oil production - this has fallen out of favour with scientists, not with "greens". Geologists - in the west AND in Russia - do not consider it scientifically supported.

The wells dug by russian were dug not according to their belief in abiotic origins of oil. They don't believe that anymore.

The abiotic theory of oil was abandoned after it repeatedly failed to predict good locations for wells. That is, it was got rid of purely on the basis of its success as a predictor for well locations, which is much worse than for the biotic origin theory.

your post though seems to have went a bit loopy, to be blunt. Claiming that "greens" are responsible for the well positioning of huge western oil companies focussed on profit, and not geologists and the pursuit of mammon? Aye right. Claiming entire firmament of world (not merely western) science is incorrect and a theory long since actively and empirically disproven is somehow correct? Claiming that russians in Libya are operating according to principles they themselves abandoned long ago.

I mean, come on. Be rational! Have a read of actual current scientific status of this theory, and less attention to irrational loner bloggers.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Oil, as such, is indeed becoming harder to get and more expensive.

Taking into account Shale Gas and Methane Clathrates, though, we have barely scratched the surface of what the earth can provide in energy resources, and that's not even to mention Thorium reactors.

As long as the eco-fascists can be controlled or neutralised, there's no need for energy shortages in the foreseeable future.

pa_broon74 said...

Two things.

Citing a wiki article is more indicative than difinitive and this is a guest post not written by SR.

It would be nice though if oil did somehow grow on trees.

Woodsy42 said...

I read about the mineral oil theory some time ago, and have to say that to me it makes considerably more sense than the fossil theory.
I also note that when I buy a can of oil for my car it is labelled 'Mineral oil' - so it must exist!

pa_broon74 said...

Just had a thought.

If oil did grow on trees would environmentalists want to cut them down?

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I would doubt very much that BP,Shell and Exxon are far behind the vanguard of oil extraction.

I would be more concerned with China's bid to monopolise the extraction of rare earth minerals.

Brian said...

I'm all for ranching whales and basking sharks to provide "heritage" oil, just as was done before mineral oil was exploited.
I wouldn't worry about the Chinese monopolising rare earths as the Americans will reopen the mines they closed a few years ago due to low prices (the Chinese don't worry so much about wages, health & safety or the environment and so have lower costs of production).

However, I would worry about the Chinese tunnelling under the US East coast to create earthquakes. :-)

subrosa said...

I know Pete's been busy today but he will respond to all your comments. Just so as you don't think you're being ignored. :)

petem130 said...

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments. I'll answer each of them in a moment.

I should explain I was on-site with a client all day today and it went on longer than expected. It was straight home, dinner then back out again to The Queens Hall for a gig.

Back now so normal service is resumed. I did keep a check on comments but I couldn't respond.

Thanks for your patience.


petem130 said...

John, It's the nature of beast. Supply and demand. BP certainly have huge reserves in the North sea although more difficult to recover. Higher prices and much improved and continuing to improve retrieval technology should help.


petem130 said...

I agree Banned. There's more to this than meets the eye as it were.

petem130 said...

Thanks for your comment CopPorn. Given the state of science, the peer review system and Wikipedia I'll take a rain check on a visit to Wikipedia.

A section of the greens have managed to reduce drilling and recovery activities. That will change and more oil and gas will flow. The Russians attitude has changed in as much as they are not willing to talk about it as freely as they used to.

I respect your views. As with many things time will tell the rights and wrongs of it.


petem130 said...

Couldn't agree more Weekend Yachtsman. Thanks


petem130 said...

Hi Pa_Broon74.If only oil did grow on trees. Preferably in 5 gallon containers at a picking height which did not involve ladders. Yes please.

The greenies would of course want it not to be harvested. The Greater Oil Tree Weevals environment would be threatened and the local biodiversity balance threatened.

This may be familiar to you?


petem130 said...

Sounds like that to me too Woodsy42. Must have been a huge amount of squished fossils involved although the fossil theory also requires heat and pressure to cook it just right as it were.



petem130 said...

Hi Crinkly. Greenies are holding back extraction of rare earth minerals in the USA and Australia.

I think their time for influencing policy is beginning to wane although not as quickly in the UK as would be good for us.


petem130 said...


Tunnelling under the USA to cause earthquakes. What a wizard wheeze! Get onto the makers of the Bons movies and suggest it as a plot line! Shaken AND stirred Mr Bond?


Brian said...

Dr Evil " Ah, Mr Bond, before you are killed in an extremely gruesome and unecessarily complicated fashion you can discover how I plan to destroy America by clicking on the link in Brian's comment above to "Battle Beneath The Earth", a 1967 film."

Dr Evil "Mr Bond where are you? Fools, you've let him escape, now my secret underground hideaway will start collapsing and exploding in five minutes."

petem130 said...

Looks like you have it all sewn up Brian. Fame and fortune are yours to take. All it needs is an attractive woman, a car that does tricks (did I get that the right way around?) and a dramatic theme tune performed by a pop star of some standing.

Having achieved all of the above you may well feel that some of the significant monies you amass should be shared with your truly!

Brian said...

@petem130: you're the twelfth person I'm promising 10% of the film's gross to so it's got to be a real blockbuster for me to make any money, according to my accountant. :-)

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