Oil Update

From: Glenn Morton (glenn.morton@btinternet.com)
Date: Thu Jul 18 2002 - 00:13:27 EDT

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    There are some interesting items in the April newsletter of THE ASSOCIATION

    They have collected the estimates of ultimate oil recovery made by various
    experts over the past 60 years. From 1942 until 1960, the estimates rose
    over time and this is probably as it should be because we were still early
    in the age of oil and new information was being developed. But an
    interesting thing happened to the estimates after 1959. The vast majority of
    them say that the earth had originally 1.8 trillion barrels of recoverable
    oil +/- 100 billion (The average of all estimates is 1.93 trillion). Only 22
    out of the 75 estimates say we had more than 2 trillion barrels. Since 1985
    only 5 out of 25 say we had more than 2 trillion barrels. What does this
    mean for the world? We have currently pumped about 1 trillion barrels of oil
    out of the ground--half of what the majority of experts over the past 40
    years say we have. When one looks at a geologic basin and watches the
    production, the production will begin to decline when one has pumped half of
    the oil out of the ground.

    The second thing which is fascinating is the chart they show of the
    discovery deficit. This curve merely consists of the yearly production
    minus the yearly discovery rate. In other words it is the record of whether
    more barrels are going into the bank or are coming out of it. Sadly, since
    1981 not a single year has seen more oil found than we withdrew from the
    earth. We are in major time deficit burning of oil (this is the equivalent
    of deficit spending except that unlike the government, we can't print more
    barrels). In 2001, we produced about 27 billion barrels but only discovered
    8 billion spread among 300 discoveries.

    And this brings us to the 2000 USGS estimate of the world's oil supply.
    They said that there were 3.5 trillion barrels of oil originally on earth.
    This estimate is the 2nd highest estimate in the entire historical record of
    estimates. Statistically, it is an outlier. But it is already falsified. To
    reach the goal of the very optimistic USGS report, one needs to find 25
    billion barrels per year. But over the past 11 years we have averaged just
    under 10 billion (9.8 by my figures). Even more disconcerting is the drop in
    wildcat wells. A wildcat well is the true exploration well which looks for
    brand new reserves. In 1980 we drilled 11,000 wildcat wells around the
    world. For each of the past 5 years we have only drilled 2000. One reason
    for the decrease is that the geophysics is better.What is happening is that
    we are avoiding drilling a lot of the stupid things we used to ignorantly
    drill because seismic data was so bad. Today we see better and what we see
    is much smaller reservoir sizes. Thus we drill fewer wells because we have
    fewer but more likely to be successfu, targets.

    There is also an article in Petroleum Review which discusses the remaining
    reserves from Russia (former Soviet Union. The production data from Russia
    indicates that it has 185 billion barrel ultimate recovery. They have pumped
    to date 140 billion. If this analysis is correct, the Russians who are
    increasing production past 7 million barrels per day right now, will be
    unable to sustain it past 2005
    see http://www.oilcrisis.com/laherrere/PetRev200204.pdf

    And the UK North Sea, after having about 4 good months after some new fields
    came on production, is not back to declining steeply.


    see http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/dmd.htm
    for lots of creation/evolution information
    personal stories of struggle

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