July 24, 2007

Exaggerated oil recovery | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse

more on the "peak oil" question, if you have been following that at all. The real paragraph to read I put at the end in bold

Exaggerated oil recovery | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse: "There is never a dull moment for those studying the peak oil question. The National Petroleum Council (NPC) released its long-awaited report Facing the Hard Truths About Energy on Wednesday, July 18th. A prepublication draft of the report contained references to a graph (2nd figure, below left) which was subsequently excised from the full report now available to public. The NPC report talks about peak oil, and the missing graph is part of that discussion.

The NPC's view of peak oil is best summed up in this passage from the Executive Summary (p. 19):

Concerns about the reliability of production forecasts and estimates of recoverable oil resources raise questions about future oil supply and deliverability. These concerns are strongly expressed in “peak oil” forecasts in which (1) oil production does not grow significantly beyond current levels and (2) an inevitable decline in oil production is increasingly near at hand. Views about oil supply tend to diverge after 2015, with peak oil forecasts providing the lower bound. These forecasts generally consider oil supply independently of demand and point to supply shortfalls. Such views contrast with forecasts and economic models that expect market forces to provide incentives for developing global hydrocarbon and other resources to meet energy needs through at least 2030....

Us_eor_production It is instructive to look at the history of EOR production in the United States. The EOR graph (left, click to enlarge) indicates that production appears to have peaked in 1998 at 759.6 thousand b/d, as thermal recovery declines more than offset gains from miscible carbon dixoide injection. (Data is from the Oil & Gas Journal article cited above, see here to get the breakdown.) Production now stands at 649.3 thousand b/d. In 1998, EOR made up 12.1% of total U.S. production; it was 12.6 % in 2006....

It is reasonable to ask at this juncture why the the NPC is still fiddling while Rome burns, still talking about "accumulating risks" to the oil supply. The IEA has finally made their position on the future oil supply clear — it is in trouble by 2012. By its own admission, the NPC's previous estimates for EOR production didn't pan out. Thus, the missing graph made an unsupportable conjecture, which is probably the reason it was withdrawn. EOR technology will not provide much help in any time frame that would be relevant to the IEA's demand projections. Conveniently for the NPC, they guarantee that oil production will meet growing demand out to 2015, when we are assured that the technology cavalry will arrive. Are you willing to take the chance that the NPC is right? Is a wing and a prayer all we need?

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