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Tapping Shale Reserves, US Would Become World's Top Oil Producer By 2017 467

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the where's-al-gore-now dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that according to a report by the International Energy Agency, the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer by about 2017, will become a net oil exporter by 2030, and will become 'all but self-sufficient' in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a 'dramatic reversal of the trend' in most developed countries. 'The foundations of the global energy systems are shifting,' says Fatih Birol, chief economist at the Paris-based organization, which produces the annual World Energy Outlook. There are several components of the sudden shift in the world's energy supply, but the prime mover is a resurgence of oil and gas production in the United States, particularly the unlocking of new reserves of oil and gas found in shale rock. The widespread adoption of techniques like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has made those reserves much more accessible, and in the case of natural gas, resulted in a vast glut that has sent prices plunging. The agency's report was generally 'good news' for the United States says Michael A. Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, because it highlights the nation's new sources of energy but Levi cautions that being self-sufficient does not mean that the country will be insulated from seesawing energy prices, since those oil prices are set by global markets. The message is more sobering for the planet, in terms of climate change. Although natural gas is frequently promoted for being relatively low in carbon emissions compared to oil or coal, the new global energy market could make it harder to prevent dangerous levels of warming (PDF). 'The report confirms that, given the current policies, we will blow past every safe target for emissions,' says Levi. 'This should put to rest the idea that the boom in natural gas will save us from that.'" The folks over at The Oil Drum aren't quite so optimistic: shale reserves may have an abysmal EROI. And, of course, Global Warming is a liberal myth.
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Tapping Shale Reserves, US Would Become World's Top Oil Producer By 2017

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  • Limited time offer (Score:2, Informative)

    by Xacid (560407) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:11AM (#41966291) Journal

    "and will become 'all but self-sufficient' in meeting its energy needs in about two decades" for about two decades.

  • by arkham6 (24514) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:29AM (#41966421)
    I hate whenever i hear people say "Well, if we drilled more we could be self sufficient from foreign oil and have oil prices come down.

    NO, it does not happen that way.

    The US government does not drill oil. They lease out the mineral rights to companies such as shell, BP and Exxon who extract the oil and then __sell it on the world market__. Let me say that again. The oil goes into a central market and could be shipped anywhere if the costs are right. Just because its produced here does not mean it stays here.

    Another example was Norway after Hurricane Katrina. Their oil and gas prices jumped significantly after the hurricane in the gulf, yet they are a major exporter and producer. Why? Because supply went down after the storm, so prices had to go up. It didnt matter that they got all their own oil, the world markets made the prices go up.
  • by dave420 (699308) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:31AM (#41966439)
    Maybe they didn't like drilling because of the ecological damage drilling causes? If it were gravy they were drilling for, they'd still feel the same. Stop looking at things so simplistically. It's really not helping you look rational.
  • Re:Except (Score:4, Informative)

    by ocop (1132181) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:32AM (#41966443)
    Oil demand in the U.S. (and the OECD more broadly) has declined and flatlined following the "Great Recession". Even in light of the recovery, petroleum consumption has remained essentially flat, with maybe even a slight decline from 2009. The economic shock of 2008's oil prices has violently reoriented the economy in some ways, and it's hard to think of a reason that oil consumption will ever tick back up as new CAFE standards come into effect. The use of oil for heating and power generation has been in decline for decades--the remaining demand is for transportation and petrochemicals. EIA US consumption data here: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WRPUPUS2&f=W [eia.gov]
  • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:38AM (#41966499)
    From here [nakedcapitalism.com]

    "The second thing that nobody thinks very much about is the decline rates shale reservoirs experience. Well, I’ve looked at this. The decline rates are incredibly high. In the Eagleford shale, which is supposed to be the mother of all shale oil plays, the annual decline rate is higher than 42%. They’re going to have to drill hundreds, almost 1000 wells in the Eagleford shale, every year, to keep production flat. Just for one play, we’re talking about $10 or $12 billion a year just to replace supply. I add all these things up and it starts to approach the amount of money needed to bail out the banking industry. Where is that money going to come from? Do you see what I’m saying?"

  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:49AM (#41966607) Homepage Journal
    Can we include Canada in that bargain, you antisemitic snow-back fuck. Israel did not ask to be attacked by their neighbors in 48, 68, and 73. The Jews did not ask to be labeled "Apes" and "Pigs" in the 7th century Mein Kampf read every day by Muslims worldwide. Just because two people are fighting and have been at it for a long time does not mean both sides are guilty. Sometimes there is an aggressor and a victim.
  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @09:57AM (#41966717) Journal

    Opium wars go father back than petrol wars. The nature of addiction being what it is makes it a very important product to control.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:15AM (#41966911)

    Some small amount of it in the environment.
    We released a lot more than would be natural.

    Sure the area will recover, but the immediate economic impact on the people in the area is not acceptable. The economic impact in the short term is for me the biggest problem. The extraction operation cut corners and fishermen were stuck with the bill. That part is not liberal or conservative, it is simple reality. When push comes to shove these companies never pay for the damage they cause those around them.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:18AM (#41966931) Journal

    . The oil goes into a central market and could be shipped anywhere if the costs are right.

    That's a myth.

    Refineries are generally built to process oil from a particular field, or a particular class of fields. You can't ship tar sands off to a light sweet crude refinery and expect to actually be able to refine them.

    It's particularly bad for the heavier ones, like the sands and shales, since each deposit has a different set of impurities, which mean that different catalyst properties are required to avoid poisioning.

    Of course, the end products are interchangable: diesel is diesel and Jet A is Jet A. So a failure in one supply means that the price of end producs goes up, so people can charge more for the feedstocks.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:52AM (#41967289) Homepage Journal

    You're right, but why nuclear? Why not something that doesn't have the chance, however remote, of causing armageddon?

    Because modern nuclear doesn't have even a remote chance of causing armageddon. The worst crisis in the history of nuclear power gave a few thousand people cancer. The second worst crisis has killed or injured almost nobody, although caused a lot of inconvenience in the area no doubt. No other nuclear failure has caused any health problems worth mentioning, and the ones whose failures were costly to clean up were old, and would not be produced in this day and age.

    Nuclear power is the safest [nextbigfuture.com] energy source [forbes.com] per TWh, bar none. Wind power is more deadly.

    Modern nuclear can also process existing nuclear waste [wikipedia.org], which seems like a bit of a win.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:02PM (#41968277)

    No they are stateless, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why don't you read that document and tell me how many of those rights are afforded to Palestinians. We are talking about millions of human beings living in limbo and without the right to self determination. This is apartheid and it is an enormous crime.

    By your logic since Palestinians are stateless they don't have the right to resist Israel annexing their land to create a settlement, the right to travel on many Palestinian interior roads, the right to get a passport to travel abroad, the right to even take tests to study abroad, or especially the right to create their own government and have internationally recognized boundaries.

    Oh, and it was funny that you brushed aside that Haaretz poll. Does it bother you that your citizens don't think that even ISRAELI Arabs should have voting rights?

  • Re:"Peak Oil" (Score:4, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:27PM (#41969697) Journal

    You know, I held the same opinion until I decided to do some research to back up my position, and found that only the heaviest oils in the refinement process are any good for plastics(at least the consumer/industrial grade plastics we're used to). Those heavy oils are also the worst ones for burning for energy, with the lightest ones being converted to jet fuel and gasoline.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_oil#Bunker_fuel [wikipedia.org]
    "... bunker oil is literally the bottom of the barrel; the only things more dense than bunker fuel are carbon black feedstock and bituminous residue which is used for paving roads (asphalt) and sealing roofs."

    Everything that gets shipped from China arrives on a boat burning bunker fuel aka "Those heavy oils [that] are also the worst ones for burning for energy".

    And I don't know where you got the idea that heavy oils are the worst for energy. In the same way that diesel has more energy content than gasoline, bunker fuel has more energy content than diesel. Bunker fuel just requires a lot more pre-treating before it can be used in an engine... which is why it gets sold so cheaply. Nothing smaller than a boat has room for all the extra machinery to heat and filter the fuel.

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