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Oil May Be Finite, But U.S. Production Is Ramping Up

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the good-to-the-last-drop dept.

United States 745

Hugh Pickens writes "The WSJ reports that the discovery of the gigantic and prolific Bakken oil fields of Montana and North Dakota have already helped move the U.S. into third place among world oil producers, and according to Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, the 14th-largest oil company in America, if fully developed the field in Bakken contains 24 billion barrels, doubling America's proven oil reserves. One reason for America's abundant supply of oil and natural gas has been the development of new drilling techniques, including 'horizontal drilling,' which allows rigs to reach two miles into the ground and then spread horizontally by thousands of feet." Not surprisingly, Hamm considers some of the current administration's loans and subsidies for alternative energy ventures to be misplaced.

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Reserves isn't the only reason... (0, Flamebait)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653564)

Has he never heard of CO2? Why would any sane person want to burn all that and turn it into CO2?

Oh, yeah, profit. Fuck the Earth and all future generations, there's profit to be made! I can own sixteen mansions instead of twelve and have a bigger yacht.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (0, Troll)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653590)

CO2 is a gas vital to all life on earth. The concentration is very minute, and its effects on global temperature are totally dwarfed by the dominant greenhouse gas, water vapor. The "climatologists" are politically and economically driven, not scientifically.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (0, Troll)

rapierian (608068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653608)

CO2 is a gas vital to all life on earth. The concentration is very minute, and its effects on global temperature are totally dwarfed by the dominant greenhouse gas, water vapor. The "climatologists" are politically and economically driven, not scientifically.

I love how this comment got instantly modded to troll, when it was simply pointing out some simple truths about biology, ecology, and politics.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653664)

I love how "climatologists" are economically driven by grant money (as if a competent scientist couldn't make a better living easier working for private industry than working for government grants!) but oil producers are altruists who clearly have only humanity's best interests at heart.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653780)

"The sky is falling" AGW crowd funding is orders of magnitudes larger than any funding coming from the oh-so-evil oil industry.

Look it up, if you're truly interested. Start with Hansen's millions.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654022)

It's equally illogical to make the opposite assumption, i.e. that while the oil men are motivated by money, the climatologists are pure altruists. And yet this assumption is widespread amongst the faithful.

And also. A competent scientist certainly could make plenty of cash working in industry. But climatologists are academics, not industrialists. As such, they are experts at writing reports and acquiring grants. While one may be good at both bureaucracy and science, success as an academic only requires one to be good at bureaucracy.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653682)

Oil is called "black gold". If only niggers were so useful - we got plenty of those and they multiply like crazy.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (5, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653750)

CO2 concentrations have already significantly increased due to human influence (burning of fossil fuels). So there should be more than enough for the growth of plants.

The contribution to the Greenhouse effect is estimated at 9-26% of all greenhouse gases according to Wikipedia. Not dominating, but not negligible either.

So GP was either uninformed or trolling. Probably the latter.

 

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653876)

there should be more than enough for the growth of plants.

In unrelated news, we're also cutting down tons of forests and rainforests. And there is a limit of CO2 up to which plants will grow, more than that and its just extra.

planet heating (3, Insightful)

texas neuron (710330) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653882)

Pretty clear from the charts that the CO2 levels are rising because of man made contributions. It is also completely clear that the models linking rising CO2 to rising temperature are not quantitatively accurate (temperature flat for 10 years while CO2 continues the predicted rise). http://www.climate.gov/#climateWatch [climate.gov] . The question now is whether or not the the models are even qualitatively accurate. Being an engineer, I do not think the climate scientist have models to the 4th significant figure.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (4, Insightful)

rapierian (608068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653630)

Has he never heard of CO2? Why would any sane person want to burn all that and turn it into CO2?

Oh, yeah, profit. Fuck the Earth and all future generations, there's profit to be made! I can own sixteen mansions instead of twelve and have a bigger yacht.

Because the only people who make any money are the CEOs with the twelve mansions you mention? What about the tens of thousands of jobs that we could use in our economy, right now - or the fact that energy prices are climbing precisely when Americans are suffering through the toughest economic times since the 1920s?

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653722)

Because clearly the best way to fix a leaking ship is stuffing the holes with primed time bombs.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653748)

As opposed to renewable energy sources who's sites are crewed by unicorns?

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (3, Insightful)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653836)

Alternative energy sources need to be researched and then they will create many, many more jobs without killing the climate.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (5, Insightful)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653846)

What about the tens of thousands of jobs that we could use in our economy, right now

Renewables are much more likely to produce jobs, and improve our economic outlook. Continuing to service the needs of the oil companies has not improved our economic outlook for a decade now. Why do you think it might suddenly start?

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653890)

or the fact that energy prices are climbing precisely when Americans are suffering through the toughest economic times since the 1920s?

But there was such a huge backlash against the banning of certain lightbulbs...

Over in this country the government gives grants for people to put solar panels on their roofs. They always get snapped up within half a week. Its an investment which pays for itself (granted over 10 years or so) - you have to pay less (its free energy), and you're not killing the environment.

That's the way forward. Not polluting more so we add farming problems due to climate change , enviromental damage, and lung cancers to the problem.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (2, Informative)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653962)

But the taxpayer's investment is never paid back. Subsidies are not a solution, it's a broken window fallacy that replacing powerplants with solar panels makes things better.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654028)

If we're using less oil, the energy costs should diminish by an amount, meaning that in the end we're doing better from a purely economic perspective.

Its not really broken window, because the upkeep you need on solar panels (aside from replacing every 25 years or so - by which time technology moved up), is incomparable to the upkeep you need on oil.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1, Flamebait)

Xenkar (580240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653640)

He is probably one of those people who don't believe CO2 is responsible for the heating and worships that one graph where solar activity and temperature fluctuations match up, before it is cut off when it stops matching.

If he does believe in it, he probably sees it as an opportunity for his grandchildren to sell new beachfront property a couple miles back, along with re-breathers. The "bathtub" for their toy boats will become bigger.

If it becomes unbearably hot, it is a business opportunity to sell more powerful air conditioners. All of those people on those islands that are disappearing will eventually need to buy land, build approved houses, and will need loans from the rich to pay for it all.

It is win/win from their perspective. If it doesn't happen, they can continue pumping oil out of the ground.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653696)

"...He is probably one of those people who don't believe CO2 is responsible for the heating..."

The IPCCs own figures show CO2 rising while the temperature stopped rising in 1998 and is now dropping.

I can't see how any sane person can believe that 'CO2 is responsible for heating' any more. It's obviously not the case. Even the scientists who were the most committed to this mistaken hypothesis have been saying:

"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." (Trenberth 2009)

Their latest idea is that somehow the heat is 'hiding in the deep ocean where it can't be measured' - the last gasp of a dying theory...

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (3, Interesting)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653852)

If you really believed that, why did you post as Anonymous Coward?

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1)

ameri (2480566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653644)

I don't think that the story is true. The dollar is going down and they try to make it stronger, They lie that USA is rich and have gold and oil etc. ....

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653816)

Actually the US dollar has been strengthening for the past couple weeks - ever since the market stopped climbing and started getting volatile. Why I have no idea - probably because people are taking money out of stocks and thus acquiring dollars in one way or another, plus the fall in crude oil driven by reduced expectations of future economic growth have helped. Still doesn't convince me to put money in US dollars though - the mark strengthened considerably just before the Wiemar hyperinflation, too. US policy of running up huge debts and printing money to pay them has not changed. Posting anon to not undo mods.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653886)

The price of the dollar is driven by supply and demand, just like anything else.

The thing that most people miss is that the total supply of "dollars" is consists of both currency units and credit. Credit is a much larger fraction of all the spendable dollars than currency so changes in credit available tend to dominate the behavior of the overall money supply.

Right now credit availability of credit is shrinking on a per-capita basis as loans default and new loans are more difficult to obtain than in the past so this tends to cause deflation. Every time Ben Bernanke injects another hit of credit heroin into the economy you see the price of the dollar fall for a short time before deflation takes over again.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653678)

Gas prices have doubled. It's killing our economy. We really don't have the luxury of entertaining your zealotry at the moment.

Someone environmentalists need to grasp is that environmentalism is itself a luxury. In poor countries they don't worry about it because they have bigger problems like how they're going to eat tonight.

By assaulting the US economy, environmentalists in the US have forced a realignment of resources AWAY from all unnessary spending. That includes nearly everything they care about. Obviously environmentalists will argue that their issues are just as or even more important. But they don't control the money and what they think at that point doesn't matter.

If the environmental movement is to save itself it had been find a way to do its work without trashing the economy. Because on top of everything else if people come to associate environmental policy with a bad economy then that alone could kill the movement.

This is survival time here guys. Time to adapt.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (2)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653820)

Plenty of money to be made in renewable energy and lessening our environmental impact/stretching resources further. Finding a few years more harvestable oil is a good thing for our immediate future but isn't going to solve the problem long term.
More to the point it seems you're talking more about hippies than environmentalists. It's pretty safe to ignore the ones who've joined hands and begun swaying.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (2)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653986)

There may be plenty of money to be made for specific people, like say solar panel or wind turbine manufacturers. The problem is switching to the more expensive renewable resources is a net loss to the economy, and we can't afford it right now as grandparent said.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654000)

No one says it is solving a long term problem. Where I'm getting food tomorrow isn't a long term problem. It's a problem when you're hungry.

We're hungry now. We need the oil now.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (4, Insightful)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654024)

This guy can't drill oil at low prices ... it's the increased price which is making shale oil profitable, and then only just (which is why he's crying for subsidies, to make even less easily recovered oil profitable). There are security reasons to have your own oil supply, but cheap it's never going to become again.

Wind/Solar and "synthetic natural gas" [sic] have much a better chance of getting large cost reductions going forward.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653716)

I wish I had MOD points!

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (0)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653830)

You are right on the money. Disregard the oil junkies. You are 100% correct. Putting more CO2 in the air is insanity.

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (0)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653832)

Carbon dioxide? Don't plants breathe that stuff? I thought the problem with fossil fuels was carbon monoxide?

Re:Reserves isn't the only reason... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653924)

Uh no.

Carbon Monoxide is unstable and will eventually decay. Its only toxic if you're in a very confined space (which is why you shouldn't run a car in a closed garage).

Plants do use CO2, but we're also cutting rainforests down (good job) and anyway there is only a limit to how much CO2 plants can take. There was a balance before we started with heavy industry.

Other problems with fossil fuels are oxides of sulfur (which contribute to acidic rain and are toxic), Oxides of Nitrogen (pretty much the same), and lead (which is a metal poison which will kill you slowly over time).

Don't they get it (4, Insightful)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653574)

No matter how much oil we find here it would be unwise to burn. Hot planet!

Re:Don't they get it (0)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653624)

The planet will get hot no matter what, so who cares?

Re:Don't they get it (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653718)

You're going to die no matter what, so who cares if you smoke and eat junk food all day? Sounds like a rationalization to do what you want to without regards to the consequences.

Re:Don't they get it (1, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653732)

The oil is going to get burned one way or another.

Resign yourself to that.

Consider some of the Geo-engineering options. Short of that you might as well play a fiddle because this is going to happen.

Re:Don't they get it (2)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653840)

The oil is going to get burned one way or another.

False. At some point it will become too expensive to find, extract, and refine the remaining oil. If we continue to subsidize oil and its uses, we will ultimately burn more oil than if we were to end the subsidies here and now.

Re:Don't they get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653888)

My thoughts exactly except when I am thinking hot planet I am thinking geothermal... Can drill 2 miles down? "For every 100 meters you go below ground, the temperature of the rock increases about 3 degrees Celsius." and if we look at Iceland "Iceland is situated in an area with a high concentration of volcanoes, making it an ideal location for generating geothermal energy. Over 26% of Iceland's electrical energy is generated from geothermal sources. In addition, geothermal heating is used to heat 87% of homes in Iceland.Icelanders plan to be 100% non-fossil fuel in the near future. This is one direction we should be exploiting (along with organic photovoltaics[OPVs]) Now I realize we need oil for inexpensive polymers (plastics, clothing, OPV, shoot damn near everything), but if we could get away from burning so much of it, we could be in a lot better shape.

Wow (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653626)

So they maybe found enough for three years and a half years of consumption at current rates. The problem is now truly solved.

Re:Wow (5, Funny)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653934)

Oh, come on. Don't you know anything about capitalism? If there's sufficient demand for oil, then the market will provide for more dinosaurs to be turned into oil on the supply side. Didn't you ever take an economics course?

Another way to look at it... (2)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653972)

If we SAVE that oil for now, when the world's supply starts to run low, we'll have 3.5 years of reserves (more with rationing).

If we use it now, we'll have 3.5 years of reduced imports ... and fewer reserves when the other sources start to run low.

Which plan is in the nation's best interest?

Re:Another way to look at it... (2)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654062)

The flip side is that if we "save" that oil for now, we will be worse off economically when the problem hits, and will be less able to adapt as a consequence.

Idiot (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653638)

Not surprisingly, Hamm considers some of the current administration's loans and subsidies for alternative energy ventures to be misplaced.

That guy is an idiot.

24e9 barrels / 20e6 barrels per day just for the US / 365 days per year = a bit more than a 3 year supply, assuming it can all be recovered. Realistic recovery ratios are always WAY less than 100%... Figure just several months supply, realistically.

So, some 1%er will make hundreds of billions of profit.. nice for him... and 3 years later, we'll be wishing you had a solar panel...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil [wikipedia.org]

Re:Idiot (1, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653800)

People have been saying that since 1920... well... they said it would run out in 1920... and then they said it would run out in 1950... and then they said it would run out in 1980... and then they said it would run out in 2000...

It's 2011... We're still here and oil is still WAAAAY cheaper then any solar option.

Here's a little eye opener for you. How many solar power factories produce their own power with solar power?

Try just about none of them. If you don't think about that then you won't break through the cognitive dissonance.

It isn't ready yet.

Re:Idiot (3, Informative)

jaydonnell (648194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653868)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Oil_Production_and_Imports_1920_to_2005.png [wikipedia.org] Our own oil is running out, and the competition for international oil is rising rapidly. We can't sit on our laurels.

Re:chicken little (-1, Troll)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653902)

Yes yes... chicken little, we heard you the first time around 1910 when your ilk started squawking about it. Here we are 100 years BEYOND where they said we'd get and still going strong.

No one is sitting on their laurels. To the contrary, we're working very hard to keep the oil flowing unlike some people that just want to destroy our industry, economy, and financial system. Thanks guys. Way to ruin it for everyone else.

Re:Idiot (1, Insightful)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653994)

That's political peak oil. We aren't allowed to drill in many areas like ANWR.

Re:Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653916)

It's not that we are running out of oil, it's that we are running of easily accessed oil. When oil deposits are too diffcult to reach or exists in many small pools, it may take more energy to reach them then it's worth. If we want to grow or maintain out life styles, cheap energy is the foundation of modern society. When only the rich can afford lots of energy, it becomes a major economic down turn. That is the dangers of relying on things such as oil.

In comparison to oil, alternative energies have many benefits.
1) Less effect on the pollution *generally*
2) Relatively stable current and future costs
3) Long term supplies considering how long the sun will last

If you factored in how much it would take to clean up after oil into it's price, oil would be ALOT more expensive then it is now. In a way, it's naturally subsidized by having the community pay in terms of clean up and health care due to pollution.

Alternative energy isn't perfect and that is why we continue to do research on it. And it will only improve as time goes on.

Re:Idiot (5, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654044)

People have been saying that since 1920... well... they said it would run out in 1920... and then they said it would run out in 1950... and then they said it would run out in 1980... and then they said it would run out in 2000...

I get it. I was running a little short on breakfast cereal this week. I thought that my remaining breakfast reserves would run out on Thursday, but I managed to reduce consumption a little by only eating three quarters of a bowl. And then on Friday I added some fruit to eke it out a bit further. On Saturday I discovered some leftover bread and ate that. So here I am, on Sunday, and I still have some bread left. THEREFORE I CONCLUDE THAT I WILL NEVER HAVE TO GO SHOPPING AGAIN AS I WILL NEVER, EVER RUN OUT OF BREAKFAST RESERVES. WHEN MY RESERVES ARE LOW, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE NEW FOOD TO DISCOVER IN MY KITCHEN.

See any problem here?

Re:Idiot (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654064)

People have been saying that since 1920... well... they said it would run out in 1920... and then they said it would run out in 1950... and then they said it would run out in 1980... and then they said it would run out in 2000...

Ahh. I'm so relieved. At last, we have proof -- incontrovertible evidence that there is, in fact, an infinite supply of oil. Thank you. Thank Jesus.

Re:Idiot (1, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653812)

So, some 1%er will make hundreds of billions of profit.. nice for him... and 3 years later, we'll be wishing you had a solar panel...

- isn't oil what you want? If you didn't want it, why would you buy it?

If you think you have something better to offer, go ahead, offer it. Of-course somebody who develops an oil field and sells that product will be in top 1% of earners, what else is new? Do you know why he is going to be there? Because 100% of people want that product.

Re:Idiot (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653966)

Idiot. The reason why people buy it is because the oil industry has successfully stalled efforts to replace it with something that's less polluting and renewable. It's all well and good to not want to buy oil, but if you have to drive a car or use products made from oil because there aren't alternatives, then that's precisely what you're going to do. Around here, I had to drive to work one day out of the week because the buses wouldn't be able to get me downtown for start of work at 6:00 am.

Most people don't care how their vehicle is filled so long as it's affordable and gets them where they want to go. Subsidizing oil is just about helping oil producers remain profitable even as it becomes more and more clear that we need to transition away from it.

Re:Idiot (3, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654040)

The reason why people buy it is because the oil industry has successfully stalled efforts to replace it with something that's less polluting and renewable.

- and you call ME an idiot with this IDIOTIC assertion?

What a bunch of nonsense. Do you know why people are still using oil and coal and gas today? It's because it's the CHEAPEST and most abundant, easiest to use, easiest to transport, easiest to store and easiest to handle solution.

You don't have to grow it like corn and reprocess it into ethanol, you don't have to design security procedures around it that are equivalent of those used in nuclear power, you don't have liquefy it and hold it under extreme pressure like hydrogen, it has very dense energy content per volume and mass (of-course nuclear beats it, but every time [slashdot.org] I suggest a nuclear car, everybody freaks out [slashdot.org] ).

Oil and gas and coal are not going anywhere until they are so expensive to extract, because technology can no longer be used to extract them cheaply, that even nuclear option becomes feasible, be it with nuclear power car engines or be it with nuclear power plants everywhere and completely redesigned infrastructure to support everybody driving an electric vehicle.

Your paranoia, that somebody had to sit and devise a way to destroy your water propelled car just to sell more oil is the idiotic fantasy, not my assertion that 100% of population wants oil, coal and gas - because they do.

Every single piece of bread you ate in your life was brought to you by oil, coal and gas (and in some cases nuclear). From fertilizers, to transport, to the heat of a stove, to your bus, to your elevator at home.

Re:Idiot (5, Interesting)

Pav (4298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653834)

For anyone who hasn't seen it, check out this old mathematician (Albert Bartlett) talking about energy and exponential growth. He makes it so obviously clear why we'll be running out of oil shortly even given the most optimistic projections of future growth. It's clear enough for Joe Sixpack to understand - as Einstein would say "as simple as possible, but no simpler".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

Re:Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653844)

Subsidies for alternative energy might not be needed, time to quietly unload your BP, Conoco and Exxon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-8QdVwY98E
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Catalyzer

Re:Idiot (0)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653918)

According to my local NPR station which has been covering the shale fields out in Western PA the companies involved expect to get another 20-30 years of oil from that shale. Let's hope they are wrong.

Re:Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654046)

Based on reserves figures stated in the 1970s (which at that time included Prudhoe Bay), we should have run out oil some 20 yrs ago. I did these same calculations while as a Chem Engr in grad school and figured we would have a thriving synthetic fuels industry long before now. Yet we don't. I frankly don't believe reserves estimates numbers fully - I suspect there may be tax consequences in stating all of your reserves and what is stated is very conservative.

not a factual article (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653642)

Please note the byline at the bottom of the article stating, "Mr. Moore is a member of the Journal's editorial board. ". This is an editorial, not a factual article. It's also informative to temper Mr. Hamm's personal enthusiasm with a look at the US oil production record from the U.S Energy Information Administration (205.254.135.24/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCRFPUS1&f=M). Although there is an upturn in US production since 2006, it is unlikely that we will drill our way out of the peak oil decline.

We're reached peak oil! (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653646)

Everybody panic!

Oh, wait, nevermind, we keep [blogspot.com] finding [shaleoilplays.com] more [ogj.com] - and we keep developing new technology to get to the stuff.

Granted, processed oil isn't the friendliest thing to the world, there is a finite (though huge) supply, and cleaner fuels are a better alternative once they're economically viable without gigantic government subsidies. But for now we're just fine.

Re:We're reached peak oil! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653734)

You understand the "peak" is about production, not the amount available, right? When we pass the peak, half the available oil is still in the ground.

The real problem is declining production in existing fields, and increasing demand. So far, we have kept up with demand (mostly) by increasing production and using the oil as fast as it comes out of the wells.

At peak, you have to keep increasing production just to stay even - because existing fields start to fall off rapidly in production.

For the most part, we've picked all the low-hanging fruit and we're finding crafty ways (like fracking, horizontal drilling, etc.) to get to the higher fruit. But even with the new finds, we're not "just fine" if we keep using it at the same rate (or faster).

Re:We're reached peak oil! (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653898)

When we pass the peak, half the available oil is still in the ground.

No, the peak is about production (as you correctly stated earlier): as in, the number of barrels being produced per annum begins to level off and will eventually decline. Production does not have to peak at 50% of cumulative extraction, and in fact is very unlikely to do so. Suppose that 90% of global oil reserves were not recoverable at all in an economically viable way - we would still hit "peak oil", even though only 10% of available oil could ever have been viably extracted.

Re:We're reached peak oil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653768)

Have you seen photos of the places where that oil is extracted? don't know about you, but it makes me want to subsidize anything but tar sands.

Re:We're reached peak oil! (4, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653784)

But for now we're just fine.

That reminds me about the man who fell off a tall building, and every time he passed another floor he said to himself, "so far, so good!"

Re:We're reached peak oil! (3, Insightful)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653794)

Your first link: 165 million barrels.
US consumption: about 20 million per day.

Yep, an 8 days supply proves that there's nothing to worry about.

The actual problem (2)

dachshund (300733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653810)

Granted, processed oil isn't the friendliest thing to the world, there is a finite (though huge) supply, and cleaner fuels are a better alternative once they're economically viable without gigantic government subsidies. But for now we're just fine.

My understanding is that new oil fields continue to be discovered, but the pace and size of the discoveries is trending downward or at least stagnating. Meanwhile global oil demand is accelerating.

Since oil price is the congruence of supply and demand, and because oil demand is relatively inelastic (it's very hard for people to do without the stuff), whenever demand pushes up against supply we tend to see outsized (and unpredictable) price increases.

Furthermore, while there's plenty of oil to be found out there, the cost of recovering that oil is expected to increase (tar sands, deep water oil fields, etc.).

And so far we haven't even dealt with the impact on the environment.

In any case, the point is not simply that our economy is dependent on oil, it's that our economy is dependent on inexpensive oil. Once you increase costs by a factor of 2-3, everything we take for granted -- trillions and trillions dollars of built infrastucture -- becomes completely unviable. When this predictable crisis actually rolls around, the cost of replacing this infrastructure (or switching energy technologies) will be unbelievably high.

The cost of doing something about it now is trivial by comparison.

Thank . (1, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653648)

Gas prices have doubled since this insane crusade against energy started. It's killing our economy at a time when it doesn't really need any more help.

This might well give us the relief needed to weather the current political and ideological insanity that is making our energy policy self destructive.

We'll use other sources of power eventually. But right NOW... we need that oil.

Re:Thank . (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653698)

Kind of sounds like a drug addict. "I'm going to quit eventually, but right now I need that hit."

Re:Thank . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653982)

No. We have no intention of quitting. We plan to consume even more energy. It's just a matter of where that energy comes from. It's not a matter of quitting but a matter of substitution.

If you don't want the world to burn oil you need to find a way to make alternative energies cheaper. The problem is that everyone thinks that the solution is to fuck with the oil prices to make alternative energy more interesting. Instead of removing barriers to alternative energy we try to add barriers to oil. The result is everyone gets fucked but big oil. Big oil knows that governments can't fuck with the price enough (without breaking economies more than they are) to make a difference because they can just lower the prices just enough to stay under the threshold that would allow switching to alternate energies.

Governments need to stop fucking with oil prices and start fucking with other energy prices. And I don't mean this half ass pretend thing they've been doing.

Re:Thank . (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653770)

Gas was as expensive as it is now when Bush was in office. In any case, your argument is post hoc ergo proper hoc [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Thank . (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653978)

In my current situation, I don't see gas prices as a high influence. I know I'm in the minority- and I don't make a LOT of money, but being locked into a mortgage that's close to both work places (me and the wifey, 12 mile round trip) we probably fill up each vehicle once every 3 weeks. And they're not exactly fuel efficient (freestyle and grand marquis, about 19-20mpg on a good month). But - having one car that is paid for helps the monthly bills immensely. I think a larger portion of budgeting that gets lost in all of it is buying a new car every 5 years or so - I've had my current one (the grand marquis) for about 8 years now, and unless something major financial in my life changes, I will drive it into the ground rather than pay $$ a month on a new or used car.

horizontal drilling has existed for years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653672)

look how much this man has been horizontally drilled [goatse.ru]

Re:horizontal drilling has existed for years (1)

dev740 (2480244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653788)

Finally proper goatse link, thanks!. Look at my comment to see how you can improve that further. (I got 13,000 victims already)

Re:horizontal drilling has existed for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653956)

Are you some kind of spam artist?

Regulations are so bad... (3, Insightful)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653680)

Regulations are so tight that Mr. Hamm has only been able to make the top 50 wealthiest Americans. This administration is killing billionaires! When a hard working man can't go from say, number 33 to number 5 in total wealth, it is time for us to realize Obama is killing oil production! (and now for something completely different)

Hamm has the nerve to say Obama is killing US oil with regulations?? How the hell have we ramped up production in the last 5 years if the regulations are so bad? Why are companies developing the Bakken if regulations are so bad? More like they aren't making as much money as they want. Cause billions upon billions just is never enough... never enough. The greed is beyond repulsive; it's psychotic.

(Happily will admit that US production helps keeps gas prices from soaring. I am not complaining about oil production. I am pointing out the greed of these bastards is insatiable.)

Re:Regulations are so bad... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653752)

Regulations are so tight that Mr. Hamm has only been able to make the top 50 wealthiest Americans. This administration is killing billionaires! When a hard working man can't go from say, number 33 to number 5 in total wealth, it is time for us to realize Obama is killing oil production! (and now for something completely different)

Liberals aren't bad because they hurt billionaires, on the contrary, most billionaires are Liberals. Liberals are bad because of the one difference they have from conservatives: Liberals believe it is ok to hold a gun to someone's head and demand they spend their money this way or that, Conservatives only believe it is ok for defense spending. If you don't believe it - stop paying your taxes and see what happens.

Re:Regulations are so bad... (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654026)

That's not informative. What you're failing to comprehend is that there are popular issues and there are important issues, some popular issues aren't important and some important issues are popular. If we didn't force people to give to unpopular but important issues we'd be screwed.

As for your line about liberals and taxes, I suppose that during the 2000 to 2006 period where the GOP controlled everything that the IRS stopped throwing people in jail for tax evasion. Wait, you say that tax evasion laws were enforced even then?

Ultimately, the difference between liberals and conservatives generally is that the liberals actually care about the country and those the reside in it, whereas the GOP mainly cares about the rich and appearing to love the country. Hence why you see such a concerted effort by the GOP to burn the country down to save the rich from having to pay taxes in proportion to the benefit they get from not burning the country down. The rich more than the poor ought to be pissed by the way the GOP is acting.

No fair calling them misplaced (2)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653692)

Call them "not economically viable"; or "in my opinion not good investments", if you like.

There are reasons for government to put some money to effective use in promoting alternative energy technology research besides expected financial ROI. In fact... the government is really the only organization that really can put money in something that doesn't make economic sense... the private sector will mostly only invest if there is a profit to be made in a relatively short amount of time; the exception would be non-profit organizations, and their resources are more limited.

Reasons like greater long-term viability of our civilization; liberating our people and our way of life from dependency on some scarce resources...

We might lose money on the investment for the next 20 years, but it could still be a good "investment", if there's an ultimate improvement in our way of life

Our government just needs to make sure it makes the spend intelligently, so as little of the money is spent on dead ends, fancy office furniture/meeting rooms/expensive/excessive office space, or bureaucrats' pocketbooks / other blatant waste as possible.

Re:No fair calling them misplaced (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653864)

There are reasons for government to put some money to effective use in promoting alternative energy technology research besides expected financial ROI.

Many of these reasons involve the government's meddling in making oil and its uses artificially cheap, and the government's inability to internalize the negative externalities of using oil.

Re:No fair calling them misplaced (2, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653892)

I agree with you on the need for Government investment in things like alternative energy. My problem is in giving blank checks out like happened with the recent half billion dollars green energy scam. Giving any corporation a blank check is asking to get screwed, no matter if it's a "green" enery research project or a wall street bank that's, uh, bankrupt. You can guarantee that large chunks of that money are, at the least, going to get wasted if not just outright disappear. The best thing the US Govt. could do for solar energy would be to start a multi-billion dollar program to install solar panels on all Federal Buildings. This would help reduce the carbon footprint of these facilities as well as providing income to the solar panel producers. It would create jobs and best of all drive down the cost of panels for everyone due to the mass production volume going to a much higher level. Also, at the end of the day, the Govt. would actually have something to show for their money besides a bunch of rich executives being investigated for fraud.

Re:No fair calling them misplaced (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654018)

Error, error! You're talking about Solyndra. They did not get a blank check, nor did they perpetuate a scam.

They had a model that was trumped by a drop in the prices of polysilicon.

Said prices were dropped by massive Chinese subsidies and investment in production of that.

The investigation of Solyndra will turn out to have...no fraud, no scam, no cheat. Just like the investigation of Preston Tucker.

There's no crime in trying to build a car and failing. There's no crime in trying to make money through solar panel production and failing because you were priced out of the market.

You can say the money was lost. But not wasted.

Re:No fair calling them misplaced (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653900)

the private sector will mostly only invest if there is a profit to be made in a relatively short amount of time

In a hyperregulated centrally controlled economy like ours, the government enforces the above.

1) Select a solution
2) Create a problem the solution solves
3) Announce the solution
4) Profit!!!

That is why:

government to put some money to effective use in promoting alternative energy technology research

Destroying peoples life (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653704)

Horizontal drilling or so called fracking poisons the ground water thus making it undrinkable. It should never be allowed!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEB_Wwe-uBM&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U01EK76Sy4A&feature=related
It is disaster and big companies shoudn't get away with this but apparently they do.

Re:Destroying peoples life (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654042)

What concerns me is that I live in a state that's right on the ocean, so, all that crap water coming from red states up river from me has the chance to screw up our crops and our drinking water. Fortunately, the city owns the entire water shed so those chemicals shouldn't be getting into our water, but there's a good chance that they'll end up polluting the fisheries in other states.

Milkshake, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653710)

"One reason for America's abundant supply of oil and natural gas has been the development of new drilling techniques, including 'horizontal drilling,' which allows rigs to reach two miles into the ground and then spread horizontally by thousands of feet."

Also known as the "milkshake" technique, as in "I drink your milk shake!"

Oil "may be" finite (5, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653724)

Unless one is a religious/capitalist wacko who believes in the abiotic origins of oil, at the current rate of consumption petroleum is a finite product.

Economically, petroleum is even more of a finite resource. Currently Saudi and other middle eastern oil keep prices down. Estimates say it costs about $2 a barrel to extract oil in Saudi Arabia. Venezuela oil might costs three times that much to extract. US oil might be as much as $20 a barrel. At these extraction costs a barrel of oil is $80, and it costs over three dollars at the pump in the US. Now, one can blame the greed of the oil companies, but that is not going to change. Explorations costs are not going to decrease either.

OTOH, conservative extraction costs for so-called shale oil, the better name is tar pits, is $75 dollars a barrel. If the oil companies sell at a comparative markup, this means that the selling price would be $300 a barrel. If we just add $60 profit, that would still be $135 a barrel. This puts gas firmly in the $5 a gallon range.

Recall that the oil companies were going bust when oil was below $50 a barrel. This was still a large markup over extraction costs, but oil companies appear to be extraordinarily inefficient and require a large markup. It would be fantasy that the oil companies are going to give away the product. If shale oil forms a large percentage of the petroleum mix prices will go up, consumption will eventually go down as it did a few years ago. Oil companies will either have a choice of selling at higher prices for lower volumes, or find another product.

Therefore shale oil is not an indication of a long term prosperous oil economy, but a clear signal that oil is becoming too costly to base an economy on.

Re:Oil "may be" finite (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653848)

>>OTOH, conservative extraction costs for so-called shale oil, the better name is tar pits, is $75 dollars a barrel

Estimates range "from $12 to $95/barrel" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale_economics)

>>If the oil companies sell at a comparative markup, this means that the selling price would be $300 a barrel.

From the same link, says that it's competitive between $10-$30/barrel.

So you're only off by, you know, a factor of 10x.

>>Therefore shale oil is not an indication of a long term prosperous oil economy, but a clear signal that oil is becoming too costly to base an economy on.

Eh. There's a LOT of oil shale and even more coal reserves lying around the country.

Re:Oil "may be" finite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653936)

Heaven help us when everyone begins to believe wikipedia as the god given truth rather than sourcing reliable independent research. Dishonest statements of input costs and necessary profits are why so many businesses fail. It is why the US auto industry has needed repeated bailouts from the taxpayer. It is why the American public believes the fiction that gas would costs $2 if only we turn the US into one big oil field. Just because reality does not make expectations does mean reality is false.

Re:Oil "may be" finite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654004)

Did you look at the ranges in your own data? The competitive range can't have a max of $30/barrel if the extraction costs have a max of $95/barrel. Similarly for the lower end.

Also, the amount of shale & coal doesn't matter if you can't extract and sell it profitably.

Re:Oil "may be" finite (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654058)

Eh. There's a LOT of oil shale and even more coal reserves lying around the country.

With good reason, people have been trying to tap those resources for decades now and nobody has managed to get it right at a cost that's affordable. And in all likelihood those resources will be there when the last humans walk the Earth as it's not likely that the technology will be there before we ditch oil for something renewable.

Molleindustria (4, Interesting)

Ebbesen (166619) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653762)

Funny how a game can emulate reality, and then reality can re-emulate the game: http://www.molleindustria.org/en/oiligarchy

production rates matter more than volume (1)

Mspangler (770054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653772)

After the initial rush, the Bakken wells settle down to about 100 barrels a day. The US uses about 18 million barrels a day. Do the arithmetic, then decide if it's even possible to drill that many wells.

Re:production rates matter more than volume (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653928)

That works out to 180,000 wells

We reached peak oil in the early 1970s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37653814)

That is a fact. Get over it.

The world is reaching peak oil now.

That is also a fact.

From here on out our production of oil is going to slowly drop off in a curve very much like how the production ramped up. So in about 200 years we will be completely out.

In the meantime the cost of oil is going to soar as the demand increases and the supply decreases.

Even if there were unlimited supplies of oil we would have to be retarded to drill and pump and burn it all. Assuming an annual growth rate of less than 3%, every 100 years would see a 10 times increase in the amount of oil we need to just maintain the economy.

This is simple math.

So in 300 years we would need 1000 times as much oil as we have right now in order to maintain the minimum level of growth our economy requires. Where the hell would we get 1000 times more oil? We can't. There is only one earth.

Game Over For the Climate (0)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653822)

So, we're going to use up the last drops of oil and wait for the planet to boil? This is just insanity. We need to focus every last dime on alternative, sustainable sources of energy.

Re:Game Over For the Climate (1, Insightful)

rossjudson (97786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653926)

Yeah -- let's eke out every last bit of strategic oil in US territory! And let's cram it into a bunch of stupid SUVs!! Because That's How America Uses Oil!!!

And let's do this all in the next decade or two, guaranteeing the current generation of oil billionaires a semi-permanent place in history, as the last such. They can get started on their even more gated communities, and wall their future families in thoroughly.

Conservation, Sustainability - Not Just Buzz Words (1)

Gimbal (2474818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653920)

I'm going to endeavor to make a comment to this matter, without picking up any agenda about it.

Conservation of any natural or manufactured resource makes simple sense, as does a behavior of taking an approach in which we ensure the sustainability of our own economic mechanisms, also ensuring the sustainability of available natural and manufactured resources and our industrial and individual reliance on the same.

Granted, to say that without trying to appeal to any common agenda, it might seem as though it was to waste my breath. I don't suppose rationality needs an agenda, though, for its tenets to be proved, now and in the long run.

meh (3, Interesting)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653952)

Unless there is a quantum leap in the efficiency with which electricity can be produced from non-fossil sources, we are eventually going to exhaust all the retrievable coal, oil and gas in the earth's crust. What is considered "retrievable" is a moving target determined by current extraction technology. Even if the U.S. were to institute subsidies that evened the playing field between fossil sources and green sources in the U.S., it is unlikely those subsidies would be duplicated across the entire globe. Ergo it would remain profitable to extract U.S. oil. It seems unlikely there will ever be the political will to forbid oil exploration and extraction altogether in the United States.

It's also worth noting that extracting and refining this particular cache of oil does not significantly alter the global price, and therefore does not significantly alter global consumption. It is not the case that more oil will be used because this particular batch was extracted. More U.S. oil will be used, on the other hand, which means more jobs, etc. for U.S. citizens.

Given the economy is in the dumps, the only reasons I can see not to extract it are:

* Strategic. When oil becomes scarce (and thereby prohibitively expensive) we want to have national reserves on tap for military consumption.

* Environmental, but in a local sense. You could argue that the environmental costs at the point of extraction are just too high.

"Global warming" doesn't seem like a compelling reason at the moment given the small percentage of global production these new fields represent. "Drill here, drill now, pay less" is a ginormous fallacy. To the extent "pay less" is fallacious, though, so is the notion that domestic drilling will lead to more consumption and consequently more atmospheric CO2.

3rd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654010)

Anyone want to explain why a quick wikipedia search indicates 24billion additional reserves puts us no where near 3rd. Looks like it bumps us from 13th to 10th. I like the reserve to production ratio at the end. Canadas got the right idea.

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