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Oil Deposit Could Increase US Reserves 10x

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the swimming-in-it dept.

Power 869

HighWizard notes the upcoming release, on Thursday, of a report by the US Geological Survey on the Bakken Formation. This is an oil field covering 200,000 square miles and underlying parts of North and South Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan. A geologist who began surveying the field, before dying in 2000, believed it may hold as much as 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Later estimates have ranged to the hundreds of billions of barrels. Such a reserve would go a long way toward securing US energy independence.

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869 comments

We have more oil? (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#23008884)

I wonder what this does for theories of for oil. Some people theorize that petroleum is left over from the formation of the earth, rather than created by the fossilization of carbon life forms. [wikipedia.org]

This reserve may be difficult to tap fully because of the nature of the rocks. I wonder if nuclear weapons would help. I guess it depends on how and where they were deployed.

How many tons of CO2 would be created with the burning of 500 billion barrels of oil? BTW, 500 billion barrels of oil would be about 1/6th of the world's oil reserves.

Is there really that much oxygen in the atmoshpere to burn all that? Let's see. The earth's atmosphere weighs 5 quadrillion metric tons... [wikipedia.org] OK, no worries there.

but, but, the global warmings! The sea level could rise 50 feet in the next century. [checks current elevation of homestead] OK, that's fine.

But it would be hot! [checks average temps for homestead] ok, yeah, I can get behind that.

What about the polar bears? [checks polar bear shares in 401K] We're looking good!

But the crops! The crops won't grow! [Checks map of world showing land in permafrost [uwsp.edu]] Looks like a net gain to me.

Ok, yeah! We have more oil! Can we exploit it faster than we have more people?

Re:We have more oil? (4, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 6 years ago | (#23009174)

I wonder if nuclear weapons would help.

Perhaps you can explain--exactly under what circumstances do nuclear weapons not help?

That said, those sound like fightin' words so I'd be careful. We might not have much up in Montana, but we do have nukes. Some 200 ICBMs [nukewatch.com] with several MIRVs to be exact. You want our oil? Come and get it!

Re:We have more oil? (5, Informative)

Itchyeyes (908311) | about 6 years ago | (#23009178)

I'm a petroleum engineer who works for an independent oil and gas company that has recently become active in the Bakken formation in North Dakota. So let me try and answer these questions one by one.

This theory is complete and utter bunk. Nobody, and I really mean nobody, seriously invested in the search for petroleum reserves subscribes to it. The Bakken is a traditional petroleum reservoir where the hydrocarbons are created by biological matter subject to intense heat and pressure.

The reason that the Bakken is just now considered a viable reservoir is not because more oil has been generated but because the technology and price of oil have advanced enough to where it's now a viable and economic source of oil. The current buzz about the Bakken is specifically relegated to horizontal wells, a technology that has just recently come into its own.

This reserve may be difficult to tap fully because of the nature of the rocks. I wonder if nuclear weapons would help. I guess it depends on how and where they were deployed.

I'm assuming this is a joke, but nuclear weapons have actually been tested in oil fields to increase production. Traditionally, a well is hydrolicaly fractured with pressure to increase the permiability of the rock and increase the ease in which the hydrocarbons can flow. However, explosives can produce a similar result. Nuclear explosives though are actually poor tools to fracture a well with since the intense heat "glasses" the rock and prevents flow.

How many tons of CO2 would be created with the burning of 500 billion barrels of oil? BTW, 500 billion barrels of oil would be about 1/6th of the world's oil reserves.

Fewer than would be produced generating the same amount of energy with coal, which currently provides about 70% of our energy in the US. Even if we all decide today that we're going to swear off fossil fuels, the process of converting our society to the alternatives will take decades, decades in which we will still rely on millions of barrels of oil every day.

Re:We have more oil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009258)

I sincerely thank you for that. Although (like almost everyone), I'd love to see geo/nuclear energy widespread, that's the most sensible explanation of petroleum speculation I've ever seen.

Cheers.

biotic origin (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#23009274)

So there's a good explanation for all that stuff under the north pole? This is a serious question. I'm not arguing - I want to know.

Re:biotic origin (4, Informative)

Itchyeyes (908311) | about 6 years ago | (#23009314)

The current reservoir rock at the North Pole was not actually located at the North Pole when it formed millions of years ago. See plate tectonics [wikipedia.org].

Re:We have more oil? (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#23009306)

Even if we all decide today that we're going to swear off fossil fuels, the process of converting our society to the alternatives will take decades, decades in which we will still rely on millions of barrels of oil every day.

Which is why that decision should've been made decades ago. The switch will never be painless, just like switching from MS Office or Windows to the competition will never be painless.

A million oil men just came in their pants (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23008888)

WAAAAHOOOOO!

global warming continues!!! YEEEEHAWWW

proceed to discuss whether global warming is real or not

Nice (-1, Flamebait)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | about 6 years ago | (#23008890)

Now let's see if the democrats let us access this resource. I'm not going to hold my breath.

Re:Nice (5, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | about 6 years ago | (#23008912)

I'm not going to hold my breath.

I wouldn't. Even with that much oil it still is going to run out someday. If anything we should leave it alone for now to ensure that we don't end up with massive shortages as we transition to alternative fuel sources.

Re:Nice (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009082)

There won't be any massive shortages.

As supply diminishes, prices will rise. We're starting to see this happen already; remember when $1.20/gallon was expensive?

As prices rise, it encourages people to conserve. This isn't happening very much yet, but that's just because the price is still relatively low. Yes, $3.50/gallon is relatively low. Think about how much driving people would do at, say, $10/gallon, or $20/gallon.

Rising prices also makes alternative sources of oil profitable, and thus exploitable. For example, Canada has enormous oil reserves in tar sands [wikipedia.org]. It used to be economically infeasible to extract these reserves. But now that the product fetches a higher price, it becomes profitable and those areas are booming. This effect helps to stabilize supply, since as supply goes up, prices rise, making it more economical to find new supply.

And lastly, rising prices encourage development of alternative energy. If gasoline had stayed at $1/gallon forever, I doubt that hybrids and electrics would have ever been more than curiosities. Now they're becoming serious business, and as prices continue to rise they will become ever more viable. Alternative energy sources that look foolishly expensive now will become useful money savers above a certain price point. The higher oil prices rise, the more money becomes available for research and purchase of alternatives.

We won't wake up one day to discover that the oil has run out overnight and we're all doomed. Instead, we should see a steady rise in oil prices as reserves continue to diminish, and alternatives will slowly take over as this process continues. This is bad news when it comes to global warming, because I doubt that anything is going to stop people from burning oil aside from it becoming too expensive due to reduced supply. But it's good news when it comes to the survival of modern technological civilization, because there shouldn't be any great supply shocks as it slowly decreases over time.

It's interesting to note that price controls and subsidies on oil such as exist in Venezuela defeat this process and would be extremely harmful if implemented more widely than just a few medium-sized nations. The surest way to guarantee that we do hit a supply wall one day would be to have the governments of the Earth band together and decide to guarantee $3/gallon gasoline to all of their citizens forever.

Re:Nice (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 6 years ago | (#23009270)

As prices rise, it encourages people to conserve.

      No, it doesn't. You're assuming a perfect "free market" with perfect competition. The oil market is nothing like that. There will always be a need for oil at ANY price. Just like some people will smoke at ANY price/cigarette.

This isn't happening very much yet

QED

Re:Nice (2, Interesting)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 6 years ago | (#23009248)

I don't disagree that oil should be on the way out, but at the moment we still need and use it, and due to the current political issues with oil, I'd much rather be depleting a cheap domestic supply than the alternative. If we don't use this one, we'll simply use another one. The way I see it we should drill there and get the oil, but still focus on the development of alternate fuels. Hopefully, by the time this supply's running low, there will be a viable substitute. Then again, if oil's cheap it might take some of the pressure off alternate fuel research, but I'd hope people aren't that short-sighted.

Re:Nice (1)

dhaines (323241) | about 6 years ago | (#23009044)

Just invade. You'll be welcomed as liberators.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009162)

Just invade. You'll be welcomed as liberators.
And we all know South Dakota could use a good invading.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009226)

Now let's see if the democrats let us access this resource. I'm not going to hold my breath.

Resource, my burning asshole. They have to say billions of barrels. Who the hell would buy in if they said thirty-eight barrels? Grandiose estimates like this are nothing more than the modern equivalent of salting the mine. That's a more complicated way of saying "pure horseshit".

The larger the "estimates", the more pressure on and from the local politicians, especially the those in the involved states. Those whores will, of course, attempt to push the development as "a valuable tool in securing energy independence."

And who gives a rusty fuck how much oil we "harvest" domestically? You know fucking well that we won't see lower prices from it. Hell, we won't even see a drop of the oil. All China and India have to do is hold out their hands with more dollars per barrel than we hold out and the vicious grasping bastards who run our oil companies will say, "Stand aside, American cheapskates -- we found a better price." Then you can be damned sure our domestic prices will be forced up to meet the price the rest of the fuckers holding our national debt are willing to pay.

Admit it -- oil is co-fungible with money and America hasn't got enough money left to avoid pimping itself out to the highest bidder.

Bring the boys back home, send em up N (0, Troll)

apachetoolbox (456499) | about 6 years ago | (#23008896)

Sorry Canada. You're like a really cool older well behaved cousin to the US but if you have oil it's all over. Good thing Bush can't read, just be careful about Cheney!

Copyright Reform [copyrightreform.us]

That's not all (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#23009074)

After the midwest turns to desert again (for most of its geologic history it has been) it would be nice to have huge tracts of arable land nearby. When Canada thaws it will be that.

I recommend we send Ballmer as a special envoy to Canada. If he handles it like Yahoo the negotiations will be short.

Re:Bring the boys back home, send em up N (1)

FrYGuY101 (770432) | about 6 years ago | (#23009192)

Um.

A) Canada has oil. Gobs of it. Loads more soon to be online [wikipedia.org]. Guess who they sell it to? B) This is about oil reserves INSIDE THE UNITED STATES. C) The US is moving to 'alternative fuels'. The debate is not over whether or not to, but how big a priority it is.

Re:Bring the boys back home, send em up N (1)

FrYGuY101 (770432) | about 6 years ago | (#23009266)

Replying to myself, bad form I know, but yes, I know some of the fields are in Canada, but Canada having more oil isn't that big a deal, mainly because they have gobs of it waiting to be exploited already still, while the US's reserves have mostly been tapped. Thus, that the oil is (mostly) within the US makes it a big deal, as it's a new resource to exploit (Word chosen for both its meanings). Were it solely within Canada... well, it would sit quite nicely next to the Tar Sands (The fact that we're even TRYING to extract oil from tar sands is a sad testament to the state of energy on the planet).

Re:Bring the boys back home, send em up N (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009264)

actually, we import most of our oil from canada today.

Actually... (1)

Rix (54095) | about 6 years ago | (#23009304)

Canada has supplied most of the oil the US uses for as long as I can remember.

Fungible (3, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | about 6 years ago | (#23008898)

Too bad oil is fungible [wikipedia.org], so OPEC can still hurt us monetarily.

So, how far back does this push "peak oil"?

Re:Fungible (0)

The Ancients (626689) | about 6 years ago | (#23008974)

Dude - 'fungibility'? That gave me visions of mushrooms sprouting out of oil farms, destroying such a precious resource. I know this is /., but that's just still too weird...

Re:Fungible (1)

maciarc (1094767) | about 6 years ago | (#23009084)

I am unable to follow the logic step between one unit of our oil being substantially equal to one unit of OPEC oil and the conclusion that this gives OPEC some control over the price that our oil will be sold at. It seems logical to me that an influx of a large amount of a resource into a market would reduce the price. Although, I will admit the record profits that big oil has been having in 2007: http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/01/news/companies/exxon_earnings/ [cnn.com] and as far back as 2004: http://thinkprogress.org/2005/05/09/consumers-on-fumes-oil-industry-guzzels-profits/ [thinkprogress.org]> will tend to erase any relief for consumers.

Securing energy independece...until it's gone (3, Insightful)

RedSteve (690399) | about 6 years ago | (#23008914)

Even if the field is as productive as the summary makes it sound, it should be treated as a reprieve, not as an absolute solution.

Re:Securing energy independece...until it's gone (1)

dokhebi (89124) | about 6 years ago | (#23009080)

I agree. With the cooperation of Canada, since part of the find is in their territory, this could give us the time to make electric/hybrid/hydrogen based vehicles affordable (i.e. as cheap or cheaper than traditional internal combustion) and stick a knife up the *censored* of OPEC.

But this is only my opinion...

Re:Securing energy independece...until it's gone (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | about 6 years ago | (#23009098)

Agreed. At $20-40/barrel, it's not even as cheap as Canada's vast oil sands, and production directly from oil shale is profitable for anything near $100. We can also convert coal to fuel, through a liquefaction process. It seems that if we burn all our potential fossil fuels, we could probably slag the planet.

Fortunatetly, other cheaper alternatives exist, from "cheaper than coal" [google.com] solar to nuclear.

Re:Securing energy independece...until it's gone (2, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 6 years ago | (#23009230)

The automatic shade of "It's not really as good as it seems" is interesting. Anyway, of course it's not an absolute solution, but is there any reason not to use it?

We still use paper, even though we have digital stuff, too. I don't see why we should make paper insanely expensive simply to push towards going entirely digital (or something like that).

If there's a huge deposit of oil in US... well, hopefully there is no endangered snail that has to live on that huge plot of land. :) Also, regarding your subject line, I am not sure anyone is quite as stupid as you would make them out to be, that we have found an infinite supply of oil that will make us independence forever. Is your point that since it's not a renewable resource, we shouldn't pursue it at all, or use it to get partially energy independent while working on securing energy independence in other ways?

Re:Securing energy independece...until it's gone (2, Interesting)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 6 years ago | (#23009250)

Good news everybody, we've found an extra 12 days of oil.

1 billion barrels / 85 million bpd

http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/quickfacts/quickoil.html [doe.gov]

Re:Securing energy independece...until it's gone (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 6 years ago | (#23009322)

Did you miss the part where they said later estimates said hundreds of billions of barrels? We've found another 12 years of oil, assuming that we don't get any more fuel efficient during that time.

Bad news for Saskatchewan (1)

Powercube (1179611) | about 6 years ago | (#23008924)

Soon it will be flooded with Albertans.

Re:Bad news for Saskatchewan (2, Funny)

Robber Baron (112304) | about 6 years ago | (#23008966)

Soon it will be flooded with Albertans.
...and Newfies.

Re:Bad news for Saskatchewan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009320)

Leave their cousins alone too! They've got dibs.

Giant shale fields... (2, Insightful)

lpangelrob (714473) | about 6 years ago | (#23008932)

Giant shale fields still make for expensive recovery costs. And will this make make large expanses of the Dakotas like the strip mines of West Virginia?

Re:Giant shale fields... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 6 years ago | (#23008968)

Have you been to the Dakotas? The strip mines of West Virginia would be an improvement...

Re:Giant shale fields... (1)

aaron.axvig (1238422) | about 6 years ago | (#23009134)

BS

There is only one strip mine that I have ever seen in ND (well I'm sure there are more, but I've been a lot of places in ND, and have only seen one), and this is along US Highway 83 between Minot and Bismarck. And from what I've heard (neighbor that works with the state leasing school land out to mineral companies) they are VERY strict about restoring the land to it's original condition. Also, this is a coal mine, not an oil mine. Oil drilling doesn't disturb THAT large of a plot of land.

Re:Giant shale fields... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009272)

I was born in North Dakota (Bismarck) and lived there for 23 years. Believe me, there is nothing there that oil fields will ruin. There is a good chance they will make the landscape more pleasing to look at.

Re:Giant shale fields... (5, Informative)

Itchyeyes (908311) | about 6 years ago | (#23009222)

I think you're confusing oil shale with plain old shale. The Bakken is a traditional shale formation, so recovery costs are not that high. Wells are generally economic as long as the price of oil stay above around $70/bbl. And no this won't make the Dakota's like West Virginia. The reason the Bakken is now economic is because of advances in horizontal drilling. When wells are drilled horizontally they are spaced much farther apart. Currently Bakken wells in North Dakota are drilled about 1 to every square mile. A standard oil well will take up about 3-5 acres of surface area in that square mile.

The $100+ Million Question (1, Interesting)

Sterrance (1257342) | about 6 years ago | (#23008938)

How much will it cost to access these deposits? If the potential mining costs are too high (or, alternatively, are of lower quality than the light sweet crude favored by industry), then it will take much higher oil prices before these sources are tapped.

Moreover, with the oligopoly control of oil production, we may still never see such sources utilized because the companies that control the flow are more than happy to benefit from high oil and gas prices.

Re:The $100+ Million Question (2, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 years ago | (#23009120)

About $50 per barrel - a little higher than oil from Albertan tar sands, which is about $40 per barrel. Considering that the price is $100 per barrel, there are tremendous profits here. The price of oil is so high, that even the South African oil from coal project at about $60 per barrel, is immensely profitable.

Re:The $100+ Million Question (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 years ago | (#23009336)

About $50 per barrel - a little higher than oil from Albertan tar sands, which is about $40 per barrel. Considering that the price is $100 per barrel, there are tremendous profits here.
The only problem with that line of thought is that it assumes $100 a barrel is here to stay.

Current prices have nothing to do with supply or demand issues and everything to do with (1) the crappy value of the US dollar, (2) the ongoing instability in/around Iraq, (3) ongoing violence and instability in Nigeria and (4) Hugo Chavez's ongoing nationalization of industries while threatening to stop oil exports to the USA.

At what cost? (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#23008950)

TFA says it's a shale deposit. We've known for decades that there's more oil in tar sands and shales in North America than there is in the Saudi fields, but there's the small detail of how much it costs to extract it.

-jcr

Re:At what cost? (3, Interesting)

SpryGuy (206254) | about 6 years ago | (#23009118)

So what IS the cost, per barrel, of pulling it out of the ground?

It's literally pennies to pull it out in Kuwait. But Oil is trading for over $100/barrel now. So if the costs are anything up to about $50/barrel to recover, there's still some profit motive left to go after it.

I've read all sorts of numbers, but I'm wondering at what point it becomes desirable, not just feasable, to go after that oil and start exploiting those fields.

And then there's the conspiracy theorist in me who wonders if they aren't purposely driving hte price of oil up in order to make exploiting domestic oil that much more realistic, and thus wean us off the foreign teat...

Re:At what cost? (4, Informative)

Itchyeyes (908311) | about 6 years ago | (#23009238)

A horizontal Bakken well costs about $5 million to drill and about $7000/month to operate. Most of these wells are economic at around $70/bbl.

Uhhh, What? (1, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | about 6 years ago | (#23008962)

I'm sorry, I must have missed the part that explained how having a huge excess of oil was going to stop global warming... "Energy independence" doesn't mean having as much oil to burn as you would ever like.

Re:Uhhh, What? (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | about 6 years ago | (#23009004)

"Energy independence" doesn't mean having as much oil to burn as you would ever like.
Really? I thought it did. I don't think the term really applies to anything ecological at all.

Re:Uhhh, What? (0)

pclminion (145572) | about 6 years ago | (#23009068)

Really? I thought it did. I don't think the term really applies to anything ecological at all.

So you're saying, it's an economic term. Okay, riddle me this. What is the economic impact of complete destruction of the liveable ecosystem? I'd put it at about $100 trillion, personally, perhaps even $1 quadrillion. Just a pittance, really.

Re:Uhhh, What? (2, Insightful)

introspekt.i (1233118) | about 6 years ago | (#23009116)

Hold up there, buddy. I didn't say it was anything. I just said it had nothing to do with ecology. Not that it's a good thing, though. It comes from a line of thinking that doesn't really take an ecological perspective on things...which probably isn't good. The term just reflects a point of view. You could use a more precise term like "sustainable energy independence", then we could all hold hands and dance and sing around the Maypole.

Re:Uhhh, What? (2, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | about 6 years ago | (#23009160)

I'm simply questioning how a country can be "independent," in an energy respect or otherwise, when the world literally can't be lived upon. Finding a mass reserve will do nothing but encourage Americans to burn oil even more wantonly -- this would seem to be a form of independence, up until the very last second, when what is left of humanity murder each other in a primal, animalistic rage for scarce remaining resources.

Re:Uhhh, What? (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | about 6 years ago | (#23009262)

Would it encourage Americans to burn it more wantonly? Quite possibly. We could use the petrol for other nice things as well...perhaps manufacturing hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrocarbons are a great source of Hydrogen, which is something the Hydrogen car guys are still trying to work out...though we would still need to store that carbon. Tsk tsk. You can make plenty of cool things out of it, including gas, either way. We can use the economic gain in the short term and funnel it for the sustainable long term (probably by legislation and regulation). Regardless, if there are massive amounts of oil in the Dakotas, that stuff is gonna come up out of the ground one way or another, one day or another. The best way of dealing with it is planning, legislating, and getting active to use the resource to advance your own agenda..which in your case is saving the world. The way I see it, you can't stop something as valuable as that from happening (granted it exists). You just have to find other ways to work around/with it. Preaching about inferno doomsday has been only so effective so far :(. I say it's time for a more pragmatic approach.

Re:Uhhh, What? (1)

mechsoph (716782) | about 6 years ago | (#23009312)

What is the economic impact of complete destruction of the liveable ecosystem?

Well, now that's just being melodramatic. Since a clean environment is a public good, we need to government to step in. As people get richer and the environment gets worse, they will put a greater value on cleaning things up and enact tougher pollution mandates/taxes. See the Environmental Kuznet's Curve [wikipedia.org]. Pittsburgh's a damn bit cleaner now than it was 70 years ago.

I'd put it at about $100 trillion, personally, perhaps even $1 quadrillion. Just a pittance, really.

Since $100 trillion is less than ten times US annual GDP, you're probably lowballing on "Complete Destruction." Of course, Complete Destruction is not going to happen, and measuring the actual damages that will occur both in total value and in "fairness" is probably just about impossible.

Re:Uhhh, What? (4, Informative)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | about 6 years ago | (#23009188)

Energy Independence is completely separate from clean energy. Energy Independence means that the Middle East doesn't have the power to stop our economy instantly. Clean energy means energy that is less pollutant. The two are often used together because the adoption of clean energy brings energy independence (since most clean energy solutions can be implemented in the US). Thus clean energy implies energy independence, but not vice-versa.

Re:Uhhh, What? (2, Insightful)

teknomage1 (854522) | about 6 years ago | (#23009294)

Why do people always discuss National Energy Independence, when the oil is just going to be harvested by a multinational energy corporation and sold at whatever the market will bear?

"Energy Independence In Our Time" (1)

qw0ntum (831414) | about 6 years ago | (#23008990)

Such a reserve would go a long way toward securing US energy independence for the next 10 years.

There, fixed that for you...

Re:"Energy Independence In Our Time" (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | about 6 years ago | (#23009170)

Hrm. I think it more likely we'd sell as much of it as possible to developing countries that are thirsting for it (like China) in order to pay down our massive debts to foreign countries that we're racking up...

(is that even possible without nationalizing the oil fields?)

Oh yeah? (1)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | about 6 years ago | (#23008994)

For how long?

All this positioning and optimization and such is still missing the big picture.

And even if this does secure energy independence, is it really going to drive prices down that much?

Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009000)

do we have the oxygen to burn that much fuel?

Dear Canada, (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#23009012)

Dear Canada,

Concerning this oilfield which lays below the Dakotas and Saskatchewan: if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching? And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake... I... drink... your... milkshake! SLURP I drink it up!

Bludgeonly yours,
the USA

Re:Dear Canada, (2, Funny)

tsotha (720379) | about 6 years ago | (#23009066)

Yeah, except this is shale, which is a lot more like rock than a milkshake. You're gonna look pretty funny trying to suck that through a straw.

Re:Dear Canada, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009190)

CmdrTaco likes sucking cock.

Re:Dear Canada, (3, Informative)

Itchyeyes (908311) | about 6 years ago | (#23009244)

The process described in "There Will be Blood" has long since been outlawed. Oil fields are carefully regulated to ensure that wells are properly spaced and not draining neighboring owner's reserves.

Ssh! Don't tell anybody! (5, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 years ago | (#23009014)

We got to finish off the Arab oil first, to reduce their political influence in the world.

Arabic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009016)

How do you say "HA-HA!" in Arabic?

100 Billion Barrels of Greenhouse Gases (1, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#23009018)

If we pump another 100 billion barrels of oil into the sky, it will destroy us.

If there's really that much oil, then some of the energy in it could be used to suck the CO2 and other emissions into liquid or solid byproducts, sunk into plastics or other materials we'd use to make things out of, instead of just letting all that pollution spew into the air. It might seem more energy efficient to let the byproducts just fly out, but the energy required to clean it up (if that's even possible) is like the energy required to put the smoke back into a match after lighting it.

Re:100 Billion Barrels of Greenhouse Gases (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009140)

>If we pump another 100 billion barrels of oil into the sky, it will destroy us.

Then prepare to die. The US consumes 20 million barrels a day. It would take 50 days -- two months -- to consume a billion. 200 months is 17 years.

As for this find: yawn. Call us when it's a trillion barrels -- hundreds of years at current consumption rates.

Re:100 Billion Barrels of Greenhouse Gases (0, Troll)

thecheatah (977630) | about 6 years ago | (#23009276)

Give it a rest al gore.

After taking a geology course, you learn that green house gases are the least of our problems. The worst that's gono happen is that the human race will be wiped out. Big woop. Evolution will fix that in a couple million years.

Gatta look at the BIGGER picture!

More info needed (3, Interesting)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 6 years ago | (#23009020)

Last I heard -- a long, long time ago -- extraction of shale oil deposits required abundant water, as the technology then used steam to liquify the oil and release it from the shale.

Last I heard, there was not abundant water in the area of the deposits. If a /. reader with recent expertise in the extraction of oil from shale would post a reply on the most recent technologies and the free or cheap water requirement, I would be, as they say in the Western Movies, "beholden."

Otherwise, like those in California's Central Valley, the extent and practical worth of such deposits is debatable.

Of course, we can hope.

This is not a problem (2, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#23009180)

The region has sufficient water to deal with this issue. There are challenges here but his is not one of them.

There is also enough geothermal energy here that we don't even need the petroleum if we could convert and store it properly.

Excellent ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009028)

I am keeping my Hummer! This global warming thing is nothing but B.S.

Not what I think (1)

Vipersfate (1143119) | about 6 years ago | (#23009092)

I don't think that this "theoretical" oil field is going to help anything. The US reserves are higher now than they were in 1990. What needs to happen is the retrofitting of the new refineries that are currently out there to produce less waste and more petroleum products. ( I was talking with a representative from BP recently)

Teur'ists are in Canada! (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 6 years ago | (#23009110)

Queue George Bush declaring Canada a terrorist haven, starting a war without Congressional approval and invading yet another soverign nation... And Haliburton stock becomes more valuable than Berkshire Hathaway....

So predictable really.

Woo capitalism! (1)

chrisbro (207935) | about 6 years ago | (#23009148)

From here [nam.org]...

Until now, the obstacles to production seemed overwhelming. The crude oil is locked away in rocks that are buried miles underground in the Bakken Play, a field that stretches into Montana and Saskatchewan, Canada. But times have changed. High oil prices and new technology make it worth the effort.
Still want to punish companies for "windfall profits?" I'm just sayin'. And yes, I'm aware of them bitching over tax breaks lately. Whole 'nother can of worms.

Re:Woo capitalism! (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 6 years ago | (#23009280)

Still want to punish companies for "windfall profits?" I'm just sayin'.

So high oil prices make it profitable for entrenched interests to maintain the status quo, with all of its ecological devastation...your "Woo capitalism!" was ironic, right?

Oil Dependance (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009164)

This is inaccurate:

"Such a reserve would go a long way toward securing US energy independence."

This is correct:

"Such a reserve would go a long way toward securing US energy dependency on oil."

And in other news ... (3, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#23009176)

... Canada has just begun to beef up the military defenses on its long southern border.

NOT GOOD (0)

.Bruce Perens (150539) | about 6 years ago | (#23009196)

Such a reserve would go a long way toward securing US energy independence.

 
... and a long way towards the US ever developing another alternate fuel source. I'm sorry, but this country *needs* a fuel crisis, to spur us into action. Another band-aid on the oil crisis (read: environmental crisis) does little to solve the problem. Americans can be unbelievably innovative, but generally only when the have too. Interrupt our convenience or their lifestyle, and we'll figure it out. $5 a gallon, and we'll figure out how to make a car run on something other than gasoline. This oil deposit find is a bad thing.

An oil shale field, not an oil field (2, Informative)

Thagg (9904) | about 6 years ago | (#23009218)

It has been known for decades that there is a tremendous amount of oil shale and tar sands in this area. The challenge, and it is a significant challenge, is to extract the oil from these deposits in a way that isn't an environmental catastrophe of epic proportions. As is often the case, the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] is a great introduction to the topic.

Extracting oil from oil shale in the most obvious way involves heating it (probably with oil, but you do get more out than you put in, usually). So, you scoop it out of the massive open-pit mine, heat it, get the oil out, and then dispose of the remaining rock. Paradoxically, you end up changing the nature of the rock, so that it takes up more space than it originally did -- so even if you put all the tailings back into where it was mined, you'd end up with a new set of mountains. The net energy you end up with after processing the oil shale isn't a lot, and ridiculous amounts of water are necessary in the process (water the mountain west just doesn't have.)

It should be noted that the Canadians are talking about building nuclear plants in their tar sands regions to supply the energy necessary to liberate the oil from the tar sands, in sort of a nuclear->oil scheme.

According to the Wikipedia article, there have been oil shale processing programs in the past, some on a fairly large scale. They have fallen by the wayside as conventional oil has been so inexpensive.

I believe that the environmental impact of extracting oil from oil shale on the scale required to keep the world running on oil as it is today would have a devastating environmental impact. Probably not as bad as a nuclear war fought over the remaining conventional oil resources...probably.

So this means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009282)

1) We can get the fsck out of Iraq
2) We can be more critical of the human rights record of oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia
3) John Hoeven will be reelected
4) The price of gas will go down
5) ???
6) Profit! (For the Oil companies)

US energy independence... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 6 years ago | (#23009308)

... that means that will stop invading countries with the weak excuse that is for the good of their population?
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