Industrialized Cyclist Notepad


Hamilton on the future of U.S. shale oil

Throwing a little cold water on some recent, loudly reported unscientific predictions. When you read Hamilton, always be sure to read the comments by Jeffrey Brown for an important Big Picture view.

In addition to the uncertainties noted above about extrapolating historical production rates, the rate at which production declines from a given well over time is another big unknown. Another key point to recognize is the added cost of extracting oil from tight formations. West Texas Intermediate is currently around $85/barrel. With the huge discount for Canadian and north-central U.S. producers, that means that producers of North Dakota sweet are only offered $61 a barrel. Tight oil is not going to be the reason that we return to an era of cheap oil, for the simple reason that if oil again fell below $50/barrel, it wouldn’t be profitable to produce with these methods. Nor is tight oil likely to get the U.S. back to the levels of field production that we saw in 1970. But tight oil will likely provide a source of significant new production over the next decade as long as the price does not fall too much.

via Econbrowser: Shale oil and tight oil.



Blowout in Wyo.

Niobrara fights back.

An oil well blowout in Wyoming prompted 50 residents to evacuate their homes amid concern that a spewing cloud of natural gas could explode.

Gas continued to erupt from the ground Wednesday after the blowout Tuesday afternoon five miles northeast of Douglas in east-central Wyoming. Witnesses told television station KCWY-TV they could hear the roaring gas from six miles away.

Residents evacuate after gas leaks from Wyo. well.



EPA issues fracking air pollution rules

From an EPA press release:

During the first phase, until January 2015, owners and operators must either flare their emissions or use emissions reduction technology called “green completions,” technologies that are already widely deployed at wells. In 2015, all new fractured wells will be required to use green completions. …

An estimated 13,000 new and existing natural gas wells are fractured or re-fractured each year. As those wells are being prepared for production, they emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to smog formation, and air toxics, including benzene and hexane, which can cause cancer and other serious health effects. In addition, the rule is expected to yield a significant environmental co-benefit by reducing methane, the primary constituent of natural gas. Methane, when released directly to the atmosphere, is a potent greenhouse gas—more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

via 04/18/2012: EPA Issues Updated, Achievable Air Pollution Standards for Oil and Natural Gas / Half of fractured wells already deploy technologies in line with final standards, which slash harmful emissions while reducing cost of compliance.

I’ll keep the line above as it was typed into the page’s description by some agency PR person, because that alone tells you all you need to know about the EPA.



This WSJ chart casts doubt on the TRC’s Eagle Ford ruling

via http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204528204577009930222847246.html



Shale gas drilling

From a detailed article at Rigzone. http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=113890&hmpn=1



Historical perspective on the Bakken Boom

This is an excellent article by Derik Andreoli, looking at the historical big picture of American extraction booms.

The Oil Drum | The Bakken Boom – A Modern-Day Gold Rush.




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