About that whole “peak oil” thing…

The idea that one day we would hit peak oil, that point in time where the maximum extraction rate of petroleum is reached and henceforth decline from there on, like many other theories foisted upon us, seems too to be greatly exaggerated.  ScienceDaily recently put out a piece that the US Geological Survey has discovered the largest ever continuous oil and gas reservoir ever found in the Texas and New Mexico Delaware Basin.

Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the Wolfcamp Shale and overlying Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin portion of Texas and New Mexico’s Permian Basin province contain an estimated mean of 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This estimate is for continuous (unconventional) oil, and consists of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources.

“Christmas came a few weeks early this year,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “American strength flows from American energy, and as it turns out, we have a lot of American energy. Before this assessment came down, I was bullish on oil and gas production in the United States. Now, I know for a fact that American energy dominance is within our grasp as a nation.”

“In the 1980’s, during my time in the petroleum industry, the Permian and similar mature basins were not considered viable for producing large new recoverable resources. Today, thanks to advances in technology, the Permian Basin continues to impress in terms of resource potential. The results of this most recent assessment and that of the Wolfcamp Formation in the Midland Basin in 2016 are our largest continuous oil and gas assessments ever released,” said Dr. Jim Reilly, USGS Director. “Knowing where these resources are located and how much exists is crucial to ensuring both our energy independence and energy dominance.”

Although the USGS has previously assessed conventional oil and gas resources in the Permian Basin province, this is the first assessment of continuous resources in the Wolfcamp shale and Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian. Oil and gas companies are currently producing oil here using both traditional vertical well technology and horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The notion that we are going to run out of oil and gas anytime soon is yet another fear mongering tactic used to drum up hysteria that a situation is much worse than it actually is.  Like global warming climate change, it was theorized that we would hit peak oil in the 1970s.  Clearly this has not been the case.  In fact, there are many who think that we’re not running out at all and that Earth is replenishing its reserves.

“Thanks to investment into supercomputers, robotics and the use of chemicals to extract the maximum from available reservoirs, the accessible oil and gas reserves will almost double by 2050,” Engineering and Technology said.

 

A BP official told the magazine that “energy resources are plentiful. Concerns over running out of oil and gas have disappeared.”

 

Things are so good, in fact, that Engineering and Technology says “with the use of the innovative technologies, available fossil fuel resources could increase from the current 2.9 trillion barrels of oil equivalent to 4.8 trillion by 2050, which is almost twice as much as the projected global demand.” That number could even reach 7.5 trillion barrels if technology and exploration techniques advance even faster.

 

This information backs up the idea that Earth is actually an oil-producing machine. We call energy sources such as crude oil and natural gas fossil fuels based on the assumption that they are the products of decaying organisms, maybe even dinosaurs themselves. But the label is a misnomer. Research from the last decade found that hydrocarbons are synthesized abiotically.

 

In other words, as Science magazine has reported, the “data imply that hydrocarbons are produced chemically” from carbon found in Earth’s mantle. Nature magazine calls the product of this process an “unexpected bounty ” of “natural gas and the building blocks of oil products.”

It really wouldn’t shock me at this point if this were the case and we had just been misled by those claiming to be environmentalists.

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