"Limitless Supplies?"

February 22, 2018

                                                                                                                                               

"The truth is that we have near-limitless supplies of energy in our country...

 

Our country is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance,” President Trump declared at an “Unleashing American Energy Event” last June. “We are a top producer of petroleum and the number-one producer of natural gas... With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that we’ve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance. And we’re going to be an exporter... We will be dominant. We will export American energy all over the world, all around the globe.”

 

                                                                                                                Source Wikipedia; EIA, OPEC and BP

   

 

The new milestone of 10.3M BOPD of oil production in America is amazing. We are indeed blessed. But that number represents daily production rates  and 60% of that oil now comes from unconventional shale oil resources and a decade of "near-limitless" spending, a lot of which has not even been paid for yet. Stop  drilling shale oil wells tomorrow, for whatever reason, and this  time next year  that 10.3M BOPD is down to  7.6M BOPD and dropping like a rock. America's current hydrocarbon "dominance" is precarious, at best.

 

Known, proven developed reserves are what are important for the long haul, not production rates. Not  "possible," or "technically recoverable"  reserves calculated on an imaginary BOE per square mile basis, either. Those types of reserves are  totally dependent on product prices to ultimately achieve, or some  undiscovered "technological" breakthrough that will allow even the most expensive of reserves to be extracted, regardless of product price.  Which, I think, is the dilemma we face now with unconventional shale oil. Estimates of possible or technically recoverable reserves are merely assumptions. Guesses. Some good guesses, some really bad guesses. Have you checked on Alpine High, lately? Or the Bakken in Eastern Montana? Or USGS guesses about the Monterey Shale in California?  

 

As to proven recoverable reserves [1] actually in the "bank," America is 10th on the list in the world and so far below a lot of other countries that calling the Permian Basin another Saudi America is a little ridiculous. 

 

And  39.230G BO of proven oil reserves, seen in the chart above,  would last America about 7 years at 16 million BO+CPD of daily consumption here in our country. Does it make sense to be exporting our oil resources away with only enough proven reserves to last us 7 years? 

 

Hell no it  doesn't.  If you absolutely must, find  and borrow another imaginary $160 billion to invest in the shale oil phenomena, drill another 18,000 wells  and add, hopefully, but probably not, another 25G BO of  proven undeveloped, or probable reserves to the cookie jar... that still only gives us enough oil to last 12-15 more years or so.  That's not very long down the road, pardnor.

 

Factually, we do not have the oil reserves to "dominate" the world oil order; Saudi Arabia alone has nearly 8 times the proven oil reserves we have in America. Venezuela even more. It is a serious mistake to use the false narrative of shale abundance as foreign policy tool. I voted for Mr. Trump but now, instead of "draining the swamp," he seems intent on an energy policy that is draining the rest of America's limited hydrocarbon resources as fast as possible... and exporting it away.

 

Then what?

 

 

 

 

[1] The EIA defines "proven recoverable reserves"(1P) as estimated volumes of hydrocarbons that analysis of geological and engineering data demonstrates, with reasonable certainty, are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions.

 

 

 

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