As T. Boone Pickens is touting, we could replace one-third of our dependence on oil within just a few years with natural gas if we would simply embrace the alternative. I don’t know how we’re going to get over the safety issue of having a methane bomb in the trunk of our cars, but it’s doable. And transporting liquefied natural gas to other countries or our own is now viable due to higher prices.
Oh, and incidentally, there is no “Peak Demand” argument for natural gas as there has been with the “theory” for oil. Natural gas reserves in the US are 1,700 tcf, confirmed here http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/resources.asp
As of 2009, the Potential Gas Committee estimated that the United States has total future recoverable natural gas resources approximately 100 times greater than current annual consumption. These huge reserves are available now, yet largely untapped and unused, and would largely flatten the Peak Oil curve.
Natural gas is converted to barrels of oil equivalent using a ratio of 5,487 cubic feet of natural gas per one barrel of crude oil.
The new technologies in the oil and gas industry, proven just in the past two years, including horizontal drilling, new fracturing methods, and shale production, particularly the new Marcellus Shale play in the Appalachian Basin will greatly revise the above estimates by this one source and this new technology alone, and there are many other known fields waiting to be tapped that are not included in proven reserves. These technologies and methods, and producing from shale formations on a large scale, were unheard of just two or three years ago. And I must repeat, for zenob’s benefit, that the future potential cannot yet be documented, especially when the potential is not fully understood by laymen; even present potential disregarded due to blindness. Nor will it help to try a different search engine. For example, I was taught that you can't find oil in granite formations or below. Once you hit bedrock, no need to go further. All of Western civilization believes this. But the Russians are now producing from just such prolific formations proving what we thought to be impossible, are in fact huge potential, and they're finding more all the time.
We have yet to uncover the full potential of the continental shelf regions of shallow offshore production of oil and gas, let alone deepwater regions. And again, new technologies, methods and even sources like natural gas crystals on the sea floor (we are still trying to grapple/comprehend the potential of these crystals), are constantly being found/developed/utilized. New discoveries are made almost every month, yet it often takes years to develop and produce and analyze to compute proven reserves from conventional wells.
EIA estimates the Arctic could hold over 20% of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources. a href="http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/arctic/index.html">http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/arctic/index.html.
Also, our own federal park lands and offshore prohibited drill zones contain huge amounts of reserves, and oil companies are constantly lobbying to unlock the bureaucratic access to the bigger finds in Alaska than already exist, but are known to exist; not necessarily to laymen. Obviously, they are not provable, so no papers exist either, so you won’t find anything under Google. The oil companies have a vested interest in not talking too much until they have a signed lease agreement, and this holds the world over. Touting something that is to be kept under the hat is tantamount to the flat earth theory. There's a New World out there, sure, just keep it quiet until we get a chance to increase our holdings.
Gasification of coal and ethanol production and liquefaction and other refining methods can also supply over a century of hydrocarbon needs. British Petroleum, in its 2007 report, estimated at 2006 end, there were 909,064 million tons of proven coal reserves worldwide, or 147 years reserves-to-production ratio. This figure only includes reserves classified as "proven". The largest proven reserves are found in the USA. The 930 billion short tons of recoverable coal reserves estimated by the Energy Information Administration are equal to about 4,116 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Electrification of our cars holds potential to spur the decline of Peak Oil, but some other hydrocarbon must be burned to produce the electricity. There is plenty of coal and gas available, but if the gov’t would pull their head out and build more nuclear power plants this would be a cleaner alternative.
Sure, putting blinders on and looking at “Peak Oil” by itself in a vacuum shows a scary picture at some point extrapolated into the future. But we don’t live in a vacuum. I see no problem with benefitting from a crisis, it’s what we do as traders, but to create a crisis in order to benefit or control makes me see red. Gov’t doesn’t need any help in this area.
At least as big of a problem as Peak Oil, is getting the hydrocarbons produced and processed, but again, when there’s a profit to be made, people get industrious and get up to speed quickly. What I would like to know along these same lines, is why there haven’t been any new refineries built in the last two or three decades, or any slated to be built? I’m not looking for a conspiracy theory, but it seems to me any shortage of hydrocarbons in the near future will be concocted or an act of war; the flotillas of black gold are an easy target in the Straits of Hormuz.
Part 1 of this article can be found at: strong>Peak Oil debunked - Part 1
By. Dennis Eidson