Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From the Archives

I posted interesting news clippings at TOD for a while, in the DB. Oh! These acronyms. That's the DrumBeat Section of Perhaps a glossary is in order? I'll round up what I posted there as the chance arises and throw the contents into this post, which I'll link to on the blog front page. You come across some real eye openers trawling through old news.

Kicking things off is a piece in the NYT, that is, New York Times, from 2003, about Iraq and its long-suffering oil reservoirs. Colin Campbell mentioned this article in one of his ASPO newsletters, which I've been listening to lately - very interesting copy. How do you listen to a newsletter? With text-to-speech software, which I hope achieves breakthroughs in listenability this decade - as it stands you need a high tolerance for robotic monotones to utilize it. But it's so much an improvement on talk radio. Podcasts are OK too, but you're still beholden to whatever your host wants to ramble on about. Doubt anyone's going to read an SPE paper front-to-back soon.

Anyway - Iraq, reservoirs - I've come across various refs to how Saddam had them dumping oil into Rumailia etc to keep production levels up over the years; this article was from Nov '03 and I wonder if that's when this meme began to spread.


Motor Car Saturation Point Held To Be Still Far In Future - Palm Beach Post - Sep 16, 1929

"Mr. Chrysler, do you regard the American business of making automobiles as approaching its maximum?"

"By no means. There is no such thing as saturation point for a standard product in any nation which is growing.

"Some one has said that saturation would come 'when everybody in the world owned a motor car and none over wore out.' Even that would not tell the story because as a nation increases in population and wealth it needs more automobiles, furniture, houses, and other means of civilization.

"Not only are millions of cars being sold to replace those going out of use, but the owner of two or more cars is now a considerable and increasing market. Together with first time owners, this class amounted to 825,000 in 1927 and increased to 1,326,000 in 1928. This increase by more than half a million in a single year represents an advance in American standards. Many of our newer communities have been constructed on the presumption that every adult will have his own car. In some of our best suburbs it is essential that each house have a multiple-car garage. The two-car families are increasing.


Cuba Seizes Last 2 West Oil Refineries - The Milwaukee Sentinel - Jul 2, 1960

HAVANA, July 1 (AP) Premier Castro Friday took over the last two foreign-owned oil refineries in Cuba and with them the problem of supplying his country with oil from distant fields in the Soviet Union.

He seized the Esso Standard Oil and the Shell Oil refineries under resolutions accusing both firms of violating a 1938 law by refusing to process state-owned crude he obtained in a sugar-for-oil deal with Moscow.

The action immediately ended all normal imports of Western oil—except for a trickle of finished products, and raised prospects of an oil famine unless means are found to expand by at least four times the flow of Soviet crude.


OIL SUPPLY IN COAL AND CORN - St. Petersburg Times - Jan 21, 1928

WASHINGTON. Jan 21.—{JP} — When present petroleum deposits in the United States are exhausted the country can turn to oil shale, coal, corn, and sugar cane for a supply of oil and oil substitutes that will last for many years, in the opinion of the federal oil conservation board.

The board further recommended that while there was no immediate need of developing oil from shale and coal, the study of the technical problems involved in the process should be carried on, as eventually the well oil in the country would be exhausted.

The substitution of alcohol for efficient uses of all the products of gasoline, the constant study of more petroleum, and the possible substitution of crude oil burning engines for the high compression motors now generally used were mentioned by the board as means of conserving the country's supply of oil fuels.

Permalink to TOD comments about prorationing etc.


THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: RESOURCES; Oil Experts See Long-Term Risk To Iraqi Underground Reserves - New York Times, By JEFF GERTH
Published: November 30, 2003

Pumping oil too quickly can upset the balance, leading to more gas and water migrating into the wells and ultimately making extraction of oil uneconomical. Oil experts said Saddam Hussein demanded high production, but United Nations economic sanctions precluded Iraq from acquiring the sophisticated computer-modeling equipment and technology required to manage older reservoirs properly. As a result, despite the ingenuity of Iraqi engineers, the fields have suffered.

Oil experts working for the United Nations found that some reservoirs in southern Iraq ''may only have ultimate recoveries of between 15 percent and 25 percent of the total oil'' in the field, as compared with an industry norm of 35 to 60 percent.

Before the United States-led invasion, the Iraqis sought outside help in managing its reservoirs. ''Kirkuk was of particular concern and particular urgency,'' said Maury Vasilev, senior vice president of PetroAlliance Services, a Russian oil-field company that held discussions last year with Iraq's Oil Ministry. He said that because of the water content in the wells, ''there was a question of how much oil they could recover.''


Oil Rigs In Deep Water - The Miami News - Aug 20, 1962

HOUSTON, Tex. (AP) — Millions of dollars are being spent on new drilling equipment designed lo push offshore oil operations into deeper water.

One project calls for a floating platform to operate at depths of 600 feet or more. Its developers say experiments indicate it will withstand hurricane force waves and winds.

300 FEET Shell Oil Co. and the Blue Water Drilling Corp. have had an all-weather floating platform in operation off the Louisiana Coast the past year. The rig now is drilling in nearly 300 feel of water, the deepest depth so far for the Gulf of Mexico.

Shell announced this week the 242-foot vessel operated successfully through winter storms with waves of 28 feet and winds of 63 miles an hour.

Shell said the drilling vessel is using a new method of completing offshore wells by remote control from the surface. The new technique was developed by Shell at a cost in excess of 7 million dollars.

Shell officials said the floating platform and the remote control equipment make it possible to find and produce oil from the open sea regardless of distance from land and depth of water.


Oil Shale on the Horizon - Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Feb 29 1980

But there is an immense difference in scale between test production and commercial operations. To produce the 48,000 barrels of oil a day Colony says it can start turning out in 1985 it would need a half dozen six-story-tall retorts each capable of processing 11,000 tons of shale a day.

Colony officials now estimate that it will cost $13 billion to 15 billion for that operation, and the fact remains that it has never been done.

Occidental Shale Oil Inc., a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp. of Los Angeles, has spent over $100 million developing modified in situ technology and leads the industry in the field.

Occidental has been testing underground retorting since 1973. The last three retorts built by Occidental were big enough for commercial production - 160 feet square and almost 300 feet high.

The last of those retorts collapsed during production, but Occidental says it still is ready to go to commercial production on a 5,000 acre tract of land leased from the federal government for $117 million.

Again, there is the task of scaling operations up to commercial production. It will take 40 underground retorts, with a new one being ignited each week, to produce the 50,000 barrels a day Occidental says it can be turning out by 1987.

Oil Shale as New Fuel Industry - The Southeast Missourian - Nov 2, 1946

Sweden also had a unique oil shale project. Experts of the Bureau of Mines say Swedish engineers drilled holes into the near-the-surface shale beds. They introduced heat into these holes by means of electricity. The temperature of the ground was raised until the oil vaporized and escaped through the holes. The vapor then was condensed and refined, producing oil.

Tropic Plants Grown.

A queer by-product of this project was reported. The intense heat was said to make it possible to grow sub-tropical vegetation in a climate distinctly northern. Swedish experts reportedly estimated the soil warmth might last for years, permitting the growing of exotic plants.

Such a method is not expected in American shale areas. For one thing vast quantities of electricity are not available, and in addition much of the shale soil isn't sufficiently rich for crops.


Oil Countries Making Most of a Seller's Market - Edmonton Journal - Jan 27, 1971

Many oil men were thus unprepared for the militancy at a Caracas meeting when the 10-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) served unprecedented joint demands for higher revenues and threatened joint retaliation if refused.
The OPEC countries, which account for 90 per cent of world oil exports, are Venezuela, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Libya and Algeria.

Why, many people ask, had the producing countries suddenly escalated their chronic discontent to a major confrontation? The answer is the countries believe they hold a winning hand — at this time.

However, it is a special short-term advantage rather than the longer term one that has compelled the Middle East countries to move now. This advantage is that international oil, to general surprise, has been transformed over the past 12 months from a buyer's to a seller's market.


Reading Eagle - Feb 19, 1978

Deputy Energy Secretary John O'Leary says world oil production must increase by at least 3 million barrels a day to keep up with demand. He says such increases can be maintained for four years before worldwide production follow the U.S. pattern of peak and plateau or decline.
When that happens, O'Leary says, prices will soar from the present $14 a barrel to $25 or more and shortages of crisis proportions will develop.
Even after world production hits its peak, oil will remain a major source of energy. The big questions are how long it can do so and when it will run out. Answers are uncertain, but many experts believe the oil age will be over in less than half a century.
"Children born within the last 10 years will see the world consume most of its oil during their lifetime," says M. King Hubbert of the U.S. Geological Survey, the man whose accurately forecast of the peak in U.S. production was at first ridiculed by fellow geologists.


Study of oil reserves gloomy - The Deseret News - Jul 18, 1977

WASHINGTON UPI) - Recovery of oil from known U S reserves will trail expectations and could Jeopardize President Carter's hope of cutting oil imports with increased domestic production, a congressional study says.
The report Sunday by the concessional Office of Technology and Assessment said regardless of how high oil prices rise, the nation is not likely to retrieve more than 17 percent of the oil captured in existing known reserves.
"It is well known that traditional methods of oil production recover only a small portion of the oil present in the producing formation. " the report said
The oil recovery study predicted US production will decline from its present level of about 8 million barrels a day this year to 7.6 million in 1980 and perhaps 1.2 million in 1990.
"Unless steps are taken to reduce consumption and/or to increase domestic production, this projected decline will need to be offset by additional imports of oil which averaged 9.1 million barrels a day during the first quarter of 1977" the report said.

Permalink to TOD commentary, I also provided a link to the study in question and a chart extracted therefrom, with actuals superimposed upon it by myself.

Arctic oil reserves 'equal rest of world' - Ottawa Citizen - Aug 24, 1972

MONTREAL (CP) — Potential gas and oil reserves within the Arctic Circle—a major portion of those are within Canada's Arctic—are equal to all known reserves in the rest of the world, says Dr. A. J. Eardley, professor emeritus of geology at the University of Utah.

During presentations Wednesday on worldwide distribution of petroleum at the International Geological Congress, he estimated the reserves within the Arctic Circle at 540 billion barrels of oil and 38,800 billion cubic metres of gas.

Dr. Eardley based his figures on areas of the geologic basins in which oil and
gas are found and the potential oil-bearing of existing wells. He said his are "preliminary estimates" and further drilling could prove them on the low side.

Permalink to TOD commentary.

Iraq Expected to Seek Increase in Its Oil Quota - New York Times, September 05, 1989

Iraq's announcement in July of a new oil reserve figure of 280 billion barrels - nearly triple the previous year's level and higher even than Saudi Arabia's - was a calculated move, people in the oil business said. 'More Politics Than Geology'

''It's a game that's being played, which is more politics than geology,'' one source said. ''It may be true that the oil is there, but it may not be economically feasible to produce it.''

Oil reserves are among the parameters used by OPEC to determine the size of a member's sales quota.


A 'Special Place' for Arabian Oil - Herald-Journal - Oct 7, 1972

Saudi Arabia recently proposed a joint arrangement under which the oil of that country would be given a "special place" in the expanding United States market. In return, the Arab state would be permitted to invest in U.S. refining, distribution and sales.

The Saudi Arabian proposal is attractive in several particulars: (1) a vital and growing need would be met; and (2) much of the money used to secure, process and distribute the additional oil would come from the investment by Saudi Arabia of its profits.

However, it is not without its drawbacks. The heavy reliance on a single supplier is not without its dangers. Also, Saudi Arabia would want to acquire an immediate 20 per cent interest in companies handling such oil and ultimately a 51 per cent interest — or control.

Still the United States is facing an oil shortage and is going to have to make up the difference between available supplies and need from some source. The Arab states have the world's largest known proven reserves.

Vast Additional Oil Fields Discovered In Saudi Arabia - Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Mar 19, 1976

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia - Vast additional oil fields, equivalent in size to more than 20 per cent of the United stales' total proven oil reserves, have been discovered in Saudi Arabia, executives of the Arabian American Oil Company reported here.

“That makes us feel we're going to be in business here for a while," the company's chairman, Frank Jungers, observed drily.

The 3 fields discovered were Ribyan, Lawhah, and Dibdibah. These last two are incorrectly spelled "Lawadah" and "Didibah" in the article. Permalink to more info at TOD.

Saudi Reserves - The Age - Jun 2, 1983

BAHRAIN. 1 June. — Arabian- American Oil Company (ARAMCO) chairman John Kelberer estimated Saudi Arabian recoverable reserves as being in excess of 165 billion barrels, using present oil exploitation techniques.
He wrote in the 'ARAMCO Bulletin' that a 10 per cent increase in the recovery factor would mean the addition of 16 or 17 billion barrels of oil, an amount probably equal to total remaining recoverable reserves in the US.

Permalink to TOD commentary.

Saudi Oil Production Questioned In Decade - Ocala Star-Banner - Mar 5, 1979

Matt Simmons referenced these Congressional inquiries in Twilight in the Desert; here's some contemporary coverage of them from the redoubtable Seymour Hirsch.

Saudi Oil Production Questioned In Decade
By SEYMOUR M. HIRSCH The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Two major United States oil companies, under subpoena, have submitted documents to a congressional committee that raise serious questions about the long- term productivity of Saudi Arabia's oilfields, according to administration officials familiar with the documents.
The material was furnished to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by the Exxon Corp. and the Standard Oil Co. of California, both members of the Arabian American Oil Co., the consortium that produces Saudi Arabia's oil.

The documents, citing a study com­piled for the Saudi government by a British consulting company, showed that the oilfields. If producing at 8.5 million barrels dally, would not begin to diminish until the year 2000 if producing at 12 million barrels dally, the documents Indicate, the Saudi fields would begin to become depleted within 15 years.

—A report that the Aramco consor­tium has not made any significant finding of new reserves In Saudi Arabia since 1970. That failure is known to have distressed many oil experts in the Carter administration, who say they had apparently been misled by repeated Aramco claims of reserve findings. Knight said the com­pany has increased its probable reserves between 1973 and 1977 by 15 billion barrels.


Multiple links are given at the end of the post on Historical Spare Capacity.

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