Re: Non-Oil Crisis - WE'RE SAVED!

This Bloomberg News article appeared in the June 8 Houston Chronicle. - Dave in Houston
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/5824026.html
Huge ocean of crude lies 2 miles below North America By ANTHONY EFFINGER
John Bartelson, who smokes Marlboro Lights through fingers blackened with tractor grease, may look like an average wheat farmer. He isn't. He's one of North Dakota's new oil barons.
Every month, he gets a check for tens of thousands of dollars from Houston company EOG Resources, which drilled two oil wells on his land last year. He says the day his first royalty check arrived was one to remember.
"I smiled to beat hell, and I went to town and had a beer," Bartelson, 65, says.
His new wealth springs from the Bakken formation, a sprawling deposit of high-quality crude beneath the durum wheat fields of North Dakota, Montana and southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Bakken may give the U.S. - the world's biggest importer of oil - a new domestic energy source.
Unlike the tar from Canada's oil sands, Bakken crude needs little refining. Swirl some of it in a Mason jar and it leaves a thin, honey-colored film along the sides. It's light - almost like gasoline - and sweet, meaning it's low in sulfur.
Best of all, the Bakken could be huge. The U.S. Geological Survey's Leigh Price, a Denver geochemist who died in 2000, estimated that the Bakken might hold 413 billion barrels. If so, it would dwarf Saudi Arabia's Ghawar, the world's biggest field, which has produced about 55 billion barrels.
Better technology
The challenge is getting the oil out. Bakken crude is locked two miles underground in a layer of dolomite, a dense mineral that doesn't surrender oil the way more porous limestone does. The dolomite band is narrow, too, averaging just 22 feet in North Dakota.
The USGS said in April that the Bakken holds as much as 4.3 billion barrels that can be recovered using today's engineering techniques. That's a fraction of the oil that Price said should be there, but it's still the largest accumulation of crude in the 48 contiguous U.S. states. North Dakota, where Bakken exploration is most intense now, won't become Saudi Arabia unless technology improves.
For decades, the Bakken was the fool's gold of the oil industry. The name describes a geological formation that looks like an Oreo cookie: two layers of black shale that bleed oil into the middle layer of dolomite. It's named after Henry O. Bakken, the North Dakota farmer who owned the land where the first drilling rig revealed the shale layers in the 1950s.
All of the layers are thin - about 150 feet altogether - and none of them give up oil easily. In older, vertical wells, oil would often flow for a month and then fizzle.
Different angle
Now, companies like EOG are drilling horizontally. They go straight down 10,000 feet and then put a slight angle in the mud motor, a 30-foot piece of tubing that drives the bit, so they hit the Bakken sideways, making a horizontal tunnel as much as 4,500 feet long through the dolomite.
Then they pump pressurized water and sand into the hole to fracture the dolomite, making cracks for oil to seep through.
It eventually winds up in a pipeline that runs east to Clearbrook, Minn., and then south to Chicago.
Several billionaires are at work in the Bakken. Harold Hamm's Enid, Okla.-based Continental Resources has leases on 487,000 acres in Montana and North Dakota. Hamm, who started out driving a truck, owns 73 percent of Continental, worth $7.9 billion.
The big winner so far has been EOG, formerly a subsidiary of bankrupt energy trader Enron Corp. It drilled a horizontal well in western North Dakota just north of Parshall - population 1,028 - in April 2006. The well came online a month later and kicked out 1,883 barrels in the first seven days. Unlike the older vertical wells, it's still going.
Northern Oil & Gas, a five-person company near Minneapolis, makes money without actually drilling or operating wells.
It leases in promising areas like the Bakken and gets paid when someone else uses the land to drill.
The other people doing well in the Bakken are the mineral owners under the oil wells - folks like John Bartelson. Oil drillers have paid them millions for right of access to the oil deposits.
"It'll crash again," Bartelson says, sipping on a late- afternoon cup of coffee beside his tractor.
Maybe so. But with crude trading above $130 a barrel, it'll be a long time before the rigs leave again, and John Bartelson is likely to be a wealthy man before they do.
Brought to you by the HoustonChronicle.com
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Dave in Houston wrote:

That's great. But I bet the Oil Companies will somehow keep it from ever hitting the market. This so called shortage of oil is crap and I'm sure it's contrived by big oil. With record profits why would they. I have heard up on the North Bank or Alaska big oil is pumping natural gas back down their wells. Wonder why? I'm not blaming all this on "Big Oil" My thinking its also Congress, Go Green Crap, Hedge Funds, its a combination of many and few that want or can do anything about it. Once again the Middle Class takes it in the ASS!
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evodawg wrote:

Usually it's to increase the pressure so that the oil comes out. You have a different reason?
Hint--natural gas is not oil, and there does not appear to be a natural gas shortage.

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J. Clarke wrote: ...

Watching the price of NG lately?
It went to $10 3 years ago or so and while it has dropped from those highs, it's nowhere what it once was.
We're importing it and LPG gas as well.
Some or the largest reserves in the US are severely depleted and are requiring extraordinary measures to continue to produce what they are (like pulling vacuum, etc.) and what production there is is continuing to decrease.
Many wells in this area that were drilled in the 50s and 60s and were considered dry holes then were capped because they hadn't enough oil production to pay are now being brought in as gas wells. But, those aren't enough in production to make up for the far larger number that are about tapped out...
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"dpb" wrote

LOL ... this has always been the subject of much "scientific" debate and is not nearly as cut and dried it sounds above. I'm hear to tell you that reserve estimates are historically "estimated" as much at four to nine times too _low_, and there is inarguable poof of that:
FACT: in1976 by all estimates we (US) had 23 billion barrels of reserves.
FACT: In 2005 we (US) still had an estimated 23 billion barrels of oil reserves, even though we produced almost 40 billion barrels of oil between 1976 and 2005.
The reason is basically simple: technological advances in both drilling and recovery.
Bakken alone has a USGS estimate of 400 billion barrels ... technological advances and the incentive of "price" will almost guarantee that if only 3% is recoverable, there is still one helluva lot of reserves in this country.
The "peak oil" folks, while being right about the finite nature of the subject, remind me a bit too much of the "doom and gloom" prognosticators/global warming crowd who appear to be in a hurry to see this country brought to its knees.
Besides, there always horses. :)
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turds!!
Naaa... the NIMBY's need to take a powder and back off on their totally messed up ideas about 'environmental' impact. Drill, dammit.. with caution.
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"Robatoy" wrote

Just think of the employment/investment opportunities ... judging by what choices I've seen lately at the Borgs/Wal*Mart, the Chinese can't seem to make a decent broom or shovel.
Besides, 45 years ago, as a young man bumming around Australia, I worked for a Greek buffalo hunter/abattoir owner and, due to the terrain (Cape York peninsula, which was wild and wooly back then), we relied mostly on horse power to run that entire operation.
As it is wont to do, the pendulum swings ... :)
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Hot Damn!
I'm investing in Lexol!
Regards,
Tom
Thos.J.Watson - Cabinetmaker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet www.home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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Robatoy wrote:

Wow, we actually agree on something.
Here in congress, one side of the aisle been pushing to allow drilling; the majority side is trotting out the same old argument they used to torpedo drilling in ANWR ~7 YEARS AGO, their argument is that any drilling now won't have an effect for another 7 to 10 years. SO? If we don't drill NOW, then in 7 to 10 years we won't have ANY oil from the drilling that should be starting NOW. Like what we AREN'T getting from ANWR NOW because they rejected drilling there ~7 YEARS AGO! Bunch of frickin' fools, if anything shows they have nothing but short-sighted, damage the economy goals this is a glowing illustration.
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

Can't you hear JFK - "We would like to get to the moon, but it would take most of this decade, so we canned the whole idea".
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Doug Winterburn wrote: SO? If we don't

The perfect comparison!!! Pinheads in Washington.
House Subcommittee Rejects Plan to Open U.S. Waters to More Oil Exploration
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,365627,00.html
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A fellow told me that the automobile was credited with saving New York City, which was in danger of being buried in horse manure.
To bad that didn't work for Washington DC...
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FF

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Swingman wrote:

I wasn't talking about general reserves; I was speaking of areas in production and specifically of areas in production around here (Hugoton gas field).
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dpb wrote: ...

And, reserves (proven or no) aren't production. Not having really looked at US numbers recently other than what I know of local conditions, I followed up.
According to EIA data, the numbers for the year 2005-07 and projections for '08 and '09 are
Supply (mmb/d)            2005    2006    2007    2008    2009 Domestic Production        5.18    5.1    5.1    5.1    5.31 Alaska                0.86    0.74    0.72    0.68    0.65 Federal Gulf of Mexico        1.28    1.3    1.34    1.35    1.62 Lower 48 States (excl. GOM)    3.03    3.06    3.05    3.08    3.04 Total Crude Oil to Refineries    15.22    15.24    15.15    14.98    14.91
Consumption (mmb/d)                     Motor Gasoline            9.16    9.25    9.29    9.22    9.25 Total Consumption        20.8    20.69    20.7    20.41    20.55
This clearly illustrates US production isn't going up very rapidly at all; Alaska has dropped 16% in '07 from '05 and is expected to continue. Meanwhile, GOM is making up some but is expected to only barely exceed the reduction from AK and the lower 48 by '09. Those estimates are predicated on the assumption that the Thunder Horse and Tahiti platforms actually do make it online in '08 and '09, respectively.
Meanwhile, gasoline consumption is essentially flat as is total consumption so while we may not be losing much ground overall, we're certainly not gaining very rapidly.
Natural gas is a little more promising on the national level owing to, as noted before, there being a significant number of wells already drilled that were previously capped as having insufficient oil production to have made them pay at the time but w/ both oil and gas prices now high are being opened and can be done quite quickly.
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Because there are no natural gas pipelines in the area?
-- Doug
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