Friday, May 23, 2014

Flatline fracking

Fracking is going to save us.  We have hundreds of years of fossil fuels at hour disposal.  Until we don't:
Rob Wile, Business Insider, 21 May 2014 (hat tip: NC)
Last night, the LA Times' Louis Sahagun reported a piece of data dynamite the Energy Information Administration plans to detonate under California next month: There now appears to be just 600 million barrels of recoverable tight oil in the state's vast Monterey shale play — a downward revision of 96% from the agency's 2011 estimate. 
There was a report in the Wall Street Journal a few years back based on some fracking industry emails that came to light because of some lawsuits. The emails indicated the operators in Pennsylvania were having a much harder time recovering their costs.  They were getting fuel out of the ground, but they were having a hard time making money. 
That is the point. It's not that their are no hydrocarbons down there, it's just that you can't extract them cheaply. 


PioneerPreppy said...

Look at the loss of capital and liquidity the companies involved in fracking or tight oil all across N. America have been suffering the last year. They are selling their stakes and running. The play gave em about 3 years and it is dropping fast now. The first signs were being published well over a year ago.

Stick a fork in energy it's done and the masses still aren't seeing it.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Most of human history is without oil and the loss of cheap oil in our time when there is a mind set that it will always be there is an enormous event when it is finally recognized. All the farmers around me are using spray and oil, there is no plowing anymore, they are going to freak when they can't get enough chemicals to continue what I call drive by farming. I can see little way around some kind of possible collapse, we may get lucky and it will be gradual.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth....I'm living smack in the middle of the Pennsylvania shale gas boom.

It's true smaller companies are rolling over or being bought out by the big players like Royal Dutch Shell.

In my neck of the woods horizontal deep wells are producing far beyond expectation. Some well drilling has slowed down but that's because a 200 mile 4' pipeline is being built.
The gas companies are holding back fracked gas under ground so as not to drive the price down.

longtime wife said...

I too am in the PA fracking gas boom, and believe me, there is no slowing down in my neighborhood. They are putting the pipeline right thru my neighborhood, and they are putting up new fracking wells every day. It may help the local economy some, but the higher paying jobs are being giving to out of state people. It stinks.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: True, although some of that is because of the lack of storage interacting with the Chesapeake created bubble.

Sunnybrook: Farmers are a pretty well educated group. They can come up with a response of some sort, but at a world population of 7MM, it may not be enough.

Granny: The earlier transcripts of the lawsuit contradicted all the public claims of the companies involved, so it would be very hard to know if some new source of "success" had appeared. My guess is that the success is more along the lines of a more methodical approach getting better returns. A good thing, but also a sign that the margins are tighter than first thought.

Longtime: My understanding is that the local work is typically that of very well paid day labor. Brutal work, paying well enough that there is no absence excuses at all - you can't get sick. Even if you take the shorter term predictions, 30 years to peak, you would expect the ramping up period to continue for some time.