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Thread: ''The Energy Non Crisis''

  1. #1 ''The Energy Non Crisis'' 
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    Jan 2007

    Thoughts? Is he hyping up the opposite side of the peak-oil argument or do you think he has something worth listening to?

    Thinking of the question is greater than knowing the answer...
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  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Cardiff, Wales
    don't know the guy so don't know where he's coming from, but his claim is absolutely staggering - it would require the other of all conspiracies to effect his claim

    + the question remains : why on earth would anyone want to not use known reserves - is it political cynicism, or are there other possible reasons why the reserve might not be as extractable as it first would appear ?

    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    don't know the guy so don't know where he's coming from
    He has a book to sell that's where he's coming from. I listened to about 10 minutes of his spiel.

    He said ask someone who's worked on the North Slope. Well, I worked there at the Kuparuk Field, west of Prudhoe, in the eighties, doing pre-startup checkouts and I was there for the first waterflood when they started pumping seawater into the formation to get more oil out. Later I worked in Anchorage in the Arco offices.

    His statement about natural gas is true in principle although I don't have the actual figures at hand. It's no secret at all, and the way he hypes it is absurd. It's a well-known fact that the oil comes out of the ground together with huge amounts of natural gas. In Alaska the natural gas is separated and pumped back into the ground where it is saved for future use. My office job was designing air-cooled heat exchangers to cool the gas after it was compressed to 2000+ psi, the pressure needed to get it back in the formation. The large compressors are driven by very large gas turbine engines - the 747 engines he mentions as if if it's some kind of secret. There are Rolls Royce, Ruston, GE turbines running day and night pumping the gas back into the ground. I don't know if there are actual 747 engines, but some gas turbine drivers are aero-derivative and others are not. Why he speaks of this as if it were some shocking news is beyond me. Well, no, as I mentioned he has a book to sell.

    Compare this with way it used to be done in Saudi and in Russia - the gas was considered a nuisance and it was flared. You've seen those huge flames. Well in Alaska it was done more responsibly - the gas is still there in the ground and as soon as we build a gas pipeline to the lower 48 it will be available. Currently the discussion is about the route of the pipeline - Canada or Alaska (politics involved of course but it will be built).

    Regarding the oil, there is lots of it up there, but not necessarily easy to get out of the ground. Kuparuk is depleted. It's been wateflooded for 20 years. Prudhoe is going the same way. There is a huge field called West Sak that lies deep beneath Kuparuk and has tarry heavy oil that the oil companies have been experimenting with for 20 years but haven't developed because they haven't found an economic way to get this sticky stuff out and up to pipeline quality. West Sak is very big, but very difficult.

    There is lots of oil offshore, in the Chukchi Sea (not technically the North Slope). Getting at this will require new technologies, and tanker routes around the Alaskan coasr, or maybe through the NW Passage. We collectively have to decide if we want megatankers sailing the NW Passage.

    So he's right that there's lot of oil on the Slope, but it's no secret and there's no conspiracy. Just a guy with a book to sell.
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