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Friday, November 18, 2005

Hirsch has Scientific Capital

I took a bunch of potshots at the "Cold Fusion pioneer" Steven E. Jones recently. Essentially a publicity hound, tenured Jones really has little credibility (or scientific capital in BushSpeak) left. On the other hand, a real fusion pioneer, Robert L. Hirsch, has continually spoken his mind without fear of the consequences. Flashback to how he got fired from Rand for pointing out obvious problems concerning fusion.
Rand hired Hirsch in January 2001, and he began work on the report "Energy Technologies for 2050," a $200,000 study commissioned by the Department of Energy's Fossil Energy Program. His mission was to develop a methodology that could be used to evaluate the viability of energy technologies over the next 50 years. Then in October, Hirsch was fired.
[...]
Hirsch said he was abruptly fired for sharing a draft of the report, which he admits doing as a last resort, saying he feared the conclusions would not get out otherwise. Rand officials said they cannot comment on the reasons for the firing.
Which means that we better pay attention to the latest Hirsch report before it gets mysteriously disappeared.

Hirsch spends a bit of time understanding North Sea production and the mystery behind sharp peaks and sharp declines.
SUMMARY

To understand the possible character of the peaking of world conventional oil production, oil peaking in a number of relatively unencumbered regions and countries was considered. All had significant production, and all were certainly or almost certainly past their peak. The data shows that the onset of peaking can occur quite suddenly, peaks can be very sharp, and post-peak production declines can be comparatively steep (3 - 13%). Thus, if historical patterns are appropriate indicators, the task of planning for and managing world conventional oil peaking will indeed be very challenging.


I could get the oil shock model to work for UK North Sea oil if I put a strong extraction increase near the peak of 1995. Up until that point the extraction rate was constant apart from some perturbations due to the Piper Alpha platform disaster.

Steady extraction/depletion rate of 10%.


Add rate increases.


What you end up getting. Bottom line: nothing by 2020. Maybe even nothing by 2010 if they increase the extraction rate or make no new discoveries.

Deepwater oil costs a lot of money; the oil company has an interest to pump out the oil as fast as possible. They can't afford to man an offshore platform over the years like they would a Huntington Beach stripper well sitting next to a McDonalds. So they go full blast once they detect peak coming -- which produces a high, sharp peak, followed by a steep decline. Bingo.

Let's call him Robert "Seymour" Hirsch in honor of the other Hersh with guts.

5 Comments:

Professor Anonymous Rembrandt said...

Webhubble, on what basis do you insert these pertubations? I find your analysis fascinating. Unforunately due to my lack of mathematical understanding it's all magic to me.

5:37 AM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

The regular perturbations are easy to understand -- the oil suppliers simply shut off the flow, and so the average extraction rate goes down. Those are the shocks we have seen in the 70's due to OPEC machinations. The other perturbations also have to occur, that of increasing the flow. These can be due to improvements in technology or just plainly sucking harder because you need the cash flow.

This stuff is not magic to me because I use exactly the same formulas and mathematics when I work out the way passive electronic circuits behave. As a matter of fact, thinking about this stuff is essentially secnd nature to me. That is not boasting either. Everything that you and I use in this digital electronics world comes about from people that are much smarter than me applying these same algorithms. And since the fundamental formulas are similar, the magic has never really been an issue.

11:47 AM  
Professor Anonymous Rembrandt said...

I find your model fascinating and refreshing. It makes me wonder why no one has tried this before in the history of oil..... Have you ever thought about writing an article on it for a peer reviewed journal? Im also interested in what Russia would do with your model, and a country such as nigeria that is probably going to peak around 2010,

2:07 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Thanks,
All I can say is "Big Oil Interests". Who knows, analysts within the oil companies may be already doing this -- possible that they would not be allowed to release it?

6:17 PM  
Professor Anonymous Electronics News Lover said...

Search engines take too much time to index the newest info on electronics catalog
So that's why i come to blogs but many of them are not really updated or focused on their primary topic
How come ?

Nic1141

12:07 PM  

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