Trillions of dollars worth of oil found in Australian outback

July 6, 2013

Up to 233 billion barrels of oil has been discovered in the Australian outback that could be worth trillions of dollars, in a find that could turn the region into a new Saudi Arabia. The discovery in central Australia was reported by Linc Energy to the stock exchange and was based on two consultants reports, though it is not yet known how commercially viable it will be to access the oil. The reports estimated the company’s 16 million acres of land in the Arckaringa Basin in South Australia contain between 133 billion and 233 billion barrels of shale oil trapped in the region’s rocks. It is likely however that just 3.5 billion barrels, worth almost $359 billion (£227 billion) at today’s oil price, will be able to be recovered.

As Mr Koutsantonis, the state’s mining minister, said of the latest find: “Whether it’s economic to recover or not is still the question South Australia is blessed with abundant resources but there are a few setbacks and those setbacks are that they’re remote and they’re deep.”

Obama administration seeks to drastically limit oil shale development on western lands

November 11, 2012

Rick Moran

Because “sage grouse habitats” are more important than energy independence.
The Hill:

The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.
The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. It faces a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process to ensure it is consistent with local and state policies. After that, the department would render a decision for implementation

 The move is sure to rankle Republicans, who say President Obama’s grip on fossil fuel drilling in federal lands is too tight.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes. Among other things, it excised lands with “wilderness characteristics” and areas that conflicted with sage grouse habitats.
Under the plan, 677,000 acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming would be open for oil shale exploration. Another 130,000 acres in Utah would be set aside for tar sands production.
The administration and Democrats said that while the plan would curtail what was originally sought for oil shale development, it still opens up a significant amount of land that was previously unavailable for the energy production method. 
The administration noted the plan pushed forward Friday also included two research, development and demonstration (RD&D) leases for oil shale development.
“The proposed plan supports the Administration’s all-of-the-above approach to explore the full potential our nation’s domestic energy resources and to develop innovative technology and techniques that will lead to safe and responsible production of resources, including oil shale and tar sands, which industry recognizes are years from being commercially viable, but require RD&D today,” Interior spokesman Blake Androff said.

How can the administration claim that they support an “all of the above” approach when they close off more than half the land originally earmarked for shale oil development? Bizarre reasoning there.
And what’s with these “wilderness characteristics?” My back yard has wilderness characterists. With that kind of reasoning, we’ll never get anywhere in bringing large scale production of shale oil into being.
But then, that’s the point, isn’t it?

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/11/obama_administration_seeks_to_dra…at 


Israel as energy superpower?

July 6, 2012
Map of oil shale basins in Israel and Jordan

Map of oil shale basins in Israel and Jordan
Back to regular programming. A fascinating and rather optimistic article by Walter Russel Mead in the American Interest posits that Israel looks likely to emerge as an energy superpower in the near future, with all the political ramifications associated with this status.
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously lamented that Moses led the children of Israel for forty years of wandering in the desert until he found the only place in the Middle East where there wasn’t any oil.
But could Moses have been smarter than believed? Apparently the Canadians and the Russians think so, as both countries are moving to step up energy relations with a tiny nation whose total energy reserves some experts now think could rival or even surpass the fabled oil wealth of Saudi Arabia. [emphases mine. -Ed]
The prospect of huge oil reserves in Israel comes on top of the recent news about large natural gas discoveries off the coast that have been increasingly attracting attention and investor interest. The apparent gas riches have also been attracting international trouble. Lebanon disputes the undersea boundary with Israel (an act somewhat complicated by the fact that Lebanon has never actually recognized Israel’s existence), and overlapping claims from Turkey and Greece themselves plus both Greek and Turkish authorities on Cyprus further complicate matters. Yet despite these tensions, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprisingly cordial visit last week, Gazprom and Israel have announced plans to cooperate on gas extraction.
This suggests at a minimum that Turkish efforts to block gas development in the region will face opposition from Russia as well as from Israel. Gazprom and other Russian companies are also likely to do well in any gas exploration deals developed with the strongly pro-Moscow (and very cash hungry) Greek Cypriot government.
The stakes are not small: the offshore Levantine Basin (which Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and even Gaza will all have some claim to) is believed to have 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and “considerable” oil.  Drillers working in Israeli waters have already identified what look to be 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil in addition to over a trillion cubic feet of gas. (US firms were involved in these finds.) Israel’s undersea gas reserves are currently estimated at about 16 trillion cubic feet and new fields continue to be rapidly found.
The new Israeli-Russian agreement is part of a conscious strategy by the Israeli government to use its nascent energy wealth to improve its embattled political position. With Italy reeling under the impact of big wrong-way bets on Iran, Rome may also begin to appreciate the value of good ties with a closer and more dependable neighbor. Another sensible target for Israeli energy diplomacy would be India: the two countries are already close in a number of ways, including trade and military technology, and India is eager to diversify its energy sources.
Gas is one thing, but potential for huge shale oil reserves under Israel itself, however, is a new twist. According to the World Energy Council, a leading global energy forum with organizations and affiliates in some 93 countries, Israel may have the third largest shale oil reserves in the world: something like 250 billion barrels. […] If the estimates of Israeli shale oil are correct, Israel’s gas and shale reserves put its total energy reserves in the Saudi class, though Israel’s energy costs more to extract. Many obstacles exist and in a best case scenario some time must pass before the full consequences of the world’s new energy geography make themselves felt, but if production from the new sources in Israel and elsewhere develops, world politics will change.
[…]
the ability of the Arab governments to influence political opinion in Europe and the rest of the world is likely to decline as more oil and gas resources appear — and as Israel emerges as an important supplier. We could be heading toward a time when the world just doesn’t care all that much what happens around the Persian Gulf — as long as nobody gets frisky with the nukes.
Another big loser could be Turkey.
[…]
But if Israel really does emerge as a great energy power, and a Russia-Greece-Cyprus-Israel energy consortium does in fact emerge, Turkey will feel like someone who jilted a faithful longtime girlfriend the week before she won a huge lottery jackpot. More, Turkey’s ambitions to play a larger role in the old Ottoman stomping ground of the eastern Mediterranean basin will have suffered a significant check.
If the possibility of huge Israeli energy discoveries really pans out, and if the technical and resource problems connected with them can actually be solved, the US-Israeli relationship will also change. Some of this may already be happening. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s evident lack of worry when it comes to crossing President Obama may reflect his belief that Israel has some new cards to play. An energy-rich Israel with a lot of friends and suitors is going to be less dependent on the US than it has been — and it is also going to be a more valuable ally.
[..]
An Israel with vast energy endowments may be less coolly received in certain circles than it is today.
In the meantime, we wonder if there was an 11th, hitherto undiscovered commandment on those tablets at Sinai: Thou shalt drill, baby, thou shalt drill.
I hope Mead is not being overly optimistic, and pray that his words go from his keyboard to G-d’s ears.
Happily, I found several articles supporting Mead’s proposition.
Arutz Sheva: Israel is capable of producing 250 billion barrels of oil according to Dr. Harold Vinegar of Israel Energy Initiative Ltd.
Bret Stephens in the WSJ also quotes Dr. Vinegar and remarks upon the possibility of the delicious irony of Israel becoming an oil giant.
The Jerusalem Post reported back in March on how Israel could revolutionise the global energy market, not only thruogh its oil and shale reserves but through its technologically creative, ecologically-sound shale extraction methods:
The British-based World Energy Council reported in November 2010 that Israel had oil shale from which it is possible to extract the equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil. Yet these numbers are currently undergoing a major revision internationally.
A new assessment was released late last year by Dr. Yuval Bartov, chief geologist for Israel Energy Initiatives, at the yearly symposium of the prestigious Colorado School of Mines. He presented data that our oil shale reserves are actually the equivalent of 250 billion barrels (that compares with 260 billion barrels in the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia).
Independent oil industry analysts have been carefully looking at the shale, and have not refuted these findings. As a consequence of these new estimates, we may emerge as the third largest deposit of oil shale, after the US and China.
OIL SHALE mining used to be a dirty business that used up tremendous amounts of water and energy.
Yet new technologies, being developed for Israeli shale, seek to separate the oil from the shale rock 300 meters underground; these techniques actually produce water, rather than use it up.
The technology will be tested in a pilot project followed by a demonstration stage. It will be critical to demonstrate that the underground separation of oil from shale is environmentally sound before going to full-scale production. The present goal is to produce commercial quantities of shale oil by the end of the decade.
This particular project has global significance.
For if Israel develops a unique method for separating oil from shale deep underground, that has none of the negative ecological side-effects of earlier oil shale efforts, that technology can be made available to the whole world, changing the entire global oil market. The effect of the spread of this technology would be to shift the center of gravity of world oil away from Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf to more stable states that have no history of backing terrorism or radical Islamic causes. (In the Arab world, Jordan and Morocco have the most significant oil shale deposits.)
[…]
Israel is uniquely situated by its geographical position and is able to direct its energy exports to either Europe or China and India. It may not have the capital to build this export capacity, but the involvement of foreign investors in these projects will give European and American banks new interests in developments.
Western policies will not change overnight. Nonetheless, Israel needs to tell the full story of its newly emerging role in the world energy sector if it wants to begin to alter the way it has been handled internationally.
And in case anyone is worried about the Palestinians making a grab for Israel’s shale oil,Israel Matzav reports that “G-d has the last laugh” as there are virtually no shale deposits in Judea and Samaria.
Israel as an energy superpower? It’s the epitome of cognitive dissonance. May it come speedily in our days, Amen.

Israel may have the third largest shale oil reserves in the world: something like 250 billion barrels. […] If the estimates of Israeli shale oil are correct, Israel’s gas and shale reserves put its total energy reserves in the Saudi class, though Israel’s energy costs more to extract.


Will The Coming Oil-Shale Revolution Lead To Decline Of Radical Islam?

December 1, 2011

Media_httpwwwdoigovar_nwdgf( Daled Amos) The Arabs are getting it that the new oil technology will make the West much less dependent on the Middle East for oil: The issue of global energy security seems changing nexus now, resulting in uncertain call on Saudi and OPEC oil in medium term. Large new, conventional and unconventional reserves in North America, and elsewhere, are questioning the dominant role of OPEC in meeting the global oil thirst. These new developments have also sapped the urgency to develop the Kingdom’s own reserves — further — at this stage. The transition has been in air for some time now — yet it has just been officially conceded — from the top. “The abundance of resources and the more ‘balanced’ geographical distribution of unconventionals have reduced the much-hyped concerns over ‘energy security’ which once served as the undercurrent driving energy policies and dominated the global energy debate,” Khalid Al-Falih, the Aramco CEO, said last week at the Energy Dialogue organized by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. …Good, old, uncle Cheney, the former US Vice president once said: “The problem is that the Good Lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas reserves in places where there are more democratic governments.” His prayers seem to have been answered — finally! (MORE)

Amen. Game over for the liberal hippies who enabled Islam. celebrate by jumping in a car and driving real fast! That’s right ladies… no more sheik harems in Dubai while the Americans are unemployed and living at home with Mom and Dad. No more Pelosi… no more Obama. No more guilt.


The Coming Oil-Shale Revolution?

November 27, 2011

The chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company- Aramco- has admitted that the development of large oil shale reserves in North America looks set to shift the monopoly over global energy supplies increasingly away from the Middle East.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (h/t Docs Talk)
Media_httpostseisanlg_qgbnhTo preface, when it comes to global petroleum supplies, a distinction is drawn between “conventional” and “unconventional” oil reserves. The former are still in abundance in oil fields throughout the Middle East, and petroleum is produced from them simply by drilling at oil wells. Unconventional reserves include tar sands and oil shale: the latter is a form of sedimentary rock that must first be decomposed at high temperatures before crude oil can be obtained for refinement.

In terms of reserves, it is estimated that conventional sources across the world can yield around 1.2 trillion barrels, while in the United States alone, anywhere between 500 billion and 1.1 trillion barrels are thought to be recoverable from oil shale. An immediately astonishing observation to draw is the low-end of the estimates for U.S. oil shale, which is still around twice as large as Saudi Arabia’s total reserves.
What makes this issue particularly relevant now is the emergence of reports on a potential breakthrough in oil shale extraction technology. Traditionally, extraction of oil shale has required the use of a method known as “fracking,” or “hydraulic fracturing” (to use the more technical term).
Hydraulic fracturing, however, has raised concerns because of issues such as contamination of groundwater and air pollution, besides the large amounts of water required for the process. The high water usage is particularly problematic in the Southwestern states that contain most of the United States’ oil shale reserves and are under water stress owing to drought in recent years.
Nonetheless, companies such as Chevron are now looking into the use of propane gel rather than water. Not only does this method require no water, but it also makes more sense from a technical point of view. As one former Halliburton Co engineer pointed out, “It’s an ideal liquid to crack the rock open with because it does not damage the rock like water would.” Accordingly, this pioneering process, despite some worries over propane gel’s flammability, is increasingly being given the green light by regulators in Canada and the United States.
In light of these developments, the chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company- Aramco- has come to acknowledge that the development of large oil shale reserves in North America looks set to shift the monopoly over global energy supplies increasingly away from the Middle East. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has now halted a $100 billion expansion program that aims to expand Saudi output to 15 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2020.
Meanwhile, China is expected to be producing 1.1 million bpd of unconventional oil by 2035 (as opposed to 6.6 million bpd from the United States and Canada), a petroleum firm has announced the discovery of significant oil shale reserves in Argentina, and various companies have reported success in drilling wells for extracting natural gas from shale rocks in Poland.
Naturally, the following question arises: Are we finally moving into an era of complete energy independence from the Middle East and OPEC? If so, what are the implications?
As regards the former question, there is still one sign that appears to point to uncertainty. Despite anticipated increases in oil shale production, the fact remains that conventional oil will always be much cheaper to extract and use. Linked to this point is the International Energy Agency’s recent report that predicts Iraq will be the largest contributor to the growth in global oil production over the next 25 years. Iraqi crude, like that in Saudi Arabia, is perhaps the least expensive oil to extract in the world at only a few dollars per barrel.
Since state-control (which still exists) over the Iraqi oil industry and international sanctions have meant that for many years Iraq has produced oil largely for domestic consumption, there is still potential for exploration and discovery of new reserves in the country, hence, for instance, the recent exploration deal signed between ExxonMobil and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq.
Since the 2003 invasion, Iraq has been able to secure numerous contracts with foreign firms in an effort to undergo a massive expansion in production for the international market, and output can only be expected to increase over the coming years. Peak oil for Iraq is not expected to occur until at least 2036.
Nonetheless, questions have been raised over export capacity hindered by outdated infrastructure. Perhaps paradoxically, the increased oil revenues for the Iraqi government mean that Baghdad is unlikely to shift towards liberalizing economic reforms, which in turn will continue the problem of excessive bureaucracy that impedes reconstruction and updating of infrastructure.
In any case, regardless of whether the West achieves energy independence from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s profits (as well as those of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates) from the oil industry will probably diminish in light of competition from Iraq and oil shale across the world. In this context, commentators will no doubt be wondering if these developments will mark a decline in Islamism around the world.
In fact, what Daniel Pipes terms the “Islamic revival” coincided with the surge in oil prices in the 1970s and 1980s, and so many analysts have drawn a major link between the two events. End the oil dependence, so the reasoning goes, and Saudi Arabia will be exhausted of petrodollars to fund and spread its Wahhabi ideology.
However, I remain skeptical of such claims, which appear to reduce simplistically the growth in Islamist ideology to a single cause. Of course, funds from Saudi Arabia have led to an upsurge in the Wahhabism in countries like Bosnia, where an individual influenced by the Wahhabi movement growing in Bosnia- Mevlid Jasarevic- opened fire on the American embassy in Sarajevo.

Oil revenues helped give militant Islam a start; but once up and running…
Nonetheless, Islamism is ultimately a problem rooted in questions of “identity and circumstance” (as Pipes puts it), and in the age of mass communication, it is much easier for those who draw on broad elements of traditional Islamic theology to justify doctrines of jihad as offensive warfare and imposing Islamic law to attain success in winning over peaceful Muslims to their causes.
Moreover, we see that in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood, Pakistan with its numerous Islamist movements, Tunisia with its an-Nahda movement, Yemen with al-Qa’ida, Somalia with ash-Shabaab, and Sudan with its regime under Omar al-Bashir (to name just a few), Islamism enjoys success without dependence on financial boosts from petroleum profits.
As Pipes noted back in 2002: “Oil revenues helped give militant Islam a start; but once up and running… it [militant Islam] no longer depends on this financial boost as shown by oil revenues having several times in the intervening years gone down without a noticeable reduction in militant Islam’s steady gains.”
In short, therefore, growing energy independence for the West via oil shale (a pleasing development in its own right) seems unlikely to hamper significantly the problem of Islamist ideology.
The only real solution- necessary, but difficult and almost certainly long-term- is honest reform within mainstream Islam to counter appeal to traditional notions of waging jihad against non-Muslims and imposing Shari’a in the public realm.


Global Energy Use to Jump 53%

September 20, 2011
TRANSFORM!

Global energy use is expected to jump 53% by 2035, largely driven by strong demand from places like India and China, according to a report Monday.
Combined, developing nations currently use slightly more energy than those in the developed world, according to the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration. By 2035, they are expected to use double.
“Concerns about fiscal sustainability and financial turbulence suggest that economic recovery in the [developed] countries will not be accompanied by the higher growth rates associated with past recoveries,” the report said. “In contrast, growth remains high in many emerging economies, in part driven by strong capital inflows and high commodity prices.”
The 53% rise is slightly more than the 49% increase the agency predicted in last year’s report.
Accompanying the surge in energy use is a correspondingly large jump in greenhouse gas emissions. EIA sees energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rising 43% by 2035.
The projections, in the agency’s 2011 International Energy Outlook, are based on current policies. They could change substantially if countries like the United States and China passed stronger laws restricting carbon dioxide emissions.
Higher or lower energy price projections can also influence the report’s findings.
EIA assumed slightly lower oil prices in calculating this year’s report. The agency predicts oil prices to reach $108 per barrel in 2020 and $125 per barrel in 2035.
Last year EIA thought oil would be at $133 a barrel by 2035. EIA’s numbers do not include price increases attributed to the normal rise in inflation.
Fossil fuels will continue to be the dominant fuel choice in 2035, the agency predicts, with renewables constituting just 14% to the world’s overall energy consumption.
But that’s a substantial jump from renewable energy consumption in 2008, which stood at 10%. That growth rate makes renewables the fastest growing of all the energy sources, the report said.
The agency noted that most future renewable energy supply will continue to come from wind and hydropower. It did not include biofuels like ethanol as part of its renewable catalog, instead lumping it in with liquid fuels like oil.
EIA does not expect solar power to become a significant energy source by 2035. That runs counter to the opinion of solar power supporters who foresee rapidly declining prices for solar panels in the coming years.
The agency predicts nuclear power will go from about 5% of overall energy consumption in 2008 to about 7% in 2035. The vast majority of new nuclear plants are expected to be built in China. EIA did not factor in how last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan might impact nuclear power plant construction.
Natural gas continues to make up nearly a quarter of the world’s energy consumption, driven by increasing development of shale gas.
EIA projections for natural gas use by 2035 are 8% higher in this year’s report compared to last year’s, largely due to shale gas development.
Natural gas from shale, which is found in a different type of rock than most previous natural gas developments, has grown rapidly in recent years thanks to new drilling and extracting technology.
The technology involves cracking the shale rock with pressurized, water, sand and chemicals — a process knows as hydraulic fracturing, for “fracking” for short.
But the process has many people concerned over its effects on the groundwater, and shale gas development has been put on hold or stopped in some locations.
Despite the concerns, EIA predicts shale gas and other unconventional forms of natural gas will make up three quarters of U.S. natural gas production by 2035, up from about half today. Similar patterns are expected in China and Canada.
{CNN Money/Matzav.com }


THE TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN OIL BOOM? This surge in domestic production would leave Iran, Kuwait and the Arab emirates combined in the rear-view mirror”

July 16, 2011
A US oil boom — unless greens abort it – By ARTHUR HERMAN

Just a year after the BP oil spill, America is on the verge of a new golden era of oil exploration and production — unless President Obama and his environmentalist friends get their way.

This surge in domestic production would leave Iran, Kuwait and the Arab emirates combined in the rear-view mirror.
The US drilling boom rests on a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to open shale-oil reserves. It’s why wells are springing up in places like North Dakota, California and Pennsylvania, with thousands of new jobs in their wake.
Fracking has also opened up supplies of natural gas, sending prices plummeting. Now, even New York’s regulators have recommended lifting the state’s ban on the fossil-fuel gold rush that’s pushed North Dakota’s unemployment rate to 3.2 percent — the lowest in the nation.
The irony is that Obama had hoped higher oil prices would make us all drive electric cars and install backyard windmills. Instead, they’re making it profitable for US companies to expand the hunt for new reserves and to use fracking to reopen old ones.
Just last month, Exxon-Mobil announced the discovery of a vast field in the Gulf of Mexico, with as many as 700 million barrels waiting to be tapped. Other companies are using fracking to return to the Texas basin, the center of US oil production in the 1930s — which will mean millions in investment and thousands of jobs for that state. Montana and North Dakota are sitting on a shale-oil formation that could yield nearly 4 billion barrels.
Not many Americans realize we are already the world’s No. 3 oil producer, at 7.5 million barrels a day. The coming boom should add another 1.5 million by 2015. That’s closing in on Saudi Arabia’s daily total.
And oil-shale rich Canada could surpass Iran’s barrel-per-day output in a few years — so we’re looking at a major shift in the geopolitics of oil.
Easy-to-find oil is running out in the Mideast. After deliberately wrecking a multibillion-dollar deal with BP, Russia — the world’s biggest oil and gas producer — is looking more and more like a bad bet for foreign investors. If you want to make money in the oil biz, America will be the place to go.
But the environmental lobby is bent on preventing it — waging an all-out war on fracking, claiming (against all evidence) that it contaminates ground water. The ideologues hope to use memories of the BP spill and a more recent one on the Yellowstone River to dam up all exploration and pipeline construction.
Never mind that fracking goes on thousands of feet below groundwater sources, and that Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling did more damage to the Gulf economy than the BP spill ever did — or that the Yellowstone accident has affected an area of less than 10 miles on the edge of a national park of 3,500 square miles.
The promise of prosperity and jobs was enough to get even a blue state like New York to ignore the green lobby’s fearmongering. But Obama may yet derail the boom.
The president has had the oil industry’s two most important tax incentives — the percentage-depletion allowance and the deduction for intangible-drilling costs — in his cross hairs for a long time.
Both help oil and drilling companies recoup the heavy capital investment they need to look for oil, even when they turn up nothing. The White House argues that we must end both “tax breaks for Big Oil” to close the budget deficit.
This is nonsense. Manhattan Institute oil guru Robert Bryce notes that the entire value of the industry’s tax advantage comes to $4.4 billion a year. The notion that scrapping tax abatements that have been around since the 1920s will put a dent in a deficit of $1.4 trillion is laughable — and dangerous.
Besides, those few billions in savings would be washed away in rising oil prices if the impending rebirth of the US oil industry is aborted.
So there’s more at stake in the debt-ceiling impasse than just how we pay for our government. It’s also about whether America will dictate its own energy and economic future — or whether it’s left in the hands of sheiks, dictators and the EPA.

Arthur Herman is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise via ibloga.blogspot.com