Green New Deal Bad Science
NE Crass Prospect
Venezuela Oil Is Dead
US Roughnecks WW2
Google Needs Electricity
SIPES HOUSTON CHAPTER
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In this issue
Letter From The Editor
NE Crass Prospect
Next Generation Independent Award
Green New Deal Defies Physics
US Roughnecks in WW2
Venezuela Oil on The Out
Energy Policy That Doesn’t Divide
Google Needs Electricity
SIPES LinkedIn Page
US Leaves Paris Agreement
Green New Deal Bad Science
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
On the following page is a new prospect from Mike Jones of Charger Exploration. Mike Jones also drilled another successful well a month ago.
I attended the speaker series event at the Petroleum Club of Houston hosting Dr. Daniel Yergin. The main take away from his talk was that there is a lot of good news for our industry: The demand in China and India is almost at pre-covid levels while supply is still idle or lowering in America. The push for renewables will not be able to replace the need for hydrocarbons, there is absolutely no way. The Biden government will likely stop GOM and BLM drilling, which will most likely help the price increase throughout the administration.
SIPES Houston will not host an event this month. We will resume in December.
If you have a prospect, you can put it in this Newsletter for $250.
Stay lean, stay hungry,
SIPES NEXT GENERATION AWARD
Each year SIPES Houston awards one person as the Next Generation Independent. This individual is under the age of 40, an independent deal buyer or seller, member of SIPES, and made big strides in the industry. Jeff Allen of Allen Energy won this year. Jeff, along with Mike Jones, raised money and shot a new 3D when oil was only $23/bbl. This fight embodies the true grit of independents. Aside from drilling successful conventional wells, Jeff also has been a long time supporter of SIPES serving on both the local and National board.
Green New Deal Defies Physics
But the Green New Deal has at its core an impossibility in physics: the idea of “free” and “renewable” energy. The monetary, environmental and geopolitical costs of energy technologies all derive from nature’s constraints. And the physics of all energy sources, whether wind and sun or oil and gas, share the same core features. All exist in nature, for free. But that’s irrelevant. One has to pay landowners (private or governmental) to access locations where useful resources are located. Then one purchases machines, built from materials extracted from the earth, in order to convert any resource into a form that can be delivered to people. Since all machines wear out, there is nothing truly “renewable” about any of them.
Thus, the invisible elephant in the room with a Green New Deal, whether implemented by federal or state governments, is the staggering quantity of stuff that needs to be mined in order to build all the green machines, and where that mining and processing happens.
Consider the ever-popular electric car. In a recent report for the Manhattan Institute, I took a look at the physical realities of these increasingly popular vehicles and found they weren’t as eco-friendly as they purported to be. The one million electric vehicles (EVs) now on U.S. roads (courtesy of billions of dollars in subsidies) account for just 0.5% of America’s cars but contain, for example, more cobalt than one billion smartphones. In general, fabricating a single EV battery, each of which weighs about 1,000 pounds, requires digging up roughly 500,000 pounds of materials. That’s more than a 10-fold increase in the cumulative quantity of materials (liquids) used by a standard car over its entire operating life.
Some EV materials are the rare-earth elements, such as neodymium, that are now in the news. Many other, more familiar elements are also needed, in particular copper and nickel. EVs use twice as much copper as conventional cars, and global demand for nickel to make batteries is forecast to rise 1,500% in the coming decades. Overall, the global push for EVs will drive a 200% to 8,000% increase in demand for an entire suite of “critical” energy minerals. All of this will be in service of reducing—not eliminating—oil demand. In fact, two decades from now, barely 10% of the world’s petroleum use will be eliminated if the optimistic forecasts (some already enshrined in government mandates) are realized and there are 500 million EVs on the world’s roads.
And the quantities of minerals used in EVs will be dwarfed by the push for grid-scale batteries to make wind and solar usefully reliable. Those solar panels and wind turbines also entail using an average of 10 times more primary materials to produce the same energy output compared to hydrocarbon machines. The world is literally about to embark on the biggest increase in mineral and metal mining in history.
But America has long been a hostile place to try and open new mines. Consequently, the U.S. is 100% dependent on imports for some 17 key minerals and imports over half its needs for another 28. The net effect of a Green New Deal distills to replacing domestic energy production (and exports) of hydrocarbons with an unprecedented level of energy mineral imports. You won’t find environmental organizations and Green New Deal proponents calling for expanding domestic mining. But the mineral realities have economic and geopolitical implications.
China, for example, supplies about 90% of rare-earths for the world. On the cobalt front, China has also quietly gained control over more than 90% of the battery industry’s cobalt refining, without which the raw ore is useless. Russia is a massive nickel producer. The list of dependencies is long, and it rarely includes American sources. In early October, the Chinese government advanced legislation to be enacted in 2021 that will “allow” banning exports of “strategic minerals” to companies and nations that China considers a national security threat.
Meanwhile, even with all that, the IEA forecasts the world’s use of both natural gas and petroleum will return to the pre-COVID peak within a couple of years and then even creep higher for nearly two decades.
That same IEA report has just one sentence on the subject of energy minerals, noting the need to consider that “reliable supplies of the critical minerals and metals … are vital” for reaching green goals. History may see that as the understatement of the decade.
Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the July 2020 report Mines, Minerals, and “Green” Energy: A Reality Check
Roughneck US Cowboys in Britain During WW2
“Without oil no plane could fly, no tank could move, no ship could sail, no gun could fire,” historians Guy and Grace Woodward wrote in their book The Secret of Sherwood Forest. The planned Allied invasion of mainland Europe would require huge supplies of black gold — a single armored division gobbled up 60,000 gallons of gasoline per day — and oil was vital for generating heat, light and clean water. Civil and military essentials like tires, road surfaces and explosives also required oil. It was even used in special runway flares to reduce the number of deaths from planes crashing while trying to land amid the English fog.
Before the discovery of North Sea oil,
Britain had to import fuel — and emergency reserves were down to just two months as Nazi submarines and bombers took a deadly toll on incoming convoys. Fortunately, the British government searched for home-grown supplies before the war even started. They found them beneath the forests and fields of rural Nottinghamshire.
So in September 1942, British oilman Philip Southwell made the arduous journey to Washington, DC, to buy more-appropriate equipment. At first he was refused, but planes and trains and a rented car got him to the Oklahoma home of oil baron Lloyd Noble. Noble answered the door in his pajamas and the two WWI veterans struck a deal. Noble’s only caveat: He wouldn’t take a cent of profit.
Once the red tape was finally dealt with, 42 Oklahoma roughnecks, drillers and tool pushers volunteered to sail across the Atlantic and join the war. Southwell had only one problem: Where to hide them?
By the time the boys left snow-covered Nottinghamshire in March 1944 they’d drilled 106 wells. Ultimately, the Eakring oil fields produced 3 million barrels of oil during the war, and continued producing until 1965.
In those desperate times, the existence of the oil field had to be kept secret. It was difficult hiding an operation that employed hundreds of people and often choked the country lanes with buses and heavy trucks carrying staff and equipment, and the locals weren’t fooled by Americans playfully claiming to be making a motion picture. The site had to be hidden from the air, too, so the seesawing pump jacks that draw the oil to the surface — also known as “nodding donkeys” — were painted green for camouflage. It’s those pump jacks, freshly repainted in recent years, that Kevin Topham took me to see.
Topham worked as a derrick man at the Eakring oil fields after he got out of the Royal Air Force, which meant climbing up an oil rig’s towering mast. “That was tough up there when it was chucking down rain,” he recalls. “You couldn’t pop down for a cup of tea if you’d got 5,000 feet of drill pipe in the hole. Some men, big tough men, they’d go 200 feet up and they’d freeze. There was a little ledge halfway up you could have a rest on, but no safety ropes or safety lines until you got up there and got a belt around you … It was a highly dangerous job. It toughens you up.”
Off duty, boisterous Americans inevitably clashed with war-weary locals. It didn’t take long before the oilmen were drinking pubs dry of booze rations and chasing girls at local dances. Two men were sent home for fighting. There were a couple of bust-ups at the docks too: one argument over over contraband cigars saw Rosser high-tailing it with his opinion of the English monarchy ringing in the air. Another time he gunned his truck out of the gate with customs officers clinging to the side and a bobby on a bicycle peddling furiously after. Rosser was also caught speeding once, and was shocked that in this upside-down wartime society the police officer was a woman.
Odd little stories like this could easily fade from memory, like the camouflaged nodding donkeys swallowed by the greenery. But it’s worth remembering all those men and women of all colors who crossed the seas to stand together in those dark times. While Oklahoman oilmen worked in England’s forests, more than 900 men came to the UK from Central America to work as loggers, to cite just one example. In all, millions of men and women worked, fought and died on battlefields and on the home front across the world.
Venezuela’s Oil Industry is on its Last Legs
Last week was devastating for Venezuela, its people and nearly collapsed oil industry. Oil production since the start of 2020 has fallen catastrophically to multi-decade lows, the extremely fragile economy continues to contract and poorly maintained infrastructure keeps failing. Washington is turning the screws on Maduro’s regime, imposing ever tighter sanctions aimed at isolating Caracas from economically crucial global energy and financial markets. The near implosion of Venezuela’s oil industry is evident from crude oil inventories rising at a savage clip. According to Bloomberg, for the three weeks from the start of October the pariah Latin American country’s oil inventories surged by 84% to be 10.6 million barrels at the Jose port facility. News agency Reuters stated in an article that those inventories have reached 11.4 million barrels. This sharp increase underscores the considerable impact U.S. sanctions are having on Caracas’ ability to access international energy markets and sell the little oil PDVSA is producing. It is speculated that if domestic oil inventories keep growing at such a rapid clip PDVSA will need to dial back production because of limited storage space. That would essentially end the only source of desperately needed revenue for Caracas. Further reduction in oil output is likely even without PDVSA shuttering operations in response to a lack of storage capacity. During September 2020 Venezuela only pumped on average 383,000 barrels of crude oil daily, or 72% less than the daily average for 2018. This is having a sharp impact on Venezuela’s economy and responsible for the economic collapse which began in late 2014 when oil prices crashed. The IMF expects Venezuela’s economy to shrink by a disastrous 25% during 2020, after contracting by an incredible 35% in 2019. The deterioration of the Latin American country’s economy could be even worse than projected because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Venezuela. The lack of information from Maduro’s autocratic regime makes it extremely difficult to judge the true impact of the pandemic. More worrying is that PDVSA’s vital oil infrastructure and refineries continue to deteriorate. Recent events underscore the parlous state of this all-important infrastructure. Venezuela could be on the brink of its largest oil spill with the floating storage and offloading vessel the Nabarima, in the Gulf of Paria, listing at 45 degrees and having sunk 14.5 meters. If the vessel dumps its load of crude oil it could trigger an environmental disaster far greater than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. That is not the worst of it for PDVSA. The considerable decay of its refining infrastructure has triggered vast gasoline shortages in Venezuela which was once completely energy self-sufficient. Assistance from fellow pariah state Iran, which shipped five tanker loads of gasoline to Venezuela in late May and early June has done little to alleviate gasoline crisis. In fact, it has sparked substantial fallout for Caracas by triggering additional U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran. Those extra sanctions will further impact Caracas’ ability to access energy markets and export economically vital crude oil.
Diminishing production, falling export income, a shrinking domestic economy and inability to tap international credit markets means that PDVSA is unable to raise the capital required to perform urgently required maintenance on its refineries. As a result, such a disastrous event could occur again in the immediate future. Those developments only point to an ever-worsening outlook for PDVSA and Venezuela’s oil production and economy. This is being exacerbated by U.S. sanctions preventing foreign energy companies from operating in the pariah Latin American country. The last remaining U.S. energy major Chevron, which has been in Venezuela for around 100 years, was ordered by Washington to wind down operations in Venezuela by 1 December 2020. The oil supermajor’s CEO has stated Chevron has no intention of leaving the country and recent comments from the company indicate it is confident the U.S. Treasury will renew its license to operate in Venezuela.
Even so, U.S. sanctions, a sharp lack of capital and skilled labor, dilapidated energy infrastructure and falling drilling activity makes it highly unlikely that Maduro’s regime can reinvigorate the economically vital oil industry. It will take regime change and the lifting of U.S. sanctions for any improvement in Venezuela’s oil industry and hence economy to occur. At this time, regardless of the ever-growing crisis created by Maduro’s regime any change in government appears far away. There are signs that no matter how much Washington ratchets up pressure on Caracas, Maduro will not leave power any time soon. Even crushing international sanctions, economic collapse, open rebellion by pockets of the armed forces and international recognition of Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president have done little to weaken Maduro and his supporters grip on power. For these reasons, there is every possibility that Venezuela’s oil production could fall to zero and crippling shortages of basic goods, such as gasoline, will continue for the foreseeable future. It also means that any recovery for the oil industry and economy is a long way off.
By Matthew Smith for Oilprice.com
An Energy Policy That Doesn’t Divide The Nation
In his new book, Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation, journalist David French underscores the many divides — political, geographic, and religious — that are undermining our cohesion. As French told me on a recent episode of the Power Hungry Podcast, “there’s a measurable and severe increase in enmity, in anger between our red and blue tribes. And all of these things can’t keep happening forever.”
French’s book only mentions energy in passing. But it is readily apparent that America is also deeply divided about policy approaches to energy and climate. That fact was made clear to me last week when I testified (via WebEx) before the Subcommittee on Energy of the Committee on Energy and Commerce on a hearing titled “Generating Equity: Improving Clean Energy Access and Affordability.” I was invited to testify by the Republican members of the subcommittee. (The subcommittee, like the rest of the House, is controlled by Democrats.)
My remarks focused on the regressive effects of policies that mandate renewable energy, restrict the use of natural gas, and subsidize electric vehicles. I explained how renewable mandates have driven up electricity prices in Ontario, Germany, Minnesota, and California. After that, I discussed my recent research paper for FREOPP, which shows how bans and restrictions on the use of natural gas in California will force consumers to use electricity instead of natural gas. That is a form of regressive taxation. Why? On an energy-equivalent basis, electricity costs four times as much as gas.
My discussion of EVs reprised some of what I wrote recently for Forbes about how low- and middle-income Californians are subsidizing the automobile predilections of their wealthier counterparts. As I explained, “A single California Senate District in the Bay Area, has collected EV rebates from the state totaling $55.3 million. That sum is more than what was rebated to residents of seven other senate districts in the state, combined.”
I added that those subsidies represent only a fraction of the cost of EVs. “Consumers are also facing increases in electricity rates to pay for the public charging stations needed to refuel those cars, as well as tens of billions — or even hundreds of billions of dollars — in grid upgrades that will be required to supply the huge amounts of electricity that will be needed to electrify transportation,” I said. “In California alone, I have calculated the state may need to increase electricity use by 50% or more to accommodate a statewide move to EVs.”
I concluded by saying that efforts to increase access to cleaner energy and power sources are laudable. “But decarbonizing our energy and power systems cannot be done quickly or cheaply. If the goal is to decrease inequality, policymakers must be attentive so that the cost of decarbonizing America’s enormous energy sector is not borne by low- and middle-income American families.”
After I — and the other three witnesses, all of whom were invited by the Democratic members of the subcommittee — finished giving our allotted five-minutes of oral testimony, the hearing was opened to questions from the members. That was when the energy divide was made most apparent.
The other witnesses only got questions or comments from the Democratic members. I was queried by nearly every Republican member of the committee but didn’t get a single question from any of the Democrats. As I recall, only one Democrat, Rep. David Loebsack from Iowa, mentioned energy prices. He said that his constituents in rural Iowa were paying far more than their urban counterparts.
In short, each side — the Republicans and the Democrats — came to the hearing armed with their talking points and they were not going to talk about anything else. That is deeply unfortunate. The energy sector is the world’s biggest and most important industry. Every facet of the economy depends on the energy sector. Alas, when it comes to Congressional hearings, factionalism appears to matters more than energy realism.
As French points out, America is divided now more than it has been in decades. The growing divide over energy policy provides yet another example of that unfortunate reality. View full article here.
Google Needs Zambia-Size Amounts of Electricity
The government’s complaint says it wants to stop Google from “unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for” search services, advertising, and general search text.
Complex algorithms, software, and custom-built servers helped make Google into one of the world’s richest and most-powerful corporations. But Google’s business is wholly dependent on something more prosaic: electricity. Indeed, the Internet giant’s kudzu-like growth has been fueled by massive quantities of juice. Last year, Google used about 12.4 terawatt-hours of electricity, which means it uses more electric power than entire countries, including ones like Sri Lanka and Zambia. If Google were an independent nation, its electricity use would rank among the top 90 countries in the world. Furthermore, Google’s electricity use is doubling every three years or so.
There are some parallels between Google’s position today and that of the most-famous monopoly in American history: Standard Oil. More than a century ago, John D. Rockefeller controlled large swaths of the oil sector, including refineries, pipelines, and distributors. He even purchased rail tanker cars to assure timely delivery of Standard Oil’s products to customers. Today, Google and the other technology giants are building their own electric grids so their data centers and fiber-optic networks never experience even a second of downtime due to brownouts or blackouts. And as the amount of online information soars, their electricity consumption – and need for ever-more generation capacity (both conventional and renewable) – will continue soaring, too. As shown in the graphic below, since 2011, Google’s electricity use has nearly quintupled.
Electricity is the world’s most important and fastest-growing form of energy. It is also fueling nearly every aspect of the Information Age. Google represents the most obvious manifestation of this merger of bits and electrons.
The Giant Five have built these grids because the rule of the New Economy is simple: the bigger your network, the more valuable it is to those who own it and use it. Scale is everything. Google handles over 75,000 queries per second. It must have enough computing power – and electric power – ready at all times, no matter the number of customers, and no matter the state of the local electric grid. Even short outages, due to the loss of electricity, hardware problems, or software snags, can cost millions. On July 16, 2018, Amazon’s web site crashed on Prime Day, one of the company’s biggest sales days of the year. Analysts calculated that the 63-minute outage cost the company about $100 million in sales.
So far, the stock market seems to think it won’t matter. Yesterday, Google’s stock traded higher after the suit was announced. But as the cloud-computing business continues its torrid growth, companies like Google and the other members of the Giant Five will continue growing, too. In the digital economy, information is power. And electric power – some of it renewable – will continue to be the irreplaceable driver of Google’s growth.
View full article here.
POP QUIZ! - Professor Steve Walkinshaw
International oil patch quiz time. Early explorers in this country were warned that travel in some areas was unsafe. One survey party could not locate a promising seep because their arrival had been greeted with “a hail of stones”. Numerous disappointments delayed the discovery of the first commercial oilfield here until the early 1960’s. One early dry hole, nicknamed the “unluckiest wildcat well” in the region, was later determined to have missed the principal reservoir in a significant field by less than 300′ (it was faulted out).
A large (~10.5 TCF / 350 MMBC) gas field was discovered here ~22 years ago (see the map). It went onstream in 2017.
Part 1: What country am I referring to? Part 2: What large gas field am I referring to? Part 3: What company discovered this field?
Part 4: What company currently operates the field? Part 5: What is the name of the principal reservoir? Part 6: What is its age?
Part 7: What’s the name of the adjacent field? Part 8: What salt basin are these fields located in? Part 9: What was the first oilfield discovered in this country?
US Leaves Paris Agreement
As of Wednesday, the United States has officially left the Paris Agreement, as U.S. President Donald Trump promised in 2017.
On November 4, 2019, the U.S. gave a 12-month notice to the United Nations that it would withdraw from the climate accord, which has its signatories pledge to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Although President Trump said in 2017 that he would withdraw the United States from what he called “the terrible, one-sided Paris Climate Accord,” the U.S. had to wait for three years after the agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016, to give the 12-month notice for officially exiting the pact.
The official U.S. exit from the Paris Agreement coincides with a contested U.S. presidential election, the outcome of which would determine if America will stay out of the Climate Accord.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden has promised to re-join the Paris Agreement if he is elected president. As of 7:50 a.m. ET on Wednesday, votes were still being counted, and no candidate had reached the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
“The decision to leave the Paris agreement was wrong when it was announced and it is still wrong today,” Helen Mountford from the World Resources Institute told the BBC.
“The U.S. withdrawal will leave a gap in our regime, and the global efforts to achieve the goals and ambitions of the Paris Agreement,” Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to which the U.S. remains a party, told Reuters.
Although the Trump Administration withdrew from the global climate agreement, U.S. cities, states, and businesses continue to pledge emissions reduction through organizations such as America’s Pledge and We Are Still In. Across America, 24 states have committed to upholding the U.S. commitment to the Paris Accord of reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
These are three SIPES Houston members that have had discoveries in the last few months. To be a member of SIPES means you get to see their prospects first and learn from them. We all want to surround ourselves with other like-minded people. No better place than SIPES.
Mike Jones and Jeff Allen are about to spud a well starting their goals of taking advantage of the coming strong gas market. Ryan Price of POCO, LLC is the operator.
Allen Energy, LLC
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Buy This Book !
The Gulf of Mexico Basin is one of the most prolific hydrocarbon-producing basins in the world, with an estimated endowment of 200 billion barrels of oil equivalent. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the basin, spanning the US, Mexico and Cuba. Topics covered include conventional and unconventional reservoirs, source rocks and associated tectonics, basin evolution from the Mesozoic to Cenozoic Era, and different regions of the basin from mature onshore fields to deep-water subsalt plays. Cores, well logs and seismic lines are all discussed providing local, regional and basin-scale insights. The scientific implications of seminal events in the basin’s history are also covered, including sedimentary effects of the Chicxulub Impact. Containing over 200 color illustrations and 50 stratigraphic cross-sections and paleogeographic maps, this is an invaluable resource for petroleum industry professionals, as well as graduate students and researchers interested in basin analysis, sedimentology, stratigraphy, tectonics and petroleum geology.
SIPES Book Recommendation
A masterpiece of science reporting that tracks the animal origins of emerging human diseases.
The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. We hear news reports of Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses
and people in Australia – but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world. He recounts adventures in the field – netting bats in China, trapping monkeys in Bangladesh, stalking gorillas in the Congo – with the world’s leading disease scientists. In Spillover, Quammen takes the listener along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge, and he asks the terrifying question: What might the next big one be?
SIPES Houston Chapter, 5535 Memorial Drive, Suite F654, Houston, Texas 77007
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