Stylized modelled theory and Empirical Evidence. Seeds of Proof.

Tim, You say and have said before many times that.
“All of these hopes miss the fundamental point, which is that ECoEs are very much higher now (above 9%) than they were in the 1970s (at or below 2%).”

Russian and Saudi Lifting costs account for a very large part of core world supply and also proved reserves for future supply, as the proved reserves are using enhanced recovery methods but not the more expensive heat-based recovery of non-conventional heavy oils. I think the simple claim that a substantial proportion of world oil production and continuing supply from those reserves are still at High ECOEs, can you prove otherwise?
Accessible data available in admittedly partial data sets, contradict the very stark claim you make that up to the 1990’s it cost 2 barrels of oil to extract 100 barrels giving a net 98 surplus energy barrels. and that now the energy cost is 9 barrels of every 100 giving 91 surplus barrels.
Adjusted lifting costs on a per-dollar basis have if anything fallen, it is also possible that for Giant fields that lifting costs have actually fallen in Energy terms.
Are your 2% and 9% figures theoretically or empirically derived and if empirically could you please provide the data source from which you derive such a bold claim?
It is also unsatisfactory not to provide adjusted figures for the different souces be they, conventional Land, off shore, deep sea and shallow and deeper conventional sources.
At this point I think it is reasonable to put the End of cheap oil in energy terms theorists to proof.
This paper tackles the question in energy terms and not assumptions drawn from monetary/price assumptions.
The net energy return ratios (NERs) examined in this study for global oilfields range from approximately 2:1 to 100:1, with a production-weighted mean of 33:1. These results are most sensitive to changes when the gas processing configuration is unknown (as discussed above) or where the properties of injected steam are unknown. The implications of these relative magnitudes of energy returns are robust to explored uncertainties. A resource with an small energy return ratio may face challenges in scaling output, will consume large amounts of energy for production, and likely cause large environmental and climate impacts per unit of energy produced. This range of observed NER ratios is within the range suggested in prior literature. This agreement is a sign of convergence between methodologies: while the method used here is much more specific than prior methods, in that it models the engineering processes in oil extraction in greater detail, it provides similar order of magnitude results as methods used elsewhere.

Here is another comprehensive report

Click to access 60999-EROI_of_Global_Energy_Resources.pdf

What I am getting at is that at best you are in making the claims you do for ECOE that they are Stylised and such not fit for policy prescriptions.
Giant field production properties and behavior
Comprehensive analysis of the production from the majority of the world’s giant oil fields has shown their enormous importance for global oil production.[10] For instance, the 20 largest oil fields in the world alone account for roughly 25% of the total oil production.

Further analysis shows that giant oil fields typically reach their maximum production before 50% of the ultimate recoverable volume has been extracted.[11] A strong correlation between depletion and the rate of decline was also found in that study, indicating that much new technology has only been able to temporarily decrease depletion at the expense of rapid future decline. This is exactly the case in the Cantarell Field.

EROEI and ECOE The theory and Maurice Adelman the Empirical Evidence.SEEDS of Doubt, Do the facts don’t fit the theory?

Control The Debt Control the Conflict, The International. When the crisis hits the fan.

The Six Ways on Sunday, Carbon Currency end game 16 to 1 on, what are the odds of that?

on March 5, 2022 at 2:36 pm said:
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I agree , hard data is difficult to come by in many cases I think the actual information is protected as State Secrets, and certainly where private interests are concerned as highly sensitive with respect to market competitors.
All that said there is data and whilst it should be questioned and analysed, my simple question to Tim is why has he an average ECOE of 1 in 9 out and the Brandt paper from 2015 has a figure of 1 in and 33 out as its average?
Matthew Simmons, in his 2005 book Twilight in the Desert, suggested that production from the Ghawar field and Saudi Arabia may soon peak.[19]

When appraised in the 1970s, the field was assessed to have 170 billion barrels (27 km3) of original oil in place (OOIP), with about 60 billion barrels (9.5 km3) recoverable (1975 Aramco estimate quoted by Matt Simmons). The second figure, at least, was understated, since that production figure has already been exceeded.[19]
Some sources claim that Ghawar peaked in 2005, though this is denied by the field operators.[8][9]
If you look at fig 2 in the Brandt paper there is enough information to compare the seeds ECOE , assumptions/Data against?
some of the figures suggest that modern deep water rigs produce very competitive ECOE, Girasol in Angola Hibernian in Canada for instance both of which are operated by Oil Majors, is that perhaps a clue regarding who has proprietary technology not available perhaps to say Russia? I really do recommend people look at fig 2 if nothing else.

on March 5, 2022 at 1:54 pm said:
Hi Joe,
I am asking for empirical evidence and not proxies for ECOE , EROI is a financial proxy the first study I cited is based on actual lifting costs it suggests that the average actual Energy cost is 1 barrel now to get 33 barrels, a hard number publishes in 2015. Tim is saying that it is 1 barrel gets 9 barrels on average as of now, is this a stylized theoretical claim or empirically based as the Brandt paper is or based upon a differently constituted sampling group?.
The second publication is from 2013 and is based upon EROI measures I must say I think it is more logically consistent and also more empirically robust to consider Mega Joules rather than Dollar ammounts.

the Super Giants will be less than either Tims ECOE average or the brandt paper average I linked to. That the depletion rates of Giant fields have been speculated upon since Hotelling was writing in the 1930’s is a fact I was interested to note that the Brea Olinda field still has the highest ECOE at over 100 and that although it dates from the 1880’s recently consolidation of and sale of wells has been taking place.
Peak production on the field was in 1953
Unocal operated most of the field until March 1996, at which time it sold off all of its California assets to Nuevo Energy.[14] Nuevo operated the field for seven years, finally selling its portion of the field in 2003 for $59 million to BlackSand Partners, L.P., prior to themselves being acquired by Plains Exploration & Production.[15] At that time the field was producing 2,269 barrels per day. BlackSand ran operations on the field for a little over three years, and in 2006 Linn Energy bought it from BlackSand for $291 million.[16] In February 2007 Aera Energy LLC transferred its 654 wells on the field to Linn Energy, leaving Linn as the largest operator on the field.[

from fig 2 of Brandt, you will see that Ghwar is given a return of between 35-40 barrels for each barrel expended for lifting costs.
This sort of breakdown of detail is very important when considering realistic policies for the pace and priorities of implementing degrowth policies, or perhaps steady-state policies if one defines the problem slightly more optimistically as I do personally.

Hideawayon March 5, 2022 at 3:44 pm said:
@RogerLewis, as per always, lies, dammed lies and statistics, can say whatever you want them to say if you leave out enough ‘parts’ of the system. The following is from the document you linked ….
“This model does not currently include energy invested in building oilfield capital equipment (e.g., drilling rigs), nor does it include other indirect energy uses such as labor or services.”
“The inclusion of embodied energy in steel and cement consumed would reduce these ERRs by an unknown amount”

Considering the examples are the giants/super giants of the oil industry, which are in decline as a percentage of the total, and smaller fields would have much higher ’embodied energy’ content per produced barrel, then the concept of declining EROEI is very very valid, and likewise the important part of Tim’s thesis, even if the exact number can be debated. It matters not the exact number, just the trajectory, which is clearly demonstrated with things like fracking of shale wells and digging of tar sands.

A common theme from those looking at a utopian future of clean tech is leaving out a lot of very important aspects of the real world to prove their case. For example, and this applies to modern oil fields as much as every other form of new energy, is that the new ‘stuff’ (embodied energy) is always more energy expensive than the existing as the metals used come from mines with lower grades (on average) than those of the past, that take more energy to produce. On average the mines are more remote, with lower grade, deeper and a higher ‘hardness index’ than old mines, because we used all the easy to get high grade metals first!!

Because we are dealing with a huge complex system, going into details would require volumes running into thousands of pages of specifics, where the overall message would get buried in arguments over the detail.

on March 5, 2022 at 5:08 pm said:
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Hi Hideaway,
My simple question is where is the empirical data to prove a ECOE of 1 to 9 over the 1 to 33 in the Brandt Paper.
I do not think that Brandt has a dog in the fight to claim lower than 1 to nine or indeed worse.
Your pointing out that embodied energy was not included the calculation, a point which is very clear in the paper’s commentary, will not hugely affect the 1 to 33 ratio not by a factor of 3 in any event.
At another level it is also clear that for the giant fields it would seem that the fixed sunk costs are spread over a longer period of time although it would also seem that Deepwater rigs are also moveable as of course are exploration rigs, there are clearly economies of scale of production that impact on ECOE in some cases and importantly in large fields which are a significant component of core supply, A reading of Stephen J Gould the Median is not the message is recommended in considering weighted sampling.

Author: rogerglewis Looking for a Job either in Sweden or UK. Freelance, startups, will turń my hand to anything.