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Explorer: Alaska's Last Oil on NGC

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by cwerdna, Jul 25, 2009.

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  1. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    From Explorer | Alaska's Last Oil | National Geographic Channel


    It was pretty good and quite insightful. I didn't realize that Alaska oil production was down so much. They mentioned the Prudhoe Bay is producing about 400K barrels/day, down from the peak of 1.5 million barrels/day. They mentioned that if they just continued to produce from the wells they have now, maintain those wells and facilities they've got, production would decline about 16% a year. So, oil companies are taking steps to offset that.

    For those who haven't looked up the figures per EIA - Petroleum Basic Data, the US consumes currently consumes 19.5 million barrels of oil/day. It seems our depedence on foreign oil is now down to 56.9% instead of 60% not long ago.

    ANWR was a big focus of the show and at the very end, they mentioned a government estimate of it holding between 4 and 12 billion barrels of oil over its lifetime, probably less than the US would use in a year. Interestingly, the low figure they mentioned is the high resource case mentioned at EIA - Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - Results.

    As with the 20/20 ep on oil addiction ep I mentioned, I wish this were required viewing for anyone who owns a gas guzzler or is in the market for one.

    The next rerun is on 7/28 if you happen to receive NGC.
  2. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    But....But....Newt says we just need to drill more:

    Newt.org > Home | :madgrin:


    Unfortunately, a lot of people want to believe that cheap oil will be around forever. Sorta like they want to believe that a Hummer is better for the environment than a Prius.
  3. ETP

    ETP Ancient sloth foot

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    Ditto in thats all we need.


    We need to do all of the above as many have said to get off foreign oil soon.

    Solar, wind, geo, tidal power, nuclear, coal, oil, trash use to create power, recycle that makes sense, etc
  4. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi All,

    I think the main motivation for ANWR is not the oil, its "what are we going to do with the pipline infrastructure when Prudhoe production is too low to support maintenance?". Everybody is right that points out that ANWR is a small amount of oil in the grand scheme of things. But, the companies see it as an economic life-line for pipeline economics. ANWR is just up the Artic coast from Prudhoe.
  5. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    There is also a rush in the Canadian arctic to find oil, natural gas, and more recently, clathrate hydrates. The clathrates are neat, they are usually a couple of dodecahedrals and six tetradecahedrals per hydrate, with about 1 mole of methane to about 5.75 moles of water

    The extraction of methane from clathrate hydrate was only very recently possble

    Researchers extract methane gas from under permafrost

    so no doubt as Prudhoe Bay dries up, much more work will be done in areas like the Mackenzie Delta

    Most of the development work in Canada has been with partnerships that include ORNL

    ORNL Review: Methane Hydrates: A Carbon Management Challenge

    and the Government of Japan

    Where is methane hydrate found?

    As the articles pointed out, there could also be a lot of danger from clathrate hydrates. For example, if global warming really does happen and the Permafrost in the Canadian arctic starts to melt, enormous amounts of methane could be released to the atmosphere
  6. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Are you suggesting climate change isn't happening yet? I would have thought you'd be aware of the changes already taking place in the North. And yes, all that CO2 could be just the trigger for releasing vast stores of methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas.
  7. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    I'm not suggesting anything. I've haven't been to an Arctic region recently, but was at Thule and Fort Greely in the early 1990's. Seemed plenty frozen back then

    To reiterate, if/when global warming happens and that Permafrost melts, we're in deep doo-doo because of the clathrate hydrates
  8. bluetwo

    bluetwo Relevance is irrelevant

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    There's definitely a lot more to it than I thought, probably a lot more complicated than a lot of people want to admit.

    The show definitely could do some good for the future generations, possibly as part of school curriculum?....
  9. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    You realize what this decreased production means don't you? Increased hand wringing of politicians, with no EV's delivered yet (shaking head)

    .
  10. bluetwo

    bluetwo Relevance is irrelevant

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    There could be so many advancements if only politics didn't get in the way. Electric vehicles, wind and solar energy... the list goes on.

    And not to get off topic but if only we could learn from history. Like how biodiesel tax incentives were discarded back in the Reagan administration and how we could conceivably have a much greater alternative energy source in place now if that hadn't happened. Some might even say politicians are the enemy of progress.
    1 person likes this.
  11. eagle33199

    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    This is an excellent point to keep in mind. So many things like this - drilling in ANWR - are driving by corporate greed, not by national need. ANWR won't solve our energy problems - all it would do is give the oil companies longer use from the pipeline and keep profits up. The "natural" state of capitalism would seem to state that when something like the pipeline is no longer profitable, it's discarded for more profitable ventures. Throw giant companies with deep pockets and politicians into the mix, and you get political bickering and bills designed to artificially extend the useful life of a companies capital investment.
  12. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    As far as that pipeline, keep in mind that the "odd" corrosion/erosion issues are due to Geomagnetically Induced Current. Similar pipelines in Siberia and Scandinavian countries have problems with GIC, sometimes up to 100 amps between the pipeline structure and ground

    An enormous amount of preventative maintenance and engineering (Capacitor discharge banks, etc) are required to deal with GIC under *normal* conditions. Throw in a massive CME, all bets are off
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