OTTAWA — Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company, announced a couple of weeks ago the discovery of a huge offshore oil field – described as the second-biggest discovery of conventional crude anywhere in the world in the past 20 years.
Known as Tupi, the field holds more than eight billion barrels of oil, only slightly less than Norway’s entire reserves. Business Monitor International says that Tupi will enable Brazil to export a million barrels of oil a day within five years, enough to get Brazil full membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Brazil has confirmed already that it’s thinking about it.
Oddly enough, though, the biggest discovery of conventional oil this year went largely ignored – notwithstanding the fact that it took place in the continental U.S., where such things are not supposed to happen. The U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) made the relevant announcement earlier this year as follows: "Researchers at Texas A&M [University] and the Department of Energy have produced a new computer tool that will increase recovery of as much as 218 billion barrels of bypassed oil remaining in mature domestic fields."
While we have had our eyes on big oil, little oil has been lurking in the shadows. Up to no good as you might well imagine. This is what they are up to!
NETL, operating from six research campuses across the U.S., is the only government-owned research laboratory that works exclusively on fossil-fuel technology. It funds research into EOR – "enhanced oil recovery" – for a number of reasons. One is simply the vast amounts of oil that have been left behind. ("More than two-thirds of all the oil ever discovered in America," it says, "remains in the ground.") Another is that the vast majority of "depleted" wells are too small to interest the big oil companies.
NETL develops technology to help small, independent companies pursue this abandoned oil. More than 7,000 of these companies are already pumping oil from depleted – to say nothing of deleted – wells: "Much bypassed oil lies in difficult-to-access pockets," NETL says. "Predicting the size and locations of these elusive deposits is costly." So the lab financed the development of sophisticated software that will guide these oil-salvage companies in the hunt. Along with computer-driven mapping, the lab has developed "tracer tests" – using coloured liquids and gases to track pathways within a well. Were each of these entrepreneurial outfits to recover 200 barrels a day, the U.S. would gain more oil than it imports from Canada. source:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v5/content/subscribe?user_URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2Fstory%2FRTGAM.20071123.wrreynolds23%2FBNStory%2FBusiness%2Fcolumnists&ord=1743309&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true
I will blog again on this topic.
November 27,2007. I said I would get back to you on this topic. Here is a quote from a press release issued today:
Chairman Frank Pringle of General Resource Corp. said, "We are looking forward to working with Professor Agrawal and Penn State on proving the commercial viability of microwave technology for extracting hydrocarbons from oil shale in a cost-effective and emissions-free process."
"Unlike the existing technologies for extracting energy from oil shale," Pringle added, "microwave technology uses less energy and is, therefore, more efficient. Also, due to the vacuum process, there are no CO or CO2 emissions."
The farmer from Pitt Meadows says "If you can extract oil from shale you can extract oil from anything". I’ll keep you posted.
More on "getting it out" source: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5345110.html
PRUDHOE BAY, ALASKA — The future of North America’s most prolific oil field is riding at the end of a 6-mile-long flexible drill bit winding its way underneath the Alaskan tundra.
The equipment, known as a coiled tubing drill, can carve a path through the strata in nearly any direction, snaking into small pockets of oil that earlier drilling may have missed.
It then can be drawn out like a milkshake slurped through a straw.
The technology is so successful that Dave Hildreth,a well site leader for oil giant BP who runs the rig, is constantly fielding requests from project geologists in Anchorage. They ask him to make the bit take one sharp turn after another to explore other spots that seismic charts show have potential.