Fracking in the Barnett Shale around Dallas-Fort Worth, a city of 1 million

By Kjell Aleklett

shale formations Texas

For the past 100 days I have visited shale formations with oil and gas from Amarillo in the north to Laredo and Eagle Ford in the south, from Odessa and the Permian Basin in the west to Nocogdoches and the Haynesville Shale in the east. The only remaining shale formation to visit on my list was the Barnett Shale around Fort Worth west of Dallas. It was here that the US adventure with fracking began and in September 2013 RRC, Railroad Commission of Texas, reported that one had drilled 18,300 wells in the Barnett Shale.

Theme issue on peak oil

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society has the prestige of being the world’s first scientific journal and also published the work of Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, William Herschel and many more celebrated names in science. Recently, this journal published a theme issue, edited by Richard G. Miller and Steve R. Sorell, on peak oil. This volume presents the best scientific evidence on why a decline in oil supply may, or may not, be in sight. It considers the production and resources of conventional oil and the potential for developing alternative liquid fuels from tar sands, shales, biomass, coal and gas. It describes how economies might react and adapt to rising oil prices and how the transport sector could be transformed. It provides comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective on the ‘peak oil’ debate and reflects a range of views. Ultimately, it reminds us that the wolf did eventually appear - and that it would be wise to prepare.

Find the full theme isse here:

Nobel dialogue in Gothenburg on 9 December - comments

For the second time a dialogue has been organised during the Nobel Prize week and this time it was in Gothenburg. The idea of the event is that one should take advantage of the unique opportunity that a number of Nobel Prize winners, other leading researchers, leaders of industry and politicians are gathered in Sweden for the Nobel Prize festivities. The theme for the dialogue this year was the future of energy and I felt honoured to be invited to participate. It was especially enjoyable for me to be in Gothenburg since this is the city in which I was born and studies. However, the reason for my invitation was my research on global energy systems.

02a Nobel dialog David MacKay

The invitees began the day with a joint breakfast. For the breakfast the organisers had invited David MacKay as speaker.

Now the world needs new energy systems

On December 9th, the day before the Nobel Prizes are handled out in Stockholm, there is a "Nobel Week Dialogue" in Gothenburg. This year's theme is "Exploring the Future of Energy" and participating Nobel Laureates are presented by the organizers. My contribution to the dialogue is now published by Svenska Dagbladet on “Brännpunkt” under the heading "Now we need new energy systems" (Read the article in Swedish on Brännpunkt).

A field trip to East Texas Oilfield, November 2013

By Kjell Aleklett

Yearly production of oil in East Texas Oilfield in relation to the cumulative production.

The largest oilfield in the USA south of Canada is said to be the East Texas Oilfield. (The largest oilfield in the USA is Prudho Bay in Alaska).Since I began my research on oil in 2003 my mental image of the East Texas Oilfield has been the graph of production from that field that Jean Laherrère used to present and update every year. The latest version is updated for 2012. We see that production reached a maximum in 1933 and then declined until the 1960s when they began to pump water into the field to raise its pressure. Production then increased for some years before beginning to decline once again. Since the middle of the 1990s production has crashed.

The IEA raises a little warning flag on future oil production - World Energy Outlook 2013

By Kjell Aleklett
Uppsala University
Department of Geosciences and
Visiting professor at University of Texas at Austin
Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering

On 12 November the International Energy Agency (IEA) released this year’s edition of their World Energy Outlook report, WEO-2013. I have not studied all the detail in the report but I listened to the presentation that the IEA’s chief economist, Dr Fatih Birol, gave in London. During the past 10 years I have studied and analysed the World Energy Outlook reports. One of the first detailed analyses that I did was in 2004 regarding WEO-2004. At that time the IEA thought that oil demand in 2030 would be 121 million barrels per day (Mb/d). The conclusion I drew from my analysis was that their prognosis was unrealistic. (

Last year the IEA focused on shale oil in the USA as their main story and the news spread around the world that the USA would overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer.

A Journey Through Eagle Ford, November 2013

A travel report by Kjell Aleklett, Uppsala University and University of Texas at Austin

Oil and NGL Eagle Fror August 3013

Production of “oil” from the Eagle Ford Shale has now passed one million barrels per day (1 barrel is 159 litres). During the next three years we can expect to see production increase further. Every month, all oil and gas producers in Texas (including producers of conventional oil and gas) must report their production to the Railroad Commission of Texas, RRC.

Goldman Sachs - "360 projects to change the world"


The fact that they have now begun to produce oil from Kashagan and that we know the project costs are $48 billion gives me reason to look at a report that Goldman Sachs presented in March 2012, ”360 projects to change the world”. They have studied how much oil and gas the various projects are planned to deliver and the very interesting information on what oil price is needed for the projects to be profitable. The fact that all new projects need financiers means that new projects are well documented. This also makes it possible to do this analysis. The analysis can be seen as one of optimal possible new future oil production.

Perspective on future oil use

(The image shows Eirik Wærness and Staffan Riben.)

Network Oil & Gas (NOG) was formed in Sweden 12 years ago. It is a forum for training, exchange of experience and debate on issues that affect the use and significance of fossil fuels. During a year, NOG aims to organise approximately six symposia. Last Monday’s symposium was titled, “Perspective on future oil use” and was the 69th to be held. I was most recently invited to deliver a lecture for NOG in 2004 but as early as 2001 I was invited to present at one of their symposia that they had organised to examine the extent of public interest in issues regarding oil and gas. Last spring it was discussed that I would be invited to present a lecture on my book “Peeking at Peak Oil”. During the summer, Staffan Riben, the chairperson for the program committee and the moderator of the symposium read my book.

The black blood in the economic veins

Nobody denies that there is a connection between economic growth and oil consumption. The clearest signal came in 2008-9 when the world economy crashed at the same time as oil production sank dramatically. If one is to describe this in a little more detail then it is not oil production itself that is decisive rather than that part of oil production that passes through the world’s refineries and then becomes transport fuel. Transportation of raw materials and components for manufacturing of goods, transportation of products to retail outlets and, finally, transport of customers to those outlets is the chain that gives economic growth. Therefore, it can be interesting to study what passes through refineries, where it is, and what refinery products are produced.

Each month, Global Data i London gives out a report, ”Refined Products Forecast”.

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