depletion

A simple interpretation of Hubbert's model of resource exploitation

Publication date:
2009-09-01
First published in:
Energies
Authors:
U. Bardi & A. Lavacchi
Abstract:

The well known "Hubbert curve" assumes that the production curve of a crude oil in a free market economy is "bell shaped" and symmetric. The model was first applied in the 1950s as a way of forecasting the production of crude oil in the US lower 48 states. Today, variants of the model are often used for describing the worldwide production of crude oil, which is supposed to reach a global production peak ("peak oil") and to decline afterwards. The model has also been shown to be generally valid for mineral resources other than crude oil and also for slowly renewable biological resources such as whales. Despite its widespread use, Hubbert's modelis sometimes criticized for being arbitrary and its underlying assumptions are rarely examined. In the present work, we use a simple model to generate the bell shaped curve curve using the smallest possible number of assumptions, taking also into account the "Energy Return to Energy Invested" (EROI or EROEI) parameter. We show that this model can reproduce several historical cases, even for resources other than crude oil, and provide a useful tool for understanding the general mechanisms of resource exploitation and the future of energy production in the world's economy.

Published in: Energies, Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2009, Pages 646-661
Available from: Energies

Depletion and the future availability of petroleum resources

Publication date:
2009-01-01
First published in:
Energy Journal
Authors:
R.F. Aguilera et al.
Abstract:

This study assesses the threat that depletion poses to the availability of petroleum resources. It does so by estimating cumulative availability curves for conventional petroleum (oil, gas, and natural gas liquids) and for three unconventional sources of liquids (heavy oil, oil sands, and oil shale). The analysis extends the important study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (2000) on this topic by taking account of (1) conventional petroleum resources from provinces not assessed by the Survey or other organizations, (2) future reserve growth, (3) unconventional sources of liquids, and (4) production costs. The results indicate that large quantities of conventional and unconventional petroleum resources are available and can be produced at costs substantially below current market prices of around US$120 per barrel. These findings suggest that petroleum resources are likely to last far longer than many are now predicting and that depletion need not drive market prices above the relatively high levels prevailing over the past several years.

Published in: Energy Journal, Volume 30, Issue 1, 2009, Pages 141-174
Available from: The Energy Journal

Depletion and Decline Curve Analysis in Crude Oil Production

Publication date:
2009-05-01
First published in:
Uppsala University
Authors:
M. Höök
Abstract:

Oil is the black blood that runs through the veins of the modern global energy system. While being the dominant source of energy, oil has also brought wealth and power to the western world. Future supply for oil is unsure or even expected to decrease due to limitations imposed by peak oil. Energy is fundamental to all parts of society. The enormous growth and development of society in the last two-hundred years has been driven by rapid increase in the extraction of fossil fuels. In the foresee-able future, the majority of energy will still come from fossil fuels. Consequently, reliable methods for forecasting their production, especially crude oil, are crucial. Forecasting crude oil production can be done in many different ways, but in order to provide realistic outlooks, one must be mindful of the physical laws that affect extraction of hydrocarbons from a reser-voir. Decline curve analysis is a long established tool for developing future outlooks for oil production from an individual well or an entire oilfield. Depletion has a fundamental role in the extraction of finite resources and is one of the driving mechanisms for oil flows within a reservoir. Depletion rate also can be connected to decline curves. Consequently, depletion analysis is a useful tool for analysis and forecasting crude oil production. Based on comprehensive databases with reserve and production data for hundreds of oil fields, it has been possible to identify typical behaviours and properties. Using a combination of depletion and decline rate analysis gives a better tool for describing future oil production on a field-by-field level. Reliable and reasonable forecasts are essential for planning and necessary in order to understand likely future world oil production.

Published in: Uppsala University, Licentiate thesis
Available from: Global Energy Systems

Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change

Publication date:
1982-06-01
First published in:
Book
Authors:
William R. Catton
Abstract:

Excerpt from the book:
The Industrial Revolution made us precariously dependent on nature's dwindling legacy of non-renewable resources, even though we did not at first recognize this fact. Many major events of modern history were unforeseen results of actions taken with inadequate awareness of ecological mechanisms. Peoples and governments never intended some of the outcomes their actions would incur.

To see where we are now headed, when our destiny has departed so radically from our aspirations, we must examine some historic indices that point to the conclusion that even the concept of succession (as explored in previous chapters) understates the ultimate consequences of our own exuberance. We can begin by taking a fresh look at the Great Depression of the 1930s, an episode people saw largely in the shallower terms of economics and politics when they were living through it. [1] From an ecologically informed perspective, what else can we now see in it?

The Great Depression, looked at ecologically, was a preview of the fate toward which mankind has been drawn by the kinds of progress that have depended on consuming exhaustible resources. We need to see why it was not recognized for the preview it was; this will help us to grasp at last the meaning missed earlier.

We did not know we were watching a preview because, when the world economy fell apart in 1929-32, it was not from exhaustion of essential fuels or materials. From the very definition of carrying capacity—the maximum indefinitely supportable ecological load—we can now see that non-renewable resources provide no real carrying capacity; they provide only phantom carrying capacity. If coming to depend on phantom carrying capacity is a Faustian bargain that mortgages the future of Homo colossus as the price of an exuberant present, that mortgage was not yet being foreclosed in the Great Depression. Even so, much of the suffering that befell so much of mankind in the 1930s does need to be seen as the result of a carrying capacity deficit. The fact that the deficit did not stem from resource exhaustion in that instance makes it no less indicative of the kinds of grief entailed by resource depletion. Accordingly, we need to understand what did bring on a carrying capacity deficit in the 1930s.

A interview with the author can be found here: Google Video

Published by: University of Illinois Press, June 1, 1982
Available from: Amazon Online

The depletion of UK oil resources

Publication date:
1977-09-01
First published in:
Energy
Authors:
M. Beenstock
Abstract:

The oil reserves of the UK may be regarded as an asset whose rate of return will depend on future oil price movements and cost developments. The profits on depleted oil may be invested in assets above the ground. An optimal depletion policy is one which maximizes the rate of return on oil both as an asset below the ground and as an asset above the ground. On the assumptions made, it is shown that such a policy implies a rapid depletion profile.

Published in: Energy, Volume 2, Issue 3, September 1977, Pages 249-256
Available from: ScienceDirect

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