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Confessions of a Petroleum Engineer and Ecologist

I just attended an SPE workshop, "Oil and Gas Technology for a Net-Zero World – Defining Our Grand Challenges for the Next Decade."  Of the 60 people in the audience, I knew 1/3, some very well.  It makes sense, because I have been an SPE member for 40 years, and a Distinguished Member for 20 years.  Last year, I received an SPE EOR/IOR Pioneer Award for my work at Shell and UC Berkeley on the thermal enhanced oil recovery processes that involved foams, and their upscaling to field operations. This was nice, because Shell recognized me as one of their best reservoir engineers, and in 1985 I received an internal Shell Recognition Award for the same work.

But I am not a mere oil & gas reservoir engineer.  First and foremost, I am a chemical engineer and physicist, who has thought rigorously about the sustainability of human civilization, ecology and thermodynamics of industrial agriculture and large biofuel systems, as well as about the overall gross and net primary productivity of the planet Earth, the ecological trajectories of most countries around the world, and about climate change and alternative electrical power sources.  You can check out my publications here. Since 2006, I have also been teaching a senior undergraduate/graduate course, E4: Earth, Environment, Energy and Economics, and wrote a 600-page book that goes with it (too be published soon).

My main difficulty in this post is how to keep it short enough for you to stay engaged, and yet capture the fantastic complexity of the dire situation we are in.  Of course, I know fully well that you may see nothing dire about where you are with your lives. 

Let me start from the weight of materials each American consumes per year. 

Click on this image from to see it in full resolution. Each American man, woman and child consumes 20,000 pounds per year of building materials and metals, in addition to an almost equal mass of natural gas, crude oil, coal and a smidgeon of uranium for desert. Let's assume boldly that an average American weighs 150 pounds. This means that we consume 266 times our weight as raw materials, including 133 times our weight as fossil fuels. In comparison, an average US person consumes 1500 pounds of food per year, or 10 times her weight. This food is produced mostly by the fantastically unsustainable US giga-agriculture (Tom Philpott is a great journalist I met in my prior life at UC Berkeley). Now you see that we devour natural resources as much as the slaves of the evil Sauron in Mordor.

The fossil fuels we consume serve 80% of our giant needs for electricity and transportation. By now, most people have been convinced that we can continue our current life styles by replacing some or most of these fossil fuels with the renewable sunlight and wind that will power a new giant infrastructure of rebuildable solar PV arrays and wind turbines. With little recycling we will trash these giant devices every 2-30 years. As we argue in our recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, this replacement of fossil fuels is simply impossible at global scale.  Then some people throw in the fabulously inefficient, ozone-layer killing "hydrogen economy" (see, e.g., Appendix D here) as another savior, and top it off with the unscalable carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), preferably the Direct Air Capture (DAC) of CO2, which is scientifically absurd. This is where most petroleum engineers are in their quest to seek new power sources that extend the status quo but will be more acceptable, they think, to public opinion.  What they do not see is the Earth.

This giant turbine in Garten, Germany, collapsed due to mechanical stresses.

Given the rate at which we consume the Earth, it follows that we cause a great environmental damage and contribute richly to climate change. But most of us do not feel this way, and do not see anything wrong with what we do each day and night. Certainly most petroleum engineers don't think that our actions do permanent damage. In fact, most petroleum engineers seldom think about the delicate Earth's skin we inhabit and puncture. Why is this?

As Prof. Marder says, the simplest explanation is that there is big money in petroleum and the SPE workshop participants are well paid to do exactly what they do, and almost nobody can manage simultaneously to get paid and do what I have been doing for the last 20 years, and hope to continue doing for a while longer. Everyone (except me) understands there are limits to how far they can go in challenging catastrophic normality and return home with a secure paycheck. Put another way, the global fossil amoeba does not pay anyone in money to save us.

More generally, genetically, we are apes almost identical with the chimpanzee species Pan paniscus, or Bonobos. But over the last 3 million years we have diverged from our close cousins in small but crucial aspects. We lost most of body hair and much of muscle strength, and our children take roughly 16-18 years to mature.  To compensate for this huge evolutionary disadvantage, we have developed a plastic brain that grows by 2/3 since childhood, and with parental help we grow a curious bulge behind our left eye. This bulge, the Broca area, is responsible for our ability to speak if nurtured to do so until the age of 12 years. If not, we can never learn to speak. Next to the Broca area, we develop a Wernicke area that interprets speech, and is close to the motor area that translates what we learn and understand into actions. This crucial divergence allowed us to accumulate knowledge and outcompete all other species in our ability to conquer every ecosystem we inhabit, now the entire planet. The 2001 movie "Planet of the Apes" portrays correctly what would happen to humans if our much stronger cousins learned to speak.

Genetically, we are the same old apes programmed to push against the limits of the ecosystems we inhabit and consume. In short, we are nature's fire. We are also short-lived biological vessels, programmed to propagate our genes into the future ad infinitum. Our genes don't change over epochs, but they mix as we mate. The most successful among us mate many times and propagate their genes above average.

Thus, we are programmed to burn or destroy everything we touch, grow in numbers without limits, and expand our ranges by displacing and annihilating most other species.  To be so successful, we have developed a peculiar myopia.  Most of us cannot see the more remote consequences of our immediate actions. This was fine 10-15 thousand years ago, when we could move elsewhere after each local environmental collapse we caused, but now we drive ourselves to extinction. The few who can see future are the modern Cassandras cursed by Nemesis to be never believed.  I am one of these lonely Cassandras.

Over the last 3 million years we have been growing in small groups and dealt with simple systems. By today, though, we have created the super complex giant systems no one seems to comprehend.  Ultimately, some of these systems are likely to exterminate us. We have also developed the most efficient ways of blasting our miscomprehensions to billions of other mostly clueless pans.

The Doomsday Clock was just reset to 90 seconds before midnight (the end of most current multicellular life on the planet). “This year, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward, largely (though not exclusively) because of the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine. The Clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight—the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been.” (Source: Full Bulletin Statement) .  Today’s version of the clock includes key global concerns: (1) climate change (2) bioterrorism (3) artificial intelligence and (4) damage inflicted by mis/disinformation. These elements fuse together as a potential cataclysmic event registered by the clock’s setting vis a vis a midnight hour imagery of the apocalypse. 

One of the key reasons for resetting the Clock is misinformation: “Perhaps the deadliest pandemic ever to strike humanity is the plague of deliberate misinformation, mass delusion and unfounded beliefs which is engulfing twenty-first-century human society.” ( pg. 127 in Julian Cribb, "How To Fix A Broken Planet," Cambridge University Press, 2023.) 

Source: Scientific American.

Now, engineers are trained to develop, use and improve technology, and this is what most of them do.  Very few engineers are trained to understand dangers technology presents to humans, as Martin Heidegger warned us in 1954.  In their myopic focus on technology, most engineers do not see the living planet which keeps them alive.

My last introductory point is about the Dunning-Kruger syndrome.  In the corrected interpretation of this syndrome and of the famous D-K curve, the polled unskilled participants (students, most engineers or environmentalists outside of their narrow specialties, poorly educated people who do "research" on the internet, most Facebook and Twitter aficionados, etc.) didn’t think they were better than the skilled participants; they just thought they would have scored better [understood more] than they actually did. By contrast, the best half of the participants were more likely to underestimate their ability - a trend which gets more pronounced in the 4th quartile. 

Confidence is a measure of the difference been the predicted and the actual outcome. A score above zero on this differential diagram means overconfidence: people think they do better than they actually do. A score below zero means the opposite: the participants do better than they predict. Source: Why the Dunning-Kruger curves you've seen are wrong 

Too many participants of all conferences are on the left-hand side of the curve above; they think they know and understand much more than they actually do.

Now, we  - the public - were presented with all key elements of this sprawling Greek tragedy, but by the Greek convention the actors on the stage (workshop participants, leaders, professors, governments, NGOs) didn't, and stumble toward the inevitable gory end:

  1. We are genetically programmed to grow in numbers without bounds and damage the environment around us. Today we are a global fire that burns the planet.
  2. We are genetically programmed to seek fast, tactical solutions that we think will improve our lot. As K-optimizers, we fail to see the environmental damage we do.
  3. We routinely overestimate our ability to grasp complexity of the systems we have created and do not understand their modes of failure.
  4. Climate change is a byproduct of our sheer numbers, runaway consumption of all the Earth's resources we can access, and of the overwhelming streams of wastes we dump everywhere, into the atmosphere, land and oceans; thousands of toxic chemicals, plastics and greenhouse gases.
  5. Most engineers have a blind faith in technology and seek to prolong the status quo by any technological fix possible.  Ecology is not recognized and the environmental impacts of technology are too often overlooked.
  6. Today, our collective delusions involve CCS, the ozone-layer killing "hydrogen economy" and its derivatives (ammonia, formic acid, etc.), rebuildables, electrification of everything, EV cars, etc.  Collectively, we believe that these technologies will prolong the status quo.  Well, for a 1000 damning scientific reasons that have been known for decades or centuries, they will not

 Back to this tragically predicable SPE workshop. Everything I wrote is not meant to offend anyone, especially the speakers and panelists, who gave many technically outstanding talks.  I merely wanted to discuss how this workshop, and many other similar conferences I attended before, routinely miss most of the salient points about our current physical condition, and where we must go from here in order not to collapse and not perish as human species taking down much of the planet with us.

In my mind, this workshop offered only narrow, murky technological recommendations, with an almost complete exclusion of the environmental actions that are terribly necessary. Again, as Upton Sinclair said a long time ago, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” 

I know, now you expect me to give you "the solutions."  Well, when you begin to see the living planet, write me.  Until then, there will be NO solutions, whatever you think.  

I'll give you two warnings though: (1) please do not think that breaking our current dependence on oil & gas will be easy or possible, yet their consumption must decrease, because (2) burning fossil fuels at today's rate is mass suicide. This is the tragic Faustian bargain of our time.  Can humans rise up to this existential challenge? 

P.S. (01/31/2023) A comment from my ex-student who is in the process of becoming a professor at a very prominent university in China:

Dear Professor Patzek, 

It is great to see the update on your blog! I have been following your blog for quite a long time, but I don’t have the access to follow and comment on the website. I am sorry to hear that you had a painful 2022 and several infections of Covid last year. I can feel your deep concern about this world and your loneliness.  Your arguments or proposals may not be well accepted by many people since those proposals are against their short-term interests. However, what you have done and are doing is quite meaningful and valuable. You have changed many people including me and made us more concerned about this world, about the future. I am glad that you can continue to write your blog and share your insights with us. I sincerely wish you good health and happiness in the new year! XXX [I removed his name]


  1. The pie chart of "stuff" is very beautiful. "All true wealth comes from the ground" as I tell the damned Silicon Valley types.

    I was not aware of how much minerals we consume! Although most of it is rock and sand and the like.

    I have to think that FF is what is allowing us to extract minerals. Granted there are limits and we have had to move to worse copper ores. But technology has basically kept pace nonetheless. It's not like we are worried about running out of rocks (and spare me the "peak sand" silliness). But it's the energy used to collect, transport, refine, and sort these inorganic materials that is the concern. Not running out of rocks...but the work we do on them.

    Not too worried by the rate of copper/zinc usage. 13 pounds/year doesn't sound like that much. I mean it's a lot less than our FF usage!

    Iron has significant recycle (required for the smelting process) and is also rather common. Maybe why I'm not seeing it broken out, although I think of it as important to daily life.

    Sulfur is also a material that is rather common (and in many locations does not justify mining, since we now have to extract so much from oil...and those big yellow mountains actually cost more to move than you get back in price). It's essentially sold for disposal.

    I'm not sure the "cement" really belongs as a material type in the earth along with the others. Would have just said "lime" instead. Cement is a downstream product of lime (and not the only one).

    FWIW, I did several months of operations improvement at a gold mine (large POX plant) during COVID. They wanted people who were not scared of the disease or of the security situation where I was (dicey area). And I needed the $$. I did think how drastically wasteful it was to be processing so much rock for such a small amount of gold (4ppm concentration, open pit) and then using rather arduous chemical processes (the POX) to get it out. I'm actually a hard core libertarian, not a greenie, but I thought how wasteful it was societally. Like if you look at certain kinds of ocean fishing, the "bycatch" (rejected catch) can be 90%. Well in gold mining, we are sending 99.9996% to tailings! That's a pretty huge bycatch. And that's for a material that has rather abstract value even when you do get it. -The largest use is jewelry and next largest is bullion...both of which are not really "feeding babies". There is very little use of gold in terms of practical machinery. Copper is a better conductor...just a very few electronic applications where you need the tarnish resistance of gold. I seriously felt that I would have served society better by helping a coal least it keeps people warm.

    You would have love the chemE aspect of gold mining though. All kinds of acids, bases, pumps, pressure vessels. And all the fancy alloys (hasteloy, inconel, etc.) because of corrosion concerns.

    Actually even oil refining is a much more chemE field than petroleum engineering. Lots of high temp and high pressure and PIDs and mass/energy balances and separations and the like. Upstream is sort of mechanically crude (pun intended) if you think about it in comparison.

    Although perhaps comparing a specialized complex type of ore refining (Au POX plant) to upstream oil and gas is unfair. Since the POX was really sort of "downstream"...and less advanced than an oil refinery. And the "upstream" for gold mining, open pit, was just explosives and loaders and dump trucks!

    1. Thank you, Besselfunctionlvr for your interesting comment. In 1983, I was the last of the 11 PhD researchers Shell hired into the famous Bellaire Research Lab. All were chemical engineers and all were clueless about petroleum engineering. Shell hired Professors Larry Lake and Gary Pope to give us a two-week crash course in PE. They still recall the mathematics- and physics-related hell we gave them. The young arrogant folks we were. Larry became my friend right then. Exxon, I am told, also hires mostly ChemEs. I would also suggest that the major oil companies hire physicists, chemists and environmental engineers. The living Earth must enter the picture.

    2. For some reason, the graphic made me think of Greenwood and Earnshaw Chemistry of the Elements. Very affordable and awesome overview of all chemicals, with lots of emphasis on sources, uses, industry aspects.

  2. Very good post! There is not much new here to me, but I appreciate a well done summary of the human predicament. We are well into massive overshoot and there is nothing left but a big die-off.

    My hope is that industrial civilization collapses the day after Hanford and other nuclear waste sites, nuclear warheads and nuclear power plants are secured. I believe that is the now the best option for preserving as much of earth's habitat as possible and therefore our potential for living here for a million or so more years. My hope may be misplaced, but I'm an optimist.

    1. Well, Joe, IMO humans will proceed along the current destructive path, disregarding all warning signs that abound. Our genetic wiring rules!

  3. The turbine collapse happened near here on the 28th/29th Sept., 2021 : Haltern am See is a town and a municipality in the district of Recklinghausen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on the Lippe and the Wesel–Datteln Canal, approx. 15 kilometres north of Recklinghausen. The town is about 80 kilometres north of Düsseldorf. . Just saying...Followed your thoughts for a while, always very much appreciated!

    1. I stand corrected about the location (so is my source). There are other collapses of the tallest GE turbines. They are no so huge that their wings and the vertical pedestal columns are subject to stress-related failures cued by strong winds

  4. Now you can also confess how sorry you are taking the covid poison inoculations

    1. Dear E.P.,
      I am a life-long scientist, closely connected with medical researchers at UCSF, likely the most prominent research university in the US. I cannot change your world view, but let me tell you that there is good statistical evidence that these vaccines work for at least 6-8 months. Then they dissipate. If your are young and healthy, and had a short bout of Covid, you are fine. No need to vaccinate. Otherwise, you might suffer from long Covid for the rest of your life or have a chat with St. Peter. I am in the "otherwise" category, and will not take chances. So let's agree to disagree.

  5. Yeah ! You have a chat with all the people with the vaccine injuries . And the myocarditis and the cancers and the deaths . Oh you can't talk to the dead only st peter can .That helps the genocide crowd mr Mengele fauccy and the likes .

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Dear EP, You cannot get cancer in one year from taking a vaccine. Cancer does not work this way.

      You are listening to cynical propaganda calculated to stir your anger and keep you seething mad and unreceptive to logic and science. Notice that the very propagandists you listen to do not believe a word in what they lob at you. The released private emails among all Fox News top propagandists show it in detail.

      Myocarditis is mostly viral, but sometimes bacterial and parasitic in nature. It is caused by Enterovirus (Coxsackie B) and adenovirus (most common), Influenza A and B, Hepatitis B, Beta-hemolytic streptococcus, Mycoplasma, Mumps, CMV (Cytomegalovirus in immune suppressed), Toxoplasma (lymphoma, HIV patients), Chagas (most common worldwide, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma Cruzi), Trichinosis (roundworm, transmitted by eating undercooked pork), Diphtheria (upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae in unvaccinated people), Lyme disease (ticks, caused by spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi), and COVID-19. Myocarditis attacks mostly unhealthy, unvaccinated and immuno-compromised people. A sick drug addict or an old cancer patient are good candidates.

      Myocarditis is NOT caused by vaccines. You see, if you directed your anger at the people who prevent millions of Americans from getting rudimentary medical care, you’d actually do something good for your family and friends. Instead, you rename Dr. Anthony Fauci -- a prominent epidemiologist, who finally helped to control the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. -- as Dr. Mengele.

      I was born and raised in Poland, a country that suffered the most severe losses during WWII. Imagine 56 million Americans murdered in 5 years of the German Nazi and Soviet oppression. My family lost two members executed by Germans and two executed by Russians. So please do not dare to call Dr. Fauci Mengele.

      Dr. Joseph Rudolf Mengele performed deadly experiments on prisoners at the Auschwitz II (Birkenau) concentration camp, where he was a member of the team of doctors who selected victims to be killed in the gas chambers, and was one of the doctors who administered the gas.

      If you could visit Auschwitz, you’d see what I saw there several times, and it is simply unspeakable. Mountains of human hair, glass frames, dentures, and clothing are all what is left from the millions that were murdered there. Almost anyone I knew in Poland lost someone in Auschwitz.

      When visiting his young subjects (preferably twins like my grandchildren) , Mengele introduced himself as "Uncle Mengele" and offered them sweets, while at the same time being personally responsible for the deaths of an unknown number of victims whom he killed via lethal injection, shootings, beatings, and his deadly experiments. Mengele was a sadist, lacked empathy, and was extremely anti-Semitic, believing the Jews should be eliminated as an inferior and dangerous race.

      So please do not dare call anyone in the US “Dr. Mengele,” because you simply do not know what you are talking about and you were completely brainwashed by the cruel and cynical people. Our country may still fall apart, and then just the rich propagandists will have great medical care. But not you nor I.

    3. Come on now Tad, you know that there are many kinds of cancering. Some take decades and some only take months. It is an autoimmune issue.

      As for your heading on this post, are you an Ecologist, I am just looking for a little clarification?

      I wish more research had been done by Alstom & GE on the potential for wind turbines to kill bats.

    4. Well, Duncan, the causes of cancer are many as we all know, and tumor growth and virulence vary greatly. Age is the main enabler of cancer, because the continuous cell mutations everywhere (my colon is a great example) are not suppressed as well in older people. The mutated cells signal their mutagens through the complex metabolic processes at cell membrane level, and infect other tissues. One can predict with an almost 100% certainty that everyone must die of cancer, unless something else kills that person earlier. My low-level lymphoma has mutated to a virulent one after chemotherapy. I am not sure how much longer my CAR T will keep me alive. That's life and death when you are 71 yeas of age. Cheers!

    5. Advice from this site I have found beneficial over recent years -

      Am I correct in thinking eggs and chicken are something you have grown up with since childhood? They are hard habits to break & I think there production in the US is nothing like your childhood fare.

      On the COVID front there is something else that norman Fenton was working on that has come to fruition - .

      I have to wonder how much the UK statistics have been quoted in the US as a valid data set?
      To justify policy.

      Unfortunately the ONS has re-released it's data in an even worse state than before and have not addressed the pertinent points. Norman will appeal again but it seems that things like this can be kicked down the road, almost indefinitely.

    6. Just one more link that is in its early stages regarding "the science" -

  6. Yes please consult real data and should apologize to everyone who stud .up and resisted authoritarian dictatorship and despotic order of poison inoculations and with that stud op for Freedom of bodily authority you remember FREEDOM do you ?! Admit that you were dead wrong . And remove the post about "the stupid " since now we know all the people are the stupid ones including you who took the poison and did not make an informed decision for themselves will have to live with that . You also are the cause of this virus still.spreading and the future is with that poison inoculations free people who are not just free of poison bit also free in spirit in the true american way and spirit . This is the least you can do to somewhat lessen the damage you caused to yourself and others

  7. Hej i got more for you you have played in the hand of these people. Now you confess and APOLOGIZE!

  8. "Ascent of the Angry and Stupid"
    Hope dies last

  9. I went and checked your prediction model for US shale gas production (few small comments on oil article at the end, also, but no math analysis).

    Here is the analysis:

    Formation predEJ/yr predBCF/d actualBCF/d act/pred
    Barnett 0.25 0.6 1.8 3.3
    Fayetteville 0.2 0.4 1.0 2.3
    Haynesville 0.1 0.2 14.2 64.5
    Marcellus 0.3 0.7 25.8 39.1

    Apologies if hard to read, but I will comment to clarify:

    1. Formation column lists the four gas plays from your article, in order.

    2. EJ/yr lists the (eyeballed, from article graph) production rate in DEC22. Hard to read some of the tiny numbers, but the overall story is clear regardless. You have all of the formations doing under a half EJ/yr.

    3. BCF/d lists the implied predicted production rate, converted to a more familiar unit. As you can see the amounts are all under 1 BCF/d.

    [I estimated the conversion factor two different ways and it was 2.19 and 2.21. I used 2.2 for convenience.]

    4. Actual BCF/d lists the DEC22 production:

    As you can see, the lowest BCF/d was the Fayetteville at 1.0 BCF/d. The highest was the Marcellus at 26 BCF/d.

    Source: (bottom chart, click on Excel icon to download, columns B, E, G, L.)

    Note that this is dry gas (more conservative, but not a big deal with these plays). Also, only the specified formation is included. So the underlying Utica is excluded from the Marcellus and surface gas wells are excluded for all. (In contrast to the EIA DPR report, which is wet and all depths.) The EIA's source is Drilling Info, so I expect very similar in definition to your study. However, I also checked Haynesville peak (yours was eyeballed) and got one of the two conversion factors (2.21 versus 2.19). So I believe formation definition is the same.

    5. The last column is the ratio of your prediction to actual. So a 1.0 would be perfect and anything between 0.5 to 1.5 would be ballpark. However, we see the Barnett at about 3 times predicted. The Fayetteville at 2 times predicted. The Haynesville at 65(!) times predicted. And the Marcellus at 40(!) times predicted.

    That's a clear patter (4 times out of 4) of the Hubbert curve fit underpredicting performance. Note that the latter two are also the larger formations overall. So have a disproportionate effect on the total. In fact if we look at the total of the big 4, your prediction is 1.9 BCF/d, versus an actual of 42.8 BCF/d (ratio of 22.9 from actual to predicted). More than an order of magnitude off.

    Also, note that you predicted Big 4 total production to decline (radically) versus end 2015 and actually the total increased significantly (math not shown). So the direction is off. Note that directionally the Barnette and Fayetteville did decline. Not as much as you thought, but at least directionally correct. However the Haynesville and Marcellus increased very significantly. And by far dwarfed the decline from the other two, making the overall directionality different from your prediction.

    Other than that, I think leaving out the Utica doesn't make sense. I know you didn't want to do all the formations, but it's significant...more meaningful than the Fayetteville, even when you wrote your article.

    Also, the Permian was left out of your oil analysis (so we didn't get a gas estimate from it as we did for the Bakken and Eagle Ford. As you know there has been a massive amount of associated gas from the Permian. An elephant among horses! (But leaving it out of the oil analysis was also a mistake.)


    1. Dear Besselfunctionlvr,
      Thank you for this thorough and detailed comment. You are citing an approximate analysis I did quickly seven years ago. Much has changed since then with the very detailed geologic, statistical, scaling and engineering analyses we have performed. These analyses are actually optimistic because if anything they overestimate infill drilling and underestimate the impact of reservoir degassing.

      All of our papers are OPEN Access:
      1. Barnett = 24.5+4.5 Tscf,
      2. Marcellus = 180 Tscf max.,
      3. Bakken = 5 billion bbl oil + perhaps 2-6 billion bbl from extensive future drilling,
      4. Permian 484,759 vertical wells = 34 billion bbl of oil
      5. Permian horizontal wells = 54–62 billion bbl of oil and 246–285 Tscf of natural gas

      For the Bakken and Permian we have also calculated natural gas, and we have included Utica and Eagle Ford (still unpublished and unshared). We predict that the major US shale plays we modeled may together produce 260 billion boe (114 billion bbl of O&C and 146 billion boe of gas). More gas than oil. For comparison, the Saudi 2P oil reserves are 267 billion bbl.

    2. Your total Big 4 in DEC22 (from charts, eyeballing) was 1.9 BCF/d. Actual performance was 42.8 BCF/d. That's a massive difference.

      Sorry, Warsaw Block. USA wins. Miracle on ice.

  10. Please read the published open access papers. For 2023, we predict 50 bscf/day from the Permian, Marcellus and Haynesville. Here is the Haynesville paper:

    1. I've read them before. Commended you and the first author. But my point is that your earlier peaker estimates were systemically wrong. You had to adjust up.

      I think these current papers are much nicer in that they are based on efforts to estimate the resource based on area, geology and well productivity. Not Hubbert curve tracing. Doesn't mean they are infallible either. But much sounder approach than Hubbert linearization. And really similar to USGS in concept and scale. But the earlier Gaussian curves...just had a massive underprediction.

  11. Well, the Gaussians are a great statistical description of what happened in the past and what will happen with the existing wells. They are not magic or God, and cannot predict future drilling programs and expansions to new areas. These Gaussians are like a camera looking at a field or group of fields from 10 km above. Did you enjoy the fact how they inevitably arise? I have not yet published them in a journal, because I would have to make up the future Gaussians. People who deeply believe in infinite resources are emotionally disturbed by a mere notion of a Gaussian. The GEV statistics and physical scaling, geology, and geometry of new patterns can predict the future possible and likely expansions, and production. So now I know what the future Gaussians will be and can proceed with a publication.

    Our Marcellus paper lingered for almost two years and was subjected to three(!) sets of reviewers before it was released as a preprint. Look at the blue text. These is just the last round of changes requested by the reviewers. The subject is politically explosive.

  12. Great summary! Please consider the solutions offered here:

  13. Your story highlights the need for a more balanced and sustainable approach to energy production. We must continue to innovate and invest in renewable technologies, while also finding ways to minimize the environmental impact of fossil fuels.
    Freture Techno


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In the last bog , I told you how the law of mass conservation governs the large-scale behavior of Earth's households - ecosystems - that must recycle all mass on average and export only low quality heat into the cold universe.  Now, I will give you a few useful definitions of cyclic processes, sustainability, and ecosystem productivity. Let me start from stating the obvious:  We live in a spaceship we cannot leave, a gorgeous blue, white and green planet Earth that takes us for a spin around her star, the Sun, each year. But this statement is imprecise. We really live on a vanishingly thin skin of the Earth, her ecosphere .   Think of this skin as of a thin delicate membrane, teaming with life and beauty, but incredibly fragile. We trample on this membrane and poison it.  Then we act surprised when it brakes and shrivels. Practically all life on the Earth exists between two concentric spheres defined by the mean Earth surface at the radial distance from the Earth's

Ascent of the Angry and Stupid

Scientifically speaking,  stupid  people harm themselves while also harming others. In addition, stupid people are irrational and erratic, and are very dangerous to others. After discussing the destructive role of the stupid in any society whatsoever, I will focus on the delicate interplay of actions of intelligent and helpless people, who in balance make or break a functioning democracy.  Unless things change fast in the US, we can kiss our democracy goodbye for decades. If you want to see how a virulent ascent of the stupid looks up close, and what implications it has for our fight against social injustice and climate change, please watch the brilliant " Don't Look Up " movie. Unvaccinated people demonstrating in Los Angeles. There are tens of millions of the raving mad and/or angry, stupid people in the US and other developed countries. Source: New York Times , 12/25/2021. I overlapped at UC Berkeley with Professor Carlo M. Cipolla for a decade, until his death in t