[FoRK] Concrete results

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Jun 17 01:52:12 PDT 2013

On Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 11:34:32AM -0500, mdw at martinwills.com wrote:
> > On Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 03:08:33PM -0700, Joseph S. Barrera III wrote:
> >> We could do so much better than simply bolting on a (literally)
> >> ancient recipe.
> >
> > Yes, see geopolymers.
> >
> >> Why aren't the concrete manufacturers trying to innovate based on
> >> modern experiments instead of looking back at the ancients?
> >
> > Because energy is still too cheap. Fracking methane will be
> > largely over by 2020, so expect renewed interest in low-energy
> > geopolymers then.
> >
> >> I guess not every industry yet is information-driven. Oil is, of
> >> course, but evidently concrete is not.
> >
> > Oil is not really information-driven, the peak 2006 has hit them
> > cold. Peak total fossil and total nuclear fissible is 2020, almost
> > nobody is aware of that yet.
> The oil statement is incorrect.  Since hitting a bottom in mid-2005, total
> annual energy production in the U.S. has grown 10%... from 62.6 trillion

I'm not talking about the US, but the world. Unconventional oil
doesn't even register on the global graph, and unconventional liquids
and gases numbers demonstrate a noticeable increase at drilling
rate at flat (and net energy declining) volume.

> cubic feet equivalent (tcfe) to more than 69 tcfe. Oil production in the

This is incorrect. The volume in the US has grown, the net energy
content has declined, so net energy is flat. Net energy cliff is
supposed to have started in 2012 (this is one of the numbers
that are difficult to compute, but are quite visible well after
the fact.

In general the dropping EROEI at increasing costs and simultaneous
demand destruction indicates that unconventional oil/gas story will
be over by 2020, and possibly very suddenly. That is a very bad thing.

> lower 48 states is up 60% and dry gas production is up 35% over the past 8
> years. These increases are on a scale that hasn't been seen in more than
> 50 years.
> The U.S. Geological Survey estimated in 1994 that the recoverable amount
> of oil and gas in the North Dakota's Bakken Shale formation TOTALED 151
> million barrels. TODAY, 15 years later, producers in the Bakken are
> extracting 255 million barrels EACH YEAR -- about 100 million more barrels
> annually than were supposed to be in the entire basin.
> Today the Bakken has at least 24,000,000,000 barrels of recoverable oil

Not recoverable. Anything below EROEI 5:1 is not a net source of
energy, though even negative net energy sources can be mined if
de novo synthesis is more expensive/unavailable -- this is however
teotwawki country.

> discovered so far.
> Peak Oil's main flaw was that it assumed recovery methods would forever be
> limited to extracting 10% of the oil contained in a conventional
> reservoir. But as technology improves, most knowledgeable industry experts

Improvement in technology have not managed to arrest further decline
of EROEI. I recommend watch the financial reports of fracking gas
and oil fields. 

> predict that ultimate recovery rates will exceed 40%. So even if there are

The annual decline rate of unconventional well is 40%.

> never any additional oil reserves discovered, we might still only be
> halfway toward Peak Oil. (This is also assuming WE NEVER GO BACK and

I expect that roughly half of all known and to be discovered reserves
are unrecoverable. The point of Peak Oil is not that there's no hydrocarbons
left in the ground, just that they're not recoverable as net sources
of energy/not cost-effective (demand destruction).

> recover the previously unavailable oil in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and
> California reservoirs).
> Finally, the U.S. has a massive glut of natural gas. This excess supply is

And the idiots are exporting it! Which means that they're setting
themselves up for a sudden, massive unavailability of a resource by 2020
they've been taking for granted. 

> the result of the over investment in exploration and production from the
> previous decade. Even though drilling for natural gas has all but stopped

The drilling activity has increased dramatically. The yield/well has
fallen, equally dramatically.

> in the U.S., supply hasn't fallen. In February 2012 the U.S. produced 2.37
> tcf (trillion cubic feet) of gas. One year later, February 2013, the U.S.
> produced 2.32 tcf. Today U.S. gas prices are less than $4.00 per mcf.  The
> rest of the industrialized world is paying around $10.00 per mcf.

I realize that many educated, well-informed people think like you
(the rest don't think at all), which indicates that we're pretty
much fucked.

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