Texas Has Oil Past 2050 and Telling Real-Life JR Ewings to Stop Will Not Work

The US Geological Survey has performed an updated survey of the primary oil basin in Texas and doubled their estimate of technically recoverable oil and gas from 2016.

Fracking Technology Keeps Improving

They did not change how much oil they thought was in the formation. The oil in has been known for decades. We knew about the oil in Texas decades before the 1980s TV Show Dallas with JR Ewing. Texas just had so much oil that the US was drilling the easy surface oil. It was not until the early 2000s that we figured out how to frack and get the thin layer of oil.

Technically recoverable oil is impacted by improving drilling technology and methods. There is tens of billions of dollars being spent on drilling in the shale oil and gas.

Big Data and Analytics helps the drillers to know exactly where and how to drill. There are virtually no dry wells or attempts at drilling and going in the wrong spot. This massively lowers the costs.

Oil Beyond 2050

Currently, there are about 3.6 million barrels per day coming out of Wolfcamp. The new estimate of 46.8 billion barrels per day could increase by 10% and still last beyond 2050.

There is also new estimates of 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

These resources are worth over $3 trillion at todays prices and the natural gas and oil literally drive the vast majority of transportation, residential heating and industry.

The calls to just get off of fossil fuels is basically scientists flying over to Switzerland to tell the real-life JR Ewings to stop. They are making an announcement that the hundreds of millions of people driving SUVs and large pickups trucks to stop.

The calls for emergency efforts for all countries including China and India to get off fossil fuels within 20 years will also not work. This is basically telling 3-5 billion people who are struggling to get out of poverty to stay poor or become poor again.

A massive and profitable transition to batteries and clean high-density energy sources (aka factory mass produced nuclear power) could be a very large part of a solution. I have suggested that Tesla and China could work to scale this solution. In particular, making this work for large trucks is vital. Commercial trucks use about half of the oil in China. An 18-wheeler uses 40 times the oil of even an SUV.

Some JR Ewing Quotes for Those Unfamiliar with old Dallas Show

Dallas was the highest rated or a top-rated show through much of the 1980s. JR was played a stereotypical wealthy oil man. He was a ruthless businessman. He would use bribery and blackmail to get his way and appears heartless much of the time. Think Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones in Texas as a rich businessman. Tywin and JR both have the best lines. The Southfork Ranch is kind like a mix of King’s Landing and Casterly Rock.

Once you get rid of integrity, the rest is a piece of cake.
Like my daddy always said, where there’s a way, there’s a will.
All that matters is winning.
There’s nothing like the smell of money to get the relatives out of the woodwork.
I’m J.R. Ewing, I don’t get ulcers, I give ’em!

How Might Some of the Arguments and Demands for Oilmen to Change Play Out

Have you looked at the scientific data? Our climate models have been updated since our 2011 report.
Are you anti-science? All I am asking you to do is give up your billions to prevent the world from being warming in 2100.
What about the world of your great grandchildren?
Can you stop counting your money and listen to me.

Response – Bubba. I want you to release the hounds and then ride these hippies past the South Forty. Move them past the 1000 head of cattle. Run over their signs with trucks. Don’t let past the razorwire again.

Yelling in the distance. We are going to come back with more data and another report. Then you will be sorry.

Yes, JR Ewing was fictional.

Would there be a better reception from Rae Lee Hunt. The Hunts were the real-life inspiration for the Ewings.
Would there be a better reception from billionaire Pipeline owner Rich Kinder?
Would there be a better reception from Jerry Jones (made money in oil and gas and owns the Dallas Cowboys)?

How about outside of Texas?
Oil Billionaire Harold Hamm of Continental Resources with oil and gas in North Dakota and Montana make different decisions?

Natural Gas is the Current at Scale Transition Fuel

Natural gas can have half of the emissions of coal. Coal is still a primary global fuel source. The caveat is that we have keep pipeline and other systemic leaks of natural gas below 1-2%. At 1% leaking the natural gas is still better than coal for the environment. At 2% and above the natural is not any better and can be worse than coal.

US emissions have decreased over the last 15 years because the vast increase in natural gas has allowed a large shift from coal to natural gas. Even in the first year of the Trump Presidency, US CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions went down by 2.7%. All of the other major countries had increased emissions from 2016 to 2017. All of “good” countries who signed the Paris Agreement had increased emissions. The US pulled out of the Paris Agreement under President Trump and increased oil and gas production.

New Tanks Built to Separate Light from Heavier Fuel Grades

Giant new tanks have been built in Texas which allows 100,000 barrels per day of more expensive light crude oil to be separated and sold. This helps the real-life JR Ewings make more money.

Technology Transitions

We did not transition from VHS tapes to DVDs to Streaming because the leading companies saw the light and made the switch. Blockbuster did not lead the way. Blockbuster was put out of business.

RedBox made DVD rentals work.

Netflix savaged the DVD industry with the dominance of streaming.

If you want new energy and industry, then that new technology has to grow more profitable than oil, gas and coal. It has to be more abundant and more profitable. Saying that the world economy will shrink is again going against reality.

The world will end up at 2050 with most in Asia between South America and mid-level European levels of wealth. If this means that China will need massive factories building all of the air conditioners the world will need then that is what will happen. This is already happening.

If You Try to Force the Other Guy to Sacrifice Then You Get the French Riots

Any global or national plan that is proposed for clean energy and industry has to work better than the current one in nearly every way. Plans that involve a lot of sacrifice are dead on arrival. You can see it in the riots in France now. It is fine to say the other guys will sacrifice, but in practice the other guy will fight as hard as they can not to sacrifice.

35 thoughts on “Texas Has Oil Past 2050 and Telling Real-Life JR Ewings to Stop Will Not Work”

  1. You misunderstand the point: People claiming a problem is serious don’t get taken seriously if they themselves don’t take it seriously.

    I’m not saying that if we’re looking at genuinely serious problem ending air travel is rational. I’m saying deciding to fly to distant destinations to discuss the ‘problem’ instead of teleconferencing suggests the people discussing the ‘problem’ don’t take it seriously themselves. It’s like discussing your weight problem over a 4000 calorie meal.

    That it’s a scam. And enough people have become wealthy off of carbon credit schemes, (Classically, Al Gore.) that it sure looks like a scam.

  2. The aviation industry represent ~2% of the co2 that is released every year.
    There is currently no viable alternative for the 2% of the problem, but there are tons of options for the remaining ~98%.

    It takes a very special mind to reason that there is no need to address the 98% problem because people still participate in the 2%.

    No, there is no need to cripple half the world by shutting down the aviation industry and reverting to clipper ships to move freight and people around the world. Convincing people that don’t matter does not fix the problem, you’re free to continue to believe whatever fantasies makes you feel the best.

  3. Saying ‘drill, baby, drill’ and being laughed at by elitists who were proven completely wrong while she was vindicated makes her a ‘fool’ in your book?

    Change your NBF forum name to JoeBiden, why don’t you? You know, truth in advertising and all that.

  4. No, they laughed at her because she was and is a fool … and if you read the news in the years since, its genetic.

  5. Hey Brian,

    I’ve been seeing all this guff lately on the internet about how all merchant marine vessels worldwide are required to start using low-sulfur diesel fuel starting in 2020. The gist of all this is: There’s not enough of such oil refined worldwide and that prices for such diesel could skyrocket. Thereafter, the usual doom and gloom scenarios that are suspiciously like those of the Peak Oil folks before are bantyed about: No fuel for tractors so farmers will cut back on production, etc, etc.

    Have you seen any of this? If so, is it worth an article about on NBF?

    Here is a link to one of them. How shortages of diesel fuel will cause a $200/barrel price for crude oil is beyond me. It is the refined fuel that may be in short supply, not the oil used as the refinery’s feedstock to make said fuel.

    But that is what this guy is pushing in this ‘white paper’.


  6. I think Biden said the same thing in a VP debate with Sarah Palin. The ‘betters’ in the media laughed at Palin when she said, “drill, baby, drill”.

    What a bunch of elitist fools.

  7. Thanks Brian. This one is definitely one of your best of recent articles.

    I remember a week or so ago someone in the forums quoted some Peak Oil guy about how we will run out of frackable oil by 2025 or so. I just responded with a terse “That is just BS” reply.

    Your article here is the long, more detailed version of said reply.

    And we have BARELY fracked the oil the US has discovered, too.

    EVs might take over someday. But ICEs will put up a fight of their own. Basically, I think that they will live on as the power generation module of mature hybrid vehicles. Basically, EVs with the full electric drivetrain but with a small, continous cycle ICE genny to provide the juice for the batteries or direct into the propulsion. They will be plug-in for direct charging too.

    And as for the War on the Normals, yeah…the French version of the Tea Party has always been more violent than in America. The French build guillotines for crying out loud.

    Macron’s public approval rating is 18%, too. Worse than that of the US Congress, I believe. way, way worse than Trump’s.

    Yet the Elites still are clueless.

    The Global Warming Fraud is reaching a peak, finally. It will definitely collapse when the effects of the upcoming little ice age hits us starting in 2020. I predict the backlash against the scientific establishment will be particularly harsh, with widespread funding cuts that will impact even science that isn’t involved in global warming ‘research’.

  8. Because the copyright holders rightly understood that streaming would kill their lucrative DVD sales revenue.

    But yes streaming was inevitable.

  9. USA’s oil bonanza is causing no end grief to US haters and energy despot totalitarians.

    Couldn’t happen to more deserving people.

  10. “The calls to just get off of fossil fuels is basically scientists flying over to Switzerland to tell the real-life JR Ewings to stop.”

    Key point here: They FLEW over to Switzerland. As the blogger Instapundit likes to say, “I’ll believe it’s an emergency when they start acting like THEY believe it’s an emergency.” They want to be believed, they might start holding their conferences by teleconference, instead of flying to exotic vacation destinations to hold them.

  11. USA’s oil bonanza is causing no end grief to US haters and energy despot totalitarians.

    I worry about them, they seem to be cracking under the pressure and about to call for a rebellion of the sensitive, mild mannered liberals against those that keep them warm and fed.

  12. For the record my overall contribution to humanity is vastly carbon negative- more than you can possibly imagine.

  13. Lowering the demand for oil will lower the production. It cost money to produce and refine oil. So going to EV and pluggable hybrids will lower oil demand. Fracking is one of the most expensive way to produce oil. Oil goes under $60 a barrel and they stop drilling new well.

  14. There will always be producible oil in Texas. It’s just a matter of whether it will be economic to produce it. Of course, the cost to use petroleum is a factor too. Produce it, get it to a refinery, refine it, move it by ship, or pipeline to a terminal which could be thousands of miles distant, get it to the distributor(gas station, or fuel oil dealer), and in the case of fuel oil, deliver it to a home for heating. All this transportation, and change of ownership is expensive. Compare that to converting sunlight to electrical power in my PV array, moving it to my static battery bank, or directly to my car’s batteries, and then using it.
    Eventually, petroleum will be replaced as an energy source by cheaper options. Also, at least for electricity, the devices to use it are cheaper, and more reliable. Consider the difference between a V-8 gasoline engine, and a polyphase electric motor, and the inverter that drives it, of equal peak shaft horsepower. Consider the cost of a fuel oil furnace, compared to electric heaters of equal BTUh, and the maintenance required of each.

  15. Except THEY like all progressives lived off the backs of those who actually produced that wealth. Somehow I do not see Musk or Bezos, building that utopia for you. It will be THEIR trillions and they will do what their customers want not what mathematically challenged elites want.

  16. You want a good fix?
    Convert natural gas and coal into hydrogen, carbon black and carbon monoxide for power generation and chemical production. When you have saturated the carbon black, graphene and carbon nanoturbe markets ship the excess carbon black to above surface carbon fired power plants using oxycombustion to burn the carbon and pump LCO2 down EGS geothernal wells to produce geothermal power. We do not BURN enough coal or methane in the u.s. from fixed sites to produce all of the geothermal power in the u.s. we could produce if geothermal drilling was half as advanced as oil and gas driller were. The U.S. is the ONLY country that met Kyota and is the ONLY country that is remotely likely to meet the Paris agreement levels. So instead of trying to destroy peoples lives with your fixation on free shit how about focusing on improving peoples lives in a way they will support. Making electricity so cheap that it is effectively unmetered would go a LONG way towards building support for economically sound environmental policies.

  17. How about focusing on doing something constructive like carbon sequestration to undo the damage from the dust bowl during the great depression. Just doing that alone would sequester hundreds of years of carbon emissions.

  18. Actually I would rather have a ban on crude oil exports and subsidize the construction of oil refineries. The return on tax dollars from oil refineries is such at we could subsidize 100% of their construction and operational costs as long as we insured their was no price inflation from the subsidy and still come out ahead revenue wise. So as long as the subsidy is such that the companies have skin in the game it would be the equivalent of free money for the federal government. Which is what we WILL do once the government realizes we are an exporting nation with the power to remove our competition from the game board militarily. Governments are at best amoral and at worst truly evil and will do whatever increases their power.

  19. ” If You Try to Force the Other Guy to Sacrifice Then You Get the French Riots ”

    As well “You” should.

  20. Actually, Blockbuster tried to do an early version of streaming but were denied permission from copyright holders. Napster fixed the copy right holders.

  21. And it’s time for this graph again. Which proved (unless you were a science denier) that by 2018 we’d be digging through burned out cities hoping to find old tins of dog food.
    Never forget, because they keep trying the same old thing.

  22. Since when was stopping oil from flowing the cure to AGW?
    People are irrational and lazy, they will do whatever is convenient and cheap.
    Any co2 free solution needs to be as convenient and cheap or better than fossil fuel or bust.

    I personally think it’s a waste of time and effort to try and bring along the idiot masses, just leave them to their own devices.

    An Elysium solution is starting to look good everyday.

  23. Good to know we can all just kick back, put the pedal to the metal and burn gas to our hearts content… never mind all that Save the Planet 4.5ppm carbon threshold apocalyptic doomsday end-of-the-world snowflake nonsense. Buy the biggest urban assault vehicle you can find, put on your sUV shades & head for the nearest Walmart. We’re good to go!

  24. Its the combination of:

    • federal deregulation of fracking
    • ability in the US for private business to have mineral rights
    • private business doin’ the ol’ capitalist thing
    • big data to figure out where to drill
    • horizontal drilling to precisely drill where you are supposed to drill
    • fracking to frack what you just drilled
    • federal legislation (thanks Paul Ryan!) that allowed domestic oil to be sold overseas
    • low interest rates while this was all getting off the ground
    • freedom to go under if you mismanage your company but for the drilled wells to be sold
  25. Hydraulic fracturing is seven decades in use. The organized opposition to petroleum use popularized the derogatory term “Fracking.” This however is not the technology that made the major contribution toward shale processing.

    The technology developed by national labs in New Mexico back in the 1980’s became known as directional drilling. This is the contribution that enabled drilling a multi-mile long bore through a horizontal seam of the shale pay-zone, which held the oil. Staged fracturing throughout the length of this drilled formation liberates the gas and oil from the rock.

    Without the horizontal drilling made possible with a controllable directional head, tapping into a shale seam would be very difficult. The fracturing process only works if done in the correct location.

  26. Worth pointing out I bought a 29 MPG V6 instead of a 38 MPG 4 cylinder years ago because I knew that oil prices were never going up again. Short of a war or short of temporary shocks as oil states go under it isn’t happening.

  27. I’m old enough to remember when President Obama said “You know, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices”.

    Good thing the people who actually get stuff done didn’t listen to him.

Comments are closed.