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.
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.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.