Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thunder Horse Or How 1 Billion Became 5 Billion

While cruising The Oil Drum I found this article about Thunder Horse. It details in pretty plain language the reality around the development of the field. What started out as a $1B dollar development pretty quickly rose to $5B after Hurricane Dennis. All for 300K bpd of oil. And that is in the Gulf of Mexico, which is challenging, but somewhat less so than the Atlantic.

Think about this as you get excited about BP's Tiber find in the Gulf (similar environment) and Brazil's Tupi field in the Atlantic.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

Notice that every measly little find, or potential find, off the coast somewhere or underneath a mile-thick layer of dolomite, is touted like it's the next Gwahir or Cantarell. People out here do not realize how small recent finds are or how expensive it will be to tap them, and what that will mean for oil prices and the prices of everything we derive from petroleum.

There is a similar failure to grasp the reality of the situation regarding "alternatives" and "renewables". Someone mentioned using small backyard windmills to provide electricity recently, in conversation, and many people seem to imagine that we can replace the power we get from coal, nuclear, and gas fired plants with small, scattered solar and wind generators installed on people's houses. Simple arithmetic will tell you that no way no how will a rooftop solar array will provide you with your electricity in the amounts you need to power your basic needs, given minimal electric consumption, at a cost less than 10X what we currently pay ComEd, and then only intermittently, when you calculate the cost of the array and divide it by the years of its probably lifetime, which is shorter than most people think. Ad this cost does not factor in the hundreds of thousands of miles of transmission lines that will be needed in addition to what we already have, or the extreme technical difficulty of "net gridding" because of the technical complexity involved in "uploading" power from hundreds of thousands of small generators into the grid, and making it possible for the grid to handle massive additional loads at times when there is not the demand, from thousands of sources.

It's going to take a while for reality to set in among both cornucopians and greens alike, that there is no replacement for the extremely dense and concentrated fuels that have powered our technology so far.