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My Conversation With Bob Poe

danarhea

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My company has a number of rather well known people as clients, and what is great about these people are their willingness to sit down and talk awhile when they come into the office. The wife of Nobel Prize winner Charles Smalley and I spoke a few weeks ago, and she told me on the phone that he enjoys talking at length about his work to others. Hopefully, I will get a chance to talk to him soon. Another customer is Bob Poe, who is a world renowned geologist with Shlumberger. When he isnt plying his trade in Russia, Canada, and elsewhere, he is here in Houston, where he also manages his investment property. I have had a few conversations with him already, but my last one was a really good one. Here is pretty much the gist of our conversation.

I. There is no war for oil.

Fighting in Iraq may be for other reasons, but it is not for oil. We only get 3% of our oil from the Middle East. The rest of it is put up on the world market. Another interesting fact is that the world market used to be known as the spot market, and was considered to be kind of a smugglers' market 30 years ago, but times change, and this market has become legitimate. Here, various nations compete to get hold of that oil, and is one of the mechanisms that drive up the price. At the moment, China is getting a good chunk of Middle Eastern oil, as are various European nations. The United States obtains 10% of its oil from Canada, 9% from Venezuela, and 8% from Mexico, but right now only 3% from the Middle East. People who claim a war for oil need to look elsewhere for the reason. I believe the reason was a plan to make America the undisputed world power after the Soviet Empire fell. That is what PNAC is all about. However, let me state in no uncertain terms that there IS NO WAR FOR OIL. If you Democrats want to unseat the Bushneviks, you need to start being honest with your rhetoric. Otherwise, people who know the facts about the oil situation will see you as liars, no matter if they believe Bush lied us into this war or not.

II. The bad News About ANWR.

There may be oil in ANWR, according to the geological reports, but we dont know for sure. The only way to find out is to drill it and see what comes up. Based on the seismic evidence, scientists think there is enough oil for a few years, and frankly, the environmental risks are overstated. Right now, we can always drill, and if oil is found, then battle it out with the environmentalists at that time. If no oil is found, then the whole debate becomes moot. However, if we do find oil in ANWR, dont expect the lower 48 to benefit from it. Just about all oil coming out of Alaska goes to the Asian markets. Its a simple matter of economics. It is cheaper to import from Canada than transfer Alaskan oil here, and it will remain that way.

III. The Good News About Canada.

Tar sands. There are more proven reserves in Alberta in the tar sands there than in the entire Middle East. The problem with it is that these deposits are parafin based and there are no grades that can be used for gasoline. However, this oil can easily be fractured to produce those grades, but that costs extra money. The other problem is how to "mine the oil". Thats right, this oil is not drilled in the conventional sense, but is mined "open pit" style. That may give the environmentalists the willies, but the Canadian government has high standards that require the land to be restored after mining. Also, after the oil is mined from the sand, the sand is used to fill the pit back up. The tar sands are sent through a kiln, which leaches the oil from the sand, and what is left after the oil is obtained is pure white sand, the kind that is found on beaches in Cancun, Vietnam, Thailand, and other resorts. These beaches are the envy of the world. Same kind of sand would be in Alberta, except there would be no ocean.

Of course, this costs a lot of money, and until recently, because of the $30.00 / bbl cost of getting this oil out of the ground, nobody has been mining it. With the skyrocketing of oil prices, that is no longer the case. Development of the tar sands has now begun, and the oil obtained should last about 20 years or so.

IV. The Middle East

Just might be starting to run out of oil. The Saudi government no longer gives out information about its reserves, which have led many to speculate that those reserves may be running low. Would not be a problem for us, since the new oil coming from Canada should meet all our needs. However, there could be major wars between nations in the rest of the world for the oil that is left in the Middle East, as that oil begins to become scarce, as is being speculated.

V. A huge deposit right here in the USA.

Is off the coast of California, but environmentalists have made it impossible to obtain it. People just do not attempt to find reasons for anything. There used to be some platforms off the California coast, and they are still there, but almost all of them have been shut down to save California beaches. Seems that people dont like to see tar balls washing up on the beaches, but guess what? Offshore of California lies a major geologic subduction zone, where the ocean floor, containing oil, is dropping beneath the Pacific plate. That is where the tar balls are coming from, not the oil platforms. Seems that when people see tar balls, then look out into the ocean and see the platform, they then connect dots that dont really exist. This is something that needs to change. Maybe one of these days, there will be a politician who chooses to do so.

VI. Finally, the Infamous Hubbert Curve.

Yes, it is real. We are close to the point at which half the oil in the world will have been pumped out. Eventually, it will get to the point where more energy would have to be used to pump out the oil than the energy available in the oil. However, dont panic. Because of the Alberta tar sands, we will be safe for a while, but eventually, we are going to have to make the move to hydrogen. It would be better to do it today than wait for a crisis to develop in 20 years or so. The crisis will hit other parts of the world long before it hits North America, but until the oil in the tar sands, and other resources begin to run out, we will be perfectly OK, as long as we have planned well for conversion to a hydrogen-based economy. Hydrogen is cheap. It will be the infrastructure that supports it which will be expensive. Imagine converting all filling stations, distribution, and production from oil to hydrogen. This will take a Manhattan Project to accomplish, but if we take those steps now, we will be able to keep using energy as we are now, and not only that, but greenhouse gas emissions would be cut to next to nothing. That is something to really think about during the next few years, but lets not think for too long about it.
 
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surftide

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wow, first I'm impressed that you got to talk to bob Poe, second wow! but do you support the views you stated above?
 

danarhea

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surftide said:
wow, first I'm impressed that you got to talk to bob Poe, second wow! but do you support the views you stated above?
Most of the political views are my own. Bob Poe and I dont discuss politics much. I am, however, a healthy believer in free markets, as long as those markets are not being manipulated by governments, think tanks, or politically-oriented blocs, which, unfortunately, is the case today. However, if a poltiical group is wrong, he states it in no uncertain terms, hence the reference to the misplaced politics of the environmentalists. The no war for oil reference from him is not politically based, but is based on his own observations.

And you should not be impressed. I didnt get to talk to him because I am important, which I am not. He just happens to be one of our clients. Actually, he is willing to talk to just about anybody, even me - LOL. He is no snob, and is a great conversationalist.

If you are familiar with Bob Poe, you must be in oil and gas (not literally, of course - LOL). Are you?
 

surftide

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Well no, but if I am not mistaken, his name came up in a conversation at the last cx tournament. He actually seemed pretty important. Also, where do you work that he is one of your "clients".
 
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danarhea said:
My company has a number of rather well known people as clients, and what is great about these people are their willingness to sit down and talk awhile when they come into the office. The wife of Nobel Prize winner Charles Smalley and I spoke a few weeks ago, and she told me on the phone that he enjoys talking at length about his work to others. Hopefully, I will get a chance to talk to him soon. Another customer is Bob Poe, who is a world renowned geologist with Shlumberger. When he isnt plying his trade in Russia, Canada, and elsewhere, he is here in Houston, where he also manages his investment property. I have had a few conversations with him already, but my last one was a really good one. Here is pretty much the gist of our conversation.

I. There is no war for oil.

Fighting in Iraq may be for other reasons, but it is not for oil. We only get 3% of our oil from the Middle East. The rest of it is put up on the world market. Another interesting fact is that the world market used to be known as the spot market, and was considered to be kind of a smugglers' market 30 years ago, but times change, and this market has become legitimate. Here, various nations compete to get hold of that oil, and is one of the mechanisms that drive up the price. At the moment, China is getting a good chunk of Middle Eastern oil, as are various European nations. The United States obtains 10% of its oil from Canada, 9% from Venezuela, and 8% from Mexico, but right now only 3% from the Middle East. People who claim a war for oil need to look elsewhere for the reason. I believe the reason was a plan to make America the undisputed world power after the Soviet Empire fell. That is what PNAC is all about. However, let me state in no uncertain terms that there IS NO WAR FOR OIL. If you Democrats want to unseat the Bushneviks, you need to start being honest with your rhetoric. Otherwise, people who know the facts about the oil situation will see you as liars, no matter if they believe Bush lied us into this war or not.

II. The bad News About ANWR.

There may be oil in ANWR, according to the geological reports, but we dont know for sure. The only way to find out is to drill it and see what comes up. Based on the seismic evidence, scientists think there is enough oil for a few years, and frankly, the environmental risks are overstated. Right now, we can always drill, and if oil is found, then battle it out with the environmentalists at that time. If no oil is found, then the whole debate becomes moot. However, if we do find oil in ANWR, dont expect the lower 48 to benefit from it. Just about all oil coming out of Alaska goes to the Asian markets. Its a simple matter of economics. It is cheaper to import from Canada than transfer Alaskan oil here, and it will remain that way.

III. The Good News About Canada.

Tar sands. There are more proven reserves in Alberta in the tar sands there than in the entire Middle East. The problem with it is that these deposits are parafin based and there are no grades that can be used for gasoline. However, this oil can easily be fractured to produce those grades, but that costs extra money. The other problem is how to "mine the oil". Thats right, this oil is not drilled in the conventional sense, but is mined "open pit" style. That may give the environmentalists the willies, but the Canadian government has high standards that require the land to be restored after mining. Also, after the oil is mined from the sand, the sand is used to fill the pit back up. The tar sands are sent through a kiln, which leaches the oil from the sand, and what is left after the oil is obtained is pure white sand, the kind that is found on beaches in Cancun, Vietnam, Thailand, and other resorts. These beaches are the envy of the world. Same kind of sand would be in Alberta, except there would be no ocean.

Of course, this costs a lot of money, and until recently, because of the $30.00 / bbl cost of getting this oil out of the ground, nobody has been mining it. With the skyrocketing of oil prices, that is no longer the case. Development of the tar sands has now begun, and the oil obtained should last about 20 years or so.

IV. The Middle East

Just might be starting to run out of oil. The Saudi government no longer gives out information about its reserves, which have led many to speculate that those reserves may be running low. Would not be a problem for us, since the new oil coming from Canada should meet all our needs. However, there could be major wars between nations in the rest of the world for the oil that is left in the Middle East, as that oil begins to become scarce, as is being speculated.

V. A huge deposit right here in the USA.

Is off the coast of California, but environmentalists have made it impossible to obtain it. People just do not attempt to find reasons for anything. There used to be some platforms off the California coast, and they are still there, but almost all of them have been shut down to save California beaches. Seems that people dont like to see tar balls washing up on the beaches, but guess what? Offshore of California lies a major geologic subduction zone, where the ocean floor, containing oil, is dropping beneath the Pacific plate. That is where the tar balls are coming from, not the oil platforms. Seems that when people see tar balls, then look out into the ocean and see the platform, they then connect dots that dont really exist. This is something that needs to change. Maybe one of these days, there will be a politician who chooses to do so.

VI. Finally, the Infamous Hubbert Curve.

Yes, it is real. We are close to the point at which half the oil in the world will have been pumped out. Eventually, it will get to the point where more energy would have to be used to pump out the oil than the energy available in the oil. However, dont panic. Because of the Alberta tar sands, we will be safe for a while, but eventually, we are going to have to make the move to hydrogen. It would be better to do it today than wait for a crisis to develop in 20 years or so. The crisis will hit other parts of the world long before it hits North America, but until the oil in the tar sands, and other resources begin to run out, we will be perfectly OK, as long as we have planned well for conversion to a hydrogen-based economy. Hydrogen is cheap. It will be the infrastructure that supports it which will be expensive. Imagine converting all filling stations, distribution, and production from oil to hydrogen. This will take a Manhattan Project to accomplish, but if we take those steps now, we will be able to keep using energy as we are now, and not only that, but greenhouse gas emissions would be cut to next to nothing. That is something to really think about during the next few years, but lets not think for too long about it.

I agree with many of the points raised. Just a wee question? Do you know if the potential oil recovered from the California seabeds, would recouperate the initial costs to construct the oil rigs?
 

RightinNYC

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"We only get 3% of our oil from the Middle East. The rest of it is put up on the world market...The United States obtains 10% of its oil from Canada, 9% from Venezuela, and 8% from Mexico, but right now only 3% from the Middle East."

That's actually not true:

As of 2002:

Canada - 17%
Saudi Arabia - 14%
Mexico - 13%
Venezuela - 12%
Nigeria - 7%
Iraq - 4%

etc.

The numbers have shifted a little, but not down to 3%. Sources differ, but the numbers are between 15 and 25%

http://www.gravmag.com/oil.html
 
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