August 29, 2007

Five Miles Deep

The Malthusians are always screaming that "we gonna run out of everything soon". Tain't so buddy and Petroleum is one of the things that we just keep seeming to find more and more and more in some of the most unusual places. From Wired Magazine:
Pumped Up: Chevron Drills Down 30,000 Feet to Tap Oil-Rich Gulf of Mexico
"Isn't this transcendent?" Paul Siegele shouts as he presses his nose to the window of a Bell 430 chopper hurtling through a sky thick with rain and pitchfork lightning. We're flying over the Gulf of Mexico, above some 3,500 oil production platforms, and Siegele is pointing them out with the verve of a birder here a miniature oil rig known as a monopod; over there a drill ship almost as big as the Titanic; still farther out, platforms looking like huge steel chandeliers that dropped out of the storm-shaken clouds.

Siegele has reason to be giddy. He works for Chevron, and his team is sitting on several new record-breaking discoveries in the Gulf, a region that many geologists believe may have more untapped oil reserves than any other part of the world. On this trip, the 48-year-old vice president for deepwater exploration has come to a rig called the Cajun Express to oversee final preparations before drilling begins on the company's 30-square-mile Tahiti field.

Looming like an Erector set version of Hellboy with cranes for arms, a hydraulic drill for its head, and a 200-foot derrick for a body the rig appears at once menacing and toylike. But the real spectacle is below the surface: A drill is plunging down through 4,000 feet of ocean and more than 22,000 feet of shale and sediment a syringe prodding Earth's innermost veins. That 5-mile shaft will soon give Chevron the deepest active offshore well in the Gulf. Some land drills have gone deeper, but extracting oil from below miles of freezing salt water and unyielding sediment creates a set of technical problems that far exceed those faced on terra firma.
They don't exactly say what the capacity of the Tahiti field is but the article talks about another, deeper one called Jack that is anywhere from 3 billion to 15 billion barrels of Crude Oil. This will not entirely replace our dependence on foreign oil but it will sure cut things back to a dull roar... Posted by DaveH at August 29, 2007 9:41 PM
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