Sunday, June 07, 2009

New Light Crude Oil Found Off Brazil.

A new oil well has been discovered under 2,210 metres (6.850 feet) of water off the Brazilian coast. The new find was reported by BG Group Ltd - who are the U.K.'s third largest producer of natural gas - is 250 km from Rio de Janiro and 33 km to the northwest of the Tupi well. BG are based in my own town, Reading, and are in partnership with the Portugal based Petroleo Brasileiro SA and Galp Energia SGPS SA. Light crude has already been recovered from a drilling project that is underway already.

It is thought that Tupi is part of a larger pre-salt area which could contain 50 - 100 billion barrels of oil. It is quoted that this is enough to "supply all US needs for 7 to 13 years", but will the US get all of it and should they indeed? What about the rest of the world? Statements like this seem to me to underline the inevitable conflicts that will ensue over grabbing the world's remaining oil.

Light crude is especially precious since it is more readily refined into petrol (gasoline) than are heavier grades of oil and if this projected large quantity can be recovered it will prove a jewel, indeed. Spark ignition engines (which burn petrol) can be more easily fabricated than diesel engines which require heavier engineering and so production costs of vehicles are reduced.

Inevitably, heavier grades of oil will provide the majority of oil in the future since light crude peaked in around 2005, meaning that either new cracking technology must be implemented on a very large scale to convert heavy grades to lighter petrol fuels or future engines will be mostly of the high compression ratio, diesel, type which burn heavier hydrocarbon fractions. Since around 40% more tank-to-wheels miles are routinely extracted from diesel engines than from their spark-ignition counterpart, the latter would be the more energy efficient course of action.

Inevitably, we need to move toward energy efficiency, and not be comforted by red herrings that imply the car-profligate status quo can be maintained for much longer.

Related Reading.
"BG Finds Oil at Another Well in Brazil's Santos Basin (Update 2)," By Guy Collins and Eduard Gismatullin:


Anonymous said...

Hello Chris,
Just one article (please see below) and it's self-explanatory;

Of such stuff are dreams made. This is a region which paved over some of the best farmland in North America in the boom times of the car culture.
Best Wishes

Professor Chris Rhodes said...

Hi George,

I have been thinking this way for a while, i.e. why not retool manufacture for things we do need.

Why prop-up the car industry to make new cars that are not necessary and most can't afford, but instead make e.g. systems for local energy production?!

A good idea!



Anonymous said...

Hello Chris:
On a more optimistic note:

MONTREAL - Hydro-Québec and Ford Motor Co. are collaborating on a program to test plug-in electric cars, the two companies said Tuesday.

The auto company, along with the Electric Power Research Institute, picked Hydro as one of nine utilities to join a North America-wide demonstration and research plan for plug-in electric vehicles.

The three-year test program on the Ford Escape is designed to develop and evaluate technical approaches for integrating plug-ins into the electric grid. Hydro-Québec is the only Canadian company participating in the project.

"We have to accelerate the replacement of oil by electricity for individual transportation and public transit. The transport sector accounts for 42 per cent of Québec’s greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could be achieved through the electrification of transport in Québec, where 98 per cent of the electricity is produced from renewable sources, would be considerable. Hydro-Québec will act as a leader in this area," said Thierry Vandal, Hydro president and CEO.

Refueling costs for an average vehicle driven 18,000 kilometres per year would be $244, compared with $1,383, the Electric Power Research Institute estimates. Based in several U.S. states, the non-profit institute conducts research and development into the use of electric energy.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Anonymous said...

Here's the link, again:

Professor Chris Rhodes said...

Thanks George!

Some of the comments are interesting too... especially the one about hydrogen being so abundant in the universe.

True, but it also needs to be extracted from the other elements it is combined with... it is rarely found free for use as a fuel. That's the trouble!



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