World economies, particularly the transportation sector, run on oil. No other energy source comes close to matching the efficiency, economy and convenience of petroleum-derived fuels. The brightest minds agree (sometimes grudgingly) that both demand and supply for oil will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Long-term projections (e.g. USGS, IEA, EIA), show the world’s light oil production peaking in two decades. But, the world has much more unconventional than conventional hydrocarbon resources in the form of heavy oil, tar sands, oil shale, coal-bed methane, gas in ultra-tight formations and natural gas hydrates. Some of these are already commercial, while other may never reach that status. A few will enjoy an explosion of activity in mid-21st century, when conventional oil production declines, demand for liquid hydrocarbons continues unabated and oil price levels can support alternative recovery schemes. The world is endowed with huge resources of heavy oil and tar sands. Immeasurable quantities of natural gas are locked in very tight formations, coalbeds, and particularly in the currently inaccessible natural gas hydrates. Some of today’s uneconomic processes will become a staple of tomorrow’s world economy. Discussion will include promising new technologies such as direct conversion of (stranded) natural gas to transportation fuels and easy shipment from remote locations to markets. LNG is already hot, with $28-30 billion in LNG projects currently under construction and 54 new tankers on order, some much larger than the old variety. An exciting long-range possibility (speculation?) is the production of gas from natural gas hydrates -- an enormous resource that far exceeds that of conventional natural gas. Extra heavy oil (Orimulsion) already competes with coal for electric power generation. The only counterpoint to this seemingly optimistic scenario is the ever-increasing public concern about the environment and the perceived issue of global climate change from carbon dioxide emissions. Technical, economic and political impediments may all be equally intractable. The presentation includes discussion of sustainable issues affecting the oil industry, such as activities that involve sequestration of greenhouse gases in depleted reservoirs (often with oil or gas production as a byproduct). The global warming issue is briefly illuminated with historical background of Earth’s many interglacial episodes and sharp temperature oscillations.
Dr. Stosur managed the upstream oil and gas R&D program at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He was responsible for DOE-sponsored research conducted at several universities, National Laboratories, the National Petroleum Technology Office, several joint research projects with other countries and a program with the International Energy Agency. His private sector experiences include Chevron and Shell Oil Companies. There, he focused on petrophysics, R&D of EOR processes, heavy oil production problems and gas production from ultra-low permeability formations. George served as an SPE Section Director, three-times SPE Distinguished Lecturer and currently serves as a guest speaker for several cruise lines. He authored 86 papers and two textbook chapters on oil recovery. He holds two M.S. degrees and a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering.
Katherine Wallgren, Forum Chairperson, Katherine_Wallgren@oxy.com