SEG: Saleri says oil, gas key in new energy era

Alan Petzet
OGJ Chief Editor-Exploration

HOUSTON, Oct. 29 -- The world has entered a new energy era in which overall energy efficiency and oil recovery efficiency will improve, environmental harmony will grow, and oil, gas, and coal will continue to dominate.

That is the view of Nansen Saleri, founder, president, and chief executive officer of Quantum Reservoir Impact LLC, Houston, and a former Saudi Aramco reservoir management chief.

When considering conventional and unconventional resources, 150-250 years of liquids production remain at output levels of 50-100 million b/d, Saleri said, relying on National Petroleum Council 2007 estimates.

Global oil recovery factors long estimated at around 35% have begun growing toward 50-60% and will ultimately reach 80%, he forecast in a presentation to the Society of Exploration Geophysicists annual meeting in Houston.

The energy world is filled with unpredictability over the outcomes of recession, price volatility, geopolitics, resource nationalism, renewables, global warming, and most of all “peak oil” versus peak demand.

Geophysicists and the rest of the oil and gas industry should focus more on peak demand than on peak oil, Saleri urged.

The NPC, he noted, pegged 2005 world demand at 446 quadrillion btu (quads): 40% oil, 24% gas, 24% coal, and 9% renewables.

Saleri sees demand in 2030 at 500-722 quads, with oil supplying 20-39%, gas 20-26%, coal 20-27%, renewables 8-25%, and nuclear 5-15%. Liquids production is likely to be 75-90 million b/d, he projected.

About 61% of energy is lost in its conversion to useful form, and only 13% of reservoir barrels are converted to usable energy, Saleri said. That efficiency needs to rise to 20-30% by 2020-30.

Manpower constraints and resource bottlenecks, two industry challenges that a year ago appeared insurmountable, have practically dissolved with the natural evolution of energy markets, Saleri said. Still, seasoned professionals will extend their work careers, and oil and gas companies must attract the young to an industry they may perceive to be dying, partly by offering attractive financial incentives.

Other remaining hurdles include access to oil, access to capital, governance, carbon footprint, and alternative energy forms.

Oil must compete with other energy sources to retain its preeminence, the industry must lead rather than follow in carbon management, and supply and demand elasticity will moderate prices, Saleri said.

Contact Alan Petzet at alanp@ogjonline.com.

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