Research Paper Assignment. Each student will work on this project individually.
Due Date: Midnight on November 24th.
As discussed in class, technocrats and scientists often model oil and gas production with time through the lens of conservation of mass, where there is
A limited amount of a particular resource in the ground that is only roughly known.
a discovery/production trend that is patterned on exponential growth, followed by exponential decline, that overall, follows a bell shaped curve, where the total area under the curve sums to the total resource estimate.
Here, we will apply this approach to three areas:
the Bakken oil field.
The Permian Basin.
All on-shore US oil from unconventional shale plays.
For each location, you will need to make projection for when you anticipate peak oil shale production will occur using this “conservation of mass” approach. For this, you need to research and assess
(1) how much extractable oil shale likely exists at these three sites as well as the associated uncertainty in this number to allow you to bound your predictions. This requires a detailed literature search using well developed, and ideally –PEER REVIEWED—studies that are scientifically rigorou (ie. not stuff on the internet that has no clear scientific basis or verification/replication ability), and
(2) develop a clear and coherent, quantitative model that assumes and fits a classic gaussian (normal) distribution for oil shale production with time at each of the three sites to ultimately estimate your peak production rate. The analysis should be clearly explained yet quantitative enough so that the reader can understand and replicate results easily.
The report should be short and concise (no more than 5 pages with figures, not including references), and include
An executive summary outlining the goal, analysis, results, and key findings (<1 page).
A brief introduction and methods section explaining the approach and assumptions. (< 1 page)
A subsection for each of the three sites explaining what references and tools you used to make your oil shale ultimate recovery estimates (~1 page).
Your quantitative results based on these estimates (1-2 pages with peak production projections).
Conclusions regarding the future of the Bakken, Permian, and in particular, a quantitatively supported estimate for the future of U.S. oil independence with oil shale. (< 1 page).
References used (as many pages as needed, using Harvard bibliography format).