Clean Power

Published on June 10th, 2016 | by Susan Kraemer

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Why Saudi Arabia Really Can Get To 9 GW Renewables Now

June 10th, 2016 by  

Shams-1-engineer

On May 7, 2016, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud announced the most comprehensive change in Saudi ministries in decades and a revamped 9 GW by 2023 clean energy target laid out by deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, in the “Saudi Arabia Vision 2030” policy paper.

After the Kingdom’s complete non-execution on its previously announced 54 GW goal, some in the renewable world might be inclined to take this new announcement with a grain of salt.

But according to Oxford University’s Middle East Energy Expert Justin Dargin – who had been very skeptical at the time of the earlier announcement – new realities make this time completely different.

Dargin told CleanTechnica that he believes that the “more rational” new target can and will be met.

Due to some massive internal restructuring, he explained, “this is not the Saudi Arabia of even just a few years ago.”

Saudi Arabia’s previous 2011 announcement, to the excitement of the renewable world, would have seen 54 GW of renewable energy by 2032 supply a third of the Kingdom’s electricity. But only 25 MW of that goal was deployed in the six years since the announcement in 2011.

Dargin proved to be correct. So what has changed, and why is this time likely to succeed?

“The ruling family has made a change in the governing structure to eliminate infighting amongst multiple ministries that had prevented action. Ministers who were dragging their feet on implementing the renewable energy goal have been ousted,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia has made a major shakeup so that it is now well placed to devote more attention and political will to meet its solar energy goals,” he explained. “The Kingdom is now serious about pursuing its solar energy targets.”

One of the key problems in Saudi Arabia has long been an extremely conservative culture of obeisance to the Royal Families who decide the direction of a Kingdom which still doesn’t allow movie cinemas or allow women to drive. There is real concern with losing face and reputation, so that everyone is afraid of bearing any bad news.

With its rulers so shielded from reality and short of direct honest feedback, the Kingdom had tended to have limited ability to develop and innovate.

As this applies even more to any new technology like solar, this psychology could have greatly limited the Kingdom’s ability to switch from an oil-based economy to solar.

So there were good reasons to be skeptical. Saudi Arabia was in no way a country known for any renewable energy development expertise. It barely registered in the renewable world.

But that is changing. Dargin had said previously that for change to happen, it has to be initiated from the top. With the new embrace of renewables coming directly from the son of King Salman, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, change is possible.

Bin Salman’s new “more rational” goal has a lower bar, but it must be met much sooner, and lays out a method for getting there, using a series of competitive auctions. And it is still a sweeping change. If projects from the first round of bids are completed by 2018, it would take an average deployment of 1,600 MW of new capacity each year for 6 years.

Dargin pointed out that 9 GW is just the initial step of a multi-decade switch. But changes are making the time right for a clean energy switch now.

1.There is now a precedent for effective solar policy in the Arabian Gulf.

The first Gulf country to use competitive auctions, the UAE’s Dubai, has been breaking solar price records with bids to build each 200 MW phase of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

Last year, ACWA Power bid under 6 cents unsubsidized. This year, Masdar bid under 3 cents.

These are not only the lowest solar prices in the world, but on a par with prices for gas-fired power in the UAE, and lower than the prices for coal.

The low prices are partly the result of competitive auctions. Saudi Arabia could follow Dubai’s example of auctions rather than the initially high feed-in tariffs that eventually wound up destabilizing the solar industry in Germany and Spain, as subsequent governments yanked them out.

“If the Kingdom follows the path of Dubai in a competitive bidding process, with a flexible framework, then it is likely to reach these low solar energy prices as well,” Dargin said.

2. Saudi firms are now among leading regional developers.

masdar-clean-energy-director-shams-1-managers
Already, firms based in Saudi Arabia have been among the winning consortia to bid in both phases of the Dubai project for DEWA, Dubai’s Energy and Water Authority.

This year, it is a Saudi firm, Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ), in a consortium with French solar developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and Masdar, that offered the lowest bids for Phase III at Dubai – breaking global solar records with the world’s-lowest-ever 2.99 cents.

(ALJ had bought FRV in 2015, bringing solar development experience to a Saudi firm.)

Last year, it was another Saudi-based firm, ACWA Power, that broke world records in Dubai for Phase II of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with 2015’s lowest unsubsidized price for PV at 5.85 cents per kWh.

“ACWA Power have built up a solid business model and that allows them to access capital at attractive rates,” Steven Geiger, a former founding director of Masdar, told CleanTechnica.

“They are very aggressive and very driven, and they realize they want to own this game and Paddy [Padmanathan] is a very impressive leader,” said Geiger, who is now a partner at the US investment firm Innova Partners.

3. Solar in the Gulf is getting the same favorable finance rates as oil.

End of oil

According to both Geiger and Dargin, these kinds of prices are possible in part because finance rates for the solar industry in Saudi Arabia are closing on parity with oil industry finance rates. The ruling families in the region have now begun to provide the same kinds of rates to finance solar and wind projects as they already offer the oil and gas industry.

“In the Gulf region, the oil sector is dominated by state-owned national oil companies. Banks have a low project finance rate for various oil, gas and petrochemical projects throughout the region. There is strong state support for energy project development,” explained Dargin. “The same low cost financing is developing in the solar energy sector as well. What we have witnessed as a result in Dubai, is the record setting solar price below coal power generation.”

Some may see financial support of energy infrastructure by Middle East ruling monarchies as a little creepy, but even in democracies, government support has helped build new energy industries. Coal in the 1700s through the 21st century, oil from the 19th-21st century, and nuclear in the mid-twentieth century. all had government help.

Government help makes sense economically, even more so now that we are dealing with energy sources like wind and solar with no ongoing fuel cost. When a government supports capital-intensive, but fuel-free, energy at low interest rates this results in cheaper electricity over the long term.

For example, the US Treasury lent the money to build the government-owned Hoover Dam in 1935, at 3% interest to the Bureau of Reclamation, the owner. It took 50 years to pay back, at a very low few cents on electric bills, spread among 20 million utility customers.

This initially high capital cost project has provided the cheapest electricity in many utility districts across the Southwest US for the last 50 years.

4. Finally, it is clear that the end of oil is nigh.

Saudi Arabia is in deep trouble financially, as a result of its complete dependence on oil prices. It is a race to the bottom for the global oil industry. This week, OPEC failed to reach an agreement in Vienna not to flood the market with oil. As hedges against below-cost oil prices are now beginning to time out, banks are pulling out.

By mid-2015, it has been a race to get the last dollars out fast, and to recoup at least existing exploration and development investments. Rock-bottom pricing would mean the Kingdom held on to market share as prices crashed, even though with the true production cost to produce a barrel of oil at near $50, they are merely liquidating inventory.

Even the Financial Times, which is very focused on the fossil industry, points out in The long twilight of the big oil companies, that fossil fuel producers face a future of slow and steady decline.

When Saudi announced its initial goal in 2011, its grid had a 50 GW demand. That has been rising 8% a year, and continues to do so. Saudi Arabia is completely dependent on oil from its oilfields to burn for electricity, about half derived from flared gas and the remainder from diesel, crude oil, and heavy fuel oil.

The writing is now clearly on the wall, in a way it wasn’t back in 2011 when the Kingdom floated its first ambitious but distant solar goals.

“Saudi Arabia is under much greater financial pressure to actually do something,” said Geiger. “They need to build real diversification across all industries, and unfortunately, they have a real short timeframe to do that.”

Images: Cleantechnica Pics and Abhisek Sarda via Flikr 





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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Mike Shurtleff

    I’m aware of the Saudi terrorism export problem, although thank you for the additional information.
    1. Iran and Shiites are also supporting terrorism organizations.
    2. I think the Saudis do have to worry about blow back.
    3. I think we (the USA) should not be fighting against guerillas in the ME. That’s how the British lost to US in our war for independence. Are we that arrogant and stupid now?

    It is no longer 9/11/2001. We no longer need oil from the Middle East. The World no longer needs oil from the ME. Wind, Solar PV, and EVs can now do the job. The USA should spend no more money fighting in the ME. We should instead spent that money on Wind, Solar PV, and EVs.

    Simplified, but close enough.

  • Mike Dill

    About half of the ‘sweet’ oil being exported from Saudi is from the super-giant Ganwar field. This field was initially developed in the 1950s and 1960, and is getting close to the end of the economically extractable reserves. If the extraction stops before 2030, as some have suggested, due to depletion, Saudi exports will massively decline.
    Solar and wind would allow something more than camel herders in that future.

    • JamesWimberley

      Oil reserves are a state secret in Saudi Arabia. Aramco publishes incredible numbers that nobody takes seriously.

      • Mike Dill

        You are absolutely correct. About a decade ago, there was a site called ‘the oil drum’, where they worried about peak oil production. Mathew Simmons, an oil engineer, looked very closely at the numbers for Saudi Arabia, and predicted that Ganwar had about twenty to twenty-five years left. That was before the rise of fracking, so the end-point may have shifted out a year or two.

        • Alastair Leith

          There’s some real irony that the main Peak-Oiler narrative about oil prices and the ensuing “energy descent” was that past the tipping point of Peak-Oil (which most think we have crossed now) prices would escalate as demand continued to grow (it has) and supply becomes more expensive and limited (it has become more expensive, USA shale oil has produced a glut for now).

          I always wondered why they didn’t factor in fire sales…though I never would have predicted the fracking boom at seemingly lower costs of extraction than coal.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The peak oil people were also largely doomers. Once we passed peak oil civilization would begin to crumble. The could see no alternative.

            Actually that’s not true. They were unwilling to consider an alternative to their end of civilization scenario. On the Peak Oil site I pointed out a few times (courteously, I must add) that if we really started running short of oil we could rapidly decrease demand. Only two things would be necessary.

            1) Require that all manufactured vehicles be PHEVs (or EVs, but batteries were expensive back then). Since 50% of all US driving is done with cars that are five years old or newer we would see an immediate drop in oil use and a more that 50% drop within five years.

            2) Quickly electrify rail. We already run electric trains, we just supply the electricity with onboard generators. Hang overhead wire. Stop long distance shipping by truck. Use trucks for only local delivery.

            Those solutions weren’t enjoyed. It upset the doomer party. I was blacklisted…. ;o)

          • Alastair Leith

            yeah i had a permaculture friend who was one of those who started the Oil Drum before it was handed over to some USA Uni to administer. he and his friends walked around in a glum fog about energy-futures. Held out no hope for mankind’s innovation when it comes to the biggest market (outside arms maybe) in the world, no hope for PV or Wind.

            I suspect they wanted it that way so Permaculture and devolution of tech took centre stage as the only possible outcome, hence making themselves to be profits before their time (which in some ways they are) and tomorrows heroes (that would be nice but I still see industrial agriculture continuing on it’s stupid, climate and environmentally destructive ways).

          • Mike Dill

            As you have noted, all the ‘extra’ oil has been from fracking, which was not considered as a viable technology. We did pass the peak of easily extractable oil back in the 2007 time frame. It is all down hill from here, and renewables need to pick up the slack.

      • ROBwithaB

        If they’re touting the reserves as the principal asset of Aramco, you can bet that they’re going to be fudging the numbers.

        If they’re planning on floating that boat, they’d better do it soon…

    • Alastair Leith

      Can’t they just replace the oil and gas industries with shopping, retail tourism and religious tourism?

      • Mike Dill

        Retail Tourism does not work when you cannot wear the clothes.

  • Steven F

    For saudi arabia it is not a question of getting X amount of solar. It more about do they want it and how fast? The country has more than enough land and sun to power the world. And a mix of solar PV and concentrated solar with storage can provide them with base load 24 hours a day. The cost of solar PV electricity today is less than oil electricity which currently supplies almost all of their power today. Solar PV today can be installed at several GW a year if desired.

    So it really boils down to politics.

    • Larmion

      “oil electricity which currently supplies almost all of their power today”

      That’s a common misconception. 46% of electricity came from natural gas in 2014 and the share is steadily increasing. SA produces considerable amounts of NG as a byproduct of oil extraction and that gas is almost exclusively used domestically.

      https://www.ifri.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/note_arabie_saoudite_vf.pdf

      Still, that doesn’t diminish the need for RE in any way of course. Especially since the old protectionist arguments the Saudis used to argue for continued FF use don’t hold anymore. ACWA power and other Saudi companies are leaders in the solar industry.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        54% oil electricity? Still a lot of very expensive electricity. Solar PV + Batteries + NG would be much better and more cost effective mix for now.

        • Larmion

          Also don’t forget about wind. The country has average speeds of 6-8m at 80m, which is well above the threshold for making wind power economical.

          Oh, CSP would be nice too. Much cheaper than PV+batteries (for now?) in appropriate climates like SA. It helps that ACWA is a market leader in developing CSP projects.

          Oh, and if they want to continue using Aramco’s oil drilling experience, they might want to look at using the vast geothermal potential of the Red Sea coast.

          SA has incredible potential for most forms of RE and sits on a pile of cash. It’s unbelievable how far they lag behind.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Didn’t know SA had good wind resources. I should have, part of the ancient sailing trade along the East Coast of Africa. Yes, wind is even lower cost than Solar PV. Thank you.
            Yes, “for now” CSP + thermal storage is lower cost than Solar PV + Batteries. This is going to change fast. If I wre them I would start building a lot of Solar PV and Wind (as you pointed out) now, use NG more at night, and begin trying out battery storage aiming for large build out of that as the price drops.
            Another problem with CSP besides cost disadvantage is use of water. Maybe not a great solution in a desert nation.

          • Steven F

            Dry cooling systems cool the power plant by dumping the unwanted heat into the air. It is a well developed technique and is in use on NG, Diesel as well as CSP power plants around the world. In SA power plants are probably air cooled or seawater cooled. Seawater cooled power plants can also be used to make drinking water.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Ok, fair enough. I seem to be wrong on that point.

          • Larmion

            That’s an odd point.

            ‘If we build enough PV+battery, it will become cheaper’. True. However, the same applies for CSP. PV is already a mass market product. CSP is pretty much a cottage industry, so its price has much further to fall based on economies of scale alone.

            From a technological perspective, neither technology is even close to ‘mature’ yet. PV’s efficiency is still rising, while CSP’s operating temperature and control systems are still improving apace.

            That CSP uses a lot of water is possibly the biggest myth ever. The amount of water used for steam turbines is minimal (pretty much closed loop) and the cooling systems used today are generally dry.

            Older systems (which were meant as demonstration projects, not commercial ones) would often use traditional water cooled off-the-shelf systems. Today, there is a wide range of air cooled systems available on the market. In SA, even oil and NG power plants are air cooled.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Maybe I should back off some on CSP. I will certainly admit to being wrong on the water cooling. I was not aware air cooling was being used for CSP now.
            I still see CSP as being significantly more expensive than Solar PV. Reasons are: size and complexity. The complexity means more parts per Watt produced than Solar PV …and therefore higher cost.
            Solar PV and Batteries are smaller, can be produced from large efficient factories, and they are both solid state. I think CSP + Thermal Storage is pretty much a waste of time compared with Solar PV + pumped hydro or Solar PV + Batteries. SA does not have much pumped hydro. I believe batteries are going to go through a precipitous drop in price over the next five years. 1366 Techologies, Crystal Solar, Daqo use of FBR and a number of others will continue to lower the cost of Solar PV as well.
            Recent bid of 2.99c/kWh in Dubai for Solar PV, right next door to Saudi Arabia. What is lowest cost of CSP now?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think Susan has said that thermal solar with storage expects to be able to sell for 8c/kWh. That’s a price that could be competitive with 3c for PV and 5c for storage. Both goals and less than current costs.

            A wait and see stance is probably smart at this point in time.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            You’re right and 8c/kWh is leaps and bounds better than burning oil at 30c/kWh (best case)!

          • Bob_Wallace

            PV + storage may win out because battery (or PuHS) storage can be cycled more than once a day. Store solar during the day for evening use and wind during the night for morning use.

            That would take the 5c/kWh price lower and make stored PV cheaper than stored heat.

            But the price stuff right now is speculative. It’s probably going to take a few years to see if one solar approach wins out for the ‘stored hours’.
            One thing that could lower the cost of stored thermal would be to share transmission costs, if it’s necessary to build new transmission for thermal. Put a PV field next door to the thermal site. Ship PV during the day and thermal in the evening. If there is wind potential in the area then the transmission lines could be humming 24 hours a day.

          • Frank
          • Alastair Leith

            Hybrid PV and thermal solar with storage is definitely where it’s at with PV having the best learnings curve of all the technologies. Virtually free PV modules by ~2036 is compelling.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let’s assume thermal solar with storage bottoms out at 8c/kWh, PV bottoms out at 3c, and battery storage at 5c.

            That makes thermal w/storage the same price as EV /storage.

            But bring wind into the mix and the batteries used by PV can store solar during the day, discharge in the evening, recharge from wind at night and discharge in the morning before PV comes back online.

            This gives the PV batteries two cycles per day, two revenue events, and essentially cuts the cost of storage in half. Five cents drops under three cents making PV w/storage less than six cents, beating out thermal w/storage by two cents.

          • Alastair Leith

            I hear what you are saying and there is logic to that, but it assumes no premium for reliability of supply. CST with TS in the deserts of Australia, USA, ME, Africa will be able to cover periods when either one or both of rooftopPV and wind are not producing. Also assuming CST with TS bottoms out at 8 cents is a big call. Did you read the Frenell white paper (link on landing page above the fold http://www.frenell.de/) claiming (theoretical prices) cheaper than coal at >500MW plants, that’s today not in 2030. I don’t know how reliable their figures are, but they have deployed systems and their modular storage tech was used at Crescent Moon IIRC (one of the US CST with storage).

          • Bob_Wallace

            ​The price of thermal solar and offshore wind five, ten years from now is simply something I can’t guess.

            I’m pretty sure PV solar will drop under five cents and probably closer to three. I expect onshore wind to move under three cents. The routes for getting there are fairly clear.

            I don’t have a dog in the thermal/PV/on-/off- fight. I hope all of the get cheap as hell. That’s our route away from extreme climate change. Get renewables down to the point that utilities just start shutting down perfectly good coal and gas plants because they can get cheaper electricity from hippie power.​

          • Great point on the cottage industry stage that CSP is still at, compared to PV.

          • Alastair Leith

            Not all CSP technologies consume water. Fluidless cleaning robots with microfibre brushes for the mirrors and (comparatively) closed-loop steam turbines have changed all that.

      • But the natural gas, diesel, oil, all the fossil resources needed for power generation do all come from the oil FIELDS.

        • Alastair Leith

          That’s where various solar thermal companies (to the shame of their climate activist supporters like me) are trying to get in on the act for oil recovery, they can make a lot of superheated steam for a low price.

          http://www.frenell.de/

    • Mike Shurtleff

      “The cost of solar PV electricity today is less than oil electricity”
      Yes, understatement of the day! Outrageously stupid of them not to replace all of the oil generated electricity with Solar PV + Batteries as fast as they can. Giant financial savings and improvement to their countries bottom line is available to them for the taking.
      Solar PV + Batteries is going to be much cheaper than Concentrated Solar Thermal with Thermal Storage, especially going forward.

      • Frank

        Pretty much the entire state of Hawaii agrees with you. The only thing worse than burning oil to make electricity, except in a backup generator, is to barge it into the middle of the pacific, and then burn it to make electricity.

  • super390

    Prince Salman is a neocon maniac who seems to want to water down his country’s worst features by simply importing the Republican Party’s worst policies. He’s destroying the region’s economy by pushing Saudi Arabia’s disastrous wars in Yemen and Syria and constructing a permanent Cold War with Iran. People like that only want those policies to succeed which enhance their own power. So you have to ask, who’s behind Prince Mohammad bin Salman?

    • Mike Shurtleff

      Well he does have a problem with a Shiite Caliphate in Iran and ISIS in the other countries.
      I’d still be building/installing more Solar PV if I were him.

      • Larmion

        Nitpick: a ‘Shia caliphate’ is a contradiction in terms. Only Sunnis like the Saudis and ISIS believe in caliphates (a single divinely ordained ruler of the islamic world).

        According to the Shia islam, the last suitable caliph was the twelfth Imam, who died over a 1000 years ago. Shias believe that after his death, the ‘Government of Jurists’ is the best possible alternative. It’s government by a sort of theocratic council of islamic theologians and jurors that can but needn’t be democratically elected.

        The real threat to the ME is not Iran, it’s SA and the fundamentalist ideology it has spawned.

        • neroden

          Moderately accurate description of Shia theology, with the exception of the Mahdi, the mystical final caliph who is “hidden” and who is basically like the Messiah in Jewish theology or the Second Coming in Christian theology.

          Anyway, it’s heresy and hubris to claim to be a caliph in Shia tradition.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            OK I will default to your (both) better knowledge here. Still think threat in ME is extremism and intolerance from both.
            …same for USA and Christian right for that matter.
            What goes around, comes around.

          • Larmion

            I thought it wasn’t really necessary to include him in a discussion about worldly government. After all, when he comes we should all be getting ready for the imminent judgement day.

            Also, the Second Coming is not just part of Christian theology. Jesus plays a vital role in the story of the Mahdi.

            When the Mahdi comes out of hiding, he will lead the faithful in a war against the antichrist and his minions. During his tenure, the Second Coming will occur somewhere near Damascus and Jesus will assist him in the final battle against the antichrist.

            Don’t forget Jesus is a prophet for Muslims as well as Christians.

            Fun story. Like all holy books, it reads like the script of a really crappy summer sciencefiction blockbuster.

  • heinbloed

    ” But only 25 MW of that goal was deployed in the six years since the announcement in 2011. ”

    25 MW RE ….. in 5 or 6 years.

    Which Nation achieved less?

  • vensonata .

    “even though with the true production cost to produce a barrel of oil at near $50, they are merely liquidating inventory.” (From the article)

    Now, I am no oil expert, but $50 barrel production is closer to oil sands prices. I understood that the stuff that bubbles up in the middle east can be produced for $10 barrel. And that is why they will be the last to die.

    • RobertM

      My understanding is that the deep huge wells of the past were they could pump for 30 years are gone and the newer wells are shallower and only getting a few years of pumping before the dry up. That does effect the cost per barrel to produce. Although I find it highly unlikely it is any where the near the cost of oil sands.

      • debbie5231

        I earn in the range of 6k-8k bucks /month for freelance jobs i do at home. So if you are ready to do simple at home jobs for several h daily from your living room and get valuable profit for doing it… Then this gig is for you… UR1.CA/p7vw7

    • Larmion

      http://graphics.wsj.com/oil-barrel-breakdown/

      Nine dollars a barrel, apparently.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        Something is missing. Initial drilling costs? I don’t believe US Shale oil costs are less than $25/barrel. I’ve been reading as much as $60/barrel to make a profit because you need to keep drilling to keep oil flowing. Shale oil pockets are small. They’re mostly depleted within about 2 years average. Keep the cost below $50/barrel and US Shale goes bankrupt. That’s the Saudi plan.

        • Larmion

          The database quoted lists the average production cost of oil from an *existing* well, which is indeed around 25 dollars for a shale well. The figures cited *do* account for costs that come with keeping an existing well going like stimulation and water injection.

          As you say, that quote hugely underestimates shale costs. However, it is highly accurate for Saudi Arabia – the country we were talking about. The Saudi’s don’t tap new oil fields often, most of their capital outlay is in keeping existing fields going.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Yes, I agree it’s accurate for Saudi Arabia oil, as far as what I’ve read. I should have made that more clear. Thanks.

          • neroden

            Yeah, these Rystad numbers appear to be for an *existing* well. The numbers I’ve seen quoted for new drilling are *much* higher for *everyone*.

            Shale oil runs out after about 5 years.

          • super390

            Which fact nobody bothered to tell the investors and voters when it was hailed as America’s salvation. This is what a declining empire grasping at straws looks like.

    • Steven F

      when the fields were first found the natural gas pressure underground pushed the oil to the surface. No pumping was required. Today much of that pressure is gone and pumps must be used to get the oil to the surface. Furthermore water is being injected into the field to push the oil to the production wells.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        No, new drilling. Still relatively very low cost. …for how long? Who knows? If I was Saudi I’d be dedicating my life to Solar PV production and installations in the country, not the hate and war nonsense from the madrasas. They’ll be left all alone soon enough.

        …Abu Dhabi!!!

        …Dubai!!!

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