Grist Interview with Matt Simmons

Grist is one of my favorite online magazines on environmental and sustainability. They are also peak oil aware. They recently did an interview with Matthew Simmons - where he expressed his views on everything from his inspiration for writing "Twilight in the Desert", his bet with John Tierney and what he is doing to consume less energy.

My favorite exchange is this:

Q: You have an enormous amount, professionally, riding on the prediction that peak oil is nigh.

Matt Simmons: I'm basically betting my entire career.

I don't agree with everything Matt Simmons says, but I admire him greatly. We need more people like Matt Simmons in America.

Grist indeed rules. I have the interview bookmarked and as soon as I have time to read it, I'll do so; if it's good, I'll link to it from ...
Woo-hoo! Matt Simmons. Let's put up a link at, and rally all the greens to drill ANWR.
We'll agree with drilling ANWR if all that energy goes to manufacturing renewable supplies of energy!
It's not going to go to manufacturing renewable supplies of energy.
Ok, then ANWR should be the last gift we give to the next generation. By 2050 it might be a tropical resort.
Of course there is another alternative (horrifying and unthinkable!) but still possible: fight against Simmons.
You can't help personalizing everything, can you?

The best answer is, fight against the drilling of ANWR, stupid.

When you get up to debate ANWR with Simmons, be sure to praise him with brown-nosing comments for about 15 minutes before you disagree with him.

You know what you call a political opponent who plays fair? THE LOSER.

This is the core of all you have to say about PO, isn't it?

It is much simpler if we are treehuggers, gloom&doomers, conspiracy theorists, leftist extremists, environmental terrorists etc. OK, I could live with being one of that crowd. I would even love it if it could somehow change the laws of physics, geology and chemistry so that we can wake up in that flat-world utopia you constantly dream of. But it ain't happening, damn it - at least it did not the last time I made a check-up with reality - nope, still the same stubborn Nature resisting every attempt to fit my beliefs. Looks like I'm not believing strong enough.

LevinK: JD "is" a Peaker (of sorts) Check his user info and site (PO debunked)
True Grist!
Simmons said:

Saudis are now injecting somewhere between 15 million and 18 million barrels a day of water to recover 8 million barrels a day of oil>

I know that water injection into oil fields has been discussed here before, and forgive me if this question has been answered, but I'd like to know what the empirical evidence shows as to how much water a field can absorb, relative to the amounts of oil being produced.  Is a 2:1 ratio of water to oil an unmistakable sign that a field is nearing or past peak, or are there other factors (such as the basin volume) that need to be considered in order to reach a conclusion on peaking?

From Ali Daneshy, Director of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Houston:

Regarding water production, this is a natural and unavoidable aspect of oil and gas production and often intentionally induced by water flooding. Water injection helps boost production by sweeping the oil out of the reservoir and maintaining its pressure. We are doing this in Texas every day, producing more than 1 million barrels of oil with a water-oil ratio over 12! In Prudhoe Bay this ratio is more than 3. By comparison, the estimated water-oil ratio for Saudi Arabia is slightly over 1. When considered with the long-term high oil production, this low ratio is a strong testimony to the thickness and size of Saudi oil zones and their ability to sustain this production for some time. Depending on specific location, each barrel of produced water may cost the operator $0.10-$2.00. At today's prices, one can produce 20 barrels of water for each barrel of oil and still maintain a profitable operation. And the Saudis are a long way from it!
Yes, and Alaska has been in decline since 1989 and Texas decades longer than that. I saw his quote a while ago and it just proves the usual point - oil can keep coming for a long time after it has peaked, just at a much slower rate.
Water is injected into a reservoir for two reasons - 1) to keep the pressure up so that the reservoir fluid (oil) will flow to the lower pressure zone (i.e. the production well) and 2) to push or sweep the oil from one location in the reservoir to another (e.g. the production well).  Depending upon a number of variables, production will usually start to decline at any particular production well once the water cut climbs to between 10 to 50% (just a rule of thumb).  

When one talks about the water cut from a field (like Ghawar) the water will be produced variably throughout the reservoir.  Some wells may be at high water cuts, and many be at zero water cuts.  

In general, the reservoir engineers try to "replace voidage" with water injection.  That is, they try to inject as much water as the total volume of pore fluid (oil, gas, and water) that they are taking out.

Stuff that affects water production in a waterflooded reservoir:

vertically varying permeability
how viscous the crude oil is
what is the relative permeability of the rock to oil and to water (generally rock will allow water or oil to flow more freely through it)