Sunday, June 17, 2018

TOC -- A Re-Post Of An Earlier Entry -- June 16, 2018

This is being re-posted for newbies to help them understand the Bakken a bit better. There is nothing new here; it has been posted before. I'm not sure all the links still work. I now know a lot more about the Bakken than when I first started, so some of this may be "out of date," or very wrong, But it is what it is. Or more accurately, it is what it was some years ago.

At the very end of this re-posting, I have posted a little nugget that might be new for all of us.
Previously posted:

The 2013 USGS survey is linked at the sidebar at the right.

Newbies should go back and read this post of November 1, 2011.

There are numerous factors affecting the quality of an oil basin. Total organic content (TOC) is one of the Big 5.
A bit more about TOC at this link. Now, how does the Bakken stack up against, let's say, Saudi Arabia?
There are five areas in the world where "world class" source rock exists:
  • The Bakken
  • Norwegian Sea (North) and North Sea
  • Venezuela
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Norwegian Sea (South) and The Netherlands
For comparison, TOCs:
When I first came across this information, I about fell off my chair: the Bakken has a TOC average of 11 percent, compared to Saudi with varying reports of 2 - 5 percent. Wow.
So, that was from the earlier post, back in 2011.

Did the USGS 2013 Survey of the Bakken-Three Forks have anything to say about the TOC of the Bakken? Yes, based on new information, and I quote from the first page:
"The upper and lower shale members are the primary source rocks for the Bakken TPS, with present-day total organic carbon (TOC) values from less than 1 weight percent to 35 weight percent (Lillis, 2013)."
A TOC of 35% is the highest I have ever seen reported for the Bakken. As noted above, the 30-second sound bite: the average TOC for the Bakken is 11 percent. Most sources quote TOC as high as 16 percent in the Bakken, and there is one source that quotes a TOC as high as 20%.

Again, more recent data suggests the TOC in the Bakken can be as high as 35%. That must be some kind of record.

The four-page USGS 2013 assessment does not provide more detail regarding TOC. It does not matter. But it does put the Bakken into perspective for some folks. Like me. [Ryder Scott, June-August 2011, Vol 14, No 2, states that "a total organic carbon (TOC) of 2 percent is considered a sufficient screening criterion for oil shale plays. However, both the Bakken and Arthur Creek ["Northern Territory, Australia] have been reported to contain much higher TOCs. Greater TOC and shale thicknesses are correlated to higher production." -- Ryder Scott. See comments below.]

And It Might Be Better Than We Think

Now, something new. First of all, repeating:
 "The upper and lower shale members are the primary source rocks for the Bakken TPS, with present-day total organic carbon (TOC) values from less than 1 weight percent to 35 weight percent (Lillis, 2013)."
I recently received a personal note from a Bakken operator who suggests that someday operators will "crack the code" how to economically exploit the source rock, the upper and lower shale members. 

If that happens, "Katie, bar the door."

The Dreadnoughts

Oil tanker coming up the Missouri -- setting sail for the Confluence!

With regard to the Dreadnoughts over at YouTube, one of the comments:
If anything the band was named after the song, not saying it was... But "The Dreadnought" was a sea shanty most probably written and sung by sailors upon a packet ship named; (yep) "The Dreadnought".
Given that the ship sank in 1869 off of Cape Horn, I would argue that the song was around long before the band and their cover of it.
Having read twice Gavin Menzies' first book and now reading for the second time his second book, I have great respect for the Dreadnought sailors (and all sailors who have doubled Cape Horn, including Captain Magellan). I also feel I "know" Cape Horn" a whole lot better and it's no surprise that the Dreadnought sunk of Cape Horn (assuming, of course, that's accurate).

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