Thursday, May 29, 2014
Sustainability Quiz 2 Answers
Now that finals are over and you finally graduated. It’s about time! Here it was. Time for another quiz. You are beginning to slack off. You need to be reenergized with a quiz that you can’t possibly flunk.
1. How much verified reserve oil is currently in the Unites States?
Answer 1. Just about any number will do, provided that you’re happy with it. Only you can decide whether it’s important to strive for hard data or accept what the hype from advertisers and politicians say is true. Here is a hint. What advertisers and politicians say is frequently true, but their words are often cloaked in such a way as to hide their real impact.
ü If you get your number from an internet report, what is the date of the report.
ü If you invent a silly guess number just to see where this might be going, invent a date.
ü Watch out for lookup number scales: M means thousands on a Latin scale; MM means millions on a Latin scale; I use SI units where M (Mega) means millions, G (Giga) means billions, and T (Terra) means trillions. Most reports use Latin scales: tricky devils aren’t they? If you get confused as an engineering, math, or science major. Shoot for a number in barrels (bbl), and Oh, btw, barrel size isn’t standardized worldwide. Aren’t you glad this isn’t a real test?
ü Here is a hint. I found 26.8 G-bbl of oil in a 2012 report. What did you find? Did you get a better date or number? What might have caused that?
2. How much undiscovered oil is currently in the Unites States?
Answer 2. Same as Answer 1.
ü No, I’m not a fruit cake, there really is such a thing. It was discovered by seismic echos, compared to know production formations, and given a probability of success from the comparrison. Slick, huh? These oil men are sneaky.
ü The same rules apply. Invent a number if you want too. Watch out for scale sizes. Get help if you need it.
ü Here is a hint. The biggest number I could find was 134.0 G-bbl of oil in a 2012 report. That is a serious lot of oil folks.
3. How much oil is currently in production in the Unites States?
Answer 3. Same as Answers 1 and 2.
ü I found 7 M-bbl per day. Here is where it gets really tricky. The lookup number was 7 MMbbl (millions, remember, Latin?). My M means Mega, that’s millions too (SI). But it’s per day, so we have to multiply by 365.25 days in the average year. Who wants to do this stuff in days? What did you come up with? I came up with 2,557 M-bbl per day, give or take. That’s the same as 2.557 G-bbl per day, close enough.
ü If you got a seriously bigger number, what might cause that? Take a stab at it.
4. Now divide the answer for question 1 by the answer for question 3. What did you get?
Answer 4. Check your calculator or computer.
ü I got 10 years. Make sure your units are the same size when you divide.
ü This is the minimum number of years for oil to last. Scary ain’t it?
ü But wait! My report was made in 2012, this is 2014. I’ve got to subtract the two years that are already gone. That’s 8 years left. What did you get?
5. Look at question 2 again. What do you think the odds are for finding all that undiscovered oil? Multiply that number by the answer for question 2.
Answer 5. Same as Answer 4.
ü I’m an optimist. I used 100%. Gee, I wish that were really true. Don’t you wish that every well drilled came in like the Mary Sudik, that blew oil all the way from OKC’s south side to Norman. Oh well, back to reality.
ü Still 134.0 G-bbl of oil at 100%.
6. Now divide the answer for question 5 by the answer for question 3. What did you get?
Answer 6. Same as Answers 4 and 5.
ü I got 53 years.
ü Add that to the final answer in question 4. Hmm… 8 + 53 = 61 years.
ü This is the maximum number of years for oil to last. As Porky Pig used to say at the end of the kids cartoons, “Yuk. Yuk. That’s all there is folks.”
ü I don’t care if you got 80 and 5,300. This is science folks, not advertising or politics. It would be nice if one of us got the right answer though. Then we could come up with a plan.
7. Here is a hardball question. How long will that oil last if we speed up production and become the world’s largest producer of oil?
Answer 7. Here is the equation you need to make the calculation.
The number b is a business or political descision. If you decide to grow any industry at 5% per year, b = 1.05 and ln(b) ≈ .05. For 2% growth, b = 1.02 and ln (b) ≈ .02. R/y0 are the results we calculated in Questions 4 and 6: namely 8 and 61 years, respectively. Eight years is so short it doesn’t change much: 2% growth reduces to 7.4 years, while 5% growth reduces to 6.7 years. The undiscovered oil allows more working room, provided that we find it. Sixty-one years is cut to 40 years at 2% and 28 years at 5%. When our government plans a 5% annual growth in the economy, they are planning to destroy our nation. You do the math.
8. Want another one? What would we have to do to make that oil last forever?
Answer 8. This is the theory of Sustained Availability, which is the use of exponential equations to make a substance last forever (theoretically).
So using the results for Questions 4 or 6: 1/8 = .125 or 12.5% and 1/61 = .016 or 1.6%. These numbers mean that if we have 8 years worth of oil left, we can make it last forever by reducing consumption/production by 12.5% per year, every year for eternity; or if we have 61 years worth of oil left, we can make it last forever by reducing consumption/production by 1.6% per year. As a practicality this cannot be made to work forever.
The second equation suggests that a half life for 8 years worth of oil with consumption reduced at 12.5% per year will be over 5.5 years and with continued careful conservation of this precious resource we can make it last almost 28 years. Careful conservation can stretch a 61 year supply of oil to over 211 years.
A 12.5% reduction for at least 5 years is pretty hard to achieve. Reducing consumption by 1.6% per year for 5 years should be a piece of cake. It should be obvious that greater reductions for longer periods will extend the life of the resource even more.
9. Last question. It’s your move. What is your move?
Additional bonus questions
10. Repeat questions 1-9 for natural gas.
11. Repeat questions 1-9 for natural gas liquids (NGL).
12. Repeat questions 1-9 for coal.
13. Repeat questions 1-9 for forests.
14. Repeat questions 1-9 for any other resource of interest to you.
As far as this quiz is concerned you got an A++, 105%, better than Ivory soap. Your real grade will be determined by your performance in life and by history.