Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Alaska Explores Shale Production



Alaska, like many other governmental entities with access to oil and gas resources, is taking a long hard look at the shale formations in existing fields.  One interesting thing about shale oil and shale gas is that, in many instances, we know EXACTLY where it is.  

While drilling deep oil and gas wells in west Texas and eastern New Mexico my dad routinely drilled through shale formations that produced gas kicks of various strengths.  Oil and gas companies involved in those early exploration efforts retain detailed records related to those events, and many are pouring over that data to determine the viability of fracking operations in those old wells.

Alaska appears to be thinking along those very lines.  The longer drilling is banned on the North Slope and off shore in Alaska the more attractive re-exploration of existing oil and gas fields will be there.


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Friday, August 24, 2012

China Seeking Canadian Oil



In July, a Chinese government owned company, China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) submitted a friendly $15.1 Billion bid for the Canadian oil producer NEXEN.  Under Canadian law the Minister of Industry must approve the transaction before it can move forward.  To do so the Minister must determine the deal represents a net benefit to Canada.

China continues to aggressively improve its ability to access oil & gas resources and to leverage its ability, in the future, to develop those resources in China.  Firms and individuals with an interest in seeing IPD, BIM and lean processes applied in the energy sector must pay attention to China.


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Cost of Generating Electricity: A Primer



The Institute for Energy Research study quoted and linked below provides a nice run down on comparative costs of generating electricity through different power plants.

The cost of generating electricity includes the capital cost, the financing charges, and the production or operating costs (including fuel and maintenance of the technology) at the point of connection to an electrical load or the electricity grid. When determining what new plant to build, a utility company will compare all these costs across the slate of available generating units. Once the capital and finance costs are paid, usually after 20 to 30 years, the cost of operation is just the fuel and maintenance costs. As a result, the generating costs for a plant paying sizable capital costs are much different from those for a plant where those costs have been totally paid.

In short, electricity from a new power plant costs a lot more than electricity from an older power plant that has paid off the cost of construction and financing.


As shown above, conventional and advanced combined cycle power plants fueled by natural gas have the lowest levelized cost for new electrical generation at approximately $75 per megawatt hour while off shore wind, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal have the highest levelized costs at $325, $150 and $250 each.

Geothermal and land based wind are competitive with coal and hydroelectric at around $100 per megawatt hour.

As the more and more people climb the ladder of success globally more and more electricity will be required.  Advocates of IPD, BIM and lean processes should be prepared to deliver innovative and cost effective solutions.



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Collaborative Construction
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Our Aging Power Plants



The blackouts in India remind us of the critical and delicate nature of power grids.  The power grid in the US, feed by aging power plants, is vulnerable to failure too.  Modernizing, upgrading and diversifying existing power plants represent the most basic means of reducing the vulnerability of the grid.  Hardening the grid is another.

Stacked area chart of Current (2010) capacity by initial year of operation and fuel type, gigawatts. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860 Annual Electric Generator Report , and Form EIA-860M (see Table ES3 in the March 2011 Electric Power Monthly)
.

The image above and the article linked below highlight the fact that a large portion of the power plants in the US are over 30 years old.

Refurbishing existing power plants and or building new ones represent great opportunities for advocates of IPD, BIM and lean processes.  Utility companies should be keenly interested in leveraging these new tools to bring new and better power plants online.

The spike in natural gas power plants is significant as well.  As other countries tap their natural gas resources they will want new gas fired power plants as well.

Coal remains the fuel of choice in India and China, and the modernization of coal fired power plants in those countries should be a top agenda item as well.



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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shale Gas in China



Affordable, abundant and efficient energy resources represent a very attractive path to economic growth.  Traditionally, coal and oil proved most abundant, affordable efficient.  Global distribution of newly recognized shale gas resources elevates natural gas to the top of the class.

Lower carbon emissions render natural gas even more attractive.

China sits astride massive shale gas reserves of its own.  Chinese oil and gas companies scrambled over the past several years to form joint partnerships in the US, Canada and elsewhere in an effort to develop knowledge of emerging technologies related to fracking.  This ensures China the ability to aggressively extract and exploit natural gas resources in China.


Opportunities abound for the intelligent use of IPD, BIM and lean processes in the oil and gas industry and China, clearly, intends to be a player in this arena.


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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Computer Science the Khan Academy way!



Regular readers know I'm a fan of the Khan Academy and the launch if their new Computer Science Education forum looks really really cool!



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The humble pallet



For those with an interest in efficiency and productivity the article linked below is an interesting read.


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Monday, August 13, 2012

Who is Paul Ryan?



I'm a fan of big bold ideas and, by extension, a fan of Paul Ryan.

If you don't know anything about Paul Ryan the two clips below are a great place to start.

The first clip is from this weekend, the second is an old interview recorded during the healthcare debate.

Speech in Wisconsin following his selection as Romney's running mate.


Healthcare debate interview from October 2011.


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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

BIM As a Subset of Big Data



Peter Cholakis nails the connection between BIM and Big Data in the post linked below.  Peter has been way out in front to the pack for a long time on the topic of BIM to FM.  It's worth paying attention to what he has to say.


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Collaborative Construction
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Friday, August 3, 2012

The Chinese Scramble for Oil & Gas Talent



The Chinese enjoy vast reserves of shale oil and shale gas.  Overcoming the challenges associated with development of these unconventional petroleum reserves sits atop the Chinese energy development list alongside construction of new power plants.  The article linked below provides a bit of insight in the human capital shortage the Chinese face and their efforts to solve the dilemma, in part, by entering into joint venture agreements with North American energy firms and or purchasing them as they did with Nexgen.

As noted in recent posts, advocates of sustainable and intelligent environmental solutions need to come to grips with the reality that the Chinese intend to develop their fossil fuel resources and use those resources to fuel their economy. 

Chinese investment in North America’s oil and gas industry is expected to hit an all time high in 2012, beating the $5.7 billion record set in 2010. Since 2010, Chinese companies have invested more than $17 billion into the US and Canada’s oil and gas industries. The energy hungry nation’s latest push in North American energy is part a wave of investment money from Chinese state-owned companies and private enterprises into the U.S. and other Western nations. This report comes off the announcement of the Chinese oil giant, Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC)’s intent to buy one of Canada’s largest energy companies, Nexen.
This type of investment in North American operators is just the beginning. There has been a rise in joint ventures where Chinese firms pay upfront for a stake of an oil or gas field and cover drilling costs. These investments give these firms exposure to technology, management techniques and skills they desperately need in China.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

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Collaborative Construction
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