Desperate times: Trucking shale oil in North Dakota

How desperate the oil supply situation in the US has become after global crude oil production started to peak in 2005 can be seen from how cumbersome it is to produce and transport shale oil to refineries. The era in which the US was able to afford ever increasing volumes of imported crude oil is over.

Those shale wells produce so little oil in dispersed places

that it does not pay to build pipelines so the oil is collected in tanks and then trucked to rail terminals (or pipeline terminals, if available). These videos show what’s going on there.

Driving down into the Bear Den, Western North Dakota 001

“This is me driving my Kenworth W900 oil tanker down into the Bear Den in western North Dakota following a gravel truck.”

Muddy roads everywhere

Passing by other wells

Steep roads with sharp bends

Levelling for another well near the road

Wasteful gas flaring

Finally, the tanks at the destination well

Driver runs pump from his truck to save on cost

Unsealed, everything looks temporary

Oil boom = real estate boom

This beauty for US$ 200 K

A campervan for free

For the kids

Poison gas condition

Wal Mart is part of the action, plenty of parking

The 5 pictures above are from: “You have never seen anything like the Williston oil boom”

In Texas, 1500 miles further South:

The driver of this burning tank truck  reached for his mobile phone (call from his wife), lost control of the steering wheel and ran down into a ditch where the truck turned over and caught fire. The driver escaped unharmed, but left the scene in shock and without a job.

So much for the revolution which is supposed to transform global oil markets. It is just the opposite. The need to get at that marginal shale oil is an indicator that the easy oil is gone.

Even with all the shale oil, US production in the next years will struggle to reach the level achieved in 1953, the time of the French Film “Salaire de la Peur” when a US oil company in Guatemala sent 2 trucks loaded with highly explosive glycerine to a blow-out well, on a death-or-glory mission. The 1st truck ended up in death.

Yves Montand: Il n’y a plus Luigi

For $2000, the 2nd truck of SOC (Southern Oil Company) makes it past a graveyard…

…but gets stuck in a pool of oil from a broken pipe

The modern version of a blow-out we have seen when the Deep Water Horizon platform exploded in April 2010.

They are desperately trying to prolong our car culture:

Highway 5 in Dallas

Welcome to the 2nd half of oil