Department of Geology and Geological Engineering Van Tuyl Lecture Series- Fall 2014 4:00-5:00 p.m. in Berthoud Hall Room 241 Thursday, November 13, 2014 Dr. Scott W. Tinker Director, Bureau of Economic Geology & State Geologist of Texas Professor, Allday Endowed Chair of Subsurface Geology John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences University of Texas at Austin “Energy Generation(s) A 60-Year Perspective” Abstract: When Bob Weimer, Frank Sonnenberg, and Tom Tinker were beginning their geologic careers in the 1950’s, coal was coming off its reign as the dominant global fuel and oil was on the rise. Thirty years later, when Paul Weimer, Steve Sonnenberg, and I were in the early phases of our careers, oil was at its global peak, satisfying nearly 50% of the total global energy demand. As you begin your careers, oil has fallen to below 35% of demand, coal remains important, and natural gas is rising to become the dominant fuel of the 21st century. Together, fossil fuels represent over 85% of the global energy mix today. As conventional oil and natural gas production decline, production from unconventional reservoirs, led by shale gas and shale oil, will represent a growing component of the oil and natural gas mix. Unconventional reservoirs—which require technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, geosteering, smart proppants, and advanced seismic imaging—could not have been developed economically 30 years ago. And when Bob Weimer, Frank Sonnenberg, and Tom Tinker were in their early careers, horizontal wells happened when the driller lost control of the well, and downhole fracturing involved nitroglycerin! My, how technology has changed. What does the future of energy hold? The truth is, no one knows for sure, but there are parameters that have guided the historical energy mix and will likely influence the future. These include affordability, availability, reliability, and environmental sustainability—the tenets of energy security. Because no form of energy is perfect, diverse energy portfolios are common and, in fact, make sense. And although the energy mix is driven mostly by security, government policy and regulatory rules can have an impact. Thus it is vital for thoughtful people from industry, government, academia, and NGO’s to seek objective and reliable information, and to be willing to leave their corners and work together to educate the public and develop and deliver balanced energy solutions. Students, we are in your hands now. Be thoughtful. Be unbiased. Be educated. The future is yours!