The ‘Oilpro Time Machine’ File

The ‘Oilpro Time Machine’ File

A file from ‘The Roughneck Files: Exploring Energy & Water circa 2030 (E&W~2030)’

          If in 2030 one were asked to reflect on the state of the energy & water industry in 2015, they would deem it fragmented and segmented. Whilst it sat in that broken state, one would add that the prime mover, Oil & Gas, was in transition, and incumbent Low Carbon Energy was gaining traction, market share, as well as friendly media coverage.

          An exploration into the 15 year future of constituent industries of the energy and water sector in an era of unprecedented innovation and disruptive change must be done through as many lenses as possible; the establishment, the vested, the aspiring, the ambivalent, the opposed, as well as students of future innovation, technology, and market share trends.

          These are The Roughneck Files…….

 The ‘Oilpro Time Machine File’

          On 11.Aug.02015 The Roughneck Files : Exploring Energy & Water circa 2030 (E&W~2030) published a collaborative ‘should-be’ millennial view of the energy & water industries circa 2030 and what mind set might be required to get there entitled ‘The Great Crew Change OS3’.

On 12.Aug.02015, Oilpro published their headline article ‘A Retrospective View Of A Restructured Energy Industry’ by esteemed industry writer Allen Brooks. Mr. Brooks opens the discussion with a time travel metaphor.

         The really spectacular peculiarity of time travel is that the traveller’s experience is generally seen through the same lens used to experience history and the present day. The potentiality of the future is often muted by the filters of the past and present. That is generally referred to as linear thinking.

This enjoyable, as well as extremely well researched and written article clearly demonstrates thinking beyond just a linear lens. The scenarios presented are imaginable and consistent with industry precedent, however they struggle to support the initial posit of $95 bbl oil in 2025.

As a seasoned and worldly roughneck of similar years to the author and lifelong student of technological innovation, disruption and trends, I wonder if there are just a few too many historical lens filters in play. Furthermore, a US-centric filter on this time machine might not account for the scale of global exponential change due to occur between now and 2025 nor their impact upon the prognosed consolidation scenarios.

This article fails to mention the inexorably growing link between water and energy, nor whether the Canadian Oilsands will evolve from its loss making raw material export to a profitable refined product export. Each of these factors alter the time machine lens significantly, particularly when projecting future oil prices and the state of the industry(s). Glass reflects, whereas a lens looks through and into future opportunity, it seems as though Mr. Brooks has a few shards of glass interrupting the time machine vision.

If history has taught us anything, it is two fold:

  • Predictions of the future, unless radically forward (exponential) thinking, are generally proven short sited;
  • We pretty much envision and make our own future.

This article paints a view of the future energy in 2025 through a (possibly narrow) lens of a studied seasoned professional albeit with evidence of progressive thinking uncommon to the establishment. The author’s years, opinion and rhetoric put him squarely in the ‘legacy of the Great Crew Change’ conversation.

A recommended read:

….The Roughneck Files: E&W~2030….12.08.2015

the crowd

the crowd
the crowd, people;
the crowd, people connected; 
the crowd, humanity’s beating heart;
the crowd, core of the internet of everything;
the crowd, evolutionary specie;
the crowd, real power.

the crowd year 02015:
people, around seven billion;
people connected, less than three billion intermittently;
humanity’s beating heart, young and strengthening;
core of internet of everything, ~ sixteen billion connections;
evolutionary specie, not yet self-aware;
real power, emerging.

the crowd year 02025:
people, around eight billion;
people connected, everyone, all eight billion continuously;
humanity’s beating heart, maturing and strong;
core of internet of everything, ~ one trillion connections;
evolutionary specie, self-aware;
real power, the crowd.


A question on safeguarding humanity

A question on safeguarding humanity

A number of non-profit organizations in some way seek to safeguard humanity. Each organization will have its own set of perceived risks, whether or not supported by science, as to what humanity needs safeguarding from.

Two organizations very much on the science side of any debate on humanity’s future would be The Long Now Foundation and The Lifeboat Foundation. The Long Now Foundation takes a 10,000 year view, whereas the Lifeboat Foundation appears to focus on this century. Both organizations are populated by some of the brightest scientific and intellectual minds on the planet.

Yesterday, 01.06.02015, an advisory board member of the Lifeboat Foundation, posted a challenge to 800 or more colleagues in a members’ private forum. The challenge: to come up with new ideas for a “Plan of Action to Prevent Human Extinction Risks”, the plan laid out in an easy to follow chart format.

Quoting author Alexei Turchin, ‘…anyone who can suggest a new way of X-risk prevention that is not already mentioned in this roadmap…’.

A case was made to, and accepted by, the author to allow this roadmap to travel outside of the halls of intellectuals and think tanks into the worlds of engineers, oil & gas people professionals, international viewpoints, grassroots artists, white and blue collar alike, for new ideas.

So there lies opportunity and question:

  • opportunity: to send one’s thoughts on safeguarding humanity to The Lifeboat Foundation;
  • question: what new ideas for safeguarding humanity are out there?

The Turchin Plan of Action to Prevent Human Extinction Risks is pasted below and is freely downloadable and shareable. Comments and ideas arising will be directed to Alexei Turchin.

[Interesting that there does not seem to be much emphasis on near term risk, particularly the next decade as many exponential technologies come out of deceptive phase and into a disruptive phase, very disruptive. The risks to humanity’s future within a decade as the world changes from less than 3 billion occasionally connected souls to 8 billion hyper-connected souls as an example.]

What do you think?


The question of everything

The question of everything

A contemplation on the need to write new rules to be able to change the world for the better led to a contemplation on writing new math and whether there really is a difference between writing new rules and new math.

Writing new math to solve astrophysics conundrums is commonplace to the likes of Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Dr. Neil Tyson, Dr. Radek Zalenka and Dr. Rodney Mackay.

New math then:

1     big hairy assed grand challenge for humanity

+ 1     exponential technology toolbox

+ 1     percent of GDP

= 3     = phase 1: empowered crowd in 2025 ready for phase 2 to 2050 and beyond

+ 1      percent of GDP

= 4     = phase 2: done deal, pretty much everything is happening

…4                   2


.:.        42 = everything

Col Shepherd and The Stargate Atlantis team were right all along:

 The answer to the question of everything really is 42.


So anyway, a bit of new roughneck math


Crowd Power (A bit of roughneck philosophy)

Crowd Power (A little roughneck philosophy)

The crowd is made up of us, almost 3 billion humans interactively connected, to varying degrees by the internet and smartphone cell coverage. Many of us, though by no means all, are using the power of the connected crowd mostly for self interest and triviality. Together with nearly 13 billion sensors and tech tools from home alarms to rhino protecting drones we form the Internet of everything (IoE).

Over the course of the next five years to ~2020, the crowd will double to about six billion people connected by and to the IoE, ~50 billion people, sensors, tech tools and toys.

As smartphones, the IoE and their successors become ubiquitous, by 2025, ~8 billion people will be hyper-connected at speeds of at least 1Mbps. Around 5 billion new crowd members, almost 200% growth in a decade. Powerful, very powerful!

These new crowd members, ~80-90% impoverished, will likely join the crowd motivated differently than the first couple of billion. Many will experience growth in access to knowledge and information at an exponential pace while living without basic human necessities and dignity.

Unprecedented awareness of the very latest in interests, innovation and exponential technology will come with equal awareness of the distant abundance of the few.

If this awareness is not supported with benevolent leadership, substance and practical assistance, as this emerging evolutionary entity matures, becomes self aware and powerful, its personality is likely to emulate that of its mentorship or worse. Much worse.

Vision2025 is about: ‘an 8 billion strong hyper-connected, hyper-cooperative, hyper-productive crowd of humane personality working to build and do amazing things and experiences with increasingly amazing technologies and growing abundance’.


If the crowd is not on board and in on it well before 2025, the future may not be so bright. The harder road to the future.

Humanity needs to scale the democratization and demonetization of the fruits of its labors and disruptive exponential technologies. The easier road to the future.


A short story about a big contrast

A short story about a big contrast

Being invited as a guest to listen in on one of the planet’s greatest think tanks discuss humanity’s future is indeed a rare occasion and privilege.

800+ intelligentsia debating humanity’s future….with heart palpitating and backside puckering….what was to be discovered from listening in? Some really interesting thoughts to be sure, however the two topical postings of the day, by the same author no less, were quite a stunning contrast.

One post spoke of spinning theory on humanity’s future way way out there, like more than 100 years out there. The other post lamented the burden of the intellectual in being unable capture the attention of and motivate the masses to the wonders of the future, the future seemingly beginning ~2045.

Advice was sought from Socrates before resignation set in, grinding away at sharpening the science and rhetoric by the intellectual, same ol’ same ol’, seemingly the only way forward. Real inspiring stuff.

One old roughneck who was supposed to be just listening just couldn’t resist, without much thinking about who all might be listening in, piped up with 2 cents worth mostly as follows: (names, titles and places changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike).

“Dear A Person,

……. I am thoroughly enjoying reading your posts and those of your learned colleagues.

I was struck by the contrast between this XXXXX post and your YYYYY post. At the risk of breaching protocol, I must ask your indulgence for an observation or two from a layman’s perspective followed with a question or two.

You speak of difficulty in capturing the crowd’s attention. That to me would not necessarily suggest that the science and rhetoric were dull. It would rather suggest that the message is dull. If the crowd cannot feel the message, their attention span will be short. A sharp message captures the crowd’s attention, the science underpins it and the rhetoric fuels it.

I think that esteemed astrophysicist and story teller Neil Degrasse Tyson describes articulately what it takes to capture the crowd’s attention and make big things happen.  In his poorly attended appeal to a congressional committee on NASA’s behalf, he demonstrated the power of a generational vision with the man on the moon mission that spurred decades of extraordinary growth. Mr. Tyson contends that when manned space exploration stopped, the crowd could no longer feel the message and the vision died. Mr. Tyson proposes that a new manned exploration space mission and 1% of GDP will do it all again.

In the 60’s, the crowd was sporadically connected in a one way conversation. Today, the crowd is almost 3 billion strong, by 2025 everyone will be interconnected with multi-level conversational tools. The moon has been done, Mars is too far away to feel for most, I would suggest that it is going to take something completely different and back here on earth to inspire and craft a generational vision capable of capturing the crowd’s attention and motivating the masses such as you desire in this XXXXX post.

Contemplating and theory spinning on the YYYYY would seem to require having gone way up and way out there, way past (for simplicity) 2045 and way above 30,000 feet to look for plausible evidence one way or the other. At some point way out there, things must seem pretty stable and good for humanity, good enough to theorize further about YYYYY and such.

My questions would then be something like this:

When traveling back from such far reaching success scenarios, one could expect to see a rough best path and a few required milestones between then and present day. I would guess that you and others read and studied enough to be able to look down and back at things from those heights and distances would have been interested in having a look see at  ~2025 on the way past.

Presuming that your future success case would mean seeing a success case in 2025 as well, and presuming that the connected crowd, ~8 billion by then, would have had to unite in a major way to support a success case in 2025:

What are the 3 most visible or even shockingly visible societal changes seen between your 2025 view and present day?

Is there a sharp message and generational vision of sufficiently disruptive (make it all happen) amplitude to to be found by looking at studied views of 2025 with the scope pointed at ‘what has to happen to make this view a reality?’ 

Can those insights, curated for varying segments of society, and shared with the crowd over a broad bandwidth breed the tipping point you search for in YYYYY …..”

So, just a short story from a seasoned old roughneck…..will A. Person write a sequel?

A thought on jobs versus work in the oil patch

A thought on jobs versus work in the oil patch

Recently a LinkedIn colleague, let’s call him ‘Sloaner’, while expressing gratitude for birthday wishes, commented ‘now if I could only get a job’.

Many good and decent men in the oil & gas industry echo Sloaner’s sentiments. Men who wear the badge of honor ‘once a roughneck always a roughneck’ cannot find a job for love nor money in the patch.

Players in the energy industry who look out 10, 20 and 30 years from now realize that, while oil & gas will recover somewhat in the medium term, there will never again be jobs a plenty in patch. Exponential growth in technologies, particularly AI, robotics and alternative energies will ensure that.

As an example: the price performance of solar power and battery storage at scale continues to drop exponentially as depicted in this chart compiled by esteemed author, speaker and futurist Ramez Naam.


Saudi Arabian officials have gone on record with the understanding that in the not distant future, there will be a lot oil left in the ground and only a niche market (I.e. petrochemicals, derivatives, collector cars and Harleys) interested in it. In that context, their current policy of produce and sell all that they can, no matter what the price, makes some sense.

Robotics and AI are capturing the attention of the public square of the crowd for fear of losing jobs. Jobs will be lost, many jobs will be lost and that, while painful in the near term, is the good news.

Jobs are being replaced by work. Let’s look out just 10 years to ~2025. The chart above paints a bleak picture for oil being competitive, it gets worse fast as energy becomes less and less scarce.

Throughout recorded history, humanity’s economic model has been based around scarcity. Exponential growth in technology is changing that paradigm from scarcity to abundance.

Amongst many other technologies, hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical agriculture, solar energy, H2O recycling and 3d printing are all contributing to bringing abundance to what was once scarce. Just 8 years ago, the first iPhone sold for $600, now a smartphone can be purchased (without a plan) for $75. In 2025, if still around, a smartphone will be free to all.

This same exponential model applies to agricultural technology and energy going forward.

More visible, touchable and (feelable) change is coming to humanity in the next decade than has occurred in the last 4 decades at least. Disruption will be the norm however exponential growth in abundance will mean that more and more people will no longer will have use for a job. People will increasingly be able to work at the pursuit of their passions.

Work could look like: ‘Earthquake in Nepal, let’s grab some people and stuff and go help out. While there, may as well slip on the exoskeleton and climb to the top of Everest’, or…..

It will be a very different world in 2025. Jobs will still be around, maybe flipping burgers alongside a robot. Most of humanity will be pursuing their passions, sometimes known as work but not known as a job. Sometimes remunerated, sometimes not.

Increasingly, and by 2025 very noticeably, the pursuit of personal wealth will become so last century, the pursuit communal wealth will be far more enriching and rewarding. ~8 billion people connected and sharing in humanity’s knowledge, innovation and increasing abundance in 2025 means that there will be lots of work out there for anyone wants it. By then, jobs will no longer be an efficient way to put milk and bread on the table.

This new paradigm is already taking shape. Corporations, institutions, foundations and think tanks have begun looking for people interested in work, interesting challenging work, who are disinterested in a job but very interested in doing something meaningful for humanity using the exponential technology toolbox.

People are being offered an early look at the abundance of the future while doing some good to ensure that future is all that it can be for everyone.  ‘With family and loved ones are taken care of with modest comfort and dignity and in case of emergency, go out there, freelance, hook up with like-minded people and figure out how to create more abundance and communal wealth’.

Forward looking corporations thinking in these terms include oil & gas companies. Others are having to re-evaluate their 10, 20 and 30 year projections. Linear projections of the future are mostly wrong and fatal, exponential projections are the tools for survival in today’s business world and exponential technologies the toolbox for success.

Sloaner, dude. You will eventually find a job. Or you could take a real good hard look 10 years out, find that something that interests the hell out of you and then work your way back to today leaving a bit of a path to follow. With that kind of perspective, odds are that clarity and purpose will come when looking back out from 2015 for work.

A really good resource for helping in taking that longer view

Anyhow, just a thought from a seasoned roughneck.


A really good resource for help in taking that longer view:-

A short thought on AI

A short thought on AI

The debate in the public square of the crowd appears to be less about the inevitability of powerful AI and more about who will be at the control levers of the future.

For those aware of AI and looking up and forward at it and the future, there appears to be two ways this can go:

  • the power of AI is going to be with the few or AI itself, screwed again; or
  • the power of AI will be in the hands of the ~8 billion strong crowd by 2025 and things might be alright after all.

Those that are able to look down and back at things largely concur, unless the crowd is involved and on board, things could get a bit ugly and time is short.

More disruptive change is coming in the next decade than the last 4 decades combined.

Only a small fraction of the crowd have heard of AI. How do you give people AI when they do not understand it, are not comfortable with it and are more concerned with putting food in their bellies?

The challenge then becomes, how to start a conversation and harness the power of AI to care and provide for the basic needs and dignities of the crowd thereby winning the debate.

Is that not what this conversation is about?

Anyhow, just a short thought from a seasoned old roughneck.

A thought about wearables in 2025

A thought about wearables in 2025

The technology gadget space has been increasing dominated by wearables. Newer faster better gadgets and apps are hitting the marketplace at an increasing rate. Particularly through rapidly growing crowdfunding platforms (I.e. Kickstarter).

These wearables appear to fall into 1 or 2 of 3 main categories:

  • capture surrounding data for external processing then analysis (I.e. GoPro) – entertainment mostly.
  • capture data from the human body for outside processing then analysis (I.e. Fitbit) – sort of sensory addition.
  • capture data from the outside world for direct processing and analysis by the human mind, often in innovative new ways. (I.e. Oculus Rift). – technology as human sensory substitution for the minority and sensory addition for the majority.

A decade from now, ~2025, wearables that capture data from the human body will condensed so much that they may become ingestibles. Morning coffee with vitamins of choice and a diagnostic tablet. The diagnostic tablet does a complete body diagnostic and data upload before time for the morning constitutional.

Oculus Rift today, hyper-capable multispectral multipurpose connected glasses in a decade.

David Eagleman gave an amazing talk at Ted2015 in Vancouver on sensory substitution and addition through wearables. Eagleman et al are developing a completely new type of wearable that taps into largely unused human sensory capabilities with a Sensory Vest. A highly recommended watch on the TED website.

If a deaf person can start to learn to hear in 4 days and can learn a new way to hear everything in ~3 months by simply wearing a vest, could a person with hearing be able to learn a new language in ~3 weeks or less? Read and write at the same time?

Education well and truly disrupted. Online and long distance learning re-defined. Learn directly from the internet?

A decade from now, ~2025, learning something new may take not much longer than making the decision and putting on a vest. Kickstarter Alert!

Anyhow, just a thought from a seasoned old roughneck.

A thought on LinkedIn in 2025

A thought on LinkedIn in 2025

Most people seem to have a favorite social media platform or two. LinkedIn is well liked because there is always a conversation going on. By and large, the place is about people helping people get stuff done.

Numerous studied and learned minds concur that 10 years from now, in 2025, everyone will be hyper-connected with global connectivity at speeds of 1 Megabit per second or more.

What does that mean? A question without a short answer.

A thought on how it might feel:

Any two or more willing and consenting people, anywhere on the globe, will be able to look each other in the eye and have a conversation, share a story and collaborate at will and on demand.
Anywhere, anytime, in private or in public. The connection, depending upon plan of course, can come complete virtual drawing and imaging tools, holographic imaging tools, advanced big / little data tools and tools not yet imagined.

Sort of Minority Report only way better because everyone has one. Everyone. Now that is powerful indeed.

Humanity should be able to achieve, fix and pretty much do anything it decides to with that kind of collaborate power.

Looking back at LinkedIn today with that perspective…..

……starts to look a bit antiquated technologically but the identity of being a place to go to get stuff done and have fun doing it seems sound enough.

By 2025, the number of people wanting to get together with others to make neat innovative things happen ought to be a growing majority. Fertile grounds for great achievement.

Will LinkedIn be one of the important cool places to hang out, a place for doers and achievers?

With its identity remaining strong, the odds would probably be pretty good if there is a plan happening to iterate and evolve its communication enabling technology at an exponential pace. New innovators certainly will be.

Anyhow, just a thought from and seasoned old roughneck.