Mid-week open thread...

Because you kids have been on a roll of late...all are welcome! New folks, ask questions and we'll try to answer them...

"Democracy Now" has a way on their website to "suggest a story". I've probably suggested 4 or 5 peak oil stories for them, complete with ideas of people to inteview, title ideas, etc. They're pretty silent on the topic. My latest to them was "Where is the Hirsch report" and a suggestion to interview Richard Heinberg. If a few more people wrote in the same idea maybe it would catch their attention.

Check out Kunstler's latest rant:


A sample:

"Has the world noted that the conservative establishment in America -- including the always prim George W. Bush and his buttoned-down minions, the heavenly hosts of mass-market evangelism, the zillionaire retired CEO authors of how-to-get-rich books, and the media tub-thumpers like David Brooks of the New York Times -- I repeat, has the world noted that they all preside over the most slovenly, undisciplined, and reckless economy the world has seen since mankind started bathing regularly?"

Ok - I know he invariably exaggerates and grossly oversimplifies, but you've got to admit the guy can write. I love that sentence.


For those assuming the worst about Bushco's intentions wrt Iran, this ought to fuel the fire nicely:


I hear this all the time: "I live in the city, I don't drive, why should I care about oil prices?"

The BBC has an answer: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4135122.stm

So when are the inflation numbers going to spike? Or is the Fed just going to keep driving up interest rates until unemployment skyrockets?

"If a few more people wrote in the same idea maybe it would catch their attention." --Lee Blackwell

In order to catch the public's attention, you have to find a way to resonate with the public mindset.

I know it sounds crazy, but ask yourself, Why is it that Ms. Cindy Sheehan being at the Crawford Ranch suddenly generates all this buzz? --She's been elsewhere for months, and was ignored.

(For those not on top of that story, check out http://www.fednews.com/transcript.htm?id=20050809t1892 )

(As to Cindy being ignored before, check out: http://www.lewrockwell.com/sheehan/sheehan10.html That was 8 months ago !!! Why now? Why this?)

A lot of mothers who lost sons have also come before the media. They too were ignored. But suddenly "Cindy" shows up at "Crawford". This time she is not ignored.

There is something to Cindy camping in a ditch and demanding a show down at the Crawford Corral. --Something in the story line has hit a nerve or two with the public.

What is it? Why is the public responding now?

Any ideas of how to similarly ring the bell for the public on the Peak Oil problem?

Lee Blackwell: Your comment about democracy now is apt.

Today they had a story on the so-called Energy Bill. What did DN do? They framed it as having an adverse effect on Native peoples!

Just another confirmation that even so-called progressive media sources are full of toothless drivel.

Keep trying to get them to cover Peak Oil. I'll bet they won't.


one more thing. Demo>now did not miss the Cindy Sheehan story:

just run a Google on her name and "crawford"

What is going on ?????????????????????????????

We need the peak oil clock in Times Square:


The only problem with it is that it uses the "running out" of oil theme instead of the harder to communicate on a billboard concept of peak oil

Still it would make people stop and think.

Here are a couple of items that may be of interest.

Green Car Congress reports "First Half Production from Non-OPEC Oil Majors Down Slightly Year-on-Year". Major oil companies collectively produced slightly less oil in the first half of 2005 than the same period of 2004. It's not clear if this represents a fall in all non-OPEC production or if there may be some other amounts that are not counted here. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005/08/first_half_prod.html

And here's some discussion on an issue that has always puzzled me. We often see analysts explain a rise in oil prices as being due to worries about refinery capacities. On the face of it this doesn't make sense. Refinery shutdowns could cause shortages of gasoline but should only produce a glut of oil (since not as much is being consumed). So we would expect worries about refineries to cause oil prices to fall, not rise. Some explanations of the reasoning behind this backwards seeming situation are discussed in the comments on Berkeley economist Brad DeLong's blog: http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/08/supply_shocks.html#comments

Lee, that's disappointing about Democracy Now. I love Amy Goodman and all, but their focus tends to be pretty narrow. I can't ever remember an energy issues story from them. Which is pretty strange considering that oil drives our foreign policy in the Mideast.

Roy, there was story floated by former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter that the US was going to bomb Iran in June of this year. Didn't happen. Another piece by Sy Hersch in the New Yorker described in some detail the preliminary plans and war games being played out concerning Iran. Also, Jim Fallows of Atlantic Monthly published a story Will Iran Be Next? in December 2004. This flurry of reports has slowed down considerably lately.

My view is that an air strike taking out Iran's nuclear program woudl destabilize (if not totally undermine) the US relationship with the majority Shiites in the south of Iraq. The US and Brits would then potentially end up with two insurgencies on their hand. Not a pretty picture.

mikeB "Today they had a story on the so-called Energy Bill. What did DN do? They framed it as having an adverse effect on Native peoples!"

Wow, that's pretty bad. I'll have to watch that.

How about a transparent "Speed" Bus driving in circles in Times Squares with Sandra Bullock at the wheel?


A sign on the side of the bus will say:
This is our economy.
Here is its fuel tank.
Any questions?

Great interview with Matt Simmons on Financial Sense Online:


Kuwait war = Peak Oil War1, Iraq =POW2 & recent expulsionof US forces from Uzbekistan as POW3?

Link between PO and military action seems to be increasing in pace.

1. Reports that Iraq has up to 400 billion barrels of oil.
2. China and India economic boom is unsustainable since it's and export only thing that relies on the U.S. housing bubble. The bubble deflates, China and India deflate and their rising oil demands go away.
3. Thus peak oil won't happen soon, this blog was born twenty years to early and will suffer an early death.
4. Cheer up, current price hikes are due to lack of adequet infrastructure, burn oil like it's a party because there is plenty to go around and no serious scientist would bet their house on fossil fuel emissions being the cause or significant factor in global warming.

I see from the BBC piece that peakguy quoted that it takes a cup of crude to make a diaper - anyone for washable reusables? I remember lugging the diaper pail for the Advocate, but about half-way through the the process with the Engineer we gave up and went the disposable route.

Dave: What is the link between peak oil and the Uzbek airport? I read the article, but didn't see it mentioned. If there is a connection to be made, I missed it.

Heading Out: It is oversimplistic and probably wrong to say that it takes a cup of crude to make a diaper. If you had a cup of crude, there is no way to turn it into a diaper, you would produce a part of a diaper, a lot of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as well a some fuel oil and other petorchemcal products.

The point here is that the crude components of many petrochemical products are not the same components that produce fuel. This is true for natural gas as well. Also plastics are a far higher value commodity than gas and the fuel input is relatively small portion of overall costs.

So while oil prices soared in June and July, Asian Chemicla News said: "Ethylene prices remained weak...Ethylene, butadienem methanol and MTBE markets are muted while ammonia prices are stable..weak performance of polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene and monoethylene glycol sectors would keep prices low in the near term....Traders cited weakness in the Chinese styrene butadiene rubber market"

Petrochemicals are largely a high value biproduct of oil refining. Recent high prices at the start of the year were caused by lack of facilities to produce them. A situation that may have changed. It is inaccurate to imply that the input to a diaper or other plastic product the same as what would go in a car. I am convinced that we are up against the peak of oil productuion and that oil prices will keep climbing. I don't think ths will have the direct impact on plastics, fertilizer or other petrochemicals that sems intuitive.

Part of the reason we use so much plastic in everything is that is very cheap. It will be a long time before rising oil prices pass sufficient costs through to plastic prices for consumers to even notice.

Production related snippests:

Oh boy, up ~ 4,000 bbl/d in UK, lets relax!

According to the latest monthly oil and gas index from Royal Bank of Scotland, combined oil and gas production increased to 3,405,792 barrels oil equivalent daily in May, from 3,401,953 in the same month last year. Total production was down in the month, from 3,561,342 in April.

However, Tony Wood, senior economist at RBS, highlighted the year on year data, saying: "May's data represents a significant turnaround in UK oil and gas production, which has seen continual declines during the past two years."


mw: Someone should tell Tony that one month out of 24 does not a trend make. Plus, the key is:

Oil production fell 1.4 percent in the month of May, to 1,724,597 barrels daily, and 3 percent on the year.

Oops, nothing really to party about. next:

Indonesian crude oil imports to exceed exports

JAKARTA, Tues: Indonesia, South-East Asia’s largest oil producer, will import more crude oil than it exports this year as production drops, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Aburizal Bakrie said.

Production of oil and condensates will probably fall to 1.06 million barrels a day by the end of the year, Aburizal said today.

The country produced 1.67 million barrels a day at its peak in 1976-1977.

“From the volume of oil imports this year, we have been a net crude oil importer and this will affect our budget,” he added.

Lower production this year could cut the Government’s income even as it strives to trim a budget deficit.

Indonesia, a memberof the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), has failed since early 2002 to meet its Opec output quota of 1.45 million barrels a day.

In July, it produced 950,000 barrels a day.

The country may import a net 61,000 barrels a day this year from net exports of 27,000 barrels a day in 2004, based on figures in a document prepared for the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.

In June, it pumped 934,000 barrels a day of crude oil and 124,000 barrels a day of condensate. — Bloomberg

I thought of an interesting point about depletion rates and the Hubbert curve.

Many people have noted here that improved technology for oil recovery has a down side. We can get more out than we could before, but a side effect is that once the production rate from a well peaks, it falls faster than in the old days. Depletion rates now are often 10% a year or even higher, much faster than before the technology was used. This poses a greater challenge because more and more wells and fields have to be brought onstream just to make up for the more rapid declines in production from existing wells.

That's the conventional analysis, but here's the new angle. Look at production rate as a chart, and we see that the rate for a well ramps up a bit at first, then maybe stays level for a while, then as the well goes into depletion it falls off. And because it is falling off rapidly, it means that the decline is quite steep. The right hand side of the chart has a steep angle.

Now consider the Hubbert curve. In effect this is the sum of all of the production from all of the wells in the world. We've all seen it, it is often shown as a bell curve. Actually if you look at say the American experience it is more like a triangle. But think about the effect of this new technology. It is causing steeper dropoffs than we have seen before. What does that mean when you add them all up? It is the same effect - the right hand side of the Hubbert curve will be steep, much steeper than it had been thought to be in the past.

So what this means is, the Hubbert curve will not be symmetric, as it is often drawn. It will be asymmetric. It will slope up on the left side to a peak, and then slope downwards steeply on the right side. That shape reflects the impact of improved recovery technology. If further improvements are developed it will probably skew it even more into a shape with a steep decline.

But there's more, and it is important. How do we calculate the Hubbert peak? Basically it is done by assuming that the whole area under the curve represents all the oil that will ever be produced. If we assume a symmetric curve it gives us a certain date for the peak. Hubbert predicted it would peak about the year 2000.

But that kind of date assumes a basically symmetric curve. A curve with a significant skew of the kind I have described, with a steep right hand side, has a very different shape. If you again do the analysis such that the area under the curve represents all the oil that will ever be produced, and give it a steep right hand side, it has a very interesting effect: it pushes the peak over to the right, which means, it makes it peaks much later. It's simple geometry that if you have two curves like this with the same area, and one has a steeper right side than the other, then that one will have a peak farther to the right than the other.

This means that the calculations of Hubbert's Peak are basically flawed. These new effects of faster depletion actually mean that we can expect the peak to be much further along, in the big picture. It could be years or decades later than is usually thought. In fact, as technology improves, we can expect the peak to occur only very shortly before we have exhausted all the oil which will ever be economically recoverable. And then of course it will fall off extremely fast. But that will be probably 30 or 40 years away.

Jack- my abreviated post related to the last few paras mentioning China's interest in taking over the airfield. According to:
Uzbekistan is the eighth-largest producer of natural gas in the world and is a key link between east Asia and Russia & the Middle East.
reports on the privatisation of 49% of the country's state oil company, hence my view that the US eviction and involvement of China is part of a broader scramble for oil and gas resources by the major economies in a post-peak world.

You have described the Superstraw effect with rose colored glasses. This has been discussed indepth at other PO forums.

There are two different peaks - peak production of oil and the peak on Hubbert's bell curve, the half way mark of oil use. Superstraw technology has taken us well past that halfway point, which takes us CLOSER to peak oil production and much higer decline rates in the big fields where this tecnology has been used.

When world oil production declines at a 10 to 15 percent annual rate, how many years will it be to economic chaos ?

Happy Oil Awareness Day! As I get ready for our area meeting, I was thinking in line with Odograph, who notes that: "people have shown a pretty good tolerance for higher oil prices." A few months ago, the self-described "moderate Republican" fellow that sits near me said that gasoline prices hadn't kept up with inflation, so gas was still a bargain at over$2.00/gallon. Today, he admits to being worried about rising oil/diesel prices driving up the costs of all deliverables.

This is as good a place as any to say it:

I love this site. Everyone, keep up the good work. I'm learning tons.

Thank you.

In regard to the plastic diapers (You'd think I'd learned to keep my nose out of this one) apart from the semi-humorous intent of the quote, I do recall that just before we had the natural gas crisis in the 70's there were headlines about there being a national shortage of the raw materials for plastics. But since we didn't have the electronic media then I am unable to give a reference.

HO: Thanks. My point is that a lot of the references to shortages of plastics and fertilizer are not based on the solid factual data that oil shortage assumptions are. It seems intuitive that if oil goes up, plastic prices will too. I just wanted to underline that the linkage is not that clear.

The BBC piece also points to the fact that plastic is a key component of crucial items such as contact lenses and hearing aids and notes that stores give away plastic bags with "gay abandon". Plastic prices would have to rise pretty high to impact the prices of the former items and we could all survive if the distribution of plastic bags was done with mere abandon.

Any thoughts on spending nearly $300 billion on highways and infrastructure in the US?

Will high gas prices curtail driving enough to make this un needed?

(I know parts of it are needed, but parts of the bill are simply extra projects like landscaping or whatnot to give back as a reward to senators in their home districts)

You have to look at the highway spending as the pork it really is. The DOT has to keep something going, and then we cannot have the sole transportation method of our economy suffer in the least.

When the first big oil shock hits, a lot of this will be re-thunk. Just moving big stuff to rails and rivers would make a big dent in consumption, and probably help gridlock a lot. Of course, the trucking industry will be bloodied badly - but who will not?

It will all become important when the truth hits the fan...

Re: The Onion

"If we don't end our dependence on oil by 4920, when will we end it? 5580? By then, it may be too late," Bush said.

Bush called on both Democrats and Republicans living 1,200 years from now to work together to pass the program.....

"As admirable as Mr. Bush's visionary pronouncement is, I worry that the timetable he proposes is far too ambitious," General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner Jr. said. "It is simply not realistic. The automotive industry would require an additional three or four thousand years to develop engines that can run effectively on renewable or cleaner-burning fuels."

Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond said the petroleum-producing company shares Bush's hopes for a cleaner environment "well before the sun turns into a red giant and dies."

"the recycling of people into fuel" I still can't believe I've read this as a Bush answer to an oil shortage in the Onion article from peakguy . I'm stunned--Soylent Oil - Yep, that's what it says. Is this a joke story? I've gone back three times because I can't believe it isn't a joke- global reshuffling, animal die-offs, fresh water shrinking around the world, Belgium sized chunks out of the Amazon, desertification spreading across continents and built over farmland. Only problem is by 4920 all 10 people on Earth will have to decide which will be oil and which will ride. Delusional, if it isn't a joke.

Jokes on me , sorry for my gullibility!