Drumbeat: June 14, 2013

Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks

Top secret US National Security Agency (NSA) documents disclosed by the Guardian have shocked the world with revelations of a comprehensive US-based surveillance system with direct access to Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants. New Zealand court records suggest that data harvested by the NSA's Prism system has been fed into the Five Eyes intelligence alliance whose members also include the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

But why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? Since the 2008 economic crash, security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests. This activity is linked to the last decade of US defence planning, which has been increasingly concerned by the risk of civil unrest at home triggered by catastrophic events linked to climate change, energy shocks or economic crisis - or all three.

Potential Oil Glut! Raymond James Analyst's Contrarian Forecast

TER: Was Saudi Arabia's production cut driven by a policy change?

AC: Saudi Arabia cited internal demand issues in its production cut. The cut may also reflect an adjustment to offset the start-up of Manifa, which occurred last month.

TER: If the glut does occur, which benchmark crudes will be most affected, whether by going up or going down?

AC: In the U.S., production of light oil will dramatically increase due to the shales. Without the ability to export, we are already seeing prices of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) reflecting that "stranded" lighter barrel. We see light imports being backed out of the U.S. as early as this summer as well. Finally, as infrastructure bottlenecks are removed onshore, we see risk to Gulf Coast prices (e.g., Light Louisiana Sweet). With much of the U.S. refinery infrastructure having been geared to process heavier barrels, the large growth in light barrels has already driven WTI prices to a discount with Brent. Risks to Brent could come down the road if European and Chinese demand remains tepid.

Shale revolution grows stronger

There seems no end to the stream of good news coming out of the energy sector.

After the International Energy Agency (IEA) last November hailed the United States shale revolution by predicting that the country would become the biggest producer of oil by the end of the decade, the compliments have now been returned.

Shale Drillers Squeeze Costs as Era of Exploration Ends: Energy

The pioneers of America’s shale gas and oil revolution have done their work. Now it’s time for the factory crews to take over.

After spending $53 billion on a land binge to find hydrocarbons, the petroleum industry is counting on technological innovations -- better imaging data, speedier and longer horizontal drilling, among them -- to ramp up the flow of oil and gas from U.S. shale fields where they’re drilling more than 10,000 wells a year.

WTI Trades Near Three-Week High on Signs of U.S. Growth

West Texas Intermediate climbed to its highest intraday level in 10 weeks on signs of economic recovery in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer of crude, and concern that Middle East exports may be disrupted.

WTI advanced to the highest since April 2 and is set for a second weekly gain. U.S. retail sales rose the most in three months in May, while jobless claims dropped last week, data yesterday show. Iranians go to the polls today to select a replacement for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The U.S. will provide small arms and ammunition to the Syrian opposition after saying that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons, said an official familiar with the decision.

Surge in U.S. oil-by-rail suffers first slowdown as spreads slim

NEW YORK/CALGARY (Reuters) - Oil traders are gently tapping the brakes on the thriving business of shipping U.S. and Canadian crude oil by rail, industry data showed this week, the first sign of a slowdown after a two-year boom.

As price spreads for moving sweet North Dakota or Canadian crude to premium markets on the Gulf Coast slump to their lowest since early 2011, companies are shifting more oil back through pipelines rather than using costlier railcars, raising new questions about the longevity of oil-by-rail.

European gas demand set to level out, recover: Statoil

Demand in the European gas market is "expected to level out and then recover" after the slump of recent years, Norwegian producer Statoil said in its "Energy Perspectives 2013" report published Friday.

The company said it expected the Eurozone crisis to abate, with a stronger economy boosting demand.

U.S.-Europe Diesel Flow Seen Rising Amid Output at 23-Year High

The number of diesel cargoes booked for export to Europe from the U.S. Gulf Coast is set to climb after output of refined oil products was the highest in at least 23 years, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Traders will charter 12 Medium Range tankers for loading to June 26, the average of estimates from seven shipbrokers specializing in the trade showed this week. That’s three more vessels, each normally carrying 38,000 metric tons of the fuel, than in a corresponding survey last week.

CPI demands inquiry into Moily's revelations over petroleum ministers being threatened

New Delhi (ANI): The Communist Party of India (CPI) on Friday asked Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dr. M. Veerappa Moily to disclose the names of those import lobbies, who threaten petroleum ministers.

CPI leader Atul Anjan said it is a very serious issue, and added that the government must conduct an inquiry into it.

"The petroleum minister has given a very stunning statement. In Rajasthan, oil and gas deposits are there. The Government of India must enquire this matter. This is an issue of national security and national independence," said Anjan.

Key court ruling puts Kuwait democracy on the line

Kuwait now stands at a political crossroads ahead of a crucial court ruling on Sunday on a controversial electoral law, with the decision affecting the future of democracy itself in the oil-rich state.

The constitutional court, whose verdicts are final, will rule whether an amendment decreed by the emir last October to the electoral law is constitutional or not.

His decree intensified a bitter political crisis that had engulfed the emirate in 2006, sparking a wave of street protests, some of which turned violent.

Iran votes for new president, Khamenei slams U.S. doubts

(Reuters) - Millions of Iranians voted to choose a new president on Friday, urged by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to turn out in force to discredit suggestions by arch foe the United States that the election would be a sham.

The 50 million eligible voters had a choice between six candidates to replace incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but none is seen as challenging the Islamic Republic's 34-year-old system of clerical rule.

Cyberattacks hit Iran's Gmail users as election begins

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - In the lead-up to Iran's presidential elections, which kicked off Friday, tens of thousands of Iranians fell victim to a series of targeted cyberattacks on their Gmail accounts.

Oil Hunted in Mozambique After World’s Largest Gas Discoveries

Statoil ASA and Tullow Oil Plc are finishing a well aimed at achieving the first commercial oil discovery in Mozambique, the East African country where explorers have made the century’s largest natural gas finds.

The partners’ Cachalote well off Mozambique is drilling past potential gas fields and looking for crude discoveries further under the seabed, Tullow Exploration Director, Angus McCoss said in an interview yesterday. The well is expected to be finished later this month.

BP’s PSVM in Angola to Reach Peak Oil Output Sooner Than Planned

BP Plc said that Angola’s PSVM project, the largest subsea oil and gas development, will reach peak production of 150,000 barrels of oil a day in December, earlier than previously expected.

The company said in January that output wouldn’t reach that level until 2014. The project is currently producing about 100,000 barrels a day, up from 70,000 barrels earlier this year, said Martyn Morris, BP’s regional president.

Brazil Plans to Woo Big Oil by Offering 30% of Libra’s Profits

Brazil is preparing to woo producers by offering at most a 30 percent take for developing its largest oil field. Analysts say it’s enough to spur interest.

The oil regulator is preparing a road show to the U.S., Europe and Asia in late June and early July to market Libra, the largest oil discovery in Brazil that is up for auction in October, Magda Chambriard, the head of the National Petroleum Agency, said yesterday. The quality of the oil and the size of the reserves have lured the interest of all major companies from Chevron Corp. to China Petrochemical Corp., or Sinopec, she said.

Far East Energy in Takeover Talks With Oil Majors, CEO Says

Far East Energy Corp., the explorer cited by short-seller Carson Block in his criticism of Standard Chartered Plc’s loan quality, has had talks with several global oil companies for a possible takeover or a stake sale.

Discussions are in the early stages, Chief Executive Officer Michael McElwrath said, without disclosing financial details or a timeline. The Houston-based company, which explores for coal-bed methane in China’s Shanxi province, will drill 70 wells this year, bringing its total to about 135, he said. The company plans to drill 400 wells next year, he said.

How To Generate Energy Dividends Despite The 'Peak Oil' Nonsense

"Peak oil" is the idea that the world has reached or is about to reach maximum production of oil either a few years ago or a few years from now. From there on we are supposedly going to experience significant declines in oil production, which would have devastating impacts on the world economy, which would need more and more oil in the future. This would be driven by the emerging economies of China and India, where hundreds of millions of consumers will enter the middle class and demand the lifestyle of your typical American consumer. This will be bullish for companies like Coca-Cola as well as energy companies like Chevron.

I find some of the cheapest stocks in the market today to be oil companies.

U.K. Blackout Risk Prompts Concern of Britons in Survey

Almost two-thirds of U.K. citizens say they are worried about the risk of electricity blackouts because of the government’s “confused” energy policy, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said.

About 64 percent of more than 2,000 people polled for the London-based institution said they’re worried about the prospect of power cuts, and 93 percent said they’re concerned about higher gas and electricity bills, according to an e-mailed statement today from the group. The government said in a statement that it’s “confident” the lights will stay on.

Kinder Shuts Only Pipeline Carrying Canadian Crude to West Coast

Kinder Morgan Inc., the largest U.S. pipeline operator by market value, shut the only line that carries Canadian crude to the West Coast after discovering a spill of light crude in a remote region of British Columbia.

Workers found the 12-barrel spill from the Trans Mountain Pipeline yesterday while performing routine maintenance, Andy Galarnyk, a Calgary-based spokesman for Kinder, said by e-mail. The company shut the 300,000-barrel-a-day line, which carries both light and heavy oil, and is making repairs.

U.S., Arkansas sue Exxon over Pegasus pipeline spill

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department filed a joint lawsuit with Arkansas on Thursday against oil producer Exxon Mobil Corp over the pipeline spill in March of thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude oil in a suburban neighborhood.

The 95,000 barrels per day Pegasus line has been shut since spilling the oil in Mayflower, Arkansas, where cleanup operations continue. U.S. oil pipelines rarely spill in towns.

Harper Lobbies Europe as Canada Fights Dirty-Oil Label

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is appealing to his European peers to stop EU plans to single out Alberta’s oil sands as a source of high-polluting energy as the country struggles to find new markets for its oil.

Harper will push the issue with French President Francois Hollande today after raising it with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday. Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is also meeting with government and industry officials in London this week.

Obama Tells Keystone Foes He Will Unveil Climate Measures

With his administration under pressure from environmentalists to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project, President Barack Obama plans to unveil a package of separate actions next month focused on curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

At closed-door fundraisers held over the past few weeks, the president has been telling Democratic party donors that he will unveil new climate proposals in July, according to people who have attended the events or been briefed.

Shale wells and methane emissions: Kemp

(Reuters) - Shale gas supporters say it can cut greenhouse emissions by replacing dirtier fuels such as coal, but critics warn it is worsening climate change due to methane leaks from shale wells.

Because methane is so much more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, even small emissions can have a huge impact. Depending on the time horizon, 1 tonne of methane has the same global warming potential as 25-72 tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Non-Violent Keystone XL Activists = 'Eco-Terrorists,' According to TransCanada Documents

Documents recently obtained by Bold Nebraska show that TransCanada – owner of the hotly-contested Keystone XL tar sands pipeline – has colluded with an FBI/DHS Fusion Center in Nebraska, labeling non-violent activists as possible candidates for “terrorism” charges and other serious criminal charges.

Further, the language in some of the documents is so vague that it could also ensnare journalists, researchers and academics, as well.

Honda delays hybrid vehicle production in China

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Honda Motor Co. will delay the start of production of gasoline-electric hybrid cars in China in a bid to source cheaper parts, a company official said, in an apparent response to rival Toyota's cost-saving measures.

Honda had intended to start local production of hybrid cars in China by as early as next year, but said on Friday local production had been put back "to within three years" in order to source cheaper components from parts suppliers in China.

Fiat's tiny 500e electric car is a big hit

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat and Chrysler, hates that the state of California is forcing him to sell electric cars. He just hates it. He loses money on every single one and there just aren't enough buyers form them, he says.

So it's surprising that the Fiat 500e electric car isn't a cheaped-out awful mess.

On the contrary, it's one of the best electric cars out there. It's not perfect, but it's stylish, fun to drive and, in some respects, better than a gasoline-powered Fiat 500.

Lifetime Costs of Electric Cars Within 10% of Competing Vehicles

It’s no secret that upfront cost is one of the major obstacles when it comes to the attractiveness of electric cars on the market.

But drivers should think again, according to a new analysis from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The study compared the prices of the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt for the 2013 model season against comparable gasoline cars on the market.

Protesters, police clash in demonstration against bus fare increases in Brazil

Sao Paulo, Brazil (CNN) -- Riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds when thousands of people took to the streets of Sao Paulo on Thursday night to protest an increase in bus and metro fares.

At least 100 people were injured and more than 120 were arrested in the violent clashes, occurring exactly one year before the World Cup kicks off in Brazil's financial capital.

It was the latest in a string of protests staged in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities over the last week aimed at getting officials to revoke recent increases in public transportation costs.

Mott Green, a Free-Spirited Chocolatier, Dies at 47

Mott Green, who emerged from a hermitlike existence in a bamboo hut in the jungle of Grenada to produce a coveted Caribbean delicacy — rich, dark chocolate bars that he exported around the world with the help of sailboats, bicycles and solar-powered refrigeration — died on June 1 in Grenada. He was 47.

He was electrocuted while working on solar-powered machinery for cooling chocolate during overseas transport, said his mother, Dr. Judith Friedman.

‘Solar energy crucial to meet rising demand’

An expert here believes that the Kingdom is likely to spend all its oil on electricity in the country by 2031 if current consumption continues, and has called for an urgent program to harness solar energy.

“There must be real work done to benefit from this alternative energy in the Kingdom in light of climat changes, population growth and increasing electricity use,” said Abdel Malik Al-Junaidi, chairman of the mechanical engineering department at King Abdul Aziz University.

He said Saudi Arabia has a “real wealth” of alternative energy but has not exploited it. He said Saudi Arabia could become a leading exporter of solar power.

China revives Uganda's biggest power dam with $500 million credit

(Reuters) - China has provided credit worth $500 million to Uganda to help pay for the construction of a large Nile River hydropower dam at Karuma, a government document said on Friday, reviving the $2 billion project stalled for years by a lack of money.

Construction of the 600-megawatt Karuma dam is expected to start before the end of 2013 and likely to take five years to complete, the government has previously said.

Mongolia shows the birthing pains of a green economy

Mongolia is the first nation to create a ministerial portfolio of "green development". It has taken steps to protect certain lands and water, and it has put a moratorium on new mining exploration licences. But it isn't all good news. The 50-megawatt wind farm will save 18,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 1.6 million tonnes of water each year, compared to coal power. It's a start, but pales in comparison with the impact of three planned coal-fired power stations with a combined generation of 1650 megawatts.

U.K. Power Price to Double German on Wind, Solar

Electricity in the U.K. is poised to cost almost twice as much as in Germany within two years as Britain lags behind in building solar and wind plants.

U.K. power will be 85 percent more expensive than in Europe’s biggest energy market in May 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with an average premium of 17 percent over the past five years and 80 percent today, data from Marex Spectron Group Ltd., a broker in London, show.

Waste-to-energy shows new approach to trashy practices

In the United States, 390 million tonnes of rubbish is generated per year - and of that rubbish, more than two thirds is landfilled, according to experts.

But with new light being shed on the positive impact waste-to-energy has on the environment, the distribution chart of how rubbish is disposed might be set to change.

Rubbish becomes a burning issue in global push for green energy

Waste is often recycled, placed in a landfill or burned. But in several parts of the world, rubbish is literally keeping the lights on after being converted to electricity.

In the United States alone, 390 million tonnes of rubbish is generated per year, or 7 pounds per person per day, according to a joint study conducted by the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University and BioCycle, a magazine covering composting and renewable energy. Of that rubbish, about 69 per cent is landfilled and 24 per cent is recycled and composted. The remaining 7 per cent is combusted via waste-to-energy.

With more waste management firms putting a clean-energy spin on the burning of rubbish by converting waste to electricity, "waste gasification" technologies are poised to surge.

Precision Farming Gains Global Foothold

Fueling better farming is a practice known as precision agriculture, which uses extensive data from a farmer's field and the surrounding region to help predict weather conditions and optimize operations. While collecting real-time data on weather, soil, health of crops and air quality is important, as is the availability of equipment and labor, predictive analytics can be much a smarter approach for making better farming decisions.

Precision agriculture can help farmers from Brunei to Brazil pinpoint the best time for harvesting to mitigate crop damage and loss; determine how many workers are needed at harvest time; and show how and when to deploy delivery trucks to ensure immediate shipment — an especially important factor in farmlands where the lack of paved roads can paralyze distribution.

Tide of humanity, as well as rising seas, lap at Kiribati's future

SOUTH TARAWA, Kiribati (Reuters) - The ocean laps against a protective seawall outside the maternity ward at Kiribati's Nawerewere Hospital, marshalling itself for another assault with the next king tide.

Inside, a basic clinic is crowded with young mothers and newborn babies, the latest additions to a population boom that has risen as relentlessly as the sea in a deeply Christian outpost where family planning is still viewed with scepticism.

It is a boom that threatens to overwhelm the tiny atoll of South Tarawa as quickly as the rising seas. Some 50,000 people, about half of Kiribati's total population, are already crammed onto a sand and coral strip measuring 16 sq km (6 sq miles).

California's efforts to clean up diesel engines have helped reduce impact of climate change on state, study finds

(Phys.org) —Reductions in emissions of black carbon since the late 1980s, mostly from diesel engines as a result of air quality programs, have resulted in a measurable reduction of concentrations of global warming pollutants in the atmosphere, according to a first-of-its-kind study examining the impact of black carbon on California's climate.

New York City Could Look Like New Orleans, Due to Flood Protection

In a long speech, Bloomberg stated that because of sea level rise, future storms much smaller than Hurricane Sandy could do as much damage or more—a laudable recognition of increasingly severe weather brought about by climate change, and a stand that few members of Congress are willing to make at the national level. The plan notes that by 2050 some 800,000 residents will live in the city’s flood zone—which will cover more area than it does now because of sea level rise. About 400,000 live in the zone today.

Yet Bloomberg dismissed the two biggest recommendations scientists made to Scientific American. He said erecting a large flood barrier across New York Bay to protect the entire city against storm surges “is just not practical or financially feasible.” And he said that “We cannot and will not abandon our waterfront,” meaning the city will not ask (or require) people who live in low-lying areas to move away from the water’s edge, even in places that are repeatedly flooded by minor storms. These are the two ultimate steps that scientists told me were necessary evils, even though the first is expensive and the second is politically unpopular.

Russia challenges consensus rule at heart of U.N. climate talks

Eighteen years on, the consensus system has run up against a powerful opponent: Russia, with two of its ex-Soviet neighbours, is denouncing it as too vague, and their opposition could thwart progress towards the next deal to fight climate change, due to be agreed in 2015.

Seething after they were overruled in a consensus decision at U.N. talks in Qatar last year, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine blocked one strand of two-week climate talks in Bonn ending on Friday, by insisting on clearer rules for decision-making.

"Our process is very sick," Russian delegate Oleg Shamanov said.

Realities of Climate Change Are Finally Pushing Us to Action

Outside of Washington, of course, the climate conversation never really stopped. Dr. Jennifer Jurado, the Natural Resources Management and Planning Director of Broward County, Florida, has for years been working with other officials to reduce emissions and prepare for rising seas. Thankfully, she’s not alone. From Boston to Chicago, to Tucson and Los Angeles, local leaders are using science to figure out how to respond.

Interestingly, they’re finding that even when people disagree about whether or not climate change is causing sea levels to rise or wildfires to proliferate, that disagreement doesn’t stop them from taking steps to make their communities safer.

Earth could be four degrees warmer by 2100: Report

Bonn (IANS/RIA Novosti) The planet is on track to warm by four degrees Celsius by the year 2100, if the global community fails to act on climate change, a new report by Climate Action Tracker has said.

"Recent emissions trends and estimates of the effects of those policies in place and proposed lead to a new estimate that warming is likely to approach 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, significantly above the warming that would result from full implementation of the pledges," the report said.

An unexpected lesson in Antarctic ice melt

In what is being described as the first comprehensive survey of all Antarctic ice shelves, a study to be published Friday in the journal Science reports that 55% of the ice loss is due to melting at the base of these vast ice sheets.

"We find that iceberg calving is not the dominant process of ice removal," wrote Eric Rignot, a professor of earth system science at UC Irvine. "Ice shelves melt mostly from the bottom before they even form icebergs."

Is a Sleeping Climate Giant Stirring in the Arctic?

"Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures - as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) in just the past 30 years," Miller said. "As heat from Earth's surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic's carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming."

Current climate models do not adequately account for the impact of climate change on permafrost and how its degradation may affect regional and global climate. Scientists want to know how much permafrost carbon may be vulnerable to release as Earth's climate warms, and how fast it may be released.

I took some time to look at XOM's stock price over the last three decades and the investment growth that you would get from owning them has slowed remarkably. Now, things are really getting bad. Article speculates that Saudi Arabia floods the markets to drive the new shale supply out. If only they could, they would (is my thought).

Why America's Shale Oil Boom Could End Sooner Than You Think

Bernstein figures that the marginal cost of non-OPEC production is now at $104.5 per barrel. What’s more, the researchers found an “unprecedented” jump in the marginal costs of U.S. fields, from $89 a barrel in 2011 to $114 a barrel in 2012. This implies that some U.S. producers were losing money on oil they brought to market — and doing so knowingly, says Bernstein. Sometimes there’s good reason to produce oil and gas at a loss — particularly if you are drilling in order to hold acreage, or if you’re in the early stages of developing a field and still working out the right drilling and completion techniques. More generally, however, independent producers want to show investors topline growth.

Re: Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks

Nice to hear that Ol' Uncle Sam is looking after US. What better way to do that but to start a blog on energy and climate issues...:-)

E. Swanson

It's quite an article. It references a lot of sources, including JOE 2010, discussed here 3 years ago. We haven't seen another JOE. Perhaps it was too revealing and too widely disseminated. It also references a Bath University study:

Based on exclusive access to previously confidential sources, this research shows how companies such as Nestlé, Shell and McDonald’s use covert methods to gather intelligence on activist groups, counter criticism of their strategies and practices,...

...by slamming sites that get too close to the truth with massive spam attacks? When did the culture of greed, protecting itself, morph into an industry of its own? I suppose it's always been that way; PR and damage control. The first rule of manufacturing consent is to quash dissent. More signs of an ongoing collapse.

Don't worry, not that some of the activities of "No Such Agency" have been revealed, it appears that the US is about to enter the Syrian conflict. We will be handing out weapons and ammunition to groups associated with our "friends", al-Qaeda. Reminds me of the old Arab saying: "If your enemy is my enemy, then you are my friend". We know that a great way to coverup an unpleasant revelation is to come up with a bigger news worthy story.

To add to that, we see the story today that is another reminder of just how little control citizens in the US really have:

Non-Violent Keystone XL Activists = 'Eco-Terrorists,' According to TransCanada Documents

For those interested, the original story appeared on that "eco-trrorst" site, DeSmogBlog dot com...

E. Swanson

It's all about the stupid economy.
The 'war on terror' and the consequent omnipresent surveillance is necessary to keep us all focused on an
external threat as the fascist corporate state strives to keep itself in control.
Our dependence on the Ponzi economic system requires our sacrifice of all else on the alter of its growth.
Freedom and the environment are history.
Glad to be old.

I mentioned the possibility of a concerted attack on the site with spam in the June 5 drumbeat. The amount of posts on drumbeats seem to have gone down, and primary posters have abandoned the site. I consider the latter more important and feeding into the former. The attack looks to be working, if, in fact, it is an attack.


The posts have gone down and the numbers and who is still posting speak volumes. However, I disagree with the cause of the decline and will list a few personal observations. I don't know exactly when it started, but over time individuals retreated into entrenched positions and from said places began to argue and pontificate. Example and my apologies to RMG. When folks felt it necessary from their POV to attack the Tar Sands, RMG would always object from his POV. It was a short step in following posts to then attack the man himself which fostered further objections....and so on. I disagreed with the viability of EV from my POV and suffered personal attacks about where I lived and my lifestyle. If posters submit a positive report on nukes they are attacked. Yes, Ron became increasingly short, almost cranky, but he was argued into such positions. In public discourse a moderator would have calmed the discussions, but in this format it is almost impossible to do so. After awhile people just give up and maybe that's a natural progression. I don't know?

Rocky is posting over at PO, and seems to be in his element. However, we have now lost the details of drilling and exploration he was willing to share. He had the time to post from work and on the road and this was unique. Once in awhile an industry insider sets things straight but it is not consistent. The loss of Ron and his research has been a blow. I really miss his information and will migrate to his site when it is up and running.

After my experience with EV I was so pissed I vowed to stop reading TOD. However, I calmed down and its format suits my lifestyle. I get up before 5:00 am and like to check the news and new posts before work or home activities. (The need to be quiet for awhile). PO News will have new information, but most other sites are still in bed and sometimes leave the same articles up for days at a time. TOD has been like an old friend, and like all friendships there have been highs and lows. Currently, this is a low point and perhaps there needs to be a new direction away from their mission statement or more intense moderation...of course this would require more help for Leannan and Kate and is probably not on anyone's radar.

Not that anyone cares, but from my needs I miss the Campfire format. I am more interested in what others have done to prepare for a lower energy world than reading about pros/cons on every nit picking topic. As a builder I thrive on and am excited by the innovations and inventions other builders take on. In fact, my old profile stated that I "live to build". It can be metal, electronics, wood (of course), concrete, any medium of building/fixing excites me. And with gardening.....any new innovations and approaches speaks to me. In fact, I became a welder because of what Old Farmer Mac used to say about it and I thought it was a necessary skill to acquire for a Post Peak World.

I do not believe humanity is an evil blight on the world like so many others on this site like to slip in as if it is an inarguable truth. Certainly, we have consumed our way into a real pickle mess but we either adapt or die out....simple as that. And that is the approach I am taking. I will discuss PO with others if the topic comes up or I am able to do so....but have learned not to preach about it because many just cannot hear it right now. Following the adage of 'actions vrs words', we let our changing lifestyles speak for us with our friends and families and refrain from arguing.

Arguing one's POV simply drives others away and limits any chance of sharing knowledge or righting what we perceive to be needed. I think Alan Drake is an excellent example of a purposeful approach that keeps ears open and the ideas flowing.

Thanks for listening....regards Paulo

Thanks for posting that. We're in a similar place.

This site is not and has never been a place for the thin-skinned. It used to be a lot worse than it is now, frankly. People have always been entrenched in their positions, the personal attacks used to be a lot more personal, and Ron used to be even crankier. (He really did make an effort to be more civil as time went on, and I think he deserves credit for that.)

My feeling is that people are actually less entrenched in their positions than they used to be - because events have forced them to reconsider. Obviously, $100 oil isn't going to mean we're all living in caves and scrounging for mushrooms as many of us argued seven years ago. We know this, because we've seen $100 oil, and society didn't collapse.

However, it may be that the people who remain here when so many have lost interest in peak oil are the ones who tend to be most...zealous? Maybe that's what you're picking up.

The spamming may be nothing more than the continued evolution of spammers ability. Frustration with the antispamming software is having its effect - I myself am hesitant to post links in drumbeat, it is clear others are also hesitant. Much of the interest of Drumbeat is the many very interesting links that were once plentifully posted. The links were also important to support the poster's position, also.

Aside from spamming, it is clear as day to me that there are parties working to discredit the arguments supporting the relevance of resource limits here on The Oil Drum. Some of the prolific cornucopian comments that are periodically appearing are clearly the same person posting under several names - he or she admitted as much to me. And it is clear to me anyways that that person is paid to discredit any argument that supports an ongoing early impact of resource limit- it is almost as though Drumbeat is being used occasionally to hone the cornucopian argument - what better place than here.
The flavor of the commentary I refer to here is similar to the lobbyists that I occasionally run into when I work with state government ie they have a job to do and truth is always secondary to their economic interests. I am also reminded of the style of argumentation used by the religious right re evolution - an argument which itself evolved in subtlety over time, and became arguably more able to convince any who did not understand the science of evolution, but did not get closer to truth.

Note that it is not important for those seeking to discredit the impact of resource limits to convince those who have spent time analyzing the data - it is only necessary to support the uncertainty of the general public and the investor class who may happen to read the material posted here, now or in the future.

Here is a link to an earlier comment to one of our occasionally present cornucopians -http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9989/962439

Of course I'm curious about what you've discovered about certain posters, but apart from that, it's also impossible for me to miss the fact that I also feel like I am here to sharpen my claws and improve my argument.

With hopes that we are all getting sharper and clearer in our capabilities, even if our backing is possibly quite disproportionate, it's worth recognizing that as much as 'They have our arguments'.. it also should stand that we have theirs, too.

All take note and keep your thinking alive. Truth and better arguments may still out.

“All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.” Richard Adams - WATERSHIP DOWN

...not to mention that there hasn't been much to talk about. There's a lot of SSDD lately, and the type of person drawn to TOD needs stimulation and new challenges. It seems to parallel what our society is experiencing; slow but excruciating decline. It's not just TOD. Most of the sites I frequent seem to have declining participation lately. Another major drilling accident or meltdown could change that overnight.

...and contentious exchanges aren't anything new to the discourse here.

I personally have issues with longtime contributers who jump ship without a word to the community. Says a lot...

To me this is partly just the reality of the long term nature of this setting in, which is related to the issues that Greer is presently discussing regarding the two prevalent world views of infinite progress and apocalypse. Things are happening, in fact very fast, but I believe that when people discover PO and start posting on sites like TOD they often expect much more instant gratification. When neither the apocalypse nor a brave new world are forthcoming then people tend to lose interest. PO, climate change and the attendant social, economic and political collapse are not events, they are new realities that will be playing out for generations. It's hard to hold people's attention for that long.

I don't know how you keep something like TOD going long term, or if you can. It's been a quite remarkable journey and lasted a very long time as it is, but situations change. Even the technology changes, as is happening to the internet - in a far shorter time than most expect the internet will be vastly changed and not at all as useful as it was at its peak.

It seems to me the wild west element of the internet will inevitably decline - it will be domesticated - it expanded very rapidly - the sales tax break on purchases certainly helped with this - The internet as a whole must be considered a part of the finest state security apparatus ever constructed in history - social media provides an easily accessible photo and self updating personal info for so many, e-mails, IM, VOIP, Google searches provides so much more info - never have our lives been less private than now.
The vast amount of info is funneled in digital form amenable to data harvesting through very few organizations, all of which are subject to gov oversight, all of which appear to be quite cooperative with our gov's system of security.

I agree. But the internet is now subject to an escalating cycle of offensive/defensive measures/countermeasures that vastly increases the overhead, complexity and cost of using it.

I personally comment less and less. I've learnt most things I know about these issues. And development on most things seem to be mostly towards stalling. I think that is what happen when you get a smaller energy budget; things must go slower. Biggest "hope" for something interesting to happen is Syria. A bit personal to me since I am about to get relatives there...

And what comes out of climate research slowly gets more depressing...

I left out a link in the above comment due to fear of the anti spam software - I posted the link in a reply to my comment above - sure enough, it was qued for moderation! The link was to a previous Oildrum comment!
The ability to post a reply concurrent to the ongoing conversation is quite important here, as is the ability to document the basis of our argument with linked data. Realistically, once the commentary to a posting leaves the front page of the web site, which is two days for a Drumbeat, the commentary is dead for anything but cleaning up loose ends. The commentary is all but closed in practice, for the majority of the readership will not go past that front page.
A queuing to moderation nearly every time a link is posted is for all intents and purposes fatal to the conversation.

For this site, more so than most others, backing up your online statements with some sort of documentation is important to the readership - that is much of the interest for the reader and is important for the forming of the opinion upon what is read, and is also an aid in self directed research.

Unfortunately, the anti spam software effectively prevents the commenter from using links - the cost in time is too much to engage in the to and fro of the online conversation, thus the software has nuked much of the character of this web site.

The main issue I have with posting links is that, when they come up (usually pretty quickly), they aren't tagged with "new". One can post a comment saying they will repost it (edit) with a link, but I think Leanan said that causes problems, and it still won't be "new".

Seems we've been spoiled, and some commenters just take their ball and bat; leave the field.

I appreciate the frustration people describe, but frankly, the sheer potential of live linking, both for good uses AND for lighting fast contamination is a stark reminder of how much power this medium has, and which I feel, as Ghung seems to, that people can get a bit addicted to the perceived 'right' to have such unchecked speed and connection. Watch out for that wall.. it might not appear on your screens.

We're reaching so far out into this realm of electronica now, just think about how many ways we are unspeakably dependent upon the computer and the internet. How are your bills paid? How do you find out about the weather? How is traffic, mail and the grid managed? How many stores in your town have paper receipts still, how would the checkout person get prices from a barcode without the PC and the Database?

How many Hacking Monkeys are in that room, trying to find the magic Sonnet that could tear the whole thing down, and how many words have they written so far?

A little moderation delay at TOD might be that Coughing Canary, but it's Small Potatoes, too.

It's not a concerted attack. It's mindless bots that are increasingly blocked out of larger sites that have better spam protection than we have.

"Civil disturbance" in a society oversaturated with privately owned guns: will be interesting to watch.

Perhaps, but keep in mind it will not be two foes equally armed. The government will have the upper hand and can easily round up trouble makers especially with the NSA intelligence.

yes but they had how many cops and how long did it take to round up two thugs in Boston? They may have the upper hand in some things but intelligence is a term that doesn't go with government.

Speaking of intelligence those two in Boston that you refer to weren't exactly what one would call the brightest bulbs in the Chandelier either, eh? Who knows maybe all the idiots in the world both the ones in power and those from the population at large will just cancel each other out... Assuming I'm still around for a while, I for one, won't be spending much time mourning either group. And once I have departed, I trust nature will find a way to continue handing out the Darwin Awards in my absence!

An Uncle Sam blog on energy and climate issues? Wow. I will have to search it and understand that my searches will be recorded. I've nothing to hide.

I'm waiting for the first sign(s) of talk of mutiny. Like the climate, the rhetoric is getting pretty heated. Today, I heard someone say 'outrageous': Guess who just got added to the terrorist-watch list.

Anyone else notice how prism sounds like prison?

Re: Is a Sleeping Climate Giant Stirring in the Arctic?

Anyone who still thinks that Climate Change (aka: Global Warming) isn't a problem should read this article...

E. Swanson

It's like a giant compost pile suddenly thawing after a long, cold winter. Things get active very fast.

A terrifying prospect indeed.
Lest anyone thinks humans are going to put the brakes on this train, the company i work for will be shipping out a small portion of the equipment required to begin the infrastructure to support Artic drilling. This equipment is primarily rock crushing and screening equipment used for making roads and drilling pads. The intent is apparently year-round operation, as all the components are spec'd to -60 deg F.
Oil is going to get verrry expensive indeed.

The other problem is that thawed permafrost tends to erode quickly, which later exposes the deeper permafrost to melting in following years. Just another positive feedback which probably isn't included in the climate models...

E. Swanson

Re: Surge in U.S. oil-by-rail suffers first slowdown as spreads slim

The number of railcars loaded with crude or refined fuel per week in the United States has dropped by about 5 percent since reaching a record 14,500 tank cars during May

I would guess 90 cars three times a day for 30 days would be about right for Winnipeg for CN and CPR. Wonder why they did not give Canada - US numbers. 8,000 cars a month through Winnipeg would be a goood ball park number. I of course would not notice a 5% reduction however.

The refinery in Edmonton being down for however long it was should (and did for a while by my observation) have increased the numbers of refined fuel being transported via rail in May in Canada. Petro Canada had to get product delivered by rail off of the spot market.

Too bad about Mott Green! Amongst the high octane chocolates out there his Grenada chocolates are some of the best ever. Hopefully the company that he founded will continue.

That guy is my idea of a HERO. What a sad accident -- you guys who always tinkering around with electricity take care! You cannot be too careful.

(With apologies for the maternal gene,)

Perhaps his death will result in someone somewhere being saved from the same fate - it is a reminder that DC is a different sort of beast - breakdown potential of dry skin is only IIRC 36 volts or so, after that it's the amperage. 36 volts can be supplied by one panel - I don't know if one panel could electrocute someone - but I bet 2 in series could.

DC is indeed a dangerous beast at high amperages, as a contrast many years ago I remember working to repair a 3 phase 380v AC machine in a food factory with a wet floor at 4am after working non stop for over 15 hours, I was so tired that I forgot to isolate the circuit at the board before opening the panel, after my initial shock I rationalised that I could take the pain rather than walk 100 yards to hit the breaker, I finshed the repair taking care to only receive a shock from one phase at a time and retired to bed with only a slightly burned thumb for my trouble, if that had been a DC supply rather than AC I would not be here to bore you with my story.

To all the potential DIY PV installers who read this, please take the time to do a safety course before attempting your first install, it will repay your time investment many times over.


So we are approaching $98/barrel? Yeah, clearly all those stories about America being awash in shale oil got the story so right. We have so much oil that we just don't know what to do with it. It is funny that when those stories started coming out, oil was around $80/barrel. (Price) actions speak louder than words.

By forgetting inflation, you're making a mistake here.

The WTI price has been at 90-100 dollars since about 2010, but inflation keeps going at around 2% per year so the real price has decreased for each year. Plus, the tight oil people need around 70 dollars or more to be profitable, keep that in mind.

2% annual inflation does not explain a near 20% rise when the price is supposed to be going down due to this supposed shale oil glut.

inflation adjusted historical oil price


You need to go back to at least 1990 to have a meaningful view on inflation vs price -- volatility is WAY higher than inflation factors.

The $70 cost for shale oil or the $100 for Saudi social needs wouldn't matter in a world awash with oil -- the markets price to the marginal barrel. For it to be at $100 means that NOBODY in the world has extra oil to sell at $99. Sure, there are producers who WOULD sell at $40, but nowhere near enough to meet demand, so they all sell higher.

Key point is the price is what it is, ergo, there is no glut.

Key point is the price is what it is, ergo, there is no glut.

Exactly. Yet there is a persistent meme of "speculators" being responsible for all the price rise in much of the public. And although they can cause a little froth in the price, they just can't drive it up indefinitely. Bubbles pop. They need to sell their positions eventually because they don't have refineries to process the oil. So those sells should push the price downward as well.

The WTI increase might have something to do with Syria or the increase in shipments of diesel to Europe. Brent futures are up to $106.23 just now, according to Bloomberg...

E. Swanson

Census shrinks German population by 1.5 million

Germany has revised down its population by 1.5 million to 80.2 million in the first census since before the country's 1990 reunification, the federal statistics office said on Friday.

Great way to boost those per capita metrics.....

The story made me think about slow overshoot/collapse, actually.

Well, the Germans may be working to be sustainable. Controlled population growth, green energy, etc.

Kunstler's new site is up: www.kunstler.com (no /blog; TOD needs to update its link).

- security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests.

- BP Plc said that Angola’s PSVM project, the largest subsea oil and gas development, will reach peak production of 150,000 barrels of oil a day in December, earlier than previously expected.

- Brazil is preparing to woo producers by offering at most a 30 percent take for developing its largest oil field. Analysts say it’s enough to spur interest.

- labeling non-violent activists as possible candidates for “terrorism” charges and other serious criminal charges.

- The planet is on track to warm by four degrees Celsius by the year 2100

Doesn't anyone have any good news? Oh, I forgot about The Ol' Optimist in Chief.

- President Barack Obama plans to unveil a package of separate actions next month focused on curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Yep, things are going to get better.

As some readers of Drumbeat might have realised my passion is community energy co-operatives, I believe that giving ordinary individuals the means to control their own energy future can solve a lot of problems at the macro and micro scale. Currently in Ireland an enormous opportunity has opened up for Ireland to export some its enormous wind resources to keep the lights on in Britain but a pushback from the communities in which the wind farms will be built is now beginning to be organised, I wrote the following in a political forum in Ireland but I believe that the main points can be applied anywhere in the world, I would appreciate the thoughts of TOD readers on this subject.

Politics is an important part of the modern life experience but sometimes we give too much power to politics and politicians and almost without fail give ourselves, friends and neighbours as little power as possible.
Renewable energy is one such example, if we ask ourselves why renewable energy is necessary, the answer most people arrive at is that fossil fuels are becoming very expensive, chiefly because the easy resources have been consumed and the more expensive harder to recover resources are all that is left.

The depressive economic effect of expensive energy is now becoming apparent to all, Our present economy was built on cheap energy and economic growth is almost impossible with expensive energy.

But there is another dynamic at play, our present energy infrastructure is dominated by large national and international utilities and oil companies and renewable energy by its very nature occurs within communities and so is an easily democratised business.

Local energy co-operatives can supply energy to their own members and this becomes a problem for the incumbent players who see this danger all too clearly. However it will take decades to enable 100% self reliance to be achieved and large companies adjust to market dynamics over such timeframes.

The current controversy in the Midlands re the mega wind farms proposed by Mainstream and Element Power just might become a gamechanger in this larger dynamic provided suitable leadership can be mobilised to turn the sentiment of the protest groups away from protest and into a demand for participation. A smart campaign organised on this basis could I believe be extremely successful, for the communities, Mainstream / Element and most importantly Ireland.

Over the next few months this is the message I will be bringing to the politicians, I wouldn't mind a little assistance.

At the end of the day, he who controls a countries energy supply controls the country.

Pat, it is very late in the life of this Drumbeat to be posting a comment like this. In a short while, maybe even before I finish composing this reply, the DB for June the 15 will replace this one on the TOD main page. I'm just curious as to why you didn't wait for the new DB before posting this? It would have been on the "active" DB until that is replaced on Monday morning.

PS: Sure enough, while I was previewing this the new DB was put up.

Alan from the islands