Drumbeat: July 3, 2013

Egypt's military holds crisis meeting as deadline looms

CAIRO — Leaders of Egyptian armed forces held a crisis meeting Wednesday only hours before their deadline for a defiant President Mohamed Morsi to either yield to mass protests for sweeping political changes or step aside.

The military leadership planned to issue a statement after the deadline at 4:30 p.m. local time (10:30 a.m. ET.), according to Al-Ahram, the major Egyptian newspaper, and Western news agencies.

As rumors swirled and thousands of pro and anti-Mursi forces demonstrated in Cairo, Al Ahram said it expected the president to either step down or be removed from office.

WTI Rises Above $100 on Drop in U.S. Stockpiles, Egypt Unrest

Crude oil advanced, with West Texas Intermediate surpassing $100 a barrel for the first time in nine months, on shrinking U.S. stockpiles and concern that political turmoil in Egypt may disrupt Middle Eastern supply.

Futures rose as much 2.6 percent in New York after climbing to the highest settlement price in 14 months. Crude inventories fell by 9.4 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday. A government report today may show a drop of 2.25 million, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi rejected an ultimatum by the armed forces to solve the country’s political impasse, fanning concern that unrest may interrupt oil shipments through the Suez Canal or Suez-Med pipeline.

“People are expecting to see a large draw-down in inventories in Cushing, and that is supporting the WTI market much more than the Brent market,” Torbjoern Kjus, a senior oil analyst at DNB ASA (DNB) in Oslo, said by phone, referring to the Oklahoma town serving as a U.S. storage hub. “The Brent market is supported by geopolitical risks due to tensions in Egypt.”

The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

The impact on the global oil market of efforts to control pollution and unwind excessive debt could be considerable. For the last decade, Beijing has been increasing its demand for oil by circa 500,000 barrels a day or more in most years. Until recently projections had China’s demand for oil increasing at this pace indefinitely, surpassing US oil consumption by the end of the decade and buying up all the oil OPEC and other exporters can produce soon thereafter.

In last six months, however, reasons to rethink these projections are rising. Although China’s leaders want to grow their economy, the reality of un-breathable air should be enough to slow or even halt these ambitions. There are technologies out there which would allow China to produce increasing amounts of energy while maintaining air quality, but they will take years and much money to implement on the scale need to clean-up China’s air.

The Reality of Peak Oil Sinks In

Too much optimism can be a dangerous thing.

Sure, it's easy to sit back and say everything is fine and dandy for the U.S. oil industry right now. After all, success stories from our oil patch are saturating media headlines (I've read a few dozen in the past few days alone).

The latest report out of Harvard is adding fuel to the fire.

It predicts U.S. oil production will climb to nearly 16 million barrels per day within the next four and a half years!

The Rise Of Saudi Texas: Shale And Farewell To OPEC

Oil: Production data for April show how fracking has shattered not only the shale rock in formations like Texas' Eagle Ford and Permian Basin but also the myths of "peak oil" and petroleum as an energy source of the past.

Exco to Buy Chesapeake Oil and Gas Assets for $1 Billion

Exco Resources Inc., the Dallas-based energy producer whose market value has dropped by more than half since 2010, agreed to buy Chesapeake Energy Corp. assets in the Eagle Ford and Haynesville shale formations for about $1 billion.

Exco is adding the equivalent of 6,100 barrels of oil production a day in the Eagle Ford and 114 million cubic feet of natural gas in the Haynesville, the company said in a statement today. The transaction, expected to close this month, includes 55,000 net acres in Texas and 9,600 net acres in Louisiana, Exco said.

Angola enters natural gas market with first cargo to Brazil

After a long and frustrating wait, full operation at Angola LNG, a US$10 billion natural gas processing facility in Africa, is finally up and running.

Production of liquefied natural gas has safely commenced and the plant shipped its first cargo on June 16 after 18 months of delays.

Rosneft Buys Itera Stake for $2.9 Billion to Expand Gas Business

OAO Rosneft acquired full control of OOO Itera, an independent natural gas producer and trader, buying the remaining 49 percent for $2.9 billion as the country’s biggest oil company expands.

“Gas business is one of the top priorities,” Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin said today in a statement. The deal will boost growth and “will ultimately increase the total capitalization.”

Abu Dhabi energy firms ride a wave

UAE energy companies are teaming up with oil and gas giants to form ventures, capitalise on investing opportunities and gain a larger presence in overseas energy markets.

Shell, for example, in April was chosen by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) to participate in a 30-year joint venture to develop the major Bab sour gas reservoirs in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Brazil billionaire's oil firm in deep water

LONDON (CNNMoney) - Five years ago it was Brazil's biggest initial public offering, today it's at risk of defaulting on its debt. Is billionaire Eike Batista's oil and gas group finally hitting the wall?

Shares of OGX have lost 90% of their value so far this year, a slump that accelerated this week after the company suspended development at three oil fields in Brazil and warned that its only field currently in production could stop pumping next year.

Ex-JPMorgan Deal Adviser Fights Fine Over Heritage Tip

Ian Hannam, formerly one of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s top merger advisers, was seeking more bidders for one of his clients, Heritage Oil Plc, when he disclosed to an investor that another potential acquirer had made an offer.

“I believe that the offer will come in in the current difficult market conditions at 350 pence ($5.30) and 400 pence per share,” Hannam wrote to his contact. “I am not trying to force your hand, just wanted to make you aware of what is happening.” On the day Hannam sent the e-mail, Heritage stock closed at 204 pence in London.

Ofgem calls for action on electricity theft

Stealing electricity to power cannabis farms is costing consumers millions of pounds a year, and the industry must do more to investigate, according to the regulator Ofgem.

Overall, there are around 25,000 cases of electricity theft each year, costing customers £200m, or the equivalent of £7 each a year. Up to a third of the electricity stolen goes to heat premises used to grow cannabis, Ofgem said. The regulator is proposing new rules to reduce the instances of theft, with fines for suppliers who do not comply.

Under the proposals, suppliers would have to set up a national theft risk assessment service to help them target premises where there are strong suspicions that electricity is being stolen.

Turning on the Lights in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan — Since Pakistan’s biggest electricity company was privatized, its headquarters has been looted, its employees kidnapped and its boss nearly arrested by the government.

Despite all of that, it is regarded as a roaring success.

Power cuts lasting 12 hours a day or more have devastated the Pakistani economy. The loss of millions of jobs has fueled unrest in a nuclear-armed nation already beset by a Taliban insurgency.

The only city bucking the trend is the violent metropolis of Karachi, Pakistan’s financial heart — and that is thanks to Tabish Gauhar and his team at the Karachi Electricity Supply Co.

Catastrophic power outages on the rise, but new tech helps keep lights on

Last year, nearly a tenth of the world's population — 620 million people — lost power at once. The cause? Two simultaneous failures on India's enormous electric grid.

While these catastrophes are a symptom of infrastructure investment lagging behind rapid urbanization and modernization, technology can help: A new computer algorithm could lower the chances of such massive blackouts from recurring.

This new computational program identifies the most dangerous pairs of failures among the millions of possible combinations in a power grid.

Judges Seen Raising French Power Prices to Rescue EDF

Tradition holds that once the French are comfortably ensconced on their summer holidays, the government quietly announces an increase in household power rates charged by the utility Electricite de France SA.

This year, the ritual may take a different turn and end up before judges. A June report by regulators concluded domestic power rates, half those of neighboring Germany, should rise almost 10 percent. That’s five times the increase the government proposed last year.

Hollande Fires Energy Minister Batho Amid Nuclear-Power Debate

President Francois Hollande’s ouster of Environment Minister Delphine Batho after she criticized the government’s budget plans for next year comes at a critical time for the country’s energy policy.

Batho, 40, was summoned to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s office yesterday after calling Hollande’s 2014 spending plans “bad” in a morning radio interview because they cut her department’s available funds about 7 percent. She leaves in the midst of debate about France’s future energy mix, now heavily dependent on nuclear.

Analysis: France’s climate ambition starts to unravel

Being minister of energy and environment seems to have become the most politically dangerous position in Paris.

Japan Nears Switching on Reactors After Tepco’s Meltdown

A countdown is starting in Japan for restarting some of the 48 nuclear reactors that were idled after the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns caused the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl.

The nation’s Nuclear Regulation Authority will receive applications for switching on plants starting July 8, and more than five utilities plan to seek permits. Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the wrecked Dai-Ichi plant that spread radiation in the Fukushima area, said yesterday it will seek permission to start its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant as soon as possible. Its shares jumped 19 percent yesterday.

No fire without smoke: wood stove trend creates a burning issue

While the smell of woody fires and a soft smoky haze across some country towns is as welcome a sign of winter arriving as fallen autumn leaves, few realise that domestic solid fuel burning contributes more polluting particulate matter than cars to the atmosphere every year.

Why China Is Ordering Adult Children to Visit Their Parents

As odd as it seems for a government to step in and regulate relationships within the family, in China there’s nothing unusual about the new law. After all, this is a country whose government has been mandating for decades the number of children per family. Indeed, it’s because of the success of the One Child Policy that Chinese officials now feel the need to implement the new Visit the Elderly law. With government-provided assistance very limited, seniors in China largely depend on their families to care for them in their golden years. Hence the risk from the One Child Policy: Without brothers and sisters to pick up the slack, all it takes is one unfilial child for the system to break down.

We keep moaning about population, but ignore consumption habits

Three years ago the science writer Fred Pearce, a knowledgeable and long-term observer of climate change and other natural resource issues, published a book called Peoplequake.

Although expecting population to grow (and level off later in the century), Pearce came to quite opposite conclusions. Future historians, he wrote, would look back on this period in history as marked by a, "dramatic decline in fertility and the transformation of the role of women in society." In recent years, writes Pearce, fertility rates have generally fallen off a cliff.

If there is an explosive problem, he wrote, it is to do with consumption, and it is a problem for a wealthy minority of humankind. The poorest three billion people on earth, short of half the world population accounted for about 7% of carbon emissions, while conversely, the richest 7% of people accounted for about half of all emissions.

Carbon Market Glut-Fix Plan Wins Backing in European Parliament

The European Parliament approved a plan to reduce the record glut of permits and increase prices in the world’s biggest carbon market after prices slumped to an all-time low.

European Union carbon allowances rose as much as 9.8 percent after lawmakers in Strasbourg, France today endorsed a watered-down version of a plan known as backloading and advanced by the European Commission, the region's regulatory arm. It was the parliament’s second verdict on the plan, which will delay the sale of some carbon permits to support prices after lawmakers blocked the measure in April, triggering a 45 percent slump in prices.

Obama Seeks New U.S. Role in Climate Debate

WASHINGTON — When President Obama barged into a meeting of leaders from Brazil, China, India and other countries at a climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, he managed to extract a last-minute agreement to set a goal to limit the rise in global temperatures.

It was the high-water mark of Mr. Obama’s leadership on climate change — even if the deal was less than the Americans or Europeans wanted — but it has been downhill ever since. Preoccupied with other problems, the president largely disappeared from the global debate.

Now he is trying to reclaim the spotlight.

Obama Revamps $8 Billion Coal Program Amid Objections

Under fire from coal producers and lawmakers from coal-producing states, the Obama administration is revamping an $8 billion federal loan-guarantee program to help companies reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

The plan announced yesterday is part of a broader strategy for dealing with the risks of climate change that President Barack Obama unveiled last week. His policy relies on cuts to carbon emissions at new and existing power plants that will probably reduce coal use in the U.S.

Obama Climate Plan Seen by Environmentalists Adding Jobs

President Barack Obama’s plan to use regulations to curb carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants could result in the U.S. economy adding jobs -- not losing them -- as well as lower electricity rates, according to an analysis released by an environmental group that favors the rules.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which proposed a plan in December to curb greenhouse gases from power plants, said today that its analysis showed that Obama can make good on his pledge last week to curtail the emissions blamed for global warming without harming the U.S. economy.

Obama climate plan: the one thing you need to know

The one thing you need to know about President Obama's plan to address climate change is that the most it will accomplish is slowing very slightly the pace at which the world is currently hurtling toward catastrophic climate change. Having said this, his plan is nonetheless a brave and even historic move in a country whose political campaigns and public discourse have been utterly poisoned by the science-free propaganda of the fossil fuel industry.

How fossil-fuelled is your university?

A bit of citizen science policy research launched by Platform and People & Planet this week offers the chance to do some such digging. The two NGOs share an interest in campaigning against the fossil fuel industry and want to learn more about the links between oil and gas companies and UK universities. They are hoping to crowdsource information from those who know these institutions best: students, staff and alumni.

The project wants to track whether universities have staff, buildings, research projects, events (including careers events), courses or publications sponsored by fossil fuel companies. They also want to know about secondments, honorary degrees and if there is research undertaken into unconventional gas and oil (whoever funds it). They provide examples and tips on where to look for such information, including making freedom of information requests.

It's time to move

PEOPLE of Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) says it is time for them to move into resettlement before sea level rise could become a huge threat for them.

Officials in the Florida Keys stop debating sea level rise, start adjusting infrastructure

In many sea level projections for the coming century, the Keys, Miami and much of southern Florida partially sink beneath potential waves. However, officials are quick to note that the Keys’ beloved resorts and marinas and airport — with a runway averaging just over 2 feet above sea level — aren’t disappearing underwater overnight.

The Keys and three South Florida counties agreed in 2010 to collaborate on a regional plan to adapt to climate change. The first action plan developed under that agreement was published in October and calls for revamped planning policies, more public transportation options, stopping seawater from flowing into freshwater supplies and managing the region’s unique ecosystems so that they can adapt, too.

Experts See New Normal as a Hotter, Drier West Faces More Huge Fires

One of the deadliest wildfires in a generation vastly expanded Monday to cover more than 8,000 acres, sweeping up sharp slopes through dry scrub and gnarled piñon pines a day after fickle winds and flames killed 19 firefighters.

The gusty monsoon winds where the Colorado Plateau begins to drop off into the Sonoran Desert continued to bedevil about 400 firefighters who were defending 500 homes and 200 businesses in the old gold mining villages of Yarnell and Peeples Valley.

Scientists said those blazes and 15 others that remained uncontained from New Mexico to California and Idaho were part of the new normal — an increasingly hot and dry West, resulting in more catastrophic fires.

UN Charts ‘Unprecedented’ Global Warming Since 2000

The planet has warmed faster since the turn of the century than ever recorded, almost doubling the pace of sea-level increase and causing a 20-fold jump in heat-related deaths, the United Nations said.

The decade through 2010 was the warmest for both hemispheres and for land and sea, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization said today in an e-mailed report examining climate trends for the beginning of the millennium. Almost 94 percent of countries logged their warmest 10 years on record, it said.

“The decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. “Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far-reaching implications for our environment and our oceans.”

Egypt, Tunisia, and ...

Libyan oil production in decline

Libyan oil production has struggled to return to pre-revolution levels of 1.6 million barrels per day. Oil installations in the country have been attacked by militant groups and workers at two oil fields have gone on strike to oppose existing management.

The Libyan National Oil Co. said production was below the 1 million bpd mark because of post-conflict problems, the independent Libya Herald reported.


Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 28, 2013

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 16.1 million barrels per day during the week 
ending June 28, 2013, 386 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. 
Refineries operated at 92.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline 
production increased last week, averaging about 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate 
fuel production decreased last week, averaging over 4.8 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged 7.4 million barrels per day last week, down by 891
thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil 
imports averaged 8.0 million barrels per day, 1.1 million barrels per day below the same 
four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished 
gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 465 thousand barrels per 
day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 102 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum 
Reserve) decreased by 10.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 383.8 million 
barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this 
time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels last week 
and are well above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline 
inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel 
inventories decreased by 2.4 million barrels last week and near the lower limit of the 
average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.5
million barrels last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial 
petroleum inventories decreased by 14.7 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged over 18.9 million barrels 
per day, down by 1.3 percent from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, 
motor gasoline product supplied averaged 8.9 million barrels per day, equal to last year’s 
level. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 4.1 million barrels per day over the last 
four weeks, up by 10.6 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied 
is 6.3 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last 

Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 14.7 million barrels last week.

Perhaps that decline is the reason that the WTI August futures contract is tradinging about $4 a bbl behind Brent today...

E. Swanson

I would guess reduced storage in Cushing Oklahoma. There have been a constraint on flow from Cushing Oklamhoma for quite a long time. If this constraint is removed I would expect reduced storage and lower price differential between WTI and Brent. The constraint might have been removed because at least partly because of reduced flow from Athabasca tar sands.

Even though Cushing is still very full, the WTI-Brent differential has largely vanished. I believe it's traders mostly jumping the gun, anticipating new pipeline capacity coming online later this year that will start to alleviate Cushing's backlog.

There may be a very large difference in price if just a few percent pipeline capacity is missing against a few percent of over capacity.

If you have a pipeline and know capacity is to small and know the cost of the cheapest alternative for example train you just have to set the price a little bit lower and wait for customers to arrive.

The differential blew out last year as inventories in Cushing were building. They are no longer building, but neither are they being pulled down. I think traders are just anticipating that they will be, and have gotten ahead of themselves in bidding up the price of WTI.

Hi Robert,

I think there are a number of parts to this:

1. Reversion to a more historical mean
2. Reversal / new build of pipelines to the Gulf Coast
3. Pre-positioning by traders
4. Unwinding of Brent / WTI "carry trade"
5. Geo-political events (eg Egypt, Syria) bringing "fast [speculative] money" into the oil markets

I'd view it not so much as the price of WTI being bid up, merely the discount of WTI to the "real" price of oil (Brent) being eroded.

The large increase in shale oil, condensate and tar sands production over the last few years has led to a huge surplus of product over transportation capacity. Hence the discounted prices of WCS and condensates to WTI, and of WTI to Brent.

Flooding in Alberta had to cause a big drop in imports and imports on the report were ~ 2 MBD lower than the previous week.

A little bit of math:

16.1 Million bpd input - 7.4 Mbpd = 8.7 Mbpd from "domestic sources"

10.3 Million bpd decrease from storage / 7 days per week = 1.47 Mbpd from storage

8.7 Mbpd - 1.47 Mbpd = 7.23 Mbpd domestic production

About the same as 7.267 Mbpd from here:

US production first crossed 7.2 Mbpd at the beginning of April, so we've been on a mini-plateau for ~3 full months. Is this just from drilling slow downs over the winter? When is the "boom" supposed to really kick in again? Or has the Red Queen already ramped up the speed of the treadmill?

There is a nice chart over at Darwinian's blog startup that complements your numbers.

Still about 50% of crude that goes into US refineries must be imported, and not all of it from Canada!

Thanks for all the good info you put up over the years. I was not in a position to post any articles, but had enough understanding to find your articles very useful. I for one enjoyed the narrow focus on technical details and facts. I mostly lurked here for 5 years, but learned so much. This was one place I checked each and every day. Thanks for all the people behind TOD, and for the people who commented extensively, persuasively, thoughtfully and with obvious understanding. The comments were as valuable as the articles.

One of those funny things. I was looking just yesterday and said to myself it seemed the new content was down to a trickle, I hope it doesn't end. Then open TOD this morning to this announcement.

You folks have done yourself proud.

I will be sad to see the winding down of TOD,i would like to thank all the posters over the years for all the news articles,stats,and general conversation discussed here,much appreciated and will be missed.


Ditto that, thanks all. TOD winding down isn't a loss, it is for most a graduation from the symbolic to the material, or to add to what Alan Watts said of psychadelics, "when you get the message, hang up the phone"... and adapt IRL.

While I lambasted a deleted poster - theantidoomer - for his optimistic support of EESTOR there has been a change in the supercapacitor energy storage meme.

http://theeestory.ning.com/ now has the tagline for the site:
TheEEStory - News, Reviews & Discussion of EEStor Inc. & Quantumscape Corporation
It used to be:
TheEEStory - News, Reviews & Discussion of EEStor Inc.

http://theeestory.ning.com/profiles/blog/list has some interesting tid-bits about Quantumscape.

5 years after peak $145 oil, India pays more today!

India is paying more for oil today than what it did when Brent crude had touched an all-time high of $145 in 2008.

Blame the 51% decline in the currency.

Our very own Peak Oil.

Why a Tahrir Square [or Taksim Square, or Pearl Roundabout, or Syntagma Square, or …] won’t be happening in the U.S. …

North Carolina National Guard Rapid Reaction Force Civil Unrest Training w/Photos

The following photos depict soldiers from the 252nd Combined Arms Battalion training in June for their role as a “rapid reaction force” capable of responding anywhere in the state of North Carolina within “four to eight hours with additional forces arriving within 24 to 36 hours.” The same unit trained in March to respond “to an emergency ahead of federal assets by providing site security, establishing roadblocks or checkpoints, and assisting civilian authorities in controlling civil disturbances.”

The exercises depicted below were held from June 10-14 at an abandoned shopping mall and a water treatment facility in Charlotte. Soldiers trained to suppress protesters who perform a sit-in as part of a fictional group called “The Pink Panthers.” According to the North Carolina National Guard, the exercise at the water treatment facility tests soldiers’ “ability to use *nonlethal force* to disperse a crowd of aggressors [… formerly known as ‘citizens’].” Photos of the exercise show soldiers operating from Be On the Look Out (BOLO) notices with the identities of specific individuals in the crowd, listed as “AIN Members,” that are to be targeted for arrest.

... similar training in Montana, Alaska, Chicago, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles ...

Department of Defense Nonlethal Weapons and Equipment Review: A Research Guide for Civil Law Enforcement and Corrections

European Parliament Study On Crowd Control Technologies

DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Reference Book 2011

2012 Protest Police State Photos

Joint Special Operations University Report on Convergence of Special Forces and Civilian Law Enforcement

The Military’s Plans for Social Unrest: DoD CONPLAN 3502, Civil Disturbance Operations and Martial Law

U.S. Army Regulation 500-50 Civil Disturbances Emergency Employment of Army Resources

Raytheon Non-Lethal Acoustic Pressure Riot Shield Patent

British Police Testing Non-Lethal Laser Rifle That Temporarily Blinds Rioters

US Army Wants Machine Gun Rubber Bullets for Crowd Control

On the other hand, even if a government assembles overwhelming force of men, equipment and weapons, the people who make up that force have to carry out their orders. Remember that Egypt got lavish military aid from the US for decades, and the military could have cleared the square fairly easily, but they refused to do so. No one knows until the order is given.

Yes, a revolution occurs when the army and police split or shift their allegiance from their commanders to the people. The US is not immune to revolution, any more than the Soviets were. The Soviets fell starting with something trivial, a Berlin border crossing letting everyone through due to misundstood and badly phrased orders (plus the unwillingness of the border guards to get violent to stop it once it started). I expect any similar thing in the US will start just as trivially.

We saw how occupy was eventually dealt with. First plant some agent provoteurs. Then use them to create violence that paints the protest movement as a bunch of outlaw thugs. Wait till you enough support, then take violent action against them.

Could The NSA Spy On Environmental Activists?

Heavily redacted documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local law enforcement often categorized the Occupy movement as a prospective terrorist threat, and collaborated with banking sector to monitor the groups. And just as the banking sector had a vested interest in categorizing the Occupy movement as possible terrorists, so do oil and gas companies have a vested interest in discrediting peaceful protest movements opposing fossil fuel projects. In both cases, the success of those political activists would negatively impact business interests.

Documents released by Bold Nebraska, a group opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, suggest that corporate interests are working with local law enforcement and the FBI to push for the application of “anti-terrorism laws” against activists. The group obtained a series of presentations given by subsidiaries of TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, to local law enforcement through a FOIA request.

The presentations included suggested criminal charges to be laid against protesters engaging in civil disobedience and specifically highlighted the option of contacting District Attorneys about pursuing terrorist-related charges for obstructing or sabotaging critical infrastructure.

"spy" on Environmental Activists you say?

“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.

“It was a bit of a shock to see it,” said Mr. Pickering, who owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr. Pickering’s mail but told him nothing else

During the Tiananmen Square incident and also the Uighurs riots, China used troops from distant provinces. It avoided the whole 'loyalty to the locals ' thing.

The US will do the same thing.

Coming to a world near you:


E. Swanson

Supporters of Egyptian president say military coup is underway

CAIRO — An adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said Wednesday that a military coup was underway, that tanks were on the move outside Cairo and that communication with the president had been cut off.

As a military deadline came and went for Morsi to step aside, the army took control of state television, and boisterous crowds opposed to the regime cheered and danced in Tahrir Square.

Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports Morsi, also said that some of its leaders had been rounded up and arrested.

MIDEAST MONEY-Sliding foreign reserves threaten crisis for Tunisia

Tunisia has not so far suffered the foreign exchange shortages that plague Egypt, where imports of food and fuel have been disrupted by financing difficulties.

But there are signs that pressures are growing. When Tunisia agreed in June to import 450,000 barrels of oil a month from Libya, economics minister Ridha Saidi said payment would be deferred but did not say for how long.

Financial markets are becoming concerned. Five-year credit default swaps used to insure against a default by Tunisia's central bank have hit a post-revolution high of 386 basis points, up from 345 at the end of last year and 176 in 2011.

Jeez just as the world gets interesting - TOD gets the shutdown notice......


Does this mean that the revolution will not be televised (or blogged) after all?

I will always be very grateful to TOD for everything good and positive about it, which was so much. Thanks to the volunteers who ran it.

A tricky situation from many angles. The Egyptian army has long been respected by the Egyptian people. The Muslim Brotherhood certainly didn't win friends by disbanding conflicting social groups. Morsi is no friend to the west, but was "elected" by a somewhat open election. The army is a friend of the west.

How will this work out? I don't know. I personally think (based on testimonials from just a couple of Egyptians) that the bulk of the populace does not want a fundamentalist regime. But they do need a functioning country, and it's not clear to me how they get there from here. Not much food, not much energy -- what do they have besides tourism (which will stay low for quite a while).

Egypt has revenue from the Suez Canal which is beginning to have competition in the summer from the northeast Arctic passage.

That's an interesting thought, which trade route do you think would be affected the most ? I am guessing Northern Europe to East Asia.

Traveling the Arctic route from the east coast of U.S. to east Asia is shorter than through the Suez Canal. Even Spain to Japan is shorter through the Arctic.


Well, not this specifically but I've been posting for months that Egypt was crashing badly. I'm not surprised they dethroned Morsi.

Well, take a Mulligan on this one Egypt and I hope you learned a lesson about electing theocrats. Hopefully a new election will be scheduled soon and you pick a better government. Pick some secular technocrats. Do what ever you can to improve the tourism situation. And you have to do something to eliminate those fuel subsidies.

But Morsi was in the process of removing those fuel subsidies. He had proposed a rationing system using smart cards to allocate the subsidy, which sounds very much like the system which I have suggested for rationing carbon emissions. Morsi's background is engineering and he surely understood the problem of subsidizing fuel. Would a government made up of secular interests which were trying to appease the crowds continue this approach or would the military for that matter? Or, will the next government just cut the subsidy and let the people sink or swim?

E. Swanson

I suspect the interest in short term stability will trump longer term sustainability. So I think the subsidies will continue as long as possible -even at the cost of begging for funds from the US and the Saudis.

I was very impressed with Morsi's early months. He really seemed to be real smart/competent. Then he decided he had enough reputation, and made his move to lock in a fundamentalist dominated government. I guess that was his goal all along.

Of course any government is going to be dogged by an economy that greatly underperforms expectations. I don't see a viable path to stability.


New evidence has emerged suggesting that the entire global supply of rice may have already been contaminated by unapproved, genetically-modified (GM) rice varieties manufactured by the American multinational corporation Bayer CropScience. A recent entry in the GM Contamination Register explains that between the years of 2006 and 2007, three different varieties of illegal GM rice, none of which have ever been approved for cultivation or consumption anywhere in the world, were identified in more than 30 countries worldwide.

RE: Obama Revamps $8 Billion Coal Program Amid Objections

You are going to have to create a market for carbon if you expect carbon sequestration to work.

I have deep misgivings concerning utility-scale biomass power, particularly with respect to long-term sustainability and our poor forestry practices in this province.

NSP biomass site aims for 4% of power needs in N.S.

Nova Scotia Power’s $208-million biomass plant in Point Tupper is sparking up the utility’s grid.

The plant, which burns sustainably harvested bark, wood chips and sawdust, successfully completed a 120-hour test run last week and has been generating a steady supply of electricity ever since, said Mark Sidebottom, the utility’s vice-president of power generation and delivery.

Here's the rub:

Andrew Kekacs, program director with the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association, said the group is concerned about the “significant” costs of transporting wood to the biomass plant.

“Trucking costs are high,” he said, while landowners can only expect to get between $2 and $4 a tonne for the low-grade wood the plant consumes.

“The return to the landowner is quite low,” Kekacs said. “The question of whether it is worth it is complicated.”

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1139436-nsp-biomass-site-aims-for-...

Additional reporting at: http://www.capebretonpost.com/News/Local/2013-07-02/article-3299744/Biom...

Knowing NSPI, there will be enormous pressure put on suppliers to drive down cost, and we all know where that road takes us.


Policy wonks like to think that low-grade biomass has little or no value, but it most often consists of pioneer or succession species moving in after clearcuts or other poor-practice harvests. Those species have their place in the grand scheme of things, if only to repair the damage done by the previous harvest and to feed the next crop. One cannot harvest biomass for $2 to $4 per tonne except with huge and rapacious machinery that just smashes everything and feeds it into the chipper's great gaping maw.

Most of the existing "waste" biomass - sawdust, bark, chips - already has a market. So they will have to harvest standing trees.

This will not end well. But the city folk will have their flat screen TV's, until they don't.

For the locals who want to use biomass locally:


ALL Power Labs
is an incubator for open source energy experiments and distributed manufacturing solutions. We work to generate physical tools and information resources to help people achieve energy self-determination.

Product Overview

ALL Power Labs offers biomass gasifiers and power generation systems at multiple levels of assembly and system integration. From ”You build it from scratch” to “We deliver it turnkey complete“; you decide the relative amount of effort vs cost you want to invest towards your finished system.

Crude Oil and Lease Condensate Production for the World, United States and Saudi Arabia, from January 2000 to March 2013.

World Crude Oil and Condensate Production, Jan. 2000 to Mar. 2013

U.S. Oil and Condensate Production, Jan. 2000 to Mar. 2013

Saudi Arabia Crude Oil and Condensate Production, Jan. 2000 to Mar. 2013

After revisions, the world record production remains in April 2012 at 76,117.88 kb/d, but the production in February 2012 at 76,103.04 kb/d is a close second.

EIA Revisions to Data between February and March 2013
Time Period (years) Description
2000 to 2010 no change
2011-01 to 2011-09 small reductions between -3 and -4 kb/d
2011-10 and 2011-12 small increases between 19 and 35 kb/d
2012-01 to 2012-11 small increases between 9.6 and 81.90 kb/d
2012-12 -24.76 kb/d
2013-01 +55.07 kb/d
2013-02 -162.46 kb/d

Article which I first encountered on Robert Rapier's Facebook page

Now Chevron blames the lawyers instead of itself for its pollution.

Or as stated by a lawyer on another site (debunkers)
"Chevron was attacked by an orchestrated campaign of propaganda, fraud and paid-off Ecuadoran judges. I cheer their suit against Patton Boggs." Gail Tverberg has also written extensively about this case.

--Could the possibility of getting a piece of 18.2 thousand million dollars or even a part of a somewhat lower deep pocket settlement -cloud one's ethics?

Chevron will do anything to keep $18.2 billion in their pockets including falsifying evidence and launching a propaganda campaign to keep people misinformed about their deeds. They are accusing the attorneys of doing what they have been doing.

BOTH sides could be liars.

Chevron has deeper pockets and seems to be working the isolate game via their deep pocket relationship with Government as per the article.

And if anti-Chevron position affidavits are recanted and not charged with false swearing charges while any chance to nail any actual anti-Chevron positions are not passed up - one does not need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

(Meanwhile the library has now gotten for me Chuck Herring's Texas Legal Malpractice & Lawyer Discipline. So I can figure out what to draft up to sue some lawyers who submitted fraudulent affidavits on behalf of their client so the lawyers being sued over they WAY they litigated has a special place in my heart)

"the lawyers being sued over they WAY they litigated has a special place in my heart"

Yeah, to me that's priceless.

I actually have some sympathy for Chevron. Texaco made the mess, and Chevron inherited the mess when they took over Texaco. I wonder if they had any idea what they were buying?

Greyhound's comment
7/1/2013 7:04 PM PDT
Never mind the fact that many of the pits were created before Texaco ever arrived.

Never mind the fact that Ecuador inspected every last Texaco drill site and signed off that they were all closed satisfactorily before Texcao left the country.

Never mind the fact that half of this story is dedicated to showing that Chevron is spending money on the legal battle--as though Chevron doesn't have a right to defend itself in court.

Never mind the fact that many of the pits existed before Texaco entered the country.

Never mind the fact that many of the pits were created by Petroecuador after Texaco left.

Never mind the fact that Ecuador's executive branch has exerted incredible influence over its judicial branch, and that Donziger was caught on film bribing ecuadorian judges, saying something like "that's how you have to do things here."

Never mind the fact that you'd be hard pressed to find a river in Ecuador that isn't polluted and that in the areas where Texaco was drilling, people bathe, wash their clothes, and get their drinking/cooking water from the same place.

Never mind the fact that Donziger has promised millions to his victims if they win--who wouldn't line up to be a victim?

Recent Facebook comment from Robert Rapier
"What happens when "Big Law" tries to shake down "Big Oil" for $18 billion? It's a fascinating soap opera, and an excellent bit of journalism from the Washington Post. Funniest thing to me was when the lawyers who sue people for a living complain that it's not fair that they are being sued for their conduct in the case:"

I laughed when I got to the part where a hedge fund invested in the lawsuit.

I have found Gail Tverburg to be both courageous and trustworthy

Almost any allegation can be made in a lawsuit, no matter how scandalous.

One can do that in the US of A. Prenda Law is an example.

Another is a suit that won't be resolved before staticTOD comes into existence. One person who claims to have not been the owner of the business but by his own hand, in his own affidavits, to be the General Manager formed a series of new companies and took the daily till and deposited it in the new corporation he formed. He's claiming he has a right to do this and the "old" owner who holds the lease along with the health department license for the location is having to sue to "get his business back".

One can make any claim one wants. There just might be side effects to making the claim.

I was invited on that trip as well, but felt like since Chevron was paying the tab that my reporting would be viewed as biased. And Gail dealt with a lot of those accusations following her report. She had some pretty nasty things said about her. I just figured that even if I came away 100% convinced that Chevron is in the right, I would immediately be attacked as having had my objectivity compromised.

Gail's article is filled with assertions without evidence. The paragraph about Mr. Salinas’ well is a good example, and I stopped reading at the end of the paragraph. Her assertion that the well can not be contaminated by petrochemicals from Texaco/Chevron pollution because it tested negative in 2005 after Chevron left Ecuador is faulty logic. It takes time for petrochemicals to seep through the ground into aquifers. The seepage could have happened after the oil company left without cleaning up their mess.

A real analysis would have a map showing the locations of all pits whether cleaned-up or not and all water wells in the area. The map would label which oil companies are responsible for the pits, when they were created, how long they were used and when they were allegedly cleaned-up. It would show the dates when wells tested negative and positive for petrochemical contamination. If there is seepage from the pits, then the map should show a progression of seepage initially contaminating the closest water wells and later the ones farther away. Since Gail argues for no contamination, this map should show no contamination or perhaps only Mr. Salinas' well contaminated while all of the others are clean.

Her article does not overcome critical reasoning, and I do remember the time she visited an offshore oil rig at the invitation of an oil company.

"Her article does not overcome critical reasoning, and I do remember the time she visited an offshore oil rig at the invitation of an oil company."

However, you would really have to be a total homer for the plaintiffs if you can't see that they have been guilty of bad behavior, and possibly illegal behavior. That's pretty clear if you have followed the case closely. Donziger is on tape talking about intimidating judges to get what he wants.

Aviation pioneers float big ideas at fourth Arctic Airships Summit

For the first time in the event’s four-year history, Alaska is now able to have a serious conversation about airship feasibility in the Arctic. On the heels of the Paris Air Show, companies attending and presenting at the event have announced:

• Plans for a 12-aircraft fleet deploying to the Arctic, South America and South Africa
• Successful testing of a 250-ton payload capacity airship
• A vertical takeoff/landing aircraft capable of making deliveries without infrastructure support
• An airship that can takeoff and land on any flat surface, including water
• FAA’s move to certify a 500-ton payload capacity design before year’s end

More than 30 sessions and presentations will discuss the potential for airships to support multiple markets and civilian needs in Alaska. These uses include mining, minerals and other resource development, as well as oil and gas exploration and operations. Uses also can support alternative energy development such as wind and hydroelectric generation.

Welcome to the 3rd Cargo Airships for Northern Operations Workshop

This is really unfortunate. Randy Udall, a bright light for energy and sustainability thought and education...we've lost him.


Terrible news.

He posted here as rudall.

An example of a Randy Udall presentation, We can't have too many of these.

Not unexpected, but ouch!

It appears he died of natural causes - some kind of medical condition. He was found on open, rolling terrain, with his poles still in his hands.

"Randy left this Earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world," the Udall family said in a statement. "The entire Udall family is touched beyond words by the tremendous outpouring of support from people around the country."

I sold my house after I learned I need to stay on my land to be a successful farmer. Commuting doesn't work in that business. I think I am going to buy an RV. I can live on the farm without additional taxes and I can take it wherever in the winter. [h/t to Leanan, maybe I'll put a pterodactyl sticker on the bumper so you know who I am]

A little bit of an update on the Crescent Dunes facility.
The flexibility and dispatchability of the storage facility certainly increases the utility of these type of solar thermal designs. It will be very interesting to see how they perform with respect to reliability, durability and cost over the next few years.

Solar towers and storage – about to change the energy game? (reneweconomy)

Georgis says there is a lot of confusion about storage and what it means. He says the way to think about it is in the amount of electricity produced by a solar tower plant over a year.
With the standard “S-Class” configuration of the plant, the design being built at Tonopah, the plant can produce over 500GWh of electricity a year in strong solar locations such as Western Australia and the Southwest USA. That can be sliced and diced whichever way a customer – be it a utility, industrial group or a miner – chooses. And that can be in 24/7 base-load, delivering electricity at specific times of the day as in Nevada, or as a peaking plant.
“We are not just a renewable energy generator, we can integrate and help firm and shape other variable energy sources,” Georgis says. ”It will run in summer for 16-18 hours a day. But I can turn down the turbine and run it 24/7 if the utility asks me to do so.“
To emphasise the point, Georgis points to the following graphics that show the output from a solar PV plant, and a solar tower plant without storage. The big square blocks – coloured green and yellow – are two output scenarios from the tower with storage, but it can be reshaped and timed to suit the customer’s needs. Grid operators and many customers like big square blocks.

Kind of ironic that its output is powering Las Vegas.

No need to run 24/7. Just extending it to cover that 7 to 8 pm second peak is all that is really needed. There is more than enough capacity to handle the night.

If they can handle that second peak, such CSP electricity will become worth more than PV electricity and thus even if CSP costs a bit more, it will be worth building.

Yes, in the case for Las Vegas it is from noon to midnight.
(they didn't want it during the night)

The Crescent Dunes facility will have 10 hours of molten salt storage, which on average will allow it to deliver 110MW of baseload capacity to Las Vegas between the hours of 12 noon and midnight each day, when the city needs it most to power the lights and air conditioning of its casinos and entertainment palaces. It has signed a 25-year power contract with NV Energy, Nevada’s largest utility, to do that.

Here's a link to the report. A long time ago (1974) and far, far away, I wrote a piece describing the central receiver solar tower system. That was to be a section of the larger report on energy alternatives, but was not included by the editors in the final report, perhaps because they wanted to promote nukes...

E. Swanson

Thanks for posting the link (I was worried about the spam trap).
I wonder how much the technology has evolved since the 70s, as at least conceptually there is a certain elegance to its simplicity.

The UN food price index fell a bit last month. This index appears to be somewhat useless since it gives equal weights to all five categories. Probably better to focus on the grain prices and ignore the graph below that the media often uses.

Anyway, the fall was led by price decreases in sugar and dairy. Since sugar can be used for ethanol, the sugar price will be breaking records again before you can blink. There can never be much slack in a system with biofuels and oil scarcity.

India's Shree Renuka to start sugar exports from Haldia unit

Shree Renuka used 63 percent cane to produce sugar and the rest was used for ethanol production at its units in Brazil in 2012/13.

This year the company is planning to allocate 45 percent cane for sugar production and the remaining would be used for the production of biofuel as ethanol was more lucrative, Murkumbi said.

"This year we are prioritising production of ethanol. Ethanol prices in Brazil are higher than sugar exports prices," he said.

INDEPENDENTS DAY update ... THE Energy Independence Revolution

Independent Power from Grid Tie (GT) PV Arrays .... Resistance is not futile.

A. Latest GT Product from SMA maximizes harvest, Simple Install since Array inputs are ungrounded, No special DC System ground required, - US Electrical Codes have twisted definitions for Independent Power Sources. So after delays the "22" Series TL are available in the US, now called "SECURE POWER" .... No Stinking Batteries Included or Required !! This will sell Solar Arrays.


You can just plug in a off-shelf UPS and presto.. power for lights, fans, etc. after Sunset.

B. AC Coupled / MicroGrid solutions are evolving. No cross manufacture products guarantees yet, but Here's a Ready to Go, All in one box, Approved & Listed. Prewired solution that will make Inspectors happy but scratching heads.


Love it! I am going to start pushing this to my clients....my electrical inspectors are always scratching their heads!!

For the MND3RACCPLME, it looks like the lead-acid batteries are located in the same cabinet as the electronics which is supposed to be an explosion hazard. I do not see any vents for the hydrogen gas.

I believe those are sealed AGM type batteries.

Then charging lead-acid batteries good ventilation is always a good idea!! and they may actually release some hydrogen gas and oxygen during normal charge.

Well designed SLA batteries recombine the H and O. Recommend only the SunX Batteries or equal. Still tiny amounts of explosive gas will be released, equal to a daily mouse or elephant fart ... would be good to quantify. Set up of the smart charge parameters is critical, else cells would dry out and excessive gas could be generated. The enclosure is a designed vented battery box, if located in a smaller tight room like a closet, vent it with a piece of PVC always rising. A good subject for the Midnight tech forum.


I was hoping someone could advise me about solar panels, how much they cost and how much electricity they produce.

The usage would be minimal, currently the only electrical devices I own are a laptop which I run about 6-7 hours a day and a 12 inch tv which isn't really all that necessary. I'd also need lighting for say 3-4 hours a day (the house I'll be living in hasn't been built yet but I'll probably install say 4-5 LED's to light the house). I'm not too bothered about hot water as where I'll be living is quite warm and I haven't had a hot water system for over a year now and don't miss it too much.

How many watts would I need for a system like that (the area gets 12 hours of good solid sun a day for about 7 months of the year, the rest is a bit hit and miss with periods where it can be very overcast for days on end) and how much would it cost in the U.S? I'm in Peru, up in the mountains so I expect I'll pay more than a typical U.S system but a ball park figure will help me negotiate a good deal.

Thanks in advance

Hi inglorious,

I would start with some basic calculations to find exactly what kind of a system you need. From what you said it sounds like you really won't need very much at all. Maybe even a 1kW off grid system with batteries and a small inverter might be sufficient for your needs.

You can go to this site: http://www.sunelec.com/pv-systems-c-1.html?zenid=52259486bbcc22c088e9b24...

Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with this company. Though I have purchased some equipment from them in the past. I think Dr. Roger Messenger is currently signing off on their off the shelf systems. I took a photovoltaic design and installation course under his auspices a few years ago. He really knows his stuff!

I have a home in South Florida and currently I'm down in Sao Paulo Brazil. Here in Brazil everything related to solar is three times more expensive than prices in the US. I'd be curious to know what prices are like in Peru.



It might be smaller than FMs 1KW. A few LEDS a twelve inch TV and a laptop, I'd guess your draw is under a hundred watts, and it sounds like you only intend to run them a few hours per day. Or is there a refrigerator you forgot to mention? You might be able to get buy with two panels. You'll need some excess, -if it is at all important to you to bridge those days were its been cloudy. I think thats the toughest part of any off-grid situation -do you need to scale it so you cover those once in a blue moon events -or is it OK to go with minimal/no power for a couple of days when the weather gods haven't been kind to you.

My on-grid system, which more or less covers my normal use, has only supplied about a quarter of my use this past week, due to huge demand for cooling (41-42C for a week), so that is one indicator of how much more severe your once in a blue-moon event is then your typical use. Again your final solution is a compromise, between how much you want to pay, versus how often you go short.

Things could get interesting in Peru this month.

Today was the first day of what is a planned series of protests all across Peru that are planned to last throughout July. Various parties are involved. The main group are government workers who are not too happy that they will be tested for aptitude, there aren't any details of what would happen if they are not apt but they'd probably be moved aside and eventually retired. Students also took to the streets (at least here in Cusco) in opposition to new laws that would remove the independence of universities and most importantly affect their ability to organise politically on campus grounds. Others also took to the streets against the rising cost of living.

Inflation is running relatively high, mainly driven by investment from mining companies but in recent weeks is also being caused by the Peruvian Nuevo Sol devaluing against the dollar. Since I arrived back here in September 2011 a container of gas has gone from 32 soles to 37 soles, fuel has increased from around 11 soles a gallon to about 14 soles a gallon, meat has gone from 10 soles a kilo to 12 soles a kilo, bread prices haven't gone up but the size of loafs has gotten smaller, a roast chicken dinner in a restaurant (a typical family meal) has gone from 11 soles to 15 soles.

Officially inflation is only at 2.5%, I'm not sure how they have calculated that. An important factor in inflation here in Cusco is that the city is isolated and almost everything barring potatoes and corn is brought to the city from the coast, fuel prices will have a very large effect on everything which will distort local inflation.

Cusco is supposed to be wonderfully beautiful. The second thing I wonder about is the fallout from the ridiculous presidential plane incident this week. Since everyone assumes it was done under US pressure, and Snowden will probably be given asylum by one of the leftish governed South American companies -in order to make a political point, I expect relations with Del Norte will deteriorate.