Drumbeat: July 15, 2013

The receding threat from 'peak oil'

Mr Halff told BBC News that concerns about an approaching "peak" in oil production have been "moved to the back burner".

"Just a few years ago, everybody thought US production was in permanent decline, that the nation had to face the prospect of continuously rising imports - and now the country is moving towards self-sufficiency," he explained.

"In the last few years, many forecasters have had to revise their forecasts upwards continuously - sometimes the ink was not dry on the previous forecasts before they had to raise their outlooks again."

The danger in wishful thinking on oil

"I've taken a stand and made statements. Because of the nature of what has gone on the last few years, it makes me look foolish," Kunstler says. "I just have to soldier through that. But I have a serene conviction that my version of the story is probably more correct than the other side's."

So what is his story?

"What we are seeing now is an enormous amount of wishful thinking by people who ought to know better but don't," he says flatly.

Sign of the Times? Peak Oil Website Shuts Down

For years, we’ve been pointing out that Peak Oil is a dominant social theme, a scarcity meme used by the powers-that-be to reinforce the US petrodollar and generally to control economic and sociopolitical elements of society.

And now comes word via various news reports including a story at MarketWatch that a main Internet proponent of the Peak Oil myth – The Oil Drum – is shutting its doors.

WTI Fluctuates After Third Weekly Advance as China Grows

West Texas Intermediate crude declined after a thirdly weekly increase amid evidence that the economic expansion in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, is slowing.

Futures retreated as much as 0.8 percent in New York. China’s growth dropped to 7.5 percent in the second quarter from 7.7 percent in the first, as factory output and investment in fixed assets decelerated, data from the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing showed. Crude retreated even as Islamists in Egypt, the location of the Suez Canal, called for mass protests today to demand the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Mursi.

Hedging Costs at Two-Year Low as Crude Surges

The cost of hedging against swings in Russian equities has fallen to its lowest level in almost two years relative to emerging-market stocks on wagers oil’s longest rising streak since May will bolster the country’s shares.

Diesel losses for oil companies widen to Rs 9.45 per litre

NEW DELHI: With the rupee continuing to remain weak against the US dollar, losses on diesel have climbed to Rs 9.45 per litre, upsetting the government's subsidy maths.

"We are now losing Rs 9.45 per litre on diesel as against Rs 8.60 (in the previous fortnight)," said P K Goyal, Director (Finance), Indian Oil Corp (IOC).

Pirate Kidnappings Surge in Waters Off Nigeria as Attacks Spread

Kidnappings of sailors on merchant ships in waters off Nigeria and nearby countries surged in the first half as pirates attacked a broader range of vessels and sought targets farther out at sea.

Pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea kidnapped 30 crew in the period, compared with three seized worldwide in 2012’s first six months, the International Maritime Bureau, a London-based group tracking sea crime, said in a report today. Attackers previously tended to seek out ships involved in the regional oil industry and now are targeting container ships and other merchant vessels, it said.

Libya's Zueitina port resumes work, oilfields still down-source

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Operations at Libya's eastern Zueitina port have resumed but so far only oil stored at the terminal is being exported as oilfields remain shut down by striking workers, an engineer said on Monday.

Pro-Mursi Protesters Gather in Egypt Demanding His Return

Protesters against the Egyptian army’s removal of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi plan to maintain their sit-ins and rallies after a day when tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the capital.

Koreans to drill for oil in UAE soon

SEOUL // The South Korean joint venture exploring for oil in Abu Dhabi aims to start drilling within months, the first stage of a US$500 million spending plan for the next five years.

Korea National Oil Corporation (Knoc) and GS Energy - companies that last year made South Korea the first new country to partner in an Abu Dhabi oil concession in four decades - are securing rigs for three appraisal wells planned at the Haliba field on the Omani border.

The high cost of railroading unconventional crude

The derailment and explosion of a shale oil train in Canada highlights desperate attempts by refineries along the US/Canada East coast to offset the conventional oil peak of Atlantic basin producers who traditionally supplied them with Brent type crude.

Chevron granted access to environmental activists' email accounts

Is oil giant Chevron trying to stifle criticism of its Ecuadorian oil drilling operations by accessing private email accounts of critics?

How San Onofre's new steam generators sealed nuclear plant's fate

San Onofre's replacement generators were supposed to extend the nuclear plant's life and save money. The opposite ensued.

Without San Onofre, San Diego and south O.C. power could be tight

The energy landscape of Southern California will look vastly different without San Onofre, officials said in a state Senate committee hearing Wednesday, the first in a series of public discussions on life without the nuclear plant.

The 2,200-megawatt behemoth in northern San Diego County brought a steady supply of power to about 1.4 million homes until equipment problems forced it to close in early 2012.

But the plant's owner, Southern California Edison, announced last month that it would be permanently retired.

Why the plant went offline

High vibration and other issues degraded tubes in steam generators at San Onofre, which led to a leak of radioactive steam in one generator. Click through to see the three main types of wear.

French Greenpeace activists break into nuclear power plant

More than 20 Greenpeace activists climbed fences to break into an EDF nuclear power plant in southern France and demanded its closure, the environmental campaign group has said.

Flying wind turbines could cut costs and boost power generation

A new generation of flying wind turbines will enable wind power to be harnessed more cheaply and efficiently, say researchers into the technology.

Airborne wind turbines can access the enormous volume of wind that is beyond the reach of traditional turbines, while cutting out the need for the huge structures and foundations that can make the current model expensive and difficult to transport.

Sunday, Solar Sunday: Germany's Recent Solar Energy Record In-Depth

On Sunday, CleanTechnica broke the news that Germany broke yet another solar power record when the country’s 1.3+ million PV systems turned a sunny summer day into 23.9 GW of solar power at about 1:30 PM. This short breaking news has drawn quite a lot of attention, which is reason enough to follow it up with some in-depth analysis and additional data.

Food waste could power 600,000 UK homes

Societies all over the planet are running out of holes in the ground in which to dump their waste, so they’re under increasing pressure to find alternative solutions.

In the European Union one of the problem wastes is food – rich people buy too much in the supermarket and throw a lot away.

This is a disaster for local authorities that have to find a way of disposing of it, and a problem for the planet because rotting food produces large quantities of methane, a global warming gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Like-Minded Rivals Race to Bring Back an American Icon

FORCE, Pa. — Capping decades of research, two groups of plant breeders and geneticists appear to have arrived independently within reach of the same arboreal holy grail: creating an American chestnut tree that can, at long last, withstand the devastating fungus blight that wiped the trees out by the billions in the first half of the 20th century.

City in Russia Unable to Kick Asbestos Habit

ASBEST, Russia — This city of about 70,000 people on the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains is a pleasant enough place to live except for one big drawback: when the wind picks up, clouds of carcinogenic dust blow through.

Asbest means asbestos in Russian, and it is everywhere here. Residents describe layers of it collecting on living room floors. Before they take in the laundry from backyard lines, they first shake out the asbestos. “When I work in the garden, I notice asbestos dust on my raspberries,” said Tamara A. Biserova, a retiree. So much dust blows against her windows, she said, that “before I leave in the morning, I have to sweep it out.”

Bangladesh Pollution, Told in Colors and Smells

SAVAR, Bangladesh — On the worst days, the toxic stench wafting through the Genda Government Primary School is almost suffocating. Teachers struggle to concentrate, as if they were choking on air. Students often become lightheaded and dizzy. A few boys fainted in late April. Another retched in class.

The odor rises off the polluted canal — behind the schoolhouse — where nearby factories dump their wastewater. Most of the factories are garment operations, textile mills and dyeing plants in the supply chain that exports clothing to Europe and the United States. Students can see what colors are in fashion by looking at the canal.

Innovation’s vastly cheaper than green subsidies

In the long run, we need to switch to green energy because of global warming. But as long as green energy technology costs more than fossil fuels, this change will never happen. Governments can’t afford to heavily subsidize it directly at the hundreds of billion dollars per year – instead, it will remain a feel-good niche.

But supporting innovation as with fracking turns out to be a much cheaper solution. If ramped-up innovation can help us discover solar panels 2.0 and 3.0, which would be better, smarter and cheaper than fossil fuels, everyone – including the Chinese and Indians – will switch. The switch would happen just as fast as the recent transition from coal to shale gas, because the economic fundamentals would encourage it, instead of the present, uphill fight for heavy and unaffordable subsidies.

Culture's role in environmental change

The national digital development programme AmbITion Scotland (designed and project managed by Rudman Consulting and Culture Sparks) seeks to support organisations hoping to make environmentally sustainable operational changes – from products to audience engagement – using digital tools.

The Touring Network have used the support of AmbITion Scotland to create Tourbook, an online social network for promoters and touring companies focusing on bringing work to remote geographical areas. It encourages a change in behaviour, away from more analogue forms of social networking: meetings! Digitising some of the work done in these meetings cuts back the carbon footprints of the promoters as they avoid travel to do business, but it also makes immediately public when artists are in Scotland.

Adaptation decision-making shifts to locals in Kenya

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new series of pilot projects in Northern Kenya will place greater decision-making powers about climate change adaptation into the hands of community members – a move backers hope will create sustainable solutions for area farmers and pastoralists.

Some data center operators take their chances with floods

Computerworld - Given the dire warnings about climate change, some business leaders and IT professionals are pondering this question: How should data center managers handle the crop of so-called 100- and even 500-year storms, coastal floods and other ecological disasters that climatologists predict are heading our way?

Some experts suggest that managers of mission-critical data centers simply need to harden their existing facilities, other observers say data centers need to be moved to higher ground, and a third group advises data center managers to pursue both strategies.

Politics of Climate Change: A Well-Oiled Machine

Public databases give indications of the magnitude of lobbying on climate and energy legislation, but the figures alone don’t connect all the dots in terms of the effect of this spending on the policymaking process. For that, we need case studies. Robert A. G. Monks documents the contributions of ExxonMobil to many organizations that attacked the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a scientific consensus document published in 2004 that called for mitigation of climate change through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Monks states,

“Soon, the conservative George C. Marshall Institute ($630,000 in donations from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2005) had joined the fray with a press release attacking the Arctic report for ‘unvalidated’ climate models and ‘scenarios’ that bear little resemblance to reality and how the future is likely to evolve. And thus the story continues to this day. In 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, generously funded by ExxonMobil and many other energy companies, tried mightily to get the EPA to reverse its findings that greenhouse gas emissions endangered human health. When that failed, the Chamber sued the agency.”

re: "Evans: The danger in wishful thinking on oil"

These cute little articles with bouncy allusions to shale and Saudi America make me want to scream. Plus, articles referencing TOD shutting down as "see, we're right....there is no Peak Oil"...I can't believe it. We are on the economic and self-delusional Titanic. We are going over the edge right now and so few are heading for safety.

It really isn't worth responding to them. It takes too much time and energy. It is a waste of time and energy.

I am going to really miss TOD. If there isn't a realistic alternative it will feel very alone out there.

Off to town to replace my pooched 20 year old Jonsered that I worked to death and can no longer salvage. (will still try to breathe new life with a rebuild this winter!!) For you wood folks, picking up a new Stihl ms440 or 441 with a 24" bar. Might as well since the gas will never run out!!

I might price a new Charger or Viper while I'm at it. Maybe check out the new sub-divisions. Gottach ya. I am splurging on the saw, though.

regards Paulo

I hang out on quora.com which I consider to be a pretty smart group of people willing to discuss and rationally debate -- atleast you don't find as many climate-change skeptics, however, peak oil - cognitive dissonance reeks.

...and indeed, there was a question by someone on the lines of "theoildrum.com shuts down, therefore peak oil is false". I tried giving my answer: http://www.quora.com/Peak-Oil/Is-the-Peak-Oil-meme-dying

Request community to participate and review my answer as well as hopefully get back in touch. There are a wide variety of topics ranging from science to energy to environment and we could choose to all 'regroup' on quora, make blog posts about energy related news and keep each other informed. Say what?

quora sucks. you need to login to see past the first answer ? wtf ?

anyway, on a more relevant note :

Automated drumbeat for Monday July 15 2013

"Quora Sucks"
"Your website is Terrible.."
Comments trashing the Oil Drum editors, etc..

I really wish I got the sense that you were setting up a site with a Tone and Attitude that would seem productive and enjoyable to be part of, as this site has done so well, but remarks like these have kept making the 'man behind the curtain' to be something to keep away from.

Behavior and Language matters.. I hope you take that into account.


I agree with you. I didn't want to argue with zurk, as it seems counter productive.

But I do want to let the readers know that there are alternatives. I've setup theoildrums.com which may be imperfect but has been setup by an exprienced programmer (myself) who has been at TOD for 6 years.

But above all it is inclusive (people can chose to contribute, participate, select or submit articles, etc) and wants to preserve a civil, rigorous and informative tone (respecting other peoples' effort and views). Feel free to check it out and give suggestions for improvement.

Hi Massagran - The site looks good on my Kindle, but I'm having trouble accessing it on our network (back-compatibility issues). We're using IE v8.0 and upgrade to a new browser is not an option at this time.

When we upgrade our browser, I'd be happy to participate. Thanks for the effort.


Edit: loaded Chrome - better now.


Your theoildrums.com site looks excellent and easy to use and I highly approve of the civilized tone you are striking early on. I hope to be a regular reader and occasional participant.

Best of Luck!

PS__ It will be very interesting to exercise Discourse as a forum platform. I am optimistic that these guys will get it right and that participation and maintenance will be very easy.


Hi Massagram,

Looks good and I just opened an account.

You know its just possible that if the TOD community hang together, even if its over a few new sites, the spirit and message of the TOD might grow rather than wither.

Whether caused by geologic or economic limits, most of us recognise a plateau when we see one.

Interesting times ahead.

"...the spirit and message of the TOD might grow rather than wither." ~ Pat Gill

Makes sense.

Although it is hardly like TOD, with regard to a certain level of gravity at least, one of my bets is on Ron's (Darwinian's) clean, no-nonsense blog, Peak Oil Barrel, which has received some nods from some of the more familiar fossil fuel folks.

Any way to read theoildrums.com with an RSS reader?

Good suggestion. You can now stay updated on the different categories by RSS. For ex:

http://theoildrums.com/category/oil-production.rss (for oil production)
http://theoildrums.com/category/drumbeat.rss (for the user curated drumbeats)
http://theoildrums.com/category/renewable-energy.rss (for renewable energy articles)
and so on for other categories.

Concerning browser compatibility I'll try to make the message more explicit. Unfortunately there's a bunch of Javascript that makes it hard to support IE below IE8 (and official support is for FF14+, Safari 5+ Chrome 24+) . Maybe I can try to have a more simplified text version for reading/posting, or a mobile version accesible in the browser. Will look into it. thanks for the feedback.

Hi MG,

Here's a suggestion for improvement: make it browser compatible with TOD!

I'm running an ancient version of Firefox on an ancient version of Fedora. But it works on TOD! When I try to access your site I get a "your browswer is too old to work.." message. Damn modern technology :)


PS The "Upgrade your browser" link didn't work either. It would be great if your site reported the minimum browser requirement in words (eg you need IE 9+, Firefox 12+, Chrome 3+ etc)



i say what i mean and dont BS around. some people dont like that. understandable.

You are proposing to run a continuation/successor to TOD, which is a site that has a well developed character/culture/style - but your personal approach is 180o opposite to that. It puts people who like the way we communicate on TOD off. Is that direct enough?

zurk and I have the same malady, We communicate with machines much better than with people.

It is not uncommon, especially as the huge available energy has allowed us to live in increasing isolation. For now. But one cannot communicate with machines, one simply uses them. Communication is something that can only occur between sentient beings.

if the site does become popular i shall debate you on that.
drumbeat does have a feedback mechanism as to popularity and posts on its stories. and users can post on drumbeats stories and read them too. we will see if we can get the human - machine dialog going a bit further.

Well one of the key things that stands out with TOD and makes it worth engaging in is the fact that it's far more flame-proof than pretty much any other internet discussion I've ever encountered. MANY other posters here have said the same.

The problem with your 'No BS' word choices is that it's simply a Tinder Box.. it's set up to get fires started. It's not actually BS to pick your language and your tone so you can help a conversation actually function and move forward without turning into an Aggressive/Defensive firefight. It's practically ALL that we see out on most of the NET.. Even the comments at a Dry News source like the Christian Science Monitor turns into a useless string of taunts and harangues. I really hope you don't think that working to avoid that is BS.

Best of luck, just the same. Long Live TOD.


Hi Bob and also To Zurk,

Thanks for posting your comment, Bob. I went back over some of the discussion from the July 3 announcement because I'd had an uneasy feeling the first time I read some of the back-and-forth between Zurk and others.

One of the things that bothered me was when I read Zurk's comment regarding finances, which he/she expressed as though it was a sure fact - the expression could also be read as an accusation.

I appreciated Eric's response (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/10059#comment-969015).

I didn't see - (and it's not there) - a response from Zurk.

To me, one of the ways to build trust is when people try their best to interact in a constructive way, even when feelings are strong.

An example and crucial part of this - and part of what's made the TOD community work well - is to acknowledge the other party, esp. on questions of fact that can be discussed WRT references and sources. In other words, someone points out a mistake, and the party pointed to says "Gosh, you're so right, I hadn't seen that..." or whatever.

Here are a couple of my favorite links: www.cnvc.org (a non-profit) and www.gordontraining.com (a for-profit, with lots of free articles and resources).

Both founders (Gordon Training used to be a non-profit) were graduate students who studied under and built upon the work of the late Carl Rogers. (http://www.carlrogers.info/)

Re the saw: make sure you get a strato engined saw, as it significantly reduces fuel use and emissions. Also, if you are shopping in that class, make sure you get a saw with a feedback fuel system (M-tronic in the Stihl world or AutoTune for Husqvarna). Stihl has fallen way behind on product development and has to license both of these technologies from Husqvarna - they are basically just selling saws based on name recognition. At any rate, the combination of strato engine and feedback fuel system makes a massive difference in fuel use.


Thanks for your suggestions.

Got the 362...big enough, lots of cutting power with a 24" bar. All the fallers here on the coast pretty much run stihl, with a few running huskys. It is supposed to have the fuel efficiency package and seems to cut very well. I bucked up a 36" old growth hemlock this afternoon and it purred right through. I picked up the smaller saw because it should do the job just fine for me as it is for home use.


I was thinking when I was looking through the latest harvest of abundance-articles that I wonder what they will think like when the shale bubble go pop!? The only thing I know they will not think was we were right. We were still wrong, it just happened the way we said for another reason. They will say.


Peak nat. gas is alive and well says this author.

I'm betting fracking will die at least partly as a result of environmental concerns; water, seismic, methane leakage. That will cause just enough news noise, that the end of the bubble can be convieniently blamed on tree huggers -not on geology. So the same battle of misinformation will be waged.

Ultimately fracking will die when the cost of the next barrel is higher than the economy can afford. Environmental concerns may drive up that cost a little bit, but you're right, they probably will get the blame from many. Most people still have no idea what caused the fuel price increase in the US during the 1970's, and never heard about the US peak of oil production.

"when the cost of the next barrel is higher than the economy can afford"

"The economy" can afford any price, by redirecting more and more resources from other sectors to energy extraction. Who needs teachers, or doctors, or scientists anyway? Just lay them off so we can get that next barrel out of the ground.

Yes, of course and we are already playing that game. But the cost continues to rise, and you must keep hollowing out the rest of the economy more and more to stay in the game, and at some point the illusion can't be sustained anymore.

Rockman frequently noted that so long as the price paid for oil can go up enough, there will be people like his employers who will be willing to extract it at a profit. It won't stop until there is no profit! That will happen gradually, as costs triage useage, and fewer and fewer folks are able to afford oil dependent goods and services.

And, it will of course happen.

Meanwhile the definition of "peak oil" seems to morph from a total reserves relationship (when more than 50% of reserves are gone) to a production viewpoint (when people stop drilling).

Hard for those of us who waited in line for gas to come to grips with present attitudes, though. Who ever thought that 1979 would be "the good old days?"


"It won't stop until there is no profit!" Actually it won't stop until the investors beleive there is no profit. The difference in production will almost certainly only be temporary but it might have a huge impact on the investors money.

Basically if money is spent on something not worth the effort at least some of these money will be wasted or put another way resources will be wasted on something not worth the effort.

Actually it won't stop until the investors beleive there is no profit.

That is a good point. For example, the cheap natural gas keeps flowing even though it probably isn't profitable. As long as the natural gas drillers can keep selling stock and getting loans, they'll keep drilling.

Yup. Entirely in agreement.

That's ok; we have myths, legends, religions, cults, rituals, fantasies, fictions, propaganda, fairy tales, illusions, distortions, dogmas, delusions and denial, etc.... and a growth economy based on non-renewable resources.

You know folks are clutching on to straws when they claim superiority on the basis of an Internet website shutting down.

while WTI is at $105... it's almost like a conspiracy of silence. When production is down 5% and 10% from the peak, there will still be plenty of optimistic forecasts in the news. At some point of course news from the desperate grab for what's left will change that... but it will still be: "If only society hadn't fallen apart, oh the fabulous things we could have done!"

Yep, and I noticed 91 octane unleaded was still at or above four dollars, US$4.33/gallon this week, when I fueled my car.

... 91 octane unleaded was still ...

Which reminds me... does anyone still sell "leaded" gasoline? Is it any longer necessary to refer to gas as "unleaded?" Just wondering.


It's illegal to sell leaded gas in the US, so no you cannot find it anywhere and it's not necessary to call gas "unleaded" anymore.

It's also probably not used in developing countries like China or India as the health effects from lead are pretty severe, I don't think those areas could justify considering the quantities they burn. Might still be used in a few undeveloped countries with low consumption, though.

According to:

"Leaded gasoline is still used in six nations. Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, North Korea, Myanmar and Yemen are expected to complete the phase-out by 2013, said the UN, which is assisting those nations."

I can buy 100 octane leaded gas at my local fuel/oil supplier.

It's just illegal to put it in my street legal car.

Is there a technical issue to making 100 octane unleaded, or is it more and issue of engine degradation?

Avgas got grandfathered for some reason from the requirement to make gas unleaded.

I think they plan to phase it out, but are very, very slow about getting around to it. Part of the reason is that older planes are pretty common, while cars tend to be replaced more often.

"It's just illegal to put it in my street legal car."

If you have a fuel injected car (oxygen sensors) or catalytic converter it will destroy them (binds irreversibly with the platinum).

Doesn't avgas (aviation gas) still contain lead?

Yes it does.

There is low lead 100

80/87 has lead

Our company used to put in an additive to replace lead when we switched to burning auto gas in our radials.


Avgas 100LL (dyed blue) is for sale to the public in most small airports and often used in chain saws. It is reputed to last a year and contains no ethanol to conceal hidden water content.

It is not particularly low lead though, according to wikipedia having 4x the lead content of the old automotive fuels.

It is quite foolish to use it in a hand held device like a chainsaw, where one will be breathing a considerable quantity of exhaust fumes. It is not the kind of thing that people who use chainsaws are predisposed to consider, but all the more reason use some of the newer technologies of 2-stroke engines and fuel systems.

I've seen reference to people using biodiesel in 2 stroke chainsaws - yet never the details of the conversions.

Anyone have such info?

I went and looked at the original source for the article "Sign of the Times? Peak Oil Website Shuts Down". Here is what their website says:

Effective 16 July 2013 The Daily Bell has ceased publishing new material. It will remain online as an archived educational resource. The editors wish to thank Daily Bell readers and members for previous participation.

Pot calls the kettle black?


It's occurred to me that the larger picture might be that we've reached "peak web site." Or maybe "peak blog," as blogs used to be. Web pages are so '90s, and blogs and forums are so 20-aughts. These days, everyone wants to be on social media. For better or worse, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., is where the action is.

Their shutdown method did not allow for the finding of a new home for the readers. So the braying neigh Sayers here on TOD should consider how lucky they are to at least be given notice and have a platform to decide where to go.

The most re-posted 'the oil drum is dead' article is from The Daily Bell it seems. The topic of TOD shutting down hit some blogs (not happy as the reaction) and now the 'see, peak oil is dead' blog/media crowd.

Perhaps 'The Daily Bell' stalker site https://thedailyknell.wordpress.com will have a story as to why the site closed up shop so suddenly.

Re: The receding threat from 'peak oil'

This article from the BBC references a new paper in the AGU's EOS, 9 July 2013:

Peak Oil and Energy Independence: Myth and Reality

For those interested, it's behind a pay wall. I noticed that they give a reference to Gail Tverberg's paper, Oil supply limits and the continuing financial crisis, (2012). Furthermore, the authors also reference the Oil Drum post: Declining net oil exports—A temporary decline or a long term trend?, by Foucher and Brown. There are other direct links given to The Oil Drum as well.

The authors conclude:

So is the idea of peak oil a myth? If readers are expecting an abrupt decrease in oil production, then it is. But if they understand that the manifestation of peak oil is a struggle between supply and demand that is resolved through global oil markets, they will understand that the data show that peak oil can originate from economic as well as geological factors.

With conventional oil production on a plateau and with expensive unconventional sources the only means by which oil production may be increased in the short term, it is clear that societies face a major dilemma. Will the price remain high enough to develop unconventional sources and, in doing so, limit economic growth? Even so, can the production rate of unconventional oil ever be enough to support the concept of an “energy revolution,” much less “oil energy independence”?

I'd say the authors did a good job summarizing the problem. The lead author, James Murray, also wrote a commentary for NATURE last January entitled Oil’s tipping point has passed. It's rather surprising that the writer of the BBC article misses the thrust of both the EOS and NATURE articles, especially the very rapid decline in production from the very expensive shale oil wells. Peak Oil isn't about "oil supplies running dry", it comes down to "running out of cheap oil"...

E. Swanson

And here I thought that Peak oil was about the flow rate of oil reaching a peak.

Written by James Murray in "Peak Oil and Energy Independence: Myth and Reality":
So is the idea of peak oil a myth? If readers are expecting an abrupt decrease in oil production, then it is.

He implicitly assumes that civilization will not collapse due to high prices and/or shortages of crude oil. In my mind this is not a resolved issue. Can modern society run without crude oil? Can more than 7 billion people be sustained without crude oil? What happens to civilization when global peak natural gas occurs while oil production is declining circa 2040's (high prices and roughly constant supply of NG while there are high prices and shortages of oil)?

Maybe the authors did not carefully consider the slope of the falling edge of an oil production curve. In the steepest area of the curve, world C+C production might decline at a rate of about 1 Mb/day/year for a decade or more which I classify as an abrupt decrease.

How about this via CNBC this morning. Expect $50 oil, but not $2 gas, Gulf Oil CEO says

Modsgnr, it is hard to believe that prediction when our local gasoline prices have went up 20 cents per gallon in the last 10 days.

$50/bbl oil would annihilate the shale operations and put a hurtin' on the tar sands and deep offshore.

Translated to reality-speak: 50 dollar oil will not happen.

Kuwait's Arabic-language al-Rai newspaper quoted oil sources as saying that an oil tanker carrying between 90,000 and 100,000 tons of diesel that happened to be travelling through the Suez Canal was diverted to Egypt. A second tanker with 1.1 million barrels of crude was ordered to sail towards Egypt, it said.


We'll see more of this in the future as I have calculated in my article "Egypt's future oil import requirements for 3 population scenarios"

Energy Export Databrowser - Egypt

I think they have used some of the money earnt on oil to buy wheat. If they should start to import oil also it might be a real problem or put another way demand destruction.

There may be demand destruction because of improved technology but it may as well be lack of money.

The Egyptian government pays billions every year to keep the gas price subsidized at $1 a gallon. If they become an importer they'll just have to stop subsidize and start tax it instead. Turkey can live on $10 a gallon so why not.

Turkey's per capita GDP is almost three times that of Egypt, and it's unemployment rate is around 9% vs. Egypt at over 13% (est.). Turkey also has had demonstrations over the price of fuels. Economies get adapted, (if not locked in) to a certain price range for commodities. That's the problem with subsidies, especially when they can no longer be supported. Cutting a high fuel tax is always tolerated better than cutting a fuel subsidy.

Egypt is toast.

For those who may not know, Turkey has the world's most expensive gasoline at almost $10 per gallon.


I wonder if it is not being able to see the problem (denial) or not being able to publicly acknowledge the problem in Egypt. The best thing the government could do is ramp up public transit and encourage bicycle riding (probably a hopeless task, I've heard traffic there is very chaotic so I don't know how safe cycling is). If they could bring their consumption down below their production again, they would have a big advantage... Of course, they have to fight decline too, but it would buy time.

This chaos is at least partially due to the dominance of the car, yet that is never acknowledged by anyone. The issue of bread prices and Egypt being dependent on imports is very visible in comparison. It's almost weird how much of a third rail car dependence is.

I personally cant stand public transport, as I enjoy driving wherever I want. Also, I dont like the idea of everyone living in the same place as it is needed to enjoy public transport. But, if you look at Egypt from from google maps, you'll see that the entire population and cities and all activity is placed along a stretch which is the Nile. THat makes it perfect for rail and other public transport solutions, as it doesn't have to go all over the country but just along a straight line.

Also they could build it on the desert just a short bit outside populated areas, and build trams going in from the desert stations into the cities. Very cheap to buy up the land. Really cant see a reason why they have not already done this.

Seems obvious yet they have not done it. Makes one think a bit, no?

And obvious they have the best sun energy opportunity of anyone- lots of it right there, lots of need for it. Not done it. Makes one think, no?

The best sun energy has to be the Atacama desert in south America; very dry, very high elevation (up to 16,000 feet), which means very intense sun, and low temps. You'll get much more out of a panel there than in the Sahara.

I remember reading about vertically mounted panels in snow pack. Claimed 3X rated output sue to reflected sunlight from the snow and the cold.

I think they can't afford it, and will never be able to afford it. That makes one think, no?

Ok, can't afford it. Heard that one over and over, From people in the process of affording lots of other things they need less. Like, for example, the europeans affording being overrun by starving egyptians.

Better sun in high desert. Very Good! Now to get the egyptians to move there.

Better sun in high desert. Very Good! Now to get the egyptians to move there.

I'm sure Ra, would approve!

Maybe the Giza Construction Company could get some financing from the Great Sphinx Bank to fund a new pyramid building project.

The only question I would have is what are you going to do about the lack of the Nile... You can't deny that even the camels might need an occasional fill up of that liquid hydrogen dioxide stuff, then again you might be able to tap into those rivers in the sky >;-)

Two H's, one O. Dihydrogen Monoxide.

Good catch! There is, or used to be, an organization to ban the use of dihydrogen monoxide; of course a fraud!

Hydrogen Dioxide is more commonly known as hydrogen peroxide. It is a bleach and disinfectant.

Like many, I have called water, "hydrogen dioxide." Must be more careful!


Indeed it is! 2 H's and one O.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approves of the name oxidane, if one does not use water.

Egypt 8.65 bbl/day/1,000 people
USA 68.6 bbl/day/1,000 people.

I don't think they have quite the car culture in Egypt that you assume they do.

They have a strong metro and millions use public transit every day, but their oil consumption (while very low per capita) has still risen continuously until it met production. Maybe it's just a factor of rising population, and per capita use hasn't risen much... In which case, they need to start handing out condoms.

Egypt needs money. It has oil, still. In order to turn things around they need to find a way to get some sort of resource. Tourism is screwed. Perhaps they can't reduce their per capita oil use much further, but things won't stop until they find a way to get people employed and get money in the country.

Assuming they can. Too many opposing views and ideologies, too many different wants and needs. It's a mad scramble to get the insufficient resources left, Victori spolia. Too late, some of the saddest words ever uttered.

Egypt has a reasonably extensive public transport network. Intercity trains and local trams and buses are widely used, as are private owned taxis and minibuses, which are usually shared by locals. Actual private car ownership is relatively low, at around 45 cars per 1000 people (compared to around 800/1000 for the USA).


The majority of the population already use public transport or walk (bicycles are common, but traffic is terrible and you cannot mix the two on much of the road network). Fuel subsidies cover a range of uses from car fuel, through farming, and also covers the bottled gas, which is used by many families for cooking.

Subsidies to fuel and bread have been in place for so long that these 'low' prices are seen entirely as 'normal'. Any attempts to remove the subsidy immediately incurs the anger of a huge proportion of the population.

This small island nation is closely linked with Saudi Arabia. It started simmering during the Arab Spring.

Bahrain opposition fears protest crackdowns

Authorities have vowed a harsh response to next month's planned demonstrations, apparently fearing it could sharply escalate the ongoing street clashes.

Yet another TOD successor is being offered. Steve Ludlum at Economic Undertow (posts here as Steve from Virginia) is floating his version of Drumbeat:

Monday Mayhem
Posted on July 14, 2013

NOTE: With the demise of The Oil Drum I’ve decided to put a current event feed here under the name, “Monday Mayhem” which will run once or twice a week … not just on Monday. If there is interest and after the burial of TOD, the term ‘Drumbeat’ or some variation thereto might or might-not be applied. There might also another catchy term.


This site read very well. Thanks Ghung....(Steve Ludlum at Economic Undertow)

This is more like Drumbeat than the other alternative sites.

Perhaps Leanan could add a new category to the links in the left column: TOD Spinoffs.

U.S. Military Prepares For Global Unrest amid Climate Fears

... Acts of nature fueled by a warming climate — for example, floods and prolonged drought — may lead to disrupted migration, food and water shortages, and other public health crises — which, in turn, could prompt civil and political instability. Those impacts would pose a particularly profound threat for people in countries with fragile governments, including key U.S. strategic interests.

This threat has Pentagon officials worried enough to speak out and to invest in research to better understand the relationships among conflict, socioeconomic conditions and climate. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) plans to use the data to predict future threats and develop ways to cope with them.

Under its highly selective Minerva social-science program, the DOD has awarded researchers at the University of Maryland a three-year, $1.9 million grant to develop models that will help policymakers anticipate what could happen to societies under a range of potential climate-change scenarios.

Those impacts would pose a particularly profound threat for people in countries with fragile governments, including key U.S. strategic interests.

Yeah, read between the lines......

Thanks, Seraph,

It seems the topic of "global oil supplies and the impacts of decline..." (AKA "peak oil") goes under the first element of their model, namely, "1) statistical models that capture how the physical impacts of climate change will influence conflict through indirect and structural variables with known risks for conflict;".

It seems oil production/availability/price, etc. is a "direct structural variable" with a known risk for conflict.

I wonder if they'll include it?

I wonder if they've received instructions one way or the other? (And, if so, from whom?)

I wonder if it's possible to make a suggestion?

IMVHO, any climate change analysis of this type is fairly deficient absent recognition of this "variable."

India floods: More than 5,700 people 'presumed dead'

The government in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has said that more than 5,700 people missing after last month's devastating floods will now be presumed dead.

This year's early monsoon rains in the Uttarakhand region are believed to be the heaviest in 80 years. Swollen rivers have swept away entire villages in the state, where there were many travellers in what is peak tourist season.

The BBC's Yogita Limaye, in Uttarakhand, says 5,748 people who remain untraced will now be presumed dead so that the government can begin to give financial compensation to their families. However, authorities say, the exact number of deaths may never be known.

That number is a lot higher, other estimates put the number at well over 9000.

That set back India's population growth by 6 hours, assuming India is growing at the global average rate.

Umm no, it's a bit more complicated than that because most parts of India have a declining population or will have one in coming years given the TFR, on an average it is growing though.

I don't yet have charts for total fertility rate but here is the chart for total population:

It will be a while before we see declining population in India.

Here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_states_ranking_by_fertility_rate

All the four South Indian states Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka as well as Goa, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Sikkim, and Tripura, and the urban union territories of Delhi and Chandigarh, registered a low fertility rate below the crucial 2.1. These states accounted for 43.4% of India's population in 2011.

I have mentioned this in the past as well that India maybe a single political entity right now but it can hardly be called one country, geographically as well as culturally, just as it would be unfair to club the Brits with the Greeks or Poles (India's cultural differences are much greater), it's unfair to club the whole country into one entity while running analysis.

This is the result of having had large pop growth in the past. The generation that dies have to be larger than the generation that are born, or else pop grow. Does not matter if fertility is below say 1.5 per woman if there are very many young women and few old.

Hi RalphW,

and imposes trauma on the survivors, which will no doubt have a ripple effect into the future, since the impacts of trauma are costly and result in a huge diversion of resources in general, (eg., children without parents, etc. etc).

Spatial Decoupling Of Agricultural Production and Consumption: Quantifying Dependences of Countries on Food Imports Due To Domestic Land and Water Constraints

In our globalizing world, the geographical locations of food production and consumption are becoming increasingly disconnected, which increases reliance on external resources and their trade. We quantified to what extent water and land constraints limit countries' capacities, at present and by 2050, to produce on their own territory the crop products that they currently import from other countries. Scenarios of increased crop productivity and water use, cropland expansion (excluding areas prioritized for other uses) and population change are accounted for.

We found that currently 16% of the world population uses the opportunities of international trade to cover their demand for agricultural products. Population change may strongly increase the number of people depending on ex situ land and water resources up to about 5.2 billion (51% of world population) in the SRES A2r scenario. International trade will thus have to intensify if population growth is not accompanied by dietary change towards less resource-intensive products, by cropland expansion, or by productivity improvements, mainly in Africa and the Middle East. Up to 1.3 billion people may be at risk of food insecurity in 2050 in present low-income economies (mainly in Africa), if their economic development does not allow them to afford productivity increases, cropland expansion and/or imports from other countries.

Country borders are somewhat arbitrary.
Shipping food from Florida to Washington state is technically not import/export, but that same distance in a different continent - say Europe - and it would be.
Just an observation.
rgds WP

By ocean, Miami is closer to London than Seattle.

The answer is obvious, live somewhere that exports food, not somewhere that imports food. I doubt this thought will occur to very many people. Darwinism FTW

Hurricanes Could Increase Over Western Europe As Climate Warms

Currently, most hurricanes begin in the western tropical Atlantic, where sea surface temperatures often rise above the threshold needed for formation of cyclones; the eastern tropical Atlantic is not currently warm enough to generate cyclones.

However, using a high-resolution global climate model, Haarsma et al. show that as sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean rise over the next century, the tropical cyclone breeding ground will extend northward and eastward. This will lead to the formation of more hurricanes that are on a path to hit western Europe. Although they will make a transition from a tropical to a hybrid storm, like Sandy, they will arrive there with exceptional strength.

The authors' simulations indicate that the number of potentially damaging hurricanes during the August through October season over western Europe could increase more than fourfold by the end of the century

Petrol usage growth falls to 4.5% from 8-9% year ago: IOC

Consumption of Petrol in the country has grown at 4.5 percent in current year as compared to 8-9 percent growth in past year due to rising price of the fuel and falling automobile sales, PK Goyal, Director Finance, IOC told CNBC-TV18 today.

Negative feedback at work, another reason why the plateau will last much longer.

Thankyou Leanan and all the other people that made TOD a great source for information about energy and our future.

I hope to see more your curation and analysis in future, but on the other hand I hope we can move on from this forum and become active and purposeful in our daily lives.

Take care all!

Cowpoke in Calgary

I hope we can move on from this forum and become active and purposeful in our daily lives.

I think that is in part what is happening. As JoulesBurn told Salon:

Many of us are looking instead beyond immediate supply issues and are becoming more interested by the overall relationship between economies and more expensive energy, including environmental limitations.

From what I can see...our staff and contributors have not lost interest in peak oil. It's more like they've grown beyond this blog.

Who controls Syria's oil?

The international demand for Syrian oil was once high but the global embargo has changed all that - now one of the country’s most invaluable assets is being squandered in the name of war.

With all the fighting that continues daily, one thing that often goes unreported is who controls the country's oil and gas.

Over the last 13 years, Syria's crude oil and lease condensate production has a maximum of 540 kb/d in November 2000. In January 2010 is was about 370 kb/d according to EIA data which is about 1/2 of one percent of world C+C production. In March 2013 their production was 91 kb/d. The war has reduced Syrian C+C production which saves the oil for later instead of squandering it today.

Saudi-America's latest US crude oil production statistics:


Note that 2013 production is now undulating at around 7.23 MB/D. Note that imports are back up to almost 8 MB/day after bottoming in March at about 7.3 MB/day.

Download link to the latest ND Mineral Resources Director's Cut:

ND May production up to 810 KB/day, with net 143 additional producing wells (Production up from 793 KB/day in April). New June drilling permits down and very little new lease activity. Doesn't bode well for future production increases

Innovation’s vastly cheaper than green subsidies

Bjorn Lomborg is an annoying broken record. He keeps spewing the same debunked message over and over again. Look Bjorn, YOU DON'T GET INNOVATION UNLESS YOU BUILD AND SELL THE PRODUCT. Innovation rarely comes from some people merely working the lab working on an abstract problem. Innovation largely comes incrementally by improving and refining what you are building, selling, and installing. Why did PV prices come down? Because they were being build, purchased, and installed by the thousands. Thus the people in the entire product chain from the material suppliers, to the manufacturers, to the inverter makers, to marketing people, to the installers, ALL WORKED ON REFINING THEIR PARTS.

Bjorn is an economist they don't have a clue as to the way innovation works.

But Bjorn gets paid well for his product. As long as he can keep his personal gravytrain running, thats what he will do. The market doesn't care much about whtether the message is true.

LOL - you gotta hand it to the economists, they managed to set things up so the (lack of) accuracy of their predictions is no impediment to their continued employment. It's pretty impressive really.

Your braver than most, spec! I saw that headline and knew Lomborg was behind it... and skipped on past.

Lomborg is not an economist, he is a confusionist.

Yeah, I saw the headline and immediate thought "I bet Lomborg wrote this." . . . sure enough.

It was the incentive programs around the world that caused the prices of solar panels to crash. That NEVER would have happened without incentive programs guaranteeing that there would be a real market.

The current thing is happening right now with EVs. The fact that you can buy EVs for less than $28K before subsidies (and less than $20K after subsidies!) was only made possible by incentive programs that got people to start building these EVs.

All those free market folks will tell you subsidies distort the market while they advocate tax breaks for oil companies.

True free market types, ought to avoid EVs and PV, because they NEVER would have made it into the market with government. Same thing with computers, lasers, anti-biotics ..... Now, if we could only get these folks to be self-consistent, they'd all have to join the Menonites.

Written by speculawyer:
It was the incentive programs around the world that caused the prices of solar panels to crash.

The price of PV was on schedule to decrease in 2010 due to the manufacturing of photovoltaic grade silicon finally catching up and exceeding demand, but the price dropped in 2009 due to the global recession unexpectedly reducing demand. China began dumping PV panels on the world market at below their cost to manufacture attempting to drive their competition into bankruptcy.

The incentives increased demand for PV but failed to increase it enough to sustain the shortage of PV grade silicon that kept the price around $5 / (rated watt) through most of the 2000 aughts.

But why did someone invest into improving the PV grade silicon supply? Because there was a thriving market in PV panels due to government incentives. They would not have invested but for that thriving market.

The shortage of refined silicon occurred because the demand for PV exceeded the supply from the rejected stock in the microelectronics industry which occurred in the early 2000's before the incentives expanded. It took time and capital to build out the manufacturing of PV grade silicon. Incentives increase demand which help the industry to grow, but efficiency improvements from larger scale production did not decrease the price much. A glut of PV grade silicon, and China dumping PV panels on the world market are the primary reasons the price decreased.

But they are still building polysilicon factories. So it must be profitable even at today's low prices. There must have been a learning curve plus economies of scale that kicked in.

It's profitable, depending on how the polysilicon is made. The new technology uses fluid-bed reactors that produce silicon for 1/10 the energy cost of the older Siemens reactors.

Lots of Chinese and Korean polysilicon capacity is coming off-line. Wacker and hemlock have both moth-balled their new plants that were under construction in Tennessee. REC has postponed it's next expansion indefinitely, and shut down its older Siemens reactors. The newer Siemens reactors are making electronic grade and so are out of the solar market.

Times are tough, but the shakeout will leave the survivors with very lean cost structures. I think prices have firmed up enough to avoid the gutting of the R&D departments, which would have been the next chips to fall.

Iterative and incremental development

The basic idea behind this method is to develop a system through repeated cycles (Iterative) and in smaller portions at a time (incremental), allowing software developers to take advantage of what was learned during development of earlier parts or versions of the system. Learning comes from both the development and use of the system, where possible key steps in the process start with a simple implementation of a subset of the software requirements and iteratively enhance the evolving versions until the full system is implemented. At each iteration, design modifications are made and new functional capabilities are added.

Develop, Release, Repeat!

In a perfect world maybe, but in the real world, the article you quote is crap. (No offense to you AWS ;-) )

This nice idea breaks down especially when it comes to computing. While there have been impressive changes in the hardware area, the legacy of software is pretty pathetic, of which Microsoft is the poster child. Like most corporations, it is malignant. It has no choice but to bring out a new O/S regularly whether it offers any value or not. They pile additional "features" on top of a very shaky foundation that never gets reinforced, let alone rebuilt.

As most people have noticed, a previously functional computer is now just so much ewaste and yet has the software, and subsequent forced hardware upgrade produced any significant increase in functionality? I assert that it has not.

Sure, we have much fancier GUIs; animated crap running on Javascript, Flash etc. abound (what I call dancing baloney) but it is little more than amusement or to attract the attention of the weak minded. How can a .pdf be an innovation when most links, here and elsewhere that point to a .pdf are accompanied by a "PDF warning!". It can't, because Acrobat and the others I mentioned are resource pigs. Have we learned nothing about the pitfalls of complexity?

As a developer, I have had to make the unpleasant choice of optimizing software or just stuffing it out the door with assurances from TPTB that the bugs will all be addressed in the next release.

"besides, memory is getting cheaper and CPUs are getting faster so what's the big deal?"

We are being fed novelty and being told that it's innovation. Now, if we could reap the benefits of the many orders of magnitude improvement in hardware, that would be innovation.

There is an old joke, "Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over?"

IMO, now there is never enough time to do either.

Far too often the "innovation" we are being sold is a bill of goods, innovation and progress are motherhood buzzwords that are sacred, but the reality is far different.

Innovation is not running on the same treadmill at a higher speed.

And yet, we still keep drinking the Kool Aid

None taken.

As someone who has hurried to push a release out the door, and who has had to deal with the disappointment of not being able to revisit and revise code afterward in time before I forgot all that had been learned, I can honestly say I think I know where you're coming from.

Nevertheless innovation only happens by doing. A colleague was an early adopter and "evangelist" for Passive House here in Canada. Wolfgang Feist told him that if he wanted anyone to believe that a very energy efficient house could be built in Canada he'd have to build one to prove it. He did. Passive House International had done the R&D, but it was only by building in the real world, pushing the trades to go beyond their very narrow comfort zone that folks started to realize that PassivHaus could be built here in Canada.

That's what ticks me off about Lomborg... if he had his way he'd have us stuck in a perpetual phase of R&D.

Metro D.C. prepares for climate change

Today, Council of Governments (COG) is releasing our climate change adaptation report for the Region. Spurred by a technical assistance grant from EPA in 2010, COG began meeting with member jurisdictions to discuss adaptation planning strategies. The report serves to not only identify the direct effects of climate change, but also to advance a dialogue for local resiliency plans in the region.

The next decades will bring the effects of climate change –rising sea levels, warmer climates, more extreme weather – to the globe, the nation and our region. The Chesapeake Bay Area is virtually certain to experience higher sea levels, which will impact water levels in the tidal portions of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. The region will very likely see higher temperatures and precipitation concentrated in heavier events.

also Updating Maryland’s Sea-level Rise Projections

Twinkies are back, but they may be a bit smaller than you remember.

The new boxes hitting shelves this week list the spongy yellow cakes as having 270 calories and a weight of 77 grams for two cakes, or 135 calories and 38.5 grams for one cake.

Right before it went out of business, ... [old] Twinkies were 150 calories per cake. Photos of past boxes online also indicate the weight to have been 42.5 grams per cake.

Hostess has said that Twinkies will remain the same price, at $3.99 for a box of 10.

... As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a 'categorical pledge' were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.

- 1984

Tories dismiss need for review of critical audit of Transport Canada following Lac-Megantic disaster

By Mike De Souza, Postmedia News July 15, 2013

OTTAWA — It’s not urgent to review a critical audit exposing weaknesses in Transport Canada’s oversight of the transportation of dangerous goods because there’s no proof the report is relevant in the wake of the Lac-Megantic train disaster, the Conservative chairman of the House of Commons transport committee said on Friday.

--- snip ---

...the [House of Commons transport] committee should meet to study implementation of the past safety recommendations made by former federal environment commissioner Scott Vaughan as well as the Transportation Safety Board. ----

The critical audit, released by Vaughan in December 2011, highlighted numerous weaknesses in Transport Canada’s oversight of the transportation of dangerous goods in all modes, including rail, roads, air and shipments on water, that put public safety at risk because of poor enforcement and followup actions. It also highlighted that none of the problems were new, having been identified in internal reviews at the department, five years earlier.

Wishful Thinking

"..the United States will become the world's largest oil exporter by 2020."

When I read statements like that in an article, it ruins credibility. We may become the largest producer, but not exporter.

No country has ever grown their oil production 1 million barrels a day in a year. There are 7 years to 2020. The US import some 10 million barrels a day. The largest exporter exports 8 million a day. (very rough numbers here). So the us need to grow production 18 million barrels a day at at least 2 times the fastest growth rate ever achieved for the rest of the decade. Starting today.

Also, pigs wont fly to the moon.

Although they do not admit it, they probably expect U.S. demand for petroleum products to continue declining. They might also expect U.S. ethanol production to increase because they include that alcohol in their perverted definition of "oil."

The US produces 7.3Mbpd, crude and condensate. SA and Russia both produce over 10Mbpd, and I suspect SA could get to 11Mpd and keep it there for a few more years. Even the BBC website showed a graph yesterday showing US crude oil production at 11Mbpd. That is a outright lie, perpetrated by the IEA, and reported with glee by the MSM worldwide. I do not see the volume of US production rising much further, and then its decline will not be as slow as SA's.

The author of the article is probably conflating "oil" and "petroleum products". I still doubt we'll export more product than Russia or SA export crude, but statements like this just further expose the ignorance of the average journalist.

Elbow Park school could be shut for years due to flood damage

By Trevor Howell, Calgary Herald July 10, 2013

Last week, inspectors examined Rideau Park and Elbow Park schools, both situated near the Elbow River and heavily damaged in the June 20 flood.

Those preliminary findings were shared with officials from the Calgary Board of Education, the minister of education and parents at a meeting Tuesday evening.

Rideau Park will likely require $3 million to $4 million in repairs to the building’s foundation, electrical system and boilers. Still, the CBE remains optimistic the school will reopen in time for the fall semester.

However, Elbow Park school’s fate remains unclear at this time.

The damages in Calgary pale in significance to the loss of life from the floods in India.

That said all this flooding reminds me of a remark Lord David Stern made in a presentation on climate change that he made to the IMF earlier this year. He remarked that a Pakistani counterpart that he knew had said that the Pakistani floods a few years ago had set the economy back twenty years, and he then went on to add"what happens if these kinds of floods now occur every ten years".

Here is the splash page for Stern's presentation... Fostering Growth and Poverty Reduction in a World of Immense Risk

This is exactly the scenario I expect for how the impacts of climate change driven extreme weather events will manifest. Whether it is floods, storms, fires or floods, the impacts will become greater and the frequency higher, eventually leaving too little time for recovery in between events. Add to that the increasing cost and decreasing availability of energy, which only makes recovery more difficult.

Don't forget the economic chaos already developing, and the concomitant inability of sovereign nations (States in the US) to afford rebuilding, which will remain undone.



I wouldn't read too much into this fairly small survey of Australians,
but I wouldn't be surprised either if it did indeed reflect the opinion of a wider base of views ......

Graph of the Day: Women prefer solar, old men like nuclear (reneweconomy)

The Climate Institute said the poll found that solar and wind were both more popular among women than men. Indeed 93 per cent of women voted for solar among their top three preferred energy sources, compared to 80 per cent of men. A similar difference was detected in wind, which attracted 73 per cent support from woman and 60 per cent support from men.
The other big variation along gender lines was for nuclear, which got a vote from 22 per cent of men and just 5 per cent of women. Nuclear gained most approval among older men, but not at all by the younger generation.

(The Climate Institute as you might expect are advocates for low carbon and renewables)

Well, over the long term we'll probably need both.

Women prefer solar, old men like nuclear

I guess I'm an old man in drag then!

Study identifies source of oil sheens near Deepwater Horizon site

A chemical analysis indicates that the source of oil sheens recently found floating at the ocean's surface near the site of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill is pockets of oil trapped within the wreckage of the sunken rig.

The researchers used a recently patented method to fingerprint the chemical makeup of the oil sheens, and to estimate the location of the source based on the extent to which gasoline-like compounds evaporated from the sheens.

... To explain how the oil might be trapped and released from the wreckage, the scientists point out that when the Deepwater Horizon rig sank, it was holding tanks containing hundreds of barrels of a mixture of drilling mud and oil.

Over time, corrosive seawater can create small holes through which oil can slowly escape to the surface. The researchers suspect that the containers on the rig holding trapped oil may be the source of the recent oil sheen.

It will probably leak oil like that for decades. I remember visiting the USS Arizona memorial in Honolulu in the 80's and it was still leaking some oil. A sheen can form with a very small amount of oil . . . it is the fact that it is such a thin layer that causes the colors.

New Thermocell Could Harvest 'Waste Heat'

The new thermocell could be used to generate electricity from low grade steam in coal fired power stations at temperatures around 130°C. This would be implemented by having the steam pass over the outer surface of the hot electrode to keep it hot while the other electrode is air or water cooled.

"The device offers the possibility of a cheap and flexible design suitable for harvesting waste heat in the 100- to 200-degrees Celsius range."

Power densities reached >0.5 W m−2 in unoptimized devices, operating with a 130 °C hot side.

Half a watt per square meter? What does it cost to produce this thermocell? How long would it take to pay for itself at 0.005 cents per square meter per hour (assuming $.10/KWh)???

PT in PA

But, but, but...coal fired power stations don't have any "waste heat" at 130C. They operate as near to ambient temperature as possible, which allows the turbines to exhaust at a pressure below atmospheric, thus giving a considerable increase in efficiency. Of course, there may be other situations in which such "wasted energy" is available and some useful electricity might be produced in those situations. Conversion efficiency might not be to great, though. Here's a comment from the paper's abstract:

Power densities reached >0.5 W m−2 in unoptimized devices, operating with a 130 °C hot side.

To generate 1Kw, the device might require 2,000m2 of electrode surface area (what ever that implies)...

E. Swanson

Scientist don't take courses in economics and economists don't take courses in science.

Betcha he got an attaboy from the dissertation committee, though.

"Scientists don't take courses in economics and economists don't take courses in science."

Engineers take courses in both.

By the way, 140 F is a good condenser outlet temperature. Lower is better from the Carnot point of view, but you can get to a point where the subcooling of the condensate takes more energy to reverse than the extra increment of power you got out of the turbine.

The steam cycle is a closed system, which releases low grade (low temperature) thermal energy to the environment as part of the steam cycle. There's no extra energy required to cut the low temperature, other than building and operating larger condensers and supplying the cooling fluid on the opposite side of the heat transfer surface. The liquid water from the condensers is not heated directly, first passing thru the feed water pump(s), where it's pressure is increased to push the fluid into the boiler at around 1,000 psi (or greater). Since liquid water is relatively incompressible, the energy required in this pumping process is not very large and the added energy going from sub-atmospheric to slightly above atmospheric (i.e. the vapor pressure at 130C) is quite small.

The steam cycle, being a 2 phase process, can't come close to Carnot efficiency and I'm curious as to whether this new process would be any better either, since it operates only 100C above ambient (mol)...

E. Swanson

Certainly a lot of surface area. Of course it is possible to pack a lot of surface area in a mall volume -thats what ultra capacitors do. I think osmosis plants roll up the thin membranes to have a huge surface area in a small volume as well. Thats doesn't mean it will work here. But, it isn't an apriori show stopper.

Dog, above: "... allows the turbines to exhaust at a pressure below atmospheric.."

If he's refering to the steam cycle, that low pressure is produced in the condensers, which normally cool the steam exhaust (from the turbines) with water running through tubes which amount to a huge surface area... and there is quite a bit of waste heat ejected via a cooling tower, into a river, etc.. Point being, if these thermocells could be incorporated into the condensing system, it may be possible to improve overall efficiency and release less heat into the environment, esentially a hybrid condensing system.

What is really does is add another stage, whereby lower grade heat is utilized. But, adding that stage, hurts the carnot efficiency of the stage that feeds it, so it is a question of whether you gain more than you lose -and whether it is worth the addition cost/complexity.

Lots of lots of possibilities for extracting work/energy from low grade heat. But, so far none that are economic.

When It Comes to Climate Change, This Is the Only Equation You Need to Know

Some say global warming is too complicated to comprehend. We simplify it for you.

I didn’t go to science school, or anything amazing like that, but I’m fairly certain the following mathematical equation—which I just made up like 20 minutes ago—accurately and succinctly summarizes the current state of the climate-political complex in the United States.

X + Y = We’re Screwed

Please sit tight as I define the variables of my newfangled equation: ...

Tulsa-based Syntroleum studies return to natural gas

The Tulsa, OK - based unconventional fuel maker this week announced a joint development with an unnamed natural gas producer. The companies will spend the next nine to 12 months studying whether to build a plant that would convert natural gas into 4,000 to 5,000 barrels per day of diesel.

“We believe that projects integrating gas reserves with a GTL (gas-to-liquids) facility have a number of advantages, which include reserve and pricing security, reduced operating expense and working capital requirements, and field to plant optimizations,” Syntroleum said in a statement Wednesday.

Syntroleum in 2003 developed a 70 barrel-a-day gas-to-liquids demonstration plant at the Port of Catoosa. The facility closed three years later as climbing natural gas prices made the process uneconomical.

2 Companies Pull Out Of Pa. Natural Gas Leases

The two major companies that had sought to drill for natural gas in northeastern Pennsylvania within the Delaware River Basin are pulling out, nixing $187.5 million in lease payments that landowners had hoped to get.

... A spokesman for the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance said he felt certain the companies did so because of the regulatory "uncertainty" in the basin, which has been under a drilling moratorium since 2010.

However, a Newfield spokesman said that the action was a business decision related to the current low price of natural gas, and that the company was switching its focus to oil production.

... Nationally, he said, there has been a "definite shift" from natural gas wells like those in the Marcellus shale region of Pennsylvania, which produce "dry" methane gas, to wells that produce either oil or liquid natural gases such as propane, ethane and butane.

The price of natural gas has fallen from $13 per million BTUs in 2008, to as low as about $2, and then up to $3.61 as of Friday, he said.

Back in 2008, about 400 oil wells were in the process of being drilled nationwide, as opposed to 1,600 wells for natural gas. Now, those figures have virtually flipped.

Why can't it be both, "The current low price, gives us no incentive to spend money on political campaigns to buy off the regulatory agencies and get favorable legislation passed, like we normaly do."

US to begin exporting 'fracked' gas

US gas produced by the controversial technique of "fracking" is due to be exported for the first time. A $20bn project to prepare an export terminal is under way in Louisiana.

The plant at Sabine Pass, owned by Cheniere Energy, was constructed to receive shipments of liquefied natural gas and a handful of deliveries was made. But now the company, banking on growing global demand for cheap American gas, is investing in four massive systems, known as "trains", to liquefy gas ready for export.

One of the first contracts will see shale gas shipped to Britain under a contract with Centrica. The first shipments are scheduled for 2015.

Found this forcast from 2009. Seems he is being proven right.

A University of Utah scientist argues that rising carbon dioxide emissions – the major cause of global warming – cannot be stabilized unless the world’s economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day.

“It looks unlikely that there will be any substantial near-term departure from recently observed acceleration in carbon dioxide emission rates,” says the new paper by Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences.

Garrett says colleagues generally support his theory, while some economists are critical. One economist, who reviewed the study, wrote: “I am afraid the author will need to study harder before he can contribute.”


Seems he is being proven right.

Really? What is he being "proven right" about?


From the link:
“Stabilization of carbon dioxide emissions at current rates will require approximately 300 gigawatts of new non-carbon-dioxide-emitting power production capacity annually – approximately one new nuclear power plant (or equivalent) per day,” Garrett says. “Physically, there are no other options without killing the economy.”

No other options without killing the economy. lets look at the "no other option"....The peak of fission plants being constructed was 30GW in 1984. Solar PV shipped over 30GW in 2011 and 2012. So right now, PV outstrips the "no other option" that peaked almost 30 years ago.

And how about this 'wisdom':
“If society invests sufficient resources into alternative and new, non-carbon energy supplies, then perhaps it can continue growing without increasing global warming,” Garrett says.

Perhaps now that the atmosphere and economy are well-modeled, Mr. Garrett can visit the oncology departments and become informed that growth for the sake of growth is what cancer does.

Not sure I understand your meaning here, Eric. He said "non-carbon-dioxide-emitting", not "nuclear" He used nuclear merely as an example of one such method, but did not limit new energy sources to such. Solar PV is obviously within the purview of what the author meant. As is wind, tidal, hydro, and of course the ever popular geo-thermal.

I think the real question is more, "is there sufficient monetary and resource capital available to build the necessary energy infrastructure to continue with growth?" The answer, at least to my mind, is not clear at all. If the answer to that question is, "no," then we must either stop growing, or more likely reduce our energy use and economic profiles. There will be no choice.


He said "non-carbon-dioxide-emitting", not "nuclear"

The he Garret - yes, but used Nuclear as the cited example and others (as an afterthought). 2009 did not have the 2011/2012 numbers for PV showing how well it is ramping up.

The she Smegel - no.

I think the real question is more, "is there sufficient monetary and resource capital available to build the necessary energy infrastructure to continue with growth?" The answer, at least to my mind, is not clear at all.

I'd say given present rates AND how effective the economy was choked in 2008 with high energy prices the answer is no. Once one looks up actual numbers - 300GW of output and then thinks about where one will put 365 1 GW fission reactors along with the wire needed to have 300GW of electrical infrastructure per year VS 300GW of local production/consumption via PV along with the best Man has done is 30GW of nuclear in 1984 VS 32-35GW of PV in 2011/2012 the "lets build nuke plants!" idea is on life support, due to the effects of radiation exposure it seems.

That is why I asked What is he being "proven right" about because what was presented was Carbon Dioxide == major cause of Global Warming (I'd say water vapor and methane ... but I've not spent the time to be able to make the argument) and Nuclear power was put forth as the solution. Smegle has a comment by others about the economic aspect but did not reference it in the pull quote - a bury the lead type move.

And Smegle is suspect for advancing a 2009 paper as a new paper. The eponline site seems to be mostly a ghost site as far a nuclear. The list of nuclear articles is from 2012/2011 and the 2013 article is on Wind power. But at least there was a link that could be referenced so that the 30GW/1984 30+GW/2011-2012 could then be brought to the table to show how workable PV is VS Fission.

Once one looks up actual numbers - 300GW of output and then thinks about where one will put 365 1 GW fission reactors along with the wire needed to have 300GW of electrical infrastructure per year VS 300GW of local production/consumption via PV along with the best Man has done is 30GW of nuclear in 1984 VS 32-35GW of PV in 2011/2012 the "lets build nuke plants!" idea is on life support, due to the effects of radiation exposure it seems.

I think you hit on the true problem - - - the need for additional wire for centralized power. When what would really work would be a decentralized input, where every house, business, roadway, etc., is a power source from solar, and many smaller wind input facilities all enter the grid. In a word, a complete new power paradigm.

While we are about it, we should be looking at DC transmission.

OTOH, I would have to concede to the pro-nuke people that for a very short term we may need additional nuclear plants using currently available lines. Mid-term we need to retool to become sustainable. Long term, we need to get real about population. I know that some consider any birth control, much less abortion, to be a sin. Of course, with birth control abortions become much less common, but that is logical, which seems difficult for that bunch. Unfortunately, nature will take charge if we do not.

We certainly have a difficult time ahead, whether we are looking at sustainable energy, climate change, or the underlying population issue. There is much to be done, and time continues to fly.


Thousands to lose water for days in southern Md. amid heat wave

A water main break in Prince George's County in Maryland could leave thousands without water for days.

A 54-inch water main is beginning to fail, officials say, and they must shut down part of the system to replace it, reports CBS affiliate WUSA in Washington, D.C. "Residents who live in the affected area, shown in red on the interactive map are being encouraged to stock up on water in preparation for loss of service during repair of the pipe.

America's aging infrastructure -- much of which was built earlier last century -- has raised many alarm bells among those monitoring it. The water main break in Prince George's country could be just a small sign of a much larger problem facing the country in years to come.

... welcome to the 21st century.

The EIA weekly report has yet to show a significant decline in ethanol refining and there are no media reports of plants shutting down but the skyrocketing RIN prices lead me to think they are not sourcing corn.

Oil exec says ethanol RINs "out of control", urges action

Although the hearing was scheduled weeks ago, the timing was apt: U.S. benchmark gasoline futures have surged over the past week to more than $3 a gallon, nearing their highest since early 2012, while RIN prices have risen more than 30 percent this month to a record over $1.30 per credit on Tuesday.

Nebraska has quite a bit of irrigation (especially on the west) and those acres yielded 190 bushels/acre last summer. The farms on the other side of the state were closer to 60 b/a. If drought is going to hit a major corn growing state, it appears Nebraska is the one to be least affected. I saw some news recently where they are spending about 100 million dollars to build a couple of small holding lakes so they aren't without water issues.

On another note, corn has followed oil prices since ethanol increase production in the mid-2000s but after last year's poor harvest they are decoupled. It does appear that ethanol has increased the price of gasoline a bit in the US but I don't see how it is contributing to any global oil price increases.

Major Development in Corn Futures

Corn seems to be trading on its own right now. It isn’t coupled with the other grains and it isn’t coupled with oil.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization

The Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 confers upon the President a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense. The authorities can be used across the federal government to shape the domestic industrial base so that, when called upon, it is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for the national defense.

Congress has expanded the term national defense, as defined in the DPA, so that it now includes activities related to homeland security and domestic emergency management. The scope of DPA authorities extends beyond shaping U.S. military preparedness and capabilities, as the authorities may also be used to enhance and support domestic preparedness, response, and recovery from natural hazards, terrorist attacks, and other national emergencies.

And so it should surprise no one that The Oil Drum, a site devoted a theory based on lack of imagination and growing irrelevance among prevailing thought around the oil and gas industry, was unable to sustain a critical mass of interest and will soon be closing its proverbial doors.

David Blackmon

"And so it should surprise no one that The Oil Drum, a site devoted a theory based [, unlike the crony-capitalism oligarchy's industries and 'financial fraud instruments',] on lack of imagination... will soon be closing its proverbial doors...

and moving on to new sites and projects related to issues surrounding...

'The Crony Capitalist Oligarch's Imagination and Myth-making for the General Population: Best Practices'


Bleak Oil.

I did a bit of research re: David Blackmon. He is a BigOil Karl Rove -- super propagandist. That article is pure, 100% propaganda. Forbes should have put a border around it and charged advertising rates to run it.

2 years after nuclear disaster, Japan spawns freaky fruits and veggies

It might be wise to steer clear of vegetables from Japan's Fukushima area for, oh, say a few hundred years. A Korean website assembled this image collection of produce from towns and villages surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. And they are NOT pretty pictures. From Siamese-twinned corn cobs to what can only be called peaches with elephantiasis, the region's agriculture appears to have taken a heavy radiation hit from the nuclear disaster in 2011. It's not clear yet what effect eating the produce might have on the population, but you never know. It could be pretty dangerous, but you never know — in an ideal world, maybe it could give you superpowers.

Photos Seriously weird!

HI Seraph,

I wonder what kind of testing - ? - anyone - ? - is doing on these and what's revealed (i.e., are they contaminated... or just weird?)

I guess we could call them: "fully unregulated genetically modified agricultural products" - ?

Has anyone told Monsanto?

(I can see it now: Monsanto sues Fukushima directors for patent infringement.)

I'm watching ABC World News (US) while I make meatballs, and the second story was on rising fuel/gasoline prices, based, in part, on this article: Facing Oil Glut, Executives Testify Over Continued Pain at the Pump.

The broadcast version claims that high prices are largely due to a pipeline shortage:

[transcribed from the broadcast] "Fact is, it's expensive to move oil from the flush fields of the Midwest to consumers. A shortage of pipelines means it's largely transported on barges and trains at a cost of up to $17 more a barrel. And strict regulations mean it's actually cheaper to ship American oil overseas than to keep it here".

Also in the story, AAA says; "The days of $3 per gallon gasoline are over".

Broadcast should be availabe later at watchabc.go.com/world-news-with-diane-sawyer/SH5585921

[sighs... goes back to making meatballs]

*Oil person*: Hey, I'm going to be on TV news. What should I say?
*Oil PR person*: Great. Be sure to blame the problem on something on our wish list.
*Oil person*: Like what?
*Oil PR person*: Oh, like that Keystone XL pipeline. Blame the problem on that. And just the generic 'too much regulations'.
*Oil person*: OK, will do. Thanks.

Not to defend big oil too much, but the same thing happens in the PV industry. ALL public communication goes through the PR department or one of the designated corporate spokesmen. Speaking on the Corporate behalf if you are not a designated spokesperson is grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Corporations are corporations, degree of supposed greenness is irrelevant.

And don't get me started on "Branding" or "The Brand." I'm an engineer; I want to bang rocks together to make useful rock-derivatives. Not study typefaces to chose the one that enhances the message of sustainability.

Grouse, grouse, grouse.

This was testimony before a Congressional committee. Not sure that matters, and ABC may have 'misinterpreted' the testimony.

I still think these people should be required to stand, testicles in hand (at least the men;), when testifying, just as the Romans did.

Your comment reminds me of a term that has gained some ground in recent office parlance: "Testiculate" : meaning, the act of waving one's hands about excessively, whilst generally talking a load of b*llocks.


I'm more questioning the honesty of these answers. Did the cost of transporting that oil suddenly rise from last fall? I doubt it. And cheaper to transport the oil abroad?!?! Do they realize that is illegal?

Great, just what Arizona needs... More grasping at straws...

Potential targets for shale-oil and shale-gas exploration in Arizona

Description: The recent development of horizontal drilling techniques and application of hydraulic fracturing to horizontal wells has dramatically increased oil and gas production in the U.S., notably in areas with extensive organic-rich shale and calcareous shale deposits. Shale formations that contain hydrocarbons without sufficient porosity and permeability to yield economic amounts of oil and gas with conventional drilling techniques are being reconsidered in light of these technological advances. In this report we identify 10 rock formations in Arizona that consist dominantly of shale or phyllite (very low grade metamorphic shale) that represent potential areas of interest for shale-oil and shale-gas exploration (Table 1, Fig. 1). Many of these units are weakly metamorphosed, and are perhaps too thermally mature to contain recoverable oil or gas in known exposures. However, lateral equivalents of these units may be less metamorphosed and so contain recoverable hydrocarbons. These equivalents could be present but concealed, especially in structurally complex areas in southeastern Arizona.

I am certain that these people believe that they could frac the Burgess Shale and get oil and/or gas. They see the word, "shale," and immediately see "oil."

No thought goes into this. Only the projection of wishes.