Drumbeat: August 2, 2013

The future of oil: Yesterday’s fuel - The world’s thirst for oil could be nearing a peak. That is bad news for producers, excellent for everyone else

With billions of Chinese and Indians growing richer and itching to get behind the wheel of a car, the big oil companies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and America’s Energy Information Administration all predict that demand will keep on rising. One of the oil giants, Britain’s BP, reckons it will grow from 89m b/d now to 104m b/d by 2030.

We believe that they are wrong, and that oil is close to a peak. This is not the “peak oil” widely discussed several years ago, when several theorists, who have since gone strangely quiet, reckoned that supply would flatten and then fall. We believe that demand, not supply, could decline. In the rich world oil demand has already peaked: it has fallen since 2005. Even allowing for all those new drivers in Beijing and Delhi, two revolutions in technology will dampen the world’s thirst for the black stuff.

China's Crude Conundrum

The tremendous growth of the Chinese economy over the past two decades has vaulted China to second place behind the United States in oil consumption. But China's ability to continue its current economic growth trajectory is increasingly doubtful, adding to the uncertainty around global demand for many of the commodities the country has voraciously consumed, including oil.

WTI Gains for Second Day as U.S. Manufacturing Strengthen

West Texas Intermediate crude headed for a weekly gain before U.S. employment data that may add to evidence the economic recovery is on track. Brent exceeded $110 for the first time since April, before paring its advance.

Futures rose as much as 0.9 percent, bringing their gain this week to 3.2 percent. Government data today may show employers added jobs in July at about the same pace as in the previous month, trimming the unemployment rate. The Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. factory index expanded at the fastest rate in two years, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said yesterday. Libya’s head of oil security quit as labor protests shut export terminals in the country.

“The string of macro indicators from the U.S. is increasing optimism before the employment figures today,” said Thina Saltvedt, an analyst at Nordea Bank AG in Oslo. “Oil demand is picking up in the U.S., so that’s a good sign.”

Natural Gas Drops to 5-Month Low on Above-Forecast Supply Gain

Natural gas futures slid to the lowest price in more than five months in New York after U.S. stockpiles increased more than forecast last week.

Gas dropped 1.7 percent after the Energy Information Administration said supplies rose 59 billion cubic feet in the week ended July 26 to 2.845 trillion. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed a gain of 56 billion. Commodity Weather Group LLC said the weather may be mostly cooler than average in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. through Aug. 15.

Iran, Russia, Qatar agreed to prevent gas prices from falling

The Gas troika of Iran, Russia and Qatar have agreed on stabilizing the gas prices, and preventing them from falling, Mehr news agency quoted Iranian Deputy Oil minister Javad Owji as saying.

According to Mehr, the troika achieved the agreement during the second summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) which held in Moscow in July.

Oil Prices and the Ship of Sad Fools

History shows, the sad fool is he or she who doesn't understand that fundamentals are not driving crude oil's long-term price trends. What does drive them is the collective psychology of investors, which unfolds in observable Elliott wave patterns on crude oil's price charts.

What is "Business as Usual" in terms of now to 2030 ? 2050 ?

Gail is wrong about how much oil, gas and coal that can be obtained and the price of it. The amount of resources will still go up for several decades.

Russia's July oil output falls, seasonal factors blamed

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Oil output from Russia, the world's biggest producer, fell 1 percent in July from the month before, hit by lower production at Gazprom and a drop in output from projects with foreign partners, data from the Energy Ministry showed.

The decline could be a worrying sign for Russia, as it needs to grow production to maintain its share of supplies to Europe and ramp up output to China.

Gazprom CEO: Shale gas not Russia's concern this century

While the booming ‘shale revolution’ is being increasingly criticized by environmentalists, Russia shouldn’t care too much about it, at least this century, says Gazprom Chief Executive Aleksandr Medvedev.

Has Russia misjudged and misinterpreted the shale revolution and is it being left behind by new rivals? What’s there for Russia in a ‘shale revolution’?

Banks Replacing Enron in Energy Incite Congress as Abuses Abound

The U.S. government permitted Wall Street firms to expand in the energy industry a decade ago, when the collapse of Enron Corp. and its army of traders left a void in the market. The results aren’t pretty.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. settled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission claims this week that employees engaged in 12 bidding schemes to wrest tens of millions of dollars from power-grid operators. A Barclays Plc trader stands accused of bragging he “totally fukked” with a Southwest energy market. Deutsche Bank AG workers, faced with losses on a contract, allegedly altered electricity flows to make it profitable instead.

The FERC’s investigations are fueling a debate among lawmakers and the Federal Reserve over whether to reverse more than a decade of policy decisions that let Wall Street banks keep or build units handling commodities and energy. Senators examining the firms’ roles have said they may call bankers and watchdogs to a September hearing amid concern traders are abusing their ability to buy and sell physical products while betting on related financial instruments.

Norway's cash cow sees income cut

Norway’s state oil holding company Petoro saw its second-quarter income slashed due to lower oil and gas prices and technical glitches that hit production, cutting cash flow to the government.

Shell Profit Declines 20% on Nigeria, U.S. Shale Charges

Royal Dutch Shell Plc missed earnings estimates by the most since 2008 after oil theft in Nigeria and writedowns in North America led to a 20 percent slump in results. The shares fell the most in two years.

Profit excluding one-time items and inventory changes slid to $4.6 billion in the second quarter from $5.7 billion a year earlier, Shell said today in a statement. That fell short of the $6 billion mean estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg and was the biggest miss since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Chevron Profit Declines as Crude Prices Fall With Output

Chevron Corp., the world’s second-largest energy company by market value, said net income fell for a second straight quarter as crude oil prices declined and output from the company’s wells dropped.

Iran's top Asian clients slash further oil imports

Iran's top four oil clients have cut their imports from the Middle Eastern nation by more than a fifth in the first six months of the year, but are soon to face increased pressure from the United States to reduce shipments still further.

The cuts by China, India, Japan and South Korea point to the United States' and European Union's success in reducing Tehran's vital oil cash flows as they try to force Iran to halt a disputed nuclear programme. Oil shipments from Iran are down about 60 per cent on average compared to pre-sanction levels.

Shell to pull out of Niger Delta

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell is to pull out of its oil activities in Niger Delta, its managing director in the country told the NRC in an interview on Friday.

'We are leaving,' Mutiu Sunmonu told the paper. The 'recklessness' and size of oil thefts are forcing Shell to halve its activities in the country.

TransCanada to Proceed With $12 Billion Pipe to East Coast

(Bloomberg) -- TransCanada Corp., the country’s second-biggest pipeline operator, plans to go ahead with a C$12 billion ($11.6 billion) pipeline that will ship oil from Western Canada to the East Coast.

The Energy East project would have a capacity of 1.1 million barrels a day and be in service by the end of 2017 for deliveries to Quebec and to New Brunswick in 2018, the Calgary-based company said today in a statement.

All-Canadian conflict over new oil pipeline

In another era, the economic nationalists at the Council of Canadians would have been cheering. But not this time. That's because the Council of Canadians now backs a new kind of economic nationalism, that of protecting Canada and the world from environmental collapse. The Council spells out its argument against such projects in its report, No Pipeline No Tankers.

The position taken by the Council of Canadians and those with similar views is what makes so many of us conflicted. If you believe, as the vast majority of scientists do, that pouring carbon into our atmosphere is creating a slow-moving global catastrophe, then this project, by facilitating increased carbon use, is an all-Canadian pathway to Armageddon.

Kyrgyzstan hopes to transit Turkmen gas to China

Turkmenistan, Ashgabat - One of the branches of the transnational gas transmission line which will transfer energy from Turkmenistan to China, may pass through Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz media quoted the Minister of Energy and Industry of Kyrgyzstan Osmonbek Artykbaev as saying.

Halliburton, Schlumberger Accused in Fracking Price Suit

Halliburton Co., Schlumberger Ltd and Baker Hughes Inc. were sued over claims they conspired to raise prices and crush oilfield service competitors in the booming U.S. market for hydraulic fracturing services.

The allegations against units of the companies are pegged to the U.S. Justice Department’s July 25 announcement that it is investigating the “possibility of anticompetitive practices” in the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, sector of the oilfield services industry, according to the proposed class-action, or group, suit filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, Texas.

End this love for dirty fuels

That blaring noise you can hear could be the sound of the UK missing the boat. A succession of crises over more than a decade revealed the UK's dependence on fossil fuels, increasingly imported, to be both perilous and expensive. The fuel protests of 2000 showed the interconnected vulnerability of our food and fuel systems, while the oil price spike of 2008 revealed the economy as hostage to volatile market.

You'd think then, that if only as an exercise in prudent government – forget about climate change for a moment – aggressive energy diversification into abundant, domestic renewable sources would be a good idea.

Yet, if anything, flip-flopping on feed-in tariffs and scaldingly negative remarks from the chancellor, George Osborne, and others have, wilfully or not, undermined a whole UK industrial sector just as it could be growing, creating jobs and being a world leader.

Fracking firm begins tests at Balcombe oil site as protests enter ninth day

The energy firm Cuadrilla has started testing equipment ahead of exploratory oil drilling in West Sussex as anti-fracking protests at the site entered a ninth day.

Duke to Halt New Florida Reactors in Settlement Deal

Duke Energy Corp. will halt plans to build a new nuclear plant in Florida and seek to recover as much as $1.47 billion in costs associated with a shuttered reactor in the state under a settlement with regulatory staff.

Duke will record a $360 million pretax cost from the settlement in the second quarter, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said in a statement today. The agreement is subject to review by and approval from the Florida Public Service Commission.

Taiwan Lawmakers Brawl in Parliament Over Nuclear Plant Vote

Taiwan lawmakers put each other in headlocks and wrestled on the floor of the legislature as the opposition party moved to occupy the president’s pulpit in a bid to stave off a vote on a nuclear power plant.

Democratic Progressive Party legislators, who oppose further construction of the plant in northern Taiwan, grappled with ruling party Kuomintang lawmakers today, local cable news networks reported.

Japan orders Fukishima-1 operator to report situation

Japan has called on the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant’s operating company, Tokyo Electric Power, to inform the public immediately on the situation at the power plant.

Cut-rate wheels: P2P car rental services popular among travelers

There's a new and cheaper way to rent a car — get it from someone who lives near the airport.

On a recent flight to Washington, D.C., Denise Williams rented a 2010 Toyota Corolla from Edward Salwin through RelayRides, the nationwide peer-to-peer car sharing site.

"The price was excellent," she said. "My rental was about $25 per day and all the rental car places at the airport wanted at least $50 a day, so I literally cut my price in half."

And the most fuel efficient car in the US is ...

Americans looking for the most fuel-efficient ride, the winner has been declared: The Toyota Prius costs just 7.2 cents per mile to operate, according to a recent survey by GasBuddy.com.

That's less than a quarter what it costs to fuel the big Chevrolet Suburban, which costs 21.2 cents a mile. Put in perspective, if a Suburban driver and a Prius driver clocked the same 1,500 miles, the Prius driver would have spent $310 less.

New Tools for Keeping the Lights On

RENSSELAER, N.Y. — After the lights went out for 50 million people from the Northeast to the Midwest on Aug. 14, 2003, investigators found readings from two obscure instruments that would have given them an hour’s warning — plenty of time to solve the problem if the devices had been wired to provide a stream of critical data.

Now, a decade after the largest blackout in American history, engineers are installing and linking 1,000 of those instruments, called phasor measurement units, to try to prevent another catastrophic power failure. When the work is done, the engineers say, they will have a diagnostic tool that makes the old system seem like taking a patient’s pulse compared with running a continuous electrocardiogram.

Free power on Saturdays? Look a bit closer

Good-o! British Gas owner Centrica is considering offering free power on Saturdays to nearly one million of its customers. How foolish we were to even think that it had been profiteering and this was just another fat cat power company. How responsive they have been to our complaints. Let's all turn up the heating, and spend our weekends cooking humongous roasts and doing all the washing.

But who will really benefit from this offer? The company, which has made £1.58bn profit in the past six months, is not planning to give back anything. The finer details of next year's Saturday offer have not been made public, but we do know that anyone taking it up will have to agree to pay more for their electricity during the week, meaning there will almost certainly be no advantage for anyone who is house-bound, or who needs electricity to stay warm in the week. Moreover, the deal will only apply to those customers who have had a new smart meter installed. Here lies the real agenda behind Centrica's proposal of "free" power.

Hamakua Springs nixes oil with shift to hydroelectric power

Richard Ha says he first started thinking about using alternative energy to power his Hamakua Springs Country Farms in 2008 when a temporary spike in oil prices sent the cost of electricity in Hawaii soaring.

Even when prices settled back down, the thought of getting off of oil stuck with Ha, who introduces himself on his blog as "a Big Island farmer/businessman concerned about peak oil and the nexus of energy, the economy and the environment."

Now that his electricity bill has crept back up -- to about $10,000 a month -- Ha is finally pulling the trigger. He recently completed a hydroelectric project that will power his entire operation with energy to spare. He's finalizing an agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Co. to feed the excess electricity into HELCO's grid at no charge to the utility.

"I'm a banana farmer, but it doesn't take a genius to see that we need to get off oil. Oil prices have quadrupled over the last 10 years. It creeps up on you, but as a farmer you see how each penny is spent," Ha said.

Spain Hurts Solar With Plan to Penalize Power Producers

Spain plans to make consumers pay for the clean electricity they generate and use themselves, a move unheard of in any other market.

A new draft bill on power consumption includes a fee for electricity that’s generated by solar panels or other renewable sources and used on-site, the text shows. The draft is being reviewed by industry regulator CNE.

Spain is seeking to curb solar growth after payments to producers helped drive up power bills. The measures threaten its small-scale photovoltaic market, an industry in its infancy even as it booms in the U.K., Germany and North America. U.S. utilities have sought to limit payments for rooftop solar as they’re forced to credit producers for power not used on site.

Deepwater Wind To Develop Offshore Wind Off New England Coast

The United States’ industry leader offshore wind-power projects, Deepwater Wind, have announced that they were selected as provisional winner of two offshore wind energy sites located in federal waters off the New England coastline. The company plans to develop the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC), the largest offshore wind farm ever planned in the US, populated by up to 200 turbines.

Milestone Claimed in Creating Fuel From Waste

WASHINGTON — After months of frustrating delays, a chemical company announced Wednesday that it had produced commercial quantities of ethanol from wood waste and other nonfood vegetative matter, a long-sought goal that, if it can be expanded economically, has major implications for providing vehicle fuel and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The company, INEOS Bio, a subsidiary of the European oil and chemical company INEOS, said it had produced the fuel at its $130 million Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Fla., which it had hoped to open by the end of last year. The company said it was the first commercial-scale production of ethanol from cellulosic feedstock, but it did not say how much it had produced. Shipments will begin in August, the company said.

US Renewable Energy Tops Record in 2012

Renewable energy production hit an all-time high in the United States in 2012, according to a recent annual energy report.

A combination of government incentives and technological innovations has helped solar and wind power grow in the United States in recent years, the report suggests. From 2011 to 2012, solar energy production increased by 49 percent and wind energy increased by 16 percent, according to a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory annual energy analysis published earlier this month.

"I attribute the steady growth to technological advancements as well as tax incentives and state mandates for renewable energy," said A.J. Simon, an energy analyst at LLNL, who wrote the report. "I would expect this to continue for a while."

Energy Efficiency Making Good on its Promise

Americans are finding new and innovative ways to do more with the same amount of energy or less. Good, old-fashioned American ingenuity is at work, offering constructive models for cutting utility bills and emissions.

As America considers how to ramp up energy efficiency as part of President Obama's new climate actionplan, there's much we can learn — and build on — from a wide variety of encouraging, energy-saving programs already under way. Efforts at the federal, state and local levels prove we can meet the president's challenge to fight climate change and still preserve and create jobs, as well as a healthier environment.

Steve Jobs Creamed His Business Rivals. So Why Did They Make So Much More Money?

So why are Microsoft founders so rich even as their company’s lost pole position? Because meritocracy is a myth, even at the highest levels of the American economy. Good fortune and random chance are huge influences everywhere. And market rewards, tautologically, accrue to those who are good at making money rather than those who are good at doing things.

What Don't People Do in Zombie Apocalypse Movies That You Would Do?

Have a supply of emergency food that grows over time.
I buy 10-pound cans of freeze dried food from places like Mountain House and Backpackers Pantry once a month. To be honest, this is not for zombies but just for emergencies. These cans last for 25 years: Buy them once, keep them forever. If you ever get stuck in a storm or disaster, you will never need to worry about food. Buying one or two cans a month, eventually I will have enough to last me many months, needing only water to rehydrate them.

Keep a 12-volt battery-powered water pump.
If the power goes out for long enough, so will your water and water pressure. I can turn on this pump and get enough water to fill several 50 gallon water barrels even if the water stops flowing on its own. The pipes in the house alone likely have many gallons.

How to build your home from scratch for $35,000

(CNN) -- Imagine if it were possible to build your own home, in this day and age, for less than $35,000. Or to cut up some timber and piece your new home together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

What if you could create, with your own hands, a home that collects its own rainwater and generates its own power, so you never have to pay a bill again?

Fertility forecast: Baby bust is over; births will rise

"The United States has seen marked declines in childbearing in the wake of the Great Recession, but we think that this fertility decline is now over," says Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence, a demographic forecasting firm in based in Charlottesville, Va. "As the economy rebounds and women have the children they postponed immediately after the Great Recession, we are seeing an uptick in U.S. fertility."

The fertility rate "says something about people's optimism for the future — their optimism about their economic circumstances," says demographer Mark Mather of the not-for-profit Population Reference Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Obama orders review of safety and security procedures at chemical plants

In response to the deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, President Obama on Thursday ordered a government review of safety and security procedures at U.S. chemical plants.

Led by the departments of Homeland Security and Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the working group will try to improve coordination with state, local and tribal agencies, streamline information-sharing and update regulations.

Hurricane Tips From Cuba

“Cuba manages hurricanes well,” said Russel L. Honoré, the retired lieutenant general who commanded military relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. He has since become a specialist on disaster preparedness and has traveled to Cuba three times in recent years. “We could be learning from them,” he added.

Cuba consistently weathers Category 4 and 5 hurricanes with relatively few casualties. The Center for International Policy, a research and advocacy group based in Washington, says a person is 15 times as likely to be killed by a hurricane in the United States as in Cuba. The island did suffer a body blow last fall from Hurricane Sandy, the second-biggest storm in Cuban history. Before it struck the United States’ Eastern Seaboard, Sandy slammed into Santiago de Cuba, the island’s second-largest city. Eleven people died, and President Raúl Castro said that Santiago looked “like a bombed city.”

Forecast: Two hurricane landfalls for U.S. this season

The U.S. should be slammed by two hurricanes this season, according to a new forecast released Thursday by scientists at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.

This is the first forecast that predicts the specific number of hurricane landfalls the nation should see; up until now, preseason hurricane predictions have traditionally been only for the number of hurricanes that are expected to form.

Big Wildfires in the West: Why, How, What To Do?

"Wildfires are not new. They have continuously occurred on Earth for at least the last 400 million years," says Jennifer Balch of Penn State University. But, she adds, research shows that since the 1970s, the frequency of wildfires has increased at least four-fold.

According to this research — a study published in 2006 by a team led by A.L. Westerlingof the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California, Merced — the total size of burn areas in the western U.S. increased at least six-fold in the later part of the 20th century. In addition, studies show that wildfires at high altitudes, which used to be rare, are increasing. (Thomas Swetnam of the University of Arizona discussed this finding during a 2009 National Science Foundation-sponsored teleconference.) This information means that large western wildfires are becoming more frequent and more intense.

As climate change bites, Tasmania raises a glass to its grape expectations

"There will be regions that move away from viticulture, due to more frequent heatwaves," Webb told Guardian Australia. "Inland areas are warming more quickly than the coasts, so places such as north-east Victoria and NSW will find many wines are not in the optimal conditions."

But while areas such as the Hunter valley in NSW and the Margaret river region in WA will have to worry about sunburnt grapes, swaths of chilly Tasmania will become amenable to winemaking. If climate change has an upside, it can be found in the rapidly expanding Tasmanian wine industry.

Google Scientists Want Google to Stop Funding Climate Change Denial

In 2011, Google launched the Google Science Communication Fellows program, hiring 21 "early to mid-career Ph.D. scientists nominated by leaders in climate change research and science-based institutions across the U.S." On July 11, they threw a fundraiser for the reelection campaign of Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), a man who loudly dismisses climate change as a hoax.

Something, as they say, had to give.

It's climate scientists, not concern trolls who champion the scientific method

To be clear, Neil's comments were not "inconsequential technical mistakes." They were glaring errors, including ignoring 98 percent of the relevant global warming data and repeating long-debunked climate myths. That is not how to "promote an active understanding of climate science".

On this basis, it seems rather bizarre to ask whether these "sceptics" are "the real champions of the scientific method." In any case, this is a misuse of the term "sceptic." If one goes around repeating long-debunked myths as though they were reality, there are various adjectives that might apply, but "skeptic" is not one of them.

Global warming may fuel wars

WASHINGTON — A massive new study finds that aggressive acts like committing violent crimes and waging war become more likely with each added degree of temperature.

Researchers analyzed 60 studies on historic empire collapses, recent wars, violent crime rates in the U.S. and even cases where baseball pitchers threw at batters. They found a common thread over centuries: Extreme weather — very hot or dry — means more violence.

Delaware rallies push climate change initiatives

Delaware officials gathered in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach on Wednesday as part of a nationwide chain of rallies supporting the Obama administration’s new climate change initiatives, producing both calls for action and ominous warnings.

“We need to think through the various tradeoffs, the economics, but the only way we can do that is to keep it at the top of the agenda,” Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin P. O’Mara said. “The only way we can keep it at the top of the agenda is if all of you and all of us keep bringing it up over and over again.”

Sahel villagers fleeing climate change must not be ignored

Migration has always been a way of life in the Sahel, an arid belt of land that stretches across Africa just south of the Sahara. Many of the region's 100 million inhabitants lived for millennia as nomadic pastoralists who moved with their herds in search of water and pasture.

But recently, changes in rainfall patterns and rising temperatures have led to a disturbing form of population movement: climate displacement.

Act now or rising seas will sink our country, Marshall Islanders tell the world

The Marshall Islands, a sprinkling of coral atolls in the northern Pacific Ocean, are facing oblivion unless decisive global action is taken to combat climate change, a senior minister has warned.

Tony de Brum has been in Australia this week to try to alert his country’s larger neighbour to the plight of the Marshalls’ 55,000 citizens, living on 34 atolls just north of the Equator. With no land higher than two metres, sea level rises predicted by the end of this century would spell “the end of my country and many others like it”, he said.

Researcher: Rising seas to put Galveston 25 percent underwater

Galveston and 17 other Texas coastal towns are certain to lose land to rising sea levels at some undetermined point due to existing carbon emissions, at least one researcher says.

‘We’re losing all the things that life depends on’: Melting Arctic sea ice has led to ‘mass mortality’ events, study says

A review of the latest research on the Arctic says the accelerating loss of sea ice is kicking the legs out from under the entire northern dinner table with consequences for large animals and tiny plants alike.

“We’re losing all the things that life depends on,” said Ian Stirling, an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta and one of the co-authors of a study published Thursday in the prestigious journal Science.

The paper reviews dozens of recent studies on the Arctic in an attempt to provide a big-picture look at the overall ecological consequences of vanishing sea ice.

The conclusions are chilling.

Climate Change Occurring Ten Times Faster Than at Any Time in Past 65 Million Years

The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.

The futuer of oil : the Peakers "who have since gone strangely quiet"

Ahum, all peakoilers of the world : YELL!!!!

It is funny how they had to run this story after Exxon and Shell both reported lower revenues by the billions. I am starting to see the pattern...same with economic news. At the end of today and tomorrow we will start to see positive news on jobs...it really is getting harder and harder to find the truth these days...

Production and revenue decline despite the current price for oil must be really bad news.

Even Faux News is baffeled ...

Despite boom, oil companies struggling

New troves of oil have been found all over the globe, and oil companies are taking in around $100 for every barrel they produce. But these seemingly prosperous conditions aren't doing much for Big Oil: Profit and production at the world's largest oil companies are slumping badly.

Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP all posted disappointing earnings this week. Chevron is expected to post a profit decline Friday. All of them face the same problem: The cost to get newfound oil from remote locations and tightly packed rock is high and rising. And it takes years and billions of dollars to get big new production projects up and running.

That makes this new oil far more expensive to get out of the ground than what's known as conventional oil -- large pools of oil and gas in relatively easy-to-drill locations. Those reserves have always been hard to find, but now they are all but gone outside of the Middle East.

... if big oil companies can't earn strong profits at today's oil prices, it may mean prices will have to rise higher to convince them it's worth the risk to continue to aggressively explore new fields. If they worry they can't make enough money, they'll cut back.

Want a paraphrase of "Peak Oil Theory"? Here it is:

"... if big oil companies can't earn strong profits at today's oil prices, it may mean prices will have to rise higher to convince them it's worth the risk to continue to aggressively explore new fields."

And that from Faux. Who woulda guessed?


As they say in D.C., a political gaffe is when someone accidentally tells the truth.

Yep. There actually have been several such stories that tacitly admit peak oil effects without using the phrase people.

Chevron, Exxon, Shell, and others have all reported weaker profits due to rising extraction costs and thus several articles have pointed out that oil prices might have to rise to keep them investing.

Check out this one . . .

It’s Not Just Dotcom Startups: U.S. Oil Giants are Now Burning Cash

At America’s two biggest oil producers, the free cash flow is no longer free.

Chevron Corp.CVX -1.60% reported Friday that it spent $9.5 billion in the second quarter, about $1 billion more than the cash generated from its operations. It was the second consecutive quarter where Chevron’s capital spending exceeded the cash it brought in from selling oil and gas and refined fuels.

And on Thursday, Chevron’s larger U.S. rival Exxon Mobil Corp.XOM -1.15% said it spent $10.2 billion in the second quarter, about $2.2 billion more than it generated from its operations and asset sales. It was a notable departure for Exxon, which has delivered $138 billion in free cash flow over the past five years, according to the company.

Oh my. I'm sure they are going to want/need higher oil prices so they'll profit off that investment.

Reading that piece,as the reporter struggled between reporting the facts while trying to twist the logic to satisfy his editor's command that 'peak oil is dead', reminded me of that scene in 'Forbidden Planet' ...

Morbius: You see, he's helpless... Iocked in a sub-electronic dilemma between my direct orders... and his basic inhibitions against harming rational beings. If I were to allow that to continue... he would blow every circuit in his body.

Want a paraphrase of "Peak Oil Theory"? Here it is: "... if big oil companies can't earn strong profits at today's oil prices, it may mean prices will have to rise higher to convince them it's worth the risk

That is not what "peak oil theory" was. Peak oil theory posited a worldwide production peak and subsequent decline, because of geologic factors. That's what it always meant. That has not happened.

Peak oilers never claimed that higher prices would unlock large new oil resources. Quite the opposite, that was the economists' belief, which most people on TOD thought was magical-fantasy type thinking akin to believing that additional demand would make new oil suddenly appear in the ground.

It seems like you are changing the theory in retrospect. There is nothing wrong with abandoning an incorrect theory, or changing the theory in light of new evidence. However, there seems to be some degree of re-writing the past among peak oilers recently. Predictions are not only changed in retrospect, but peak oilers are saying that the changed predictions are what they had always said.

No. You are creating a stereotype over-simplified vision of peak oil. And I'm sure some people had such a belief but plenty of people also said that the price would rise and allow for new oil to come online. This is why there have been long discussions on at what price does tar sands oil become profitable, at what price does coal-to-liquids become profitable, at what price can you do ultradeepwater drilling, at what price can one extract oil from oil shale, etc.

Speculawyer, you said:

"plenty of people also said that the price would rise and allow for new oil to come online. This is why there have been long discussions on at what price does tar sands oil become profitable"

They're saying things like that now, sure, and for the last few years. However, back around 2008 and earlier, the peak oil camp was claiming that oil from all sources would peak and then decline shortly thereafter. For example, this graph (from Colin Campbell) shows all liquid hydrocarbons peaking in 2009 or so and declining by more than 20% by now.

I briefly looked through the seminal papers of peak oil theory.

The 1998 article in Scientific American calls into question whether unconventional oil could be brought on line quickly enough:

Last, economists like to point out that the world contains enormous caches of unconventional oil that can substitute for crude oil as soon as the price rises high enough to make them profitable. There is no question that the resources are ample... But the industry will be hard-pressed for the time and money needed to ramp up production of unconventional oil quickly enough

Here are some quotes from the 2003 paper by Campbell and Aleklett:

The second [view] is what may be called the Flat-Earth Approach [referring to economists], in which the resource is deemed to be virtually limitless.. in the belief that supply always matches demand under ineluctable economic principles. It supposes that as one resource is depleted, its place is seamlessly taken by a better substitute: “the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stone” is a favourite aphorism.
Yet, however uncomfortable the message, the fact remains that the world is depleting its resources of oil and gas, such that production is set to peak and begin to decline by around 2010.

Also, there was the paper by Aleklett et al, from 2008, showing the oil from all sources (including unconventional) had already peaked in 2007 and would decline from 81 to 76 mb/d by 2013, after which it would level off and decline only very gradually thereafter.

Also, Campbell in 2000 wrote an essay entitled "the imminent peak of global oil production" in which he said:

A general peak for conventional oil at about 61 Mb/d (million barrels per day) can be said to arise in the middle of the plateau, namely around 2005. Adding non-conventional oil and gas-liquids will delay the overall peak by about five years, when production may total about 85 Mb/d. High oil prices can be expected to cause world oil demand to stay on a plateau until around 2010. After that, output will fall whatever the price [emphasis added] because fields will be becoming exhausted.

Also, Campbell in 2011 produced a graph showing all hydrocarbons, including reg conventional oil, heavy oil, polar, deepwater, ngl, gas, and non-conventional gas, peaking in 2010 and declining shortly thereafter.

Furthermore, almost all the early peak oil papers indicated that oil and gas production would follow bell-shaped curves. They predicted immediate (or nearly immediate) declines after a peak, before 2010. They thought that unconventional sources would have little effect on that. Not one important peak oil source from that era predicted a protracted plateau or slightly increasing oil production from horizontal wells, continuing well into 2013.

...In retrospect, it seems to me that these authors seriously underestimated how much additional oil would be brought online as a consequence of higher prices. They did not anticipate the fracking boom (in fact, there is no mention of fracking in the paper from 2003, or earlier). They did not anticipate that higher prices would forestall decline of conventional oil until 2013 or later. They did not anticipate a "seamless" transition to other sources of oil.

They made similar mistakes with gas as well. Many predicted peak gas from all sources (including unconventional) around 2010. (Their graph is still available if you go to oildecline.com and look about 1/4th of the way down the page. It shows all gas peaking before 2010). (An exception is one prediction from Campbell that gas would peak in 2020). Nobody in the peak oil camp anticipated the gas fracking boom, or the subsequent increase in supply and decrease in prices.

I grant that almost everyone else got it wrong too. The IEA and EIA did not anticipate the run-up in prices around 2006.

However, the predictions from the peak oil camp were also incorrect and contained errors or incorrect assumptions. I am not cherry-picking the doomsday authors here. These are the most sober peak oil sources and the seminal papers of the theory.

-Tom S

I grant that almost everyone else got it wrong too. The IEA and EIA did not anticipate the run-up in prices around 2006.

So grant that everyone got it wrong but you reserve your bashing for the people who got it closer to the truth? Does that seem fair to you?

BTW, If you look up his talks you'll see that Colin Campbell was fond of saying "The only numbers that are correct on in my paper are the page numbers." Estimates are merely estimates, no one expects to get it exactly right. But the peak oil people were closer to the truth.

That is not what "peak oil theory" was. Peak oil theory posited a worldwide production peak and subsequent decline, because of geologic factors. That's what it always meant. That has not happened.

Well I had decided not to come back to TOD, but I simply had to reply to such a post. I have heard "peak demand" until I am tired of it. The peak is the peak is the peak, it makes no difference whatsoever what caused that peak, it is still the peak. Peak oil is the point when the maximum rate of crude oil extraction is reached, after which the rate of extraction will begin to decline... forever.

It simply does not matter why peak crude oil extraction is reached, the peak is the peak regardless of the cause. But obviously the peak will be caused by both geology and economics.

Some people say peak demand is different from peak supply. No, it is not. It is not because both supply and demand are a function of price. The higher the price the more oil producers are willing to deliver and the less consumers are willing to buy. So both peak demand and peak supply depend on the price. And of course the state of the economy comes into the picture. Peak supply/demand in a booming economy would be totally different from peak supply/demand in a deep recession.

So when peak oil happens, or happened, it will be both a function of supply and demand. There will always be oil left in the ground. In other words we will never run completely out of oil. But as the marginal price of a barrel of oil rises the peak gets closer and closer. In fact it may have already arrived. But we will not know until well after the peak has passed.

Can you imagine if Crude + Condensate peaked in 2013 at about 76.5 million barrels per day then in 2023 it was down to 56.5 million barrels per day, the cornucopians would say "No, that was peak demand, not peak oil. That peak was caused by high oil prices, not geology." I hope you get my point.

Someone said you were starting you're own blog after you left TOD. Is that true? If so, where?

I always scroll the drums looking for certain people, you among them.

Someone said you were starting you're own blog after you left TOD. Is that true? If so, where?



Ah Rethin,

You're not a bad commentator yourself (you were one of those I searched for in my early days here). Hopefully things are well with you.

Cheers, Matt

Well, you read this post so I guess you were back before this post made you want to post. To think that Darwinian would be a lurker. Your absence has made it very difficult to get my periodic does of sanity. I quit reading TOD for awhile but I have also cut back on my consumption of "news" and "commentary" in general especially relating to politics. This is because most of it is pointless and is just ranting against the same old bogeymen. And, therefore, to meditate on a flower, a sunrise or sunset has much more meaning and it much more useful with respect to sanity and well being.

It is all freaking hopeless so perhaps one can choose between a kind of bliss and continuous depression spawned by the idea that something, anything can be done. Part of not fighting against destiny is what I have learned from the likes of you.

Yeah. Then too, it's been apparent for quite a while that there's ways to make liquid fuels out of other carbon sources, such as the coal to gasoline Fisher-Tropsch process or diesel from NG. Converting the heavy oil from tar (bitumen) sands into products isn't really the same as pumping light sweet crude straight out of the ground, yet the production from those sands are called oil and is lumped in with all the other production.

As time passes and the high quality crude flows continue to decline, there will still be liquid hydrocarbons to be exploited for those who have the funds to buy them. That group probably won't include most folks who want to drive alone in cars over long commutes to work at low wage jobs, as many now do in the US...

E. Swanson


Good to see you still alive and kicking and continuing after TOD's demise.

I tried to strongly agree with your post above but apparently too tersely for the TOD censors as my original reply rapidly vanished. Perhaps this one will as well.

In any case I'll try to keep up with your blog.

Great to see the return of Darwinian. You taught us non-geologists, non-engineers, non-economists what “peak oil? (or peak any finite resource) means. No theory about it, just the fact that a plot of extraction RATE vs time will have a high point. The arguments are over the definition of “oil,” and the shape of the curve, the latter determined by both above and below factors. Those of you who understand those factors and can predict their trends are probably rich.

Darwinian is right with the demand peak being a result of high oil prices which are caused by oil peaking which is a process having started in 2005, not an easily identifiable event which can be pinned down to a particular year.

US oil demand peak was in 2007

Darwinian, I agreed with almost all of what you said. Peak demand will happen at exactly the same moment as peak supply.

A major difference between views here, is that the peak oil camp previously claimed that oil production would be limited by geology and high prices wouldn't increase it by much. Clearly that would also be "peak demand" because prices would skyrocket until demand decreased. But that is different from plentiful oil remaining in the ground which could be extracted for $150/bbl but people don't want it because electric car transportation is cheaper at that point.

Can you imagine if Crude + Condensate peaked in 2013 at about 76.5 million barrels per day then in 2023 it was down to 56.5 million barrels per day, the cornucopians would say "No, that was peak demand, not peak oil. That peak was caused by high oil prices, not geology."

The word "cornucopian" has a looser meaning these days. It often refers to people who are oil production optimists (like Lynch) but who would not fit the stricter definition of the term.

In its original meaning, the word "cornucopian" meant someone who believed that human ingenuity would eventually devise substitutes which are always better than the original. Even Julian Simon wasn't claiming that oil would always be plentiful. He was claiming that peak oil would spur human ingenuity, and people would ultimately be better off (perhaps with electric cars or something else).

Here's the typical quote of his:

Greater consumption due to increase in population and growth of income heightens scarcity and induces price run-ups. A higher price represents an opportunity that leads inventors and businesspeople to seek new ways to satisfy the shortages. Some fail, at cost to themselves. A few succeed, and the final result is that we end up better off than if the original shortage problems had never arisen.

Personally, I disagree with him on many things.

To see if the cornucopians are vindicated on this point, we'd have to wait until electric cars become standard, and see if the price of automotive transportation declines below what it had been before the recent run-up of oil prices.

A major difference between views here, is that the peak oil camp previously claimed that oil production would be limited by geology and high prices wouldn't increase it by much.

Well, looks like we were spot on there. High prices has not increased production by that much. I did the math. Prices have more than doubled since 2005 and production has increased by almost exactly 3 percent.

May 2005  74,135,000 barrels per day
Apr 2013  76,349,000 barrels per day
Increase   2,214,000 barrels per day or 2.99 percent

I wont argue semantics. We use the word "cornucopian" only because we have no better term so that will have to do.

Ron Patterson

ah but given decline rates in the old majors, how much new oil had to be found and produced in order to maintain that plateau?
maybe 4 MBD per year?

Ron, you said:

Well, looks like we were spot on there. High prices has not increased production by that much.

Peak oilers weren't spot on. They not only claimed that production wouldn't increase. They also claimed that oil supplies would decline absolutely and higher prices would not prevent that. There were no peak oiler predictions showing increasing production (or even a plateau) through 2013. The most optimistic predictions of peak oilers showed declines beginning in 2010.

For example, from Colin Campbell:

A general peak for conventional oil at about 61 Mb/d (million barrels per day) can be said to arise in the middle of the plateau, namely around 2005. Adding non-conventional oil and gas-liquids will delay the overall peak by about five years, when production may total about 85 Mb/d. High oil prices can be expected to cause world oil demand to stay on a plateau until around 2010. After that, output will fall whatever the price [emphasis added] because fields will be becoming exhausted.

They also did not anticipate the increase in natural gas production.

My original point was this: the scenario which Colin Campbell lays out above, is different from what most people mean by "peak demand". If oil production is constrained because people just don't want oil at $150/bbl (even if much more could be extracted at that price) then that's what people mean by "peak demand". Perhaps the term "peak demand" isn't the best way to describe it, because peak demand occurs whatever the cause.

We use the word "cornucopian" only because we have no better term so that will have to do.

OK, but it makes it harder to tell who you're referring to, whether devotees of Julian Simon or Michael Lynch. Their positions aren't the same at all.

-Tom S

If oil production is constrained because people just don't want oil at $150/bbl (even if much more could be extracted at that price) then that's what people mean by "peak demand"

Again, where's the distinction between "don't want" and "can't afford"? What would need to be different in todays situation for you to say "people can't afford" instead of "people don't want"?

Tom, now you are changing your story. You first said: "wouldn't increase it by much" an now you are saying "claimed that production wouldn't increase"

Conventional oil did peak in 2005.

There is no such person as "peak oilers". They are all different, just as cornucopians are all different. You cannot point to any one person and claim that this person represents all peak oilers. We are all off with our predictions but in my estimation the average cornucopian has been further off than the average peak oiler. After all, as I said prices have more than doubled since 2005 while crude oil has increased by only 3 percent.

End of story.

Ron Patterson

But that is different from plentiful oil remaining in the ground which could be extracted for $150/bbl but people don't want it because electric car transportation is cheaper at that point.

May I ask how do you distinguish between "people don't want it" and "people are forced away from it"? Total vehicle miles traveled is decreasing, which seems to indicate a forced move away from oil, not a voluntary one. There seems to be quite a lack of ceteris paribus in the cornucopian arguments.

May I ask how do you distinguish between "people don't want it" and "people are forced away from it"?

If there is additional oil in the ground which could be extracted for $150/bbl, but people aren't willing or able to pay for it, so producers leave it in the ground, then that's what people mean when they say "peak demand". That's different from declines caused by geological limits which couldn't be rectified at any price.

i realize that the term "peak demand" is unfortunate, because peak demand happens in either case. I'm just trying to explain what I think people mean by that term when they use it.

Total vehicle miles traveled is decreasing, which seems to indicate a forced move away from oil, not a voluntary one.

Consumers in the USA could sacrifice other things (like college tuition for their kids) and pay for $300/bbl oil. I don't know if that would cause much higher oil proudction. I think that Colin Campbell et al were claiming it would make practically no difference, so they are not "peak demand" adherents.

Darwinian, another excellent post. One reason I will miss TOD is your explanations.

Of course, you have a blog now, and congratulations.

Regarding peak oil ideas, I have done what another well-known and well-respected poster, westexas, suggested. That is, I have tried to put "ELP" into my life.

E and L I could manage a little. But "P", producing, was a mystery. I'm an academic. No one pays us for our academic articles.

So instead of boring academic stuff, I wrote a novel, using my academic ideas, with a novel premise: Juliet is the Sun is really a code for "solar energy".

The thrilling part (for me, that is, someone trying "P") is that this novel is selling OK, considering I'm completely unknown.

Well, one reason maybe that I put in some scenes from an erotic pagan sex ritual. You all may have heard of "hieros gamos"? I learned about it when I read The DaVinci Code.

So, long sory short: I dn't have a blog you can go and see. But you can go over to Amazon and see my novel. My pen name is Gemma Nishiyama. Novel: Juliet is the Sun


You are leaving out a very important part:

Peak oil theory posited a worldwide production peak and subsequent decline of crude oil, because of geologic factors. That's what it always meant.

Has that (peak crude oil) not happened? The original Hubbert study deals only with crude oil (and coal and natgas), and explicitly states this multiple times througout the text. All the other alternative sources (tar sands, shale) are mentioned in the study, but the predictions deal only with crude oil, coal and natural gas.

Has that (peak crude oil) not happened?

That has happened, but the subsequent declines predicted by almost everyone in the peak oil movement around 2005 have not happened.

It appears to me that Hubbert Linearization etc only worked until the global peak of conventional oil was reached and prices increased. It correctly predicted the date when conventional oil production could no longer increase, but it didn't correctly predict what would happen after that.

-Tom S

Correct prediction on the best finite resource, check. Goalposts scooted over to a lesser finite resource, check. Wash, rinse, repeat until the weakest link snaps, and the chain lashes about wildly, as seen in the Arab Spring, or the entire chain wearies of a thousand wounds on its way down the curve of diminishing returns.

The better peak oiler's have always said it was a race between resource depletion, improving technology, and how much economic effort the major players would be willing to expend at different price points. You can't expect to get the details of those three effects correctly. But, that doesn't mean they don't capture the subject.

It has been said that "Peak Oil" will occur when about 50% of the worlds reserves have been depleted. There is of course no solid connection.

If cost of extraction were no object the peak would occur much later, perhaps at 95%.

If cost of extraction were much higher than it actually is, then the peak would occur sooner maybe at 25%.

So in the end, cost of extraction and our willingness to pay for it will determine the timing of "Peak Oil".

I believe we are real close to that point right now. When my Dad told me oil was a limited resource some 50 years ago, He assured me that there would be plenty for me and any kids I might have. He was wrong.

If you go back to the 1998 Scientific American article 'The End of Cheap Oil' you will see that, just as the title says, the 'peak oilers' Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere predicted the end of cheap oil, not the end of oil altogether. They were dead on right, unless you think $100/bbl is cheap.

Cue the blaming of the 'speculators' in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

It is funny how they had to run this story after Exxon and Shell both reported lower revenues by the billions. I am starting to see the pattern...same with economic news.

The pattern you're inferring, doesn't exist. There is no conspiracy among newspaper editors to suppress the truth about peak oil.

Of course there's no conspiracy. There's just a bunch of individuals, each independently deciding to keep her employer and customers (advertisers) happy.

Everyone has their own angle. Geologists tend to underweight "above-ground factors" such as those that have just made Shell decide to pull out of Nigeria, those that limit Mexico's and Venezuela's production, and those that are limiting the spread of fracking outside of North America and Australia. Everyone underweights demographics.

But a peak is a peak, and arguing about whether it's demand or supply makes as much sense as arguing whether it's the top blade or the bottom blade of the scissors that cuts the paper.

"We believe that demand, not supply, could decline.

"We believe that demand, not supply, could decline."

In other words no resource will ever deminish it will just keep getting more and more expensive until no one can afford it.

Thats not supply constraints, thats demand distruction.

Problem solved.

Yeah, I keep saying it over and over again . . . 'peak demand' is no different than 'peak oil'. Peak demand is just a PR spin job to deny peak oil.

Exactly, either "economists" never looked at the barrel price graph on a sufficiently long period, or they don't believe anymore in their most fundamental law : price being driven by offer and demand.

Not to mention that these little play on words become more obscene as each day goes by ...

I don't care who is right. I will take it if it is decline or vice versa. But one must be careful what one wishes for. Maybe it declines but then what replaces it? Coal? Not really an improvement.

A missive from the Economist Magazine.

I wonder if this story will turn out as well for them as the early 1999 cover story did--which suggested that we might see $5 oil for the indefinite future. In early 1999, annual Brent crude oil prices were in the process of increasing at an average rate of about 15%/year, from $13 in 1998 to $112 in 2012, with two year over year price declines, in 2001 and 2009.

Economist Magazine: The next shock?
March 4, 1999

We may be heading for $5 (oil). To see why, consider chart 1. Thanks to new technology and productivity gains, you might expect the price of oil, like that of most other commodities, to fall slowly over the years.

Judging by the oil market in the pre-OPEC era, a “normal” market price might now be in the $5-10 range. Factor in the current slow growth of the world economy and the normal price drops to the bottom of that range.


Thanks for posting this picture! I remember having a subscription to the Economist at the time, only a year out of college with a BA in economics, and bought the premise of this cover story hook, line and sinker. A few years later, I'd fortunately stumbled across some more sobering analysis of the oil situation via the likes of Deffeyes and Campbell, which has allowed my life to take a much better turn towards a career in renewable energy and sustainability. But at the time, in my mid-20's it was all la-di-da and cornucopian ignorant bliss - built on shifting sand of course. An otherwise reputable source of news, the Economist is incapable of thinking outside of its own self-imposed box when it comes to the prevailing economic theory of infinite resources in a finite world. Needless to say, I ended my subscription a long time ago, and when I've poked my nose back into more current issues, the same idiocy prevails.

Stephen Hren

But then you look at China, which essentially doubled consumption of coal in 10 years:

Funny how coal shows an increase in demand while the Economist says that oil shows a decrease in demand. It sounds like demand destruction caused by scarcity of oil, making it more expensive.

“Without debate, without criticism no administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive.”
― John F. Kennedy

And for example: Egypt.

the Peakers "who have since gone strangely quiet"...Ahum, all peakoilers of the world : YELL!!!!

That article is probably referring to Colin Campbell, Key Deffeyes, Kjell Aleklett, and other leaders of the theory that peak oil is imminent. They have gone strangely silent.

Obviously, peak oilers from TOD and elsewhere haven't gone silent. They've been yelling for the past 8 years. They don't have a good track record of prediction. I think people ignore them now.

They don't have a good track record of prediction. I think people ignore them now.

But you will blissfully give a pass to CERA 2006 for being under on global oil production by 20 million barrels/day? That's one hell of a miss. I think people should ignore them now.

Do you find no fault with ExxonMobil for proclaiming they would 'bury the market in oil' if the price ever went above $40/bbl? It would appear to me they don't have a good track record of prediction. And if anyone had a positive incentive to be right, wouldn't it be XOM?

But you will blissfully give a pass to CERA 2006 for being under on global oil production

Steve, I'm definitely not saying that peak oilers were the only ones to get predictions wrong. It appears that Yergin and Lynch were also quite wrong about various things.

It seems that predicting the future of oil production (and prices) is more complicated than some people thought.

That said, it's clear in retrospect that the peak oiler theory (which was prevalent in the mid-2000s) that prices would have no real effect on oil supply, was quite incorrect. It was also incorrect to believe that alternative sources of liquid hydrocarbons (such as tight oil, etc) would amount to almost nothing. It also appears that curve-extrapolation methods like Hubbert Linearization, creaming curves, and so on, break down completely if the price of oil changes, or if new technologies are developed. As a result, such methods cannot be used by themselves to predict future oil production, in my opinion.

Point of correction, Tom. The theory was that there would come a time that, no matter how high the price, production would not be able to increase. When that would happen was not predicted. There were other parts, such as high price limiting demand, being destructive to the overall economy because of the linkage between oil and economic growth, and so forth.

You do try to simplify it, or to state part and show that in some way part was wrong, therefore the entire 'theory' was wrong. That ain't the way theories work in any part of reality where science is used. Theories are typically modified, and are not unified (the physicists have tried to for a unified theory for a hundred years, without success). As fact come in, we have a better understanding of many things. For instance, fracing is not new. My Dad lost money on fracing schemes long ago. What happened is that when prices went sky high, some folks figured that you could stimulate some tight oil fields and get some quick production. Which they did. Other folks figured they could exploit that and begin scamming people to get investment in Bakkan production.

Frac'd oil is great... for the moment. The wells die quickly, though, and the best ones are being exploited first. There may still be oil frac'd years from now; it will be a small part of what will be needed to provide supplies for the better uses (than burning) for oil - ones that are not dependent on extracting energy, but rather converting the hydrocarbons into other forms and products that are needed. Oil companies have always had wonderful research facilities hard at work learning how to make, for instance, nylon, rayon, Tylenol, and many other products. Of course, these were considered by-products at the time, from the process of creating gasoline. One wonders the eventual cost for these fine products, eh?

And, indeed the future of the industry is still hard to predict. Other than that, if we are able to hold together there will be oil production for many decades to come, albeit for purposes other than fuel.


Circa 2005, Yergin was predicting that global liquids production would continue increasing at about 3%/year, which would have put 2012 Global C+C production at about 91 mbpd, versus the actual value of 75.6 mbpd, a 0.4%/year rate of increase from 2005 to 2012, with 2006 to 2011 production numbers all being below 75 mbpd.

Deffeyes was predicting a global C+C peak between 2004 and 2008, mostly likely in 2005.

Who came closest to most accurately characterizing post-2005 global C+C production?

GNE and ANE in 2012, as defined above, were 96% and 86% respectively of 2005 values (EIA).

You are Mr.Misrepresentation today it seems.

Colin Campbell retired. Kjell Aleklett released his book "Peaking on Peak Oil" and you can read his response to this article in the economist at ASPO international here:

The Economist: ”Oil is yesterday’s fuel" by Kjell Aleklett on Fri, 2013-08-02 14:46. Headline news

Silent? I think not.

And Ken Deffeyes is 82 years old. At some point everyone slows down.

Re: TransCanada to Proceed With $12 Billion Pipe to East Coast

The project to supply East Coast refineries and export terminals involves converting a portion of 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of existing 42-inch natural gas pipeline and building 1,400 kilometers of new pipeline, the company said.

One wonders what is going to happen to those folks who may still be depending on the NG from that 42 inch pipeline...

E. Swanson

I doubt that Trans Canada has a problem with letting "those eastern bastards freeze in the dark".

I posted a comment last week regarding David Hughes making a presentation to the Ontario Energy Board regarding the production declines from shale gas plays. In essence the point of his presentation would have been that reducing diversification of supply to become more dependent on gas from shale plays would not be prudent for Ontario.

Most of my "eastern bastard" friends and family are presently oblivious to what this pipeline repurposing means to them. Few care enough about the environment to become active about it for those reasons. But once they grok the possible economic implications things might be different.

Funny thing is there are a lot of voters in Ontario's 905 region that helped bring he who must not be named to power who depend on NG to heat their poorly insulated suburban starter castles who might find that this pipeline repurposing is not in their best interests, and if it ain't in their best interests it becomes hard to imagine that it is in Canada's best interests

One wonders what is going to happen to those folks who may still be depending on the NG from that 42 inch pipeline...

The TransCanada backbone is multiple 42" (or larger) pipes over the section where the old pipe is being re-purposed. We'll still get gas. My guess is they're already looking for regulatory approval to replace and improve the pipe they're converting. And if they don't need approval, the plans are completed and waiting.


China declares emergency as month-long heat wave rages

BEIJING – Sweltering summer heat across China has pushed thermostats surging above 104 degrees in over 40 cities throughout the mainland and has been blamed for dozens of heat-related deaths.

The month-long heat wave, particularly in southern and central parts of the country, has forced leaders in Beijing into action.

The China Meteorological Administration on Tuesday ordered a “Level 2” emergency response to the dangerous heat.

Such an emergency order is usually reserved for natural disasters like typhoons and severe flooding. A “Level 1” emergency has never been called before.

Bacon fries on pavement as heat wave grips China

Shanghai set its record high temperature of 40.6 C (105 F) on July 26, and Thursday's heat marked the city's 28th day above 35 C. At least 10 people died of heat stroke in the city over the past month, including a 64-year-old Taiwanese sailor, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

... "This is the future. Get used to it," Andrew Dressler of Texas A&M University told The Associated Press by email. "You often hear people say, 'Oh, we'll just adapt to the changing climate.' It turns out that that's a lot harder than it sounds, as the people in China are finding out now."

Living organisms can only survive within a certain temperature range. A sustained wet-bulb temperature exceeding 35 °C is likely to be fatal even to fit and healthy people, unclothed in the shade next to a fan; at this temperature we switch from cooling the skin (losing heat to the environment), to warming it.

Aug 1, 2013 Shanghai Max Temp: 104°F (40°C) Max Humidity: 94% (avg 66%)

An Investigation of the Impact of Climate Change on Energy Use in Buildings in Different Climate Zones across China

That threshold is a little bit higher, some coastal cities in India routinely experience temps in excess of 40C with humidity levels of 75%+. It's brutal but never heard of people dying en-mass. Hell I've stayed in Chennai without AC where it goes to 41C with humidity levels of 80%. At sea level that's a wet bulb temp of 37.5C.

For people who are not used to this it can be life threatening.

I think a wet bulb of 37.5C would be lethal to anyone used to it or not. Are you sure it was that high?

Of course it would take time to overheat. And if you have even crude shelter you might be able to make it. Crawl under a stone until the hot episode passes.

Unless the met departments thermometer and hygrometer were lying, yes I am sure.

From NASA climatologist James Hansen:

One implication is that if we should "succeed" in digging up and burning all fossil fuels, some parts of the planet would become literally uninhabitable, with some time in the year having wet bulb temperature exceeding 35°C. At such temperatures, for reasons of physiology and physics, humans cannot survive, because even under ideal conditions of rest and ventilation, it is physically impossible for the environment to carry away the 100 W of metabolic heat that a human body generates when it is at rest. Thus even a person lying quietly naked in hurricane force winds would be unable to survive. Temperatures even several degrees below this extreme limit would be sufficient to make a region practically uninhabitable for living and working.

Greenland has just measured its hottest temperature on record July 30th with a reading of 25.9°C (78.6°F) at Maniitoq Mittarfia during a foehn event. The previous Greenland record was 25.5°C (77.9°F) at Kangerlussuaq on July 27, 1990.

I love the way non-native speakers mangle the language (or is it computer translators)
thermostats surging above 104 degrees
Better watch out for those surging thermostats!

"By Ed Flanagan, Producer, NBC News".

I guess its just plain old Amurikan stupidity then.

Futurists convene at GF2045 w/presentations

Futurists, visionaries, scientists, technologists, philosophers, and others who take this view to heart convened on June 15-16, 2013 in New York City at Global Futures 2045 International Congress: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution. GF2045 was organized by the 2045 Strategic Social Initiative founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the main goals of creating and realizing a new strategy for the development of humanity – one based upon our unique emerging capability to effect self-directed evolution.

... [one of the speakers] Dr. Martin made it disturbingly clear that population growth, resource consumption, water depletion, desertification, deforestation, ocean pollution and fish depopulation, atmospheric carbon dioxide, what he termed gigafamine (the death of more than a billion people as a consequence of food shortage by mid-century), and other factors are ominously close to their tipping points – after which their effects will be irreversible. (For example, he points out that in 20 years we'll be consuming an obviously unsustainable 200 percent of then-available resources.) Taken together, he cautioned, these developments will constitute a "perfect storm" that will cause a Darwinian survival of the fittest in which "the Earth could be like a lifeboat that's too small to save everyone."

However, Dr. Martin also emphasized that there are solutions discussing the trends and technologies that – even as he acknowledged the resistance to implementing or even understanding them – could have a positive impact on our future: ...

Meaning they see an upgraded transhuman elite administering the automated hi-tec System core, whilst the lesser unmodified humans in the periphery perish.

Ummm... can't wait for this wonderful new utopia to arrive.

Although the System's pre-propaganda, which softens us up, opens our minds to new opinions and predisposes us to accept new attitudes, is pointing us in that general direction. World War Z for example. Our brains are being subtly reprogrammed, perceptions altered and understanding reworked to precondition us to new realities.

Not a view of the future, just a technique to alter our psychology to accept the new. We never suffer future shock, we're always preconditioned to it. Transhuminism in some form is on the way and the paralympics, etc. is probably a good place to observe its real progress.

This is a cumulative oil chart for an Eagle Ford well, produced by Chesapeake Energy Corp., referred to as a CHK curve.
This is taken from http://eaglefordforum.com/forum/topics/chk-decline-curve

This is very close to a diffusional flow model, as the open circles represent

DC posted his own version, based on Eagle Ford data, a while back on TOD http://www.theoildrum.com/node/10027#comment-966899

This shows a much stronger asymptotic limit, indicating the diffusional flow has a limiting Ornstein-Uhlenbeck characteristic, modeled as the red curve. This can also be interpreted as a hyperbolic flow, which provides a slightly worse fit.

The bottom line is that the actuals are showing stronger limiting behavior than the prospectus reveals.

Thanks to DC for compiling the data.

I have previously noted that Chesapeake claimed that the gas wells that they had completed in 2007 on the DFW Airport Lease, in the Barnett Shale Play, would produce for at least 50 years.

Five years later, in early 2013, 10 of the 21 wells they completed in 2007 (all horizontal I believe) were already plugged and abandoned, and overall production from the 2007 vintage wells had declined by 95% in only five years.

Good info, WT

Plugging and abandoning the wells after a time is indistinguishable from seeing a strong asymptotically flattening cumulative curve, such as the bottom curve shows.

So whether the flattening is caused by diminished flow leading to the decision to cap, or that capping is done well before a diminished flow is reached is difficult to determine by just looking at the data.

5% of the production left after five years sound really bad.

westexas, Dr. Ruud Weijermars, Director TU/Delft Unconventional Gas Research Initiative has an informative map concerning what Chesapeake realized after drilling many wells near the DFW airport. Oil and gas recovery from continuous (unconventional) resources: Technology innovation options for improving the economic baseline The map can be seen around the 11:20 mark. The map was created by Petrohawk engineers.

Slide Title:

North American situation-- Shale resources are uneconomic today

From their website:


7/3/2013 2:02 AM

In the Northern Eagle Ford Shale, EXCO has agreed to acquire approximately 55,000 net acres in Zavala, Dimmit, La Salle and Frio counties, Texas, including approximately 120 producing wells with average net daily production of approximately 6,100 barrels of oil equivalent during the month of May.

In the Haynesville Shale, EXCO has agreed to acquire Chesapeake’s operated and non-operated interests in approximately 9,600 net acres in Desoto and Caddo parishes, Louisiana. Included in the transaction are 11 units operated by Chesapeake and 42 units operated by EXCO. Average net daily production from the Haynesville properties to be sold was approximately 114 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent during the month of May.


Why are they selling this asset?

Oil, NGL and gas in boe/d is peaking. Look at slide 13 in:


So back in 2005/6 there was some work done on TOD about the decline rate from existing fields - and replacement needs. ELM also played a role.

My WAG assumption was that the decline rate was about 4 MBD which meant a new Saudi Arabia every 2 years.
Well, with the increase in price, and greater activity, we are on an eight year winning streak: about 32- 34 MBD of new production.

Thats coming up to replacing about 40% of all existing production capacity from 2005. Astounding.

But can we keep it up? I am betting no.

Conference on Arctic drilling preparedness is an industry snowjob

The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) is meeting in Anchorage on Aug. 8 in a conference titled “Preparedness for Arctic Drilling.” The name of the conference itself is an oxymoron considering the fact that, to this day, there have been no successful spill response drills on Chuckchi or Beaufort Sea lease sale sites.

Not a single successful response drill of a major offshore spill. No successful drills in rough water, sheet ice conditions, or broken ice conditions -- there has not even been a successful spill response at the lease sale sites in calm water. See the trend here?

Certainly the oil and gas industry will be represented, and the U.S. Coast Guard will be there. Fran Ulmer, state Sen. Lesil McGuire, and a single Native corporation representative are also presenting. But where are the environmental groups? Where are the village councils, municipal and tribal organizations that would -- in reality -- have to deal with the results of an Arctic oil spill?

Looks like Baker Hughes has put out new numbers to investigate.

Baker Hughes Well Count

As new technologies and methodologies are introduced to the unconventional market, there is a continual evolution of drilling efficiencies, which can be difficult to measure. The Baker Hughes Well Count provides a greater understanding of key market forces, capturing the number of wells that were spud in each major U.S. basin.

Not only does the Baker Hughes Well Count provide a unique perspective of oilfield activity, but when combined with the Baker Hughes Rig Count, drilling efficiencies can be tracked by basin.

Solar energy could supply one-third of power in US West, study finds

Low-cost solar power could supply more than a third of all energy needs in the Western U.S., if the nation can hit its targets for reducing the cost of solar energy, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

They say we can get off carbon and go to solar at low cost and, by the way, save the environment. So why isn't this big news talked about a lot more here?

And in every discussion of oil, why isn't it said that the stuff will kill us if we keep using it?

I am reminded of the great comment I heard a while ago, I think from an econ prof at stanford

"Humans can be divided into 4 groups
the thief, whose actions benefit only himself
the saint, whose actions benefit only others
The fool, whose actions benefit no one
And the wise man, whose actions benefit everybody.

And among any other grouping, such as bus drivers or nobel winners, the percentage of fools is a constant, about 37%, everywhere."

So, maybe same here, eh?

by Carlo M. Cipolla


Over the last several years, there have been a number of fairly detailed studies showing how the US Western Interconnect (basically the 11 states from the Rockies to the Pacific, less the eastern half of Montana plus the El Paso corner of Texas, population a little over 70 million) could go low-carbon. The population is concentrated in, depending on how you count, seven or eight small areas. The region is rich in renewable energy sources, most located relatively close to one or more of the population concentrations. Depending on the depth of the snowpack, the region already generates as much as 45% of its annual power from low-carbon sources. That percentage is increasing as more wind power comes on line.

The hard case is the Eastern Interconnect: many more people, more spread out, fewer renewable resources, and the easy renewable resources much farther from the largest population centers. Personally, I anticipate growing friction between the East and West over energy policies in the next 20 years.

I have a kind of rhetorical question.

Now that TOD is about to close up shop, I have seen a lot of crowing about it over on the global warming denier blogs. They claim it is about the idea of Peak Oil being wrong. I counter with various rationales, culminating by saying "big whoop".

But my question is If TOD closes down, shouldn't universities start to phase out Petroleum Engineering degrees to follow suit?

Or will they start up a Coal Engineering degree to take its place? :)

Or maybe a Bitumen Engineering degree (aka the tar degree), or a Methane Engineering degree (aka the fart degree).

OK rhetorical, but I'll answer anyway.

The whaling fleet continued to grow after the whale catch peaked. The ships got bigger and better equipped and crewed, as well.

So, no. I expect a boom in petroleum industry training.

Cesium levels in water under Fukushima No. 1 plant soar the deeper it gets, Tepco reveals

... Tepco found 950 million becquerels of cesium and 520 million becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances, including strontium, in the water from 13 meters [~43 feet] underground.

Water from 1 meter down contained 340 million becquerels, and a sample from 7 meters down contained 350 million becquerels.

It has already been widely reported that highly radioactive groundwater from under the plant had been flowing to the Pacific and that test wells dug near the shore showed water levels in the wells rose and fell with the tides, revelations Tepco has been criticized for being late to report.

The Plutonium Gang: CH2M Hill Dismantles the Hanford Nuclear Site

Before entering the shuttered Plutonium Finishing Plant at the Hanford Site, Jerry Long hangs his identification badge on a board outside the entrance, so rescue crews can easily figure out who’s inside, should it come to that. “This is a no-kidding hazardous category 2 nuclear facility,” says Long as he enters a brightly lit room furnished with rows of metal chairs and benches. The U.S. Department of Energy reserves that category for sites that might blow up, or, as they like to call it, experience a “criticality event.”

He and four others carefully pull on coveralls, rubber shoe coverings, and surgical gloves. They seal the cuffs and seams with masking tape. Then they check the two cards dangling around their necks. One, which resembles a thick credit card, tallies exposure to gamma radiation. The other is called a PNAD, short for personal nuclear accident dosimeter. It records sudden bursts of neutrons, the kind of radiation released in atomic blasts and nuclear reactor meltdowns. The workers call it the “death chip.”

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Ocean Acidification

Worst-Case Scenarios:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that, under their worst-case scenario of no reduction or control of CO2 emissions, ocean pH could decrease to 7.7 by 2100. Worst-case scenarios for ocean acidification focus on the potential for disruption of marine ecosystems to the extent that food production from the ocean—finfish, shellfish, and other invertebrates—could be compromised. Physiological changes caused by ocean acidification and affecting ocean primary productivity—phytoplankton—have the potential to alter marine ecosystems significantly, because primary production is at the base of almost all marine food chains.

According to the most recent report on the status of the world’s fisheries by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,59 fisheries supply at least 15% of the animal protein consumed by humans, … Any significant disruption of this industry could have broad dietary as well as economic consequences.

And the most fuel efficient car in the US is ...

Americans looking for the most fuel-efficient ride, the winner has been declared: The Toyota Prius costs just 7.2 cents per mile to operate, according to a recent survey by GasBuddy.com.

Well, GasBuddy, every electric car on the market is cheaper to fuel than that Prius. Why didn't you bother to mention that?

I guess with a name like "gas buddy", EV's don't really fit their business model. With a whole lot of long-distance gas-engine-driven business driving this year, I'm still averaging about 85 mpg and 6 cents/mile total gas/electric cost with my Chevy Volt.

Edmunds.com's Total Cost of Ownership study recently found the Volt has one of the lowest 5-year total costs of ownership of all 2013 US vehicles - $36,000. The best-selling Silverado has a 5-year TOC of $60,000 TOC (thereby proving that the average American is a fiscal idiot). The Prius is about $45,000. The tinny Toyota Yaris is one of the few gas-engine-driven vehicles that could actually beat the Volt's TOC.

I just bought a Volt also and gave up an Audi. Although I never thought I would, I absolutely love to drive it. My 36 mile commute fits perfectly into its electric range and it is very quick. Quick like a very powerful golf cart. No delay, just torque.

U.S. Issues Worldwide Travel Alert amid Terrorism Fears

... The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday, warning of potential terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the Middle East and North Africa that could target tourists on trains, flights or other forms of public transportation.

The alert follows the decision to close 21 U.S. embassies across the Muslim world on Sunday in response to the same security threat, according to State Department officials.

I guess al-Qaeda will be foiled by a one day closure of the embassies and wouldn't think of moving an attack to Monday instead. Or perhaps throwing a spanner in the works allows SkyNet to pickup up the elusive al-Qaeda communication signature its looking for.

Which probably means the rest of the World should be on alert for a potential aggressive US move against an Islamic target with possible repercussions.

Interestingly the US embassy in Tel Aviv is shutting up shop as well. That's fairly secure isn't it?

UK response so far?

British embassy in Yemen to close as 'precaution'

The British embassy in Yemen is to be closed on Sunday and Monday as "a precautionary measure", the Foreign Office has confirmed.

A spokesman would not say if the closure was in response to a specific threat.

It's Obama's birthday on Sunday, 4th August.

What kind of birthday present awaits Mr. Obama?

Three (others may think of more) possibilities about what's happening:

1) There is genuine activity on the spook net pointing to a pending action. Therefore, the administration is not taking any chances particularly after the Benghazi flub last year. OR

2) The US or Israel is planning some kind of action that may get the natives restless. Good to close the embassies early before the SHTF. OR

3) Issue warnings to distract the US public from recent revelations and possible legislation re: the NSA. (Rationale: obviously we need this surveillance to keep the public safe - see we foiled another attack!)

Think of the irony should geopolitical events heat up just in time to wrap up TOD. Throw Saudi Arabia into the mix, things could get very interesting fast.

Anyone hear any news about how the ASPO-USA is coming along with its TOD/Drumbeat replacement?

Thanks for asking. ASPO-USA has been working to develop a successor website in collaboration with other members of the TOD community. An update with more details will be posted shortly. Included will be an invitation for other interested individuals to assist with developing and managing the site.

Thanks, Jan


Glad to hear that ASPO-USA is working on a successor. It sounds like a good fit for the TOD community. ASPO-USA has the depth and breadth to carry a successor off successfully. I worry that without that depth any other successor might burn out from fatigue and loss of enthusiasm.


This Gamble on Carbon and the Climate Could Trigger a New Financial Crisis

There is little evidence that institutional investors have recognised that they are sitting on a carbon-asset timebomb

... Put bluntly, either we're heading for a climate catastrophe, or the carbon asset bubble will go the way of sub-prime mortgage stock.

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics estimates that only 20-40% of oil, gas and coal reserves held by the 200 largest energy companies can be exploited if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. Yet the market valuation of these "unburnable carbon" reserves is over $4tn, to which can be added $1.5tn in company debt.

The misalignment between our planet's ecological boundaries and energy markets is set to worsen. High energy prices and concerns over power shortages in emerging markets are fuelling a global scramble for carbon assets. Collectively, the 200 largest energy companies invested $674bn (£441.4m) on the development of new fossil fuel reserves in 2012. If financial markets are mispricing risk, governments around the world have yet to recognise some basic cost-benefits realities.

... Five of the 10 top companies listed on London's FTSE 100, accounting for a quarter of the indexes' capitalisation, are almost exclusively high carbon. The Australian Securities Exchange has a recklessly high exposure to coal. The New York exchange is also sitting on a large carbon bubble.

Keep it going until the total debt is $5t+ and there are no real assets. Then file bankruptcy and let the government bail you out 'cause you're too big!

Big fat bankrupt people. That's us!

On a news day like today, makes one want to cry.

Strange creatures, Homo Sapiens, sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed how they've managed to survive so long.


We will opt for the Climate Catastrophe route. When forced to choose between leaving oil in the ground or going into denial about climate change, the latter is the one humans will take. We are masters of denial.

My co-worker just bought a pick-up truck so that he can tow his fishing boat eight week-ends a year. It will be his main vehicle and he has a 100 km round trip commute. He thought he was being humorous by saying that he bought his truck to make up for the fuel I saved by buying a Prius. I just bit my tongue. I have shown him some of the oil price models just to save him from making an unaffordable choice.

He didn't get it... doesn't want to.

I advise showing him the carcinogens in many fish, then the gas price models. Close by advising a healthy hobby like gardening and cycling, then key his truck.

I admire Jeremy Grantham's concern about climate change and resources. However, I don't agree with the way his Foundation is spending its money. Paying some economists to sit around and write reports like this that just get ignored seems like a pointless waste of money.

If greenish were still commenting, he'd probably tell you that it's a long, hard road. You say the same thing over and over again, a hundred different ways, going on well past the point at which you can't stand the sound of your own voice saying these things.

It's at that point that people start to say, "hey! I've just noticed ..." and they proceed to tell you what you've been telling them since forever.

Like the Economist piece. "Hey! Oil demand looks as though it's falling!" (No kidding, huh? Do you think high prices caused by scarcity might have had something to do with that?)

Anyway...we need the Grantham economists to keep pumping out their message. Eventually people will discover what Grantham has been saying "by themselves". Then change can happen.

Ice core data supports ancient space impact idea

Rapid climate change occurred 12,900 years ago, and it is proposed that this is associated with the extinction of large mammals - such as the mammoth, widespread wildfires and rapid changes in atmospheric and ocean circulation.
New platinum measurements were made on ice cores that allow conditions 13,000 years ago to be determined at a time resolution of better than five years, report Michail Petaev and colleagues from Harvard University. Their results are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A 100-fold spike in platinum concentration occurs in ice that is around 12,890 years old, at the same moment that rapid cooling of the climate is indicated from oxygen isotope measurements. This coincides with the start of a climatic period called the "Younger Dryas".

Interesting scenario. The paper is behind a pay wall. Here's a PDF of a conference presentation on their work from March 2013:


As usual, there are a few sticking points. For example, why did the Younger Dryas period last so long, if the cause were an impact, the atmospheric effects of which would likely have dissipated after only a few years (the authors say 5 years)? And, the start of the Y-D didn't kill the mammoths, as some survived on Wrangle Island in the Arctic Ocean.

E. Swanson

" For example, why did the Younger Dryas period last so long, if the cause were an impact, the atmospheric effects of which would likely have dissipated after only a few years (the authors say 5 years)?"

A impact on the main body of the ice sheet, or over Hudson's Bay, would have pushed a huge number of icebergs out of the arctic into the upper Atlantic, and shutdown the Gulf Stream. That effect would have lasted longer than the atmospheric effects. And most of the crater would have melted later, erasing the evidence.

It's an intriguing theory.

Why the Sun is Setting on the Wild West of Ride-Sharing

At San Francisco International Airport, they’re arresting car drivers for ride-sharing. Police officers approach the cars and start asking questions, and then, a few minutes later, airport officials arrive with the arrest papers.

The problem is that these drivers are offering rides through ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, using cars that aren’t certified as taxis or limos and thus not meeting the airport’s regulations for who can provide paid pickup and drop-off. So far, according to SFO spokesman Doug Yakel, eleven Uber drivers and one Lyft driver have been cited for misdemeanor unlawful trespassing. “We’re certainly open to new business concepts, but not at the expense of safety,” Yakel says.

Well, I think the taxi drivers have to pay a fee to the airport to be allowed to work there. So it is unfair to let free-loaders get in on the action without ponying up the airport fee.

... using cars that aren’t certified as taxis or limos and thus not meeting the airport’s regulations for who can provide paid pickup and drop-off.

That should read, "... using cars whose owners have not paid the graft fees assessed, and thus not meeting..."

There! Now I feel better! Nothing like a good gripe about excessive regulation in country where deregulation has created economic chaos.


There's a problem at NYC airports of people posing as limo or taxi drivers enticing foreign travelers to accept rides into Manhattan -- then charging them whatever they can get by with. If there's a complaint, they may hold the luggage hostage. People unfamiliar with the currency may not realize that $100 or $250 is a lot of money US. (The standard fare to our flat in Queens is $20.)

People are rightly warned to ride only in licensed limos or taxis. Offering a fellow traveler a lift is one thing; picking up a paying passenger is another.

I see the need for regulation; I also see the gripe about abuse of regulations.

The airport sets and charges a fee (see Spec's comment above) that is an administrative fee; it helps defray costs and limits congestion. Lyft and Uber try to put people together who want to share rides (in theory at least) when they are going to or from the airport. If someone is making a living at it, they are subject to taxi regulations and licensing in general. The numbers of taxi licenses is limited artificially by a few taxi companies who enjoy monopoly status as a result. So, who's right?

Well, I see both sides. Being somewhat libertarian, and then again being somewhat progressive, I am conflicted.

Cognitive dissonance. What to do? What to do?


True, but I have taken "gypsy cabs" many times from NYC airports and have not had a bad experience. I am not a foreigner, of course, so maybe they didn't try to rip me off. Still...in NYC, I've had the most problems with medallion taxis. (Plus, sometimes there's no medallion cabs available.)

Nothing like a good gripe about excessive regulation in country where deregulation has created economic chaos.

America hasn't been deregulated. It's been regulated to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and middle class. It's not deregulated, it's misregulated.

Not at the expense of taxi drivers! Wouldn't want competition to ruin a cash cow.

'WWIII Queen's speech'script revealed

The Queen was expected to urge Britons to pray and remain united and resolute in the event of the "madness" of nuclear war, papers from 1983 show.

The script for a hypothetical broadcast has the monarch describing the threat to the "brave country" as "greater" than any other in history.

… A Nato military exercise, codenamed Able Archer, then nearly triggered an actual conflict with the Soviet leadership apparently convinced it was cover for a genuine attack.

… Among the other pieces of history released from the archives on Thursday were:

Government officials considered deliberately flooding Essex and Kent to prevent London being swamped by a tidal surge as it waited for the Thames Barrier to be completed

Taiwan Lawmakers Brawl in Parliament Over Nuclear Plant Vote

Taiwan lawmakers put each other in headlocks and wrestled on the floor of the legislature as the opposition party moved to occupy the president’s pulpit in a bid to stave off a vote on a nuclear power plant.

Democratic Progressive Party legislators, who oppose further construction of the plant in northern Taiwan, grappled with ruling party Kuomintang lawmakers today, local cable news networks reported.

A legislative vote to decide if there should be a wider popular ballot on the project was delayed, preventing Legislative Yuan President Wang Jing-pyng from opening the session...

Last month they duked it out over capital gains taxes. I wish the US legislators were as passionate about things. Imagine Nancy Pelosi bopping John Boehner over the head with a 1400 page bill. Maybe more Americans would actually tune in to the process. C-Span could be a pay channel, help reduce the deficit :-0

If we assume (reasonably):
1) We will burn it all.
2) The burning will have temperature consequences
3) Physics applies.

Those who can successfully adapt (by thought or 'faith') will survive. Or not.

Can we predict that:

1) The thermal mass of 'earth' will low pass filter 'temperature'
2) Ability to take advantage of lesser temperature swings (selection pressure) will have higher inclusive fitness

Doesn't this mean that Underground Folk with a way to Capture Photosynthesis wiil survive?

Permaculture Mole Men? Homo Solaris Sapiens?

Sounds like you have the premise for a science fiction novel.

Fair enough. But...

If you were faced with a 40 deg C 90% RH environment (in the summer) and no opportunity to migrate, what would you do to survive?

Dig. In the winter. Average the summer and winter.

If your solution cannot include external energy and technology, what do you have left? Modify your environment, to the degree you can, to capture whatever the annual cycle of temperature/precipitation provides.

"Averaging" may be be the only thing available to much of humanity.

Or....... what?

Historically, we don't see much in the way of humans living underground, regardless of the extreme environments they found themselves in. Presumably because it is unworkable and better adaptations have been found. Not that it precludes it from happening in the future.

I suspect that if simpler methods of survival fail due to lack of resources, etc. Going subterranean will also be unfeasible, other than naturally occurring habitats (caves, etc.), as it would undoubtedly require much greater effort than the simpler solutions.

I must admit to considering the idea though. I'm considering building a cabin on the side of a hill. Extending the living space into the hillside was something that came to mind. Things can work on a individual basis that won't scale to larger groups.

Bring the earth up. Pisé/rammed earth gives you 24-hour thermal mass buffering at around 40cm walls, put up screens/thin curtain walls to stop the sun from coming through window and door openings. I have a 3m dia earthbag dome that is performing well in temps up to 38 degrees down here. The rammed earth buildings in this corner of the world need a 30cm course of field stone under the earth wall, and are now built with a concrete bond beam, but formerly they used buttressing, again, just rammed.

The main problem for living underground in situations without the rule of law is the raiders just have to sit on top of you and use your air vents as a latrine. Commanding the horizon is always a wise move.

There are, of course ways to prepare for that kind of salty assault and similar predictable problems.

There's a story about Ben Franklin putting a leyden jar and copper wire on a tree that neighborhood dogs would frequently mark in their range. (Pre- ASPCA.. of course)

I agree, and have often wondered if the future of humankind will be in living underground and even as you suggest growing crops underground. Using those solar collector bulbous things people put on their roofs but have them just above ground. Probably during good weather people will come up but when the temps rise too high or as some other weather anomaly approaches they will descend. One problem will be irrigating water away from soaking the ground and causing cave-ins. This of course is a future world after squeezing through a bottleneck with much fewer people.

Going underground is how small animals survived the extinction of the dinosaurs and may be how humankind survives it's own manufactured extinction event.

With Shell moving out of Nigeria, does that mean the Chinese will move in?

China Is Looking To Nigeria For Crude Oil And Has Been Trying To Win Favor With The Nation By Investing In The West African Country

Trade between China and Nigeria in 2000 totaled $2 billion and in just over 10 years grew to nearly $18 billion. In 2010, Nigeria had become China’s fourth-biggest African trading partner. Almost 90 percent of Nigeria’s exports to China are oil and gas products.

This deal also may be a way to tell other companies such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE:RDS.A) to start investing more, Ebinger said.

Nigeria seems like an odd pick considering it is on the west coast of Africa. The mid-east is closer. But I guess it is easier to buy favor in Africa.