Drumbeat: August 5, 2013

Musings: Shale Alters Energy Market, But Players Face Challenges

What we have learned about the shale revolution over the past few years is that all shale formations are not alike, let alone uniform in their productive capabilities. This fundamental truth lies at the heart of the problems and challenges now facing gas producers, service companies, pipeline companies and investors. That truth could also be extended to include governments who now face lower-than-anticipated revenues and higher-than-expected infrastructure costs. This reservoir truth about shale formation diversity also helps to explain why the traditional industry adjustment mechanism of stopping drilling hasn’t worked as usual.

Shale Explorers Outperforming International Oil Titans

Oil explorers focused on high-margin shale drilling from Texas to North Dakota are set to outperform Big Oil this year.

EOG Resources Inc., Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Continental Resources Inc. are poised to reap bigger returns for investors than energy titans 15 times their market values as they devote almost all their drilling capital to higher-margin, domestic crude wells, said Gianna Bern, founder of Brookshire Advisory and Research Inc. in Chicago. Houston-based EOG is estimated to more than triple profit in 2013 to $1.92 billion.

The domestic price rally “is bullish for U.S. shale development and benefits producers with a high U.S. production profile,” Bern, a former BP Plc crude trader, said in a telephone interview. U.S. shale “is where the growth is.”

WTI Crude Advances Amid Signs China Slowdown Stabilizing

Brent crude declined for a second day as Libya reopened a terminal closed by protests, while Iranian President Hassan Rohani pledged in his inaugural speech to shun extremism and take a moderate approach.

Futures dropped as much as 1 percent. Libya’s Marsa el Hrega port reopened and the first crude cargo was exported Aug. 1, according to Naji Mokhtar, the head of the parliamentary energy committee. In Iran, Rohani took his oath of office yesterday, saying the U.S. and the European Union should end sanctions aimed at stopping the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear enrichment program, which have curbed its oil exports.

“Some rapprochement between Iran and the U.S.” could weigh on prices, said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London. “Brent dropped below $106 last week and could head there again soon.”

Libya works to end oil sector strikes as output rises

(Reuters) - Libya's government is working to end protests at oil facilities that have cut exports, and its oil production has risen to nearly half its normal rate, its top oil official said on Monday.

Disruptions to the North African OPEC producer's oil sector risk crippling its economic lifeline and choking off state revenues.

Fed Should Reverse Commodity-Trading Policy, CFTC’s Chilton Says

The Federal Reserve should reverse a decade-old ruling that allows banks to trade physical commodities, said Bart Chilton, a Commodity Futures Trading Commission member.

Income at Dana Gas tumbles by almost half

Income at Dana Gas fell by almost half during the second quarter after lost production in the Kurdish region of Iraq and difficulties collecting debts from Egypt.

The Sharjah-based energy producer reported net income for the second quarter of Dh100 million, a decline of 44.7 per cent compared with the corresponding period last year.

Maurel’s Canadian Foray Part of ‘Riskier’ Exploration Drive

Etablissements Maurel & Prom SA (MAU) is moving into riskier exploration and unconventional projects in Canada and Myanmar in a bid to boost reserves, according to Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois Henin.

“These will be high-risk operations to get high rewards,” Henin said in an interview at the company’s new headquarters in central Paris.

French oil giant Total to relocate corporate treasury department to London

French oil and gas giant Total has said it is planning to move its corporate treasury department to London to boost its image and get closer to analysts.

A spokesman told Reuters the move would help it “get closer to… the oil trading and financial centre of Europe to allow the group to improve its international visibility”. The company is currently in discussions with trade unions and social partners. The news confirms a report by investigative website Mediapart.

Blackout Remedy Plan to Get $1.6 Billion Boost: Corporate India

Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd., blamed for a network collapse that left more than half the nation’s population without electricity a year ago, will boost a $16.5 billion investment plan by 10 percent as it seeks to prevent a recurrence.

Hyundai Heavy’s plant deal raises presence in Saudi power market

Hyundai Heavy Industries bolstered its presence as a global power plant builder in Saudi Arabia as it clinched its fourth mega-power plant construction deal with state-run Saudi Electricity Company.

According to the company, HHI CEO Lee Jae-seong and SEC chairman Saleh bin Hussein Al Awaji signed a $3.3 billion power plant construction deal for the Shuqaiq steam power project in Riyadh on Sunday. In the deal, Hyundai Heavy will build a thermal power plant with a 2,640-megawatt capacity near the Red Sea by 2017.

South Africa Power Plants Seen at Risk of Coal Shortfall by 2015

South Africa needs to invest as much as 90 billion rand ($9 billion) in new coal mines to supply power plants that are at risk of running short of the fuel as soon as 2015, an industry study found.

While some of the growing demand from power stations can be satisfied by extending current coal projects, “the majority will need to be met from new mines,” the Green House, a Cape Town-based consultant, said in its Coal Roadmap report obtained by Bloomberg.

Gazprom 'conquistadors' target South America

The world’s largest producer of natural gas continues to pick up assets in Latin America and the next may be a joint venture with Germany’s largest crude oil producer.

Gazprom, which has shunned the shale gas revolution in favor of controlling the liquefied natural gas market, will now further expand south, Kommersant reports, citing sources close to Russia’s gas major.

U.S. extends embassy closures after intercepted al Qaeda message

(CNN) -- What started as an unprecedented move to close almost two dozen diplomatic posts for a day has broadened to week-long closures for most of them as the United States mulls the threat of a possible attack.

A trio of factors prompted officials to extend most of its embassy and consulate closures until Saturday: an intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives, the end of Ramadan, and concerns over several major prison breaks in the region.

Rohani Pledges Moderation as He Takes Iran Oath of Office

Iranian President Hassan Rohani pledged to shun extremism and take a moderate approach to governing the Islamic Republic as he took the oath of office before legislators today.

“The government of hope and prudence will have moderation as a basis of its management for running the country,” Rohani, 64, said in his speech in Tehran. “The government will fight corruption and discrimination.”

LNG Exports: A US-Based Analyst's View

Selling domestically produced natural gas as "solids" rather than as liquefied natural gas (LNG) may appear to offer a better return, but consider the size of the potential gain in global market share for manufactured products.

LNG Exports: A View from the Other Side of the Atlantic

LNG exports from the United States would advance energy security for importing countries, observed Mark Young, energy analyst with London-based Evaluate Energy. In turn, the United States enjoys a key advantage as an up-and-coming large-scale LNG exporter because it is on the leading edge of economically producing natural gas from shale formations, he added.

Norway’s $740 Billion Fund May Be Restructured, Solberg Says

Norway needs to review its $740 billion sovereign wealth fund to find a more competitive model that will boost returns, according to the head of the opposition bloc leading in polls ahead of elections next month.

Fracking will meet resistance from southern nimbys, minister warns

The energy minister Michael Fallon has warned privately that fracking might soon face fierce resistance from the middle classes in Conservative heartlands as he heralded further exploration across swaths of southern England.

Fallon, a strong supporter of shale gas extraction, told a private meeting in Westminster: "We are going to see how thick their rectory walls are, whether they like the flaring at the end of the drive."

Propane Use In Agriculture on the Uptick

Back in the Midcentury, some of the tractor manufacturers produced propane tractors for use in regions where propane was cheap and readily available during that time period.

Right now with the fracking boom, we again are faced with a surplus of propane, changing the U.S. from a net importer of propane to a net exporter.

Nigeria’s Oil Troubles: The Bottom Line

So despite the various difficulties, the European oil majors aren’t jumping ship. But they are looking to move their money into assets less easily targeted by oil thieves and saboteurs.

Alaska Oil Tax Referendum Headed for Tight Vote in 2014

ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - Activists hoping to overturn a sweeping tax break for Alaska oil producers have their work cut out for them, even after getting confirmation that they secured enough voter backing to put a referendum on the ballot next year.

The referendum seeks to void a law that rolls back state oil taxes.

FERC seeks BP fine of $28 mln for natgas market manipulation

(Reuters) - U.S. federal energy regulators on Monday ordered BP Plc to show cause why a unit of the British oil company should not be found to have manipulated the natural gas market and to pay a fine of $28 million and disgorge $800,000 plus interest.

China agency sued over oil production in spill-hit bay

BEIJING, China: China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA) is being sued for allowing US oil major ConocoPhillips to resume production after spills off northern China in 2011, state media reported Monday.

Train derails in La., about 100 homes evacuated

LAWTELL, La. (AP) — A train carrying hazardous materials derailed in Louisiana and two railcars were leaking chemicals, forcing the evacuation of about 100 homes, officials said. One man went to the hospital complaining of eye irritation.

More than 20 cars of the Union Pacific train went off the tracks about 3:30 p.m. Sunday near Lawtell, which is about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge. Company spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said one of the railcars was leaking sodium hydroxide, which can cause injuries or even death if it is inhaled or touches the skin. The other was leaking lube oil.

Duke Kills Florida Nuclear Project, Keeps Customers' Money

The decision by Duke Energy to scuttle a proposed nuclear reactor project in central Florida leaves utility customers in the state with a tab of more than $1 billion—most of it already paid to Duke—for unbuilt plants that may never produce a single kilowatt of energy That’s proven a powerful irritant for customers in the Sunshine State, where air conditioning is a necessity for much of the year.

Automania Strikes Boomers Supplanting Kids as Buyers

For generations, car buying declined as consumers entered their golden years. Now, boomers are refusing to follow their parents’ lead and go quietly into the car buying night.

The 55-to-64-year-old age group, the oldest of the boomers, has become the cohort most likely to buy a new car, according to a new study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. Graying boomers replaced the 35-to-44 year old age group, who were most likely to buy four years ago.

...“The car was a phenomenon of the 20th Century,” said John Wolkonowicz, a Boston-based automotive historian and a former Ford Motor Co. product planner. “For people who grew up and lived in the 20th century, the car was freedom, it was status, it was an extension of you, a visible expression of you and your personality. A 20-year-old doesn’t see the car the same way.”

Scandal in South Korea Over Nuclear Revelations

SEOUL, South Korea — Like Japan, resource-poor South Korea has long relied on nuclear power to provide the cheap electricity that helped build its miracle economy. For years, it met one-third of its electricity needs with nuclear power, similar to Japan’s level of dependence before the 2011 disaster at its Fukushima plant.

Now, a snowballing scandal in South Korea about bribery and faked safety tests for critical plant equipment has highlighted yet another similarity: experts say both countries’ nuclear programs suffer from a culture of collusion that has undermined their safety. Weeks of revelations about the close ties between South Korea’s nuclear power companies, their suppliers and testing companies have led the prime minister to liken the industry to a mafia.

IPO Boom Grows in Renewables as Dividend Yield Beat Bonds

Wind and solar companies are tapping the stock market for cash at the fastest pace in two years, led by three initial public offerings in London luring investors with dividends that beat returns on government bonds.

Hog Producers Battling to Contain Virus That Has Killed Piglets by the Thousands

Though it is perhaps too soon to predict how the virus may affect the price of pork products, the epidemic has already caused economic hardships for individual farmers, particularly amid soaring feed prices caused by last year’s drought.

An average farm with 2,500 sows could lose nearly every newborn for four weeks if it is hit with the virus, killing roughly 5,000 piglets and causing financial losses close to $200,000. Adult pigs that recuperate typically build immunity to the virus, making recurring outbreaks rare.

Beware the fossil fools

By condoning ATV mayhem, the Forest Service has become a willing partner in climate change and ecosystem destruction. Multiple use is a joke when public-land managers allow a plague of motor toys to run roughshod over public lands, permitting the theme-park-like antics of the motorized minority to exclude quiet forest users from vast acreages.

The ATV craze reflects the overbearing myopia of American culture that demands entitlement to cheap fossil fuels and precious public lands at inestimable public cost to both resources. What we get is a spectacle of insensitivity, insensibility and profitability, all at the expense of sustainability.

The land of green and money

In 2008 the Canadian province became the first North American jurisdiction to introduce a carbon tax. Now a study has found that the levy has led to a big drop in fossil-fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions without hurting the economy. And, to the delight of BC's citizens, it let the provincial government cut personal and corporate tax rates. Stewart Elgie, an economist at the University of Ottawa and lead author of the report, calls it a rare win-win.

The rise and rise of American carbon

Shale gas fracking has helped US carbon emissions to fall. But American carbon extraction is still rising, undermining progress and increasing emissions overseas.

Global warming: The folly of certainty

The debate about climate change, as it is currently conducted, focuses mainly on this question: Are we certain that the Earth is going to warm to a dangerous degree in the near future? Climate scientists have been struggling very hard to convince us all that they are certain, or at least nearly certain, but haven’t succeeded all that well.

But that’s really not the right question at all. To think that is the right question is to behave like Larry Jones. The right question is: Are we confident that the Earth is *not* going to warm to a dangerous degree in the near future?

Can Farming Provide a Solution to Climate Change?

Farming is one of the few human activities that can pull CO2 from the atmosphere and store it safely.

Climate change pushing marine life towards the poles, says study

Rising ocean temperatures are rearranging the biological make-up of our oceans, pushing species towards the poles by 7kms every year, as they chase the climates they can survive in, according to new research.

Seven facts you need to know about the Arctic methane timebomb

So who's right? What are these Arctic specialists saying? Are their claims of a potentially catastrophic methane release plausible at all? I took a dive into the scientific literature to find out.

What I discovered was that Skeptical Science's unusually skewered analysis was extremely selective, and focused almost exclusively on the narrow arguments of scientists out of touch with cutting edge developments in the Arctic. Here's what you need to know.


U.S. extends embassy closures after intercepted al Qaeda message

Call me cynical, but in the wake of damage control over Snowden's leaks I wonder if this 'big concern' is merely to justify the intrusive snooping program? It also smacks of the Bush era of orange alerts....keep'em scared and they'll stay quiet.


I hadn't thought of that possibility, maybe only because it has been so long since the Bush era color code scares tactics. You may have something there, especially since there have been no other sources to come forward to corroborate these claims. I suppose we'll figure this was the case if absolutely no terrorist activity occurs. "Oh yes, but see we thwarted their plans by having intelligence (NSA wiretapping)."

I suppose we'll figure this was the case if absolutely no terrorist activity occurs. "Oh yes, but see we thwarted their plans by having intelligence (NSA wiretapping)."

It kind of reminds me of the anti-virus software that many people have on their PCs. We get these comforting little windows popping up telling us that we have been saved from an evil virus or malware. Who's to know?

Kunstler.com, this morning:

The USA is veering into a psychological space not unlike the wilderness-of-mind that Germany found itself in back in the early 20th century: the deep woods of paranoia where our own failures will be projected onto the motives of others who mean to do us harm. Of course, even paranoiacs have enemies. There are quite a few others who would like to harm the USA, at least to bamboozle and paralyze us, to push back against our influence on their culture and economies. But the tendency here will be to magnify the supposed insults while ignoring our own suicidal behavior.

Wonder if Jim will be disappointed if his fantasy of gunfire on the plains does not come to pass. Or if it does...


I think it is more about hyper-sensitivity to embassy safety after the Republicans made such a hysterical outcry over the Libya thing. Though yes, gotta keep the fear thing going...

Yeah . . . the USA needs to adopt the stiff-upper-lip British style of "Keep Calm and Carry On". But instead we get all crazy paranoid and waste tons of money and give away our privacy rights. There will always be terrorism and we can't let it control us. To do so is to let them win by handing over our freedoms and sabotaging our own economy by wasting all our money.

I worked for British Telecom during the first Gulf War, in London, which underwent nearly weekly terror attacks mounted by the IRA. The building I worked in was emptied several times due to bomb threats, and I've spent hours trapped in the tube after real bombs went off. People were pissed off, but hardly hysterical, and business continued with minor interruptions. Americans have no clue.

Yes, all Americans have no clue.

C'mon people, the US is a huge and diverse country. "Americans" are not without a clue. Indeed, some are clueless, but some are not. Some Brits are clueless and some are not. Some (fill in the blank) are clueless and some are not.

Can we perhaps lay off the totalizing language? As an American in possession of at least a few clues, I am tired of "Americans" this "Americans" that. It is unuseful phatic noise.

But in practical terms, that doesn't matter. What matters is the actions and consequences of the country as whole. Britain didn't go around the world bombing countries as a response to terrorism, and neither did Spain. The US does, and with the US being a democratic republic, not a dictatorship, all Americans are responsible for that.

Wrong, Strummer. Just wrong.

I and many others fought long and hard against the wars. Wars which, incidentally, soldiers from many other oh-so-clued-in nations joined. I do not accept responsibility for that. No, I will not.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the US is not a democracy in any meaningful sense. The Congress regularly passes legislation that the majority of Americans oppose. It's the perverse way that power is apportioned to the states...

To an outside observer, compared to the protests against Vietnam, the Americans look quite complacent this time. I wouldn't call it "fighting against" on any meaningul scale. Of course, we know the reason for that. Replacing an army of drafted conscripts with what is essentialy a private army of mercenaries, hired and paid by the corporations through the government was a genius move by TPTB.

I'm a Vietnam war vet. Soldiers do not get a vote about wars in which they have to participate.

I was arrested several times for civil disobedience to the 2nd Iraq war. At that time (2003) something like 69% of (clueless) Americans supported the war, as compared to 44% of Brits.

So let me rephrase my statement: a vast majority of Americans are clueless about war, terror, and host of other somewhat important subjects like evolution. And despite a wide diversity of origin and location, Americans largely do share two traits: being primarily born of immigrants who left nearly everything behind, and a highly addictive (by design) American "culture".

I'm wondering if this nation-state-cum-government thing is the (founding) father of all Kool-Aid-- like that mascot that walks around with that goony smile and vaguely glazed look-- that many are kicking back like they just crawled out of the desert, and feeding like Star Trek's Vaal character.

I'm a creature of this planet and have nothing to do with the mental and physical glorified prisons that are the nation-states, or their governmobs, or some historical officious pompous putzes.

"I'm a Vietnam war vet. Soldiers do not get a vote about wars in which they have to participate."

You've accidentally mentioned one of the US's most wonderful smoke and mirrors...There was no Vietnam "War"...it was just a teensy weensy "Conflict" - so much better. (Especially since that rendered everyone involved ineligible for the G.I. Bill)

Well sgage, your particular lot of Americans lost that one on the wars. Furthermore, there are still Americans paralyzed or dominated by fear. My American cousins in Jersey who saw the towers fall across the river told me as much and the extreme lengths the U.S. government has taken even after the election of Obama tells me that fear continues to rule America. Strummer is far more right than wrong from where I'm sitting, not in the U.S. but very close by.

Enough Americans don't have a clue, that the threat of a political opponent yielding their cluelessness against an opponent is enough of a credible (political) threat, that we make policy as if ALL are clueless. I.E. the politicians think an appeal to fear might be able to stampede enough voters to matter. And in our roughly evenly split politics, it only take a few percent to swing an election, so even if the clueless are only 2%, they have political relevance. Of course scary stories about terrorist threats attract eyeballs to newcasts, so the TV news makes sure to hype it.

Ridiculous but true.

Yair . . . we all think different but if there is a genuine threat sufficient to close embassies I think the locals have won and it's time to take the bat and ball and go home.


Call me the ultimate cynic. Here's my analysis:

Initial closure will result in Iran / Syria being ultra vigilant toward Israel. Maybe it was because Israel had told us they were about to take unilateral action and we felt Muslims would react at our embassies.

No raid takes place.

Do it again... no raid, less reaction by Muslims.

How many alerts before we see a raid?

Of course, maybe that's far fetched. Maybe our military and political rulers would NEVER be that cynical; maybe they would not think of ...

Naw... not possible. Forget it. Nothing to see here. Move along.


I'll go with Juan Cole's explanation. We have become whimps, because Republicans made such a huge deal about Benghazi, that it is now too politically dangerous not to overreact to any threat of possible attack. So Obama, had to make sure, they couldn't create a Benghazi-two scandal, and must proteck his derriere.

exactly my thoughts - heck they just got Norway to close all their embassies -abroad stations in the same regions for a whole week on this "alert".
A nod in Snowdons direction from me. Stay strog

Absolutely DO NOT call yourself cynical (and please don't take the rest of this rant personally, the second I saw the headline it made me mad, how many times will people fall for this?).

Smart clear thinking caring people have been cowed into doubting themselves. One must be meek and apologetic to state something obvious?

We have endured years of this over and over, and it has been revealed as base manipulation and falsehood over and over.

Why must we timidly suggest that perhaps the powers that be might just might be slightly stretching the truth, when we know they outright lie time and again.

Stand up and say it proudly and assuredly - these people are full of sh*t!

The warmongers and profiteers want war, the spyers want to spy, the banksters want to steal your money, Mosanto wants to own your food, and on and on. What's the big secret? Why can't the obvious be stated and discussed?

Who is making you hold back?

Ok, great, now that we have that established and out of the way, what do we do about it? Where do we go to from here? I hear Turkey's nation-state mob is apparently in the process of imprisoning some group that was allegedly in the process of plotting an overthrow... So I guess that's out. ;)

Reminds me of Orlov's interview last week where he mentioned that people in the 'civilized world' expect lights to turn on when you push the switch, help to arrive when you dial an emergency number and water to come when you turn the tap. People in 'uncivilized world' have no such expectations. I think the same applies to the government, if the cops catch someone here and accuse him of something the first thought that springs to mind is that the poor bloke must have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. The general expectation is that the govt is incompetent, rules by force and tries to cover it's mistakes at every step, I guess in the stair step collapse quite a lot of people will have to come to terms with this kind of reality.

The problem with all people in all worlds is that they are all 'hostages' on this one. It's all Easter Island.

..And love is still blind..

I don't think it's helpful to regard the leadership as Angels OR as Demons. Even Adolf Hitler was merely a human being, not some super-villain. They make mistakes, yes, they manipulate and seek control, which is not always a bad thing, and not always a good thing. Sometimes roots of real evil grow within the systems, even as there are still also many in these governments simply trying to keep things together, make the country work, improve poor policies etc..

Let's put our energies into targeting the real policy problems, not generalized villains.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Special Edition

I agree with your premise but that applies when you have a local government, a government you can approach and feel not when the govt is a distant and giant entity to which the individual is a mosquito. If you were in my shoes you'd understand what I mean, parliamentary democracy was superimposed on us, it didn't grow organically unlike yours.

Adolf Hitler was an extreme sociopath, not merely another human being. Dr. Martha Stout, psychologist and clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in her book "The Sociopath Next Door" finds that one out of every 25 human beings has no conscience, no sense of right or wrong, no empathy, no ability to understand emotion–no soul. Estimates range from 8%-10% of leadership positions are held by sociopaths.

I should have 2 in my extended family then.

Yes.. Hitler is an extreme example of where people end up, AND he was still human.

I don't have much confidence in this loose reference to the percentage of politicians who are conveniently getting labeled *(by who, please?) as sociopaths.. correlation/causation?.. cart before the horse?.. it could as well be that the development of our culture has created environments and expectations that allow people in power, not unlike certain Football Coaches, Pro-Cyclists, Billionaires and Philosophy Professors to let power go to their head, while their crime of apparently 'not empathizing' is exactly the same sort of diffident dissmissal that I'm suggesting that we all must endeavor to shun.

Calling Politicians Sociopaths or whatever, and letting them be thereby effectively dehumanized is precisely the kind of desensitized attitude that lets anyone become horrible to some idealized 'other'..

Jokuhl, there are of course some people, whose mirror neuron circuitry is either weak or nonfunctional. This is the group of people referred to as psychopaths. The rest of us mirror the mood/emotion of people we are interacting with, and that makes it a lot tougher to be cruel. Presumably the psychopaths also have difficulty understanding (and predicting) what others will do. But, the smart ones learn to get by.

So the claim, is that certain types of endeavors (unintentionally) select for such people. It is likely that certain jobs are easier for such people to do, as they are unlikely to be too squeamish.

What I'm saying is that there seems to be some basis in psychology for such a phenomena. That doesn't imply that all (or even a majority of) politicians/CEOs, etc. are psychological psychopaths -or even that psychopaths are in general evil people. They are just people lacking certain brain circuitry that is associated with empathy. I bet the majority of them live relatively normal lives.

Well, I think the point is a bit academic, since we don't necessarily have a way of seeing, day to day, who has had these particular neurons snipped at birth, while we DO still see myriad ways that we have all been dutifully conditioned to react to such labelling with a very similar level of outrage, disdain, hatred, and willingness to ignore the pain and humanness of anyone so labelled.

In too many ways, we justify such low-grade psychotic and antisocial behavior, by pointing at 'evil' and the harsh retribution that it surely deserves .. and no less than the blind down-spiralling of our economy and resilience by this persistent, gross cheapening of goods and services; this self-justified hatred and defamation just keeps adding to the acidification of our civilization. We gotta find the brakes.. and they're truly not that hard to find.

as Don Juan DeMarco said,

“There are only four questions of value in life, Don Octavio. What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same: only love.”

Come on, baby, give mama a little sugar!

(You see.. maybe some lab test or complex interview could maybe help identify a 'true socio/psychopath'.. but we don't need any of that to identify and then apply love.. a far more powerful tool. )

I suspect that this is not a defect, but a feature. I'd guess there's a Gaussian distribution: a few sociopaths at one end, a few Mother Theresa types at the other, with most of us in that fat bump in between.

In some situations, it's better to be altruistic, in others, selfish, so both have been selected for.

I think it's incorrect to assume sociopaths have difficultly understanding people. They are often master manipulators who know just what other people will do. Think of your average con man. Understanding people is what they do.

Our whole system is naturopathic. ;)

More seriously, it is imagined that Hitler could not have gone down the path that was tread without a whole lot of help. So maybe, taking a page from Milgram et al, most anyone, under certain circumstances, has the capacity to act 'socio-/psycho-/pathically'... except me and the rest of you here of course. ;)

At least the 'clinically diagnosed' have an excuse. ;)

By the way, a lot of jobs are glorified obsessive compulsive disorders. ;)

Looking at May statistics for the Bakken, I see that the number of wells increased by 109. What's each well, six to eight million dollars? Barrels per day up 18,000. Oh, this will work out well.

Where does one get the number of wells? thanks.

hint hint have a look at a known place, from a known guy ;)

Data here

choose file "Historical monthly Bakken oil production statistics"
for instance. Hope this helps and good luck.
(What will we do when TOD closes down...?)

I know right? Where o where will I get my info?

Don't close TOD!!!! I don't want to go back to my benighted ignorance! I need the light of knowledge that you shone like a bright beacon in the depths of night. Don't go!!!

Actually, I'm kind of looking forward to sifting through all the old articles (99% I haven't fully read).

Think I'll start here... http://www.theoildrum.com/list/200503

Cheers, Matt

No, start with these, The Best of The Oil Drum 2005-2010:

Cool, thanks for that.

Thanks! much appreciated. I need to make a list of all the post-Oil Drum blogs.

I'm not ready for this!!

"I need to make a list of all the post-Oil Drum blogs."

Here's the one I started.

yahoo group todregistry

The filter is going to love me for this one.

re: quote on BC Carbon Tax
"In 2008 the Canadian province became the first North American jurisdiction to introduce a carbon tax. Now a study has found that the levy has led to a big drop in fossil-fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions without hurting the economy. And, to the delight of BC's citizens, it let the provincial government cut personal and corporate tax rates. Stewart Elgie, an economist at the University of Ottawa and lead author of the report, calls it a rare win-win."

As a BC resident for most of my life I would like to clarify a few things about this tax.

The drop in fossil fuel consumption is more a result of an economy in the toilet. Said Govt. is now trying to push push push LNG proposals to save what we once had. If you export raw logs and allow major international forest companies to close all sawmills (appurtinence), then there is no domestic need for the logs and they are simply allowed to export the raw product. I live in a forestry valley and it is pretty much rape/pillage/sell....with a few working at under attack wage rates. It is also highly mechanized where very few are actually employed.

Greenhouse gas emmision reductions? See above points...close/reduce manufacturing and guess what?

Economy has been hurt big time, although the carbon tax is only an add on and not the sole reason.

BC Residents are not delighted by the tax. Honestly, I almost choked on my breakfast when I read this.

Personal and corporate tax rates have been cut at the expense of education funding and contracting out of additional Govt services, including, mass firings of hospital support staff in 2001. Govt has lost two major court cases on this and will have to make restitution at some point. At this point it must be cheaper to appeal and pay lawyer fees than settle.

BC Hydro is in severe financial trouble and we are slated for 30% hikes in electricity rates to make up shortfalls over the next few years. Guess what, revenues were creamed and siphoned off into those same tax cuts. Deferred capital expenses await like Godzilla once the fraud(s) are dealt with.

Even public schools have to cut back on programs to pay carbon tax levies. Go figure, pay the same funds back to the Govt.?

Lately, there have been a few articles in local media exposing carbon tax money going to 'private' developers. Is it a slush fund?

I am all for high taxes on FF. But it has to be universal and not Provincial specific. Furthermore, this money should actually be tracked and used to alleviate carbon production. Examples come to mind are transit encouragement and railroad increases. Of course, this same Govt got rid of BC Rail and leased out the railroad bed in an iron clad contract for the next 99 years to CN.

This article is so full of crap I couldn't believe it. I suppose the first clue would have been that it was written by an economist at an Ottawa university. It is unbelieveable hogwash.


... this money should actually be tracked and used to alleviate carbon production.

I couldn't agree more.

This article is so full of crap I couldn't believe it. I suppose the first clue would have been that it was written by an economist at an Ottawa university. It is unbelieveable hogwash.

I wouldn't go quite that far.

The carbon tax is controlled to a large degree by the Pacific Carbon Trust. It's through this management organization, probably governed by government-appointed vested industry types, that this unfair situation arose. Why vital public institutions like schools and hospitals are not exempt from the carbon tax, or are not on the receiving end of CT funds for that matter to, as you suggest, retrofit them for major energy efficiency and conservation, seems to be the result of major conniptions to benefit big industrial companies. There could be a correlation between said benefits and political donations, but that's not been explored to my knowledge in the mainstream press beyond the BC Rail / CNR fiasco.

This is the same government that spent billions increasing road capacity in Metro Vancouver when driving in North America has decreased over the last decade, but continues to starve transit beyond a few token projects. Anyone who believes the government line that commercial traffic required this major expansion of asphalt ... well, I've got a brand new 10-lane Port Mann bridge to sell you. Now they are proposing a referendum on all major transit projects. That is like rowing a boat from one side. You still end up in a circle.

I agree that the best solution is to place the CT revenue into a transparent account (currently has a Can$30 billion surplus by some estimates) and fund electric-based transit with appropriate urban land use and zoing riders to counter sprawl and fossil fuel dependency, as well as energy retrofits in buildings.

But that means dumping the Pacific Carbon Trust as a first step.

Here's an interesting view on the PCT:


Back in 2011 on the 4th March 2011: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7499

As usual "everyone" on TOD predicted that US oil production would not increase significantly and the following questions were answered by NO!NO!NO!

With the benefit of hindsight we can now answer the questions correctly:

1. Is this really a new drilling technique? No. But does that matter?

2. How likely is the 2 million barrels a day of new production, and the 20% increase in US production, by 2015? Already achieved by 2013. In fact there has been an overall increase of 2 million barrels per day - an increase of 35%.

3. Can this additional oil supply really reduce the US’s imports by over half? Yes. Easily. Imports are already reduced by 50% from peak and are still falling rapidly.

4. How much of a difference will this oil make to “peak oil”?
Oil will peak as energy demand switches to other sources. Many countries are already far down the transition.

The fall in US imports coupled with a slowing Chinese economy will almost certainly lead to falling oil prices.

Shale Oil IS a game changer.

With WTI at a 2 year high and Brent only $4 below last year's record annual average price of $111.68
that is a brave prediction.

You have been making similar predictions for a couple of years now, and the oil price hasn't budged one way or the other.

That is a far better success rate than Yergen. Time will tell, as always.

Oil 'demand ' is down 30% in Italy already. However, economic activity is not what it was, either.

It seems a strange definition of 'game changer' where persistently high prices lead to economic contraction, rather than significant increase in global supply.

It has given the US a breathing space, best make use of it.

Shale oil is a game extender, sending us into (sudden death?) overtime. Nothing that matters has changed much; still burning stuff.

It seems a strange definition of 'game changer' where persistently high prices lead to economic contraction, rather than significant increase in global supply.

That seems to capture the "game changer" notion perfectly: what "high prices" now cause.

And as Ghung reminds us, we're still using the stuff in massive amounts. The supply was initially vast (i.e., we got complacent about it and wedded our infrastructure to it), but it was never limitless. So best use this breather to get ready.

Commentary: Why is Saudi Arabia not a Threat to Fracking?
(For link, search for title)

While currently increasing US crude oil production is very helpful, it is very likely that we will continue to show the post-1970 "Undulating Decline" pattern that we have seen in US crude oil production (currently US crude oil production is about 25% below our 1970 peak rate), as new sources of oil come on line, and then inevitably peak and decline.*

The very slow increase in global crude oil production since 2005, combined with a material post-2005 decline in Global net oil exports, have provided considerable incentives for US oil companies to make money in tight/shale plays. But I think that the assertion by many in the Cornucopian camp that shale plays will result in a virtually infinite rate of increase in global crude oil production is wildly unrealistic.

We are still facing high--and increasing--overall decline rates from existing oil wells in the US. At a 10%/year overall decline rate, which in my opinion is conservative, the US oil industry, in order to just maintain the 2013 crude oil production rate, would have to put online the productive equivalent of the current production from every oil field in the United States of America over the next 10 years, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Eagle Ford, to the Permian Basin, to the Bakken to Alaska. Or, at a 10%/year decline rate from existing wells, we would need the current productive equivalent of 10 Bakken Plays over the next 10 years, just to maintain current production.

On the natural gas side, a recent Citi Research report (estimating a 24%/year decline rate in US natural gas production from existing wells), implies that the industry has to replace virtually 100% of current US gas production in four years, just to maintain a dry natural gas production rate of 66 BCF/day. Or, at a 24%/year decline rate, we would need the productive equivalent of the peak production rate of 30 Barnett Shale Plays over the next 10 years, just to maintain current production.

The dominant pattern that we have seen globally, at least through 2012, is that developed net oil importing countries like the US were gradually being forced out of the market for exported oil, via price rationing, as the developing countries, led by China, consumed an increasing share of a declining post-2005 volume of global oil exports.

*A supplemental edit of the first paragraph, that was not ready in time:

While currently increasing US crude oil production is very helpful on a number of fronts, it is very likely that we will continue to show the post-1970 "Undulating Decline" pattern that we have seen in US crude oil production, as new sources of oil have come on line, and then inevitably peaked and declined (US crude oil production is currently about 25% below the 1970 peak rate of 9.6 mbpd).

For example, EIA data show that crude oil production from Alaska increased at 26%/year from 1976 to 1985, which contributed to a secondary, but lower, post-1970 US crude oil production peak of 9.0 mbpd in 1985 (up from a low of 8.1 mbpd in 1976), versus the 1970 peak rate of 9.6 mbpd. Because of the strong rate of increase in Alaskan crude oil production from 1976 to 1985, the US was actually on track, in the mid-Eighties, to become crude oil self-sufficient in about 10 years, but then the inevitable happened, and the rate of increase in Alaskan crude oil production slowed, and then started declining in 1989, resulting in a post-1970 "Undulating Decline" pattern. Note that the 1976 to 1985 rate of increase in annual Alaskan crude oil production (26%/year) exceeded the estimated 2008 to 2013 rate of increase in combined annual crude oil production from Texas + North Dakota (20%/year).

The basic plan to prove a finite resource is big enough by the speed it could be extracted seems to work.

I heard about gas from landfill and guess under the right conditions I guess it would be possible to cover peat or torf with a layer of clay so an oil reservoir would form over time but. No one ever talked about at which speed natural oil resevoirs are renewed. I know it usually take in order of million of years an individual oil reservoir to form but guess there are quite a lot of them in between.

Hi,long time no see . Want to make another bet before TOD closes ? The last one in 2012(or was it 2011) you lost .

Hello HIH,

Of course I would love to! I just have to get it exactly right this time.

On a more serious note: I would definitely say that I have been more right than wrong in my predictions over the years here. World oil production HAS increased, oil prices have NOT skyrocketed. In fact the oil price has now been more or less stable for the last two years - perhaps even showing a fall when adjusted for inflation? Renewables are making REAL headway and once Germany starts using electricity to generate Hydrogen (to store the energy and for transport) then we will see a dramatic fall in the use of coal in the power generation balance. Germany is leading the way, and when other, much sunnier countries really start getting in on the game - they already are - then we may well see a paradigm change in energy use. Electric and fuel cell cars, coupled with NGL and CNG for larger trucks - and of course ever increasing mileage for hybrids and combustion engine will definitely start leading to a lower rate of increase, and ultimately a fall, in the rate of consumption of crude oil.

AND YES: China cannot keep investing in new commercial and private property that nobody needs for ever. China cannot keep building high-speed railways at the current rate for ever.

The result? A cap on oil prices in the short term - and falling oil prices in the longer term.

In typical TOD style several readers have immediately commented: You must be crazy to believe in falling oil prices. Well. Maybe I am. On the other hand the TOD experts, using complicated dispersion models and very long equations have been predicting a collapse in oil production for so long that it is slightly puzzling that they haven't got bored yet. And we all remember the many statements saying: "Oil prices can never fall below 100 USD again".

Lastly. Funny how my one liner regarding oil prices gets a lot of focus while the fact that US oil production in fact HAS increased rapidly only gets a passing comment.

Well. My prediction for the future is much as it has been over the last few years: Peak Oil won't be a big issue and the transition to other energy sources will be fairly smooth. However, the geopolitical implications as countries in OPEC (and countries such as Norway) become much less wealthy than they have been, will be enormous and may lead to large regional conflicts. The new energy rich countries will be the ones making the transition now who will reap the advantages of cheaper - and cleaner - energy in the future.

Unless we (the people of this planet) get around to talking seriously about - and taking drastic action - with regard to population growth then the environment will be gradually destroyed and the quality of life of future generations much poorer for it. This is where our focus should be. For an even remotely sustainable future we need a fall in world population - not an increase.

A last bet? Oil consumption will start falling long before production does... And you know what that does to prices.

One last comment on TOD: I have learned so much from TOD, but became bored of posting due to the bullying of the self-appointed message-board experts who always attack anyone who doesn't agree that oil production will collapse "tomorrow". And the funny thing: The more wrong their own predictions have been proved to be - the more aggressive they have become. And NO. It doesn't help having a very complicated model if your inputs are dead wrong. :-) (PS. I've done a lot of numerical modeling in my life but have the common sense to understand when it won't be very useful).

Thank you again to the TOD team for many fantastic and interesting posts over the years.

I was thinking you are making the same mistake many peak oilers have made: too narrow a focus on energy and oil. But there was this tidbit:

Unless we (the people of this planet) get around to talking seriously about - and taking drastic action - with regard to population growth then the environment will be gradually destroyed and the quality of life of future generations much poorer for it. This is where our focus should be. For an even remotely sustainable future we need a fall in world population - not an increase.

Humanity's predicaments are far too systemical to allow more than fleeting glimpses at how things will play out; told-you-sos and finger pointing seem a bit petty and silly to me at this point. Regardless of how oil consumption peaks, which it will, along with consumption of all planetary resources, the trend is clear even if the chaotic, fractile nature of this decline doesn't allow for much accuracy of prediction. Good prophecy is generalised in nature. Pride in one's ability to pridict short-term outcomes seems vain since so much damage has been, and will continue to be done. There will be no victory for us, collectively, focussing on trees while the neglected, exploited and overpopulated forest burns.

I was thinking you are making the same mistake many peak oilers have made: too narrow a focus on energy and oil.

That's an understatement.

FRED chart of household energy goods and services as a percent of total personal consumption expenditures and disposable (after-tax) personal income since 1959.

2013 energy is cheap in a relative sense.

My comments on the topic, on a prior thread:


Your gross ELM model is trivial. What matters for global petroleum markets is the net flows. Assuming a 2005 baseline, 2013 U.S. C+C imports (exports from other countries) have declined by 2.5 mb/d. And what has further happened since 2005 is that the U.S. now is a net exporter (not importer) of petroleum product. The change is 4.5m mb/d of which 2 mb/d is decline in U.S. consumption and 2.5mb/d is increase in domestic production. Why? Refinery throughput is unchanged. In summary, the U.S. has altered the global flows of petroleum products by 6% since the former "undulating plateau" 2005 baseline. And it wouldn't surprise me that the flows will change by 8% in 2015.

Supply and demand are 2 blades of a scissor. Your ELM model is silent on one of the blades.

I agree that a surge of US crude oil production + declining US demand has resulted in lower US net oil imports, but on the production side, because of very high decline rates, I think that it will be very difficult for the US to maintain current production for several years.

Let's assume that Texas + North Dakota averages about 3.3 mbpd for 2013 (C+C). And let's also assume that, because of the very high percentage of Texas + North Dakota production coming from tight/shale plays that the overall decline rate from existing oil wells in these two states is about 20%/year (I'm guessing about 10%/year overall for total US).

Based on the above assumptions, in order to maintain a constant production rate of 3.3 mbpd for six years, through 2019, Texas & North Dakota would have to put on line new production of about 4 mbpd over the next six years. Or, over a period of six years, in round numbers the industry would have to replace the current productive equivalent of every oil field in Texas and put on line the current productive equivalent of about two North Dakotas.

Incidentally, I estimate that the 2008 to 2013 rate of increase in Texas + North Dakota's C+C production is about 20%/year. This is actually below the rate of increase that Alaska showed from 1976 to 1985 (26%/year). But because Peaks Happen, the inevitable happened and the rate of increase in Alaskan production slowed, and then they started declining in 1989, resulting in the "Undulating Decline" pattern that we have (so far at least) seen in US crude oil production since 1970.

On the demand side, the fundamental macro trend is that developed net oil importing countries like the US are--so far at least--being forced out of the global market for exported, via price rationing, as developing countries, led by China, have consumed an increasing share of declining post-2005 Global Net Export of oil (GNE), resulting in Available Net Exports, or GNE less Chindia's Net Imports, falling from 41 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2012 (EIA).

I would agree that the Bakken and Eagle Ford extraction will likely plateau in 2015. But what about technology extraction increases in the other tight oil plays? My guess (FWIW) is that U.S. oil extraction will be higher in 2020 than in 2013. My further guess is that energy costs as a percent of income for U.S. households will be no higher in 2020 than they are 2013.

The point being is that your gross ELM does not explain net flows. I take it FWIW and won't argue about elasticity of export supply and import demand. After all, it must equal zero.

China has greater shale oil resources than the U.S. Presumably it will steal U.S. technology just like it has been doing since Nixon to increase and extract proved oil reserves.

I think it will be harder and harder to grow production but why don't you think they will be able to maintain production by drilling and fracking like crazy?

As long as it is profitable to do so and they have productive leases to drill, why wouldn't they just keep drilling and fracking the shale plays as much as possible. And furthermore, it can probably continue even after it is profitable as long as Wall Street thinks it will be profitable (as we've seen with natural gas).

As long as prices remain above $70/barrel and there is shale to drill, I think they keep at it. Only a drop in prices or a lack of good places to drill will slow them down.

You are wrong about renewables making real headway. The share of energy coming from renewables has fallen since 1999.

Probably true; judging from recent headlines;

Virginia SCC Approves Construction Of Dominion Brunswick Power Station:

Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion, today received permission from the Virginia State Corporation Commission to construct a 1,358-megawatt, natural gas fueled power station near Lawrenceville in Brunswick County.


Concord Green Energy to Acquire Five Utility-Scale Solar Power Plants

Canadian Solar, (the "Company", or "Canadian Solar"), one of the world's largest solar power companies, today announced that its subsidiary, Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., has entered into a sales agreement with Concord Pacific's green energy affiliate, Concord Green Energy ("Concord"), whereby Concord will acquire from Canadian Solar five utility-scale solar power plants totaling 49MW (AC) valued at over C$290 million ($277 million).


Goldwind USA Closes Financing for 55MW Penonome Wind Farm

Joint sponsors Goldwind International Holdings (HK) Limited and Union Eolica Panamena S.A. (UEP) announced today the successful project financing for the first phase of the 220 MW Penonome Wind Farm, located in the Province of Cocle, Republic of Panama. This project is the country's first wind energy farm and the first utility-scale use of Goldwind's wind turbines financed by western lenders. Once fully installed in 2014, the project will be the largest of its kind in Central America.

The sheer scale of what you can do with a fossil fuel plant makes it hard for renewables to compete.

On the other hand, natural gas supplies should be tightening up nicely.

So, the US burning through it's stocks more quickly to reduce imports for a few years is the way to go?


That has to be part of the plan. The longer we extend the plateau, the steeper the slope at the end. But, for a few more years of BAU, what the heck!

What could possibly go wrong?


You have to realize that the average American thinks we have massive amounts of oil reserves based on all the shale oil revolution stories we've been getting.

People will believe what they want to believe as long as someone on TV or in a newspaper says it.

Shale Oil IS a game changer. ~ Nordic_mist

For the environment? As in game over?

Tipping points' aftereffects seem like such relatively long-drawn-out affairs, but we're not just fudging with C02 levels. We are fudging, industrial-strength, globally and complexly, with practically everything.

Question 3 - always check data...:
Imports 2011: 11793 kbpd
Today (first 6 months) 2013: 9781
Maximum 13714 kbpd.

So your claim that imports are "50% reduced from peak" is wrong.
They are down 29 %.
50% of 13714 would mean imports only 6800 kbpd - that is a long way to go.
2009: 11,691
2010: 11,793
2011: 11,504
2012: 10,596
2013: around 10, maybe a tad less? "Falling rapidly"? I think you are wrong, they are stabilizing.

Please note that Bakken has increased about 200 kbpd each of the last 2 years, but current rate is down nearer
100 kbpd increase per 2013. So the stellar production shale increase is slowing? Means more imports (+100 kbpd) to fill the gap again. But clearly the question is "how much shale oil is there to be produced?". Edited: question is "how much will the FLOW from shale be?"

Data for imports from EIA Table 3.1 Petroleum overview.

Hello Nordic

Please keep posting , nice to keep PO agile....

You're not related to a certain A.concept are you ? just checking...

to quote "Shale Oil IS a game changer." yes correct but which game are we talking about ?

to answer your points in some ways:

1, a new drilling technique - maybe my mind is muddled with old age but I thought proponents of the shale oil boom were saying exactly that - but what was new was the price of oil

2, 2012 World C+C a quick google search shows = 74.6 bpd and 2005 was 71,9 , thanks to Shale ?

3, imports may well be down 50% from peak but thats because of the recession , some ay from oil getting to 147$ per barrel ..... and Westexas has already pointed out that the US has not reached its last production peak . This peak may well last but lets be certain on this - it WILL decline

4, well you answered that - " Oil will peak ...." thanks

oh from the perspective of those "Many countries are already far down the transition. " I'd like to think this was volentary but I think not !

and on the last point about falling oil prices - yes Shale will be a game changer if the oil price falls - because the game will be closing or closed Shale oil wells - with the effect of 2 million barrels going away ...

Hey thats kool !



Come on NM . Your viewpoint is let us put it rightly skewed and not real world .Why ? Let me tell you a little story .Several years ago there was a one man think tank in USA .His name Hermann Kahn . Was paralyzed so traveled in a wheelchair but with a suitcase full of study material (no clothing) . When young he worked in a food store and at the end of the day he gave his boss the exact size of the shopping bag which would be suitable for the customers . His boss said " Hermann, they will always use the biggest bag because they can take it home and use for throwing the garbage" .

You discount the major factors for the current price for example the Saudi's and the Russkies need more than $ 100 per barrel just so that they can remain in power .The new oil (shale,deep water and all the other crap) is too expensive .But now to get to the 4 bullet points written by you ad seriatim :
1. No it does not matter . As Deng said " Why worry about the color of the cat if catches the mouse".

2.The past is not the future . Exponential growth is an impossibility . Linearization of 2 years production into the future is ridiculous .May I suggest you read the "red queen" syndrome written by Rune Lukevern .They have run out of the sweet spots in ND .

3.Imports are reduced because the USA is in a recession ( sorry it is in a depression) and the economy is crashing .Checkout the VMT data .People stay home since they have no jobs and NO job offers.This is a case of demand destruction due to "destruction" of the economic system, not due to "conservation".

4.Please for heaven sake do not compare transportation fuels(crude) with wind,solar coal .What crude oil does none of these alternates do.Try flying,mining,shipping,driving with the alternates and let me see how far you can go.

And finally the slowing Chinese economy will have no effect on the price .Why ? The Chinese are building their own SPR and they are going to need a Billion barrels to fill those tanks .The Chinese unlike the Westerners play long " Short time pain for long time gain".

Anyway for them it is no pain since all they have to do is unload the paper USD treasuries to buy "liquid gold".

How Much is Oil Supporting U.S. Employment Gains?

The American Petroleum Institute said last week the U.S. oil and natural gas sector was an engine driving job growth. Eight percent of the U.S. economy is supported by the energy sector, the industry's lobbying group said, up from the 7.7 percent recorded the last time the API examined the issue. The employment assessment came as the Energy Department said oil and gas production continued to make gains across the board. With the right energy policies in place, API said the economy could grow even more. But with oil and gas production already at record levels, the narrative over the jobs prospects may be failing on its own accord.

API commissioned a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which said the U.S. oil and gas industry supported more than 9 million jobs in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase from the last assessment in 2009. In a state like Texas, which hosts a significant portion of the U.S. onshore oil reserves, API said the industry supported 2 million jobs and made up 33 percent of the state's economy.

... The API's report said each of the direct jobs in the oil and natural gas industry translated to 2.8 jobs in other sectors of the U.S. economy. That in turn translates to a total impact on U.S. gross domestic product of $1.2 trillion, the study found. Though jobs increased in July, it was at a lower rate than expected. The 162,000 increase in jobs was the smallest since April and workers were spending fewer hours on the job and getting paid less than they were last year. [77% of Job Growth for 2013 is Low-Pay, Part-Time]

The argument from the energy industry on jobs says one of two things; either the administration really is standing in the way of the true potential from the energy sector or the actual job creation from oil and natural gas is temporary at best.

Falling EROEI means more of the economy spent extracting energy out of the ground. Great for jobs, until the rest of the economy is hollowed out to the point where it cannot sustain demand at the new price, at which point it is too late to invest in high capital cost alternatives like renewables.

The market will prevail.

Bird Hunters 'Emptying Afghan Skies'

Untold numbers of migratory birds are being caught and killed every year in Afghanistan, helping drive species like the Siberian Crane to the verge of extinction. Hunters say other bird populations are also declining rapidly, raising fears among environmentalists.

... "This is how I make a living," says one hunter in a bird bazaar in Kohistan, pointing to a sack full of dead sparrows. "There is no work here. What else can I do?"

"Thirty years ago, I used to shoot 500-700 sparrows a day with my sling shot," says Haji Shakoor, 57, from Salang valley. "The sky used to be full of birds. But now it seems so empty." ... "My elders used to talk about cranes, flamingos, wild ducks and quails. These birds were very common in this part of the country. But now it is no longer so," says 27-year-old Mohammad Wahid.

Good to remember that it's really a 'Human' thing, and not just an American one.

'Geez, I've always shot lots and lots of birds, but now there aren't as many of them to shoot!'

It's like the classic one about the knucklehead carpenter;
"I've cut this board THREE TIMES and it's STILL too short!"

"We're all of us mad, here, said the cat. I'm mad; you're mad, we're all mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" Asked Alice.

"You must be, or you wouldn't have come here."

Or I suppose like the fishermen from a couple years ago that got all of us on TOD riled up; who,faced with depleting stocks - oceans literally fished free of...fish

came up with the ultimate solution:

"we're just gonna have to fish HARDER..."

India floods: fears grow for farmland devastated in Uttarakhand

Experts from the region say the summer crops have been washed out and the farms are in no shape to yield a winter harvest this year; the sowing season for rice, which coincides with the height of the monsoon (June to September) has been delayed as a result of heavy inundation of paddy fields caused by downpours and landslides.

Though agricultural fields are routinely inundated with the clay that runs down surrounding mountains during summer glacial melts and the annual monsoon, this latest calamity has created a disaster zone ...

"It is possible that the top soil may have been altered for a considerably longer duration of time than expected," Ram Kishan, regional emergency manager of south Asia for Christian Aid, told IPS.

Ocean Heat Dome Steams Coastal China: Shanghai to Near Very Dangerous 35 Degree Celsius Wet Bulb Temperatures This Week

According to reports from AccuWeather, the sweltering coastal China town of Shanghai hit a new all-time record high temperature of 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees C) on Tuesday. But this marker may just be a milepost to what is predicted to be a 107-108 degree scorcher on Wednesday and Friday. With humidity predicted to be around 50% and barometric pressure readings expected to hit 1005 millibars, these represent extraordinarily dangerous conditions.


Farming is certainly getting beat-up by climate change, which is inevitable. Probably a good indicator of a tipping point being reached will be wheat production. Wheat is an extremely resilient crop, growing in condition that few other crops can survive in. When it becomes difficult or impossible to grow wheat, it will likely be impossible to grow any other large scale crop either.

My own view is that we're going to have to move food production into controlled environments. This will require a substantial increase in investment, energy and resources. Probably causing the economy to essentially shift to a high-tech agrarian economy as investment, energy and resources are increasingly re-directed into absolute necessities.

Curbing Cars: Rethinking How We Get Around

Curbing Cars wants to be the leading source for information about all these alternatives to automobiles. We also want to look at what the future holds for the auto industry, at a time when attitudes are clearly changing.

Curbing Cars wants your stories.

Maybe you're begun riding your bike to work, or taking the bus or subway. Perhaps you've downsized from three cars to two, now that the kids are gone, or you're down to one car because you moved back into the city. It might be that you've gotten rid of your car completely and pick up a ZipCar when you need one. Or, you just decided to walk to the store when you can do so.

That reminds me of a visit I made earlier this year to the West Houston office of a major oil company. It was a few days after the "Ride to Work Day", and there were still posters up urging employees to support the event by cycling to work.

As the man I was meeting pointed out, pedestrians and cyclists are banned at all entrances to the company campus. I don't think this is to support internal combustion engines: I think it is to protect the company from lawsuits when an automatic gate closes on a cyclist or pedestrian. Of course, it doesn't help that the only gates are on a freeway frontage road with no sidewalk and an unenforced 50mph speed limit.

Ird, it would be interesting to understand the rationale behind the pedestrian and cyclist ban. As many Texans will tell you, "Things are done differently in Texas." (Perhaps speculawyer can add some light to your fear-of-lawsuit hypothesis.) At any rate, Micheline Maynard is a mainstream journalist; she wrote The Death of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market An excerpt:

Detroit, suffering from a “good enough” syndrome and wedded to ineffective marketing gimmicks like rebates and zero-percent financing, failed to give consumers what they really wanted—reliability, the latest technology and good design at a reasonable cost.

Ms. Maynard might be a good third party (peak oiler?) to conduct research on the evolution of automobile use in America. She teaches some at the University of Michigan (business school) and Micheline is familiar with the conditions in the City of Detroit.

Fukushima Radioactive Water Leak an 'Emergency'

A barrier built to contain the water could be breached in three weeks, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority warned.

This means the amount of contaminated water seeping into the Pacific Ocean could accelerate rapidly, it said.

Tepco's "sense of crisis is weak," the head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority task force, Shinji Kinjo said. "This is why you can't just leave it up to Tepco alone" ... "Right now, we have an emergency"

[Kinjo] acknowledged that if the water reaches the surface, “it would flow extremely fast.”

Fukushima Unit No. 3 steaming — Lasted more than four hours today — Observed ‘intermittently’ over past 13 days

Fire alarm goes off nearby Fukushima spent fuel pool — Tepco: “No smoke, etc. was found around ceiling at site using a web camera… we have judged incident was malfunction”

Exclusive: Japan nuclear body says radioactive water at Fukushima an ‘emergency’

... In an e-mailed statement to Reuters, a company spokesman said Tepco deeply apologized to residents in Fukushima prefecture, the surrounding region and the larger public for causing inconveniences, worries and trouble.

Having lived though the early space program, I was expecting a similar effort to deal with Fukushima. I thought by now we'd be seeing video of engineers training offsite to remove fuel rods. I thought we'd hear about full-sized replicas being built so that equipment and procedures could be tested before deployment. I thought there would be a new agency -- built on the NASA model -- to handle the emergency. Instead, we have TEPCO.

P.S. If you want to know why I'm going to so very much miss TOD, just read the comments at ENENEWS.

The reactors are still quite hot - it takes a *long* time for the decay heat to subside. Just the other day I did a back of the envelope calculation - a reactor that has been shut down for 2 years is at roughly about 0.04% of full power. But for a 500Mw reactor, the decay heat would still be around 200Kw.

You can google "decay heat" to find all kinds of nice charts.

They didn't de-fuel Three Mile Island until 12 years after the accident.

Radioactive contamination ‘soaring’ in Fukushima groundwater — Strontium and other beta emitters up 4,500% in recent days; Cesium rises nearly 1,500% — Tepco says it doesn’t know why levels spiked

The level of radioactive cesium was 14 times higher [960 Bq/L vs 65 Bq/L] than the reading logged last Wednesday. Strontium and other radioactive materials that emit beta rays were 46 times higher [56,000 Bq/L vs 1,200 Bq/L]. TEPCO officials say they do not know the cause for the spikes, and they will further look into how contaminated water has spread and what effects it has brought.

Tepco Press Conference: The situation at Fukushima is bleak — “This discharge is beyond our control” (VIDEO)

In a recent news conference, TEPCO General manager Masayuki Ono said the situation was bleak.

“We understand that this discharge is beyond our control and we do not think the current situation is good.”

Those intermittent steam "puffs" remind one of a geyser getting ready to blow it's top. Ever witnessed Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park? Lets hope that the wind is blowing toward the east away from Tokyo if one of those reactors at Fukushima does blow it's top...

E. Swanson

If water releases into the ocean are inevitable, wouldn't it be better to pipe the contaminated water into the deep ocean?

Anyone know what the optimistic endgame is supposed to be here?

The optimistic end game is that we get away with global contamination at survivable levels.

As I understand it at least one (if not all) core has left containment and its whereabouts is unknown (source of increasing groundwater contamination?). There are circa 1500 rods IIRC teetering 30 meters up in a listing and damaged building just waiting for circumstances to change. An ineffective clean-up operation that's temporary at best.

It seems unavoidable that the emergency is going to get worse with time and little can or will be done to contain it.

A way of life on the brink of extinction in the Louisiana bayous

Forced out of their homes near a toxic sinkhole, the residents expected help. A year on, they still wait

... A deadline for homeowners to accept cash payments for their blighted homes expired yesterday. According to the company, about 92 out of 150 residents have accepted a deal. For everyone else, however – the lawsuits can now begin.

... "What this has exposed is that these out-of-state companies do anything they want in Louisiana. Our government has been co-opted. These companies have the best government money can buy".

... To show how widespread the methane leakage is, Mr Allemon took this reporter on a metal skiff through the bayous near the sinkhole. It is a bewitching, prehistoric landscape of giant cypress trees draped in Spanish moss. Small alligators eye the boat and egrets and herons take off from low branches. Every few hundred yards, however, the surface of the water is disturbed by bubbling gas. The more violent among them are like small underwater geysers, gurgling forth like the jets of a Jacuzzi.

Also under the evacuation order is neighbouring Grand Bayou, the community hit by the Dow Chemical leak a decade ago. Geena Dedros was evacuated then and is still in a legal tangle with Dow. This time she didn't have the stomach for it and she has accepted the Texas Brine settlement and left her house. "We are little people trying to fight a big industry and it's almost impossible," she says. She doesn't know where she will move.

... in a different reality ... The Verdict - Paul Newman - Courtroom Summation

The movie that was never made: The Appeal. In this sequel, we find that big business greased the legal appeals system, and The Verdict was overturned, remitter to a dollar fifty cents was ordered, with Plaintiff ordered to pay all costs and the case remanded to the lower court where at a subsequent hearing judgment was entered for Defendant. Plaintiff's counsel shot himself, and plaintiff spent a short life in consummate misery

God, I'm depressed today.


Analysis: TransCanada's East Coast oil pipeline to change trade dynamics

The planned 2,700 mile pipeline, which will bring crude from Canada's energy capital of Alberta to refineries and ports on the East Coast, has the potential to upturn the dynamics of the North Atlantic oil trade squeezing out some imported crude to North America and revitalizing once-ailing refineries.

The Energy East line could also reinforce North Sea Brent crude as the world's oil benchmark against which giants such as Saudi Arabia price their western-bound exports, analysts say, while opening up the option of more Canadian heavy crude flowing to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

That could effectively wipe out Canada's need to import crude for its eastern refineries. They now import around 700,000 bpd from North and West Africa and Latin America because Canada's own supplies lie across a vast wilderness in the far West.

Africa and Latin America will have to find a new home for their barrels by 2017 or 2018, if the pipeline is completed on time.

... its capacity is greater than the entire oil production of Azerbaijan, could provide 6 percent of daily U.S. oil consumption or, put another way, has the ability to carry 30 percent of Canada's total daily oil production.

Center for Biological Diversity Maps Every U.S. Oil Pipeline Spill Since 1986 (Video)

The environmental group the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) recently released a startling animated map showing all "significant" spills from oil, gas, and chemical pipelines in the last 27 years.

The animated map shows about 8,000 spills labeled “significant” by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Volatile substances spilled includes natural gas, oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, fuel oil and anhydrous ammonia.

The CBD says the incidents since 1986 created nearly $7 billion in damages and killed more than 500 people. The map shows 3 million gallons spilled and 2,300 people injured.

“The numbers add up to 76,000 barrels per year, nearly 300 incidents per year,” said Noah Greenwald, director of CBD’s endangered species program

Sounds a bit like Canada is trying to become self sufficient before there isn't enough imports left for them to get at.

I've been reading this site for a long time (6-7 years?) and I've never see a discussion of how people think Canada will do as peak oil hits harder and harder. The tar sands won't peak for many decades (all things being equal) so you would think Canada (and the US if it's get some of that oil) will be far better off than places without slow to extract resources like the tar sands.

It seems to me there have been some discussions on that point. The general conclusion being, IIRC, that because oil is fungible, we won't be any better off initially than the nations having fast producing wells.

Later, if you think about it, because what we have left will be so slow and expensive, it won't prevent general economic decline (collapse?).

Wish reality was different than that. I really do!



As a Canadian, living in Alberta, I have wondered about that too. I think we will be a bit better off, if only because the stuff is closer to hand. We will pay global prices however, so the pain of purchase will be real, as will the general economic and social consequences.



I agree with you, however, if things get too bad the Country could always go the nationalization route like everyone else. This idea is floated with the idea of many countries breaking up. Why should multi-national corporations be left untouched? If the US remained whole, you could see them wanting to invade to maintain supplies, but if they are regionalized due to disintegration, then I would imagine all bets are off. Of course by then one of our fearless politicians would have already sold everything off for a seat on the Board.

Sure, right now corporations own governments, but people can change that overnight if they are mad enough.


Yes, I was thinking some sort of nationalization or ban on exporting the product. Sort of like Vietnam banned rice exports or Russia banning wheat. (I might have those example countries wrong...but similar countries banning export of those globally traded commodities).

If things really got tough, why wouldn't a country try to hold onto it's own resources? Canada seems like it would be somewhat self sufficient in a lot of things and global warming might actually help their growing season.

At least it wouldn't be a country like Egypt whose conventional oil runs out (or at least no longer can support the country and output continues to fall) and all hell breaks loose.

It is silly to think of Canada in isolation. It is a fundamental part of the empire and cannot act independently.

It is more interesting to consider the conflict between the wealth of the oligarchs and ruling elite who control the energy resources (who are not limited to national boundaries) and the power of the empire itself. To my mind most of these pipelines have more to do with improving the ability to move the oil/gas around so it can be sold at best profit, whether that be domestically or by moving it to the coasts so it can go overseas.

What is good for those who control and profit most from the oil sales may not be what is good for those who's fortunes are tied to the success of the state. It is not monolithic, there are various factions - who wins? This is not too different than the situation in Russia.

Does it really matter who owns it? If it is too slow coming out of the ground, and there is too little of it to increase production, it is going to hammer the economy. Yes... we will be a bit better off than, say, Japan. That is not to say that we will see business continue as is; nor does it say that we won't have to make serious changes in how we live, our energy sources, and how many little ones we bring into this world.

I am in the process of writing a letter of apology to my grandchildren. 9 today and another to come in December. To be sent after my death. Otherwise they may want to lynch me, along with the rest of my generation.


"Yes... we will be a bit better off than, say, Japan."

Really, who knows. Are there any examples of a country with the biggest military in the world going through the eye of a needle? I wonder... just what will be the response of a nation of 310 million+ people who've been taught since birth (well, the ones born here) that they are better than everyone else.

My sister's son-in-law works for the oil patch in Texas, shale I think. And she readily admits that it is too much for her to comprehend. She retired at 62 and another sister and her husband are doing the same this year. Their take is 'get it while you can'. That and wanting to enjoy being freed of corporate life drudgery. All of them have, by most standards, minor health issues; however, they all also have life prescriptions - pills they've been told to take (pay for) the rest of their lives. Getting old really is a bitch. One's body degenerates, along with the ability to care for oneself. All the while having to spend large sums of money and time in the clutches of the medical/insurance/pharma institutions.

There are a lot of us in the baby boom generation. And I have a hard time thinking that all us people are going to give up what we've been working for all these years. Without some push back. Rights and all, you know. Make somebody pay and all that. Time to face it... human life has the distinct possibility of getting messy the world over.

I kind of think Japan might do better than us.

Their lack of oil and relatively high population are detriments, but they also have many advantages. Their population is actually shrinking. This is a problem for those who want growth over all, but is a huge benefit if sustainability is the goal. They are far more community-minded than we are. They are willing to do things like turn off the car at red lights and work in unheated offices in heavy winter clothes, typing with gloves on, to save energy. Despite their dense population, almost 80% of their land is still forested.

Perhaps most importantly, they have a history of sustainability. Jared Diamond sees Japan as a society that succeeded in avoiding collapse. The geographical factors that made that possible still exist. They are still an island, with the natural barriers that involves. And they still have the heavy rainfall that made it possible to burn only twigs and brush for heat, cooking, and industry - one year's growth, which is what you have to do on a solar budget.

If oil disappears overnight, they'll be in a world of hurt. But in a long emergency situation, I suspect they'll do better than we will.

I have often puzzled at why the Japanese aren't discussed as a society set up to survive, for all the reasons you have given plus others.
Another is that they don't allow immigration. Any group that does allow it is doomed by simple arithmetic.

Another one is that they remember surviving very tough times indeed during the war, it's in their collective culture--and notably absent in ours.

Another huge advantage they have over us is their lack of oil. Lack of a lack of oil is what has turned us americans into marshmallows.

And we all know what happens to a marshmallow in a little heat- turns into goo.

"Another is that they don't allow immigration. Any group that does allow it is doomed by simple arithmetic."

Not necessarily. Japan's return to "a world made by hand" will require a backoff in population. It's become a race to the bottom. In Japan's case, their lack of resources may prove to be an advantage. There's not much there to make them the target of resource-desperate empires.

Hey Ghung! You read my meaning upsidedown! Reminds me of an Israeli buddy I had who would never agree with anybody, on principle. I would go thru a line of reasoning and conclude that A was equal to B. He would immediately butt in and yell- I totally disagree with that line of crooked logic, in my view, A is equal to B.

BTW, I usually agree with you, and always enjoy what you say regardless of how wrong you may happen to be at the moment.

Don't fault Ghung, I got it upside down too.

The costs to Japan of the Fukushima catastrophe are only beginning (and not just to them of course). They've hidden a lot of it so far, but they've lost a large amount of land area, their health costs will be tremendous, and seafood will no longer be viable. They once have had one of the best models for sustainability in the Edo period, but they cannot go back to that now.

They can't go back to the Edo model now, because their population is now much higher. But if we get the long descent, they'll have time.

Fukushima, IMO, is not a factor (except perhaps as a warning about relying on nuclear power in the future). The area in the exclusion zone is, what, 1% of Japan's land area? A disaster if you lived there, sure, but not significant in the big picture.

As for health care costs and seafood...I'm not sure we're any better off in that respect.

The exclusion zone is a pretty meaningless administrative construct at this point.

Seafood, at least from the Pacific, should be considered pretty risky at this point, but Japan is an island nation traditionally much more dependent on it than places like the US.

Maybe so...but if things get tough, I doubt people will worry much about it. Heck, even now, you'd think people be concerned, with scientists saying that children and pregnant women should not eat tuna because of the mercury content, but people still eat it and give it to their kids.

Chernobyl was terrible for the people who got direct exposure, but for those exposed via water runoff, groundwater, fallout, etc., there have not been serious health effects. I imagine in the future they might have slightly higher risks of cancer, but that may be the least of our worries during the long descent.

I don't think "allowing" has anything to do with it. Technically speaking, the U.S. "allows" very little immigration now.

The border is porous, and I suspect it always will be. Diamond doesn't make it explicit, but it's implicit in his stories of societies that succeeded: they're all islands. That isolation may be necessary, though not sufficient.

I guess the difference is the meaning in Japanese and in American. The japanese words mean "can't get in", The American words mean" You'll have trouble getting in the front door, but, hell, those back doors have nothing but a rotten screen between you and the latch. Make up your own mind."

I agree about the island- necessary but not sufficient- witness UK.

Or Easter Island, Mangareva, etc.

Very well said.

Leanan said "Jared Diamond sees Japan as a society that succeeded in avoiding collapse. The geographical factors that made that possible still exist. They are still an island, with the natural barriers that involves."

I believe this will also be true of some areas in the US which currently live in what only can be called a "different reality" from mainstream America. For example, where I live in the boondocks people are used to living low on the hog and doing for themselves what "government" doesn't do. The best proof of this is how many city people move here, last 5 or so years, and move back to the city because they can't handle the necessity of personal responsibility for survival/fulfilling personal needs.

City friends who visit often ask "what we do" meaning what recreational/fun stuff do we do. They seem quite amazed that we don't do any of that. It's peaceful and serene here and we don't have any need to "do stuff". Heck, we haven't gotten TV for probably 15 years and we've been to a movie, maybe, twice in the last 25 years. Going out to eat? Forget it...although I do have a brown bag lunch with Wharf Rat every other week to discuss the state of the world :-).


"City friends who visit often ask "what we do" meaning what recreational/fun stuff do we do"

I'll vouch for that. When they say there is "nothing to do" they mean there is no one to pay money to in exchange for passive entertainment. Watch the game, watch the opera, watch the show, eat and drink what others have prepared, and so on.

Pick Blackberries? Eww, they have thorns, and there are ants on some of them! Gross!

I do appreciate the city-dwellers efforts to keep me in eyeglasses, TP, and ammunition. And they are no more lost out here than I would be in the high-crime district in any major city. The difference is that I have enough sense to avoid that area, and they seem to confuse my reality with a Disney movie.

Up Top South Korea Nuclear Plant Components Cheating.

I cant read it unless I change to Opera or the other computer (NYT limits of reading) but similar I saw today

Components scandal in India going to Supreme court


(yeah, many might not go to CP often, but it does have some very well researched articles at times)

about the origin of the problem


Bellona - like the Opera browser, a plucky group of Norskies who do a great job at their niche and keep the NKV occupied at times. Their home site is


And for the Hiroshima special Joseph J. Mangano and Janette D. Sherman have a another morbid(ity) study


Not everybody involved with producing nuclear reactors on the planet are as moral as the mining engineer Herbert Hoover or nuclear engineer James Carter. Deficiencies of knock-off parts will occur. I am not a big fan of overpowering decades old nuclear reactors or extending their life span past 40 years. Design flaws (some from mid century past), under spec components, and cruel father time can synergistically combine to cause small and larger emissions. It is more than time to entomb the decades old nuclear dinosaurs.

peace, mark

Forgive me if this was linked to in previous edition(s) of the Drumbeat.

More less than stellar news from the bee hive...


We are really in some kind of pickle... can't stop using all those "-icides" or we'll likely starve but can't keep using them either because we'll likely starve while expending all that energy trying to hand pollinate our crops...

Ha ha! TOD will never close! There were people who said that it would close up shop on the 1st of August and it didn't happen! Therefore it will never happen!


Art Berman gets to do an "I told you so."

Peak oil researcher says shale profits proving ephemeral

A prominent proponent of peak oil theory — the idea that global petroleum production will peak and then begin dropping off permanently — says that recent Big Oil profit drops show that profits from shale are more elusive than commonly expected.

Many of the oil industry’s big players wrote down the value of their shale assets for second quarter — a move that indicates the continuing challenge of making many of the shale plays financially viable, according to Art Berman, a petroleum geologist and director of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil. Berman, a Houston-area geologist, has been questioning the economics of shale gas for years, particularly in terms of the potential reserves.

Last week, Shell reported a 20 percent profit drop for second quarter, which it partially attributed to write-offs of some of its shale positions rich in natural gas liquids and oil, according to Simon Henry, Shell’s chief financial officer, at the second quarter earnings call.

“Recent revelations and write-downs of shale assets in North America by Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron support our research that big companies cannot make money on low rate-low volume shale wells,” wrote Art Berman in an article on Petroleum Truth Report.

Good on ya, Art! Thanks Spec!


There is also a new post about that on Arthur Berman's blog :

"Shale Plays Not Working For Big Oil "


An Update on Coal Ash: In Words and on Film
by Bill Chameides | The Green Grok | August 1st, 2013

But coal has another form of waste — it’s the stuff that’s left behind after the coal has been burned. This coal ash (in the biz you might hear it referred to in more genteel terms as coal combustion residues) contains lots of carbon and a plethora of toxic metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead and a fair bit of radioactive stuff like radium. (For more, see TheGreenGrok’s coal ash series.)

--- snip ---

It’s one thing to talk about pollution from coal ash in the abstract, it’s another when you can put a face to the folks being impacted. Carly Calhoun and Sam Despeaux, filmmakers and photographers from Asheville, North Carolina, have done just that in a series of short documentaries entitled Downwind and Downstream.” All told, it will take you about 20 minutes to watch them; if you’ve got the time, I recommend that you do.

I was especially moved by their short “Things of Intrinsic Worth,” which follows two generations of cowboy/ranchers trying to cope with and halt contamination of the Rosebud Creek from a coal ash retention pond in Colstrip, Montana. At the end of the video the father, Wally McRae, a third-generation rancher and poet (and NEA National Heritage Fellow), provides a guided tour of Colstrip through his original poem about our failure to value intrinsically worthy things. It will blow you away.

Between the toxic radioactive ash, the CO2 emissions, the mercury emissions, the stream destruction from mountain top removal mining, the SO2 emissions, and everything else . . . we should really get off coal. I'd take nuclear over coal. Between solar, wind, and natural gas, I just don't see the need for coal. In fact I'd like to start putting tariffs on goods from coal-usage-heavy exporters but I suspect that would violate trade rules.

The only way we might see this happen is if the topic is brought up at board meetings for the Fortune 1000 companies.

What do you figure the odds are that will take place?


Carbon emissions to impact climate beyond the day after tomorrow

Future warming from fossil fuel burning could be more intense and longer-lasting than previously thought. This prediction emerges from a new study by Richard Zeebe at the University of Hawai'i who includes insights from episodes of climate change in the geologic past to inform projections of man-made future climate change.

The study suggests that amplified and prolonged warming due to unabated fossil fuel burning raises the probability that large ice sheets such as the Greenland ice sheet will melt, leading to significant sea level rise.

A standard value for present-day climate sensitivity is about 3°C per doubling of atmospheric CO2. But according to Zeebe, climate sensitivity could change over time. Zeebe uses past climate episodes as analogs for the future, which suggest that so-called slow climate 'feedbacks' can boost climate sensitivity and amplify warming.

Abstract: Time-dependent climate sensitivity and the legacy of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions

... Compared with earlier studies, results predict a much longer lifetime of human-induced future warming (23,000–165,000 y), which increases the likelihood of large ice sheet melting and major sea level rise. The main point regarding the legacy of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is that, even if the fast-feedback sensitivity is no more than 3 K per CO2 doubling, there will likely be additional long-term warming from slow climate feedbacks. Time-dependent climate sensitivity also helps explaining intense and prolonged warming in response to massive carbon release as documented for past events such as the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Time-dependent climate sensitivity also helps explaining intense and prolonged warming in response to massive carbon release as documented for past events such as the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum.

"... intense and prolonged ..." Ah... just sort of rolls of the tongue, eh?


... [having stabbed Theron and while holding sword into his body] This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. ... - 300 -

"To die, to sleep - To sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub,

For in this sleep of death what dreams may come..."

What more to say?


Another report from the PNAS which is behind a pay wall. However, there's a freely available supplement with some information about this work:


E. Swanson

David Archer's book, the Long Thaw, said that 3/4 of the CO2 would be gone in a few centuries (depending on how fast it can get downwelled into the deep ocean), and half the remainder would be gone in 5,000 years. The last 10% would linger on for about 140,000 years before weather of rocks would draw it down.

The downwelling into the deep ocean is mostly due to the thermohaline circulation, much of that occurring in the sub-polar North Atlantic. If that slows or stops, there would be little or no downwelling, thus less natural sequesteration. Worse, without the THC in the NH, there's the prospect of continued upwelling in other locations bringing cold, CO2 rich waters to the surface, so the oceans might become a source for CO2. If that happens, it's game over, IMHO...

E. Swanson

Disappearance of coral reefs, drastically altered marine food web on the horizon

If history's closest analog is any indication, the look of the oceans will change drastically in the future as the coming greenhouse world alters marine food webs and gives certain species advantages over others.

In the greenhouse world, fossils indicate that CO2 concentrations reached 800-1,000 parts per million. Tropical ocean temperatures reached 35º C (95º F), and the polar oceans reached 12°C (53°F)—similar to current ocean temperatures offshore San Francisco. There were no polar ice sheets. Scientists have identified a "reef gap" between 42 and 57 million years ago in which complex coral reefs largely disappeared and the seabed was dominated by piles of pebble-like single-celled organisms called foraminifera.

"The 'rainforests-of-the-sea' reefs were replaced by the 'gravel parking lots' of the greenhouse world," said Norris.

... You know, when I was a kid, food was food! Until our scientists polluted the soil... decimated plant and animal life. Why, you could buy meat anywhere. Eggs, they had. Real butter. Fresh lettuce in the stores! How can anything survive in a climate like this? A heat wave all year long! The greenhouse effect! Everything is burning up!

You don't understand… I've seen it. I've seen it happening. The ocean is dying, the plankton is dying… It's people! Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people. Soon, they'll be breeding us like cattle—for food! You gotta tell 'em! Listen to me, Hatcher! You gotta tell 'em—SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE! We gotta stop them! Somehow! Listen! Listen to me… PLEASE!!!

... Soylent Green Crackers, 4.4-Ounce

They are a little denser than the Nabisco Premiums you may be used to, but that doesn’t detract from the experience at all. When you’re living in stairwells and scrabbling for resources, you want as much bang for your buck as you can get anyway.

or, if your watching your weight ... I Can't Believe It's Not Soylent Green

Governor Santini is brought to you today by Soylent Red, and Soylent Yellow. And, new, delicious, Soylent Green: The "miracle food" of high energy plankton, gathered from the oceans of the world. Due to its enormous popularity, Soylent Green is in short supply, so remember—Tuesday is Soylent Green day.

Were you aware of:



Best hopes for Soylent Red!


Sweeney TOD. The Demon Barber of Fleet Street!

Seafood menus from Hawaii reflect long-term ocean changes

... Market surveys and government statistics are the traditional sources for tracking fisheries. But when those records don't exist, we have to be more creative. Here we found restaurant menus were a workable proxy that chronicled the rise and fall of fisheries," said Kyle S. Van Houtan, adjunct assistant professor at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and leader of the Marine Turtle Assessment Program at NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

The team's analysis of 376 menus from 154 different restaurants showed that near-shore species such as reef fish, jacks and bottom fish, for example, were common on Hawaiian menus before 1940. By its statehood in 1959, they appeared collectively on less than 10 percent of menus sampled.

Restaurants began serving large pelagic species, such as tuna and swordfish. By 1970, 95 percent of the menus contained large pelagics; inshore fish had all but disappeared.

You still don't need a fishing license in Hawai`i, as long as you are not a commercial fisherman. At least, not for marine fishing. I think they now require one for freshwater fishing.

Yair . . . Not in Australia either.


Yes, the rules are very laissez-faire. Net fishing is allowed, scuba spearfishing is allowed, night spearfishing is allowed, there is very little enforcement and there are very few protected areas. Oahu has the most protected areas, at 3 (a small portion of Waikiki, Hanauma Bay, and Pupukea on the North Shore which covers maybe a mile or so of coastline and is the biggest). The amount of life and the size of fish in the protected areas is much greater than at unprotected beaches (even at Waikiki which has a much less healthy reef than many other beaches), from my own snorkeling experience here - I would like to start a drive to protect 30% of the coast here, actually. I was thinking of doing a blog with videos and pictures but I don't have the equiptment or the money to buy it. A go-pro or one decent camera with a good housing could tell the story to everyone.

The thing is, Hawaii is STILL much better than most of the US - the northeast has been trawled into submission, Chesapeake Bay and New York are both mostly stripped of the oysters that supported their formerly very rich habitats, Florida has the same problems as Hawaii but even worse coral decline, California has the best protection now but was well looted by the fishing industry and still has very serious issues. Trawling and any fishing that damages the bottom needs to be totally banned, but I just don't see a lot of public effort by conservation groups for that sort of action.

There is very little positive news on the global oceans front. A few nations in the Pacific and Caribbean are starting down the road to real protection, and a few places like Papahanaumokuakea are set aside, but it's not near enough. And Papahanaumokuakea doesn't really allow anyone to see or experience what's the ocean is like (visits are very strictly regulated, plus it is quite far away), so it doesn't do much to bring people to care about the oceans.

Report: Venezuela to raise interest rates on PetroCaribe oil

The Venezuelan government is set to increase the interest rate it charges to finance oil purchases by Central American and Caribbean countries under the PetroCaribe oil facility.

According to reports from online financial news agency Platts, the increase stems from higher administrative and maintenance costs of the loans.

Since the creation of PetroCaribe in 2005, member countries who are signatories to the agreement have enjoyed an annual interest rate of one to two per cent on the portion of the oil bill that is treated as long-term loans.

But as of October, that will rise to 2.4 per cent.

The source said the planned increases are permitted under the agreements Venezuela signed with the participating countries.

The report states that Venezuela is unlikely to reduce or suspend oil shipments to the debtor countries given the political value it sees in the oil alliance.

The next PetroCaribe summit is set for September.

In reacting to news of the planned increase, Jamaica's Energy Minister, Phillip Pauwell, said he was not aware of this move. However, the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Spokesman on Energy, Gregory Mair, said he was not surprised.

It's a long holiday weekend here, with a public holidays on Thursday last and tomorrow so, either all the other folks who normally post comments have taken this Sunday off or the moderators did. No comments on this story. I did have some thoughts that I submitted:

It would appear that conventional production of oil in Venezuela has peaked and while they have the second largest reserves of heavy oil in the world, behind Canada, exploiting these reserves will be expensive and will require significant amounts of investment. In addition Venezuela's economy has become dependent on the revenues from the oil industry while the subsidized price for gasoline at less than ten US cents per gallon, by far the cheapest in the world, is encouraging an increase in local consumption that is eroding their exports and the resulting revenue.

Any attempts to remove the subsidies for whatever reason will be extremely unpopular, with the potential to trigger unrest similar to what has been experienced in the Middle East in recent times. As a result any economic belt tightening is likely to affect the beneficiaries of Chavez's generosity outside of Venezuela first.

Jamaica would do well to think seriously about what it does with PetroCaribe funds. Investing in renewable energy would lessen the island's dependence on imported fuels, while hopefully, significantly improving our ability to repay the loans.

Either that did not find favour with the mods or they were off for the day.

Alan from the islands

Lighting the low-cost way

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo) and Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) have partnered to retrofit 30 streetlights along the Palisadoes main road in Kingston with solar-powered light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. This is to be done by the end of September.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between CMI executive director, Dr Fritz Pinnock, and JPSCo chief executive officer, Kelly Tomblin, at the CMI last Monday.

Audrey Williams, corporate communications officer at JPSCo, explained to Automotives, "CMI approached JPS with a proposal to retrofit the present lamps with LED lighting. So JPS will provide the lamps and CMI students will retrofit them for LED lighting. These will be submitted to the Bureau of Standards before they are installed."

Williams emphasised that there will be considerable savings once the lights are retrofitted. "LED lights are far more energy-efficient than the traditional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps being used. Switching the street lights would represent a significant saving in street light costs. Annual energy costs for HPS lamps is US$490, while energy costs for LED lights is US$280," she said. She said the Palisadoes main road was chosen as the first location to introduce the LED lighting in order to provide employment opportunities to students at CMI.

AFAIK the utility owns and maintains the lamps and the government is supposed to be paying the electricity bills to operate the street lights but, there is a matter of arrears. How large are the arrears? If the government is not paying the bills or paying them after lengthy delays, what incentive does the utility have to maintain street lights in working condition?

In light of this, one has to wonder if the utility is benefiting from this project by reducing the delinquency of a delinquent customer it cannot just cut off like it does it's private sector customers?

I have noticed that, along certain roads, as much as about one in four (a quarter) of the street lights are not working. It appears that some of them have been out of service long enough to cause private interests in the affected areas, to install their own lighting to make up for the deficit. Is this what the beginnings of collapse look like?

I am just left to wonder what the motivations of the utility are? It seems that they appear to be encouraging conservation but, they certainly do not seem as enthusiastic about their customers becoming suppliers, through the generation of electricity from renewable sources. How does a utility like the JPS benefit from a reduction in demand for the product it sells?

Questions, questions!

Alan from the islands

Gazprom rail line to Bovanenkovo giant Arctic gas field:

The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture

Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?

Laws created in the 1970s targeting drug cartels are now being used against ordinary citizens who have not done anything wrong. They'll stop cars and give people the option of turning over all their property (sometimes including the car), or being arrested and having their kids taken away. Often, the cost of a lawyer is more than the value of the property, and the legal battle can stretch on for months or years. Or they'll seize a home, claiming someone living in it (often not even the owner) was involved in selling drugs. They do not have to prove guilt, or even wait until the trial to seize the home and sell it at auction.

When confronted with the accounts of abuse, the police departments' reaction appears to be, "Yeah, sorry about that, but we need the money."

Among all the fictions Americans have been sold, the concept of rights is maybe the most embedded, and will be the source of greatest shock. What are rights? Are they laws of physics? Do we pop out with a list of rights tattooed on our butts? Of course not - they are merely rules/laws that society has agreed should be applied to (almost) everyone, at least most of the time. Naturally this is easier to do during times of plenty, like during the rise of the US empire and the heyday of the age of oil.

Many of the rights we have (had), regardless of when they were technically created, only became effective after the worker's struggles of the early 20th century due to the reality of an organized populace willing to fight. Without anything to back them up, what is there to enforce them? What power opposes that of the enforcement arm of the existing system? Sure, there are lots of arms out there, but no organization, and therefore no effective opposition that needs to be heeded.

People need to look at the world as it is, and understand the the limitations of their own power. What if the laws as written are not enforced, and no part of the system can or will support you? This is just a symptom of collapse that will be more and more common, as the portion of the population that is well supported by the center gets smaller and feeds on the portion that is outside. Until some other force strong enough to oppose it arises. That will probably not be as benign as the worker's organizations of the past, but more like the warlords growing in the southwest.

I suspect social connections will be the most valuable assets in future. As they are now, really. It's not what you know (or what you have), it's who you know.

The article points out that it's marginalized people who are most often targeted for forfeiture: minorities, gays, poor people, immigrants. When the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles' sons were busted for dealing dope, no one even suggested confiscating his house.

But wealth alone isn't enough. Another example in the article is Donald Scott. He was a reclusive millionaire killed during a police raid. A later investigation found the motive for the raid was asset forfeiture. They were hoping to find marijuana, so they could seize his valuable 200-acre property. They didn't find a thing.

I suspect if the man hadn't been a "recluse," they would not have gone after him.

The cost of enforcing written laws with all the paraphernalia of cops, lawyers and a legal system is very high, it's unlikely to survive a long descent. One must prepare accordingly. I am guessing that many people will have the shock of their lives when they become a victim of this. Our future is more likely to be tribal, either you pick a tribe that will protect you or you disappear. The nuclear family as an institution is not suited for this kind of role, it needs the constant protection of a rich state to prosper.

You are right about money vs social connections, money in a bank a/c is good but it does not have any real world value in a declining world. it's better to give away that money and earn people's loyalty instead.

Years ago, we were discussing what countries were best for peak oil hideaways. There was one guy who was trying to get people to come to Mexico with him.

Someone who was a student of Latin America warned that Mexico was a bad choice. He recommended Costa Rica instead. Said Mexico was too corrupt and too closed to outsiders. That's looking kind of prophetic now.

I think this is also the underlying reason so many peak oilers are reluctant to move to small towns and rural areas in the U.S. They instinctively understand, or soon learn after moving there, that as newcomers they just aren't in a good position should things get bad. You don't want to be the only Jewish person or the only atheist or the only openly gay person in town.

Someone at PeakOil.com was trying to encourage people to move to rural Missouri because land was cheap. But man, I just would not fit in.

There's a big bunch of expats alive and well in Mexico, esp in communities along the coast. I think alot because the cost of living on USD remains low.

OTOH, Costa Rican cost of living is really high comparatively. And the cheap land is all bought up. As I understand it, Costa Rican government offers health care, Costa Rican plan, for a very reasonable price if you have a US federal government pension. But still not the expats like Mexico.

I am not recommending moving to the villages, villages are hell holes down here, they've always been at the bottom of the pile as far as living standards go, with oil or without it. Cities have always been in a much better shape except for periods when there was a regime transition and there was widespread looting. I just see tribalism emerging, whether at village or city level. I would personally prefer a traders lifestyle, always on the move and mostly living in cities and small towns. Besides that as money becomes tight most of it is likely to be funneled into the cities, the edges of the empire will slowly fray and decay.

About the whole Mexico thing, US is likely to be prosperous for a long time to come even with all the stories that you mentioned above so I don't really understand the migration, to me that appears childish. I can understand moving for a job but trying to escape PO by running to a third world country. beats me.

I don't think there are many at all running to the third world for PO's sake from the US. I would imagine PO never really crosses their mind, at least not often or worth losing sleep, for those that are migrating.

With most expats' it is the value of the dollar. There are some there for philosophical or personal freedom. And while it's no longer the $5/day, it still beats alot back in the US. One good friend finds Mexican marina life on a sailboat about as cheap as you can get.

This is one of the most disjointed articles I've ever read. Cases change from one paragraph to the next and then back. It's a montage calculated to enrage but not inform.

Your complaint is valid. The question arises*: Does the New Yorker no longer employ editors -- real editors?

* from a retired "real" editor

Regarding one of my previous comments in this Drumbeat about what to do about stuff like that, it might be as relatively simple as getting people in situations like that to help form Permaea.

As for what Permaea is, well, I mentioned it hereon some months ago, referring to a comment of mine over at The Permaculture Research Institute's site (Under their 'Get Into Farming' article.):

"...over at 'The Oil Drum', I have two short threads...

A quote from the conversation:

Think of, say, permies', land as nodes of a global [wireless] mesh [network]. Then, think of a decentralized country that forms from that mesh– hell-bent on 'Care of Earth/Care of People' and their surplus fed back into each.

A 'glocal' meshed decentralized country' (that at once transcends and subverts old state borders. How are artificial borders any good for earth and life on it?)

Now, what would happen if it spread? Well that may be the way out. Out of the corporate-state-oligarchy prison.

So it’s not that the land is owned per se, but that it is acquired to place into a trust, if that’s the right word, back into a commons, and shared…"

I had tried previously a couple of years back, incidentally, to get a Drupal site running for this at a community ISP but they were not set up for it. We tried, but I had to abandon the project temporarily.

Tom Murphy in his Do the Math blog discusses Electric Vehicles:

Electric cars are back baby, yeah! Never mind their first failure in the marketplace, or that little Carbon spree, or that ostler might be back on the menu as fuel energy density trends continue their downward slide.


Or you could walk, and not sit slumped over some expensive wheel well while thumbing some expensive glowing rectangle to distract yourself from the sad spectacle of likewise slumped drivers all failing at trying to be anywhere else at all.

"GM made the unofficial official today, cutting the price of the 2014 Chevrolet Volt to $34,995 — $5,000 less than the 2013 model. What they didn’t say was, “We sort of did that a few months ago, but without shouting it from the rooftops, it didn’t have the effect we hoped for.”"


Electric cars are back baby, yeah!

Yes, this time it's different. In my neck of the woods, despite the fact that the local Toyota dealer does not sell them and thus, they are not advertised on local media, I have seen several Toyota Priuses tooling around. Despite the fact that the local Nissan dealer is not even considering sales of the Leaf, I have seen one being driven by what appears to be an expatriate. I took the liberty of going to the local GM dealer and looking at the 2013 Spark and asking if they could get me a 2014 Spark EV, assuming they don't try to gouge me too hard. The young lady who was taking my questions was fascinated with the idea that you could plug your car in to charge like a phone but apparently didn't know that this was a feature of the Volt. That's somewhat understandable since, she had only heard about it and there are none on the island yet (AFAIK). Even the launch of the electric BMW i3 got a story in the older of the local rags.

What I would really like to see available is the Nissan eNV200, the electric version of Nissan's NYC taxi due out in Europe by the end of this year or the similar Volkswagen e-Co-Motion concept shown at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. I still think electric commercial vehicles make more sense than cars but, I subscribe to the idea of a reasonably near term peak. I suppose that it's going to be impossible to convince the fleet managers who authorise the purchase of such vehicles of their feasibility, as long as the mantra of abundant petroleum supplies still abounds.

This time it might be that the future for electric vehicles is being influenced by the Peak Oil debate in addition to climate change concerns. Credit must also be given to Elon Musk and his crew at Tesla for embarrassing the major luxury auto-makers with what they have achieved so far. It just feels like there is more momentum behind EVs this time.

I apologize for the absence of links but, y'all know why. (Google is your friend)

Alan from the islands

Credit must also be given to Elon Musk and his crew at Tesla for embarrassing the major luxury auto-makers with what they have achieved so far.

Yes, they have built an amazing car. And the financial engineering they've managed (so far) has been even more amazing (although they have earnings Wednesday and who knows what will happen after them).

But I have good and bad feelings about Tesla. On the one hand they are the Halo Car for the EV. They've proved the EVs can not only be just as good as ICE cars . . . but even much better than ICE cars. But on the other hand, they've set the bar for EVs so high that EVs that average people can afford will just not be that good. You can't build a 200+mile EV for $30K unless there is a big breakthrough in battery or battery-manufacturing technology. If you want a pure EV right now you either have to pay a lot of money or deal with the ~70 to 80 mile range of the current low-cost EV crop.

IIRC Li-Air batteries have theoretical energy densities (kJ/Liter) rivaling that of fossil fuels. If Li-Air batteries can be manufactured cheaply it will be a game changer for EV's.

Lot of "if" in that plan, and as with any car it still destroys humans by trapping them in unnatural seated positions, denying them vital exercise. So if the batteries do pan out and if they can be brought to market and if they can scale, the benefit is a dystopia of inactive, sick humans being rolled from cradle to hospital to grave. Carry on, oh mighty banner of progress!

Seems it's far too often the monoculturalization of thought and perception... Even if the forest for the trees is caught, it's all x-mas trees. A little bit of good tides for you and your kin now, hell and high water be dammed (for more energy, silly)...

Oil 'n' icecaps (has a nice ring to it)... 'Iced cappuccinos'; doublespeak term idea for future polar oil spills. Ahh, the dog days of summer are here... (curls toes)... looking forward in a backwards kind of way to the dog days of winter...

Sure. And nuclear fusion and cheap hydrogen cars would be great too. But there is little sense in debating highly-speculative technology that has no solid road-map to cost effective deployment.

"You can't build a 200+mile EV for $30K unless there is a big breakthrough in battery or battery-manufacturing technology."

One can't build a huge, stupid, aerodynamic brick of an EV for $30k that will go 200+ miles. But if you're talking about a two seater about the size of a Miata, I believe that figure if fully possible. Something a little larger for 3-4 people could be built for that with ~150 mile range. Aesthetics and a bit of ingress/egress convenience are the big road blocks there.

GM offers big price cut on Chevy Volt

General Motors announced Tuesday that it will knock $5,000 off the sticker price of a new Chevy Volt, making it the latest electric car to be steeply discounted as automakers battle for buyers.

Customers will be able to get the discount on 2014 Volts, reducing the car's starting price from $40,000 to $35,000. Government tax rebates can bring the price down as low as $27,495, GM says.

Forget Tesla and Nissan, GM just became my favorite plug-in car company. Between the $27K Chevy Spark EV and the $34,995 Chevy Volt, GM is bringing EVs to the common people. (Both of those prices are before the $7500 Fed-tax-credit and any state incentives.)

Want high-torque peppy EV fun for a low price? Get the Chevy Spark EV. ($17K in California after incentives!!)

Worried about range on that Chevy Spark EV? Get the Chevy Volt.

Land Rover tests electric Defender with impressive results

The Electric Defender in its original, single-battery configuration can operate for up to 50 miles, with a little over 12 miles in reserve. Functioning at low speeds, it can pull the carriages around the site for about eight hours before it needs a recharge, Land Rover states, but the recent addition of a second lithium-ion battery should lengthen the Defender's run time while helping to even out out the truck's weight distribution for better stability. Amazingly, the truck is able to pull the road train with one electric motor that produces 94 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque.

One of the new technologies the Electric Defender is testing is a hill-descent function linked to the regenerative braking system. Up to 80 percent of the batteries' power can be regenerated in this way. During each downhill trip made at the Eden Project, the SUV regenerates up to 30 kilowatts of power.

When I saw this I thought of an experience I had recently. I had relatives visiting from the UK a couple weeks ago and during their stay we hiked up to the Blue Mountain Peak (images). One member of the party was only 13 months old when he last went up so it was like a first time for him. The way my family has always done it is to drive up to a small town called Mavis Bank, park the cars there and get a ride in a 4x4 up to a lodge operated by the owner of a coffee farm, spend a night or two and take the 14 mile hike sometime during the stay.

The Blue Mountains in Jamaica are home to Blue Mountain Coffee, a premium, exclusive coffee that sells for between US20 an as much as US$50 per pound so, there is considerable economic activity in the area around the lodge. The vehicle of choice in that area is the trusty Land Rover (Defender), the original steel chassis, aluminium bodied machines that started production in 1948 and has looked roughly the same for the last 65 years. The one we rode in was a 1997 model and felt very sure footed on the extremely steep, narrow, curvy, largely unpaved, mountain roads. A picture of the beast in its native habitat can be viewed here:


While I was up in the mountains, I kept wondering how people would fare if motor fuels got really expensive and what would happen to their livelihoods. Apart from the coffee farms there are some subsistence farmers who grow spices predominantly scallion and thyme. Less than two weeks later, I see the electric Land Rover story and while it would certainly be an option for the wealthy coffee farmers, assuming there are still people willing to pay premium for their coffee habit, I'm not so sure about the "common folk". I can certainly see how, after a trip down to Mavis Bank laden with coffee, one of these electric Land Rovers could have generated more than enough juice to go back up the hill with a few supplies. As for range, while the trips seem long, the distances aren't really that great since it's really slow going, especially after the village of Hagley Gap.Just curious how the math for these would work out, especially post peak.

Alan from the islands

MMA railway to stop transporting oil after Quebec tragedy -report

(Reuters) - The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) railway company will stop transporting oil after a runaway oil tanker train derailed and exploded in a small Quebec town last month, killing 47 people, MMA Chairman Ed Burkhardt said in a newspaper interview.

When the train crashed on July 6 in Lac-Megantic, MMA was hauling about 50,000 barrels of crude oil that originated in the Bakken fields of North Dakota and was destined to a refinery in New Brunswick, on Canada's Atlantic coast.

Alternatives to get crude to New Brunswick might include more imports, using other rail lines or tankers from the Gulf of Mexico. TransCanada Corp announced plans last week for a pipeline from Alberta in western Canada to the Atlantic, but that would not be in full service until 2018.

Creator of xkcd Reveals Secret Backstory of His Epic 3,099-Panel Comic

“In my comic, our civilization is long gone. Every civilization with written records has existed for less than 5,000 years; it seems optimistic to hope that the current one will last for 10,000 more,” Munroe told WIRED. “And as astronomer Fred Hoyle has pointed out, since we’ve stripped away the easily-accessed fossil fuels, whatever civilization comes along next won’t be able to jump-start an industrial revolution the way we did.”

Is Peak Oil Demand Real?

There has been increasing chatter in the Internet aether about the possibility that world oil demand might peak sometime in the near future. The thinking is informed primarily by falling demand in areas like the US and Europe, but especially the perception that a plethora of new transportation technologies, such as plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are now viable.

Economists agree to the possibility, often citing the aphorism, “The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones,” which was used to refute the ‘peak oil’ view of scarce resources. But it also referred to the fact that resources are much less likely to ‘run out’ than to be replaced by better resources–better meaning cheaper, more convenient, and cleaner, among other attributes.

The problem is that we don’t yet have a ‘better’ energy source than petroleum, especially for transportation. Compressed natural gas comes closest. It is great for fleet vehicles, but inconvenient for passenger cars and trucks, requiring a large tank and lacking many fueling stations. But the market is likely to remain a niche one, not expanding beyond current areas.

... In 1901, the discovery of Spindletop in Texas convinced the railroads that oil was not a scarce resource and encouraged them to switch from coal to diesel fuel. Maybe now, the new gusher of shale oil will help promote the use of more petroleum, particularly where it is the fuel of choice.

... In 1901, the discovery of Spindletop in Texas convinced the railroads that oil was not a scarce resource and encouraged them to switch from coal to diesel fuel. Maybe now, the new gusher of shale oil will help promote the use of more petroleum, particularly where it is the fuel of choice.

That last paragraph completely destroyed any illusion of reliability in this article. It took me about 30 seconds of online research to verify my vague feeling that several decades elapsed between Spindletop and any widespread adoption of diesel engines for rail transportation.

While the first experimental diesel locomotive was completed around 1912, "In 1929, the Canadian National Railways became the first North American railway to use diesels in mainline service with two units, 9000 and 9001, from Westinghouse."

Of course, using the term gusher to refer to shale oil would also be an indicator of unreliability.

The Forbes domain was the first tip-off. ;-)


The American railways turned to burning oil in their steam engines, instead of coal, along time before diesel / electric locomotives were used. I doubt they used diesel, most likely straight crude or black fuel oil.

CIRES and NOAA scientists observe significant methane leaks in a Utah natural gas field

On a perfect winter day in Utah’s Uintah County in 2012, scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and colleagues at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tested out a new way to measure methane emissions from a natural gas production field.

Their results, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, constitute a proof-of-concept that could help both researchers and regulators better determine how much of the greenhouse gas and other air pollutants leak from oil and gas fields.

The team determined that methane emissions from the oil and natural gas fields in Uintah County totaled about 55,000 kg (more than 120,000 lbs) an hour on the day of the flight. That emission rate is about 6 to 12 percent of the average hourly natural gas production in Uintah County during the month of February.

Brian Straessle, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, said the industry trade association hasn't reviewed the new report, but cited other studies that found the portion of methane that escapes from wells is less than 2 percent

also A methane problem in Utah

Localized wind power blowing more near homes, farms and factories

Americans are increasingly installing wind turbines near their homes, farms and businesses to generate their own energy, concludes a new report released today.

The 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications is the first comprehensive analysis on a growing field called distributed wind, which involves generating wind energy close to where it will be used instead of purchasing power from large, centralized wind farms. Distributed wind can range from a small, solitary turbine in someone's backyard to several large turbines that power a manufacturing facility or a neighborhood.

Some of the report's findings include:

- 68 percent of all wind turbines installed in U.S. between 2003-2012 were distributed wind turbines, representing about 69,000 turbines that can generate 812 megawatts combined
- About a third of all wind turbines installed in the U.S. in 2012 were distributed wind turbines, representing about 3,800 turbines that can generate 175 megawatts combined
- While the total number of distributed wind turbines installed in 2012 declined by nearly 50 percent, the amount of power those new turbines could potentially produce increased by 62 percent.

Scientists declare: 'Human activities are changing Earth's climate'

With more confidence than ever before, a prominent scientific body put the blame for global climate change squarely at the feet of humanity's insatiable appetite for fossil fuels, which release heat-trapping gases when burned.

"There is only one thing that is going straight up … that is the greenhouse gases that we are just pumping at an exponential rate," Gerald North, an atmospheric scientist at Texas A&M University who chaired the committee responsible for the statement, told NBC News.

The statement was released Monday by the American Geophysical Union, a more than 62,000-member-strong organization of Earth and space scientists who come from 144 countries.

Arctic ice grows darker and less reflective

For the first time, a detailed analysis of 30 years of satellite data for the Arctic Ocean has quantified how much the albedo, or reflectivity, of Arctic ice is diminishing. Aku Riihela of the Finnish Meteorological Institute told New Scientist he estimates that darker ice means the Arctic Ocean's albedo at the end of the summer is of the order of 15 per cent weaker today than it was 30 years ago.

The cause of the darkening, says Riihela, is partly due to thinning ice and the formation of open water fissures, and partly because in the warmer air, ponds of liquid water form on the surface of the ice. The shallow ponds on the ice can dramatically reduce reflectivity and increase the amount of solar radiation that the ice absorbs. "This shows that the increasing melt affects the inner Arctic sea ice, too," said Riihela.

The melting and darkening of the Arctic is a major factor in climate change. It acts as a positive feedback, because the more ice melts or darkens, the more the Arctic warms and the more ice melts.

It may help explain the speed of Arctic ice loss, which far exceeds the predictions of existing climate models, including those used in the 2007 climate assessment of the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change.

Fish die as Alaska temperatures continue to break records

"Hundreds of grayling and rainbow trout died in June after being placed in a Fairbanks lake, the department reported....

A similar incident occurred in mid-July at the Crystal Lake Hatchery south of Petersburg in southeast Alaska.

An estimated 1,100 hatchery king salmon died while returning to a lake to spawn, local public radio station KFSK reported. Fish and Game sport fish biologist Doug Fleming told the radio station that air temperatures were in the 80s at the time."


Psychologists say 'group-level narcissism' linked to negative attitudes toward immigrants

Feelings of entitlement and superiority that go beyond patriotism and love of country may be a key predictor for Americans who will feel or behave negatively toward undocumented Latino immigrants [the other], according to a study from The University of Texas at Arlington

Researchers looked at those enhanced feelings of superiority - referred to as group-level narcissism – along with a factor called national in-group identification in a new work to be published in the August issue of the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science.

The team surveyed 223 university students with tools designed to measure their national in-group identity and propensity for group-level narcissism, which is defined as "an inflated image of one's group based on feelings of superiority, entitlement and the need for constant attention and praise at the collective level."

For example, the test assessing group narcissism asked participants to rank how strongly they agreed with statements such as "If America ruled the world it would be a better place" and "America is the best country in the world."

The researchers believe that increases in group-level narcissism may be prompted by perceived threats to someone's group from an outside group. Those perceived threats could center on a loss of valuable resources or job opportunities, or threats to one's personal beliefs.

Mexico's president on dangerous ground as he pushes Pemex reform

... If it is not opened to private and foreign investment, Mexico, the world's ninth-largest oil producer, will become a net energy importer by 2020, officials say.

... others said Pemex's performance can be improved by reducing its stiff tax burden — it pays 70% of its revenue to the government, which limits its ability to finance expansion, upkeep or exploration — and by reining in its hugely corrupt union. The union has saddled Pemex with $100 billion in pension liabilities while showering longtime union President Carlos Romero Deschamps and his family with private jets and designer clothing.

In a poll released in June, 65% of Mexicans said they opposed opening Pemex to additional private investment.

"Mexico has a very small window of opportunity," said an executive with Exxon Mobil, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the debate. "The risk is they approve a watered-down reform, and investors are skeptical about that. You can't just keep kicking the can down the road."

Why Habitat For Humanity’s Newest Homeowner Might Never Pay An Electricity Bill

... After Habitat built a second story on the 1,000 square foot competition house, the final price tag for Lakiya’s half of the duplex was just over $200,000, on par with the typical price of Habitat construction in the area. Although passive houses are often about 15 percent more expensive to build because of the special doors and windows they require and all the extra insulation, Habitat’s financing programs and D.C. area grants mean Lakiya has a very manageable 133,000 dollar, thirty-year mortgage. And if the house proves itself to be net zero as advertised, she will save nearly $72,000 on energy costs over the course of that mortgage.

PassivHaus makes so much sense for affordable housing... profoundly reducing the impact of energy price volatility just makes it so much easier to manage monthly expenses. Add in net zero PV financed by the mortgage and volatility disappears. Worth noting that the article indirectly points out that what made PV affordable was the house's overall low energy demand, a very important point.

Couple PassivHaus with affordable and effective public transportation and we are away to the races. Oh to dream!

Are links to some of the "alternative" to the Oil Drum being deleted, as I've read on other sites? Is zurk's login locked out?

I blocked Zurk because he was being intentionally disruptive and responded to my request to stop by becoming even more so. Links to alternate sites are not being removed, but he is persona non grata here.