Drumbeat: August 9, 2013

Peak oil? David Rosenberg gives seven reasons

Here are seven points from Mr. Rosenberg:

1. Oil demand has declined in the industrialized world since 2005. The International Energy Agency now projects global demand at 97 million barrels a day, down 13 per cent from the 112 million projected about 15 years ago.

2. Oil subsidies are falling, notably in producing nations, “offsetting natural demand growth from the emerging markets.”

3. Technology to get the stuff out of the ground is evolving quickly. “Fracking along with new discoveries of conventional gas in short order has increased world reserves to 200 years from 50 years.”

North American oil boom eases OPEC supply problems - IEA

(Reuters) - North America's shale boom is insulating the world from steep oil price spikes as several OPEC members struggle to maintain production due to unrest and infrastructure problems, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday.

The agency, which consults developed nations on energy policies, said key among those disruptions were Libya and Iraq, where violence has steeply curtailed output. Upcoming work on key Iraqi terminals could further upset oil buyers in Europe, Asia and the United States.

IEA Trims Estimate for 2014 Global Oil Demand Growth on Economy

The International Energy Agency trimmed forecasts for global oil demand growth in 2014 amid slowing expansion in China and a struggle to secure a recovery in the U.S. and Europe.

Global consumption will increase by 1.1 million barrels a day, or 1.2 percent, to 92 million next year, the Paris-based adviser to energy-consuming nations said today in its monthly market report. The expansion is 100,000 barrels a day less than last month, when the estimate for 2014 was first introduced. Refinery operating rates will ease after a record surge in July, the IEA said.

OPEC Maintains Estimate for Global Oil Demand Growth in 2014

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kept estimates for global oil demand growth in 2014 unchanged amid a stable outlook for the world economy.

World oil consumption will increase by 1 million barrels a day, or 1.2 percent, next year to about 90.8 million a day, the group’s Vienna-based secretariat said in its monthly market report today. Increasing output from countries outside OPEC means demand for the organization’s crude will slide to 29.7 million barrels a day, or about 600,000 a day less than its 12 members pumped last month, the report showed.

US becoming 'refiner to the world' as diesel demand grows

Running at their highest levels in six years, U.S. refineries are finding strong demand for diesel fuel, used widely in cars outside of the United States, and other distillates, like jet fuel.

"Any companies with refining assets on the Gulf Coast are expanding their export terminals,” said Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer, citing Valero, Shell and Marathon Petroleum. “The profitability is not that clear, but the trend is very clear."

WTI Snaps Five-Day Drop as China Industrial Output Gains

West Texas Intermediate crude rose for the first time in six days, trimming a weekly drop as industrial production advanced more than forecast in China, the second-biggest oil consumer.

Futures gained as much as 1.4 percent in New York, snapping the longest streak of declines since December. China’s factory output climbed 9.7 percent in July from a year earlier, 0.8 percentage points higher than forecast in a Bloomberg survey, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show. Prices showed little reaction to a cut in the International Energy Agency’s estimate for 2014 global oil demand growth. WTI fell yesterday amid speculation that the Federal Reserve will trim stimulus measures in the U.S.

“Better than expected Chinese industrial data was always going to give a boost to risky assets such as oil,” said Michael Hewson, a market analyst at CMC Markets Plc in London, who forecasts North Sea Brent crude to drop to $103 a barrel by the end of the year and WTI to fall as low as $95. “Oil did drop yesterday so we were always going to get a bit of a pullback from that too.”

Middle East crude production to be hit by maintenance and industrial action

Crude supply from some of the Middle East and North Africa's oil producers is expected to be lower as output is disrupted by maintanance work and industrial action.

Libya's production is set to drop further as workers at the country's Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) protest over management changes and the company's structure.

"Union members met today in the fields of Mesla, Nafoora, Sarir and Hamada, and they decided to cut production in these fields at a rate of 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) until (the government) responds to their demands," Saad Denar, vice president of the federation of oil workers, told Reuters.

Hedge Funds Make Record Bearish Corn Bets on Supply

U.S. farmers are poised to reap their biggest-ever corn crop, expanding global stockpiles to the most in 13 years and spurring hedge funds and other speculators to make record bets that prices will keep slumping.

Exxon, Imperial to Buy Conoco Oil-Sands for $723 Million

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Imperial Oil Ltd. agreed to buy ConocoPhillips’ Clyden lease for about C$751 million ($723 million), expanding their holdings in the booming Alberta oil-sands region.

The sale includes 226,000 net acres of undeveloped land near the southern edge of the Athabasca oil sands, Houston-based ConocoPhillips said in a statement today. Under the agreement, Exxon will hold 72.5 percent of the leasehold and Calgary-based Imperial, which Exxon controls, will have 27.5 percent, the companies said.

PetroChina to join Exxon on giant Iraqi oilfield - source

BEIJING/MOSCOW (Reuters) - China's biggest energy firm PetroChina will join Exxon Mobil in developing Iraq's giant West Qurna oilfield and is in talks with Lukoil to buy into a second project at the field, industry sources said on Friday.

China is already the top foreign player in Iraq's southern oilfields and a deal at West Qurna would boost its dominance and could make PetroChina the biggest single foreign investor.

Norway Fund Says Emerging Market Slump Curbed Returns

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, said a slump in emerging markets held back returns in the second quarter amid concern over a slowdown in the Chinese economy.

The fund lost 5.9 percent on its stock investments in emerging markets in the second quarter, in part because of speculation of weaker growth in China, the investor said. In total, the $760 billion fund rose 0.1 percent, or 17 billion kroner ($2.9 billion), in the period, helped by U.S. and Japanese stocks. Stocks rose 0.9 percent, while bond investments dropped 1.4 percent. Real estate investments rose 3.9 percent.

ANALYSIS: German 4 GW new coal plants in testing after first fire

(Platts) - Five new coal-fired power plants in Germany with a combined capacity of around 4 GW have had their "first fire" over recent weeks and will be generating electricity in the hot testing phase over the next couple of months, according to a Platts survey of the five plant operators. The projects include RWE's Hamm D unit (800 MW), EnBW's RDK 8 (912 MW), Vattenfall's first block at Hamburg-Moorburg (840 MW), Steag's Walsum 10 unit (725 MW) and GDF Suez's new coal-fired power plant at Wilhelmshaven (800 MW).

Mine Deal Puts New Scrutiny on China’s State Industries

ZHONGSHE, China — A moribund coal mine here descends deeply, more than 3,800 feet underground. But the deal in which a Chinese state-owned conglomerate bought it may be even darker and more labyrinthine.

The Zhongshe mine and two others, in Shanxi Province in northern China, are at the center of unusually public accusations of mismanagement and corruption afflicting one of the nation’s flagship state conglomerates, China Resources. Critics say that the $1.6 billion purchase was vastly overpriced and illegal and that large sums may have been squandered or, as some are claiming, improperly diverted.

How Dumb Is Immigration Debate? This Dumb.

In recent years, the net inflow of new undocumented immigrants arriving from Mexico has fallen to zero. Some of the decline is due to the U.S. recession and a falloff in construction, which employed a lot of migrant workers. But some is due to an improving economy in Mexico, where unemployment is 5 percent and wages have been rising. “I personally think the huge boom in Mexican immigration is over,” Massey said.

Yet the political debate over immigration is stuck in 1985. Congress is focused above all on how to further militarize an already militarized border -- despite the fact that doubling the size of the border patrol since 2004 and installing hundreds of miles of barriers and surveillance equipment appears to have been counterproductive. At any rate, the flow of unauthorized immigration has slowed dramatically. “Listening to the Republicans, you’d think waves of people are crossing the border,” Massey said. “But illegal migration stopped four years ago and has been zero since.”

Rejecting Keystone Will Have Little to No Impact on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new study from IHS, a prominent, independent energy research firm, says that a thumbs down from President Barack Obama on the Keystone Pipeline would have minimal to no impact on U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

It found that “Venezuelan heavy oil—and Venezuela—would be the number one beneficiary of a negative decision on Keystone.”

Will Keystone XL Pipeline Create Many Construction Jobs?

The construction of Keystone XL, which would generate 3,950 person-years of work according to the U.S. Department of State, has a job creation potential on par with building a shopping mall or the campus renovations the University of Oregon announced last week.

Moreover, after it's built, Keystone XL will only employ between 35 and 50 people — and some of those positions will be filled in Canada. That's a small fraction of the long-term employment benefits one could expect from a shopping mall.

Leak at Oil Sands Project in Alberta Heightens Conservationists’ Concerns

The oil company calls it “seepage.” Environmentalists describe it as a “blow out.”

Either way, the leak at the oil sands project in Northern Alberta — which has spilled 280,022 gallons of oil across 51 acres since June — is stoking the controversy over the energy source.

Colorado Fracking Stresses Regulators as Permit Bids Soar

New rules governing oil and gas extraction in Colorado may increase the review period for permits and add to a backlog of well applications as energy exploration proceeds at a pace to eclipse last year’s record.

Rail Agency Probes Possible Safety Flaws in Crude Transit

The Federal Railroad Administration said it is investigating the safety of transporting crude oil by rail, including whether chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are corroding tank cars.

Regulators in July 29 a letter to the American Petroleum Institute, a Washington-based lobbying and standards-setting group for the oil and gas industry, said the chemical composition of the crude is sometimes misclassified at a lower hazard level, violating existing safety rules.

In some cases, the tank cars shipping the hazardous material may not be equipped with “required design enhancements,” the FRA said in the letter sent three weeks after a deadly explosion in Quebec of a train hauling oil.

Tesla shares soar on earnings surprise

Tesla Motors shares put the pedal to the metal on Wednesday in after-hours trading following results that show the company's revenue is growing better than forecasts and profit that blew past expectations.

Tesla aces its first crash test

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The Tesla Model S just got another rave review, this one from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's crash test.

NHTSA gave the Model S its top five-star rating for each safety category -- front-end crash, side crash and rollover crash. NHTSA had not previously tested the Model S, which came out last year, or Tesla's other model, the Tesla Roadster.

Get on the Bus

Improving bus service—not building new trains—offers the best route to better mass transit.

One Small Step: The Big Benefits of Walking to Work

Commuters who trade in their car for a pair of comfortable shoes will do more than just save money on gas, new research finds.

A study by researchers at Imperial College London and University College London discovered that people who walk to work are roughly 40 percent less likely to have diabetes compared with those who drive to work.

Kan, Tepco execs won’t face negligence charges

Prosecutors do not plan to indict former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. over the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear meltdown calamity that started on March 3, 2011, investigative sources said Friday.

The prosecutors decided, based on the testimony of tsunami experts, that the government and Tepco could not have foreseen the monster waves that hit the complex after the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, due to the lack of “unified knowledge” on the height of tsunami.

Falsified Reports After Fukushima Fan Anti-Nuclear Korea

For Seoul residents, South Korea’s decision to keep four nuclear reactors offline because of faked safety reports means power shortages, and a summer of sweltering homes and offices. Lee Jin Gon has bigger concerns.

“We feel unsafe day and night,” Lee said, pointing at the cause of his nervousness, one of the closed reactors in the town of Yangnam, a four-hour journey southeast of the capital. “We became worried about nuclear safety after the Fukushima accident. Now it’s worse,” he said, adding that locals have held protests to close the whole plant.

Nuclear Power Plant in South Carolina At Risk For Shutdown

A nuclear power plant located near Hartsville, South Carolina is at risk for being shut down, according to a research study conducted at the Vermont Law School. However, the plant has a license to operate until 2030 and operators Duke Energy say they have no plans to retire it early.

Dong Energy Spearheads Offshore Wind Cost-Cutting Drive

Dong Energy A/S, Denmark’s state-controlled utility, is leading a drive to cut offshore wind-power costs by as much as 40 percent by the end of the decade.

Dong is working with six other companies and three British and Irish universities to study ways of using less steel in wind-turbine foundations at sea to make the technology more affordable, it said today in an e-mailed statement.

The Peak Oil Crisis: The 3rd Window

We currently are living through one of the more interesting yet bizarre periods in the history of science. The interesting part is that the evidence continues to accumulate that there has indeed been a scientific discovery fully as significant as the steam engine, electricity, radio, atomic energy, or micro circuitry – perhaps even combined. The bizarre part is that 99+ percent of us have either no, or possibly a distorted idea, of what is happening. I am talking about the third window that nature left open for us into the energy locked inside atoms –popularly known as “cold fusion.”

Parents, you don't need to buy more stuff

Research shows that having a lot of money changes people's way of looking at things. Because money allows us to get whatever we want, it reinforces our desire for independence. And as any parent knows, wanting to be left alone to do your own thing is not perfectly compatible with parenting.

It's this incompatibility that undermines the meaning that people typically get out of parenting: If you have enough money to be flying off for a weekend getaway, diaper-changing seems even less appealing. The wealth people accumulate before having kids surprisingly impoverishes the experience of parenting.

Our recent research suggests it's not how much money you have, it's how carefully you spend that money.

India’s Fear of Growth

India’s feeling about growth (or the feeling of its political class, at any rate) is that it’s all very well, but... It’s all very well, but it won’t improve public services, attack illiteracy or lift the burden of disease. It’s all very well, but it won’t end poverty or secure social justice. It’s all very well, but what about inequality?

This ambivalence, which Chinese policy makers would see as a form of derangement, pervades India’s public discourse -- and India is a vibrant democracy in which public discourse matters. Recently, in an intellectual confrontation that could only happen in India, the authors of two contending texts on the subject of growth have been slugging it out, and their quarrel has been national news.

Fear of Immortality

By a ratio of nearly 2-to-1, respondents who think that “longer life expectancies would strain our natural resources” say that living to 120 would be bad for society. Respondents who reject the strained-resources claim draw the opposite conclusion: Fifty-nine percent say extended life would be socially beneficial.

Nanny goat state: D.C. cemetery hires unlikely landscaping crew

Washington D.C.'s Historic Congressional Cemetery is welcoming some strange guests to its 35 acres this week.

They’ve “hired” approximately six dozen goats, or about two herds, for $750 a day to rid the area of invasive species like poison ivy.

Tiny Chinese Island Sets Example for Sustainable Fishing

Zhangzi Island thrives on the seafood industry — dominated by the Zhangzidao Group, which manages 70,000 hectares of the Yellow Sea. The company is a full-service operation, covering hatching, farming, processing and trading of shellfish. As the largest seafood company listed on Shenzhen Stock Exchange, it's so embedded into the island community that the 15,000 residents are shareholders: 30 percent of their collective income comes from seafood production.

Once we disembarked, the company took us to local processing facilities where workers split seafood shells with precision water technology, slicing the meat out cleanly, minimizing waste and using scant amounts of energy. Workers put the meat on ice, then boxed it for shipping to local markets where it will be eaten the following morning. The process is efficient, clean and mindful of the environment.

Deaths of Manatees, Dolphins and Pelicans Point to Estuary at Risk

Along 50 miles of northern estuary waters off Brevard County and the Kennedy space complex, about 280 manatees have died in the last 12 months, 109 of them in the same sudden manner as the Banana River victims. As the manatee deaths peaked this spring, hundreds of pelicans began dying along the same stretch of water, followed this summer by scores of bottlenose dolphins.

The cause continues to evade easy explanation. But a central question is whether the deaths are symptoms of something more ominous: the collapse of the natural balance that sustains the 156-mile estuary’s northern reaches.

“We may have reached a tipping point,” said Troy Rice, who directs the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, a federal, state and local government partnership at the St. Johns River Water Management District.

Cut Emissions? Congress Itself Keeps Burning a Dirtier Fuel

WASHINGTON — As part of the climate change agenda he unveiled this year, President Obama made a commitment to significantly reduce the federal government’s dependence on fossil fuels. The government, he said in a speech in June at Georgetown University, “must lead by example.”

But just two miles from the White House stands the Capitol Power Plant, the largest single source of carbon emissions in the nation’s capital and a concrete example of the government’s inability to green its own turf.

Report: Global warming already having dramatic impacts in Calif.: Rising oceans, bigger forest fire predicted

Rising ocean waters. Bigger and more frequent forest fires. More brutally hot summer days.

These aren't the usual predictions about global warming based on computer forecasts. They're changes already happening in California, according to a detailed new report issued Thursday by the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Climate change is “an immediate and growing threat” affecting the state's water supplies, farm industry, forests, wildlife and public health, the report says. The 258-page document was written by 51 scientists from the University of California, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among other agencies and institutions.

”Climate change is not just some abstract scientific debate,” said California EPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez. “It's real, and it's already here.”

So, Mr. Rosenberg, for oil it's all about demand, not supply, eh?


Month over month, $1 billion in investment (109 additional wells x $8 M apiece) over 1.3 M additional barrels.

Respectfully, sir, you're missing part of the picture.

Right off the bat - in his point #3 - he conflates natural gas production through fracking with crude oil production as part of the proof that peak oil is nonsense.

Ummm... Mr. Rosenberg - you do realize crude oil and natural gas are different, and our infrastructure to utilize one, particularly for transportation purposes, cannot simply be changed over to use the other at the drop of a hat ? We'd think that you would have at least buried that obvious bait and switch maneuver down in point #7 or #8.

It really is something to see all these economists hanging their hat on "fracking" - they have gone all in on that "new technology" - gonna be interesting to listen to their complete silence when the decline rates for these wells really come home to roost.

Oh it is worse that . . .

1. Oil demand has declined in the industrialized world since 2005.

His very first statement is proof of peak oil. Why is demand down? Because of high prices. Why are the prices high? Because supply was unable to meet demand! Duh.

I so so so hate this fake PR about 'peak demand' as if it is any different than 'peak oil'. They are the same thing and they always were. 'Peak Demand' is nothing but at attempt by the people who go their forecasts wrong to rationalize them and try to deny that peak oil is an issue.


peak oil/peak demand

Probably as simple as that, with most of MSM needing to tow the latter to perpetuate BAU (for as long as it may last).

And Michael Klare in a recent piece in TomDispath.com had the utterly depressing numbers on how much money is being thrown down the rathole of dirty fossil fuel extraction:


It’s true that ever more wind farms and solar arrays are being built, but here’s the kicker: investment in unconventional fossil-fuel extraction and distribution is now expected to outpace spending on renewables by a ratio of at least three-to-one in the decades ahead.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), an inter-governmental research organization based in Paris, cumulative worldwide investment in new fossil-fuel extraction and processing will total an estimated $22.87 trillion between 2012 and 2035, while investment in renewables, hydropower, and nuclear energy will amount to only $7.32 trillion. In these years, investment in oil alone, at an estimated $10.32 trillion, is expected to exceed spending on wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, hydro, nuclear, and every other form of renewable energy combined.

As James Kunstler pointed out a number of times all that steel and resources could have
been more wisely invested in just restoring the US 233,000 existing miles of Rail.
But how difficult will it be to reclaim for that purpose once it is down a zillion holes in the ground?

Here in New Jersey there are several projects for "walkable mixed used town centers" but
nothing about Rail service which goes within 2 miles of such redevelopments. They just built a whole bunch of senior townhomes, many of the seniors cannot drive, just about 1/2 mile from
the Great Notch train station which was removed from service just a year and a half ago...

Also: "in the industrialized world." Is China not part of the industrialized world? On what grounds?

Because their energy consumption is increasing. Only industrialised nations have decreasing energy consumption. #ref

This is an important point. Although the difference between "industrialized" and "developing" countries might be real, it's a question of degree.

It's much more useful to group regions according to geography and demographics, and then to think of the global economy as one big system in which currencies and energy are inextricably linked.

Therefore if somebody points out that oil demand is down in North America, Europe, and Japan, I have some responses: first, this is an arbitrary grouping. Second, this doesn't prove that oil consumption has declined worldwide, which it hasn't. As many like Gail have pointed out oil consumption continues to increase in many parts of the world.

So even the argument based on demand isn't currently true! But even if it was, as pointed out here, that would merely be evidence that real supply constraint is causing high prices that reduce demand. In this case the "chicken or egg" problem clearly favors the following sequence: limited supply -> rising price -> reduced demand rather than reduced demand -> increased supply.

Of course, the high priests of modern monetary theory and supply side economics insist that all of the above is false, that natural resources are infinite, and there are no limits to growth of the human economy on this planet or the universe, and that our children are all going to become billionaires and live forever.

Spot on. What we are witnessing is a zero sum game (or even worse). It does not mean no one can win. It just means that you win at the expense of someone else. Same with energy. The growth of some regions is possible at this point because the demand is down in others. At this point it still looks to many as a voluntary (or even technological) thing. Soon it will not be so voluntary any more.

"What we are witnessing is a zero sum game (or even worse)."

Yeah, it's worse; provably negative sum. It probably comes at the expense of 1 1/2 people, some yet-to-be-born (the whole 1 1/2 earths thing), not to mention our fellow earthlings. Calling anything that chops away at biodiversity 'progress' is quite insane, IMO. In that sense, no one wins. Any precept that ignores this is invalid.

"...gonna be interesting to listen to their complete silence when the decline rates for these wells really come home to roost."

Already headed home it seems:..

Shale Is A Pipedream Sold To Greater Fools

Shell writes down over $2 billion on recent acquisitions, and has invested another $22 billion in the same assets. More write downs will follow. The company even broke with its tradition of setting future production targets. And it's not just Shell either; you can bet the other major oil firms will run into similar obstacles. They're not just eager, they're downright desperate: if they can't get access to more oil, they're done. Flows from existing fields are plunging at a 5% annual rate. Big Oil needs to make up for those losses or risk seeing their business models crumble."

...and the smart ones have been getting out of gas plays for some time:

Now that the land grab is over, companies are stuck with more turf than they can drill, and prices have collapsed. Hess Corp. just dumped subpar acreage for an $800 million loss. "In the game of musical chairs, all of a sudden the music stopped," says Carl Tricoli, president of private equity firm Denham Capital. And EOG is sitting pretty. [..]

October 2007 Papa declared that industry had found so much shale gas that "we had probably ruined the market for 20 years." So, he said, EOG would shift entirely toward oil.

So what happens when companies begin writing down assets and taking losses? Hint:

The most important feature of market cycles, in my view, is the impact of compounding. It is an important but easily forgotten fact of arithmetic that, for example, a 30% loss reduces a 140% gain to a 68% gain, while a 40% loss reduces a 140% gain to a 44% gain. Because of that compounding effect, it’s a simple fact that most bear market declines wipe out more than half of the preceding bull market advance. This effect tends to be more pronounced when the decline occurs from a point of rich valuations in the context of a “secular” bear market – a period where valuations begin at very high levels and gradually correct to more typical levels over the course of several market cycles.


Not sure what happens when a bull market wasn't really a bull at all. I doubt that linear-thinking economists even have a clue, and Greer, this week, compares them to Astrologers:

...as for just plain wrong, your average economist has astrologers beat three falls out of three—you’ll never catch an astrologer claiming that the sun will rise in the west tomorrow morning and then never set again, while it’s par for the course for economists to insist that the speculative bubble du jour will never pop, that the laws of economics can trump the laws of physics and geology, and so on. Yet you’ll never hear scientists denouncing economics as the crackpot pseudoscience that it arguably is.

The religion of progress...

I compiled a top ten list record for global temperature annual averages. The diagram may appear a bit un-intuitive first, but it is quite simple. Year 1880, the first year on the record, automaticly makes it the warmest year ever recorded, since it is the first year ever recorded. 1881 was slightly warmer, so it replaces 1880 at the first position, and 1880 are knocked down to position 2 etc. The list then goes on to 2012. Years are color coded after what position they hold, black for first, and so on.

This list is a way to represent data. It clearly shows how the records are broken all the time. Most years came into the top ten list, and since 1986 only 2 years didn't make it. The list shows clearly how it just get warmer all the time. No cooling since 1998...

Data comes from here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A2.txt

Diagram here

I did edit it to replace the image with a text link. It was huge, in file size and pixels, and did not display properly even on a widescreen monitor. 2400x3800 and 300k is definitely too big.

Yes. I could not find a good way to represent this data in such a way in a readable format without making it big in any way to measure size. With some tweaking I could possibly make it slightly smaller. But it took long time enough just to make it.

You had a bit of fun putting that together, didn't you? Once upon a time I would have needed a "book of rules" to understand such a graph. Now-a-days I pick it up with very little explanation. I'll miss TOD.

Cheers, Matt
PS. Might a red to dull-yellow scheme work better? It's just a visual thing. :)

I couldn't understand it. Here's a more conventional representation:

Joe Average: Yes, i had fun making it.

Aardvark: The graph is a representation of the top ten list of global average temperature. You can check in any year wich years are on the top ten list, and what position they are in. The positions are colour coded so you can see that too. The point of the graph is to see how the list constantly changes. As a new record hit the list, an old one are kicked out. The graph demonstrates how no record stay on the top-ten very long.

Philippine oil spill turns Manila Bay red

A fuel tanker is suspected of having dumped half a million litres of diesel into the country's busiest waterway on Thursday, said coast guard environmental protection chief Commodore Joel Garcia. "I cannot say that we have contained it because it has affected so wide an area," he told reporters.

The 300-square-kilometre (120-square-mile) slick was drifting toward the mouth of Manila bay Friday, Garcia said. About 20 kilometres (12 miles) of coastline near the capital Manila has been affected, he added.

Garcia said the coast guard decided not to use chemical dispersants as they would poison the water, opting to let the fuel evaporate. He could not say how long this would take.

not to use chemical dispersants as they would poison the water

I suspect this is true. Oil floating on the surface could be collected and poison mostly birds landing on it and swimming animals breading air. Once the oil is dissolved in the water by dispersants it get impossible to collect and poision the animals living in the water not just the surface.

Seasonal carbon dioxide range expanding as more is added to Earth's atmosphere

... Observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide made by aircraft at altitudes between 3 and 6 kilometers (10,000-20,000 feet) show that seasonal carbon dioxide variations have substantially changed during the last 50 years.

The amplitude increased by roughly 50 percent across high latitude regions north of 45° N, compared with previous aircraft observations from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

This means that more carbon is accumulating in forests and other vegetation and soils in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer, and more carbon is being released in the fall and winter, says study lead scientist Heather Graven of SIO.

Although plant activity can increase with warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide concentrations, the change in carbon dioxide amplitude over the last 50 years is larger than expected from these effects.

UW Enhanced Oil Recovery Research Lab Targets Stranded Reserves

Tens of billions of barrels of oil remain stranded in aging fields in Wyoming’s Big Horn, Wind River and Powder River basins, according to David Mohrbacher, director of the University of Wyoming’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI). A portion of this stranded oil, between 1 billion and 3 billion barrels, can be recovered at today’s oil prices using enhanced oil recovery techniques.

Enhanced oil recovery takes place at existing oil fields that are producing greater than 97 percent water and a little oil, according to Mohrbacher. Use of enhanced oil recovery can increase oil production and extend the commercial life of the field by 20-30 years, Mohrbacher says.

Approximately 14 percent of Wyoming’s oil was produced using carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery during 2011, and production using this EOR method will increase as several new floods are initiated during the next few years, Mohrbacher says. Natural gas or nitrogen also can be injected into the petroleum reservoirs to recover stranded oil.

More enhanced oil recovery can take place in these oil reservoirs when prices are nearer $100 a barrel than $50 a barrel because higher oil prices justify more activity, Mohrbacher says. Even though infrastructure exists, it often has to be retrofitted, brought up to safety standards and special equipment brought to the site, he says.

Will you quit beating around the bush? If you have something to say, then just make your point! (B*)

It's been just a cool, bright and wonderful August week here in Manhattan, so I don't see a problem. Then again, that is probably like a world record of lovely, livable weather for a NY Summer.. maybe we really are in trouble!

It's all just natural variation. ;-)

Ditto for August in Northern California. A low has been stuck just off the coast, and the usual hotter than heck weather has gone away. But, obviously its gone elsewhere with a vengence.

Now that the hotter than heck weather has dried out the fuels to mid-September levels, here come the thunderstorms. Hopefully they bring some rain with them and not just more fires. Because anything that starts now is likely to burn until the snows come in Novemeber, and you can burn up a whole lot of forest in three or four months.

Yedoma Region of Russia Showing Significant Methane Pulse

August 4-7 saw a large and growing pulse of methane emerging from the Yedoma region of Russia and the Siberian Arctic over the past week. By Wednesday, about 30 percent of the Yedoma region was covered in methane readings exceeding 1950 parts per billion, according to measurements published through the online resource — Methane Tracker.

This pulse emerged in conjuction with late summer fires and heatwaves scorching this massive region of permafrost above or near the Arctic Circle. Yedoma includes a broad expanse of permafrost ranging from Siberia to a shallow sea known as the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. In total, this region is estimated to hold 500 gigatons of carbon locked in, now thawing, tundra.

Re: Roads Washed Out, Water Rescues in North Georgia, all of the Southern Appalachain watersheds are saturated this summer, well over a foot above their average rainfall,YTD. Just to the north of the area in the article, TVA is having a tough go keeping their system in check with virtually all of their reservoirs at or above full pool, especially with the frequent downpours. We got another 1.5 inches yesterday in about 2 hours, in an intense, localised burst. My rain gauges went over 48" YTD; normal would be around 33 inches.

Fontana Lake, just to our north, drains much of the Smokey Mtn National Park. This summer's big attraction:


Strictly, that's not a hydraulic jump. It's an energy-dissipating mechanism.

The supercritical flow is striking a deflector wall and flying into the air to break up its momentum.

If it flowed straight into the river you would get a hydraulic jump. You'd also get excessive scour of the river bed, which is what they're trying to avoid.

Tom Whipple's third window has me commenting on some semantics which I find manipulatory.

First Rossi's claim has already be debunked by Ugo Bardi, who is a neighbour and who has closely looked into this (http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.fr/2012/03/sinking-of-e-cat.html).

Trying to make us believe it could be true because 'we don't know everything', or because "it is too good to be true" is deceptory. It is just too false to be believed. If a better model for particle physics is necessary, than the first thing would be to show why. Until then it would be fairly unwise to invest a penny in all this.

Yeah, I think Tom's really off base with this. Even if you do believe there's something to cold fusion, Rossi's not the guy to look to for proof. His track record is...not good.

Tom has it about right. The recent ICCF was held at the University of Missouri and includes research from well respected scientists from all over the world: http://iccf18.research.missouri.edu/program.php

There is also this hybrid reactor http://globalenergycorporation.net/Tech.aspx which burns uranium like a conventional plant, but the reaction is triggered by a LENR process. It's much safer because of the control over the reaction vs a conventional plant.

I don't know if Rossi, or Defkalion are really close to a commercially viable device or not. It's at least a year out even if they have something. But there are lots of demos of the basic effect. Dr. Peter Hagelstein's class at MIT has a canned demonstration that anyone can check out, it's everything anyone could ask for to prove something is happening. And there are plenty of others with proof of excess heat, and transmutations.

On a tangnet (it's not called Cold Fusion) room temperature fusion does exist and works.

Muon-catalyzed fusion, is a real fusion reaction which does release energy. The problem, it takes about 10 times the energy generated in the reaction to create the muons.

I still hold out hope there will be a breakthrough in the hot or cold fusion realms, but self-serving frauds like Rossi only kill public intrest when in the end it turns out to be smoke and mirrors. Even Muon-catalyzed fusion has some already hyping it as the energy source of the future. Maybe it's due to instant access to information these days, but some seem to want to invent the tech before the science is even proven. On one of the cable networks during the announcement that CERN was 99% certain they had discovered the Higgs Boson, they had a "Professor" discussing what it meant, instead of talking about the Standard Model and a fundamental understanding of the universe, he starts saying that we could have anti-gravity cars and wormholes we could dump our toxic waste into!!


1990 Paper from Cern http://cds.cern.ch/record/1054754/files/p409.pdf

"...but some seem to want to invent the tech before the science is even proven."

...but many want access to the energy before humanity has the sense and wisdom to use it. We have a habit of using whatever energy we find to destroy things around us, and each other; call it 'progress'. Learning to live with limits is a necessary lesson for real progress, IMO of course. Hubris and unlimited power don't mix well.

Then again, I could be wrong. Maybe we'll join hands and express our love for one another; tell stories about a time when the real problem was us.

I do think it's possible that there's something there. But that does not mean it's fusion, and it doesn't mean it will ever be a commercial power source.

And I am reminded of the "parapsychology" research that was so hot in the '70s. The results weren't repeatable, but there was just enough there to keep people interested. The American Association for the Advancement of Science accepted the Parapsychological Association as legit. The US Navy was reportedly doing research to see if clairvoyants could track nuclear submarines via psi powers (just as they are now supposedly interested in cold fusion - even though the official report found it's not real).

Today, many people still believe in psychic powers, but parapsychology has lost a good deal of scientific legitimacy, rather than cementing it, as many believers hoped.

The results weren't repeatable, but there was just enough there to keep people interested.

That is the definition of a 'pathological science'. It should be ignored until it produces something of substance.


I trust the US Navy to report the reality.

Low Energy Nuclear Reaction Research at the Naval Research Laboratory

Occasionally, excess energy is produced that is much larger than can be accounted for by chemistry or the electrical input into the system. Unfortunately, the poor reproducibility (<6%) prevented discovery of the trigger for this excess heat.
Although simple in concept, LENR experiments have subtle pitfalls to trap the more casual researcher, and much of our effort has gone into uncovering these pitfalls. Through a historical perspective, I will discuss the application of the scientific method to selected results and how incorrect conclusions could have been easily made. In contrast, we can find no artifacts to explain the data for some of our results, and therefore we must conclude that an unknown source of energy exists and is worthy of more attention.

A 6% reproducibility? Random fluctuations.

Yes, that poor reproducibility is a red flag. It might be that it's a real effect, and people just don't yet understand all the things needed to make it happen regularly...but again, I'm reminded of that old parapsychology research. Where the poor reproducibility led to the theory that skepticism inhibited psychic ability.

Wrong link given.

I quoted from the pdf abstract: http://iccf18.research.missouri.edu/files/day2/Kidwell_Keynote.pdf

But linked to the slides: https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/36786/LENRInve... warning: 5.6MB pdf

Yes, Muons are heavier than electrons so they orbit closer to the proton. That allows the proton to get much closer to another proton, close enough to fuse.

It's pretty similar to what some say is happening with LENR, in a metal like nickle with 1 hydrogen atom for each metal atom, some of the electrons get into very elongated orbits which pass very close to the proton. If another proton is close by, they don't repel each other and can fuse.

Another theory is that the electron actually gets captured by the proton creating a neutron which can then bind to a nearby proton. Neutrons decay into protons and electrons, reversing that is certainly possible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_capture

I'm an engineer, not a scientist, but I work with semiconductors and in a semiconductor the electron is always modeled as being heavier than normal.

Wikipedia is enforcing a ban on positive cold fusion news like it was just another perpetual motion machine, but they have plenty of info on things like electron capture which support the basic theory.

In this context Tom reminds me of Anthony Watts. Clutching at straws. Basically 99% of scientists say one thing, and yet they are all wrong, and it's the 1% of scientists that we should believe.

Yeah, I really wish Tom would stop wasting his time on the matter. Let the Cold Fusion people play in their sandbox and when they have something substantial to show then cover it. But it has been 20 years of nothing useful. If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. If you build something that only some people can sort of kinda maybe eak out a tiny net energy gain in highly controlled conditions then you have nothing worth discussing widely.

The E-cat seems to have e^9 lives.

Indeed. I believe Ugo has decided to stop writing about it, because at this point, giving it any more attention is counterproductive.

But he has pointed out that the people who endorse the E-Cat in the most recent test were the same ones who endorsed it before. And the test took place at the Leonardo corporation, not in an independent lab. The device tested was a completely different device than the one tested earlier, which many see as an admission the previous device was a hoax. And they made their calorimetic measurements without a calorimeter, which means the results are worth squat.

This paper [PDF] lays it out.

For a quick summary:

More On Rossi's E-Cat: Ericsson And Pomp Rebut "Independent" Test

Leanan, I realize that you and the rest of the staff already have your suitcases packed and are ready to head out, but I'd like to make a late plea for consideration of a modified form of continuation of TOD. To me and many others, the essence of TOD has been the Drumbeat, not the key posts. The daily gathering of minds focused on the topic of peak oil is still as vital as ever and this site is still at the center of that universe.

To maintain and enhance the quality of the drumbeat discussions I would suggest some minor changes to the way it has been done. That would be, more moderation in the sense that we want to read the opinions of experts in the field, not the rants of various biases. This may be accomplished largely by limiting the number of daily comments by any member, with some sort of perks available to be earned by a history of quality participation. Others have already suggested something like this. I have no problem with someone like Leanan warning, then banning any member that seems to be detracting from the experience of the rest of the group.

If high quality key posts are not as available as previously, that is not a major issue for most of us. It's more important that the key posts that are published are of an expert quality, even if they only appear once a month or whatever. Thanks for giving this serious consideration even at this late date. It's really the best choice given the feedback and alternatives.

Dunewalker, if all you want to read is the opinions of the experts then simply find the one person blogs they have and follow them and/or read the academic/technical journals. The Drumbeat discussion is overwhelmingly non-expert--and many of us like it this way.

Thanks, guess I'll do that--and you, what will you do in 3 weeks?

Leanan, do you have a list of the people who are going to post Farewell posts? Were Professor Goose, Nate Hagens and other people prominent in the earlier years of TOD asked?

They were all asked. Nate will be writing a couple of posts, maybe more, later this month.

PG isn't writing anything, at least so far, but he was asked.

I know Nate has one he is getting ready. I have one about done that I will probably submit next week. There are quite a few others in the queue I think.

It's a race to be the last one to post on TOD.


Using the “most cases” reference from JB Straubel, that would most likely mean that the standard 85 kW version Model S would be a safe bet to have battery costs at ”less than a quarter” – that translates to a total maximum cost of about $20,250 or $238/kWh. Pretty cheap.

So how much would it cost to power a smaller, 200 mile entry level EV from Tesla? We estimate it could be achieved from around 50kWh seeing how the 60 kWh version of the Model S is rated at 208 miles by the EPA. The third generation Tesla will be a much smaller, lighter and we assume more aerodynamic proposition.

50 kWh of lithium power would only translate to a maximum of $11,900 in costs…still plenty of room to still build out the rest of the car.

I think Nissan let slip a couple of years ago that the pack-level cost for the Leaf was $350/kWhr - so they might be down in this range now too. Which is pretty awesome. Nissan has been selling the Versa (ICE) for around $17,000 equipped (their lowest price quoted doesn't even include the air in the tires) which is what the Leaf is based on (even if they deny it)...so if you just toss $12,000 onto that price you get $29,000.

I'm not sure If Tesla can pull off a <$35k 200 mile EV with their cost structure, but I know any of the biggies (Nissan, Toyota, GM) could if they wanted to. Key word being "want."

The mathematical model behind how Lithium-ion batteries charge and drain is both incredibly simple yet incredibly counter-intuitive. I had the chance to take a week-long training course on hybrid-electric vehicles put on by SAE, and while I listened to the lectures, I doodled out a model that I later fleshed out.

I placed the full description here:

This is part of the ContextEarth modeling platform and web site that I will be unveiling when TOD closes shop.

Just to break up the litany of bad news about Peak Oil and Climate Change, here's some MONSTER good news from the medical front (yeah I realize this just causes mess elsewhere but let me enjoy the moment for awhile before you go and dump all over this decidely positive news with what amounts to negative population effects and it's just a potential shot to the head against malaria, but still): http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/9/4604006/us-agencies-say-sanaria-PfSPZ-m... and http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6146/605

We potentially have an effective vaccine against malaria. I say again, a potentiallyg effective vaccine against malaria has been developed. The silver bullet to strike down one of the top killers of human beings has been developed.

This is a GREAT THING! It's HUGE!

Just had to spread the good news.

The ages long scourge of malaria may come to an end before long. That's massive. I'm so happy for our posterity and the millions who potentially will not die young as a result of this. This is awesome. This is huge. I'll be beaming for the rest of the day and simply proud (for once) to be a member of a species who can overcome such a scourge.

It is a good day. Let us enjoy it and be glad.

I'm going to go and do a happy dance now.


The Wet One

(P.S. please save your criticism of my comments for at least a day. I realize that everything is quite provisional at this moment, but based on 100% immunity with a certain series of injections, it looks about as promising as one can get. Now if it can be made cheaply and reasonably easy to distribute, we can defeat another ageless plague of humanity. That's MASSIVE!!!! WOO HAA!!!)

Dang. It is a good day.