Drumbeat: August 28, 2013

Fuel Fraud Costing Europe More Than $4 Billion in Lost Taxes

“This criminal activity is undermining the fabric of the legitimate petroleum industry and the state, at a time when economic challenges have never been so great,” said Tom Noonan, chairman of the Irish Petroleum Industry Association and chief executive officer of Maxol Group, a Dublin-based oil retailer. “Illegal activity has been allowed to grow to such a large scale unimpeded.”

...Europe’s black market is adding to hard times for refiners as the lowest demand in two decades saps returns, according to the International Energy Agency. An average 11.6 million barrels a day of crude was processed from January through May in the region’s richest economies, the lowest level for any corresponding period since 1989, the Paris-based IEA said in a report on July 11.

Refinery margins, the profit from turning crude into fuels such as diesel and gasoline, were about $4 a barrel in Northwest Europe last week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with $8 a year ago and a peak $20 a barrel in September 2008, the data show.

WTI at Two-Year High on Concern Syria Unrest Will Spread

West Texas Intermediate crude surged to the highest price since May 2011 on concern that conflict in Syria may spread and threaten oil supplies from the Middle East. Brent climbed to a six-month high in London.

Oil jumps as Syria conflict heats up

LONDON (CNNMoney) - Once again, a Middle East conflict is pushing oil prices higher.

Oil prices rose roughly 3% Tuesday and continued advancing by nearly 1% Wednesday, as the U.S. government and its allies consider a military strike on Syria following the country's suspected use of chemical weapons.

The conflict has left investors reeling, with global stocks selling off and investors rushing to safer havens, such as Treasuries, which are backed by the U.S. government.

"In a world when you don't know what to do, you buy government bonds," said Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank.

Oil Diverges From U.S. Stocks Most Since 2011 on Syria Concerns

Oil and American equities are moving in opposite directions by the most in almost two years amid prospects of military intervention in Syria.

As Oil Reaches $111 a Barrel, Are Gas Price Spikes Next?

The Syrian crisis drove oil prices to $111 a barrel. The crisis may well be worse if the U.S. strikes government installations there with drones. If Bashar al-Assad's government reacts with more actions against civilians, the cycle of action and reaction could last for weeks, and perhaps beyond. The question of how oil could press gasoline prices higher, an issue that has been dormant for months, should cause anxiety again.

Good news for drivers

"My sense is that crude oil prices have already 'baked in' some of the upheaval that we've seen in the late second quarter and through the summer in the Middle East and North Africa," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.

"Some of the violence has had an impact on crude oil production (Libya has struggled with about half their usual exports thanks to demonstrations at export terminals), but much of the strength in overseas crude is based on a 'worry premium,' " Kloza said by email.

Japan crude stocks near 3-yr low as refiners cut capacity

TOKYO (Reuters) - Commercial crude oil inventories in Japan fell to the lowest in 35 months last week, industry data showed on Wednesday, as refiners slashed capacity to meet government rules aimed at boosting efficiency.

Japan is at risk of losing its status this year as the world's third-biggest fuel consumer, as consumption has been dropping due to lower demand from a declining and ageing population.

Iraq to Cut September Basrah Light Crude Exports to 20-Month Low

Iraq will reduce daily exports of Basrah Light crude from the Persian Gulf in September to the lowest in at least 20 months, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Middle Eastern producer, the largest in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, will ship about 52.86 million barrels, or 1.76 million barrels a day, from the Basrah Oil Terminal, according to the plan. This is the lowest since at least February 2012 when Bloomberg started tracking the data and compares with 2.09 million a day this month.

Reaching “peak bashing” of peak oil

The discussion of the death of peak oil has ramped up along with the increased hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling into tight sands and formations across North Dakota and Texas. In fact, even people that think peak oil will correlate to significant problems for society shy away from the term. But just as it is becoming more difficult to define what “oil” is in energy databases (it is now popular to report “liquids” that have vastly different life cycles and energy densities), the definition of “peak oil” seems to be in the context of the penholder (or typist).

TransCanada Keystone XL Defeats Obstacle to Pipeline Leg

TransCanada Corp. won a state appeals court ruling allowing it to lay the Keystone XL pipeline across a family farm in northeastern Texas, eliminating one of the last obstacles to completion of the southern leg of the Canadian tar-sands line.

India in crisis mode as rupee hits another record low

The threat of a military strike against Syria by western powers has further unsettled investors and sent oil prices soaring. The timing could not be worse for India, which is the world's fourth-largest oil importer, bringing in on average nearly 3 million barrels a day.

Even before the spike in oil prices, investors were worried about India's $88 billion current account deficit, which reflects the nation's tendency to import many more goods than it exports and leaves it heavily reliant on foreign capital.

China Expands Inquiry on Graft to Oil Industry

HONG KONG — The Chinese Communist Party’s drive against corruption moved into the powerful and politically delicate oil sector this week, as the authorities announced that four executives of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation were under investigation.

Western intervention looms after reported Syrian chemical weapons attacks

Damascus, Syria (CNN) -- Warships armed with cruise missiles plow the waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cabinet-level officials hold a National Security Council meeting at the White House Tuesday night.

And U.S. officials all but tell U.N. inspectors in Syria to get out of the way.

Libya Oil Output Tumbles as Protests Spread Westward

Libyan oil production fell to one-eighth of its capacity as protests over pay and allegations of corruption spread to fields operated by Eni SpA and Repsol SA, executives at the state oil company said.

Protesters yesterday stopped production at Repsol-operated Sharara and Eni-operated El Feel, or Elephant, fields in western Libya, according to National Oil Corp. Director of Measurement Ibrahim Al Awami. Output from the North African nation slumped to about 200,000 barrels a day, compared with 640,000 in August and its optimal capacity of 1.6 million, NOC Chairman Nuri Berruien said today in an interview from Tripoli.

Attacks kill at least 65 in Iraq, many more hurt

BAGHDAD (AP) — A coordinated wave of bombings tore through Shiite Muslim areas in and around the Iraqi capital early Wednesday, part of a wave of bloodshed that killed at least 65 people and wounded many more, officials said. The blasts, which came in quick succession, mainly targeted residents out shopping and on their way to work.

In addition to the bombings, the death toll included seven Shiite family members killed when gunmen raided their home and shot them as they slept.

To cut natural gas costs, Chesapeake pumps up royalty deductions

(Reuters) - As the natural gas industry struggles to cope with depressed prices, Chesapeake Energy Corp has begun shifting a much larger share of transportation and marketing costs to the owners of Pennsylvania land it leases.

The largest natural gas operator in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale formation, Chesapeake started this year to take much heavier deductions from royalty checks it sends landowners to help pay to gather, compress, market and transport natural gas, in most cases cutting compensation by more than half.

Turkish energy minister fires back over Taqa power project delay

The Turkish energy minister has fired back at Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) over delaying an investment decision on a US$12 billion coal megaproject over what he called "political reasons."

This week Taqa said it would not make a final investment decision on the coal mining and power plant development, expected this summer, until 2014 because of "spending priorities."

At $20 billion, is Tesla worth more than GM, Ford?

Tesla Motor's spectacular stock price climb has hit another milestone. In topping $167 a share, the young automaker has passed a $20 billion market cap.

That's impressive for a company that sells only a single model from a single factory, a luxury car out of price reach of most consumers -- with all the limitations that currently go with owning an electric car.

Poland starts shale gas extraction

Shale gas extraction has begun at a test well in northern Poland, a first for the EU member, a minister said in a newspaper interview on Wednesday.

The firm Lane Energy Poland, controlled by US energy giant ConocoPhilips, has been extracting about 8,000 cubic metres of gas per day since July 21, deputy environment minister Piotr Wozniak said.

Enbridge gets OK for 1st Ind. oil pipeline segment

GRIFFITH, Ind. (AP) - Federal regulators have given Enbridge Energy approval to begin installing the first segment of the company's planned replacement of 60 miles of crude oil pipeline in northern Indiana.

The Times of Munster reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently cleared the way for work to begin on a pipeline section running between the Indiana-Michigan state line and LaPorte.

Keystone Seen as No Local Job Starter Along Prairie Route

Balcom, 44, knows most of the workers building the Canada-Nebraska pipeline will stay at a catered “man-camp” seven miles away and won’t be hoisting brews under the stuffed mountain lion that adorns his bar. On their days off, they’ll probably travel to places such as Deadwood and Spearfish an hour-and-a-half drive south that offer gambling and other attractions, he said.

“I can’t think of anybody who would be hugely disappointed if it didn’t go through,” Balcom said. “It’s kind of a deal right now where we could take it or leave it.”

Texas Earthquakes Tied to Extraction in Fracking

A recent wave of small earthquakes in and around the Eagle Ford formation in Texas was probably the result of extracting oil and in some cases water used for hydraulic fracturing, according to a study.

Clusters of small-magnitude seismic events between November 2009 and September 2011 were “often associated with fluid extraction,” according to the study scheduled to appear this week in the online edition of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. The study follows previous research that links earthquakes to the disposal of drilling wastewater by injecting it underground.

Japan Nuclear Watchdog Casts Doubt on Tepco Water Leak Reporting

Japan’s nuclear regulator may downgrade the severity of the radioactive water leak at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant because operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. may have overstated the extent of the problem. v “We need to look into this issue more,” Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, told reporters today. “It’s up to us to provide accurate data to the nation.”

Japanese agency labels radioactive leak 'serious'

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's nuclear regulator on Wednesday upgraded the rating of a leak of radiation-contaminated water from a tank at its tsunami-wrecked nuclear plant to a "serious incident" on an international scale, and it castigated the plant operator for failing to catch the problem earlier.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority's latest criticism of Tokyo Electric Power Co. came a day after the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant acknowledged that the 300-ton leak probably began nearly a month and a half before it was discovered Aug. 19.

Renewable Energy Provides 14% of US Electrical Generation During First Half of 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) "Electric Power Monthly," with preliminary data through to June 30, 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.20 percent of the nation's net electric power generation during the first half of the year. For the same period in 2012, renewables accounted for 13.57 percent of net electrical generation.

UN ruling puts future of UK wind farms in jeopardy

Plans for future wind farms in Britain could be in jeopardy after a United Nations legal tribunal ruled that the UK Government acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers over their approval and the “necessary information” over their benefits or adverse effects.

The new ruling, agreed by a United Nations committee in Geneva, calls into question the legal validity of any further planning consent for all future wind-farm developments based on current policy, both onshore and offshore.

Kansas drought update: some counties improve, others in emergency status

The good news is that some of us are no longer are in the direct throes of drought.

The bad news is that many Kansas residents still are.

Gov. Sam Brownback has updated the Drought Emergency, Warnings and Watches, placing 25 counties in drought watch, 20 more in warning status and 37 in emergency conditions.

USDA Climate Report Published, Public Invited to Comment

WASHINGTON – The Climate Change Program Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of the Chief Economist today released and requested public comments on the report Science-Based Methods for Entity-Scale Quantification of Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks from Agriculture and Forestry Practices. The report is the work of 38 scientists from across academia, USDA and the federal government, who are experts in greenhouse gas (GHG) estimation in the cropland, grazing land, livestock and forest management sectors. The report has undergone technical review by an additional 29 scientists.

Yosemite wildfire grows, threatens reservoir, power station

Yosemite National Park, California (CNN) -- The numbers are staggering and the prospects are scary as a still-growing California wildfire menaces Yosemite National Park and San Francisco's water supply.

Get rich in the ‘Age of Megafires’: 2014-20

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — New investment strategies, dead ahead. Not just for America’s 95 million investors. But for the climate-change deniers like Big Oil and the Koch brothers. The trigger: “megafires” destroying treasures like our national parks. Time for a “mega-wakeup call.”

Act now, because the climate deniers will soon do a megashift and stop denying. Got that? Denialism will soon stop. End. So get out in front of this historic shift.

California wildfires further strain federal budget

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) - Federal agencies are scrambling for money to fight devastating fires in Northern California and elsewhere.

Last week, the U.S. Forest Service said it exhausted its funds -- close to $1 billion -- budgeted to fight fires, and it needed to pull another $600 million from other programs, including some aimed at fire prevention.

Now, the Department of Interior is close to exhausting its $368 million in fire suppression funds by mid-September, according to budget staff at the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho. As of last Friday, that agency had spent $301 million.

Chinese Workers—in Greenland?

China is growing. Greenland is melting. So it’s only natural that thousands of Chinese workers may end up near the Arctic Circle to build a vast iron ore mine later this year.

Greenland, a Danish protectorate with a mostly Inuit population of 57,000, is courting foreign investors to tap mineral resources that have become more accessible as rising temperatures shrink the island’s ice cap. In one of the most ambitious projects, London Mining wants to spend $2.3 billion to build a mine in southwestern Greenland that would tap a 1 billion-ton iron ore deposit—a project the company hopes will be financed and built mainly by the Chinese.

How the Arctic Ocean could transform world trade

China, the world's largest trading nation, suffers from several strategic weaknesses related to its all-important shipping routes.

The "Malacca dilemma" results from China's dependence on the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia for over 80 percent of its oil imports. This leaves the country's energy supply vulnerable to interruption.

Oil jumps as Syria conflict heats up

Production was around 400 000 barrels per day before the conflict and last number is down ot around 100 000 barrels per day.

Japan crude stocks near 3-yr low as refiners cut capacity

Iraq to Cut September Basrah Light Crude Exports to 20-Month Low

Libya Oil Output Tumbles as Protests Spread Westward

Yosemite wildfire grows, threatens reservoir, power station

There certainly are some renewable energy to harvest if done before the fires but get rich? I tried biofuel and it's hard and boring work.

Get rich in the ‘Age of Megafires’: 2014-20

China is growing. Greenland is melting. So it’s only natural that thousands of Chinese workers may end up near the Arctic Circle to build a vast iron ore mine later this year.

I have an old iron ore mine just a few hundred meters from my land. It might be better to keep my tongue in the correct mouth or my vife will tell the Chinese and they send an army of workers to dig up a hole the size of grand canyon.

The Chinese probably have a longer term vision for their involvement with this mine.
One of the largest deposits of Rare Earth metals in the world is in the south of Greenland (Kvanefjeld Mine). Even though their soil contains less than 50% of the world reserves, they control more than 95% of the world exports!

This project may be their way to get their foot in the door of mining rare earths in Greenland.

[1] http://www.mining.com/china-growing-uneasy-over-greenlands-rare-earth-am...
[2] http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/rare_earths/mcs-2013-ra...

Re: Japanese refineries closing

Australia imports around 30 kb/d of diesel from Japan

Refineries in Australia are also closing and the public is being told that it is cheaper to import fuel from big Asian refineries. There will be some surprises when the Caltex refinery in Sydney closes next year to be converted to an import terminal with fuel coming from Chevron. However:

Chevron's oil production, sales decline by 5%

Quite a juicy lineup today, Leanan. My doomer sense is that things are in the process of getting very interesting: More unrest (war?) in MENA; refineries closing; India imploding; Fukushima turning out to be the real disaster some of us predicted; Financial sectors and nations figuring how to exploit climate change, which is becoming more self-evident... I could go on,, and on.

TOD, sitting on the sidelines, eating popcorn...

Israel has announced a partial mobilization of reserve forces.

CNBC: Quoting US Official: We are past the point of no return. Strikes on Syria expected within days.

Off course they are. Syria said if there are a war, they will go on Israel. Iran are allied with Syria, so they have reasons to join in. If there is a war between Israel and Iran, everybody get unemployed.

So yes, Israel are mobilizing. And that is always a bad sign.

US defense satellite to be launched from Calif.

A powerful rocket is being prepared to launch a classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite into orbit from the California coast. United Launch Alliance says a Delta IV Heavy rocket is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 10:52 a.m. PDT Wednesday.

It should be in position to observe Syria from orbit in 12-24 hrs after launch. Optical resolution sub-cm. [i.e. It can read a newspaper from 200 miles up].

I think TODster Tom Lemon has a view of Vandenberg AFB

I live near San Diego but drove to an area near Vandenberg and saw the rocket this morning. A daytime launch is not as visible as one at dawn or dusk but I'm glad I was able to see it. Search for "Keyhole" or "Lacrosse" satellite, they are the size of a school bus and are readily visible when they pass over my house. I smile and wave.
Links upon request.


Optical resolution sub-cm. [i.e. It can read a newspaper from 200 miles up].

Seraph, what is your source for that resolution? Just curious.

So much for the concept of sovereignty.

What legal basis do these outside countries have for using warfare on Syria for their internal issue?

People really seem to be hung up on this concept of legality. This is a contrivance of some human societies that applies at some times and places, mostly when those in power feel secure about their future status, and when there is enough to share a bit with the masses in order to increase that feeling of security. Accordingly, as the resource pie shrinks it appears to be becoming somewhat scarce.

There are two situations justifying war in U.N. charter, one is self defense and the other if security council approves. Neither of these apply here. Of course, we didn't let that bother us in Bosnia and other wars.

Get serious, people. The Obama Administration could care less about the Syrians. They are setting up a situation to establish a precedent. Then, after they have acted totally illegally, and no one stomps them (UN Security Counsel, for instance), the next time someone acts in a similar way, well... there is precedent.

Sickening, but I am afraid it is true. Watch and learn.


You do realize that the Obama administration has been extremely reluctant all along to use force in Syria, and that it's hawkish elements in Congress that will make something happening. Painting this as the Obama admins' lust for war is flat out wrong, in my opinion.

GOP calls Obama "Weak" for not drawing "Red line in sand" > Obama resists "drawing line" > GOP continues to call Obama weak, questions Commander in Chief credentials > Obama draws "red line" as "chemical weapons" > Chemical weapons are used (possible false flag?) > "Red Line" is crossed > GOP simultaneously calls Obama weak for not responding to the crossing of "Red Line" and calls him foolish for establishing a "Red Line" which has now been crossed and must be responded to > Obama doesn't want to look weak now that his "Red Line" has been crossed and must, at least, lob a couple of rockets in Syria's direction.

Situation in a nutshell.

Plus...The US wants to portray itself as if it wants Assad gone (for democracy!), but doesn't actually want Assad gone because that would, with high probability, mean that an Islamist state (with chemical weapons) would be established. The US can't openly condone Assad - can't back the Islamist rebels. A pickle.

Yeah, that is exactly how I see it as well.

The GOP will complain no matter what Obama does. If Obama doesn't respond militarily to a situation, they call him 'weak'. If he does respond militarily, they'll call him a war-monger. If you are pre-disposed to not liking Obama, I guess that strategy works. If you are pre-disposed to liking Obama or view the situation objectively (IMHO), the GOP comes off as contradictory, inconsistent and hypocritical.

In the current situation, I can see good arguments on both sides and no really good options. Just a choice among bad options.

I'm trying to understand all this paranoia. Do you view Obama as some Hitler character that is getting ready to invade countries willy-nilly?

Call me crazy but this is what I see:
-The Syrian civil war is a sad humanitarian disaster.
-Most people don't like to see lots of people dying for no reason, especially at the hands of their own government and thus there is sympathy for the Syrian people.
-Despite the sympathy, we have so far stayed out of this conflict since there are no "good sides" from our perspective.
-Chemical weapons are banned under the Geneva convention as a war crime.
-They are banned because they are indiscriminate weapons that kill women, children, and other noncombatants.
-A chemical weapons attack appears to have occurred. And perhaps for the second time.
-It appears to have been perpetrated by the Syrian military.
-Weapons Inspectors are still investigating.
-If Chemical weapons were indeed used and we have sufficient evidence that it was perpetrated by the Syrian military, we may launch some missiles at Syrian military targets as punishment for violating the Geneva convention and committing war crimes.
-No one except the most rabid war-mongers have even thought about putting US boots on the ground.

This is all very sad but I see no conspiracies here or grand war-starting plans. And yeah, if someone else uses chemical weapons, they probably SHOULD get smack down too. Do you think it is a better precedent for chemical weapons usage to be something that the world views as acceptable now?

Human rights abuse. Genocide via chemical weapons is not kosher.

Please stop parroting propaganda. Even if there were evidence as to who did it (and clearly there isn't), the question that was asked - What legal basis do these outside countries have for using warfare on Syria for their internal issue? - is still valid.

What did I say is "propaganda"?

What is a 'legal' or 'illegal' war is kind of a silly question. Laws exist within sovereign countries. As far as war goes, all we have are treaties and the UN. And those things are ignored all the time by various parties at their convenience. It is not a very rigid system. We don't have a world government. You can go ahead and call a war 'legal' or 'illegal' but what difference does that make . . . nothing other than propaganda value. Which is what you are accusing me of.

You stated that we were responding to human rights abuses and genocide via chemical weapons. This is simple and obvious propaganda, as it has not been shown that the intended target is responsible for it.

It is also a thin excuse, as it will be nearly impossible to do anything about chemical weapons with cruise missiles. The real intent is to try to give the outside mercenaries and religious fanatics we've armed and funded a chance to recover from the losses they've suffered.

We don't have a world government.

Perhaps our civilization will evolve to create one, and it hopefully will have the power to prevent/punish such things.

If there is a UN Resolution, it becomes 'legal'

But does that make it legal?

I think the relevant metric is not legal vs. illegal, but just vs. unjust.

just v unjust is even slipperier than legal v illegal.

If we thought we could get a UN resolution, we would have it already. We are stopping Russia from convening the UNSC. See comment above about precedent.

The word "legal" will not apply. Accepted is the closest we can get.

And, IMO, it will not be the US that uses the new precedent, but rather Israel.

Of course I could be wrong... It would not be the first time. LOL


I am interested in how you envision Israel will use this new precedent?

Agree. I'm glad the US had such a quick and strong response to the Rwanda situation.


Bill Clinton widely admits that is his biggest regret in office and has gone to Rwanda to apologize to the people there. And they appreciated that apology.

Mass murder is not genocide. From the Genocide convention

"any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,"

Unfortunately gassing those who oppose you unless they are a specific ethnic, racial or religious group doesn't qualify. Also I think the required intent is also absent- the gassing is not being done to destroy a particular group but rather just to stay in power.

My own feeling about Syria is that it is being used as a proxy, i.e. the US doesn't give a crap about Syria per se, to suck Iran into doing something (anything?) so they can bomb the $hit out of it and have cover.

The world, and especially the US, goes down the tubes another notch every day.


Sounds about right Todd. Brits (my country) have been advocating war for a while now. Last night we heard the growling aerial manouvers over our rural zone that usually means war in a few days. Knowledgeable persons back before Bush II Iraq reckoned high risk of eventual regional war. Well, looks as though we have got pretty darn'd close. Vast prospect now of 'ethnic cleansing' at very least.
My guess is that likelihood Hezbollah winning or of producing strong bargaining position for Iran etc. probably triggered this final response? Just needed a useful incident to freshen up the PR and take us in.


I wish I had the time to stick up all the links but there is a growing belief that we are on the edge of WWIII. The information isn't from whacko sites either.

People need to be really, really worried!



Already missing 'The Update'. And I figure I'm already on any pertinent lists...

Thanks for the pat on the back. I'm missing it too. After doing it for years it was hard to walk away but I didn't want anybody to get hurt.

I've halfway convinced myself that I should re-start it especially with all the MENA crud and TOD going down soon. If I do re-start it I'll put a BIG disclaimer after "Hi Everyone" telling everyone that if they want to be taken off the list; no sweat.

I hate my indecision.


Todd, I have read your comments here for a long time with great interest and learned a lot .

My email is in my profile.

Please add me to your list.

We are already in the matrix and since it is all but impossible to opt out, I for one am not worried about being on a list. Even if you could opt out, that action in and of itself is a potential red flag as are other actions you might take to restrict your communications.

Data mining can be used to look for specific actions and it can also be used to look for changes and changes can involve new actions as well as stopping actions. So to continue to do what you have been doing IMO is 'best' course of action to keep under the radar. And if you are already on the radar, then doing something different is a way to raise your target level so again the 'best' course of action is to keep doing what you have been doing.

Keep me on your list!

Probably have been on those lists myself, but for close to 50 years. Anyway heard FBI had a file on me back in the 60's. Anti-war activities.

Sure do miss hearing from you, but I have your contact info unless you've change it. If so, mine is the same so send a note.

Feels like everything is ending with a whimper, doesn't it? Nice!

Keep the faith. I'm looking at Oregon property. Maybe stop by there on the way.


"but there is a growing belief that we are on the edge of WWIII"

My first thought is that there isn't nearly enough hardware in motion to make that claim, but now I'm thinking wasn't there a period known as 'the phony war' at the start WWII? So there is precedent for a slow start building to the all-out slugfest after all.

If the Nobel committee gave the Peace Prize to Obama intending to calm him down, they failed.

The peace prize to Arrafat wasn't a success either...

I am beginning to think that Obama has sent up his trial balloon and the response from the public and other sectors is decidedly negative. He doesn't really want to mess with Syria; he only wants to have the right push back so he can decide to not bomb Syria.

He has already given indications that he realizes that anything short of a massive response will have little or no effect on Syrian behavior and will do nothing to help the cause of the rebels. Further, it also appears that we should be careful what we wish for as Syria may end up with a bunch of radical Islamicists.

But I could be so wrong.

I think it is time to start drawing in the horns of the empire, much of which was formed in the first place to guarantee the flow of oil from the Middle East to us.

If that was the case- he had the option of calling Congress into session to give him the authority to take action. That would buy him quite a bit of time. Then with the authority in hand he could have gone to the UN Security council. Much like the earlier version of him (GWB) did. That would give him another chance to engage in a lot of bombast.

Maybe the doomsday clock folks could hand out a yearly Goebbel Peace Prize—that would certainly put a spin on things. Maybe we'd've made more progress on those Millennium Development Goals if the gentlemen from the war department hadn't been so busy tying shoelaces together?

If is also my feeling Syria is being used as a proxy.

The tube I know nothing about but as long as the enemies of USA do not have efficient surface to air weapons in sufficient number and efficient armor piercing weapons in sufficient number they could do as they want.

Syria is a Russian client state and has modern Russian weaponry. Purely as a spectator it will be interesting to see their counter-moves if the US attacks. They must have war-gamed US incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan and figured out a defensive strategy.

As Warren Buffet says, only when the tide goes out do you see who was swimming without trunks.

"India imploding", there currency have been going down but it is not a big threat in it's own since this means products bought from India will get cheaper. In the european union they have the same curreny in countries with different languages and this is a harder problem.

The way I see it we are in a deep mess but relatively we have seen much worse days, the 1960's were the dark years when the PM appealed to the whole nation to skip one day's meal so that people didn't die of hunger. We had capital controls, two wars, a license system that choked businesses and obscene taxes as well.
So it's nothing compared to that. Gas and Oil are going to become costlier but that's ok, it's a PITA but nothing catastrophic. People will go back to bicycles, thankfully most people here including me remember a life when cars and refrigerators were a luxury. Life goes on.

Check your population growth since the 60's, then wonder about skipping a meal. Approx 425 million to 1150 million.

I'll defer to the Wise One on the ground there, but, yes, it's the population and demographics that concern me. The world seems more angry, crowded, and desperate, and commodities, especially oil (which India, and the rest of us are more reliant upon) are becoming constrained and less affordable. I see water wars between China, India, etc, as water becomes an even more critical commodity.

I'll let climate change do its own thing, but wonder where all those Bangledeshis will go in the above environment. It's a complex synchronicity thing.

Yes. In the last Drumbeat, Jon Callahan posted the pop growth curves of a half-dozen 'countries of interest'. My one nit to pick with his pop databrowser site is that it doesn't include a global summary. But that doesn't change the fact that since 2005, when global oil began the current plateau, global population has increased by more than half a Billion... Factor in the lower energy density of NGPLs/ethanol(which make up much of the apparent increase since '05), and the lower EROEI of the mix as a whole (fracking/tar sands/deep water...) and the tightening noose of less net energy available per capita is clear to me, if not to TPTB nor the MSM nor the masses, as yet...


This morning I took the time to turn that TOD comment into a blog post entitled Population Problems.

I agree, there is a lot more I could do to improve the Population Trends databrowser including:

  1. adding country groupings and global summary as in the Energy Export databrowser
  2. updating to 2013 data
  3. improving the user interface for picking countries

Unfortunately, doing this kind of work properly takes more time than you can imagine and these pro bono databrowsers are currently taking a back seat to paid work.

Thanks for the shout out, though.


Jon, thanks again for your databrowsers. They are a real gift to humanity. Good luck with the paid work :)


Ditto what JN2 said.

I quote the databrowsers whenever I can. Their graphics and maps make great ways to get the point across.

Perhaps climate related...

Enough to make you cry: Big spike in onion prices sparks fury, armed robbery in India

NEW DELHI -- Armed robbers have resorted to targeting trucks hauling tons of onions after monsoon rains sent prices for the popular food skyrocketing in India.

The cost of a pound of onions has risen from around 9 rupees (13 cents) to an average of 45 rupees (65 cents) in the last month alone. The shortage is front-page news in the country, where high onion prices have been credited with swinging elections in the past.

Meanwhile, Indian parliament approves $20 billion cheap grain plan for poor (Reuters) , to provide millions of tonnes of grain to over 700 million people,, for how long? Anyone see a problem here? We've seen what happens when these programs, be it fuel or food subsidies, can no longer be sustained.

Coming soon to an economy near you?

Passage of a law doesn't mean it's gonna get implemented, it's something you quickly learn while living here.

Things are beginning to look serious for India.

On the basis of assessment of current market conditions, Reserve Bank of India has decided to open a forex swap window to meet the entire daily dollar requirements of three public sector oil marketing companies

Essentially its a rescue of the Indian oil industry. They're the lucky ones, everyone else is on their own, those needing US$ will be in deep trouble. India needs inward investment to cover its deficits and the flow has reversed. The entire economy could implode if the situation is allowed to develop into a crisis. The Reserve Bank of India, based on its actions so far, seem unable to do anything about it.

India might be the next Lehman Bros.

I'll tell you what, I've been hearing that the dollar will lose all it's value in a few years for god knows how long and all I see that every time there's a crisis everyone still runs to the dollar. I think these predictions of imminent collapse every few years have done more harm than good to the PO community, it's one reason why many people don't take us seriously.

I see a collapse ahead but it's going to be a long drawn out affair, decades or a hundred years in the making, meanwhile life will go on. The catabolic scenario has been thoroughly validated IMO.

Very well said.

However, I'm open to the possibility that many of those claiming the sky is falling in the name of peak oil are either disinformation artists, or honest people unduly influenced by the disinformation artists. It's a great way to paint non-BAU people as kooks, so they can continue to peddle their wares and shear the sheep the rest of the way.

If I were TPTB, and I was an unscrupulous psychopath willing to lie and cheat for even more money (yes, I know that's redundant), that's what I'd do, because it's very effective.

However, I'm open to the possibility that many of those claiming the sky is falling in the name of peak oil are either disinformation artists, or honest people unduly influenced by the disinformation artists.

I think the reason is more simple, humans are genetically programmed to look for sudden changes and hence we expect them when things become unbearable. Same thing applies to the PO crowd, most of us don't like BAU and for good reason too hence everywhere we see BAU collapsing suddenly and unexpectedly. I have become stoic over the years, best response to the ongoing situation.

Humans definitely are not good at taking the long view. As Jared Diamond points out in collapse, natural patterns that unfold over 80 years or more will be pretty invisible to humans.

But I wonder if part of it is also that we have been trained by TV and movies to expect things to happen quickly.

Older people see the earth as tired and worn out. Younger people see it as shiny and new.

Maybe that's the curse of old age.

Any evidence for that claim? I have a lot of old, retired people around here and they act as if nothing has changed since they were 10 years old.

When I were a lad, old folks acted like they was old. Now they all go to gym 'n eat muesli and stuff and act like they was young. The world is upside-down. I'm tellin' ya, it can't go on like this... ;-)

Seriously, though, anyone who is getting on in years and isn't concerned must be willfully blind. Even here in little old Cape Town every time I venture beyond the city limits I see more and more land paved over, more cheaply-built houses sprouting up which are clearly not energy-efficient, more traffic, and worst of all, a decline in civic behavior. It's all me me me, grab what you can. And no leadership in the West.

I'm not saying the dollar will lose its value, I'm saying those that need the dollar to support their economy or business are in trouble (eg. to buy oil or wheat). Dollars are leaving the Indian economy (ie. investors are converting rupees into dollars and pulling them out of India), hence the fall in the Rupee, which creates two problems. One, imported goods will cost more in rupee terms increasing inflation. Two, the government is going to have to borrow more money internationally to fill the hole left by inward investment vanishing.

Those investing in India have been holding the risk and are now being taken out feet first. Meaning a greater risk premium is going to be necessary for anyone to invest in India or for the Indian government to take on the risk and issue dollar denominated bonds. Unless, of course, the Fed and other central banks or the IMF come to the rescue (and they're already choking on the accumulated risk they've already taken on).

The pressure on the Fed to keep printing dollars just never seems to ease up. And the pressure on everyone else is to load up on debt, sell assets, increase exports and reduce imports to stay solvent. Probably leading to a deflationary depression followed by hyperinflation.

Well I am not saying that everything is hunky dory, what I said is that there will be no imminent collapse (referring to your Lehman Brothers statement), what will happen is that consumption will go down, interest rates will go up, economy will go into recession, savings will go up, exports will go up and the Rupee will stabilize, hardly an apocalyptic scenario. People are used to cutting down and saving here.

Lehman's collapse precipitated the financial crisis (or at least brought it to a head). Hence my reference to it. Increasing exports requires time, investment (that's going to be expensive) and trading partners with healthy economies, so slashing imports becomes the faster and easier option.

Not apocalyptic, but then again I never said it was, just a structural failure in the periphery.

The catabolic scenario has been thoroughly validated IMO.

I'm inclined to agree with this. I haven't ruled out a fast crash entirely, but at this point I think it's far less likely than I thought a few years ago.

Part of it new information. Many thought the global economy was brittle, and would collapse quickly under stress. Instead, it turns out that inertia rules. It's just very difficult to change things, for better or worse.

Part of it is that we imagined collapse was a one-way street. Even Greer seemed to see it that way, or at least did not emphasize very much there would be apparently vibrant recoveries - stair steps up, not just down.

After Hurricane Gustav in 2008, there were severe gasoline shortages in the southeastern U.S. People sleeping at their offices because they had no gas to drive home, fistfights at gas stations, drivers filling up every container they had, even coffee cups, when they found a gas station with gas. It was easy at the time to imagine that was the first step toward a Mad Max scenario, with gas supplies becoming more and more of a problem. Instead, through luck and preparation, it's never happened again. And people are buying gas guzzling trucks again.

Have to agree with your overall point - econonmy has shown itself to be more resilient than expected vs. brittle. But its complexity leaves it yet vulnerable (wish Jeff Vail were still posting his perspective on this). Not least of those vulnerabilities is the fragility of social niceties. Your description of that gas shortage is a case in pt. Need to correct that penultimate phrase: "It hasn't yet happened again." 5 years is a pretty short time in the grand scheme of human/geologic interaction.

It is indeed. Heck, even 50 or 100 years is short by geologic time.

I remember seeing some talking heads on CNBC discussing the possible collapse of the dollar. One of them pointed out that the pound sterling reigned supreme for 60 years after the U.S. economy surpassed the British economy, and suggested it will be the same for dollar - it will be the world's reserve currency for decades longer than it should.

I might be alive 60 years hence, I might not. Either way, something happening that far down the line is not of compelling interest to the average human.

...the pound sterling reigned supreme for 60 years after the U.S. economy surpassed the British economy, and suggested it will be the same for dollar...

Sixty years and may I add, two world wars. It was the utter depletion of the British treasury to fight the wars that knocked the sterling off its pedestal. Otherwise it could very well still be the world's fiat currency. One doesn't mess with what works.

The US dollar will remain the reserve currency for as long as other countries derive a benefit or advantage. While initially the size of the United States economy was a factor in its adoption as the means of international trade, such considerations as inertia, the desire for stability, and the fact that everybody else is doing it, will keep the arrangement going for at least the foreseeable future.

I probably shouldn't have used "India imploding" at the top of this thread, though India is clearly in a population bubble (severe, IMO), and has blown itself something of an economic bubble on the back of the global economy which is coming up against limits in many ways. Fortunately, agriculture is about 18% of their economy, with almost 1/5 of their population involved. Per Wikipedia:

In fiscal year ending June 2011, with a normal monsoon season, Indian agriculture accomplished an all-time record production of 85.9 million tonnes of wheat, a 6.4 % increase from a year earlier. Rice output in India also hit a new record at 95.3 million tonnes, a 7 % increase from the year earlier.[8] Lentils and many other food staples production also increased year over year. Indian farmers, thus produced about 71 kilograms of wheat and 80 kilograms of rice for every member of Indian population in 2011. The per capita supply of rice every year in India is now higher than the per capita consumption of rice every year in Japan.

Best hopes climate change doesn't cause the monsoon to fail on a regular basis.

As for collapse in general, and "...it turns out that inertia rules...", see Ilargi's latest at TAE, mentioned by Peak Earl farther down. I'm not sure how much is inertia rather than a case of the core protecting itself by sacrificing the periphery and staying afloat by throwing 'non-essentials' overboard; Triage, "robbing Peter...", "out the back of the bus"; all happening now, whether we notice or not.. When we see this process accelerate (which it seems to be), will we also see entire groups sacrificed for the goal of protecting the capitalist/consumer enterprise (a scene from the movie Amistad comes to mind)? Destroying others' ability to consume is a tried-and-true method of maintaining one's own consumption levels.

I think climate change will be the ultimate game-changer, for India, and civilization as we know it; how quickly it proceeds. Will we fester like Rome, or decline swiftly like some other civilizations, as our environment can no longer support the rates of flow we need? That our extraction rate continues to be unprecedented may offer a hint.

As I've pointed out before the idea of India as a nation state is a gift from the British and fairly recent, if you study the country you will find that India has regions which differ as much as Russia and Spain. (Maybe more).

If we are indeed talking that much into the future where climate change alters everything then the whole point of using nation states as a reference is useless, nation states are unlikely to survive what's coming and most geographical regions will go back to their original states. Nation-state boundaries are unlikely to prevent people from migrating.

Although I agree with your assessment that we are in the bulls eye of climate change, in fact whole southern and south-eastern asia is given our dependence on Monsoon and glacier fed rivers.

Actually local gas shortages DID recur again in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after Hurricane Sandy hit and knocked out power for weeks in numerous places so gas stations could not pump gas. What was truly idiotic is that my neighbor, a commuter bus driver, said Lakeland Bus Lines could not broadcast when they could resume buses to NYC etc because they did not have access to fuel!
Of course our Teabag Gov Christie totally screwed up by allowing a third of our train cars to get flooded by parking them in the Meadowlands (euphemism in New Jersey for SWAMP) and Hoboken flood zones. So we did not have full Rail service for months.

NJ did allow medical personnel and first responders to get gas at Armories so long as you could reach them.

As usual instead of moving away from Auto Addiction and making plans to INCREASE shared Green Transit trains, buses, shuttles which would cut gasoline consumption drastically in the first place, instead both Gov Cuomo and Christie are proposing wasting huge amounts of money for generators to run gasoline pumps at all the gas stations.

Actually local gas shortages DID recur again in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after Hurricane Sandy hit and knocked out power for weeks in numerous places so gas stations could not pump gas.

I realize that. Heck, I lived it.

But that's not the same thing. If a natural disaster hits, you expect there to be supply disruptions in that area. Hurricanes, earthquakes, fire, flood, blizzards, etc. - people know that the power might go out, and it's not a surprise.

What was unusual about the Gustav shortages is that areas far from the disaster area suffered. People who seemingly had no reason to worry about Gustav were affected.

Don't forget that Ike followed Gustav just a few weeks later, so the stressed system was pushed over the edge when Ike took out the capacity for Houston area refineries to add product into the pipelines.

Onions are a staple in India.
We westerners usually think of them as a relish or condiment -onions are not even a veggie to us.

Talking head on CNBC this morning (Simon Hobbs at 10:31 AM Eastern time) had the following question for his two oil experts, John Kildauf and Addison Armstrong: "For the first time ever, if we have military action, it will be with the United States as a net exporter of crude. Does that change the situation?"

I didn't hear anyone correct him. And so it goes.

We know the old saying: "In war, the first casualty is truth". This is just another lie in the buildup to another war. The MIC needs a little war to distract the public from the revelations of widespread electronic spying by those nameless agents of the US. Rather like what happened after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

It would take something like a collapse in Egypt and the closure of both the Suez Canal and their pipeline to get the public's attention about our oil situation. Hey, I shaved my beard, just in case. I wouldn't want one of those diehard knuckle draggers to mistake my face for that of an Islamic fanatic. That is, until the winter winds start howling again...

E. Swanson

"diehard knuckle draggers"

You mean snow boarders? :)

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 23, 2013

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 8.4 million barrels per day last week, up by 423
thousand barrels per day from the previous week.
Over the last four weeks, crude oil
imports averaged over 8.0 million barrels per day, 723 thousand barrels per day below the
same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished
gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 670 thousand barrels per
day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 165 thousand barrels per day last week.

Maybe we are the only country in the world that can count ourselves as exporters as long as imports are below 9mbpd?

You have to look at the derivative and extrapolate. It works great for example for a ballistic projectile but is no better than the mathematical model.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 3.0 million barrels from the previous week.

Total commercial petroleum
inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels last week.

count ourselves as exporters as long as imports are below 9mbpd

Big money to be made by creative accountants. I guess I majored in the wrong subject.

About an hour or so before that on CNBC Cramer and Faber were blabbering on about Syria and a possible US response and the possible impact to oil prices. During the conversation one of them made the following statement, I'm paraphrasing: The Arabs can't hurt us by turning off the taps anymore.

The US media experts are truly living in fantasy land.

Yeah, that is amazing. It shows a fundamental naivety about the way worldwide commodity markets work. And from two people on CNBC? What a joke. But Cramer has always been a corrupt fraud.

Talking head on CNBC this morning (Simon Hobbs at 10:31 AM Eastern time) had the following question for his two oil experts, John Kildauf and Addison Armstrong: "For the first time ever, if we have military action, it will be with the United States as a net exporter of crude. Does that change the situation?"

It's fairly obvious that the CNBC talking heads flunked high school history (or are examples of the failure of the American educational system to educate Americans.)

During WWI and WWII, the US was the world's largest exporter of oil and oil products. In fact, the US cutting off their oil supplies was a major factor in Japan attacking Pearl Harbor. Having, like Hitler, completely lost their minds, the Japanese thought it was a good idea to sink the US fleet and seize the oil fields of Indonesia. Unfortunately for them, they underestimated the US ability to sink all their oil tankers and cut them off from oil completely. It's hard to fight a war without oil. Trying to turn spruce roots into aircraft fuel just didn't work for them. The Germans had a similar experience, having failed to capture the Russian oil fields in the Caucasus.

In WWII the US was able to supply its allies with oil (except for Russia, which had its own oil) and US oil refineries discovered the wonders of leaded gas. By the end of the war, the sides of the fighters were streaked with the lead coming out of the exhaust pipes. The legendary Rolls Royce Merlin V12 powered the best of the Allied fighters, and every time the American refineries boosted the octane rating of the gasoline, Rolls Royce increased the boost on their superchargers. Every time RR increased the hp on their Merlins, the legendary American P-51 Mustang, powered by the British Merlin, flew faster, higher, and further. When Mustangs appeared escorting bombers over Berlin, the senior Luftwaffe officers knew the game was over and started booking tickets to Argentina.

That was then, this is now. At this point in time, the US is importing a net 8 million bpd of oil. Fortunately, the biggest supplier is Canada, which would be hard for terrorists or enemy countries to cut off short of using nuclear weapons (or Obama blocking the Keystone XL pipeline).

Of course, Simon Hobbs is from the UK.

And I could be wrong, but I suspect that he (or whoever wrote his talking points) was talking about post-World War Two US military activities in the Middle East, especially starting with Desert Shield/Storm in 1990/1991. In any case, the context leading up to his comment was in regard to US military action in the Middle East.

Actually, I didn't know Hobbs was a Brit, having never seen him on TV.

As it happens, I was in the UK visiting relatives last month. The British generally and their government in particular seem unaware that their own North Sea oil and gas production is in a state of rapid and terminal decline on a classic Hubbert curve, and they think that the recent uptick in American oil and gas production somehow solves things for them.

The UK government seems to be in a state of total denial, and focused on building wind turbines. I even saw a wind turbine there, which I suppose they built as an example. Here in windy Alberta, the power companies throw them up by the hundreds, and if they did that in Britain, I'm sure the people would have a fit. We've also been fracking wells here by the thousands since the early 1950's, whereas in Britain it's considered new, untested, and dangerous technology, and people are protesting.

They have forgotten a lot of the details about WWII, too, particularly the role Canada played in keeping their cozy little island supplied in food, raw materials, aircraft, and war munitions before the US entered the war. Canada gave them billions of dollars, not in loans but hard cash - US dollars so they could buy US arms with it - and grew the Canadian navy from about 10 ships to nearly 1000, mostly anti-submarine vessels to keep the U-boats from sinking the supply ships. Of course, once the US entered the war it did the same thing on ten times the scale and it was game over for the Germans. You would have thought the Germans could have figured that out, but by that time Hitler had completely lost his mind, and so it was he who declared war on the US rather than vice-versa. If he hadn't, the US Congress was somewhat disposed to glossing over his military indiscretions. After his U-boats sunk 400 ships off US coasts, it was kind of obvious he didn't like them.

And the Brits, not to mention most Americans, are generally unaware that Canada is exporting more oil to the US than it is consuming itself these days, which is an important factor behind the apparent US oil glut. Price is an important factor behind it because at current prices, oil sands production is highly profitable, so now most Canadian oil production comes from the oil sands (and fracked wells).

Posts like these are what I'm going to miss most about TOD.

Ron Patterson found a link to the net crude exporter comment (at about the one minute mark):


The Soviet Union had their own oil but were an importer of oil during WWII. Mainly from the Aberdeen refinery in British controlled Persia.

I've not been a fan of Kildauf? since I think he copied almost verbatim something I wrote on this or another blog a few years back and he claimed as his work (without proper attribution).

Anyway the level of energy discourse on CNBC, and for that matter, major US media in general, remains poor - now some eight years after the worldwide peak in light sweet crude. If the discourse hasn't improved by now, it may never if the Syria becomes the spark that explodes what is left of energy stability in the Mideast.

If the price of oil spikes further following a military conflict, I would not be surprised if there is a move to release reserves of the Strategic Petroleum reserve promptly - with a possible move also by the IEA (although I am not familiar with their reserve situation as of now).

Not that an SPR release would be especially helpful, for example, due to logistics as to increasing gasoline supplies, but it may prevent panic buying of oil in the midst of war.

Thanks to everyone for their fine contributions and should the energy market literally or figuratively 'blow up', I hope the main contributors here will carry on the discussion somewhere else on the blog-sphere.

For the first time ever, if we have military action, it will be with the United States as a net exporter of crude. Does that change the situation?"

Really doesn't give one much confidence in the future of the country when major news services are 8+ MBD off. I mean that's gross negligence.

Negligence or outright falsification? A Florida appeals court ruled: " the FCC’s policy against the intentional falsification of the news — which the FCC has called its “news distortion policy” — does not qualify as the required “law, rule, or regulation” under section 448.102.[...] Because the FCC’s news distortion policy is not a “law, rule, or regulation” under section 448.102."

See : foxnewsboycott [dot] com/resources/fox-can-lie-lawsuit/

CNBC certainly doesn't want Fox to get the upper hand on having their own set of 'facts'.

If you look up CNBC vids from this am John McCain was on and at the seven minute mark he was asked about oil,As you know Iraq is a major exporter and if they go down the USA is a major energy exporter.

Continuing the August 26 TOD discussion, any further comments on what forums anyone here plans to switch to when TOD dies?

Are there any climate change forums comparable to TOD?

Like everything else, we'll worry about it when it happens. It's a cultural thing ;-/

Or start in time and set a new brew of beer three weeks before it will run out.

I will use google.com and news.google.com to search on the phrase "peak oil" once a week, and click on what seems interesting.

...search on the phrase "peak oil" once a week, and click on what seems interesting.

Won't be the same without the familiar noms de plume and commentary. And just when things seem to be heating up.

Actually you can add custom sections to Google News--and thousands have already been set up. Click on the odd shaped wheel in the upper right hand corner to personalize Google News, then Advanced under Add any Topic, then Search for Sections--fill in the term(s) you are looking for.
A Peak Oil one:

8 dengue cases detected in Florida

Those infected have no history of recent international travel, the Florida Department of Health said Tuesday, "so exposure was likely from local mosquitoes."

The cases were reported in two southeastern Florida counties: Martin and Miami-Dade.

Dengue acquired from local mosquitoes is rare in the United States, Florida health officials said, urging residents to take steps such as wearing repellent to protect against mosquito-borne illnesses.

And I read today about this flesh eating bacteria that kills you in less than day. Infected tissue must be removed right away. Or you die. Very rare but found in all parts of the world, and cases are increasing.

One of the most fearful is smallpox, with the type Variola major having a mortality of 30%. A very contagious, droplet spread respiratory virus, there are no current approved treatments. 2 of the 4 forms are nearly always fatal. And to think this disease was declared eradicated in 1980. But not quite. Both the US and Russia maintain stockpiles of the virus, with some believing it has been gene modified around our existing vaccines. A moving account is found in The Demon in the Freezer, Richard Preston, 2002.

Using a form of 'Ice that Burns' to make potable water from Oil and Gas Production

Yongkoo Seol and Jong-Ho Cha explain that salty wastewater is a byproduct of oil and gas production, including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. These methods use water and produce as a byproduct almost 10 barrels of salty water for every barrel of oil.

Seol and Cha knew that an alternative called "gas hydrate desalination" showed promise. A gas hydrate consists of only water and a gas such as methane, the stuff of natural gas. Thus, when hydrates form, salts and other impurities are left behind. When the hydrate breaks down, the gas and pure water are released. However, forming the gas hydrate used in desalination required costly chilling of the water to 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

... They describe development and laboratory testing of a new type of gas hydrate desalination technique. They formed the hydrates from water and carbon dioxide with the gases cyclopentane and cyclohexane, which made the method work more efficiently. It removed more than 90 percent of the salt compared to 70 percent with the previous gas hydrate technique. And the process works at near-room temperature, reducing the need for chilling.

Novel combination ensures entire solar spectrum harnessed

By modelling different translucent solar panel wavelength absorbencies and situating algae ponds beneath the panels, researchers were able to find algae species which thrived in the resulting 'unused' solar spectrum.

Photosynthesis only uses part of the solar spectrum within the range of 400–700nm (mostly blue and red spectrum) and translucent solar panels can be designed to absorb the spectrum outside these parameters to produce electricity.

... "Suitably tailored thin film photovoltaic devices [or collectors] could also be used in solar greenhouses or even market gardens."

Pilot plant to trial new carbon capture technology that converts CO2 into bricks

The ultimate goal is to transform the captured CO2 emissions into carbonate rock 'bricks' for use in the construction industry, therefore both dealing with carbon storage needs and introducing new green building materials.

The mineral carbonation technology replicates the Earth's carbon sink mechanism by combining CO2 with low grade minerals such as magnesium and calcium silicate rock to make inert carbonates. The process transforms the CO2 into a solid product that can be used in many ways, including as new green building materials.

Engineering professor granted patent for carbon-capture process

There are global efforts to reduce the man-made emission of GHG's that likely contribute to global warming by trapping the sun's heat inside the atmosphere, including emission standards and financial penalties on excess emissions. The most common and most studied method is introducing monoethanolamine, or MEA, into natural gas or post-combustion emissions, a process that can capture about 90 percent of CO2 from flue gas.

The use of MEA to scrub flue gas is energy intensive since recycling the solution requires boiling it to desorb, or rid, the CO2 before recycle of the MEA solution back into contact with the flue gas. The cost of the energy needed to use MEA in power plants, for example, would likely be passed onto consumers, Bara said.

Bara's work shows that swapping most of the water in the process with imidazoles saves energy since the solvent can be regenerated without the energy penalties associated with boiling large amounts of water. Bara's research shows the solvent system can capture the same or more CO2than MEA.

The cost of capturing carbon is one reason the energy industry has been reluctant to embrace carbon capture on a large scale.

Nissan to have self-driving car on market in 2020

... Nissan, which broke ground in 2010 with the introduction of its Leaf fully electric small car, said it is aiming to build a self-driving car that can be sold at "realistic prices."

"The goal is availability across the model range within two vehicle generations," the company said in a statement.

OH Boy! Are the lawyers going to love that.
One of their self driving cars gets into an accident - And who gets sued? The person in the car that is being self driven by computers supplied by Nissan or Nissan? My guess is that Nissan would be WIDE open for any and all damages - real or imagined.

GM says almost-driverless cars coming by 2020

The automaker says the system, called "Super Cruise," uses radar and cameras to steer the car and keep it between lane lines. Also, the radar keeps the car a safe distance from cars ahead of it, and it will brake to a complete stop if necessary.

Fires are making it into the drumbeat. The San Francisco fire is after the Lolo Creek, MT fire, which followed the Beaver Creek fire (Sun Valley fire) of Idaho, way back to the season's deadly start in Arizona that killed an entire hot shot crew. Given the low snowpack, I think it could have been worse in PNW, the area has been relatively saved thus far by all the atypical wet thunderstorms we've had.

This season is timely to recall the 1910 Fire of ID, WA and MT. It was 185 mi long and 65 miles wide, millions of acres, killing over 85, and completely burning down at least 6 towns. Many other towns were partially burnt, Wallace ID losing a third. It was the result of over 3000 smaller fires that were whipped together as a cold front's high winds passed through. A situation that is very repeatable in our new climate, especially should/as? fire suppression efforts fall back to earlier levels.

What they may need to do is do more "prescribed burns" to keep the underbrush from reaching the point where it can generate the capability to build into a full blown forest fire. Finding ways to improve safety in doing "prescribed burns" will be very important in the future.

Maybe combating virtually all forest fires has done more harm that good, because of the buildup in underbrush that results on catastrophic firestorms. I'm amazed at how thick the underbrush is in many forested areas. Seems like an invitation for catastrophic fires.

combating virtually all forest fires has done more harm that good

Spot on, Westexas. We should have let a LOT more fires burn if they were no threat to life or property. Heck, the local indians used to light a ton of fires. Some places were burned every year. So, if we want to return to the idyllic western forests of, say, 1850, we need to take a page from their playbook and start burning.

Unfortunately, it's too late for that now. As you can imagine, if you burn some place every year, there's not much chance for fuel to build up and fires are low-intensity. Now that fuel loads are at levels never seen before on planet Earth, fires are much more destructive. I wonder how many people hearing about efforts to save the Giant Sequioa groves from the Rim Fire think about how many fires those trees have seen in their 5,000 years. What should be creeping ground fires are now stand-replacing conflagrations.

At this point, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

There is absolutely no maybe about it. Any honest person professionally involved with forestry management will tell you that our past policy of suppressing fire has turned out to be a disaster in more ways than on.

But there are still people out there in positions of influence and authority who have staked their professional reputation- and their jobs- on the policy of suppression.

It would be naive to expect them to admit the truth now.

And now the woods here , there, and almost any where else is full of houses owned by people scared silly by the thought of a controlled burn .

But Nature can be denied only so long.

Overgrown landscapes formerly kept free of excessive fuel buildup by wildfire WILL burn- there is no if about it, only a when.

After any given locality burns, there is a window of opportunity for common sense- and scientifically legitimate- practices to be implemented locally.

Offical USFS policy on total fire suppression at all times changed some years ago. They understand the situation. It takes time to work it out. And of course, there's a lot of politics involved.

But climate change is making a lot of longstanding forests unsustainable (i.e. dry enough -or with enough beetle killed trees) to burn up in high intensity fires. So even if we hadn't botched management, we would still have a huge and growing problem.

We certainly have a huge and growing problem. My point isn't that everything is under control, just that the USFS changed fire supression policy a few years ago. There's just no money for doing the right thing - it's all going to fighting catastrophic fires! This year's firefighting budget is already used up, and the USFS is having to take resources from other areas to make up.

For a very interesting discussion of this whole issue, check out this episode of the Diane Rehm show from a few days ago:


Increasingly, money budgeted for prescribed fires and other fuel treatments are being used for fire suppression. It's a very bad positive feedback loop.

I was at Pukaskwa National Park on the north shore of Lake Superior and they had done a controlled burn right beside the campground. Lots of signs explaining how they had planned and executed the controlled burn. After reading the information they provided and noting just how small the burn area was it didn't seem to be something you could scale to cover an entire park. The most obvious problem is how to ensure that the fire remains contained inside the area you want burned -- the effort and cost to do that is what will likely prevent widespread use of controlled burns. In the short term it's a lot cheaper to just suppress fires, though this creates the risk of a big fire in the future.

Yeah, my local National Forest burns a few hundred acres a year if they're lucky. Out of 1.4 million acres.

They have a wheel in the fire station they spin to see why they can't burn that day. It has big areas of "too dry", "too hot", "too windy", "too wet", "area closed by snow", etc.

I remember the Cerro Grande fire. The first time they tried a controlled burn, the conditions weren't so great. Millions of dollars wasted (hiring control crews -then no fire). So the second try, they managed to find the worst red-flag period in years. Needless to say, several tens of thousands of acre's and several hundred houses later, they regretted it.


Prescribed burns are a good tool, but can be quite difficult, clearing local politics, finding the money, time, resources to get them done in the right window. And quite a few fires anymore are being given the green light of let it burn, should they be seen as nonthreatening.

It's not so much underbrush as the dead canopy I fear. So much of the western forests are dying, and the trees are just standing there, waiting for ignition. Climate change consequences are not only drought and heat, but a bunch of new pathogens killing the forest. I was recently driving Rt 200 and I-90 across MT, and the gray spots and horizon, the dead forest portions, were frightening.

Thx for that visual. 'Good' for us Easterners to hear, and a clear indicator/reminder of the dying planet we have wrought.

There is a term, originally I think from hunting, called "skylined." It's where your target is along a ridge top, with only the sky behind. There's no background objects to confuse your sighting. When the distant gray forest becomes skylined, trunks and limbs without needles, my pulse quickens, the disease severity becomes acute.

I went to Yellowstone NP last May and it looked like about 1/3 of the park was dead from beetle kill. Won't be long until it burns again.

Most of the rest of the northern rockies looked about the same. The Black Hills, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho. Millions of acres of bettle kill just waiting to burn.

The local politics around prescribed burns get even more difficult after a burn gets out of control. Back in 2001 the USFS planned a prescribed burn near Kenai Lake. We happened to drive by early in the process, and the USFS even had an information kiosk set up at a spot where you could see the burn across the lake.

Trouble was, a short time later the weather quit following the plan and the fire got away from them. At one point about 20 homes along the road were threatened. They finally got it under control, fortunately before it burned any structures. Needless to say it was a very tough sell the next time the USFS wanted to do a prescribed burn!

Yeah, I think the Forest Service has an over 99% success rate with their prescribed burns, but nobody remembers those. They only remember the ones that get away. Rightly so, maybe. But hey, there's risk in burning, and there's risk in not burning. I guess that's why it's so political. I just wish more people understood that in a lot of western ecosystems, some kind of fire will happen, sooner or later.

Around here the government officials used to call them "controlled burns" but after they burned down the main power line to the town of Banff, they started calling them "prescribed burns" because they obviously weren't controlled. (Local joke).

They do prescribed burns in the spring under the assumption that the June rains will put them out, but a few years ago the June rains failed to materialize and things lit up again. Banff Park had two of the biggest helicopters in the world flying all summer putting out the fire. Eventually the fall snows put it out completely.

I later ran into the pilot of one of these monster helicopters, a Sikorsky Skycrane. He was an American working in the US when he got a call from his company to fly the Skycrane up to Canada, ASAP, with no paperwork. He was expecting the sort of bureaucratic hassle he would get in most countries if he flew a giant helicopter in from another country with no paperwork. So he landed his giant machine at a local airport near Banff, and the customs/immigration guy wandered out from his little office and asked him what he was doing. He said he was here to fight forest fires, the customs guy said "Okay", wrote down the helicopter number and "Forest Fires" on his customs card, and that was it for paperwork. After that was a very lucrative summer for the pilot and his company.

Banff Park had two of the biggest helicopters in the world flying all summer putting out the fire. ....... that was a very lucrative summer for the pilot and his company.

I still remember one year we were doing some helicopter supported geologic field work. One day I was chatting with our pilot, who had done a lot of flying fighting fires in his career. He said "I don't like to see the woods burn down anymore than anyone else....but damn I sure make a hell of a lot of money in a big fire year!"

Another problem with prescribed burning in some locations is air quality issues. You get places with more-or-less summer-long inversions that become very polluted, and the last thing anyone wants is the Feds burning stuff...

After a dry period last summer, I noticed areas in the Ottawa Valley with large numbers of dead red pine trees. Not a good situation.

Yep, as well white spruce with their shallow root systems aren't doing well after last year's drought.

Can't help noticing how fast ash trees are dying from emerald ash borer as well. I don't imagine the stress of last year's drought helped the remaining ash trees.

Our landscape is changing quickly before our eyes but few have the knowledge and understanding to see the changes. And most don't care.

Prairies actually need prescribed burns more than forests. Without the prescribed burns, the prairie is over-run with invasive species (which are almost all killed by a prescribed burn if done often enough to keep the invasive species from getting too big to be killed by a fire.

For more information about prairies and prescribed burns see the following:

I was a member, but current financial shortages have kept me from renewing. Over the last couple of years I have been on a lot of local prescribed prairie fires - And they are a lot of hard work, dangerous to life and health even when done right. Better equipment would make a world of difference in being able to do the burns easier and safer. I am working on the design for one such piece of equipment and if I can get ready this fall I may try using crowdfunding on www.indiegogo.com to raise the money to build and test the prototype. At 73 and on meager ss income, nothing is certain anymore (GBG).

The massive Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California is an example of how drought can amplify wildfires in a warming, drying West.


Continent on Fire: Map Shows 6 Months of Wildfires Burning North America

All the wildfires that have hit the bulk of North America over the last 6 months make for a strikingly full picture when put together. This new map from NOAA shows each fire detected by satellites so far this season.

... To add one more dash of perspective, the map below shows all the active fires picked up by NASA’s satellites during July 2013. The U.S. looks rather mild relative to Africa in this view.

Fukushima radioactive plume to reach US in three years post meltdown - One year from now

"Observers on the west coast of the United States will be able to see a measurable increase in radioactive material three years after the event," said one of the paper's authors, Dr Erik van Sebille.

... "For those interested in tracking the path of the radiation, we have developed a website to help them.

"Using this website, members of the public can click on an area in the ocean and track the movement of the radiation or any other form of pollution on the ocean surface over the next 10 years."

This model assumed a single 'bolus' injection, however, the facts recently released by TEPCO suggest a continuous release over the past 2 years with with a much stronger release beginning about now.

also Fukushima crisis new blow to fishermen's hopes

Is Fukushima Radiation Contaminating Tuna, Salmon and Herring On the West Coast of North America?

We’ve extensively documented that radioactivity from Fukushima is spreading to North America.

More than a year ago, 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna tested in California waters were contaminated with radioactive cesium from Fukushima.

Bluefin tuna are a wide-ranging fish, which can swim back and forth between Japan and North America in a year:....


....Alaska’s Juneau Empire newspaper writes:

We are concerned this hazardous material is hitching a ride on marine life and making its way to Alaska.

Currents of the world’s oceans are complex. But, generally speaking, two surface currents — one from the south, called the Kuroshio, and one from the north, called the Oyashio — meet just off the coast of Japan at about 40 degrees north latitude. The currents merge to form the North Pacific current and surge eastward. Fukushima lies at 37 degrees north latitude. Thousands of miles later, the currents hit an upwelling just off the western coast of the United States and split. One, the Alaska current, turns north up the coast toward British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. The other, the California current, turns south and heads down the western seaboard of the U.S....

Question. How do they know the cesium came from Fukushima? Since world war II we have tested numberous nuclear wepons in the air in the ocean, and several nuclear submerines have gone to the bottom, and the Chernobyl accident have scattered radioactive cesim all ove the world.

Also there is enough desolved uranium to power civilization for thousands of years. Plus radioactive potasium in the ocean and in our food. How can the cesium from Fukushima be more dangerous than what has been prevoiusly realesed or the naturally occuring radioactive elements that can be found in every person on earth?

UC Berkley - Nuclear Expert: Fukushima spent fuel has 85 times more cesium than released at Chernobyl

Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel).

Cesium-137 has a half life of about 30 years. Enjoy your fish :-0

Each nuclear reaction produces a distinct set of isotopes which act like finger prints. Its a simple matter to compare the cesium to samples taken from the site.

Naturally occurring cesium is relatively stable and usually bonded with other elements. The cesium that was released is an unstable isotope and not bonded to other elements. Cesium is not the nastiest byproduct of fission but it is one of the more plentiful ones. Like pollution it is a function of how much we dump into our enviroment that determines the how severe the effects are.

Cesium 137 ought to be pretty rare in seawater. It takes fission to make it. Uranium in seawater doesn't fission in any appreciable amount. So amounts above background can be detected. It doesn't mean the level is a risk itself. Although any increase might lead to an incremental bump in health risks.

You are here: EPA Home >> RadNet Home >> RadNet Data >> Monitoring Results from Los Angeles, CA


RadNet only detects radiation in air, rain, drinking water and milk. It will not detect the radiation in the ocean.


Questions answered about new natural gas/diesel glider

Fleet owners and independent drivers who have wanted to give natural gas trucks a try but found the price of entry a little too steep have a new option to consider: a glider kit* that comes with a natural gas conversion package for older engines.

Purchase price: *A glider kit (new frame, cab, electrical system and front axle that is paired with rebuilt systems for two of three drivetrain components from an older vehicle—engine, transmission or rear axle to create a remanufactured vehicle) costs about 25% less than a comparable new diesel truck, according to APG. The APG Dual Fuel Glider can be as much as $50,000 less than a new purpose-built 15-liter natural gas truck.

Net fuel savings: 20% to 30% net annual fuel cost savings are possible as compared to diesel. Because the engines currently being offered are pre-2007, they do not require diesel particulate filters or SCR. For companies that can still operate trucks equipped with these engines, this can mean a savings of $.05 to $.08 per mile, according to APG, as compared to a new diesel or dedicated natural gas truck.

Natural gas availability: Drew Laing, director of sales and marketing for Blu. LNG, offered information intended to “correct some of the myths” about natural gas—among them that natural gas is a “nuisance gas” that will run out or increase in price in the near future. According to Laing, liquid natural gas prices should sit at about 40% below diesel prices for the next 30 years, and there is a “200-year domestic supply.” [def. of 'sales and marketing' ... if their lips are moving, they're lying]

If the net fuel savings are only 30% or so, it won't take much of an increase in NG prices for the buyers to feel remorse. I wonder how many trucking outfits will go bankrupt later this decade, squeezed between rising costs of all fuels and declining demand for freight? Perhaps that is what will spur a shift of the remaining freight to rail?

N.Y. nuclear plant won't close, owner says

One of Indian Point's operating licenses for its 2 reactors expires this month.

Factors prompting Entergy Corp. to shut down its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant don't exist at its Indian Point plant here, company officials said.

... In a related development, a former second in command in security operations at the plant filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging problems at the plant and retaliation when he reported the problems to superiors. Jason Hettler also said others in security would falsify documents and internal reports to avoid problems with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Indian Point also is facing a $1.52 billion lawsuit filed by another former plant security official, Clifton "Skip" Travis, who alleged that the plant had a lax security culture. Travis' suit is pending in New York State Supreme Court.

Potash row: Russia throttles oil to Belarus

Russia is using oil as a weapon in its potash dispute with Belarus. Officially, Moscow’s reduction in supplies is due to pipeline repair work. But few doubt it comes in retaliation to the arrest of a Russian businessman.

Oil delivery to Belarus would be cut by 400,000 tones [~3,000,000 bbl/m] in September, Russia's state-owned pipeline company Transneft announced Wednesday.

The reduction in oil supply to Belarus amounted to almost a quarter of all Russian oil deliveries to its Western neighbor and had come entirely unexpected, commodities traders told the news agency Reuters.

Officially, Moscow’s reduction in supplies is due to pipeline repair work.

Or just a very good point in time for maintenance.

Drought And Heat Waves Are Costing The Federal Government Billions In Crop Insurance Payouts

According to the report, released Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Federal Crop Insurance Program paid out a record $17.3 billion in insurance claims to farmers in 2012, just one year after the program set a record at $10.8 billion in claims in 2011. Climate change played a large role in these historic payments — in 2012, 80 percent of all payments made by the FCIP were for farmers whose crops had been lost to heat, drought or high wind, according to the NRDC. Many Midwestern states were hit even harder by these impacts — in Illinois, 98 percent of FCIP payouts in 2012 were to farmers with losses from heat, drought or hot wind, along with 97 percent in Iowa and Indiana.

Socialism is fine as long as it is for land-owning people in red-states.

Oh by the way ...

Egypt just closed the Suez Canal a couple hours ago

http://marinetraffic.com/ais/ search on Suez Canal or zoom in

Current media blackout

What makes you say that? There seems to be a ship passing thru, and the thing is single lane.

The ships position was from 4 hours ago. It hasn't moved for 2 hours. IOW it's not there. Witnesses in Port Tawfik indicate no movement of traffic. Refresh the site over the next hour or two. If nothing changes then it's closed. If traffic resumes it's a bad rumor. Stay tuned.

Also http://beforeitsnews.com/middle-east/2013/08/egypt-closes-suez-canal-to-...


Egypt doesn't want a sunk tanker plugging up their canal. Details forthcoming.

Punishing the US for their backing of the Muslim Brotherhood? I doubt they would do it without Saudi approval. Hmmm....


Possible reason for blocking US and UK military shipping through the canal.

UK suspends Egypt military export licences

The British government has suspended 49 licences for the export to Egypt of a range of military and police equipment that could be used for repression.

The licences cover items including military communications, aerial target and radar equipment, cryptographic equipment and software, components for military helicopters and vehicles, and ammunition for training in small arms firing.

There aren't any ships being shown in Great Bitter Lake. Every time I've been through the canal, there were at least a dozen ships in the lake, waiting their turn through the north and south parts of the canal. Maybe they are just not being shown.

I thought to check the Suez Canal on a webcam. No can do.

There are no live webcams on the Suez Canal. In fact, ships using the canal are instructed to turn off their webcams if they have them onboard. This is believed to be a security issue. -- answers.com

Seems paranoid. And if you really need to know, I'm sure you can hire someone with a bicycle and a cellphone to keep you informed of shipping traffic.

I just checked a lot of the MSM - nothing on the Suez. Very scarey.

bing suez canal , it has been reported as officially closed by Egyptian authorities to western military traffic b y at least one news agency.
nothing on google as of 2 minutes or so ago.

It looks like convoys are entering the canal from north and south now. They're on schedules, 1 northbound, and 2 southbound which anchor in Great Bitter Lake to let the northbound ships pass.

The alternative for US Atlantic Fleet ships going to and from the Indian Ocean/Persian Gulf is around the Cape of Good Hope; a wild ride that adds a few thousand miles (BT,DT).

This is a quick transcript from John McCain on CNBC this morning. Searching other various news sources, the Suez is operating normally, and also, the US military retain a high priority on transiting.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, as you know better than I do, that Iraq is now a major exporter of oil. If Iraq descends into the chaos that they're headed towards, then that will impact the world's oil supply; maybe not ours.

We are now energy exporters, as you know. But the whole world is dependent upon a stable supply of oil, and that could be very dangerous. By the way, don't worry about the Suez Canal. It's not going to be closed. That's a straw man. But there certainly could be areas of unrest and areas of disturbance that would disturb the world's oil supply.

More details on the Suez and the Suez pipeline here:

McCain may have been a tad overly optimistic about US access to the Suez Canal.

New reports from Egypt indicate a shift away from supporting possible US military action against Syria, including the use of the Suez. However I'm not sure if this represents the official position of Egypt's government, or whether the government actually has complete control over the Suez:

Egypt shifts support toward Syrian government

Tamarod (“rebellion”), the umbrella group of organizations that demanded the removal of former president Morsi in the June 30 rebellion, called for direct actions to stave off a planned attack on Syria. The group is not an official government organization but has broad support for its role in toppling the Morsi regime. The group called on the current government to close the Suez canal to prevent the transit of “military destroyers that could be used in an impending strike on Syria.”

From numerous sources, this, about the time word was spreading about the Canal being closed to US warships:

JERUDONG, BRUNEI — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that he opposes cutting off US military aid to Egypt but vowed Washington would keep pressing for “reconciliation” in the country."

With all the talk in recent weeks about the US cutting aid to Egypt's military, methinks the Egyptian PTB (such as they are) decided it was time to fire a shot across the United States' bow regarding their use of Egypt's canal. The Syrian thing is likely convenient cover, especially at a time when the US may need to pull some of its ships frpm the Indian Ocean into the Med. It's a long way around, and the US and Egypt still need each other, for a lot of reasons.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, as you know better than I do, that Iraq is now a major exporter of oil. If Iraq descends into the chaos that they're headed towards, then that will impact the world's oil supply; maybe not ours.

We are now energy exporters, as you know.

This guy really REALLY needs to retire. He's a loose cannon.

It's really scary when influential people are so clueless.

I have my own corollary to Murphy's Law that runs "the more important the decision, the less information will be used to make it". this rule clearly needs to be modified to take into account negative/imaginary information.

Well, maybe if they covered America with tinfoil it would be an energy exporter (shovel-ready and conspiracy-approved, what's not to love)? Something to reflect on, anyways.

East Antarctic Ice Sheet could be more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought

Using measurements from 175 glaciers, the researchers were able to show that the glaciers underwent rapid and synchronised periods of advance and retreat which coincided with cooling and warming.

The researchers said this suggested that large parts of the ice sheet, which reaches thicknesses of more than 4km, could be more susceptible to changes in air temperatures and sea-ice than was originally believed.

Trends in temperature and glacier change were statistically significant along the East Antarctic Ice Sheet's warmer Pacific Coast, but no significant changes were found along the much cooler Ross Sea Coast, which might be expected if climate is driving the changes, the Durham researchers said.

Dr Stokes said: "If the climate is going to warm in the future, our study shows that large parts of the margins of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet are vulnerable to the kinds of changes that are worrying us in Greenland and West Antarctica – acceleration, thinning and retreat.

Thanks for that linked page.
The other study linked on the same page is worth a complete read as well.
"Ancient ice melt unearthed in Antarctic mud"

China to add 1,500 gigawatts of power capacity by 2030, study says

China will add some 1,500 gigawatts of power production capacity by 2030, or the equivalent of Britain's existing capacity every year, a study showed on Wednesday.

China, which is also the global No. 1 in electricity production, will in the next two decades invest $3.9 trillion (around 3.0 trillion euros) in new power plants and other electricity producing assets and will add some 38 gigawatts of coal-fired generated capacity a year until 2022— corresponding to three large coal plants a month, BNEF said.

After that, it is estimated to grow at a much slower rate, with China expected to install some 10 gigawatts a year until 2030.

I think that will bust the carbon budget

Where are they going to get all the coal to power that? Australia I guess. The climate is toast.

3 a month x 12 months = 36 a yr. x 9 years (2013-2020) = 351 large coal powered plants added to however many they already have by 2020. Sounds like enough to counter and then some renewables replacing FF in the West over that time period. But if we run fast enough maybe we can get that red queen to move forward just a tiny bit!

"We will redouble our efforts to build CO2 generators." /sarc. Scary stuff.

"We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." -- Benjamin Franklin

Actually, we need a quote more along the lines of, "We must decarbonise our economies separately or assuredly we shall fry together."

How 'bout, "Nothing we can do matters now."? Sorry, just a li'l last minute doomerism before the Ol' Drum shuts its window on the world...

"We must decarbonise our economies separately or assuredly we shall fry together."

I think what we're going to see is the conclusion the world economy needs to continue to burn FF, but the consensus will be that climate change will be too great, so an effort will be undertaken to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere. There are many ideas being floated, including using other materials incl. CO2 to make construction materials (bricks/blocks). However, that process takes energy and it would seem the drop down the net energy ladder as EROEI precipitously falls anyway, will just be exacerbated by energy expended to sequester CO2 putting a further squeeze on the economy. The other question is how much scaling up of CO2 sequester would be required just to match how much is emitted each year? Can we even catch up to that amount and how many years would it take to achieve it? Do we have sufficient time before runaway GW?

I have always been amazed at how many just don't comprehend China's need to grow and what it will mean for the future. There are a billion impoverished people clamoring to live as Americans do But the world simply does not have enough resources. This reason alone will destroy any hope of a utopian soft landing for the rest of the world.

Carbon budget? Looks to me like the world is doubling down.

That was what prompted Matt Simmons to investigate peak oil. He was doing research for his bank, and found that there was not enough oil in the world to bring China to the level of Japan in 1960.

Though who knows, maybe China's consumption won't be as extreme as feared. Back in the '80s, everyone was afraid Japan would "eat the world," with their growing consumption of resources and massive pollution.

Yeah, they can gain bragging rights by leveling off at half the per capita consumption of the US.

Being as China has more then 4 times our population...
at 25% of our per capita usage and they will equal our total consumption

Put a different way we must shrink about 5 percent for every 1 percent they grow...

Because China's population is still increasing, there will be even more people clamoring for energy in 2030. I doubt their growth will continue unabated for the next 17 years.

Germany's oil consumption per capita is about half of that of the United States, so that could still allow the Chinese populace a pretty decent life. But alas, even that is completely unreasonable, as this would amount to about 40 million barrels per day. Where is all that oil supposed to come from? And assumed we manage the impossible and find enough to lift China to first world status, there would still be billions of other people who want to stick their straws into the same barrel. Are there another 40 mb/d for India? And then another for Africa?

Moral of the story:
Too many eaters, not enough pie. Where's Jesus when you need him?

"Yeah, they can gain bragging rights by leveling off at half the per capita consumption of the US."

We are going to meet them on the way down.

Though neither China nor the US will win the race to the bottom, even if China's environmental problems get worse. We'll both just keep building air conditioners and feel-good cars. Gotta keep the proletarians happy; frogs in their pots.

Maybe so, but Japan @ 120 million has an order of magnitude fewer people than China...


Price of Brent over 114, up 3.36 today

WTI over 109!

Interesting post. Been a while since I joined this site or commented. Came here from Dieoff which is listed in the upper left margin. Damn good stuff. Read it carefully.

Understand TOD is going away. Too bad, some really interesting stuff has been posted here and I suppose much of it will be lost as readers scramble for new sites to feed the angst and the need to understand what is happening as there life style erodes away.

Forgive, but I believe the most important info provided on the subject of energy and the role it plays in our life was provided in 1974 in a little paper by a fella who really understood. If you keep any paper from this site, keep this one! http://www.mnforsustain.org/energy_ecology_economics_odum_ht_1973.htm

Study it carefully. It provides info, clues, answers, and advice, with nuance to many of the issues discussed in this post. Otherwise follow the advice of Voltaire in Candide. Hell, you don't even have to read the whole book, just the last line!


Thanks Rube

I have Odum's book but this 12 page summary is a prize. It is a simple Limits to Growth view using the principles of ecology.

My one negative feeling about TOD was that it did not emphasize the basic principles of ecology enough. Never having studied ecology I came to it through Odum after John Michael Greer recommended his book as a must read.

My one negative feeling about TOD was that it did not emphasize the basic principles of ecology enough.

Paging Dr. Sage! Paging Dr. Sage! Please pick up the green courtesy phone in the TOD lobby...

It's all ecology, all the way down. ;-)

Let me add my recommendation for Odum's work (both of them - Eugene and Howard).

The best ecology text I ever encountered (heck, one of the best textbooks of any kind) was brother Eugene's Fundamentals of Ecology back in the 70's, which had a section discussing much of brother Howard's energy work.

For sheer clarity of layout and organization, excellent writing, and comprehensive coverage, this is the ecology text to have if you can find it. I treasure my 1971 edition...

Heat blast sends corn, soybean prices up

by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune Updated: August 26, 2013 - 8:25 PM

Nice weather had set up Midwest farms for bumper crops — but with lower prices and profits. The late-August scorcher could change all that.

What looked like a bountiful harvest earlier this month is now shrinking in the sweltering sun.

Market watchers are divided about whether soaring late-August temperatures mean the upcoming corn and soybean harvests will experience a marginal reduction in yields or a bigger one. Either way, the potential to fall short of previous expectations drove prices for corn and soybeans sharply upward Monday.

The price for corn delivered in December rose 6 percent, or 30.5 cents, to $5.005 a bushel, and soybeans for November delivery jumped 4.6 percent, or 61.5 cents, to $13.895 a bushel. The corn spike was the biggest in 14 months and the soybean leap was the biggest since early 2011, Bloomberg News reported.

Skyrocketing temperatures —expected to continue through Sunday — are being closely monitored by farmers, commodity traders and food businesses.

“Out of nowhere we got this incredibly hot, dry pattern,” said Mark Schultz, chief analyst for Northstar Commodity Investment Co., a Minneapolis firm that buys and sells grains and issues advisory reports for both sellers and buyers. He believes that the Midwest has already suffered a 7 percent shortfall in corn yield and a 20 percent decline in soybean yield compared to what markets were expecting earlier this month.

One last chance to post the latest drought monitor image...

There is a lot of talk about what will happen if sea level rise because of rising global temperature for example in Miami. For USA I guess the more important is what would happen to the interior of part of the country. Worst case scenario is large areas more or less transformed to dessert and the fossil fuels run out.

How much global warming would be required to make large interior parts of the country unsuitable to grow food crops?

I am not a doomer and guess the parts close to the coast will do quite well.

Global warming also affects thermal power station efficiency. Assuming Carnot cycle, 35% efficiency, 20 C exhaust temp, the working temp is about 450 C, i.e. 293 K and 723 K. (Eff = 1 - Te/Tw). Assume 2 C global warming. At 22 C exhaust temp, efficiency drops about 0.5%. This applies to nuclear as well as fossil fuel heated steam turbines.

EIA Table 8.11a Electric Net Summer Capacity gives total US capacity in 2011 as 1,054.8 million kilowatts i.e. GW, of which 139.6 is renewable including hydro. The balance of 915.2 GW is driven mainly by steam turbines.

Losing 0.5% due to efficiency drops means 4.5 GW of new capacity will be needed to make up the difference, say four big new thermal power stations.

Hmmmm. Less of an effect than I expected. But something to bear in mind, anyway.

Not just global warming, and the changes baked in from that (humanity, having hired a professional boxer to pummel their left kidney, after a few preliminary blows, declares, well, that's really not so bad); draw-down of aquifers, topsoil loss, aquatic dead zones and algal blooms, biocides wreaking havoc on all manner of fungal and insectoidal and other life might also be of some concern.

Oh, well, I guess we'll'll just move North and enjoy the fruits of all that deep, rich soil across the Canadian Shield...

Let's name it Bald county.

See all the little lines divvying up the states? Those are not counties, of course, but rather climate 'regions', or 'sub-regions', I think is actually the right term. Anyone know where these are defined/identified? I spent nearly an hour on the National Climatic Data Center's website the other day looking for that with no luck...

Gonna really miss the Drum, for reasons great and small, like this.

" Those are not counties, of course, but rather climate 'regions', or 'sub-regions', I think is actually the right term. Anyone know where these are defined/identified?"


And on another theme... TOD's going silent just as the Atlantic is heating up with potentially Gulf-pummeling hurricanes...


The big guns of the African Monsoon are firing off a salvo of African tropical waves over the next two weeks that will find the most favorable conditions for development that we've seen this year... the latest European model forecast calls for a reduction in dry air and dust over the Tropical Atlantic during the 7 - 14 day period, accompanied by low wind shear. The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a pattern of increased thunderstorm activity near the Equator that moves around the globe in 30 - 60 days, has begun a new active phase. The most active part of the MJO has not yet crossed into the Atlantic, but is expected to do so during the period 7 - 14 days from now. The MJO will bring rising air that will aid strong thunderstorm updrafts and thus tropical storms--and their subsequent intensification into hurricanes. According to Dr. Michael Ventrice, an MJO expert at WSI, Inc., the latest run of the GFS model predicts that this MJO event will be the 3rd strongest in the Western Hemisphere since 1989.

I thought for sure that we would get a major in the GOM before TOD closed the doors on August 31st. Now, that TOD may not close down until the middle of September I guess the hurricane schedule was pushed back a little. Of course, we may get a hurricane in the ME at the same time. Does seem like world events have TOD folks a bit more excited so we will see if that continues for the next couple of weeks.

I feel a great sense of loss and fear as TOD shutters just as things are getting interesting.

TOD is more important now than ever! I will miss everybody here and all who contributed. Despite everything I know, I don't feel ready to face what lies ahead.

I also have to throw in a compliment. It has been a great education through the years to say the least. I (botanist/artist) seldom have had time to comment but the mass of information I have garnered from this site is very much appreciated. It is hard to imagine another site doing as well. I am profoundly appreciative of your efforts and realize the massive amount of work you have put into it.

Life is changing fast now and I do wish you were hanging around to keep the information flow going. Three cheers for you work and may we meet again. David Wright

I have learned much too. Even when I didn't completely agree with some of the regulars, I could not help respecting them and their viewpoints.
I also agree with the comments of others that we are likely approaching a point where things become really interesting in the Chinese sense.


"TOD is more important now than ever!"

Not to burst your bubble, but SiteMeter still shows perezhilton.com at the top of their list. Fact is, few are paying attention and situational awareness will continue to suck. Most won't know what hit'em, but they'll invent someone to blame. If not, Fox News will set them straight.

TOD only provides context for those who look for it and can handle it. If we could take what we've learned here and beam it into every human brain on the planet, most people would go crazy. Their stories just wouldn't work any more.

As for where folk's like us will go, I'm keeping my expectations in check. Something will come up, and I have plenty on my plate. I'll likely have a much harder time when my favorite bitch dies.


I am going to say, "see you around" on some other site.....right now. I would like to add that in this apparent lull, (while waiting for the missles and bombs to fall upon Syria), I emphatically urge all of you to continue a focus on personal preparations for the effects of declining oil supplies. No, this is not a doomer scenario and call for bunkers. No...not that. Just move forward with debt under control and a good place to live if you can swing it.

I just put in a new well which will one day use a solar powered pump to keep a home water tower full. This will be done in order to have full water pressure without our grid power. Meanwhile, we will simply use the submersible. Next week we dig the potatoes to store in the root cellar and the winter squash is coming along. The freezer is rapidly being filled with green beans and tomatos. 15 more salmon will give us fish for a year and then we will stock up on halibut and cod. This winter we prawn.

In town, ditches are filled with watercresss in the spring. Asparagus grows wild and one can always dig clams or pick oysters on a drive down Island. My neighbour is picking meadow mushrooms. I mention these ideas to emphasize, that regardless of where you live, it is possible to find locally grown food and transition to local and community solutions. Resilience.org has a list of transition groups, and for those who live in the boonies I urge you to invite the neighbours over for a meal or two and lend a hand when needed. Actually, that is good to do, anywhere. After many years of reading this site, and a few years posting layman observations, I have come to believe that the solutions will be found in relationships and linked efforts....shared ideas. I do not believe that ev trends, nukes or no nukes, whatever, will solve the problems we all face.

And: I take away from TOD the tradition of civility and encouragement so lacking on other sites. This has probably been accomplished by the moderators and editors for the most part, but also a few strong personalities and knowledgeable posters set the tone that others emulate. I will really miss the tone and knowledge base of TOD.

It will be light in another 1/2 hour and that pushes me out the door and away from my computer until lunch. With relatives arriving for a visit I have realized that it is a perfect opportunity to miss the last TOD and avoid a sense of loss. (Sh*!...do I remove it from my favourites?) I don't know if I can do that just yet. I might drag it to the bottom of the list. Thanks Leanan.

Take care folks, and all the best as you move on.


Most won't know what hit'em, but they'll invent someone to blame.

Why is that such an ingrained human trait?! We had been renting a house as a work studio on the other side of our neighbors before they moved in. We became good friends, then later we built a studio on our property and the owners of the house we rented recently sold it. The woman next door, our 'friends' informed my they will hold me (not my wife even though it was for my wife's business) accountable for the new neighbors. Now how the heck am I responsible for who buys a house we never owned?! It's ludicrous, but she isn't even talking to me now until that fact is established. Huh? People always need someone to blame is right. It's a fact, a behavioral law or something but it often makes no sense whatsoever.

A tribute to TOD from the equally valuable FTAlphaville blog:

The Oil Drum, peak oil and why some good blogs don’t last

Good luck everyone.

FTX, member 7 years, 29 weeks.

(and despite the handle, I can assure you that I have no association with the Financial Times.)

Very nice summary, and balanced. The diversity of opinion that was allowed to be presented is often overlooked by many who have recently critiqued the site.

Still even this article implies there was more of a consensus about future oil supplies than what I remember in many discussions and debates.

Even today, the latest major media reports on the situation in Syria lead the public to believe that there is 'basically nothing to worry about' since we are 'near the end of the summer driving season' (which would be the US Labor Day on September 3). While quite possibly this was a consideration of those planning a war in the Mideast, the delicate balance of oil supplies and US refinery capacity - which only gets by with a daily supplement of oil product imports totaling about 2,000,000 barrels (of gasoline, etc) - is usually not even in the realm of public discussion.

This is where TOD shines - getting to the meat of the matter. Hope this type of discussion will continue elsewhere.

Wow, she really put a lot of research into that. I think she gets it, more than most. A lot more.

One point I disagree with her on (and I disagree with Heading Out on this as well): the decision to go to the new format was not a mistake that killed the site. Rather, it gave the site a couple more years. The alternative to the new format was going to archive status - yes, even way back then.

Rather, it gave the site a couple more years.

As well as your willingness to stay on and do what you do. Thanks, Leanan, for being a good sport, a fair moderator, a sharp mind, and a generous contributor. There are a few of us out here who will miss you.

"There are a few of us out here who will miss you"

More than a few


Pontiac County battles to keep Canadian National line

By Steve Newman, Renfrew Mercury, Aug 22, 2013

For several years, Canadian National has threatened to pull up its line that runs from Pembroke to Ottawa, and now the process has begun. There's a hiccup for CN, however.

Canadian National recently pulled up its track between Pembroke and Beachburg, but efforts to continue that dismantlement, just a few kilometres from Portage-du-Fort, last week met with some resistance.

Members of Transport Pontiac-Renfrew (TPR) and local municipalities, including the Pontiac County Regional Municipality (MRC), gathered at the railway crossing near where more than 100 metres of railway cars were parked, ready to take away rail scheduled for dismantlement.

That's when local Quebec municipal officials and members of TPR made their statement by driving one of MRC's staffvehicles over the tracks and joining the vehicle for a display of defiance in front of several local journalists.

The truck remained in place until CN hired a local tow truck company to remove the vehicle, only to have the company say it wouldn't take the job. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Aug. 15, two other local citizens parked their trucks at the railway crossing to voice their displeasure with CN.

-- snip --

At the ceremonial demonstration Aug. 13, Pontiac Warden Mike McCrank read a written statement.

"It is an important time and a very momentous time," said the warden, "because if we lose this fight our chances of economic upswing is almost slim to nothing. To CN today, I want to say that Canadian National has shown its true face to all Canadians, with their total contempt for the municipalities of Portage-du-Fort, Litchfield, Clarendon and Bristol, as well as MRC Pontiac, not to mention (the Ministry of) Municipal Affairs and the Quebec government who endorsed our interim control bylaw.

"We are a small community, but CN has done this to a lot of communities in the past and they will do it in the future. And they're good at it. What they're doing is they're killing communities. If we, as Quebecers and Canadians, allow them to kill our communities, we're not going to have much left in 20 years."


The train ‘tracks’ are leaving the station

By Sean Chase, Daily Observer, Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:19:25 EDT AM

A last ditch effort to save the Canadian Pacific Railway line between Pembroke and Mattawa has failed, green lighting the company’s plans to tear up the tracks along this crucial transportation corridor.

Officials with Transport Pontiac-Renfrew, the not-for-profit organization seeking to acquire the Beachburg Subdivision of the former Canadian National line, confirmed Wednesday two rounds of negotiations ended last week with CP confirming it will decommission the rest of their line running through the Upper Ottawa Valley.

Rails from the 150-kilometre stretch that makes up the Chalk River Subdivision will be shipped to switching yards in Alberta and Saskatchewan, CP told the group. [lots of rail yards being built to ship bitumen from Alberta, funny how the tar sands affects things]

“We wanted to see if we could keep it,” said Terry Gibeau, former Arnprior mayor and Transport Pontiac-Renfrew co-chairman. “If you take that link out between Mattawa and Pembroke then every train coming across Ontario is going to have an extra 14-hour trip.”

Mr. Gibeau said industries in Renfrew County could use the line to ship raw materials to their factories. One of those companies is ATC Panels, the fibreboard plant in Laurentian Valley that closed its doors in 2008 and employed 200 workers at its peak.

“The saving of the rail was critical to them,” said Mr. Gibeau. “The chances of restarting ATC are probably nil without the line.”

The saving of the rail was critical... at least to one potential investor. From the Eganvile Leader (article not online)...

No rail line, costly hydro, stop plant from re-opening

Company had planned on buying, opening ATC Panels

By Debbi Christinck, Eganville Leader, Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pembroke -- Talks to re-open the ATC fibreboard plant in Laurentian Valley have one potential investor backing out, citing the lack of rail service to the area as one significant hurdle too difficult to overcome.

“The loss of the rail line makes a big difference in the cost of bringing in raw material and sending material out, particularly to our European markets,” said potential investor Peter Jardine of Wood Bio Fibre Technology.

The company turns straw and other agricultural fi bres into high quality boards and was hoping to open the plant near Pembroke using the old ATC plant after a retrofit. There was a potential of up to 300 jobs with the plant, so this decision comes at an economic cost to the area. The company had gone on record stating its intention to purchase and reopen the plant, but the additional ongoing costs of transportation because of the lack of a rail line and the high cost of electricity in the province have put an end to talks.

You'd think that governments committed to addressing/adapting to climate change would be doing everything possible to at least maintain the existing rail network.

And WTI today closed at?

What had remained of the CN mainline from Ottawa running up the Ottawa Valley had been operated up until a couple of years ago by the Ottawa Central Railroad. My son, a big train fan, had managed to secure a high school co-op job with the OCR that ended abruptly when CN reacquired the line. It's sad to see short line railroads being reacquired by the big railroads simply to acquire track that can be lifted and redeployed more profitably elsewhere. A primary reason why trucks are favoured for transportation is that they operate on a road network that is paid for by the public whereas railroads need to maintain their own tracks as well as pay property tax on their tracks. We could create a level playing field by having the public own and maintain the rail lines and rent out access to companies that actually operate trains. We've already lost far too many railroad lines and it is criminal to lose anymore.

It is really striking how railroads have vanished from the Ottawa Valley and surrounding areas. The lines that used to run through Algonquin Park and past Tweed disappeared years ago; the rail beds survive as ATV trails.

Railroads don't like to operate redundant trackage, particularly when there's not much traffic on them. They make their money moving heavy commodities over long distances. For comparison, an example of what they prefer is:

CN to serve new 550,000-ton per year frac sand transloading terminal in northwestern Alberta
New Di-Corp terminal will accommodate rapid growth in frac sand demand from oil and gas industry

CN announced today it will start serving a new state-of-the art frac sand terminal north of Grande Prairie, Alta., starting in November 2013.

The new 20-acre facility being built by Di-Corp of Edmonton will have an annual throughput capacity of 550,000 tons of frac sand and have three tracks capable of holding 44 rail cars for unloading. Di-Corp said: “We are very pleased to be working with CN on this project in northwestern Alberta to help accommodate existing and expected growth in frac sand demand in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.

“CN is an outstanding partner, providing cost-effective and reliable logistics services from frac sand origin in the Wisconsin Basin to destinations in Western Canada.”

They've been fracíng wells in Alberta since the early 1950's, but at today's oil prices it's getting to be a big, big business.


The link is to Nicole Foss’ latest on the analogy of hypothermia as it serves well to describe how the main power centers are sacrificing the periphery for the good of the core. She predicts India’s plan to feed hundreds of millions in a program not unlike US food stamps will be rejected by the IMF in the interest of sustaining the core. I think she’s hit on a very apt analogy.

Not Nicole, but still a striking analogy.

There's no other name on the article and her name is on top right of the website, so who was it written by then?

Ilargi, I'm guessing. It's his name at the bottom of the article.

Yes, Ilargi. Well, Nicole at least gets credit for having it on her website. Good article for those that have not read it yet.

When you access the site via the front page it shows authors very clearly:

Frankly it looks like Nicole is only posting new articles once in a blue moon.

Brigham hadde eiendeler i Bakken-formasjon i Nord-Dakota, som er rik på skiferolje, og i starten gikk det som smurt. I det siste har det imidlertid begynt å hakke.

Translated from norwegian to English according to my best effort.
"Brigham had acreage in the Bakken formation in North-Dakota which is rich in shale oil, and at the start everything went great. As is now it has however begin to sputter."

Link to Norwegian article

Toyota's Prius refresh, hydrogen fuel cell car on tap for 2015

Ogiso did not say what kind of mileage the next-generation Prius will get, other than it would improve on the current version’s 50 miles per gallon. In the past, Toyota has improved fuel efficiency from generation to generation by about 10 percent.

Best hopes for a 10% efficiency gain on the next-generation Prius.

Remember when . . .

Katrina made landfall eight years ago, today.

China halts environmental approvals for oil giants

China's environment ministry said it had temporarily halted approval of new refining projects, and renovation or expansion of existing facilities, for China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec).

... It was not clear how the environment ministry, which is considered weak by many analysts, would enforce the ruling.

Russia sends warships to Mediterranean as Syria tension rises

Russia is sending two warships to the east Mediterranean, Interfax news agency said on Thursday, but Moscow denied this meant it was beefing up its naval force there as Western powers prepare for military action against Syria.

Interfax quoted a source in the armed forces' general staff as saying Russia, Syria's most powerful ally, was deploying a missile cruiser from the Black Sea Fleet and a large anti-submarine ship from the Northern Fleet in the "coming days".

- Hunt for Red October

Jeffrey Pelt: It would be well for your government to consider that having your ships and ours, your aircraft and ours, in such proximity... is inherently DANGEROUS. Wars have begun that way, Mr. Ambassador.

Admiral Josh Painter: This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it.

There's no way Obama is going to give the order to launch missiles into Syria, not after Russia sent ships there too. He's basically a risk aversive prez. All this saber rattling is to apply pressure to reduce the chances of a similar incident occurring again and for Obama to save some face in light of his hard line comments (he probably regrets) that the US would not tolerate WMD's used against the Syrian people.

If the US bombs Syria, Assad could launch against Israel, then Iran might chime in against Israel and other US interests, then Israel launches missiles and Russia might settle a perceived imbalance with a salvo of their own. Then what happens if a Russian ship gets hit by a missile? Obama knows how brazen the Russians can get. In WWII, Russians forced into labor camps to build weapons for the Nazi's would sabotage them in a way that was so obvious they would be taken outside and shot, whereas the Jews sabotaged them in a way that was not so obvious. Ever see what the Russian police do when they arrest someone? This situation is fraught with risk. I'll stand on a prediction of zero US missiles being launched. Obama weenies out and will probably get hit hard politically for pushing it so close but not having the guts to follow through. But give credit where it is due, not firing is a wise decision.

The Russian navy and the US sixth fleet playing chicken in the Mediterranean is nerve-racking stuff.

It's been my observation that every US president seems to feel a need to launch some sort of offensive action, just to prove his manhood. Thus far Obama has merely followed in the Bush II footsteps. Maybe he feels this is his opportunity. I hope not.

I think it just looks worse than it is. Neither the US nor Russia want to tangle with each other. I think that as long as we can work out some deal wherein Russia gets to keep their naval base in Syria no matter want happens, Russia won't get too upset although I'm sure they'd just like to stick with having Syria as a client state.

I hope you are right Peak Earl.

Wars have begun that way, Mr. Ambassador.

This was my thought yesterday as well. At least at first. Suez troubles, military prep, chest thumping, etc. We've seen it many times before. I've marched in the street against US and Canadian military action, even though I suspected (and later knew) it wasn't going to have any effect- that it was only a gesture.

The lack of mainstream coverage of the Suez situation yesterday makes me wonder if this is different. I actually wonder if Obama will blink.

If he does, we'll know the limits of American Hegimony.

This is, unfortunately, his strongest reason not to blink.


I expect the Suez thing, if it even was a 'thing', had more to do with some in the US talking about cutting military aid to Egypt than with Syria.

"No military aid, no US warships in our canal"

"Be careful what you wish for, for you may surely get it." (from The Big Chill.)


I think they're trying to walk it backwards.

The tone of the headlines has changed in the last 24-36 hours.

MSM is using the word 'If' instead of 'When' in describing the approaching conflict. Congress sent letters requesting their approval before shooting starts. Other headlines: ...

- France: political solution the ultimate goal for Syria
- China urges restraint over Syria tensions, calls for calm
- Egypt opposes Syria strikes, says it would not participate
- Global shares gain as Syria reassessed; dollar up on US GDP
- US, UK Face Delays in Push to Strike Syria
- William Hague plays down imminence of Syria attack as UN seeks ...
- 'No plans' for Canadian military mission in Syria, Harper says

Money talks

The oligarchs in Russia see this as bad for business. The oligarchs on Wall Street see this as bad for business. The Saudis, the Israelis, the EU oligarchs don't need the aggravation.

My guess on how they view it is - it's only a few thousand 'little people' - they don't support 'our economy' - so we'll count on the publics inablity to remember a crisis for longer than three weeks. Expect hearings and summits while the public is fed more 'panem et circenses'. [It's hurricane season - that's always a good distraction] Special Forces will insure a truck bomb or three in the next few weeks sends the appropriate message to the Syrian general staff.

Maybe I'm being too cynical :-/

The tone certainly has changed and they now seem to be bogged down with opposition to the strike. The propaganda has been an epic fail, which is not without consequences and even an accelerated schedule failed to deliver in time. Also there seems to be other factors which are not clear, such as what the Saudis are up to.

If the UN inspectors find that Assad wasn't responsible, then our "trusted" leaders are going to be political sitting ducks when hunting season kicks off. Just at the point when everything else seems to slowly sliding towards the cliff edge again.

The UN inspectors are only there to determine if chemical weapons were used. They are not there to determine who used them (and they probably don't have the skills & technology to make such a determination).

Circumstantial evidence, such as delivery method, witness testimonies, etc. are also being collected. And of course chemical composition of agent used, which will be analysed outside of Syria. They're also under pressure to present an early report of their findings.

As I understand it, the only side that has so far used a chemical weapon is the rebels. And the only side which benefits from using a chemical weapon would appear to be the rebels. So I certainly hope the UN inspectors can offer some real information on what actually happened and not just muddy the waters further.

With the Arab league saying Assad (or at least hi forces) did it, but being against a strike, I think it would be difficult to make the moral case for a strike.

I don't see those Russian ships as a major imprediment -presumably any limited strike wouldn't hit anywhere near them. Actually we had a limited Israeli strike a couple of months back, hitting a couple of symbolic targets probably wouldn't have any more effect.

At this point, I think he is most likely to have to let this one slide -as most domestic and international opinion is against.

Interesting: Juan Cole had some interesting observations/speculation. He thinks the Syrians have been mixing small amounts of Sarin into "crowd control gases", as a way to kill small numbers of rebels or sympathizers. Maybe a field commander got the dosage wrong? He also thinks the rebels in question were Jordanian trained and effective enough a local commander may have panicked...

Yeah, I think they should have a convincing case before doing anything. At a minimum waiting until the inspectors are done.

They may have secret intelligence that tells them much more . . . but even if they do, does that matter if they can't get other people to believe it?

The idea described in the last paragraph is interesting.

I've been wondering how the use of chemical warfare on a limited scale could possibly be in Assad's interest - surely the political fallout would outweigh whatever the conceivable benefits might be.

Assuming, what was said actually resembles the truth (i.e. I can't say): The idea was to use just enough to have some effect, but not so much that the international community can finger you. You cheat only so much as you think you can get away with.

We don't know much for certain about the motivations and aims of those involved, but Cole's suggestion does make sense. Normally, I would expect that one would only use such a technology if (a) nobody of importance in the international community cares and/or (b) it would provide a decisive edge. Perhaps the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s qualifies on both counts. Of course, the disadvantages and risks of pursuing (b) under the present circumstances are all too obvious.

Interestingly, Hitler refrained from the use of poison gas on the battlefield, even though he considered the Soviets to be subhuman.

It's too late to post a comment over on Big Gav's renewable future thread, but I thought that ardnassac's long review of Charlie Hall & Pedro Prieto's work on the EROEI of PV in Spain deserved greater attention. Ard - if you're reading, I'd suggest contacting Gail at Our Finite World. This seems just the sort of article she'd be thrilled to post on her site. I'm not saying I agree with all that was said in this review, but I do greatly respect Hall's work on EROEI, and if it's even remotely in the ballpark, this is eye-opening and frightening work for those of us who might entertain the possibility of renewables easing the decline in any meaningful way. Here's the link to ardnassac's long comment, for the many who missed it on Big Gav's now dead thread: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/10162#comment-975649

Written by Alice Friedemann:
Where were the PV panels placed

2.2 Rooftop
97.8 On the ground (far more efficient than rooftop)

With the way the authors calculate the energy input (insurance and rent as energy inputs among others improper items), I do not believe that a ground mount is more efficient than mounting on an existing roof. Every time I have compared the price of installing PV on a ground mounted dual axis tracker to my roof, the roof wins. For a rooftop installation, I suspect these authors would improperly include all the embodied energy in the building as energy input to the PV system while ignoring that the building existed without the PV panels and serves other purposes that makes its embodied energy come from the returned energy. As one includes more and more peripheral energy inputs, the ERoEI approaches 1.

Because the durability of PV panels is unknown, ERoEI should be stated as payback time.

Things like roads, fences and mounting hardware do not necessarily wear out during the assumed 25 year lifetime of the system. They would still be in use after worn out PV panels are replaced.

It is possible that waste in installation and operation of centralized PV systems was created by Spain's absurdly high subsidy of 47 Euro cents per kWh.

The ERoEI of my off-grid PV system is low when the embodied energy of the lead-acid batteries is included. Otherwise, it is high.

The world burns 400 EJ of power....

Really? A Joule is an unit of energy, not power. Due to that mistake, I can not check the validity of the claim, "Solar PV would have to cover 2,300 square miles to replace the energy of nuclear and fossil fuel plants." 2,300 mi2 / 197,000,000 mi2 is about a thousandth of 1% of the surface area of Earth which I think is too small by a factor of 10. It is a strawman to assert that all energy would come from PV panels, and "300 billion car batteries" would be used to store energy for use at night. What happened to wind, solar thermal, solar hot water, hydroelectricity, pumped hydro, geothermal, tidal, run-of-river, biomass and demand side management? Did they improperly compare total global thermal energy consumption to PV electrical production without considering differences in efficiency?

Written by Ardnassac:
... peer-reviewed and most science-based and fact-based book ever published on solar photovoltaics....


rooftop v. ground depends on location, location, location. You can't do ground in cities and suburbs. The land is worth too much to waste on a PV system and the ground mounted PV stuff is more likely to be stolen. If you have cheap rural land then you can go ahead and mount on the ground.

So there is no complete right answer . . . it depends on location.

Syria is roiling oil markets, but the real story is the chaos in Libya and Nigeria

Traders are bidding up the price of oil hoping for a big return should the usual course of conflict-related events unfold: a spike in anticipation of war, in this case in Syria, followed by a plunge once the bombing starts and the market accepts that there will not be Armageddon. Meanwhile, the more concrete risk to global oil supply is elsewhere

The Syrian oil trade—in which investors are betting on expected US-UK-French retaliation for a suspected Aug. 21 chemical attack by Damascus—is exceptionally speculative (paywall). There are almost no repercussions for oil in the actual theater of war: To affect global oil, hostilities would have to spill into Iraq (a bombing of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline), the Strait of Hormuz (which channels 17 million barrels of oil a day, a fifth of the world’s oil supply) or Saudi Arabia

The real threat to oil prices—which has already caused a 16% price surge since April despite a reasonable global surplus of crude—comes from other geopolitical chaos in two key supplier nations: Libya and Nigeria.

Saudi Arabia increased its C+C production to ~10 Mb/d which partly offsets the reduction in exports from Libya. Up to 500 kb/d from their Manifa field might have come to market this month.

'Oil Movements' reports OPEC exports have slid in recent weeks

Per oil tanker tracker 'Oil Movements', OPEC exports are expected to fall to 23.6 mbpd, from a level of about 23.8 mbpd a month ago, and about 24.4 mbpd about two months ago. Most of the 800,000 bpd fall from a short lasting peak of about 24.4 mbpd at the start of summer is due to falling Libya exports, and to a lesser extent from various other locations such as Nigeria and Iraq. Prior to that, for most of 2013, exports bounced around the 24.0 mbpd level. Exports out of the Persian Gulf have remain rather consistent for some months; there are no indications that Gulf States adjusted their exports due to market prices or political considerations so far.

OPEC to Cut Oil Exports as Consumption Wanes, Oil Movements Says

Oil Export Nightmare: OPEC Takes Hits; Libya, Nigeria Output Down


Wax up your mohawks and put on your spikes boys & girls, It's time to go to BarterTown ...

WasteLand Weekend 2013

What began in 2010 as a gathering for a few hundred Mad Max fans, has evolved into the world’s largest post-apocalyptic party. This September, Wasteland Weekend will mark it’s fourth year, bringing upwards of two-thousand people to a fortified shanty town on a barren patch of the Mojave Desert, ready to immerse themselves in a post-apocalyptic world.

And immersion really is the key word. “All of our attendees have to wear post-apocalyptic attire at all times” explains head organizer Karol Bartoszynski, “we don’t have spectators at Wasteland. Everyone is a participant”. (Though a wasteland “body shop” is provided onsite to help the costume-challenged with their makeover).

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I sometimes wonder if the Mad Max movies contain coded messages for the future. Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior prophesied 40 years ago that political leaders would talk about oil, conduct wars over it and ultimately do nothing positive. Mad Max 3 Beyond Thunderdome foretold of the methane economy. Maybe it was slightly off key suggesting pig manure when synthetic methane may turn out to be a crucial energy storage medium.

Look for hidden prophesies in the new Mad Max movie currently in post production I believe. If the road warriors drive electric buggies we can take that as a sign.