DrumBeat: January 31, 2007

Mirror, mirror on the wall, how can oil plan at all?

Every morning as he brushes his teeth, a European oil company chief is reminded of the big question: is his business more like a tube of toothpaste or a glass of water?

If the latter, his job is to make money by being efficient, to keep the tap flowing, the water clean and the glass adequately replenished.

A glass half-empty or half-full is the conventional view of integrated oil companies. These are utilities: there is plenty of oil and gas about and the job is to invest adequately, not overfilling the glass, in order to maximise the amount of money that flows from the taps and pipes.

The other view is that the business of big oil is to capture scarce resources. It’s about squeezing as much as you can out of the wrinkly tube. Oil companies are custodians of wasting assets: it’s all about reserves, who owns the barrels and the price, monetary or political, to acquire more of them.

Suddenly the debate over what oil companies are about is becoming shrill — and not only because the supporters of peak oil theory are getting more noisy. Whether or not the global oil industry has reached maximum output at some 85-90 million barrels per day, the stock market seems to have lost its ability consistently to price risk in the oil sector.

Mexican Cantarell Oil Field in Decline: Prelude to a Larger Crash?

Daily output at Mexico's biggest oil field tumbled by half a million barrels last year, according to figures released Friday by the Mexican government. The ongoing decline at the Cantarell field could pressure prices on the global oil market, complicate U.S. efforts to diversify its oil imports away from the Middle East, and threaten Mexico's financial stability.

Venezuela Hits US Drilling Company with Stiff Tax Bill

Venezuelan tax authorities said Houston-based Pride International, one of the world's top oil drilling firms, evaded paying more than $32 million in taxes and now must make good on the bill.

Goldseek Radio: One of the featured guests is Jim Kunstler.

CEOs, Retired Generals Push to Curb Oil Reliance

An influential private group of corporate chief executives and retired generals is telling lawmakers on Capitol Hill to "think big" on energy.

More Trains, Less Grain

Mr. Bush never mentioned the only realistic way to reach that goal: transit.

A Faith-Based Fuel Initiative

Americans who heard President Bush’s State of the Union address, including his pledge to reduce America’s gasoline consumption, can be forgiven for thinking he was finally ready to change that. But all Mr. Bush really asked for was the authority to set mileage standards in a different way.

On global warming, what US can learn from Europe: Four Senate bills offer market-based ways to reduce emissions of greenhouse emissions.

World energy council highlights nuclear power in Europe

With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, WEC forecast that global energy consumption will double every year while demand for electricity is to triple.

However, the report points out, there are solid economic reasons to support the development of nuclear power in Europe. "For existing plants the economics behind nuclear power look particularly attractive considering that planned lifetime extensions, capacity increases and license renewals can further reduce costs."

Loser: Corn-o-copia - Extravagant subsidies and low coal prices have made for some strange ethanol projects.

Oil Companies Lukewarm Over Gazprom's Shtokman Invitation

Oil and gas companies Statoil ASA and Total SA gave a lukewarm response Tuesday to an offer from Russian gas monopoly OAO Gazprom for them to join the massive Shtokman gas field development in the Arctic as sub-contractors.

After 4 Years of Growth, Texas Production Activity Hits Plateau

Texas' oil and natural gas production-related activity has plateaued after more than four years of steady growth, according to an index compiled by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

China Sees Declining Oil Reserves Last Year While Natural Gas Soars

China's proven crude reserves dropped 12.33% last year to 2.19 billion tonnes from a year earlier while natural gas reserves surged more than 50% to 2.27 trillion cubic metres, far higher than the 1.15% average increase of world reserves, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.

JAXA Targets 2008 Launch for Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning a summer 2008 launch for its new Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT). JAXA unveiled a prototype of GOSAT at its space center in Tsukuba on Monday.

Russia and Japan Move to Strengthen Energy Ties

After decades of weak ties because of a dispute over four Pacific islands, officials from Japan and Russia have launched high-level talks on such strategic issues as trade and energy.

Australia PM welcomes report on energy future

Prime Minister John Howard has backed a new energy report which supports his push for nuclear power as a way to combat climate change.

Scotland Power Crisis Reinforces Need for Fossil Fuel Alternatives

Energy rationing. Energy famine. Are they even possible? It’s almost unthinkable in our bright, shiny, well-lit modern world that we’d have to get along without electricity. But it seems to be happening more and more often in densely populated urban areas that rely on centrally generated and distributed power. This time, it’s Scotland.

Paris to roll out free bicycles

The City of Light wants to soon become a city of bicycles. Paris City Hall announced it has selected French outdoor advertising firm JCDecaux SA to operate a new free bicycle service in the capital.

Harnessing Hydrogen - It's a Gas

"The Hydrogen Office project will show renewable energy for ordinary everyday use in offices and homes can be a realistic and affordable option."

The development is expected to create 1350 jobs and generate up to £81 million in revenue across Scotland over the coming years.

U.K.: Parking hike for high polluters

Richmond Council in south-west London, has said high carbon dioxide-emitting vehicles will now incur three times the normal residential parking fees.

South Africa: 'No quick fix to Eskom energy crisis'

The Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry has appealed to businesses to re-examine the way in which they use energy in order to save electricity.

Brussels urges action on EU blackout threat

EU states should sign up to European Commission reforms on the internal market for energy if they want to avoid the kind of blackouts seen in November last year, Brussels said Tuesday (30 January), trying to steer a middle way between advice and alarmism.

10 First Steps for a Transition Town Initiative

Transition Town initiatives engage community in peak oil and climate change awareness, planning and action, building on the influencial Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan concept.

EU Tackles Oil Companies over Climate Change

The European Commission will propose stricter environmental standards for fuel and will require a drop in emissions from oil exploration and transport as part of the fight against global change, a proposal set for release on Wednesday shows.

Harnessing the Wind Power of the Highway

How many speeding cars does it take to power a lightbulb? Not such a stupid question—just ask GE.

Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare

The production of biofuels, long a cornerstone of the quest for greener energy, may sometimes create more harmful emissions than fossil fuels, scientific studies are finding.

"Halt needed on number of biofuel plants"

Governments should introduce a halt on the number of biofuel processing plants until they are certain of how many are being built and are in control of the sector's growth, according to environmentalist Lester Brown from the 'US Earth Policy' Institute.

Washington state aims to build biofuels industry

Washington state legislators are considering a bill to promote a biofuels industry in the state and require state-owned fleet vehicles to reduce use of fossil fuels.

Africa seen missing out on clean energy investment

Africa has missed out on booming investment in clean energy projects partly over worries that it is a tough destination to do business, a U.N. official said on Tuesday.

California may ban conventional lightbulbs by 2012

The "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act" would ban incandescent lightbulbs by 2012 in favor of energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

Lawns to Gardens

The Humboldt County Peak Oil Action Group will be sponsoring a free two-part Lawns to Gardens workshop on Feb. 6 and March 13, beginning at 7 p.m. both nights, in the Arcata Community Center Senior Room.

Iran's Khamenei Calls for 'Gas OPEC' with Russia

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Russia, the world's biggest holder of gas reserves, to help create an organization of natural gas producing countries, the official state news agency IRNA reported.

Russian Officials Oppose Iran's Idea of Creating Gas Cartel

Officials at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry and the Industry and Energy Ministry do not see any economic expediency in creating a gas cartel.

An OPEC of a Different Color

Looming on the European horizon may be a new type of "natural gas OPEC" led by Russia. The secret to its success, however, will be its ability to operate under the global radar.

Climate change report paints doomsday scenario for Sydney

Global warming will leave Sydney in permanent drought by 2070, with huge seas battering its famous beaches and raging bushfires threatening its outskirts, a new report says.

Bush accused of distorting evidence on climate change

The Bush administration has been accused of routinely misleading the public over the threat of global warming and of orchestrating efforts to try to suppress scientific findings that highlight the reality of climate change.

There was some discussion yesterday about "Cheney's Smirk" during the energy section of Bush's SOTU address on 1/24/07. I think I know why he was smirking.

My theory is that he knows that there will be a large draw in petroleum fuel supplies in this week's EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report and there will be a nice runup in prices. He has prepared his hedge funds to make a nice profit when this happens. His giddiness was just him thinking about the $$ in the bank.

Given the numbers that just came out -

crude: +2.7 million barrels
gasoline: +3.8 million barrels
distillates: -2.6 million barrels
total commercial petroleum inventories: +0.3 million barrels

there must be another explanation for the smirk.

Predicting the weekly inventory changes, let alone the direction of the changes, is like rolling dice. Even the analysts, who watch this stuff very closely, are all over the map every week.

Ya...saw that...bit of a surprise.

I guess Cheney's smirk indicates that he just gets his rocks off when hearing talk about energy.

Although, this makes no sense at all, but crude prices are going up...go figure...there is no rhyme or reason in crude prices these days.

I thought the upswing might be related to the news on Cantarell

I think the MSM is pinning it on the Y2Y increase in demand.

I think the Rigzone article discussing "an increase in Texas production related activity" is typical of many media articles. It is
clearly meant to give the uninformed the indication Texas hydrocarbon production is increasing, when the reality is the article is about money being spent on drilling and related production increasing. More
money being spent for less results, in a nutshell.


You misunderstand. We have been increasing our reserve productive capacity here in Texas for 34 years. Please continue with your plans to buy the SUV.

I don't think boby is planning an SUV purchase, he seems to be agreeing with you. About the increased drilling activity, I made a firsthand report in a small comment around Newyear's...

When we drove up highway 79 across east Texas on the way to Mother-in-law's house, there were conventional drilling rigs all over the place, visible from the highway. We've seen all the pumpjacks on previous trips up 79, but rarely any drilling.

Now it looks like everybody that has a small holding anywhere in east TX is drilling the **** out of it.

I don't think boby is planning an SUV purchase, he seems to be agreeing with you.

I know. My semi-snide comment was for general consumption.

A recurring question I have been asking is whether the world is drilling fast enough to keep the post-peak decline rate down to the Lower 48 range--about 2%.

I don't think Rigzone is aimed at, nor read by, "the uninformed". It was a short, simple piece on the rig count in Texas, nothing more, nothing less.

I noticed that Freddy, who eloquently described Deffeyes & Simmons as "scumbags," was in rare form yesterday, attacking me, Ron and Khebab in one fell swoop:

Jeffrey WT, please don't help us with definitions. You and Patterson have shown that u know very little outside your small area of expertise. Most of the blathering by both of u here at TOD is the blind-leading-the-blind.

Do us all a favour, Jeffrey and get one of the Campbell or Laherrere compilations of HL. Everyone here knows that i luv HL but it serves only a limited purpose and u and khebab clearly have no idea what in the world that is. I suggest i think to was Colin's Essence book ('93?), where he shows over 50 HL's of different coutries and regions. Only 8 approach the predictive power that u and khebab say that they do. That's eight. 8 of 50 or more. A dart would do better. East texas included.

Ron and yourself know nothing of the ME technology. Have read none of the SPE documentation. I notice that many pundits here are too cheap to go to pay per view sites and flood us with anecdotal B.S. day in and day out.

Get a life. Please.

Most KSA drilling is at a density of one/100 sqmi. Lower 48 was at 1/sqmi at Peak. Your authorative statements are juvenile and disgusting and getting worse....

Just a reminder:

Deffeyes, based on his HL plot, predicted that 2006 was the most likely year for a decline in world crude oil production, and world crude oil production is down.

I predicted, using Khebab's HL plots (and in support of Simmons' work), that 2006 was the most likely year for a decline in Saudi crude oil production, and Saudi crude oil production is down.

Khebab predicted that Mexican crude oil production would start declining in the 2006/2007 time frame, and Mexican crude oil production is declining.

In regard to Freddy's comment about HL plots. I have been focusing on large producing regions--60 Gb plus--especially as models for the world and Saudi Arabia. As I have repeatedly pointed out, the HL model has worked quite well both for modeling large producing regions and as a predictive tool.

Finally, is there any prospect on the horizon for anything that will address the troll issue?

We're working on it.

In the mean time, it would really help if you wouldn't bring old flamewars over into new threads. Why give the idiots more exposure than they already have?

Ah c'mon...I like the whole "moooo" ranking system...that's kinda fun!!

I second Mooooo ratings for the following reasons:

1) The Moooos provide feedback to the errant posters. If everyone Moooos you on a regular basis then maybe there is a hint there that you may be posting to the wrong blog to the wrong audience.
2) It gives all of us a sense of where the median opinion may be. I thought TOD was one kind of place but perhaps I am mistaken.
3) It saves the high electron usage/download times associated with extended flamewar rebuttals.
4) It may give the editors/site owners some useful feedback about the audience and this may then translate into a more effective posting/screening system.


Oh God, I knew this would happen. The Mooo! technique is the thermonuclear weapon of troll warfare. It should be used sparingly, if at all. It was with a heavy heart that I deployed it against dmathew1, who has infested many a messageboard and forum, derailing discussions with endless repetitions of his half-baked, apolocalyptic religious ravings. He is unusually persistent, unusually loopy and unusually tedious. The Moo! technique is therefore both appropriate and effective because it expresses the vast majority of readers' distain and non-interest in his posts, while giving him nothing substantial to reply to nor stroking his ego by taking him seriously.

To use this awesome power against lesser offenders would be horrific. I know many who post disagree with Freddy and Hothgor and find their persistance annoying, but they do actually discuss what this forum is about: namely oil and energy. As someone who comes here to learn and posts rarely, I find theirs a useful contribution as they do open up debates and provide a needed counterpoint to the majority opinion. Certainly, they could both do better and use less infective against those they disagree with, but even so a Mooo! would be overkill for the 99% of their posts.

So as the person who introduced the Mooo! system, I beg of you all - for the sake of the children! - only use it for the true nutjobs.


So the homesteaders rule the roost? Anybody who disagrees with their point of view is declared a troll. Great - the most exciting part of the site will be the flame wars.

By the way, how many of the posters here are in the oil trading busiess? It seems to be in their interest to play up PO and higher prices, so I'm wondering, given that the amount of known reserves is in the four trillion barrel range, why so many posters keep spreading doom and gloom.

So the homesteaders rule the roost? Anybody who disagrees with their point of view is declared a troll. Great - the most exciting part of the site will be the flame wars.

the Oil Drum's one great contribution to the Peak Oil movement is the persistence of its flame wars. The Oil Drum is populated by a bunch of people who must work at their computers and therefore have way too much time of their hands. So they waste it here where they can pretend like they are in control and doing something significant ... you know, saving the world from Peak Oil and religion and ethanol and legislation which might potentially harm the oil industry in some small manner.

You cannot blame people for behaving consistently with their own flawed character. The Oil Drum's is so narrowly focused that these people have no choice except to talk about the same thing every single day. The flame wars are just a sport for them.

Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as specks of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.
Isaiah 40:15-17

Oil people aren't well known for their tolerance, open mindedness, philosophical acumen, religious knowledge, humanitarianism, morality, ethics or love for the environment. You can hardly blame oil people from behaving in a boorish manner because that is their very nature.

David Mathews

P.S. Where are those cows? Bring me some cows. I love these cows. These people would do the whole world a favor if they all became cows.

Sorry, somehow a later posting was misplaced.

The day TOD implements a popularity contest is the day that TOD joins the PO fringe setting. But if you want to be a radical site, be my guest. I certainly wont lose much sleep over it.




OK, I've deleted some responses to Hothgor recently, I'll admit, as it just isn't worth anyone's time including my own - and after reading further down the thread, that includes this one.

Just noting that this an edit, as a delete function isn't available.

I'd like to have the ability to not see certain posters' comments. In fact, I don't want to see their comments or any replies to their comments. That would eliminate a lot of noise. I realize it would be a dangerous tool to use, I don't want to block out opinions that differ from mine only blatant trolls. I would also need to ability to review comments from people on my block list every now and then to decide if I wanted to unblock them.

Rating systems are ok I guess, but I've never been too pleased with their results on other sites such as Slashdot.

I wonder if there is software for wordprint analysis. Wordprints are a measure of how often a person uses prepositions, conjunctions, and articles (a, an, or the) in their writing. Counting the number of words a person uses in an average sentence is also part of wordprints. There are a couple of other factors involved also which I presently don't recall. It is extemely difficult if not impossible to change your wordprint. This means a troll who freqently changes their screen name and e-mail address could quickly be identified and subsequently blocked from filling up the comments threads with personal attacks and other drivel.

Tom Deplume wrote:

It is extemely difficult if not impossible to change your wordprint.

I seriously doubt this. Here's how to change it:

Go to the library find any writer you like and study his/her style. It isn't that hard to analyze sentence structure if you paid attention in grammar class.

In senior high, as a joke on an english teacher, I wrote an essay mimicking Dickens. Didn't overdo it, didn't attempt parody, just tried to be as Dickensian as possible. The teacher, bless his heart, gave me an A+.

You can also study the style of legal briefs, instant messaging chat sessions, scientific journals, wine labels etc.

EDIT: Actually, there is such a variety of styles here on TOD that you don't have to go to the library. Just pick another poster and begin your analysis.

Most of us, here, could do Freddy Hutter with no study at all!! :-)

For the record, I see more name calling by the people TOD apparently 'wants' to keep around then the people that you want to get rid of.

You are certainly in the top five most abusive posters.


Actually, average oil production for last year with the most recent data shows we were up 39,000 bpd average over 2005. Its not much, but at least you should get your facts somewhat straight.

As for the HL. Only 8 of 50 countries that have peaked actually did so when the HL suggested they would. That essentially means that the Prophet has a 16% chance of being right.

HL work GREAT for predicting future production from a region AFTER it has peaked, not before.

As for the trolling issue, as it was stated before, a troll is someone who doesn't bring anything to the table. That very clearly does not describe any of the people you want to see 'addressed' in the near future. But I bet you would like to have no dissenting voices on this site after the thrashing you received about the super giant production :laughs:

The problem with the most recent data is that a few months down the road the numbers have most often been revised downward. It will probably be March or April before final figures for 2006 are released. That 139,000 bbl/d increase may be revised down to a 139,000 bbl/d drop.

2006 Supply up 0.7-mbd over 2005

December - 85.45-mbd

Russia: new record 9.84-mbd (up 40kbd)
Saudi Arabia: 8.52-mbd (down 100kbd)
Mexico: 3.59-mbd (up 40kbd)
Canada: 3.42-mbd (up 60kbd)

december iea stats

(1) The EIA shows the most recent crude + condensate production number to be 655,000 bpd below the 2005 peak. Note that I said that crude oil production was down.

(2) Khebab's post on Cantarell shows how "unimportant" the super giant oil fields are.

(3) As I said in my post, I am primarily focused on larger producing regions as models for the world and Saudi Arabia. As predicted by the mathematical and historical models, world and Saudi crude oil production are declining. So, again, until you and Freddy get some production data to support your predictions for rising crude oil production, why do you continue to attack the method, even as the production data, most recently in Mexico, support the method?

Hello Westexas,

This argument, again?

How many more times?

Denial then affirmation, affirmation then denial, denial then affirmation, affirmation then denial ...

Come on, man. there's more to life than HL Plots. Also, more to life than oil. More to life than the Oil Drum, especially.


David Mathews


you do know your not actually helping?
you may not like dmatthew1, but at least he is mature enough to actually talk instead of filling the site up with spam like what your doing.
no his posts are not spam, you might not agree with what he says but it's NOT spam. spam is posing 'mooo' as the only work in your post every time a person you don;t like posts.
i move that the people who do this get a 24 hour warning ban.

he is mature enough to actually talk

I disagree

The sum total of his above post is a series of injunctions to WT on how WT should live his life. When he is not dictating how WT should live his life he is dictating how RR should live his life. When not engaged in these topics he describes his moonlit walks with a banana.

These topics may strike you as deeply profound. I simply do not see how they have bearing on the topics that appear to be the subject of this site.

I do not know enough to either like or dislike him. I cannot find any content apart from the injunctive, hence the moooo.

It is funny that when I Google "ethanol", there are tons of positive and interesting news articles that result, yet when I come to the Oil Drum the only ethanol-related articles posted are the negative (and incorrect) hack-jobs.

Leanan, fix the situation.

Fix it yourself. You're free to post your own links to articles and studies in DrumBeat threads.

There was a discussion late last night, and early this morning, concerning my assertion that Saudi, by decreasing their decline rate by drilling more wells, were increasing their depletion rate.

That was disputed by Jimvj who posted: Depletion and decline rates do NOT go in opposite directions. Jim went on to say that I could not seriously claim that my statement: That is, by decreasing the decline rate, they are increasing the depletion rate. made any sense.

Well, I am claiming that it makes perfect sense. Not only does it make sense, the concept is so simple that I am at a loss to understand why anyone could question it. At any rate poster “Aniya” asked for a clarification and an example. “Rethin” said of Jimvj objection, that it made sense to him. Then Freddy Hutter chimed in saying that I get it more wrong each time.

Peakearl and Bob Shaw posted explanations supporting my position. Thanks guys. But I will try one more time to explain this very simple concept:

If Aramco is decreasing their decline rate by drilling more wells and pulling more oil out, they are therefore increasing the flow rate out of the reservoir. If they are increasing the flow rate out of the reservoir, you are therefore increasing the depletion rate of the oil still left in the reservoir.

Again, they are decreasing their decline rate by sucking the oil out faster. If you suck the oil out faster, the faster the oil drops in the reservoir. They are therefore increasing their decline rate!

If you put one straw in a shake and suck at a given rate, you are depleting the shake left in the glass by a given amount. But if you put two straws in the shake, and two people suck at that rate, then you will double the depletion rate or double the rate at which the milk shake drops in the glass. You double the flow rate out of the glass and at the same time you double the rate that the milk shake drops in the glass.

The Saudis are simply putting more straws in their reservoirs and sucking harder. By doing so they are decreasing their decline rate from 8% to 2%, or so they say. But by decreasing their decline rate they are at the same time increasing the depletion rate of the oil left in the reservoir.

Until, of course, until all this extra sucking catches up with them and the reservoir goes into catastrophic collapse which is bound to happen sooner or later.

Does that settle it Jimvj, Rethin and Freddy? Is that a good enough explanation Aniya?

Ron Patterson

You lost me here, Ron

Again, they are decreasing their decline rate by sucking the oil out faster. If you suck the oil out faster, the faster the oil drops in the reservoir. They are therefore increasing their decline rate!

Please tell me that the last decline was meant to be depletion, so I can think I understand.

Yes, of course that last decline meant depletion. I often screw up like that when I am trying to do something too fast. I even proof read to catch my screw ups, but this time even my proof read screwed up.

Sorry about that.

Ron Patterson


I think this little round demonstrates how ambiguous and confusing the English language is is.

When you use the phrase "decline rate" you are perhaps thinking about instantaneous decline rate whereas others here may be thinking about long-term amount of decline.

So yes, if one increases instantaneous production rate (aka decreasing instantaneous decline rate), then the instantaneous depletion rate goes up. However the long-term amount of decline (not rate) of production rate will increase because you have depleted more out of the ground and are therefore that much further forward on the back face of the bell curve (of production rate, --not to be confused with the S-shaped logistics curve of quantity produced).

The slope (rate of production rate) at the right side of the bell curve is constantly "increasing" because you are shifting toward a less negative slope. The slope is always negative though.

Not sure what the fuss about, the intent of the author was clear on the first try (in the previous thread).

Hi step,

Thank you.

"So yes, if one increases instantaneous production rate (aka decreasing instantaneous decline rate), then the instantaneous depletion rate goes up."

I found this helpful.

Hi Ron,

It did make me smile, though. Thanks.

Fossil fuel resources are finite. When we start producing oil from a region, we are constantly depleting the resource base. The rate of depletion varies with the production rate.

For most regions, excluding countries with political problems and swing producers, production tends to increase until about half of the recoverable reserves are produced. Production then generally begins to fall. The more intensive the post-peak drilling program, the lower the decline rate will be, but as Ron pointed out, this increases the annual depletion rate.

Assume that you had $2,000 in the bank at one time. You have spent $1,000 and you are currently spending $27 per year, with $1,000 left. So, you can spend the remaining $1,000 at a faster or slower rate, but you are constantly drawing down the remaining $1,000, as long as you are spending any money at all. Just substitute Gb of conventional crude + condensate for dollars.

So it might be more clear to use 'production' rather than 'decline' when used in conjunction with 'depletion'. Production rises and falls depending on many factors, depletion goes on constantly as long as production > 0. The term 'decline' as I understand it is usually used to denote a steady drop in production due to geological constraints rather than political ones. I don't find it confusing, just worrisome.

Hi ET,

"Production rises and falls depending on many factors, depletion goes on constantly as long as production > 0. The term 'decline' as I understand it is usually used to denote a steady drop in production due to geological constraints rather than political ones."

Thank you.

Ron: I looked for other definitions. Depletion is a term specific to accounting and has a clear definition. From Investopedia:


An accounting term describing the amortization of assets that can be physically reduced.

Investopedia Commentary

Unlike depreciation and amortization, which mainly describe the deduction of expenses due to the aging of equipment and property, depletion is the actual physical reduction of natural resources by companies.

For example, coal mines, oil fields and other natural resources are depleted on company accounting statements. This reduction in the quantity of resources is meant to assist in accurately identifying the value of the asset on the balance sheet.

Also see Wikipedia:

"Decline" is a more generic term. I cannot see any objection to the way you have used it (apart from the error Heissofly brought up).

Added in EDIT
Depletion refers to the amount of a stock, ie the quantity remaining.
Decline as you use it, is referring to a flow.
Maybe that will help clarify it. Waiting on bated breath for the counter examples.


Thanks WT and New Account. Of course decline or increase of production can go in opposite directions. Depletion of a reservoir starts with the first barrel pumped. But when the first barrel is pumped, there is no decline in production rates; it is usually on the increase at that time.

Sidebar: You wrote : Waiting on bated breath... Actually the term is usually "Waiting with bated breath." But have you ever thought of what that term means? Does it mean you have been eating garlic, fish heads or something that really stinks? No, it is simply a bastardization of the term “abated breath” You are holding your breath, or rather breathing very slowly, awaiting my reply.

I am waiting with abated breath for all the flames that comes from this tidbit of information. ;-)

Ron Patterson

Hi new,

"Depletion refers to the amount of a stock, ie the quantity remaining.
Decline as you use it, is referring to a flow."

Also helpful, thanks.

I was also lost here...

Again, they are decreasing their decline rate by sucking the oil out faster. If you suck the oil out faster, the faster the oil drops in the reservoir. They are therefore increasing their decline rate!

I suggest much simpler formulation: given constant oil reserves, by decreasing decline rates now, KSA is increasing decline rates in future.

For example let's say that if left inchecked their oil fields will decline by 5% an year for the next 20 years. They can drill more and reduce the decline rate to 3% for the first 10 years. But since no new reserves are added - they are just sucking it up faster the next 10 years the decline will be 7% - to compensate for what they sucked up upfront.

Over the whole period the average decline rate will still be 5% again - they can not escape this. By drilling faster they just moved the largest decline rates from now to the future... in economic terms this means they have steep discount rates - which in popular culture is known as being (too) greedy :)

LevinK, as I explained above, that last sentence was an error. It should have read:

Again, they are decreasing their decline rate by sucking the oil out faster. If you suck the oil out faster, the faster the oil drops in the reservoir. They are therefore increasing their depletion rate!

And yes you are correct, eventually the decline rate must catch up because no new oil has been added to the field. That was the entire point of my first post yesterday. By sucking the oil up much faster, they may be decreasing the decline rate for the time being, but eventually it will lead to catastrophic collapse.

Reducing the decline rate from an average of 8% to 2% is really a dramatic decrease. Your example above used a decrease from 5% to 3%. That would be a minor decrease in decline rate of only 2%. A reduction from 8% to 2% is a dramatic decrease of 6%. And the catchup would be just as dramatic. Because eventually, after about 10 years or so, production must go into a near free-fall to catch up. That is what happened in Yibal and Cantarell and Abqaq. It must eventually happen in Ghawar, Berri and Safaniya. When it happens in Ghawar, the whole world will know.

Ron Patterson

Patterson 8:35am - "Reducing the decline rate from an average of 8% to 2% is really a dramatic decrease."

U truly are a complete moron, Patterson. For the sixth time, idiot, the Security Official meant "depletion" ... not "decline".

FH jan27th - http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2220#comment-153441

Why do you keep insisting on this?

Here is a direct quotation from Obaid's talk:

"Without “maintain potential” drilling to make up for production, Saudi oil fields would have a natural decline rate of a hypothetical 8%. As Saudi Aramco has an extensive drilling program with a budget running in the billions of dollars, this decline is mitigated to a number close to 2%."

He states DECLINE. If you somehow know he meant something different, I would be curious to know how. Certainly no one deserves abuse and name calling for thinking that someone actually said what they meant in such a prepared, public venue. It is you that are maintaining he didn't mean what he said. In other circumstances you seem very ready to take KSA proclamations at face value.

This decline rate is totally consistent with production decline rates he specifies elsewhere throughout the talk, which are then overcome by new projects he discusses.

Earl, please come in out of the fog. KSA is not admitting to a 2% decline rate above. By validating Patterson's interpretation, u expose yourself as being a neopyhte wrt oil sector terms and processes yourself as well. Literal interpretation of the quote would imply that after all KSA's attempts to increase productive capacity, and should they operate at MSC, they would still face a 2% decline.

For the seventh time, "Let's get with the program folks..."

Since a literal interpretation doesn't make sense to you, you evidentally give it our own interpretation and insult all who don't agree with your personal interpretation. Actually, I think the truth is a little in between. If you look at the chart on page 6, he lists 6 new projects coming on line through 2009. He follows the list with the following summary:

11,000,000 b/d Estimated sustainable capacity in March 2006
+ 2,350,000 b/d Estimated increase in capacity 2006-09
- 800,000 b/d Estimated natural production decline 2005-09
≈ 12,550,000 b/d Estimated sustainable capacity in August 2009

You notice he states "800,000 production decline" through 2009. I don't think it is coincidence that this is about a 2% decline rate. The difference is that this is before he has added back the expected production from new projects coming on, whereas Patterson doesn't expect these to make up for the decline, or sees these as included instead of additional. But clearly he is NOT saying the field depletion rate was reduced to 2%.

If we remain in disagrement, so be it. You have made no case for your claim. Repetition does not make an argument.

Earl, Obaid made these comments on Nov 9th. It was a well distributed speech at CSIS and was discussed on most Peak Oil Boards and discussion forums and mailing lists. Including ours ... four times: in Nov, Dec & twice in January.

Did u not find it strange that with all that exposure, nobody in the world had an article in any media vehicle at all that Saudi Arabia has announced that they are Post Peak and in fact in Decline at 2%/year albeit their best efforts.

Only Ron Patterson and his cheerleaders hold that position. Every single journalist, analyst and pundit that knows the business and read the Presentation knew what Obaid meant. This escaped many at TOD altho i corrected Ron many times over the past eight weeks. He keeps bringing up this stupid sentence and he knows why he is continually bringing it up...

If u think u have a scoop, call Wolf at cnn, eh. He'll report anything to get a headline. Go ahead. But let us all see the "reply"!!

I'm sure we're the last on this thread - if you are still reading. The context I wrote makes it clear SA was not stating they were at peak, they were showing where they thought growth was coming from. I'm actually not defending Patterson's position except from the standpoint that decline means decline, not depletion. Obaid referred to "natural decline" which exempted new projects. I agree you can't say SA has peaked based on his paper, so we should probably wrap this up. I do remain personally sceptical of SA statements in general, however.


I agree with this:

given constant oil reserves, by decreasing decline rates now, KSA is increasing decline rates in future.

But in the following section I think you reintroduce the terminology that trips us up:

their oil fields will decline by 5% an year for the next 20 years. They can drill more and reduce the decline rate to 3% for the first 10 years.

The rate of production is a variable and may be increased or reduced by various means. I interpret your example to mean that the rate of production "will decline by 5% a year" and this statement gives no indication of how much this will deplete the field as we have no knowledge of the prior prodcution rate against which the decline is being measured and no knowledge of the present size of the stock which is being depleted.

Not trying to be picky. Until this issue was brought up I realized that I was not being clear on my own usage and understanding. I also think this issue may be deliberately used to create public confusion over available oil stocks and the rates of current production.

Hi new,

"...public confusion over available oil stocks..." Yes, and this exact point seems to be one that engenders much emotion. When, really, "...rates of current production..." is also important, and not as well understood. So, I appreciate your thoroughness here.

You can also look at it like this-and actually do it if you are confused.
Take a cup and fill it with water. Poke a hole in the bottom. The more 'head', or stored water, on top of the hole, the faster the flow (similar to oil under pressure, just the wrong direction). As the water slowly starts to run out, the flow rate slows until it stops. This is similar to the loss of pressure in an oil deposit, I would think.
Now if you take the same cup and poke 2 holes in it, the water flows about twice as fast but that just means the water is drained faster, not that any more water exists in the cup. You get the water faster, if you are thirsty, but you don't get any more water.
I do a lot of stormwater calculations so I see it this way....

Sorry, Ron, you're probably wrong. The model that you're using is that a reservoir is one big pool of oil; in tht case, you would be correct. But as either DaveC or RR explained in an article a few months ago, the oil is all over the place in smallish pockets. The oil is sucked or pushed by water or gas toward the drill tube ends from where it is lifted. Not all pockets are accessible from any particular well end; adding more wells will increase the amount of oil that can be extracted because more pockets will be accessible [it has something to do with channels].
If I misunderstood the original article, I apologize.

ImSkeptical, sorry but I am not probably wrong. You are are the one who is wrong. I have read ever piece of literature, book and web page available on Saudi's giant fields and have a pretty good idea of their geology. Saudi does have some smallish fields with pockets all over the place. The Hawtha Trend fields are a perfect example of this. But historically, over 90% of Saudi's oil comes from its giant fields. And your description above is simply wrong, dead wrong!

Their giant fields do not have little pockets all over the place, they are, in general, giant fields that extend for miles. True, Ghawar is so large that it must be sectioned off into smaller fields. And the oil gets heavier and sourer as you move from north to south. But nowhere is the oil separated in tiny pockets that must be drilled individually. And I can give you a perfect example. Take a look at page 19 of this Simmons presentation:


It shows Haradh III which is on the very southern tip of Ghawar. You see the Christmas tree wells covering the area like a blanket. (Notice, no pockets!) Now I call your attention to that blue line around the periphery with numbers all along it. Those are water injection wells. Water is pumped in at the periphery and slightly deeper than the oil column. Hopefully most of the oil will be pushed up from the bottom but eventually the wells near the periphery will have to be shut down because they produce only water.

Of course this has not happened at Haradh III because it went into service only last year. But the northern section of Ghawar, Ain dar and Shedgum, the central section of Ghawar, Uthmaniya, and even the south central section, Hawiyah, has been in production for over half a century. Slightly less for Hawiyah. All sections of Ghawar, and Saudi’s other giants, would look very similar to the diagram of Haradh III. That is, the Christmas tree wells cover the fields like a blanket, (no pockets), with a ring of water injection wells around the field.

Concerning pockets!

Pockets DO form in some of the giant fields, usually as they near total depletion. For instance “pockets” are all that is left of the Abqaiq reservoir, pockets of oil bypassed by the water due to fractures in the reservoir rock. Saudi is now drilling into these pockets in an attempt to rescue what little oil is left in Abqaiq. It is now a "milking" operation. No doubt there are pockets in other sections of Ghawar, but they are not natural formations, they are the result of water bypassing the oil, an unintended occurrence.

Ron Patterson

>Pockets DO form in some of the giant fields, usually as they near total depletion. For instance “pockets” are all that is left of the Abqaiq reservoir, pockets of oil bypassed by the water due to fractures in the reservoir rock.

FWIW: The extraction rates for these pockets will almost certainly be much lower because the permability will be much lower. Hence, that is why oil becomes trapped in these pockets. If KSA is drilling into these today (or soon) it probably means there are in big trouble, since it will take a lot of $$$ for a slow extraction rate, and it certainly won't offset production declines from the main field.

On the money for me Ron- so we have 2 ways of increasing the depletion rate, one more sucking, one more blowing (water & gas uplift)!

I would disagree with this.

Depletion refers to an accounting measure of the drawdown of the existing oil in place. This depletion is measured against the size of the reserve base. These reserves represent another moving target as "reserves" describes the amount of the resource that may be economically extracted. The degree of profitable economic extraction will be contingent on a) the current state of technology; and b) the current and projected market price of the oil.

We have already seen how reserves have been drawn down by years of production yet the stated size of the reserve remains the same as it was 20 years ago, or in some cases the size of the reserves have actually increased.

From a PO perspective, our concern is with how much oil can be produced from all well bores during any specific time period. At some point, regardless of how much oil may, or may not, still be in the ground, the cumulative flows will exhibit a decline. This is why we watch Khebab's charts so closely and why WT continues to give updates on what he sees happening to KSA and other key producing provinces.

Who cares what KSA claims to have in the ground? If there is unmet market demand and a rising price trend while at the same time KSA is "voluntarily" throttling back production, we have to ask if they have developed an aversion to money, or if there is some other explanation for this odd behaviour.

New Account, you have apparently completely missed the argument. This all started with the first post on Drumbeat yesterday, January 30th. Your post above seems to have no connection to the subject we were talking about. You haven't even explained what it is you disagree with. A copy and paste would have been nice, then placed either in italics or a blockquote.

Ron Patterson

Hi Ron,

Thanks. My take on it, is New was responding to Great, just above, when he/she said that there are two ways to increase the depletion rate.

Personally, any (accurate, truthful) expansion on the way things work I find interesting and helpful.

Your post above seems to have no connection to the subject we were talking about.

Agreed, Ron. When I made the post it was "connected?
" as a direct or first reply to another post somewhere upthread. When I hit submit the screen went blank and TOD appeared to go offline and an offline message from SuperG came up shortly after.

i dont see what is so difficult to understand about what darwinian is saying.

Free bicycles: I think it would be far cheaper to build secure bike storage near, and allow bikes on, public transit, than to issue free bikes, many of which will be stolen or vandalized.

Some European cities have had success with free bicycle programs. The key is to require some kind of ID. Either issued by the city government, or a credit card. That seems to do a good job of preventing theft and vandalism.

Hello Donal -

I agree with you on this one. There was a loaner bike program in a small town near me (a progressive, vibrant little community with lots of bike paths etc.) and theft has been a problem.

The bikes were just refurbished old clunkers for the most part but someone had put a bunch of work into maintaining them and painting them all the same color. The first time I saw them at the loaner station (the lawn of a local restaurant) there were maybe six of them lined up just waiting to hit the road... Went back a week or two later and saw a sign posted on the bike rack - REWARD - they were trying to track down two that had come up missing.

The whole thing was a volunteer effort, with a nice description of the program posted right at the bike rack - but it sure didn't take long for the vultures to descend and start picking it clean. I found the whole thing very depressing since these were definitely not high end, desirable bikes by any stretch. Taking them was simply an act of destruction for the sake of destroying something...

Well, let's hope those bikes being stolen are being used.

Donal :

The Decaux system has been running for a year now in Lyon, I was an early adopter. You put up a deposit (through credit card authorization or cheque) before you can get a magnetic card which lets you get a bike. Theft has not been a problem.

Vandalism has been a big problem, but I think it's settling down now.

As for people using their own bikes, that has actually increased notably since the public bike scheme started (people realise that it's feasible and fun). But that's a different usage profile altogether : useful for commuting (when you can't be sure of finding a public bike at the right time and place), whereas the public bikes are good for casual trips.
If I were to bring my bike into town on the train during rush hour, I would not be popular...

In sum, the system is imperfect, but far more useful and popular than I would have imagined.

I have no idea about the economics of it. Decaux, understandably, are playing their cards close to their chest... they want to roll out this model worldwide.

I know about Lyons, and about the white bikes in the Netherlands.

But I already have a bike, three bikes actually, and I could use them more if I had someplace secure to stow them while swimming, going to a play, etc. Authorities are trying to address security with "free" bikes, but I think "free" or even reasonably-priced bike lockers would be a lot more useful.

As for bring popular on the train with a folding bike:
It's not ever going to be one of the free ones but may I commend the folding bikes by Dahon. I've a friend who's now been commuting two years over a 17 mile route which she does partly on a usually extremely crowded subway and partially pedalling. A woman of (ahem) mature years, known to (ahem) tipple a bit, yet the bike folds into its bag in a minute or less, under 20 pounds including bag and away we go. Never a problem of any sort. I wrench for her and there's been nothing to do but install accessories.
If anything the newer bikes are better. A lot of improvements in just two years as this market segment matures. Easier still to fold and somewhat less flexy. (Light and compact folders are going to flex a bit under hard pedalling) Ten and twenty years back folders were toys or too heavy and bulky to think about carrying onto a commuter train.
Dahon.com is a pretty good website but you want to see one in person. And see a new one.

I second that, Dahon bikes are wonderful...I live in the middle of LA near work and bike almost everywhere I need to go on my Dahon 7-speed. I take it on the subway or on the bike rack on the front of buses when I'm going further...

A "bulk buy" of Dahon folding bicycles (or bicycle parts of any type) ,ight be better than Kruger Rands as a storehouse of value.

If we have any sort of economic problems (from moderate to severe/collapse) good bicycles & parts should, at a minimum, retain their value better than gold (or at lest as well).

Best Hopes,


Here in Tulsa, we're lucky enough to have bike racks on the fronts of the city buses. They only hold two bikes each, but if they're full you're allowed to bring your bike onboard if space permits. It makes for an easy commute to work unless there's ice on the ground.

i am surprised your bus system doesnt have racks on the front of the bus for bicycles we even have that in redneck des moines

OK - so our lights are on for at least 6 hours a day and within a few months / years our reserach into hydrogen (and how to defy the laws of physics) will pay off handsomly leading to a new hydrogen boom here in Aberdeen - to accompany the ethanol boom that arrived last week.

On a more serious note, the weather has been extraordinarly mild, +12 C over this last weekend - around 15 degrees too warm.

Econbrowser has a short piece on Cantarell today:

From the Econobrowser article:

And while I'm mentioning the Saudis, how can it be that both (1) "the present level of oil prices is adequate in our view," as outgoing U.S. Ambassador Turki Al-Faisal declared on Monday, and (2) the Saudis are continually implementing even bigger cuts in production, as we learned on Tuesday?

The Bush Doctrine: The US will use military force if necessary to defned it's Energy Interests in the Persian Gulf


U.S. strike group transits Suez Canal as part of buildup of U.S. forces in Mideast

...The Navy is in the midst of a regional buildup, with the group of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on its way as well as 21,500 U.S. soldiers being sent to Iraq. The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is already in the region.

The United States has not had two carriers in the Mideast since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Bataan will join a second amphibious assault ship, the USS Boxer, which was on port visit in Dubai on Tuesday.

Brown said the Pentagon recently extended the tour of duty of the Boxer's U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is in Iraq...


The Bush Doctrine: The US will use military force if necessary to defned it's Energy Interests in the Persian Gulf

This was the Carter doctrine as well. Actually, I may be mistaken, the Carter doctrine was that The US would use "any means necessary" to defend its energy interests in the ME. So, that included diplomacy I guess.

Actually I was playing with the Carter Doctrine words and changed "national interests" to "energy interest."

Maybe Bush feels there is not enough time left to wait for diplomatic efforts now that SA and Mexico are going over the production cliff?

Another difference: Carter also attempted to make real changes in energy consumption at home (starting with the Whitehouse).

Any means necessary huh? What like talking to death?

I recommend a few of the recent new posters here for that job.

SendOilPlease writes:

"The US will use military force if necessary to defned it's Energy Interests in the Persian Gulf"

If the US does resort to military action in the ME.

Its hard to comment on the pros and cons of this scenario, at least to me it is.

I have been reading the book by James Bradley titled 'Flyboys'.

One new concept that came into being, actually an old concept, was to bomb the civilians and factories. This was the reason for firebombing large cities in order to take away the incentive of the enemy to continue their activities. More were killed by firebombing than by the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima , as per what I read in the book.

It was very difficult to convince the USA military at that time of just how effective air power could be. Live demonstrations were required to do so and that sealed it. We ended the war in that manner.
Carriers were the way to go. Control the skies you control the war.

Now we are in a war , so to speak, for survival. Looking back at what we did or were forced to do in WWII I don't see that strategy being tossed out.

I have not taken a stand on the issue. I am looking at it and wondering but after the events of WWII how can one surmise the outcome otherwise. After 9/11?

IOW we have been here before ,just for different reasons.

Ahhh...the old concept? Rape and pillage. After the castle falls you rape all the women and take all they have. Everyone did it. It was ok back then. Its seems that we must now fight with a conscience. Not to destroy the enemy but indeed to help them rebuild what we destroyed.

Is not the idea that the victor takes the spoils still in place?
Since when do we fight a fair war? Fight fair like in a 9/11 scenario?

I have not formed an opinion nor tried to. I am just suggesting that we have history to remember in how wars were waged in the past. Cities and civilians were targets of opportunity and we did win the war on both fronts.Some may be forgetting that.

I know that many will post how mistaken I am. Hey, I was young enough to remember it all. My father and his 6 brothers were in the wars and him and 5 fought in WWII. The youngest one in Korea and all since then. I remember it all very well.

When I shipped overseas to Pearl Harbor we could at that time still see the shell pockmarks on many of the military installation buildings . The war was still a vivid memory to many at that time.

I fear that I will see it all once again before I leave this earthly realm.

Grew up living on a farm , burning wood for heat and mules for power. A garden to live off of. I spent time working in the aerospace industry, then to large mainframe computers, and now back to the farm.

Its a big circle and I may be heating with wood once again. Born in 1938 I have seen much of the rise and now the possible falling away of technology. Life with mules and woodburning stoves seemed so easy and simple back then. It gave me the cardiovascular strength, sound mind and body to see the whole picture from farmboy to rocketscience to engineer to programmer to farmboy.

Where do we go from here then? The tea leaves are muddied. I am going to live to see what happens if the Elohim is willing.

Its been a good ride by and large. I have been looking for a good epitaph for my gravestone and that might just be it.


We have certainly tried to make wars "more humane" the past 150 years or so (e.g. geneva conventions). Going into T1 Chaos I think that is likely to change - more toward the old "rape and pillage" scenario of the past.

I agree it's hard to comment on the pros and cons of the possible military solutions in the ME. The hardest part being the fog of political correctness that descends on any honest considerations of the mindset of the peoples of that region, as well as the tendency of people to want to blame everything on their favorite scapegoat (Bush and the Evil US Empire, to paraphrase Dmitry Orlov).

"Pretend they are just like us (but only the secular, non-fanatical "us") and do not discuss the differences or possible motivations/ grand designs others in the world might have."

If we pretend hard enough, maybe Reality will just go away?

About your personal full-circle life: it sounds similar to the old saudi saying about camels and jets and which generation will travel by each method ;).

re: Trying to make wars more humane..

Since the old Aristocratic rules of war have given way to our new legalistic approaches, and our very efficient and 'sweep it under the carpet-bombers' technologies of warfare, the civilian casualties have gone up, not down, very sadly.

This is the best I had time to track down...


"Civilians have moved to center stage in wars since the beginning of the 20th century. A 2001 study on civilians in war by the International Committee of the Red Cross showed a shift in a stark statistic: In World War I, 9 soldiers were killed for every civilian, while in today's wars 10 civilians die for every soldier."

Strategic airpower has *never* delivered the benefits promised of it.

The British government ordered 1.5 million gravemarkers in the 1930s. They believed their RAF boys: 1. that fighter defences were useless, and bombers could never be caught 2. that German bombardment would kill over 1 million people

In practice, the Luftwaffe killed 50,000 British civilians, and the buzz bombs (V bombs) about 5,000.

Our entire air war over Germany for 4 years killed fewer than 750,000 Germans, and German war production actually *rose* until August 1944.

The bombardment of Japan did not break the Japanese will to resist. Indeed the Japanese had mustered 20 divisions on the beaches of Kyushu to meet the Allied invasion force.

What killed the Japanese war effort was submarine blockade, which starved them of supplies and food, and then the 'tipping point' of the Hiroshima and Nagasiki bombings.

The air force was not able to close the Chinese supply lines into Korea.

In Vietnam, the USAF dropped more bombs than in Korea and WWII combined. They killed 1 million or so civilians and enemy soldiers. Guess what? The Ho Chi Minh Trail stayed open, and the other guy won the war.

The Russians had complete air superiority over Afghanistan for 10 years-- they lost.

The air war against Serbia over Kosovo was supposed to be over in 10 days. It lasted over 70 days, and in the end it was the threat of ground invasion that caused the Serbs to cry uncle.

Then we have the First Gulf War. Which was 6 weeks of increasingly politically damaging bombardment. But the actual liberation of Kuwait was achieved by allied ground forces fighting pitched battles.

The Israelis were going to destroy Hizbollah last August. After 3 weeks of intense aerial bombardment and pinpoint strikes, they had not destroyed Hizbollah as a military power.

Strategic air power has failed in the past, and it will in the future. Nations, determined to fight, are tougher than anything the bombers can mete out (short of thermonuclear destruction).

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 26, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) rose by 2.7 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 324.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories jumped by 3.8 million barrels last week, and remain above the upper end of the average range. Distillate fuel inventories declined by 2.6 million barrels, but remain above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. A decrease in high-sulfur distillate fuel (heating oil) inventories more than compensated for an increase in diesel fuel inventories (a combination of ultra-low-sulfur and low-sulfur). Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels last week, and are above the upper end of the average range for this time of year.

Even though the weather has turned colder in North America, we're still reaping the benefits of the energy savings from the first half of the winter, which wasn't winter at all, just an extended fall. Extended into the first week of January! And, judging by Euan's post, it looks like Europe is still basking in a balmy winter, lessening the burden on worldwide supplies.
Not that any of this will matter much when these nuts blow up the ME this spring.

For those of you who think the Christian Right is leading us down the path to Armageddon, this is a good read:


"The radical Christian right, calling for a "Christian state" - where whole segments of American society, from gays and lesbians to liberals to immigrants to artists to intellectuals, will have no legitimacy and be reduced, at best, to second-class citizens - awaits a crisis, an economic meltdown, another catastrophic terrorist strike or a series of environmental disasters. A period of instability will permit them to push through their radical agenda, one that will be sold to a frightened American public as a return to security and law and order, as well as moral purity and prosperity."

Well, at least I'm not a gay immigrant... (not that there's anything wrong with that!)


I live in the middle of the 'bible belt' and all this is news to me.

There are indeed radical idiots who publish bullshit. I think thats whats being touted as mainstream protestant attitudes. Its not IMO.

I will read the URL you point to. The christians I know are not into any of this nonsense. They do have problems with homosexuality. This does not jive with their bible but they are not taking it to any extreme that I am aware of. They do not have a radical agenda that I am aware of.

No one listens to the Falwells and Swaggerts and the rest of their ilk.
Heck I never hear any sermons on Islam or muslims. In fact some immigrants are in the pews with the rest of us. Most of them do go to Mass in the Catholic churhes around here but they tend to go to ones held in Spanish or Latin. The priests are amazed at the immigrants strong faith in their religion. Long lines at the confessionals. Hours to hear all those who wish to confess.

In my wifes church hardly anyone goes to confession.Make that zero.

I have no problem sitting next to a hispanic nor attending church with one.

Really?? All this is "news to you"? Wow! I've been reading about the excesses of the Religious Right for a long time now. Sometimes from their own websites.
At least it sounds like you and your neighbors practice a nice form of your religion. Good for you! I presume you're all engaged in protesting the war - after all the 6th Commandment is "Thou Shalt Not Kill". (I always that should have been #1, but I'm an atheist, what do I know?) But it certainly seems to me, as pointed out in this article and many, many more I have been reading for years, that there certainly seems to be an encroachment of religion into the way we run the country. I fully support freedom of religion, but I must insist in my right to be free FROM religion. I don't want others to make decisions that will affect me based on religious principles that I might not agree with.
Although, as far as basic religious principles go, I still think the "No Killing" thing is a swell idea, let's start there...

Ok..lets start there. It might be a bit lengthy..sorry.

First let me make some observations. God(Elohim or Adoni Elohim,,had many appellations but none the true name) made pacts with man, they are called covenants or testaments. God made promises and most times they were based on what God would do IF man did such and such. A two sided covenant. Sometimes they were one-sided but not often.
God BTW always kept his promises as far as I can tell.

First covenant was the Edenic(made to Adam in garden)man broke it, 2nd was Adamic(when thrown out..sweat of ur brow,etc), 3rd was Noahic. Here it is in scripture. Genesis Chap 9. Starts a verse 1 thru 17..about killing is verse 6: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man."

In this fashion God started a form of government and began to hold man responsible for mans actions. This gave man the right to take a life of one who shed others blood.

There are many other covenants and most apply to the Jews. The ones who first began the belief in Elohim(God),,his chosen people.

But the Edenic,Adamic and Noahic were to all mankind. Be fruitful , multiply, till the soil , reproduce and take the punishment of other men into your hands. A lot more to it so one must study and draw your own conclusions but the conclusions you draw might or might not fit what is correct. That is everymans choice and freewill. You must usually obtain this insight via comtemplation and seeeking.

This is the problem with the so called 'religious' right . They make it a material objective theology and it is not. It is spiritual. Read Emerson for other more spiritual views.

Anyway the religiou right wants to tell all christians how they must live. The basic and most absolute basic belief of the Baptist is that NO MAN comes between the individual and his God. He is his own priest.

Therefore the religious right uses religion for its own purposes and agenda. Not Gods. They are mostly baptist and are wrong. They should only explain and not attempt to rule or dictate.

The scripture speaks to those who immerse in it.

If God were to set about the destruction of the world would he deliver this message to a blowdried, mouthy , egotistical Tele_Evanglist on the MSM? Would that be his spokesperson?

Case closed.

If one wishes to have insight into the Old and New Testaments I would suggest learning what Covenants are all about. Agreements God made with a man, mankind, a tribe,or a kingdom.

I take it you are not a Jew and neither am I so most of the Old Testament does not apply to us Gentiles. This period of time in the bible is known as The Time of The Gentiles. We are surely inviting destruction down upon ourselves. Our FREE CHOICE and we must not shy from the consequences , whatever they be.

I think the Religious Right have the money to fund all kinds of PR and buy the type of media they wish. Most of it I find a lie and full of falseness. Its what is termed apotasy. You never hear the views of the rest of us who quietly go about our lives and try to do the right thing.....becuase we don't buy time on TV or whatever.

I am a member of a church. A small country church. I only go on few ocassions. I have been to huge churches in Lexington, Louisville and other cities. It is strange what they say and do. Its not what I am used to. Its really just showmanship and programming.

Out here in the backwater its entirely different. You just don't have the exposure to it.

In the city a blacked out sportscast is a major problem. What kind of religious attitude do those suburbanites practice?

In farm country a sudden storm or lack of rain can ruin you/ What kind of religious attitude do these rural people practice?

This is our background from the past. We all know one another and are related. We weep and mourn each one of us that passes away. We have still have empathy for one another. We still tend to help one another.

Last fall my buddies combine kept breaking down. Four different farmers who compete with him came by and offered to bring their combines over and help him out, for free. He can count on his neighbors. His rep proceeds him. He is also teaching sunday school classes for youth. He helps youth. I have as well. We are what we make of ourselves.

I would not wish to kill another but I think that in the bible I have the right to protect myself and family. I think I have the right in some cases to kill.

I made one last statement. For a long time religious people did not intrude into politics. That changed when the politicians began to court the religious voters. They voted as they felt and that tended to be conservative. Some may have hence assumed powers that the misuse but again part of the blame is the politicians.

Yet we all have the right to address our grievances to our government.
The fact that some make it a job is wrong. Each man should speak only one his own behalf and vote accordingly.

Most farm people wish to say the are consecrative but they are very heavy users of the welfare system. This is because most live very simple lives and don't have much to spend. Many live just on SS checks. In my area most vote Democratic and for one simple reason. Their forefathers did and that was because of the Civil War. Yes it goes back that far. Lincoln was a republican and even though a Kentuckian they have moved very slowly to the other side. Some never will.

They are a stiff necked people. Many just like the Jews. To me they are the salt of the earth and I love them dearly. We I to pass on tomorrow I know that they would mourn me. I know that they would try to pray me into heaven.

Some of this we lost as a people,speaking of Americans as a whole, starting back around the mid 20th century. We lost our sense of being what we were.

We sold our souls for a mess of red porridge.

The religious right has the same rights ,or should, as NOW, NAACP, NAMBLA, and all the rest. Do they not?

And its also anyones right to say this is all hogwash. That doesn't bother me at all either. I thought the same for many years. No ones stands between me and who I worship. No one. To each his own. That is freedom be it religious or otherwise. But you don't have the right to force your views on me either. Nor legislate them either.

I am a firm believer in separation of church and state but the arm of the state has seen fit to deny individuals and groups certain things in the practice of their faith. This is wrong.

If no one listens to Falwell, why is he so freakin' RICH and influential?

Hi airdale,

Not to change the subject, but I saw your post yesterday regarding soil sampling and analysis and I just thought I'd throw this at you, FWIW:

Soil sampling and analysis is as much art as science and that's why I think it pays to stick with a single source for your analyses. Also, using a "local" lab as you are, is better than sending them to some far-flung lab. The primary reason for this is that there are lots of differing tests for a given parameter and it is more likely that a state-run or local private lab would be using the best test for soils in your particular geographic region. University of KY's lab may be using a different nitrogen test from, say, a lab on the West Coast (most likely they are). Generally, the extension folks have run correlation tests between measured crop yields and the results of multiple, competing lab analyses, to determine which test correlates best with regional crop yields. A test that is pretty good at predicting yields in your neck of the woods may be lousy at predicting yields in sandy soils in Florida or in muck soils from Upstate NY.

As I say, it's as much art as science and if you try to glean too much from your test results, you'll likely run into some things that, on face value, don't make much sense. And available nutrient levels don't tell you everything either as often some other factor -- low soil moisture, deficiencies in another nutrient, soil-borne pathogens, etc. might "swamp out" the effect of other seemingly favorable factors. Soils are quite variable over short distances and this is why you sub-sample then mix. What you want is a representative or "ball-park" sample (just don't let the ballpark get too big).

I'll leave you with a funny little anecdote: USDA was doing some cost-sharing on fertilizer and the way the program worked was that you sent in your soil test results and if they showed that your soil was in particularly poor shape, you'd get a little more assistance. So, this one fellow went to a road side ditch where, in his view, the soil was sure to be "no good" and he took his samples there, convinced that surely the test results would be poor and that he'd get a little extra money from USDA. Well -- bad idea -- because the soil along side the road was full of nutrients -- road salt, dust kicked up from passing vehicles, dead cats, discarded diapers...you name it. Anyway, he ended up getting little or no assistance because his samples came back high to very high in every parameter. What's worse, he concluded on that basis, that soil testing was a waste of time because he just KNEW that that soil he had sampled was lousy. I think eventually someone explained his faulty logic to him.

Anyway, I hope this helps and good luck to you.


Thank you for your good advice.

We have differing soil in Ky. My region has the best and so we do grow
grains quite extensively. Most of the rest grown in Ky is for on farm comsumption. Yet the ag folks are very good at this. They do earn their money IMO.

And when we start to turn, as I feel we must, to far more 'niche' farming they will help us in that.

You views on sampling are close to what they state. Variances are there. Must seek the reasons why.


PS. Have you ever toyed with the John Deere "American Farmer" computer game? One of the farmhands has it and was telling me about it. Going to check it out this afternoon.

You said "...Variances are there. Must seek the reasons why."

IMHO, these are mostly "unknowable." When I was younger and more energetic, I did a study in which I sampled a number of fields on a grid -- very close spacings (10 feet or so). I did this at a number of sites over the same soil type/slope class/aspect across three counties. I measured both physical and chemical paramters with each boring. What I found was that, statistically speaking, the variation within a single field was as great as it was across the entire county (within that particular soil type/slope class/aspect). Some things are knowable only to the Great Spirit, I guess.

Haven't seen the "American Farmer" computer game. I'll have to check it out.

FWIW, I live in the New England area. Lived, trained and worked for a number of years in the Southeast (I visited one of the UK experiment stations a few years back and worked a bit on a project there). Farmers in New England -- and there are a lot fewer than there were just twenty years ago from what I am told -- are in serious trouble. The rising cost of fuel and fertilizer + the ridiculously low price for milk (less than $14/hundred wt, right now) is killing off the remaining few dairy farmers in the area (some of the big truck operators in the CT River valley are probably doing a bit better).

This is a big concern. Just at the time where we need to think about relocalizing our food production, the last few operators in the hills where I am are going under. Not good.


Thanks for your reply yesterday on soil tests.

In your original post, I thought UK meant England. Was I mistaken. I'm not sure if our state U does the tests. Been easier to turn the sample in at the fertilizer dealer. Most here do it this way. Dealer sends to a private lab. Also provides almost free use of 4 ton granular spreader.

I should look for other labs, charged $40 per sample, but it was a multispectrum analysis. Interested in Ca levels, ended up with the whole nine yards. Method was similar to your description-I took three random 8 inch deep cores from the field, combined, mixed, and subsampled for each sample.

The precision of GPS is astounding, and after a few fertilizer bills, can sure see the potential cost effectiveness. But my place wouldn't support it. I have a small timber and hay operation, hay/grazing about 150 ac, and my fertilizer applications are infrequent, usually an obvious field portion.

I note the market continues to overestimate demand for diesel. I suspect the slowdown in truck transportation is continuing.

Wind power from the highway.
A good example of crative and innovative thinking based upon an incomplete understanding. The wind energy comes out of the fuel tanks of the passing vehicles. This isn't worth analysis but the EROEI is likely very negative. Like the highways themselves, this infrastructure would gradually decline as economic activity declines,more people lose their jobs and their related ability and need to drive the roads. Of course, the PTB and the MSM latch onto these things as proof that technology will save the day.

I thought that was hilarious.

It reminded me of what Tainter said about "scanning behavior." A society facing resource contraints starts putting more and more effort into trying to find a solution. Given our tendency toward technical solutions, I expect the ideas to grow ever more Rube Goldbergian.

this goes right up there with the idea of putting a kinetic energy catching system on off ramps of highways to turn the friction from cars slowing down into power..

They have this already - it is called the Prius, made by Toyota.

It would be interesting to try to calculate what is the tank to electricity efficiency of this... it would be too complex but I WAG it to less than 1%.

So if we just implemented some simple efficiency/conservation measures - reduced speed limit, higher CAFE standards, mass transit, higher gas tax etc., and burnt the oil in thermal plant (with ~40% efficiency) we would get 40 times more electricity out. And this electricity will be much higher quality as it can be dispatched, unlike wind, which is more or less stochastic.

The idea is not so dumb as it can help capture a small part of what is wasted now, but in the energy solutions rank list I'd place it somewhere in the bottom.

The real question is wether this will just capture energy in the turbulent air that would otherwise be lost as heat or if it will add (much) more drag to the cars. If the latter is the case it is just an inefficient way of going from gasoline to electricity.

I wonder what happens to the train if the traffic stops completely, like it sometimes does. I assume there would have to be backup power for those situations. It sure is a funny concept though :)

The wind energy comes out of the fuel tanks of the passing vehicles.

That's true, but somewhat beside the point, because that fuel would be burned regardless. If there is energy being expended in a way which is not useful (blowing air against a barrier) and you can change it to a way which is useful (generating electricity, which is then used elsewhere) without imposing an added load*, then it may be worth doing. However one has to examine the energy cost in building and maintaining such a system relative to what it produces, and I'd have to say this idea doesn't even remotely pass a back-of-the-envelope test of usefulness. The obvious problems include damage inflicted by passing traffic (there's all sorts of debris on roads) plus the unlikeliness of any turbines being able to survive a pervasive salt and sand environment.

Anyone living in a city with a "real" winter will immediately laugh at the idea. For three months of the year highway barriers are those things you can't see behind the pile of brown/black snow and ice. Yes, black snow - snow that has been mixed in with all the sand and salt and other automobile excreta.

*Similar idea: run a wind turbine in train (subway, metro, etc) tunnels to capture the energy inherent in the wind which would otherwise blow across the platform. But: how much would this recover and how much would this simply add a resistance the train would have to overcome? In any event I suspect the amount of energy you could "harvest" would not be worth the energy invested in the turbines. In fact I suspect the opposite idea may be a better net energy saver: run a fan to circulate air in the direction of train travel, thus reducing the effort required by each train in compressing the air (piston effect).

When discussing Saudi oil production, and cuts, this news below should be considered. Remember that 2006 was a strong year for the Saudi economy. They had a rare budget surplus. (See Khebab's graph in Drumbeat Jan. 30). But 2006 was a devastating year for the Saudi economy, and there's no way that is not a part of each one of their oil-related actions right now. They lost big-time, all over the board, and they're scrambling for ways to make up for the losses.

The Saudi stock exchange lost 1/3 in one month, March 2006, and 1/3 more between then and now. (yeah, like the Dow at 8000 next week and 4000 by Thanksgiving, fun for the whole family).

It's not a Saudi problem, it's the entire Middle East:

The Middle East was home to eight of last year's 10 worst performers among global equity indexes tracked by Bloomberg News.

Not sure why this happened, maybe our hedge funds cleaned them out?

So anyway, the Forbes lists state that Prince Alwaleed went from $23.7 to $20.0 billion last year (Alwaleed is by far the highest Saudi on the list). Add to that the $2 billion he could have made at 10%, and round it off at a loss of $5 billion. It's probably more. But he at least has some money left. Many Saudi's do not.

Saudi prince plans big investment in country's sagging stock market

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the largest individual shareholder in Citigroup, will invest 5 billion riyals into shares to help "bring back confidence" to the flagging Saudi Arabian stock market.

The prince, a nephew of King Abdullah, will invest the in four companies listed on the Saudi Arabian Tadawul All Share index. They are Samba Financial Group, Saudi Research & Marketing Group, Savola Al-Azizia United and Saudi Industrial Investments, Alwaleed said during a news conference Sunday in Riyadh.

The Saudi stock market "has reached reasonable levels," Alwaleed said. The Saudi prince said he would invest another 5 billion riyals, or $1.4 billion, in real estate projects in the kingdom.

The Tadawul, the second-worst-performing gauge after Venezuela among global indexes tracked by Bloomberg, dropped on Jan. 24 below 7,000 points for the first time since Oct. 21, 2004. The measure has lost two-thirds of its value since reaching a record in February 2006.

"Encouragement for the market now has to come from institutional investors," Nahed Taher, chief executive of Gulf One Investment Bank, said after Alwaleed's announcement. "The equivalent of nine years of non-oil gross domestic product has been lost and all the small investors have been burned."

The investment announced Sunday adds to $2.7 billion worth of Saudi Arabian share purchases the prince announced in March 2006 to help reverse a slump that had already erased a third of the value of the nation's benchmark index.

The Saudi billionaire started 2006 ranked by Forbes as the world's fifth- richest person and then fell to eighth- richest later in the year as the Tadawul plunged.

"The market is looking for a bottom from which it can rise," Alwaleed said. "I ask the Saudi investor to invest in sound and credible companies."

Stock market regulators in 10 Arab countries plan to create a Union of Arab Securities Authorities to try and help attract foreign investment.

The regulators will meet Jan. 30 in the United Arab Emirates to discuss the details and sign an agreement, the Emirates regulator said Sunday. Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Palestinian Authority are also expected to join the new body, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority said.

The Middle East was home to eight of last year's 10 worst performers among global equity indexes tracked by Bloomberg News.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the largest individual shareholder in Citigroup, will invest 5 billion riyals into shares to help "bring back confidence" to the flagging Saudi Arabian stock market.

The classic book 'Only Yesterday' describes a similar scene on Thursday, Oct. 24, 1929 in the middle of the biggest crash in the history of the exchange. The bankers from J.P. Morgan, Chase National, Guaranty Trust, Bankers Trust, all the biggest banks, in order to renew confidence in the market, made a highly public showing of buying large blocks of shares. The strategy worked for a couple of days and created a short rally (during which the same bankers quietly unloaded most of what they had bought). By Monday the route was on again and the rest, as they say, is history.

Brad Setzer, who is by no means a small fish in economic blogdom has posted a draft article on the oil prices needeed by each of KSA, Venezuela, Iran and Russia to make budget.

Hey big spender (or why conservation is perhaps a bit more than just a personal virtue)


Setzer is an expert on international capital flows, especially on reserve accumulation by central banks. So, naturally his attention is drawn to oil.

The short version is that oil at current prices is not going to cause a sweat for those big producers.

This piece is targeted for publication elsewhere, i believe. Oil experts at TOD might be able to earn a credit/mention by offering criticism/corrections at Setzer's site.

He also talks about the prospects of an oil price faceoff between KSA and Iran.

The Saudis do seem rather worried by growing Iranian power; it is possible that they have concluded that they prefer lower oil prices to an Iranian bomb (and growing Iranian influence in the Gulf).

On the other hand, the Saudis also export a lot more oil than the Iranians – and they don’t want the price of oil to far too low. Their interests are not totally aligned with those of the US. The Saudis seem happy with $50 a barrel oil. But, given their budget, I rather suspect they don’t want oil to fall much below $45 (WTI) on a sustained basis – they would rather not go back to the structural fiscal deficits that they ran in the 1990s. Of course, the Saudis now have a lot of money in the bank, so they could outlast the Iranians if oil was at $35 or $30. But life inside the Kingdom wouldn’t be so comfortable …

What is clear from the graph shown at the URL is that Iran would suffer the greatest fiscal impact due to further drops in price of oil. This financial impact is understood to be in KSA's interest as Iran would then be faced with a guns or butter decision which should result in a decreased investment in any ongoing arms development.

Given that such an impact is in KSA's interest (and also in the interest of the USA), one is left to wonder why KSA has been cutting production to support the price.

Cheers! And thanks for the link.
Made edit to improve readibility

Check out Sebastian Junger's Article on the Nigerian oil situation in the Feb. Vanity Fair. I can't get the link to work. The complete article may be limited to subscribers. It's a very depressing story of poverty amid wealth, corruption and ecological damage. There are periodic crackdowns on the guerilla movement, with whole villages razed, but it may not be possible to keep suppressing it.

I notice that there is quite an interest in future's prices on this forum. I get a quote of futures almost daily, and will post them here if there's interest in them?

June 2007 5936
December 2007 6172
December 2008 6175
December 2009 6240
December 2010 6200
December 2011 2196
December 2012 2050

As an interested aside, it used to be that the 2012 future was the most expensive, but more recently it's not. I don't think we'll get into a backwardation market again unless there is a big event that cuts crude production only momentarily.

What's your source on those prices?

2011 and 2012 seem, like, completely wonked!

I invest in crude commodities via Lind-Waldock, which also provides me with live quotes.

Asebius, Philiparnason has obviously made an error here. I am very fimiliar with such errors because I make so many such errors myself.

The latest figures for 2011 is $61.96 and 2102 is $61.86. They can be found here:


Ron Patterson

Whats funny is that I even proof-read this, and I changed the first 6 to a 2 to "correct" the error. How very odd, I think I'll cut+paste in the future!

Obviously I messed up again and typed in 2102 instead of 2012. Sorry about that.

Ron Patterson

I don't know how I messed that up... of course 2011 and 2012 are 6196 and 6050 respectively.

Any reactions to President Bush's economy speech today?
Will "technology" save us?
Make us "independent" of oil?
Are you confident that America is a Nation of "Dreamers"?
How about a Nation of "Doers"?

Bush spoke about new technologies and how those, including new batteries for autos and ethanol development from sources other than just corn, will help reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.

From Bush speech at Caterpillar here.

Apologies if this has already been noted:

There is a new oil blog at Times Select, a non-free area of the New York Times website used for their columnists such as Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman, etc. This one is called Pipeline: Tapping Into the Wide World of Oil. It is written by a journalist named Lisa Margonelli who has a book coming out in February called "Oil on the Brain."

It looks like the blog was started this year. The columns so far are:

Blood Oil, 1/8/2007
Who Cares About the Price of Gas?, 1/15/2007
The Price of Oil in Texas, 1/17/2007
The State of Our Energy Policy, 1/22/2007
Our Secret Stash of Oil, 1/30/2007

This last column is a very interesting story about the U.S. Strategic Petroluem Reserve given Bush's request in the State of the Union to double its size at a cost to taxpayers of $65 billion.

Hee hee. I'm an info-junkie and you are a dealer.

Can you give us some interesting highlights of the "Secret Stash of Oil" piece?

You could get a free trial of TimesSelect. I believe they offer a two-week free preview. You can view up to 100 articles in that time. If you cancel before the two weeks are up, you aren't charged.

Thanx for the tip. I shall do that.

.... For most Americans, the reserve, where 700 million barrels of oil have been stored since the late 1970s, is mostly an article of faith: Few know that it’s located deep underground in four sites on the Gulf Coast, and because those sites are considered vital to national security, hardly anyone has seen it.
Though the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is remote and not open to the public, I toured the largest of the sites, Bryan Mound, located in Texas, in the summer of 2003. Except for the security fences and sunburned young men carrying guns, it was a friendly place — balmy waterfront scrub overrun by migratory birds, and the occasional alligator or bobcat. The oil sits far out of sight, some 2000 feet below ground, in caverns in thick salt deposits.

The caverns are made by a technique called “solution mining,” which basically involves running water down into the salt and sucking out saltwater until a significant hole has been hollowed. The salt wraps itself around the oil like plastic, so the caverns don’t leak. They are, in fact, a miracle of salt engineering, and if it were possible to see them, they’d probably be as big a tourist draw as the Hoover Dam. But the petroleum reserve is pretty much invisible — and so is its ambiguous history.

Asebius: Also please check your e-mail.

Regarding Ms. Margonelli's forthcoming book:

Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline

Oil on the Brain is a smart, surprisingly funny account of the oil industry—the people, economies, and pipelines that bring us petroleum, brilliantly illuminating a world we encounter every day.

Americans buy ten thousand gallons of gasoline a second, without giving it much of a thought. Where does all this gas come from? Lisa Margonelli’s desire to learn took her on a one-hundred thousand mile journey from her local gas station to oil fields half a world away. In search of the truth behind the myths, she wriggled her way into some of the most off-limits places on earth: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the New York Mercantile Exchange’s crude oil market, oil fields from Venezuela, to Texas, to Chad, and even an Iranian oil platform where the United States fought a forgotten one-day battle.

In a story by turns surreal and alarming, Margonelli meets lonely workers on a Texas drilling rig, an oil analyst who almost gave birth on the NYMEX trading floor, Chadian villagers who are said to wander the oil fields in the guise of lions, a Nigerian warlord who changed the world price of oil with a single cell phone call, and Shanghai bureaucrats who dream of creating a new Detroit.

Deftly piecing together the mammoth economy of oil, Margonelli finds a series of stark warning signs for American drivers.

Looks like it will be a fun read.

Please accept this small gift from me to some members of the Drumbeat subculture at TOD.

Dave - I clicked on it and it didn't go moooo!

Very disappointing

Dave Cohen,

Has anyone ever told you that you spend entirely way too much time on The Oil Drum?

I mean, there are millions of webpages. Lots of stuff to read. Lots of stuff to do. Then there is the world outside, you know ... the world where the sun shines, which you seem to egregiously ignore.

Here this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy ...
Amos 4:1

You know, we could argue about God and religion. The Oil Drum devotes an astonishing amount of time to these topics. The posters here are well-informed people, too. Their knowledge impresses me.

At least, their knowledge of how to create a graph impresses me. Interpreting these graphs is more problematic. Sometimes I think: These people convinced me with their graph but lost me with their arguments. But you people seem to generate graphs almost every day and then argue about them endlessly. Some sort of discussion list you have going on here, Dave, good job!

In this sort of context it is difficult to discern between the Official Trolls, the Unofficial Trolls, the Hero Trolls, the Anonymous Trolls, and the Lobbyist Trolls. Such an impressive bunch of people. At least The Oil Drum is a source of objective information. All of these voices united together has a tendency to generate objectivity and trust among the outsiders who venture here.

I am certain that you want The Oil Drum to stay on message, but you have to have a message before you can stay on message. I cannot discern any sort of message in all of this mess. Those who think that religion is a waste of time must have never encountered a bunch of oil people engaged in a theological argument about the timing of Peak Oil.

I love the cows. Bring the cows. I want to milk these cows. Let us honor these cows who provide the satisfying milk of wisdom, objectivity and ethics to the Peak Oil debate. These cows are wonderful. They are the best. The world would collapse except for the bold, brave, honorable work of these Peak Oil cows. These cows are the real heroes of Peak Oil.

Come on, cows, let's hear you moooooo! Mooooo! for me, cows! I'll lead these cows by the nose if I have too. I will take them to a place that they would rather not go. You know the unhappy fate of the cows, don't you?

David Mathews




desiderata, you are not staying on message. There's a farm here at The Oil Drum. Populated by a bunch of prophets who derive their revelations about the future from graphs. They argue endlessly about their interpretations of these graphs and wonder why no one is taking them seriously.

The pigs & the cows are the wise people here at The Oil Drum. I love these animals. You do know that I love animals?

Thank God for the pigs & cows. Any more animals here?

David Mathews

Baaaaaa!! Mooooo. Oink.

Baaaaaa!! Mooooo. Oink.

Baaaaaa!! Mooooo. Oink.?

Here's a conversation which I enjoy here on The Oil Drum. Anything else?

David Mathews



Please, please stop this.

I don't like Dave Mattews any more than you do, but ruining the site for the rest of us is horrible way to deal with it.

After I look at the main page, see there are new comments and the link through to your idiotic mooing, I am convinced that banning commenters has become urgent.

This is from behind a paywall but should be of considerable interest.

CALGARY -- When Petro-Canada reported its fourth-quarter results last week, it was hard not to get stuck on the company's finding and developments costs.

Depending on which analysis one chose, the number was anywhere from being north of $45 to as high as $70 a barrel of oil equivalent.

The fact there was such variance should be the first clue that how to calculate what it costs a company to add new reserves every year isn't exactly cast in stone by either the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants or the country's 13 separate securities regulators. The only regulatory body that has a strict definition is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and many argue that because it only allows for the inclusion of proven reserves, it is not an accurate representation of a company's true potential.

Here are the simple mechanics of figuring out what it costs a company to find and develop new reserves: Take a company's capital expenditures and divide that number by the reserves added.

In addition, there are what's called revisions. Every year companies assess what can be produced relative to what they believe the commodity price will be. If the costs are too high, they will take barrels off the books; conversely, if prices are higher, reserves will be added. Another piece that needs to be factored in is the barrels that have been acquired via purchase and what they cost.

One of the reasons Petrocan stuck out like a sore thumb was because the other big companies publishing fourth-quarter results last week -- Shell Canada and Suncor -- did not release their reserve reports alongside the financials.

Still, the question is whether Petrocan's numbers should be seen as the proverbial canary in the coal mine; if it costs more than $45 to find a new barrel of oil, it's easy to see that if prices drop below the $50 (U.S.) threshold the untapped reserves are rendered uneconomic.

"If every energy company's finding and development statistics are that high," says Tom Ebbern of Tristone Capital, "there is no hope for this industry".

Even though it's behind a paywall, can you give us the source? Thanx.

It definitely is an interesting piece.

Globe & Mail Globeinvestor. Just checked the attribution and it may be from the print edition of the Globe & Mail. Article headline follows:

NEWS FROM Globeandmail.com

Petrocan development costs a starting gun for mergers
00:00 EST Wednesday, Jan 31, 2007

Posted at Jim Kunster's website:

January 31, 2007
Email from a futures trader
Subject: Falling Oil & Goldman Sachs

The recent fallout in crude futures was precipitated by a portfolio adjustment to the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) in early January, 2007. Basically, when Goldman Sachs says that a balanced commodity portfolio only requires 6% exposure to crude futures instead of 8%, some of the largest funds in the world that base their holdings on the index immediately liquidate their crude futures holdings. About $50B is directly tied to the GSCI, and the effect of these periodic readjustments is a cash bonanza for anyone in the know (though I’m sure Goldman Sachs would never let their index department talk to their trading department). A GSCI adjustment can produce more market gyrations than a FOMC meeting. You can thank last year’s gasoline prices that conveniently bottomed just before election time on the same GSCI market manipulation scheme. Exactly one month after [ex Goldman Sachs CEO] Henry Paulson’s July 10, 2006 swearing in ceremony to become the new Treasury Secretary, the GSCI was unexpectedly adjusted to decrease gasoline holdings by 75%, which caused $6B in gasoline contracts to be dumped. The entire energy complex fell, with natural gas eventually getting hit the hardest (compounded by the fact that a certain large hedge fund held nearly the entire side of some distant month, illiquid futures contracts, and everybody on the other side of the trade knew about it). There have been few stories about this in the general media and none that I’ve seen in trade publications (of which I follow many, being a futures trader). The only good news is that the GSCI is losing favor because of its poor performance in 2006. Of course, none of this alters the fundamentals. It’s only speculator money that’s entering and leaving the markets. $50 crude is going to look like the buy of the century soon.

What's amazing about this — and illuminating at the same time — is that only in a paper economy could this kind of non-reality go on. Do speculators entering and leaving the oil market have anything whatsoever to do with supply & demand oil fundamentals? Hell, No! I went for a whole week now without looking at the oil price but succumbed to temptation today. I see that the price has indeed gone up a few bucks. Why?

What's ironic is that there has been a lot of energy discussion in the media (I listen to NPR). Corn, pro and con. Anxiety is high, not least because everyone now realizes what a screw-up Iraq truly is. Yet, there is no increased risk premium associated with the oil price as there was last summer before the price crash. We could say that this makes no sense — and we would be right. Today, do a search for "oil price" at Google News. There is a complete disconnect between the price and the news from Cantarell. What price movements there have been are attibuted to — You Guessed It! — inventories.

All this, and many other things not mentioned, are why I have completely given up on getting a coherent short term price signal from NYMEX.

Dave Cohen wrote:

All this, and many other things not mentioned, are why I have completely given up on getting a coherent short term price signal from NYMEX.

As you should. Not only for crude futures but for most other financial instruments. This is standard financial wisdom. It's not there aren't good underlying reasons, it's that you and I don't know them.

The smart money does not advertise why it's on the move. For obvious reasons. One big one being that unlike small investors who can jump in and out of the market at a moments notice, the big guys have to build positions over days, weeks and even months. Otherwise they risk moving the markets themselves before they have purchased their position.

Yeah, maybe in some things, I'm just a slow learner  

The standard analogy I heard years ago when I began to take markets seriously goes like this:

The market is like a guy taking his unruly dog for a walk on a leash.

The dog owner is the underlying long-term fundamentals of the market. The dog's erratic movement represents medium term influences. And the dog's tail is the short term price.

With oil, that dog is a feisty Great Dane. But the wagging tail is still rather hopeless to make sense of.

Bloomberg somehow feels they have to pretend to, though. They offer comment several times a day, at times.

There is presently a record Call on Demand (86.2mbd) which comes at a time when OPEC is restricting quota. 0.5-mbd was drawn from inventories and non-opec set a new Supply record in December but failed to meet Demand.

This will be repeated in February when another quota cut digs in. Fortunately Call drops to 84mbd in March and April.

Take notice that under the "Commodity Futures" section of the Bloomberg website, they are posting only the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index figures. This is a recent change.


I thought there was some monkey business going on behind the scenes as our last election approached. This hidden influence on large trading blocks sure makes sense. Luckily even with lower gasoline prices people still voted for new leadership.

What are other OD reader perspectives on behind the scenes orchestrated futures trading?

CBC radio on the tar sands this morning. Pay attention to the voice tone of the person being interviewed and the word play.

Click on part 3.

Saudi water treatment plant expansion by ARAMCO

From the Saudi water treatment plant article linked above:

"Once completed, the Qurayyah plant is expected to be the world's largest seawater treatment plant that will be used for oil recovery, with a capacity of 14 million barrels per day."

Here a piece of solid data about Saudi oil production may have leaked out. The 14 million barrels a day capacity may tell us something about how much additional water they plan to inject.

I dug into this a little more. This is an existing water treatment plant used to serve the Ein Dar and Shedgum areas of the Ghawar field (two of six areas in Ghawar). In 2005 it produced 7 million barrels of water for water injection, and at that time Aramco awarded a contract to USFilter to expand the capacity to 9.5 million barrels. Now they are expanding it to 14 million barrels.

To me, this says the amount of water injected into Ghawar is now much higher than the amount of oil extracted, and Aramco intends to increase this amount quite a bit more. I don't know what this says about water cut - can any of the professional oil guys help here?

To me, this says the amount of water injected into Ghawar is now much higher than the amount of oil extracted, and Aramco intends to increase this amount quite a bit more. I don't know what this says about water cut - can any of the professional oil guys help here?

We have graphs of Production, Rig Count, Water pumping, etc, It would be interesting to know if they have increased their settling storage tank capacity.

If they are going towards "Stained Water" to a degree, how much has to settle? , and what's their storage capacity?

If they are going towards "Stained Water" to a degree, how much has to settle? , and what's their storage capacity?

Conventional separator trains can produce export-quality crude from high-watercut (90% plus - far higher than Ghawar) well effluent with residence times of a few minutes, if they are correctly set up and maintained with the appropriate chemical additives and suchlike. Most of the produced water will be pumped straight back underground where it can do some good for your reservoir energy balance. You might add a settling stage to get the oil mist out, again this would be a continuous process.

There was a thread a few months back that had a lot of Google earth links for the evaporation pits in the Ghawar area. See if you can get Search to work - I can't be bothered.

To me, this says the amount of water injected into Ghawar is now much higher than the amount of oil extracted

This comes up every few months. Prudent waterflood management always involves injecting more than one barrel of water per barrel of oil produced, even if no water is being produced.; and Aramco are nothing if not professional in every aspect of oilfield operations. Reason for higher injection rate is here...


Aramco intends to increase this amount quite a bit more

Now that is symptomatic of increasing watercut. You start having to inject water not just to replace oil, but to replace produced water. Unless they're also planning to increase oil production, and that doesn't seem likely in Ghawar. Depending in what happens to oil production (will probably fall off at least a bit), it sounds like they're preparing for a watercut of 40-50% (finger in the breeze type estimate) on average, field-wide. Of course with operations on this scale that point may lie several years in the future.

well if aramco is getting ready for 40-50% watercut, can 90 - 99% be far behind ?

Above post says 2/6 ghawar fields were already at 9Mb/d water injection, now going to 14Mb/d. So, if the other 4 fields injected no water, and if ghawar was producing 4.5Mb/d oil, then presumably 4.5Mb/d oil plus 9Mb/d water is produced for a 67% cut. But, other fields are no doubt also injecting water, and meanwhile the water is increasing to 14Mb/d at the 2 fields... these numbers imply they are far past 50% water cut, maybe at 80%, and rising fast as water injection surges and, imo, oil output falls.
Nothing new about a giant watering out except that it is the biggest. The bigger they are...

it was my understanding that the 9 million bpd (and 14 million bpd) figures were sea water (make-up) water, and presumably this is in addition to whatever volume of water is produced (and reinjected). injecting 9 or 14 million bpd of "make up" water doesnt necessarily mean that this is the rate of water production. if it were it would be by coincidence.

well don't the saudi's reinject the produced water along with the "make-up" sea water? if so i would suppose they are simply expanding operations. i take it from discussions here that ghwar is a "partial water drive" . the field pressure may have been supported for a significant part of its life by water influx from a huge aquifer. after decades of oil production the aquifer probably could no longer keep up so at some point the saudi's decided to use sea water injection for "pressure maintenance" (periferial injection) in any case an increase in "make-up" water is probably aimed at increasing (or maintaining) extraction rates and yes, depletion.

I thought this one was worth a chuckle:


Oil May Fall as Production Rises, Demand Growth Slows, RBS Says
By Trisha Huang

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Oil, which has dropped 27 percent from the record reached in July, may fall to $45 a barrel by 2011 as output increases and demand growth slows, said Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, the U.K's second-largest lender.

Prices of oil, which rose more than fourfold between 2002 and 2006, bolstered investments in securing supplies from conventional and alternative sources, said Thorsten Fischer, an analyst at the Edinburgh-based bank. Coupled with slowing global energy demand, that will create spare capacity, he said

``The risk of severe supply disruption has receded,'' Fischer said in a Jan. 29 report. ``Strong investment and drilling activity over the last few years will bring new supplies online., while demand growth will return to more sustainable levels.''

Slowing global energy demand? Slowing? What of China and India? Heck, even the scrolling news headline at the top includes this one: "U.S. Economy Expands at a 3.5 Percent Annual Rate, Faster Than Estimated"

Even in the quote it says "demand growth will return to more sustainable levels". Dude, in the long run there is no such thing as sustainable demand growth! Note to editors: slower growth != decrease in demand


Formerly, Senior Economist at Economy.com and a regular contributor to The Dismal Scientist. A Quote:

“While traders and investors have focused on strong demand growth, sizable additions to supply have largely been ignored.”
An excerpt from here:
The real problem with the peak-oil argument has less to do with engineering than with philosophy. It lacks imagination. Thirty years ago few thought it would be possible to produce price-competitive oil from Canadian oil sands. Today the cost of producing that oil is about $20 a barrel and is still falling (see "The Dark Magic of Oil Sands"). Similarly, you can't rule out the idea that today's speculative energy technologies (see "Here Come the New Fuels") will become cost-efficient by the time Middle East oil production starts to wane. "The peak-oil argument underestimates the potential for technological progress," says Economy.com's Thorsten Fischer, who expects oil to fall to about $40 a barrel by next year [written 18 Sep 2005]. Simmons thinks prices could triple by 2010.
This "dude" has been wrong before.

Technological Progress

Chavez to rule by decree, gets sweeping new powers

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been granted new special powers after an extraordinary assembly vote in the main square of the capital, Caracas.
Mr Chavez will now be able to rule by decree for the next 18 months.

His planned reforms will affect the energy sector, telecommunications, the economy and defence, among others.
Mr Chavez has said the legislation will transform the country into a socialist society. Opponents describe the new law as an abuse of power.

In the open-air public ceremony in the capital, lawmakers voted unanimously to grant the Venezuelan leader the new powers, shouting: "Long live Socialism."

According to the so-called enabling law, the president can remake laws for "the construction of a new, sustainable economic and social model" to achieve an equal distribution of wealth.

Mr Chavez will be able to effect change by presidential decree in 11 broad areas.

Negroponte told a hearing to confirm his position as the new deputy secretary of state that Mr Chavez has not been a "constructive force in the hemisphere".

"He has been trying to export his kind of radical populism and I think that his behaviour is threatening to democracies in the region," Mr Negroponte said.

not a "constructive force in the hemisphere".

As opposed to who. mr. Negroponte?

Mr Chavez will be able to effect change by presidential decree in 11 broad areas.

Sounds like a presidential signing order. At least Chavez was voted this authority; he did not just unilaterally institute it.

The Honda Civic GX is fueled by natural gas:


I guess someone ought to talk to Honda about Peak Gas or maybe how these cars could be tweaked to run on gasified biomass?

Natural gas vehicles are very common for fleets here in Japan.

Most taxis in Tokyo are natural gas.

But I've never seen it in a standard commercial car.

Cantarell down, and now Oil Search company shelves a Aus$8 billion gas project in Papua New Guinea. The Australian Govt is finally facing up to climate change and water issues, but needs to also address gas supply one as well.

I'm listening to Democracy Now (Wednesday, January 31st, 2007) on WPFW. http://www.wpfw.org/ Today's articles include Climate Change, Vanishing Oil, Arrest of New Orleans Housing Activists, all of which seem pertinent to TOD and another on how the FBI is watching all of us, which seems pertinent to anyone on the internet:

Government Scientists Accuse Bush Administration of Interfering, Misleading on Climate Change

According to a new survey, hundreds of government scientists say they have perceived or personally experienced pressure from the Bush administration to eliminate phrases such as “climate change” and “global warming” from their reports and public statements. One of those scientists -- NASA climatologist Drew Shindell – testified Tuesday before the Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform. [includes rush transcript]

Blood of the Earth: Dilip Hiro on the Battle for the World’s Vanishing Oil Resources

In his new book, veteran Middle East Journalist Dilip Hiro offers a detailed account of how and why the planet’s limited supply of oil has come to revolutionize human behavior, politics and warfare across the globe. He joins us for a wide-ranging interview. [includes rush transcript]

As Police Arrest Public Housing Activists in New Orleans, Federal Officials Try to Silence Leading Attorney for Low-Income Residents

New Orleans police raided the Saint Bernard housing project this morning where activists had been occupying a building to prevent government plans to demolish it. Meanwhile, the Housing Authority of New Orleans has sent a letter to one of the lead lawyers for the residents, Bill Quigley, asking him to stop speaking to the media and to remove statements he made that appear in several online videos. [includes rush transcript]

Revealed: FBI Internet Surveillance More Extensive Than Previously Known

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed. C-NET News reports that instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling data on thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases. [includes rush transcript]


I try to get to the Drumbeat comments and they do not exist. I am able to see all the topics posted by Leanan but cannot access the balance of the site.

I have had this problem quite a number of times, too, since the upgrade was made. It seems to happen most frequently when I go to a previous date's drumbeat to read the new posts. Sometimes, if I retry the same thread immediately, the comments will then appear, but without the "new" tags.

Test to see if this will increment comment count.
2042 Jan 31

Editors, SuperG:
At the time of this and the immediately prior post it was possible to connect to TOD but at times all that was displayed was a blank page with the correct TOD URL showing in the status bar. A few minutes later it was possible to browse and view the main topic page postings but it was not possible to view the user comments.

There was a lower info panel which indicated the total number of postings and offered the opportunity to create a post against the invisible comment page. I did this twice to see if the comment count incremented correctly and it did properly increment.

You may wish to refer this to SuperG. My hunch is that you are timing out on your available simultaneous server connections but since I do not know your server config this may be an incorrect supposition.

You may want to clear this issue up before we do more DIGGS otherwise the additional traffic to the site exacerbates the problem and will generate frustration on the part of DIGG and other referrals and generally lower the credibiilty of TOD.

Larry King Live was about global warming tonight. (It will rerun on CNN later tonight.)

One of the guests was a guy named Lindzen, an atmospheric scientist from MIT. He's a global warming denier. Says there's no indication that anything unusual is going on. Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age. What's happening now is just a continuation of that, and not caused by the burning of fossil fuels. He also said that doing anything about global warming was "silly." It's only a few degrees, why risk hurting economic growth, when nothing we do is going to work, anyway?

Another of the scientists on the show was in the "technology will save us" camp. I didn't catch his name (I caught only part of the show), but he talked about his grandfather going to war on a horse, and 20 years later, nobody was using horses in warfare. He said technology could change that fast. He thinks renewable energy could provide four times what we are currently using, without harmful emissions.

Heidi Cullen, The Weather Channel's climate expert, took a darker view. She actually mentioned collapse, saying, "Civilizations have collapsed in the past. We're not special."

The IPCC roll out their Fourth Assessment Report beginning Friday, when they officially release the report on the physical science basis of climate change and the policy-makers summary. http://www.ipcc.ch/


Thank you for the link.

Here is one of the "graphics" at the IPCC site. You can see how the timing and exponential spiking of the GHG's (GreenHouse Gases) coincides nicely with human population and the Industrial "Revolution".
(Edwin Drake struck oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859 IIRC. A short 100 years later, in 1956, M. (not Larry) King Hubbert announced the end of the oil age.)

(Click to enlarge.)

One more graphic of interest from IPCC shows their estimations of the forcing factors for Global Warming and Global Dimming:

(Click to enlarge.)

Thank you. Very helpful.

Larry King transcript can be found here (at least for now) at the CNN show transcripts site.

What I find interesting is the list of people that the King-maker elects to bring onto his show for purposes of entertainment (and for generating ads revenue) and the emotional arguments that most of them resort to.

The word "economy" comes up about 25 times.
Here is a sampling:

LINDZEN: Well, in a certain sense, when it comes to expenditures ... almost everything proposed so far, if there's anything that there is a consensus on, will do very little to affect climate. So right now despite all of the claims to the contrary, we're talking about symbolism. And I think Julian's point is correct. Do you spend a lot? Do you distort a great deal in the economy for symbolism? And I think future generations are going to blame us for ... being silly, for letting a few tenths of a degree panic us. ... The experts on it in the IPCC have freely acknowledged there's no strong evidence it's accelerating. Senator Inhofe was absolutely right. All that's coming out Friday is a summary for policymakers that is not prepared by scientists. Rob is wrong. ... ultimately, it [IPCC]is written by representatives of governments, of environmental organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, and industrial organizations, each seeking their own benefit.

Besides trying to frame the arguments in terms of how GW may affect "The Economy", there is much appeal to proof by authority. Each side quotes one huffy puffy "expert" or another to support their position but none of King's guests appeared to have any science or technology in their grab bags of rhetoric.

This of course is to be expected of us irrational, emotion-driven human beings and is very reminiscent of what one hears when people debate Peak Oil.

In contrast to the word "economy" coming up about 25x in the King transcript, the word "carbon" (a scientific term) comes up just 3x.

Here is a sampling from the King transcript that contains 2 of the 3 mentions of carbon:

ROB MARCIANO, CNN NEWS & WEATHER ANCHOR: Well, it's undeniable that we have warm, there's no doubt about that. We have come up over a degree in the past hundred or so years. The question that's been of contention is, has man been a part of it? And when you look at the numbers as far as how much carbon is in the air and more importantly how much carbon has been in the atmosphere historically, really since the beginning of the earth as we know it. And that range typically is from 170 parts per million to about 270. And right now we're clocking up at about 370 or so. So we're well above that and that's all come up in about the last 200 years. So that kind of tells us that man has something to do with it. The bigger question is Larry, where do we go from here? What are these models telling us where we're going to be 50 or 100 years from now? And that's where the uncertainty comes in.

And the 3rd of the 3 mentions of course mixes in "the econmy" with carbon, and emotional head bobbing:

MORRIS: If you restrict emissions of carbon dioxide, you slow down economic development, you prevent the poorest people in the world from being able to adapt to the problems that they currently face, the many millions of people who currently die from preventable diseases. So enable economic development to take place. That's got to be the priority. Don't focus so much on hypothetical problems that might result in the future from our emissions, I think.

KING: Bill Nye, you're shaking your head.

NYE: Yeah, well it depends on what you call economic development. Do we have to have everybody drive inefficient vehicles? Does everybody have to have very wasteful hot water, domestic hot water systems? Couldn't we all just advance together? And I'll give you an example, in China, when I was there this summer, people don't have telephones, don't have land lines. Everybody has two or three cell phones. They skip land lines. Couldn't we have people in a developing world skip to more efficient energy production technologies, more efficient energy transmission technologies, instead of having them drag through the fossil fuels?

Couldn't we have people in a developing world skip to more efficient energy production technologies, more efficient energy transmission technologies, instead of having them drag through the fossil fuels?

That's a nice idea, but there is no shortage of nice ideas. Do you are Nye have any plan for how to do this?

Leapfrogging technologies worked well for mobile phones, much as Moore's law worked well to desribe processing power advances.

It's much harder in the field of energy where the laws of physics intervene.

Nye is a "Cornellian"

Strictly off-topic but RIP Mollie Ivins. She will be missed.

I second that...she was a great writer that will be missed. Buzzflash is paying great homage to here passing.

"I second that...she was a great writer that will be missed"...

indeed, and very sharp witted verbally too....I saw her one night on a discussion about gun control on 60 Minutes, in which she completely confused and left stuttering a pro gun commentator by taking his side (!) and endorsing more people carrying guns as a way to thin out the cheatin' husbands, card cheats and other lowlifes in Texas!

After her opponent got good and angry, she finished him off by saying that she was fully in support of concealed and carry permits for Texans as long as the person carrying the gun had to wear a beany (a perfectly painless device) so that average citizens would know to stay the helll away from him/her!

It was hilarious, a style of debate that is both maddening to have to argue against but great fun to watch!

Mollie Ivins, a true gonzo funny lady :-)


Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier postings:

1. Mugabe taking over the Zimbabwe bottled water industry.

2. Zimbabwe's broken sewage treatment plants drained into the capital city of Harare water supply.

Gee, guess bottled water sales must be booming--now they got cholera:

HARARE , 30 January (IRIN) - Four of 12 suspected cases of cholera have so far been confirmed in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, according to the city's director of health services.

The source of the waterborne disease, an intestinal infection leading to severe dehydration from chronic diarrhoea and vomiting, which can result in death within 24 hours if left untreated, may have been caused by a discharge of untreated effluent into the reservoir supplying the capital with drinking water two weeks ago.

However, other observers say that the failure to distribute water by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), the parastatal supplier, has resulted in many people drawing water from shallow wells, which are also suspected of harbouring cholera bacteria.

Before President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government created ZINWA, which is wholly responsible for supplying water to Harare's residents and industry, distribution was handled by the local municipality.

Of course, going to a hospital won't help, the nurses and doctors are on strike:


Protesting won't help much either:
Recently 10 members of the Zimbabwe students Union were arrested for no reason, terrorised and later dumped in the Matopos national reserve to fend for themselves against lions and leopards.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?