DrumBeat: March 22, 2007

What has happened to our 'cheap' gasoline? - Less than two years after Katrina, consumption hasn't changed

We Americans need to bite the bullet, and start rearranging our lives and our infrastructure to be able to live with, and make our economy progress with, high cost gasoline.

U.K.: £11bn fall in oil forecasts forces borrowing

Gordon Brown yesterday slashed by a further £11bn his estimates of total North Sea revenues in the next five years - forcing up overall government borrowing projections which would otherwise have remained almost unchanged.

Global boom in coal power – and emissions

So what does the future hold? An acceleration of the buildup, according to a Monitor analysis of power-industry data. Despite Kyoto limits on greenhouse gases, the analysis shows that nations will add enough coal-fired capacity in the next five years to create an extra 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year.

Those accelerating the buildup are not the usual suspects.

Lester Brown: Ethanol drives up world food prices

If you think you are spending more each week at the supermarket, you may be right. The escalating share of the US grain harvest going to ethanol distilleries is driving up food prices worldwide.

Mumbai, Lagging Shanghai, Faces First Power Cuts in a Century

Mumbai, India's commercial capital, may have its first daily blackouts in a century next month because the government failed to plan for soaring demand.

China's economy seen hurt if oil prices above 80 usd/barrel

The vice-director of the State Council's State Energy Office, Xu Dingming, told reporters at an industry conference that China and India are the two largest oil consumption countries in the world and higher oil prices will hurt the countries' economies.

Super-High Mileage Cars

Here's the next big competition coming down the road: a $25 million dollar prize to the builder of the first commercially-viable 100 mile per gallon car.

The Saab Biofuel Budget 2007

The Saab Biofuel Budget Report 2007 contains Saab Great Britain’s recommendations for how the UK Government can support its emerging biofuels industry, with the primary aim of reducing road transport emissions. Other advantages include ensuring security of energy supply and diversifying the rural economy.

India looks big on alternative energy

Imagine running your computer on a solar energy backup for five hours a day! It's possible, says an expert who sees India as a promising destination for alternative sources of power.

Biofuels launch biotech's 'third wave' to help meet increasing demand for energy

Thousands of corporate executives and scientists gather this weekend in Orlando, Fla. for an industry trade show specifically aimed at touting biotechnology's so-called third wave, industrial applications. The word on everyone's lips: ethanol.

Denmark leads the way in green energy — to a point

Viewed from the United States or Asia, Denmark is an environmental role model. The country is "what a global warming solution looks like," wrote Frances Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a letter to the group last autumn. About one-fifth of the country's electricity comes from wind, which wind experts say is the highest proportion of any country.

But a closer look shows that Denmark is a far cry from a clean-energy paradise.

Energy crisis demands immediate attention

James R. Schlesinger, a leading expert in the energy field and the first U.S. Secretary of Energy, spoke yesterday evening at the Lyric about the nation’s energy crisis. Schlesinger is also currently co-chairing a study for the Department of Defense energy strategy. He articulated that consumption of oil as an energy source in today’s society is a serious problem that will not disappear in the near future, but rather demand immediate attention.

US trying to block Iran energy deals

Emboldened by the perception that Russia is hardening its stance toward Iran, Washington is increasing its efforts to put more economic pressure on Tehran.

Russia, Kazakhstan plan nuclear venture

Russia is piecing together a new company to own nuclear-energy assets based on a revival of Soviet-era ties with Kazakhstan and other neighboring states, officials said. Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev, the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, met on Monday to discuss pooling newly formed ventures in uranium mining, enrichment, reactor construction and logistics into a trans-national holding, said Vladimir Servetnik, deputy chief executive officer of Tenex, Russia’s state-owned atomic fuel trader.

Asian buyer confirms rare S. African coal purchase

A North Asian company has bought South African coal for the first time in about three years, despite the long shipping distance, to compensate for tight local supplies, a source at the buyer's company said on Thursday.

Nepal: Petroleum shortage continues

Petroleum shortage has continued in the capital city and major urban centers since the past few days due to lack of fuel supply. The transportation of the fuel has been halted due to the growing unrest in the Terai region.

Philippines: DOE asks SC to reconsider oil depot closure

Currently, the Pandacan oil depot supplies 50percent of power generation, 73percent aviation fuel, 70percent of the shipping industries' needs, 90 percent lubricants and 25percent of chemical to the entire country.

Japan’s Cosmo consider other currencies for Iran crude

Japanese refiner Cosmo Oil is considering switching payment for its term purchases of Iranian crude away from the US dollar as early as April, when it finalizes contract terms for the next fiscal year, a senior company source said Tuesday.

The source said Cosmo had been contacted by Tehran some six months ago about paying in alternative currencies such as the yen or euro. Other Japanese refiners have talked about the possibility of using other currencies to pay for Iranian crude, which would still be officially priced in dollars.

Norwegian Statoil reports risks in Iran and Venezuela

Norwegian state oil firm Statoil said it could face penalties from the United States in connection with the company's operations in Iran and is risking losing 171 million barr

Asian oil addiction growing fast

The demand for oil in Asia will nearly double over the next 25 years and will account for 85 per cent of the increased demand in 2007, a Bangkok energy conference heard.

Valley College Plants Seeds of Energy Independence

Following its certification as the district's first college with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-accredited building, Valley has a plan in the works to have a one-megawatt photovoltaic farm, which uses an array of solar cells, known as photovoltaic cells, to convert sunlight into energy.

Uganda: Govt Proposes 14 Dam Sites

Southern Ocean current faces slowdown threat

The impact of global warming on the vast Southern Ocean around Antarctica is starting to pose a threat to ocean currents that distribute heat around the world, Australian scientists say, citing new deep-water data.

Melting ice-sheets and glaciers in Antarctica are releasing fresh water, interfering with the formation of dense "bottom water," which sinks 4-5 kilometers to the ocean floor and helps drive the world's ocean circulation system.

Plumbing, pipe-fitting, and peak oil: this Mechanical Contracting Workshop has a session on peak oil.

James McGarvey, executive director of the New York State Weatherization Directors' Association, will address the opening session March 29 on "‘Peak Oil': Myth or Reality?" He will cover what the U.S. Department of Energy's Hirsch Report, U.S. Army Corps' Energy Study and other reports have to say on the topic.

Al Gore's testimony to the House - Grist live-blogs it.

Critics Slam Gore over Global Warming Testimony

This is the same Al Gore who's global warming documentary drew vast media attention and the same losing Democratic presidential candidate who was recently called a hypocrite over his zinc mine which is under investigation for numerous environmental pollution violations.

Spilling Oil In Mexico

Mexico swims in oil, but long-standing nationalism inhibits its extraction. Now its oil revenues are running low, while emigrant remittances soar. What's wrong with this picture?

Pemex Oil Output Edges Up in February

Crude oil production at Mexican state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, edged up in February to 3.15 million barrels a day from 3.14 million barrels a day in January, while natural gas output reached a record 5.8 billion cubic feet a day, according to data released Wednesday.

Tom Whipple - The Peak Oil Crisis: Situations To Watch

Evidence is mounting that oil prices will soon climb to new, perhaps unaffordable for many, highs. Some think “soon” is three, four, or five years away. Others think “soon” may be as close as three, four, five, or six months. It is this latter scenario in which oil and gasoline prices reach new highs before the year is out that we look at today.

Richard Heinberg's Museletter #179: Burning the Furniture

A soon-to-be-released study by the Energy Watch Group in Germany on the future of global coal supplies has implications so surprising and far-reaching that energy policymakers may take years to digest it. This essay is intended to help speed that process. The report’s central conclusion is that minable global coal reserves are much smaller than is commonly thought, and that a peak in world coal production is likely within only ten to fifteen years.

Nuclear plans may stall on uranium shortage

Growing global competition for scarce enriched uranium threatens to derail a much-heralded nuclear renaissance in the United States and around the world, says an industry researcher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In a report released yesterday, MIT researcher Thomas Neff said there has been 20 years of under-investment in uranium production and enrichment, resulting in a tightening of supply that has driven prices up eightfold.

Leftist Brazilian President Silva slammed for calling ethanol producers 'heroes'

Brazil's booming alternative ethanol fuel industry is attracting praise and investment from around the world, but President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was roundly criticized at home Wednesday for calling well-off ethanol producers "national and world heroes."

Less than two weeks after Silva forged an ethanol "alliance" with U.S. President George W. Bush, activists said they were upset that Brazil's first working-class leader appeared to praise producers they blame for pocketing huge profits while legions of cane-cutting farm workers stay poor.

Hydrogen cars face technological hurdles

BMW, Toyota, Honda, GM, DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen have hydrogen-powered vehicles on display at the conference, but all have similar technological challenges, including costs that range up to a million dollars a piece and limited range on a hydrogen fill-up.

China's Feb. Coal Imports Rise 51 Percent to 3.9 Million Tons

China's imports of coal jumped 51 percent from a year earlier in February as energy demand increased in the world's fastest-growing major economy.

Coal imports climbed to 3.9 million metric tons, the Customs General Administration of China said in Beijing today. Imports in the first two months of the year surged 66 percent to 8.6 million tons.

UK Offshore Operators: Treasury Turns 'Blind Eye' to Industry

Responding to Wednesday's Budget statement by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, the UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA), the representative body for North Sea production companies, accused the Treasury of turning a blind eye to the urgent needs of the UK's offshore oil and gas industry where production is being undermined by high costs and punitive tax.

Pemex Seeks Multiple Alliances for Deep-Water Oil

Petroleos Mexicanos, the third- biggest oil supplier to the U.S., needs to enter alliances with several companies to help it develop deep-water oil fields, said Mexico Energy Minister Georgina Kessel.

Police hold French oil firm CEO for questioning

The new CEO of French oil giant Total SA was being held for questioning Wednesday in an investigation into the group's activities in Iran, the latest legal challenge for the company and its embattled chief.

High gas prices not slowing RV industry

The recreational vehicle industry has been reporting record sales for the past five years, despite rising costs at the pump. Insiders credit a growing number of baby boomers who want the gas-guzzling vehicles for retirement and younger families opting for vacations closer to home for offsetting any potential losses because of soaring fuel costs.

New carbon-dioxide tracking developed

With concern growing about global warming, researchers said Wednesday they have developed a new system to track carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Being able to determine where and when this major greenhouse gas increases or decreases should help in projecting future climate change and evaluating efforts to reduce releases of carbon. "This is a pretty exciting opportunity," said Richard Spinrad, head of research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Water scarcity: Global warming to deepen thirst for blue gold

Fresh water, the stuff of life, is set to become even more precious as global warming begins to bite, experts warned ahead of World Water Day on Thursday.

Could the Robert Heinberg rumour be true?

"At the ASPO conference a well-connected industry insider who wishes not to be directly quoted told me that his own sources inside Saudi Arabia insist that production from Ghawar is now down to less than three million barrels per day, and that the Saudis are maintaining total production at only slowly dwindling levels by producing other fields at maximum rates. This, if true, would be a bombshell: most estimates give production from Ghawar at 5.5 Mb/d."



Hmmm...good time to repost these two reports. It's getting harder and harder to brush them off as "incorrect" isn't it?

(Sorry Dragonfly for cutting in).

Cid - It's 'Richard' Heinberg, not Robert.

Opps! I know that! Silly me.

A CEO of an Australian listed oil/gas company recently claimed to me that his friend within the Saudi oil industry have told him Saudi Arabia is producing "flat out".

A bit third hand I know.

Heinberg's piece in todays drumbeat if true could have an even bigger impact than Ghawar's decline:

A soon-to-be-released study by the Energy Watch Group in Germany on the future of global coal supplies has implications so surprising and far-reaching that energy policymakers may take years to digest it. ... The report’s central conclusion is that mineable global coal reserves are much smaller than is commonly thought, and that a peak in world coal production is likely within only ten to fifteen years.

Link to projected coal production:

If this is accurate global warming will soon be a non-issue.

Heinberg's article struck me as crucially important as well. If we are in fact going to be facing an across-the-board fossil fuel crisis in the near future, we'd best be ready to make some hard decisions on adaptation, curtailment and substitution. We probably won't but it would be nice if we had good data just in case someone decided to do something sensible.

On that note, if all FF's start to decline, the pressure on biofuels is going to become enormous. Just for shits and grins, the other day I did a calculation: if we took all the world's vegetable food crops and turned them into fuel, how much oil equivalent would we end up with? Here's the quote from the biofuels article on my web site:

How much oil-equivalent biofuel could we actually make if we turned all the world's major grain and oilseed crops into automobile fuel, leaving none whatever for food? In other words, what are humanity's relative energy requirements for food and transportation? Would their scales of use allow us to easily and effectively substitute a portion of our food energy use for transportation fuel?

To answer this question I considered ethanol from corn, wheat, rice, sugar cane and sugar beets, and biodiesel from soybeans and rapeseed (canola), plus palm&sunflower oils. In each case I converted the entire world crop into fuel, discounted the ethanol by 1/3 for its lower energy content, and converted the annual production in litres to the oil-industry standard measure of millions of barrels of oil equivalent per day. Here are the results:


World crop (Million tonnes): 700
Litres per tonne: 400
MBOE/day: 3.2

World crop (Million tonnes): 600
Litres per tonne: 370
MBOE/day: 2.5

World crop (Million tonnes): 600
Litres per tonne: 400
MBOE/day: 2.7

Sugar Cane:
World crop (Million tonnes): 1324
Litres per tonne: 100
MBOE/day: 2.5

Sugar Beets:
World crop (Million tonnes): 250
Litres per tonne: 108
MBOE/day: 0.3


World crop (Million tonnes): 270
Litres per tonne: 140
MBOE/day: 0.5

Rapeseed (Canola):
World crop (Million tonnes): 55
Litres per tonne: 400
MBOE/day: 0.4

Palm&Sunflower oils:
World crop (Million tonnes): 42
Litres per tonne: 900
MBOE/day: 0.7

The total from turning virtually all of our food into fuel is 12.8 MBOE/day - only 15% of the current world oil consumption of 84 million barrels per day. To make matters worse, it takes a lot more energy to make biofuels than it does to simply pump oil from the ground and refine it. A rough estimate is that it takes at least twice as much. Accounting for this necessary energy outlay reduces the available net energy of our biofuels to less than 8% of the world's oil consumption.

This is one of the reasons why using crop-sourced biofuels for transportation is such a horrifically bad idea. We strip mine our top soil, we deplete our water tables, we starve everyone and we still have only an 8% solution. We all - individuals, countries and our whole civilization - need to be very, very cautious in promoting the use of biofuels, lest our thirst for transportation fuel overrun our common sense. And we must always remember to crunch the numbers.


Interesting piece of work, Glider.

Once we get the tree huggers and duck lovers out of the way, we should be able to increase that total to 10%.


Fill'er up, please..
I'll have the Fois Gras with Maple Syrup glaze..

"Music to drown by. Now I know I'm in First Class"
- Tommy .. Titanic

Well done!  Amazing what nonsense can be dispelled with some scribbling on the back of an envelope.

Now the job is to get that news out there, so the propagandists get sneers and jeers when they try to push these lies onto the public.  The sooner we can eliminate the credibility of the non-options, the sooner we can get policy aligned with the things we have to do.

I suspect the enthusiam for biofuels has more to do with the fortunes which could be made than the potential for a solution. It may only end up being 1% of our fuel supply - but wouldn't you like to get your hands on the revenue from that one percent?
You could say the same about CTL - it may not sense from a global perspective, but a million barrels a day multiplied by $50 a barrel is nothing to sneeze at. Who will be the first CTL billionaire?

You could probably make a lot more money from building the energy systems to make biofuels into viable replacements instead of niche products with petroleum, but the visionaries behind these seem to be keeping quiet.  I probably would too, in their position; the less attention you attract, the further you can get before the people whose interests would be threatened start to attack you.

Though not in any sense a disagreement, I would like to point out that rapeseed oil can be poured directly into a diesel motor, at least when it is warm enough outside. This isn't exactly happening where I live in Germany (yet), but a lot of the small tractors here which are decades old won't have any problem, at least in the summer. And yes, there are a number of places which can press the oil locally. As a matter of fact, there is a dealer on the B3 parallel to the A5 Autobahn who can sell you a thousand liters to store at home, since such 'refined' oil is safe to handle - he uses the same plastic/metal enclosed containers that are common for wine or milk. (If we buy a diesel, I have thought about buying one or two to keep around the house in the garage.)

In other words, at least in terms diesel substitutes on farms, it is possible to imagine a fairly simple system, thus increasing the amount of energy available within a somewhat closed system.

I realize that this point doesn't apply to an agricultural production system which is no longer local, as in the U.S., but there is reason to believe that efficiency can be improved by removing the 'refining' step of biodiesel (at least for rapeseed) - especially when you look at some of the interesting work being done to modify a diesel's fuel system to allow it to burn straight plant oil efficiently, even in winter.

Obviously, this only replaces oil in a limited context, but considering the amount of energy currently used to get refined oil products to a farm, this is likely not a trivial gain. Equally obviously, this scenario only allows for farming to continue using mechanical means - it doesn't help with food distribution much, unless you have a decent electricified rail/barge network in place to move bulk amounts of grains.

Heinberg's article definitely sounds like it could be big news. I was curious about the role of Illinois coal. So I googled "Illinois Coal Production" and found this enlightening article from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale,


Its subheadline is this:

"Illinois coal is well suited to new, cleaner energy systems on the horizon. Reducing global warming and developing a hydrogen economy may depend on these technologies, which are being researched intensively at SIUC."

Apparently Illinois coal production fell by 50% becasue it is higher in sulphur than Wyoming coal and difficult to scrub. The hope is that with coal gasification and IGCC, this will not be a problem and will in fact lead to industrial sulphur production. The whole article is a fascinating look at carbon dioxide sequestration, coal bed methane, efficient coal recovery, and other issues related to 21st century coal use.

I think this deserves a closer look, and frankly, it disturbs me a little bit that someone as high profile in our community as Heinberg would just accept the 50% decline in Illinois coal as a sign of a limited supply without apparently doing much checking into it.


I think you are right. Coal production in the US had a false peak. It began dropping in the US in the late 90's bc/ of regulations favoring the use of NG and discouraging coal enacted in the 80's. The vast majority of electricity plants built in the last couple decades burn NG. The NG frenzy peaked a few years ago. In 2000, 95% of all new electric plants were NG burning. This changed demand dynamics and thus a false peak in coal.

In my backyard, Appalachian Ohio coal "peaked" a while back bc/ of strict regulations on sulfur. Now that coal has increased in value, old mines that had been boarded up for 25 years are reopening and Ohio has increased coal production by over 10% in the last 3 years. It is now economic to mine the dirty coal, and just spend more on scrubbing.


Heinberg says: "all nations with significant coal resources (excepting India and Australia) that have made the effort to update their reserves estimates have reported substantial downward resource revisions."

And then lists several countries that have had to downgrade coal reserves substantially. Note, however, none of those are the top 6 countries that possess 90% of the world's coal reserves.

Heinberg claims that US coal production peaked in 1998. This is already old data. There was indeed a peak in 1998, but US coal production surpassed the '98 peak in 2005, and then 2006 topped 2005.


I think we'll have to read the Energy Watch Group's report closely. I hope it doesn't give us a false impression of coal- at least for the US. It is proabably inevitable that we will use coal to help the transition during the backside of the PO slope but this is enormously problematic due to environmental impacts of mining and CO2 production, even if we do scrub out the sulfur and heavy metals.


Thank you the oil drum.

It is a shame it has come to this but Aramco is a secretive bunch.

Here is the cross section from the Ain Dar SPE paper- note the dimensional arrows. Below is the Ain Dar structure from Greg Croft.com. Note the Water oil contact data.

Where are these cross sections on the Northern Anticline??

According to the SPE paper, these graphs show "simulation results on water evolution at the eastern and western flank of Ain Dar".

The first paragraph of the paper states "this paper presents a study on a six-year water management strategy in North Ain Dar". I guesss we can narrow those graphs down to the east and west flanks of the northern part of Ain Dar.

If you look at Figures 3,4 and 5 in the report, the shape of the reservoir and the progress of the flood front topography strongly suggest that we are looking at the top half of the Ain Dar structure you have shown above, which I believe is also known as Fazran.

If everyone is really serious about this...

We need an advanced imaged analyst to look at the thickness of the reservoir through the various hatched vertical lines... compare that to the average thickness recorded (the top of the structure appears to be the thickest to me)... than with some estimate of thickness we can relate that to the distance above the original WOC. Which puts us into position on this structure and tells us how much reservoir remains above us.

Roughly I get about 2.3 ratio of height above oil water contact to reservoir thickness on the West Side.


This link shows the original OWC for all Ain Dar to be 6430 to 6665 feet subsea. Average net thickness of reservoir is 204 feet. Unfortunately, that is the average for the entire AD structure, not the northern part, so probably not really of much use...

I don't understand your conclusion.

I'm guessing that it basically means the reservoir is 2 parts oil and 3 parts water or 60% depleted ?
a.) Is this correct ?
b.) How does it compare to other fields ?
c.) This would be a 60% depleted based on something like OIP so the real depletion (URR) would be higher say 70% ?

Your going right over my head with half your posts I've very interested in what you have to say but I don't have the expertise to understand your comments much less the data.

If your willing to give a little bit of a tutorial if just in your comments it would be invaluable.

I am sorry but it is hard to understand sometimes what is so hard to understand about stuff you've been doing for 25 years.

The frustrating thing is like with "Twilight" you see misdirected efforts and a lot of time gets wasted and the right questions never get asked.

The SPE has been way too silent on this issue since that is where the expertise lies in forecasting future world production and reserves.

The above cross sections are "slices" across a structure. Aramco says nothing about "where" these slices are on this structure. I provided a picture of this structure.

Now it is interesting that Aramco doesn't tell you where they are- that is so guys like me cannot reverse engineer it.

Because if I knew where they were I can see the water depth on the x-section and I could figure out how much water free reservoir exists above the slice shown. Then I could planimeter that area to get the acreage. Then I could calculate the remaining reserves of that area and compare it to the 13.9 billion barrels claimed by Saleri at this point in time at the 2005 CSIS presentation.

If we accept the original water oil contact is what the greg croft website shows, we see that water oil contact on the 1940 cross section. If we have some relative vertical scale to determine the height of the reservoir above that level, we can place the cross section on the structure. The only relative vertical scale we have is the reservoir thickness, which averages 204'.

Now, let's say that the height above the oil water contact is 2.3 times the thickness at the crest, and let's say the thickness at the crest is 240' (i have a decent reason for this). Then the top of that structure on that Western xsection is 2.3*240= 550' above the original WOC. The original WOC on the West Side is -6430' subsea . So the top of that Western cross section is -5880' ss.

The last contour (the closed tight little one) is -5750' ss. The one beyond it is -6000' ss. So you can get an idea of how much relative area is left uninvaded by water from this.

On second thought maybe I don't want to know.
Ouch ...
The fact that critical information you need is missing is interesting in and of itself. Generally this happens when its not good news. Or is this common in the industry ?

We can only hope they have a lot of bypassed oil they can hit.
But with the way they did the water drive I doubt it.

So I really am puzzled how they are able to keep production rates up now ?

All I can guess is that they really used to have a lot of spare capacity thats been brought online recently. Otherwise I'd say production should have started declining overall two years ago. I don't quite understand how they have produced what they have to date much less more except that they did have close to 2mbpd of spare capacity in 2002-2004.

Agreed. A cursory reading suggests this is important stuff.

I wonder if HO would explain/ elaborate on this material in laymen terms?

I have a question too. Can you (Fractional_Flow) or anyone else offer insight on what the variable being plotted is in this picture of 'Ain Dar and Shedgum:

Click to get it bigger. This is from Figure 12 of Hussein et al. International Petroleum Technology Conference Paper #10395, November 2005.

The variable appears to go from 0 (blue) to 1500.0 (red), so it's hard to see how it can be water saturation. The paper itself doesn't say (making only a casual passing reference to this figure being a visualization of a full field model of 'Ain Dar and Shedgum).

I think the label might be "PermK MD", suggesting this is a visualization of the permeability in millidarcies. Presumably, this is permeability at the top of the reservoir and the red (and black) areas are the famous SuperK channels? Greg Croft says average K of 619 MD for 'Ain Dar, and 639 MD for Shedgum, so the greenish color would be about right for most of it. Can anyone confirm this interpretation?

After staring at the bumps for a while, here's where I think those cross sections are (roughly, no way to be exact):

It seems to me the implication is that there was only a thin (1-2 simulation layers) layer of moderately dry (w_c ~ 0.2) oil left throughout the crest of North Ain Dar as of simulated year 2004. Given that in 1990, there were still 9-11 layers under most of the crest, it seems like the flood (green) moves up a layer about every 1.5 years. If we assume that "2004" is "2004.0", this implies that there being no red left would have occurred over the mid 2005 - end 2006 timeframe.

Which would be interesting timing:

North 'Ain Dar is not big enough (about 500kbpd in 2003) for even a large change of production to explain this. If one could make the case that the same thing was happening in the same general timeframe across all of 'Ain Dar/Shedgum, however, it would get even more interesting.

Thanks stuart.

Interesting graphic.

Looks like Perm MD on the label to me as well.

Could be any layer in the model.

Euan posted this graph yesterday:

It is from Energy Files, and is supposedly based on the Saudis' own projections. If I'm reading it correctly...even the Saudis think Ghawar is at peak.

And look at how they predict they can increase production. "Other," "Yet to find," etc. Unless the yet to find includes another Ghawar, it ain't looking good.

Great graphic man. Thanks to you and Euan I missed it.

OK so Abqaiq and Ghawar together start at 5.5 MMBOPD in 2010 and end up at 1 mmBOPD in 2050.


D= -1/t ln(qi/qf)= -1/40 * ln (5.5/1)= -4.3%/year (note this is half the rate we have heard)

(exponential decline rate).

Np= (qi-qf)*365/D

Np= (5.5-1.0)*365 (1e06)/.043

Np= 38 Bbbls (cumulative prod to 2050).

Saleri said Ghawar was 48% depleted at 55 billion barrels (1/1/04) ... leaving 60 Bbbls for Ghawar alone (not including Abqaiq.

That graphic also shows Safaniya, the world's largest offshore field, in substantial decline. This is as significant as Cantarell.

Yeah. That's pretty interesting in light of the fact that in 2004, it was only 26% depleted:

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

That must be why they still think they can raise production from Safaniya....

Does any one else notice that the difference between Other Ghawar and the top of Shedgum is close to 4 MMBOPD???

I thought Haradh was 900,000 BOPD and the rest is Uthmaniyah????

I direct your attention to

SPE 98847 Water Production Management Strategy in North Uthmaniyah Area, Saudi Arabia.

Link to SPE 98847 is http://www.spe.org/elibinfo/eLibrary_Papers/spe/2006/06EURO/SPE-98847-MS... but needs to paid for.

Intersting points from the summary:

- North Uthmaniyah water cut averaged 46% over the 5 years 2001-2006

Water Management Practices to minimise water production included:
- Cyclic Production Modes (guessing this means "resting" wells
- Rigless water shut-offs (same thing was practised at Ain Dar)
- Horizontal side-tracks (same as Ain Dar)
- Partial Penetrated wells (no idea what this means)

In SPE 93439 (http://freeoil.1111mb.com/spe/spe93439.pdf) relating to northern Ain Dar, Figure 1 shows water cut for what I asume to be the entire Ain Dar field at 42%. Figure 2 shows huge water cut of 80% in the northern part of the Ain Dar field.

So we have two SPE papers (northern Ain Dar and northern Uthmaniyah) showing water cuts at an average 44%. Shedgum lies between these two areas, would it not be reasonable to assume a similar water cut level there?

On page 18 of Saleri's 2005 paper a water cut of 36% is claimed for the Ain Dar / Shedgum area - this implies a water cut of only 28% at Shedgum. Shedgum shares almost exactly the same reservoir properties as Ain Dar, and has been in production for the same amount of time, it therefore seems reasonable to assume that water cut would be at about the same level....

SPE 98847

F_F, For AD/S at 2MMBOPD, in your best judgement how long until all wells breakthrough? Does this coorelate with massive water separation projects to come online?

I think partial penetration means they did not fully penetrate the completion with the common charge. Its say half.

My understanding is that completion is done generally with and explosive charge that blows "stuff" into the end cap on the well opening it up. So partial would mean you a putting less holes than normal in the completion. So its a way to choke the well at the source. Later I assume when you know the water situation you can go back and re-complete the best producers.

I want to just add this does not sound like a longterm approach but it would be used until they collect enough data to decide which wells to fully complete. After a point you are better off using standard choking approaches.

It would be a partial explanation for fields coming online then reaching full production several months later since its not brought to full production until after they collect data using the partially completed wells. I'd guess the big thing they are looking for is water flow through fractures which is probably tough if not impossible to model.

Anyway sounds like a sensible approach.

Hi Memmel,

Partial Penetration simply means not drilling all the way through the reservoir (because the water is at the bottom). The other process you mention is "perforation", which goes through the sides, not the end. This is illustrated here...



The total reserves under this curve are interesting.

2012-2020 14 Million a day for 8 years 41 Bbbls

2020-2050 14 declined to 5 over 30 96 Bbbls

Total 2012 to 2050 137 Bblbs

Hey FF, email me at the eds box if you can...

Sorry I can't join in, cos I get out of prison tomorrow and got to pack my things.

Would just point out that 137 billion is high - but not outrageous. Especially if spun out over a longer period. (and I'm aware there is the 2007-2012 bit to add)

KSA had produced 116 billion to end of 2005.

NGL is a natural part of any petroleum system - valuable liquids - with production growing rapidly world wide.

I think this projection is over-optimistic and I believe Michael Smith does too. But I also think it provides a counterbalance to the notion that Saudi production peaked in 2005 and is "crashing".

A couple of layman observations:

It appears they have no new major fields except Khurais and are counting on NGL(from the graph) to maintain a production(capacity) plateau starting around 2010.

By this graph they have *capacity* of around 11mmbpd today, and will ramp to ~13mmbpd by 2009 an then plateau at ~14mmbpd PEAK...ramping off starting at around 2018 into permanent relentless decline.

But with there admitted depletion at around 4% - they lose around 880,000 bpd/yr (starting at stated capacity of 11mmbpd) Which means they need to bring online 1.76mmbpd (flat 880mbpd/y for simplicity) to offset declines by 2009 and an addtional 2mmbpd to increase production.

That is is 3.76mmbpd in less than 2 years, but I can't any reference that suggests they can come even close to this.

I found: (from April 2006 Petroleum review Admittedly maybe this isn't the best source, I don't know)

In 2007
Abu Hadriyak 500mbpd
Khurianiyah NGLs 300mbpd

In 2008
Shaybah onshore 300mbpd
Nuayyln super light onshore 100mbpd
Hawlyah NGLs onshore 370mbpd

In 2009:
Khurais 1.2mmbpd

This gives a total of 2.77mmbpd. I don't think I missed any(in this report), but if I did obviously it would change the outcome.

So with a modest 4% depletion of existing fields, they still come up 1 mmbpd short of their target. I included 2009 production, but not 2009 depletion, if I do that, they are almost 2mmbpd short at the end of 2009.

And I am sure I shouldn't have used 4% since they claimed that was the compensated depletion rate (which means to the layman that they are drilling like mad in the older fields to keep production too fast). But I guess if you are even more optimistic you could use say 2%, but which put new oil needs at ~2.66mmbpd at the end of 2009, which is pretty much break even.

So no matter how I cut it, with the assumption that they can really produce what is on the graph at this moment (~11mbpd), I can't see them increasing...until after 2009, but then by the graph even then are saying they enter peak/plateau before decline.

Anyways, I am no expert. But from my point of view and analysis, it looks as if based on projects and projections, they are at peak NOW and can do no better without a 4mmbpd field opening in 2010 (which maybe there is for all I know). I just know this looks ugly.

Be gentle...with this little bit of digging and calculations I can see how easy it is to possibly miss something important when the major contributors do their magic, so kudos to them for sticking with it.

I guess the input I would like is - am I far off - doesn't this appear to be what the data suggests?

You can't use LNG as a replacement for Light Sweet Crude.(You can as a revenue source, but that doesn't do the US any good.) Also, there appears to be a lot of 'Hope To Find', gobs and gobs of optimistic outlook and anticipation of something the size of Canterell hiding out there. I guess that's why they refer to this place as the "magical kingdom".

Exc Point Cid-

We need validation of this graphic--- The world needs to know the original source.

Here's what Euan said about it:

This chart from Michael Smith at Energy Files is based on Saudi prognosis of their own capacity (not a production forecast).

Energy Files is here:


I think you have to pay to access their data, but they do offer a freebie graph that looks like the one Euan posted, only without the source breakdown.

Michael Smith apparently reads TOD, so maybe he'll weigh in.

Leanan, or anyone else who might remember,

Do you remember an article/report in the last couple weeks from one of the major petroleum trackers (EIA/IEA, I think), where they show demand/supply for 2007. The KEY point I was trying to find, was it showed a shortage in 4Q2007.

I have tried searching, but I must be using the wrong terms or I key points I remember must be wrong.

If I am not hallucinating, I would appreciate a pointer. Trying to put together a summary for some local politicians.


hey peak TO.. the iea has a demand graph forward to Q4 2007:

...however their supply graph only covers until Q4 2006.

My high level pond model predicts a new price peak fall of 2007. And it predicted the recent increase that no one else did. The summer peak is of course constant from before peak oil.

Its pretty high level it simply says if we are at peak oil we will see three price peaks each year. This will last until storage cannot be filled while we pump at maximum capacity year around. Note even now we are not pumping flat out 24/7 and we won't until all buyers cannot fill their storage. You still get price peaks and valleys but what happens is the winners get to fill storage first and when they slack off and price drops a bit the losers get a chance. Sort of a round robin effect. From here you see prices go to almost a plateau till someone drops out completely and the three peaks reform again a higher base until the remaining players can no longer fill storage.

Needless to say the chances we will fill the SPR this summer is nil. I think KSA is trying to get into this stable but high price region but I can't see how the market will oblige since its in hoarding mode. We should see a lot more private tank storage constructed over the next few years once the market catches on. The real winner will be companies with foresight to build out enough storage to buy at the valleys.

The Presentations and Articles on the Energy files site are free also, and one of the presentations contains this field-by-field breakdown (although it looks like this version has been updated with more recent data).

This is really one of the best presentations I have seen on Peak Oil, in fact...
Filling the Oil Supply Gap

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Sorry, did not see all this until today. The chart for Saudi production is not based on anything Saudi Aramco has said or admits to except its growth plans for the next 5 or so years. It is based on historic output, the projects they have announced (assuming they will go ahead and roughly on time), and my general perception of the all fields (inlcuding all liquids) and future potential taking into account the geology of the region. It is just as likely to be wrong as everyone else - it is a best guess. Also I think over the next two or three years projects will slip (i.e. investment will not be at a maximum and production will be restricted) so perhaps in truth the top of the curve will be slightly lower and shifted a year or two into the future.

I was also wondering how they price NGLS?

i am begining to think that the saudi's believe they are somehow "endowed" with unlimited reserves. not unlike some of our fellow amerikuns who seem to think that we have a "right" to cheap energy. i think they call it providence.

Also consider from previous posts they seem to like to count oil behind the water front and reserves. Not that this is wrong per-se but the production rate will be much lower for this oil.

Next as far as I know universally the use of horizontal wells of all kinds has lead to steeper decline rates than fields correctly produced with verticals. I've seen posts where fields drilled with vertical wells where damaged or horizontals where needed to produce the field. But the production profiles I've seen for horizontal wells all have steeper decline rates. What they do is give a much higher peak production so even if they recover more oil its offset by being able to producer faster with steeper declines.
The overall result is to generally sharpen the curve its not clear to me you get higher URR's.

In any case the relationship is not a simple.

The counter argument that seems to be the strongest is both Russia and I think China are primarily vertical wells with high water cuts and they seem to have the most stable production with gentle decline rates. This gives you a lot more time to work on remediation to offset decline.
In fact I think the best way to produce a field is to use vertical wells until they no longer work and redevelop with advanced wells once the field is closer to being depleted.
This gives you the best placement of the horizontal wells since you can use all the knowledge gained from the verticals. In a sense this is how Ghawar seems to have been produced it does however give you in a way a false period of high production and greater declines.

Which brings you back full circle the advanced wells take a lot longer to drill it seems and your limited by above ground factors on how fast you can compensate for fairly large changes in production rate once a advanced well waters out.

This is why I think a lot of people believe its a above ground problem but in a sense the problem is already in set once you go with advanced extraction. Your running the treadmill a lot faster and the speed at which you can deploy technology is limited by complexity problems.

Finally I think the results presented in this thread are at least slightly optimistic since problems with individual advanced wells have a greater impact. And KSA is not quite right to compare there water cut with others the technology is different and the effects are different. Even a 30% water cut is bad news for advanced wells since decline will go a lot faster soon.

This does explain in a way why they cut the one production graph after thirty years at a 20% water cut. You don't want to see the second half.

Matt Simmons gave a great, succinct interview on the Bloomberg Report about Peak Oil a couple weeks ago. It has been linked to in previous posts on TOD as well.

I showed the interview to my English conversation class and typed up a transcript for it. Here is the transcript for anyone who might want it:

Anchor woman: Matthew Simmons is chairman of Simmons & Company International; and he says we’ve hit Peak Oil, globally. He joins me tonight from Houston, Texas. Good to have you on the program.

Matthew Simmons: Thank you. Nice to be here.

AW: Tell me how you draw your conclusion that at this point we’ve hit peak oil.

MS: Well, if you follow the numbers and you look at what’s going on with Mexico’s giant Cantarell field, which is now in a very serious state of decline, and then you look at the North Sea and you see just the UK and Norway, it’s pretty obvious to me that those three areas alone could actually decline by 800,000 and a million barrels a day in 2007. That pretty well wipes out almost all the production gains coming on stream, and implicit in that [is that] it assumes everyone else is flat. So, I think basically too many of our oil fields are too old. They’re now...too many are now in decline. The Middle East is basically out of capacity. There’s some projects that are being worked on, but most don’t, kind of, hit the market until 2008 [or] 2009 and we’re running out of time.

AW: Matthew, from what you’re saying there as far as what your research has found, where do you think oil prices should actually be trading?

MS: Well, I think oil prices are unbelievably inexpensive today. And the faster we get a grasp, as a system, on the fact that we’re still giving oil away, and..and, if the declines start to basically set in while demand is almost insatiable, oil prices are going way higher. And, I don’t know what that even means, other than the fact that I do know that 65 dollars a barrel is 10 cents a cup. And it was interesting, I was in China three weeks ago and basically, that’s just less than a yuan - for a cup. There’s nothing in China that sells [oil] anywhere for less than a dollar a cup other than what crude oil is sold to refineries [for].

AW: So way above 65 dollars [per barrel]?

MS: Oh, yeah. Yeah. You know, there are a lot of countries around the world that in their finished products, are charging consumers effectively close to 300 dollars a barrel. And they still use it.

AW: Could that ever happen here?

MS: Sure it could.

AW: Three hundred dollars a barrel?

MS: I don’t know when. But..but...it’s still... I think the most important thing to realize is that if demand is accelerating - and there seems to be nothing on the horizon to slow down global oil demand - and supply can’t [increase], then prices don’t, sort of, stabilize at 10 cents a cup.

AW: Alright, so, you’ve outlined a pretty grave problem here as far as supplies go. Three hundred dollars a barrel oil: How do you fix that?

MS: Well first of all I think we need to address as many supply fixes as we can to stabilize supply. I don’t think we will ever basically be able to continue to create any significant growth in supply. And we have to start addressing the intensity of how we use energy; and particularly transportation since that’s 70 percent of the oil barrel. And, you know, I, the a...It was interesting being in China speaking on the need to end globalization as we need it today. That was sort of a popular topic. Uh, we need to liberate the workforce and let people work when they want and where they want and payback productivity. So I see a number of very large changes coming, and if we make the changes right [then] we’ll get through this just fine. If we don’t, it could really be a problem.

AW: Do you think we took the right first step in what President Bush proposed in his State of the Union [speech]?

MS: Well, I think the most important thing began a year ago when President Bush made his famous, “America needs to end it’s addiction to oil” [speech]. What we’re grasping with now is some realistic targets of how to get that job done. And unfortunately, we’re... and I think President Bush, when I’ve heard him speaking several times on the media, has said, “These are very ambitious targets.” I think they’re probably almost unachievable targets. But I think that’s the only thing we know how to do right now. And I think, soon, as it becomes more and more evident that supply is stabilizing or headed down, then we’re going to have to do some more drastic things of focusing on how we use oil.

AW: Such as?

MS: Well, like I say, liberate the workforce. That’ll eliminate... Payback productivity will eliminate long distance commuting almost entirely. Uh, Start making goods at home. We ship too many things too far. And if you just go through... You have to sort of start from the ground root. [Ask,] How did we get to 85 million barrels a day of consumption, and what would we do if the supply went to 70, while we thought it was going to 100? So that’s the magnitude of the issue we’re talking about. And it’s very serious. And not a lot of attention’s been spent on it. And I’m firmly of the belief that over the course of the next year or two, this issue of peak oil will probably replace global warming as what we’re almost [always] worried about and debating and talking about.

AW: Where potentially might we find oil where we haven’t yet, if anywhere?

MS: Well, there’s the entire outer continental shelf of North America that’s basically barely been drilled, [or] explored, other than [also,] the central and western part of the Gulf of Mexico, the Bay of Campichi, Santa Barbara Channel and Cook Inlet. We might start looking there.

AW: But you’re not optimistic?

MS: Well, I think we’ve almost run out of time. We’re out of drilling rigs. The current off-shore drilling fleet of 600 rigs is on average 25 years old this year. That’s when we used to retire rigs and junk ‘em, and now the whole fleet - 80 percent of the drilling fleet is basically in the 24 - 27 year old age group. So, we’re going to have to work very hard to keep the industry at its current size. We kind of let the industry rust away.

AW: We’ve got to end it there. Matthew Simmons, I wish we had four hours because it’s been a great discussion. Thanks for joining us.

For those who haven't read his stuff, I suggest you go to the Tom Whipple link at the top of the Drumbeat.

He is obviously following the debate here at TOD and has summarized it well in the newspaper column for a much wider audience than typically hangs out here.

I have been following his writting for a couple years now and he knows his stuff and is a breath of fresh air in reporting the concerns of Peak Oil without being a doomer.

Random comment: I was suprised by the level of ferocity on the nuclear topic yesterday. Interesting... God(s) help us if we don't moderate both nuclear and coal.

Fierce, snide, arrogant - but not very enlightening.

Once the era of cheap energy is clearly upon us, I expect nuclear, coal, ethanol, wind, solar will all be built to keep the lights on. Ever-rising taxes will be collected to pay for these projects, but most people will see ever-diminishing returns. Brownouts will happen in the poorer neighborhoods first, of course.

I expect nuclear, coal, ethanol, wind, solar will all be built to keep the lights on. Ever-rising taxes will be collected to pay for these projects,

That assumes that our elite government "servants of the people" actually give a damn about the people. I believe they are about to show us that they only care about protecting themselves. And before everyone rakes me over the coals for that, remember it is an OPINION only and is based on the (geo)+politics of recent years.

That's a bit oversimplistic.

Of course our beloved govt and all the crowd which we usually call TPTB deep in their hearts do not give a s**t about you and me. But they certainly don't want you on the streets throwing stones against them too.

We have a whole system which guarantees that our piramidal scheme works - the closer you are to the top of the foodchain the bigger piece of the pie you get. It works well in times of plenty, but I'm not sure how long it will last when things get tight. There was a whole thread about the imperial structures couple of days back.

Therefore I am all for nuclear and the other technofixes that can keep our industrial civilisation going. The people that expect the crunch to bring about a Ruso-style agricultural utopia will be bitterly disappointed.

Yep, it was overly simplistic by a long shot. After all, it was 2 sentences, just like this paragraph. :-)

They will only do enough to keep us hopeful so that we don't throw rocks.

I suspect that the reality of the descent will largely depend on the steepness of the oil production decline. If KSA truly crashes as some believe it will, then all bets are off. But if we do have a plateau followed by a gentle decline, we may be able to mitigate the effects enough to live fairly decent lives. But at this point we don't know what it will look like.

Based on politics as usual for the last 40 years or whatever, I see nothing to indicate that TPTB give a damn about us peons. In fact, the evidence is there that they know the pyramid scheme is going to fail and they are preparing for how they will deal with the chaos when it does come. Of course, the big question is always "when?"

God(s) help us if we don't moderate both nuclear and coal.

It is absolutely essential that we moderate nuclear power. Indeed, one might say that its future is critcality dependent on it.

A bold statement which you are leaving without any arguments at all. Would you care to share with us why you think this is so self-evident?

I think it was meant to be funny. Educate yourself as to the meanings of the words "moderate" (verb) and "criticality" in the context of a nuclear reactor:


:) Yeah, now I saw it... fool on me as I was well aware of these concepts and did not make the connection.

Calm down, LK, I'm as pro-nuclear as you are.
Read what I wrote again and think basic nuclear physics. ;-)

Sor-ry :) I guess I lost my sense of humor somewhere in that thread about the "peak uranium" problem. It is so hard to keep it if you have to deal with people's preconceptions over and over again.

Oh, I understand your frustration, LK, believe me.

When reading some people's nuclear misconceptions all you can do sometimes is poke some gentle fun. If you didn't laugh you'd have to cry.

Yes, the decay of public scientific knowledge should prompt a reaction from all of us.  (And I just hope we haven't fissioned into two societies, one with humor and one without.)

Yes, the decay of public scientific knowledge should prompt a reaction from all of us. (And I just hope we haven't fissioned into two societies, one with humor and one without.)

I take my hat off to you, sir.

Perhaps, instead of getting my name hyphenated (the old TOD wouldn't allow hyphens), I should just rename myself Alpha Male Punster.

But the future may well be critically dependant on nuclear power moving fast instead.

Unless we get electric vehicles, nuclear will do little or nothing about the liquid-fuel crisis facing us.  Nuclear steam for ethanol distillation isn't bad, but it's a drop in the bucket.

You missed the pun chain apparently.

Exactly what do you mean by the term "moderate?"

Non-exponential growth, I suppose.

I see two visions of the distant future: In one, the growth of human activity expands until the entire earth is consumed and processed, and our civilization is a distant memory: beautiful, terrible, abandoned to decay because it could no longer feed the machines that sustained it. In the other vision, humanity lives closer, slower, with more meaning. In this vision, we are not enslaved by technology because we choose not to be enslaved by it. We choose not to live upon tinfoil towers whose foundations are known only to those who stand to profit from our enslavement.

Let's not think that by putting off opening Door #1, we are avoiding the choice.

Thanks. For you then, the meaning was to "moderate" the proponents of infinite growth. When first reading it, it appeared to mean either "moderate" the pro-nuclear crowd or "moderate" the anti-nuclear crowd and didn't seem to be about growth. It's a pretty fuzzy word.

He's making a pun about moderating neutrons in a reactor to slow them enough to be absorbed by U-235, allowing the chain reaction to become self-sustaining, or "critical."

Well now, that makes perfect sense!!!! Thank you!!!

The link 'Spilling Oil in Mexico' may just as well be deleted. Even if you don't know much, the contradictions he presents pretty much sink his case. Mexico didn't nationalize its economy any more than dozens of other quite prosperous countries did. Tortillas went up 700 percent because the government took off the subsidy that had made them next to free. How this rise is the result of socialism rather than the reverse is beyond me.

But the real howler is how the nationalized oil companies of Brasil and Norway are going to rescue Mexico's oil industry from the neglect inherent in socialism. Contrast this unsigned disaster of an article with the following one from Bloomberg and you won't bother to click on investor.com again.

It is illuminating to see the closed and ideological mind at work from time to time though.

re: tortilla prices

From the opinion article:

"They're also being hit with higher prices for tortillas — up 700% since 1994 — largely due to soaring world oil prices that have driven farmers in the U.S. to grow corn for ethanol, not Mexican tortillas"

Note the qualifier "largely".

Your statement seems to be at odds with that:
"Tortillas went up 700 percent because the government took off the subsidy that had made them next to free."

Could you explain ?

NAFTA has had far and away more of an impact on Mexico's agro-economy then oil prices or ethanol usage ever could - much to the chagrin of Lester Brown who continues to propagate the fallacious assertion that ethanol is starving Mexicans.

"Under a slowly lifting ceiling, the United States will be able to export all the corn it wants to Mexico, duty free, by 2008. Nafta's drafters told Mexico's farmers that as the ceiling lifted, the price of corn in Mexico would slowly fall toward United States and international prices over the 15-year period. But instead, prices plunged quickly, converging with the free-market price by 1997."


"Consequently, North American exporters are finding it necessary to dump increasing amounts of GE-tainted maize on captive markets such as Mexico, China, Egypt, Colombia, Malaysia, and Brazil. Nineteen percent of the U.S. corn, 14 million acres, is now genetically engineered, although GE acreage is down 30 percent from two years ago, mainly due to global resistance against Frankenfoods.

Corn dumping in Mexico has accelerated since the advent of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under the relentless pressure of globalization, Mexico has been transformed from being a major producer of corn (producing 98 percent of its needs for example in 1994) to a major importer, ranking third in the world (after Japan and Korea) in terms of imports from the U.S. and Canada.


Valiant and commendable efforts Syntec in trying to get the truth out.

Unfortunately since the factory farm and fossil fuel pushers have more money their message will be the one heard.

Thanks chemE.

I try not to point fingers though as both PO and GW provide no better tipping point for positive change.

Case in point: the TXU coal-fired power plant outcome.

Thanks for the link etc.

As the link and you point out there was more to the story than just the Mexican government removing the subsidy, such as NAFTA. The removal of Mexican subsidy was arguablly bad enough, but the competition through the NAFTA dynamic seems likely to be the real killer.

Petroseaurus's take seemed a bit misleading to me at first and does more so, after your post.

" Mexico has been transformed from being a major producer of corn (producing 98 percent of its needs for example in 1994) to a major importer"

I hate to burst people's bubbles, but Mexican corn production has increased during the NAFTA era. Population growth, more meat in the diet, etc, explains rising imports of corn from the US. Lester Brown is absolutely correct that bio-fuel production is raising food prices.

Syntec is just out and about spinning his usual rationalization for his industry's welfare dependency.

After your straw man arguments, ad hom attacks and deft dodging of my challenge to prove wrong my assertion about Pimental... you now pull the incredible and reference the USDA to be an authority?

Is this not the same USDA you ridicule as agenda driven junk-science writers when it pertains to the EROEI of corn ethanol?

Funny that.

Yes - corn production in Mexico increased since NAFTA was implemented - no one stated otherwise.

No - population growth or meat consumption is not the primary cause of massive corn imorts - NAFTA was.

Yes - corn prices are up because of US ethanol usage, however, the price of Mexican tortillas -the production of which is monopolized- has everything to do with price manipulation. In short, gouging occured, ergo Lester Brown and the anti-ethanol punditry are incorrect.

And if you think that the above has nothing to do whatsoever with the impending 2008 NAFTA tariff deadline and GM corn that until now has been banned... guess again.

"...neglect inherent in socialism...."

I don't think that neglect is inherent in socialism any more than it is in capitalism or communism.

Look at BP's recent little pipeline problems in Alaska due to neglect -- even when the little guys were yelling to upper management to do routine maintenance and repairs.

Externalizing costs is something that everyone does -- regardless of ideology.

The trick is to figure out dynamic ways in any system to keep externalizing costs from being totally irresponsible. Kind of like trying to stay in one's own lane when driving on a two lane highway -- you may wander a little bit, but you sure don't want to collide with oncoming traffic.

Everyone has ideological convictions, and these too often cause us to discount the ideas and accomplishments of those with different convictions than our own.

Our ideological blinders can cause us to miss some small important bit of information and stumble and fall.

"Closed and ideological minds" with no patience for nuance or negotiation of various kinds are now working hard to bring death and destruction right now, IMHO. Various closed minds around the world seem quite ready to kill those who differ, or who might merely get caught in the crossfire.

This does not help capitalist or socialist. It does not help with peak oil, global warming, or the many other matters to which we need to direct our attention and resources.

Just a thought.

Externalizing costs is something that everyone does -- regardless of ideology.

I like this quote:

Corporate Welfare: Privatize the Profits in Good Times and Socialize the Losses in Bad Times.
- Nouriel Roubini

Yes: Reminds me of Sen. Dodd and the sub prime problem.

Anybody know what was up with the Nymex oil price charts posted to the right side of the page these last few days?

Normally they seem pretty smooth, but the lines were shooting up and down clear off the graph the last few days. (They look calmer now that today's oil price increase expanded the range of the graphs a bit)

Greg in MO
Dig faster than a shovel, with less effort! EasyDigging.com

U.S. natural gas inventories rose this week by 17 Bcf to 1533 Bcf. This is the first increase in inventories this year. We are below last year's level at this time of 1812 Bcf, but above the five year average of 1294.

Inventories usually bottom out at the end of March and rise until November. We may have hit bottom already, though last week may have been cold enough to trigger one more decline which would show up in next week's figures. Inventories should rise fairly rapidly in the spring, then less rapidly in the summer when peak electricity demand hits. They need to get up to about 3100 Bcf by November to be at a comfortable level going into the next winter.

I think the definition of "comfortable" has risen somewhat from 3100 BCF, given the record draws seen in the cold spell in February.

Indications seem to be that 3400 to 3500 BCF is a target "comfortable" level.

Having said that, if we get a "normally cold" winter throughout the season, I suspect no currently achievable storage level could be described as comfortable....

From the Marketwatch article about 'cheap gas':

Data from the developed countries dramatically show that gasoline consumption per capita is directly related to the price the consumer pays for gas.

That chart Price vs Consumption on left near tail of article shows a more linear relation between price and use of gasoline than I'd expected. Is it because he's aggregating multiple countries? My understanding was that demand was much more inflexible - and it certainly is on a per-person basis - esp over a short term. Can someone help me out with this?

cfm in Gray, ME

Demand is only inflexible on a short time scale (1-3 years). Countries that have consistently had high gas prices (double those in America) for long periods of time tend to use fuel more efficiently. Just look at the cars in France!

Shares of german biofuel company Verbio slumped 45 percent today. The company started on the stock exchange oct 2006 and lost nearly half of its market value since then, burning almost half a billion euros.

Here is the german article from Financial Times Germany.

My german isn't that good anymore.

I found some news on them here:


Scroll past the corrupted formatting, and one reads that they are getting burned (despite mandates) by high rapeseed oil prices and low cost EtOH imports from Brazil. In their forward-looking statements, they believe that crop prices will come down.

Strong buy.


Cheaper, More Efficient Solar Cells

Much more efficient solar cells may soon be possible as a result of technology that more efficiently captures and uses light. StarSolar, a startup based in Cambridge, MA, aims to capture and use photons that ordinarily pass through solar cells without generating electricity. The company, which is licensing technology developed at MIT, claims that its designs could make it possible to cut the cost of solar cells in half while maintaining high efficiency. This would make solar power about as cheap as electricity from the electric grid.

The effort uses a type of material called a photonic crystal that makes it possible to "do things with light that have never been done before," says John Joannopoulos, a professor of physics at MIT who heads the lab where the new designs for solar applications were developed. Photonic crystals, which can be engineered to reflect and diffract all the photons in specific wavelengths of light, have long been attractive for optical communications, in which the materials can be used to direct and sort light-borne data. Now new manufacturing processes could make the photonic crystals practical for much-larger-scale applications such as photovoltaics.

StarSolar's approach addresses a long-standing challenge in photovoltaics. Silicon, the active material that is used in most solar cells today, has to do double duty. It both absorbs incoming light and converts it into electricity. Solar cells could be cheaper if they used less silicon. If the silicon is made thinner than it is now, it may still retain its ability to convert the photons it absorbs into electricity. But fewer photons will be absorbed, decreasing the efficiency of the cell.

MIT researchers developed sophisticated computer simulations to understand how thin layers of photonic crystal could be engineered to capture and recycle the photons that slip through thin layers of silicon. Silicon easily absorbs blue light, but not red and infrared light. The researchers found that by creating a specific pattern of microscopic spheres of glass within a precisely designed photonic crystal, and then applying this pattern in a thin layer at the back of a solar cell, they could redirect unabsorbed photons back into the silicon.

Today's solar cells already reflect some of the light that passes through the silicon. But the photonic crystal has distinct advantages. Conventional solar cells are backed with a sheet of aluminum. The photonic crystal reflects more light than the aluminum does, especially once the aluminum oxidizes. And the photonic crystal diffracts the light so that it reenters the silicon at a low angle. The low angle prevents the light from escaping the silicon. Instead, it bounces around inside; this increases the chances of the light being absorbed and converted into electricity.

As a result, the photonic crystal can increase the efficiency of solar cells by up to 37 percent, says Peter Bermel, CTO and a cofounder of StarSolar. This makes it possible to use many times less silicon, he says, cutting costs enough to compete with electricity from the grid in many markets. The savings would be especially large now, since a current shortage in refined silicon is keeping solar-cell prices high and slowing the growth of solar-cell production.

This is interesting, but there are a couple of confusing things here.

MIT researchers developed sophisticated computer simulations to understand how thin layers of photonic crystal could be engineered to capture and recycle the photons that slip through thin layers of silicon. Silicon easily absorbs blue light, but not red and infrared light. The researchers found that by creating a specific pattern of microscopic spheres of glass within a precisely designed photonic crystal, and then applying this pattern in a thin layer at the back of a solar cell, they could redirect unabsorbed photons back into the silicon.

There are two separate problems with silicon. The first is that Si is weakly absorbing, meaning that you need to make it thicker to absorb the most possible light. This adds cost, weight, and inefficiency because some hole/electron pairs recombine before they can be harvested as electricity. Redirecting the transmitted photons back for more fun will certainly be good.

But the article also mentions red and IR light. Si is a bandgap semiconductor, and the bandgap is such that red and IR photons don't have enough energy to create the e/hole pairs. Reflecting them back through is not going to change that--at least not to the extent that it will for lower wavelengths. There are some quantum dot approaches to address this.

As a result, the photonic crystal can increase the efficiency of solar cells by up to 37 percent, says Peter Bermel, CTO and a cofounder of StarSolar. This makes it possible to use many times less silicon

What does "by up to 37%" mean? From where? If you start at 10% you can get it up to 13.7%? Or do they mean "as high as 37%"?
And what does "many times less silicon" mean?

I found this reassuring line on their web site:

Proven to work in simulations, supported by experiments.

I have a 'filter' that replaces the phrase "startup company Foo ... has a new product that will change the world" with "sometime in the next decade, this tiny company has a <<1% chance of producing a marketable product, which in turn has a <<1% chance of being competitive with the then-prevailing technology. They would like buckets of cash now, please..."

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Who is this Hindmost character? Anyways....devil take him.

But, more seriously, I agree with you. HOWEVER.. some say American became great by not leashing in the hustlers, hucksters and hawkers too much.

I didn't lose a dime on tech stocks, but I'm pretty sure I've benefitted substantially in the long run from those who did.

I have a question for the many experts at TOD. My gas mileage for my auto has decreased about 7 to 10% over the last 18 months, I have talked to others saying the same. My vehicle is well tuned and I check the mileage every tank with the trip odometer and I fill at any number of different (brands) filling stations. I live in Minneapolis so 10% ethanol has been used for many years, and the reduction is not just seasonal, ruling out winter/summer blends. What may have changed in the formulation of gasoline over the last 18 months to account for my gas mileage reduction. I know this is a small sample size but could a less energy intensive gasoline be one of the reasons for increased gasoline consumption at the national level?

I assume you checked your tire pressure to make sure it is at the optimal level? That can actually make a big difference.

You're right! I've been asking people for roughly eights months about their mileage. I notice mine goes up in the winter and down in the summer. I try and drive consistently, but that ain't working. I have kept a running total in my head and I peaked driving a civic at 33mpg. I can't get anymore. I have 127 hp, so I'm smashing it quite a bit to keep up with traffic at times. I'm happy though since my 33mpg has dropped to around 31ish and seems to be settled in that range. What kills me though is that I had a five speed 01 tiburon before this one, and I had some freakin power in that little four banger AND made 32/33 consistently. I wanted a auto b/c I wanted a break from the clutch. I think I'll be going back to the manual, much more fun too!

I've got a weird instance that happened here in STL. Tues AM gas shot up from $2.33 to $2.48. I was filling up when I noticed the change. I started calling buddies and letting em know. Wed AM, there is this ONE station that always undercuts the crap out of the other two (3 within walking distance). Now he still had $2.33 gas wed AM, and by WED PM, everyone around STL(EVERY GAS STATION I SAW) had dropped back to $2.33. It is now $2.33. WHY did it pop $.15 for a few hours and promptly return?

I don't know why it does that but it seems to happen every other tuesday in the STL area. Someone told me it has to
do with scheduled fuel deliveries but I am not so sure.

They only get gas twice a month? I could see this if they are dwindling on supplies to curtail buying and send people to your neighboor, but to get that low all the time seems unreasonable.

My brother in law worked at a discount gas station for a while. He was allowed to set gas prices wherever he wanted so long as it was at least 1 cent less than the BP down the street. This store also had a mini-grocery store and sold hand dipped ice cream so they just wanted to get people in the door. My brother in law always set it at 1 cent less than BP bc/ if he set it lower than that more people would come in and he had to work harder!

I peaked driving a civic at 33mpg. I can't get anymore. I have 127 hp, so I'm smashing it quite a bit to keep up with traffic at times. I'm happy though since my 33mpg has dropped to around 31ish and seems to be settled in that range. What kills me though is that I had a five speed 01 tiburon before this one, and I had some freakin power in that little four banger AND made 32/33 consistently. I wanted a auto b/c I wanted a break from the clutch. I think I'll be going back to the manual, much more fun too!

A manual transmission car will lead to terrible road rage if driven mostly in city conditions. The Civic has gotten incredibly porky (and thus slower, and less fuel efficient) and is bigger than the Accord of yore, which is why it's niche has been replaced by the Fit. If you desire a new(er) car consider getting an Echo. Even the first model year, 2000, is acceptable because it existed across the pond (and therefore worked out the first year bugs) before making it to the US. Great gas mileage, light and zippy, but plenty of room. I drive a 1988 CRX Si with all of 105 horsepower, but it's very light and goes like hell, gives me solid 37mpg mixed use, and in the summer on the highway I've seen as high as 43mpg.

Your engine is getting more air in terms of the weight of the air when breathing cold air. This should make for more horsepower in the same way that lower elevations do. This effect was very dramatic for carbureted engines. Whether chilled air results in a more efficient engine operation is something I will leave to the experts.

I live in a part of California that has California RFG II gasoline. If I happen to fill up in the centeral valley I can sometimes get Federal RFG gasoline, which gives me noticeably more power and fuel economy.

Assuming that this is a winter/summer issue and not a problem at roughly the same air temperature, during the winter you are literally pushing your car through denser air and overcoming greater drag.  The density of air at 30°F is roughly 10% greater than at 80°F.

re from Leanan’s round up, "Denmark leads the way.." link

Denmark: it is a case of the haves - have, as in import, huge amounts of oil and coal, with overall a per capita usage way above the average EU, staggering really, in view of the small size of the country and the fact that it is not THAT cold in winter or hot in summer - having extra goobies, thingies, luxuries, frills, like ‘green’ energy.

(Not that I am knocking wind per se.)

Denmark can afford to spend tax payer money (in the form of subsidies) to pour more into getting yet more...and looking like a poster kid, attracting eco-tourism.

This is not an example of ‘european savvy’.

The island of Samso should be studied in detail, beyond the media hype.

mainstream :


Vanguard news

The ferries that brings in *all* (?) their food, clothes, household machines, play stations, fridges, stoves, heaters; books, medicines, cleaning stuff, plastic doo dahs, lots of cloth, furniture; and all the necessary materials (eg. turbines, asphalt, cement, building materials, wood logs; seeds, bicycles, tools; industrial machinery run on oil..) for them to survive in confy, proper modern fashion represent ... what?

Cargo? Gift from the sky?

And that is without going into imported human / material resources such as schooling, medical care, insurance, etc.

I know little about this experiment, I quote it because it seems exemplary for the kind of nonsense that poorer OECD countries like to slaver over...

That Vanguard News site is a racist neo-nazi rant blog.

Let's credit this one as a mistake. Not Noisette's style.
Yah, Vanguard is nazi.

It seems that the Danes have lost some momentum in wind power.

Here in the Pacific NW, a group including utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration released a plan for continued growth in wind power development in these parts.
Those with more time on their hands can read the 70+ page PDF document itself:

Northwest Wind Integration Plan

It covers the various issues including intermittancy, transmission, and storage possibilities.

As a Pacific NW resident this is pretty interesting; Wind should be competitive in the pacific northwest if it is anywhere (and wind resources are ample enough) with the Columbia river hydroelectric system for large dispatchable loads.

A least we won't have to worry about electricity running out.
I'm surprised I didn't see this earlier.


For those of you who have followed/supported/derided my writings on Peak Decline mitigation... the following was published last week by PNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


I highlighted an article on said paper in a recent post, however, did not have a chance to read through the research team's findings until today.

Within in it, one finds the stunning assertion:

"This also presents an intriguing possibility of the United States becoming a net exporter of oil."

Looking forward to the responses = ]


Well, I'm stunned.

The basic idea here is that if we take two challenging problems:

  1. sustainably creating enough biomass and efficiently converting it into liquid fuel
  2. efficiently producing and transporting hydrogen for fuel use

and combine them into one approach, then things get easier--a sort of 1+1=3 argument. I will concur that the H2 transportation problem goes away.

There are many facets of this, such as are their "reduced" land area requirements realistic and sufficient, are the predicted biomass yields representative, etc. One thought that kept coming back to me, though, was the authors' point that solar/H2 was an order of magnitude more efficient at capturing the sun's energy on an area basis. OK, but then why involve the biomass at all? Why not just make more H2 and catalytically combine with CO2, as proposed by George Olah and others? It would certainly have even less an impact on the ecosystem.

I don't see how this idea is a breakthrough, except maybe politically in that everybody gets to play: farmers, H2 proponents, nuclear advocates, wind, solar. And even if we did get to the production levels they are talking about, the US would use every bit and none would be exported. That I am sure of.

Rube Goldberg would be proud...This is a nice "pie-in-the-sky" type of article, that strives mightily to fit the biofuel camel through the eye of the pollution-free tranportation fuel supply needle...

For example:

The generation of massive amounts of H2 as an input from clean sources (solar, nuclear) is left as an exercise for the reader. They seem to assume that it is more efficient to use sunlight to split water to produce hydrogen to feed into a gassifcation plant to generate hydrocarbon fuel, than it would be to simply generate electricity from the sunlight, and run the car from batteries.

Would it be smarter to invest in cheaper batteries, to faciliate electrified personal transportation, or to invest in this pathway? My KISS detectors are flashing warnings...

They then go on to wave their hand, and convert the entire US light-duty vehicle fleet into PHEV's, vastly reducing the amount of fuel needed... but wait - doesn't that solve the oil supply problem by itself, assuming that oil supply declines at a moderate rate ? And since we need much better batteries to make PHEV's a reality, doesn't that mean we could produce full BHEV's for a significant fraction of the fleet, and run those off of the clean electricity that they propose using to generate the H2. ?

Dunno. This doesn't pass my sniff test, though it is indeed an elegant way to convert coal + nuclear + solar + biomass into tranportation fuel without emitting CO2, I guess...

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Count the number of times that they say the equivalent of "Significant research would be necessary to...." So far, I've found:

1) figure out how to efficiently generate massive amounts of H2
2) Develop the spiffy zero-carbon self-heating gassifiers
3) Develop PHEV's across the entire spectrum of the Light Duty Vehicle fleet...

There is an old software engineering joke from DARPA that goes "if we could develop a Power Point compiler, we could save the world...". I think these guys should start down that road - it would be quicker...

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

I'm working on a piece about that very thing, but it looks like the problems are so obvious that it would be preaching to the choir.

On the other hand, the casual readership which comes here via Digg and Reddit can probably use the illumination.  As I've said before, the sooner we get rid of the non-options (which means discrediting the propagandists - if not taking legal action against them), the better.

Edit: BHEV should be BEV - Battery-powered Electric Vehicle

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Thanks for the taking the time to read through the paper.

Our lab may be in a position to do some collaborative work with this process - I will keep you posted.

Did anyone look at http://auto.xprize.org/ ?

The first page statement is just the standard "our way of life is non-negotiable" stance:

People love their cars. They are vital links to our jobs, our community, ourselves. For everything we love about them, cars are chained to the most severe global crises of our time: oil dependence and climate change.

We aim to break this deadlock through the most radical approach to innovation yet - the X PRIZE.

Yes, they will "break the deadlock" by promoting the same lifestyle, just consuming less per unit of travel.



(And by that time efficiency gains in the car fleet will likely be swamped by increasing demand from China and India anyway.)

Look at the blog. They include the Toyota FT-HS as one of the examples of "steps in the right direction". The Toyota FT-HS has a 400 horsepower powertrain.

Ah, but it's a hybrid, so that's ok then.


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

So, a paltry $25million is supposed to incent someone to invest the hundreds of millions necessary to develop such a car ?

I wonder if Phoenix motorcars, or Tesla can win the prize :-)

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Too bad to be true?

The April Discover has an article called "Blinded by Science." It interviews a psychologist named Robert Klitzman about Mad Cow disease. He went to the UK in 1990, and was astonished when his British colleagues ordered beef for lunch. Weren't they afraid of Mad Cow? Nah, they said. The government said beef was safe, and besides, they were British. Eating beef was part of their culture. Yanks just wouldn't understand.

Klitzman had spent a year among the Fore of New Guinea, and that reaction reminded him of them. They tried to tell the Fore that eating the bodies of their relatives was causing kuru, and they should stop doing it. They refused. Kuru was caused by evil spirits, not by cannibalism. Besides, they were Fore. Eating their relatives was part of their culture. Outsiders just wouldn't understand.

Klitzman believes that in both cases, the truth was "too bad to be true." Science just doesn't stand a chance of convincing people in that situation.

The Fore were eventually saved, not by science, but by religion. Christian missionaries convinced them that cannibalism was wrong for spiritual reasons, not microbiological ones, and the kuru epidemic ended.

Sometimes I think we're going about this peak oil education thing in entirely the wrong way...

But but but... I'm still waiting for the punchline:

How many of Klitzman's Brit colleagues came down with Mad Cow?

How many of Klitzman's Brit colleagues came down with Mad Cow?

Unknown. The incubation period may be as long as 50 years.

That's the scary thing about Mad Cow disease. It was recognized because young people started getting it, and usually prion diseases afflict only the middle aged or old.

But now it's looking like the young people who got Mad Cow were unusually susceptible, genetically. Those who didn't get sick were originally thought to be immune, but now it appears that they just take longer to show symptoms. People continue to be diagnosed every year.

The article seems to think it's a possibility that the entire population of Britain may die off due to Mad Cow.

The article seems to think it's a possibility that the entire population of Britain may die off due to Mad Cow.

Too optimistic. Only in a very benign business as usual scenario would large numbers of Brits live long enough to have mad cow as their primary cause of death. IIRC, Jay Hanson has stated that most people born after 1960 will die prematurely due to problems brought on by the decline of energy production.

Klitzman made the same mistake made by the political activists seeking to limit future CO2 emissions with regulations. In reality, the CO2 emission declines driven by geology will exceed the wildest hopes of the activists. The problem they have identified will be solved by another greater problem not yet fully recognized.

I somehow wish I hadn't read this thread.

When BSE was a big issue in the UK, there was a guy who spoke out against the accepted science, and went out to prove his point, in the process going from being a simple farmer to having articles published in scientific journals.

Mark Purdey refused to inject his cows with the Nazi-developed nerve-toxin phosmet, and was taken to court for that. The UK made it obligatory to inject cows' spines with the stuff to fight warble fly. Mark realized it might kill much more.

We had a correspondence way back, but it kind of died out when the BSE scare completely went away, mid 90's. He traveled the world to prove that it was the highly elevated level of manganese in phosmet that caused prion folding. Colorado has high manganese levels in its soil, hence the wasting disease among wild deer, according to Mark.

It's all available at markpurdey.com.

And I am sad because I just went to his site and read that he died a few months ago. A smart man, and terribly brave, he took on the Royal Academy and all else in Britain. To this day, there is no definite proof for the cause of transmissible SE's. Eating beef had nothing to do with it, though, as per this beautiful man. RIP, Mark.

Is that what he really thought? I thought his argument was that chemicals caused the cows to get BSE, not that eating beef from BSE-infected cows was safe. Did he really think eating, say, cow brains from cows with BSE was okay?

In any case, it doesn't really affect the psychological situation, which was the point of the article.

I vacationed in the UK for a couple of weeks in the early '90s. I knew about Mad Cow, and even thought about it. I did eat less beef than I might have otherwise. But I didn't avoid it altogether. Why not? Given the possible consequences - I can't imagine a more horrible death - why eat any beef at all? Why take the risk? It's not like it would have been a hardship. And yet...

Great insight! Now if we can only find some scriptures that clearly prohibit inefficient transportation solutions... :-)

The First Church of Doomerism, Peak Oil Chapter.
Affiliated with the GW chapter of the FCoD, the Fist-of-God Meteor Communion, and the Thermonuclear Amageddon Assembly.
Unfortunately, we are no longer in communion with the Gaian Church of cornucopia, in response to their Smooth Adaptation heresy.

Do you feel deep down inside that there is something _wrong_ with the world today? Are you longing for a simpler, more connected life, where things actually stay the same for more than 5 minutes at a time? We preach the gospel of Limits, Devolution, and Decay, driven by fossil fuel depletion. We share our obsession with doom and gloom daily - come join us! (Prozac is mandatory unless you have a note from a psychiatrist). We are very inclusive, and have a variety of small-group meetings for Peak Nuclear, Peak Coal, Predicting Peak, and more. Weekend Survivalist workshops are very popular, and a great way to meet Mr or Mrs Right!


Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Well, there is actually a lot in the Bible that encourages simple living. It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to get to heaven, and that sort of thing. From a world-wide point of view, anyone who owns a car is wealthy.

Sometimes I think we're going about this peak oil education thing in entirely the wrong way...

The keyword here seems to me "culture". I have been toying with the idea for more then a year now and we (If there is such a thing as "we") should recreated, or reinstate, or reinvent a traditional culture which facilitates behaviour without being sensible to the imediate reflexes.

I am not sure that I am able to explain clearly what I mean but it strikes me that during the Middle Ages peoples embarked on building cathedrals that they themselves would never see. Such an undertaking would be impossible in our day and age since people want to see result, and they want it fast, but back then people did it out of faith. Now I am an atheist but I do see the evolutionary value of this.

There was some discusstion of that, in Mike Hearn's Interesting Economics article. A different kind of money might encourage that kind of spending.