DrumBeat: March 28, 2007

Big U.S. oil supply to offset Mideast Gulf disruption

The United States could use its large Strategic Petroleum Reserve to counter a short-term disruption in Middle East Gulf oil shipments caused by tensions with Iran, the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.

"We have substantial emergency supplies" of oil to offset problems in Gulf shipping," EIA's Guy Caruso told reporters.

..."There is no need to panic" among oil traders over possible Gulf oil shipping disruptions, Caruso said.

Great risk in our oil delusion

Isn’t it interesting how some assumptions about the way society works and what keeps it ticking find their way into the collective consciousness and are not challenged or interrogated? Take for example the way we consume energy. Globally, there seems to be a deep-seated, and wholly incorrect, belief that our current patterns of consumption can continue indefinitely because there is an infinite supply of oil. Over the past century and a half we have allowed oil to become vital to almost everything we do. The global consumption of oil is about 85-million barrels a day, or 31-billion barrels a year. There is an almost universal belief that this can go on forever.

The interesting bit is how self-delusionary it is. What I find extraordinary is that our most risk-averse and financially conservative institutions, our banks, do not even mention oil depletion as a risk in any risk category at all. So overriding is the belief that oil is infinite that even the most simple logic is overlooked.

The Strait of Hormuz, Iran and the risk to oil

Oil prices hit a 2007 high this week on tensions over Iran's nuclear plans and its capture of 15 British servicemen.

Analysts fear Iran could seek to impede trade through the Strait of Hormuz if it were threatened or attacked.

Faustus and the monkey trap

One of the factors that make the crisis of industrial society so difficult to deal with is the way that crisis unfolds out of the most basic assumptions we use to make sense of the world.

Argentina ends Falklands oil deal

Argentina has scrapped a deal with the UK to share any oil found off the Falkland Islands - days ahead of the anniversary of the war for the islands.

From what was once Yukos, Russia builds state-owned oil giant

President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin has turned Rosneft, the once-forlorn state oil company, into an energy giant almost entirely by giving Yukos's assets a fresh coat of paint.

Chinese Biofuels Expansion Threatens Ecological Balance

The recent agreement between China's top forestry authority and one of the nation's biggest energy giants to develop biofuels plantations in the southwest reflects rising Chinese attention to non-fossil energy sources. But the excitement may come at great environmental loss to the region's forests and biological diversity, suggesting significant trade offs associated with the renewable fuels.

Nuclear energy renaissance ignites uranium boom

Uranium prices are closing in on $100 a pound -- a 10-fold increase in five years -- and prices could climb sharply higher yet as more governments embrace atomic energy despite dwindling supplies of yellow cake to power the reactors.

Australia, the Saudi Arabia of uranium

A ban on the opening of new uranium mines in Australia is likely to crumble within months, raising the stakes in Asia's battle to contain nuclear proliferation - and stop regional superpowers manipulating energy supplies.

Nuclear power: the alternatives

Mention the word nuclear to an environmentalist and you'll either hear an eerie silence or see an expression of horror rapidly spread across their face. And, so it seems, partly for good reason. The question the large majority of ecologists and environmental consultants constantly ask when having spent time in the region is why nuclear when so many natural alternatives exist?

Appraising Climate And Environmental Risks By Address

Climate Appraisal Services, LLC, an innovative partnership between scientists at The University of Arizona and the company's founder, will offer low-cost assessments of climate and environmental risks for any address in the continental United States.

Where To Turn When Cheap Oil Runs Out

Last week we explored global peak oil. We concluded that oil prices are going to skyrocket in just a few short years. This week I'd like to examine the state of peak oil in the United States. And, more importantly, figure out just how we're going to avoid the crash.

The death of cheap oil is going to become as widely known this year as global warming. In fact, people will be more concerned about our energy crisis than the weather.

I know last week I told you to forget about depletion, but now it is time to consider its consequences.

Calderón pledges energy reform

President Felipe Calderón says he will build political consensus to overhaul the energy industry, a move many see as crucial to promoting development and boosting economic growth in this oil- rich but poverty-plagued nation of 107 million.

Ideology intrudes on oil production

Chavez's cash cow, Venezuela's state oil company, can't keep paying the price forever. The long-term capacity of the U.S.'s No. 4 oil supplier to keep pumping crude is under threat because it is spending more on Chavez's ideological agenda than on badly needed investments, industry analysts say.

The scramble for control of “black gold”

The great Iraq oil robbery isn’t a done deal. Even if the law is finalized by May as expected, the major oil companies say they won’t have anything to do with production in Iraq until “security” is established--and that would mean a success for the occupiers and their Iraqi puppets that the U.S. hasn’t been able to achieve over the past four years since the invasion.

Still, the law underlines the importance of the scramble for oil to the U.S. empire--no matter how much George Bush and his administration deny it with claims about spreading “democracy” and making the world safe from terrorism.

Zowie - Kunstler

Beautiful as much of it may be, it is hard not to view it through a tragic lens. Most of the damage on Maui has been inflicted over the past 30-odd years — that is, since the Pepsi Generation got their mitts on the island. Certainly, there were massive prior insults, starting with the first landings of the Haole (foreigners, in particular Caucasians) in the late 18th century, the introduction of cattle, eucalyptus trees, the mongoose, the monoculture of sugar cane, and other intrusions that upset the island's ecology. But the boomer-hippies really iced it.

Sri Lankan airlines raises ticket prices by making fuel surcharge permanent

Falling global prices of crude are slow to trickle down to jet fuel due to high global demand and shortage of capacities.

Dark side of the boom

Teaching in the midst of the oil patch can be a blessing and a curse.

Good golly, Ms Moly: Molybdenum is up 1000% in the past five years

Sprott himself subscribes to the "peak oil" school of thought, which holds that global crude oil production is peaking, meaning more drilling for every new unit discovered. Sprott tells investors that a 5,000 foot oil well requires 50 tons of molybdenum-hardened steel to drill; a 15,000 foot well requires a magnificent 1,100 tons. Nearly 80% of all wells drilled today are deeper than 8,000 feet.

Crude Impact

That road trip you were planning for 2057 might look a tad less likely after viewing "Crude Impact," which sees disaster looming all too soon in the growing global demand for a shrinking oil supply -- especially in the U.S., where consumption and native supply levels are most out of whack. James Jandak Wood's docu is playing scattered theatrical dates, but will probably prove most effective as a spur for education and activism on DVD.

Surveying Student Activism for Sustainability and Social Change

Everybody knows that hope for the future starts with youth. There's a ton of activity on campuses from elementary through higher-ed related to sustainability, environmental responsibility and social justice. Here are a few highlights from current student projects and campaigns...

Matt Simmons joins Mitt Romney's presidential campaign

Endgame for Illegal Immigrants

If we can’t employ people on a slaughterhouse killing floor at a sub standard rate of pay, then Wendy's value menu is history. Forget peak oil, the end of cheap beef will cripple this country.

Ten Things Wrong With Sprawl

In just the next 34 years, the Census Bureau tells us, we 300 million Americans will be joined by another 92 million.(1) Where will all these people—mostly us and our direct descendants—live, work, play, worship, buy, sell, and serve? Where will 40 million additional households be located? What sort of built environment will we produce, and what will be the results for the nation’s and the environment’s well-being?

Making tourism sustainable

A comprehensive strategy update for the New Zealand tourism industry has climate change and peak oil firmly in its sights, Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

Crude Awakening: Long-term, Prices Should Continue To Rise

Personally I cringe every time I hear geopolitical events being used as an excuse for price increases, be it oil or gold or anything else. What’s usually left unsaid is that the prices invariably fall as such events subside. Except that quite often the prices don’t fall as much as they rise… While Iran may have contributed a couple of dollars to the oil price, there are greater forces at work. I’ll show a couple quick charts and links and leave you to make your own conclusions.

The first is Saudi oil output in the past five years. The data from four different sources were averaged to produce the black line. Over 2006, Saudi production declined from 9.4 MM bpd to just above 8.5 MM bpd. The full article can be found at the OilDrum.

Peak oil scenario paints frightening future for all

World oil production reached a peak in 2005 at 85 million barrels per day. We've been easing down the bell-shaped oil-supply curve, losing production slowly and gradually. Next year we will fall off the oil-supply cliff, with an average daily production of less than 78 million barrels.

China's new oil find may be biggest in decade

PetroChina Ltd, which found the field in Bohai Bay off China's east coast, estimated its reserves at 2.2 billion barrels, Xinhua said.

"The newly found oilfield is the largest China has discovered over the past ten years," according to unidentified company sources.

Richard Heinberg's Museletter #180: Iran: We Will Know Soon…

Perhaps the most ominous bits of recent news concern Russia: for the past few weeks that nation has been delaying delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran, and is now withdrawing all 2000 of its technicians at the Bushehr nuclear plant. This is predicated on the excuse that Iran is in arrears on payments for Russian fuel and services, despite the fact that 90 percent of the bills have been paid. Speculation is swirling that Russia, anticipating a near-term US or Israeli air bombardment, is moving its trained personnel out of harm’s way, and minimizing nuclear material on site so as to reduce the release of deadly radiation from the attacks.

Is Al Qaeda Targeting Offshore Oil Platforms on East Coast?

This week Al Qaeda issued a threat over the internet, saying "cutting oil supplies to the United States ... would contribute to the ending of the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan." The group also called for attacks on petroleum facilities in Canada, Mexico and Venezuela.

Peak oil -- the German techno-thriller

Energy Bulletin alerts us today to a 750-page German novel on peak oil, "Burned Out," reported to be a techno-thriller à la Michael Crichton, by the German science fiction writer Andreas Eschbach.

Researcher: Original Oil Crisis Caused by Chaos

A political historian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that the energy crisis of the 1970s in the West was the product of a "perfect storm" of unfortunate events, not a grand conspiracy, according to a report from the MIT News Office. Meg Jacobs, an associate professor in the university's history department, told an audience at a campus symposium on 19 March that a combination of political, global, and social incidents coalesced to produce a chaotic chain reaction, not the least of which was an enormous mismatch between the public's perception of the situation and the harsh realities of the marketplace. This lesson must be heeded, she said, to avoid a needless replay of such a calamity occurring.

Oil prices rise after hitting 69 dollars in London on Iran rumour

World oil prices soared on Wednesday after spiking to 69 dollars per barrel in London late on Tuesday following an unsubstantiated rumour that Iran had attacked an American ship, traders said.

Economist: Biofuels may cause a rise in food prices

Increased production of biofuels such as ethanol may help farmers' bottom lines and address climate-change concerns, but eventually could lead to a sharp rise in food prices worldwide, a senior economist for former President Bill Clinton said Monday.

Senators look to boost biofuel use five-fold

Top lawmakers on the U.S. Senate Energy Committee on Tuesday unveiled legislation to boost U.S. biofuels use more than five-fold by 2022, about five years later than the target set by the Bush administration.

Venezuela PdVSA Says Orinoco Takeover Won't Hurt Output

Venezuela does not anticipate any production problems at four heavy oil projects when the state firm takes over operations on May 1, said a director at Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.

Industry watchers and union officials have warned that the ongoing oil nationalization could leave the country long on equity control but short on talent, especially given contentious salary issues. Day-to-day operations will be at risk of accidents and declining output, they add.

Cabrillo Port LNG Deepwater Port - a "worst case scenario" map. [PDF]

Portable Data Centers May Save Energy, Money

A traditional data center has huge racks of servers, housed in a huge room, in a huge building with a huge energy bill.

"Compared to the traditional model, this is a fraction of the initial cost, and probably 60 to 70 percent more efficient to power and cool than the traditional data center," Barton said.

Australian PM sceptical of climate guru's warnings

Prime Minister John Howard warned Wednesday that British climate change guru Nicolas Stern's environmental solutions would damage Australia's economy.

Study: One in 10 at risk from rising seas, storms

One in 10 people in the world, mostly in Asia, live in coastal areas at risk from rising seas and more powerful storms that may be caused by global warming, an international study showed on Wednesday.

The researchers urged governments to make billion-dollar policy shifts to encourage more settlements inland rather than in coastal regions from China to Florida that may suffer ever more storm surges and erosion.

AccuWeather: Strong hurricanes to hit U.S. Gulf in 07

The U.S. Gulf Coast, which is still rebuilding almost two years after Hurricane Katrina, faces a renewed threat of powerful storms this year, private forecaster AccuWeather said on Tuesday.

After a quiet hurricane season last year, Florida and other Gulf Coast states likely will be hit with fewer storms than during the active 2005 season, which spawned the massive hurricanes Katrina and Rita, AccuWeather said.

But the storms forecast for the region will pack a punch.

Is Green the Auto Industry’s New Black?

Although the high-mpg low-carbon Prius has not exactly set the sales charts on fire, the distinctively shaped vehicle success vis-à-vis its standard bodied hybrid competition (e.g. the hybrid Accord) has taught the automotive industry an important lesson: it’s not enough to do good for the planet. You have to be seen to be doing good.


And from the comments:

As I said a while back in another editorial The Prius sells not just because it’s a hybrid but because it makes a personal statement. Its the same reason people buy a Pontiac Solstice and a Hummer H2, it allows them to project a little about who they are to everyone else around them. No one buys a Prius to save money (maybe if you are in daily stop-n-go traffic). If you want to save money get a Civic, Corolla, Fit, Versa, and until recently a TDI Jetta. The Prius is an Eco statement, that’s it’s purpose and it succeeds at it.

Spirited comments - everything from an unrepentant Lincoln Town Car owner channeling Ben Stein to guys who think climate change will open new land for development.

This is the western Uthmaniyah 2004 Cross Section from Stuarts water in the Gas Tank post.. it comes from the Uthmaniyah SPE paper.

I questioned the 95% water saturation it exhibits.... this seems impossible.

I posted yesterday about the vertical rise in the water level in the Ain Dar structure.

Now look at how the water fills this cross section to nearly the crest without spilling over into the flat area...

There is a 200' wall of water above the oil in this permeable a reservoir- give me a break. We are talking about 30 years or more of water injection here. Stuff moving 4 (or less) FEET PER DAY.

Conclusion- I believe this is a fabrication ... so we will think there is dry oil left in Uthmaniyah when there is not.



Thanks for all your posts, BTW. Fascinating stuff.

I agree, FF's posts have added a new level of expertise to TOD.

But as someone asked the other day, you seem to think things are even worse than we can conclude here...how bad?

Remind me of that conclusion.

I believe he is referring to Stuart's excellent "Water in the Tank."

"I agree, FF's posts have added a new level of expertise to TOD."

And a new level of fear. If Saudi production is collapsing NOW, well it just sucks. I can't think of a nicer way to express it. I'm not ready and I like my computer room, my internet, my video games. I like being able to go the grocery store and buy what want at a moments notice. In a short time all this will be gone. 5 more years would have been nice. Now, instead of buying that new top of the line computer, I'll be buying a crossbow, a bicycle, and a fishing pole. I'll be out in the yard hoeing. Actually, I was looking at a nice rifle with a scope the other day. I no doubt will need to buy something smaller for home defense as well. Now I'll have to spend all my time hunting and fishing and farming(below ground stuff so it will be less likely to be stolen). Many people might think this sounds pretty nice, but I wanted to spend the last part of my life sitting in front of my computer playing games and being a potato not growing them.

I was hoping that growing potatoes instead of just eating them would keep me from looking like a potato. Hasn't worked so far.

lol could be alot worse....like a pineapple...who would ever want to jump in the sack with that?

Ouch....pretty prick-ly, eh....

Boy I agree, I like my life just as it is. I can do fine living a simpler life but the fear of what others might/will do keeps me awake at night. Being in the nations #1 best place to survive means too many people will be forced to move here and we will fight like cats in a sack.
First WT, then Khebab, and now this guy FF. Don't get me wrong I really really value the time and effort that all of the people contribute. But damn it! This is very frightening.
I feel like I'm that lady in the terminator movie who see's the future...and it isn't pretty and everyone thinks you are nuts. I keep telling myself to have strength in my convictions.

"I like my computer room, my internet, my video games. I"

I've posted it a few times here. Read the lyrics of the Talking Heads song "Nothing But Flowers"


This was a Pizza Hut
Now it's all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it


We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
you got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it's turned into a cornfield
you got it, you got it

Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle


I agree.It sucks to LIVE in a bad scifi move...but just think of all the oppertunities to be a hero,or at least die
heroicly trying to protect your pathetic garden from spikey-haired,mutant starved hoards....sorry,I am in a bad mood tonight.{sometimes this site is a bit depressing.educational,but depressing...}

On your prompting I had come to the conclusion that the high level of water saturation was inconsistent with what we know from Croft about the general nature of Uthmaniyah.

I thought this might be a x-section of a particular part of highly impermeable low-porosity rock, but that seems impossible given the level of water saturation depicted for the lower levels.

Next I wndered how a super-K zone (as described by Simmons) might look. This could be the answer but surely then there would be a greater co-mingling of oil and water rather than the relatively black and white (or indeed pink and blue) picture we see above.

Question is why would the SPE fabricate such a picture or alternatively allow the publication of such an article. Is there no peer review? Who was the author?

I agree it seems strange. It would be interesting to perform some simulations that show water/oil flow using wells placed in different locations. Would it be possible to have this profile if water injection occurred in the lower left and collection occurred in the abrupt peak of the reservoir (center of cross section diagram)? I know there would be multiple injection/collection points, but I'm just trying to think of scenarios that would lead to the above profile.

Looks like they could be injecting water in the upper left-hand (in this view) portion of the reservoir to flush out oil that would otherwise be trapped up there. That could cause the water-oil interface to have a relatively vertical slope. Take a look at this diagram of Ain Dar also from Stuart's paper:

That shows a fairly steep oil-water interface in 1990. Do you think that's a fabrication too?

F_F and Halfin

I wouldn't call subtrfuge first on the model shown. It could simply be a result of the timing of the logs used in the population of the Sw model. I note that the actual coverage of wells shown in the SPE paper is actually quite thin areally. IIRC they don't say in the paper what the timeframe for the logs was.
It could be that the logs for the crest of the structure are significantly older than the ones on the flank.
I have trouble convincing some management types here not to make that mistake with our reservoir model. They want to combine everything..
Personally I find the displayed model to be amazingly coarse. I cant expect that they acutally work with this level of resolution.

what are the saturation values based on ? if they are restart data from the reservoir simulation model, then that would cast doubt on the validity of the model (although AN history match may have been achieved). if the saturations are based on well logs or possibly 4d seismic, that is another matter.

Hi eldwoodelmore,

Thanks and is there any possibility that you might re-post this? I'd like to see this discussion continue.
(Or, perhaps the editors might group all of Stuart's and ff's posts and the replies in one spot?)

hi aniya. i think your idea (sort of a pannel discussion) would be helpful. the data on sa is pretty sketchy. we are like the blind men and the elephant. what happens in sa is important enough that, imo, the discussion is worthwhile. i have learned more than i thought i wanted to know about sa here on tod.


These graphs are described as simulations. Simulation data are generated on a computer rather than by empirical measurements, so you can call them "fabrications", but that does not mean they are necessarily wrong.

The pronounced streaking in the graph strongly suggests that the permeability underlying these simulations was assumed to be highly anisotropic, i.e., flow was assumed to be much more facile along the strata than in the perpendicular direction. This would then explain the 200 foot "wall of water".

You are probably in a better position to judge how realistic such a high degree of anisotropy really is. My guess would be that the authors of the SPE paper didn't just pluck their anisotropic permeability tensor out of thin air, but based it on actual measurements on rock samples from the reservoir.

some on here have dismissed out of hand the effectiveness of gravity segregation of the oil and water in these sa reservoirs. i am not convinced. i calculate (using major assumptions) that the ratio of oil/gas density (about 6.3)and water/oil density (about 1.7). in other words the ratio of oil/gas density is 3.5 to 4 times that for water/oil. looking at your x-section (realizing that the vertical scale is exagerated), i would guess that yes there could be gravity segregation . and i am not saying that it is the case, however i think gravity segregation could account for the 60 % or so recovery efficiency in this zone (95-15)/1.34 i.e. (sof-soi)/fvf. i would appreciate your comments.


These reservoirs are so big that the water advance up the structure is measured in inches per day. I don't know how to build a 200' high "plume of water" without a sealing fault or pinchout on the crest above.

So do I think it is gravity segregation... yes.

The problem is with the fractional flow recovery after breakthrough.... Saudi has had to pull harder on the dry oil area leaving oil behind in the watered out area. To meet market demand.

But the cross section you see above essentially has no residual oil saturation to water.

And I don't know about the gas/oil thing- these reservoirs never went below the bubble point.

yes, thank you. it is generally acknowledged that gas/oil segregation will occur (secondary gas cap) and that is my reason for mentioning it. i.e. the oil/water density ratio is maybe 3.5 to 4 times the oil/gas ratio, not as huge as some might think.

Re: Planning LNG terminals

With all of the NIMBYism and oversight, it seems that most of the LNG terminals(not already approved/in construction) will be late to the party.

I figure you can count on ONE hand how many years before NG becomes critical. (maybe a lumberjack's hand)

A lumberjack's hand is what? One that is missing a few fingers?


A new Round-Up has been posted at TOD:Canada today.

OK...I hate to say this, but I'm a bit nervous about the Weekly Petroleum Report this week.

Crude is already at $64.40 a barrel and Gasoline is at $2.10.

I'll make you piss your pants....


LOOK AT THIS CHART. WHY DID OIL POP THIS MORNING TO $64 from $62 overnight? Generally you don't get these gaps in oil.

Does someone know something we don't?


Maybe energy traders read Russian state news reports:

Last night's spike was due to some rumours about US/Iran ships exchanging fire...never substantiated.

Today's spike is due to the Weekly Petro Report.

You beat me to it. I found this story trying to find info on it....


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders on Wednesday that the American occupation of Iraq is “illegal,” and he warned that unless Arab governments settle their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region’s politics.


Note the reference to an illegal occupation.

Is is possible Abdullah is aware of some forthcoming action by the US and that future US action has resulted in him seeking to retain his credibility with other Arab states by speaking out now against the US engagement in the ME?

Hope the SPR is filled to bursting.

There's been some discussion of this story in this thread already. Also an interesting article about the King refusing to have dinner with Dubya.

How's this sound. Read this on the USAGOLD forum.

Futures spiked up because of option expiry where some calls out of the money were exercised unexpectedly forcing a hedge cover of 3500 big May contracts. The boys in dark glasses found out too late that they were/are in a delivery situation and short of physical. Nothing to do with Iran. etc.

So instead of buying at the cheaper market price the option holder exercised at the higher out-of-the-money price -- typical gold investor genius!

Gas down 2.05 Mln Barrels!

From EIA report:

Crude Oil: -0.9 mb (analysts' forecast: +1.1 mb)
Gasoline: -0.3 mb (analysts' forecast: -1.8 mb)
Distillates: -0.7 mb (analysts' forecast: -0.8 mb)
Total Petroleum Inventories: +0.4 mb

EIA Report
MSNBC Article

All those numbers are down but total stocks are up. Did you notice what exactly was up? Jet fuel. By 0.7 million barrels. Now who would need 700,000 barrels of jet fuel per day?

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Is an increase in jet fuel stocks common this time of year?

Nice catch Greyzone.

On a nice big tanker to the Diego Garcia or maybe some trucked to Whiteman AFB.

Ahh..good times.

An increase in total stocks of jet fuel by 700,000 barrels over one week, (not per day), is not all that uncommon. It often fluctuates more than that.

Refineries switch products and very often produce more or less of one product, in one week, while doing the opposite with another. It is nothing to get excited about.

Ron Patterson

Certainly you are right about the fluctuation in jet fuel, it's just *curious* that we have more jet fuel handy while this Iran confrontation continues to heat up-makes it a LOT easier to pull that trigger, so to speak...

Franc (penguinzee)

Precisely. It's an oddity that almost every other petroleum product is down but jet fuel is up precisely at the moment when US forces converge upon the Persian Gulf in great numbers. This doesn't mean anything by itself but as part of a greater puzzle, it would appear to mean that US forces are prepared to undertake a large number of missions. Now whether those missions are simulated or real I will leave to others to speculate.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Leanan, Great DrumBeat today, thank you!

"Layperson question of the day"

What determines the price, gasoline retailers pay for gasoline, is it tied to the spot price, futures market? One often hears complaints that the gasoline price falls too slowly when the crude price drops but rises almost instantly when oil prices rise. Fuel inventories comes into play, what's the scoop?

I believe that the answer to that is fairly simple. Gas station owners must pay for the next load of gas at going rates. When crude jumps, they raise prices so as to be able to pay for the next load. The price of the next load is immediately raised by the oil companies to a level commensurate with the spot price. However, when prices drop, oil companies do not lower the price of the next load immediately. Instead, they wait til the lower priced oil is in the system for delivery.

So the short answer is that the gas station owner sees the impact of higher supplier prices almost immediately and thus must compensate for it. The gas station owner also does not see immediate relief when the price falls.

People might think this is predatory practice but I suspect it is done to cover situations when the price is volatile and bouncing between several points. By maintaining the highest price throughout the period of volatility, the oil company (and the gas station owner) have the greatest assurance of riding out the volatility without losing money.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

As I understand it...the gas stations that are part of big oil companies can often get gas at a lower price. The independents have to pay more.

I've heard that the spike in gas prices has forced many independents to either join up with a large corporation, or go out of business.

For what its worth, I asked this question last week to a manager of an independent chain station in an urban market. I was told that they sell 5,000 to 7,000 gallon gas per day, that they get a delivery every night, and a phone call from the head office every morning on the price for that day. They are in violation if the new price is not posted within one hour of the call.

They are in violation if the new price is not posted within one hour of the call.

*wry grin*
And how does that work when the Citco 5 blocks away posted a price of $4.56 a gallon on Sept. 11, 2001?

(And I have yet to go back to that store)


Isn't the gas station owner and the the oil company the same 'entity", in almost all cases.

Ask a true independent gas station owner how this works out for him. There was an article about how this worked in our newspaper a year or so back. I think the way billing occurs an independent owner is hurt because the gas price quoted changed he became "upside" down. The same for the company owned station, but do to their size etc, they can ride out the bumps. From memory, but the example they gave went something like this.

Gas is 2 at the pump. Truck arrives and fills the tanks. Owner was quoted that day a certain price that made his margin so that he could leave the price at 2 bucks. Truck leaves and the owner continues to sell at that price. However during the day which happens now with frequency, the market jumps in price. The oil company now calculates that price to the gas station owner. Now the owner until he changes his price will be losing money on that spread. A gas station owner doesn't make much off of gas. Most are now stores that sell gas to get you to buy soda and chips and other snacks. With all costs gas might even be a calculated loss leader.

The quoted price they get is subject to change is what I recall. The article appeared after Katrina and prices jumped by not just pennies but nickels and dimes in fast order. The indy's were complaining about the way they were at the mercy of the billing system because the price they were quoted may not be the price charged for that day.

Oil companies predatory, and you somehow think they are not. How many gas stations have a service bay instead of the normal snack (excess carbohydrate) store these days. Most service bays are in indy stations that closed because of the pricing structure they can't compete with.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Imagine buying any other product where not only do you drive to get it, but you put their product into your car and then pay them for it. They have externalized the cost to get it to us by making us do it. Slick.

Isn't the gas station owner and the the oil company the same 'entity", in almost all cases.

A while back there was a discussion about how gasoline distribution worked. I think RR posted some knowledgeable stuff on the subject. The gist is that gasoline is highly fungible, that is, the gasoline at an Exxon station may actually originate as crude oil from a Mobile well, or any number of combinations. I'm not sure how the final price is set in terms of retailer vs the jobber middlemen (another layer of the complexity, the retailer I believe has options as to which jobber to use) but the reality certainly makes ridiculous any boycotting movements to 'teach Shell a lesson' for their truly predatory practices in Nigeria and elsewhere.

I have a problem with this explanation about the stations having to cover and new loads.

For instance the price rises that the distributor is going to sell at but they are pumping gas at a higher price even that same day that they become aware and yet they may have near full storage tanks.

Suppose that they do not have to bring a new tanker load in until the price has actually decreased and maybe below what they had already in storage.

One could develop several sceanrios where the station owners are charging more but never returning those excess profits.

I watch the two local stations in my small home town very closely. They alter prices sometimes twice a day. Sometimes not for a week. The one will be selling .01 below the other and then raise it .10 but the other never changes his price. They bounce back and forth. I also watch when the tankers arrive. You can see them measuring the quantity in the underground tanks.

Bottom line? They are screwing us every chance they get.

Its a big inventory and controlled for their profit ripoff(FIFO vs LIFO).

Do you think if its possible that they make an excess above what they would normally that they will EVER give any back to the consumer? I am not that naive. I know these folks.

One of them put a load of diesel in his regular underground tank several years ago. Instead of telling anyone or pumping it out he just sold it. As a result I had to tear down my 93 Buick Roadmaster after the engine locked solid with flyash in the compression chambers. My neighbor had to have his outboard engine rebuilt. All the filters and tank pumps in my pickup were totalled out and when I pulled the rear tank it was filled with thick gooey mudlike tar.

The asswipe gets very little of my business as a result. We have only two stations in town. Do you think this person would ever do a refund?

Many stations now are owned by foreigners. Mostly from India. They are some of the most conniving people I have ever dealt with. Always attempting to shortchange you. Always selling as high as the traffic will bear.

We are constantly being ripped by convience stores and gas stations(which are also fast food feeding troughs as well).


P.S. Its also a waste of time to expect them to deliver any vehicle service whatsoever like they once did. Get stranded on the highway and you pay thru the nose. Towing last someone I knew got towed was $3.00 per mile. Had to tow a jeep 175 miles...which works out to almost $600....Finally rented a transporter and Uhaul heavy truck at a cost of $300 to go the same distance.

Ripoffs everywhere. Greed is abundant. No one misses a trick anymore to stuff it to you.

So you expect me to believe that every single gas station owner is out to get me? Why just the gas stations? Why not the supermarkets? The hardware store? The local feedstore?

Sorry, but I don't buy the nasty, evil, "let's screw the little guy" meme at all. Sure there are a few people like that but most of these people are trying to get by, just as you are. As someone else noted, most stations get deliveries almost daily. They buy in bulk almost daily. The price can fluctuate almost daily. The only way to ride out a fluctuation is to stay ahead of it because if you get behind you lose your business.

You do have a choice as to whom you do business with so if you don't like someone, then don't do business with them. But please don't expect me to buy the line that everyone in that business is a bad guy.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

In the rural areas they don't get daily deliveries.

In a nearby large city there is a huge Shell/Exxon whatever right next to an independent. The independent always prices 'HIS GAS' a penny cheaper than the corporate one right next to him. I always thusly get my gas at the independent and once asked them about it. They said they always did that and the trade patronized them for it. That kept them in business and they do a very good business.

Note I said THEY price it that way. I am certain therefore that no one is demanding nor telling them what to price it at.

"out to screw the little guy"...

Are you seriously bullshitting me? Come on. I may be a redneck but that doesn't translate to ignorant.

"Don't do business with them."

In a small town you don't always have a choice. Let me give you another example. We only have one grocery store. The owner is from another county and has a store there as well.

In a town inbetween these two is a family owned grocery/general store. In there the price of a gallon of Turner red top milk is almost always cheaper by a dollar than what it is in my home town. Last week $3.55 at the other town(not the one the owner has in another county) but $4.79 at his store. I asked the delivery man as to why and he just grinned at me. All ways this way. Also when some of his products goes stale he hauls them to the store in my home town.

Another item. Many businesses seem to always be making checkout errors. I say..."the tag says $2.00 and your charging me $2.59"..they always always say "Ohhh computer error"....its not a computer error. They deliberately put it in that way.

Take off the rose colored glasses fella. Check out reality in the biz world.

I have owned businesses. Two in fact.

The Stihl company constantly bitched at me because I didn't charge corporate service rates of $57/hour and this was in the early 90's. . No one in the country is going to pay those rates and I didn't charge them. I charged what I felt like and had more than enough customers. I did honest work too.

Today my son's jeep has a radiator leak. The Jeep dealership says its $615 to replace the radiator. I explained that only the replacable end cap on the left is cracked and can be easily repaired. They said "No we are a dealer and we do the whole radiator"...tell me they are not out to screw the little guy. Bullshit all the way.

I still am not buying the gas nonsense. Too easy to rip people off with the numbers game of up today and down tomorrow.Besides ,,,the price constantly rises far more than decreases so by your statement above the consumer gets ripped on the way up but makes out on the way down?No he might break even on the way down but since downs are less often than 'ups' he gets screwed.

One little pet peeve I have is that the local grocery very often charges more per item for larger quantity purchases. I suppose I should be grateful, since I am usually alert enough to spot it, unlike many suckers.

Glad to see you posting again, Airdale.
I was hoping you wouldn't stay away for to long.

Thanks Rude,

I will be around unless the gardening gets out of hand.

Giving the rural aspect to some of the items under discussion here on TOD.

The only thing I know about gas and diesel is where to put the pump nozzle. I do know what the wrong end of mule looks like though.

Yeah, and don't put the nozzle in that end. You get a bad kick start.

Welcome back

Every retailer charges as much as he can! It's part of doing business. Gasoline is no exception. In fact each of us charges as much as he can for his own labor. Almost nobody turns down raises, or negotiates for a new job saying no, don't pay me so much, I'm not worth it. You can't point fingers at oil companies or gas station owners as being especially prone to ripping people off.

Bottom line? They are screwing us every chance they get.

Unlike the honest people who are making hydrinos and plan on having a hydro battery in 2007 which would be the size of a briefcase and be able to power a car for 1000 miles.

Always selling as high as the traffic will bear.

Adam Smith would say that is a fine thing. You accusing Adam Smith of being wrong?

"Towing last someone I knew got towed was $3.00 per mile.'

I just did costing for our trucks $1.24 per mile both ways = $2.48 per mile. This isn't a tow trcuk with thier insurance and I'm sure they have to pay higher wages for the wierd hours. $3.00 sounds like alot until you are the one buying a tow truck and paying the tow truck companies bills.24 hr on call drivers, 24 hr receptionist, the truck loan(?) and its depreciation(!), fuel, insurances, your building rent, heat, lights, advertizing, book keeper, classes and training, safety meetings, broken equipment, etc. you pay for all of thier expenses for a full 24 hrs/7 days a week on a per mile basis. It doesn't sound that bad to me and there are plenty to choose from so it should be very competitive. Obviously you found a less expensive way to go. That is always good.

The someone was my son and he was in DC,actually Fairfax,Va.

Instead of paying the $3.00 per mile he rented an auto transporter and a heavy UHaul truck and did it himself.

I thought $3 was rather steep myself.

Recently I had to reposess my daughters Grand Cherokee. They wanted to charge the bank about $800 to do a simple tow to a storage area.

I got a key made myself and took care of the problem. Had to program it with the techtool but I saved a ton.

I am on a pension and Social Security. One doesn't begin to understand how you sit here on fixed income while the costs of everything spiral thru the roof and you don't chase them with your fixed income.

What I wonder is what happens to millions like me when SS fails due to an economy gone bust , my employer discovers he can't pay pensions anymore and the revenue flow to the IRS and Treasury ceases to cover anything.

When those checks stop then its all over. Many begin to die as they can purchase nothing. Those further up the food chain can still go dancing and dining but down below we are perishing.

So you see thats why to me $3.00 per mile is obscene. Why to do a simple reposession is so outrageous when I can buy the blank key, get it cut, insert in door to open car, insert in ignition, program it and drive off and not have to pay $800 for someone else to do it. Total cost about $60.00 to me.

Kunstler excuses his recent lengthy air travel as follows:

"For all of you out there disposed to twang on me for riding a jet airplane all the way to Maui, please consider that United flight 35 would have flown from San Francisco to Maui with or without me on it."

As a very general matter, is it reasonable for the Peak Oil Aware with ethical sensibilities to invoke this type of thinking to ethically legitimize their own personal air travel (e.g.: to ASPO conferences, say)?

I don't think he needs to apologize.

Gore got slammed only because the media could not find fault with his message and of course the presidential smear political junk.

I think the peak oil aware need to prepare/learn how to live on less energy, but it doesn't mean that we must sacrafice vacations and business trips to prove our point.

He is right, the plane would have flown there anyways.

I will be taking my children to Disneyworld each and every year until I can't anymore. Frankly, it is part of the benefit of the knowledge, in general. I won't by and SUV, but I will travel while I can.

I myself will be doing a lot of flying soon for work, from Arkansas to Michigan, once every 2 weeks. I know that it will be consuming a good amount of fuel for me to do this, however the whole time I'm up in Detroit, I won't be driving to work since to get to work I will ride an elevator down from my hotel room, walk around half a block, and ride an elevator up to my desk. As a result, no daily commute driving. That won't be enough to compensate for the fuel spent to fly me up to MI, but if I wasn't there, assuredly someone else would take my place.

All the while, I'll be talking about Peak Oil to my domestic motor employee co-workers, trying to place a sense of urgency in their minds.

The end result, as others have stated, that in terms of air travel, or other travel for business, is that the consumption would have taken place either way. We can make a difference in personal decisions, but it is also possible in business too, in the replacement of flying with video teleconferencing, and similar.

Personally, I think it's all moot, as there will be large amounts of demand destruction coming this summer as the oil and gasoline prices rise again this summer. Prices are going to rise, and consumers will change habits by flying less, driving less, and maybe switch vehicles that they drive.

One of the hardest barriers to break in peak oil awareness (at least in puritanical america) is that of "personal virtue."

What a coup when Cheney used that phrase in describing conservation.

But it matters not a bit whether one "conserves" for virtue's sake. Oil will peak whether one drives a Hummer or a Geo.

Oil will peak whether one flies or stays home.

The reason not to fly, not to drive, is simply to get used to it. People have no idea how difficult it is to discontinue habits that are ingrained.

I don't drive my 90 VW (35 mpg) much because I'm CHEAP.

I don't fly because I like staying home, and I don't want Homeland Security sticking their fingers up my ass.

Good points b3.

My general take on doing something 'conservatory' is this general order of motivations:
1. save money
2. get used to using less and learn self-sufficiency (build character) in preparation for future scarcities
3. Set a good example for others so that the common 'business as usual' conventional wisdom is questioned openly
4. make a political/economic/ethical statement
5. doing something good for the environment barely qualifies as a realistic entry but it could lead in that direction

"I don't fly because I like staying home, and I don't want Homeland Security sticking their fingers up my ass."

You don't like that??? Rumor has it that many people are willing to stand in line, barefoot even, for up to an hour to get the "treatment."

I recently went on a trip to Denver and on the return check-in through security I experienced the "bomb sniffing booth". This is a booth that you stand in, doors close behind you, and puffs of air are blown at you. It's getting a little stupid how much you have to go through now to get on a plane. I also noticed gallons of toothpaste and bottled water confiscated and thrown away at the checkpoint.

I suppose I should get used to losing civil liberties. But I'm trying to avoid flying so I don't have to deal with the bullshit one is subjected to just to enter the airport.

Tom A-B

Has anyone brought up Israel's security? You know, the auto matic weapons that security openly display. Granted I dont know what they truly will do to someone who is caught trying to do something with a plane. However, what we are doing isn't working and when's the last time anyone tried to screw with the Jewish airliners?

The high security alert in France is called a 'vigil pirate' or some such and during those times you will see army troops with their bullpup automatic rifles outside the airport.

I heard that the complimentary colonoscopy will count as part of the new national health plan. ;)

There are lots of reasons to travel by air or otherwise, and they need no rehashing as many are enumerated nearby.

However, the particular excuse that the plane "would have flown anyway" is utterly lame. While it's usually literally true, it's the sort of literal truth that's meaningless.

After all, the days when airlines regularly flew comparatively empty planes are long gone. So if fewer reservations are made, it will follow very quickly indeed that fewer planes will fly. Of course, there are 100 or more people on most flights, so the odds of having an effect by not making one reservation are small. OTOH, the minimum possible effect is the removal of an entire flight from the schedule, since flights don't come in fractions. So it's a large effect when it does happen.

It's the same principle as, say, switching to CFL light bulbs. One individual switching will save only the immeasurably smallest fraction of what it would take to allow a power plant to shut down. And yet that doesn't seem to stop people from pushing individuals to switch to CFL light bulbs. After all, the supply will match the load on the whole, even if every tiny fluctuation cannot be perfectly tracked.

It follows, therefore, that if a politician such as Gore is going to consume enough for dozens of Americans - and for the purpose of self-promotion, which is after all what lecture tours are entirely about - that politician should expect to be called on that behavior. "Do as I say, not as I do" may have been OK for Roman emperors, but perhaps a more Scandinavian "follow my lead" approach is to be better regarded.

As discussed in the Guardian recently, a regional carrier has been flying empty planes from Cardiff into Heathrow in order to maintain landing rights there.


Rather amusing, but of course it's an exceedingly rare and unrepresentative situation; also, there may also still be a small number of lightly loaded flights that are needed to position planes for the next day. But most flights are packed to overflowing nowadays - and at least in the USA, many airlines will even cancel at the last moment if they don't get the number of passengers called for by their load-management software.

The larger issue here, of course, remains that in all these energy matters, no sacrifice can ever be too great, just so long as we ensure that someone else is forced to make it.


This isn't directly a reply to your post but a comment on the future of air travel in general - thought this was as good a place as any in the thread...
And, in particular, air travel and public / gov't disconnect as we approach an energy constrained future

Just wanted to relate this little blurb that has been news up in the far northern suburbs (exurbs ?) of NYC.

The Port Authority which runs JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Airports just took over the lease on Stewart International Airport about 50 miles NW of NYC. They are now dubbing it the "4th NYC Airport" or something like that...

Apparently they hired a consultant to look into projections for use of the airport in the next couple decades.

Well everyone in the area is all excited that the consultant is predicting the number of passengers will increase 12x from the 2006 usage numbers to over 3 million passengers per year by 2025.


I heard the findings of the report this morning and just kept shaking my head, thinking "Good luck with that..."

None of the people involved in this - politicians, gov't agency reps, consultants, the locals - have any concept that 2025 may not look much like 2007... All of them just keep their eyes on the Holy Grail - "GROWTH".

Kunstler doesn't need to apologize?

Then let me ask which uses the most fuel on a flight.

One lightly loaded or one heavily loaded?

One minus one passenger or not?

And the lighter the load the less fuel required hence fuel less weight ...etc.

It takes fuel to provide airlift for weight.

Check this site for calculations of weight and fuel.


Someone should ask Kunstler how much extra fuel was used due to his weight and baggage.

Not the point at all.

I don't think he should sacrifice an occassional trip.

And even in Gore's case, the many trips were more important for the message sent out. People are thinking now...a little.

...and how much coal, nat. gas, oil, nuclear, etc. was used to run your computer and the servers for this website?


"No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood"

Go buy yourself a poster!

http://despair.com :-(


By your views anyone who posts here and speaks of the subject then should shut down their computers and quit posting.

I can live with that,,,when the time comes. But please let us not hear of Delusional mouthing complaints about excess usage of energy then.

AND BTW I am not a Kunstler , flying here and yon, writing books and being a self-styled prophet for the sheeple.

I use energy. I will use it til its gone. I won't use it wastefully. I refuse to fly for any reason. I have no TV. I have a motorcycle and one other vehicle. I eat mostly what I grow.

So what do you do? Delude yourself?

You need new material. This diss is stale and its been used far too much already.

But since you asked its mostly coal. TVA supplies it along with some hydro. Oh and it would have been generated anyay so I might as well have used it anyway(J. Kunstler logic rules).

Sorry(!) incomplete or error filled humor attempt. Those are some of the best posters IMHO and funny too! I hope you looked.
As I have posted many times. "To say that our futures are not connect is like saying your end of the boat is sinking" RD.
Kunstlers book "the long emergency" which I have read, was in the end relatively optimistic, which surprized me.
My self I doubt that Kunstler will have any measurable impact nor do I see that with anything else less than a major crisis that effects everyone. Even if you were a politician - If your message included PO and its implications, I don't think you would get elected - ever.
Kunstler is just as stuck as you and I, yes it would be nice to be energy neutral, but we all need to make a living. I think Helen and Scott Nearing came close but they also had a small income tied to an energy using society.
"I use energy. I will use it til its gone. I won't use it wastefully. I refuse to fly for any reason. I have no TV. I have a motorcycle and one other vehicle. I eat mostly what I grow."
"So what do you do? Delude yourself?"

Well, not at all, obviously I'm very guilty and that was my round about point - Yes I'm a raindrop too! Kunstler is trying to make a living, just like you, just like me, I would not have used that logic(?).
I run a small nursery with 10 employees, we use plastic, we use fertilizer, we use propane, we use diesel, we use gasoline, we use elctricity, etc. etc. I'm sorry that it looks like I took aim at you. I was looking very much in the mirror. Can I post without useing electricity, obviously no, nor can anyone else - we are the raindrops.
Plants are some of the coolest things on earth IMHO, but the ones I grow you get to look at not eat.
I grow a garden, raise fruit trees, cut my own firewood and hate TV but have one for the family. I designed and built many small and large machines that we use here.
I too will use energy until its gone. I do not waste it either- I have a spot to drain that 1/2 oz of stupid oil that is left in the bottome of the oil jug when you change the oil in the rigs. It just bugs me to much to throw it away even though it doen't make "economic" sense.
If things do get bad then we will switch to raising vegies maybe small animals. We are far from self suficient, but I think most people are in the same boat.
best D


I think we are on the same page(to use a current metaphor).

I love to garden and don't have the time to do it as much as I wish. The upcoming horizon event will give me that time.

Sorry to fly off the handle but several times in the past on TOD when I spoke of the conspicuous consumption issue I was always hazed about using my computer and using energy.

We are all fairly much locked into the energy we use. That doesn't mean we don't understand what that means for the future.

I broke my two gardens recently with a IH 806 and 10 ft. wheel disc. Last time I used a Ford 8970(about 300 hp) and did it in one pass with a folding wing disc(20 ft swatch). Wasteful but it would have taken me all week to run a rototiller thru it.

For now I use the energy. I use it to become more and more prepared. Going to auctions and buying old handtools etc. Buying 25lb sacks of bread flour at Sam's Club. Big packages of dried yeast and so on and so forth.

Peace and good luck to you ,


I too am buying old tools. I hate to loose the life I have, I really like my DJ 4610 and for small jobs the kubota.
The work these things can do for you is amazing.

I love Despair.com. It's especially funny if you've spent hours in boring corporate meetings, staring at the "motivational posters" on the walls.

Someone did a whole set of baseball posters inspired by Despair.com. One for each team.

People who critize Kunstler, or Gore, or anyone else for that matter, for flying or using too much electricity should get off their damn high horse and start living in the real world.

If you drive, you are guilty, if you watch TV when you could be reading a book instead, you are guilty, and if you eat any food that is shipped from out of state, or out of country, instead of eating only food growing locally, you are just as guilty as Gore of Kunstler.

So if you eat food from the grocery store, or buy anything made overseas, like shoes or shirts or pants, then stop this hypocritical bitching about other people and take a good look at yourself.

I know, you will protest; "but there are no shoes made in the US anymore, I must buy shoes shipped from half way around the world". Well then allow Kunstler to use the same excuse then. "There are no wind powered ships sailing to Hawaii anymore, flying was my only choice."

Really, this sort of griping about people's flying habits, or electrical habits, or whatever really pisses me off. Get real people, this is the world you live in. If you buy food shipped from South or Central America, or shoes from Asia, then you are just as guilty as Kunstler. Just stop bitching and try thinking for a change.

Ron Patterson

But you're ducking the real issue, which is the haughty, imperial, self-righteous "do as I say, not as I do". Gore (and perhaps Kunstler to a far tinier degree) is an outlier, an x-treme three- or four-sigma hyperconsumer, slurping up probably two orders of magnitude more resources than a typical American - and for nothing other than self-promotion. And yet he has the towering chutzpah to tell everybody else to cut back. (I will give Kunstler a little credit, while he rejected the problem he at least acknowledged it.)

In contrast, the typical flier, diner, clothes-wearer, or TV-watcher, is neither directly telling someone else to cut back, nor lobbying Congress to put the gun to someone else's head to cut back.

No Paul, you are ducking the issue. I am an atheist but I still have a favorite Biblical verse. "Let he who is without sin cat the first stone."

You guys are hypocrites who do all the things you criticize others for doing. We all consume products that traveled half way around the world to reach us.

Kunstler main theme is the American suburban sprawl. He complains that the American community is based on private transportation, the automobile. He champions the European community that is based on public transportation. Yet you dare criticize him for using public transportation.

Hey…here it is in black and white. Kunstler is one of the good guys. Bush, Cheney, Yergin, Lord Brown, and whoever are the ones you should be criticizing. Yet you guys, you hypocrites, dare vent your wrath on those who are telling it like it is.

Dear God, with friends like this who needs enemies.

Ron Patterson

Perhaps I shouldn't say this however, the irony is so painfully rich its stuck with me today.

If one accepts anthropogenic global warming which is so assiduously defended these past few years, and if man made CO2 is the primary driver in changing the climate, as Gore attests, then a good argument can be made that one small, vocal, oh-so-sure of itself, group has done more to bring this disaster upon the world then any other. That is, if you haven't guessed it ... the No Nukes environmentalists. Sorry GreenPeace but its a little bit hard to get around.

Imagine if 20 years ago after three mile island, the reaction was, "well the whole darn plant melted and we didn't lose a single life, not one, in fact we have never had a domestic production related death, not to mention we have submariners who have spent whole careers within 100 yards of a functioning reactor and they remain healthy as horses. And all those coal miners dying of black lung and dying in mine accidents. Let's follow France's example and get all our electricity from nukes!" Then imagine nuclear power was further promoted around the world as an alternative to dirty and dangerous coal. GW might hardly be a problem at this time

Of course it is unfair speculation, perhaps if this had been done it would have promoted proliferation of nuclear weapons and led to all out nuclear war. We really don't know, oddly enough, even the absolute merits of past actions, at least until all history is written I suppose.

You know politicians are always bringing up the children for rhetorical purposes and Gore did this also in asking us what our grandchildren will think. Oh I shouldn't but I just see little Billy Goodheart asking Granpa "But why Daddy, why did the Sierra Club want to hurt gentle mother Earth's lungs by burning all that nasty coal when they had clean nuclear power?" I'm sorry, I know I am being unfair, but darn if it ain't ironic. Its sort of like the head of the Earth Liberation Front getting cancer and then not feeling so hot about those cancer research labs he burned down to save the rabbits. Alright enough with my ranting, for what its worth I don't think nukes are the best answer available, but I do think they are a better answer than starving.

I think the problem with some of us is that we are so blinded by political dislikes to some persons that we are unable to look at things even semi-objectively.

How many people's office is Gore's "home"? Can you compare it to another normal home?

How many of us have installed 100% LED/CFL/FL lighting with efficient lighting fixtures? (minor contributor, but a great example, because the effects do combine and scale + it's such a minor nuisance to accomplish)

Who pays carbon offsets for major parts of his energy use (incl. flights, afaik)?

(now you could say offsets don't work and be at least half-right, but if the alternative is to stop doing anything, die off and let the rest of us pillage along.... well that's not really an alternative, is it?)

Gore may be dislikable, he may shrewd, shrill and whatnot, but on this, he surely has a much better track record than most of us here (exl. some hardcore anarcho-vegan-permaculturists, who are probably reading this on a library's 15minute free-use terminal slot. BTW, my hat is off to them).

As such, I think Kunstler's excuse was an exercise in double-thinking self-delusional hypocricy and he could have just said: "I spent jet fuel. So what? Shoot me." Why try to play the innocent card, when none of us really is.

As for cutting down one's own energy consumption, I think it was already put well by Cheney: "The American way of life is not negotiable."

If we are doing nothing but making up excuses in order NOT to cut down our energy consumption, then we are proving him 100% right, whether we like it or not.

Let's look at things realistically, not as debates to be won or social status to be gained, right?

Huzzah!!! :)

Saw that. First of all his 200 or 300 pounds of flesh and luggage imposed a calculable (by someone else not me) carbon emmissions burden on the planet. Second, he was a participant with 100 or 200 other people in a flight... there collective decision resulted in a demand driven response by the airline to make that flight. The fact that he isn't organized in a group with those people and therefore is subject to "diffusion of responsibility" effects, doesn't change the reality that that airplane full of people made a choice to book flights which the airline would respond to by flying an airplane.

The cost of that flight can be measured both in terms of carbon emissions and global warming, and in terms of global dimming which is masking just how serious the global warming problem is. Please take a few minutes to watch this video and learn more about it: http://www.documentary-film.net/search/sample.php

On the other hand, Kunstler is focussed almost entirely on peak oil and the sad joys of looming catastrophe. From that perspective, thinking dialectically, why not burn as much fuel as we can as fast as we can? The sooner we hit peak oil and people begin to get a clue, the happier he would probably be. So why not take ten flights to Maui?

And even from a global warming and global dimming perspective, maybe we will need the economic disruptions of peak oil to readust our collective mentality about the planet, and so from that perspective too, perhaps we should be all buying SUVs and taking lots of flights... because until we get to the bad stuff, will we really be able to organize ourselves to try to do the good stuff?

I like this thinking. In sociology I was startled to learn that deviance is considered very natural and normal. Actually I've read theories that defend what would happen in a total absense of deviance. Basically deviance is needed within a society to determine the boundaries. Makes sense, but never thought of it like that. In the same vein, wasting as much gas now is similar in that you wouldn't expect that behavior, it's deviant in these circles. However when you start to think about it, it would make sense to consume as long as you can all the while preparing to limit use. You're goal would be reached closer so long as collectively, others like you followed suit. Outside the box...I like it.

Funny,,then why isn't Kunstler's message to go out and binge as fully as possible instead of his current mantra?

The reason is that he would immediately be dismissed as an asshat of the worst sort and well should be.

You can't have it both ways,,bitching at people for what they consume and then consuming yourself. Its called being a hypocrit.

But Kunstler is one anyway in my book.

In the US, we live in a country runs by hypocrites - a President who has a record of dereliction of duty but gladly sends thousands of our military to their deaths, a Congress who supports war but doesn't want to send their own sons and daughters into war (except for a few). I could go on, but you get the point.

It's all relative concerning hypocrites. Is Kunstler generally making life better for me and most others through his message, or is the President and Congress, through war and by diverting $1 trillions to military spending, making it better?

Kunstler's reply is disappointingly stupid. The reason his trip could be justified is because his efforts to educate will decrease overall consumption through the changed actions of those he educates. Ditto for Gore.

Saying that the plane was flying there anyway is like saying you bought the fur coat only because the animals were already dead.

I find Kunstler to be consistently off-target with his reasoning and logic. I don't disagree with him overall, but he's a terrible messenger for peak oil.

Different people learning about peak oil will be drawn to different approaches to the message. Kunstler has a style that appeals to a lot of people. But certainly not all.

Hopefully everyone will eventually, if not immediately, find TOD because it really seems to the best PO site, especially in the last few weeks. The trolls seem to have been banished and the essays have been superb.

And I think that has attracted the new insiders we have seen lately.

Thanks for the various responses. Al Gore came up in some of them; I would say that he is in a much, much weaker position ethically than Kunstler is. With his Tennessee mansion and upper-class lifestyle, his own personal carbon footprint is at least an order of magnitude greater than that of even an averagely energy-profligate middle-class American. (I have no links ready-to-hand, but it's not too hard to find articles attesting to this on the web.)

Does the sense of moral outrage about this state of affairs that I feel have any justification? Or is it the case that we simply live in a world of grey and everyone is morally entitled to a certain margin of hypocrisy with regard to how their personal lifestyle flies in the face of their professed values and ethical beliefs?

[Judging from what I've seen lately on Matt Savinar's site, I would say that the answer for him to this question is a resounding "NO!"]

That kind of "reasoning" doesn't excuse anyone from culpability. This is the same kind of thought process that causes grunt loan salesmen (I know because I have talked to them) to sell their marks on predatory loans that will damage their financial well being for life: "If I don't do it, someone else will." I'm not saying I blame him or think he shouldn't have gone, just that that's a really lame way of trying to avoid scrutiny for your actions.

Almost ALL of us in the US are baddies when it comes to resource consumption, compared to most people in the third world. It's far more important we push for government policies that lead us and as a matter of law compel us to do the right thing along with telling us the truth about what our actual situation is -- which of course make one a subversive.

Most people will do the right thing, and obey the law and policy, when they know that the law and policy is just and necessary. That being said, it's certainly better to have a lower hypocrisy index than a higher one.

But of course all the above is pie in the sky. What's going to happen is that we won't get our act together until the whole thing comes crashing down, and it's not a matter of personal virtue, but of collective survival.

TOD has been really good lately. Thanks to everyone for keeping the discussions strong. If my boss only knew...

Things just keep getting more interesting.

From Drudge:

Saudi king slams 'illegitimate occupation' of Iraq

RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi King Abdullah, whose country is a close US ally, on Wednesday slammed the "illegitimate foreign occupation" of Iraq in an opening speech to the annual Arab summit in Riyadh.

"In beloved Iraq, blood is being shed among brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation, and ugly sectarianism threatens civil war," Abdullah said.

He also said that Arab nations, which are planning to revive a five-year-old Middle East peace plan at the summit, would not allow any foreign force to decide the future of the region.

This is too odd to explain...unless in terms of depletion and a shift in the power cards.

Why would they suddenly decide to make such a statement? US dollar? Depletion and/or internal politics? All of the above. Little to gain from playing nice with US anymore? China oil hungry and likes heavy oil?

Makes my mind spin. The big picture stuff is far more scary than just peak oil.

Remarkable statement from Abdullah, didn't see that coming... I have no idea what's going on, but it sure doesn't look good, does it?

Heinberg's analysis above sounds about right, as usual.

I also noticed the "prediction" in the linked story above that world oil production will drop to 78mb/d next year. First time I've seen something like that, it looks like pure speculation to me. Any support for such a concept? WT? Could it get that bad that quickly? (Without a major "supply disruption", of course...) :-(

Also see this piece in today's Washington Post:

Bush's Royal Trouble: Why Is King Abdullah Saying No to Dinner?

President Bush enjoys hosting formal state dinners about as much as having a root canal. Or proposing tax increases. So his decision to schedule a mid-April White House gala for Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah signified the president's high regard for an Arab monarch who is also a Bush family friend.

Now the White House ponders what Abdullah's sudden and sparsely explained cancellation of the dinner signifies. Nothing good -- especially for Condoleezza Rice's most important Middle East initiatives -- is the clearest available answer.

Good gravy. Could it just be rats leaving the sinking ship?

Maybe the King would rather have dinner with Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama...

For me I trace it back at least to the "summons" of D. Cheney recently. When this happened we were given the press story that it had to do with the situation in Iraq and the "religious" differences between the sects. At the time I wondered how much of a cover story that was. Up until this I was considering that the summons was also because of something that had happened with oil. The King would not dare use any form of communication except one on one in private to discuss this state secret. Though the religious sect problem was certainly something the King has to consider because of his "people". Would the King not be willing to use a form of communication other than one on one to discuss Iraq. Why, because after the discussion it was released to the press. Though a case can be made for this was a show of power by the King to impress the "people" and also show he meant it to the US and the oil companies.

Now these two events. A direct statement before the Arab nations, and turning down a state dinner. This is sorta akin to coming home finding out your wife has told everyone in the neighborhood that you can't keep it up in bed, and because of your poor sexual performance she wants a divorce. Uh, not a good day, and the future is going to be wrought with additional stress

The US congress passes a bill that says we are going to pull out of Iraq and give a semi timetable to do it.

G W says he will veto it.

Saudi King who has made his wishes known now does so again, and to a much broader audience, and says, friends and dinner, perhaps another time, I might not be so sure who my friends really are.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

On most levels this makes sense.Whateve the private communications are,one can be sure its"interesting"


I'm taking an international politics class this semester and the proff is a champ! He pushes you to examine everything happening internationally in several levels of analysis and move away from pigeonholing any issue. Take this for instance. He is saying this at a pro Arab conference. He HAS to say this to remain credible.

I never assume anything at face value. He is simply talking tough, knowing full well we're going to basically ignore him, while he can score his street cred on how he "feels" about the situation. Keep in mind he knows his production is constrained and is about to crash IMO. So he's got to start building and securing his base so when the mighty US can not defend them, they can prepare to take on a new role within their region and their country.

Point is, he's always got domestic issues pushing against his foreign policies. Actions speak louder than words, and unless they start kicking us out of the country, I'm thinking no big deal. KSA has no military beyond the US, relatively speaking.

If I'm not mistaken, the US no longer has a military presence in Saudi Arabia.

I suspect that the Saudis are concerned that the Neocons strategic plan is to seize control of the oil fields in Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Again, what if Bush/Cheney are in the Richard Duncan camp, i.e., we are transitioning from a net worldwide population increase of 1.4 million per week to a net dieoff of 2.1 million people per week.

As I said a couple of weeks ago, Peak Oil was more intellectually interesting when it was more theoretical. Somehow it is all getting much too real. . .

While I wasn't totally aware we "pulled out" of KSA, I was getting at the implied backing of KSA, not really implied but it's pretty clear we will defend KSA if anyone attacked no different than Kuwait fifteen years ago...sixteen...ouch.

You got that right. KSA, well, at least the House of Saud, is seen by many Arabs as being far too cozy with the US. Nothing easier than a public statement. Don't listen to the magician, always keep watching his hands.

Abdullah depends for his safety on the US, let's say for 99%?! The weird stories about pipeplines going from Iraq to KSA without even an effort at metering may be significant in this.

So may the reports of Saudi interest in Iran oil. The Riyadh-Houston connection looks as strong as ever. It would be highly inconvenient for US oil interests to put strain on the relationship with KSA, it would be deadly for Abdullah to do so.

Together they're devising plans to divide up the region. There will be new borders and alliances no matter what, so why not be ahead of the curve?

The King is playing it both ways and covering his ass. The US protects him. Well they protect the oil supply. The army he has, its his, and its very loyal. His problem is the population of his country is must larger and economics is only a paycheck, but religion, religion is the driving force of their life. This goes to "culture" and with the Arab population, well I think only those who have lived there and born there can grasp really the politics.

We did pull our airbase from Saudi Arabia a few years back.

If the Money flow is slowing the King has a real problem. I have heard that the Kingdom is in debt, cash flow keeps the thing floating, a "magic checkbook".

As the money flow slows he has to have the confidence of the people. I will not try and decide the true motive of the King. Having the people believe in times of struggle that he is concerned about a religious struggle is not a bad thing.

Montequest is fond of using the old saying.

My father rode a camel, I rode in a car, my son flies a jet plane, his son will ride a camel.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Saudi king slams 'illegitimate occupation' of Iraq

The fact that the "illegitimate foreign occupation" is leading to Shiite domination of Iraq seems to be the bur under Abdullah's ass. The Saudis are going to keep up the pressure on Bushco to tilt more toward the Sunnis in Iraq. Of course, Bushco is totally incapable of handling the paradoxes of the Sunni/AlQuaeda connection on the one hand, Shia 'democratic' majority on the middle hand and Iranian Shia support on the third hand. Fascinating and frightening watching total incompetence in action.

Correct. The Shiites are dominating Iraq with the help of the Americans. Look no further than the USA Today's story:


Shiite policemen, American trained BTW, pulling Sunni men out of their homes and executing them in the street. Abdullah cannot sit down at a State Dinner with Bush wuhile this is going on.

Abdullah is much more independant than the previous Saudi King. He is not beholden to the Americans, that is why the American military bases were ordered closed.

Abdullah is much more independant than the previous Saudi King. He is not beholden to the Americans, that is why the American military bases were ordered closed.

That's a convenient story. But you're still just watching theatre.

Abdullah would be dead tomorrow morning if the US pulled away.
The bases closed because they were no longer needed, and they formed a barrrier against further Saudi dominance over the region.

Bush has three hands??!!??

When I think of what he may be doing with that third hand at the podium I suddenly understand why he has so much trouble getting a coherant sentence out.

This is just more of the unaddressed stuff on the political front, the kind I encouraged all to think about two days ago regarding Stuart's fine piece on KSA geology, "Water in the Gas Tank". To repeat the essential question, "Are we giving too much emphasis to geology and not enough to politics?

Does too much emphasis on the geology lead to a too-pessimistic downward projection in KSA production in 2007-10?

The very large KSA production surge in 2004 tends to distort the shape of the 2002-06 KSA production curve that might have otherwise have occurred based just on KSA's swing production role. The 2004 surge if anything led the price increases by a significant margin, compared to other Saudi price reactions. It occurred MONTHS before the 2004 U.S. presidential election during a period when the Saudis were still showing patience with the U.S. invasion. (Bush needed that boost and the resulting moderation of the price increase - change a few thousand votes in Ohio - imagine how a price spike resembling 2006's would have changed things.)

Since then Iraq has transitioned into a civil war and the Saudis (who made it known to Bush before the invasion that they did not want it) are unhappy with Bush's handling of the situation. So, maybe, KSA's non-reaction to price in 2006 is, in part (and in great contrast to 2004), due to politics.

Assume KSA has economists and sees OECD economic softening, and demand destruction in the third world; it's not too hard to imagine them in July 2006 anticipating lower demand beginning soon and continuing for some time, thus jumping the gun on the price peak. Added to KSA's growing impatience with U.S. failures in Iraq: this could explain their reversion in 2006 to more closely hewing to the OPEC quota limits than in the prior three years (don't listen to us, invade; oh, you failed... now we need extra $$ to defend our Sunni Iraqi friends...)."

We can also ask whether/why KSA "let" the Dems prevail in 2006 by NOT responding to the price spike - - were they just sending Bush a message (what do you say about a small country that gets to order the Vice President of the United States of America on a plane ("report to us immediately, we have a message for W"), that posts a veiled message in the Washington Post about their dissatisfaction with the treatment of their Sunni friends in Iraq, and, suddenly (check out the timeline for yourself) administration officials are dropping hints and making "surging" statements, and like, WOW, we get a surge...

Looked at this way, is anyone surprised at the Saudi's last two messages to Bush, effectively delivered in classical realpolitic style (one from my capitol, not even addressed to you, and the other, "I'm not coming to the party you planned just for me!")

So, does the KSA production curve conform to geology and KSA's (possibly former) swing role, or to politics, or both. I thinks it's both - a reason not to stretch the depletion arguments too far, just yet.

Rex Tillerson, dead at 64, green bananas put out in the compost (just kidding, Mrs. Tillerson)

I didn't want to add this the other day on Stuart's excellent thread since there was already too much thread drift. As I noted then, I'm hot on Terra Preta/high carbon soils. The following is from overheads I prepared a month ago for a field day at my place that will take place toward the end of April. The name is a joke to counter meaningless names like Biodynamics and Permaculture. So, without further ado...


After harvest - turn under summer mulch of shredded paper and alfalfa hay with a spading fork. Till with a Mantis tiller.

Apply another layer of shredded paper and alfalfa hay.

During the winter - add charcoal from burned brush and charcoal and ashes from the wood heater.

The characoal is broken up as much as possible in a pail, typically, 1/2" or less. If I didn't have a tiller, I'd actually grind it up so that it's as fine as possible.

In the spring - add soil ammendments as necesary; rock phosphate, gypsum or oystershell flour (since charcoal is supposed to sweeten the soil, I'm only using gypsum), green sand, glacial rock dust,any compost I've made (I used to make tons of it when were were a certified organic farm. Now I sort of follow the Ruth Stout method and let the soil do the work).

Turn it all under with a spading fork. I get down about 10". Finally, retill for the crops. Mulch after the crops are transplanted or germinate. I put the paper down first, maybe and inch, then the alfalfa.

I don't add fertilizer at planting but I do fertigate using standard 20-20-20 plus trace minerals soluble fertilizer. So, I'm not organic any more. That's life. I'm not young any more either and I do things as easily as possible. I don't believe I'm hurthing the rhizosphere with the chemical fertilizer since very little is added at any one time; like maybe, 1-2 tablespoons per 150 SF per week.

I did note that I make on error on the quantity of charcoal when I posted the other day. I actually get about 20 pounds from a brush pile not the 8 pounds I mentioned (that's what I get per pail.)

One question that might be raised is that the Black Gold Method isn't sustainable. In the short run, no since it relies upon outside inputs. But then neither are any of the other "name" methods actually sustainable. However, I think it will become quite sustainable as the charcoal/carbon increases. One guy in the Amazon grew good crops for 40 years without added fertilizer

Todd; a Realist


Is the charcoal content increasing year to year? One would think that you would eventually reach an optimal amount and that the needed additions would decrease over time. After all, nobody added charcoal to the Amazon Terra Preta for quite awhile.

What did you use to grind the charcoal (back when you first tried it)?


From the papers I have read, it sounds like the Amazonian Terra Preta soils have about 10% "carbon." It was never clear to me (or I missed it) whether they meant by volume or weight so I assumed it was be weight. If you assume a dry soil weight between 12-17 pounds per cubic foot, one would have to add close to 2 pounds of charcoal/carbon. That's quite a lot.

In my case, I probably made 200-300 pounds of charcoal last fall and this spring. This was spread onto about 1,000 SF of beds that I'm converting to Terra Preta soils. Therefore, I have a long way to go until it reaches 10%. My charcoal production is limited by how much firewood I cut and the size of the limbs. As I mentioned the other day, I use larger limbs as fuel for our wood cook stove but I also I wanted fires that burned fast and that requires smaller material. There are lots of plans for charcoal makers but in my case it would take more effort.

When I first started this with the mesquite charcoal I ran the chunks through my chipper. The stuff came out, probably, around 30 mesh. But, it was just a horrid job from the charcoal dust. I looked like an old time coal miner. FWIW, mesquite has a lot of silica so its hard and not friable.

The advantage of carbon over organic matter is that it won't breakdown yet it offers similar advantages to high organic matter soils.

Hope this helps.


Todd ,
Several comments.
1: Why couldn't someone use the idle garden for their woodpile in the off season? Do all your sawing and splitting there. All the branches could be thrown in heaps and later burned partially then disked in at springtime. This might not be as close to the charcoal via your method but it would save energy and keep all the wood products in the garden spot. Each year you use a seperate area of the garden.

I did this once year BTW. Worked real good.

Here is a story told to me by a neighbor who raises a big orchard and some gardening. He travels the outback quite a bit and once in his travels he came upon a single bachelor fella of German extration,perhaps 2nd generation or later.

The guy had a beautiful garden and his soil was incredibly rich. My neighbor talked to him and asked how he did it. The guy explained and pointed out his methods. There was a cross section (chopping block) of a log upended near the garden. Near that was piles of brush. The area close to the house had been very well cleared of brush but new brush was coming up. The ground was clean as could be. Near the brush pile was several piles of what appeared to be chopped up pieces of brush. All in various stages of decay(composting so to speak but only of woody brush).

The man said that he sat on one block and with a small hatchet(hand axe) continually chopped the brush and limbs into a pile. When ready he would place the more decomposed piles in his garden.

His life was such that this was his exercise. He kept his place neat and harvested deadfall and brush he collected around his living area. This he said was all that he used on his garden. He put up all his own food and what else he raised on the farm(chickens,etc) fed him quite well and he was happy and contented with his life.

I have thought often of this and wondered just how it would work out , nutrient wise? If lack of nitrogen might be required. But if one checks the woods all you see are decomposing leaves and deadfall plus dying brush. Nitrogen can be supplied by rainfall, lightening and snow. How did we ever obtain nitrogen in the past then?

Now this process is akin to using a chipper/mulching machine but with only human power. I think the man did not use any external power in his endeavors according to my neighbor but lived a more or less solitary life and was content , or so he said.

End of story. A true one as well. Someday I would like to see that man's garden but I think he may have passed away by now.

What is it about the charcoal that is so beneficial in a garden? How does it relate to soil productivity? Is there some chemical process at work?

Rotted wood vs burnt wood. BTW wood on the ground tends to decompose very rapidly once the fungi and other growths attack it. The dead fall from my favorite 'cherry bark' oak tree of over 100 years drops a huge amount of deadfall on my yard. I guess I need to start packing this off to my garden as well as much of what is in the nearby woods.

Like Todd I just scattered some P and K on my yard and gardens and let the rains today soak it in. I get it for free from my friend who hauls it from the barges in tractor trailer loads. The price has gone thru the roof for fertilizer recently. $400=$500 per ton I am told.

Airdale-down on the farm

This article from the April issue of Discover magazine has some explanation of why terra preta works so well:

Black Gold of the Amazon

Lehmann explains that nutrients from plant and animal remains - like nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium - bind to charcoal or biochar, drastically reducing how much is washed away by the constant rains. It is a gradual process that begins with the charcoal breaking down in the soil over time. Tiny pores in the charcoal, along with changes in its chemistry, provide more surfaces for nutrients to adhere to, which in turn encourages microorganisms to colonize the soil. "With a handful of biochar you can keep many more nutrients in the soil than with a handful of mulch or compost. It is like mopping up nutrients with a magnet that looks like a sponge - that is, it has high surface area like a sponge but can attract a thin layer of material like a magnet," Lehmann says.


First of all I'm glad to see you back like everyone else.

Ok, why is charcoal better than composted wood? It is totally inert and will be there "forever.". Composted organic material is eventually decomposed by the bugs. Next, if it isn't fully composted, it will remove nitrogen from the soil. In other words, if there is any doubt, it needs to be nitrolized with fertilizer.

Now, my soils have very high organic material because of the mulching. However, based of a couple years of experience with added carbon, the carbon particles separte the soil better so it has better tilth. And, based on observation, the crops have done the best we have seen in 40+ years of growing stuff.

Further, based on what I have read (which is also mentioned in the Discover article), it holds P and K. P is a REALLY BIG DEAL in long term sustainability since, short of making your own bone meal, it is the one element that a farmer/gardener can't "make." I can make N with legumes. I can get K from wood ashes. And, I can go down to the creek and collect fines for trace minerals. But I simply can't make or obtain P from local sources. Does this make sense?

As far as wood decomposing, yup, it's true in the east (I lived in OH, NJ and DE) but it isn't true out west where I am (Coast Range Mountains of northern CA) because it's so dry most of the year. I have logs laying around that are probably 60 years old and they are punky and crumbly. But my guess is that I'll in the ground a long time before they are fully decomposed.


Hey Todd, So when you are making the charcoal at what point do you call it done? Then you must put your fire out with water? Is this correct?

Hi D,

I don't have water where I burn so I can't hose it. I call them done when they are no longer flaming and the coals are red hot with essentially no ash on them.

What I do is use a metal leaf rake to pull them out of the fire into a pile - this is extremely hot work. I get the samll stuff first since it is "done" sooner then the large stuff. Then I shovel the small pile into a metal pails, in my case 7 gallon ones. I use a square blade shovel to get them into the can. I break them up with the shovel, after each shovel full, and then pop on a metal lid. The lid suffocates them. I give them 15 minutes or so before I load them into my PU which has a plastic liner in the bed.

It's really nothing fancy. I'd say the time from lighting the fire to having the pails full is 30-45 minutes. In case you didn't see it the other day, the piles are small, about 6-8' long, 4-5' high and maybe 4-6' wide. I'm burning doug fir, tan oak, madrone and black oak.


Acres USA, Feb. 2007 has a good article on Terra Preta. In the Q&A section it says 20 to 30% charcoal by weight for the most benefit, for row crops incorporated in the top 6 inches. The author is Allan Balliet, his website is

Therefore, I have a long way to go until it reaches 10%.

What is interesting is work done by Clive Edwards WRT vemiculture is the 'economic benefit' of vermipost is 20%.

With the 'commonly' quoted 80/20 rule, I would not be shocked to find out that 20% is a 'right' number.

Also remember that plant roots go down some 3-6 feet, so you have alot of digging to get the biochar down that far.

"Also remember that plant roots go down some 3-6 feet, so you have alot of digging to get the biochar down that far."

3-6 for many. Beets go down 6-8 feet. Wheat will go down 10-12 feet believe it or not.

Most of the taproot weeds actually punch thru the hardpan and bring up minerals from the lower depths and make it available for other things.

The charcoal, says the article in Acres, is like a "Coral Reef" in that it gives home to fungus and bacterial which the ground desperately needs. (They do some of the heavy work making minerals etc available to root hairs.

Got my Acres Mag. yesterday and there was a big article on it.

John or BTU,

Could one of you summerize the article? I'm always looking for more information!! I am surprised to see a suggestion of incorporating into the top 6" since Terra Preta soils are typically over 5' deep. I'd be especially interested if he did replicated plots or just did a few like me, etc., etc.



The first caption in the article says, "terra preta soils are manmade, generally 2 feet deep, created by pre-Columbian AmerIndians through the incorporation of charcoal and unfired ceramic pieces into the earth".
Here is the first paragraph,
"It's like finding a lost chapter from Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird's (Secrets of the Soil) - (terra preta- literally "black earth") is a manmade soil of prehistoric origin that is higher in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium than adjacent soils. It controls water and reduces leaching of nutrients from the rhizosphere. Rich in humus, pieces of pre-Columbian unfired clay pottery and black carbon, it's like a "microbial reef" that promotes and sustains the growth of mycorrhizae and other beneficial microbes, and it has been shown to retain it's fertility for thousands of years. In university trials, "terra preta" has increased crop yields by as much as 800%. It regrows itself when excavated. It is even possible to produce carbon-negative useable energy (such as diesel or hydrogen) while making the major input (bio-char) for terra-preta on the farm.

Todd, if you could give me PO Box, I would be happy to make a copy and send it to you (4 pages). Or you could try http://www.acresusa.com and see if they would send you a back issue. It is in February 2007, "Terra Preta, Magic Soil Of The Lost Amazon".


Thanks a lot but I'll see if I can get it locally first since I'd sooner have the whole magazine.


San Francisco bans plastic bags

In six months large supermarkets will not be allowed to offer plastic bags made from petroleum products

Economically speaking...terrible....personally...good riddens! I started reading about how damaging plastic bags are to our cotton crops last year. As soon as WMT opens up in a rural area near cotton crops, the bags invaribaly wind up in the fields and causes increasingly larger losses.

WHOOOO hooo, look Circuit city share rose 3 percent today. man some good ol stock owners made some money today (or did they really, unless they cash in)


Mar. 28, 2007 (AFX International Focus) --

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Circuit City (NYSE:CC) Stores Inc. said Wednesday it plans to cut costs by laying off about 3,400 store workers and hiring lower-paid employees to replace them, and by trimming about 130 corporate jobs.

Its shares rose 3 percent in morning trading.

Here ya go, I've been waiting for this attitude to hit the mainstream. Fire a worker who stayed and was loyal and earned a pay raise for his effort. Now, we can do without that, its only profit boys. Bring out the plank, mates, we have some dead weight to off load.

coming to a job near you.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Tis what they're doing where I work. My department is being laid off, technically absorbed into the parent company, but realistically being absorbed by a sister company that pays 2/3 of what employees here get. Some areas of this sister company have turnover rates in excess of 75% year over year. (Because of the low pay.) Then again, everyone who is getting laid off is getting a rather large severance package to stick around until the new people take over duties.

That's for the fortunate ones however. For myself, my job isn't affected "at this time" and yet I'm the I.T. guy for the department that's getting laid off, and the I.T. department as a whole (which I'm not part of) is getting laid off as well. Well geesh, how do I really expect my job will not be affected? Hopefully I'll get lucky and they'll offer me the same package that everyone else here is getting. Whether or not they do, when my job ends, I'm starting up my renewable energy consulting business. Somehow I think there might be a market for that coming up soon. ;)

I keep telling people that aggregating jobs across all sectors, we are losing quality at the expense of quantity for some time. A lot of good people will lose their jobs, but lets get real folks...if you dont better yourself against the 6 Billion plus others...why do you think anything will go your way? Of course you're stuck at circuit city! I realize it's a double edged sword we're walking here, but reality is painful and when you work at CC or any other BS job that anyone else can do, why do you think you should stay over the next sap?

I think this is going to be depression worthy, what coming that is. Based on that belief, there will be a lot of cheap manual labor around when the oil does get uber expensive and we are forced to use "alternates." I bet there's a way to convert a barrel of oil into man hours somewhere.

Anytime someone mentions "Depression" I'm inclined to recommend the excellent documentary Riding the Rails, which someone on this board recommended previously.

I watched it last week and it made a real impact on me. There was some scary shit going on during the Depression. Many people were jobless, many were homeless. In some cases fathers kicked their juvenile sons out of the house because they were a burden to the family and it was thought that these boys could make it better on their own.

In my mind the mistake people make in thinking about a coming depression is that there will be any work whatsoever.

Based on that belief, there will be a lot of cheap manual labor around when the oil does get uber expensive and we are forced to use "alternates."

I'm not sure the demand will be there for employing people as alternative sources of energy. For this to be the case you have to assume people will need things made, which assumes other people will have a means of purchasing those products being made with human labor.

My vision, especially after watching this documentary, is that many of us will be desperate to find work but we won't be able to. If you're lucky enough to get work it will likely be temporary and tenuous (not to mention tedious and exhausting, to speak to Tate's idea above on alternatives to oil).

You'd be best off either being rich or being able to survive independently of a paycheck, in my opinion.

Tom A-B

In some cases fathers kicked their juvenile sons out of the house because they were a burden to the family and it was thought that these boys could make it better on their own.

That was actually pretty common even before the Depression.

That's why you had those bands of boys roaming the streets in Oliver Twist. Economic conditions in London at the time were such that it was nearly impossible for even a middle class family to support more than one child at a time. So if another child was born, either the baby would be killed (rolled over "accidentally," given to a baby farmer, left at an orphanage, etc.), or the older child would be kicked out of the house. Some kids were kicked out as young as three.

Girls were also kicked out, but they were more likely to end up as prostitutes or serving girls, rather than roaming the streets.

Anthropologist Marvin Harris argued that this was the real reason for public schools (and the truancy laws that came with them). It was a way to get the young hoodlums off the street.

Awhile back, there was a story in the news about a skeleton found in Utah. It was apparently from around the turn of the century. He was a worker who had gotten sick, crawled into a cave, and died. No one missed him, because there were so many itinerant workers then. From his skeleton, they could tell that he'd been working a long time at a repetitive job that was physically demanding. He was only 14 or 15 years old. Historians said it was common at the time for boys his age to be turned out of their homes to seek their fortunes.

It will be very difficult for many to deal with these new/old realities. Growing up in a world that is based on such rules is hard enough; being thrust into it from a far more secure and safe past will be devastating.

Psychological preparation is as important as the practical side, but almost entirely overlooked.

In my youth the more offspring on the farm the better. The lone farmer simply needed children to help him. Girls to help care for the younger ones, cook and do the cleaning chores,etc. The boys had to work in the fields and whatever else needed a man's hands at.

So the more children you had the more prosperous you could be. If you had a surplus at the time you hired them out to neighbors who were shy of kids.

The girls were encouraged to marry well and bring in relatives to join with the extended family. They might also inherit land later and so increase the holdings.

Sadly with WWII all my uncles fled to sign up. Only a few ever returned and then we entered a new age. Burbs sprang up and life was never the same.

Today a farmer might have one or two sons but mostly just 2 offspring at the most. They can't keep them on the farm in the majority of cases. They want that bright shiny lifestlye but far later they realize how empty it is. They instead sit around waiting for the old man to kick the bucket so they can inherit and then sell off the land and get more toys.

Those who did stay and helped increase the holdings? Who ran the combines and drove the tractors? Their family became very rich and just kept adding land and more land. Now those kids might dip snuff and drink likker and hunt/fish and watch basketball too much but they are far far better off than the ones that fled.

"Were not in Kansas anymore Toto."

NOTE: I am not looking for anyone to sign believability certificates on my opinion, after all most all this chatter on TOD is just opinion, and thank Deity for those opinions.

Airdale-related to many of those I speak of

Appreciate the input. I should have been more clear. I am speaking strictly of farm hands. Production of something is key. In a depression, necessities will be in demand above all else. I am staring at stats like 2% of our population grows what we do eat while the rest of us fuck off. At some point, substitution of manual, very cheap, labor becomes that substitute. I just dont know how far ahead of the curve I truly am.

But there will be people willing to work to eat and ready to earn something. I do realize it's going to be rather ugly. My answer to this problem is attempting to get a job at the FED in my area. I don't believe they will done away with as I think TPTB have far too much invested in the status quo and the people here won't fight, only take hand outs from whoever will help. The FED wants to help you and I....just take it c'mon....

The Fed will have to run for their lives once it becomes clear what they have done. No martial law even will prevent that.

I wonder how much real control any sort of gov.,or any other
entity will have over the ones who have no where to go...even the weathy...what can you do not to be a target to those who
have nothing...and nothing to loose.The great avalibility of high-powerd firearms here,as well as many,many pissed-off folks will ensure life is "interesting" for everyone.

They can leave their property and take themselves. They have the means.

A lot of work can be done on a small farm with a gallon of fuel. Even at 10 times the current price it would be preferable to use fossil fuel energy than manpower.

I sold up my house and business in 2004 and moved to France in preparation for what's coming (economic collapse, peak oil, climate change and the ensuing geopolitical instability). I'm currently learning how to work my land and live a more sustainable lifestyle. It takes time, I've been planning and undertaking the change now for about 5-6 years and I'm nowhere near ready yet.

Back to my point, with the correct equipment it is amazing how much work can be achieved with a litre of fuel. Running around in my car is expensive regards fuel, using a micro tractor to prepare the land for planting is cheap fuel wise. I see little mention of this when people talk of peak oil and food, especially as we're not going to run out of oil anytime soon. Also, in the likelihood of fuel rationing, priority will probably be given to food production.

For those considering self-sufficiency the use of productive fossil fuel run equipment shouldn't be dismissed. Of course the downside is that there will be no need, on the farm at least, to employ all those out of work service industry personnel.

What you fail to see is that we won't be returning to and idllyic country bumpking lifestlye aka 1930's. when the cities can no longer support the millions because of PO related problems then all those millions have to go somewhere...

Like out to the country

To your farm...and look at all that food you got!

I hope you and your neighbors are well armed.

When society breaks down it will look like Mad Max in some areas and like ghosttowns in others. I would say that only very remote areas have a chance of any kind of "normal" life.

Even in France.....lots of riots there recently and PO isn't even in full swing.

People will indeed go to the food source. Only, to them the food source is the store, not the land. If a sudden collapse happens, most will die in the city, waiting for food to be delivered.


By use of a "micro tractor" are you refering to a
"walk behind" (such as BCS or Grillo) or small riding
tractor for tillage? I would be interested in your
(or others in your area) experience using small farming

I also think that small farming equipment may be
very useful especially in the near term as we slide
down "the slope".

Rude Crude,

The best little farming tractor I ever owned was a 1975 International Harverster-Farmall 140. This is the one with a offset drivers seat. No tricycle front end on this one. Wide frontend. Made that way so the crop you are cultivating is directly under your and down your line of sight instead of hidden by the tractor engine. Used a lot for tobacco farming but had boltup attachments of a large variety plus a drawbar. The cultivators could be adjusted in many configurations. It also had a pto in the rear with which you could attach a belly mower or in my case a 5 ft. sickle bar mower.

It was very effecient with gas and was the perfect gardening tractor. No hyd steering but it didn't need it. I got it at an auction for $3,000 in 1987 with a front loader even and almost all the attachments made for it. Even a big center mounted disk blade, one bottom plow and so forth.

I auctioned it off and got $4,600 for it in 2003.

Far better than 'red belly Fords' IMO. No two point hitch though.

You could put it in low gear and with the cultivators , idle down the row cleaning out all the weeds and grass and throwing up a hill over the beans. It even had a set of cultivator sweeps behind the rear wheels to disk out your tracks. The front wheels were adjustable as well as the rears and could have mounted weights as well but I usually ran with antifreeze in the rear tires for better traction.

A good solid four cylinder gas engine. It was indestructable and very easy to repair. I even split it once to replace the clutch and it was just a two day job.

I then used it for a hay rake tractor and with the front loader I could even dig out multiflora rose bushes with ease.

Nice picture, DIYer. Thanks Airdale and Delusional for your

walk behind like gravely very beasty hard to turn. get a small(16-20hp) kubota 4wd -runs @4 hrs on a gallon of diesel.

To add to what I wrote on this thread about farming and children.

Farm hands are paid very very low. $7.00 hour is very common and includes no benefits. Maybe a smattering of medical.

These farm hands live in the community and thankfully we dont' have the same high prices that the city dwellers do. There is some gouging but a lot of baloney is eaten as well as Vienna Sausages and junk food.

You drive a farm truck over the road? Still the same pay. You work overtime, and in season you work a huge amount of overtime, but the pay is still the same.

There is also a lot of turnover. Most do just the minimum required and 'lay out' whenever they get a little ahead. Its a dirty hard job still and very dangerous as well. The season slacks off then you are usually sidelined as well. Then you have zero income. No McDonalds where I live to flip burgers at. No Starbucks for aspiring baristas.

"again not Kansas Toto"..


$7.00 an hour?!!! Try sub minimum wage. They would be dancing in the fields if you gave them $7.00 hr.

70 killed in gas fire in Nigeria

A fire ignited as people were scavenging spilled fuel from an overturned tanker truck in northern Nigeria, killing 70 and wounding 20, an official said Wednesday.

The truck was carrying about 8,700 gallons of fuel when it overturned on a curve in the road late Monday in northern Kaduna state, said Saad Yahaya, a police spokesman for the region. The driver told passers-by not to collect fuel gushing from the disabled vehicle, but they ignored him, Yahaya said.

Natural gas watchers--

In January I posted on this forum some observations on the domestic supply-demand picture. In that post I made the following points:

* The NG market was about 40 bcf per week tighter than the year before.
* Assuming normal weather, storage levels would drop below the 5-year average by July.
* NG prices will rise this spring and breach the $10 mark before July.

Based on the March 2007 EIA report on natural gas, I must revise my theory. EIA estimates that dry gas output in the final three months of 2006 exceeded the same period in 2004 (before the hurricanes).

Oct – Dec. 2006 – 4,740 bcf
Oct – Dec. 2004 – 4,602 bcf

Overall, the overall output in 2006 (18,491) trailed 2004’s total (18,591) by a small amount. EIA’s estimate for December 2006 (1,610 bcf) is about as high as production has been over the last three years. Certainly the 40 bcf/week tightness I saw earlier this winter is now history. How long this production spurt will last is anybody’s guess, but, for the moment, the gas market appears to be well-supplied, at least through the summer, even if it's a hot one.

Once again, the amount of natural gas used for generating electricity (6,247 bcf) set another record in 2006. The electric power sector now accounts for more than 28% of total domestic consumption.

In January I opined that the tight natural gas market would pull the price of petroleum higher. It would appear that the reverse is now true.

Could an increase in LNG shipments close a 40 bcf/week supply gap?


U.S. Natural Gas May Decline on LNG Imports, Goldman Sachs Says

By Mathew Carr

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. natural-gas prices due in the next three months may decline an average 9.1 percent as a surge in liquefied fuel imports boosts inventories following warm winters in Europe and Asia, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

The price for delivery in the three months through June will likely be $7 per million British thermal units, Jeffrey Currie, Goldman's head of commodities research in London, said in an e- mailed research report dated March 25. That's less that the $7.70 average forward Henry Hub benchmark price for those three months today on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

U.K. gas prices averaged the equivalent of $3.89 per million Btus in February, after warm weather dried up demand for heating and new pipelines from Norway and the Netherlands boosted supplies, Currie said. Lower European demand prompted diversions of LNG cargoes to the U.S., the biggest gas market.

LNG--because there is not much storage capacity in West Europe--will boost US supplie a lot until about October, when the West Europeans bid it away from us. Then there will be a shock at how fast supplies are drawn down.

2006 was the worst year(excluding hurricanes) since 1993 for NG in the US. Furthermore we are only hanging on at these levels due to a dramatic increase in rigs. More rigs will be needed to stay remotely flat in the years ahead, and those rigs will not be built/ordered without higher gas prices.

US dry gas production

1993: 18,095,460
1994: 18,821,025
1995: 18,598,679
1996: 18,854,063
1997: 18,902,389
1998: 19,023,564
1999: 18,832,232
2000: 19,181,980
2001: 19,616,311
2002: 18,927,788
2003: 19,098,544
2004: 18,590,891
2005: 18,074,237
2006: 18,491,057

A massive drilling effort, over the last three years, has kept NG prod from dropping off a cliff, but Canadian drilling is way down this year and will show up as a drop in exports to the US. Again, C$7 AECO is not getting the producers excited, and higher prices will come first, then the next round of drilling will start.

I think we are looking at a big drop in Canadian gas production in 2007, and probably nearly flat in the US. NA is one big market, so total US+Canada production will be down, while demand is higher.

A few weeks ago I posted a comment about the potential for a device called the ultrasonic generator to enable abandoned oil wells to become productive again. Today I talked some more to the man that introduced this technology at the BC Oil and Gas Summit in Victoria. I asked him what the range of the device was. He said originally it was only about 3 metres, but by tweaking things it is up to around 10 metres now. I said that is not very far, but he said it is all that is needed because of the skinning factor. So as I understand it, not knowing much about oil wells, the generator stimulates things enough to bring down the skin around the wellbore allowing the surrounding oil to flow more easily again. I then asked if it works as well in a field that has been water flooded. He said the beauty of it is that it works just about as well in that case as well, and it does not need anything injected to maintain the flow. The device will not be available commercially for 12 to 18 months, and he would not tell me who makes the device as they are keeping everything under wraps for now.
So, my question is for all you oil field experts, does any of this sound plausible if this device can lower the skin factor? All I am doing is passing on the information I received for further analysis. He seems adamant that this works really well.

Of course he's adamant about it! He's trying to make a quick buck before TSHTF!!!

That may be true, but it does not answer my question about the technical plausibility, which I would be interested in knowing. There are certainly enough people on this site that could reply to that.
And, by the by, the reason he gave for introducing the concept at the summit was because he felt that the Canadian strategy of building a pipeline to ship oil from the tarsands to the U.S. was wrongheaded and we should be putting the pipeline through to the coast to ship to Asia.

Sounds - not so plausible. With vertical drilling and water injection most of the oil from a well has been recovered – now does he have a demonstrable prototype that works and has a physicist vouched for it?

I don't know about the physicist aspect. They have tried the device in an old field, ( he didn't say where) and they had really good results, even though the particular field they used had poor characteristics.

ok ok ill throw in some technical analysis... it sounds like hes artificially inducing soil liquefaction. During earthquakes the soil settles and water comes to the top of the soil...

i dont think his idea will work, because unlike ground water, oil is found much deeper in the ground

ps im not a geologist or anything so take my 2 cents for what they are really worth... 2 cents

Quite implausible. I cannot infer what the mechanism for enhancing recovery would be.

A wild guess would involve the direct effect of "good vibrations" [my apologies to Brian Wilson] mobilizing otherwise immobile oil, but trying to impart a strong ongoing [or pulsating vibration] the would have much effect beyond a few inches from the device seems unlikely.

Add to that the "not commercially available for eighteen months" statement. Ask yourself "why?"

Add to that the suggested use on "abandonded" wells [the casing is usually shot off above the cement for the pay and the surface casing is filled with cement to decrease the risk of pollution of potable / treatable ground water in abandoned wells.] Maybe wells that are about to be plugged ...

If you have more information on how this is supposed to work, you may get someone on this board who can provide some encouragement or at least a more definitive comment than "implausible". I can't.

Before the advent of computer drafting, we used to use ultrasound in water or solvent to clean the gunk off of drafting pens so the ink would flow again. It worked. Whether that is relevant to the bore of an oil well, I have no idea.

I met the guy in Cactus Club Cafe in Vicotira about three weeks ago. He's Korean, so of course he would think Canada should send its oil to Asia. When I asked him what he did, he gave the outline provided above. A basic problem is that to move large amount, large enrgy is needed, and he explained how it was a low energy device.

Personally, I find such claims bogus unless proven by subsequent production. I'm sure he'll be rich soon - as P. T. Barnum said, there's one born every minute.

US solves endangered species problem

It seems wildlife is simply thriving in our CO2-filled atmosphere, since the U.S. Interior Department is preparing a set of measures that will severely limit the listing of new endangered species.

Although the Bush administration, faced with increasing evidence about global warming, has recently made shy steps towards listing the polar bears as an endangered species, it appears that the same administration is trying to “compensate” the aforementioned proposal with a revised set of regulations that would substantially weaken the federal Endangered Species Act- according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Center for Biological Diversity.

“These draft regulations slash the Endangered Species Act from head to toe,” said Kieran Suckling, policy director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “They undermine every aspect of law – recovery, listing, preventing extinction, critical habitat, federal oversight and habitat conservation plans – all of it is gutted.”

The draft regulations would –

* Remove recovery of a species or population as a protection standard;
* Allow projects to proceed that have been determined to threaten species with extinction;
* Permit destruction of all restored habitat within critical habitat areas;
* Prevent critical habitat areas from being used to protect against disturbance, pesticides, exotic species, and disease;
* Severely limit the listing of new endangered species; and
* Empower states to veto endangered species introductions as well as administer virtually all aspects of the Endangered Species Act within their borders.

You can crush charcoal in a steel mortar and pestle - prospectors call this a 'dolly pot'. I've been adding some NPK, steeping the mix in water and filtering it through 3 millimetre mesh. Next step is to fill a drum with this 'black coffee' on the back of truck and spray it on the fields using a firefighting pump. So far so good but there hasn't been enough recent rainfall to contrast sprayed and unsprayed areas.

News Flash *** From EnergyBulletin; http://www.energybulletin.net/27883.html

GAO report on peak oil to be released
by Lisa Wright

Washington, DC -- Congressmen Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Tom Udall (D-NM), co-chairmen of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, announce a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday, March 29, 2007 between 11:30 am and 12:00 noon in HC-9 of the Capitol to discuss the release of an embargoed GAO report.

The report will reveal the United States is particularly vulnerable and the United States federal government is unprepared to respond to severe consequences from an increasing risk of significant disruptions to world oil supplies from peak oil and other above ground political and economic factors.

I suspect many TOD readers have been waiting for this report for a long time. I'm anxious to read the GAO's findings.

FYI, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the U.S. Congress' "investigative" or "watchdog" arm. They are set up to provide non-partisan analysis of key issues brought to them by members of Congress.

In my opinion, if any Peak Oil report will get the attention of our elected leaders and main-stream media, it will be a report by the GAO.

Yes that is so, they are supposed to be non biased politically, or other reason.

However, my I point to the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT and its actions reveal it appears to have failed at being non partisan.

Lets see what it says, but I bet you have to watch C span to see it.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria


For insiders' eyes only. Very common.

I think we are going to have a dedicated thread to this today.

Welcome Fractional Flow. (and Stuart - a thick skin is needed when playing on the Internet - where you are only 150 milliseconds from every asshole on the planet)

from one of the summaries:
The death of cheap oil is going to become as widely known this year as global warming.

Which is a 'better' situation - blame the future changes on the lack of oil, the nature of the US Petrodollar, or "global Warming"

Boasting to your political constituents that, thanks to your conservation initiatives, the air is 15% cleaner this year :)

The Panic of 2007?

But the subprime mess could be the first chapter in a larger horror story. For starters, the housing slump could worsen. More foreclosures put more homes on the market. Tighter lending standards shrink the number of buyers. More supply and less demand further depress home prices. A drop of 20 percent over a decade is possible, Yale economist Robert Shiller tells Barron's. Shaken homeowners feel poorer and spend less.

Subprime losses also might foreshadow losses on other new securities. Some of these bundle other loans: auto loans, credit-card loans, business loans. In 2006, issuance of all these "asset-backed securities" totaled $748 billion, says Moody's Investors Service. Other securities perform more exotic tasks. "Credit default swaps" in effect provide insurance against losses on loans (one party pays the other to cover specific losses if they occur).

In theory, all this diversifies risk; in practice, it may disguise risk.

Since the early 1800s, banks had dominated the system. People and businesses deposited their cash in banks; then the banks made loans. Now, much money bypasses banks. In 1975, banks and savings and loan associations—close cousins—issued 73 percent of all home mortgages. By 2006, their share of the $10 trillion mortgage market was 29 percent. Almost 60 percent had been "securitized": bundled into bonds and sold to investors (pensions, mutual funds, foreign investors).

I'd like to see Mr. Samuelson explain how exactly money bypasses banks, and what money that would be. The banks still make the loans.

He did explain it: "Almost 60 percent had been 'securitized'"

Banks don't bear the risk for most of those loans.

Many many mortgages these days are originated, as they say, by entities that are technically not banks.

There are no entities other than banks that can issue mortgages, or any other kind of loan.

There are brokers that are middlemen between banks and borrowers.

It so happens that Tanta at CalculatedRisk touched on the subject today (not that it should be unclear to anyone), in a reaction to Sandra Braunstein's 'Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives'. She is the Director of the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs for the Federal Reserve.

While commercial banks still have a significant role in the mortgage origination and distribution process, they are no longer the leading originators or holders of residential mortgages. Securitization has allowed many financial institutions to use increasingly sophisticated strategies to package and resell home mortgages to investors. This has resulted in increased competition and a wide variety of mortgage products and choices for consumers, in a market in which mortgage brokers and mortgage finance companies compete aggressively with traditional banks to offer new products to would-be homeowners.

In what strange world are mortgage brokers “competitors” of banks? Let us remember what a broker is: not a lender. A broker brings a borrower and a lender together, and pockets a commission of some sort for so doing. The broker has no capital to lend. The “competitors” of brokers are direct retail lenders, meaning those lenders with loan officer employees who offer loans directly to consumers without requiring the services of brokers.

But for any bank with a wholesale origination model (which could, you know, be related to its “securitization” model in some fashion), brokers are not competitors, they’re sources of business. The wholesaler’s competition is other wholesalers, some of which are not depositories. Why am I making such a big deal about this? Because brokers have no “new products” to “offer” to “would-be homeowners.” They go out and find products offered by wholesalers to offer to would-be homeowners.

I think he means that many loans are made by financial institutions, but not necessarily a "bank" originates the underwriting. GMAC, Brokers of all sorts that package etc.

I visit a web site that is a broker site for mortgages. I started reading and watching their posts right after the Sub prime hit the screens.

That was some fascinating reading and still is. They are worried, and starting on Monday there was more than one thread and post which spoke of Legal ramifications. I recall one mentioned that the FBI had already made contact, and here ya go with a report that the FBI is involved.

Oh and I think it might have missed the US news, but I saw a report that the Jolly ol Queen gave the jolly ol Greenspan a touch on the shoulders with a sword, granted him a Knighthood I believe. Job well done, err what did he earn it for, ohhh, shhhh, thats 'private". Like in the "fed" which is a PRIVATE banking system. Who owns it, shhh.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Perhaps the earliest mention of Peak Oil?

Hubberts First Forecast?


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

Last sentence of that piece:

University of Florida anthropologist Susan Gillespie says the 2012 phenomenon comes "from media and from other people making use of the Maya past to fulfill agendas that are really their own."

...and here I thought it was only the peak oil folks that were prone to that sort of thing.... :-)

I think it was sort-of a 'Y2K' bug in the Mayan calendar. All the carvings and things have dates in the Mesoamerican number system, and it rolls over the equivalent of 9999 in 2012. Or something like that.


According to the Maya, there will be a b'ak'tun ending in 2012, a significant event being the end of the 13th 400 year period, but not the end of the world.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier posting on the captured Brits. According to this BBC report [please see maps and pictures]:


These sailors, including one female, were under British helicopter surveilance, and the GPS location was constantly tracked electronically by the mother ship, HMS Cornwall.

Then, the Lynx helo gunship left the boarded ship and sailors--this is crucial, but not answered in the news--was the helo sent elsewhere, by orders, effectively abandoning these sailors with no defensive air-cover? Did the helo radio in saying that it had to leave to refuel, and if so, what aircraft was next assigned to be on-scene so that the Brits were never without an air umbrella? and why was radio contact ever lost at all with the mothership so close by? Additionally, a helo or some other aircraft would have spotted the Iranian gunboats miles before they got even close to capturing these sailors.

Was the radar on the HMS Cornwall not scanning the sea for Iranian gunboats? Were there any high altitude AWACS airborne that had full radar situational awareness of the whole northern end of the Persian Gulf?

Something still doesn't pass my smell test. Were these Brits purposely left exposed to capture? Did these sailors radio the mothership as the Iranians approached, as I suspect, but the mothership ignored their pleas for help?

Has the British Navy purposely made the general operations of the helo crews to only guard during the boarding phase, then fly elsewhere? Is this the dog that didn't bark?
The Iranians could monitor this standard procedure over time and many boarding ops, then take advantage of this air umbrella weakness to capture a British crew.

What are the Rules of Engagement--why didn't the sailors fire their weapons? They had the high ground of the already boarded and legally-controlled ship purportedly in Iraqi waters. The Iranians would be clearly seen as the aggressive pirates in this case.

Or were these two little rubber boats really in Iranian waters? I can't tell if the Brits or Iranians are telling the truth, can you? I think the BBC reporters need to ask many more questions.

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

I've been watching the news on BBC World regularly for about a decade at least, and in the past week I've got the feeling that the BBC has already gone to war. Their journalists can usually be relied on to do a fairly decent job as long as vital British interests are not at stake, but once the UK is at war, the BBC becomes more gung-ho than even Fox! This was painfully obvious just before and during the 1999 Nato bombing of Yugoslavia and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Just consider this: According to Fox, WRT the captured sailors,

"If this happened south of where the river boundary ends, knowing the coordinates wouldn't necessarily help us," said Richard Schofield of King's College in London, who is an expert on the waterway. "We have to accept the British claim with as much salt as the Iranian claim."


"Until a boundary is agreed, you could only be certain that the personnel were in Iraqi territorial waters if they were within 12 miles of the (Iraqi) coast and, at the same time, more than 12 miles from any island, spit, bar or sand bank claimed by Iran," said Craig Murray, former chief of the Maritime Section of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

That means ships operating near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab _ where marshes and sandbars make navigation difficult and where "ownership" of the water is ambiguous _ could easily run into trouble.


Even Fox makes it obvious that Iran may well be justified in capturing these sailors, but the BBC does no such thing; on the contrary, it turns out that just last week they happened to interview the one woman subsequently captured and are now emphasizing how devoted a mother she is etc, while not asking any critical questions whatever about the whole incident.

The fact that the BBC have gone on a war mode is extremely worrying. They're not even reporting what knowledgeable British people are saying, because their opinions do not justify any escalation of the conflict. Here's Craig Murray again:

Tony Blair has let it be known that he is "utterly confident" that the British personnel were in Iraqi waters. He has of course never been known for his expertise in the Law of the Sea. But let us contrast this political certainty with the actual knowledge of the Royal Navy Commander of the operation on which the captives were taken.

Before the spin doctors could get to him, Commodore Lambert said:

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they were in Iraqi territorial waters. Equally, the Iranians may well claim that they were in their territorial waters. The extent and definition of territorial waters in this part of the world is very complicated".

That is precisely right. The boundary between Iran and Iraq in the northern Persian Gulf has never been fixed. (Within the Shatt-al-Arab itself a line was fixed, but was to be updated every ten years because the waterway shifts, according to the treaty. As it has not been updated in over twenty years, whether it is still valid is a moot point. But it appears this incident occurred well south of the Shatt anyway.) This is a perfectly legitimate dispute. The existence of this dispute will clearly be indicated on HMS Cornwall's charts, which are in front of Commodore Lambert, but not of Mr Blair.


I had a look at the BBC website and there is some consideration of the complexity of the issues there. But the point is, you get none of that on TV news, which offer a very simplified "Britain good, Iran bad" view of the situation. Yet, as Pepe Escobar reminds us,

Western corporate media overwhelmingly take for granted that the British were in Iraqi or "international" waters (wrong: these are disputed Iran/Iraq waters). Tehran has accused the British of "blatant aggression" and reminded world public opinion "this is not the first time that Britain commits such illegal acts" (which is true). Tehran diplomats later suggested that the British might be charged with espionage (which is actually the case in Khuzestan province in Iran, conducted by US Special Forces).


Ever wonder what would be happening if these were American soldiers?

Strange. According to one of the British soldiers on the video released by Iran, they were "obviously in Iranian waters". According to a local newspaper, that was also in a letter she sent. On the other hand, she's apparently also the first to be released.

And now the British apparently have forced entry into the Iranian embassy in Baghdad according to the Iranian consul, though they themselves deny it.

Castro's view on US biofuel policy.


Global starvation and ecological destruction.

Thank you Fidel.

Ethanol producers could have no finer enemy. This economic
"expert" has brought Cuba nothing but hardship for 47 years. If anyone listens to this moron they deserve what they get.

The fact that they were boycotted by half a continent was of course a coincidence. The fact that most of their vital statistics are comparable with the best of South America, and in some cases surpass the US, is of course a coincidence. But it is probable that we get to see how the US copes with a 50% reduction in oil supply.