DrumBeat: April 3, 2007

Crude: Barrels of fun to crack you up

In 1949, the movie It Happens Every Spring chronicled the professional baseball exploits of a bookish US Midwestern science professor, played by Ray Milland, who discovers a chemical coating for baseballs that will make them impossible to hit. However, if somebody was making a movie called It Happens Every Spring in 2007, the subject would not be baseball, but the now annual spring reaming that oil consumers are once again undergoing at the hands of the world's oil interests.

Defence report underlines terrorist threat to oil refineries

Oil refineries could become a key target in terrorist efforts to cripple economies around the globe, warns a Department of National Defence report obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

U.S Oil Companies Look to Invest in Riskier Regions

Major oil companies are looking to invest in increasingly risky corners of the world, as high oil prices and tightening access to oil reserves make these regions more attractive.

Gazprom plans to become global energy leader

Russia's energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] said Tuesday it plans to become the world's largest energy company.

UAE awards Hormuz bypass oil pipeline contract

Abu Dhabi’s government-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has awarded Germany’s ILF a contract to build a pipeline that would allow more than half of UAE’s crude exports to bypass the Strait of Hormuz.

Japanese Official Pessimistic About Gas Talks

Foreign Minister Taro Aso of Japan has said he is "not optimistic" about progress in talks with China over joint development of natural gas reserves in a disputed area of the East China Sea.

Beijing explores sea beds, in search of oil

The China National Petroleum Corp (Cnpc), announced today that it will ramp up its exploration of offshore gas and oil reserves this year. The biggest oil discovery in China in 10 years was recently confirmed in the Bohai Sea.

Vietnam's crude oil export down in Q1

Vietnam exported over 3.9 million tons of crude oil worth more than 1.7 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of this year, down 7.9 percent and 14.6 percent respectively year-on-year.

Judge Tosses $7.6M Kerr-McGee Verdict

A federal judge has overturned a jury's verdict that Kerr-McGee Corp. knowingly underpaid federal oil royalties by nearly $7.6 million, saying the government auditor who accused the company did not have the legal standing to file a lawsuit.

Alternative-Fuels Pioneer Receives First-Ever $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability

Your car could soon become a vegetarian thanks to a process for cost-effectively converting cellulosic biomass, such as grass, wood, wheat and rice straw, into ethanol that can be used for fuel.

Clearing the ethanol air

Canadians, especially Barrie residents, need the straight facts about ethanol.

The proposed Iranian oil bourse will accelerate the fall of the US Empire

A nation-state taxes its own citizens, while an empire taxes other nation-states. The history of empires, from Greek and Roman, to Ottoman and British, teaches that the economic foundation of every single empire is the taxation of other nations. The imperial ability to tax has always rested on a better and stronger economy, and as a consequence, a better and stronger military.

...For the first time in history, in the twentieth century, America was able to tax the world indirectly, through inflation. It did not enforce the direct payment of taxes like all of its predecessor empires did, but distributed instead its own fiat currency, the US dollar.

Using Oil to Understand Inflationary Pressures

Due to oil's inseparable connection to economic growth, any supply constraints will inflate the cost of everything from the food we eat to the computers we buy. As the prices of these goods and services rise with the cost of energy so do inflationary pressures. Attempts to control this type of inflation through the use of rate cuts will only be successful once economic growth is stifled (recession) and the demand for the supply diminished. Only then will prices correct and inflationary pressures be eased.

Iran crisis will put Asian economy in clear danger

The crisis also brings into focus Asia's growing reliance on oil and natural gas supplies from the volatile Gulf region and the economic and political repercussions of this dependence. Asia's export-oriented but oil-short economies are tied to the fortunes of the Gulf by an energy lifeline. Both regions are integral parts of a vast conveyor belt of seaborne commerce that runs between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Time: 51 Things We Can Do

Can one person slow global warming? Actually, yes. You—along with scientists, businesses and governments—can create paths to cut carbon emissions. Here is our guide to some of the planet's best ideas, with an assessment of their impact and feel—good factor.

WTTC launches debate on climate change with global ad campaign

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) launches an international campaign to call to dialogue the issues on climate change. The campaign will run full pages in authoritative publications including The Daily Telegraph, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and travel trade media around the world.

Saudi Arabia refining Chinese relations

Given the length of time it has taken to conclude the deal, some analysts have noted that rising project costs may well have been a factor too - across the world high steel and other material prices have led to hefty cost hikes and even the abandonment of some projects.

Toughening Up in the Gulf

Royal Dutch Shell's Mars oil platform is whole again, with two months to spare before hurricane season begins in June.

...But this time, revamped clamps give the substructure a much stronger grip on the platform, said Charlie Williams, chief scientist of well engineering and production technology for Shell.

Biofuel Bliss - The Second Coming

Research like that being done at the Colorado State University’s (CSU) Engines and Energy Conservation Laboratory and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), suggests that algae could supply enough fuel to meet all of America’s transportation needs in the form of biodiesel.

That’s right . . . all of it!

Investigative Carte Blanche casts doubt on De Beers Fuel

Investors in De Beers and Infiniti Biodiesel were given the impression that algae was an almost immediate solution to the anticipated shortage of vegetable oil for biofuels production.

However, when approached by Cart Blanche, GreenFuels CEO Paul Rodzianko said that “on an accelerated schedule, from today on, the earliest that a commercial scale facility would be available will probably be the end of next year, to the beginning of 2009.”

Petrobras Returns Block to Bolivia

Brazilian energy giant Petrobras has returned an oil block to Bolivia, citing the risk of not being able to recoup its investment and higher taxes stemming from last year's decree nationalizing the country's fossil-fuel resources, industry officials told Efe Saturday.

Dominican Republic: Sichuan team to define coal project site details

A team from Chinese firm Sichuan Machinery Equipment is due to arrive in the Dominican Republic this week to advance a 600MW coal-fired plant project, a generation official from state power holding company CDEEE told BNamericas.

...The plants are part of the government's power sector plan unveiled last year to mitigate the country's energy crisis.

Ghana: The Energy Crisis - Ghanaians Turn

For over two decades Ghana has been having uncomfortable close encounters with the weather, leading to drastic reductions in the country's main hydro-electric dam's generating capacity. Now the dam is approaching near collapse due to a prolonged drought and the country is in dire need of alternative sources of power for the short, medium and eventual long terms.

Ghana: Go For Solar Energy

The Chief Executive Officer of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has called for an aggressive programme to begin the manufacture and use of solar panels for domestic use to reduce the burden on the national electricity grid.

Botswana may build solar-geothermal power plant

The Botswana government has called for companies to tender for the provision of consultancy services to conduct a prefeasibility study for the construction of a solar geothermal power plant in the country.

Shell reserves show shift from oil to gas

Royal Dutch Shell pumped twice as much oil as it found last year, forcing the company to rely on traditionally lower-margin natural gas and oil sands to boost its reserves.

Figures issued on Monday echoed a trend across the industry as resource holders increasingly shun the oil majors.

CERA: Oil prices, CO2 concerns to spur nuclear renaissance

High fossil fuel prices and a global push for cleaner energy have created an environment ripe for a nuclear renaissance, Cambridge Energy Research Associates said in a report published Monday.

America 'unnecessarily at risk' by looming fall-off in petroleum

The endless calls by politicians for "energy independence" are perhaps the most striking example of how little this issue is understood by the people in charge.

Former oil men George W. Bush and Dick Cheney cannot be among those in the dark on this, though they clearly have chosen not to make it an issue for reasons we may not find out until they publish their memoirs. By then, they may have a lot of explaining to do.

In the Zone - Kunstler

The more interesting point in all this, for the moment, is that the media has still not put together the collapse of the housing bubble and the permanent oil crisis. These events will be happening simultaneously. The housing industry, so-called, will never recover because the oil crisis spells the end of the suburban build out. The cycle is over. The big production homebuilders will go down and never come back. We won't need any more retail, either. We won't be building anymore WalMarts and Target stores, and the thousands now running will die off just as the giant Baluchitherium of the Asian steppes crapped out in the early Miocene epoch.

Post-oil scaleback

James Howard Kunstler, author of the book, "The Long Emergency," and one of the leading experts on peak oil, recently spelled out what needs to happen next.

"Life in the USA will have to become much more local, and virtually all the activities of everyday life will have to be rescaled," wrote Kunstler. "If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you."

Lula: Petrobras Will Continue to Invest in Iran

Brazil's state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.BR), or Petrobras, will continue to invest in Iran despite U.S. concerns, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told U.S. President George W. Bush, the Valor newspaper said Monday.

KS Energy to build ME oil rig

Singapore's oil & gas services firm KS Energy Services said on Tuesday it has formed a joint venture to build its first offshore oil drilling rig at a Middle East shipyard in a deal worth $148 million.

China to adjust its refined oil pricing mechanism

China is waiting for the right opportunity to adjust its refined oil pricing mechanism but disadvantaged groups will be subsidised, a senior official has said.

ConocoPhillips: In Talks with Venezuela Over Oil-Projects Compensation

ConocoPhillips (COP) is engaging in discussions with the Venezuelan government over compensation for the reduction of ownership and new commercial terms in its oil projects there, Chief Executive Jim Mulva said Monday.

Is 'King Coal' making a comeback?

Coal is trickling out of a Yorkshire mine for the first time in 13 years. Hargreaves Services, the country's biggest independent coal producer, has bought a pit and there are rumblings about re-opening five mines in south Wales.

So is "King Coal" making a comeback? Not as a major producer but as a power generator, courtesy of clean coal technology and some astute marketing.

With Cellulosic Ethanol, There Is No Food Vs. Fuel Debate According To MSU Scientist

As more and more corn grain is diverted to make ethanol, there have been public concerns about food shortages. However, ethanol made from cellulosic materials instead of corn grain, renders the food vs. fuel debate moot, according to research by a Michigan State University ethanol expert.

A Better Biofuel

A California biotech company is engineering microbes to produce cheap biofuels that could out-compete ethanol.

Australia tells EU to do more on emissions

Australia called on the European Union on Tuesday to do more to cut its own greenhouse emissions before lecturing Kyoto skeptics Australia and the United States about climate change.

Brent maintains Iran premium over WTI

Traditionally, WTI trades at a premium to Brent, but the European benchmark can be more sensitive to political developments in the Middle East as it is the main reference price used by the region's exporters. WTI is the reference for US oil imports.

Another factor behind the price gap is that the physical delivery point for the Nymex WTI contract is Cushing in Oklahoma, where oil storage levels are near capacity according to energy analysts. This means that there is excess oil in the most important storage centre in the US, although it is not reflective of the total US oil storage situation.

Risks of rising oil nationalism

It's hard to shed a tear for Big Oil. The top five publicly traded companies racked up a record $119.5 billion profit last year – roughly the size of Ireland's economy.

Yet these corporations are steadily losing ground to a surging group of nationally run companies – a trend that could come back to hurt oil-consuming nations such as the United States, some experts say.

Gas prices climb for ninth straight week

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said drivers paid an average of $2.707 a gallon for regular gasoline in the week ended April 2, up from $2.610 the previous week.

Iraq Invites 15 International Oil Cos To Drill 50 Wells In South

Iraq has invited 15 international oil companies to drill 50 new oil wells in southern oil fields which would increase the country's output by 70,000 barrels a day, an Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

General Motors reports strong China sales

General Motors Corp. and its joint venture partners said Tuesday their combined sales in China jumped 25 percent in the first quarter, a boon for the U.S. automaker struggling to revive sales at home.

Canada biodiesel must withstand cold weather

Canada's fledgling biodiesel industry must prove its fuel additive can work in frigid winter weather before users can meet new government targets, an official with Shell Canada Ltd. said on Monday.

Smaller cars to grab attention in big city

At a large international auto show held in a city where space is limited and only the well-off can afford the pricey garage fees, insurance rates and the inevitable parking tickets that come with owning a car, it seems appropriate that small, fuel-friendly cars would capture a big share of the limelight.

I want to thank Darwinian for the step by step instructions on how to change the resolution on my monitor in order to view the crucial right hand side of the graphs in Ace's important post yesterday. It made the text too small to read, but enabled me to view the entire graph before going back to the previous resolution.

It would be helpful, though, if posters knew how to make a clickable enlargement of their graphs so that they can be viewed without doing this.

I have a Firefox / Explorer question.

In the morning, Firefox insist on loading the previous day's TOD even when I "refresh" the page. I can exit and restart FF with the problem remaining.

IE will load the new TOD as soon as the website is updated.

After an hour or so, FF will start loading the current TOD as well.

Any ideas?


In the Menu bar, under "Firefox", open "Preferences". In the window that pops up, go to "Cache" and click on "Clear Cache Now". You could do the same with "History" in the pop-up window.

I tried that.

Under "Tools/options/advanced/network" you have an option to clear the cache and set the size. Clearing does not help - I still load yesterday's TOD at the moment.

Hold down the shift key while clicking the refresh button. This will force a copy of the page to load from the server rather than your local cache.

Are you using the latest version of firefox? Are you using some sort of web accelerator that caches pages?

This happens for me sometimes too at work. I believe it's due to local caching, or caching performed by your ISP. (AOL caches almost everything, and some other ISPs do as well.)

I don't know if this is Francois' problem but it does affect lots of people.

Most companies will have something called a proxy server that will also cache external web sites. So your browser thinks its getting a fresh copy (ie not from the local cache) but instead is getting a stale copy from the proxy.

There is no way that I know of to force your proxy to go out and fetch the latest version (or even not to cache the page at all). Sometimes hitting refresh several times works. (there are some ways of setting up your website to avoid this problem, but some proxy servers can and do ignore these settings).

I do not recommend bypassing your companies proxy server BTW, as this has been known to get people fired.

I suspect it is a bug. There are some pages that simply will not load until you delete the local cache. You can improve the performance though:

Type "about:config" in the address bar.

Search for the string "browser.cache.check_doc_frequency", and set the value to "3".

You can search the web for more information about this string.

if you log out without closing down firefox, firefox will think it crashed and when you load it up the next time it will ask if you want to restore the previous browsing session.

Didn't post this up top, because it's subscription-only, but it's very interesting. It's from the Globe & Mail, and the author is Eric Reguly.

Combustible mix fuels oil price rise

So how do you explain the rapid price increase? Maybe something else is going on. Maybe oil supplies are so tight, thanks to soaring demand and falling production among some of the world's most prolific oil fields, that prices were poised to leap at the slightest provocation. The "ambush" -- Britain's term for the seizure of the military personnel -- might have been enough to do it.

For years, the "peak oil" crowd, along with no small number of analysts and a few top oil industry bosses, have watched the older fields' falling production rates and predicted scenarios ranging from, at best, gently but steadily rising prices to, at worst, a doubling of prices virtually overnight, leading to economic collapse. The oil optimists, among them Exxon (owner of Canada's Imperial Oil), say don't panic -- global production has not peaked and can still rise. New discoveries and technology will save the day.

The article discusses the known declines at Cantarell, the North Sea, and Prudhoe Bay, then moves on to elephant in the room:
The big question, of course, is Saudi Arabia, home to Ghawar, the world's largest oil field (the Burgan field in Kuwait is ranked second). According to various oil industry agencies, including the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there is little doubt Saudi oil production fell in 2006, with an 8-per-cent estimated decline. But there is considerable debate over whether the drop was the result of deliberate cutbacks to support the oil price or because Ghawar is past its prime and losing momentum.

Some leading oil analysts, including Henry Groppe of Groppe Long and Littell in Texas, think the cutbacks were indeed planned. This is saying something, because Mr. Groppe has been in the consulting business since 1955, is highly respected, and thinks the planet, though not necessarily Saudi Arabia itself, has reached peak oil output. Others think Saudi Arabia in general and Ghawar in particular are about to enter the geriatric ward. But what evidence? Saudi Aramco is state-owned and how much is being pumped from what fields is a secret. Counting tanker loadings from Saudi ports is probably as reliable as it gets.

But there are clues that all is not well in OPEC's swing producer. The first is anecdotal evidence that the Saudis are pumping more and more water into the reserves to maintain reservoir pressure. The second is a bit more scientific -- the number or oil drilling rigs in the country is soaring. In 2004, there were about 16. The number has since tripled -- more rigs, less production, at least less production in the past year or so. "It's indicative of a problem," one leading British oil executive says. "Everything the contract drillers have is getting sucked into Saudi Arabia."

Certainly, the rising oil prices in the absence of a genuine crisis suggests all is not right in Saudi Arabia. Oil analysts are raising price forecasts as demand and geopolitical tensions increase. If the skeptics are right about Saudi Arabia, the price could soar. The high-cost Alberta oil sands, with their enormous, long-term reserves, look appealing again.


A suggested question to ask friends and family:

Q: What percentage, of all the crude oil that the world has consumed through 2005, was consumed worldwide during George W. Bush's first term?

A: About 10%

That number never ceases to just blow me away...

It would be interesting to see what kind of average answer that people give.

Even among semi-Peak Oil aware people I have asked (not the Peak Oil geeks like us), most answers I have gotten have clustered around 3%.

It really is comical in a dark comedy sort of fashion that we were debating about exactly when the peak occurs, when, in four years we used up about 8 Prudhoe Bays or about 18 East Texas Fields.

"It really is comical in a dark comedy sort of fashion that we were debating about exactly when the peak occurs, when, in four years we used up about 8 Prudhoe Bays or about 18 East Texas Fields."

Try this: At current consumption rates (no economic growth and no population growth whatsoever), if we started using oil today, we would use up all of the currently known recoverable reserves in 40 years. Forty years is approximately half the life expectancy of a human female in the US or slightly less than 2 generations (2*22).

What's that old Saudi saying? My father rode a camel, I drove a car, my son flies a jet airplane, my grandson will ride a camel. That pretty much nails it.

I still can't wrap my mind around it.

You need to check out Fractional_Flow's Post under the Ain Dar article. He just proved Northern Ghawar is almost totally depleted.

"... the impact of that paper is that if what I did above is correct or close to correct .... then 2 MMBOPD-- is essentially gone."


Stated Proven Reserves are meaningless. This is why Saudi Arabia has announced extensive export cuts.

I still can't wrap my mind around it.

Well, there's the rub. Like you, I've been studying this for years, and my bones still ache with incredulity.

Every day, a small part of me says, "Nonsense!"

Only seeing will be truly believing for the rest of humanity, and of course by then the fat lady is not only singing, but sitting on people...

Yep, the logical part of my brain says it makes perfect sense, but the emotional part says it just can't be.

In reference to Cid above, I never miss F_F. I've read every word at least 3 times and tried to follow all of it. Having no geology in my background makes it a little obscure at times, but I can follow the math because we used trig and algebra to analyze electronic/electrical circuits in a few of my past careers.

The other night the power went off again for about 4 hours. No water pump, can't flush the toilets, can't wash dishes, can't take a shower, etc. I keep reading that our grid is in bad shape too and I find this even more frightening than lack of gasoline. I can't imagine going night after night with no lights and no running water (we're on catchment and pump). Every time it happens, I get a little more freaked out about the whole "peak everything" that seems to be coalescing on a similar point in time.

You need one of those water pumps with the handle that you pump, like they used to have on all the farms 40 yrs ago. You also need to learn how to make candles/lamp oil from animal products for when wind and solar break down.

Don't know if anyone posted this but econbrowser is talking about peak oil! They are starting to question KSA. They are fringe, but plenty of smart econ minds are plugged in.


Not only are we seeing far greating exposure to Peak oil in fringe media, but more and more MSM attack groups have jumped into the fray to try and 'debunk' it with spin, misinformation and general unsubstantiated bullshit.

It is very amusing. Someone somewhere is starting to panic.


I think that someone is me. :-/

As an experiment, I have been posting reasonable and polite comments against appropriate articles in http://www.timesonline.co.uk over the past few months. Not one of these comments has been published online - let alone in the printed newspaper.

I can only surmise that Mr Rupert Murdoch's minions have instructions to keep all references to peak oil (even where the expression "peak oil") is not used out of his publications.

A search of TOL shows the odd references to PO, but they are very few and usually not very detailed. Many also dismiss the issue rather lightly... how long can this attitude remain in the MSM?

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

Someone somewhere is starting to panic.

But when that someone, somewhere panics....who gets tossed under the wheels of the bus in an attempt to gain traction?

Jim Hamilton is not fringe. He's a first rate academic economist with an international reputation (although he's of the neoclassical persuasion, with all that implies...)

I knew it, you're a closet Austrian.

Behavioral economics makes a lot more sense to me (in so far as I understand economics).

Maybe because your human?

Maybe because your human?

""with an international reputation ""

In a recent poll 1000 members of the public were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the opinion of the eminent economist, Jim Hamilton.

99.9% of public said they did not know who he was.

The other 0.1% said that he had no business getting involved with pakistani cricket coaches;-).

All jokes aside yes I agree with you, that in economic and financial circles he is not fringe.


Econbrowser did the "How to talk to an economist about Peak Oil" thread nearly two years ago, which spawned much debate here and elsewhere. If I remember correctly, it marked the start of the Stuart Staniford era here at TOD. JDH seems much more concerned about supply than he did two years ago, IMO.

Well, aren't we all :-)

Wouldn't a :-( be more appropriate ?


It's that English stiff-upper lip thing. Ah, peak oil, let me just finish my game of bowls :-) Well, I'm trying anyway.

Bowls? My dear boy, croquet is the quintessential English lawn game.

Bill Gray's updated Atlantic hurricane forecast is out:

It says: "We have increased our forecast for the 2007 hurricane season, largely due to the rapid dissipation of El Niño conditions. We are now calling for a very active hurricane season. Landfall probabilities for the 2007 hurricane season are well above their long-period averages."

They forecast 17 named storms, well above the average of 10. They forecast 9 of the storms will become hurricanes, and five will become intense hurricanes.

Here's the Reuters coverage.

The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will be far more active than usual with 17 tropical storms, of which nine will grow into hurricanes, a noted U.S. forecasting team founded by William Gray said on Tuesday.

If the prediction proves true, the June 1-November 30 hurricane season could mark a return to the destructive seasons of 2004, when four strong hurricanes hit Florida, and 2005, the year of Katrina, after a mild 2006 season when only 10 storms formed.

The 2004 and 2005 seasons rattled oil and insurance markets as hurricanes rampaged through the oil and gas fields of the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest storm in U.S. history with more than $80 billion in damage in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.

The 2005 season was a record-breaker with 28 storms and 15 hurricanes.

One further comment on the hurricane forecast. As he has done before, Gray downplays any connection between Global Warming and a recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity. I've heard this argued both ways and suppose a case can be made on either side. What was surprising to me is that Gray suggests that even if the oceans continue to warm further, it will still not lead to increased hurricane activity, saying: "In a global warming or global cooling world, the atmosphere’s upper air temperatures will warm or cool in unison with the sea surface temperatures. Vertical lapse-rates will not be significantly altered. We have no plausible physical reasons for believing that Atlantic hurricane frequency or intensity will change significantly if global ocean temperatures continue to rise."

This seems to be a very strange comment. I'm reluctant to disagree with an expert, but it's axiomatic that warmer waters produce more hurricanes - that's why we have hurricane season in the summer and not the winter.

NASAguy, what he is saying is it is the difference between the upper atmosphere temperature and the ocean temperature that creates massive updrafts that cause hurricanes. So if they both rise in unison, the difference will remain the same. At least’s the theory as I read it.

In the winter the difference between the sea temperature and the upper atmosphere is much less and that is why we do not have hurricanes in the winter. The earth and sea must change temperature first, and this warms or cools the atmosphere. So in the winter the sea cools first, and warms first in the summer. That is the atmosphere always lags the sea and earth temperature. Well, at least that is what I was taught in grade school. How correct that theory is I will not argue.

Ron Patterson

Lapse-rates are important... What he seems to be suggesting is that as the ocean warms, and that critical hurricane-formation sea-surface temperature is reached over a broader area, hurricanes may not develop in the newly warm territory, for the lapse rates will not be sufficient to support the necessary convection (due to the upper atmosphere warming in unison). And for areas already under the hurricane gun, higher SSTs will be accompanied by further warming in the atmospheric column, keeping lapse rates similar, so the storms should be similar in intensity to what's been witnessed in the past.

It's an interesting idea. I'll have to think about it some more...



Atmospheric warming due to greenhouse gases will not warm the upper atmosphere at the same rate as the lower atmosphere. Indeed you would expect the upper atmosphere to cool as the heat is trapped at lower altitudes.

Aye, I don't necessarily disagree with your thought. Just reporting what Gray seemed to be suggesting.

I'm still thinking...



You mean like this ?

Thanks to Ron and Wolf for their helpful comments on lapse rates. I suppose it may be true that the upper atmosphere warms more slowly than the water. I would note however that the lower atmosphere warms more quickly than the water. This is reflected in the peak of Atlantic hurricane season arriving around September 7, while the warmest day of the year in the tropics tends to be around August 13. I'm not saying he is wrong - it just seems strange: lower atmosphere warms first, water second, upper atmosphere third.

lower atmosphere warms first, water second, upper atmosphere third.

That is contrary to everything I have ever heard or read about how the atmosphere is heated or cools.


Due to these three processes, less than half the solar energy that enters the atmosphere reaches the earth's surface, and only about one-fifth warms the atmosphere directly. Most of the energy that warms our atmosphere comes indirectly from the heated earth. A small amount of the energy absorbed by the earth warms the atmosphere through a process called conduction. Conduction is the transfer of heat within a substance. An example of conduction is a metal rod - if one end is heated the collision of rapidly moving molecules will soon heat the other end of the rod. But unlike solids, gases and liquids are not good conductors, so only the air just above the surface of the earth is heated by this process. More heat is transferred from the surface to the atmosphere through a process called convection. Convection is the vertical transfer of energy by the actual movement of the heated substance. Air rises up a chimney, for example, when it is heated by a fire below and becomes less dense (weighs less) than the air surrounding it. Conduction and convection are called sensible heat transfer processes.

Ron Patterson

Air changes temperature much more quickly than water - a simple matter of specific heat. Think of sea-breezes and land-breezes. Think of the moderating effect of being near a large body of water. Of course it matters if the air is over land or over water - i.e., how the heat is being supplied.

Climate models have approximately 1.53 gazillion feedback loops, pos. and neg., to contend with.

My prediction about the effect of GW on hurricanes: who knows!

Predictions are really hard to make, especially about the future :-)

The upper atmosphere is in contact with the universe, which has himself a temperature near the absolute zero, so the upper atmosphere cannot warm a lot.

There's already growing evidence that as we trap more heat in the lower atmosphere, the upper atmosphere is in fact cooling, creating a greater gradient:

The upper atmosphere is cooling and contracting as a result of rising greenhouse gas concentrations...In the troposphere (the lowest layer of the atmosphere) greenhouse gases trap infrared radiation, causing the well-known "global warming" effect. Higher in the atmosphere, above about 12 kilometers [seven miles], however, these gases actually enhance the ability of the atmosphere to radiate heat out to space, thereby causing a cooling effect. As the amount of carbon dioxide increases, the upper atmosphere becomes cooler ... An extreme example of the greenhouse gas effect can be found on Venus, whose atmosphere is 96 percent carbon dioxide (compared to trace amounts in the Earth's atmosphere), resulting in a very hot lower atmosphere 400 degrees Celsius [800 degrees Fahrenheit] and a very cold and compact upper atmosphere.


Thanks, clifman, for making my day - NOT! Since we seem to be intent on increasing the CO2 content of our atmosphere, I am now very much in the global warming dommerist camp. Venus is scary as a model for the Earth!

James Gervais

Man, you've just been having a horrible day here on The Oil Drum today. Hope you can sleep tonight. Knowing too much may not be a good thing.

We won't get Venus, for a variety of reasons. But we can get extinct homo sapiens, which is effectively the same thing as far as we are concerned.

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


As far as I'm aware, this issue is a still a matter of debate. There was some discussion regarding it on RealClimate after Katrina (see comments #34, #40 and #45 for example) and for a very recent exchange on Atlantic SSTs vs intensity see here (although I hasten to add that I'm not endorsing World Climate Report).

Couldn't help but chuckle at the comment in one of the links about the price of oil 'collapsing' last August. All the way down to $60 a barrel. I guess all those predictions about $30 oil for the decade discounted 'speculators' and 'world events'.

I get a particular chuckle out of Jeff Rubin at CIBC who seems to be consistently wrong - almost unerringly erring - yet still has credibility and a salary. CIBC has been probably the worst Canadian bank as far as getting itself caught up in dubious schemes such as Enron. But the Canadian system of six chartered banks, all virtually indistinguishable from each other, having a virtual monopoly over banking has allowed it to cover its backside with usurious rates and fees. The consumer ends up eating the 'writedowns'.

Good to see the press starting to finally see the geological reality that the financial engineers have been blind to. Of course they will have been 'blindsided by unforseeable suuply factors' or some such horseshit, just like they were by the subprime madness.

Hey, you idiots, it says it all right there - SUB prime. What were you expecting?

An upbeat video:

TGV @ 575 Km/h (03-04-2007)

C'etait extremement spectaculaire, merci beaucoup! :)

Tu l'as dit!

It is 355 miles/h, not bad for a train with the good old wheels and catenary..

Great video. I thought it might be on the National News this evening but did not see anything. It will be interesting what level of MSM coverage this story gets. So far, not very much.

On CNN Europe at least:

France train breaks speed record

Not so at national TV :(

We're doomed:

MSNBC photo

Doomed? No way. Americans will have the fittest pooches on four legs. Come TSHTF stuff you'll have some of the hardiest protectors you could wish for. There should be more Americans with this level of commitment to their pets and their future.

Disclaimer: It is not the fault of TheOilDrum.com if your brain ceases to function after viewing this photo. Also, your jaw may hang open for an extended period of time. You have been warned.

Actually, not many people understand this photo;

the owner is well aware of the consequences of peak oil but does not want to part with his SUV. So he is training his dog to pull him to work.

From the caption, I get the impression that he is training his dog to pull him to the gym, where undoubtedly he can walk on the treadmill, while watching sports on television.

Not too different than the hunky neighbor who runs several miles a day then comes home and sits on his riding mower to mow his postage-stamp-sized yard.

Makes sense to me.
I love running but hate mowing the lawn (back when I had a lawn).

Yes, I agree with Marco. This is not doom -- THIS IS THE SOLUTION. Keep cars, but pull them with dogs. The downside is that one is going to see larger and larger dogs, eating more and more dogfood. I have no idea what dogfood is made of, but I can see it crowding out ethanol. Home heating? Go out to the road and pick up your fuel. Gradually the large dogs will come to look more and more like horses. Neigh to doom.

Apparently dog food is made with chinese wheat, so I'm not sure there's much future there...

Check your own food while you're at it.

Tainted wheat gluten found in U.S. food plants

The tainted wheat gluten that triggered a massive pet food recall also ended up in processing plants that prepare food consumed by people, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

While agency leaders offered assurances Monday that the U.S. food supply remains safe, they said they cannot yet completely rule out contamination of human food by the suspect wheat gluten, which contained melamine, a chemical found in plastics and pesticides.

According to import records, the wheat gluten was shipped to the United States from China between Nov. 3 and Jan. 23 and contained "minimal labeling" to indicate whether it was intended for humans or animals.

Fort Atkins, WI (or very near there) is home to a large Nestle-Purina plant. The signage made my wife and I laugh and required us to take a picture. We wouldn't feed our dogs something as crappy as Purina; this further encouraged us to stay as far from processed foods as possible.

Nestle-Purina indeed.

Ah...so this is the Chinese sneak attack...kill off our pets first and then us. OK, don't take that seriously, but think about it...if the Chinese wanted to do us damage, since they make almost everything around us, they could just contaminate something.

It's a scary thought...all the more reason to eat locally!!!

Dogs can also play an more direct role in keeping warm as in a "Three Dog Night." [grin]

You guys act like this is unusual or something...I've seen folks in my neighborhood "walking" their pets using the golf cart...

This reminds me of a story from Austin. One of the Capital Metro board members (anti-transit from deep suburbia on a transit agency board) was adamant that NO ONE should EVER be forced to climb a step (more than one anyway). He bought his one story house for exactly that reason, with only gradual inclines from the driveway. He viewed transit with DEEP suspicion.

Fortunately, he served less than a year before dying of a heart attack.

Best Hopes for SUV dog walkers >:-)


Not a surprise that he dies that way.. with his reluctancy toward the physical exercises in general...

Yeah, that's America.

Is it too petty to be irked by the able bodies pressing every automatic door opener they meet?

When the pets take over the world, they will be taking their "owners" out for much needed walks. Hopefully, they won't be doing it from behind the wheel of an SUV.

Around here in the mountains, one popular way of walking your dog is to have him follow along one's all terrain vehicle.

At least the guy in the caption is using a leash. A couple of weeks ago, my dog was attacked by a St. Bernard which was being run, not walked with an ATV. The owner didn't even bother to stop as his dog thundered into my dog.

Anyway, all humor aside, this motor vehicle dog walking or running phenomenon is pathetic and epitomizes much of what is wrong with America, particularly those too lazy to even walk their freaking dog.

You mean like this?


seems to have gone full circle eh?

Iran says snatched diplomat freed in Iraq.

Anyone care to bet on how quick the 15 British hostages get returned now?

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

There are many more where that came from, Iranian diplomats held in Iraq that is. Fifteen for one just doesn't sound like a good deal to me... We'll find out soon enough I reckon.

Iran wants their five embassy staff back.

Don't count on anything until they are freed. For all we know, they may be in Gitmo.

They are currently being tortured in Poland. It is against the law to torture someone in the US, so we have to outsource it.

What ever happened to the captured soldier at the heart of the Lebanon BS last year? It's coming up on a year later this summer...a year!

The negotations for Gilad Shalit's release continue to drag on. This assumes, of course, that he is even still alive. Israel has tried to trade for captive soldiers before. Sometimes they get them back alive and sometimes not.

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

Well then, based on limited historical records, this is a great strategy to get what you want. Why aren't more GI's in Iraq not captured?

Today's Independent knows more. Worth a read.

The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis

A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.

Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-born US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds.

In reality the US attack had a far more ambitious objective, The Independent has learned. The aim of the raid, launched without informing the Kurdish authorities, was to seize two men at the very heart of the Iranian security establishment.

Better understanding of the seriousness of the US action in Arbil - and the angry Iranian response to it - should have led Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence to realise that Iran was likely to retaliate against American or British forces such as highly vulnerable Navy search parties in the Gulf. The two senior Iranian officers the US sought to capture were Mohammed Jafari, the powerful deputy head of the Iranian National Security Council, and General Minojahar Frouzanda, the chief of intelligence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to Kurdish officials.

The raid on Arbil took place within hours of President George Bush making an address to the nation on 10 January in which he claimed: "Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops." He identified Iran and Syria as America's main enemies in Iraq though the four-year-old guerrilla war against US-led forces is being conducted by the strongly anti-Iranian Sunni-Arab community. Mr Jafari himself later complained about US allegations. "So far has there been a single Iranian among suicide bombers in the war-battered country?" he asked. "Almost all who involved in the suicide attacks are from Arab countries."

I caught this. I knew about the Iran guys getting captured but never stopped to think about our people doing it. Makes a lot of sense now though. It's on this weekend according to a bunch of sources. I'll wait and see.

Maybe my memory is failing me but wasn't Gilad Shalit captured by Hamas in Gaza; weren't there two soldiers captured by Hezbollah in Lebanon?

James Gervais

Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas in Gaza. Three Israeli soldiers were captured and eight killed in the incident that triggered the Lebanon war. None of the captured Israelis has been returned or even seen alive since by neutral observers.

It is a hybrid - and a school bus

Story on PHEV school buses. A little expensive for these prototypes, but we'll call it progress, nonetheless.

Had been thinking that, if there is an Iranian strike, oil would shoot up past 100... in addition to 2.5mb/d from iran, 17mb/d goes thru hormuz, so a one month bombing campaign similar to what preceded the iraq invasion would remove 500mb from the market. But, the us and others would release their emergency reserves, thus limiting price hikes. Nevertheless, if the reserves are ever replaced, and if in fact sa drops to 8mb/d, then current low prices will not soon return.

If we use up the strategic reserves while keeping oil prices low for a few months, then our cushion is gone which should, by itself, drive prices up.

That article on Kerr-McGee - it's not a left over April Fool's joke is it?

The way I read it, if the agency doesn't take up the case, then the whistleblower has no standing because he was just doing his job.

Judge Figa is a Bush nominee:

President Bush nominated Figa to the bench, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him for the job in 2003.

Given what's been going on with Abu Gonzales' DOJ, this does not surprise me.

cfm in Gray, ME

Very interesting article posted at Energybulletin.

Text in bold is of interest.

Paper presented at a lecture given at the Università di Firenze, Italy, March 8, 2007

Modeling for 'Peak Oil' began seriously in the mid-1990s as the question of worldwide oil production reaching a maximum became a matter of widespread concern in some petroleum circles and academic centers. Among a score of other models, the 'World Oil Production Capacity' [WOCAP] model was developed over the years 1997-2000 [1]. And, even in those early days, the model --- based on 'Ultimate Recoverable Reserves' [URR] of 1,900 billion barrels estimated by Dr. Colin Campbell --- did point towards a 'Peak' within the first decade of the 21st century.

2. The WOCAP model

Further design developments and dozens of simulations over the years 2001-2003 resulted in WOCAP's final 'Base Case' scenario that predicted a 'Peak' of 81-82 million barrels per day [mb/d] over the years 2006-2007...

...Then, in 2004, Prof. Renato Guseo of the University of Padova entered the world of 'Peak' modeling with his 'Generalized Bass Model' [GBM] based on the 'Diffusion Method' [2] and making use of the powerful 'Non-Linear Least Squares' algorithm. The major results obtained by the GBM were for a 'Peak Oil' in 2007 (see Figure 2) and a 2020
production of 55 mb/d.

...Now, two very different models --- WOCAP and GBM --- had arrived at the very same conclusion, and that could not be pure coincidence. To the contrary, it was a proof (if proof need be) that the 'Peak' was for either 2006 or 2007. In addition, the similar 2020 production level of some 55 mb/d not only confirmed the models' parallelism but also came to stand as the best prediction available presently worldwide for future oil output. Having seen the results of Prof. Guseo's GBM model, it became clear that the modeling phase of 'Peak Oil' had come to an abrupt close and that henceforward 'Peak Modeling'
should be shelved once and for all. Some experts still seem unconvinced as they continue to compare and weigh results generated by all types of available models --- as, for example, 'The Oil Drum' [3] and 'TrendLines' [4] websites.

...4. Conclusion
The similarity of the results obtained by two very different models --- the WOCAP and the GBM --- should help bring 'Peak Oil' modeling to a close, as according to these models the peak of global oil production has now been reached. Furthermore, the two models' similar forecast for a global oil supply of 55 mb/d by 2020 can now be considered as being the most accurate and reliable forecast for the future production of the international oil industry.
(8 March 2007)

That is Bakhtiari's paper. There was some discussion of it in yesterday's DrumBeat.

Note that Figure 3 in the article is my favorite spaghetti plate:

Peak Oil Update - January 2007: Production Forecasts and EIA Oil Production Numbers

Prof Guseo? Hey, that's Carl Rove!

Re. Cellulosic makes food vs fuel moot article: The professor proposes switching animal feed production to cellulosic feedstock. There's some humor in the thought that some Hummer drivers might rather be vegetarian so they can continue to feed their vehicles.

How to make a Texan's head explode: Tell him, you get cheap gasoline or cheap steaks, not both.

Which will they take?

My prediction is the steak.

Food, for obvious reasons, retains a very primal cultural and neurological programming.

Europeans are willing to accept artificially high fuel prices and small vehicles, but they rebel vituperatively against the homogenizing directives from EU headquarters and large-scale agribusiness regarding their favorite, and culturally important, foods.

Food preference is very built-in neurologically and genetically.

Texans will take to Harleys if they can't afford to drive their monster trucks.

From the news release:

"We grow animal feed, not human food in the United States," Dale said.

Prof. Dale must be an Atkins enthusiast and not a vegetarian, since he doesn't realize that bread is made from wheat. According to USDA, 70% of the US wheat crop is used for food and only 22% for feed. While it's true that 3/4 of the corn crop is used for feed, 10% is still eaten and an additional 6% (most unnecessarily) consumed as high fructose corn syrup.

The article on the pet food recall is about wheat gluten imported from China. That the world economy provides us with wheat imported from China - let alone contaminated with melamine - blows my mind. What's next, coal to Newcastle?

cfm in Gray, ME

Shipping wheat gluten across the seas contributes to this:

Pollution from shipping ignored.

Oceangoing vessels are rapidly overtaking vehicles as air polluters by producing more sulfur dioxide than all the world's cars, trucks and buses combined, according to an international transport and environmental group.
It said that, worldwide, oceangoing vessels produced at least 17 percent of total emissions of nitrogen oxide and contributed more than a quarter of total emissions of nitrogen oxide in port cities and coastal areas.
Carbon-dioxide emissions from the international shipping sector as a whole exceed annual total greenhouse gas emissions from most of the developed nations listed in the Kyoto Protocol.

So after reading the algae article above it looks like we are saved...whew
I guess we can all go home now because algae farmers are going to make all the diesel we want.
I think I might just be an algae farmer too, where do you buy this algae and what do I have to feed it? are they vicious? Are they easily tamed? This is what I need to know....

I'm told that these algae prefer to feed on Whoopie Pies.

Actually, it will be interesting to see the public response when people are told that we are going to flood 15,000 square miles (4.5 million acres of land) with sewage sludge. Try and spread a few tons of sludge on some local farmland and see what happens.

In point of fact, they already do this. Not straight "sewage sludge" -- i.e., right out of the sewers -- but the 'de-watered' or mostly dehydrated sewage gunk (I'm trying to be polite here) that is separated from the water before the water is discharged back into the ground or waterway.

I researched this a few years ago, in an informal way, by first enquiring of the 'honey wagon' owners where they hauled off to their septic tank truck fillings. This led me to calling the local county sewage department enterprise where they informed me of their de-watering process. But what of the dehydrated sludge, I asked? They said they didn't rightly know, but gave me the company name which trucked off this stuff. Upon calling them up and enquiring, I was informed (somewhat reluctantly) that about half ended up in out-of-state out-of-mind rural landfills, and the other half probably ended up used directly as fertilizer on farm land, or by re-processing as bags of compost sold at your local nursery.


Now you're probably thinking I'm BSing this story. Nope, I kid you not. I even contacted someone at the EPA involved in monitoring this whole 'de-watered' sludge process story as told, and every word of it is true. I even contacted a company involved in re-processing such material as commercially sold compost.

Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction. And so, with this in mind, here is some real food for thought next time you bite into an ear of corn of unknown origin.

Me, I skip the whole commercialization of turning humanure into compost and do it myself in my own backyard compost pile. It's a hell of a lot cheaper, and this way I know what http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/03/science/earth/03water.html?_r=1&oref=s... >drugs or other potentially toxic compounds are being added to my garden (either via this drugs in water concern link, or thru our humanure). After composting as I do it, and watering from my own pristine water well, very little if any at all.

This is correct. The local sewerage utility around here actually gives away a "class A" product they call "NutraLime." "class A" meaning that it conforms to rigid standards of getting rid of the nasty bacteria and pathogens. Mixing the sludge with lime actually starts a chemical process which raises the temperature as well as making it inhospitable for pathogens. The real problem with it, is that this plant also treats industrial effluent...meaning that it winds up containing some amounts of heavy metals and the like. So you can use some of it, but frequent application would allow too many of the heavy metals to build up in the soil. Other than the heavy metals, it'd be excellent stuff.

The plant here also takes some of the sludge to the landfill - and they welcome a certain amount of it. The sludge gets sprayed over and mixed in with the trash accumulated that day and actually helps the trash in the landfill break down more quickly, thereby making the landfill last longer.

This sewage facility also does third and common, but IMO retarded, thing...and burns tons of sludge in a high temp furnace. What they can't give away as nutralime or to the landfill they burn, and there's plenty of it. It goes through a series of belt presses to get mostly dewatered and then into the furnace - this is at a net loss, btw.

I should probably note, though, that the sludge that comes out of a sewerage treatement plant is NOT poo. They're usually specialized bacteria that've been cultivated to thrive on the particular effluent they recieve. This can be a problem when a company releases a substance that sweeps through and kills a significant portion of the bacteria (and they get fined out the wazoo for doing it, too) because the bacteria must naturally repopulate and the sewerage plant may fall out of EPA standards because of it.

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

Saudi Aramco already has a 5 million b/day pipeline from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea.

The just announced (see top of DrumBeat) 1.5mn-bpd, 320km pipeline would link state oil firm Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s Habshan oilfields to the port of Fujairah, a major ship bunkering hub for vessels entering and leaving the Strait.

That is 6.5 million of the 17 million b/day exported from the Persian Gulf via the Straits of Hormuz. There is also a pipeline to the Med.

A drop of 11 million b/day of world oil exports will not be easily covered. Our SPR will cover 2 months (in theory).

Best Hopes,


A drop of 11 million b/day of world oil exports will not be easily covered. Our SPR will cover 2 months (in theory).

But the drop would be only 11 mbd if that Persian Gulf to Red Sea pipeline was just sitting there empty waiting to be used in case the Strait is shut down.

Surely they must already be using it near capacity? If that's the case SA wouldn't be able to shunt much of that 17mbd around the strait.

That's just too easy. Only way to be sure is to put it to the test. Let's have a war. We can blame it on the middle class.

My limited understanding is that is was (not "is") pumping mainly oil for the KSA Red Sea refineries. Less than half capacity, despite some potential savings on shipping by dropping it off closer to the Suez Canal.

The excess capacity is a strategic asset AFAIK. Of course, full & complete data is NA.

But yes, the ability to increase capacity is less than full capacity. My bad.

Best Hopee for Peace with Iran,


Legal remedy to high gas prices?

Why can't we just allow price-induced demand destruction??? >=(

I've often wondred this aswell. I feel that the doomer scenario falls down here because it fails to take into account demand destruction - which could mitigate the effects of peak for years and draw out the bumpy plateau for years.

BUT...high prices can lead to social unrest and volatile prices cause economic uncertainty. We saw at the height of peak when crude was hitting $78, people were lynching gas station employees at $3 gallon fuel. So maybe the doomers are right!!!

Sitting on the fence.


As an afterthought I remember reading Heindberg and Kunslers books a few years back thinking the same thing, that demand destruction was not talked about and could have destroyed some of their arguments.

I think we are already seeing demand destruction occuring in countries in Africa. Oil is just too costly for them 3rd-world countries...

We have also been seeing alot of articles posted on here about diesel and gasoline shortages in Africa. It will work its way into the richer nations soon enough...

The great unknown is how much unrest would it cause and how much of the activity in the economy is based on growth in consumption.

The photo posted earlier in this thread of someone using their SUV to walk their dog because they were too lazy to get out and walk themselves makes me wonder if society can accept anything other than the way things are now. When people get angry and can't figure out who to blame (because they're not going to blame themselves), they're likely to lash out randomly and violently.

Why do we Americans believe that we are entitled to our way of life? Because we won WWII? Because we are America, god-dangit?

We are the cows that break into the grain storage and we will consume until we explode!

As WT says, most Americans live on the "disposable income" of each other. Loss of purchasing power will mean less purchasing, i.e., less work. The whole consumerist system then unravels. When people pay more for fuels, where will the money go? If it is spent on gold and harems, and not on what the payers are producing, that means the payers are out of the economy (and are one step from starvation). At best they can then be "adopted" as slaves by those with money. If that is what you mean by "demand destruction", then I don't see how that's not "doom".

What if you're among those whose demand is getting destroyed?

Like everyone else, I will have to adjust. But I'm already adjusting to it. I don't own a car so I have no DIRECT demand for gasoline. The ethanol situation angers me, because the acreage that was supposed to be for my high-fructose corn syrup is now used for ethanol to fuel OC-Johnny's SUV!

I've taken the bull by the horns and reduced my consumption. Self destruction! Wait a minute........that doesn't sound so good. Down from 12000 miles a year to 6000 miles a year in the car. Energy saving bulbs all round. Internet delivery on groceries (saves 25 car journeys if 25 peoples shopping all in 1 van) Lowered my house heating (live 55degNorth). I must have halfed my carbon footprint in 2 years.

Good for you Marco!
I have done the same in the last year and a half, witness the incredible shrinking energy bill.

Conservation is one sort of demand destruction, having no job and no money to spend is quite another.

It's not the high price that will demoralize America, it is not being able to find any at all.

In '73 not only did you have high prices, but all stations weren't open or had fuel all the time.

I remember driving from Syracuse down to almost NYC(3 hr drive) and carrying fuel cans of gas because we didn't know if we would find any for sale on the way.

If you have less than a quarter tank, it ain't fun driving around trying to find a station with gas.

THAT occurance will drive Americans nuts. They always assume that it will be available at a price. Lack at any price is not in their paradigm.

Whether it is rapidly rising prices or lack of available fuel, the question is, what will it be blamed on?

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

Figuring Peak Oil will not be on the list, of course.
Round up the usual suspects!

My point is, if the gubmint tries to control the price of gasoline, we could see more and more empty gas stations alot sooner than if the price was left in the markets hands.

Yes, it will be sad if the guy working the counter at 7-11 cant afford gas because he was priced out, but he will have to evolve or die. We are all going to have to evolve or die. Part of that evolution will be adapting to life without abundant fossil fuels.

Personally I think we will be better off.

Re: the Petrov article on the Iranian oil bourse. I'm undecided on the question of how much that bourse is a threat to the US, but the arguments in this article are pretty weak. Two major weaknesses:

(1) You can't compare "backed by gold" with "backed by oil", since the gold sits in a vault, while the oil gets burnt and then you need new oil. (I have the same conceptual problem with Julian Darley's idea of a local currency "backed by renewable energy".

(2) He talks about the mountains of dollars that countries like China need to hold in order to buy oil. But the dollars they buy oil with are then no longer in their holdings. The holdings are the dollars NOT used to buy oil. The question of why, and for how long, China (and others) will accept dollars for their labor and materials (or at what prices) seems like a separate issue.

It's a question of has the world started losing faith in the dollar and if so, how can they best get out of their positions in the dollar without causing it to crash.

I know some think that China will forever continue to sell to us for dollars they can't redeem for equivilent goods or services but at some point holders of American currency have to decide to cut their losses. Someone is going to be left holding the bag when that happens. If I'm China (or any other holder of US dollars), I want to lessen my position but do so slowly so I can get out without spooking the market or pushing demand for the dollar so low that what I have is worthless. Not everyone will be able to do that before everyone else notices and all hell breaks loose.

It seems like hyperinflation is going to end up happening sooner or later. The real question is, when that happens, while it will effectively wipeout the national debt, who will trade with us then and for what?

Some interesting comments on the dollar from Warren Buffett's newsletter:

As our U.S. trade problems worsen, the probability that the dollar will weaken over time continues
to be high. I fervently believe in real trade – the more the better for both us and the world. We had about
$1.44 trillion of this honest-to-God trade in 2006. But the U.S. also had $.76 trillion of pseudo-trade last
year – imports for which we exchanged no goods or services. (Ponder, for a moment, how commentators
would describe the situation if our imports were $.76 trillion – a full 6% of GDP – and we had no exports.)
Making these purchases that weren’t reciprocated by sales, the U.S. necessarily transferred ownership of its
assets or IOUs to the rest of the world. Like a very wealthy but self-indulgent family, we peeled off a bit of
what we owned in order to consume more than we produced.
The U.S. can do a lot of this because we are an extraordinarily rich country that has behaved
responsibly in the past. The world is therefore willing to accept our bonds, real estate, stocks and
businesses. And we have a vast store of these to hand over.

Rest of the article: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2006ltr.pdf

MEES has published their OPEC crude production estimate for February. 28.49 mbpd, down from January's 28.55. Saudi Arabia at 8.5 mbpd, down from January's 8.7 mbpd. Iraq's production back up to a more stable 1.8 mbpd from January's 1.68 mbpd (just in case anyone was wondering what the 'surge' is really all about). No Angola counted in my chart.

What is interesting about this chart is that although OPEC peaked around end-04, WT maintains that it's of course the exports that counts. So how earlier was that?

WT do you know when OPEC exports peaked?


BTW i realie this chart has been posted many times, but it wasn't until I connected what WT has been seeing about Net exports that I started to think about it!

Did Tatneft, (a Russian oil company) increase production in March 2007 verses March 2006 by 1.9% or decrease oil production, March 07 verses March 06 by 17%

Published today:

Tatneft oil production up 1.7% in 1Q07 to 6.4 mln tons

MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - Tatneft [RTS: TATN] oil production in the first quarter of 2007 grew 1.7% on the same period last year to 6.4 million tons (47 million bbl), the oil company said Tuesday.
In March, Tatneft produced 2.2 million tons (16.2 million bbl), or 1.9% more than in March 2006.
Tatneft, which is controlled by the government of the Republic of Tatarstan in the Volga region, accounts for over 80% of crude output in Tatarstan, and produced 25.334 million metric tons (510,000 bbl/d) of oil in 2006, the same as in 2005.

Published yesterday:

Tatneft decreased oil production by 17% to 2.217 mil tons
Tatneft OJSC decreased oil production by 17% to 2.217 mil tons in March 2007 from 2.666 mil tons y-o-y, said in the company's announcement.

It was recovered 42.529 thd tons in exceed to the plan. Deepening plan was fulfilled 108.5% in IQ 2007. 210.7 thd meters were drilled, including 140 thd meters for Tatneft itself, 70 thd meters for CJ and MNK, 700 meters for bitumen.131 drills were built and set in exploitation.

Tatneft is ranked as sixth by the output among other oil companies in Russia. Last year 25.4mln ton were produced to raise the net profit under RAS 12.2% to 33.102bn rub.

The share capital is worth 2.33bn rub. split in 2178690.7ths common and 147508.5ths preferred stocks. The major holder is Svyazinvestneftekhim.

At any rate, even if the top is correct, they are down from December. But if they are down by 17%, things are looking down in Russia.

Ron Patterson

>At any rate, even if the top is correct, they are down from December. But if they are down by 17%, things are looking down in Russia.

You are wrong. Tatneft is only 4-5% of total russian production.

I think Russia is +4% of crude y-o-y 2006/2007.



Russian crude and condensate production in March was 3% higher than a year ago but almost unchanged from February, down just 2,500 b/d at 9...

CNBC just had some updated stats on mortgages:

Subprime delinquencies (60 days or more) were up from 9% to 14%, year over year, but the surprise was Alt-A loans, between subprime and prime--the Alt-A delinquency rate was up from 1.25% to 2.6%. Apparently these stats are for mortgages packaged into securities.

Debts are always paid--if not by the debtor, then by the creditor.

Some of the discussions of what to do about the mortgage meltdown are beginning to remind me of the discussions in Holland, after Tulipomania collapsed ("Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds").

Nobody knows where the securities and CDO's are located. Much of it is traded away from public scrutiny. That also means that they may be held by large investors such as pension funds, who try to hide the fact that they have them in their portfolio, once they start losing value.. Tricky part: things not traded on a market have much more ambiguous value. Who'll say? You won't know till you try to sell them. Sit on them and no-one will find out for a long time that you lost your fund a billion dollars.

Excellent Marketplace article:

Mortgage crisis to hit holders of risky derivatives

"It's pathetic, but it's almost impossible to find out, which is no good for the system or anyone really," Josh Rosner, a managing director at research firm Graham Fisher & Co., said. "On the CDO side we know even less and regulators know even less because there aren't very clear reporting requirements."

Rosner and Joseph Mason, an associate finance professor at Drexel University's business school, published a study in March highlighting CDOs' big exposure to the subprime mortgage business.

Despite toiling for months on the project, the two can't give a definitive answer on who holds the risk.
Rosner's theory is that hedge funds hold a lot of the lowest-rated bits of subprime MBS and CDOs, called the equity tranches. Pension funds and insurers probably hold the less risky, senior tranches because rules restrict them from investing in lower-rated securities, he added.

Still, many CDOs bought the lower-rated bits of subprime MBS, so Rosner is concerned that rising losses from mortgage defaults and foreclosures could even eat their way up into the investment-grade tranches of CDOs.

Pension funds and insurers may also have invested in hedge funds that hold the riskier CDO tranches, Rosner and Mason said.
"There is a real risk that a lot of these assets are held by unsuspecting end holders like pension plans," Rosner said.

"We don't know exactly who holds these risks, but, in a way, we all hold this risk," Mason said. "The risk doesn't go away. Somebody has to have it."

That is extraordinary.

Maybe I should persue a financial journalist angle because this crap is duh! and I would be the guy screaming it from my local paper.

You can find even more details on how to run a swindle in Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. This is all SOP. Some things never change.

"Debts are always paid--if not by the debtor, then by the creditor."

Well then let the creditors eat it.

I believe that if their is any hope of saving the US then something akin to the New Deal will have to happen. I would say that in Nov 2008 after the IRAN war and the economic and political meltdown that the new President is going to have quite a mess on his/her hands. OIl will be scarce, milllions unemployed, millions facing homelessness because of high mortgage payments. everyone will be in an ugly mood and unless radical steps are taken the country will blow apart.

What to do? Well, first, forgive all mortgages up to the median price of a Owner/occupied home in whatever region you are in. The rich will still have to pay(and will be able to) but the middle class will now own a home free and clear and that will go a LOOOONG way to restoring the peoples faith in the US. Oh, the banks and foreign creditors will be pissed but what are they going to do about it? Invade? Screw 'em.

Next, reissue the currency, a new dollar! Tie it to gold or silver.

Then start a program to get people back to local production and consumption, hell, get 'em to move back to small town, just get people in the mindset that the US is going to have to go it alone ffrom here on out.

More later....

Oh, the banks and foreign creditors will be pissed but what are they going to do about it?

Also very pissed will be those who have paid off their mortgages and remained debt-free. Why the hell should someone get a McMansion for free when I've slaved and paid for my humble abode???

Because, when all is said and done, you *need* other people in order to survive. And what you *don't* need is to be surrounded by other people who have nothing wanting what little you *do* have. That's why.

Unless you are going to go tribal primitive, in which case you don't need a bloody house anyway, you need to rely on the skills and production capacities of others for your very survival, no matter how modest they may be. Unless you believe you can perform every function, even in the simplest way of life, you will need others to fill in the gaps embedded in your life.

Unless you're capable of growing the wheat, and milling it, and baking the flour into bread, as well as being butcher, candle maker, cobbler, and so on, you need others. Regardless of the situation that leads to you having had the foresight to become debt free and own your own home. Use that foresight to evaluate the likelihood you might be put under pressure, violent pressure, to share your wealth with the dispossessed, compared to the far less likely to lead to violence debt forgiveness approach. It seems a no-brainer to me.

Debt forgiveness is not new, it has been around for quite some time, look up Jubilee, for example. Don’t resent the poor, ignorant folk who have bought the corporate jive hook, line, and sinker. Take pity on them and return to them at least the opportunity to have a roof over their heads. Would you rather they migrate all about your towns and cities looking for shelter? Or would you rather they stay put, right where they are?

According to Morgan Stanley

...we estimate that the [ARM] resets in the aggregate will add...to household debt service in 2007...less than 0.2% of personal income. The impact of ARM resets will rise further in 2008, to perhaps 0.4% of household disposable personal income.

...over the next six years or more, lenders will foreclose on about 1.1 million of such loans amounting to losses...of about 1.1% of mortgage debt outstanding.

if home prices decline nationwide by 5% from current levels...such hit to wealth might promote a decline in consumer spending about 0.4 to 0.5%

I guess you have to keep things in perspective.

Of course, some Wall Street investment houses were issuing buy recommendations for subprime lenders just a few weeks ago.

> "just a few weeks ago"

more from Morgan Stanley: Eight years ago, [we] described a "golden age" for the US consumer...when storms arrived -- a bursting equity bubble, the recession of 2001, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, a jobless recovery, a five-year surge in energy prices, and now the housing recession -- our call regarding the American consumer's resilience held up well...outlays never contracted on a quarterly basis.

and this from Ken Fisher: Americans are really the world's biggest and most productive saves...[properly measured] we would have a 23% savings rate

So many economic observers have called for doom based on each of the items listed by MS or the nega-savings thing mentioned by Fisher. Yet most successful investors find ways to "fade" almost everything -- to keep things in perspective.

Personally, I've been working on how to "fade" Peak Oil. I think I'm about a year away from declaring it benign -- producing perhaps a nasty recession before recovery. The main thing that continues to worry me is illogical responses (i.e. politicians).

I've known a few Morgan Stanley investment banker types and the primary business at the office seems to be drinking.
Alcoholics are darn good at doing what needs to be done to keep the liquor flowing. Stories about brilliant investors are just that.

Maybe Petrov is being polite and in reality the dollar is backed by guns 'n ammo.

When the hyperinflated German economy of the late twenties collapsed the government of the day introduced a new Mark backed by 'the value of German land'. It worked in practice despite the fact that it was ludicrous in theory. Never underestimate the.....of course they also repudiated their war debts. Unless you consider WW2 a consequence, it was a good ploy.

"Also very pissed will be those who have paid off their mortgages and remained debt-free. Why the hell should someone get a McMansion for free when I've slaved and paid for my humble abode???"

Because old man you might just get to live out your life in that house.
I'm glad that you played by the rules and paid off your mortgage, I wish I could do that too. But given Peak Oil I can't. No one will.

All those BS forecasts from Morgan Stanley and others are just that, BS. Just more crap to lull you to sleep.

Very soon now this world is over.

With oil going from 85 to 55 MMBPD in just 10 or so years do you think that we will be worried about your paid off mortgage? NO! It will be about survival then. Very Primal. And if you own a nice house who knows?, maybe the masses will decide they deserve to live there more then you...you better stock up on guns instead of stocks old man....

So do you really think that it is better to throw millions out inot the street looking for a place to live or just keep them where they are and make them productive?

Hello TODers,

Despite bumper grain crop, 33 countries in food crisis: UN

ROME (AFP) - Despite projections of a bumper grain crop this year, 33 countries will not have enough food, with Iraq and Zimbabwe among the hardest hit, the UN food agency said Tuesday.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob, the UK only produces 60% of its food; no crisis here. Problem in Zim etc is lack of money, not lack of food...

The problem in Zimbabwe is in fact not money, it’s Mugabe’s land reforms. By turning out the white farm owners, Mugabe gave up any hope of being able to grow enough food to feed Zimbabweans. The so called land reforms did nothing more than create a famine. None of the new “owners” were ready to take on these farms successfully due to a total lack of expertise and experience. Had Mugabe approached land reform in a different manner, compensating the farmers in something that approached the true value of their farms, convincing the farmers to stay on and husband the transition while compensating them handsomely for it, then it might have worked. This didn’t happen and now Zimbabwe is starving. It is worth remembering they used to be a net food exporter. The problem is food, not a lack of money.

goritsas, I agree Mugabe has screwed up so that Zim is no longer self-sufficient in food. So now there is a national shortage, just like here in the UK. The difference is that we have the money to pay for imports to cover the shortfall.

This is SO off topic it's funny. Coutesty of our BBC here in the UK:


You all thought America was going to the dogs? Please read the above that is happening here in the UK.

Britain has about 20% of the estimated number of CCTV cameras installed world wide. No, I do not think it's funny. Neither should you. The expanding use of the DNA register, the growing ciminalisation of children, the draconian Anti-Terrorism Bill, you need to stop laughing and start screaming. Your head off. To stop Orwell's 1984 from becoming any more real here in the UK than it already is.

The laughing matter for me was the fact that only 2 months ago i finished reading the Book '1984' and got the film out (amongst stars Gregor Fisher (Rab C). The totalitarian state is only a hop skip and a jump away from reality. I won't divulge my place of work but we have 40in flatscreens everywhere! broadcasting BBC 24 news 24/7 (when not showing company presentations). The book 1984 is slowly but surely becoming a frightening reality.

One of the consequences of peak oil (trying to bring on OT here) might not only be social unrest: the government could impose martial rule to keep disintegration of the infrastructure from happening. i hope this is a far way off as demand destruction will make it's mark long before anarchy takes a grip.


the government could impose martial rule to keep disintegration of the infrastructure from happening

I assume you are referring to "social" infrastructure? Personally, I prefer anarchy. After all, anarchy is simply the lack of an externally imposed system of rule. Why would you fear that? For most of the 4 million years or so of human evolution we did pretty darn well without fuckwits in governments telling us what to do. We just got on with it. Are you actually suggesting humans have become so incompetent they are unable to look after themselves? Do you really think we are so spineless? So incapable? So worthless?

The problems really began to accrue with the birth of agriculture. Once we began this particular journey, well, we were stuck. Then we were given rulers and laws and punishment and ownership. We were no longer part of the ecology, we were the ecology. Strip away these and we may be able to access those long dormant parts of our cooperative nature and create a place worth being a living human in. As it stands now, whatever we’ve got, is only one thing, hell, in any paradigm.

As Jared Diamond, who has extensively studied primitive cultures has noted, the murder rate amongst primitives is orders of magnitude higher than for modern man. Yes, we can "get on with it" in a state of anarchy but a whole hell of a lot of us will end up dead sooner, and not necessarily someone who deserves it either. This is not to say that we don't cooperate. We do. But we compete too, to a far higher level than modern man wants to recognize.

But hey, if believing in Rousseau's "noble savage" bullcrap let's you sleep at night, by all means, go ahead. Just don't whine when I break your skull to get what I want.

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

I agree wholeheartedly, but let us not get the fuckwits in the corporate world off the hook. They're powermongers like every government after all, but without such unproductive notions like division of power, representation and equal rights.