DrumBeat: April 20, 2007

Alberta turns to natural gas after wind lessens reliability

Alberta power utility Enmax Corp. said yesterday it is building a huge new power station in Southern Alberta fired with natural gas, partly to help boost the provincial grid's reliability after Alberta's aggressive expansion into wind energy made it vulnerable to power disruption.

"We now have so much windpower generation that we need to fall back on reliable sources of power," said Peter Hunt, an Enmax spokesman.

"The problem with wind power is that the wind doesn't blow all the time, so the greater percentage of the system depends on wind, the more vulnerable to disruption the system becomes when the wind stops blowing."

'Green' concept cars of 2007

The future of green motoring as shown at auto shows around the world.

Study: Sudden sea level surges threaten 1 billion

10,000 years ago sea levels rose 20 meters in 500 years -- a relatively short span -- after the collapse of the continental ice sheets.

Mayor considers fees to drive in NYC

An idea of reducing traffic by charging motorists who drive into the heart of Manhattan got Mayor Michael Bloomberg's support Friday.

"Using economics to influence public behavior is something this country is built on — it's called capitalism," Bloomberg said. "Tax policy influences you to drill here and mine there, and grow this and live here and do that."

What's behind the red-hot uranium boom

Uranium is hot, and it's not just because of its protons and neutrons.

Two years ago the metal, used mostly to power nuclear reactors, traded around $20 a pound, according to the research firm Ux Consulting Co., which tracks uranium prices in the market by surveying buyers and sellers each week.

Last week prices hit $113 a pound and the pace of increase isn't slowing but rather accelerating. Last week's prices were up 19 percent jump from the prior week - the biggest weekly gain since Ux began tracking prices back in 1968.

Jerome a Paris: Yippee - another 100 billion barrels of oil found in Iraq

I actually went to the website of IHS and found the underlying press release. It's transparently an attempt to sell their maps to oil producers seeking new oil fields.

Russia opened 37 new oil and gas fields in 2006

Last year 37 oil and gas fields were opened in Russia, the Natural Resources Ministry said Wednesday.

"In 2006, about a thousand exploration licenses were issued, while prospecting for oil and gas as a rule takes three to four years," the ministry's spokesman said.

Imports to meet half of China`s gas demand by 2020

China's gas consumption will rise to 100 billion cubic meters by 2010, almost double the figure for last year and well beyond domestic production.

Biofuel plantations fuel strife in Uganda

A row over the conversion of rainforests into biofuel plantations is creating a grave political crisis for a country until now seen as a beacon for democracy in Africa. The issue has brought to a head the simmering conflicts between short-term economic gains and the conservation of vital natural resources in the continent.

EU Trade Chief Calls for Russia Reform

The European Union's relationship with Russia is hobbled by mistrust on both sides, particularly over energy issues, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said Friday, calling on Moscow to enact reforms, but knocking Europe's policy toward its neighbor.

A Warming Trend for Putting Wood Waste to Work as Fuel

A mountain of wood -- broken rafters, studs and floorboards recovered from demolished houses -- rises on a lot here. In a few million years, geologic forces could make it oil. Entrepreneurs are hoping to do it this month.

Six European regions launch renewable-energy network

The network, launched on 17 April in Brussels, includes the regions of Oberösterreich (Austria), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), North Sweden and Wales (UK), as well as small European states Cyprus and Iceland.

Each was selected because of its unique experience in one of the following areas: biomass, wind, oceans, solar, geothermal or hydro energy.

British Gas goes green to win new customers

British Gas New Energy will compete in a market the company values at several billion pounds a year selling rooftop solar panels, energy-efficient boilers and credits to offset customers' personal carbon emissions.

Ethanol boom may boost US natural gas prices

The U.S. ethanol boom could push lofty natural gas prices even higher as the explosion of new distilleries and a soaring corn crop raise industrial and agricultural demand.

Ethanol refineries tend to use natural gas-fueled boilers, and natural gas is also used in the production of fertilizer for corn, which is the main feedstock for ethanol in North America.

Tearlach Resources Announces Renewed Production at One of World's Giant Oil Fields

Tearlach Resources Ltd., announces returning to production of one of the world's giant oil fields. The Company’s approach and technology breathes new production life into the old field, with million barrels of oil that were left in the ground beyond reach.

China plans uranium strategic reserve to back its nuclear power sector

China's Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense said China plans to set up a national uranium strategic reserve to ensure that its nuclear industry is backed by a stable and reliable fuel supply.

Energy producers capture speedier wind

What's new are taller windmills that can catch gusts that are faster than those closer to the ground. The tallest windmills have been about 250 feet, but now proponents envision windmills whose bases are about 330 feet tall.

GM to unveil longe-range Volt concept at Shanghai show

With its much-hyped plug-in hybrid car still years away, General Motors Corp. already is planning a long-range, hydrogen-fueled sequel to the vehicle known as Volt.

Growing Number of Americans See Warming as Leading Threat

A third of Americans say global warming ranks as the world's single largest environmental problem, double the number who gave it top ranking last year, a nationwide poll shows.

Norway plans zero emissions by 2050

Under the 2050 plan, domestic emissions would be offset by cuts abroad or by buying emissions quotas on international markets. For example, Norway could help China or India to shift to using solar or wind power from burning coal or oil.

EU plans shipping emissions cap

Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are thought to be double those of aviation and could rise by as much as 75% in the next 15 to 20 years if world trade continues to grow and no action is taken.

Eurostar promises carbon-free travel

The company announced yesterday that when the new Channel Tunnel Rail link is completed this November and Eurostar moves to its new terminus at St Pancras passengers will be able to travel without worrying about their carbon footprint. Where Eurostar cannot eliminate its own carbon emissions, it will buy carbon offsets, but only as a last resort and at no additional cost to passengers.

U of Colorado researchers forecast 1 in 3 chance of record low sea ice in 2007

University of Colorado at Boulder researchers are forecasting a one in three chance that the 2007 minimum extent of sea ice across the Arctic region will set an all-time record low.

The researchers at CU-Boulder's Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research also say there is a 57 percent chance the 2007 sea-ice minimum will be lower than the 2006 minimum of 2.27 million square miles, now the second lowest on record. There is a 70 percent chance the 2007 sea-ice minimum will rank within the lowest five years on record, according to Research Associate Sheldon Drobot of CCAR's Arctic Regional Ice Forecasting System group in CU-Boulder's aerospace engineering sciences department.

Conoco sees US oil at $55-$65 in 2008

US oil prices will remain in the $55 to $65 range for the next year, ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva said in an interview.

"The consensus view is somewhere between $50 and $65 a barrel and I don't take issue with people who are saying we are going to see it between $55 and $65," Mulva said in an interview on Tuesday with Reuters.

Russian Regulator Says Some Oil, Mining Companies Overstating Reserves

Some foreign oil, gas and mining companies operating in Russia have been making money by overstating their reserves to boost their share price, the deputy head of Russia's environmental watchdog agency said Thursday.

Oleg Mitvol called upon the economic security department of the Federal Security Service - the KGB's main successor - to review certain foreign companies that have allegedly exaggerated their reserves and sold shares on foreign exchanges between 2003 and 2007.

The announcement comes one day after Mitvol made similar remarks about a London-listed oil company that wiped $200 million off its value.

Council still says no to Pickering airport

The resolution urges the federal, provincial and regional governments to support that the review be conducted in an open, public and transparent process. It also asks the GTAA to include how the following factors would affect the business case for Pickering and the future of air transportation: rising fuel prices and peak oil; the impact emissions would have on air quality and how it would contribute to climate change; and the economic impact future emission controls may have.

The Smart Jitney: Rapid, Realistic Transport

Community Solutions recently issued a report about modifications necessary to our transportation infrastructure in a future world where we experience declining oil supplies. (Community Solutions, if you aren’t familiar with them, is the group that created the documentary “The Power of Community: How Cuba survived Peak Oil”) They are proposing a system they are calling the Smart Jitney, which is essentially a souped up ride share program designed to reduce the amount of cars on our roads. And I have to say, I like it. I like it a lot.

Shell exec hopes for go-ahead on US refinery plan

Motiva Enterprises LLC, a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Aramco, has been considering expanding its 285,000 barrels per day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery to as much as 600,000 bpd, which would make it the largest in the United States.

Clean-energy development needed to combat supply uncertainties

With consensus that the looming winter months could mean further blackouts in South Africa, renewable energy and energy-efficiency partnership spokesperson Glynn Morris on Thursday called for the development of clean, clever and competitive energy projects to increase capacity.

The Dance Of The Crab

With sitting and sleeping rooms usually stuffy and unbearably warm, due to the power cuts, we often only manage a snooze before dawn. We, however, get a fantastic compensation for the previous night’s discomfort when we report for work in the morning: We get paid for doing nothing. Absolutely nothing, Jomo.

Every day hundreds of thousands of PCs with dead screens sit atop office tables, advanced technological tools for information processing, rapid communication and fast transaction of business, which have suddenly been rendered useless by the energy crisis.

Caution: this bus stops at Chinese restaurants

It’s not love of mu shu, it’s the used cooking oil the restaurants are happy to get rid of, and the crew of five needs, to keep their reconfigured school bus on its 10,000 mile 100-day tour through the northeast.

Alaska Creates Pipeline Oversight Office

Alaska on Wednesday established a new office to provide oversight of its oil field infrastructure, eight months after corrosion was to blame for the partial shutdown of the Prudhoe Bay oil field.

Uncontrollable Price Rise Can Slow Down Global LNG Demand

With consumers’ unwillingness to pay high prices for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), there may be a dramatic slow down in the global demand for the fuel, as per industry officials and analysts.

Mexican PEMEX to Market Gulf Oil Reserves

Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) oil company will market the oil reserves in deep waters of the Mexican Gulf, starting in 2014, sources revealed on Thursday in this capital.

The Bear's Lair: The day of commodities

With supply limited in the short and medium term, the prospects for oil prices indeed appear bullish, with a return to 1981's peak of around $70 per barrel in 2004 dollars by no means impossible. Of course, that would have enormous knock-on effects on the world economy in general and the U.S. economy in particular.

Shell Exec: Brazil Pre-Salt Layer Oil Find Encouraging

The find is considered a new frontier. It lies below a water depth of 2,140 meters, then a 2,000-meter-thick salt layer that itself is under 3,000 to 4,000 meters of sand and rocks. That means the oil find is at a distance of more than 7,000 meters from the Ocean's surface.

Weekly Offshore Rig Review: Australia Watches the Gas Grow

This week Australian utilization of jackups, semis, and drillships is at 12 of 12 rigs. Demand in the region has been strong since late 2005, when it moved above 90% with 9 of 10 rigs contracted. Over the last year, utilization has been consistently close to 100%, which has drawn two more rigs into the region since late 2005. Looking forward, several more rigs are set to move into the waters offshore Australia so that there will be a net increase of 3 rigs (25%) by the end of this year.

Forget the Dollar, We're Gonna Making a Killing on Its Demise

A weakening dollar is a clear indication for us that commodity prices--specifically oil and gold--will continue their steady rise.

More on that American Petroleum Institute conference call:

       ●Houston Chronicle energy blog: API talks to the blogosphere

       ●WSJ Energy Roundup blog: Big Oil on Peak Oil

       ●There's also a transcript (PDF) and a podcast.

Oil tumbles on inventory concerns, news from Iraq and China

Analysts were split on the impact of a report by the consulting firm IHS Inc. that there may be an additional 100 billion barrels of oil in Iraq. The report estimated the country's current reserve base to be 116 billion barrels. The U.S. Geological Survey has been less optimistic about Iraq's untapped potential, estimating there is an additional reserve base of 45 billion barrels.

..."It's not going to (affect markets), today," Flynn said. "But long-term, it definitely does. This pushes back peak oil a few years, now, doesn't it?"

Opec set to trim April oil output, say consultants

Opec, excluding Iraq and Angola, is set to trim oil output in April due to lower sales from Iran, which sold more than previously thought in March, a consultant said yesterday.

Risk to the Petro Dollar from Iraq War and Iranian Crude Oil Echange

The focus on gold and the USDollar alone lacks a crucial factor in maintaining the world currency reserve on its fragile pedestal. The PetroDollar is a term used to describe the close relationship between the USDollar and the crude oil export business dominated by Saudi Arabia , manifested in the superstructure of the global banking system. So one could say the oil world provides the pool from which the US $ exchange rate valuation is applied and enforced.

Enormous Oil Reserves Stored In North America

Oil from sand. Sounds incredible, but it's true. Oil reserves of some 24 billion tons are stored in the oil sands of the Canadian province of Alberta. Beneath a surface of 140,000 square kilometers, there is theoretically as much oil as in Saudi Arabia.

Mideast looks to nuclear energy to save oil and gas

The Middle East is looking to nuclear energy as the only way to power its booming economies short of burning precious oil and gas reserves.

Oil workers' boat attacked in Nigeria

Gunmen attacked a boat carrying oil workers to an offshore rig in waters off Nigeria's unruly southern oil region, wounding six passengers, officials said Friday.

Detroit jumps into the fuel economy debate

For decades, as Americans enjoyed low-priced gasoline and bought large, gas-guzzling pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, Detroit’s Big Three automakers kept their distance from the debate about fuel economy. The feeling was that a new set of tough fuel guidelines could hurt them financially. But now there’s a new economic impetus for automakers to jump into the debate.

Daryl Hannah campaigns for biodiesel standard

A group of celebrity-led campaigners are setting up sustainable standards for biofuels in the United States to stave off fears that producing some green fuels may do more harm than good for the environment.

Climate Change Will Affect Women More Severely Than Men

The report, Gender and Climate Change (available here as a PDF), concludes that women are more severely affected by climate change and natural disasters because of their social roles and because of discrimination and poverty. To make matters worse, they're also underrepresented in decision-making about climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and, most critically, discussions and decisions about adaptation and mitigation.

Australia's drought linked to global warming

An unprecedented drought that has withered Australia's major food production zone could be a taste of things to come as global warming ramps up, experts said Friday.

Global warming swelling insurance risk

The insurer of last resort, the government faces a potential payout of at least $919 billion under a worst-case scenario of flood and crop losses due to global warming, congressional investigators say.

Anyone here have a subscription to Science? They've got an interesting article today:

OIL RESOURCES: The Looming Oil Crisis Could Arrive Uncomfortably Soon

But it's behind a paywall...

Looks like EB came through:


I have access to that article and will give you the gist:

Worst case scenario - peak in 2020
Best case scenario - peak after 2040

This is based on canvassing opinions of 75 experts at a meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Key Quote: "The peak in world oil production is not imminent," oil information analyst Richard Nehring of Nehring Associates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said at the meeting, but it is "nevertheless foreseeable."

Hubbert doesn't count. Deffeyes doesn't count. Jeffrey Brown doesn't count. Bakhtiari doesn't count. Albert Bartlett doesn't count. Khebab doesn't count. Craig Hatfield doesn't count. Matt Simmons doesn't count.

None of the pseudo"experts" who have been following this situation from as early as 1956 counts. [to be considered an "expert" you must have been at the AAPG metting]

Nothing to see here, move along...

‘Mainstream’ scientists are in bed with the pols. They consider themselves an ‘elite’ who can keep their positions, all of them dependent, they like to think, and certainly say (offstage) on ‘votes’ and thus presenting a sugary, lulling, cornucopia. Ostensibly, they state, it is because ‘voters’ or ‘the people’ can’t bear negative news, changes, the idea of a lowered of life style, higher taxes, regulations, etc. etc.

In fact, it is because they consider themselves part of the dominating group, and reckon they themselves will prosper, and survive. They show great contempt for ordinary ppl, and paint them as ‘sheeples’ -not with that word- a state of affairs they have themselves created, in their own interest.

That may sound harsh and wildly exaggerated, even somewhat loopy or conspiracist; of course it does not apply to all pols or scientists (specially not to those outside energy, health, and other socially important fields), even hyper mainstream ones. But the general ambiance is of that type. The lies and protectionism, rationalization and hype show clearly that the crunch is here and the competition is raging.

Recently, much has been made of climate change (rightly so), but it puts Peak Oil somewhat in the shade.

What about Peak Poverty in the Western World? That, of course, is the nightmare of our ‘leaders’.

Yes and many white lab coats are of the variety that 'tie at the back' if you know what I mean.

I think that more likely mainstream media finds mainstream "experts" a more confortable fit. We live in a world that has motored along in a very consistent manner for two generations. There have been apocalyptic predictions from the "fringe" for a long time and none of it has come to fruition. It is credible and professionally safe to believe those who reassure that more of the same is in the future.

It doesn't take a conspiracy, lies, or ego on the part of the media. Try to remember that all they learned in school was spelling and punctuation.

Yes, of course. There is a kind of symbiosis. But when the media ‘cherry pick’ their favorite pet scientists, these scientists gain credibility, and others are ignored, marginalized. General opinion then tends to sway towards what the media touted; and those who conform to that opinion get to publish ‘wider public’ books, stand a better chance not only to obtain funding in general (that isn’t always true actually) but certainly get a bigger look in for ‘new’ projects, ‘innovations’, ‘social action’, ‘public policy’, and so on. They advise Gvmts., particularly in the US. So who is running the show? The media or the scientists? Or unstated Gvmt. policy? Corporations? Some of all of the above? Well that’s impossible to answer. The present state of affairs seems to be considered ‘natural’ and no doubt to some degree it is; things have always been so, in part. But TODers can note that ‘we make our own reality’ is no joke (also called denial of reality), it is most definetly not a sort of vague, unexplicable, process that just ‘takes place’. It has a direction, a purpose, a momentum..One needn’t see this as a ‘conspiracy’ to be uncovered; it is a social process that should be understood. Public health is another area that has been much affected.


i wonder how that 2020 and 2040 peak date correlates with the 75 experts' expected retirement date ?

Following a link, I found this next to something else on Atrios. I never read Atrios, but it seems to be popular.

Cars by the hour
in your neighborhood!

Drive Priuses, Minis, BMWs, Elements, pickups, and more, steps from your home or office! Simply
reserve online, unlock with your personal key, and

Join FREE. Rates from $5.90/hour cover gas,
insurance, parking, and child seats.

More freedom for you. That's PhillyCarShare.


I'm not in Philly but I checked Zipcar again. They've expanded into a few more cities, including DC & suburbs, but not Baltimore.


I also checked Flexcar again. I vaguely remembered that they have several cars at nearby Johns Hopkins University, but apparently anyone can rent them (for four more dollars per hour than the JHU students).


This is exciting. My car is rather old and I don't want to buy another. If Flexcar does well, that will be a viable option, for me and my wife, to buying and storing a car in the city.

I would love to carshare instead of own a car.

Unfornately, it's only an option in the largest cities right now.

The Smart Jitney computer would constantly be monitoring all cars that are part of the system, including the number of passengers, the destinations and the vacant seats available.

It's been a while since I was in the DR where there were all sorts of jitney/mobilos. Do they use cell phones now? I doubt it. The implication is that we'll be able to increase the energy into the overhead/core to manage the cars. It's an increase in complexity and hierarchy. Nor will it play well with bicycles and walking. Doesn't feel right to me. It's one of those examples makes me wonder if technology is "of a piece" - with itself and energy inputs.

cfm in Gray, ME


I had the same reaction with respect to the increasing complexity -- its not going to work, certainly not for long.

I think more frequent electrical outages are not far away, because of natural gas shortages (certain parts of country, certain times of the year, at first). How would this big system be maintained with electrical outages?

There are things I do like in the Community Solutions newsletters. They have a lot of interesting analysis, graphs (my favorite!), and references at the end of articles. The Smart Jitney analysis is from this newsletter:

Previous newsletters can be found here:

Maine's electricity is close to 3/4 natural gas. The hydro is owned by out of state corporations, Florida Power and Light. So this is how deregulation plays out: we heat our homes and generate local electricity with NG from CA, but locally generated hydropower - which is destroying the Atlantic Eel - is being sold out of state via ratepayer subsidized lines (CMP and Bangor Hydro both have added new interconnects since last grid crash to *increase* reliability. NB - Maine did not crash because it was not connected) because out-of-state will pay more. I've discussed this with members of Judiciary (Commerce Clause, corporations), Natural Resources (DEP, dams) and Utilities (PUC) Committees in Legislature over several years and change in membership. Some of the members understand it intellectually, but not emotionally. Or rather they have been dulled, because it appears their connection to reality is decreasing, not increasing: this state is grossly business "friendly"; it is a corporate plantation. Iron triangle.

cfm in Gray, ME

I don't know if New Brunswick has any surplus electricity from the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station?

Also at least in NB they generate electric power with wood waste.

Maine politics sound like NB politics. Underpinning everything in NB you have the Irving family (who own the Canport natural gas terminal, the TV and radio, the newspapers and the gas stations).

The only real solution for Mainers is to conserve. Unfortunately it's expensive to reinsulate already-existing homes (and it actually lowers your square footage and hence your resale value?).

It would also make sense to invest in geothermal (ground source or geoexchange) heat pumps, but I suspect given the electricity prices, even against bottled gas, not particularly economic?

PEI is getting a 100 MW wind farm for export "south". Also about 60 MW of wind power by local utilities. The two combined would make PEI about self sufficient on a MWh basis,

Best Hopes,


PS you call your electricity 'hydro'?

That is a piece of Canadian English that has slipped across the border.. grin ;-).

"I would love to carshare instead of own a car.

Unfortunately, it's only an option in the largest cities right now."

Quebec City (pop. just under .5 million) and Victoria (pop. just over .33 million) have car share operations.

Big cities to me. I live on the outskirts of a city with a population of 25,000.

Nelson, BC has an active car share with a population of under 10K ! About 12 people involved I believe ...

Another reason why I want to move to BC...

Canadians are a bit hypocritical on all this.

Worst greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption per capita of any western nation (bar Luxembourg, I think).

Vancouver is OK, but I was disappointed at the public transport system (coming from the East). Lots of waiting around for buses and trollies, Skytrain doesn't seem to go anywhere useful. And very few cyclists in a climate ideal for them: the roads are wide, and the cars hog them, especially the bridges. Vancouver is also screamingly expensive. Calgary and Toronto are (almost) that expensive, but people are generally paid a lot more.

East Vancouver is funky, but the yuppies are moving in, and even for Vancouver, the microclimate means it rains a lot (Simon Fraser University sits on a mountain in a permanent cloud).

Be sure and read Douglas Coupland's photoguide to Vancouver-- endless insights. 'City of Glass' I think it is called.

Victoria is an odd place. The very old, and the very young. It sprawls, too. And the local economy is quite boom-bust unless you work for the government, the hospitals or the university. But I think one could mostly live there cycling and walking. The problem is if you want to go anywhere else (except Vancouver and maybe Seattle) you will wind up flying.

The rest of BC is car, car, car. We got on a bus in Prince Rupert, and we were the only 'white' people-- everyone else was a native Canadian (this didn't feel in any way threatening or uncomfortable, it was just an interesting factoid that white middle class people in Prince Rupert don't take the bus). The best I can suggest is a diesel car, as and when they are available (a good diesel is at least as frugal as a hybrid, and likely to be more durable).

People move to BC, I think, when they have money they have made somewhere else. And they take a downshift in career and life, to enjoy the lifestyle (nothing intrinsically wrong with that).

The politics of BC is also far right-far left (in a Canadian context). Inner Vancouver tends to be very left wing, and the boonies tend to be really, really right wing. There is a 'logger mentality' that the only good forest is one that is being cut down. The lifestyle is about self actualisation: flying the flying boat to your yacht at the weekends, etc.

One thing you can do in BC (depending where) is insulate your home and use passive solar, thus removing the need for much (but not all) home heating. It shouldn't be hot enough most of the time to really need air con.

I use FlexCar in Atlanta. It's great. I get to choose from many different types of cars, even trucks, vans and SUVs should I want to rent one for to pick up a large package. I would use it more but I've been living the carfree lifestyle in Atlanta (despite what a poster yesterday said was impossible) for a while and I've gotten use to not using a car. For most of my daily needs I've simply worked out other ways than using an automobile.

From the home of Mad Max: Forget stealing gasoline, they're stealing water!

Wow...I have to admit...I never thought I would see that. But it is a logical progression.

3000 gallons though, you need to back up a big truck to pump that and 'steal' it.

Not exactly spur of the moment stuff...I would bet it is someone in the club. So would the police I imagine.

Food(err...water) for thought...what price do you put on the theft? ie. are local rates ramping due to the shortage, therefore a much more significant theft...or is it still partial pennies a glass? Plus it sounds like it was rainwater collection...

Coming to a community in the southwest/east texas soon...

That part of Australia is a major coal exporter. One day they'll wake up and wonder if there is any connection with water shortages.

BTW looking at the Drumbeat headings I notice 10 bad news items to 1 maybe good news item (Iraq reserves) so therefore 'oil tumbles'. I'm thinking the oil biz has a filter that screens out anything negative.

I think it is not just the Oil Biz, that filters out the negative.

A great article on whats up down under;



includes a wordy parable that includes a simplistic description of demand distruction.


More on the Water Crisis

Drain wetlands to save towns

EIGHT wetlands face being drained to free up water along the Murray-Darling as John Howard warns that Australia may have to import more food to cope with the historic drying of the basin.

The Murray Darling Commission's April drought report can be found here;


The contingency report is here


"Unless there are very substantial early, inflows there will be insufficient water available to allow any
allocation at the commencement of the 2007-08 water year for irrigation, the environment or any
purpose other than critical domestic supplies."

Interesting that, AFAIK, Howard still denies this is man made global warming.

One Australian politician called this 'not the 1 in 100 year drought, but the 1 in 1000 year drought'.

Err... can we say 'climate change' gents? What if this really *is* the Australian climate, and what Oz had before was the anomaly? Not 1 in 1000, but forever.

Jared Diamond is very good on this. There is a reason there were only a few hundred thousand Aboriginals on the whole landmass, and the lifestyles and ways of being they adopted. They learned how to live on a continent where the rains could literally 'switch off'.

AFAIK there are periods in past history, hundreds or thousands of years long, when Australia was dryer than it is now (the converse is also true).

(the Canadian version of this will be when the 'permafrost' turns out not to be permanent, thus sinking billions, or tens of billions, of dollars of infrastructure)

Just because human beings are primitive, by our standards, doesn't mean they are stupid.

Red Cavaney of API: "Man left the Stone Age not because he ran out of stone. We’ll leave the age of oil, but it won’t be because we ran out of oil."

How long will we have to endure this canard?? We didn't run out of stone because the earth is mostly made of stone! Does anyone really believe the earth is mostly made of oil? Do the people that say this know anything about geology at all??

Yes, and I was SO SURPRISED to learn that stone was the energy source of choice for those cave guys!

The Stoned age ran from the early 1960's to present date with an ever rapidly decreasing EROEI (ref., World's Most Miserable Facts book).

Why don't we use real stone in constructing buildings any more ? That stuff lasted a lot longer and looked a lot better than the crap precast, EIFS and whatever else they use now instead.

Bring back the stone age!

I also hate this expression. It's indicative of those slogans that seduce the simplistic or lazy thinkers (the vast majority of people), dare I say sheeple?

Why don't we use real stone in constructing buildings any more ?

A - Buildings used to be an expression of a family's or a company's wealth, power and reliability. Nothing says permanent like stone. Many corporate buildings are still clad with stone panels, an impersonal, machined product compared to stone masonry.

B - Few talented stonecutters are willing to work for pennies an hour as immigrant stonecutters did when most of our great stone masonry buildings were erected.

C - Buildings used to be a long-term investment, not a short-term tax write-off.

My house is completely built of stone blocks from 12-18" thick. It is 80 years old, and I see no reason that it shouldn't stand for hundreds of years more. I far as I know, the only repairs that have been done are window replacements (for energy savings, not because the existing windows were bad) and replacement of about 20 roof tiles.

Try that with a Macmansion.

It's the unbelievable time and labor involved in stone construction, as massive as the home. But try this for an owner-built (well, her dad did help some) Macmansion.


For those that think they can fend off the post peak hordes vying for their creation, the slip-form method works well. I'd love to build a partially sunk greenhouse with a slip-form north wall for thermal mass.

Masonry homes can last forever in the right location. I hope you do not live in an earthquake zone. Masonry homes/ buildings are extremely vulnerable to earthquakes, that's why many municipalities do not permit pure, structural masonry and why we get the artificial-appearing frame buildings with a 1 to 2 inch stone or brick "skin".

The other problem is insulating a stone structure. I'm curious if your walls are insulated at all, and if so how.

Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with your point about building things to last. The neighborhood across from my in-laws was built 20 years ago and probably ought to just be torn down at this point bc/ the construction is so shoddy. particle board garage doors are decaying, cheap vinyl siding gets blown off in storms. concrete block foundations are sagging, etc, etc. I've got a 100 year old frame home with original slate roof, orignal floors, original doors, original plaster walls/ ceilings. Windows were replaced, the attic has been insulated, new gutters, that's about it in 100 years. I need to insulate the outer walls. Currently debating how to do it, probably will have to drill holes in the siding and blow it in though part of me wants to do it right by pulling off the siding, putting in good insulation and re-siding it- this insulates better but costs a lot more up front.

Nowadays, you just furr out the inside walls and spray insulation between the furring strips. In the old days, you had a fireplace in every important room.

I grew up in a oak-framed farmhouse that was well over 200 years old; must be 250 years old by now. The framers used hand-made square nails. The old walls and ceilings were plaster over wood lath. Floors were probably hard pine. Some walls were insulated by pouring in vermiculite, but not many. The older chimneys were of a sandy, local brick. There were pipes in the corners where they ran plumbing for the radiators. And an outhouse.

I think sprayed insulation makes sense, but I've torn out old walls and found big gaps in blown-in insulation. I guess it depends on how many holes you drill.

I'm curious if your walls are insulated at all, and if so how.

I am sure that they are not. The only insulation is the thickness of the stone and the plaster. Even so, it is (IMO) very energy efficient. The stone and roof are light, so they reflect heat very well in the summer. Plus, with all the thermal mass of the stone, temperature stays very stable.

I can heat the entire house with my wood burning stove, and cool it with one or two window air conditioners running.

Sounds like a really great home.

I own a house built of stone. It has been standing for 500 years at least. The walls are quite a bit more than a foot thick.

The only thing one has to do is mortar over some cracks from time to time, and, of course, take care of the roof. (And have the outside appearance conform to ‘code’.) The roof can of course be blown off (that hasn’t happened in my life time.) Flood and deluge are easily dealt with: You open the windows and doors and you may loose a window or two. And then you wait for it to dry out. Meanwhile, where your local supermarket stood there is: NOTHING. Not a single thing left. Just mud.

This house (in the region of Montpellier, France) has a cellar on the first floor, as it is built on a hill. One room is dug into the ground, with an air / water inlet/outlet that can be shut or open (the water has to run through otherwise the ground on top will collapse on you, neighbor and all.) This cellar room never gets hotter than about 15C and keeps the house cool. Americans arrive there, they say, Who turned the air conditioning on? It isn’t cold in the winter either, but lacking specific measurements that is hard to substantiate. Yes, very stable temperature.

I would love to see a picture of your house.

With a house that old, you don't own it. You just are just a caretaker for future generations. I spend a lot of time thinking about past generations that lived in my house. I can just imagine the memories in a 500 year old house.

To add to A, B, and C above:

D - stone cutting is an extremely onerous occupation. It is also very hazardous, nowadays calling for regular medical examinations. Since it's easier to manage hazardous dust in a controlled environment and/or on a small scale, stone cutting is now a matter largely for tombstones and sculpture, or else for panels, blocks, and the like produced by enclosed automated machinery.

In the past, people had far fewer options. As a result, too many labored much too hard, and too many died of lung diseases and accidents, for the sake of the 'permanence' of vernacular bank buildings, me-too rich folks' houses, and other such trivialities built for the oh-so-pretentious overpaid.

So enjoy the old buildings. You might as well - we can't change the hardships and deaths of yesteryear. We have no time machines. But leave the old ways where they belong. In the dead past. Good riddance.

I understand what you are saying. But today's energy intensive materials such as EIFS and manufactured stone come with their share of hazards both for the people that are exploited for their energy resources and for the people that live in the outgassing, mold accumulating buildings.

I personally would rather die sooner, knowing I had created a work that would last for 600 years like

rather than live a little longer leaving something like this POS that is detroyed after 30 years, while I was still alive to see it go down

But, we all value different things I suppose.

In case anyone is interested, the street scene with the old clock tower above is Bern, Switzerland. Although I am from California, I was in Bern two years ago. I found Bern to be an elegant and majestic city. Absolutely beautiful.

Yes, Bern. Where Einstein lived and worked as a patent clerk and the clock is where he was reported to have some of his moments of clarity about relativity.


If you move away from it on the train near the speed of light, the clock would appear to slow almost to a stop due to the light from it having to 'catch up' to your position.

The Zytglogge (Clock Tower) originally was built in the early 1200's out of wood and burned down 200 years later in a large fire to be reconstructed of stone along with the surrounding buildings in the early 1400's. It was about 500 years old when Einstein observed it from the train.

Does somebody know that Bern is the Capital city of Switzerland?

I too understand the misery of stone cutting. Though the local stone cutter would disagree. He loves his work and has a booming business, some of it ornamental, sure, but a lot of it just for walls etc. Anyway, these old houses were investments. Mine has had so many people living in it I can’t even estimate - crowds of them, on and on, generation after generation - and none of them did anything to it (barring roof, windows, etc.) - no costs, no materials used, no work, nothing taken from the environment. And this is set to continue.

well, whatever else is true, the Stone Age lasted a lot longer than the Oil Age will. And how do you suppose the Empire State Building will compare with Stonehenge in 20,000 years?

Moreover the parallel being drawn is stupid. The stone age was characterized by the use of stone as a construction material and human/biomass energy. The iron and bronze age, similarly, are characterized by the use of those materials and biomass energy. In our time, oil is primarily used not as a material but an energy source! Hence, the analogy being drawn between oil and stone is simply stupid. This is one of those stupid talking points that are too often used to introduce wrong assumptions into public discussion (in this case, the notion that there will be progress in the form of a technological based solution to supplant oil for reasons as yet unspecified.) Actually, I anticipate a regression back to the coal age.

I've heard that in the ancient world there were some long term (century scale) depressions due to wood depletion.

It should be called "the whole stone age". We still use vast ammount of stone. We use cubic miles of crushed stone in concrete and asphalt. Plus all the crushed stone we enlightened ones call "gravel". I just bought 4 dump truck loads of crushed stone. Maybe the stone age peoples were just to lazy to crush it befor using. Stupid people probably were out hunting and fishing instead. ;-)

Just like to say - Great job Robert (RR). You do TOD great credit.

Looks like you were the only one prepared with a list of questions and got a good number in there.

2044 peak...they believe in the long plateau too?

Cool...thanks for asking the question I posted(tar sands/environment) - in such eloquent form. The answer wasn't terribly satisfying, but at least you opened up with it.

The answer wasn't terribly satisfying, but at least you opened up with it.

Agree that the answer was not satisfying. I am working on an essay now, in which I pulled out my questions, the answers, and then commented on the answers. Basically, what I said on this one is that we can't afford an answer like "we will figure it out." Sometimes, we don't figure it out.

My post should be in the queue by the end of the day. I don't know how many are ahead of it. I will probably also post it to my blog sometime later.

Oh, and there are also some typos in the transcript. I am trying to catch them as I see them. Once they wrote "can't" where I said "can", which totally changes what I was saying.

From the Science article quoted above -- the peak according to the real experts is 2020 to 2040:

"The peak in world oil production is not imminent," oil information analyst Richard Nehring of Nehring Associates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said at the meeting, but it is "nevertheless foreseeable."

This is 2007. 13 to 33 years is a rather short span in the life of an Empire. The Mayans apparently declined over a couple of hundred years, and we call it a "collapse." The Mayans are still there, of course -- some of them are mowing lawns in Oregon and cleaning houses in Southern California and plucking chickens in Arkansas.

Also this:

So-called peakists favor gauging future production by judging how much oil Earth still holds and how much has already been produced. They come up with a peak in the next few years, certainly before 2020. At the other extreme, major oil companies draw on in-house expertise about how much oil remains and how fast it will be produced. They see no end to rising production as far out as they look, usually not beyond 2030.

Nehring took a different tack, in two ways. First, he conducted an informal survey of experts by organizing a meeting, a prestigious Hedberg Conference, under the auspices of AAPG last November and inviting 75 experts from 19 countries to consider the world's oil resources. There he pressed them for their best estimates of everything from how much oil might be left to discover to how much might be wrung from existing oil fields and how much might come from unconventional sources such as Canadian tar sands.

In my business (medicine) the "experts" are forever coming up with "consensus" statements that lead away from common sense, away from experience, and into colossal blunders. Informal polling of the "experts" is even worse from that standpoint.

the "experts" are forever coming up with "consensus" statements that lead away from common sense, away from experience, and into colossal blunders.

Beautiful. Quotably beautiful.

Is that in reference to the global warming "consensus" ?

Sometimes I can not help but think that "Global Warming" is in fact the code word for "Peak oil".


But sometimes I think that nuclear winter is the solution they plan for all of it.

Mommy can I go to sleep now...this movie is scary.

It is unlikely that anybody is planning for it, but it may very well end up this way. Especially if one of the sides gets to a state where it thinks it may "win" such war. Which reminds me of a thing someone said during the cold war - if USSR or USA wanted to destroy each other back then, they would not need to send bombers, missiles or such. All they would need is to detonate the bombs at their own territories and wait for the radioactive cloud to reach the other side and do the job.

I would hope so.

the "experts" are forever coming up with "consensus" statements that lead away from common sense, away from experience, and into colossal blunders.

Beautiful. Quotably beautiful."

I guess pointing out that this also can be said of the "CO2 experts" would be a waste of time,....thought so.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

follow that thread a little before dismissing so conteptuously. "Consensus" decision-making can be a valid process. Just not when it serves in lieu of real data.

Those 'peakists' ..relying on data and analysis when perfectly good opinion is out there to find.

The other guys opinion is built on data also. We just choose which data set and opinion we think is the best conclusion to date. Plenty of oil left according to their methods.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Light sweet crude 30 API or better and in a location and in such quantity where it can be extracted economically. That part often doesn't get mentioned and all the public hears is years and years of oil left. It'll tar the roads but getting it to go through the fuel injectors is getting tricky.

Never: The increasingly amusing part of all these articles (there is an "energy trader" named Flynn quoted above in another article stating that extra reserves in Iraq will "push out peak a few years") is that peak crude oil has already passed.The interesting fact that the all time record month for production is a couple years in the rear view mirror is never mentioned. They don't even bother to attempt to explain it away as an anomaly.

In these "expert" responses are things like shale and bitumen and even ethanol included in their definition of oil. They stretch out the date of peak oil by stretching out the definition of oil. Truth in labeling laws do not apply.

The presidential election in Nigeria takes place tomorrow, and things are not looking up:

LAGOS (Thomson Financial) - Armed men attacked an oil-rig security vessel at a facility of Conoil in Nigeria's southern oil-rich state of Bayelsa, officials said Friday.

Unconfirmed industry sources said six people were thought to have been wounded in the attack late Thursday while three could have been kidnapped.

'There was indeed an incident last night. We suspect it was a piracy activity but the details are still sketchy, and we have sent officials of the state to go for investigation', Bayelsa state government secretary Godknows [sic] Igali told AFP in Yenagoa.


Crude has already gone up (although just a bit) because violence is expected to continue and perhaps intensify.

April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose on concern that tomorrow's presidential election in Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, may result in a disruption of shipments.

Militants in Nigeria's delta region who've halted almost a quarter of the nation's oil production say their campaign for control of local resources won't be stopped by the election. Nigeria was the fifth-largest source of U.S. oil imports last year. The country produces low-sulfur oil that is prized by U.S. refiners because of the high proportion of gasoline it yields.

``Prices will stay higher through today because of this weekend's election in Nigeria,'' said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. ``People will want to hedge in case the election results in a further disruption of oil.''


Ok. Let's try some simple modelling on Iraq's new reserves (I said simple)

Analysts were split on the impact of a report by the consulting firm IHS Inc. that there may be an additional 100 billion barrels of oil in Iraq. The report estimated the country's current reserve base to be 116 billion barrels. The U.S. Geological Survey has been less optimistic about Iraq's untapped potential, estimating there is an additional reserve base of 45 billion barrels.

Up to 100 billion barrels more. OOIP? or recoverable reserves...not sure if it really matters. (see below)

"It's not going to (affect markets), today," Flynn said. "But long-term, it definitely does. This pushes back peak oil a few years, now, doesn't it?"

Does it really?

Let's imagine...Hydrocarbon Law still being formulated, Violence at peak, IOCs not in place for new exploration...yet.

So, let's be optimistic. First holes drilled 2 years. Fields developed (massively) and pipelines built...5 more years. So, let's say 7 years....and, again, optimistically, instanteous peak/max production of an additional 4MMBPD.

No distruptions, no terrorism/sabotage, no internal use growth...perfect EXPORT world.

Now that is 2014. In 7 years, we can expect to be approx. 14 MMBPD lower in production (using a 2.5% blended decline/net exports rate - arbitrary, yes).

***This does assume KSA cannot ramp up and keep pumping at max for another 7 years.

So, unless they(Iraq) can produce 14 MMBPD, there could be no new peak. That is from production peak, and not anticipated demand...demand(ie. growth) will have started falling off sometime around 2008.

And that was a perfect world. KSA in 2005 has produced 11.1 MMBPD in TOTAL LIQUIDS/GAINS and they have a reported reserves almost 3 times of Iraqs new reserves. And it took 30+ years to get to that level, and the world's largest oilfield.

The markets are concerned about violence in Iraq, however, he said. That will have to be quelled before traders take any announcements about increased production seriously.

"Obviously, the violence is going to have to calm," Flynn said. "It's going to take years to bring that oil to the market."

Understatement of the day!

On the positive side, in a perfect non-civil warring Iraq, it would make the tail a bit easier to ride down.

My main question is simple. If the western desert really has anywhere close to 100 Gb of reserves, why has no one ever thought about drilling there before?

It defies logic and reason that this can be the case. 100 Gb is more than all the oil that has previously been discovered in Iraq.

I refuse to believe that in the decades that oil has been produced in that region that not one person would have thought of drilling in such a seemingly target rich environment. It makes no sense.

IHS rings a bell. Are they not connected to CERA in some way?

It would be a good excuse to stay in Iraq. Underlying or indirect marketing way to convince US lawmakers that we (US Bases) are sitting on the "The Prize". If it is true US could allow not Exxon but Saudi Aramco to develop the area. Seems like good marketing too me.

Yeah, CERA is an IHS company, according to their website.


“The Iraq Atlas, which will be available from IHS on May 9, is a unique overview of all known prospects and fields in Iraq, and estimates oil reserves at up to 116 billion barrels ranking the country number three in the world. The Iraq Atlas estimates that there could potentially be another 100 billion barrels of oil in the Western Desert of Iraq.”

“The Iraq Atlas estimate of up to another potential 100 billion barrels of oil reserves is largely based on the establishment of new play concepts in the Western Desert of Iraq, which have been generated from a recent study of the Western Arabian Platform. The Western Desert of Iraq is widely regarded as being substantially under explored with only one commercial discovery in the region largely because Iraq has had a surplus of oil to date and little incentive for exploration”

From the comments section of The Prize of Iraq - A Sensational Story:

"There's some spin here, though. All the talk about extra reserves could be connected to keeping the Sunnis mollified, by stating that there are oil reserves under Sunni held land, as well. So let's keep an eye on it."

An interesting idea that may have some merit.



The inevitable and only sane solution to the Iraq mess is partition into three entities. The only insurmountable obstacle to partition (other than the one that resides in the White House) has been the absence of equitable oil resources in the Sunni midsection. Isn't it convenient that this comes along to put to rest that little problem, so soon after the Green Zone security breach last week puts to rest any last hope that "the surge" is actually going to accomplish anything?

Partition WILL happen. Yes, it will be every bit as ugly and bloody as the India-Pakistan partition. What everyone fails to realize is that if there had not been that partition, then India-Pakistan would have been just as ugly and bloody as Iraq. There is no silver bullet for Iraq, but there is one that has to be bitten.

I can come up with a couple of other obstacles to partition:

1. A significant number of Iraqis don't want it.
2. None of Iraq's neighbours wants it.

Only a lot of Kurds seem to want it, and Turkey has already threatened to invade northern Iraq if the Kurds become too independent.

I'd venture to say that partition WILL NOT happen, at least not without a full scale war and certainly not the way we may prefer it to happen. I don't think the Kurds could hold out long against Turkey, Iran and Iraqi Arabs, should a war start.

I've started to think of 21st century Iraq as perhaps comparable to pre-WW1 Poland. Trapped between covetous Turkey, Syria and Iran. Poland was trapped (and divided by 3 times)Germany, Austria and Russia.

IHS bought CERA some time ago

While we are on the topic of production horizons -

PEMEX story from above:

Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) oil company will market the oil reserves in deep waters of the Mexican Gulf, starting in 2014,

The projects will only be carried out in a period of at least seven years after locating the oilfields, he clarified.

Have they located them yet? 7 years plus ? And they have one drill although they are trying to get more.

A day late and a dollar short.

Sorry if you think it is pessimistic, but I am a Bartlett fan...I have to review what they are saying and put it into perspective.

But here's hoping they can smooth the tail a bit more.

From the link to wood waste at wapo:

The process is considered "carbon neutral" because it uses carbon that is in the wood and that through natural decay would one day contribute to carbon dioxide emissions anyway.

They are doing this in a "heated, airless chamber with nitrogen". Where does that nitrogen come from? And while the article talks about clean slash and wood, the example is construction debris. Where does the lead, PCBs and arsenic go in this process? Into the gases that are burned or the fertilizer? I bet these plants are eligible for "Green Tags". Me, I'd call them trash incinerators.

cfm in Gray, ME - downplume from Sappi's incinerator.

I have always questioned this theory that wood is carbon neutral, mainly put out by those pushing wood as an energy source. If wood is carbon neutral, why not coal? After all coal used to be biomass that extracted carbon from the atmosphere. The problem with this carbon neutrality theory is that some trees are hundreds of years old and it, in turn, takes hundreds of years for them to naturally decompose. Yes, in the long run it is carbon neutral. But the problem of excess carbon in the atmosphere is now. When you burn it, what would normally takes hundreds of years takes hours.

I am not worried about a slow process that takes hundreds of years to release carbon. I am worried about carbon being released now and over the next ten, twenty, and thirty years.

This is actually more profound than it seems. In the final analysis RATES are tremendously important. Of course coal is carbon neutral, over some time span. The problem is that that time span includes a couple of ice ages and a couple of global warmings. I hadn't thouhgt of the tree issue, though. Grow a big tree over 100 years, burn it in a week; equals global warming and soil depletion.

This is probably a nice sustainable way to go if you have 5200 other trees that you aren't burning for each tree that you burn.

The article Russia opened 37 new oil and gas fields in 2006 is interesting. Please note what actually occurred.

  • Over 1000 exploration licenses were issued.
  • 37 new fields were found.
  • None of the new fields were "giants" (over 500 million barrels total reserves)

Now recall that only 1% of all fields are giants yet they hold 65% of all reserves and produce 60% of all oil. This means that the 37 fields found fell in the other 99% of fields, those that hold 35% of all known reserves. If we bound total remaining reserves as between 1 trillion (lower bound) and 2 trillion (upper bound) reserves, then the small fields hold between 350 billion (Deffeyes) and 700 billion (CERA) barrels. Further, since the giant fields are 1% of total oil fields, then all oil fields number in the range of about 50,000 total fields. We can calculate an average size then for non-giant fields. This size works out to be between 7 million total barrels low end and 14 million barrels high end.

Note that these fields tend to be really small for the 99% of fields that hold the remaining 35% of all known remaining reserves. Note also that almost all of the 507 giants are in decline. Note that of the supergiants (those that produced over 1mbpd), only Ghawar is not confirmed in decline and the evidence is strong that it is either close to peak or in decline.

Thus, we are faced with the prospect of replacing the 507 giant fields. But there are very few more giants to be found so we are going to have to replace these giants with average fields.

Now the giants have historically contained from 1.3 trillion low (Deffeyes) to 2.0 trillion high (CERA) of the global total known and produced reserves. Thus, in order to simply maintain production where it is, we must find sufficient new fields to replace the giants. This works out to roughly 93,000 new average size fields that must be found and brought on stream.

Let's assume that we have 20 years to do this. We don't but let's assume that anyway to be generous. If we spread those out over 20 years, we need to find 4650 new average fields per year, or about 13 new fields per day.

Now let's be generous and extrapolate that the world as a whole found 100 times as many fields as Russia found last year. How many fields would that be? 3700, which is not enough. And the reality is likely to be far lower than 3700 new oil fields. The reality, given that Russia has historically contained about 10% of all known reserves, would be that the world probably found about 10 times as many new average fields last year, or 370 total, or about 1 per day.

And mind you, I have not even addressed replacing the existing small fields, which deplete to nearly empty on average in about 9 years, which means we need to find another 49,500 small fields while we find the 93,000 other small fields to replace the giants.

Does anyone here not yet understand why the crashing of the giants and supergiants means the end of the oil age?

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

Great perspective, Greyzone.

That is exactly the kind of simple math everyone should do when they here about "finds" like Jack, etc.

ie. How many do we need to find to break even - at 30GB per year!

If we can find a Giant (500 Million barrels+), we need to find one each and every 6 (SIX) DAYS to break even at 30GB/year(60 new GIANT fields). And that is without ANY demand increase.

This always sobers me up.

Another dynamic, one which had not occurred to me before, was mentioned by Andrew Gould, Chairman of Schlumberger on today's earnings conference call. Essentially, he suggested that decline rates around the world were increasing as a consequence of the lack of drilling rig capacity. Apparently, E&P's are now having to choose between employing rigs on new developments/prospects or using them to conduct secondary/tertiary recovery on older, declining resevoirs. In most cases, new prospects are being chosen, contibuting to the increase in decline rates.

I guess it is a coin flip.

The manpower/Rig shortage will definitely begin to add up.

Absolutely. Here we are needing to find 93,000 new small fields, right now, but we don't even have the rigs to keep the existing giants on their feet til we replace them. (When you count the existing small fields the number is closer to 145,000.)

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

Two points from the "What's behind the red-hot uranium boom" article:

First, there has been an astounding price run-up, from $20 to $113 in less than two years. I would think that the demand for Uranium is very predictable, and that the supply (at least in a 5 to 10 year window) is also very well known. It spooks me that prices can hit an inflection point like that, in a market that appears to be more predictable and transparent than the oil market.

Second is this:

For all the gains, the runup in uranium prices is unlikely to have a big impact on the price of electricity. That's because unlike coal or natural gas, most of the costs associated with nuclear power come from building the plant, not the fuel used.

Ruppel said fuels costs account for only about 28 percent of a nuclear plant's operating expenses. Still, "if prices don't moderate, nuclear plants will be somewhat less profitable," he said.

28%? Wow. from the discussions here, I was under the impression that fuel costs were much lower. (But this is not the first time I've seen a number like that, it was also somewhere in the lecture notes from the UofW nuclear course.)

What you are missing (or the author was missing) is that uranium itself is a portion of nuclear fuel costs - about 1/4th the costs at current prices. So using the 28% number, uranium accounts for only 7% of the nuclear generation costs.

For example:


gives 0.50c/kwth for nuclear fuel costs, which is 25% if total costs are 2c/kwth - rendering the initial estimate about right. But from the 0.50c/kwth only 0.13c/kwth originate from the costs of U (6.5%). The price of U will have to rise 15 times more so that the costs of electricity doubles.

Back to your point, I think the current runup in prices is entirely oportunity speculation driven. 1-2 years is a too short period of time for the producers to react and make the necessary investments to increase production - and once it happens the price will most likely plummet. The present situation with Uranium exploration and mining has nothing to do with oil and I find any claims for similarities highly speculative. The same old boom&bust cycle over and over again - but it does not hurt to make some money in the meantime, right?

Planet of the Naked Apes

Watch the little naked apes count!

Count, ape, count!

Watch them jibber and jabber, hoot and hollar ...
pacifying themselves by sucking their pseudo-intellectual thumbs while curled up in the fetal position... counting, always counting... (sssshhh, do not disturb them! today is the same as yesterday afterall, so will tomorrow be)...

Even Bahktiari is getting complacent now...

If every person would sweep their own doorstep,
there might survive enough doorsteps to start over again ... and maybe get it righter next time.

Leanan: The Bear's Lair commodities article is from April 19, 2004.

Boy, that's weird. It's coming up on Google News/UPI as only 14 hours old.

Since today is 420, a token energy-related marijuana article is in order:

Energy Farming In America - A practical answer to America's farming, energy and environmental crises.

"Hemp is the only biomass resource capable of making America energy independent. The government suspended marijuana prohibition during WWII. It's time to do it again."



UUUMMMMM as much as I would like to say yes -

No - no plant crop can make America energy independent

Cultivation of hemp for bio fuels made a lot of sense several decades ago.

Thanks Wolf,

I almost forgot the time 4:20 and the date! Juicy Fruit or Afghanistan?

Pro-rail bill attempts to shift freight to trains

WASHINGTON -- U.S. legislation introduced by a Rebublican and Democrat would encourage companies to invest in rail and intermodal facilities to meet a 67 percent spike in freight traffic by the year 2020 and get trucks off the road at the same time.
The Freight Rail Infrastructure Capacity Expansion Act, sponsored by Senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Kent Conrad (D-ND), would provide a 25 percent tax incentive for capital expenditures by any business investing in new track, intermodal facilities, rail yards, locomotives or other rail infrastructure expansion projects.

Railroads, ports, shippers, and even intermodal trucking companies, would be eligible.

The legislation has the backing of key businesses, trade associations, and several shipping ports, including the Port of Vancouver.

"Railroads are an integral part of the solution to congestion, offering a better alternative to highway transportation. Freight railroads not only reduce highway congestion and pollution, they help America conserve energy," said Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads.

"The U.S. retail industry is a major user of intermodal rail," said National Retail Federation Vice President Erick Autor. "As commerce continues to expand, retailers support this and other efforts to ensure the nation's rail system can make necessary investments to meet growing demand from all rail customers well into the future."


can't help but wonder how long warren buffet has been privy to this

My initial thought also. Fortunes are legislated. At least there's hope for better rail.

Behind every fortune there is a felony.

Cooling housing market leaves more owners vulnerable to 'upside down' deals

Dorothy Hall, another agent with Re/Max Leaders in Purcellville, said that in the short sales she has handled recently, she has had to present the lender with the buyer's offer and prove that the seller cannot get any more than that.

"Sometimes they will come back and say, 'This is the lowest we are willing to accept on the payoff of this loan,' " she said. "If that's the case, we have to go back to the purchaser and ask if they will pay more for it. Sometimes they will take it because they feel it's worth it. Other times, they will walk away."

Iraq: "there are defeats and then there are DEFEATS"

A post by Dallas Morning News editorial writer Rod Dreher, formerly with the National Review (Rod's brother in law was just called up for active duty in Iraq):

It's an axiom of military strategy that troop withdrawals are dangerous, and get more dangerous as the withdrawal approaches the end. You've got to know what you're doing to get out safely. Excerpt from National Journal about the factors playing into the Iraqi endgame: http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2007/0420nj1.htm

The military could take a host of steps to help mitigate the risks of a U.S. troop drawdown, including staging a carefully phased and deliberate withdrawal; continuing U.S. support, and accelerated training and equipping, for the Iraqi forces that must fill the security vacuum; and keeping a residual, albeit smaller, U.S. military presence inside Iraq or around its periphery. But all of those options require the careful planning and hard decision-making that Sinnreich fears are being stymied by the deadlock in Washington. "The downside of this political theater in Washington, and the disingenuous refusal to admit that we've lost the political will to keep American troops heavily engaged in Iraq indefinitely," he said, "is that it keeps military planners from developing a timetable and a deliberate plan for withdrawal." [Emphasis mine -- RD.]

It's almost impossible for the military to seriously plan for a contingency -- withdrawal -- that the commander-in-chief won't even discuss, Sinnreich noted. "The probability that it would leak to the press is too high, and no one in uniform wants to take that chance," he said. "Yet only with deliberate planning will we be able to take some of the sting out of what will surely be seen as a U.S. retreat. My point is, there are defeats -- and then there are defeats."

We've got the “best President ever." I say! Four more years!

(Yes, I voted for him. Twice. Mea maxima culpa.)

--Rod Dreher

At Matt Savinar's site (LATOC) a few days ago there was a link to an article according to which the US has shipped so much stuff to Iraq that it would be logistically all but impossible to withdraw. I think 9 million tons was the approximate figure. Unfortunately Matt mistakenly gave a bad link and I couldn't for the life of me find the original story anywhere. I was going to email him to find the story but didn't get round to it. Does anybody know the article I'm talking about?

Another thing I often emphasize is that they've spent four years building what in all likelihood are meant to be permanent bases in Iraq. It'll be a cold day in hell before they abandon them!

As a result I see little chance of the US leadership doing anything sensible in the near future. They're in a hole, but they can't stop digging. Therefore they will continue to dig ever deeper.

I naturally hope I'm wrong.

I read a story about the tons of "stuff" in Newsweek. I suppose that one option they might pursue is to withdraw to the bases, try to safeguard the oil facilities as best they can, and let the Iraqis kill themselves to their heart's content. One problem with this strategy is that the Saudis said that they are not going to stand aside and watch while Sunnis are massacred.

One problem with an indefinite stay in Iraq is something increasingly approaching a revolt within the US military.

Here is the Newsweek story:


Perhaps someone will eventually create an Bush/Iraq version of this graphic describing Napolean's invasion and retreat from Russia:

If you haven't seen this before, tan represents the army size on the way in, black is on the way out. The lower graph is the decending temperature during the retreat.

Thanks for the link, just what I'd been looking for!

There are many problems with that scenario. First, they need relatively secure supply lines, without those they would totally be at the mercy of the insurgents. That, in my mind, requires some degree of control in a lot of areas outside the bases. Second, if it is true that their overall Middle Eastern strategy is to "divide and rule", i.e. encourage various sectarian, ethnic and tribal groups to fight each other so that no unified resistance becomes feasible, they need to keep meddling pretty much everywhere. And that includes keeping KSA and Iran on their toes.

Third, from what I gather, a lot of the bases are not safe either (not even the Green Zone with its eight security rings), and if the insurgents were able to move about more freely, well that wouldn't improve their safety. Many cities (for instance Baquba, according to a recent Asia Times report) are already largely controlled by the resistance, and if the insurgents could actually control entire areas without hassle from the occupying forces, they would be able to direct different operations even more efficiently than now.

And I really don't know what they're planning to do with Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army; Muqtada has repeatedly demanded that the occupying forces leave, and Sistani appears to agree with him. Yet the Mahdi army isn't involved in the resistance to any significant degree at the moment. It seems these two Shia leaders are trying very hard to build a unified resistance that could kick out the Americans, and many Sunni groups seem to agree with them. So it's no wonder somebody is making a huge effort to kill Shia civilians with huge car bombs etc. and prevent them from directing their anger primarily at the Americans.

Everything is terribly complicated in Iraq, as elsewhere in the region, and the only thing that seems clear is that people cannot tolerate a foreign occupation. And yet it seems the occupation is bound to continue anyway.

So, I really see no way out.

I wonder if we might ultimately see senior US military leaders demand a plan for a phased withdrawal, or they will resign.

The Baker Commission offered Bush/Cheney a semi-face saving way out, but Bush/Cheney (Cheney?) pretty much responded with a middle finger.

I think that we need to form a "Neocon/Pundits" Brigade, consisting of all the arm chair warriors who are still pushing for "victory" in Iraq, to be sent to Iraq to cover the withdrawal of US troops.

Phased withdrawal will result in the massacre of the remaining US forces in place. We need to skedaddle and quick-like.

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


cfm in Gray, ME

I just sent this out to my 2,500+ readers and to the editors at www.VoteVets.org.

President Bush delivered a speech on worldwide anti-terrorism efforts and the war in Iraq at East Grand Rapids High School in East Grand Rapids, MI on Friday, April 20, 2007.

In it, President Bush showed a map of 3 U.S. positions in Baghdad as of last year. He then showed an up-to-date map showing more than 24 new current U.S. positions throughout Baghdad.

"Part of our strategy change, part of the new mission in Baghdad is for American troops to live and work side by side with Iraqi forces at small neighborhood posts called joint security stations. You can see from this map, there are now more than two dozen joint security stations located throughout Baghdad; more are planned."

Read the full transcript here - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/04/20070420-6.html

When I saw his speech much earlier today, I said to myself that President Bush just revealed the position of our Troops to the Iraqi insurgency. Did he really just do that?

I saw a brief interview of one of the U.S. Soldiers from VoteVets.org on MSNBC's Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann moments ago and he said the same thing... that President Bush just revealed the location of U.S. Troops and that the insurgents will now direct mortar fire on those locations. He also said that this must be investigated immediately to save our Troops lives.

Please send a shout-out to your Congressman and Senators and ask them to check into this for you. Click on the image below for a quick way to email your elected reps, or go to House.gov and Senate.gov to look up their contact info.

I thank you and much more importantly, our Troops thank you! This only takes a few minutes of your time... you're helping to save their lives!


title or description


1. Click the "Reply to Poster" button at the bottom of this post
2. Copy the code and paste it in a new bulletin that you create


Why would you ever imagine that in terrain like Baghdad the resistance would ever be unaware of the location of the invader's troops?

And how is all this not like Vietnam?

Tons of stuff in.
Permenant bases required to hold territory.
No obvious enemy to fight during the day.
Not that many U.S. troops killed on any one day, so we must be winning.
Can't leave now, success is right around the corner.
Can't plan to leave, see above.

Why do I feel like I have lived through this before? And why do I want to shout "I TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN IF WE INVADED IRAQ"? Oh yeah, because I remember and learned from Vietnam and vocalized all this to everyone I came in contact with before we went to war in Iraq, all to no avail.

I have no ownership in the Iraq war because the outcome was predictable, even to the political and economic chaos it is causing to our society and the Iraqi's. There is no downside to exiting. The only downside is delaying the exit. The Vietnamese people were better off after we left. Look at the country today. Did the U.S. learn anything from Vietnam? I guess the answer is no.

You forgot the most important part:

We can't leave because so many of our dear, precious soldiers died here.

Hi WT/Jeffrey,

re: "...within the US military".

Apparently the number of US mercenary troops about equals the number of official US military troops.


Jeff's newsweek/msnbc article is the right one.

Excerpt from the National Journal article follows "Helicopters on the rooftops"

This, then, is a story about when and how -- not if -- the Washington clock runs down. If Bush is successful, the time on that clock will expire after the November 2008 election, when he passes the Iraq problem to the next president and surrenders his legacy to history. Democrats are determined to make the sands run out on Bush's "surge" strategy much sooner -- the better to begin the long homeward march of U.S. troops on the watch of the president who sent them to Iraq in the first place.

What U.S. military experts know about those discordant timelines, but what many of their fellow Americans seem to hardly grasp, is that regardless of when it occurs, the expiration of the political clock will not be the end. Rather, it will mark the beginning of the most challenging and potentially calamitous phase of the Iraq war.

"There's an old military adage that the most dangerous and hazardous of all military maneuvers is a withdrawal of forces while in contact with the enemy. That's the operation all of us soldiers fear the most," retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, a former commandant of the Army War College, told National Journal.

Some experts argue that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will remove a major irritant and thus facilitate a resolution to the conflict, Scales noted, and others believe that a U.S. pullout could prompt chaos, massive bloodletting, and even genocide. "And if anyone insists that they know which it will be," he said, "they are lying. The truth is, we don't have enough understanding or insight into the thousands of intangibles to know what forces will drive the dynamic inside Iraq once we begin pulling out."

"This will be a much harder exercise than the actual invasion," said retired Col. Richard Sinnreich, a noted SAMS graduate who served on both the Joint Staff and the National Security Council. "During an invasion, the curve representing your capabilities and relative strength goes steadily up, and the situation becomes safer and safer as the operation progresses. As you pull forces out, it reverses, and your strength curve goes down, and the situation becomes steadily more dangerous. It's most dangerous for the very last squad that leaves the country. That's why you saw helicopters on the rooftops of the Saigon embassy in 1975."

Given that Iraq has opened up concessions to western oil companies I cannot see the US withdrawing. I can easily seem them hunker down in their bases to allow the civil war to explode so they can use more extreme measures to subdue the populace. And as I said in another thread expect a lot of the war to be taken up by mercenaries that are not under the restrictions that us troops have.

Plan B is to destroy the village in order to save the oil.

We are in Iraq for good.

The more extreme measures have already begun. Few Iraqis have any access to clean water. With the hot weather coming there will be massive mortality.
America is good at parking lots.

We've got the “best President ever." I say! Four more years!

Did the 420 thread inspire you in some less then legal indulgence?

Actually, it was Rod's (sarcastic) comment.

I know - if the people who currently say where on 420 then I would understand all of this - but now I just can not get my head around the pure incompetence of our current leadership.

Whatever happens to us here in the US – we deserve it.

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

The rats are jumping ship:

"H&R Block Inc. made good on a promise to offload its struggling mortgage lending business..." (at a loss)

Re: US automakers and fuel economy, the trial is on-going in Vermont. Today's hilarious development:

"Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions limits would encourage the state's motorists to add more than 1 million miles a day to the distances they drive by the year 2030, an economist hired by the auto industry testified Thursday in U.S. District Court. ... If motorists are saving money at the pump, they will drive more, he said.

He said his analysis also shows that more Vermonters will hold on to their old cars, rather than buy new ones because new cars built to comply with the new rules will be more expensive."

Dangerous times are everywhere. Right now, there is a gunman in a building down the road form where I work:

What wonderful opportunity! Your chance to die with your Second Amendment rights intact!!!

Hello TODers,

Simmons and others have made numerous mentions of the FF-industry brain drain due to retirements. I would suggest as Peakoil Outreach spreads: that it will get even harder to get adequate young career replacements to staff the exponential growth rate required to maintain, repair, and grow the further build-out of the infrastructure in thousands of smaller fields.

Presently, the choice is quite simple for the young as we go postPeak:

1. Take your chances in Iraq, Nigeria, and other violent places as you try to do your job; hope nobody shoots you as you struggle to work safely with dangerous equipment and explosive fuels in inhospitable conditions while your family is exposed thousands of miles away.

2. Knowing the detritus decline is imminent within your lifetime, you choose instead to practice career ELP whereby you choose horticulture, permaculture, and agricultural professions instead because you realize that self-sustaining biosolar proficiency takes years of work to acquire the useful knowledge and enrich your landholding. The advantage is that you are always there for your family.

IMO, money alone will soon not be a sufficient inducement to get the young into the FF-industry at the appropriate staffing levels. To help mitigate this dilemma: I could see the IOCs buying farmland to later give solid title to their employees in exchange for service, but allow their families to live on it now to develop their biosolar skills.

If I was a just graduated 22 year old with a high-demand FF-related degree: that is what I would ask for in lieu of high salary and cash-signing bonus. Imagine XOM buying a huge, contiguous area in Cascadia, protecting the perimeter with Blackwater Mercs, generously financing a cluster of neighborhood Eco-tech bunkers supported by a small grid of PVs and windmills, with hired permaculture experts to help your family quickly ramp up the biosolar learning curve.

Now that is what I call a postPeak company town! What young family would not want to work for XOM as they would really be assisting and preparing you for the likely future.

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


I have always loved your wild and crazy ideas, but this one gives me the chills. I can certainly see the point, and if I were in a position to do so (as a petroleum engineer in a PO aware company) I might just do that. But could I just watch my old friends - who had studied classics or english or microelectronics - just starving near my privileged farm, with Iraq-war hardened killers shooting them if they wanted to approach me?

What young family would appreciate seeing their old friends-in-need being shot? How could any decent person (who has lived the good plenty-of-oil life) accept that? I suppose this is the general problem with the die-off people (and in theory I'm one of them); how can we ever justify to ourselves that somebody else must starve lest we ourselves starve? Right now there is no way that sort of thinking is even possible, but I suppose that when TSHTF, we'll become brutes again. And that really breaks my heart. :(

"Could I just watch my old friends - who had studied classics or english or microelectronics - just starving near my privileged farm"

That's how it plays out. If not your friends, my friends, someone elses children or lover. I fear that it's all too human - when TSHTF - to close that gate. It scares me to think of getting to that position and having to make that choice. Who would you shoot? Your ex-friends, the Blackwater guards, or the compound owners? Or do you stand there and be shot? That's the position of the soldiers in Iraq. Amy Goodman had a story today of a would-be CO that refused to load his gun. [I hope he has a few good buddies in the unit watching his back.]

We can't let it get that far.

cfm in Gray, ME

Alberta power utility Enmax Corp. said yesterday it is building a huge new power station in Southern Alberta fired with natural gas, partly to help boost the provincial grid's reliability after Alberta's aggressive expansion into wind energy made it vulnerable to power disruption.

I got natural gas hearing notice from PNM in mail today.

I sent

----- Original Message -----
From: "bill payne"
To: "John Sobolewski"
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 11:27 AM
Subject: Quote from abj journal friday april 20, 2007

"Mesa del Sol is a 12,900-acre planned community expected to consist of 35,000 homes and additional commercial space, within 30 years. The water authority has never had to consider a development of that magnitude, Sanchez said.

"We can't handle that with our current water supply," he said."

to Sobolewski [currently in Australia - U Adelaide BSEE and MSEE electrical engineer grad] who moved to abq for 15 years and screwed up my salmon fishing. Sobolweski is back in Seattle after retirement of the VP as computing at University of New Mexico.

Let's talk about natural gas too.

I plan to attend. Bring a copy of Dave Hughes graphs.

And ask some REAL POINTED questions.

We are shareholders in PNM.

Senior citizens like DO projects as opposed to WORDS.

I, for one, would love to have a spin off site (threads) just on NG.

NG keeps me awake at night.

And, being in Canada as well, it's hard to heat these new suburban homes without NG...they have NO fireplace(other than NG).

While I wish there was more data and analysis, the analysis I have seen here and elsewhere...doesn't look good.

LNG is definitely not keeping up and will be behind schedule most likely. But NG pipes need pressure, so this is not the same kind of shortage as gasoline.

It's critical, and imminent. And, it's crash will make Oil shortages appear trivial.

If nothing else, I would like to see a thread devoted to what the expected impact of a drop in natural gas production might be. Would price be the sole mechanism for determining who continues to receive gas?

We know the plan in a shortfall is to cut allocations to non-residential users, since it would be difficult to re-light all of the pilot lights for residential users. If this is the case, it seems like industrial production would drop, and there might be job layoffs and recession. I am thinking there might also be electrical outages, because power plants may not get enough natural gas (rolling black-outs, California-style.) If this is the case, we should be planning now, to make ourselves less dependent on continuous electrical power.

If allocations are made on any other basis than price, I would think there would be arguments as to who gets cut - those producing diesel fuel; those producing corn ethanol; electric power plants, chemical producers, etc.

Natural Gas problems, in the US its just not spoken about. Hurricane in the Gulf and Winter may be a problem. Hot Summer and AC use, where does the supply and inventory stand now. The price has slowly ticked up during the last few mild months.

Pilot lights. Depends on where you get your electricity from. Gas provides electricity, then a pilot light on a furnace is not going to run. Need juice to drive the thermostat and the fan blower.

The cliff on Natural Gas in this country is amazing and yet you would think Peak Oil is a reality compared to the NG situation.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

PeakTO, in reference to natural gas said,
"And, it's crash will make Oil shortages appear trivial."
Exactly correct. And speaking of Canada, it is now obvious that the alternative energy industry has been led into a slaughter by the utility companies. From the top of this drumbeat today:


'Alberta turns to natural gas after wind lessens reliability"

"We now have so much windpower generation that we need to fall back on reliable sources of power," said Peter Hunt, an Enmax spokesman

This is not the first utility to begin a somewhat well organized slander campaign against wind and or solar energy. The problem now is this: In being grid connected, wind and solar takes on a horrendous burden, in that they will be blamed for any and all reliability problems the utility company encounters from now on. The language used by Enmax Corp. of Alberta is not much short of being outright slander.

We now see, not only in the Enmax case, but in the dealings of utilities all over North America with the alternative energy industry, that they will resort to whatever it takes to avoid change. In dealing with the utilities, the wind/solar industry leave themselves open to outragous charges with little or no basis in fact. The problem is, without being able to engage the electric power grid, no alternative can have reach and market share.

On this issue, I confess, I have been proven wrong. I had thought that the energy utilities were interested in developing the most advanced and reliable grid technology would allow, and would deal fairly with the alternatives. This is not going to be the case, if we go by current news stories from the industry.

The problem for the U.S. and Canada is that we risk being pulled into the hole along with the rigid autocratic and monopolistic electric energy utilities.

This means that reducing natural gas consumption, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing electric grid reliability is highly unlikely if we attempt to work through the utilities to get there.

I never, repeat NEVER thought I would hear myself saying this, having been a friend of the free market my whole life, but: North America may have to begin to consider some type of nationalization of the electric power grid/industry, if not at the federal level, then perhaps at the state/provincial/municipal level.

As things stand right now, the electric industry is making it very clear: The grid they want to see in 2050 will look pretty much like the grid did in 1950.

Despite some of the fascinating work of the Electric Power Research Institute, and glowing multi color presentations extolling the virtue of change, the electric power industry has, and seems as though it will continue to fight change using every tool at it's disposal.

For me, this has been a week of disappointments.

Roger Conner Jr.
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom


In the northeast US after the 1960s blackouts, electric generation came under heavy control. With that control, electric power built up, year after year, 10% excess capacity. Every 5 years they added 10% over planned capacity. This went on reliably until deregulation became all the vogue. In the first 5 years after deregulation, less than half of that - 5% - excess capacity was added. In the next 5 years, even less capacity was added. The market has spoken and it has said that it prefers profits over reliability. The question we consumers should ask is whether we prefer profits over reliability. If we do not, then strictly regulated electric utilities have been proven to work.

(Note: Data is from one of Matthew Simmons presentations. It's been awhile so I can't recall which one but Simmons used this information when he discussed why deregulation of the grid was hurting us more than helping us.)

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

hmm this post speaks more about faith then the poster is willing to admit.

so when confronted with the fact that wind even combined with solar(this also applies to the rest of the so called alternatives) can't even come close to providing the base load now let alone any expanding demand. it has to be that the utility company's when they state this are involved with a big conspiracy of a media slander campaign... right, and i have a scale copy of the London bridge to sell you so can you please give me your address?

answer me this, if these things were so obviously better then what we have now, so useful they can provide for continued growth as you claim. bio-mass(bio fuels, burning biomass for electricity), and electric cars have been around for nearly 100 years, wind generated electricity over 80, solar and nuclear are about 50 years old. with basically the same usefulness as they have now. Why have they not been adopted like bees to honey by now?

A big conspiracy by either company's or the governments of the world to withold them are insane ramblings of someone who can't afford to make other arrangements when you compare it to the many advantages both parties would have if they adopted them first. That is if they are as useful as one claims. Saying that one should wait a breakthrough is about to happen is just as insane.
I would also like to point out that every article announcing such a breakthrough that has been posted here to date, if one would analyze the language in it, would show that it's not a announcement of such but a article advertising for more funding by venture capitalists who are very easily separated from their money by promising such a breakthrough. dot-com boom anyone?

My friend sent me a link to this film from the early 1950's about creating more highways in the country.

It's called "Give yourself the green light", and was made by GM (no surprise there), and honestly it just made me so sad to watch it. After WWII we probably could have done anything in this country, and we chose the most unsustainable path there was.

It's funny though, how in the video they kept saying more highways and freeways will make things better. I wasn't alive when the freeways here in Los Angeles were built, but I've seen them extend a few, and add additional lanes, and they get jammed the day they're opened. More roads = more traffic.

You can view it at archive.org here http://www.archive.org/details/GiveYour1954

It's actually a well known theorem of urban planning (something about 'induced demand' theorem).

Jane Jacobs talks a lot about this in her last book ('the coming dark age').

New roads don't reduce congestion.

They create more journeys, so there is a 'win' in terms of people being able to travel more, but the roadspace inevitably fills up.

Conversely, if you close a road, 40% of the traffic just 'goes away'-- it doesn't divert somewhere else, it's journeys that are not taken.

The Dance of the Crab article above is about the energy crisis in Ghana. The article talks about how the people have not been able to maintain agricultural equipment, when they were given it earlier. Now the plan is to add a nuclear plant!

As the energy crisis rages on, we gather that Ghana is to develop nuclear energy for the generation of electricity. The first time most people around the world became aware of the existence of nuclear energy was when atomic research focused on its use for the development of weapons of mass destruction, to kill large populations during World War II.

If nuclear energy is safe and relatively cheaper than most other sources of electricity generation as some claim, how come that only 16 per cent of the world’s energy comes from nuclear sources, Jomo? Why is it that more than 80 per cent of this 16 per cent is concentrated in the world’s most highly industrialised countries and not just anywhere?

Some scientists are arguing that the benefits from nuclear energy, tempting as they may be now, are very small compared to the financial and physical harm that will be caused future generations by radioactive waste from nuclear energy.

It is something to think about, Jomo, especially as we have not been the best managers of relatively less hazardous waste from households, markets and industries.

We've been experiencing brown outs in North Texas for about a month now. The light in my computer room is definitely dimmer and periodically briefly dims further. Wish I had a volt/ohm meter handy so I could see what it reads. I'll bet I've got one around here somewhere. I'll have to think about it. Has anyone else noticed diminished power anywhere? Reminds me of that poem about raging against the fading of the light. I'm not ready to go off into that good night. We have power outages this summer it will be rough. Air conditioning is a must here in the summer with Global Roasting going on.

Are you sure? I googled the topic and got nothing. Maybe it is a problem with the wires or transformers in your local neighborhood. Call the utility and ask them.

It might even be a problem with the wiring in your home. I had that for a while. if you have problems with the neutral and ground wiring or some of the input fusing then it can appear that you are having a brown out. This is a potentially dangerous problem. I advise you to get it checked.

Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

Those kids from MIT (Matthew Orosz et al.) who developed the solar trough generator for Africa are missing a great chance to make a difference here.  If I understand correctly, their system generates waste heat hot enough to run an absorption A/C, as well as electricity.  People who've been hit by a few blackouts on the hottest days will line up around the block to buy an A/C which is both fossil-free and runs even when the electricity doesn't... and keeps their computer and stuff going to boot.