DrumBeat: April 26, 2007

Colombia in the dark about blackout

A nationwide blackout hit Colombia on Thursday, with authorities struggling to determine the cause of the electrical grid's collapse.

President Alvaro Uribe told journalists in the southern city of Cali that authorities would "know in a few minutes" the cause of the blackout, which took place at about 10:15 a.m. local time.

He said the blackout "appears to have affected the entire country."

Oil prices expected to drop next year

But there are signs that crude oil may be headed down from its current level of about US$65 (about P400) per barrel at some point next year. "The fact is that demand is very weak, the non-OPEC supply is catching up, so you're going to see more pressure on OPEC to cut back over time," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research Inc.

"That's going to make people feel like there's less of a threat from small places like Venezuela and Iran for political reasons," he added. "I think prices will stay above $50 for the rest of the year but gradually down to the mid 40s by next year."

Coal Power Worsening Australia Drought

Australia's coal industry, one of the world's biggest, is aggravating the country's worst drought in centuries, which may raise questions about expanding production, the head of an environmental group said on Wednesday.

Drought Threatens Australia's Hydropower Scheme

Australia's biggest renewable electricity source, the Snowy Hydro power scheme, may have to shut down major generating turbines due to the nation's crippling 10-year drought.

In a desperate attempt to keep running, the Snowy Hydro operator said on Tuesday it had turned to cloud seeding to boost water inflows.

National oil companies lack security knowledge

The awareness of growing risk to energy security and its implications is relatively low among national oil companies (NOCs) that control more than 90 per cent of the world's oil reserves, according to a study released yesterday by Marsh, a global risk and insurance services firm.

The Other Oil-Rich Gulf

While most media attention on African oil focuses on the sensational, spectacular or just plain lurid, important developments are taking place at sea. Widely considered to be one of the most promising new oil sources in the world, the 34 billion barrels of proven reserves buried in the deep waters off Africa’s western coast in a region expected to account for as much as 25 percent of U.S. oil supplies in the coming years represent a critical opportunity for the United States to diversify its energy supplies. But doing so will require being mindful of the considerable security risks and adeptness in engaging in the cut-throat competition for contracts that often makes no accommodation for scruples.

The Spin Over the "Joint Nuclear Energy Action Plan"

In my over 20 years in journalism -- including a stint as an editorial writer and book editor that blessed me with the trade's brassiest awards, from the Pulitzer Prize on down -- I have never encountered a slicker spin than the administration's announcement today, April 25, of a "joint nuclear energy action plan" between the United States and Japan.

California Threatens to Sue EPA Over Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday said his administration will sue the Environmental Protection Agency if it fails to act more quickly on California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

Greenpeace: China must end its dependency on coal

"The bank, which is mainly supported by the rich countries, must stop financing projects focused on coal," Greenpeace said, denouncing the "hypocrisy" of European countries which talk about fighting climate change while allowing the bank to continue funding polluting projects.

Taiwan power outage looms, some fear

China's missiles may not be the biggest danger to Taiwan. A possible power shortage could cause blackouts within three years and weaken the nation's economy.

Power production is failing to keep pace with demand because of a ban on new nuclear plants and delays in completing projects already under way, says Jeffrey Bor, a fellow at the Chung-hua Institution for Economic Research, which advises the government.

Al Bartlett’s resources depletion protocol for a sustainable Australia

In a recent paper, published in the journal of Natural Resources Research, Bartlett criticises the Australian Government’s approach to energy resources management (namely, claiming to embrace a sustainable and secure energy policy for the future whilst simultaneously ramping up the exports of Australian fossil fuels). In his classic style, Bartlett uses simple mathematics to demonstrate that our leaders are totally innumerate in thinking that growth in consumption of non-renewable resources can be considered to be a sustainable plan for any useful timeframe.

Turkey, Iraq strike tentative oil deal

Turkish officials say meetings with Iraqi leaders last week included new oil export deals with Baghdad, bypassing Iraqi Kurds.

Turkey threatened to stop exporting needed fuel products to Iraq after Baghdad told Ankara it would have to deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government regarding shipments. Kurdistan, like the rest of Iraq, faces a shortage of transportation, cooking and heating fuels.

China's Protein Gap Will Stoke Global Inflation

In 1995, Lester Brown, then president of the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, had seen the avalanche coming in his book "Who Will Feed China?"

Since then, China has done a good job feeding a fifth of the world's population with less than a 10th of global farmland.

What has changed in recent years is the sustained increase in oil prices and the consequent diversion of food crops globally to the production of ethanol.

Religion and Peak Oil: The City of Progress

When I suggest that our current predicament has its roots in a religious crisis, then, I don’t mean to say Christianity has much to do with the matter. In most of the Western world, Christianity in any of its historic forms has been a minority religion for centuries. The illusion that it remained a majority faith rose because a newer faith took over its outward forms, in much the same way that a hermit crab takes over the cast-off shell of a snail and pulls it along behind it through the sand. That newer faith, of course, is the religion of progress, the established church and dogmatic faith of the modern industrial world.

Richard Bell: House Hearing Puts the Heat on Climate Stagnators

In their opening statements, the panel’s Republicans were clear and unequivocal—Select Committee or no Select Committee, they intended to battle on against the threat of godless environmentalism and its fellow traveling sidekick, global warming.

Frontline: Hot Politics

Examining the politics behind the U.S. government's failure to act on the biggest environmental problem of our time.

It's still not easy selling green, experts say

Eco-friendliness may make consumers feel good — as long as it comes with other attributes, such as superior performance, cost effectiveness or health benefits, says Stafford, who has done extensive research on the topic.

Tom Whipple - Peak Oil Crisis: By Order of the Governor

Earlier this month, the Governor of Virginia issued what is sure to be one of many orders, laws and regulations mandating greater efficiency in the use of energy. Although justified in terms of saving taxpayer money, wise use of natural resources and reducing greenhouse gases, the order serves equally well as a preemptory strike against the consequences of peak oil.

Byron King: Ali Samsam Bakhtiari and peak oil

I HAVE RECEIVED more correspondence from Ali Samsam Bakhtiari of Tehran, Iran. I want to bring Dr. Bakhtiari's important work to the attention of the readers of Whiskey & Gunpowder.

Malaysia's oil output will continue to grow

Malaysia’s oil output is forecast to continue to grow in the long-term after a series of world-class deepwater discoveries, an analyst said.

“In stark contrast to the outlook at the turn of the last decade, when production declines from core legacy fields were a major concern, a series of world-class deepwater discoveries have set the scene for a resurgence in output," said Kate Broughton, Head of Oils Research at Wood Mackenzie, an international energy and life sciences consultancy firm.

Oilsands give a little Texas town its future back

Once-roaring refinery town was 'dying' before Alberta bitumen came along

Pakistan: Tapping of small gas fields needs incentives

The draft Petroleum Exploration and Production Policy 2007 is devoid of incentives needed to exploit small gas fields, which hold massive reserves but are not being utilised due to low economies of scale, a petroleum expert told The News.

Uganda: Diesel Crisis Bites

REFUELLING at gas stations countrywide is turning out to be the worst nightmare for motorists.

They have to chase around for hours, for what has surprisingly become the scarcest of commodities - diesel.

As the fuel crisis escalates queues of frustrated city motorists are forming out at fuel-starved stations, rationing has spread, pump prices are shooting through the roof and crooks are taking advantage of the situation. They sell adulterated diesel on the black market.

Ghana: Sell cement at approved price

The Government has warned that it would not hesitate to institute price controls to protect the interest of consumers if distributors and retailers continued to sell cement at arbitrarily high prices.

...The energy crisis has affected the production of cement, leading to a hike in prices. Diamond Cement, whose production output stands 95,000 to 100,000 tonnes per month slackened by about 10 percent.

GHACEM also had to cut production in line with the request to all industries to cut their energy usage by 25 per cent.

The shortfall in supply has led to a price hike of the product from about ¢60,000 to between ¢75,000 and ¢90,000 per bag.

A Livable Future

Competing pressures for land – to grow food, house a burgeoning population and keep people employed – are on a collision course as Greater Vancouver politicians try to cut a new deal to contain the region’s growth.

Will Ethanol Provide Our Daily Bread Or Are We Toast?

There are many unanswered questions regarding the future of the energy industry and any answers you are likely to receive depend largely on who you ask. Ask a vegetarian or environmental campaigner how much oil is used to raise a beef steer and they will probably quote a figure in excess of 280 gallons while some beef farmers claim the real figure is around 14 gallons.

Bio-fuel 'is no solution'

Bio-fuel crops are environmentally unfriendly and bio-fuel production can lead to increased carbon production, Colin Pritchard of the University of Edinburgh, said on Wednesday.

Green initiatives lead to survival, prosperity

I am not an environmentalist. I get just as annoyed with peace-sign-tattooed "tree-huggers" as my dad and his dad before him. I am a student of engineering, being trained in the premier innovation center of the world, Silicon Valley. I have no agenda except my future prosperity and the prosperity of my American peers.

That prosperity is being threatened. It is being held hostage by the stubborn voting of our parents and grandparents. We are being held to the ideals and thoughts of two generations that have seen the mechanized forces of American supremacy overcome all threats, survive and thrive. But we have come under a new threat, never before faced by humanity, and the solutions appear radical and dangerous to those that have lived their lives in the blanket of technological comfort and cheap energy bliss.

Climate change to cost Western Cape billions

Cape Town - The Western Cape is likely to have to fork out billions of rand over the next 20 years to limit and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Environmental Affairs Department's director for strategic and environmental management, Mark Gordon, told the Cape Argus on Wednesday that the money would be needed for new power stations, desalination of sea water, new dams, changing crop cycles, finding new export revenue streams and the effects on housing and coastal development of possible rising sea levels.

Ethiopia blames Eritrea for attack

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Ethiopia on Wednesday blamed its rival Eritrea for an attack on a Chinese-owned oil exploration field that killed 74 people, raising tensions between the neighbors who have yet to resolve a border issue following the end of a two-year war in 2000.

Conoco left out of Venezuela's Orinoco deals

Venezuela signed agreements on Wednesday with five foreign oil companies to hand over operations of four massive Orinoco heavy oil projects, with ConocoPhillips alone failing to sign the accords.

Kuwait: $60-plus Oil 'Damaging' in Long Term

Sustained oil prices above $60 a barrel will deter global oil demand and harm producers and consumers in the long term, an executive of state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation said Wednesday.

"So far, at least in OECD countries, the price of $60 a barrel has been accepted. I think any increase above that level is damaging," said Jamal A. Alnouri, managing director of international marketing at KPC at the World National Oil Congress in London.

Exxon Mobil 1Q profit rises 10 percent

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday its net income grew 10 percent in the first quarter, as higher refining, marketing and chemical profit margins overcame lower crude oil and natural gas prices.

New ways to gasify and clean coal emerge

A recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology report said carbon capture and sequestration at the plants could boost power bills by 20 percent.

That leaves opportunities for companies to gasify coal close to where it is mined, send the natural gas via pipeline for home heating or for burning at power plants, and sell the carbon dioxide for pumping into nearby aging oil fields where it can boost production.

Ice shrinks, birds migrate early in warmer Arctic

A Norwegian glacier has shrunk on an island 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, a usually frozen fjord is ice-free and snow bunting birds have migrated back early in possible signs of global warming.

Film on global warming is challenged

A group of British climate scientists is demanding changes to a skeptical documentary about global warming, saying there are grave errors in the program billed as a response to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth."

"The Great Global Warming Swindle" aired on British television in March and is coming out soon on DVD. It argues that man-made emissions have a marginal impact on the world's climate and warming can better be explained by changing patterns of solar activity.

British Millennium flora store banks billionth seed

Britain's Millennium Seed Bank filed away its one billionth seed on Thursday in a race against time to save the world's plants from global warming wipe-out.

Dutch consider tough biofuels criteria

It's the new climate change dilemma: finding alternatives for oil and gas without doing more harm than good.

In the rush to develop biofuels, forests are burned in Asia to clear land for palm oil, and swaths of the Amazon are stripped of diverse vegetation for soya and sugar plantations for ethanol.

On Friday, a Dutch committee will unveil stringent criteria for growing biofuels in ways that don't damage the environment or release more greenhouse gases than they save.

USDA Research Suggests the Amount of Corn Stover Available for Ethanol Production Must Be Reduced to Preserve Soil Quality

The US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) has undertaken a large-scale, five-year project to determine the amount of crop residues (e.g., corn stover, cover crop) that must remain on the land in order to maintain soil organic carbon (SOC) and sustain production.

...Some initial results already suggest that twice as many cornstalks have to be left in the field to maintain soil organic matter levels, compared to the amount of stalks needed only to prevent erosion. In other words, when factoring in soil quality as well as erosion, the amount of biomass feedstock available for cellulosic ethanol production is cut in half.

The Case for Burying Charcoal

A new research paper published online in the journal Biomass and Bioenergy argues that the battle against global warming may be better served by instead heating the biomass in an oxygen-starved process called pyrolysis, extracting methane, hydrogen, and other byproducts for combustion, and burying the resulting carbon-rich char.

Sandia, A Step Closer to Achieving High Yield Nuclear Fusion

An electrical circuit that should carry enough power to produce the long-sought goal of controlled high-yield nuclear fusion and, equally important, do it every 10 seconds, has undergone extensive preliminary experiments and computer simulations at Sandia National Laboratories' Z machine facility.

New Song: Gas Pump Blues

Hey, take a listen to this.

I introduced my close friend Forrest McDonald and wife Catlin to Peak Oil this last year and they wrote and recorded this.

Take a listen to Gas Pump Blues.


If you love blues etc you would love their album.

I think it's a neat song.

Forward it to those you know.

Nice peak oil message in a fun form. Could be an icebreaker for talking about solutions. Forward it to every school teacher you know.

Great song, He reads alot of articles I send him about Peak Oil and he visits this site too.

One of our own so to speak. Try to give him some air play if you can. He plays the guitar, was a session guitarist for Mussle Shoals Recording studio at one time. His wife has a great voice don't you think? If you like that one the others would be enjoyable too.



Congestion Charging at The Energy Lean Buffett
By Stein X Leikanger
April 26, 2007

Berkshire Hathaway recently took a ten percent stake in the railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. Warren Buffett’s seen the future.

The future will have fewer trucks and a lot more rail carriages. Fewer people and goods will travel by road. Cars will be smaller and cleaner. People will use them less. Diminishing oil supplies and increasing demands upon this declining resource (especially with the explosive economic growth of fomerly third world countries like China) will make it so.

And if that doesn’t do it, concerns about global warming, clean air and healthy living will. In fact, a few years from now, anyone cranking up an internal combustion engine close to children will be hauled out of the car and forced to suck his own exhaust—and then plant a tree. OK, maybe I got a little carried away there, but you get the idea: The Energy Lean Age is here.


Baltimore Green Week

is a week-long citywide program comprising community events, hands-on activities, forums, and lectures throughout the city, including Baltimore’s premier green event - EcoFestival. Each event provides information about how a sustainable lifestyle benefits our community and us.


The Maryland Forum has generously donated 10 tickets to their May 8th Al Gore speaking engagement.

Following the festival, Baltimore Green Week continues May 7th through May 11th with free or low cost themed events, based on the following topics:

Food Monday May 7

Green Building Tuesday May 8

Climate Change Wednesday May 9

Public Health Thursday May 10

PartyFriday May 11


They are looking for speakers ... I wonder if PO would be too dire.

They are looking for speakers ... I wonder if PO would be too dire.

Go for it. Peak oil is no worse than global warming on the doomerosity scale.

Don't you think Peak Oil is worse in the sense that its effects could clobber the affluent denizens of the globe much sooner than the effects of Global Warming (as opposed to the impoverished majority of the planet, who are already suffering due to both Global Warming and Peak Oil in any case)?

Yes, I agree with this. GW will play out over the century -- PO will play out over the next few decades, and in terms of war is already playing out.

"Democratic presidential candidate and New York Senator Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that it might be necessary for America to confront Iran militarily,....Still, she said, all avenues should be explored, since "if we do have to take offensive military action against Iran, it would be far better if the rest of the world saw it as a position of last resort, not first resort, because the effect and consequences will be global."


Confront Iran for what reason? Because they dare to try and build a nuclear arsenal? Both the US and Israel possess nuclear weapons. Why shouldn't Iran?

Hilary Clinton is a horse's ass. Another skirt trying to prove to the red-meat crowd that she's "tough" enough to incinerate other human beings -- but only as a last resort, mind you.

Both the US and Israel possess nuclear weapons. Why shouldn't Iran?

Because Iran would use them for aggression.  The US has only used them to finish a war begun by an unprovoked attack, Israel has never used them (or even admitted having them), and both have done quite a bit to keep the violence down to a dull roar compared to the 30 years previous.

Iran would not try a nuclear first strike. If they did the response would be immediate and terrifying. It is outrageous for a great power to be frightened of smaller nation's armaments. It is the smaller nations who naturally fear our power.

Our best interest is an orderly, peaceful world. If some other nation should break the peace, we are ready to act. But it makes no sense for us to be the aggressor.

Iran would not try a nuclear first strike.

Really?  You're talking about the government which held 44 diplomats hostage for over a year (an act of war), has used its proxies to kill hundreds of Americans with truck bombs starting in Beirut, and has a cult of martyrdom.  They have a mythos of "the Great Satan" which will collapse and die, inshallah.  You may believe that Iran is as rational as the Soviets were, but the evidence is such that it would be madness to rely upon it.

Hi EP,

Would you care to delineate the clear moral gulf that separates 18 months of Iranian hostage taking from recent well-publicised USian extrajudicial and extraterritorial imprisonment and abuse (for what, 4 years and counting - so far)? Sure, diplomats are protected by the Hague convention, and the phrase "Great Satan" is so much more invigoratingly primitive than "Axis of Evil". Are those the only relevant distinctions?

I would strafe the rest of your rhetorical home turf grid square by grid square, but I've got about half a litre of dark rum twisting in my gut. Anyway, I'm Only Asking Because I Want To Know...

The litany of Evils for the Soviet Union is *FAR* worse !

"Evil Empire" is almost too mild a term.

Yes, Iran is as rational, and IMO, more so, than the Societ Union when it became a nuclear power. Stalin and Beria were as evil a pair as any (including Hitler and Himmler).

The US used proxies to kill tens of thousands of Soviets to get them out of a country they were occupying that the US did not want them in. The turning point was when the US escalated and gave the proxies shoulder launched SAMs.

BTW, AFAIK, zero Iranians have been suicide bombers in Iraq. The majority whose identity could be traced were our friends the Saudis (who are also the premier financiers for the large majority of attacks on US troops in Iraq and, with less certainity, in Afghanistan).

I have no fear of an Iranian first nuclear strike. They did not even "second strike" against Saddam's poison gas attacks. Just because a society is different does not make them evil per se.

And, given that the US destroyed their democracy (history shows a CIA budget of $2 million for exactly that purpose) and installed a despot, "Great Satan" is not an unreasonable characterization.

Best Hopes,


So apparently the political screed that beats the drums of war reaches many ears.

Iran, despite its belicose (and toothless) president shows no sign of expansionist intent, agressive militancy or propensety towards war. They haven't launched any first strikes on anyone, and the examples you bring up were the disorganized actions of thugs empowered during the fires of a revolution, hardly representitive of the current power structure in Iran.

That revolution is nearly thirty years dead, and one must remember, a direct reaction towards the fumbling agression of the US CIA's coup for the crime of the democratic government nationalizing the oil fields. As for the propensety for Iran's likelyhood of using nuclear weapons, its more elequantly investigated in Of Mullahs And MADness:


India, Pakistan and China also have nuclear weapons and have never used for aggression. Same goes for China, Russia, various former USSR states, Britain, and numerous other countries which could make one relatively easily (Japan, Canada, most of western Europe, South Korea, etc...). Of all of these countries, the only country to ever seriously, publically, have discussion about using nuclear weapons in aggression is the US (post cold-war anyway).

Iranian leaders, aside from possibly the president (who is not a powerful figure in Iran, and never threatened to literally wipe Israel off the map, despite years of intentional fabricated translations to that effect), aren't stupid. They know, just like everyone else, that large scale nuclear war is unwinnable. But when the good ol' USA, a country that has been making threatening gestures towards you for years, thinks about using "tactical nukes" on you, being able to threaten an ally (Israel) is about all they can try and do.

For all the posturing, all Iran is "threatening" is too get a few nukes as a deterent. Like Israel has. Now, I'm not defending the leadership in Iran in general, but when threatened by a country who has a recent track record of unprovoked attacks in your region, well, I can see why they want a little something.

Japan's unprovoked attack on the US came three days after the US imposed a naval blockade of fuel to Japan. I don't think GWB would need three days to respond in the same, unprovoked way.

The US had nothing like a blockade of Japan until near the end of the war (remember, the entire US battleship fleet was in harbor on 7-Dec-1941).  An embargo (forcing Japan to go to other sources) is a very different thing.

In 1941, the US was still heartily sick of war and just coming out of the Depression.  Major political forces wanted the US to ally with the Axis.  Somehow, your revisionist history has turned the (oh-so-pure, despite the Rape of Nanking) Japanese sneak-attack on Pearl Harbor into "American aggression"; so long as you believe anything from those sources, your conclusions will be nonsense.

Any link/reference for "Major political forces wanted the US to ally with the Axis."? I havn't heard of this before.

The European Fascists had many prominent US supporters, including Henry Ford and Thomas Watson (IBM).

This surprised the heck out of me too, but it makes a certain amount of sense when you think about it.  The word "holocaust" meant nothing to most people, the whole world was coming out of a period of desperate poverty, and the USA itself had a "strong leader" (FDR) who was seen as responsible for the nation's improvement (current analysis suggests that he delayed it instead).  Hitler was seen as doing miracles for the German economy, and that was probably enough to get most people to overlook his flaws.  Even England under Neville Chamberlain was eager to appease Hitler's first military adventures rather than go back to war.

It was a different world, and even though the whole disaster was foreseeable it's hard to grasp it without the benefit of today's experience.  If only....

Hi Engineer,

I'm glad you brought this up.

I once interviewed a WWII vet (no longer living)...prior to the interview, he said along the lines of the following: "Most people (in the US) were against going to war...and, not only that...most people didn't know which side to back. This was something people talked about..."

i.e., that what we assume was clear, was really not clear.

I think the "flaws" may not have been as well known as people think. Many people were just struggling (as always) in their own lives...

This same person was shocked (I believe traumatized, really) at the discovery of "the camps".

WW I, just over two decades before, has many stories of German atrocities that later turned out to be just war time propaganda. Thus, before the liberation of the camps, many people believed the same of "rumors' and claims.


BS !!

First, the Japanese fleet took months to prepare and a week to sail from Japan to Pearl Harnor.

And it was *NOT* a "Naval Blockade". We just refused to sell them oil, our oil.

The concept was a peaceful embargo (see many other examples) to change Japanese behavior (invading China).

Attacking Pearl Harbor did not suddenly open up Texas oil supplies for the Imperial Japanese Army.


This is the kind of ignorant, stupid , asswipe comments that in the past were the purview of the Hothgar tribe. I see many are again on the rise with their spew and sputum.

Its for sure you were not alive, as I was, during WWII.
You need to google the word HISTORY and get a very clear understanding of just what it means.

You might want to read the non-fiction book titled FLYBOYS,wherein the facts(extremely well documented) are that the Japanese officers tortured and stripped the flesh off our captive airmen then cooked and ate the flesh. Not once but many times(as well as the liver).

These people were the offal of the universe and now you wish to lay blame on us(the USA)?

Get a grip fool. I see more intelligence in the ass end of a mule than your twaddle.

Airdale--I still don't care much for the citizens of Japan though I hold them a bit higher than the Islamic trash we are now engaged with and many of the TODers support for some odd reason whilst degnigerating Christianity.

All religious fundamentalists are ignorant, childish whackjobs who choose curiosity-destroying lies to uncomfortable reality. Pretending one religious cult is better than another is elevating one delusion over another - an exercise in nonsense. ;) All humans have the potential for brutality, but this is especially true of religious minds, which usually lack critical thinking skills.

Religion is a fixture of humanity. It has existed in many forms throughout history. It is part and parcel of the human experience. Those who deny religion (in all its various forms) deny a part of their own humanity. Religion precedes civilization. And please don't BS about religion being different from spirituality. That's a modern mental schism used to try to cover up the entire aberration of modern thinking, which is wholly detached from reality.

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

And please don't BS about religion being different from spirituality.

Sorry, but I think there is a difference, and it's an important one.

"Religion" most commonly refers to a state religion. That is, a religion that evolved as social control - a substitute government, almost. We've sort of lost that...because of the fossil fuel fiesta. The purposes of religion have not been necessary.

Anthropologist Marvin Harris discusses this at length in his books. He points out that organized religion always regulates consumption. No meat during Lent. Pork is unclean. Cows are sacred. Etc.

The old joke about Native Americans used to be, "How do you find the chief?" "Look for the poorest man in the village." Because in tribal societies, the way you gain power is to give your followers material goods. The chief was the man who gave away the most.

Harris argues that state religions evolve when a society has outgrown its resource base to the point that the priests/chiefs, rather than gaining power by giving material goods to their followers, must promise the goods in the afterlife.

I agree that spirituality is an essential part of humanity (even though I am an atheist myself). But religion, as we know it, is not.

Thank you for saving me from a response Leanan. let me add this though.

Most people don't have a clue about Native American's and their "spiritual" beliefs. I have been lucky enough to have been "taught" lets say about that. The Native AMerican did have some aspects that were very tough in their belief's. Take the Sun Dance for instance. But the difference is the acts of "belief" undertook by the participants was always on a "personal" level. It wasn't for the benefit of the "tribe" or its "beliefs". Spiritual is a personal understanding between Creator and the human, religion is a group and much more..

Many people don't even WONDER why the American Indian were able to take Christianity when it was offered. The "history" says this was because they were savages and pagans etc. LOL, this is SO FAR from the truth that its just laughable.

I'm spiritual, and you couldn't get me to join a religious organization/church. Creator and I, we work on the right path each day. I don't need a preacher to tell me what to do. That is the difference.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Religion is a set of beliefs, dogmas and rules. It is about accepting the authority of a book or prophet. Spirituality is about investigating whether the everyday human experience is the ultimate reality or just the trance of believing in appearances and taking them to be real (like watching a movie). In spirituality there is no final authority although you may seek the guidance of a teacher.

There has only been one country in the history of the planet to use nuclear weapons on another country--you're sitting in it. To say that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was unprovoked is downright dishonest--and to continue by stating that nuclear weapons were simply used to "finish a war" is to demonstrate a serious lack of historical knowledge. This is the kind of rah-rah "my country has never done wrong" ideology that is going to lead to nuclear war.

AFTER Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the War Cabinet had a split vote over whether to surrender or not. Many (half from memory) still wanted a prolonged fight to the death, destroying the Japanese nation in a "blaze of glory".

From somewhat vague memory, the Emperor had to break the tie vote !

The alternative would have cost a million+ American lives (including my father's) and many millions of Japanese lives as well as the culture of Japan. And the Soviets would have gotten their zone in Northern Japan (see North Korea).

If a convential attack (Operation Downfall - Operation Olympic + Coronet) conquered the southern half (or even all of) Kyushu at enourmous cost, it seems unlikely that the War Cabinet would have surrendered. And the US occupation (whenever it occurred) might have been less benign. The Soviet occupation zone would certainly have been far less benign !

Yes, the atomic bomb "just ended the war", saving tens of millions of lives.

Best Hopes,


A brief overview of the alternative:


Hi All,

Here is yet another view on the role of the US use of nuclear weapons in regard to WWII.


"UCSB Historian Awarded Prestigious Prize for Acclaimed Book About the Role of the Atomic Bomb in Japan's Surrender in WWII..."

Excerpt from press release:

"While many Americans believe that World War II ended in the blinding flashes of the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945, historians have hotly debated if the American use of the atomic bombs was justified. With their exclusive focus on the atomic bombings, however, historians have not fully examined other important factorsóthe entry of the Soviet Union into the war and a confused and divided Japanese leadership.

Examining in detail the deliberations of the Japanese leadership immersed in squabbling over how to end the war with the emperor system intact, Hasegawa claims the bombs were not the most decisive factor in Japan's decision to end the war. Only when the Soviets, jockeying with the United States for post-war influence in Asia, declared war and invaded Japanese-held Manchuria did the Japanese leadership capitulate to prevent falling under Soviet dominance.

"The Soviet factor has been treated as a sideshow by traditional history," said Hasegawa, who is fluent in Japanese, English, and Russian and studied documents and conducted interviews in Japan, the United States, and Russia in researching his book. "I bring it to center stage. I think the Soviet presence was crucial."

The blindness of you victims of revisionist history never ceases to amaze and astonish me.  I guess I'm not cynical enough yet.

Ah, war history. You can't trust the participants to tell the truth, and everyone else doesn't know what they're talking about.

Dear PeakOil Tarzan,

Iran should never be allowed to own a nuclear weapon.
For the simple reason that we cannot "liberate" Iran after that and "pay" for the reconstruction of Iran with their (our) oil.

Operation Iran Liberation (OIL) should commence this year

Roger From the Netherlands

Montreal Metro Opens First Extension in 19 Years April 28th

A three stop, 5.2 km extension North to the island of Laval.


This will make a 66 km subway system with several unique features. The extension was Can$145 million/km.

Several other extensions are desired but no funding is available yet despite plans announced in 2000.

The government of Quebec plans to spend more than $1.56 billion (C) on public transit projects in the next 10 years, mostly for Montreal metro extensions north to Laval, east to Anjou, and south to College Edouard Montpetit in Longueuil. There will be 4.3 miles of new subway tunnels and eight new stations, plus a new GO Transit commuter rail route to Mont-SaintHilaire.

These are in addition to a previously announced, $350 million, three-station metro extension to Laval that would connect with the commuter rail line to Blainville at the St. Martin inter-modal station. [Opening this weekend]

Line 5 will reach St-Lacuteonard-Anjou, while Line 4 will be pushed deeper into Longueuil and possibly extended on the downtown end from its current terminal at Berri-UQAM to the McGill station. Each route would get four new stations.

The province will need about $800 million (C) from the Canadian government to carry out this plan. The source of these funds is a $2.6 billion (C) federal transportation infrastructure fund

Best Hopes for More Urban Rail,



Madison, Wisconsin, My home, is working to implement light rail to span the width of the city.

Cost of Commuter Rail Presented

I hope it happens soon!

Tom A-B

From CNNMoney:

Watch out: Here comes $4 gasoline

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gasoline prices, already above $3 a gallon in some states, could charge higher this summer and hit $4 a gallon in some locations, according to one industry expert.

Pump prices were supposed to peak below $3 a gallon this May, then drop off before the summer driving season got into full swing, according to the Energy Department's price forecast.

Well, we're not even out of April yet, and the nationwide average price for a gallon of unleaded regular has hit $2.87.

One big factor driving prices: gasoline inventories continue to fall. After a promising one-week boost in refining activity, the latest report Wednesday actually shows refining activity falling. And demand is already soaring, before the summer driving season is in full swing.

What this means for prices is obvious, and to most drivers it is not good news.

The money quote is at the end, and really sums up the incompetence (or willful ignorance) of the EIA:

"Obviously, April is not progressing as we had hoped," said EIA economist Tancred Lidderdale. "We're continually humbled by the market."

and really sums up the incompetence (or willful ignorance) of the EIA:

or more likely complicity.The EIA is "humbled" by the market, and so are we all. Only thing -- the oil companies seem to control the market. They alone decide how much refining capacity is needed -- and that would be just enough to ensure adequate profit margins. As the price of gas goes up, and supplies shrink, the oil company profits go up. This could be the work of a "free" market if the term is carefully defined.

The oil companies have recently invested billions in new refining capacity. As supply shrinks they will be stuck with idle equipment and trying to explain to Wall St why they built them as their share price drops.

"We're continually humbled by the market."

At any given moment, there is always a price that will bring supply and demand into equilibrium. If supplies are not increasing relative to demand, then that price will trend higher. And anyone who thinks that anything other than that will happen will indeed continually be humbled.

Y'know, if there's an issue that would cause one to lose faith in the government more than Peak Oil, I'm not aware of it.

Our good friends the Kuwait'ies are coming through for us !

"Kuwait produces some 2.5 million barrels a day of crude. The country plans to boost oil production to around 3.5 million barrels a day in 2015, then 4 million barrels a day by 2020, Alnouri said."

Alnouri is Director of Marketing at the Kuwait Petroleum Corportation, so he would know.

But how?

What are the new projects?

I can only find an additional 600 Kbpd of output additions between now and 2014 (megaprojects db).

Burgan is declining as well.

Does anyone know the output from the Burgan field so I can plug in a nice easy 2% decline as see what their real output could be?

Take your pick, on the basis of the first story below, I would guess current output in the region of 1.70 million bpd.

“The peak output of the Burgan oil field will now be around 1.7 million barrels per day, and not the two million barrels per day forecast for the rest of the field's 30 to 40 years of life, Chairman Farouk Al Zanki told Bloomberg [article below].” in November 2005.



A Crude Awakening


The video could not be found on youtube or google video in its entirety. So here it is.

Around 15 min.—there is some great footage of declining oil fields—Matt Simmons commentary throughout—and the last quarter covers the plausibility of alternative fuels.

Rob Kolakowski

Outstanding documentary. Top notch production values, writing, editing, scoring, and research. It's not just talking heads -- the filmakers obviously spent countless hours sifting through archived footage and selecting the best images and music to underscore the message.

I watched "Crude Awakening" on Sundance, excellent! I was particularly chilled by the footage of the abandoned oil fields in Texas - and Venezuela!

For Comcast customers it's available through their "OnDemand" feature through the end of the month; go to "Top Picks", then choose "The Green", and then you'll find Crude Awakening and a handful of other greenish shows. Probably through a Sundance option in there too.
The film is not yet available on DVD, so see it wherever you can-it's very well done.

It may not be available for purchase on DVD, but it's definitely available through Netflix - I just received a copy yesterday.

Interestingly, one of the opening credits is for "Red Envelope Entertainment" which seems to be a Netflix subsidiary especially for rental of independent films.

BTW, I highly recommend the raw interview footage under the special features section.

it's available for purchase at LATOC:


Whore mode off, lurk mode back on.

Warning: Shameless plug detected! =D

tod overlords: feel free to delete my above whore-linking if you think it approrpriate. (So far as I know it's not available other than through LATOC for purchase or Netflix for rental)

TOD overlords: please keep this link available!

We need all the outlets we can get!

Chimp, I was being facetious

Even whore-linking, our simian friend is too modest to note his star turn in this film, framed by his emergency water supplies...BTW, Matt, when are you going to share the location of your happy place with the rest of us? We who are geographically flexible want to know...


Not yet, for a couple of reaons:

#1. don't want the prez of Blackwater (who does read LATOC and noted it in the company's tactical newslwetter) finding out and thinking "hey that's a damn good idea . . . "

#2. I may change my mind, then I will look like an idiot.

#3. Other people may think "gee that chimp's idea seems good . . . I should move there too! . . ." then it turns out I'm wrong and they're fucked.

I don't have access to any info that isn't available to everybody else. If my analysis is better than the next person's it's only because I'm willing to psychologically stomach the worst case scenario, not because my analytical skills are any better. (Remember I graduated at the top half of my law school class . . . the top half of the bottom half that is.)

As an example: I just uncovered a very depressing piece of information that makes one particular place I'm considering look (potentially) much less attractive. If a month ago I had said "hey this place looks like it has a good shot of being one of the not tottally horrible parts of living hell come the dieoff!" you can see how this would now be problematic.

If you're willing to consider/stomach the worst case scenario - which I posit has now become inevitable - then your guess as where to go is as good as mine.

The problem with most folks - including very intelligent and noted ones - is they are only willing to consider areas/scenarios that fit a preexistig political agenda or a scenario that is politically palatable to the greater PO community. The less palatable one's projected outcome, the less popular one will be and thus less social status in the short term.

If you delete the inevitablity of total nuclear exchange, then places like San Francisco or Portland have a lot going for them. If you factor that in, then not so much (to say the least):



I also have a preferred place AND strategy, but chose not to go down that road.

Strategy would to get job as high school (or local equilavent) science (backup math) teacher several years before TSHTF. Do a DAMN good job (I can teach quite well in a classroom), so that the young adults will fondly remember "Good Ol' Drake" as well as their middle aged parents (less strongly). Also become a local source of technical expertise (help others before TSHTF). Perhaps help with some microhydro installations (already found one guy locally interested).

Build up social capital in what is likely to be an extremely robust social order (one quite likely to survive even if most areas see a breakdown in social order).

But I would rather stay in New Orleans and live (and help) in our disaster area instead !

Happy JazzFest !



Sold Out

Actually, they got the archived footage off LATOC which I found via the wayback machine. I posted it 2 years ago. They told me that's where they found it.

All of it? Kudos to you then. The archival stuff lifted the presentation out of PowerPoint territory and into the realm of thoughfulness and emotional resonance.

I'd say between 70% and 90%.

I came across it in the way back machine around Thanksgiving 2005 and posted it all, broke down by category. I specifically remember linking up the bit where the woman lost her dress and cosmetics, the stupid ford commercial, the 24 hours of progress commercial, and the standard oil commercial about the saudis, and some of the other oil industry footage.

the stuff of the people swimming in the stuff they found that independently.

A Crude Awakening

I just finished watching the entire documentry, all one hour and 22 minutes of it, on the link posted by Rob Kolakowski above. It was the first film I have watched that really told it like it is. In the end there was no "Here is what we must do" line. They offered no hope, just a warning of what to expect.

And yes, this link gives the whole show, not just part of it.

Yes, they talked a lot about alternative fuels. The message there was basically "forget it, it ain't gonna happen".

I could not dispute anything in the film. I think they hit the nail on the head.

Great documentary, and it is now free on the web. Watch it if you dare.

Ron Patterson

Great documentary, and it is now free on the web.

And now the filmmakes who made it and fronted a ridiculous amount of money will get fucked in the ass and be in the poorhouse.

Thanks to whoever posted it: Way to go, asshole!

While we're at it could somebody post the following books in their entirety:

The Party's Over
The Long Emergency

. . . and so on. . .

Let's make sure Richard and Jim end up in the poorhouse where they belong along with the makers of A Crude Awakening! I want to see those bastards starve!!!

1. After downloading the video from bittorrent and posting it to Google video I learned today that there were parts of the DVD that are not on Google video—like the uncut interviews. I'm actually thinking about buying it.

2. More importantly, exposure of this excellent documentary is precisely what would benefit the general public.

e.g. Sitting at work talking to a coworker—"Hey Bill, check out this Google video about oil." — get the picture?

If the goal of the film is to make money then I dont want to have anything to do with it. Informing people about peak oil should be something we all want to do so we can better our situation and perhaps create a society that our children will be able to maintain for years into the future.

If they wanted to make money off a movie, they should have licensed the rights to some lame comic book and hired a team of computer graphic artists to create an action-packed blockbuster the whole family can enjoy!!!

You know how much it costs to make a film like this? Forget about making money as the film will be lucky to brake even given it's not realy in theaters. This is a mater of them not ending up in the poorhouse and then having to prostitute themselves out to the usual suspects so they can eat.

Same reason why TOD runs ads. Running the server ain't cheap and I don't think Leanan should have to whore PG and HO out to pay the bills around here. Kapisch?

Question: If you want to make money, why the hell make a film about peak oil???

It's not a matter of "making money" or "making a profit". It's a matter of them recouping the considerable outlay of capital it took to produce the film.

You are intelligent enough to post here at TOD, you should be able to understand this. It's disturbing that I have to explain something so simple again and again to you. I will operate under the assumption you are still a student and financed by your parents and/or the government, thus an understanding of basic economics escapes you:

Spend alot to make a film (plus) fail to recoup the costs (equals) poorhouse (and) no other films like it getting financed or made in the future.

First of all, your assumptions are incorrect. I have a family of my own (1 daughter, one on the way) and I havent seen either of my parents in a year. I havent been a student since I was 16! Yes, I am a dropout but I'm not stupid or ignorant!

I understand the whole recoup losses bit and basic econ, but with the internet it is to be expected that some 1337 h4x0r will hack, crack, and rip some dvd he rented and torrent it or upload it to google/youtube. However, I do not condone this behavior and I urge people to buy the DVD, not just for the sake of the film makers, but because I'm sure it will have special features and commentaries available with more information than what was given in the actual film.

Now if the film makers do fail to recoup their losses, then I suggest ELP.


I'm sure you of all people understand that piracy is part of the human condition. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

That said, viewing Crude Awakening online makes me feel compelled to buy it, so I can show it around to friends and family who wouldn't be interested in watching it online. However, your website says "Sold Out". :o(



First, to the TOD Overlords: I'm about to link-whore* again but only because said link-whoring* was solicited:

You can hit the order button and places your order, it'll ship out later this week or early next week. I have 50 backorders, 150 on the way that will be arriving over the next few days.

*no offense to any actual whores reading this.

I'm sure you of all people understand that piracy is part of the human condition.

yes, of course. as is raising a stink about it. ;)

It's not so much the actual piracy (it's not my film after all) it's this attitude that "well everything should be for free particularly if it's about an important issue . . . the producers can just beg for money for all I care . . ." that is prevalent among info-age youth and aging hippies.

Thanks for the info on the order... I'll get right to it.

Yes, I understand your point. I've seen the attitude often myself. I've worked in the arts and in design--it's amazing how much effort people hope to get for free!



—"Hey Bill, check out this Google video about oil." — get the picture?

-"Hey Bill check out this DVD I bought/rented." - get the picture?

My guess is your o-chem degree did NOT come for free. How would you feel if somebody was hurting your ability to repay the considerable amount money you had to front for the degree?


Here is the exact text of an email I just sent to the filmmakers. You really don't seem to understand how damaging this could be. Your actions are the sort of thing that could prevent if from getting into theaters as everybody will have already seen it for free online. There would thus be no (or at least potentially less) incentive for a big time distributor to pick it up and get it in theaters.

Here's a link where the guy who posted is says he did it:


The guy's screen name is "Rob Organic Chemist"

Perhaps you should register on The Oil Drum and post a response to him, personally explain how damaging this sort of thing is, the money and effort it took to produce it, and that you take it very seriously.

There have been several discussions where somebody requests it gets posted to google video, I chime in and say something "hey they spent a shitload of money, why kick them in the balls like this?" A message straight from you guys might nip this sort of crap in the bud.



I do not enjoy doing this sort of thing, it makes me feel "snitchy" and petty but it really is important. If in the future you could exercise better judgement it would be greatly appreciated.

I don't want to pollute TOD with any more of this. If you want to discuss basic economics, ip law, business ethics, etc off-board feeel free to email me directly:


I will also forward to him the names of some excellent copyright attorney (s) if he needs them.

standard cost of defending/pursuing a copyright case these days.


copyright attorneys do a percentage on getting, not so on defending. big mucho difference.

Chimp, wasn't that news about Columbia was it that gave you pause about your spot.

Hope you find your spot.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

no, it's not columbia.

let me emphasize: I have no intel that isn't accessible via google searches and other "open source" info. Furthermore, my analytical skills are likely no better than average on places like this board with the only (possible) difference being the range of (very stomach-churning) scenarios I'm willing to seriously contemplate.

if anybody wants my two cents it would be this:

#1. assumme the worst case scenario you can stomach and let that form the parameters of your analysis.

#2. it's not about finding a "good" place. for those of us accustomed to our currenty way of life, I doubt there will be any place that is not akin to a living hell. So it's a matter of trying to position you and yours so that you have a shot of living in the first level of hell as oppossed to the seventh.

Blackburn (2004) studied P2P affects on the music industry, and the data looks like P2P positively affects sales for lower 3/4 percentile of artists, and reduces sales for the upper 1/4.

If movies are affected in a similar way it may be a positive thing for the ultimate sales/regain of investment for Crude Awakening to be on the internet. Anyone who is interested in the matter may wish to look into it further...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics_of_file_sharing (Pollock has some Blackburn extracts)

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

If this is truly an important video, then it should be "freed" by one means or another. Like AIDS vaccines should be freed. Like linux is free - which is how I make my living even though it's free. Like this site, with a Creative Commons license.

Copyright is a deal; the author gets protection for a while in return for his giving over the work to the community. 7 years with lead type, 14 years, now more than a lifetime with digital distribution. [There are several orders of magnitude there.] LET ALONE CODE, which prohibits use even more effectively. The deal has been abrogated. Free Mickey Mouse.

This is a critical, fundamental and fatal flaw with our technology; the whole concept of "intellectual property". Newton or Leibnitz, for example. Some things are just too important and valuable to be locked up.

Even though I do it every day, making my living off free software exclusively, I don't know how to answer the question - how does the filmmaker get paid? I know that in my case next to nothing I "return" goes back to the creators of the software I use, but rather to other segments of the community. Goes around comes around; I figure as long as I give as much as I can - even if not to the creators - fine.

It doesn't pay the rent for everyone. But consider, in some societies, there is no rent to be paid. That makes it easier! Which brings us back to technology; our technologies force us into bad scenarios. As is, it pays the rent for me.

hmmm, the whole resilience issue of free software... the best reason to use it... not tonight.

cfm in Gray, ME

Good for you. Your rent is paid while other people don't need to pay a rent as you say (where's that? In the jungle?).
Nobody is locking up Newton or Leibnitz, they are free of copyright. TRut is nobody reades them anyway these days... Most things are available at an acceptable price. Is it really asking too much to pay some 25 USD for a DVD that can be passed on to other people?
Why should I pay for your efforts in setting up LINUX systems if you're not willing to pay for my efforts in making a film?
BTW: What's your hourly rate?


Posting it on Google is free invaluable advertising. DVD sales will definitely follow. I'm sure that its feature on the Sundance Channel until the end of the month is also spurring DVD sales. This doc is a must see for every single human being. Watch it, buy it, and watch it with everyone you know.

Chimp, it shouldn't be too hard to update your online store to show that you have copies in stock.

Posting it on Google is free invaluable advertising.

For the purposes of free advertising it would be much better to have only put a fraction, say the first 20 minutes or so, of the film online. That way you get some info, get involved in the movie, but are compelled to purchase the product to get the ending.

Based on a personal request from the movie's Lava production team and out of respect for the message of the documentary I have deleted the Google video.

Although as Substrate suggests ...It would be beneficial if the makers of the movie provided poignant 10-20 min clips on Google video...generate buzz etc.


Awesome, profits win over education again!! Phew, for a second there I was worried the film would get a large enough audience to have an decent effect. Only way to do that is for it to be free, so therein lies the conundrum. I can imagine someone who saw the film for free thanking the film makers for the enlightenment, but when they learn they didn't get there $$$$ they tell them to fuck off. What? I need cash, bitches, you think this film was about education? Nah, we only want to enlighten those who add dollars to our wallets! ;)

I'm tired of the cry babies whining about the internet - guess what? without the net hardly anyone would see independent films, so quit crying about it, it's pathetic. Just be glad you are lucky enough to have a wider audience.

That being said I'm gonna buy the DVD. Then I'm going resell it on Ebay to a poor person - no profit there either, so I guess you're all against that too! Let's outlaw Ebay!!!

Be serious. If all these guys cared about was profit, they could have made an innocuous, feel-good documentary to run on the Discovery Channel (or they could have made something worse). Unless they had the financial backing of some charity or rich peak oiler, someone put out a great deal of money to make this film, and now they hope to recoup it through sales. I see nothing wrong with that.

I know that many artists do distribute free versions of their work, for a variety of reasons, but I think we should let that be the owner's decision.


You sir, are an idiot.

If it helps, I emailed the google video link to several friends and relatives. (and they forwarded it on to their friends and relatives)

In addition to myself. at least 2 others are ordering the dvd now.

I was impressed. It was better than I thought it would be.

I don't know if it's worthwhile to keep it online, but as it is, you got 3+ more sales as it is.

Opps. Sorry guy. It's already been posted in AVI and DVD format on Usenet by three people unassociated with TOD. Anyone with the right tools can find almost anything posted on Usenet.

I'm the director/producer of A Crude Awakening. It took us three years of unpaid labor, long working hours and a lot of understanding and credit (!) from friends and family to compile this film.

From your discussion I learn that:

- Important works should be freely available just because they are ... well, important...
- If I want to earn a living I should therfore do something stupid and meaningless. I could charge for that without you objecting to it?
- IP has no value as it is not respected

As a consequence of this there will be no more films like this and the word will not spread at all because there is no such word... Or the message will carry no weight because it's purely amateurish and will be easy to ignore outside circles like this one. Preaching to the converted alone doesn't change things a bit.

BTW: The same is true for vaccines etc. Research costs a lot of money and would just stop at one point.

It's a very short-sighted view some of you are adopting here.

The DVD is available from all kinds of sources like Matt Savinars LATOC site and some Canadian distributor (Mongrel Media) and in July it will be officially released in the US, too.

Exactly because you're concerned about the topic and value the film I urge you not to resort to piracy.


Hey its really great to hear from you! Keep the good work up!
Dont let the cheap side of us humans get to you. It is clear for a lot of people that you should be honoured for your ideas and creativity, as well that you should get the $ for each film sold.
I hope you manage to turn economically, and I hope that you get enough good vibes and energy to get on with a new next project!

Dont waste time and energy on people annoying you, who are to cheap to pay what, 20$, for an hour of education.

Cheers from Switzerland

When are you releasing it in a UK format? I have a bulk order....


can you tell me if the DVD will be released in Switzerland, or if there's some other ways to buy it there?

Dear OilcrashMovie,

Don't worry, the google video link is already broken.
But piracy is a part of this world. So it will pop up elsewere again.... but not to worry here again; it also will stimulate sales.

Roger from the Netherlands

Collapse of U.S. Housing Bubble Will Balance Income & Consumption

Who would have thought it would come to this? For three decades after World War II, the average American worker’s income grew by 2-3% a year after inflation, and stateside consumer spending grew apace. But after the mid-1970s, these income gains slowed to a crawl, while spending growth continued at the same pace. But Baby Boomers felt that the 2%-3% average annual real income growth enjoyed by their parents was their birthright. And when they didn’t get it, they settled for “the next best thing,” 2%-3% average annual spending growth financed by artificial means. The result is that the average American is now spending at a level not sustainable by income, but only by asset values, specifically in real estate. And when those asset values collapse, and they’re doing so as we speak, so will U.S. consumer spending and overall economic growth.

But that can’t be so, some might say. The country is much wealthier today than in the 1970s, which would support much higher consumer spending. That much may be true for the country as a whole, but it’s not for the whole country by any means. The reason is that while (President) John F. Kennedy’s “rising tide lifted all boats” through the 1960s, most of the gains since then have accrued to the top 20% of the population. For instance, as late as 1980, the average CEO made only about 40 times as much as the average worker, now it’s more like 400 times. On the other hand, antipoverty programs and removal of lingering discrimination have greatly reduced the number of the truly poor. So the person in top decile (90th percentile and higher) of the economic ladder, is decidedly better off than the equivalent thirty years ago, and someone in the bottom decile (10th percentile and lower) is somewhat better off. But the average person (the one at the 50th percentile, and 30 percentiles on either side) is the one who has gained very little real income in the past three decades. Nevertheless, it has been in the interest of U.S. economic policy to pacify this person by allowing him/her to maintain spending growth at historical (post World War II) levels, even though income growth hadn’t been keeping up.

I've often wondered if there is a connection between the slower economic growth we've had since the '70s and the U.S. oil peak.

From reading a lot about big picture ideas, the 70's were the best years for American's and it's been trending down ever since. The only major improvement that was made after the 60's might be the computer/tech revolution, but it was only a marginal improvement. People can only work so fast on them and ironically we are hampered by a keyboard design designed specifically to SLOW down the typist. The pain associated to typing excessively can be removed by changing keyboards.

Having come of age during the 70s, they were the best of times, not because of the absolute level of wealth, but because it seemed like a time of hope. Yes, we had environmental problems, but most of them seemed fixable. Yes, we had an energy crisis, but it seemed fixable and things were actually done to address the crisis. Carter was a very unpopular president but he recognized a crisis and did something about it. Cleaning up rivers was sometlhing that could be done and was done. Clearning up the air was something that could be fixed by technology. Getting better gas mileage was something that could be done and was done.

And then during the 80s, we descended into mass delusion, that we were the city on the hill and that greed was the paramount value and that environmental concerns were for sissies. We have not recovered since.

Global warming was far, far away on the distant horizon and mostly seemed like a theoretical possibility for the very few who were even aware of its theoretical exsistence.

Today, we are haunted by the spectre of seemingly impossible problems such as peak oil,water, resources, and global warming. And we are getting little or no meaningful response from our politicians. The problems seem too big for them and they are way too big for the vast majority of the people.

There is no one around who appears to be capable or willing to rise to the occasion. There is no one who is willing to tell the truth; that these problems will be solved, if at all, by blood, sweat, tears, courage, and immense intelligence.

Funny you mention keyboards. I worked for IBM during the 70s and proposed that they switch over all their keyboards. They told me thanks, but no thanks, sonny.

"Funny you mention keyboards. I worked for IBM during the 70s and proposed that they switch over all their keyboards. They told me thanks, but no thanks, sonny."

Yes, I'm sure we'll get around to transitioning into energy efficient mass transit, affordable PV panels on roofs, massive investments in wind generators, etc., just as soon as we've gotten those QWERTY keyboards changed out. . .

"...just as soon as we've gotten those QWERTY keyboards changed out..."

The width of the wheels of the Roman war chariot determined the width of Roman roads, including into Britain.

Wagon makers in Britain adopted the same width because, otherwise, they wouldn't conform to ruts in the roads.

British wagon makers made the first rail-guided horse-drawn trams. Their jigs were already set at the standard wagon wheel width, so that became the tram rail guage.

The tram rail guage became the British rail guage with the advent of steam-powered railroads.

British engineers built the first U.S. railroads, of course using the same guage (story slightly oversimplified). (Between ca. 1840 - 1910, 240,000 miles of railroads were built in the U.S. About half that trackage exists today.)

Railroad tunnel bore size is determined by the dimensions of rail cars and locomotives, which are largely determined by track guage.

A Utah company makes the booster rockets on the space shuttle that are shipped by rail. The designers were limited in the width of the rockets by the dimensions of the railroad tunnels.

So the dimensions of America's 'premier' space vehicle are in part determined by the width of the wheels of a Roman war chariot.

Retraining to use the Dvorak keyboard is modest. Around the same time QWERTY was being reconsidered, Ma Bell came out with the 10-key touchpad for phones: Will someone tell me WHY the numbers are upside-down to the number keys on a calculator. (If it's that those bookkeeping ladies would 'dial' phone numbers faster that the phone could accept, then why didn't the calculator maker change their pads?) Resistance to change is a powerful force...

That makes a damn good yarn, but it's false.

(Hint:  the number of incompatible rail gauges used in Europe should have been a clue to you.)

"And then during the 80s, we descended into mass delusion, that we were the city on the hill and that greed was the paramount value and that environmental concerns were for sissies. We have not recovered since."

Little did Reagan know when he predicted that the Communist Party would be consigned to the "ash heap of history" that his own Republican party would be following to the same place only a couple of decades later:


In their opening statements, the panel’s Republicans were clear and unequivocal—Select Committee or no Select Committee, they intended to battle on against the threat of godless environmentalism and its fellow traveling sidekick, global warming.

"Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the ranking Republican on the committee, was quick to lay down some know-nothing markers. He said that “this debate has not been characterized by common sense, it’s been characterized by extremism.” These unnamed extremists have “created a lot of hot air...and introduced a lot of fear.” He cited a recent Washington Post article on how kids were handling climate change: “With all the scary news we all have read, how can you blame kids for being scared?” . . . Finally Sensenbrenner got to his punch line: “One thing is certain is that solutions imposed by extremists would have devastating effects on our economy" Later in the day, Sensenbrenner returned to this imagery of destruction, arguing that the range of advice from the panelists “shows how difficult it is for policy makers to figure out a way to lead us from our dependence on oil in a way that will not wreck our economy."

(Commentary edited out)

They are in the process of becoming absolutely and irretrievably discredited before our eyes.


Don't forget about "voodoo economics" and "supply side trickle down economics" both the backbone of Reagan and originally denigrated by others in his own party, including Bush #1 originally. After Reagan got all the backing the whole country went for deficit spending as a viable model for growth and prosperity. Rational banking and business concepts were steamrolled and marginalized as outmoded and un-American.

You don't have to change your keyboard. There's a setting in Windows that lets you change from the QWERTY layout to other popular layouts.

Of course, you have to be a touch typist...

On many keyboards the keys snap off and can be manually re-arranged. It is difficult to go against this particular dominant paradigm because of encountering QWERTY anywhere you go. It's similar to the good sense of the US changing to metric... doubt it will ever happen.

it's actually a myth that the devork layout is inherently faster or safer on the wrists.
if you want a keyboard that is safe for the wrists there are ergonomic ones available.

I touch type both, I'm bi-keyboardal :-)

I can feel a huge difference between the two. Dvorak is much nicer on my hands.

That's not to say some of those radical ergonomic keyboards wouldn't be even better. I've just never tried them.

Was is hard to become bi-keyboardal?

I am intrigued with the idea of more efficient keyboard layouts, but I'm so used to QWERTY, and the rest of the world uses QWERTY. How do you remember which layout you're using? Do you ever get confused and find you've typed a page of nonsense?

"the rest of the world", yeah hum, not to mention the countries that doesn't use roman alphabet, I can assure you that my keybord is an QWERTZ.. and the french ones are AZERTY ..

I did it when I was 15 years old. It was tough then, I don'a know if I could do it now.

I was bored one summer and picked Dvorak up (yeah I was and still am a nerd). I completely forgot how to touch type QWERTY in the process. As time went on, I encountered only QWERTY outside of my customized machines and relearned it. For the past 15 years I've done both. I can't rember the switch much.

Now I can do both. I prefer Dvorak but at work use QWERTY.

As to how do I swithch? How does a bilingual person switch languages? Being both billigual and bikeyboardal I figure its about the same. After a word or two you realize its the wrong keyboard layout and adjust.

I can feel a difference. That said, if I had to do it again, I'd have learned a chorded keyboard.

I've often wondered if there is a connection between the slower economic growth we've had since the '70s and the U.S. oil peak.

Tentatively, the case could be made, but one might have to "enlarge" the issue somewhat.

The staggering increase in oil consumption, per capita, and as a nation, obviously plays a big role.

And then there's Richard Duncan's assertion that on a global scale, total available energy per capita peaked in the early 1970's.

We've added some 2.5 billion people since.

On the economic side, as the article you quote kind of indicates, there is the trade system which allows wealth to flow in one direction only. The rich have gotten much richer, in any sense you can name, the increasing number of poor have quite clearly not.

Today, we may have reached a few tipping points. We can't squeeze much more out of the natural world without collapsing it, and simultaneously, we can't squeeze much more wealth out of the poor without collapsing them, either abroad or domestically.

While outsourcing most of the good jobs has been a dagger through the economy, it looks like the housing bubble will be the "twist of the blade". More and more people will not only be more and more poor, they will end up with $100.000+ debts hanging over their heads that will be used against them.

And it's at this point of time that oil, gas and food prices stand to rise, likely by a lot. Economic growth is no more, and in real terms may have been dead for 35 years.

When examing your life from a world persepctive I'm startled at times how great we have it. Just being born in America puts you roughly in the top 15% of the world in terms of wealth. However when I look at this, I see the uber rich Americans with the strong lieutenants below. Below them is the middle class and then poverty. I see middle class as basically working class.

Now for the rest of the world to organize themselves into a similar structure as us...and they are doing it using free market economic reforms. Now for them to gain what we have, on the whole, they are going to pull it from America. The wealth as a whole has to be redistributed through the free market into the hands of savers which are the manufacturing/wholesaling countries. For every other country to gain in this world there has to be a loser. We've been the big winner for how many decades? I think there's going to be some real down times ahead just based on the financial aspect, let alone peak oil smacking everyone into the mat.

Through most of human history, most societies have been organized into a mass underclass of slaves or serfs or plebes, a relatively thin layer of skilled artisans and educated professionals, and the upper crust of aristocrats. It appears that the US is evolving into a system that more rigidly conforms to the historic pattern.

It has proven to be supremely difficult for humankind to come up with a formula that permanently, rather than just temporarilly, confounds this pattern in favor of a more egalitarian system. There were high hopes for the USA in the late 18th century, but those hopes appear to be just about dashed.

Most of the human experience was of course not history, but prehistory. Tribal arrangements are egalitarian, because no one can force tribe members to obey through force; they just go to the next tribe.

Impossible to be certain about prehistoric conditions. But from what I've read about tribal society around the world, force isn't really required to pressure members of a tribe to conform. If a tribe just exiles a member, that is effectively a death sentence. Exceedingly difficult if not impossible to survive on one's own. And if one encounters a different tribe, one most likely ends up served for lunch as the main course or some similar fate.

That is the gist: impossible to be certain. History is hard enough to figure out, but trying to understand the non-material culture of prehistory is a looong shot.

Doesn't it feel like total bullshit too? I arrived to the party after most all the fun was over. Then I found the guys at the party that could tell me what happened (TOD). Now we're all wandering around figuring out when the next party starts...you know...the one where we just watch everyone else while sipping on our spirits....

Well said.

Of course, while you are sipping your spirits, you will be expected to run a railroad with intermittent AC supply and rampant vandalism and theft of anything valuable along the wayside. I think there is a lot to discuss along the lines of how you would do that.


Actually, throughout MOST of human history, societies were
relatively unstratified; individual cultures and groups seldom
numbered more than a few hundreds or a few thousands, and
only after agriculture afforded greater population densities and surpluses which could be stored and redistributed did
elites emerge (and with them, so did the loweer class)
Agriculture has been around for something on the order of
then thousand years at the earliest, and for most of the earth's surface, about half that on average. Homo Sapiens
has been around for about 150-200 thousand years, and Homo about a million years. The stratified society is the aberration.
The observations about America becoming more stratified might
mean something from a perspective that sees no further than
medieval Europe, perhaps, but in reality America, however
stratified or however 'egalitarian' it might have been in the several centuries of its history, actually does conform
quite well to the norms of civilized human socieities (which are characterized by agriculture and urban populations consuming the redistributed surplus of that agriculture)

IMCO peak humanity was man on the moon - circa 1970 at least for US. Just like the graphic at die-off on the Olduvai Gorge theory. We have increased in numbers since the early 70's, but some indicators suggest our well-being has decreased. I'm not even sure we have enough left to build meaningful lifeboats. Reminds me of Heinberg's story of the raft.

cfm in Gray, ME

Absolutely true, 1970 was peak USA, last full year of a gold backed currency. It has been all downhill since.

Chinese will see a peak in 2008, the Olympics is their moon landing. It will be all downhill after that for China and everyone else.

Leanan beat me to it.

Several major Chinese imports from the West -- Obesity, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Lung Cancer (cigarette and coal smoke.)

I've always been fascinated by the historical fact that China developed deep well drilling for natural gas and brine -- but only used the gas to dehydrate the brine. They invented gunpowder, but limited themselves to fireworks. They invented clocks, but never used them to time production, and consequently never developed an industrial system. They were sailors long before the Portuguese, and probably sailed to North America -- but never developed a merchant marine.

I believe that Mao's revolution will prove to be far more important -- and devastating for the planet -- than anyone can imagine

Because these are all disruptive technologies. The Chinese powers that be didn't want change cause change inevitable means they would loose power.

Europe on the other hand was a fluid chaotic mess of nation states that couldn't/didn't restrict change. Thus they used these disruptive technologies to a much greater extent.

The rest, as they say, is history.

"Saudi Oil Capacity to Climb 48% by 2025, Wood Mackenzie Says"


"The maximum pumping rate may rise to 16 million barrels a day, said Kate Broughton, head of oil research at Wood Mackenzie. Nearer-term, the country may miss its goal of raising capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day by 2009, taking until 2011 to meet that target, she said."

The cacophony of views continues :-)

- ziggy

The Materials Engineering society I am a member of in Western Australia has an annual breakfast with a keynote speaker and a wide cross section of the engineering community attending. Topics can be of general interest provided there is a link to materials engineering (e.g. physical metallurgy / extractive metallurgy / ceramics / composites / plastics / corrosion etc.).

I would like to suggest Peak Oil as a topic and I am interested in any thoughts people have as to how Peak Oil and materials are linked. e.g.
(A) Peak Oil affects availability and prices of materials (obviously plastics won't be as ubiquitous and cheap as they are now, are there also effects on metals prices? Seems to be but what is the link?)
(B) A lot of the solutions to peak oil involving renewable energy require advanced materials, e.g. solar cells, composites for wind turbine blades, etc.

Also if anyone can suggest speakers in Australia who might be interesting in addressing this topic!

Cheers, Mike

(A) In simple terms, the mining, refining and transport of metals is hugely energy intensive.......
(B) Ditto the manufacture of said items

I think you can see some of the effects in Africa right now. Mining, factories, etc., have had to shut or reduce their hours because of fuel shortages and rolling blackouts. A cement shortage due to the energy shortage is causing prices to rise in Ghana, and the government is threatening to impose price controls.

Does anyone else here think price controls are the worst idea ever?? Doesnt that encourage consumers to keep consuming at the same rate as they did when the product was plentiful and cheap? Whats the incentive for the producer to keep making his product? Are cement, steel, oil companies obliged to keep their facilities running at any cost or loss?

Im sorry but price controls dont make any sense to me. =/

Congratulations you've got a head on your shoulders...doesn't it suck to know few of us are with you?

Speaking of econ issues, I just stumbled upon a gem of a book online for free. Written in 1988 by Henry Hazlitt, it's an easy to read laymen's understanding of economics....check this snippet out written in 1988 about the CURRENT sub prime debacle....

The case against government-guaranteed loans and mortgages to private businesses and persons is almost as strong as, though less obvious than, the case against direct government loans and mortgages. The advocates of government-guaranteed mortgages also forget that what is being lent is ultimately real capital, which is limited in supply, and that they are helping [one group] at the expense of some [other group]. Government-guaranteed home mortgages, especially when a negligible down payment or no down payment whatever is required, inevitably mean more bad loans than otherwise. They force the general taxpayer to subsidize the bad risks and to defray the losses. They encourage people to “buy” houses that they cannot really afford. They tend eventually to bring about an oversupply of houses as compared with other things. They temporarily overstimulate building, raise the cost of building for everybody (including the buyers of the homes with the guaranteed mortgages), and may mislead the building industry into an eventually costly overexpansion. In brief in the long run they do not increase overall national production but encourage malinvestment.

Let me point something out. Today the gov't doesn't implicitly guarantee loans, however since they are securitized and up until recently mostly all sold to the Mac's (fannie and freddie), they are basically insured against default by all of us, through taxation.

Econ is only dismal when the interests of those in power are aligned with economists seeking grandeur. It's the whole ceterus parabis thing....

Yeah, isn't it beautiful? The mechanics are so obvious, a similar book could have been written an 1888.

Not to be a bore, but this is where my Law of Receding Horizons meets the economy. These "well-intentioned" government programs (they exist all over the globe) that are said to promote home-ownership even for the less well-to-do, have one effect, and one only.

By developing a guarantee program that would make a $100.000 home affordable for all those people too poor to buy it otherwise, you cause the price of the home to go up to $150.000. Hilarious!

And then the entrepreneurship kicks in: scores of new homes are built, until there's too many of them, and that causes the price to go down. Now you have millions of less well-to-do with $150.000 mortgages on homes that are worth $100.000.

The only ones better off? Not the government, which has to cover the losses, not the poor sods stuck with all that overvalued real estate, but the money-lenders. Money flows in one direction only.

And yet I still do not understand why I am labeled the cynical one when examing the facts of record. So much in my life seems so obvious that it makes me wonder if there's gene that regulates common sense. Apparently a lot of people have defective bullshit meters and no one knows how to recalibrate them.

Money flows in one direction only.

And stays there - causing the mess we have gotten ourselves in with increasing inflation as a "redistribution" mechanism

Unfortunately, I have a prior engagement and can't make this:

Tuesday May 8, 2007

Executive Conference Center
3601 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 600 - Monroe Room
Arlington, VA 22201
Metrostop: Virginia Square Station
Website: http://www.sainc.com/ecc/

6:30 pm -- Social (beer & wine included)
7:15 pm -- Dinner
7:45 pm -- Announcements (including Burgess Award presentation to Dr.
Aris Christou)
8:00 pm -- Presentation

Email to chair@asm-dc.org or alcsontos@yahoo.com
or call 703-218-1237 and leave a message

$20 members
$10 full-time students
(beer & wine is included so please reserve your spot!)

Basic Materials Research to Ensure a Secure Energy Future

Dr. Harriet Kung
Director, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division
Office of Basic Energy Sciences
US Department of Energy

World demand for energy is expected to double within the next fifty
years, driven by rising standards of living and a growing global
population. This demand will require enormous growth in energy
generation capacity, use of more diverse energy sources, utilization of
energy with higher efficiencies, and strategies to minimize
environmental impact, such as greenhouse gas emissions. For the past
six years the DOE Basic Energy Sciences program, with the input from the
community, has conducted a series of workshops intended to identify
promising areas of basic research to help solve important questions in
energy supply, distribution, and use. Workshops to date have considered
the basic research needed for a hydrogen economy, for solar energy
conversion, for solid-state lighting, for a superconducting grid, for
advanced nuclear energy systems, and for electrical energy storage.
This talk will highlight a number of grand materials science challenges
that, if solved, might result in transformational changes in energy
technology. In particular, the combination of the ability to design
materials at the nanoscale and to tailor interfacial phenomena that
control materials properties and associated processes show extraordinary
promise for achieving the revolutionary advances needed for meeting the
energy demand of the coming century.

Speaker bio:

Dr. Harriet Kung has served as the Director of Materials Sciences and
Engineering Division in the Office of Basic Energy Sciences since June
2004. Before joining DOE in 2002, Dr. Kung was a technical staff member
and a project leader in the Materials Science and Technology Division at
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). She was awarded the DOE
Distinguished Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in 1992. She previously
held a research fellow position at the University of Michigan. Her main
research interests focus on developing novel engineering materials
through understanding their mechanical and physical behavior. Dr. Kung
has also conducted research in high temperature superconductivity in the
Superconductivity Technology Center at LANL. She has published
approximately 100 refereed papers, given over 50 invited technical
presentations and involved in organizing eight international
symposia/workshops. She was a guest editor for the journal of Phil Mag A
and also served as a guest editor for an MRS Bulletin issue on
"Mechanical Properties of Nanostructured Materials."

Hi Mike,

I've also worked in the UK oil and gas industry for five years after studying Materials Engineering. I'm now back in Melbourne figuring out the next step.

Have you hooked up with the Association for the Study of Peak Oil in Perth. The Australian Convenor Bruce Robinson is based there (www.aspo-australia.org). They should be able to provide some speaker ideas.

Can you contact me via www.philhart.com/contact - it would be good to get your details.



Published: 26/04/2007 12:00 AM (UAE)
Fuelling projects at a high price
Financial Times

Governments across the Middle East are looking to use their energy resources to attract new industries - often energy-intensive - and diversify their economic base.

Colin Lothian, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie, says the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are among those who will have to consider whether they have the proven resources both to fuel new industries and cater for growing domestic consumption.

All four could eventually face gas shortages, according to Wood Mackenzie, as they seek to sustain development plans.

In the late 1990s Oman, believing it had ample gas resources, encouraged the establishment of fertiliser plants and an aluminium smelter, but today faces a supply-demand gap, Lothian says, as development of new gas supplies failed to live up to expectations.

Qatar, which boasts some of the world's largest known gas reserves, recently announced a moratorium on the development of gas projects from its North Field until it completes a review to assess its reserves.

In Saudi Arabia, a petrochemicals project has stalled due to a lack of gas supply, Lothian says.

These countries are reliant on gas for power generation and water desalination plants and many have oil projects that rely on gas re-injection to maintain and increase oil production. Large volumes of gas are also required for gas recycling and extracting high value from the natural gas liquids produced.

Now growing industrial demand is competing for future supply. "The most important factor in this equation is the huge rush by the whole manufacturing world to go to where energy sources are, because of what has been happening in the last three or four years on the energy side," Rachid says.

So I guess none of these countries will be building any LNG export terminals.

Let's just say that an economy, that has a very high per capita energy consumption rate and that is dependent on ever larger quantities of imported energy, is facing some "problems."

IMO, what is happening on a global basis--energy consumers moving to energy producing and exporting areas--will probably happen even within energy importing regions. This will also be true of food production.

The emerging global/regional/local theme is going to be how to distribute declining food and energy supplies--especially as transportation costs continue to increase. Price only? What happens when a local food/energy producing area will match almost any price offered by a more remote energy/food importing region?

What happens if we can't bid the price up enough to keep our energy imports anywhere near their current levels? I wonder how Americans, who were indifferent to Africans being forced to conserve, will react to being forced to conserve because we can't compete with the EU and China for declining energy exports?

This is why I thought that some of the responses to the ELP thread were so hilarious--some people complained that the ELP recommendations might cause problems for their kids because of a decline in their "social status." To which I replied that I would be much more concerned about how to feed the kids than with their social status.

Exxon scrapped its $15 billion terminal in Qatar last week, right?

Hello? $15B?

Your problem Jeff is that you have both feet firmly on the ground and most people don't. My wife is the same way. I asked her once how she copes with all the BS. She said it is just really irritating.

No LNG terminals??? Oh well... on the bright side, thats one less thing for Al-Kyduh to blow up! =D

My weekly ASPO-USA column.

Arctic Dreams

Also here at the Energy Bulletin.

Have a good one, Dave

Interesting article, Dave. In short, all that the arctic can do is extend the tail, not postpone peak. Interesting read and thanks for the pointer!

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

Seems to me that big icebergs and detached ice sheets floating around might pose some problems too. It's not like the ice will disappear altogether, it'll still re-form in the winter even when it mostly melts away in the summer.

Dave did not identify specific environmental problems but he alludes to them in his article. Yes, the environment for extracting that oil will be very hostile. Imagine what price must be achieved to support such extraction activities? Or even undersea extraction, which some industry people think is the next big thing?

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


If we take that we are past Peak (or very near it +- 2 years), then what NEW find at this point could do anything except moderate the tail?

Taking into account we need 30GB in finds each year just to stay even in reserves.

Nothing found TODAY could be brought online in less than say 5 years(generous). Which would put us between 9 and 3 years past peak and most likely on the downside.

So depending on the scenario, that NEW find would need to pump at least approx. 3MMBPD (3 years post) and 9MMBPD (9 years post).

Sounds like it would have to GHAWAR class or better find, just to make an impact at this point.

And we still have to find it(them)?!

Coming soon to the Arctic Ocean: the War on Terra!

-- democracy for the sea squirts on the Arctic seabed :^)

we seem to be seeing a new round of the same old same old - supply is growing, prices are expected to fall, new projects are coming on stream, technology is improving recoveries, supply is projected to be ___bpd in ___, oil price is expected to by __$ in ____, project x will reach peak in _____, and oil producers are NOW injecting steam to improve recoveries, and, and , and ..........on and on

Destructive mite threatens Hawaii bees - Could threaten Big Island's thriving queen bee export industry

"This is going to be for us a nightmare," said Michael Kliks, head of the Hawaii Beekeepers' Association and owner of Manoa Honey Co. "When I saw that mite I knew exactly what it was. I knew exactly what it meant and I fell to my knees and almost began to weep because it's inexpressible what that sea change is for us in Hawaii."

Is Michael Lynch, in the article above, using 'demand' and 'demand growth' interchangeably? (like some use Oil and Total Liquids)

It is likely that 'demand growth' is shrinking but is 'demand' (as in current)?

Micheal Lynch the guy makes my blood boil with his constant misinformation campaign. $45 dollar oil just around the corner. He is Hall of Fame candidate for the Tar Baby Award as in just add feathers. Demand declining oh well I guess in the 3rd world were they are priced out but I agree with PTO demand or demand growth? What about supply? Meanwhile Suncor one of the giants of Alberta Tar Sands has this to report.

Suncor said its total upstream production averaged 283,100 barrels of oil equivalent a per day in the latest quarter, down from 300,300 a year earlier and oil sands production averaged 248,200 barrels a day, down from 264,400 barrels a day a year earlier.

As a result of lower than planned production in the first quarter, Suncor has lowered its outlook for 2007 oil sands production to 255,000-265,000 barrels a day from its original target of 260,000-270,000 barrels a day. Cash operating cost targets have been adjusted upward to C$23.50-C$24.50 a barrel from C$21.50-$22.50.

Better get moving on those huge expected production increases. As a stockholder (+4 year) I can attest to them projecting over 300,000 bpd for 2007 just over a year ago. Operating costs targets are up over 130% in the past two years. Of course this is only a component of total costs not even counting a return on investment.

Michael Lynch was quoted in the (Springfield, MA) Sunday Republican about six months back, saying that $40 oil was just around the corner.

Come on, Michael! Where is that $40 oil, man?

I'm glad I don't have any money riding on his prognostications. I feel sorry for the SOBs that do.

Just heard an interview with this guy on CNBC. From Amazon:

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Hardcover)
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Author)

Book Description

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.

Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know.

We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.”

For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. Now, in this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don’t know. He offers surprisingly simple tricks for dealing with black swans and benefiting from them.

Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book–itself a black swan.

Speaking of unpredictable. CNBC this morning reported that the Shell Deer Valley refinery was halted. And less than an hour ago Rebecca Jarvis on CNBC reported that the Marathon Garyville Lousiana refinery was on fire. That's two irresponsibly unsubstantiated rumors in one day! Isn't there a law against this?

Perhaps I should trade on CNBC reports and if they are wrong sue them.

Hey, that's the Fooled by Randomness guy, isn't it?

Interesting, but I wonder how useful it is. There's a reason we are hard-wired the way we are. Is there really any sense in preparing for an event that is inherently unpredictable and exceedingly rare?

Especially since, as Stumbling on Happiness argues, we're just really bad at predicting the future, even when it comes to what we should know best (what would make us happy).

What if the dinosaurs had known an asteroid was coming? Would it have helped them? Doubtful. What could they do? Could they even understand the threat? No, they were better off focusing their walnut brains on searching for food and shelter and status and sex.

I do wonder how Taleb's hedge fund will do in the coming years. And if he's ever worried about a black swan coming out of nowhere and wiping out hedge funds...

What if the dinosaurs had known an asteroid was coming? Would it have helped them? Doubtful. What could they do?

Hurry up and grow feathers?

They already had feathers. It's now looking like feathers came very, very early in dinosaur evolution.

They were not originally used for flying, of course.


Ah...and the feathered dinosaurs survived (and some non-feathered as well).

They've just evolved a little.

what i think the dinosaurs didnt see coming was peak fern.


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

"What if the dinosaurs had known an asteroid was coming? Would it have helped them? Doubtful. What could they do? Could they even understand the threat? No, they were better off focusing their walnut brains on searching for food and shelter and status and sex."

- sounds like an argument to not bother warn people about peak oil. I didn't think that was your view, Leanan?

- sounds like an argument to not bother warn people about peak oil. I didn't think that was your view, Leanan?

I'm an agnostic on that issue. Yes, I try to inform people, because it's my nature. I'm an INTP, sharing information is what I do.

But I'm not sure it's worth doing, to tell you the truth. One, most people don't want to hear it and refuse to believe it. And two, even if they do believe it, what can they do? We peak oilers can't even agree on what to do. City, small town, rural homestead? Inflation or deflation? Gold or treasury bonds or toilet paper? Nuclear, ethanol, solar? EVs or rail or horses?

However peak oil unfolds, I have a feeling it will not be like most of us expect. Just because people are really, really bad at predicting the future. I am not sure "preparations" will help.

I am not sure "preparations" will help.

I have "prepared" about 3.5 cords of free wood over the last 2 weeks. Don't know if it will help with PO, but it sure will help with gas bills next winter.

I'm an agnostic on that issue. Yes, I try to inform people, because it's my nature. I'm an INTP, sharing information is what I do.

I'm an ENTP(enfp) I'm a little more outspoken probably. BUT Sharing information is what we do. I still email articles everyday to my family and close(interested) friends.

I'm now agnostic too.


I debated Lynch (and ExxonMobil) last year regarding Peak Oil. What is interesting is that Lynch and I are both making arguments based on historical experience.

Lynch's argument (and the "Conventional Wisdom"): Higher prices will inevitably result in lower demand and higher supply.

My argument: Past the peak, higher prices are necessary to equalize supply and demand, but production, at least conventional production, will not increase. IMO, nonconventional production will not increase nearly fast enough to offset the decline in conventional crude oil production.

Higher prices will indeed happen, and they will indeed reduce demand. They will also indeed increase supply -- not of crude oil, because there is not enough left to increase supply at any price, but of substitute forms of energy like electricity from renewable sources like wind generators and PV panels. Lest one drift into cornucopian dreams, it is important to keep clearly focused on that one inconvenient and painful truth: Higher prices will indeed happen. It won't just be higher prices for crude oil and its derivatives, either. The higher oil prices will drive demand toward substitutes of all types, thus increasing their demand and their prices.

You alluded to it but basically all forms of cheap energy are bye bye and welcome to the new paradigm of energy at increasing costs.

Yes, and it hasn't yet fixed itself into our collective conscience that we will be living in smaller areas(or together) and using less energy. Looking at a (1000 yr) historical perspective it is painfully obvious.

I don't think anyone will argue the basic premise that higher prices will lead to some demand being rationed or suppressed in a market with a typical demand characteristics. However with +2 billion people not having had access to desired quantities of petroleum and with them now having rising incomes how can you argue that overall demand will be surpressed? Price will allocate the supply. Conversely how does he suppress the demand and allow for a $45 price given that Quantity demanded will increase as price decreases. He wants to argue Econ 101 only when it supports his argument. Your Post Peak argument seems consistent with rational thought to me.
I am still trying to wrap my mind around the argument by some that Post Peak prices will decline after a recession set about by high oil prices occurs. I'm still not convinced that an item in permenant scarcity will not command high prices especially if investments in production suffer a commensurate recession induced decline. Compounded by the tendency of the Central Bankers to keep the money presses rolling 24/7.

I am still trying to wrap my mind around the argument by some that Post Peak prices will decline after a recession set about by high oil prices occurs.

Agree. For some time now, the oil news items that I take special note of are those announcing abandonment of projects due to skyrocketing costs, and dramatically increasing costs of production. Matt Simmons is not even investing in oil companies right now--a conclusion I had also come to.

What I cannot wrap my mind around is how the global economy and the US economy (which may diverge from some of the world's economies) will further affect this. It seems that given a recession, a rapid falloff in production could ensue because of more abandoned projects, and a less affluent world which can no longer afford to produce this expensive oil. This thought I find quite frightening, considering it could happen in conjunction with rapid declines of our big existing fields. On the other hand, is it possible that given a straight forward inflation/hyperinflation scenario, the production could continue longer?

There has been much discussion here, lately, about how much people are willing to pay for a gallon of gas. For fun, I ran some numbers which should determine what people should be willing to pay for a gallon of gas.
If 1 barrel of oil equals 25,000 intense man hours of labor, and 20 gallons of gas are produced out of one 44 gallon barrel of crude, then, 45% of a barrel of crude is gasoline, so 45% of 25,000 hours is 11,250 man hours at $7/hour equals $3,937/gallon for gasoline.

Please feel free to tweak my numbers, anyone, as I am not the best expert here on knowing these values. Of course, the above would not occur without people finally deciding to place priorities on efficiency and conservation, etc. There is also no human being capable of working intensely nonstop, day after day, so one could make the case that the $ value is too low.

There will be so much infrastructure around that works on oil or derived products, that prices will stay high until the last SUV has turned to rust (and plowshares, and windmills).

I've got some weed and some speed,
all the drugs that you need,
but you can't get a gallon of gas..
there's no more oil left in the well,
there's nothing left to buy or sell,
a gallon of gas.. can't be purchased anymore..
not for any amount of cash.

The Kinks

Interesting points on the extension of the BTU argument or by the comparison of Admiral Rickover(?)that the modern day man has the equivalent of 245 slaves as a result of our ability to access and use energy. Your price analogy seems fair up to a point of substitutes i.e. electric vehicles or Biodiesel if viable become economical (if at all). I can't imagine covering the nut of 245 people in order to maintain my lifestyle.

The much more likely scenario is that you will be one of the 245 people maintaining someone elses lifestyle.

I doubt that it would settle down to that for at least one generation; people with today's expectations would rather kill than be a serf, and probably would.

Of course, none of this is really necessary.  US oil production (shrunken as it is) is more than sufficient to run all our trains and make all our plastic.  Getting rid of plastic packaging and using the resins for e.g. structural insulated panels and wind-turbine blades instead would start taking wedges out of our fossil-energy needs.  Just smelting the millions of oversized pickups and SUV's out there would give us plenty of metal to build pylon towers and streetcar rails and electric personal vehicles.

My daily transportation needs could be handled by a VentureOne and under $1000 of solar panels.  I can do without most of the stuff that can't come except from long distances by truck or airplane, and I can afford the rest even at $10/gallon.  There are many, many millions like me.  Give us a couple of years and we'll have the sea legs to stay standing as the world shifts beneath us.

E-P, thanks for your voice of sanity. And you didn't even mention biomass!

"making arguments based on historical experience"

Business as usual? DOH. Where's my Butterfinger?

As we get closer to $3 gasoline, the blame game is starting again. Some congressional Democrats want a tax of 50% of all oil company profits beyond $50 oil.

IMO, ExxonMobil and CERA, et al, are largely responsible for the near constant demagoguery that we will hear regarding oil prices.

Our esteemed political leaders are actually making a semi-logical conclusion based on pronouncements by ExxonMobil/CERA, to-wit, if we don't have to worry about Peak Oil for decades to come, then declining crude oil production and high oil prices must be the result of a conspiracy to restrict production.

:) You have to love it! CERA's plan "A" might backfire and lead us where we need to go anyway. LOL! Sweet. Tax the Oil Co's lets go!

Gas is already $3 at my local gas station. Well, $2.99. What a shock. I don't drive much, so I only fill up every two or three months. Last time I was at a gas station, it was only $2.35 a gallon.

I've successfully decreased my gasoline consumption by 45% by increasing my kerosene (jet fuel) consumption by 500%. Works like a charm! The best thing about it, is my employer pays for the kerosene, even though they don't directly pay for the gasoline. ;)

It's now $3.15/gal for 87 octane at one of the local less-expensive stations here in Beaverton, OR. This surpasses the price high from last summer, which didn't break $3.00 locally.



Many of my coworkers are blind to the economics of motoring. There are a number of studies suggesting that the average motorist spends about 50 cents per mile and some of my coworkers drive more than 35k miles per year. Now we're talking real money.

And there's never a discussion about the true cost of gas, which reminds me of that excellent report by Milton Cupolos that was presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March 06. With all the hidden externalities added in he concluded that gas from the ME costs somewhere around 10 to 11 bucks a gallon. And I'm pretty sure that people on this site know what those 'externalities' consist of.

I'm going to have to check out the Michael Linch reference and see what his basis is for what sounds like lunacy.


Some of my coworkers spend hundreds of dollars a month on gas. They commute more than an hour each way, every day.

One thing I've noticed: no one is complaining about the prices. Last time we reached $3/gallon, that's all anyone talked about. Now...it's like they've gotten used to higher prices. Or maybe they think it's just temporary, and will go back down again.

Wholesale gas futures just breached $2.30, so it looks like we should see a national average over $3.00 by the end of next week, barring a reversal of course. I think everone realized last summer that $3.00/gal wasn't really that bad, so it'll take more than that before they'll be impressed again. Which shouldn't be long at this rate. The serious whining should recommence around $3.50...

Yeah, there are people at my work like that. I point out the fact that if they were to go buy a NEW Honda Civic that the savings in gasoline would pay for the car payment for their new car, and instead of BURNING money in the form of gasoline, they'd have a truck AND a car. They keep driving their truck 60 miles each day, dropping $300/mo on gas. Idiots.

Same here in Sweden.
This is the word for it:

There's an analogy for it too:

The Boiling Frog

While it may be an urban legend, the principle stands to a large extent. Maybe even more for people than frogs.

The gas prices that evoked heavy protests last year are now taken in stride. $4 a gallon is a given this year. What happens, though, when it's $5 in late summer?

Will the frog jump, or will she stay in the pot?

There are probably even a few people out there that don't realize that they are actually paying for the privilege of working! Most people are unaware that what they should focus upon is their take home pay net of commuting costs.

The ultimate absurdity would be to cash out home equity on an ARM with a low teaser interest rate to finance the purchase of an SUV to drive to a job with a take home pay less communting costs that nets to less than zero.

"There are probably even a few people out there that don't realize that they are actually paying for the privilege of working"

Exactly, I have some friends- he's a prof at a local college, she's a social worker. It wasn't until she lost her job that they calculated the cost of her working. Her after-tax income exactly equalled the cost of one child in full time day care, one child in after-school car and the monthly payment for the second car. So she was working solely to pay for a second car they don't really need (he lives 4 blocks from work) and to get child care that they only needed bc/ she worked!

Being, apparently, pretty old now, I recally a VW commercial which was done as a poem take-off on the ballad of paul revere.

It described a vw owner calculating the cost of his car, his maintenance expenses, and his cost of fuel to figure out how much it cost him to get around.

He then trumpeted it via megaphone from his vw. As I recall, the last lines of the poem went:

"And then since this total was ever so small
he drove through the land with this now-famous call:

Two Pennies a mile! Two Pennies a mile!"

Mind you, this ad can't be found even on Google except for some oblique references, but apparently that's what it cost then, and it was a theme of the company... back when economy was considered a selling point.

There are a number of studies suggesting that the average motorist spends about 50 cents per mile and some of my coworkers drive more than 35k miles per year. Now we're talking real money.

Most of that 50 cents is depreciation on the vehicle and is basically constant, whether you drive 1 mile or 50,000 miles/year.

The cost of additional miles is very small compared to the average cost quoted by most studies, probably on the order of 15-20 cents/mile, even at $3/gallon.

Most of that 50 cents is depreciation on the vehicle and is basically constant, whether you drive 1 mile or 50,000 miles/year.

Which would you pay more for:
A 5 year old vehicle with 250,000 miles
A 5 year old vehicle with 5 miles?

I paid $10,500 for a 1982 Mercedes Benz 240D with 68,xxx miles . Higher mileage versions of the same car in excellent condition went for $3,500 to $5,000 back then. Original list price, about $21,000 (in 1982 $).

Best Hopes,


In Glendale, CA (LA area) regular is $3.45 and premium is $3.69.

In Beaverton, OR, today.



Regular is $2.89 - $2.97 in Asheville, NC as of 4/27

More evidence that US consumers moderate demand in response to high energy prices:

High Natural Gas Prices Cut Demand by Homeowners, Report Says


``Twelve months after a 10 percent increase in natural gas prices at the national level, there will be nearly a 3 percent decline in natural gas use per customer,'' it said.

The decline in demand accelerated in the 2004-to-2006 period, when prices averaged $7.60 per million Btu, said the association, which represents 200 companies that distribute gas to more than 64 million homes.

Note the lag between the high prices and the response.


Back in 1966, the most esteemed Alan Greenspan himself wrote the following in an essay entitled “Gold and Economic Freedom”:

“When business in the United States underwent a mild contraction in 1927, the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible bank reserve shortage. More disastrous, however, was the Federal Reserve's attempt to assist Great Britain who had been losing gold to us because the Bank of England refused to allow interest rates to rise when market forces dictated (it was politically unpalatable). The reasoning of the authorities involved was as follows: if the Federal Reserve pumped excessive paper reserves into American banks, interest rates in the United States would fall to a level comparable with those in Great Britain; this would act to stop Britain's gold loss and avoid the political embarrassment of having to raise interest rates.

The "Fed" succeeded; it stopped the gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market-triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed. Great Britain fared even worse, and rather than absorb the full consequences of her previous folly, she abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930's.” (end)

Do we see any parallels here?

I tell everyone Mark Twain, my fellow Missourian, probably had one of the best grasps of life in general and certainly some of the best one liners.

You may know he said, "history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." Since the day I heard this I have kept it in the back of my head. We are a species of patterns, behaviors, and routines. Nothing will fundamentally change this, therefore it's easier to understand the patterns throughout history that seem to mimic one another.


I have updated my charts about the US inventories on my blog:


Thanks for the update. BTW, I think you may have posted the incorrect chart for Fig 11 (currently showing refinery utilization instead of crude oil refinery inputs).

Thanks, it's fixed.

Looks like trouble ahead for gasoline, unless I'm missing something.

The Seattle Times asked its readers today:

How high would gas prices have to climb before you change your driving habits? Why?

Their answers:

Some context - this is an area of the US that has (so far) bucked the nation-wide housing downturn, has super low unemployment and a generally robust economy.

I live in Seattle and the media narrative that we have "bucked" the trend is not really correct. But of course there are tons of cheerleaders trying to make us believe it.

Here is a link to a Seattle housing bubble site that gives some recent hard numbers on an ever increasing inventory here


Also Foreclosures are up 27% in March Year over year.

I was talking to someone who was a real estate agent in the Seattle area and I definitely understand how you can't bite the hand that feeds you, but once you start to look at the hard numbers you'll realize that the Seattle area is experiencing the same issues as other people and the pressures will only increase.


Agreed – the Seattle area is not immune to the housing bust. Can’t really blame us for being late to the party, though – we were stuck behind a really long line of cars at the starbucks drive thru window… ;)

Never mind.

Ahh, the irony...

OPEC are calling for greater data transparency...from consuming nations.

OPEC April Bulletin (page 3)

The way forward is through increased cooperation and transparency, particularly with regards to data on demand. If consumers are clearer about their intentions, producers will be better equipped to meet current and future needs without disruptions. At the same time, greater transparency will also help them gauge how much capital should be invested in upstream activities to avoid plants remaining idle or overproducing.

Basically they're arguing that there's not going to be much point in them investing in greater production capacity if consumers are intent on moving to alternative energy sources for greater security.

Fair argument I suppose, except the obvious retort is: Why should we take your word that you're going to meet forecast future demand? Since we've no way of knowing whether you're going to have a) the required reserves and b) the required political stability, then we'll take the most prudent course of action which is to hedge our bets on future supply and hopefully reduce our carbon emissions in the process.

Is this going to be the new rationale? We've got it, but we're not going to produce it because you don't want it.

Alberta's oil boom is already over

In the midst of this energy-driven boom, it's hard to imagine that the gravy train is already slowing down.

But the truth is the provincial government faces a 33 per cent drop in oil and gas royalties over the next three years, and Albertans should take a close look at the reasons behind it.

First, the supplies of easy-to-get conventional oil and gas have declined to the point that almost 90 per cent of wells are permanently paying lower royalty rates, many as low as 5 per cent.

The highest royalty rate is about 30 per cent, but with so many wells now at the "low productivity rate," the average royalty from conventional oil and gas is down to 20 per cent.

Natural gas, the biggest money spinner for years, which pumped $8.3 billion into the treasury in 2005-06, will bring in only about half that amount, $4.6 billion, by 2009-10.

Conventional oil royalties will also come down. They'll bring in $1 billion this year, one-third less than two years ago, and drop to just $815 million in 2009-10.

Without the oil sands, Alberta would already be in the midst of those unthinkably dark days when the oil runs out, a time most Albertans imagine is still a long way off.

Good catch, HeIsSoFly

cfm in Gray, ME

I guess NASA Guy must be busy today as he didn't report the EIA Natty Gas nums.

For the Week Ending April 20, 2007

4/20 4/13 ADD Last Year
Total Lower 48 1,564 1,546 18 1,840

Injections of of 18 BCf vs typical of 45-60 BCF, Inventory down 15% from last year still 17.5% above the 5 year average.

RE: Al Bartlett’s resources depletion protocol for a sustainable Australia


So if growth can’t be sustainable, then what can? Well, in short, decay. If a nation mines its fossil fuels at an ever-decreasing rate, it is possible to ensure that there will always be some resources available to future generations, except that every generation will have fewer resources left to them than the previous one (such is the nature of mining, oil production and resource depletion in general).

Here’s how it works. Imagine you have $1000 of savings, and you use $100 of this each week. At that rate of consumption, you have 10 weeks left – in other words, if you continue to use $100 a week, you will be broke in 10 weeks. But if after the first week you can drop your weekly spendings to $90 a week, then you will still essentially have 10 weeks left. And if after the second week (when you’re down to $810), you drop to $81 a week, you will still have 10 weeks left. If this trend continues, you can ensure that you always have 10 weeks left, and you can claim to be spending your savings at a “sustainable” rate. This is the same approach as a nation that opts for ever-decreasing consumption of a non-renewable resource and it is called a “depletion protocol”. Obviously, because nobody can get by on zero spendings, it makes infinitely more sense to seek to base one’s lifestyle on regular income rather than eating into finite savings!

Bartlett’s concept of ever-decreasing consumption of oil or coal may be an utterly undesirable result, but desirable or not it is the only way to sustainably consume a non-renewable resource

Interesting thought: Challenge each household and business and institution to reduce their energy consumption by a 10% depletion protocol each year. That would be quite a challenge, but it is something concrete that people could wrap their minds around.

Hello Stephen Stackhouse,

I am unsure if you are from Oz, but if you are: how well is Oz planning & mitigating for it's eventual Dieoff? Any reply will be appreciated.

Asimov Foundation planning should not be overlooked by First World economies. Obviously, Zimbabwe could not or would not outlay the funds to mitigate their decline, but I hope that Australia will take a serious look at this predictive collapse and directed decline model. See my numerous postings on Foundation in the TOD archives.

It will be fascinating to see if Oz can intelligently optimize their decline, or if they will ignorantly choose to catch the Zimbabwe Syndrome of constantly careening from one disaster to the next on the march back to Olduvai Gorge.

Being a fast-crash realist, but posting hundreds of ideas to jumpstart biosolar living as my contribution to timely mitigation: it seems that Oz will not do much to plan seven generations ahead either. Hopefully the Aborigines will eventually recover their ancient lifestyles and knowledge to struggle along.

Billions overlook the works of Bartlett & Malthus at their great peril. Such is life.

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

Bob S I think the answer is Australia may adjust better than other countries to severe water shortages because we've been through it before. However if the rains don't come soon to southern Australia it could be a worst-ever crisis. In terms of fossil fuel issues Australia may not be worse off in relative terms than Canada or the US. Our NG
will peak later and we've got 40% of the uranium but no productive nuke plants.

I think we'll stumble along in just the same short sighted way as other countries.

This is a post I made several months ago, and I am just now getting around to reading the reply to it! I have been out of the country since!!

The original post:

Does Exxon Mobil have a proprietary trading operation? Do they have a floor full of traders doing nothing but trading (speculating) futures contracts or physical product with the house money? Or is that sort of thing limited to Shell, Chevron, BP, Valero, Koch, Conoco, etc.?

The reply:

Do you have evidence that Shell, Chevron, BP, Valero, Koch, Conoco and others actually have floor traders on the floor? Wouldn't that be a little like IBM having floor traders on the floor of the NYSE. I know for a fact that this is not allowed. There are specialists that specialize in IBM and a few other stocks. But they are employees of the owners of the seat that they represent. And that is never a publicly traded company. In many cases the trader himself/herself owns the seat. Brokerage companies, of course, own seats on the exchange but they are never allowed to be specialist in their own stock. They are allowed to trade their own stock but that trade must be handled by the specialist in that stock. In other words, the floor trader places the order through the specialist and the specialist executes the order.
I simply cannot imagine Shell being allowed to hold a seat, and trade on the floor of the NYMEX. I know they often hedge and deal in depravities but I was not aware that they were actually allowed to hold a seat on the exchange.

But if you have a reference, a URL or evidence that they actually hold their own seats on the exchange, then by all means post it. If you can do that then I have learned some astonishing news today.

Ron Patterson

My new reply:

I have personally been on and have friends that work on the trading floors of Chevron, Valero, Koch, and Shell. I've never been on BP's, though, but judging from the news stories that have come out about traders there, I don't think I'd want to! Valero has a particularly large physicals desk and rather impressive trading floor. All of those companies trade just about everything on the NYMEX, including metals!

When I talk about a trading floor, I don't mean traders on the floor of the NYMEX. I'm talking about a floor in the corporate office of the oil company that employs traders and is set up for the sole purpose of trading futures and physical products.

All of them appear to be member firms of the NYMEX, with the exception of Exxon (unless I'm missing it?). However, I'm almost 100% positive they were once a member firm until very recently. Here is a link:

(If that does not work, then go to NYMEX.com, click on "About the Exchange", click on "Who's Who", and click on "Member Firms".)

Now, I have a few friends that worked at Exxon in Houston, and according to them, Exxon has a rather extensive trading floor, both physicals and futures, that is second to none.

I have never met an Exxon trader, nor have I ever heard anything about a supposed Exxon trading floor.

I was just wondering if anyone here could shed light on this topic? It's not a pressing issue or even a particularly big one at that, it's just more of a interesting piece of information I was looking to find out (if anyone knows!).

Thank you!

Can't say I have any direct knowledge of it either, but corporate trading is one of the reasons cited for the success of Southwest Airlines while the others were contemplating, or in, bankruptcy.

They bought up a bunch of jet fuel options when they were cheap.

Sandia National Laboratories' Z machine facility

Don't count on Sandia labs or DOE for project success.

Retired Sandia technician Lowell Jones told me that in his opinion 90% of all Sandia labs projects fail.

Morales and Payne are hoping Sandia fails and our legal project works.

You post so many links from vox-mundi who is an admitted mensa member.

Are you a mensa member too?

If you mean me...no, I am not. I considered it, as a way of meeting people when I first moved to this area. I qualified due to my SAT scores. But to be frank, the MENSA members I met when I inquired were a real turnoff. They were just incredibly stuck up and obsessed with their own high IQs. I guess I should have expected it. Go to a tropical fish hobbyists' meeting, and people talk about fish. Go to a science fiction convention, and people talk about science fiction. Go to a MENSA meeting, and people talk about how smart they are. The weirdest thing was when I quietly withdrew. They sent me letters that were like something out of grade school. Along the lines of, "Everyone's going to think you're dumb if you don't join" and "I guess we misjudged you and you're not as smart as we thought."

And I later met a couple of other people, through common interests, who had joined MENSA, then quit for reasons similar to mine.

Nothing against Vox. He seems like a decent guy, and far more interesting than anyone I met at my local MENSA chapter. Maybe said local chapter is just a dud.

Leanan, I had the same experience when I went to a Mensa meeting in grad school. Couldn't believe these self-absorbed people. Couldn't get out of there fast enough. (And they couldn't understand why I never went back.)

I wonder what the percentage of UTILITY patents and other intellectual property is from Mensa members. Mensa is what top 3 percent. Seem to be in govt. and what a good job "brownie" they do.

Glad I missed by a couple of points, hope I will be Ok.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Maybe it's time to start a chapter of DENSA.  As long as we can drink beer at the meetings, I'm there (whether I qualify or not).

Ghawar reserves and production decline

Slide 11 of this presentation to the CSIS on Feb 24, 2004


states that “The Ghawar field has produced 55 billion barrels as of year-end 2003”.

Slide 15 shows that ‘Ain Dar/Shedgum is 60% proved reserves depleted. Slide 23 shows a pie chart for “Ain Dar/Shedgum. Adding the produced oil of 26.9 Gb plus remaining proved of 13.9 Gb and probable of 3.4 Gb gives total proved and probable reserves (ultimate recoverable reserves URR or 2P reserves) of 44.2 Gb. Depletion equals 26.9/44.2=60% (rounded down) which is the same as the 60% on slide 15. This means that the proved reserve depletion title on slide 15 should be proved and probable reserve depletion.

Slide 15 states that Ghawar is 48% proved reserves depleted but given the above, this really means that Ghawar is 48% proved and probable reserves depleted. Thus, according to Aramco, total proved and probable reserves are equal to 55 Gb/0.48= 115Gb for Ghawar. If Ghawar produced 5 Mb/d for 2004, 2005 and 2006 then the total production as at year end 2006 equals (55 Gb (year end 2003) + 3*5*365/1000 ) = 60 Gb.

In 1987, Roadifer show Ghawar’s 2P reserves as 83 Gb with oil in place of 190 Gb. In 1996 Petroconsultants show oil in place of 190 Gb and reserves of 115 Gb which happens to be the same as Aramco’s number.

Also in 1996, IHS, who owns CERA, acquired Petroconsultants. This could mean that the reserve increase to 115 Gb is suspicious given that the oil in place was 190 Gb, the same as Roadifer used in 1987.

Colin Campbell is his book “The Golden Century of Oil 1950-2050” uses the 1987 figure of 83 Gb for Ghawar.

The 1975 recoverable reserve estimate by Chevron and others was 60 Gb.

Fredrick Robelius in estimated Ghawar recoverable reserves as 66-100 Gb.

Hans Jud’s Ghawar total recoverable is 75 Gb.

This is a 188 page report on Giant Oil Fields done by Rand in 1978 prepared for the CIA, as this report was scanned it has to be searched by reading it! Table A.59 on page 151 states total recovery for Ghawar as 60-83 Gb as of December 31, 1975.

Table A.59 is reproduced below.

click to enlarge

Recovery factors

The resulting recovery factors for Ghawar vary.

In 1975, the oil in place was estimated at 170 Gb with 60 Gb recoverable to give a recovery factor of 35%.

In 1975, the Rand report gives a high end recovery factor 83 Gb/170 Gb=49%.

The recovery factor drops to 44% if 190 Gb is used as original oil in place.

In 1996, Petroconsultants has an even higher recovery factor of 115 Gb/190 Gb=61%.

An average recovery factor for all of Ghawar could be between 44% and 61%.

Reserve Depletion Rates

Ghawar production to year end 2006 is 60 Gb.

Reserve depletion rates to year end 2006, in ascending order

52% (Aramco, Petroconsultant 1996, 115 Gb recoverable reserves)
60% (Robelius high end, 100 Gb (Robelius increased this to 150 Gb in his 2007 thesis, but its higher than Aramco in 2004 so I didn’t include it))
72% (Rand high end 1975, Roadifer 1987, Colin Campbell, 83 Gb)
80% (Hans Jud, 75 Gb)
91% (Robelius low end, 66 Gb)
100% (Rand low end, Simmons estimate in 1975, 60 Gb – I hope not)

The acquisition of Petroconsultants by IHS could indicate that the depletion rate of 52% is too low. Total reserves of 83 Gb for Ghawar gives a reasonable depletion rate of 72%. This would indicate that Ghawar's production rate would be declining at least 10%/yr.

Ghawar has passed peak, which means that Saudi Arabia has passed peak, which means that the World has passed peak crude oil production

As Ghawar’s proved and probable reserves are well over 50% depleted, probably over 70%, Ghawar is in decline and Saudi Arabia has passed peak oil as shown in the chart below.

As at year end 2006, Ghawar's remaining recoverable reserves are estimated to be 23 Gb (83 Gb total less 60 Gb cumulative production).

Table A.59 of the Rand report above gives total recoverable reserves for Saudi Arabia of between 115 Gb and 216 Gb. The middle of these numbers is 166 Gb recoverable which is consistent with the chart below.

click to enlarge

As Saudi Arabia has passed peak oil, the world has passed crude oil and lease condensate peak in May 2005.

click to enlarge


Part 2 of my Ghawar post is now posted on TOD E. Here's some of what I got:

Estimate of initial oil in place = 162 billion barrels (same for High and Base cases)

High Case
Produced oil = 63 billion barrels
2004 reserves = 43 billion barrels
60% depleted

Base Case
Produced oil = 55 billion barrels
2004 reserves = 34 billion barrels
62% depleted

That Table A59 you posted is invaluable. Note their total initial reserves of 24.4 + 175.8 = 200 Gb. Very similar to my Figure of 211 Gbs - and you got to allow for new technology additions since 1975.

My base case on Ghawar is 89 Gb for URR compared to Rand's 83. Again, Rand will likely have underestimated the S of Ghawar, not accounting for horizontals.

Some interesting sums on Abqaiq - if you take the Jaffe and Ellas figures of 17 billion remaining and 73% depeleted you get an initial figure of 63 billion for Abqaiq, somewaht higher than Rand's 12.5 billion. You just need to look at Abqaiq on the Linux map to see the Jaffe and Ellas data are just a laugh.

Any climate geeks out there that can help me out?

We've had some rolling blackouts here in Costa Rica because the reservoirs are so low. It seems like each year has been progressively drier since we've been here, but I don't know if that is real or just my perception. Not a good sign when 85% of our electricity is hydro.

We just took a trip to the Pacific coast and all the rivers were low. Anybody have an idea if this is a cyclical El Niño type event, or is this something worse?

Btw, I live in a small town about an hour and a half south of San Jose.