DrumBeat: May 3, 2007

DOE Halts SPR Crude Oil Purchases

The Energy Department said Wednesday it rejected as "too high" all bids for the purchase of up to 4 million barrels of crude oil to have been shipped in June to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

DOE also said it will "suspend direct purchases of oil for the SPR until at least the end of the summer driving season."

DOE had previously rejected all bids for purchases of up to 4 million barrels of crude for the SPR in a May solicitation for the same reason.

Venezuela vows to eject Conoco if resists takeover

Venezuela threatened on Thursday to eject ConocoPhillips from the OPEC nation if it further resists President Hugo Chavez's plans to nationalize its multibillion-dollar investments in the massive Orinoco reserve.

Serving an industry in flux

National oil companies now control an estimated 77 percent of the world's proven oil reserves and "really stand to be the major producers going forward," said Amy Jaffe, head of Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, who led a panel discussion on the subject Wednesday.

The shift means that international oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, which have dominated the industry because of their technical expertise and access to capital, will see their role changing, she said.

The bad boys of oil

Most of the world's new production is expected to come from just a few nations. That could spell big trouble for Big Oil and consumers alike.
The 15 countries with the most potential to boost production will contribute nearly 70 percent of the world's total liquid production capacity by 2015, up from just over 60 percent today, the Cambridge Energy report says. Here's a look at the top seven, ranked by the size of their projected increase.

Gas Prices Continue To Rise with Word of Possible Summer Fuel Shortage

The US Energy Department says national gasoline inventories have fallen for eleven straight weeks and US refinery use is at less than 88% of capacity.

Continuing refinery problems have some analysts wondering if there will be enough gasoline this summer, to meet the increased demand.

With gas prices up, station stops the pump

"When I make a 5 percent profit on gasoline and my price jumps 30 to 33 percent, the profit doesn't cover the increase," McCloskey said. "I really don't know when I'll be selling gas again."

...McCloskey said part of his problem with gasoline prices is that he is an independent dealer, unlike many convenience stores that are owned by oil companies.

"I'm not branded, so I have five days to pay my gasoline bill, which basically means I have to have the money upfront," he said. "So if I don't make enough money from one load to cover the next one, I can't buy it."

Refinery Problems Fuel Gas Shortage, Price Hikes

A massive oil refinery fire in Oklahoma is to blame for empty gas pumps in Iowa.

...Hundreds of miles away, the blaze caused many unleaded gas pumps to run dry at stations in Iowa City and Fort Dodge.

Consumers Fed Up With Gas Prices

Americans are increasingly angry and concerned, according to the survey's sponsor, the Civil Society Institute, and want to see something done. The vast majority told researchers from Opinion Research Corp. that they want sharp increases in automotive fuel economy standards, as well as new windfall profit taxes on oil companies, with the proceeds used to develop alternative fuels and to reduce dependence on unstable Mideast oil supplies.

Rising fuel, food prices nurturing inflation

The rise in Canada can be traced to recent sharp increases in food commodity prices in the U.S. and globally, he said, citing, among other things, biofuel demand that is hiking prices for corn, wheat and sugar products.

Botswana: Fuel prices shoot up after a cut in recent months

Retail pump prices for petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin have increased due to high prices for crude oil in the international markets.

Report: What Aging Oil & Gas Offshore Workforce?

Research carried out by Oil & Gas UK has exploded the commonly held belief that the UK oil and gas industry is suffering from a rapidly aging, largely male offshore workforce as a result of fewer young people, especially women, taking up jobs within the sector.

Power struggle in the Middle East: Iranian oil and gas resources too important to be ignored

Since oil is unlikely to be abundant in the future and the era of easy and low-cost oil is coming to an end, to meet that demand countries and companies have started to look around the world to find new hope. Hence an oil resource competition has started and security of supply became a major issue.

Museveni blames Kenya for fuel shortage

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is blaming his nation's recent diesel fuel shortage on officials from the neighboring African nation of Kenya.

Museveni said Kenyan revenue officials are "blockading" the influx of diesel fuel to his country by demanding financial guarantees from oil companies, the BBC reported Wednesday.

US Oil, Gas Industry Look to Past Storms for Future Improvements

The deadly hurricanes of 2005 have forced the U.S. offshore oil and natural gas industry to reevaluate and make changes in the way they operate their rigs to protect and preserve mining the nation's largest source of oil and natural gas.

Eco Terror

British environmental scientist James Lovelock sensed that something was seriously wrong with human consciousness. How else could his peers report horrifying things so calmly? The polar ice caps are melting, they said, 3,000 species go extinct every year, the world’s large fish stocks have plummeted by 90 percent in the past century, and we’re turning the planet into a microwave oven. Business as usual.

Review: The Future of Food, a must-see documentary that exposes the biotech threat to life on our planet

Curious how modern civilization might ultimately end? In previous articles, I've discussed the coming food bubble -- a global collapse of the food abundance we naively enjoy today. Depending on who you talk to, this collapse of the global food supply could be caused by the end of peak oil, a collapse of bioversity followed by widespread crop blight, the depletion of freshwater tables, radical weather patterns caused by global warming, or the widespread disruption of global ecosystems through the continued use of synthetic chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, etc.)

Each of these explanations sounds like bad news to me. Any one of them could conceivably pose a major threat to the future of our global food supply. And yet the real news is even worse: We're facing all of these threats at once!

Caterpillar jumps on the green bandwagon - The industrial giant finds that sustainability plays in Peoria

This is not, in other words, a company where you will find a bunch of tree-huggers. Even so, here are the headlines that jump out when you open Caterpillar's just-off-the-press 2006 Sustainability Report:

Rapid population growth.

Limited natural resources.

Strained ecosystems.

No simple solutions.

Brighter, cleaner outlook for U.S. diesels

Nissan’s plans for a new Maxima is just one example of a move to cleaner, fuel-efficient diesel vehicles that could offer motorists a surprising solution to the problem of high gasoline prices, analysts say.

Quiz: What do you know about green business?

How much do you know about the business of being green? Take our Going Green Quiz.

Senate may vote in May to slash gas use - But environmentalist objects to bill classifying liquid coal as a biofuel

The U.S. Senate may vote this month on legislation that aims to drive down gasoline demand by boosting the fuel economy of cars and trucks and increasing the use of nonpetroleum fuels like ethanol.

The Senate Energy Committee Wednesday sent to the full chamber a bill that targets gasoline demand - the biggest chunk of U.S. petroleum use. It also seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions spewed into the atmosphere.

Saudi Aramco Production on the Decline

Saudi Aramco, the world`s largest state-owned oil company, said its 2006 crude-oil production decreased by 2.2 percent as reserves remained under 260 billion barrels for the fifth consecutive year.

After its annual review in 2006, Saudi Aramco said on its Web site that average production fell to 8.9 million barrels per day from 9.1 million bpd.

Mexico's Pemex posts 1st-qtr net loss

Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex posted a first-quarter net loss of 10.1 billion pesos ($915 million) on Wednesday, hurt by decreased export volumes, a lower export price for Mexican crude and higher costs.

Tom Whipple - The Peak Oil Crisis: Week Twelve

The fundamental problem in keeping the refineries working is that they are simply being pushed too hard. Twenty years ago US refineries were run at an average 78 percent of rated capacity and all was well. Now they need to be operated at close to 95 percent of capacity to keep up with increased summer demand. Moreover, there is a growing shortage of the experienced personnel needed to overhaul our refineries and they are becoming more complex as a result of the need to process more of the heavy sour crude oil that is an increasing share of what is available for import.

Exxon Mobil Says Peak Oil Unlikely in the Next 25 Years

The Exxon Mobil thesis is that Hubbert’s methodology worked when he applied it to the U.S. as an oil province, because the U.S. was extensively explored during the time period that covered Hubbert’s career. “Hubbert’s 1956 prediction turned out to be right; lower-48 U.S. production peaked in 1970,” just as he said it would, according to Exxon Mobil. But Exxon Mobil criticizes attempts to extend the application of what it characterizes as Hubbert’s “simple approach” to the entire world. And due to a misunderstanding of the Hubbert approach and its misapplication to a poorly defined world resource base, “a popular view has emerged that the world faces an imminent decline in global liquids production resulting from depletion of resources.”

Economic growth to end soon - forever

What Bakhtiari is saying essentially is that, quite soon, world economic growth ends - forever. Of course, there will still be some parts of the world, such as those endowed with exportable amounts of the remaining oil, where sky-high oil prices will bolster foreign earnings and stimulate local economic activity.

However, all “western” nations, (with the exception of Norway and Canada) are net oil importers. For these nations, decreasing energy levels in their economies will mean decreasing economic activity.

18 workers kidnapped in Nigeria

Gunmen kidnapped at least 18 people in less than 24 hours in three attacks, seizing people from an offshore oil vessel, a power plant construction site and a bar, officials and witnesses said Thursday.

Russia cuts off oil in battle over war statue

In a development that echoed Moscow’s disputes with Ukraine and Belarus, the state-owned Russian Railways suddenly halted oil deliveries to Estonian ports. It claimed that it needed to carry out maintenance work and denied that it was imposing sanctions. Russia ships around 25 million tonnes of fuel oil, gas oil and petrol through Estonian ports.

Fixing climate carries big costs

The latest International Panel on Climate Change report, "Mitigation of Climate Change," examines fixes — or "mitigation" in climate lingo — to global warming, both technological and economic. The report will underline the environmental and financial benefits of quick action to cut emissions, says report co-author John Drexhage of Canada's International Institute for Sustainable Development.

But fixes also come with costs explored in the report. If governments, for example, impose fees on carbon dioxide emissions, it would raise the price of electricity for businesses and homeowners alike.

A holiday at the end of the Earth: tourists paying to see global warming in action

Bored with your usual holiday? Try watching bits of the world as they start to heat up!

The effects of climate change are leading to a distinctive new form of 21st-century travel: global-warming tourism.

Power station harnesses Sun's rays

It is Europe's first commercially operating power station using the Sun's energy this way and at the moment its operator, Solucar, proudly claims that it generates 11 Megawatts (MW) of electricity without emitting a single puff of greenhouse gas.

Fewer Valentine's roses as Norway goes 'carbon neutral'

Fewer roses on a wintry Valentine's Day, less room for kids in smaller cars and costlier holidays in the tropics: life in Norway will be less glamorous but more climate-friendly as the country aims to be the world's first "carbon neutral" economy by 2050.

Green lobby pushes renewable energy

There's no shortage of ideas for high-tech measures to combat global warming: develop clean biofuels made of corn or palm oil, build more nuclear power stations or bury harmful carbon emissions in underground vaults.

But those are the last solutions many environmentalists want to hear about.


WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- A critic of Iraq's draft oil law with perhaps the biggest shadow -- one of its original authors -- says the version penned by oil experts has been compromised by politics and he no longer wants it approved.

Jeff Vail posted an excellent article discussing Jevons’ Paradox and energy policy. After a few days of thought I wanted to revisit the topic.

The main point of his article, IMHO, was “Should we try to use government policy to increase efficiency, if we know that energy savings will just be consumed elsewhere?”

Jeff did a good job defending the answer of “NO” (and he later softened that position). I am going to attempt to defend an answer of “YES” (hopefully without making myself look too much the fool). Detailed below are several reasons that a policy of energy efficiency improves our society’s chances for long term survival. Instead of focusing on not spending the energy, it is more about how to spend the energy to best effect.

Many of these points were made in the prior discussion, but scattered around in comments. I wanted to summarize them and begin another round of discussion.

Cartel Controlled Market

The world oil market has pricing controlled by a cartel. This cartel is defending a price floor. As efficiency increases, prices are pushed toward the floor and the cartel removes oil production from the market. Production removal delays the day that peak production arrives.

Essentially the cartel is fulfilling the same function as complex government regulation. The cartel keeps efficiency gains from being instantly consumed in the new demand created by a price drop.

World governments could improve this process by entering into agreements with the cartel to defend a higher price floor. Essentially, this works as giving up economic growth now in favor of a longer term energy plateau (which is what we want to happen).

Preparation for Fossil Free Future

Eventually, society will be totally dependent on sustainable flows of energy. These flows will be much smaller than fossil energy flows. Our future quality of life is dependent on having high efficiency products available to make the most use of limited flows.

It takes years to create more efficient products. And it takes decades to shape more efficient cities. Any kind of efficiency policy begins this transition before the market price signals, giving society more time to adapt and soften the landing.

CAFE is a good example of preparing for the future. It takes years to generate new car designs, retool car factories, and replace fleets of cars. The Hirsh report stated it would take 15 years to replace the current fleet, and more than 20 years before most of the fleet was at maximum CAFE efficiency levels (it takes years to phase in the higher mileage requirements and more years to replace the fleet vehicles with the highest mileage versions).

By passing the CAFE legislation now, we prepare our vehicle fleet for a world with much less oil. If we waited for market signals to drive the change, the replacement would start too late and the replacement rate would be much slower as people are forced to stop purchasing vehicles because they are hemorrhaging needed capital on energy expenses. (Vehicle sales drop during recessions).

Giving Others a Chance

Efficiency measures lower the cost of energy, and this lowered cost increases demand “elsewhere”. One key item is that “elsewhere” might be a place that really needs that energy (like Africa) or a place that is making smarter choices (like Europe) and directing that energy into sustainable flows (wind) or long term investments (rail).

High EROI fossil energy sources give a society an “agility” to change course. Efficiency in one country opens opportunity for other countries to invest with greater speed.

Dennis Meadows has an example in his ASPO presentation on how the rate of self capitalization of nuclear power plants is severely limited. The lower the EROI, the lower the rate of growth (or change).

Carbon Tax and Production Credit

When the last drop of fossil energy is gone, the size of the world economy will be dictated by the size of the sustainable flows we have built for ourselves. Society should be investing in creating sustainable flows.

The problem is that the EROI of sustainable energy sources is less than that of fossil energy sources. So it will *always* cost more to get energy from sustainable sources until the fossil sources are greatly depleted. This is a disaster in a society that expects “market forces” to solve the energy problem. Essentially, market forces will do everything they can to worsen the energy problem by *delaying* investment in sustainable flows until it is too late.

By too late, I mean that EROI of fossil flows is reduced to that of the sustainable flow level, which drastically reduces the growth rate available for self capitalization. Essentially, if a society waits, it will never be able to transition before the fossil fuels are exhausted and the society collapses.

Some form of Carbon Tax plus sustainable flow Production Credit is needed to correct this EROI imbalance before it happens naturally. A carbon tax that offset half the EROI would lower use of the fossil fuels (but not stop the use so the high EROI can be put to work). A production credit would encourage the investment of sustainable flows and keep the efficiency savings of the Carbon Tax from being lost in consumer expenditure.

This is just an example and I am sure there are better ones. I bring it up because some efficiency measures provide a way of pushing more investment into sustainable flows.

Jeff did a good job defending the answer of “NO” (and he later softened that position). I am going to attempt to defend an answer of “YES” (hopefully without making myself look too much the fool). Detailed below are several reasons that a policy of energy efficiency improves our society’s chances for long term survival. Instead of focusing on not spending the energy, it is more about how to spend the energy to best effect.

It hasn't happened.

It isn't happening.

It will never happen.

It isn't that you're a "fool" (you write much more intelligently about the subject than I could).

It's that governments are insane.

It's that governments are insane.

It isn't even so much that they are insane, it is just that those that actually run governments run them to advance what they perceive to be their own interests. Those interests do not at all match the interests of the people who do not run the governments, or with the general interest of the nations being governed. Their perceptions with regard to their own interests may even be incorrect, but that is a different issue from insanity.

The biggest problem is that governments tend to be run by men in their fifties or older, who know that they are going to be in power for only a few years (and alive for only a few years beyond that, at best). They thus have an extremely short-term focus. Crises that unfold slowly over decades with long term consequences that could last for centuries or forever and that require long-term mediation efforts simply don't make it on to their radar screen.

It is a difficult problem, and I'm not sure that a really good solution exists for it. Philosopher kings, anyone?

Governments are either insane or have a logic that is not apparent to us "common folk".

Our entire culture is insane.

More likely our society is inebriated with cheap and easy power. Perhaps sanity will return when this "drug" supply runs out.

Of course, it won't be fun going "cold turkey".

Well is the government of Norway insane? Switzerland? Germany?

I think a government generally works pretty well to advance the interests of the predominant powers. So I wouldn't let "the people" off the hook so easily. GWB was elected at least one time after he had already been president for a full term.

In short, the "government" is part of our society and just reflects what the people are really about as an aggregate. Pretty sour lemon but there it is.

Personally I think this is too pesemistic a view. I don't think the government is particularly representative of the people at all. Rather Bush and his friends really represent the classs interests of about 1% of the population, well let's be generous and call it 5%. The fabulously weatlhy and powerful elite that controls well over 50% of the wealth of the United States.

These people also own, in a literal sense, the mass media. So their particulur view of the world, almost automatically becomes our view of the world.

For the last twenty odd years a "class-war" has been raging in the United States, where the rich grab more and more from almost everyone else and remove themselves increasingly from the sphere where most Americans live and work. Once borrowing becomes more difficult and the debt bubble bursts, the true extent of the massive re-distribution of wealth to the rich, will become startlingly apparent to all but the most obtuse.

It amuses me to do so, but I can hold these two views in my mind at the same time; they don't seem all that opposed to each other. In fact, I believe there are major differences between nations in how they approach these issues (or, whether they acknowledge them at all, in the case of the US), and these differences reflect what one might call a "nation's culture." Do the people of the US have steeper discount rates than those of Sweden? Because they're sure acting like it.

If they push it too far they may need more then just Blackwater.

I would very strongly dispute this.

The US is the large problem child but the people of the US have been under constant planned attack for decades now. It is unfair to blame it just on the people, especially when ignorance is rampant due to a education system that teaches more social engineering then any other kind.

The insanity is to have a system that for all practical purposes is a single party under the same ownership and with no social responsibility whatsoever. The demand side of this social responsibility has been destroyed by the planned influx of minorities and undue favoritism for some sectors of the welfare establishment with the deliberate intent to create friction.

You end up with factions that will never work together, just like Palestine or Iraq, and the small minority at the top that owns all the politicians laughs all the way to the bank.

I understand that many people here are far more educated then me, but the view from corporate penthouses and gated communities isn't the same as from street level.

The problems are leveraged on the street, it will not take all that much for things to get out of hand.

All the technical ideas are interesting and pursuable, but they are not going to work without a systemic change that evens the playing field or at least is perceived as evening of the playing field.

Comparing the US with Europe other then perhaps the UK in 2007 is like comparing apples and oranges.

Good point. Currently, one of Germany's major unions is planning strikes, because they feel that company profits belong to the workers in at least equal measure to managers/shareholders. (That the union demands are as extreme as the corporate counter-offer is standard horse trading.)

200,000 workers participated yesterday, apparently, in what was merely a 'warn strike.'

There seems to be a certain awareness that if you don't stand up for yourself as a worker, no one else will. And an awareness that the people actually doing the work are the workers, not the managers and shareholders.

The same applies to many aspects of life in Europe - and when it is described in the U.S. press, this idea that people standing up for their rights becomes an object of ridicule or scorn (not that critical judgment shouldn't be used - but that is often notably lacking). Or is just ignored.

No, it really isn't possible to compare the U.S., where apparently 40% of Americans believe they will end up in the richest 1% of the population, with Europe.

I may add, another difference is that Europeans tend to be a lot less binary in their thinking than Americans. When describing how Germany, for example, is attempting to handle challenges which are clearly facing the world in the future, it is often assumed that Germany is either a paradise or a hell. Instead, it is a complex interplay, a truth which Germans see as commonplace.

The demand side of this social responsibility has been destroyed by the planned influx of minorities and undue favoritism for some sectors of the welfare establishment with the deliberate intent to create friction.

That was one tactic of the plantation owners in Hawai`i. (They resisted statehood for as long as they could, because they didn't want to be subject to U.S. labor laws.) They brought in indentured laborers from many different countries: China, Japan, Portugal, Korea, etc. They housed them separately and gave some ethnic groups preferential treatment. (The Portuguese got to be supervisors, since they were kinda sorta almost white.) They didn't want them to be able to communicate and thus unionize.

There is another critique to the Jevons' Paradox that could be mentioned.

Even if one accepts the argument that money saved through energy efficiency is used to increase demand for consumption of other items, it must be noted that such demand and consumption would not otherwise exist. In other words, the demand curves for the other categories of goods must be more elastic than is the case of energy. If they are more elastic, then a subsequent reduction in the supply of energy (which given peak oil is inevitable) will result in a further round of energy price increases and demand destruction. Because the demand for energy will still be relatively inelastic compared to many other goods, consumers will have to pay for their higher priced energy by reducing their demand for other goods with more elastic demand curves. Thus, given an energy supply curve that is constantly shifting due to continuously declining supplies (post-peak oil), the Jevons' Paradox effect must only be transient at best.

Under such an energy supply and price environment, the only rational course of action for any consumer that is able to realize savings due to energy efficiency investments is to reinvest those savings in further energy efficiency investments in anticipation of even tighter energy supplies and higher prices in the future.

The Chinese claim to have bumped into something big:

China's newly found oilfield in Bohai Bay has a reserve of one billion tons, or about 7.35 billion barrels, the largest discovery in the country over four decades, announced the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Thursday.
The oilfield lies in the Nanpu block of the CNPC's Jidong Oilfield in Caofeidian in Tangshan City, north China's Hebei Province, said the company.

The Nanpu block, partly offshore, covers an area of 1,300-1,500 square kilometers and is expected to produce light crude.


Big whoop. They will just piss it away with their new automobile centric economy.

So if China uses maybe half what the US does, say 10 million a day, that's 3.65 billion a year. This can't be right. They're getting excited about two year's supply ? What relevance can this have to the culture that has seen thousands of years of dynasties and emperors and such? Even at 5 million a day it's just four years.

In the long run oil will be irrelevant and but a sidebar in history. Nasty sidebar, though.

Holy crap!!! Liquified coal as a biofuel? How about oil as a biofuel? Perhaps congress could be a biofuel. Another thing I hate is that they are always saying that "environmentalists say" such and such. Howe about rational humanoids say such and such?

It's too little, too late to boost fuel economy through CAFE standards.

After the recent news about the polar ice cap, it is all so freaking hopeless.

Holy crap!!! Liquified coal as a biofuel? How about oil as a biofuel?

I guess if you stretch the definition far enough, one could say that all fossil fuels are biofuels. Unless you believe in an abiotic theory, the general consensus is that they are formed from geologically sequestered biota, so like all biofuels thus do ultimately have a biological origin.

How such an overstretched definition could possibly be of any usefulness is a different question. . .

Cheer up TSTREET and stiffen your upper lip, there is always a silver lining somewhere. Think of the bright side of life, as the crosshanged singed in the Monty Pythoon movie The Life Of Brian.

BTW isn´t oil also a biofuel, isn´t it made of old algae etc.

And if the Polar ice cap goes you can sail there, there´s a silverlining in everything.


Wow a single vote decided 'liquid coal' was not
biofuel. Some advocates for gasification technologies say that a blend of coal and biomass inputs has advantages. Maybe some kind of chemical signature needs to be identified to check on the alleged proportions if bio is exempt from carbon caps. Either that or tax coal as it leaves the mine. Coal is like The Blob from Outer Space as it creeps into everything; ethanol distillation, making up for low hydro dam levels, replacing expensive gas imports and now liquid fuels. When it runs out the meaning of 'renewable' will become clear.

Maybe they thought it was a biofuel because melamine, a byproduct of coal is being used in pet food.

Wow a single vote decided 'liquid coal' was not

Maybe they could vote to define beach sand as an energy source. There is an abundant amount of it, and it does get hot during the day. Should sound pretty good to your average politician. . .

The vast majority told researchers from Opinion Research Corp. that they want sharp increases in automotive fuel economy standards...

Please, Mr. and Ms. Politician, I beg you to force me to buy the high MPG car that's already available, the car that I could go out and buy right now if I wanted it - because I don't really want it.


No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby - H. L. Mencken.

Please, Mr. and Ms. Politician, I beg you to keep the reptile brains# from buying Hummers, Escalades and Expeditions that endanger my family and I in our economical car.

Best Hopes,


# The Hummer H2 & H3 were specifically designed to appeal to the reptile brain.

Hmmm ... but then what about all those huge buses and semis? Lanes segregated by physical barriers?

And what of their too-abundant incompetent drivers? Chicago is close enough that I get some of their local news - trains seem to collide on a routine weekly basis with trucks (and the occasional school bus) whose driver is either trying and failing to beat the crossing gates, or is too stupid to grasp that "never stop over railroad tracks" means that the back of the truck (or bus), not just the driver's seat, must not be over the tracks (so that, e.g., starting to cross whenever there's not room to finish is verboten, and if that takes time, well, tough.) And for a number of years, it's also been getting so that a long road trip is incomplete without the sight of a formerly speeding truck flopped over outside the curve of a ramp somewhere along the way.

Paul: Big money runs the show. Here in Ontario, at one time the speed limit for transport trailers was 50 mph while the limit for cars was 60 mph. The trucks also had to stay in the right lane. This was law to save lives. Not now. Now you have giant train-like trucks literally 3 feet behind your bumper at 125 kph (77.5 mph) at night, in a blinding rainstorm. To say the driver of the car is intimidated is an understatement. You know that if you have to touch your brakes for any reason you are dead-period. I am not even mentioning the motorists killed every year by flying giant truck tires (can't force them to keep their tires on the truck-costs too much money). Apologies for the negative rant.

Truck only lanes have been proposed (we have a truck & service vehicle only road for the port here in New Orleans). Still, if the number of oversized vehicles can be reduced by half (and the half driven by non-professional, self selected reptile brains), that is a quite positive step !

However, the best solution is get the cargoes onto an (electrified) train :-) and get vehicles over 4,000 lb (hopefully closer to 3,000 lb) largely off the road except where specifically needed (utility repair trucks, grocery delivery trucks, etc.)

Best Hopes,


You know, the big commercial trucks don't bother me that much. I haven't looked for any statistics, but I would guess that they are responsible for a relatively small number of accidents. It's the big passenger vehicles such as suburbans, excursions, and hummers that worry me. I'd really love to see them banned. It would make driving smaller cars much safer if there were no SUVs on the road.

Actually, on the practical side, sometimes it's the big, bus-sized RVs weaving and wobbling at speed along the narrow country roads that worry me the most.

Ok, I looked up some statistics. You can get the whole report here: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/TSF2005.PDF

It looks like on a per miles traveled basis, large trucks (vehicles over 10,000 lbs) account for a larger percentage of fatalities than passenger cars or light trucks. Light trucks account for a larger percentage than cars.

Overall, the proportion of vehicles involved in traffic crashes is:

56% Passenger Cars
38% Light Trucks
4% Large Trucks

Passenger cars account for more since there are more of them on the road. Some other statistics from the report:

  • More than 94 percent of the 11 million vehicles involved in motor vehicle crashes in 2005 were passenger cars or light trucks.
  • Large trucks accounted for 8 percent of the vehicles in fatal crashes, but only 3 percent of the vehicles involved in injury crashes and 5 percent of the vehicles involved in property-damage-only crashes. Of the 4,932 large trucks involved in fatal crashes, 74 percent were combination trucks.
  • The proportion of vehicles that rolled over in fatal crashes (21.1 percent) was 4 times as high as the proportion
    in injury crashes (5.3 percent) and 16 times as high as the proportion in property-damage-only crashes (1.3 percent).
  • Compared with other vehicle types, utility vehicles experienced the highest rollover rates in fatal crashes
    (35.4 percent) and in property-damage-only crashes (2.6 percent). Large trucks experienced the highest rollover rate in injury crashes (9.9 percent).
  • The want higher mpg without having to switch from their overpowered suvs, trucks, and other gas guzzlers. Ideally, they want SUVs and trucks to be segmented so that there are separate standards for each class size. They want their Escalades but with better gas mileage for no additional cost. In short, they want it all, but as you say they don't want to get off their butts and buy those great mileage cars that are already available.

    But as we know, it's all a conspiracy. Those auto companies can build cars that go the speed of light weighing several tons with mpgs over 100 at no additional cost.

    CAFE standards are a loser. Start by putting all vehicles in the same category. And the gas guzzler tax doesn't even apply to SUVs. Fix those two things and I will begin to think congress is serious.

    Best Hopes for $10 per gallon gasoline.

    People want more efficient cars just like they want better public transportation. Better public transportation means other people will use it leaving more room for them on the highways. Likewise with more efficient cars, if other people buy and drive more efficient cars that leaves more, cheaper oil for them and their SUVs.

    From that article:

    "People want (their) problems solved for them," conceded Civil Society spokeswoman Ailis Aaron Wolf.

    Well, at least some people are aware of what the raging crowd is really saying...

    It is extraordinarily difficult for many Americans to envision life, and a good one at that, without an automobile. How deeply ingrained into the psyche is the automobile? How much of one's identity is wrapped up in things we own?

    From the piece on shortages in Iowa:

    "I think it's maybe just a plow [sic] to raise the gas prices again. You never know for sure what they use for tactics, jockeying these prices around," said driver Glen Hanson.

    Mean old oil companies... Perhaps, though, Mr. Hanson is correct, since:

    "The impression that we are running out of oil" is erroneous, Al-Zayer said, adding that OPEC has almost doubled its conventional resources since 1960. "We expect that to continue."

    (from yesterdays news http://www.ogj.com/display_article/291565/7/ONART/none/GenIn/OTC:-OPEC,-industry-face-uncertainties-in-emerging-'new-era'/ ).

    I mentioned blame-shifting in Nate's latest post's comments - I believe he has discussed that before, or someone else on TOD has. It is such a common human trait, and we see it all the time in these news articles (and btw on the TOD comments too....) I'm not sure Nate has gone far enough though... Yes, there are reasons why we all believe different things, but we choose to believe them.

    Why we choose the items we believe is a good question... (answer = random?, Predestined? increased likelihood of reproducing our genes?)

    It never ceases to amaze me that people will accuse oil companies of collusion in order to maintain "high" prices yet don't even take the one nanosecond of conscious thought required to think through the logical next question:

    If they can manipulate the price however they like, then why would they have set the price so low in the past? What is different now?

    When prices rise it's because of greed and collusion. When prices fall the question is not examined. The next time prices rise to the same level - well, of course, it's again because of greed and collusion.

    Are people really this stupid or is it all just a psychological defence mechanism?

    So, on a different topic, any bets on how long the DOE will fail to replenish the SPR because prices are too high? I have a feeling the SPR just might never be refilled.

    A smart ploy would be for the gov't to force the refiners to slow down to a level always below the crude capacity -- thereby creating an artificial crude "surplus". Above gound factors!!!

    If they can manipulate the price however they like, then why would they have set the price so low in the past? What is different now?

    The quoted argument is a common one among apologists for monopoly (Microsoft used it frequently), but it is misleading and not useful for discerning whether a monopoly or ogilopoly is in effect.

    It requires one step deeper thinking.

    Economics 101: There is always a demand curve (quantity versus price), even for a monopolist or ogilopolists. They optimize profits for their individual situation under this fact. And, of course monopolies have their own variable costs as well.

    The point is the supply curve in monopoly situation, and hence clearing equilibrium, is different from where it would be in a freer market, with more benefit to producers and less to consumers.

    (I think Walmart runs a monosopy---a 'monopoly' of buyers, in effect, using market share power to capture anomalously higher profits and extinguishing them among suppliers)

    Fine, there is always a demand curve, but if oil companies were carefully tailoring their output to maximize profit, then surely there would not be wildly fluctuating profits year to year, right? Are you trying to tell me that the demand curve was such that to maximize profit the price of oil had to drop below $10/barrel in 1999 but in 2000 a price in the $20s was required? They would have to have sold twice as much oil in 1999, right? They didn't.

    It's not like there is no history of corporate price fixing. From ADM to Enron it's been done quite often. Assuming entities like Exxon who have a track record of untruths in all areas are out to get you is a reasonable frame of mind.

    There's a difference between healthy skepticism and baseless accusations, however. The evidence isn't even remotely close to supporting the hypothesis that Exxon (for example) has the power to manipulate the price of crude oil.

    Take, for example,


    Canada is the largest exporter of crude oil to the United States. There are a plethora of companies extracting oil in Canada. You'd have to have quite a conspiracy to have them all working together, let alone the worldwide conspiracy necessary to control the price of oil.

    What they really want is an SUV that gets 80mpg. In other words, "having one's cake and eating it too".

    Nothing wrong or inconsistent with wanting an SUV that gets 80 mpg. Just don't expect it to perform like a car.

    I want an SUV/truck with 4x4 that can haul 5 people, or 1000 pounds of stuff, go off road in the rocks and mud and get great gas milage. I do not need said vehicle to go 0-60 in less than 10 seconds. It does not need a V-8 engine or even a V-6. It does not need to pass sports cars going up hill. It does not need to cruise at 80 mph, loaded, going into the wind, able to still accelerate, and still get the 80 mpg.

    I would like it to get 80 mpg, empty, driving 35-50 mph and have the capability to go slowly with load or off road or go at 65 mph and still get good mpg, say >40. I want the utility of the vehicle coupled with the high mpg and will gladly give up the "performance" to get it. Sadly I am so far from the average American driver that my wish is unlikely to ever be built. Too few would ever sell.

    I want an SUV/truck with 4x4 that can haul 5 people, or 1000 pounds of stuff, go off road in the rocks and mud and get great gas milage. I do not need said vehicle to go 0-60 in less than 10 seconds. It does not need a V-8 engine or even a V-6. It does not need to pass sports cars going up hill. It does not need to cruise at 80 mph, loaded, going into the wind, able to still accelerate, and still get the 80 mpg.

    There are all types of applications for heavy duty, utility-type vehicles. They all either already or should be running diesel, and eventually biodiesel.

    The problem is also expecting these to cruise along on a relatively level highway at 60-70+mph with high gas mileage. This is expecting too many different things of the same vehicle. Perhaps someone that knows more about such things than I could offer a more coherent explanation, but I expect it has to do with the difficulty in engineering systems to for optimal performance in widely differing applications.

    In other words, once again, people want to "have their cake and eat it too".

    In my way of thinking, there should be three classes of motorized vehicles:

    1) Utility vehicles of all types (ambulances, fire trucks, construction equipment, farm equipment, shuttle buses, etc.), all of which should eventually run on biodiesel. We can probably grow enough sunflowers (or maybe algae) to keep these essential vehicles running.

    2) Neighborhood electric vehicles for short round trips of <20-25 miles and <35mph, for city streets only. Provided that the daily mileage of each vehicle is limited, it will soon become cost effective to recharge them with reasonably small and inexpensive PV panels -- maybe even small enough to be portable and taken along in the NEV itself, to set up and recharge while parked during the day. (Yes, walking and bicycles are also options, but some people are disabled, the weather is sometimes bad in some places, etc. We do need a small lightweight enclosed passenger vehicle available for local transport.)

    3) Highway vehicles, for use only to get to places >20-25 miles round trip away from mass transit nodes. We will need to invest in enough electrified passenger rail infrastructure (urban + interurban) to make the need for these as minimal as possible. Given the massive size of the US (and this applies equally to Australia & Canada) and overall low population density, we will never be able to entirely dispense with the need of passenger vehicles that can drive non-stop trips of up to at least a couple hundred miles. The energy source to run these is uncertain. We may only be able to produce enough biodiesel to fuel the category 1 vehicles plus maritime shipping. The cost of batteries will probably preclude electric from ever being a cost-effective solution for highway vehicles. Coal synfuels is a theoretical possibility for the next century or so, but there may be higher priority demands on coal. Ethanol will probably only have a good enough EROEI if an inexpensive method is developed to produce it inexpensively from cellulose in industrial scale quantities. Hydrogen fuel cells? Again, higher priority demands upon electricity and the resources that generate it may preclude it, plus hydrogen would require a more extensive revamp of the existing vehicle fuel infrastructure.

    The problem is in thinking that any vehicle can or should fulfill two or all three roles. They are very different applications, requiring very different vehicles, and very different energy sources.

    Check out this video of a superb vehicle invented by French genius Jacques Tati:


    I want an SUV truck that can crush 5 people demolish their 1000lbs of stuff when they go off road. Also all the ATV's, dirt bikes running through the woods and yes even the prancing mountain biker right down to his fanny pack and designer Perrier water bottle.

    I just take my Subaru. lol

    There is debate here and else ware as to whether or not TPTB are artificially manipulating the information that is universally used to assess the state of global fossil fuels.
    There are accusations that climate change information for public consumption is being manipulated.

    There is little or no debate that TPTB are manipulating the US dollar and therefore the global economic situation. The $ is on full life support.

    I believe that some form of economic crisis is far more eminent than PO or Climate Change, (though all three are inextricably intertwined).

    Below is something I stole from another forum;

    Please imagine this blog scrolling down like the Star Wars opening crawl. Cue John Williams' masterful score.)

    Not too long ago, in a stock market near, near to home...


    It was a dark yet joyous time for the Republic. Following the decade of prosperity that ended with the dreaded bursting of the Dot-Com Bubble, the Republic's capital, the Empire City, was attacked by the Desert Rebels hiding in the mountains of Kandahar at the far end of the galaxy. In response to this assault, and fearing a total economic collapse, Master Greenspan, head of the Council of the Bubble, known as the Federal Reserve, lowered interest rates to reckless levels in order to avoid the sinister effects of deflation. This led to a huge housing bubble that allowed people of the Republic to live well beyond their means even as their nation sunk deeper and deeper into debt.

    Meanwhile, Emperor W, who had years earlier stolen the presidential election, steered the nation into war with the oil-rich desert nation of Iraq and its recalcitrant dictator, Saddam Hussein. Though done ostensibly for "freedom and democracy", the war was meant as a means of protecting the Republic dollar as the reserve currency of the galaxy thus allowing the Republic to extort indirect tribute from allied star systems with their own acquiesence. This was particularly true with respect to the Eastern Trade Federation, also known as Asian Central Bankers, who were willing to finance the Republic's huge budget deficits in exchange for domestic economic prosperity.

    Yet storm clouds loom. As the housing bubble bursts, the Desert War drags on, and the Asian Central Bankers become increasingly unhappy with their dollar denominated returns, two new enemies have arrived. The Oil Axis of Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, who are attempting to have oil traded in Euros, represent a grave danger to the dollar and thus the stability of the Republic’s debt-rich carefree existence. And lurking within the Republic, the insidious private equity and hedge funds continue to ravage corporate balance sheets through reckless leveraged buyouts and irresponsible open market machinations. They act with impunity knowing full well that Emperor W, his Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and the former helicopter pilot turned chairman of the central bank are all complicit in their schemes.

    And so the stock markets continues to soar, the people continue to spend their way to oblivion, and the Republic goes on with business as usual. As the Republic sleeps, dangers gather and the Fifth Elliot Wave of the grand cycle builds up to the bursting of the Greatest Ponzi Bubble of all Time...

    Conventional wisdom will tell you that the stock market exists to allow investors to contribute a portion of their excess wealth to the development of products and processes which benefit society (and thereby, enrich the investors who bear the risk of development).

    My view is that the stock market exists for two simple reasons: (1) to allow a small group of insiders to live off the sweat of others and (2) to periodically crush the wealth of the herd so that they can't opt out of the game.

    GM profit falls 90 percent from year-ago

    General Motors Corp. reported Thursday its first-quarter profit fell 90 percent compared with a year ago, citing losses in the home lending operations of its former financial arm.

    For Sale: Scenes from a Bubble

    Wondering how home prices got so high - and why they now have to fall? Here’s the story of what hit you: an amorality play in four acts.

    UBS folds hedge fund after subprime hit

    Swiss bank UBS shocked investors by reporting lower first quarter net profits on Thursday and the closure of its Dillon Read hedge fund arm, which was hit by losses in the U.S. subprime mortgage market, sparking a selloff in its shares.

    Does this mean the new gilded age is about to become the gelded age?

    The frustration in the western media that Russia is no longer a resource colony is intense. CNN propagandists blather about evil KGB taking away poor Shell's "rightful" contracts. Poor dears, grow up, and learn to live with the fact that in Russia, Russia's interests come first. Not those of wannabe kleptocrats like Khodorkovsky. It is really rich for American media sources to yap about mistreatment of a Putin "critic". US executives who commit a tiny fraction of the economic crimes of Khodorkovsky and do not have a trail of dead bodies leading to their doorstep get 25 years of jail time (e.g. the Adelphia Cable case) not just 8 years like this "political prisoner".

    Apparently the cakewalk in Iraq is not enough to make the American establishment join the reality based community. Spewing lies at Russia is not going to make your dreams come true.

    Absolut correct.
    Here in Europe, many people find it amazing how arrogant the Americans treat Russian federal actions.

    Keep in mind: More than 70% of the Russians stand behind Putin. How many Americans are behind Bush?

    Russia has currently gold and currency reserves of over 369 Billion Dollars, up 22% from January 1st of this year.

    Russia has no foreign debts. How is the debt level of the US?

    Keep in mind: More than 70% of the Russians stand behind Putin. How many Americans are behind Bush?

    One of the first things you learn on the farm is to never stand behind the manure spreader.

    And then there's the saying: Money is like manure, it's no good unless you spread it around.

    In this context of our chump-in-chief manure spreader, the military-industrial complex standing behind him are making out like bandits!

    But the US now has the ability to take out Russia's nuclear capability with a first strike; i.e., it has the ability to completely obliterate Russia with military impunity. (See Lieber and Press's article on US nuclear primacy in the March/April 2006 issue of FOREIGN AFFAIRS.)

    What I have just written is controversial, to be sure. But doubters ought to ask themselves this: Would the US be bullying Russia the way it is if they DIDN'T have nuclear primacy?

    The mobile Russian ICBMs are an intractable problem. And the numbers of Russian warheads make an unacceptable 98% kill ratio unlikely.

    Yes, a foreign policy "challenged" US administration can do ALL sorts of stupid things.

    Best Hopes for the next 20 months,


    The article by Keir and Lieber referenced in my previous post addresses all three legs of Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent in detail (these three legs being ICBMs, strategic bombers, and nuclear-equipped submarines). I don't recall the details offhand, but Keir and Lieber persuasively argue that all three triads could reliably be taken out completely by an American first strike. In fact, they argue that such a strategy would reliably ensure the obliteration of Russia's nuclear capabilities even if the failure rate of US weaponry were on the order of 30 percent.

    Are Keir and Lieber religious nutcases? Only faith based thinking could make such statements. The Russians aren't stupid!

    They, Keir and Lieber, being American, are probably much like the yahoos who brought you all Iraq.

    James Gervais
    Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

    But did they take into account new weapons? The Russians have the same info that Keir and Lieber do. Which is why they developed a new ICBM designed to change course to throw off interceptors. Meanwhile, the USAF has never explained its humiliation in the first Iraq war when it couldn't find most of Saddam Hussein's ancient SCUD trucks.

    Also, America is now a country of lazy spoiled chickenhawks, and Keir and Lieber have no index for how little suffering they would tolerate after World War III. The non-strategic Russian navy would still exist; its sub crews might be feeling suicidal enough for a kamikaze run on the Strait of Hormuz. Our air defenses on 9/11 turned out to be two - TWO - F-16s. Bet a smart officer whose family was murdered by America could figure out how to fly a plane into the Indian Point nuclear reactor that three of the 9/11 airliners strangely bypassed. Or get a nuke on a freighter into New York Harbor. How many blows can a fraudulent bubble economy withstand?

    But worst of all, Mr. Relig, these academics assume that ordinary Russians are just animals to be trained. What if we wipe out their government - and they don't surrender? Iraq, after all, never did. How much more trouble can 200 milllion surviving Russians create for a NATO that expanded too quickly? If "failed states" breeding terrorism are our fuhrer's justification for Iraq's occupation, how can we just leave Russia in ruins to become a breeding zone that stretches halfway around the world?

    And of course, if America committed this ultimate atrocity, I would be one of a number of Americans out to destroy our wicked government.

    The reason our air defenses were a mere two F-16s on 9/11 is due to an exercise which was taking place on the very same day, putting the rest of the air defense over in Canada near Russia. Odd how some guys who supposedly hijacked airplanes with box-cutters knew about this to take advantage of it.

    The "official story" is bunk.

    I agree, that's why I brought up the Indian Point angle. But it shows the dilemma our leaders have cornered themselves in when trying to give more and more of our tax money to their campaign contributors for "defensive" weapons - how can we believe that we're buying security when our leaders either intentionally or thru incompetence end up with so many failures? Thus how will Americans perceive a nuclear first strike against Russia? Even the most militarist among us now second-guess Bush's motives, which hardly creates a population amenable to the dictatorship that presumably would follow World War III. Why start the war if your surviving taxpayers will have no faith in your rule, lack any enthusiasm for reconstruction, are resigned to the next catastrophe, and suspect that our surviving enemies, having nothing to lose, will always find ways to outsmart our defenses?

    I'm not saying that would stop Cheney, but maybe even he answers to hidden powers that consider such things.

    You read the nuclear primacy primer in Foreign Affairs right? For those of you just tuning in the US stockpile is way more re
    liable than our russina counterparts. Nukes need regular maintainance and have been neglected in the former SU.

    Yes, of course. Just like the cake walk in Iraq and Afghanistan. And would the US bully the Middle East if they couldn't kick butt? Would Hitler invade Russia?

    But you're joking, right?

    I am deadly serious. Not fully certain of my position, but very serious.

    As far as Iraq is concerned, the US could firebomb major population centers into oblivion with complete impunity if it chose to do so. The strategy would be to substantially depopulate the country, seal off the borders, and create military bases and oil extraction infrastructure unimpeded. It might not work, but under the right circumstances, attempting a genocidal strategy might well become appealing to US planners.

    I see things slowly moving in this direction anyhow, as the war grinds on month after month, year after year.

    The Hitler/Russia analogy is utterly inapt. Hitler didn't by any stretch of the imagination dispose over the military capacity to obliterate the Soviet Union with military impunity. But the US wields this power with regard to virtually every country on the planet. The only cases that are even arguable against this thesis are China and Russia. With regard to the latter, I refer you to the FOREIGN AFFAIRS article referenced in my previous post.

    I have that issue of Foreign Affairs somewhere around... I read the article, but don't recall a lot of the details. The essay was thought-provoking.

    I suspect such an attack would have great risk. Just a few nukes landing in the homeland (USA) would result in serious consequences for the aggressor. A first-strike attack would have to have 100% effectiveness in eliminating this kind of threat. I don't think it does. An attempt to blast Russia into the stone-age would likely result in the US being seriously, or mortally wounded.

    Just my $0.02.



    Who needs to firebomb cities? The VPOTUS has set it up in perfect Roman symmetry so that they Sunnis and Shia do it to each other.. probably with guns that we sold them.. (Actually guns that the US Taxpayer GAVE them)

    As far as Geopolitical Immunity and having an unmatched military.. all that accomplishes is to inspire alliances of the other nations with each other, so that if/when we go just a little TOO far, we find there's a new coalition on the block, and we're not in it.. with fewer friends than we'd once thought.

    Bob Fiske

    Hitler had one of the world's finest chemical industries at his disposal. He could have more cheaply and covertly stockpiled poison gas weapons than panzers before his intentions became clear. Pre-war Britain was so sure he had done exactly this that its civil defense was based on a Luftwaffe mass gas attack on London that would require 50,000 hospital beds. What Goering actually sent must have been a relief to Churchill.

    Why did Hitler not use his chemists to nerve gas London and Moscow into oblivion? Obviously he feared retaliation, as a victim of chemical weaponry himself. But it shows that even mass murderers are selective in how they use violence. In the case of Bush/Cheney, it comes down to their true homeland, the corporate empire. Big Business has been trying to warn these whackos that they've gone too far in their capitalist crusade, that a world war will destroy the appeal of America's useless touchy-feely exports and cut off its supplies of cheap labor & loans. The Baker Commission was the mouthpiece for our owners - the banks, the oil companies, the Saudis - to lead Bush out of his mess. Bush was too busy talking to God to pay attention. King Abdullah has begun phase II of the warning, and it's not pretty. It also leaves Bush without easy targets for his lethal tantrums.

    Water. Food. Medical needs. Genocide in progress.
    You don't like me? Don't care. Consult Red Cross.

    Well, I guess the nuclear winter would take care of the global warming problem. . .

    Sure the US can destroy Russia, Iran, even the world with the push of a few buttons.

    Question is can they occupy and control even Iraq? or downtown Detroit? or .........

    So destroy the world, what are you going to do then? have 300 million people flipping uncooked hamburgers for each other over the internet?

    See my post above in response to davebygolly. The Iraq objection is very common, but answerable.

    Yes, I see your point and it would make sense.

    Question is, can they do the same with Detroit as example? probably not if they want to survive politically.

    With all the hyphenated Americans we have these days, do you not think that quite a few potential targets have cells in the US already?

    In the 21st century you don't have to defeat the US military, you just have to get the hyphenated ones to stampede, no?
    Like being checkmated by pawns when you have all the weapons?

    Just asking as you seem to know about the subject and I have no idea.

    No, they couldn't occupy Detroit except in the fashion that is being done now, through the pacification of the masses. Not as if they really would WANT to occupy Detroit in a war or post-war scenario. I visit there on a regular basis, and *I* wouldn't want to occupy it.

    I repeat the question I posed previously for everyone's consideration:

    Would the US be bullying Russia the way it is if they DIDN'T have nuclear primacy?

    Philrelig says

    Would the US be bullying Russia the way it is if they DIDN'T have nuclear primacy?

    I suggest that you use you head; the US is not bullying Russia, it can't. That's why there's so much bombast.

    James Gervais
    Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

    More power to Putin and Russia.

    We need an American version of Putin and a really big broom.

    Sure do need a Putin here - so his thugs can go and kill off the liberal media types who would dare to speak against him.

    It sure doesn't take much to get you crusaders foaming at mouth about things you are not really informed about. If the killing of Politkovskaya is supposed to be some sort of "proof" then it is quite pathetic. Nothing has changed in the Russian media after she died. www.lenta.ru, www.kommersant.ru, www.gazeta.ru, etc., the print media and RTV did not disappear and for sure did not change their editorial slant. The widespread western media penetration into the Russian market did not change either. Unlike the citizens of sanctimonious western paragons of civilization, Russians do not give their media the benefit of the doubt (thanks to the communist era). So shooting a few journalists is not going to produce the same effect as the New York Times, CNN, Newsweek, etc. rebroadcasting Bush's Iraqi WMD lies.

    The problem is, while I instinctively love the idea of people turning to strongmen all over the world to kick out the mechanisms of the Anglo-American corporate empire, we have to step back and look at the terrible beating that democracy is taking from both pro- and anti-empire politicians. The coup in prosperous Thailand is a body blow to the idea of democracy following successful capitalism, much less the vulture capitalism inflicted on Russia and Iraq. The schemes of neocons to take over the governments of Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, the Ukraine, and now France are like a hydra - the well-financed heads sprout faster than citizens can cut them off. China is now the light of civilization to people all over Asia because America had nothing to offer but undemocratic IMF restructuring programs.

    And in how many places are oil and electricity shortages marching hand-in-fist with authoritarianism?

    In fact, the ease with which democracy is being perverted shows that it had long since failed. Elected representatives no longer represent us, and have not for a long time. We gave up citizenship for consumerism and the belief that politics is just another marketplace. The consequences of excessive consumerism now in turn destroy our resource base. Democracy will not be restored by normal, legal actions. Either Peak Oil will lead us to global tyranny, or radical decentralization, but the bought-out parliaments and media will be jettisoned.

    Oh come on. If US or Western countries did this arbitrarily to foreign interests and investments there'd be plenty of complaints.

    Suppose any contract or business interest in the USA were literally at the whim of the business interests of GWB and Darth Cheney?

    If the US is going to put US interests first similarly, then let's start by proclaiming that any Chinese company who wants to import into the US has to give at least 25% ownership interest to the US government.

    Here is the weekly natural gas storage report summary:

    Working gas in storage was 1,651 Bcf as of Friday, April 27, 2007, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 87 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 245 Bcf less than last year at this time and 266 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,385 Bcf.

    U.S. natural gas production remains on a long plateau. We hit a secondary peak in 2001, but the decline since then has only been 4%. We are not falling off the cliff yet. February production numbers are out and show 1847 Bcf produced. February numbers for the last eight years are:
    2000 1908
    2001 1910
    2002 1858
    2003 1880
    2004 1920
    2005 1875
    2006 1815
    2007 1847

    The numbers for 2006 are low due to lingering hurricane damage.

    For what it is worth, North American natural gas production may not fall off a cliff, but we will probably have to run faster on the treadmill.

    The Barnett Shale and similar plays have demonstrated a lot of potential for slow long term production [after initial flush production] over vast areas directly out of the source rock. There isn't a lot of gas in any one place, but there are a lot of places and the shale beds in many places are hundreds of feet thick.

    The problem [and this isn't trivial] is that the wells are expensive, the number of rigs and the manpower to drill them is limitted, and of course all forms of fossil hydrocarbons are finite.

    I also suspect that because gas exits at greater depths than oil, the potential for very deep [and "yes" very expensive production] is significant.

    The are US production numbers. Imports from Canada were down 5% last year, and seem likely to be down again in 2007 as well.

    I think someone posted some numbers showing LNG imports up, at least temporarily.

    I'm not sure how this all comes out in terms of net natural gas available in the US. Also, the real question is how supply matches demand, and it seems like demand is headed up.

    LNG supply is up simply because European NG prices are currently around USD 4 per mmbtu and not likely to go up significantly until Q4 and colder weather arrives. Last winter in Europe was one of the warmest on record and domestic heating demand was commensurately low.

    As a consequence those LNG cargoes that can be diverted across the Atlantic Basin are being moved (hence the recent backlog of vessels waiting to discharge at Lake Charles).

    Given that there is no hurricane season in Europe I do not foresee any real change in this situaiton until winter returns, and thus would expect LNG to be well supplied to the US for the next six months.

    A really hot summer in Europe may slightly increase NG demand for power generation, but you should be aware the aircon load is much lower in Europe than it is in the US.


    For what it's worth, FERC claims a natural gas oversupply soon, due to LNG imports.

    Do note that FERC has close ties to the industry, decides where and when LNG terminals are built in the US, and gets legal advice from the same lawfirm that represents most terminal builders: Baker Botts, James Baker III's homebase. So they may have "reasons" to stifle pipelines in North America.

    Natural gas oversupply is pretty darn wild considering the current futures market.

    June NYMEX NG is $7.880
    Jan, 2008 NYMEX NG is $9.838

    But, the NG futures market had a huge blowout last year. Could traders be making the exact same mistake again this year?

    Jan 2008 NG closed today at an even $10.00

    Also, the real question is how supply matches demand, and it seems like demand is headed up.

    True - demand is headed up, and Canadian imports are probably headed down. However, variation in natural gas demand is still dominated by how cold it gets in the winter, and the recent winters have not been very cold, so there just hasn't been a problem yet. Over the long term though, it looks like a big problem.

    2006 LNG imports were actually lower than 2004 and 2005, and account for only about 2% of U.S. supply.

    Natural gas is still a bargain compared to other heating fuels, per million btu's, how much longer can this price advantage last?

    It isn't any more.  $10/mmBTU is close to the price of crude oil, and with gas depleting you'd expect the price to track closely (some users will switch to oil as the price of gas rises).

    My last gas bill was $1.10 per therm, this still compares favorably with $2.50 a gallon heating oil or $1.80 per gallon propane and natural gas is cleaner.

    Mary Homan of PNM phoned on 5/1/07 to talk about PNM's May 17,2007 Gas IRP Public Advisory process.

    Homan's was well aware of peak naturnal gas production in 2001 and incresed number of wells to maintain falling production.

    She made the analogy of one straw in a drinking cup and now there are many straws in the same cup.

    Homans told me of PNM's algorithm to cut-off natural gas to customer in a case of shortage.

    1 Hospitals
    2 Police and other essential community service - probably water, sewage, ..
    3 Residential customers
    4 Businesses

    Homan stopped with businesses.

    I plan to attend on May 17th.

    Wind Farms Useful but May Threaten Birds

    That's it, forget wind. Too risky for birds. Maybe we should ban cars, due to the hazard they pose to squirrels and skunks?

    I actually wrote by e-mail to a member of the RSPB after he had written an article in our national UK press about the threat to birds posed by wind turbines.

    I asked him if he did not see the irony in his objections given the recent changes in migratory pattern of certain birds [disappearing from our shores], possibly due to climate change.

    No response!


    Further to that, I read a report (no link I'm afraid) that suggested that in the UK the number of birds killed by domestic cats or by flying into windows was something like 300,000 the number kiled by wind turbines.

    I think the number was 300,000, not sure, but it was a huge number in any case.

    I live on Cape Cod. I also live within the Cape Cod National Seashore Park on a private land parcel. I own a windmill. It has a 9' rotor diameter atop a 60' tall guyed tower, all of which juts up from a knoll 90' above sea level. It clears the surrounding pine/oak forest by over 30'. (I wish I could of installed an 80' tower but town by-laws limit them to 60') In the ten years of operation no bird kill has been recorded. As the saying goes, 'Small is Beautiful.'

    The studies that I am aware of have documented that thousands upon thousands of migrating birds are killed flying into tall (over 200') radio/communication towers/guy lines and power plant smokestacks -- primarily in bad visibility, low cloud conditions, where the hazard lights attract (confuse?) them. Generally, on migratory routes during clear visibility birds fly higher and avoid these hazards.

    The Altamont Pass wind turbines have been cited as causing a large number of raptor/bird kills. But then again, how many raptor/birds are also killed/maimed flying into power lines across the country? One can bet it is a lot, but not something that has been ever attempted to be studied in full.

    The number of birds killed by cars each year is staggering (I see it every year), and of course birds are killed flying into our windows and by our domestic cats. Yet none of this has caused us to stop driving, living in homes with large windows, owning cats, or using the power or communications received from the originating facilities.

    As we attempt to build out large windmill arrays I have little doubt that bird kills will be part of their operation, especially during migratory periods in bad weather. Bad weather conditions are usually good for wind but during migratory times it will be bad for birds. One can hope that the sighting and lighting issues could be addressed or handled better. But I have my doubts.

    The reasons for opposition to Nantucket Sound windmill plan are primarily unrelated to bird kill issues (the Mass. Audubon does not oppose the NS windmill plan), and is much more one of NIMBY 'aesthetics' and water craft usage. I think these are mostly stupid and selfish ones. From the shoreline the NS windmill array will mostly look like a bunched group of toothpicks on the horizon. As for any boater, there would still be plenty of open water around to sail or motorboat in, and if you can't avoid running into one of the tower bases you shouldn't be out on the open water.

    Everyone who has seen my windmill finds it appealing, for the way it spins and rotates makes it dynamic, unlike many more static blights upon our landscape. That it is generating electricity is also part of its appeal no doubt. If NS ever gets built I expect that a lot of folks will take trips out to see the windmills up close and personal, and very few will come back complaining.

    All this said, I would however prefer that our power generation was decentralized rather than concentrated into large power centers. WRT to windmills, I'd prefer to see them liberally and yet spaciously sprinkled all over the place where feasible. In this sense I'd rather see a hundred million smaller scale windmills than a hundred thousands of giant bladed and tall tower (400') ones concentrated in a few places as seems to be the route we are heading down.

    But unless we choose to live with less power, less people, less consumption, less economic growth, and all the attendant insanity our so-called civilization demands and feels entitled too, there is little hope for the birds, the bees, or even us in all this reckless monstrosity of our own doing. Our wants are all out of proportion to what we need and creation can sustain.

    Less is more and small is beautiful. But only after the multi crash coming our way will we get there.

    Best hopes for the dawn chorus in the future.

    Oh yes, I forgot to add, that birds are also dying because of tropical rainforest loss related to sun grown coffee plantations as opposed to less productive formerly shade grown coffee. But are we giving up or banning drinking such coffee.

    Next time you wake up may I recommend one go outside and smell the flowers and catch the dawn chorus while you still can. That is if you live someplace where there actually are any flowers and birds to enjoy.

    Note: Evidence indicates that the lighting on tall structures at night confuses birds and results in deaths. The birds would be better off with no lights. Not sure how this correlates to a windmill rotor.

    The birds would be better off with no lights.

    I agree. I presume the lights are to warn off low flying aircraft. I'd prefer there be no lights and if some person flys into the tower, so be it. We can afford to lose a few of these flying chimps and do more to save migrating song birds this way.

    Windmill rotors AFAIK do not have lights on them. There will still be birds killed and bats too, but perhaps a lot less without any lights on these things.

    Hey, the green party Canada and the Suzuki give that same response about nuclear energy versus wind turbines ... no response ... I guess they consider nuclear a threat to our health but realize the irony of the objection.

    I guess we all have our blind spots...how about asking me something? Could be likely I won't reply as well, going by the times I get hit in the head around this joint...

    That's typical behaviour of the so called greens.

    Forget sunpower: it is damaging the landscape
    Forget nuclear power: too dangerous! Instead building more than 26 good old fashioned coal power plants in Germany.
    Forget Biodiesel: it damages the biodiversity

    Solution: keep on with status quo and buy ever more oil from the middle east.

    The Greens never had solutions, but only critics.

    Actaully, the Greens in Germany had a number of proposals - remember 5 mark a liter gasoline? How about German KWK and EEG laws in terms of creating efficient and renewable energy sources? Or home insulation standards? I could go on, easily - some of the proposals were politically unpopular to the point of near-suicide (raising the price of gasoline), some are still under attack at every turn by various interest groups (KWK and EEG laws), and some are just too practical to ignore, like insulation.

    I always find it amazing how the Greens are blamed for coal plants - EnBW submitted an application to keeps its oldest reactor block running, saying it would help reduce CO2 emissions, and then a week later submitted applications for new coal plants. In neither case were the Greens to blame for EnBW's actions - proving your point, I guess, that the Greens are only critics. Considering that they are a minority party currently in opposition, it seems strange to blame them for government policies they oppose.

    Not that the Greens are better than any other political party, but at least give them credit where they deserve it - that the changes they desire are not possible to enact in a democratic society means they are critics by necessity - for example, their proposal to have a 100 kph speed limit on the autobahn, which has no chance of succeeding.

    Tired Canard, Brutus.

    - Show me the Greens who are endorsing Coal.
    - Which ones are snubbing Solar?

    Industrial scale wind will probably have a bunch of industrial-scale problems. Opposing a technology that hasn't solved an interference it causes in nature is simply being responsible. Yeah, it's frustrating, but it's also the adult thing to do. Prove it's safe - Fix the Problems - Install it wisely.

    I know using words like 'Responsible' might be tough to those who advocate for Nuclear. 'Responsibility' is merely a cost you externalize to the taxpayer as your subsidized insurance policy, or to your great-grandkids, who will still have to commit resources to clean up your crap.

    Do you have some solutions, or just slogans?

    I've killed more birds driving on the freeway than I've killed squirrels! A shame too, as I love birds and hate squirrels. The company my brother works for has a 100kw wind turbine at their property, and they don't have a problem with birds getting killed. I think bird-kill from wind turbines is a bunch of bunk.

    There are other downsides to wind power. Consider, for example, the situation of the southern highlands of the US, like western NC. We have some of the highest wind energy potential anywhere in the eastern US. And other than firewood, that is just about it for our renewable energy options. Unfortunately, that wind potential is all along the ridgetops. So are we going to put wind generators on top of every mountain top, and every ridgeline?

    Consider that most of our local economy is now built on tourism and retirement living. Those people all come here to see our mountains. Are they still going to come when what they can see is a giant wind generator farm?

    So it is not very likely that many of those wind generators are ever going to be put up. And this is by no means a unique case, there are disputes right now about proposed wind generators going up of the coast of Cape Cod, for example.

    The point is that when statistics are cited about the amount of potential wind energy there is out there, it should be questioned as to how high a percentage of that total potential is ever going to actually developed. It is certainly going to be far less than 100%.

    That's too bad, because I actually like wind power. I wouldn't even mind having it in my back yard -- if my back yard didn't happen to be on a majestic mountainside that constitutes an important part of our natural patrimony.

    I am surrounded by mountains. I would gladly "sacrifice" my view for wind power. Bring it on!! I think wind turbines are beautiful.

    I am surrounded by mountains. I would gladly "sacrifice" my view for wind power. Bring it on!! I think wind turbines are beautiful.

    I like wind generators too, and would be glad to have a smallish one in my back yard. I wouldn't mind if all of my neighbors down in our valley had them also. Whether it would make much sense is another question. In our area, wind energy really only makes much sense up on the ridgelines.

    The thing is, I don't consider it to just be "my" view. It is part of the natural patrimony that belongs to every US citizen, past, present and future. I am privileged to enjoy the view on a daily basis, but what I actually possess is part of the reponsibility to preserve and protect the view, rather than possessing the view itself. Much as it might benefit me personally to have abundant and inexpensive wind power available regionally, I do not feel that I have the right to take away views that belong to others to enjoy.

    If anyone disagrees with me, that is your right, but this is what I believe. Some people apparently are prepared to turn themselves into something little different than a common criminal in a vain and ultimately futile attempt to survive the unsurvivable. I'm not interested in becoming the type of person I would have to become to follow that route.

    I'm interested in the economics of the very very large turbines, particularly how much larger they will get. Year on year they've grown because the growth rate of construction costs for the single turbines in size has been smaller than the growth rate of power production from larger turbines, and I'm wondering where it starts to taper off.

    1000 ft high wind turbines? Bigger still?

    The upper limit on large scale equipment is usually a function of strength of materials and things like that. One of the engineers on this board should be able to explicate.

    Sure, but you should be able to get into several thousand feet of pure compression structures; More for guyed towers. We can build miles high skyscrapers today, but the economics just arent there.

    The economic sweet spot I'm a bit curious about.

    I'm not a mech eng or a geographer, but:

    The air patterns change with altitude so there is no advantage going between 2 different airflow directions since the total output is only the vector sum.

    There is a lot about wind power implementation that looks wrong. For example - the horizontal axis tower is clearly a 1 tower solution. But in areas of 'wind farms' with no obstructions, vertical axis towers could work together with the topography of the land funneling air, and work at much lower velocities. Of course it would then look 'stranger' to the NIMBY clan..

    The "Danish Model" WT, 3 blades, up wind, has beaten the other types for economics.

    IMHO, other models will be used only in speciality applications (NZ has a two blade upwind that has a flexiable hub for very strong winds and lighter weight as one possible example).

    Wind speed declines as one gets closer to the ground (frictional losses). This works against most vertical axis WT designs.

    Best Hopes,


    there is no advantage going between 2 different airflow directions since the total output is only the vector sum.

    Recoverable energy from wind is proportional to the wind speed cubed.  This is far more than a simple vector sum; a tower which puts the turbine in air moving 10% faster will produce roughly 33% more energy.

    The upper limit on wind turbine size is imposed by mobile cranes. The limits for offshore WTs, using ship mounted cranes, is quite high.

    On land, we near the limits for highway cranes; although more growth is possible using rail mounted cranes.

    Best Hopes,


    So is wind power now gated on a supply infrastructure game? If you're a wind power producer would it be desirable to design a larger modular crane system for assembly on the job site?

    Another issue that concerns me with wind is the relatively short lifespan of the turbines, 20 years IIRC. For these rather large towers, can the tower infrastructure be reused as turbines are replaced?

    I have been told by a Vestas representative that the tower can be reused for at least two generations of WTs for on-shore WTs outside a marine environment (he was simply unsure about off-shore towers, not his area). The problem is changes in technology. In the 25 or so years between WTs, technology changes and. perhaps the WTs erected today will be economically replaced by other WTs of similar weight and stress but these WTs will be the first generation where that is possible. No one makes WTs small enough to fit on aging California 60 kW WT towers installed in the great Wind Rush decades ago.

    Steel is easily and readily recycleable of course.

    Cranes must move from WT to WT for erection and later blade changes (every decade or so, depending upon location) and other major maintenance.

    Denmark is a major builder of on-site construction cranes used for high rise buildings so they certainly know the technology. Mobile truck and barge mounted cranes have been the only ones used so far.

    And yes, there is a supply problem with large truck mounted cranes as WT installations keep accelerating. But new cranes last decades so the world wide inventory is growing.

    Best Hopes,


    IIRC, the practical limit is believed to be about 10 MW.  I just saw something about a 6 MW unit, so we're getting close.

    I have no idea how big a gyromill could get.

    "10 MW" is one size factor (the size of the generator in the nacelle). Blade diameter is another factor. Tower height is a third and smaller factor (from vague memory, +15m taller tower = +10% more power generated for a given WT).

    One can trade one for the other depending upon the characteristics of the site. Today, most WTs are "over bladed" for their generators and reach max generation at half shut down speed (at higher wind speeds available power at the blade roots goes to waste because the generator is undersized due to weight considerations). Also, due to the shortage of very large cranes and the high cost of steel, many WTs are mounted on shorter towers, losing some potential power.

    One interesting factor in tower height is the delta between wind speed at the bottom of circular area and wind speed at the top. Friction with the surface slows the wind down and this influence wanes as height increases. Almost but not quite exponential reduction in friction losses as height increases from memory.

    Thus a tall tower has less delta wind speed (top vs. bottom) than a short tower, putting less stress on the nacelle and allowing a somewhat lighter design.

    VERY overbladed designs have been developed for moderate wind areas (mainly Germany).

    A New Zealand company has designed a wind turbine for their higher average wind speeds. A more convential high wind WT might well have a very large 25 MW generator and relatively short, stubby blades.

    In summary, "how big" depends on what you are measuring. 200 m diameter wind turbines are certainly feasible to build. The question is economics.

    Best Hopes,


    I would guess that it is quite an engineering challenge to come up with a design that optimizes output across the wide range of variation in wind speed. It is a lot easier task when you have a site with very steady wind speed, but those sites are few and far between.

    Consider that most of our local economy is now built on tourism and retirement living. Those people all come here to see our mountains. Are they still going to come when what they can see is a giant wind generator farm?

    Oh, the unending ironies of the tourist "industry". In a future world where the NIMBYs have nixed the turbines, helping make energy scarce and horrendously expensive, with discretionary use unaffordable (or even illegal), will the tourists still come? How? Will a population far older and frailer than ever before in the history of this planet arrive in the mountains on bicycles?

    There is no answer for mass tourism - nor, actually, for mass retirement - other than (reasonably) abundant energy. Neither existed as we know it now, before the era of fossil fuels. And our population is too frail to go back to the hard-labor past. So it's build everything that works ASAP, including wind and nuclear. Or else those who change tourist bedsheets for a living will have to find other work, and many far worse things will also happen.

    Some conundrum, eh?

    Those people all come here to see our mountains. Are they still going to come when what they can see is a giant wind generator farm?

    What if they stop coming because they can't afford the gas to drive?

    What if they stop coming because they can't afford the gas to drive?

    Passenger rail is supposed to come back to WNC by 2014 or so. This is absolutely critical. Back before there even were automobiles, people from throughout the southeast were bringing their entire families up into the mountains for the summer to escape the oppressive heat. With passenger rail there is a chance that this earlier pattern of tourism (which never went entirely away) may re-emerge. Without passenger rail the game is over for WNC. For without at least some tourism and retirement living, the area's natural carrying capacity can only support about 5-10% of the present population.

    Consider that most of our local economy is now built on tourism and retirement living. Those people all come here to see our mountains. Are they still going to come when what they can see is a giant wind generator farm?

    Consider that you can't see past the end of your nose during peak tourism times because of photochemical smog produced by coal fired power plants. Visibility is so poor some days it's tough to see from one end of Asheville to the other.

    Actually, most of the ozone is caused by motor vehicle emissions. If we could get passenger rail into WNC, and set up a network of shuttle buses, rental bicycles, and rental PV-recharged NEVs, or even go back to horse & buggies, then we would definitely see the ozone levels go down and visibility improve. As I explained in another post, we had tourism in WNC long before there were motor cars, including right after the total economic collapse in the southeast following the Civil War.

    I'm not going to argue with those of you operating on a worst case doomer scenario, because the reality is that I'm surrounded by about thirty million Bubbas with guns, there is no way that I'm going to be able to survive that scenario for very long, and so it doesn't really matter in that case whether wind generators get put on top of our ridgelines or not.

    On the other hand, if one assumes that energy prices are merely going to go up hugely and sustaining some simblance of civilization will become difficult but not totally impossible, then there is some point in thinking about future options.

    Ozone is a colorless gas and doesn't affect views except through Rayleigh scattering, which all gases contribute to. Oxides of sulfur (SOx) and nitrogen (NOx) do. NOx creates a brownish haze that can usually be seen most clearly at the boundary of the inversion layer, and is particularly pronounced in the summer when we get the long-lingering subsidence inversions. You can get a good view of a brown line in the summer where the sky goes from ick to blue from the Parkway. SOx is the major culprit in visibility reductions as it reacts with the moisture in the atmosphere to cause very small particles and Mie scattering effects. The sulfur comes from coal fired power plants, very little from automobiles. A good bit of NOx comes from automobiles, and a good bit from coal fired plants...NOx is culprit in Ozone production through photochemical reactions with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but as I said Ozone has nothing to do with visibility.

    I've been known to travel out of my way to see wind turbines in action. The newer, larger models are especially dramatic, like three 747 airplane wings whipping around almost silently.

    Here's a video of people who live next to windmills talking about what it's like. Some of them get revenue from the windmills, some don't.

    Among all the doom (yes, I am a doomer), at least we can take satisfaction in the way these stories (end to growth, especially) are percolating up the news chain, forming that big critical mass at the regional level before having to fight for credibility at the top level of Corporate Media. Bakhtiari's views are important, especially given his background, and he has a somewhat softer way of conveying them than most do.

    On that Chinese find. Still the media can't seem to see context. Let them report that a 7 billion bbl find would not have been considered significant in past ages but is so now. And that this context is enough to tell people we are scraping the dregs now, worldwide.


    Anyone else get the sense that it is just a matter of time until one of these super bugs, drug resistant TB, Bird Flu, etc., break out in the general population?

    From Drudge:


    Virulent New Strain of TB Raising Fears of Pandemic
    Bug Is Resistant to Most Available Drugs

    By Peter Finn
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Thursday, May 3, 2007; A01

    MOSCOW -- A virulent strain of tuberculosis resistant to most available drugs is surfacing around the globe, raising fears of a pandemic that could devastate efforts to contain TB and prove deadly to people with immune-deficiency diseases such as HIV-AIDS.

    Known formally as extensively drug-resistant TB, or XDR-TB, the strain has been detected in 37 countries. It arises when the bacterium that causes TB mutates because antibiotics used to combat it are carelessly administered by poorly trained doctors or patients don't take their full course of medication. Rather than being killed by the drugs, the microbe builds up resistance to them.

    At least 50 percent of those who contract this strain of TB will die of it, according to medical experts. In trying to stop the spread of the disease, which can be transmitted through coughing, spitting or even speaking, health officials have imposed sometimes extreme controls on infected people.

    Robert Daniels, a 27-year-old dual Russian-U.S. citizen, underwent months of treatment for TB in Russia, where he often led a homeless existence. After telling people he was feeling better, he flew from Moscow to New York on Jan. 14 last year, then on to Phoenix.

    In fact, his disease had not disappeared. The microbe causing it had mutated, apparently helped by his failure to complete a drug regimen in Russia. Weeks after arriving in Phoenix, Daniels was again coughing, feeling weak and losing weight.

    Doctors in Phoenix diagnosed his illness as the new resistant strain of TB. Daniels again failed to follow doctors' orders, authorities say. So health officials got a court order, and he was locked up in the prison wing of a Phoenix hospital, where he has spent the past nine months in hermetically sealed isolation. . .

    . . . The world is facing a return to the era before antibiotics when the white plague, as TB was known, was often a death sentence, according to Raviglione. The only treatment option then involved risky surgery in which doctors collapsed or removed an infected lung or attempted to cut out diseased tissue.

    "We will be left with surgery and prayers," Raviglione said. "It's a desperate situation."

    Anyone else get the sense that it is just a matter of time until one of these super bugs, drug resistant TB, Bird Flu, etc., break out in the general population?

    I am with you 100% on that. This is probably my biggest concern. I have been running mental simulations on how I would deal with such a scenario for several years (after I saw a show on 1918 Spanish flu outbreak that may have killed 100 million people).


    A friend of mine's dad is a bioscientist working for the government here in Scotland. Apparently the world is statistically well overdue a pandemic of some kind, although there's no particular reason it should be any disease we've already heard of, such as bird flu or sars etc.

    His advice was that if you hear the schools have been closed nationally it's time to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone. An alternative strategy is to actively attempt to become infected before the pandemic takes hold and hospitals are swamped with numbers of patients they can't deal with. This way you will get better treatment and be immune if you survive, not sure if I fancy this strategy though.

    Put that in perspective, Robert. The Spanish flu killed nearly 100 million people out of about 1.9 billion alive at the time... in other words one in every 20 people died.

    In today's population that would be over 350 million dead. But would it be as contained as 1918, when we were able to impose quarantines and such without years of political infighting? Or will our higher level of urbanization and overemphasis on personal liberties let it spread even farther before it is contained?

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

    Avian Flu was something I did a lot of research into about a year or so ago. In essence H5N1 is already killing humans, it is just waiting to pick up that mutation that lets it spread efficently from person to person.

    I'm quite interested in the intersection of Peak Oil and potential pandemics such as H5N1. We have, essentially, been 'winning' against H5N1 over the last few years through a combination of mass fowl slaughter and tamiflu 'blankets' on areas affected by an outbreak.

    Both are solutions that require a strong goverment to implement and the trappings of oil driven technology to manufacture and distribute the drugs. When the Oil is no longer available to keep a lid on these things how long until one makes the magic jump?

    Please explain how "tamiflu" blankets keep a virus from mutating.

    Explain how H5n1 will be as viral as it is when it mutates.

    What is the outcome in 99 percent of the cases when a deadly virus mutates and becomes able to transfer human to human. Isn't it that its most deadly attributes do not come along with a mutation.

    Explain why H5N1 is not in this same category.

    I am not saying that it can't, but the fear mongering does not match the facts, and many doctors tried in vain to let this be heard, but were shouted down by Politico's and people with a dollar to be made.

    Explain how a "vaccine" can be made for a virus before its mutated.

    Rumy made a ton of money though didn't he.

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    As has been pointed out, H5N1 is around 60% mortality now. Going H2H it would probably decline, but nobody knows for sure. Also, forget the mortality rate for a second. Anything that would cause 30-40% of the population to get sick essentially simultaneously would pretty much be a total calamity, even if it didn't kill most of them. The interruption of water, power, food, and other services would handle that.

    Yes and on that note...

    According to the MSM, all there is to fear from the global disappearance of honeybees is a bland dinner.


    Peak Antibiotics?

    Am a bit less concerned about Tb, (crossed fingers?) Don't have time to reference all this now, but at least in the US multi drug resistant(MDR) Tb has not become a major problem. With the rise of AIDS there was great concern that MDR Tb would become a serious issue. It is awkward to point this out, but when you are treating someone with Tb with a compromised immune system you would expect you are basically running an incubator for drug resistance. That is you may keep the infection in check with antibiotics but without a good immune system the infection persists allowing time for bacterial resistance to develop. Fortunately, this has not proven to be the case and MDR Tb rates in the US have been declining since I believe the late 1980s. Beta lactam antibiotics such as penicillin are infective as they target a conventional bacterial cell wall not the atypical one seen in Tb. However, drugs which target the ribosomal machinery or DNA maintenance enyzymes (rifampin, flouroquinolones) as well as less understood medications have been effective. There are experimental drugs based off of knowledge of Tb which show significant preliminary efficacy. Of course why avidly pursue development of this if you can convince someone they have depression or an anxiety disorder (Hello TOD, not saying necessarily uncalled for but again Hello TOD) and need your pill every day for the rest of a long life.

    Bird Flu scares the bejeezus out of me. Influenza is a known viral killer, it antigenically drifts each year hence the yearly flu vaccine. Despite vaccination it still kills about 20,000 in the US per year. If bird flu shifted to influenza (as is thought to account for past major antigenic shifts) we are still dependent basically on egg based vaccine development which requires many months (though there has been some progress on cell based vaccines which could possibly be produced somewhat more rapidly). The case fatality of bird flu is what 60% or more. Who knows what the fatality of bird flu -> influenza would be. But if Bird flu influenza retained a case fatality of 10%, (double that of the Spanish Flu) and similar infectivity to previous influenza, in the age of planes trains and automobiles it is almost unthinkable. Realize that those who are not dying are still unable to do much other than lie in bed for a number of weeks. Yes, that one concerns me, there are some antivirals of modest efficacy, at least against bird flu. What is needed is the development of some type of broad spectrum antiviral that could protect against all influenza. Or a fast vaccine production process.

    An interesting sidebar to this discussion which might be of interest to the numerous vocal adherents of Darwin's observations concerns the genetic adaptive response to major infectious diseases found in the human genome. For instance, one might be aware of the relation of the sickle cell anemia gene to malaria. If one has two sickle cell alleles one expresses sickle cell disease. However if one has a single sickle cell allele (sickle cell trait) one is basically healthy but with an approximate ten fold resistance to malaria. If one lacks the sickle cell allele entirely one is susceptible to malaria. Therefore, evolutionarily there is pressure for the selection of the heterozygous condition (one sickle one normal gene), this is a condition known as balanced polymorphism.

    The presence of balanced polymorphism is not a rare occurrence. Malaria alone is felt to account for the disproportionate presence of Sickle cell anmeia, two types of thalesemia and glucose 6 phospahatase deficiency among others. Cystic fibrosis, in the heterozygous state offers a degree of protection from cholera, Tay Sachs disease may offer protection from tuberculoisis.

    What then is the Darwinian fitness of the sickle cell allele? The answer of course depends on the prevalence of malaria. The fascinating thing about this is that it implies that unless one has perfect understanding of the environment one is unable to predict a priori the relative fitness of any genetic trait. Perhaps I will be viciously challenged on this in the same breath that others point out the unintended consequences of GM foods. The web of life is complex.

    Peak Oil: Psychological Shock Now

    The impact of Peak Oil on one Oregon resident.

    "No civilization can survive the physical destruction of its resource base." --Bruce Sterling

    The low, dark roll-cloud passed overhead like the curl of a vast, seething wave. A burst of small hail quickly swept across the park's field and thrummed against the plastic roof of the play structure on which I stood. The cold, white spheroids, blasted under the shelter by a chilly west wind, tapped against my shoes, and stuck to my daughter's long, pink coat. With big, blue eyes, she looked at the field, which had now become partially lost to the haze created by the veil plummeting pellets of ice. Her face showed an incredible wonder for the meteorological phenomenon that had transformed our little world of play.

    Production at Cantarell, Mexico's largest oil field, is crashing. Mexico provides a significant amount of crude imports to the United States.

    My daughter asked, "How long would the hail last?" I glanced at the sky. The charcoal-gray cloud had shifted to the east. The band of precipitation was clearly narrow. I replied, "Only briefly." Many thoughts swirled through my mind, and distracted me from further elaboration. Peak oil. Collapse. When I went off to college, I had one of the greatest times of my life. The university offered an amazing world of learning; intellectual, social, artistic and much more. Would my daughter have a chance at the same experience? I couldn't answer that question. It didn't seem likely. I had just turned 18 when I went to college; still just a child in many ways. And here was this five-year-old standing next to me. So young, so dependent on me for her well-being. Would she even have a "normal" childhood? What would her life be like when she reached ten, twelve, fifteen? The wind's chill seemed to increase, and a shiver shot down my spine.

    Wars were a likely response to resource depletion. The 20th century's world-wars appear to have been largely about who controls the flow of energy resources. WW III seems a possible outcome post-Peak-Oil.

    The hail shifted over to a cold, steady rain. My daughter ran over to a little metal steering wheel built into the wall of the play structure. "We need to turn the ship around!" she exclaimed as she spun the wheel. Yes, I thought, I wish we could turn the ship around. Even more, I wished I could put my Peak Oil thoughts aside and join in the fun. I tried to do just that and stepped next to her. The frigid rain jabbed my face. "Let's get into port and out of this storm," I said, wishing I could be more enthusiastic. I spun the wheel with her. The play structure did not move.

    Energy is required to do work, and more energy is required to expand the amount of available work: industrial economies, dependent on growth, will likely suffer greatly from energy scarcity. People should economize, localize and produce, ELP.

    Since my own college experience, I had made many decisions in my life that, in the light of Peak Oil, I now regretted. An economic dislocation of historical--singular--proportions seemed the likely outcome of diminishing available energy. My financial decisions hadn't the best. I had assumed business-as-usual, and I acquired more debt than I probably should have. My job situation was very shaky. In the shadow of Peak Oil, I felt very vulnerable. An economic depression could crush me. And with me would go my daughter, the most important person in my life. This was the girl who had been born three weeks after 9/11. The little life that had warmed my heart the moment I first held her, and gave me hope during such a tragic, dark time. Now, I wasn't sure that I could give her any hope. There seemed to be little hope left. Hope seemed to fade along with the diminishing oil reserves. With all my education, why hadn't I encountered any serious discussion about the potential consequences of resource depletion? If I had known what I know now, I would have done many things differently. I suppose therein lay the answer to my question.

    Due to the increasing internal consumption of producing countries, oil exports would likely diminish at a faster rate than oil-field production declines. From the perspective of an importing country, a slow production decline could seem like a crash.

    The rain turned to mist, and the wind slowed. Spinning the metal wheel had lost its luster. "The queen bee needs some flowers," said my daughter. She leaped down a drenched slide to go pick little daisies from the green, grassy field that surrounded us. The queen bee was an imaginary monarch who liked to get lots of beautiful floral gifts. In return, the bee gave away treasure. Honey, I imagined. A nice thought. But it didn't bring a smile to me. Honeybee populations in many areas of the world appeared to be collapsing. Maybe, in some fashion, the bees' population reduction was related to my species' massive fossil fuel consumption. No one seemed to really know the real cause. But it was frightening. My daughter plucked little blossoms from the ground, smiling. I wished I could still find the ability to grin again, like my daughter who always seemed to provide that pleasant little gift with abandon. Oh, sometimes I still smiled, and laughed, but a hint of sadness, melancholy always surrounded the humor. Peak Oil was so damn serious. My society should have taken it as such three decades ago.

    Ghawar, Saudi Arabia's--and the world's--largest oil field, is dying. When Ghawar's production is post-peak, the world is post-peak.

    Thunder rumbled to the southeast. The storm had continued to intensify even as it passed us, and a black blotch of cumulonimbus turned the southern sky into a massive cave with a bulging, gravid ceiling. As I stared at the awesome scene, electricity seethed from the cloud. The flash left bright afterimages across my vision. Nearby house lights flickered. Would Peak-Oil-related blackouts begin in a few years? Indeed, when would electricity become unreliable? When would the internet's utility rapidly diminish? Would I be able to communicate with my family, who were scattered all over the country? During such a tumultuous future, would I ever be a dependable dad for my child? Were things as hopeless as they seemed? Thunder rumbled, and shook the plastic floor under my feet. My daughter ran toward me. Her eyes were open wide, and the smile had been replaced with a worried look. Yep, time to get inside. I made my way down the damp stairs. My little girl clamped onto my legs, and said, "I'm scared!" I held her tight. "It's okay. We'll head home." I hoped beyond hope that I could continue reassure her as the Peak Oil Maelstrom unfolded. I would try my best to be there for her. However, the future seemed so very dark.

    "I seriously believe that the peaking of the global production of crude oil--commonly known as 'Peak Oil'--has occurred in 2006 and will be 'The Event' bound to dominate the history of the 21st century: one of those 'Historical Inflection Points' which abruptly change "fundamentals" in the course of World History." -- Dr. A. M. Samsam Bakhtiari.

    Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Jeffrey Brown for his writings on ELP and the oil export situation.

    Thanks for reading.



    Thank you fore writing this.

    I do not want to be dismissive, but "Been There, Done That".

    I have seen the end of the world as I know it.

    I have driven down the dark deserted 2 to 6 lane streets in a major city with an awful lingering smell. Dead bodies were part of the complex odor.

    I have seen (and helped a few) families (formerly middle class and working class) sleeping in a tent in their gutted homes for over a year, with the only utilties potable water (iffy) and sewage.

    Our hospitals fill to over flowing every week or so. To make room for the criminally insane, the suicidal are discharged onto the streets.

    I have helped keep a psychiatrist going as she slept on an air mattress in the hallway of a friend, and then graduated to the futon in the living room.

    I have seen the suicide rate triple with half the population; including as elderly lady just after she completed her home. But her neighborhood, her church, her social network was still gone.

    There *I*S* a Life worth living on the other side !

    Best Hopes,


    Alan, you amaze me. You wouldn't believe how many of your stories I've related to people I know. "Alan from the Big Easy" is getting a rep in the Portland Metro area. You do provide hope.

    What I'm trying to relate is just what the psychological shock (and Bakhtiari describes this with incredible perception in his "The Century of Roots") looks like for me, probably someone of average means in this country. Increasingly, I'm beginning to agree with those who say that the psychological shock will, perhaps, be the true "Peak Oil." Over the past few years, I've been hammered by the shock. I've worked through much of it, but still have a ways to go. As more people go through this process, I can't help but think that there will be a huge paradigm shift. Hopefully for the better.

    And, as Bakhtiari describes, one of the most fascinating results of this shock is a strong desire to look back and seek my roots. Those concrete times when things seemed so secure and sure. For me, that was during my childhood. I suspect this will be so for many. So I look back, and I'm especially focused on my life during the 1979-1986 time period--and to think, there was an oil shock in that timeframe! Life does, indeed, seem to run in circles, or more accurately spirals.

    I keep thinking about the Katrina disaster (after all, I am deeply interested in weather and most especially wind), and can't help thinking that the aftermath is a clear signal this country is in crisis. As natural catastrophes continue to stack up--and they will--evidence for this will probably mount with increasingly ineffectual responses. It doesn't make me feel all that confident in getting much outside help when that next M8.5-9.0 super-earthquake strikes the Pacific Northwest.



    Oh, yes, Katrina was a wake-up call in so many ways. Well, come to think of it, nobody actually woke up to how dysfunctional "our" government had become, how utterly dependent the nation is on continuous flows of energy, and how much we've already changed the planet. You don't hear much about it anymore in the MSM. After all, the public has sports and celebs to watch, shopping to do, and higher gas prices to bitch about. BTW, well-written piece, graywulffe.

    No you haven't, Alan. You caught a tiny glimpse of it and despite all the complaints about lack of support, New Orleans is still getting large amounts of support from a country that is otherwise so far unscathed. Wait until all the cities are empty except of the smell of rotting corpses, when all the roads are vacant except for the rare traveler, when there is no remaining support structure at all to rescue any of it.

    That day is coming, unless we all do something about it right now.

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

    There are no exact parallels. The consequences of post-Peak Oil will develop over months (at a minimum) with some warning and most likely years. The readers of TOD will certainly have an inkling.

    OTOH, Friday 10 PM was the first serious warning of Katrina (before that, <10% risk). I called friends who may have missed the change, waking at least one up.

    Saturday was spent boarding up. I arose early, at 3:30 AM Sunday and got three people without cars and drove through 8 hours of stop & go traffic. Airport closed @ 4 PM. Last road at about 5 PM Sunday.

    Like the four times I had evacuated before, I expected a couple of days away, wait and confirm electricity was back on @ home, then returning.

    Instead, I was away for a month (returning the 3rd day after I could get through the check point because I had the right zip code on my DL) and retuned to 1,100+ dead and 80% of the city destroyed. Total civic chaos and a shortage/absence of ALL essentials. It has been a slow and steady improvement since then.

    Post-Peak Oil will not have such a dramatic step function. It is likely to be a slow, irregular decline with time to prepare and react. It is unknown and unknownable the depths to which "we" will decline. With proper efforts, we will NEVER be like the first months after my return to New Orleans. But "proper efforts" may not be implemented and chaos may reign.

    New Orleans had a devastating shock, but the nadir was reached within the first week and it has been SLOWLY up since then. Post-Peak Oil will lack the initial shock, but be a slow decline, with new and different shocks appearing at irregular intervals. I see post-Peak Oil as being easier to deal with psychologically.

    Best Hopes,


    Hello Grey,

    Thanks and re: "...unless we all do something about it right now."

    Awaiting your best case, positive path mitigation scenario.


    Our daughter will finish her graduate work in forensic science (CSI type stuff) this month. This month, she is the same age that I was when she was born. I well remember holding her in my arms more than two decades ago, wondering what the future would be for her. Her husband is also graduating this month with a degree in engineering (I constantly recommend anything energy related for a job).

    Our daughter graduated with a BS debt free, but she has paid for some of her graduate studies with student loans. As a result of constant lectures from yours truly, they are going to live on one salary until their student loans are paid off. They will actually be in Oregon later this month, where she will do an internship.

    After they get their loans paid off, I am strongly advising them to stay small, in regard to housing, commute, etc.

    A lot of the ELP stuff is based on what we went through in 1986 to 1989, after oil prices crashed. My wife went from driving a Mercedes and living in a lavishly renovated Victorian house to driving a used pickup truck and living in a small rented apartment (it's fairly amazing that she stayed with me).

    As I have previously described, I knew a layoff was coming in 1989, and I volunteered for a 50% pay cut, with a provision that I receive an equity interest in oil deals I generated (which worked out well when I found a field that had peak production of over 1,000 BOPD). The key point is that by reducing our living expenses, I could stay employed during a labor surplus. Kind of ruthless, but my first obligation was to feed the family.

    I am often reminded of one of Robert Heinlein's characters who said that there was only one thing that he would not do in order to keep his child fed--he would not take food away from another child.

    Thanks, WT. Seems like we never forget that first time we hold our child, do we?

    Yes, I think with some serious downsizing, I will probably struggle forward. We'll see. There is room to do so.

    It's just such a major internal reshuffling. I've restructured my entire worldview, and now have to build essentially a new life, a new plan for my future. This is part of the psychological shock. It takes years to do this. When a majority of the US population is caught in this (if it ever happens)... The world will be a new place. Hopefully a better one.



    In the space of about one week in 1986, about 75% of the net cash flow to the US oil industry vanished. I actually took a 50% pay cut that summer, in order to get a new job in Dallas, and then I volunteered for another 50% pay cut at the new company in 1989.

    So, from January, 1986 to January, 1989, my income dropped by 75%.

    So, in regard to downsizing--been there, done that. We have lived below our means ever since--I'm currently driving an 11 year old Toyota.

    My current vehicle is the only one I have ever purchased new.  I bought it because I wanted to be less dependent upon foreign petroleum.  I took the minimum loan on it to qualify for a $1000 discount, and paid it off 3 months later.

    My savings are on a steep upward trajectory.  I just wish I knew more about investments, because I'd like to insulate those savings a bit from the dollar's fortunes.

    Hi Engineer-poet

    I suggest, that you by some goldcoins for a part of your savings( US Gold Eagles, Maple Leafs or Krugerrands). And stay in cash with the rest of the savings. Don´speculate in any kind of paper assets. There is an enourmous worldwide speculative bubble, that will likely burst.

    Mose in Midland

    (I found a field that had peak production of over 1,000 BOPD)

    King Sand in Concho County no doubt, I remember that.

    Guilty as charged (good thing I always try to tell the truth). I think that we have a similar discovery. Core data shows up to 3,500 mD, average of 800 mD, in a sandstone. Highest I have ever seen in this play. Unfortunately, low gravity, but we are not throwing it back.

    And Mose is?

    Absolutely awesome piece. I forgot where I was for a few minutes as I read it. Thank you for writing this.

    Went to my daughters (10) recital last weekend and heard her and her friends sing

    On the day I was born
    Set me father said he
    I've got an elegent legacy waiting for me
    It's a rhyme for your lips
    It's a song for your heart
    To sing it whenever the world falls apart

    Look, look , look to the rainbow
    Follow it over the hills and stream
    Look, look, look to the rainbow
    Follow the fellow who follows our dream

    It was a sumtuous gift
    To beguife to a child
    Or the lore of that song kept her feet running wild
    For you never grow old
    And you never stand still
    With whipper will singing beyond the next hill

    Look, look , look to the rainbow
    Follow it over the hills and stream
    Look, look, look to the rainbow
    Follow the fellow who follows a dream

    Strike one me heart and I roam the world free
    To the east with a lark
    To the west with the sea
    And I searched all the Earth
    And I scanned all the sky
    But I found it at last
    In my own true love's eyes

    Look, look , look to the rainbow
    Follow it over the hills and stream
    Look, look, look to the rainbow
    Follow the fellow who follows the dream

    Follow the fellow
    Follow the fellow
    Follow the fellow
    Who follows the dream

    I started crying harder than I have cried in decades.
    Thank goodness it was dark in the room.

    That is preciously beautiful.

    And highly recommended for everyone's psychological preparation.

    Turn your eyes toward the light.

    PS any idea where the words come from?

    Barry Manilow? noooooooo

    a movie called "Finian's rainbow"

    Fred Astaire & Petula Clark

    Yes, yes. And you should find a copy of Dinah Washington singing this. You'll keep crying, I swear.

    I posted some important(I think?) questions in "The EIA Graphs: Gas Stocks, Crude Stocks, and Other Requisite Information before the Start of Driving Season" if anyone hasnt seen them yet.

    Mexico's Pemex posts 1st-qtr net loss

    Pemex's (first quarter) oil exports also dipped to an average of 1.711 million barrels per day from 2.003 million bpd in the year-ago period as declining yields at Mexico's Cantarell field pulled oil output down to 3.158 million bpd from 3.345 million.

    (Mexico’s oil exports dropped at an annual rate of about 16%)

    As requested, this post has been repeated.

    I encourage everyone to read Saudi Aramco's 2006 Annual Review, released on May 1, at http://www.saudiaramco.com/irj/portal/anonymous

    Their repeated statements about "above ground" oil factors in their 2006 Annual Review are in stark contrast to Aramco's strong optimism in their 2005 Annual Review

    Saudi Aramco gives future oil supply warning in their 2006 Annual Review

    “Taking the Initiative”

    This is the first paragraph:

    When we look at the global energy situation today, we find a convergence of a wide range of complex challenges. These include misperceptions about future adequacy of supply, underinvestment in oil infrastructure, a mismatch between refinery configurations and the types of crude in the market, increased demand for natural gas, the need for a well-trained and innovative workforce, and stewardship of the natural environment.

    Aramco starts by saying that there are misperceptions about future adequacy of supply. This could be a warning flag that supplies may not be adequate. Aramco then mentions those annoying "above ground" oil supply factors: not enough oil infrastructure, not enough refinery capacity, not enough skilled people and not enough consideration to the natural environment.

    Next, Aramco indicates difficult times ahead by saying:

    Perhaps never before has the petroleum industry faced such immense challenges...

    ...While the issue of oil supply is important today, it will become even more critical in the coming years.

    Aramco also believes in conservation:

    Because fossil fuels will continue to meet the lion's share of the world's energy needs for many decades to come, improving their efficiency and lightening their environmental footprint are among the most important steps that can be taken to preserve the natural world for future generations.

    In the last paragraph, Aramco indicates a possible significant gap, in the future, between demand and supply:

    At Saudi Aramco, we believe development of alternative sources of energy is important, and given the projected growth in total demand, contributions from all sources will be needed. However, many projections for energy supplies from alternative sources may not be realistic, and if decisions about adding conventional energy supplies are made on these projections, the world could face a significant gap between demand and supply.

    And just in case the reader does not understand the warning from Aramco, the next section of their 2006 Review:


    starts mentioning "above ground" oil factors again:

    At Saudi Aramco, we believe the real issues swirling around oil and gas have less to do with supply — the world has abundant supplies of petroleum — and more to do with challenges on the surface: distribution, refining bottlenecks, regulatory and business concerns, and others.

    And yet another statement about "above ground" oil factors from the section appropriately called "The Production Capacity Challenge":


    In recent years, world demand for petroleum has continued to grow, but investments in production and processing capacity and distribution networks have not kept pace, straining world energy markets.

    Yet more on "above ground" oil factors from "The Downstream Challenge"

    The petroleum industry has seen tighter capacities all along the oil supply chain, resulting in a smaller margin for error and a curtailed ability to make up for supply disruptions and shortfalls, which in turn have led to greater price volatility.

    Aramco’s 2006 Annual Review states that Aramco has ramped up production in the past to provide a reliable supply of petroleum. However, Aramco states clearly that the issue of oil supply will become even more critical in the future. Contributing factors include the above ground “oil factors” of infrastructure underinvestment, refinery capacity shortage, regulatory and business concerns, skilled people shortage, and environmental issues. Furthermore, Aramco indicates that conventional energy investment plans could be insufficient as these plans are being made on overoptimistic energy supply forecasts from alternatives.

    Aramco has given a warning about future oil supply – the world needs to draft coordinated response plans now.

    Hello TODers,

    FARMINGTON, Conn. - The 52-room mansion that rapper 50 Cent has called home for more than three years, an estate once owned by boxer Mike Tyson, is up for sale.

    The rap artist (real name: Curtis James Jackson III) bought the 48,000-plus-square-foot house in September 2003 for $4.1 million.

    Since buying the mansion, 50 Cent has reportedly spent up to $6 million renovating the house, including adding a helicopter pad.

    I wonder if 50 cent is now recently Peakoil Aware and trying to practice ELP. Seems unlikely, but who knows?

    Any word yet on Tiger Woods leading the charge to convert golf courses into vegetable gardens?

    Since the publication of the environmental book by John Kerry and Teresa Heinz: have they sold off most of their many houses and private jets, and taken to growing and canning their own tomatoes for personal ketchup?

    The poor, in the US and worldwide, will have no choice when it comes to economics forcing Detritus Powerdown. I am just curious how many of the rich and powerful are willing to share the pain.

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

    Hi Bob;
    Was hoping I'd find you totin about in here tonight. Down at the other end of the payscale to ol' $.50 there, I've been designing some Deluxe Wheelbarrows for our upcoming land-purchase, and naturally I thought of you.

    I'll have a lot of boulders to haul, so I'm working out a two-wheeled Rock-Lifter/Carrier to facilitate the chore. Very DaVinci-esque, with cranks for shifting the load and for helping turn the wheels to get over ruts and bumps. The handles will extend way out to give lifting leverage. Now my Dad wants to visit, with his ailing knees and all, so I'm considering an attachable seat or bosun's chair to have a bit of a Rickshaw for such events. I'll be sure to send you some quality pix of the new American 'Secret Weapon' for peak oil.

    (Also designing a battery cart for using electric chainsaws and other tools out in the pasture.. we'll see..)

    Does Cornucopian actually mean 'Coping, but in a Corny way?' Seems to fit with the ethanol story..

    Bob Fiske

    Hello Jokuhl,

    Cool! Looking forward to the future photos. Suggestion: how about a sling under the axle; a self-centering, self-balancing boulder-holder? The hand-cranked winch would only have to lift the rocks enough to provide mobile ground clearance [no lifting by you]. The hard part might be finding sufficiently tall enough wheels/axle setup. Trying to balance a high center of gravity wheelbarrow of rocks might hurt your back if pitch, yaw, and roll effects catch your muscles unaware.

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

    Not sure of your working environment, but before cheap ball bearings they used sledges for hauling big stones around. Sort of like a toboggin but shorter and thicker wood. It has a nice low center of gravity, less lifting of stones, and if something falls off it doesn't do much damage. Oh, also the weight of the load is spread over a larger contact area with the ground, so less likely to create ruts. Just put Bessy in the harness, and you're good to go.

    The environment is the White Mts, western Maine.. so the Sled-Sledge idea has another benefit, if you want to move the stones in wintertime your friction can go WAY down.. (but who builds stone walls in winter?)

    Partly in response to Bob Shaw's comments, I am looking at Tall&Wide wheels with a cable-reinforced centerpole as a long-lifting lever, probably hoisting the weight with chain, which can be slid to the center-axle for the move. Many accessories come to mind, like a couple ground braces that can be pivoted down to steady and lock the wheels, or just prevent backslide on a slope.. also a ratchet come-along to raise the chain link-by-link to reach a decent 'cruising altitude', and finally, a Handcrank to help turn the wheels when fighting the inevitable inclines and lumps on your journey. Slow and steady.. less burnout. Much of the idea is really to be able to swing a great lever into place over a desired stone, and be able to position that stone carefully into its spot on a wall, or wherever. So even if the distance was better covered with sledges or even tractors, this rig would probably exist to enable loading/unloading, etc..

    Bessy is a Hermit Crab, in our case, so I'd have to get a custom Harness made.


    Hello TODers,

    3,500 lbs. of bat guano found in attic

    It cost $25,000 to clean up the mess, and the couple's insurance company wouldn't cover it. They're fighting it out in court.


    From this link above: $6.00/lb for guano.

    Therefore, 3,500 lbs X $6/lb = $21,000 retail guano value. Whomever this homeowner hired to clean up his attic probably made out like a 'permaculture bandit' if he used this guano on his garden at home [or he sold it to his gardening friends and family]. I sure hope it wasn't hauled to the local landfill.

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

    Now, that's what I call a shitty deal. :o)

    I suppose as we continue along Hubbert's downslope, at some point people will begin to see bats as high cuisine. How do you like your wing membrane? Crispy, or still stretchable?



    Hello Graywulffe,

    Sure will be hard to catch these little buggers--they can navigate much better than us in the Olduvai darkness. =)

    The streetlamps in Phx are 'drive-thru restaurants' for bats: the moths and other bugs congregate around the lights--easy pickings for them-- like us, the bats will have to work much harder in the future too.

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

    You're assuming that the cleanup outfit could have obtained retail price - otherwise, quite funny.

    Howdy Bob,

    I remember reading how the Iranians build tall adobe pigeon towers in which the birds roost at night. Then their droppings are used as valuable fertilizer.

    I suggested this to a nearby town a couple of decades ago when they developed a big problem with roosting pigeons in their downtown area.

    They just laughed ... But it always made sense to me as a way to solve the pigeon problem and at the same time get some free fertilizer for the local parks.

    Squab is good eating ! I order it whenever it shows up as a special for the day.

    Best Wishes for good eating,


    petro china announced the discovery of an offshore field in "bohai bay". rigzone reported 1 billion metric tons (7.3 gb +/-)of oil in place and 405 million metric tons "certified reserves" and 289 million mt "controllable reserves". i havent heard these terms "certified and controllable reserves" before.
    is something lost in translation here ? rigzone further states that "the total also includes 202 million metric tons oil reserves.

    other sources state (presumably oil in place) of 3 gb and reserves of 650-850 million barrels.

    a metric ton (or megagram) is 1000 kg or about 2204 lbs. marketwire uses a conversion of 7.3 bbls/mt, implying an api gravity of 32.5 deg.

    api = (141.5/spg)- 131.5

    spg is specific gravity, water = 1