DrumBeat: May 8, 2007

U.N.: Not so fast with ethanol, other biofuels

Biofuels like ethanol can help reduce global warming and create jobs for the rural poor, but the benefits may be offset by serious environmental problems and increased food prices for the hungry, the United Nations concluded Tuesday in its first major report on bioenergy.

...“Unless new policies are enacted to protect threatened lands, secure socially acceptable land use, and steer bioenergy development in a sustainable direction overall, the environmental and social damage could in some cases outweigh the benefits,” the report stated.

Want a green house? Prepare to be confused - Several groups battle over standards, certification as market expands

Want to go green? Take your thoughts off that gas-guzzling SUV for a moment and consider this: The average U.S. home causes twice as much greenhouse emissions as a single car.

Switch to organic crops could help poor

Organic food has long been considered a niche market, a luxury for wealthy consumers. But researchers told a U.N. conference Saturday that a large-scale shift to organic agriculture could help fight world hunger while improving the environment.

Expert says India will export around 1.5 million b/d of oil by 2010

Fereidun Fesharaki, a well-known expert on energy questions and CEO of FACTS Global Energy, recently told a conference in Dubai, that India would become an oil exporter of around 1.5 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2010, which could rise to 1.65 million b/d by 2012.

Massive project gets started in oil sands

Total SA took the first step yesterday toward building a multibillion-dollar bitumen upgrader near Edmonton, a construction project that will require 4,000 workers - about what it took to build the iconic Hoover Dam.

Silence on geothermal deafening

Today, natural gas is burned to produce the hot steam that's needed to extract bitumen from the tar sands. Alberta's world-famous sands are already the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases in the country, and on the current growth path, emissions are expected to jump more than four-fold over the next 10 years.

Replacing much of this natural gas with clean, emission-free heat under the Earth's crust, a completely feasible option according to a recent research report out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, would go an enormous way toward achieving a halt, and eventually a decline, in Canada's carbon emissions.

A Pending Bust for Ethanol?

With some analysts warning of an oversupply of the corn-based fuel later this year, concern is growing among farmers and investors.

The Cost Of Coal On The Environment

A worldwide rush to use “cheap” and dirty coal to supply power is threatening to impose huge costs to the environment and the global economy.

Binge-flying culture is just beginning. The only way to stop it is a severe tax

Almost all of us are hypocrites on climate change. We will not quit our aviation habit until it really hurts our pockets.

Pushing the planet to its limit

North Americans may use a disproportionate amount of the world's resources, but if we push the planet beyond its sustainable limits, we will all go down together, just the way the first-class cabins on the Titanic went to a watery grave just as quickly as the steerage cabins.

Citigroup commits $50B to green initiatives

Citigroup said Tuesday that it plans to commit $50 billion to environmental projects over the next decade, the largest commitment from Wall Street to address climate change.

Ecosystems are capital assets argues report

"We must urgently expand the climate debate beyond reducing greenhouse gases to focus on how climate change is altering ecosystem services," said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute. "Lima in Peru, for example, is entirely dependent on water from glacial melt. The glaciers will be gone in 20 years. Their options range from energy intensive desalination to a pipeline to the Amazon River - also threatened by climate change. Such decisions have huge implications for people and ecosystems."

GAO's John Stephenson discusses effects of severe weather on private, federal insurers (video and transcript)

With weather-related events costing the nation billions of dollars in damages over the past decade, private insurers have reacted to this increased liability by adjusting policies for many storm-prone areas in the United States. But according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, federal insurers have not adjusted their practices based on this increased risk.

For Energy Wasters, the Heat Is On

A British company called Hotmapping has been doing thermal surveys of local districts using spy planes. The results are being posted on the web by district councils, with the upshot being that you can now see which houses are leaking heat. Blue houses are cool; red houses are taking their energy dollars (or pounds, in this case), and spewing them into the atmosphere.

Arctic Ice Melts Create New Land Rush

Recent news reports state that global warming and the shrinking Arctic icecaps are opening new sea lanes and making barren islands suddenly very valuable. In fact, the international community might experience a new race of exploration, conquest and acquisition for this "new world" -- these newly available lands and sea routes. Conflicts could arise over shipping lanes, islands, fish stocks, minerals and oil that are now becoming accessible and commercially exploitable.

Grand strategy for the Middle East

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has returned from a five-country tour of the Middle East. Ostensibly, Mr. Abe was focusing on energy security but his visits encompassed much more than that. Mr. Abe was raising Japan's diplomatic profile in a region that is vital to its national security — and that of the entire world. Implicit in his conversations was the message that Japan seeks a higher diplomatic profile and is ready to play a larger role in that region's turbulent politics.

Fire at Kuwait's Burgan Oil Field Under Control

Kuwait Oil Co., the state oil producer, has brought under control a fire that broke out at the country's giant Burgan oil field, state news agency Kuna reported Monday.

Walking a Slick Tightrope

Between them, Venezuela and Nigeria export about 4.5 million barrels of oil daily. This says nothing about the 2.4 million barrels each day coming out of obstreperous Iran, or the 1.5 million barrels being shipped from war-torn Iraq. It doesn't even address the 7.2 million barrels a day being exported by OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, whose royal family isn't immune to geopolitical or religious treachery.

So, Fools, watch these unstable situations carefully. And as I've advised you repeatedly, please don't operate without energy representation in your portfolios.

Spain balks at corrupt urbanization

Thousands protested urban development this weekend as concern over corruption and environmental degredation rises.

Scientists look high in the sky for power

Scientists are eyeing the jet stream, an energy source that rages night and day, 365 days a year, just a few miles above our heads. If they can tap into its fierce winds, the world's entire electrical needs could be met, they say.

Saudis reject supply fears but won't increase output

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers have assured Asian countries their oil supply is secure at a recent meeting in Riyadh. But Middle East oil ministers attending warned they would not increase output to ease high prices.

Nigerian Protesters Force Chevron Facility Closure

Protesters armed with machetes occupied a Chevron Corp. (CVX) oil installation in southern Nigeria Monday, forcing the facility to be temporarily shut down and causing a small cut in production, officials said.

America's 'Energy Policy': It's Still All About Oil

And then there's America's energy policy, and it's generous to use the word "policy" in describing it. The transition of our nation from a manufacturing to a service economy may be nearly complete, but it's certainly not reflecting in our continued demand for oil, which is greater than ever.

Saudi govt plans spending checks to curb inflation

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, said it plans to control government spending in a bid to limit inflation that rose to at least an 11-year high in 2006, spurred by rising food prices and rents.

Nigeria: Fuel Scarcity Hits North

Scarcity of petrol has hit northern parts of the country, as speculation emerged of an impending fuel price hike by the authorities.

Dhaka to import diesel from Assam refinery

Bangladesh has decided to import diesel from the Numaligarh Refinery in Assam following acute shortage of fuel, officials said Tuesday.

Gazprom Urged to Revise General Plan

RAO UES first drew attention to the energy shortage past fall and forecasted it to increase. Gazprom fired off by denying the lack of gas in Russia’s power engineering and accused RAO UES of inability to match the consumption of gas and black oil.

Power to the people!

There is one more power generation alternative that deserves our attention. A coal-fired system is low tech and easy to maintain-easy, fast and cheap to build, and produces inexpensive electricity. There are plentiful and cheap supplies of coal fairly close to us in Papua New Guinea and huge, cheap supplies in China. We could buy a cargo ship and deliver our own supply as well as help our island neighbors build coal-fired plants. By delivering coal to them too, we would reduce our own cost even further by selling some to them. Since we live on a small island with constantly blowing trade winds we need not worry about air pollution. Perhaps the single greatest advantage to coal power after it's cheap cost is that it can be built quickly and could be up and running before the other alternatives were even out of their planning stage. We should look very seriously at this alternative.

Fire at Whiting's BP plant fuels gas hikes

When drivers across the nation agonized over a record $3.07 average per gallon at the pump this weekend, it was partly because of a March fire at BP's Whiting plant.

Sen. Kerry Seeks to Block Bristol Bay Leasing Plan

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced legislation Friday to block Interior Department plans to sell oil and gas leases in Alaska's Bristol Bay, joining several House lawmakers trying to thwart the plan.

Turn Eco Responsibility Into Economic Opportunity

Builders hear the term "green building" constantly. Integrators, meanwhile, don't hear a lot about "green integrating." Maybe they should.

Printing Solar Cells as Fast as Your Sunday Paper

In 1997, Clayton Christenson coined the phrase “disruptive technology” to describe a phenomenon that has occurred throughout human existence.

The term describes how, every once in a while, an innovation comes along that uproots and replaces an existing technology.

For instance, muskets replaced longbows, changing the face of warfare forever. And certainly cars replaced horses as the primary means of transportation.

Well, today we’re seeing a similar situation with alternative energy.

Nigerian oil bombings cut output

Nigerian rebels blew up three oil pipelines in the Niger Delta on Tuesday, forcing Italian oil giant Eni to halt production of 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) feeding its Brass export terminal, a source at Eni said.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which has now shut down more than 30 percent of Nigerian oil output, said in an e-mail it bombed the pipelines to embarrass President Olusegun Obasanjo in his last days in office.

The MEND vowed to carry out more attacks in the world's eight-largest crude exporter, where about 700,000 bpd, or a quarter of total capacity, were already being lost before the latest attacks.

"If those two pipelines have been blown up then there is zero production. They are the only two pipelines that carry all our production," said an Eni source, asking not to be named.

Saudis pare crude prices to the west

Saudi Arabia has cut the price of all its June-loading crude oil to Europe and the United States, while raising all prices to Asia, traders said yesterday.

Fuel Prices Increase in Nicaragua

The director of the Nicaraguan Energy Institute (INE), David Castillo, declared that the institution he heads cannot stop the escalation of fuel prices, which are subject to market laws.

Costa Rica: Central Valley Residents, Businesses to Pay An Average 4% More for Electricity

ARESEP recently rejected a request from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) of an average 23% rate increase in electricity rates. This rejection came in the midst of a national energy crisis that forced the country to deal with scheduled power outages

Uganda: Museveni orders probe on fake diesel

“We have received reports that petrol stations are mixing diesel with paraffin. “The President is concerned. He directed us to investigate the matter and report back to him,” Deusdedit Mubangizi, the UNBS quality assurance chief, said.

He attributed the practice to the scarcity of diesel which recently pushed pump prices to more than 2,000 a litre in the city and up to sh3,000 a litre in upcountry areas.

NPP is insensitive to Ghanaians plight

The United Kingdom & Ireland Secretariat of the Convention People’s Party has lambasted the ruling government over the recent increases in the prices of petroleum products.

New plan to avert future energy crisis in Ontario

A 'real world' plan designed to help Ontarians make the right decisions concerning the future of electricity will be unveiled today at a speech to the Economic Club of Toronto. Developed by the Society of Energy Professionals, representing more than 7,000 engineers, scientists, supervisors and IT professionals working in almost every facet of the energy industry, the plan "Getting it Right - A Real World Vision of Ontario's Electricity System in 2025" was a year in the making and developed by a team of scientists, engineers and IT experts who know the electricity system inside and out.

Movin’ Out

An Australian dedicated to American values, Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical, has been shifting plants overseas as U.S. natural gas prices make domestic manufacturing uncompetitive.

Eyes Eternally On The Prize

The struggle over Iraqi oil has been going on for a long, long time. One could date it back to 1980 when President Jimmy Carter—before his Habitat for Humanity days—declared that Persian Gulf oil was "vital" to American national interests. So vital was it, he announced, that the U.S. would use "any means necessary, including military force" to sustain access to it. Soon afterwards, he announced the creation of a Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, a new military command structure that would eventually develop into United States Central Command (Centcom) and give future presidents the ability to intervene relatively quickly and massively in the region.

Hard to Deny: Iraq Is All About the Oil

How the U.S. is working to secure Iraq's oil -- one of the most important sources of petrochemical energy on the planet -- and how the Iraqis are resisting.

Experts plan greenest town around

Bill Hammond, Rick Joyce, Carol Newcomb-Jones, Larry Peterson and Greg Rawl are advising Kitson about wildlife corridors, green-space restoration, energy efficiency, alternative means of transportation and water quality.

"I don't know of any other developer that's doing this — creating an internal (environmental) team," Hammond said.

Right Now - Kunstler

Now, I happen to think that oil production probably peaked about a year ago, but we are still so close to it that the net available energy remains immense. Even if 2007 averages out to 83.5 million barrels a day instead of 84 million, it will still seem like a lot. Markets may be dumber than we think. All they see is a vast amount of cheap energy for manufacturing plastic salad shooters, for powering tourist jet charters to Cancun, for running WalMart, Walt Disney World, and Taco Bell. All that energy is here right now.

Among the many tragic elements in the human condition is this tendency toward short-term thinking, the inability to imagine how our arrangements will work in a time that is not right now.

Members tackle EU's energy goal

Reasons cited for the push for renewable energy and wind power included Saudi Arabia having passed its peak oil production in 2005, climate change and growing population, said Michael Mueller, parliamentary state secretary of the Ministry for Environment, Conservation and Nuclear Safety in Germany. Europe has also nearly reached the peak of its hydroelectric capacity.

Gas prices may have hit peak for now

This could be the peak or near it because:

● Refinery problems that caused a backlog of oil waiting to be turned into gasoline, a disruption widely blamed for price increases, are being fixed. More gasoline will flow soon, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says.

● History, though short, says $3 doesn't last. In 2005, the first time that barrier was crossed, it dropped below $3 the next week. In 2006, the average was $3 or more for four consecutive weeks, peaking at $3.038 Aug. 7, Energy Information Administration data show.

Putrid Economics at a Terrible Price

"Reporting from the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Byron tells us that countries with nationalized oil programs like Canada, Norway and Brazil have made technological and financial leaps that bring them toe-to-toe with the world’s Big Oil giants."

Biodiesel fuels enthusiasts vowing a 'revolution'

More than 1,300 people -- some shouting "revolution" -- took over Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center on Sunday. Look what's happening out in the streets, they said: Biodiesel is coming of age. It's all the rage.

Early Beijing summer indicates climate change

Beijing is experiencing its earliest summer in more than 30 years, state media reported on Tuesday, in the latest climatic sign that China is bearing the hallmarks of global warming.

Those Mysterious Oil Reservoirs: Should we trust the opinions of amateur oil industry watchers?

Q: A recent series of posts at www.theoildrum.com attempt to divine the current status and future prospects of Saudi Arabia's Ghawar field, the world's largest. Your thoughts?

A: I am amazed at the energy and diligence which the authors exhibit in carrying out their analyses. It is tragic that the Saudis won't release more detailed performance data and their own analyses which would show the situation more clearly. It seems likely to me that the conclusion that Ghawar is in decline is correct. But it's a big step to conclude that its decline will be steep. Oil companies employ reservoir engineers and reservoir geologists to deal with just the situation we have here: "a mature field is showing signs of declining production with its current development, what can we profitably do that might change this situation?"

Negligence blamed in gas pipeline blast

Negligence was to blame for the explosion of a natural gas pipeline that supplies Russian gas to Europe, Ukraine's top prosecutor said Tuesday.

...Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun said that shifting soil led to a break in the pipeline. He said officials should have been able to spot the natural changes occurring and taken action to build up the soil around the pipeline.

Iraq's oil production falls short of goals

Here's a bit of good news about Iraq and oil: The Al Basrah Oil Terminal finally can work at full speed. This giant H-shaped tanker loading platform, located in the Persian Gulf off Iraq's southeastern coast, is one of the country's most important pieces of economic infrastructure. Thanks to US-funded reconstruction, all four of its berths now are in operation for the first time in many years.

Now the bad news: There's not much else good about Iraqi oil to report. Despite years of rebuilding, petroleum production continues to fall short of targets, due to insurgency vandalism, poor field management, and corruption. Proposed Iraqi legislation on oil revenue distribution – a measure deemed crucial by the White House – remains the subject of bitter sectarian debate.

Investigative journalist reports peak oil by 2020

Experts predict that oil production is about to peak, plateau and then fall, creating a demand that will be greater than supply that will result in oil shocks and economic consequences that will affect all.

Peak Oil or Dependence on Russian Gas – Which is more important for Turkish Public?

Peak oil is a hot subject, but hardly any Turkish energy discussion involves it. It is more about market, sales, new investments, doomed scenarios regarding the energy dependency to regional countries. But in America, peak oil is much more debated than Turkey.

Fiddling with figures while the Earth burns

If you want to get some idea of what much of the Earth might look like in 50 years’ time then, says James Lovelock, get hold of a powerful telescope or log onto Nasa’s Mars website. That arid, empty, lifeless landscape is, he believes, how most of Earth’s equatorial lands will be looking by 2050. A few decades later and that same uninhabitable desert will have extended into Spain, Italy, Australia and much of the southern United States.

“We are on the edge of the greatest die-off humanity has ever seen,” said Lovelock. “We will be lucky if 20% of us survive what is coming. We should be scared stiff.”

Grassley demands answers on ethanol from oil execs

In four similar letters to the chief executives of ExxonMobil, British Petroleum, Chevron and Conoco Phillips, Grassley says an April 2 Wall Street Journal article revealed ethanol policies that gainsay the protocols the companies discussed under oath in a March 14, 2006 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

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

Naimi contended 70% of the world's future oil demand growth would come from Asia. Kuwaiti oil minister Sheikh Ali al-Jarrah al-Sabah also said there was no need for OPEC to consider boosting oil supplies, though the group would not hesitate to raise output when necessary. Butter said certain conditions would have to apply before this occurred, including "clear signs of demand starting to outstrip supply and prices spiking at over US $70 per barrel."

Who just said $70 a barrel ?????

And who predicted the Saudi's would raise the bar to $70 ?

Now its time for Stuart to win his bet too bad we don't have any takers. For all you people that don't believe KSA is in decline explain how I could use the evidence presented on this board to predict that KSA would raise the bar and it comes to pass. And yet we are wrong ?

KSA is in decline live with it.

Please don't reply to a post just to get higher up in the thread. It's confusing.

Hello TODsters,

I have been spending some (OK, way too much) time fiddling with Google Earth and Maps views of Saudi Oilfields and Ghawar in particular. Coming up with the geographic coordinates for the Ghawar field has been a bit of a challenge, although I suppose USGS or somebody else would probably sell me the data. Most recently, I have used existing maps such as those by Croft and used scaled versions as overlays, eventually constructing a polygon overlay which defines the boundaries and can be loaded into both Google Earth and Google Maps:


(FOr some reason, Google Maps on IE7 comes up half screen)

Fine tuning of the orientation and scaling was done by zooming in and identifying the perimeter wellheads and supporting roads. Interestingly, although the geological structures are over a mile down, there is a recent paper which discusses corresponding surface features:

Surface expressions of the Ghawar structure, Saudi Arabia
Marine and Petroleum Geology 22 (2005) 657–670

Using either GEarth of GMaps, you can play around with this by turning the overlay on and off.

Beyond this, it is interesting to look around and see the various structures. Overall, the resolution is quite good. In contrast, I tried looking for Greensburg, Kansas yesterday (to get a "before tornado" shot", but the resolution was horrible. Oil beats wheat, I guess.

Here is what I believe is one of many GOSPs (Gas Oil Separation Plants). This one is in Uthmaniyah:


Either that, or it's a magnification of an integrated circuit chip. Note the fence around the perimeter, the black smoke smearing everything, and the amazing pipeline layouts. One pipe heading to the SW looks like it carries gas for flaring. Can someone tell me what the reason is for the 90-degree kinks in the pipelines?

I will be updating this over time, as there is a lot that can be done with GEarth in particular. Suggestions are appreciated, and if anyone has an authorative shapefile or something for the boundaries, that would be great too.

I'm not in the oil biz, but I do know you can't run materials that expand and contract in straight lines. You have to put bends in them or they'll crack.

I wondered if someone else would get there before I had the time to complete my work. I'll try and parcel up where I've got to over the next few days so that others can use it. As a rough estimate, I've got the outline positioned to ~100 metre accuracy.

I have refined and reposted my Ghawar boundary overlay using a figure from the reference I cited in my original post above. Here is a screenshot of the overlay in GE:

I assume the authors of that paper had access to GIS data (they are from King Faud U.), although I look forward to your work as I am not close to 100m resolution with my tweaking.

Those are probably pipes on pipe racks, and it's cheaper to use elbows rather than curve the pipe.

I'm also not sure if that's smoke in the picture or oily water runoff.

amazing work joules, and i suppose those are flowlines entering from the east (assuming they do not bury the flowlines, ala texas). some of the vessels may be painted black. anyone?

They seem to be buried as they pass under the fence. There are also some that come in from the south.

Observation: the water has to go somewhere, presumably to wells on the perimeter for reinjection. Must be an interesting plumbing/replumbing job. Bring the big adjustable wrench.

joules, "some flowlines (that) come in from the south. doesnt it appear that they are fewer and larger diameter ? but maybe it is just a distortion.

What are all those circular things just south of the oil field?

I think they are irrigated crop circles, bizarre as that may sound in the middle of the desert

Note the fence around the perimeter, the black smoke smearing everything

That is not black smoke, that is oil leakage. Notice is flows below the facility and eventually seeps into the sand. I have seen this personally. The stuff quickly turns to paraffin as the heat of the sun causes all the lights to evoperate.

Can someone tell me what the reason is for the 90-degree kinks in the pipelines?

You will always see this in all pipelines except in places where there enough natural bends to take care of expansion and contraction. Here is a perfect example:

And here:

And see thumbnails of many more photos of the Alaskan pipeline here:

Ron Patterson

tar sands of the future.

I love it. The lead to the Randy Udall article asks should we trust the amateur oil watchers. Well, I can tell him that if we're wrong, we're honestly wrong. There seems to be some muddle as to honesty, truth, and reality. It is quite possible to be honest and wrong, or dishonest and right. And reality will have its say regardless.

While opinions may be all over the map on this site, I don't recall ever being confronted with any dishonesty or anything posted with less than honorable intentions. That a site like this is so well attended does not speak well for the industry and its directly or indirectly paid shills. We shouldn't have to be here doing this.

Many oil professionals have vested interests. Upbeat, positive, overly-optimistic numbers for reserves give them borrowing power and access to money.

So I'd say it's probably the professionals that can't be trusted here. Kind of like asking an Enron executive if his company is sound.

I did inhale.

I spent an hour yesterday reading your site and at the end I couldnt' remember how I got there (I must put that down I guess) he he.

Anyway, just wanted to say I enjoyed your chapters on addiction. It's amazing how similar everyone sounds about addiction. I have a family member that is taking it one day at a time. We would find much in common while finding small differences that we could discuss over some tea. I'm working on my last two days of my degree (finals) so I haven't had time to read your thoughts on the law, but I can not imagine it's eye opening. If you get a chance, I've got a blog I am planning on turning into something once school wraps up. I've got a few posts that starts talking about why I created it. Look forward to hearing from you in the future!

unrepentantcowperson, we passed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1974 in Texas, please use politicially correct language in your handle !
A very large percent of the contributors to this site and the readers are in fact professionals in the energy business, and trying to put us in the same category with the analists at CERA is ridiculous. Read some of the back stories by Robert Rapier (a refining engineer), WestTexas (a Geologist), or Dave Cohen (an energy writer) before you make any more sweeping generalisations impughning people's honesty. You're pretty new here at TOD, but that kind of aspersion on people's trustworthyness based on your own predjudices is unnecessary and as a petroleum landman I resent it. 'nuff said.

What the tarnashion is thet there thing, the petroleum landman?

Hey, and if you all are really a professional, why ain't you and them hangin out at CERA instead of with all us unrepentant cowboys, crazies, doomers, and werst of aul hippie degenerates? (You know of course aul this P.O. stuff is a mere plot by the acid warped in revenge for just about anything you care to think about and many yer dont).

I really resent you calling yourself that thing petroleum landman an aspersing land, impugning its good mothering nature by associating it with, ugh! petroleum

BTW, I do believe that the unrepentant one was referring to professionals at CERA and not you good guys masquerading as amateurs.

Of course there will be plenty of exceptions, but I get the impression he was referring to the fact that there are a lot of people who have trouble being honest with themselves and/or others when it comes to things that affect their livelihood/belief systems.

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

Leggett writes the following:

"But it's a big step to conclude that its decline will be steep."

If he is as superior as a professional analyst as he seems to be claiming, then he ought to go to the trouble of minutely dissecting the "amateurish" reasoning offered on TOD which leads to the conclusion of a "steep decline." Simply calling this reasoning a "big step" in the absence of such minute dissection strikes me as rather amateurish in and of itself.

I'm wondering, considering MRC wells and waterflood, what sort of decline he's envisioning : (

If he is as superior as a professional analyst as he seems to be claiming, then he ought to go to the trouble of minutely dissecting


There is nothing he "ought" to do for you, any more than you "ought" to wash my car and cut my lawn. You want to control his time, hire him.

Yes Pitt, that is why we distrust his analysis, that control thing is not about time it is about message.

that is why we distrust his analysis, that control thing is not about time it is about message.

You don't trust someone whose message you don't control? Remarkably paranoid and circular of you.

He's retired - he can say whatever the hell he wants. If he says he doesn't agree with you, the most likely reason is that he honestly doesn't.

Although paranoid fantasies about how "The Man" is holding down "the truth" are much more exciting than rational analysis, I will admit.

The point is that his arrogant posturing as superior to the "amateurs" on TOD in virtue of his professional status has no sound basis in anything he said, absent such an analysis. Based on what is a matter of public record at this juncture, the "amateurs" here on this site appear to have vastly out-achieved Gilbert's own "professionalism."

Of course he is under no obligation to make his "professional" expertise available free of charge, but he certainly opens himself up to attack on the grounds of vacuous arrogance if he casually dismisses the intricate analysis that "amateurs" have conducted on this site in the absence of actually DEMONSTRATING the superiority of his "professional" status.

In short, he would have done better to keep his mouth shut about the whole "amateur" vs. "professional" angle on the matter.

The point is that his arrogant posturing as superior to the "amateurs" on TOD in virtue of his professional status has no sound basis in anything he said, absent such an analysis.

I didn't notice any arrogance - perhaps you're being a bit touchy. Moreover, virtually everyone here is an amateur at oilfield analysis, and he is (or was) a professional in this field.

Would you complain this much if a brain surgeon off-handedly referred to a group talking about brain surgery on the internet as "amateurs"? He didn't seem to be using the word in a pejorative sense, so I don't see what you're getting so bent out of shape about.

Some here, Eaun for example, are professionals.

Eaun is an expert on the North Sea and the structures there. However, such experience and expertise is still of value in the Persian Gulf and KSA.

Best Hopes for Truth :-)


Agreed and well said Petrosaurus. There is massive dishonesty off this site - in governments, in the MSM, in the oil companies, in CERA and others.

Vote accordingly - eject governments. Do not buy from Big Oil. Write to the press rejecting the CERA BS. If everybody who attends this site did these few things it might make a small diffference.

CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Must Die
By Brad Kozak
May 7, 2007 1,468 Views

Current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards dictate that U.S. automobile manufacturers must produce vehicles whose overall average achieves 27.5 mpg (for cars) and/or 22.2 mpg (for trucks). The regulation’s stated goal: “encourage” manufacturers to build more fuel-efficient vehicles and, therefore, somehow, eventually, “lead” American consumers into buying same. Yeah right.

Generally speaking, people don’t buy what’s good for them. Whether its cigarettes or SUV’s, people buy the products they want and then rationalize their purchases afterwards (if they can be bothered). CAFE’s underlying principle– forcing manufacturers to build products people don’t want– is a very special kind of lunacy, normally reserved for “planned economies.” And it’s about as effective as it sounds.


Unfortunately, it is the only tool that the politicians are willing to use. This way, we can pretend that no one actually has to make any sacrifices to reach our goals. The CAFE standards are also a sham, of course, because they are seriously distorted by the FF loophole.

The auto makers, however, could meet these standards in a heartbeat if we took the necessary steps to alter demand with high gas taxes, rebates for fuel efficient cars, and penalties for vehicles that were not fuel efficient.

CAFE should just be a goal; the responsibility for meeting that goal should rest with congress and the American people.

We could also start by making gas guzzlers tax applicable to light trucks and SUVs as well as cars.

yeah, talk about an empty gesture. There will be no market for cars getting only 35 mpg in 2019. Maybe some sort 've speciality item like a Lamborghini for the super rich but nothing mass produced. Talk about being behind the curve.


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

A new style of housing in the country.

Of late I have been seeing a new type of house in this area. Its really an old type but updated lately. Here is what I see.

Acreage of maybe 2 to 5 acres. A large pond(sometimes). A metal building built exactly like a 'pole barn'. There is a garage door that faces the public view. In the back is the private porch and entrance. Its sited without a concern for its appearance and no trim to speak of. A bare bones barn , if you will. All exterior is metal but tastefully done metal. A metal roof of course.

Its very sturdy, cheap to build compared to usual home construction and had zero outside lawn or landscaping of the suburban look.

These building and sites are starting to spring up more and more. Some are owners who are not currently residing but have built for some type of contingency or purpose. Maybe to get a footprint on the ground for the future or just a place in the country to visit as they wish.

The size is usually about 50' by 60'. Say 3,000 sq ft. The interior may be only as far having finished living space as is currently required and the rest would hold all the other belongings and therefore nothing is left outside. All the owners belongings are under roof. It has few windows to the road side and only where living quarters are. Usually just 3 or 4.

The reason one guy gave me was he was tired of 'houses' and wanted to live this way and with no concern for keeping up appearances by building an expensive 'house' with gingerbread trim and all the rest.

Within 10 miles of my farm I would say there are at least 20 to 30 or more of these structures and sites.

The idea appealed to me and for some time I have been planning to move back into my own pole barn with metal roof. Inside long ago I finished off 900 sq ft with plumbing and electric and a concrete floor. This will suit all my simple needs and be extremely efficient.

To do this I am auctioning off more of my land and my 3,000 sq ft loghome that I build back when I retired. I will end up owing no one and have everything I own brought and paid for. I can then more fully concentrate on my sustainability plans.

This has been in the planning stages for some time and therefore next month 5 parcels(1 acre up to 10 acre parcels) of land go up on the auction block along with my own loghouse with 6 acres.

From reading here on TOD I have made many large changes to my lifestyle. This one will be the most massive and largest to date and the hardest to do. I just can no longer justify living alone in a loghouse of this size , efficient though it be.

I hope I am doing the right thing. From reading on TOD I believe I am. My wife does not wish to join me in this venture but has been pushing me to sell for a long time so she can have her own share of the equity since she prefers to remain in the suburbs of N. Carolina.

If anyone is interested in some acreage they can contact me via my published email address. The auction will be via the internet as well as 'on the ground'.

I intend to make no other details public and hope I am not breaking any forum rules by posting this.

For me its time to put my money where my mouth is. This is exactly what I am doing.

Airdale-moderators..feel free to delete if inappropiate

The pole barn house is an interesting idea. I'll pay
closer attention and see if I spot one.

What my uncle did was build a 20x40 traditional barn
structure and made the hayloft area a living space.
It seems like an efficient use of space to me. Especially
with small acreages.

Do you have any kids, airdale?

A close friend built something similar a dozen/15 years ago outside Searcy AR (bicycle ride away).

Some differences are walls of 8" styrofoam covered in concrete and two porches (one inclosed with insect screening). Windows are not the best though and could be improved. Reelatively small window area but a fair number for good cross ventilation.

We recently talked and he decided not to buy a Civic Hybrid and stay with his paid for 40 mpg car. At my suggestion, years ago, he planted a small selection of fruit and nut trees. He is going to expand those varieties that did well and he and his wife like best. And looking into starting two honey bee hives (some feral ones in the area are doing well).

He worlds for Falcon Jet in Little Rock and is aware that his machine tool programming job there may not last, so he is saving & investing rapidly.

Best Hopes,


"We recently talked and he decided not to buy a Civic Hybrid and stay with his paid for 40 mpg car."

Hi Alan,

Did your argument mostly focus on embedded energy or "other?"

Would love to get the fine points.

Sorry this might also be off topic, but it reminds me of a news story from a while ago about a farmer who built a house literally inside a pole barn of the kind you're talking about to get around planning restrictions! He ended up having to knock it down though.

I have seen one house in Iceland built inside a greenhouse (many homes have greenhouses built onto the southern exposure) and heard of others.

Quite a good idea IMHO. Wind break and a bit of extra insulation for the home, extra "free heat" from the house for the greenhouse for an extended growing season; and a pleasant place to sit on colder windy days (not winter).

Best Hopes for Innovative Housing,


Shipping containers find new life as homes
Using shipping containers as the basis for affordable housing could take a bit of thinking outside the box for some, but it's turned into a workable solution in many communities around the country. NBC's Roger O'Neil reports.

This home is in St Petersburg, Florida. It is immune to just about any natural disaster I can think of. Termites don't eat it either. The shape of things to come? Actually, not a bad idea at all.

Shipping containers work pretty well as any kind of building. In the Colonias of the border counties of Texas there are lots of them being used. They also use pole barns, and often put a pole barn roof over a house trailer to keep direct sunlight off the trailer. Ugly, but utilitarian and inexpensive.

I've been following this news for years, since I read an article in the WSJ about a company which turned shipping containers into all sorts of buildings, even jails.  IMHO it's a darned slick idea and ought to be explored for disaster relief (imagine a shipload of these things showing up after a hurricane or earthquake).

Unfortunately, they are not environment-proof; let water at them, and they'll rust out.  They also require a great deal of insulation to be practical in most climates.  But if I was going to build in a place like California, having a house sturdy enough to jolt around on a truck with ten times my weight of furnishings — or able to take the 200 MPH winds of an F5 tornado in Kansas with the right anchors — would add peace of mind and low insurance rates to the undeniable advantage of cost.

Bury them, with cathodic protection.

Has it occurred to anyone else that the winner of the 2008 Presidential Election will be our first Leader of the Long Emergency? Particularly if s/he serves two terms.

Hardly. Our great leaders have already "lead" us deep into the emergency.

We have so many converging problems I will be VERY surprised if anyone serves two terms. In fact, I expect the Republicans to mount only a token campain in 2008, on the assumption whatever party takes the White House in Jan 2009 will be out of office for decades afterward.

I pride myself on being a tiresome know-it-all, but you couldn't give me the job.

It is not too hard to imagine any number of scenarios that end up with either or both major parties discarded in the ash heap of history within 4-12 years, and replaced with something else -- if there are any elections still going on at all. . .

I can see the country perhaps breaking up into autonomous regions, each with their own government. Each region would (if it has a democratic form) develop two or more new parties.

As far as the new Prez is concerned, I'm trying to picture any of the current crop of candidates giving a "We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself" fireside chat. Dealing with 2 million foreclosed families. Providing leadership while the electric grid goes into part-time mode.

I'm having a hard time picturing...

A breakup may eventually happen, but more likely not for a couple of decades at least.

None of the existing crop inspire much confidence. They all seem a lot more like Hoover than FDR clones.

Anyway, this time they will have to give the "We have a LOT to fear besides fear itself" speech.

Hoover was a big Government Type. FDR was Big Government Type. There are plenty of Big Government Types in the current crop.

I will agree with you that none of the current crop of failures appears to have the knack for making people feel better except perhaps Obama ... and there is no reason to believe that he would be any good in terms of the reality.

I recall in early 1992, a work colleague reckoned that the (UK) Conservative Party, then well behind Labour in the polls, should succumb to the inevitable and lose the forthcoming election. The reasoning given was that Labour would make a mess of an economy that was heading for recession, and so would not be re-elected. Hence, one term out of office, and the Tories would be all set for the next 10-15 years.

Best laid plans... Labour didn't win in 1992*, so the Tories had to oversee all the economic shambles that they had been hoping to pass to their opponents. As a result, they have been out of government in the UK since 1997.

I can see both the Democrats and Republicans both trying desperately to lose the 2008 election (without it being obvious that they have thrown in the towel), as they are both well aware what state things will be in around 2009-2012.

*Many suggest that Neil Kinnock's excrutiating "victory" rally a week or so before the election was one of the things being instrumental in them losing. That, and John Smith, the shadow chancellor, hinting that taxes might have to go up.

Algerian Oil Minister just said that the world is still awash in oil no need to increase production. Oil hits a 9 week low due to excess supply and is now negative for what the 10th straight day. Gasoline is a bit tight but expectation is we will squeak by and we have maybe seen the highs at the pump. Refining capacity increases are bearish for gasoline prices. Excess supply at Cushing is crushing the price. The estrogen choir on CNBC is in perfect harmony every action in the market is bearish. Heck the guerillas in Nigeria shutting down 1/2 the production is strangely bearish.
I admit they are starting to wear me down with the constant spin barrage of (inferred) bearish reports even the Brent price is off $4 from its high. They seem to have convinced the rest of the market that the direction is down down and down. I would have never thought these levels were possible given the lousy buying power of the greenback and decline in inventories we have seen since Jan. Are we missing the boat on production? Has demand growth stopped? Why does the market continue to decline? Is supply growing beyond our expectations?

The answer I am getting to the sort of questions you have asked is that the speculative element of the market got too long and the weaker players in that group are now liquidating postions and taking profits (or losses, depending on how long they have held their positions).

Consensus seems to be that RBOB (gasoline) is leading the way down having posted an all time high of 40,000 lots of speculative longs in the market last week.

"Consensus seems to be that RBOB (gasoline) is leading the way down having posted an all time high of 40,000 lots of speculative longs in the market last week".

This sounds like a convincing explanation to me for the sudden softness in the gasoline market (i.e. technical factors). Looking at the fundamentals I don't see how the traders can possibly conclude that the worst is behind us.

Bodman tried to reassure everyone yesterday by saying that refinery utilization this summer will be higher than it has been over the past couple of years, but even if this transpires we've still got to get through May without any hiccups. There seems to be a perception out there that it's from Memorial Day onwards that the big demand hike starts. In fact over the past 5 years it's during May that demand lifts most:

U.S. Gasoline Product Supplied 2002 - 2006
May vs April +178,200 bpd
June vs May +111,200 bpd
July vs June +72,800 bpd
Aug vs July +72,800 bpd

[Data source EIA Last two figs are the same, not an error]

The Bloomberg analyst survey is predicting a rise in gasoline inventory of just 50,000 bbls (in effect unchanged) with utilization still less than 90%. Reuters are saying 100,000 bbls rise. The utilization figure implies domestic gasoline production (excluding imported blending components) will only rise 100,000 - 150,000 bpd or so, only enough to cover last week's shortfall. This in turn implies that either extra imports will have covered the usual uplift in May demand, or alternatively demand will have been crimped by high prices (or a combination of both).

Whatever the production/import/demand mix, the main point is that if the survey is correct, stocks still didn't materially build last week. That leaves the market at the mercy of a major refinery outage, with the merest threat of a GoM hurricane later in the year causing prices to spike.

My overall take: TPTB are far more worried than they're ever going to admit, and they're desperately hoping that we'll struggle through the next few weeks without incident until refinery utilization hits the mid-90s.

Some people would say the US is entering a recession (to preliminary IMO), and that would lower demand for oil. Economies wax and wane.... a little waning and of course you could see oil come down.

Personally I think what is happening in Nigeria is more interesting. The backstory is long and involved and I dug out lots of links but won't bore people here with them, but from my reading it seems to be an intractable problem (e.g., Sharia imposition, tribal revenge, etc.) What is it about oil that attracts chaos?

Yup! Very interesting:


Last year, Shell Oil abandoned facilities that produced 600,000 barrels a day of oil due relentless attacks by the global guerrilla facilitator MEND. Upon its return to these facilities this month, the company found much of its infrastructure missing. In the area near the Forcados terminal alone, 435 miles of pipeline disappeared (likely disassembled by hand, loaded onto barges, offloaded onto Ukrainian transport ships offshore, and delivered to Chinese scrap metal dealers -- globalization is grand, isn't it). Estimates of the reconstruction costs now exceed $2 billion, under the assumption both Shell and its construction partners will be allowed to return unimpeded. That isn't a good bet

What is it about oil that attracts chaos?

You might be interested in Natural Resources and Civil War: An Overview

Since the mid-1990s there has been a growing body of research on the causes of civil wars. One of the most surprising and important findings is that natural resources – in particular, oil and gemstones – play a key role in triggering and prolonging these conflicts.
This paper summarizes recent findings on natural resources and civil war. It explains four ways that resources increase the hazard of civil war: by harming a country’s economic performance; by making its government weaker, more corrupt, and less accountable; by giving people who live in resource-rich regions an incentive to form an independent state; and by helping finance rebel movements. These patterns help explain the unusually high rate of civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region with many resource-dependent states.

Or as Willie Sutton said: "Because that's where the money is."

Oil hits a 9 week low due to excess supply and is now negative for what the 10th straight day.

In this nine week period, the world consumed about 4.5 Gb of crude + condensate, which is close to 0.5% of our remaining conventional crude oil reserves, based on the HL model. So, every 18 weeks, we burn through close to 1% of our remaining conventional crude oil reserves.

The nine week oil price low, at least for Brent, is about 70% higher than the average monthly spot price in the 20 months prior to May, 2005.

Empirically, monthly Brent spot prices in the $54 to $74 price range, since May, 2005, have been sufficient to kill off enough demand to match (so far, since 5/05) reduced supply.

"So, every 18 weeks, we burn through close to 1% of our remaining conventional crude oil reserves."

34 years left at current consumption rates then.

Are the reserves you talk about URR, or are those proven?


It's based on Deffeyes' Hubbert Linearization (HL) plot, which generates Qt, a mathematical estimate of (conventional) URR for the world.

At the end of 2005, Deffeyes gave us 1,000 Gb of remaining recoverable conventional crude (presumably crude + condensate) oil reserves.

Based on EIA data and the HL model, world crude + condensate production started declining at the same stage of depletion at which the US Lower 48 and the North Sea started declining.

GGG: The linear calculation doesn't work. "34 years left" is meaningless as obviously global oil consumption cannot continue at this rate for 34 years then stop overnight as the tank is empty. We are past the peak in oil consumption annually, but there will be oil consumed globally 100 years from now, IMO.

Yes, but it will eventually become far too valuable to merely burn.

People pay too much attention to just the US market. I guess that's is where the most current info is.
My best guess is that worldwide fossil oil demand is declining, very slighly, right now. Demand is falling in OECD and USA already. At more than $60 a barrel, worldwide demand probably goes into slow, negative growth mode.
After the 1979 price hike of 150 percent, worldwide demand fell 11 percent, and did not recover for a full 10 years.
This price hike is 100 to 200 percent, depending on what date you want to pick for the bottom price. At one point in the late 1990s, oil hit $12 a barrel.
Still, oil is cheaper today than in 1979, adjusted for inflation, and we use much less of it per unit of economic output. Oil is not as important as it was then. We have made progress, not enough, but we have.
So, will oil demand fall? I think it is, just barely. But bio-fuels are coming on, and will (by law) make up 20 percent of diesel in Europe and India. Thailand is growing palm oil like crazy. Bio cannot replace fossil (yet), but if it just adds 0.5 percent a year to supplies, that is big, in a declining market.
Right now, the worldwide marginal cost of producing a barrel of oil is probably under $5. The IEA said it was $3.57 a barrel in 2003.
So, we have very flat or falling demand for fossil oil, and a marginal cost of production under $7 a barrel. No wonder OPEC is cutting output. OPEC is damn lucky that so many nations are run by lulus, as in Iraq, Libya and Iran, not to mention Venezuela, and much of Africa. We would be glutted out right now, if those nations returned to former production levels.
The interesting thing is, we may have "Peak Demand" before we get Peak Oil.
The other way good news is that with hybrids (especially plug-in variety) , and smart bio-fuels, we can probably continuously decrease oil demand for the forseeable future. Worldwide. This buys us extra decades before fossil oil simply becomes too espensive to extract anymore at all (although IEA predicys large increases in production for decades ahead).
The bad news is that probably fossil crude prices will come way down, destroying all incentives to conserve and substitute, before too long.
We need heavy taxes on imported oil and gasoline at the pump. It ain't going to happen, though.

Benjamin - you are not working at this. You are cutting and pasting the same lines over and over.

Most of what you claim has been either directly contradicted or otherwise challenged by others here (including myself.) Yet you do not engage, you cut and paste.

Mind you, as a not-too-gloomy not-necessarily-a-doomer myself, I am happy to see any non-doomer here, especially if they have good strong arguements. The Peak Oil community tends to bring out more of the nihilists than many energy-aware communities... and any bright face is welcome.

But... but, merely cut and pasting the same assertions over and over does no one any good.

Oaky, I will try to think up something new to say. On the other hand, no one else here is considering we might (happily) obtain Peak Demand before Peak Oil. We certainly can continously decrease fossil demand through intelligent (even medicore) energy programs and tax policies. Other posters recount doom-and-gloom endlessly, and insist we are running out of oil, even though the IEA says we will increase production for decades hence.
Peak Demand is a new idea to this board. Rather than study it, and look at the historical record of demand following the 1979 price hike (an 11 percent global drop in consumption, and 10 full years before former levels of consumption were reached, and then only when oil was cheap again), posters here just want to insist we must have a terrible crash into energy shortages.
It seems to me we have at hand good solutions to our energy needs, primarily in hybrids and bios. Market forces are already working in our favor, and just need a regulatory and tax nudge.
Painting with a broad brush, if progressives (liberals) only complain, whine, and do not offer positive (though realistic) pathways forward, we will properly be seen as a bunch of sniveling losers. That is no way to win elections and influence policy.
Okay, no postings from me for 2 weeks. The gloom and doomers can have a clear field!

Propose that your #1 personal goal would be to understand why demand is still increasing. Yes, demand is increasing... see the EIA short term energy outlook linked to in a couple of posts below.

Then, if the game plan is to present a reasonable non-doom scenario, one must come up with an answer to why, during the period of decreased oil production after the Iranian revolution (and subsequent Iran-Iraq war), did natural gas, nuclear, and coal consumption increase?

The next question one must answer is, how much and what kind of demand "destruction" would one consider acceptable. Having looked at color photos of Iranian bodies resulting from Saddam's chemical warfare, somehow I have a hard time inside my psyche accepting that that particular path towards demand destruction had much nobility to it.

Finally, one must then come up with a tractable transition plan (off of oil, then off natural gas, then off coal), if one believes there is sufficient available alternate energy sources to stay within your demand scenario.

Yes, there is much energy that is all around us (which is why I am only a defcon 3 or 4 type of person.) And, there are people who show up here now and again with information on how to get to it (e.g., rohar1 and his SPHEGS design.) However, TOD isn't really an alternative energy site (there are plenty on the net) so generally there are not detailed discussions of such.

So, that would be a tactical plan if one were to attempt a counter-doom mission at TOD.

On the other hand, no one else here is considering we might (happily) obtain Peak Demand before Peak Oil.

Benjamin, demand is a bit of an ambiguous term. People use it in different ways.
Strictly speaking, demand ALWAYS equals supply. You might have to drop the price to sell all the oil you produce (1999) or you might have to raise it until buyers drop out of the market (2006). But demand always equals supply. The thing that ensures that the two are equal is PRICE.
Sure, there may be people who would like to buy oil at $20 per barrel but don't buy because the spot price is $70. That's not demand, that's wishful thinking.
If the world produces 83 milllion barrels a day, then demand is 83 million (at some price). If the world produces 20 million barrels per day, demand is 20 million per day (at some price).

Let me suggest an alternative concept which is sympathetic to your argument - Peak Waste . Because it seems to me that our transport system is ridulously inefficient. People in the west often drive one vehicle each. Cars weigh a lot more than they need to. Engines are larger than they need to be. Power is used inefficiently - an ICE generating power for a serial hybrid would be much more efficient than constantly changing the revs on the motor to match speed changes. Fuel pressure settings and injection timings are a long way short of ideal and are based on the first workable solutions found 80 years ago.
All this waste represents the opportunity to improve efficiency in the future.

I can imagine a scenario in which oil production twenty years from now is 40 million barrels a day, but car ownership levels and vehicles miles driven globally are higher, because efficiency has increased by a factor of 3, allowing us to drive a distance on 40 millions barrels which would have once required 120.
100mpg cars, in other words.
Anyone who dismisses this sort of fuel-economy out of hand hasn't been reading Drumbeat.

Of course the oil price will be a lot higher - if each individual only needs a third of the gas they will be able to afford more per tank, driving the price up. A high price is what would create the impetus to improve efficiency in the first place. So we are talking $150 oil. But if you can
drive 1000 miles on a tank the cost per mile is bearable.

Under this scenario consumption would fall over time, would be forced to fall by reduced production. But that does not represent a drop in demand. And it does not necessarily follow that there will be a long term fall in miles driven.
You could have a situation where steeply declining waste allows a gradual increase in miles driven globally even as production declines.
Hence Peak Waste as a concept.

I think we can all agree that after production peaks waste will have to decline, one way or another.

I think anyone who thinks the USA will abandon $10,000,000,000,000 worth of suburban real estate and give up the automobile rather than adopt light-weight serial-hybrids needs to go back and read their history books. The period from 1929 to 1945 would be a good start.

If we are to believe in things we cannot see or touch, how do we tell the true belief from the false belief?

I can imagine a scenario in which oil production twenty years from now is 40 million barrels a day, but car ownership levels and vehicles miles driven globally are higher, because efficiency has increased by a factor of 3, allowing us to drive a distance on 40 millions barrels which would have once required 120.

Or maybe less, because the oil has been displaced by other things.

One thing I've been noticing is how bio-fuel productivity goes up as the system is integrated to use carbon, chemical and heat energy more effectively.  It seems likely that we'll have a carbon tax which will disadvantage petroleum; if this spurs work into turning the biomass surplus into multiple product (and income) streams, the net petroleum consumption of the USA might fall to less than zero (exports of substitutes greater than production).  They may be relatively cheap because the producer can get paid twice for different products of the same biomass input (unlike corn ethanol).

Remove US oil consumption and you're already down to 65 mmb/d.  Get the same kind of technology into Europe, S. America and parts of Asia, and I'll bet that 40 mmb/d starts looking high.

What about the period 1950 to 1970 ?

When the US trashed virtually all of it's prime commercial property (downtowns) and much (most ?) of it's existing well built housing stock due to a series of gov't policies ?

Such changes are quite possible.

Today, roughly 1/3rd of Americans want to live in TOD type housing *IF* it were available. I would like to see that market demand meet.

As oil and natural gas prices climb, the 1/3rd group will grow. As schools decline in the suburbs due to falling property tax revenues (even with rising rates), repairs climb as poorly built homes age, and the costs of heating and cooling poorly insulated homes climbs as well; and vacant, then abandoned, homes multiple, I can see property values plummeting for many (but not all) suburbs. Even those few with 50 to 80 mph hybrids will find the other costs overwhelming as living quality declines.

Worst Hopes for Suburbia,


"But... but, merely cut and pasting the same assertions over and over does no one any good."

Your right, but it a trick used by the "deep green" and catastrophist cult every day, why does no one complain? The old rules of propaganda still apply, stay on the same message, repeat it, repeat it, repeat it, until anyone who remembers the false premises from which it was born have long gotten bored and left....and the newcomers will accept it as a statistic or factual truth. Plus, no one wants to reopen old wounds ( for example, those who have come here recenlty will not realize the very heated debate about HL, so now, it is again fallen back on as gospel truth, written in stone)

It is stated as fact that any elasticity in demand is almost impossible when history (well stated by Benjamin) shows that view to be anything but fact as proven by history, It is stated as fact over and over again that agriculture is an oil based industry when it is in fact much much more a natural gas based industry (if I hear someone in the popular press tell me one more time that fertilizer is produced from crude oil, I may put my foot through my computer screen!)

I could go on with this type of thing for hours, but what would be the point?
It is becoming more and more obvious that people believe what they want to believe...

I have several friends and relatives who are ABSOLUTE in their belief that the whole "peak oil" thing is disinformation from the energy industry to keep the world tied to that one cubic mile of energy they provide a year.

Look at what the peaksters say, they point out: There is no alternative, there is no valid option other than oil and gas, and it will cost you PLENTY, BUT (in a fantastic leap of logic, no alternative is "financially viable". wait....there's a hitch in the giddy up there.....oil and gas can go to astronomical prices, and STILL the alternatives won't scale because they are too expensive.

The whol thing finally becomes a case of the snake trying to consume it's own tale. ONLY oil and gas are financially viable as energy, no matter how expensive it gets and it is, contrary to all of the histrionics, certainly NOT expensive now...I commute 42 miles a day round trip, and at current prices, my fuel costs me less than my insurance, tax and registration on my car...recently, I made enough excess room in my budget for Diesel fuel to go to $10 per barrel. Why? Do I believe that is a realistic possibility in the short term. Of course not, I'm not an idiot, but I can invest the spare money in the energy industry and make enough on the dividend from the company to pay for any increase in fuel prices....let them pay for my fuel....and the energy industry must be a safe play to make my money, right, because I have it on good word from the peakers that no matter how expensive fuel gets, oil and nat gas consumption will continue to go up!

Does that REALLY make sense?

I'm wasting my time, but fortunately, not much of it, because I type fast....
by the way, the one place I may differ somewhat with Benjamin is this: His concern with world consumption. His concern is touching, but it is the worst sort of Yankee hubris to think that we can tell other nations what they can consume, produce and or how much greenhouse gas they can expel, etc.

We can't, we shouldn't. Take care of U.S. consumption of fossil fuel, BRING IT DOWN. If we can do that, we leave our nation richer, more secure, more honorable, and our nation cleaner and more modern all at once. Oh, did I mention that....the idiotic idea that only increased oil and gas consumption increases national wealth....in no way provable, and it REALLY sounds like oil company propaganda.....

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

It is stated as fact over and over again that agriculture is an oil based industry when it is in fact much much more a natural gas based industry.

I really don't wish you to put your foot through your computer screen as well, so rather than make a statement, I'll ask you to consider where that coffee bean came from that made your morning coffee and how much energy, used in its progress from earth to mouth, was from Natural gas and how much from oil?

Remember, as well, that nitrogen is only one of the fertilizer trinity.

Thanks for the note...minor correction: I do not think we should tell any other nation what their energy programs should be....I just look at world consumption, and notice that it declined after the last price hike....after all, it is a world market....actually, it is the other nations that should be telling us what to do, given our heavy use of crude....

I'm wasting my time, but fortunately, not much of it, because I type fast....

Heh heh, keeper.

To a starving man, it does not matter if there is no food, or the food is just so expensive that he cannot afford to eat. Either way he dies.

You can call it “peak demand” if you want, but that does not change the facts about oil depletion.

You need to read a solid book on peak oil like "Beyond Oil" by Ken Deffeyes.

And reading "Limits to Growth: the 30 year update" would not hurt you either.

Why are you here?

You're clearly not intelligent enough to learn, or to provide either insight or information. What you just wrote can only be described as 'word vomit', its a pain to read, and seems to be written by a retard.

There's no need for this kind of stuff. Either ignore or criticise -- but name-calling degrades the site.

davebygolly said,
"There's no need for this kind of stuff. Either ignore or criticise -- but name-calling degrades the site."

Let him rip, those of us who are willing to put up controversial posts have long developed the ability to take (the old "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen" rule...:-)

But he asks a valid question: "What are you doing here?" It is one I ask myself often enough, not in any negative way, but because being here does take time, especially if you post, and one should not do something unless they find some value in it, even if the value is purely entertainment.

As I said in another post here today, from the first day I came here, I have found the charts, the statistics, and the information interesting and of a depth and type in many cases that cannot be easily found anywhere else (for an example, go up this string and look at the discussion and great photos concerning the google earth images of Ghawar....now that's some interesting stuff!)

Notice I said "in many cases", because there is a fair amount of misinformation, disinformation, and outright hysterical ranting, and much to my disappointment, it seems to now be on the increase. I gave a few examples in my post. There are many more. (up the string, I love the ones that predict a shutting down of the power grid because oil production/consumption drops....it's FREAKIN hilarious! I well recall the energy crisis of the 1970's, year after year of declining consumption and production, and amazingly the power grid survived! And GET THIS, this was when a considerable amount of electric power was still produced by crude oil and Diesel fuels....you want to see a collapse? Look at the almost COMPLETE removal of crude as a source of electric power in only a decade! It's astounding! But now, not then, but now, crude oil problems are going to shut down the power grid! Yeah, I am going to send folks who may not be at all technical into tailspins of panic that their air condition will go out in the heat of summer because there won't be crude oil to run it!!!!!! Ohhhhhh, that's right, the service trucks won't be able to move because they have no Diesel fuel, yeahhh, that's the ticket! Now, think about that one.....we are going to be so unable to prioritize in an emergency that we will go COMPLETELY out of Diesel fuel to power emergency vehicles and service trucks!!! Well, if we do, it's not peak oil that got us, it's peak stupidity!!

The whole way the debate is going serves to make those people with REAL concerns about what are REAL energy issues looks stupid by association.

The fact is, "peak" as a concern is entering the mainstream. Do we really want to come up with false concerns, stupid stats, and wild azz scenarios that are of the "what if an asteriod hits the earth" school of probability, just when the concerns over energy are FINALLY being taken seriously? Short question, are we trying to make dopes of ourselves?

So let him call names. It is the typical response when someone has no real argument. It is the argument often used by those who want to diminish REAL concern about REAL energy issues to call them loonies, to avoid a real discussion. What we don't want to do, I would think is to lean so far into hysterical scenarios and bogus catastrophe's so as to undercut what is a very serious issue.

So why am I still here? Because there are enough good statisticians and technicians, who are deeply concerned, but not hysterical, to make the visits worth. I will admit that the balance is shifting, and on that day I feel there is no one who is not off into a panic so great that they can no longer make logical, sensible connections, I will say farewell.

Here's hoping that day is still sometime away, but, sorry, I will call it as I see it until then, and call all the names you want, as my old daddy used to say, "I never lost a fight on the telephone", likewise, I never lost a fight on the internet boards....I've lost a few arguments, but never a fight, and losing arguments are not all that painful.....:-)

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom
(thanks Khebab for the post that birthed that one, now THAT is the kind of eye opener that keeps me coming back at least for now! :-)

'Well, if we do, it's not peak oil that got us, it's peak stupidity!!'

I think that is often the unstated assumption behind many of the Europeans posting here - peak oil will present a number of challenges, some of them very large indeed, but understanding the situation and then making intelligent decisions to handle it, along with a willingness to accept that changes are inevitable, is part of normal life.

One reason I spend so much time here is trying to get a handle on why Americans seem so unable to actually change how they live. The shifts that were visible in the 1970s continued in most industrial countries, excepting America.

Ironically, it may be at this point many Americans are scared of the future, when any number of bills come due, so any chance to put that off is grasped eagerly. Which makes dealing with the future that much more difficult.

"Peak Stupidity": The ultimate challenge!

Actually, come to think about it, peak stupidity would be GOOD news, because that would imply a decline of stupidity in the future. If only we were to be so lucky!

and you are clearly not intelligent enough to refrain from offending the rest of the people here, who either have to deal with children who ACTUALLY take the short bus to school as opposed to using such terms as insults, or who merely don't appreciate this kind of thing

i agree with you that this guy is growing increasingly tiresome and seems to have one note - but i see little positive in your response, and it certainly adds no more to the site than the original commenter

reflects poorly on you and the site... and really, it just isn't worth letting things get you so worked up... no responses tend to make these sorts of people go away bored that no-one is playing up to them - vitriol allows them to convince themself they have a special insight that is being suppressed

The notion that because we produce more output per unit of oil than before means that oil is less important is absurd. What you have just asserted is that even more economic output is dependent on a single barrel of oil therefore the loss of any single barrel of oil means a LARGER loss in output than before.

That is the inevitable result of efficiency - higher dependence on the resource although the resource may be used at a slower rate.

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

That's your trade baby.
So then go short crude!

Theeere you go again!

Hubbert's Downslope: The Long Way Home

I'm not sure why I'm writing this note in my journal. I never could keep this diary up-to-date on a regular basis. In this age of increasingly limited energy supplies, will someone find this little book high up in the coastal mountains of California, and bother to read it? Probably not. If this journal is ever discovered, the person doing the discovering will probably yell out with glee and proclaim, "Toilet paper!"

Nevertheless, I feel the need to write my thoughts. Maybe that happy person will partake in reading before recycling these pages.

I just completed my last drive, I'm pretty sure. My old beat-up RAV4 won't budge another inch. Flimsy ride, anyway. Ah, well, it got me around for years, and many miles.

My hometown, Santa Rosa, simply felt too claustrophobic. I wanted something different from the usual neighborhood gathers each weekend, and all the constant discussion about ongoing life changes due to the energy crisis. Many of my neighbors are really worried about food. And this guy, a lawyer I think, showed up to one dinner gather. He kept going on and on about nuclear war. Made a persuasive argument for its eventuality, too. Aye, that was too much! I don't need to be reminded about the possibility of starving to death, or being part of a global nuclear gift exchange.

Yes, it was finally time for something different! So I jumped in the RAV, which had been sitting unused for months, and headed for the hills. A squirt of the sprayers cleared the windshield of dust, and a glance at the dashboard showed that I only had a half-tank of fuel. I didn't even bother to look for any of the gas stations on the way out. They were probably closed.

Besides, my money was tight. Unemployment checks only went so far, especially during these days of rapid inflation.

I headed north on Highway 101. With traffic eerily light, and the sound of an internal combustion engine thrumming in my ears, I easily got lost in thought about the growing crisis. Protests and near-riots had begun over fuel and food prices in some cities, even uncomfortably close in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Certainly Santa Rosa wouldn't be immune for long. Just a matter of time. This had me worried most, but the growing drone of food shortages also nagged me endlessly. The two were linked, of course. As fear over nourishment grew, I gathered the situation could get messy rather fast.

Ukiah seemed uncannily lifeless as I rolled through. Parking lots at local shopping centers along the highway were bereft of vehicles. The road seemed like a drought-parched riverbed, one that meandered past structures with dark, hollow windows reminiscent of the sunken eyes of the starved.

Eager to get off of broad, empty 101, I took the cutoff onto Highway 20 and headed east toward Clear Lake. After a stretch, I went north to Lake Pillsbury on a lonely, windy road through beautiful, green country. Before long, I encountered the access to Hull Mountain. Some called it Mt. Hull. Guess it depended on which map you read. I'd only been to the top of the peak once, long ago, during the 1990s dot-com boom when life seemed to be going so well. You know, swimming in money and all. Now, a deepening depression covered the land with a dark pall that seemed to make even the sunniest days black.

I faced perhaps my last opportunity to see the grand view from the summit. I would do it.

Even in the great 1990s financial bonanza, I was cheap. My RAV was bare-bones and only had front-wheel drive. The only concession I made was to have AC and a CD player. I popped in an old, beat-up disc: Dead Can Dance, “Toward the Within.” One of the back speakers didn't work, but the melancholy and introspective music was still quite audible, and it fit my mood rather well. I rolled down all my windows to get that open-vehicle off-road feel that I so enjoyed when I was younger and traipsed all over the mountains, burning gas and beating my cars to death for no real purpose.

Then I took off, up Mt. Hull's vast and steep slope. The old dirt road had undergone severe erosion over the past winter. The RAV lurched over deep ruts, loose rocks and wind-broken tree branches. Dust lifted high into the air behind me. In the steepest sections, I couldn't let the car stop. There wasn't enough traction for me to resume my upwards climb. I kept the vehicle at a constant speed and left the gear in second. The RAV crashed over potholes, thudded over, narrow toppled tree trunks, ground through rocky outwashes. Some of the thuds were quite jarring. Loud. At times, I thought the car would stall. Palls of dirt sometimes swirled through the cab. Perhaps a year ago, I might have winced at this sudden abuse to my car, wishing to keep it going for as long as possible. But, today, I continued, and watched the wilderness roll by. Driving didn't seem to have much of a future.

A wonderful mix of oak trees, Bay laurel, walnut and gray pine gave way to Douglas-fir and red fir as my altitude increased. A startling number of conifer trees were dead, or dying. Some kind of disease or other stress left a brown blight on the forest. A dramatic change from the Mt. Hull I had seen years ago. Another sign of the growing crisis.

The firs, dead or alive, informed me that I neared the mountaintop. As did the grade. It had more-or-less evened out to horizontal. I continued on, eager to get to a little turn-out that I had stopped at long ago. A place that had a good view.

The RAV sputtered, jerked, and quit. I quickly popped the gear in neutral and guided the vehicle off the road, next to two, massive wind-sculpted firs that hadn't given up on life just yet. The fuel gauge read empty. Damn! No surprise, really, but it was still a bit shocking to see the gauge on "E". This was it. My car was kaput!

It would be a long walk home. At least I had brought my gear. And the first leg of the trip was downhill. A big, steep downhill, but down nonetheless. Maybe, once back to Highway 20, I could get a ride back to Santa Rosa. Some folks still drove places. Including trucks hauling food and other necessities.

I wonder how many more people would do what I had just done? Maybe the top of Mt. Hull would become a vast vehicular graveyard. A funny image is brought to mind: Hundreds of rusty hulks lining a fading mountain road. Surely, not that many people were as foolish and silly as I!

I grabbed my backpack and headed for the viewpoint on foot. Birds sang. Insects flitted about. A periodic breeze rushed through the treetops, a sound that to me has a timeless sense to it. The rustling foliage brought to mind similar breezes that must have rustled the great lycopod trees of Devonian times, and the vast diversity of palm-like cycads during the Triassic. Dinosaurs must have heard the leafy rustling. Archaeopteryx, the proto-bird, must have felt the caress of such breezes. Nature's breath had washed the Earth for billions of years. The gently swaying trees remind me that life continues even as it undergoes massive change, and this makes me feel a little hopeful, or at least more at ease.

My walk wasn't very long. I found the little pull-out that I had visited a decade ago. It had changed some, but not dramatically. A fairly dense assemblage of weeds poked through the old gravel. The surrounding shrubs were thicker and taller than I remembered. A scattering of giant, old firs still sat to the north. They showed no signs of the blight that had been starkly evident on the drive up.

The view provided the same joy that I had remembered. To the west, I could see the coastal stratus rolling in like a vast tsunami on the Mendocino shore, say perhaps fifty miles distant. And, to the east, I gazed all the way across the Central Valley to the great Sierra Nevada. Mt. Lassen stood high, snow-less and pointy. The air had an amazing clarity. All the little details, from jagged rock outcrops to the sweeping forests and sharp treelines, were so easy to discern that it seemed like I could touch the distant mountains with an outstretched hand. Clean air: One blessing in a world of oil scarcity and limited driving.

Down below, to the west, I could just make out the town of Willits. Many of the residents, I knew from news reports over the years, have been busy preparing for the energy downturn. Pursuing renewable energy sources. Rebuilding their local economy. Good for them. I hope they do well. Indeed, I might migrate in that direction. Unfortunately, as my own desire to move to the region just revealed, I fear that Willits' proximity to the Bay Area could prove a big problem. The potential flood of refugees loomed large.

I looked upon the vast northern California countryside for a long, long time. Indeed, I'm still at the viewpoint, sitting on a log and writing in this book. When I pause to gather my thoughts, I drink the cool, fresh air, feel the breeze wash my face, and listen to the cheerful birdsongs. And I listen to the silence between the avian calls.

An intriguing silence. A silence, I now realize, that has been slowly returning to the neighborhoods of Santa Rosa. The drone of power lawnmowers has ceased. No more leaf blowers. And the rumble of car tires on pavement has become so rare that it is almost a novelty among children, drawing them out to watch when a vehicle rolls down the street. The sound of television and stereos, leaking from open windows on a warm day, has also lessened as rolling blackouts plague the country.

Yes, even as conflict and unrest erupt around the globe, a new kind of peace has begun to enter our lives. Some might see this as the clam before the storm. I'm not sure that this is the right analogy. The peace, I feel, will continue to grow even as humanity goes through its own self-inflicted turmoil.

It seems to me that the real crisis began long ago, with the Industrial Revolution and an attendant philosophy that places human beings in the same category as machines. This many-centuries-long emergency has unfolded in a myriad ways across the globe. The crisis for me is encapsulated in an adult life as a computer programmer who put in sixty to eighty hour weeks to finish one software project after another. I literally burned myself out even before I had reached forty. For others, the crisis is more evident in the horrors of industrialized war as the age-old battles over limited resources and political power continue to escalate. With nearly seven billion people on this planet, there seems to be an infinite number of ways in which to experience the industrial crisis. Indeed, for many of the luckiest (wealthiest), the crisis is a seemingly endless party. Tragic.

Nature had set her limits long before human beings occupied the globe. There are only so many resources available on this planet. It is clear that my species now bumps up against the boundaries. Eventually, I suspect, much of the human conflict will stop. Conflict, however, will not go completely away, for it is at the core of what it means to be alive. The fight for survival will remain as long as life exists. But the level, the noise, of conflict will ease over the years.

As human conflict finally wanes, as it must with the prospect of ever-diminishing non-renewable resources, and with a dramatic reduction in human population (a topic that simply scares me), the peace will likely get stronger. Yes, the peace that surrounds me, that special sense of life's timelessness, will continue. The thought makes me feel better. In the least, if I am fortunate enough to survive the historical transition that has clearly begun, I can look forward to a world where such peace might be easier to find. This depends on many factors, for sure. In my struggle to live, will I have the opportunity to pause, and enjoy the soul-soothing peace that surrounds me here on Hull Mountain? I don't know. But the idea offers some hope.

The sun is getting low. I should be heading back.

The walk down Mt. Hull, even with loose rock, sticks other treacherous footing, should give me ample time to enjoy the peace that I clearly sought by driving out here. A chance for me to gather myself for whatever events the energy crisis will soon bring. It is very uplifting to see that such beauty exists even amidst a great darkness.

I will place this journal under the driver's seat of the RAV. Maybe someone will find it in the years ahead. And maybe they will pause long enough to read the thoughts of a single person who is caught up in the culmination of a great crisis. Maybe the book will simply rot away as the vehicle is weathered by decades of Pacific storms. I doubt that I'll ever know.

Nevertheless, penning these words has helped me clarify my thoughts and better understand my concerns. I feel calm now. I look forward to the long walk home.


Thanks for reading!



"Some might see this as the clam before the storm"

An introvert faces energy depletion. I think your RAV4 would be stopped and your gas liberated before you got three miles, but I enjoyed the read.

Boy, I get more enjoyment from the simple Typo..

I live right near a bunch of Fish Markets, so I shouldn't have much trouble picking up my 'Clam before the Storm'.. Makes me think of Homer Simpson, drinking all that Clam Juice at the foot of the World Trade Towers, (the 'Lost' episode) then going up to the top of the one 'that didn't have the rest room in it'.. Doh!~

Nothing Sweeter than Bittersweet! ahh!

"I live right near a bunch of Fish Markets, so I shouldn't have much trouble picking up my 'Clam before the Storm'."

Maybe you could wait, and let the storm bring them to you. ;o)



Aye, I need to fix that word! "Calm!"

You're toughts sound intriguing. I suppose I should explore the kind of scenario you suggest. :o)



You're toughts sound intriguing.

Might wanna take that keyboard in and have it checked out hehehe...

Great post by the way, as usual. I envy your writing skills.

Yeah, the funny thing is that the older I get, the more these little errors show up. It's like my brain is slowly going chaotic. Writing was much easier 10 years ago!

I suppose TOD has simply filled my brain to overfull, and it can't process the right words anymore. Yep, blame it on TOD. That's what I do every day! ;o)



Edit: Got that one!

Is that a "prelude to a suicide?"

Things may be grim, but there is no geographic cure, and opting out solves nothing.

Kunstler (he's not alone, of course.) has the answer-- re-localize, form viable communities, use local resources. The native americans lived here for 30,000 years or more -- often in great style -- and the earth was richer for them. The european americans arrived 500 years ago, and they (we) have destroyed the place. Great reads: "1491" and "The Big Oyster". Quick, pretty accurate so far as I can tell, and really accessible and not preachy or sententious.

Maybe suicide in a metaphorical sense? Not sure if that's right. This is a person who's acutely aware of big changes coming. He's aware that the life he had is dying--maybe he's accelerating the death of that former life, and beginning to accept the realities of the new one.



The native americans were not "good for the earth", unless slaughtering all of the large animals on the continent (mammoth, giant sloth, NA camels, giant cats) counts somehow. They killed huge numbers of bison/buffalo. Several civilizations went through collapse after they outgrew themselves, which sounds familiar. Cities were built, only to be abandoned later when resources ran out. They look good in comparison to the european settlers, but only because they lacked the technology (largely metal working never advanced nearly as far in NA for one reason or another, none of which would be respect for environment).

If there's a lesson to learn there, it's that the continent can't hold nearly as many people as it does right now without large scale farming. We certainly don't have the natural resources there were 500 years ago (large animals, untapped soil and water).

The native americans were not "good for the earth", unless slaughtering all of the large animals on the continent (mammoth, giant sloth, NA camels, giant cats) counts somehow

We certainly don't have the natural resources there were 500 years ago (large animals,...)

That is hilarous. So the native Americans slaughtered all the large animals in the past 500 years?

Before that. By 500 years ago, they were all in a natural balance again... except for the messy business of driving herds of buffalo off cliffs for a small selected portion of the meat.

NA used to have camels. It had horses as well, or close cousins of horses. The native Americans exterminated them, and had to walk until Asian-origin horses were brought in by the Spanish in the 16th century.

It's a human thing, a primate thing, an aspect of life on the savanna. Bottom line is we are a very destructive species.

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

No they slaughtered them when they first arrived, apparently about 9000 years ago. The horse, the mammoth, and other large mammals were wiped out by our friendly native Americans.

See? This is what we are, even in the "noble savage" that some people here idolize.

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

We've been through this discussion before. Two good books to frame this discussion and get a handle on some of the issues around environmental impacts of pre-Columbian native peoples of North America are:

Krech, Shepard 2000 *The ecological Indian : myth and history.* New York : W.W. Norton & Company, c2000.

Grayson, Donald 2003 A Requiem for North American Overkill. *Journal of Archaeological Science* 30: 585-593 (with D. J. Meltzer).

Grayson's paper is flawed in multiple ways. First he argues that what happened on islands, even islands as large as New Guinea, cannot apply to continents. This is the same logic used by global warming deniers - that humans are too insignificant to have that sort of impact. He provides no proof in support of this statement.

He then goes on and argues that the dates of the extinctions appear to pre-date Clovis hunters. However, the earliest dates of human presence in North America keep moving backwards significantly.

I am not convinced that Grayson's paper represents the best research on this issue.

Krech is different in that he does attribute extinctions to native Americans though not in a malicious way. Rather he points out that they lacked a large scale sense of conservation in the manner that we have acquired over the last few centuries. Thus, individual reverence for animal life did not prevent them from overhunting simply because they never acquired the perspective of looking at the animal populations in that way.

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

GZ: I share your nuanced take on Krech's work. Grayson is responding to Paul Martin's overkill hypothesis, of course. He has a piece in press which should be interesting, though I don't see that it's out yet:

Grayson, Donald "Early Americans and Pleistocene Mammals in North America". In, Environment, Origins, and Population. Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 3. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C.

The *Handbook* is rather authoritative, as you may know, so I would expect this to be a rather well-argued piece.

That said, like you I continue to suspect a rather large human role in the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna.

"He then goes on and argues that the dates of the extinctions appear to pre-date Clovis hunters. However, the earliest dates of human presence in North America keep moving backwards significantly."

-- yes and no. While discoveries of possible earlier sites have proliferated the trend in the last decade or so has been towards a firming in the later dates for the earliest sustained habitation (all though we all know that consensus does not necessarily mean truth!). The most likely explanation for this is that bands of humans did make it over from time to time but that we did not "take" until sometime around 9-10,000 years ago. AS hard as it is to believe that humans would not "take" almost anywhere, a group large enough to create an identifiable site , might still only have 1 or 2 breeders.


Hey...they were just being good capitalists...capitalizing on the resource as much as possible to build their "nations" and become more powerful than the next tribe.

How's is this any different than today?

Imagine that? Being able to buy oysters from a stand for 5c. Now that's paradise.


Bravo Wolf!
Excellent, from a former Santa Rosa resident. The Mendo Coast has interesting possibilities (i lived in Pt Arena for a while)--
The feedback loops are endless, most looking very bad.

Your response to the crisis is not an original one, but more considerate than some. For reasons I can't fathom, a lot of people have taken to abandoning their cars in my neighborhood!
As if we might have any use for them!

Thanks for your story - captures the feel of this point in the crisis quite well.

"The people have a right to the truth."

Companies seek green light for 8 nuclear reactors

The companies that operate nuclear power plants in Ontario are seeking environmental approvals to build eight reactors, four times the number in the province's plans.

Re: "Ontario's Electricity System" plan, although they recommend a "culture of conservation" and unspecified "demand side" actions, the article (not sure about the actual plan) mentions no goals such as "reduce demand X percent by year Y". This is in contrast to the specified goals for % of power from renewables etc. Are they assuming demand growth as a given, or is it politically taboo to mention the concept "use less"?

The example a couple of days ago from AARP Bulletin of a retired couple with a $500/month electricity bill sticks in my mind. That's about 7 kilowatts of average power. How do they do that? Perhaps they heat with electricity and this is the winter bill. (Even then, that's about 24,000 BTUs per hour average, must be a big house...) A problem we'll see in the near future is people stuck with the wrong choice of equipment or infrastructure (e.g., electric heat), and not financially able to invest in something better (e.g., an efficient boiler and radiator system, or heat pumps). In the recent past they could have easily gotten a home equity loan to do that, but now, with interest rates rising and loan requirements tightening, it'll get harder, especially as they meanwhile need to pay those bills.

Good news for Canada, though I am a pessimist for the NIMBY/quasi-enviromental hurdles the applicants will have to go through before they get a green light.

I want to repeat again my opininion that the current anti-nuclear movement will be judged severely by future generations that have to deal with global warming and energy depletion. Conservatively the world lost at least 20 years and billions of tons of CO2 were spewed up in the air because of these guys. What is amazing is not their past mistake, but only their persistence in promoting it, even as we are facing out-of control global warming. Hope they sleep well.

I think the judgment should be reserved for the engineers and their employers. There is no excuse to keep on building the current obsolete reactors. Fast breeder designs are not pie in the sky like fusion and could be deployed commercially if the will was there. It is hard to believe that millions of dollars are spent on studies to determine where to permanently bury the "waste". It's not waste it is fuel.

If the anti-nuclear movement is in some way partly responsible for suppressing the technology then it deserves to rot in hell. But I doubt that this grass roots activism is that powerful.

I think you are underestimating the inertia of huge corporations and the status quo in general. A new, not tested technology in environment as regulated and conservative as nuclear has exactly zero percent chance of getting to a commercial stage.

In the past this has been resolved with the help of goverment performing the initial R&D - as is the case with the current version of the nuclear technology we have. A revolution of that size you are talking about would require an even greater level of government intervention - which in the current era of public policy disengagement in favor of the corporate oligarchy doing what it wants to, will never happen.

Only after the crisis has come and after the coin flips again we could expect something like this to become possible. It is not engineers or physicists responsibility to do it, it is policy makers, which in turn are influenced by the so called "public opinion". Even if this is only to continue the reality show they are calling democracy.

You'll have to blame government as well; Congress cancelled the Integral Fast Reactor, among other actions you would consider errors.

The only technologies of value in the IFR project were the pyroprocessing techniques, which didn't require a reactor at all. Other than that it was yet another liquid metal fast breeder reactor, which will never be a solution to anything.

Is it June and hurricane season yet?


My god... its full of stars!! I mean... what the hell??

That is disturbing to say the least!

According to Jeff Masters, it s hybrid!


HAHAHA We build hybrids to move people around more efficiently. Nature builds hybrids to eradicate the human race more efficiently. Dangit why does nature always get the one-up on us?? =P

Wow...that is awesome...and I hope it continues for Alan's sake.

And along this line of discussion:

Seven Storms May Strike U.S. Coast, AccuWeather's Bastardi Says


May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Seven storms may strike the U.S. coastline this hurricane season, and some may cut across Florida before moving into the Gulf of Mexico, according to an outlook from AccuWeather.com.

At least three weather systems in the Atlantic Basin will strengthen to major hurricanes with winds above 111 miles per hour (179 kilometers per hour), said Joe Bastardi, chief hurricane forecaster for State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather. As many as 14 tropical storms may form during the June-through-November season, he said at a hurricane conference in Houston today.

``The highest area of risk has swung southwest from the Atlantic to Florida and the eastern and central Gulf Coast regions,'' Bastardi said.

Experts are warning of above-average activity after overestimating last year's below-normal season, when 10 tropical storms and five hurricanes took shape. Three struck the U.S., including Ernesto, which caused more than $100 million in damage in North Carolina and Virginia.

Bastardi, whose forecasts focus on the path of storms rather than the number, said last year the East Coast was more vulnerable to a strike than the Gulf of Mexico. This year, systems may mimic Hurricane Katrina, which cut through the Florida peninsula before heading for the Gulf to make a second U.S. landfall, he said.

Former weed may fill world's fuel tanks

As American farmers plan to plant the most corn since World War II to cash in on ethanol, which is added to gasoline, much of the rest of the world is turning to jatropha, which is used as a substitute for diesel fuel.

The two are not competitors, since neither can be used in the other type of fuel. But jatropha is fast emerging as a candidate for the ideal biofuel. It is grown in wastelands, needs relatively little care or refinement, and is inedible – meaning it will not take food from the poor for the gas tanks of the rich.

There is no estimate as to how much jatropha is being cultivated globally, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the trend is accelerating:

• The government-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is planning to have 80,000 acres of jatropha in Sichuan Province alone by 2010.

• Renova Biodiesel of Brazil is expected to plant 60,000 acres of jatropha, and reports suggest that other oil companies are considering planting nearly 500,000 acres in the next four years.

• D1 Oils, a British company that is considered by many to be the leader in jatropha cultivation, has plantations from Swaziland to Indonesia, and hopes to nearly double its 385,000 acres of jatropha worldwide by the end of 2008.

• The Philippine National Oil Co. recently earmarked $14 million for jatropha planting and production, while Indonesia plans to set up 52 biodiesel plants across the country at a cost of $7.3 million.

On these lines of weeds to fuel, does anyone know of any research on knapweed?

An exotic, it has become a photosynthetic terror in much of the intermountain west, esp on dry or marginal land/range. It ranks right up alongside leafy spurge. I am familiar with two species, spotted and diffuse knapweed. Pulled and piled to burn (plant 1-3 ft tall, bushy) it quickly ignites and gives off a very black, inky smoke, suggesting a very high oil content. I have wondered about it for years.

Usually, I look with appropriate skepticism at biofuels, though some have merit in different circumstances. Perhaps this weed does also.

The NYT has a good piece on some recent shenanigans by the Chevron.

Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, is preparing to acknowledge that it should have known kickbacks were being paid to Saddam Hussein on oil it bought from Iraq as part of a defunct United Nations program, according to investigators.

According to Chevron’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the public policy committee met three times in the course of 2000. Chevron declined to comment about the private deliberations of its board.

On Jan. 26, 2001, Patricia Woertz, then president of Chevron Products, stated in an internal communication that “the payment of such a surcharge is prohibited by U.N. sanctions against Iraq,” according to documents provided by Chevron to the Volker committee.

I just point this out for all the oil company apologists on this blog, who fantasize about the oil industry being run as Econ 101 and deny the power these corporations have in many aspects of the market. Here's Chevron's board conspiring to break international law, but of course to think the oil companies would ever tighten up the refinery system which they have monopolistic control is wild eye conspiracy -- despite the now public proof that this is exactly what the electric generation companies did in the California electricity fiasco just five years ago.

But that's history right? What does history have to do with the forces of supply and demand? Here's another lesson from history, the biggest crimes are those committed in the wide open.

like JFK....

No not like JFK my friend, like the Iraq war, how's that? Or how about the California electricity fiasco which records show the generators were pulling capacity off-line and blacking out the state at half of peak capacity. They even paid fines you know, hah.

Just get the Congress to open the refineries records, no one should have a problem with that, right? Its all been on the up and up, and even better, we can get real economic phds from the oil companies, instead of a bunch of low-level bureaucrats tell us how supply and demand works in the oil industry.

.... all the oil company apologists on this blog, who fantasize about the oil industry being run as Econ 101 and deny the power these corporations have in many aspects of the market.

I don't think there are any.

you don't read much here do you?

Well, no inventory numbers out til tomorrow.

The Big picture looks ugly on its own:

U.S. foreclosure rate doubles in a year

The Implode-o-meter is at 67.

Dow, TSX, Chinese markets, skyrocketing...fundamentals? I can't help feeling I have been here before...when was it again?

MEND Keeps on cutting oil production We really don't need any help here...KSA has that covered.

Experts See Europe, Russia Sparring Over Fuel Supply NG, NG, NG...just when we get knocked down by peak oil...Peak NG will provide the coup de grâce

Total begins new Oil Sands project They are comparing it to Hoover Dam...is this the 'Manhattan-like' projects we have been hoping for...

Oil Sands?? NO!

Analysts want clearer picture on PetroChina discovery data

Thomas Wong, head of regional oil and gas at UBS, believes the two fields could add 15 percent to 20 percent to PetroChina's proven reserves. He estimates the Jidong field will boost PetroChina's oil production in 2009 and 2010 by 6 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

...He believes the market overreaction was largely as a result of misinterpreting the reserves data.

In the article I posted yesterday, an analyst quoted by the BBC suggested that a more accurate estimate of URR, given current data, is on the order of 650 million barrels, which will take decades to produce.

As I noted up the thread, in the past nine weeks, the world has consumed about 4,500 million barrels of crude + condensate.

An old ska tune comes to mind:
"Faster, faster, faster, faster, faster, faster, faster, faster, STOP."

Barents Sea lost half its ice in past 10 years

A new report on the state of the Barents Sea is setting off new alarms within Norway’s government and the institute that tracks developments in the Arctic.

The report, compiled by a management forum for the Arctic led by the Norwegian Polar Institute, shows that half of the summer ice in the Barents has disappeared over the past 10 years.

That in turn has reduced stocks of both fish and birds in the area, as temperatures have risen by a full degree during the same period.

"The reduction of the ice in the sea is dramatic," Bjørn Fossli Johansen of the Norwegian Polar Institute told Aftenposten.no. "The ecosystem in the Barents is guided to a large degree by the climate. This will have consequences for the entire ecosystem."

Update on “Escape from Suburbia”

DVD preorders for the feature length version of Escape from Suburbia: Beyond the American Dream will begin May 24 at www.escapefromsuburbia.com 

We ask that those who bit-torrent and otherwise pirate films allow us six months to try and earn a living. Films like Escape aren’t backed by government grants or broadcasters, but with the financial aid of a small handful of individuals and filmmakers foregoing their incomes to make the film. If films like Escape are made in future, we need to trust one another in this process.


Fresh STEO Out from EIA Washington.

This is a good time to recall Philip K. Verleger's preposterous forecast in JAN 2007, that all the growth in global oil demand for 2007, 2008, and 2009 will be met by bio-fuels, leaving demand for petroleum basically flat.

"Alternate fuels will take up all the growth, leaving
petroleum demand static in the next two or three years." --Philip K. Verleger

My blog comment on Verleger in February: http://www.gregor.us/Blog2007FEBArchive.htm

From today's STEO:

"Demand. World oil markets are projected to tighten this summer due to continued growth in oil demand and production restraint by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Despite the recent increases in world oil prices, global oil consumption is projected to grow by 1.4 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2007 and by 1.6 million bbl/d in 2008. About one-half of the projected growth will come from China and the United States (World Oil Consumption Growth). Preliminary first-quarter 2007 data indicate that U.S. consumption rose by over 500,000 bbl/d and Chinese consumption rose by about 400,000 bbl/d relative to first-quarter 2006 levels. Colder weather relative to last year was a major contributor to higher U.S. demand."



Coconut oil powers island's cars

People on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea have found their own solution to high energy prices - the humble coconut. They are developing mini-refineries that produce a coconut oil that can replace diesel.

From police officers to priests, the locals are powering up their vehicles and generators with coco-fuel.

. . .

For years, the people of Bougainville have been dependent on expensive fuel imported onto the island. Shortages have often caused many businesses in this part of Papua New Guinea to grind to a halt. High energy costs have not helped either. Increasingly, locals are turning to a cheaper and far more sustainable alternative to diesel. Coconut oil is being produced at a growing number of backyard refineries.

. . .

Coconut power is not new in Bougainville.

The island endured years of civil unrest in which thousands of people were killed in a fight for independence in the 1990s. Dwindling supplies of diesel forced islanders to look for alternatives and the coconut was chosen.

Yet another example of locally grown, small scale biodiesel. Variations on this theme will be repeated over and over again worldwide.

Variations on this theme will be repeated over and over again worldwide.

And aggravate the misery in every single spot.

And aggravate the misery in every single spot.

Since you posted the article on jatropha above just a little while ago, I'm not sure I understand where you are coming from with that comment.

Biofuels are a token of our inability to comprehend our surroundings, and ourselves.

There is no chance in hell that we're not going to make it even worse than we already have. It's the only thing we have real talent for. Just watch the amount of oil we will be, and already are, burning in order to get to the remaining oil.

And it works, you know, killing people is perfect demand destruction.

A small Pacific island burning their food to drive cars around, that's the opposite of preparation or mitigation, that's just plain stupidity.

Any individual, any society, will have to minimize their dependence on cars as soon as possible and as fast as possible. Coconuts don't replace oil.

But here's looking at zero hope that they will learn until they're starving. And even if in that particular locale they have enough food to go around, they'll still find a way to f**k it all up.

Human intelligence is one-dimensional. And that's a bit of a handicap in a three dimensional world.

I'm with WNC on this one...

Coconuts are most obviously replacing oil for the islanders in question, as does jatropha for the people who grow it - a story which YOU highlighted no less.

Then again, what should we expect from someone who seems to think that the primary food source for Bouganville's 175,000 people is coconuts?

Watched a little too much Gilligan's Island hey SOfly?

A lot of these islands are high-net food importers already. Even the ones that seem lush have a rather low carrying capacity. American Somoa probably consumes enough girl scout cookies to feed the population of Binghamton,NY. What happens when the food becomes to valuable elsewhere to be sent as aid or for the islanders to purchase enough of? Join a cargo cult and hope for the best? These places will be easily forgotten


It is a problem. A couple of thoughts:

Is it the islander's fault that we mainlanders overfished the oceans and are killing the coral reefs and are thus depriving them of what has traditionally been their main source of food? It might be too late to do anything about this, but it hardly seems fair to blame them for their plight.

The nice thing about biodiesel is that pressing the oil out of the oilseeds is not the end of the utilization of the crop. The left over meal makes a great feed for livestock. In the case of other oilseeds like rape, sunflower or soybean, they also serve as a good cover crop in a rotation scheme and thus contribute toward restoring soil fertility. Thus, oilseed crops for biodiesel may have less of an impact on overall food production than some are thinking. The impact is certainly far lower than is the case with corn for ethanol.

Yeah, I was going to mention the fishing since this would be the obvious thing for them to turn to. Too bad the fisheries are 75% depleted already. We are way past pk. fish. Of course one might still be able to get some fish if one had a power boat and enough fuel!


OK, here's the deal:

Producing enough coconut biodiesel to allow every single person on the island to drive US-style automobiles to and fro is indeed a dubious proposition. It probably would take most of the scarce arable land - land which is needed for food.

On the other hand, even if everyone walks or rides bicycles, they will still need ambulances & police cars and fire engines and shuttle buses and a few pieces of heavy equipment. A few emergency generators kept on hand to use during typhoons might also be helpful. Those uses are quite limited, and would not require a huge amount of biodiesel.

When I read the article, I was assuming that it was mostly refering to the second scenario. You apparently thought that the first scenario applies.

There is no type of biofuel or any quantity that can be feasibly produced that is going to allow us to all drive into the happy motoring future. But it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. Diesel engines are very useful and indispensible for accomplishing a lot of high priority tasks . It is worth trying to keep a few of them running for truly essential equipment. Fortunately, the EROEI for a number of biodiesel crops is pretty good (much better than ethanol), and biodiesel lends itself pretty well to small scale localized production. Limited to this more narrow objective, tha amount of arable land that would have to be dedicated for biodiesel oilseed production need not be overwhelming.

This is a do-able scenario that should prove helpful for many people and many communities.

I was always amazed at what they could do w/o FF's on Gilligan's Island (I wasn't going to mention it,but then someone else did)

They could probably just catch a ride with the camera crew...


Please don't assume as to what I was apparently thinking (because you're wrong) nor for that matter, did I infer that every single person on the island is going to drive US-style autos to and fro.

Essential service fuels in developing regions post-peak, will most certainly be produced from whatever local feedstocks are available and in whatever quantity - likely under a national mandate.

Furthermore, if you intend to comment on 'ethanol', I suggest that you take into consideration that the biofuel in question can be made from a variety of sources in a variety of ways.

The EROI of sugarcane ethanol for instance, is much better than canola biodiesel.

Re: A Pending Bust For Ethanol

I hope so. I haven't been able to use E85 in my flex fuel Ranger since I bought it in 2005 because it's been so overpriced compared to E-10 gasoline. If the ethanol price drops to its energy value compared to gasoline, I'll mix E-85 with E-10 and get about E-20 to burn in my '97 Escort. I've done it before and it works just fine. In fact Minnesota is considering mandating E-20. A serious drop in ethanol's price would just about clinch it, I suspect. I doubt Iowa will mandate it though. Doesn't matter. Ethanol use will rapidly increase, so make my day and drop away!


I wouldn't get your hopes up. Oversupply will occur on the other side of the bottleneck. Corn prices might drop because the EtOH brewers can't ship it out faster than farmers bring it in. In this case, farmers would get hosed--and probably the brewers as well.

I thought vehicle warrantees were a huge barrier to ethanol use above 10%. If Minnesota mandates 20% use, who will pay for engine damage?

I don't think there is much problem running E20, but I do think it technically voids the warrantee.

Didn't we just read about E85 pumps being shut down because UL wouldn't certify that the handles, hoses and whatnot would operate safely with the high alcohol content?

18:20 08May07 RTRS-Oil field cost increases may be slowing - CERA
HOUSTON, May 8 (Reuters) - There are signs the rise in capital costs in the oil and gas industry are slowing, but costs will stay high for at least two more years, Cambridge Energy Research Associates said Tuesday.

The IHS/CERA Upstream Capital Costs Index climbed 7 percent to 179 points during the six months ended March 31, CERA said in a news release. The index increased 13 percent during the previous six months, CERA said.

"This new point indicates an annual rate of project inflation of 14 percent, which is high, but this is the second consecutive period of deceleration," said Richard Ward, CERA's senior director of cost research.

In 2006, the UCCI measured annual rate of project inflation at 30 percent. If the deceleration trend continues, costs may plateau as early as late 2008 but relief will be limited, the news release said.

Project delays and cancellations are "beginning to provide a natural balance" on the equipment side, Ward said. "However, the shortage of experienced personnel is still a major factor."

People are switching jobs, companies are raiding parallel industries for personnel and continued strength in the global economy has maintained pressure on commodities and related equipment and services, CERA said.

"Based upon these trends, any significant relief in cost increases will not be seen until late 2008/09," Ward said.

High costs will persist for two or three years, Ward said. "Additional market capacity that is currently planned will not be sufficient in most markets to bring very much relief to high costs during this period," he said.

Not all components of the index are increasing at significant rates, the news release said.

For the first time since 2005, some areas -- processing and utilities equipment, installation vessel day rates and yard construction -- are seeing only moderate cost increases.

Only one area is showing cost decline -- rig day rates, the report said.

I am looking for information about solar cells from three vendors:
BP Solar, SunEdison LLC, and PowerLight, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation

Installations from each of these vendors are being tested by Wal-Mart. One of these will be picked and when Wal-Mart signs on the dotted line, solar will not be alternative anymore; it will be mainstream.

Does anyone work with solar cells for a living? Have you tested solar cells from these three vendors? Can anyone give me the pros and cons of the companies and their products from first-hand experience?

You can read more here:

Wal-Mart Seeks Green Savings
New Solar-Power Program Is Planned At 22 Stores In California and Hawaii

I don't know what model they are testing, but we have some Sunpower 12V 120W panels here...nice panels, sturdy casing, good connections, power consistent. CONS - we have only 12V panels...our next lot will be 24V.

The Toronto Exibition Place 100kW Solar PV
demonstration project cost $1.1 million and they have a mixture of panel vendors.

They estimated 22 years to reclaim the investment at $0.42/kWh under Ontario's Standard Offer Program. Which is allowing $0.42/kWh for PV and $0.11 for all other renewable systems.

You can watch the live output stats (requires flash) of the Exibition Palace 100kWh installation in Toronto and see historical data.

The system has been online since last August and they should have a much better month this June, but the 100kW Solar PV installation poorest functional month was 1.8MWh (January) and best was 9MWh so far. At the $0.42/kWh this translates to $756-$3780 per month or 24-121 years to reclaim the investment. At $0.11/kWh this is $198-$990/month or 92-462 years to break even on the investment.

I would think the real annual output will land in the center and at the $0.42/kWh rate, they will reclaim the $1.1 million in around 40 years if the panels output doesn't degrade severely through that period.

In higher annual insolation areas like California and Hawaii with peak electrical usage due to AC, solar PV is getting very close to cost effective for low-maintenance installations like a Walmart or Google roof, when the PR factor is taken into account. The "no-moving-parts" and high output of Solar PV when AC demands are high is a good fit for arid climates.

In Canada, it's a long way off from feasible due to the low winter insolation and "Twin Peaks" electrical load with the highest peak in February when solar PV has no real output.

insolation vs demand

SHPEGS is our attempt to design a more suitable renewable power system for Canada, Northern US and Europe.

First of all, from the numbers, it looks like they paid around $11 per installed watt of power.. that sounds pretty high.

Here's a story from Homepower #117 where a small business installed 3.2kw system for $15.5k, (some $4.85/w) grid-tied, no batteries.. where the owner and author of the article, Andy Kerr, using incentives, rebates and tax credits worked out a payback of 10 years.. based on .05/kwh.

The payback argument is deceptive and only seems to apply to alt energy equipment. (As Far as Home Purchases..) You'll be replacing your hot-water heater in 10 years, but did you get your payback from it? No, you accepted that it was the equipment that gave you the hot water you wanted, and you paid for both the tank, and continually for the energy to heat it and the water to fill it, never creating a detailed spreadsheet to see when it finally started making YOU money, since it, like your Fridge and your Car never will.. So demanding that RE equipment has to print money for you, and not only that, but do it quickly, is missing much of the point. 1) This equipment can probably be given to your kids, with considerable life left in it. Are they waiting to take possession of your other Appliances? I doubt it. 2) In the unlikely (?!) event of power outages or price hikes, you have a certain amount of generation guaranteed with your rooftop installation. (Even with a grid-tied system, those panels are producing whenever there's daylight, and if you're rebellious enough, you CAN disconnect the gridtie-inverter and set up your own battery charger/inverter, if conditions warrant it, as long as you keep it off the Utility line and get it approved (when convenient)..

Here's another Homepower (#64) article on PV payback.

"Twenty years later, “what’s the payback?” has become
a mindless chant. In no other realm does this mentality
prevail. Your wife’s pregnant!? Jeez, I’m sorry, kids
aren’t cost effective. Honey, let’s buy a new sofa. Have
you done a cost-benefit analysis?

... To understand why grid-tied PV is not cost-effective,
look at energy solutions that supposedly are. Building
110 nuclear power plants before figuring out what to do
with the waste is cost effective. Drowning the Columbia
River and its priceless salmon runs is cost effective.
Spending $50 billion a year to defend the Persian Gulf
oil fields is prudent. Strip mining pays nice dividends:
Wyoming coal is literally cheaper than dirt.


And here is the Nat'l Renewable Energy Page on the 'Embedded energy payback', which is different, but no less important..


Bob Fiske

Forget alternate energy, I am big on alternate spellings of "Exhibition" :)

A couple of years ago when I wondered what it would take to get into the solar install biz I came across the Taos Solar Music Festival. I am not sure, but it would seem one could develop some leads from that.

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?
Here it is !

It's my understanding that SunEdison and PowerLight are both solar energy services providers while BP Solar is a manufacturer.

Consider subscribing to the quarterly Solar Outlook newsletter. An excerpt from the latest edition ranking the top 10 PV manufacturers can be read in this PDF file.

RenewableEnergyAccess.com is a great place for daily PV/renewable industry news.

EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook


May 8, 2007 Release

  • Continuing problems for refineries in the United States and abroad, combined with strong global gasoline demand, have raised our projected average summer gasoline price by 14 cents per gallon from our last Outlook. Retail regular grade motor gasoline prices are now projected to average $2.95 per gallon this summer compared with the $2.84 per gallon average of last summer. During the summer season, the average monthly gasoline pump price is projected to peak at $3.01 per gallon in May and again in August, compared with $2.98 per gallon last July.
  • The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is expected to average over $66 per barrel this summer, compared with over $70 per barrel last summer, and to average about $64 per barrel annually in both 2007 and 2008. However, the price of WTI is not, at this time, a reliable marker for other crude oil prices. The average cost of all crude oils to U.S. refiners is projected to be only about $2 per barrel less this summer than last summer.
  • The Henry Hub natural gas spot price is expected to average $7.84 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in 2007, a 90-cent increase from the 2006 average, and $8.16 per mcf in 2008.
  • Residential electricity prices are expected to continue to grow at about 3 percent annually during 2007 and 2008 as higher fuel costs, particularly for natural gas, are passed through to retail customers.

Japanese find sleep, shelter in cyber cafes

Takeshi Yamashita does not look like a homeless person.

From his carefully distressed jeans to his casual-cool navy striped T-shirt, he is every bit the trendy Tokyoite.

Yet the 26-year-old has been sleeping in a reclining seat in an Internet cafe every night for the past month since he lost his steady office job and his apartment.

...Yamashita is one of Japan's many "freeters" -- a compound of "free" and "Arbeiter", the German word for "worker".

A by-product of the economic crisis that hit Japan and its lifelong employment guarantees in the 1990s, freeters drift between odd jobs.

Home-price forecast: First ever decline

Home prices are expected to finish down for the year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said Tuesday, which would mark the first drop since the group started tracking values in 1968.

home prices falling off the cliff is good news for young families. Finally, they are able to buy their own home.

It's like in the forest. If the big trees get sick and falling down, there is new life for the young trees to prosper. And not to be killed amid shadow of the big trees.

Life is going on, maybe better than before.

I think what's getting the "big trees" is going to be even worse for the small trees.

It's hard to believe it really happens, but there you are: After coaxing millions of Americans into liar loan mortgages, Lereah leaves the NAR and does a 180 on his view of the housing situation.

He should face a jury of his peers, along with Alan Greenspan, for misleading, deceit, and racketeering. But that won't happen: it's perfectly legal in the US to lie for profit.

Long criticized as too upbeat, Realtors' departing economist now sees recession

On his way out the door, the housing industry's self-described "cheerleader" is making one last economic forecast -- a sober one at that.

"We're in a real estate recession," said David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, who surprised many this week when he announced he would leave the Chicago-based trade group on May 19.

"I'm projecting the first [nationwide] price drop since the Great Depression," he said. "We're going to have negative home prices in 2007."

His comments seemed uncharacteristic for Lereah, whose mostly blue-sky forecasts have long been criticized for stoking the fire as home sales bubbled to stunning -- and unsustainable, even by his own account -- levels. He had been the public face for the Realtors since the housing boom began in 2001.

"The media regularly turns to him for real estate quotes," said David Jackson, who created the hypercritical David Lereah Watch blog because he believed the economist was churning the housing market. "Lereah tells half-truths and manipulates facts and figures. He cannot be trusted, as he is a paid shill."

Most critics are less incendiary, though frankly uncomplimentary.

They often cite as Exhibit A his 2005 book, "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?" subtitled "Why home values and other real estate investments will climb through the end of the decade."

In response to a question from Jim Puplava this weekend as to whether he had been pressured by the National Association of Realtors to make optimistic forecasts for the housing market, Lereah said to ask him the question again "after May 19th."

Right, "they made me do it", "I was just following orders".

Here's a link to the Lereah article that actually works:

Housing cheers turn gloomy

And one more quote:

"I am going to say, look, guys, we all have to face the music," Lereah said. "We strayed from [economic] fundamentals, and we're paying for it. It's not an all-out bust, not a crash in real estate, but it is a recession. This is going to cleanse the markets and in the long term this is what we have needed.

"We're going to scrape this bottom for the next quarter or two. [The market isn't] going to come roaring back soon. It will take a couple of years to get back to the heat."

Nonetheless, he said housing's long-term prospects are good. "I am the cheerleader for real estate," he said. "I will always be the cheerleader. I think it's the best investment anybody can make."

I've long believed that people should invest in a home for its utilitarian value and not as an investment for the future. Over the long run on a nationwide basis home values have been close to constant in real dollar terms. It is only during short periods of time in limited locations that real estate speculation has made money for a small number of people. By definition speculators make profits without adding any real value to their investment. If a recession drives away the speculators then that may be good news for working families. But if working families hadn't been experiencing paycuts every year there might not have been this drop in values.

thomas deplume said,
"I've long believed that people should invest in a home for its utilitarian value and not as an investment for the future."

EXACTLY. I now know people personally who are buying condos and townhouses on the coast for the "flipping" opportunity....use it a couple of summers to impress the mistress, sell it for 4 times what you paid for it....who could resist a deal like that?

Yeah, this gravy train is getting ready to end, but it has nothing to do with peak oil.....


Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Of course that 1% decline is nominal. Given that the CPI is bumping up around 4% (meaning a real decline of more like 5%), and that the CPI may be seriously understating a real inflation rate of more like 8-10% (meaning a real decline of 9-11%), it is little wonder that the housing market is going into the toilet. What this also means is that for Americans that have been using their houses as a cash machine thorugh home equity loans, the cash machine is now out of order. There is now NO equity appreciation to cash out. Couple that with increasing energy and food prices and a declining dollar, and it is hard to see why anyone should take any happy face economic optimist seriously right now.

CPI may be seriously understating a real inflation rate of more like 8-10% (meaning a real decline of 9-11%)

Any evidence for this?

There were posts to this effect a few days ago. Sorry, no time to go back and find them right now.

Eesh. I followed the link; this guy is a scheister.

Takes one to know one, Mr. Pump-And-Dump?

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

I have been chewing on this, just looking at my own debt situation ,costs etc. I don't think it's that high. I will buy 5-6%. I have a large student loan that is basically constant principle (i chip away at it but nearly all of my pmts are interest) I just don't think the real value of the principle is going down by 10%. I wish it were but I don't think it is.


Because earnings are stagnant, but you sure see the trend with new purchases, even new everyday purchases like food.

It's hard to figure. Does this mean we are talking about more than one thing?

People need to pay more attention to exchange rates. Back in the old days they didn't matter all that much for the US economy, but they do matter now. When most of the stuff that we buy, including all-important oil, comes from overseas, the value of the dollar becomes extremely important. It has declined something on the order of 30% or so against the Euro over the past few years, for example. The dollar is worth less. (It's not yet worthless, but it is getting there.) A dollar that is worth less will buy less stuff from overseas, and domestic assets like housing that are valued in dollars will also be worth less.

Why is the dollar worth less? Partly because the demand for dollars is down, because we have don't have much stuff to sell, and there is thus less overseas need for dollars to buy our stuff. Partly because the supply of dollars are up, because our demand for overseas stuff continues to increase and we are buying more of that stuff than we really can afford, supplying dollars that we haven't earned back by selling our own stuff. Oh, and by the way, it is also partly because we can't raise our interest rates high enough to make dollar-denominated investments attractive to hold in spite of the above, because that would send an already suffering housing-based economy totally down the drain.

It is easy to obfuscate all this with lots of economic jargon, but the underlying reality is actually quite simple.

As far as I understand it, the true rate of inflation is equal to the growth in the money supply. Taking M3 as an indicator of money supply growth, then the true rate of inflation is in excess of 10%.

The Fed discontinued reporting of M3 last year, but I've seen reports of circa 13% by those trying to cobble the M3 back together from its constituent parts. This is not unreasonable as reported M3 growth in the EU and UK is above 10%.

I think the thing that is foxing people about inflation is that the money is not finding its way into peoples pockets via inflating wages (possibly due to outsourcing and globalisation). The money finding its way into the general populace is doing so through the debt mechanism (ie. housing), the rest is remaining within the bloated financial system and manifesting itself in global speculative bubbles.

I believe this situation benefits corporations disproportionately as they are better at capturing the money created via credit than small businesses. Hence the money flow is towards the small pool of people who control the corporations. In effect, money is no longer a simple method for facilitating transactions, it has become a huge mechanism for extracting the wealth of entire populations and depositing it with those who control the system. In other words it has become a mechanism of systematic theft.

At 13% M3 inflation, the money supply will double approximately every 6 years. Part of the solution for future survival is to break the chains that bind us to the money system, which in effect means finding an alternate transaction mechanism. Sigh!

Florida East Coast Railroad Bought Out

May 8, 2007

Fortress to acquire Florida East Coast Industries

Florida East Coast Industries, Inc., announced today that it will merge with Fortress Investment Group, LLC. The $3.5 billion, all-cash transaction is expected to close in the third quarter. FECI will pay a special dividend of $21.50 per share in cash, and with the merger, shareholders will receive $62.50 in cash for each share of FECI common stock they hold. The deal includes FECI's existing debt.

"The value created by this transaction is a direct result of our employees' dedication, commitment, and hard work over many years," FECI Chairman, President, and CEO Adolfo Henriques said during the announcement. "We look forward to working together with Fortress to continue to build our

The merger was unanimously approved by FECI's Board of Directors. The transaction's close is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and the approval of the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of FECI common stock. Upon completion of the deal, FECI will become a privately held company, and its common stock will no longer be publicly traded.

As a small shareholder of FLA, I was surprised and pleased by the $10 jump in shares this morning ! VERY good gain (90% in two years). Now where to put the $$ ?

This railroad was cash rich (and real estate rich) with lots of upside potential. Their ROW is mainly single track and I would like to see it double tracked and electrified. Time will tell on what the new owners want; milk the cow or build up the business ?

One possibility is keep the real estate and sell the railroad to Norfolk Southern (CSX competes directly with Florida East Coast RR, with tracks often within sight of FEC , so they cannot buy).

Fereidun Fesharaki, a well-known expert on energy questions and CEO of FACTS Global Energy, recently told a conference in Dubai, that India would become an oil exporter of around 1.5 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2010, which could rise to 1.65 million b/d by 2012. Speaking at the Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference in Dubai on April 16-17, Fesharaki has said that India is planning to add nearly 1.8 million b/d of capacity between 2007 and 2017.

As India's oil product demand is projected to grow by only 635,000 b/d in the same period, which is significantly lower than the new capacity, India could export some 1.5 million b/d by 2010 and 1.65 million b/d in 2012.

India a net exporter by 2010? Fereidun Fesharaki must be on drugs. I can find no other plausible explanation. Avoid the 'shrooms, Fereidun, and don't ever take acid, OK?  

best --

Here is more on that topic.
Looks like India will begin exporting oil soon. This is great news. The "Chindia' scare has been a real one. Now, take out India, and we are left with China. This expert also notes worldwide demand for oil has been dampened by the high price. We should use regulatory and tax tools to make sure we reach Pak Demand before we reach Peak Oil. We might anyway.

Expert says India will export around 1.5 mn bd of oil by 2010

Nicosia, May 08: Fereidun Fesharaki, a well-known expert on energy questions and CEO of FACTS Global Energy, recently told a conference in Dubai, that India would become an oil exporter of around 1.5 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2010, which could rise to 1.65 million b/d by 2012.

Speaking at the Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference in Dubai on April 16-17, Fesharaki has said that India is planning to add nearly 1.8 million b/d of capacity between 2007 and 2017.

As India's oil product demand is projected to grow by only 635,000 b/d in the same period, which is significantly lower than the new capacity, India could export some 1.5 million b/d by 2010 and 1.65 million b/d in 2012.

The energy expert said that he believed that in addition to firm projects, India would add another 300,000-500,000 b/d of refining capacity in the near future, raising its capacity to 2 million b/d. India would becoming Asia's largest product exporter in refined products, surpassing Singapore.

Fesharaki also expressed the opinion that the prevailing high oil prices did not reduce global oil demand in totality, but changed the structure of demand. High oil prices, he added, had the result of dampening demand worldwide.

"In Asia, China and India now account for some 80% of demand growth, while key developing countries have witnessed very weak demand, "the expert said.

Kind of interesting though, isn't it? All of a sudden oil turns up off the coast of China, off the coast of Cambodia....no one knows how much, and now India starts talking production and export instead of import of oil.....

Bay of Bengal maybe.....(?)....maybe they know something we don't.....nah, couldn't be, they have brown skin, and only great white father knows anything about oil...

ohhh, this is going to be fun! :-)

Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Published on 8 May 2007 by Energy Bulletin. Archived on 8 May 2007.
Peak oil blindness
by Brandon Marshall

In many ways the Peak Oil phenomenon is difficult to imagine. This unprecedented event promises systemic social change. The only references we have to draw from are the oil shocks of the 1970’s but it could be argued that even these events are questionable as instances in the same class as the Peak Oil phenomenon. The former energy crises were politically driven and resolved through increased production of alternative petroleum reserves. The decline post-Peak will be geologically constrained and indefinite in length. There will be no alternative reserves to tap this time.

The oil disucssion, the numbers, the stats the charts, the alternative energy information all make for an addictive board.

And of course, there are some very smart writers and posters discussion the energy situation, and there are of course those who handle the issue much as Brandon Marshall did in his essay linked by Westexes, which uses some very dense jargon to come to that one inevitable conclusion we see more and more and more lately, to paraphrase, "you don't believe me, your ignorant."

That is not an argument. It is a cult.

Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Kind of interesting though, isn't it? All of a sudden oil turns up off the coast of China, off the coast of Cambodia....no one knows how much, and now India starts talking production and export instead of import of oil.....

Come on... your posts continue to read that we can drill our way into postponing the inevitable consequences of consuming 85bbl of oil per day. The optimists, like you and BenjaminCole, continue to think and post that we can delay TEOTWAWKI a few more years and it won't be that bad. The realists, of which the overwhelming majority of the contributors on this board are, are doing their best to provide the hard eye-opening facts to us. Yes, the reality of what is happening is extremely hard to comprehend. Your posts have a similar effect on the uneducated as the anti global climate change campaigns by AEI. Prepare yourself and those you care about instead of attempting to provide hope that the unsustainable life as we know it will continue.

Did you even read Dave Cohen's chart before making your statements?

The current situation is that India imports almost 1.9 mbpd over a 0.7 mbpd base production (total consumption of 2.6 mbpd)!! If they add 1.65 mbpd production AND grow consumption by 635,000 bpd, then they are still NET IMPORTERS because total production is about 2.35 mbpd and consumption is about 3.235 mbpd. And this is with the very tepid consumption rise they predict which defies the consumption rise of the last three years in India.

I suggest you re-examine Dave Cohen's chart before you make absurd statements.

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

They are obviously confusing crude oil with refined products. India may export refined products but will always be a crude oil importer as long as crude oil is available for import.

Auto policy of Government of India envisions to establish a globally competitive automotive industry in India and to double its contribution to the economy by 2010. GOI policy has rightly recognized the need for modernizing of vehicles to arrest degradation of air quality. The terminal life policy for commercial vehicles and move toward international taxing policies linked to age of vehicles, are steps in the right direction which will lead to increased sales for TATA motors Commercial vehicle division


As is often the case, we have to look at our news mechanisms with a bit of skepticism. Go to the source...

By going to Mr. Fesharaki's website:
and looking at the presentation (.PPT) in question:
specifically on page 12, we see that he is refering to India's net exports which include refined products. Unfortunately of the three bullet items on that page, the first is poorly worded enough to confuse any news wire, but when taken in light of the other bullet points, and the presentation as a whole, it becomes clear what Fesharaki is discussing. His second bullet reads:

Beyond the firm projects, we now believe another 300-500 kb/d of refining construction in India could be approved in the near term, potentially raising India’s exports to over 2 million b/d. By 2010, India will surpass Singapore to be the largest refined product exporter in Asia.

His presentation as a whole is somewhat of a Peak Oil in the not too distant future type of thing... I'd label him a sort of Simmons-light based upon the presentations. He sees declining US nat gas production (opposed to EIA estimate) leading to significant growth in US importing LNG.

Recommend you take a look at his presentation and site. From his bio I gather Dr. Fesharaki is somewhat of a heavyweight in the international monied crowd.

Once again, don't just take a news story off a wire and assume you have received the Gospel, or rather, that the Gospel has been transmitted accurately to you.

Thanks for posting the links. Interesting presentations.


Well, you're welcome... but I just like to go to the source rather than rely on hearsay.

I'd recommend people also look at his latest presentation on China and India wrt coal and LNG:
and his presentation to Korea last year:
The LNG vs coal tradeoff is interesting.... and not good news for those worried about AGW.

From his presentations it appears he believes that OPEC is going to have a difficult time increasing oil production, and that non-OPEC can only have limited increase in production... and that there will be a worldwide refinery-capacity glut in the not too distant future.

I seem to remember seeing his name bandied about before, either on this site or somewhere else... wish I could remember where.

the .../../LNG15.ppt link does not work.

Slide 5, presentation 2 (FGEEW.PPT) is interesting in that he says that Opec reserve numbers are guess-estimates, though the resource base may be there.

If the resource base is there it could pose a future threat to alternatives.

I am familiar with Fesharaki's work, and have looked over his presentations before. Looking at the Powerpoint, I think his first bullet point on the relevant slide (#12) is unambiguous. It was reported accurately. It says --

India is planning to add nearly 1.8 million b/d of capacity between 2007 and 2012. In contrast, India’s oil product demand is projected to grow by 635 kb/d in the same period. With a demand growth likely to be significantly lower than the new capacity, India will be an exporter of around 1.5 million b/d by 2010 which will rise to 1.65 million b/d by 2012.
The refined products point below that is independent of the first bullet point quoted above.

Do not presume to tell me my business.

best --

The refined products point below that is independent of the first bullet point quoted above.

Do not presume to tell me my business.

Dave, I am always impressed by your ability to maintain a high level of rudeness while at the same time being completely wrong. It is clear from the context of the presentation that he is talking about refined products. On slide 11 there is a big clue, "Refining Surplus But Less Crude" in 36pt.

You seem to suffer a lot of cognitive dissonance like this. Or maybe you are just too busy to fully contemplate what you read.

I look forward to your rude and dismissive response ;)

EIA Numbers are out:


World Crude Oil Production (including lease condensate) for February 2007 = 73,346. Peak is still May 2005 at 74,151.

World Oil Supply for February 2007 = 84,675. Peak is still July 2006 at 85,427 (reduced from 85,450).

Saudi Arabia is shown at 8.6 mbpd for February, versus 9.5 mbpd for February, 2006, a decline rate (on a month to month basis) of 10% per year.

Russia is interesting. They have been between about 9.3 and 9.5 mbpd since August. Kind of looks like a plateau.

Note that the Russians are reporting some higher numbers for March/April. It will be interesting to see how well the EIA numbers match the Russian numbers for later months.

FYI, the initial Lower 48 crude + condensate decline (with the year over year percentage decline rate):

1970: 9.41 mbpd
1971: 9.25 mbpd (-1.7%)
1972: 9.24 mbpd (-0.1%)
1973: 9.01 mbpd (-2.5%)

The average decline rate for the first two years, 1971 and 1972, was less than 1% per year (0.9%).

Rick: Interesting.Feb 07 is below Feb 05 and has only advanced at a compounded anuual rate of .8% since Feb 04. Should be very interesting once we step down off the plateau.

Yes, there are some very strange things about this months numbers. They show a build in world production of 510 mb/d over last month. But that is only after a revision downward of last months data downward by 348 thousand barrels per day. So actually the gain, from last months data, was only 162 thosuand barrels per day.

January world production, before the reivsion downward, was 73,184 kb/d but January production was revised downward this month to 72,836 bp/d.

The gain came mostly from Iraq, 250 kb/d, The UK, 149 kb/d (Buzzard), Canada 116 kb/d and the US 102 kb/d. The big losers were Saudi Arabia -150 kb/d and Iran -140 kb/d.

I am analyzing the data and will have more to say on this subject tomorrow.

Ron Patterson

Although the EIA claims that UK production went up by around 10% in February compared with January, the figures produced by the UK government show that it went down by 1.4% in February: http://www.dtistats.net/energystats/et3_10.xls (Excel document)
and figures from the Royal Bank of Scotland show production increasing by just 0.2%:

So the EIA is completely inconsistent with British sources. Personally I would not be surprised to see the EIA revise their UK February estimate down in future months.

Also of interest in the EIA's report is the fact the 'all liquids' figures have been revised down, so that the annual peak for all liquids is now 2005 (as it already was for crude+condensate).

As Khebab has noted, the EIA revisions tend to be downward with time.

Two unambiguous declines, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, are interesting, with respective year over year decline rates of about 10% and 6%--as the world's two largest producing fields decline/crash.

Quickie chart:

Surely, production is zooming and looks like it will zoom all the way to above what EIA's numbers said was peak. Surely.

Here's a graph for total liquids:

(Click for full size)

Strong tick up for February puts us back within striking distance of 2006 average. The increase is accounted for by several countries including Angola, Azerbaijan, Canada, United Kingdom and United States.

Qatar and the UAE appear to have made further very small cuts in production, in line with February announcements. So I still believe that Algeria, Libya, Qatar and the UAE have chosen to constrain production by a total of around 200 kb/d, which they could easily bring back onstream at any time. Other OPEC cuts I think are less 'voluntary'.


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), has called for wider acceptance and greater use of bio-fuels world-wide, as a fuel for transport and for power generation; claiming that bio-fuels, fuels derived from bio-mass, offer a promising supplement.

The UN group claimed that due to increase and fluctuations in global oil prices and growing concern about global warming, policy makers and the public are more interested in finding alternatives to petrol than at any time since the mid-1970s.

Bio-fuels production is based on agricultural production and therefore many countries can produce them easily. Moreover, there are several additional benefits: reduction of oil import bills, better energy security and diversification of energy sources, diversification of agricultural output, accelerated development of rural areas, increased rural employment, and the possibility to raise export earnings.


EU Commissioner: biofuels have limited impact on food prices.

Despite some legitimate but unfounded fears, analyses show that large-scale biofuel production will not have any noticeable effects on food prices. Earlier, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs reported that analyses show that biofuels make feed and meat products cheaper, because biodiesel and ethanol production yields a vast stream of waste products that can be used as feed for animals.


I think that Commissioner Piebalgs is unfit to govern.

I have an interesting personal housing story to share. I live in Seattle and the rumor around the nation is that this area's housing market is an aberration. Prices are still rising etc etc, Seattle bucking the trend. I didn't really buy that before but now I really don't buy it.

I currently rent a nice townhome in the city with a friend from work. We rent it from a person who is a mortgage broker in the area. The broker's income has been seriously dimished, as much as 50% due to lack of sales. Consequently the broker has to sell the 4 places she owns. One of those places is where I live of course. As it turns out we have a 1 year lease that's not up and so essentially the lease is being sold with the place as well(Unless we are given a sweet deal to move out).

Another interesting tidbit I got from the broker was that one of the companies the broker was employed in just essentially ceased to exist. She walked in one morning and they told here and other people that they couldn't make loans.

I've been hearing about these things aand I can't help but wonder what will unfold over the next 2 years or so. Couple that with a declining value of dollar and problems with oil, energy, and global warming and these are quite alot of problems to deal with at once.


The broker's income has been seriously diminished, as much as 50% due to lack of sales

Notice a recurring theme of reports of 50% reductions in income, e.g., Circuit City?

As I have previously outlined, I have experienced being run down by a deflationary Mack Truck--thus my relentless warnings to ELP.

The captioned story illustrates the two deflationary Mack Trucks headed your way--ferocious competition for jobs and declining real estate values. The two inflationary Mack Trucks headed your way are rising food/energy prices and rising health care costs.

My continuing advice is to assume a 50% reduction in income and gasoline prices of $8 per gallon or more, and plan your life accordingly.

Not so fast, you people, you doomers, you pessimists — Iraq will be coming onstream — 3, 4, maybe 5, million barrels a day — it's like money in the bank. Have you neglected to understand that HE IS

The Commander Guy


Why is his nose so red?

Remember Yeltsin's nose...not the nose of a tea-totaller.

I am not allowed to comment anymore, but if we keep out of the way, Iran will likely up production a lot in next 10 years...bringing prosperity and (it may be hoped) less radicalism to that nation...but like I said, we have to keep out of the way for that to happen...
Iraq looks like a mess for at least another generation...at best...we should have just bought Saddam off...by the way, here is a fresh number (I have been chided for no fresh poop): There are 20 million residents left in Iraq (the middle class has left), and we will likely spend $1 trillion "fighting terrorism" there before we are done....you see where this is going....that's $50,000 per man, woman and child, grannie in Iraq...call 200k for every family.....and we will get nothing likely....The brits also spent a ton....
for this kind of money, imagine the energy program we could have in the USA....that's why I say, we can transition to better world....we just have to have some wits about us....

Oh, how brutal it would be to have to drive a car that get's over 40 miles per gallon....


Hee, hee,.....man this is going to be fun....:-)

Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom
(and I aim to ride to it in a Benz.....:-)

This is basically a TDI w/ higher ego emissions. VW has been making them since 95 (Passat only that year). Great cars.


"This is basically a TDI w/ higher ego emissions. VW has been making them since 95 (Passat only that year). Great cars."

Do ego emissions contribute to global warming? :-)

Kidding aside, I have owned Volkswagen Diesels. For me, (and this is a personal thing) the only thing I did not like about them was that they were front wheel drive (I'm an old man, and have never gotten used to that!)

On the "ego emission" side of the discussion, do not underestimate the power of that....the goal is to make great efficiency a marketable commodity. I know folks who would not be caught dead with a Volkswagen in their drive, but who will gladly pay a premium for the status of a Benz....if they feel they are giving up nothing....then they are giving up nothing....it's "transparent" sacrifice as I have discussed it before on TOD, i.e., efficiency increases that cause no pain will be more likely to be accepted.

Now, the fun will begin when plug hybrid catches on, imagine the efficiency possibilities then....a commuter version of the little Benz with an advanced 2 cylinder Diesel to drive the electric motor, arranged somewhat like the Volt showcar, so that it can run with no fossil fuel on in town slower trips....the efficiency becomes staggering. This is what the posts so hated here on TOD as written by Benjamin Cole up the thread, and my own "confluence posts" for over a year have been trying to say....combined with rapidly growing thin film solar energy and advanced batteries....

We are near the edge of a new paradigm. Saudi Arabia is correct to keep the supply down and the price up, but, notice, not too high, they don't want to stop the cash stream....they intend to milk this period for the money needed to move into petroleum based finished goods such as chemical stocks, fertilizer, and plastic feedstock. Oil is beginning to be seen in the right way, as too valuable to burn, to quote another poster today.

Right now, they are reading it perfectly.

This is going to be sooooo much fun! :-)
Damm, I wish I was college age again, the opportunities...damm!

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

Right, right, right!
We can achieve radical increases in MPG, and it does not have to be seen as a lower standard of living. Sanford Bernstein (a Wall Street research house) has some reports out, on the web site, and you can see predictions of radically lower oil consumption going forward...if we get lucky on cellulosics, or if cattle-methane-ethanol plants become very widespread (the latter seems inevitable anyway) we can transition to a better, cleaner world, while having better living standards....I would not want to be in the fossil crude business right now....you have to spend gobs of capital upfront to get the stuff, but the marginal cost of production is very low...what happens when cars get 100 MPG (plug-in hydrids) in actual service....you can shut your wells in (and lose everything) or keep pumping (this adding to the glut). Now that is a Hobson's choice. That is the world of Peak Demand.
OPEC is walking the tightrope right now. I do wonder if anybody is manipulating the futures markets.....

Don't worry !

The numbers for effortless changes to reduce oil consumption (that you point to) do *NOT* add up in volume and time to equal oil depletion that is either upon us or nearly so.

When will the first 100 mpg cars be sold, even in minimal volume in the US ? (One month the 60+ mpg Honda Insight sold *FOUR* cars in the entire USA !)

Say 2010 at the earliest.

How long till they are half the market (like SUVs are half the market today) ?

2016 would be wildly optimistic.

And it takes about 15 years to turn over the US auto & SUV fleet.

Faster will be fewer miles driven (unemployed people drive far less).

Best Hopes for Realistic Planning,


Not to be snarky Alan but...

Couldn't you hold the same criticisms to your rail expansion plans?
It will take years to build up the rail systems to the point where it removes a significant number of cars from the road (if possible).
And expanding rail service doesn't do much good until you redevelop communities around it. That will take even longer.
Looking at Ace's graph below...

Increases in fleet fuel economy will HAVE to be a major silver BB, especially in the early years post-Peak Oil. However, they will not, IMO, be enough for the USA.



Assuming the same commercial urgency with which the Canadian tar sands are being developed today, the above are projects that can "break ground" in 12 to 36 months (perhaps a bit longer for a handful). Completion varies with complexity (and the biggest savings come from the longest to complete :-(

Still, by 12-31-2013, a substantial fraction (well over half ?) could be complete. And all but the stragglers of Phase I by 12-31-2016 if we started next month. And many projects not "on-the-shelf" could also be operating by 2016.

Existing Urban rail systems can be expanded (same tracks, more rolling stock) in 3 or 4 years.

Transit Orientated Development (the other TOD) can start when construction is announced (there are several specific cases of this already, two in Dallas). Of course, it will accelerate once the transit is operating.

At the same time, widespread (but not costly) changes could be made for transportation bicycling.

Unlike higher fuel economy cars, rail has an elasticity of supply (and bicycles do as well if they can be built fast enough). Thus the tougher things get, the higher their modal share.

I could see a mixture of higher fuel economy cars, some use of lighter hydrocarbons for transportation, MUCH more bicycling, Urban Rail and changes in Urban form, electrified and expanding railroads, price elasticity of demand (vacation at home) and a moderate recession getting the USA through a moderate decline in world oil production of -3%/ year for 15 years and beyond.

To me, the numbers "add up".

When I consider greater declines (say -6% declines in annual world oil production), the Export Land Model and the weakness of the US $, I can only see the "Conservation of Last Resort" a severe recession/depression PLUS all of the above.

In other words, I am convinced that better fuel economy is ABSOLUTELY required, but it is simply not enough (except, perhaps, for the first years post_Peak Oil).

Best Hopes,



First, your points are well taken, and therein lies the difficulty. It is true that it is a race against time, and that is why the projections of when the peak, and more importantly the decline in world oil production comes do matter, and matter so much.

I have always argued that if the peak is due now, or in anything less than approximately 10 years, I would be scared s***less, to put it bluntly, and here is what I would be scared of: That we could lose the 4 C's (Command, Control, Communication and Coordination) in our high tech design and manufacturing system faster than we could get the alternatives distributed, and the momentum moving on technical options.

My view is that we are already taking unnecessary risks, and cutting it much closer than we should be. The risks we are now discussing were NOT necessary with any real leadership and planning in the United States, and in fact that we are cutting it this close borders on criminal negligence and complete lack of responsibility by our corporate, government, technical, financial, and educational leadership.

But, if the peak and inevitable final decline of fossil fuel production comes in more than 10 years from now, our odds are very great of weathering it without major disruption, and in fact it will be a great opportunity for America to retake leadership in the world and a huge opportunity for the well being of our young people. (actually, the number is now closer to 8 years from now, as we are already on the move, the technical drawings and ideas are already being distributed, new research and manufacturing facilities are moving to mass and distributed production etc. Few Americans seem to know what is already under way...we are nearing "confluence", meaning that if peak hits or, the inverse, (and every bit as dangerous to the future) a massive glut hits and crashes fossil fuel prices, the technology, the advances, will be "out of the bag". There will be no stopping the march to alternative energy, advanced conservation and efficiency techniques, and a new energy paradigm.

We are crossing the Rubicon very soon, into a post fossil fuel driven world. Yes, oil and gas will be used for decades, even centuries into the future, but the driving of advance and growth in the energy business and in the well being of mankind will NOT come from the fossil fuels.

We are on the Earth for only a short time, but man, what a time to be here! :-)
Our energy system has been as primitive as an open fire on the Savannah.
We are getting to see one of the great leaps forward in human history.

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

Urban Rail and bicycles are technologically robust.

A smaller and MUCH poorer America built subways in her largest cities and streetcars in *500* cities and towns between 1897 and 1916 (Peak Streetcar) with "Coal, Mules and Sweat".

Best Hopes for Robust Technology.


yeah it's funny I have never owned anything but FWD and RWD cars always feel a little unhinged to me. I'm just sortve used to having that "bite" up front at the steering wheels. But other than being slightly more fuel efficient it's not much of an innovation. Traction is all about the rubber anyways.

I guess what I was trying to imply ,indirectly, was that the marginal difference between lux cars and basic ones has shrunk a lot. I have a 96 jetta and it is real pretty cush. It's basically has the same ride/sound deadening/suppleness as a benz or an audi froom the 80's. Today almost all cars are up to that standard. the biggest trade off is that they are just too damn heavy and that makes it really hard to improve the milage much. Very few cars weigh under 3k now, whereas it used to be 2.

The real wildcard here I think is how drastic the pain is from post -peak. IF gas went to $5-6 today it would still take a long time to switch over the existing stock to high-efficiency cars (about 10%/yr. is the max.)IF it went to $8 it might never happen. MOst high-efficiency cars are yuppies cars. HYbrids, the benz,tdi's. they'll all over 20k basically. That's the last thing the average person is going to be thinking about in a crisis. The govt can't just give cars away. People have to actually buy them. Tax incentives can help but once again that would affect yuppies mostly since working people usually get most of their's back anyways. For most people,it will always be cheaper to drive the family truckster into the ground. Personally, i would like to be able to just buy an old A2 Jetta Diesel for 10k. I still think that was the best car they ever made. LIght weight (w/ the attendeant responsiveness and great mileage) but significantly better ride and isolation than the mk 1's. 52 mpg in non-tdi. If they would just take that chassis and put the tdi engine in it it would get 60 mpg.Heck, you could just have a 3 sp. tranny. 3rd-5th.


Front page article in the Seattle Times about plug-in and electric cars had this interesting (and unverified) quote:

In the first four months of this year, the Prius surpassed the Camry to emerge as the top-selling Toyota in the Northwest, according to Buzz Rodland, of Rodland Toyota in Everett.

"This is an astounding achievement," Rodland said.

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


My favorite quote in the story you linked...

"The conversions, however, void the Toyota warranty for the vehicles."

"The official me says you shouldn't be doing this," said Bill Reinert, a Toyota engineer. "The unofficial me says these guys are cool, but the official me has to win out."

Classic! :-)

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

I've just finished drafting a long-ish post describing my visit to Tesla Motors to take a test-ride in the Roadster prototype. I'll post it in the drumbeat tomorrow.

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

Updated Forecasts from Feb 2007 EIA Data Release

The EIA has just released actual crude oil & lease condensate (C&C) production rate data up to Feb 2007.

First, the forecast of Saudi Arabia, shown in Fig 1, displays a long term exponential decline. EIA shows a further C&C drop to 8.6 Mb/d in Feb 2007. In addition the EIA Short Term Energy Outlook estimates Saudi Arabia’s production at 8.6 Mb/d for both Mar and Apr 2007, which is in line with their current production quota of 8.6 Mb/d. Given the demands on OPEC to produce more oil and that OPEC will have a Sep 2007 meeting, it is forecast that Saudi Arabia maintains production at 8.3 Mb/d from Aug 2007 to Dec 2008.

Fig 1 – Saudi Arabia Forecast to Dec 2020 -Click to enlarge

Second, the forecast of world C&C is shown in Fig 2. World C&C production for Feb 2007 was 73.3 Mb/d up 0.5 Mb/d from Jan 2007 72.8 Mb/d. OPEC 12 C&C showed a small decrease of 0.1 Mb/d from Jan 2007 to Feb 2007. However, non OPEC increases were shown by China, 0.1 Mb/d (a surprise); Canada, 0.1 Mb/d(tar sands?); United Kingdom, 0.2 Mb/d (Buzzard field online?); and USA, 0.1 Mb/d.

Peak C&C remains at May 2005, 74.15 Mb/d. The decline rate stays unchanged at -0.8%/yr to Dec 2011. The decline rate is likely to increase after 2011 as shown by the world C&C forecast to 2100.

Fig 2 – World C&C Forecast to Dec 2011 -Click to enlarge

Third, the forecast total liquids demand and supply to Dec 2011 is shown in Fig 3 below. If Saudi Arabia, the only country with significant “claimed” surplus capacity, cannot fill the demand supply gap later this year, then oil prices will increase sharply. This impending demand supply gap could be the main reason for the May 7 update of the IEA Response System for Oil Supply Emergencies.

The total liquids peak is on Jul 2009 at 87 Mb/d. This peak is later than the May 2005 peak C&C due to offsetting production increases from NGLs and biofuels. If the United Nations Biofuel report limits further ethanol production increases, then peak total liquids could occur in 2008. The total liquids peak is not directly affected by solar, wind and nuclear energy sources which produce mainly electricity, not liquids.

Fig 3 – World Total Liquids Forecast to Dec 2011 -Click to enlarge

Green Zone:
Supply was able to meet demand. Sufficient surplus capacity existed. Prices showed only moderate volatility. This zone ended on about May 2005 which coincidentally is the peak for crude oil & lease condensate production.

Amber Zone:
Saudi Arabia has become supply constrained. Prices show more volatility. Price shocks occur in 2007Q4. Surplus capacity is going to zero. Supply is struggling to meet demand. Increased production from natural gas liquids and ethanol delays the total liquids peak to July 2009. The desperate attempt to use subsidised ethanol has doubled corn prices and is now indirectly increasing other food prices. Nationalisation of hydrocarbon reserves continues. Refineries need to be modified to accept the heavier and increasingly sour crude stream. Horizontal MRC wells have become common practice but have steeper decline rates. Old infrastructure needs replacing. A shortage of skilled people exists. CONSERVATION PLANS NEED TO START NOW.

Red Zone:
Although peak total liquids is still forecast to be in mid 2009, this zone now starts in Jan 2008 due to tightened supply demand balance. There is no more surplus capacity as Saudi Arabia's remaining surplus is used. Supply falls far short of demand leading to drastic demand destruction. The name of the last basin is called “conservation” – world must use less oil. Saudi Arabia announces further “voluntary cuts” in production. Oil prices increase at a faster rate than during the amber zone. World economic growth rates become lower. The IEA emergency sharing system may be invoked and rationing occurs......


While I may have some considerable doubts about the forecasts shown, that is not what I came to discuss... your "amber zone" remarks,

"Refineries need to be modified to accept the heavier and increasingly sour crude stream. Horizontal MRC wells have become common practice but have steeper decline rates. Old infrastructure needs replacing. A shortage of skilled people exists. CONSERVATION PLANS NEED TO START NOW."

First, that last sentence is correct, except that conservation "plans" don't need to start NOW, CONSERVATION NEEDS TO START NOW.

Your mention of the refinery and infrastructure issues cause me to ask a question that no one seems willing to discuss:

Suppose Saudi Arabia can, and did, open the floodgates and jack exports by, what? Say 10%, even 20%?

Where the helll would we put the oil? We can't get what crude we have now through the refineries as it is! Crude stocks are at the upper edge of the range while gasoline stocks are at the lower edge....what the heck do we need with more crude oil?

Oh, I have to notice your sentence in the red zone...."Red Zone:
Although peak total liquids is still forecast to be in mid 2009, this zone now starts in Jan 2008 due to tightened supply demand balance."

In a post a few months ago, after a somewhat heated discussion, I predicted that once more, the great summer calamity of 2007 predicted by many was already being pushed back, and that we would get back together and see after Labor Day. My prediction then: After so many in the peak community (including the normally dependable Matthew Simmons) predicting "Peak Now" and TSHTF in summer 07, if it didn't happen, it would discredit the issue, and more deeply than usual, because this time, they are saying it on major news outlets and in the business press....

Looks like some are starting to distance themselves from the summer meltdown.....(but hold cheer, the oil refiners, with the "Enron" style "unplanned outages" may still make it happen....:-)

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Suppose Saudi Arabia can, and did, open the floodgates and jack exports by, what? Say 10%, even 20%?

Where the helll would we put the oil? We can't get what crude we have now through the refineries as it is! Crude stocks are at the upper edge of the range while gasoline stocks are at the lower edge....what the heck do we need with more crude oil?

Ok, lets suppose.

US oil stocks, while in the high end of the 5 year average range, are still down 11 million barrels from this time last year. The Gulph coast PADD is down 13 million barrels from this time last year. There's plenty of space there.
But you're right, we don't "need it".

If SA increased production the price of oil would drop.
We could then refill the SPR. Or even expand it as has been suggested.
I'm sure China wouldn't mind that oil for its SPR as well.
All those millions of new drivers in China and India could find a spot in their gas tanks I'm sure.
I bet all those Asian nations that have had their shipments cut wouldn't mind that oil either. Japan has plenty of empty oil storage and has been desperate to fill it with SA oil.
Then all those nations that have been priced out of the market could afford to import oil again. Places like Nepal. Or African countries that are facing a crippling fuel shortage would be happy to take it.

Do you ever stop and think before posting? Your signal to noise ratio is irritatingly low.


Some not bad points, but I am still a bit sceptical....the SPR for example.

We stopped filling it because supposedly the price was too high....

Yet if we are set for an impending peak and then collapse of production, one would presume we will not see crude oil in the low 60's for a long time, if ever again....the low $60's are too high? (???) The bet by uncle sam still seems to be bearish in the longer view.

On Japan, I will concede my ignorance readily, do you have access to the stats showing that Japanese crude stocks are low? That could be interesting, and I will await updates on that....as far as Asia being cut, I fail to see how them getting extra crude changes the U.S. situation in any way....again, we still have plenty of crude, but record low levels of gasoline....(???)

African countries....well, let them try to ease up on the terror attacks, kidnappings and killings that is preventing Nigeria, Angola and other African nations from producing the oil Africa supposedly so badly needs....the Africans are facing fuel crisis in many instances, but it has little to do with what the Saudi's are doing, and much more to do with political issues in Africa.

As to China, I am inclined to agree with you somewhat on that one....China, proving themselves to be smarter than the U.S. would probably soak up all the oil they could get at the great low $60's price....but, is their "strategic reserve" actually already built and able to absorb it?

The Gulph PADD....gee, one must wonder if the hurricanes and the row with Venesuala has anything to do with that? Yes, if we assume the Saudi's are not fulfilling their obligations unless they cover (a)Africa's turmoil, (b) China's stockpiling, (c) Venesuala's incompetence, and (d) America's lust for $1 a gallon gas to go on long meandering drives all summer, then I guess the Saudi's are not fulfilling their obligation...

Opinion: We must think they are really, really stupid.

Do I think before posting? Obviously more than many seem to, but that still don't prevent me from being willing to listen....

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

What's your point Roger?

You started this conversation with

Your mention of the refinery and infrastructure issues cause me to ask a question that no one seems willing to discuss:
Suppose Saudi Arabia can, and did, open the floodgates and jack exports by, what? Say 10%, even 20%?

I showed you exactly why no one is willing to discuss it. Because the implications are blindingly obvious. If you took 2 seconds to think before you posted you would have answered you own question.

Everyone here except, it seems, you know that refining is a bottle neck in the US.
Everyone here except, it seems, you knows exactly where any increased SA production would go.

But no, please continue you long winded diatribes and thoughtless musing. I'm sure everyone appreciates it.

Rethin, you ask,

What's your point Roger?

I have to get offline in a second, but let me answer that one, because this whole discussion about the Saudi's in particular interests me.

Some are trying to paint a picture, of a Saudi Arabia struggling, struggling hard to maintain production, but somehow they are falling behind....they just can't do it, they caaaan't increeaaase productiooon, despite straining sooo hard!

I am asking a very simple, direct question: Why should they? I have noticed absolutely no distress in the U.S. because of high crude oil prices.

But, you may say, the gasoline prices, look how high they are! Now, you say,
"Everyone here except, it seems, you know that refining is a bottle neck in the US."

I would think the inverse would be obvious, that being I am talking about exactly that, the refinery bottleneck. If folks here seem to realize, they seem unable to make the mental leap as to what the refinery bottleneck means: Saudi Arabia however is not so stupid. Here's my contention:

Saudi Arabia is NOT making any great effort to increase production because they know with their biggest customer unable to process the crude, it winds up on the spot market undercutting the world price. Why would they keep pouring oil to the world, to undercut their own prices? Why pour it to Asia so China can hoard it, and the speculators can make the money. The Saudi's are not stupid. They are measuring it out spoonful by spoonful. If anyone should have an SPR or a stockpile of Saudi Arabian oil, why not Saudi Arabia?

So sure enough, we seee these great charts.....Saudi production is DOWN, world production has DROPPED....by what, 500,000 barrels on production of 84 million per day? Do the percent on that one....

And this is spun into this great catastrophic collapse!
Well, the catastrophe may be coming, I can't disprove that, but the stats and the situation we in right now sure don't prove it is.....

I must tell you, the whole thing is starting to SMELL to high heaven. some would say there it has the whiff of people hard at work on the old pump and dump....by the way, take a look at the futures chart that TOD runs on the right hand side of the screen....isn't it interesting how often we see those wild spikes upward, and then the sudden drop once people figure things out....

And then the fear mongering starts up....Peak is here! It will happen this summer, It's the great catastrophe! Remember two summers ago, Simmons, and the big brokerages....."oil "could go" over $100 a barrel. Two of the worst hurricanes in history and meltdown of war policy in the mideast and they still couldn't make it do it!! But, that's o.k., if it only made it to about $70 the longs still made a freakin' fortune, didn't they?

I said in a post above, I am asking myself some HARD questions. Well, actually anymore than one question is just added confusion, I am asking MYSELF ONE MAJOR QUESTION:

Are we being led around by the nose by a bunch of speculators who blow smoke up our azz with catastrophe after catastrophe while they get rich on the fear and panic they try to sow?

I am beginning to wonder: Are we being duped?

We'll see.....
Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Ok, lets suppose.
If SA increased production the price of oil would drop.

But how much?

Suppose KSA increased oil production by 20% - 1.7Mbbl/d. That would be a 2% increase in global oil supply, which is larger than the projected increase for all of 2007. Oil consumption is relatively inelastic to price increases - a $20/bbl increase last year saw only a 1% drop in consumption (as compared to projections) - meaning price would have to drop fairly substantially to soak up that extra 2%.

If the price dropped more than $10, though, KSA would be selling 20% more oil for 5/6th the price, meaning it wouldn't make any more money. Zero revenue increase for increased depletion of its resources makes no sense for them. And that doesn't even consider the pressure from other OPEC members who'd see nothing but loss from increased KSA production.

So, sure, there's plenty of people who'd take that oil...just not at $60/bbl. It's not at all clear that KSA isn't following the economically rational course by voluntarily restricting their production.

Oh, I have to notice your sentence in the red zone...."Red Zone:
Although peak total liquids is still forecast to be in mid 2009, this zone now starts in Jan 2008 due to tightened supply demand balance."

In a post a few months ago, after a somewhat heated discussion, I predicted that once more, the great summer calamity of 2007 predicted by many was already being pushed back, and that we would get back together and see after Labor Day. My prediction then: After so many in the peak community (including the normally dependable Matthew Simmons) predicting "Peak Now" and TSHTF in summer 07, if it didn't happen, it would discredit the issue, and more deeply than usual, because this time, they are saying it on major news outlets and in the business press....

Looks like some are starting to distance themselves from the summer meltdown.....(but hold cheer, the oil refiners, with the "Enron" style "unplanned outages" may still make it happen....:-)

Again lots of noise, very little signal.
Ace's old prediction was the red zone starting in mid 2009. He's moved up his prediction by 18 months.
Hardly trying to distance himself.

Yes, I did not mean to sound like I was faulting Ace in anyway, his projection has remained pretty consistant,
"Price shocks occur in 2007Q4 and 2008Q4" was his words in the amber zone in the post you link, so he is not one who predicted the "PEAK IS NOW" (Simmons) or the summer meltdown....I was speaking more in reference to the great hysteria gang.....Kunstler, Pickens, Deffeyes, Heinberg, and now, sadly, Simmons.

Actually, Ace's conjecture interests me because he would be predicting price shocks coming out of the high demand season and into the winter. If that were to occur, it would actually be more worrisome than if crude went to $70 plus now, coming into the high demand driving season. We'll see....as I promised several months ago, I wil revisit it on Labor Day.....this summer is going to give us all a chance to really take a hard look at where we stand, what we think, and whether we are engaging in a "faith based" system, or whether it actually has any real predictive power. I know I have been asking myself some hard self examination type questions over the last few months.
I am certain that these will only increase over the summer.

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Yes, I did not mean to sound like I was faulting Ace in anyway, his projection has remained pretty consistant,
"Price shocks occur in 2007Q4 and 2008Q4" was his words in the amber zone in the post you link, so he is not one who predicted the "PEAK IS NOW"

Roger, take a look at what Ace wrote again for me. He has peak all liquids in Jul 09 at 87mbd. He wrote that May 05 was peak C+C.

He isn't predicting "peak is now"?!?

Please for the sake of clarity, define for me "peak is now". We seem to be operating under different definitions of "now"

We seem to be operating under different definitions of "now"

Well, the world is going to take the Simmons interview on CNBC saying peak is "NOW" to mean "NOW", i.e., already behind us, since the interview is now several months old. I am not sure most of the public is aware of Ace's prediction as they are of Simmons and Pickens....
(your point makes me think of the great Clinton logic, "that depends on what the meaning of "is" is..." :-)

Of course, if you take these last two years of wild prediction as serious, we have already blown past $100 a barrel at least 3 or 4 times......