DrumBeat: June 6, 2007

Americans not very big on very small cars: Even with high gas prices, tiny minicars unlikely to make waves, study says

Despite a rush to offer them the smallest fuel-sipping cars, it seems one aphorism is likely to ring true for some time when it comes to Americans and their cars — size matters.

Persistently high gasoline price have spurred automakers to make plans to introduce tiny cars into the U.S. market, beginning early next year, when Mercedes Car Group plans to begin selling tiny, two-seater Smart models. At the New York auto show in April, General Motors unveiled three small Chevrolet concept cars aimed at young car buyers in urban markets.

But research from consulting firm CSM Worldwide shows that American consumers are not very big on very small cars, which are popular in many markets around the world because they are so fuel efficient and easy to park.

Enbridge, Exxon forge link to Texas refineries - A Pipeline from Calgary to Houston?

"Exxon Mobil has said to us it makes no sense to ship crude away from this continent," said Steven Paget, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital in Calgary.

"This continent needs more oil than it produces -- it should not be shipping crude overseas." He added that Mexican production could slide sharply in the next years.

Bitumen production from the oil sands could rise to 1.9 million barrels a day by 2010 and 3.1 million by 2016, up from 1.25 million last year, according to new numbers yesterday from Alberta's energy regulator.

It is a "round one" victory for U.S. refiners over competitors in China, according to Stephen Calderwood, a Raymond James Financial Inc. analyst.

Why no one's making more gas

Motorists must get tired of hearing how refinery problems are causing high gasoline prices.

In a free-market economy, if there really was such a shortage (most experts say there is), and refining profits are so high (any oil company earnings report will attest they are), then why aren't people building more refineries?

Iraqi unions fight to keep oil out of corporate hands

The Bush administration calls the Iraq occupation an exercise in democracy building. Yet from the beginning, many of the Iraqis who want democracy most are treated as its enemies - Iraq's unions.

Uganda: Oil Discovery - Curse Or a Masked Blessing?

BLACK gold or commercially viable oil deposits have been discovered in Uganda generating quite a buzz what the future will look like when oil dollars start flowing into resource starved government programs. So far little public discussion has gone on about that future.

Green group hits at Canada over oil sands

Canada is unlikely to be able to hit its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 because of the rapid growth of its oil sands industry, a leading research group has warned.

Richard Heinberg's Museletter - The Oil Depletion Protocol: An Update

My book The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse was released eight months ago; given the importance of its subject, I thought an update might be useful.

Relevant developments during these few months have been both encouraging and discouraging.

Dems' energy-policy plans worry oil and gas industry

Democrats, sensing growing consumer angst over high gas prices and a winning political issue in tightening the screws on "Big Oil," are moving ahead in the House and Senate to produce energy legislation — and to do it quickly.

China's Axis of Oil

It is not difficult to find examples of China's growing ties with the Middle East. Although Beijing's primary focus in the region concerns access to oil and gas, the resulting increase in foreign direct investment and trade between the two regions is redefining geopolitics.

Ecuador launches campaign to keep oil underground

Ecuador offered on Tuesday to drop plans to develop the country's biggest oilfield if wealthy nations pay it to safeguard pristine land near the proposed drill site.

Leftist President Rafael Correa hopes developed countries and environmental groups will pay the poor South American nation about $350 million annually to leave the oil in the ground and reduce carbon dioxide emissions to slow global warming.

Former World Bank Energy Specialist on China's Renewable Energy Development

Martinot believes that China will have no problem achieving its targets for different forms of renewable energy, such as hydro, wind, biomass, solar power and bio-fuel. However, Martinot's concerns remain regarding biomass because of insufficient raw materials, solar power because of its high costs and bio-fuel because of its technology and the wide dispersion of raw materials. He further suggested that the Chinese government should set higher power tariffs for renewable energy, which would mean larger profits, in order to attract more players to the market.

Biofuel can help poor as well as climate: FAO

However, the person in charge of energy policy at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said biofuel was getting a bad press and, rather than being a threat to the poor, it could boost food production as well as wealth.

"It's probably the best opportunity there has been since the 'green revolution' to bring really a new wind of development in rural areas," Gustavo Best told Reuters in an interview.

He was referring to the huge increase in food production in the developing world, aided in part by new plant technologies that came into vogue in the 1960s.

Vatican auditorium's roof to be covered with photovoltaic cells to save energy

Some of the Holy See buildings will start using solar energy, reflecting Pope Benedict XVI's worry about squandering the Earth's resources, said a Vatican engineer who came up with the idea.

Abu Dhabi's green move gathers pace

Last month the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) launched a $5 billion initiative to establish the world's first totally green city in Abu Dhabi.

OPEC Could Rethink Post-2012 Expansion Plan

OPEC members responsible for 40% of the world's oil production capacity could rethink their capacity expansion plans beyond 2012, according to the group's Secretary-general Abdalla Salem el-Badri, unless dialog with consuming countries gives them assurances over future demand.

In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, el-Badri said there was little enthusiasm among Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members to spend billions on idle oil capacity.

George Soros to invest $900 million in Brazilian ethanol

US finance tycoon George Soros said Tuesday that he will invest $900 million in the production of ethanol in Brazil, and demanded that the US and EU open their markets for the biofuel produced in the South American country.

The five myths of the transition towards biofuels

The five myths

1. Biofuels are clean and protect the environment

2. Biofuels do not cause deforestation

3. Biofuels allow for rural development

4. Biofuels do not cause starvation

5. Biofuels of "the second generation" are within reach

Combustion engine set to dominate for 25 years, say experts

Engines driven by petrol or diesel will continue to dominate for another 25 years, mainly because the alternative systems still display teething troubles, are too expensive or because other sources of energy are simply not available in sufficient quantity.

Oil Prices Rise With Fears Cyclone Gonu May Hit Southern Iran

A Black Swan, by the way, is the term philosopher Nassim Taleb uses for a low probability, high impact event; they are so named because until Europeans found Black Swans everywhere in Australia, they were considered so rare as to be statistically insignificant. A cyclone impairing or destroying production capacity in the world’s most important oil region certainly qualifies as a Black Swan.

But here’s the thing. As Taleb points out, Black Swans are not as rare in financial markets as today’s modern financial models would suggest. They are more common than you’d expect. And the funny thing is, as the world’s financial markets become more complex and more integrated, Black Swans seem to be taking flight with increasing frequency. Hmm.

All World War III, All the Time

The Russians, Tom Clancy's old reliable villains, are back. The American techno-thriller author has lent his name to several computer games, including the intricate new title from Ubisoft known as EndWar.

The video game's back scenario? In the next twenty years, America deploys a space weapons system to protect the U.S. and Europe from nuclear attack, while a sullen Russia stays out of the missile shield club. A few years later, the world's peak oil doomsayers are suddenly proven right and all of the world's major oil producers - except for Russia - are found to have massively inflated their reserves. The resulting collapse of the world economy puts a remilitarized Russia on a collision course with the America and Europe.

Putting Peak Oil to the Test in 2007

One of the most telling signs that we're experiencing the effects of peak oil is the unprecedented price oil is reaching. If I were writing just a few months ago, I'd mention how OPEC was comfortable with a barrel of oil trading at $50. But now they're saying they're happy with oil between $60 and $65 a barrel.

The G8: Not the Only Show In Town

Given the centrality of oil not only to current geo-politics but also to the politics of global warming, it is interesting to recall that the G7 is a by-product of the 1973 oil crisis. Almost 35 years later, the now-G8 -- Russia was formally admitted in 1998 -- is again facing a crisis of global energy policies brought about by the increased public pressure for action to reduce carbon gas emissions, the looming fact of peak oil and, not least, the G8's incapacity over the past three decades to think beyond their own interests. But in 2007, the situation is very different from the 'unglobalised' world of 1973 (although with some surprising similarities) and the G8 is not the only game in town.

Throwing a Dart at the Natural Gas Dartboard

Whether you believe in abrupt climate change and global warming or not, growing legions of investors are betting in that direction. Whether their bets are placed on wind farms or solar panels, it may not matter much. We looked to the one sector which has been pummeled over the past 15 months. Most investors have avoided it like the plague.

We believe natural gas is primed to heat up – as early as this month.

Bharat Petroleum Expects Profit to Triple by 2010

Bharat Petroleum will boost output to meet energy shortages in the world's second-fastest growing major economy. India's fuel imports rose 30 percent to 17 million metric tons in the year ended March 31 and a shortage of natural gas has shut about 5,000 megawatts of gas-fired power generation capacity.

Thieves siphoning diesel from construction machines

In addition to securing equipment parked on work sites, a construction company is finding that rising petroleum prices mean it now must guard against theft of the fuel from the parked machines.

Jay C. Fulkroad & Sons Inc., of McAlisterville, has had at least 600 gallons of diesel fuel stolen in two recent thefts from its parked equipment, more than $1,700 worth at current prices, said Gerald Fulkroad, the company president.

Natural gas prices at highest since December

Sparked by worries about hot weather and a busy hurricane season, natural gas prices have jumped in the last week to the highest since December. Tuesday, the price for natural gas trading in New York for delivery in July closed at $8.064 per million British thermal units. Although that was slightly lower than the previous day's close, it was 25% above the price seen a year ago.

For consumers, the higher natural gas prices mean heating costs could be elevated this winter for the most popular heating source in the USA if the gains hold. Increased natural gas prices also could lead to higher electricity costs later this summer to power air conditioners, because a large amount of electricity is generated with natural gas.

Oil gives unhappy Nigerians leverage

Young boys scamper along weed-entangled pipes, transforming an oil-pumping station marked "Not In Use" into a jungle gym in the heart of Nigeria's lawless oil region. Nearby wells rust under the palm trees, and gas-flaring chimneys have gone cold.

The scene in Ogoniland, where villagers ousted oil companies in the 1990s, offers a glimpse of the industry's worst-case scenario: an absolute shutdown of production across the Niger Delta, where strife has already cut production by a quarter.

Resource Wars - Can We Survive Them?

With the world's energy supplies finite, the US heavily dependent on imports, and "peak oil" near or approaching, "security" for America means assuring a sustainable supply of what we can't do without. It includes waging wars to get it, protect it, and defend the maritime trade routes over which it travels. That means energy's partnered with predatory New World Order globalization, militarism, wars, ecological recklessness, and now an extremist US administration willing to risk Armageddon for world dominance. Central to its plan is first controlling essential resources everywhere, at any cost, starting with oil and where most of it is located in the Middle East and Central Asia.

It's time to stop doing nothing about oil depletion

Our economy is dependent not just on oil but on cheap oil. When petroleum gets more expensive, businesses will fail because fewer people will be able to afford their products. And when businesses start failing, still fewer people will be out there shopping and supporting the economy. It won't be pretty.

Calif. sees sprawl as warming culprit

California is pioneering what could be the next battleground against global warming: filing suit to hold cities and counties accountable for greenhouse gas emissions caused by poorly planned suburban sprawl.

Inland Empire's 25-year growth targeted

[Marin County] took a forceful approach to greenhouse gases in a growth plan likely to be approved this year. The county set up standards to measure greenhouse gases and set targets for reducing them.

Surrounded on three sides by water, Marin also started planning for possible rising sea levels, as polar ice melts, by identifying areas that shouldn't be developed or, if already built might need sea walls and levees. Marin has long had a progressive, "green" electorate, so fighting global warming came naturally, says community development director Alex Hinds. "We feel fortunate that our population recognizes these concerns," he says.

Auto execs go to Hill to discuss mileage

The heads of the domestic auto industry are pressing congressional leaders to revisit a plan to increase fuel efficiency standards that automakers say could hurt their industry.

No G8 accord on global warming cuts: US

The Group of Eight summit final communique will not set long-term targets for cutting the emissions that cause global warming, an advisor to US President George W. Bush said Wednesday.

China balks at emissions caps

China echoed the Bush administration's stance on global warming Monday, refusing to set firm caps on its greenhouse-gas emissions and saying that economic growth remained its "first and overriding priority."

Drive on biofuels risks oil price surge

Opec on Tuesday warned western countries that their efforts to develop biofuels as an alternative energy source to combat climate change risked driving the price of oil “through the roof”.

I heard this report on Marketplace (the public radio show); they had a commentator from the Financial Times of London, who noted that biofuels will have no appreciable impact on woridwide demand for petroleum for decades, that OPEC hadn't been able to increase oil production for some time and was probably at peak production, and that Cyclone Gonu was going to impact prices of oil and gas here and in Japan dramatically in the next two weeks, so everyone shoudl be prepared. Well, that is what he should have said. Instead, he took the threat as something serious, thus giving Americans the impression that biofuels can actually do something about the death grip that KSA has on the American economy, and further lulling us all to sleep.

If OPEC really wanted to destroy biofuels, they would open the proverbial taps and drive oil prices to the floor.

But they can't. You know it and I know it.

The cartel is backed into a corner and they have no option but to resort to scaremonger tactics with a biofuel boogeyman.

If you can find a quote from a biofuel proponent who believes that petroleum demand will decrease because of biofuel usage... then by all be means post up!

Yeah, sounds like a cheap excuse they are looking for.

On the Paris OPEC meeting (2005?) some oil minister from Arabia spoke about doubts in regard of future oil demand.

I was really astonished about that - if there is one sure thing it is the quenchless western thirst for oil, or am I wrong? That's definetely something they can count on for decades.

From Biopact:

"In two different interviews ahead of the G8 summit, OPEC secretary-general Abdalla El-Badri contradicts himself: in the first, he says biofuels threaten oil investments and may cause petroleum prices to go "through the roof", whereas in the other, he says the cartel does not feel threatened by climate change measures aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, of which biofuels are an important part"

Round and round we go.

If you can find a quote from a biofuel proponent who believes that petroleum demand will decrease because of biofuel usage... then by all be means post up!

What is this, a trick question? Must you post challenges that I can meet, all day long, with half my brain tied behind my back?

President Bush, Please Declare a War on Oil!

My analysis shows 39 billion gallons of biofuels production is possible in the United States at reasonable cost by 2017 on 19 million acres, and 139 billion gallons by 2030 on 49 million acres. Soon we will be replacing all 150 billion gallons of gasoline that we use on a very small fraction of our agricultural lands while improving the environmental quality of our agriculture (through corn/soy and biomass crop rotation schemes) and improving our rural economy.

Says Vinod Khosla, who is also making these claims to the folks formulating our energy policies.

No Robert not usage - demand.

There's quite a difference between biofuels replacing petroleum usage vs. biofuels reducing petroleum demand.

I've cordially stated as such on prior occasion so please untie your brain and find a quote from a biofuel proponent who has stated that petroleum demand will be reduced because of biofuels.

There's quite a difference between biofuels replacing petroleum usage vs. biofuels reducing petroleum demand.

If biofuels replace 150 billion gallons of gasoline usage, then they have replaced 150 billion gallons of gasoline demand. Perhaps you can clarify what you think the difference is.

To save yourself some time, Google ethanol and "reduce petroleum demand." You will find many instances of ethanol advocates stating that ethanol can/will/may reduce petroleum demand.

As I said, there is nothing to your challenge. Even if you do think that reducing gasoline usage by 150 billion barrels is not a reduction in gasoline demand.

And besides, wasn't reducing petroleum demand or usage kind of the point in developing ethanol? Or was it just to make a heavily subsidized buck? If it is not supposed to reduce demand or usage, then it is more worthless than I thought.

I am not interested in Google search parameters.

I've asked you and other TODers to find me a quote from a biofuel proponent who has stated that petroleum demand will decrease as result of biofuel usage. This is a rather simple request that so far no one has been able to fill.

Nor for that matter, will the choosing of an arbitrary number deflect the standing of my position.

For example: If I were to replace 10 barrels of gasoline on the world market with 10 barrels of ethanol would demand for those 10 barrels of gasoline be removed? No, of course not. How about 100 million barrels? Same effect. Why?

Because demand for petroleum and its byproducts i.e. gasoline is ever increasing and for all intents and purposes, will not cease until it’s all gone.

If this assertion wasn’t fundamentally true, then the IEA and EIA would have nice charts detailing the future demand of gasoline as sloping down and away into negative territory.

I've asked you and other TODers to find me a quote from a biofuel proponent who has stated that petroleum demand will decrease as result of biofuel usage.

That's what I gave you. You just wish to apply your own definition of demand in order to avoid the conclusion. I am pretty familiar with that tactic.

Do you know how the EIA, keeper of U.S. energy statistics, defines demand? Product supplied to the market. If gasoline supplied to the market went to zero, then demand went to zero. So I am really not interested in your special version of demand. Biofuels advocates are saying that biofuels are going to displace gasoline. You know, that whole 20 in 10 meme? So, the fact remains, no matter what your definition of "is" is.

You did not fulfill the request and the patronizing EIA comment is uncalled for.

Product supply and product demand are not the same -ECON 101- but since you’ve decided to 3rd party the EIAs definition as your own, are we to assume that during the Arab oil embargo when 1000’s of people were lined up in their cars at service stations that did not have gasoline to sell, that demand for gasoline did not exist?

“Biofuels advocates are saying that biofuels are going to displace gasoline.” – which has been the crux of my position all along.

Biofuel usage displaces gasonline usage. This is a measurable fact.

Biofuel usage does not, however, reduce gasoline demand. To erroneously infer otherwise and assign such inferences to participants in the biofuel sector is your own personal agenda.

Biofuel usage does not, however, reduce gasoline demand.

You are confusing fuel demand with gasoline demand. If I can put either ethanol or gasoline in my car, and I choose ethanol, then my gasoline demand went down. But my fuel demand did not.

And there was nothing patronizing about the EIA comment. I am just pointing out that my use of demand is exactly the same as theirs.


Yes he did fulfill the request. You are just posturing to avoid his clear answer. This is annoying.


Unfortunately, 40 gallons of petroleum are used to grow one acre of corn. Factor in the petroleum used to move corn to market and to get ethanol back to the market, other depletable energy sources like natural gas used to make fertilizer to grow the corn, to run the distiller...

Ethanol produced from corn is a scam.

Best case scenario gives a slight increase in energy. Best case scenarios rarely hold up in the real world.

I did inhale.

"There's quite a difference between biofuels replacing petroleum usage vs. biofuels reducing petroleum demand."
key part biofuels reducing petroleum demand
Maybe not that far from the truth. Food or fuel will become a serious issue IMHO just a matter of when.
Hay prices are way up $120- $130 ton vrs $85 - $90 last year.
Milk prices are up too.
Rising fuel costs is like a rising tide.

food "usage" will soon go down as the "demand" evaporates in the face of high prices.

People can live on 1000 calories/day. But they won't like it.

Think of it this way LNG.

You eat apples. LOVE apples, can't get enough of them. Apples in fact, are needed for sustenance by you, your family, your society and like a hamster on a treadmill, demand for these apples is ever increasing but there's a twist - the supply of apples is finite (which is key to the concept).

One day, someone brings you oranges. You now have the choice of eating either apples or oranges or BOTH.

Oranges are not finite. They're a nice change for certain and although you could switch to eating just oranges, there really aren't enough oranges to go around for everyone to do so.

Will demand for finite, society sustaining apples decrease because oranges are being eaten as well or will you not free up more apples for those who weren't getting enough in the first place?

Jevon's paradox no?

No one is bringing you anything - you're buying it. The apples are steadily getting more expensive and the oranges have always cost more than the apples, and still do. Even worse, for some reason the increased availability of oranges means that lots of other important goods are more scarce and cost more, too.

IOW, you are actually being less efficient by eating oranges, so Jevons Paradox does not apply.

Oh man this could turn into a messy fruit salad real quick =]

Ok, I buy the oranges and yes, I agree that the increased availabilty of some 'types' of oranges means that lots of other important goods may become more scarce and cost more too.

Would you not agree, however, that the orange-related scarcity and cost concerns of these other goods, are absolutely miniscule when compared to what is going to happen when apple prices go through the roof? Or worse, when apples are no longer available?

No, I suspect all those prices will rise together. More and more people will not get apples or oranges.

This weekend I'm supposed to be driving out to a hydroelectic power station in a car hired by someone on a rostered break from their job at an outback gas field. The hydro dams are low and the gas field only has a few years left, yet these are the prime sources of peaking power. What will replace them? Countries like Germany are shutting down their nukes in favour of importing more Russian gas. Seems like we're speeding down a dead end street.

Maybe we will learn to live with variable power. Blackouts in some areas, when power is too low. Manufacturing carried out when electricity is available.

will learn to live with variable power.

*clap* *clap*

Some things are going to fall under the 'need' 'continuous power' and the restart costs justify many expenses to have such power. (Refineries, steel mills to keep the furnace hot, I'm sure there are others) Many others are wants people think are needs.

So the whole PV/Wind suck because they can't provide 24/7 will get a smack upside the head of 'Ok, at least we have power'


At some point, the geniuses will see that 150 years of our oily 'Big Gulp' is in fact LESS stable and dependable than the Sun coming up every day for Billions of years, the tide traveling back and forth like a piston 4 times a day..

I'd like to see a fridge with an overbuilt compressed refridgerant tank, so it could have some potential to make it through brownouts or scheduled power.

To those who say they'd never believe people would compromise their full-time power.. I guess it's unthinkable to them that we may not have a seat at that negotiating table.

Make hay while the sun shines!


I'd like to see a fridge with an overbuilt compressed refridgerant tank,

1) Many parts of humanity lack refrigeration. ANY kind of bacteria retard-ing, decomposition stopping tech would be a plus.

2) Insulation, combined with a tank placed inside the insulation envelope would be a good plan.

To those who say they'd never believe people would compromise their full-time power..

What is better - you moving some tool with your muscle (plus guiding the tool) or you using some power tool where you are just guiding the tool?

Spotty electrical power + machines is FAR BETTER than just plain old human muscles.

(Today, when the power was out I just shrugged and thought how much better off I was than Africans or the people who are in Baghdad.)

The only way I could ever see that happening is by having reliable information about energy availability in advance. You just can't have dozens or hundreds of men idling around and waiting for something that *might* happen.

... In his first book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins told the story of his work as a highly paid consultant hired to strong-arm leaders into creating policy favorable to the US government and corporations, what he calls the “corporatocracy.” ... John Perkins has just come out with his second book on this issue. It’s called The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals and the Truth about Global Corruption.

We work many different ways, but perhaps the most common one is that we will identify a third world country that has resources our corporations covet, such as oil, and then we arrange a huge loan to that country from the World Bank or one of its sister organizations. The money never actually goes to the country. It goes instead to US corporations, who build big infrastructure projects -- power grids, industrial parks, harbors, highways -- things that benefit a few very rich people but do not reach the poor at all. The poor aren’t connected to the power grids. They don’t have the skills to get jobs in industrial parks. But they and the whole country are left holding this huge debt, and it’s such a big bet that the country can't possibly repay it. So at some point in time, we economic hit men go back to the country and say, “Look, you know, you owe us a lot of money. You can't pay your debt, so you’ve got to give us a pound of flesh.”

When I was sent to Ecuador as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1968, Texaco had just gone into Ecuador, and the promise to the Ecuadorian people at that time from Texaco and their own politicians and the World Bank was oil is going to pull this country out of poverty. And people believed it. I believed it at the time. The exact opposite has happened. Oil has made the country much more impoverished, while Texaco has made fortunes off this. It’s also destroyed vast areas of the Amazon rainforest.

So the lawsuit today that’s being brought by a New York lawyer and some Ecuadorian lawyers -- Steve Donziger here in New York -- is for $6 billion, the largest environmental lawsuit in the history of the world, in the name of 30,000 Ecuadorian people against Texaco, which is now owned by Chevron, for dumping over eighteen billion gallons of toxic waste into the Ecuadorian rainforest. That’s thirty times more than the Exxon Valdez. And dozens and dozens of people have died and are continuing to die of cancer and other pollution-related diseases in this area of the Amazon. So all this oil has come out of this area, and it’s the poorest area of one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere. And the irony of that is just so amazing.

But what I think -- one of the really significant things about this, Amy, is that this law firm has taken this on, not pro bono, but they expect if they win the case, which they expect to do, to make a lot of money off of it, which is a philosophical decision. It isn’t because they wanted to get rich off this. It’s because they want to encourage other law firms to do similar things in Nigeria and in Indonesia and in Bolivia, in Venezuela and many other places. So they want to see a business grow out of this, of law firms going in and defending poor people, knowing that they can get a payoff from the big companies who have acted so terribly, terribly, terribly irresponsibly in the past.

And Steve Donziger, the attorney -- I was in Ecuador with him just two weeks ago -- and one of the very touching things he said is -- he’s an American attorney with, you know, very good credentials, and he says, “You know, I’ve seen a lot of companies make mistakes and then try to defend themselves in law courts.” And he said, “That’s one thing. But in this case, Texaco didn’t make mistakes. This was done with intent. They knew what they were doing. To save a few bucks, they killed a lot of people.” And now they’re going to be forced to pay for that, to take responsibility for that, and hopefully open the door to make many companies take responsibility for the wanton destruction that’s occurred.

The whole story of Africa and the Congo is such a devastating and sad one. And it’s the hidden story, really. We in the United States don’t even talk about Africa. We don’t think about Africa. You know, Congo has something called coltan, which probably most of your listeners may not have even heard of, but every cell phone and laptop computer has coltan in it. And several million people in the last few years in the Congo have been killed over coltan, because you and I and all of us in the G8 countries demand low -- or at least we want to see our computers inexpensive and our cell phones inexpensive. And, of course, the companies that make these sell them on that basis, that “Oh, here, mine’s $200 less than the other company.” But in order to do that, these people in the Congo are being enslaved. The miners, the people mining coltan, they’re being killed. There’s these vast wars going on to provide us with cheap coltan.

I think it’s very sad and very telling, once again, that the Israeli people, for the most part, are led to believe that they’ve been given this land as a payoff, basically, for the Holocaust, because they deserve to be recompensed. And, of course, the Holocaust was terrible, and they do deserve to be taken care of and recompensed and have stability.

But why would we locate that place in the middle of the Arab world, their traditional enemies? Why would we locate that place in such an unstable area? It’s because it is serving as a huge fortress for us in the biggest oil fields known in the world today, and we knew this when Israel was located there. And I think the Israeli people have been terribly exploited in this process.

So, in fact, we built this vast military base, armed camp, in the middle of the Middle Eastern oil fields that are surrounded by the Arab communities, and in the process, we’ve obviously created a tremendous amount of resentment and anger and a situation that it’s very difficult to see any positive outcome there. But the fact of the matter is, our having this military base in Israel has been a huge defense for us. It’s been a place where we could really launch attacks, rely on. It’s been our equivalent of the Crusaders’ castles in the Middle East. ...


from the comment above:

When I was sent to Ecuador as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1968, Texaco had just gone into Ecuador, and the promise to the Ecuadorian people at that time from Texaco and their own politicians and the World Bank was oil is going to pull this country out of poverty. And people believed it. I believed it at the time. The exact opposite has happened. Oil has made the country much more impoverished, while Texaco has made fortunes off this. It’s also destroyed vast areas of the Amazon rainforest.

I joined the Peace Corps in 1962 -- while in training, JFK was assassinated. I was sent to Brazil, and in the first week I was there, the military "revolted" against the elected civilian government. Only 40 years later was it confirmed that the U.S. CIA engineered the "coup."

I went to the Northeast of Brazil, recently "liberated" from communists by the "coup." Sugar cane was the major cash crop, but world price was extremely low, and sugar cane ethanol was just getting started with grants from U.S. government, and who knows where else.

No conpiracy here -- just the first visible glimmering of the neocon/neoliberal revolution that is sweeping the world, fuelled entirely by cheap fossil fuel.

Things will look different as the revolutionary tide recedes on the drawdown of geologically stored hydrocarbons.

Excuse me if this is too "off topic", but I was wondering if any of our fellow readers has seen any episode of the TV series Jericho (broadcasted in the US, but available in the internets if you know what I mean).

JERICHO is a drama about what happens when a nuclear mushroom cloud suddenly appears on the horizon, plunging the residents of a small, peaceful Kansas town into chaos, leaving them completely isolated and wondering if they're the only Americans left alive. Fear of the unknown propels Jericho into social, psychological and physical mayhem when all communication and power is shut down. The town starts to come apart at the seams as terror, anger and confusion bring out the very worst in some residents. Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich), prodigal son of the town's mayor, becomes a reluctant hero when a school bus crashes as a result of the explosion. Mayor Johnston Green (Gerald McRaney) is conflicted with the return of his estranged son, but is called to action when the town begins to riot. Johnston's wife, Gail (Pamela Reed), is the strong, savvy first lady of the town who runs interference between her husband and her favorite son. Attempting to usurp the mayor's power is Johnston's political adversary, Gray Anderson (Michael Gaston), who is not above putting his personal agenda before the welfare of the very community he wants to lead.

What I found interesting is the similarities between the worst doom and gloom scenarios (caused by peak oil) and some of the situations shown in the series: Jericho makes a deal with a neighborg town in exchange for some wind mills to produce energy, the problems with food, roaming militias, etc, etc.

BTW, the show has been cancelled.

I never watched it (I don't watch much TV, except news and sports). But several of my friends did. (I hang with a sci-fi crowd, when I'm not here in peak freak land. ;-) They were disappointed. They thought it was going to be a nuclear holocaust survivor type story, like On the Beach or Alas, Babylon. But apparently, the producers felt that they needed to be more like "24," to get the coveted young male demographic, and the show became a strange mishmash that turned everyone off.

(I hang with a sci-fi crowd, when I'm not here in peak freak land. ;-)

You mean...you actually leave?


Some people claim this site is the sci fi crowd.

I PVR'd the whole series(actually 2 seasons of episodes in one year).

Interesting timing, never revealed the cause of the events.

They seem to have got some things right (interactions, food problems, violence, etc), and MANY things wrong (even after months without any outside inputs they are still driving cars, and all their clothes is spotless).

If it wasn't for the PVR and commericial elimination, I would never have watched it. I can sit and watch 22 minutes of a show before hitting the hay.

It was cancelled May 16th. Lack of interest cited.

I watched the first few episodes, but the writing was so poorly researched and laughable that I gave up on it in disgust.

The writers had obviously never even BEEN to Kansas, had no idea at all what it was actually like there. Example: Rocky Mountains supposedly visible on the horizon from Kansas, not to mention a landscape filled with trees.

Nor had they ever actually been on a farm. Example: harvesting corn (in Western Kansas!?!?) in the middle of the summer when it is still green, hand picking the ears and putting them in Rubbermaid containers.

Nor had they ever gone to a library and cracked open a copy of "The Effects of Nuclear Weapons". Example: Fallout lasting a day, then all clear.

The thing was just filled with howlers like these.

Don't bother watching network television. It is programming by idiots, for idiots.

I watched the first few episodes, but the writing was so poorly researched and laughable that I gave up on it in disgust.

My sentiments exactly. I watched an episode and a half, and told my wife "That sucked. Very disappointing."

As I said, they got MANY things wrong. If it wasn't for the PVR, I wouldn't seen anything past the pilot.

Natural gas liquids

In the weekly inventory reports I noticed that natural gas liquids volumes are running significantly below 2006. Liquids stripping from the natural gas flow should be highly profitable at present gas prices. 8 USD times 6 gives 48 USD btu equivalent oil barrel price.
Are the natural gas streams getting drier?
Is natural gas liquids production supply constrained ?

Natural gas prices are hovering in the $7.50-$8.00 a MBTU area. Although gas is mostly described in the price per thousand cubic ft, it is actually sold at per million BTU, measured at (I think) 70 degrees farenheit and approximately 14.7 lbs per square inch, the atmospheric pressure at sea level. When a company makes a gas sales contract with a pipeline all of that is described.
We are at a very high level on gas storage. Prices are expected to go up and average 20% to 100% higher for the next 5 or ten years-see the Rigzone article/survey posted by Leanan in yesterday's drumbeat, or go to their site yourself. Prices are quite a bit lower for gas in some areas, I just had an operator friend in Wyoming get only $2/mcf offered on a couple of coalbed methane wells, and there are a number of EOT and Quicksilver wells in Culberson County Texas shut in, waiting on a pipeline.
A lot of drilling rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico for Saudi-also see the Rigzone-and about 30% of the US gas supply comes from the gulf. And a lot of land rigs are drilling tight gas in areas without enough pipelines, the Barnett Shale Newark field, the Woodford Shale, the Fayetteville Shale and the Appalachian shales. Meanwhile, we have an average first year depletion rate on new gas completions of 32%, see Dave Cohens wonderful analysis "Running with the Red Queen", archived on this site about 6 months ago.
So, in summary, yes the gas supply is constrained, but mostly by pipeline capacity and industry personnel and equipment shortages, but I don't have the info to judge the comparative BTU's of new gas coming online.
Also, most gas pipeline deals require the pipeline to pay the "market value" of the gas to the operator and have BTU adjustments. UPRC and Koch recently lost a big lawsuit with some landowners and operators in Washington County, Texas on some gas stripping that screwed the mineral owners. I got about $350 for my share, after lawyers and expenses. So, good idea, but you're 20 years too late.

wyoming prb coal gas:

10/06 $1.48
11/06 $4.35
12/06 $4.08
01/07 $2.78
02/07 $2.85

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 1, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) inched higher by 0.1 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 342.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are just above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories climbed by 3.5 million barrels last week, but remain well below the lower end of the average range. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels per day, and are just below the upper end of the average range for this time of year. While heating oil (high-sulfur) inventories were relatively unchanged, regular diesel fuel (low-sulfur) and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel inventories increased. Propane/propylene inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.7 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

Could someone explain this about gas stocks?
Imports are down for the week
Demand is up for the week
Production is down for the week
Yet stocks increased by 2.2 million barrels for the week over last week.
Did we export a lot of gas last week and none this week?

Wow...3.5 Million barrels is respectable. I am definitely interested to see where they got it from.

Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline
blending components) last week averaged 1.5 million barrels per day.

That isn't really impressive, so utilization must have jumped and maybe a bit of demand slip?

Have to wait to see the breakdown from FTX.

I won't be posting the table any more. Robert Rapier wants to use it in a weekly editorial post on the WPSR.

I think everyone's scratching their heads on this. First impressions - either they've:

a) made a mistake.
b) started including ethanol in gasoline stocks.
c) banned gasoline exports.
d) fiddled the books.

Any other suggestions?

e) imported more finished product and less blending components, reducing the 'double counting' ?

If anyone wants FTX data go back to last Wednesday's drumbeat and copy it to XL. I have had a similiar file like this going for a year now. Then copy this week's data into XL from the 10:30 Report.

Robert Rapier wants to use it in a weekly editorial post on the WPSR.

Go ahead and post it. The queue is a day behind, so it won't show up before tomorrow. People can see it quicker if you put it in the thread, but then it will also be in the TWIP post.

Besides, I am scratching my head at these numbers. Imports down a bit, demand still up year over year, and a huge build. Once you plug into the table, I think we can make more sense out of this.

Well, Doug MacIntyre has commented, but I am still not sure the numbers add up:

Be careful about making too much of weekly import and storage numbers. Sometimes, an import may come late in the week and get included by the company as an import, but not counted as storage until the following week. While I, and others, would like to believe that all the data is being reported in real-time, there are inevitable lags.

I look at 2 strong weeks of imports (including one that was the third highest ever) and I am not surprised to see a build in gasoline inventories. Also, more than half of the build was in blending components, whcih doesn't get factored into the demand equation until they are blended into finished gasoline, at which point they are included as production on the weekly data.

So, essentially, he is saying they missed a couple of tankers (1Million barrel tankers) of gasoline and didn't count them in imports this week or last.

But when they dipsticked(figurative) the storage tanks they reported higher numbers this week.

Gee, I guess anything is possible with EIA numbers.

That isn't really impressive, so utilization must have jumped and maybe a bit of demand slip?

Utilization was down sharply. I can't make sense of these numbers. FTX, throw your chart up there and let's dissect it.

The only thing I can figure is that gasoline use over the last week was sharply lower, but that gas usage over the last month were large enough for us to still show a 1.5% increase in gasoline consumption over the 4 week average.

Then again, I did only briefly scan the summary :P

Yes, please put up the chart.

Something isn't adding up.

U.S. Gasoline Data 2006 vs 2007
  Capacity Prodn Imports Stocks Stock Chnge Demand
W/E 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007
4/6 85.6 88.4 7.87 8.53 1.10 0.95 207.9 199.7 -3.9 -5.5 9.30 9.47
4/13 86.2 90.4 8.10 8.66 0.91 1.04 202.5 197.0 -5.4 -2.7 9.10 9.25
4/20 88.2 87.8 8.47 8.54 1.34 1.16 200.6 194.2 -1.9 -2.8 9.01 9.16
4/27 88.8 88.3 8.60 8.78 1.02 1.15 202.7 193.1 +2.1 -1.1 9.10 9.26
5/4 90.2 89.0 8.92 8.93 1.65 1.22 205.1 193.5 +2.4 +0.4 9.35 9.34
5/11 89.8 89.5 9.18 9.05 1.45 1.53 206.4 195.2 +1.3 +1.7 9.33 9.40
5/18 89.7 91.1 9.20 9.20 1.63 1.30 208.5 196.7 +2.1 +1.5 9.19 9.43
5/25 91.4 91.1 9.21 9.26 1.55 1.61 209.3 198.0 +0.8 +1.3 9.43 9.48
6/1 91.0 89.6 9.14 9.22 1.40 1.51 210.3 201.5 +1.0 +3.5 9.37 9.49
6/8 92.7   9.21   1.41   213.1   +2.8   9.41  
6/15 93.3   9.35   1.08   213.4   +0.3   9.43  
6/22 93.8   9.33   0.96   212.4   -1.0   9.54  
6/29 93.8   9.21   1.27   213.1   +0.7   9.65  

[These are weekly estimates, subject to revision. Data source - EIA. Week ending dates are for 2007 (2006 is a day more). Capacity is utilization% of fully operable. Imports, production and demand are million barrels per day. Stocks are millions of barrels]

U.S. Gasoline Stocks 2007 by PADD District
  East Coast Midwest Gulf Coast Rocky Mtn West Coast
5-yr avg 60.0 52.1 64.0 6.2 30.5
W/E Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge
4/13 52.8 -1.5 47.6 -0.4 63.1 -2.4 5.7 -0.1 27.7 +1.7
4/20 52.7 -0.1 46.7 -0.9 62.4 -0.7 5.4 -0.3 27.0 -0.7
4/27 53.2 +0.5 46.4 -0.3 61.8 -0.4 5.4 0.0 26.3 -0.7
5/4 52.6 -0.6 46.7 +0.3 61.4 -0.4 5.4 0.0 27.4 +1.1
5/11 51.9 -0.7 46.4 -0.3 62.8 +1.4 5.5 +0.1 28.6 +1.2
5/18 52.5 +0.6 46.1 -0.3 63.7 +0.9 5.6 +0.1 28.8 +0.2
5/25 52.3 -0.2 46.9 +0.8 63.8 +0.1 5.5 -0.1 29.6 +0.8
6/1 51.5 -0.8 48.1 +1.2 65.4 +1.6 5.6 +0.1 30.9 +1.3

[Source: EIA. 5-yr average is the average inventory level at the end of May]

When I first looked at the numbers this morning, I thought "Those don't make sense." Now that I have looked at this table, I still think that. Look back at the 5/11 numbers, which according to my eye ball look overall about the same as today's numbers. Yet this week had a 2 million barrel greater build.

What do you think? These numbers make sense to you?

What do you think? These numbers make sense to you?

No, they don't, but maybe we should have been querying last week's (5/25) numbers when they came out. That strong import figure arguably should have led to a larger stock build than recorded.

After reading Doug MacIntyre's comment though, it strikes me that there's a great deal of fudge in these figures that the EIA would probably rather we not dwell upon too much.

One thing's for sure, the pro analysts must be as surprised as we are. If the EIA had said yesterday "Well, we can tell you that utilization fell to 89.6% last week and imports fell from the previous week too, but demand was up"...can you imagine what the market reaction would have been?

Also, something like 75%-80% of U.S. gasoline imports come through PADD I (East Coast), and yet the East Coast inventory fell by 0.8 million barrels last week, whereas all other districts had a stock rise.

So where did all that extra gasoline come from in the non-PADD I districts if utilization was so much lower?

Do we need to deduct blending components to get the build number?

Since, total imports and production = 9.22+1.51=10.73 mmbpd.

Consumption/demand = 9.49 MMBPD

Difference is 1.24 MMBPD. x 7 days, doesn't add up to 3.5 million barrels(more), so how is this normally adjusted?

Total blending components is 1.014 MMBPD give 226kbpd build, or only 1.58 Million barrels over the week.

*****EDIT - this blending component number is from last week...

Is this the wrong calculation?

If not, how do we account for the 2 million barrels?

Do we need to deduct blending components to get the build number?

Blending compents are contained within exports, and then again within finished products. So you have to subtract them from the exports. Someone posted an equation here once that captured it. I think it was Production + Imports = Demand + Exports, but I think that last term should include minus blending component imports. I think I have that right. Then again, I have been up since 4:30 and my brain is fried.

I tried a number of possible combinations with different breakdowns on blending components still haven't found a formula to give this gain.

Still looking.

Does anyone know where to find a breakdown of gasoline exported? The EIA summary only indicates crude and PRODUCTS (which may include things other than gasoline).

I think I have run across that break down. You just have to poke around in there. Some of that stuff is hard to find. But there is a wealth of information in there.

TWIP is Out. A lot of discussion on refinery utilization numbers.

I will jump over to read it.

The question about the utilization drop is WHY? It is a relative big drop for a week. I guess I will read the TWIP first.

Another interesting point to note is the the EAST COAST inventory numbers are down another 0.8 Million barrels. The slide doesn't seem be stopping there.

Expect more diverted gasoline barges since the colonial is full out.

Does anyone know where to find a breakdown of gasoline exported?

I don't think you can get a weekly breakdown of gasoline exports. Monthly figures are here.

Last year gasoline exports were 170,000 bpd in May and 150,000 bpd in June. I've no idea what they are at present (although Jan, Feb and Mar were all up on 2006).

Interesting CNBC is now reporting the numbers don't gin either. Scratching their heads on how reduceds refinery runs and a small increase in imports can add to an 3.5 million barre increase in gas stocks. May see a revision or explanation.

Ok...this is really starting to get ridiculuous.

June 2nd:
Iran sees higher oil price, warns on supply

Khatibi also suggested that most Opec members were operating close to capacity. Iran is Opec’s No. 2 producer. “Therefore in the situation of an increase in the demand, there is no other way but to use the reserves,” he said.
“In the most optimistic situation, in the future supply and demand will seriously get close to each other and we will not have any additional supply,” he said. “In the pessimistic situation, oil demand in winter will reach an amount which supply can not meet ...

This pretty much is a confirmation that KSA is dead in the water and sinking fast, since we already knew no other OPEC member had any tangible excess capacity.

June 5th:

OPEC needs to boost 2nd-half output: EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - OPEC will need to boost its output in the second half of 2007 to meet winter heating demand, but it's too late for the producers' group to have much impact on U.S. oil supplies this summer, the U.S. government's top energy forecaster told Reuters on Monday.

"We see a need for OPEC to produce more crude in the second half of 2007 than they produced in the first half," due to projected demand increases, Guy Caruso, head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), told the Reuters Energy Summit.

OPEC, source of about a third of world oil, appears unlikely to boost its output before its regular meeting in September.

Even if OPEC were to act soon, crude oil from big producers like Saudi Arabia is at least a 45-day tanker journey away from the U.S. Gulf Coast, Caruso said.

"Summer supplies of crude in terms of the long-haul suppliers, that's pretty much in train now," he said.

So, if they won't increase until at least September, then write off September and October. See Ace's projections below....ouch.

With potential outages from Venezuela and Iraq, there are few reasons to think that global oil prices will fall anytime soon, he said.

"Most of the price risk is on the upside," he said.

That is a conservative statement. There was a bunch on Nigeria being a key "problem" as well. Nice framing - "it's all above ground factors"

Definitely supporting Ace's bottom analysis with large supply/demand gaps opening up this fall.

Here is Ace's latest world production update (May 30) -
Updated World Production Forecasts including UK Oil Production Decline

TODAY, June 6th:

Members Could Rethink Post-'12 Expansion Plan

But a further 9 million barrels a day of capacity in place by 2020, costing anywhere between $250 billion and $500 billion, could be in doubt because "we don't see the situation after 2012," el-Badri said.

"There's not much dedication to have excess capacity that will be idle," he said, "and the money we might invest can be used somewhere else."

What situation don't they see? If they can produce the excess capacity, the world will use it - Global Warming or not. 9MMBPD of excess capacity would be impressive, but they would need more like 6-8 MMBPD of new projects to offset the admitted declines or 8-12% from KSA.

Definitely, an admission that CHEAP oil is gone, since at 65-70 a barrel, another 9MMBPD would be fantastic. I imagine the CEO of any organization would say "Bring it on! Hurry!"

Looks like another smokescreen...blame game - "we will are cutting back because you are using renewables and reducing demand with 50MPG cars...you brought this on yourselves"

"There's not much dedication to have excess capacity that will be idle," he said, "and the money we might invest can be used somewhere else."

Some in the group, he added, "have problems in education, in housing, in health."

Makes me think of WT. I see net exports squeezing in here as well..."Sorry, we need that oil for ourselves"

Looking forward to todays gasoline report and RR's and FTX's table.

Plus Cyclone Gonu is going to result in at least 5 or 10 days of interruped crude out of the Mideast, about 30% or 40% of the world capacity. I don't know the Asian/European inventory stocks, but this will definitely lower them. Since there is a worldwide shortage of tankers, it will take months to catch up. I think we are looking down the barrel at $80 plus crude prices.

On the GONU thread there is a graph showing that the straight of hormuz handles 15 MBD...which is ~18%ish of world production. I'm not sure if you're talking about export capacity, though with the 30 - 40% figure...how did you arrive at that?

Also will you produce a source for "worldwide shortage of tankers." I'd just like to see some numbers on it.

I'm qouting WestTexas on the export percentage from his comment on the cyclone thread 2. But it makes sense, most countries that are producers are net importers, they use more than they produce. The US produces about 14 million bopd, we use 20.9 mbopd, leaving net imports of about 6.9 mbopd. Cina and India both produce oil, but are net importers. Same with the UK.
I can't remeber who said that tanker rates were going up, but I've seen it on theoildrum several times with links. All infrastructure is stretched these days, from refineries to oil rigs to pipelines to personel.

Can somebody help me out on the tanker links? I've been caught out!!!

US produces about 14 million bopd, we use 20.9 mbopd, leaving net imports of about 6.9 mbopd.

WOW! Where on earth did you get those figures? If you only count crude + condensate then the US produces about 5.2 million barrels per day. If you include all liquids then that figure rises to about 8.6 million barrels per day. The US total net imports, four weeks average ending June 1, 2007, was 13.115 million barrels per day.



Ron Patterson

I think we would dub this the "Information War" between countries. OPEC countries come out with information and then it is countered by news outlets in the Western countries.

The Western news sources are effective at clouding the issues and bringing enough doubt to the world stage so that no hard conclusions can be drawn.

Hello Dragonfly41,

Wild & Crazy Speculation Ahead:

It is a fundamental concept of Asimov's Foundation that:
Only a Few will know the True Facts of Predicted Collapse and Directed Decline.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Think EROEI.

Coal-to-Liquids is Doable

Major oil companies and private enterprises are working on a series of technologies that turn coal to liquids. The idea is to take an abundant resource such as coal and gasify it -- a process that cleanses it of its impurities. That byproduct can then supplement the use of crude oil, which would lessen the country's thirst for foreign oil and help ease prices. In fact, developers of the technology say that a barrel of coal-to-liquids is considerably less than a barrel of crude oil, which now stands at $63 a barrel.

"If coal-derived liquids were added to the world oil market, such liquids would cause world oil prices to be lower than what would be the case if they were not produced," says James Bartis, with the Rand Corp., in testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. If production of such fuel ever reached 6 million barrels per day, he said it would yield a world oil price decline of 6-10 percent.

And maybe some BS too?

There was a fascinating article on the front page of the WSJ recently about secretive land sales near Elk Point SD, code-named "The Gorilla Project". The article speculates what the purchase could be for and one of the most likely suspects IMO is a coal to liquids plant.
I was able to find the story online here.

Hints have emerged. Farmers say real-estate agents have told them the Gorilla may encompass 5,000 acres -- roughly 8 square miles -- and bring 2,000 permanent, well-paying jobs. Some 10,000 construction workers would be needed over three years. Total price for the plant, the real-estate agents say: $6 billion to $8 billion, a hefty sum in a state whose 2005 economic output was $31 billion.
Gov. Rounds says the suitor has promised there would be "no adverse environmental impact" to the state. He declined to provide specific details about the project, saying that the company wants to remain anonymous because it's in a competitive industry. Other states, he says, may also be under consideration.
Several landowners say they've been told the company would employ a technology or process not currently used in the U.S. That may point to a new type of fuel creation, such as a plant that converts coal into a liquid fuel that can be put into regular diesel engines, a process in use in several countries. Such a facility could generate electricity and produce ultraclean diesel, jet or other fuels.

In the past few weeks, Messrs. Cody and Curry stumbled onto some tantalizing new evidence. They got word that a man named Richard E. White is the "R.E. White" whose signature is on land-option papers filed at the courthouse. Mr. Cody searched the Web, and found a detailed biography of a Richard E. White of Findlay, Ohio, who's a former senior executive at Marathon Oil Corp.

Mr. White, who played on Indiana University's 1953 national-championship men's basketball team, retired in 1999 from Marathon, where his work included real-estate transactions. "We think he could be involved," says Mr. Cody. "But we don't have DNA."

FWIW, I also found this online, suggesting that Cairo, Ill. might also be a sight under consideration.

All of this is speculation, at this point.

Deed filed at the County Clerk all have a mailing address for return of the deed to the filer. So if you check that address, and its the same as Marathons or Whites, bingo!

Bill, I edited your post to include a link to the original article, and just a couple of paragraphs rather than the entire thing.

This is for everyone: Please don't post the entire article if you can post a link instead. Post a short excerpt of the most interesting part. Not only does it make the thread more readable, most of these articles are copyrighted and re-posting them in entirety is illegal.

Used highway asphalt-to-liquids is doable too, IF you put enough money & energy into it. Whether it is WORTH doing is a different question.

This is funny?! Canada can't use its own tar sands production, nor can California or the Northeast. All Texas has to do is not accept those standards, and they'll have plenty cheap oil. Oh, yeah. they have to build a pipeline....

Arnold terminates the tar

California standards could crimp Canada oil boom
Schwarzenegger's deals might affect Alberta's tar sands

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed environmental agreements with two Canadian provinces that could slow down the biggest oil boom in North American history -- the tar sands of Alberta.

Last week's agreements commit Ontario and British Columbia to adhere to California's low-carbon fuel standard, which will cut the use of petroleum sources such as Alberta's that cause high levels of global-warming emissions. Other provinces and U.S. states are expected to join the standard, thus shrinking the market for the fast-growing Alberta oil industry, which U.S. officials hope will overtake the Middle East as America's main source of imported petroleum.

The agreements, signed in Toronto with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and in Vancouver with British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, require the provinces to reduce the greenhouse gas output of gasoline and diesel fuels by at least 10 percent by 2020, in accordance with the new California standard. This includes all emissions resulting from production and use of the fuels, from exploration to refining to combustion.

Later this month, the California Air Resources Board is expected to announce detailed regulations to implement the standard.
The California measure is designed to address the often-overlooked, emissions-spewing ways in which fuels are created, thus complementing the state's other global warming policies such as cuts in vehicle tailpipe emissions.

Nine Northeast states are expected to eventually join California's fuel standard, along with Illinois, Quebec and Manitoba. Together, these steps will advance Schwarzenegger's stated goal of forcing oil companies to reduce emissions -- such as oil production processes that capture and store greenhouse gases underground, or cellulosic ethanol, or even electricity.
Experts say the fuel standard will make the vast amounts of tar-like petroleum underneath Alberta's boreal forests seem less attractive to oil companies.

"It's difficult to overstate the impact of the low-carbon fuel standard on tar sands production," said Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, an alliance of air-quality scientists and regulators with offices in Washington and San Francisco.

While the lack of pipelines from Alberta to California means the state receives little oil sands output, Ontario and British Columbia consume about 15 percent of total oil sands production and Illinois takes about 20 percent, according to Canadian and U.S. government data.

"This sends a wake-up call to the tar sands industry, and they're going to have to clean up their emissions if they want to sell to British Columbia, Ontario, California, and pretty soon the rest of the United States and Canada," said Ian Bruce, a climate change specialist at the David Suzuki Foundation, an environmental group in Vancouver.

While I'm glad to see individual states taking responsibilities that the Federal government has pretty much abandoned, can California actually sign agreements with governments outside of the US? Isn't that considered a treaty or international relations, which if I'm not mistaken, is a power that the Constitution restricts to the Federal government.

California can do whatever it wants, but even on a national level the resolutions may not be worth the paper they're written on. There's an unrelenting movement in the US towards centralized power, and the individual states are losing the battle big time.

New bill would undermine California's emissions rule

In an unusual move that challenges Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California regulators, two House Democratic leaders are pushing an energy proposal that would increase federal fuel efficiency standards but block any state from enacting more stringent controls.
If enacted, it would halt efforts by California and 11 other states to limit greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. The draft bill would block the Environmental Protection Agency from granting those states the permission to enact those regulations.

The proposal, offered by two veteran House Democrats, John Dingell of Michigan and Rick Boucher of Virginia, was immediately blasted by California officials and environmentalists. They are urging Pelosi, D-San Francisco, to stop any effort to defuse the state's tougher restrictions, which would require the industry to cut emissions in passenger cars and light trucks by 25 percent over the next nine years.

"Congress should not trample on California's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases," state Speaker Fabian Nu`ñez wrote Pelosi Tuesday. "We strongly urge you to reject the efforts of those who would pre-empt California's efforts."

From the front page of USA Today: Many investors feel like running away from homes

Buying real estate seemed a no-brainer five years ago. Cheap loans were easy to get. Home prices were soaring. Stocks were dead money.

How things have changed.

For-sale signs are sitting ignored in some cities. Interest rates on exotic loans are doubling. Insurance premiums and property taxes are skyrocketing. Wannabe real estate tycoons stuck with properties they can't sell have been turned into landlords, forced to fix toilets and take tenant calls in the middle of the night. Many are "under water" — owing more on the mortgage than they could get by selling.

From my Wisconsin State Journal today, a story about a nearby town (Oregon, WI), that is putting the brakes on development.

Oregon Putting Brakes on Development

Bollig said residential construction permits are down 40 percent compared to a year ago. The decision "was a reaction to the slowdown in the housing market," he said.

Realtors lower forecast for home sales: Trade group sees existing-home prices falling for first time since '60s

A real estate industry trade group said Wednesday it expects sales of existing homes to drop 4.6 percent this year to 6.2 million.

Two months ago, the group had predicted a 2.2 percent decline for the year.

Volume down 4.6%.

Median price down 1.3%.

From NYT ---->

Turkey Says Troops Crossing Into Iraq
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Published: June 6, 2007
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press.

Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.


Don't know whether anyone's posted these already, but I haven't noticed them:

Syria to End Dollar Peg, 2nd Arab Country in 2 Weeks

U.A.E. May Be Next to End Dollar Peg, Forwards Show

I imagine this will put pressure on the Fed to raise interest rates to protect the dollar against further loss of value. But, then again everyone else is raising rates too, putting even more pressure on the US dollar:

ECB raises eurozone rates to 4%

The bond market seems to be leading the way, the Fed will surely follow:

Treasury Yields Near the Highest in 9 Months Attract Investors

So a bit of gentle softening up is needed to prepare the markets for what's coming:

Fed Chief Dims Hopes for a Rate Cut

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Good summary! I wish it weren't that bad.

Which raises the interesting question: Which is worth more to the US - Turkey or Kurdistan?

Lose Turkey and the Russians gain their long-desired access to the Med, outflanking NATO and giving them freedom of maneuver in the Middle East. Plus losing our favorite "moderate, secular & democratic" Islamic example state. Plus, Turkey has oil pipelines.

Lose Kurdistan and the US loses its last secure & friendly turf in Iraq, turning a bad situation into a catastrophe. Plus, Kurdistan has oil.

Or maybe the best bet is that the US will manage to achieve the supremely incompetent feat of losing BOTH of them. If anyone could do it, the present administration surely could.

"turning a bad situation into a catastrophe. "

Clearly it already is a catastrophe. Losing Kurdistan would simply be icing on the cake.



I knew this "free range" thing would get out of hand...

They were just calling it 'Lebensraum'..



Report now seems to be in doubt----->

Conflicting reports on Turkish incursion into northern Iraq
The Associated Press reports that "several thousand" Turkish troops entered northern Iraq today in pursuit of Kurdish guerillas.

But Reuters, another news agency, reports that a Turkish military official says he "cannot confirm this report." The news agency also quotes a White House spokesman who says they have detected "no new activity" in that part of Iraq.

Update at 12:34 p.m. ET: Fox News Channel says the Turkish and U.S. governments are disputing press reports of a ground invasion.

"National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe, traveling with President Bush in Rostock, Germany, said the Turkish government reported to the NSC that the press reports are incorrect," Fox reports. "Johndroe said U.S. officials in the region have also made their own assessment and concur that no incursion has taken place."

Update at 12:38 p.m. ET: Col. Hussein Rashid, a senior official with the Iraqi border guards, tells the Associated Press that the invasion reports are inaccurate.

"Not even a single Turkish soldier has entered Iraqi territory," he said by telephone from his post near the border with Turkey, although he pointed out that Turkish troops have been operating very close to the border as part of a recent buildup.

"I have made contacts with many border posts and none report any incident," he tells the wire service.

This policy brief proposes that Congress legislate product-by-product and factory-by-factory disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions to create immediate incentives for companies to cut those emissions.

ACEEE developed this report as a comprehensive ranking of state energy efficiency policies and identified exemplary programs and policies within each policy category.

And the money/debt side:
“Utilities and Payday Lenders: Convenient Payments, Killer Loans,” a report released today by NCLC, found more than 650 instances where payday lenders act as authorized bill payment agents for regulated utilities.
Utilities that direct customers to pay electricity, natural gas and telephone bills at payday loan stores make those customers targets for marketing of predatory loans, a National Consumer Law Center report has found.

China, India, and the U.S. did not sign the Kyoto treaty.

California left many street lights on all night, it seems they have not given up driving either. Windmill generator-turbines were sold forward and are on backorder. California wants to make a statement, but cannot afford a solution. Check their YOY energy consumption and see if it went up.

Tar will flow with steam flood. Recovery rates were improving through the years. There were heavy oil projects such as new steam flood projects planned for the Alaskan North Slope, Oman, and the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone. California heavy oil has been extracted with steam flood for awhile.

The CAGR of the Alberta projects may bring about greater development than was thought possible three years ago.

1/ Clinton signed Kyoto alright. China and India signed as well.
2/ Alberta is set to self-implode.

The Clinton administration approved Kyoto but never submitted it to the Senate. According to the U.S. Constitution, Article 2 Section 2, treaties must be approved by 2/3 of the Senate:
"He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur"

The important thing is not the ceremony of signing, but ratification. And in July 1997, the U.S. Senate had passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution against the treaty by a 95-0 vote. That's a pretty bipartisan and veto-proof majority, so it was clearly not worth Clinton's while to pursue ratification, or to seek enabling legislation.

Only three countries in the world haven't ratified the Kyoto treaty: USA, Australia and Khazakstan. Australia also had originally signed the Treaty (like the US) but then reneged and followed US into Iraq war. Mad but loyal allie. Khazakstan was recently made famous by the Borat movie: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3518660467944829417

rainsong, we'll have plenty of oil at $100/bbl. But theres a lot of difference between Kern county heavy crude -10 gravity-and Alberta Bitumen, 0 gravity with a lot of sand. Sure, you can make synthetic crude out of it, with natural gas and an investment of $100,000 /bbl plus $30/bbl processing costs. plus transportation and refining costs. Don't try to tell me that bitumen is oil, or the kerogen from "oil shale". Oil flows out of holes in the ground.

What do you think are the chances we'll see accurate climate models before the computers that do the calculations disappear under water?

Antarctica: the "dynamic" nature of melting glaciers

Fears that global sea levels this century may rise faster and further than expected are supported by a study showing that 300 glaciers in Antarctica have begun to move more quickly into the ocean.

Scientists believe that the accelerated movement of glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula indicates a dramatic shift in the way melting ice around the world contributes to overall increases in global sea levels.

Instead of simply adding huge volumes of meltwater to the sea, scientists have found rising temperatures are causing glaciers as far apart as Alaska, Greenland and now Antarctica to break up and slip into the ocean at a faster rate than expected.

The findings will raise concerns within the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which, earlier this year, downplayed the so-called "dynamic" nature of melting glaciers - when rising temperatures cause them to break up quickly rather than simply melt slowly.

Using radar images taken between 1993 and 2003, scientists at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge mapped a 12 per cent increase in the average rate of movement of more than 300 glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula over the period.

The scientists believe that their findings are among the first to suggest that as glaciers being to melt they experience a physical transformation that causes an acceleration in their movement into the sea.

Thunder? That's the sound of Greenland melting

Atop Greenland's Suicide Cliff, from where old Inuit women used to hurl themselves when they felt they had become a burden to their community, a crack and a thud like thunder pierce the air.

"We don't have thunder here. But I know it from movies," says Ilulissat nurse Vilhelmina Nathanielsen, who hiked with us through the melting snow. "It's the ice cracking inside the icebergs. If we're lucky we might see one break apart."

Greenland, the world's largest island, is mostly covered by an ice cap of about 2.6 million cubic km that accounts for a 10th of all the fresh water in the world.

Over the last 30 years, its melt zone has expanded by 30 per cent, and now the cap loses 100 to 150 cubic km of ice every year - more than all the ice in the Alps.

"Some people are scared to discover the process is running faster than the models," said Konrad Steffen, a glaciologist at University of Colorado at Boulder and a Greenland expert who serves on a US government advisory committee on abrupt climate change.

In the past 15 years, winter temperatures have risen about 5 degrees Celsius on the cap, while spring and autumn temperatures increased about 3 degrees Celsius. Summer temperatures are unchanged.


Time to buy some oceanfront property. In Pennsylvania...

Assuming that your question does have a touch of seriousness about it and is not completely fatuous... Many of the best models of global climate provide excellent results when compared to the actual climate data from the last 1000 years. The accuracy of these sophsictated models (some of which have been in constant developement for 40 years) and the underlying physical, chemical, and biological principles on which they are based are key reasons many scientists concur with human induced climate changes. This is not to say that many problems do not remain in many areas, they do! Nevertheless, the basic fundmentals are not subject to debate as they once were, and these models are continuously being upgraded to reflect the latest thinking and understanding of the basic physical forces and their application in the global climate context.

Yeah, nice try.

However, whenever half of all news reports about climate change and melting ice contain the word "acceleration", there is something substantially wrong with the models. Because it's not the models that make people realize this, it's the practical findings that do.

No matter what the models predict for the past, if their predictions for the future are consistently faulty, then they are for all practical purposes, useless and potentially harmful.

The IPCC is nothing but a propaganda tool to hide the reality of what goes on, but I'm quite sure you would not agree with that. Still, what is the value of "sound science" when its findings are consistently wrong? Moreover, how can you still call it sound science? Fact is, a lot of "mechanisms", such as feedback loops, albedo changes and methane/CO2 releases from peatlands and permafrost, are not or hardly considered in models, simply because there remains uncertainty about their specific impacts.

The models thereby effectively deny and ignore these mechanisms, which makes them largely useless when it comes to accurate predictions. This in turn prevents necessary preparations. Yes, that too is a feedback mechanism, and it happens in the name of science, no matter how shoddy it may be, something that comes in mighty handy for certain vested interests. What you wind up with is bad science dressed up as solid science. Which benefits those opposed to adaptations and changes, as well as the scientists who want funding for their faulty models.

On a practical note, go back to the two articles I posted and tell me you know of models that have predicted the findings they describe.

Nice editorial and I'll bet typing that felt quite satisfying. From my reading about models, most of the publicized predictions have to do with overall planetary heating, distribution of general warming around the globe, sensitivity to increases in GH gases etc.
It is commonly acknowledged that the prediction of ice melting rates and newly activated feedback loops is an ongoing study. In fact the recent 4th IPCC report explicitly excluded recent findings about ice melt and glacier movements from the main findings in order to better represent the state of uncertainty. Imperfection is not a reason to throw out the sound science we do have. Unless that is you are advocating total ignorance is superior to partial knowlege. Hard to say from your post. When you say climate modeling as being "consistently wrong" I believe that is unfair. The main prediction is that Earth warming continues. Well, that is what is happening!

Imperfect but improving knowledge is better than ignorance. And I would add it is not fair to take popular press reporting about research and predictions and conflate that with the content of peer reviewed papers, IOW, the actual science.

1/ the press reports I posted are based on scientific findings, it's not made up stuff. the difference is they are based on actual evidence, not models.

what is the "actual science" is what I put up for discussion. the assumption that the models are the sole actual science is pretty shaky when you consider the difference between the models' predictions and what are real findings. that is the whole point.

2/ deriving policies from predictions that are at best inaccurate has real life consequences. and no, it's not so silly to compare the modelling scientists and their computers to the Titanic's orchestra. according to our models, theer can be no icebergs, but we're still redefining the data....

Thanks for sharing :*)

However, with enough tweaking, I can always construct something that models a given stretch of the past, in the same mathematical sense that an adaptive filter (or a 'neural network') models the data fed to it. The tricky question is how much predictive power that something will actually turn out to have.

So the match to the last 1000 years is nice, but it's not entirely persuasive. A better question might be this - get the model calibrated to the last 1000 years. Now run it from 3000 years ago to 2000 years ago. Does it do well with that period, i.e. can it model 'data it has never seen before'? If so, it might have some physics in it. If not, it might be pure phenomenology with little predictive value.

What do you think are the chances we'll see accurate climate models...?

Slim, until we see, for example, accurate electronic-circuit simulation models, which operate in a far simpler domain. For circuits, the underlying principles - the basic fundamentals - are well known, often to tiresomely many decimal places. Yet, without careful babying and sometimes even with, the results with the ever-popular SPICE models are occasionally real howlers. An entire little industry still supplies $5000 software packages that attempt to automate the babying of the underlying $100 (now free) computer model.

Numerical modeling is just not nearly as simple and cut-and-dried as many would like us to believe. That's especially true if one wishes the computer to finish the run before the universe runs down - or even finish it at all, i.e. "converge". In complicated domains, such as fluids, weather, and climate, this may require mind-boggling oversimplifications. There are reasons for the thick PhD theses and even thicker textbooks on the subject.

In addition, specifics may be harder to get from a model than vague generalities, and many of socially relevant questions are really about specifics. Which localities might cool in a warmed world? Which might flood or dry out? Good questions, requiring something more like a weather forecast than a broad "will the world warm" question would.

And unanticipated mechanisms - such as the degree of lubrication of glaciers by meltwater - do not appear in software by magic, at least not yet. Someone must still put them in by hand after they are discovered.

Mr Green goes motoring
Scourge of cars George Monbiot now owns one.

George Monbiot, the environmental campaigner, scourge of the automobile industry and champion of not owning cars, has finally bought himself . . . a car.

Notwithstanding pledges to live a green lifestyle and be a model to others, he has given in to temptation and acquired a secondhand Renault. The car industry will be silently celebrating the news. Monbiot has championed an anticar movement that has grown rapidly in influence to the point where many owners now feel guilty about using their cars.


SUV salespeople were spreading propaganda about America's love of large cars, yet in all honesty it was the small car segment of auto sales showing the most growth. Chevy Astro sales grew 20 percent. Toyoto passed Ford to become the nation's largest seller of autos.


On the other hand, the two biggest sellers in May were light trucks -- the Chevy Silverado (63.7k units) and Ford F-series (61.9k units). See chart of "Top 10 US Vehicle Sales in May" on page 2.

Wow, you mean there is actually more news on this site than GONU for the last two days?

Wow, you mean there is actually more news on this site than GONU for the last two days?

Re: The 5 Myths of the Transition to Biofuels

Well aside from the usage/demand bruhaha above, I wanted to make a quick commentary on this hit-piece from LeMonde Diplo - a paper I typically hold in high regard.

1) Biofuels are most certainly clean and although I wouldn't go so far as to say that they 'protect' the evironment I would, however, state that biofuels can be carbon neutral if not a carbon negative source of LTF.

2) True - in some cases biofuels do cause deforestation. The assertion that Brazil is cutting down rainforest for ethanol is false.

3) Unfounded scaremongering. The latest UN report on bioenegy directly contradicts Diplo's claim and nowhere does it mention PO nor outline a nice and breezy transition through it to a biofuel world.

4) Here we go again with the starving Mexican bullshit. I proved otherwise for TODers here sometime ago.

5) More nonsense. There are 6 DOE funded, commerical ethanol projects underway in the U.S. as I write this. My money is on Poet Ethanol to be the first to hit their targets.

All in all, a pretty sad attempt and I'm rather discouraged that Diplo would put their name behind such a shoddy piece.

Here we go again with the starving Mexican bullshit. I proved otherwise for TODers here sometime ago.

Proof is for mathematics. You asserted. But I will grant you that NAFTA shares blame. But today, right now, if ethanol was not driving up corn prices, this wouldn't be an issue. What you wish to do is put the entire blame on NAFTA, ignoring the obvious and immediate impact that higher corn prices is having. It took 2 pieces to complete that puzzle.

More nonsense. There are 6 DOE funded, commerical ethanol projects underway in the U.S. as I write this.

If that's not an oxymoron, it should be. DOE funded and commercial. If they were truly commercial, they wouldn't need DOE funding. And I will take best that they can't stand on their own without funding. Cellulosic is just not at that stage, and until someone waves a wand and greatly boosts conversions, that's the way it shall remain.

If all proofs were by necessity mathematical, we wouldn't be sure of very much. As for things that can't stand on their own being non commercial - whatever that means - the corn subsidies that were entrenched long before ethanol got into gasoline means that corn wasn't truly commercial either.

This is a pretty complex matter that won't be untangled in a few short posts. The semantics and pedantics and all the other antics I hear about biofuels makes me sure of one thing: this is a truly stupid idea. Ethanol has one big virtue. It's a flammable liquid. If it weren't we wouldn't be talking about it. Coal to liquids, corn to liquids, tar to liquids all have pretty poor numbers in the long run against the real long term winners.

Interestingly, I read somewhere that wheat in 1924 was something like $3.40 a bushel. While this seems outrageous, the combine harvester had yet to come out and farmers were still using the McCormick reaper and 'stooking' the grain. Wheat hit a high of $3.17 a bushel in May 1917 but Congress imposed a price cap of $2.20 in August. This is against a background of Model Ts at $500 and houses for $2500 or so. Wheat fell as low as 50 cents a bushel in 1932 with corn at 32 cents. By 1936 corn was back up to a dollar on a short crop. Adjusted for inflation that is well over $10 a bushel today. Perhaps a decade ago wheat was selling for $2.78 and Fords for somewhere around 15 grand.

Grain prices have been bizarrely immune to to inflation for so long that the actual fair and unmedicated free range costs are almost guesswork. Subjecting this minefield of cartels and subsidies to the added ignominy of a biofuel industry will probably create a Gordian knot far supassing our meager attempts at analysis. All grains are government funded right from the get go.

If you want a good read and some background on the subject, may I recommend Merchants of Grain by Dan Morgan, Viking Press. It's from 1979 but not a lot has changed since. Not even the prices, as farmers will attest. If we didn't starve at $2.20 a bushel in 1917 we can inflation adjust that to about $30 plus today. Say what? Yes, a barrel of oil and a bushel of wheat were approximately the same price for a long time.

As to Mexicans starving, I would submit that obesity and alcoholism are far bigger problems - pardon me 'issues' - in Mexico today. Ethanol is and was a dilemma long before we decided to add it to gasoline.

While I'm at it, The Kingdom by Robert Lacey, Harcourt Brace 1982 is a good look at 'Arabia and the House of Saud', its subtitle. Lacey also wrote 'Ford, the men and the machine' in 1986, Little Brown and Co. Food, cars and oil all seem to intertwine with money, war and power.

Happy reading!

My assertions re: NAFTA are well documented. So too are the investigations into profiteering and hoarding of white corn.

Cargill, the biggest grain distributor in the world, was permitted to buy six hundred thousand tons of corn at 1,650 pesos per ton. Later, Cargill began to sell the corn in the valley of Mexico at 3,500 pesos the ton (“Pactortilla,” Reforma, 1/21/07). Profits resulting from the price hike were clearly reaped by the major grain distributors but not by corn producers. Article 253 of the federal penal code prohibits hoarding, and excessive profits based on price-fixing, but the Federal Competition Commission has done little to enforce the laws (“Maiz: Cosechar Tempestades,” Oaxaca Libre, 1/18).

Saudi Aramco is starting to plan celebrations for its 75th Anniversary in 2008

In May 1933, Saudi Arabia granted its first oil concession to Standard Oil of California.

The theme of the 75th anniversary celebrations will be "Energy for Generations" and will focus on the human side of the company.

Also info from this link

"Americans not very big on very small cars."

There are two big problems with this article. The first is the automotive analyst's propaganda. "Americans not very big on very small cars."

If that's true, then why can't I buy the little Messerschmitt Kr201 that I have been lusting over for a decade for less than 15,000?

If Americans truely were not "big" on little cars, I should be able to get a Heinkel Kabine, Goggomobil, American Bantam, BMW Isetta, NSU Prinz, Vespa 400 or Ape', Bianchina, or Nash Metropolitan for peanuts.

Sadly, for me, very small cars (classic and modern) have very big price tags. Look at the price of Mini both classic and new and tell me that Americans are not big on small cars.

"Americans not very big on very small cars." Liar.

However, the second problem is even if we move to more efficient automobiles, we are sustaining and encouraging car culture.

Even if we as Americans switch to small cars, we are still stuck with the current automobilization of China and India. And that will eat up any savings.

My bicycle has become my primary transport around town this year. And in an oil scarce future, the title might be "Americans not very big on small bicycles".


Next time, Take the Trolley.