DrumBeat: June 14, 2007

20 years later, we still have 40 years of oil left

BP Statistical Review of World Energy released a report that estimated there are enough world petroleum reserves to last for 40 years, assuming we consume at our current rates. The article notes that in the 1980’s the amount of proven reserves was also 40 years. 20 years go by, consumption rates change, new customers change, new oil fields are found, old ones produce more, and voila, is we’re good to go for another 40 years of oil.

Michael Klare: The Pentagon v. Peak Oil

Sixteen gallons of oil. That's how much the average American soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis -- either directly, through the use of Humvees, tanks, trucks, and helicopters, or indirectly, by calling in air strikes. Multiply this figure by 162,000 soldiers in Iraq, 24,000 in Afghanistan, and 30,000 in the surrounding region (including sailors aboard U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf) and you arrive at approximately 3.5 million gallons of oil: the daily petroleum tab for U.S. combat operations in the Middle East war zone.

Hubbert's Peak, The Question of Coal, and Climate Change

Currently there is a vigorous debate about fossil-fuel production, and whether it will be sufficient in the future. At the same time, there is an intense effort to predict the contribution to future climate change that will result from consuming this fuel. There has been surprisingly little effort to connect these two. Do we have a fossil-fuel supply problem? Do we have a climate-change problem? Do we have both? Which comes first? We will see that trends for future fossil-fuel production are less than any of the 40 UN scenarios considered in climate-change assessments. The implication is that producer limitations could provide useful constraints in climate modeling. We will also see that the time constants for fossil-fuel exhaustion are about an order of magnitude smaller than the time constants for sea level and sea-level change. This means that to lessen the effects of climate change associated with future fossil-fuel use, reducing ultimate production is more important than slowing it down.

Mexico oil output drop may spark crisis

Declining oil output in Mexico could spark a major fiscal crisis there, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Wednesday, while also railing against US immigration policy.

"There is no doubt that Mexican overall (oil) production is down and if it continues down, and prices don't continue up to offset that, then there is a huge fiscal crisis pending," the former US central banker said via a video link to a business conference in Mexico City.

What's in the Energy Bill?

The controversial energy bill now on the Senate floor takes a different approach than the bill pushed through by a Republican Senate in 2005. That measure sought to increase domestic oil production through subsidies and other incentives. With Democrats now in charge, the new bill focuses on decreasing consumption of oil and gasoline.

Winter heating oil import dependence set to jump

The U.S. energy industry has sharply reduced its production of heating oil in favor of cleaner, higher-profit fuels like diesel -- a move that could see the nation relying more heavily on imports next winter heating season, analysts said Wednesday.

Roscoe Bartlett: Commemorating Admiral Rickover's 1957 speech on energy

Mr. Speaker, this is really a very important day in our history. Exactly 50 years ago today in St. Paul, MN, Admiral Hyman Rickover gave a very famous speech. In a few moments, I will have here a copy of that speech, and I want to spend most of the hour that we have this evening going over that speech, because he was amazingly prophetic. This was a speech given to a group of physicians, and it was about energy. Of course, his primary interest was nuclear energy, and this was a speech about energy in general.

Pickens wants to build world's largest wind farm

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens is planning to cash in on the wind energy boom by building the world's largest wind farm in West Texas.

The oil tycoon wants to install large wind turbines in parts of four Panhandle counties in a project that would produce up to 4,000 megawatts of electricity, Pickens spokesman Mike Boswell said Wednesday.

Why did the Soviet Union fall?

In a simplified way, the story of the collapse of the Soviet Union could be told as a story about grain and oil.

Outside View: Iran`s oil weapon

There is no doubting the strengthening energy ties between Iran and China, whose imports of Iranian crude have risen by 14 percent in the first four months of this year from last year`s figures, at a time when China is deliberately trying to curb its appetite for imported oil. The growing cooperation in oil follows the dramatic $70 billion deal that China`s giant Sinopec Group made with Iran to buy 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas over 30 years from Iran and develop the giant Yadavaran field.

In this context, it is not easy to see China approving severe sanctions against Iran at the U.N. Security Council. And given India`s equal hunger for imported oil and gas, and the current discussions between Indian and Iranian officials over a gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan, it is not easy to see India throwing its weight behind sanctions, despite the close strategic ties that have been forged between New Delhi and Washington.

Emissions scheme "seriously undermined", says WWF

The conservation group WWF said that while the mechanism of carbon trading was sound in principle, the way the first phase of the scheme, running from 2005-2007, had been handled meant no reductions will have been achieved.

Aura Green Line: GM's hybrid cost cutter

Saturn's hybrid sedan costs less than other hybrid cars, but it's not worth as much either.

Consumers Plan to Employ Gas-Saving Tips to Achieve Greater Fuel Economy According to New Study

With gas prices on the rise this summer, there is no shortage of fuel economy advice available to consumers who want to save a few dollars at the pump. Drivers are often encouraged to improve their vehicle's fuel economy by reducing air conditioning use, changing filters regularly, checking tire pressure, having fuel injectors cleaned and using a fuel additive to increase engine performance. But how likely are consumers to actually use any of these gas-saving tips to help save money?

Kuwait seeks Calgary's help

State-owned Kuwait Oil Co. is looking to enlist the knowledge and expertise of Calgary-based firms to help in the development of its heavy-oil reserves with a goal of producing a total of 900,000 barrels per day by 2020, a senior KOC official told the Calgary Herald on Wednesday.

Bleak forecast for global business

Liquid fuel shortages, massive unemployment, high interest rates and severe recession.

Those are just some of the bleak prospects ahead for the global economy as our energy supplies dry up, according to a keynote speaker at the Smart 2007 supply chain conference to be held in Sydney next week.

A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash (review)

The problems Hubbert foresaw are compounded at every turn. There's the new-found need for oil of developing nations that once managed without it; or that none of the alternative energy sources is even nearly as useful as oil; or that no one would vote for a truthful politician who might help effect change, because the truth involves much higher petrol prices and the likelihood of a depression worse than the one in the 1930s.

Cuba's Castro Almost Fully Recovered, Chavez Says

Chavez said his country's natural gas had been "kidnapped" by the U.S., whose President George W. Bush he blamed for triggering a "global energy crisis." Chavez also criticized U.S. attempts to help replace part of its gasoline needs with biofuels as "insane," echoing Castro's statements opposing the use of food crops for fuel.

Baltics need investment to avoid electricity crisis

"In 2010, if we don't make additional investments, the Baltic states will become an energy-deficit region."

Death toll reaches 289 in sizzling Pakistan

At least 57 more people died across Pakistan due to exposure to intense heat, raising the death toll to at least 289, media reports said on Thursday.

...People battled the sizzling temperatures amid frequent power outages as the country was facing its worst ever energy crisis, with electricity demand exceeding the supply by 2,900 megawatts.

Violent protests were staged in the port city of Karachi, where a major fault in one of the electricity generating units caused power cuts that continued in some cases for 12 hours.

Pakistan: Citizens ‘shed’ anger, protest load shedding

The city witnessed riots, Wednesday as well, in protest against the unannounced load shedding of electricity.

The residents and shopkeepers, enraged with power outages, protested against the KESC by burning tires on roads and as a result, traffic was blocked for several hours.

Paksitan: Shortage of power reaches 2900MW

The countrywide electricity shortage is learnt to have increased to about 2,900MW owing mainly to continued closure of about 25 generating units across the country, adding to the misery of consumers in the sizzling temperatures.

“This is the worst energy crisis in Pakistan’s history. Accounting for almost 20 per cent of the requirement, the gap between demand and supply is even higher than the 10 per cent shortfall faced in the early 1990s,” a senior Wapda official told Dawn.

Pakistan Govt to exercise options of taking control of KESC if power crisis not overcome

Federal Minister for Water and Power Liaqat Jatoi Wednesday told the National Assembly that if Karachi Electricity Supply Company fails to control the energy crisis than the government has alternate options to take control of the corporation.

Is a federal RPS the answer?

The renewable portfolio standard amendment, put forward by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would set a national renewable energy target of 15 percent by 2030.

Scientist not all doom and gloom about climate response

The crowd nudged Alley out of his scientific cloister, asking him to recommend policies for addressing the threat that climate change presents.

Moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels for energy is an essential first step, he said. "We have to change anyway. The oil companies are very smart, and they can see peak oil from here."

Can green computers help save the world?

Computer makers are waking up to the fact that their products emit as much CO2 as aviation.

All Hail the Washing Machine

Proselytizing for suburban sprawl, Reagan administration veteran Ron Utt was once quoted in The New York Times denying that the sedentary lifestyle of suburbia contributes to obesity. Instead Utt points his finger at the washing machine, arguing, "you're fat for a lot of reasons, like the fact that you don't do laundry by hand."

It's just like a Heritage Foundation fellow to romanticize the days when soiled clothing was laboriously beaten with a paddle, scrubbed on a washboard, and then hung out to dry. It was women who did that work, both for their own families and as wage workers. And as anti-sprawl author James Howard Kunstler points out in Geography of Nowhere, it is women who so often get stuck shuttling children to and fro five times a day in our sprawling, car-dependent suburbs. The landscape of the 1950s all too often promotes the values of the 1950s.

Costs don’t stop drivers from going it alone: More than ever commute solo as suburbanites can’t change habits

WASHINGTON - More people than ever are driving alone to work as the nation's commuters balk at carpools and mass transit.

Regardless of fuel prices, housing and work patterns make it hard for suburban commuters to change their gas-guzzling ways.

...For most suburban commuters, "it's very hard to find someone to ride with, and it's very hard to find public transportation," said Alan Pisarski, author of "Commuting in America." "There aren't always a lot of options for people."

We're doing it to ourselves on oil, says Pickens

We have a tremendous demand in the United States. The United States uses 25 percent of the 85 million barrels used daily, and we have less than 5 percent of the population. So when you start to look around at who's doing it, we're doing it to ourselves. We are the ones that are using it, and we're the ones that are driving up the price.

Russia to Pump Up Oil Production by 2010

Russia will increase by 2010 its extraction of oil to 10 million 600 thousand barrels per day, according to data of the International Energy Agency (IEA) released here on Wednesday.

According to those estimates, Russian crude production could decline in 2012 to 10.5 million barrels per day.

US House Panel OKs Bill That Slows Oil, Gas Development Permitting

The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Wednesday passed a broad energy bill that includes provisions that repeal laws designed to accelerate the oil and gas permitting process.

Industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, say they fear the bill could stunt domestic oil and gas production.

Industry watchers fear ethanol oversupply - Fast expansion, distribution issues could doom alternative energy boom

Lehman Brothers analysts estimated the surplus at about 1 million gallons per day starting in the second half of 2007. The firm’s report attributed part of that to the ethanol plant construction boom, but said transportation bottlenecks are a bigger problem.

Ethanol is produced mainly in the Midwest and has to be moved to coastal markets by train or truck since pipelines don’t exist, said Michael Waldron, a co-author of the report.

“The supply is coming online and there isn’t really an efficient way to get it to the demand centers on the East and West Coasts,” he said.

Venezuela to Seize 26 Oil Rigs, Equipment in Next Few Months

Venezuela will take back a total of 26 oil drills and related equipment in the next few months that had been leased to outside companies, an executive from state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA, said Tuesday.

"It's 26 (rigs) that we will be nationalizing that are now in the hands of third parties," Jose Luis Parada, general exploration manager for PdVSA's western division, said on the sidelines of the 18th Annual Latin American Petroleum Show in Maracaibo.

He said the move, which includes hiring the rig operators, will consolidate the government's hold on the oil business.

James Woolsey on ending the oil era

Reliance on oil is a major environmental concern among industrialized nations, particularly the United States, which uses and imports more oil than any other country. Oil dependency is emerging as a major national security issue as well.

Last fall, we asked former CIA director James Woolsey for his take on ending the oil era.

The scramble for Africa's oil

Within a decade, the US will be heavily dependent on African oil. Little wonder the Pentagon is preparing a strategy for the region.

Re-evolution and the Steady State of M. King Hubbert

Integrity, intellectual honesty, courage, focus, foresight, leadership, belief in the goodness of the American people. These are descriptions that spring to mind when thinking of M. King Hubbert. He was a visionary who believed in the power of ideas and the need to use intellectual rigour to analyse and manage change. As a research geophysicist he understood the problems posed by the reality of peak oil and the cultural catastrophe that lay before humanity unless it realised the non-recurring historical nature of the growth phenomenon.

Hertz, Avis add hybrids to fleets

In an apparent race to be seen as the greenest company in the industry, car rental giants Hertz and Avis are adding thousands of new, fuel-efficient hybrid cars to their fleets this month.

BBC radio (starts about 40 minutes in)

Interviews with people putting together a transition town in Lewes (pop. 7000), studio discussion between a cornucupian in full denial and Jeremy Leggett.

Auto giants complain Congress punishing them

Major U.S. auto companies are trying, through allies in the Senate, to weaken the leading proposal for stricter fuel-efficiency standards but fear they are being punished in Congress after years of resisting such measures.

Saudi Aramco building 400,000 bpd refinery

Saudi Aramco has launched a project to build a new 400,000 barrel per day refinery that will cost $7 billion to $8 billion, the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) reported.

The new plant is scheduled to come onstream in early 2012, MEED said without giving the source of the report. It will be built on the kingdom's east coast at Ras Tanura, already the site of the Middle East's largest refinery complex.

Climate change brings toxic moth to England

A species of toxic moth which has been moving steadily north from the Mediterranean because of global warming has reached England, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew said on Wednesday.

Oilsands gain a dirty name

Now that Hollywood actors are buying carbon offsets to feel even better about their air-conditioned mansions and private jets, Canada is held in contempt for being the source of the dirtiest oil on the planet -- the oilsands.

Baptists approve global warming measure

Southern Baptists approved a resolution on global warming Wednesday that questions the prevailing scientific belief that humans are largely to blame for the phenomenon and also warns that increased regulation of greenhouse gases will hurt the poor.


Anyone see Ron Paul on the Colbert Report last night?


It will be on the ReRun tonight at 8:30est on the Comedy Channel...

Shameless plug for Ron Paul

Hope he would name Roscoe Bartlett as his Energy Sec.

Many see Ron Paul as their shibboleth to obtaining change in government.

9/11 truthers, using government to stop corruption, the people who think executive orders are bunk, et la. If these people's believes are correct, Dr. Paul is a dead man walking - right?

Many have said that if you seek the job a president there is something wrong with you and you should not have the job...so under that definition Dr. Paul should not be President.

Lets say Dr. Paul became the Prez. The underlings across the government will still be (mostly) the same, The Congress won't change, et la.

If Dr. No still was Dr. No - almost every bill by the Congress should therefore be vetoed, thus needing Congress to override. One could only hope that working together to get bills passed, Congress would do a better job.

As another poster pointed out Dr Paul record on energy isn't all that good, but it is consistent with his view about what powers The Constitution grants or how a free market. if it existed, would work.

Dr. Paul has to make it though many months to get on the ballot in November. So don't spend alot of time hoping - spend your time in the next 50 days getting him past the Ames staw pole and making him #1 in the early primary states.

Many have said that if you seek the job a president there is something wrong with you and you should not have the job...so under that definition Dr. Paul should not be President.

So, ah, um, then Al Gore maybe? No, he said he wanted to be President one time. How about Paris Hilton? That's the ticket — Paris Hilton for President!

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

Snark aside - The 'don't wanna be it' argument was made by David Bender of Politically Direct when he interviewed Al Gore.

Why should Al bother? He's in the history books with his movie. Making more money (cept I'm betting with payoffs you could make more as The Leader of Da Free World) and doesn't have the headaches of that meat grinder of a job.

Isn't the whole idea the same as what is found in Platos The Republic? It's the person who doesn't want to be king who you should appoint as king. The philosopher king?

Except Plato really did want to be King and was only pretending not to.

A very impressive slap-in-the-face 2 minute Ron Paul election ad:

No More Manipulation

Also impressive, and also at YouTube, a three-part series of Ron Paul being interviewed on the Korelin Economics Report. When he starts explaining there are still today members of the Banking Committee who think the dollar is backed by gold, everyone's speechless for a moment.

Refinery Capacity Utilization down 5% from normal.

This is pure speculation, but it occurred to me that the easy to refine Nigerian crude has been in turmoil for about a month and a half now (the latest drop of 500,000 bpd) and refinery throughput is down from usual by a similar number.

I suspect when we look in the imports rear-view mirror, we're going to see plenty of heavy oil imports to keep storage numbers high but not enough of the easy light stuff to keep the capacity numbers up.

Anyone know where the most recent import origin numbers can be found? I'd like to add something useful to the site for a change.

Anyone else notice in this weeks TWIP (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/twip/twip_gasoline.html) that the anomalous gasoline stocks build smoothed itself out with this weeks number? If you were to draw a line between two weeks ago and this week, it would simply continue the trend set by the previous weeks...whereas last week's number is out in it's own little world.

Compressed Natural Gas Cars

In Argentina natural gas was 60% cheaper than gasoline (NBC).


Argentina has their winter in June. A cold spell has caused power outages and long lines at CNG "gas stations".


Argentina has a million natural gas cars on the road.


Brazilians had more than a million natural gas cars.

Iran began to use natural gas cars.

Pakistan was using natural gas cars.

Egypt used natural gas cars.

Australia was switching to LPG cars.

Natural gas prices varied from location to location.

CNG pressure gauge

They have significant shortages but the left leaning government imposed price controls. It follows that the juice goes somewhere else.

The price controls are so bad that the service stations have imposed separate transaction fees to be able to remain in business.

Our family uses two CNG vehicles here in CA; It's a medium-term strategy that will either be smart or foolish--only time will tell. We should have a home fueling device in by summer's end.
Maybe a vanity plate that reads "REDQUEEN" would be in order? Or "PEAKCNG", or "PKOILHG", or...
I suspect that few other CNG-driving folks here expect NatGas to both increase in price and become scarce in "short" time; again, it's all about the timing.


How did you come across the Williams link ? To compare notes, if you will.

I posted about it on the 11th I believe, and when I googled his name and book title I got returns that were limited in scope.

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

How did you come across the Williams link ?

Mike Rivero's What really happened site. When I want to get my 'damn lying bastards' grove on, Mike does not disappoint.

I enjoyed yesterday's report of 1/2 a million people on the FBI terrorist watch list. All I could do was shake my head over how much effort is being spent to 'watch' 1/2 a million people.

"Here are the facts," says Lindsey Williams. "There is as much crude oil on the north slope of Alaska as there is in Saudia Arabia."

Boy, I'm glad I got a chance to see that video. Here I've been wasting time reading TheOilDrum.com, and now I find out that peak oil is just one big conspiracy. There's plenty for everybody but the gubbament's hiding it.

Who is this guy anyway?

"Here are the facts," says Lindsey Williams. "There is as much crude oil on the north slope of Alaska as there is in Saudia Arabia."

Soon enough, that will be true.

cfm in Gray, ME



In my opinion, Lindsey Williams has very little credibility. I base this opinion on having listened to over ten Williams interviews, aired almost exclusively on "Patriot" style right-of-center/libertarian radio networks (I listen to, and read, stuff from all over the spectrum). Without exception, the only substantiation to his claims are based on his conversations with oil men in Alaska in the 1970s/80s, and then a few other conversations and support he has received from people after Williams started speaking of his conclusions. I have never heard him offer a single fact or observation that has been independently verified. I'd be happy for someone to prove me wrong.

Williams is an ordained Baptist preacher, and you should hear how he promotes his books!

Anyway, the bottom-line: Again, I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but Williams comes off as an intellectual lightweight that offers flimsy hearsay-based arguments that can't be verified. You can find many articles about him and his views on the internet. But I highly recommend you search for actual audio interviews. You'll get a pretty strong impression of the guy. It may be that he really believes what he's preaching, and he may very well be a sincere man. But I don't think reality matches his stories.

In this society, where Paris Hilton's trip back to jail dominates the news for an entire day (like cheap paparazzi), this should be expected. There will be no awareness of this issue until it becomes a catastrophe in progress and then the clueless will scream "why didn't anybody tell us?" while crying on the roadside. My sympathies will be rather limited.

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

We Were Warned is supposed to be re-broadcast on June 25. Not sure if this is the regular CNN or a special version meant for schools.

Article includes a lesson plan.

I'd appreciate further updates on when We Were Warned will be re-aired, I've missed it so far. Thanks.

Story about the little intangible issues caused by more expensive fuel:

Products put at risk by relentless cost-cutting: Study finds that not one of 25 major companies tracked was aware enough of serious risks in the product supply chain.


The Deloitte study, entitled "Supply chain's last straw: A vicious cycle of risk," studied 25 leading global companies from various industries with combined revenues of more than $1.5 trillion. It found that not one of them was fully prepared to handle or prevent these risks.

What's more, the report concluded that as companies cut costs to become more efficient - and more competitive globally - the more vulnerable they tend to become to lapses in the supply chain.

"The search for cheaper labor, cheaper raw materials, and cheaper transportation - the quest for efficiency - has forced the focus of companies to switch from revenue growth to cost reduction," Deloitte said in the study. "Individually, these forces have changed the world in which we live and conduct business. But when combined, these forces can create a perfect storm of risk not seen before in the history of commerce or humankind," it added.

Ken Landis, a principal with Deloitte Consulting who worked on the report, said Deloitte initiated the study a year ago after noticing these patterns.


"Recognize that efficiency leads to vulnerability. As companies move to lower costs across the supply chain, at some point it'll become difficult to buy quality products. History has shown that when you squeeze the supplier, they will skimp," he said.

What's more, the report concluded that as companies cut costs to become more efficient - and more competitive globally - the more vulnerable they tend to become to lapses in the supply chain.

That is what Homer-Dixon's The Upside of Down is about. Efficiency means loss of resilience.

Many peak oilers think efficiency is the answer, or a big part of it. I am starting to suspect that that's going to prove to be a huge mistake. It may allow us to keep the party going longer, but the crash, when it comes, will be that much worse.

You only have to look at where your food comes from. Or your energy.

You should want that supply chain to be as short as possible (as in your own back yard), or you'll inevitably wind up as toast, or a slave, or a slave on toast.

That's the big win in globalization and free trade: it takes people's independence away.

What this all means is that company's are cutting costs like crazy, sometimes to the detriment their customer's safety.

I think all the stories we have heard about tainted spinach, beef, pet food, etc. can be attributed at the root by these companies cutting costs and cutting corners. When those cuts happen to be with quality oversight, it can lead to dangerous consequences.

Growing your own food these days is not only cost-saving and energy-saving, it could be acutely life-saving.

Now, take that cost-cutting idea and apply it to the medical industry. Scary thought.

What this all means is that company's are cutting costs like crazy, sometimes to the detriment their customer's safety. ....Now, take that cost-cutting idea and apply it to the medical industry. Scary thought.

Another scary thought is apply cost-cutting to the airline industry. One reason I don't fly any more, or at least unless some dire circumstance requires it.

There are many critical operations, services, and products in this country (the world) where you start cutting down and cutting corners (to gain efficiencies - euphemism) and things become randomly dangerous and unpredictable.

I see it as a side effect of Peak Oil and our efforts to maintain the complex systems we have built instead of creating less energy intensive systems. The second option means that the status quo must change, which is rather difficult due to economic and cultural inertia.

As Bob Shaw would say, "wild speculation ahead".

Refinery problems of 2007 due to cost & corner cutting?
Expect more unplanned breakdowns of complex systems?
Sounds wildly unbelievable? Yes it does....so why does it keep happening.

Yep, you only have to read the professional pilot's forum

They don't need to spend money on oversight or resilience. Disruptions to the system are terrorist acts and covered by Homeland Stazi. Essentially, they are externalizing the costs of lack of resilience onto the people who have backyard chickens and gardens and making the taxpayers pick up the tab. The Tylenol poisoning would today be an act of terrorism, probably hushed up for "nationaly security" and the manufacturer would be off the hook.

cfm in Gray, ME

It was spelled with an "S" and it wasn't "wag the dog" :-)

Staatsicherheit--->Sta/Si--> Stasi, State Security

That's why efficiency is just one end of the equation. As with investments, the strategy has to include diversification, if you don't want dependency or over-investment in one place to drag you down.

Having an efficient car gets you just so far (literally), if you are still living 30 miles from work and have no way to bike or bus that distance.

Just the same, making your home and commute more energy efficient is still a very beneficial step in the right direction, and any of the instant Jevons' comparisons or 'yah, but you're still stuck on oil' critiques doesn't change the fact that you'd have cut your monthly outlay by X-dollars, which with efficiency habits and installations is a compounding interest, every month. I highly doubt that getting a more efficient vehicle would persuade someone to make up the entire difference by driving more miles..

"Efficiency means loss of resilience"
That's too broad. A home that's been tightened up and well-insulated is, by definition, more resilient to extreme weather, and hence the energy needed to heat/cool it. A business that has found ways to make a product with cheaper inputs, less material or labor.. still gets to choose (or its customers do) whether the product has also been cheapened too much to be worth buying, and will have to adjust the designs or face competitors who have. I look at the miniscule amount of materials in a cellphone now, and I am at once impressed that the functionality can be attained with a couple ounces of stuff, but also frustrated that they're so flimsy, losable, and I'd happily lug around another few ounce of battery, just to have it last a lot longer and transmit to further-off towers.

I do expect a growing demand for toughened products to begin to show up as our current 'totally disposable' model becomes more and more untenable.

What I had meant to say regarding Diversifying is probably obvious enough, but that your energy (including food) needs want to have both multiple sources and some kind of storage capacity, in order to have resilience. Just-in-time MFR processes might qualify to some as 'efficiency', but I suppose there is the kind of vulnerability your link would have been pointing to..

But to have some independent- heat, electric and refrigeration generating and storage capacity, even a little bit.. could go a ways to insulate people from the exorbitant costs and difficulties present in a supply disruption.. and from there forward, it becomes 'how much generating capacity can I add?', 'How much contingency storage can I keep handy? (heat, electric, cold, water, food, product, raw material)', 'and how slowly can I consume it when the chips are really down?'

These apply somewhat differently to businesses, as I alluded, but clearly with other factors not mentioned.. Reminds me of the 'baseload' arguments about the grid. People feel that the Grid or a Business will not be tenable with supply disruptions, rolling blackouts/brownouts, variable Product-Availability. It's like the 'NonNegotiable Lifestyle'.. guess what? We get to Adapt or Die (ie, adapt later.. 'feel lucky, punk?') Maybe people or 'the market' won't accept the conditions that (Geology) is handing to them, but that doesn't mean those conditions won't be there just the same.

A home that's been tightened up and well-insulated is, by definition, more resilient to extreme weather, and hence the energy needed to heat/cool it.

That's not what I mean.

I mean, what if we all had super-efficient homes? And then, something happened that caused an energy shortfall. A storm, a strike, a war, whatever.

There's no way to cut back any more, because we've already done everything.

The "efficiency means loss of resilience" argument makes sense in the context of fragile, interconnected high-tech systems, but not in the context of well-insulated homes.

My passive-solar house will coast without freezing through a whole winter, with no fossil fuel inputs. It is vastly more resilient than my neighbors' houses that will have frozen pipes after a couple of days without electricity or gas.

Efficient houses will weather any fuel shortage much better than inefficient houses. Plus their owners will be more financially resilient during fuel price increases.

"Efficiency means loss of resilience" is the case when the efficiency improvements are implemented AND all slack once again taken out of the system.

I suspect that much of the problem arises from the linking of "efficient" with "effective". They are NOT synonymous. The "just-in-time" philosophy,although highly efficient, is ideal ONLY in an ideal world, where nothing goes wrong. A reduction in efficiency is essential to ensure a long-term effective result in any endeavour.

I blame Kunstler for this mis-understanding of the term "efficiency". He mistakes it for "increased consumptive power" throughout his "Long Emergency" book.

"There's no way to cut back any more, because we've already done everything."

No, I think that's a false threat. I appreciate that for businesses, there may be ways that what passes for efficiency is, in fact, leaving a producer painted into an unsustainable corner, but with a highly efficient house or car, it's like being a swimmer who can now hold their breath longer. Yes, you still need Air (ie, Energy, not necessarily Imported/Bought Energy), but you can dive for longer on a single breath. These efficiencies save on energy expenses that can then go towards further improvements.

The idea of 'already having done everything' or even nearly or almost everything is hyperbolic at best. This is like that 'low hanging fruit' comment from yesterday. (Bikes, Carpooling, Hybrids, etc) You suggest it's already been picked. It's just barely been named, but barely taken up by a culture that, stressed out as we are, thinks any change or compromise is 'too hard'. The number of ways we could reduce consumption in this country is absolutely massive. I heard a report about the 1400 miles our food travels on avg to get to our plate is partly so high because some of your food may have started in your own county, but traveled coast to coast to get processed, and finally shipped back home to be stored a while, and then eaten..

Sorry to pick on you, L, but those two lines of argument are just itching to be taken issue with.

Bob Fiske

Hi Bob,

I appreciated both Leanan's point and yours - insightful generalization and equally helpful description of a context.

Along these lines, I was thinking about what memmel said about a possibility of how peak oil might play out (US) - w. the middle class falling into poverty. So, what might a mitigation strategy be? Doubling up (housing, cars) in any way possible seems like one way. But most people don't want to do this.

So, Q:

re: "The number of ways we could reduce consumption in this country is absolutely massive."

1) I wonder if it's possible to do this now. If so, how?

2) And if not possible to do in advance of necessity, will it be possible (will people be able to or know how to) - once the necessity is there? Because, to take your example, it might require additional infrastructure, such as the processing plants. How many? Where?

Hi Aniya!

"And if not possible to do in advance of necessity, will it be possible (will people be able to or know how to) - once the necessity is there?"

Aye, and there's the rub. My argument has been that we have to use what 'cheap' energy we can to build this transition before the downslope is (possibly) too steep to use power for much more than emergency reactions and hasty patches, not a designed and thoughtful series of mitigations and reorderings of a redundant and wasteful setup. Alan's 'Strategic Railcar Reserve', and Bob Shaw's Bikes and Wheelbarrows. Community Designs that have had a few years to start restructuring to best use light rail to get to work and move produce into towns/ports during commuters off-peak hours. Turn off all the fridges in the Northern States when the air is below 38deg.F, and keep root cellars full and solar crock-pots running (which can have dinner ready when you get home)..

How Else?
Doubling up, as you said. Maybe I should write a sitcom that makes close-quarters seem feasible and romantic again. (Night, John-boy! Night Mary-Sue! Night Pa!) Otherwise, yes, we have a lot of resistance to hunkering down. Smells like 'Defeat'. Our little family (one young kid (4), Mom and *Dad*) lives in about 800 sq feet, with our tenants above and below us covering the mortgage, and my Workshop/Video Editing Studio in the basement. My mother is a block away, handling a little bit of childcare and making countless bits of life easier with the 2 minute walk to her door. It was a string of choices, as is our constant education about nutrition and making challenging alterations to our food habits. (No Microwave, stopped using much of the Fluoridated water, lots of local, almost all is organic, no processed sugar, etc, etc..) Stressful to make radical changes like these. My mom reminds me that she was hard-pressed to even find Whole Wheat flour 30 yrs ago, and was ridiculed for even asking. Takes time to change, and who knows what kind of a rush it might become?

Ahhh.. I'm up early tomorrow, so I'll leave it there!

Bob Fiske

Supply chain efficiencies should not be mixed with material efficiencies and cost of manufacture/ quality.

In general they all should be optimized but in practice the quality of products has steadily deteriorated over time it seems except in hyper competitive arena's. Even in areas such as cell phones that have a lot of competition exploding batteries and shoddy manufacture are common.

Things like batteries and even power supplies for mobile phones should have been standardized to lower costs instead of going after cheap manufacturing. The same holds for a enormous number of car parts alternators are my favorite. A few standard alternator cases should have been done long ago.

Its easy to look at manufactured goods and see a number of places that standardization could have cut costs.

But overall its a complex equation and in general the best solution standard high quality repairable/upgradeable products don't seem to win simply because of Marketing crap.

"Efficiency means loss of resilience"
That's too broad. A home that's been tightened up and well-insulated is, by definition, more resilient to extreme weather, and hence the energy needed to heat/cool it.

When Leanan refers to resilience, she means (or at least Homer-Dixon did ;-) ) not the strength of the product created by the efficient process, but the resilience of the user of that product (or more broadly the system of which that product was a part).

Efficiency entails a loss of resilience in every case where efficiency gains are obtained at diminishing marginal returns (ie. low hanging fruit picked first). This condition is almost always satisfied in the real world. I'll try to explain this making reference to the two examples you used.

First, a definition. Resilience is ability to respond to trauma or breakdown. It's what allows the 'bounce-back' after you ar knocked down.

Imagine two houses, one insulated and the other not, and then they both get a broken window. Which system will be more resilient? In other words, in which case would it be easiest to repair the window?

The key point to observe is that the change in conditions inside the insulated house will be greater and more negative than that in the other house. Think of it this way - Whose heating/cooling bill will be affected more? The dollars change in the bill will certainly be greater for the insulated house. The uninsulated house probably has higher temperature control bills every other month, but that isn't the point. The change in bill this month is less and so the shock to the system is less, and so the ability to recover is greater.

With regard to the business that has found a way to make a product with cheaper inputs, what happens to the business when one of those cheaper input streams is cut off? The business may find it very hard to recover in this situation, and that it the sense in which it has lost resilience.

I found this harder to explain than I expected, but if you want a better explanation, try the Homer-Dixon book. Skip the first three chapters though, he takes his time explaining some pretty basic stuff. I guess that makes it more accessible to a broader audience.

Nice explanation, Dot.

I heart Homer-Dixon.

I appreciate the attempt, but am afraid I don't buy it yet.

This argument has been reminding me of the guy whose car broke down in the desert, and he's found carrying one of the car doors along with him as he continues afoot, because, as he says, if it REALLY gets too hot, he can still roll down the window. Carrying an unnecessary load is a drain, and if you can isolate and remove or minimize these sort of burdens on your time, your money, your efforts, how does this not free up resources to help you better cope with bad turns? Now if you've gone out and picked up super-efficient appliances, you are just as dependent on the electricity to run it as anyone with older Watt-guzzlers, albeit your improvements could be powered with a much cheaper Alt-Energy installation, were you going to then head in that direction..

The idea that by having greater expenses (with the uninsulated house), you are more accustomed to pay, or less drastically chilled by the busted window because the change is less extreme and the shift in expenses hits the insulated home worse.. Well, aside from being strictly inaccurate in that an insulated house would STILL be cheaper to heat and keep warm, the premise is still a spongy conclusion that somehow the uninsulated homeowner is not constantly being drained by supporting a more expensive energy habit. The same with the business model. Is the more expensive production-system any less dependent on it's supply lines?

Maybe there are better examples to make these points.. I just get prickly when I hear regular calls about how conservation and efficiency 'don't work', 'aren't worth the trouble' or 'are double-edged swords' (Jevons, etc).. These end up sounding like convenient ways to rationalize skipping out on some of the most effective tools for reducing our overall energy demand and buying some time, and our comfort-strangled culture has gotten far too effective at talking itself out of doing that which we know has to be done.. we're just afraid we'll get teased for being goody-goody's when we get on the bus.. so we act cool and jaded instead.

I don't know that you guys are doing this, but it gets done all over the place, and it's a part of the foolish pride that keeps us from facing the facts.

Bob Fiske

Another example.

The McDonald's down the road has three tills, maybe 10 staff per shift, and does say 60 meals an hour, 18 hours a day. Across the road there is mom & pop fast food place, with just the two of them and their son working there. They might serve 120 customers between 8.00am and 8.00pm, on a good day.

Each day it seems the McDonald's has a drama which stops the "production line" - packaging is not prepared, orange juice runs out, one of the tills fails, the coffee machine is not working properly, and so on. And backroom stuff, like staff absenteeism and poor performance ... all contribute to "slow" service.

The small shop has none of these issues, plus the food, the service, and the wait time are better. I think it is a far better eating experience (intangible benefit) - low tech and with fewer things to manage and to go wrong. It is not necessarily as "efficient", or as profitable, but it is certainly more resilient and it meets a market.

I know which one I prefer, but it seems the world in general does not.

Having an efficient car gets you just so far (literally), if you are still living 30 miles from work and have no way to bike or bus that distance.

People always seem to get the resilience issue wrong, what provides resilience is redundancy. I think you have come closest to expressing this. Efficiency is a secondary issue.

Resilience is achieved by having an easily available alternative. Efficiency may lead to increased resilience, or it may not, it depends how it is used, but it is not the key factor.

As an example, if you have a fuel efficient car and fuel prices rise, then redundancy is achieved by making cuts to other parts of your expenditure. If fuel cost is a small part of your overall budget, then the cuts are small. If fuel costs are 90% of you budget, then you will still go overbudget - even if you are using fuel efficiently. It all depends how much headroom in your budget you have. Only when you have nothing to cut back on, you have no redundancy, and therefore no resilience.

Alternatively, if your car is inefficient and prices rise, then you have the option of using a more efficient car, or taking alternative transport, in which cases you have some redundancy. But if you have no alternative to a car, and can't afford to buy (or trade) for a new one, then you have no redundancy, and are not resilient. Obviously in the case of capital outlays there is a lead time to consider as well. People cannot quickly move and find a new job.

In both cases, the issue is not efficiency, but redundancy. The key question when considering resilience is not necessarily "how to be more efficient", but "what is the alternative?".

People always seem to get the resilience issue wrong, what provides resilience is redundancy. I think you have come closest to expressing this. Efficiency is a secondary issue.

Exactly! That's what I was trying to say above with "Efficiency means loss of resilience" is the case when the efficiency improvements are implemented AND all slack once again taken out of the system.

Sticking with the car/transportation theme, it's like having a steady 1 gallon gasoline/week supply available to you and you *need* to drive 20 miles/week. At first you do it in a 20mpg car, using the full gallon. Then you switch to a 40mpg car. Now you're only using 1/2 gallon, and 1/2 gallon is unused. Now even if half your gasoline supply vanishes, you're still all right...you can still drive your 20miles/week. You're more resilient because you've created slack in supply. Now if you start to think "Hey, I have an extra 1/2 gallon of gasoline/week that I'm not using and I can give it to someone else" and start sharing your 1 gallon/week with someone who then develops a *need* to drive 20 miles a week and they have 40mpg car...well, you're back to square one, perhaps worse, because if the fuel supply now starts going away, you're both up feces creek sans paddle.

Unfortunately, that's what usually happens...the slack in supply created by efficiency is used not for redundancy but for increased production/expansion. This is why Jevons gets so much air time and Bob Shaw's "Are humans smarter than yeast?" is so salient.

Let us say that you usually drive to work but your spouse takes public transit.

The Islamic Republic of Arabia replaces our Saudi friends. You decide to join your spouse in his/her 4 block walk to the Urban Rail stop, even though your place of work is 5 blocks from a stop (and his/hers is bit over 1 block).

Redundancy is a savior in this case.

Are we smart enough to invest in creating a non-oil transportation alternative ?

The French are, so it is not an innate fault of our genetic code.

Best Hopes for Rational Planning,


The obvious reason for pursuing "efficiency" and, for that matter, alternative energy sources is to attempt to maintain business as usual. To me, this is the real crux of the problem; BAU cannot be maintained for any extended period. This is another of the elephant in the room issues.

What is needed is a totally different paradigm for society. I tried to address that in my post on post-peak education on Jason Bradford's thread last week. I'll have to look up the link for it. In any case, I don't see change happening until it is too late.


For those who didn't see it, here's the link:

BAU is pretty vague. Do you mean Capitalism? A Market economy? The current Corporate Model(s)? The disposable, 'convenience oriented' lifestyle? I think there are a number of these that point to unsustainable practises, but they have to be named and criticized clearly.

I don't have a problem with a business investing in or installing alt energy in order to remain in business. I don't think Money, Sales, Trade or Import/Export are necessarily 'roots of evil' or are contrary to a workable society/world, but I think many businesses, services and products will have to answer to EROEI, or some variation like Utility-Returned on EI, Lifespan-Returned on EI, etc... since so much that we've built has been prioritized/enabled in an environment of cheap energy, so these equations were hardly considered.

Bob Fiske


You obviously didn't look at my older post or go to the link.

Here are the parameters for part of what I foresee:

Dieoff (and Rebirth)
Societal Post-Peak Lifespan - multiple generations
Energy Availability - currently stable (it was decreasing 10+% a year post-peak prior to the biological war of 2015)
Sustainability - moderate to high
Division of Labor - low, generalist
Population Density - low (<0.2/acre), except manufacturing zones
Population and Pop. Growth - 60M (after a 240M dieoff), stable to slowly decreasing
Governance - regional consensus via the Robust Internet (There are no regional, state or federal governments.)
Economy - mostly home production of goods and foods, <2% outside the home
Economic Paradigm - societal for durable goods and communications
Money - there is no "money" nor is there any need for money
Energy Production - individual but societal in regional manufacturing zones
Living Arrangements - extended family/affinity group (10-15 adults) in one dwelling on sufficient land to provide food and energy
Energy Quality required - low individual, moderate to high manufacturing
Food - home produced with a few minor exceptions
Technology/Science - very slow, incremental improvements in existing technology
Law Enforcement/Military - local residents/militias
Key Meme - personal responsibility in all things

This will not mean much out of the context of the post so I'd suggest reading the whole thing and then reposting if you want to discuss it.


Thought I might as well throw in the opening parameters but I don't want to take up the bandwidth to repost the whole thing:

Status Quo Lite (Chaotic Collapse)
Societal post-peak lifespan - <10 years to collapse
Energy availability - decreasing 4% per year
Sustainability - not sustainable
Division of labor - high degree of specialization
Population density - high to very high (50-200+/acre, except agricultural area)
Population and Pop. Growth - 300M and slowly increasing
Governance - elected representatives/bureaucracy
Economy - consumer/service, >60%
Economic Paradigm - capitalist/market
Money - fiat currency
Energy production - centralized municipal/corporate
Living Arrangements - single family, either stand-alone or apartments
Energy Quality Required - high
Food - purchased
Technology/science - Big science still supported
Law Enforcement/Military - alive and well and consuming resources
Key Meme - the market and capitalism will provide for my needs

Again, I don't see this as having much value without my comments.


Correct that I didn't go to the thread. Sorry, scraping occas. moments to be online at all.. Makes writing a decently thought-out post challenging, too.

Glad there are specifics to back up the generalities.. I usually just spark up when I see overbroad statements.

Bob Fiske

Clearly, you are right about the 'when'. It's far too late to do it neatly at this point. It will be REALLY expensive, and therefore it will continue to be judged 'idealistic, but uneconomical', and thus avoided.

'What a Piece of work is Man,' Indeed.

There's another aspect that Homer-Dixon doesn't really seem to cover: scale. One can be very efficient at a small scale relative to resources (or grossly inefficient); it doesn't really matter. At a large scale relative to resources, it matters enormously - for one day - how efficient one is. Then exponential growth makes it irrelevant.

Scale isn't only population, but also production and wealth. Those all stress resources.

I'm thinking efficiency is just a way to waste more resources retooling everything so one can slam into the wall that much harder one day later. Still, being inefficient is not the answer really, except that the crash won't be so bad [cuba, ussr, usa - which are easy which are hard?]. If neither answer is right, then the question must be wrong.

Efficiency doesn't matter; we use too much. Too much of the gross environment.

cfm in Gray, ME

Off topic, but for you Mainers (jokuhl, dryki, khaos3), John Howe will be giving a talk about peak oil at the Glen at Mt Washington this Sunday.


I'm going to be there with a young filmmaker who wants to get some footage.

And I've still got another 1/3 of my garden to plant...

John Howe - Born (1935) and raised in Pittsfield, MA on a small farm and have owned a 175-acre farm in Waterford Maine for 29 years addressing energy solutions and simpler living with less fossil energy. John has worked for General Electric Co. as a process development engineer/project manager and also Head Ski Co./AMF Corporation as Product Development Manager, and a Vice President of Engineering. Currently he is the Presidents of Howe Engineering Co. and of Howe Wintersports Inc. He manufactured “The Claw”® snow skis and bicycle-powered generators and thresher/winnower.
John has authored books such as:
The End of Fossil Energy and a Plan for Sustainability
The End of Fossil Energy and The Last Chance for Sustainability
The End of Fossil Energy and The Last Chance for Survival

John is also a nationally ranked masters competitor in alpine skiing and foot racing.

Thanks for the news;
I'll be closer to his old Farm than to Baxter on Sunday. Lotta work up on our lot this summer.

Let me know how it goes, and let your filmmaker have my email, if he needs some contacts. (and I need gaffers/grips sometimes, too, if he wants some lighting exp/jobs)


Throwing one definition of efficiency at another is confusing. Insulating a home is off topic with regards to how Leanan (and Homer-Simpson) used the word..

On a happier note, the article below is a good example of what our economic system sees as efficient. And now that we know the US is NOT efficient, we'll soon find out how resilient it this.

One of four U.S. jobs headed overseas

Alan Blinder, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, told Congress Tuesday (June 12) that one out of four U.S. jobs are vulnerable to offshoring.
Blinder, now an economics professor at Princeton University, told the House Science and Technology Committee that American jobs in science, technology and engineering are most vulnerable to offshoring.

Blinder testified during a hearing on the offshoring of U.S. technology jobs. Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) last year successfully pressed the Bush administration to release a controversial 2004 Commerce Department report on offshoring. The report singled out chip design as one of the next U.S. technology sectors likely headed overseas.

Leading-edge design work has not moved offshore, but U.S. design engineers "are facing stiff competition from designers in India who work for lower wages and whose experience and quality [are] quickly improving," the report warned.

"The message of that report," Gordon said during Tuesday''s hearing, "is that offshoring is happening at significant levels in some industrial sectors and the phenomenon will continue and is likely to accelerate."

Can someone explain in more detail what the data below is showing? Are we withdrawing crude from the SPR? What are "Other Stocks"?


Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 8, 2007

SPR Stocks W/D or Added -24 (06/08/07) -11 (06/08/06)
Other Stocks W/D or Added -8 (06/08/07) 206 (06/08/06)

Biofuel plants generate new air, water, soil problems for Iowa

Iowa's ramped-up ethanol and biodiesel fuel production led to 394 instances over the past six years in which the plants fouled the air, water or land or violated regulations meant to protect the health of Iowans and their environment.

This illustrates the challenge for regulating agencies for biofuel plants. With petroleum, you have fewer but larger refineries--easier to monitor and they don't sprout overnight in places not used to them (like Iowa).

The Register article links to this interactive map and list of biofuel plants (click on the map below):

Moonlighting in solar

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Not long ago, used chip wafers were considered all but worthless, sent to landfills or recycling centers. But semiconductor makers have found a new home for the millions of wafers they exhaust each year: the emerging solar industry.

Not sure if that link will be visible, MarketWatch sits behind an adwall.

It was visible in Firefox. Thanks.

With all the scrap computers lying around, I wonder what the scrap-market potential is going to be for old Pentium Chips?

'Like Gold', huh? Of course, there's gold and other precious materials in there as well.. hmm.

"Solar-panel suppliers have even been scouring the market for silicon powder -- that is, the dust that's left over from the reactors that make virgin polysilicon. It used to be swept from the factory floor into barrels. Now it can fetch as much as $250 a kilogram, according to SVM's Callinan."

And on that note:

GUIYU, China - Guiyu is a modern day gold rush town. But instead of panning for gold in babbling streams, workers shift through piles of broken old computer parts in acrid smelling shacks, smelting down parts with crude equipment to extract valuable metals like gold and copper.

Every year, millions of unwanted computers, keyboards, television sets and cell phones are smuggled into China by sea. Much ends up in Guiyu, a rough town on the southern Chinese coast, not far from the former British colony of Hong Kong.

Ahh, the upward mobility provided by globalization. Workers get to exposed to toxic chemicals for three bucks a day while they support a business worth millions. If they bother to complain or organize, they're easily replaced by other peasants eager to earn a better living. I wonder what Thomas Friedman thinks of this business?

... for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. -- Kurt Vonnegut

Phree: It sounds like Thomas Friedman's wet dream.

I wonder what Thomas Friedman thinks of this business?

Phlat. He would think it very phlat.

Zimbabwe 'collapse in six months'
Eerie, I hope this is not the collapse model for the West. The article doesn’t even mention the rolling blackouts or Zimbabwe being priced out of the oil market.

I know it must be the dictator Mugabe who is responsible. Next article please.

Its not, because Zimbabwe's economic collapse is due to a deranged leader who has held power for 27 years and whose policies have destroyed what they had. Its been well documented numerous times on this site alone that their problems began when oil was dirt cheap, not when it spiked up. Why people are still trying to tout Zimbabwe as proof of what happens in a post peak world is beyond me.

The government runs the country into debt because of corruption and greed. They continue to print money as they watch their currency inflate uncontrollably.

And then oil prices spike.

Are there any other countries that fit this description?

The government runs the country into debt because of corruption and greed. They continue to print money as they watch their currency inflate uncontrollably.

That is just not true. Mugabe has not run the country into debt, he has destroyed GDP, a completely different thing. If you destroy your GDP, you are screwed anyway. Inflation is also a result of too few goods.

This still has nothing to do with oil prices, despite ingenuous attempts to portray it as such.

So you are asserting that exactly the same thing would have occurred over the last 3 years if oil had remained cheap and plentiful?

Proof, please.

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

The trend started long before oil prices spiked. Heck, they started when oil was dirt cheap for several years! What do you think...

Zimbabwe's imminent demise and peak oil and not directly related, though they are both symptoms of the same problem: unmanageable complexity.

Perhaps Mugabe was solely responsible for Zimbabwe's decline, and peak oil or energy depletion had zero to do with it. But global energy depletion will definitely have something to do with the rest of the world's response to this problem.

I didn't deny that, sir, but I did question whether the results would have been the same over the last three years if oil prices had remained low. The prior poster has asserted this as if it were a fact when it is nothing but an opinion, and one which ignores extensive data to the contrary as well.

Yes, Mugabe is an idiot. Yes, Mugabe has ruined his country. But clearly, the current plateau and massive increase in oil prices has further severely hurt Zimbabwe. The question is only how much more has it hurt, not whether it has hurt.

Stop being a pedantic fool, PartyGuy. Almost no problem is ever solely caused by one issue, especially problems that have been decades in developing. Problems are almost always interlocked and related.

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

As you so eloquently pointed out, the problem has been building for decades. Why then the sudden interest by many on this site in trying to assign an 'energy crisis' as the chief factor and sole cause to their woes?

Show me one person who said that peak oil was the sole cause of Zimbabwe's fall. Even Bob Shaw, who often mentions Zimbabwe, has commented on how peak oil has basically shoved Zimbabwe over the edge.

I am unaware of the particular strawman you are attacking. Care to try again?

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

Please, spare us the childish rhetorical arguments. You are not fooling anyone.

Despite your blustering, Zimbabwe's collapse still has nothing to do with high oil prices.

What prompted the crisis?

Just about the only thing that all sides agree on in Zimbabwe is that land is at the heart of the problems.

The opposition says that Mr Mugabe's seizure of most white-owned farms since 2000 has wrecked what was once one of Africa's most developed economies.

Mr Mugabe says the redistribution was needed to make land ownership more equitable following the colonial era.

He says that western powers have sabotaged Zimbabwe's economy because they want to drive him from power.

So provide your proof, Bob. Proof. Prove that Zimbabwe's condition today would be the same (or worse) if oil prices had stayed low.

I await your proof but will not hold my breath since you can never ever prove an opinion. Thus you can take your rhetorical arguments and place them right alongside mine. You have zero proof for your position so stop stating it as if it were fact.

By the way, quoting Mugabe doesn't make something true. Do you seriously believe him? If so, exactly which economic conspiracy theory is your current favorite?

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

M King Hubbert's piece is excellent. Please read it.
It should be posted as a main piece to generate debate.
HL was just one of his inventions. He was a thinker ahead of his time
People do not understand the implications of exponential growth.

The Economist had a good piece on the growth of cities, and the growth of slums worldwide. Slums grow because despite the hardships there is still more opportunity there than in the countryside... and this is mainly because of cheap energy.
when the slums in the third world start to empty - or even stabilize, becuase people start going back to the county - that will be a
"canary in the coalmine" early warning sign

Slums anywhere will not go back to the country. They will riot, even where attitude and entitlement aren't a major problem.

Good point. Those who want a preview of what will happen when TSHTF would be well advised to study the urban riots in the U.S. of the mid and late 1960s. For the future, multiply times ten or a hundred, and then I think we can get the general idea of the shape of things to come.

If you look around a little it is obvious that the very wealthy are retreating from suburbia. All over the Southwest the new chic thing is vertical multi million $ condos clustered around downtown. Kunstler is correct from a logistics point of view, but the suburbs are unsustainable from a security point of view also. The security aspect will hit first.
They most certainly aren't worried about a couple $ in gas, they just feel that these physically small areas with a lot of concentrated wealth will be much more defensible.
To the extent that the green zone in Baghdad is safe they probably are correct.
IMO there will be green zones in most major US cities and it is going to be quite expensive to buy in.

The only way to be safe outside of these zones when the time comes will be to have a trustworthy and good sized support network.

but the suburbs are unsustainable from a security point of view also. The security aspect will hit first.

Many factors can be at play here:

1) Images/knowledge of what was (or is) owned by the overclass vs the underclass. If the underclass feels taking something and its risk is less than the risks of being stopped - things can get ugly fast.
2) the %age of underclass willing to be predatory (Varies with how hungry they are - Hence Don's comments on the 1960's are worth noting. Have the overclass pay $5,000 a year to keep the underclass fed/clothed/sheltered via assistance VS $30,000 a year prison VS looking like brutes and just going right to killing)
3) Access to technology - cars and long rifles makes remote security hard. A walled city doesn't matter too much with .308 or .50 cals ability to reach out and touch someone. Having your 'outside the city' place means little if one can just pack up a few of your fellow thugs and you go about for a drive.
4) many of the people who are trying to advance their station in life, to move up via education, have opted to sign up to become trained in violence via the military. More than a few will opt to use that training when they return to US soil and be able to train other predators.

Crime goes up when there is a recession, when lighting is off at night, when the enforcement branch lacks mobility to deploy. All of these factors are likely to come into play.

Remind me again...how does this all end well?

Well, if it gets to that point there isn't going to be welfare or conventional prison.

At that point everyone has to play the cards they have if forced to.

I noticed this on TPMCafe.com, commentary by Reed Hundt:

Fred Thompson will not get the nomination but his effort is a sign of a stop-Romney campaign that will divide the Republican Party starkly and irreparably, at least for 08. The Democrats at every level have not had a chance like this since 1974. Harry Reid knows this; it's why he doesn't think he lost anything on the immigration bill; he's looking ahead. Yet the Democratic Party in Congress is too new to power to be able to accomplish as much as the country wants, and is exposed to the real possibility of disappointing the electorate by not being able to get anything done over the President's objections. And the Republicans are hard-pressed to figure out why they would want the Democrats to have accomplishments.

For these reasons, among others, an independent Presidential candidate hasn't had this good a chance since Teddy Roosevelt ran as the Bull Moose candidate. Congress and the President are running neck and neck for the public's disfavor, which speaks of a very widespread impulse to "throw the bums out." The Party nominees will be picked by February, leaving plenty of time for them to be challenged by an independent. The country is ready to pick someone who can run on the following platform: get out of Iraq (not leave 50,000 troops for 50 years), open the vertically integrated carbon-based energy industry to green entrepreneurship, reform the tax system by moving to tax consumption and not income, balance the budget, turn illegals into citizens and also close the border, give everyone high quality health care, pay teachers for performance not seniority only, give all workers wage insurance to mitigate globalization's impacts.

Perhaps you, readers, may not like this platform. I'm just predicting what would put an independent into a position to win -- provided that the independent could spend $300m out of his/her own pocket on the campaign. There are probably 20 people who could mount this race.

I can't believe he actually believes the corporations behind the MSM would give anyone running such a platform a chance to win, but it is interesting that he sees reforming the energy industry as a plank in the platform.

We talk about our vehicles having a ten or fifteen year lifespan, but it seems that many have a far longer afterlife.

The Truth About The International Used Car Trade

By Robert Farago

There’s a huge and thriving third world market for worn-out vehicles: cars, trucks, buses and commercial vehicles that don’t have a hope in Hell of passing a safety or emissions test. The business exists on the margins of society, run by criminal syndicates, dubious exporters and tens of thousands of desperate individuals. Participants congregate in bazaars on the borders between developed countries and their less fortunate neighbors.

Writing in Der Spiegel magazine, Eric Wiedermann described one corner of the international traffic in cheap and cheerless vehicles. Down by Germany’s Hamburg train station, in an enormous space divided by barbed wire-topped mobile fences, Wiedermann found “economic immigrants” buying and selling broken down cars that had never seen better days. He also found violence, deception and intimidation.

“With a little luck, a dealer can earn €300 to €400 selling a car that's considered scrap in Germany, Wiedermann writes. “It’s not much, but — should the seller come from, say, Chechnya — it's enough to feed his family for a half a year. But the potential profits are radically out of proportion with the risks involved.”

These tired, overworked, over-loaded, poorly maintained, air-fouling beasts of burden are driven on horrific roads by inadequately trained drivers with negligible police oversight. It ain’t pretty, and it ain’t safe. The ensuing carnage is as gruesome and pervasive as you’d expect.

The Global Road Safety Partnership reckons that 1.2m people die in automobile-related accidents per year. Some 50m are injured. More than eighty-five percent of these road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low income and middle income countries, even though they only account for 40 percent of the world's motor vehicles. According to the World Health Organization, more African children die from road crashes than the HIV/AIDS virus.


Beware The FUD! Used cars from Japan are a booming business in B.C. Dealers such as this one cannot keep stock and require a deposit before the container leaves Japan. The real truth about cars is that market demand has nothing to do with what the north american manufacturers, domestic or foreign based, are producing. Detroit is lobbying to make these cars even older and in worse repair when available for import, thus making true their claim that the vehicles are unsafe. In fact the new Kei trucks have front crumple zones and air bags, that we wont see until the '95s are available in 2 years under the current law, 12 if the law passes. The Suzuki Elf is a common site here as urban work truck, and i've seen several Mitsubishi Delicas. The local Delica is owned by a "soccer Mom", and gets 40 mpg with the 2500 cc turbo diesel.

Detroit is acting in the best short-term interests of their shareholders, as required by law. The auto-review press only survives if they review autos, and they only get access to new models if they write what they are expected to write. Politicians won't touch the issue, because they don't really want to assume GM's employee health and pension plans.

The only option is for consumers to think and act according to their best interests, and what are the chances of that?

See also A Global Turning Point:

Road crashes kill almost 1.2 million people a year and injure or disable between 20 million and 50 million. The numbers are increasing rapidly. By 2020, the number of human years lost from road-crash death and disability will be greater than years lost from any of the communicable or infectious diseases. Losses from road crashes will be greater than all war-related injuries and casualties.

Now here's a provocative title:

Who killed the Tesla Roadster?

By Paul Niedermeyer

Those range estimates are based on fresh batteries. The dirty little “secret” in Tesla’s closet: li-ion batteries start losing capacity from the get-go. After five years and 50k miles, battery capacity (range) is estimated to be down some 30 percent. Tesla owners can keep moving closer to work each year, or pony up.

Replacement battery pack price is unknown. Safety is unknown. At least one can live in hope that future batteries will be safer, more capable and maybe even cheaper.

Hard-core EV freaks and eco-poseurs are going to love the Tesla, despite the fact it doesn’t have room for a suitcase or a couple of bags of groceries. The Elise, on which the Tesla is based, wasn’t exactly designed for practicality (or 6’4” middle-aged guys like me). Never mind the $100k price.

OK, no one killed the Tesla yet, but TTAC is doing their best. I thought most of these points had been covered in TTAC's last Tesla article, but the comments are much more informative and worth reading through.


Also someone pointed here, a Scion Xb-based EV:


The country is ready to pick someone who can run on the following platform: get out of Iraq (not leave 50,000 troops for 50 years), open the vertically integrated carbon-based energy industry to green entrepreneurship, reform the tax system by moving to tax consumption and not income, balance the budget, turn illegals into citizens and also close the border, give everyone high quality health care, pay teachers for performance not seniority only, give all workers wage insurance to mitigate globalization's impacts.

The country might be ready for Dennis Kucinich, but I don't think the media is going to tell us to think so.

cfm in Gray, ME

No one wins even the primaries without AIPAC money and approval.

personally i think all lobbing organizations that are funded from other country's should be outlawed, and the people who run them deported.

oh and in the other hand they use the a.d.l. tar and feather anyone who even breathes a hint of speaking ill of them in a msm forum.

Well, I think all contributions, lobbyists and PAC's should be outlawed.
Not going to happen with the fox guarding the hen house in a environment where absolutely everything is for sale to people with the right connections.

Southern Baptists approved a resolution on global warming Wednesday that questions the prevailing scientific belief that humans are largely to blame for the phenomenon and also warns that increased regulation of greenhouse gases will hurt the poor.

Well, there's plenty of such people who believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old, geological evidence to the contrary be damned. It's nearly as bad as the ones that believe that fossils of the dinosaurs were placed on the earth by Satan in the atttempt to confuse mankind. WTF?

The Southern Baptists should leave science to the scientists, and we can leave religion to the theologians. The problems is, those darned scientists are threatening the status quo. [sarcasm] Well, science has been wrong in the past, so that must automatically invalidate any theory that goes against what we want to believe, right? [/sarcasm]

Southern Baptists...these people have been on the wrong side of just about every issue of importance in modern American history. Little known fact about the SBC - it was set up to avoid having blacks in white churches before the civil war, supported slavery and Jim Crow, and only recently said it had made a 'mistake' on race issues in the 1980s.

They're the closest thing America has to the Taliban.


J. Falwell - Talivanglist?

I checked the link:


and the official site stated the voice vote on the GW issue was split evenly and there would be a later ballot vote. dated June 13.

Perhaps poor reporting or the vote was conducted after the official site was updated ?


Here is the weekly U.S. natural gas storage summary:

Working gas in storage was 2,255 Bcf as of Friday, June 8, 2007, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 92 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 131 Bcf less than last year at this time and 365 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,890 Bcf.


Anyone want to speculate on the effect of peak oil on
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs"? ... somehow I think we will have fewer people trying to "find themselves" and taking a year off to backpack through Europe.

I think there will be fewer jobs for academics (horrors for TOD!) It will be a luxury that we cannot afford.

(wiki def) Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as deficiency needs associated with physiological needs, while the top level is termed growth needs associated with psychological needs.

While deficiency needs must be met, growth needs are the need for personal growth. The basic concept is that the higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus once all the needs that are lower down in the pyramid are mainly or entirely satisfied. Once an individual has moved past a level, those needs will no longer be prioritized. However, if a lower set of needs is continually unmet for an extended period of time, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs - dropping down to that level until those lower needs are reasonably satisfied again. Innate growth forces constantly create upward movement in the hierarchy unless basic needs remain unmet indefinitely.

Physiological needs

The physiological needs of the organism, those enabling homeostasis, take first precedence. These consist mainly of:

* the need to breathe
* the need to drink water
* the need for sleep
* the need to regulate body temperature
* the need to regulate homeostasis
* the need to eat
* the need to dispose of bodily wastes
* the need for sexual activity

If some needs are not fulfilled, a human's physiological needs take the highest priority. Physiological needs can control thoughts and behaviours, and can cause people to feel sickness, pain, and discomfort.

[edit] Safety needs

When physiological needs are met, the need for safety will emerge. When one stage is fulfilled, a person naturally moves to the next. Safety and security rank above all other desires when pertaining to physiological needs. These include:

* Physical security — safety from violence, delinquency, aggressions
* Security of employment
* Security of revenues and resources
* Moral and physiological security
* Family security
* Security of health
* Security of personal property against crime

[edit] Love/Belonging/Social needs

After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs is social. The psychological aspect of Maslow's hierarchy. This involves emotionally-based relationships in general, such as:

* friendship
* sexual intimacy
* having a supportive and communicative family

Humans generally need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from a large social group (such as clubs, office culture, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, gangs) or small social connections (family members, intimate partners, mentors, close colleagues, confidants). They need to love and be loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others. In the absence of these elements, many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and depression. This need for belonging can often overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure. e.g. an anorexic ignores the need to eat and the security of health for a feeling of belonging.

[edit] Esteem needs

According to Maslow, all humans have a need to be respected, to have self-respect, and to respect others. People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give the person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued, be it in a profession or hobby. Imbalances at this level can result in low self-esteem, inferiority complexes, an inflated sense of self-importance or snobbishness. There are two levels to Esteem needs. The lower of the levels relates to elements like fame, respect, and glory. The higher level is contingent to concepts like confidence, competence, and achievement. The lower level is generally considered less advanced and more external; it is dependent upon other people. Someone in this level needs to be reassured because of lower esteem. People with low esteem need respect from others. They may seek fame or glory, which again are dependent on others. However confidence, competence and achievement only need one person and everyone else is inconsequential to one's own success. It may be noted, however, that many people with low self-esteem will not be able to improve their view of themselves simply by receiving fame, respect, and glory externally, but must first accept themselves internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can also prevent one from obtaining self-esteem on both levels.

[edit] Cognitive needs

Maslow believed that humans have the need to increase their intelligence and thereby chase knowledge. Cognitive needs is the expression of the natural human need to learn, explore, discover, create, and perhaps even dissect to get a better understanding of the world around them.

[edit] Aesthetic needs

Based on Maslow's beliefs, it is stated in the hierarchy that humans need beautiful imagery or something new and aesthetically pleasing to continue up towards Self-Actualization. Humans need to refresh themselves in the presence and beauty of nature while carefully absorbing and observing their surroundings to extract the beauty that the world has to offer.

[edit] Growth needs

Though the deficiency needs may be seen as "basic", and can be met and neutralized (i.e. they stop being motivators in one's life), self-actualization and transcendence are "being" or "growth needs" (also termed "B-needs"), i.e. they are enduring motivations or drivers of behavior.

[edit] Self-actualization

Self-actualization is the instinctual need of humans to make the most of their abilities and to strive to be the best they can.

Self Actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is.

Looks like Cheney's self actualization might be incompatible with the rest of ours. There's a difference between self actualization and group actualization that Maslow seems to be disregarding. Should we all be free to get in each other's way?

You're right, Maslow is back in Disneyland. If you wish upon a star your self actualization comes true. When Kunstler meets Maslow...

One thing to note: If we have to go back to a more labor-intensive human-powered life, then the hard fact is that a lot of people's time is going to be spent on work that is not exactly all that intellectually stimulating. I do not wish to sound like I am demeaning hard work. There are people that can find great enjoyment in manual labor. But there are also lots of people who find it to be shear dull drudgery, and are likely to quickly become starved for some intellectual stimulation.

"Physiological needs

The physiological needs of the organism, those enabling homeostasis, take first precedence. These consist mainly of:

* the need to breathe
* the need to drink water
* the need for sleep
* the need to regulate body temperature
* the need to regulate homeostasis
* the need to eat
* the need to dispose of bodily wastes
* the need for sexual activity"

Correction: "Sexual activity" is not a "physiological need" i.e. the individual will not die if it goes unfilled. It belongs up at level 3 at least, as you allude to later in your post...

Is there a way to tag these stories, because right now I am very interested in the Pakistani crisis involving less electricity.

That will likely be us in 5-10 years. How they adapt to the problem will be a good example for the rest of us. Their possible failure should also be watched for.

I could put a tag on it. Is "pakistan" enough, or do you want something more specific, like "pakistan electricity"?

I usually don't bother with tags, because the DrumBeats are so wide-ranging, but I'll do it if you want.

pakistan electricity would be perfect! (seeing as it is an electricity crisis)


I am interested to know what the reason is behind the electricity shortage, and specifically whether it is a fuel supply shortage.

A number of reasons were given in the articles, though none with any kind of detail. The only fuel mentioned was "shortage of gas" by which I infer they meant natural gas.

Anyone have some more colour on this?

It seems they are experiencing outages of up to 2900 MW with demand of 15500 MW (not clear whether that's baseload average demand or peakload). Either way, 20% shortfall is pretty catastrophic. With demand growth of 20% per annum they have a serious problem, as even if all red tape can be cut, there is a lead time involved in building new power plant. Short term resolution would be to use small diesel-powered generator units.

People point out that India and Pakistan have all kinds of problems. Bad infrastructure, a lot of electricity theft, poor planning, etc. But that has always been true. It's becoming more of a problem because demand is increasing and supply isn't.

You can see how consumption has grown here.

Pakistan produces much of the oil and natural gas they consume. Or used to. They are past peak now, and have to import more and more.

India has run into a similar problem. They are using more and more coal, as natural gas is not easy to import for various reasons.

And this is the worst time of year for that part of the world. It's hot, but the rainy season hasn't started yet.

Pakistan is classic Olduvai.

200 million people in a post peak energy environment with little chance of capturing external resources due to price.

Per-capita energy falls.

This nation has one of the highest chances of imploding and a fundamentalist regime with nuclear weapons emerging.

Too many people, too many airconditioners, too much heat in the summer.

It's also worth keeping an eye on Nepal. Not really a country I knew much about until recently, but I was surprised to find that its population is now approaching 30 million, with 40% of that figure under 15 years of age.

A couple of weeks ago Nepal was down to just two days supply of gasoline because the state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation couldn't afford to pay Indian Oil Corporation for supplies. The government has stumped up some cash for a loan to NOC, but it doesn't look much more than a temporary fix.

There's an analysis of the situation here.

Two weeks ago, India's state-run oil company cut crucial oil supplies to Nepal by almost 40 percent, plunging the Himalayan kingdom into a national oil crisis. "No gas" signs displayed at gas stations in the capital of Kathmandu quickly sent vehicles to snaking queues at state-run gas outlets, while Nepal's industry minister, Rajendra Mahato, admitted that the NOC, which holds a monopoly over oil imports and their distribution in the country, had failed to pay its bills to the IOC.

There's a paragraph in the same article that is symptomatic of what appears to be a growing trend:

The losses are blamed on prices fixed by the Nepal government, which have improperly balanced against its import costs due to the global rise in energy prices. One of the reasons given by Thapa was that the new multi-party government feared consumer protests and had shied away from readjusting petroleum prices.

Shortages caused by government refusal to allow fuel prices to rise to a market level due to fears of civil discontent are now becoming more prevalent (for example, Sri Lanka, where the government is trying to downplay rumours that gasoline rationing will be implemented soon).

June 10, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is on the brink of the dangerous path of petrol and diesel rationing, which will give set amounts of subsidized fuel to users, reports said.

The weekly Nation newspaper said the government has already appointed a committee to come up with a rationing system, which is due to meet on Monday.

Comments made on TOD recently contending that the world seems to be coping adequately with higher energy costs are wide of the mark in my opinion. Even in wealthier, more stable nations public anger is growing (e.g. check out South Korea, where there is a heated debate about gouging, very similar to the one in the U.S.).

All the more reason to disconnect from the grid. Most people in the renewable energy business will tell you to do grid-tie so you can have lots of power if you need it. My argument is, I don't want to be reliant on the power company, I don't want to waste money on a grid-tie inverter that will do me little good in 6 years, and if I need more energy than I'm producing, it means I need to cut back on consumption. (Or possibly produce more.)

When you read the short it specifically mentions generators shutting down.

The reason in GAS shortages.

We know from economics that shortages do not really occur, unless somone is unwilling to pay the market equilbrium price!

My latest column dissects the EIA Annual Energy Outlooks. If you were curious about how those glowing reports are created...

The EIA's Simple Model of a Complex World.

Also republished at the Energy Bulletin.


The EIA's May International Petroleum Monthly is just out. Late but it finally arrived. It has the March production data.


Ron Patterson


Thank you for dissecting the EIA's forecasting process. That was both illuminating and frustrating that they could be using such a simplistic model. Excellent article!

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

Shell continues to bail out of north sea:
(all the guns ar smoking now)


Symptomatic of post regional peak.

The big boys with large overheads pull out for the smaller companies, who may be able to turn a buck with some infill drilling, puddle sucking.

BP Forties is a classic example. Passed over to Apache, they have actually improved tail-end production with an aggressive drilling campaign.

Big boys such as Shell and BP can then spend dollars hunting elephants.

At least that is the theory.

Others might say its a little like the life cycle of the car: Just like a car, you dont want to be the last owner of a North Sea Platform and then have to pay for scrapping.

But if you are in oil-services, it is good for business:

More drilling opportunities :-)

I wonder why Brent isnt included? Maybe the name is just too talismanic. Or maybe the water cut.

Washington DC Commuting 2005

In the just released 2005 data, the US Census says that 10.0% of Washingtonians walked to work, 37.5% took public transportation, bicycling was not broken out separately (why Not ?).

Perhaps half of DC commuters use non-oil transportation to get to work (bicycles + work at home offset bus riders).

By contrast, 4% took the bus in 1970, before DC Metro was built. (I do not have 1970 walking data but increased TOD has surely raised both bicycling and walking %).

Ridership gains since 2005 indicate that the 40% barrier may be broken (IMO it surely will for the 2010 census). If we get an oil supply crisis, 50% is certainly doable.

Analysis based on 2000 #'s indicates that DC Metro was an 85,000 barrel/day oil field that never depletes but only grows :-) 90,000 b/day today ? And in an emergency it can surge to well over 100,000 b/day almost immediately !

Best Hopes for more "DC Metro's" Eleven or twelve = 1 million b/day,


Hi Alan, are you familiar with George Monbiot? I have just begun reading a book by him 'Heat, How to Stop the Planet from Burning' and so far he says that we need a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and as far as I have read (intro) that this might be accomplished by changing our means of transportation (without too much societal damage). Thought you might be interested in taking a look at it. Has kudos from Dr. Suzuki among others.

Also want to ask you what you think of asking those knowledgeable to give some direction to who where and what is available to invest in in the way of rail. I have some CNR and Bombardier but know there are other things not quite so obvious but allied and needing investment money. Things might go faster in developing rail in this Capitalistic Pig society if investors knew where the troughs were. Not an investment advice thing, just a Buyer Beware mention of companies and if possible what they do.

On rail stocks,

Harsco has some very interesting rail maintenance equipment, but they also do heavy engineering in other areas.

Bombardier's largest business is small jets. That is why I steered clear of them.

My favorite railroad was FLA but they just got bought up (3Q07 closing, so still listed).

CNR & CP are my other two buys. Buy US RRs during next recession. Recently sold half my UP. Buy back "later".

Few good rail supply plays that I am aware of.

Anyone with ideas for bicycle plays (overseas as well as US ?)

Best Hopes,


Hi Alan,

Thanks for the information, I've looked for light rail manufacturers (other than Bombardier) and found zilch just like a few years ago there was nothing to find in wind. Oh to be young and have 20 year horizons again. (jeeze, don't black thoughts rise there for all)

If you can figure a easy way of buying Shimano over here let me know, they own the gear market.

Too bad this is the only economic game in town, I really don't know any monastery that would take me and Cuba is too far a swim.

Keep on trucking,;>)


Hey.. we could make a lot of rails from the Capitalist Pig-Iron! (I hear that it travels on the Rock-Island Line, but if you want to ride, got to ride it like you're flyin', get your ticket at the station for the Rock-Island Line!)

Hope you can afford the Fee, Fie Fiddly-I-O..


Hmmm...does this surprise anyone that has read TOD for awhile?

An era of cheap money - gone : Rates around the world are heading higher, which could mean the beginning of the end of an era of supercheap capital.


LONDON (CNNMoney.com) -- This month's rise in global interest rates is probably a sign of the beginning of the end of an era of supercheap money - a change with profound implications for the recent record-setting stock rally, the buyout boom and economic growth worldwide.

The question now is how much more rates might rise in the United States and elsewhere, and how that will affect world markets - and hundreds of millions of investors and consumers from Tokyo to Frankfurt to New York.

For years, the world has enjoyed historically low interest rates. This has helped fuel a boom in corporate mergers and private equity buyouts and a rally in stock prices and in other assets, such as real estate. But with economic growth outside the United States picking up and fanning inflation, central bankers around the world are pushing rates higher in a bid to cool growth and avoid bigger problems later on.

"There's been too much global liquidity and now we are seeing a shift away from multi-decades of declining rates and declining inflation," said Josh Stiles, managing director of research firm IDEAglobal in New York.

"This is the end of the cheap money cycle," Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York, said.

Does anyone notice that the MSM seems to be getting a little more...ummmm...honest? What gives?

If a (little) honesty here-and-there gets better ratings, and hence more ad revenues, they just might try it.

In the meantime... oil is up over $67.50 so far today, gasoline up over a nickel. Any consideration to the possibility that the supply disruption from Gonu is starting to work it's way through the system?? Just a thought. Anyway, if oil goes back over $70 that'll ring the alarm bells again and it'll be "put up or shut up" time in the ol' KSA. My bet is they ain't got it...

Post Peak Lies.

The gloomier the message, the more 'honest' it is, right? Not everyone is as pessimistic as half the people on this site are you know :P

Sorry...I tend to be pretty much a pessimist when it comes to the status quo of the current world. I would, however, label myself as a hopeful optimist about the next status quo after the current one is defunct.

If it bothers you, please disregard my posts.

Or you could just ignore PartyGuy. He thinks that oil peaked 2 years ago and everything is just fine.

I'm still waiting to hear from you about how everything that isn't 'fine' is linked to PO.

Strawman alert! Bullshit alert!

Eric never stated that ALL problems were linked to peak oil but you clearly stated that NO problems had occurred due to peak oil.

Your problem is that you cannot conclusively prove that a whole raft of problems are not related to the current energy situation thus you can never prove your assertion. This is why I suspect you are desperately trying to reframe the discussion into something that Eric never said at all - to deflect attention from your own silly comment.

Care to try again?

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

And this is exactly why I stated in yesterdays drumbeat that I was NOT going to engage him in a debate without him providing the 'facts' first. You guys LOVE to jump in and bash on people. Take yourself for example. You, for whatever reason, felt the unresistable urge to jump in on this friendly debate to bang your chest a few times and try to show everyone how awesome you are. I've seen you, and dozens of others on this site do so countless times.

Again, I stated that I felt that we have, so far, transitioned into the post peak world fairly smoothly, with very little problems arising on the whole. His only response was that he wanted to know if I would put money down on that. That is a baiting tactic. Its exactly what you are doing now. I will debate points with you, or anyone else all day. But there has to be points, not arbitrary opinions.

Good day to you sir.

Party Guy;
Without chest-thumping (I hope), I would have to suggest that the pains of this transition have already been pretty extreme, but they have been outsourced so that the professional consumers here in the petri-dish of Global Capital Exploitation don't get upset and stop buying useless plastic crap. The fact that our daily lives are pleasant enough is a very expensively kept billboard that is placed around us for just that purpose.

Our 'Transition' hasn't really begun yet, I have to guess.


You just qualified your original statement. Now it is "pretty smoothly" rather than with no problems at all.

Points have been made here on this site endlessly by numerous posters and in main articles. Do you not read Drumbeats? Stuart Staniford's work? Rembrandt's work? Heading Out's work? Khebab's work? Robert Rapier's work? Have you not seen posts by others documenting the turn to negative savings rate in the US exactly in the same month as peak occurred? Are you blind to the economic impact of high oil prices in Detroit? Did you miss all the articles and discussion in 2005 and 2006 about lost jobs as aluminum processors moved overseas where they could find slightly cheaper energy rates? Have you ignored the discussion and articles about inflation in food prices as fertilizer and pesticides spike upwards as oil and gas prices spiked? Have you not read the discussions about loss of disposable income due to increased energy costs - not just gasoline but home heating, electricity, and other areas as well? Have you ignored the fuel riots in other countries like Indonesia?

All this and more have occurred before we've even started down the slope. We're still in a holding pattern on plateau with many hoping that we can still move upwards. What happens when it's not 85mbp for year after year but we drop to 60mbpd or 50 mbpd in 15-25 years? The only period in recent US history that coincides with actual declines in oil production is 1979-1982 and that was the worst recession since the Great Depression. Are you telling me that declines lasting for decades are going to be easier than that? What proof do you offer other than your baseless assertions?

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

I'm surprised you are trying to equate the ills of the US AUTO PROBLEMS, and I stress the words US AUTO PROBLEMS, with the rest of the worlds problems. None of the foreign auto companies are having these problems. Many of them still produce gas guzzling SUVs. They just don't all produce gas guzzling SUVs.

There is always bad news. No matter how good or how bad these times are, you can undoubtedly find that there is some good news and a wealth of bad news. Good news doesn't make money: the bad news does. As for some of the other points, I have read many of these drumbeats. The savings rate in particular is interesting because it was an 'after the fact' observation, and one that was incorrect as the date of the 'peak' has varied by several months for the last several years. For the past few years, they seem to match up, but weirdly enough, it's only for some of the worst offenders in the US. I haven't heard about the credit crisis in Europe or Japan. Have you?

You are more then welcome to claim that the irresponsible of the US will experience doom and gloom. But don't try to then extrapolate those problems on the rest of the world.

There are going to be plenty of people like PArtyGuy who are gonna whine about how "the market didn't warn us" or whatever the rationalization is.

PartyGuy is gonna be like the posters who went on about how $35 per barrel of oil was just around the bend and the peak oilers were nuts. As the 'long emergency' unfolds, it'll eventually just one day go away. At least you know where it's coming from and can discount whatever its gotta say unless there is data backing it's claims up.

I asked for data, none's forthcoming. A common event - but the posters who back up what they have to say with math, links to data sources are the ones who are worth having a discussion with - because if the data backs up the claim or counterclaim - minds and actions just might get changed. If you are unwilling to have your mind changed, posting is nothing more than a 'look at me I'm im-po-tant' ego stroking event.

Partyguy is just want'n the strokes.

I'm asking you again to back up your statements with facts for us all to see. Your response is simply to make up things about me and tell everyone those lies. Very big of you. I've already stated that it seems the peak was 2+ years back. That we are in the post peak transition phase already. I'm not crying about how people didn't warn me. I'm not predicting $35 a barrel of oil ahead. What I am predicting is that human ingenuity is going to surprise you. A resurgence of the local community is at hand.

But go ahead. Tell everyone what I really think, what I really believe! When you WANT to talk facts, bring up a fact. I'll be happy to oblige you. This party guy is exiting the pissing contest on the high ground.


Never bring good news to this "forum." You will be lynched. Then banned.

We may have seen Peak Oil, more probably we have seen Peak Demand. It is a painful transition (especially for the poor), but, sheesh, if you want to see pain, read up on WWII, or the old Soviet Union, or medical care 100 years ago. Cholera attacks, anyone? Remember VD before antibiotics? My mother after her divorces?

Maybe this energy transitions frightens the snivelers and the weenies, while providing fodder for the scaremongers.

PartyGuy, hoist one for me. Brilliant minds are working on conservation and alternate fuels. Meanwhile, even some Peak Oilers say crude production will rise by 12 percent to 2011, then crest. That will lead to a glut, my party friend. EIA, CERA, IEA all say the peak is further out. So does BP.

My personal guess is we go to rough lateu soon, on both demand and supply. Demand is close to falling, may fall in 2007 from 2006, for fossil crude. Rose merely 0.7 percent last year. I have been advised it you count oil demand plus condensate demand worldwide, you actually find declines in demand for two years running.

You read it here first; At more than $60 a barrel, we have seen Peak Demand. Start repeating the words, so they roll off your lips easily. To show you are uber-hip, say "PD" to your energy partying friends.

Good luck to you PartyGuy. Spread the word: We have met Peak Demand, and he is us.

Never bring good news to this "forum."

Good news is fine. So long as it is accurate.

The peak was 2+ years ago, and we have somehow muddled through a decline of 1%+ without any harm what-so-ever.

Partyguy was asked to provide proof to back up his claim.

You will be lynched.

When you can't separate reality from wishful thinking, what should be the reaction?

Then banned.

If you keep lying, what should be the reaction?

Tell everyone what I really think, what I really believe!

The peak was 2+ years ago, and we have somehow muddled through a decline of 1%+ without any harm what-so-ever.

Your own words, and your actions show how you can not back them up.


The others are on Prozac

It was in the Washington Post this morning.

If it is true and they actually go for high interest rates IMO it would be very good news, because the only other option is to run the presses on overtime.

4.9% growth. Insane (of course some of it is Money supply no doubt) That said, this is a totally unsustainable pace. I would tend to agree w/ Kunstler that we are basically witnessing a blowoff due to the fact that we are more or less at maximum FF extraction rates.


More on the indirect evidence that Peak Oil has arrived:

Hyperion plans first U.S. refinery since 1976:
Little-known, privately held company is looking at locations in Midwest


...and what type of crude will they process??? Crude from Canadian oil sands!! Why...no sweet light around anymore?

Dallas-based Hyperion plans a 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery as part of “the most environmentally sound energy center in the United States” that will include a power plant fueled by petroleum coke, a refining byproduct.

The plant will refine crude from the Canadian oil sands in Alberta to feed the U.S. market, the company said.


The company is promising a state-of-the-art refinery and energy center that will, among other things, sequester carbon dioxide. Hyperion will insist other companies citing facilities at the energy center meet the same standards.

TransCanada Corp. plans its Keystone pipeline from Alberta to Illinois to pass through southeast South Dakota near Elk Point. The pipeline is scheduled to begin operation in 2009.

I believe that even CERA acknowledges that light sweet crude has probably peaked (circa 2004). The argument is over everything else, thus a refinery for synthetic crude makes good sense if you are going to produce synthetic crude (and we are).

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

Edwin Black podcast EVWorld.com 'Future of the Internal Combustion Engine' Mentions electric cars, and an Edison battery plant flash fire.
(The podcast also mentions the Bicycle monopoly and a bunch of other stuff)

Anyway - here's some links on the Edison/Ford and the flash fire.

No one in this country knows that energy going all the way back to the Pharaohs was something that has been hoarded, that it's been manipulated, it's always been the domain of monopolies. People don't know that the first energy cartel was a coal cartel run by a secret society in England called the Hostman. (booga boogah!)

IEA Predicts decline in Russian Output 2010 > 2012

This should have been the headline for the lead link above. IEA predictions of ever increasing production are as common as "dog bites man". Predictions of declines are as rare as "man bites dog".

Russia will increase by 2010 its extraction of oil to 10 million 600 thousand barrels per day, according to data of the International Energy Agency (IEA) released here on Wednesday.

According to those estimates, Russian crude production could decline in 2012 to 10.5 million barrels per day.


Has anyone written a truly comprehensive rebuttal of the claim that peaking fossil fuel production means that most (if not all) of the IPCC's CO2 scenarios are unrealistic?
If not, as anyone taken this up seriously with the IPCC?

Hi wiz,

Dave Cohen wrote about this yesterday, and others commented.

I'd like to see Aleklett here for (respectful, of course) discussion, and was wondering if this might be possible.

Since I've heard about this from someone who doesn't read about "peak", doesn't appreciate my mention of it, etc., it seems to be an idea that's gaining traction (somehow). So, it might be good to deal with it, if possible.

Yes, I did read it, and replied.

Further, the IPCC's special report on emissions scenarios was written in 2000, and hasn't been updated even for the 2007 AR4 (which actually assumes the reader is familiar with the SRES). Enough new information on fossil fuel production has come to light since 2000 that this document surely needs revisting.

World oil supplies are set to run out faster than expected, warn scientists (The Independent)

Colin Campbell, the head of the depletion centre, said: "It's quite a simple theory and one that any beer drinker understands. The glass starts full and ends empty and the faster you drink it the quicker it's gone."

There's an entire thread dedicated to this article. Look down on the front page.

Sorry, short attention span. Delete this subthread if you wish...

Finally! An assertion about peak oil that we each personally verify. My first pint data set corroborates Campbell's observation, but I think I need more data.


In the actual speech, the "NPC rep" announced that current U.S. and Canadian energy policies (notably the massive, carbon-intensive exploitation of Alberta's oil sands, and the development of liquid coal) are increasing the chances of huge global calamities. But he reassured the audience that in the worst case scenario, the oil industry could "keep fuel flowing" by transforming the billions of people who die into oil.

"We need something like whales, but infinitely more abundant," said "NPC rep" "Shepard Wolff" (actually Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men), before describing the technology used to render human flesh into a new Exxon oil product called Vivoleum. 3-D animations of the process brought it to life.

cfm in Gray, ME

Today's biofuel news - a development in novel catalysts:


"This, in my view, is breakthrough science in the renewable energy arena," said J.M. White, IIC director and Robert A. Welch chair in materials chemistry at the University of Texas. "This work opens the way for fundamental catalysis science in a novel solvent."

(from the first link.)

Still remaining of course is the problem of how to get the volume of glucose needed on a national level, through efficient means.

Still remaining of course is the problem of how to get the volume of glucose needed on a national level, through efficient means.

Demand = number of people times how much each person wants.

To reach a demand level that is possible, one can move the number of people, change how much each person wants or both.

Volume can be met right now - one just has to play with the demand equation.

From the M. Klare article:
We could use the USA's Oil budget to fuel the next war by rationing at home. The country wastes a lot of Oil, all we need to do is budget more of the National Oil consuming level to the DoD. Not a pretty solution but not something they have not thought about.

ARGH! I just got out of the Hospital, and My wife is ill, so I can not keep up with the reading I was able to just a week ago.

Whatever happened to GONU and the hit to Oil region? Someone e.mail me the summery of all that if you will, Thanks TOD.

ceojr1963@yahoo.com Or check my profile, I think it is there as well.