DrumBeat: June 18, 2007

Oil prices up on Nigerian strike threat

Nigerian oil unions called a general nationwide strike to begin Wednesday in protest of a government price hike on automobile fuel. Also supporting energy prices were attacks on two Nigerian oil facilities by angry villagers and gunmen, which cut oil output.

"You've got kind of a double-whammy out of Nigeria," said Kevin Saville, managing editor for the Americas energy desk at Platts, the energy research arm of the McGraw-Hill Cos.

Oil Nears $70 for First Time in 9 Months on Nigeria Strike Plan

Oil production is likely to be affected during the strike as Nigeria's two main oil unions plan to participate, a labor leader said. Nigeria produces low-sulfur, or sweet, crude oil, prized by U.S. refiners because of the high proportion of gasoline it yields.

Utilities call on consumers to save energy

With the hot summer approaching and ever more air conditioners and other consumer electronic devices straining the nation's already burdened power system, utilities are scrambling to get customers to use less.

"Eighty one percent of customers think they are in on energy efficiency," Bill Brier, head of policy and public affairs at the industry association Edison Electric Institute, said at a recent press event. "But lighting is only 5 percent of the load."

Wall Street, Iraq and the Declining Dollar

No matter how the Iraq War ends, it is clear that the United States is incapable of militarily securing territory against the wishes of a hostile population. And the Iraq War is at the heart of two alarming trends that are likely to have a negative impact on America's position in the world: The demand for oil is rising while the supply is declining, and the demand for the US dollar is declining while the supply of dollars is rising.

Muscovites remain in the dark about energy saving - Russia's nascent interest in energy efficiency is driven less by a desire to go green than by the realization that energy demand could soon outstrip resources.

In January 2006, temperatures in Moscow plummeted to a record minus-35 degrees Celsius, prompting millions of Muscovites to plug in their electric heaters.

The surge in electricity demand was such that authorities, fearing a massive blackout, imposed power cutbacks and withheld gas supplies initially destined for Europe.

Moscow's growing energy hunger has been putting the aging electricity grid under pressure for some time. Russia is now the world's fourth-largest consumer of electricity. In the last four years, the country's consumption has risen by almost 22 percent.

The Limited Appeal of Nuclear Energy

To developing nations, the new arguments for nuclear power are far from compelling.

OPEC argues world oil stocks “remain at comfortable levels”

According to OPEC the most recent preliminary data for May indicates that total OECD commercial oil stocks are around 34 million barrels higher than the five-year average. Within Europe, total oil inventories have reached an historic high and now stand at 66 million barrels above the five-year average.

Tullow Oil Shares Jump +10% On Ghana Oil Find

Oil and gas company Tullow Oil PLC's (TQW.DB) shares jumped more than 10% Monday after the company said it discovered oil at the Mahogany field in Ghana, increasing its prospects of finding more oil in the region.

Producers roll up their sleeves to tackle heavy oil

North Slope producers BP and ConocoPhillips are tackling one of their toughest technological challenges to date.

The companies are working to find the best way to produce the heavy oil from the Ugnu formation, a massive deposit of low-grade oil trapped in sandstone rocks overlying the conventional producing fields of the North Slope. Current estimates put the Ugnu in-place resources in the tens of billions of barrels range.

Coal-to-Liquid Boondoggle

The most troubling aspect of CTL is that producing it will roughly double climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.

Argentina’s energy crisis: Chile to the rescue by 2009

Growing natural gas supply cuts to Chile because of the Argentine energy crisis have caused the Chilean economy a half point GDP loss in 2006 and so far this year losses equivalent to 307 million US dollars to the manufacturing industry.

However by 2009 the situation could have reversed to such an extent that the now rachitic flow along the trans-Andes gas pipelines could be fully bloating in opposite direction.

Nigerians braced for fuel strike

Nigeria's trade unions looks set to call a general strike over recent rises in petrol prices and value-added tax.

Long queues are already being reported at petrol stations across the country after two oil and transport unions began striking on Friday.

Uganda: Drivers prefer road licence tax to fuel levy

Mzee Muhammed, a driver at the Qualicel Bus Terminal, said: “We have been paying a tax of sh890,000 annually but with the sh80 increase on diesel, it means that a person who drives 500 miles a day and uses 400 litres of diesel, will pay sh32,000 daily as a tax and sh11.5m per year. This is real cheating!”

Eye on Russia: Russia's resurgence

The country has emerged as the world's biggest energy producer. It supplies Western Europe with more than a third of its natural gas, and pumps more oil than Saudi Arabia. It truly is an energy superpower.

Venezuela to Build Heavy-Crude Improvement Plant in the southern Orinoco Oil Belt

Venezuela is planning to build a new plant to upgrade heavy crude in southern Orinoco Belt, home to the country's largest crude reserves, official sources from the industry said.

Zoellick warns Venezuela is heading for trouble

Robert Zoellick, almost certain to be the next head of the World Bank, on Saturday took aim at Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chavez, warning that his oil-fueled socialist revolution was headed for trouble.

China Coal Capacity Tops Goal; Energy-Saving in Doubt

China's coal production capacity will exceed its output target by at least 16 percent by 2010, a development that would raise doubts about Beijing's energy-efficiency plans, state media reported.

India: Energy profile

India boasts a growing economy, and is increasingly a significant consumer of oil and natural gas.

Some facts on refineries and ethanol

Number of U.S. refineries: 149.

U.S. refinery gasoline production: 136 billion gallons a year.

Gasoline demand: 143 billion gallons a year (imports make up the difference).

Annual ethanol production today: 5 billion gallons.

Annual ethanol production requirements being considered by Congress: 15 billion gallons by 2015; 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Democrats Press Plan to Channel Billions in Oil Subsidies to Renewable Fuels

Senate Democrats are seeking a major reversal of energy tax policies that would take billions of dollars in tax breaks and other benefits from the oil industry to underwrite renewable fuels.

Air Force Hopes to Cut Oil’s Role in Fuel

The United States Air Force has decided to push development of a new type of fuel to power its bombers and fighters, mixing conventional jet fuel with fuels from nonpetroleum sources that could eventually limit military dependence on imported oil.

'Green' energy boost for UK public sector

The UK public sector will have access to green electricity at no premium, thanks to an innovative new deal signed this week.

The deal, worth around £1 billion over the next four years, guarantees central and local government customers one terrawatt hour of electricity from renewable sources - equivalent to 33% of current volumes - until at least 2011.

The price of gasoline has Villagers asking how high and what if

In the days after gasoline prices hit historic highs in Florida, Pete and Carol Burak considered two tough questions.

One was: Just how high do gas prices have to go before you alter your lifestyle in The Villages?

The other was: Why did prices peak at a historic average of about $3.10 a gallon for unleaded gasoline just a few weeks ago in Florida?

Aramco says new Saudi oil refinery for domestic supply

State oil company Saudi Aramco's new 400,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery at Ras Tanura will supply the rapidly growing domestic fuel market, an Aramco spokesman said yesterday. "The refinery will provide for domestic fuel consumption, similar to existing in-Kingdom wholly owned Saudi Aramco refineries," the spokesman said.

Kuwaiti firm issues tender for 615,000 bpd refinery

State-owned refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has launched a tender for its new 615,000 barrel-per-day Al Zour oil refinery, the company said on its website.

In May, Kuwait doubled the planned budget to $12 billion for the plant, which would be one of the largest in the Middle East. Rapidly rising costs in the energy industry have delayed the project and threatened its viability.

Kuwait cancelled a first tender in February after bids came in far above its initial budget. According to local newspaper reports, bids reached as much as $15 billion.

South Korea, Japan agree to share oil reserves

The strategic alliance agreement between state-run Korea National Oil Corp. and government-funded Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. allows the two neighbors to cooperate in tapping into each other's oil reserves in case of a supply shortage, the ministry said.

Companies help workers save on gas costs

The breathtaking cost of gas has companies adopting programs to curb commuting costs and employees developing more economical alternatives to driving to work.

Employers are taking action as average national gas prices persist above $3 a gallon. Nearly 90% of employees drive to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Thirteen percent of companies offer transit subsidies, and 7% subsidize carpooling, according to a 2006 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Twenty-six percent allow telecommuting on a part-time basis.

Climate change might be bad for Arctic oil industry

The rapidly melting ice in the Arctic might not facilitate the development of oil and gas fields in the Arctic, a group of researchers from the Econ Institute say. A new study from Econ reads that the dramatic meltdown in the North will trigger a new international climate policy with bigger focus on development of other alternative energy sources.

In addition, the development of the Arctic oil and gas fields are too expensive, the researchers say.

Food costs take bigger bite of budgets

General Mills later this month is reducing the sizes of boxes of many types of cereal, such as Cheerios, Wheaties and Cocoa Puffs. Although the company will sell the boxes for less than it's been charging for the bigger sizes, the change will increase the price per ounce.

"This will help offset rising input costs," including higher energy and grain prices, General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe says.

Both Ways - Kunstler

We're involved in Iraq because we don't want to begin thinking about modifying our behavior at home. We are desperate to preserve our access to Middle East oil because that is the only way we can keep running our society the way we're used to running it. Mostly, we don't want to face the tragic misinvestments we've made in the infrastructure of happy motoring, and we don't want to face the inconvenient truth that there really isn't any combination of alt.fuels that will permit us to keep running all the cars the way we like to run them. Either we keep getting the oil or say goodbye to the American Dream Version 2.K

The Railroad Industry: Buffett's Next Big Bet

With the passing of "Peak Oil" and higher gas prices, railroads will increase in value as they are the most efficient method to move cargo across the country.

Pakistan: 16-hr blackouts spark more violence

People took to the streets Sunday and held up traffic for a major part of the day as Karachi remained shrouded in darkness due to unannounced load shedding.

...Sources said that after the load shedding and the resultant riots continued unabated for quite some time, the Prime Minister’s secretariat directed the federal ministry of water & power to take some immediate measures to solve the issue.

Pakistan's Protests Won't Hinder Growth, Aziz Says

Pakistan needs overseas funds in power projects because demand is forecast to rise at an annual pace of as much as 12 percent in the next three years, Aziz said. Demand for electricity rose 20 percent in the year ending June 30, more than twice the pace projected, he said.

Israeli company resumes fuel shipments to Gaza

The cutoff sparked widespread panic in Gaza. The area's only fuel storage facility ran out of reserves on Sunday, gas stations rationed supplies to drivers and residents warned that ambulance services, food deliveries and other key services would be halted.

But on Monday, Dor Alon said it had resumed fuel shipments to Gaza. "All shipments were made in coordination with the relevant authorities," it said in a statement.

Older cars' emissions go unchecked

Seven of the 32 states that test car emissions do not check vehicles built before 1996 models, allowing the oldest cars that spew the most pollution to stay on the road without requiring repairs. More states are considering adopting similar plans.

I attended an Alternative Energy Fair at the base of Mount Washington in New Hampshire yesterday. I took Ian, a young friend of mine, up there so he could get film footage of John Howe's presentation for a peak oil piece he's working on for a local cable access show.

John Howe and his wife Deb are simply delightful to talk to. Anyone in the Maine/New Hampshire area should look up their booth at the Common Ground Fair in Thorndike this fall (if you can get gas to go there).

The Howes were hawking "The End of Fossil Energy: Last Chance for Survival." http://www.mcintirepublishing.com/index.html

Deb had a funny story: a gentleman from an adjoining table wanted one of John's books. She recommended he donate ten dollars to the Howes' cause. The man claimed that was too much, so he gave her a sample of his "product": FFT Gasoline Blend.

Saves Money!
Lowers Emissions!
Increases Miles Per Gallon!
Users Feel Results In Just 10-20 Miles!

Messiah In a Bottle.

Deb recognized this immediate as scammish, and gave me the bottle "to light a brush pile" if I wish. When I opened the bottle and took a whiff, it smelled like Kool-Aid. There is not an ingredients list on the label.

There was also a big Pickup at the Fair--E85 ETHANOL!--with a big ear of corn painted on the side. The gentleman inside the truck looked terrifically bored.

Messiah In a Husk.

The whole time, as about a dozen people milled around the tent, a constant DIN of motorcycle traffic could be heard taking off up the Mount Washington Auto Road. John had to wear a microphone during his talk to be heard over the traffic noise. Nothing makes me long for Collapse like a fat Harley bellooowing.

As Ian shot footage for his film, I helped John with his placards during the talk. John is magnificently informed and straightforward. The twelve people at the talk had mostly already been informed, so I gathered, but a couple of organizers of the Fair, who didn't know about Peak Oil, were thoroughly impressed.

Questions concerned the need for top-down organization to get the country to power-down, stop reproducing, and get alternatives going. The task seemed insurmountable. One man questioned the possibility of a "democratic society electing someone who is going to ask them to suffer." I silently remarked to myself that they're going to suffer ANYWAY.

The taboo of population control came up and was addressed bluntly. John thinks it's too late for at least 2 billion souls on the planet. (I happen to think it's too late for everyone, but I couldn't tell you what that means!)

I'd call John a cheerful doomer. He's not depressing to be around, nor is he a Kunstler-type smart-ass.

The highlight of our trip was John's solar-powered cheddar-yellow MG. Ian took his camera aboard to interview John.

I think the car is fabulous but clearly not enough.

I can't wait to go to John's farm to see his
solar powered tractor.
I could use one of those.

Ian and I left depressed at the pathetic turnout. He has me on film, sweeping my arm toward the meager turnout, saying, "What if somebody held a collapse and no one showed up?"

"a constant DIN of motorcycle traffic could be heard taking off up the Mount Washington Auto Road."

Motorcycles everywhere yesterday in NH - it was the last day of Motorcycle Week. I'm always glad when it's over.

I spent the weekend at the Laconia rally. Nothing like tens of thousands of bikes in one place to understand what a force of nature consumption is. It would have been a good place for a Peak Oil outreach booth. If one had reached some tiny fraction of the people in attendance, one would have made more difference than by isolating one's self with a small group of the same people who already know about energy issues. In my opinion scientists leave a lot to be desired in terms of the ability to market ideas.

There were guys giving out Bibles from the backs of Harleys... now there is an effective social movement that understands how to actually proselytize. They have convinced millions of people that Jesus rose from the dead etc etc etc, but the Peak Oil crowd still can't convince people that we're running out of oil. Hell, scientists in the US can't convince many people of evolution!

Because I am also not a fan of noisy rides, I rode up there on my Aprilia Scarabeo 150cc scooter...

Maybe if we could sell Peak Oil a little better, my buddies would have ridden their bikes up too instead of dragging them in a 2000 pound trailer behind a pickup... they averaged well less than 10 MPG on the way up from CT, while I made the same trip with less than 1/10 the consumption.

I got some funny looks but no outright hostility... I thought riding a goofy bike like that would threaten the whole phallic totem worship that is biking culture, but apparently it is more robust than I imagined. Actually the entire experience bordered on hallucinatory for me. Staggering around among the half-clothed masses at the Broken Spoke Saloon, I imagined myself transported to one of the inner circles of hell, and ended up enjoying it.

Riding up rt 3 from Ashland to Franconia as the sun was rising will stay with me for a long, long time. Even during bike week, at that time of the day I had the road to myself.

Most of the locals I encountered were friendly and I think that they must have valued the economic boost from tens of thousands of bikers more than they were turned off by the traffic and noise pollution.

Best spot is right by the canal next to the beach where you can simultaneously watch the motor vehicles on the strip and the 3mpg pleasure boats heading over to Paugus.

I admire anyone with the balls to be the odd man out, among 10,000 people, whatever the circumstances.

I love hearing these scooter stories... had my first ride on one 2 yrs ago on Crete, it was fantastic. Any recommendations as to brands/types would be appreciated. Also, does anybody out there have experience with Electric Scooters?

No one complains about all the fuel used by a zillion NASCAR fans driving huge motor homes to distant races. No one complains about pro and college football fans doing the same, but let 10,000 bikers show up somewhere and suddenly there is a huge controversy. It is the same mentality that gave bikes a bad name from the 1950s - 80s and probably caused primarily by all those cheap drive in movie releases about biker gangs pillaging locals. Biker gangs make up 2% of the bikers and most of them are toothless. Its all baloney. Bikes are far more economical to run and far more fun than motorhomes and the biker community is made up of people from all walks of life. Give it a rest, please.

A 'Kunstler type smart ass' ? Well, I'll agree he's not a dumb ass. Sure, he rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but he got their attention, which can be a tough act if you are meek, mild and polite in society that has largely abandoned that mode. He's not out there to make you feel good about yourself.

Maybe Darwin was a smart ass, or Newton, or Malthus or Erlich or Carson? I'm not expecting him to apologize for being intelligent and ahead of the curve. As to whether his stockmarket predictions come true, the longer they don't the bigger the blowout. He's just saying that while it is tempting to hang in there for the unjustified runup, your financial ass is hanging out and the downside risk is formidable.

It's not about whether you like him; this isn't a weather presenter screen test. Until someone shows up to take over his role and do it better, I'll just be glad he's doing it.

Perhaps some day when you meet Your Hero, you can ask him if he still wishes Afghanistan to be "carpet-bombed back to the the Stone Age."

You'll seek in vain for the comment in his archives, for he has deleted it.

Kunstler loves the sound of his own horn, be it about Y2K, peak oil, or bad architecture. Your comparing him to Darwin and Newton might be the definition of absurd.

I never said he was my hero. I'm not familiar with the bombing comment. Could be. Louis Armstrong loved the sound of his horn too. I didn't compare him to Newton; I merely pointed out that his ideas are reaching a lot of people, and that on certain aspects he appears to be obviously right. Newton might have been a smart ass too; I don't care at this point.

The fact that you are referring to him as a necessary attachment to his ideas is exactly the problem I am referring to. I'd rather have an accurate weather forecast from an obnoxious social pariah than an inaccurate one from the usual Goldilocks. The forecast lasts five minutes and the weather goes on all day.

Darwin and Newton didn't invent anything but merely pointed out aspects of relationships within an existing reality. Same with the others. There will, in all probability, be a long emergency with or without Kunstler. By the way, today's Flustercluck presents the reality of the Oiliad in a way I've not seen before. Like him or not, and lots don't, he has an agile mind and an ability to express himself. Keep the wheat, chuck the chaff.

I'll agree that there are times when he rubs me the wrong way, and his flaws are no doubt in the public record, but it isn't about him, or you or me. That's my point. Maybe Shakespeare was a drunken lout. Didn't affect the run of his plays. Lots of our heroes have or had all sorts of personality quirks. I won't even get into Hollywood.

Newton is credited by many with the invention of the reflecting telescope. He was also pretty good with math.

....Newton, or Malthus or Erlich...

These were noted scientists who almost single handedly advanced their fields by a generation and will probably remain famous as long as the printed word. Kunstler is a journalist who uses heated language and occasionally rude words to describe what others have already discovered. Whether or not you like his work, to compare his stature to the names you mention is at best ridiculous.

Richard C

Newton might have been a smart ass too; I don't care at this point.

Yep. Newton used his position as president of the royal society to badmouth his intellectual rivals mercilessly. Lost the plot and spent years researching fairies and angels in his later years. Darwin, on the other hand, was a decent chap :)


you can ask him if he still wishes Afghanistan to be "carpet-bombed back to the the Stone Age."

Jim Kunstler has an Email that is open to serious inquiries, did you, in fairness, ask him that question before you bring it here like some sort of dogs dropping. That sort of statement, without anything more than your say so reflects more on you than on him.

If you want to criticize him get your data first. In the above article, by Kunstler, he says: or they could do the same thing that Saddam Hussein set out to do back in 1990: extract Kuwait's remaining oil by horizontal drilling across the borderline. which is completely backward, it was Kuwait doing the horizontal drilling. I think if this is the level of his knowledge about these events I think he is out of his depth.

Thanks for the post regarding Harleys. After reading it I took plum crazy with its two into one Hooker Header out and ran up and down main street, raising cain. Of course, I put my earplugs in first (kidding). After riding fifty miles today I topped off the tank on that Fat Boy and it took a whopping 1.2 gallons. Even if gas were $10 per gallon that would be cheap and fun entertainment and I made numerous friends for the biker community. I assume most were not wearing ear plugs. Better get used to the Harleys for they will be around a long time after the SUVs are growing daisys.
BTW, I was at Bike Week 2005 in Laconia and took the ride up Mt Washington. We then continued up to Pittsburg NH for the 'blessing of the bikes.' Beautiful country that. We had a log cabin with an old barrel wood stove for a week on Clarksdale Pond with loons included. Had a great time. I put 4,376 miles on the bike that trip without mishap. One must be aware of the moose up there, especially at night.

In today's Wall Street Journal:

Ills Deepen in Subprime-Bond Arena
More Downgrades Seen As Foreclosures Ripple

A few weeks ago, the market for bonds backed by risky home loans looked like it was calming down. Now, problems are quickly mounting.

At Bear Stearns Cos., a group of hedge-fund managers at the Wall Street firm spent the weekend scrambling to line up new investors or lenders to keep afloat their fund, called High Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage fund. The fund, which invests in many securities that are backed by subprime mortgages, suffered heavy losses in recent months.

On Friday, credit-rating firm Moody's Investors Service slashed ratings on 131 bonds backed by pools of speculative subprime loans because of unusually high rates of defaults and delinquencies among the underlying mortgages. The ratings company also said it is reviewing 247 bonds for downgrades, including 111 whose ratings it had just lowered. All the bonds were issued as recently as last year.

Only a small fraction of bond are being rerated, so this is just a start. I wonder how this will all play out.

Here's the CNN version:

Merrill reportedly seizes $400M from fund

Investment bank to auction assets from a Bear Stearns fund after a negative bet on the subprime market.

And another data point:

Desperate measures for the mortgage business

A recent mailing from GMAC shows how low at least one lender will go to drum up new mortgage business

I get fraudulent mortgage offers several times per week. One really easy filter: Immediately throw out all second-class mail without even bothering to open it.

Sometimes I do open the second-class mail for fun and entertainment. Since the purchase price and purchase date of the house is public knowledge, they will also fish with sentences mentioning your initial loan amount and ARM expiration month. I've seen guesses of 3-year and 5-year ARMS as well as guesses of loans at 80% and 90% of the purchase price.

One change I have noticed in the last year or two is that they now include a phone number to call instead of a pre-paid return envelope. I suppose too many irritated recipients stuff the envelopes full of small stones and send them back so that the sender can pay several dollars of postage.

I work in Sunnyvale.

Do you know how much a stamp would cost without all these ads?

Take the postage paid envelope and mail it back. It costs them first class postage and 50 cents. Include a post-it note with the word "Monkey" on it.

Spread the word.

Hmmm - stones. I like that.

I usually send back cheese, fish sauce or whatever's handy in the kitchen. The frequency of mailings seems to have decreased.

Probably too late in the day, but I hate to tell ya, I once asked at the Post Office what they'd do if I tried to return second-class crap. Well, they get them all the time, and they don't return them, they just throw them away. So I wouldn't bother.


They are not talking about returning second class crap. They are talking about taking the postage paid envelope, putting something inappropriate in it, and mailing it back. That costs the original mailer money, not you, and the post office must deliver it because it is not "returned" mail but an actual response in an envelope intended for such response.

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

Leanan, Cerberus Capital Investments is the same company that recently purchased Chrysler.

Ha Ha!

Cerberus: a two headed dog guarding the entrance to Hades...

Somebody already cut one of the heads off? :-)

Cerberus are also the company tipped to buy ailing UK DIY chain Focus for the sum of £1:


While Focus have struggled to compete against market leaders B&Q, there has been a big downturn in the home DIY sector in the last year.

Also looking like going down the pan are minor supermarket chain Kwik Save:


Even food retailing market leaders Tesco (even Asda/Walmart have whinged about their success!), expect this to be a tougher year:


Just the beginnings of creaking in the UK economy as oil and other energy imports grow in amount and cost.

Ford is going to dump Jaguar, Land Rover and maybe even Volvo.

Jag and LR are dead men walking so it's hard to imagine another auto manufacturer purchasing them. Looks like more dog food.

I follow the nascent biorefinery industry and this new advance is huge:

Plastic can grow on trees
Fuel, polyester and other chemicals from biomass get a giant boost.

It is exciting to see the new industries that are blossoming now that the price of petroleum is so high. Contrary to the belief of the doomers, there are real alternatives to oil and this is more proof.

Are these the same trees that pigs land in when they get tired of flying?

UM study eyes potatoes as source of plastics

In this case, potato instead of corn. But I can't believe that all those Nestle's bottles are made from plant plastic.

cfm in Gray, ME


The potato:

From the new world, it stopped europe from starving to death.

Sliced, Diced, Boiled, Fried, Roasted, Mashed, Chipped or Sauteed, it can feed an army or keep a nation through a winter. Add some Onions or Garlic or Thyme or Rosemary, you can get a kid to eat it. Add some cream or butter, and you can serve it up in a Cafe.

Tell me. When will your nation advocate killing the first born male children for thermal depolymerisation so that you can run your SUVs or manufacture plastic bottles?

Yes, thats right.

Plastic fooking bottles.

Oh sorry, you did that already.

In Iraq.

Very good, Mudlogger. I appreciate your irony...

'At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole goddamned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.' Charles Bukowski...

Scientific American is carrying this too. You wonder why they don't just make the stuff out of wood in the first place.

Look... Oil, natural gas, and coal are BIOFUELS. Same as making ethanol from corn or plastics from switchgrass or whatever. It all has a biological origin.

But the beauty of oil is that it's been processed and concentrated for free, over millions of years. Therefore there is lots of it and all we have to do is pump it out of the ground or dig it up, do a little processing, and there's the unlimited energy and essential raw materials we all take for granted.

But doing all this with something we have to grow consumes more energy up front. That energy has to come from somewhere. The reason plastic is so cheap and abundant is because fossil fuels are cheap and abundant. That's what keeps the whole civilization-thing going.

So we're going to grow our food, and all our fuel, and the feedstock for all our plastics and polyester and rubber, etc. etc. etc. And this will be no problem??? Lunacy!

Look... Oil, natural gas, and coal are BIOFUELS.

*clap* *Clap*

Yup, correct.

(and to the gent blow this post - I didn't know aobut cow horn boiling - thank you for that info.)

Or cow horn. For centuries horns were cut apart, boiled to make temporarily plastic, and shaped into combs, small boxes, etc.

I hope someone in the US still knows this by the end of the century - they're gonna need it.


Errol in Miami

Polled (hornless) cattle are nearly universal in the USA now. The feedlots do NOT like horned cattle.


Regarding Warren Buffet's investment in rail and the lead statement from the article:

"With the passing of "Peak Oil" and higher gas prices, railroads will increase in value as they are the most efficient method to move cargo across the country."

The most energy efficient means of transportation/ shipping is actually by river barge and the US was originally settled along rivers and canals. As a resident of a river town that used to be a big transportation/shipping hub in the 1800's, I've wondered if PO will mean a ressurgence of river traffic.
I haven't seen any official stats on this, but it seems to me there has been a significant increase in barge traffic on the Ohio River in the last 6 months.

Sure, but the lack of a north american east-west canal system makes moving by water tricky at best. The Great Lakes can get things to the midwest, but to get anything to Colorado, or Saskatchewan, it isn't going to be traveling by water from any direction. So for "across the country", Buffet is right. The prairies producing our food are on railways, not oceans or massive rivers.

The main problem with the old canal/river systems is that they just aren't large enough for the boats that carry around most of the cargo. I suppose more properly this might be seen as a problem with the ships, but either way, no supertankers or giant cargo ships will be floating peacefully around the rivers anytime soon. If TS ever HTF, there will be a lot of "recreational" boats out there with a lot of engine power that could be put to good use, though. Those twin outboard 50 HP motors can move a lot of weight, if attached to a properly built ship.

"but the lack of a north american east-west canal system makes moving by water tricky at best"

True but I'll bet at least 20% of the US population lives within a few miles of the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio Rivers (Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, St Louis, Memphis, New Orleans just to name some of the major cities)

"no supertankers or giant cargo ships will be floating peacefully around the rivers anytime soon"

A river barge can push as much as 1000 Walmart semi trucks or 2.25 trains 100 cars long. Nice graphics here:


There's far less infrastructure needed to ramp up river transport than train. Problem is, it's much slower which businesses do not like in the era of just-in-time logistics.

I see decent sized tankers (Panamax for example, and New Orleans is the port closest to the Panama Canal, scheduled to be enlarged circa 2014), container ships and cruise ships ALL the time.

Also barges (N-S on Mississippi River, E-W on Intercoastal Canal and NW on Red River into Oklahoma) and we have six of the seven North American Class I railroads (missing Canadian Pacific) with a double track, unrestricted weight Mississippi River bridge (supposedly busiest RR bridge in the world).

A sizable fraction of our food growing potential is close to the Mississippi, Missouri, Red or Ohio Rivers (or their navigable tributaries). There is also a canal link to Lake Michigan @ Chicago.

Rivers have about a 25% distance penalty vs. Railroads due to river curves. Not true for the Intercoastal Canal

Best Hopes for Low Energy transportation,


Wintertime ice can be a problem for interior barge traffic as well, but not a problem for coastal shipping.

"... Sure, but the lack of a north american east-west canal system makes moving by water tricky at best. The Great Lakes can get things to the midwest"

I predict that the Erie/Barge Canal in Upstate NY will have a resurgence. That is the link from NYC/Hudson to the Great Lakes(lake Erie).

Used to live near it.


I've got a mule, her name is Sal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal

We've hauled some barges in our day
filled with lumber, coal and hay
And we know every inch of the way from
Albany to Buffalo.

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor, you'll always know your pal
If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

We better get along on our way ol'gal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal

'Cause you bet your life I'd never part with Sal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal.
Git up there mule, here comes a lock,
We'll make Rome about 6 o'clock
One more trip and back we'll go, right back home to Buffalo.

Thanks for that Leanan,

I was just about to post it myself :-)

Once the Erie Canal opened up, all the outrageous productivity of that fat rich soil out in the midwest could make its way to the big markets on the coast, via NYC.

Hill farmers here in stony NH headed west in droves...

Once the Erie Canal opened up, all the outrageous productivity of that fat rich soil out in the midwest could make its way to the big markets on the coast, via NYC

Assuming, that is, that those big markets on the coast can produce something to ship back on the return trip that the midwest farmers might need.

There were some interesting articles a year or two ago, when the railroad tracks to the coal mines out west were wiped out by mudslides. One of the alternatives was barges, but the drought was a limiting factor. Water levels were so low that authorities had to make some tough decisions. Drinking water, water to cool power plants (including nuclear), recreational use (which is the lifeblood of many towns out west), farmers...and barges.

Iraq now ranked second among world's failed states

Iraq has emerged as the world's second most unstable country, behind Sudan, more than four years after President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, according to a survey released on Monday.

The 2007 Failed States Index, produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace, said Iraq suffered a third straight year of deterioration in 2006 with diminished results across a range of social, economic, political and military indicators. Iraq ranked fourth last year.

... take it easy Leanan-
in less than a year from now - Iraq is a full blown, prosperous and thriving democracy - just in the neighborhood of the US’ two-party system - where the one is slightly more like the other ::))

Good article in ATOL about what Gates is doing in the pentagon and the administration. He was a member of the Iraq study group and when asked to take his current job he told Bush that he would take it only on his conditions. Quiet, no nonsense, sort of guy... Interesting.


You almost have to laugh at Robert Zoellick's comment about Venezuela being headed for trouble. I guess the US still has fantasies about putting the squeeze on Chavez via the World Bank. The institution is now pretty much in a pathetic state, with its narrow concepts and US domination a laughing stock in the rest of the world. It doesn't look like Mr. Z will resuscitate whatever credibility it might once have had. Pity, really.

Compared to the potential trouble the US is facing, Venezuela hasn't a care in the world. And that's why he's protesting, I suppose. It's one of those domestic consumption statements that don't really wash outside the intended audience.

Chevez is in the process of putting the world bank out of biz in South America. Chevez said he didnt want US Free Trade but wanted Fair Trade, something the WB knows little about. If our military was not sinking into the morass of Iraq they might be putting a bit of pressure on Chevez. It is possible that we will become an economic backwater sooner rather than later...so perhaps we need not worry so much about PO? At any rate I am prepared, I have planted a lot of banana trees in my yard. Now all we need is a banana barge to haul them north on the intercoastal waterway...should be about right for banana pudding when they get to NY.

Hello River,

To continue our thread from yesterday's Drumbeat: you mentioned in your posting how you store and rotate your gasoline supply, and how many homes and businesses, in your area, have generators for backup in case of hurricanes.

My Asphalt Wonderland is at the opposite end of the spectrum because of Peakoil ignorance/denial. I don't see any backup generation at local grocery stores or gas-stations. When we start having blackouts: no gasoline for sale, and the chilled/frozen groceries will defrost/spoil and have to be thrown out.

I think an interesting tipping point will occur when the US starts having brownouts/blackouts on a fairly often local/regional basis. This will result in a mad dash to purchase generators. Caterpillar, and other gen-mfgs, will probably see sharply dropping sales for heavy construction and earth-moving equipment, but huge unmet demand for generators. Gen prices will go through the roof.

I don't have the figures/data, but if everyone in Phx was to store 3 months of gasoline [as you say you do]: my guess is the avg house would have 150 gallons stored in the garage-- I sure would hate to be a fireman! That is 30 5-gallon jerry cans; hell of a fire when that starts to go.

That is why I wish my idea of Hell's Angels gas-stations could get off the drawing board and into practice to prevent home fuel storage and terrible fires/deaths.

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

My bro has 2x 55gal drums of gasoline, with a 12v dispensor. He fills them up, refills his vehicles from the drums, then refills the drums, rotating the stock. I don't have drums of gasoline. I keep all 3 cars filled up and then rotate the driving on them. That only leaves me with a grand total of 32 gal, but that would last me 3 to 4 weeks of normal commuting driving, or several months if I told my employer I was only going to telecommute.

I have solar panels for backup power for communications. Satellite Internet connection shouldn't go out unless the data center where the uplink is doesn't have power. I DO need to get a 2-way shortwave radio, however.

Hello Durandal,

Thxs for responding. Did a little research on my Asphalt Wonderland which is mostly in Maricopa County:

How much gasoline do we use in Arizona?

We consume approximately 4 MILLION gallons of gasoline (Arizona CBG) each day within Maricopa County. As a state, we consume approximately 2.5 BILLION gallons of gasoline each year!

maricopa pop. = 3.8 million [I estimate 2/3 own motor vehicles or 2.5 million]

year 2000 mean travel time to work = 26 minutes [I estimate this is up to 30 minutes now]

Means of transportation to work

Drove a car alone: 1,050,341 (75%)
Carpooled: 214,231 (15%)
Bus or trolley bus: 26,947 (2%)
Streetcar or trolley car: 464 (0%)
Subway or elevated: 289 (0%)
Railroad: 405 (0%)
Ferryboat: 30 (0%)
Taxi: 1,326 (0%)
Motorcycle: 5,541 (0%)
Bicycle: 13,640 (1%)
Walked: 28,888 (2%)
Other means: 12,621 (1%)
Worked at home: 51,719 (4%)

Cars and other vehicles available in Maricopa County in owner-occupied houses/condos:

no vehicle: 22,530
1 vehicle: 247,591
2 vehicles: 355,673
3 vehicles: 105,006
4 vehicles: 25,426
5 or more vehicles: 8,337
Maybe I should increase my earlier guess to the average home storing 300 gallons for a 3-month supply. Two or more cars/household, very little car-pooling, long commute times and distances, shipping by truck instead of rail, etc. Probably 2 gallons/day per motor vehicle if one considers all travel.

But GIOS, our leading energy research institute, promotes more of this 'sustainable growth'. IMO, we are glued, screwed, and tattoed into extreme Overshoot, but I can't get any local power-brokers to answer my emails asking for Peakoil Outreach and mitigation.

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

I think you would be better off storing diesel and using a diesel car. Diesel is not nearly as inflammable and has a much better shelf life. If you heat your home with home heating oil you are already storing diesel (and can evade road taxes on it).

If someone is going to stockpile flamable liquids in that quantity, they really should invest in a separate storage building (steel, preferably) located as far from their house and close to the periphery as zoning laws will allow. (An underground tank would be even better, but that is a regulatory nightmare.) They had better check their property insurance policy, too.

Hello WNC,

No can do in Phx: houses clustered on small lots--you can practically give the TP to your next door neighbor by window handoff. Very few have significant acreage for outbuildings to store fuel. It will get ugly postPeak from the fuel thefts and fires.

In that case then, I would second the recommendation to go diesel. Another thing you might consider: there was a gas can called "explosafe" that was filled with a metal mesh material, supposedly much safer than a regular gas can. I've got a couple of them I bought a couple of decades ago, I don't know if they still make them.

Hi Bob, I have a wooden garage on the back of my lot and I keep gas in two 55 gal heavy duty blue plastic drums. The drums sit on wooden cradles that I built and have plastic spigots screwed into them. In six years with some hurricanes and furious lighting storms I have not had a problem with this system. That is not to say that I will not have a problem in future but life is a gamble each time we wake up. In my life I have put hundreds of thousands of miles on motorcyles and continue to do long trips once per year. I am not faint of heart.

A three month supply of gas for the wife and I doesnt amount to 110 gallons since we are retired and drive little. Also, I have three motorcycles and 90% of the time when I go somewhere I am on a bike. When we use the generator it uses quite a bit of gas but I forgot the exact consumption, I think it went through about 8 gallons in about 24 hours. The power companies usually have the power restored to most areas after a hurricane within seven days but that is not always the case. First, all the downed live oaks have to be cleared from the streets and power lines. Our generator is an 8kw Onan and has a 10 gallon tank. The generator that we have is not large enough to run our AC unit but that doesnt matter to us, we were both raised in the south without AC. The generator will run all our ceiling fans, lights, refrigerator, floor fans, etc. The gas is also used for the lawn mower, weed whacker, edger, chain saw, etc. In addition we have a large ss grill that I use almost every day for stir fry or even to bake bread during the summer when it is hot here. Using the grill keeps the house cooler and is easier on the AC. I have three standard propane cans for the grill that I keep full and in the same garage with the gas.(lol) I know it sounds dangerous and it probably is but that is the way I have chosen to be prepared for hurricanes and other fuel shortages that might occur. Most of our neighbors have chosen a similar route and, to my knowledge, there has never been a gas fire in our town. I read the local paper each day and this time of year I usually check the Weather Channel every couple of days.

I have noticed your mention of the Hells Angels Gas Stations but I am not familiar with them. Please advise.

I dont know what is going to happen WTSHTF but I do know that it is not going to be pretty, especially the first few weeks. We live in an older neighborhood where a lot of folks know each other, our kids grew up and attended school together, and now its a lot of empty nests. I walk about 3 1/2 miles every morning so I know many people by sight and we talk a lot. We also have a neighborhood watch association that is loosely connected with the local cops. We have almost no crime in this area except the occasional teen that causes mischief, no big deal.

Most of the people that I talk with are concerned about the following in order of importance to them: The economy. Their real estate taxes. Rising gas prices and global warming, since we all live near sea level and are in the path of many hurricanes.

Hello River,

Thxs for responding. Your Quote: "I have noticed your mention of the Hell's Angels Gas Stations but I am not familiar with them. Please advise."



In the TOD archives: I have other similar posts that explain my ideas in greater detail, but these links above should give you the basic gist of my idea. By expanding this concept to all that are interested in personal price arbitrage of gasoline it could help keep a gas-station open in your neighborhood and reduce fuel thefts/fires.

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

Centennial time capsule car found ruined

A car buried half a century ago in a time capsule had been transformed into a hunk of junk by the time it was unveiled on Friday as part of Oklahoma's Centennial.

The concrete vault, built in 1957 and meant to be opened this year to celebrate Oklahoma's Centennial as a state, has leaked in the intervening 50 years and most of its contents were ruined, to the dismay of those hoping to find a pristine, gold '57 Plymouth Belvedere.

Would-be auto restorers unwrapped 1950s-era protective covering from the mud-caked relic onstage Friday evening at the Tulsa Convention Center, revealing a ruined hulk with rotting upholstery, collapsed suspension, flat tires and an engine that appeared to be a solid chunk of rust.

The time capsule also included several gallons of gasoline and oil for an oil change. They were worried that by 2007, everyone would be driving nuclear cars or some such thing, and gas and oil for the Belvedere would be unavailable.

A company in Canada called Petrobank has completed part of its pilot testing of a new in-situ bitumen recovery process that might lower oil production costs and increase recovery rates using forced air injection and internal combustion rather and only a small amount of natural gas.

Some data was collected as the first well pair was in incresed flow rates. The data collected thus far exceeded company expectations. The company has three well pairs in process. There was a rumor leaked that Petrochina has expressed interest in the company.


One very large problem with this is if you get self sustaining fires. One can reduce oxygen, but other products are down there which may ignite once the autoignition temperature is reached.

This method will likely run into problems once enough holes have been drilled and O2 concentrations are no longer controllable.

Futhermore controlling the flame front is quite difficult and decidedly non trivial in a mining environment.

I cannot be the only one looking at this and just thinking: where to start...?

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Lets hope the success rate improves before Yucca mnt

Hello Pondlife,

Recall my numerous earlier posts on Yucca Mountain-- it will be a last chance survival Greenzone for the topdogs. The very earliest it is projected to open to take nuke waste is 2017, but expect this date to be constantly rolled back.

Tax-policy: concentrate the benefits, socialize the costs.

Topdogs safely tucked away while we get to glow in the dark and give birth to some spectacularly deformed newborns. Such is life.

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

An omen of things to come, perhaps?

I was born exactly one week prior to this car-time-capsule burial. The way that car looks sure makes me feel old!!

50 Years?

Are you sure?

Looks like American show room standards to me...

Buy Jap.

Once you've had Jap you will never go back :-)

And on the lighter side ...

Conservatives roll out high-octane strategy to attract middle class

The federal Conservatives, who are awash in cash after several years of successful fundraising, are sponsoring a car on the Canadian NASCAR circuit.

Following the lead of Tim Hortons, Home Hardware and Milwaukee Electric Tool, the white No. 29 car in the Canadian Tire auto-racing series now sports a big blue "C" on its hood and side panels.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan and Immigration Minister Diane Finley were joined by nearly a dozen Conservative MPs at a racetrack east of Toronto yesterday to watch their party's car do the laps.

"Burning up fuel like there's no tomorrow"

"Watch us go around in circles"

Sounds like good election slogans. . .

So the folks in OK destroyed a perfectly good 1957 Belvedere in a concrete time capsule.

Iraq is number two after Sudan as a failed state.

Afghanistan is in the top ten list of failed states as well.

We hope that plastic will grow on trees and save us all.

The mortagage industry is begging for new investors to throw more money down that sewer hole.

The new guy for the World Bank is making threatening noises about Venezuela before he's picked out his new office decor.

So went our Monday morning in America.

And the good news is: it is still "Morning In America."

Sounds more like, "Morning-After in America."

you spelt American wrong:

Should be Merkin.

A fake pubic wig designed to to hide the ravages of venereal disease or the attrition of pubic lice from potential customers.

Possible root: Mal (French) Kont (Old English)

Used by common prostitutes.

A New War on the Planet?
John Bellamy Foster

It is characteristic of the magic-bullet solutions that now pervade the media that they promise to defend our current way of life while remaining virtually cost free. Despite the fact that economists have long insisted that there is no such thing as a free lunch, we are now being told on every side -- even by Gore -- that where global warming is concerned there is a free lunch after all. We can have our cars, our industrial waste, our endlessly expanding commodity economy, and climate stability too. Even the IPCC, in its policy proposals, tells us that climate change can be stopped on the cheap -- if only the magic of technology and markets is applied.

The goal is clearly to save the planet -- but only if capitalism can be fully preserved at the same time.

I don't know if somebody else has noticed that on TOD:


It's about the new "eco"-jet by Easyjet.

I for one think the main reason behind it is not the "reduce the CO2" argument put forward by Easyjet, but rather the always increasing cost of fuel..

With the hot summer approaching and ever more air conditioners and other consumer electronic devices straining the nation's already burdened power system, utilities are scrambling to get customers to use less.
"Eighty one percent of customers think they are in on energy efficiency," Bill Brier, head of policy and public affairs at the industry association Edison Electric Institute, said at a recent press event. "But lighting is only 5 percent of the load."

This BS of flat-billing no matter the usage time for residential customers MUST END. As long as customers pay no penalty for running their 220v dryer during peak usage times, it will continue. Of course, this is all mandated at the state level. What should be done? Legislation needs to occur at the state level to eliminate flat-rate billing or make it to where it can only be used if you consume a very small amount of electricity.

Write your legislators! Anyone care to form a draft letter? I plan on writing some emails to mine tonight, but I doubt mine would be nearly as well worded at something that people here could craft.

United States switching from heating oil to electrical heat:

Link: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/recs/recs97/decade.html#totcons2

An important note about that decline in heating oil:

I can remember back in the 1970s that heating oil was a very big deal, especially in the northeast - they had an older housing stock, mostly using heating oil, and the winters were very cold in the late 1970s. There was real worry about whether or not there would be enough heating oil, and of course the price of the stuff had shot through the roof. The refinery switchover from gasoline to heating oil in the fall and back again in the spring would be a pretty dicey thing.

The one good thing in these figures is that the refineries are now in less of a bind wrt the seasonal switchover than they used to be.

Do most houses in the US have electronic meters capable of recording usage times? Most here (Australia) don't, which is why over the next 5 or so years, state governments are rolling out "smart meters" - which not only record interval usage but are also capable of sending back the information to the distributors. The intention is to have them installed in every home. I'm certainly looking forward to it, because I already make an effort to use all my energy-intensive devices in off-peak hours, even though I get no financial benefit from it, having an old clock-face meter that only records a single usage figure.

After living in more then half a dozen states I have never seen one.

Most if the infrastructure here is very old.

Maybe some of the new suburban developments?

Most do not. It depends on where you live.

A friend of mine in Ohio has differential rates. She turns on the dishwasher just before she goes to bed each night, to take advantage of the cheaper rates.

But she doesn't make any other changes that I know of. No one wants to run the dryer that way; you have to take the clothes out and fold them right away or they wrinkle, so doing it in the middle of the night doesn't work.

I use the dryer like that (when I really have to use it - I air-dry where possible). Can't say I've ever noticed a significant diffence in the wrinkle factor between taking clothes out straight away or leaving them in there. If I did, I guess I'd just set the dryer to start at 6am, although obviously leaving wet clothes in there all night is not ideal...still, if they're at least half air-dried already, they should be OK. A combined washer-dryer would be ideal for this sort of thing, but the current units are chugging along just fine for now.
The other device I put on a timer to run at night is the pool pump (I also run it for only 1-2 hours, rather than the recommended 4-8 hours - have done so for 12 months, and pool seems fine). And battery charging I also try to do at night where possible.
I'm ASSUMING that doing all this is having some (small) impact on our household emissions, given that most power plants basically generate excess supply at night (NB: our electricity comes almost entirely from brown-coal.)

You’re lucky you can air dry! My in-laws live in a subdivision where the by-laws make outside clotheslines illegal. Apparently they are considered unsightly. All the neigbours (including my in-laws) break the by-law of course.

You can always air-dry inside over the central heating vents in the cooler months. Our outdoor clotheslines are very inconpicuous - my wife hates them (and hates air-dried clothes and towels because they go stiff. The trick is to tumble dry them just for 15-20 min at the end.) To be honest, if I knew for sure that all of our power was 100% renewable, I would probably tumble dry everything, as it is less hassle, especially in changeable weather.

Yeah, I really have sleepless nights getting up to check the dryer to see if my Levis and t shirts are dry so I can fold them before they wrinkle. I hate it when that happens.

Today's Dilbert on "Saving the Planet" is worth a look ;-)

A piece on declining global wheat etc stocks:


And Peakoil is now apparently in the process of going mainstream:



6 billion dollars Texas Windfarm courtesy of a one Mr. Boone Pickens wants to increase world wind capacity by 2 to 4 gigawatts.

Not bad considering the current state of world wind capacity (something like 80 GW as of today).


G out

Hello TODers,

Interest groups could slow energy action

WASHINGTON — Three powerful lobbying forces — automakers, electric utilities and the coal industry — are confounding Democrats' efforts to forge a less-polluting energy policy.
IF all these people would get a Peakoil Outreach Clue: they would start the sequential building of biosolar habitats, then they could sell all they wanted into the remaining heavily-addicted detritovore habitats.

The energy savings from the expanding biosolar habitats could then be transferred to the ever-decreasing detritovore areas to keep their FF-powered market viable.

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

Hello TODers,

Ukraine farmers suffer in worst drought for century

"If you don't want to have mercy on us, then have mercy on our children. We have had no more than 10 minutes of rain."

Dust clouds billow throughout the area around Urozhaine --"bumper crop" in Ukrainian.

"There won't even be money for fuel. From 10 hectares, we threshed 1.5 tonnes. That might be enough for the chickens in the yard."

Yanukovich, long at odds with pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, has threatened to sack top farm officials if further [food price] rises occur.
Gotta love the last sentence--> Shoot the messenger!

EDIT: yet the topdogs worldwide have read Malthus since 1798-->Does Not Compute for these Idiots!

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

Subsidies for ethanol, another attempt to push an expensive form of energy on the consumer at taxpayer's expense. It is not logical. Am not sure if yeast could make such a mistake.

Chile is having problems with natural gas, but they are in the process of drilling a natural gas field discovery near Tierra del Fuego and building an LNG regas terminal. Argentina had to reduce gas exports to Chile at times.

Why the Ukraine did not diversify into irrigated crops like other countries, am not sure. Irrigated wheat yielded much more than non-irrigated.

While ethanol is bad, coal to liquids was likely better. One would not stop the building of new coal or natural gas power infrastructure. Wind power is less than 1 percent of all power. New additions cannot keep up with the birth rate + the border crossers coming into the country. Wind power is an expensive form of energy not affordable by most of the population and favored by wealthy environmentalists who cannot bring low cost energy alternatives.

While coal to liquids or coal to gas is better than ethanol in terms of profitability and impact on the nation's food supply, it is not considered competitive when compared to oil, gas, LNG, coal to electric, tar refining, nuclear, hydroelectric, and solar rooftop water heaters that are currently profitable in some parts of the world.

The U.S. govt. might improve the fuel efficiency of its motorpools in order to help.

I took a road trip to western NY over the weekend to help throw a big party for my Dad's 70th b-day...

Yesterday I stopped to fuel up in my hometown just before getting on the interstate - I stopped at a Citgo and they were out of regular and mid-grade gas.

Are the spot shortages starting to show up in the northeast ?

On a somewhat related note... I've seen a ton of SUVs, pick-ups and boats with For Sale signs around the Hudson Valley - none of them are selling very quickly. Still I see people occasionally stopped and having a look at them - apparently they don't think the high gas prices will stay that way...

Catskill asks,
"Are the spot shortages starting to show up in the northeast ?"

I don't know about that, but interestingly, yesterday someone was reporting spot shortages out West and predictions were made that the industry would be pulling fuel from New England to cover that....hmmm

So is the SHTF even before the Reds can win the World Series? (Inside joke)

Of course, the gasoline discounters often run out first because people shop around for the cheapest store when gas is high....a local store in Muldraugh Kentucky called the Dodge Store has a long history of being out of gas about a third of the time because they keep thier prices down as a draw to sell thier food (they have pretty darned good chicken!)
On another comment, the Yahoo news story in Drumbeat talking about "Refinery facts":

"Annual ethanol production today: 5 billion gallons.

Annual ethanol production requirements being considered by Congress: 15 billion gallons by 2015; 36 billion gallons by 2022."

7 times the ethanol production of today, in only 15 years!! (??)
Celuosic Alcohol had better be well underway if that is going to work, can you imagine the tonnage of corn needed if you intend to it from that feedstock?

And folks think putting solar on rooftop is not "scalable"? Oh well, no accounting for taste.....

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

"And folks think putting solar on rooftop is not "scalable"? Oh well, no accounting for taste....."

Perhaps they know that it is scalable and are paid to pretend otherwise.

misplaced post, sorry

As requested by anhyh the following is a revised repost. Original post is http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/2666#comment-202721

More Delays for Saudi Aramco’s Megaprojects strongly suggests that Saudi Arabia has Passed Peak Oil Production of 9.6 mbd in 2005

It appears that Saudi Aramco is having trouble converting all of their grossly overstated reserves into production. The two figures below, showing grossly overstated sustainable production capacities, are from Nawaf Obaid’s presentation to the CSIS on Nov 9, 2006.

Fig 1 – Crude Production Expansion Projects to 2009 (source Obaid Nov 2006) – click to enlarge

Fig 2 – Crude Production Expansion Post 2009 (source Obaid Nov 2006) – click to enlarge

Aramco has just released their “Facts and Figures 2006” (FF 2006) which has an update on these projects.

Khursaniyah’s capacity of 500 kbd was scheduled for Jun 2007 (Fig 1). Page 10 FF 2006 shows a delayed date of Dec 2007.

Shaybah’s capacity was to be expanded by 250 kbd on Apr 2008 (Fig 1) and by a further 200 kbd in 2010 (Fig 2). Page 13 FF 2006 shows a delay to Dec 2008 for the 250 kbd expansion. FF 2006 does not mention the secondary expansion of 200 kbd. This means that either this 200 kbd expansion will occur after 2011 or never occur. Instead of almost 1 mbd capacity for Shaybah, it will probably be less at 750 kbd.

Nuayyim’s capacity of 100 kbd was scheduled for Feb 2009 (Fig 1). Page 12 FF 2006 shows that capacity moving forward slightly to Dec 2008.

Khurais capacity of 1,200 kbd was scheduled for Mar 2009 (Fig 1). Page 15 FF 2006 shows a slight delay to Jun 2009.

Neutral Zone’s capacity of 300 kbd was scheduled for 2010 (Fig 2) but FF 2006 makes no mention of this project. Has it been cancelled or delayed to start after 2011?

Finally, Manifa’s capacity of 900 kbd was scheduled for 2011 (Fig 2). Page 17 FF 2006 still has it scheduled for mid 2011.

Aramco only has 500 kbd from Khursaniyah scheduled for Dec 2007, Nuayyim 100 kbd for Dec 2008 and Shaybah expansion of 250 kbd for Dec 2008. These crude oil increments will probably only just offset natural crude oil production decline which means that Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production will probably be at about the same rate in mid 2009 as it is now – 8.6 mbd, maybe less. Has Saudi Arabia passed peak crude oil production of 9.6 mbd in 2005? Unfortunately, I have to say YES.

Fig 3 below shows an updated forecast, based on these delayed projects, for Saudi Arabia.

Fig 3 – Saudi Arabia Forecast to Dec 2020 (updated for cancelled and delayed megaprojects) – click to enlarge

This ought to be reposted up the thread, unless you have a more finished report in progress.

according to the top table, ksa will be increasing production by 500k bpd about now. anybody know the status of this project?

based on recent history a 500k bpd "increase" may be swallowed by declining production.

Nice digging. This should DEFINITELY be an FPP. Leanan, PG, etc? Please, please can we FPP this? And what happened to the post about the locations (from Google Earth) of Saudi wells? That was supposed to become an FPP too, no?

Ace, a question about this chart. Taking, as an example, the Khurais expansion in June 2009, this is 1.1m bbls/day. Assuming intial production in June 2009 (pre-Khurais) of c. 8.5m bbls/day and a depletion rate (as stated in the graph) equal to 5.3% (which should equal the production DECLINE rate), then the production of Saudi in June 2010 should be 8.5m + 1.1m - 5.3% * 8.5m = 8.5-0.45+1.1 = roughly 9,1m. Yet the graph shows production continuously falling (prettymuch). This doesn't appear to make sense. Am I missing something:?

(Yes, I've assumed that all of the production comes on in 12 months, but I don't think that this is unrealistic, historically)

Breaking News, (and this is NOT joke,

John Hoffmeister, CEO of Shell, was interviewed by ABC News "Nightline in an episode of broadcast at the end of the day on June 18th, 2007, as part of his multi city public relations campaign to defend the oil industry and improve it's corporate image. He was in Jacksonville FL at the time.

Hoffmiester was asked about the issue of oil supply and he replied in absolute terms:

"I submit that we will never run out of oil and gas."
ABC Journalist: "Never?"
Hoffmiester: "Never"
ABC Journalist: "By 'we', you mean the human race, never?"
Hoffmiester: "Never"

Hoffmiester went on to make the assertion that the issue was that oil companies were not allowed to drill where the oil was obtainable.

Hoffmiester specifically made reference to billions of barrels of oil obtainable on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States, "more than 30 years production".

Comment: This was on "Nightline, a major news outlet, and was an extremely hard blow to the Peak Oil community, whether they know it or not. It combines with the "No Peak In Sight" ads of Exxon Mobil, the remarks repeated right here on TOD by the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute" that if peak "ever" occured it would certainly be after 2040 or longer, and of course the recent BP statistics.

It is obvious that the oil industry simply does not accept the peak oil argument in any way. It is becoming increasingly hard to believe that men of this level, already late in thier career with little to lose would simply be able to perpetuate an outright lie of this magnitute if they knew better. To repeat, I am becoming convinced that the oil industry simply does not acknowledge the existance of possible Peak Oil at anytime in the lifetime of anyone human old enough to read these words.

For the Peak Oil believers and spokespeople, they are near having to face a very serious question: Facing such a powerful and certain adversary, should the effort at what is called by the peak community "mitigation" be refocused and promoted in a non-peak related way, i.e., as an environmental, national security, and economic issue instead of through trying to create "Peak Awareness"

If the goal is to reduce consumption of fossil fuel, there may be no choice but to completely shift focus of how it is to be promoted as a goal, if real concern about energy security is not to be dismissed as irrelevent, and even "fringe".

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

I don't think that comes as a surprise to anyone around here.

I just stole this Hubbert quote from Greyzone. I am amazed at how well he crafts his thoughts into words. There is a fundamental disconnect between economics and engineering. As Hubbert puts it "All we have to do is completely overhaul our culture and find an alternative to money".

"The World's present industrial civilization is handicapped by the co-existence of two universal, overlapping, and incompatible intellectual systems: the accumulated knowledge of the last four centuries of the properties and interrelationships of matter and energy; and the associated monetary culture which has evolved from folkways of prehistoric origin.

The first of these two systems has been responsible for the spectacular rise, principally during the last two centuries, of the present industrial system and is essential for its continuance. The second (monetary culture), an inheritance from the pre-scientific past, operates by rules of its own having little in common with those of the matter-energy system. Nevertheless, the monetary system, by means of a loose coupling, exercises a general control over the matter-energy system upon which it is super-imposed.

Despite their inherent incompatibilities, these two systems during the last two centuries have had one fundamental characteristic in common, namely exponential growth, which has made a reasonable stable co-existence possible. But, for various reasons, it is impossible for the matter-energy system to sustain exponential growth for more than a few tens of doublings, and this phase is almost now over. The monetary system has no such constraints, and, according to one of its fundamental rules, it must continue to grow by compound interest. This disparity between a monetary system which continues to grow exponentially and a physical system which is unable to do so leads to an increase, with time, in the ratio of money to the out-put of the physical system. THIS MANIFESTS ITSELF AS PRICE INFLATION. It appears that the stage is now set for a critical examination of this problem, and that out of such enquiries, if a catastrophic solution can be avoided, there can hardly fail to emerge what the historian of science, Thomas S. Kuhn, has called a major scientific and intellectual revolution.

I was in New York in the 30's. I had a box seat at the depression. I can assure you it was a very educational experience. We shut down the country because of monetary reasons. We had manpower and abundant raw materials. Yet we shut the country down. We are doing the same kind of thing now but with a different material outlook. We are not in the position we were in 1929-30 with regard to the future. Then the physical system was ready to roll. This time it is not. We are in a crisis in the evolution of human society. It's unique to both human and geological history. It has never happened before and it can't possibly happen again. You can only use oil once. You can only use metals once. Soon all the oil is going to be burned and all the metals mined and scattered. That is obviously a scenario of catastrophe but we have the technology. All we have to do is completely overhaul our culture and find an alternative to money. We are not starting from zero. We have an enormous amount of existing technical knowledge. It's just a matter of putting it all together. We still have great flexibility but our maneuverability will diminish with time. A NON-CATASTROPHIC SOLUTION IS IMPOSSIBLE UNLESS SOCIETY IS MADE STABLE. This means abandoning two axioms of our own culture the (current) work ethic and the idea that growth is the normal state of life. Our window of opportunity is slowly closing, at the same time, it probably requires a spiral of adversity. In other words things have to get a lot worse before they can get better. The most important thing is to get a clear picture of the situation we're in and the outlook for the future." -- M. King Hubbert, 1981, Two Intellectual Systems: Matter-energy and the Monetary Culture

I remain skeptical that cubic mile of oil will ever be replaced.

Let me just clarify my thoughts. What I mean to say is it doesn't really matter how you package the issue. A bandaid won't work when you have severed an artery. Changing the color of the bandaid doesn't help.
Even if a technological solution exists, I doubt society would ever let you change modern economics to address this fundamental disconnect Hubbert writes about.

Your reply is a good one and points to the issue I am talking about.

You say,
"Even if a technological solution exists, I doubt society would ever let you change modern economics to address this fundamental disconnect Hubbert writes about."

Change it to what? If you are talking about some kind of back to village living (and don't get me wrong, you may not be, but that is the way most in the general public see it, based on what they hear from many in the "end of the modern age" or back to the stone age" type movement) then I would agree with those who would not ever let you change "modern economics".

Are you talking about some type of neo-Marxist set up? That has proven no more energy efficient than anything else. Attaching the need to reduce consumption to the destruction of any economics the Western mind can comprehend has not improved the arguement for a radical new economics. What it has done is destroyed the credibility of the need to reduce consumption.

You then quote M. King Hubbert. The quote you use is very thoughtful, philosophical, and interesting. But to most folks, it's a philosophy treatise. It tells us almost nothing except.....well, almost nothing actually, I'm sorry.
It makes me think of some of the great extractions I could make from R. Buckminster Fuller. GREAT thinking, something to make one think....fun. But of practical explanatory use? Only as a starting point.

"I remain skeptical that cubic mile of oil will ever be replaced."

First, remember that the one cubic mile consumption per year is for the world. The Europeans are already by half better than the U.S.. Likewise the Japanese, and thier consumption is still dropping. They are doing thier part.

We on the other hand consume roughly 25% of that one cubic mile, or about a quarter cubic mile. Is that really so much that given the amount of "energy" (not OIL, BUT ENERGY, an important and often lost distinction) cannot possibly be replaced? What would that say about our science?

If we reduced our oil consumption to European or Japanese levels (and we know they are not living in the stone age, they are our big international competitors) we are talking about, get this, only 1/8th of one cubic mile (!!)

The Europeans and Japanese are on the hunt now to go even lower. They are advancing ideas that we dismiss and laugh at. Our defeatism is indeed defeating us.

We can reduce oil and gas consumption to marginal levels. Why do you think the oil companies are assuring us all is well. They know we can do it.
This is THE only major threat to them. They MUST keep up the myth that NOTHING can replace oil and gas, and indeed, nothing has to. It is a coordinated propaganda campiagn. And they are winning. Right here on TOD we assured again and again that nothing will work, at the end of the day, it's a done deal. It plays right into thier hands.

But look at the real numbers, the real consumption the real BTU's possbile from alternatives, the real possible reductions in consumption.

The oil companies are seeing the possible end of an era. They know they must kill it in it's crib. They do not fear peak. They do not feel it is even real.
They fear reduced oil and gas consumption. That is real. But, it is our choice.
If we fail, we chose to fail.

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

You then quote M. King Hubbert. The quote you use is very thoughtful, philosophical, and interesting. But to most folks, it's a philosophy treatise. It tells us almost nothing except.....well, almost nothing actually, I'm sorry.

Roger, I think our understanding and world views are so far apart we'd just be wasting our time discussing this.

Because honestly I thought that Hubbert quote told us everything. I'm not sure how you miss the significance of it, but it saddens me that you do.


I meant my remark as no insult to Hubbert, whom I have the greatest respect for, but let's just handle the sentence you placed in bold:

"All we have to do is completely overhaul our culture and find an alternative to money."

Well, if that's all there is to it...helll, we should be able to do that in a month or two! :-)

Really, does not the completely abstract and theoretical nature of a sentence like that stand out to you?

I used to love to read R. Buckminster Fuller because he saw things in such a theoretical light. He would make sentences that got you thinking. But they were only starting points. Bucky, when once asked about what was wrong with American efficiency and design said "At night, the people sleep in the slums with the rats and bad heating, while the office machines sleep in the best part of town with the good plumbing and air conditioning."

It was brilliant, it said it all....except how to easily fix it. Of course, if you could "completely overhaul our culture" as Hubbert said, then maybe you could fix it, but where exactly does one begin to "completely overhaul our culture"? Those are the type of utopian fantasies that have led to catastrophic outcomes so many times.

If we hope to get even enough support for real world hands on modest changes, we have got to start from far less high blown rhetoric.
But yes, the poetry of such rhetoric is great, it gets a person started at really looking at the nuts and bolts of a culture. But as far as dismantling and reconstructing it in less than a lifetime? Good luck....

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Such simple logic. Thoughtful analysis by everyone today.

I have to raise the obvious response...most of us who do understand peak oil would fully agree with him - we WILL never run out of oil and gas. The crux of the issue is getting people to understand that's the not the total quantity of oil that matters, but the rate at which we can produce it.

"I submit that we will never run out of oil and gas."

Wouldn't it have been more convincing if he'd said we will never run out of sub $200 a barrel oil and gas?

I am pushing several themes. Strategic security of having a "non-oil transportation alternative". And what if the "Islamic Republic of Arabia" replaced our Saudi friends, or "someone" bombed Iran ?

Reality will, I fear, overtake this stratagems.

Best Hopes for doing SOMETHING,


I'm thinking the "green hawks" have a more winning strategy, as far as influencing the public and policy. Arguing the abstrusenesses of petroleum production will make peoples' eyes glaze over... but speak to them about an enemy attacking your supply line and you will get attention.

It would be great if your effort of pre-positioning the idea of electrified transportation took hold among the intelligentsia in the US... it is still a tough battle though. I was listening to a radio talk show the other day and the (well known and bright) host was lamenting the dollars spent on public transportion, given how few people use it. As such he was deriding spending more $$$ on rail. I wish I could have reached through the radio and grabbed him to get his attention... and point out that building an alternative transportation network (and the associated non-FF electricity generation capability) is the most effective countermeasure to those who would threaten the US by cutting off supplies of oil.

InJapan said,

"I'm thinking the "green hawks" have a more winning strategy, as far as influencing the public and policy."



Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

The following eMail bounced back from the Paladin Group last night. Just a sample of my afforts.

Dear Mr. Woolsey,

The major proponents of reducing US oil dependence have overlooked a major alternative. Non-oil transportation today can transport people and freight from Scotland to the Pacific Ocean with a few drops of lubricating oil. A strategic advantage that the USA lacks.

The first part of my plan to reduce US oil consumption by 10% is to electrify our freight railroads and shift half of the heavy truck movements to rail over a decade or so. Other parts are building out our Urban Rail (DC Metro is a good example) PLUS minor steps such as electric trolley buses and more bicycling. Please note that 10% is a conservative lower limit to what could be done long term.


A map of plans to electrify North American railroads in the 1970s.


and a list of "On-the-Shelf" Urban Rail projects that could start construction in 12 to 36 months in a crash program.


I am also working on an overview of recent French efforts. In addition to their well known nuclear power program and TGV high speed rail program, they also have had a tram building boom. I was able to find only 5 French towns of over 100,000 without a tram line or plans for one.

A single example is Mulhouse, population 112,000. They got their first tram line in 2006 and there are plans for two more by 2012, including one to Strasbourg to meet the under construction TGV line to the East.

France is well along in building a comprehensive non-oil transportation alternative using domestic energy sources as well as subsidizing insulation and ground loop heat pumps to replace natural gas, propane and oil for domestic heat.

We would do well to emulate them.

Best Hopes,

Alan Drake

I have met James Woolsey, in a fairly small group meeting (ie not personally or socially, but in a context where I asked him direct questions about energy related issues and he was kind enough to give me answers). He's a very smart guy and (IMHO) very BS-free. The context in which I met him was a 'renewables' meeting and he very loudly and clearly said for all to hear that hydrogen-based 'solutions' were a scam and a fraud. Something 90% of the people here would probably agree with, of course, but still a POV that is not 'politically correct' in policy-making circles. I would submit that if you could get you ideas to him along the right channels he would probably agree with you....... Perhaps the email address is out of date?


If you can find an organizer of anyone else to get a decent contact (eMail address, etc.) I would be most appreciative.

The other "hard to get" that I want is former USMC Gen. P. X. Kelley. I know someone that knows the USMC commandant before him, but that seems a difficult path to contact him.

Best Hopes,

Alan_Drake at Juno dot con (typo on last letter to confuse the bots).


I think you are taking the correct path. Just above your post, some replies to mine included things we know, for example, it can in fact be made in a theoretical sense that we will not run out of oil or gas. However, many in the peak oil community no longer make that distinction, so it gives Hoffmeister an easy strawman (this is why I always warned against using the terms "running out" and "the end of the oil age" and "stone age by 2030" etc. as attention getters)

Others make the point that Hoffmeister did not mention at what price oil would be. But agaiin, we get into mountains of distinctions: Inflation adjusted price? Price of all liquids? Price compared to income? The American people will find it easy to dismiss the price argument as a purely economic consideration, NOT one of any real emergency. Helll, I can do it and I am familiar with all the arguments (the other day I did a farcical post pointing out that I had now arranged my budget in such a way that I could afford to buy Wessen oil off the shelf at Wall Mart and and at least get to work in my 240D and my fuel cost would still not exceed my income!)

My point is, that no matter how real "peak" may be, I am coming to the conclusion (and I may be wrong in this, but this is my little intellectual crisis to bear, so really no one else HAS to deal with it (although perhaps they should deal with it) that "peak" per se will never become more than a fringe argument, and here's the sticky part, EVEN when it occurs, it will not be accepted as a valid argument. Here's why:

If Hoffmeister and the rest of the oil industry are compelling in thier argument that it is certainly not about geological supply, but it is about political and geo-political access, that converts the peak discussion to a logistical issue, NOT a geological one. And make no mistake, Hoffmeister and the others are VERY compelling (I wish you had seen just the extraction of his "town hall" type forums on Nightline, he had angry consumers eating out of his hand).

If you accept Hoffmeister's argument (I don't, but many, in fact most people will) you do not even have to accept U.S. peak! The OCS could have prevented it from happening IF it had been allowed to! This is only an access problem and nothing else!

I am sorry to say this, but I think the "peak" debate is over. I have been coming to this conclusion for awhile, but I think the combination of the intellectual position as given by API, ExxonMobil, OPEC, the EIA and IEA, Total Chief Christophe de Margerie of Total ( http://www.energybulletin.net/14774.html ), HoffMeister, and of course CERA wins this debate. It does NOT mean they are right, but it simply carries the fight with the world public, who are very willing to believe, given the geo political turmoil worldwide and limits placed on production by geo-political and environmental factors, that this is about ACCESS to obtainable oil, not possible production of oil worldwide. Sorry, I just think this bird has already flown.

Matthew Simmons, T. Boone Pickens, Samsam Bakhtiari are probably the most credible of the peak oil partisans, but frankly, have not been able to gain traction with the industry or the policy makers. Many are strapping on to the "peak oil" cause, but mostly as a way to push other agendas (oil security and global warming)

Colin Campbell, Kjell Aleklett frankly come across as a bit odd, but nice enough, wanting a simpler world of thier European village youth. The classic "eccentric professor" types, likable, sweet old guys....but....

William Howard Kunstler and Ken Deffeyes come across to most people as nuts, arrogant, simply haters. No other way to say it.

I still see the goal, the CENTRAL AND PRINCIPLE GOAL, as reducing fossil fuel consumption humanely. That is the GOAL, THE PRIZE.

The stature, the following, the "vindication" of the so called "peak" cause is only a vehicle to that end to me. The PRIZE is reduction of fossil fuel consumption, NOT the celebrity of the peak intellectuals, hangers on, and anarchist dreamers.

If the peak argument is hurting the credibility of the CAUSE of reducing fossil fuel consumption, then my view is it should be thrown overboard before it can damage the real CAUSE.

My view is: That time has come. The oil industry knows it. The oil industry is FRIGHTENED of only one thing: Lost sales. They are not frightened of taxes (they can pass them on) they are not frightened of regulation (for the most part they ignore it, or fudge it with political connections) what they are frightened of is LOST SALES. That's why Hoffmeister is doing the road show, he says so. And rightly or wrongly, they show no fear of peak whatsoever.

All we should work for is HUMANELY REDUCED DEMAND. All else is only a vehicle to that end. And we sure do not have to destroy our culture to do it (that is the kind of anti Western, anti modern anarchist neo-primitive fringe stuff that has caused the peak movement to be discredited), but we do have to CUT DEMAND.

Sorry to go so long Alan, but I do think that your rail ideas (especially for freight trains) and electrification of transport is the kind of thing that WORKS to reduce real world consumption. Peak or no peak, it should be done now for environmental, national security and economic reasons. I want everyone who is working the REAL prize, fossil fuel consumption reduction, to please just consider the image, the associations, of the real cause, the real prize.

(By the way, 96 degrees yesterday in KY, and air conditioner NOT turned on yet this year! :-) Begrudge them EVERY BTU of fossil consumption!)

(edited for spelling)
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Given a choice between a difficult sacrifice based on intellectual rigor and an easy reaction based on stupid righteous anger, humans will usually go with the anger.

Peak oil as a geological reality is a hugely frustrating concept. Humans don't like frustrating concepts: the majority don't think their physical death will curtail their level of social activity.

Blaming people is a source of great power. Hitler knew it, Karl Rove knows it, etc. The US has a large military and little oil. Invoking external enemies is a way to get the country lined up behind a more militaristic government, just as demonizing environmental laws is a good way to get access to OCS drilling rights. The future anger of the masses is being prepared, sculpted..

Peak oil is just too inconvenient a truth. "peak" peak oil belief will probably briefly hit about 5% in the USA and then decline. Elsewhere in the world it will be increasingly taken for granted.

The coming oil shocks will awaken a sleeping retarded giant and fill it with a terrible resolve...

my wild-assed guess for the night.

I am sorry to say this, but I think the "peak" debate is over.

In the US. Perhaps. Elsewhere, it never took place.

The municipality I live in (Switzerland) has, in the past 5 years, narrowed roads, destroyed parking space, put up speed checks (your speed flashes at you - if the data show too high speeds and too many cars, boom! the road gets turned into a one-laner!), created safe bicycle lanes, put in two bus lines (one trolley, one small gasoline buses), joined another entity to get ‘call a bus’ and ‘noctambus’ (the last is for partygoers and drunks), set up a pedi-bus circuit for school kids, hired extra para-school personnel to shepherd them, hired extra municipal police to ticket and tow cars, runs its garbage collection trucks on biofuel, invested in a garbage-to-hot water plant that heats thousands of homes (tax rise for all citizens), reviewed its recycling policy, and (I think, not sure if this is actually done or will be so) has contracted with a neighbor to swop its wood (they are building a wood to hot water plant for their 800 ppl, it will be ready next winter) for some other garbage, lobbied the State to make a list of tax exempt cars (small ‘green’ models), turned most of its parking into an ‘honor’ system, brochured every single household on how to save energy (done twice a year), set up an ‘energy charter’ for state owned building (I haven’t actually seen this, but saw another ex. in Vaud in a school - all the children sign a watered down version, every light is always turned off, etc. etc.), encouraged teachers to teach energy matters (they can’t do more as the state schools are centrally run), resisted attempts to build on their ground (nimby) but accepted one large ‘eco’ building, offers free guided ‘walks’ and exercise for the elderly, encouraged commuting by boat (this is cute but somewhat problematic), has now installed solar panels on two bus shelters (a gimmick to attract attention, the plan is to do more; solar panels on top of bus-ticket-machines failed, so it is easy go and think it out) ...need I go on?

Still, on some roads, the traffic rises year by year. One mega plan was to borrow a ton to divert the through traffic (build a tunnel, etc.) but this has now been given up or is on ‘hold’ as only coordination and cooperation overall can do the trick...

In case anyone gets the impression this is some kind of ‘gated’ place, it is one of the poorest municipalities amongst ‘suburban ones’ in the whole country. And it is not run by Greens, but by a succession of left-right coalitions. All over Europe, similar initiatives are being taken. What their impact is and what it all amounts to is another topic.

The Swiss are a good example of a capitalist society that can plan for the future.

In 1998, they voted 31 billion Swiss francs (= to US $1 trillion) for a twenty year program to improve their already excellent rail system. #1 goal ? Move freight off trucks and onto (hydro) electric rail.

And see above.

Best Hopes for the Swiss,


I thought you and Manmax were in Geneva ?

Moving cargo off trucks and onto rail? Gee I wish Germany could show such foresight. We're moving in the opposite direction, as after semi-privatisation the German Rail starts cherry-picking.

Also, you'd think this time of 1,35 EUR/l gasoline the local transport systems would find it easy to take all the customers, but all you have to do to find utter stupidity is to observe their unbelievable hostility to bicycles.

They say 2 bikes per end car on the local rail (S-Bahn). But this can fill up. In some areas they are flexible, but in some they enforce the rules. Also for the smaller trains, where there is not always a bicycle compartment.

Now, who is going to bike to the station not knowing they can get their bikes on the train?


Hofmeister is not the CEO of Shell, he's the President of Shell Oil Company, the US subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, headquartered in The Hague. The CEO is Jeroen van der Veer.

It would be good if more people understand that major oil companies can never admit to peak oil; it would destroy the value of their shares.

"t would be good if more people understand that major oil companies can never admit to peak oil; it would destroy the value of their shares."

I have always felt that is a specious argument on the face of it. If I knew for shre that the oil companies were going to be able to sell the dropping production of gas and oil they are able to extract (and remember, that would go on FOR DECADES, even if you accept the ASPO models) at nothing but a rising price, I would LOAD UP on oil company shares.

The only way oil company share prices get banged up is (a) If the price of oil starts to drop steadily (witness the crash of the 1980''s) (b) They can be taxed so hard that it drives the price of oil up, resulting in demand destruction or (c) it is actually accepted that not only peak is true, but the oil companies will ACTUALLY RUN OUT.

This why the confusion of "running out" compared to simply "peak" is important, and why the oil companies do in fact assure that we are "not going to run out" because that belief would in fact hurt the share price.

But if I were an oil company, my DREAM is to have everyone believing that oil prices will only rise from here forward, which is EXACTLY what the peak models assume. The rumor of peak is dream for the oil companies.
However, they SIMPLY don't believe it for one second. What they fear is EXACTLY what happened in 1982. What OPEC fears is EXACTLY what happened in 1982. Demand destruction, supply increase=PRICE COLLAPSE.

THAT is the fear of the oil producers.

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

It seems to me that the ‘private’ -non nationalized- oil industry - US corps and others - are simply set on business as usual, independent of temporary events; the resources they tap are to be seen much like apples growing in an orchard, frilly bras made with cotton and polyester in China, the making of steel for buildings and ships, turning pigs into pork chops, and so on.

Talk of ‘limits’ of any kind, or ‘depletion’ is simply not part of the picture, as that would, in a sense, turn the whole ‘economy’ on its head, as Hubbert pointed out, perhaps indirectly. (see quote above.)

Their reaction is instinctive, from the guts. (Of course profitability and share prices lost custom etc. etc are part of the picture, but they are consequences or offshoots.)

Many of them know very precisely what the real state of affairs is, but a systemic change cannot be not part of their perspective; additionally, there is loyalty, jobs to be kept, developments and changes, eg. possible oil take over in Iraq, Iran, etc.

Past history has shown that ‘peak oil’ (e.g. per capita peak oil), ‘supply disruption’ and much else - all of it going on for at least 25 years now - impacts oil companies but does not change their profit-making capacities in the sense of leading to death. The product (resource) is simply too valuable: ppl can give up eating pork chops or wearing frilly bras, but not affordable energy.

They are used to difficulties and storms (literal and metaphorical.)

So they endure: they must see their landscape as difficult to negotiate, but the basic assumptions cannot be put into doubt.

I think peak oil is already dismissed as fringe and irrelevant. Certainly, I have been unable to engage colleagues in a discourse on the subject. I have found the same disinterest when discussing other "doomer" topics such as market equity bloat and zany housing prices. I promise to work on my rhetorical style, but it appears people I talk to do not want a little rain cloud hovering around them.

I feel that doesn't make this stuff any less true. I agree that if the concern is to raise awareness and try to mitigate the problem, then yes these comments will add fire to cornucopian cheerleaders at the water cooler. For 5 minutes. Then they will forget the conversation ever took place.

Public debate leaves much to be desired. Quoting CEOs, company statistical reviews, and oil reserve figures provided by secreted kingdoms is not what I would call overwhelming evidence. But it's good enough for that 5 minutes it will take me to "lose" the argument.

Anyway, didn't Shell get into some sort of trouble a while back with rosy numbers? :-)

"Anyway, didn't Shell get into some sort of trouble a while back with rosy numbers? :-)"

Yeah, I am in no way endorsing Shell or Hoff's viewpoint, simply pointing up it's damage to attempts to reduce oil consumption:

A friend of mine at work just went out and bought a new GM SUV, and when I asked him about the fuel issue, he said "oh, don't worry, thier just bleeding us for awhile, it will come down."

I reminded him that this would have to be the case for 6 years because he had the truck financed for that long....

He IS convinced that in 6 years, the combination of new offshore oil and ethanol, gas will be CHEAPER! :-O

Say he is an idiot, but this type of belief is GREATLY undermining U.S. national security, peak or no peak. And he is the oil companies DREAM customer.

Here is what is really funny when you think about it: If oil does only hold steady (not go down, just hold steady with the normal inflation increase) he will give up FAR more money in depreciation on this 40 some odd thousand bloated piece of shiit (which will easily lose 20 thousand in value in the first three years or so) than the fuel will cost him! Even in this HOG.

The perception that this is an economic problem, not a real "threat" to the nation (peak or no peak) means that the U.S. might not be around to worry about peak. That is what we need folks to understand.

The "world" is not going to collapse. The "modern age" is not going to end
But the U.S., due to it's misunderstanding of this crisis may fade from the international scene. There very well could be suffering, but not because of "peak" but because of our own stupidity.

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

The "world" is not going to collapse. The "modern age" is not going to end
But the U.S., due to it's misunderstanding of this crisis may fade from the international scene.

Yes and haven't you put your finger on the reason why it is so important not to stop trying to get PO on the political and popular radar?

Based on whether or not you buy the drift of Mr. Hofmeister's assertion.
Going down PO awareness we might be convinced to
1. Start a crash program for Urban rail, solar, and wind.
2. Begin immediately the transfer thousands of tons of fast truck freight to barge and rail.
3. Begin Swiss style conservation mitigation and conservation efforts across the spectrum.

Going down the path of years and years of available oil at today's consumption rates then spend time and money promoting access to the resource, building more refinery capacity, projecting military power, fighting to maintain the status quo.

I understand there are good arguments for 'Plan A' anyway but if we ignore the fundamentals don't we agree 'the misunderstanding' has significant consequences?

My personal gut-level supposition is that people will wake up and start taking notice when gasoline goes above $5.00/gal. My gut tells me that $5 is a tiping point; things under that are just small change, once you get above $5 you are starting to talk about real money for a lot of people. At $5/gal, a lot of folks on minimum wage will start realizing that the first hour of work just pays for the gas to get to work. At $5/gal even a lot of folks driving smaller and more fuel efficient cars will be looking at $50+ per refill, while almost all SUV and truck owners will be shelling out well over $100 each time. $5 is when the first real twinges of pain start to be felt. $5 is also the halfway point to $10, which is an even more ominous and more painful number. People must subconsciously realize that once we've left single digits and are in double digit territory, the next significant milestone is $100 for triple digit territory. That is a thought that would truly strike terror into a lot of people, even if that thought is subconscious.

Which raises the question: When will we see $5.00/gal in the US?

It is true, we will never run out of petroleum. But it will eventually become far too valuable to merely burn.

Diamonds are carbon also, but we don't burn those. Oil will eventually become like diamonds.

Oh my gosh, Roger is afraid of being seen as "fringe". Boo hoo hoo, cry me a river.

Given the potential impact of peak oil, I don't care if people see me as fringe. They will either alter their way of life or they will suffer for not having done so. I don't have to worry about blowhards from Exxon or Chevron, given that they have already admitted they lied for years about global warming.

You think these CEOs are credible, Roger? Why, when Exxon just recently made statements that all but admitted they obfuscated deliberately for years on global warming?

Stunning. Absolutely stunning. Roger is more worried about being seen as fringe than actually solving the problem.

If you want a clue as to why society will collapse, Roger, just look in the mirror. You are part of the reason why, given your attitudes.

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

"I still see the goal, the CENTRAL AND PRINCIPLE GOAL, as reducing fossil fuel consumption humanely. That is the GOAL, THE PRIZE."

Is this the best goal?

Personally I don't think so, but what do others think the ideal goal of the Peak Oil debate should be?

a) reduce fossil fuel consumption as humanely as possible
b) reduce all energy consumption to a level that will be sustainable for future generations (whatever consequences that entails for us now)
c) use it as a catalyst to revolutionize world systems: monetary, energy, social
d) push for advances in certain technology areas
e) someting else...?


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

Hello TODers,

Recall that I have posted ceaselessly on the North American Southwest's water problems, deforestation, and Overshoot. Well, it is only getting worse:

MEXICO--An American Sahara

Mexico is milking its northern deserts dry.

Mexico’s arid north — 54 percent of the nation’s land surface — is drying out and blowing away in the wind at an alarming rate as desertification transforms this always-hardscrabble terrain into an American Sahara.

According to the National Commission on Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, Mexico’s semi-arid region is turning into an arid wasteland at the rate of 2 percent a year.

Fragile aquifers are sucked dry and erosion turn once-tillable land into sand dunes. Subsistence farmers abandon their plots and jump into the migration stream. Even the native peoples who have lived on this difficult land for millennia are deserting the desert.

“We have lived on these lands since history began,” the 76-year-old Kikapoo shaman Chakoka Anika from El Nacimiento, Coahuila, recalls plaintively, “Where else can we go?”

But the north is not the only region of Mexico that is drying up. National Water Commission, or Conagua, studies indicate that 38 Mexican cities, including the luxury resorts of Acapulco and Cancun, are running out of water and could be dry in a decade.
But they are still building golf courses and resorts!

More than half of Mexican cities on water shortage alert: official

More than 50 percent of Mexican cities are on alert due to water shortages, Mexican legislature's Metropolitan Development Commission President Obdulio Avila Mayo said on Sunday.

Avila Mayo, a deputy from the ruling National Action Party, called on federal, state and municipal authorities to come to new agreement to halt the deterioration of water supplies.

In some areas, there are only 20 liters of water available per citizen per day, when the national average is 300 liters.

According to Avila Mayo, 43 percent of water losses were due to leaks, and 72 percent of rainwater evaporates before it can reach aquifers.

UNESCO PDF warning:

The north, centre and west of the country, where only 32 percent of the runoff takes place, is home to 77 percent of the country’s population and 85 percent of Mexico’s
GDP (CNA, 2004).
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob, please take this kindly, but you really should consider getting out of the AZ desert while you still can.

Hello WNC,

Thxs for responding. I am/have been the primary caregiver for my parents: father died in Aug. 2005, mother had 83rd birthday yesterday, but she is frail/needs oxygen 24/7. Although I have informed her of Peakoil, she refuses to relocate unless TSHTF.

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

Scottsdale and Phoenix are surrounded by canaries like LA and Vegas, with open ears and eyes it's not so bad for now, except of course in July and August.

Hello TODers,

I am not in favor of child laborers, but if a child needs to survive-->pushing a wheelbarrow is easier than carrying the same heavy load on your back:

Children push wheelbarrows to survive in Buduburam

Samuel David, 14, a refugee child at Buduburam, does not go to school with other children. He goes to the Buduburam market at 6 am with a wheelbarrow, which was bought for him by his sister Mamie David.

“I am not attending school because there’s no money for fees,” he said. “I give the money that I earned daily to my sister for food” he said.

David is one of many boys who push wheelbarrows at Buduburam camp. Most of them do this work to survive and do not go to school.

Most children don’t have their own wheelbarrow, and rent on a daily basis for 12,000 cedis from business people on the camp.
If you read the linked article you can see that owning a wheelbarrow is much better than renting a wheelbarrow to work for your living. Hopefully, this article will help convince more people to push for my postPeak strategic reserves of bicycles and wheelbarrows. Recall my recent link on bicycles for humanity and how it is radically transforming lives in the Third World.

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