DrumBeat: July 3, 2007

Near the rails but still on the road - Research casts doubt on the region's strategy of pushing transit-oriented residential projects to get people out of cars.

In Los Angeles alone, billions of public and private dollars have been lavished on transit-oriented projects such as Hollywood & Vine, with more than 20,000 residential units approved within a quarter mile of transit stations between 2001 and 2005.

But there is little research to back up the rosy predictions. Among the few academic studies of the subject, one that looked at buildings in the Los Angeles area showed that transit-based development successfully weaned relatively few residents from their cars. It also found that, over time, no more people in the buildings studied were taking transit 10 years after a project opened than when it was first built.

BP’s Recent Production Data, and a Different View of Future World Oil Production Trends

The chart using the BP world oil production data in the June 18 Peak Oil Review, effectively separates the peaked producers from those who are increasing, and those who may still increase or at least hold steady for awhile. To follow up, I’ll add a few thoughts on likely future production trends. This might stimulate discussion among the Peak Oil troops.

ConocoPhillips pumps less oil

ConocoPhillips expects second-quarter oil and gas production fell from first-quarter levels due to scheduled maintenance in the North Sea, exiting from operations in Dubai, asset sales and seasonal dips in Alaska, the company said on Tuesday.

Experts see repercussions from oil giants' Venezuela pullout

Many independent experts caution that the pullout of the two U.S. oil giants could further harm the investment climate in Venezuela. They also question whether its state-run energy company, Petróleos de Venezuela, also known as PDVSA, and its new suitors have the expertise, money and technology to exploit the tarlike heavy oil in the Orinoco basin, which may hold upward of 300 billion barrels of petroleum.

"They've got a problem, because new money isn't coming in," said David Mares, an expert on Latin American energy issues at the University of California at San Diego. "PDVSA is confident, but I would say it's based on blind hope."

Lithuania Seeks Freedom From Russia's 'Friendship'

Among the pine forests of north- eastern Lithuania, a dried-up oil pipeline called Druzhba -- Russian for friendship -- has become a symbol for the increasingly hollow relations between the Baltic states and Russia.

How can it be that an oil-producing country must ration petrol?

Mistaken political decisions and irrational economic demands of those who could build refineries have led Teheran to institute electronic cards to limit the use of fuel. The crisis is sparking the biggest domestic protests that Ahmadinejad has faced since being elected.

First cellulosic ethanol plant to open

Range Fuels on Monday is expected to announce that it has received a permit to build an ethanol production plant in rural Georgia that uses wood chips as its feedstock. It plans to break ground on the plant this summer.

Human greed takes lion's share of solar energy

HUMANS are just one of the millions of species on Earth, but we use up almost a quarter of the sun's energy captured by plants - the most of any species.

The human dominance of this natural resource is affecting other species, reducing the amount of energy available to them by almost 10 per cent, scientists report.

Fuelling a Carbon Crisis

This year the Indonesian Government will officially hold a new Guinness World Record - the fastest pace of deforestation. They must be so proud. Between 2000 and 2005 Indonesia lost two percent of its forest each year, representing an area of wildlife rich tropical forest the size of Wales. That’s three hundred football pitches of forest per hour.

Kenya: Crisis Looms as Rivers Around Mt Kenya Dry Up

Joseph Manyara crouches over loose rocks and digs his hands into a muddy sludge seeping with water. Soon, his hands are filled with water, which he empties into a bucket.

He repeats the procedure several times, surrounded by scores of impatient children also waiting to fill their buckets from Ngarenaro River on the base of Mount Kenya.

"There is little water left," says Manyara with a note of despair. The river, which was once roaring with water from the mountain, is now only a silent sludge limping downhill.

Buying Into the Green Movement

It’s not enough to build a vacation home of recycled lumber; the real way to reduce one’s carbon footprint is to only own one home.

What’s Up With Gas Prices?

Visiting a gas station these days is like going in for a root canal. First comes procrastination, followed by dread, and then “open wide.” There’s no laughter at the pumps anymore. The Toot ‘n’ Moo is as somber as a morgue, full of glum motorists mourning the demise of cheap gasoline. Spending $75 used to be a penance reserved for truckers, but now everyone can tithe. Take your pick: Shell, Exxon, Chevron, they are all eager to drill your wallet.

IBM Establishes Global Center of Excellence for Nuclear Power

IBM today announced that it is establishing a Global Center of Excellence for Nuclear Power in La Gaude, France, to support safe, reliable and efficient electricity generation by energy companies worldwide.

Oil - A Decade Past

A decade on from Asia's financial crisis, the oil market has witnessed an unprecedented bull run. The surge in prices has seemed unsustainable with some commentators likening the jump to the dot com tech bubble. However, this particular bubble in the commodities market shows no signs of bursting as long as the twin powerhouses in the region -- China and India -- continue to grow.

Oil Companies to Invest $133 Billion in Brazil

Oil companies in Brazil will invest up to $133 billion between 2007 and 2016 in the exploration and production of crude and natural gas, according to official estimates released by the Energy and Mines Ministry.

Ghana has huge oil potential

The Managing Director of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Mr M.O. Boateng, has said Ghana is endowed with huge oil potential.

Speaking to the Crusading Guide, Mr Boateng said the recent oil find offshore the Cape Three Points in the Western region, though yet to be appraised, is a tip of the iceberg, considering Ghana’s share of the world’s hydrocarbons.

Ontario to require speed limiters for big trucks

Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield says big rigs will soon be travelling more slowly along Ontario highways.

The Ontario government is making it mandatory for all large commercial vehicles to use speed limiters, Cansfield said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

...The Ontario Trucking Association says all trucks built in the last decade are already equipped with speed limiting technology and they estimate that speed limiters will save a typical tractor trailer 10,500 litres of diesel fuel every year.

Empty plates tomorrow

A WELSH economist has given an apocalyptic warning that Wales and the rich West face a potentially catastrophic famine, as energy reserves run out.

Dr Patricia Dodd Racher, who lives in Porthyrhyd, Carmarthenshire, says that a “lethal cocktail” of climactic change, multinational corporate power and fuel shortages herald the end of the “cheap food era” over the coming decades.

The energy market situation doesn't look good for the United States

Washington's concerns are largely dictated by self-interest ... there is enough oil to go around. Only countries that produce it should control it in the first place.

Kuwait Government to Appoint Oil Minister Soon

State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Faisal Al-Hajji said yesterday that the government will "soon" appoint two ministers to replace the outgoing oil and communications minister. It was also revealed during the weekly Cabinet meeting that former oil minister Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah submitted his resignation on May 22, several days after his controversial press statements to Al-Qabas daily that eventually led to his grilling and a no-confidence motion.

Is Texas Now Greener than California?

Last year, California suffered the ultimate indignity in its quest to be the "greenest state." It was passed by red Texas -- the oil heartland -- for the title of state with the most wind-power generating capacity.

Exxon Mobil: A proud oil giant comes to the climate change policy table

The world’s largest company by revenue is determined to make its mark on global climate change policy. But is it too little too late? Some critics think so.

Clear Up the Congestion-Pricing Gridlock

THE New York State Assembly ended its session on June 22 without reaching a consensus on Manhattan’s congestion pricing proposal — a delay that may cost New York City some $500 million in federal transportation money. Assembly members have voiced concerns about the economic impact of the program, the effect on traffic outside Manhattan and even the effectiveness of the idea itself.

Men purchase Fiat that got 244 miles per gallon

At first glance, Lee McKee thought the 1959 Fiat rusting in the sun outside Talladega's International Mo­torsports Hall of Fame and Museum might have a few parts worth salvaging.

Inside the trunk, however, was documentation indicating the car had been souped up by Shell scientists in 1969 to get 244 miles per gallon of gas as part of an annual company contest.

IEA seeks rise in US oil refining

The International Energy Agency (IEA) voiced concern over global oil supplies with director Claude Mandil calling for a rapid increase in US refining capacity in the coming weeks.

OPEC keeps lid on oil output in June

OPEC, excluding Iraq and Angola, pumped slightly more crude oil in June as Nigerian supply crept higher after a spate of outages and Iran pumped more, a Reuters survey showed on Tuesday.

...While showing rising supply in some OPEC countries, the survey indicates top world exporter Saudi Arabia is keeping a cap on output in spite of a jump in oil prices to a 10-month high of more than $72 a barrel.

Strike Could Halt Petrobras Output for 5 Days

Eighty percent of unionized workers at Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras have approved a five-day strike for July, Jose Maria Rangel, director of the oil workers federation (FUP), told BNamericas.

Venezuela Oil: Who Will Fill The Void?

Investors worry Venezuela’s future oil output may be on shaky ground following the transfer of control of four heavy oil projects to the government and the decision by the US’ Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips to pull out of the projects. What is the future of the projects and the outlook for Venezuelan oil output? Will PDVSA, the remaining foreign companies, and other companies, such as China’s Sinopec, be able to fill the void?

Pakistan: Small electricity bills should be rewarded

There should be an incentives programme for people with smaller electricity bills, opined the governor during a meeting Monday at Governor House where he gave recommendations and suggestions for the improvement of KESC and the electricity situation.

Fiji: Pushing Renewables That Works for Islands

Why is SOPAC talking about an energy crisis when the Pacific has not seen any power utilities, airlines, or even a state going belly up because of high fuel cost?

India: LPG cylinder shortage hits customers

Angry customers of Hindustan Petroleum (HP) called Deccan Herald on Monday and complained that they have not received gas cylinders for the last 10 days as there is no supply of cylinders in the City.

Uganda: New fuel tax will double food prices

“In the next few months, we could experience a rise in inflation due to the introduction of fuel tax which will increase the cost of production that will affect the consumers hence a double rise in commodity prices,” Vincent Musoke, the UBOS principal statistician, said.

New England oil-heat customers try to hedge heating-season bets

Bill and Jane Purdy are doing it again - locking in a set price for next winter's heating season for fuel oil to heat their big, old, drafty brick house in the Connecticut River valley village of Bellows Falls.

...And they're doing it despite a lament heard last year from many oil-heat customers who either bought their season's worth of heating oil in advance or signed fixed-price contracts with their dealers and ended up paying above the spot market when oil dropped 25 percent late in the year.

North Sea output continues to drop despite record investment

The decline in oil and gas production in the UK North Sea continued in April, despite record investment in 2006, in what economists at Royal Bank of Scotland said was another sign that the province is maturing rapidly.

The latest oil and gas index from Royal Bank shows that combined average daily oil and gas production for the UK Continental Shelf stood at 2,823,141 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in April. This was about 2.3% lower than in March, ending a run of six consecutive monthly increases. The underlying rate of production continued on a firmly downward trend, falling 7.8% compared with April last year.

The decline occurred ahead of the summer maintenance season, when production usually falls as operators have work done on rigs. advertisement

Against the backdrop of a continuing surge in investment in response to buoyant energy markets, the figures show that operators are having to work increasingly hard to try to maintain production.

Calderon 'Alarmed' by Fall in Mexico's Oil Exports

President Felipe Calderon said here Friday that he is "alarmed" by the fall in the volume of Mexican oil exports, and for that reason finds it necessary to reduce the government's financial dependence on oil revenues.

Addressing finance-industry executives at a function to celebrate the 75th anniversary of BBVA Bancomer, the president announced that between January and May 2007, crude exports dropped 11.5 percent compared with last year.

"This year and the next will be no exception," Calderon said.

Argentina Sanctions Shell Oil Again

The Argentine government announced a multi-million dollar penalty on transnational Shell Oil on Monday for shortage of fuel supplies, and may bring company executives to court.

North Dakota: Mandan refinery running at capacity

A spokesman for the oil refinery in Mandan says it's selling as much fuel as it can, to help ease shortages at pipeline terminals in the region.

Leif Peterson says the Tesoro refinery in Mandan is taking care of its own customers first and then allocating fuel to others.

US missile plan ups tension between Poland, ex-master Russia

The energy crisis of January 2006, when Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in a pricing dispute, causing a sudden shortfall across much of Western Europe, has caused Brussels to take Poland's ideas on energy security seriously.

And in yet another flash-point in the consistently tense Warsaw-Moscow relationship, Poland has led its former-Soviet EU allies, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in opposition to plans for a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea floor.

Caveat Emptor: The Energy Balance of Snake Oil

Unsophisticated investment is a lighting rod for the scam artists. Because there is both an urgent need to deal with the the problems posed by global warming, energy security, and resource depletion, and the new money is rapidly accelerating the advance of technology in renewable energy, new innovations are very plausible.

Have pump prices peaked for summer? - As gasoline prices ease, refiners are set to boost output

If all goes well, pump prices may have peaked for the summer. But with gasoline supplies tighter this month than they’ve been in years, traders and analysts say it won’t take much to send pump prices higher again.

House pushes sanctions as Iran's fuel riots spread

Congress is pushing legislation that would pressure U.S. allies to sever gasoline exports to Iran as fuel riots spread in the Islamic republic.

House members have introduced a bill that would impose sanctions on companies that sell gasoline or other fuel to the Teheran regime. Under the bill, the proposed sanctions, meant to ban violators from doing business in the United States, would take effect in 2008.

Venezuela to sell gasoline to Iran

Venezuela has agreed to sell gasoline to Iran, the South American county's energy minister said in comments published Tuesday, a week after the Islamic country imposed a fuel rationing program that has sparked violence.

Nigeria militants 'to end truce'

The main militants group in Nigeria's oil producing Niger Delta say it will not extend its month-long ceasefire which expires on Tuesday.

Nepal Hit By Deadliest Fuel Crisis

After days of acute fuel shortage, the Kathmandu valley was Tuesday hit with its worst crisis in history as the state-owned petroleum importer and distributor reached the lowest level of fuel stocks and stopped supplies to gas stations. 'Kathmandu valley now has just 300 kilolitres of petroleum,' said Bishwanath Goyal, managing director of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). 'This is the minimum mandatory stock we have to keep. We can't sell any of it.'

EU urged to scrap farming set-aside

Farmers have asked Brussels to scrap set-aside across Europe for the first time since the surplus-reduction measure was introduced in 1992, in order to avoid shortages of wheat and other cereals next year.

Strong demand from Asia, drought in Australia and growing demand for biofuels have slashed Europe's reserves this year to almost nothing and demand is still rising.

Iraq Cabinet approves draft of oil law

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet has approved a draft of a key oil law, and the Iraqi parliament was expected to begin debate on the measure Wednesday, an official said.

Calif. air board leader quits in dispute

The executive director of a state agency charged with implementing a landmark global warming law resigned Monday, saying the governor's office made it impossible for her to do her job.

Catherine Witherspoon's resignation comes days after the California Air Resources Board's chairman, Robert Sawyer, was ousted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"I think they're trying to control it, and they don't have a very cogent vision for what's needed," said Witherspoon, who has managed the agency since 2003.

Live Earth aims to cause lasting change

Live Earth is ambitious by any standard: eight concerts featuring the biggest names in music, playing for a 24-hour period across the globe, all for the cause of global warming.

But like its template — 2006's Live 8, the global concert devoted to poverty in Africa — the mission of Live Earth is somewhat amorphous. Its aim is to "trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis."

Ancient Arctic ponds drying up as climate warms

Ancient ponds in the Arctic are drying up during the polar summer as warmer temperatures evaporate shallow bodies of water, Canadian researchers said on Monday.

They said the evaporation of these ponds -- some of which have been around for thousands of years -- illustrates the rapid effects of global warming, threatening bird habitats and breeding grounds and reducing drinking water for animals.

Global warming could increase U.S. death rate

An increase in summertime heat waves from global warming could mean more deaths among Americans each year, a study by Harvard researchers suggests.

It's well known that extreme temperatures, whether in the form of heat waves or cold snaps, can be deadly. However, the new findings suggest that any increase in heat-related deaths from global warming would not be offset by a drop in cold-related deaths.

Study says erosion slicing Arctic Alaska habitat

A swath of marshy, wildlife-rich coastal land in Arctic Alaska being eyed for oil drilling is eroding rapidly probably because of the disappearance of sea ice that used to protect it from the ocean waves, according to a study released on Monday.

Does anyone have a PIW subscription? This article looks interesting:

Aramco's Manifa ITBs Delayed

Saudi Aramco has delayed issuing the invitation to bid (ITB) packages for Saudi Arabia's giant offshore Manifa oil and gas project. The ITB was scheduled to be issued in the first week of July, with the contractor meeting scheduled for Jul...

I can kind of guess what it says, but I'm wondering if they gave any reason for the delay.

I would not read too much into this.

Quite possibly some engineering detail being worked out. It is unlikely that Saudi Aramco is short of funds (or the ability to borrow).

Mattthew Simmons agrees that there is oil in Manifa, it is not a problematic reservoir. Rather the oil itself is problematic (too much vanadium).

We are several years (2011 ?) from production, so a couple of months delay on the front end is, IMHO, no big deal.

Best hopes for a gentle downslope post-Peak Oil,


I'm not "reading too much into it." I'm curious about what the delay is, and how long it is, that's all. I'm not worried that Manifa is in terminal decline, I assure you.

What I do suspect is "Thunder Horse syndrome." It always takes longer than they think it will take. Which is why I mistrust the "bottom-up" estimates.

Manifa was scheduled to come on line in 2011 with 900,000 barrels per day. Its oil is heavy with vanadium and hydrogen sulphide, making it virtually unusable. Saudi is building two new refineries. No doubt one of them will be equipped to handle this heavy oil contiminated with vanadium and hydrogen sulphide.

So it would be my guess that there has been some delay in the refinery schedule and Saudi will not be able to handle the oil from Manifa by 2011.

But that is just a guess of course. I am sure there will be more news on this coming down the pike very soon giving us more details. Then again, perhaps they will keep the lid on this, knowing Saudis predilection for secrecy.

Ron Patterson


I guess you saw the article about the Saudis looking into importing coal to meet domestic energy consumption. I think that they had to import fuel oil last August, in order to meed peak demand for electrical generation.

Is that going to Newcastle, S.A. ?

The first two stages are for dredging and then building a causeway out for the drilling platforms, so this is likely more related to those issues than dealing with the oil.

The vanadium could be very useful if extracted for vanadium redox batteries

You may well be right. I had dinner with the head of Saudi refining projects last week, and in a chat about China's refinery expansion plans, he blurted out that China's plans were highly improbable, "since we can't even get 400,000 b/d up and running in less than 4-5 years anymore". He wouldn't elaborate, but they have been impacted by the same escalation of costs, shortages, and other problems that are plaguing the industry around the world.

Comments from the horse's mouth, so to speak, are always interesting. Thanks.

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

If the recent press releases we have seen from Saudi Arabia and OPEC are any indication they have decided that there will not be sufficient demand for oil in the future to justify the investment. :P

Another place for the people looking at 'things to do'

The interface of selecting and downloading is interesting...

They used to be known as the ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group) and were set up by Fritz Schumacher (Small is Beautiful).

He was called "Fritz" because, as is well known in the UK, All German males are called "Fritz".

Speaking of problems with oil exports from top exporters:

Tuesday, July 3, 2007. Issue 3690. Page 5.
(Russian) Oil Exports Fall, Duties Advance

The country's crude oil exports fell 6.9 percent in June as higher export duties encouraged oil companies to refine more crude domestically.

Russia produced 9.85 million barrels per day in June, according to preliminary data from the Industry and Energy Ministry's information center. Output rose 0.4 percent from May.

Urals blend exported from Russia, rose 10 cents to $68.33 at 12:58 p.m. in northwestern Europe Monday.

Russia revises its oil export duty every two months based on the average international price. The duty rose to $200.60 per ton in June, and will advance to $223.90 from Aug. 1.

Pipeline monopoly Transneft exported 4.25 million barrels per day, 6.9 percent less than in May.

"as higher export duties encouraged oil companies to refine more crude domestically"

I'm reminded of the distinction between "proximate" and "ultimate" causes:

Every "event" that seems to herald the arrival of "peak" comes with its own "proximate" cause attached.

One wonders: can we ever hope to sort out proximate from ultimate causes? Will we ever be able to tell the difference, before it's too late?

Finally: isn't this the essence of tragedy?

At least some of the top producers and exporters are going to be talking about higher production for years to come. For example, I have frequently quoted the Texas State Geologist who talked, in 2005, about the possibility of increasing Texas production back to its peak level, through--drumroll please--the use of better technology.

I would simply suggest that everyone peruse the headlines today, and yesterday, including the one about Saudi Arabia looking into plans to start importing coal to meet rapidly increasing domestic energy demand.

So far, has the available data fit the what the combination of the HL method and the Export Land Model predicted?

You can listen to the guys who apparently believe that we can have an exponential rate of increase--virtually forever--in the consumption of a finite energy resource base, or you can listen to me and ELP like your life depends on it, because it very well might.

If I am wrong, what's the downside? You are living way below your means and saving money?

Let me tell you that as far as possible for me and my family, ELP is working for us.

We have only a mortgage on the small house (2 stories, 54 square meters),no other debts. Interest rates never to exceed the limits of a set bandwidth. Instead of living from paycheck to paycheck, we now have some money in the bank; not a lot, but more then before. But we do not manange to live on 50% of our income, now. Intend to invest in solar water heating, PV and wind.

Both me and my wife live close to our jobs. I use my moped throughout the year(5 minutes commute); my wife goes by bike when the weather allows it(10 minutes commute). She takes the 10 year old 1.6 l. Nissan, that will not be replaced, otherwise. My job may last for quite some time post peak, my wife's job probably not. All bets are off anyway once TSHTF, PO-wise or 2nd-great-depression-wise.

On tonights menu are new potatoes, courgette filled with tomato and onion(from the veggie garden my wife tends), and seabass or mackerell I caught over the weekend (can't make up my mind which it gonna be yet). Not a sufficient quantity to sustain us through the year, but still. We had so much strawberries we had no other choice then to conserve it as jelly. Terrible, ain't it?
Last winter I got the woodstove (5 kW only for our small house) installed; sawing and splitting wood by hand only. Wood collected at the shore, from clearings, and the local carpenters leftovers.

It's not enough, but a pretty good start. Doomerish as I am, me, my wife and the kids are happy and healthy and enjoy every little thing. We are very rich indeed.

...what's the downside? You are living way below your means and saving money?

Ah, so you still haven't absorbed the lesson the 1970s taught so well to so many people, have you? ;)

The lesson is blindingly simple - modest quantities of "saved" money are inflated and taxed away - "saving" means almost the same thing as "flushing down the toilet" And the talk of Helicopter Ben, which carries a measure of truth, only reinforces the lesson; the USA has been inflating away a lot of foolish promises for a very long time.

Best to put any spare money into something tangible, and the sole reasonable tangible investment vehicle for most average folks is the house. A house at least provides lucrative tax deductions, and it is the investment safest from Congresscritters demagoguing about "unearned" or "excess" profits. The long drive to the large mortgage follows logically and inexorably.

Alternatively or in addition, there are costly trips to Europe or wherever. Drink now, for tomorrow we die. The ongoing expansion of air and road travel follows logically and inexorably.

Until you get a grip on these realities, I don't think you can take ELP very far except among geeks. And I for one can't help, 'cos I haven't got a clue how to get a grip on them.

Post-peak, wealth will be measured by one of two things, which are tied in a way... Food and land. Land you can grow food on, more specifically.

If I can grow timber, veggies, and meat, there's not too much else that I will need, as they will be renewable and I can sell extra for other things that I might need. Learning blacksmithing might be a good thing too. Recycle all of those cars into farming impliments.

Tell them ELP because living 50% below your income gives you 50% of your income that you can invest. ;) Then the trick is getting the into investments that will survive the transition but that's another topic.

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

i would watch out for hyperinflation,

a good way of eroding savings to nothing in a few short years.

10% is seven years for a halving. (and if you currently get 0% on your money you effectively are losing 10% a year)

gold could be nice, but bikes and bike parts are a surer way to profit (the only valuation which exceeds the hyperinflation!)

Tools! I bought a set of Sears Craftsman metric combination wrenches on Sunday.

One idea: cultivate some handicraft, from sewing to carving wood to hand-sharpening blades. Do it now as a kind of art or hobby, since the industrial replacement is inevitable cheaper today. But it helps one understand which tools are needed, which work best, etc., plus of course developing skills and even building links into the community of craftspeople. Then, as energy prices go up, handicraft will be more and more practical for daily living uses.

Gardening is always good, of course, but there are other things that those landless amoung us can do.

There is no beer in Heaven,
that's why we drink it here.

You can listen to the guys who apparently believe that we can have an exponential rate of increase--virtually forever--in the consumption of a finite energy resource base, or you can listen to me and ELP like your life depends on it, because it very well might.

Oh, let me tell you...

Three gardens this year. Actually selling produce at a convenience store. Will be able to stock larder with a year's worth of canned/preserved food.

Well, I'm an old 60s radical, and always thought the system was about to crash (and it will, it will!), so I was always into ELP (but no P - I live in Jersey City). During the gogo years I didn't went. My daughter lives on a commune and takes 'economize' to levels you wouldn't believe. Even as a teenager should would buy second hand clothing, cheap, cheap, cheap. She has credit card we pay for and over the holidays we tell her to go crazy, and she manages to run up $40-50. My kid brother has a green house and an semi-organic farm. His employees run it for him mostly, don't let him touch the money.

I say all this, and it's a good way to live in normal times because you avoid all the stress of wanting and accumulating and going into debt. But I have no illusions about it saving us from the chaos that will come with societal collapse. Societal decay and disintegration will not leave anyone alone. The powers-that-be will incite us to kill each other if they don't come after us themselves.

ELP and survivalism are not enough. There has to be a political response -- we must relearn how to act collectively and politically. Americans have become the ultimate individualists. We are thus completely powerless against our own gov't and leaders.

"But I have no illusions about it saving us from the chaos that will come with societal collapse."

Well said!

I have been living in a very frugal manner for many years, trying to grow as much of my own food as I can, cutting my own firewood, etc.

I do it because it feels right to me - it's one way of being your own boss. Plus, I like it :-)

But I don't have any illusion that WTSHTF I'll just choogle along unscathed.

My _real_ PO prep has been getting to know the lay of the land and all the people around here, and making sure they know me.

Americans _used to_ know how to act collectively and in a community fashion. The myth of the Rugged Individualist has always been just that - a myth. We need to make "community" the new all-American ideal (myth, if you will).

I think Ghandi said,"You can beat me, you can jail me, you can kill me, but you can't force me to cooperate with you." It is courage like that which the government is powerless against. If enough people refuse to cooperate with the government than government changes its policy to something you will cooperate with.

Tell that to the Carthaginians. Oh you can't because there aren't any left, are there? The Romans slaughtered them to the last man, woman, and child and then salted over the earth where they lived.

Ghandi could do what he did because he firmly believed that at its core, Britain's morality would overrule its imperialistic tendencies. He was correct. The Carthaginians could not do what Ghandi did because the Romans would have still done exactly what they did do - slaughter them all.

Just because no current nation state is willing to engage in genocide to achieve its ends is not a valid reason to presume that such behavior cannot recur in the future. Anyone basing his assessment of future events on such an assumption deserves exactly the future that he or she gets.

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

Though I was quite young at the time, if memory serves, the Romans enslaved the Carthaginian women and children and some of the men. Slaughter is unprofitable when war captives can be sold into slavery.

I do expect to see the expansion of slavery from its current rudimentary basis in countries such as those of N. Africa (and Saudi, of course) to more countries as TSHTF.

The institution of slavery has never been abolished, it has only been (to some extent) suppressed. Slave markets flourish as I write. With sufficient funds, you can get just about any kind of physical specimen you want, though Arabs do seem to prefer Black slaves, as they have for centuries. But white slavery is alive and well too, with countries of Eastern Europe providing premium-priced blond women.

Those with oil will buy slaves, those impoverished by its absence will sell their children into slavery, as happens every day in, for example, India, as well as many other Asian countries.

The U.S. is by no means a perfect society, but at least we do not have the slave markets that function openly in some countries. In all probability, the slave trade is increasing, though it is impossible to get accurate statistics. When you are in debt and cannot feed your children, you sell them into slavery in hopes that they will have a better life.

I heard on KPFT this morning about the Government of Brazil freeing 1,000 slaves in the province of Amazonia. Sugar has been traditionally farmed with slaves. Here in Texas the last planters used convicts from the Harlem Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections-black convicts during segregated prison farm era. US Sugar was notorius for years for importing Dominicans, then withjholding their money and making them live on the plantation and buy from company stores in their Florida Operations, and only bought mechanical harvesters in the 1970's. Small price for sugarcane ethanol.
Illegal emmigrants are often treated as slaves in the Houston area, and I think throughout the US. Women will hir a latina maid/nanny, make them sleep at the house and be on duty 24/7 for less than minimum wage. Then there's the sexworker problem-Korean GI wives brought to the US to work in Oriental spas and massage parlors, and cantina whores sold by the coyotes to enterprising bars. And our own native girls working for crack for a pimp-slaves to dope if nothing else.
Aristotle said that the natural state of most of humanity is slavery, and looking at my mastercharge bill and mortgage, he might be right.
Bob Ebersole

Aristotle said:

"Most men are, by nature, slaves."

What he meant by this statement is that most men are not capable of self-government in a polity. Polity was as good as it gets for Aristotle--part democracy, part aristocracy, part plutocracy, part monarchy--a mixed system. He did not believe in the universal franchise however, because in Aristotle's opinion (with plenty of evidence from the mob that convicted Socrates) democracy (as in Athens) inevitably degenerated into mob rule. According to Aristotle, only men who bore arms (plus veterans) qualified for the vote.

IMO political science is a discipline that has not advanced since Aristotle, and indeed, in some respects it has regressed.

Aristotle was troubled by the phenomenon of people being born into slavery, and he was against that. After all, according to Aristotle, just because you are born a slave, that says nothing about your virtue. Similarly, Aristotle was highly skeptical of monarchs and aristocrats, because he had observed that over and over and over again the sons of prominent men are fools--or worse. Thus he rejected the hereditary priciple at the same time that he rejected pure democracy. What Aristotle deemed to be the good society was based on empirical research from the dozens of Greek city states: He was looking for laws that actually worked to promote human welfare. And of course, Aristotle was heavily influenced by his teacher and mentor, Plato--especially the latter's last work, "The Laws."

Don Sailorman,
You're reminding me of my freshman philosophy. Here in the USA, our republic has degenerated into a plutocracy, IMHO.
It's amazing how we've given up universal franchise here in America. Most people don't vote, and when they do they seem to vote against their own interests. The most discouraging thing about GHB is even if he stole the election, nearly half of the fools who bothered to vote voted for him.
The comments on this thread are a good example of Aristotle's natural slavery. The technology exists to mostly free us from the domination of big utilities, yet we fail to put it in. People can free themselves from the domination of the automobile culture and the addiction to foreign oil by the simple expedient of living close to work and stores and walking, yet we continue to live in unhandy areas of the world and instead bitch. We don't have to be economicaly insecure if we just spend less than we make, yet we seem to spend more than we earn consistently.
Maybe what I'm talking about is transcendentalist self-reliance, but I'm certainly guilty of most of the flaws I've pointed out at one time or another. But one thing I've noticed about personal change-it comes with a lot of difficulty for me, and I think most people.
Bob Ebersole.

Hi Bob - I think you are right about the way we all tend to let perceived comfort/ease dominate our decisions, and we probably lose a lot of real comfort/ease in the process.

I have been living within walking distance of work for the last 8 or 9 months, and it has had one of the greatest impacts on my life in that time. I cannot stress how good it is. I would highly recommend it to anyone who can do it...

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

What he meant by this statement is that most men are not capaeble of self-government in a polity. Polity was as good as it gets for Aristotle--part democracy, part aristocracy, part plutocracy, part monarchy--a mixed system. He did not believe in the universal franchise however, because in Aristotle's opinion (with plenty of evidence from the mob that convicted Socrates) democracy (as in Athens) inevitably degenerated into mob rule. According to Aristotle, only men who bore arms (plus veterans) qualified for the vote.

Sign me up.
If the current state of affairs doesn't prove him right, nothing does.

Universal franchise seems to work surprisingly well in Australia - indeed it's compulsory to vote. Virtually no-one genuinely complains about it. Oh, and, virtually no-one bears arms either.

Yes, we have problematic governments, but at least no truly incompetent ones. I'll be glad to see the back of the current one, but they couldn't be said to have truly stuffed things up - they just lack the vision to take us forward in a worthy direction.

Aristotle's rationale for the "arms bearing" requirement was that voters might have to decide issues of peace and war. He thought that those who did not or had not fought in war were unqualified to make decisions of war and peace. This position makes a lot of sense to me.

Where's the slightest shred of historical proof that democracy works better in countries with armed populations?

All modern governments have military advisors who have fought in wars - why should that not be enough?

Maybe his position made sense in Ancient Greece, but I would be truly surprised if he came to the same conclusion in today's world.

Everyone has their own ideas. To me it makes no sense whatsoever to have people that never produced a effin' thing and are professional leeches vote.

At some point we will not be able to afford the millstone around our neck if we want to swim.

Well the whole point of universal franchise is that no one person gets to decide on who and who shouldn't be able to vote.
Personally I don't get it why 12 year olds aren't able to vote - plenty of 12 year olds seem to have a better grip on reality than others three times their age. Although I would have an issue with making it compulsory at that age.

Someone who is forced to work to pay of a debt is also a slave. The best slave is one that believes he's free.

Most people in the West are slaves, commodities to be used, bought and sold. The methods of enslavement are different, but the outcome is basically the same. People pack off their children to university to learn the ways of their master, to become useful servants.

Would free men choose to spend their lives working for a corporate master? Most people get no more than a home, food and a chance to reproduce for a lifetime of servitude. And of course lots of entertainment and holidays to keep them sane, productive and unaware of their chains.

Just because the methods are more humane, doesn't make us any-the-less slaves.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

You guys are nuts. You're debasing the term slavery to describe every mildly unpleasant arangement we have in civilization. There is a real problem with slavery and human trafficing in the world and describing all people with a credit card debt as slaves does nothing to help kidnapped women chained in the basement of a turkish brothel.

nobody will read this, but what the hell...

This has degraded into a purely semantic discussion over what the words "slavery" and "freedom" mean. That's the problem with language and philosophy. I know people who I consider to be "rich" who I think are slaves to their money! It seems to be all they truly care about.

What the goal should be is a world where "everyone" is given the opportunity to live a good life.

And, of course, a major discussion could be launched about just what I mean by that... Oh well...

If time universe is as I experience it,
your first statement is at least wrong :)
OTOH who knows even that?
This is TOD, folks. Enjoy it!

Alright -- we have Russian output up 0.4% and crude exports down 6.9%, but there are several factors other than WTEL-type decline that could lead to this. If domestic refining truly took up the imbalance (the numbers aren't released yet, according to the article), and there was spare product export capacity, then it is quite possible that this is a manifistation of supply-chain contraction and not true export decline. We know that most of the OECD has plenty of product import demand right now.

Also note that "Transneft exported... 6.9 percent less than in May", the same percentage as reported for the country as a whole in the first paragraph. Is this coincidence, or is Transneft being used as a data proxy for the whole country? Transneft may have an export pipeline monopoly, but over .4million barrels per day were exported outside of the Transeft system in May, a 4.6% MoM increase: http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&refer=conews&tkr=YU...

Lastly, there's always the possibility that forex considerations came into play -- there was quite a bit of pent-up softening in the dollar which unwound during June and in such an environment it makes sense to store what you can while crude prices accomodate the valuation change.

All of this said, I'm not challinging the EL model :)

It's not in dispute that Russian demand is exploding--to the point that Pravda is calling for measures to reduce domestic oil and gas consumption--and Russia showed a year over year decline in net exports from 2005 to 2006 (EIA, Total Liquids), even with an increase in production.

So, IMO, the only question is how sharp the decline in net exports from Russia will be.

This is why I was so certain back in January, 2006, we were facing problem with net exports--if lower production doesn't cause lower exports, it's a pretty good bet that rapidly rising domestic consumption in exporting countries will.

What continues to amaze me is that this simple premise is not THE key issue regarding Peak Oil.

The Export Land Model is stunning in its simplicity, stunning in its power. Westexas, I think the problem is that the model is too dramatic, too powerful, too threatening--and too simple--for people to accept.

Indeed your model reminds me of something John Kenneth Galbraith said about the way money is created: The process is so simple that the mind is repelled. Your model is so fundamental and cogent that the (unprepared) mind is repelled.

For your model to be grasped, I think people need a firm grasp on logic and scientific methods. That qualification excludes the great majority of our college graduates . . . alas. There is absolutely nothing the matter with your model nor with the evidence on which it is based. The model is robust and I've not seen anybody seriously question it. (It would sort of be like questioning whether 2+2=4.)


Thanks for the kind words. As I have said before, I was building on work done by Simmons and Deffeyes (and Khebab's technical work). So, do I get a bigger food ration in the years ahead?

I think that you are right about Peak Export Denial, even among Peak Oilers. The implications are just too scary, but there is no way to sugarcoat the effect on net exports of two exponential functions--declining production and increasing consumption. And as the Nigeria and Iran case histories show, it is going to be damned difficult to curtail domestic demand in these exporting countries.

When I agreed (with Khebab doing the heavy lifting) to do a paper on Net Oil Exports for ASPO-USA in the fall, I told them that, IMO, declining oil exports would not be news by October (although the "why" will be fiercely debated).

Some of these recent headlines are pretty stunning--I can't get over the Saudi/coal article.

In my humble opinion, I think that I pretty accurately described what is going to happen, in my August, 2006 article, "Net Oil Exports Revisited." An excerpt follows:

A Proposed Triage Plan

I believe that vast expanses of American Suburbia are going to become virtually abandoned in the years ahead. Alan Drake has noted that a good deal of suburbia was so poorly constructed that a lot of it is biodegradable. Alan has outlined how we can go back to what we used to have: electric trolley cars connected to electric light rail lines.

CBS Sunday Morning, on 8/20/06, had a segment on "tiny houses." They profiled a home designer and builder who specialized in building very small functional homes of about 100 square feet. You can find more information on his website.

What this builder has realized, and what millions of Americans are just beginning to also realize, is that anything over 100 square feet or so per person is not a necessity; it is optional consumption, a want, instead of a need.

The US is not Switzerland, but Alan Drake has described how Swiss per capita oil consumption in the Second World War was about 0.25% of current US per capita oil consumption. They did it primarily by electrifying their transportation system.

I propose a sort of triage operation: "tiny" homes and multifamily housing along electric mass transit lines. In my opinion, it is the only way that we can preserve some semblance of a civilized society. The suburbs are, by and large, a lost cause.


Your model has been predictive and is certainly correct to the first order, and you have been brave and persistent in explaining it. Again, thank you.

Regarding the destruction of suburbia, the notion that suburbia can (or should) be abandoned over the next 20-30 years seems wasteful (and impossible, except in the case of catastrophic warfare) to me.

Proponents in favor of an (as yet) unbuilt alternative urban expansion or resurrection might claim it to be more efficient per capita, or easier to add public transportation to. These are provably correct. But what is the energy expense in relocating 100 million people? And with what social or political process?

It should be clear that despite the rank quality of most of above-ground suburbia constructed since WWII in the US, there are several orthogonal and complete infrastructures implemented under and above those houses: electrical, sewer, storm drains, sewage treatment, water treatment and distribution, copper to the curb, fiber or cable to the curb, cell towers, backhauls, distribution plans, routes, optimized delivery paths, delivery services, schools. Some local merchant zones.

The above represents a huge multi-decade project whose replacement value can only be estimated by including all the infrastructure and energy needed to create a replacement.

Most suburban ring cities have population densities not different in kind from same-sized European cities served by rail. The impending loss of any excess energy to recreate housing and infrastructure for these 100 million people coupled with resource wars and excessive deficits means simply that a 20 year fantasy relocalization project is a non-starter.

If we are seriously going to mitigate this impending thermodynamic collision we will have to use what is there now. We don't have the energy of activation socially or thermodynamically to move the population of the US to new/rebuilt optimal housing and recreate the infrastructure.

I suggest trying for the nearest local minima. Electric rail at the same tessellation as similar densities in Europe, make single-purpose zoning illegal, tax the heck out of cars, tax breaks for energy saving rework and new construction. And so on.

Best wishes,

Steel shipping containers are being refitted as homes. Used shipping containers singly or as modular "Leggos" are available now.

Yes, too powerful and too simple, perhaps. But it now seems so obvious.

Look at...was it Mark J's? post yesterday showing a simple breakdown of 'Exportland' and 'Importland'. At a 2% per annum decline in both 'lands' (IIRC) consumption in 'Importland' would have to drop almost by half in 10 years. Is there anyone who believes that we could reduce our oil usage by half in 10 years, or even 25%, and not have a major depression at the least?

If Bakhtiari is right (and he's been right so far) then exports will approach zero by 2020. And yet over in Euan's happy face thread, they are all assuming that just because we can do a technological thing that we will do it. I certainly hope their brimming optimism is right but reading history tells me to expect the exact opposite of what they proclaim.

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

2020 is only 12.5 years away, I'll be 62

That's the worst part of Peak Oil. It's not a quick death, it's just waking up each morning with just a little less crude oil for the world to burn that day.


Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

I'm afraid that's the trouble with technical solutions. Don't get me wrong, I'm a tech geek, and that's the way I think too, building all sorts of thermodynamically-plausible doohickeys in my mind. Great fun, that.

However, a general feature of technical doohickeys is that everything has to go right for them to work. There's a tacit assumption in building most doohickeys that the context for the doohickey will remain within design parameters, and that context includes a civilized population willing and able to maintain the doohickeys. Stuff like vandals tearing out the grid wires, and the rise of organized crime and local warlords isn't really designed into most techie systems.

This morning I imagined two cells in a human body having an imaginary conversation about the state of their world, and noting how well everything is running, except for narrowing coronary arteries, far away. Surely such a robust system must continue indefinitely, and a clot here and there will make scant difference in the scheme of things. Necrotizing bacteria are present, but the immune system is keeping them under control. Red blood cells come along regularly with oxygen; wastes are flushed away; the temperature and pH are kept within a narrow optimal band. We've certainly come a long way since our free-living single-celled days.

greenish: offtopic

Back a couple of days you posted about eneloop NIMH batteries. Question: if I got some of those, could I use my current chargers? One is a Radio Shack Fast Charger and the other is a Duracell. I guess the real question is whether chargers of one brand can charge NIMH batteries of another brand?

Thanks in advance, YS

Well it is offtopic. Leanan, feel free to nuke this with my blessing.

And I note that if you click on my user name you'll find an e-mail address with which to contact me offlist; though it seems few avail themselves of that feature...

But since I now HAVE posted: I'm not "mr battery expert", but the eneloops are very nice. I think supposedly they'll work with any charger, but as some are a bit brutal in terms of how hot they make batteries, I choose to use the inexpensive sanyo charger with them.

I do note that the battery geeks' favorite site, Thomas Distributing, rates their chargers as eneloop compatible or not, even though Sanyo doesn't require that.

Since I love my eneloops so, I choose to use gentle charging so they may still be around when the streets are full of zombies and my walkie-talkies and stun guns still work. You may choose to use your existing charger and take your chances with the zombies. 'sall good.

My comment "offtopic" referred to myself responding to a to something different than your post. It was a kind of apology to you. Or if you took it as a statement to you, that *you* were offtopic, that was not the intent whatsoever. Sorry about the confusion.

BTW, it is very heard to get offtopic in the Drumbeat because it is meant as an open thread. People get irritating if they start getting rude no matter how much ontopic they might be. Talking about 9/11 isn't welcome either.

Thanks for answering re: charging eneloops.

There's a tacit assumption in building most doohickeys that the context for the doohickey will remain within design parameters, and that context includes a civilized population willing and able to maintain the doohickeys.

Well put. It's always "keeping everything else the same" we will come up with enough this or that. The energy embedded in our infrastructure/society/technology far exceeds what we put in our tanks on a daily basis. If I'm raising chickens, where will the chicken feed come from? It's not just a matter of my paying a little more for gas or cycling to the feed store. The feed store might not be there anymore because it will have been raided or bought clean.

The slow squeeze or abrupt question is the hardest one to parse. It's been like a game of musical chairs that starts with 1000 chairs and Adam and Eve.

cfm in Gray, ME

That's the magic of $200 oil... It makes all of these marginal alternatives extremely likely to be implemented, because it will be profitable for individuals and small companies to do so. I expect that at some point, individuals with the finacial capacity will install large arrays of PV on every available rooftop simply to sell the electricity to the grid for income. When there is a profit motive, the alternative will come out of the woodwork.

Just like where people were selling ad space on the side of their vans. If some company offered me free electricity in exchange for covering my property with Solar Panels I'd say hell, yeah!

Mark B

Yes, sorry my friend, I was at work and didn't have time to check!

" What continues to amaze me is that this simple premise is not THE key issue regarding Peak Oil."

On first read of the ELM, it was clear there is a giant, potential problem...with 3 caveats:

[1] Were you making up and fudging the data? A week of many hours on the net showed that was not likely.

[2]What is the quality of arguments against the ELM? Those arguments appeared far less credible.

[3] How vulnerable is the ELM to the unknowables of secrets?; proprietary information?; liklihood of more "low hanging fruit" or new extraction tech suddenly appearing? A couple more weeks showed low vulnerability.

Worse yet, by then it was clear to me that the ELM is subject to
definite accelleration by mere ANTICIPATION that PO is imminent within 20 years. That is, whether PO is already reached is easily arguable, but even positing a 20 year delay causes immediate conservation of exports upon acknowledging PO will happen.

So WT, perhaps "THE key issue" is the fact of conservation dictating the withhold of exports. ANTICIPATION of PO dictates concervation.

TOD mathmematicians might see the 2nd and 3rd derivatives monitoring events. Process instrumentation* experience made obvious that ANTICIPATION will increasingly come into play. Guaranteed enough to scare and depress most observers WHO CAN ANTICIPATE.

*Most process instrumentation was developed by the petroleum industry because their needs are so massive and benefits gigantic. The product value per employee is so great because the processing of liquids can be done just by pumps and valves controlled by a computer. Control is by computer programs that react [1] Proportionally to deviation from what is supposed to be, or proportional control = P, [2] by ANTICIPATING the errors of simple P, such anticipation called Integral control = I, and [3] by forms of derivative control that ANTICIPATE how fast deviations are changing and correct for ANTICIPATED rates of change = D.

As in life, ANTICIPATION rules.


Hat tip to GreyZone and his "exponential function" view that also demonstrates anticipation.

I think ELM can theoretically be mitigated up to a point using military.

Just force the exports. Seize the assets and put your own guys in power.

ELM solved (completely skipping now the justification and ethics issue here). For a while. At least in theory. Let's not start a thread on how things are progressing in Iraq...

However, the geological and infrastructure issues are not solvable through the use of military force.

We know that non-OPEC will start to tank soon (c. 5 years).

To mitigate the production side, the requirements for new crew, new tankers, new platforms, new drill bits, new investments is huge.

It'll take a long time.

That is the real issue.

If that cannot be solved through a mix of non-conventionals, deep water, conservation, alternatives, better planning, transition, power down, energy descent and what not....

...then there is a very low likelihood that ELM (which will hit even sooner) will be solved through any other means, except military intervention.

I'm afraid I'm with William Engdahl and Michael T Klare on this one.

Unless of course, somebody can offer at least a theory for a credible alternative.

I'd love to see one.

I don't think it can be solved with the military. The military requires a state in opposition, a vassal state that can be dominated and put to work on behalf of the empire. The military cannot handle non-state scenarios like Nigeria or a widespread ELF. The military is an instrument of destruction and cannot put in place a new vassal structure.

If we reduce a state to banditry, it's not clear that we get any oil, though we do prevent others from getting it. Perhaps that is a question of time scale; if our military kills most everyone else off, then we are left with the oil and those remaining can serve as slaves [contractors]. Nor do I see how we [US] could reduce the rest of the planet to banditry and still keep our way of life; those chickens will come home to roost.

The most cost-effective approach is, of course, nuclear weapons. Even on one's own people [pakistani general, no blade of grass] because that solves the "lack of unity" problem. Flight forward - don't tell me Cheney hasn't gamed it repeatedly [world change game]. OK, TOD has wrecked my day again....

cfm in Gray, ME

Good points.

Let me paraphrase.

I see the normal sequence of events working here, for countries that really matter. There aren't many and they are all in Middle-East. Even Nigeria is small potatoes in the big picture, although important. The small ones can all be fought by proxy, like local military/junta (see Nigeria, Burma, Angola, etc. for historical examples of this).

1st EHMs: bargaining, blackmailing & closed room deals

IF that fails...

2nd jackals: coups, insurgency and a new (planted, friendly) government

IF that fails

3rd military: come with an excuse (sometimes they do it for you), attack, set up a puppet government. Hope it works out ok and doesn't turn into another Iraq.

That's the normal run of things and to me, from where I stand (outside US). All the three options are one long continuum of forced actions, even if only 3rd one of them is purely military and needs to be followed up with setting up a replacement system.

That I agree on, military as it now is set up, is not equipped to handle the job of post-attack duties.

Regardless, if you run through that chain and 1st and 2nd options fail, military is all you've got left. That card has to be played if no other options are left.

There's of course the fourth option (conserve, mitigate, tell it like it is), but the American way of life is not negotiable.

So much for that, I'm afraid.

re: the Export Land Model.
" What continues to amaze me is that this simple premise is not THE key issue regarding Peak Oil."

On first read of the ELM, it was clear there is a giant, potential problem...with 3 caveats:

[1] Were you making up and fudging the data? A week of many hours on the net showed that was not likely.

[2]What is the quality of arguments against the ELM? Those arguments appeared far less credible.

[3] How vulnerable is the ELM to the unknowables of secrets?; proprietary information?; liklihood of more "low hanging fruit" or new extraction tech suddenly appearing? A couple more weeks showed low vulnerability.

Worse yet, by then it was clear to me that the ELM is subject to
definite accelleration by mere ANTICIPATION that PO is imminent within 20 years. That is, whether PO is already reached is easily arguable, but even positing a 20 year delay causes immediate conservation of exports upon acknowledging PO will happen.

So WT, perhaps "THE key issue" is the fact of conservation dictating the withhold of exports. ANTICIPATION of PO dictates concervation.

Most observers WHO CAN ANTICIPATE will be impacted by the ELM message. The message of ELM will not impinge on those who are unable to anticipate consequences.

As in life, ANTICIPATION rules.


Hat tip to GreyZone and his "exponential function" view that also demonstrates anticipation.

Thats odd, yesterday their was a link saying the opposite about Russia's exports.


Not really. You have to very carefully read what the Russian statement said. IMO, Russian net exports are in pretty much a permanent long term decline. It's just a question of how fast the decline rate is. IMO, consumption is simply going up too fast for them to show an increase in net exports. An actual production decline--which I expect to see this year--will result in a net export crash.

From my comments yesterday regarding the linked article:

From the article:

RBC, 02.07.2007, Moscow 18:10:44.Russia boosted its oil exports to non-CIS countries by 3.2 percent to 107.588m tonnes in January-June 2007, the Russian pipeline giant Transneft reported today citing the Russian Economy Ministry's department.

Some 99.455m tonnes of Russian oil were transported to non-CIS countries through Transneft's pipeline system. Another 8.133m tonnes were carried by other companies. Transneft transported 15.54m tonnes of oil to non-CIS countries in June 2007.

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan transported 10.217m and 1.338m tonnes of oil through the territory of Russia in January-June 2007.

Russia's output of oil and gas condensate edged up 3 percent to 243.125m tonnes in the first six months of 2007.

Two points:

(1) The exports were to non-CIS countries. What about CIS countries?

(2) The production and export numbers appear to be relative to the first six months of 2006. The EIA shows that Russian crude oil production has basically been flat since October, 2006, while domestic consumption is exploding, e.g. foreign car sales are increasing at a rate of 50% per year, leading Pravda to call for measures to reduce domestic oil consumption.

I also noticed this

higher export duties encouraged oil companies to refine more crude domestically.

If crude exports are being replaced by refined products exports consumers will not notice the so called drop in net exports of crude oil.

Russian domestic energy consumption is exploding--foreign car sales going up at 50% per year; housing construction going nuts; the new hotels in Moscow are renting for up to $1,000 per night. Energy consumption is going up so fast that Pravda is basically talking about almost emergency energy conservation measures. Plug in declining production and declining net exports will turn into crashing net exports.

If you prefer to believe that we will seen increasing net oil exports worldwide, I hope you are right and I wish you well, but I would advise everyone else to ELP like their lives depend on it.

A third point: in the first few months of 2006, Russian production was depressed due to extremely cold weather. So the comparison showing growth relative to 2006 is a comparison to a very weak period.

The world seems teetering toward massive conflict. Bush seems too clueless. How many countries does he think he can threaten with force? This could will probably get ugly(er).

Yes, Bush is "clueless," but I'm pretty certain he knows exactly what he is doing: Defending the American Way of Life.

Life still seems pretty good here in Tanning-Booth Land because the petrol imports are still coming. But if you are paying attention, things don't look so good going forward.

We know what's coming. Get your house in order.

Never forget that Bush's handlers are far from clueless.
Don't focus on the talking head. From what I can tell Bush is controlled by some smart mean greedy bastards.

But the problem is the smart rational part of the brain of these bastards is controlled by the mean and greedy part.

Memmel, read this one about who the "Handlers" are or is.


Washington's Zelig

A longtime confidant of the Bush and Cheney families describes the dangerous influence of the vice president.

June 29, 2007 - Dick Cheney is like “Zelig,” the Woody Allen character with the uncanny ability to turn up everywhere. We always suspected his dark influence throughout the government, and now it’s been documented chapter and verse in an exhaustive series in The Washington Post. Cheney operates largely in secret, and because he is such a skilled bureaucratic infighter, he’s able to do end runs around everybody, including President Bush, who does nothing to rein in his evil twin.

Under the guise of national security, Cheney has gotten away with curbing civil liberties, condoning torture and launching an unnecessary war. He’s also chipped away at environmental regulations and done myriad favors for his friends in the business world. His stealthy intervention undermined former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman and led to her resignation. He shapes tax policy and energy policy and whatever else strikes his fancy, installing himself as president of Corporate America.


Sounds rather like another example of the Trilateral Commission during the Carter presidency. Remember?

"The Commission has found its way into a number of conspiracy theories, especially when it became known that President Carter appointed 26 former Commission members to senior positions in his Administration; later it also came out that Carter himself was a former Trilateral member. In the 1980 election, it was revealed that Carter and his two Wrimary opponents, John Anderson and George H.W. Bush, were also members, and the Commission became a campaign issue."


Here's a list of members from 2003:


which lists, (strangely enough, back to back):

Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States;

William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States

All comments should be directed to the appropriate conspiracy web pages/blogs, etc...

E. Swanson

Bush may not know what he's doing, and certainly doesn't look like it. Cheney certainly does. Bush's apparent incompetence provides a protective cover for Cheney's nefarious machinations. Bush II is a a ping pong ball batted between Cheney and crew and the people around his father, Baker, Scowcraft, etc.

Cheney and crew, it is said, were called the crazies in the first Bush admin -- it was always a matter of keeping them in the cage. But this formulation can't be quite right. If you really think they're crazy, you don't have them in the house at all, do you? If you do keep them in the house, it's for a reason -- to scare people. You are not really different from the ones in the cage.

To what extent it's a consious arrangement on anyone's part, I can't say. But the way it works out is very handy -- these outrageous things are done, then they fail, and the perpetrators go into retreat and start screaming again how everything would have gone ok if only we hadn't wimped out, etc. Meantime the 'adults' walk around with them on a long leash and let them snarl and take an occasional bite out of someone's leg.

Meantime, you've got the other party impotently whining: bad dog, nasty dog, you really have to hold the reins tighter on that dog, etc.

All the while, we are all blindly marching towards disaster in the trail of this three-ring circus of dogs, handlers and whining enablers.

G.W.Bush knows very well what he is doing. He is ruthlessly conducting a policy which discourages the people from reliance on the federal government for any service other than protection from the boogie-man du juor while at the same time finacially benefiting themselves and their campaign contributors. Permanent war means constitutional protections can be set aside permanently. The GOP party platform calls for balanced budgets except during recessions and times of war therefore allowing them license to not raise enough in taxes to pay for services like FEMA, food inspection, environmental regulation enforcement, and especially health care for 50,000,000 Americans. I wish I could believe they are incompenent but they are not. They are pure avarice and greed personified.

Bravo! Brilliantly summarized!

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

'How many countries does he think he can threaten with force?'...If we take a rational look at what is going on in Iraq, what exactly has been accomplished. 1) The government was dismantled and rule of law is gone. 2) Lots of pals of the administration have made out like bandits on contracts of various kinds in Iraq. 3) Fourth generation warfare has been unleashed and Iraq has become a failed state and is continuing to be hollowed out. 4) oil smuggling is rampant and is funding the insurgencies of fourth generation warfare.

I have read a lot of discussion on this board about the IEA numbers not adding up but I have not heard anyone suggest that smuggling could be the reason that the numbers are off. Anyone with any street smart knows that when a commodity has a rapid rise in price or a commodity is priced dramatically higher in one country compared to another then smuggling will start immediately. Below I have linked to a few of the many instances of smuggling that has been documented recently in countries as diverse as Sweden, the Phillapines, China, Iraq, Indonesia, and others. As prices of crude and refined product continue to rise smuggling will increase. If the reward is great some will take the risk. How would you like to make $5 million per week? I doubt this is what shrub had in mind when he invaded Iraq...


The Ashur smuggle oil. For years under Saddam Hussein, they worked as mere guards at Abu Flus terminal at the mouth of the Gulf. But as the state collapsed after the US and British invasion in 2003 and economic anarchy set in, they took over the port and became the quasi-official authority there. Never have the family's fortunes flourished as in the last three years. They built their own underground oil tanks in their farms, where fuel tankers empty their cargoes to be pumped later into small pontoons. A cousin of the family estimates that they make about $5m (£2.5m) a week from smuggling oil.

Illicit market value $5.2 billion.

Fuel oil smuggling in Sweden over $8 million per year


Manila: Fuel oil smuggling may have caused tanker to sink


Largest oil smuggling case in Chinas economic zone sentenced


Oil smuggling rampant in Tanzania


There are a lot more examples and remember, the smart ones seldom get caught.

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

Today we are looking at the drying up of surface water in the arctic, resource royalties and equalization payments, deep integration of the North American economy, uranium mining, smart metering and biofuels.

We are also following the rapidly developing credit crunch. The Bear Stearns hedge fund fiasco continues, with worries that other funds may also be affected. Controversy is developing over the role of rating agencies and there are substantial concerns about valuations of CDO funds, many of which are held by insurance companies and pension funds. IMO this is the beginning of a very serious financial crisis.

I just returned from a trip through a large swath of the US West. My wife and I wanted our children to experience it before coming events render it too inaccessible and us too poor for it to be feasible, and it was indeed an incredible experience. While we waited in the airport to depart, I went over to the bookstore to look for something to read, and they had a copy of Jared Diamond's Collapse, which I had wanted to read.

I'm not quite finished with it yet, but this is an excellent book - it is an easy and enjoyable read too. Diamond describes a lot of the details about how they figured out what happened to the various societies he describes, which I find fascinating. The impact was vastly amplified by reading it while traveling through some of the same (or similar) areas he describes.

I was struck once again by how tenuous and tenacious life is out there. It only takes a hint of moisture in a spot for life to explode, and there will be a scrub pine growing in any rock crevice, now matter how high or untenable. But it is simply inescapable that the land cannot support much of a population density, and it is just large quantities of energy that allow us to deny this.

1. Everyone drinks bottled water.
2. At Lake Powell you can see how low the reservoir is - the high water mark is something like 85 feet up the rocks. There are lots of explanations about how rainfall is down, but the level has gone back up a bit in the last couple of years, and they are hopeful for a big increase soon. There was NOT ONE mention of the other side of that equation - the withdrawals of water from the Colorado to supply the cities of the region.
3. I could not believe the enormous RV busses pulling SUVs larger than I would drive as an everyday vehicle. Well, I could believe it, but it still disgusted me.

Then there was Phoenix. After driving for so many miles of arid land so obviously incapable of supporting a high population density, you come to this absurd, impossible, ugly city. There is nothing different about this patch of desert that makes it different, other than maybe the lush Salt River (dry) that might have once been able to support a small town. There are vast expanses of small block homes with gigantic roof-mounted A/C systems. I saw maybe 3 solar panels. No one goes outside during the day, except for a few with no other transportation - and who would want to?

As I returned home to the Philadelphia region, I heard that Phoenix has just passed Philadelphia as the nation's 5th largest city - presented as if this were a great, wonderful achievement. Surreal. I'm more convinced than ever about the general nature of what is coming. Reading Collapse helps one to keep that in perspective - the details of what is happening are important and will affect us all in many ways - these are the things we'll experience, but they are just symptoms. The force that is driving this comes from something else. At least in many places we have (vastly) exceeded the carrying capacity of the land, chiefly by using the energy stored in finite supplies of fossil fuel, and as those supplies run out, big changes will come our way. And those changes are likely to follow the pattern seen so many times before.

If you liked Collapse, you would probably also enjoy The Upside of Down, Thomas Homer-Dixon. I recommend it to those around me who aren't quite up to the difficulty of reading Tainter, but it scared the pants off me just the same.

Diamond talks a bit in his book about the Hohokam people, who tried to live in Phoenix back in the day. After a while they just threw up their hands and left.

Here's what the Encyclopedia Britannica says about the Hohokam:

The Hohokam people abandoned most of their settlements during the period between 1350 and 1450. It is thought that the Great Drought (1276–99), combined with a subsequent period of sparse and unpredictable rainfall that persisted until approximately 1450, contributed to this process.

Obviously they hadn't discovered golf--if you want to find water in Phoenix, just go to the nearest 18-hole course with a big sponge and suck some agua out of the moist grass.


It's a bit unfair to comment on the ugliness of Phoenix without at least admitting that they have some of the most beautiful lawns in the country.

Hello TODers,

Thxs for all the comments on Phx and the Southwest. I have been trying to get the word out on my Asphalt Wonderland for a long time. I believe every person that is dissuaded from moving here increases their future survival chance.

As the other posters have already noted: the SW Overshoot in relation to water, food, and FF-energy is remarkable. Yet millions of ignorant fools still come. Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale [Phx suburbs or exurbs] are among the fastest growing long-distance commuting clusterfooks in the US.

Kunstler talks gently about making other arrangements postPeak, but I don't see Phx going down quite the same way. The general rule here appears to be the more essential and life-giving the resource, the more inclined we are to truly waste it.

Our holiest temples are the flush toilets, bottled water outlets, swimming pools, water amusement parks, uncountable #'s of fountains, carwashes, and mind-boggling amounts of green lawns and golf-courses. The last thing our Chamber of Commerce wants people to think about is that this is a huge, freaking desert incredibly dependent on small aquifers, and long distance canal imports from the few rivers. When this Delusional Church of Water & Sewage starts imploding then the postPeak Southwest out-migration begins. I hope Cascadia and other areas further north are ready.

As mentioned before in prior postings: in the meantime, we are building the concrete, asphalt, drive-thrus, shopping malls, McMansions, RV & car dealerships, freeways, and tanning booths as fast as possible. Just like Las Vegas, I see zero efforts being made towards appropriate Overshoot reduction.

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

I hope Cascadia and other areas further north are ready.

Bob, I've mentioned that I have two close relatives in the greater Phoenix area. One of the reasons my wife and I are holding onto our overly-large abode (Northestern US) is that I have a feeling that I'm eventually going to see these folks show up on my doorstep (which is fine with me).

Is tap water drinkable over there? I find it mind-boggling that bottled water seems to be hugely popular even in places where tap water is perfectly good and even tastes quite nice. Last summer I was visiting a friend in Tuscany, and for the first few days I only drank bottled water because I assumed there was something wrong with the stuff you get from the tap. Then one night we had finished all our bottled water, and my friend proceeded to fill a jug from the tap. I asked if it was safe and he said "of course it is". Then I asked him why on Earth we had been drinking bottled stuff for days, and he couldn't really give me any reason; he just said something like "we normally drink bottled water".

I've mentioned this before, but it's a good example. We have a Dasani machine at work at 75 cents per bottle. I not only use the tap water, but I bring in jugs and fill them to take home. Most of my coworkers are simply appalled and expect me to keel over any minute, even though I've been doing this for about 4 years. And of course these very same people bitch endlessly about $3/gal gas.

Hello Jussi,

Thxs for responding. Yep, tapwater drinkable--currently meets safety and purity standards. Just highly chlorinated to keep the bacteria count down--little buggers grows fast in our summer heat. If you let a fresh jug of tapwater sit out open for awhile, the smell dissipates, and residues sink to the bottom. But most people freak over this so they go to the local water store which takes the same tapwater and filters it again to a higher level.


Of course, things are projected to get worse, and it is only a matter of time before we will be drinking treated sewage water. But hopefully, we will do better than West Palm Peach, Fl:

The City of West Palm Beach came so close to exhausting its water supply in May that it made an unprecedented decision to pump millions of gallons of treated sewage water onto well fields that supply 150,000 customers.
More on AZ water:


EDIT: the real problems will start when the govt. breaks down and water and sewage will go untreated everywhere.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Sure it's drinkable. Perfectly safe. If one is picky as far as taste it costs almost nothing to filter it.


When I was in college, my parents were stationed at Williams AFB near Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix. I spent summers there. Our home used evaporative cooling rather than central air conditioning. It worked great, as I understand evaporative coolers do in dry climates (they don't work hardly at all in humid climates like Houston where I live now). Does Phoenix use evaporative coolers much? Solar evaporative coolers are commercially available.

I remember an article a few years ago talking about how in the denser parts of Phoenix, the watering and the use of swamp coolers had actually raised the local humidity (like a micro-climate)so that evaporative cooling was becoming less effective. Can't find a link at the moment.

Hello NASAguy,

Yep--Swamps work great when humidity low-- it was 4% here yesterday. My house has both swamp & AC: came that way from the builder as it was built right after the 70s energy crunch. But all my neighbors long ago ripped off the swamps and now use A/C exclusively.

The local Home Depot now features many large, portable swamps that a person can use to try and cool off their backyard for family events. Since it is projected to be 117F today and for the Fourth--I expect the sales of these to be quite brisk. =(

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

I hope plenty of people move to Phoenix and Las Vegas. It puts them further away from where I live! How far can millions of people travel without the gasoline to get them there? In the past, they had horses. Now we'll have millions of desecated corpses laying out in the desert, jerky for the buzzards.

"Now we'll have millions of desecated corpses laying out in the desert, jerky for the buzzards."

Ed Abbey reincarnated as a desert buzzard is drooling in anticipation!

They will need to keep heading farther north. There will be plenty of fresh water from melting ice and plenty of formerly permafrost tundra available for settlement along the Arctic Ocean. Should make an interesting change from the desert.

"I hope Cascadia and other areas further north are ready."

It's only been 15 or so years since the "Don't Californicate Idaho" bumper stickers. Or when Oregon asked you to visit, but please don't stay. Idaho also had a campaign as the Tick Fever State, but I think that better belongs to Montana. Actually, it's Pennsylvania, I believe, that has the highest incidence of tick fever. Should check the CDC.

Yup - my entire family of four toured the west on antibiotics for Lyme disease. We've all got it again - and we're damn conscious of it and careful as hell. This is one of my biggest concerns, as we've got no immunity to it, have found no herbal or holistic cure that we could produce, and it is ultimately debilitating. I can prepare all I want, but if my health is destroyed just gathering firewood, for instance, then I change from being a benefit to my family to being a burden. Lyme has been a living hell for us for many years now.

Tick Fever is the local name for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a richettsial infection primarily by Dermacenter ticks, esp D. andersoni, common in the Rocky Mtns. It came to attention early in this century from infections of folks in the Bitteroot Valley of Montana, hence the name. The US Public Health Service shortly thereafter set the national tickborne disease lab in Hamilton, MT, until its functions were absorbed into the CDC in the 80's. North Carolina holds the record annual cases, not PA.

Lyme disease is quite different, a bacterial infection that may be hard to treat or exhibiting recurrent infections. It was only noted in the late 70's, in CT, tho noted throughout Europe also at present. It is the most common tickborn disease in the US today, primarily by Ixodes ticks, esp I. scapularis. Unlike most tick diseases which are transmitted by the easier to see adult stage, Lyme is usually transmitted by the much smaller nymphal stage.

Edit: I'm sorry for your family's plight-a couple of broad generalizations for dealing with ticks, tho I guess you've heard them all. The reservior for Lyme is small rodents-mice, rats, chipmunks, etc. Keep these down. Ticks are very prone to dessication, and usually will be burrowed in low humidity. Avoid late spring and or high humidity trips in the woods/fields. Of course, the usual precautions for tight fitting clothing. Winter would be a safe time for wood gathering. When removing ticks, pull straight back. Otherwise, there's risk of breaking off the head/hypostome. In tick feeding, the hypostome, resembling a long spear, is inserted into the host, and in a leisurely fashion, the host's blood is swished back and forth in the mouth of the tick and the host wound. It is this feeding strategy which makes them so successful as vectors. With anything wild, there will always be a few individuals in the population that buck the generalizations.

Thanks for your concern - I didn't know which one you were referring to - we've certainly got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, as well as Bartonella and Babesia.

Your information on ticks matches what we've learned. Problem is, it's impossible to avoid them. I do pretty well, as I'm always in long cloths with work boots and socks, and I always spray myself. I burn the undergrowth in the spring and try to keep it cut back during the growth season. The chickens do their part, and dog and cats have Frontline on (even the barn cats). But nonetheless, my son was floating leaves on the creek at my parents place, and after fishing one out, several hours later I noticed one of the little buggers in my hand. People who have not seen a nymph deer tick cannot believe how tiny they are.

Tick-borne illness is not the only concern of course - I expect access to various sorts of health care to become far more limited, and we will all need to take a much more active role in understanding the issues and taking care of ourselves (and each other).

As it happens, I too just got back from a visit to Arizona and Nevada with my family. My thoughts were exactly the same as yours. This was my first ever visit to Phoenix and the sheer absurdity of a city of this size in the middle of a desert is striking.

Everywhere in Phoenix, all that you can see are houses that seem to be entirely inappropriate for the climate. Instead of flat-roofed, thick-walled, high ceilinged structures suitable for the climate, all houses seem to be of the standard northeastern US design with a few decorative concessions to the locale. Not a solar panel in sight anywhere...

I think AZ (and the rest of us too) will run out of money before anything else.

"May General Fund revenue collections were
$735.2 million, or (13.9)% below May 2006."


Peak Dough

I share your view. I believe we'll see three phases, each stressing the system and ushering in the next phase of the crisis. The first being economic, the second being climate change (especially related to food production) and the third being energy. In truth the elements won't be totally distinct, more like a theme, where one will be more prevalent during each phase.

The lethal cocktail of the three elements causing chaos within our civilisation creating an avalanche of unintended consequences as mitigation is attempted. The underlying causes of the turmoil may even be lost on populations, obscured by the fog of geopolitical and social chaos that ensues.

Already, these elements can be readily seen at work, weaving the web of chaos which will eventually engulf us. The beginnings of the financial crisis can be seen in the sub-prime debacle, food production across the globe is faltering (the EU is looking at bringing all available agricultural land back into production by 2008), and everyone here at TOD are aware of what's going on in the energy arena.

The amazing thing is that it is all so obvious, but, even so it would appear that the majority of people seem completely oblivious to what is going on. They are unprepared to cope with what's happening today (housing crash, weather chaos, fuel prices, etc). I can't even imagine what it will be like as the whole thing starts to accelerate and ever greater numbers become caught up in the collapse.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

A bit of weather chaos in London today (photos):

Flash hailstorm in South London

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

It so happens I live in Mesa, Az. (on the eastern side of Phoenix) and I have a 5000 watt solar power system, a solar hot water system, and a solar water still that generates a little over 2 gallons of distilled water a day (from any source).

I recently got a letter from my utility company (Salt River Project) that stated I was one of 180 customers with a PV system; out of 900,000!!

Three years ago Motorala tore down an old semiconductor manufacturing plant in Mesa, sold the land and a developer put in a large group of small warehouses and small business buildings. The original factory would have been ideal for manufacturing silicon solar cells!

What a waste!!!


Collapse is a fabulous book. It strikes a very important balance between pointing out that some things are just not sustainable long-term, while at the same time not falling into the doomer-porn ecstacy of Kunstler, Mark Lynas etc. etc. It's staggeringly well-informed, as is everything Jared Diamond has ever written.



COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (6:15 p.m., Sunday, July 1) -- Due to flooding from the Verdigris River, Coffeyville Resources has shut down operations at its refinery and nitrogen fertilizer plant in Coffeyville, Kan. We are monitoring the situation and will resume operations only when it is safe to do so.

No estimate is currently available for when operations can resume.

Coffeyville Resources management confirmed Sunday afternoon that a tank system containing crude oil overflowed during the early hours of the flood, and subsequent record levels of flood waters have swept the oil from containment areas within the refinery. No estimate was immediately available as to the amount of crude oil lost as access to tank gauges has been restricted by high water.

The company is also reporting a small ammonia release to the atmosphere and believes there to be no threat to the immediate community.


Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing, LLC

Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing operates a highly sophisticated oil refinery strategically located in southeastern Kansas. It is a catalytic cracking / delayed coking refinery that processes moderately heavy, medium sulfur crude oil from a broad array of domestic and international sources and predominantly produces clean transportation products such as gasoline and diesel fuels, as well as heating oil and propane. Due to its higher complexity and location, the refinery does not incur the high cost of transporting refined products via pipelines to the Midwest.

The oil refinery has undergone numerous expansions and upgrades since 1995, with aggregate capital expenditures of approximately $550 million, and operates at a throughput of 108,000 barrels per day. The refinery produces approximately 2.1 million gallons of gasoline per day, and 1.7 million gallons of middle distillates per day, predominantly diesel oil.

Due to the relative proximity to the oil refinery and pipeline access, Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing primarily markets to the Midwestern states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa for the sale of its unbranded petroleum products. Our petroleum products customer list includes petroleum refiners, convenience store operators, railroads and farm cooperatives.

Coffeyville Resources distributes its gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas liquids produced at the refinery into Magellan’s Central and Mountain pipelines, as well as MAPCO, Valero, and Chase pipelines. We also truck gasoline and diesel fuel to regional distribution centers.

Substrate I too just heard about the oil refinery and Oil cleanup because the town is an oil slick too.

This seems like it could be something to watch. they have 300 miles of pipeline. There are some large cities in the Four states they serve gasoline too.

Flooding and refineries. Gonu destruction isn't visible, but we just had our own version.

Loss of 2.1 million gallons of gasoline a day and 1.7 million of diesel oil.

Who is going to divert supplies to that area.

How soon will the stopping of the output effect delivery to the pumps.

I didn't see anything on Bloomberg about this earlier. Is this amount of fuel suddenly taken off the market (for at the least several days) not going to effect the market.


link is to company website.

News photo's show the storage tanks surrounded by water and an oil slick has formed.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Yeah, there was the tiniest blip on the news yesterday about flooding in Coffeyville and I swear they just said "An oil slick and potentially harmful chemicals from a nearby chemical plant." I spent about twenty minutes wondering why Coffeyville sounded so familiar and it wasn't till I woke up this morning it finally dawned on me "refinery." Apparently a decent sized one at that.

Here's a Reuters story on it:

Coffeyville Kansas refinery under 4-6 feet of water

Coffeyville Resources' oil refinery in Kansas was submerged under four to six feet (1.2 to 2 meters) of water due to flooding, a Montgomery County Emergency Management coordinator said Tuesday.

The 108,00 barrel-per-day refinery was shut Friday, and the flooding also caused a crude oil spill of more than 1,000 barrels from its storage tanks.

... Some gasoline traders on the Gulf Coast expected the refinery to be out of service for months due to water damage to the refinery infrastructure.

The gasoline cash market reacted bullishly on Monday, with the Midwest Group Three gasoline cash differential climbing about 13 cents a gallon.

That's impressive, doubt it's coming back online any time soon after that. Right at the height of the "driving season" too.

For some reason, it's the middle of the country that's suffering shortages now. North and South Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, etc.

If this had the words "hurricane" attached and Gulf of Mexico with a refinery in its path this size I wonder if the "re-action" would be the same.

I checked bloomberg and gasoline was up about 1.5 cents overall from memory at close today. One article talked about traders bidding on that area had jumped 14 cents at that time.

The problem of cleanup from the CNN story seemed to be a big deal. Maybe the holiday had something to do with it, but it seems obvious that his refinery will be down for some time, and with other financial obligations and city/state issues to deal with on clean up and "future" fixes of spills etc. before they can reopen.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

2.1 million gallons of Gasoline a day and they closed the refinery on friday

8.4 million gallons not producted so far at least.

Where are the imports??

I believe most other refineries in the US are still maxed out?

I guess Crude oil will build and Gasoline inventories will fall on this weeks report, next week's should be very interesting.


Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

Ah, the Verdigris -- anyone remember it from "Little House on the Prairie"? Fortunately the flow has peaked and is now down almost 4ft from peak:


The weather finally looks better as well. The flows were truly exceptional, though. At Independence, just upstream from Coffeyville, the discharge peaked at around 150000cfs. The previous record in 39 years of record keeping was only 34700, and the waters crested 22ft above flood stage!


Of course, if the expectations of it being offline for "months" are accurate, that's 1% of US refinery capacity right there.

I ran track meets in both towns in high school, and Coffeyville was not a favorite. The refinery is not a nice smelling facility. My home track was in Emporia, however, and even Coffeyville was better than Emporia on blood-burnoff days at IBP.

Speaking of Emporia, construction just started on a soya-oil to diesel plant fed from the Bunge facility in town:


Just imagine the energy independence we'll achieve with the (ahem) 3000 bbl / day coming out of that plant...

The numbers on that soybean plant triggered a back-of-the-envelope moment re: biodiesel capacity in the US:

Emporia plant cap. cost $70,000,000
capacity 60,000,000 gallons / year = 1.4million bbl/year

US Soy Oil Production ~9E9kg/year = ~59million bbl/year(http://www.soystats.com/2005/page_21.htm) (this is input, not output, but I don't have numbers on volumetric gain/loss during processing)

So a very rough estimate is that it would only take 59/1.4 * $70million = ~$3 Billion to build plant capacity that would completely monopolize soy oil production at current levels! This seems crazy to me -- can anyone spot a factor-of-something error in my guesstimate?

Also, the Emporia plant will only employ 30 plant workers, so the entire soy biodiesel industry in the US can be expected to add only about 1200 plant jobs as an absolute maximum.

Hello BostonGeologist,

Glad to see you chime in. Any ideas on if the trash, sewage, oil slick, fine silt, wood and plant debris, and other pollution caught up in this floodwater will make any lakes or rivers anoxic? Giant algae blooms and fishkills? Other blowback effects, or does the volumes of water sufficiently dilute the toxins?

Just wondering if this area is going to do an imitation of China's pollution problems. Thxs for any reply.

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

I don't think this scenario (either toxic bloom or anoxic crisis) is too much of a concern -- the rivers in Kansas deal with much worse in the form of fertilizer, ash, and pesticide runoff every year, and the resevoirs don't have long residence times (relatively low capacity / flow ratios) and are shallow and broad. If anything, the absurd flow rates should help dilute the brew that the rivers usually deal with.

The flooding is severe in terms of infrastructure impact, but the impact on farmland is not much worse than during minor flooding. In the eastern part of Kansas, the cultivated land is concentrated in the relatively narrow floodplains around the river systems, and floods fairly frequently. The duration and extent of the flooding is probably worse this year, and due to late harvest there's more unharvested wheat sitting out there out of reach due to unmanageable fields, but the impact on the state's agricultural output as a whole shouldn't be too bad if the weather breaks now.

"the rivers in Kansas deal with much worse in the form of fertilizer, ash, and pesticide runoff every year,"

Which manifests as a huge Dead Zone in the GOM.

CNN has photos and video:

The petroleum odor Monday was so strong it could be detected from helicopters passing overhead.

The oil spill, caused by a malfunction while the refinery was shutting down in advance of the flooding, has concerned federal and state officials as they monitor the slick's progress down the Verdigris River toward drinking water sources and recreation areas in Oklahoma.

'Due to the higher exchange rate, sterling prices fell by 14.6% to 33.96/bbl over the year.' from http://www.theherald.co.uk/business/other/display.var.1514064.0.0.php is something to mull over.

The price of oil in terms of North Sea production fell in British pounds, as did the amount of oil produced. Somebody has to be hurting quite badly at this point, but it is harder to actually determine who, unless it is people holding dollars.

Caution: When trying to browse to "The energy market situation doesn't look good for the United States" a couple of unfriendly looking pop-ups opened and my browser blocked the site.

I didn't have any problem, but I use Firefox, and haven't seen a popup in years. :-)

Another striking quote -
"Our job is to have foresight. Our biggest customers in the cereals sector are the livestock sector. If you overcharge the livestock industry they are not there in a year's time. This is about having an idea of what is sensible."

from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/07/02/eafarm...

Seriously, this quote really supports those who feel that meat is wasteful.

To think how easy it would be for us to reduce the world's need for grain merely by eating less meat - in a way that makes a direct impact, or as the quote has it, in a year's time.

Hello TODers,

Maybe my earlier prediction of a Pakistani War in two years was too optimistic?

Shooting erupts at radical mosque in Pakistan
At least nine killed, including 2 police officers, soldier, officials say

US to hunt the Taliban inside Pakistan

Bombshell if true: Musharraf OKs U.S. attacks inside Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan: Some 1 million people left homeless by massive flooding are facing threats to their lives such as a potential cholera outbreak and poisonous snakes slithering through the muddy waters, relief officials said Tuesday.

Are there any Cornucopians left in the world who still espouse a long lifetime for everyone of ease, comfort, plenitude, and easy-motoring for all? IMO, the news in google seems blowback forces are increasing everywhere.

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

to me it seems that talibani way of life is not negotiable - I think I'am having an ecco in my left ear ear ear ear...

I, for one, cannot wait for massive water wars to break out in the Southwest.

Places like Vegas & PHX won't exist in 50 years; at least not as we know them now.

If Vegas could barely handle the crime & mayhem from all the LA gangbangers that took over the town during the NBA All Star weekend, how are they going to handle intra-city warfare with all of LA? Dear God, that will be fun to watch.


Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Nice sentiment but the Declaration of Independence is not law of the land, the Constitution is.

I wonder what's going to happen to my little hay ranch in western Colorado?

Will my irrigation water be confiscated in one last desperate attempt to keep Las Vegas/Phoenix/Los Angeles growing for a few more years?

Will we take the water we now use to raise food to try to keep the economy sprawling in the desert Southwest, even though it's ultimately doomed?

I'm afraid we might be a dumb species.

"Will my irrigation water be confiscated in one last desperate attempt to keep Las Vegas/Phoenix/Los Angeles growing for a few more years?"

That's a given.

Watch the film 'Chinatown', your questions about water will be answered and you will be entertained by one of the best films ever produced.

Better yet, read Cadillac Desert for a history of water in the West. (Perhaps the most coherent way to look at the history of the West.)

The LA Times had an article today...

Delta on the brink, panelists warn

Decisions could be forced on California agribusiness, with some water-intensive, less-pricey crops fallowed to ensure adequate water supplies for homes, businesses and the state's more profitable agricultural commodities.

Miller singled out cotton grown in the southern San Joaquin Valley as a potential target, saying that in the water wars of the West, it's "like the SUVs of the energy crisis."

Agriculture leaders balked at the idea.

That's interesting, Leanan

I don't suppose L.A. and San Diego volunteered to stop growing so that there would be enough water for agriculture?

Agriculture always used to be kind of a marginal endeavor in western Colorado, but last winter the traditional $2-3 hay bale was selling for $10.

There might actually be a profit motive in being a small-time rancher. Who knew?

So the trick will be keeping our water from being confiscated.

Just got this link on taking water.
I was shocked that Granite Falls Minnesota dropped there aquifer by 50% in one year from the ethanol plant. Never heard a thing on MSM, go figure. Puts a crimp on there ROI I would think. Maybe a rain catchment/cistern would be a good investment for the home place.

Hmm, Vermont seems to have lots of water. Let's go there.

Nothing to see here. Move along please.

Next Year's NBA All-Star game will be in New Orleans.

Best Hopes ?


If Vegas could barely handle the crime & mayhem from all the LA gangbangers that took over the town during the NBA All Star weekend, how are they going to handle intra-city warfare with all of LA?

This is extremely exaggerated. If I remember correctly, there were a couple of shootings. One involving "Pac Man" Jones, at a strip club where a bouncer got shot (he lived but is paralyzed). A second shooting occurred in a parking garage where the victim died. Another fight broke out at the nightclub at the "Wynn" hotel but no one was shot.

You make it sound like it was Pakistan

Nine Killed in Pakistan Gun Battle at Red Mosque

On any given day there are 400,000-500,000 visitors in Las Vegas. Since this number is nearly equal to population of your state, I guess a couple of shootings and fights might seem like the end of the world. :)

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

A recent article on tourism (sorry no link) about Las Vegas discussed the NBA in LV. One of the reasons for a shortage of visitors was the NBA. The Japanese tourists and gamblers there during that time evidently didn't like the atmosphere of the gang bangers in the hotels and casino's. Went back and told their friends.

It wasn't Pakistan with car bombings, but say you as a white christian walk down the street and they hurl epitaphs and such at you. Then you get sorta the same thing. And guns are always a possibility. Have you ever been around "gang bangers". weapons are just a pull a way.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

One of the reasons for a shortage of visitors was the NBA.

I don't understand this, as there wasn't a "shortage" of visitors during all-star weekend. There wasn't a hotel room to be had in the entire city. The "Japanese" tourists you refer to were actually "Chinese" as that weekend coincided with the Chinese new year.

If your asserting that tourism has fallen off since the all-star weekend, I guess you'll need to show me some proof.

Las Vegas Gaming Wire

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Nearly 4.2 million passengers hustled through McCarran International Airport in May, an increase of almost 7 percent from the same month last year, and it comes as airline flights nationally are more crowded than ever.

The rise at McCarran was nearly across the board with international airlines and low fare domestic carriers leading the charge. Legacy carriers such as Delta and Continental also posted strong numbers.

It wasn't Pakistan with car bombings, but say you as a white christian walk down the street and they hurl epitaphs and such at you. Then you get sorta the same thing.

First off, if you had bothered to read the article I linked to, it had nothing to do with car bombimgs. Second, to assert that having someone "hurl epitaphs" (epithets) is "sorta the same thing" as dealing with car bombings is really sort of funny. You are equating being uncomfortable around young blacks, hispanics, philipinos, etc. because of something they said with being attacked with an explosive device? I hope none of the "victims" in the article you read suffer from PTSD as a result of their weekend here.

Have you ever been around "gang bangers". weapons are just a pull a way.

Yes, we have our fair share of gangbangers here without needing them to visit from Los Angeles. The beauty of Nevada being a state that allows easy access to concealed carry permits, is that I too can choose to be armed at almost anytime if I wish. (Public library, courthouse, and schools are exceptions.) Are you trying to assert that white Christians are never armed? That seems to be a rather ignorant statement. What exactly is the religious and
ethnographic makeup of the NRA?

My point in responding to powderboy's post was that he made it sound like it was close to a breakdown in civil order. Had you watched the video of the police department dealing with the patrons of the Wynn nightclub where the fight occurred, you would have seen that they had order well in hand (a heavy hand, but that's another matter).
The events of that weekend were greatly hyped. That was my point. In any given weekend here there are fights, shootings, murders, etc. It's life in the big city.

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

Visitors per dollar lost/spent. What do the local stats say for that. The article dealt with the Japanese market being off, and they were big spenders. There are lots of adds to go to Vegas with lots of perks to get people there now. People may be coming, but what is the turnover ratio compared to the overseas trade, (hype, the club incident showed them what can happen, and they saw plenty of over the top rude crotch grabbing, lewd offensive language and more was taken as a threat.

I made no such assertions about car bombings equaling anything. You stated it didn't reach the violence of Pakistan. Violence in Pakistan takes on all forms, I didn't limit it. I used one of many examples, whether or not they were in the story etc. The point is in Pakistan you never know when violence can happen. The perception of the Japanese and other visitors was that violence can happen at anytime. Can you disagree with that perception and claim they don't have a point.

The association of being a stranger in a "strange' land and being uncomfortable is a fact. The example is not out of place. Fear is fear.

You claim that the events were "hyped". Those events happened and you are claiming that other events and disruptions etc., did not happen from the gang banger's.

So you have a carry permit, why,.. are you claiming that the Gang bangers have carry permits. No, they carry and not for the same reason a person that goes thru the process and costs of carrying a weapon for "protection". so I don't understand your statement in relation to being in able to carry and the gang bangers. Are you going to step in and "help" when he is not pointing a gun at you but at someone else in your presence. Do you have the money or cheap access to legal help to back up a shot in that case.

I am not saying the city did anything wrong. I state the obvious. The perception (do to the nature of the crowd that is now attracted to playoff games) wo do not go to the games, but "hang" and play at being big shots, it hurts the image of the town, and the nature of the game is also damaged.

Note the NBA has a dress policy now to dampen the gang type perception of the players. I am very familiar with NBA players in a limited sense. The difference on how they were dressed when they got off the bus a couple years ago and now as is shown on tv as the players are viewed getting of the bus on their treks to the locker rooms.. The dress change, well its huge. This was in direct relation to the problem mentioned above.

During that period yes, life in a big city, but life in a big city with large crowd of youth dressed and acting in a manner that many find socially and in cases, criminal but not enforced by law due to trying to "keep the peace" by ignoring and leniency that others find as "catering".

Now I know LV wants a team, and maybe you too. This has nothing to do with that. This is about what happens when the all star game comes to town now. As usual it all about the benjamins

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Hello TODers,

Recall my speculation on Earthmarines: protecting the habitat and lifeforms within from extinction is the best way to traverse the Bottleneck Squeeze; sad as it is, it is better to shoot humans than let them eat the last carrot, potato, poodle, or chimpanzee on the planet. Zimbabwe appears to be doing a poor job:

Zimbabwe wildlife pays cost of economic crisis
A habitat can only stand with an interlocking spectrum of species. Knock it too far out of kilter: it then collapses to a new equilibrium level, hopefully not blowing sand dunes.

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

A friend of mine who is Peak Oil aware recently forwarded this link to me via email: Making Gasoline from C02. I've been insistent that such a scheme likely wouldn't result with a positive ERoEI, but hes adamant that this is a free lunch. Would the community of TOD care to chip in their 2 cents and offer up some additional points? Thanks :)

I'm not a chemist, so this is just my impression. The problem with making this efficient is that in dealing with a gas, there is not a lot of carbon there. 1 Kg of CO2 in gaseous form takes up 509 liters of space at sea level. Even if you have a whole room full of CO2, there is not much carbon present. It seems like it would be difficult to get a lot of energy out of this process.

I'm not out to try to shoot down what may be a good idea though - let them try it. It just doesn't seem too promising at first glance.

The solar-power question always boils down to conversion efficiency. I don't care if we make hydrogen, electricity, or CO from the photocells, because they're ultimately interconvertible forms of energy anyway.

So a cheap PV film would make electric vehicles look good all of a sudden, even given our current (ahem) battery limitations. A solar CO generator might be a more convenient source of liquid ICE fuel, and maybe that's a bad thing, given the low conversion efficiency of most engines. Hydrogen could be the safest bet when it comes to direct conversion, both as source and sink, given the long experience with fuel cells. But remember that hydrogen is just a chemical battery, a means of storing the energy that comes from someplace else.

As an Ohio high school kid in 1971, I saw a hydrogen fuel-cell car demo at our science club. It was a Mini Cooper with a trunk full of car batteries and two GE electric motors, but the interesting part was the "oil-hydrogen-air three-phase interface fuel cell," as the driver described his power plant. It used very clean motor oil pumped over the palladium-on-carbon catalyst to bring the hydrogen gas into intimate contact with the electrodes, where it broke down into cool steam and spare electrons. Like a hybrid, it generated a modest, steady stream of power, which the batteries doled out on demand. The gas was stored in four compressed cylinders on the roof of the car.

The limitation of the system may have been the lifetime of the catalyst, which was easily poisoned.

1) The article speaks about producing CO from CO2. To produce gasoline you also will need hydrogen. Producing hydrogen with PV + electrlisys would be horrendously expensive. Add the capital investment for producing CO and for the Fischer-Tropps process and the finished product may very well cost $20/gallon.
Alternatively you can get hydrogen from natural gas much more cheaply, but why the trouble if you can burn NG in your vehicle directly after just a minor modification?

2) CO is a poisonous gas - this makes it far from the perfect for storing and transporting energy

3) The article does not talk about capital investment and costs. There are many ways to produce marginal quantities of liquid fuels (algal farms come to mind) but if they require too much resources (with the associated embodied energy) they better be left alone

Hi PartyGuy.

Here's my 2 cents from skimming the site:

First, the process requires platinum (more valuable than gold) and gallium. Neither element is abundant, to put it mildly.

The process involve 2 parts: First make carbon monoxide (CO)from CO2 with the solar cell, then use the Fischer-Tropsch process on the CO to produce the hydrocarbon-fuel product.

Well, Fischer-Tropsch requires hydrogen, in a free state if I understand properly; so where does the unbound hydrogen come from? Conversion losses in producing it are quite high.

What is the embodied energy of the cell? Starting with mining the ores, fabrating the raw materials, etc...

CO2 exists in a fairly diffuse state with a partial pressure (in the atmosphere) of 4mm Hg or so. So you either use up a lot of energy to get throughput at the surface of the electrode, or you just sit and let passive diffusion deliver the CO2 at a leisurely rate, albeit for free. That may or may not be worthwhile depending on the maximum conversion rate at the electrode.

Then you have to deliver the carbon monoxide product to the Fischer-Tropsch process, with it's poor EROEI.

Between the embodied energy costs, hydrogen conversion losses, Fischer-Tropsch conversion losses, it seems to amount to nothing more than an interesting lab experiment.

But it may be amazingly efficient at separating a fool from his money.

>Well, Fischer-Tropsch requires hydrogen, in a free state if I understand properly; so where does the unbound hydrogen come from? Conversion losses in producing it are quite high.

With CO you can use the Water Gas shift method to produce H2 by reacting water with CO. The products are H2 and CO2. Needless to say, the Energy efficiency of using CO to extract Hydrogen is very poor.

>CO2 exists in a fairly diffuse state with a partial pressure (in the atmosphere) of 4mm Hg or so.

CO2 would probably originate from more denser sources such as CO2 capture from a coal fired plant. Commerical sources of CO2 usually originate from refinery or power plants.

Overall trying to produce Gasoline from CO2 is absolutely ridiculous. FT produces Olefins which aren't suitable for the production of Gasoline. It would more appropriate to produce Diesel, Methanol or other fuels based upon linear hydrocarbons. Although the longer the hydrocarbon chain fuel is, the lower the efficiency of the FT process. IIRC, Methanol is about 60% efficient and Diesel is about 20% efficient.

>But it may be amazingly efficient at separating a fool from his money.

Thats the name of the game: Get investors and gov't subsidies to generate a boat load of cash. Alternate Energy is the same as the dot-com error of the late nineties.

1996-2001 Internet and Dot-Com companies
2002-2006 Real Estate Bubble
2007-2011ish Alternate Energy
2014-???? Undertakers (Bring out your dead!)

Making gasoline from CO2 and H2O is scientifically feasible but there are unknowns engineering-wise and economics-wise. Extracting CO2 from the air can be done via a chemical cycle or cryogeniclly. Which way is most energy efficient or cost efficient is up for grabs. Once capture then carbonated water can be mixed up then electrolyzed to create H2 and CO on one side with O2 on ther other. The H2 and CO are reacted with a catalyst to produce a broad range of hydrocarbons ranging from methane to parafin wax with gasoline as part of the mix. Percentages of each are dependent on temps and pressure and the catalyst. My WAG is maybe 10 btus of input for each btu of gasoline. Just how much you will be willing to pay to run that vintage SUV in the 2076 4th of July parade is up to you.

I've recently seen some white papers dealing with the formation of hydrocarbons with carbon monoxide and metal catalyst e.g. FeCl3.

These research groups are interested in proving that in theory you would be able to obtain hydrocarbon products. Their ability to isolate any amount of benzene or hexanes is considered publishable. We are talking parts per thousand i.e. detectable by mass spectrometry.

This type of technology would take years of slow perfection and is at best fringe right now.

You have to rip off two oxygens from one carbon and then bond that carbon, with another carbon plus hydrogens, sort of speaking. This takes a lot more energy than pumping out some black gold :).

Typical conditions are “after heating at 330 °C for 2–4 days…”

These are at best pipe dreams, but you never know. Steorn may prove to be greater than unity.

A recent article about global warming in Switzerland has some alarmists talking about drought! (see Kenya article up top for real water shortage right now.. it’s been raining here for about 3 weeks, ;)

Study performed on ‘new’ data / newly homogenised data and used wherever possible 3 temp. points in the day (not maxima and minima which is of course not truly informative) ...data runs begin in 1864 or 1901 (history of recording, etc.) and include points in the range from 316 to 2490 meters altitude. Very representative.

-Between 1901 and 2000, average rise per decade: .135 Celsius

-From the 1970 (or 71/2, taking a bit or a shortcut) the rise per decade is calculated at: .571 C

- No significant or slight but interesting, ‘notable, ‘intriguing’ differences appeared between altitudes, or north/south, or on different sides of the Alps, etc. (Switz is very small but geographically very various...) It was concluded that the phenomenon is general, and that the local particularities often put forward are so much rubbish (my words.)

- Interestingly, and this point is often neglected (imagine the effects on agriculture for ex.), the seasonal (category: winter, spring...) variation in rise is consequent, and significant, following a rank order from low to high temp raises: autumn, winter, spring, summer. The difference between spring and summer is small.

Rebetez & Reinhart 2007 (June) .. Theoretical and Applied Climatology. (Springer journal.)

Here is another photo of the noctilucent clouds but this one is taken from a satellite. Go to link and scroll down the page to view. I posted link to top photo a few days ago. The clouds remain a mystery.


I would like to see someone on TOD write a feature article or an in-depth post on the Orinoco oil sands. These tar sands have an estimated 1.8 trillion barrels of oil present, giving Venezuala by some measures the largest (unconventional) oil reserves in the world. At the same time, Venezuelan oil production is not increasing but declining, now down to 2.3 million barrels a day from 3.0 million barrels a few years ago.

The article Leanan posted above on Exxon-Mobil and Conoco-Phillips pulling out of the Orinoco project in Venezuela had the usual even-handedness, with some commentators saying when these companies leave the remaining partners with Venezuela will not have the technical capability to extract oil efficiently from the oil sands, while other commentators say that this technology is no great secret and can be achieved by the remaining partners. I have no idea which perspective is correct, but would like to know. I think TOD readers might also be suspicious as to how fast anybody can extract oil from the sands, along with questions about financial feasibility and EROEI. I've read here some on Canadian oil sands, but not much on Venezuela.

I'm hoping for a geological/technical discussion without a pro or anti-Chavez harangue.

This guy can fill you in:

Talking Orinoco

It takes 5 things to extract value from heavy oil crude. Access to the resource, the intellictual capital to find and develop it, the financial capital to install the equipment needed, a marine fleet, and refineries or markets to take your crude. Mr. Chavez now has about the first 1 1/2 of these things.

He is looking to the Russians and the Chinese for technical help - but they have little experience in heavy oil. Many of the PDVSA employees are working tar sands in Western Alberta. The Orinoco field is not easy. Despite being a "Venezuela" operation, there were whole buildings of scientists and engineers in Houston supporting the effort and telling the partnerships where to drill and how deep.


Thanks very much for the response. I read the whole blog on this subject and would commend it to other TOD readers.

I was interested in the fact that ConocoPhillips intends to write-off $4.5 billion in the second quarter due to the termination of their involvement in Orinoco. Also interesting was the fact that Exxon Mobile and ConocoPhillips may pursue this matter in court, with an eye toward seizing Venezuelan assets, particularly some or all of the Citgo refineries operating in the U.S. The blog did not speculate on how Chavez would respond to such litigation. One's imagination can really took off on that prospect.

Yup, it's an interesting question. But there is precedent for a government's assets being seized in a foreign country as a result of a contract violation which was subject to the laws of that (foreign) country (I can think of Russian and Argentinian examples related to debt defaults). Chavez' options in response would, of course, run the whole gamut of options that are open to a sovereign state - including declaring war etc. But I'm gonna go on record as calling this a VERY SMART MOVE by Conoco and Exxon.


That is, after all, why US and global corps put GATS and stuff like Chapter 11 in place. That's what I mean when I write about how "our terms of trade"="our technology". They will try to lock up VZ assets outside the country. Easier profit than oil business.

Didn't VZ sell the Citgo refineries in US a year or so ago? How much of Citgo do they still own? The money of rich expatriots in the banks are probably a bigger pie, though. Still, handing it to the lawyers is not going to make more oil.

There's probably some US tax law says they can offset their "loss" in VZ against their in US profits. Maybe double count it for the pain and suffering. Voila!

cfm in Gray, ME

Welcome back to TOD. Hope your time fishing in Scotland was excellent.

Of course, Ireland would have been even better.....



When I think about Venezuela, and other places that are nationalizing their resources but presumably don't have the technology at the moment to cope with it or refine it...

... I think, what's the rush? I mean, from their point of view. If it takes them years to work out how to refine their crappy crude (heavy, sour, etc.), with or without help from outside, well, the world is going to be just that much further down the road of depletion, and presumably whatever they have will be that much more valuable.

Does any producing country have a moral obligation to produce and refine as much as possible as quickly as possible?

I mean this as a serious question. Seems to me all these twists and turns (I mean, "above-ground factors") simply stretch out the production-plateau phase before the real downturn. Is this a bad thing?

Again, I mean this as a serious question.

When I read some comments around on the possiblity of slow-moving developements in the Orincco due to the pulling out issue by Exxon-Mobil and Conoco-Phillips - I get the impression that Venuzuela is the loosing part .. they are not loosing anything (they "save" for later...)

In my view its the overall world production which suffers, and in particular the US - because US is near and I suppose it takes the grand share of it - where will this loss be covered from instantly (?)

About “global warming could increase US death rate.”

True enough, of course, but insignificant as compared to death in road accidents, murder and manslaughter, work accidents, poisonings, infectious diseases, heart attacks, cancer, natch, lack of health care in general, etc.

Remember all the excess deaths in France in the summer of 2003?

Many explanatory factors have been put forward, but one that professionals discuss has seen no press, not been analyzed, so no links:

Psychotropic medication disturb temp. regulation of the body. Such medication is routinely given in France to practically (? ..) all the elderly in hospitals and homes, to keep them quiet; not done in other EU countries (Italy is likely an exception, and they had more excess deaths, not made public, one can dig for it though..)

Not bringing it up to make a big deal or blame Big Pharma - or anyone - just to say that the problem is very complex and temp rises are perhaps in themselves a hyped up factor.

For ex. in France, it was judged by many that the calendar, that is the August vacations, when *everyone*, nurses, docs, families, aids, workers, ambulance drivers, elevator tecs, concierges, street cleaners, food delivery ppl, and air conditioner tecs go off on holiday, to the ‘country’, to the South, to Spain or further such as Thailand, etc. The non mobile / institutionalized were left stranded with an incompetent skeleton staff, who naturally doped them more and were neglectful, resentful, sadistic, as they were missing out on the social scene, would have no stellar stories to tell.

Self-medication with alcohol can help to beat the heat, regardless of age. When I was young and foolish I'd drink six quarts of beer a day in hot weather; the sweating kept me relatively cool and healthy. Now that I'm old and foolish I am partial to the single-malt products of Scotland, taken in moderation.

Why hoard gold and ammunition when you could have cases of fine Scotch or Cognac in your basement? It lasts indefinitely and keeps increasing in value. Furthermore, mixed with a modest amount of good water it relaxes the mind and body. Red wine is another good investment that will keep for many years, and if good to start with is likely to improve with age. For do-it-yourselfers there is a plethora of brewing kits out there.

Peak oil, for sure, but I can deal with that. Peak beer, now that is something to worry about;-)

The idea of peak beer gives me the willies.

I'm a rather experienced home brewer. I have hops growing on the side of the road here. And yeast is easy, but...

... must learn how to grow barley! (and how to malt it properly).

'Scepticism' over climate claims

The Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults - interviewed between 14 and 20 June - found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change.

There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.

The survey suggested that terrorism, graffiti, crime and dog mess were all of more concern than climate change.

...a significant number have many doubts about exactly how serious it really is and believe it has been over-hyped...

...misled by those that exploit the complexity of the issue, seeking to distort the science and exaggerate the seriousness of the potential consequences of climate change


RE: Ontario to require speed limiters for big trucks

Leave it to the Canadians for some common sense solutions to the energy shortage, this should be a requirement not just for big trucks but all vehicles. Drive the speed limit today and you get blown off the road by the speeders, tailgaters and other offenders. Rider Trucks have had speed limiters for a while, at least in MN, 65 mph is the maximum no matter how hard you step on the gas.

Limiting speed may reduce fuel usage on uncongested roads, but on a congested stretch of highway it can actually increase fuel usage. The reason is capacity. A highway where the limit is 70mph can simply move a lot more cars than the same highway with a limit of 50mph. As we have all experienced, whenever a highway approaches 100% theoretical capacity, the whole system breaks down and we all get to sit in a massive traffic jam getting 0 mpg. Lowering the speed limit in a congested area will cause the highway to reach capacity faster, and therefore break down sooner, leaving more cars in gridlock. They actually tried to reduce the speed limit in Houston a few years back to 55 from 70, but it never was enforced and everyone kept going 80. After a few months, they put back up the old signs. If they had enforced it, it would have made already bad traffic a nightmare, increased fuel consumption, and decreased the air quality. I'm sure they had good intentions, but we all know where those often lead.

A highway where the limit is 70mph can simply move a lot more cars than the same highway with a limit of 50mph.

It's not that simple. For one thing, faster speeds means cars must be farther apart. It also means more disparity in speeds, since not everyone will drive 70mph, which is dangerous as well as disruptive to traffic flow. So there's diminishing returns on increasing speed to increase capacity.

There's a capacity sweet spot, that's achieved at moderate speeds and moderate congestion. Perhaps you've experienced it. The road is crowded enough that it's difficult to change lanes, but not so crowded that it's stop and go. No one's changing lanes, and everyone's driving at about the same speed.

Of course, I'm not sure we really want to increase capacity or reduce congestion. Congestion is a good way to encourage people to move closer to work or take public transportation.

And building extra capacity is a temporary fix. It just pulls people off public transportation onto the highways, and you end up with just as much congestion as before, only with more lanes of it.

The counterintuitive thing is that increased capacity means increased congestion. It typically takes just 2-3 years to fill up a widened or newly built road. People go where they think there's space.

The principle behind it has been named "latent demand".

Conversely, and equally counterintuitive, closing roads makes congestion disappear.

Another solution in limiting auto usage is to take away some of its allure.
Limit its top speed? Think about this.

If TODer's really want their Congress to do something, try writing them to make speed limiters the law of this land for ALL autos.
As we all know, Speed kills.


Are you saying gas mileage is better when driving 80 mph vs 55? The state of MN tried to tell us that by increasing the speed limit on some roads, drivers would actually abide by the speed limit and slow down, didn't happen. You don't by chance serve in the MN legislature?

No, that would be ridiculous. I'm saying that 70 is better than 5.

Lowering the speed limit in a congested area will cause the highway to reach capacity faster, and therefore break down sooner, leaving more cars in gridlock.

Actually I don't believe this is true. As an example, the M25 in London introduced variable speed limits about 10 years ago, so as congestion increased, the speed limit was progressively lowered. Having experienced the before and after on that road many times, I'd say it definitely moved better during congested times with lower speed limits. With congestion and high speeds you get bursty behaviour, often coming to a complete standstill and then getting up to high speeds again. The speed differences cause waves of slowdowns that hinder overall progress and are of course dangerous. If everyone travels at the same speed, even if it is lower, things move more smoothly and safely.

There appears to be a critical speed for a specific level of congestion, above that speed you get turbulent flow and below that speed, smooth flow. So the system keeps adjusting the speed to be the maximum that will maintain the smooth flow rate.

Another important requirement is to prohibit lane changes, as they contribute greatly to creating disruptions in flow.

Some description here:


Now I haven't driven on the M25 for a number of years, so I don't know how things are now.

yes, laminar vs turbulent flow (of traffic)

"With congestion and high speeds you get bursty behaviour"

"bursty behaviour" is just about the kindest term I have heard to describe nuisance driving, I will use it the next time I have passengers.

I have only one trip from Wisconsin to Toronto to go by, but it seemed that in Ontario if I maintained the 100km/hr speed limit I'd constantly get very slowly passed by trucks going what seemed like 100.1 (though was probably actually a bit under 105). If I slowed down to get the pass over with faster, then, naturally, whoever was behind me would figure I was just going to go slow and would join the procession passing me. I see this in the US, too, but not nearly so much. Mostly the people passing here go much faster.

That was in the spring, and it was fun to see the US residents complaining about CA$1/liter gasoline and the UK visitors with a different reaction.

Hello TODers,

Will the ongoing deforestation, desertification, and devastation in Africa allow Florida to grow free from hurricanes?

The first immense cloud of Saharan dust of the season is en route to South Florida, another sign that summer is here.

''This would be the first big one of the season,'' said Prospero, an expert on the phenomenon. ``It's really quite dense, really quite striking.'' [Please see photo inside the link--Bob S.]

For reasons not completely understood, the dust storms or the meteorological conditions that accompany them tend to suppress the development of hurricanes.

''They somehow work on cloud mechanisms,'' Prospero said.

Moreover, they help build Florida -- literally.

Top soil in much of the state includes copious amounts of reddish African dust, deposited over countless eons.
Buy your beachfront property now! PO + GW are your real estate friends!

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

We need all the African dirt that we can get! If the Greenland meltdown contiues at its current pace of increase all of us Floridians will soon be wading or swimming. I like African dirt and dont care if my vehicles are covered with it daily. The rain washes them off...er, you know Bob, its that wet stuff that falls from the sky in some parts of the US.

As Prospero was able to conjure storms, I thought you were making a humorous reference to The Tempest.

Post-Peak ergo Prospero-Peak:

Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,

I happened to want to look up the conversion factor for barrels of oil to tons, and I came up with this spectacular page...


I think it might be useful to help the new folks get acquainted with some of the slightly more technical jargon that is used here.

Peace be with you,
Justin from Lil' Rhody

Handy Dandy - Thanks!

This latest report suggests the US refinery at Coffyville will be down for several months......


Joe Bageant sent me another essay today. The Ants of Gaia

Hot Dang. I check http://www.joebageant.com/ every couple days. Love his writing. He lived just north of me. Exchanged emails a few times on different articles.

GREAT Americana Writer. I have introduced many of friends and relatives to his stuff via email.

Thanks for the link. Always enjoy another Joe Bageant essay. Your blog was interesting also.