DrumBeat: August 15, 2007

Tropical Storm Dean heads towards Caribbean

Dean has a good probability of becoming "the first hurricane of the Atlantic season as it tracks west over warmer waters," said meteorologist Dennis Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center.

...Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's biggest oil company, evacuated some staff from the Gulf of Mexico as a safety precaution. About 100 people were expected to be evacuated Tuesday after 88 were removed Monday, the company said on Monday in a statement on its website.

Dean could strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 74 to 95 mph in two to three days and a Category 2 (winds of 96 to 110 mph) or Category 3 (winds of 111 to 130 mph) in four or five days, the National Hurricane Center said.

Air Force Big: Bomb Iran's Oil?

What does every war-fighting effort require? Fuel. In this instance, Iran has real vulnerabilities that the “overwhelming application of the air instrument” can exploit.

Specifically, despite huge reserves of crude oil, Iran nevertheless must import about half of its gasoline, largely because of a shortage of domestic refinery capacity. Targeting what refinery capacity Iran possesses could directly and concretely erode its ability to support Iraqi insurgents.

Oil refineries are ideal targets for air and missile attack. They are large, relatively “soft” facilities that are difficult for even the most modern air defense to protect. At the same time, they represent wholly lawful targets generally subject to attack with a minimal risk of collateral damage.

Myanmar's junta imposes fuel hike

Myanmar's ruling military junta imposed a surprise 100 percent hike on fuel at state-owned gas stations on Wednesday, apparently to keep up with global oil prices.

As usual in the tightly controlled country, the price hike was not officially announced and car owners discovered the increases only when they drove up to fill their tanks.

...Although no official reason was given many believe the increase stems from the government's shortage of foreign currency to purchase fuel from abroad.

Belarus to dump Russian rouble in favour of US dollar

Belarus will unhook its currency from the Russian rouble to tie it to the US dollar, the Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday.

Tbilisi natural gas distributor announces overtures towards Iranian producers

Tbilisi officials have asked Iran for gas before, during last winter's energy crisis. The gas supply from Russian was cut off after explosions crippled the pipeline feeding Tbilisi. The US turned a blind eye to temporary gas imports from Iran, Khukhashvili says, given the exigent circumstances.

A number of US officials, however, have more than once voiced their country's opposition to a long-term Georgian energy pact with Iran.

Somalia reopens to oil majors

Big oil groups that declared force majeure and quit Somalia 16 years ago will be given the chance to resume their activities under the anarchic country’s proposed hydrocarbon law.

Singing the nation electric, part 2: post-oil democracy

Before fossil fuels and industrial machinery transformed the way goods and services were produced, all societies had an energy problem. Some wind power and hydropower was used, but the main energy sources were humans and animals. For the powers-that-were, slavery and serfdom were convenient ways to ensure an adequate supply of human-sourced energy. What will happen when fossil fuels are no longer available; will the global elite be in a position to reimpose serfdom and slavery?

Brooklyn street proves yes, we all can get along

What is it about Coney Island Avenue?

That's what Brooklyn College sociologist Jerry Krase wonders as he rides the B68 bus along this 5-mile commercial strip, which is populated at various stops by pockets of West Indians, Latinos, Pakistanis, Indians, Orthodox Jews, Chinese, Russians, Israelis and Ukrainians.

How do so many different kinds of people live so closely yet so peacefully?

Part 1: A Glimpse of the Energy Future

"Creating more energy-efficient buildings is not only part of the overall solution but is the number one most cost-effective opportunity to reduce the nation's energy consumption and affect climate change," says Jeff Christian, a buildings technology researcher at ORNL and coordinator of the Habitat for Humanity project. "Yes, we must replace oil with biofuels. Yes, we must pursue other supply-side solutions in an environmentally acceptable manner. But there is enormous potential to reduce energy demand in the buildings sector, and that is by far the cheapest solution if we really want to address this problem."

German solar firms boost capacity to meet demand

Germany's solar companies are driving up capacity to meet strong demand for renewable energy, while access to silicon remained the make-or-break factor for their second-quarter results on Tuesday.

Scientists warn Arctic sea ice is melting at its fastest rate since records began

This year has seen one of the most rapid rates of sea ice melting, which began in spring after one of the most disappointing winters for ice formation. "Unless something unusual happens we're definitely on track for a record loss of sea ice. We're on track to shatter all records," said Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver. "The rates of sea ice loss this year are really rather remarkable. Some of the daily rates of loss are the biggest we've ever seen. Things are happening really fast," Dr Serreze said.

Coal-to-liquids touted as way to U.S. energy independence

“It’s clear to most people that the United States is too dependent on overseas sources of petroleum. The petroleum supply, we think, is becoming more limited. We believe the technology exists to expand the supply of liquid fuels by using coal for that purpose.”

Carbon market encourages chopping forests: study

The current carbon market actually encourages cutting down some of the world's biggest forests, which would unleash tonnes of climate-warming carbon into the atmosphere, a new study reported on Monday.

Disappointing 1H Douses Hope for '07 Big Oil Output Gains

Halfway through the year, hopes for 2007 output growth from the major energy companies have been extinguished.

This year is forecast to be the latest in a long string of disappointments, as governments tighten their grip on hydrocarbons resources and rising costs make it increasingly difficult to shore up oil and gas production in mature, declining fields around the world.

Over the past four years, surging energy prices contributed to quarter after quarter of record profits for the large integrated energy companies, overriding investor concerns about weakening output. The worry: Big Oil is experiencing difficulties in tapping resources amid political upheaval and more stringent contract terms from key producers. Now that crude-oil and natural-gas prices have stabilized, prospects for profit growth have dimmed, and attention has refocused on production.

"These companies continue to disappoint in terms of value growth, particularly for oil," said Rod Oster, an analyst at A.G. Edwards in St. Louis, Mo. "The industry worldwide is having difficulty growing production."

Oil prices rise to mid-$72 a barrel

The U.S. National Hurricane Center on Tuesday said Tropical Storm Dean was heading west toward the Caribbean and forecast to be a strengthening hurricane, though it may reach major hurricane status.

"Oil prices picked up over the path that the tropical storm would take. There's projections for the path to go through various bits of oil infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico so that's worried the market a bit," said Tobin Gorey, commodity strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

Rescue crews evacuate oil platform

Rescue helicopters evacuated more than 30 workers from an oil platform 125 miles off Scotland's coast late Tuesday following a fire in the engine room, the platform operators said.

Drilling Activity Hits New High in Ultra-Deep Gulf of Mexico

A record number of drilling rigs are currently working in ultra-deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico. "For the first time, 15 rigs are drilling for oil and gas in 5,000 feet of water or greater in the Gulf," MMS Director Randall Luthi announced today. "The continued increase in drilling activity is a show of confidence in the resource potential of the Gulf's ultra-deepwater frontier."

Venezuela Setting Up Oil Services Co.

Venezuela is creating its own oil-field services company to reduce dependence on foreign contractors, the country's top energy official said Tuesday.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said the state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, is starting its own version of Houston-based oil-field services company Halliburton Co. to provide services within the oil-producing country.

How to Solve Our Energy Issues—Fast

Instead of forcing automakers to improve fuel economy, a better way to save gas would be to lower speed limits and encourage telecommuting.

Alt energy boom

The IEA has been criticized in the past for overestimating future possible production increases. The fact the agency is revising its view, to bring it more in line with that of the peak oil crowd, was greeted by a big "we told you so" in that community. But the big reaction to the IEA's outlook was in financial markets where the stocks of solar energy companies were up 10% on average the day after the report came out. It seems investors are equating news about tight fossil fuel markets with buying opportunities in the alternative energy sector, and that's making it feel a lot like the early days of the dot-com boom.

China, India face water risk from biofuel

Present plans by China and India for biofuel production could mean they face water scarcity by 2030, a researcher said.

Charlotte de Fraiture, a Colombo-based scientist with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), said in an interview that she did not "see a lot of potential for biofuel production in either China or India because of the water.

"It's not that I'm saying don't go for biofuels. It's just that India and China are two water-short countries."

Global warming boosts crop disease

Global warming will fuel a disease that annually causes hundreds of million dollars in damage to rapeseed plants, used to make canola oil, according to a study released Tuesday.

Climate change adds to Africa cotton farmers' woes

African cotton farmers battling Washington over trade policies they say keep them poor have a new enemy: the shrinking rainy season.

Man to warm planet despite natural coolers

Man will keep heating up the planet over the next few years but natural factors like cooler seas could soften the blow, according to a new study by Britain's leading climate forecaster.

In its first long-term global climate forecast looking at natural and human factors behind climate change, the UK's Met Office forecasts 2014 will be 0.3 degrees Celsius warmer than in 2004, in spite of the cooling effect of natural factors in the planet's atmosphere like lower sea temperatures.

The article over at the energy bulletin using Hubbert Linearization on worldwide phosphorus production was quite fascinating.

Usually a link is provided

It was posted and discussed in a previous DrumBeat, which maybe why he didn't bother to post the link again this time.


Opps, Sorry.

This piece will be over here on Friday. :) Already in the works.

Hello Prof. Goose,

Greatly looking forward to this keypost. I am still trying to catch up on my reading on the great EB articles and links. The more I read about the fertilizer market, both synthetic and organic, the more alarmed I get for future generations to have an extremely tough, asphalt & concrete road to hoe. =(

This critical NPK supply chain closely parallels Peakoil, but started much earlier; metaphorically, we picked the easy fruit first even before the tree grew tall. Burning countless trees for potash, digging guano out of batcaves, or scraping off the bird poo residue on islands was ERoEI justifiable even before the advent of FFs, industrial mining, and the subsequent Haber-Bosch process for turning natgas into ammonia.

Liebig and the Nineteenth Century Crisis of the Soil

In the 1820s and 1830s in Britain, and shortly afterwards in the other developing capitalist economies of Europe and North America, concern over the "worn-out soil" led to a phenomenal increase in the demand for fertilizer. The value of bone imports to Britain increased from [pounds]14,400 in 1823 to [pounds]254,600 in 1837. The first boat carrying Peruvian guano (the accumulated dung of sea birds) arrived in Liverpool in 1835; by 1841 1,700 tons were imported, and by 1847 some 220,000 tons arrived. So desperate were European farmers in this period that they raided the Napoleonic battlefields (Waterloo, Austerlitz) for bones to spread over their fields.
I encourage all TODers to read the fertilizer snippets on Bart's EnergyBulletin.net.

I have posted much on Humanure Recycling before, and have been pissing in the backyard as much as possible to enrich the soil every since I encountered a few years ago the evolutionary reasons for 'pooping on the grass vs pooping on the rock-throne' in an article on Dieoff.com.

Yep, the tiny backyard is surrounded by a brick wall for privacy, and my longtime girlfriend [who owns the property, not me] has gradually gotten over her initial disgust, but refuses to join me in the activity or allow a compost pit. Her freakout denial runs deep, which breaks my heart: she refuses to discuss Peakoil, or even glance at my postings.

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

I have found you need to start from a different angle. Come at the subject obliquely. My wife is slowly becoming more interested in PO and the problems of resource use and population, but it has taken a couple of years. I try not to bug her about it, either... softly, softly, water wears down the rock eventually ;-)

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

Hello NZSanctuary,

Thxs for responding. Brace yourself: a little more historical context on my Ass-Fault Wonderland, Thermo/Gene Collision situation on my local homefront [flamefront?]....

My intro to Peakoil was Jay's Dieoff in summer '03: I went from an energy article by Jane Byrant Quinn in a paper Newsweek mag that referenced a webpage that had a weak, but intriguing expose', but my eye caught the link to Dieoff in the corner...one click later my life had irrevocably changed as I had to actually go throw-up--> my mind was pre-wired to instantly grasp all the implications upon seeing the first Dieoff graphs. In short: I had taken the Red Pill like in the Matrix film. Elasped Full Conversion Time: ETA of approx 5 minutes.

I had read Paul Ehrlich's "Population Bomb" decades earlier as a 12 year old, but my still-developing mind must have subconciously processed this info, along with other newsbits for years, while I outwardly remained in what I now call my previous day-to-day 'Happy Idiot' mode. All my subsequent Dieoff exploration was not to mentally deny anything, but to merely reinforce my earlier, but hidden mindset.

Well, when my girlfriend suddenly saw a perfectly healthy guy suddenly retching his guts out into the toilet, she glanced at Dieoff on my computer, then did a little reading on her laptop, then nearly instantly went the opposite direction into severe fear & denial. Our relationship has never been the same since that fateful day; me--red pill, her-- a reinforced blue pill.

I often go into Zombie Mode, as she calls it, when I am deep in thought on a future posting concept, and she says it scares the Hell out of her when she encounters my thousand-yard stare. If I try to discuss Peakoil with her--'Talk to the Hand' or much worse.

I asked her to sell her house back in 2005, move to Cascadia, then I would rejoin her at some future time after my frail mom finally passed [that is if my girlfriend would still have me, but I was willing to take that chance]. No dice, she is locked into the 'psychology of prior investment'.

To show how diametrically opposed we are: we currently are renovating the inside of her house--carpets, curtains, paint, laminate flooring, etc, even though I pleaded with her to spend the money instead on energy-saving dual-pane glass, insulation, pot-belly wood-stove, etc. No way, Jose'.

Other examples:

I wanted to hoard the small woodpile for when we really needed it, but she went ahead anyway, burning it for the 'ambience' in our non-optimal regular fireplace.

I wanted to stockpile the old phonebooks for future toilet paper, but she ditched them behind my back.

I offered to buy a portable camping toilet that uses blue juice; that I would empty and clean it for both of us to save massive amounts of water. No deal--she loves flush toilets, over her dead body.

I am amazed I haven't lost my sense of humor, or worse, had a nervous breakdown; it is like our ying-yang harmony or feng-shui relationship/lifestyle is wildly out-of-whack to my mindset. I guess I now must be bi-polar-wired to handle the situation; I can easily flip from red pill to blue pill, or vice versa whenever required.

Or maybe I am just a Wild & Crazy Guy!

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


you are far more hardcore than I - I would be happy just to get her to let me complete a sentence about the subject, let alone watch End of Suburbia
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Hiya Bob. Tough situation. Sounds like you're stuck between the proverbial rock... keeping a sense of humour is a good investment IMO ;-)

Interesting how many people here have used the red pill/blue pill anology. Good fiction parallels life, I guess.

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

My SO is willing to follow my Peak Oil dreams, as long as they don't lower my salary or harm our property value. =(

She would freak out if I peed or pooped on the garden. We do separate household waste into two bags for the garden:

1. vegetable scraps from the kitchen
2. shredded envelopes promising 0% interest home loans

Not much we can do about plastic itself?

I sadly have to say that your experience is not unusual (as I was waiting for the reply in new window to open i noticed you commented more below and read that).

With my wife I think she must get it - she is very smart - but her visceral reaction and aggressive denial have rocked our already shaky marriage. I think the clash between her need to buy more stuff and what is necessary to prepare for Peak Oil is going to be resolved for her by more denial and the disconnect being covered with more spending... I've commented before on the Louis Vuitton purses - ugh!

I am banned from even discussing it in the house. Ironically a sudden collapsed job situation (not unrelated to some of the behaviours I mention above) is likely to force us to take some of the Peak Oil preparation steps early anyway... at least I hope that's the road we go down.

But you aren't alone... I have two kids though, one of whom has special needs... I just cannot bury my head and let what's coming hit me unprepared... and if I am wrong? well the risk is too great not to try.

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

SCO Forges Military Alliance, Rebuffs US

"This is Cold War Mark II folks — a deadlier sequel to Mark I now that China is on board. Fasten your seatbelts for an uncomfortable ride ahead!"




Sure looks like they are going up against some heavily armed 'terrorists'


Interesting to me that it is being spinned as "anti-terrorist" exercises. Who would be the target audience for that?

Doesn't seem it is us Americans. Seems more like the Russians (who have been at it for a while) and Chinese (new to me) governments recognise a good "enemy" when they see one, and are joining the US game of monsters under the bed. Hmmm....


Perhaps they decided to add the US Military to THEIR terrorist List


Who could blame them? Like the US has the moral standing to label anyone anything as they're perpetrating this filthy war of aggression against Iraq.

SCO is made up of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, Pakistan, India, and Mongolia have observer status. Iran may become a full member at this Summit.
Russia is currently upgrading Syria's military, Iran is paying for it. Russia is building a deep water port in Syria to house the Black Sea Fleet. China has troops in Lebanon. Kazakhstan has just completed a security agreement with Jordan. Afgahnistan's Karzai has attended previous SCO Summits.
Armenia and Belarus are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) along with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Their Leaders will attend the SCO Summit and war games but not participate.
Among full and observer members of the SCO, only Iran and Mongolia are non-nuclear.(Mongolia currently seeks world recognition as a nuclear-weapons-free zone. We know the story with Iran.)
Sounds a whole lot tougher than the Warsaw Pact.

Attacking Iran could be equivalent to attacking a Warsaw Pact country back in the days of the Soviet Union.

Agreed. It would be starting WW3. Cheney just may be clueless/insane enough to do it though.

Why not? Cheney personally started this new cold war with his stupid speech in the Baltics with Putin sitting just yards away.

/ Somewhat Off Topic /

I wonder if this new belligerence against Iran is related to Karl Rove's impending departure from the White House.

Rove's leaving will create an incredible power vacuum at the very top of the administration. If that role is filled with a neocon true-believer things could get even uglier.

My take: Rove's departure means that Cheney wins. And we know what he wants to do...

Hmmm. You'd have a hard time convincing me that Rove and Cheney were anything but bosom buddies.

At that level, people don't have buddies, they have interests.

Rove is fixated on Republican Votes. If bombing Iran can be spun as a vote-getter, he'd advocate it. He'd be for eating puppies if it helped Republican votes.

They were buddies for a long time because Rove thought that "acting tough on terrirsts" would play well in Ohio, suburban housefraus afraid of the next al-Qaeda bombing in Dayton, and that's why we have to be against terrorists in Iraq.

Even a true believer like Rove has finally figured out that getting spanked in 2006 (**) means that even some of Rove's base has grown weary of the BS.

Cheney, well, his motives are darker but clearly popularity isn't part of his calculus.

Hence on bombing Iran:

Rove: "No, don't do it, it's bad for retaking a Republican majority"

Cheney: "Do not underestimate the power of the Emperor."

And thus they part.

(**) The net margin of victory by Democrats in the latest Congressional election was greater than that of the 1994 "Republican Revolution" of Gingrich. And yet do you hear of the rippling muscular "mandate for change" and "revolution" and all that like 1994 from the supposedly "liberal" media?

Car has been wearing this a few years, getting truer all the time.

I like this one:

Don’t settle for the lesser evil. ;-)

If anything this will cause them to strike sooner. As in strike before they have a chance to piece together a good defence.

Share the End - Carly Simon


Lyrics by: Jacob Brackman
Music by: Carly Simon

Here come the priests, each one wailing and bemoaning
Lordy, they got their heads bowed down
Here come the madmen, they're too excited for atoning:
"Burn the mosque," they're shouting, "Burn it down!"

Save me a place, surrounded with friendly faces
All of us have gathered here to share the end
To watch the world go up in flames

Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us a day
Give us an hour

Here come the kings, let's dispense with their apologizing
Just bring on the acrobats and clowns
Here comes the rumble, hang on for universal dying
Please ignore the baying of the hounds

Save me a place, surrounded with friendly faces
All of us have gathered here to share the end
To watch the world go up in flames

Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us some time to work things out
Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us a day
Give us an hour
Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us some time to work things out
Please, Lord we're not ready
Give us a day
Give us an hour

© 1971 Quackenbush Music Ltd./Kensho Music

We actually got 36 yrs and counting. More than asked for, apparently less than we needed.

Making the rounds elsewhere today...

Cheney in '94 on why we shouldn't invade Iraq (answer: it'd be a quagmire in his words)

I vouch for nothing about this video.

BP: 165/96. Pulserate 132 bps

Hello John Macklin,

IMO, the Critical Post of our early 21st Century!!!

Yep, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck and my pulserate went skyhigh too! If the MSM rebroadcast this on the boobtube everywhere tonight: resulting in an instant and overnight Pentagon military coup to re-install former Pres. Carter and his 'Sweater Speech' proposals until the 2008 election--> I would gladly support them 100%.

At the very least, this should be required viewing for possible military recruits before they decide to sign on the dotted line and be sworn in as military soldiers. It offers the best-chance to derail the '3 Days of the Condor' scenario and truly get serious about Asimov's Foundation and optimizing the Bottleneck Squeeze & Paradigm Shift.

Unfortunately, I feel the MSM will bury this ASAP. =(

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

Looks like TPTB knew very well that a fracturing of Iraq (what we are seeing now) was a likely scenario before the invasion started. It begs the question: was the US ever "meant" to win, or was the current state of affairs the plan all along...? And if so, to what end?

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

To the shrub adminstration this is winning. They're building the permanent bases and shoving the Oil Law down the Iraqis' throat so they'll eventually control the oil or steal it outright. That was the plan all along. Leaving is losing and they have no intention of leaving. Also, the war business is very profitable for well connected profiteers like KBR and Blackwater. That's the gravy.

And the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and thousands of dead GIs? In the immortal words of M. Albright: "worth it".

to what end ?
....... to facilitate the looting of the treasury.


What really bugs me is that we have actually let our governments get away with this sort of thing in broad daylight. Perhaps because too many of us want it... or rather don't want to face the consequences of not doing it.

Where's the tipping point? Or will it be a slow tilting?

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

to what end ?
....... to facilitate the looting of the treasury.

quoting deep throat: "follow the money"

Bob - I'm passing on what I received from close family member by email who frequently comes up with over the top things. I noted overlap with Mr f elsewhere on this subject in RR's ethanol debate contribution.

I haven't a clue why anything from '94 is relevant. Those not burned out want some form of justice for the lying through their teeth bunch that has squandered so much blood. Is that it? Who knows. But why is this surfacing now? Who knows.

Meet the new puppeteer, same as the old puppeteer :)

the MSM will bury this ASAP

I thought the New York Times was the MSM.

Cid, if I remember correctly the US is the only state to have been found guilty of international terrorism by the World Court. It wouldn't surprise me if the US has produced more terrorist through Fort Benning than all other terrorist organisations put together. Quite simply the US is the number one supporter of terrorism throughout the world. Interesting article by Monbiot on the subject:

America’s Terrorist Training Camp

“If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents,” George Bush announced on the day he began bombing Afghanistan, “they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril.” I’m glad he said “any government”, as there’s one which, though it has yet to be identified as a sponsor of terrorism, requires his urgent attention.

For the past 55 years it has been running a terrorist training camp, whose victims massively outnumber the people killed by the attack on New York, the embassy bombings and the other atrocities laid, rightly or wrongly, at Al-Qaeda’s door. The camp is called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHISC. It is based in Fort Benning, Georgia, and it is funded by Mr Bush’s government

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

You may be right, but then, us United Statesians tend to want to believe that we are the 'good guys' in the eyes of the world, believing our own propaganda as much as we thought the soviets did (while we snickered at their long lines and lack of blue jeans).

If I put a .50 cal on my silo and point it at my neighbor's house, it's not to foster “longterm good-neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation.”

It's to make the point that if you give everyone a gun, they'll either be a better neighbor, or a better shot. Both are useful skills, if you don't trust anyone.

Terrorist defense training depends on who you see as causing the most terror in the world. I'm pretty sure the Chinese aren't worried about Muslims taking over their spiritual systems, but they are worried about covert operations spreading tools of dissent in an already volatile mass of humanity, which is barely kept below boiling.

Perhaps this time around, We'll be seen as the Fascist threat, and these guys will be seen as the good guys by the rest of the world.

I think the tragedy we are facing is that of Athens in the Pelopponesian War. It had been the good-guy strategic leader of the Greeks against the Persian invasion in 480 BC, but in 80 years it had perverted the alliance it created, the Delian League, for selfish reasons. This self-defense racket required all the members to pay Athens to build ships for - the Athenian navy. Then it turned to increasing political scheming against more authoritarian Greek cities, who Sparta organized into a defensive alliance. For all the brutality and injustice of the Spartan system, its analysis of the threat of regime change was probably correct. Unburdened by the hypocrisy of Christianity or the cover of elected "representatives", Athens' leaders openly told the voters that they would carry out aggression for profit, and recruited them into the fighting with visions of loot.

So we've got many of the aspects of what America has become, what it has done to NATO, and the forming of the SCO by the nastier inland regimes.

What happened next to the Greeks was the unleashing of a Pandora's box of war, fire, massacre and plague. All that was good in Athens was ruined, most of the strength of Sparta was lost, and Persia and Macedonia moved in for the kill. Greece could not sustain a Mediteranean-wide war with an impoverished economy and tiny populations. We could argue now about who was the good guy and who the bad, but by trying to spread democracy by force (for profit), Athens began the chain of events that lead to democracy's 2000-year disappearance.

I had no idea there were Christian Hypocrites back in 480 BC!!!!!!

athens even in it's heyday was not what one would call a democracy now either.
do yourself a favor and get a hold of the bbc show 'Athens The Truth About Democracy'

I always heard that Good Minefields make Good Neighbors..

Well, if one includes armed forces that specifically target civilian populations for political purposes, then the IDF (D?? LOL) is a prime candidate.

See Lebanon.

Absolutely. See also the West Bank and Gaza.

And the USAF of course. How many bombs have they dropped into densely populated urban areas in Iraq? The old "let god sort 'em out" approach to counterinsurgency.

Plenty of links on Google re World Court proceedings against Israel.
Former prime minister Sharon was found guilty of war crimes by his own government.

Which didn't stop him from becoming Prime Minister. So I guess Bush has nothing to fear.

The TS (soon to be Hurricane) Dean Thread:

Latest 5-day cone projection:




I have a bad feeling about this one.

"I have a bad feeling about this one."

Me too.


I live in Galveston, you're cutting into my area of paranoid expertise, sort of like when I make foreign policy statements to you! (that's meant as a joking reminder to not take ourselves too seriously).

The storm track data on the 1900 Storm is pretty suspect. This was at the beginning of the scientific study about storms. All physical sciences grow at the beginning by the observation and theories of amatuers, and meterology isn't an exception. Its a pretty safe bet that there were less than 100 barometers in the whole Gulf of Mexico and Carribean area at the time, and its a huge area. Any of those data points with the exception of Cuba and Key West were by ship's captains without even radio, let alone any navigation equipment that showed the location in very rough seas. And what data we do have is by trying to figure the storm's track from ships kogs and newspaper reports long after the 1900 Storm.

The population of the coast was very low and not very literate. Galveston was the "Queen City of Texas" and had a population of between 30K and 40K, and it was the largest city in the State!

It was a horrible storm. Casualties are estimated at 6k to 10K, but will never be known. I have a friend who found a skull in his backyard digging for a sewer line, nobody knows the real death rate, but people think around 1/4th of the Island. My home is about 4 blocks from the Bishop's Palace (Google it or look at the Galveston Historical Foundation website), and has been raised to about the same elevation as that building. The first floor of the Bishop's Palace had about 10 ft of water from the storm surge, you can see the water marks there on the tour.That was the highest natural elevation on the Island. My house was built in 1895, and is a storm survivor, too.

The storm was a Category 3, not the strongest hurricane, and we've had worse since, like Carla in 1961, or in other places, Katrina and Rita.

Galveston and the Army Corps of Engineers built a 17' Seawall along the Gulf in 1902, and its never been breached by a storm since. (Handbook of Texas Online) The whole east part of Galveston Island was filled, and all the houses raised.

Come to the ASPO Conference October 17-20th, Houston. Its only 50 miles southeast from the conference to Galveston, and there's great little museum next door to the Drilling Rig Museum with a 30 minute film and some photo's, ect. Its run by the Galveston Historical Foundation and minimal cost-$5 if I recalling right. Its worth a couple of days in the neighborhood, and mid October is the best weather. There's also the NASA Museum about 30 miles up the road, and the remains of old Ft. Crocket and the Hitchcock Blimp hanger to look at Just make your return ticket for Sunday, and if at all convenient land at Hobby, Southwest is the airline, and its a lot closer to both the Conference and Galveston than IAH.

The same advice goes for everybody, and same invitation. The Conference is going to be great fun!
Bob Ebersole

I hope you're right. I'm right beneath the hurricane symbol between 9 and 10.


Actually, Camille is the nightmare I am thinking of. It happened in a similar time period (mid-late Aug). It changed from TS to Hurricane just south of Cuba (just about where Dean may be in a few days), then headed north and became a Cat5, hitting the MS coast on 8/17/69. Dean may already be a Cat 3 or 4 when it reaches about the same lat. & long. It is too soon to know how it will turn out, but it really does have the potential to become a killer storm.

Yeah, but right now the long term forecasts aren't good enough for us to have any sense of where the thing is going. It could hook right and go over Florida, hook left and hit Mexico, or go up the middle.

Even looking at the 5-day forecast from day to day, you see the furthest extent of the forecast wobbling all over the place. Now it is headed for Jamaica, but a day or two ago, the forecast had it going just north of Puerto Rico.

Exactly, its too far too start worrying. I wonder if in that first article they got the two storms mixed up. I doubt they would already be moving people off platforms for Dean, I believe that would be a precaution for TD5 soon to be Erin.

As of 10:15CDT Tropical Depression 5 is now Tropical Storm Erin:


1015 AM CDT WED AUG 15 2007

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground reports that one model shows a possibility of Dean hitting New England! Which is pretty far from Texas... Bottom line, too soon to tell.

Throw in some TD5 news:

Shell begins hurricane prep


Shell will temporarily shut-in about 5 million cubic feet of gas production per day from the North Padre Island 975 field off the Texas' coast.

Dante at PO.com subscribes to some news services, so he sometimes gets stories before they're on the web. He says Shell has shut in all their production along the GOM coast, though there's no public link yet.

TD5 a monster in size...


Not enough time over water to become more than a 55-60mph Tropical Storm, thou.

But, that is a HUGE area to drop massive amounts of rainfall in an already drenched (above flood level) area.

Now upgraded to a Tropical Storm called Erin.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

TD5 now TS ERIN:


I move that the tenth big storm of the season be called Jan.

I thought this was interesting:

"The oil boom is over and will not return," [Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia] Abdullah told his subjects. "All of us must get used to a different lifestyle."

Suspicions confirmed?

CSM article "A tipping point in Saudi Arabia" at:


Wow. Good catch.

I heart CSM. I don't care for the religion, but I love the newspaper.

"Abdullah began shaking the Kingdom out of its petroleum hangover by declaring in 1998 that the "boom is over and will not return — all of us must get used to a different lifestyle."


Ummm, do we even have a source for this quote? I read the article and in no way is this quote sourced. I would look at it with GREAT skepticism. We also don't know the motivation behind the authors as well for including that tidbit. Seriously i'd want to know when and where and who they sourced before I took that as gospel.

It would be great to have that one crucial sentence put into context.

Anyone have a link to, hopefully, the entire text and where it was given ?



The entire text is probably in Arabic.

And Arabic is a particularly difficult language to translate. But the resources of the TODers know no bounds :-)

Best Hopes for a Good, Free Translation,


In the old days we used to just call or write or email or contact the author of the article,and ask the question.
Where are our skills going these days.
I'll do it. I'm on holiday.

note to self: check thru all of parent thread before responding to the downthread posts. Call CSM to indicate reader confusion, suggest adding source and date of comment.

Sheez, Cid (10:49), Leanan (10:48), you're good.

Exactly Alan context is very crucial it could have been: "my fellow saudi's someday the year 2075 will come and we will find that the boom is over and will not return — all of us must get used to a different lifestyle."

Holy Crap!

He really said that!

That ain't no good...guess I can't pretend there is chance they may pull a couple million barrels out of a Camel's A**.

Time to start packing?


It appears he said that awhile back. A Time article from 2002:

Abdullah began shaking the Kingdom out of its petroleum hangover by declaring in 1998 that the "boom is over and will not return — all of us must get used to a different lifestyle." As an alternative to the easy oil riches, Abdullah has spearheaded the most significant attempt at economic restructuring in the Kingdom's history, opening negotiations with American and other Western energy powers on a $100 billion foreign investment project to develop natural gas and build related electricity and desalination plants. Still, oil accounts for around 70% of the country's revenues.

Abdullah has slashed government budgets, barring new military spending and scaling back white elephants like the Strategic Storage Program, an estimated $25 billion project designed to supply the Saudi armed forces with jet fuel in case some invader happens to occupy Saudi refineries. Earlier this month, he warned bureaucrats that they faced dismissal if they didn't shape up, a far cry from the glory days when every graduate was assured a government desk and a paycheck, work or no work. The 30,000-strong royal family weren't spared the belt-tightening: no more ignoring telephone and utility bills, he decreed, or treating the national carrier Saudia like a private airline.

Interesting...was he:

1) Concerned about pricing in 1998 and the growing KSA national deficit?

2) Knew then that oil was starting going to peak out soon.

Seems it is #1 to me, but maybe a bit of #2 stirred in.

(read that anyway that amuses you)

Well, according to the article, he's pushing ahead with the reforms, even though oil pricing has become much more favorable.

Then there must be more #2 than I thought :)

Looks like Prince (now King) Abdullah relies on Dan Yergin and CERA for price forecasts.

Nine years later I sure hope their not still doing that.

I'd guess that Saudi intelligence belongs to this site. Come on guys, give us the real story,we share our info with you for free!
Bob Ebersole

The tipping 'point article' is here but behind a pay wall. The dateline is 14 Aug 2007 @ 22:58.


Why pay? It's freely available online at the CSM website.

Alas, much ado about nothing.

I posted the site because knowing that the story is available in the ME is some confirmation. Also, the dateline is helpfull. your follow up post is 'Much ado about nothing'.

Speaking of revenue and GDP, I found this picture to be highly...enlightening...

Can you believe it, WT? We're Canadians!!!

'cept that US Real Canadians have more resources and prettier girls.

JJ :-P

I love Texas - mostly for real BBQ. In the middle of building a new PIT myself up here (no help up here)...and having a Rib BBQ for the neighbors on Sunday.


Spoke to CSM Op-Ed Editor Josh Burek, who certainly seemed considerate and thoughtful and apologized for the confusion about the statement in the 'Tipping Point' commentary of Aug 15 2007.

As Cid and Leanan have shown here, and Josh Burek independently noted, the comment by then Crown Prince Abdullah has been out there for a long time (dating back to the 2002 article, citing a 1998 quote), freely available at the Time online archives.

A correction is not required by CSM, IMO, (although would be nice), but a clarification seems in order; I'll send off a letter to editor later. Will also needle them about distinguishing comments as a Crown Prince (in 1998) and as a King (since 2005).

Never got the whole royalty thing down. Must’a skipped class that day.

Case closed?

Final comment: CSM informed me they are planning to run a clarification for their Commentary article re Tipping Point, Saudi Arabia, and the 1998 quote in question.

I have not had the chance to even read the last few days, so what is up with the Oil Price feed on the sidebar?


Isn't that for futures?

And I also sometimes wonder if Yahoo! isn't getting different quotes from everybody else.

Well it is still stuck on August 10th in my window of this site. I have turned my computer off several times since then, but have stayed logged in.

Is anyone else notcing that that feed is still stuck on August 10th and has not moved or is it just me?


Ps. It has been working just fine till now.

The rigzone article on the US majors output falling is fascinating to me

Between the three US based companies, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Connoco Phillips, their combined output worldwide is about 9 million barrels of oil and oil equivalent. I guess if I were harder working I could figure out the natural gas or oil equivalent part, but they are producing less than 10% of the world's oil, and at least half of that is sold in overseas markets. Even in the US, their home, they are no more than 1/4th of the market, over 80% of the world's fuel is supplied by national oil companies, not the independents or big oil companies.

So they aren't in control of the market anymore and haven't been since they were nationalised in the Mid East and Russia and the Soviet Union's former empire joined the wrld markets about 10 years ago. Yet they are still reguarded as somehow at fault for high prices and growing shortages. Its a combination of their arrogance and the laziness of people who want to blame someone else for the world's problems and don't seem to own a mirror.

The real answer to the peak is to cut down on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Conserve and switch to clean alternatives as quick as possible, the economy and the climate can't stand the infinite growth paradigm.

Electrification of rail! Rail transport! These are the only fairly quick ideas that can help us.

Bob Ebersole

oilmanbob is right,

Conservation is the key to a softer landing post fossil fuels. There is so much opportunity for conservation in the U.S. without any quality of life reduction, it screams!
My own experience has shown me reducing energy use in my home with weatherization has made it much more comfortable while greatly reducing energy bills, this is the way forward.

Unfortunately at this point there's still nothing like enough motivation. The relatively minute amounts of money I've managed to save by cutting back our electricity and gas usage (mostly by getting into good habits of turning unused lights and applicances off, keeping the central heating down etc. - all for less than $10 a week savings) would never be enough to motivate most people. All fossil-fuel-derived types of energy need to twice as expensive at least, preferably three or four times so (eventually). A taxation or trading scheme that achieved this, coupled with an income or payroll tax rebate to avoid further hardship for those who can least afford it (and, incidentally, reward those of us who already make an effort to reduce our usage), is needed urgently.

Don't know if it was the same Rigzone article, but I snipped this line from the Drumbeat Post and one rigzone report..

"The continued increase in drilling activity is a show of confidence in the resource potential of the Gulf's ultra-deepwater frontier."

- I have to suspect that this clip was inserted with the strong implication that 'Confidence' could be exchanged for 'Desperation'.. of course, I tend to get picky in defining between 'Confidence' and 'a show of Confidence'.. but you're closer to this than I am, and maybe have another take on it.

Meanwhile, I've been starting conversations with various Rail and Alt Energy advocates up here in Maine to feel out where the possibilities for Rail and Transit development stand politically and economically these days. The first two eyebrow raises that I've been awakened by show me that there will have to be an effort made to get the Rail and the Rails-to-Trails people on the same side. So much ROW right-of-way has been turned into Bike-Hike in the last couple decades, representing land that may have been the ideal placement and grading for rail since it was there initially. I am told that there have been very successful conversions that allowed the ROW to work as both a Rail Passage and a Bike/Hike route.. so I'm hopeful.

Bob Fiske

I see a lot of this in MN, rail lines torn up and replaced with biking/hiking trails while the nearby highway is filled with tractor trailers hauling grain to market. In small rural towns in the midwest, the loss of the rail line is likely the death of the town.

I can't speak for MN, but in TN the Rails to Trails movement is actually preserving the rail ROW(right-of-way). I have worked on committees with some of those folks establishing foot trails, and the railroads retain title to the land giving the Rails to Trails an easment to use the ROW until such time as the RR may need it again. The RR titles to the ROW have clauses in them that return the title to the land back to the original landowners or their heirs/assigns if the RR ever abandons the ROW. In some places where the Rails to Trails had no local presence, the landowners have gone to court and gotten the ROW declared abandoned after the RR removed the rails and fenced it in adding it to their property. This means that if the RR ever needs that ROW again, they have to go back through an acquisition/condemnation process to get it, but they can simply give notice to the Rails to Trails people to resume use.

Yes, I do not see the railroads giving up the right of way, it seems a shame to abandon rail lines in farm country as rail is the economical way to move grain.

Inasmuch as I don't want to pee on the electrification of rail concept, which looks like it may be competing pretty heavily with other uses for electricity like not freezing in the dark, those old railway grades look really good for carts and mules, which is what we had before coal and trains.

Given that I can go a lot faster on a mountain bike than a mule cart, I think that restoring the rails is maybe a bit premature. Besides, what do we need railways for hauling? Coal. Grain. Cement. Tipi poles. Chinese baubles. Do we really need steel rails for hauling people?

Somehow I think we have to go back before the coal era and then move forward again, assuming there is a forward, and do what works from that perspective rather than a high tech rescue operation of the fossil era's monuments. Those rights of way were blasted out and graded with mules as I recall, until the 'Cat' came out about 1928.

I betcha the main commodity hauled was coal in the beginning. If local life goes solar, and production goes local, maybe we can just go back to carts and skip the coal and steel rails. If I'm crazy, then the world was crazy for a long time. Coal's heavy.

I don't want to pee on the electrification of rail concept,

Yes... Do not pee on an electrified rail. Keep it off the electric fences, too.

Supposedly true story.

The Long Island Railroad is electrified on most routes with 3rd rail. A gap where roads cross (short enough for either the forward or rear shoe to keep contact).

*NEVER* be able to build another rail line in the USA with access to an electrified third rail at ground level, but LIRR did this in the 1920s & 1930s and it is still there.

Occasionally cats and dogs wander around the fence at road crossings and end their days, but VERY rarely people.

However, a few years ago a drunk exited a bar and wanted to walk home (certainly better than driving). The road home crossed the LIRR. As he crossed the RR ROW, he decided that this would be a good place to relieve himself so he stepped off the road, unzipped his pants and started to water the grass. However, he aimed at the 3rd rail.

He survived but with serious burns to the "groin".

Best Hopes for More Careful Aim,


Check out the "Mythbusters" episode on peeing on the 3rd rail. Not definitive but very entertaining, they build a ballistics gel peeing dummy and do their best to electrocute him.

Now I can testify that it DOES happen if you pee on an electric fence at short range. OW!

So as a past victim I'll note that if you ever are in a position where you have to be peeing in a dark train tunnel, or where there may be a hidden electric fence, do whatever you can to prevent an unbroken stream of effluent. For guys, this can be accomplished by arcing the stream into the air while waggling, causing droplet formation. Ladies might wish to do jumping jacks or spins or something - but don't step on the rail.

brought to you as a public service. doing this when not around train tracks or fences may be illegal in some jurisdictions. your mileage may vary

You know what they say about electric fences. Some people have a talent for finding them.

"Besides, what do we need railways for hauling?"

Just because You don't see a need to EVER use another import or export item, pane of glass, bag of grain, gift from Grandma, Solar Panel from Illinois, jarlids from OshKosh, Overalls from Bangor, or take the rare vacation to Atlanta.. this doesn't represent most people, in this century or the last few. Trade and Travel are things that people are going to do, no matter what era they think they're moving back into..

But the point was that these Rights of Way can be developed for BOTH groups, and could probably get some mutual benefits from the collaboration. I also think that electric-rail corridors would be sensible places for Alan's HVDC Grid, as I think he's already mentioned..


Bob, I guess we should stop referring to the "majors" as the majors. Clearly, they aren't any more. Just as GM, Ford and Chrysler are no longer the Big Three. Humans tend to harbor ideas about the way things are, despite living in a world where things change so quickly that the notion of "the way things are" becomes outdated as soon as you form the thought.

I recall a J Kunstler piece from a couple of years ago -- something that he penned after visiting the New York auto show, I think. One interviewee was completely dismissive of the idea that the American automobile culture was dependent upon foreign oil and, therefore, might be an endangered species: (paraphrasing) "We've got plenty of oil in the US. We're just burning up the stuff from overseas but if we needed to, we could turn on the taps here and meet our needs."

You couldn't tell that guy that US oil output has been shrinking for decades and will never again be able to meet the sort of domestic demand that he has grown accustomed to. Ever. He just knows the oil is there. And if he doesn't get it at a price that he can afford, somebody's going to hear about it.


Heidiger made the point about a hundred years ago that we frame our thoughts by the language (come on Don Sailorman, correct my philosophy) by which we define the argument. So, I'm agreeing with you. Big oil is better terminology. In the same sory in the Rig Zone article that was linked, the author called them "U.S. based supernationals" which is much closer, but too long to be a very good piece of everyday discourse.

My point on commenting on the story, is that this story shows how the circumstances are changing a lot faster than the way we think about them.

Or friends and neighbors, Joe and Karen Sixpack, blame the prices on "price gouging by the Major oil companies". I think thats pretty obvious, look at the Energy Tax Bill, which does ignorant stuff like making ongoing everyday expenses like 3D siesmic and removes their deductability as a punative measure. Even Leanan was on board with that one,look at her comment in Rembrandt's thread.

Three dimensional seismic is about taking modern computing power and using it to model what's actually under the Earth, sort of like the increase in knowledge of a CAT scan over a standard xray. It has cut the economic dry holes to producers ratio from about 1 in 15 to about a 90 percent success rate. It needs to be deductable and encouraged. Fewer dry holes means we don't drill too many holes,even the most ardent environmentalist has to agree fewer wells is better in the earth. Its the one most important advance in exploration and production in the last 75 years, since the Sclumberger brothers invented the well log, IMHO. This is the most stupid, counter productive legislation since the Windfall Profits Tax which strangled the independent oil operators and didn't touch the majors, but the windfall profits tax is another rant, I'll finish this one.

The former majors, whatever we call them, are on our side. Just all of us are too stupid, arrogant and RIGID to know it. Peak oil theory justifies higher prices, it is the theroretical basis to the observed fact that production costs are rising exponentially, use is rising exponentially and the world has to do something or we're all scroomed (I like that word coinage). Resource wars could easily kill us all. Climate change may make our grandchildren's lives a literal hell. If we run really low on oil, the US government could very well nationalise the oil industry for the national security.

At any rate, there's my rant.

Oilman Bob,

A question for you or anyone else in the industry, based on speculations-

As the summer ice free area of the Arctic is expanding by leaps and bounds, and the area is projected, from Canadian geology extrapolations I believe, to harbor both oil and gas, what are the problems of drilling in an area where the sea freezes and heaves each winter? No big deal, or look out?

Also, what is a landman?

Where to start?
1. No Seismics have yet been run in any great density.
2. Then: 2-3 years of interpretation and Basin Analysis
3. Water depths
4. Long supply lines
5. Lack of support infrastructure
6. Who's waters are they anyway? Russia? Canada?
7. Lack of suitable Arctic Semi Submersible rigs, Drillships ice breakers, ice proofed support vessels etc.
8. Distance to shorebased support.
9. General lack of equipment, crews, funds.
10.Short window for drilling and safe movement of rigs.

I could go on :-(

Then of course the EROEI

It will be a while yet before exploratory drilling happens and then a while after that before any significant production would occur, assuming any finds of any significance.

May not even happen. Ten, twenty years out we may not actually have sufficient available Energy to recover the Energy potential. Though one cannot discount Global Santa Fe or Similar from building the Worlds first and record largest 'Nuclear Powered Drilling Rig' :-).

The waters of the Deep Gulf of Mexico have shown what the costs and technical challenges are (Thunderhorse) and GOMEX has proximity to markets, supply lines, expertise and high technology infrastructure. There isnt much of that north of Svalbard, Noya Zemla or Spitz bergen.

Not for a while yet...I think.

The have recovered frozen metasequoia trees and arctic tapir fossils from Ellesmere and other Canadian arctic islands. I have talked briefly with the professor that dug up preserved wood from the permafrost.



So just wait a bit, and our access problems will be solved (we may have other problems though).

Best Hopes for Minimal Global Warming,


So when we finally start the methane cycle back up due to a heated north, we will fall into the feedback loop talked about in a movie on the BBC recently (There was a link to it here on the drumbeat a few weeks ago, it is in several parts). As the world warms up north in the next 50 or so years, If we can still use the limited resources of the day to go up north to drill then all is fine. There might not be sea ice to stand in the way.

Most of us reading these pages will be dead, It will have to be the children that are left.

Who knows, maybe all this is one of my odd dreams and I am just remembering how one of my more scary short stories started and I'll wake up and find myself still married to my first wife.( I wrote a lot of scary stories back then).

But Like you say, best hopes for someone being wrong in all this, and climate as we know it being just fine.

You could be talking about the BBC Horizon programme, Global Dimming, which touches on the risk of Nothern ocean methane-hydrate release.

Or possibly about the ABC's 'The incredibe journey of oil' which is in several parts, and talks about the cyclic nature of our fossil fuel frenzy, returning us to the climatic conditions, anoxic oceans etc, which laid down the algal/organic matter to become oil and gas.


Incidentally, ever thought of a reference page on the Oil Drum, that was maintained with links to the likes of these and other interesting and relevant videos and audio features.


It was the first one, the BBC Global Dimming. Which shows that if we solve our smog problem we make global warming that much more worse.

And that methane is 30 times worse as a greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide, and Carbon Dioxide lingers for up to 30 years in the atmosphere. It is going to be a while before all this stuff gets solved even if we start today.

Thanks for the tags.

30 years? A major understatement. A large fraction (e.g. 50%) of the global warming forcing of CO2 remains for hundreds of years, with a slow decay.

That image of Thunderhorse on its side was in my mind as I asked the question. A Thunderhorse encased in ice.

What about the freeze-thaw cycle of sea ice. I don't know that we've really encountered it yet, but does Statoil, NHY, or maybe BP know about drilling in ice-covered waters that may apply to the Arctic? What about pack ice movements? Would a tethered platform work, or do we need a new technology?

Somewhat OT. I was thru the UP, Michigan about a decade ago, They were getting ready to decommission the icebreaker Mackinaw, out of Cheboygan. Though all lamented she was the best ship, of an old school that traded excessive power for a system of screws that moved water fore and aft in the hold to ride up on top of the ice and crack it, all the design engineers were dying off, the few blueprints didn't hold a candle to their working knowledge. So the new ships are super powered and hulled busters.

I recall when I was at Halliburton there being a project to convert an old nuclear submarine into a sub-Arctic-ice drilling platform with a long snaking drill...

...anyone know what happened to that program (cannot recall the project name)..?
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

I'm generally on board with anything that will discourage oil use and production. I think it will be helpful for us and helpful for the environment.

Yes, we probably will burn it all eventually, but doing it later rather than sooner seems to me an unvarnished good thing. Oil produced now is likely to be burnt up in SUVs, or on trips to Aruba. Anything we save for the future might be used to build nuclear power plants, solar panels, etc.

Using oil to fill an expanded SPR is also a "good" use.

Even if drained, no net harm is it is refilled fairly quickly.

Best Hopes for taking oil out of one hole and putting it into another,


''Best Hopes for taking oil out of one hole and putting it into another,


Quote of the month

What if it were to be revealed one day that Big Oil has known about global warming for decades, like Big Tobacco knew its product caused cancer, and continued to obfuscate research to protect itself against regulations, lawsuits, and perhaps a reparations bill from 6.5 billion victims?

Let's face it, all those punishments that were supposed to be assessed against Big Tobacco for its negligent homicide have all been watered down to protect the American economy. Big Oil has little to fear from punishment by us, the greedy American people, for those particular crimes. Now their whored consultants would have warned them there would be foreign consequences, which could be addressed by supporting a certain kind of Presidency, overseen by one of their own.

I'm just saying that Big Tobacco was a conspiracy theory that was proven true. Unless someone pulls a Liggett no one will ever prove Big Oil did worse.

But if it were ever to be proven, after the death and destruction that will mark the rest of this century, what punishment would you suggest? For ten Nazi Holocausts' worth of negligent homicide?

["We've got plenty of oil in the US. We're just burning up the stuff from overseas but if we needed to, we could turn on the taps here and meet our needs."

You couldn't tell that guy that US oil output has been shrinking for decades and will never again be able to meet the sort of domestic demand that he has grown accustomed to.]

Maybe it has been shrinking for decades because we have had plenty of overseas stuff to burn up. Why should we use up our own prematurely? (Perhaps this could be a corollary to Westexas' Land Export Model.)

Well, I should let others who are more knowledgeable answer that (and so I will) but when the oil men start drilling in the deepwater GOM and talking about squeezing "oil" from shale in the Rockies, I'm guessing that the easy to produce domestic stuff is gone, gone, gone.

If you haven't read Deffeyes' "Hubbert's Peak," I'd recommend it. He will likely convince you that we are not importing our oil just to conserve domestic resources.


Sorry, I can hear the sarcastic little voice in my head as I am writing these things; I forget it doesn't always translate onto the page. I do not think in the least that we are voluntarily 'conserving' our oil so we can use that of others first (although it probably would have been a good idea).

I just call them IOCs (International Oil Companies) since that designation sticks until they get nationalized at which point they become NOCs. :) So size is irrelevant, just who owns 'em.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

There was a small thread in yesterdays' drumbeat about the drop in Belgium gasoline.

The explanation must be sought in making public transport more attractive. IIRC the Belguims have been slashing the fares substantially, thus making it much more economical to commute by public transport.

I believe this was done to curb air pollution; if you've experienced rush hour in Antwerp or Brussels you'll understand...

I think the comfort factor plays a large role. Especially the bus services have been gaining passengers. Recent changes include a bus pass usable on all lines (not only for specific lines and hours), free transit for pensioned folks, and an increase in service from mostly commuting hours to hourly.
On the automobile side, the amount of regulations, traffic signs, speed limits and enforcement is growing. Not to mention that population density of 337 person/km².
A large part of the population still does consider a free-standing house with one or several cars the most desirable form of living, and is reluctant to live in the cities that they associate with crime.

The coal to liquids link, posted today by Leanan, is very interesting. However I wrote the below last night in response to an on-line lecture I had just listened to.

Coal to Liquids will it save the world?

I watched a video lecture from MIT yesterday on photovoltaics called: Electronics on Plastic: A Solution to the Energy Challenge, or a Pipe Dream?
The lecturer was promoting photovoltics as a solution to global warming, not as a replacement to oil. Anyway after quoting the old “The stone age did not end because we ran out of stones” thing made this statement. (Writing from memory so this is not verbatim.) “We are nowhere close to running out of fossil energy. We have enough for our children, our children’s children and our grandchildren’s children. We can convert coal to liquids cheaper than we can import oil from the Middle East.”

This shocked me a little. I had no idea coal to liquids was that cheap. So I did a little research and found this web page: Liquid Fuels from U.S. Coal I found this quote:

Coal can be converted through proven, existing modern technology
into clean, zero-sulfur synthetic oil and oil products at a cost of
approximately $35 per barrel – compared to the current world price of
about $67 per barrel for oil.

It stated also that because historically the price of oil has been below $35 a barrel, the risk to investors was very high. That was the first reason no coal to liquids plants have been built in the US. Well obviously that reason is no longer a reason so there should be a lot of coal to liquids plants being built. But then I read on:

coal refineries are expensive to construct, with capital costs in the $600-million-to- $700-million range for a 10,000 barrel per day plant, according to FT Solutions LLC.

Woah, that’s a biggie. At a profit of $25 a barrel, (assuming $60 oil), It would take just over 7 years to recoup your investment. But then there was one more caveat:

Finally, the lead time for a coal refinery, as with all refineries, is a minimum of five to seven years under optimal circumstances.

So now we must add 5 to 7 years to the 7 years it would take to recoup our investment. That comes to 12 to 14 years before our investors can see a profit. But there is one stickier problem that the article did not even consider. That is the Law of Receding Horizons. It is likely that those 5 to 7 years will turn into 10 to 15 years. But that’s not what the Law of Receding Horizons refers to, it’s the cost. The cost of oil will cause the projects cost to rise until it’s no longer economical. Plus there is all those other “cost overruns” we see so often.

Right now there are several companies exploring the “coal to liquids” option. This one is in North Dakota.

The proposed coal-to-liquids project contemplates the development of a production facility that would produce approximately 32,000 barrels of fuel per day and utilize approximately 10 million tons of North Dakota lignite annually. Final site identification is under way. If the project were to move forward, engineering and permitting of the facility could take at least two years. Financing and construction of the facility would take at least four additional years.

Well hell, now we have to add two years for engineering and permitting. However they are a little more optimistic as to construction time. But there is something else that comes to light here. It would take over 31 such plants just to produce 1 million barrels per day. And if we relied on coal to liquids completely it would take about 600 such plants and 6 billion tons of coal a year just to supply the U.S. with enough oil to carry on “business as usual.”

Somehow I don’t see coal to liquids as saving the U.S. way of life, to say nothing of the whole damn world.

Note: U.S. Recoverable Coal reserves are estimated, by the USGS, at 273 billion tons. At current consumption that would last us about 250 years. But if we used an additional 6 billion tons per year to replace oil, that would last us only 39 years.

Ron Patterson

The other thing is that coal-to-liquids needs water. Lots of it. A small pilot plant might take water from a river, and nobody would notice. A full-sized plant would be an entirely different matter however.

Here's a story about one in Maine. More articles if you go to search and enter "Twin Rivers".

The organization starting in opposition is the Back River Alliance. I keep seeing the "Black River Alliance". Go figure.

cfm in Gray, ME

Ron, you stole my thunder! :-)

I saw that story, and thought "This one is ripe for a debunking." But I am going offshore tomorrow, so it will have to wait.

To say it is right for debunking would be false as well. As most of us know South Africa has been doing CTL for years now and quite successfully meeting there fuel needs. So you just can't say it's "debunked'.

Thanks for the clue.

Having been involved in GTL for several years, I am quite aware of the status and economics for CTL. The debunking would be around economics and scale - not whether it is technically possible to do (or whether Sasol has done it in South Africa).

Because it has been done in South Africa does not mean it is a feasible solution to peak oil. Check out this article on
South Africa coal to liquids.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S.-based environmental advocacy group, estimates that the production and use of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and other fuels from crude oil release about 27.5 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon. The production and use of a gallon of liquid fuel originating in coal emit about 49.5 pounds of carbon dioxide, they estimate. Even some boosters of the coal-to-oil plants describe them as carbon-dioxide factories that produce energy on the side.

If we switch to coal to liquids we will almost double the output of CO2 per gallon of fuel used. And that is just one of the many problems of coal to liquids. Another biggie is, though the US, South Africa, Australia and a few other places are coal rich, most of the world is not. We could not produce enough coal to liquids to supply ourselves even with all our coal. And we sure as hell could not export any. Most of the world would still starve if we could make the switch.

Ron Patterson

No doubt it would be worse for Co2 i'm with you there. Just saying if it came down to a choice between global warming concerns and keeping our agriculture and transportation of goods up and running the latter would win.

CTL will not compensate for the loss of easily exploited Hydrocarbons.

CTL works in desperate wartime or command economies, Nazi Germany was able to meet some of its needs, but still never enough. One of the main energy inputs was Slave Labour.

RSA was under embargo and therefore desparate enough to do it.

Militaristic / Fascistic societies will of course do anything to ensure tanks, submarines and jets are kept moving for defence.

Of course, you cannot discount the possibility of large numbers of slave labourers in the future: Are the Cheney Laagers in walking distance of coal mines?...

And I could imagine what the landscape would look like after all of that mining. The Appalachia would resemble the surface of the moon.

EIA statistics show that South Africa's synthetic production makes up about 35% of their total petroleum consumption. So synthetic "meets their fuel needs" in roughly the same proportion that domestic oil production meets US needs. Note also that synthetic production has started shifting to natural gas feedstock because it simplifies the process. Absent their previous trade embargo problems, it seems unlikely that South Africa would have made the investment in CTL.

Absent high oil and natural gas prices, we won't invest in CTL either.

Oh wait...

My prediction is CTL is a growth industry for decades to come.

Note: U.S. Recoverable Coal reserves are estimated, by the USGS, at 273 billion tons. At current consumption that would last us about 250 years. But if we used an additional 6 billion tons per year to replace oil, that would last us only 39 years.

As is frequently pointed out, peak oil is about flows rather than stocks. Peak coal is also about flows. 25% of the US recoverable reserves are in Montana. Transportation limits will restrict the flow of energy from that region: massive investment in rail, or in power plants/DC transmission, or in pipeline capacity assuming CTL, will be required to increase the flow of energy from those coal fields.

CTL followed by ICEs are just so darned inefficient. I'd much rather see money going into carbon fuel cells (80% thermal efficiency for electricity) and cheap batteries for PHEVs.

Ron - As the Energy Watch Group study pointed out this year, that "250 year supply" estimate was based on hand-waving assumptions by the USGS. A more detailed analysis indicates that (at least in terms of energetics) the U.S. is already past peak coal! Their estimate of total global remaining reserves is only about 909 billion tons. How long will that last? Who knows? It sure as hell ain't 250 years though.

Related reading:
The Energy Watch Group report
Heinberg's article about their report, Burning the Furniture
My article on it, The Dirt on Coal

Energy consultant, writer, blogger www.getreallist.com

Seems to me I heard a few years ago there was a 200 year supply of natural gas too.

Conoco Phillips is working on a coal to gas project. The compressed natural gas can be burned in autos cheaper than gasoline.

CNG (compressed natural gas) was used in many nations. In California they will let someone drive in the highway HOV (carpool) lane if the person is driving a CNG powered car. The CNG pollutes less, costs less, and got one into the carpool lane where the traffic was less.

the old “The stone age did not end because we ran out of stones” thing


For stone tools you need to find suitable flint, excavate and transport it and chip away until finished.

For bronze tools you need to find two kinds of suitable ore, excavate and transport it, set up a kiln, find firewood, make charcoal, fire up the kiln and extract the metals, mix them, pour them and when they are cooled, hammer away until the desired shape is obtained or your arm is numb.

Flint is sharper but more brittle than bronze. Bronze bends more easily, but can be resharpened.

All in all, I don't think our ancestors would go through all that extra trouble if they didn't run out of stones.. or at least prime quality, easily accessible stones.

Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress.

“One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough,” said Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post, which carries a 15-year term.

The fiscal imbalance meant the US was “on a path toward an explosion of debt”.

Current US policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq also was on an “unsustainable path”.

This was discussed at length in yesterday's DrumBeat.

This was discussed at length in yesterday's DrumBeat.

Hmm.. discussed at length was actually arguments as to the exact timing of the fall of the Roman Republic. Heck even the past is in dispute.

A serious discussion of the 14-page report did not occur. (now ya got me doing it.)

The show, however, was worth the price of admission :)

He's been laying down the warnings for a little while now, but it seems like few people have been listening... he came up in a discussion on debt vs GDP a while back...


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

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 10, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) dropped by 5.2 million barrels compared to the previous week. However, at 335.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories fell by 1.1 million barrels last week, and remain below the lower end of the average range. Declines were seen in inventories for both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components. Distillate fuel inventories inched higher by 0.2 million barrels, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased 1.3 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories declined by 4.5 million barrels last week, but remain in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

This takes us very close to the gasoline days-of-supply lows we saw in April and May (we bottomed out at 20.8 days in late April); use is up to >9.6mill / day, so we're sitting at 20.9 days of supply now. Of course, that should probably be adjusted for expected changes in demand over the 20.9 day period...

And the low twenties Days of Supply is versus the high twenties Days of Supply that we used to carry in the Eighties. IMO, the industry has gone to a just in time crude oil inventory system, because they have the SPR as a backup.

Also, another good way to look at crude oil inventories is as Days of Import Supplies, i.e., crude oil inventories divided by crude oil imports. It's instructive to compare this number now, 34 days of imports, to the August, 1990 number, 65 days of imports.

Ah, but if you subtract off the inventory necessarily tied up as the minimum operating level (keeping the pipelines filled, etc.) how many days of import supply are you left with then?

The most commonly used number for Minimum Operating Level (MOL) for crude oil is about 270 mb.

Based on this metric, we would currently have 65 mb of crude oil in excess of MOL, or about seven days of crude oil imports (not counting the SPR).

The difference now though is that after Labor Day, demand will drop by a considerable amount. Back in May, we had all of summer driving season ahead of us.

Or maybe now the difference is that hurricane season has arrived. Who can say?

Dang, Leanan, you are good. You got the petroleum numbers and still beat me to the Abdullah quote by one minute.

Why don't you put this in the drumbeat instead of the comments? Every Wednesday around 11am I come here and search on "weekly" to find this comment, and I wonder, why isn't it just part of the drumbeat links?

91.8% utilization (minor improvement)

9.6 MMBPD demand (still up from 2006)

Imports 1.2 MMBPD

Not much change.

Crude drop the last couple weeks looks like backwardation in action.

DAYS FORWARD getting tight again...not a good time for a HURRICANE.

From Drudge:

Prices for key foods are rising sharply

MIDLAND, Va. — The Labor Department’s most recent inflation data showed that U.S. food prices rose by 4.1 percent for the 12 months ending in June, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals that the price of milk, eggs and other essentials in the American diet are actually rising by double digits.

Already stung by a two-year rise in gasoline prices, American consumers now face sharply higher prices for foods they can’t do without. This little-known fact may go a long way to explaining why, despite healthy job statistics, Americans remain glum about the economy.

Meeting with economic writers last week, President Bush dismissed several polls that show Americans are down on the economy. He expressed surprise that inflation is one of the stated concerns.

“They cite inflation?” Bush asked, adding that, “I happen to believe the war has clouded a lot of people's sense of optimism.”

But the inflation numbers reveal the extent to which lower- and middle-income Americans are being pinched.

...says the son of a man that was floored by the use of UPC scanners in grocery store checkout lines.

"Let them eat core-inflation rates. Who cares about the cost of bread."

I wonder if shrub has ever, in his entire life, stopped on the way home from work and picked up a gallon of milk, loaf of bread and other sundries from the grocery store or fast food outlet? If he has not, it would explain his belief that 'I happen to believe the war has clouded a lot of people's sense of optimism.' GWB is so absorbed in his war on the ME that he has little time to think about the plight of those that are hurt by rising food prices. Shrub has shown no 'compassionate conservatism' but has taken every opportunity to make changes to our system to increase the wealth of those that are already wealthy.

shrub has never worked in his life, much less stopped to buy groceries after work.

Maybe we should start referring to shrub as Marie? (Let them eat cake)

And: "Après nous, le déluge." (After us, the flood.).

Think about this. As President you won't be cooking your own meals. As Governor he would not have been cooking his own meals. While he was not one of those two he either had a wife that did it or a live in cook, or maid that did it. Buying food for most people who make more than about 30k a year is not something you do a lot of price comparing with.

I have never made more than 20,000 dollars in a year, I have always looked at prices, money was not always tight, but I like knowing what I am paying for.

Bush might never have had to buy more than candy while being a kid. But it would be a cool question to ask him or any of our other politicians who say silly things about inflation and food prices in the same speeches. 75,000 plus dollars a year for most congress-critters I doubt many of them buy their own food at the grocery store.

I do tend to buy from farmers markets as much as I can and buy from several butchers, so my price awareness is not what it is for most people either.

At higher levels of income, you might be surprised to find that many people still care about prices of low-cost items. At that point it depends on the character of the person instead of economic necessity. I think that I fit into that group perfectly; for me, it is a hatred for obvious waste.

Also, $30k/year is a pretty slim income if you live anywhere near Silicon Valley. You would more than 1/2 that for a modest two-bedroom apartment.

$30k/yr isn't enough for 2BR rent in much of NYC. I pay well over $20k/yr myself for an hour commute to work (Upper Manhattan to Midtown).


Regarding the accuracy of IEA estimates, here's an idea for a project: What's the average difference between the original IEA estimate for a month versus its final figure? If the IEA is an honest (even if inept) broker, this average should be approximately zero. Bet it's not.

I have been beating the drum for those who have watched these estimates over time to do a study on how often (and by how much) the IEA and EIA (et. al.) estimates were wrong. I think it would be a very useful tool for future discussions and media appearances. Unfortunately I don't have the data or the history of observation. Dave? Stuart? Rembrandt? Khebab? WT? Anybody?

Energy consultant, writer, blogger www.getreallist.com

N. Korea says one-tenth of farmland destroyed

Severe floods have destroyed more than a tenth of North Korea’s farmland at the height of the growing season, official media said Wednesday in reports that appeared to be a cry for outside help from the normally secretive regime.

Aid officials fear the loss of crop land could seriously hinder the North’s ability to feed its people, causing widespread famine.

10% is pretty ugly. Plus all the infrastructure damage (bridges, buildings, etc).

Maybe China has some to spare...doh. US...doh(biofuels).

All in all not a pretty picture, globally.

Mother Natures Fury is pretty intense in 2007. Rains, Storms, Floods, Droughts.




With at track that looks like it will cut TAIWAN in half (CAT 5/4) before proceeding into China(still CAT 3).


I think the stories from this one will be ugly.

It's still early yet, but the latest track for Dean doesn't look good. It's edged further south, "threading the needle" between Cuba and Central America.

Between the Lines: Former Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard’s Email to Roadster Customers

By Robert Farago
August 14, 2007

This website has been skeptical of Tesla Motors’ claims for their lithium-ion-powered Roadster since day one. While some readers think we’ve “had it in” for the California-based car company, rest assured TTAC is an equal opportunity muckraker. Anyway, yesterday, when Martin Eberhard revealed that he’d relinquished Tesla's top job, we held fire to avoid accusations of smug satisfaction. But Eberhard’s email to Tesla customers piqued our interest. As Tesla has yet to deliver a single customer car, by thy words thy shall be known.


Jalopnik has the email:

Tesla Motors Founder Martin Eberhard Out As CEO, Electric Roadster Possibly Delayed?


Well that sucks. Eberhard once said he wanted to hire me:

On a personal note, you'll be amused to know that your name came up in a conversation I had a week or so ago with Martin Eberhard, the CEO of Tesla Motors (maker of $100,000 electric roadster). He was talking about the problems with ethanol, and he said something like, "There's been a great debate about Vinod's ideas on the web, on a blog called R-Squared. Have you seen that? It's great! I want to hire that guy!"


There goes my big break. :-)

Ahhh....Robert. Let's not dismiss this opportunity so quickly. You of course would be conflicted, given what you're working on.

I, on the other hand, am not. If you would be so kind, I'd like to buy a Tesla roadster, am saving my pennies, but perhaps you might, say, drop my name around with Eberhard (whenever that comes to pass) and note that I would be an excellent advocate for Tesla's EVs, for which a significant price cut would be an excellent closer. Perhaps he'll still have some pull.

My color preference is Midnight Oil.

Thanks in advance.

Oh – Oh...
Rule of thumb – “ONE WINDTURBINE CAN RUN ONE SEMI-TRAILER, thats wind folks... (!)”

Oh – Oh, I just had a fast googling on truck-engines .. oh-oh …

These Scania Engine tables actually shocked me !

16-litre V8 620 Euro 4
( this yields 620 hp (456 kW) at 1900 r/min )

Recently an article in Norwegian press claimed a 2,5 KW Windturbine on an annual average supplied a mere 500 KW ………. This is roughly and about the same as the power-consumption (demand) of the largest Scandia truck-engine (!)



How many trucks do you have in the US, you said (?)


This tells ALL about the energy-density contained in fossil/petrol/diesel … ALL (!)

Another way to look at it is to realize how energy-inefficient it is to haul stuff by truck/lorry. This in turn leads to two thoughts:

1) We are hauling around untold tons of JUNK that we truly could live without. We really won't be able to afford the energy to continue hauling said junk much longer, so we're going to have to give it up and learn to live without it. No great loss, IMHO. If we don't need the junk, and thus don't need to haul it, then we don't need to worry about putting up the WTs to provide the energy for the hauling.

(And yes, I understand that giving up the making, hauling, ans selling of junk is going to mean unemployment for the folks doing the making, hauling and selling. I feel badly for them. However, we are talking about basic survival mode for society here. We need to help these people find new sustainable jobs rather than trying to protect the unsustainable ones.)

2) The intermodal shipping container has proven itself to be a great invention, and has increased transport efficiency tremendously. Except for bulk commodities and oversized equipment and machinery, there is little reason to be loading and unloading semi trailers with stuff. It makes a lot more sense to fill up a container, have a truck take the container to the nearest rail depot (if the factory doesn't have a rail spur right to the loading dock), ship the container by rail most of the journey, then local truck from depot to customer at the other end. The truth is, given a truly level playing field between truck and rail freight, there is no reason why rail shouldn't be the more economical mode for long distance. There is no good reason why we should have trucks hauling stuff for thousands of miles. If we don't need the long hauls, then we don't need to produce the energy for them.

"(And yes, I understand that giving up the making, hauling, ans selling of junk is going to mean unemployment for the folks doing the making, hauling and selling. I feel badly for them. However, we are talking about basic survival mode for society here. We need to help these people find new sustainable jobs rather than trying to protect the unsustainable ones.)"

This brings up something that has troubled me for some time. I mean, what fraction of the entire economy of the US (just e.g.) is involved in designing, producing, distributing, and advertising non-essentials? (I understand different people will have different definitions of essential, but this is a serious question.)

When people say "move closer to your job for when the crunch comes", I also have to wonder. Isn't the problem way more along the lines of "will I have a job" rather than "I must move closer to the office"?

When people say "move closer to your job for when the crunch comes", I also have to wonder. Isn't the problem way more along the lines of "will I have a job" rather than "I must move closer to the office"?

I wouldn't worry too much about that one. The Legions are recruiting. There's still plenty of opportunity to discover your inner-warrior...

Tough questions for which I don't think there are easy answers. Folks -- most notably Kunstler and TOD's own westexas -- have pointed out that much of the American economy runs on discretionary dollars and that much of what we do for "work" these days, doesn't produce essential goods and services (which I think most would agree would include such things as food, shelter, energy and health care).

Certainly, it could make sense to move closer to your job but if that job is one that is likely to disappear in the next economic downturn -- then what? Sure, if you move into town from the 'burbs, then perhaps your chances of finding a replacement job might be higher. But you have other things to consider: the higher cost of renting/owning in town, limited choices in housing, possible loss of time and money invested in your current home, loss of your existing community/support network, etc.

TOD'ers seem to fall into two camps: the neo-urbanites and the ruralists (painting with a broad brush here) but I don't see that there is a single solution for everyone.

Personally, after assessing my own situation, I decided I liked my house in the country a lot more than I liked my crappy job at the cube farm in town, so I found a job close to home. Even though the new job pays less, I think it was the right decision (ask me ten years from now).

This brings up something that has troubled me for some time. I mean, what fraction of the entire economy of the US (just e.g.) is involved in designing, producing, distributing, and advertising non-essentials?

A very big %age. And, as you state - one persons essential is another's fluff.

An example of someone who'll squeal like a stuck pig as the air leaves the excessive stuff bubble:
Over on linked in (you'd need to be a member to see it.)
a Jonah Hughes Chief Consumer Coach (CCC) at EXIT3A http://www.exit3a.com asked:
How can consumers be trained to consume more?

(Trained? Is that not the words used by someone who believes themselves to be an owner over an animal?)

sgage - you are exactly right in asking this question. On an individual basis you can ask yourself, 1) in the unwinding of a complex economy, how early or late will the industry I'm in become superfluous, 2) without access to the global economy can I push my company to a more local perspective 3)how well does my particular skill set fit a less complex economy?

Personally, my livelihood is tied to large data centers and I don't see a long term future for the industry or company. My skills are primarily organizational. My answer? Develop skills that others will find useful so that when my job comes to an end I can still contribute. I'm becoming a decent gardener and working on my woodworking skills. Those should be useful at least through the end of my life.

But you might want to think out even further. We adopted rather late in life, so I have two very young children at home. I include them in my gardening, but I'm also trying real hard to teach gathering, foraging, scavenging skills.

WNC Observer – you are pin-pointing the reality some years from now.

But as for now the trouble is the “what is watt is what?” when it comes to the understanding of energy – and so long as we are paralyzed by fossil fuels and its miracles – we will be “frozen” for some more time….

Ultimately, one bright day, we will understand the real correlations – it all imposed by nature.
It is strange after all – that governmental advisors and university professors are NOT able to make the case of reality – AS YET!

In reading the millennium-goals of the UN (planned due in 2015 or so..)– THERE is virtually NO mentioning of the importance and necessities for energy-priorities - to ensure those goals to come true …..

And I keep saying: where is actually the UN on energy? Don’t they get it ?

where is actually the UN on energy? Don’t they get it?


Energy is central to achieving sustainable development goals. Some two billion people have no access to modern energy services. The challenge lies in finding ways to reconcile this necessity and demand for energy with its impact on the natural resource base in order to ensure that sustainable development goals are realized.

Another 'view' of 'people' who have 'a message'

Hi Eric -
sure energy is mentioned in the UN-conglomerate-systems ....reports..words...

BUT mostly those are glossy words - and thus NO REAL BIG SCALE COMMITMENTS on ENERGY as such.Why do we else read weekly/daily reportings on the dire energy prospects from 3rd-world countries?

Have a look at the UN-mill-Goals at left sidebar via this link :


Energy is absolute primary to reach any of these goals – AND should be listed at top of the goal-list itself. Energy is about everything YOU want to achieve, in a prosperous and material world -

ENERGY IS NOT among “the main-goals in its own right” …

Technically "energy" isn't a goal in itself, it's what can be achieved with it for social or economic purposes that matters. We could do a hell of a lot more with the energy we already have.

IMO those 8 goals are catch phrases that obfuscate (and could at least be partially solved by confronting) the real problems: population, corporatocrisy, energy, etc...

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


This raises at least two issues with me as I go through the L and P parts of ELP. Localizing, in part, means to reduce the liquid fuel requirements for the goods and services you require and provide. And a key element in Producing is to consider just how discretionary what you produce is in the context of your locality.

The first issue of course is what to produce. Food production is one element that continually reinforces itself upon me as a Really Big Deal (RBD). It's non-discretionary, at least everywhere I've ever been. And as a productive endeavor, it seems tailor made to absorb most of the former Schwan's drivers, tanning bed repairpersons, and lawn maintenance technicians. Note to self: look into shorting Schwan's.

Lets gloss over the itsy, bitsy, pesky details of how to get from here to there. And I'm glad to see that N-P-K issues are surfacing. But it seems patently obvious to me that at some point not too far down the road, there will be a lot more folks around here (NW Florida) composting, hoeing, and cursing fire ants. Count your blessings if you've never inadvertently stood too near a fire ant mound for too long. The Cubans' Special Period is a compelling real-world example of supply (lots of labor) meeting demand (gotta eat). Of course, I insert the usual caveats of timeframes being different and the US having enormous other advantages. But that is the direction that the future is vectoring towards IMHO: a lot more local production of food calories via organic methods.

Which brings up the other issue your post raises in my mind. How does an American hold up Cuba as an example of what we should (must? inevitably will?) do? Talk about urinating on a third rail!! I am amazed at what they accomplished in such a short time once they put their back to it. I am heartened that concerted effort, properly applied, can actually in fact work in such a critical non-discretionary area. I am also sobered at the level of time, space, and energy that the effort entails.

But I wonder how to weave an amazing success story as a shining example into a conversation with already-Doubting Thomases, especially when your hero is hardly a hero in the majority opinion.

If we act sooner rather than later, and smarter rather than dumber, we could have Costa Rica as our model/target rather than Cuba -- or Zimbabwe, or Somalia, or Easter Island.

If we would just be willing to see the handwriting on the wall and be willing to accept the fact that at best our per capita GDP is going to have to decline to no more than 25% of present levels, then we could get on with the task of transitioning down. Once you accept the premise that our per capita GDP is going to have to be 75% smaller, then a lot of things that a lot of people are agonizing over simply go away. No need to worry about where the energy is going to come from to power our present economy if 75% of that economy is going to be gone.

To give just one example of what this means, at 25% GDP, most people are going to be eating 2200-2800 calories per day, not the 3700 they are at present; they are going to be eating mostly beans, a little chicken & dairy, very little pork, and beef will be what's NOT for dinner; they will mostly eat home-cooked meals using basic whole foods, not expensive restaurant & fast foods or packaged convenience foods; and they will be growing at least some of their own food in gardens. Forget about the diversion of corn for the ethanol that we won't need to drive the gas-hogs we won't have, and nobody in the USA needs to starve (though people in other parts of the world may not be so lucky).

Get the minimum wage laws out of the way (which at 25% of present per capita GDP we can't afford to have), and plenty of people will be able to find work doing something productive in the non-discretionary sector -- at something close to the mean global hourly wage. At 25% per capita GDP, we've got to understand that many people will only be to earn a few thousand dollars per year. Our challenge is to transition to a society that can enable such people to live a halfway decent life, even on that little. That will require massive changes not just in our approach to food, but also housing, transport, health care, education, and the energy used in all of these.

This sounds great (to me, at least; I was thinking of moving to Costa Rica anyway...). When does it start? Oh, that's right, I forgot, it doesn't. People in the US don't wake up and see reality. Never mind.

The economy will be declining whether people want it to or not. Increasing prices vs. declining incomes will be reality's wake up call. Unsustainable economies cannot be sustained, period.

The question is not whether or not we will decline, but whether we will level out, and if we do, at what level? My suggestion is that while a Costa Rican style economy might not look that good compared to the present USA economy, it sure looks a lot better than the worst case doomer scenarios. There is no guarantee that we can actually pull out of the dive; if we don't even try, then it is guaranteed that we won't pull out, and a decline will become a full fledged crash dive.

My guess is that when the death spiral gets scary enough, people will actually start expecting their government "leaders" to actually start leading for a change -- or replace them with others that will.

That 620 HP is the maximum, not the cruising output: the cruising output is probably 200 HP. The 20% capacity factor for the wind turbine is common in Europe, but much lower than the average in places with good wind resources, like the US. An electric motor is 3x as efficient as a diesel, and finally, trucks probably only run 1/3 of the time overall, and trains are 3x as efficient as trucks.

So, a US wind turbine could power 50 trucks, or 50 trains running day and night.

So, a US wind turbine could power 15 electric trucks, and 50 trains of equivalent capacity

..exactly my point - go ahead,start tomorrow :-)

"exactly my point "

I guess I didn't get your point. You seemed to be saying that wind turbines couldn't provide the power we need. It seems clear to me that they can....

Nick - You got my point, but you don't know it yet... :-)

Just sit still and wait

Ah, I understand. You're not interested in serious discussion. OK.

Nick, you fanaticize on these claims

So, a US wind turbine could power 50 trucks, or 50 trains running day and night

For ease – let’s just DOUBLE my Norwegian new statistics – and SAY your American average WT deliver a nice 1 MWh – continuously during a year, I’m not stretching this sample beyond that.

I’m getting 1000 000 W / 50 trains = 20 KW…. wow 20 KW to realistically run an entire train ? … that is equal to 20 coffee-machines I don’t think so. Look up your physics books on friction and starting torque.

"I’m getting 1000 000 W / 50 trains = 20 KW…. wow 20 KW to realistically run an entire train ?"

Not an entire train, but train capacity equivalent to that of a truck. Obviously, an entire train normally carries much more than a truck.

" Look up your physics books on friction and starting torque."

That's peak output for startup, not average output.

Just go through the numbers again. A wind turbine generating an average of 1MW puts out 5x the average power of your truck engine. An electric motor uses 1/3 the energy to put out the same power. Trains require 1/3 the power to move the same freight, because they're on metal rails, and have much less wind friction. That adds up to 50x the freight, compared to your truck.

You are getting clearer to me now – and we do agree on the basics of what has to be done, although in practical terms I disagree in your excessive number of ”50:1”..

What I said in my initial reply to you “..exactly my point - go ahead, start tomorrow :-)” – was a sort of approval to your principles as in “we have to start these exercises today”.
…even I understand that an average truck don’t use 500 kw.. .. it was mostly done so to put forward “my finding” – as compared to WTs

Actually your numbers may turn true – IF we reduce the acceleration and max speed for future trains. The stuff will still arrive ….a little later.

"we do agree on the basics of what has to be done"

Yes, I think we agree that we need to maximize renewables like wind & solar.

"Actually your numbers may turn true – IF we reduce the acceleration and max speed for future trains. The stuff will still arrive ….a little later."

Do you agree that trains are 3x as efficient as trucks, without such reductions?

Your mistake is in this sentence: An electric motor uses 1/3 the energy to put out the same power. It is bogus to apply this efficiency twice, the gross power of the lorry is ~620/0.2 = 3100Hp, to this one you could have applied it, not to the net power.

To clarify this - if a turbine outputs 1MW on average and a lorry outputs 200Hp on average then a wind turbine would be able to power 5 lorries continuously, not 15. Here I'm factoring in some losses for transmission, recharging batteries etc. If lorries run 1/3 of the time then a 2.5MW wind turbine would be able to power 15 lorries under best case scenario (40% load factor!) and that's it.

Cost comparison: 2,500Kw x $1,600/kw = $4mln.
Let's say the lorries cost $200,000 a piece
Cost of lorries: $200,000 x 15 = $3mln.

So the wind turbine would cost more than the lorries it would power. And we did not even talk about the cost of batteries here.

Your continuation with comparing to rail is classical case of apples to oranges. Rail requires huge upfront investments and can not go everywhere like lorries do.

The initial post had a valid point - a wind turbine produces relatively small output, compared to the fossil powered engines and to its price tag.

Thx LevinK, for understanding my major clue.

One out of two, or ? 
WTs are LOW-power providers (as per prod.cost) AND/OR
Lorries are HIGH energy consumers (as per fuel cost/waste-heat)
OR both?

I’d say both are true, in a nominal comparison to conventional energy... The diesel in the lorry could have been put through a heating plant and the lorry could have gotten an electric engine, so the overall efficiency would have maybe tippled (?) – This could be done today, “stretching peak-oil into the future”.

Now, today’s WT are put up to add to the electric-grid. When fossils are dwindling and bio-fuels are understood for what it is, we are mostly stuck with whatever we can produce electricity with…..

This electricity is “gonna do everything” … more or less, and I believe transportation is the bastard who’s gonna take the “biggest loss” in few years, personal-carlike transport that is.

"I believe transportation is the bastard who’s gonna take the “biggest loss” in few years, personal-carlike transport that is."

Well, not because of inadequate electricity. It would only require a 22% increase in US generation to power all 210M personal light vehicles (210M, @12k miles/year, .35KWH/mile (assuming same ratio of SUVs & pickups to sedans, .25 would be for just sedans)), vs 450GW current average US output).

That could easily be done with WT's, or coal for that matter (with less CO2 than the status quo, due to much greater efficiencies).

Well, not because of inadequate electricity. It would only require a 22% increase in US generation to power all 210M personal light vehicles...

I would NOT use the word "Only" to describe a 22% increase in US generation, especially with NG becoming scarcer.

That is why I am not a PHEV fan. There are no indirect energy savings with PHEV (as there is with Urban Rail) and my approach (NEVs, bicycles, Urban Rail) would only need, roughly 6% of US generation. An amount that could be conserved from other uses.

Some PHEVs will come to pass, but they should not be massively subsidized or encouraged; there are higher priorities.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficincy,


"I would NOT use the word "Only" to describe a 22% increase in US generation"

I would. It's by far the cheapest option, considering the cost of relocating 75% of the US population, or starting a massive buildup of rail to duplicate what we had 100 years ago, before ICE vehicles existed. Urban rail would produce a bit of indirect savings, but would reduce people's mobility enormously - It's extremely clear that people would be eager to pay the modest investment required to power PHEV's. An additional 2% of electrical generation per year from wind would cost about $40B per year, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things. It's equal to the cost of building about 200,000 housing units per year (perhaps 10% of the cost of relocating people from the suburbs to the city). Similarly, it's equivalent to about $2,500 per new light vehicle: very cheap to power a vehicle for life.

"Some PHEVs will come to pass, but they should not be massively subsidized or encouraged; there are higher priorities."

I don't think they need to be subsizided: their value will be clear enough. If you want a cost-effective solution to PO, there's nothing better.

I would NOT use the word "Only" to describe a 22% increase in US generation, especially with NG becoming scarcer.

All is relative.  The extra power demand would come to roughly 100 GW.  Generating it with nuclear at $2500/kW would require $250 billion of investment (relatively cheap).  Filling the gaps with oil-burning combined-cycle turbines (60%) could roughly triple the efficiency over use directly in light-duty vehicles.

Residential natural gas use in 2006 was about 4.5 quads.  If 3 quads of that went for DHW and space heat, using 20%-efficient CHP instead of open flames could create 0.75 quads of electricity at roughly the same cost in gas.  0.75 quads is ~217 billion kWh, or about 25 GW.  There's a quarter of the demand right there.

If 3 quads of that went for DHW and space heat, using 20%-efficient CHP instead of open flames could create 0.75 quads of electricity at roughly the same cost in gas

The infrastructure to serve half of the housing in the USA with Central Heat & Power (CHP) plants boggles my mind ! I could see 10% with a massive effort and social/economic changes, but that would be the easy 10% ! Yet you blithely assume 100% coverage.

The better solution is tankless gas hot water heaters. I have helped install six in rebuilt New Orleans homes and summer bills (with gas stoves in 5 of the 6) are 1 to 11 ccf/summer month per reports. Better still is solar hot water heaters, but that can be an issue.

And that $2,500/kWh estimate is suspect, The 1.6GW $4.1 billion Areva reactor in Finland is experiencing major cost overruns and delays.

Best Hopes for Reality Based Planning,


The infrastructure to serve half of the housing in the USA with Central Heat & Power (CHP) plants boggles my mind !

Not central, combined.  And it's here today.  (Centralized systems would be much more efficient, and some of the fuel cells proposed for vehicle APUs would be perfect for micro-CHP.  If you can hit 50% or even 40% efficiency, the whole game changes.)

The 1.6GW $4.1 billion Areva reactor in Finland is experiencing major cost overruns and delays.

As others have noted, this isn't too surprising; the last major reactor construction programs were decades ago, and the expertise has been lost.

This would probably be a problem for the first few reactors in a new building program, but not after that.  I guess the lesson there is not to stop; keep building or rebuilding one or two every year, so the expertise is kept up.

"It is bogus to apply this efficiency twice"

True, in this case. OTOH, it is true that the heat input of the lorrie is 3x as large as it's power output, so the the WT can replace 45x as many joules. A technical point, but very important in many comparisons.

"So the wind turbine would cost more than the lorries it would power. And we did not even talk about the cost of batteries here."

But the WT would have no fuel costs, and those costs are much more important than the battery costs.

"Your continuation with comparing to rail is classical case of apples to oranges. Rail requires huge upfront investments and can not go everywhere like lorries do."

Not really. If you use intermodal transport, trains can replace 80-90% of truck hauling, with relatively little investment.

"The initial post had a valid point - a wind turbine produces relatively small output, compared to the fossil powered engines and to its price tag."

No. Sure, the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) has a relatively low ratio of capital expenditure to power output, but you pay for that with extremely low efficiency. The combination of a WT and electric rail (and eventually a PHEV truck for those short intermodal runs from the train to final destination) or PHEV light passenger vehicle is substantially less expensive, and extremely practical.

That's the important point: PM had the impression that wind wasn't especially useful, and that's not the case.

The issue is not starting torque but power for constant speed running of flat ground.


is a good source for doing calcs. Not much time ATM.


..agree, BUT the TOP energy for the starting torque has to be available along the lines/stations - AND this kind of energy-pulse is "taking down everything nearby" in a skinny-future energymix, if not properly planned for.

"the TOP energy for the starting torque has to be available along the lines/stations"

No, the peak energy would be provided by batteries. And, those could be relatively small: PHEV's could easily reduce fuel consumption by 90%, and that's enough.

Notational difficulties here - are you referring to a 2.5 kW generating tower? 'cause that's about the size a home wind generator would use.

Toronto's wind turbine produces 750 kW optimally, and has, over the last five years, produced 1400 MWh per year. In other words, as much power as that truck engine - at maximum output - produces in 128 days of continuous use. I'd be surprised to see an ICE that could run at top speed for 100+ straight days, and the amount of petrol consumed (and wasted through inefficiency) would be astonishing. And that's the most powerful of the truck engines on the list.

The cost of a 2.5 kW tower usually ranges around the $10k range. Quite reasonable. A 500kW tower would, naturally, be more expensive, but if it is situated in an area of fairly constant wind, it'll generate energy at extremely limited cost (beyond initial layout) for years and years. The costs of replacing the ICE lorries with electric equivalents would be the most limiting component of such a changeover, I would think, rather than the cost of the generation equipment.

I think the problem you're having is differentiating between kW (generation capacity) and kW/h (energy). Consumption of the latter, largely, is the issue at hand. Petroleum has unsurpassed energy density, true.. but that's storage, not generation.

The other problem, of course, is a lack of information. You make reference to an article in the Norwegian press, but do not provide a link... you make reference to numbers in a rhetorical fashion, and yet don't provide them. However, working on the tables you provided alone, I can see that there might be a significant initial outlay, but that, amortized, the costs and building scale are not at all insurmountable - particularly if energy generation is divided from the transport business itself (as it is now).

Regardless, this seems unnecessary and unsubstantiated panic, at least with regards to capability. A better title would be "One Wind Turbine can run the biggest semi-trailer there is, driving full-tilt, at ICE efficiency, for more than half a year 24/7". A little less panic, there.

oooopps ... blush, thx Darkstorme

I'm having a 2,5 MW turbine in mind ...but with a little bit of imagination and reading between my lines - I believe you would be able to pick up my intentions , or?

... and I’m not mixing any MW with MWh, just to clarify - For further understanding of my stands ... see above and LevinK's reply

My fast post was to PUT THE LORRY-ICE into a broader picture- and its by now commonly known (at least here at TOD) that no WT delivers much more than a continuous 1MWh on an annual basis. My reference to the Norwegian WT statistics is not that questionable, are they?

Link to Norwegian site, backing my claims.. (Norwegian language warning)

....BUT you are touching my philosophical points here and that's the important issues on WTs vs the future of transportation.

I’ve (I believe I have) read somewhere that only in the US there are 75 million trucks, lorries, busses …. That is fuel for the mind as to how we will be able to mitigate for a future energy mixture, and for transportation in particular.

Scale up your sarcasms on this reality Darkstorme - and see where you are going -what is your solution to this number of trucks and the like in 50 Years?

Where are you putting up YOUR WTs..... ?

Sorry, but your math doesn't make sense. You claim that a 2.5 MW turbine only outputs an average of 500kW. This is fine, but if it averages that output, then over the course of a year, it outputs (500kW * 24 hours/day * 365 days/year) = 4380 MW/h/year.

Using a conservative estimation of an average 30% of maximum output used by the super-lorry engine you're so fond of, and a (again, conservative) 1.5x efficiency improvement going from diesel to electric, we have (4380 MW/h * 1.5 / 0.3 / 465kW) = 47 096.8 hours. Or 1962 days. So in one year, the turbine of which you speak could power five and a half trucks. If they were on the road all the time.

Ok man, You win !
..... NOT

Read my other replies above in this thread, as I suggested you to do, and you see we agree....

My whole point in posting this was actually to "spawn reflections on" the small energy yield in WTs - OR the wasteful uses regarding diesel(petrol). Don’t take all you read verbally- add a little of your own imagination.

In the future The Energy Wizard PETROLEUM – must be substituted by The Energy Gnome Windturbine – And today we can analyze these “side by side”, which yield what …

Where Darkstorme (?) will you put up the 16,7 million WTs needed to power the 75 million truck of the US today ……… Where ?

OR do even you understand that this will never happen ? whatsoever..

This is the clue to my posting – nothing else, this is about realization of what is in petrol vs WT …. or other renewable energies for that matter.

And BTW it is put 4380 MWh/year ...NOT 4380 MW/h/year ... or as YOU say trying to correct me in your first reply
I think the problem you're having is differentiating between kW (generation capacity) and kW/h (energy).

What is actually h/year(?) or kW/h(?)... I mean where do we use this in practical terms concerning energy ?

"Where Darkstorme (?) will you put up the 16,7 million WTs needed to power the 75 million truck of the US today ……… Where ?

OR do even you understand that this will never happen ? whatsoever..

This is the clue to my posting – nothing else, this is about realization of what is in petrol vs WT …. or other renewable energies for that matter. "

And that's not true. Very roughly, 150,000 WT's could replace those 75M trucks. There's more than enough room for those.

Jezz Nick - You are a fullblown Cournocopian (!)

WTs will for this world as a whole ONLY become a random power supplier for the rest of this planets history ...

- AND when the FOSSIL FUEL BASELOAD POWERSUPPLIES constituting a staggering 80-90% of our combined energy-consumptions dwindles sharply ... within rigth now .. via 50 to 100 years - or so ...... THERE will be very hard priorities on how to use the available power ACTUALLY around - AND your 210 million cars / 75 million trucks will by then have been turned into rails and nails lng time ago.... get real man

y-axis 0-piont is a 5 m/s wind ... think again

BTW you never understood my posting - so never mind ...

WTs will for this world as a whole ONLY become a random power supplier

So supplement with solar! Lots of room for that too, to even out shortfalls in wind power. The key is simply STORAGE of energy, not generation.

And yes, Paul, you're correct, the term is MWh, since it's MW * h, not MW/h. However, I don't see how that makes any difference to my conclusion - even using your super-engine, and even with conservative estimates, and even assuming that those trucks are all on the road all the time, one turbine operating at the level you describe could provide power for five and a bit such trucks. Assuming NORMAL trucks, operating normal hours, that same turbine could power 45-50. Supplement that with photovoltaic and thermal-solar parks, and you've got all the electricity you'll need.

There's lots of space to build these things. We just need deployment, now. (Also, better batteries would be nice. But current technology would suffice in the short term.)

Darkstorme – are you a slow thinker spinning in your own grease … ?

We f***** agree on the way ahead – for Gods sake !

Only difference is that YOU (and the other Cornucopian Nick) obviously believe that RENEWABLES will 100% fully step in and take the place of NON-RENEWABLES – AND I do NOT see that happen –

Ergo my initial post was “put on the edge to state my own surprice” – when I (I my stupid lunatic) claimed that– “ONE WINDTURBINE CAN RUN ONE SEMI-TRAILER, that’s wind folks... (!)” – What a silly thing to claim – so silly

BUT – my example is actually true – as I point finger at a Norwegian survey AND used “that biiiiig -Scania engine” which btw IS A REAL ENGINE existing in this very world –

The 2,5 MW WT I refer to will ONLY be able to run 1–ONE SINGLE- of these full loaded Scania trucks – 1WT = 1 Truck (in this edge example)

"YOU (and the other Cornucopian Nick) obviously believe that RENEWABLES will 100% fully step in and take the place of NON-RENEWABLES – AND I do NOT see that happen "

I don't know if they will, but they certainly can, and easily enough.

Shouting (via capital letters) doesn't advance your argument. You need to actually do some calculations. For instance, convert the average US truck MPG of 6.5 miles per gallon into KWH's (35 KWH per mile), apply a 30% efficiency, and calculate roughly 1.5 KWH per mile. Multiply by 350B truck miles per year ( http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/2006cpr/chap14.htm - subtract "personal transportation") and divide by 8,760 hours and you get 60 Gigawatts, only 14% of current generation. Divide by 1MW per WT, and you get 60,000 WT's, not the 16.7 million you estimated earlier ("Where Darkstorme (?) will you put up the 16,7 million WTs needed to power the 75 million truck of the US today?"). That's a difference of 300 to 1. I can see why you think wind is hopeless, when you have such large numbers floating around in your head...

The 2,5 MW WT I refer to will ONLY be able to run 1–ONE SINGLE- of these full loaded Scania trucks – 1WT = 1 Truck (in this edge example)"

No. I thought we'd established that a WT could power 15 of these trucks, or 45 truck loads via rail.

U say -
"No. I thought we'd established that a WT could power 15 of these trucks, or 45 truck loads via rail."

Fine .. but what U are pointing at IS a "theoretical future option" not available today –

I am pointing to AN exaggerated yes … but perfectly real example of today – and for your eyes only, make that 2 Scandia-trucks 24/7/365 OR 4 Scandia-trucks 12 hrs a day/365 basis.

NOW, you start promoting your findings – “start your Government” to act on your splendid findings – so that your numbers can come true 

Well, I'm glad we're kind've in agreement.

"what U are pointing at IS a "theoretical future option" not available today "

Not really. Electric trucks are available now. PHEV trucks and cars as well. Are they available in large quantities? No, but why would they be? Oil prices have only been high for 3 years, and it's only started to look permanent to a lot of people for maybe the last year.

I can understand why you might want to look at the worst possible case. But...you should tell people that's what you're doing. People read TOD, and actually make life decisions.

Furthermore, you really, really should do the math. Wind turbines aren't hard to do, and they're cost effective. Do we know how to run an economy 100% on WT's yet? No, but we don't need to, right now. Right now we certainly know how to add 20% wind generation to the existing base.

"you start promoting your findings – “start your Government” to act on your splendid findings – so that your numbers can come true"

I'm working on it. But, here on the TOD we try to figure out good information - and that's what you & I are doing....

Even allowing for smaller, more scalable turbines like the one in Toronto (hey, I'm a Canuck. I take examples where I've got 'em.), which produces a mean generation of 128kW constantly, that's only 600 000 turbines. Building 30k a year would cost about $30B... which is about as much as three weeks of the war in Iraq. Seems to me the US government might be able to spare that kind of money if it meant shedding the dependency on the oil they're after.

(In Canada, we tend to spend less money, 'tis true.. but we also have a tenth of your population and industry.)

Insults are hardly necessary, and as someone who is clearly a devoted doomist, flinging around figures without valid citation is a bit dangerous, don't you think?

Regardless, as an edge example, yes, a single wind turbine that averages a 500 kW output would power one such truck (which is at the truck high-end, of course) if it were operating at its maximum rated capacity.

Said truck would also be consuming around eight hundred thousand dollars in diesel fuel over a year of running at that pace, of course.

((500 KWh) / ((885 (grams / litre) [density of diesel fuel]) / (245 (grams / KWh) [average fuel-to-energy output of a diesel engine])) = 138.418079 litres, which is equal to 36.6 US gallons. At the current US price for diesel fuel ($2.847/gal), that's $104.10 worth of fuel per hour.

Assuming that (like the wind turbine), the truck keeps up this average output 24/7/365, we multiply that cost by the 8765.8 hours in a year, and come up with $912 000+ US$. Multiply THAT by the conservative efficiency increase estimate of electric over diesel of 1.5 (half again as efficient), and your windmill-erector has a "fuel source" worth 1.36 million dollars a year.

Now, to borrow from your original, "HOW MUCH DID A WT COST, YOU SAID ???"(sic). :)


I refer to my reply just above for Nick – You two knock your heads together and lobby “your governments” … I’ll stand behind you with a banner 

As for your sensible and easily insultable soul … I’m sorry
…, but I’d rather enter the future open-eyed with low-expectations – than blindfolded with Cornucopian believes, you are the latter until opposite proven.

Cornucopian I'll wear as a label. "Slow thinker spinning in [my] own grease", on the other hand, I'm inclined to take offense at.

Your argument initially, however, was not "the governments won't do this", it was "this can't be done; wind isn't good enough." Nick and I thoroughly demolished that argument, so now you've simply changed your tune.

While I agree that wind, solar, and renewables are good (who doesn't?), I don't think we're on the same page. Your original post was that "IF ONE WT ONLY DELIVERS THE ENERGY DEMAND OF A COMMON “LORRY” – THEN WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF SOLUTIONS … FAST !!!". This, as clearly laid out (and referenced), is patently untrue. Wind is a solution. It would need an implementation budget as large as oil's infrastructure, which, yes, would mean the government would have to get behind it, but that's secondary to the fact that it is a solution.

Your original post was wrong. Period. Whether this solution will be implemented is one thing, but it can be implemented - and therein lies the fallacy of all the arguments you made prior to playing the "well, just make the government do it" card. I appreciate having you behind us with the banner... but don't claim that you were right all along.

Howdy Nick and Darkstorme - ladies and gentlemen!

Keep this statement from me as a final expression - on my stands

Darkstorme, you have consistently misinterpreted me and NOT read/understood what I’ve tried to put forward.

Your 150 000 WT will never ever run the close to 300 million vehicles in US … let alone the rest of the worlds …. By then energy will be understood for what it is – and hopefully used wisely.

I’m not claiming medieval futures – BUT I’m quite safe we shall power down.
Because exponential functions, volume and mass will demand so.. UNLESS they start successfully to fuse-stuff, with a positive EROEI, which I also struggle with… (damn me).

Now, this punch line -


“had you going …” – and there is as per running standards little wrong to this, am so sorry but its true (!)

Take my advice for the better of this – promote your “futuristic up-scaling” for an electric future, and keep those enormous numbers fresh in mind at all times … upfront become acquainted to the ideas of “receding horizons” (recommendation)

–DON’T HOG-TIE the messenger (me) , my claim is (almost) valid today.

You are both “talking about something which is not there, virtual stuff ” – although it seems I have an understanding with Nick … sort of

Remember what ever is proven on the lab - doesn’t necessary scale up in the real world (EROEI will be the culprit)– And the materials stemming from crude oil, are as we speak, just being fumed away as fuel …. hence reducing the future volumes of recyclable plastics … for instance ..

Keep also in mind Darkstorme - alongside your converting-stunts for EV's trains - you have to figth to compensate for reduced coal,gas and yellowcake .... not only crude oil ... Good luck

Gad, this is going around in circles. For the sake of lurkers, I'll continue - I don't want anybody to be misled, or left with the wrong impression.

"Your 150 000 WT will never ever run the close to 300 million vehicles in US "

Before, you said you just wanted to be ready for the worst case scenario, but now you're using words like "never". Would you like to explain your pessimism with more information and numbers, rather than just repeating it?

There are about 210M light vehicles, and it looks to me like we have about 20M heavy trucks.

WT's are a beautiful match for PHEV/EV's, because charging can be scheduled when the wind is blowing.

"“had you going …” "

So you were just joking? Well, as long as we're clear.

"Remember what ever is proven on the lab - doesn’t necessary scale up in the real world"

WT's are long out of the lab, and EV's and PHEV's are 120 years old. Even lead-acid batteries (like the first generation EV-1) would work just fine in a PHEV.

"EROEI will be the culprit"

Wind has an E-ROI of around 50, much better than new oil outside the ME.

"you have to figth to compensate for reduced coal,gas and yellowcake "

Coal is adequate for another 30 years - that's enough. Yellowcake same thing. Natural gas...not so much. Fortunately, it's only 18% of electrical generation: not so hard to replace.

Wind and PHEV's are here, and are real. The only trouble is that they're a bit behind the curve, and we'll have a bumpy ride installing them quickly enough. But, they're here: wind was 20% of new generation last year in the US, and hybrids are 2.2% of new car sales and growing 55% per year - not too bad.

WT's are a beautiful match for PHEV/EV's, because charging can be scheduled when the wind is blowing

Wind at any one locality is NOT on a 24 hour cycle#, but subject to multi-day calms mixed with steady winds for days as well as seasonal peaks. Unless and EV can get by with charging once a week or so, we are unlikely to have that match.

I consider your statement a myth about EVs.


# Some seabreezes excepted

"Wind at any one locality is NOT on a 24 hour cycle#, "

Who said anything about "one locality"? What happened to your vision of HVDC criss-crossing the country?

"subject to multi-day calms"

Occasionally. I said "PHEV/EV's". PHEV's will be dominant for a while, and the gas engine will do just fine for the occasional calm period.

" mixed with steady winds for days ""

And this is a problem? Further, there will be intra-day variation, which the charging will buffer. Certainly there will be seasonal variation which other methods will have to handle - PHEV/EV's won't do it all.

" Unless and EV can get by with charging once a week or so, we are unlikely to have that match."

Again...PHEV's to start with! Larger batteries later.

As you know, unneeded night time generation is a problem for wind, as with nuclear. PHEV/EV's help solve that.

Pumped storage is a nearly ideal storage medium. High efficiency (MWh out/MWh in), perfectly controllable, available in GW and 40 GWh sizes, potential sites almost every where within 1,000 miles, very mature technology.

I do not think I have ever mentioned HV DC lines without mentioning pumped storage.

I fear that typical American consumer behavior will make the load curve and the peak far worse rather than better.

As soon as they come home from work at 5:35 PM, they plug in for recharging (yes they CAN put it on a timer, but most will not since they MIGHT need it for a later run to the store, this being Suburbia). They then do a series of loads onto the system; cooking on an electric stove, turn on the lights, TV & air conditioning or heat (perhaps electric), then dishwasher and electric hot water heater. By the time they go to bed their car will be almost fully charged. And additional natural gas or coal will be burned to cope with the now higher peak.

EVs use considerable more electricity in an effort to preserve Suburbia than would Urban Rail. Enough extra to impact the load curve, transmission requirements, fuel mix, etc. They could be thought of as the new air conditioner load. Similar potential load and similar peak use if they become widespread.

OTOH, Urban Rail can "sneak in" under the radar. Currently using 0.19% of total electricity if they become widespread (0.19% for NYC, Chicago, etc subways & light rail plus Amtrak's NorthEast Corridor & LIRR). Multiple that x20 (twenty NYC subways alone sounds good to me) and it is equal to a couple of years growth (growth that will not happen due to the reduced economy from Peak Oil).

That is one reason why I think Urban Rail should be the priority and EVs a secondary response to post-Peak Oil.

Best Hopes for Efficiency,


Urban rail, EV:s and biofuels do to a large degree not use the same resources.

Its like my local Swedish reasoning about more hydro power, more nuclear power, more wind power, more CHP and saving power. The resource overlap is larger but having a multi track solution instead of a single solution make it possible to get more done. In this case making electricity an assured resource in Sweden, the nordic grid and exporting lots of fossil fuel displacing electricity.

"Pumped storage is a nearly ideal storage medium. "

We agree on that. With two flaws. First,

"available in GW and 40 GWh sizes, "

Those are pretty big sizes, and they're necessary for economy of scale. They will take some planning, have some environmental impact, take some work to finance. Those aren't insuperable problems (and we'll certainly use pumped storage to the extent necessary), but it won't be a cakewalk.

2nd, they add significant cost. Not enormous cost, not enough to make them impractical (no reason for pessimism about PO solutions on that count), but they will have to compete on cost with other solutions, like PHEV's, which will cost the utilities nothing due to consumers buying them for their transportation utility - storage will be a bonus.

"I do not think I have ever mentioned HV DC lines without mentioning pumped storage."

They certainly have synergies, but they don't depend on each other. HVDC, especially, is just a good idea, even without wind, though it certainly supports wind nicely, and also extends the reach of pumped storage. Further, how is a large central depot of pumped storage a more conservative, simpler, tested solution than PHEV's?

"I fear that typical American consumer behavior will make the load curve and the peak far worse rather than better. As soon as they come home from work at 5:35 PM, they plug in for recharging "

It's possible, and pumped storage would be a cost-effective solution, if need be. It might cost $500 per household. Far more cost-effective than a wholesale move from the suburbs to the city ($20k to move, $200,000 for new housing, etc). Heck, cheaper than the new curtains you'lnn need in new housing...

More importantly, a PHEV with 40 mile range would be sufficient for most days (the average daily mileage is 40 miles, and most days that was exceeded would be days where there were long trips) -- just charge people $5 to charge in the evenings, and $.50 to charge at 2 am, and they'd figure out pretty quickly that it was highly cost effective. Futher, if we're talking on the level of public policy, just mandate that the car come with charging software that limits charging to early morning, or some such other solution. Let's be a little creative.

"EVs use considerable more electricity in an effort to preserve Suburbia than would Urban Rail. "

A tiny bit. Rail on average uses more electricity than EV's, per pax mile. Now, there will be indirect savings, but who cares? We have more than enough electricity, and what's the E-ROI (or $-ROI) of spending $5T to replace half our housing stock in cities that will become unbearably dense (nothing at all like New Orleans, which has the density of a small exurb), not mentioning the cost of additional rail infrastructure, vs $.5T for wind?

Jezzz - Nick U-VE -got your numbers in place...

- but you never understood the mangnitude to The Issue -

Wakeup links for U Nick =>>



Paal, I don't know where to start.

The 1st link you gave is to an article so biased and unrealistic that it makes me tired, thinking about rebutting it point by point. Just briefly, it: confuses heat inputs with electricity outputs, making wind look 3x smaller than it is; it makes handwaving arguments like wind is too variable, and that the EU just wants to extend it's power; it uses outdated statistics, and distorts the ones it uses.

The 2nd link gives no new info - I read it at the time. Yes, a cubic mile of oil could look kind've big, if you haven't thought about the size of the oil industry, and energy in general. So what? Wind, solar & PHEV/EV can be just as big, easily, though they would only have to be 1/3 as large to provide the same services, because they're so much more efficient.

The fact is that wind, solar and electrical transportation are real and practical. Do you have some specific questions, or points?

And....could you express them with respect? Such comments are annoying for me and others to read, and actually makes you look about 13...

A Truck Stop Perspective

I work at a rural truck stop on Interstate Highway 35 in the heart of the U.S. Midwest, at the Kansas/Oklahoma state line. This gives me a sort of "grassroots" perspective on Peak Oil, as well as a unique "outreach opportunity," every day. Some days I have interesting conversations. Like yesterday, for instance.

A local farmer filled his 3/4 ton pickup with diesel and said something about the high price of fuel. I used one of my standard replies: "you'll be wishing for this price in the coming years."

He grinned sheepishly, looked me in the eye, and said, "Yer prolly right."

He's a likeable enough guy, so I persued the topic. "Y'know, I'd've thought that, with these prices, we wouldn't be this busy," I drawled as I counted his money. I could have dropped it right then and there, but I was feeling frisky. "Maybe we should just raise prices 'til we find the breaking point." Cha-ching!

"Hell," he guffawed, "people er gonna drive no matter what -- they'll go into debt, max their credit cards, mortgage the farm, it don't matter. They all gotta drive."

We both chuckled knowingly, and I moved on to the next customer. But it stuck with me, the matter-of-fact way he said it... and something tells me he's right.

I know exactly where you were, and in fact have stopped in at most of those places along the border. I lived in Ponca City for 2 years, and took that route to Wichita quite a few times.

Hi Robert ~
So you know whereof I speak. 8) We do almost all our shopping in Ponca City, and have had various jobs there over the years.

Nice story, I believe the street perspective says alot.

Another filling station story-from a large independent on the north edge of city before heading rural-pretty much the end of the burbs for this town at present.

Talking about price with the manager, I was told that this summer, she's noted alot of guys who used to long haul 50+ miles to city for work have traded their pickup for little beater sedans. You sure? Ya, I've gotten to know these guys over the years, not many driving their trucks these days. Asked about her fuel sales this year-dropping? Nah, we're up, I think it's people coming over for our price.

Kinda goes with today's EIA report-demand up, but only at .4% over last year.

The scary part to that is that he is basically right. If you are not one of us "crazies" that have found ways not to drive all that much, or have figured out that life is not going to be the same in the coming years because of peak Oil, and global climate change. You are going to max out your credit cards, sell things to pay for your driving, because otherwise you will have to live like "those poor slobs" who get by with the 34 dollar bus pass, or live in "the city", or rent in the "bad part of town".

As a farmer he needs his fuel. As a city dweller, I don't need to fuel up. But I guess I had better get it while the prices are below 2.60 a gallon and the Storms head for the gulf. Thanks for reminding me.

I like using this example for how cheap gasoline is relative to the amount of work that it produces. At $3.20/gallon, 1 cup of gasoline (8 fluid ounces) costs 20 cents. If your vehicle gets 16 MPG, 1 cup of gasoline will propel your vehicle 1 mile (with a bunch of your stuff, extra passengers, etc.) in a couple of minutes.

How much would it cost to pay someone to push your vehicle (with passengers and stuff)the equivalent distance? Let's imagine you could find someone physically capable of doing this who who could cover 1 mile in 15 minutes. At minimum wage, it would still cost something like $1.50 for labor. Of course, realisticly, it would be impossible to find someone strong enough or desperate enough to make pushing your vehicle practical.

How much would it cost to tow your vehicle this distance? Most tow trucks charge hook up minimums. I'm guessing it would cost anywhere from $40 to $80 dollars to tow your vehicle one mile.

What about comparing the cost of 8 ounces of gas to other common liquids? People regularly pay more for bottled water, coffee (just regular coffee, let alone fancy lattes etc.), milk, soda, etc. Oil has to be pumped out of the ground (often in distant and hostile environments), transported vast distances, and then refined into a finished product. None of these substances will produce the amount of work that gasoline does, nor I dare say, take as much effort to produce.

All of these substances too, are renewable. Gasoline is not. 20 cents a cup seems pretty cheap for a non-renewable resource which provides an enourmous amount of energy, especially when you consider how dependent we are on it.

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against the absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. -- Thomas Jefferson

OK, let me see if I've got this right.

We're in prime hurricane season, Dean is "warming up" and there are a record 15 drilling rigs working out in the ultra-deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico right now.

Sounds like those Oil Company boys have put on their thinking caps this time, they're using the old Noodle. This is why God, who was tinkering around with this evolution stuff, gave us these Big Brains — He just wanted to see what would happen...

Getting kind of windy out here...

Appropriate graphic, Dave. Homo sapiens sapiens -- with his @ss hanging out in the wind.

Amory Lovins: How to Face Today's Greatest Energy Challenges


This is the most peak aware group I know of. How many of you have actually put yer money where yer mouths be... hybrids, energy systems, etc?

The Solar Powered Electrically Neutral Rat

RE Amory Lovins:

I am disinclined to take seriously anyone who has dismissed global warming as a 'sign error' as Mr. Lovins did, quoted in a New Yorker article a few months ago.

A few months ago he also wrote this:

We’re toast if we don’t stop messing up the climate


Regarding the "sign error" quote, what he actually said was:

The whole climate debate has been distorted by a sign error...climate protection is not costly, it's profitable, because efficiency is cheaper than fuel.

In other words the "sign error" was in the economic consequence of addressing climate change. He believes it will only be positive (and I'm inclined to agree).

thanks, wiz. There's just no end to the, at best, misstating, and at worse, deliberate misleading of info zapped from the web and citied as authority.

How about an accuracy meter aside all TOD names and updated weekly, a weighing factor to assist those readers who only visit or post here occasionally.

Who knows, maybe ET will apologize when he gets back.

No need to apologize to anyone here...unless Mr Lovins himself is a regular reader.

You're a better (wo)man than I. Ehh..you know.

OK, I apologize for being to quick to quote. However, I disagree strongly that climate change 'will only be positive.' And further, it is this kind of glib arm-waving that seems to characterize Lovins. I realize that he has done some important thinking and research on energy issues, and has lots of good ideas, but I still don't take him seriously when he waves his arms and says effectively that there is no energy problem.

Well, you sir or madam are an idiot. There's simply some things about which civility is not required.

Rules? In a knife fight?

"I disagree strongly that climate change 'will only be positive.' "

But, the point is that he didn't say or imply that. What he said was that mitigation of climate change would only be positive...

Some have a lot of faith in the FED - superpowers - as I said the other day I don't think they have enough tools to stop PANIC.

Especially when the tools are limited to - we will give you credit to help with your CREDIT problems...no problem. Or we will buy your toxic waste(Fannie/Ginnie). Oh that helps.

Anyways, it sure seems that the PANIC point is close. Market dropped thru support points at 13250 with no pause in the last 2 days. Ended way below today at 12,891.22.

Bloomberg end of day wrap up

``Feels like we're on the edge of a panic to me,'' said Jeffrey Saut, who oversees $33.7 billion as chief investment strategist at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Florida. ``In our business, psychology is everything and psychology has changed real quick on Wall Street.''

And it looks like Countrywide is next to collapse - no credit available.

I will leave the rest to Stoneleigh's next roundup.

Suffice to say...it's definitely NOT over.

In London the FTSE100 is down nearly 3% (at 12.00 London time). Most of the fall was in the first few minutes and no real recovery - if anything a wander further down - since. It's now below 6000 and has not closed below that since October 06. That's nearly a year's gains wiped out.

The fall so far today would equate to a 300+ point fall in the Dow. I wonder if the Dow will manage to stay above 12,500 by end of tomorrow? A couple of days ago I didn't think this "was it", but maybe we are seeing the start of a long if erratic slide.

Don't know if this has made it up-thread or not.

Seems that some Chinese construction is being done to save money or steel. The picture at the below site shows HUGE chunks of concrete without any visible Steel Re-Bar in them. I do wonder who will be losing thier heads over this one.

Another sign we aren't building things to last very long.


Wow.. Just Wow...

They are not thinking obviously...

Hello CEOJr1963,

Tragic waste in those photos--sad. Probably cost China bigtime for the upcoming Olympics... How safe would visitors feel in those stadiums now?

Also, Peru just had a big 7.5 magnitude earthquake. China is sadly familiar with earthquakes, but just like Mexico, continues to build poorly designed structures.

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

So they're not only exporting junk?