DrumBeat: September 8, 2007

Platts: OPEC Out Dips in August

OPEC crude production fell by 40,000 barrels per day (b/d) in August, to 30.46 million b/d from 30.5 million b/d in July, mainly because of lower exports from Iraq, a Platts survey showed September 7.

The ten members bound by production agreements, however, boosted output by 80,000 b/d, to 26.79 million b/d in August from 26.71 million b/d in July, the survey showed.

Tillerson Says 'Nationality of Energy' Is Irrelevant

Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said energy independence for the U.S. and other industrialized countries is impossible, and diverse sources of oil are needed to soften the impact of supply disruptions.

"The nationality of energy is irrelevant," Tillerson, who heads the world's largest oil company, said today during a panel discussion on global energy security in Calgary. "A diversity of sources mitigates the impact on total supply from disruptions in any region or from any one source."

Sunni bloc ends boycott in Iraq

A Sunni Arab-led bloc has ended its boycott of Iraq's parliament - the last of several Sunni groups to return after walking out three months ago.

Argentine Refinery Closure May Reduce Diesel for Corn Growers

An Argentine government order to close Royal Dutch Shell Plc's oil refinery in Buenos Aires on environmental concerns will shrink supplies of diesel fuel for farmers to sow corn and soybeans for next year's crops.

As Deepwater Drilling Booms, Mexico's Oil Could Leak to U.S.

Just eight miles north of the Mexican border Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) is busy developing Great White, a massive oil project sitting on 8,700 feet of water.

Experts say Great White and other deepwater finds in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico could drain Mexican oil. Reservoir pressure on Mexico's undeveloped side could push oil and natural gas into Shell's wells.

Pressure on Shell over safety of platforms

Royal Dutch Shell is facing a growing campaign about alleged poor safety on several North Sea oil platforms, with Britain's biggest trade union and a former executive of the company calling on MPs and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate.

Congo Wants to Jointly Exploit Oil-rich Lake with Uganda

Congo wants work with neighboring Uganda to exploit an oil-rich border lake that has been at the center of simmering tensions between the two countries, Congo's foreign minister said Friday.

Turkmenistan: Workers of fuel and energy complex mark their professional day

Natural gas and electricity remain to be free in the country along with low prices for gasoline and other kinds of fuel. Everything that has very high values in the world, our people get either free of charge or at symbolic prices. It is all, the message says, is a result of the state’s concern for its people.

Brazil: Ethanol Divides Agribusiness

The expansion of sugarcane farming to produce more ethanol in Brazil has run into unexpected resistance in Rio Verde, a prosperous town in the central state of Goiás, and it is coming from agribusiness leaders.

The local government, of the conservative Progressive Party, decided to impose a limit on sugarcane to 10 percent of the municipality's farmland.

The cost of construction is on the rise nationally, and in Cheyenne, so is demand

Roger Gutierrez of ACME Construction said he has seen market fluctuations before but nothing this dramatic. Every material he uses is 35 to 40 percent more expensive than it was a year ago.

Reiman said high gas prices don't help either. Asphalt is an oil-based product, and company trucks rely on diesel fuel.

Italy Should Restart Nuclear Power Program, Enel Report Says

Italy should restart nuclear power generation and European nations must improve cooperation on natural-resource policy to best deal with growing energy demand, a report prepared for Enel SpA, Italy's largest power company.

Nuclear dawn

Energy: Attitudes to nuclear power are shifting in response to climate change and fears over the security of the supply of fossil fuels. The technology of nuclear power has been changing, too.

CNN Special: Planet In Peril

Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin joins Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper to expose Earth's decay

Politics 'hurting hunt for oil reserves'

Politically driven state energy companies are hindering access to oil reserves, threatening worldwide energy security, top executives of some the of the globe's biggest oil majors said.

High oil prices and perceptions of soaring industry profits have prompted many producing countries to give national oil firms more power to extract richer fiscal terms and greater control over resources, pushing out international players, Rex Tillerson, chief executive of Exxon Mobil, said.

For oil companies, the good old (bad old) days are over

It used to be so easy. A North American or European energy company eager to ramp up foreign production would traipse into a bankrupt, yet oil-rich, country - anywhere in North or West Africa would do - make nice with the local strongmen, promise jobs, technology and export sales, and walk away with oil and gas concessions that made shareholders weep with joy. Reserves and production went up, costs were relatively low, and environmental regulations were the very palest shade of green.

In Favor of Disruption

Bloom Energy. The company is developing a solid-oxide fuel cell that it believes “could generate more than enough electricity to power a house.”

Tiny Chinese electric car plugs into a wall outlet

The FlyBo starts at $10,000 and runs for up to 70 miles before needing a recharge. Plug it into any ordinary household electrical outlet for two hours, and it's ready again to cruise along at 25 mph.

Wind Power: There's a place for it, but not at the expense of environment

With new fears that the world is building new coal- fired electric generation plants at a pace that can only exacerbate global warming, the need to invest more heavily in alternative forms of environmentally friendly energy becomes ever more acute.

Wind needs to be part of that solution. But a critical question is this: How far do you go in trying to save the planet by destroying it?

Homeowners using alternate energy sources

A wind turbine, otherwise known as a windmill, towers above everything in sight at Graig Pearen's Mud River property west of Prince George. On the property sits a house containing eight solar panels, complete with storage batteries, inverters and metering equipment.

The residence is a sign of the times - an environmentally-friendly home that uses alternative energy.

Biofuels and the Law of Unintended Consequences

This is a news story but let me lead you on a journey. The journey starts from the USA where the cost of energy is way too low. So when the cost of gas went through the roof, instead of trying to improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicles, the idiot president decided to go for bio fuels.

In More Markets, Life's A Gas

Car makers tout hydrogen fuel cells as a contender for the next wave in clean, green and fuel-efficient cars. But how to safely get the hydrogen into them is a key question.

Exxon CEO: Fundamentals don't justify $70 oil price

Oil market fundamentals do not justify a crude oil price as high as $70 a barrel, which is below today's level, Exxon Mobil Corp's top executive said on Friday.

"I cannot explain why we have $70 oil. The fundamentals behind supply and demand do not support $70 oil. The fundamentals support something much less," Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson told a business roundtable at the Spruce Meadows equestrian facility on the outskirts of Calgary.

Price of oil will continue to rise, says Total chief

High oil prices are here to stay, according to Total, the French oil multinational, which has raised its forecast value of a barrel of crude from $40 to $60 as it predicts continuing strong demand for oil, rising costs and political constraints on production.

Total’s decision to bet on a higher oil price is based on fundamentals, said Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive, who said the recent turmoil in the debt markets had shaken most of the speculative money out of oil futures. Despite the loss of the hot money, the price of Brent crude was about $77 per barrel yesterday, close to its peak of $78.

OPEC to consider ‘slight’ output hike: Iraq

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will examine whether it needs to ‘slightly’ hike output when it meets in Vienna next week, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani said on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia capacity increase plans on track

Saudi Arabia is on schedule with plans to boost its crude oil production capacity to 12.5 million barrels per day by 2009, despite rising industry costs, a top official at state oil company Saudi Aramco said on Saturday.

...The world's top oil exporter has fast-tracked oilfield expansion plans to raise output capacity and maintain spare capacity of at least 1.5 million bpd to meet growing world demand or cover unexpected shortfalls in supply.

Oil patch feeding frenzy predicted

The Canadian oil patch could be hit by a major round of takeovers by multinational giants in the next year, Jeff Rubin of CIBC World Markets predicts, as the global energy industry looks increasingly to Alberta's rich oil sands as one of the few major world oil reserves unfettered by political meddling.

Nigeria: Militan Group Threatens to Cripple Oil, Gas Firms

A new militant organization, known as the Grand Alliance of Niger Delta, has threatened to attack the country's oil and gas interests should oil companies in the region fail to meet its demand of employing the teeming unemployed youths of the Niger Delta origin.

The new order: finding out who your real friends are

Professor Michael Klare of Hampshire College, Massachusetts, and author of Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict, argues: "As with the Persian gulf and the Caspian Sea, the South China Sea harbours all of the ingredients for a major military confrontation."

Oil firm Veco is history

Colorado-based CH2M Hill on Friday took over scandal-ridden Veco Corp., the Anchorage oil field services and construction company whose former executives pleaded guilty this spring to bribing state legislators.

Refinery's discharges not reported

Millions of pounds of nitrates were discharged into the Delaware River from the state's lone oil refinery each year before 2006 and not reported to a federal inventory of toxic pollution releases until this year, according to new data.

Running Dry: The world’s most essential oil field may be in decline.

The Saudis do not release data on how much oil they are extracting from individual wells, or on the remaining reserves of individual oil fields. But the total amount that the kingdom produces has been declining, down a million barrels a day over the last two years of data.

The Saudis have claimed these cuts have been in response to weak demand. However, the big drop in production began in the spring of 2006, when the price of oil was rising from $60 to $74 a barrel; the claim that no one wanted to buy Saudi Arabia’s light crude strains credulity. The drop in production has also coincided with a huge new Saudi effort to find and pump more oil: The number of active oil rigs in Saudi Arabia has tripled over the past three years.

Of low-hanging energy fruit. And: if this is a baseball game, what inning are we in?

It was hard for me not to think of the tiger tattoo on George Shultz's butt when he appeared on the kick-off plenary panel at the Society of Environmental Journalists annual conference in Palo Alto, Calif., which was entitled "Clean, Secure, Efficient Energy: Can We Have It All?"

You might not think of the former Reagan secretary of state as an enviro, and maybe he's not, but in his perch at Stanford University's Hoover Institution he has clearly been boning up on the climate crisis and our resulting energy crisis. And as a former politician, he was quick with the metaphors:

"There's so much low-hanging fruit, there's fruit all over the ground."

For example, he said, if Boeing can build airplanes out of super-light but strong materials, why can't American automakers do the same? Shultz roared on:

"How do you win a baseball game? You win it with singles and stolen bases," rather than home runs.

That prompted a response by Stanford's Paul Ehrlich, he of The Population Bomb fame:

"It seems to me the beginning of the game was about 1950."

Iraq seeks oil output of six million bpd within decade

War-torn Iraq seeks to raise oil production to three million barrels per day (bpd) next year and to six million bpd within a decade, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani said on Saturday.

Forest Service chief: Use trees to power cars

The U.S. Forest Service chief is proposing replacing 15 percent of the nation's gasoline with ethanol made from wood, while doubling the amount of carbon dioxide emissions absorbed by public and private forests.

Ethanol entrepreneurs making their moves

The newspaper publisher, the watermelon farmer, the metal fabricator and the housewife gathered about a year ago and decided to take the plunge into the business of biofuels.

Yes, the nearest ethanol pump to their central Georgia town of Dublin was 45 miles away. And yes, they didn't know much about the ethanol industry. But it was as much a philosophical matter as an entrepreneurial one: They were tired of waiting for big corporations to act first.

TXU shareholders approve $32 billion buyout

Shareholders of TXU Corp. approved the sale of the largest power generator in Texas for $32 billion on Friday in one of the biggest private buyouts ever.

Castro criticizes Bush on climate

An essay signed by Fidel Castro criticized President Bush on Friday for asking Asia-Pacific leaders to cooperate in a new framework on climate change that could compete with other international efforts.

APEC forge deal on climate change

Pacific Rim leaders on Saturday said the world needs to "slow, stop and then reverse" greenhouse gas emissions, and adopted modest goals to curb global warming. Thousands of demonstrators rallied to demand stronger action.

Polar bear population seen declining

Two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050 — and the entire population gone from Alaska — because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic, government scientists forecast Friday.

Millennium Institute to run "Alan Drake" scenario on T21 Model

A simple scenario using a massive electrified rail build-out ($50 to $75 billion/year rough estimate) and resultant effects on energy flows, GDP, carbon emissions and more.

Funding will be sought to develop a more complex scenario.

I will be visiting DC for meetings there September 25th and 27th. Ed Tennyson has provided invaluable help.


Thanks to TOD ! I contacted them after the article here.

Best Hopes for Better #s,


If you are heading for DC, Alan, pull on your hip boots before you get to town. Those a$$ holes will tell you anything you want to hear, promise you the moon, walk hand in hand with you to the strong box...and then tell you they are sorry that there are no funds available for your project...although your project has already been signed off on by all necessary parties. Been there, done that!


This is great news, congratulations. I think your Electrificaion of Rail proposal is the best way to immediately start addressing the peak in world production.

The way I'm personally working on the plan is I'm working with some local officials to get commuter electric rail to Houston and connect with their new light rail system. As we have a paralysis of the Feds until after the 2008 election, working locally is my best bet as to how to get my area started on the light rail proposal.

This isn't just economic security or stopping global warming. Its national security. The US imports 2/3rds of the crude and condensate we use, and this is over 5 billion barrels this year alone. Two thirds of the import total is for transportation, and our army, airforce navy and marines use 14 gallons of diesel, jet fuel and gasoline per person each day. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve can only provide 5 months of covering our imports in the event of an embargo or war cutting off the supply. None of our national leaders are even talking about the import problem, and this short-sightedness is America's greatest vulnerability.
Bob Ebersole

I called a friend (also the "Father of the Expo Line" in Los Angeles) to discuss Millennium Institute plans and to seek further data for Los Angeles.

I caught him as he was driving his Prius to a joint Energy Task Force meeting/workshop of the Southern & Northern California Sierra Clubs. He is going to bring it up with them.

Sometimes things just work out :-)

BEST Hopes,


DC Metro seeking 45 cent fare increase

Metro said its bus and rail passengers pay 58 percent of the cost of their rides; the national average in 2005 was 33 percent, according to the Federal Transit Administration. When just Metro's rail system is considered, that figure rises to 79 percent, one of the highest in the nation...

"We are now at a point where we must cut service [or] raise our fares," he said. "WE WILL NOT RECOMMEND OVERALL CUTS TO SERVICE," he wrote in capital letters...

Catoe is also considering seeking a 6.5 percent increase, or an additional $32 million, in the taxpayer contribution, sources said.

Catoe also plans to begin discussing a comprehensive policy that would peg fares to an economic indicator that reflects transportation costs, which are typically double the consumer price index


Best Hopes for a Better Metro,



What proportion of total cost of airline travel is paid by the fare?


I don't understand your question. Obviously 100% of the cost is paid, unless the airline is losing money.
If you mean what percentage is jet fuel, what percentage planes, what percentage labor ect. then the question is either on the balance sheet of the financial statement on an airline-by-airline basis for the public ones, but hard to find on national airlines. Maybe the US Dept of Commerce would have the info. Bob Ebersole

I think he meant to ask whether the airlines get subsidies, like the metro does. I am not aware of direct subsidies (air traffic control is supposedly paid for by taxes on aviation fuel and airline tickets). But if you consider much of the cost of the US military to be a keep-the-oil-flowing subsidy (and some have computed that to be several dollars per gallon), then airlines - and cars - are indeed heavily subsidized.

Yes, the genesis of the question was the quote posted above by AlanFromBigEasy -- "Metro said its bus and rail passengers pay 58 percent of the cost of their rides; the national average in 2005 was 33 percent, according to the Federal Transit Administration."

It is not likely that the airlines pay for the construction and maintainence of airports, air traffic control, Homeland Security airport security, TSA, etc., any more than road fuel taxes pay for building and maintaining freeways and paying for Highway Patrol.

Airlines go broke all the time, so quite obviously the fare doesn't even pay the direct costs in many cases. Sometimes they get taxpayer bailouts -- which suggests that the entire enterprise is hardly a shining example of the free market at work, however useful it is to our society.

The question is probably better stated: what is the level of subsidy of each mode of transit?

This country needs passenger rail, just as it needs airlines. The notion that any form of transportation pays for itself has been shown to be false over and over -- and yet the social value of transportation in creating and sustaining our economy makes the subsidy worth while. I just wonder about the relative levels of subsidy -- but I realize that data isn't easily available. Maybe it isn't even important, but it seems to be a sticking point when it comes to Congressional support of passenger rail.

Amongst other things, airplanes pay landing fees, anything from $20 for a small Cessna to several thousand dollars for a commercial passenger aircraft. This is just one of the ways the privatized airports make their money.

In Canada until recently the air traffic control system was a government department. The government charged a fuel tax to pay for the system.

When the system went private it started charging yearly fees, based on the size of the aircraft, for use of the system. Meanwhile, the government didn't let go of their fuel tax.

Landing fees, Tie-downs/hanger rental, Fuel surcharge, transient parking fees, vehicle parking fees...

Home of the brave and land of the fee

Airlines also don't pay to finance airports, but rent space after the runways and terminals are completed They don't pay for the substantial street and road build-out, and for security which is paid for by a ticket surcharge.

I guess that makes them your average heavily subsidised industry.
Bob Ebersole


The James Hamilton article at the Atlantic site is linked to The Oil Drum. I just submitted the article to digg and reddit. If we go to the Atlantic article and do the reddit and digg upgrades we will drive a lot of eyeballs to The Oil Drum and possibly get around the self-appointed editors at these sites.

Congratulations to Stuart! This is quite a coup, and I hope it gets you, and the other fine observers on the Saudi production, the readership that your hard work deserves. I feel really priviledged to watch Euan, Khebab, and Ace work too. This is the best group of analysts that I know of, and its great to watch all of you work in real time on what's the greatest story of the peak in world production, the decline of Saudi Arabia. My thanks to all of you.
Bob Ebersole

Stuart has hit the big time, for sure.

But I'm not sure the Reddit thing is going to work. You may have noticed the link is to the Google cache of the article. That's because the article itself is behind a paywall.


Well, I don't my admitting that a lot of things are beyond my expertise, including any thing to do with driving business to a website. I feel like a blind man fumbling for a non-braille floor on an elevator in my relations with computers and the internet. At least we'll get more Atlantic readers looking at TOD. My only problem is we need more readers from different groups in our fragmented society, and the Atlantic readership likely looks a lot like TOD's readership-educated, intelligent, broad general interests and thoughtful.

Thats why I post often from a right wing mode. I'm personally a secular humanist peacenik.But if I post stuff that appeals to them its preaching to the choir, so I try to concentrate my comments to appeal to the middle of the road persons and right wingers. Infiltration is what my communist bretheren used to call it. My comment above is an example, if I concentrated on talking about how Rail Electrification will get rid of 10% to 20% of the CO2 emmited by vehicles I'd appeal to global warming activists who generally already support action to reduce carbon by switching to electric from renewable sources
Bob Ebersole

,blockquote>Infiltration is what my communist bretheren used to call it

HaHa !! Excellent strategy !

in EM Theory


I make a lot of jokes, perhaps it weakens my arguement.

My point is that we need to learn to talk the conservative language and make their arguement too when it leads to the same conclusion. It also doesn't hurt that it happens to be true. I'm not talking Neocon lies, but I mean the true, old-fashioned conservatives that believe in a strong national defense and prudent fiscal policy, the people who actually love their country and show it through service to others by way of military service and service on thankless tasks like city park boards and school boards.
Bob Ebersole


I don't believe an argument is weakened by a

You make a good point about preaching
to the choir. We all have different points of
view. If one is engaged in their default POV, effective communication should be assured.

My point is that we need to learn to talk the conservative language and make their arguement too when it leads to the same conclusion.

I understood that. I think it is a valuable point.

in EM Theory

I'm always amazed that the linux supercluster magazine advertisement is what let the cat out of the bag. Was Stuart just reading some oil industry publication and then it was sitting in front of his face? What a catch. I wonder how excited he was when he realized what he was looking at.

Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

Yah, I'll bet Stuart scooped the CIA on that one!

Errol in Miami

Hello Cowpoke,

Just to clarify the TOD history of the LINUX link: I found it just googling along the web late April 5th, early 6th, then posted the link plus emailed it to Stuart. Yep, I got excited when I first eyeballed the oil-sat graphic!

I next asked Leanan to repost it visually as I don't know HTML coding. Thankfully, she graciously responded to my request to eyeball-highlight my find: I wish to personally express my deep gratitude to her. Of course, once the TopTODers SS, F_F, and Euan Mearns eyeballed it: they knew what to do next with this gift from Saudi Aramco.


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

To give credit where credit is due, Matt Simmons was ahead of all of us.

Twilight in the Desert:
The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy (May, 2005)

The most critical question facing the world energy market is whether Saudi Arabia can substantially increase its oil production to meet rising world demand in the years ahead. Sparked by personal observations of Saudi oil wells which led him to suspect that some Saudi fields were in decline, Matt Simmons has created a compelling case that Saudi Arabia production will soon reach an apex, after which its production will decline and the world will be confronted with an immense and potentially catastrophic oil shortage.

Agreed. Many other unsung contributors, some who have posted here, including yourself.

Got the hard copy of the issue in the mail today. Two-page spread, with graphic filling one page. Nice graphic. Hard to miss even if you were just thumbing pages.

Curiously, another article in the issue is by Olivia Judson: The Selfless Gene. And yet another on socially responsible investing called The Conscientious Investor by...Henry Blodget. And another on Bill Clinton's charity.

Perhaps we're being prepped for civility WTSHTF.

Is there any area of federal government that Cheney has not placed himself in charge of?


Proposed Fuel Economy Measure Shows Cheney's Heavy Hand
E-mail and Calendar Records Show White House Played Lead Role in Crafting Sliding Scale Measure

'A proposed overhaul of fuel economy standards was created not by the federal agency in charge of regulating fuel economy, but instead by Vice President Dick Cheney's office and White House officials, a new report from Public Citizen shows.'...snip...

'"Dick Cheney has used his unprecedented power to interfere in many policies, especially environmental and energy policies, to the public's detriment," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. Claybrook was administrator of NHTSA from 1977 to 1981 and set the first-ever Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

"The Cheney sliding scale is bad news for consumers," Claybrook added. "It definitely fits Cheney's pattern of using behind-the-scenes influence to gut environmental measures."'...snip...

At stake is a proposal, which has already been published as a regulation applied to light trucks and is currently pending in legislative form in the Senate version of the energy bill, to eliminate the current corporate average model for fuel economy standards and replace it with a "sliding scale" that sets varying fuel economy standards based on the size of the vehicle.'

Cheney has certainly given lie to the old adage that "the vice-presidency isn't worth a bucket of warm spit"

Bob Ebersole

On the contrary, my dear Watson.
IMO the old adage has never been more apt than right now.

Back from vacation, with just a couple of interesting perspectives to note in following links (hopefully not already linked)-

Intriguing that it seems illegal for American 'green' cars to even leave the states they are allowed to be sold in according to one author, except in the hands of the owners, who aren't even allowed to sell them out of state -
http://autos.msn.com/advice/article.aspx?contentid=4024974 (However, note some debunking and clarification here - http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/09/04/can-this-be-true-does-the-clean-... )

Most intriguing was this quote - 'So, just how green is a PZEV machine? Well, if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving.' We are currently shopping for a new car to replace an aging Toyota, and German law now requires the CO2 emissions to be included with the fuel economy numbers. At least in Europe, CO2 is considered highly relevant as an 'emission.'

And yet, the article goes on to say 'The PZEV cars don't get any better mileage than conventional versions.' Fascinating - in the U.S., using a lawn mower for a short while is dirtier than burning an approximate 50 gallons of gas. No wonder Europeans seem so hysterical about climate change in American eyes - if Europeans only knew how much cleaner it was to drive 2000 miles (3200 kilometers, approximately the average distance German car owners drive every 3 months) than mow the grass or grill a hamburger, then they would no longer need to worry about record warm winters.

The second link is a bit more fun, and yet somehow personally more unsettling -

One particularly quirky American perspective struck me especially, the almost comical highlighting of women riding bicycles in skirts. I knew another American visitor to Germany that specifically told me that he had to take pictures of German women in skirts on bicycles, as he would not be able to convince anyone in Rochester, NY that this actually occurs. This seemed inconceivable to me in the later 1990s, but here was another American, a bicycler rider in SF apparently, equally astounded by an utterly banal aspect of life in Europe.

But what really stood out as I kept reading was how his observations were bounded by the idea of bicycle riding as a life style, and not merely part of daily life. I won't try to get this point across (though the comments may help a bit to demonstrate what I mean), but it was striking to me how limited his awareness seemed to be - and if a bicycle rider has no idea why people were riding small wheeled bikes, or how two people can ride together, or even why a woman might be doing the pedaling instead of the man. (Which sheds a certain unpleasant light on just how sexist Americans can be, especially when you read the answer to that quandary in the comments.)

Several other small things were especially interesting - for example, his harping about a dynamo as the source of power for lights. It seems as if battery powered lights are normal in the U.S. - strangely, it wasn't a surprise to read that even American bicycle riders generate toxic waste (no battery recycling as in Germany, according to earlier posts here), while likely congratulating themselves for being zero impact. And in Germany, LED lights in the back, with a tiny battery, solved the problem of having a tail light work when stopped a few years ago. And a halogen front light, powered by a dynamo, seems better than any battery powered light I have encountered here. Such mundane aspects of German bicycling have yet to hit the cutting edge of American riding culture, apparently.

And that was the real thing that was disturbing - the idea of something like riding culture as being a stand alone identification of what is generally just part of daily life in the EU, apart from the culture of bicycle racing here. The changes required in the U.S. to deal with peak oil will be fundamental, and yet, most Americans still view their life in a lens which fits best into how marketers work - 'no one would ride in SF dressed like that' was how he viewed normal people riding normal bicycles in their normal life.

I doubt the writer of that piece is a cyclist - the idea that a dynamo doubles the effort of cycling is laughable, and the fact that he has apparently never seen a folding bike before ( and didn't recognize one when he saw it) makes me wonder if this is a piss take?

I'll admit to some skepticism myself, but I think the dynamo doubling was for humorous effect. And it is quite possible to imagine him as a fairly narrowly focused rider - like mentioning that no one he knew in SF would ride in anything but the proper clothing with helmets.

I was an exchange student in Westphalia in the 80's, and there were HUNDREDS of bikes parked in front of the school every day, and they were generally what americans call 'Preacher Bikes' (Upright Seating), and would have to be accompanied by the Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch theme sung out when they went by in Maine. In Versmold, we went everywhere on those things.

I need a decent cupholder on my bike these days, owing to a rather severe coffee addiction, but I do revel in wearing clothes that are dangerously inefficient in terms of aerodynamic styling and overall sheen. I just can't do it, and have some ungenerous thoughts about my countrymen and women who have to get into their dacron 'sleeks' when out for a wee pedal..

We do have recycling available for most rechargables in the US, as Radio Shack and some other retailers will now accept old NiCds, Nimhs and Lead Gel Cells for free, AFAIK.. but almost nobody knows about this. More companies are starting to take advantage of 'Life-cycle responsibility' of E-waste as well, and I'd hope they can re-apply the materials to newer product lines.. knock wood, if there's still any wood in reach of you all!


He must not ride that often in SF -- either that or he sticks to the parks. I commute daily on my bike across SF to the Caltrain station in jeans and a t-shirt. All of my biking friends wear similar clothing. My friends and I bike to get around -- fastest mode of transportation in the city -- not to exercise. For instance, every Friday we ride from the train to the bar; a place spandex etc., would not be too cool.

helmet, of course

I saw the Amsterdam bicycles link some weeks ago and was struck by how the author was completely unable to escape from his fairly typical American mindset. When my father visited us her in Munich from the Midwest he immediately noted that the large number of ordinary bicycles was a clear indication that they were for everyday transportation (and they bikes here are fairly fancy compared with those in Amsterdam, presumably because this is one of the safest big cities in Europe). In fact, in a reversal of the US pattern, I would say that few of the riders are young, and it is completely normal to see quite elderly men and women (in skirts) doing their errands by bike.

Expat, if you are still looking for a car, we are very happy with our Audi A2 TDI, which gets ~60mpg. They are not made anymore (böse Audi want to focus "performance" (CO2 production)), but you can easily get them used.

Already looked at the A2 - the kids didn't like how deep the seats were, meaning they couldn't really see out. Which actually seemed a reasonable complaint. Looks like a Citroen Berlingo is what my wife wants - fairly basic (no A/C for example), even if the fuel economy at 7.4l/100km (31.7 mpg) combined driving is pretty poor. CO2 is 175g/km - or very roughly, 49 ounces a mile or 3 pounds a mile. Puts another perspective on what emissions means, doesn't it?

(175/453.6)X 1.609 = 0.62 lb/mile

Thanks - instead of 5/8 mile to a kilometer, I multplied by 8 alone. Conversions are not my strongest point, though I'm not the only one - NASA has lost at least one spacecraft that way.

When my parents decided I was old enough to bike near dusk, we wired a dynamo and light up to my bike. I never even considered batteries, and that's 15 years ago in the USA. How things have changed...

There is another possible option. There are battery-free flashlights and lanterns that are charged by winding a crank for half a minute or so. Rig up a clamp to attach these to the front of the bike and it should do just fine.

I don't like the "dynamos" since they rub on the tire, and also do take some effort. But with the advent of LED lamps, their battery use is insignificant so I don't feel guilty using them. Alternatively, bikes could be fitted with low-friction low-output hub dynamos that could power LED lights and other light loads (GPS?).

That's my techo-joy for today, now back to my regularly scheduled doomerism... :-)

Well, we called them generators in the 60s, but never had one hurt a tire sidewall. Pedaled all over the Twin Cities using one to power head and tail lamps, worked great. Would not even consider batteries, they fail when you are 20 miles from home it seems.

Hub dynamos are a normal thing to find on some models of German bikes, though generally tied to halogen lights. Even in Vermont, you are a good distance south of where I live, in 'southern' Germany - having a good headlight at 5pm in December is pretty important.


Both Shimano and Schmidt make a hub generator, but the shimano is about half the price of the Schmidt. However, when 4AAA rechargeables get you a 100+ hour run time on an LED lighting system...why bother?

You bother because those batteries don't give you 100 hours road-time. They discharge and need renewing.

The new dynamoes are simply a better option. Reliability counts when you share the road with 4000 pound cars driven by folks with lousy night vision... eg: everyone over 40. With the latest generation of LED systems, you have a lot of focused light, front and back, for insignificant effort.

On my bike you would not know you were pushing a dynamo.

Dynamos can suffer from low speed voltage cut-off (steep hills, at a stop, or treacherous trail), and high speed high voltage burnout of bulbs because of inadequate or inexistent voltage regulators. Most of them only put out about 3 watts anyway and you have to be going about 7mph to get even that, below that, you get less.

My son's recently purchased bike has a Shimano hub dynamo, and halogen light - more than adequate light is generated at walking speeds alone. And the dynamo seems to always on - he just has an on/off switch. Quite honestly, the resistance seems minimal, at worst.

As for lighting - reflectors are good, and the tail light has an integrated battery, it seems, so it stays lighted for a couple of minutes after the current stops.

I would agree that dynamos aren't a solution for backwoods trail riding. My remarks have to do with roads, bike paths and so forth. I have a battery driven metal-halide helmet mount system for business in the woods. But the lamp replacements are expensive. They cost about $90 each and you replace them about every 600 cycles. The advanced LED headlight I use runs for 100,000 use-hours (a cycling lifetime). It also costs about $90.

The better dynamo/LED systems have capacitors for stand-light (not-moving) purposes and they power completely at less than 2 mph. The motive drag is negligible. And they are bright.

Here's a link to the best presentation on the web (no financial interest though I am a customer). Click to products and poke around. Lots of info, lots of photos. The technology available is significantly better than most folks realize.


Amazing. Sheldon Brown and Peter White plus a comparison of Shimano and Schmidt hub dynamos all in the same thread. Have to check that I'm on the right listserv. :-)

Check the next Drumbeat - the article concerning Saudi production just might explain why certain people here are interested in bicycles for transportation, while others are interested in trains.

I am interested in both/all means on non-oil transportation available with today's technology !

I was the first to link to http://www.walkscore.com on TOD.

Transportation bicycling is #4 on my list


I have linked to http://www.gemcar.com a number of times.

I have stated repeatedly that I am unsure that the JIT Technology Fairy will arrive Just in Time, although I will welcome her whenever she arrives.

I see rail as the biggest piece (with the related consequence of much improved energy efficiency urban form) of a mitigation response, but FAR from the only one !

Best Hopes,


Ok. After reading about all of these systems, I can say they are light(woops, punned...but I'm leaving it)years ahead of anything I've run across. The "stand-light" feature is a little silly sounding (one LED for visibility) but probably effective at 0-2mph :) It seems as if you're still going to get more light out of a battery light, and you definitely can if you mount multiple units. I'm still not impressed with the tail lights available to these systems (have to complain about something, right?). I've come up on too many bikes using tiny lights and no reflectors and they're not easy to see. You need at least two tail lights (or one big bright one) or a big reflector if don't want to get run over at dawn/dusk. Or (and I highly recommend this if you have a beater bike)...wrap the entire frame in Scotchlite or Reflexite retroreflective tape - hilarious! yet amusingly effective (only seen this once).

Well, if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving.

... and ...

Fascinating - in the U.S., using a lawn mower for a short while is dirtier than burning an approximate 50 gallons of gas.

... are a little misleading. These refer to criteria pollutants, that is, those pollutants that are explicitly regulated in the Clean Air Act. Those are things like CO, NOx, particulates, and VOCs. This isn't referring to greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are more or less directly related to fuel consumption. Running a gas mower probably uses less than a gallon in an hour (depending on the mower), and does *not* even come close to running an automobile for 2000 miles.

I think you misunderstand the intention of the comments. The poster is making the point that America strangely does not count CO2 as "emissions." This makes possible statements like "driving 2000 miles is greener than mowing your lawn" which are absurd.

There even was an American TV campaign not long ago begging America not to classify CO2 as emissions, because it's all-natural and plants love it. "They call it pollution - we call it life."


Some comments from a 64 year-old ex-bicycle rider:

-In Germany in the 60s we quickly got used to seeing every type of character on bicycles. We especially noticed that the young women all had hugh thighs, apparently from riding those bikes.

-Every time I see someone around here with a bicycle helmet and spandex costume I think "Dork"

-Perhaps it is so much more common over there to see everyone on those bikes is because the live IN Amsterdam and not 50 miles out in the suburbs.

-Here in California when the weather gets below about 60 the bikes disappear. I think it rarely gets that warm in the Netherlands.

edit: I forgot to add that I had one of those crappy "dynamos" on a 3 speed bike I had as a kid. It might not have doubled the effort but you sure as heck never turned it on unless your life was in danger.

Leanan - what is a "militan" group?

This article is about an Oregon charity that is seeking food donations. Rising food and fuel costs have increased the number of families who need help:

Food Share needs community's help

But what struck me were the comments. Yikes. I guess Monbiot's right about that cats in a sack thing.

As we have discussed, we will probably be seeing a rising tide of anti-immigrant attitudes, and also anti-welfare attitudes, especially by debt burdened younger people, who can't afford to have their own children--but who are paying taxes to support other people's children. Dividing an expanding economic pie is a lot easier than dividing a shrinking economic pie.

In Switzerland, there is proposed legislation to the effect that if a child of a (legal) immigrant family is convicted of a crime, the whole family is deported.

Meanwhile, the Pope excoriates Europeans for not having enough children. Is this racist, or what? http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0864380420070908

"Europe has become child-poor," he said. "We want everything for ourselves and place little trust in the future."

It was the second time in as many days that the Pope decried Europe's declining birth rates. On Friday he condemned abortion, rejecting the concept that it could be considered a human right, and urged politicians enact legislation to help new families.

He's probably worried about being outnumbered by Muslims.

That was my take on it. Certainly there are plenty of children in the world for the available resources. Maybe not just enough white Christian ones.

In Switzerland, there is proposed legislation to the effect that if a child of a (legal) immigrant family is convicted of a crime, the whole family is deported.

The Swiss People’s Party (populist right wing) has become a prisoner of its anti-foreign or xenophobic stance. It has no other rabble rousing issues left. So it must up provocation, again and again. The aim is to get media attention, be in the spotlight. They are hoping to get their present poster (shows white sheep kicking out a black sheep; one of their previous ones showed black hands reaching for a wallet with with a Swiss flag on it..) banned, which won’t happen. Needless to say, the vague proposition floated hasn’t a hope of ever being accepted. It would involve denouncing a slew of international agreements, changing the constitution (not sure about that myself) and endless laws. It is a game. Their old style (almost Nazi in their graphic roots) posters are designed by a famous young graphic artist who loves explaining his work. Swiss politics is really hard to explain. In some ways it is a free wheeling madhouse, also very rough and tough - not politically correct at all. In others, because the voter is always waiting in the wings, it is slow, staid, conventional and boring (there are no famous figures and scandals just end in prison sentences which clean you of your previous sins.)

Is Hagel the smartest politician in Washington? Who in their right mind would want to be in office in 2009? Even more than it is now, politics is going to be a blood sport going forward, with groups of outraged constituents, no matter what a politician does.

Published Saturday  |  September 8, 2007
Hagel is calling it quits

WASHINGTON - Chuck Hagel will announce Monday that he is retiring from the U.S. Senate and will not run for president next year, people close to the Nebraska Republican said Friday.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel plans to leave the Senate after two terms as a Republican Party maverick, people close to him say.

Hagel plans to announce that "he will not run for re-election and that he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008," said one person, who asked not to be named.

Being a Dem, I really hope no Democrat makes it into the White House in 2009. IMHO, whatever party is in the White House in 2009 will not be there again for a VERY long time (even if the republic survives).

What's the point of being involved in politics if you want to dodge responsibility when your country needs you the most. Decisions made by the next president could have a huge impact on how well the world copes with the oil crisis. We do have options and this is a time when we really need leadership.

I was thinking civil war here with a split along racial lines before Jerome's writings at DailyKos lead me here. The dynamics of conflict necessary to reduce population to our carrying level are already beginning to move ...

I agree.
They are being/will be set up as the "problem".
As this mortgage mess unwinds I suspect this will become more of a hot button issue.
In 28 years of working in Ag I have yet to see a carload of white people show up looking for minimum wage, hard physical work.
"If Ag only paid good wages, white people would work"- We would just import more produce from countries with lower wages, and less regulation.
We have enjoyed "always low prices" for along time and now are paying the price with lower wages, retirements, declining standard of living, etc.
The Mexicans will get the blame.

Yes, there were a couple of trollish comments. A lot of people in Oregon are dependent on the immigrants -- legal or not -- to get jobs done, and a lot of people recognize that. Not everyone is convinced that the immigrants are "sucking us dry" and I hear a lot of serious concern expressed for a way to make this all work. It can only get worse as the Mexican oil economy goes south and the American economy implodes. But from what I can see, it's the Mexicans who are the real survivors -- they mostly maintain good attitudes, have supportive families and work hard. There are also some criminals -- but they are usually working with American partners, some of whom have official government positions

Re: The "Iron Triangle" in Action
(Politics 'hurting hunt for oil reserves' & Exxon CEO: Fundamentals don't justify $70 oil price, from up top)

If all the major oil companies need--in order to boost production--is access to drillsite locations, I am still puzzled by the long term declines in Texas and North Sea oil production.

The initial Texas decline corresponded to about a 25% annual increase in oil prices, out to 1981, and the North Sea decline has corresponded to about an 18% annual increase in oil prices. In both areas, we had virtually no restrictions on drillsite locations, both areas were developed by private companies using the best available technology and the respective long term decline rates in crude oil production have been about 4% and 4.5%.

This is not to say that we stop finding oil fields in post-peak regions. We just can't offset the declines from the old large oil fields.

Speaking of Iron Triangle in Action...

Are we ever going to see the text of bin Laden's latest...
or are we going to listen to more bullsh*t about his beard?

Does anyone have a link to the transcription?

I was struck by one thing about this speech--his appeal to Americans to convert to Islam. I am no expert on this, but I have read that before killing an infidel, a Moslem should offer to let the infidel convert to Islam.

I don't want to minimize 9/11, but to put the 9/11 (and future) terrorism related fatalities in perspective, since 9/11/01, over a million Americans--based on a Newsweek estimate--have died because of mistakes made in hospitals.

Kind of the reverse of the story where the Jewish Altekakar on his death bed converts to Catholicism. His best friend says, 'Bernie, what were you thinking? Are you nuts?' and Bernie shrugs and says, 'I thought it was better one of them should die..'

(.. and a UnitarianUniversalist just earned some more frequent flyer miles to hell!)

May Loki take your case Pro-bono a half-hour before the Devil knows you plan to appeal..

Experts warn of attack clues in Bin Laden video

At times, bin Laden speaks directly to Americans, using plain language that "appears to be crafted in a way as to be understood by the average person on the street in Europe or in the US," said intelligence analyst Ben Venzke.

The latest video "contains phrases ... which serve as indicators that OBL's message is part of Al-Qaeda's efforts to fulfill its requirements to provide warning and a chance for the enemy to change its ways before executing an attack," Venzke said. . .

. . . "To conclude," he (bin Laden) says, "I invite you to embrace Islam."

His beard seems to have gone from gray to brown. Was he using some sort of hair dye, or was this an old clip from the archives to remind us what a threat Iraqi terrorists were when it was Suadi ones who attacked us?

Just For Men. ;-)

It's not an old clip, because he talks about things like the Democratic takeover of Congress, that happened after the clips where he's shown with gray in his beard. It's either a dye job or a fake beard.

Or a fake bin Laden

Al Qaeda suicide bombers were crossing into Iraq from Saudi Arabia and Syria.


Not getting too much support from Saudi society in spite of all the hundreds of billions spent to try to defend them.

In Saudi Arabia there is only one recognized religion. If any Saudi swithces religions he/she might be punished by beheading or explusion from the country. They might not be relied upon for much, except to cut back oil production to raise prices and many might argue that is not help at all.

Across the border in Iran there were Iranians crossing the border to support Shiites who were opposing the U.S. as Iran has stated the world must become Islam.

Or another fake.

Anyone who believes that is OBL,




I dunno. If it was a fake, I would think they'd be careful to get details like that right. Even low-budget productions take "continuity shots" to make sure hair, makeup, costume, etc., match up.

I dunno much either. And don't want controversy
here. I do have Arab friends and see Arab
acquaintances daily. OBL spoke perfect
classical Arabic and much of his normal diction
was in rhyme. His "messages" were mostly all in
rhyme. The various M.C. Rove bin Ladens cannot
hum that tune.

Thanks oldhippie, that's important info that your Arab friends take the video as real from his diction and formal rhetorical terms. IMHO its a lot more important than using Just For Men when he's trying to lead a bunch of kids half his age. Even Bush does that hair touch-up thingBob Ebersole

Hunh? Why so hard to be clear on Internet?
They take current vid as not not not real based
on language. And the last 5 years of vid.

Any who think I'm full of beans and have no
good source to cite, ask the next Arabic
speaker you meet. Not a rarity. You will not
get beheaded.

FWIW, I misunderstood your post, too. Read it again. It sounded you were saying the opposite of what you apparently meant. Remember, we don't know which messages your Arab friends are referring to: this one, previous ones, or what.

I surrender. Won't even read comments awhile.

If you stop reading comments then the terrorists will have won. You're either with us or against us, you know...

About 40k a year killed in car accidents.
More children killed by close family members than strangers.
They are all individual events though so can't use them

...and the upcoming OPEC meeting is on 9/11. With Al Qaeda promising 'something big', I'm feeling a teeny bit nervous that they might try to pull of an oil infrastructure attack somewhere in the Middle East. I mean, how can they resist the rare alignment of these two dates?

I think this is it:

Bin Laden transcript (PDF)

You will need an up to date version of Acrobat to read it.

Interesting that OBL commends the works of Chomsky and Scheuer. If this is a genuine transcript, then it appears to me very likely that OBL had help with most of his script from someone who was very familiar with the American scene.

Definitely. This speech was very topical, mentioning hot button issues like global warming.

UsamaBinLaden transcript:

scroll about 2nd page from top

remarkable perceptions

Interesting Net Oil Exports blog. Check out the continuously updated Top 16 Net Oil Exporters graph down the way on the blog.


Up to July data:

Watching the actual history of US production yields that conclusion that we can never offset the declines from old fields.

When Nixon put price controls on following the first Arab embargo in 1973 followed by the Windfall Profits Tax, the majors and large independents mostly stopped onshore exploration in the US, and started to sell off their old fields and abandon the unsaleable fields and leases. The operators received 30% as much for the oil from an old field as they did for oil from a new field, making improvements like waterflood uneconomic. It cost just as much to work over a well and replace worn out equipment, but the controlled prices for oil meant that it took three times as much oil from an old reservoir to pay the same costs. Also, the finding rate of giant fields really decreased after about 1960, when technology got drilling limits below the most productive depths for oil onshore. There's just a whole lot more gas than oil deeper than 10,000 feet onshore.

So the smaller independents were the guys who developed the new onshore reservoirs which were smaller than the older oil fields. So even the very few large fields found-the Giddings Austin Chalk, the Bryan Woodbine and I'm sure a few other places-were developed mainly by independents. And the proportion of oil in giant fields of the total reserves and production is about 60% in giant fields and supergiants.

82% of the world acreage for drilling is controlled by national oil companies, which are like multinationals in that their internal overhead is so high that they can't make much money on declining production, and it takes a lot higher production to justify secondary and tertiary production. And that high overhead is why I think we see higher decline rates overseas than in domestic areas where independents can operate. Big oil companies require a lot of production to justify the expense of a field office, so I'm sure larger fields are being plugged in areas like the North Sea than would be onshore in the US, and larger ones still in areas like offshore Africa where operating expences mut be very high. That means the total recovery rate from supergiants as a percentage of the total recovery will go up. I suspect not too many low overhead operators are in Mongolia, and that Pemex plugs earlier than a US independent would plug on a field.

Thats part of the reason the NPC report making about 1/2 of the oil produced from the years after 2030 so preposterous. Their graphs indicate that the production will come from tertiary development of old fields. Which, although I expect it to be a big money maker, is just plain impossible. US production never exceeded about 10.5 mbopd. It seems totally unreasonable to expect old oil fields like East Texas to exceed the original flush production, especially now that its down to a 99% water cut. And that's whats happened to the majority of production in US giant oil fields-it just got too expensive to justify the overhead.

WT, in many ways we're working two sides of the same coin. You're looking for production that was not completed because the production would not justify the overhead expense, while I''m looking to redevelop areas where the production was plugged with only about 10% to 20% of the original oil in place produced because of high overhead and improvements in production. To either of us a well with 20,000 barrels worth of reserves is a big money maker and an Humble or Gulf engineer that recommended completing a well like that around 1950 would have been fired. But they are never going to replace wells in fields that made 3 or 4 million barrels per well over a 50 year life with wells with 20,000 barrels production, and the price doesn't matter one bit until its a 2 barrel a day stripper. Bob Ebersole

I like one of the points repeated in the StGeorge (Edit, OOPS, PRINCE GEORGE ..) article on a homeowner setting up Solar and Wind power for his home..

"We're on the grid, so I don't need to do it, it's just something I want to do," Pearen said. "There's quite a few around here that are using systems off grid. We're just offsetting our energy use with the solar and wind. We're still using B.C. Hydro for a good chunk of it. I've been in it for a long time. I've been collecting equipment and growing the system as I can afford it."

A regular criticism of RE systems is that they're expensive, while this doesn't seem to stop the average Joe from getting a Flatscreen TV, X-box or an ATV if he/she wants it, and is willing to incur some CreditCard debt for the trouble. I guess the implication that irks me is that this energy option is really only going to be for the rich and uppermiddle class, while many of the people actually making modest but steady investments in their home-generation capacity are not from the well-off. They are usually just amongst the 'planners and preparers', and are willing to develop something Over the long-haul, that is going to be valuable In the long haul..

"If you're on grid, because our electricity is so cheap, you would never do it for monetary reasons," he said. "But then we don't always do things for monetary reasons. Some people buy boats and skidoos and lake cabins, and they don't have any pay back. I prefer to have fun with the solar energy stuff. "

Bob Fiske
(also one of the fractionally 'Solar Elite', with an <$50k annual income.)


Has Bush got something on his mind?

Really good news about the electrification of transport plan :)

Regeards to the article mentioning financial problems for wind projects and local economies, we should start valuing future available energy very highly. Wind power reprents farily garantueed power for 20 years at least. Any renewable energy source has the value of 15 years of power, no one can take away your wind with sanctions :)


On: “Sunni bloc ends boycott in Iraq.”

The Gvmt. are a bunch of stooges under US piloting. Corrupt and on the take. They control almost nothing. The ‘democracy’ is a sham, the Gvmt. is irrelevant. Even if they vote in the ‘benchmark’ laws that the US demands, and some version (number 29?) of the ‘oil’ law, the situation on the ground will not change. Still, at present it seems the only way forward for oil cos. - some legal underpinning is needed.

How much of Iraq’s oil is smuggled out? A lot. And unknown known, or something.

OPEC eyes rising prices and a chance for them to go higher:


King coal constrained (subscription site)

Sustained high oil prices won't be enough to make coal liquefaction economically viable without large-scale public investment. Katharine Sanderson reports.

Turning dirty coal into a clean-burning liquid fuel remains something of a challenge for the energy industry. As scientists heard last month at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, Massachusetts, the process behind coal liquefaction might be well known — but its large-scale adaptation could still be some time off.

"The economics at this point aren't very useful," says Caroline Burgess Clifford, a fuel chemist at Pennsylvania State University's Energy Institute in University Park. "We don't have a lot of data for people to rely on." And greenhouse-gas emissions are also putting investors off. "People are less likely to invest in coal liquefaction because of the carbon dioxide problem," she says.

However, they mention that several commercial-scale coal-liquefaction projects are under construction in China and there is a $600-million pilot plant in Gilberton, Pennsylvania also under construction.

The geopolitics of resource scarcity is quite fascinating. The APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum of 2007 provided an example of the recent influence of the “new” Russia on South Asian geopolitics. The Russian swagger was evidence as Putin arrived in Sydney fresh from signing important military hardware and resource investment deals with Jakarta.

Crashing into the middle of this came Vladimir Putin, a bear at a picnic, a witch at the christening. The Russian came to Sydney from Jakarta. There, he formalised a deal to sell Indonesia submarines, tanks and aircraft worth more than a billion dollars.

The deal would give Indonesia a big strategic step-up. And it moves Indonesia away from the West and closer to the Russian sphere of influence.

The geopolitical implications of the deal were not lost on others at the forum including principally Australia and Japan.

Indonesia's naval capability is a first-order strategic concern because the Indonesian archipelago itself is a first-order strategic concern.

The country sits astride one of the world's vital strategic shipping routes, the Strait of Malacca. A quarter of all global oil shipments pass through the strait, including most of the oil needed to fuel the Japanese and South Korean economies. About 40 per cent of Australia's exports pass through the strait.

Like the Suez and the Panama canals, the Malacca Strait is one of the world's primary strategic choke-points.

Although Canberra may be irked at the Moscow-Jakarta military deal, that did not stop them from signed a $1 billion with Moscow for uranium exports. In addition to the uranium deal, Russia also signed a deal with Indonesia for investment in Indonesia's production of oil, gas and bauxite.

Since the US plan to position NATO missile defence bases in former Soviet bloc states, Russia has been on a tear to exert its influence in many geopolitical hot spots around the world. China, India and Russia are on the assent in Asia as the US is generally perceived as losing ground fast in the region. This could have an adverse impact on the US’s access to ever scarcer resources from the region and to those that must traverse the region as well.

See http://www.smh.com.au/specials/apec/index.html

Indonesia supplies 21% of the world coal export market. I guess the ELM model to applies to any domesticly produced resource especially NPK as has been mentioned.

Could I also echo the request for a post on energy storage technologies including SMES.

I assume you meant ascent as it has been at least since the Indira G era that China, India and Russia were considered to be in assent. Unless, of course, you meant ass-end, except that is the position in Asia already occupied by the US. sorry to seem a scold but the shortcomings of spellcheck are a constant source of bemusement for us crossword puzzle fans.

Rex Tillerson may consider the nationality of energy irrelevant, but he's in for a big surprise. I can't believe he'd shoot his mouth off like that. By comparison, maybe Lee Raymond really was worth 50 million or whatever.

He sounds like a kid trying to psyche himself up to go down the basement stairs - 'There are no boogeymen, there are no boogeymen' - but you're not supposed to say it out loud. Maybe his tiff and fit of pique with Chavez has really spooked him. Hugo wasn't bluffing.

Nationality IS irrelevant - at the point of a gun. Too many countries and not enough guns, however. The inability to get any significant export production from Iraq after five years doesn't bode well for the irrelevancy solution to the Export Land Model.

True, he was speaking to the assembled oil magnates of Calgary, which is hardly about to play a nationalist card proscribed by NAFTA. But I doubt that the other six billion inhabitants of the planet really give a crap what Rex says or thinks. As a citizen of the US's largest supplier, I am personally unconcerned whether Americans or Canadians burn the stuff up because if we don't start doing something else soon, we're collectively screwed. That said, there are many who don't share my generosity and look upon fossil fuels rather more covetously. Convincing them may take a lot more than the voice of Chairman Rex preaching to the converted.

EOM sure looks like it wants to deploy the money it had planned to spend in Venezuela in Alberta instead. Rumors of takeovers of what remains of the independents abound. Several years ago, in a little noted sale, EOM got rights to a huge deposit that seems appropriate for Petrobank's T**** technology [ I'm poor at acronyms] where air is injected for combustion to heat and pressurize, etc. They already have a steam injection site near Cold Lake. Like sucking the drips off a mine fire.

My only reservation about this is that these deposits should be the spare tire - the real 'reserves' actually reserved. Instead, we're running on three bald tires and getting out the spare.

Rackety times in the oilpatch.

Re: The "$70 plus oil price makes no sense" comment:

If $70 makes no sense, then that implies that lower crude oil prices are right around the corner.

Net Oil Exports and the "Iron Triangle"

I always find it interesting that people like Matt Simmons (who are encouraging energy conservation) are widely blamed by some critics for high oil prices, while some major oil companies, some major oil exporters and some energy analysts are--in effect--encouraging increased energy consumption.

The prevailing message from some major oil companies, some major oil exporters and some energy analysts can be roughly summarized as follows “Party On Dude!”

You see, this is exactly the sort of thing that has made me develeop a strong antipathy toward the major oil companies. They HAVE to know what the true situation is, yet as you say, their main message is 'Party On Dude!' (And perhaps followed by, "Don't worry: trust us.")

For all their BS about alternatives, new technology, and efficiency, the bottom line is that they are primarily in the oil & gas extraction business, and their reason for being is to make money for their shareholders by selling the oil & gas they extract. If you use less oil & gas, they make less money. This is hardly a difficult concept to grasp.

A large corporation that has spent billions developing a resource-extraction business is under intense pressure to recoup that investment ASAP so as to maximize profitability. From a financial standpoint, the most profitable secenario is to exploit that resource as fast as they can, get as much revenue from that resource as fast as they can, and when the resource eventually runs out, they will have enough cash on hand to invest in some other profitable business. Conservation and alternatives are in direct conflict with these interests. Its PR campaign notwithstanding, Big Oil cannot be for maximum profitability and serious conservation at the same time.

As Big Oil becomes increasingly dependent on foreign sources, so too will it become increasingly dependent upon the US military to 'secure' such sources from uncooperative governments. The unholy alliance between Big Oil and Big Government is only going to get more unholy. The logical endpoint of the path that Big Oil would have us go down is a state of perpetual resource wars.

I keep trying to game this like a chess game. At this point there isn't a single one of the majors that has to worry about the consumer using less oil and dropping their profits.

Everyone is so used to living their entire lives and being able to use as much as they want, it is embedded in them.

I myself have used the minimum possible, I don't do any extra driving, am easy on the throttle (sigh) don't use AC in the house unless it gets over 90, cool settings in the winter (the house is tight and well insulated) etc. etc. I am basically locked into a certain amount of usage until I pop for solar and a 60 mpg car. (Have a cycle that can get 60.)

I do believe that Big Oil is now past the point of being able to keep up with demand. They NEED some conservation to take some pressure off, increasingly desperately.

Relayer said,

"I keep trying to game this like a chess game. At this point there isn't a single one of the majors that has to worry about the consumer using less oil and dropping their profits."

It's just damm interesting though, isn't it?

On any blog related to energy you will hear folks say...."The oil companies deny peak oil because they want to keep selling oil...."

And then often enough the same post will say a few sentences later that solar, wind, plug hybrid and electric vehicles, methane recapture, and the other alternatives proposed will not work, they are "techno fixes", "silver bb's" that can have nothing but the most marginal effects...."

So then, what are the oil companies afraid of? If you accept that the alternatives simply will have virtually no effect, and your in the oil business, you would assume that you KNOW the public will have to buy your oil (and gas), right? There is simply NO POSSIBILITY of you losing sales!

And yet, the propaganda against any and all alternatives continues like blows from a hammer.

The recent series here on TOD concerning EROEI is just the tip of the iceberg, wth the "energy invested" side of the equation moving in Zen like waves outward to infinity, finally potentially taking in the rap CD purchased by the young fabricator working on a windmill to be billed directly against the windmill. (I am being somewhat ironic of course, but a post about energy that begins with a photo of a young bombshell actress/performer has to make one think in the most ironic terms!)

This would be fine if the oil and gas industry were billed in the same terms, but oil is made to sound almost energy invested free. A full century of sunk costs are completely ignored.

If the writers of such logic were ignorant, that would be forgivable. We are all ignorant about certain things. But I have read other posts by many of them same people and they are NOT ignorant. It begs the question of why they would count in such ways and say such things. They MUST know that what they are saying cannot be correct.

I used windmills as just one example. The propagand blast against them from so called "environmental groups" has become nothing short of beyond belief (I sourced a link the other day that accused them of high voltage leakage that led to deformed cows! :-O and sick children. Luckily, the high voltage towers and power lines passing over millions of acres of farmland do not have any such high voltage issues....(!)

I will not go into some of the wild claims relating to EROEI trotted out against solar, they are so beyond belief as to surpass all credibility, yet they are seen again and again. Plug hybrid cars? One sees studies spread around that show they will use more energy than a gasoline SUV....the same batteries that can be sold at a profit for use in Dremel cordless tools apparently would chew through MOUNTAINS of resourses if they were ever sold for use in cars (!!!!)

Let me shoot ya' a bit of conjecture: The big vested oil companies, having done just enough exploring and having just enough engineering talant to evaluate the alternatives are afraid because they KNOW THEY WILL WORK, if given the support of the customer and mass production scale.

What else could they be afrad of? If they knew the alternatives would not work, or that they actually had such horrendous EROEI compared to oil, they would simply be ignoring them. In fact, as Relayer points out, they would be encouraging them, just as they would encourage conservation, to relieve the pressure off of having to invest in expensive drilling.

Almost a year ago, one of Saudi Arabia's oil policy wonks issued a statement warning of the danger of embracing "green alternatives" too quickly. I do not now have the link, it's been awhile ago, some of you may remember the comments. What would Saudi Arabia care about "green" alternatives, if they knew they wouldn't work?

I looked at a Toyota Camry Hybrid the other day. It was almost brand new, purchased by a businesswoman I know. What a BEAUTIFUL piece of work....she said she was getting easily 40 mpg plus in real world driving, AC running. If more and more cars match this, full comfort, pretty to look at, nice performace, at 40 miles per gallon plus (and they will HAVE TO, if the maker wants to stay in the car business), would that affect Saudi Arabia's sales of crude oil? You be the judge. If these cars can be built as plug hybrids (already out on the road in real world testing by Toyota in Japan and Europe) getting 100 plus miles per gallon, would that have an effect on oil industry sales, on Saudi sales?

My female friend did not buy her Camry Hybrid for the fuel savings per se....she can afford gas at twice and more it's current price.
She simply liked the idea of cutting her trips to the gas pump by two thirds, especially in the winter. Would a plug hybrid that needed to go to the gas pump only once every six to eight weeks in her case be even more appealing, never mind the price premium, for the "convenience of not having to stand in freezing weather and pump gas every week (again, using her mileage and fuel consumption as an example)?

The oil companies know EXACTLY what they are afraid of. But thankfully, all the propaganda they can buy, all the slander against the alternatives they can persuade others to deliver for them, will not stop the progress of the technicians down in the shops.

Vengeance is sweet.


Re: Potentially taking in the rap CD purchased by the young fabricator working on the windmill.

Love it! The EROEI nonsense just gets sillier and sillier.

The energy costs to produce my corn crop are less than the real estate taxes I have to pay even with the high prices of diesel. Somehow this gets morphed into some monstrous unrecognizable figure. Then the natural gas used to make the ethanol becomes larger than the corn purchased for the process. Then we learn that about $40-$50 billion of natural gas is flared off every year by oil companies. EROEI is a joke.

On any blog related to energy you will hear folks say...."The oil companies deny peak oil because they want to keep selling oil...."

And then often enough the same post will say a few sentences later that solar, wind, plug hybrid and electric vehicles, methane recapture, and the other alternatives proposed will not work, they are "techno fixes", "silver bb's" that can have nothing but the most marginal effects...."

The people that say they won't work because they are "techno fixes" are probably referring to the population side of the equation, and that a techno fix (by definition a fix) will not last long before being overrun by other factors.

Silver bbs, etc...It's a bit of a different issue. When you see this apparent backtracking, it's probably because they do realize that solar, wind, Plybrids, and EV's would have enough of an effect to lower the price of oil but would not be able to entirely replace it(as currently used). In other words, those technologies have the capability to put a dent in the Oil and Gas industry...but getting them to entirely replace it is another matter. If you were selling 100 Widget A's per year and someone came along selling Widget B which does the same thing, but differently, and started selling 20 Widget B's per year (with no hope of ever selling more than 20 B's per year)...would you want to have to lower your price to sell your 100 widgets just because Widget B maker started selling their product or would you want to shut them down and retain 100% of your business and profits?

Note: This is just an explanation of other's lines of reasoning that I've noticed through observation and not necessarily my own opinions on the matter.

"The nationality of energy is irrelevant,"
Spoken like a true middleman!

A little more Texas Tea for the Tillerson!

Spoken like one at the top of the heap.

Just goes to show that multi-national corporations are not working in the interest of any nation, nor the citizens of any country, nor humanity as a whole. They've dismantled the US industrial base and have squeezed as much profit as possible hooking US "consumers" on debt-based consumption. Now that the debt economy is sinking, they'll abandon us to our fate and move elsewhere.

What's the alternative to capitalism, you may ask? I don't know, but I like the concept of worker-owned enterprises. Capitalism says that only those who invest money in the enterprise have any ownership in it. The workers who spent decades of their lives doing the actual work, the towns that depend on the factories, etc, have no say, and are abandoned (and pensions reneged on). That's what needs to change.

Hear, hear.

I think the symbolism of Money and Corporate entities can be a useful concept, but the way we've allowed capitalism to grow, which may have been defined by how we power not only society, but our own bodies, is to glorify hunger and consumption of assets as if they were food or fuel.. but in these abstract realms of Economics and a Business 'as a body', /corporeal/ .. that this preprogrammed hunger becomes practically the only function of that artificial organism, and that we loyally urge them to feed their hungers as our self-appointed and essentially sacred duty, believing as we would in our 'living creations', like they were our own children. Mary Shelley would probably have a thing or two to say about that..

Grandfather (Little Big Man)
"Do you see this fine thing? Do you admire the humanity in it? Because the Human Beings believe everything is alive. Not only Man and the Animals but Water, Earth, Stone...Things that come from them. Like that hair. The Man from whom this hair came is bald on the Other Side because I own his scalp...This is the way things are. But the White Man—they believe everything is dead. Earth. Animals. People. Even their own people. If things keep trying to live, White Men will rub them out. That is the difference."

His Death Chant...

"Come out and fight! It is a good day to fight. A good day to die!

"Thank you for making me a Human Being...Thank you for helping me to become a warrior. Thank you for my victories...and my defeats. Thank you for my vision and the blindness that helped me to see further.

"Now you have decided the Human Beings will walk a road that leads Nowhere...I am going to die now, unless Death wants to fight. And I ask you one last time to grant me the power to make things happen..."


"....Am I still in this world?"

"Yes, Grandfather."

"I was afraid of that...well...sometimes the magic works. And sometimes it doesn’t. Let’s go back to the teepee and eat."

edit > credit
Screenwriter- Calder Willingham
Original Novel- Thomas Berger

I've made a point of not buying from Exxon stations for years, as I've got multiple bones to pick with them. The reasons just keep multiplying.

Same here. My Dad is a Prince William Sound fisherman. The oil spill happened when I was eleven.

What happened to Energy Bulletin? No updates in two days. Perhaps I'm just spoiled with their endless output. I hope Bart et al are taking a vacation. But they usually announce such?

Hi vtpeaknik,

More Energy Bulletin posts coming. I was editing a blockbuster article analyzing the case of "Peak Energy" (not just oil, but total energy). This article should be appearing soon at both TOD and Energy Bulletin.

I was also attending a conference for the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) at Stanford. You will probably not be surprised that peak oil was not on the agenda, though I know a number of journalists are aware of it. At least they didn't throw stones at me, and I consider that progress.

Global warming was the subject of a plenary and some smaller meetings. The journalists seem determined not to be pushed around by pressure groups and lobbies on that subject.

The science about global warming continues to be grimmer and grimmer. A Cornell plant scientist said that the effects are being felt by farmers and gardeners (longer growing seasons, insects moving north, more diseases).

Some background on the profession of journalism. It is poorly paid with an uncertain future - reporters are being laid off in droves because print publications are hurting financially.

Environmental journalists are usually not deeply schooled in science, but they are quick learners. (Effort put into educating journalists in your specialty will pay off.)

Editors and publishers are even less knowledgeable about science than reporters. This is unfortunate for us, because they are the ones who set policy and make decisions on stories.

I realized that there is a great deal the peak oil community could do to get better press coverage. Our press relations skills are rather primitive.

It's like anything else -- if you know the environment and have the skills, you have a good chance of getting the results you want.

Hello TODers,

Glad to see Bart from EB weigh in here on TOD--I am looking forward to the Peak Energy keypost.

On the fertilizer topic: I got both good and bad news.

Organic farming appears to widely outproduce conventional farming with greater drought resiliency:

Study finds organic soil will produce better crops

I learned that the easy  part of becoming an organic grower is to stop using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to grow their crops. The very difficult task is to learn how to compensate for that change by building up the quality of the soil so that they can begin to compete with conventional farmers, in terms of revenue and profits. There is now no doubt they can reach and ultimately exceed that goal, but it takes at least five years of hard work to get there.

The critical difference is that after 27 years, the quality of the soil of the conventional system is exactly the same as it was 27 years ago in terms of fertility, water drainage, water retention, soil microbial activity, and structure. The soil in the organic field on the other hand has been improved so much that it not only produces superior crops, it is now almost impervious to the impact of drought -- a farmer's nightmare.
So that is the good news, now the bad news is that perhaps global demand for mined & industrial NPK is starting to outpace supply:

K+S May Spend $1 Billion on Potash Mine as Farmers Boost Orders

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- K+S AG, Europe's largest producer of potash used in fertilizers, may spend $1 billion to open a new mine as capacity is stretched by rising orders from emerging markets.

K+S raised selling prices in the third quarter as more sophisticated farming techniques boosted demand from countries such as China, India and Brazil and pushed the company's output to 100 percent of capacity. Demand for the mineral, used in animal feed and agriculture, will exceed supply until at least 2012 and possibly until 2015, Steiner's predecessor said in June.

Potassium chloride, used in potash fertilizers, will probably rise to about $300 a ton by the end of the year, from $180 to $190 at the start, said the CEO, who also serves as chief financial officer. Rising consumption of meat and use of biofuels worldwide is also boosting potash demand.
Makes me wonder how long before everybody will clearly understand that composting is essential.

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

Keep up the info stream on this topic, Bob. I'm glad you've taken it on and it IS relevant. What is the long term prospect for the potash mines in Saskatchewan? They've been at it a long time now. Any thoughts?

It seems as though in nature production and consumption occur in the same palce, relatively, and composting occurs crudely but naturally. For all the arguments in favor of high density New Urbanism, a traditional ruralism sure beats hauling shit and scraps. Somehow I sense that the rush to urbanization that happened with the combine harvester in the 20's was not a permanent or good idea.

The 20th century is looking more and more like an anomaly rather than a model.