DrumBeat: September 29, 2007

Private industry conference finds much less oil (podcast)

A secretive gathering some of the world’s biggest oil companies has concluded the industry will discover far less oil than officially forecast, meaning global oil production may peak much sooner than many expect.

The Hedberg Research Conference on Understanding World Oil Resources was held by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in Colorado Springs last November to try to reconcile widely divergent estimates of likely future reserves additions. In an interview with Lastoilshock.com, oil executive Ray Leonard said the majority view was that future oil discovery would amount to some 250 billion barrels, rather than the 650 billion barrels suggested by the United States Geological Survey.

Got $100 to burn? Here are your energy options

During the panic buying triggered by the Arab oil embargo and supply disruptions of the early 197Os, oil still cost less than $50 a barrel in today's money and you could get a pair of them for under $100. Fifty dollars doesn't even buy two-thirds of a barrel at the moment and supplies are relatively healthy.

Heating oil prices soar, elderly panic

And, they have reason to panic, say fuel oil dealers who are paying record-high prices and therefore charging record-high prices even before the winter cold sets in. The problem is even worse for those who rely on government fuel assistance programs, administrators say.

“Never in my lifetime,” veteran oil dealer Charlie Dyer of Raynham said about today's prices. “It's going to be a very difficult winter for customers, no doubt about it.”

Adnoc to cut supplies

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) has notified more Asian term lifters it will sharply cut November exports of its three offshore crudes due to oilfield maintenance, trading sources said.

Nigeria's Leader Says Oil Production Up

Nigeria's president said that oil production has been increasing in his country and attacks on oil workers in its crude-rich southern delta region have been decreasing as a result of the dialogue his government initiated with militants.

‘Go local,’ author McKibben urges, to stop global warming

Just say “no” to globalism? Cities that make more of their own food, energy and other goods are better off, and do less harm to the environment.

So argues Bill McKibben, an author and environmentalist whose best-selling books have helped shape the debate on climate change.

Myanmar: Gas reserves prop up economy

According to the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, an independent administrative body, Myanmar's natural gas reserves were estimated to be about 538 billion cubic meters as of the end of 2006.

The figure represents the third-largest reserves in Southeast Asia, following Indonesia and Malaysia.

A massive wrench thrown in Putin's works

It almost seemed since the month of May that in the battles of the Caspian energy war, Russian President Vladimir Putin was destined to glide serenely from victory to victory until next March when he leaves office in the Kremlin.

But a backlash was bound to happen. Putin's standing as the ace player in the Great Game of our times had surely become an eyesore for Western capitals.

Russia warns of retaliation on EU energy plan

Russia sees EU plans to limit foreign investment in its energy sector as violating free market principles and will respond if the measures are enacted, a top Russian official warned Friday.

China’s Thriving NOCs

Among the world’s national oil companies, the three Chinese NOCs – CNPC, Sinopec, and CNOOC – may be the oddest. Over the past half decade or so, they have certainly been among the most financially successful. Although they are an integral part of the Communist Chinese system, which comes with a heavy dose of central government control, the three NOCs are also engaged in serious capitalism. Their top executives are semi-independent businessmen controlling operations worth hundreds of billions of dollars, at the same time working closely with the government to form China’s national energy policies. The industry provides 12.5 percent of the government’s total tax revenues.

Recasting Big Oil's Battered Image

Despite past ad campaigns aimed at dousing consumers' ire over high oil prices or dissuading lawmakers set on new taxes or regulations, the oil industry remains more disliked than any other business in the United States other than the tobacco industry. A poll of 1,500 adults conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in August found that 45 percent had "very unfavorable" and another 21 percent "somewhat unfavorable" views of oil companies.

Big Oil's Big Stall On Ethanol

Even as it pockets billions in subsidies, it's trying to keep E85 out of drivers' tanks.

Ethanol, schmethanol

Everyone seems to think that ethanol is a good way to make cars greener. Everyone is wrong.

Brazil's biofuel blues

They are far from perfect, but the new sources of energy have an important role to play. Lula is right to defend them.

Nuclear power surge coming

In the next 15 months, US regulators expect applications for up to 28 new plants.

Country Split Over Global Warming Widens Among Evangelicals

Christians have a biblical mandate to be "good stewards of God's creation," Ms. Paynter says she told the Rev. Frank Brown, pastor of the Bellmead First Baptist Church here in the county where President Bush has his ranch. So, Texas Baptists should demand that controversial plans to build a slew of coal-fired power plants be put on hold.

Mr. Brown was not impressed. God, the pastor said, is "sovereign over his creation" and no amount of coal-burning will alter by a "millisecond" his divine plan for the world. Fighting environmental damage is "like chasing rabbits," he recalls telling her. It just distracts from core Christian duties to spread the faith and protect the unborn.

Clean, green power - but at what price?

On the surface, harnessing the power of the pristine Albany River to generate clean electricity sounds like a good idea. But it raises the question: Who should decide what happens in the far north: Queen's Park or the locals?

Green IT strategies stifled by inertia

Almost half of IT executives--42 percent--admit their company does not monitor IT-related energy spending.

A further 9 percent don't know if their company has such a monitoring program in place, and of those that do monitor it, a quarter have seen their energy consumption increase over the past two years.

Former CIA Chief looks to future

Crude oil and salt have a lot in common, in R. James Woolsey’s mind.

The former CIA director, who has become an authoritative voice on energy security, sees oil headed down the same path as salt, previously the only means of preserving meat.

“Wars were fought and national strategies driven, in part, by salt. Today, we haven’t stopped using salt, but no part of our national behavior is driven by the need for it,” he said in congressional testimony in April.

Rising gas prices likely to linger

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, said crude oil prices may well set more records in the coming weeks. Then he foresees a slow, gradual fall in prices as the end of the year approaches.

That doesn't mean gasoline will get cheap, however. Kloza's predicting this winter's low price for gasoline could easily be the "highest low" consumers have ever seen.

Rising Oil Prices Seen Pushing Costs Higher For Coal Miners

Coal miners consume millions of gallons of diesel annually to run their mining equipment. If the price of oil and petroleum products rises significantly, companies will face millions of dollars in added costs.

Argentine energy shortage repeat for Chilean mines

In recent months the major mining firms have stepped up preparations to compensate for expected electricity rationing, which they estimate could affect up to 20% of their current energy consumption. The precarious energy situation is largely due to reductions in the supply of natural gas from Argentina.

Argentine energy crunch looms over next government

Argentina's next government will have to consider raising natural gas and electricity prices soon after it takes office in December as a way to avoid a repeat of the energy crisis of recent months.

UK: Fuel duty rise ‘will hit hard’

A SMALL business leader in North Wales is warning that next week’s automatic 2p rise in fuel duty, which is set to send some diesel prices past the £1 a litre mark, will hit firms hard.

'123' will allow India to buy fuel outside US: Sibal

he Indo-US civil nuclear deal would give India the flexibility to buy nuclear fuel not only from the US, but also from countries like France, Russia or even Australia.

Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal said today the bilateral agreement, also called "123 agreement", would not make it binding on India to buy nuclear fuel from just the US.

Shedding a little light on consumption

As society rushes to go “green” in creating new energy supplies, such as developing wind and solar farms and adding tidal generators to our oceans to help us keep our lights and air conditioners on, it can be easy to overlook another option to combat climate change and any potential future energy crisis.

In fact, it is down right disturbing to think just how easily and often we forget about the one little word that could mean as much to our future as “green” energy. The word is conservation. Simply put, cutting energy use is as good as coming up with new sources of it.

A global approach to low energy consumption and CO2 emission reduction

There can be a significant energy savings in industries like cement, pulp and paper, ammonia, ethylene, iron and steel, and a number of other chemical, petro-chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

EU Commissioner Says New Investments Can Solve Chronic Energy Crisis in Balkans

The European commissioner for energy said Friday that southeastern Europe could solve its chronic energy shortages by cutting down waste in consumption and cross-border connections rather than by generating new supplies.

But Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that doing so required major investments in efficiency-boosting projects like upgrading power plants and promoting household insulation.

The end of Las Vegas: Why alternative energy sources won't save us in the post-oil age

They talked about all the usual, obvious solutions. We should harness the power of the sun; use soybeans and fry grease to run the cars; create a hydrogen economy; and all the other stuff Americans have been hearing about of late to lower those nasty emissions destroying Mother Earth. Best part is: We'll get to continue living the same way -- tooling around in our cars, relaxing in our air-conditioned homes. Only now we'll finally be treating our old Momma with some respect while we do it.

Many energy experts say this a dangerous myth, one that will prevent us from adapting to a monumental change with no historical parallels. While it's surely imperative we clean up our act in the name of preserving our planet, a potentially even bigger issue than that of global climate change is staring us down: an oil shortage.

'Murderer's row' of fund managers targets little firms that can

"If the U.S. can scrape by for a couple of years and everybody else keeps growing at the same rate, oil will go to $90 or $100. Oil in particular is telling you that the world isn't slowing down as much as people think it is, or that there's a supply problem and we're at peak oil already."

Iran to sign gas deal with Pakistan in October

"It was agreed that the price be calculated according to the current gas market standards," Ghanimi-Fard was quoted as saying by the state IRNA news agency.

"Pakistan asked for 60 million cubic metres per day, 30 million of which was approved," he said.

Stelmach insists he wants the right balance

Premier Ed Stelmach urged calm but appeared unmoved Friday after energy giant EnCana threatened to cancel $1 billion of proposed projects in Alberta next year if the province fully accepts a review panel's recommendations to hike royalties.

Shipbuilding: China to build deep water oil exploration fleet

China will build its own deep water oil exploration fleet in three to four years. The fleet will be able to work in deep waters all over the world, except for the north pole.

BP says halts shipments of Azeri crude to Turkey

Baku-Ceyhan pipeline has halted shipments of crude oil due to techincal problems, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday. "Shipments of oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli fields have stopped for several days. Output will fall to 160,000 barrels per day," Tamam Bayatly, spokeswoman for BP's Azeri operations said.

Japan''s crude oil imports from Kuwait jump 20.2 percent

Japan's crude oil imports from Kuwait soared 20.2 percent in August from a year earlier to 9.97 million barrels but fell 19.1 percent from the previous month, according to the latest government report.

Global food shock real, says former Nats leader

"We talk about oil shocks. We have gone on assuming that the supermarket shelves will always be loaded."

New fuels vie for place in the market

Grass-roots businesses are thriving, but experts don't know if any will beat out the oil industry.

Warming to the environment?

PUNDITS are calling it “climate week”. On Monday the United Nations held a special summit in New York to discuss climate change. Not to be outdone, George Bush has convened a two-day conference of his own on the subject, which will conclude on Friday September 28th in Washington, DC. In theory, both summits are working towards the same goal: a new international agreement on climate change, to replace the UN’s existing treaty, the Kyoto protocol, which will expire in 2012. But America, long a laggard in its response to climate change, is struggling to convince the rest of the world that its pow-wow is anything more than a distraction.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Neo-Peak Oil

The basics of peak oil are in fact quite simple. Under the present, failing, economic system scarcity breeds profits. Thus peak oil presents opportunities for those who control resources and powerful people, powerful nations and institutions rarely give away their golden goose. That the consequences may be painful for weaker people like you and me matters not.

Firms seek access to Myanmar oil fields

Just last Sunday — when marches led by Buddhist monks drew thousands in Myanmar's biggest cities — Indian Oil Minister Murli Deora was in the country's capital for the signing of oil and gas exploration contracts between state-controlled ONGC Videsh Ltd. and Myanmar's military rulers.

The signing ceremony was an example of how important Myanmar's oil and gas resources have become in an energy-hungry world. Even as Myanmar's military junta intensifies its crackdown on pro-democracy protests, oil companies are jostling for access to the country's largely untapped natural gas and oil fields that activists say are funding a repressive regime.

Oil income boosts Gulf producers’ foreign buying power

Gulf Arab states’ oil revenues this year are likely to be near last year’s record $336 billion, giving them an edge in buying foreign assets as credit dries up for competing investors.

Petrodollar flush

Even though the UK is gradually running out of oil, to Scotland’s great loss, London’s fortunes are increasingly positively correlated to the price of oil. Crude hit a record high of $83.90 a barrel on 20 September on a combination of factors: a weak dollar; falling US inventories; buoyant demand from booming Asian economies led by China and India; storm-related disruption in the Gulf of Mexico; tension between the West and Iran; and nervousness following an Israeli air raid on Syria.

Though oil prices have fallen back a little in recent days as oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico began restoring production, high oil prices are here to stay and could yet reach $100 a barrel within the next two years.

Jordan receives first shipment of Iraqi oil

Eight tankers carrying the first shipment of Iraqi oil since the two countries reached an agreement last year arrived at the Jordanian-Iraqi border on Friday, Energy Ministry spokesman Maher Shawabkeh said.

Toyota denies battery woes delay next Prius

Introduction of the next version of Toyota's hit Prius gas-electric hybrid won't hinge on the development of a more efficient battery called lithium-ion, a senior Toyota executive said Friday.

The executive brushed off a recent Wall Street Journal report that said Toyota Motor Corp. was delaying the launch of the next-generation Prius by as much as two years because of problems in developing the lithium-ion battery. Hybrids on sale now use nickel-metal-hydride batteries.

Little-known Indian tribe spotted in Peru's Amazon

Ecologists have photographed a little-known nomadic tribe deep in Peru's Amazon, a sighting that could intensify debate about the presence of isolated Indians as oil firms line up to explore the jungle.

With Legacy in Mind, Bush Reassesses His Agenda

As he addresses a conference on climate change this morning, President Bush will face not only a crowd of skeptics but the press of time. For nearly seven years, he invested little personal energy in the challenge of global warming. Now, with the end in sight, he has called the biggest nations of the world together to press for a plan by the end of next year.

Europeans angry after Bush climate speech 'charade'

George Bush was castigated by European diplomats and found himself isolated yesterday after a special conference on climate change ended without any progress.

European ministers, diplomats and officials attending the Washington conference were scathing, particularly in private, over Mr Bush's failure once again to commit to binding action on climate change.

Climate 'shift' no cause for panic: Howard

THE Prime Minister, John Howard, said yesterday he believed the continuing drought was an example of "climate shift", not climate change.

"We are seeing what the experts call a climate shift and I do think we should keep our heads about it. I don't think we should write off farming," Mr Howard told Southern Cross broadcasting.

Bush's Climate Meeting: Talk, But No Action

For President George W. Bush, climate change is one of those pesky issues that he would love to see just go away. International diplomats say that when the topic of global warming comes up, Bush appears annoyed and has expressed exasperation that the issue still garners so much attention. After all, the White House position has been consistent from the very start of Bush's tenure: The U.S. will not require mandatory reductions in emissions of the so-called greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that scientists say are warming the Earth. Bush, the self-proclaimed decider, has decided.

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

The Alberta royalty review continues to generate a predictable response from an industry which has seen costs rise more rapidly than prices in recent years. Even though Alberta’s take is comparatively low, Encana has announced it will withdraw $1 billion in investment if the new royalty recommendations are accepted by the province.

Elsewhere on the energy scene, Alberta looks to expand both wind and nuclear power, while Ontario reactors’ inability to deal with an unexpected spell of warm weather during maintenance outage season made electricity imports necessary.

Globally, questions are increasingly raised over the global warming effects of both ethanol production and hydro-power dams.

In environmental news the drought in Australia and the Ukraine has led to record wheat prices and concerns over feeding the world's poor. The Arctic warms ever more rapidly, for some an opportunity to exploit new resources, rather than a problem. If warming continues to accelerate, it just might become an 'insurmountable opportunity'.

'All bets are off'

In the 10 days since a provincially appointed panel dropped its bombshell report recommending that Alberta play hardball with the oilpatch, work inside Calgary's office towers has turned from planning growth to assessing damage and even eyeing an exodus....

...."Everybody is holding their breath right now," said Hal Walker, a long-time provincial Tory and real-estate developer who is critical of the review process. "All bets are off."....

....Deutsche Bank highlighted the escalating risk of investing in the province: "Risk, risk and risk, and there's risk. Above all, be warned about risk," it said.

As out of character as the panel recommendations seem in business friendly Alberta, observers say it has big support in rural Alberta and in Edmonton, areas that believe they have suffered the downside of the oilsands driven boom, while not reaping enough of the benefits.

Two weeks ago, Greenspan said: "I really didn't get it until very late in 2005 and 2006."

Now he admits he did know, but attempts to claim that hedge funds are more powerful than the Federal Reserve or the Bank of England, which have no control over 'real' interest rates?! Huh?

Greenspan denies regulators were unaware

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Greenspan said it was inevitable the house price bubble would burst and said central banks such as the Bank of England had no control over 'real' interest rates.

On the current financial market turmoil sparked by a collapse in the risky US mortgage sector, Greenspan said he had little sympathy for the hedge fund community which was 'presumably the largest culprit' behind it.

He said: 'We did know what was going on and the reason we didn't stop them was that to a large extent these types of questionably egregious actions are taken by people who have their own money invested.'

In other words, "If they lost their shirts they knew why and for how much they'd loss them, why bother telling them not to do something like that." What that does not say is that These guys got others to invest and those others knew nothing about the bad methods of the Original Players. Greenspan is washing his hands of the pain his actions caused, by saying his actions only would have hurt those willing to get hurt.

Which in a way says that anyone willing to put money in the markets must be willing to get hurt by that action.

"Honest officer, Just because I killed all those people walking on the sidewalk, does not mean that all those people on the sidewalk did not make themselves prone to death because there are drivers like me living in their city willing to use the sidewalk as a road. You should let me go and get back to driving. "

I’m starting to feel pity for this weekend-president GW Bush
Has all his advisors left him? Is he all on his own now?

Europeans angry after Bush climate speech 'charade'

"It was a total charade and has been exposed as a charade," the diplomat said. "I have never heard a more humiliating speech by a major leader. He [Mr Bush] was trying to present himself as a leader while showing no sign of leadership. It was a total failure."

It must be hard to sit all alone in that big White House and produce politics over a bottle of zero alcohol beer..

In a way it is funny that some Europeans were "angered". I mean, what did they expect? Sense?!

Childrens do learn

After discovering these things called "books", ah has begun to read and was amazed to learn -cause childrens do learn- that the Earth is round and it's only this big --in the picture.

The Earth from 4 billion miles away. This picture was taken by Voyager 1 in 1991


That's a CT scan of the Shrub's brain.

Lots of European leaders are terrible hypocrites. In many ways they are 'americans' many of them owe their entire careers to there closeness to the United States. They were identified at university as having 'potential' as future leaders and a hand was stretched out to them. An American hand that said come to the US on this scholarship and see how we do things. It's the same all over Europe. Hundreds of professional politicians basically owe 'alligence' to the US. In reality Western Europe has been an American protectorate since the second world war, similar to how Russian dominated the East.

Yet Bush makes things so difficult because he's just so 'dumb' and too much like a cowboy. He doesn't know how to stroke European sensibilities like Bill Clinton did. Bush makes sucking up to Washington so much like hard work. They are all praying for someone like Clinton to be elected President so we can get back to business as usual!

I have always thought Angela Merkel was especially hypocritical - 'They were identified at university as having 'potential' as future leaders and a hand was stretched out to them. An American hand that said come to the US on this scholarship and see how we do things.'

Oh wait - Angela Merkel grew up in East Germany. Silly me.

And how about José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero - seems as if growing up in a left wing family under Franco certainly provided him all sorts of opportunities to have an American hand stretched out to him.
And he couldn't even be bothered to stand up when 'a U.S. Marine Corps honor guard carrying the American flag walked past' him (further on in the wikipedia article.)

Nonetheless, certainly there are different power centers, and different factions jockeying for power. And if you think Europeans really found the choice at the end of WWII between the U.S. of Roosevelt and Truman and the Soviet Union of Stalin hard to make, I think you might need a bit more historical clarity.

What I will certainly grant is that the U.S. was generally in a dominant position in its relations with various Western European nations in the five decades following WWII. I don't think that will be the case for the next five decades. To put it in your terms - Clinton was the end of one era, and Bush the start of another. One was a Rhodes scholar (ah, the days when imperialism truly knew no shame - nothing like naming a nation after yourself), and the other seems to be an idiot. Oh wait - an American president went to Europe to receive a helping hand? Maybe Clinton is the start of a new era, and Bush the ending of an old one.

And if Mr. Barack becomes president, we can talk about Asia, seeing as how he has some slight experience in his past in the world's largest Muslim country.

'President claims he can lead world on emissions'

Someone needs to explain to him that leading the world on emissions does not mean endlessly spewing mindless drivel.

He should be flaring those emissions.

"climate shift" must really comfort those farmers .
Having just cycled over 500kms pass field after field of wheat where the crops would barely touch your knees , it only started to dawn on me the impact it was having on the communities.A couple of farmers stated that if no rain falls within two weeks they would use it as feed instead of letting it mature at risk of it failing.How typical that many wont care till it effects them directly ,myself prone to this.Out of sight ,out of mind , just like many issues discussed here.
Take care.

Is it necessary to eat grain to live. Grain plants die in 4-6 months (leaving behind grain seed) - but need extensive harvesting and repreparation of the soil and replanting. And IMO a much higher incidence (mass/area) of fertilizer application.

Plus most grain in the rich countries (America, Europe, Russia and China) is fed to farm animals. Perhaps perennials e.g. apple, mango trees .. and grass fed animals for meat.

Holy crap.

NetBank shut down by federal regulators

NetBank Inc., an online bank with $2.5 billion in assets, was shut down by the government on Friday because of an unsustainable level of mortgage defaults.

It was the largest thrift to fail since the tail end of the savings and loan crisis more than 14 years ago. Federal regulators appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as a receiver for Alpharetta, Ga.-based NetBank.

This is my bank.

A notice on their web site says I'll regain access to my accounts by 5pm Sunday.

Leanan, you might want to read the full FDIC announcement:

Failed Bank Information - NetBank, Alpharetta, GA, Closing Information

It's quite confusing. It says all accounts will be transferred to ING Direct. I already have an ING Direct account, and so far as I know, they don't do checking. It's just savings. So what happens to my checking account?

Too bad the deal with Everbank didn't go through. I was thinking of opening an account there anyway. They let you put your funds in foreign currencies.

I am in the same boat. I have an account with NetBank and also ING Direct. Luckily, I am well under FDIC limit. I hope the same is true for you.

LOL! Yes, "luckily" I am well under the FDIC limit, too. :-D

It's still a little unnerving to be cut off my accounts. Netbank was my main bank. My paycheck is direct-deposited there, and all my bills are paid through my Netbank checking account. And I wouldn't even have known, except for an article I came across while trawling for news this morning. Nice of them to warn us.

The way I interpret it (http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/netbank.html), all of your funds should be safe, all deposits and withdrawals (checks) should function as normal, except for some feature called "BillPay" which apparently will be shut off for a couple of days(I assume any bills to be paid within those days will not be paid by this feature).

Your checks will be processed as usual. All outstanding checks will be paid against your available insured balance(s) as if no change had occurred.

Your automatic direct deposit(s) should be transferred automatically to ING DIRECT. The BillPay feature on your account is temporarily disabled. This feature is expected to resume later this weekend when on-line banking services resume.

This seems to say that your accounts will be kept separate for a while...

Your transferred deposits will be separately insured from any accounts you may already have at ING DIRECT for six months after the failure of NetBank. Checks that were drawn on NetBank that did not clear before the institution closed will be honored up to the insurance limit.

It sounds like NetBank is a puppet and the strings will be handed over to ING, so it may look and seem the same to you, but ING will actually be in control.

The NetBank web site will be closed from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm EST, on September 28th and will reopen in a read only mode. Normal online services will be restored in the early evening Sunday, September 30th.

Leanan, I hope you get your money back from this online bank. The story about the Feds closing that bank was in the local paper this morning but I didnt know anyone that had an account there.

This is going to sound a bit off center but last Monday I went to two local banks and removed quite a bit of cash. I have little faith left in our banking system at this time...I hope that my faith is renewed in the future. The tellers had to go into the vault to get hundred dollar bills, they didnt have a single hundred in their cash drawers, which struck me as a bit strange. Anyway, I put the cash in Mason Jars and literally burried them! I dont care about the interest that I will be losing...At least I will have some cash available if the banks sieze up. I have to think of quarterly income taxes, real estate taxes, insurance payments, food, fuel, etc, and none of these folks, including the IRS, want to hear that I cant pay because my money is behind locked bank doors!

Trust you say?

Among the findings: Barely half trust the government to handle international problems, the lowest number ever. And less than half express faith in the government handling domestic issues, the lowest findings since 1976.

Shouldn't you be converting some of that worthless paper into old silver coins?

SCT, Thanks for your advice. I have been saving silver coins since the 1960s so I have that covered. I also started buying Krugerands in the late 60s...and, I did not say that I buried the cash in my back yard... :) The cash is for a 'bank freeze' on funds withdrawal, nothing more.

We are heavy into GE and a few other large caps. We have been holding them for years with a few minor adjustments along the way but I figure they will be good kindling to get a fire going someday soon.

Right now, I would say that precious metals are the only safe bet and I am not a 'gold bug.'...just a Boy Scout...'Be Prepared.'


i read where ge has some morgage exposure. how much? they are an ok bet otherwise i read. bought an oil service co. recently.

After watching what happened at Northern Rock last week (and Countrywide Bank a few weeks before) I would have to say I also share your concerns about banking system. Now, 2 widely reported bank failures (Oops, Netbank makes 3)...3 bank failures don't make a depression, but from where I sit, after all the bad news of late regarding MBS/CDO/Derivative/Hedge Fund badness, to paraphrase Shakespeare, something is rotten in the banking industry. Perhaps it is crazy to bury a large sum of cash in mason jars in the back yard, but at least you know where you money is. Matter of fact, I've been doing some of the same thing of late (pulling out large amounts of cash from my bank and locking it in a 'safe place' where some desperate bank executive can't loot my savings). Perhaps it is a paranoid and crazy thing to do, but having just read Galbreath's "1929; The Great Crash," I can't ignore what I see going on.
Your most humble servant,
SubKommander Dred

>Anyway, I put the cash in Mason Jars and literally burried them!

Where did you say you live? All jokes aside, thats a bad idea. You can put your money in short term US treasuries that are safe. I believe you can invest money directly with the US Treasury dept (avoiding a bank middle man). While the interest isn't great is better than nothing. If the US treasury goes under, those paper bills will be worthless anyway.

>I dont care about the interest that I will be losing...At least I will have some cash available if the banks sieze up

Your losing money, since the dollar is tanking and prices of real goods are rising. A quick guestimate of real inflation is probably between 7% and 9% (depending where you live). Its likly that inflation will continue to rise for the next few quarters. At least with Treasuries your losing less, than keeping money in mason jars.

Another ideal is to have multiple accounts at different banks. If one goes on Bank holiday its likely the other will be open. All stick with the big banks since they are simple too big to fail. The Fed will pour unlimited liquity to keep the big banks solvent. The Fed will let little banks (aka NetBank, local, and small regional banks) go under.

FWIW: I know some one will advise you to invest oversea, but this is a bad idea since your money is even further away. It looks like a lot of European and Asian banks have a lot of exposure to Subprime debt. I doubt they are any better off then US banks. ECB also has measures in place incase of serious credit crunch to prevent foriegners from repatriating their capital during a crisis.

For the IRS, you can reduce your tax deductions so that you end up with a surplus (You recieve a refund), so there is little risk of getting a nasty IRS penalty. Generally the IRS goes after employeers that fall to meet contributions than individuals. Of course thats a different matter if you are self-employeed.

Hope this was useful. Best of luck

Interesting in itself: ING are a banking and insurance group from Holland, and as such not allowed to provide full domestic banking services here, such as checking. Becoming the assuming institution for NetBank might be their way in the door for just that. They have expanded quite a bit in recent years in both Canada and the US, by finding little loopholes in the banking systems, perhaps they found another one.

It doesn't look great for deposit accounts above the FDIC limit, though:

If it is determined that you have uninsured funds, the FDIC will generate and mail to you a Receiver Certificate. This certificate entitles you to share proportionately in any funds recovered through the disposal of the assets of NetBank. This means that you may eventually recover some of your uninsured funds.

Yes, people who are over the FDIC limit are usually out of luck in this situation. Some just don't know any better. Some started out with their deposits under the limit, and ended up over it through the interest paid.

I wonder how fiscally sound ING Direct is? Since the mortgage boom went bust, the number of mortgage offers I've gotten has dropped off sharply...except from ING Direct. They are still swamping me with offers of a quick and easy mortgage. E-mail and snail-mail.

I wonder how fiscally sound ING Direct is?

How sound is any bank these days?

ING are large, but it's hard to oversee how they've structured their international branches, what degrees of separation etc.

Still, all banks, and certainly those in Europe, as we've seen the past weeks, are in danger because of their investments in short-term derivative paper. One down in England, two in Germany, and it's probably inevitable that many more will follow. Can't bail them all out.

Every now and then, a small window opens in the opaqueness. In Canada, $40 billion in non-bank ABCP has been "frozen" since Aug 16, and there's a plan to leave it there for up to 7 years. The Canadian issuers might like that, but the European buyers, the banks, do not. All parties have expressed worries over the "real" value of the paper. Unfreezing it may lead to government intervention: the issuers would probably have to pay full price for what is worth maybe pennies on the dollar. And that's just Canada's non-bank ABCP.

Europe holds key to credit crisis
EU banks have much to gain if commercial paper unwinds

Many of the proponents including the Caisse have much to lose if the plan fails. The investor committee chaired by lawyer Purdy Crawford certainly want it to work. But some players, such as the ones on the other side of the credit default swaps, could potentially find their interests better served if the plan collapses.

"The foxes are in the henhouse," said a senior official at a company that owns more than $10-million of ABCP. "What Purdy [Crawford] is trying to do is keep the foxes in a corner."

[Some just don't know any better]

But the rules can be a typical bureaucratic mess. I think they aggregate all accounts in a given institution under any given taxpayer id number (i.e. including any trust accounts and possibly a business account for a sole proprietorship under the owner's taxpayer id) so if you have two checking accounts (one a trust account with $30K in it and the other your individual checking account with $10K in it) and a savings account with $75K in it, you are uninsured for the $15K that the total exceeds $100K. That's probably why the article above talks about the accounts with ING being insured separately for 6 months or whatever: at the end of that grace period, if all accounts combined, both the original ING account(s) and the transferred account(s) exceed $100K, the excess is uninsured.

Hope everything works out with your accounts.


ING is pretty big and solvent, but many think that the subprime situation in Spain and the UK will actually fully blow before the US.
In view of the much more ethical behavior of the ECB up to now this would make sense and it would put all Euro banks at risk. On the other hand if you don't exceed the FDIC limit in any one institution as mentioned in the other post there would be no concern.

In view of the much more ethical behavior of the ECB....


if you don't exceed the FDIC limit in any one institution as mentioned in the other post there would be no concern

The FDIC, of necessity, covers only a very small part of the total system. It's not possible to print or keystroke everyone out of trouble, even if there were an intention to do so.

In case of a large run, there would be cause for much concern.

Well, Trichet just told Sarkozy to take a flying fu*k at a donut and kept interest rates at the current level. At least they are trying to maintain the legitimacy of their currency.

NOT the UK central bank which is run by the same interests as the FED.

In case of a system wide run of course there would be concern, but they pretty much have to cover FDIC funds for single institutions.
Not to say that it isn't a good idea to keep some resources accessible at all times in case the system locks up, but this has to be balanced against the real capability of ones personal protection network if things get to the point you imply.

I wager you also read the LEAP reports?

>I wonder how fiscally sound ING Direct is? Since the mortgage boom went bust, the number of mortgage offers I've gotten has dropped off sharply...except from ING Direct.

They almost certainly have mortgage exposure. I don't know how much subprime debt is on there books, but I am sure its not zero. Another concern are US ING depositors FDIC insured? Might want to consider depositing your savings elsewhere especially since its a European Bank and has different relations that the US.

If you move in US banks, is probably a good idea to deposit your savings into several of the large US banks (ie Citibank, Bank of America, JPM Chase). These banks are very large. The fed is likely to supply unlimited liquity to them during a crisis since they are simply too big to fail. The small local and regional banks are small potatoes and I doubt the fed would make any large commits to bail them out. The ideal of using multiple banks will likely provide you access to at least some of your money if one of the other bansk experiences a banking holiday.

Best of Luck to you. Stay way from the smaller banks if you can!

ING Direct is FDIC insured. I wouldn't have an account there otherwise.

As for staying away from smaller banks...hah! Try to find a small bank these days. We used to have a dozen small, local banks around here. Now they still have their small, local names, but they are all either owned by HSBC or Fleet.


For someone elses idea of good/bad banks

Too bad the deal with Everbank didn't go through. I was thinking of opening an account there anyway. They let you put your funds in foreign currencies.

Yes, interesting concept, FDIC insurance for the principal, and then you take your chances with currency drift. Sounds good to me! I have also been tempted by their gold-indexed CD with FDIC coverage - that could pay off hugely - but they only offer it in 5-year form and I'm not entirely sure that it will be around then.

In the short term I've stuck some in foreign-currency ETF's like FXC and UDN, which was quick to do, but of course those aren't FDIC insured.

I used to have a NetBank account, don't now. However, I do tend to use the banks with the best interest, as well as advise my family to do so, and odds are good they have those rates because they're doing mortgages.

This current netbank insolvency is kind of a 'nothing' seeming event, since all the users will get an account with a better bank. But what happens when a bunch of these banks start revealing that they have the same kinds of problems? Seems like things could start moving faster than the FDIC could deal with them.

So, what do we do? I'm talking about those of us who have saved a little bit for old age - burying jars of cash seems a bit much.

I see this as very much part & parcel of the peak oil clusterf*k; or perhaps more accurate to say the clusterf*k of peak humans that peak oil is a subset of. This will get weirder; how, how fast, and how to remain standing is the game.

I'm giving the hairy eyeball to my current banks...

Yikes...I hope everything works out ok for you.

Some of these events lately are striking a little too close to home.

Although, from the article, it seems this has been a while in the making.

Hello TODers,

Off-topic, therefore I will keep it short: unfortunately, my 23 year relationship between my girlfriend and I reached an impasse as of last Tuesday night--I am in the process of moving out, so my life is currently in great disarray.

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

She is the big-spending peak-denying woman, right? Maybe a man has to talk his walk, Bob. Strength to you.

You need to get away for a week or two - come vist me in small-town Colorado.



Sorry to hear about the breakup, and I'm not making any implications regarding the following story (which I was going to post anyway), but IMO it is a very revealing commentary on conventional wisdom--and, sorry ladies, but the gender thing (especially regarding the size of one's nest) by and large rings pretty true to me. BTW, after the writer's wife reads the following story (especially the "shrieks" part), he may be looking for a roommate for an apartment.

"D" Magazine covers Dallas, with special emphasis on the very wealthy Park Cities area, where I suspect that the writer, Marty Cortland, lives.

The Downside to Being Only a Little Rich
Issue Date: D Magazine OCT 2007, Posted On: 9/20/2007
by Marty Cortland

We recently upgraded our Lexus RX 350 SUV, which we bought new, two years ago. The official rationale was that, with one baby in a car seat and another on the way, we couldn’t possibly fit our extended family of four in the cramped RX. The truth was, we had the smallest SUV of any of our friends.

My wife brought home some brochures for the new Range Rover—reasonably priced at $95,000. I suggested we look at larger Lexuses. She suggested that she had already put a hold on a Range Rover.

In the meantime, I had lunch with a friend who suggested we look at the Buick Enclave, a top-of-the-line General Motors SUV that had all the features of a comparable Lexus at a considerable discount. Later that night, I excitedly brandished the website printouts with the luxury descriptions of the Enclave and told her our problem was solved. My wife looked at me as if I had just suggested that we pack up and move to the M Streets.

“I’m not driving a Buick,” she declared. “There is no way I’m showing up at playgroup at Brook Hollow in a Buick.”

“But what about Ross Perot?” I argued. “He drives a Crown Vic.”

“Ross Perot is a billionaire,” she shrieked. “He can afford to drive anything he wants!”

So there it was. We weren’t affluent enough to drive a Buick. We had appearances to maintain. Anything less than a Mercedes or a BMW or a Lexus, and our friends would whisper about the financial reversal that we must have suffered. The fact was, our net worth was not so firmly fixed in our friends’ eyes that we could afford to drive what we wanted or what made sense. Essentially, we were financially insecure.

That kind of thinking is perfectly rational if you believe the party will go on forever - whether you are male or female. Status matters. Both men and women want the best for their children, and in the current paradigm, that means the right house, the right neighborhood, the right schools, cars, clothes, etc.

Women as well as men would make different choices if they knew the paradigm was shifting. The problem is most people, male and female, still think the party will go on forever.

Agree...I see as many men with the affliction!!

But as always, like Perot, status does not have be portrayed overtly (it's a lifestyle choice).

I would (fairly) characterize myself as being equal or better off financially than most in my neighborhood, but I drive a 10 year old Toyota, build my own fence(better) instead of hiring a contractor for 5x the price, grow my own vegetables,etc.

People's perceptions are flawed...MTV culture of flash and NO substance.

PS: Sorry Bob, it is always difficult with a relationship that long...no matter the reasons.

And that may well be the reason that you are "equal or better off financially" with those around you. You sound to me like a "value thinker".

There are lots of ways to get what you need, and even a lot of what you want, while not wasting money. Sometimes it's a matter of carefully shopping, sometimes avoiding the brands that "everyone is wearing this season, sometimes doing it yourself, sometimes extending "lifespan" an extra few percent.

We have two large supermarkets in my 'market town' which sit across the street from each other. Both are well stocked, clean, modern, convenient, everything a grocery store should be.

One is a major chain (Safeway) that spends a lot on advertising and "tarts up" their displays a bit. It's where the "upper class" goes. The other is a small chain (Winco) which has much better prices, doesn't run loss leader sales, doesn't send out piles of junk mail.

I ask friends who drive the expensive cars, wear the 'logo of the year' why they don't shop at Winco and save money on the exact same food. Often they reply that "It's where the poor people shop."

I just go on shopping there and putting that saved money toward my next trip to somewhere interesting.

"How do you manage to travel so much?" That's what I hear from my status-chasing friends. ;o)

The stores around here are the "Sack and Save" tpyes like "Save a Lot", where if you look there are just as many lexus type cars in the lat as the other stores have in them. I have had the same reactions as you got from people with whom I used to work.

I think it will be that way till the only store in town is where every class has to shop. I am sure it will be the shopping days of X-day is "rich" day and all others are poor days.

Mentioning that, I did notice that even the "CHEAP" places in town have gone up in prices. Over 10 cents per item in some cases. My $2 (US) Dollars a day Essay will soon be outdated.

It works both ways.
I live in a pretty rough neighborhood, look at prices everywhere and have a good idea as far as to what to buy where.
With some things, in particular perishables such as fresh vegetables and meat, often the specialty markets in upscale neighborhoods have much better quality at the same if not slightly lower prices. They get you with the other stuff.

Women as well as men would make different choices if they knew the paradigm was shifting.

I have to disagree with women. I'm sure cavemen got grief from their cavewoman if they didn't have the biggest mammoth-bashing rock in the cave.

There is no evidence that women are more materialistic than men. Quite the opposite, actually. Though there is a lot of societal variation. In many "primitive" societies, status comes from giving things away. Hence the joke about the chief being the poorest man in the village.

IME, both sexes are equally materialistic, just about different things. So many of my friends are in debt over their heads, and they often blame their spouses while ignoring their own spending. He complains about the money she spends on furniture, manicures and makeup, while ignoring the $20,000 stereo system, boat, and ATV he bought. She complains about the $2,000 grill he bought, while insisting the kitchen and bathroom renovation she wanted is an "investment."

Hello WT and others,

Thxs for responding, it helps my frame of mind. Yep, I am now experiencing a cascade of emotional and personal lifestyle blowbacks. I am briefly posting from a different computer as it may be sometime before I get my computer back on the WWWeb. Such is life.

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


I haven't seen you post in a while and was wondering about you.
Sorry for the troubles. I do enjoy your comments.
Return when you can.

all the best.

I feel for ya Totoneila

My wife

I’m loosing her.

She comes home and tells me how gas prices are going DOWN. daily

Occasionally announces “ well, looks like the world didn’t come to an end today”
(never said it would)

She booked the trip to Italy next month even though I explained the situation. (at least I did get her to buy a bunch of euros before the big $ drop this week and she acknowledged this)

She wants to put on a slinky dress, go out and drink bubbly and dance right after I finish reading about Artic melt, Goldman Sachs plunder, Apparent Peak. (the champagne does help for a short time but even that has diminishing returns)

She has no patience with me talking about any of this with others.

All I can say is something better happen soon.

Peace & Hope

She has no patience with me talking about any of this with others.

Every social gathering is a Birthday party.
The kids want their cake and booze.
Not a pooper.

You know -

The time during which you can go out and drink champagne and dance with your wife may be limited. Make some time to do that, too, while you still can.

You can't be a doomer 100% of the time.

My wife and I had some rough times before I got a bit of perspective and she got onboard.

We are now happily working on our mini-farm as a hobby. It is a hobby that is likely to save us if bad things do come about.

This last year I gave her tickets to the symphony for her birthday. (well, pairs of tickets since I went too)

If a fast crash happens, I'll never get to hear something like that ever again. If it doesn't, well, we enjoyed going.

"The world didn't end today", is not productive. You've got to find a way to have productive conversations instead of destructive ones. Unfortunately the burden is on you as you are the one with the non-dominant paradigm theories. :)

"You can't be a doomer 100% of the time."

Wise words.

The clock keeps ticking no matter what.
You could have spent the last 24 hours partying or glooming over the inevitable doom.

Maybe a rationally balanced mixture of both is in order?

As King Solomon said:
" To everything there is a season,and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace."


My condolences on what you are going through; it's never easy.

My wife died two years ago after a short and remarkably ugly bout with cancer, and the best you can say after that is "it is what it is" and continue on. Maybe this will give you a chance (as it did me) to really focus on what you believe, decide how you need to live your life now, and get out and actually do it.

Best of luck with it,


I too have noticed your comments have been missing lately, and I was thinking to myself that something might be wrong. Your ideas are sometimes a bit crasy, but you are always ready to listen to other people's arguments, and you seem to have an open and creative mind. Sorry to hear about the breakup, good luck getting things sorted.


My thoughts are with you. I have felt the whirlwind of change and thought-resets that come with such a moment. Times like this in your life present a choice to cling to what familiar and comfortable things you can manage to, or to strike out and discover what has changed in you and in the world since you last viewed it from this perspective...

Courage and fortitude.

Hi Bob,

Never Fear.

Divorced 14 years now. Female free for 14 years.

Life is much better without the distraction.

You will survive just fine.


Bob, I will give you a bit of advice if you think this relationship is worth saving.

If you want or need this relationship, then back off the doomerism a bit or a lot (you be the judge). She knows where you stand on the fate of things. Let her live in her world and meet somewhere in the middle. If you want to keep things together, you will find a compromise. If/when things get worse all around, she will also come around. If things don't get worse, then you will still have each other.

Sometimes a good relationship with other humans is hard to find. We will need these relationships more and more to survive the future. It can be very difficult to start over if you have health & financial problems.


Be what you are...Don't back down.

You have to live in your own skin. And do what you feel led to do..forget what the rest of society thinks..step out...walk tall.

Myself? Married 46 years and been going thru divorce for the last three years...finally auctioned off my prize log house..and lots of acreage...now I am back to living in the barn and all alone....

Still married but my wife refuses to step down in status and wants the suburbs...so I go on with my life..but all my lifes savings were in my loghouse and land...now..its all gone..every bit all because a woman refused to live life on what we had as income...and for that I refused to live with her as well...

I pretty much gave up my daughter and mostly my son and the only grandchild I had...it wasn't me..it was my daughter the feminist...so I said to hell with the lot...

I ride my Harley,,drive my jeep, work on my remaining farm,,do exactly as I wish and try to keep it all straight ..but I NEVER NEVER went into real anguish over it...

I had had just about enough of the proclivities of the women's world of 'shopping, keeping up with the Jones and sum over substance'...

I feel an immense sense of freedom now..I enjoy my life. If they wish to come visit me I won't throw them off the farm but I won't never never again stand for bullshit!!!

Roll on man,

Airdale-my way,,maybe not everyones way but its still mine

PS.Besides..Bob..the Merkun Dream is dead..it started dying when Wally World started up and Clinton forgot what cigars were for, when Biz Execs forgot why they were in business and screwed everyone in sight. The flags of 9/11 are now rotting along side the roadways with the rest of the takeout trash. Nothing from here on out is a fersure thing.

WoW. Are these people for real!!! Thanks for the laugh :P


since the editors choose not to boot u .

Get a feeling!!!
no wonder some think u'r 12.

Is that D Magazine another satire? Seems to me that everything is a parody of something else these days. The one someone posted yesterday about Israel demanding its US Aid in Euros was a scream; this is a horse of a different color, but a horse nonetheless. Are people really so clueless?

It's not satire.

The ELP Plan: Economize; Localize & Produce
Monday, April 02, 2007
By: Jeffrey J. Brown

The Responses Thus Far

Two responses, from recent years, are illustrative.

First, the West Texan. After outlining my plan, a friend of mine from West Texas thought about it for a moment and then said, “But if we stop borrowing and spending, what will happen to the economy?”

Second, the Dallas socialite. Again after outlining my plan, this lady said, “You’re not from Dallas, are you?” I replied that I was not. To which she said, “No one raised in Dallas would ever talk about living below their means.”

So, living below one’s means, at least in years past, was somehow considered vaguely un-American and socially unacceptable.

However, recently people who have followed some version of the ELP plan, either because of my recommendations, or based on their own evaluation of the present environment, have had considerable reasons to be glad that they voluntarily downsized. So far, I have not heard any regrets from anyone who downsized.

If it is straight, as you say, and that is really the attitude of Dallas socialites, then that group apparently has all the evolutionary adaptiveness of coconut trees before a hurricane. But their coconuts float, and they can stand a lot of jostling around, so presumably they have the chance to make a new coconut grove some day.

The view never changes unless your the lead dog!

I live in the Yukon in Canada and I say good for you. "Never a borower , nor a lender be." This is one of the sayings I was raised with and has been around a long time. I think in a very short time there will be a lot of people who wish they would have lived within thier means and put away for a rainy day.I live in a hugh Territory with massive resources , largley untapped. One of the fears we have up here is when the shit hits the fan in the U.S.A. , you will simply invent a Bush reason to come and steal our resources.With our own hydro dam not tied into the North American grid we are sitting good that way , tons of fresh water , wild life ,minerals , oil and a clean enviroment. Now with only 30,000 or so people , I wonder how long it would take to get noticed and there fore invaded.......I promise we are neither terroists , nor weapons of mass destrution are not being hidden. Keep up your good ways and try to get your message out ,best of luck to you.

Posted on the front of the cash reg in my Soup Shop;

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
-- William Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

The view never changes unless your the lead dog!

Thankyou, I guess a long time was an understatement. My parents are 80 , so I just figured it was a depression saying. I try to get the message out to my teens to save , but they have been ad brain washed , spend aholics buy the main stream media.I tell my son he is going to get slapped with the cold hand of reality. So much for real news , when all that is on tv is paris hilton , brad and angela and oj killer simpson. The fact that 2 million people are in forecloser , hardly gets mentioned?????? What a mess........ My kids think I am super cheap , because I drive old toyotas , will not go into dept , have old furniture, cut firewood , work overtime , buy rrsps ,gardening, mostly eat fruits and veggies , dine out now and then and payoff credit cards each month.I have friends who are stockpilling ammo and weapons , so what kinda mess have we left our grandchildren?

I must point out that Shakespeare was making fun of the trite homily, the easy, simple thought that requires we not take into account the complexities of life.

That these cliches, which were abysmal cliches even back then, have made it into our lexicon speaks volumes about our society.

"“But if we stop borrowing and spending, what will happen to the economy?”"

There are a certain amount of resources available such as labor, minerals, land, etc. If you stop spending, then the resources will be available to put elsewhere. If you ditch your car (saving petroleum to fuel it and steel to make the replacement), that means more steel for replacing aging railroads and more tar to make asphalt concrete for bike baths.

If people stop going to spas and the spas shut down, that means more labor and office space is available for science (albeit with a long time lag since education of scientists takes a long time - reallocating labor, especially to skilled industries, is a very costly process).

If the country stops designing bioweapons, it can use the now idle biologists to develop defenses against disease.

If an economist system cannot allocate resources fully, that is a failure of the economic system (capitalism). An economic system should be able to adapt to the demands of its people. If it cannot, it should be modified or replaced.

A dozen years ago I lived in Austin, and it is refreshing to hear the Dallas attitude hasn't changed! I have friends in Austin who are in the ELP boat and drive beaters. Boulder CO, our current home is as bad as Dallas in status symbol vehicles. Yikes, kids in high school here, just getting drivers licenses, are in new Audis, Land Rovers, and Vipers. It's nuts. We're close to Aspen insanity. Then again there are some lovable green minded nuts here too ;-)

Personally, we just decided to sell our only "new" car and get rid of the monthly payments. I quit my job with the 75mile round trip commute, so I don't need my Jetta TDI diesel. As fuel prices rise, I have seen the value of these cars going up. Anyone need a great car that gets awesome mileage? I'll put in on E-bay or Craig's list. That will leave us with all late model vehicles but we are driving less and don't care much what others think.

Lastly, on the personal ELP front. I tilled up our front yard to replace it with cheap xeriscape plants that are now on sale. No more grass. I'll use the tall plants to create some hidden space for even more veggie growing closer to the house. This year I put in a big garden and practiced preserving food (canning, dehydrating, making wine) and some seed saving. I learned a lot and even got a modest amount of food put up. The biggest value though, was learning from my mistakes! I will be able to put my learning into practice next season.

I was raised as a child with gardening & such, but doing it as an adult by myself it is not as easy as it seemed. To get a lot of people back to growing "victory gardens" or "PO survival gardens" will not be an easy learning slope. Most folks are too clueless to pick it up. Know-how may be more valuable though in the future. At least I will be able to share what I know with others locally.

My big take-away learning from this season's garden is that we need to start taking personal small steps toward ELP, you won't be able to make much headway during crunch-time. This is not like college where you can cram for the exam the night before. Making personal ELP lifestyle changes is hard. Much like changing religions or moving to a new state. It's not a trivial matter to live below your means. Anyway, that's my 2 cents....

Know-how may be more valuable though in the future. At least I will be able to share what I know with others locally.

This is the direction in which I plan to go. Plus investments in related tools and supplies. Food preservation sounds good for those of us who don't have access to significant space for gardening. I'm thinking about handtools for woodworking, metalworking, leather work, sewing, knitting, weaving. Can I find - or make - one of those old foot treadle powered grindstones and learn to sharpen saws?

A big part of the puzzle is to have fun and build community as an integral part of the process.

And for those who don't have a yard to garden in...see if there's a CSA in your area. One of the purposes of CSAs is to teach people to farm/garden. Generally, you are expected to work on the farm to get your share of the veggies.

Thanks, that's a good suggestion. I am about to move across the USA, & will be looking for ways to meet people & integrate myself into a new community. A CSA sounds like a great vehicle!

A friend recommended an interesting, quick read that has been in all the airport bookstores for years. Just got around to it myself. I know the title sounds like a how-to-make-quick- bucks-from-your-living-room-chair. Its actually a cute homily on living within your means. As the sub-prime mortgage mess rolls on, a reminder to live sensibly is not so dumb. Wonder if its in the Dallas public library?




WT, this could fit most of those status chasers in The Woodlands, TX. Just north of Houston. Glad I left!
The neighborhood you mention, is it close to Highland Park?

Well I drive a Audi However it is used and they are very in expensive if you know how to work on them yourself :)

Cars are not everything. My Audi is more affordable than any American ca rt costs about 81$ a month to maintain throughout the year including oil changes and the like. However you more than likely would not see the savings if you did not know how to work on them yourself. That is the biggest savings right there and they go forever if you keep them in good shape. My previous audi I gave away at 267,000 miles cause I got tired of driving it. They are cheap enough when you buy them you can give them away.

Moral of the story . Never think that cars clothes and all that are everything. Smart people will find a way I feed of people who are stupid like that see they pay the tax and let it depreciate and I reap the benifits.

Can I hear a BWA HA HA HA? ok not really but it is nice ;-)

I have designed many solar PV systems which could have powered a whole house, but I couldn't close the deal because the husband (typically the one who called me, who was keeping an eye on the bottom line) wanted it, but the wife (who was more interested in status symbols) wanted to spend the same money on a new granite kitchen instead (which she would never cook anything in anyway). Not a sexist remark, just an observation.

what's ironic is, and I'm just guessing here, the typical American man probably gave in to their wives in these situations, cancelled the solar PV system and got the kitchen stuff. Then, secretly, the wive lost respect for the man for giving in . . . He probably rationalized it as "comprimising" but this sort of thing is not "comprimising." It would be comprimising if he wanted the PV system but she wanted to spend the money on a barn and some dairy goats and he decided "okay this time we get the barn and goats but next time we get the PV system."

Next thing you know, about 6 months later, she's sleeping with the pool boy on the granite kitchen counter top.

Yes!!! This is what I call the "Derek Jeter factor."

It evolved out of a conversation I had with a rather wealthy NYC attorney and his wife. The wife bemoaned the fact that the size of the ring was so important to so many of the people in their social circle.

I laughed as the size of the ring (or the car) is only important if people aren't sure as to the man's "manliness." Example: if Derek Jeter was engaged to some model, would his woman even need a big ring? Probably not. Reason being she's 'effin Derek Jeter's woman! It's not like she needs a big gaudy ring because, like I said, "she's 'effin Derek Jeter's woman!"

Hi Chimp,

I'm glad you brought this up.

The same goes for different kinds of activities and relationships that are meaningful. When something means a lot, symbols people might use to fill those needs for recognition are not so important. Probably Alan has posted some of the best examples. (Sharing meals, helping people out, working on electrified rail, in Alan's case...). In fact, this is a good opportunity to say "Thank you" to the TOD editors and contributors.


If you want to come to Tucson we can start work on that hydrogen powered plane for when peak kerosene hits. Only a DC3 mockup at first but the future is ahead of us.


I haven't escaped from reality. I have a daypass.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the logic here: If everyone knows you're a billionaire, then it's OK to drive a cheap car because your financial status is known and therefore the cheap car doesn't drag it down. But if people are guessing at your financial status, you have to drive the most expensive vehicle you can afford to make them believe your net worth is greater than it actually is. Did I get that right?

What is your status in the eyes of your peer group if you ride a bicycle everywhere, or take public transportation? (OK, I do own a vehicle, it's 20 years old, I drive it 2000 miles a year, and taxes on it are $18.75).

Dick: It is perfectly logical. Almost every stockbroker, real estate agent, hedge fund promoter, property developer (just to name a few prominent examples) expends a lot of time and energy in self-promotion. Your car, your home, your clothes need to advertise and shout your success because, realistically, the vast majority of people are retarded. They want to give you their money if they think you are a winner. If they already know you are a winner (like Buffett) you can drive a beater and dress like a slob. If your ventures rarely make money for investors or purchasers you need to dress expensively and flash signs of wealth (like Trump).

Bob, so sorry, there is a life after break up, trite but true. Best. Hopes. (stolen from Alan.) Look forward to upcoming posts when you get 'sorted', as the Brits say.

Bob, I am sorry to hear of your problems with your long time significant other. I hope all works out well for you and her. Many of us, me included, have gone through these really wrenching break-ups and I can remember no more miserable time in my life. I was a long time getting over what I went through and hope you dont suffer as I did. Time does eventually make it easier to deal with. Good luck and I hope you can continue to contribute to TOD when you feel up to it.

Good luck Bob. Hope you can still post frequently.



Once I get my cult . . . I mean "off grid sustainable community" up and running, you will not need to worry about these matters should you choose to accept my offer of a position as the cult's . . . I mean "community's" minister of information.

In the meantime, if you happen to pass through Santa Rosa, I have a ton of freeze dried food. No couch for you to sleep on but I do have an arctic rated surplus sleeping bag you're welcome to.

Don't worry about it. My ex comes from a east coast family that is blue blood in their own mind. Just like in the article, always desperately walking the tightrope to keep the show going.
We are much better friends and communicate much better after 10+ years of divorce.

Sorry to hear this, Bob. Be patient with her, give yourself a break, and one way or another things will work out fine.

had missed u'r posts & suspected something like this[knew it didn't take that long to get a computer back up]
sorry to hear such w/ a 23 yr. relationship.
this past 2 yrs. have been hellish a no. of times w/ my wife. i don't bring up PO w/o permission; she says i have told her she has terminal cancer [ or the equivalent].- she is predisposed to depression].

hope this is this working ok w/ u'r mom?

good luck.

Look to the upside - you can now get out of the desert and to some place that might be more sustainable post peak.

Mish: Global Credit Crisis Weekly Wrap-Up
Current Conditions Summary

  • Public spending is out of control in the US and UK.
  • Banana Republic charges are being leveled at the US and UK.
  • Runs on the bank occurred in the US and UK.
  • The Fed is accepting mortgages as collateral in the US for the first time.
  • Foreclosures are at all time high in the US.
  • The US dollar is at all time lows.
  • Japan is still struggling with deflation.
  • Two failed banks in Germany were bailed out by the ECB.
  • [Russian liquidity trouble starts to boil]
  • There are US Congressional threats of tariffs against China.
  • There is a proposal to freeze short term commercial paper for up to 7 years in Canada.
  • Housing bubbles in the US, Spain, and Australia are deflating.
  • Housing bubble in Canada is still inflating.
  • China refuses to float the RMB and sterilize US dollars flooding in. That in turn is fueling Chinese inflation.
  • Price controls that can't possibly work were implemented in China in response to aforementioned Chinese inflation.
  • Commodity prices are soaring.
  • Oil is at record high prices.
  • A Massive carry trade in Japan is fueling a plethora of asset bubbles around the globe.
  • $500 Trillion in derivatives are floating around dwarfing the size of the global economy.
  • The global credit bubble dwarfs by orders of magnitude the credit bubble preceding the great depression.

Other than the above, the global economy seem pretty normal and rather well balanced. It's a tribute to just how well central bankers have done their jobs.

This is just a list of what Mish has written on this week. I would add France. From the Finance Round-Up yesterday:

Fall-out at the top reveals French finances in freefall


you need to take an [endquote] from the top URL..

An interesting read - many thanks

Thank you.

Funnily enough, the very fact that you point it out in a reply, prevents me from being able to change it. Oh, world of contradictions. Maybe Leanan can.

The problem wasn't an extra end quote. The problem was the wrong kind of quotation marks. The first URL had nonstandard quotation marks. Usually the result of using Word or WordPerfect to write your post. Word processing programs use "smart quotes" because they look better, but HTML doesn't recognize them.


It never ceases to frustrate me so much to have so many people mass mailing newsletters on the internet who are so ignorant of HTML. Their page renders very hard to read. Their links don't work, often won't show. All I get is a "Click HERE for offer!" which is just as nonfunctional as this example.

I find it amusing how business types will openly display such ignorance of technology demonstrated by their lack of HTML skills. Even one semester in a community college would do wonders for their presentation. Yet, if I go see them, they are quick to greet me wearing all sorts of uncomfortable attire and openly display parking lots full of way overpriced cars in their attempt to impress me of their abilities.

I find it extremely irritating that financial institutions insist I run JavaScript. Dammit, I am trying to handle MONEY here, I have a secure SSL-128 link running, and I feel uncomfortable as hell knowing I may have a process running in my machine that can keylog, overwrite my URL bar, poison my DNS cache so I can't see if some joker has me directed to his proxy for my bank.

I fail to see why the banks cannot understand why I fight them so on this issue. They would not feel comfortable if I wore ski-mask into their place of business, and brought in boxes which they could not verify the contents of... why am I denied the option of verifying any code, expecially executables, which are presented to MY machine?

Its not like viruses, trojans, worms, and hostile scripts are a rare thing. Heck, we even have several aftermarket firms trying to clean up the vulnerabilities that one company in particular leaves in its software. To me, its like buying a car, only to be forced to immediately take it to the garage so the mechanic can keep the wheels from falling off.

The Marketeer Headhocker comes up with phrases like "Trusted Computing", but the BusinessHead will deny everything in a EULA. The courts will rule not on what the Marketeer hocked up, but the agreement one accepts with the BusinessHead. I am so sick of being teased with phrases like "Plays For Sure", only to have responsibility for doing just that categorically denied by the EULA.

I am so "on the side" of the posters above me lamenting on the deterioration of our value system that we place so much importance on appearances and so little on substance.

I could afford all that show, but why? For one thing it marks me as being a poor steward of my resources. I would much rather invest in technical tools and training than fluff. I feel the need to develop solar absorption refrigeration far more than I need new granite counters. And I am, even though I may get no payback.

I got a little windy on this, and you may see fit to delete this, but I felt I had to give a little support for those technical souls ( personality type INTP I would bet ) that daily take so much flak from society as I have. I am so strong in my beliefs on this that not only did I give up wife and family, I ended up giving up my job. I am not a good "team player" when my bullshit detector is sounding full tilt.


Bank runs are for societies that save. I doubt we'll see that happen here in the U.S. The effect will be more subtle - credit cards maxed, payments fall behind, and more commercial paper turns from asset to headache.

We really stung the Canadians good, didn't we? $40B in cash turned into a massive headache, pension funds nipped, and large industries looking at what they thought was operating cash frozen solid for who knows how long.

All things being equal, I'm going to go find a new lake to paddle around in ...


Thank you for all the work you and Stoneleigh do on the financial side on TOD Canada; it is incredibly educational (and scary).

What does it mean to sterilize dollars and what's the benefit of either doing it or refusing to do it? I assume it has something to do with decoupling their currency from ours but beyond that (and maybe including that if I am off-base in my assumption) I am clueless.

I'll leave it to the more knowledgeable to sort out the falsehoods in this article, but even to my layman's sensibilities, there is something smelly about Mr. Hefner's claims.

It's Not 'Star Wars' - Energy's Future: Robert Hefner says natural gas offers a bridge to a squeaky-clean 'hydrogen economy.'

At the time the Fuel Use Act was being debated, my estimates were that the U.S. had 1,500 to 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas remaining. My estimates were called irresponsible, but the big oil companies were wrong. We have produced 585 trillion subsequent to that time, and today most estimators believe that we have at least 1,500 to 2,000 trillion remaining. At today's rate of consumption, that leaves [America] a 70- to 100-year supply.

There was some discussion of this story in the Sept. 23 DrumBeat.

An interesting story is brewing around Dan Rather, CBS and the Bushes. Salon.com portrays Rather as a kind of hero:

Dan Rather stands by his story

Dan Rather's complaint against CBS and Viacom, its parent company, filed in New York state court on Sept. 19 and seeking $70 million in damages for his wrongful dismissal as "CBS Evening News" anchor, has aroused hoots of derision from a host of commentators. They've said that the former anchor is "sad," "pathetic," "a loser," on an "ego" trip and engaged in a mad gesture "no sane person" would do, and that "no one in his right mind would keep insisting that those phony documents are real and that the Bush National Guard story is true."

If the court accepts his suit, however, launching the adjudication of legal issues such as breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference with contract, it will set in motion an inexorable mechanism that will grind out answers to other questions as well. Then Rather's suit will become an extraordinary commission of inquiry into a major news organization's intimidation, complicity and corruption under the Bush administration.

But BBC's Greg Palast has a radically different take:

Dan Rather: Tased and Confused
The Still-Unreported Story of "Top Gun" George Bush

Newly unearthed records reveal that, in 2004, when Americans were in the midst of a brutal electoral battle over whether to reelect a president posing as a war hero, a commanding US reporter, Dan Rather, went AWOL.

Just three months before the election, Rather had a story that might have changed the outcome of that razor-close race. We now know that Dan cut a back-room deal to shut his mouth, grab his ankles, and let his network retract a story he knew to be absolutely true.

In September 2004 when Rather cowered, Bush was riding high in the polls. Now, with Bush's approval ratings are below smallpox, Rather has come out of hiding to shoot at the lame duck. Thanks, Dan.

It began on September 8, 2004, when Rather, on CBS, ran a story that Daddy Bush Senior had, in 1968, put in the fix to get his baby George out of the Vietnam War and into the Texas Air National Guard. Little George then rode out the war defending Houston from Viet Cong attack.

The story is stone-cold solid. I know, because we ran it on BBC Television a year before CBS (see that broadcast here). BBC has never retracted a word of it.

But CBS caved. So did Dan.

That's according to Rather's written confession, his law suit, which is as much a shameful set of admissions as it is a legal complaint.

This is a blog about oil, not about off-topic legal wrangles, but perhaps the thread is forgivable because the Bushes are about oil.

Greg Palast has almost always been right, but rarely popular --perhaps for the same reason.

The Bushes and Rather all have "legacies" to worry about. And then there is the small matter of $70,000 -- which he better get pretty soon before inflation wipes it out.

This is a blog about oil.

No, it's not.

Perhaps your not reading the top banner is forgivable.

Sorry, I stand corrected. It's "a blog about energy and our future." Well, that is a big topic, and can easily encompass legal wrangling between two vastly over-rated, overpaid, slippery word-twisters. I also mis-typed the payoff -- $70,000,000.

Somehow, though, I don't think the outcome will have much effect on either my energy or our future -- and it isn't likely to generate as much interest among the proles as say, Britney Spears

I occasionally compare Google listings for Net Oil Exports to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I used to be something like 2 million for Net Oil Exports versus tens of millions for Paris & Britney. We are actually pretty close to hitting parity, in the 20 million range.

I guess that is some kind of progress. Thanks for posting.

Britney Spears has peaked a little earlier than expected. But there is plenty of room for tasteless comments about exploratory drilling of new and unexplored public figures.

Greg Palast is often amusing, but I find his analyses often facile and shallow...lost any confidence in his opinions after reading his loony uninformed ramblings about peak oil like this:


Greg has spent a lot of time looking into power structures that lie to 'the masses' to line their pockets.

And Peak Oil sure does look like "yet another big lie" - one that puts more money in the pockets of the oil companies.

One of the 'cures' to what Mr. Palast complains of AND a cure to many of the posts about the 'oil data' is open records.

Some of the elected officials at least talk about open records.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Indeed some of the most malignant growth of our government has been nurtured under a cover of darkness.

Well I'd love to see some fire where all this smoke is coming from, but I'm not optomistic.


Echoing the first article of the Drumbeat, in part, ...Neo- Peak Oil, link;

Investors can make big bucks from *scarcity* -- see article, see video of the fund manager in another thread, see investment advice in some papers.

Investors can make money from *fear*; big Pharma, and even Gvmts. can make piles out of the threat of (eg) bird flu, H5N1 - Not that it isn’t a real potential threat but maybe Tamiflu is not the best bet..

Investors can make money from misguided state subsidized industries, by *lobbying*, and in effect, paying for the laws that shunt the money along.. (Fill that one in.)

All investors, including Swiss super prudent and supposedly clean pension funds, make money from *slave labor* in the ‘emerging economies’..

Down one rung, drug peddlers, tolerated or even semi-legal, make money out of the wink-wink *prohibition.*

All this is beyond effed up.

Maybe so. But that is "free-market capitalism" and is what we are forced to go to war for.

I'm sure there is a better way, but it requires people to choose it one by one -- no one can enforce sanity on anyone else.

Check out this letter in an investment website. The letter is written to a really sharp former hedge fund trader, Todd Harrison.

Dear Toddo,
I realize this may be a little lengthy, but, your Russian Roulette article inspired me to write. While I have been associated with “Wall Street” for almost 20 years now, I am not related directly to any of the hedge fund, private equity, or other hot funds so popular now. I am one of the managing directors of a $10 billion money management firm that has three primary products: high quality large cap and mid cap, and taxable investment grade fixed income. We are located in Madison, Wisconsin… which is obviously away from the main stream located at Wall Street (and we like it like that).
I would consider myself upper middle class, and your comment that the middle class will slowly fade away intrigues me. The one thing that I do believe is that there is a “black swan” type opportunity forthcoming over the next couple of years, and I want to capture this opportunity as much as possible. I would prefer not to trade, but rather structure a portfolio to take advantage of this. I have been short the homebuilders the past three months, and am looking for ways to play the debt bubble unwind (China has to be a bubble too, although one of our senior portfolio managers reminds me constantly about the Olympics…so we should wait to go against that bubble). Most middle class investors don’t have access to commodities or currency transactions, so are there other suggestions you have that offer the big bang for the buck.

RE: Biofuels

An excellent, must read Bloomberg article on Brazil's ethanol industry, taken from the E&E Round-Up:

Brazil Ethanol Boom Belied by Diseased Lungs Among Cane Workers

``Is ethanol a good deal economically for the consumer? The answer is unequivocally no,'' McElroy says. ``The consumer and the taxpayer are obliged to foot the bill.''

As the ethanol billionaires have expanded their empires, labor conditions have deteriorated, according to an October 2005 report sponsored by the UN and Brazilian federal prosecutors.

In 2006, a government labor task force issued 900 citations for labor violations such as improper protective gear and the lack of bathroom and eating facilities in Sao Paulo state, says Roberto Figueiredo, who co-heads the task force.

``The mills don't care about the suffering their workers go through,'' says Carlita da Costa, who leads a union that represents 1,500 cane cutters in Cosmopolis. ``All they want to know is how much cane the man cuts.'

UAE economists warn against raising domestic fuel prices
By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff Reporter
Published: September 28, 2007, 23:14

Abu Dhabi: UAE economists and investment bankers have cautioned against any increase in domestic fuel prices corresponding with prevailing international crude oil prices which are at all-time highs.

Such a move is certain to exert inflationary pressures on the country's thriving oil-driven economy, they said.

Fuel prices in the country are currently much cheaper than those in Europe and the United States and experts say the federal government should do all it can to hold fuel prices at the pumps since domestic consumption is a fraction of the UAE's oil exports, and given the current global oil prices, even if some extra crude is allocated for use locally, there would hardly be any noticeable change in the country's burgeoning oil export revenues. . .

. . .According to the latest oil market figures, in the UAE, the cheapest variant of gasoline currently costs Dh5.75 per gallon ($1.5667), while in Saudi Arabia - the world's largest oil producer, gasoline costs $0.91 a gallon in its capital city Riyadh. In Kuwait, the fuel retails at $0.78 a gallon, while it is sold the cheapest in Caracas, Venezuela at $0.12 a gallon, substantially less than the price of a 500 ml packaged water bottle in Dubai, or Abu Dhabi.

Motorists in Saudi Arabia are paying less than they did several years ago, as the country is using its growing oil revenue to keep domestic pump rates among the world's most inexpensive. . .

WT: There is discussion about a bidding war between countries for declining oil exports, but little discussion about the bidding war within those individual countries for these same declining oil imports. I compared oil consumption by USA state to GDP per USA state:

Ten Best:

6.Rhode Island

Ten Worst:

6.North Dakota

The states at the bottom do not have enough money to compete in a bidding war for more expensive gasoline with the states at the top. As an example, Texas is currently consuming 3.67 as much oil as New York State with a smaller economy.

As a lot of poorer consumers are forced to substantially forced to reduce their energy consumption you will have a more equal footing, with richer consumers bidding against richer consumers.

Also, GDP today may not be GDP tomorrow.

Finally, proximity to energy, especially regarding natural gas supplies, counts for a lot. Two reasons I kind of like downtown Fort Worth--long term natural gas supply (Barnett Shale) and a damn fine private police force (courtesy of the Bass family).

Yet the ratio of GDP per person between the richest and poorest US state would be how much? 2:1? Compare that to 10:1 or 20:1 in income ratio of USA:Africa or USA:South America.

I don't think ELM competition will ever hit on per state level. It will be a class separated competition within each state.

Levin: Yes it will be class separated competition within each state. Just wanted to point out that the generalization that the USA is a sprawling suburban wasteland that will be ravaged by oil depletion, is just that, a generalization. Certain areas will do better than others because of a combination of density of population and wealth/wealth generating capacity of population.

I wager that the lists are wrong.
The paper shuffling GDP producers and the large ethnically mixed cities will go the way of the dodo bird pretty soon, IMO my little hole in MT will be there long after my place in AZ is burned to ashes.

Best wishes for global warming.

The Ten Best are high-tech and service economies. The Ten Worst are energy producers *except for ME and KY?)--a lot of that extra energy is consumed in making the energy available. Although depleted, the remaining oil (or gas or coal) is money in the bank. In contrast, the future of high-tech and service sectors is more iffy.

Joules: That did occur to me looking at the numbers- it does appear that oil production consumes a lot of oil. Having said that, I am not sure it is the whole story- the sprawling nature of some on this list would use a lot of oil.

DC #1? Ignoring for the moment whether DC's product has a positive value, a significant fraction of that product is produced by people who live outside the district and thus buy their fuel outside DC. Therefore DC's number is missing a significant fraction of the petroleum consumed.

NY? How much of the financial instruments that are counted in its product will end up being worth more than the paper they are printed on?

On the other list I see Louisiana and Texas, two states with many oil refineries. What about the petroleum that is used to produce fuel that is consumed in other states? In this case the numbers would be including petroleum that is actually consumed outside the state.

Shame on the "fascist-eugenicist" ASPO! Fie on the elitist nabobs of negativism! A new, inclusive, well-informed army of helpful oil saviors is waiting in the wings for you to move over!

From today's drumbeat-- http://www.resourceinvestor.com/pebble.asp?relid=36113

So following on from the meeting of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO) in Eire recently it is time for the peakers to get their act together. ASPO must cement itself as a credible, reasoned organisation. Not one that publishes fascist-eugenicist rants and calls anyone who diverts from the line a “cornucopian”.

It must have a global focus and structure, not one splintered and focussed upon individuals such as Colin Campbell. Nice man though he is – apart from that publication which was very worrying - he cannot hope to cement a global debate on peak oil. His treatment of Fatih Birol at the ASPO Berlin meeting was a disaster and dampened any reasoned debate. Kjell Aleklett, Jean Laherrere, Baquis and many others must also stand down, move aside.

ASPO must also take its place as part of a debate about the energy future. Not the bringer of all truth to the ignorant masses. It must be the OPEC of peak oil, with rotating nations’ organisations heading up debate. It must learn to debate with its enemies, with the industry. It must learn the art of persuasion, not ridicule, not conspiracy and be part of a world that accepts peak oil as part of energy supply issues. Not as a reason to write self promoting, self aggrandising books.

It is time for the new wave of peakers to take the stage. And they are there. Waiting.

Sounds like one of those movie reviews where the reviewer thinks if they had produced the movie, then it would have been the show the producer really intended.

I say Bravo ASPO!! Someone is working very hard to do something, and anyone else can add their efforts in any way they see fit. But specious carping is not helpful

I really had trouble understanding that article and what it was about.

There seems to be fairly little information on the web on what exactly went between Mr. Campbell and Mr Birol, but apparently Birol took an offence to it.

Whatever the background, I find it quite amusing, that the same Edward Tapamor of Resource Investor, who only recently wrote that Peak Oil is not about geology, but about market economy at work, is now trying to put forth demands on ASPO!

Asking for Campbell, Aleklett and Laherrere (among others) to stand down.

Oh, the irony!

While it would be very nice to have modern mainstream economists working sanely within the framework of ASPO subsidiaries, I find such a possibility quite unlikely.

Instead, we have people like Tapamor wanting to own the playground (presumably so that they can sell future and options about the playground, lol).

As such, I hope Edward Tapamor sets up his own Association for the Study of Peak Markets (or whatever) to solve the impeding crisis caused by the market.

After all, if it is truly about markets and not geology, then only the guys who screwed it up (i.e. economists) are the ones able to fix it, right? Right???


The Las Vegas article was good. I didn't get the job in Albuquerque earlier this year before I was aware and I flat refused Las Vegas transfer over peak oil concerns.

There is a propane powered space heater in the shed out back from when we used to raise hogs. While not perfect its much cheaper than retrofitting the furnace ... gonna go see if its corroded to dust or not ... its my only PO prep activity scheduled for the day.

ABQ will fare better than its sunbelt siblings due to a milder summer climate (result of mile-high elevation--of course winters are colder) and a much better water supply for the population base.

ABQ also has that lovely light rail system and the state has plenty of wind power ... but even so, the whole region seems sketchy to me. A little island of calm in the midst of California and Arizona coming apart? Not good ...

I rode the light rail, the Rail Runner, a few weeks ago. It is a nice train (a "beep beep" sound--like the cartoon Roadrunner--is played when the doors close). It's really mostly useful for commuting between ABQ and Santa Fe to the north, since Albuquerque is still mostly an East-West city.

Perhaps another comparison would take per capita energy usage and ofset it with net energy production (oil, gas, coal).

I live in santa fe and I am really looking forward to when they extend the line north to us by the end of 2008. Unfortunately, many people in santa fe have a "not in my backyard" stance on the rail lines that have to be reworked. I am an emt and work in Albuquerque, right now I am getting tired of the commute. This service couldnt come soon enough for me!

I had a nice chat with a fellow named Richardson and a few other locals on the roof of the 219 Central building a few months back. There was much talk about the new Sony studio going in south of town. Perhaps we'll want escapist movies as part of our soon to be reduced entertainment fare and this place will thrive?

Just a small nit to pick. Rail Runner is commuter rail not light rail.

Urban Rail covers streetcars, light rail, heavy or rapid rail (subways mainly) and commuter rail. So different flavors of the same good ice cream :-)

Best Hopes for catching up on a week of TOD posts,


Maybe some oil insiders have insight about Ray Leonard, but .......

Being an ex-YUKOS executive doesn't seem like something I would want on my resume.

The Kuwait Energy Company doesn't seem to have anything to do with Kuwait oil production.

The original Oil & Gas Journal April 23, 2007 article on the "Hedberg Research Conference on Understanding World Oil Resources" is linked below.


Some interesting historical articles here - be warned, miserable stuff.


The past may be relevant to our future

God, the pastor said, is "sovereign over his creation" and no amount of coal-burning will alter by a "millisecond" his divine plan for the world.
It just distracts from core Christian duties to spread the faith and protect the unborn. - Rev. Frank Brown, pastor of the Bellmead First Baptist Church

And that is the heart of the problem, isn't it? Since it seems that protecting the unborn has absolutely nothing to do with the air conditioning in his church (wonder if it still uses CFCs?), or the vehicles the church members drive at least once a week to his service, or to the reliance on fossil fuels to keep the economic system running which he seems to feel is part of God's plan.

All of these choices and decisions are from God - the pastor is completely without sin, having washed his hands of responsibility. Except for reminding others not to challenge his understanding of God's plan, especially when using such dangerous, new fangled notions as factual observations - based on satellites actually orbiting in Heaven, especially as the information is not trumpeted by angels on high.

Sometimes I think that most religiously obsessed people are simply weak people, surrendering the responsibility for their life to the "higher authority".

Strangely the Bible itself says a completely different thing - that God has given us the Earth to harvest and protect (I'm not sure about the exact quote). Obviously this was the only thing that was on God's mind - and whether we screw up with protecting the Earth, it is us to be held responsible.

How did that pastor come up with that totally detached from any responsibility philosophy, I have no idea. But it is scary how convenient it is for some people to think this way.

Some of those new mega-churches are insane. People drive from miles around to go to them. So many people attend that they have "satellite parking" far from the church, with a bus system to get people from the parking lots to the church.

Why so many people? Because they put on a show that rivals a Broadway play or rock concert, with laser light shows, mega sound systems, etc.

This aspect of the church experience is somewhat after my time, though I was familar with a mega church in Northern Virginia - the same one that Ollie North attended.

They didn't go in for big shows - they were much more into various practices which to me suggested strongly that someone had read a book or two about how to control humans - the small knit, but very strictly hierarchical group structure, the incessant demands on time and money, a social circle centered on the church, which was not shy in condemning those outside that church, and a political awareness that also showed someone had been reading a book or two from the Lenin/Maoist library. And their mission, much like that of Scientologists, tended to focus on the white, well-off, and educated - that is, those most likely to rise in federal civil service.

As a matter of fact, the Americans at TOD are now experiencing government run to a major extent by these church members, who were in their 20s in the early 1980s. They are the ones who have felt persecuted as Christians since they weren't allowed to lead students in prayer in public schools for example, though as members of the Department of Education, they are doing their best to defeat the power of Satan. In terms of creationism/intelligent design, you can see their success, though they still have a lot of work ahead of them, until Christianity is restored to its rightful place as the foundation of America. (Ignoring facts is just one of God's blessings, if I understand their theology correctly.)

I could go on, but let's just say that the educated adults running the American governent in the 1970s and 80s, those who won the Cold War, reached the moon, and were just beginning to deal with the problems of race and environment, have been replaced by God's chosen warriors from such mega churches. And no, this was not a coincidence, though at least the church members may think it was a sign of God's loving hand saving America from further falling into the pits of hell.

New Orleans is just one of the examples of how God's blessings are now being bestowed upon America through his humble earthly servants, since faith conquers all.

Coal prices soar to record over $100
By Jackie Cowhig. Thu 27 Sep 2007, 15:17 GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - Physical coal prices for delivery into Europe broke record levels over $100 a tonne on Thursday, as the worldwide rally in energy prices broke through into the opaque and fragmented coal market.

Coal prices have been rising all year as availability has progressively tightened. Unfortunately for consumers, freight rates have also repeatedly hit record levels, forcing up the delivered cost of coal....

Source: http://africa.reuters.com/business/news/usnBAN758607.html

Sorry if this was recently discussed. Been MIA last few days.

The Bio-ethanol and Bio-hydrocarbon making folks in the article about bio-engineering of our liquid fuels forget one thing. Massive amounts needed.

Genetically modified fuels is what they are really after. Turning What we know into what we could have instead of what we do have. While it all seems like a great ride and fun for all the energy users out here, I wonder if what they will be able to make and what is already here for the taking is just counting our chickens before they hatch.

As we stream along eating and drinking 20 million barrels of crude each day they are playing Sceince Experiment Projects on the leftovers hoping for a breakthrough to the billions of petrol dollars.

" But Mommy the Genetically Modified Milk Popsicle tastes lots better than the Ye Ole Cow Milk Popsicle!!"

When will we tell the Gas station owner we like the Genetically Modified Fuel Product rather than the Crude Oil fuel product??

Don't hold your breath on the "coming" of the replacement fuel. Cellulosic ethanol seems to be joining the ranks of "the energy of the future and it always will be" Reminds me of the doomday guy with the shoulder boards.The end is in sight-- six years from now.
I'm really feeling frustrated this week. Nothing has happened that I can put my finger on, but I just am getting overwhelmed at the futility of it all. I read all the GW/ PO threads and can't help but think it is pissing into the wind. Does anyone really expect that the US or China, or anyone else will stop burning coal?
Will there ever really be a political force that will address a future problem? Medicare? Social Security? The Monetary crisis? Peak Oil? Global Warming? TPTB know what is coming in all of these. To believe they do not is to ignore reality. Regardless of what you think of the motives of our (US) politicians, most are well informed. They are weak and self centered but not stupid. Think I'll go blast the Expedition (affectionately known as the Fordasaurus) up and down the road a few times before I can't.

By the way, Sorry for your turmoil Bob. Been there, done that. The pain will last for some time. But then you never know how it will turn out. The youngest daughter , a result of the second marriage, just went off to MIT. I'm hoping she can help figure it all out.

The Bio-ethanol and Bio-hydrocarbon making folks in the article about bio-engineering of our liquid fuels forget one thing. Massive amounts needed.

Bah. How about Klebsiella planticola
A demonstrated FAILURE of the 'lets genetically modify stuff to make fuel" position.

Klebsiella planticola is merely an example that human beings can engineer organisms that can cause serious problems. This engineered bacterium has never been released into the natural environment, and hopefully, never will be.

You want the facts about the potential Klebsiella planticola has? Read the paper. Check the line on page 73, "However, at the end of the experiment, plants in soil inoculated with with SDF20 were chlorotic and wilting, while plants in the uninoculated soil and soil with SDF15 were flowering." SDF20 is the engineered bacterium, and SDF15 is the parent, not-engineered bacterium.

Saw Kunstler at the Land Institute in Salina, KS. today. Man, oh, man. Great fun.

If ever there was a strong advocate for the simple pleasures of reality-based existence, it would be Kunstler.

He had them on their feet, tweaking the environmentalist's noses about Amory Lovins and Amory's ridiculous hyper-super-mega car. Kunstler's new meme revolves around the gadget-loving greenies. I loved it. Own a Prius? Tweak!

He did mention the export land model, but he mangled the explanation a bit. I think the crowd pretty much got the idea when he explained that Mexico, a huge exporter, would soon become a non-exporting country much like Great Britain.

His usual story about Google was there, and he ramped it up, describing the twenty-something millionaires, with their sideways hats and drooping pants, as babies, thus epitomizing the infantilization of America. I made it a point to watch out of the corner of my eye a couple of youngsters. They were appropriately tweaked.

I also noticed the disapproving facial contortions on the faces of many of the Land Institute's board members. They were clearly uncomfortable with his message. The social dynamic between Kunstler and the board members and his almost revival tent-like control of the crowd was truly interesting. From having heard and seen on UTube several of his speeches, I noticed that he departed from his relatively dry delivery to one that seemed to consciously manipulate the pent-up frustration in the room.

You have to imagine this all set in a barn during a fairly windy Kansas day. Behind him are sliding bare-wood doors shot through with knotholes which throw beams of light into the room. Eddies of dust swirl, and long blasts of wind across the microphone causes the PA to emit low, haunting, tones that shake your ribcage. The room is crowded with folding chairs; there is an actual balcony, presumably the former hayloft, and at least a hundred and fifty to two hundred people lean forward shoulder to shoulder. They are mostly from the converted. Not necessarily to the peak oil message (Kunstler wants to avoid the term "peak oil" because of cultish overtones and has come up with a substitute term that only a bureaucrat could love, and hence I have in the past five hours, or so, completely forgotten it). No, these are the hippies, pseudo-hippies, back-to-the-landers, yuppie/socially conscious, young people out to get laid by following earnest chicks to this backwater -- people who all listen to NPR and wish dearly that the war would end and we could all elect a Democrat and all would be hunky dory. These are farmers who are looking for a alternative to industrial farming that still involves harvesting seeds, ignoring the perfectly adequate concept of permaculture.

When it is done, when the last of the standing ovation is over, I beat feet for the door and am nearly bowled over by some eager middle-aged white man (aren't they all?) who can't wait to kiss this man's ass and then jump back into his car and drive back to his mortgage. I want to say "Hi" as I pass, but I can see that Kunstler will suffer enough without my cursory wave and greeting, so I brush past him as he sits awaiting his fans.

And I am recharged. I feel good about raising my voice. I feel good about teaching my students at my land grant university about peak oil -- even though I teach English. I feel good tweaking the noses of those who feel it is more important to maintain people's self-esteem and talk quietly than it is to bang them over the head with reality. I feel absolutely great because I can see that if people stop crying, whining, and theorizing, and start doing, we may have a chance.

I feel absolutely great because I can see that if people stop crying, whining, and theorizing, and start doing, we may have a chance.

Kunstler's sensationalist message is like the fart of a Flint Hills heifer on the September breeze. It alerts the senses, nauseates, irritates, and just when you think it won't go away...it's gone.

Tell me, what solutions did the white middle-age Democrats take away from his talk? Do you suppose Kunstler tracked his carbon footprint along his path from Saratoga Springs to Salinas? Do you think his message today to "the converted" justified this cost? Surely they already knew what they were going to hear.

Or perhaps he's exempt because he's Kunstler.

Don't worry. Your feeling will pass.

Or perhaps he's exempt because he's Kunstler.

He's "exempt" because:
1) He is "spreading the word"
2) HE's old. When the fecal material impacts the rotory cooling device he'll be dead of old age.

And the most important part...

3) He's making money doing this.

Actually, you left out one other aspect of Kunstler - he hates suburbia with a biblical passion, which is is distinct from 'spreading the word.'

I can understand this passion, though in part it is unhealthy to have - I feel much the way about American baby boomers and suburbia that Kunstler does about suburbia and Nascar morons, as he so charmingly calls them. They may be morons, but it tends to be the Nascar morons who actually live in the small American towns Kunstler feels we need to return to - and not only in the South (which he also despises, though not seemingly for its racism - Kunstler seems to have a soft spot in his heart for those days when 'they' knew their place), but in Pennsylvania or Ohio, which have been places with deep Nascar connections since at least the 1980s.

Kunstler is a man who has embraced hate in a cause he finds holy, which makes him resemble so many of his fellow citizens, even if the varied causes seem so contradictory. To ignore that aspect of his personality is to ignore a large part of his soul.

Expat: There is one salient fact that Kunstler ignores in all his rants predicting the total collapse of the sunbelt (rants replicated on TOD)-the average person hates cold weather. Jim doesn't mind Jan or Feb or Mar in upstate NY but he is definitely not the average person in this regard. He sees the south depopulating (no more A/C!)-total BS. The masses who fled the cold will move into smaller, more airtight houses but they are not moving to Detroit, Buffalo or Cleveland (IMO)-ever.

Just a couple of comments - though many of my New York/New England relatives seemed to find leaving winter behind by moving to Florida, my mother always hated summer in Virginia, and never minded winter. Some people seem that way. As for moving to Detroit, Buffalo, and Cleveland - actually, there was a group of southerners that did exactly that, though climate was not the driving reason. I wouldn't rule out migration to wherever there is work to be found, especially if you belong to an oppressed minority.

The other comment is that there might be some confusion between the 'South' and the desert Southwest, at least here. The desert Southwest is not somewhere I think likely to prosper in an energy/economic crisis.

'Don't worry. Your feeling will pass.'

it's not a feeling he usually has, much less expresses here.
if he awakens 1 or 2- him or kunstler it is worth it!
as matt says we that hear are usually already presupposed, but sometimes even we haven't heard.

Kunstler's sensationalist message is like the fart of a Flint Hills heifer on the September breeze.

Kunstler's carbon footprint makes as much difference as Fly Shit on a Cannonball compared to one day in the life of a B52.

Kunstler has been speaking to audiences and shocking them into at least stopping and thinking for a moment. Some will even go home and do some google searches.

What's the chance that they would have paid for someone to put on a peak oil talk that you would approve of?

He's doing it, he's been doing it and last but not least, No One has the "True" peak Oil speech approach.

I know, let them get the RIGHT pitch from Woolsey.