DrumBeat: October 6, 2007

Lester R. Brown: The Nature Of The New World

If recent environmental trends continue, the global economy eventually will come crashing down. It is not knowledge that we lack. At issue is whether national governments can stabilize population and restructure the economy before time runs out.

Brownback on the Record

"America is on the verge of an energy crisis," Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) warns on his presidential campaign website, blaming "years of neglect and shortsighted domestic policies."

His solution? Incentivize the marketplace to develop more nuclear power, more renewables, plug-in hybrids, better biofuels, and other homegrown energy sources and technologies. Brownback has been a big advocate of ethanol and other biofuels throughout the decade he's spent representing Kansas in the U.S. Senate -- no surprise, considering that he hails from the heartland.

ANALYSIS-Russian gas pipeline more likely than EU's Nabucco

A major Kremlin-backed gas pipeline may have a better chance of supplying Europe with new gas than the much-touted EU-backed Nabucco project, designed to ease the bloc's dependence on Russia, analysts say.

Although both projects are riddled with problems and may not move off the drawing board, the main question behind long-delayed Nabucco is whether it can secure enough Caspian and Middle East supplies to fill the pipe.

Norway sees gas output jump in 2008, less oil

Norway's gradual shift from oil to gas production will push up natural gas sales by 23 percent next year while oil output drops to levels last seen in the early 1990s, the government's 2008 budget draft showed on Friday.

Lithuanian energy summit to court Caspian oil

The leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland will try to revive a long-delayed plan to ship Caspian Sea crude to world markets bypassing Russia when they meet next week, a Lithuanian official said on Friday.

High oil prices prompt move to drill in Falklands

BHP Billiton's decision to drill at least two exploration wells in the Falkland Islands was just a matter of time as record oil prices reinvigorate interest in one of the world's least explored oil provinces.

France can't ignore Iran energy deals-Iran minister

Iran's oil minister on Saturday brushed aside calls by Paris for French firms to avoid Iranian energy deals, saying the world's fourth largest oil producer was too attractive for them to ignore, a news agency reported.

Broken robots: technology reconsidered

I might as well be honest - my iPod Mini is falling apart. The aluminum case has been banged up for a while now, and the battery life has been steadily declining. Recently the plastic panel on top came off, and I figured it might be time for an upgrade. But then I had second thoughts: if I shell out 200 bucks for a shiny black Nano, I won’t just be buying an mp3 player. I’ll also be buying the toxic chemicals used to make it, the cardboard used to package it, the oil used to ship it from China. Suddenly, keeping the old Mini around didn’t seem so bad, after all.

UN backs organic farming

Nadia Scialabba, an FAO official, defined organic agriculture as: “A holistic production management system that avoids the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, and genetically modified organisms, minimises pollution of air, soil and water, and optimises the health and productivity of plants, animals and people.”

Automobile buyers fall for the small

U.S. compact- and subcompact-car sales hit a record 2.7 million units in 2006, and experts expect even better results this year despite a broad auto-market slowdown.

“The things that have fueled (small-car sales) are really not going away: Gas prices, the housing market (and) the fashion aspect of these cars,” said Jesse Toprak of auto site Edmunds.com.

College students thumbing rides online

Virginia Tech freshman Amanda Thompson needed to get home for fall break this weekend. But before her journey started, she faced one hefty roadblock: finding a ride.

So Thompson, a communications major without a car on campus, did what all savvy college students do: She scoured Facebook for a ride. The social-networking site is filled with people looking to share fuel costs, which average about $2.68 per gallon this week, according to AAA.

Fuel's gold

From road tax to parking and congestion charges, motorists face a whole range of new penalties based on the fuel consumption and carbon emissions of their cars, such that a single extra gramme of CO2 could cost hundreds of pounds per year. But does anyone really believe the figures on which the charges are based?

Little Debbie raises prices

"Anything made with corn is more expensive now," Gloekler said.

But it's quite a leap to blame the Little Debbie price increase on higher corn costs, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

Things such as plastic packaging, made from petroleum, are more likely to be the culprit in some higher food prices, said Lou Malnassy, association spokesman.

Steve Andrews on upcoming Houston ASPO conference

Steve Andrews of ASPO-USA talks with GPM's Julian Darley at the 6th Annual International ASPO Conference in Cork, Ireland. Andrews recaps the peak oil events of the last year and discusses the upcoming 2007 Houston World Oil Conference, happening October 17-20, 2007.

Speakers at the 2007 Houston World Oil Conference include T. Boone Pickens, Matt Simmons, Henry Groppe, Chris Skrebowski, Roscoe Bartlett, Robert Hirsch, Roger Bezdek, David Hughes, Peter Tertzakian, Debbie Cook, Stuart Staniford and many more. For more information, visit the ASPO USA website.

Book Review: Peak Everything

Heinberg sets the context of Peak Oil as being the fundamental issue of a time in which we will see many resources and conditions essential for modern society peak, including fish stocks, many essential metals, uranium, arable land and fresh water per capita. Heinberg links these all to the fundamental and issue of cheap fossil energy, but also invites us to consider what may not be peaking- including community, creativity, leisure time, happiness and beauty.

Officials hope voters might favor gas tax boost to fight warming

Regional officials are taking a close look at trying to increase the Bay Area's gasoline tax by as much as 10 cents a gallon and believe voters might agree to it as a way to help combat global warming, The Chronicle learned Thursday.

Tim Flannery: we have to stop our emissions (podcast)

Tim Flannery, one of Australia's top scientists and author of The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change talks to Andi Hazelwood of Global Public Media about his suggested mitigations for climate change on the heels of the alarming new report from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Flannery also discusses Australia's drought and food crises, relocalization and Bjorn Lomborg's skeptical new book on global warming.

China to raise coal output, open 'super' mines

Energy-starved China will boost coal output by 400 million tonnes a year by 2010 by streamlining the industry and opening a string of new "super" pits, state media reported Friday.

Dragonflies, open water reveal rapid Arctic change

Changes to the environment and climate are usually imperceptible and are visible only when the increments build up over time and result in a trend. But in the summer of 2007, both anecdotal and quantifiable evidence emerged that showed dramatic changes are taking place in the Far North at a faster pace than anyone imagined.

North Dakota: Diesel supplies low during peak use season

Rosemary Patrick, whose family farms in the Wilton area, said they were surprised Tuesday when they went to fill up on diesel at the local station and were told the station was out.

Although the Patricks are done harvesting, they were getting ready to fertilize, which requires the use of a tractor. Which, of course, requires diesel.

Governor: North Dakota to get diesel shipment

A 2 million gallon shipment of diesel is due in North Dakota next week to help ease a shortage of the fuel in the state, Gov. John Hoeven said.

Gas-price rise puzzles drivers, energy officials

"I don't know where the market is going," said Tom Robinson, president of Robinson Oil. "With the easier winter specs coming, and since this is often a slower gas time, and heating oil demand hasn't started yet, prices should be softer, but they are going up. It's hard to know."

Lincoln County Food Share faces shortage

Why did this shortage take place?

Smith explained that USDA commodities have declined 52 percent in the past four years. Also, food-industry donations have decreased due to a strong consumer market, high commodity prices, increased bio-fuel demand, increased efficiency in food manufacturing and international markets draining both national and local sources.

Asian Fuel Oil Rises to Record as Iran Cuts Exports

Dubai crude jumped $2.05 a barrel, or 2.8%, to $74.60 a barrel, Bloomberg data showed. Iran has cut fuel oil exports to Fujairah, the Middle East's biggest bunkering port that sells around 700,000 metric tons a month, to as low as 180,000 tons in August from typical monthly shipments of around 300,000 tons, traders said.

The lack of supplies at Fujairah prompted traders to import fuel oil from Asia and Europe, pushing prices in those regions higher.

Cabinet may decide on petrol prices after October 7

: The Union Cabinet meeting next week is likely to take a decision on various options, including price revision, to bail out loss making oil firms, a top petroleum ministry official said on Satarday.

Philippines: Oil firms hike fuel, LPG prices once more

or the third straight week, oil firms raised gasoline, diesel and kerosene prices by P0.50 a liter and of liquefied petroleum gas by P1.12 per kilogram, all inclusive of the 12-percent value-added tax.

Zambia: Motorists Abandon Work as Fuel Shortage Worsens

THE acute fuel shortage that has hit the Copperbelt and various parts of the country yesterday worsened forcing some Ndola motorists to abandon their work spending long hours on queues in a bid to buy the commodity.

Wanted: High-Octane Expertise

It's a sort of vicious cycle: Crude oil costs more because it is becoming harder to find and produce. That powers up demand and prices for oil and gas field equipment and services, putting pressure on oil companies to lift crude prices.

The result: field services giant Schlumberger SLB finds itself in a light, sweet spot.

Pemex Obtains $2.5 Billion Bank Credit at Lower Rate

Petroleos Mexicanos, the Mexican state-owned oil monopoly, obtained a $2.5 billion standby bank loan at a longer maturity and lower rate than two existing credit lines.

Pemex, Nexen sign collaboration agreement

Despite the fact they can't directly invest in Mexican oil and gas, foreign energy companies are nurturing good relations with Pemex in case there is a loosening of restrictions under conservative President Felipe Calderon who has pushed two key economic reforms through Congress in under a year.

Analysts see Pemex under pressure to develop deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico as yields decline at its main shallow water oil field Cantarell, but say it is hard pushed to do so alone.

Gore discusses global warming in Mexico

Global warming isn't a popular topic in Mexican political circles, but Al Gore traveled to Mexico on Thursday night for the second time in two months because he has found a receptive audience in President Felipe Calderón.

Where Has All The Oil Gone?

Since summer, one of North America's most important oil towns has witnessed a disappearing act.

The mammoth storage tanks that blanket the rolling grasslands around this remote prairie town had been filled to the brim with crude oil. They aren't anymore. Since May, millions of barrels of crude have been sold off, and Cushing's inventory has fallen by nearly 35%.

Oil traders around the globe obsess about inventory. Storage levels have fallen, not just in Cushing, but in other oil depots as well. Fearful that the U.S. cushion of spare fuel could hit a low by year-end, traders drove prices to a record of nearly $84 a barrel last month. On Friday, oil closed at $81.22 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 33% this year.

Toward Zero and Beyond with Steven Strong

Steven Strong says our two 800lb gorillas are obvious - Peak Oil and Climate Change. Peak oil is compounded by population growth, which Steven says is an inevitable "train wreck" which only a good "12-step program" can help us avoid. Our current "Mythical Cornucopian Energy Economy" would have environmentalists get out of the way so we can keep consuming the resources we obviously have and, are told we need. The effects of climate change are far reaching but can be summed up pretty easily in the mounting costs of natural disasters. During the 1990s insurance companies paid out $439 Billion, more than the cumulative totals of all previous decades.

Report from Nobel Conference - Heating Up: The Energy Debate

I attended the two-day event, which delivered in its round-up of impressive energy and global warming experts: Nobel Laureate in Physics Dr. Stephen Chu, biofuels expert Dr. Lee Rybeck Lynd, peak oil expert Ken Deffeyes, economist Paul L. Joskow, polar explorer Will Steger, hydrogen expert Joan M. Ogden, and James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

While at times the science got a bit thick, the message from all of the lecturers was clear: Global warming is urgent, we need to do something NOW, and many different solutions will get us there.

China to invest in Chad refinery

The Xinhua news agency reported CNPC, China’s largest oil producer, and its wholly-owned subsidiary Engineering Ltd., have signed an agreement with the government of the landlocked oil-producing central African country to invest in a refinery north of the capital N'Djamena.

Italy suspends BG's Brindisi LNG project

The ministry said in a statement late on Friday it had agreed with the Economic Development Ministry to suspend the authorisation of BG's long-contested project until a study of the environmental impact of the terminal is completed.

Greens warn oil transfers open to legal action

UK Government ministers were today urged to act over controversial plans for ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Forth.

Gulf currency revaluation risk could 'squeeze dollar further'

The broadly declining dollar could come under further pressure should Gulf Arab states decide to revalue their currencies and remove pegs to the greenback, prompting a flight out of US assets by oil-rich Middle East countries.

Speculation about the dollar peg hogged the headlines in recent sessions after Saudi Arabia kept interest rates unchanged despite the Federal Reserve slashing benchmark rates by a half percentage point last month.

Iran says OPEC may review oil cut after Nov

Iran's oil minister said on Saturday OPEC could revise a decision to boost crude production from November if that increase pushed prices lower than was economical for producers, an Iranian news agency reported.

It's not just Alberta, it's the whole country (Review of Stupid to the Last Drop)

But let's begin with Marsden's intelligently quirky narrative on energy and destiny. The investigative reporter starts off with a curious yet true story about plans to nuke the tar sands, the world's second-largest source of oil after Saudi Arabia. But separating tar from sand in the boreal forest has always been a messy job. The good folks at Richfield Oil and the Alberta government figured out that a couple of atomic warheads might speed up the process in the 1950s.

EU Receives Assurances from Ukraine for End to Gas Row

EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said he has received assurances from Ukraine of a solution to Russia's dispute with Kiev over unpaid debt for gas supplies by Nov 1.

Ukrainian gas to be transferred to Gazprom

Natural gas to be transferred to Russia's Gazprom will count as $600 million in credit against the more than $1.3 billion debt owed by Ukraine, a report said.

The debt was incurred as companies working in Ukraine failed to pay Gazprom for natural gas stored in Ukrainian underground tanks, Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuri Boiko said in a interview Saturday.

Ecuador Unveils Plans to Extend Control Over Oil Industry

Ecuador's government surprised private-sector oil companies late Thursday by unveiling dramatic plans to tighten its grip on the oil sector.

President Rafael Correa late Thursday signed an executive decree raising the state's share of oil revenues, while the country's top energy official said the government wants to take back full ownership of oil resources and production.

Automakers to appeal emissions ruling

Automakers on Friday said they would appeal a ruling by a federal judge in Vermont that said states could regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

The industry, represented by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, has argued that federal law pre-empts state rules in the regulation of fuel economy standards and the technology cannot be developed to meet the tough standards pushed by California and others.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Where Peak Oil Is Wrong

For regular readers of this column, you will know we take a strong middle line on the subject of peak oil. We think it is like death: At some point it is going to arrive, rather unfortunately, and the consequences of it do not appear to be favourable. It is what we do before it arrives that makes the aftermath more bearable.

South Korea eyes North Korea’s oil

Seoul has a keen interest in joint development of North Korea’s oil fields. With the prospect of rich oil reserves and increased inter-Korean cooperation, the South proposed to launch joint oil and gas development projects at the the second inter-Korean summit, which took place from October 2 to 4. The North, however, seems to have little enthusiasm for the idea and the prospect could be further hindered by China, which already has a development deal with the North.

BP to double fuel oil capacity in Singapore

BP is doubling its fuel oil storage capacity in Singapore to about 600,000 cu m, to help keep its trading edge over rivals who are snapping at its heels, industry sources said yesterday.

Heavy oil may soon prove profitable

The Ugnu deposit presents technological and economic challenges, however. BP will test a technology called cold heavy oil production with sand, or CHOPS, that is being adapted from techniques used with similar heavy oil deposits in Canada, Suttles said.

Water companies need to adapt to climate change: experts

Water management companies will face huge challenges due to climate change and need to start adapting their strategies, experts warned in Amsterdam on Friday.

World moves into the ecological red

The world moved into 'ecological overdraft' on Saturday, the point at which human consumption exceeds the ability of the earth to sustain it in any year and goes into the red, the New Economics Foundation think-tank said.

Ecological Debt Day this year is three days earlier than in 2006 which itself was three days earlier than in 2005. NEF said the date had moved steadily backwards every year since humanity began living beyond its environmental means in the 1980s.

Mayor of Fargo, N.D., opposing TransCanada Corp. oil pipeline


TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) is developing the Keystone pipeline. It's intended to carry Canadian crude oil from Alberta to Illinois and Oklahoma.

The project includes a 350-kilometre stretch through eight counties in eastern North Dakota.

The Public Service Commission is reviewing TransCanada's application for a permit.

In a letter dated Thursday, Walaker says city officials worry about a possible oil leak into the Sheyenne River, which feeds the city's water supply.

Not that I disagree with environmental concerns, but it just such delays and opposition that make it hard to believe the necessary infrastructure changes will not be in time.

If petroleum product pipelines could not cross rivers for "fear of leaking," then there would be no petroleum product pipelines anywhere. Within a tolerable degree, I believe that problem was solved a century ago, but maybe North Dakota has not found that out yet.

Iraq seems to have a big problem with oil pipelines leaking into their rivers.

And you're implying that black swans don't exist.

Like the Exxon Valdez and Chernobyl.

There's a good reason that NIMBY's are a growing segment of our pop.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Iraq seems to have a big problem with oil pipelines leaking into their rivers.

Google some picture from Nigeria sometime. Horrible.

"Solved" does not mean that leaks never happen. What most of us do not have here is data that tells us what the rate of leakage ought to be, along with what the rate of leakage actually is. The first number would tell us what is technically feasible. The second number would tell us how close the oil companies are to maintaining that feasibility or if they are slacking off and letting pipelines corrode away (as we saw with BP on the north slope). Does anyone here have access to that sort of data or something similar that would allow us to get a good idea of whether these political concerns are realistic or not?

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

Not that I disagree with environmental concerns, either, but...

Here in Oregon/Washington, opposition to WINDMILLS is strong and impassioned. It seems that many (most?) people are opposed to having them around.

With abundant electricity and cheap rates, they can afford to be. Situation is similar with LNG terminals, and their associated pipelines, proposed locally.

Some outside pressure will be necessary to override passionate locals. I don't necessarily advocate that, we're all just in a big hole because of excessive energy demand.

I can imagine an alternative future (as opposed to burning it all) where we just huddle in the cold.

There is opposition to TREES in Iceland. Very few trees in living memory (places names persist with forest names though).

The attitude of the Icelandic Forest Service is to back off where resistance appears and plant elsewhere. Come back in 25 or 40 years when people have changed (a new crop of people as one put it) and are more used to seeing trees.

Best Hopes for a Rush to Wind,


Norwegian govt bases budget estimates on 73.5 usd a barrel oil price for 2007


But it said that it saw the oil price lower for the following year.

'The oil price has fluctuated considerably so far this year, with the average oil price close to 400 nkr per barrel,' the government said in its budget statement.

'The projection in the national budget... is based on an oil price of 400 nkr per barrel in 2007 and 360 nkr in 2008,' the government said in a statement

Here is an open question, who thinks it will prices will ease in 2008?

It's a crapshoot. If US (+EU) go into a recession badly enough, there is no way the oil exporters can pick up the consumption, so China/India/Vietnam/Japan will hiccup also with some delay.

That should reduce oil consumption after some delay. As should the the current high prices.

But will it be enough to drive down the oil price (yearly average)? I don't know. My crystal ball is in the repair shop, it's been very murky lately, can't get good readings anymore.

But yes, the immediate oil price should go down to accommodate for the intra-year cycle, shouldn't it?

The yearly average I'm not so sure about.

Intra-year cycles, of course.

But, full year average price?

I do wonder what will happen, lots of above ground factors with an election year, and still some room for a NEW All Liquids peak.

And here we go.

The price of crude will never go down.

Think about getting paid in BTU's. You'd like that, huh?

Inflation would be dead forever.

When oil goes down, so will the price of beer.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

The price of oil in Norwegian Krona could go down whilst the price in United States Dollars could go up, substantially.

The Norwegians are conservative and prudent with their finances, unlike certain other nation states, and the prudent course is to budget for the lowest reasonable price.

Best Hopes for Norwegian Gasoline Taxes staying the highest in the world,


When the North Sea drops to MOL,
and Norway is forced to pay or do w/o
we'll see how prudent they are.

OSLO, Norway: A Norwegian whaling boat that sank last month may have been sabotaged, police said Thursday, two days after an Internet posting by anonymous activists claiming to be behind the sinking.

The 89-foot (27-meter) fishing trawler Willassen Senior, used in Norway's hotly protested commercial whale hunts, sank at a wharf in the Arctic Lofoten Islands in the early hours of Aug. 31.


Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

The Norwegians are conservative and prudent with their finances, unlike certain other nation states, and the prudent course is to budget for the lowest reasonable price.

That is the essential point - that this is a budget not a price prediction. If the price goes higher, then Norway receives a windfall and good for them. But if the price went lower and the budget was planned around the higher number, they would have to either cut services or raise taxes. Now what politician wants to do that? So assume the more conservative number and if you get the windfall, deal with it then.

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

The price of oil in Norwegian Krona could go down whilst the price in United States Dollars could go up, substantially.

Alan I agree. It has really amazed me to see how much the dollar has sunk relative to the crown during the last months.
The Norwegian centralbank will probably have to continue with their ratehikes for a while. With that happening there's a real chance that the Norwegian crown could join the Icelandic crown and Kiwi dollar in being targeted by carry traders...

With regards to the oil price expectations in the Norwegian budget, it should probably be mentioned that they have underestimated the oil price for as long as I can remember. You are certainly right that it is a conservative price estimate. Personally I would probably use it as more of a lower bound for the oil price, but of course I am peak oil aware.

The Norwegians are conservative and prudent with their finances

The Norwegian financial prudence you refer to, is rooted in the principle that the Norwegian state should only spend oil revenue equal to 4% of the nominal value of the Norwegian petroleum fund. I believe that they overshot the target in 2003-2005, 2006 was equal to target, from memory, and this year will either be lower or equal to target.
It should be noted that there are certainly people who think the 4% principle is stupid. Everytime there's a problem that is reported in the media, whether the health system hasn't got enough money, or the roads are potholed or something else, there's always someone who is pointing out that the Norwegian state is depositing 300 BILLION CROWNS in the petroleum fund every year. (Yes, they speak in capital letters). It is rarely mentioned that unless oil prices rise, the Norwegian petroleum fortune (petroleum reserves plus financial assets) is just barely enough to pay the pensions of the baby-boom generation.

Best Hopes for Norwegian Gasoline Taxes staying the highest in the world

I certainly hope that too. They did increase the tax for diesel 0.2 Crowns/litre in their budget for 2008. After a rejiggering of the registration taxes for new cars to favor low-CO2 vehicles for this year had produced record sales of diesel-powered vehicles (75% of new car sales in september), there has been much media attention on the unhealthy particulate emissions of diesel-cars. Also the tax on diesel has lagged behind gas for years.

Finally, I do think we Norwegians have burned through our petroleum resources far to quickly. After all, according to mainstream economists, we should pump up and convert our oil reserves to financial assets before the price of oil falls to its long-term inflation adjusted level...

The HL plot shows Norwegian production down to about one mbpd (total liquids) by 2015, and down to about 500,000 bpd by 2020, versus current production of about 2.4 mbpd.

Current Norwegian oil consumption is about 250,000 b/day, most of which goes to support the offshore oil & gas industry and fishing AFAIK.

Depleting oil means less oil needed to support after plug and abandon.

Fishing is an economic activity. Higher oil prices mean will reduced fishing use (more efficient trawlers + less frequent fishing > more fish/trip).

I expect Norwegian internal consumption to drop long term and for then to to continue exporting SOME oil for a long time.

Norway is also a major hydroelectric exporter and natural gas exporter. One of these will not deplete.

Best Hopes for Norway,


Hydro depletion can happen - Glen Canyon's output is down 30% due to reduced water pressure. Admittedly the arctic ice pack going probably means more water for Norway, but we should keep these effects in mind ...

I think about this issue in terms of biofuels effects - one bad year, or climate change producing a run of different (and bad for corn) years totally redraws the landscape. Rail electrification sounds better and better, no?

Norwegian - government is stipulating ONLY 66$/barrel for 2008

Actually there has been a mistranslation somewhere.

Norwegian language warning – but you’ll see the 66$ (= 360 kroner) in the text)

I don't see the problem. They said the price as 73.5 for 2007, and 360Kr(in text) for 2008. I didn't convert, only noting that it would (logically) have to be cheaper than 73.5.

So, I asked, do you think it will be cheaper (year average) than 73.5 for 2008? Or, if you want to specific, do you think it will be $66 year average for 2008?

IMHO, I think the best we could hope for is to hold the line (~75+ ish). But, in the end, I think the average will be over $80, once we hit next summer with record low gasoline stocks(and possibly lower crude stocks).

Sorry PeakTo , my bad. (I anticipated the 73,5$ to mirror the 2008 budget..., but obviously you write 2007…)

My thoughts for next years crude-cost is up – as compared to this year’s average, given a similar world situation, above ground and more …
But there is this financial situation doing “its thing” … making anything possible.

$3-a-gallon gas may be here to stay


Gas prices climbed to above $3 a gallon in California on Friday at a time of year when motorists usually find relief at the pump.


Historically, gasoline prices tend to fall in October, when the peak summer driving season has ended, long vacation trips have ended and the state converts to its winter blend of gasoline which is cheaper for refineries to produce.

But today other factors conspire to boost prices in California. Crude oil prices remain above $81 a barrel as energy officials fear crude supplies are inadequate, especially as winter approaches and the demand for home heating oil increases.

Just for Robert...no price retreat during winter gasoline turnover and demand reduction season. Neither seem to be happening according to plan, and accordingly no price relief.

Let's hope for a mild winter(gads...not something to hope for with GW) because Fuel oil and Propane are sharply lower than 2006.

It's very strange what's going on with gasoline prices across the US right now. The KC Metro area (entire Midwest?) has recently seen gasoline prices dive. We are currently sitting at $2.49 for regular unleaded, but $2.99 for diesel. It's difficult to understand how this can be when crude is sitting above $80 even factoring in winter-blend turnover.

Nearly three years ago, the oil market became especially attractive for investors with the means to set aside oil in storage tanks. The price of oil delivered in the future rose far above the spot price -- a market condition known as "contango." That made it profitable to store oil rather than to sell it right away.

As I have argued, backwardation is the sign of demand exceeding supply.

Taken from the above quote, backwardation would be the opposite of contango:

The price of oil delivered in the future fell far below the spot price -- a market condition known as "backwardation".

It (the crude) fell because demand is here and now.

Therefore, with this def of backwardation you would
see that getting rid of inventory is the solution.



Second, we need to evaluate crude oil inventories based on Days of Supply in excess of Minimum Operating Level (MOL). In the US, the MOL for crude oil is probably about 270 million barrels (mb). At about 322 mb, US crude oil inventories are probably best characterized by Hours of Supply in excess of MOL (about 80 hours). In my opinion, recent fluctuations in US crude oil inventories merely reflect minor changes in a thin margin of supply in excess of MOL.

Refiners are unlikely to let their inventories drop below certain critical levels, and given the expectation of declining world oil exports, refiners will have two choices: (1) Bid the price up enough to keep their inventories up and/or (2) Reduce their crude oil input, thus reducing product output.

Jeff Brown is right.

And I still don't think those 300k per day refineries in Wilmington are back up yet.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

PTO we have seen about a 4% decline in regular here in southern Ontario over the past week or two. Is there a source for local demand numbers etc? We also see diesel resisting the drop more here. I am assuming that this is because refiners are building fuel oil stocks from the same fraction and have reduced supply of motor grade. Does this seem right?

I wish we could afford the life we are living.

Agree...Ontario has seen a drop, but I don't have demand numbers for Canada (on a regular updated basis)...so we may be having a relatively regular switchover.

Plus (and maybe a major factor) is the strength of the CAD$...pushing to 1.02 yesterday. Crude is actually getting cheaper for Canadians(and EU, etc).

The diesel resistance here has been going on for more than a year, but I don't understand why. The near price parity occured with the low sulfur requirments, but after that it is reacting much slower to changes. Must be supply driven. Just look at the numbers of trucks on the 401. Again, would be nice to see Canadian weekly supply/demand numbers.

Personal note regarding website. I would like to talk before Tuesday. Please eMail your # and good time to call.




Robert predicted this and has been predicting this. He has noted that the historically low levels of inventory must eventually impact prices.

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

Yawn. Record temperatures again in Washington, D.C. Nothing to see here, move along, keep shopping.

Oppressive October: Calendar, Weather Can't Seem to Get On the Same Page

Further adding to our litany of existential queries: What's the right wardrobe when the weather says "Beach" but the citywide vibe is "Back to Work"? How do you dress for a Global Warming World?

"Layering," suggests Rosana Vollmerhausen, co-owner of Circle Boutique in Northwest Washington.

That solution seems easier on her customers than on her bottom line. She has stashes of heavy sweaters and coats that she had expected to move fast this season, but they're all still hanging around. ...

The numbers say this: It has been, on average, 10 to 15 degrees above normal, and it's only getting hotter this weekend. Thursday broke a record when the high at Dulles International Airport reached 88 degrees.

Last night, the Yankees lost a playoff game because of mayflies. Mayflies in October? Yup. It's been 85F or so in Cleveland, where the game was played. They hatched early because of the unusual weather.

And it was disgusting. The players and umpires sprayed their skin and clothing with bug spray, and it was still horrible. Poor Joba Chamberlain was covered with bugs. They were all over his face, coated his neck, and were crawling all over his hat and jersey. He was clearly affected, and completely lost the strike zone. Walked batters, hit by pitches, etc. He was lights-out before the bugs, but ended up giving up the tying run during the height of the swarm.

Saw that on CNN. Their only comment was that it was weird with no reference to its connection with the weather. But this is not "unusual" weather. Record temperatures are now usual not unusual. The use of the term "unusual" just adds to people's complacency. "Unusual" implies that this is just a passing phenomenon.

Now, when we start getting malaria in the U.S., maybe people will stand up and pay attention. In the mean time, drive those new Suburbans.

The US already has a malaria friendly climate. It used to be a common problem at least as far north as Illinois. We used DDT to wipe out the malaria mosquito.

We are in some danger of having a return due to the accidental importation of the anopheles mosquito via international travel/transportation.

In the mean time, drive those new Suburbans.

Now now, be kind. The new hybrid Suburbans supposedly get 21 mpg (highway) as compared to the old ones at 19 mpg! That's a whopping 10%. Go for it!

'Yankee Loss Attributable To Global Warming'. Cleveland players seemed unaffected by swarms of bugs, O-for-October A-Rod says, "they're used to living in filth, Cleveland is such a pit." "I mean, I don't want to make excuses, or divert attention from my own poor performance, but this is bigger than that. We could be witnessing a slow motion climate catastrophe, perhaps the breakdown of the whole North Atlantic thermohaline conveyor. It's not about one player. There is no I in unusual weather."

LOL. Please tell me you're joking. (I have to ask, because A-Rod says the darnedest things sometimes.)

That Hexagenia sp? Do you have a link?

I have no idea. The Cleveland Indians staff said during the game broadcast that they were "Canadian soldiers" from Lake Erie, and that the warm weather caused them to hatch early. Also known as may flies, June bugs, and shad flies.

But after the game, they interviewed an entomologist from Orkin who said they were a type of midge. There's about a zillion different species of bugs called "midge," so that doesn't help much.

Google Yankees and bugs, and you'll get a bunch of links, like this one. I don't think they really know what species they were.

Midges are not mayflies, if those are what messed up the Yankess. Hexagenia, esp and 2 other genus of mayflies used to blanket the towns of the Great Lakes, esp those of Eire, in the pre-pollution days. News stories of the 40's and 50's showed them in piles to 12 ft deep under street lights around Cleveland. They stopped traffic, making the roads too slick to drive on. The larvae live in shallow water sediments, and have since been hit real hard by toxic sediments.

Midges (Chironomidae), also called bloodworms (some larvae actualy have haemoglobin), will swarm in large numbers. Actually the males swarm and then the females fly in for the party. They can be found in very large numbers, especially if there is a sewage facility nearby.

I used to work on chironomids in graduate school. Analyzed chironomid populations vs. stream/river quality in search of bioindicators of conditions.

They look like mosquitos, but don't have any functioning mouthparts (most species) as adults.

Since I am discussing insects, I knew it was only a matter of time before my favorite aquatic insect (the larvae are aquatic) made it into a TOD Drumbeat Dragonflies, open water reveal rapid Arctic change

Yea for one of the most ancient and noble insects in the Order! I guess insects serve as good bioindicators of many things in this world.

Nice to see you chimed in on the thread, thought you might.

Gist of email to interstate relative.
IR: Every generation has it a little bit easier than the previous one. Things will turn out OK.
Me: Oil is going to decline 3% a year and your state will have 30% less rainfall. Just how is that better?

I think people are going to have a really hard time accepting that things aren't gong to get better and better forever. As Jared Diamond likes to point out, humans are very short-sighted. We think the way it's been for the past few decades or past few centuries is the way it's always been. But the cycles of nature are often much longer than that, and so invisible to us.

Americans expect each generation to do better than their parents. When you really think about it, that's nuts. How can standard of living keep improving forever? Do we even want it to? But that's the way we expect it to be, and if it's not, then something's wrong. Someone's to blame.

I don't think we need an "authority" like Jared Diamond to tell us that humans are shortsighted.

Humans are not shortsighted. Just the opposite.

This is my first comment here, and I beg to differ. I was roused by a tingle to respond because I hold as a religious belief that humans are medium-sighted. Evolutionary biology supports this conclusion.

What do you mean by "medium"?

You must not have ever worked for a major corporation or been in a Quarter End planning session.

Ok, I'll allow ~for argument's sake~ that these people you indicate are actually human.. I guess I owe them that.. but the most you can take away from that is 'Some Humans, in certain environments and cultures can be fantastically Short-Sighted' ...

These threads that build on some universal summary of our species, no matter what direction they point.. well, OK then, yes- it's simply a fine indicator of how SOME people really want to boil things down into extremely simple terms.. ie, 'Short-sighted'

Samsara, I know you to be reasonable, and you didn't in fact tie your example to any universal conclusion. I know some extraordinary people, and their equal-opposites..

'Can our Sages challenge the effects of our Dunces?' (And what range of that Spectrum do I fit into?)

Bob Fiske

I think all humans are pretty short-sighted. What we are disagreeing about, I suspect, is the definition of "short." CEOs who are only looking to the quarterly report is an extreme example.

But I would argue that even looking to the "seventh generation" is short-sighted. That was Diamond's point.

There is some irony in seeing a thread bemoaning the universal "short sightedness" of humans on a board predominated by discussions (by humans!) of the human prospect that routinely range into the 22nd century and beyond.

Really? I don't see it.

It would be more ironic if we looking only to the 4th quarter report and bemoaning the short-sightedness of humans.

And I do not think the 22nd century is really "long-term." Not if you're talking about natural cycles. That was Diamond's point. People move into areas during climate anomalies, live there decades or centuries...and are surprised when it reverts to the norm.

What does any "authority" matter. Does any "sightedness" matter?

We might as well come on out of our collective denial and openly be at war and grab as much control of the resources as we possibly can.

Sock Puppet
Despite all our rage we are still just rats in a cage.

IR: Every generation has it a little bit easier than the previous one. Things will turn out OK.

This pretty much sums up what people in America have thought since the 1950s and for the most part was true. Technology was developing everywhere...science fiction became realized...suburbs were booming...the USA was feeling its oats as a "super power".

Things have now ripened...the USA trys to maintain the status quo of its "brand" yet the product is getting stale and the brand logo and mottos are fading and becoming borish.

We are faced with the first generation coming down the pipe that will not realize improvements from the preceding generations, yet they are educated to expect it.

How will this fly and play out? Pissed of youth is never a good thing for a country.

Dragon: OTOH, the last 25 years have been absolutely incredible for the top 1% (far exceeding the expectations at the time). This might continue for a while as the nation slides into the abyss.

I have a small restaurant (think starbucks only folks walk out with a cup of soup instead of sugar, butterfat, and caffeen) in a university town. 100% debt free and with literally tons of dry goods from which to make my soups, (so far a 12% increase in my investment on the grains and beans and going up everyday). Hat tip to WT.

I talk to lots of young people all the time as I put provocative statements on the front of the cash reg.

I employ several “young people” too.

They all talk about how it is a given that their future is/will be at least as good as their parents. Many of the more confidant ones are certain that their future will be much better than their parents, (too many expect this to occur with half the effort expended than that of previous generations but that is another issue).

There are an awful lot of university students in the world with this same attitude, most of whom are about to receive disappointing news and judging by the rowdy game night violence around here it might not go over smoothly.

Everything in our lives is utterly dependant on GROWTH.

I hear PO folks denying that PO = Anti-growth but I haven’t heard any sane argument as to how that works.

Folsoman – I occasionally strike out on the radical bent when it looks to me that the circumstances might be right for it. So far I am batting a big ZERO but I will keep trying.

Working on a sarconol reduction sauce

Take France.

Peak Oil hits and every town of more than 100,000 population gets two or three tram lines (almost all have one today or plans for one), they adopt German standards of insulation, they recycle used nuke fuel to keep their grid going, and other reasonable measures.

They move to Neighborhood Electric Vehicles and even electric tractors on many farms. The sprawl that has developed in France over the last 20 years is largely abandoned. They trade a variety of goods with the oil exporters to get the little oil that they need.

Their productivity goes up as their population declines slightly (no more emigration, low birth rate).

They take their economic growth in the form of a seventh week of vacation each year :-)

Best Hopes for Sustainable Growth,


No more emigration to the one place on earth that will have it so good after peak oil? That will require a large military effort to maintain.

The French FOREIGN Legion has always done France's dirty work.

It should not be difficult to find recruits post-Peak Oil. Perhaps preference to former Blackwater employees ?


Something clicked in my head in the last couple of days. The Earth's climate has now obviously started going more than a bit crazy. The scientific consensus is in--we're causing it. Our Federal Government's energy policy is dishonest and negligent--criminally so. If our children and grandchildren are to have any kind of a decent life, we have to change course radically--yesterday.

I think what we need to do is get loud and insistent and stay that way. We need millions marching and protesting in Washington (and everywhere else), and giving them hell until it hurts. This can't be a back burner issue any more. The next election has to be about energy and the environment, as well as that stupid ugly war. In fact, that stupid ugly war is part of our energy policy!

Isn't it time to get a little bit radical?

Mark Folsom

One of the big misconceptions is that we're going to somehow stop what is coming. We've tipped the balancing climate rock ... it will tumble ... we're just not sure where its going to land.

The earth has oscillated between 180ppm and 280ppm CO2 for at least the last 650k years and most likely for all of the Pleistocene (1.8M years). This is what is normal for our species. The thumbnail leads to a nice graph showing the relationship between CO2 and ice age cycles.

Ice ages and CO2 concentrations

Now the earth breathes in and out in terms of CO2 due to greater land mass(more plants) in the northern hemisphere which accounts for the annual up and down movement, but we're above 380ppm.


Look at those cycles of ice ages. See the ragged CO2 waves on a nice, slow 100k year cycle from 180ppm to 280ppm. Now we've gone and changed the CO2 concentration 100ppm in 1/400th the time it would normally take the earth to cycle that much CO2 and we moved it outside the normal range.

Even if all humans die of a pandemic between now and the end of the year its already too late. We did it and now we can do nothing but watch it unfold. As the world warms and dries in certain places forests will burn and permafrost peat bogs will decay; CO2 is going higher without any more human inputs.

"This initiative will require cutting CO2 emissions 80% by the year 2050." I saw this one last week and it made me laugh. We need immediate, forceful remediation for all three problems we face and our lawmakers can't bring themselves to craft a solution and dump it on the next Congress, but instead pushes it two generations into the future. Our CO2 emissions will be down 80% by 2050 ... but I believe that will be because our population will be down that much, too.

Things are going to start happening. The comfort, freedom from disease, and rule of the law we used to have here are something we see as "normal", but transport any human from any time in the past to here and now and they'll be astonished, no matter how good their circumstances were in the time and place you found them. You can tell the poor people in America ... because they're fat. Read that sentence again, slowly ... madness, isn't it?

There are many efforts here on TOD to express what things will be like as peak oil comes upon us. I personally think sitting and watching a few episodes of HBO's Deadwood will probably give one a sense of the labor and health care situation we will see going forward.

I'd love to hang around and chat, but its an October day warm enough for kayaking, and I'm off to Virgin Lake!

I see signs of climate and economic changes in my Flickr contacts photos, too ...

"One of the driest Arizona monsoon season ever"


"Just another bad day in a bad year"


Dying of Thirst. Abstract and artsy, but they have drought where she lives ...


There is even a peak oil photo group on Flickr ...


I agree, it is already to late to stop the train wreck. The other physicist I work with also agree.

However we still have our hand on the throttle, and it is wide open. A smart thing to do would be be to stop acceleratingly and hit the brake.

But, that simply will not happen, unless you're willing to outlaw credit cards.

Perhaps it might be a bit more effective to hit the 'brake'. ;o)

Being of the 'glass half full' perspective, I see progress. Not enough, but at least positive signs.

It's very easy to find discussions of what needs to be done about global warming and the supply/demand problem with oil.

We're seeing lots and lots of research, lots and lots of ideas being put to the test. Even the major corporations are starting to move in the direction of reducing and reusing.

Will we move quickly enough to keep all from suffering?

Obviously not. Look at Darfur and look at low lying islands that are feeling the change. Look at the problems that some Alaskan villages are feeling.

But we have started. Perhaps if people put their energy into pushing for faster response rather than wasting energy moaning and groaning things would change more rapidly.

Bob, you are treading very gently around a difficult problem that most people want to reject - triage. That is to say, the sorting of what can be done on a practical basis versus what cannot be done. But before triage can actually begin, those involved have to admit that triage is necessary. Right now the entire world is engaged in a sham trying to tell us that 99.99999% of all human beings can be saved from the effects of climate change. That's not triage and it is not realistic. The entire world is going to have to recognize and then begin to make hard choices and realize that there are consequences to these hard choices that almost certainly cannot be avoided. The only question then becomes who will pay for this and more importantly, who lives versus who dies. As you note, other places in the world are already beginning to suffer from some impacts of climate change even as global warming deniers continue to trumpet their false horns.

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

Coming soon from a climate change denier near you:

"It's too late to stop global warming, we've passed the tipping point. I may as well keep driving my SUV."

Eventually we will be seeing these on SUV's


This is exactly why I don't worry about global warming. There is absolutely nothing realistic we can do about it, so why stress out about it? Why waste your breath arguing whether or not it is real or not? GHG emissions are not going to decrease until the world runs out of oil, gas, and coal. With China building two coal fired electric plants a week, I wouldn't be surprised to see GHG emissions keep increasing for several more decades, well past any tipping point. Personally, am going to avoid purchasing ocean front property, and go on enjoying life as long as that is possible.

That 180-280ppm range was only possible because of the megatons of carbon that were geologically sequestered eons ago. Now we have dug up and burned about half of it, with no signs of stopping. The carbon that was underground is being recycled back into the air, thus creating a different world. Some life can probably survive on this different, new world. Most of what is living now probably will not be able to adapt. As for humans?

This is pretty radical - rains fail in South America and cattle rancher pasture burn has turned into an airport closing smoke cloud covering a third of the continent.

Operational Significant Event Imagery rocks:


Very cool, SCT, thanks for the view.

OSEI just rocks - go dig and you can find sat photos of the steam plume after a meteor hit Greenland a few years back.

Oh, god, did I just say that? Denialists will be blaming Greenland ice sheet melting on unobserved meteors next ...

So, even in Paraguay "they" will not be safe.

There was a Scientific American or Discover article on the long term fate of the Amazon within the last year or two. Basically the consensus is that it is rain forest today but humans will absolutely convert it to savanna in the very near future. I don't recall any specific statements about Paraguay, but its no reach to suggest lots of fires in a world that is warming and drying.

That nebulous "they" will not be safe anywhere if there is any justice in the world. What the Bush administration has done in Iraq is on par with the Nazi treatment of the Jews in WWII and if they succeed in stampeding or tricking We, The People into action against Iran we'll have an even bigger mess than the one authored by Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. One would hope a trip to the Hague is in their future.


Thanks - I'm just catching up a little here. What I meant to refer to in my comment were all the references (on TOD) about people in the US Administration and "others" (was it Halliburton? Or, do they just come to mind whenever...) - buying up property in Paraguay. I'd hunt for the references - but it's a little late for me to post, anyway. So, that's who my "they" referred to...

In terms of the action of this administration, on the strictly intellectual level, it's a puzzlement. For a while I thought the idea of controlling a critical portion of the world's oil supply is one VP Cheney is operating under. Although one wonders whether there's any kind of thinking going on about anything, really.

Isn't it time to get a little bit radical?

The protesters are already out there --in the shopping malls, in the movie theaters, in the restaurants; fighting the good fight against all odds and against reality.

(I think it was blood and guts Winston Churchill who said something like that.)

From Peak Oil Passnotes, link above:

There are other areas of the peak oil debate which are quite frankly, a joke. Assumptions and easy “predictions” about the human race dieing off are pretty nauseating. As if the authors of these tracts are some kind of soothsayers with an ability to predict the future. They would be laughable if they did not generate significant profits for certain people, too lazy to bother working in or understanding the energy industry.

But of course, we are just too damn lazy to understand the energy industry. If we were not so lazy we would figur out that "something" would automatically come along to replace oil, like hydrogen or ethanol.

If we were not so damn lazy we could figure out how the "green revolution" will produce "green fuel" and simply feed off itself like a kind of "green prepetual motion" machine. And don't worry about land, we can just clear all the world's rain forest and plant sugarcane. And don't worry about water, we can just drill deeper and find more water. And don't worry about disappearing species, only humans matter anyway.

Yes, we doomers are not just dumb, we ae damn lazy as well. We should get off our dead asses and figure out how we can continue to let the good times roll as our supply of energy disappears. Damn doomers, like myself, really piss me off sometimes. What a damn joke we are!

Ron Patterson

I'm Sick of You

I was up in the morning with the TV blaring, brush my teeth sittin' watchin' the news
All the beaches were closed, the ocean was a Red Sea but there was no one there to part it in two
There was no fresh salad because there's hypos in the cabbage, Staten Island disappeared at noon
And they say the midwest is in great distress and NASA blew up the moon

The ozone layer has no ozone anymore
and you're gonna leave me for the guy next door
I'm Sick of You, I'm Sick of You

They arrested the Mayor for an illegal favor, sold the Empire State to Japan
And Oliver North married William Secord, and gave birth to a little Teheran
And the Ayatollah bought a nuclear warship, if he dies he wants to go out in style
And there's nothing to eat that don't carry the stink of some human waste dumped in the Nile

Well one thing is certainly true
no one here knows what to do
I'm Sick of You, I'm Sick of You

The radio said there were 400 dead in some small town in Arkansas
Some whacked out trucker drove into a nuclear reactor and killed everybody he saw
Now he's on Morton Downey and he's glowing and shining, doctors say this is a medical advance
They say the bad makes the good and there's something to be learned in every human experience

Well I know one thing that really is true
This here's a zoo and the keeper ain't you
And I'm sick of it, I'm Sick of You

They ordained the Trumps and then he got the mumps and died being treated at Mt. Sinai
And my best friend Bill died from a poison pill some wired doctor prescribed for stress
My arms and legs are shrunk, the food all has lumps
They discovered some animal no one's ever seen
It was an inside trader eating a rubber tire after running over Rudy Giuliani

They say the President's dead but no one can find his head
It's been missing now for weeks
But no one noticed it, he had seemed so fit
and I'm Sick of it

I'm Sick of You, I'm so Sick of You, bye, bye, bye
bye, bye, bye

- Lyrics by Lou Reed

There is a fire starting in the movie theater. A few with sensitive olfactory receptors have caught a whiff of the acrid smoke but have not sounded the alarm. If they sound the alarm too soon they will be crushed in the rush to the exits, the bottleneck, so they pretend that everything is fine as less perceptive continue watching the show and stuffing their faces (bread and circuses.) On the way out the elite stop by the concession stand and with a wink and a nod to the attendant they fill their pockets with ill gotten gain. The misfortunate crowd stares dumbly at the entertainers dancing across the screen unaware that they will soon be engulfed in a maelstrom that will leave most dead and the few survivors scarred for life. There will be an attempt to extinguish the fire when its too late, but it will mostly be symbolic by those who escaped the blaze with their lives and capital. “Sorry, we tried, what a terrible misfortune”, they will say.

Perhaps if you yelled “FIRE” now the Blackwater hired guns would have to escort our devoted leaders to the door with their ill-gotten gain. I’m sure there would be a riot and lots of shooting but the outcome would be little different. Most will get burned, a few will escape.

Instead of sounding the alarm, perhaps you should stand up and start moving towards the exit of your choice. When the alarm finally comes, clear and audible, the doors will be locked and barred by martial law and you will have to stay in your seat and watch the flames destroy your assets while you stew in your own juices.

The infrastructure and complexity of our society is little more than a temporary mirage rising from the heat of fossil fuel combustion.

If you want to feel better now why not go to the movies, but don’t forget your popcorn on the way in and be sure and sit near one of the exits.

Re: Where has all the oil gone? (drumbeat above)

"Factors other than supply and demand are now impacting the price," contends oil-and-gas trader Stephen Schork, who publishes the Schork Report on energy markets. "We now have to factor in how the speculators are going to affect the market, because they have different priorities in managing their portfolios."

Seems another media outlet(can't remember who) recently, was bashing speculators for the oil problems as well.

I can't agree.

First, these people have ALWAYS been part of the FREE MARKET.

Secondly, where does this stop? Blame market falls on Short sellers. "Sorry, we only like long positions" I hear the boots already.

You would think in the US, one would be used to delivering NOTHING for return in value. ie. a service economy.

The storage tanks aren't empty because of speculators, they did not take delivery. Someone did and we BURNED it.

And, no matter the cause, when there isn't enough supply to meet demand...it is a SUPPLY problem.

/end rant.

I was just about to comment on this article as well. It is an interesting read about Cushing, OK. It also shows how the credit crisis has had an effect on the energy market. Investors need cash right now due to credit issues...so they are selling their oil now instead of waiting for the price to go up in the future. It's a liquidity crisis.

Darn...missed my opp to edit.

I shouldn't say we burned everything that is short from Cushing...just figuratively...the stock are at refineries...no one else can store it.

Our stocks are not significantly lower when you look at the storage in refineries. So the viewpoint is only one of OIL AVAILABLE TO TRADE (OATT - just like OOIP :P)

Officially, the U.S. commercial-crude inventory stood at 321.8 million barrels on Sept. 28, but much of it is moving through pipelines or sitting at refineries waiting to be processed, says Barclays Capital analyst Paul Horsnell. While that's a little higher than in some years, it isn't a big surplus. It's only enough to feed refineries for about 21 days.

Refiners have locked up what they could.

Of course, as we have discussed, the more accurate number would be Days Of Supply in excess of Minimum Operating Level (MOL)--which would be 3-4 days of supply.

For all who think the world will quickly crumble as oil production declines, I offer my own story of how I reduced my energy usage substantially, yet still manage quite well. I graduated from college in DEC 2002, and got a job working in Houston, but I was living in Galveston restoring an old home. Making that 110 mile round trip daily in my old ford truck was expensive, even with gasoline a little over $1. By the end of Jan 2003, gas had "spiked" to $1.60, and it came clear to me that my beloved truck was eating way too much of my paycheck. I bought a used Dodge Stratus for $2500, and instantly cut my oil usage by 60% (15 mpg to 36). By early 2004, it was clear to me that I needed to live closer to work. I purchased a new home in Houston for roughly what I sold my home in Galveston for, and cut my commute from 110 miles to 19, an 80% reduction. So within a year and a half, I cut my gasoline usage by over 90%, by changing vehicles and moving. I could cut it even further quite easily by carpooling or buying an even more efficient vehicle. My quality of life has greatly improved, and my new home uses 50% of the electricity and gas of my old home despite being 50% larger.
The point is, that we can survive on less oil, and I beleive we will.

Did by chance the lucky cat who bought your house in Galveston work in Houston??


I beleive he was a Galveston firefighter. But the point is, who honestly could not cut their gasoline usage by 50% or more by changing vehicles, carpooling, or even moving? My guess is over 90% of the US population could. If this is true, why can't the US survive off of 10MMB/D, or even 5? Yes things would be different, and yes oil would be very expensive, but maybe different is ok. I am not arguing that the party can continue indefinately, clearly it can't. But total collapse and mass die off in the next few years? I really doubt it.

Certainly, there is much metaphorical fat to be cut.

Still, there are some considerations:

1. When you "change vehicles", you typically sell your old car. Someone else buys it and drives it. Until it ends up in the salvage yard or crusher, it is still consuming fuel.

2. Carpooling is fine, if anyone in your neighborhood works anywhere near where you work at anywhere near the same times. This is not always the case. You also need to be able to return home at predictable hours, and many people have to work late unpredictably.

3. Moving can be a great solution. However, it implies that your job is remotely stable (many are not), it implies that when you move closer to work, the people who buy your old house are ALSO moving closer to work. If you are moving from a suburb or exurb with little work nearby (and no good-paying jobs that will support the home), there may be no net miles saved.

On a final note, much of the petroleum consumption in the US is not for transportation, so cutting consumption in half will be quite drastic.

You are a dumb ass. 19 miles is a joke. Try a distance that you can walk or ride a bike.

Progress, not perfection :-)

You, on the other hand, come accross as quite an intellect. I am in awe!!

I ride a bike 19 miles to get to work. Not every day - maybe once or twice a week. I can telecommute some too, so in reality I probably could get by driving to the office once a week or so.

As the crow flies, it would be quite a bit shorter (maybe 12), but I would have to contend with traffic. The 19 mile route is on a nice MUP.

As Moneyman implied, you just made yourself look like the fool, not him, and also helped bring the conversation here to a much lower level today. Disagree with him- Fine, but have some pride.


Was doing a few calculations with some figures I found regarding volumes of coal required to generate electricity and compare it with the size of a wind turbine supplying the same amount of power. I welcome people to double check these if they so wish.

2kWh per kilo of coal
850kg per cubic metre

Hence 1 cubic metre gives 1.7MWh (850x2)

A 2MW turbine - 82m blade diameter, 85m tower height 126m total height.

1 years production with capacity factor of 0.3 = 5,200MWh

Volume of coal required to produce this (5200/1.7) = 3058 cubic meters. If this was a 5x5m tower, it would be 122m tall (5x5x122 = 3050) or a cube with 14.5m sides.

Over the turbines 20 year life this equates to a cube with sides of 40m long!

25 year life is a more reasonable, and still probably conservative estimate for a wind turbine.

After the WT has been fully depreciated but still producing power, will be the "golden years" for the owner.

Best Hopes for Profitable Wind Turbines,


While the consumer is used to 25 year 'product cycles' or less, I can't see any reason why the life of a wind turbine should be subject to any particular limit. Once it is within the stress limits that permit infinite cycles, the only limit should be UV and corrosion.

There are lots of old lathes and such that date from a hundred years or more that still function perfectly just like old Roman bridges. If we let the accountants - the next group to have pariah status - tell the engineers where to shave the costs to fit the mortgage amortization, then we'll never get the job done.

If we don't think long term this time, we won't have a long time. Market oriented private capital hasn't managed to get its collective head around such concepts yet, but it will have to if it wants a future. Nothing has promoted socialism as reliably as the few but daunting failures of the free market capitalist system; the many and no less daunting failures of socialism may also be just as much a challenge.

Socialism has usually produced goods poorly to last and capitalism has produced them well to fall apart. Eventually all sustainable energy systems will have to bootstrap their own replacement and service inputs; two thirds as much output over three times as long is certainly more profitable if one lives that long. Presumably the State will if we do not.

Having inherited the remains of a shortsighted system, we can at least begin on a logical and farsighted replacement. So, how long should a wind turbine be designed to last? Why not 200 years? Well? I pose the question.

I don't know either but assuming there are gears and bearings they will wear out. They require maintenance as would the turbine, do they have brushes or have brush-less technology.............
Where does the present life span of 20-25 years come from? Is it from experience?
Could improved manufacturing technology improve the lifespan and at what cost?
What about the grid, is it permanent, how much maintenance is required there?
How long would we expect things like The Golden Gate bridge to last without maintenance or the turbines in the Hoover Dam?
A 20-25 year life without overhaul would seem reasonable to me.
Nothing, absolutely nothing is permanent

It is best to dig the well before you are thirsty.

Air turbulence is the largest single factor in wind turbine life. Smooth, fast, even air is best. Frequent gusts and terrain that generates chaotic swirls of air are the worst.

I am several years behind the times on blade life and would appreciate more recent data. It used to be about a dozen years (two sets/WT was the rule of thumb). The gearbox is the life limiting factor for most WTs. Repalce that, replace the whole assembly.

Towers and electrical feeders (if a comparable new WT replaces the old one) should last at least two WTs (40 top 50 years)/

For hydroelectric turbines and generators, maintenance "varies". Clean water usually means major maintenance every half century or so; but that can be pushed out to 70 and 80 years (North Korea and Albania have some old equipment running today :-)

Railroads are installing new track that has a 40 to 50 year life expectancy "in many cases". Some will last over a century (The new Greenbush commuter rail line that should open "soon" uses first class rail & ties & ballast, and except MAYBE for the switches, it should last well over a century with light pax trains).

The infrastructure of the new Swiss rail tunnels is designed for a century of very heavy use.

Best Hopes for Long Lived Infrastructure,


I'd be inclined to think that a well designed tower could go on pretty indefinitely. Concrete lasts a long time if you make it right and steel in old bridges above the salt line is good for a few centuries.

Gearboxes are certainly a limiting factor. I'm not quite sure what is in a modern WT, but my guess is a right angle gearbox and a vertical shaft with the generator at the bottom. The generator could be brushless or not, but alternators are so easy to service that it isn't a problem, plus they can last more or less indefinitely. Quite why the generator couldn't be at the top and directly driven seems odd, but weight and windage could be a limiter.

Right angle gearboxes are simple but rather problematic. No doubt there are clever lads working on this at the moment; my point was the economic tradeoff point of cost versus longevity that currently makes my 1962 Sunbeam toaster no longer 'economic' to make because the one to profit is me rather than the company. When it comes to energy we are all the consumer.

At Niagara Falls there is an old turbine from 189? that has a lignum vitae [hardwood] bearing that is still going. So I am told anyway. They aren't generating with it anymore, but it still spins. Sometimes old 'inefficient' machinery can have an open ended lifespan if it is serviced regularly. The inefficiency is that some accountant didn't have it run at 98% to maximize profits for the shareholder; or it didn't make enough power to hurt itself. I love that type of relaxed, run forever stuff. Immortality via the machine.

I'm reading a book by Alan Weisman titled "The World Without Us".
It's very interesting reading regarding man made constructions.
I have learned a lot, dams and bridges are particularly vulnerable without constant maintenance.
Without pumps and maintenance the NY Subway would be unusable within 2 weeks.
ALL our major constructions require constant maintenance, including roads, power stations and buildings.
Does anybody know what sort of maintenance is carried out on large windmill towers and turbines?

It is best to dig the well before you are thirsty.

Dams are vulnerable ?

One in China is still in use after 3,000 years. The Hoover Dam will persist as a large block of concrete for a million years IMHO.


Just Google "dam collapses" for a start.....and bridges.

Dams silt up that's why hydro becomes less productive.

A dam is an event in the life of a river. Without dredging and other maintenance, the reservoir will silt up, the river will overflow the dam and cut new channels. If a hundred year flood won't do it, a 10,000 year flood will (or an ice age). Eventually the dam itself will be broken up and returned to sand. In a million years the Hoover dam will be a layer of sediment stretching downstream.

In the short run humanity can do enormous damage. In the long term, we will be just another failed species in the fossil record.

Wind power is destined to be high maintenance way of generating electricity- after all these are intensely complicated machines operating in an unpredictable, constantly changing situation.

In New Zealand, about half of all wind turbines in one project failed while still under warranty. The wind is very strong and gusty in NZ, and it is my guess that the gearboxes simply got overwhelmed. From a submission on another project:

"The submitter notes that the proposed life time of these projects is supposed to be in the order of the 20-25 years. He observes that the Te Apiti project has a five year warranty on the windmills, but that there are already significant maintenance problems after only two years. The submitter has noted that of the 55 turbines, there are generally 5-9 turbines inoperative at any one time. He understands that many of these are gearbox problems, which corresponds with what appears to be black oil stains on the heads of the towers, but that there are also problems with blade delamination and thrust plates."

A trial turbine installed in the capital city, Wellington, has had numerous faults over the 15 or so years it has been installed: virtually the entire mechanism has been replaced, as detailed here: http://kirbymtn.blogspot.com/2005/11/wind-turbines-require-high-maintena...

These are not low maintenance machines, and a 25 year life is probably all you can expect from the gearboxes and other moving parts.

As the pattern becomes more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough.

The issue of maintenance is all relative. The amount of maintenance required to keep a large coal-fired power plant running is hardly trivial or inexpensive either.

The examples you cited appear to be for projects that are already several years old. As with any new technology, one learns hard lessons by things that go wrong and then tries to correct them in subsequent designs. One would hope that as more and more operating experience is accumulated, many of these bugs can be worked out. Early automobiles couldn't go more than a few thousand miles without major overall, but now it's quite easy to get well over 100,000 miles out of a modern car with a minimum of maintenance.

Even if bearings or entire gearboxes need to be replaced periodically, the frequency and cost of doing so should become more and more predictable. It should also be kept in mind that while a large modern wind turbine has some mechanical complexity, it is still several orders of magnitude simpler than a large coal-fired power plant.

While designing reliable low-maintenance wind turbines requires a good deal of care and know-how, it is hardly rocket science.

There is no argument that coal power stations require heavy maintenance.
The fact IS that windmills are very maintenance intensive.
Your comparison of old and new vehicles does not fit for comparison.
New vehicles travel on better roads, have better fuel, oil, spark plugs, air cleaners, tyres and cooling.
They are in comparison very technical and require very energy intensive engineering and manufacturing.
New vehicle maintenance is critical and expensive. If a computer or battery fails you are dead in the water.
In the ensuing new world we will certainly not be able to expect more technology, expense and energy intensive manufacturing to solve any problems.
Simplicity will be the order of the day.

I've seen the pictures of wind turbines on the ocean, maintenance would require certain specialist equipment I would say.
My intuition tells me that far too much faith is being placed in wind.
Read this........

It is best to dig the well before you are thirsty.

I suspect you are correct. Cyclic loading fatigue alone means nothing lasts forever. Especially if aluminum is involved.

I wonder if we'll have bio-fueled helicopters to maintain those humongous wind turbines?

A photo I took of a 20-year-old wind farm on the Big Island of Hawaii:

Standard equipment is an internal ladder inside the tower to get up "the hard way". Takes a fair amount of time and bio-fueled energy to get up that way with tools (unless a set are left up there permanently) so a helo works better today if the winds are calm.


The hard way, indeed. The turbine in the picture is 400 feet high.

A simple one man elevator (using wire or nylon ropes) could be fitted inside the tube in helo access becomes too expensive. Once a year checks make helos more economic today I suspect.


Especially when the turbines are offshore.

Boat access (in calm weather) still works.


Not as easily, though. Especially if one of those turbine blades has to be replaced.

Just to put my 2 cents in:

There are wind generators from the 1930's still being used today.
Specifically the Jacobs Electric wind generator.


IMHO the idea of wind generated electricity should not be judged based on the clueless activities of government and corporate bureaucrats.

I remember touring one of the first grid tied industrial wind turbines in Pennsylvania during the 1970's. The idiots had the turbine BELOW the tree tops and couldn't figure out why it didn't work.

Whether it is a wind turbines or cars, there are good designs, and there are bad manufactures. Just as the existence of the Yugo does not mean all cars are junk, a poor installation of a bad wind generator doesn't mean wind power should be abandoned.

During the last boom/bust cycle in alternate energy, every fool with a machine shop was turning out wind turbines, and most of them were junk. I'm seeing the same thing today on a large scale, as fly by night companies come into existence to sell wind turbines.

Which isn't to say that a homebuilt unit is a bad thing. Consider the following link:


PS: Don't miss the Hamster-Powered Night Light.

I am not anti-wind. At the very least, it seems have less potential for harm than nuclear.

But I am not convinced it's a long-term solution. No other human society has managed to maintain a level of technology anywhere near as high as ours on wind and solar power alone. Why should we be different?

My take on the future is that we will end up like Cuba after the soviet collapse, hungry but still in existence as a country.

In general the alternate energy crowd use wind for lights and refrigeration, not plasma TV's and air conditioning. So in that sense it is not a "happy motoring" solution. But it may keep us from having to use candles for lighting.

I think we may end up like Cuba...but not forever. It will one brief step on the way down.

Down to the early 1900's.

I've done some living history reenactment for that era. It wasn't to bad (although I got to come home at the end of the day).

The big hurdles are knowledge, farm animals and population redistribution.

We need to get people back on the farm and using horses/mules again.

I have not found a single complete source for all that specialized knowledge of the people in that era. So much was never written down. I have developed quite a library about the subject, but for a successful transition you need a single "bible" for returning to the land. An that bible needs to be available in large cheap volumes.

I have been grilling my dad about life when he was a kid. No book has come close to having someone who has actually done all this available. I wish I had the financial resoursed to move back home, buy some land and have him show me how to live.

Down to the early 1900's.

Possibly much lower than that. Because we no longer have the resources that existed in the early 1900s, but we do have a population three or four times larger.

How easily people ignore population as a resource.

We are now much better equipped to exploit resources like wind and solar power. Previous societies were limited by a lack of imagination, knowledge, mathematics, and technology in general. They never developed steam turbines or bicycles, let alone electricity and computers.

We are also capable of much greater efficiency than previous societies, either on the large or small scale. Either a railroad or a bicycle is much more efficient than an ox cart, a horse, or walking. For communication, even a spark gap radio is more efficient than a relay of horses.

We may not be as wealthy as we are now, but the renewable power available to us is a vast improvement even to the vast forests of slowly renewable trees that pre-oil generations had available to them. Hydroelectric power alone gives us as much work as a billion horses, 24 hours per day [some fudging here].

We are now much better equipped to exploit resources like wind and solar power. Previous societies were limited by a lack of imagination, knowledge, mathematics, and technology in general.

I think that's extreme hubris. Our technology is courtesy of fossil fuels, and I see no reason to believe we will be able to maintain it long-term without the buried sunshine inputs.

We know, from studying past societies, that it is possible to "lose" knowledge and technology. The Easter Islanders can't build statues any more. The Egyptians can't build pyramids. The descendants of the Inca can no longer read the quipu, the descendants of the Maya can't read the old hieroglyphs. I'm sure, at the height of their empires, they, too, thought they had imagination, knowledge, and technology that others did not, and could not imagine one day losing it.

We are also capable of much greater efficiency than previous societies, either on the large or small scale.

I don't see efficiency as a good thing. As Homer-Dixon points out, it makes us more vulnerable, not less.

Oh, we won't be able to maintain all of our technology. I won't be surprised if air travel and private transportation are restricted to the military and the elites.

But I think it silly to think that we will lose the bicycle, the gun, the electric motor and generator, the diesel engine, or the germ theory of disease. Some of our technology is a genie that can't be put back in the bottle. These ideas are ideas that can't reasonably be "unthunk".

We may lose proprietary things (I like to hope that Microsoft Windows will go the way of the dodo), but much of what is important is public domain, copied over and over in an excess of barely read undergraduate textbooks.

So you're partially right. Some things will be lost. However, I think that anything non-proprietary has a decent chance to survive. Perhaps not the Intel Dual Core [tm], but maybe the microchip, and at least the transistor.

Even if only a small percentage of a city's population can understand the technology, thats still a vast horde of people. Lots of people understand electronics, machining, and basic chemistry, and even an event that killed off 99% of the population wouldn't kill them all.

Worst case, we run steam engines and bakeries powered by concentrated sunlight, reflected off of arrays of CDs. This will leave us in a much better position compared to a hypothetical medieval society with the same natural resources as we have.

[sorry, too tired to comment fully on efficiency, but waste doesn't seem like a good thing. redundancy = good, waste = bad, only using what you need, and needing less = good. Stretching to limits of resources = bad ]

Wind turbines are an emerging technology. IMHO, it will not be a semi-mature technology until the WTs of today are scrapped and their successors are designed with lessons learned as well a couple of decades of as yet undiscovered innovations.

Jet engines have been "practical" for over 60 years, yet significant innovations are still appearing.

Solar is also still emerging.

Societies have operated advanced technology off of 100% (or 99%) renewable energy, hydroelectric power.

IMO, hydroelectric and rail are mature technologies. Any new advances are minor and make little difference in the basic economics and applicability of either technology.

Wait till 2050 and see where wind turbines are then !

Best Hopes,


The only thing that will change in the future is their size and simplicity.
They will be smaller and easier to handle.
What in the future could possible make windmills more efficient apart from more wind?
They have had a hundred years to develop turbines and propellers.
Diesel locomotives use their engines to drive turbines and have for many decades, the order of improvement in them is mainly due to computers..............more complexity.
You have to start thinking simplicity but all everyone seems to do is think that technology will save the day.
There will be less technology, we will slowly slip into a simpler way of life able only to manage easy to maintain apparatus.
Old wind generators are like my fathers axe, new handle and head.
You seem to think that an army of people will all of a sudden manufacture and erect millions of wind generators as soon as they understand the need.
Ask yourself who is going to pay for them? Where will they be built? How will they be transported? Who is going to build the grid connections?
How many a day are manufactured now?
What order of scale can production be ramped up, what new factories will need to be built?
What other industries will be sacrificed while all energies are placed in wind generator manufacture, transport and erection?
Don't allow yourself to think we can revert to a world war two scenario. The USA was a far, far different place then.
For a start there was a lot less people and they were fitter.
A lot less suburbia.
A lot less guns and different ideals.
There was a lot more fuel and a seemingly a life or death cause to struggle for.
To allow windmill construction on a massive scale, government intervention will be needed.........it won't happen, they will be too busy maintaining what they have, not constructing more to defend.
Maybe we need a war right now, maybe that will get the windmills constructed. Who the hell will look after them I have no idea.............maybe the slaves.

It is best to dig the well before you are thirsty.

...almost a kilometre beneath that dip in the road is something that could change the way we use wind power. If all goes to plan, it could allow the world's most appealing renewable energy source to compete head-to-head with fossil fuels as a way of generating electricity.

AMU plans to transform a sandstone aquifer beneath Route 44 into a giant battery for storing energy from the wind. At night, when wind turbines produce power nobody needs, the electricity will be used to compress air and pump it into the aquifer, creating a huge pressurised bubble. During the day, when demand for power rises, the compressed air will be piped backed to the surface where its energy will be converted into electricity

If the project comes to fruition it will be a world first, capable of delivering some 268 megawatts of electricity for 16 hours each day. That's enough energy to satisfy the needs of about 75,000 homes. The technology aims to tackle the big complaint that wind energy always faces: the wind doesn't necessarily blow when you want it to. With compressed air storage, it will be possible to store power from Iowa's growing wind generation capacity and then turn it on and off like water from a reservoir, available to customers when needed - and when they are prepared to pay the highest price for it. A power source that the energy industry has till now viewed as fickle will become firm and reliable...

$ubscription required

also in the 29 Sept 2007 issue

They're doing this in places in Iowa, too - turns wind into something one could argue is dispatchable.

There are some alternative turbine designs where they have a big sail type structure and all of the generation is done in a unit at the base - the loads are static rather than dynamic except for the easily replaced turbine on the ground, and the same turbine can be fed with the pressurized air as the one used to pump it in the first place, reducing duplication of the expensive bits. I believe they're more material intensive than the tower style, but I've been using the Google and I can't find a link for them.

This one did come up, however - interesting, eh?


Alan please note that wind turbines are subject to considerable strain. After 25 years, key components will have weakened significantly. I'm thinking especially about the blades. These components will have to be replaced or the power rating of the turbine reduced.

Btw. Der Spiegel had an article about the consequences of substandard components in the wind industry.

As an aside, the Norwegian military had to ground their C-130 planes this year. The planes had been operated with load-restrictions for the last years of their 38-year lifespan. Similarly many cranes on platforms in the North Sea, were originally licenced for up to for example 50 tons of load. Now they are in a condition which would normally mean they would be declared unsafe for operation. But because they are essential to continued oil extraction, they get dispensations to continue operation with reduced load limits.

OMGlikeWTF -

Your calculations appear to be correct, and the assumptions upon which they are based look reasonable. However, I am not sure what your point is. Are you trying to say that a 2 MW wind turbine replaces a great deal of coal over its operating life, or not very much?

Don't forget that a 2 MW wind turbine would be just a single unit in a wind farm consisting of perhaps over one hundred such turbines. In which case, the amount of coal displaced over your assumed 20-year operating life would be some 305,800 cubic meters, or a cube 67 meters on a side.

The thing that you are perhaps overlooking is that the equivalent amount of coal you calculated would NOT be the amount of coal that would have to be consumed by a coal-fired power plant to produce an equivalent amount of power. The reason is that a coal-fired power plant has a thermal efficiency of roughly 35%, so you would actully need to burn roughly three times the amount of coal, or about 900,000 cubic meters.

I don't know about you, but in my book that is a LOT of coal, as well as a lot of equivalent carbon dioxide loading on the atmosphere.

As with solar energy, wind power requires a large amount of manufactured items to be initially put in place and therefore requires a very large initial capital investment relative to fossil fuel-fired generating systems. However, once that is done, the fuel supply is virtually free. So, it becomes an exercise in balancing capital investment against projected direct operating costs.

OMG, Joule;
I'm not really that convinced with the basic assumptions in the analysis. Comparing the Amount of Material in a Consumed item like Coal against the equipment in a Wind Turbine? I know you have to look for something by which to compare these sources, but there are too many other components not mentioned, much less are the so-called 'externalities' getting ANY play in this evaluation. It thoroughly plays into the 'increase shareholder value' blinders of evaluating systems.

Equipment- Coal Mining, Transportation, Processing, Storage and finally Power Generating Equipment, plus the Energy and Labor costs that are involved.. and of course there are similar manufacturing, installation and maintenance components to wind, but I don't believe they would be a wash against each other. Doesn't sound likely, anyway.

Externalities- Land Impact, Wildlife Impact, Water Impact, Air Quality Impact .. Omitting those factors may appear to be an attempt to level the playing field to 'neutral aspects' of the two technologies, but it is of course almost the whole point for going with wind versus coal. How can an analysis leave that set of niggling details out of the discussion?

Finally, there is the economic 'negative' (since they are COSTS) in the maintenance and parts-replacements, R&D, etc.. for Wind; the allegedly 'Clean' source, which can be counted as a social ~Positive~ too, in that there are jobs and industries that will be supported by this apparently sustainable and world-healthy energy supply.. and it would only be fair to understand that this is a vital element in choosing our energy path as well.

Bob Fiske

Well, OMG's original calculation was just to determine how much coal would had to have been consumed in a coal-fired power plant to produce the same amount of power that a 2 MW wind turbine would produce over an assumed 20-year operating life .... nothing more.

If you want to take the calculation to the second, third, or nth level, then things get way more complicated and subject to all sorts of arguable assumptions and value judgements.

The gulf-times story about switching away from dollars got my curiosity up. So I went to yahoo's currency converter to see if Saudi Arabia really was keeping their currency pegged to the dollars.

Not even a little!


So I looked up the other big oil exports and looked at their currencies.

Everyone had already heard about Canada:

But Kuwait and Russia also show dramatic declines for the dollar.



Mexico is a little different story, but declining exports and a civil war are worse than a mortgage crisis.


Looks like a dollar is only going to be good for paying off your mortgage and paying the IRS.

The graph looks impressive but it indicates a change in value of less than 1% so far. If you go back to the 5 year view there are larger fluctuations but KSA then would dampen them until their currency returned to its targeted "peg" to the dollar. What you've shown for KSA is the beginnings of a trend but we'd need to see several percent more change and a longer duration for it to mean anything other than noise at this point.

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


you don't need a new 'gadget'. Presumably, you have a computer where you can maintain your music library. And you probably also have a cell phone. If you bought yours within the last two years, it probably plays digital audio files. Best yet, if it has a microSD card slot you can EASILY keep your travel music selections on a card and play them through your phone.

But, if you insist on getting a new plastic make-me-feel-good-about-myself toy, then you'll probably need something to carry it in, in which case may I suggest a Louis Vuiton manbag? You'll look very stylish and be telling everyone that you prefer American Idol to Link TV.

All in jest, of course....but seriously...

top link for Brown takes you to Gore in Mexico story

Thanks. Should be fixed now.

SuperG has given us an early Christmas present. He fixed the problem with "new" flags being nuked when you post to a thread.

It should be live now. Let us know if there are any problems.

A question I posed on the media thread:

The net export decline volume (for the ELM) is not absolutely constant, but it is relatively constant, at least for the ELM, leading to an increase in the net export decline rate--from -13%/year for year one of the decline to -65%/year for year eight.

I do have a question. A reservoir showing an exponential decline rate declines at a constant rate per year. A reservoir showing a hyperbolic decline rate shows a slowly falling decline rate, resulting in a flattening decline curve.

An article on exponential versus hyperbolic:

So, what do you call something showing an accelerating decline rate? I've been calling it an accelerating exponential decline. Any other ideas?

BTW, when I did a Google Search for Accelerating Exponential Decline Rates, the first two listings were two of my articles on Net Oil Exports.

linear ?

The Oligarchs Go on Safari
Russians take their place alongside the Chinese in a battle for resources to fuel their growing empires.

By Owen Matthews
Newsweek International

Oct. 15, 2007 issue - Late on a Friday night at the Simba Saloon in downtown Nairobi, music by the Kenyan pop sensation the Boomba Clan is playing, and the ties are coming off. At the bar, banker types in expensive suits swap news of the latest bank IPOs and mineral concessions, the must-have gossip in Africa's biggest boomtown. Some of the conversations are in English. Some are in Chinese. And increasingly, many of them are in Russian, as Moscow begins to give both the West and Beijing a run for their money in the race for Africa's riches.

Today's argument for why our freedoms will not last long in a Peak Oil crisis:


McDonalds Get Served $6.1 Million Settlement

CHICAGO (AFP) - A US jury awarded 6.1 million dollars Friday to a McDonald's employee who was strip searched in a hoax that had been played on dozens of fast food restaurants across the country, local media reported.

McDonalds Employee

A female assistant manager told Ogborn to strip when she got a call from a man pretending to be a police officer who said Ogborn was accused of stealing a purse and could either be searched at the store or arrested and searched in jail.

Over the course of nearly four hours she was spanked and sexually humiliated at the direction of a man who called himself "Officer Scott" while she cried in the office of the restaurant. Her clothes and car keys were taken away from her.

The trickster had already duped supervisors in at least 68 different fast food restaurants in 32 states over nearly 10 years, the paper reported.

McDonald's was already defending itself against four lawsuits after 17 of its restaurants had been hit. While owners and operators of some McDonald's franchises had been warned, most employees had not heard a thing about it.

The assistant manager who directed the search, Donna Summers, was convicted of unlawfully detaining Ogborn.

Summers also joined in the suit -- saying she was the victim of McDonald's negligence to warn of the hoax -- and was awarded 1.1 million dollars.

Lawyers for McDonald's had argued that those involved in the hoax had failed to apply common sense and had violated company rules.

A Florida prison guard was acquitted last year on charges of orchestrating the hoax on Ogborn.


So the fake police authority cowed the corporate stooge, and the corporate stooge cowed the hapless, timid employee, all along the principles of the Stanford Prison Experiment and Stanley Milgram, and right there in shiny plastic suburbia they did four hours of Abu Ghraib thinking that it was all reasonable.

And the little Hitler did it 68 times from the comfort of home. Karl Rove is sitting at his phone right now saying "This is too easy."

Arizona troubles

Boom, bust in area beset by foreclosures


"They could fight to save their house. But what was the point? It's worth at least $40,000 less than they paid. They can rent in this depressed market for a fraction of their monthly payment."

I read that too. more arm chair quarter backing about this from http://thehousingbubbleblog.com/?p=3530#comments.
plenty of comments! Enjoy!

Interesting read!

The suburbs are dead, they just don't realize it.

“‘No one expected such a downturn in the market and a lot of people are stuck holding the bag,’ Reiss said. ‘You can’t blame Realtors. Everyone has a right to make money.’”

I read that and got some weird deja vu; Ayn Rand is now writing on the housing bubble?

Amazing article. Interesting what they peg as the trigger for the collapse:

Meanwhile, problems began to snowball. High gas prices prompted people to rethink the idea of owning a home on the outskirts. Investors rushed to sell.