The Distant Sound Of Drumming

The Oil Drum Australia / New Zealand will be launching in the next week or two.

Co-editor Phil Hart from ASPO Australia will be editing reader submitted articles and hopefully contributing some articles of his own in the not too distant future.

I'll be doing a fairly regular (hopefully daily) antipodean equivalent of Leanan's Drumbeat posts, focusing on energy news from Australia, New Zealand and the nearby region.

For those who are aware of it, my regular home at Peak Energy will still remain active, and will continue to see a lot of material that veers far away from the core topics that I'll concentrate on here (ie. I won't be cross-posting between the 2 sites except on those rare occasions that I write material of my own as opposed to summarising the day's news).

If you've got an article that you'd like to post (or relevant links that you think are appropriate for the daily Drumbeat) please get in touch...

Hi Big Gav,

Congratulations and best wishes on your launch.

WOOOHOOO! I'm ready & roarin' fer action.

Sounds excellent,

Look forward to this.


Look forward to the launch!

Maybe other Australian governments, especially national, will follow Queensland and produce their own reports on oil vulnerability.

Here is a link to Queensland's report

Queensland's vulnerability to rising oil prices - taskforce report

The report's executive summary "concludes that the overwhelming evidence is that world oil production will peak within the next 10 years" and "recommends that a prudent risk mitigation approach requires a mix of initiatives such as reduction in consumption of liquid fossil fuels, encouraging the development and use of alternative fuels, technologies and strategies, and preparation for demographic and regional changes, as Queenslanders change travel, work and living habits in response to rising fuel prices".

It is a concern that oil prices are already tracking the report's worst case scenario, described by the High Oil Price Scenario on page 29 - "Prices rise from an average of $US54/barrel in 2005, to $US110-115 by 2050" Prices could reach $US110/barrel by end of 2008.

To create more awareness of peak oil, which is urgently needed, the following was stated on page 155 of the report

It should be noted that in February 2005 the International Energy Agency recommended in its report “Saving Oil in a Hurry” that member nations, of which Australia is one, commence public awareness campaigns to promote dramatic reductions in petroleum usage immediately.

A public awareness program along the lines of Water Wise, Clean Up Australia, or anti-smoking or drink driving campaigns, may be necessary to both explain rising energy costs and to garner support for the action necessary to address the problem.

New South Wales, in Australia, already has an awareness program called Energy Smart which could be modified to consider oil vulnerability impacts. The current mission statement is - "Energy Smart programs can help you save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving energy at home and at work". The scope of Energy Smart could be extended to include all activities that use energy, not just those at the home and at work, but also those for transportation. The focus could also change so that the reduction of greenhouse gases is treated on an equal basis with the reduction of energy consumption.

This Energy Smart modification in scope and focus could be applied to Energy Smart programs already existing in other countries and states

South Dakota
Western Australia

Just realised that there is already a program called TravelSmart which could be changed slightly to place a greater focus on reducing energy consumption. The current benefits are the following from Western Australia's TravelSmart website (note that reduced energy consumption is not included)

For the community and individuals:
Reduced greenhouse gases
Less traffic, noise and pollution in local streets
Improved health from physical activity (cycling and walking - including to and from the bus stop or train station)
Improved personal security (with more people on the streets walking and cycling)
Savings in car running costs
Fewer road incidents

For the Government:
Increased public transport patronage and improved public transport cost recovery
Traffic levels reduced, resulting in less pressure to upgrade roads
Reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from less car use

Other Australian TravelSmart sites

Thanks for the roundup Ace.

Another relevant article about Australian oil reserves and peak oil is this article from ASPO USA's Dave Cohen - "Peak Oil Down Under" :

Plus this one from Phil on the Australian Senate Report into Australia's future oil supply :

WHT once did a peak natural gas model for NZ, but I'm not aware of a peak oil equivalent off the top of my head (perhaps someone at ASPO NZ has one handy) :

Hello Big Gav & Phil Hart,

Congrats to TOD/DownUnder--I be looking forward to it! I hope that your forum will closely monitor, then report any new developments in Antarctica too.

Recall my highly speculative prediction that significant quantities of the Ross Ice Shelf will bust up, as per the Larsen Ice Shelf did a couple of years ago, in under 5 years or less. I could be wildly wrong, or terribly correct, but if it makes people pause to think of the resulting ramifications, then modify their FF-consumptive behavior enough to just help the Ross hold back the seaward frozen flood for a few more years--so much the better!

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

Thanks Bob - good idea - we'll keep watch on Antarctica too.

I've got a few friends who have over-wintered down there (one a number of times) - I'll see if I can convince them to provide some background as the icesheets melt...

The wheat harvest must be getting underway now.

Last year's was 9.8 million tons.

As this year was worse, I'm expecting maybe 7.

Australia needs 5 million tons for domestic consumption.

Here's the latest I have on US/Global wheat ending stocks.

It's based on 13.5 million tons of Ozzie Harvest.

(37 bu = ton for conversion)

Please inform me/us of any updates on the Big Dry as well as

Thank you.


Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Onya Big Gav


Well done team. I look forward to adding TOD Australia to my list of compulsory Peak Oil sites, and hopefully contributing.

One aesthetic comment - the mustard yellow theme is not bad, and evocative of golden beaches and even wattle, however a lusty red ochre might be appropriate as well, although perhaps too close to TOD Central. Apart from being the dominant colour we have, it might also accurately reflect the long drought we are enduring (and I acknowledge that "wide brown" might be a tad depressing)!

Excellent! Will be ready and willing to send in news articles from NZ as they crop up!

Please do - I'm not in the habit of scanning the NZ press each day, so if anyone wants to post NZ related links in the comments (or send them to me via email for inclusion in the day's summary) I'd be appreciative.

Oddly enough there have been a few Peak Oil articles in the MSM here - particularly the Listener (national mag) which has touched on it a number of times and done it as the cover story recently... that would be one to keep an eye on.

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

Hi all

Looking forward to the local Drum...

Been lurking for 2 - 3 years.

Based in Auckland.

Am very interested in the economic aspects of peak oil.

Probably classed as a slow crash predicter, not a doomer.

All views are welcome - I'm probably the only resident techno-utopian in the peak oil world, so I'll be glad to see some non-doomer commentary from time to time :-)

Very happy to have our own site.

Of note, my doomerosity has gone off the scale after the NZ government "terror" arrests of Maori and environmental activists. NZ has bad weather, bad wages, inferior and decaying infrastructure, housing bubble and finance troubles, drug gangs, an overstressed health system and all the other troubles of 3rd tier "developed" counties. (Greece, Portugal, Turkey)

The one great virtue of NZ was some semblance of freedom and democracy remained. Now, not so much. With Parliament going into the second reading of a new terror act, looks like Aotearoa is just going to be another US/UK style prison. Pre-crime, thought-crime and high taxes too, hooray!

Great - Peak Energy is already daily reading.

Surely we must downscale to cope with energy descent... but must we abandon decent colour schemes along the way? :P

Alternative colour scheme suggestions are welcome - we picked gold for Oz and black for NZ if you'd like an explanation for the current choice...

TOD spreading like a rash, I see...

G'day to you Gav from Pommieland, and congratulations. The colour scheme looks suspiciously like a rugby shirt!

I would be interested to see posts on the development of solar electric in Australia. You've certainly got the flat desert for it and it seems a natural for Oz, better than wind power. After all, the sun comes up every day but the wind doesn't always blow.

This from :

In the Sahara desert, with less cloud cover and a better solar angle, one can obtain closer to 8.3 kWh/m²/day. The unpopulated area of the Sahara desert is over 9 million km², which if covered with solar panels would provide 630 terawatts total power. The Earth's current energy consumption rate is around 13.5 TW at any given moment (including oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric).

Australia could be shipping terawatts of electricity as far as China using high voltage DC power lines. The opportunity is vast. Will it happen? Ha! Instead we are going down because the politicians don't know how to change a light bulb.

Comments about rugby are forbidden until we start winning again (which may be a long time the way things are looking at the moment). Cricket is OK.

I'm very big on solar thermal power (and HVDC) in Australia - its a shame the present government isn't. A couple of old examples from my regular haunt :

Ideally the whole planet will eventually be hooked up as per the old GENI (global energy grid) idea, with CSP{ doing the heavy lifting from the most optimal regions (off the top of my head, South west USA, North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Northern Chile ?, Angola ?, Central west Australia and somewhere in Asia I won't even guess at - see a global solar intensity map to get the idea). Then augment with other renewables also picking the sweet spots - wind, wave and geothermal mainly.

Tonight we just had the TV debate between Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition leader Kevin Rudd. Not a mention of Peak Oil. Yet Peak Oil will kick Australia's economy in the guts - mining, tourism, broad acre farming and transport. We need to start investing in a Solar-Electric near future.

The CSIRO (Australia's scientific body) said 15 years ago that give them a decade and the funding and they could put the full national grid on solar - including overnight baseload power. The solar-thermal argued for here. Sadly some of our best solar energy scientists have left for California and Germany of all places has far overtaken this nation's previous lead in solar.

Howard has been in the pocket of the coal industry and a close buddy of Bush. Rudd spoke softly of solar tonight but he did say significantly more than Howard, the problem is appearing too radical to Australia's 55% conservative constituency - you'd think with the crippling drought the penny would drop... At least he mentioned Australia's "green car" - hybrid - once.

The hope is Labor win and Garrett the former rock star and environmental activist as Environment Minister enacts a policy for the Solar-Electric future we need before high petrol prices sink our economy.

Yes - personally I'll be glad to see the back of Howard and co - they've been worse than useless as far as ensuring our energy future and with contributing to mitgating global warming.

That said, I'm not overly enthusiastic about big party politics - I'm hoping that Labor win but the minor parties (Democrats and Greens) and independents gain the balance of power in the Senate, which might make for an energy policy more focused on renewables and efficiency.

Welcome, Big Gav!

We are The Oil Drum.  Independence is counterproductive.  You will be assimilated.

Well - I'm not totally assimilated - Peak Energy will keep its own unique mix of news and commentary going - stuff I wouldn't want the rest of TOD to be held accountable for anyway :-)

But its fun to be on board - this thread has more comments than PE got over the past month I think...

Welcome aboard...TOD's roots are spreading further and further...will you guys be covering more news from Asia as well?

Yes - maybe not every day but I'll be looking for Indonesian and PNG stories regularly at the very least - maybe stretching as far afield as India and China. we now have the entire world covered? Wait, we need a TOD:Russia/Eastern Europe and TOD:South America....

Hello Dragonfly41,

Good TOD suggestions! Anytime I run into a bilingual American-Mexican that I can Peakoil Outreach: I ask them to please start a TOD:MEX in Espanol. I sure would like to reach out somehow to those unfortunate multi-millions south of me, so that they can get a grasp of Peak Everything to reduce being whipsawed between the US & Mex govts. Such is life, but I keep trying.

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

Congratulations Big Gav! I've enjoyed Peak Energy Australia for a long while now, ever since I first saw it in TOD's blogroll. I hope you won't be too restrictive about cross-posting, because even if some of your posts aren't 100% written by you, a lot of them are still tremendous feats of research and good reference resources, and quite a few are of direct interest to TOD readers.

Well - I don't want to tire people out with my endless stream of cleantech related news, notes from the political fringes and conspiracy theories, so I'll leave them where they are.

I will post links to the better ones in the Drumbeat posts and I've got a couple of longer articles in the pipeline which will get cross-posted and which will hopefully spark a little debate :-)

I gather from what Heading Out said in his report from the ASPO conference in Houston that Jim Kunstler had “noted that the meeting was dominated by males, and had a bias toward bean counting”. I have nothing against either males or bean counting. But I agree with JHK that we need more females and to consider approaches other than bean counting. One way to start might be for TOD (ANZ) to look at the issues raised by Adrienne Langman in her new book, “Choosing Eden” (Random House Australia). This autobiographical book describes one Australian family’s awakening to the Peak Oil phenomenon and chronicles their reactions and responses.

The author includes a summary of the evidence for peak oil and then goes on to describe the Langman’s move from Sydney’s business world to a permaculture farm in the hinterland behind Coff’s Harbour, NSW. For me the really important contribution of this book is its consideration, in detail, of the psychological and emotional aspects of taking PO seriously. (I haven’t seen this covered as well anywhere else on TOD.) Adrienne describes the fears, the doubts, the worries, as well as the joys and challenges of taking PO seriously and actually doing something about it.

I frequently see comments on TOD about the difficulty in persuading partners, relatives and friends about the threat that PO poses. “Choosing Eden” is just the book to hand those who are sceptical. Its personal, almost novelistic, approach will speak to those who are less convinced by bean-counting arguments about EROEI, depletion rates, HL curves etc. I am going to recommend it to my friends and children. (I checked Amazon but unfortunately could not find it listed there. Which is a pity. Although it is set in Australia it would resonate equally well with audiences in London, England, as well as London Ontario; in Hastings, New Zealand as well as in Hastings, Nebraska.)

I know that Adrienne is a TOD reader (she lists it as resource in her book) so if she reads this maybe she could contact Big Gav or Phil and arrange to write a post on coming to terms psychologically with PO.

I am not asking that TOD (ANZ) ignore the bean counting: just that we acknowledge that after we have gathered the evidence we, individually as well as collectively, need to plan, decide and to act--- and that involves values and emotions.

I am glad that this new branch of TOD covers both Kiwis and Aussies. Let’s hope that the camaraderie that stood us in such good stead at Gallipoli will continue to inspire us to work together on the problems of the future.

I gather from what Heading Out said in his report from the ASPO conference in Houston that Jim Kunstler had “noted that the meeting was dominated by males, and had a bias toward bean counting”. I have nothing against either males or bean counting. But I agree with JHK that we need more females and to consider approaches other than bean counting.

There are more females here than you might think :)

Welcome TOD:ANZ!

Yep. I'm sure that there are more females here than I am aware of.

Although the use of pseudonyms on this website makes it difficult to identify gender, your contributions and those of Leanan and Gail The Actuary (and numerous others) have that special something, that female "connectedness-with-day-to-day-reality" that distinguish them from most (but not all) of the male contributions.

Tasman makes an important point. It is going to be the case that Peak Oil is going to hit whether you believe Peak Oil or not.

Few of us would doubt that in both this wide brown land and in the land of the long white cloud, the next few years will be be a time of change for some but unsettling for many.

Many of us are caught up in trying to advise family and friends when even we are not sure.

What do we say to partners, children grandchildren for many of us, even parents.

I would hope that one of the more important threads in this ANZ venture takes in the human dimension.

Choosing Eden - When you think about it - its a tough call

Congrats and welcome Big Gav. The Oil Drum has always been a lively place for investigation and debate. Lets hope this regional franchise can be just as dynamic. Transport is indeed a key issue for this sector, and the Solar Car Race is currently underway from Darwin to Adelaide. This year, for the first time, the cars are restricted to a maximum speed of 130 kph:

re: The colour scheme, I am in favor of the current arrangement with black and gold. Perhaps the dominant colour can be aligned to whomever holds the Bledisloe.

Heh. Re: the Bledisloe, wonderful idea.

Yes, when we were thinking about colors, it all came down to flag colors (yawn, and already taken) or rugby colors!

I also thought about having the guys alternate sound files between the Haka and Waltzing Matilda upon entering the site, but that might have been a bit much, eh?

Big Gav-

Congratulations on the new venue! I hope this will help provide not only a much needed regional focus but also let some of the smart-grid and viridian themes spill over from your Peak Energy blog.

Congratulations, Big Gav and TOD: Australia/NZ !

You folks have always been a hotbed of peak oil activism -- and with a unique sense of humor.

I hope some of the permaculture people read the site and can contribute.

I'm looking forward especially to the essays on TOD:Australia.

Something you might consider is DrumBeats with a theme - collections of articles around a topic like Coal or Urban Design. TOD:Canada has been separating their Round-Ups into Energy/Environment vs Economics. There are so many articles coming out, that it's one way to bring order into chaos. Also, I think themed headlines have a longer shelf-life.

Energy Bulletin

One small suggestion - I wouldn't call your new posts Drumbeats because that may cause confusion. Having your own identity is better IMO. I was thinking of Calgary rodeos and ranching (plus a tribute to a long-departed and much missed CBC Radio program) when I came up with the Round-Up. Is there something uniquely ANZ-related that has the connotation of gathering or rhythm? The name of some rhythmic rugby chant perhaps?

Good point Stoneleigh - I'll try and come up with a different name for them (suggestions anyone ?).

Bart - I agree with your comments about grouped / themed posts - my main concern with this is balancing posting links while they are fresh versus having enough related articles to group them (especially on a geographically focused blog). I'll see what I can do though.

We have the same problem with freshness versus grouping at TOD:C. Sometimes articles are older than we'd like when we put them up, depending on how many things there are to post on a particular topic and how much time we have to put posts together. These things are far more time-consuming than you might think (12 hours on average for a typical Round-Up of about 7000 words, and we try to do 4 per week, although we don't always manage it).

I wouldn't suggest trying to divide them too finely by topic, or you'll definitely end up either with articles being too old, or with very short news posts. I haven't found it makes sense for us to divide them any more finely than Energy&Environment and Finance, with Finance being global in scope and E&E having more specifically Canadian content (although the environmental component is global). Quite a lot of time goes into ordering articles in such as way as to convey an overall picture - setting peak oil in context.

Formatting matters for readership, and so does posting a link in the Drumbeat on TOD:Main with a short description of the news covered. If you don't do that, people generally won't seek out what you have and your efforts won't be noticed as much as you might like, especially in the early days. Broadening your scope to include Asia would probably be a good idea, as you'll attract a much broader-based readership that way.

I'll try and come up with a different name for them (suggestions anyone?).

The Pulse? The Walkabout?

Not bad.

I also thought of The Bush Telegraph (perhaps a bit too Oz-centric) and The Bullroarer (works on both islands).

I'll see what Phil thinks - further feedback from all is welcome...

Stoneleigh has suggested Walkabout as a name for our version of Drumbeat. A variation on that might be Talkabout.

Another thought. During the First World War Australian and New Zealand soldiers in the Middle East gathered around the famous Furphy water carts (shaped a bit like a large oil drum) to exchange information and gossip (for more details see ). Maybe we could call our open thread “The Furphy” ?

Another place for exchanging news is RoundtheKeg. Though perhaps that’s too close to Canada’s Round-Up. “The Campfire” is also a place for sharing info.

The Muster!

How about "The Barbeque Stopper"? :-)

The site should be great - I'll be there!

Walkabout is good but it reminds me of a certain pub. Bullroarer, Coroboree and the Furphy Index all sound good to me too.

I must admit, Walkabout always makes me think of London pubs too (I even went to one in Nottingham once for that matter).

If all the readers were loud and drunk it might be accurate...

Congratulations Gav.

BTW, did you see Kohler show the peak oil graph on ABC TV news on Wednesday night?

No - I hadn't noticed - thanks for pointing it out.

I guess you can't get a more credible person talking about the subject from an economics point of view down here...

Perhaps Kohler has been talking to Michael Pascoe?

Here's a snapshot of Kohler in front of the peak oil graph. I believe Kohler's nightly financial report is shown on the 7pm news bulletin in every state.

hi folks,

Great to see the enthusiasm already.

I'm currently in Tassie on what is supposed to be a holiday, but also presenting on peak oil in Hobart and Launceston at a couple of forums. Big Gav is getting us off to great start - hopefully I'll have more to contribute in the next few weeks once i'm back home.

look forward to lots of your input, not just of comments but also articles of any length and on a variety of topics. i'm also very keen to explore the psychological aspects of peak oil which Tasman was talking about.


Now that Bob Hirsh has let the cat out of the bag and there is a relationship between the economy and Peak Oil, we can take the conversation further by getting in experts to explain how the Market Economy will cope with a declining economy on the range between 3 and 7% pa.

TOD has the reputation to bring in well known and knowledgable people and if it can be shown that Governments must intervenne then we may just get Governments to become proactive.

PS. I only say we headed back to Olduvai, as it is not in the best interests of the powerful elites to have Governments back in the Planning business.

Sharing the road back to Olduvai