DrumBeat: October 20, 2007

New Theory Predicts Location Of Oil And Gas Reserves

Earlier it was assumed that the formation of oil and gas was related to temperature. The new discovery is that temperature decides where most of the lighter oil and gas is trapped in the reservoirs.

...The fact that oil and gas coexist within the same temperature zone is a new discovery and a surprise. Gas is formed at higher temperatures than oil. Consequently it has been a standard rule that there should be more gas than oil the deeper one drilled into the reservoir. The reason why this is not the case is covered by the new theory which predicts that both oil and gas escape through fissures formed at 120 C.

The Globalization of Hunger

At first, the numbers don't seem to add up. The world produces more food than ever—enough to feed twice the global population. Yet, more people than ever suffer from hunger; and their numbers are rising. Today, 854 million people, most of them women and girls, are chronically hungry, up from 800 million in 1996. Another paradox: the majority of the world's hungry people live in rural areas, where nearly all food is grown.

Oil A Familiar Risk To Economy, Even At $100

Crude oil futures have set their sights on the $100 mark, raising concerns that the inexorable rise of energy prices will do significant damage to an economy already struggling with a prolonged housing slump.

But a look back in history should provide worriers with some comfort: not only is the economy far more energy efficient than it used to be, but also the inflation-fighting credibility of the Federal Reserve since the days of Paul Volcker should help keep the ultimate cost to the economy under control.

Global Sourcing: Is It Really Worth It?

"Is global sourcing really worth it?"

For a variety of reasons, executives at many companies are reconsidering whether or not they should be buying products from international sources. Companies are facing higher than expected costs of materials and labor, a declining U.S. dollar and rising fuel prices, while some are experiencing the persistent quality issues that we continue to read about in today's headlines.

G7 MEETING: Buba's Weber says oil price rise not likely to continue

Bundesbank president Axel Weber said he does not expect the latest rise in oil prices to continue.

'The latest swings in prices should not be regarded as permanent,' said Weber on the sidelines of the G7 finance ministers' and central bankers' meeting here.

Is $90 Oil Good for Greentech?

Oil-price highs have spurred interest in alternative-energy technologies. But could these new spikes be bad for business?

FACTBOX: Why oil prices are at a record high

While previous price spikes have been triggered by supply disruptions, demand from top consumers the United States and China is a main driver of the current rally.

UAE consumers in shock as oil hits $90 a barrel

"It's surprising, the market has its own mind," Kate Dourian, editor of energy information service provider Platts Middle East, told Gulf News.

"It looks like the demand projections were not in tune to the market reality; 500,000 barrel increase by Opec members have not filtered in to the market yet."

The news comes to the UAE consumers at a difficult time when they are faced with additional costs on house rents, school fees, higher prices of essentials - especially those imported from Europe and India.

UAE: Do you see the tank half full?

It isn't really a big deal that I have to pay in cash for petrol as stations won't accept credit cards any more. I have been doing so anyway since they decided to pass bank charges on credit cards to their poor customers last month. Even though the 1.65 per cent seemed pretty insignificant, it was the principle: I wouldn't be paying their bank fees even in return for convenience.

So far my only concern has been to remember to carry enough cash when the car won't make it to the next ATM on the road.

But reactions of many people to the petrol stations' recent announcement seem different and indicate more worries, which may be consistent with how they have been managing transportation costs.

Tokyo taxi fares to surpass ¥700 line to cope with surging oil prices

The government announced Friday a 7.2 percent hike in Tokyo taxi fares from Dec. 3, increasing the upper limit of the drop fare for the first 2 km from ¥660 to ¥710, to improve drivers' working conditions and help taxi firms cope with surging fuel prices.

Lebanon to allow price of oil to float if market rises further

The Lebanese government cannot afford to subsidize the prices of oil and its derivatives if these rates exceed the local official threshold, Acting Energy Minister Mohammad Safadi said on Friday. "We are not making any revenues from the sale of gasoline and oil after the prices in the international markets reached [record] high levels," Safadi told The Daily Star.

Thailand: Time to scrap price controls, says FTI

The Commerce Ministry should scrap its price controls in order to allow goods prices to rise in line with actual costs, according to Santi Vilassakdanont, the chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

He said skyrocketing fuel prices were pushing up production costs in the overall industrial sector, especially for those that use petrochemical products such as the plastics and automotive industries.

Tanzania: Subsidized fertilizer for Southern regions

“Instead of distributing subsidized fertilizer in all parts of the country, we will give priority to the southern highlands regions since it is mostly used in those areas”, he said.

Mr Lowassa was reacting to grievance raised by a resident of the area that the farm input had become very expensive and inaccessible.

Mr Lowassa explained that the prices of fertilizers had gone up worldwide due to increased demand of the product by wealthy countries like US.

He said that America was using the product in cultivating maize and cassava not for consumption but for making alternative energy (organic fuel).

Government money short to help poor pay heating bills

About 30 million low-income American households who will need help paying heating bills this winter from a U.S. government program will be left in the cold because of a lack of funding for the program.

The poor, already digging deep to pay for expensive gasoline, also will face much higher heating fuel costs, especially if oil prices stay near record levels.

Amazon rainforest fires "worst" in memory

Scientists are concerned that continued burning in the Amazon could cause the world's largest rainforest to tip towards large-scale ecosystem change, whereby tropical forest is replaced by savanna.

"The threat of a 'permanent El Niño' is therefore to be taken very seriously," said Dr. Philip M. Fearnside of the National Institute for Research in the Amazon (INPA) in an interview with mongabay.com last year. "Disintegration of the Amazon forest, with release of the carbon stocks in the biomass and soil, would be a significant factor in pushing us into a runaway greenhouse."

Dancing the Brazilian Samba: Ending Our Oil Dependence

The first bitter fact is that in the-not-too-distant future (some analysts put it at between 40 and 60 years; that is, if not in our lifetime, certainly in our children’s), all the world’s oil reserves would run dry. There’ll be no more oil left to meet the needs of a demanding world. And before that, in the approach to the end, when reserves would have started to dwindle, it is apparent that only the very big and powerful nations would have the wherewithal to get supplies. It is only when Sierra leoneans accept this reality that we will start realizing the urgency of looking for alternative energy sources.

Top 10 most fuel-efficient luxury SUVs

All of the most fuel-efficient sport utility vehicles forsake their truck roots for car-like qualities that not only improve fuel economy, but make for a better ride on the road. A lot of people, from automotive analysts to manufacturers to marketers, are pretty excited about the growth prospects of this new breed of SUV called the “crossover.”

Brazil plans to search for oil in remote Amazon, raising environmental concerns

Plans to search for oil and natural gas in Brazil's remote western Amazon have raised concerns that one of the last untouched areas of the world's largest wilderness will be spoiled.

The National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, plans to invest $36 million to look for oil and gas in Acre, an Amazon state bordering Bolivia, the government news agency Agencia Brasil said Saturday.

Big Tractor, Green Hypocrisy

So too, a tractor that burns only a gallon of fuel per acre, ethanol or regular, while steaming along tearing up the earth at the rate of a football field every two minutes, isn’t telling the whole story. How much fuel was used mining and smelting and refining the steel used in that 570 hp behemoth? How much fuel used turning the steel into machined parts? How much fuel used transporting workers to and from the mines and the factories? How much fuel needed to heat the factories? To transport the tractor to its ultimate buyer? To transport the executives and advertisers on their worldwide rounds to publicize a heap of iron big enough to rip up a football field in two minutes? And don’t forget to add in the airplane fuel used to fly them to meetings where they mostly play golf.

Get ready for still-higher energy costs

NEW YORK - Jim Ammons grumbles to himself every time he fills up his Ford Expedition, but he says gas prices would have to almost quadruple to $10 a gallon before he'd ditch his SUV.

Still, paying $55 to fill his 20 gallon tank isn't easy for the information specialist.

"This right here is catastrophic for a lot of families," Ammons, 54, said this week at a Houston Chevron station that was charging $2.65 a gallon for regular unleaded. "A lot of them have to choose: Do I buy food, do I send my kids to school or do I fill up my tank."

The End of Big Politics

As award-winning environmental journalist Ross Gelbspan explained in his book Boiling Point, "[Emissions trading] assumes that nature will accommodate our economic system. It will not. There is no way that a market-based system can accomplish a global transition to clean energy." But this isn't just one journalist saying so. Anyone who has heard NASA climatologist James Hansen's prediction that there is only a 10-year window to prevent cataclysmic climate change -- and you would have to assume Gore has heard the message because he based most of An Inconvenient Truth on the man's research -- must understand that nothing short of ending our fossil fuel dependence will have an effect. Yet, when Gore testified before Congress this past March, he touted the same cap-and-trade system.

Is energy solution beneath our feet?

THE nightmare of digging coal underground, suffered by generations of Welsh colliers, could soon be a thing of the past with Wales tipped to benefit from a new mining technology.

Experts claim underground coal gasification could create tens of thousands of jobs across Britain, particularly in coal-rich places like Wales.

Energy Management Holds Promise During Peak Usage

IN THE QUEST FOR alternative energy, ethanol is harvesting rewards and solar is having its day in the sun, but less light has been shed on an already viable solution to part of the nation's energy needs: "virtual power plants."

North American infrastructure deficit rapidly growing

On the one hand, established cities are grappling with aging infrastructure, while younger, faster growing cities have infrastructure that is aging as well as demand for new infrastructure that will help them compete as emerging centres.

In addition, Chamley believes climate change is beginning to add to the burden.

The Phillipines: New company to build Cebu power plant

Salcon Power Corp. and Kepco Philippines Corp. have formed a special purpose company that will construct and operate the 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Colon, Naga, Cebu.

Synthetic fuels offer energy hope

It is easy to see we could achieve oil independence for the United States in about 10 years if we push the production of synfuel, making it a sort of Manhattan Project. This is a good thing, but let us look beyond this worthy goal to an even greater long-term strategic security issue.

The Philippines: Fuel prices go up for 5th time in 5 weeks

As world oil prices hit a record $90 a barrel, local oil firms on Saturday jacked up pump prices of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene by 50 centavos a liter and liquefied petroleum gas prices by 56 centavos a kilogram, inclusive of the 12-percent value-added tax.

Thailand: Diesel prices set to rise again

Sources said oil traders in Thailand are being forced to raise their prices by at least 40 satang per litre next week as they could no longer suffer losses. Most oil dealers wanted to increase prices but could not in the past because PTT, Thailand's largest fuel trader, maintained its prices, forcing other dealers to follow suit.

Dominican Republic: Record world oil price sends Dominican fuel prices soaring

Local fears that fuel prices would go through the ceiling as a result of the record international market price of US$90 per barrel came true last night when the Ministry of Industry and Commerce raised the price of premium gas by RD$8.60 per gallon and RD$7.90 per gallon in the case of regular gasoline. Diesel is up by RD$7.30 and LPG (propane) by 56 cents.

Rising food prices put restaurants in a pickle

Owners of local eateries are being battered by surging expenses, and they have few options: whisk the difference onto customers — making them blanch — or find a way to slice and dice other costs.

Record Matson 26% fuel surcharge to hit clients

Matson Navigation Co., the state's largest ocean shipper, is raising its fuel surcharge to a record 26 percent, a move bound to have an effect on Hawaii's already high consumer prices.

Winglets could mean fuel savings, study finds

The Air Force could reap some fuel-cost savings by adding winglets — vertical wing-tip additions — to mobility and tanker aircraft, according to a recent study.

Rising fuel prices, coupled with the high operations tempo for Air Force airlifters, have made Congress eager to find ways for the Air Force to save on fuel.

Helium Demand Ballooning

An international helium shortage, warned about for years, has become more evident recently, industry experts said, as rising global demands for the lighter-than-air, nonflammable gas mean short supplies for low-priority, consumer-level uses.

Hundreds say World Bank needs an oil change

More than 200 organisations from 56 countries are calling on the World Bank and other international financial institutions to end subsidies to the oil industry. In a statement released today, the groups refer to ‘oil aid’ as one of the most glaring barriers to fighting climate change and addressing energy access in developing countries.

The meltdown of Greenland's way of life

Studies show that Greenland is undergoing a rapid meltdown, one with severe consequences for global sea-level rise and the 56,000 people who live on the world's largest island. Scientists report that glaciers draining the ice cap are picking up speed, while Arctic sea ice shrank this summer to its smallest extent on record, defying computer models that suggested such changes would not occur for decades.

"Arctic sea ice looks like it's reached the tipping point," said Robert Bindschadler, a polar ice expert at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The suddenness of these changes we've seen in the Arctic over the past five years have really startled us, and we've been struggling to understand what is going on."

G7 MEETING France's Lagarde says G7 wants OPEC to increase output

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the G7 would like OPEC oil producing countries to increase output to meet rising demand.

'We can only reiterate what the International Energy Agency said when it suggested a significant increase in output,' Lagarde said at a news conference at the end of the G7 meeting here.

Reserves, know-how key to next oil round

Foreign companies wishing to take part in Algeria's next oil and gas exploration licensing round must offer access to reserves and technology to qualify, Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said.

The stipulation about reserves, a novel requirement for firms competing in an exploration tender in Algeria, is in line with the Opec member country's ambition to boost its growing international upstream role.

Crude Price to Rise Until Early 2008, Algeria Oil Minister Says

Crude oil prices, which reached $90 a barrel in New York for the first time yesterday, are likely to rise until early 2008, Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said.

Chevron Supports Peaceful Resolution in Myanmar

Chevron supports the calls for a peaceful resolution to the current situation in Myanmar in a manner that respects the human rights of the people of Myanmar.

Texas town lures industry, at a cost

PORT ARTHUR, Texas - There is a quiet battle for the future of this industrial town, one of America's most polluted places.

Investigation continues into gas leak alert at refinery

INVESTIGATIONS were continuing today after a gas leak at one of Hampshire's biggest industrial sites resulted in thousands of residents being told to stay indoors.

Refinery leaking propane

A 20-million gallon propane storage pit at the Valero refinery near Delaware City has been leaking continuously since at least 2004, state regulators said Friday.

Environmental officials said they have not determined the size of the leaks, which have not been stopped. But officials are concerned that huge amounts of the volatile gas may have been released over time.

Shell Gas Plant In Nigeria Shut Again After 2nd Fire In Week

The second pipeline fire in a week has forced the closing of the Utorogu Gas Plant operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company in southern Nigeria, one day after the plant reopened, the company said.

Tank catches fire at Anacortes refinery

Just after noon today, a the tank holding some 2.4 million gallons of diesel caught fire at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes.

Why China Can Withstand $90 a Barrel Oil - And Higher

The rest of the world is wincing as crude oil prices surge past $90 a barrel, yet China - the world's second-largest oil consumer - appears set to continue sucking up oil at ever higher prices.

What's it got that the rest haven't?

Experts say the country's not entirely immune but that a timely combination of extremely robust finances, strong political incentive to uphold costly fuel subsidies, and less exposure to world oil price fluctuations than many realize is what's keeping Chinese oil demand seemingly insatiable.

$90 pb crude not good enough

The caretaker oil minister and managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Gholam-Hossein Nozari, noted that, in terms of purchasing power, today's 90-dollars-a-barrel oil is not stronger than the crude prices of $47 barrel in 2002.

Real Reasons for $88 a Barrel

The finger-pointing at unrest here and a worker strike there is just avoidance of the fact that oil is far more expensive than market fundamentals can support. (I do credit the analysts who are finally saying this, if not getting to the root of it.)

So what is this upward race about?

Start with speculative trading.

PopTech: The World's Problems, as a Tag Cloud

What is the biggest phenomenon today that will drive change tomorrow? The climate? Peak oil? Nuclear terrorism? Gay-marryin' spotted owls? It's just a tiny question that Chris Luebkeman -- Director for Global Foresight and Innovation at the London-based engineering and design firm Arup -- would like to ask.

The voting booth is open for the next month. The tag cloud, like those uncanny Magic 8 balls, tells all.

Larry Hagman is a peak oiler: A storied life

In September, you and Ted Turner were keynote speakers at Solar Power 2007. I read that you own one of the largest personal solar installations in California, one that generates more electricity than you use in your home. Is your interest in solar energy business or environmentalism or both?

It may be the largest solar installation (of its kind) in the world. My interest is survival. Not that I'm going to live that long - I'm 76 years old. People just don't seem to realize that the end of oil is right next door. In about 15 years, you'll have to make a decision to eat or run the air conditioning. It will come to that. In 2004-2005, I paid $37,000 in electricity for my farm, and in '05 to '06, I paid $13. Initially, it cost $750,000 to put in, but the electric company paid me $310,000. So, it will pay for itself in five or six years. (Then, Hagman recommended reading the book “The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil,” by James Howard Kunstler.

Bolivia Aims to Double Gas Output but Private Spending Uncertain

Bolivia wants to double its natural gas output in five years, its hydrocarbons minister said Friday.

Yet, it is still unclear where the necessary investment in new exploration and production to meet that goal would come from.

Heating Up: The Energy Debate, October 2 and 3, 2007

The 43rd annual Nobel Conference, “Heating Up: The Energy Debate,” which drew more than 6,000 people to Gustavus Adolphus College Oct. 2-3, is now available online in audio and video format. The conference’s seven lectures, which discussed an array of issues including global warming, climate change, peak oil, biofuels, and greenhouse gas emissions can be viewed by going online to www.gustavus.edu/nobelconference.
Ken Deffeyes and Jim Hansen were among the speakers.

Peak Oil Passnotes: $100, Here We Come!

Who would have thought it? Oil at $9 per barrel. You could never have imagined the price would fall so low.

But just nine years ago in 1998, that is exactly where oil was: $9 per barrel. It is now trading at around 10 times that amount, and all bets are off as to where it will end up. We have had two quarters of draw-downs in stockpiles in the U.S. and around the globe. What is worse, there are no signs of any builds in crude stocks for the next four to five months. That is what the market is betting on, at least.

Global Oil Output Has Already Peaked, Pickens Says

World oil output has already peaked, and prices that have surged to record highs above $90 a barrel are a sign of things to come, said investor Boone Pickens, chairman of Dallas-based BP Capital LLC.

Global production has peaked at 85 million barrels a day, Pickens, 79, said in an interview today at a Houston conference sponsored by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, a non-profit think tank. Oil will rise to $100 a barrel before falling to $80 again, he said. Earlier this week, he said crude would reach $100 by year's end.

Dollar woes take sting off Euro oil pain

While Americans gape wide-eyed as oil passes $90 a barrel, countries with stronger currencies haven't felt the same sticker shock: the rapidly falling dollar has provided a de facto discount.

Or it did. That was until oil's 30 percent surge since late August eroded what small benefit holders of euros, British pounds, Indian rupees and other currencies enjoyed from the dollar's decline over the same period.

Bitter Harvest for Small Farms: Legal Troubles Mount as Local Producers Buck Food Safety Rules

The growing defiance from small farmers illustrates their increasing frustration with rules that they say penalize them and favor industrial producers, who were the source of headline-grabbing disease outbreaks such as the E.coli-infected spinach that killed three people last year and last month's recall of 21.7 million pounds of E.coli-infected ground beef.

Oceans are 'soaking up less CO2'

Results of their 10-year study in the North Atlantic show CO2 uptake halved between the mid-90s and 2000 to 2005.

Scientists believe global warming might get worse if the oceans soak up less of the greenhouse gas.

Researchers said the findings, published in a paper for the Journal of Geophysical Research, were surprising and worrying because there were grounds for believing that, in time, the ocean might become saturated with our emissions.

Samsung has developed LED backlit LCD displays. Most LCDs are backlit with fluorescents. Not only do they apparently look better (10000:1 contrast ratio), but they're much more efficient than typical LCDs. I was really amazed to read that a 15.4 inch display would require a mere 2 (two!) watts to display. According to this article by monitor maker Viewsonic a typical 17" LCD uses 35 watts and a typical 17" CRT (the bulky kind of monitor) uses 70. Since there are hundreds of millions of computers world wide used in most kinds of work as well as recreation (not to mention TVs), this kind of efficiency improvement could really help conservation efforts. Also, LEDs last longer than fluorescents, increasing display lifetime, reducing waste, and lessening the frequency of having to create new products.


Pair a 2 watt display with a 5 watt computer and a lot of draw is subtracted from the grid.

My old (recently retired) desktop with LCD monitor pulled about 135 watts. My new laptop pulls about 15.

Just think what energy savings can be realized by getting all the 24/7 energy hogs turned off.

Someone with an older desktop and a CRT monitor is likely to notice a nice drop in their electric bill.


Five watt (3-5 watt) computers very capable of web/email/word processing/spreadsheets. Not powerful enough for advanced gaming, 3D rendering type jobs.


I see your 3-5 watt word processor and raise you a Newton 2100.

57 mA. At 6 volts.

Negroponte laptops with wireless and pedal generators for everybody. Then raise electricity and gasoline prices 1000%. You wanna see fast adaptation?

if as good as claimed there is one little hitch you forgot. well two technically.

1. no one will turn off their older computers or even replace them the second this comes on the market. other then the dumb first adopters of course.

2. if as good as you claim they will be more widely adopted then current models and by sheer numbers consume more juice then current models.

You've forgotten that most programmers of user apps are not in the habit of writing code for small, low power devices.

i could of said the same thing on the dual core article on yesterdays drumbeat.

and that small power x86 cheap a few weeks ago, the 5 watt one. was made so that the programmers do not have to write new code.

If Chinese demand is decoupled from price influences it is not good news for available exports for the rest of the world. It also appears that the chinese understand that if they can shift demand for their products from export customers to internal customers they can also greatly decouple their economy from the risk of a global recession. This is similar to the history of industrialisation in America and it is likely that the Chinese understand this. If they can make their internal market more important than exports then a global recession might actually help their economy by reducing raw material and energy costs. However this will eventually lead to a negative trade balance (like you know who) and sometime down the road lead to the situation that the USA is in today. This, if it happened, would be well beyond my lifetime and of course is unlikely to happen in this nice text book way. In the short term it might mean that commodity and energy prices will remain higher than we might expect in the face of a global recession and, if the world economy holds together for some time yet, will sharpen the oil supply shortfall.
I wish we could afford the life we are living.

Yeah, Leanan's lead article sounds like a way for China to win by losing. The current game is for the Chinese government to exchange dollars from Chinese companies for more yuan, which creates an inflation threat. But if oil products are intentionally sold at a loss, the Chinese government can get rid of dollars, while keeping down the amount of yuan in the economy.

There's got to be a catch here besides the environmental mess it's causing. Maybe China will keep the gas cheap but introduce a ration. I'm far less likely to riot if you tell me I get to have 20 gallons for 10 bucks. That in turn incentivizes small cars and hybrids, which is good industrial policy. But it's deadly for pure electrics.

China is in the catbird seat. USA politicians are focused on getting the Yuan revalued upward. The Yuan will strengthen, on China's schedule and terms. Obviously, what USA politicians are pushing for is cheaper oil for China as the Yuan strengthens. I read a surprising stat the other day (unverified)- the claim is that only 20% of Chinese exports are going to the USA currently.

They are lining their oil supplies up quite nicely.


Musahi: Interesting article. It almost reads like George Bush is a double agent, spending the last 7 years dreaming up ways to cripple the USA.

When China was opened to the West by Nixon, who was CIA director?

Prior to 911, when the Chinese forced down our spy plane, what happened and why?

George Bush is for the global elite and not America. Wall Steets goal - cheap oil to meet cheap labor and the CEOs reap the profit.

Trust no one from the East Coast! No Juliani or Clinton.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

"And, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos and order - order out of chaos. But we will."

The last several days I've been mulling over a related idea. We often talk about PO as if TPTB are ignoring it. What if they understand it well and the actions of the last six years have been their response? Maybe their idea has been to impoverish the lower 80% of the population as it will be easier to maintain a small, rich population than a large not-so-rich population. Maybe I'm just over-thinking this.

We often talk about PO as if TPTB are ignoring it. What if they understand it well and the actions of the last six years have been their response?

There may not be "TPTB" - in the sense of all working together. In any ones life, there are many 'Powers' that exist and much of what they do is not what you'd consider helpful.

Tax law, the money system and social norms give a 'direction' to "the powers" (and in some cases, advantages that make one ponder about quid-quo-pros)

"We" can only guess.

I have tho't about this possibility, too. I suspect TPTB realize how dire the situation actually is (remember, Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings and the fact he refuses to make the info public). It does go a long way in explaining many of the actions for the last six years. I'm always slightly stunned when I see the George W. Bush quote from 2001 stating clearing what the people have to understand is we are running out of oil. He told us simply and clearly. Unfortunately, the public doesn't begin to believe this fact or understand the consequences.

From my time in the Orient, it seems to me the Chinese have never been particularly concerned with the environment.

I sailed down the Yangtze from Chongching to the Three Gorges Dam as it was filling up. I took this picture of a town that was about to be submerged. Try to imagine the amount of industrial toxins that were submerged along the length of the river.

Doesn't look they had building codes either!

2 years ago, IIRC, they were having trouble with floating garbage building up at the back of the dam, and the couple of specialized boats they built in anticipation for this had ALREADY broken down and were not repaired.

Foolishly guided mega project...again.

I have travelled China quite a bit. And have told my friends that China (if the news ever gets to the free world) will be the location of the largest CANCER CLUSTER EVER in the next 5-10-20 years.

I find it odd that the overhead wires in that picture had not been cut down for salvage.  Very odd.

I was thinking the same thing...probably a lot of salvageable material that seems to be being left behind.

Long time lurker here. I am in Denver for the APICS International conference (represents supply chain professionals from all industries). Recently added to the seminar lineup is "Peak Oil - The Impact on Global Supply Chains". Not sure who the speaker is, but glad to see Peak Oil being discussed at this level.

The logistics types seem very open to peak oil. There are a couple of supply-chain industry journals that feature stories on peak oil quite often.

Speaking of logistics...I've noticed that when I accidently post a comment now (without first refreshing the page), the New tags aren't getting nuked. Has a solution been found?

Yup. :-)

I did announce it on one DrumBeat. SuperG fixed it. Now it doesn't nuke the new flags unless the entire thread is loaded.

(However, clicking "without comments" will still nuke all the "new" flags.)

Awesome. Thanks SuperG!

(If I want to read an article and not the comments at the time I log out and then open it...no comment nuking)

I'll bet you could have dedicated an entire congratulations thread to the occasion!

I'm using Firefox. I seem to be loading the entire thread, or whatever. Anyway I do know that I'm nuking the new tag, and I like instructions as to how to stop it. Also, new posts don't seem to show up on my screen until I click the refresh button, and pressing that button nukes the new flags.

Advice - help greatly appreciated.

We are talking about when you reply to a post. The whole thread is not loaded then, and the "new" flags aren't nuked. (They used to be.)

If you are loading the whole thread, the "new" flags will be nuked.

If you want to read a thread without nuking the "new" threads, log out first.

If this info doesn't help, e-mail SuperG (the tech support addy on the sidebar).

Couple of stories from the WSJ. As usual, behind a paywall, but free if you go in through Google News.

How Turkey Could Undermine Iraq

The U.S. doesn't want a war between two of its allies in one of the few stable parts of Iraq. Also, if the U.S. allows Turkey to cross the border into Iraq, it sets a precedent that could lead Iran to take similar steps to quell violence on its border with Iraq. The prospect of war has rattled oil markets because Iraq ships some of its oil through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea. The oil pipeline that runs from Kirkuk, Iraq, to Ceyhan has averaged an output of 500,000 barrels a day, about 0.6% of daily global demand.

Oil-Stock Drawdown Fuels Price Rise

Amid the record run of oil prices lies a troubling trend: Western nations, particularly in Europe, drew down their oil tanks during the summer months -- a time when they would normally build them up.

That is triggering fears that global stocks could dwindle to exceedingly low levels this winter just as demand for fuel peaks -- driving high crude prices even higher.

it sets a precedent that could lead Iran to take similar steps to quell violence on its border with Iraq

Bingo! Thus providing a pretext for war with Iran. I don't think Iran is stupid enough to take the bait, but you never know...

Here is a graphic from the stock drawdown article:

The Turks don't have to go into Kurdistan, they can just have "extended maintenance" on the pipeline.

Depending on where the oil is going now, that may even be the intent behind the foolish resolution in CONgress.

This answers one of the conundrums that had been bugging me concerning the apparent spread between supply and demand and the fact that we were receiving significant gasoline supplies from europe during last summer. I kept hearing about OECD stocks dropping but it wasn't reflecting enough on the US side of the pond. The constant barrage of economists who claim the pricing is the result of "global turmoil" or "speculators", simply do not wish to face the realities of S & D. Thanks for the link.

On the article: Peak Oil Passnotes: 100 dollars here we come.

In a ‘free’ market, for the ‘production’ of a free, that is naturally created resource, non-renewable (one can’t encourage it to multiply or grow or somehow create it) resource,

What does its price reflect?

Certainly not its ‘real’ worth as compared to other measures such as man-hours of work, etc. as has been amply discussed here. But then, fossil fuels are there for free, so those comparisons are highly interesting but not relevant to the price itself.

The price reflects:

a) the costs of ‘production’, as in extraction, tempered by the subsidies or inputs that are given, directly or in a hidden way, difficult to calculate in any case

b) the costs of transport, infrastructure, maintenance thereof, etc. bringing from producer to consumer, which can either be totted up to ‘production’ (eg. a refinery far from the source) or not.

c) hidden cost that keep the system working and the pipelines flowing, the tankers chugging: some might add in the cost of policing the Straits of Ormuz, or the Iraq war, etc., which only goes to show that limits are hard to fix.

d) the shenanigans in the financial market place, the exasberated desire to invest and gain, leading to the vulnerability and volatility of the ‘financial market’ - very subject to scares and hype, as resting on humans trying to outguess other humans in 'Da Global Grand Casino'..

e) gvmt. regulation or meddling: the ‘real’ price is not judged ‘right’ and manipulated, increased, in function of desired effects (more money for the Gvmt. coffers, hopefully less consumption, etc. many rationales are put forward...) or ‘artificially’ decreased to keep ppl quiet (e.g. Iran.) -- added taxes are usually transparent, but such actions imply there is a ‘real’ price which is a benchmark, which isn't so

f) at the end point, consumer / buyer behavior, which feeds back into the system. Demand destruction, for ex;

So, in view of all that, how can the price of fossil fuels be indicative of anything at all? I do accept that rising prices may be, or often are, a sign of scarcity. Beyond that ??

In a situation of abundant supply (of productive capacity), the price of a commodity tends to fall to the cost of production, and the low cost producers are the ones that stay in business.

I think when people who claim that the "fundamentals" tell us the price of oil should be around $45 are still in this mind set. (A "pre-peak" mindset).

In a situation of scarce supply (of productive capacity), the price of a commodity tends to rise to its value to the consumer, and the consumers who cannot afford to pay, or choose not to, are the ones who do not consume. Demand destruction.

We are currently in the transition between these two conditions, and rapidly moving from the price telling us the cost of production to telling us the value of consumption. The value of petroleum is very high indeed.

The first thing to go will be waste - very low value for the fuel burned. Later it will be the lowest value - the fellow who burns XXX gallons per year to commute to a job that pays $25,000 will lose out to a guy who burns the same amount to commute to a job that pays $125,000.

Later it will be the lowest value - the fellow who burns XXX gallons per year to commute to a job that pays $25,000 will lose out to a guy who burns the same amount to commute to a job that pays $125,000.

And how many of the 25K jobs are needed so the 125K job holder can keep that income level?

Eric: Often none. This is the great advantage of globalization. Goldman and a lot of other firms will make their money no matter what happens to the US economy. The entertainment industry based in LA is making more of their money outside the US every day, so Beverley Hills still looks solid. A lot of highly paid employees such as doctors have the protection of the guv supported health insurance scam, so their income is protected.

thx for the responses.

I have a stupid question. It is related to yesterdays discussion on the speculative component (premium) of price that is apparently built into the oil price - due to traders.

My question is this: How can there be any effect on the price if they are making no net change to the amount of deliverable oil?. I agree oil may be bought and sold many times on route - but that is just it - it is eventually sold before delivery for profit taking which economics 101 says should lower the price! - otherwise some big investment bank on wall street will get a bit messy! So the net result should be no price influence. The only influnce on price will be those who really are taking delivery of the oil.

There is a flaw in my reasoning that I am not seeing.


Unlike gold, hedgies cannot take delivery of oil. When bullish, they buy a future, of course this future must be sold at some point, ie before the contract expires. So when hedgies have been speculating on rising price the future price rises while the near contract and/or spot falls. Presently, however, future is lower while spot is higher, meaning that a) hdegie effect is minor assuming that, on balance, they are bullish, and b) refineries, the only consumer of crude, are paying what they must to get oil they need today... note also that prices in asia, eg tapis, have been higher than nymex for most of this year. Or, simple supply and demand.

Punters thinking the price is 'too high' and will therefore fall soon are ignoring the fact that IEA has been expecting demand at 88.2M/d (presumably meaning that demand at recent prices) while supply continues at around 85M/d. In such a situation one might expect a rising price environment because demand destruction takes time... those demanding oil products at the moment will find it difficult to demand less. On the supply front, whild Chris has been expecting a lot more, this wall of oil is till off stage. OPEC has promised 500k/d more next month, IMO will probably happen because SA is expecting a new project of 500k/d to start up end 07; but UAE is cutting production beginning Nov by 600k /d for maintenance. Supply looks stagnant for a while, IMO at least until 2Q08.

i find it funny, when ever i start to think that as a species no matter what happens we will survive. Then something like this pops up and reminds me of a monkey fooling with a loaded gun pointed at his/her head.
chromosones to order

It's been a brave new world for genetic crops for some time now but Chicago-based researchers say they have developed a method to take crop manipulation to a higher level: the chromosome.

We think we can control everything and place it in it's own little box, but it seems we will soon learn the hard way how little we can actually control..

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the topthread Drumbeat link on UAE & cash-paying for fuel. IMO, Olduvai brownouts & blackouts are inevitable as we go postpeak, which would make fuel purchases during such time periods with a credit card problematic. Recall my earlier posts advocating that all gas stations be mandated to have either pedal-pumps or arm-pumps to facilitate underground fuel extraction during such periods.

As the cost of electricity will inevitably rise: I would like the US to offer not only fuel discounts for cash-only, but also an additional discount if one is willing to pedal-pump the desired fuel into their infernal, internal combustion vehicle of choice.

Of course, my scooter's high MPG and small tank will soon have me on my way. But inquiring minds want to know: will HUMMER owners be happily humming long tunes while they pump away during these outages, or will they be screaming at the top of their lungs from exhaustion trying to top off their tanks? =)

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

Many auto loans in the US are for 5, 6, or even 7 years. A lot of those HUMMER owners, or just SUV owners (whose gas-guzzling monsters are far better for running over little kids than actually going offroad) are pretty much locked in to owning and using their horrible machines until the loan's up.

They can't sell the things without having to cover a huge "gap", they're what's known as "underwater" on their loans. It turns out most people are "underwater" on their car loans until the things are fully paid off, the car often ends up at the end of the term not worth much more than one of their single payments! This keeps them from from getting rid of their metal dinosaurs and getting smaller cars, and even keeps them from taking the bus etc because there's either no bus (in most of the US) or no money left over for bus fare.

Yes it's really that bad.

And, of course, when they trade that gas-guzzler in on a more efficient vehicle, it gets sold to someone else who still drives it, until it ends up in the salvage yard after 17+ years.

There's a silver lining to that; if it's at all typical, it has travelled half its lifetime mileage in just the first 6 years.

For the low, low price of $300 you can get a contract arsonist to "steal" and then burn your SUV. This is one of those growth areas that will be available to the newly unemployed over these next many months as the mortgage scam unwinds.


Hello TODers,

A little more on this human-slave power vs electricity power extrapolation:

Unbelievable amounts of electricity is used to move, clean, and then heat/cool/freeze our water worldwide, both before it oh-so-conveniently flows out at our household faucets, wasteful toilet thrones, hot shower nozzles, chilled water/soda fountains, steaming latte' machines, and delightful ice-dispensers, plus the subsequent, long distance, electrified sewage spiderweb maceration/pumping, and hopefully ideal, chemical/biological re-purification before the clean release back into the environment.

Much of the water used in my Asphalt Wonderland is Colorado River Water pumped 1300 ft uphill to our thrones, faucets, car washes, swimming pools, and golf courses. Imagine the conservation and possible water discount if you are willing [or forced?] to pedal away the electricity equivalent of your entire water usage loop cost.

In the center of my Asphalt Wonderland is a popular hiking mountain called 'Piestewa Peak', approx. 1300 ft tall, offering spectacular Overshoot views of the asphalt and concrete wasteland below. This google-image link can give you as sense of the difficult and strenuous 1300 ft hiking height:


Now imagine our mindless, insanely wasteful water usage converted to a human-powered hike up this towering peak. If I wanted to use just ten gallons of water today: I would probably have to TWICE-hike UP & DOWN this mountain, with a five-gallon jug in each hand, to human-power offset the electricity and chemical input to this ten gallons.

Imagine going to a sit-down, fancy tablecloth restaurant in my Asphalt Wonderland, but you are required to prepay the water usage loop by energetic pedaling. The water and electricity required for drinking, food prep/washing, hot soup, chilled salad, frosty cocktail, dishwashing, tablecloth/napkin washing and re-ironing, etc, could easily be ten gallons!

Does anyone still doubt that millions will postPeak pedal to Cascadia versus pedaling to Death-in-the-Desert?

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

Hi Bob,

do you realise that most water in the UK is supplied unmetered? Is this the same in the US? The water companies try to persuade people to change to water meters [ie small users save money]. I can see them doing this pretty fast [gov legislation] if energy prices rise. Why? if you want free electricity - turn on a tap, run it through an impeller+dynamo and pour it down the drain. The water companies waste about 25 - 50% clean water anyway in faulty pipes etc.

Pondlife that's amazing. In the US, water's always metered. Well, almost always, we've got a well here and that's unmetered at least for now.

Renters of apartments and rooms often don't pay the water bill, that's included - they're often charged a rent and then a sum "for utilities" that's generally a good guess of their share of water, heating, cooling, electric etc.

If you rent a house or are buying one or own one, you pay a water bill and that's metered.

Basically unless you're on the bottom rung of society where I've spent much of my life, you're paying a water bill in the US.

The only place I'd ever heard of where it's unmetered is New York City. I heard the folks there will never accept metering either.

My mother, who lives in NYC, has had a meter installed for about 10 years now on Staten Island. I don't know for sure about the rest of the city, but I would think there are meters installed throughout the rest of the city as well since things tend to come to Staten Island last.


Sacramento used to be unmetered. A remnant of the old water wars, I heard. They agreed that Sacramento residents would have all the water they wanted, unmetered. But I think they finally got metered. Water's just too much of a problem in California to do otherwise.

I'm in St. Louis city. My water bill is not metered, it's based on the number of room and specific types of water appliances in the house.

These include total rooms, baths, water closets (which refers to toilets, but it's called water closets on the bill...), and separate showers.

I expect quality to be marginal given the house and related infrastructure are over 130 years old. We're about to put in a reverse osmosis system for drinking needs.

Hello Pondlife,

Thxs for responding. My water is metered & charged/gallon, not sure for other locales. My guess is most of the US is metered.

Not too long ago, the house waterpipe buried underground developed a bad leak in my frontyard, but since the frontyard had a thick layer of plastic and eight inches of desert rock on top: I couldn't see the wasted potable water being absorbed by the underlying dirt & caliche'-- it made for a shocking and expensive water bill--which was my first clue that something was amiss.

I immediately dug like Hell to find, then fix the leak. Starting from my side of the water meter: I had to shovel away the decorative toprock, carefully cut and fold back the plastic, then dig down about two feet through caliche' to the piping. Then rinse, lather, and repeat the process as I kept moving towards the house. I knew when I getting closer to the leak because of digging into energy-sapping, heavy, sucking mud. Murphy's Law, of course: I had to dig in the blazing sun during our hottest summer month on record.

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

filling a small tractor tank (50 liter) will take me a minute or two I guesstimate, using a hand pump. Never timed it though. Pumping from around 0-1 meter underground to perhaps 1.5 meter above ground, 1.5-2,5 meter total depending on how full the underground tank is. That lasts for abit more than a day of use btw, at the busiest days of the harvest. I suppose it would take more to fill a SUV tank, and the huge tanks at gas stations are probably deeper, not to mention that at least some of the drivers are perhaps a bit out of shape ;) But due to the amazing energy density of petroleum it won't be the end of driving if handpumping is needed.

Indeed, back in That Which Is Bunk (history) gas pumps were hand-powered.

Hello Jaha,

Thxs for responding. I would imagine that a consumer could gain the maximum cash discount by pedal-energy accounting for the elevation & distance disparity from imported FFs at sea-level.

Please read my 'Piestewa Peak' posting, but extrapolate the required energy to get the FFs from VLCCs in Houston through pipelines to Denver,CO [5,280 feet or 1609 meters above sea level], or from Los Angeles to Flagstaff,AZ [7,000 feet above sea level].

How much human-slave pedaling would be required to fill a Hummer in Flagstaff to gain the maximum fuel energy at the very minimum cost? Makes me want to move right into a VLCC offloading port/refinery in Cascadia.

Just imagine hand-carrying two five gallon jerry cans from Houston to Denver! Yikes!!

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

Just some more 'human-slave pedaling thinking' on pumping:

What if liquid fuels energy was strictly charged on this elevation and distance pumping requirement? Let's say gasoline is $2/gal at sea-level, but goes up 20 cents per every hundred miles plus 20 cents per every additional 1,000 feet of elevation gain to account for the energetic pipelined distribution cost to distant locations.

LA to Flagstaff = 7,000 ft elevation gain @ .2/1,000 ft or $1.40, plus 690 km/428 miles as the bird flys. The pipeline probably takes a circuitous route for safety reasons, and has numerous elevation changes so lets double the distance-- call it 800 miles or $1.60 more to get FFs to Flagstaff.

Total= $2 + $1.40 + $1.60 = $5.00/gallon in Flagstaff.

Houston to Denver = 1,120 miles [but lets call it 1,500 miles of relatively straight uphill piping across the Great Plains] plus 5280 ft of elevation.

Total of gasoline in Denver = $2 + $3 + $1.56 = $6.56/gallon

This kind of pricing strategy might make the FF-detritovores rapidly cluster near the seaports and inland oilfields: making it much easier for people in the Rockies and other distant areas to move to biosolar lifestyles.

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

Such a system would change the hub-spoke airline system and places like Chicago would see cheap gas in the summer once terminals were build there.

Now, exactly how does your plan reduce the tax load of the biosolar lifestyles - the government still needs to be fed.

Hello Eric Blair,

Thxs for responding, but now you are asking me to really wade into the deep end past my limited expertise. I hope other TODers will chime in.....

I would imagine that the biosolar inhabitants are using mostly barter and/or strictly local script for their vastly simplified, small scale community-reliance, and low energy lifestyles. The parasites from outside seeking a free ride would find that the economics of shipping such small surpluses back to D.C. would not be worth the thermodynamic cost over such distances.

This is just as it is in Nature and animal territoriality. A wolfpack is generally constrained to a specific watershed or basin by the other wolfpacks; this thermo/gene geo-constraint is to the benefit of all for survival and roughly equal sharing of the work to secure resources.

The tight feedback loops enforce a ruthless efficiency. PV panels on a roof cannot send power to Washington, just as a single well cannot be cost justified to send water back either. The repudiation of interest [stealing from future efforts and future generations] is the best way to remove the non-laboring, sucking parasites off to an area whereby they will be forced to burn aroughly equivalent amount of calories to survive. How could it be otherwise?

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

I would imagine that the biosolar inhabitants are using mostly barter and/or strictly local script

An example of how 'local script' has been treated:

The tight feedback loops enforce a ruthless efficiency. PV panels on a roof cannot send power to Washington, just as a single well cannot be cost justified to send water back either.

But I don't see Washington DC stopping asking for tribute for, well, whatever the issue of the day is.

If I were to carry anything from Houston to Denver I think I would put it in my backpack :)
a hummer has a tank capacity of 32 gallons according to http://trucks.about.com/od/2005pickuptrucks/a/05_h2sut_hummer_2.htm
32gallons x 3.8 = 121 liters
121 liters x 0.8= 97.3 kg
Theoretically it would require 1609*9.82*97.3=1.54 MJ or 0.42 kWh or around 0.07 liters of gasoline or a couple of hours of exhausting exercise for a "healthy human" from eyeballing the graph on this page just to lift the fuel from 0 to 1609m, I'm not going to attempt to calculate the energy required to push the fuel through the pipes, as that would require a bit more information than I think is easily available. If Denver really gets it's fuel through pipes from Houston then I imagine the difference between the retail price of gas in Houston and Denver should roughly equal the price of the energy required to lift and pump it.

Hello Jaha,

Maybe I am not following your calcs correctly, but it would take several hours for just an average person alone to climb a mile or 1609 meters. The Grand Canyon is a mile deep, and many fit people take all day just to climb out with a bare minimum in their backpack. Now add the 97.3 kgs or 214.5 lbs of the gasoline to their backpack, then watch them very,very,very slowly ascend the Bright Angel Trail to refill their Hummer in the parking lot!

Denver gas price: approx. $2.62
Phoenix===================$2.60 [elevation 1,086 feet]
Los Angeles===============$2.89

Obviously something other than piping distances and elevation change is the determinant of fuel prices. I still think fuel prices based on these transport distances could be an easy way to help reshape the landscape on thermodynamic terms vs the economic terms currently in play.

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

it would take several hours for just an average person alone to climb a mile or 1609 meters.

Yes, it would. I've just calculated the theoretical minimum energy required to lift the fuel. Those 1.5 MJ would become potential energy stored in the 97 kg of fuel. In the real world the energy expended by the human doing the lifting would always be greater, possibly several times greater to orders of magnitude greater, than the theoretical minimum.

Imagine a 1609 meter tall cliff with a system of pulleys and ropes enabling you to hoist the tank of gas for your hummer up the sheer face of the cliff: this would be a raesonably efficient method methinks, and you could probably do it in a day of moderately hard work. If you were to carry it up a trail on a less steep mountainside to the same ulitmate elevation it would require several days of hiking, since you would be carrying a lot of dead weight (your body, food, possibly water if in an arid area) and you payload wouldn't be 97 kg. I don't hink many people except possibly sherpas could carry it all at a time.

As a result of 2005 hurricane related power outages Florida has mandated that Gas station pumps have a generator back up system

I am writing paper for a local government and have a few questions I have not been able to dig up satisfactorily off the web.

1) Waste Gasification Power generation - any info on local successful projects, costs per MW size.

2) Carbon trading - it is easy to do the math...but does 230 billion actually trade annually(real dollars changing hands)? It is difficult to sell?

Any pointers appreciated. Hopefully it will lead to small steps.

Or, if you don't want to post...email me at peakguy at rogers DOT com.

Ze-gen is performing a year-long test of gasification of demolition debris, but there are no interim results on their website that I can see.

Fleam beat me to it!. I remember as a youth we were not electified in the village, and all gas(Petrol) was hand pumped.

Hello TODers,

I am certainly no expert on fertilizers, but has Western Canada's natgas depletion reached the point that they need to now import Haber-Bosh generated nitrogen from Russia?

In an historic event for the Port of Churchill, Farmers of North America (FNA) has made good on its promise to bring nitrogen fertilizer from overseas to give Canadian farmers an alternative to over-priced domestic sources.

Until now, Churchill has been an outbound-only port. FNA's ship, the Kapitan Sviridov will deliver the fertilizer to the port, from which point it will be shipped to distribution points across Western Canada.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Fertilizer Plant Closings because of Nat Gas,

This is from 2001 but it is insightful. Look at some of the stats. It shows how much from which plants per


This was written in March 2004. Listen to what it was saying at that time.

I worked in a similar industry similar in that the fact that the product we used also used Nat Gas for a feedstock.

This company bought millions of pounds of PolyEthyene and PolyProp. Those plants shut down in the states and moved. All the big names Chevron, and the others. To where the prices were cheaper.

High Natural Gas Prices Drive U.S. Manufacturing - And Jobs - Overseas.

...What is the economic damage of high-priced natural gas? Plenty. Paul Cicio, executive director of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America estimates that U.S. businesses have paid an extra $90 billion in natural gas costs since June 2000. During this period, gas prices gyrated wildly, doubling and even tripling pre-2000 levels.

How does the future look? Unfortunately, bleak. A recent report by the National Petroleum Council for the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that soaring gas prices could add $1 trillion to consumer costs during the next 20 years, unless action is taken to increase supplies, improve energy efficiency, and diversify fuel sources.

Higher Gas Prices Force Jobs and Investment Overseas

U.S. firms cannot survive when costs triple. Companies using gas for feedstock, such as nitrogen fertilizer producers, have been among the first to feel financial pain. High gas prices, which account for up to 90 percent of fertilizer costs, have forced nine nitrogen fertilizer plants to close or cease operations since January 2001. The remaining facilities have only operated at 50 percent capacity. Where are farmers getting their fertilizers? According to the U.S. Government Accounting Office, the 25 percent decline in U.S. fertilizer sales has been accompanied by a 43 percent increase in imports and a 7 percent decrease in agricultural consumption.



Hello Samsara,

Thxs for the info-links. Can you imagine the wealth you could instantly acquire if you could invent a new, low-cost process for nitrogen fertilizer that doesn't require any fossil fuels?

There is no substitute for nitrogen in plant nutrition. It is a basic element of life for plants and animals.

Legume crop rotation, and bird & bat guano shelters don't qualify for this patent-- we need something totally new--I sure hope there is some genius lurking here on TOD. I am still a fast-crash realist until this breakthrough occurs.

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

invent a new, low-cost process for nitrogen fertilizer ... I sure hope there is some genius lurking here on TOD

The energy to break N2 bonds is known. Same with known sources of H that are not fossil fuels.

The energy bond making and breaking is also well known for Haber-Bosch.

The energy density of sunlight is also known, so if your desire for a bio-solar technology-based Nitrogen fix'n is to be had - the basic numbers exist.


Note this:

Perennial and forage legumes, such as alfalfa,
sweetclover, true clovers and vetches, may fix
250-500 lbs of nitrogen per acre.

Pasted from
PDF at cahe.nmsu.edu

However as the article states..N fixed in this manner is not placed in the soil,it is all stored in the plant and therefore the plant must not be harvested and removed..it needs to be returned the soil by the residue remaining on the ground.

further:"The amount of nitrogen returned to the soil
during or after a legume crop can be misleading.
Almost all of the nitrogen fixed goes directly into
the plant. Little leaks into the soil for a neighbor-
ing nonlegume plant. However, nitrogen even-
tually returns to the soil for a neighboring plant
when vegetation (roots, leaves, fruits) of the le-
gume dies and decomposes.
When the grain from a grain legume crop is har-
vested, little nitrogen is returned for the following
crop. Most of the nitrogen fixed during the season
is removed from the field. The stalks, leaves and
roots of grain legumes, such as soybeans and
beans contain about the same concentration of ni-
trogen as found in non-legume crop residue. In
fact, the residue from a corn crop contains more
nitrogen than the residue from a bean crop, simply
because the corn crop has more residue."

So large amounts of N can be created freely by usage of these plants.

Personal: When I brought my current farm many years ago there was some 'setaside' on it..quite a bit actually and it was totally overrun by 'volunteer' hairy vetch.

The reason was that many years ago farmers would sow hairy vetch in their tobacco plots..it spread everywhere and it was so thick that it could not be cut and baled. It would clog the equipment..and in the fall die down forming a very dense and proper cover for the soil during the winter..absolutely no erosion could possibly occur where hairy vetch was growing and died back(an annual).It was just that thick..

Now it still volunteers in some of my fields which have mostly eliminated it by cutting the hay crop but I am going to start harvesting its seed crop and then doubling the size of my garden and sow it on half..then next year switch sides..thus getting all the N I need fixed in my soil for free.

There is no need for us to get crazy about N when plants can manufacture all we need for free..and provide good soil conservation at the same time...

We just have to quit this insanity of putting every last bit of ground into cultivation. Half nitrogen fixing plants..switch cropland to conservationland each year.

We have plenty of land if we stopped the manner in which we sell and use our land as just a profit motive to produce for reasons other than our survival.


PS. Bob you need to start writing in your own style about natures solution to some of our problems that we have discarded. As to K(potash) I am uncertain at this time on replenishment.

I'm sure Airdale will hate links to actual facts for using harry vetch as a cover crop, but I'm sure others will find facts useful.

While looking for roller porn:

Found these links:


And Bob, you can talk with many people about using cover crops and the eq. to injure the cover crop
With the 'crimp o matic' on the roller porn page being more your speed Bob.

And I am sure you , Eric the Blab,,are a true master at google.

You have all the one liners that no one ever responds to.

Yet of actual on hands experience , I doubt you have much of.

Your young and full of your self.

I am certain that your early life in teenybopper chat rooms resulted in the bimbos telling you,,"Oh Eric , your soooo smart you need to go elsewhere and be appreciated for your ability cause you have truly graduated beyond us poor schmucky bimbos"....so here you are on TOD trying to win your spurs and picking on those you think you might shit on and show your real smarts. Your what folks used to call a 'loser'and the chatty bimbos had it wrong.

I will now be placing you on my resurrected TODBAN list...and never see your posts or comments again.Right alongside dMatthews and Hotgohr, exactly where your twitty ass belongs.

airdale - the last time I will ever respond to you again so go practice your 'stalking' trade craft on someone else..dickweed

the last time I will ever respond to you

Promises, promises. You had said you were 'going away' in a drama queen way, and here ya are back again.

And no need to respond, because you've shown how you can not say "I was wrong".

The price of natural gas is already driving conversion of nitrate plants to hydrogen from coal syngas.

That's a power plant with some NH3 byproduct production. Coal produces NH3 on heating, along with 'coal oil' and 'coal gas'. Producing H2 for NH3 production is much more capital intensive.

That's a power plant with some NH3 byproduct production.

If that was the case, there would have been no need to buy a nitrogen-fixing company and its physical plant.  Decomposition of coal isn't going to produce 920 tons of ammonia products per day, either.

Its a race between Hawaii and Las Vegas to see which has the first visible "OMG we can't live here any more!" awareness spread to the general population. The 26% fuel surcharge for Hawaiians is a giant step forward for this.

The ethnic Hawaiians living in their vehicles in semipermanent camps on the leeward side of O'ahu were already in rough shape and a doubling in the price of gas along with spiraling inflation in the basics is going to eventually push that collection of humanity to critical mass. I worked there a bit earlier this year and was firmly advised to "get my haole ass out of Nanakuli before sundown". Even the native Hawaiians I worked with didn't like being there after dark; they were too clean and well dressed for the area.

We won't all get to live Mad Max but its a certainty in places like Nanakuli, where the experience was already within reach prior to factoring in peak oil.

That's sad. Perhaps a chance they will use the fuel surcharge to build green power infrastructure? It seems they should have an abundance of power available if they would take advantage of the geothermal, tidal and wind resources they have. Installing the infrastructure would provide a lot of jobs to those without and as gas costs increase the population would move from cars to mass transit.
If they could only be convinced to trade their current dollars for the infrastructure they will need. What place is more perfectly suited for small, low power, low range electric vehicles than the Hawaiian Islands?
I'm sure the population of these islands is way beyond what can be sustained without a constant stream of container ships,, but container shipping is one the most fuel efficient ways to move goods anyway.
If they had the leadership needed I think Hawaii could be an oasis in a fuel starved world.
Wish upon a star

Nanakuli has always been poor. As you probably heard, the name is Hawaiian for "Deaf." People were so poor they couldn't afford to offer the customary hospitality. They would pretend to be deaf when strangers asked for water, because they had none to offer.

The Amazon story sounds really bad all on its own, but consider what it means in the scheme of things:


So the Amazon is under steadily increasing stress - grow more sugar cane for fuel, more soy and cattle for export, and oil palm cultivation is spreading, too. There have been articles for a while to the effect that its going to revert to open savanna and notice the side effect; permanent El Niño.

El Niño winds tear Atlantic basin hurricanes apart. This is why 2006 was so quiet despite elevated sea surface temperatures.

Look at the American Southeast. They're crying for a tropical depression or three right now to refill reservoirs. What if one of the perverse effects of global warming turns out to be an ocean pregnant with storm fueling warm water ... but constrained by El Niño winds. The Southeast bakes and occasionally the winds miss the mark and they get a Camille sized monster charging up the gulf.

Catastrophic meltdown in the arctic. Catastrophic meltdown in Greenland. The U.K. practically gets washed away this summer.

What if the Midwest gets washed away? We had a summer like the U.K. got back in 1993. The Skunk River topped the berms around the water plant in Des Moines and 225,000+ of us went without drinking water for nineteen days in the midst of a flood that basically turned the middle of the country into a shallow inland sea.


So ... all that ice is gone in the arctic which means a lot more water vapor in the region. Although today, 20 October 2007, was so warm I was outside within a shirt on(!) the weather is crazy - we should be crunchy dry this time of year but we've got corn standing in the fields because its too wet to run machinery on the ground and every little stream in the area is up out of its banks.

I'm rambling a bit here, but the point is that its all connected and we've got government policy and investment happening on the assumption that the corn belt will continue to have picture perfect harvests year after year. The truth of the matter is the arctic meltdown might make what we know as "normal" into a once a decade occurrence, with the a replay of the summer of 1993 being a more common event.

Tim Russert's show on MSNBC
Sat. noon/6p.m., Sun. 2 a.m./ noon ET

Oct. 20: It's not business as usual when Tim Russert talks to CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, Erin Burnett and Jim Cramer about Wall Street, Main Street and their careers.

Did any of you catch the show Saturday night with Tim Russert (NBC Meet the Press) interviewing the CNBC gang regarding "Economics" and "Energy"?

Apparently it will be on again Sunday 12 noon ET (9am PT).

It was a frightening display of scientific ignorance and grandiose belief in the religion of the invisible hand.

Maria Bartiromo (the "Money Honey" (P))assured the gang that "technology" would take care of the Energy problem and that The Economy was "strong" because everyone she knows is "employed". She also said she had "patented" her trade nick name, the "Money Honey".

Cramer (Mad Money) insisted that Helicopter Ben must wave the wand over the magic rate hat and create mo' money in order to keep 7 million people from becoming homeless overnight.

Erin Burnett seemed to be the only one with half a brain at the round table. She wasn't ready to guarantee anything and was worried Cramer is losing his marbles.

Tim Russert was all smiley face about the great schools (Harvard, etc.) these talking economic heads attended and how their "success" must be impressing their old classmates.

Maybe later on Sunday or Monday, MSNBC will have a temporary transcript here under Tim Russert's name.

(It's not up yet at time of this posting)

Ha hah! (that was a Chris Matthews laugh) --someone else in the blogosphere caught the show. No intelligent comments yet at that blog link; just comments about who is the hotter Squawk babe. I don't think the "substance" of the show (or lack of it) made it through into consciousness of the viewing public.