DrumBeat: November 3, 2007

The Perils of Petrocracy

Who holds the world’s oil? You might assume it’s in the hands of big private oil companies like ExxonMobil. But in fact, 77 percent of the world’s oil reserves are held by national oil companies with no private equity, and there are 13 state-owned oil companies with more reserves than ExxonMobil, the largest multinational oil company. The popular perception in the United States is that if leaders of oil countries nationalize their oil, they are bucking a global trend toward privatization. In reality, nationalized oil is the trend. And the percentage of oil controlled by state-owned companies is likely to continue rising, mainly because of the demographics of oil. Deposits are being exhausted in wealthy countries — the ones that exploited their oil first and generally have the most private oil — and are being found largely in developing countries, where oil tends to belong to the state.

A Glimpse Of Light In The Distance

An ex-Marine thinks he can extend the working day for millions of people.

Oil price lifts Saudi stocks to one-year high

Saudi Arabia’s bourse rallied to its highest close in almost a year yesterday as record oil prices and an interest rate cut boosted the appeal of petrochemical and banking stocks.

East End residents cast worrisome glances at nearby refineries

Manchester hugs the Houston Ship Channel, where refineries and other business run 24 hours a day.

It’s there that some stats show that cancer rates are abnormally high... and incomes drastically low.

Doubling of oil recovery efficiency seen possible

In the field's southern area, called Haradh, Aramco raised production in three increments starting in 1996. The first step involved vertical wells; the second, starting in 2003, involved horizontal wells; and the third, starting in 2006 involved maximum reservoir contact wells, smart, completions, and instrumentation.

The advance of technology, Saleri said, yielded a five-fold increase in added production between the first and third increments.

In addition, real-time pressure monitoring helped Aramco keep several wells from prematurely watering out. Haradh production is 900,000 b/d.

Worldwide, Saleri said, recovery efficiency is 30-35% but could be 60-75%.

Talisman Has Lost 'Credibility': New Ceo

Talisman Energy Inc. has lost "credibility" with investors and analysts by repeatedly failing to meet its own production forecasts, the company's new president and CEO said yesterday. John Manzoni said the Calgary-based independent, whose share price is up just 2% this year despite sky-rocketing oil prices, must start achieving the targets it sets and can do so by internally sharpening its ability to execute projects.

French fishermen protest over rising fuel costs

Fishermen disrupted traffic in northwestern France on Saturday to protest against the rising cost of fuel and to demand state aid.

Around 100 vehicles slowed down traffic in a "snail operation" on main roads in western Brittany, said a spokesman for the fishermen who started a strike in the northwestern port of Guilvinec on Friday.

Markey calls on Bush to free up oil reserves

Representative Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, called yesterday on President Bush to release both home heating oil and crude oil from two reserves to ease the cost to consumers, but the White House said it has no plans to do so.

Natural gas line to coast planned

One of the country's largest pipeline companies is considering building a $3 billion line that would link natural gas fields in Utah, Wyoming and southwestern Colorado with northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

Official sees N.E. energy shortage: Not enough terminals, pipelines, regulator says

New England will need to add liquefied natural gas terminals or significantly expand its gas pipelines - and possibly do both - or the region will likely face natural gas shortages or major price hikes, a key federal official said Friday.

New England is vulnerable because of its location at the tail end of several natural gas pipelines, its dependence on natural gas for both electricity generation and heating, its limited gas storage space and lack of its own geological gas reserves, said Joseph Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Syria plans $3b refinery

Syria plans to build a $3 billion oil refinery with a Kuwaiti partner, part of an effort to more than double the country’s capacity and process crude oil from neighbouring Iraq, Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Al Alao said.

China Struggles With Fuel Crunch

Bus drivers in the bustling southern province of Guangdong have a new daily chore: Hunting for diesel. Amid widespread shortages, service stations allow drivers just a few quarts at a time, forcing buses to stop repeatedly to fill up while passengers fume, said Dai Guowei, an employee of the Zhaoshang Passenger Transport Co.

"After using up the diesel from the last filling station, we have to rush to another station," Dai said Friday. "Usually we have to wait at least a half-hour to fill up. So we get a lot of customer complaints."

Eight refineries for Iran

The National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company has said that the Islamic Republic's private sector is to construct eight oil refineries in the country, reported the Iran Daily. The plants will be located in Shiraz, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Tabriz and Neka as well as two in Hormuzgan and the second phase of the Arak refinery. The decision is in line with Iran's Vision 2025.

Fuel shortage leads to rationing in Dominican south west

Gasoline Retailers Association (Anadegas) president Juan Ignacio Espaillat says that fuel supplies are limited in the south west of the country, and diesel is being reserved for hospital and emergency use only, so that rescue and relief work can continue in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Noel.

China turns to Kazakh fuel as prices jump

Kazakhstan has increased its fuel oil exports to China, accounting for an average of 2.5 per cent of total imports into Asia's top buyer this year, from less than one per cent in 2006, traders said yesterday.

Global Uranium Supply and Demand

“The United States is dependent on Russia for a significant portion of its nuclear energy. I don’t think a lot of Americans know that.”

Feds fail to right Alberta's wrongs

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach got it wrong with his new royalty regime when it comes to natural gas, not with regard to oil or oilsands. Gas prices are too low, due to moderate weather in North America and a switch of petrochemical production to the Middle East.

Oil rig loses to cruisers

HOBART has lost out on a $20 million oil-rig refit contract, with Tasmanian Ports Corporation defending its decision to favour cruise ships and Antarctic research vessels.

Shrinking ice means Greenland is rising fast

Greenland appears to be floating upwards – its landmass is rising up to 4 centimetres each year, scientists reveal.

And the large country's new-found buoyancy is a symptom of Greenland's shrinking ice cap, they add.

Energy firms cautious on oil shale

What better evidence of the daunting challenge that oil shale presents: Shell Frontier Oil & Gas, seen as the leader in the quest to free millions of barrels of oil in massive rock formations in a three-state area, doesn't expect to start commercial production any time soon.

$100-per-barrel oil raises recession fears

Even though headlines will scream, markets will get nervous, and politicians will blame each other, the real economic impact of a triple-digit price for petroleum is uncertain. It depends on whether the price is temporary or it continues to surge upward, analysts said.

4 bucks a gallon? It's in sight

If you thought gasoline prices were scary on Halloween, just wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas.

By then, if close watchers of oil and gasoline markets are right, prices could be close to the record levels set in May. "You could be paying that by the time you sit around your Christmas tree," said Stephen Schork, publisher of The Schork Report, a daily energy newsletter.

North Carolina: The highway challenge

The committee needs to take a fresh look at transportation policies and priorities. Is it important to speed up bridge replacement and maintenance of existing highways? Undoubtedly. So, where will the resources come from, particularly since it’s also important to complete important new projects like Greensboro’s Urban Loop?

The largest source of funding, the gasoline tax, has been capped because of the strain rising fuel prices put on motorists. The committee should decide how much emphasis the state should place on toll projects and alternative revenue sources.

Cyprus: We can’t tighten our belts without government help

OIL PRICES are expected to pass the $100 mark per barrel in the coming days. Already, motorists are feeling the pinch, with fuel prices rising by two cents a litre this week.

Households will also suffer as the weather gets colder, with the cost of heating fuel increasing. And soon the extra transport and manufacturing costs will filter down into retail prices, affecting each and every one of us as we do our shopping.

China warns transport firms after fuel price hike

Transport companies must not take advantage of this week's 10-percent fuel price hike in China to raise their own prices excessively, the nation's top economic planning body said on Saturday, warning it was watching closely.

People would be encouraged to report illegal behaviour, such as price gouging and hoarding, which would be dealt with by the law, the powerful National Development and Reform Commission said on its Web site (www.ndrc.gov.cn).

China to raise fuel surcharge on domestic flights

China will raise the fuel surcharge for passengers on domestic air flights this month, easing the cost burden for airlines after a 10 percent rise in jet fuel prices, the official Shanghai Securities News said on Saturday.

Dominican Republic: Government absorbs most fuel price rises

The Dominican government says it has decided to absorb part of the costs of this week's fuel price increases due to the emergency situation the country is experiencing as a result of Tropical Storm Noel. Gasoline prices have experienced only a slight increase, while propane will be sold at the same price as last week.

Officials say Delaware can fix looming energy problems

The nation's energy and pollution problems require a new push for solutions on par with the Manhattan Project of World War II, panel members at a wide-ranging University of Delaware forum said Friday.

Behind the urgency are rising concerns about reliance on imported oil and mounting evidence that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use are changing the world's climate for the worse. Solving the problem, officials said, will require a massive shift to clean and renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and a massive decrease in use of conventional fuels.

Does the “car of the future” have a future?

So will a “super car” or a “FreedomCAR” or a “hypercar” or any of the other revolutionary new cars that have been proposed ever get built? Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, the authors of “Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future” (Twelve; $27.99), answer this question with a qualified “yes.” Carson, who covers the transportation industry for The Economist, and Vaitheeswaran, a writer who holds an engineering degree from M.I.T., are “techno-optimists,” as opposed to the “eco-pessimists” they sometimes deride. Yet their argument rests on an account of global trends that is nothing short of terrifying.

Kerr-McGee Ruling Roils Capitol Hill Energy Debate

A federal judge's decision made public this week limiting Interior Department power to demand royalties from offshore oil producers when oil and gas prices are high could intensify Democrats' efforts to raise industry taxes and give Interior the muscle it needs to require industry payments.

Asian LPG rises to record on crude oil, gains in freight rates

Asian liquefied petroleum gas rose to a record on gains in crude oil prices. Propane for delivery to Japan jumped 7.2 percent to US$815 a metric ton, including cost and freight. Butane added 7 percent to US$840 a ton.

Tajikistan’s Much-needed Electricity Stalled in Uzbekistan

When the Tajik and Turkmen presidents met in Dushanbe last month for a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, they announced that Tajikistan was going to import electricity from Turkmenistan to help to solve its winter energy crisis.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said that Ashgabat, Dushanbe, and Tashkent had reached an agreement to deliver electricity from Turkmenistan to Tajikistan through neighboring Uzbekistan starting on November 1. The Turkmen electricity, however, has not arrived.

The Saudi Monarch's Visit to Another Kingdom

When you look at the kingdom's billions in petro dollar reserves any moral reservation the West may have about doing business with the Arabian kingdom seems trifling indeed. Its huge (although rapidly depleting) oil reserves and the untold amount of Saudi cash invested and recycled as petro dollars in Western banks, property and even some strategic sectors make the kingdom an ideal place to do business for the British. The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia do around 3.5 billion in bilateral trade annually. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is one of the largest markets for Britain's arms exports and infrastructural projects.

Kazakhstan Wants Kashagan Talks to End By Nov 30

Talks between the Kazakh government and Italy's Eni SpA-led Kashagan consortium about production delays and rising costs at the giant Kashagan oil field have to end by Nov. 30, Interfax news agency quoted a senior Kazakh official as saying Friday.

Kyoto? No way. Now about those tax cuts ...

Every time I walk by the pond, I think of global warming and drought, and of Stephen Harper and his message of despair. Of his claim that we have no hope of meeting our Kyoto target, and that it's not worth the effort of even trying to meet it.

Well, last week the news about global warming took another turn for the worse.

Total boss on why oil production will never top 100 mb/d

Christophe de Margerie has a reputation for forthright views and blunt speaking, but this week the chief executive of Total excelled himself by dismissing the IEA’s oil production forecasts as unrealistic, while coining an aphorism worthy of Donald Rumsfeld.

Why oil at $100 may be desirable, after all

Oil is all set to reach the once unimaginable $100-mark. But the long-term positives for the global economy from this price surge may outweigh the collective pain we all endure on our visits to the fuel station.

Shallow-Water Driller Sees No Comfort in $100/Barrel Oil

New offshore drilling rigs face an uncertain market, and the prospect of $100-a-barrel oil may actually be hurting their chances of finding work, Jon Cole, chief executive of Scorpion Offshore Ltd. (SCORE.OS) said Thursday.

"It's actually stunting demand for our rigs" by encouraging governments to exert more control over reserves, which discourages new investment, he said, speaking on a panel at the International Association of Drilling Contractors' annual convention.

PdVSA Won't Seek Partners for Former Exxon, Conoco Fields

Venezuela has no plans to find new partners among foreign oil companies to jointly operate the oil fields left behind by Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and ConocoPhillips (COP) earlier this year.

"No, no, there are no plans to get new partners. That's not being considered and we're not open to that. We like having those fields in the hands of Petroleos de Venezuela," Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Thursday in remarks to the press.

France and Britain ready to lay out eco-friendly tax cuts

In a bid to solidify Europe's position as a leader in the fight against global warming, France and Britain this month will lay out an ambitious plan to subsidize environmentally friendly products through Europe-wide tax cuts.

U.S. Climate Bill Would Pay Farmers to Store Carbon in Soil

U.S. farmers can turn their dirt into cash under climate change legislation that pays them to bury pollution blamed for global warming.

Nordic nations sound alarm over melting Arctic

"The Arctic and the world cannot wait any longer," environment ministers from the five nations said in a joint statement after talks in Oslo. The five all have Arctic territories.

"The climate is hurtling towards a turning point after which irreversible processes will have been set in motion," they said of the Arctic thaw.

Lomborg: A better way to spend Kyoto's trillions

Kyoto will save about 140,000 malaria deaths over the century. At one-60th the cost, we can tackle malaria directly and save 85-million deaths.

From Burma to Beijing: Asia's sensitive petrol politics

China's announcement Thursday that it will raise the price of fuel risks angering its poorest citizens. Fuel prices have sparked unrest in several Asian nations.

Alaska upping ante for oil companies

If oil companies want to continue taking Alaska’s oil, state officials say they need to up the ante.

In fact, Gov. Sarah Palin wants 25 percent off the top of all profits the companies make in Alaska, up from 22.5 percent and the second hike in as many years. In a special legislative session, oil giants are warning lawmakers that another increase will make the business climate look unstable.

But after Western oil companies have been effectively kicked out of Venezuela and Russia, these could just be hollow arguments.

Peak Oil: Time's Up

Given EWG's findings of a 2006 oil peak and a halving of oil production by 2030, and ASPO's declaration that the facts best fit a scenario where all liquid fuels peak around 2012, severe economic discontinuities can now clearly be seen to be unavoidable.

Enriching the enemy

Soaring oil prices limit U.S. leverage and embolden our geopolitical adversaries.

Iowans to pay heavily for record-high oil

When fuel prices rise, truckers pass some of the additional cost on to their customers. Those customers, in turn, pass the additional cost on to the consumer of the goods being shipped, Sturgeon said.

"In the end the consumer, which is all of us, ends up footing the bill for higher-priced crude oil," Sturgeon said.

China promises safe gasoline supply after price hikes

The production of refined oil products in China is still meeting demand despite regional shortfalls triggered by rising international prices, a senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Friday.

Russian anti-monopoly service probes into low oil production

The Russian anti-monopoly authorities said they have inquired leading Russian oil refineries about reasons that recently led to reduced production of oil derivatives and higher prices.

Some media reports said this week that gasoline prices could rise 10-15% in Moscow and the Moscow Region due to technical maintenance works at three refineries in central Russia, including one in Moscow.

Byron King: Scary Stuff

Halloween featured some very scary sights this year: Crude oil at $95 a barrel and gold at $800 an ounce. These frightening visions of runaway commodity prices must be terrifying to anyone who trusts the Federal Reserve to preserve the dollar's value. On the other hand, individuals who invest in oil, gold and other types of commodities can derive a ghoulish delight from the dollar's slow demise. These individuals are making money… and they are likely to make even more money, as the world comes to grips with a genuine shortage of crude oil.

Should Bush open up the oil spigot?

Criticism of how the Bush administration has been handling the SPR has been mounting ever since August, when the Department of Energy resumed building up the stockpile, even as oil prices surged. Earlier this month, seven Democratic senators complained that the buildup "sends a message to the marketplace that the Administration is comfortable with current price levels."

Nigeria to stop cash call payments to oil majors

Nigeria plans to stop cash call payments to the five majors pumping the bulk of its oil output and instead wants them to raise money from international finance markets, President Umaru Yar'Adua has said.

He did not give a timeframe. Nigeria's oil industry is currently dependent on cash call payments to function and changing the financing arrangements would require the legal structure of the sector to be reformed.

Smithsonian balks at donation

The Smithsonian Institution has taken the rare step of putting on hold a $5 million donation from the American Petroleum Institute after two members of the museum complex's board of regents, including a U.S. senator, balked at accepting oil-industry money for a major initiative on the world's oceans.

Oil or gas? Prices may lead to switch

With oil topping $90 per barrel, some homeowners are weighing whether the price tag for switching to a natural gas furnace makes sense. The decision may depend on a variety of factors, including the availability of natural gas lines, an issue in the Northeast, where gas pipelines have historically been less common.

Melrose postpones bond amid turbulent market

Melrose Resources, the British oil and gas exploration company, has been forced to postpone what would have been the first euro denominated junk grade bond deal since the summer as this week's market turbulence took its toll.

The one thing airlines cannot do without

Airlines have already done away with little luxuries such as meals in an attempt to trim costs but there is one thing they cannot do without: fuel.

The recent surge in the oil price has caught most airlines on the hop and they have not fully hedged their fuel requirements for next year. That will almost certainly mean higher fares for passengers, unless the turmoil in the financial marketscauses a widespread economic slowdown.

Think tank: Climate affects security

Climate change could be one of the greatest national security challenges ever faced by U.S. policy makers, according to a new joint study by two U.S. think tanks.

The report, to be released Monday, raises the threat of dramatic population migrations, wars over water and resources, and a realignment of power among nations.

Bloomberg proposes greenhouse gas tax

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a national "pollution pricing" plan Friday that would tax companies directly for the greenhouse gases they release.

"If you really want to reduce carbon emissions, tax carbon at the source, which would mean at the mine head, at the oil well, whatever," Bloomberg told more than 100 other mayors at a climate summit sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Food crisis looms as climate change, fuel shortages bite

Empty shelves in Caracas. Food riots in West Bengal and Mexico. Warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan Africa. Soaring prices for basic foods are beginning to lead to political instability, with governments being forced to step in to artificially control the cost of bread, maize, rice and dairy products.

Record world prices for most staple foods have led to 18% food price inflation in China, 13% in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10% or more in Latin America, Russia and India, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Wheat has doubled in price, maize is nearly 50% higher than a year ago and rice is 20% more expensive, says the UN. Next week the FAO is expected to say that global food reserves are at their lowest in 25 years and that prices will remain high for years.

Here's a story that is sort of about oil...

U.S. Navy Holds Exercises in Persian Gulf


Do ya' think they will "exercise" their jets over Iran?

E. Swanson

UK is sending/sent their carrier.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Hmmm...throw in the State of Emergency in Pakistan and Iraq getting ready to "deal" with Kurdish terrorists.

Just another day of fun and excitement around the Middle East.

And Citigroup is insolvent.

They can't afford to do a Merrill.

"The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which carries out the central bank's open market operations, moved Thursday to inject $41 billion in temporary reserves into the financial system.

A New York Fed spokesman said it was the largest single day of operations since $50.35 billion was pumped into the system on Sept. 19, 2001, following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He declined further comment."

That would make about $700 Billion injected by the CB's
since August.

Reuters/Elaine Supkis:

" Credit default swaps on Ambac have surged to around 620 basis points, or $620,000 per year for five years to insure $10 million in debt, from 185 basis points a month ago, according to data provided by CMA DataVision.

Its shares have tumbled nearly 60 percent since the beginning of October, 41 percent this week alone.

Ambac and MBIA both reported third-quarter losses last week caused by their writing down the market value of their respective credit derivative portfolios, which are used to insure assets including residential mortgages against default.

This is a major failure. This is deep beneath the surface of the waters, like the Titanic ripping its hull underwater, these organizations we will visit tonight are similar: they are the hull of the banking system. They are the ones who are supposed to protect the banking system from failure and they are now failing, themselves. This is serious."


Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

One of TOD staff noted yesterday that Citigroup's balance sheet is worth $2.3 trillion, while the FDIC's is worth only 2.3 billion. Doesn't bode well if it comes to a bailout.

I think Citi's still sending me bills, for money they'll never be able to get (I'll never have) so that's several thou still on the books that really doesn't exist...

Hey it ain't much but I'm doing my part, are you?

Arrgh. I typed that wrong. It should be Citigroup 2.3 trillion, FDIC, 50 billion. Better, but not by much.

I bailed out of Citi long ago. They plecked me off by charging me trick fees and outrageous interest rates when I was a poor student. Then I read about all the things they do to try and make your payment late, even if it was mailed on time. So they can charge you late fees, of course. I decided then and there that I would never carry another Citi credit card.

I'm sure that there a lots of good people that work for financial institutions, but one of very few good things to come out of the financial meltdown and Peak Oil is that a lot of the bloodsuckers are going to be out on the street.

I'm sure you know what the credit card industry calls people who don't carry balances on their cards: "deadbeats."


I was a gratuitous deadbeat until last month - four years I'd had the card, $2,300 limit, and I have 41,000 "points" - that would be $41,000 cycled through it over the time. Every once in a while a $500 balance would sneak through, but it wasn't often.

Now work is slow, I'm hurt, payment is late, and the $410 rebate I am due can't be applied to my balance due to my card's "status". If I have the $200 to bring it current then I can get the $410 I've "earned".

Capital One has "earned" a good snipping once I retrieve my $410 and pay off the balance ...

I still have fresh memories of 1999, $10 oil and how tough it was to pay all of the bills on time. Matter of fact, I'm still in the $10 oil office I moved into in 1999--crowded, but functional--and I'm driving the same Toyota that I was driving at that time too.

Once you have been through the wringer a couple of times, old habits die hard. Besides, as I said before I suspect that conspicuous consumption is going to become both stupid and socially unacceptable.

I understand the $10 oil office. I moved mine then as well, but fixed a pot of $8.00 beans this last week. My (new) wife doesn't understand, thinks $87.00 beans, where you just eat the steak and asparagus and leave the beans for another day, looks better. All the same, we spent yesterday building a new fence to keep a neighbors calves off our pretty good pasture so we can use it for our own horses and cow.

Now, about those durn horses. She can't accept that we may need them to get to the wells if gas gets really tight. I hope that we can get enough gas for the pumpers so I don't have to double up - don't think the horse wants that either.

Very Glad I got away from Capital One..
Scary the way their hooks got in..
Snip 'em as soon as you're able.


SCT and possibly others,

There is NOTHING like divorce to wake one up to reality.

I have been in and out of divorce court, lawyers, arguing, hassles and all the rest of it for three years..

One finally develops a very tough layer of new skin and a different outlook on the world and society and the other sex.

No more,,I promised , never again,never would I allow anyone to paint me into a corner again or put me in a box situation.Never.

I will be responsible to no one ever again except myself.

When I left the military I wished to marry and raise a family. Due to strange shifts in our American morals and society that went topsy turvy.

I finally discovered one fact..the word 'love' is naught but a codeword..designed to screw over people. Used by miscreants and bullshitters simply to use other people.

Never shake the hand of someone you don't respect.When anyone starts a big line of bullshit, turn, walk away and don't look back. Never listen to the twaddle on 'reality shows', Oprah or Dr. Phil and the like..Believe nothing unless you can prove it to yourself.

Pay your bills , sleep well and find some friends you can really trust.Never loan them money though. If you do them a favor and they never repay the favors? Lose them. If you go to church...never never never go forward. Make your promises and vows to 'yourself'. Not to others. If you say you are going to do something,,then do it. Live in the country and own your property,free and clear,and then you have real freedom and can do exactly as you like..Screw the rest.

airdale-good dogs,well trained make excellent companions

It wasn't just society-at-large's understanding of energy that was broken.

Society's understanding of how humans function socially and developmentally was also broken, and thus the system of law is broken. Society's understanding of sexual relationships and gender roles is broken.

The deep, fundamental, systemic flaws in our civilized way of life have always been masked by our exploitation of human and natural resources which fueled our growth.

"I will be responsible to no one ever again except myself."

This philosophy is part of what has brought us to where we are today, and will be increasingly unsustainable with the decline of cheap energy. No man is an island, entire unto itself. There is no community of one.

But there's nothing wrong with enlightened self-interest.

"No man is an island, entire unto itself. There is no community of one."

Some nice homilies..worthless since they are not being applied to 'self' like mine are....your speaking of community and you cannot control community...whereas I can ,and you can to, have control over and of yourself...

Community might take your life if it doesn't think you are doing as they like...

Thats why we live in a land that has plenty of freedom yet community constantly strives to limit that individual freedom.

For instance..one used to have control of one's children..a father or mother had the right to chastise and punish wrong or bad behaviour(the family is NOT a community)..and the community had no right to interfere...years ago the 'community' took more and more control of my offspring..to the point that they were no longer under me or my wife's control...

We now see the evidence of that stupidity. Dumbed down children, children who have no real future..and the list is long.....

I know you will disagree but that matters not a whit..I am in charge of myself. As long as I do not take away others rights then I have all my own personal rights.

Perhaps called libertarian but I don't consider myself aught but a normal person who desires his own right to chose his lifestyle.

Go ahead and think that when TSHTF that suddenly , very suddenly all the aberrant behaviour that we see in our society is going to change overnite and we will all love one another and just have common hugfests.

You will die as the grouphugs fail to produce a livelhood and those in charge take what you have.

Good luck with that...I think your a youngster with rose colored glasses...more and more I see this on TOD of late.
Its wishful thinking.

When the kids are not small they're no longer your children, they're her children, and if she isn't really capable prejudices are such that they become the state's children.

Mine are lucky. When my wife was incapable mommy's money and the strong Jewish community frowned at her misbehavior and the nanny held things together. I've met some other fellows caught in this trap and the poor children ... well ... someone should be beaten ... repeatedly ... and I'm not sure who. A shotgun and bow season on the so called "family law attorney" would be an excellent start at correcting the problem, and instead of criminal charges a small bounty from the county agent like they used to give for pocket gopher feet ...


I think that Robert Frost had it just about right:

"Good fences make good neighbors"

Mending Wall

i have a balance on a citi card at 4.99% until paid in full. there have been a few times i sweated the payment being late but i have never paid a late fee. it is best to send the payment as soon as the statement is recieved, of course this requires some cashflow management (and if one is living paycheck to paycheck, forget it). besides not paying any late fees, the amount of interest you pay is reduced. not much, but the interst saving is more than the interest paid on a typical checking account.

and of course you cant "use" the card as long as you have one of these loans.

At this point, I don't pay any interest. I've been a "deadbeat" for years, and I'm trying to keep it that way. (Though I sometimes wonder if runaway inflation will make me wish I ran up some debt.)

I like the Discover card. They've always been very good to me. Like when a massive blizzard shut down the northeast, they forgave the late payment when I called to explain. The mail simply wasn't moving. (That "rain nor snow" crap is just that, crap.) Plus, they give you cash back. Sometimes as much as 5% for special items like gasoline.

And they've got some really nice designs. So nice I actually ordered some extra cards, just for the pretty artwork. (I'm currently carrying the baseball one.)

Anyways, now I almost always pay online. You have more control over when the payment is credited, and I figure it's probably better for the environment, too.

I was always really good about not carrying a balance on a CC, always good about paying stuff down, paid off my student loans, etc., but when I got a small biz it all changed.

Imagine someone falling into a gambling addiction, or the kind of mentality that takes normal Americans and turns them into home-ATM junkies. It always seemed more money was coming in, it seemed if I needed money all I had to do was work a bit more or (and this may be crucial) find a "big deal", which in my case meant finding a few to several grand's worth of equipment or parts and cashing in big on those.

Completely idiotic behavior. I saw it in a lot of ebay addicts actually. One guy I know has to use up the equity in his house and hit rock bottom and then and only then will he attain some sanity again. At least he has more of a safety net than I do (I think).

This kind of addictive behavior is puzzling. It explains why lottery winners often end up much worse off after a few years, and why normally frugal medical students go wild and get into financial trouble once they're full-fledged doctors. An author was fascinated with this and ended up writing the book "Affluenza" about this.

On a somewhat related note...

A few weeks ago I rented a U-haul to move some of my stuff to a new location where I am currently working. When I went to fill the truck with gas the pump automatically shut off at $75.00 even though the tank was not quite full.

After the third time this happened I asked the attendant on duty why this was. She replied that the credit card companies started doing this some time ago. Another customer at the counter told me that I could call the CC company and have my "limit" changed.

I found this a bit amusing since I travel a lot with work and it is not uncommon for me to have 2 or sometimes 3 thousand dollars a month in business expenses on the same card which are promptly paid at he end of the month when I get my expense check.

Since credit card companies get a fee from the business for conducting the transaction one would think that they would want the CC holder to use the card as much as possible unless there is some other reason they don't want just anyone buying lots of gas....

I am not buying the credit card fraud angle because if any purchases are outside of normal spending patterns they will deny the transaction until the purchaser's ID has been verified.

I can say that this policy was not in effect a year and a half ago (using the same CC) when I moved across country using a much larger truck with a much larger gas tank!

I posted this article last June.

It is a fraud protection measure, by the credit card companies. However, not all gas stations comply with it. And there's no limit if you go inside to pay. It only applies to pay at the pump.

They claim it's been in place for a long time, but people only started to notice it when the prices went so high. They're bumping up against the limit, when they never would before, no matter how empty their tanks.

I reckon most folks are aware of it, but with a bit of discipline you can freeload off the 'perks' of a number of cards without paying them anything.

Some give you 3-5% back on gas and groceries, many will give you 1% rebate on everything; getting an airline affiliate card generally will get you 20k bonus miles for charging less than 1k on the card, and most of them will give you the first year at no fee. So take the perks, take the bonuses, take the flier miles, use their money to 'float' your bills until the payment is due; and they also supply an extra level of protection if a transaction goes bad.

The same adaptive mechanisms they use to screw people over work both ways. And by changing airline affiliate cards every 6 months you can get a free RT each year just from the 'starter bonuses'.... in case you need such.

There are various lists online which compile the current deals. You'd think nobody would offer me a card anymore, since I haven't paid a penny in fees on one in two decades, but they all seem to think they'll be the ones to break me; they're compulsive gamblers.

This is probably a highly temporary situation, but you never know.

Surviving on a pittance is great fun even if you have a bit more than a pittance, and probably good practice.

I'm asking this both for my sake and my mother's sake. We both have IRA and brokerage accounts at Smith Barney in Dallas, where our broker is a vice president. Smith Barney is owned by Citi. We have a variety of stock and bond funds, a few common and preferred stocks, and a couple of limited partnerships. Is there any possibility of Wall Street-Bush legal chicanery that would prevent me from cashing out those accounts?

I've been saving about $1000 a month lately because of my concerns about the crumbling American system, but I kept it in my local bank, which is now owned by Capital One, because I was too nervous about whether far-away Citi could turn into a black hole in a crash. Is anyplace really safe these days?

Is anyplace really safe these days?

My guess would be "no." :-(

The Catastrophist View

You might want to post your question to Stoneleigh in one of the finance roundups.

Thanks for the suggestion.

If what I've seen the last week indicates I'm going back to work, such as life is for a consultant, I'm going to do a sort of formal inventory of food, fuel, & whatnot, then I am going to keep paper money, silver, and some cash in Paypal.

There are Paypal haters here, but take it for what it is - a funny financial instrument that lets you whip up temporary credit cards that expire after one use and easily purchase trifles from Ebay. Do not hook it up to your main bank account, in fact its probably best to hook it to an account at an entirely different bank.

I would say you need to look closely at the Ferfal fellow's writings about TSHTF in Argentina. The Bush administration does not respect the rule of the law and that is the only thing that makes those accounts "your money", right?

There are days I wish things had been better for me post divorce, but on the other hand I'm grateful ... the fall others will experience came for me in 2002 and I'm all past mourning and/or thinking that "stuff" is terribly important.

Ferfal's articles a few years ago were great. The site that had archived them has disappeared, but he's begun posting at survivalblog.com. But stuff like his is what makes me afraid to keep gold bars at home.

Now I'm remember a story I wrote where a corrupt CIA guy had hidden his wealth buying weird antiques that weren't obviously hyper-expensive: Purdey shotguns, early Sinatra records, a Federal-period chair and a collection of duck decoys, one of which is actually painted-over solid gold. I'd been watching a lot of Antiques Roadshow back then.

What antiques do you think will hold their value if this entire collapse is being rigged to keep the extremely wealthy extremely wealthy? I mean, what appeals to people in mercenary-defended palaces aspiring to be barons?

$50,000 cap & ball Dragoon Colt - two kinds of security in one.

I am not so sure I am the one to answer this. My one brush with wealth was making the mistake of marrying the baby from a wealthy Jewish family some years back and those years were more about conspicuous consumption than gathering and accumulating. My own personal experiences are those of the child of depression babies where the major earner was disabled just as I became old enough to work.

This being said, if I had $50k I wanted to turn into post apocalypse mad money I would ...

Buy a $3,000 beater minivan, a baseball hat, and some tinted sunglasses. I'd leave the in transit tags in place, strategically place some paperwork to cover the VIN, and I'd be carefully converting my holdings into ammunition, weapons purchased at a premium without any paper trail, spare magazines, spare parts, and so forth.

I wouldn't do the whole $50k up this way. Those who are gun crazy believe the world will continue as it is, except for Bad Guys(tm) who will come to get them. This is like the people who put all of their excess money into life insurance and ignore having a $20 tucked into the visor of the car in case they run out of gas.

What other things have the magic three characteristics for a post apocalyptic world, with those being utility, portability, and rarity?

Silver seems a good bet, better than gold to me, as it is in smaller denominations, less valuable, and less likely to raise eyebrows.

Some here have advised the purchase and storage of alcohol. I took a look around the liquor department a few weeks back and decided against it, but some years ago I made a half hearted attempt to drown myself in the stuff. I also think that those who are thirsty will be off and brewing just like they did during the prohibition - it might not taste as good, but even guys in jail figure out how to cook up a batch of tomato jack with just a little indulgence from the guards.

I think if you had a doctor who was just a tad bit crooked you could do well stocking up on various supplies. The controlled stuff is obviously watched but there are lots of things that have shelf life and value - antibiotics and such.

I personally plan on laying in a good bit of heirloom seeds as cash begins to flow, but that is something that fits well here in the thinly populated wild lands. Your mileage may vary ...

I suspect solar panels and wind turbines are going to be desirable based on location. They're small, cheap, transportable, etc, etc. Don't skip on the control widgets, manuals, and whatnot ...

So I hope I've given you some ideas ... there are things one needs the day after TSHTF, the month after, and the year after. Just be mindful of what those will be in your area, diversify, and don't put all your eggs in one basket, as what we're talking about here is a new style of saving rather than one monolithic "investment".

You can buy antibiotics in pet stores (think fin rot in goldfish) for old types, and in Mexico for new types. Gold and silver work, actual modern day change works if they decide to pull a few zeros off the dollar, just keeping an extra bottle of dish detergent, extra rolls of paper towels, extra container of salt, extra light bulbs, etc.
If it's imported, real cost could go up about ten times. Our dollar is seriously overvalued.
Printer cartridges dry out, canned goods go stale, gasoline in your garage is dangerous, etc.

I've been through this before. Back in '98 I worried about Y2K enough to take steps. Yeah, call me paranoid - paranoia saved my ass on more than one occasion. And it did me no harm on this occasion. Well, made me look a little ridiculous - but who isn't a little ridiculous anyway?

I began by rejecting the "head for the hills" and "stock up on bullets" memes as just bloody stupid. Repeat after me: You are not Charlton Heston. Charlton Heston is not Charlton Heston. Law and order - even martial law and military order - make it far easier to survive post apocalypse than pretending you can be ready for anything. Dispense with the camper van and the ammo. They won't keep you alive. Focus on the basics: shelter, water, food, medicine.

Shelter. My first step in protecting my family and myself was to purchase a home near a military base. Being reasonably in the chips at the time I picked Coronado island in San Diego. Half the island is navy installations and the other half is retired military folks. No chaos there even under the most extreme circumstances.

Water. I picked a home with a swimming pool. Cover the pool and there's a handy reservoir of non-potable water. But 2 blocks away is the pacific ocean anyway. Anyone can build a solar still from a sheet of glass and some black plastic bin liners - it's trivially easy to do even ad hoc. So much for water.

I lashed out and bought a solar cooker. Beautiful thing about 3 feet in diameter, all flat mirrors so there was no way to burn yourself with a parabolic focus. Y2K never came, of course, but I used this beauty for 3 straight thanksgivings and it roasted the tastiest turkeys I ever et in no more time than a regular cooker. If you have to ad hoc one of these go google Steve Jones's design for a "solar funnel". It's a lot easier than you'd think.

Food. I bought pinto beans and rice in easy installments and stored them in airtight plastic buckets in the underfloor space. Got some airtight buckets of powdered soy and spices as well. For about $500 I stashed enough food to keep my little family's bodies and souls together for 2 years. Not much food will keep without refrigeration beyond 2 years though, so that brings us to our next point ...

Community! You need people. You need people who will care about you in a pinch, who will help when you're sick or injured. You need doctors, plumbers, electricians, handymen and most of all good honest friends. I spent some time reaching out, getting to know neighbours and tradespeople by first names. Coronadans are about as close to eachother as Americans get. There's still that intransigent spirit of independence ... Americans don't seem able to bond the same way Canadians, Irish or Australians do. The ex-military folks are trained to rely on each other, however, and if you're stand up then they'll stand up for you too.

Y2K never came. In 2003 I sold the joint for twice what I paid for it. I guess if I were living in America for peak oil I'd be trying to buy it again, but there's more than a little water under the bridge ...

My peak oil strategy is much simpler than my Y2K strategy. I just moved back to Australia. 200 years of LPG in the ground, plenty of room for people to spread out still, and so long as you're along the coast there's no shortage of water. Even if there were there's the solar still again. And lots of fish in the water - no one will every go hungry here so I can forget about the pinto beans ...

We Are Waves On The River Of Mind

I think your Y2K plan is among the most reasonable I've ever seen for peak oil preparation. If you have the money for it, anyway.

However, I'm not sure about your Australia plan. Do you really think there's enough fish to support everyone for years? I seriously doubt it. Look at how depleted Hawaii's fish stocks are, just from recreational fishing.

My Y2K plan was done on credit ;-)

The south pacific is fish-depleted too but nowhere near as bad as the north pacific or the atlantic. People fish quite happily even from the wharfs in Sydney harbour. I watch them while I wait for the ferry. I've seen handlines pull in some more than dinner-plate size flathead, bream, sole ...

You might not want to eat what comes out of the harbour - there were some pretty dirty manufacturing facilities here a generation or two back - but the rest of the coast is damned clean. I mean walk up the beach and collect crabs and clams clean. And there's a lot of coast for just 20 million people here. We don't need a giant industrial apparatus to survive.

Australia's far enough away from the Powers that, so long as we just keep on efficiently sending primary resources north, it won't be in anyone's interests to permit a disruptive invasion. Our people have a culture of mutualism, enviornmentalism, and courtesy. Australia is not without its warts - but that's all they are at present, not open suppurating wounds infected with staphilococcus like the northern countries.

And then, if climate change becomes really severe, there's this big empty continent to the south. I'm not saying I expect my son to become King of Antarctica ... but he's a fine boy and the Antarcticans could do worse!

We Are Waves On The River Of Mind

What antiques do you think will hold their value

Aged cheddar cheese?

Yeah, if things really get that bad, you don't want people to even think you might have any gold.

I don't think collectibles will hold their value, aside from their utility. Who's going to want to buy your Hank Aaron baseball card or your Queen Anne desk if they don't have money for food or fuel? During the Great Depression, rich people bought up jewelry, land, antiques, and other heirlooms at pennies on the dollar.

There are going to be a lot of sellers and not many buyers, so I don't see antiques as being a particularly good investment.

Be Aware---if you're foolish enough to set up your PayPal account with a CC (I was) and you run into a real 'deadbeat', PayPal will only reimburse you for $200 of your loss. So now, I don't get my pump, I don't pass GO, and I only get a lousy $200. :(

That's another reason I like Discover. They will reimburse you for PayPal deadbeats. Visa and MC won't. (At least, that's how it was when I signed up. And I have had Discover reimburse me for PayPal deadbeats, and it was no problem.)

super390 - Look into "junk silver" coins, spendable and should go up in value if slowly - much better than a crumbling USbuck.

$1000 a month is problematical. For me, I'd put it into said "junk" silver, good books that I know are worth more than I can get 'em for (used to trade in books so YMMV) and basically hide the money in some way/place that's not a bank which has to report everything to homeland suckurity after all.

Isn't this how bank runs get started?

Not that I'm complaining mind you, I'm just observing ...

Bank runs start about five years after all the money has disappeared, when the bank can no longer paper over the losses. Panic first.

We've already had bank runs. Northern Rock and Countrywide.

Northern Rock had a run with people around the block - did Countrywide have this also? I've not seen anything in Drum Beat about it.

There was some discussion in the DrumBeat. Might have been more in Stoneleigh's roundups.

I usually don't post stories about bank failures. Interesting as they are, they aren't really energy stories. Though they'll certain complicate our attempts to deal with peak oil.

This is what I don't understand about the Iran situation:

If there is a real threat from Iran, Israel will take care of it. So why does the US keep insisting on getting involved?

Is it because Israel would only neutralize the threat, but the US wants regime change? To a regime that would give Anglo-US corporations access to Iran's oil?

The Bushies are still trying to make their own reality !!

I think the US is desperately trying to keep Israel from "taking care of it." That would inflame the region, far more than if the US did it.

Iran views, and has stated, that there s no difference between Israel and the US.

The US controls all airspace around Iran.

Iran will retaliate v both with any pre emptive strike.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I don't think the US gives a rats' rear what Iran thinks. Obviously, they're not going to be happy, no matter who bombs them.

It's the rest of the region they're concerned about. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, etc.

Remember during Gulf War I, when we protected Israel to keep them out of the fight? That's the kind of thinking going on now. Letting Israel get involved would be like throwing gasoline on the fire.

Exactly. Let's hope that whoever in driving our efforts to go to war with Iran really understands that.

But that really is the problem, now isn't it?

The Israeli's must have more gas, electric, oil,
and water. Like yesterday even.

And yet every move since the GWI has isolated Israel on all
4 wants.

Climate Change is harming all Med Climate nations now.

Israel being no exception.

Iran wins with the status quo.

And the US does realize that Iran can and will destroy
everything in the Persian Gulf.

And block the Straits.

"...Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, etc."

Let's see, Iraq is our nightmare.

KSA is lobbing 911 accusations from Bandar.

Jordan has 2 million Iraq refugees and 98%
of its populace hates the US.

Syria, "someone" just attacked them.
They have not forgotten.

Egypt, keep that wheat and weapons deals coming.
But Egypt is self sufficient in energy. So far.

And again, the Egyptian populace will not be kind
to Mubarak when we attack Iran.

The "etc.", like Kuwait, are lining up to 1)tell
the US not to attack Iran and 2) sell Dollars.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

The Missiles of November. Too many Franz Ferdinands to count.

It's a massive stretch to describe the US as controlling all the airspace around Iran - it most certainly does not control Turkish, Pakistani, Turkmenistani, Azerbaijani and Armenian airspace.

The US does have control of Iraqi airspace - but it should be remembered that this is under the terms of a UN mandate which allows the US to defend Iraqi airspace, not use it as an instrument for launching attacks on third parties.

"US forces are now spread out across a vast area stretching from the former Yugoslavia to Afghanistan. This includes new bases in Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, as well as military access short of full basing rights in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. This web of relationships is creating what amounts to an American “cordon sanitaire” separating Europe and Russia from the oil-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia. American forces along this belt look south as well as north—combined with the occupation of Iraq, Washington has effectively drawn a noose around Iran, likely its next major target for military aggression." From 2005 I think.

But the US has lost the game.

Every day brings more setbacks now.

We've had to do Martial Law in Pakistan.

Not the last time the US will be doing Martial Law.

"Commander of Russia's long-range strategic bombers, Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said that the bombers successfully carried out four mock Tu-95MS cruise missile launches, 200 mock bombings, and 53 mock sorties during the exercise. The RIA Novosti reported that the United States Air Force is currently investigating how the Tu-160's escaped detection.

Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said, "They were unable to detect the planes either with radars or visually."

Khvorov denies any link of the tests to the current US-Iranian tension, saying, "Of course, our exercises did not have anything to do with the situation in Iran, but their organization indirectly echoed in that region."

The Bottom line:

Anyone attacking Iran, the US and Israel will
be blamed.

Retaliation will be swift.

"A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration's relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear
strike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia."


Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

One of the rumours I've heard is that the reason Bush hasn't attacked Iran already is because of "foot-dragging" by senior generals, in key positions, who have let it be known that they are "unhappy" at the prospect of launching an attack without Congressional approval, or a declaration of war.

Now, disobeying a direct order from the commander in chief to attack Iran could be defined as treason, but in the real world things are more complicated. Passive opposition to an unpopular president on his way out, is something else. Is it possible that senior officers are really in opposition to Bush's war plans?

A frightening story which may be connected to this partial "mutiny" by key military personnel, is the recent case of the "missing nukes" when six cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were flown across the Midwest from North Dakota to Louisiana without authorization; something which is supposed to be impossible to achieve and covered by fool-proof security procedures, for obvious reasons.

How did this "mistake", as the USAF called it, happen? The whole episode is very odd, to put it mildly. Taking six nuclear warheads out of a guarded bunker on a air-base, taking them outside, fitting them onto six cruise missiles which come from another guarded area, attaching the missiles to a bomber, getting permisssion to take-off, flying across the US, landing in Louisiana... that's and awful lot of "mistakes" over and over again!

Is there another, worrying explanation? Was it, infact, a covert opperation, sanctioned by the Whitehouse, in order to obtain some "unregistered" nuclear weapons for the presidents "personal use" like an "insurance policy" in case somebody got the idea of refusing an "illegal" order to nuke Iran in the event of war?

Clearly this is all rather speculative, but the story of the "missing nukes" is so strange and bizarre, that one can't help wondering, no?

"There are roads one does not follow.
There are armies one does not strike.
There are cities one does not attack.
There are grounds one does not contest.
There are commands of the sovereign one does not accept."

Sun Tzu (c. 544 BC – 496 BC), "The Art of War"

Clearly this is all rather speculative

We all have a whole lotta speculation going on WRT Middle East "policy" and the US of A actions.

If they're retaliating, it's not pre-emptive (duh). And Iran doesn't have the means to hurt Israel, let alone the US, in any strategically decisive way. And they know it. They might be able to kill a few civilians, but that's not the same thing.

If Israel couldnt 'take care of it' in Southern Lebanon I have serious doubts about their ability to 'take care of it' in Iran.

Possibly. But it's a different problem. They were basically trying to enact regime change in Lebanon. That tends to be messy.

Iran will be more like Israel's attack on Iraq. No attempt at regime change, just destroying the nuclear plants/labs, etc. The goal being simply to set them back a few years.

Whether it would work is a whole 'nother story, of course.

I made my reply to your earlier post, before seeing this post of yours.

What happened when Israel took care of Saddam's nuclear plant?

What happened just a few weeks ago when Israel took care of Syria's (presumably) nuclear plant?

Israel may have lost some face in the recent bombing of Lebanon, but they did punish Hezbollah and reduce the Katusha rockets attacks from there. No regional conflagration ensued.

Israel is the known enemy of most muslim states in the region. They are also the acknowleged superpower in the region. They are not going to lose any friends if they take action; they have a real stake in not letting any (other) mideast state getting nuclear capability. The US really does not, except in the hyperimagination of the neocons. If the US really did, they would not let Pakistan become a nuclear power.

I am not saying that Israel is morally justified in these actions; just that they actually face the threats and they have the means to neutralize the threats. The US does not need to get involved, unless there are motives other than "islamofascist threats".

Well, that's exactly it. From the US point of view, Israel is right in defending herself. Only they'd rather we do it for them, because it's less inflammatory.

There was a ruckus raised after Israel bombed Iraq, and the area is more of a tinderbox now. Plus, Iran has learned from Iraq's mistake, and would require a lot more bombing.

As for Syria...what bombing? Everyone's denying it happened. Al-Jazeera is reporting the USAF did it, not Israel.

jimvj, you seem to assume a great deal. No one can say with absolute certainty that Iran does not already have nuclear weapons. After the fall of the CCCP there were many unguarded nukes and nuke scientists for sale. Where did they go? In addition, Iran has had contact and made purchases from Dr. Khan, father of the Pakistani Nukes and seller of nuke technology and hardware...Dr.Khan, the man that had close ties with Iran, Lybia, N. Korea, and other nations. Pakistan has never agreed to let the US interrogate Dr.Khan so we do not know what he sold or to whom, except in the case of Lybia.

Israel lost more than a 'little face' when they could not defeat Hezbollah in S.Lebanon...They lost a lot of face because it was the first time that any Muslim force had battled against Israel and made a draw of the conflict. To fight to a draw against the US armed ally in the ME that has unlimited US weapons, intelligence(?), and training at their disposal is, in the eyes of Muslims and many others, a victory.

Any attack against Iran that does not take out the long range rockets of Hezbollah will lead to a great deal of destruction in the major population centers of Israel. Hezbollah made that amply clear after the end of the last attack on Lebanon. The noose is not around Iran, but Israel. In reality it is Israel that is being held hostage. Isreal has the options of using nuclear weapons or staying clear of conflict. If Israel chooses nukes they risk a nuke response from who knows where. If the US uses nukes against Iran, Israel is still in the noose because they are considered as an ally of the US and will be fair game. Israel, once a strong strategic ally and asset of the US, has become a potential target and debit by their lack of ability to deal Hezbollah a crushing blow. One must look at the chess board from both sides prior to making a move in such a potentially deadly game. It is rumored that the Persians invented chess.

Its a poisonous brew - the disloyal Christian Right want their end of days, the MIC wants to sell more weapons, the oil companies fantasize that the Iranians will let them loot the country in peace after a sufficient beating, and at the center of it all we have a drunk and drug addict with his finger hovering over the global thermonuclear war button.

I do so hope he is safely maneuvered from the Oval Office to a nice, rectangular cell at The Hague, but there are far too many things that could go wrong between point A and point B ...

Amen to that!

If there is a real threat from Iran, Israel will take care of it.

You are vastly over estimating the power of Israel and the difficulty of having real effect on Iran's nuclear program. If the Bushies want a regional war, they are going to have to step up to it themselves.

The fun part about Israel "taking care of it" is that Israel has been threatening to take care of Iranian nuclear sites since....1995! That's a 12-year history of direct threats to do something about Iran. The crickets are still chirping and the world is still waiting.

If we so desire, we can go back even further than that with Israel trying to persuade the US - in the wake of Desert Storm in 1991 - to bomb Iran because the Iranians had acquired nuclear weapons from the FSU.

The Israeli "strategy" has always been to get the US to do whatever dirty work needs to be done - and this is a political/diplomatic/propaganda/intelligence task, not a military one.

My guess is that Israeli intelligence has determined that the Iranian nuclear threat is not yet sufficiently mature. So they are probably biding their time and preparing. They let Sadam Hussein's plant get to within weeks of operational capability.

Your comment on Israel using the US is spot on. But it does not imply that Israel could not and would not do the task themselves if they thought it really was necessary.

I think what is really missing here is an understanding modern naval warfare. Aircraft carriers are in a similar situation to battleships at the outbreak of WW2. Submariners say there are only 2 types of ships: submarines and targets.

The US commander in the area, Admiral Fallon,
opposed the sending of
a third carrier task force to the Gulf not because he is a man of peace, but because he does not want to lose his capital ships.

The Persian Gulf (yes, it is Persian and that is why the Saudis in the Eastern, oil producing province, are Shia and that is why the people in Basra are Shia), is little more than a large lake with a narrow opening. It is hard to think of a worse place to send aircraft carriers into except for the Great Lakes, perhaps.

The Iranians are equipped with an array of missiles for destroying surface warships - see Sunburn Missile

Furthermore, if things deteriorated to that extent, the Gulf would be closed and the US Army in Iraq would rapidly run out of supplies. I believe that I read somewhere on TOD that this army is using orders of magnitude more fuel than what their grandparents used in WW2.

Let's get real, the Iranians are prepared to lose 1 million soldiers to defend their country. Are the Americans prepared to lose 100,000 so that the soccer mums can keep their SUV's?

I really hope that Shrub and Co. do not take such a dangerous step. Obviously, if Israel were to attack, Teheran would assume that they were acting with the approval of the USA. I mean, when was the last time any US politician suggested doing something that Israel opposed?

Personally I think Iran would be very ill-advised to contemplate launching a full-scale counter-attack on US naval ships in the Gulf, in the event of US airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.

I think Bush would answer with nuclear stikes against Iran. This of course could also spin out of control. How would Russia and China react to an American nuclear strike on Iran, how would the rest of the world react?

The other day I had the horrible feeling that we were somehow back in 1914, and everything was tinder-dry, and all one needed was a little spark to set everything aflame.

I think we may be far closer to something really terrible than most of us realize. The Russians have recently begun to send some of their bombers on long-range flights again. This is a clear and symbolic signal they are sending. It means, we are not asleep, we are alert, and we are prepared to defend our national interests if we are forced to. Putin recently implied that the Whitehouse was run by homicidal maniacs armed with cut-throat razors who were destabilizing the world. Bush recently made a "flippant" remark about World War Three. Pakistan is sliding towards civil-war due to the massive internal opposition to the "war on terror" and the US supported military regime.

We are living in really dangerous times. The way things are going Peak Oil is going to be the least of our worries!

There would be no "contemplation". They would just do it.

The present situation is very similar to that preceding WW1. Nobody in power really wanted war then - why risk everything for an uncertain return.

Part of the problem then was that wars depended heavily on mobilizing vast numbers and moving them about by railways successfully. Once started, this process is irreversible without causing massive chaos and risking surprise and defeat.

We are in a similar bind. The Iranians would much rather use their weapons while these weapons are available - they saw what happened in Iraq and learnt a lot.

There is zero chance of US jets "exercising" over Iran.

Legislature begins planning for oil shortage

HARTFORD — Lawmakers led by Rep. Terry Backer and Sen. Bob Duff on Thursday warned of potential dire consequences if Connecticut ignores the soaring price and plummeting worldwide availability of oil.

Shortened the excerpt, since this article has been posted to DrumBeats twice before.

Sorry about that; managed to somehow overlook it both times.

I'm just psyched that my state is out in front of it! (relatively!)

I've been following this story because one of the guys at PO.com was involved in it. You can make a difference! (Though I suspect it's easier in a small state like CT.)

For the last few months, I've been messing around with a second computer, on winXP and Ubuntu. Internet television is blossoming, audio podcasting and video podcasting is blossoming, and Miro has taken a great deal of timeshare away from my other entertainment. The writer's strike has the potential to springboard this into a major medium, gaining 5-10% eyeballshare and vastly increasing the trivial amounts of money that are currently producing hundreds of hours of content a day not even including the four main topics (kevin rose, leo laporte, alcohol, and tech/internet news).

I happened upon a channel called TEDTalks, which consists of videos from the Technology/Entertainment/Design conference, which is somewhere between an international gathering of NGOs, a VC pitch asking for $100k, and a Barcamp. It is, frankly, fantastically interesting 20 minute presentations from fantastically interesting people. Recommended.

And what did I spot, but the 2004 presentation of James Howard Kunstler, outlining his views on architecture and urbanism. See it here:

I first met Jim in 2004, when he did a presentation in Dallas (including a take no prisoners report on Peak Oil). He pointed out some buildings that were so unpleasant that homeless people refused to congregate around them. I've always thought that Jim is a man in mourning--mourning for what the country was, for what it has become and for what it could have been.

Me too.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Kunstler's Eyesore Of The Month on his site is must viewing.

I take him with a very large grain of (kosher?) salt, the last time he ended up without power in his town he had something like a tin of smoked oysters and a Perrier for supplies, and got into his car and drove to where there is power.

He's pro-war and for more on that you'll have to read his writings and archives.

But he is VERY good at using colorful language and getting the basic message across.

Do check out his Eyesores, it will make you want to hang the architects and leave the lawyers alone.

Like a lot of others, he is pro-war when others get to do the fighting and suffering. He has clearly never been in one himself.

nod. If you want to get his dander up, start talking about Israel's policy in the Middle East.

If one was to somehow comment on Palastine and architecture (perhaps Arafat and his civil engineering degree) he'd blow a gasket.

I've read 'The Long Emergency' and his blog each week, and I wouldn't consider him pro-war...

In the context of Iran - yea, he's all about start'n something.

Yes I have been working through the TED presentations also as I come in to my shop at 6am and turn something on while I cook, (home and a nap by 2 or 3 then get to work ELPing).

Here are a few other sites to find high quality content video;




You can also search google video for university lecture series, Berkely has some great ones.


Dealing with Dialup.

I have been wanting to give those like me who are only able to access the internet via a dialup connection. I suspect that many of those do not contribute more to TOD because of being limited by dialup connections and hence their views are not as
visible as those with broadband, who can post far more than those of us on dialup.

Ok..some hints then as to how to overcome some of the problems with dialup and its slow connection speed.

1: Its far better to use Firefox as your default browser. It has far more functionality than the others. You will see this below..I use version

2. Browse to TOD. for all further activities , such as choosing a key topic/post..use a new tab window..via File/NewTab or better yet just RIght Click on the subject and select New Tab..

3. While performing the above you will notice two things.the main TOD page is likely still 'loading' as evidenced by the icon in your SysTray..which has two tiny minature screen, one for sending,one for receiving..it takes a long time with dialup to load the HomePage of TOD and all its graphics,ads,etc...so then do this........

4. Hit STOP on that tab window for TOD..its a Red X..this then allows the new tab you opened to load much faster since you do not have two windows vying for the limited bandwidth.

5. Anytime you have the text loaded that you wish to view and the systray icon says something is still loading ..then hit the Stop icon..ALSO notice in the far upper right of you browser there is another icon..in the form of a small circle..that also indicate that THIS page is still loading.
Note: to see what you missed by hitting the STOP icon..you must then hit the RELOAD and that causes a total reload which is better to not do.Get what you want..hit stop if you want.read on and do whatever else..like another NewTab for further links..etc.

6. By wise observation of the icons indicating packets incoming or outgoing and usage of the NewTab,Stop and Reload functions you can far better browse the internet more productively.

There are more tricks which I can't recall at the moment but the above ones are the essentials.

Having two browsers up at one time is a killer..if both are loading up...a stable dead browser is ok..many tabs are ok if only one at a time is loading.

Note that one the internet TPTB have decided that apparently 'everyone' must have broadband and have crafted or uncrafted,their websites so that you are forced to look at each and every sleazy ad and banner BEFORE they show you what you really came to see. Therefore most ALL websites load via dialup very very very slowly. You can elect to not see images via you browser setttings..ok..but I don't do that...I have other ways..and some images I want..some I don't...

Note also that you are not just dealing with the website you selected..if you note the bar at the bottom of the broswer you are going through many many different website..'adclick',imgs-this and that,many other funny names'..this is so that everyone can 'track' you..via your ip and cookies..and they ALL want to set a cookie on you...

Preventing this: Use CookieSafe and take back control of your browser...use RefControl to manage your referrer settings so that they can't track you..they are inserting a penalty to your browser in their zeal to track your activity. This leads to degradation as your temps build up in size and the cookie files reach ridiculous heights.

Watch closely the icon in the systray and that one in the browser..and take proactive steps to keep it at a minimum.
You will be able to then have a more satisfying browsing experience and be more able to participate more meaningfully with the net.

As I remember other things I do I will try to pass them on for those who like me want to be able to use dialup since I live in the country and wish to have a presence on the web and TOD.

I suspect that many survivalist , like me, do not use the web and TOD much since we are busying making preparations while the cornucopians who are making none have the ability as a result to devote are more time to the internet and TOD.

Using a good browser with good tools and being wise in usage can go a long ways to alleviating this situation.

airdale-browse well, plant righteously and defecate wisely in ye gardens, the dirt will reward you for treating it so,attend a local church and be sure to bring a covered dish,its a 'good thing'.

And from another dialupper...

Get the Firefox addon called ImgLikeOpera to control the default image display settings of each tab (all/parent site only/cache only/none). My default is cache only and right-clicking on the placeholders to load what I'm interested in.

Go here for instructions on how to kill off inserted ads by aliasing their source URL to the localhost IP.

Off to pee on the compost ...

I'm going to try that extension myself, even though I have broadband. The site is really slow, and it's not helped by the huge images some of our contributors like to post. Some of which aren't even much related to the article. I've tried to explain why they shouldn't do that, and suggested more bandwidth-friendly ways of posting images, but most of them have little experience with web graphics, so there's a real learning curve. Plus, it's kinda like telling someone their baby's ugly. They don't take it well.

It is very easy to get a Flickr account and place images there. The site automagically produces embedding HTML - no brain power required beyond knowing how to cut and paste. This doesn't help the dialup folks but it would unload the TOD server ...

How fucked are we?

It does help dialup folks in that it's better to post a thumbnail than to use HTML to resize a big graphic.

However, the more different servers called by the page, the slower it loads, so it's not a perfect solution.

Your server doesn't call the images from other servers... my browser does. The waiting is all on the client side. Just make sure your browser is set to construct the page while images are still loading (This is automatic in Opera. Firefox and IE).


I know. But does it matter if it's our server or your browser? Slow is slow.


The time taken is directly related to the size of the file in question. A line in the part contributed by TOD will not slow down your server in any way. The image can come from elsewhere (I had this problem with one of my servers) and that is where the real quantitiy of data in an image lies.

The end-user does not have to wait for the image to load if her Internet connection is slow, the articles and comments will appear before the image as that is the way browsers work.

Once again, I am not saying it slows OUR server down. I'm saying it slows the page loading down for the end-user.

Here's how our tech guy, SuperG, put it:

For a given page, the web browser has to resolve the domain name for each server that hosts content. This can take a non-trivial amount of time, so when your content is hosted on several servers, it all adds up.

Also, if one of the external servers is slow, and can slow the whole page loading process. Basically, the page load is only as fast as the slowest host (like a version of the "weakest link").

An example of this is when we had all of the Reddit and Digg widgets. Every time you loaded the page, your browser had to go to the Reddit and Digg sites to get the widgets. We removed them to improve performance.

You said:

The end-user does not have to wait for the image to load if her Internet connection is slow, the articles and comments will appear before the image as that is the way browsers work.

That is not how it words with TOD, IME. Perhaps because of Drupal's oddities. You have to wait for the whole page to load, at least for the way I usually read it. (Searching for "new" tags.) The page jumps around and you lose your place, unless you wait for the whole thing to load.

I would also recommend Adblock Plus if you're on dialup.


I use Adblock Plus with great success. It allows me to select which sites I want to allow ads for. I allow ads for smaller blogs that REALLY need the ad revenue. Others that allow too many ads that flash and move (very annoying) I block. Under Preferences you can add a filter which is the key to using this Firefox Add-on. But if I am on Dial-up, then I just block everything as a matter of course.

I just tried this: Saved the source text from the TOD page I was reading to a text file: 192 KiloBytes.

Saved the same page as-is to a html-file with graphics: 348 KiloBytes, a ratio of ~ 1:2. Just a random impression, of course, but Leanans remarks about unnecessary graphics that can turn things to the worse are justified.

MS Internet Explorer allows turning off all images, by the way (and so does Firefox). Reading TOD is mostly fine without images, and you can still click on an empty image-frame and right-click "show image" and it will appear. IE shows it within the loaded page, Firefox shows the single image in a browser window.

Use MS IE?? I would rather eat broken glass.

Sometimes I want to see images..so I do that part differently.

There are many ways to skin a cat. However I wish every web monkey had to be force fed dialup at home.

Yes, I've resorted to blocking all images on really busy days, and with really graphics-heavy posts.

Part of the problem is that we don't have a graphic artist on staff, as a professional web site might. There are ways to make graphics web-friendly, with no visible loss of quality, but people lack the skills and tools to do it. Not going to name any names, but someone recently posted a graphic that was ten times bigger than it needed to be. And it didn't contain any information that couldn't be provided with plain old text. I blocked the sucker immediately. 500k for basically a decoration is ridiculous.

Another problem might be that many of our contributors are overseas. Broadband is a hell of a lot faster outside the US, so they may not realize how slow huge graphics are to Americans, even those with broadband.

And the American population is roughly 1/3 no internet at home, 1/3 on dial-up, and 1/3 on broadband, said broadband at varying speeds - I know people on broadband who are lucky to reach the higher dial-up speeds.

Access to broadband and to the internet in general will get WORSE for we subjects of the Empire, not better.

I pointed out that very thing, and was basically told, "The people I'm trying to reach are the elite, the movers and shakers, they won't be on dialup."

(That is not the view of all the staff. At least one of us actually is on dial-up. But still.)

Part of the problem is that we don't have a graphic artist on staff, as a professional web site might. There are ways to make graphics web-friendly, with no visible loss of quality

Leanan, there are Perl Modules and PhP packages that can do this on-the-fly. The size of jpg images can be reduced significantly without (visible) loss, as you know, and these packages can do it automatically. (I'm talking about local image files. Of course this will not work for remotely referenced graphics.)

TOD runs on PhP, so your administrator might want to look at http://de2.php.net/manual/en/ref.image.php

Interesting. That might be worth trying.

However, many of the images we post are better posted as GIFs or PNGs. (Preferable for charts, graphs, and other images with sharp edges and/or large areas of flat color.) JPG is a format designed for for photos.

The GD library converts all types of image files. You load an image of whatever type and stream/save it in whatever format you like. See http://de2.php.net/manual/en/function.imagepng.php for example.

Yes, but the problem is choosing which format is best. A human has to do that. Right?

Right - possibly I misunderstood your point :-)

There are a couple of aspects in regard to graphics file formats. You don't have legal issues with png since it's really 'open' other than gif or jpeg. You may want to use gifs if you need a transparent background.

On the other hand I don't really see advantages of one file type for charts. Go and search "chart.png", "chart.jpg" (.gif/.tif/.img/.bmp ..) on Google images. You'll find all of them, and I can't see so big differences. But it's up to you, of course.

There's a big difference in file size. For an image with large areas of flat color, like your average chart, a PNG or GIF will provide a better image with a much smaller file size than a JPG.

The reverse is true with a photo; a JPG will provide a much smaller file size than a PNG, with negligible loss in quality (at least if you do it right).

JPGs don't handle sharp edges well. (Such as text.) Text tends to look fuzzy, while it will be razor sharp with a PNG.

How about adding to the "Allowed HTML tags" below the comment space the code for properly resizing images? I post images so rarely that I never can remember it, so I'm afraid I've probably offended once or twice - sorry!

There is no HTML code for properly resizing images. HTML is a lousy way to resize images. Browsers do a very poor job of it. And it doesn't change the file size.

So, if you use HTML to force an image smaller, you're forcing people to download a big file, only to see just a small image.

If you use HTML to increase the image size, it looks awful:


And if you use the percentage tags, as many here like to do, you can't tell whether you'll be stretching or shrinking the image for any given user. If they are using a high screen resolution, your attempt to "shrink" the image will instead stretch it. Which generally looks terrible, and often makes text unreadable.

Just curious - do you use dial up because broadband is not available in your area, or is it your choice?

In broadband one has several choices..Satellite,ADSL/DSL or Cable..and some 802.11b/g.

But in the country most of the providers go for the cream on top and thats where there is more residential density..so they may offer cable in a small town but refuse to expand it into the whole county..the idiots in local government should force them to or else deny their requests to provide any cable..

Likewise the same for ADSL/DSL...

So that leaves Satellite and that is very expensive. Also upload speed sucks and sometimes has to be via POTS,with download via satellite...

So many of us really have no choice..we get dialup and note that in many cases it works poorly..not only that if a provider offers both dialup and broadband then he will let the dialup suffer poor performance so he can force users to switch to broadband...or just ignore the more scattered few.

And also the big providers don't like small areas of coverage(speaking of POTS) so they let small outfits with very poor service have those areas..in fact we were still on 'party lines' until just mhhhhh..maybe 7 years ago with some being able to request single line service but having to make a business case for it. In my case that was what I had to do and pay more than the rest for it.

Also the provider does not want to provide more modem racks that he simply has to so he has subtle ways of knocking you off the connection..every day around 7 AM my provider kills everyone even though I pay for 24 hr service..he figures that a lot of users left the connect up and went to bed..so he just kills everyone. Also they will periodically send a type of ICMP command down the line and check your line for errors..if a level is met they kill you forcing you to reconnect..and possibly getting an even more unstable modem...some modems you might just as well hangup on for they are stunted..giving a very low connect speed...in my case even below 24kbps...seldom do I ever get above 32kbps.

And then the weather tears hell out of the connection..more moisture spells lower bandwidth speeds and sometimes inability to connect at all.

You need to use every tool at your disposal.

Perhaps though its just me..for I noticed that not a single one shared my experiences or suggestions but instead I got suggestions on what more I should do..which I ignored completely for the most part....

I find that most internet users(since I work on many folks home pcs) are not very knowledgable about the net and usage..they are continually putting on 'freebie' trash and blowing their PCs away...when I see someone doing that continually I never return again..they are lost and deserve to be lost..


Geopolitics raising its ugly head:

CNN - Pakistan govt. sources: President has declared state of emergency

Related to supplies of fossil fuels in the Middle East...damn right it is!

Green light for grain imports
2 Nov 2007

Livestock producers have been given the go-ahead by the federal government to import grain to feed their stock. A shortfall of 2 million tonnes is being predicted following the latest downward revisions to the nation's total crop production by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Approval has been given for the importing of 12 types of stockfeed including wheat and rye from Canada, wheat from Britain, maize and sorghum from the US, maize, sunflower, sorghum and wheat from Argentina, and soybean from Paraguay.

The Australian, 2/11/2007

Total Crop Failure

And who said Canada and the UK have extra?

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

That's it. It's coming down now.

This is the start of Civil War in Pakistan.

Watch the power grid go down soon.

And "hoarding grain" "speculators":

Code words.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I had a feeling Pakistan would erupt today after what the CIA did there yesterday.

"Swat Valley, once a popular tourist destination, is about 250 kilometers (160 miles) from the capital, Islamabad, and is located in the North West Frontier Province that borders Afghanistan."

Google Swat Truce Fails

or here:


And then, remember the Red Mosque?:

Google Maulana Fazlullah swat:

Voice of America
Swat militants free 48 militiamen
Pakistan Dawn, Pakistan - 10 hours ago
The demands are: enforcement of Sharia in the Malakand region, withdrawal of troops from Swat, and withdrawal of cases against Maulana Fazlullah and his ...

POLITICS-PAKISTAN: Pro-Taliban Militants Grip Swat Valley, Defy Army Inter Press Service (subscription)
48 security men captured by militants in Pak's Swat region Hindu

Firebrand Pakistan cleric ready for talks to end fighting Reuters India
Scotsman - Earthtimes
all 736 news articles »

Fazlullah sets three conditions for talks
Daily Times, Pakistan - 15 hours ago

MINGORA: Maulana Fazlullah on Friday met with a delegation of clerics and local politicians and called for the withdrawal of troops from Swat to open the ...

Swat residents continue to move to safer places Daily Times
Swat truce collapses Daily Times
Militants parade 48 captured soldiers Daily Times

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I guess that sort of explains why Benazir left the country. I guess it was clear to everyone that Musharraf did not like his chances of getting his phoney re-election ratified by the court without his cooking the outcome. I hope Bush is proud of his guy. Let's hope those pro Taliban ISI guys keep their tight control of those nuclear weapons.

She's back and sitting on a plane at the airport in Karachi.


Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto flew from Dubai on Saturday and was sitting on a plane at Karachi airport, waiting to see if she would be arrested or deported, her spokesman Wajid Hasan said after speaking to the former prime minister by telephone from London.

Neocons response? Oh please don't do this. It might jeopardize your efforts for democracy!!

Absolutely. We've been reading here about the electricity crisis in Pakistan for months. The solution for the crisis - the pipeline to Iran. Why is the pipeline stalled? The US forbids it. The logical alternative - some kind of deal with the increasingly Russian-allied 'Stans. The US will forbid that too. This Kafkaesque tale will be repeated all over Eurasia.

We've twisted these countries into pretzels trying to bend to our impossible, contradictory demands. The goal of our demands - to trick the rest of the world into dying quietly while we maintain our own energy supplies for as long as we can get away with it.

Can anybody comment on the recent NPR marketplace story on biodiesel produced from algae? Specifically what are the real negatives. Of course they were not mentioned. I'm going to assume scaling to any reasonable volumes... Sorry if this was discussed.

Can anyone help me understand Oil Futures?

I can buy oil futures for each of the upcoming months. If I buy an oil future for say January 2008, am I purchasing a percentage of the total amount of available oil supply in January 2008?

If so, then do we subtract the total of all of the January 2008 futures purchased when January 2008 arrives, and what's left is the remaining supply for all of January, 2008?


Oh god...

lol, the perenial contrary indicator.

I didn't think that speculation was a big component in the oil price, but I must have been wrong...

All you're buying is a contract that commits you to buy 1000 barrels in Jan 2008. It's got next to nothing to do with actual oil.

You can then sell that contract on, before it falls due for delivery and you end up having to pay $100,000 and store 42,000 gallons of the stuff.

Most futures contracts NEVER fall due for delivery, because they're canceled out - effectively, if you hold one contract that commits you to buy 1000 barrels in Jan, and another that commits you to SELL 1000 barrels in Jan, the two contract pop out of existence.

However - there is a LOT to learn before venturing down this track - which is not to put you off, but read lots first, and don't go forward until you're confident you understand how it all works. barchat.com have quite a good primer.

If you were to get a Jan 2008 buy contract at $94.00 - for which you would have to stump up something like $4500 margin, and the Jan 2008 contract the next day falls for some reason to $84.00, then you will have to pay your broker a further $10,000 that day, or end up in trouble. (Thats an extreme case - but that's the way you should probably look on it)

Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)

The wat I look at it.

Do not buy/sell a contract unless you can
afford delivery or you have the actuals to sell.

"If you were to get a Jan 2008 buy contract at $94.00 - for which you would have to stump up something like $4500 margin, and the Jan 2008 contract the next day falls for some reason to $84.00, then you will have to pay your broker a further $10,000 that day, or end up in trouble. (Thats an extreme case - but that's the way you should probably look on it)"

The BigBoyz are on the other sides of those contracts.$

They tried to crush the Market Tuesday with
Goldman saying "take profits" while NYMEX raised
the margins.

OOPS. Didn't work.


Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

I can neither afford delivery on my contracts, nor have anywhere handy to store it. Then again, they're Dec 2010 - so no possible reason I should need to. It is quite wrong to somehow associate oil futures contracts with oil, other than through price - unless you're daft enough to still be holding them in the delivery month.

In the meantime, holding these contracts and their predecessors has paid off the remaining mortgage on my London flat, got me a new very fuel-efficient SMART roadster, and is well on the way to paying for a few hectares of bushland in NZ.

Clearly, I would recommend* investors at least look into oil futures for looking to prepare themselves for post-peak possibilities, but with a REALLY HEAVY CAUTIONARY NOTE!!!!

* just don't blame me if you end up homeless as a result - ta.

Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)

The only way I trade is thru next to Delivery months.

With profits locked in thru a hedge.

And I have taken delivery, but pushed it along.

The best way to foretell future price movement, BTW.

Only 20%, maybe, make $ in futures, so congrats.

I stay with selling actuals every month, smoothing the averages.

Watch Cotton and Soybeans end of November, BTW.


Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Well, if you're taking delivery, you're playing a different (and more advanced) game to most futures investors. Fair enough.

As for Cotton or Soy - the ONLY reason I'm playing in Oil futures, is because I have a few years worth of thinking about Peak Oil - and so I have reasonable confidence in my long term predictions (price of oil trending up until we hit major recession) - to take the risk. I got burnt a little playing with gasoline futures, and so now I strictly only play Crude Oil - I might look at Gas at some point - but that means alot more research, and I've got enough on my plate at the mo.

I think the medium-term trend in Crude should enable most who follow a medium-term strategy, and don't get spooked easily, to make a chunk - course, I could prove myself very very wrong.
Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)

Jaymax, when you win money on a contract, do you know who is losing? Since the payout is real money, it must come from someone. My guess is that the money eventually comes out of our, the oil products users', pockets. So what do you contribute to our well-being? As far as I can see - nothing, and that makes you a parasite.

James Gervais

troll alert!

he takes money away from the larger corps or investment funds going at it for the futures!

it sure is your money, but your money is becoming worthless because productivity is dropping and with that so must SOL.

The USA pushed it out as far as they could, now they are reaping it. A country with great wealth is liquidating its position. The economic system of the world is punishing the USA to LOWER OIL USAGE by the USA. If the USA does not create anything valuable, the currency will fall and oil will rise to prevent oil use!

Gilgamesh, if anybody is exhibiting trollish posts, it's you.

The major thrust of my comment was directed at the total lack of value addition. As 2Lab infers lower in the thread, it looks more like gambling than anything.

If the larger corps and investment funds are losing money here, I would be surprised; they have more resources and are unlikely to engage in behaviour that is NOT clearing a profit. So from where does his gain come if not the final customer or other small time losing gamblers?

As to the fact that my money is becoming more worthless, I don't understand what it has to do with being parasitized by oil speculators.

James Gervais

I composed a reply, which would have told you a little about who I am, and the value I'm adding. Then I deleted it - you don't have a clue about me (or the futures market), and yet you call me a parasite. You are the kind of person who starts out throwing insults from a position of ignorance.

You fully deserved the troll comment, and so I will not be entering a debate with you - feel free to have the last word.

Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)

Jaymax, I for one would like to hear from you about the role of the futures market and commodities trading in our world.

I don't really understand why it is important to have folks "betting" (or "speculating" -- is that a less loaded term in today's context?) on the likely prices of commodities in the future, but then I don't understand many things.

So I don't have a prejudgement other than the "betting" thing, but I do also think of the stock market as a Casino. All of us use the information we have to make "bets" about what the best next moves are in terms of money, but the financial markets seem to me to be riddled with corruption and deception. Even if I had the money, I think I'd steer as clear of stocks and commodities trading.

Again, I would be glad to hear from you -- and other folks in finance -- what good the commodities markets are doing for us all.

Also, are the commodities and futures markets well set up? Are they flawed in some obvious ways that need to be fixed?

These questions are likely to come up again, and to become more intense as the next few months unfold. Politicians will blame "commodities speculators" for rising prices at the pump, and so on, as the US Presidential Election Scam heats up.

Say you an airline. You want to make sure that if you sell tickets for the next year you want to know that oil price is known. So what airline should do is buy future oil. In that case if oil price goes through the roof, airline would not be affected. Future would allow airline to lock fuel price. This is what South West does rather well. Futures (derivatives in general) is big enough topic that you should try to read a book about it. But in general they allow to hedge (insure) from undesired risk.

In my example the drawback is that if oil price goes down, airline would still have to buy oil at higher price.

Cheers, thanks for the question.

Hmm, this turned into a bit of an essay. Sorry.

I'll admit to being fairly steamed up before. I'd just gotten off the phone to my Mum back in NZ, where one of the topics of conversation was whether it'd be better to buy more land, but remote - which could sustainably support a bigger community, or less but more accessible property. I don't have kids, or a partner, but I've got the ability to maybe provide some protection for some people I've probably yet to meet, if things DO go seriously tits up - but apparently I'm a parasite.

Right, got that off my chest.

See, I'm not 'in finance' professionally at all - Oil futures are pretty much the only investment I've actively pursued in my life. So here's a strictly lay-persons take:

The price of the futures don't have a huge bearing of the price of the actual commodities - perhaps a little in the very short term - but, as has been pointed out on TOD many times, when and if a futures contract actually fall due, someones got to buy and take delivery of real oil, someone else has got to have real oil for sale. In reality, it's the supply and demand for physical oil that drives the near-deliver futures prices - sure speculators can affect the dated futures (for example, mine are for December 2010 delivery), but the price of that contract has no bearing on pump prices.

Blaming futures market speculators for the run up in oil prices is as daft as blaming the oil companies or OPEC - I firmly believe a close look shows the argument to be false.

So who makes up the losses that equate to my profits - you'll see a phrase 'net long speculative positions' quite often, as either increasing, or decreasing. What that phrase means is that the majority of speculators are holding contracts to buy oil at a certain price in the future, not to sell oil. That means that speculators are gambling, generally, on the price of oil going up. This has been true for the duration I've been playing this market.

So who is it who're holding the short positions, the other side of the contracts to sell oil in the future? I don't know - I'd guess some speculators, but mostly oil traders who don't believe in peak oil, who think locking in a sale at $90 is guaranteeing profit. I find it impossible to feel guilty about depriving the oil industry of profit, especially the elements who actively choose to ignore peak oil theory.

It's worth remembering that the winners and losers in any futures market tend to be pretty serious players in any event - it's not a lot of Joe Bloggs pension scheme - those tend to be much more equity focussed. The futures market is high stakes - high risk - the private high-rollers room at the casino, not the pokey machines eating some addicts last quarter. If oil dropped $20 overnight tomorrow, I'd lose my home. Gamble, yes - but highly informed gambling, I really believe after years following peak-oil the odds are firmly rigged in my favor - prices will keep going up.

Crude Oil is, I believe, different to just about every other stock or commodity, because we 'know' it's peaking (now, soon) and even if not, ELM and global demand mean peak-lite is with us now. For those of us on TOD and others with a comprehension of Peak Oil, we are blessed with foresight and an ability to prepare. As many have pointed out, even if we're wrong, the lifestyle change that comes with preparation doesn't actually seem all that bad.

So - here am I - earned well over the past few years, spent most of it too unfortunately. Have a knowledge of peak oil, have a sense of responsibility to do what I can. Have a suspicion that perhaps the world really is in for a big fall. What can I do? Spent a fair bit of time thinking about that.

Risk an initial $15-20k on long term oil futures, good confidence that the price of oil will be going up. Futures are highly leveraged, so profit growth can be exponential if I'm right. Draw some profits away from big finance players and the oil industry, get my own position secure, and then focus on the long game - not just for me, but I'll find some like minded folk in NZ once I go back, folk with different and complimentary skills to my own.

As far as I can tell, the futures market is clean, and fairly safe in terms of potential systems-failures. The only 'flaw' when it comes to petroleum, is the markets resistance to accepting the reality of peak-oil, but people are sheep, even professional traders. There are off-market futures trades - but not available to small fry like me.

What the crude oil futures market can do for us, maybe, is provide a chance for some, and our families for those who have them, to jump out of the swirling waters. Some might say what right do WE have above others, well none - but no-one gains from choosing to do nothing, from refusing to prepare, from playing sheeple - why not choose to be one of the lucky ones instead?
Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)

Well, I'm jumping into this late since I'm in mid-pacific at late evenign to boot, but as a 'relatively poor' person for relatively noble reasons, who is doing his best to be a good planetary citizen, I've looked to "crude options" as a vehicle. I sold my first one prematurely in retrospect - a CLZ07 80 call, which would now be worth somewhat more.

Not only do I find those useful and accessible - the one I'm referring to cost just $1300 - with options you can't lose more than you've invested, there is no margin call.

It's a bet against those who have assessed the world differently than I have. They may wind up with my money. But for me it's a hedge: a hedge against the many economic problems of fiscal collapse and higher energy prices. If I lose, it means that oil hasn't crashed badly yet; if I win, it will ameliorate part of the fiscal load on my family.

Near as I can tell it's as honorable as betting on a baseball game. Both sides think they're taking the smart end of the bet.

Seems to me that Jaymax was unfairly attacked here, and that's why I'm chiming in.

Thanks for taking the time to reply, Jaymax.

Your explanation helps me to understand a bit more about the commodities and futures trading.

Also, I appreciate that you are a human being doing what makes the most sense for you given the information at hand.

I am ambivalent about stocks, commodities, and futures because I do not understand then very well, and because my sense is that the entire investment and financial industry is, as I've noted above, riddled with corruption and fraud.

I think that big players try to rig the games for their own benefit, whether what they do is legal or ethical or not.

However, I understand that the markets can theoretically be beneficial.

Perhaps another source of my suspicion relates to the "Iron Triangle" hypothesis, and my sense that the supposedly objective "Free Market" actually screens out information that is vital for human well-being, simply because the market is biased toward the big players who dominate it. This can create blind spots that one can sail a super-tanker through.

Every culture has its blind spots. Our culture has a had a good time of it -- the weather has been mostly good for a few thousand years, and the resources have been abundant in many places. So our blind spots can cause huge problems because we've become giants on the earth.

I hope you do make it back to NZ and find some folks to help make a new culture with. Meanwhile, we should all keep talking with each other. It's a good learning experience!

Jaymax, you wrote:

So who is it who're holding the short positions, the other side of the contracts to sell oil in the future? I don't know - I'd guess some speculators, but mostly oil traders who don't believe in peak oil, who think locking in a sale at $90 is guaranteeing profit. I find it impossible to feel guilty about depriving the oil industry of profit, especially the elements who actively choose to ignore peak oil theory.

Now, by oil trader do you mean an individual or a company that actually takes delivery? If that is the case, then when thye have to pay more for a ton because they have to pay your profit, this is costing all retail users of oil products. Admittedly, the amount per gallon will be small, but over many gallons it will add up; perhaps I should not complain about having to donate to your well being [sort of self forced socialism], but I can see no benefit to me from this increased cost.

Also I did not imply that people such as yourself are the main force behind higher oil prices.

This behaviour by the way smacks of 'the something for nothing' mentality so derided by JHKunstler.

Sorry if you're offended but I find the self-congratulatory tone offensive, when it's at my expense and it's in a game I'm forced to play.

James Gervais

The money comes from people who bet the other way.

Its gambling on oil prices, not trading oil.

So, 2Lab, are you saying it's a zero sum game? In that case, the winner is taking money from the addicted losers, unless of course, nobody is winning money, but just churning it among themselves.

Casinos and lotteries prey upon certain people's [the marks'] weaknesses; in other words, they are parasites. Society ends up with the obligation of providing food and shelter to the extreme ones; the less extreme rely upon family and friends to help them cope.

No, the futures market is a negative sum game.
Abel loses 100 dollars, Bakers skims off 1 dollar, Charlie gains 99 dollars. Baker is the broker, Abel is the seller, Charlie is the buyer.
Abel wants to concentrate on drilling oil wells, not timing the oil market. Charlie is a cab driver and wants to concentrate on driving a cab, not timing the oil market. Baker is the broker and sets the price for Abel and Charlie to hedge the price of oil so they can concentrate on their business instead of each other's business.

Perpetual, no, with a futures contract you are not purchasing any oil whatsoever. In fact, only a tiny fraction of all futures contracts traded ever results in the delivery of any oil, gas, corn or whatever. The vast majority of futures contracts are settled in cash.

That being said, some commodities futures contracts result in a higher rate of deliveries than others. Very little natural gas is ever delivered as the result of a futures contract but brokers in farm products often use the commodities market for actual delivery. At the other extreme oil contracts traded on the TOCOM, (Tokyo Commodities Exchange), never result in delivery. The TOCOM crude contract is a cash settlement only contract.

Also, far more futures contracts are traded than there is oil to deliver. There is only a limited amount of oil, or anything else for that matter, but there is no limit on the amount of futures contracts that can be opened.

When you settle a contract in cash, you simply gain, or lose the difference between the price you purchased the contract at and the price you sold it at, minus commissions of course. A contract is opened when someone buys a contract, (takes the long position), and a corresponding person sells the contract, (takes the short position). That then becomes an open contract and adds 1 to the open interest.

When the contract is settled then the long sells his position and the short buys back his position. The difference in the price at the open and the difference in price at the close is then settled by the brokerage house. One account is credited with the gain while the other is debited with the loss. 1 is then subtracted from the "open interest'. That is, the contract no longer exists, it simply vanishes with the settlement.

Yes, it is that simple. But in case you do not understand just check it out here.

Futures 101

Ron Patterson

Before you put up any money, make sure you understand the warnings in these posts about margin calls. It's not hard to lose a lot of money even when the thinking behind your investment is sound.

I'm not interested in buying futures. The purpose of my question was to see if future demand (futures) is being priced in to today's oil supply. If today's supply is X, and the futures purchased for today are Y, then is today's available supply Z... X-Y=Z?

If so, then should today's price be based on Z plus the difference between X and Y since we're in effect using tomorrow's oil today?


The article from Salon about the SPR has someone indicating Californians use 1/10 the gasoline (per capita) than the national average, and cites this link


Now CA is a great state and a national leader but I find this statistic hard to believe. This link also says Georgia and Minnesota ALSO are about 1/10 the national average, too, which seems even wilder.

So I found this link


which is frankly more believable. But I tried to find out why both are so different and I've failed. Can anyone help me out?

According to the EIA California used 11.4% of US gasoline consumption and has 12% of US population.


California tends to look good on all kinds of measures of "ecology and effeciency" because it has a large 3rd word population. I don't mean racially, I mean economically and there are plenty of poor whites and blacks (blacks often been in the US more generations than the whites lol) who are living 4 to a studio apartment, riding around on an old bike or walking or taking the bus, etc.

California "enjoys" a wide disparity between rich and poor, and every wealthy area has an army of 3rd-world-level people coming in by bike or foot or bus, to clean and garden and take care of the rich people's children, then go back to their conveniently nearby slums at night.

So, an "American" living like an "American" (read middle-class white person) in California is driving a ton of miles, consuming like crazy, but overall the state looks good because on a per-capita basis, energy use etc counts all those folks who are living very very low on the socioeconomic scale.

Priuses and green recycling bins and rebates have done little to change Californian's impact, but encouraging a wide disparity between rich and poor makes everyone look good?

Well said: My sentiments exactly.

Dipchip's data confirm the 2nd link I had. I think the reason CA does a 'little' better than the average is because of the large number of people in large cities; note DC does the best, NY is 2nd or third, etc. And of course, those large cities have better transport, generally, AND as you say a lot of folks who don't drive.

I think the statemaster link is just plain wrong, I just can't figure out what they are really showing.

A lot of people in the Bay Area and in LA use public transportation, believe it or not. There are also quite a few more hybrids on the freeways, many more now than even in the past year.

RE: Total Boss article

Then came his own Rumsfeldian flourish: “But the fact that you don’t have the answer gives you the answer – ie. 100 [mb/d] is difficult because in the 100 you have already additional production in Iraq, you have additional production in Venezuela, you have additional production in Nigeria, you have additional production everywhere, and today we know those developments are not under way.

And there you have it - an admission by someone that definitely should know that the investments that MUST be made to realize the cornucopians dreams are NOT being made.

That's it, arguement is over - this should nail it for the PO side.

The good news is that since megabucks are not being invested in a vain attempt to do the impossible and continue increasing oil production, those megabucks might be available instead for investment in things really needed, like electrified transport and renewables.

Yes, Exxon et al, please DO buy back your shares, so the money is freed up to be reinvested in things we need for the future.

Again, money is not energy.

No Free Energy means no more Credits.

No Credits, no loans.

Which is why any MegaProject not 60% complete should be
abandoned now.

They're dogs chasing their tails.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

well i would say >=50%, then let independants get in there to drill out the last couple barrels.

It's worked in the states to keep depletion as low as possible.

squeezing the stone.

From the Total article up top:

De Margerie claimed these were not only his views, but widespread in the industry, or at least “the view of those who like to speak clearly, honestly, and not just trying to please people.”


"Contrary to the theory, oil production shows no signs of a peak... Oil is a finite resource, but because it is so incredibly large, a peak will not occur this year, next year, or for decades to come"

ExxonMobil Advertisement in New York Times, June 2, 2006


"Rather than a 'peak,' we should expect an 'undulating plateau' perhaps three or four decades from now."

Mr. Robert Esser
Senior Consultant and Director, Global Oil and Gas Resources
Cambridge Energy Research Associates

That Exxon Ad was in Early March 2006, and the peak was about 3 months later.

Irony can be so ironic sometimes.

Here's my response to their ad. (Not inlined to save dailup bandwidth)

That's why they call it irony :-)

Just like hands - they're called hands, 'cause they're just so darn handy!

Ooops. The ASPO newsletter says:

The maximum so far was in February 2006, based on estimates by the EIA for all liquids.

So that means the Exxon add ran two days (or so) after the all time peak month ended.

Irony's head just exploded.

Of course you're not going to see the freekin' peak in the future if it's already behind you.

BTW, notice how the near term Peak Oil guys, circa 2004 to 2008, have not budged in what their models show, while lots of prognosticators--with some notable exceptions like ExxonMobil, CERA and Lynch--are now moving their way?

A simple sanity check shows how out of touch these guys are. Even if you accept their preferred figures, at 31 bn bbl per year SA (260) would be drained in 8.5 years. The North Sea from start to end drained in 1 year flat. Iraq in 3 years...

These guys are either into deep denial or deep lying. I suspect both.

I could be way wrong, but it is looking to me that people like the CERA folks were counting on a whole lot of big investments that just haven't materialized in anything close to a timely manner.

It doesn't matter if there are a trillion trillion barrels in the ground, unless the investments are made they will stay in the ground. It is obvious now that the investments are NOT being made. Why?

1) Technical challenges. Nice to talk about oil in the arctic, but does anyone really know yet how to set up a platform in that environment?

2) Cost. Even $100 oil is still not enough to make some of these projects feasible.

3) Geopolitics. As the Total boss indicated, even if you have the money in hand, in many of these places you just can't get in to spend it.

4) (related to 1,2,3 above) Why should NOCs sell their oil for $100 today when they can leave it in the ground and probably get far more for it in the future? Private companies that hold between 8-13% of world reserves seem to be losing ability to affect the price of FFs while the NOCs are gaining pricing power.

The claim that California and Minnesota are using only 10% the per capita gasoline is absurd. I would think we might be using 10% less than the national average, high mileage cars such as Prius are very popular, and prices have been substantially above the national average for years. Many people in San Franscisco don't have cars -so that probably has a measurable impact.

I have a quick question for the folks here at TOD:

I live in WI and am considering switching from oil heat to nat gas. Right now gas costs me $.70/therm (10,000BTU) which is less than half the cost of #2 fuel oil @ $3.00/gal. My oil furnace is more than 25yrs old and probably has an efficiency of around 65%.

Switching would be a no-brainer except I am worried about the continued availability of NG, and I like having a full 270gal tank on hand in the fall. I believe my NG comes from Colorado and other "local" sources (Xcel claims to have 16,000 miles of NG pipeline - http://www.xcelenergy.com/XLWEB/CDA/0,3080,1-1-1_16699-14983-11_192_352-...

Am I being too paranoid about supply disruptions here? Or should I just switch to save energy? What are the long-term (10 yr) prospects for my NG supplies? Thank you

AndyB in WI

If you can (have the solar exposure) think about changing to a radiant heating system then use evacuated glass tubes to provide the heat. Such a system can get you hot water too.

You could ADD in the gas heater - but try to keep the oil burner in place. Why? If "liquid fuel" becomes "constrained" you may be able to get a ration coupon for the diesel^H^H^H^H^H^Hheating fuel.

You could also look into some form of co-generation.

Is it even possible to get those in the US yet? I keep looking around. The market seems to be waiting for state governments to assure that excess electricity can be sold to the grid.

Alas, the whipsergen in the US of A is as a $10,000 item and you have to buy the 'boat' model.

That does not mean however that someone has done something in the last year (I have been checking on MicroCHP for 8+ years and have about given up. Now, the parent of the thread does not state they have a limit in their budget, so I'm pointing at many different options.)

Thanks for the replies - the gas powered multi-generation unit is interesting. I assume one can use this in a backup electric power generation source as well? That makes this unit very attractive from an energy reliability standpoint, even though the cost is high. At 12KW heat output (~40,000BTU/hr) that may prove a little light for our house (1,300 above 700 below ft2), but I'm not sure.

The WisperGen looks like it would make a great secondary source. I will probably consider replacing the oil furnace next year.

IT can only be used as a back up if you have a way to excite the AC part of the generator. If one picks the DC models, one can run the DC into Outback units and the outback units sync to the AC and can provide AC all by themselves.

I'm not sure what "excite the AC part of the generator" means, or what an "Outback" unit is, but perhaps you're referring to the need for an inverter to convert to AC. If you want to feed both the grid and a backup battery, you need an inverter that can do that (same issue as with elec. generation from solar and wind).

I appologize. I made the assumption that many ppl know what I know.

Outback makes a series of electronics that take DC to DC and will attempt to extract the maximum power (voltage X current) They also make a DC to AC and AC to DC unit that can work with and without a tie to the AC grid. ($1700-ish list for 120 VAC at 15 amps last time I was in the market)

If one wishes to tie a generator to the grid, you can use a motor/generator that "uses" 10% or so of electrical power to exite the magnetic field. By providing that excitation of the magnetic field your output will be in sync with the grid. An example of this kind of design is the old Jacob wind turbines.

Thank you. I've heard of the Outback, but it didn't ring a bell for some reason.

Looks like the exact same system they use in the big RV's, may not be the same brand but the function is the exact same.
They work off the regular diesel tanks when not hooked up to anything.

Short term, natural gas disruptions for homes are not likely due to the problems that would ensue upon trying to get the gas flowing again (i.e. homes have priority over power plants). Most gas suppliers maintain stockpiles in underground reservoirs to deal with supply variation. Who knows about price--my supplier just lowered theirs 15%, but I think that is just the lull before the storm.

Longer term, of course, the natural gas supply is much less assured. But, given your situation, getting a new high efficiency gas furnace makes sense. You might also consider a ground-source heat pump, if that is possible where you live.

Some data centers have an NG generator on one side and a diesel unit with tank on the other.

Get a dual mode furnace and stove - NG and propane. You run on NG and have the propane as backup should TSHTF.

Do those automatically adjust to the different combustion requirements? It would seem difficult to achieve the same level of efficiency.

I don't know that much about it - was talking with our local propane guy about getting a backup for NG and he told me dual mode was possible with furnaces and most new stoves can do it(?)

Our furnace, and every tankless water heater & furnace I have looked at have little nozzle changing kits with polished non-sparking metal hardware in them.

I've not seen a 'run-time' settable furnace, although one could imagine a dynamically sized nozzle. Rare.

Some explanatory material:



The reason for this difference is because LPG contains much more energy than natural gas. A cubic foot of natural gas contains something like 1,000 BTU (British thermal units) of energy. A cubic foot of propane contains perhaps 2,500 BTU. You can see that if you take a gas appliance set up for natural gas and then run it on LPG, the appliance is going to run more than twice as hot.

Best regards,

I followed Your wisegeek reference and in natural gas article it states that Russia holds only 1% of world natural gas deposits?

Changing out NG/Propane nozzles is not that big a deal in many cases.

But surely some manufacturers will make it a pain.


Hi AndyB -- from Gary in Mpls, MN --- "Beggar"

The reliability of oil and NG supplies seem equally problematic to me.

NG could supply could very well decline rapidly, but oil could do the same.

I do not know how to work out the probability of either one rapidly gaining in price over the other one, or of supply being completely disrupted.

In both cases we are relying on importing fossil fuel to our bioregion through complex industries that ultimately play on a bigger (or different?) chessboard than we do.

Are there any ways to reduce your need for these imported fossil fuels? That might be the best bet to make for the future.

My old house here in Mpls sure needs more insulation, and I think about adding a south-facing wall of glass -- kind of an add-on greenhouse -- every winter. I figure that I could make a simple frame and install re-used windows to capture some solar energy. Maybe put a few black barrels of water inside to radiate the warmth back out during the night.

Of course, I have a very active big city housing inspections department to worry about. They do not encourage creative efforts at sustainability, but rather want every house to look like 1950's "leave it to beaver-ville" while paying more money to the corporatists for energy or "energy saving products."

Once again, the likelihood of fossil fuel home heating supply disruptions seems real but who knows? The costs will rise -- and maybe fast and furiously -- as the next few years unfold.

For my old house in Maine, I'm building a few of these..
.. This uses a black felt for a collector and the air is pushed through it, instead of running air over a solid panel which will be insulated by a 'boundary layer' of air resisting thermal conduction. I've collected a dozen pcs of tempered 'Patio Door' glass for this, about 30"x70", and another 8 pcs of 40"x40" for other collectors, coldframes, etc..

and also will be trying a modified 'cool tube' retrofit into the basement floor, which will take in cold outdoor air and 'normalise' it to ground temps before pushing it into the house air, for ~45degF positive-pressure fresh air source to compete with <32degF 'cracks and faults' air getting in first.

There's a wide Variety of Hot-air projects (and much more..) here;


One other consideration for NG customers is how far down the distribution system you are. In a cold winter, the local storage may become depleted. I think that some outlying customers in Massachusetts lost their NG pressure a few years ago during a very cold winter.

Regardless of your heating system, I think that it would be a good idea for people in cold winter states to have a back up wood stove, especially a sealed combustion unit that draws in combustion air from the outside.

westexas -- I keep thinking about the need to configure our homes so that we can rely on resources from our own bioregions in order to keep them running.

Of course, I think we'll be piping NG and trucking heating oil and propane around for quite awhile, but the more we can reduce the need for this, the longer we can stretch out the supply of these resources.

It seems to me that we need -- as a part of ELP -- this push to make our homes work as homes using a minimum of energy inputs from far, far, away.

And the smaller the house, assuming no other changes in parameters, the smaller the heating bill.

Net Oil Exports Revisited (August, 2006)

I propose a sort of triage operation: "tiny" homes and multifamily housing along electric mass transit lines. In my opinion, it is the only way that we can preserve some semblance of a civilized society. The suburbs are, by and large, a lost cause.

BTW, this article seems to have hit a nerve. It has been the #1 listing on Google for quite a while, if you do a search for Net Oil Exports. And one of life's little mysteries is why an obscure geologist in Texas and his frequent coauthor in Canada have several articles in the top 10 list. Talk about the ultimate "Black Swan." An expectation of an exponential increase in oil imports versus the reality of an accelerating rate of decline in net exports.

The small house idea is great. I would like to adapt my current abode as well as I possibly can.

I wonder how many of our homes are a good retrofit prospect.

I also believe that we need to encourage, not discourage, local and individual initiative, and re-use of materials rather than production of new materials to replace or retrofit every bit of infrastructure.

Ultimately the future is hard to predict, but the probability that many of our best-laid plans and projects will be disrupted, side-tracked, or pre-emptively ended needs to be kept in mind.

My best guess is that more creativity will be encouraged as the resource depletion issues become more obvious.

Thanks to everyone for all the replies.
In summary it seems that NG and oil disruptions are equally hard to predict, thus I will plan to replace the oil furnace when the tank becomes empty next spring. In the meantime I will improve winterizing and continue to reduce the thermostat as our bodies adjust to colder weather - getting much below 62deg is proving challenging...

When we moved here 3 years ago we almost bought a giant 3,000ft2 house 40 minutes south of town. After reading this site and others my spouse and I decided a very small place in town place made much more sense. We are very glad we did now as our taxes are lower, we can bike or walk most places in good weather, and our fuel oil usage can be reduced to as low as 1-2 gallons/day if we are careful. ELP in action - but it is taking a very long time to adapt and figure out all the details. Still much more to go... Thank you TOD



When my daughter and son-in-law rented a small townhouse in a New Urbanism community a short distance away from the commuter rail line (with practically everything they need within a one to two mile radius), their coworkers told them they were crazy for not buying a house and a couple of new cars. Because of an employer subsidy, my daughter's daily roundtrip commute cost is 12¢ per day.

Their coworkers are singing a somewhat different tune now.

If you live in WI then it should be possible to get enough fire wood so that wood heat would be a good backup option. It is for me. Here in the mountains of WNC, just about everyone I know has a wood stove that they at least keep on hand for backup. Remember that if the power goes down (which it inevitably will right during the coldest blizard), you won't be runing a gas furnace anyway.

While the long term outlook for NG is decline, there should be some available for quite a while. As depletion really sets in, I suspect that the government will ration with a priority given to residential heating customers. The NIMBY and BANANA obstruction to LNG will eventually be swept to one side as well. Finally, remember that all of that Wisconsin dairy cow dung can be run through an anaerobic digester to produce methane, which can be fed into the NG system.

One of the memories I have as a boy was the usage of NG "floor
furnaces". These were flush mounted in the floor in a central location of a house such as the hallway and had a large grate up through which the heated air rose. They required no electricity to run. Definitely had to remember to walk around them at night on the way to the bathroom if you were barefoot!

We do have a wood fireplace downstairs in the basement with an external air vent and a firebox air circulator. Problem is the smoke comes in through the furnace flue pipe sharing the chimney.

We could get a direct vent wood stove or pellet stove but we've been told our insurance will go up significantly over the cost of insuring the fireplace.

Still a wood stove seems like a prudent idea, but there is no good place to put it in this house. Back-up electric generation seems the best bet for short outages. Regards

There are models that are fireplace inserts. Modifying your existing chimney so that it will really work for you sounds like a better plan than putting in a free standing woodstove elsewhere.

One good option is an 84% efficient natural gas heater coupled with a heat pump (use the heat pump down to about 38 F (34 F or so when the sun is shining on it) and NG below that. And have a wood or wood/coal stove (with outside combustion air).

Another is a ground loop heat pump (depending on local ground water temps).

A NG tankless hot water heater is also a good investment.

Best Hopes,


It's distressing to live in a state whose print media is pathetically timid about analyzing energy issues:

Heating oil price sets record

Here is the sole quote having anything to do with the current supply crisis:

Record crude oil prices are among the factors driving the run-up for heating fuels.

It's not like the Portland Depressing Horror doesn't know about peak oil, either:

LNG about more than just tankers

Let's accelerate, stay ahead of oil's peak.

I'm not responsible for that second title. The Herald has received four op-eds and several letters-to-the-editor from Yours Truly since 2004. Columns editor Mike Harmon has used a hatchet on my columns, but I've kept my mouth shut in order to get them published.

To no avail.

I've sent this self-professed creationist editor links to Congressman Bartlett and Matthew Simmons, seeing as he (the editor, Mike Harmon) is a rabid right-wing "thinker."

To no avail.

They've also received a three-page protest letter, signed by ten co-signers, in which I reiterate Westexas's arguments and point out that Maine has a couple of heavy-weights in the peak oil arena (Simmons, a summer resident; and John Howe. )

To no avail.

I've fairly begged them to cover this issue, for few places are more dependent on oil for heat than Maine.

Screw them. I'm through with them.

I was googling peak oil in the news and I found the following article.

I wonder if the upcoming marketing campaign for the brand of "Peak Oil" will confuse the public regarding peak oil.

I.E. will The Peak Motor Company's marketing campaign include paid google ads mean that when peak oil is googled a ad for peak motors is at the top of the list. Will the tv and print ads for this product overwhelm the public consciousness.

Indy Racing League lands Peak as oil sponsor

Indy Racing League officials are expected later today to unveil Peak Performance Motor Oil as the series' official motor oil, according to league sources.

Edited to replace the entire article text with a link and an excerpt.

Please don't post entire articles. It's not just a bandwidth issue, it's a copyright violation.

I love it!

Indy Racing sponsored by Peak Oil!

Does it get any better than that?

What I noticed is that they are kind of careful to avoid using the phrase "peak oil." Even though Peak Oil, the oil company, is pretty well-known, and has been for a long time. (PeakOil.com sometimes gets mistaken for them.)

It would be hard to make up something this good :p

Hello Umass82,

Peak Motor Oil? LOL!

If they are marketing true to their brandname: the bottles come Half-Empty, and the pour-rate from the very small opening is very slow, constantly decreasing, and highly frustrating!

EDIT: for more word drama!

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

Regarding the article cited above Byron King: Scary Stuff...

When the time comes to write the epitaph on the US economy, I wonder how many people will remember the Glass-Steagall Act. It was an excellent law, passed in 1932 and upgraded in 1933. It was written in the aftermath of the 1929 crash and was designed primarily to keep investment and commercial banking separate. One of the most under-rated laws of all time, it managed to keep the US stock market well-protected against all the fraud and other shenanigans that caused the 1929 crash.

Alas, Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999 during the Clinton administration. However, by the time of its repeal, it was already badly gutted by a number of administrative deregulation moves by none other than the Bubbleman himself, Alan Greenspan.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall paved the way for the sub-prime mess and other deriviative-based scandals that will most likely cause the stock market to crash again, this time in even more spectacular fashion (and to be followed by another great depression). The saddest thing is that this coming fiasco was fully preventable.

And none of this even takes into account the looming disaster of peak oil, which will conveniently come along just in time to make the next depression permanent.

American poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) once wrote, "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been!'"

1999 is the same year as Cheney's peak oil speech. Of course that is just a coincidence.

After working in the federal government for decades, this all fits the mentality perfectly. Those who make these decisions only care that nothing bad happens while THEY are in charge. That the end result will be worse for the country is not really considered.

Thanks for this post, ozone.


Diesel shortage around the corner

Oil-traders and gas stations in the Netherlands and Belgium are struggling to get their hands on some diesel fuel. Insiders say large oil depots in Roermond, Venlo, Wageningen, Cuijk and Geertruidenberg are already empty.

....Gas stations aren't completely run out of diesel yet, "but it shouldn't take much longer, gas stations usually have around a three or four days worth supply in storage", said Pieter Peeters, director of the Van der Sluisgroup in Geertruidenberg, the biggest independent oil trader of the Netherlands.

Oiltrader Frans van Rijswick in Roermand says the problems all started when two big refineries in the Netherlands and Belgium started doing maintenance at the same time and when a third got production problems.

...Peeters says there is no reason to panic, but the the situation is very serious. "The whole circle of production and delivering oil is so close cut, that there's pretty much no room for mistakes. Plus the fact that trading houses in the port area try to store as less as possible because they are waiting for better times."


There's some discussion of this in yesterday's DrumBeat.

Here and here.

Doesn't the war machine work on diesel/JP?

And gas has been very cheap.

Is there a relationship between how much gas and diesel comes out of a barrel of oil?

Maybe the show is about to start.

IF any of you want to yelling at a recording - here ya go. They talk 'bout how metered electricity is a scam. How mass transit never pays for itself.

If you want an idea what the energy (and water) restricted world is up against - here ya go.

Well, I played a few minutes of that.... what can I say, it sounded nothing more extreme or fringy than frankly what many Drumbeat posters write....

Much of what is posted here and accepted as being the 'the best path' are considered 'evil' by ppl like in the parent.

I'm no technocopian but....

My solar project.

I wanted to make a first foray into solar and decided in a portable concept.

I started with a metal handtruck with solid wheels, 300# rated, and built a sturdy cabinet on it.

In the cabinet;
Strapped in 2 – 90 ah AGM batteries.
1200 watt inverter/charger with the 120V receptacles exposed on the side of the cabinet.
2 – flush mount marine grade 12V receptacles on the other side of the cabinet.
Solar panel controller (handles up to aprox. 500watt array) with digital display.
Quick connect plugin to controller.
Total weight – 190#

20’ cord with quick connects at both ends.
1 – 80watt solar panel (so far)
8’ three prong cord for charging with inverter/charger.

Total cost just under $2000

I now have a pretty reasonable portable power station that will power a bunch of led lights around the house for a very long time, re-charge all my portable devices, power the laptop, re-charge the fridg now and then, basically make the power outages that happen here quite often a little more manageable.

The whole thing can be tossed into the trailer with camping gear for those outings, ( or escaping’s).

The battery bank is infinitely expandable, (not in the cabinet of course but…) even if limited to 1200 watt output. I can add 3 more solar panels before I have to get another controller.

I am showing this around to friends and family to inspire them to get started.

Hey that sounds pretty nice. Can you post a link to pictures?

Good on you, Souperman.
Actions speak louder than words!


Regarding Saleri's comments up top ("Worldwide, Saleri said, recovery efficiency is 30-35% but could be 60-75%"), the Total CEO has a different opinion:

There had also been a false assumption that North Sea-style recovery factors could be achieved everywhere, said de Margerie: “Not true; it doesn’t work”.

Good article by Tom Standing, with similar comments:


I thought at first glance that Saleri's comments included a glaring non-sequitur--first he talks about all the ways that the production rate has been increased--and then flips that into a totally unsupported conclusion about recovery efficiency. It's almost as good as blaming the high price of crude on refinery problems. "No-one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of..."

Saleri is in an enviable position. He can make all sorts of claims about the achievements of Saudi Aramco while he was in charge to help further his career. Some of these might even be true. However, SA is unlikely to dispute any of what he says.

Those interested in how spreading peak oil awareness is likely resulting in deferred production should definitely check Leanan's Drumbeat article:

Shallow-Water Driller Sees No Comfort in $100/Barrel Oil

Here's an additional quotation:

Meanwhile, the market already is souring in some places - Ahlstrom noted that the price drillers in the shallow-water Gulf of Mexico charge has dropped to $90,000 a day today from $120,000 a day in 2006, while costs jumped to $35,000 from $20,000 in the same period.

This Rig Zone article attributes this specifically to high oil prices "encouraging governments to exert more control over reserves, which discourages new investment".

Deferred Production of this nature == an earlier but flatter peak

Projections by ASPO, Skrebowski, Robelius etc could well be too optimistic short term and too pessimistic longterm.

IMO, their projections are too optimistic short term and long term. Again IMO, their projections will become increasingly optimistic the farther along we go. $100 oil was supposed to cause CTL to boom, it was supposed to spur exploration for oil previously uneconomic-just to mention two price driven supply increases. None of it is happening. IMO a far higher percentage of oil will stay in the Earth permanently than anyone is predicting. Overall, the whole industry is starting a slow wind down and unless profits start increasing dramatically from this point we will continue to see stock buybacks and dividend increases.

Deferred and may never be exploited.

Therefore, do not agree with your flatter peak statement.

The point is that resource inflation may make many projects non-feasible at any price (since it is and always will be a moving target)

This is what we call "receding horizons".

The article isn't about marginal prospects. It's about profitable drilling opportunities that are off limits.

The point is that resource inflation may make many projects non-feasible at any price (since it is and always will be a moving target)

So far, we are not seeing this. Producers' rising costs are more a function of royalty grabs by governments and competition for labour (widely reported) than any hard limits on the affordability of extraction technology.

For instance: Robert Rapier reported recently that he had received several near 7-figure job offers. Now, I'm sure RR is very talented and experienced but the fact remains that he is a renewable resource.

I'll believe we've hit the moving target phase when wages fall massively and oil companies still can't make a buck.

OilManBob argues that if the resources aren't exploited now, they may never be. Because the expertise required will be lost.

Let me guess.

Nuclear war + Fahrenheit 451?

Leanan, are you sure you don't need to be rescued?


No, nothing like that. Just that the oil industry in general is very old, close to retirement age, and the infrastructure won't last forever, either.

But you yourself posted a story on this only yesterday.


Far from catastrophic (and catastrophic is what is required for expertise to be lost forever).

In fact, the people saying there is going to be a global shortfall are those same blindly optimistic folks about global production. (CERA) They would be sure to scale back their labour estimates if they suddenly realized production was flat to falling and not flying up to 120bpd or whatever.

One, I don't believe everything I post. That would be impossible, because I post things from multiple, and often contradictory, points of view.

Two, no, I don't think it would have to be catastrophic for expertise (and perhaps more importantly, infrastructure) to be lost forever. It would simply have to be too expensive to rebuild. That's the argument some make about ANWR. Do it now, while that nice pipeline built for Prudhoe is still working, because there might not be enough oil to make it worth building a new one.

Agreed on One. I mentioned you had posted that piece just to emphasize that you've certainly seen recent labour assessments and they really are not that bad for an industry likely to shrink.

On Two, I strongly doubt the pipeline was necessary to develop the North Slope at all, let alone ANWR. The pipeline was only necessary to develop it on a grand scale in a very rapid fashion. Prudhoe bay is currently ice free for 6 weeks per year and very likely to increase!!! No matter what happens to the pipeline, ANWR oil will not be orphaned.

I think you are listening to folks bent on panicking the gov into coughing up more oil leases.

Oh, I realize OilManBob has an agenda, being part of the oil industry.

But he could still be right.

Well lets see: Say North slope production is 1 Million barrels per day. So we store 320 million for 320 days, then we line up a 180 VLCC 2 million each, get them into port and load 4.5 per day all in 6 weeks. I wonder how easy it is to pump at zero deg C or less, oh we heat it first. What do 160 VLCC’s do the rest of the year?

You don't produce at 1 million barrels per day.

Starting to clue in?

A wise paradigm isn't: "how can we gobble this resource at record speed to maximize economic growth".

Instead, if sanity had prevailed over the last few decades, the resource would have been developed slowly over several centuries in order to maximize profits.

When oil hits $300 and stays there, the wise guys who sold it for $60 to $80 over the last few years are not going to feel like brainiacs.

I predict shareholders will be incensed. Great analytics, boys!!! You sold for a 1/5 of what you could have gotten by holding on for a few years. Doh!!! And what! There was a substantial body of work predicting this for decades!!!

I think that Prudhoe is open more than six weeks a year. Global warming, you know.
And now that production is down and there is all that spare capacity in the pipeline, now might be a good time to barge in a lot of synfuel/methanol plants. Makes a lot more sense than building a natural gas pipeline three thousand miles through melting permafrost swamps.

The reality is the pipeline was built with a 70’s mindset, Arab oil embargo, 70’s technology, and no knowledge of global warming or P.O. by investors or Washington. It would be great to look into the future and make intelligent decisions based on that rather than past history. IMO peak oil is now and the reason is more and more oil production will be held in place to maximize profits in the future. Today your ideas are quite valid, however in the 70’s they would have been laughed out of the boardroom and Washington.

On the other hand, at the rate the arctic icepack is shrinking, it will soon be feasible to send the tankers directly to Prudhoe, rendering the pipeline redundant.

My personal belief is that ANWR is our ace in the hole, our only real strategic reserve. Best to save it for a truly rainy day (which we are no where close to having yet).

For instance: Robert Rapier reported recently that he had received several near 7-figure job offers. Now, I'm sure RR is very talented and experienced but the fact remains that he is a renewable resource.

Just want to clarify so there isn't any confusion. Those mid-six to seven figure job offers are coming from outside the oil industry. They are for energy analyst/hedge fund/Wall Street types of jobs. I have had something like a dozen of those at varying levels of interest; a lot of firms are looking for an inside perspective. The most recent one offered a salary exceeding $900,000, but I would be traveling all the time, and I would be advising people on their investments [and I am not comfortable with that]. I had some conversations with Nate Hagens - who used to do that kind of work - and my family, and I decided the trade-offs weren't worth it.

The oil industry in the UK is paying some engineers $300,000. That's process engineers, with no supervisory responsibilities. Even after BP let 350 people go [they were scooped up immediately] there is still a shortage of talented people. Without those talented people, projects do get delayed. And while I am out looking for people, I get 2 or 3 calls or e-mails a week from headhunters with half a dozen vacancies to fill.

If you want to see exactly what it is that I do, I have updated my CV. I am looking into taking some MBA classes, and the school wanted it. I want to emphasize that I am not looking for a job [now if you want to pay me 7 figures and let me live where I want, let's talk. I almost got that deal once, but negotiations eventually broke down over the 2nd point!]

I have to go to Norway this afternoon, so I can't respond to any questions or comments.

You turned out pretty good for a former soup tester.

Any thoughts on what the trigger might end up being to launch this deferred production?

Remember Elaine on the Seinfeld show trying to decide if a guy was sponge worthy?

What would ever make a situation drill worthy?

The trouble is we don't know precisely how peak-oil aware the major players are. My guess is 'quite'.

A couple of months ago, Harrison Lovegrove (an oil research firm that doesn't take a position on peak oil) said that using peak oil in planning was now standard in the industry.

Deferred production can take an infinite number of forms other than delaying development. (royalty grabs, enforcing environmental regs, nationalization etc). I think it's in full swing now.

My guess is that it will even affect planned US attacks on Iran. i.e. It could cause the Pentagon to worry less about damage to Iranian oil infrastructure. The risk of knocking some Iranian production offline for the next decade would seem less troublesome if oil is going to be much more valuable to the world in 2020 than now anyway.

Unfortunately the Iranians could be thinking the same thing. "We can afford to be risk takers since, with time, our nest egg only grows."

War tends to defer production.

CNN has a special report "We Were Warned -- Out of Gas" on right now (viewed from Central Texas area) a feature of the Special Investigation Unit. Very good and important --

The program included clips of Matt Simmons a couple of times so far. It's the best program I've seen on mainstream media about the arriving oil situation.

We Were Warned – Out of Gas

Eight dollars for a gallon of gas ... having to ration your groceries … Sounds extreme, but it could be reality. Just how vulnerable is the world’s oil supply, and can our government handle a system that's at its breaking point?


That is actually from a couple of years ago. The last oil price spike.

But they are updating it. The first version had ethanol as the answer. Now, they interview at least one person (Amy Jaffe) who is critical of ethanol.

This seems like it should be of interest to group.

“The storms have forced the closure of three of Mexico's main oil ports, preventing almost all exports and halting a fifth of the country's oil production. It has a strong economic impact" Calderon said in an interview.

Overall, the region normally exports about 1.7 million barrels of crude daily. Since, most of the production remains shut down, it would mean that Mexico's output would drop by 2.6 million barrels a day.


Man, good/scary catch, this will make everything ready for an interesting Monday!

Saleri is telling huge porkies. As long term TODers will recall Haradh has been developed in three stages, to a maximum of 900,000 bpd. However its not true to say there was "a five-fold increase in added production between the first and third increments". Each stage was 300,000 bpd - each stage was the same size.

Now sure the technology has changed, from straight vertical wells to MRC. Sure each well produced much more, however there are fewer of them since each covers a much larger area. In total there is NO difference in production between Haradh I and Haradh III.

Its disingenuous to suggest that because they switched well type to reduce the number of wells drilled they have somehow changed 'recovery efficiency' from '30-35%' to '60-75%'. All that's really happened is Aramco have reduced there spend on drilling holes, switching it for spend in the sophistication of those holes.

Hello Leanan,

What happened to my Mexico postings? Was it something I said? HTML screwup?

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

I dunno. I didn't do anything to any of your posts.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for responding. I was basically asking that we need to study Mexico to see if the FF-spiderweb damage and electrical grid shutdowns will take them below MOL.

See the graphics in the following, but dated PDF links:

[top graphic]

[see Frame 10 graphic of Mexican national spiderwebs]


Will Mexico reduce exports to US to keep the MOL safe? Will Mexico import more finished-FFs than they do already so they can keep specific and strategic MOLs safe and try and repair the damage in the FF-concentrated area of Tabasco?

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


Seems like there is not too much information available wrt the impact of the flood on the oil industry. I would expect that most of the efforts are focussed on saving people. Did find a site that says ” Nearly the totality of oil and more than 90 percent of natural gas is produced within a 200 km radius of the city.”


200 Km is a fairly wide radius, that being said there are reports that 80% of the state is under water, there is some damage to pipelines and infrastructure, and 800,000 folks are on the move.


Notice Bob that Mexico is going through hell right now...

Notice Bob that no one seems to give a damn....

all this sentimental 'community' feel good...........
a neighboring nation is entering the death throes and we are really indifferent...oh we talk about it a tad..but are we sending help of any kind? Except a pittance? Not that I have seen of or heard.

And so it goes and so it will go....

Africa? No one cares. HIV,diseases,etc ..and we are concerned with the latest on movie stars...so as far as community? I just don't see it.

airdale-an observation..tell me I am wrong and show me that I am

PS. But finally the truth is emerging about Atlanta...
6 bathroom McMansions? I don't doubt it. Atlantans need to suck it up ..badly...and get some early lessons in.But I doubt they will. Those downstream from the water will not allow tooo much.......again *community* in action...

Your posts about the Mexico flooding are still in yesterday's DrumBeat. Did you forget where you posted them?

Nope, my first [disappeared] posting was a reply to TODer Afwhitaker, and my second posting was a reply to my original posting, but when I hit the 'post comment' button: the software said in pink just below the TOD topbar--"the comment you are replying to does not exist."

Maybe a server glitch?

Oh, I know what happened. I deleted Afwhitaker's post, because it was the second of a double post. (Someone had already replied to the first, so I deleted the second. I usually delete the second one of a double post anyway.)

Since I deleted the post you were replying to, you got that error message.


TODer Afwhitaker had a double-post, where I put a short comment... just upthread
so probably Leanan or other Voodoo effects? ...removed the last one of them?

Thanks to Energy Bulletin for picking this up - DOE publishes poster on Peak Oil

The DOE has ten posters on this website

The Peak Oil Poster states some peak oil predictions from Hubbert, UN, World Bank, Simmons, Campbell and others.

But wait, there's more

There is also a poster on global oil endowment

It lists some giant oil fields of the world and gives Gibson Consulting as the source.

What is interesting is that the DOE actually published these URRs. Maybe the DOE is trying to create an awareness about peak oil? Below are some selected URRs for the Saudi Arabia

Ghawar, 75-83 Gb
Safaniya-Khafji incl NZ, 30 Gb
Abqaiq, 12 Gb
Berri, 12 Gb
Manifa 11 Gb
Faroozan-Marjan incl Iran, 10 Gb

I posted the link to that oil poster in September. IIRC, it was originally posted in January, though not discovered by peak oilers until later.

I looked it up. The poster actually dates from September 2006, so it's rather outdated.

Hello TODers,

Unrest in Haiti grows as rains continue
It will be interesting to see the world's response to this crisis. Will the focus be on OJ & Britney, sports and movies? Or is the world interested in applying Foundation-optimized re-equilibration of this devastated habitat to maximum biosolar-MPP lifestyles?

The mothers cry as their babies die.....

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

One can view the human population much like the arctic ice pack. The ice pack is thicker(healthier) at the center due to being colder(richer in the "coldness" resource). The edges are thinner(malnourished in "coldness") and experience swings due to seasonal changes.

As Burgundy's triumvirate of collapse moves the "pack" will shrink; the ice pack itself due to warming, and the total human pack due to reduced food and the reduced ability of the center to respond which depends more on FF depletion than climatic issues.

When the tsunami hit in 2004 our military was there, airlifting supplies and immense amounts of fresh water to survivors. If a similar event occurs in the future our forces are either going to be tied up in various resource wars or tied down due to the constraints of oil prices. The edges of the human pack will ... melt.

I meditate on this a bit each and every day and the answers don't come. We have a sustainable biosphere "lifeboat" sized for two billion and the good ship Earth has three and a quarter times the passengers. If we're to make a smooth transition to two billion survivors without some sort of crash first the process entirely depends on the unlucky four and a half billion not rocking the boat while the lucky are boarding. We know how that will play out, given that where those two billion survivors live is not yet clearly delineated due to climate change and uncertainty regarding energy.

Poorly governed places are going to self select out of the lifeboat due to the inherent tendencies. Haiti is one of those places. Statements like this are going to come fast and thick for a while, then we'll hit Peak Reported Misery, and they'll be seen less and less. It won't be because the troubles stop, it'll be because troubles closer to home fill our attention.

The Haitian government, still struggling to rebuild after years of turmoil, has been almost entirely dependent on overtaxed international aid groups and a U.N. peacekeeping force to cope with the disaster.

i see a crash to a few hundred million...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Carbon in Soil

Cash in pig trough. Apparently not having learned anything from US ethanol or Europe's carbon schemes, architects of new schemes want to include pork barrelling. I'm not saying carbon in soil is a bad idea because it's worth doing anyway without handouts. A cash program will be administratively unworkable. Not only will lobbyists and fraudsters game the system I think creeping exaggeration will set in whereby the amounts are inflated, thereby letting us off the hook with coal burning.

Every time I see the phrase "cap and trade" I mentally translate it into "crap and trade" - the minute after its set up the games will start and there will be no real reduction.

We need to tax the heck out of anything that emits CO2 and spend the money on incentives for things that don't.

You can tax cows and pigs, but do you really think that they will pay their taxes? Domesticated animals account for more co2 than autos.

As Pauli famously said, that isn't even wrong ...

The problem is that we are exhuming carbon based fuels and changing atmospheric chemistry. We must start somewhere and you seem to be implying that we ignore transportation consumption because animal protein consumption is a larger component of the equation. That is pure foolishness.

There has been much discussion of how to handle transport based FF consumption on here and I won't waste valuable electrons by reiterating.

The animal CO2 is driven by the production of grains which require heavy FF inputs. This has gotten a lot less attention and its going to cause far more angst than the transportation changes, but we're all likely going to be driven to a much more vegan diet than we have now. Grain costs are going to rise in lock step with FF costs and people are going to stop buying meat and start buying rice and beans, not for health or ethical concerns, but purely out of what is in their pocketbook when they get to the checkout lane.

None of this is going to do the United States a lick of genuine harm, though many former hog consumers are going to squeal like stuck pigs at the change.


New EIA Ethanol production # are out
2005 day month
Jan 241 7,471
Feb 245 6,860
Mar 243 7,533
Apr 238 7,140
May 237 7,347
Jun 249 7,470
Jul 258 7,998
Aug 260 8,060
Sep 261 7,830
Oct 269 8,339
Nov 275 8,250
Dec 280 8,680
2005 92,978 Barrels
2005 3,905,076 Gallons
all *1000

2,006 day month
Jan 288 8,928
Feb 302 8,456
Mar 301 9,338
Apr 289 8,656
May 293 9,093
Jun 318 9,532
July 316 9,804
Aug 329 10,185
Sep 333 9,992
Oct 333 10,308
Nov 343 10,279
Dec 356 11,023
2,006 115,594 Barrels
2,006 4,854,948 Gallons
all *1000

2,007 day month
Jan 375 11,621
Feb 386 10,795
Mar 384 11,892
Apr 391 11,716
May 406 12,573
Jun 418 12,553
Jul 421 13,051
Aug 434 13,453
2007 97,654 Barrels thru Aug
2007 4,101,468 Gallons thru Aug
all *1000

We're all going to die.

Assuredly, Cedar, assuredly, but how and when are occasionally of interest, in particular when bad and/or selfish choices by others hasten this event along ...

I know its late but if any of you Persian Gulf experts could help I would greatly appreciate it.

I've cooked up a map of the region but I'm sure its not complete. I've found a few major oil terminals, the Iranian naval bases and military air fields, and then I took a stab at showing the coverage area for the Iranian Sunburn missiles. I hope this gives everyone a better sense of what would be involved if the United States truly decides to go after Iran. It was an eye opener for me - we'd have to invade and control a pretty big swath of the country to stop the delivery of SS-22-N & C_802 missiles to the sea lanes in the Straight of Hormuz.

KML is here:

And a preliminary view of the map is here.

Persian Gulf Oil, Gas, and Military

Sorry people - I did all that work and then managed to step on the KMZ right before I posted it :-(