DrumBeat: November 4, 2007

PetroChina expected to surpass Exxon Mobil as largest company

When the state oil and gas firm PetroChina makes its debut Monday on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, China's booming stock markets will be on the verge of setting another stunning milestone in market valuations. Soon after the Shanghai listing, analysts expect PetroChina to surpass the U.S. energy giant, Exxon Mobil, as the world's largest company by market capitalization.

Reasons for Crude Oil Price Rises and the Repercussions

There are various and conflicting views regarding the reasons for the record and rapid rise in crude oil prices. Some experts attribute the developments to purely geological reasons, believing that the big oil states have reached the peak of their productive capacity and have no new reserves to exploit. Others attribute the developments to economic reasons, such as the sustainable growth in China and Iran, while still others point to the "hidden hands" of markets that are taking advantage of opportunities to reap astronomical financial benefits, such as the case of speculators, for example. There are those who attribute the increase in consumption demand, which involves the additional storage quantities required prior to a military confrontation between Iran and the West. Some oil observers attribute the reason for weekly fluctuations to the level of the US commercial reserve of crude oil. Of course, there is the problem of the delay in constructing new refineries in industrial countries. Finally, there has been increasing talk about the impact of the weak dollar on the rise in consumption, but without confirmed information, and the increase in demand for oil in Europe and Japan.

China subsidizes rural transportation, urges aid for urban poor following fuel price hike

China's central government has subsidized transportation in rural areas and urged local officials to help the urban poor after it raised fuel prices by nearly 10 percent this past week, state media reported.

China cylinder gas price rises despite warning

The price of cylinder gas in China's southern boomtown of Guangzhou has jumped more than 6 percent since last week's fuel price hike, state media said on Sunday, despite a warning from Beijing not to raise prices.

Price rises hurting the wallets of Malaysians

A price increase in petrol will result in higher transportation fees, and is relayed to the consumer – and this trend is occurring all over the world. Other factors include the growing of crops for bio-fuel and animal feed instead of for food.

Even global warming is in the picture. The rising price of wheat due to drought and reduced harvests in Australia caused the price of flour to rise: in Jamaica it’s up by 30%; in China, the price of a packet of instant noodles jumped an average of 20% and by as much as 40% in some cases in July.

Iraq, With U.S. Support, Voids a Russian Oil Contract

Guided by American legal advisers, the Iraqi government has canceled a controversial development contract with the Russian company Lukoil for a vast oil field in Iraq’s southern desert, freeing it up for potential international investment in the future.

In response, Russian authorities have threatened to revoke a 2004 deal under the Paris Club of creditor nations to forgive $13 billion in Iraqi debt, a senior Iraqi official said.

Iran sees 25,000 bpd output from oil field by Jan

Iran expects to produce 25,000 barrels per day (bpd) from its huge Azadegan oil field by around mid-January, contributing to gradually rising output capacity in the OPEC state, the oil minister said on Sunday.

Gholamhossein Nozari, the caretaker minister who will take on the role permanently if he wins parliament's backing this month, also said U.S. and other sanctions on Iran were not hurting the energy industry in the No. 2 OPEC crude producer.

Iran warns foreign firms to complete energy deals

Iran warned foreign oil and gas firms on Sunday that it will implement major projects with domestic companies alone if they do not speed up the completion of negotiations.

Kuwait boosts security at oil fields

Kuwait said it is stepping up security at oil fields and at its exploration arm by adding more facilities and staff.

The world's seventh-largest oil exporter said in September it planned to tighten security at energy installations and was coordinating with US authorities.

Asia refiners to stay away from DME Oman futures

Crude futures contracts could act as hedging tools for refiners – which need to buy crude oil for their own use, rather than for trading purposes – with other hedging options limited.

But with price movements volatile, futures trading often can be riskier than over-the-counter dealing and speculative – a discouraging factor for traditionally conservative Asian refiners, traders at refiners said.

“$1 a barrel is equal to $500,000 per cargo,” said a crude oil trader at a Japanese refiner, referring to the typical size of a Middle East crude oil cargo. “We should be conservative.”

Oil giant CEO: Prices starting to quell fuel thirst

HOUSTON -- U.S. drivers are still consuming more gasoline than they did last year, but higher pump prices in 2007 are spurring them to pull back a bit, the chief of the nation's second-largest oil refiner said.

"It does appear there's starting to be an impact with respect to demand as a result of price," James Mulva, chairman and CEO of Houston-based ConocoPhillips, said in a conference call to discuss the company's third-quarter earnings.

Truckers angry over rising cost of diesel fuel

The cost of diesel fuel is going through the roof – of tractor-trailer cabs, in particular – and the drivers wonder who’s to blame, although they have a good idea.

“There’s a lot of chatter on the CBs (trucker-to-trucker citizens’ band radios),” said David Barber, 32, of Tunkhannock, while filling up at the Uni-Mart truck stop along Route 924 near Humboldt Industrial Park on Saturday. “And a lot of the (unpleasant) chatter obviously is about President Bush.

Gas station owners search for ways to keep costs low

Some dealers in the industry suggest the best way to solve the high cost of gasoline in California—and keep themselves in business — is to implement new laws that would improve competition, starting with targeting the oil companies.

“As much as I am for free enterprise, it has gotten to a point where the government has to interfere,” said Katcho Achadjian, who owns three stations in Arroyo Grande.

Wood burns away high cost of heat

The sticker shock of heating our homes last winter ignited a new wave of traditionalists.

Natural gas, propane, heating oil and electric baseboard heat are being elbowed aside by wood.

Mayors, Looking to Cities’ Future, Are Told It Must Be Colored Green

Part pep rally, part policy discussion, the conference presented two main themes: the federal government must do more than the Bush administration has done to fight global warming; and in the meantime, cities must take up the slack.

Effort to Save Everglades Falters as Funds Drop

Seven years into what was supposed to be a four-decade, $8 billion effort to reverse generations of destruction, federal financing has slowed to a trickle. Projects are already years behind schedule. Thousands of acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat continue to disappear, paved by developers or blasted by rock miners to feed the hungry construction industry.

Texas Proceeding With Plan to Auction Preserve

In Austin, 360 miles east, the state’s general land commissioner was collecting bids to do what conservationists say is all but unheard of — selling a state wildlife preserve to a private buyer.

China's dependence on coal damaging country's historic sites

More than 80 percent of China's 33 U.N.-designated World Heritage sites, including the Leshan Buddha, have been damaged by air pollution and acid rain, mostly from the burning of coal, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.

"The level of pollution that China is creating will be devastating to these monuments," said Melinda Herrold-Menzies, a professor of environmental studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

From Conservation to Population, a New Look at Planet Earth

In just a few decades the world’s population will hit nine billion, leading to the essential question: Can this many humans survive and try to improve their lives without depleting the planet?

Price may drive the success of hybrid SUV

General Motors Corp. is building the industry's largest hybrid passenger vehicles - in a belated effort to catch up with an expanding market and boost its own flagging SUV sales. If successful with hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, GM plans to expand its hybrid offerings to, among other vehicles, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup and Cadillac's behemoth SUV, the Escalade.

But will people inclined to drive large SUVs and trucks go green - and pay thousands of dollars extra to do it?

Here comes the £1,200 car

This revolutionary Tata is known as the “one-lakh” car. A lakh is 100,000 rupees, about £1,225. It has been the dream of company chairman Ratan Tata for more than a decade. He promises a small, four-door car, with a simple specification, cheap to run, and attainable by Indian buyers who want to step up from two wheels to four.

Expect oil demand, and price, to go up

Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, gave his forecast for the United States economy at an economic outlook conference in Charleston on Thursday. West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research sponsored the conference.

“The demand for oil will increase greatly over the next 10 years,” Wyss said. “In the long run, energy prices are going up. There’s no shortage of energy. There is a shortage of oil.”

Fuel for thought

The market may be good at making oil undesirably expensive, but that's no reason to let it decide energy policy.

Biofuel producers forced to shut

AUSTRALIAN Renewable Fuels chairman Max Ger yesterday scathingly attacked Canberra's "pathetic" attitude towards the local biofuels sector after announcing the closure of its Perth and Adelaide operations at the cost of 33 jobs.

The closures were attributed to the soaring price of tallow, its main input, but Mr Ger accused the Government and Opposition of "mouthing platitudes" about so-called green fuels.

A legislative change last year made it almost impossible for users of biodiesel and mineral diesel blends to claim the 36c a litre tax rebate.

China to continue raising fuel prices to correct economic distortions

China will have to continue raising its domestic resources prices, even though the move could result in additional inflationary pressure, in order to correct the distortions in the economy caused by underpriced fuel, a senior official at the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said.

Thailand may face electricity shortage in future

Protests at the planned construction sites of several new electrical power generating plants in Thailand may cause the country to experience an electricity shortage as the demand the power is rising 1,400-1,600 MW annually, said outgoing Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) governor Kraisri Karnasutra on Sunday.

Vietnam: Fuel prices capped despite high oil costs

In part of the Government’s ongoing bid to rein in inflation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has ordered petroleum importers to hold the lid on retail prices despite the global oil price hitting record highs.

Fiji: Support for waiver of fuel duty

THE Fiji Council of Social Services has supported calls made by the Consumer Council of Fiji to reduce duty on fuel.

Fiji: Shippers 'struggling'

LOCAL ship owners would not be able to sustain any further increase in fuel prices, says the Local Shipowners Association.

Association secretary Leo Smith said the requests to government from domestic ship owners to review the rate for carting domestic goods has not been entertained by all governments for the past 15 years.

The Philippines: Arroyo calls for law on the development of renewable energy

With oil prices surging to record highs, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has called on Congress to pass legislation that would help the country deal with the problem by making it less reliant on imported fuel.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said on Sunday President Arroyo was asking Congress "to pass urgent legislation on the development and promotion of renewable energy sources."

Panel to examine fuel price manipulation

A U.S. Senate committee is set to review a new bill designed to help control energy prices by curbing commodity traders' ability to manipulate the rates of oil, natural gas, electricity and other fuels.

Heating oil prices hit record high in Maine

The average price of heating oil in Maine has broken an all-time record dating back more than 25 years.

The state's average oil price hit $2.78 a gallon in October. That is 11 cents higher than the annual average high — adjusted for inflation — reached in 1981, according to calculations done for the Portland Press Herald by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Bracing for the cold

Economists say paying for heating oil — used by almost 40 percent of the homes in the state— will force residents to cut into disposable income and lead to reduced restaurant and retail spending. With the escalating price of oil — up nearly $1.50 per gallon since a year ago — requests for fuel assistance are expected to increase.

Climate change: we have the power

Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist, suggested in 1936 that carbon dioxide from burning coal could create an atmospheric greenhouse effect and warm the planet. In 1979 the American National Academy of Sciences warned that a wait-and-see policy on global warming “may mean waiting until it is too late”. In 1988 delegates from 46 countries to a Changing Atmosphere conference in Toronto called for a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2005. In February 2005, the Kyoto Protocol established an international binding agreement to cut carbon-dioxide emissions. In October 2007, I can now reveal the net outcome of all this science. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. CO2 emissions, now approaching 30 billion tonnes a year, have continued to rise inexorably.

“In spite of all the rhetoric,” says Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum and one of the world’s leading climate scientists, “we sit perfectly on or just above the business-as-usual curve.”

Sustainable Living: Fossil fuels feed our food supply

When you hear the words "peak oil," the first thing that springs to mind are the long lines at the gas pumps during the '70s energy crisis. However, the continual decrease in the world's oil reserves will more likely result in longer bread lines than gas lines.

Collectively, Americans eat almost as much in fossil fuels as we burn in automobiles.

Eat less, save health and save the planet

In the context of looming environmental crises, eating less takes on much larger significance than its effect on our waistlines, or even our health. Reducing our food intake, making better choices in the first place, and wasting less, will mean we will be eating up less of the planet.

Drink It

If what the oil "experts" say is true and that the major oil reserve "Ghawar" in Saudi Arabia is indeed drying up--and that the barrel of oil will be reaching 100$, then it makes total sense to destroy Iraq, who happens to be the second largest oil reserve in the world with the best quality of crude.

And it also makes perfect sense to use vicious Iran who played along - to divide and fragment that second largest reserve in the world.

Iran Oil Minister urges reducing gas use

Iran's caretaker oil minister has called for preventing excess gas consumption as the country braces up for the bitter winter season, PressTV reported.

The warmth to come

The world is running out of petroleum. Peak oil production occurred a few years ago and it is all downhill from there. As the supply diminishes the oil companies will become even more voracious and the oil producing countries will want more for their wasting asset.

Crude Impact

Like most doomsday docs, this ends on an upbeat note, with a list of things you can do to help, but the most helpful thing would be to drive your SUV into a wall - or better yet, another SUV.

Canadian pipeline via S.D. raises questions

Two court hearings are scheduled related to Trans-Canada's plans to create the 1,830-mile underground crude-oil Keystone pipeline that would run through parts of South Dakota's Marshall and Day counties.

The coming cleantech boom

JOHN F. Kennedy once said, "When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters - one represents danger and one represents opportunity". The threat of dangerous climate change has magnified global attention on broader management of the environment. Now investors are gearing up to capitalise on the biggest thing since the dotcom boom - the "cleantech" boom.

Expert view: So all the fuss about oil prices is just a lot of hot air. Oh really?

The four most dangerous words in financial markets are: "This time it's different." I ploughed through yet another economist's report last week arguing that surging oil prices were irrelevant. Triggered by the black stuff approaching $100 a barrel, it trotted out many of the same arguments used when oil broke the $75 barrier – that energy costs represent only 6 per cent of US manufacturing's cost base etc etc. It was an academic tour de force. It nearly convinced me. Then a man was murdered in China on Wednesday for jumping a petrol queue.

New Presentations by Matt Simmons

●  A Hungry World In Search Of More Oil

●  Gauging The Risks Of Peak Oil - Will We Face Limits To Growth?

New 'disaster' movie warns world of oil apocalypse

Oil is 'the bloodstain of the earth's economy' and will soon trigger a global conflict that will cost millions of lives. That is the stark claim of a controversial new film, which says a crash in oil production is about to set off worldwide recession and economic collapse.

Oil exec pushes for new policy

"I am calling for the United States of America to think about the energy needs of its citizens and come up with a coherent energy strategy," John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Company, told area business leaders Tuesday evening.

China urges local governments to keep prices stable following oil price hikes

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planning body, urged local governments to take measures to maintain stable market prices overall after it raised refined oil prices by 10 pct last week.

In a circular posted on its website, the NDRC said local authorities must ensure that no 'chain reaction' proceeds from the fuel price hikes.

Scandal brings change to Alaska's Legislature

State House Speaker John Harris sat in his quiet Capitol office on a recent morning, checking e-mail. Outside his door, the benches where lobbyists used to sit jammed thigh to thigh stood as empty as the T-shirt shops shut for the winter on the rainy streets of Alaska's capital city.

Iran shuns greenback deals

An official at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has revealed that 85% of the Islamic Republic's oil deals are now conducted in currencies other than the US dollar, reported the Tehran Times. The NIOC has requested that purchasers pay in alternative currencies so that Iran can reduce its 'dollar dependence'.

EU report: World's need for energy to increase

An economic report set by the European Union (EU) revealed Thursday that the world's need for natural gas would increase by 60 percent in the future, adding that the Mideast and African regions' demand for energy would go up by 2.9 percent despite having great amounts of water energy resources.

The report, which was made for the Intentional Energy Conference which kick-started in Sharm El-Shiekh, indicated that due to a study by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world's need for energy between 2004-30 would increase over 50 percent.

Energy time bomb

The developed, rich world has been talking for three decades about curbing its addiction to imported oil. But despite all the rhetoric, the oil supply problem has become worse and energy security more complex. Over the past 30 years, the United States, “the policeman of the world”, has doubled its dependence on imported oil, notwithstanding the repeated calls from top ranking politicians to move towards energy independence.

Gazprom revealed as mystery Imperial Energy suitor

THE financial arm of Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled oil giant, has emerged as the mystery bidder that is attempting to buy 25% of Imperial Energy, the embattled London-listed oil company.

World Bank asks Bangladesh to raise oil prices

The World Bank has asked Bangladesh to raise domestic oil prices in order to reduce pressure on the national budget, a financial adviser of the interim government said on Saturday.

The state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), the country's sole importer and distributor of oil, subsides oil products and is now incurring losses approaching $44 million each month, officials have said.

Walk! Cycle! Minister tells French on high oil price

Economy Minister Christine Lagarde urged French people on Sunday to walk more and drive less, given the increase in oil prices.

"From time to time, you should forget your car to the benefit of your two legs and your two wheels," Lagarde told Le Parisien daily in an interview.

'MidEast Oil Forever?': Part II

After the introduction, the next part of "MidEast Oil Forever?" predicted in 1996 that we would have an oil crisis in ten years, and that we would be in a weak position to respond if Congress succeeded in gutting our clean energy programs.

That may seem obvious now, but oil prices were low in the mid-1990s -- in the previous three years, oil prices had averaged about $16 a barrel -- and only a few oil/security analysts (whom we cite) were raising alarms.

Oil is king – but for how much longer?

"We are of course concerned about high oil prices," Mohammed bin Dhaen Al Hamli, the president of Opec, said last week. But he added: "The market is increasingly driven by forces beyond Opec's control."

So what is really going on in the oil market? Opec's view is by no means an isolated one. Many oil industry executives, including Shell's van der Veer, believe that there is no fundamental reason why crude prices have hit their current levels. "There is a lot of psychology in the price," he said in September.

$US100 a barrel could be days away

AUSTRALIAN oil producers could receive $US100 a barrel within days after the Asia-Pacific benchmark TAPIS crude price reached $US96.95 a barrel yesterday.

Some Australian producers, such as Oil Search and AED Oil, sell their oil at a premium to the TAPIS price, given the higher quality of the crude. The most expensive oil in the Asia-Pacific region yesterday was oil from the Thevenard Island joint venture off Western Australia.

The spot price of Thevenard oil - owned by Chevron, Santos and ExxonMobil - was $US97.80 a barrel, up $US4.29 from Thursday.

Sorting through oil industry lies

Industry officials have been claiming that Alaska is changing its tax rate right and left, and is as unstable as Nigeria. These claims are blatantly untrue and show how the industry is willing to say whatever it takes to prevent the state from raising taxes.

Overturning Exxon verdict appears political

There were legal questions to be decided, including whether the state proved that ExxonMobil actually committed fraud, as defined by Alabama law. But there also was no denying that the case was politically charged, as evidenced by the court's split decision.

Its eight Republican associate justices voted for a reversal of the fraud finding while its lone Democrat was opposed.

An Imitator of Chávez: He May Be Sincere, but Is It Flattering?

These incidents came after an episode of “Hello, My People,” his television show, in which he defended the right of “revolutionaries” to own Hummers, which have become popular affectations of the rich business class here. “If we earn money, we can do it,” he said.

Industry welcomes fuel price hikes in China, but tensions remain

Officials with China's major oil refiner on Thursday welcomed a hike in domestic fuel prices, but said a severe supply crunch that led to tense queues at petrol stations would remain.

Qatar says will not automatically track Fed moves

Qatar, one of five Gulf oil producers that pegs its currency to the dollar, said on Sunday it would only track future U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate moves if they suited conditions in its domestic market.

Kuwait's new oil minister might resign

OPEC-member Kuwait's oil minister has offered to resign after some members of parliament voiced resistance to his appointment a week ago, newspapers said on Sunday.

Nigeria: 'Why Petroleum Products Are Scarce'

The inadequate supply of petroleum products to Benue and Nasarawa States through the NNPC Depot Makurdi, has been attributed to pipeline vandalisation by hoodlums and has forced bridging of the products upon the marketers.

Iran-Turkey gasline construction to cost $5b

It will cost Iran $5 bln to construct the pipeline that carries its gas to Turkey and Europe, said the deputy petroleum minister for gas affairs, MNA reported.

Invest in the Gulf, but not just for oil

Another way to profit is by investing in the countries reaping the benefits of several years of relatively high oil prices. Even if the value of black gold falls back to about $80, this is still significantly more than the $24 a barrel it was in 2002.

Edwards calls global warming moral test

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Saturday called reversing global warming a "great moral test" and said the next president needs to stand up to industries resisting change.

Depression, Great Depression, Katrina, Post-Peak Oil

I spent all day Saturday at a free seminar hosted by Harvard, Bard and Shell Oil Company (speakers from Dartmouth & others) for over 100 neighborhood leaders, etc. in New Orleans.

One striking statistic was rates of depression. One survey of 4 groups shows rates from 44% to 52% (from memory) despite wide variances in income, race, etc. for the 4 groups. "Anger" was another major effect and was somewhat independent of depression (certainly me). There was discussion of the effects of these on peoples ability to cope, openness to change, etc. Social support was seen as key in dealing with this issue. Volunteering to help others was a major "treatment" (people living in tents inside their gutted homes, with just running water & sewage did much better if they spent time helping others).

We talked about the volunteers coming in from outside. One person noted that VERY few came from modern Suburbia, they almost all came from the "other half" of America (rural, urban, small town, "old suburbs").

I wonder what the rates of depression were during the Great Depression. And what they will be post-Peak Oil. And how modern Suburbanites will cope.

Best Hopes for the "Other Half" of America,


20 Jul 2007

A study into the health of farmers in Queensland has found that 66 per cent had an unacceptable cholesterol level and 85 per cent had high fat diets. The report, by general practitioner Toby Ford, says that farmers should ride bicycles around their properties when mending fences to help improve their weight and cardiovascular health. The mental health of male farmers was also a major concern and the report suggested that some farmers were overeating to escape stress and depression. Dr Ford said that many problems could be addressed if farmers could learn to take a holiday to rejuvenate.

The West Australian, 20/07/2007

31 Oct 2007 | Escalating defaults in regional NSW
The latest credit default figures show an alarming increase of 35.5 per cent in NSW across credit cards, personal loans and mortgages. ......"

Considering that we're hearing zero about Mexico's
Katrina and 100% of crops lost in Tabasco and 1.7 mbpd
offline, I figure we'll be hearing zero about post PO
Depression rates as well.

"Dr Ford said that many problems could be addressed if farmers could learn to take a holiday to rejuvenate."

You gotta love that line.

You know, to your second home on the lake. LOL

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

But there are a couple ways to take that advice.

I've grown increasingly aware that my daughter, born in summer '03 has so far lived in a house with a lot more dark news than music and playfulness, not that those are missing from her world, but as a parent it's hard not to consider the deep developing effects of the fear that's been endemic during her whole life so far. A kid in King Bush's court.

I've had to remind myself that we have the arts and various forms of recreation for very important psychological needs, and ignore them at our peril. It doesn't mean jump to the extremes of hedonism and neglecting what must be done, and neither does it mean raising her with blinders to the harder facts in the world.. but silliness, playfulness, fun and song are invaluable balms, ESPECIALLY in the dangerous times where we find ourselves. Luckily, She is a natural source of these things, if we, the freaked-out parents remember to heed the cues.

Bob Fiske

With two children in our home, I fully empathise and concur, Bob!

See my comment below, too about writer Walker Percy and "Love In the Ruins..." -- Percy died a while ago, but wrote some earth-shakingly disturbing fiction "The Thanatos Syndrome" is very frightening -- and yet he was often very, very funny.

He also wrote some good non-fiction, like "Lost In the Cosmos: the Last Self-Help Book."

Just examples of good literary vacations we can all take if so inclined. Not just fluff, like so much stuff, but fun as well as true.

Take a look at yesterdays Drumbeat (wonder if it shouldn't be 'Drumroll' at this point?).. I put some links in for solar hot-air projects at Build It Solar's website. Can't jump over to link it right now, STILL feeding the girl! (At least she's eating, thank heaven for growth spurts!)

Thanks for the Percy reference.


I did check out those links, Bob. They were good ones.

I'll have to start gathering materials, but first I'll decide on my strategy. I like Trombe walls because they are simple and passive. I also like some of the experiments people have made simply with color and a little bit of glazing.

The Kreamer collectors look great!

I'll start to find out this week if it was worth the effort. I think the theory looks solid, and I'm eager to suss out some designs that use simple, cheapish materials that can be improvised locally from a variety of sources.

Will let you all know as it starts running. Varying from his plans, it will be 'automatic' with a DC Fan and a matched PV panel, prob. 15watts, so the fan will just run when the sun is up. It'll take some trial/error to get the match right, or I'll just revert to the TempSensor/AC Fan if there is a mismatch too complex to use direct PV for..


The link again, for those curious what I'm talking about.. Bill Kreamer's Solar Hot Air Collector..

Then thee is Nick Pine .. the expert on


And his
"Usenet Postings"


You must be referring to "clinical" depression -- a state in which people (and horses and dogs and cats, for that matter) feel completely powerless as individuals in their environment. The "feeling" of being depressed results from the breakdown of the bonds of solidarity that are required to keep social animals in a functioning society, and I personally believe it to be a fundamental drive (like hunger and sex) to require individuals who have strayed from the group to get back into the fold.

Human beings are individually weak, but collectively strong -- so powerful groups will form that vastly multiply the force of the individual members, and collectively strengthen them all. On the other hand, group dynamics always have to balance off the ability of self-interested individuals to profit individually from the group ("raiding the commons") and ultimately destroy that group, but ultimately forming new groups from the ruins of the old.

Since this sort of behavior is much older than the human species, and certainly pre-dates language, it has nothing to do with our cognitive, analytical, legalistic development as a species -- or at least, those faculties are mainly an appendage to a more fundamental behavior.

Modern market society deliberately breaks down natural groupings in order to create individuals who must become "consumers", and further, manipulates people into false groupings that have nothing to do with survival (Naomi Klein calls it "branding".) The natural tendency to form groups is perverted to "brand" people to CocaCola, Nike, Adidas, Toshiba, The Democrats... you name it. Whole university departments are devoted to creating and manipulating this false solidarity.

But of course, it has nothing to do with survival -- it just allows people to get rid of their feelings of "depression" by buying stuff.

Now we are in a transition phase -- there is beginning to be less "stuff", but there also has been a complete collapse of the old world of natural groupings. People don't "belong" to anything any more -- The Elks, the Masons, the Moose, the Eagles, The Grange, the PTA .. if they exist, they exist in name only in most towns.

I believe that is why "the other half" of America, the small towns, the rural areas, etc. as Alan mentions, are the last repositories of the groups that sustain human life -- and the reason that is where the volunteers come from.

Also, that is where to look for survival after Peak Oil -- people will do fine after the energy flood of the last 200 years has passed, but the society will be very different, and it will rely on human bonds, not hydrocarbon bonds.

The urban areas also contribute quite a few volunteers. For whatever reason (random sampling error ?), I have seen quite a few groups from Brooklyn. It is just the "modern" suburbs (those bastions of social isolation), that contribute VERY few.

I do like your closing statement,


Most of my life I have lived in small towns, but for a while I lived in San Francisco, which at that time (early 1970's) was made up of countless small neighborhood communities that had great internal cohesion. I don't have the sense that large cities are so much like that nowadays, but I'm probably wrong -- if so, that is another source for resurgent solidarity when the energy flood passes.

People don't "belong" to anything any more

Churches and Synagogues, Mardi Gras Krewes, Mardi Gras Indians, Brass Bands, Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs, Neighborhood Associations (more & stronger post-K), etc.

And we just talk to each other,

Best Hopes,


In earlier planning group polls, we were asked "What would you most want to preserve about New Orleans". The #1 answer all three times I was asked was not our food, our music, Mardi Gras, or our architecture. It was "the way that we relate to each other".

Alan, I think that this point is, again, the most important single point we need to make about "what to do" about Peak Oil and also Global Climate Change.

The Author of a number of wonderful and strange and often funny novels lived near NO for many years -- Dr. Walker Percy.

I recommend for example, his book:

"Love In the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World"

as a great literary romp for those needing such inspiration as a break from stress and depression.

You will laugh, you will cry, you will ask with Walker Percy why it is we are most ouselves when we are simply sitting and watching the birds, or when we are in a deep crisis pulling together with those we love or helping perfect strangers.

But the real social life you describe is the point -- also something old Doc Percy clearly understood!

I recommend "Confederacy of Dunces", the quintessential New Orleans novel.

Best Hopes,


Once Ignatious infects your soul, you'll never want to get him out.. nor will you be able to!

No Theology or Geometry, indeed!


"The longer one lives in New Orleans, the less fit they are to live anywhere else. And that is a good thing".

Arwen Adams, MD (one of my friends @ ASPO-Houston)

"Confederacy of Dunces" -- one of my all-time favorites!

This makes me wonder if maybe the dispersal of people from NOLA during the evac was as much of a catastrophe as the actual physical damage caused by Katrina?

One wonders what might have happened if neighborhoods had evacuated as a group, sheltered as a group, and returned as a group.

The FEMA "plan" of boarding evacuees post-Katrina on airplanes and REFUSING to tell them where they were bound till they were in the air was ...


And yet to 'save New York, San Francisco and New Orleans' at the expense of the rest of the nation would use these same FEMA and FEMA-like powers.

There was a world of difference between the FEMA of Bill Clinton and the Homeland Security FEMA of GWB and Michael Brown.

Appoint a guy who was "asked to leave" his previous job of running horse shows to *ANY* job that requires organizational skills is choosing failure in advance.



Awesome post.

People who are hit by unexpected catastrophe outside of their control (quake, tsunami, economic crisis, mass illness) may either rally round and show great inventiveness and what one might call community spirit, etc. or they may be become helpless and depressed, unable to act, playing up a victim role, lashing out at others, creating more damage and havoc, seeking scape goats, killing loved ones, committing suicide, and so on.

It all depends on the circumstances, the scope for action, liberty, and authority that is accorded to the afflicted.

Treating the ‘depression’ of individuals is a poor and hypocritical way of dealing with problems like that post Katrina.

The real issues are, the levees, Federal Gvmt. aid, housing insurance (possible or not) for low lying properties, etc. etc. (Alan may correct I don’t know much about it....) ..

Shunting these problems onto ppl ‘being depressed’ and maybe ‘needing treatment’ is a common cop out.

The "real issues" will not be addressed, at least in a timely manner. This was a group of largely neighborhood leaders (Faubourg Marigny, Faubourg St. John, Faubourg Treme, Carrollton, Broadmoor, Gentilly, Esplanade, Vietnamese New Orleans East) dealing with real, on the ground issues. Change what you can change and learn to deal with the rest. Saying such and such is unjust only feeds anger and depression after *SO* much injustice.

Use traditions and customs already in place. For example, get Mardi Gras Krewes to do more small events year round. Churches, volunteer trash pick-ups are both good "therapy". So is getting older people to help in child care centers, ad hoc libraries, etc..

The barriers to accepting mental illness as a day-to-day reality are falling quickly.

Political actions should not be forsaken, but that will do little for the next 14.5 months and beyond that is uncertain.

Best Hopes,


"depression" is not a mental illness (in most cases, anyhow.) It is a social illness.

Your point about increased Mardi Gras Krewes, church activity and the like post-Katrina proves the point. There is tremendous resilience in New Orleans -- for whatever reason, the situation did not proceed to complete social breakdown.

Depression can never be cured by individual therapy, and drugs have very limited usefulness. Gary Snyder is frequently quoted to that effect:

Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.
Gary Snyder

"It all depends on the circumstances, the scope for action, liberty, and authority that is accorded to the afflicted."

And the pre-existing level of community and solidarity.

I was at a cross-sector, open-to-all Local Foods Summit in Kingston, Ontario on Friday and Saturday. Keynote speaker Thomas Homer-Dixon asked his audience to identify their residential locations. City? Many. Village or town? Many. Farmlands? Many. Suburbia? None. At a food distribution workshop later, another speaker asked if anyone had shopped at Wal-Mart in the past month. Again, none. Yes, these guys were preaching to the converted, but it was at least bracing to find the weekend was sold out, and to so many "aware" individuals.

Alan - people in the Empire today are working harder and harder and getting less and less. During the last Depression getting work was hard, but if you could get it, the money went FAR. People worked together. Families were coherent structures and there was a great feeling of unity among the working class. Hell there was the idea of a working class and pride in being part of it.

TPTB probably knew that if things kept going that way, that much spirit and unity and togetherness and flat-out moxie among the proles, there'd be a Revolution and they'd be out on their asses. So the years between then and now have been spent working up a system where there's cheap bread and circuses, people are worked harder and harder, and mutual trust is very low - in fact at a level only seen in destroyed societies like that of the Iks.

I always thought Tainter's account of the Ik was somewhat implausible, and now I've done a bit of Googling. It seems obvious that they live in absolute poverty, but one article I found referred to "their fierce adherence to Catholicism" and desire to maintain Christian values. I haven't got Tainter's book here right now, but that doesn't sound like the Ik he wrote about. Not sure about the time frame though.

Here's one relatively recent article:


Hints for further reading would be appreciated.

Here's the wikipedia:


Tainter's source was probably Turnbull whose research appears dubious.

Trumbull did a book on the Pygmies too.

Colin Turnbull 'The Forest People'

Compared the Mbutu people with 'Public' (in US that would be 'Private') School Culture in England of his youth, focusing on the major stages of peoples' lives. IIRC

Good Book.

Bob Fiske

Fleam -

For what it's worth, one of my late uncles lived out the John Steinbeck version of the Great Depression, and his experience hardly resembles your seemingly idealistic vision.

My uncle road the rails, was beaten up within an inch of his life by railroad 'detectives' (read goons); begged for food at farmers' back doors and
was almost shot doing so; was rolled of what little money he had by his fellow bums while he slept; and came pretty close to freezing to death on more than one occassion.

No, during these times the milk of human kindness was in very short supply. And my uncle did not once encounter anybody that even came close to resembling the Waltons. It was tough times, and people with a little money were not particularly nice to those with none.

Think Paul Joad from The Grapes of Wrath, and you will have a far more accurate picture of what future tough times will be like.

Hey, buddy can you spare a dime?

Hi Alan

Any figures -- statistical or anecdotal- on Post-Katrina domestic violence rates?

My sister in NYC works with poor female Latin immigrants -- legal & possibly illegal; she doesn't ask -- who seem to have a very high incidence of such.

It may be impolite to say, but perhaps this is cultural; or perhaps economic stresses are at least a contributing factor.

Domestic violence is up significantly, especially those living in FEMA trailers for years. Alcohol sales are higher than pre-K as well, with tourism down and the population down by over half (now 70% of pre-K).

No shelters until a couple of months ago.

Most troubling is long term stable marriages without one incidence of domestic violence in 15, 20, 30 years and then an explosion in a FEMA trailer.


New Orleans did not have a working class Hispanic community before Katrina (one of very few US cities). We attracted a much more violent Hispanic community than elsewhere post-K due to the unusual circumstances.

Alan wrote:

>>>New Orleans did not have a working class Hispanic community before Katrina (one of very few US cities). We attracted a much more violent Hispanic community than elsewhere post-K due to the unusual circumstances<<<

Just for clarification:

Are you implying the domestic violence figures are skewed by the incoming of a "more violent Hispanic community;" or rather, indigineous post-K difficulties?

The domestic violence rate for locals has climbed greatly (suicides are up x6 in the early days, down a bit now).

I would expect domestic violence to be way up as well, but official statistics gathering to be much worse today. (Police HQ is still not repaired, nor 4 (maybe 3) of 8 district HQs, so report writing is in local restaurants, at home (in a FEMA trailer) etc).

The vast majority of Hispanics are single men looking for quick money in terrible conditions, although that is changing. The few Hispanic couples here did have have very high rates of domestic violence.


I was just going to say, I bet it's because it's single males who are the most adventurous, willing to jump in a truck or on a bus into a chaotic area to look for work.

The few Hispanic couples here did have have very high rates of domestic violence.

One factor is they likely had more children then they could afford.

RE: New 'disaster' movie warns world of oil apocalypse

I can see Fred Thompson doing a "There Ain't no Gol Darn Peek Erl" movie, provided he doesn't make it as a Presidential candidate. (See the story about Fred in today's NYT.)

E. Swanson

I should have referenced the movie "A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash" and pointed out that Amazon has the DVD available. The reviews suggest that this movie is a must see for all of us that are peak oil fanatics. Like Al Gore's movie, if this DVD were to be widely presented (along with Kunstler's The End of Suburbia"), the message would get to the public very quickly.

E. Swanson

I saw this and was disappointed. The writing seemed insufficient and inadequately planned to make it hold together as anything other than a long series of interviews. It also contained a confusing mix of redundant information that would bore someone already peak-oil aware alternating with technical language that seemed designed to alienate people who weren't already familiar with the subject. For people following the subject, the interviews with Simmons and other informed persons were valuable and interesting- but as a full-length documentary it really did not hold together.

YMMV as it seems to have received a lot of awards. My feeling is that either many of them were granted due to the subject matter, or else it was not a very competitive category this year. I commend the creators for trying to raise the subject, but Peak Oil as a topic so far has just not made for compelling art or media.

It is much easier to criticize than to create so please see it for yourself and form your own conclusions. At the very least such a dialogue might offer suggestions as how to approach the subject in media and art in the future.

Speaking of New Disaster movies. There is an upcoming theatrical disaster movie from M. Night Shyamalan called "the happening". The movie is about a family on the run from a global environmental crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity. The global environmental crisis in the film will portray the earth as a victim of mankind's doings, which causes a global backlash.

Wow, I seem destined to play a sour critic today...

All I can say is that I am saddened that "Lady In The Water" was not sufficient to put the final nail into the coffin of Shyamalan's career. Don't set your expectations too high.

The Village was good, The Lady In The Water was an exercise in self appreciation worthy of Kevin Costner himself.

Shyamalan can do good work and I hope this next bit is back up to snuff.

Thanks for the Possum link yesterday (I'm already thinking you replied to, didn't actually post that link.. so sorry to other contributors).. but anyway, it's great, and NPR, of all places had the perfect companion song for 'possum living'..

by the kinks,

Im sitting by the side of a river
Underneath the pale blue sky
Ive got no need to worry, Im in no hurry
Im looking at the world go by.

Just sitting in the midday sun,
Just soaking up that currant bun,
With no particular purpose or reason
Sitting in the midday sun.

Everybody say Im lazy
They all tell me get a job you slob,
Id rather be a hobo walking round with nothing
Than a rich man scared of losing all hes got.

So Im just sitting in the midday sun
Just soaking up that currant bun,
Why should I have to give my reasons
For sitting in the midday sun

Oh look at all the ladies
Looking their best in their summer dresses,
Oh sitting in the sun.
Ive got no home,
Ive got no money
But who needs a job when its sunny. wah wah.

I havent got a steady occupation
And I cant afford a telephone.
I havent got a stereo, radio or video
A mortgage, overdraft, a bank loan.

The only way that I can get my fun
Is by sitting in the midday sun
With no particular purpose or reason
Sitting in the midday sun.

Oh listen to the people,
Say Im a failure and Ive got nothing,
Ah but if they would only see
Ive got my pride,
Ive got no money,
But who needs a job when its sunny. wah wah.

Everybody thinks Im crazy,
And everybody says Im dumb,
But when I see the people shouting at each other
Id rather be an out of work bum.

So Im just sitting in the midday sun
Just soaking up that currant bun,
With no particular purpose or reason
Sitting in the midday sun.

.. Jokuhl, ceo, Industrial Waste and Magic

You'd think with all the people who've read the possum living someone would have tracked down the daughter of the story.

Sarah Connor?

Joekuhl - the Warsocialism page has a link on an "as little work as possible" society and whywork dot org is another good site.

Remember we're trained from birth to be workaholics for the corporations' good, not our own.

The author was Dolly Freed.

Here's the only recent information about her I've been able to find (and I don't know if this is reliable or not):

Dolly is out there somewhere. When I deleted this blog in April the original comments to this post were lost. Too bad because I had a comment from someone claiming to be Dolly's young niece.

Apparently Dolly is doing just fine and has no desire to be "outed". She is living an ordinary life and has put Possum Living behind her.

Where Are Your Dolly Freed?

Thank you for the link. And I guess my question of 'how long will someone willing do the possum living lifestyle' if another option is possible is answered.

The problem with being a Possum Liver is that humans are a social animal, and the pull to be "normal" is VERY strong.

The Corporations use this pull to their great advantage, needless to say.

It's hard to go it alone, you need a "tribe" to do it with, and it has to be a large enough tribe to be a healthy one, not some tiny little dysfunctional Zendik Farm sort of setup.

The Zendiks (I knew them somewhat when they lived in Bastrop, TX) were probably on the lower edge of a functional "tribal" population.

I'd suggest that if they'd put any energy whatsoever into seeking out the people they needed to make the community work, they'd have been far more successful (successful in this case meaning 'substantially raising the livings standard for each member of the group)

I'm not so sure. The comments at that blog were interesting. Yes, one claimed that "Dolly" was now wearing Italian fashion and acrylic nails, just another rabid consumer. Another claimed that "Dolly" didn't exist, that "her" writing style was far too mature to be written by a 19-year-old, and suggested "Dolly Freed" was a pseud for another well-known author.

Me, I think that it's possible she was for real, but I seriously doubt that was her real name. I read a few pages from her book (interesting stuff), and she admits to doing things that are illegal. (Like not paying taxes.) Being obviously a bright person, why would she admit to that under her real name? She may have similar reasons for not wanting to be found now.

I would definitely take the claim from her "niece" with a large amount of NaCl. It's a common net phenomena: randoms coming out of nowhere and claiming to be friends or relatives of anyone you're talking about. Very often a "niece." In another lifetime, I was webmistress for a certain actor's web site. Several times, I had to ban people for claiming to be his niece. He didn't even have a niece.

It is NOT illegal to not pay taxes if you don't make enough to tax. It looks like the Possums were far below that monetary theshold. You are supposed to file each year, but if you make too little to be in danger of paying any tax, you can basically just send in a letter saying you didn't make enough to tax.

I think the minimum threshhold is somewhere around $4k adjusted, and I get the impression they were grossing one or two thousand a year?

As for the moonshine, well, that's illegal, you can make wine and beer for yourself in limited quantities but not 'shine. The rabbit raising and slaughtering was probably against the law as far as zoning goes.

She may have been staying out of school too, remember this was written before homeschooling became legal.

She admitted that she sold candles and such, without charging sales tax. And talked about how to duck the issue if someone asked about it.

There's no income limit for sales tax.

OK ya got me there.

The name "Dolly Freed" is quite possibly a pseudonym (given the illegal stuff like moonshine admitted to in the book, she would be crazy to use her real name). Authors writing under pseudonyms is pretty common, really.

But, with that one proviso, we're talking about the real deal here. A 30 minute documentary was produced about Dolly and her Father a couple of years after the book came out.

Possum Living (1980)

You can even still buy it:


Speaking of the kinks,

Long ago life was clean
Sex was bad and obscene
And the rich were so mean
Stately homes for the Lords
Croquet lawns, village greens
Victoria was my queen
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, 'toria

I was born, lucky me
In a land that I love
Though I am poor, I am free
When I grow I shall fight
For this land I shall die
Let her sun never set
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, 'toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, toria

Land of hope and gloria
Land of my Victoria
Land of hope and gloria
Land of my Victoria
Victoria, 'toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, 'toria

Inflation was low because oil prices surged
In GDP math, sometimes one plus one equals zero

By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch
Last Update: 1:56 PM ET Oct 31, 2007

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- As odd as it sounds, the government reported that inflation was at a four-decade low in the third quarter, primarily because import oil prices rose so much.

If you don't understand that, welcome to the confusing world of national income accounting, where up sometimes is down, and where sometimes one plus one can equal zero.

This short story is really worth a read!!

In the government's accounting, prices of imported goods rose at a 10.3% annual pace in the quarter, but that increase was subtracted when figuring the economy-wide price index. Import prices subtracted 1.3 percentage points from inflation in the third quarter. With domestic prices rising slower than they had previously, it was enough to push inflation to four-decade low of 0.8%.
The accounting is right. But it's not reality. End of Story

Right. Accounting is not reality -- it is a method of turning straightforward bookkeeping into mumbo-jumbo so that the rich and powerful can stay that way.

It was pioneered by the priests of ancient Egypt, and meandered through the byways of theology and phony mathematics to reach its modern pinnacle of pure fantasy at the time of Enron. Accounting has been in decline since then, and with it the house of cards that Modern Society is built of.

A declining energy regime will be painful, but the social changes it will bring can only be beneficial in the long run. Entropy has been excluded from social calculations for far too long --

Thanks for this, John-
And yes, this kind of accounting is definitely leaving us in the dark, for some more time. The US GDP numbers are distributed in most international MSM and represent the “economical state” of the global economy. In this case probably just another misleads, but who cares – it’s just another day in history …

Human beings like to behold - to believe, and your linked history was just another story made up from “black letters on a white background” – what can I make out of that?


This article is a good reminder of the degree to which many government economic indicators are removed from reality. Such indicators may be useful to economists in diddling with their arcane economic models, but appear to of little real use .... other than to reassure the general public that 'things ain't so bad after all'.

If you want to know what the real rate of consumer inflation is, just record both the prices you pay and the amount you purchase for a group of everyday necessities, such as gasoline, heating oil (or natural gas), electricity major food items (e.g., bread, milk, meats, staples, etc). Then add to that such items as car insurance, health-care insurance, local property/school/seewer taxes. You can then weight these prices by the dollar size of purchase.

If you do this at two points in time separated by six months to a year, you will reach the depression conclusion that your own 'personal inflation rate' is probably something like twice that of the official government inflation rate.

Those economist-types among us will no doubt argue that this is comparing apples and oranges, but that's sort of the whole point: If the government's index only includes apples, but I happen to only eat oranges, what good is it to me?

Sally had been saving $100 a month for 7 months, but this month she doubled her savings. Sally bought a $1000 worth of stuff for $800 and saved $200, but now she has no money in her savings. (The stuff was 300 gallons of heating oil.)

The problem is that we have had an unusually large increase in oil price without an accompanying increase in gasoline price, resulting in a temporarily skewed inflation/gdp calc. Eventually oil price will level off, gasoline price will rise, and we will see a true(er) picture of inflation/gdp. But, interesting to see that, without import price increases, US 3Q inflation would have been (ignoring the inflaitonary effect of rising import prices) 2.1% and gdp growth would have been 2.6%... not bad, but decelerating.

Forget last year's bonuses... by 4Q we will see financial firms slashing payrolls as they desperately try to stay afloat... and, without the platinum parachutes of their former genius ceo's that leveraged their firms into short term profits and long term (maybe permanent) losses. NY/CN/NJ real estate/income tax receipts next to fall.

BAGHDAD, Oct. 29 — Guided by American legal advisers, the Iraqi government has canceled a controversial development contract with the Russian company Lukoil for a vast oil field in Iraq’s southern desert, freeing it up for potential international investment in the future.


Wouldn't Russian involvement be "international?"

Yeah but it wouldn't be Democratic. Or Republican. Or something.

Here we go again – more wishful thinking and euphoria. These folks don’t give up hope, do they? This kinda’ expressions are daily now…

Mr Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s: “The demand for oil will increase greatly over the next 10 years… blah, blah,” (from drum-link)

IF we are nearby PO – even the most retarded monkey will have noted that the Concept-of-More-Demand for the same - is not an option … but some Sapiens’ can not figure this.

IMHO => DEMAND = a WISH and SUPPLY = the REALITY, easy as that.. personally I like to deal with the latter.

BTW there is a greater oil-demand in this world today than market can provide, in Africa for instance – they lose biddings against China and India – so their DEMAND is of an academic and wishful sort … (god bless the world – insh Allah)

How many monkeies does it take to count one banana ?

But we have to get out of this rut and become a consumption-based economy.

Malaysia article.

I'm really at a loss. Is the understanding of 'finite resources' really that hard? Consuming more is somehow going to fix the high prices?

Is there an economist at the heart of every human on the planet?

More to the point, in the chest of every economist beats the heart of a human.

Hey Alan...of all places...I was reading my Sunday newspaper and the Parade Magazine had the article below...front and center...WOW!!

Parade Magazine - With high gas prices and airport delays, could we make our trains... A Better Way To Travel?

American spent about 3.7 billion hours stuck in traffic last year, burning gasoline whose price had soared by 60%. At the airports, security lines snake endlessly, runways are choked, and delays are common. One recent study found that, between January and August 2007, one in four flights arrived late; 159 flights were kept on the tarmac for more than three hours in August. As a result, more than half of U.S. businesses augment commercial air travel with expensive corporate jets and charters. Isn’t there a better way?

One solution is staring us in the face. Many transportation experts insist that the best answer to transportation gridlock is efficient intercity rail travel. Trains use one-fifth less energy than cars or planes. They run in bad weather. They’re business-efficient and tourist-friendly. Yet, since the early 1960's—with the exception of the Northeast Corridor, from Boston to Washington, D.C.—railroad transportation in the U.S. has become largely irrelevant. For most Americans, train travel from city to city remains an afterthought. And for good reason: Our national rail system is inadequate, relying on aging equipment and a shrinking route-map. The system sorely lacks both financial resources and government support.

How can we reframe this issue to really succeed in positioning Rail as a matter of National Security?

I know Alan has said it in no uncertain terms, with SRR [Strategic Railcar Reserve..filled of course with Bob Shaw's Wheelbarrows.. (and my new nickname for them 'RockShaws')] .. and the security issues around energy use, etc.. but I think we need to keep paraphrasing it until the message clicks.

Avoid the terms that have been killed-off already, like 'Energy Independence' and such, and make that connection that this is part of our Foreign Policy, our Food Security, our ability to Evacuate, to get the Workforce to Work, the products to market, the mail to everywhere..

A complete and functioning rail system IS a National Security Priority.

'Ok, solve your problems and let's Light this Candle!'
- Alan Shepard (at least according to 'The Right Stuff')


I like "Building a Non-Oil Transportation System".

Electrified intercity railroads, vastly expanded Urban Rail, some electric trolley buses and bicycles & walking (& even segways & NEVs).

A comprehensive & parallel alternative to our existing "Oil Transportation System". A shelter from the coming "Oil Price Storm", a place to run to in an emergency (all of the elements of a Non-Oil Transportation System(tm) have "Elasticity of Supply" in an emergency, they can carry more on short notice) and a better choice for many for day-to-day use.

Freedom of Choice, Oil or Non-Oil, Maximum or Minimum Global Warming :-)

Best Hopes,


Alan, I'm curious about the figure thrown out in that Parade magazine article "Trains use one fifth less energy than cars or planes". There is no source cited for that, is that a valid figure? And are they referring to diesels, electrics, or?? Seems to me that any rail would have significantly more than just a 20% advantage over air travel.

You may have noticed that I have not been pounding the drums in favor of "diesel Amtrak" (Northeast Corridor & Philly-Harrisburg are electrified).

Several years ago I calculated Amtrak's mileage as 86 pax-mile/gallon (low load factor, fairly large % sleepers (rolling hotels))(from memory). Southwest is close to 52 pax-mile/gallon today (high load factor makes a big difference). Run Amtrak 66 & 88 pax coaches at 85% full and Amtrak fuel economy looks MUCH better. Run 24 pax sleepers half full & not so good.

Thus my emphasis has been in other areas (20 BTUs diesel to 1 BTU electricity) in shifting containers from truck to electrified rail. In certain rail advocate areas, I am in disrepute for not supporting Amtrak strongly. But I look at the #s

Now, once a double or triple tracked line has been electrified, the energy efficiency of Amtrak will increase significantly (as travel times shorten). 250 pax-miles/gallon (energy equivalent) would be reasonable.

Best Hopes & Geaux Saints !


Alan, what really amazed me about that article is the location of the story....Parade magazine. It is not known for its hard-hitting stories. It's about as mainstream as mainstream gets. And...it is carried in most major newspapers (I'm guessing). Parade is not that far from People magazine in story lines.

On the issue of community, this story gave me glimses of "A Canticle for Leibowitz" with how they seem more of a monestary connected to the outside world.

A radical call

Lay Catholic community Agape lives off the land, following gospel of nonviolence with no compromise

Amid the hum of crickets and tree frogs, at the end of a rocky lane deep in the New England countryside, more than 200 people are gathered on folding chairs on the knobby grass on a surprisingly warm October Saturday. The crowd is a mix of gray-haired grandparents and tattooed college students, full-time peace activists and middle-class homeowners who believe Christ’s central message was a radical call to nonviolence.

They all trekked into the woods of Hardwick, Mass., Oct. 6 to mark the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Agape, a lay Catholic community committed to living and teaching a philosophy of radical Christian nonviolence. The community lives off the land, growing its own food and generating most of its own electricity in a conscious rejection of what it considers the life-destroying values of modern American society.


Concerning the increase in the % of Natural Gas Liquids to Crude oil.

Looking at Matt Simmons presentation:
On page 13 he shows that the percentage of NGLs and Other Liquids to crude oil has grown from 3% in in 1973 to 14% in 2007. Most of this is in the form of Natural Gas Liquids. On the next page he says most of this comes from expanding gas caps of mature oil fields.

Okay, here is my thinking. If the field has no natural gas cap, then this means that there is very little methane there or it means that it has already been pumped out. But propane and butane bubbles out at a much lower lower pressure than methane or even ethane. So as the pressure in the field drops, these NGLs bubble out and this is responsible for much of the late increase in NGLs. That seem to be what Simmons is implying.

Is there anything wrong with this scenario?

Ron Patterson

I usually recommend posting a no flatulence joke warning with topics such as this.

The expanding gas cap reference would indicate that the gas cap was getting down to the level of the wells higher on the oil saturated part of the formation. If a formation has a strong gas drive or combination gas/water solution drive, the best way to maximize production lies in not producing the gas for a variety of reasons, most notably the need to saturate the formation with oil where the gas cap exists, because, historically, such oil will never be fully recovered. Once the gas cap starts invading the oil saturated portion of that zone, it is usually time to start with secondary or tertiary recovery operations, although it is thought best to still maintain that gas cap. Once another gas, such as CO2 or N2 are introduced, the value of the natural gas is effectively lost although there are techniques developing to recover the methane and exclude the other gasses, but at a fairly high dollar cost.

Once another gas, such as CO2 or N2 are introduced, the value of the natural gas is effectively lost although there are techniques developing to recover the methane and exclude the other gasses, but at a fairly high dollar cost.

Thanks Woody. I had no idea that the introduction of C02 or Nitrogen would mean the loss of other gasses. This has serious implications for using C02 as a "detergent" to wash a higher percentage of the oil from the reservoir. You are sacrificing any gas you might recover for more oil.

It also means that no gas can be produced from Cantarell. They introduced a nitrogen drive about a decade ago.

Ron Patterson

Non flammable gas injection effectively pollutes flammable (ie valuable gas) that could be used.

Some Southern North Sea / Dutch (Permian basin) reservoirs have a relatively high naturally occuring CO2 level. This impacts the calorific content and sale value of the gas to users.

CO2 and N2 injection improve pressure to release further amounts of liquids, but forget any gas thereafter.

But anyway, by the time you get to gas injection, you are getting to the end-game stage.

Same with water injection: You have to spend energy drilling a water injector, to pressure the well and at some point later, separate the water out as the water cut increases.

A lot of wells in the northern north sea could now best be described as oil-stained water wells.

Of course you can still make money, but it is diminishing returns.

But anyway, by the time you get to gas injection, you are getting to the end-game stage.

Same with water injection: You have to spend energy drilling a water injector, to pressure the well and at some point later, separate the water out as the water cut increases.

I don't understand this at all. Haradh, the southern tip of Ghawar, started off with water injection. The rest of Ghawar, and indeed the rest of Saudi Arabia, has had water injection for decades.

Saudi's Khurais showed a very fast decline, along with a severe pressure drop in the late 70s. They introduced natural gas injection and, for one single year, got production up to 144,000 barrels per day in 1981. Then production dropped sharply. They closed the field down due to low production. Now they plan on inducing massive amounts of water and say the field will produce 1.2 million barrels per day. Fat chance of that ever happening but nevertheless they plan on reviving a very old and almost dead reservoir by injecting about a million and half barrels per day of water. My opinion? Lotsa luck!

Ron Patterson

Porosity and permeability play a big part in how reservoirs produce. KSA reserviors are mostly Carbonates with very distinct levels of permeability. See Simmons : ''Twilight In the Desert'' regarding carbonate reservoirs, pemeabilities and tar mats. He covers it very well.

In clastic reservoirs, most oil / gas is brought to surface under its own pressure as the pressurised oil can move relatively freely through a clastic reservoir of sand / sand stone. Though this can vary widely due to cementation.

However, carbonates can do this initially: Just look at old, grainy black and white footage of blow outs in the middle east...

That is why the production profile of North Sea Reservoirs look they way they do: Ramping high and early, followed by a brief plateau and steep decline and a very long tail. The long tail can be extended by judicious drilling of water injectors. Where carbonates are concerned, Fracturing and acidisation can play a part in improving relative permeability and hence flows. Horizontal drilling and 'bottlebrush' drilling can play a part also. Water injection in carbonates can have its own special set of problems where water floods along permeable strata, locking out oil which can then end up trapped in place or bypassed.

Technology can go only so far.

Ultimately, you have to work for your money, whether clastics or carbonates. And short of any new discoveries at virgin pressure in new regional provinces, that is where we are about now.

Hi Dar,

Your gut feel for the physics is broadly correct. Lower reservoir pressure increases the percentage of propane and butane in the gas cap. If we ever meet in the Real World I'll tell you an eye-opening reservoir (mis)management story that hinges on that precise point, in exchange for a beer.

However, I would be very surprised if this accounts for the 3% to 14% (factor of 4!) change in the product mix. That's surely got more to do with increasing worldwide utilization of natural gas in relation to oil, and the increasing value of the C3 and C4 as a separate product stream instead of leaving it mixed in with the fuel for compressors and pumps, or putting it back in the ground.


The Plucky Underdog

Can anyone confirm this?

Mike Lynch has stated, on another list, that Matt Simmons is claming that the oil industry largely agrees that Crude Oil peaked in May of 2005.

Matt Simmons claims that the industry largely agrees with the idea that oil production peaked in May 2005, but I can’t find much supporting evidence of that.


I can find no evidence that Matt is making this claim. Can anyone shed any light on this?

Ron Patterson

Public or private agreement?

He didn't say but I assume he meant that Matt is making this claim publically.


I am proposing a new debate with ExxonMobil, Lynch, et al. We will see what Dennis McCuistion, ExxonMobil and Lynch have to say. My proposed debate topic: Are oil prices more likely to go to $150 from here, or more likely to head back to $50?

The first debate (September 2006, I was a late add to the program):


Part One focused on Peak Oil

Matt does not make that claim. The IEA data states that. He merely makes reference to the IEA information in his presentations.

Hello TODers,

It appears the oil production problems in Mexico are getting worse, not to mention the human problems:

Villahermosa, Mexico (AHN) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Friday warned it would take time to rebuild what has been devastated by the non-stop flooding plaguing the country, including the oil industry, which was crippled by the catastrophe.

"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.

The storm did not spare the Bay of Campeche, Mexico's main oil producing region and home to more than 100 oil platforms.

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.
This was the most recent link I could find, but it would be nice to get more corroboration.

I could not find by a brief google the location and amounts of Mexico's SPR, if they even have one. My uneducated guess is that losing 2.6 million crude barrels a day will soon drop their internal MOL below normal operating levels unless they drastically curtail some of the spiderweb's crude pipelines. IMO, the pipelines that they would most likely try to keep operating or restore quickly would be for the refineries that can easily process Mexico's light,sweet grades from the Tabasco-Chiapas areas.

The heavier gravity Cantarell crude, not currently being exported to US refineries, then sent back to Mexico as finished fuel products may possibly be alleviated by drawing some crude from the US's SPR, then quickly sent south of the border to help keep Mexico from crumbling into chaos.

The other big problem is natgas & fuel-oil for electrical generation as Mexico burns a minute amount of coal to make the juice. Can generators burn raw crude in an emergency, or does it rapidly gum up the works compared to fuel-oil?

If my previous posted graphics are still valid: if the Tabasco-Chiapas natgas wellhead & pipelines, natgas processing plants, and pipeline transport pumping stations are mostly shutdown: what amount of blackouts and brownouts will occur until the infrastructure is repaired? Do the US natgas exports reach into the critical cities? Mexico City and Acapulco is a long way from Texas.

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

Bob, thanks for posting this. This must be devestating for PEMEX. At first I thought ther had been a typo, that the author of the piece meant a drop to 2.6 million barrels per day. But after reading it over, I think there was no typo, he meant a drob by 2.6 million barrels per day.

This will drop imports into the USA considerably, probably leading to further drops in inventories.

As to your question about boilers burning crude oil, yes they can. In some places the good stuff is refined off and the goo is sent to the boilers. Nothing gums up from buring crap. Some boilers burn garbage. Coal is the worst kind of gummers around but coal is a favorite. I worked at a power plant in Saudi and we often burned unrefined crude. We also burned naphatha. But mostly we burned natural gas. Some boilers burned Orimulsion. That is tar mixed with water. But I understand Orimulsion has gone out of production.

Ron Patterson

This will certainly effect the U.S. weekly petroleum report and that in turn may lead to another upwards price swing. The "famous" $100 dollar bet bench mark might be crossed. And that's a price point that I would have bet against last spring.

latest update I could find on google:

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico's Red Cross is preparing for a possible outbreak of cholera or other water-borne diseases in the southern state of Tabasco, where flooding has displaced 800,000.

``The outlook for the disaster is not short term,'' Daniel Goni Diaz, national president of the disaster-relief agency, said in an interview from Mexico City. ``It would be almost impossible that we don't see some kind of disease outbreak.''

Forty-four people have been arrested for looting after six supermarkets, two storage trailers and several houses were burglarized, Reforma reported. At one supermarket north of Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco, flood victims took food, clothes, toilet paper and diapers. Military personnel on the scene closed the store and allowed them to leave with the merchandise, Reforma said.

Villahermosa, located some 430 miles (692 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City, is almost completely flooded, Mari Garcia, a worker in the local emergency administration, said in an interview yesterday. Fifteen of the state's 17 largest cities were under water, she said.
My guess is that most adults are so busy evacuating their families from flooded homes that the last thing on their minds is going to work to help repair the depleting onshore & offshore energy spiderwebs.

Meanwhile, as Mexico starts its Olduvai descent to replicate a salsa-styled Zimbabwe, is the USA riveted to football, golf, shopping, and celebrity screwups? Those TODers with TVs: is the coverage wall-to-wall like Nawlins was during Katrina and Rita, or do you see more TV-time dedicated to Taco Bell Commercials?

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

My thxs to all TODers who responded to my postings,

It would be interesting to know what is happening on the offshore rigs & platforms. With onshore electricity out: cellphone tower are probably inactive, with most Tabasco-Chiapas radio stations off the air, too. Are the offshore workers close to mutiny to demand to be quickly re-united with their families?

Speaking for myself, I couldn't work if I thought my family might be drowning or some other drastic condition--I would quit, then catch the first possible ride back to shore.

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

There definitely has been some natural gas pipelines damaged in Tabasco per press reports, and from the looks of things now, that problem won't be fixed soon. However I do not know specifically who is at the receiving end of that natural gas.

Also a break has been reported in at least one port concerning a pipeline connecting oil production to the port storage tanks. That's about all I know on that subject.

The total loss of oil exports from Mexico to the US may exceed 10 million barrels, and more if ports do not return to normal soon. Granted oil in storage may eventually be shipped, but not soon, and possibly not before the US slips below MOLs on gasoline.

Who says now that we got through the 2007 tropical storm/hurricane season without any significant adverse weather effects in the Gulf of Mexico?

The spanish speaking media mentions high risk of a nearby dam breaking (in Villahermosa).

This is also mentioned by locals that are posting on the BBC blog, two posts mention that if the dam breaks it's all over for them.

There's the depressing comment in that blog that some of the flooding was caused by people removing sandbags from the city levees and using them protect their own homes, thereby letting the floodwater in through the gaps they had created.

Thanks for this but I hope there was a typo - Mexico's production probably dropped to 2.6 mbd

This article also says that
"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."


Mr Calderon described the flooding as "not just the worst natural catastrophe in the state's history but, I would venture to say, one of the worst in the country's recent history".

The statement about preventing almost all exports could send oil over $100 this week.

I am really amazed that this story isn't getting more coverage. Especially the oil part. I looked for news about it this morning, and while there were stories about the flooding and the humanitarian issues, there was little mention of the oil industry. What there was was reassuring stuff - "problems last week, but Pemex says they're okay now" kind of thing.

Leanan, yes it is amazing. News concerning Climate Change, Financial collapse, energy availability and the resulting geopolitical stresses is becoming overwhelming. The speed that all these things are accelerating at is also amazing.

Yet, for your average person watching TV, they only see disparate tragedies and chaotic events with no obvious links between them. They see nothing to alarm them, nothing to change their assumptions about their lives. No warning as to what's coming their way. No chance to prepare themselves.

The shock to society will be tremendous when it becomes clear for all to see. Society will be vulnerable and defenceless against those that want to seize total control over it.

I'm sure there will be plenty of coverage when the time is right.

I'm sure there will be plenty of coverage when the time is right.

Actually, there will be plenty of coverage when it is too late, but at least the TV anchors will have nice hair and a smile on their faces.

My Google News Splash Page has no mention of it, tho' it makes sure we know that CMU has won the Robot SUV prize.

Looking up Villahermosa, this title would, you'd think, win it favor on the Headlines sheet..
Flooding in Mexico’s Tabasco state leaves 800000 people homeless

..Just that the Hollywood Writer's strike Actually affects Americans, I guess..


"The mayor of Villahermosa city ordered everyone to evacuate the city."

This is from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7074323.stm which I would encourage everyone to read until the MSM catches up.

Villahermosa is the state capital with about 335 000 people. I would guess, looking at where Cantarell is and the fact that Pemex has a load of infrastructure around there (map) that the company is going to have serious problems with personel, transport, and probably flooding of pipeline pumping stations.

Hello $100?

Christ on a cracker.

When does trading open in Asia?

Oil is down in early Asian trading (Nymex = $95.00, down $0.93 as I type this.

This is completely counterintuitive, given the uncertainty over the extent of the disruption. Whoever is selling oil contracts tonight knows more than we do, or has a different agenda than making a profit.

We can look back in a few days and see if it was wise.


Maybe they just don't know there's a problem down in Mexico.


Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

The economic news may be weighing more with traders than production news. The Citi news was not good.

Found this page about Villahermosa:

Villahermosa is the axis of Mexico's oil and gas activities. Nearly the totality of oil and more than 90 percent of natural gas is produced within a 200 km radius of the city. Similarly, due its strategic location and accessibility, Villahermosa is an easy drive to or from the seaports that handle 95 percent of Mexico's crude oil exports.

One of the most relevant attribute of the state of Tabasco is that it is covered by water, and the capital, Villahermosa, is no exception. Nearly a third of Mexico's interior water runs through Tabasco and produces an important share of electric power.

Some of the O&G companies with premises in Villahermosa are: Pemex Exploration and Production (South Region, Drilling Unit, Engineering of Strategic Projects); Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP), Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Core Lab, Great Wall Drilling Co., Petrotec, Precision Drilling, CGG, among others.

Clearly, O&G exploration and production activities have been the mainstay of Villahermosa economy. This condition is being reinforced by the important set of exploration and production projects that are being developed both, offshore and onshore, in Southeast Mexico. The triplication of Pemex Exploration and Production (PEP) investment budget in Tabasco (from 2001 to 2002) illustrates this point.

I think there's no report on the effect on the oil infrastructure because they haven't been able to asses it. That, and they are busy getting people off rooftops and getting them food and water. IIRC, it was like this with New Orleans, too. It was days before the oil companies were able to fully assess the damage.

Christian Science Monitor has this list for those who want to help:

A partial list of organizations accepting donations to assist victims of flooding in Tabasco.

Red Cross: Call 800-HELP-NOWor 800-257-7575 (Spanish). www.redcross.org

Catholic Relief Services:877-HELP-CRS or www.crs.org

UNICEF: 800-4-UNICEF or www.unicefusa.org

World Vision:888-56-CHILD or www.worldvision.org

Operation USA:800-678-7255 or www.opusa.org

Commercial banks with relief-fund accounts set up by the Mexican government.

ScotiabankAccount 00100911240

HSBC bank

Account 4000943274

Wells Fargo bank

Account 599253401

Bancomer bank

Account name: Ayuda Tabasco 2007.

Account number: 2280300127

Tabasco Governor Andres Granier said more than half of the state's 2.1 million residents were affected.

"We have lost 100 per cent of our crops and 70 per cent of the state is under water," he said.

"We are just like New Orleans. All the water that comes in has to be pumped out."

The loss of exports will be concentrated on the Gulf Coast. So, I would think that there is a pretty good chance of another release of oil from the SPR. As I have noted before, the new "swing producer" is the release of oil from emergency reserves. The problem of course is replenishing the reserves.

The big problem for Mexico is their consumption as a percentage of production--about 55% in 2006. Mexico was alone among top 10 net exporters in showing a decline in consumption from 2005 to 2006 (presumably because of a decline in transfer payments from workers in the US), but high consumption levels relative to production are lethal for net exports.

My Export Land Model, Indonesia and the UK all had consumption as a percentage of production at peak in the 50% to 60% range. The respective peak exports to zero net exports periods were 9 years, 8 years and 7 years. Based on these examples, I would expect to see Mexico hit zero net exports some time in the 2011 to 2013 time frame.

This is much bigger then NOLA, it's a whole state and more then 1m people.

It is prominently mentioned in euro media including the BBC.

It is very low profile here in the US, the usual advocates for illegal immigration are quiet as a church mouse, just like the ones that lobby for wasting mega taxpayer funds in NOLA.

It shows where these people are coming from, just like the FEMA they accuse and most anyone else, they don't give a sh*t about people either, they lobby for personal political and possibly even financial gain.

Bad news such as this is bad for the economy and it may affect productivity if workers spend too much time watching the news or thinking about the disaster in Tabasco. After all, the US is all about consumer-capitalism. It is unconscionable that the MSM has no had wall to wall coverage of this. Are we so self centered that it only matters if it happens here?

"Are we so self centered that it only matters if it happens here?"

Yes. This is not news.

>...they lobby for personal political and possibly even financial gain.<

Usually it is for financial gain.


You can translate the pages with Google, but here are many pictures and video.

Colin Campbell's ASPO Ireland Nov 2007 newsletter is out

page 6 Campbell discusses the possibility of a peak plateau rather than his predicted peak of 87.3 mbd (excl refinery gains) in 2010
"A depletion based Peak may not of course be reached if high prices hold down demand, delivering more of a plateau than a peak"


"It can now be said with absolute assurance that Hydrocarbon Man will be virtually extinct this Century"

OPEC had cut production almost a year ago as oil was trading under $65 dollars a barrel. Almost as if the monopoly had its desire to drive prices to a $100 dollars a barrel. The invasion of Iraq did nothing to bring oil prices down, rather it increased them after Iraq was seeking approval from the U.N. to pump more oil.

It is a shame the U.S. inflation numbers do not include the rising prices of energy and food. Went to the supermarket today and saw sweet onions on sale for $1.00 a pound. Was a time when a fifty pound bag of onions sold for $3.50 (1931). If the Georgia drought continues to next spring prices might rise again. The gold standard no longer exists. Inflation was a way for the government to stick it to the taxpayer without raising taxes, then exclude inflationary items from the inflation reports.

Chart below is Sadad al-Husseini's capacity forecast from Nov 1 Matt Simmons talk in London, slide 20 (thanks to Leanan)

click to enlarge

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, (1788 - 1860)

quote from http://nychousingbubble.blogspot.com/

The rest of Sadad al-Husseini's presentation, along with another of Simmons's presentations can be downloaded from here:

Thanks, Alan

There are some significant differences in capacities between Aramco and Husseini

Saudi Aramco's press kit
page 10 shows

Qatif crude capacity 500 kbd
Abu Safah crude capacity 300 kbd

Saudi Aramco's recent project schedule shows

Hawiyah NGL capacity 318 kbd NGL
Khursaniyah NGL capacity 290 kbd NGL

Husseini's presentation
page 4 agrees with Qatif capacity but has
Abu Safah at only 150 kbd instead of 300 kbd

He has 125 kbd for Hawiyah NGL and only 80 kbd for Khursaniyah NGL. I can only assume that Husseini excludes ethane gas from his definition of NGL which would include mainly propane and butane. Ethane is used primarily to make ethylene and not transportation fuel.

Pakistan, the heart of a global crisis
From oil to gold, the outlook is darkening

If the political situation in the Middle East were to get worse, the oil price would go higher and the global shortage of funds would become more serious. The same pressures that have threatened Musharraf’s position have undermined Chuck Prince’s position in Citigroup. We are not in a local Pakistan crisis, but in a global crisis that happens to include Pakistan...

...In analysing a crisis of this kind, one should always bear in mind that nothing difficult happens unless there is a real pressure for it to happen. General Musharraf would not have instituted the state of emergency if there had been no Islamic militants.

Chuck Prince would not contemplate resignation unless the bank had lost a great deal of money. The oil price would not be more than $90 a barrel if there were no shortage and no threat of war. Gold would not be above $800 an ounce if people trusted the dollar. Real events force painful decisions to be made

November 4th in KC Metro:

  • 72 degrees F (windows open - save on gas bill - yea, but is this normal?)
  • My honeysuckle/snapdragons are blooming and found ladybugs flying around.
  • Regular unleaded jumped to $2.79, diesel $3.15 (truckers must be getting p*ssed off.)
  • Groceries prices vs. last week: milk - up, bread - up, cereal - up...total bill about $10 more than last week (reminder to self - next week, only buy generic product).
  • Similar situation today here in the Omaha metro, 180 miles north. Except my local BP has E10 for $2.99, regular for $3.09. Up about .25 since last Wednesday.

    I went out to dig the annual beds under down along the fence line today, but found the marigolds and geraniums still blooming, snaps going strong. Still some purple flowers on the rosemarys out in the herb garden, too, though the basil went down under the light frost last week. Not that I'm complainin'. Ice and snow storms in Oct. are not uncommon in these parts, as I'm sure you recall.

    Gas in the local gas station in Louisville is $3.15 $3.25 and $3.35. And with what is happening in Mexico I would not be surprised to see $100.00 a barrel oil very soon.

    i am currently in ohio visiting a friend and i have noticed the gas here is about 3.10 and near 3.50 for diesel.

    Were you there on October 27th, 1996? I had the sense to get the garage door up before our power disappeared for three days but it didn't matter all that much because we didn't get plowed until the power came back on ...

    I was here. Fortunately didn't lose power, but gained some live-in relatives for a few days :-)

    72F is well short of a record for Kansas City.


    A U.S. Senate committee is set to review a new bill designed to help control energy prices by curbing commodity traders' ability to manipulate the rates of oil, natural gas, electricity and other fuels.

    Oh, great. Commodity price controls. I hope Americans like standing in line.

    Probably my biggest concern as we head into the peak plateau is the reaction of people to a shortage of supply. Based on my casual conversations, as well as what I've seen posted on the web, I think the common reaction of Americans (at least) to the end of cheap oil is going to be rage and the search for a scapegoat. The first scapegoats will be speculators and big oil companies. After that I suppose will be oil producing countries for not coughing up what we need.

    This nearly guarantees that the US will not only fail to prepare for peak oil, but that it will do exactly the wrong things in response. Then, when those result in shortages AND high prices, we will lash out at other countries and try to take the oil by force (which will be deserved, the argument will go, because the oil producers will be hoarding their oil instead of letting it sell on the free market).

    Gah, this is depressing.

    Based on statements by CERA, ExxonMobil, OPEC, et al (do a Google Search for Daniel Yergin Day), there is a actually a certain logic to a feeling of rage and the search for a scapegoat.

    If ExxonMobil itself says that we don't have to worry about Peak Oil for decades, then it logically follows that someone is conspiring to deprive Americans of the cheap energy that they deserve.

    As far as scapegoats, I really feel sorry for whoever is going to win the next US Presidential election. It might be like winning in 1928.

    Part of me wonders if the Republicans are purposely throwing the election knowing what is to come in the next 4 years.

    I think a lot of the blame lies with the American media. They don't have to mindlessly repeat the cornucopian line. But they do.

    The American people have not been prepared at all for peak oil. It is going to get ugly very quickly. Of course, I shouldn't get too down on Americans. We haven't had anyone killed at a petrol station yet.

    In august of 2003 in Phoenix, one of the three gas pipelines serving the state had to be shut down. A handful of stations ran out of Premium, and the news made a big deal over it.

    It started an unprecedented buying frenzy as everyone immediately rushed out to top off their tanks. This result in a media generated shortage, with 3-4 hour waits for gas at most stations, with a few stations jacking up their price to $5.

    The truth was there was never a shortage. The storage tanks west of town never got below half capacity, it was just that the paranoia caused people to buy gas faster than the tanker trucks could get it out to the stations. More tanker trucks came in from New Mexico and California to help out.

    Two weeks later the non-crisis was over, but I got a taste of the future when people realize PO is an undeniable certainty. Part of me wonders if the reason the MSM stays away from PO is to avoid these kinds of scenarios.

    Most importantly, where I found gas, one would have to pay cash and they were limiting people to $100.00

    In the speech that John Hofmeister (President of Shell USA) gave in New Orleans, he mentioned an afterhours call to the Sec'ty of Energy (he was at Friday evening wedding rehearsal dinner for his son).

    Told him last 250,000 bbl of refined product left on Gulf Coast after Rita was inaccessible due to power loss and ALL efforts were being made to fly in generators so products could be put in pipeline. But if Shell failed, that Monday the President should declare a holiday to reduce demand. Otherwise, initial reports of shortages from the southern end of the pipeline would spread via media and there would be a nation-wide shortage. With reduced demand (surprise holiday) existing in-place inventories might be able to handle the surge in demand with only spot shortages.


    I think the whole enchilada of blame lies right on us American citizens... we get the government we deserve. And right now we deserve a big fall, much like Rome but only much, much quicker in decline.


    Giselle Bundchen no longer wants to be paid in dollars? That sounds like a mrket bottom for the dollar. Or maybe I am just dreaming

    Or maybe silicone and collagen is priced in Euros.


    Nanotechnology takes energy storage beyond batteries

    Perhaps most exciting is what ultracapacitors could do for electric cars. They're being explored as replacements for the batteries in hybrid cars. In ordinary cars, they could help level the load on the battery by powering acceleration and recovering energy during braking. Most deadly to the life of a battery are the moments when it is subjected to high-current pulses and charged or discharged too quickly. Conveniently, delivering or accepting power during short-duration events is the ultracapacitor's strongest suit. And because capacitors function well in temperatures as low as –40 ºC, they can give electric cars a boost in cold weather, when batteries are at their worst.

    Only One comment on MSimmons PDF

    500 Pound Elephant??

    There are basically two types of elephant speices on earth 1) African elephants where adult male weighs about 5 Tons and female between 4 to 4.5 tons. 2) Asiatic elephants where adult male weighs arround 4 tons & female less than 3.5 tons. I hope this will help you.

    Is peak oil only a pre-mature elephant?

    The Cypriot Pygmy Elephant (extinct)


    He probably meant to say the 4.5 ton gorilla..

    Citigroup's day of reckoning

    The meltdown in the housing market hit Citigroup, the nation's No. 1 financial services company, Sunday as it announced the departure of chairman and chief executive Charles Prince and a possible $11 billion in additional subprime writedowns.

    And that doesn't include the SIV's.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer group of people....

    #5 I believe.

    Tuesday at MIT.

    This Tuesday at MIT, Lee Raymond, former CEO of Exxon, is speaking at MIT about the NPC report, "Facing the Hard Truth about Energy."

    I intend to be there, and to ask him at least one hard hitting question, more if I can.

    At least for now, I intend to ask him point blank about the Exxon media blitz of about a year ago ("peak oil? Nah...") since back then they were saying very different things from what the NPC people are saying now, and ask him what he knows now that he didn't know then.

    But I am open to more suggestions on what to ask him.

    Despite the best available technology, with no material restrictions on drilling, privately managed oil companies have been unable to reverse the long term declines in Texas and North Sea oil production. Why would anyone be able to reverse the ongoing decline in world crude oil production that we have seen since May, 2005 (based on EIA crude + condensate)?

    I like it. Your question is at the top of my shortlist.

    The other questions I'm having some trouble phrasing:

    1. On March 2nd, 2006, Exxon published an advertorial in the New York Times pooh-poohing concerns that world oil production was nearing a peak. In the 18 months since then, oil prodution has stubbornly failed to exceed 2005 production levels. Among other voices now acknowledging the peak are Saddad al-Husseini, formerly of Aramco, and the current CEO of Total. The claims made by your company back then had little support from evidence then, and far less now. By exerting influence against solid measures to reduce our oil consumption and dependency, this ad helped lead America down the path to to our current predicament, and was thus a gravve disservice to the national interest. Are you ready to make a statement regretting the deplorable ad?

    2. The NPC report advocates measures to increase fossil fuel production from various sources at tremendous expenditure, while at the same time recommending only token measures on the demand side with increased automobile gas mileage. The same money devoted to expanding oil shale production (for example) could be more profitably devoted to expanding and electrifying our nation's railways.
    Why have you taken that tack?

    Finally: the one I pick will depend at least in part on what he actually says in his piece.

    My question for John Hofmeister, President of Shell USA (Note Shell is on the "other end" from Exxon-Mobil in social responsibility, see lead post on this thread, as well as oil denial).

    The Concrete Manufacturers Assoc. does not promote non-concrete alternatives, such as asphalt streets. But could Shell support developing a Non-Oil Transportation alternative to our current oil based one ?

    Electrify our freight railroads, build more Urban rail such as the streetcar that goes underneath this very room and the secret weapon of the Dutch#, the bicycle ?

    # [Shell HQ is in Amsterdam]

    His response was yes, Shell could support this and any other move to use energy more efficiently. More efficient use of energy, and particularly oil, will result in a larger economy, and a larger economy is good for Shell.

    Best Hopes for Shell,


    NBC is going green.

    They've turned the lights off in their studio for the halftime show on Sunday Night Football, to save energy.

    They've also turned their logo green, and it looks like they're running "green" themed episodes of their TV shows this week.

    They also have a report live from the Arctic Circle.

    A follow-up to the top story: PetroChina shares triple in Shanghai debut!

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shares in PetroChina (601857.SS), which raised $9 billion in the world's biggest initial public offer this year, nearly tripled in their market debut and far exceeded analysts' forecast, buoyed by the company's position in the world's second-biggest energy market.

    Local-currency A shares in China's largest oil and gas producer opened at 48.60 yuan on Monday, compared with their initial public offer price of 16.70 yuan.

    The shares had fallen back slightly to around 45 yuan nearly an hour after the start of trading. They had been expected to trade around 35 yuan, a Reuters poll of seven industry analysts showed.

    The opening price gave PetroChina a total market value of $1.1 trillion, making it the world's largest listed company by market capitalization, more than double the second biggest, Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), at $488 billion.


    Just listening to part of this (BBC program, below) - and wanted to share it, esp. since this DB has covered depression, domestic violence, and...the idea of social change is always a part of the "transition" discussion.

    And, of course, we have - always looming in the background - the topic of population growth, which I relate to the legal rights of women.


    Beginning of a series on "Sexual violence in South Africa",

    An excerpt from an interview with Dean Peacock:

    (Because of the experience of people in South Africa, with the struggle to end Apartheid...) People know that you can bring about dramatic social transformation in a relatively short period of time.”

    “I was struck by how hungry men were to have conversations about these issues. As I think the typical, often slightly racist stereotype about men in the global south is that men are rigidly patriarchal and not at all open to change. And that’s just not at all what I was seeing. In workshops with young men, with adult men, there was a willingness to talk about these issues. There was a willingness to talk about what it meant to grow up in a home where your father was violent, where your father was torn away from the family by the migrant labor system. And a real heartfelt desire to be different – as a man, as a father. And that left me just incredibly optimistic and excited about the possibility of change.”

    Not one word about Mexico on this news report from Bloomburg this morning.


    Not one word anywhere that I could find.

    If they don't report it, Did it Happen?

    Watched CNBC and not a word this morning


    Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum


    CNBC covered the drop in oil in the last few hours and blamed it on profit taking. Not a word about Mexico.

    Checked London Times, Sydney MOrning Herald - same thing.