DrumBeat: November 11, 2007

How many billion barrels?

The subject of the Kingdom's 260 billion or so barrels of proved reserves was addressed, a figure that has been criticized by some, in particular by energy investment banker Matthew Simmons a couple years ago in his Peak Oil treatise, "Twilight in the Desert."

Aramco turns 75 next year—marking the anniversary of the signing of its first foreign exploration concession in 1933 with the predecessor to Chevron Corp. In its history, the country has produced 100 billion barrels of crude, said Ziyad Al-Shiha, manager of public relations for the company.

"The good news is we still have 260 billion barrels of oil yet to go," Mr. Al-Shiha said in an overview presentation of Aramco that was heavy on feel-good lines such as "powering the planet and empowering lives."

"Some times people ask: 'How does that 260 remain?' Every year, whatever we extract, 2.5 or 3 billion barrels, our exploration brings about the same quantity that we extract, to bring it back to that 260 billion barrels of crude oil."

Radioactive waste surfaces at Texas gas sites

Blasted free by millions of gallons of fresh water and chemical soup sent miles below ground, some of earth's baddest geological actors – radioactive elements capable of scarring soil and scourging human health – are slowly rising to the surface along with the Barnett Shale's natural gas.

Qatar energy min doesn't expect OPEC output decision

Qatar's energy minister said on Sunday he did not expect the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to decide to change its output ceiling at a meeting of OPEC heads of state in Saudi Arabia this week.

Analysis: Pakistan unrest hurts pipelines

On Nov. 3 Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule in Pakistan.

...An unintended but significant byproduct of the proclamation is to kill, perhaps for good, any Pakistani or Indian hopes for sharing in the burgeoning Caspian basin energy exports, threatening some projects that have been on the drawing boards for years. Proposed pipelines include those to bring Turkmen and Iranian hydrocarbons via Pakistan and thence onward to India. The chaos in Afghanistan initially dimmed Indian and Pakistani hopes as the chaos, combined with other more stable suitors, most notably China, stepped into the breach with offers and funding. Islamabad's recent pronouncement seems hardly likely to quell the anxieties of potential Western investors, painfully aware this is the first time since 1945 that a nuclear-armed state has declared a state of emergency.

Opinions of oil company executives on peak oil

The views of the oil industry on Peak Oil are divided, ranging from a non-event to getting there fast. Here I try to give the opinions of oil company executives about Peak Oil and related issues.

Coal’s in our future. So what IS wrong with Kansas?

You may think I really don’t like coal. Bunch of petrified plants, after all. But the questions about coal are, after all, largely technological. It’s unlike the debate over peak oil, and what supply may remain. Nobody thinks we’re about to run out of coal. Soon work is expected to begin on the next generation of coal-burning plant to generate electricity. The plant will be built in either Illinois or Texas. Near to coal fields.

Ride High on Peak Oil with these Four Rail Transit Stocks

It's a bit tricky to invest in rail transit systems as they are operated by cities, not by private companies, so I took a step up the value chain and started looking for companies which supply transit operators. I focused not on rail line operators, but suppliers, since these companies are most likely to participate in a boom in urban mass transit.

Over a barrel

The key thing is that we still have excess supply... but when it does fall it's like stepping off a cliff

WHEN representatives from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries gather in Riyadh's King Faisal Hall on Tuesday, they will be standing on the cusp of history. Increased demand, fluctuations in production, a weak dollar and opportunistic trading have all conspired to push the price of a barrel of crude towards a record high.

Saudi oil minister: Gulf producers do not control crude prices

Saudi Arabia's oil minister said Sunday that Gulf producers could not control record crude prices but would continue their attempts to ensure adequate supplies.

China rations diesel again a week after price hike

China's state refiners are rationing diesel again at petrol stations on the booming east coast just a week after shortages made Beijing hike fuel prices by 10 percent, industry officials and clients said on Sunday.

The shortage that occurred in at least three coastal provinces stoked fresh speculations that Beijing may need to further lift its regulated prices to appease loss-making refineries and bring in more imports to boost stocks.

Beijing ups taxi subsidies after petrol price rise

The Beijing city authorities have raised subsidies for taxi drivers this month to soften the impact of a 10 percent increase in petrol prices, while freezing taxi fares for now, state media said on Sunday.

Oil smuggling from Malaysia on the rise

Oil smuggling from Malaysia into southern Thailand is increasing as oil prices in this country have risen in line with soaring global oil prices, a senior Thai government customs officer said today.

UK: Rising fuel prices drive road hauliers to the brink of fresh demonstrations

ANGRY road hauliers will this week decide whether to call a new series of demonstrations to protest over rising fuel prices.

Members of the Road Haulage Association Scotland will meet on Tuesday to discuss their response. Petrol last week rose above £1 a litre, with diesel reaching similar heights, after the price of oil hit record levels on world markets.

Beat the price jump at the pumps

Jeffrey Currie at Goldman Sachs, the investment bank that was one of the first to predict $100 oil, said: “Prices could well trade above their previous peaks in the short term as cold winter weather and geopolitical tensions exacerbate supply shortages.”

Families are already paying £4 more a week for their petrol than a year ago, and they were warned last week that utility giants are preparing to increase energy bills – even though they failed to cut them when fuel prices were lower earlier this year.

The Philippines: Transport groups to launch protest vs oil price hike

Militant transport groups have started “recruiting" drivers and operators to take part in a nationwide transport holiday to protest the government’s alleged inaction on oil price hikes.

Three's a crowd

The more children we have, the more stress we put on an already overburdened planet, say campaigners. Observer environment correspondent Juliette Jowit meets the modern Malthusians who, for the sake of the planet, are choosing to 'stop at two'.

Memphis and the era of $5 gas

In the next few days, the price of a barrel of oil, the raw material used to manufacture gasoline for our cars, plastics for our Christmas toys and heat for our wintry neighbors to the north, will top $100.

As our nation blows through the $100-a-barrel barrier, some of our shakiest allies and most worrisome enemies around the world will become even wealthier and more important to our future. Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela are but four of the nations that will grow richer and more influential with $100-a-barrel oil.

Rising energy costs put pinch on businesses

The lights go out at night after the last wash at Jim Whitmore's five coin laundries - no longer does he use a fully lit store as advertising. And at Todd Waldemar's Wing Zone store, he's shutting down some of the fryers during off-peak times.

Small-business owners are getting pinched by the soaring prices of oil, gasoline and other fuels, eating into their profits as they gas up vehicles, heat and cool their premises and run machinery. Often, they turn to commonsense solutions to save energy and money.

Are Airlines Loading Less Fuel, Or Are There More Delays?

At Newark Liberty International Airport, just five flights landed under minimum or low-fuel conditions over a six-month period in 2005. In a similar period this year, 73 flights came into the same airport with minimum fuel.

The report also said 10 flights had to declare the more serious emergency fuel situation, of less than 30-minutes fuel reserve.

Oil crisis hits home with high fuel bills

Massachusetts officials announced this week that the average retail price homeowners pay for home heating oil had reached $3.11 a gallon.

That is not a misprint.

Hundreds of families are worried that they won't be able to heat their homes this winter.

High Gas Prices Putting Financial Strain On Fire Stations

Chances are, like many people, you're feeling the pinch in your wallet with the sky-rocketing price of gas. It's at or above three dollars a gallon at many stations throughout Eastern Kentucky and expected to get higher. But could it affect the way firefighters respond to your home if it was on fire?

Hot Fuel: Consumers left paying extra for gasoline double standards

That “you get what you pay for” concept is often the case unless you are buying gasoline.

If you’re at the pump, the accuracy of the aforementioned maxim can literally be measured with a thermometer and the magic number is 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the temperature is above the 60-degree threshold, you’re being taken to the cleaners — below and you’re sitting pretty.

Eco homes to save the planet

One Planet Living apartments in Brighton have just gone on sale. The development of 172 studio, one- and two-bed apartments in the New England Quarter claims zero carbon emissions, a zero waste plan, sustainable transport solutions (you can hire a car through an on-site car club), and supports local and sustainable food and wildlife.

A New Look to the Sky as Oil Prices Rise

Now, oil prices are rising, and along with them a renewed awareness that the oil in the ground is finite and that greenhouse gas emissions are endangering the planet. More people are squinting up at the big, hot, pulsating sun and thinking: Look at all that energy up there!

Tempests, truckers and tribesmen - another week in the oil market

In a cavernous hall on the edge of Manhattan's financial district, every shout, thrust or scribbled note affects the cost of petrol at the pump for millions of motorists around the world. In six months, benchmark prices have surged by 45% - an upward march that has left veteran traders shaking their heads.

Ray Carbone, president of Paramount Options, has been trading on the floor of Nymex for 20 years. He has rarely seen anything like it: "The markets over the last few days have been probably as jumpy and jittery as I've ever seen them - and I've been here through two Gulf wars, a Russian coup and Hurricane Katrina." The stakes, says the 48-year-old New Yorker, have never been higher: "Because of the high price, there is such nervousness about what could happen - a complete wash-out or continuing strength?"

Opec under pressure as $100 barrel creates oil panic in the West

The cartel is being asked to spend billions on doubling production over the next 25 years, but are energy demand forecasts right?

Peak oil meets climate change

Two frightening trends stand out from the annual report published this week by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Warning about a crude oil supply crunch before 2015 involving an abrupt price increase, it says oil markets everywhere will become more sensitive than ever to Middle East disruptions, including political developments in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And the IEA calculates that, on unchanged policies, total global emissions of carbon dioxide will rise from 27 billion tonnes in 2005 to 42 billion tonnes in 2030. That level would see world temperatures rise six degrees centrigrade by then - an utterly unsustainable increase that is also avoidable.

Edwin Black on Electric Cars and Internal Combustion Engine

Author and investigative journalist Edwin Black speaks with David Room in September 2007 about the corporate forces that have for more than a century sabotaged the creation of alternative energies and vehicles in order to keep us dependent on oil. He speaks of the beginnings of electric cars around the turn of the 20th century and the ultimate ascendancy of the internal combustion engine. He also discusses how GM and several other corporations conspired to dismantle electric streetcar systems throughout the United States and his Green Fleet concept.

Fuel Without the Fossil

Mr. Mandich’s machine devours pine chips from Georgia and turns them into an energy-rich gas, a step toward making liquid fuels. His company, Range Fuels, is near the front of the pack in a technology race that could have an impact on the way America powers its automotive fleet, and help ameliorate global warming.

Portland unveils carbon tax plan

In a bold move to curb the growth of greenhouse gas emissions from the Portland area, city officials plan to charge builders hundreds of dollars for each new home that is not extremely energy efficient. And it would require, as part of every existing home sale, that an energy efficiency report be done by home inspectors.
Also: Terms of the deal for energy efficiency

Ship emissions seen causing 60,000 deaths a year

Emissions from ocean-going ships are responsible for about 60,000 deaths a year from heart and lung-related cancers, according to research published on Wednesday that calls for tougher fuel standards.

'The era of cheap oil is dead': $100 a barrel is on the way

With the price of a barrel of oil expected to breach the $100 barrier in the coming weeks, experts have warned that the era of cheap oil is now dead.

Leaders and oil ministers from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) will gather this week at a meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to discuss the spiralling price of oil, which has nudged ever nearer the once unthinkable $100 level.

Running on empty: peak oil production is in sight, global supplies will dwindle - and the US, for one, is ill-prepared

China's rapid growth in consumption could suck up all the extra crude pumped next year, leaving other countries to get by with less.

$100 oil to put Myanmar junta over a barrel again

Oil was $72 a barrel in August when a budget crunch forced Myanmar's ruling generals to slash fuel subsidies, sparking protests that snowballed into the biggest anti-junta uprising in two decades.

Since then, crude prices have climbed 35 percent to near $100 a barrel, and with no new revenues coming in from natural gas sales or anywhere else in a shambolic economy, the regime has little option but to raise fuel prices again, analysts say.

Russian oil tanker breaks up off Crimea

A severe storm broke a Russian oil tanker in two between the Azov and Black Seas on Sunday, spilling fuel oil in what a Russian official said was an "environmental disaster."

Russia's state-run Vesti-24 channel quoted the latest data from state environment agency Rosprirodnadzor as saying some 2,000 tonnes of fuel oil had spilt.

China To Up Strategic Oil Reserves To 12 Million Tons By 2010 Report

China aims to boost its strategic oil reserves to 12 million metric tons by 2010, equivalent to one month of net imports of oil products, the state-run Shanghai Securities News reported Saturday, citing an unnamed source.

By 2020, China will further increase its strategic oil reserves to the level equivalent to three months of net imports of oil products, the report said.

Brazil strikes oil, but OPEC ambitions may prove costly

Brasilia shouldn’t be looking to elbow its way alongside neighbor Venezuela or the petro-rich Arab countries anytime soon, analysts warned.

That’s because the precious oil and gas deposits lie deep undersea way off Brazil’s southeast coast — making recovery a costly and time-consuming prospect.

Swedish city goes green

VAXJO, Sweden — When this quiet city in southern Sweden decided in 1996 to wean itself off fossil fuels, many people doubted the ambitious goal would have any impact beyond the town limits.

Today, however, Vaxjo is attracting a green pilgrimage of politicians, scientists and business leaders from as far away as the United States and North Korea seeking inspiration from a city program that has allowed it to cut CO2 emissions 30 percent since 1993.

Crackdown on transit crime

The B.C. government wants to take the crime train out of SkyTrain.

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon unveiled ideas yesterday to radically overhaul the transit system to make it a safer ride -- and to stop fare evaders in their tracks.

And the Winner is… the Oil Companies!

The prize, usually awarded to a great inventor, this year goes instead to the entire oil industry, in recognition of the unusually high prices they are demanding for this important resource.

The initiator of the prize, Gerhard Muthenthaler, explains, "Cheap oil was the main reason that great Greenventions have not been pursued with enthusiasm. But the more expensive oil gets, the faster we’ll start to see environmentally friendly alternatives emerge."

OPEC to discuss output hike if needed: Saudi, Kuwait

The Saudi and Kuwaiti oil ministers said on Sunday that OPEC will discuss the possibility of raising oil production if it is necessary to cool soaring prices.

‘It is premature (to speak of a hike in output). When OPEC meets, we will discuss this issue,’ Ali Al Nuaimi, oil minister of OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, told reporters during a short visit to Kuwait.

The Third OPEC Summit Takes Place under Turbulent Economic Conditions

In the coming days, Riyadh will host the Third OPEC Summit, which is convening under three general themes: providing petroleum, promoting prosperity, and protecting the planet. The summit will take place on 17 and 18 November but will be preceded by several activities, including a two-day symposium in which leading energy ministers and international oil experts will take part. The symposium will cover topics such as energy for sustainable development, OPEC's role in securing oil supplies and boosting stability, and the future of oil in the global energy mix.

Rapid Increase in Number of Private Vehicles in New Delhi Threatens to Erase Air Quality Gains Since 2000

Delhi is in danger of losing the gains of its CNG program as pollution levels are once again creeping up to pre-2000 level. The latest analysis of recent air quality data in Delhi carried out by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) finds that pollution levels are on the upswing again after a few years of control.

Two Udall's running for US Senate

Cousins Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Udall (D-CO) are both leaving their House seats for runs at the US Senate.


Noteworthy is that another Udall, Randy Udall (brother of Mark) was a founding member of ASPO-USA.

Best Hopes for Growing Peak Oil Caucus, with growing influence,


Saturday night ABC was televising Ok State vs. Kansas football and had Boone Pickens in the booth for a short time in the 2nd half [Musburger & Herbstriet (sp)]. Boone has given $250 million to OSU to remodel the football stadium (Pickens Stadium) and other on campus sporting facilities. Musburger said "I am sorry that this is off topic, but let's talk about Peak Oil for a momement. Is this real?" Boone said, "Absolutely. The world is producing 85 million bbls/day and demand is 88 million bbls/day. I do not think it can go over 85 million, so the price will have to keep going up until demand falls."

Quoted material is best of my recollection. But, I would say that the concept is now into the MSM. What it means as a disruptive force is not understood at all yet.

There's a lot of discussion of this in yesterday's DrumBeat.

With the price of a barrel of oil expected to breach the $100 barrier in the coming weeks...

$100 is a resistance point, in the chartists sense. As the price approaches $100 people will take profits so it will take two or three goes to get there.

Another issue is the global economy, which is slowing everywhere now and not just in the US. If the oil price is a call option on global economic growth (my view) then demand may tail off a bit so the price could well fall back to $90.

My bet is the $100 mark will be passed in the 1st quarter 2008 when demand is at the winter high. TODers should know better than to believe the MSM :-)

I think it depends on the inventory report. If it's much lower than expected this week, we'll have $100 oil. Though maybe only briefly.

Hi Leanan,

There are two possible causes for low crude inventory.

1. Demand for refined products is high.
2. Refiners see price/demand falling so start destocking crude. If they think the price will fall they will hold off.

The oil price slumped in 1997 when the Asian financial crisis happened because of destocking, and believe me, the economy is not doing well - the economists at the investment bank where I work see problems everywhere.

Maybe you are right, Leanan, but making money in the futures markets can never be easy. I'm back-pedalling from $100. It's just too neat and tidy for me. (I'm not a trader by the way!).

The causes for low inventory I'm thinking about are the disruption in Mexico due to weather (which will probably show up in the numbers this Thursday), and possibly shut-in production from Ursa and Mars (if the rumors are correct - Shell said they would issue a statement, but never did).

I think it depends on the inventory report. If it's much lower than expected this week, we'll have $100 oil. Though maybe only briefly.

I don't think it will be as simple as that this week. There are several complicating factors. The inventory report will be a day delayed, and the December contract expires the next day. Then, we have OPEC meeting at the end of the week. I think all of this will make it very tough to gauge what's going to happen this week. But with the contract expiring, I expect people to take profits, and if there is a bad inventory report the upswing will be tempered by those wishing to take profits and avoid getting stuck with delivered barrels.

Plus, for the reasons musashi points out below and others, there are stock market problems and dollar moves that will likely put pressure on the price.

This week is going to be strange. The time release MOAB hits Wall Street on thursday (FAS157). Maybe we see a couple dead cat bounces, but then ..........




What's the chances they will "Table" FAS157 for a year?
Saying that it's for "The Common Good" or something?


IMO zero, if they change it now it would be the same or worse, like the regulators openly admitting that they are in bed with the fraudsters.

They can game it by fiscal year date to a point, so there is a built in delay, but on the other hand as soon as one is marked to market they all are.

I'm sure you know what they are worth.

Another opinion.

Hong Kong is down, Tokyo is down big time and the yen just broke 110 ..... 109.97 ..... that was a bit of a resistance point sort of like 100 oil.
Ms Watanabe is going to need her sake tonight.

"Ms Watanabe is going to need her sake tonight."

What do you mean by that? It depends on whether Ms Watanabe has the bulk of her portfolio in stocks or cash. If she has yen collecting dust in the bank, she will in fact be toasting with her sake and maybe some bubbly, rather than gulping it down. The yen is rising, because the carry trade is unwinding due to market turbulence, and look for a New Year's rate increase from the BOJ. With peak oil, faltering US consumer spending and increasing buying power in Europe et al, Japan now needs a weak currency to drive exports much less than it does a strengthening yen to offset rising energy costs. The yen has been lagging behind other currencies' rises, and now it is poised to take off. 109 is nothing. Wait till it gets below 100 JPY/USD next year. You'll be able to tell by the numbers of Japanese tour groups that suddenly swarm European capitols next summer.

It refers to a pretty recent FT? article that was widely circulated talking about Japanese house wifes day trading, specifically using the yen carry trade. They called her "Ms Watanabe".

The yen carry trade hasn't completely unwound yet, but with the margins the higher valued yen is a huge hill to climb.
If BOJ raises rates and BenDover lowers them some more we will have a Dollira (US peso?) carry trade.

You might be right in the short term, but Europe has huge problems in the longer term. What are they going to do with all the third world immigration once exports start to fall like a rock and the jobs go away?

The 100$-barrel is polite, just holding back for a little while, allowing for the programmers of electronic charts and tables to adapt for another digit .. “Y2K lite”

They fixed the price displays outside UK petrol stations some time ago. Now showing 1.01 pounds. Ouch!

Perhaps they should program for two extra digits whilst they are at it ?


PS" I would not buy a gas pump today without the ability to charge $99.999/gallon. And I would ask about higher prices if inflation gets out of control.

I think $100 is indeed a resistance line only in terms of technical analysis trading.

Real need for oil products or fundamentally investing people do not mind about $100.

It's just another number.

What matter is how much can one afford, what does one get as a benefit and is it really worth it.

That economic pain point varies based on use and need.

If $100 really becomes a ceiling for a while, I think we can safely conclude that a big chunk of the recent rise is highly speculative investor influenced (technical trader) run up.

If it breaks through $100 as easily as any other number, then it's probably more real (inelastic) demand driven than anything else.

I was reviewing Westexas's Export Land Model (ELM) this morning and was wondering how we are doing with world exports. So I went over to http://netoilexports.blogspot.com/ and looked at the data for the Top 16 Exporters (based on EIA data).

Since the monthly data is a little noisy I averaged the 5 months centered on the peak of September 2005 and then the averaged of the last 5 months, May – Sept. 2007.

That has us at 40.1802 mbpd at the height and 38.0718 mbpd now or a drop of 2.1084 mbpd of all liquids.

In 2006 the top 8 importers imported the average of 30.526 mbpd of all liquids (U.S, China, Japan, Germany, India, S. Korea, France & Italy).

I can see why we're at $95 oil now and I wonder what the price of oil will be when we are down 3 mbpd from the peak?

Out of the city and back to the Islands this Wednesday.

Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

I see stock markets world wide generally fell all last week.
What would be the consequences for oil if they continued to fall all this week.
Or is that just too unlikely?
Is the price of oil affecting stock markets or is it just the credit bubble?

From the New York Times...

Economic View
In the Bond Market, a Bleak Prognosis for Iraq


'PRESIDENT BUSH’S surge of troops in Iraq has done little to resolve the political debate over the Iraq war. But global financial markets have been monitoring the war for months, and with remarkable consistency, they have concluded that the long-term prospects for a stable Iraq are very bleak.

That is the picture that emerges from a study by Michael Greenstone, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, titled, “Is the ‘Surge’ Working? Some New Facts,” which has been circulating as a working paper in academic circles.'...snip...

'It wasn’t until Professor Greenstone began examining the financial markets’ pricing of Iraqi government debt that he had his eureka moment. It was immediately clear that the bond market — which, historically, has often been an early indicator of the demise of a political system — was pessimistic about the Iraqi government’s chances for survival.'...snip...

'To say the least, the market for these bonds is not robust: as of last week, a bond with a face value of $100 was trading at around $60. Professor Greenstone calculated that, from the markets’ standpoint, the implied default risk over the life of the bond was about 80 percent.'...snip...

'During the American Civil War, for example, when Confederate forces lost at Gettysburg, Confederate cotton bonds traded in England dropped by about 14 percent. During World War II, German government bonds fell 7 percent when the Russians started their counterattack at Stalingrad in 1942, and French government bonds rose 16 percent after the Allied invasion at Normandy in 1944. Many such examples of the prescience of financial markets have been documented by economic historians.'...snip...

'In the market, people vote with their money, and the vote is not going well for the new Iraq. Politicians in the United States may be divided over whether the surge has raised the chances of political reconciliation in Iraq. But the bond market has already made its message clear: don’t bet on it.'...snip...

I don't know whether this has already been posted, but, just in case as it's an important geopolitical event:

The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced

Already posted yesterday. It's old news. The event happened in October 2006. The Daily Mail is a year late in the "news."

Sorry Leanan, didn't see it yesterday... too much news to keep up with these days.

So, China then followed up by destroying a satellite in space in January. Looks like a pretty clear message.

I was watching Dr Strangelove yesterday. It reminds me of the bit about the doomsday weapon and Strangelove asking if it was a deterrent, why hadn't they told the World about it.

Obviously the Chinese aren't going to make the same mistake and wish to fully publicise their deterrents.

Ohh man- good catch! Have the Chinese ventured into shady-techniques, without telling anyone? hehehe….. eh . I knew they’re into shadow boxing though :-)

re-edit : old stuff ? but new to me

If the Chinese have really developed the means to shadow an American carrier battle group at close range (as opposed to posting a picket across a known transit corridor), would it be in their interest to publicise the fact?

Turn it upside down: if the Americans have developed the means for their carrier battle groups to avoid detection by Chinese naval forces, would it be in their interest to publicise the fact?

And so on and so forth. >>yawn<<

...would it be in their interest to publicise the fact?

Sure it would. The Chinese surface their submarine and we spend a couple billion dollars figuring out new defense technology... and another 40 billion dollars to purchase it.

You would publicize it only if you wanted to AVOID the war and keep the trading relationship going. Yet you also are telling the US Military that it is not Omnipotent.. either that, or the Subcommander crashed the party innocently. (Unlikely with the sounds that would be coming from a big surface group, right?)


One burning question remains:

Did the submarine paint contain toxic levels of Lead?

From "Fuel Without the Fossil" link above:

Turning biomass into gasoline would be simpler, requiring no changes in the nation’s cars or pipelines, but federal policy is tilting many research programs toward ethanol.

Range, for instance, could make any of several types of fuel from its pine chips. Asked whether the company chose ethanol for the 51-cent-a-gallon tax break, Mr. Klepper declared: “It’s the American way.”

Nice. I'm guessing they're using fisher-tropsch. Couldn't get a good read on the profitability of making the other-than-subsidized ethanol though.

Turning wood chips into ICE fuel, by any process, looks pretty idiotic to me.

MUCH better EROEI: turn the chips into pellets, and use them for home heating (what are you planning to heat your home with, when fuel oil and gas are too expensive?). Use some other energy source for transport.

Full disclosure : I'm getting a Swedish wood pellet boiler installed this month.

Hi Alistair,

Earlier this evening I crunched some numbers with regards to wood pellet and the results were far from encouraging. I confess I'm not a fan of this technology and given my somewhat jaundiced views on the matter, feel free to challenge my results and the underlying assumptions upon which they are based.

Locally, the cost of a name brand pellet stove, vent kit, hearth pad and labour to install falls in the range of $4,300.00 CDN, taxes included. A 40-lb bag of good quality pellets now retails for $4.80 ($5.47 with HST) -- at 80 per cent combustion efficiency, we net about 80 kWh of heat per bag, so our cost per kWh(e) is just slightly less than $0.07. [In the fall of 2005, wood pellets were selling for as little as $3.20 a bag, so their cost has increased 50 per cent in just two years.]

Electric resistance heat here in Nova Scotia is presently $0.1067 per kWh and at $0.84 per litre -- $3.34 per U.S. gallon at current exchange rates -- oil heat runs anywhere from $0.095 to $0.115 per kWh(e) depending upon the efficiency of the boiler.

In my analysis, I assumed a pellet stove could displace about $1,400.00 of oil or electricity, or roughly one-half the space heating demands of an older conventional home, which our provincial department of energy pegs at 80 MM BTUs/yr. At 154 bags, our pellet costs work out to be $842.38 and our savings, $557.62. From this, I subtracted $170.94 for an annual cleaning and maintenance by a professional technician; my net, first-year savings are thus $386.68.

If these numbers are reasonable and broadly representative, my simple pay back is in excess of 11 years. Even under a generally favourable set of assumptions (e.g., a cash discount rate of 5 per cent), the internal rates of return and net present values are negative. And if I need to replace a failed control board, igniter, auger motor, combustion fan or some other part, the financials become even shakier.

My family business sells these products and based on the number of service calls they generate, I try hard to dissuade our customers from buying them (I often refer to them as "the Plymouth Volare of heating technologies"). While they may not be appropriate for all climates, I consider high efficiency ductless heat pumps such as a Fujitsu 12RLQ a much better value overall.


Niiiiice post HereinHalifax !!

I'm a 50+ yo American retraining in a
HVAC/R program. It includes calculation's like you just posted. The program is very conservative and traditional which is sad in a way, but it does cover fundamentals quite well.

Flaws in EM Theory

Thanks RBM, and congratulations to you on your future career in the HVAC industry -- best wishes for every success!

The following brochure (PDF format) is intended to help our customers compare the operating performance of pellet stoves to that of ductless heat pumps; the information is generic in nature and there are no references to name brand products or our company.


This second PDF is my economic assessment of pellet heat vis-à-vis ductless heat pumps (Brand "X" and the aforementioned Fujitsu).


I've undertaken fairly extensive modeling of various ductless heat pumps using hourly weather data for the past five heating seasons [our reference home has a design heat loss of 0.25 kW per degree C (480 BTU/hr, per degree F) and it's assumed internal heat gains from lighting, appliances, occupants, passive solar, etc., are such that no additional heat is required until outside air temperatures fall below 14C/57F]. The Fujitsu, which has a low temperature cut-off of -15C/5F and a HSPF of 10.55 is a truly outstanding performer -- there's nothing else in the marketplace that comes close to matching its numbers.


Yay for TOD in New Orleans - funny to not see this one in Drum Beat right away :-)


Yes, I was there for the partial reopening. 2.9 miles of 6.5 miles are now open, including the section 2.5 blocks from me.

I meant to write more, but it is bittersweet.

Pre-K, 20 streetcars during weekday rush hours, 24 cars during most daylight hours on weekends. 2 cars after midnight till 4:30 AM.

Now just 5 streetcars weekdays, 4 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday. Service 5:30 AM till midnight.

Still, *VERY* Glad to have them back !

Best Hopes for fulfilling GWB's Jackson Square promise "Streetcars will again roll on St. Charles",


The American Planning Assoc. also named St. Charles Avenue as one of the 10 Greatest Streets in the USA as part of the ceremony.

Over at EVworld.com there's a little poll thing that you can click on and vote for on their front page:


Do you believe talk about peak oil is a ploy by oil companies to justify continuing price hikes? Results To Date
Yes: 50
No: 99
Don't Know 12
Total: 161

Not sure what to make of this:

"Three people died and 31 others were injured in a stampede as shoppers scrambled for cut-price cooking oil at a Carrefour store in China on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported."


Did things just get out of hand, or are food prices making people desperate?

I posted a more detailed version of that story yesterday. The oil in question was rapeseed oil, which is being used as a biofuel. Also, this is the second time something like this has happened recently in China, so high prices probably are at least partly to blame.

The oil was being offered at 20% off. That was what induced people to wait in line for hours and trample each other on the way in.

Then again...every year, there are stories about Americans being trampled rushing into Wal-Mart to buy $30 DVD players or $300 laptops. Kind of hard to argue it's desperation driving them.


If say, BigSupahStore had 150Watt solar panels on sale for $50/panel...would you run someone over to get one? ;)

I'd be rushing in to buy 5k worth of them :P

No, I'm slow, lazy and so far behind the trends that sometimes I'm ahead of them.

There's a Ralph Nader piece on Common Dreams re his "analysis" on why oil is so high. It's market shenanigans and speculation since there is absolutely no shortage of oil. Nader is clueless apparently re the issue of peak oil.


Was Ralph Naders work that brought him fame and position as a "gate keeper" really accurate. Ralph Nader "safe at any speed". Ralph Nader stays in the Presidential race, Ralph seems to play for Ralph.

The guy who worked to make sure you have seatbelts in your car and safe drinking water.. He may not have decided on PO yet, (and would you try to claim that there AREN'T also market shenanigans going on?) ..but his record is hardly a selfish one.

What does your record show that comes close to his for working for the public good?

I must admit, it's ironic that a man whose philosophy seemed based on mistrust of technology and business, and concern for the Earth's ability to withstand our activities, would not embrace the idea that we've sucked out oil too fast to sustain our lifestyle.

Nader used to be a sharp guy, but now he's a doddering old fool who is doing more harm than good.


I would put Hans Herren, President of the Millennium Institute (who I worked with on some recent breakthru modeling) up against Mr. Nader.


And I see smaller scale heroism all around me in New Orleans.

Best Hopes,


Jo kuhl,

Selfish, maybe thats how you take that.

I have grown to see a man that likes Power and the desire for it, even while wearing a humble coat. Nothing new. Nader has set his self up as a gatekeeper, and with that comes the responsibility. I thought Ralph Nader was the real deal for some time, but I don't think so now.

Your question as to what have I done to compare to Nader is in my opinion childish. What rating system do you wish to use, how else do you wish to set up the goal posts. I express an opinion, and you set the standards for it, how elitist of you Jo kuhl.

Well, how many gallons of gas do you think Ralph Nader used this week, and how many did I use.

How much NG, and how many other resources to carry out his lifestyle, and to keep promoting a lifestyle that he thinks is still going to happen. How many did I use, and by choice, not necessity. What work do I not do now and many other things in my approach to living on this planet.

Your childish attempt to try and say who is "better" for being in the world says much about how you relate to your world.

Disregarding his election campaign.
Has Nader contributed to a better and safer world? Has he made it a better place?

Who knows how many lives have been saved due to his efforts.
Maybe I too leave less of a carbon footprint than he does right now but he may have charities and offsets he contributes to, who am I to judge, I don't know him well enough.

I don't think that would give me the right to try and knock him off his perceived high horse.
I guess if you stand out, it makes you more of a target and he has done that for a long time.

I think he deserves his place in history elected or not.

"Ralph seems to play for Ralph"
"..a man that likes Power"

To me, that sounds like you're calling him selfish.

As far as a 'Gatekeeper's Responsibility'.. what responsibility do you suggest that he has somehow assumed and then shirked or failed to fulfill? He's challenged corporate power for decades, with some very notable successes, and became basically the definition of 'crusader against corporate abuse, defending consumer and worker rights.'

So far, you've shown nothing but unexplained opinions about his mixed motives, hunger for power or at the least, ineffectuality. Back this up with SOMETHING, otherwise, you're just blathering.

This whole line about Ralph's 'ego' driving his campaign is just like the one they're setting up with Kucinich now. A dark horse comes into the race and speaks about issues his audience actually want to hear about, and the MSM and the 'Safe' candidates talk about the audacity of this little guy to take up room on their stage, and suggest that his obvious pride and power-lust is what brought them into the race. Pots calling the kettle black.

Be a good voter and pick a winner..

Apropos of all the discussion of whether oil prices are the result of fundamentals or speculation, let me add that there will be a price at which even speculative buyers will refuse to buy and a low at which producers will refuse to sell, speculation notwithstanding.

This spread has seen eras of being quite small, such as 1998, or quite large as I suspect it is at the moment. When that differential is large, the price swings can be quite spectacular - a word very close to speculate. Turning down supply is far easier than turning down demand, and doesn't require sabotageing the rest of the economy. The alternative to an OPEC supply control is, well, let the invisible hand start punching. Where the lower point is, i.e. when producers decide to curtail production, is the really critical point of speculation and the possibility of prices dropping by half in a major global recession are not only real but a double edged sword. Rough justice.

I haven't heard the term 'shut in' for a decade now, except perhaps for natural gas. And for those who can't contemplate $100+ oil, all we need is a today's price and another 3% off the dollar. In the greater scheme of things, the fall in the dollar represents a lot more money overall than the rise in oil prices, which are to a certain extent a temporarily inevitable result of the former. Not only do we not know the appropriate price of oil but we don't even know the appropriate price of the currency it's priced in. Add in political instability and you have three balls to juggle.

I'm rather taken aback at Picken's assertion that global demand is 88 million barrels a day. By what calculation is this ephemeral number derived? I'm not saying he's wrong; in fact I would estimate that such a production number would put prices back to recent averages adjusted for currency changes. I could also say 90 million and unless he has some unrevealed data to counter with, the only reason he's righter than me is that he's rich and famous. I'd be more comfortable if he had said 'about' or 'approximately'.

I'm still waiting for the methodology of demand calculation to be revealed.

The EIA demand forecast has us at 88 million BPD. Its probably around 85 million BPD based on the global drawdown of crude inventories.

One way to estimate is to look at what's happened to the price. If demand is 88 mbpd, that's 3 mbpd more than what's being produced, or 3.5% more demand than supply. We would expect that to produce a price increase of roughly 35% to 50%. If you look at a price trend line, we're right at about the price we should have if we currently have roughly 3.5% more demand than supply than we did a year ago.

That makes no sense at all. Even The Chimp likes to quote that a 5% reduction caused a 400% spike in prices. So either there really isn't that kind of EXTREME relationship, or we are only short around 1 million bpd (~1%), as per the oil draw down figures we've seen globally.

I think your about right its non-linear though.

Its best to think of it like a auction. First your in a oversupply situation lets say and the floor is set by the expectations of the seller. But the moment you have less than the amount of bidders you get on a exponential growth curve.

The first stage I like to describe as whack a mole bidders believe the price will go down so they juggle using reserves with the current price. Later certain bidders are effectively priced out. They buy to stay alive. Finally the deep pocket buyers are bidding against each other at this level its not money so much as it is control. Having 1000 dollars in your pocket standing next to your Mercedes thats out of gas does not do you a lot of good.
The market dynamics are pretty much traditional bubble although real shortages have been uncommon for a long time.

This is the bidding war that WT talks about and when it finally hits it won't be pretty.

I like your point that it's probably non linear. If there is a reasonably responsive two way response on the supply side commensurate with the variations in economic activity, the response could be linear. Remove one of the handles from the machine and linearity goes out the window. This is why, on so many fronts, especially in what could be referred to as utilities, we had regulated markets - not because they were perfect, but because they enforced linearity of a sort. Even taxes and subsidies are a form of regulation. And food production could be considered a utility.

The options were to either improve regulation or to scrap it. Improving it in a supply constraint would entail regulating consumption or rather 'demand'. Demand regulation could be construed as a euphemism for rationing. If you consider oil a utility, as I do, then we are at a point where the former market mechanisms will no longer be viable. At what point will rationing be 'prettier', as you put it?

I disagree, the bidding war hasn't started yet. The most recent run-up of oil was caused by Bernanke's helicopter dumping dollars. Just look at oil compared with commodities eg. gold. They are moving together.

Before the Feds cut the Funds rate to 4.5 from 4.75 oil was trading a bit lower than $95. The cut amounted to 5% which would put oil at $100 but I don't believe it will go much higher than that for quite a spell. We'll just have to watch the dollar.

When you can only get 6 1/2 barrels of oil for an ounce of gold, the bidding war is on. Currently it's 8 1/2 to the oz.

"turning down supply is far easier than turning down demand"

yes on a large scale, but on a personal scale demand is much easier to control (turn down). "and doesn't require sabatoging the rest of the economy".

Parade Magazine keeps putting out stories that very much fit into TOD range of acceptability...interesting:

American holiday foods are changing, and now is the time to discover: Fresh Local Flavors

There are a number of compelling reasons for the soaring popularity of local food. The recent scares—E. coli lurking in bags of spinach, tainted seafood from China—have made most of us think about where our food comes from and how it’s grown. When you buy from a small, nearby farm, you gain a sense of reassurance. (Local, by the way, does not necessarily mean “organic,” though that is often the case.) Environmental concerns also play a big part: Food that is grown locally does not have to be shipped cross-country, cutting back on pollution from fossil fuel. And small farms promote sustainable agriculture, protecting the earth for future generations. But perhaps the most important reason to eat local food is taste. Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft restaurants and head judge of Bravo’s Top Chef, says: “Food that’s grown locally and is in season simply tastes better than food that’s been picked weeks ago, refrigerated and shipped. Once you taste a tomato that hasn’t been refrigerated, there’s no going back. For me, it’s always been about flavor first.”

main reason for poor flavours in transported foods is twofold:
1. Picked unripened way too early.
2. Ripened during transport, while not on the vine.

Freezing/cooling accounts for minimal flavour loss, (by minimal, I mean <1%) If frozen solid, most foods will undergo textural changes. It's the picking before ripening that is the killer, the fruit or seed vessel gets less time to grow and accumulate sugars. Picking early cuts off the fruit from the accumulation, leaving it much blander and tasteless.

i've noticed that certain fruits just won't ripen (at home), pears for example. if they are not ripe in the store, they will taste like wood pulp until rotten. bananas ripen just fine.

I think a lot of varieties are grown for mechanical toughness during handling. Also the tastiest varieties are noshed by insects first making them 'unsuitable' for humans - if you know what I mean.

I agree about Pears. Try 'Commis' if you can find any. They taste and ripen OK

An ad just caught my eye while looking at one of Leanan's links:

Honda solar cells!

"Honda Soltec Co, LTD", CIGS thin-film, "50% reduction in the amount of energy consumed during the manufacturing process."

I was excited...

...until I clicked on the next page and discovered that Honda is still beholden to Fuel Cell Cars.

I have been looking around for a comprehensive list of countries that have passed peak and those that haven't. I know it's been posted on TOD, but I searched around and can't find it. Would someone kindly post a link(s) for this? Thanks.

Are you perhaps thinking of David Strahan's interactive oil depletion atlas

The EIA also has a page of production numbers in excel files here.

And there is a page at graphoilogy with countries that behave and don't behave when fitted to Hubbert's peak here.

If there are any better resources, I'd also like to see them.

If it's 'Net Exports' you are interested in, I put this up the other day - lots of info on the EIA link.



Massachusetts officials announced this week that the average retail price homeowners pay for home heating oil had reached $3.11 a gallon.
That is not a misprint.

Hundreds of families are worried that they won't be able to heat their homes this winter.

Many people will start to learn to do the following, which I've done for some time. Turn down your central heat down to about 55F or 60F, and put on a sweater and some socks! Put another blanket on your bed. If you simply MUST have it 65 or so in the room you are in, shut the door and turn on a small room heater.

Why people think they need to heat rooms they never use, is beyond me.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Seems like a lot of empty nesters are closing off the second story of the house during winter, so they don't have to heat it.

A lot of old New England houses have something called a "keeping room." In winter, that's where most of the family's activities took place, and might be the only room that was heated. Adults and babies would even sleep there. (With older children relegated to the unheated attic.)

One has to be very careful about closing off portions of one's house to heating. Condensation and resultant mold are always a problem when you do that. Furthermore, I seriously doubt whether in most houses it is actually possible or practical to maintain much more than a 15-degree temperature differential between heated and non-heated rooms. I tried doing that one year and still have extremely persistent mildewed walls to show for it.

Perhaps surprisingly, something as seemingly mundane as the flow of heat and moisture through the typical house is not as well understood and quantified as one might think.

I think this is an area of further practical research.

A lot of those old farmhouses were built to be used that way. The family would all move downstairs in the winter, and the upstairs would be closed off.

Often old Icelandic farmhouses were built the opposite way. Downstairs was the stable for the sheep, their body heat would rise to the living areas above. There heat from cooking would add to the body heat. Icelanders had so few trees and were so poor, that few burned wood for heat. Perhaps some sheep dung, etc.

I might have welcomed a stiff walk outside in the fresh air under such circumstances.


That was pretty common throughout Europe. (Though often the cooking would be done in a kitchen that was separate from the house, due to the risk of fire.)

It was common practice in the Middle East as well. That is probably how the Nativity story was understood by early Christians. Having guests stay in the "stable" - downstairs, where the animals were kept - was not uncommon. It was nice and warm, and I suspect didn't smell that much worse than the upstairs.

Its possible that's not the most distorted part of that particular narrative.

Growing up in my parents' 1860s Connecticut farmhouse, a glass of water left overnight in an upstairs bedroom would have a crust of ice on a cold morning.

The secrets of staying warm(ish): long underwear, wool blankets & sweaters, close proximity to radiant heat sources (this includes cats/dogs.)

I'm so glad you explained that.
I've always wondered what a "keeping room" was.

Back when houses were 15 to twenty thou, a car was 2500, a cup of coffee was a dime same as a chocolate bar, gasoline was about 30 cents a gallon. Paying for the current quarter million dollar house will be a bigger challenge than paying historically normal prices for fuel to heat it. Three chocolate bars a gallon was normal forty years ago.

As yet there isn't a problem that wasn't there before. I'd estimate that even an old house can be heated for a usual winter with 300 gallons of fuel oil. That's what my old uninsulated two story clunker used to require on average. $900 a year? One typical mortgage payment or a month's rent? Two weeks pay to heat your house? Hardly a crisis at this point.

Sure, I'm sympathetic to those who can't afford to heat their houses as much as they'd like, but at least they have houses. There's another level below that that don't have the privilege of walls at all.

People really need to get programmable thermostats. If there is talk about outlawing incandescent bulbs in favor of CFLs or LEDs, then non-programmable thermostats need to be outlawed at the same time.

There is no reason for an empty house to be heated above 60F, and with warm bedding people can sleep quite comfortably in a 60F house. (I know that there are others that will chime in for even lower temps, which if fine. First, though, let's just try to get people from 72F down to 60F!) Having the furnace kick on to up the temps just before one gets up for the day, or just before one arrives home from work, sure does make the lower temps an easier "sell" to the occupants.

One of my pet gripes: Dressing appropriately for the season (warmly), then walking into a house or commercial building where the temps are set at 72 or even 74F. Comfortable for the idiots walking around in T-shirts, I suppose, but I'm dying, sweating like it's tropical Africa, and shedding layers by the minute. GRRRRR!!

Economist struggles with supply and demand again, puts trust in the Oil Fairy. Maybe someone can help him out.

Oil prices

The lesson of history, is that when oil prices soar up to record levels, they usually then fall back down.

There is a saying "life is like a man walking backwards, he can see perfectly where he has been, but not where he is going".

Presumably a fellow Welshman, I'm afraid this guy (Evan Davies, BBC economics correspondent) is an idiot when it comes to peak oil and indeed to the general economic crisis to come. He doesn't get it at all. Your saying applies to him perfectly.

CNN and Tony Harris have all the answers tonight showing a 30 minute news segment they call 'The trouble with oil.' No shortages of oil or gasoline, really. Then, 'Why so high?' Pure speculation, $35 of speculative price gain above what supply and demand call for. Bottom line for CNN is that oil should be costing about $60.

Hello TODers,

The upthread discussion on linearity and non-linearity is always fascinating to me, and I hope we can do much more of it.

My mind harkens back to the fairly recent riots in Bangladesh when a blackout hit. If the people in the affected area were at maximum Peak Outreach: they would be calmly trying to keep rates of linear change and system resiliency within controllable bounds by the community building of solar hot water heaters with glass bottles, pooling funds to buy solar-cooking ovens, turning off nightime store-signs, and many other simple energy-saving strategies thru peaceful cooperation.

Unfortunately, blinded by ignorance and rage, they instead went the opposite direction towards non-linearity and reduced area resiliency: using the glass bottles for molotov cocktails to burn the local infrastructure and vehicles, rioting causing the police to burn decreasing energy and funds to qwell, probably other people stealing copper wiring during the blackout period, and other effects.

The result of increasing these cascading blowbacks, as opposed to preventing them, is that it probably now requires even more resources and energy to get back to the minimal $$$/day operating conditions present before the blackout hit.

So instead of a previous short walk to buy a bag of rice or other foodstuff, the distance may now be doubled, or the food price has increased to help pay for the repair of the induced damage, extra security, and other effects.

If the locals have even less funds than before the rioting [most likely,IMO]: the 'teeter-totter energy balance' is moved even more towards tipping once again for more non-linear cascading blowbacks vs the other direction of greater efficiency, conservation, cooperation, and biosolar transition.

Leanan's recent sad newlink of Iraqi parents abandoning their children is another example of inducing accelerating feedbacks into the local system: the children that survive will be much more ignorant and disaffected [socially psychotic?]; more inclined to kill others instead of cooperating, taking what they can get by violent means with no concern whatsoever of instead recycling and replanting; mindless and violent gang-rapes instead of thoughtful, consensual, non-reproductive sex, and many other cascading blowbacks.

Change is Always Happening, yet most people refuse to recognize this Constant; they cling to perpetuating the status quo thus guaranteeing eventual habitat decline and re-equilibration in a sequential and constantly interacting series of steps down with maximum waste and species extinction.

My speculation on Asimov's Foundation, universal Peak Outreach, Earthmarines vs Mercs, and other combined and interacting proposals is to hopefully create an awareness and impetus towards careful planning for the possible attenuation of blowbacks within reasonable political structures; to help direct the inevitable human conflicts that will arise to be constrained within areas that least decimate the habitat's watershed and other natural biotic systems.

What I find fascinating is that many of the people who are introduced to depletion concepts go the opposite direction of conservation. They instead seek to more quickly burn through the planetary resources. This [credit-fueled?] binge to take more airborne trips; buy the second home, yacht, or RV; eat out more often, buy the big screen tv, go to sporting or other public events, etc, can be very useful for Foundation postPeak planning for the concepts of predictive collapse and directed decline.

The more info that people unknowingly allow for data collection and compilation: the more accurate the subsequent statistical modeling of local, state, regional, and continental resource logistical flows. This following newlink points to the importance of this info:

Intel official: Expect less privacy

Wildlife habitat managers are largely unconcerned with monitoring specific animals--it is the overall species headcounts and natural predator-prey interactions that they seek to optimize for the best attainable natural balance. In short: they seek to prevent an Overshoot condition in the habitat under their control, or by immediate culling of the Overshoot specie to rapidly reduce deleterious effects.

As we go postPeak: I contend the present FF-MPP market anarchy will also be roughly amenable to Thermo/Gene control as naturally arising and constraining logistic limits impinge upon the existing infrastructure spiderwebs. These over-lapping, energy-driven, political constructs will gradually become more isolated and discrete, more identifiable, and therefore more controllable for multiple Foundation scale-direction and conflict resolution.

Our instinctive, beyond-somatic keystone predator drive for territorial control through tribal scale [and larger group affiliation as energy allows], can thus be politically harnessed in a declining FF-regime for multiple step-shifts towards sequential building and enlargements of biosolar habitats, and their necessary protection.

My many earlier posts on this topic outlined some possible speculative scenarios, such as a multi-million Southwest US migration confronting a Cascadian Earthmarine army determined to be kept from being overun by the invaders.

The relative strength interplay between the First Foundation and smaller Second Foundations, and carefully calculated, predetermined shifting alliances on a local and regional scale can be decisive in determination of the outcome.

For example: if the airborne or mobile military elements of the First Foundation side with the Cascadians for rapid decimation of the Southwesterners before they can reach the biosolar territory. Or ruthless logistic controls on NPK fertilizer and FF-distribution to leverage Southwestern decimation by starvation far faster than normal FF-driven constraints would naturally contrict the existing spiderwebs. Then the First Foundation and the Cascadians could cover the Southwest with solar genplants with the energy sent north, requiring minimal Earthmarine protection from the very few locals.

I would expect a similar postPeak scenario to play out in North Africa too. Morocco's phosphates, uranium, and sunshine will be too valuable to just be dispersed willy-nilly by normal FF-MPP market anarchy.

As biosolar mission-critical investing, at every scale, becomes a dominant theme to drive biosolar-MPP growth from small starting territories, the next major obstacle [maybe insurmountable?] is dealing with Peak Phosphorus. I don't yet have an answer how to easily accumulate this vital element from the seafloor, and bird and bat guano, even with lots of human-built shelters and species care, may still not recondense P at a rate sufficient for human survival. Time will tell.

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

Hello TODers,

Latest Pemex info as ELM rears it ugly head down Mexico way:

Company wants to ship fuel from Europe to Juárez

Pemex, Mexico's national oil company, plans to continue to increase the amount of fuel it ships into Juárez from the Longhorn Partners Pipeline, which runs from Houston to El Paso.

Fuel for the pipeline would mostly come from Europe, Tollefson reported.

George Baker, director of Energia.com, a Houston energy consulting firm, and publisher of Mexico Energy Intelligence, a newsletter which tracks Mexico's energy industry, said Pemex's six refineries in Mexico can't produce enough gasoline to meet Mexico's growing fuel demand.

The closest Pemex refinery to Juárez is in the Monterrey area, Baker said. Pemex also is a partner with Shell Oil in a large refinery in Deer Park, Texas, near Houston.

Last year, Pemex imported 430,000 barrels of fuel a day -- a number that has steadily increased in the past three years, according to data in Pemex's 2006 annual report.

"They are importing as much (fuel) as you would get from a new (very large) refinery," Baker noted.
Once TSHTF: I would expect this pipeline, and any others running to the border, to be exploded with tremendous regularity by American home-grown detrito-terrorists. I think Mexico's postPeak national security would be better served by direct shipping to Mexican ports and/or refineries, but what do I know?

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

Hello TODers,

Being a fast-crash realist, but always working to avoid this scenario, I find it fascinating to find info of a severe inflection or tipping point that can precipitate rapid decline. As usual, Zimbabwe leads the way:

HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabwe marks the 10th anniversary this week of "Black Friday," when its currency plunged a record 72 percent, an episode widely regarded as the precursor of its subsequent economic meltdown.

The local dollar fell 71.5 percent against the greenback while the stock market crashed by 46 percent as investors rushed for the US dollar.

"I remember people crying on that day because then 25 to 30 percent of our investors were foreigners and when these foreigners started offloading their shares, our stocks got hammered," Munyuki told AFP.

Many analysts saw the events of a decade ago as a clear signal of the government's willingness to buck the laws of economics for short-term expediency, a trend that continues to this day.

"We have been consistently doing things economically wrong for the past ten years," said Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch.
How much of this scenario transposes to the USA if we continue to party like there is no tomorrow with our fuelish lifestyles?

Also imagine if Bush/Cheney pre-emptively attacks Iran with nukes, and/or also Pakistan with nukes if radicals suddenly seized control of Pak's nuke arsenal? How quickly would our stock markets implode?

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

Getting my first installment of this season's heating bill (fuel oil), and given that this is cheap compared to what's to come, I've decided to keep my living unit at 13 - 15 deg C, or 55-60 deg F (when my girlfriend isn't over at least; this won't fly with her). I'm in long underwear, wool pants, a ski sweater, two sock layers, stocking cap and thin knit gloves. My first thoughts from this experiment are that - 1) being in a warm house is not a necessity but is pretty nice; thus, it's a major facet of oil addiction. I think this is pretty good for me, cuz when TSHTF, I'll already be used to it and can think about the actual important stuff more clearly. Secondly, an immediate reaction of the small-thinker in me is mild gratitude for the overly warm late fall weather and the rain that should have been snow.

Get real relentless about sealing up leaks all over the house. 60F is fine for most areas and then keep one room at a decent temp with an oil filled electric space heater. I did this in a 700 square foot apartment and managed to run about $75/month for gas and electric all year round. Things were a bit higher in July/August and January/February but all in all life was good.

Zoe di Magnifico
I'm with Sacred Cow Tipper on just heating and cooling the areas that you need to live in. Our electric rates are exhorbitant-$0.1499999 per KWH, yet I keep my winter bills under $50 a month, but I live on Galveston Island. I've got a great sea-breeze, ceiling fans and a space heater for my toes on a cold morning.

Our main problem is cooling. I have window units, but mainly the gulf acts like a giant heat sink-air temps seldom get as high as 95 degrees . So I wear shorts most of the time. Bob Ebersole

One needs to be rather careful living in a cooler house. If there are water pipes or drains in the exterior walls, there's the possibility of freezing, especially if these are in rooms which are not warmed as much as the other parts of the house. Also, wearing longies all the time means there's the need for more frequent laundry, as the extra socks and underwear must be washed regularly. Otherwise, one risks contracting fungal infections from infrequent changes of undies...

E. Swanson

I can attest to that. I have hot water baseboard heat on three independent zones (one per floor) and during cold weather I have to periodically raise and lower each thermostat in an effort to keep the water circulating; otherwise, I run the risk of freeze-up, especially where pipes pass through knee walls/attic spaces or are exposed to the sill plate. I've insulated and air sealed as best I can, but I've learned the hard way that given the right set of circumstances, standing water can freeze in surprisingly short order.

I would also side with those who advise caution when closing off or turning down the heat in unused spaces -- the risk of mould and mildew damage is very real, both surface and inside the wall structure; closets on exterior walls are a particular concern.


55-60 deg F (when my girlfriend isn't over at least; this won't fly with her). I'm in long underwear, wool pants, a ski sweater, two sock layers, stocking cap and thin knit gloves.

LMAO, in 50F I sit around in shorts, a T shirt and flip flops.

Rayola Dougher a senior economic analyst for the American Petroleum Institute was just on cnbc.

Didn't say "peak oil" but did say demand has outstripped supply. She did a very nicely choreographed tap dance. Qualifying her statements about Saudi Arabia and china. While pushing for more domestic drilling rights.

The CNBC guy really didn't seem to like her answers, but his attitude was probably scripted to soften the blow.