DrumBeat: November 14, 2007

Shaybah, technical marvel in the desert

“In terms of reservoir capacity, we have capacity,” Mr. al-Shurei said, though he noted no plan to go beyond 750,000 barrels a day is yet in place. (The original expansion plan at Shaybah was to get to one million barrels but facility officials didn’t say why it was pulled back.)

In some ways, this week in Saudi Arabia ahead of the OPEC summit is like one long rebuttal of Twilight in the Desert, the Peak Oil treatise written by Houston investment banker Matthew Simmons several years ago that strongly argued that oil production in Saudi Arabia would soon be in significant decline. (On Tuesday, Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi didn’t name Mr. Simmons but dismissed such claims as having no foundation.)

The Best Things in Life Are (Almost) Free

As John Lennon sang in the 1964 Beatles cover of “Money (That’s What I Want),” some of the best things in life are free. For producers of heavy oil, gravity is the very best freebie of all. And the earth’s pull is helping to reshape the peak oil concept into a broad oil plateau that will last for many years to come.

New database shows big warming emitters

There's growing worry about global warming, but how much of it is the work of that power plant just outside town? And if Congress limits heat-trapping greenhouse gases, will it affect utility and electric bills? And who's the biggest corporate culprit when it comes to climate change?

Answers to these questions may be only a couple of computer clicks away.

Cost of oil felt beyond pump

Nationwide fuel costs surged again in the last week, the Energy Department said Tuesday, pushing prices higher than they've ever been at this time of year.

Analysts warn that gasoline prices soon will rise by as much as 20 cents a gallon -- which would put California's average at nearly $3.50. And it's not just gasoline. High oil costs are trickling through the economy, pushing up the price of food, airline flights and cruises as well as retail prices for a host of products derived from crude oil and its byproducts.

Shell Mars oil field restarting, Ursa still down

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said Wednesday its Mars platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico was still raising output back to normal levels of 190,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day after completing scheduled work.

The nearby Ursa field, which supplies the Mars crude oil stream, remained shut after planned maintenance was extended by several days, Shell said.

Frozen Karabakh war could flare again

A 20-year-old conflict between ex-Soviet neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan could re-ignite into a war that would threaten the region's oil exports, an influential think-tank said on Wednesday.

Wolves and bears circle energy security

Energy security cuts both ways, we are told. It is not only the gas-guzzling American motorist who needs comforting, but also the bloated petrocrats of the Gulf. At the Opec summit meeting in Riyadh this weekend, the talk will not be of supply insecurity, but of demand collapse. Even as truckers threaten mass meetings in Britain to protest about the price of diesel, the risk is seen on the downside from the perspective of the producers. Algerians attending the Rome World Energy Congress this week were less than impressed by the screeching about $100-a-barrel oil and shortages.

Ecuador: Oil and Militarized Corporate Terrorism

When international companies perform jobs for the oil industry in Latin America, mercenaries and armed forces are often needed for protection. The oil companies use the military systematically to suppress popular resistance. This applies particularly to criminal oil exploitation conducted without legal permits, as is often the case for Swedish construction company Skanska, in such areas as nature reserves and indigenous territories.

Toxic optimists vs. plaid shirts

Sundalow thinks all of our problems will be magically resolved by plug-in hybrids. Somehow he manages to convince himself that this not only removes the need for oil (of course, with present driving patterns it doesn't) but that somehow it will solve our electricity problems as well.

Climate change to take just years

AUSTRALIANS will begin to see the stark effects of climate change within the next few years, not the next decades, a leading Australian scientist has warned.

Graeme Pearman, the former head of CSIRO's atmospheric research unit, yesterday released a report showing that evidence of global warming has dramatically increased in the past 12 months.

Arctic Ocean Circulation Does an About-Face

A team of NASA and university scientists has detected an ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation triggered by atmospheric circulation changes that vary on decade-long time scales. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.

Q&A: Author explores oil's impact on society

Tom Mast, whose experience in the engineering and manufacturing fields included involvement in the oil industry, published the book "Over a Barrel: A Simple Guide to the Oil Shortage." The Austin, Texas, resident's book includes a history of how oil came to be so vital to transportation and takes a look at some oil alternatives and their environmental, social and technological impacts. The book is intended to be read by an adult in less than two hours. Mast recently answered several questions about the book and its topic for The Times.

China makes unusual gasoline import for November

China, one of Asia's biggest gasoline exporters, made an unusual November import after buying record-high volumes for September, traders said on Wednesday.

They said state-run Sinopec Corp bought a 30,000-tonne cargo of 93-octane gasoline. The identity of the seller and the price of the cargo were not immediately available.

Fire breaks out on damaged Mexican oil rig

Pemex said on Tuesday that four fire-fighting boats were at the scene trying to put out the blaze.

"When the fire is out, work to control the leak will resume," Pemex said in a statement.

U.S. Economy: Recession, Depression, Or Collapse?

“For Consumers, the Hits Keep Coming” a recent banner headline in a New York Times-owned daily newspaper here in Northern California reports. The article misses the main points. If we continue to understand ourselves as primarily passive consumers, rather than as active citizens, the US economy will enter at least a recession, probably a depression, and possibly a collapse. Even our republic is at risk.

Inflation And Economic Growth: A Tricky Call

Simmons dismisses Tupi, the recent major Brazilian offshore oil discovery as ‘important but just a dent’ in the problem. The deep water field has only drilled two wells, is extremely complex, and might not even be commercial. Even if it is, it will take 5-10 years says Simmons.

And don’t expect production shortfalls to be covered by Saudi Arabia this time he adds. Saudi has no excess capacity. It has no more spare oil and is not able to increase production in a meaningful way. Demand for oil is growing far faster than anyone thought.

Who's Zoomin' Who?

In my view, with the evidence for Global Peak Oil growing with each passing month, the odds are very high that Crude Oil is already in a Cycle Degree Wave Three advance. Assuming Wave Three equals the height of Wave One, we are staring down the barrel of $200 Crude Oil over the next two years -- Con Te Partiro to the SUV.

Greg Zanetti’s weekly market report

Well, despite more rigs pumping oil, Exxon’s production is actually down two percent since 2006. And here is the key point: According to a recent study, of the 21 Exploration and Production companies in the US, the average proven booked reserves per well is in serial decline.

Translation: We are adding more rigs, but we are getting less oil for the effort.

In a Modernizing Mexico, Blasts Reveal Shadowy Side

The EPR has not attacked the country's oil supplies, but the possibility worries the government. Mexico is the world's sixth-biggest oil producer and a major supplier for the U.S. In Nigeria, armed groups who want more control over oil resources have used sabotage to cut the country's oil output by one-fifth.

Military's Oil Needs Not Deterred by Price Spike

All the U.S. tanks, planes and ships guzzle 340,000 barrels of oil a day, making the American military the single-largest purchaser and consumer of oil in the world.

Diesel Fuel Shortage Continues

The diesel fuel shortage continues in North Dakota. Suppliers are having to be brought in from distance terminals and sometimes truckers have to wait days at a terminal for their load.

West Virginia congressional delegation split on tapping oil bank

"(We are) asking that while oil and gas prices are so high, we can at least stop filling (the reserve), that it might hold prices down a little bit," Capito said Tuesday. "We can at least suspend shipments for a little while, or if we release some from the reserve that might be a possible solution right now."

Running on empty: Truckers cope with high cost of diesel

If you think the recent run-up in gas prices is wreaking havoc with your budget, just imagine what it would take if your tank held 100 gallons and had to be filled every day.

EU 'sleepwalking' into gas crisis, Eni CEO says

Europe has to build good relationships with Russia because of the continent's "staggering" dependence on Russian natural gas exports, Italy's top energy executive said yesterday.

Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Eni SpA, the world's sixth-largest oil company, raised the spectre of a gas-induced energy crisis unless European governments and energy companies "create strong and stable relationships with our suppliers," notably Russia and, to a lesser extent, Algeria.

UK: Drivers demand fuel price regulator

Scots lorry drivers have called for the UK Government to appoint a fuel price regulator to keep petrol prices down.

Nepal: Fuel shortage hits again

Following a brief respite after the hike in their prices, the scarcity of fuel has once again hit the consumers as demands are fast outstripping the supply.

India: Govt rules out duty cut on edible oil

The government on Tuesday ruled out any plan to reduce import duty on edible oils such as soyabean oil and palm oil.

“There is no such proposal,” agriculture and food minister Sharad Pawar told reporters at the Economic Editors’ Conference here. The Centre in July had reduced the import duty on crude palm oil to 45% from 50% and on crude soyabean oil to 40% from 45%.

China: Energy profile

The People's Republic of China (China) is the world's most populous country and the second largest energy consumer behind the United States. Rising oil demand and imports have made China a significant factor in world oil markets.

Bountiful Brazil Should Shun OPEC

As oil neared $100 a barrel, Brazil found a new offshore field so big it could turn the country into a global exporter. That's good not only for Brazil, but for all of us. So why would Brazil wreck it by joining OPEC?

...The discovery gives petrotyrants who've brought us sky-high crude some competition in the form of a big, friendly country with a rapidly modernizing democracy, a growing middle class and a diversified economy. Hopefully, Brazil will become a serious energy exporter in the same league as Nigeria and Venezuela.

Global Peak Oil and Dollar

Lately, we have been witnessing fluctuations of dollar and oil. This has led us to question the link between the dollar and oil and also whether this link still serves to the interests of the United States (US).

Smoking can be bad for your wealth

These are nervous times, too, on world oil markets, so there was great anticipation at the World Energy Congress jamboree in Rome over a rare speech by Saudi Aramco’s president and chief executive Abdallah Jum’ah on global oil resources and the world’s energy future. What reassurance could the world’s biggest oil producer provide a rapt audience? Jum’ah spoke about Canadian tar sands, Venezuelan heavy oil, the potential for oil shale, coal-to-liquids technology and biofuels. Every fuel resource on the planet was dissected, except Saudi oil. Indeed, Saudi Arabia was never mentioned, in an hour-long speech. But he did say that the world had no need to worry about running out of oil. So that’s all right, then.

How to play the oil boom

With crude setting records, Fortune's Jon Birger says now's the time to take your profits and sell Big Oil stocks.

Be honest about market for small cars

Consumers may say they support tougher fuel economy standards, but they are buying SUVs and other large vehicles. Policymakers ought to pay more attention to actual vehicle sales than to polls as they consider regulations to impose on the auto industry.

Taking a Whack at Making a Car

A generation of digital-era Henry Fords, unabashed and brimming with confidence, has emerged. Born of Silicon Valley and the dot-com culture, they are trying to apply to carmaking the same entrepreneurial spirit that built the information superhighway.

Climate injustice: The rich are hiding behind the poor

In India, 150 million people who belong to the upper-income groups already emit more than 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per annum. A new Greenpeace report states that India’s rich consuming class is hiding its significant carbon footprint behind legions of poor. Shouldn’t the government, which demands differentiated responsibility in the international arena, establish the same within India?

Prospectors claim stretches of ocean, hoping to harness wave energy

A new California "gold rush" is on - to stake out claims to prime stretches of ocean along the coast where prospectors hope to harness waves to produce energy.

No one's succeeded in producing wave power commercially in the United States, but the lure of future feasibility as a clean source of energy is spurring potential developers to claim prime wave sites.

In Farm Belt, Ethanol Plants Hit Resistance

SPARTA, Wis. — When plans were announced for a new ethanol distillery on the outskirts of this city of 9,000, residents complained that it would mar the view from the municipal golf course. They worried that its emissions would taint the milk-based products made at nearby Century Foods International, one of the community’s biggest employers. They even argued over whether the plant would reek like burned molasses or blackened popcorn or fermenting beer.

The T-shirts opponents printed up told the story: “Good idea. Bad location.”

A Solution to the Global Energy Crisis? - A Noted Scientist Says It's the Sun

There is a potential solution, and possibly only one, to the global energy crisis. It will require a huge investment, several scientific breakthroughs and a little luck. But unless we give it the very highest priority, it will soon be too late.

The biofuel scam - and it's a 'beaut'

When it comes to navigating a way out of the nation's energy crisis, you have to wonder whether the fix is already in.

The government has picked the winner--even as senior policy makers issue bland pronouncements about finding new technologies to help break our energy dependence on foreign oil. Between now and 2012, biofuel subsidies will total more than $92 billion, according to a recent report conducted under the auspices of the Global Subsidiaries Initiative.

Bill McKibben: A durable future

We’re in dire straits. James Hansen, the nation’s foremost government climatologist who works with NASA, said recently we probably have 10 years in which to begin serious efforts at putting less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. That means gearing up now to make the most ambitious changes we’ve ever had to make in our economy, and in our personal habits. It’s going to be difficult; much of the world is using more fossil fuel all the time. It’s a test for human beings, and hopefully not a final exam.

For the first time in human history “more” is no longer synonymous with “better.”

A recent sampling of Forbes magazine’s “richest Americans” showed they have identical happiness scores with Pennsylvania Amish, and are only a whisker above Swedes taken as a whole, not to mention the Masai hunters in Africa.

As we got more affluent, we lost a lot of our social connections and communities. We moved to the suburbs, built big houses and filled them with screens to stare into. It’s no wonder the average American has half as many close friends as 50 years ago.

Voter Anger May Free Up Energy Bills

Congress saw it coming. Earlier this year, lawmakers warned of an impending energy crisis as they debated wide-ranging legislation to improve automotive efficiency, reward energy conservation and spur development of alternative power sources.

When the Senate passed an energy bill in June, crude oil was trading near $65 a barrel, the highest price in a quarter-century. When the House acted six weeks later on markedly different legislation, oil had passed $70.

Then nothing happened. Oil prices continued to climb while members of Congress bickered among themselves and sniped at the White House.

Economic and planetary collapse: Is it a therapeutic issue?

I have spoken elsewhere about the label “Doomer,” and I’ve come to believe that this frame is outdated. Instead, I would like to suggest that we must stop asking ourselves, given the lateness of the hour, why there are those pessimistic about the future, and begin asking, instead, why there are those still blindly and enthusiastically optimistic about it. We can easily see why those who might be gloomy about the future could feel hopeless and take the path of inactivity. On the other hand, this same fear of disaster can motivate constructive action in an attempt to mitigate the effects. Not so, however, for those who see no NEED to take action, because they live in the best of all possible worlds. Indeed, I might argue that it is the very blind hopefulness and inaction of the masses that leads many of my readers to assume a more hopeless posture toward world events.

Peak Oil Doomsday: Ahead Of Schedule

When we try to predict the effects of oil decline, we may assume that human "die-off" will follow a gradual but steady curve from about the year 2000 or 2010 to about 2030, which will then flatten out toward about 2050. But such events will probably happen much more quickly than that, because there is a "synergistic" effect due to the fact that the two forces of oil depletion and human population are now heading in opposite directions.

Warnings of Long-Term Damage After Russian Oil Spill

“The environmental system of the region has sustained serious damage,” said Aleksey Zimenko, a conservationist with the World Wide Fund for Nature, according to Interfax. “The consequences will persist for many years to come.”

CLIMATE CHANGE: The Worst Can Still Be Avoided

Climate change is not inexorable, if measures are adopted immediately, said scientists and government officials as the 27th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began Monday in Spain.

Spain shown perils of climate change

It's an apocalyptic view of the future, a stark warning to Spain of what the country could look like if action is not taken to reduce the effects of climate change.

The warning comes in a book, Photoclima, launched this week by Greenpeace in which images of some of Spain's most emblematic places have been altered to show what they could look like in the future. Using statistics from the UN panel on climate change and a touch of digital makeup Greenpeace hopes to scare Spain into taking action.

The road to enlightenment

It is now known that 70% of cuts in emissions will need to be made at local level. Have councils woken up to the challenges ahead?

North Dakota Diesel Shortages (with video)

It wasn`t there when they needed it the most. Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel is purchased during the fall for farmers to finish their harvest, but suppliers have been in short supply recently.

Al Medler is selling off-road diesel fuel for $3.20 today. Obviously everyone wants to pay less but since we rely so heavily on fuel, big problems arise when we can`t get it.

...Medler works for Magic City Oil which is a small distributor in the Minot area. He gets fuel from two different fuel distributors and they get it from the refinery. He first started seeing problems around Labor Day. It got so bad that he couldn`t get any gasoline. He had to get a truckload hauled in from Barnesville, Minnesota. The issues then switched to diesel during the busy harvest season. Medler was able to fulfill all of his customers requests, but it wasn`t easy.

OPEC chief denies China behind oil price hike

OPEC Secretary General Abdallah al- Badri denied on Wednesday claims that China and India stood behind the rise in the international oil prices.

In an exclusive statement to Xinhua, al-Badri rejected the allegations which hold China and India responsible for the soaring oil prices, adding that the consumption of the two countries is normal and just in line with their demands.

Two Oil Policies Ahead For The OPEC Summit In Riyadh

The whole world will be focused on the Saudi capital on Saturday and Sunday where the Servant of the Two Holy Shrines, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz will host the third OPEC summit. The event is of great significance because it comes at a time when the oil price is approaching the unprecedented $100 per barrel mark. While OPEC will not take any decisions to modify the productivity level or discuss prices during the summit as the Saudi Oil Minister, Ali Naimi pointed out yesterday, the eyes of the whole world will be following the event because of the global impact of the rising oil prices.

China bites the fuel price bullet

Amid long lines and a national fuel shortage at gas stations, the Chinese government announced at the end of October that it would raise gasoline and diesel prices by about 10%. It was the first green light Beijing has given for a national fuel price hike in 17 months despite sharp increases in international oil prices during the same period.

Shell restructures its Nigerian operations in order to cut costs

Managing director Basil Omiyi said apart from the support services that would be shared among the three subsidiaries, there would be one umbrella organisation for production, development and projects.

"We are operating in an extremely difficult enviornment where levels of production have been severely curtailed by the security situation for some time," he said.

"Under these circumstances, we must take action in order to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and maintain a robust upstream business in the interests of both Shell, our partners and Nigeria in general," he added.

Nigeria denies Bakassi attack

Nigerian government has denied responsibility for Tuesday's bloody attack on Cameroonian soldiers in the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. The ambush left at least 31 people dead [21 Cameroonian soldiers and 10 attackers].

Though the attackers wore Nigerian military attire, Nigeria said the ambush might have been carried out by militants of the oil-rich Niger Delta. The militants had earlier attacked international oil interests in southern Nigerian close to Bakassi.

Another Consequence of High Priced Oil: Large Sums of U.S. Assets Purchase by Arab Gulf States Flush With Petroleum Dollars

This recent acquisitions of ownership in U.S. and European entities by private and state-owned Middle Eastern entities are just part of the flood of oil wealth spilling from the region. Middle Eastern investments in the United States have been on the rise since mid 2006 and have been showing constant gains since the tense period following September 11, 2001. While some of these takeovers are triggering alarm, most famously the purchase by Dubai Ports World of a seaports management firm, others are evoking warm welcomes.

Target Practice; where should we aim to prevent dangerous climate change (PDF)

How hot is too hot? It’s a simple question that seems too hot to handle. Neither of Australia’s major political currents – Labor or the Coalition – have ever said what temperature increase should not be exceeded if we are to avoid what it is termed “dangerous climate change”, even though it should be the first step on the ladder in constructing a global warming policy.

Perhaps the problem is that it requires a definition or an exposition of what “dangerous climate change” is, and that means getting specific about what is acceptable and what is not. How many species or ecosystems can be lost before it constitutes a danger? How far do the seas levels need to rise before they become dangerous? Is triggering the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet dangerous?

OPEC says no need for oil output hike

OPEC secretary general Abdallah al-Badri said on Wednesday that there is no need for the oil cartel to increase production now because there is plenty of oil in the market.

"At this time, frankly we don't see that we need to add more oil in the market," Badri told a press conference in Riyadh ahead of a weekend OPEC summit.

Saudi Arabia to reduce diesel exports next year

Saudi Aramco will cut gas oil (diesel) exports to 880,000 tonnes next year from 2.2 million tonnes in 2007, and will not renew any of its annual term deals, as domestic demand grows swiftly, industry sources said yesterday.

Saudi minister would welcome Canada into OPEC

Ali Al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, said Tuesday: "If Canada decides on its own to join OPEC, what would we say? Of course it would be welcome."

Although it has been rejected out of hand by federal officials, the prospect of Canada joining the cartel is not as outrageous as it seems. At an OPEC summit underway in Saudi Arabia, OPEC will re-welcome Ecuador to it after it withdrew in 1992, and Brazil is considering entry after a massive seven-billion barrel discovery last week.

Oil prices only going up, analysts warn

Shell International BV analysts Choo Khong and Peter Snowdon forecast here Tuesday that international oil prices would go nowhere but upwards, and that fossil fuels -- oil, natural gas and coal -- would continue to dominate the energy mix until 2025.

"What matters is not the actual number, whether it is US$100 or something else, but the direction of oil prices, which is firmly upwards with some volatility," noted Choo when presenting Shell Global Scenarios to 2025.

What resource wars?

Classic resource wars are good material for Hollywood screenwriters. They rarely occur in the real world. To be sure, resource money can magnify and prolong some conflicts, but the root causes of those hostilities usually lie elsewhere. Fixing them requires focusing on the underlying institutions that govern how resources are used and largely determine whether stress explodes into violence. When conflicts do arise, the weak link isn't a dearth in resources but a dearth in governance.

Ultra-deep offshore find challenges 'peak' theorists pushing ethanol

The discovery challenges "peak oil" theorists who contend the Earth's supply of oil is running out.

WND previously reported the geological description of the Campos Basin suggests that the rock formations in which the oil is being found are in Upper Oligocene to Lower Miocene deposits; in other words, deposits from the Cenozoic Era dating back only some 24,000 years.

Many scientists believe dinosaurs dominated in the Mesozoic era stretching back 250 million years ago and ending some 65 million years ago, which would contradict the theory that dead dinosaurs or decaying ancient forests formed the oil off Brazil's soil.

Metro Vancouver asks public to help plan for growth

But driving long distances for work and play on a daily basis is no longer a viable lifestyle.

"Climate change is the gun to our heads," said Price. "And I guess you could say that peak oil is too."

Gore has a new ally against global warming

The former vice president joins a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, where he will focus on building 'green' businesses and technologies.

Greenpeace protesters block coal shipment at Spanish port

Militants from the environmental group Greenpeace on Wednesday blocked a shipment of coal at a port in northeastern Spain in a protest over climate change.

"Coal destroys the climate," the protesters painted on the ship in the Mediterranean port of Tarragona.

UN panel in 'difficult' debate over global warming paper

UN climate experts wrangled here Tuesday over a landmark document on global warming amid criticism that the draft report was bland and some of its findings out of date.

One negotiator described the talks among the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "difficult".

Saudi Arabia seeks positive role in tackling climate change

Saudi Arabia insisted yesterday that it wanted to play a positive role in tackling global warming but this should be done with new technology, not "discriminatory" taxes against oil and petroleum.

Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, said his country had signed up to the Kyoto protocol and was as interested as any other in tackling climate change but the world had to accept it would be dependent for decades on fossil fuels. Talk of peak oil and supply problems was the result of "confused" thinking by so-called oil experts and financial speculators who had driven crude to highs of nearly $100 a barrel unnecessarily, he said.

Aussies warned about higher energy bills

Australians should prepare to pay more for petrol and electricity as part of a policy response to climate change, new research says.

Under policies to fight climate change, consumers will suffer higher costs for goods and services that depend on cheap energy, says Melbourne University professor of economics John Freebairn in a collection of research for the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

Saudi Arabia insisted yesterday that it wanted to play a positive role in tackling global warming but the world had to accept it would be dependent for decades on fossil fuels.

I need ear protection from the deafening doublespeak...

Saudi Aramco will cut gas oil (diesel) exports to 880,000 tonnes next year

The price of trucked food and goods will continue their irresistible climb.

The diesel cut is not a very large one. Still, it's "export land" in action.

And we are not floating in diesel per the headline above; Diesel Fuel Shortage Continues

Many post peak regions, e.g. Texas and the Lower 48, have shown post-peak periods of flat production or even year over year increases in production, but what refutes a peak is a new peak. In order to refute the 2005 peak, we would need to see Saudi Arabia produce an average of 9.6 mbpd or more for a calendar year.

Stuart was using month to month data in his article. The annual data are as follows (EIA, C+C):

2005: 9.6 mbpd
2006: 9.2
2007: 8.6 (year to date)

If Saudi Arabia averages 9.0 mbpd for the fourth quarter, the 2007 average would only be 8.7 mbpd.

Stuart is working on a new article about this.

I probably shouldn't say any more, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

It's a near certainty that Saudi Arabia will showing an accelerating annual decline rate from 2006 to 2007 versus 2005 to 2006. It kills me when people assert that "Stuart was wrong."

Having said that, as I noted in March it's quite possible that Saudi Arabia will show a temporary increase in production, after the initial decline, because they were so dependent on one field. In contrast, the East Texas Field only accounted for about 7% of Texas production at peak production in 1972.

Rounding off to the nearest 0.1 mbpd, Texas production around the peak was as follows:

1972: 3.5 mbpd
1973: 3.4
1974: 3.4

Saudi Arabia yet had major projects to replace depletion scheduled. By their own reports they were expecting to reach peak production capacity in 2009 when another million barrel a day project is brought online. So far their national depletion rates might not greatly exceed 10 percent. OPEC cut back production when the price of oil seemed to be heading to $50 a barrel. The plunge in production coincided with an OPEC cut. The OPEC cuts may have masked some production declines, yet the crude + condensates increases must offset part if not all of their declines.

OPEC cut back production when the price of oil seemed to be heading to $50 a barrel.

Opec actually peaked in September of 2005 when oil was, at that time, near an all time high.

Ron Patterson

Oh, come on guys-
let JD think he's finally gotten something right!

He's got 313 posts trying.
Think he's good for another 313?

What's wrong, JD -
Price of Oil can't quadrupple?
Dollar can't fall off the cliff?
Food prices can't take jumps because of increase in energy prices?

Oh, yeah, I forgot:
Well, two years into it, you are right. It is a non-event. We're still getting ours.
WE are still getting OURS. How long, Mr. Prophet??

Is 5 f'n years a lifetime to you or what? We haven't even fallen off the cliff yet, and you've already lost patience?

Peak is here. But as long as I'm getting MINE, who cares what's going on in Africa?

Cheers, Dom

I've got my own theory about what causes what seems to be production crashes in waterdrive reservoirs outside of Saudi Arabia. Its not that the drilling causes the production to crash rapidly as the production goes to water, but rather that the overhead increases rapidly causing the water drive reservoirs to be abandoned a lot more quickly in the North Sea than in Saudi Arabia. Because Saudi is owned by the Kingdom it has an effective tax rate of 0% (or 100%), while the production sharing in the North Sea burdens the production with 25% to 50% tax rate. The Aramco guys can produce their wells perhaps twice as long before they become uneconomic. That makes the production appear to crash when its an artifact of the overhead.
Bob Ebersole

Did you see rkshepherd's post in the comments under Khebab's article (posted last Friday)? He described briefly how market forces lower URR outside the national oil companies.

I'll look. That's a good part of what I'm describing-Saudi is not forced to abandon their reservoirs early compared with multinational oil companies. So they will get a higher rate of recovery if they want to.They can shut in oil wells until they become profitable to operate them again rather than plug them out.

The multinational oil companies have a monstreous overhead cost component which is not spent by national oil companies or independents operating soley in the US or Canada. They require a steady diet of giant oil fields with the occasional supergiant coming on line to stay profitable, and they have screwed the pooch in reguards to operating in most of the world. If a company has a well deserved reputation for interfering in internal politics of producing countries any patriot would want them only in some other country. The chickens have come home to roost and the western european multi-nationals now can't explore in 88% of the potential acreage in the world, and they've just about drilled up the remaining acreage.

Independents have a lot higher EROEI than multinationals too. The don't hire geochemists-they hire service companies with geochemists and every dollar spent has a real prospect to justify the expenditure. So the IOCs are going to have to get out of the E&P business as they know it within the next few years, IMHO. Bob Ebersole

Yeah, I have to laugh when the IOC's push the idea to the press that they are what's needed to "save" Mexico, Venezuela, etc.

Thats right-the Marines invaded Vera Cruz and occupied the oil fields of the Golden Lane for 15 years while the oil companies didn't pay royalties to anyone with the excuse they didn't know which government to pay the royalties to the complained that Cardenas nationalising theforeigners was theft! Venezuela has had either two or three US sponsored coups, including a failed one against Hugo Chavez then complain when he wants to raise the heavy oil royalties from 1% to 25% and settled the matter by kicking out the US companies. The Iranians had the Shah imposed on them for 30 years and all of these countries were produced with the prices and production quotas set in the Texas R ailroad Commission Bob Ebersole

You are not being sarcastic here - right?

Bob, what you have described is definitely one element.

In addition, the North Sea is a tough and very costly environement. KSA onshore is not Texas and KSA in the Persian Gulf isn't near offshore GOM, but the variable costs of operating wells for either onshore or offshore has got to be vastly lower in KSA than for the North Sea.

A marginal operation can be kept operating onshore. Offshore and in a hostile environment ... turn out the lights and go home.

To misquote / faux paraphrase what isn't written on W.C. Field's headstone: All things considered, I'd sooner be onshore and in Texas [and to your point if possible with an 87.5 percent -- or lower -- lease.]


Saudi Arabia to reduce diesel exports next year

Found it at today's Drumbeat. You should read it JD - some good stuff there!

Another snippet from that story:

"Gas oil exports will be reduced because domestic demand is very strong," said one source involved in supply discussions, adding that all shipments will be sold on a spot basis. The grades will be a mix of 0.05 per cent and 0.5 per cent sulphur. Another source said: "Domestic diesel demand has already caught up with production."

ELM time.

Simmons had a telling comment in the History Channel Doc, about how every day we spend niggling over the precise date of peaking brings us that closer to an abyss.

Yep, I'd tend to agree that the decline from 9.5 to 8.5mbpd was a semi-planned move (posted about that before). However you need to be careful about crowing:

Firstly there is nothing to say that it wasn't due to a field declining. One field declines and it eventually levels out, particularly if you add new capacity from new drilling. You don't have the info to say there's no decline.

However mainly if you want to postulate that everything in the garden is rosy you have to answer why the supply hasn't been increased as prices rose. Isn't that what the market says should happen? The no decline graph you show in another story suggests we should be on 90Mbpd by now - but we're not.

Can't or won't - either way the world has a problem with supply that many are beginning to recognise. So let's see your prediction - Will the Saudis ever generate sustained* 11Mbpd again?

[* where sustained = for more than a year]

garyp-that's why Robert Rapier's "peak lite" appeals to me. It could be that with evrything online including shut in Iraqi and Nigerian production and all the new deep offshore fields kicking out grease that the world is capable of 90 or 95 million barrels all liquids. However, there will always be geopolitical considerations so we will never have full peak production. Peak lite pretty well covers it as a discriptive name

The other thing-as long as demand distruction and depletion are matched up why would they want to increase production?why would they want to talk about the situation? All and all, its less expensive to do nothing and not talk about situations that aren't perfectly clear. Bob Ebersole

One of the major differences between humans and animals is the ability to predict and react to future events. That's what we are all calling for in reacting to peak oil after all - preaction that reduces the caustic effects of relying on reaction.

While we may not be seeing the type of preaction we would like, I think we ARE seeing preaction in the political sphere. Its more complicated than just "we'll use less", but our effective peaking at 85Mbpd is an outcome of the various game playing effects that are beginning.

However, from what I've been able to determine of the way the system dynamics plays out its not all sweetness and light. The way the game is played on the downslope is different to that on the upslope. Its not a case of depletion and demand destruction being forced to be in step (which is just two sides of the same coin). Its a case of using the resources in the optimum way.

Look at it like this. If you have $100k in the bank and the aim of staying in the game as long as possible, and even winning, you don't just play straight. When another player is in a poor state you might well play to force them out of the game to improve your own chances. Equally, if a player is doing extremely well you might align yourself with other players to pull them back. The $100k is used and played not as valuable in its own right, but as a tool to be employed.

To understand the post peak and the characteristics of the decline you have to understand the game being played and the strategies employed. Maths only takes you so far.

Way to cherry pick 6 months of data to support your argument.

We are really in trouble when all the naysayers have is that there was no decline. Not a rise, not growth, just flat production. And that is in the age of Peak oil GOOD news. What were the Saudi export numbers? Did you miss the detail in Stuarts presentations where he indicated there were some new projects coming on line in 2007 late in the year allowing production to rise briefly - which did not happen. Lets see what 2008 brings. Oh, and 2007 Saudi production was still down from 2006 production - if you would check.

Keeping it real???

Actually you are very choosy with your statistics - from the same source that you use I can find ...

Saudi Averages
2005 9,550
2006 9,152
2007 8,619

I would say that was a slow decline ... but, I do agree this is what we have come to expect from KSA, so it may be a managed retreat ... but it is a decline none the less!

From 2006 to 2007 it was -5.8%, certainly not the growth that the world would need for a 2% BAU increase if KSA is indeed the swing producer.

Much more important to the oil importing countries than gross production is 'net exports' ... so, what happened to Saudi 'net exports' in 2007?

jan - Sept 2006 average 8715
jan - Sept 2007 average 7947

As you see, possibly a decline in 'net exports', -8.81% ... direct proof of 'Export Land Model' being correct?


Just something I've been thinking about, thought I should throw it out here and see what others think.

I understand and accept the ideas behind the "Export Land Model" (though I've never quite been sure why we call it a "model," but that's beside the point). Nonetheless, I see one significant limitation of the theory.

Specifically, it assumes that identification with national interests on the part of those that control oil resources will continue to hold sway over identification with corporate/economic interests.

What happens, though, when the money to be made by putting the next barrel of oil on the export market trebles or quadruples what can be made on the "domestic" market. When do we see the domestic subsidies for fuel in the oil producers reduced or eliminated in order to allow "national" oil companies to increase their profits? Just how strong is the "national" commitment in these companies/countries where the national identification is not strong, or just relatively new?

Ideas anyone?

The expectation is that the oil will be nationalised as a strategic asset (which is basically already happening). Thence the national government will attempt to maintain their economy via management of the asset.

Four interacting system effects come out of that:

1) Once decline is obvious, its very much in the interests of the national government to conserve their resource. So production goes even further down and home demand is also addressed to ensure the resource can be stretched out. It doesn't hurt that the less is exported, the more its worth.

2) Those with high imports will get very 'interested' in those with production and will lean on them to increase the productions and the share sold to them. That goes as far as warfare - military and economic. Axes and pacts will form around suppliers and large forceful countries.

3) Declines and depression in other countries will have consequent effects on any oil producer, even if they have enough production themselves. The expectation is economic turmoil no matter what.

4) Petrochemical and energy intensive industry will tend to move to those countries with supply, increasing their demand at home and further depressing the countries they leave.

In short, I'd suggest the market will be told when and where to dance by political pressure. The CEO that doesn't like it may well find themselves in jail.

I would say all four of your "system effects" are already in play. I think it will be very intersting to see Chavez's proposal of a special price regime for poor countries that would become OPEC policy, as it will likely build on his already outstanding policy toward Carib and Central American nations, as well as his heating oil program for poor Imperial inner-cities.

For those who understand what the "Open Door" trade policy of the US Empire has meant in practice for the last 110 years, contemplate the actions of said Empire as the Door is closed. One Imperial faction responded with outright invasion and now an attempt at clasical colonialism along with attempts at regime change, some of which were successful. This faction has enjoyed almost lock-step support from the other faction. I wonder if we'll see a repeat of the rhetoric that was used to Open the Door. In this respect, I thought it interesting that China and India were absolved of any blame for the rise in oil price by saying they were "just" trying to satisfy their demand like any other country.

As the Door gets closed, we've seen a particular narrative pushed and "broadcast" instead of an alternative that would better deal with reality. This includes but goes beyond the framing of issues and is something needing thought when trying to deliver the Peak Oil "message," http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/11/14/5231/

Thanks for the comments. I'm not sure that I'm with you, though, when I consider that those CEOs are part of the government. What I'm really questioning here is how much the ruling elite in these countries identifies with their population.

A few models seem obvious;

Populist - Chavez has thrown in his lot with the poor of his country. Subsidies should continue until either the capitalists overthrow him or until the economy collapses from the mounting losses engendered by the subsidies. I could see this approach working as a transition strategy, but Chavez seems to think it can go on for the foreseeable future.

Nationalist - Probably the best example would be Iran (although the national sentiment is not like that of western nations). Subsidies are used to aid the poorer members of society AND to encourage assist domestic economic growth. Oil above subsidized demand enters the international market, but this will be sacrificed as domestic demand increases. Longer term this strategy can really only work where the nation is not fully integrated into the global economy. One would expect stilted growth, at best.

Globalist - A path probably best described by Dubai or the UAE. As full members of the global economy, corporate and government leaders try to balance the demands of domestic consumption and the balance of payments boon created by higher market prices. One would expect that subsidies and set asides will slowly be removed, perhaps not completely, but "domestic" prices will approach global market prices. This can be maintained as long as the domestic population feels they are benefiting along with their corporations.

Security States - a path I expect to be taken by KSA and Occupied Iraq. Ruling elites decide that their own interests diverge from their local populations and institute repressive measures combined with security measures to isolate/protect themselves. Essentially, they are throwing in their lot with the global elite.

I'm not saying the CEOs are part of government, I'm saying they will do what the government says or find themselves in jail (cf Russia and Yukos). They haven't been used to that, certainly in the west, but they will learn quickly that globalisation lasts as long as it takes to sign a piece of paper.

As for models of government, at heart there is only one model. Those in power consider the country to be a playset for their personal ambitions and ideals. They exercise power both to further those thoughts, and majorly, to maintain that power. The name of the game is control.

Everything else is a means to an end, nothing more.

They will carry out those actions that maintain their playset as a fun toy, and maintain their position in charge of it. That includes subsidies to keep the populous quiet, and exports to keep the playset theirs. It just depends which playset they have and what the best way to play with it is.

PS the thing I think you've missed. As time moves on the global economy disintegrates. Local takes over. The game changes.

Regarding the ELM, I called it a model because it was a simple mathematical model that showed the effect on net exports of a country that showed a production decline of -5%/year, with a +2.5%/year rate of increase in consumption, with consumption equal to 50% of production at peak production. The result was that net exports went to zero in 9 years, with only about 10% of post-peak production being exported.

I have have described two net export case histories, with radically different demographics and consumption/energy tax characteristics: the UK and Indonesia. However, like the ELM, consumption at their final production peaks was relatively high, in the 50% to 60% range. The UK went to zero net exports in 7 years, Indonesia in 8 years.

I would think that virtually any exporting country would fall somewhere in the UK to Indonesia continuum in terms of per capita income, energy taxes/subsidies, and rate of change in consumption, etc. As noted above, it didn't seem to make much of a difference.

Also, I think that it will be very difficult for exporting countries to reduce domestic consumption when the cash flow from export sales is increasing, even as export volumes fall, because of higher oil prices. However, when cash flows from export sales decline, because higher oil prices can't offset the decline in export volumes, I would expect to see some more aggressive efforts to curtail domestic consumption.

The following article has the ELM and a comparison of the post-peak year over year changes in net exports for the ELM, the UK and Indonesia:



Thanks for the comments on the history of the use of the model terminology. My take was that the basic logic was so unassailable that your statistical explorations were simply examples. That's why I used the term "theory" instead. Stronger in my mind.

In their own ways both UK and Indonesia may not test the "limitation" I was talking about. The UK because it is a western democracy with a long history of national identity on the part of it's elite. Indonesia because they peaked prior to the general recognition that global peak was near.

The places where I see the potential for this limitation to come into play are those places where there is no strong national identity or where there is a history of disconnects between the ruling elite and the local population. This would translate into the middle east, africa, central asia.

Would like to here your thoughts.

As noted above, I think that it will be very difficult for exporting countries to curtail domestic consumption, and especially domestic subsidies, if the cash flows from export sales are increasing.

Regarding the effect from Peak Oil, I suspect that the net overall effect may be to cause an acceleration in the rate of decline in net exports, for two reasons: (1) There is no readily available liquid transportation fuel that can pick up the slack, so a reduction in export volumes should cause an increase in prices and (2) Once it becomes clear that world net exports are in long term decline, exporting countries may decide that they need to ration their oil production in order to use it to build their own bridge to a less oil dependent future, and in order to save some oil for future generations.

Door #2 would lead to efforts to curtail domestic consumption in exporting countries, but I think that saving oil for future generations would go over better than asking their citizens to curtail their consumption so that Americans can continue to drive their SUV's a little longer.

Okay, I seem to be falling short here. Let me put it a little more bluntly. Once it becomes clear to the royal family/tin pot dictator that soon they will not have any oil to export and all that nice cold cash won't be coming in. It is very possible that they will say "screw the people" and force cuts on domestic consumption to allow continued exports. Because after all, the royal family/tin pot dictator and friends are more important that "the people." So they spend some of that oil money on repression of the people and security for themselves. They still have more left over to assure their continued membership in the global elite.

Funny how the "royal familiy/tin pot dictator" are always aligned with the US/West and that nationalist democracies are painted as allied with the Commies/East in a remarkebly consistent manner for 100+ years; yet, we--the US/West--are constantly painted as promoters of democracy, human rights, popular sovereignty, national determination, etc., when actively working to prevent such happenings.

I think WT's Iron Triangle has existed for almost as long, although its members may have changed over time. The smart route would be to rollback subsides as personal income grows. "Screwing the people" would be a very poor political choice.

So, you're suggesting that the elites are smart people who make good political choices? I suppose the building of an economy predicated on endless growth was one of those good political choices?

To this point in time, the words you're putting in my mouth would appear correct: elites DO appear to have made "good political choices." Economy building is based on politics and on the dominant Mythos--for the US/West, the Judeo-Christian Mythos, which implied the diety would provide no matter the size of appetite, for which the Marxist states replaced diety with State. It seems very clear that the current paradigm will be used until it dies. Some of us are smart enough to see that BAU is untenable, and can thus belittle "Growth Mantra." But how long did it take for us to convert, to see that endless growth on a finite planet is bad politics? Roughly, the first half of my life was spent indulging in the benefits of endless growth, while I spent the second half learning about what was causing the end of the "Age of Exuberence," how to get others to see the light, and how to organize and participate in a new paradigm--Thirty years for the former, and twent-two years for the latter.

As things currently stand, it does appear the elites did make good choices--who has global power and exercises it? Do they fret about the sustainability of their choices? Clearly, some do, and have taken steps to mitigate their impact, while most likely think they have enough power to withstand/overcome whatever happens in the longer term. Only time will tell if the latter assumption proves sustainable.

Roughly, the first half of my life was spent indulging in the benefits of endless growth, while I spent the second half learning about what was causing the end of the "Age of Exuberence," how to get others to see the light, and how to organize and participate in a new paradigm--Thirty years for the former, and twent-two years for the latter.

Definitely the quote of the day.


And there's also the problem, not in the near term but further down the road, that some of the major exporters, like Saudi Arabia, don't have much else but oil and oil products to export. They import their food and a lot of manufactured goods from Europe and elsewhere--where are they going to get this stuff if they get to zero exports?

For exporters with a lot of other goods to export, I agree that exports could well get to zero.

Of course, the world industrial economy will be in deep trouble long before Saudi Arabia hits zero net exports, but as noted above, they may decide that it is in their best interest to use a large portion of their remaining oil reserves to build their own bridge to a less oil dependent future. How about the world's largest PV/solar array? If they have energy, they can obtain fresh water and I would think that they can grow a lot of what they need, if they have to.

I would think that they can grow a lot of what they need, if they have to.

The 'cheaper crude or no more food' song that was popular shows why they might want food security.


Good question. I think it depends on the nation. As an example, in Venezuela the folks believe they have a god given right to cheap oil, especially since it is theirs. If the gov't were to reduce the subsidy and raise the price to the locals, that may result in increased dissatisfaction of the govt which could threaten the govt security. Nationalize the oil and guarantee cheap happy motoring is a great way to buy votes and keep in power, if you happen to be a producer. the trade off is the need to keep the people happy with cheap gas vs the need to get external income to by other things to keep the people happy. In Saudi and other places their balance is again between the needs to keep the local folks under control vs keeping enough income to pay for several thousand royal princes.


Specifically, it assumes that identification with national interests on the part of those that control oil resources will continue to hold sway over identification with corporate/economic interests.

For starters, a national oil company hardly qualifies as corporations. They have no stockholders to answer to. They only need enough capital to keep the oil flowing. There is no danger of ARAMCO running out of money to pay expenses. But PEMEX is a far better example here. At PEMEX the welfare of the Mexican people seem to far outweigh any PEMEX corporate interest. The company is going broke while the government takes all profits to keep the people happy and keep themselves in power. And they will for damn sure keep the people in gasoline and other fuel even if exports must go to zero.

And of course all this bleeds over into the "economic" interest. Whose economy are you talking about? The treasury of the nation or the economic well being of the people in that nation? If it is the latter then the interest of the people will dictate that more and more oil is diverted from export to domestic use.

But the best argument for the Export Land Model is in the actual data. Remember, as Matt Simmons is fond of saying, the data trumps all theories. Exports in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and virtually all exporting nations are dropping faster than production. That proves it! The data is all you need to settle the argument once and for all.

Ron Patterson

Thanks for your comments Ron. I think we are probably at odds over the motivations of people who run some of these state run companies. And I must confess that I think using stockholders as the measure of what is or isn't a corporation kind of misses the point.

On PEMEX I think you are probably spot on. The Mexican governing elite certainly see PEMEX as primarily a means of maintaining control of the state apparatus. In other places (I would consider ARAMCO one of them) the company is seen as a source of income and power on a much larger scale. The Saudi royal family doesn't need to provide cheap oil to maintain control of the state apparatus. (That's not to say they don't have to be concerned with being overthrown, but that's a different issue).

The heart of the question is how the oil is used - see my response to GaryP above.

As for proving the model (or theory as I prefer), that wasn't ever in question. However, the data does not tell us what happens when the ruling elite of a country decides that it's interests are not the same as those of the people they rule. This is the potential limitation - meaning that export levels may not drop as quickly if nationalism is not as strong as we assume.

I think this is something we need to consider. We can not expect that post peak people will continue to think the same as they have in the past. Even now it is hard to say that the global economic elite have any national sentiment except for when its useful to them.

There's two issues here. One is fuel subsidies in oil-producing nations. These distort the market, causing Venezuelans to buy and burn more gas than they would if they had to bid on the international market, in turn driving up prices for the remaining oil that does get to market. Some producers subsidize, some don't, and some might change policies in the future. The point of subsidies is to keep the populace happy, but it's not the only way. Democracies like Canada or Norway might believe that they're best served by selling oil at the market price and using the revenue to support government services or reduce taxes. Dictatorships might decide that it's easier to suppress their people with the threat of force, and sell oil into the world market for their own enrichment. I think this is the heart of what shaman is talking about. (Also note that at least one importing country, China, subsidizes consumption).

The other issue is trade balance. An importer must have something to sell in return (food, labor, raw materials, manufactured goods), or they won't be able to afford the rising price in the international market. The main reason the USD is taking a pounding is our ongoing trade deficit. We still produce enough food/labor/raw materials/manufactured goods that we'll still be able to bid for oil, but we're going to have to make do with fewer imported toys to get there.

So the subsidy effect reduces the amount of oil reaching the world market, and the trade balance effect means that only countries with worthwhile exports will be able to effectively bid for the oil that does reach the market.


The point of subsidies isn't just to keep the people happy. Subsidies can be an important part of am economic development program. Venezuela has been dependent on imports for much of its food, so Chavez has instituted a big program of developing more farm land to make the country self-sufficient in food. This requires a network of roads, and the vehicles to transport the food will use a lot of fuel. and the price of food must be low enough that people can afford it; it can't just be set by some international market price. Self-sufficiency in food production is an important matter of national security.

The results will vary based on the culture and politics of any particular producer. In KSA, they need to maintain income but they need to keep a restless population happy too. Those competing political needs will dictate the economic response in nations where finances are not always the first thing on the minds of those in power. Imagine a KSA with 4mbpd internal consumption and 6.5 mbpd production. What would happen if they tried to cut internal consumption back so as to have more to sell? Much would, of course, depend on how they cut back but certain modes of cutting back could be catastrophic for the ruling clan there. This is why I believe that the Iranians really do have peaceful uses planned for nuclear power - it will let them sell more oil. That doesn't mean that they only have peaceful uses planned but that peaceful uses are quite plausible for Iran. Of course, military uses are quite plausible for that regime as well.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

There is a 100% probability that with the group that gets paid by the government, there are people who would want and try to work for fission/fusion weapons and systems to deliver them. Thus - do these people who have a desire to act in a matter contrary to the treaties, laws, and official statements actually represent the will of the governed/government or are they "rogue"?

But like in the US of A - when one finds a corrupt government employee does that mean that the whole shebang is corrupt?

At what point does Iran say 'Hey, ya know what - we need the oil for energy cuz we can't have fission power plants.'

I recently discovered that the Iranians have the most aggressive hydroelectric development program in the world. Almost 100 dams from giants to quite small ones.



I'm not sure if the 100 dam count is accurate - I stirred up a dataset of name, latitude, and longitude, then made a KML of them. There are cases where half a dozen names all refer to the same coordinate set ...


"Almost 100 was from poor memory"

Here is a 2003 article where Iran is evaluating 243 new hydroelectric dams with 79 under construction.


The link below contains this quote “effort by Iran to increase hydroelectric power generation capacity by 3 300 MW by the end of its five-year development plan in 2010″

This is a greater effort, at this time, than either Brazil or China are doing (although China has a 10+ GW dam under construction).

Given the limited natural hydrological resources of Iran, I see this as "build any damn dam that they can".

Best Hopes for non-GHG electricity in Iran,


In simple terms what is money that be can created at the click of a mouse compared with one of the most valuable energy resources known.

The question is - valuable for what?

I guess the answer is It Depends

On when the Shieks want to be pulled from their limos by an angry mob.

well, if you believe bush (scoff,scoff) "the iraqi oil belongs to the iraqi people" (and we are only there to insure freedom and democracy) and that little lie about wmd's, well that was only to sell the idea to the 'mercun people, the 'mercun people are not smart enough to figure this all out by thumselvs

Their production exactly matches their quotas, which were set ahead of the time, BTW. And much of their new oil production was redirected towards their own recently built refineries. Finished product exports declined no where near what you are stating.

Hell, not even WT has suggested that their internal consumption increased by 800,000 bpd in the last year.

I am aware of a report that predicts that Saudi liquids consumption will increase by 500,000 bpd in 2007 and 2008, because of a shortfall in natural gas production.

My September, 2007 prediction for Saudi Arabia (I assumed a fourth quarter C+C production rate of 9.0 mbpd):


The 2005 to 2006 numbers for Saudi Arabia are as follows (exponential increase/decrease per year, EIA, Total Liquids):

Production: -3.7%/year
Consumption: +5.7%/year
Net Exports: -5.5%/year

Extrapolating from year to date numbers, my estimates for 2006 to 2007 Saudi numbers are as follows (I am adding in some increased liquids consumption, because of their ongoing natural gas shortfall):

Production: -5.6%/year
Consumption: +10%/year
Net Exports: -9.5%/year

what the hell are you talking about "their production exactly matches their quotas" ? over what time period ? for a single instant on 11-13-07 ?

I thought this hit the point well.

From the comments on same site:

We are really in trouble when all the naysayers have is that there was no decline. Not a rise, not growth, just flat production. And that is in the age of Peak oil GOOD news.

Thank god you are here, JD! Finally a voice of reason at TOD that aside from a few select posters 'Robert', has been lacking since they banned Hothgor.

lol, you truly are comic relief!

By comic relief, I am sure you were reffering to the fact that TOD has been running a one sided debate with itself, ever since Leanan went on her ninja post deletion spree, stomping out all who question the 'status quo'.

I thought JD had moved on from debunking peak oil?

lol, no that's not what I meant

Gui de Partay';
Wait a minute. So YOU'RE the rebel, and TOD is the Status Quo? Now I'm confused..

PG, I thought you were Hothgar. Or maybe you just channel him.


Last April, during the hard freeze, my wife rescued a blue skink, which my young son named Hothgar. We let him go when the weather warmed up, and haven't seen him since. Coincidence?

Lies. All of it! :P

Thoughts on Saudi Oil Production

Saudi oil production peaked two years ago at 9.6 million barrels per day, then dropped rather sharply to 8.5 million barrels per day early this year. It leveled off at that point and now may be rising slightly.

There are two main schools of thought on this: one - that the Saudis are caught in the grip of an intractable decline, and two - that the Saudi decline was voluntary and managed in keeping with OPEC decisions. I'd like to suggest that it is possible that both may be true.

Let's try a thought experiment. You are the guy who calls the shots on Saudi production - whoever that may be. After reaching a peak of 9.6 mbpd, you find that your production has begun to fall; this is unplanned, unexpected, and despite a significant increase in drilling you are unable to do anything to arrest the decline.

You face a real dilemma: it would be greatly injurious to your country, not to mention fatal to your personal position, to endure the grinding ordeal of a month after month drop in production. Before too long, the entire world would know that Saudi Arabia has peaked. The kingdom's stature as producer of last resort, leader of the cartel, linchpin of U.S. middle eastern policy, etc. would all collapse. You have to find another alternative.

This is what you do. You arrange to make an announced, planned cut that is much larger than necessary. The cut will be to a lower level (8.5 mbpd) that you know you can hold for quite a while. In the meantime, new projects are underway, and you figure they may be able to get you out of the hole in a year or two. Even if they don't, you have bought yourself time.

Now I realize this is entirely speculative, and I can't claim to be able to read the mind of a Saudi prince or fully understand all his motives. But as best I understand the situation, this is what I would have have done in that situation. There is no way I would have allowed a month by month decline that every blogger in the world could put on a smooth curved graph.

If my analysis is correct, the Saudis may be able to add some production capability from where they are now, but it is unlikely they will hit 9.6 mbpd again. Over the long term, they will still be caught up in a powerful decline, but they will be able to hide that fact for a while longer.

I think it's possible that Saudi is past peak, without "faking" cuts in production. New production may have been brought online...without being enough to surpass their previous peak.

Something similar happened with US. Prudhoe came online, and increased production...but not enough to create a new peak.

NasaGuy, it is very important to remember that OPEC met in September of 2006 to call for cuts to be effective in November of 2006. At that point Saudi production had already falling by 600,000 bp/d, from 9.6 mb/d to 9.0 mb/d. Do you not remember the famous debate with Robert Raiper about Saudi cutting production because they could not find buyers for their oil?

Then it was decided that OPEC needed to cut production but those cuts were instituted from a much lower level of production.

Wonder why?

Ron Patterson

I remember that debate. I suspect their initial decline may have been involuntary, while their subsequent cut was intentional. I suppose time will tell.

By the way, in engineering projects I've seen something very similar happen with regard to a project schedule. A Project Manager gets behind on his schedule. He can't bear to slip the schedule a bit more each month - that would ruin his credibility bit by bit, so he announces one large slip to a much later date he knows he can meet. That way, he takes heat for it one time only. I'm thinking the Saudis may have done with oil production what the Project Managers do with their schedule.

FWIW, my thinking is the same as yours, for about the same reasons.

Also, their big announcement yesterday that there are enough reserves to keep things going for 100 years--that just seemed so bullish to me, that I almost wondered if they've convinced themselves of it. It seemed like after a scary decline they got some extra production from extra drilling and some extra tech, and now they feel invulnerable.

It reminded me of statements out of Mexico about a year before Cantarell's decline seriously steepened.

Let's try a thought experiment.

I hadn't intended to post today, because I have a lot of work (work-work and TOD-work) this evening. But I couldn't resist commenting on your thought experiment. I am working on 2 posts right now: TWIP for tomorrow, and a thought experiment in which I (or you) call the shots on Saudi oil production. You have to ask yourself what you would do 1). If you actually do have a couple of million spare barrels of production; or 2). You do not, and you wish to hide this fact as long as possible. I go through my thinking on the situation, and why I think things are still murky.

I had added the thought experiment as a section on the TWIP, but it grew large enough that I decided to make it a stand alone post.

OK, no more posts from me until tomorrow's TWIP.

The best in Game Theory, no?-)

Yesterday we demonstrated that of the IEA's September total for world oil production, 400 thousand bpd were phantom barrels of their own invention, contradicting the figures of Russia and China, the only two I have checked. The much hailed October total of the IEA apparently includes further "increases" from those two countries.
Within a couple of days Russia and China will release their own October figures. I fully expect them to reveal further fraud on the IEA's part.

And a lot of the actual increase is probably from NGL's. Matt Simmons has suggested that we are probably getting a temporary boost in NGL production because a number of large oil fields are in terminal decline, with their gas caps being blown down--temporarily boosting natural gas and NGL production.

It will be interesting to see what the EIA shows for actual crude + condensate production for all of 2007.

One of the other scenarios to consider is that the Saudis had completed 23 out of 85 projects a few years back. I can't remember whether that was in Matt Simmon's book or some other place but those two numbers stuck in my mind. It was also at a time when the number of oil rigs was rapidly increasing in the Kingdom. It could be that some of the increases could be coming from completion of the additional projects in an effort to offset the declines in the big fields.

Isn't the IEA the outfit that overreported production in the late 90's by a million barrels per day, causing everyone to search for months for the missing barrels? OPEC had adjusted official quotas to fit their actual production, and the IEA mistakenly reported the quota adjustment as a production increase.

Your comment re prior IEA production figures reminds me of a question I've long had but for which I can't seem to get a straight answer. And that is: How accurate and reliable are these reported production figures in the first place?

When I see production figures reported to four significant figures, I begin to wonder about how real the last one or two digits really are. For example, if say oil production for country XYZ is reported as 3,516,000 bpd in May and 3,556,000 in June, is the difference just noise or a real measurable increase?

Can someone out there tell me whether these production figures are the result of unaudited self-reporting or whether their is some sort of routine checking on their accuracy and/or honesty?

I couldn't agree more. There is no independent verification of these production figures. When Conoco left Dubai we all suddenly found out that the country had been overstating its production by something like 200%. Independent analysts have been estimating that Venezuela has been overstating its production by something like 50% (OPEC recently adjusted quotas to fit these production realities, then Venezuela got the group to take the figures down from the OPEC web site.)

So people turn for data to outfits supposedly tracking oil shipments, but this data is a joke too: http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=884

The only really hard data we have is the OECD inventory numbers, which have been steadily falling.

The other hard data we have is the price, which has been steadily in an uptrend.

Inventories rise and fall at varying points throughout the year. I made the contention for 5 months that OECD stocks were in fact at their highest levels ever durring the first part of the year, but my data was ignored repeatedly by WT and company and dismissed as not accurately reflecting world oil supplies.

Today, these same oil stocks, which are now falling are widely touted as proof that we are in a global decline, among other things.

Ironic, wouldn't you say?

Party Guy, I have often heard that the proof of the pudding was in the eating. Well the proof of OECD oil supplies is in the consumption. OECD oil consumption has been falling since the peak in 2005. Demand has been falling because supplies have been falling. Lower supplies have driven prices so high that it is killing some demand. In other words, the price has driven down demand until it equals supply.

OECD Demand..(consumption)

2005 49,554,000 bp/d
2006 49,245,000 bp/d
2007 48,779,000 bp/d average for the first seven months of 2007.


Ron Patterson

Yet by sheer volume of stocks, OECD oil stocks were at their highest level ever as recently as early this year. Thats enough proof in the pudding, as far as I am concerned.

Actually, no, that's not proof. Although OECD inventory data is hard data, it's not sufficient by itself to make broad generalizations about production.

Stocks can go up because the market is paying to store supplies in anticipation of future decreases in production, or they can hit a certain level and stop falling even though production is falling. You need to look at other data as well to figure out what's what. Westexas has done a good job of explaining that.

I suggest you search some of my posts. One in particular shows a map of all OECD countries, etc. Essentially, OECD takes up roughly 60% of global demand, Asian Phoenix economies take up around 8%, China, Russia Brazil another 20ish, with the rest being consumed in OPEC or third world countries. I asked WT then why he felt we should discount a hard data set that represented 60% of the world, and reasonably realistic data for 80+% of the world. He had no answer, other than to start using my data in some of his future posts :P

This is not a personal attack on you, but on Peak-Now folks in general. If you guys believe that peak is now, have you moved to the most fuel efficient cars available (e.e. Honda Civic Hybrid, a small civic, Nissan, ....) ???

Large SUV and Truck sales are doing really well!

Large SUV and Truck sales are doing really well!

But so are small cars and Priuses. What we're getting is a split: those who can afford it are buying monster SUVS, trucks, and muscle cars. Those who can't, or who are concerned about the environment, are buying compact cars and hybrids. Small cars are doing better than they have in years, and Americans are actually clamoring for the SmartCar.

FWIW, I drive a Corolla. Downsized from a Ford Taurus. I seriously considered going car-free, but decided it just wasn't safe in this area and this climate. I thought about buying a Prius, but decided it wasn't worth the extra bucks, since I drive less than 3,000 miles a year. (I live 2 miles from my workplace, and usually walk.)

Small car sales are probably doing better than they have in years but I bet they are still <20% of new car sales. I have seen a lot of new launches of crossovers, e.g. the Mazda CX9 (& its Ford rebrand), GMC Acadia, Nissan Murano, etc etc. These vehicles get 20-26 MPG and are very popular.

Even the new Honda Accord is no more fuel efficient than the old one, though the 6-cylinder version now comes with VCM (variable cylinder management) which switches off fuel to 3 cylinders when cruising. Likewise the Chevy Impala.

Maybe if gasoline is at $4/gallon next year, small cars will become truly popular.

FWIW - your Toyota Corolla is very fuel efficient and also has a fair amount of zip, so a nice PO-aware purchase ;-)

Small car sales are probably doing better than they have in years but I bet they are still <20% of new car sales.

Compact Car Sales Reach 21% in May

Also, I suspect a lot of families have both: a small car and a big one. My parents have a Ford Explorer and a little Subaru, so if push came to shove, they could drive the Subaru more often, cutting back on gas use without having to buy a new vehicle.

FWIW - your Toyota Corolla is very fuel efficient and also has a fair amount of zip, so a nice PO-aware purchase ;-)

I very much bought it with peak oil in mind. One, it's reliable. I wasn't sure a Prius would be. Not saying it isn't, just that it's too new to know for sure. I plan to drive this car for 20 years or more, and wanted something with a history of reliability and plentiful spare parts.

And it's cheap. If the gas stations go dry next month, I won't be too upset at spending big bucks for an oversized paperweight. ;-)

OTOH, if I end up having to live in my car, I might wish I'd gotten an SUV instead. Or at least a Honda Element. But hey, there's always a tradeoff.

What can I say, your rapid recall of data trumps all :-)

<..and a little Subaru, so if push came to shove, they could drive the Subaru more often,..>

That will help mitigate the economic and social effects of any steepening of decline in gasoline availability. I do remember noticing that immediately post-Katrina there were a large # of subcompacts on the road. That subsided with the decline of retail gasoline to $2/gallon in H2-2006.

I am considering a Prius, Civic-Hybrid, or equivalent for the same purpose. In fact I am not too sure if the real life mpg difference in between the Prius and the Corolla is >4-5 mpg.

The MPG difference between the Prius and the Matrix is not large enough to justify the Prius unless you put in a LOT of miles.

'way back in 03 I had a Saturn Ion, nice cheap easy on gas little car. I had a bunch of friends who all raved about the Saturn Vue, so I ended up getting one. Hated it. Not even easy to carry stuff in. Yuck. I took a soaking to get rid of it, and was car-free for a number of month. Then I got a Prius. Really decent, can carry a ton for its size (we're talking rollaway toolboxes and lab tables and stuff) and a very good car, I think they'll turn out to have very long service lifetimes. Well, shortly after buying it, business turned around and after several years of it getting better, it started getting worse. In early 07 it started getting a LOT worse. Hence, the Prius got reposessed (voluntarily) and I've mainly not driven, and got an old mountain bike for cheap, althought it has a few problems I'll have to fix with parts off of a dumpster special I just got.

I just got a small motorcycle, a Honda Rebel 250, 60-70 MPG by all reports, $120 a year to insure, and a great errend/commuting/scout vehicle. For instance, I spotted the free bike while on the Rebel, went home and got the Dodge and went and picked it up. I buzzed into town and back today, used about 1 gallon of gas I think, maybe less. It's at least 3 gallons in the Dodge and if I'm using it it can't be used for hauling. I'll like as not take the Rebel over to the post office tomorrow, and to the laundromat. Yes I plan to take a load of clothes over there in a banana box LOL.

This is what people will do. They'll get a scooter or an old Datsun B210, and they'll not drive when they can avoid it, and they'll um, wear clothes until they're really in need of a wash so they only need to do laundry about once a month, etc. And since our economy is based on people spending like it's going out of style, what helps the people will hurt the economy.

It's not really affordability. Lots of people are hanging themselves out of sheer greed and ignorance. Any of the domestic PU's and large SUV's can be purchased with huge discounts, up to 30% off list. No one is discounting small Honda or Toyota cars.

Most people buy these vehicles with loans, they don't realize that even with the discount they are upside down, and if they mail the keys in their credit is history. They are stuck with the vehicle for the life of the loan even if they have to park it when gas is 5$

Remember universal default, they let one thing go and everything goes way up. They think they are gaming the system, but the system is gaming them.

The thinking is that $5000+ can buy a lot of gas.
I wonder why everyone thinks TOYota or Honduh make more fuel saving vehicles?
According to the story up thread, GM makes 23 of 'em.

Look for the vehicles the US makers *have* to make to meet the CAFE standards. My Saturn Ion is a good example.

And, Toyota etc are offering deals even on their cars, not just the trucks.

One thing to consider is, Who makes what, where. If I had to pick one brand of motorcycle for life I'd pick Harley because all of the stuff is made here. And amazingly, they can get really good gas mileage.

Wrong. On my 1968 just about everything is US made. On the 02 the list of foreign parts is longer then most people would believe. I get about 55 mpg with the 68 and 45 with the 02.

The 68 actually is brand new


I don't need a hybrid.
I have an '85 Honda Civic CRX I bought for $350 that gets 50+ MPG, depending on how I drive it.
Before I aquired that, back in 2000 I purchased a new Civic HX that is rated at 43 MPG HWY, but I've achieved 50mpg with it (combined city/hwy) with very careful driving. I average 44 mpg city/hwy with that vehicle, assuming it's not summer. (A/C and worse gasoline.)
I have a Subaru Legacy that serves on purpose.. camping. I take it instead of a truck, and the only time I drive it is when I go camping. 28mpg, which is worlds better than my brother's Suburban which gets 13-15 mpg.

Not only do I drive fuel-efficicent vehicles, they're all paid off. :) I also have another CRX that I'm converting to an electric car. (Once I can scrounge up the $6k to convert it.)
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Can you provide any additional info on the CRX conversion? Resources?

Hi Durandal

Maybe you could add your EV to EV album. http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/
Mine is in there somewhere. It's a great site to compare approaches and get links from.

Carbon - Coventry UK

In the following 9/07 article, I argued that a focus on crude inventories is probably not giving us an accurate idea of what is going on. Yesterday, I noted the difference in terminology between how the IEA discussed inventories, versus a preliminary production report, but that was just a discussion of the terminology.


My contention is that instead of focusing on crude oil inventories, we need to focus on world net exports, crude oil prices, refinery utilization, product prices and product inventories.

I expect to see crude oil exports trending down, crude oil prices trending up, refinery utilization trending down, product prices trending up, and product inventories trending down.

Anybody think TOD could use a sitemap, organized by topic? Or if such exists, an easier way to find it...the search engine here really drives me nuts, it would be great to have all the stories arranged on a page by topic for easy perusal.

That's what the tags are for. Doesn't work for DrumBeats, though, because they're just too diverse.

Agree that the search engine leaves a lot to be desired. To be honest, I use the news article search at PeakOil.com most of the time.

I'll say :)
This what I got when I searched for the dark muse.

Here is what I was expecting:

Klinure, the muse of dream, whom some call the dark muse. Carved from onyx, black as the starless night of sleep, the night she dwells within, the night from which she calls. She lives in the shadow of unfinished dreams--the dreams from which we awaken and never return to. Their ghosts wait forever in limbo, incomplete visions that man will never realize.
Join in her embrace and instead of the wonders she seems to promise, the dark muse may draw you into some fathomless vortex of black horror. For the dark muse cares not whether her dreams portray ethereal beauty or mindless terror.

The Dark Muse- Karl Edward Wagner

From memory.
I'm not sure how close I am to the exact prose, but some things tend to stick with you.

I love Karl Edward Wagner (may he rest in peace).

Nothing stopping you from using your profile as a link resource. (that is what I did with mine)

I find the site Google works reasonably well. I put in whatever relevant words I can think of, then sort through the results. This works best for something like "Russia" and "oil."

If you are looking for something like graphs of oil production, there is too much on the site to find much using Google. In this case, I find it is best to look at the stories by a particular contributor (click on the contributors name in the list on the right, then stories by that person), and then look for stories that are likely to be on the issue I am searching for.

Gave the local Google a try, searching for "Greenland" (no quotes natch). Got a whole page of The Oil Drum | Greenland , or why you might care about ice physics. And I've printed that one out already! Usually I do a standard Google search for keyword plus "Oil Drum," in this case I did get that article but a lot more variety as well.

Opening a tag in a new tab gives you basically the front page with the latest handful of stories with that tag, nothing comprehensive really. Very slow to load too, as the site generally is. I'm thinking my sitemap idea would be a boon for dial up users - I hated to come here in the bad old dial up days. I don't think it would be that hard to do, if someone's up to the job.

Haven't used the PO.com news section much in a while, Leanan. Mostly I read what's here and the latest posts over there. That fills my belly.

For all the 'back to the stone age' doomers (and a way for geologists to make a buck finding the flint) I present:

'Collecting Indian Knives', by Lor Hothem, is a good introduction to the many types of knives and tools that were made of various materials by Native Americans and covers objects from prehistory to current 'fake' artifacts. However, this book does not contain directions for knapping, since it discourages 'faking' of artifacts. There are over 500 photos of artifacts, 16 pages of color photos, and several photos of Native Americans using the knives and tools.

One photo that I found especially intriguing is of 'a Sioux couple using small knives to strip the outer bark from red willow saplings. The inner bark is mixed with tobacco to form a smoking mixture.' I intended to try this mixture but, unfortunately, there are no red willow saplings in my vacinity.

Perhaps when the 'new stone age' arrives we will relearn some interesting, entertaining, and mentally expanding, recreational pleasures from the past?

Native Americans called that KinniKinnick (Algonquin word), among other things. A friend sent me some but I haven't worked up the nerve to try it yet.

Smokers in Europe used to stretch out their supply of tobacco with, among other things, seaweed.

Hmmm, I thought that Kinnikinnik was bearberry (arctostapholus uva-ursi).

According to this - http://www.enature.com/flashcard/show_flash_card.asp?recordNumber=TS0527
we're both sort of right. Kinnikinnik usually refers to Bearberry, but can be used in reference to any number of tobacco substitues.


Something to think about if you do ever try this or if someone else does. Tobacco is sacred to the Native American culture. I suspect without seeing the photo that it is not recent and is from a time before the automobile. If this is so, then the addition of the bark would have been most likely for religious/tribal ceremony, "taste" most likely would not be a factor at all. It would not have been "recreational" in my opinion.

comparing the way Europeans used tobacco and Native American use of tobacco, it is apples and oranges. Of course tobacco use of native Americans has gone up, but in the past and for tribal elders especially, it is of large significance to their religious beliefs. Which few white men/women take the time to know and understand imo.

Of course, that would mean that sooner or later we would see Peak Flint

Naw, the flint knappers can use glass or old toilets.

Loo based pointy sticks for everyone!


Willow bark contains, at least, salicylic acid, a close relative of aspirin.

It is/was sacred, and is/was chewed, eaten, poulticed, steam bathed, smoked and just about everything else.

Just found out this was in use by Socrates, at least the white willow leaves, and that he gets credit for things like that which were in widespread use before his time.

I didn't know Socrates visited North America :-)

The Western Hemisphere is a land of natural plant wonders, most of them various sorts of weeds which we've just made stronger by killing off the weak ones. The last 30 years has seen a greatly increased understanding of the ingenuity of the first people, via ethnobotany.

Best hopes for the continued renaissance,

Proof that dead dinosaurs did not turn to oil-- from your article above on the deep offshore Brazil oil:

WND previously reported the geological description of the Campos Basin suggests that the rock formations in which the oil is being found are in Upper Oligocene to Lower Miocene deposits; in other words, deposits from the Cenozoic Era dating back only some 24,000 years.

This discovery challenges the notion of "peak oil theorists" that the oil is running out, as they put it.

Aside from technical problems in producing the oil, and some question of how much there is out there, the World Net Daily is off by a factor of a thousand or so -- the Oligocene was around 33 Million years ago, not 24,000 years ago.

But even if oil was made in 24,000 years, it wouldn't help us much -- we who only live 70 years, but can use up the production of hundreds of millions of years (or tens of thousands, if you prefer!) in 100 years.

I think he meant 24,000,000 years, but in Corsi's world you can't be sure.

Yeah, right. I would have expected him to contend that the earth was perfectly formed in all of its flatness at 2:00 PM on Monday, Jan. 1, 4004 B.C. I guess I need to give him more credit.

I would have expected him to contend that the earth was perfectly formed in all of its flatness at 2:00 PM on Monday, Jan. 1, 4004 B.C.

Actually, according to Jewish tradition, the earth was seen as coming into existence in relationship with the observance of Rosh Hoshana, which occurs in the fall (around October). The significance of the year 4004 B.C. is based on the backtracking of the chronology of Biblical events beginning with the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586/7 B.C. As far as the date and time, there is no evidence on which to base that. Even the notion of the earth being flat can not be Biblically substanciated.

On another note, telling people that all theories that suggest infinite oil supply are nothing more than calling God a liar really has a way of turning heads and closing mouths.

wasn't that Oct. 22, 4004BC calculated by Bishop Usher?

And how about let's agree that oil is 99% infinite:-)

Cheers, Dom


And no, I can not agree that oil is 99% percent infinite because, as I said, that would be calling God a liar. The supply in the earth is 100% finite.

"Wing Nut Daily"...

Corsi is a well practiced liar. He knows that current theory is that oil comes from marine organisms, yet he repeats the lie about dead dinosaurs. He then provides evidence that is exactly compatible with current theory, but instead he lies again and says this supports abiotic oil theory.

Corsi is a Harvard Phd, so I discount the idea he is simply mistaken. He knows exactly what he is doing, and he is lying through his teeth.

Who benefits from these lies?

Good point. Who pays him?

Maybe he writes for Letterman

"Wing Nut Daily" - LOL - PERFECT.

The National Enquirer of the internet. I guess it is good Leanan includes these types of articles so we can all be aware of the ignorant garbage being fed to the gullible masses.

Re Corsi:

1. He proves that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

2. He proves that a PhD from Harvard is about the best that money can buy.

I dont know why this inumerate bampot has chosen now to dredge his BS back up, but outer continental shelf fan turbidite sequences as are reasonably well understood and explained. As is the oil.

Regrettably, Corsi has little or no understanding of Plate Tectonics, Constructive margins and basic, sea floor spreading and the fact that South America and Africa were once in intimate proximity to each other (the 'spoon' position - for all you sports fans out there...) As they split, a classic rift valley system formed allowing plenty of opportunity for lacustrine and shallow sea algal blooms to be trapped in source rocks and later migrate to capped reservoir systems.

I suppose plate tectonics would not jive with his biblical leanings regarding the creation of the earth in October 4004 bc (= before cretins)

At least he consistently pollutes his own argument with the 'dead dinosaurs are not the source of oil'. (no shit , Sherlock...)

I look forward to reading his next paper at the AAPG, the SPE, The Geological Society, the PESGB, or any other establishment after peer review. I am sure his paper will be well worth the attendance of every oil and gas G & G professional. Since clearly, we have wasted 60 years looking in all the wrong places.


I Think you need to retake your geology and biology courses.
the majority of oil originates from the Carboniferous era plankton that died just off shore and was buried under new sediment.

I thought it was fish turds.

I thought it was fish turds.

I hope you were being sarcastic because that is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard of. Oil was created from plankton. Not dinosaurs, not plants, and not even zooplankton but phytoplankton, better known a algae, small microscopic plants!

How can people in this day and age be so ignorant as to the origin of oil?

I think Ken Deffeyes started this silly thing abouf fish turds being the origin of oil by people not really reading what he said. He told us that the world's largest oil reservoir, Ghawar, is made of fecal pellet limestone. But not the oil. The oil seeped up from below from the source rock buried much deeper.

Ron Patterson

Wal-Street Get Lift From Goldman, Wal-Mart

I guess those expecting a financial meltdown will have to wait.

If you read the details on Wal-Mart, you'll see that their numbers actually sucked, unfortunately. Third quarter sales at U.S. stores open at least a year, not counting fuel, were up only 1.5%, the same amount as last year (a number below the inflation rate).

So the happy figure for U.S. stores is essentially due to the price rise in fuel. As a reflection on the state of the economy, the number is bad.

The rest of the reported "improvement" comes from sales from their overseas operations, and those sales are skewed by the rise in other currencies relative to the dollar.

The Goldman Sachs figure shows that the Goldman crew are extremely slick traders, because they shorted mortgage products even while they were serving them up to others. Unfortunately, that has little to do with the rest of the economy, because all of the other banks and pension funds were suckers.

Gotta watch it about believing those headlines. If you're going to put your own money on the line, better read the details.

I don't know why its never occured to the Republicrats running corporate America that they have to pay people a decent sum and give them decent jobs for them to spend money and pay their bills.

Bob Ebersole

I think it HAS occurred to the people running corporate America that employees are also consumers and that if their employees don't have enough income they can't consume much. They appear to have considered this notion but rejected it on the basis that they believe they can be more profitable if there is increased concentration of wealth.

Take cars for example. It is far more profitable for General Motors to sell one maxed-out Cadillac Escalade for $60,000 than it is to sell four stripper Chevy Cobalts for $15,000 each. Ditto for high-end vs low-end appliances, electronic, and a whole variety of other consumer goods. Housing is another example: a builder can make more profit on a single $1million-dollar home than 10 minimalistic $100,000-dollar homes.

Of course there are things, mainly commodities such as food and energy, that don't benefit as much by a concentration of wealth (Bill Gates doesn't spend a million times more on food or gasoline as the average American).

It does not appear to me that corporate America is all that terribly concerned about improving the buying power of low-income Americans. If you recall the Mel Brookes movie, 'History of the World, Part II', there is a scene in the Roman senate, where one senator gets up and exhorts his fellow senators, "Are we going to continue to lavish more riches on the wealthy, or our we going to help the poor?" After a long pregnant pause, the rest of the senators stand up and cry out in unison, "F@#k the poor!"

I think they also think that they can replace American consumers with sufficient new Chinese consumers.

I think most of us are watching the meltdown from our moleholes. Doesn't much matter what the MSM says

More data on overall retail sales: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aiFbuqYXfut4&refer=home

The increase in sales [up 0.2% for October] was boosted by a 0.8 percent jump in purchases at service stations that probably reflected higher gasoline prices. Excluding gas, retail sales were up 0.1 percent, the smallest increase in four months.

More data on overall retail sales for October: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ae9wC4qYR1OU&refer=home

The [0.2%] increase in [October retail] sales was boosted by a 0.8 percent jump in purchases at service stations that probably reflected higher gasoline prices. Excluding gas, retail sales were up 0.1 percent, the smallest advance in four months.

You're right, anyone expecting to see a complete financial meltdown happen overnight is most likely going to be dissappointed. Most of the meltdown is going to be slow and very well disguised by all the people who have no vested interest in a meltdown. Let's face it, those who want to see a meltdown want to clear the decks and start things over so that either they can participate in the current model, or restart things in such a way that the economic model is totally different. Everybody else wants to keep things from collapsing.
A true meltdown requires conviction, and there's nowhere near enough of that yet. But governments will understandably and I think rightfully do whatever they can to avoid a meltdown. The US Fed still has 4% to go down on the Fed Funds rate.
Now, does what I've just said mean that I should go out and buy shares of Google? Hell no. I won't go near this stock market with a ten foot pole. Maybe I would try a few trades if I could do it full time, but as a long term investment, no way. I'm sure some professionals and people with iron stomachs for risk and not too much money at risk can find opportunities for making money, but I'm not one of those and I don't think most other people are either.
When I ask myself "What is the upside potential here?" and "What is the down side potential?" it's an ant hill on one side and a cliff on the other.
Just because the market doesn't crash doesn't mean we can't have a bear market and a recession/depression.


There's also two great examples of big economies with obedient populations going into slow decline instead of a bracing '29-style panic: Britain 1918-1960 and Japan 1991-last year. Two completely different situations. The British could not believe their system was failing, and the Japanese simply dug into the deepest pile of personal saving in history and refused to get very angry. Now which of these two more closely resembles the contemporary USA?

Mancur Olson, he of "Theory of Collective Action" fame, emerged into the spotlight again in the '90s with a book on the role of catastrophe in renewing societies. Specifically, that the losers of wars sometimes ended up better off than the winners. But I couldn't recall the title of the new book and I never tracked it down. I had done a paper in college arguing something similar; that Indonesia ended up better off than the Philippines (2nd highest GNP in SE Asia in 1963) because its violent war of independence cleansed it of retrograde elites, even though in the short run (the '60s) Indonesia was far worse off.

However, any argument that a fast crash would be better for America than a decades-long malaise would require the existence of vigorous radicals ready to step into the leadership breach and take big risks. Boy, we're a long way from that.

Well the Japs and Germans have certainly thrived.

The main reason the Fed, Goldman and a few of their people try to manage the crash is to save the bankers in their circle.

Anyone that thinks that they are going to make money in the stock market now is dreaming, because it is managed. The way they are working the scam is with short term market operations. One day out of nowhere they inject XXb into the system and another day they take it out. No new money in the system. BUT. The first guy in and the first guy out also obviously are the first guys knowing the timing. With this knowledge they can place their bets either way and make a huge profit for the banks. The small time guys on the market are taking a huge haircut.

When the pigs run the show the best thing bulls and bears can do is go on vacation and starve the pigs.

The reason it is worse the longer it goes on is that with every mini cycle they take money from Main St (as misguided as it may be) and put it into Wall St. It goes on long enough and then there is nothing to start over with.

Don't worry about me I can wait. :P

It bears noting again, the system will stay afloat for a long while yet, but my definition of long may differ than yours post-peak awareness.

And, Retail sales will likely stay bouyant until after xmas, when the REAL Hangover kicks in. I still expect the first quarter to be BOXING quarter and default notices to spike in Feb and March 2008.

Nothing left to do but wait and watch. I've got my popcorn.

Despite all our petty little bets, arguements, and egos being displayed her at TOD, oil and gasoline (in U$Ds) continues it's one step back and two steps forward march.

I don't give a flip about the exact date of PO and Peak Liquids. I DO give a flip that my U$D is tanking, my 401K is not keeping up with inflation, and it keeps costing more and more to do the things I used to do for much cheaper.

I DO give a flip that no one with any power in this country is doing a damn thing to rectify this situation.

So, continue to argue the details mates...the rest of the world will wrestle with reality.

The North Dakota spot shortage of off road deisel might be related to the very large harvest this year. North Dakota is considering building new refineries because they think they are sitting on about 30 billion barrels of recoverable oil. North Dakota currently has one refinery which can handle about half their current oil production.


The middle of the country has been suffering spot shortages since spring or so. They're at the end of the pipeline, and the refinery problems in that area have only made it worse.

They're also considering building a pipeline from Canada's tar sands.

I think they are feeling themselves to be at the beginning of the pipeline these days. They are beginning to expect to be awash in oil wealth. Montana as well.


Awash in oil? Your link says MT is producing an extra 6 million barrels per year (on top of ~20). North Dakota produced 110,000 barrels in 2006. The U.S. is using 20 million barrels per day.

Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this is the war room!

As I noted in a prior thread, the outlook for non-conventional production in the US is bright, but I expect that it will simply slow the rate of decline in total production.

To put current North Dakota oil production in perspective, it is about one-eighth of current Texas production which has been in a long term decline since 1972.

I'd guess it would take them about a decade to overtake Texas then at 20% annual growth. Guess we know who's going to win the Rose Bowl in 2017: The Fighting Sioux!

You assume that the export land model (ELM) does not apply to regions within the US/Canada. ND and MT may be able to produce large amounts of oil relative to their own needs. In the long term it is unclear to me whether the US and Canadian federal governments will be able to enforce the transfer of energy resources from regions that are net producers to those that are net consumers. Envision how quickly a NYC or Boston become uninhabitable if Canadian hydro and imports of petroleum and NG are cut off.

I said they were planning on getting wealthy. The Montana production grew by 20% last year.


Energy prospecting in North Dakota has gone nuts. A generation ago we had a shirt tail relative die intestate in North Dakota. A real live homestead of 160 acres was divided out amongst the descendants. My grandmother signed some papers and "spending the oil money" became a family joke. I think she got a $25 payment but I don't recall if it was annually or once a decade.

Fast forward to the spring of 2007 - grandmother is long dead and some poor landsman in Texas had to chase down about forty of my aunts, uncles, and cousins to get them to sign off so they could explore that three and a half acres my grandmother inherited. This must have gone well for them as we recently got a thousand dollar an acre offer to buy out the holding.

Depending on how prospective the land is, your Grandmother's $25 deal might be a lot better than $4 thousand for the mineral right in an outright sale.

Upfront lease payments by the acre are all over the map [Bob Ebersol can give you some idea, but North Dakota isn't the Texas Gulf Coast and there is a large measure of closeology as well as geology to consider.]

Do you feel lucky? If it were me I'd hold on to the mineral rigths and go for the royalties if any.

Now, ND being awash in energy prospectors is something that I do believe. Sorry, couldn't resist. :) I don't remember where I heard it, but wasn't there a huge increase in the numbers of wells drilled in Texas as the production was peaking? Sure, all these minor sources will offset the effects of the peak, but isn't that all accounted for in the Hubbert model?

Admittedly, the MT increase is large relative to it's previous production and I'm sure there could be a lot of non-conventional deposits that could offest things, e.g., the coal bed methane in Wyoming.

P.S. westexas, I apologize, but I can't seem to find the thread where you were talking about it.

Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this is the war room!

I guess the current estimate is around 400 billion barrels in place for the whole formation. The URR is kind of up in the air. Canada is also drilling in this formation. Hopefully we'll shut this kind of thing down before too long. Refilling the syringe is not the way to kick the habit.


That is quite a bit, that's true. Worldwide reserves of the oil shales are something like what 1-2 trillion barrels, but good luck getting it out of the ground and into your car. Unless I'm mistaken, the last time these things were tried was during last energy crisis but they couldn't make it work after the oil price collapsed. Maybe it's possible to profitably produce meaningful amounts, but my guess is it won't be pretty environmentally.

Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this is the war room!

*edit* If the yield on in situ retorting could be raised, maybe it wouldn't be so bad environmentally.

Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this is the war room!

Actually, in this case they are just doing standard horizontal drilling with the addition of fracturing. They are not trying to pump from shale, but rather some fairly porous rock below the shale into which the shale has been draining. So, the oil is already formed and present in pools. They are pretty deep and they do need sophisticated drilling equipment, but it is not the same thing as trying to make oil.


The problem is not reserves, but flow rate. The Bakken shale reserves are hard to exploit - which is why they have been left so far. It'll provide expensive oil for decades, but low volume.

They do say they like $60/barrel oil. However, they are not drilling in shale but through is to some porous rock below it. Well production rates seem to be OK and they are putting quite a lot in.


It does make me wonder about the shape of production post peak, it could be quite a long tail.

Very interesting article I stumbled across this morning:

Mirth Day

The idea of a consumer-led environmental movement has pollution-belching multi-nationals rolling in the aisles - the joke is on you


Eco-living is the new opiate of the masses. The captains of industry have duped you - like master magicians, they have used simple tricks and toys to divert your attention from the real source of global catastrophe, tucked securely up their sleeves. They could not be more pleased that you and your fellow self-satisfied saps expend your righteous Earth-saving efforts in pursuit not of them but of your own lighting fixtures and water bottles - while they merrily maintain an unfettered raping of the planet.

Do you really think that the colossal effects of global warming will be staved off by household habits? Understand this: right now, global mega-giants are bankrolling the development of emerging economies in Macao, Kazakhstan, and elsewhere. Because of our country’s policy and outreach failures, they are charging forward in ways that will maximize the return on their investments, not minimize the greenhouse-gas impact for the next century or so. The difference will be measurable in tens of thousands of teragrams of greenhouse gases a year.

Hope you'll take the time to read the rest of the article. Me thinks that this is how we can realistically expect the greenhouse gas issue to be "resolved."


A valid criticism of the green industry, and the things people think will make a difference. It shows the inability of people to comprehend the magnitude of the problem. But he offers no useful alternative courses of action. "Join the recent call of the Society for Ecological Restoration" - this is presented as less futile?

It just confirms what I already believe - "we" will not resolve this issue, the planet will resolve it for us.

I'm new to posting comments on the message board although I've been reading your blog now for the past year or so. I'm impressed with the level of expertese I see here. What I know about finance, geology, oil pricing, etc., can be written on the back of a match book cover.

Today's articles got me intrigued and curious. One talks about KSA stating no need to raise oil output b/c there is plenty of oil on the market. So the world's demand for oil has plateaued notwithstanding its economic growth? Another talks about OPEC willingness to entertain Canadian membership. Did I hear right that the Saudi's don't consider Canada as a competitor supplier to the U.S? I thought Canada was the U.S.'s number one supplier. Did I miss something here? And the WorldNetDaily (hardly a mainstream media agency I realize) rails against peakists b/c Brasil found a 90 day cache in terms of world oil supply under 4.5 miles of water, sand, & salt. Contradiction seems to be the order of the day?

MSM is about entertainment not information so its hardly likely anyone is going to get indepth coverage. But why is it that very little is being said (except at TOD) about OPEC meeting this weekend? Even if it's to raise the question, why are they meeting now? Is there something going on with the cartel that the public should know about? I thought those guys only met at times of emergency? So I toss this question out to you: what is the official reason being touted for the meeting? I would appreciate any insights. Thanks.

I thought those guys only met at times of emergency?

Ya...look for that emergency to start about 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time).


This week's inventory report won't be out until tomorrow, due to the Veterans Day holiday on Monday.

Oh, crikey. I've been sitting here counting down the minutes...

Well, tomorrow could be interesting, with tomorrow being both the inventory report and mark-to-market day for financials.

Personally, I think they're meeting to discuss geopolitical issues regarding peak, climate change, and pricing/allocation issues likely to arise in the near future. KSA also seems to have a real fear about alternative energy cutting into their biz.

Their endlessly repeated remarks that there is enough supply for demand (at $90-$95!) really crack me up.

Thanks for your feedback on this. We'll wait to see what happens tomorrow. If TSHTF, I wonder how long it will be before the rest of the world wakes up.

May we live in interesting times.

I thought those guys only met at times of emergency? So I toss this question out to you: what is the official reason being touted for the meeting? I would appreciate any insights. Thanks.

I posted, yesterday, my thoughts on the reason for the meeting. It is a bloody emergency! The world expects OPEC to bail them out of this mess. OPEC has been touting their "reserve capacity" for years. Now there is a serious danger that the world will slip into a sever recession, then likely a worldwide depression, and the world expects OPEC to up production and keep this from happening.

But OPEC is powerless to do anything. The data due out tomorrow in OPEC's Monthly Oil Report will tell the story. What they show tomorrow will be it. Perhaps a few more barrels in November but not very much.

The cat is about to be let out of the bag and OPEC is in a sheer panic. They have been lying all these years about those vast, vast oil reserves. The world swallowed it, hook, line and sinker. And when the cat finally escapes that bag, in the next couple of months, all hell will break loose.

OPEC must, they simply must, find some way to save face. And that is what this emergency meeting is all about.

Ron Patterson

What do you think they will do to try to save face, Ron? How do they go about attempting to maintain the illusion that we've got enough reserves for 100 years? You think the Chavez comment on guaranteeing oil to poor nations (implying some form of rationing) is credible?

Mo, I haven't a clue as to what they will do to save face. I know they will likely keep repeating the same old lines. There is no shortage of oil on the market. The market is well supplied with oil. Speculators are driving up the price. OPEC is not responsible for high prices. " And other crap like that.

Of course they are correct. There is plenty of $95 oil on the market. The problem is that there is no $70 oil on the market. Supply will always meet demand if the price is high enough. Just who the hell do they think they are fooling with that old line about the market being well supplied with oil. Of course! The market is always well supplied as long as the price is high enough to drive demand down. And it really pisses me off that the MSM does not call them on this obvious phoney line.

But rest assured OPEC will come up with some excuse as to why they cannot pump more oil. The question is; how many people will buy that line?

Ron Patterson

OPEC will be enjoying their regained status, I imagine.

I expect they will mainly be discussing how much money they can squeeze out of the addicts, and the benefits of the A380 as a flying palace.

From the official website http://www.opecsummit.com/site/Default.aspx

(...) The Third OPEC Summit will focus on three primary themes:

1. Providing Petroleum: OPEC and its member countries are committed to stabilizing world energy markets by supplying the world's petroleum needs in a way that meets consumers' and producers' needs.

2. Promoting Prosperity: By providing reliable supplies of petroleum, OPEC makes global economic growth and social development possible for communities around the world.

3. Protecting the Planet: OPEC member countries recognize the need to ensure that providing reliable energy supplies is done in an environmentally conscious manner, and are taking concrete steps to protect the world's ecosystems.

One of the Third OPEC Summit's objectives is to develop these themes into an action-oriented declaration.

My translation - feel free to knock me down.

1. As producers, our supply is falling. Cutting back therefore meets our (producers') needs.

2. "Communities around the world". That'll be OPEC only, of course.

3. We produce less, so you consume less. And we get to look good while doing it!


Hello Darwinian,

Thxs for your efforts on TOD. Your Quote: "The question is; how many people will buy that line?"

I agree with you: We can fully expect the MSM to keep ignoring the obvious condition of mothers crying while their babies are dying--they are not 'profitable consumers'. I don't think we are going to see a 24/7 network channel that will be fully dedicated to featuring 'count-less' film clips of the last thirty seconds of a destitute, postPeak child's life.

As cheap energy is now priced beyond their poor reach--we should expect the effects to be increasingly horrific. Currently 40,000 dead babies/day, then 400,000 dead babies/day, at some point 4,000,000 dead babies/day. That will certainly be a sad day when that milestone is reached--but I expect most will quickly change the channel with their remote control to see what latest celebrity is running around without panties. We prefer watching 'out of sight shots' and 'out of our minds behavior' than an honest Malthusian recognition of what is directly revealed.

We really need to reform our global system so that the 'tragedy of the commons' is a 'commonly shared tragedy'. Can we somehow link the Thermo/Gene Collision to every purchase?

For example: when the KSA prince takes his giant, new Airbus A380 on its 'virginal maiden flight' we should include 10,000 dead newborn corpses packed everywhere inside the plane, gathered from the slums around the globe, so that he truly understands the cost of this resource concentration and stupendous waste. Then he might prefer to spend his next $400 million in 'annual pocket change' on voluntary sex education in poor countries.

Imagine the upcoming Superbowl where all seats are prefilled with rotting, young corpses in decorative team-themed bodybags of the wealthy, corporate ticketholders' choosing. Would that help quickly drive the Thermo/Gene message home to a global audience to avert the worst? Would an elite being forced to hold a dead child through 'four quarters of play' convince them that giving 'no quarter to the oppressed' is not the best, long run goal? Can we bring 'The End Zone' to every seat in the house?

Thus, IMO, we need lots of clever thinking, writing, filming, music, artwork, demonstrations, and other behaviors, so that each one of us truly understands the spectrum of linkages we have to each other and the planet. Yeast don't choose sides--neither should we. That is the challenge ahead.

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

I'm a little surprised that there wasn't really any discussion (or that I missed it) around

The first ever meeting between a Pope and a Saudi King just 10 days ago.

Which was a couple of days after the first visit of a Saudi King to the UK in twenty years, where he had a private lunch with the Queen and Husband.

I dunno - conspiracy theorists might find the timing of it all a bit coincidental. I'm sure he's just reassuring everyone that there's plenty of oil though.

Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)

I liked his visit to the UK better - the Guard's band playing "The Imperial March" (Darth Vader's Theme) was just too great - now who lost their job/ended up in the brig for that little mishap? - I mean, there HAD to be some sort of protocol official that was in on the music selection, right? I mean, for this big of a state visit, I seriously doubt anything is left to chance - "rasher of bacon your Majesty? - Whiskey or port?"

or was it just slipped in as "John William's Imperial March" - that sounds pretty harmless and tasteful....unless you know what it is...

They are switching from the US Dollar to a basket of currencies to price/sell oil. The dollar is going to take a big hit from this.(already at .75 on the dollar index)

This may be the final nail in the coffin, with regards to the USD status as the world's reserve currency.

This is very Big Bad News, thus you will not hear of it widely in the MSM.

Looks like the Fed is fixing to raise interest rates: Bernanke Says Fed Will Increase Forecases, Include Food, Energy in Prices

Central bankers will also add predictions for a price gauge that includes food and energy costs [...]

The Fed has been grossly understating inflation by leaving out everything that's going up in price (e.g. food & energy). Growth winds up being overstated because a too-small inflation number is subtracted from spending to calculate GDP.

They've been deliberately lying about inflation & growth, and they aren't making this change just to "come clean." I figure they realize they have to raise rates soon to stop the dollar's collapse and rein in raging inflation. But they can't do this based on the fraudulent numbers they've been using to make decisions.

So, this means the dollar's decline will slow (but probably not stop). It also probably means stocks will get crushed. The market has a 25 basis point reduction priced in.

I wonder if the KSA has been leaning on the Bush administration. They've publicly hinted at dropping their dollar peg. I wonder what they've been saying in private.

Yes, I had the tube on MSNBC while Bernanke was talking, but I keep the sound muted. I did unmute long enough to hear Ben say 'we intend to maintain a more transparent Fed...' so I immediately muted the tube again. Now the talking heads are ceaselessly 'analyzing' what Ben said but since I still have the sound muted I dont know exactly what they are saying...but I can imagine. If Ben puts food and fuel back into 'core inflation' I will believe that he is attempting to do something for the used-to-be-middle-class, otherwise, he is just blowing more smoke. Its a beautiful day to go for a ride and thats what I am going to do...need to change the air in my head...maybe I can find a few red willow saplings?

River, the change is that the Fed will be reporting two inflation numbers: one with food and energy included, and the other without.

I don't think that necessarily means policy will be based on the food and energy number.

Bernanke has talked about rising energy prices in the past in a way that leads me to believe he understands the likelihood of increasing supply problems. He has stated that specific components of the economy can be repriced without necessarily triggering inflation (or inflation-fighting policy). So, for example, food could go from 11% of the average family's income to 30% of the average family's income without being considered inflationary by the Fed.

The Fed should join Ringling Brothers Circus. They are adept acrobats, but watch out for the holes in those nets!!!

From the "JHK was right" file (linked on Urban Survival):

Empty Houses Home to Crime As Loans Fail
By J.W. ELPHINSTONE 11.13.07, 1:45 PM ET

Eighty-five bungalows dot the cul-de-sac that joins West Ontario Avenue and East Ontario Avenue in Atlanta. Twenty-two are vacant, victims of mortgage fraud and foreclosure. Now house fires, prostitution, vandals and burglaries terrorize the residents left in this historic neighborhood called Westview Village.

"It's created a safety hazard. And if we have to sell our house tomorrow, we're out of luck," said resident Scott Smith. "Real estate agents say to me 'We're not redlining you, but I tell my clients to think twice about buying here.'"

As defaults surge on mortgages made to borrowers with spotty credit and adjustable-rate loans, more people are noticing that their neighbors are caught up in the meltdown. Their misfortunes are haunting those left living on the same streets. The effects aren't confined to just low-income or redeveloping communities; they are seeping into middle-class neighborhoods and brand new developments. . . .

. . . The rise in crime in Westview is typical of a neighborhood struggling with numerous foreclosures, according to a recent study by Dan Immergluck of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and Geoff Smith of Woodstock Institute in Chicago.

That study showed that when the foreclosure rate increases one percentage point, neighborhood violent crime rises 2.33 percent. . . .

Oh please this tiny example of Crime doesn't prove anything right about Kunstlers predictions. By the way where's DOW 4,000? Oh crap my computer has been working for 7 years since y2k!!

Perhaps you have missed the news reports about skyrocketing foreclosure rates and falling property values in the 'burbs? Do you recommend that people proceed with buying a $50,000 SUV to drive to and from a $500,000 mortgage in an outlying suburb?

BTW, could you document the Dow 4000 comment? And perhaps we didn't have problems with Y2K because companies listened to the repeated warnings.

No way I hate SUVs and not a great fan of suburban sprawl and think we should implement Alan Drake's rail initiative. The forclosure thing is a huge issue, but a neighborhood that went from crapp to marginal back to crappy isn't a great example of an impending doom.

As for the dow 4000 prediction.


In June 2005 and again in early 2006, Kunstler predicted that the Dow would crash to 4,000 by the end of the year.[5] [6] The Dow in fact reached a new peak by 2007.

Note that the example fit the pattern in an apparently large study:

That study showed that when the foreclosure rate increases one percentage point, neighborhood violent crime rises 2.33 percent. . .

Regarding JHK, from your linked article:

In June 2005 and again in early 2006, Kunstler predicted that the Dow would crash to 4,000 by the end of the year.[5] [6] The Dow in fact reached a new peak by 2007. In his predictions for 2007, however, Kunstler admitted his mistake stating "Let's get this out of the way up front: the worst call I made last year was for the Dow to crumble down to 4000 when, in fact, it melted up to a new all-time record high of about 12,500. The reason we saw this, in my opinion, was that inertia combined with sheer luck to keep the finance sector decoupled from reality…". He also predicted, however, that in 2006 the United States housing bubble would start to deflate, which appears to be borne out by latest data. [7] However, unlike Kunstler's Dow predictions, which were uniquely his, the bursting of the United States housing bubble was widely forecast before Kunstler began discussing it.

The only quibble I would have with this was that Jim has been describing American Suburbia as an unsustainable disaster for years.

I wonder how many of his predictions on the imminent housing collapse went by unnoticed before he got one right. I guess you really only have to be right once: its what keeps some people going even after some fairly horrendous mistakes. M. Simmons Saudi 'collapse' that has thus far failed to materialize for 5 years comes to mind...

(sarcanol alert)

With that kind of sucess in forcasting, do you think there's a job available for him at CERA?
Bob Ebersole

But that's my point exactly Bob, Prediction of the future from all sides of the aisle are way off. And anybody here who thinks they know what the future holds in 10 years is just guessing, plain and simple, like predicting the weather, the future has a infinite amount of variables. There's plenty of people on this site that pump their chest and say "this is exactly how its going to be in 2, 5, 0r 10 years" and anyone who does that and is later found to be wrong, regardless of their belief deserves ridicule. I have much more respect for the person who says keeps an open mind to what the future holds, they can have an opinion and make a prediction sure, but when asshats like kunstler and dummies like Yergin say "THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN AT THIS TIME BOOK IT", they both deserve ridicule.

Bob Ebersole

I was a Y2K contractor starting in 1995 and so were alot of other people -- I had to rewrite quite a bit of COBOL and Assembly code to get the systems to work. There were thousands of programmers like me out there many years before the year 2000 working out the solution. By contrast, nobody has resolved the problems that are caused by a lack of cheap oil and the resolution obviously will take longer than five years.

Tell that to the hookers moving deeper into my neighborhood. Or the people who broke into my home last month. 2 of my next door neighbors are gone (foreclosed, one from mortgage fraud) and it's obvious from the overgrown lawn and black pool so I wouldn't be suprised if someone has gone ahead and stolen their copper pipes.

Your Y2K comment reminds me of Homer Simpson: "Why should we keep wasting money on the baby with vaccines for diseases that she never even has anyway?!"

The government publishes the Headline inflation, which includes food & energy, and the Core inflation, which does not. The Headline rates are used by the Government to publish growth rates. The Fed publishes no rates. The Fed has stated that they would watch Core inflation in order to set monetary policy. And, that makes sense. Do you have a monetary theory that would say that you can reduce food costs by raising interest rates? Or that the price of gasoline will come down if you raise interest rates? Only if your theory says that you are doing it to cause a depression so that millions are unemployed and can no longer aford to drive and eat. But, if that is what you think the Fed's job is, then get Congress to re-write their Charter.

Was that a reply to me? It would seem so by the positioning in the thread, but I'm not sure I follow the connections to my post.

I will point out, however, since you brought it up, that raising interest rates absolutely will bring down the price of oil. Much of the run-up in oil prices is caused by the collapse of the dollar. While it has been declining for a while, Bernanke's dropping of interest rates recently has accelerated the decline, pushing up the price of oil, and causing an international crisis in the dollar that has caused even the KSA to talk about dropping their peg to the dollar.

Lowering interest rates below the real rate of inflation (not the government fudged numbers) destroys savings and creates asset bubbles. This in turn requires ever increasing amounts of liquidity to keep the bubble inflated.

The choice right now is between the dollar becoming the new peso or biting the bullet, forcing a recession/depression, and restructuring our economy on something real.

BTW, when the guvmint published the most recent growth rates (3.9%), it calculated inflation at only 0.8%. Inflation dropped because oil prices rose so much. The numbers are fudged to produce a much higher growth and lower inflation number than is real. In any case, I think it is good news if the Fed is going to use real numbers in its calculation rather than government fantasy.

then get Congress to re-write their Charter

Funny, but I thought price stability was in their charter, and propping up asset bubbles was not.

Depression will cause food and oil prices to slide, so interest rates definitely control food and oil prices. I think that you mean that ignoring an inflation is lesser of two evils, but it can be just as bad if not worse. If inflation spikes up, then many investors would demand greater return on their investment thus making a lot of current activities uneconomic. So many, many jobs will be lost. I think that the real problem is that there is no easy way out. If oil prices begin going higher and higher depression is guaranteed.

If you want to watch an HONEST politician as tough questions to Ben, watch this video.

From UrbanSurvival.com a few days ago.
Ron Paul qutestioning Bernake a week ago or so.


And questions there were, including and especially from Presidential hopeful Ron Paul, who says the Federal Reserve has "Robbed American's of their wealth". Click here for a little bit of video that might make you feel like supporting Ron Paul... It's about 5 1/2 minutes - and more than worth it. As Ron Paul notes, the MZM (money zero maturity) is going up at about 20% annualized, there's nowhere for the dollar to go but which way?



I have seen this happen in the past few elections. I am sure it has gone on long before that.
The more a canadite tells people what the real issues that effect them are, the less likely he is to win or even be nominated.

Looks like the Fed is fixing to raise interest rates

In my opinion, the housing crisis will continue to pressure bank assets and earnings for the next couple of years. The US Federal Reserve will have to continue to lower rates to support the banks' profits. Maximum employment and stability of the US banking system is the first Fed priority.

Monetary Policy and the Economy

So the GBRC microwave technology just won invention of the year by popular science:


What was even more interesting is it mention the military now believes in the technology and is going to use it in iraq to turn plastic bottles into fuel. So I did a little more digging, and googled "frank pring" plastic, iraq, and found this what appears to be confidential presentation to the pentagon as the 5th result!!! It appears in the presentation that the technology has been verified by 2 university's and the DOE. Will keep a eye on this one, presentation is below:



Lol, pyrolysis has been around for eons. Turning waste into fuel is all very well. The problem with these schemes is the demand for energy is a lot higher than the amount of material waste produced.

Of course the military will be interested, as they are willing to pay "priceless" to keep the tanks rolling.

Microwaving rock I find more interesting. Some time ago I reported on a new method to process mineral ores. Microwaving the rock before pulverising it uses a lot less energy.

Microwaving rock I find more interesting. Some time ago I reported on a new method to process mineral ores. Microwaving the rock before pulverising it uses a lot less energy.

That's what I find most interesting as well. If this tech works on oil shale, coal, slurry, EOR, then were are talking trillions of barrels of oil.

..Well we're often 'Talking' about trillions of barrels of oil..

I think that I base my hopes and optimism on Entirely different things than you do.. but today, at least there is a little LCD on the 3rd floor landing that is reading some 2.8 amps of charging current coming in from the 40w panel I finally managed to wire to the roof. (Actually, the 'finally' part was in taking a big spade bit to the wall of our fine House and popping the hole to run the conduit through. Scary!) There's another 10amps worth of PV in the basement that I have to rack up.. but at least the needle is moving.

Sunny and Fair in Portland Maine!~


And yet somehow the geologist who's making the parent claim ignores the movement, processing and remediation of such a mining effort.

One has to wonder about the veracity of the parent poster.

That's why its done in-situ my friend. :)

Two things:
1. Radiation intensity drops off the cube of the distance.
2. Rough energy expenditures for this operation would be the energy required to heat the entire field to a managable viscosity, plus the pumping costs.

#2 Will have costs on the order of (2kJ/(kg*K) * Tempdiff *mass wanted to extract), where the difference in temperature should be large enough for pores in the rock to actually open up, assuming there are pores to open up. If there are no pores the rock will have to be fractured and then pumped.

All in all for this to work you need to pump a godaweful amount of power for any appreciable output of oil. Even with highly directional antenna you still need a bunch of power.

And with your 1M invest, the 20M will only net you 6-12M electricity, tops, for an EROEI of ~5-11, likely something close to 8. (This only concerns itself with the test setup, and without knowing a bit more scaleup is impossible, so this cannot be applied to larger systems)

radiation intensity that propagates energy, i.e. sunlight, falls off as the square of distance. To see this integrate the intensity (Watts per unit area A) over a sphere or hemisphere depending on whether the source is enclosed or not.

Here is how it works:

Energy output = Energy input - Energy lost in process*

(*usually heat)

Admittedly, if you are trading Energy input for a useable energy output such as liquid fuel for a Tiger E, or Tiger II or a Messerschmidt 262 Schwalbe, then the immediate benefit of fighting off enemies of the Reich may be a higher priority than the second law of thermodynamics.

Slave labour helps in saving energy lost in process...

If you wish to run a business as usual growth economy of prozac addled zombie-droid-consumers, you may find that it doesnt quite work ...

LOL. Did you read the article? Every hour, the first commercial version will turn 10 tons of auto waste—tires, plastic, vinyl—into enough natural gas to produce 17 million BTUs of energy (it will use 956,000 of those BTUs to keep itself running).

A logical solution for a throw-away society. And what happens when you can no longer get tires because every yokel and his brother is burning them in his woodstove just to stay warm?

perpetual motion?

LOL thats what it sounds like to me.. Total Garbague without reading it.

Actually not perpetual motion at all. The materials being microwaved contain Hydrocarbons. The process just efficiently breaks down the bonds to release the hydrocarbons from the tires or coal, or anything else containing hydrocarbons.

yes this is true. Not perpetual motion.

Perpetual motion violates the time forward entropy function. If machines were 100% efficient entropy could not increase, and by proof it must. therefore 100% efficieny or better is not possible.

Re: "time forward entropy function"

That is true so far at the macro scale.
At the micro scale though it happens and is called negative entropy or something similar.


Flaws in EM Theory

Then use human cadavers. 'ASHES TO ASHES, FAT TO FAT'

I have no idea how much auto waste is produced per year, so have no idea what impact this process is likely to have.

17 million BTUs sound like a lot, but the US uses something like 20 quadrillion BTUs of natural gas pa.

That's generally the problem with these schemes, they are a drop in the ocean, and couldn't possibly scale up enough to make a serious dent.

Tire Derived Fuel
"Markets now exist for about 80 percent of scrap tires"
"In 2003, 130 million scrap tires were used as fuel (about 45% of all generated) "

Who knew? Doesn't look like scrap tires are going to save us.

Thanks. I knew it was not the answer, but seemed interesting to me. I'm not expecting a magical solution.

Most all plastics and tires have a specific heat of .3 to .6. So if we use .4 as an average, 10 tons will absorb 8000 Btu’s per deg F. Simply increasing the temperature of the material 122 deg F requires 956,000 Btu’s with zero losses.

Perhaps we can convert the plastic to liquid without a temp rise! Wonder what the freq. range is for all these different materials? Maybe we can sweep the freq. at some rate, say 10 Khz! Wonder how much energy those steel wires in the tires will soak up. Nice Idea for someone else to invest in.

Not a sweeping, dipchip, but a sweep of experiments with different feed stocks and frequencies, learning how to best tease apart the polymer chains. It would appear that they've accomplished this feat.

I don't think there is a plastic to liquid without any heat, but this would avoid warming everything uniformly. The tire wires are resonant at multiples of the wavelengths involved. Our microwave ovens run at about 13cm so 3.25cm, 6.5cm, 13cm, and increasing multiples would be the sweet spots for absorption.

They haven't said what frequencies are used and they won't as that is the magic, but my guess that it isn't far off our standard microwave oven at 2450Mhz, or perhaps its multifrequency. They've likely played a bit learning to hit the absorption sweet spots for certain carbon + hydrogen components of the polymers, and there is a probably a time component to the process as well, much as oil cooks from kerogen to heavy oil to light oil to natural gas depending on its depth and temperature. They can probably modulate the length of the polymer chain fragments they extract - a sort of fractional thermal decomposition.

We burn tire derived fuel at the power plant where I work. State prisoners chip up tires from illegal tire dumps and provide chipped tires to us which are mixed in with coal and burned in ye 'ol stoker fired boilers. Their heating value is higher than that of the coal we burn and they burn cleaner.

Popular Science articles are indeed a spindly straw to be clutching in hopes of distracting from what is coming :-)

SCT, any comments on the technology and why it can't work?

It's just a way to exploit the hydrocarbons tied up in waste material. If it is net energy positive, and does not make the GHG issue worse (kinda doubtful), then it "works". Just what is it you expect that it will accomplish?

We use the vast majority of fossil fuels for transportation fuel, not for making products. The accumulated amount of hydrocarbon based waste product might be useful as a small offset (if EROEI positive), but it will never compare to the amount of fossil fuels we require, and it must release carbon into the atmosphere.


Also named invention of the year by Time magazine as well.

Plastics and whatnot are polymers - long chains of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and perhaps other elements such as nitrogen.

Applying an energy source to them sufficient to break some of the bonds would produce smaller molecules, basically turning the petroleum based plastics back into something resembling their original form. If one had a large volume of a certain feedstock, or a well known mix of a couple of different feedstocks, one could carefully tune the input energy to control the size of the molecules output by the process.

This is a wonderful way to recycle - perhaps we'll see wind driven schooners plying the North Pacific Gyre, scooping up trash, processing it with wind turbine driven onboard microwaves, and returning to port with loads of fluids ready to return to plastic manufacturers.

This is not a new source of energy, just an interesting way to clean up on a mess we've been making for the last couple of generations.

Aha, and SCT that's where your wrong. What would keep the technology from being used to turn coal into liquid fuel? Oil Shale into Liquid fuel? hell, even residual oil itself would produce mass amounts of fuel.


would you still say this could not produce new sources of energy?

If it had a decent EROEI, would you say it was a good thing? In general, is it a good idea to turn coal into liquid fuel? What problem does it "solve", or conversely, how many more years of happy motoring does it buy us?

Personally, I'm sure there is a way to turn various tar, shale, and coal into fuel we can burn in our cars. But all of them will have much worse ERORI than pumping crude oil out of the ground, and all will put more carbon into the atmosphere.

Keeping in mind that this began as a critique of the use of Popular Science as a source for technical information :-)

Coal to liquid is catalyzed. Coal itself is primarily carbon and requires the addition of a great deal of hydrogen to produces liquids. Microwaving coal would just make it warm.

Oil shale is kerogen in a fine matrix. The stuff is too viscous to move if it were in sufficiently porous rock like sandstone and the shale is not porous. The shale is transported, ground up, and then pyrolysis is used to turn the kerogen into usable hydrocarbons. Pyrolysis is heating in the absence of oxygen so the microwave technique could conceivably be used.

It is conceivable that the selective application of energy to molecules of a certain size based on their resonance with the given frequency of microwave radiation used could improve the EROI. Trying to express that in English - The microwaving would permit the selection and heating of specific components of the kerogen rather than a wholesale temperature increase for the mass involved which would mean lower energy inputs.

It would be interesting to see what percentage of the overall input energy for oil shale processing comes from the heating as opposed to the mining, transport, crushing, etc. I bet it would be a small incremental improvement, assuming it does work; always we are trapped firstly by our desires to move things around, with processing energy being a lesser requirement.

Re coal to liquid fuel.

Discussed at length on many drum beats

SASOL did it in the years of economic sanctions in South Africa.

The Nazis made (not quite enough) synthetic oil using the Fischer-Tropsche process.

It can be done.

Slave labour is a usefull mitigator of energy lost in process.



JEEZ.... Sign up for some Chemistry and Physics 101.

Your crabbiness is showing, sir. Perhaps you should cover yourself with good cheer? :-)

Just noticed that The Oil Drum was the top sidebar link on the Radiohead Blog Dead Air Space...

I always like Radiohead. Suits my nature.

Carbon - Coventry, UK

Interesting report about wind power:

Design and operation of power systems with large amounts
of wind power


I couldn't think of a good reason to post this:
for the whole snicker factor of 'look at the guy who works towards banning supplments taking them for himself' or a link to the Codex Alimentarius opposition:

But this was enough for me to post the above 2 links:
Stevia - a sweetneer that the FDA bans.

Anyone have any luck with growing stevia themselves?

I have used stevia in the past, however, I tend to use Splenda as a sweetener as I have found that it is the "safest" based on what I have read.

Stevia is available in the US, but as a dietary supplement, not as a "sweetener" or food additive.


USDA zone 9b

Have a plant 3 feet tall in the garden - bought it as an "herb" at a local nursery.

Expect it to die off when freezing starts.

RE: Voter Anger May Free Up Energy Bills

When I looked at this story from yesterday's NYT, there was an add for the Democratic Debate to be carried by CNN on Thursday night appeared.


But, on looking at the main CNN Politics page, their list of issues did NOT include any mention about ENERGY or OIL.


How much longer must we hold our breath before the politicians actually face this most important issue of out time? I've been waiting for these clowns to get off their butts for more than 33 years. I'm afraid they all remember Mondale, who said something like "I'm going to raise your taxes" and lost big time. Short answer: We're screwed.

E. Swanson

Your comments resonate with the sense I got from Tom Friedman's column in today's NYT. The failure of this government to ... govern. And the current candidates are in lock-step by refusing to talk publicly about the future of energy and what must be done.

Fortunately there's still Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul to speak up, and show what a farce these so-called cough cough debates are. I hope each remains in the race till the end.

Maybe the fuel shortages and resulting hardships in the midwest (that Leanan has been posting, mostly local stories) and globally can have a positive effect of forcing these candidates to address the fundamental cause. But short of a gifted leader who could do that and win, we are screwed.

I think they both will tough it out.

I'm surprised by all the local talk/yard signs these two generate, and tho they are opposite sides of their party, how they are often used interchangeably. Very far right guys with "Get US out of the UN" bumper stickers often end a conversation with "Or Kucinich, just not those others." Not that they a snoball's chance, but dissatisfaction runs high.

Very far right guys probably wouldn't be happy with Kucinich's stand on gun control:

Dennis Kucinich on Gun Control

I think they'd be a lot happier with Ron Paul's position:

Ron Paul on Gun Control

Apparently both voted NO on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1.

Nonetheless, NRA graded Dennis a F and Ron an A. Good site, though.

I think it's basically that their strong stand on lost civil liberties and against the war draws both sides. With the Dem candidates, Hillary is extremely polarizing, whereas none of the repubs generate such intensity, pro or con.

Your link sent me off in a wrong direction. Try this one.

Friedman's call for a $1 per gallon gas tax still misses the point, IMHO. We could have started increasing the fuel tax back when OPEC first embargoed oil by beginning with a bump the tax by $0.25 per gallon. Then, after the Iranian Crisis in 1979, the tax could have been bumped another $0.25, followed by another $0.50 after the decade of the 80's ended in the Gulf War. By now, our fuel tax would be nearer to that seen in Europe, at least $2.00 per gallon. Of course, with the sharp run up in oil prices over the past few months, it's too late to dump a $2 fuel tax on top of present pump prices. Our politicians have waited too long to tell the public that they are going to suffer even more, thus the situation places our entire democratic process in a no-win situation.

Our Fearless Leader, Gee Dubya, has mentioned that the U.S. is addicted to oil. Fine, but what did he do about it? Like a crack addict, he decided on a "home invasion" to get the resources we crave. Only, the oil in Iraq hasn't been so easy to grab. The home owners fought back and things may get even worse before that show is over, which some claim might require another 50 year presence by our military. So, are we ready to try one of the other usual treatments for addiction? Like, higher prices (such as tobacco), making imports illegal (such as during Prohibition) or maybe a strict allocation or rationing system (like methadone treatment). It looks to me like Plan B is none of the above, in which case, it's Cold Turkey time, with the prospect of fuel prices continuing to rise next year.

E. Swanson

Plan B is none of the above as you say. It is with these Bozos to make Plan A work: stabilize Iraq so that international oil companies can come in and pump the hell out of Iraqi oil. WMD? Removing the dictator Saddam? Creating a democracy? No, that's all for public consumption and lowering the barriers to...Iraq's oil. That's why we fight.

Everyone from Rex Tillerman to Fatih Birol has said the next couple of years are going to be very tough and we are headed into "very bad days". Nonetheless, whatever thinking is going on in the minds of these candidates, they've yet to address this publically. Perhaps fuel costs/shortages will force the issue before the election.

Cold turkey time indeed.

Perhaps fuel costs/shortages will force the issue before the election.

No way.

TSHTF only after the election, never before.

Neither of the 2 Parties (in freedom-of-choice America) wants the sheeple to be aware of bad-days-ahead before the election.

What kind of theme song will that make during the party convention?

What? We'll have just black balloons instead of colorful, Happy-Times-Are-Here-Again balloons? No way.

Much as I like Tom Friedman's writing style, he's still a Liberal Arts buffoon who has no understanding of science. If he thinks "money" is going to solve the problem, he really has no clue.

If he thinks that waving "Green is the new Red, White & Blue" flags is the answer (which he does), he's just a well dressed carnival clown.

"TSHTF only after the election, never before."

I don't know about that. The last 5 weeks or so has seen a big increase in frequency, volume, and tone of stories talking about peak, plateau, and supply constraints in face of rapacious demand. All coincident with the rise in $/bbl. The story's leaking out, the water's lapping the deckchairs.

See Tom Whipple's column post in Nov 15 drumbeat:
The Peak Oil Crisis: Our Government is Speaking

However, as soon as the "price signal" PLUMMETS to well below the double-00 mark, like this morning with NY crude heading for $92/bbl, the herd returns to its complacent grazing and glassy eyed (pan-glassy) daze with no more a worry about the big picture.

The waters are no longer lapping the deckchairs on our side of the Titanic and therefore, lovee, it's OK to return to sun bathing and thoughts of happier days ahead.

Don't be such a party pooper by talking about an impending storm.

It's just another 3 hour cruise, like always. :-)


Skipper Jonas Grumby: Oh, Gilligan, not again!
Gilligan: [Repeated line] Heh. Seeya later.

It's really going to get ridiculous as gas goes to $4.00 and taxes are not increased. Here is Iowa the sales tax is usually 7 percent including the the local part. At $3.00 the 20 cent state gas tax is less than the sales tax. At $4.00 the 20 cent gas tax would be 5 percent. There are already spot shortages of diesel and the governor is exempting truck driver rules to try to speed deliveries. The situation just screams tax increase but politicians of all stripes are terrified of doing the right thing. Re-election is priority one.

I hope the diesel shortages you note in Iowa drive PO awareness into the politics of the Iowa caucus on Jan 3, 2008.

That would only serve to increase our national investment in ethanol.

You're right, and that would be a massive mistake.

'Big Five' Oil Companies Limit Exploration


"A study released by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy finds that the "Big Five" international oil companies (IOCs) are spending less money on oil exploration in real terms despite a four-fold increase in operating cash flow since the early 1990s. On the flip side, the study, "The International Oil Companies," finds that second-tier oil companies are spending more in exploration, positioning themselves to be in better shape when it comes to future oil reserves."

Others here have observed this trend before: There's insufficient returns to satisfy the big players, because there's so little left to find.

As the apex predators begin to starve, the rats move in to snap up the crumbs.

One could also look to eventual tanker under-utilization, and refinery under-utilzation as similar signs that the post-peak era is upon us.

Party Guy?



Karl Rove himself?

Deny it, somebody. Our masters know the truth, and they've looting the vault before sneaking off.

In calculating the Producer Price Index, The government reports that energy prices declined 0.8% in October: http://money.cnn.com/2007/11/14/news/economy/ppi/index.htm?postversion=2...

However, the EIA website has crude oil prices going from $75.07 on Sept 3 to $80.31 on Oct 1 to $94.16 on Oct 31. Gasoline prices also rose. Natural gas prices ended basically unchanged in October. Does anyone know where how they calculate their energy numbers for the PPI?

The energy numbers are preliminary numbers, NASAguy (subject to revision in 4 months).

It looks like they got energy numbers down by estimating that the price of gasoline went down: http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost

If you go to stockcharts.com and run a free chart on $GASO, you'll see that the price of gasoline indeed did not go down.

Reuters is running a new story on Three Gorges Dam and earth subsidence.


As these problems were evident prior to construction, I wonder if there's any chance of getting China forgo some coal for climate change concerns.

I meant to post on the previous drumbeat. The precise date of the oil peak is a fascinating intellectual puzzle. Not only that, but scoping it out throws up much interesting offshoot information - who publishes what, how, and why, who states what, comes out with what, and how certain calculations illuminate or obfuscate. (So thanks to all the posters in the Nov 13 drumbeat.)

Also, one may presume that a milestone of some kind will have psychological impact, or serve as a sort of clarion wake up call. Which is beginning to happen in the media. Things aren’t really real, you know, until the media gets going on it. I know many ppl who are peak oil aware in a fuzzy or even sharp intellectual fashion, but they pay no attention, until pols/the media make it public - for ex. the day their garage attendant tells them that because of peak oil we will see x price of gas before Xmas. This is natural; societal problems or issues are not germane until they are shared to some degree. Here we have pols/and the media to blame - they have fooled the public by making minor issues, personal concerns, ersatz participation in other’s lives, etc. into communal concerns (Schiavo, Star marriages, sex scandals, food coloring, etc. etc.) capitalizing on human’s needs to participate in a wider society than that which they are afforded by individualistic competitive ‘capitalism’.

These fake participatory distractions serve those in power, holding actions are better than nothing, and the ignorant are easier to manipulate.

The precise small hillock on the plateau is in the long run is not important, it doesn’t matter as Leanan says - yet past and current events shows us all that hype, profit, maintaining position and economic status trump other values.

Fast Crash(es) or one Long Emergency, Slow-Mo Crash made up of serial recessions ?

The mechanisms might vary depending on where you live, how you define a "crash/collapse," and on your perception of the various mechanisms that might precipitate a crash/collapse of civilization.

As for a "fast crash," who knows exactly what might precipitate the crisis, but I envision it developing along the lines as the Equine Flu crisis that struck over a century ago and/or the European Fuel Protests of 2000.

How equine flu brought the US to a standstill

...The outbreak forced men to pull wagons by hand, while trains and ships full of cargo sat unloaded, tram cars stood idle and deliveries of basic community essentials were no longer being made...

"Imagine," he said, "a transportation disaster that within 90 days affected every aspect of American transportation, everything Americans took granted, everything that ensured their safety, every city, town and village where they lived and left everything in its path under siege."

By November 1, the Times was discussing the likely cost of the epidemic. "What will be the effect of even a temporary withdrawal of the horsepower from the nation, is a serious question to contemplate," its correspondent wrote. "Coal cannot be hauled from the mines to run locomotives, farmers cannot market their produce, boats cannot reach their destination on the canals ..."

(This link was buried in a long drumbeat post last week and did not get any responses at the time)

Sept 2000 Fuel Protest

...The impact on critical infrastructure was devastating. Food didn’t get delivered to supermarket shelves. Ambulance services stopped as did blood supplies to hospitals. One hospital ran out of stitches and many more complained about being unable to move hazardous materials from their facilities, creating health risk. Medicines were not delivered to pharmacies. ATM machines weren’t loaded with money. The financial impact of the week-long fuel drought was estimated to top £1 billion...


Much has been said about the possible impacts the soaring oil price has/will have on the poorest economies of the world, particularly those in Africa. Whilst not disagreeing with this central tenet I have been of the view that so far African countries are mostly coping relatively well with the oil price and its potential shock to their growth. Here is a rather substantial analysis that supports that contention:


As can be seen from the graphic this is not simply a case of the oil producers doing well. No doubt the commodities boom in general is helping African countries, but the fact remains that average GDP growth is substantially up in Africa in the past few years.

I wonder if this is a case of the mean erasing important differences from the median.

The report doesn't contain any information about this that I can find. (Will read more).

For example, while Nigeria may have increased its GDP 4.3 percent over some time period, 50-60% of the country still lives in poverty, has no access to oil wealth and is segregated by religion, culture and geography. The 4.3 percent was 90% oil wealth, not redistributed.

What I noticed from a quick glance was Homer-Dixon's point that the rates of improvement of the richer nations and groups exceeds that of the poorer nations and groups, thus increasing the disparity trend between them permanently.


Uneven growth rates between these groups risks splitting the continent between countries which become affluent and eradicate poverty and those which continue to stagnate.

For example, 60.5% of total net foreign direct investment in sub-Saharan Africa in 2005 went to oil exporting countries.

Interesting stuff...

Interstate Water Wars - the beginning of the end of The Union ???

"Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, rejected the idea that states should share their vital resources."

(I wonder if this applies to energy-rich states too?)

As U.S. water worries emerge, all eyes are on the Great Lakes

"... Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, told the Las Vegas Sun. "I want a national water policy. ... States like Wisconsin are awash in water."

"Because Phoenix overbuilt, is that the rest of the country's responsibility to fix?" Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, asked. "Maybe they should shut the sprinklers off on their golf courses."


Legislators: Hands Off Our Water

"I don't think I'm being too alarmist about this," said Rep. Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican. "Do not look to the Great Lakes to solve the nation's water problems."

Grand Rapids Republican Vern Ehlers, predicted what might happen if anyone attempted a water grab.

"I would suspect we'd call up the militia and take up arms," Ehlers said. "We feel that serious about it."


Have these westerners calculated the amount of energy would be needed to lift one acre-ft of water the 5,000 to 7,000 feet to get across the continental divide and mutiplied that by a billion? It may be more cost effective for Pheonix and Vegas to run a pipe to the ocean and desalinate it.
OTOH the Interstate Commerce clause makes it unconstitutional for a state to restrict exports across the state line. Considering how much water is naturally exported from the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence River a pipe to Arizona may be trivial.

Anyone familiar with the rancid "fish or farmers" debate that hit the Klamath Basin for several years knows how difficult water politics can be. I suspect that it won't just be Phoenix and Las Vegas that have water troubles; the whole of North America is depleting water tables. Pumping water out of the Midwest and Great Plains will not please the farmers very much. Ultimately we'll have to figure out how to use less water, which will entail depopulating the deserts.

Depopulating? We'd make a giant step forward if we merely stopped irrigating lawns and golf courses in places where grass doesn't normally grow.

Hello Sendoilplease,

Thxs for these links and great quotes! LOL!-->The last thing my deluded Az leadership would consider doing is shutting off the golf courses' sprinkerheads. Evidently, Rep. Tom Huntley didn't get the memo on the Southwest's political motto: "Water flows uphill to Money"!

These articles merely help loosely confirm my speculation on Earthmarines for habitat protection, the sequential building and enlargement of biosolar habitats, and Secession among the states into watershed political boundaries and other logistic-determined Thermo/Gene sub-entities.

I don't think we have even begun to seen the 'tip of the iceberg' for the coming postPeak water wars, NPK fertilizers, and other vital biosolar resources.

Go Cascadia, New Vermont Republic, and the Great Lakes States!

Go Hirsch's Fifteen-Favored Detritovore States!

The coming paradigm shift will be a hell of a show.

EDIT: correction for motto reversal--oops--I was initially too rational. =)

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

I (and many others) have one word for those who would steal the water from the Great Lakes basin and fritter it away in the desert:


Georgia's Governor is a Fruit Loop. He would feel right at home in the middle ages.

Georgia Turns to Prayer to Ease Drought

ATLANTA (AP) — What to do when the rain won't come? If you're Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, you pray.

The governor will host a prayer service next week to ask for relief from the drought gripping the Southeast.

"The only solution is rain, and the only place we get that is from a higher power," Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said on Wednesday.

Perdue has several times mentioned the need for prayer — along with water conservation — as the state's drought crisis has worsened. Over the summer, he participated in day of prayer for agriculture...


Ha Ha!

Where are the flagellants?

Bring em on!

Yeah, I saw that. LMAO!! Maybe they should all bathe in Aqua Fina? Atlanta is toast in so many ways. Stupidity rules the earth.

Hello Petropest,

Yep, stupidity rules.

Would Tiger Woods and the PGA prefer to 'cutoff the sprinklerheads' at Augusta National?

Or would these 'Masters of their Domain' instead prefer to 'cutoff the heads' of anyone suggesting that this golf course be abandoned in a time of severe drought and very high food prices?

The ancient elites considered holding the body parts of the vanquished aloft while praying as an effective way to bring good tidings from the weather/harvest/fertility gods.

I can just see my head custom-fitted on a "Infiniti" and beyond, custom-fit, carbon-fiber driver, protectively surrounded by cluster of "King Cobra" clubs. Hopefully, I am dead before I get the industrial ball washer treatment.

Sick humor, or just par for the postPeak course? =)

Man in India marries dog as atonement

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

Ironic, I just saw that dog story somewhere else. Golf courses will stay green and powerboat races will continue long after billions have died from various causes. Nobody in power cares about the common good.

Georgia's Governor is a Fruit Loop. He would feel right at home in the middle ages.

Unfortunately, he isn't alone. There are lots of those Evangelical Christians that take the Bible as literally true and run their lives accordingly. They believe in the Big Guy Upstairs and that Heaven and Hell are real places, as well as ghosts, miracles and such, which means that they must see scientists as a bunch of crazy people.

As Chris Hedges (and others) have pointed out, about 25% or 70 million of the U.S. population are Evangelicals and that 40% take the Bible as literal truth, written by God. More than 80% believe Jesus is the Son of God. Hedges in his book, American Fascist: The Christian Right and the War on America claims that there's a hard core of these fundamentalist that are actively planning to turn the U.S. into a theocracy. If they win, we WILL go back to a world like that of the Dark Ages when the Inquisition killed many people for their lack of faith or for "witchcraft". They believe that the End Times are near and they aren't interested in any other point of view. Remember the stories from the middle ages, where people accused of being apostate were tortured and burned at the stake. If you repented, you might be lucky that they would strangle you before lighting the fire at your feet. They sound rather like the present Taliban or the other Islamic Fundamentalist sects.

America was settled by people that left Europe because of religious intolerance in and knew well what a theocracy was like. Yet, some have argued that our PC insistence on tolerance may be our downfall in that we may be too willing to tolerate people who would destroy our Constitutional freedoms. If we let the Fundamentalists destroy the separation between Government and Religion, as Bush and the Religious Right are trying to do, you can forget about those freedoms.

E. Swanson

So you confront them on their own terms.

"God is punishing you with a drought because he doesn't like what you are doing to the planet he made for you."

"God doesn't like suburban sprawl and car-dependent urban design."

"God wants you to stop watering your lawns and adopt light rail."

Hah! that's good.

The problem is that evangelicals use religion to justify doing what THEY want to do, and foremost in their minds is that god (lower case intentional) has given them dominion
over all the earth. Including their lawns and other people's personal lives.....They would blame the drought on them there gays!

"God wants you to stop watering your lawns and adopt light rail."

ok - that is funny, I like that one a lot

I like the theology !

Best Hopes for Better Preachers,


Better living through organic chemistry. (against all evidence in this case)


It rained buckets yesterday in North Georgia.

Praise the Lord

And oil prices are "plummeting".

That's all scientific proof that prayer works.

God is on "our" side!

(Go ahead and laugh you heathen atheists. But I for one do not expect to see your sorry behinds upstairs at St. Peter's gates as the rest of us believers flock in for our heavenly rewards. You'll see. You'll see. The Lord is my Shepard. I shall not think. Yeah, though I walk through the valley of depletion, I shall not fear.)

Newspaper story on Pray & Affirm

A choir and crowd gets 'em less than an inch of rain. Imagine how much handling poisonous snakes will bring.

The fact they called the prayer meeting for the day before the weather forecast actually called for rain is pure coincidence of course.

The Lord works in mysterious ways ;-)

Iraq becoming tougher with foreign companies signing Kurdistan oil contracts

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani said today that oil companies that have signed contracts with the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq would be barred from doing deals with the central government.

How much oil is in the green zone? :-)

Oil on the rise as of 3:20 GMT

USD/bbl, change, %
Tapis 98.29 , 1.50 , 1.55
Oman 87.14 , 2.79 , 3.2
Minas 96.54 , 1.57 , 1.63

I didn't see this above, maybe missed it yesterday?


But despite CSP's obvious selling points, it has many obstacles to get past before it becomes reality. And in what would be the ultimate twist of irony, some of CSP's biggest opponents in the future could in fact be environmentalists.

The article is hyped, but I kinda like CSP in its various flavors and would like to see some large projects started...

Some large projects online or planned in US: the 64 MW Nevada Solar One is in operation, and PG&E has signed contracts with Solel for 533 MW CSP, to be online 2010-11.

The article is okay for a skim, and there's a good tie to desalination opportunities, and I like the EU focus, but could lose a lot of people with this early paragraph,

"Like photovoltaic systems (PV), CSP relies on the sun to work. But where PV relies on mirrors to directly translate the sun's rays into energy, CSP uses the sun to heat water, or other liquids, to high temperatures, whose resulting steam is then used to drive turbines that create electricity."

PV does not rely on mirrors, and PV 'translates' sunlight into electric energy, aka electricity (and an equal amount or so of thermal energy, heat, which is generally a nuisance).

"New database shows big warming emitters"

Top Link, third down.

This is one of the most informative links I've seen in a long while. Amazing-learned more about local generation here in a couple minutes. Both CO2 and total megawatt production.

Great source, since it was added at the end of the day, at least to me, I hope it might be included again tomorrow.


Top link is AP story, actual site is:


Thanks Leanan

I've bookmarked the website. Very simple. Hopefully they'll add more coal-fired and gas-fired plants to the US map, as right now there's less than half a dozen shown.

I found that if you manipulate the page there is actually much more information than that. I agree that the interface is odd however.

Yes with a little more time I can see it is very comprehensive. What works best for me is to use the site's search box and put in zip code or state etc.

Nice overlay with google maps.

T Boone Pickens comment at halftime of a recent football game said that production of oil globally has peaked at 85 mbd but Whitaker here
also says that Matt Simmons, also a peak oil believer, forecasts oil production at 39 mbd by 2030.

I didn't know that Simmons had made forecasts that far out. Does anyone recall Simmons making that prediction?

"Bank's grim warning over UK economy":


"The governor of the Bank of England issued a stark warning yesterday of a looming economic slowdown as he signalled that the next year will be the toughest for Britain in a decade.
Putting investors on high alert for a sharp fall in share prices, Mervyn King said the period ahead would be marked by slower growth, rising inflation, a weakening housing market and a falling pound. He expressed surprise that global stock markets had so-far shrugged off evidence of the slowdown.
City economists said the gloomy tone of the inflation report hinted at [interest] rate cuts early in the new year."

The pound fell to a 4-year low against the Euro yesterday, at just over 1.40.

...and now (12.20 GMT) below 1.40. If you are looking at the strength/weakness of the $, compare to the Euro, not the £ which will likely take a hiding in coming months.