DrumBeat: December 11, 2007

IEA exec says oil supply crunch looms

A prominent energy economist warned Tuesday that global oil markets are at risk of being under-supplied as national oil companies gain greater control of the world's petroleum supplies.

Some 37.5 million barrels a day of additional oil-production capacity is needed by 2015, but only 25 million barrels a day are planned, International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol said.

To narrow the gap, major oil producers, especially OPEC members, must ramp up production, Birol said, while major oil consumers, including the U.S., must make policy changes to ease demand.

Tales of oil industry's influence in Alaska

In grainy, secretly recorded hotel-room videotapes, executives with Alaska's biggest oil-services company plot ways to craft an industry-friendly version of a pending oil-tax rewrite, brag about how they "own" key politicians and hand out wads of cash to lawmakers, who swear their fealty.

"Never forget who takes you to the dance," says former House Speaker Pete Kott, pointing to VECO Corp. Chairman and heavyweight Republican patron Bill Allen, in one of the tapes. "I had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow, and lie."

Saskatchewan may be sitting on oil bonanza

Saskatchewan could be sitting on 25 billion to 100 billion barrels of sweet, light crude oil in the Bakken formation in the southeast part of the province, according to industry and government estimates.

Iran mulls ending gasoline rationing

Iran's deputy oil minister says the government plans to end the gasoline rationing scheme by end of the next Iranian year, March 2009.

Probably by end of the next Iranian year (March 2009), fuel rationing will end, Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh said, adding, "We are trying to control consumption on the one hand and increase production on the other."

Algeria says bombs won't deter serious investors

Twin car bombs in Algiers won't deter investors with serious plans in oil- and gas-exporting Algeria, Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said.

Shell sets up lab in Hawaii to research algae as biofuel

Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Tuesday it will build a facility in Hawaii to grow and test algae for its potential as a biofuel.

Ice storm trips power, paralyzes key U.S. oil hub

A deadly ice storm in the U.S. heartland triggered power outages that paralyzed parts of the most important U.S. oil hub, threatening supplies to the region's oil refineries.

The storm knocked out power to more than 800,000 in the U.S. Central plains and forced Enbridge to shut its 16.7 million barrel oil terminal at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point of the New York Mercantile Exchange crude contract.

"Until we get power we cannot move the oil. There is some damage to our own distribution infrastructure, but right now it mainly depends on how quickly Oklahoma Gas and Electric can restore power to the area," said Enbridge spokesman Larry Springer.

Outside View: Russian oil, gas drying up?

Russia must increase investment in oil and gas exploration and production, and save its energy resources, say German scientists.

"At the current level of production, (Russia's) reserves will have been used up in around 22 years," says a report by the Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) released Dec. 4.

China Nov crude oil imports up 1 pct on yr

China's crude oil imports rose 1 percent in November from a year earlier to 13.61 million tonnes, preliminary government data showed on Tuesday, as the country suffered through a serious domestic fuel shortage.

South Africa: Fuel shortage puts Eskom under pressure

Amid fears of a diesel shortage in the Western Cape this festive season, Eskom says a liquid fuel shortage is "aggravating a very serious situation" of rolling blackouts.

Fuel Shortage and Winter Cold Bite Nepal

More than a month after the government raised gasoline prices here to $4.25 per gallon in an attempt to normalize supply, there are still long lines at the pumps, which open briefly when a tanker arrives, then close again as soon as the fuel is sold. Day-long waits are common; some drivers queue up overnight, sleeping in their vehicles.

Egg prices break new ground: Price of a dozen triples in a year

“The cost of feed, transportation and packaging have all gone up. Chickens eat corn and soy, and both are being used to make ethanol fuel. Styrofoam packaging is a petroleum derivative. Transportation to bring it to the store uses more petroleum.”

GM starts new design shop for Volt

GM has taken another step toward bringing its Volt plug-in electric car to market by opening a new studio where work is being done exclusively on its next generation of electric vehicles.

Minding the gas gauge

Most of us behave as if our globe's tank still has plenty of gas as well, ignoring the possibility that it could ever run out. In fact, a tiny fringe actually rejects the conventional view that our oil was formed in finite supply over millions of years by the accumulation and compression of numberless trillions of microscopic organisms.

Proponents of this view believe, instead, that our petroleum supply is practically infinite, that crude-oil deposits are somehow regularly replenished from sources deep within the earth.

We easily see through a bizarre wish-fulfillment fantasy like this one, but we ignore just as easily the doomsayers who argue that we're within a few years, one way or the other, of the peak of worldwide oil production. From here on out, they say, cheap and easily accessible oil will be a thing of the past. The corollary to this grim predicament is that we're going to be increasingly inclined to fight over what's left.

Pakistan: Crisis as oil stocks hit rock bottom

Pakistan’s oil reserves have plummeted to the lowest-ever level in the country’s history and the stocks of major oil products — kerosene and diesel — are sufficient for six days only.

Under the standard operating procedures (SOPs), the government and its companies are required to maintain a minimum of 21-day stocks of every product at all times to cope with any eventuality. The SOPs are defined in the ‘Blue Book’ meant for strategic government organisations to handle crises.

India: State heading for energy crisis

'Dark age' looms large over Orissa in the coming years even as the Government tomtoms its achievements in energy sufficiency.

A huge gap between supply and demand stares at the State.

UK: Diesel Shortage As Weather Delays Fuel

Gale force winds and rough seas have meant a tanker carrying a cargo load of diesel and petrol has been unable to dock at the Plymouth fuel depot and distribute fuel to garages in Torquay, say petrol station bosses.The Esso Garage, Avenue Road, Torquay has been left without diesel after its delivery from the depot was disrupted by gale force winds and downpours of rain over the weekend.

Eyeing Rising Oil Prices, US Gas Cos Seek Black Gold

EOG Resources Inc.'s Web site still says: "When you think natural gas, think EOG."

But these days, the Houston independent is steering an increasing amount of its funds away from gas drilling and toward an even more valuable resource in today's commodity markets: oil.

Texas-size oil refinery in works

In the U.S., Shell and Saudi Aramco have a strategy of building a high-tech refinery that can handle the worst – and cheapest – types of crude oil. Doing so keeps costs low and profit margins as wide as possible.

$18bn investment is needed for pipelines

The Middle East will need to invest nearly $18 billion for the construction of pipelines and compression or pumping stations over the next five years.

Surmont oil sands project begins commercial production

After 10 years, ConocoPhillips Co. and Total SA's vast Surmont oil sands venture has begun commercial production.

ConocoPhillips, the third-largest energy company in the United States, and France's Total are co-owners of the Surmont project, located about 60 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray in Alberta's oil sands. The Surmont project began as a pilot in 1997. In June, 2003, the companies launched commercial development using an energy-intensive process called steam-assisted gravity drainage.

Refinery proposal draws crowd

More than 200 people showed up at Beresford last night to learn more about a proposed $10 billion oil refinery north of Elk Point.

Employees and consultants from Hyperion Energy of Dallas held the first of 3 meetings to answer questions about their plans for the facility.

Oil & Gas Industry Leaders, Investment Opportunities

Mexico’s national oil company (Pemex) has only nine years of proven oil reserves at current production rates, and the company is hoping to find new deposits in deeper waters of the Gulf to compensate for declining output at its traditional areas. Pemex plans to begin producing oil at deep water projects in 2014.

PMI offers county incentives to reduce pipeline impact

A controversial pipeline proposed to be built in the eastern part of the county to transport fuel to Mexico may not have the same impact on the community if Commissioners Court agrees to accept concessions offered by the company.

The 10-inch line, to be installed by PMI Holdings North America Inc., would carry gasoline across about 14 miles of the county, in the same vicinity as the Longhorn Pipeline, to provide gasoline to Mexico's nationalized Pemex oil company.

Real reasons OPEC snubbed production increase

The non increment of production quota by the members of the Organisation Petroleum Exporting countries OPEC to ease the price of crude oil, which interestingly has been on the high side for sometime now, experts say, "do not come as surprise". This, according to keen observers of the activities of the world’s apex oil regulatory body, is because the group has always insisted that there was enough crude oil in the market and that, it was not a lack of enough volume of the commodity is creating the continued upward swing of oil prices.

Mexico senators begin Pemex reform talks

Mexican senators began hammering out a modest reform of the struggling energy sector on Monday, possibly loosening the barriers to private-sector participation.

Hybrids responsible choice but still a stopgap in energy crisis

Driving a hybrid is merely stopgap. Its technology is dated — the first hybrid was actually built in 1901 — and likely to be replaced with something better. I predict that when I’m ready to get rid of it — I usually hang onto a car for seven or eight years — no one will even want to buy it because it burns too much gasoline. By then, CNGs (compressed natural gas), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and who knows what other new techno-wonder will be standard. By then, people will be using air and water to power their automobiles. Anyway, that’s what I hope.

What your CEO drives says a lot about the dude

A car can say a lot about the person in the corner office. "Of all the products in the world, cars are the most reliable representation of an individual's personality," says Golden Gate University psychology chair Kit Yarrow.

What CEOs drive offers a look into their personal engine blocks. Some drive hybrids to be green. Others favor older cars to show they can milk the most from available resources. Then, there are those who want expensive and fast because they're at the top and won't settle for less.

New solar systems

Widespread anxiety about the damaging effects of burning fossil fuels, coupled with a genuine fear that oil and gas will become scarce before the century ends are fueling a renewed interest in renewable energy and, in particular, solar power solutions.

Cameco unlikely to meet 2011 Cigar Lake target

Cameco jumped a hurdle last week when it got a two-year permit extension for overhaul of its flooded Cigar Lake uranium mine in Canada, but analysts say the miner's forecasts of output by 2011 are too optimistic.

With the mine expected one day to supply over 10 percent of the world's mined uranium, any further delays starting production would put upward pressure on uranium spot prices that have already hit a record high earlier this year.

Thunder, Hail, Fire: What Does Climate Change Mean for the U.S.?

The regional effects range from more wildfires in the west to stronger storms in the east.

Bali needs to know - can China go green?

According to several international studies in recent months, China's emissions have not only surged past the U.S. level, but also are growing at a rate that far outstrips wealthy nations' capacity to decrease theirs. Even if China met its own targets to reduce energy intensity (consumption per unit of economic output), its emissions would increase by about 2.5 billion metric tons over the next five years, the data show. This total is far larger than the 1.1 billion tons in reductions imposed by the Kyoto Protocol on developed nations, including the United States, which has since withdrawn from the treaty.

2012 or bust

This UN conference is crucial because time is rapidly running out to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels that could redraw the face of the planet and devastate our economies in the coming decades.

U.S. Opposes 25-40 Percent Cuts in Climate Proposal

The Bush administration, which has long rejected mandatory limits on global warming pollution, opposes a United Nations draft proposal calling on developed countries to make binding emissions cuts of 25-40 percent by 2020.

``Our principal difficulty with having any numbers in the text to begin with is that it might prejudge outcomes,'' senior U.S. climate negotiator Harlan Watson said today at a news conference on the Indonesian island of Bali, where almost 200 countries are gathered to begin talks for a new climate accord.

The Oil Industry's Future: An Illusory Platform

It felt like I'd just walked onto the set of the sequel to Jurassic Park. There was an industry dinosaur who I'd thought was gone for good.

But no. Former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond, and his colleagues at the National Petroleum Council, an industry committee that advises the Secretary of Energy on key issues of concern, released "Hard Truths: Facing the Hard Truths about Energy" (a report about the future of the oil and gas industry) Monday at the American Enterprise Institute."

Spend on public transport, not an M74 ext

Your description of the problems with the Kingston Bridge is a perfect example. Built to cope with 20,000 vehicles daily and now carrying nine times that number, it's a clear demonstration that congestion isn't a function of "not enough road", but one of "too much traffic". Even without the new imperatives of climate change and peak oil, how long can this go on? Relentless increases in road traffic will leave this latest project as worthless as every previous predict-and-provide fallacy.

Two critical (but tentative) green victories hang in the balance

The eyes of the world are now on the US Senate. Our oil-endangered species anxiously awaits even a tiny American step toward fighting global warming and saving the planetary environment.

But the battered and embattled Energy Bill now being held hostage by the Republican neo-con minority hides two huge victories tentatively won by the No Nukes/safe energy movement. If those victories hold, the odds on human survival could take a quiet but huge leap forward.

Dennis Kucinich: Winning a losing campaign

Part of the secret to Kucinich's appeal is that he is remarkably accepting. He attracts and takes seriously a lot of people who, like Kucinich himself, hold "strange" ideas and hold them passionately. People who are intense, a little off-kilter, who lean in to talk to you and won't stop talking about whatever it is that makes them angry. People who twitch and shift and kind of STARE when they ask questions about peak oil, 9/11 conspiracy theories or veganism. These people don't scare Kucinich. He loves them.

Green gifts: 'Oh, you shouldn't have — really!'

So you got a goat for Christmas.

Well, not you specifically, but a family in an African village got a goat, thanks to a donation made in your name by your do-gooder sister as a holiday gift to you. You, however, would have been happier with a luxury goatskin handbag.

Still, you feel guilty about being disappointed, and what about those hapless African villagers? So you smile and trill, "Wonderful!" Inside, you're peeved, on the way to seething.

Dems cite manipulation in climate report

The White House has systematically tried to manipulate climate change science and minimize the dangers of global warming, asserts a Democratic congressional report issued after a 16-month investigation.

..."The Bush administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming," the report concludes.

Parents should pay climate change tax on extra kids: expert

Parents who have more than two children should be charged a lifelong climate change tax to offset the effect of their extra greenhouse gas emissions, an Australian medical expert has proposed.

They should pay 5,000 dollars (4,400 US) a head for each extra child and up to 800 dollars every year thereafter, according to the plan published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

In contrast, contraceptives and sterilisation procedures would be eligible for carbon credits, suggested Professor Barry Walters at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth.

At Bali climate change meeting, a hard look at Kyoto

Efforts to start two years of talks aimed at crafting a new global pact on climate change enter their most intense phase this week. Ministers from more than 180 countries arrive Wednesday to give final shape to a framework for the talks, which could begin as early as next June.

But even as they look to the future, ministers also will be dealing with the present – giving a final burnish to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol before turning it loose next year. The protocol's first – and perhaps only – enforcement period begins Jan. 1 and runs through 2012.

Climate Change's Health Effects May Surprise, WHO's Chan Says

Global climate change may have unexpected consequences on human health, including the spread of diseases such as malaria in the U.S., said Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization.

Canada could "derail" climate talks: activists

A leaked government document suggests Canada could derail talks to reach a post-Kyoto agreement at the UN conference in Bali, Indonesia, with a set of priorities that go against Kyoto principles, climate activists said Saturday.

Darfur rebel group claims it attacked Chinese-run oil field

A Darfur rebel group claimed it attacked an Chinese-run oil field in central Sudan on Tuesday forcing more than 1,000 soldiers to flee the area.

Khalil Ibrahim, the powerful leader of the Darfur's rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement, said rebels attacked the oil field early Tuesday and forced three Sudanese army battalions, which were protecting the oil fields, to flee. The attack, which could not immediately be independently confirmed, was the latest attempt by the rebel group to broaden the battle beyond the western Darfur region.

Bodman: 'Clear And Present Challenge' To Meet US Fuel Demand

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, addressing a crowd at Motiva Enterprises LLC's Port Arthur refinery, said that oil refiners must expand their capacity to meet rising demand, which coupled with increased prices, has placed an "indirect" tax on families.

He said that companies must respond to a "new energy reality that sees world demand increasing substantially in the next two decades."

This demand growth, Bodman said, will be a "clear and present challenge to America's facilities."

Explosion, fire injures 3 workers at Philly refinery

The Fire Marshal's office says a welding torch appears to have touched off an explosion and fire that injured three people at a Sunoco oil refinery in South Philadelphia.

Norway says not mulling "green" cuts to oil output

Norway's leftist finance minister said the government was not considering cutting oil production for environmental concerns, although she wanted a debate on how quickly more acreage should be opened up for exploration after 2009.

Greenpeace is wrong — we must consider nuclear power

In its recently issued final report for 2007, the IPCC makes a number of unambiguous references to the fact that nuclear energy is an important tool to help bring about a reduction in fossil fuel consumption. Greenpeace has already made it clear that it disagrees. How credible is it for activists to use the IPCC scientists' recommendations to fuel apocalyptic fund-raising campaigns on climate change and then to dismiss the recommendations from the same scientists on what we should do to solve it?

Japan Approves Oil Relief Plan, Subsidizes Kerosene

The Cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda approved a plan to subsidize heating oil for people on low incomes or who live in colder areas, part of a package of proposed relief measures to cope with high oil prices.

"We must alleviate the burden of petroleum prices on Japan's economy," Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Hiroko Ota said. The Cabinet will meet again by the end of the year to work out specifics of the subsidies, she said.

Big Oil lets sun set on renewables

Shell, the oil company that recently trumpeted its commitment to a low carbon future by signing a pre-Bali conference communique, has quietly sold off most of its solar business.

The move, taken with rival BP's decision last week to invest in the world's dirtiest oil production in Canada's tar sands, indicates that Big Oil might be giving up its flirtation with renewables and going back to its roots.

Ecuador to drill park unless world pays

Ecuador will open bidding for a major oil project in a jungle nature reserve in June if the poor Andean country does not receive international funding to abandon the proposal, the oil minister said Monday.

Colorado: Beyond the Boom - a special report

Colorado is on the front end of what may prove the greatest natural resource boom in its history, with more than 33,000 oil and gas wells pumping and tens of thousands more on the drawing board. It is a multi-billion dollar energy bonanza with potentially enormous social and environmental consequences for the state.

In Beyond the Boom, four days of special reports beginning Dec. 10, the Rocky Mountain News will examine whether Colorado is ready to deal with the phenomenon that could shape its future for decades to come.

'The biggest environmental crime in history'

BP, the British oil giant that pledged to move "Beyond Petroleum" by finding cleaner ways to produce fossil fuels, is being accused of abandoning its "green sheen" by investing nearly £1.5bn to extract oil from the Canadian wilderness using methods which environmentalists say are part of the "biggest global warming crime" in history.

George Monbiot: The real answer to climate change is to leave fossil fuels in the ground

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the answer! Incredible as it might seem, I have stumbled across the single technology which will save us from runaway climate change! From the goodness of my heart, I offer it to you for free. No patents, no small print, no hidden clauses. Already this technology, a radical new kind of carbon capture and storage, is causing a stir among scientists. It is cheap, it is efficient and it can be deployed straight away. It is called ... leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

Climate change goal 'unreachable'

In public, climate scientists and European politicians are generally optimistic that rising carbon dioxide levels and temperatures can be curbed.

In private, some are less sanguine; but there has been a widespread unwritten code of optimism to avoid being accused of scaremongering or creating despair.

A new Finance Round-Up by ilargi has been posted at TOD:Canada.

Foreclosure Avoidance
A Society that is Psychologically Bent On Avoiding the Brutal Facts

Most will agree that as a society, we cannot spend our way into prosperity. In fact, many, even the most ardent bulls, will acknowledge that we have some serious issues to address in our current economy. From preliminary reports, this rate freeze will have a very minimal impact on the overall housing market.

Housing related stocks are up and with the prospect of further rate cuts, all seems well until you start facing the brutal reality of what is occurring.

Click graphs to enlarge in new window

If memory serves, the ratio of total public and private debt to GDP for the US was around 150% in the late Twenties, doubling to about 290% in the Thirties, as GDP collapsed.

Recently, the ratio was over 300%.

A question I asked last year was the following. What percentage of GDP in the Roaring Twenties was related to non-discretionary spending?

In other words, if we look at the ratio of total debt to GDP, not only are we now far worse off in total terms than in 1929, our debt relative to non-discretionary GDP is probably far greater.

I've used Thom Hartmann's' description of a high tech company that he consulted for. They had the appearance of enormous economic activity--until they ran out of venture capital funding and closed their doors without ever delivering a real product.

All of this suggests an absolutely ferocious collapse in discretionary spending in the US.

...and consider that upto 70% of the American Economy is driven by the US consumer...

Has it started, the shopping malls over here in the UK seem packed with people 'loading up their credit cards'?

I think 2008 could be a very very bad year. Note StuartSs article on how a recession may mask PO by curtailing demand just as we approach peak...


I don't know about the other old farts who post on TOD but the Depression impacted my life tremendously even though I was born toward the end of it. My dad's father lost his business and went from lower upper class to upper poor while my mom's parents have several families living in their house.

I looked at all of this and swore I would do my best to insulate myself from the vagaries of the economy so far as possible. This eventually included giving up my career in the chemical industry and millions in potential income to move to the boondocks where I could produce most of my food if necessary and provide my own heat and power. And, naturally, with no debt.

It is saddening that so many people today do not have the historical perspective to understand how things can collapse.


I've put it this way: produce or perish. We are going to be forced to once again become a nation of producers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
“The End of Cheap Food” Cover Headline of Economist Magazine, December 10, 2007

It has been calculated by a number of credible sources that roughly 80% of retail price of food in the U.S. was to pay for the fossil fuel inputs of oil and natural gas into cultivating, fertilizers, pesticides, harvesting, transportation, etc… of our food. If the cost of fossil fuels doubles (not an unlikely event in my opinion) does the price of food rise 80%, or might it be more?

I prefer to believe that the market will respond quickly with more locally and personally produced food products, and if this means my neighborhood smells more like a barnyard street market in Peru than a fresh cut lawn in spring how will that affect housing values in my neighborhood? JUST KIDDING!! (about housing values in my neighborhood, pretty serious about the rest) Had you for a second… People will respond, working class and poor folks simply won’t be able to afford not to (if I may use the double negative). How else can a population with ZERO savings afford a near doubling of their food and energy costs?

Can you imagine, instead of marching for a cure for breast or prostate cancer, we have Johnny Appleseed marches for fruit trees and raspberry bushes? Al Sharpton marching for equal rights to inner city gardening space? Martha Stewart giving instruction on not just goat cheese dressing, but on milking the goat as well?

My neighbor had her lawn people out earlier this week, spraying her lush green St Augustine with a combo herbacide/feed. (Of course some of it drifts toward my otherwise organic garden.) Yup, with all we know about what's going on in the world, making sure that grass stays looking good strikes me as one of the best possible uses of my time and money.

The same issue places much of the blame for the high increases in food prices on the devotion of corn to ethanol. Food prices have jumped 75% in real terms since 2005. "This year biofuels will take up a third of America's (record) maize harvest".

Yes, perhaps we need to produce or perish. But let us not lose site of what is driving these record food prices. Why people are not protesting in the streets is a mystery to me. Have they not noticed?

If we are going to be forced to be a nation of producers, let it not be because of this misguided policy on encouraging biofuels, especially corn based ethanol.

Why people are not protesting in the streets is a mystery to me. Have they not noticed?

I suspect the reason is the same as for why $3+ gasoline has not caused the meltdown some expected. Over the last three to four decades the portion of our income that we spent on both gasoline and food has decreased. So, while we are being forced to spend more on these items, the impact is not what it would have been in the past. We are likely shifting our spending from non-essentials into these areas without feeling it as excessive pain (especially as we can get those low low prices at Walmart).

especially as we can get those low low prices at Walmart

through the Chinese subsidies in fuel and labor.

Talking of food (from the FT, so subscription may be required):

Concerns over food inflation as harvests fail

The global economy is facing a second wave of food inflation after the US agriculture department on Tuesday warned of significant falls in stocks of corn, wheat and soyabean and heavy demand.

Officials forecast US wheat stocks would shrink to their lowest level in 60 years, dropping from 312m bushels to 280m by the end of the 2007-08 crop year.
Cold weather damaged crops in Argentina and drought affected Australia’s wheat production. Flooding also damaged European crops.

Michael Lewis, of Deutsche Bank in London, said the decline in stocks and rising shortages in large parts of Asia suggested 2008 "could deliver another year of . . . price shocks".

My local chain grocery store is starting to sell more fruit with a "Grown in Missouri" label...

Martha Stewart milking a goat.. now that's something I would like to see!


The cost of oil went from $12 to around $90 dollars. By the line of reasoning above the cost of food should have gone up by at least a factor of 8. Well, it didn't.

We can afford a doubling of our fuel costs because they are a small enough percentage of total costs. We'll be poorer after that doubling, but not totally wiped out.

The US economy is doing $13 trillion a year. At $100 per barrel and 21 million barrels a day that would count up to $767 billion. Double that and we are at about $1.5 trillion. Still a much smaller number than $13 trillion. But at $200 per barrel lots of ways to reduce oil usage become cost effective. So we will buy less oil at $200 per barrel and even less at $300 per barrel.

Your simple analysis omits one fact. In 1973 the US imported only 25% of its oil consumed. Today that fraction is 2/3 or 65% (when counting refined petroleum products). So if oil were at $200 per barrel and US still using 21m per day, the annual capital outflow would be $1 trillion per year for oil energy alone. Add in consumer goods of around $500 billion and you get a drain on capital that is not sustainable.

The simple fact is that we cannot afford $200/barrel for very long as the oil dollars leaving the country cause a further decline in $$ value and result in foreign countries and companies owning our corporations, housing stock and eventually our land. Food price increase due to high cost of imported oil is just the tip of the iceberg for economic problems

We'd have to sell more stuff if we needed to spend more on oil. That size of flow of money into the US would give oil producers a lot of money to buy goods and services that we produce. They'd spend that money.

right, those ayerabs need lots of greezy burgers and as the price of oil goes to $ 200, $300 .......they will consume even more, just to keep the balance of payments in line.

This petrodollar recycling has enabled a lot of oil dollars to flow right back to where they came from in an endless upward spiral.

The real crunch for the US could come when this cosy system -setup since the war- of the dollar being the defacto reserve currency begins to falter and we may be seing serious cracks now. Already Venezula, Iran, Russia and others are talking of oil priced in baskets of currencies, Roubles, etc. As they increasingly control the supply over the next decade a new oil purchase currency could emerge as an alternative (The Arabs originally wanted to be paid in Gold but where convinced to take paper).

At this point the US really could find itself in a difficult position as then no one would need to buy its currency in order to purchase oil. As a result Interest rates would have to rise significantly in order to bolster the currency and attract foreign cash inflows. There would be little room for the type of manouvre that Greenspan and Bernanke pulled off without toasting the dollar and the US Economy.


Sure, it changes your whole outlook on life.

My family came out of WW2 dirt poor, basically with the clothes on our back. I was a kid then, but I remember.

What people fail to understand is that if everything is taken away from everyone, in a free system the old ranks are reestablished in a relatively short time.

I was raised by grandparents who lived thru it.Grandmother who lost here first child to starvation in a soddy in Oklahoma while her husband tried to find work on the railroad

I would say they have colored my thinking a bit.I ALWAYS have 6-12 months food,which has served me well in the past,when layoffs were a normal part of my workyear,due to Paul Volker.

That things can collapse....and DO

The Depression started before 1929.

"This decade has featured record debt levels, extreme income inequality not seen since 1928 -- according to the New York Times [registration required] in 2005 the top 1% (over $348,000 in income) took home 21.8% -- their largest share of national income since 1928, and a negative savings rate of -0.7% -- last seen in 1933 -- the depths of the Great Depression."


And only ended with Pearl Harbor.

"Depression conditions of 1930 began to affect the county by March of 1930."

Pink Slips, Christmas Parties and Burning Warehouses-
typical Depreesion entering fare.

"They thought we could ape Japan and have a weak currency AND a powerful military empire at the same time. This is, of course, impossible. Rome, Spain, China and England all tried that in the past 3,000 years and the results are always the same: bankruptcy and collapse.

The most irritating thing about the news media and online commentary has been the flood of nit-picking. It is as if the USA were reading our death sentence and then feeling triumph because we detect a grammatical error. The many messages appearing in front of our eyes via the news stream can't be ignored but the job of connecting all these things, the environment, diplomacy, economics and wars, is often not attempted. The need to keep a sense of glory and power is so great, all other information is ignored to our collective peril."


The Depression started before 1929.

Nonsense! The events that caused the Great Depression started well before 1929 but not the depression itself. The events that will cause TEOAWKI are happening right now, but the but not the collapse itself. Causal events are not the same thing as the actual event itself.

Ron Patterson

I remember, as a kid, going out with the family and wandering the river banks in Scotland picking blackberries for jam, and preserves. And we were not alone, you could see families out almost every weekend during the season.

This summer when I went back, the bushes were laden, and not a picker in sight. (Well perhaps one - and I still had to scrub my hands to hide the stains).

In 1992, on our first trip to the UK, we made the trip to Haworth, in Yorkshire (my wife is a Bronte fan). We made the pilgrimage up to the ruins of an old farmhouse that was supposed to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. On the way down, we stopped at the "Bronte Waterfall" and had a picnic, finished off with wild blueberries.


As a student of The Derpression, I can say that its first victims were in the farming sector, which started its slide into depression in 1920-21, and was very immesierated by 1929. A combination of weather and depressed prices crippled most farmers who used credit to expand their production to take advantage of very high prices caused by WW1 (Europe's farms essentially shutdown).

A second point is the new electric appliance based consumer age could only count on about 1/4 of the populace as buyers for its new products; and those folks that bought the new-fangled radios, toasters, etc., only bought one (and those products were built to last--planned obsolescence hadn't been put into practice yet) because our modern "Buy, Buy, Buy" mantra and its plastic cash hadn't become ingrained. And people were still prudent with their money--They saved it in anticipation of the hard times that always come, which slows down the velocity of money.

Remember, there were no "automatic stabilizers" operating in the economy then--unemployment and disability insurance, social security and medicare (devices the neoliberalcons have tried very hard to destroy). So before 1929, the US economy was already in a world of hurt, unless one was a member of the Leisure Class engaged in Conspicuous Consumption (Great book, by the way--Theory of the Leisure Class by Veblen). Perhaps the best small book to document this is "The Economic History of the United States, Volume VIII: Prosperity Decade, From War to Depression 1917-1929" by George Soule (1947)[1964]. When we talk of the great discontent in agraria, it must be recalled that by FRR's innauguration in 1933 those folks were in many cases at the end of thier ropes. We talked about this just last night, and I asked the question: Imagine if the Joads (Grapes of Wrath) had modern firearms (there's currently more than one firearm per person in the USA, not counting military weapons)?

As a student of The Derpression...

am i hearing Helicopter?

I am hearing True American Speech here, it's really pronounced "derpression" here you know. Also, the US has no use for professionals, it's "perfessionals" and has been for quite some time.

Damn! I even proof read the body. At least I capitalize I and the first word of a sentence.

Hi Fleam. The book title you wanted is The Jungle.

it was a joke about somebody not the spelling.

karkof, there was another Black Swan in the run-up to the second Great Depression ( the first Great Depression was in the 1890's, as I recall, and was called 'The Great Depression' at the time). That would be the Hurricane of 1926, which caused a crash in the Florida real estate bubble (perhaps I should say "the first Florida real estate bubble : )

History may or may not repeat, but it sure as hell rhymes.

Errol in Miami

There was a farm sector depression before 1929, but I guess it wasn't considered significant. That the farm sector crisis was related to overproduction and environmental factors certainly is worth considering today. Unlike that time, though, now food is getting expensive.

And even today, the farm sector is not considered very important outside of farming communities.

I saw a report sometime back that modeled the loss of productivity due to climate change in the U.S. I am drawing from recollection but it was something like 20% drop in productivity and higher variance. Now what did the economists think of that?

No big deal, because the ag. sector is only ca. 5% of our GDP, a loss of 20% there means only a 1% decline in GDP.

I believe this attitude prevails today among the elite economists who even care about the environment. Breathtaking ignorance about what butters their bread.

This is similar to the logic that says since energy is a smaller portion of the GDP we have less to worry about with scarcity of oil. My own take is exactly the opposite, a greater portion of the GDP depends on a smaller amount of an increasingly scarce resource.


That's my view as well - we are told that because of efficiency a gallon of oil today supports more of the economy than ever before.

Therefore does it not follow, take that gallon of oil away and you lose more GDP than ever before!

Is it (you and) me?

Bizarre, to say the least!

I think economists are just like most of the population (including us to some extent!) - in denial!

It's probably just normal human nature, to get us all safely through the day.

It work both ways without, I think, there being a contradiction.

The increased COST of oil will have less effect on the economy, but the decreased AVAILABILITY will have more effect on the economy.

While the western economies can afford the oil they need, which they will be able to do at higher prices than otherwise expected, business as usual.

Once nowhere is left to squeeze efficiencies or profit to pay the heigher oil prices, and consumption starts to actually drop (ie: demand-destruction / supply-constraint) the fun begins.

the phrase you are looking for is:

i feel like i am taking crazy pills

No farmers, no food.

No oil, no farmers. TEOAAWKI

This reminds me of the libertarians who think we should eliminate farm subsidies and "let the free market work." As if food is no different from Tickle-Me-Elmos.

Don't get me wrong; our farm subsidy system is flawed. But to eliminate it? That would be crazy. There's a reason why food production is subsidized in just about every nation. Namely, the customers will starve to death waiting for the free market to work.

The farm bill has been stalemated between the House and Senate since House approval in April, an amazingly long time for the bill. The present bill expires Jan 1.

A major reason is thought to be convincing urban reps that farmers even need a bill, or support, in these times of high prices.

Jason, I couldn't agree more. But, why are you surprised? I don't know about WELL, however, Sustainable Laytonville isn't doing squat even among those who showed interest. Why? My guess is that it hasn't come up and hit them with a 2x4 (so why expect economists to be any different). The only activity is that three of us meet for a long 1 1/2-2 hour lunch once a month. And, we DO discusss economics along with peak energy and how the future might play out. We even bring "handouts" and these often contain material pertainent to economics although I have to admit that I usualy bring handouts dealing with survival/making do. As an aside, I don't think the others would care if you came up to participate. Our next lunch is either Jan 2nd or 9th - I can't remember. Give me a call if you're interested. I'm in the phone book.

In the case of Ag, I am especially worried that a lot of people believe that they'll just stick some seeds in the ground and get instant food if production Ag fails to deliever the goods.


"In the case of Ag, I am especially worried that a lot of people believe that they'll just stick some seeds in the ground and get instant food if production Ag fails to deliever the goods."

Me too. And there's a lot of misunderstanding about land requirements for ag. People get flush with tomatoes in August and think they have the midas touch and with a little more effort they could be self-reliant. But trying producing a million calories for yourself, which is more about what you'd need to keep the cellular metabolism going for a year.

WELL is doing nicely. We have a lot of interest and activities still. It is less of a love-fest-oh-my-gosh-we are the ones we have been waiting for here we go changing the world...and more of a long, slow, slog beating back the forces of stupidity and getting mutually inspired from occasional flashes of brilliance and breakthrough.

I feel great having a small farm so I don't get sucked up too deeply in the events of the world or local politics, which can rapidly suck the life out of a quasi-introverted person like myself who thinks and cares.

Thanks for the invite. I will check into it.

Someone did a great chart a few months ago--an inverted pyramid--showing how the rest of the economy is so dependent on the tiny number of food & energy producers. Here's the article:

Upside down economics
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
The entire economy stands on the shoulders of agriculture, forestry, and mining (especially the extraction of oil, gas, coal and uranium) and on the utilities that deliver the energy mined in usable form.
first published July 29, 2007.

This method for depicting the economy was suggested to me by two things.

First, Liebig's Law of the Minimum states that an organism's growth is limited by the amount of the least available essential nutrient. In the case of world society that nutrient would be food, though many would argue that fossil fuels are the essential nutrient since so much food production depends on the use of fossil fuels and their derivatives including fertilizers and pesticides.

Second, a piece by Dmitry Podborits argues that it is nonsense to say that the U. S. economy is less vulnerable to oil supply disruptions today than in 1970s because it produces twice as much GDP per barrel of oil. Instead, Podborits suggests, we are more vulnerable to oil supply disruptions because we have so much more GDP balanced on each barrel of oil. The same argument might be made with respect to agriculture which in the United States in 1930 employed 21.5 percent of the workforce and made up 7.7 percent of GDP. In 2000 the numbers were 1.9 percent of the workforce and 0.7 percent of GDP. We are balancing an ever larger total economy on an agricultural economy that on a relative basis is shrinking. Certainly, we are getting more efficient, but are we becoming more vulnerable?

Thanks, this is just what I was recollecting.

Funny coincidence. Last night I was at a local meeting about municipal water supplies. The city manager and the water consultants pointed out that places that are really good at built-in conservation have a "hardening of demand" that makes it difficult to institute rationing in a crisis.

Made me think about energy too. And yet, when I bring up the energy vulnerability issue I am likely to get the economic efficiency argument. Now I have a counter example right out of the standard play book of water systems management and planning.

"Hardening of demand." Nice to know there's a name for it.

It occurred to me, reading about plans in the southeast to force everyone to cut their water use by 50%, that those who are already careful in their resource use could suffer the most.

It would be funny if it turned out that Americans had an easier time adjusting to oil scarcity than Europeans or Japanese, simply because we have so much room to cut back.

As someone living in the southeast, I have been figuring out ways to cut my water usage by 50%.

Mostly by collecting lake water, gray water and rain water in 5 gallon buckets and using it for laundry and toilet flushing.

But I'm afraid to actually start doing any of this till they force me to. If I voluntarily cut by 50% now I will not have anything to cut when the time comes.

Very interesting. Here in Northern California during a drought in the 1980s, this same irony of the system punished those of us who weren't wasteful with water whereas those who were had a lot more slack to cut when voluntary cutbacks (a flat-rate cutback across the board) were instituted.

This is why something like a per capita allocation is needed, rather than any historic use criteria.

Of course, the big consumers, who also tend to have the most money want it otherwise.

The same issues come up when deciding how to ration carbon emissions or fuel consumption.

Criteria of just allocation should be adopted.

Good luck!


If one can't guilt-trip the liberal aristocracy in San Francisco about this inequity (and people did try as far as I remember), your "good luck" is probably the best anyplace can hope for...

There wasn't time for them really to do an in depth analysis to create a list of who'd been naughty and nice.

Unfortunately, it would be a nightmare to try to figure out the number of people in each household to do the per capita allocation. You'd have illegals hiding and not getting counted in some homes, while other homes would suddenly find it convenient to temporarilly expand their household with friends and relatives while the count was being taken. And of course, people move in and out by the day.

It is only a little less of a nightmare to try to allocate based upon historic usage. However, that hard data is actually available, which is why that is what municipalities tend to use.

Maybe a better approach would be to use of percentage of area average usage vs. a percentage of individual address average usage, and allow them whichever is greater. This would help those whose usage was already far below average.

Shows how hard those instituting such measures actually think... or perhaps they just wanted to be seen to be doing something, and be damned with the minority of people already conserving - i.e. not doing what's fair, just what makes them look good to the majority and/or is easiest.

Negligent incompetence, laziness or corruption... yay!

I'm not sure it was anything other than the easiest way to try to muddle through.

Which is a lot of how everything "works."

"easiest way to try to muddle through"

Right. Which seems awfully similar to laziness and incompetence...

And "cost effectiveness" aka the cheapest "solution."

Hello WT,

Great posting! I think it is important to remember that countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, etc, have a much larger agricultural workforce than the US--but look at the problems they are having. Zimbabwe is a model for slow collapse due to out-migration to S. Africa and other places--I think the US will collapse much faster unless we really get started on relocalized permaculture and building strategic reserves of bicycles, wheelbarrows, canoes, NPK & grain reserves, etc.

IMO, Biosolar mission-critical investing, at every scale, is crucial for Foundation decline optimization. I hope the TOD engineers and scientists are carefully examining my integrated Hydrologic Cycle of SpiderWebRiding, windturbines, windcatcher architecture, aboveground canals, and freshwater greenhouses as a sound basis for the sequential building and enlargement of biosolar habitats.

To allow the US to become highly dependent upon imports of both NPK and FFs, and who knows what other critical materials, will be seen as tragically flawed strategic thinking by future generations. Of course, Pres. Carter's Sweater Speech, M K Hubbert, Admiral Rickover, Asimov, and others warned us about this decades ago. Hell, even Edison warned us back in the early 1900s, and Malthus another 100 years earlier than than Edison.

FDR was Satan!
The General weighs in--
The Republican Revolution delivers again
The greatest propaganda coup of the last century wasn't birthed at a stadium in Nuremberg or in the the dark recesses of the Kremlin, it was given life by an American president in an Oval Office meeting with his top advisers. That president was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his propaganda victory was the acceptance of the idea that the role of government was to serve the people.

Prior to FDR, government served only those who deserved it: the corporations. Indeed, it was merely a few decades earlier that corporations were granted personhood and at least one senator, after proudly stating he represented Standard Oil, proposed that Senate representation should be given to corporations rather than the states.

But all that changed with FDR. He and his successors perverted government's purpose by forcing it to address things like the 40 hour work week, workplace safety regulation, state subsidies for the elderly and the sick, and eventually, even civil rights.

The election of Ronald Reagan signaled the beginning of the end of this tyranny of the public good. We've come a very long way in the last 28 years in restoring the important master/servant relationship between corporations and government. I think a recent incident involving Haliburton subsidiary KBR and the US State Department serves as a great example of just how far we've come.

A little over two years ago, a group of KBR employees drugged and gang raped Jamie Leigh Jones, a 20-year-old female American staffer. Jones responded by attempting to report the incident and management reacted by ordering their security division to lock her up in a shipping container.

A sympathetic guard eventually allowed her to use his cellphone and she called her father. He, in turn, called his congressman who contacted the State Department and asked them to dispatch embassy personnel to free her and take her to a medical facility for treatment.

Jones was examined by a doctor who determined that she had been vaginally and anally raped multiple times by the KBR contractors.

At this point, the State Department had a decision to make. Should they allow the rape kit to be sent to the FBI and the Justice Department or given to Jones for a potential lawsuit (contractors are shielded by law from being arrested for anything) and by doing so, side with the young woman against the contractor, or should they seize it and give it to KBR--the company that had imprisoned her to keep her from complaining--and thus honor the sacred covenant Our Leader made with the owners in his ownership society.

As one would expect from any agency run by a good Republican soldier like Condi Rice, State sided with the contractor and gave the rape kit to KBR security, who promptly lost it.

No rape kit; no problem; the Republican revolution delivers again.

posted by Gen. JC Christian, Patriot

Hello high,

Thanks, I hadn't heard of this (amazingly enough).

A reference http://www.jamiesfoundation.org/

As far as the idea of government serving people, my impression is the federal agencies also embody a contradiction in that the "checks and balances" are missing. However, point well taken re: lack of accountability. Not to mention - prevention.

Tropical Storm Olga

Middle of December and still seeing tropical storms? Normal?

Also, I've lived in the midwest since 1998 and I've never seen ice storms like this. Its usually snow. What the heck is going on? I would guess that the air from the south is so much warmer than normal for this time of year, thus causing ice or freezing rain to fall instead of snow? =/

I lived in the "Old Ice Belt".

Shreveport to El Dorado to Tupelo, MS.

The Ice Belt moving North would be expected
with GW.

The belt is moving 25 miles N per year, I believe I read somewhere.

Tulsa's Airport was w/o electricity yesterday.

And that's never happened before.

25 miles a year? Talk about proof of warming. But most Americans think being ice-free is good news, thus they think we'll "get away with" global warming.

Now when we can start measuring the northward progress of the Malaria Belt...

Chalk me up as a winter lover. I love no poisonous snakes, few bugs (none bigger than an inch anyway), few if any troublesome diseases, etc.

Hello Speek,

Then maybe even Ellemeres Island won't be far enough north to enjoy a stiff, cold blizzard:

Scientist: 'Arctic is screaming'

I thought this article would get more play here yesterday, as many outlets picked it up. Seth Borenstein, AP science writer, was author.

To quote climate scientist Jay Zwally from above:

"the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."

Where to?

First applause for the US Postal Service, had delivery Monday and today

I have lived in Tulsa since 1975. This current ice storm is not the first bad one for NE Oklahoma. Winter of 1987 iced up this area, ought to remember, got married 2nd Jan :(.

One major problem is that everyone thinks that the utilities' easement is for growing trees, and then the power line come down...

The trees along my back fence line and the power lines were cut/butchered last summer, so as long as the feeders stay up so will electric supply. Did have to clear the drive way twice from fallen branches, the neighbor's tree.

Tropical Storm Olga

Wild-ass theory...
Summers are getting too hot for optimal hurricane formation (more wind shear, etc), so perhaps late season is becoming more optimal?

Hurricane behavior? Definitely not normal any more ...


I've lived in the midwest since 1955 and can remember a number of icestorms -- on the order of one every three or four years. It does seem they are more frequent and snow events less frequent than I remember from childhood. However, weather is notoriously changeable and NOT a good source of information about climate trends.


Agreed "Not a good source of...". I don't know about the rest of the place, but here on the north coast of OH (Toledo) we get at least one ice storm every year. For what it's worth. Lotsa years it rains on Christmas, sometimes no precip', sometimes lots of snow. Been that way for my 50 yr.s here. I still think, with the ice caps going away, we acknowledge the change in world wide climate patterns, whether due to natural cycles or man-made ignoramity, and pattern our behaviour accordingly.


I live in Florida. In and of itself this is not really that unusual. Check this out: http://www.eo.ucar.edu/basics/index.html


Dec. 10, 2007
Russian GDP on an Unexpected Rise

Russia’s GDP rose 7.6 percent in the third quarter of 2007, the Federal Statistics Agency said on Friday. The report has beaten estimates of analysts and the Economic Development and Trade Ministry suggesting that the crisis on world markets has affected Russian economy less than it was thought. The growth fueled by a rise in manufacturing industry, trade and construction is not likely to persist as the raw materials industry, education and health care are still trailing behind, experts say. . .

. . . As many oil fields are close to depletion an increase in production is hardly possible without major investments. . .

This doesn't say anything about natural gas.

It would seem like a portion of the natural gas being produced is from oil fields. If oil fields are near depletion, natural gas may be fine as the gas cap is produced, then peter out. So natural gas may decline also.

Does this make sense, or is it too big a leap?

Not all oil fields have gas caps, but virtually all oil fields produce associated gas. In any case (without getting into details regarding solution gas drive reservoirs), as oil production declines, gas cap production and associated gas production will ultimately also decline.

Total Texas gas production has fallen by about half, with more or less flat gas production recently as the Barnett Shale production has kicked in, while oil production is down by about 75%.

This newspaper seems like a complete garbage. Now I understand why it always claim that Russian oil production is not growing when every other reputable source would say otherwise. Now they showed their incompetence in all it's glory: "The growth ... is not likely to persist as the raw materials industry, education and health care are still trailing behind".

I'll leave education and health care alone to save space (despite the fact that most of Russian government investment have specifically targeted these areas), but I can list at least 10 countries that have a strong economy without rapid growth in "raw materials industry". Furthermore I think I can actually show an inverse correlation in most cases.

Anyway, here is something about the oil and Russia:

Russian oil exports amounted to about 199.383m tonnes in January-October, up 4.6 percent compared to the same period a year earlier


And more about "raw materials industry" in Russia:

Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement about a possible increase of the tax burden for extractive industries is downbeat news for the stock market


From our draft report on net exports by the top five net exporters:

Russia’s initial 10 year projected production decline rate is -5.1%/year plus or minus 2%. The projected rate of increase in consumption, which is heavily weighted toward recent consumption and therefore on the low side, is +0.3% plus or minus 0.8%. The initial 10 year projected net export decline rate is -8.2%/year, plus or minus 4%. Our middle case shows Russia approaching zero net exports in 2024, within a range from 2018 to 2029.

We believe that Russia’s post-Soviet rebound in production was primarily a result of Russia making up for what was not produced following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and based on our mathematical model, Russia has now “caught up” to where its post-1984 cumulative production should have been.

This summer Alfa Bank warned of problems with mature Russian oil fields because of rapidly rising water cuts. Just recently, Renaissance Capital brokerage said that excluding the Sakhalin-1 Field, daily crude output in Russia has been down year-on-year since May.

While Russia has significant possible reserves in frontier basins, there have been recent warnings that new fields in Eastern Siberia for example are too small and being developed too slowly to offset the production declines in Western Siberia.

I completely agree that Russian oil production (and even more so exports) will decline.

"Russia's auto market growth of 26% this year even has eclipsed growth in China (19%) and India (12%)". From this article in Businessweek:


There was some mention on CNBC this morning that Oil on the NYMEX was moving from backwardation toward contango. Yesterday the February contract closed only 9 cents below the January contract. The March was 16 cents below the Feb. and the April contract was just 21 cents below the March.

I predicted, on DrumBeats on Sep 23rd, that Oil would be Contango by the first of the year. Memmel replied that he expected I might be right but then he made a prediction: (Oil was trading at aroung $80 at the time.)

So my guess is we will probably see a major move in the price of oil in the next few months and my guess is actually down by up to 20 dollars a barrel with probably a small upward move to 85-90 proceeding it. So expect 60 dollar oil by Christmas. If I'm right I'll tell you why its actually pretty funny a bit of a duh.. moment.
And I'll tell you why later :)

I am anxiously awaiting his explination as to why oil will be at $60 a barrel by Christmas, two weeks from today.

(Big Grin!)

Ron Patterson

Is a contango stable?

If you were in charge of KSA oil sales, in a contango market, would you:

(a) Reduce near term sales and increase longer dated sales, getting a higher $ price, but waiting longer for your money with the associated depreciation risk? You would also have to find storage or reduce production - increasing per barrel costs

(b) Do nothing

(c) Reduce sales accross all dates to save for future generations?

I suspect that you will do (a) while the market is in enough contango that the increased price pays for the storage and dollar hedging. But the more you do (a), the more you would force the near term pricing up, working against the contango.

So I say a contango market, in a peaked oil environment, is only stable when it is minimally in contango.

What do you think?


Backwardation is still there.

And am I the only one noticing Cushing increasing by 700k
while the rest of the US drops by 8 million?

Is Cushing now the SPR of NYMEX?

Watch Wednesday. It'll be just as bad.

>Watch Wednesday. It'll be just as bad.

Why do you think that? Last week, a pipeline blew that prevent about 700k bpd from arriving from Canada. Presumably, that was fixed for this week. Additionally, OPEC appears to have increased production 40k bpd for November despite UAE being offline for much of November. Now, in December, we should expect a big jump in OPEC production. So, why would you expect a repeat of last week's inventory report.

And why do you continually go nuts with your predictions? Do you have some exceptional expertise that gives your predictions any value? Just about everyday you are on here predicting something apocalyptic and soon (ie, depression by Christmas). One wonders if you know what a depression is.

Busheconomics 101 ===>

In case of recession, add more money to the economy.

In case of voter discontent, add more money to the economy.

In case of being low in the opinion polls, add more money to the economy.


Whether or not a recession might be measured, it seems like there is going to be more money in the economy, and much of it going to the top 1% of the population. The new raw deal. The cost of your eggs doubles due to desires by the administration and congress to switch to biofuels and dollars to fuel the economy. Other mitigating factors might be poor world grain harvests. The bad news hits when your boss tells you, you cannot have a raise as there are a hundred people who would like to have your job.

It was really getting ugly when a strawberry picker in California qualified to purchase a new four bedroom house and then had to default after he was unable to flip it.

Takes awhile to get food production in line with the number of hungry babies there are to feed. So much money was invested on explosive growth in military spending, oops the price of butter went up as the cow was sold to pay the local, state, and federal taxes. $100,000 Blackwater mercenaries could not secure the dollar.

You aren't even trying to be relevant to my post, are you?


Yes. Predictions make fools of all of us.

But I'm really, really tired of the Experts
making forecasts that are as good as coin flipping.

And I'm not the only one noticing that Wrong at the Macro Level keeps getting rewarded.

So I make predictions/SWAGS that are at least as good
as The Great Oil Analysts.

Take 'em for what they're worth.

And BTW, has any expert anywhere calculated what role ethanol has played since Memorial Day in showing
"growing gasoline inventories"?

I welcome the input.

Now. About the Depression in XMas prediction.

And I don't recall any other predictions I've made except that
the Arctic goes ice free by 2013. Scientists agree.

And that Med Climates turn to desert.

A lot of Ozzies and SoCal folks agree.

But Depression is not a forecast. It's here now.

And no one's gonna tell you either.

See Homeless, Uninsured, Foreclosures, Children Hungry,
Education System, and banks are collapsing.

See United Bank of Switzerland(China/Singapore) for details.

You cannot solve a fiduciary crisis with liquidity.

"What are the issues?


1. Forget the Fed; there can be no monetary solutions to fiduciary problems.
2. Re-establish the relevance of fiscal policy as more than just discussion about tax cuts.
3. Raise earned income, instead of relying on capital gains and portfolio income; create permanent high value-added jobs, targeted to exports.
4. De-leverage.
5. Emphasize industry over finance and production over consumption.

Does anyone expect any of the above to happen before we attack Iran for not selling oil for $?

Well, why mimic failures? How about just talking rational and skipping the baseless predictions.

As for depression here now, well, that is the only way you'll be right - by redefining depression as you like. Uninsured? What does that have to do with economic depression?

As for your prediction for today, we did not have a repeat of last week. However, I was surprised there wasn't a small build.

Francois, there will be hoarding regardless of whether the market is in backwardation or contango. And, I believe, the market will be volitile no matter which of the two states oil futures is in.

I am not privy to Saudi negotiations but I would doubt seriously that they write sales for future deliveries based upon the further out NYMEX contract prices. I would strongly suspect that all contracts are written based upon today's prices. If you look at the EIAs This Week in Petroleum you will notice that the average OPEC contract price follows the world spot price very closely but not necessarily the WTI price.

Which brings up another very important point that I just noticed. I think this is very important and I am preparing a post on it right now.

Ron Patterson

Despite the market nearing contango, I believe the market prefers backwardation. If I recall correctly the last time the market was in contango was when the far out futures were in the $60's and the spot market was $50. Then the spot price exploded to near $100, along with a very healthy $10 backwardation. Now we are getting close to contango again perhaps because the sentiment being that $80 is the new $60. So if history repeats itself, we'll shoot up to $120 in the next year. I invest in commodities, and have a lot to lose if it reverses course significantly:)

My thoughts:

Effectively, for futures, it's got to be all about risk.

If there's more perceived risk to availability in the near-term, prices should be in backwardation, more percieved risk to availability in the long-term, prices should be in contango.

Storage should then come into play to neutralise the risk and balance prices back down.

Obviously, the market jumps around short term, and takes time to migrate to where it feels it should be, and of particular note, if perceived risk changes, and consequently futures prices and the profits to be made from storing product, it takes some time for product storage to catch up with the new reality.

But futures are all just risk-based at the end of the moving-average day.

I think Robert's comments about the hurricanes driving up perceived risk and pushing storage up as a result are probably quite insightful, but more insightful was his suggestion that the passing of time means they've forgotten all about those worries.

Perceived risk, not real risk. Backwardation only makes sense if it's perceived that there are imminent risks to supply which diminish with time. A small contango is more 'natural' as it covers the storage costs for those offsetting the small neutral 'background' risks.
[edit: did I get this last sentence backwards?]

Supplies have been run down, that amplifies future risks, which drives towards contango.

Peak-oil-awareness should also drive towards contango of course, and the percieved long-term risks to supply start to outweigh worries about immediate conflicts. Having said that, people, including (as possibly especially) oil traders, are dumb. And being people, and therefore dumb, it's very difficult for perception to move focus away from this weeks petroleum report to this decades real(world)politik, let alone real world geography.

I'm now sure lazy MSM oil reporters are using Robert's weekly posts and the associated comments. This movement has been clearly evident for a few weeks (I didn't register your Sep 23rd prediction, but well done), and finally there's some comment in the MSM just after it's discussed in that thread.

Anyway, last time we were in contango for a while, the point was being made that it made sense to stockpile crude (buy now when cheap, sell later for profit).

Infact, the media made reference a few times to new storage facilities being constructed because of the extended contango. I remember thinking when it flicked to backwardation that those investors must be sulking.

So contango should mean more oil purchased on the spot market and near futures to refill storage capacity, and prices starting to move back up again - kinda the opposite of the refinery drawdown Robert has referred to of late.

My guess, if a strong contango develops, as seems likely, crude has probably hit it's floor for now at $85-$90. Emphasis on 'guess'!

Masters of war plan for next 100 years
By Nick Turse


"We think urban is the future," says James Lasswell, a retired colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. "Everything worth fighting for is in the urban environment." And Wayne Michael Hall, a retired army brigadier general and the senior intelligence advisor in Schattle's operation, has a similar assessment, "We will be fighting in urban terrain for the next hundred years."

Last month, in a hotel nestled behind a medical complex in Washington, DC, Schattle, Lasswell, and Hall, along with Pentagon power-brokers, active-duty and retired US military personnel, foreign coalition partners, representatives of big and small defense contractors, and academics who support their work gathered for a "Joint Urban Operations, 2007" conference. Some had served in Iraq or Afghanistan; others were involved in designing strategy, tactics, and concepts, or in creating new weaponry and equipment, for the urban wars in those countries.

Over the course of the conference, this representative of one of the world's best known weapons manufacturers will suggest that members of the media be shot to avoid bad press and he'll call a local tour guide he met in Vietnam a "bastard" for explaining just how his people thwarted US efforts to kill them. But he's an exception. Almost everyone else seems to be a master of serene anodyne-speak. Even the camo-clad guys seem somehow more academic than warlike.

In his tour de force book Planet of Slums, Davis observes, "The Pentagon's best minds have dared to venture where most United Nations, World Bank or Department of State types fear to go. They now assert that the "feral, failed cities" of the Third World - especially their slum outskirts - will be the distinctive battlespace of the 21st century."Pentagon war-fighting doctrine, he notes, "is being reshaped accordingly to support a low-intensity world war of unlimited duration against criminalized segments of the urban poor".

But the mostly male conference-goers planning for a multi-generational struggle against the global South's slums aren't a gang of urban warfare cowboys talking non-stop death and destruction; and they don't look particularly bellicose either, as they munch on chocolate-chip cookies during our afternoon snack breaks in a room where cold cuts and brochures for the Rapid Wall Breaching Kit - which allows users to blast a man-sized hole in the side of any building - are carefully laid out on the tables. Instead, these mild-mannered men speak about combat restraint, "less-than-lethal weaponry", precision targeting, and (harking back to the Vietnam War) "winning hearts and minds".

“America is today the leader of a world-wide anti-revolutionary movement in the defense of vested interests. She now stands for what Rome stood for. Rome consistently supported the rich against the poor in all foreign communities that fell under her sway; and, since the poor, so far, have always and everywhere been far more numerous than the rich, Rome's policy made for inequality, for injustice, and for the least happiness of the greatest number.”
~Arnold Toynbee, 1961

Another bit of information to be taken into account when looking at the city/countryside debate.

Exactly, those that don't see it coming are wearing blinders.

Yes indeed Burgundy. I went back where I grew up and there are even less people in the countryside than there were. The true countryside has better foraging than ever.

People are indeed swarming into the cities, that's what I did at age 18, went right into the city, it became work work work for me with fishing or a nice walk in wilderness only a dream.

I wonder how many humans now, especially in the Empire, know it's not bad at all to be barefoot, nearly naked on a nice hot day, with a fishing pole in hand catching tiddlers for dinner? Or that electricity is really not a necessity of life? How many have shit in a pit? LOL!

Considering how our culture has infected nearly everyone, I wonder if the Crash or Long Emergency will involve people massing into the cities to die even faster.

Remember the Joads would have been better off to head for farming country, instead they headed for the fruit-barons' slums. The family written about in That Book By That Sinclair Guy That Grossed People Out And Got Food Laws Passed would have done better to go just about anywhere rather than the slums of Packingtown in Chicago. And so on.

Hi Fleam, hows that bike running? Great riding wx here, another day in the low 80s...and it isnt starting to look a lot like xmas...which is fine with me.

BTW, 'Grapes of Wrath' was written by John Steinbeck and the Joads along with all their neighbors in the dust bowl were forced to move by the wx along with 'improved farming practices'. Meaning giant ag. took the land as the leases ran out. The Joads and thousands (millions?) of people were forced off their land. Meanwhile the owners of large fruit and veggie farms in Cali were sending printed circulars out to the dust bowl areas, luring these people with promises of good pay and lots of jobs. TV did not exist then and few share croppers could afford radios so they had no way to verify what was being printed in the flyers. I dont know why anyone would have been 'grossed out' by the book or the movie...Both were an understatement of what really happened and they might be good predictors of what could happen again.

The big migrations to Chicago and Detroit were another phenomena. After WW2 the mechanical cotton picker was perfected and sold in large quantity to southern land holders. The land holders no longer needed share croppers so they were 'usered' off the land. The migration of 1946-50 was the largest mass migration in American history. Both black and white share croppers left in mass for the factory jobs in Chicago and Detroit and other northern cities in lesser numbers. Chicago inherited the greatest bunch of blues men from East La., West Miss, East Arkansas, and from them came the lyrics of the very best of Rock-N-Roll tunes. Just sayin'... :)

River, if it were in the low 80s here I'd be riding into town daily, I don't care if I only know 3 chords I'd be strumming and making some money if nothing else.

It's creeping up into the 40s maybe here right now. But at least it looks like rain.

No, the book about the Joads wasn't the one that grossed people out, it's another book I was referring to, as a good American I have a mind-block against it, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

But the question remains, why did the Joads or Those Bohunkies head for the cities? Flyers schmyers, they could have lit out for euell gibbons country as soon as they saw what a con they were heading into. Or should have, this is my point - people are PROGRAMMED and have been for generations to head right into the mouse trap. Or people trap. Planet of slums indeed.

The Joads and their lot had no money and no access to credit. They also were an extended family living together...three generations with little kids to feed. They had responsibilities and were unable to 'head for Euell Gibbons' country. Since the Joads were share croppers they had no money besides a few dollars to try to find a place where the extended family could live and work. They didnt expect to make anything but a living. I grew up in the 50s and at that time it was nearly impossible to borrow money without collateral. The situation changed only when businesses like 'Household Finance Corp' and others started popping up in small town America...That was in the late 50s to early 60s to the best of my recollection. One could go to HFC and borrow a couple of hundred to have a car repaired or whatever...But collateral was still required for many years to come...Banks would not make short term loans to anyone for any reason unless the person had a history of being a good biz man or had collateral to put up. I know it is hard for people to understand that didnt live through the depression or the aftermath. When I say there was no money, I mean there was no money. Even in the 50s when I wanted some wheels the cheapest thing I could find was a Cushman Eagle, about 10 years old, bald tires, $100. I worked all summer on a corn plantation and at a dairy farm to save $100 to buy that scoot. A year later I sold it for $100 and bought a Harley WLA 45 ci flathead for the same $100. The Harley was made in 1944 and was WW2 surplus. Fifty cents an hour for hard labor was good money for a kid in HS and jobs paying that were hard to get. If a kid landed a job it was 'keep the mouth shut, do what the boss says, and do it fast'. Gas was 12 cents a gal and I had wheels. Once in Waskom Texas I saw gas for 6 cents a gal when there was a gas war going on between rival stations :)

River you're bringing back memories of the 70s and early 80s. Credit was basically unobtainable. I calculated it would take me a year to save up for the cheapest radio. I made a dollar an hour as a kid when I could find the work and yes it was hard work which was generally why *I* could get it. Being able to buy a scooter then a motorcycle as a kid, wow. I was in my mid-20s before I was able to buy a 50cc scooter. Was just under 30 when I got a drivers license for a car. HCF was the only possible way to get a loan for anything except as you say, you had to have collateral.

fleam, actually in my little hometime in 50's Mississippi, we didn't even have HFC. However, we sure did have Sears "revolving credit". Sears was our link with the industrial cornucopia.

Errol in Miami

Before I was technically an adult, pre-18, it was the same for me. Sears was the ultimate, it was a big deal to go to Sears. But no one ever thought of using the credit, it was considered too shocking to do so or more likely, no one had the needed collateral.

When I was a kid, my dad said, you can buy a house with credit, and even a car if you have to, but pay for everything else.

By 1984 he had a Mastercard.

"We are going to have to destroy the cities in order to save them"

"Everything worth fighting for is in the urban environment." And Wayne Michael Hall, a retired army brigadier general and the senior intelligence advisor in Schattle's operation, has a similar assessment, "We will be fighting in urban terrain for the next hundred years."

Which means that a hundred years from now, there will be nothing left in "the urban environment" worth fighting for.

"...criminalized segments of the urban poor".

Brings to mind various SF stories of a population in which the overwhelming majority of people are in prison with only a small number of 'non-criminals' as jailkeepers. Are we headed this way?

An unfortunate, recurring idea:

Make enough of the population prisoners and you can dispense with the prisons -- just make the entire country a prison.

I recall John Carpenter's "Escape from New York" and "...LA" movies. "...Snake Pliskin, I thought you were dead." Remember his exploding implant, and Brain concocting fuel for "The Duke"?...at the time, I thought, nah, flight of fancy, now though...


We can't blow up the cities! They make all our stuff!

Congratulations, America. We are now the Pinkertons of a global sweatshop world, keeping cities at (non-lethal, really!) gunpoint. Thank Israel, though, for designing the Gaza-tested gear.

Would slave overseer be too strong a word? Any neuro-whips being pimped at that conference?

What with all the hoopla about the Bali conference going on, I though it perhaps appropriate to point out a factor which seems to be being overlooked. According to the work of Professor Hurd C Willett of MIT, deceased since 1992, and one of the leading figures of meteorology, the Sun should be moving into a rather long period of lower output starting about 2010.

I'm not an expert on the subject by any means, but it is known that solar output varies by perhaps .5% over cycles of 11,22,179, and 720 years due to the gravitational pull of the planets as they align and unalign themselves. Sunspot cycles are the commonly observed manifestations of this. Willett, and others such as Gribbin [The Jupiter Effect] applied this to climatic records to show a link between this variability and weather. He predicted a somewhat cooler trend for 1980 to 2000 followed by a sharp warming in 2000 to 2010 followed by a return to cooler conditions thereafter, with the next big warming in 2110 to 2140.

The record seems to follow this as the 80s and 90s didn't cool as expected and this decade has outstripped predictions. A carbon error superimposed upon the solar trends is the likely culprit. My fear is that the apparently inevitable drop due about now will fuel the naysayers as global averages stabilize or drop temporarily in the coming decade.

This average drop may have little bearing upon the warming of the polar regions, which seems to be more dependent upon the insulation factor than solar input, but could reduce many other warming incidents. A half a percent is not much, but is a degree and a half C when computed from absolute zero assuming a linear relationship. That's about three degrees F. Of course the swing won't necessarily be from absolute peak to trough, but the changes can be rather abrupt as the Sun burps and burbles about its core.

My expectation is that tropical and mid latitudes will stabilize or perhaps cool while the poles continue to warm, perhaps not quite as radically. However those who like to cite global average temperatures as indicators of change will potentially have a field day. The only stable factor in the mix is the atmospheric CO2 which seems to putt inexorably upwards. In the long run, the potential for the CO2 effect to override the solar variability is inevitable and the coming change will only provide a sucker's rally for the deniers and a fool's paradise for the disregarders.

Perhaps it is time to resuscitate Willett's work and factor in the solar effect. My guess is that it could be precipitate and considerable but temporary and ultimately irrelevant. Any climatologists out there?

Doesnt sound like anything familiar. We have had an increasing global average temperature since 1950, with a rate that is increasing. That's not what your professor says?

Concerning the sun: "Continuous monitoring of total solar irradiance now covers the last 28 years. The data show a wellestablished 11-year cycle in irradiance that varies
by 0.08% from solar cycle minima to maxima, with
no significant long-term trend." according to IPCC, technical summary, 2007.

They also say that the variation in solar output directly has an influence of about only 20% of the current CO2 added by humans.

CO2 seem seriously as the major problem. Reduce your climate impact if you can. Thanks.
(However, that makes no sense, if someone else pollutes more easily, cheaper, than you, and makes a less sustainable/less critical acivity ;)

As I understand it, these natural cycles will merge and unmerge producing beat frequencies when the effects are especially intense. The "Little Ice Age" is thought to have been caused by the merging of the lows of the 11 year cycle, the 22 year cycle and 180 year cycle.

I think that it isn't just the cumulative aspect of the gravitational anomaly but the perhaps non linear effect upon the sun as a result. There seems to be some delay as the sun's core reacts. The Maunder Minimum or Little Ice Age was pretty spectacular which leads us to think that there were feedback loops that exaggerated things. My point is that we don't really have a handle yet on the non linear aspects. Another Maunder Minimum today would still probably make a big mess, carbon notwithstanding. It isn't about to happen, but the 20th century was a bit of a warm anomaly and the effects of a change in the general direction of output could be interesting.

Apparently the sunspots disappeared during this period. Glaciers advanced. I'm not expecting anything except that output is probably max right now and due to wane slightly for a century. Thus, convincing someone in Peoria that the ocean is about to do something weird because of his tailpipe could become more difficult than it presently is.

Until we came along, the big variable was the angle of the Earth's axis and the solar output. This remains the same but the new, improved! atmosphere may have become prone to wider responses. I guess we'll find out.

I don't think it is being overlooked, because climate models do take account of solar irradiation. Without direct measurement, assessing the effect of long term solar cycles is very difficult. What effect there is is generally small, and is overwhelmed by anthropogenic greenhouse gas effects.

People often seem to misunderstand the way climate scientists work, they do not assume all warming is anthropogenic and then subtract natural effects. They do it the other way round - they add up all known natural effects, then add anthropogenic effects and compare the result to reality. This does result in some discrepancies, i.e. missing sinks/sources which are subject of further study. However, whenever people say "hey, what about X?", X has invariably already been included.

"The Jupiter Effect" is regarded as junk science, and even John Gribbin regretted his involvement.

Whatever ameliorates global warming can ony be good. I have recently become more aware of the increased rate of the melting of Greenland ice sheet, and the amount of methane being released by melting permafrost. It is also increasingly clear that governments have little to no chance of implementing cuts in CO2 to keep temperature rise below 2C. We should be expecting warming in the high range of IPCC forecasts.

The Jupiter effect was mainly about the gravitational effect upon the seismic and tidal activity on Earth; the sunspots are definitely an eleven year thing and related to orbital anomalies yanking the Sun about. I wasn't concerned about geophysics and only mentioned it as an aside for those who might have remembered. Sunspots don't need Gribbin. The short cycles average out but the long cycles, about which we have only been able to extrapolate, have a more pronounced and cumulative effect. 28 years of data doesn't span enough short let alone long cycles to get a handle on much. I wasn't talking about how scientists think but about adding to the fuel of the non scientists.

I'm also not impressed with the system of using average global temperature as any sort of reliable arbiter. Polar and high altitude/latitude temperatures are what concern us and averaging just dilutes the sense of change. My point is that a drop in input could stabilize or drop the average temperature and Greenland wouldn't necessarily notice and stop melting.

Leana, can we not put a stop to these postings from people who seem more like trolls every day. This is totally nonsense, wastes space, and has nothing to do with our FF problems. It has become extremly tiresome having to bypass these idiotic interjections on climate change from this character Petrosaurus and JRWakefield. Please at lest warm them.

Send an email to:
editors at theoildrum dot com
It is the most effective action you can take, outside of not replying to the troll bait.

That wasn't a post against GW, as far as I understood it. Petrosaurus was noting that GW naysayers may use solar variations and its effects to claim AGW isn't real...

"My fear is that the apparently inevitable drop due about now will fuel the naysayers as global averages stabilize or drop temporarily in the coming decade."

Whether or not that happens is debatable - but that was his sentiment.

Indeed, deniers have and do use the solar variation angle. A lot of denier websites go into the solar variation theory and quite Willett's (and others) work.

I didn't mention this, but in fact Hurd Willett did not believe in AGW and is the reason he got into looking for solar variation to explain GW. That and the lack of data for the effect give the theory little credibility. I always get suspicious when cycles of cycles are mentioned; these theories go back to epicycles the Greeks tried to use to explain planetary orbits.

It would be very neat to have an explanation which only relies on a single variable leading to complex effects, but in practice systems like the climate have many variables acting simply and it is their interaction that creates complexity - i.e chaos theory.

I find this startling!

In my reply to Francois above, I noticed something that startled me. Looking at the EIAs This Week in Petroleum and the OPEC contract price in particular I noticed this rather strange fact.

The week ending 10/19/07 the average OPEC contract price was exactly $8.00 below the WTI price. But the last data they show, for the week ending 11/30/07 the average OPEC contract price was over $2.00 above the WTI price. The average OPEC contract price has gained $10.00 on the WTI price in six weeks! And remember, WTI is a much lighter grade of oil than the OPEC basket grade. That is why the OPEC average contract price is usually well below the WTI price.

I really don’t know what to make of this but it really appears to me that the WTI price is getting way out of whack with world supply and demand.

Does anyone else have any theories as to the cause of this phenomenon?

Ron Patterson

There have been several articles about it.

Couple of samples:

The Dynamics of Crude Oil

WTI Benchmark Temporarily Breaks Down: Is It Really a Big Deal?

Part of it is infrastructure. The refinery bottleneck is at least partly real.

With all the chatter about speculation driving UP market prices, no one imagines that there is more reason for manipulation of markets by PPT types to maintain low oil prices. We all know what happens if oil prices get too high...


I must stop replying to these type of posts. Sorry.

Good for you! Forbearance is a virtue. Let it go.

Bad for you! Logic based on facts should be on display here. If I came to this board for the first time and saw a PPT argument uncontested, I would not come back to the oildrum since it would lead me to thinking that the kooks pawn'd this turf.

Hi gogh,

re: "Bad for you!"

I have a suggestion, which is to go ahead and do something to address this, if you believe it's important to do so. (Perhaps link to previous discussions on this topic?)

There was a time when $wtic went to $50 and Dubai crude was trading at $62. Now dubai crude is gunky and extremely heavy comapred to Light sweet west texas. That was probably refelcting the tightness in the market. In retrospect that would have been a great time to go long oil (WTIC contracts).

The Saudi's like to use price to control demand for their various grades of oil.They prob want Jan/08 prod less than 9mm bl/da.Also there have been times in the past 2 wks where Brent has traded at a prem to WTI(should be $1-2 discount).

Yes, the "what's wrong with the benchmark" articles started appearing when Brent and WTI crossed. (One reason is apparently that Brent is in "steep decline.")

I think the higher price of the OPEC stuff reflects the demand from Asia. Most of Middle Eastern oil is going to Asia these days. It's all about infrastructure. It's just not that easy to send oil that usually goes to Houston to Singapore instead. That's why the Saudis offer us a discount.

WTI and Brent are roughly the same price now ($89.82 vs $89.57 Jan contract), so it looks like WTI is under pressure. Or perhaps its just simply leading the pack down.

There was some discussion of microcars yesterday. There is a microcar museum a couple hours outside of Atlanta.

The link is here: http://microcarmuseum.com/info.html#

The image below is a shot of the floor.


Seems like there is a lot of history behind these little guys.

Interesting. Thanks for the link. I'll swing by there if I'm ever in the area, looks like it is worth a detour.

Well, just lookee here:


A wind to ammonia plant already in progress and set to go live next fall. Seems like all of the pieces we need are already fairly well understood, and what is left is an exercise in packaging and educating folks about it so we can build a bunch of 'em.

We're doing fairly well on technical experts volunteering time to help examine the plan, but what we're lacking is someone who likes managing a web site to provide a framework for the exposition of the plan.

If you're lurking here and wanting to be doing something useful now would be the time to speak up.

gwbush at dumbfuck dot org is an OK way to reach me for intial contact, and I promise have a more professional sounding email address for actual work :-)

that is a MWe scale project. they use Norsk Hydro's electrolyzer.

From Leann's link uptop:

Some 37.5 million barrels a day of additional oil-production capacity is needed by 2015, but only 25 million barrels a day are planned, International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol said.

To narrow the gap, major oil producers, especially OPEC members, must ramp up production, Birol said, while major oil consumers, including the U.S., must make policy changes to ease demand.

While those changes are possible, there are "no major reasons to be optimistic," Birol said. . .

Since 2015 is only seven years away, and given the underlying decline rate, isn't this in effect an admission by the IEA that we have probably peaked?

If we are losing about 4.5 mbpd in crude oil production per year from existing wells (the upper end of ExxonMobil's estimate), we would need over 30 mbpd of new crude oil production by 2015 just to offset depletion and in order to maintain a flat crude oil production rate.

WT, agreed.
I’ve read many of those resent Birol- interviews, and to me it seems to be a lot of wrapped-up-humbug, where the numbers are not adding up to IEA-forecasts, not at all given the underlying errosion from older fields, as you point out.

For 2020 the IEA forecast is stupidly flexible spanning from 102.3 mb/d to 116 mb/d - that is a difference of 13,7 mb/d,and 13,7 mb/d constitute about FOUR NorthSeas at today’s production, Nat. gas exempted ... man-O-man
And BTW, where does that 102.3 come from …. .3 ? wow, what a precision , NOT!
Given all this humbug leaving Mr Birols voicebox - I believe that IEA has seen the writings on the wall, b’cus they “are warning a lot these days”, not?

And all the time they come with this crap :

To narrow the gap, major oil producers, especially OPEC members, must ramp up production, Birol said, while major oil consumers, including the U.S., must make policy changes to ease demand….

Further down Birol says this

…But top global energy consumers, especially the U.S., China and India, also need to do their part by implementing policies aimed at easing demand, Birol said.

Birol is able to mention China and India in this context– two countries using almost NO oil per capita (that is rude and crude, IMO) – That fellow is very narrow in his mind … very! Mentioning the US is a no-brainer , but he left out all of the EU, Japan, Korea, Down under and more.

I’d say first the IEA has to sweep their own shabby floor, before they ask someone else with fairly clean floors, to sweep theirs..

File this one under ut oh ... "shopping fatigue" indeed.


The middle of the road stores like Nordstroms are going to get hit pretty hard with all the RE agents and brokers taking big haircuts to their incomes.

I think there is going to be enough trouble to go around that everyone is going to get their share this season :-(

Housing crisis killing holiday-shopping spirit

Jackie Castleberry won't be playing Santa Claus this year.

She usually buys her grandchildren, nieces and nephews lots of gifts around the holidays - bicycles, educational games, clothes — but this year she is just struggling to keep her North Las Vegas, Nev., house.

The interest rate on her four-bedroom home loan shot up in October and she is $6,000 behind on her payments. She now owes $168,000 on her home, which once was worth $220,000 but is now worth about $150,000. In the past, when times were tough, she would borrow against her home's equity — that's no longer possible.

Not to worry. I think Helicopter Ben will postpone Christmas at least until the end of the year, thus giving the retailers another week. And then there are ice/snow days to make up in the midwest. Perhaps we should have the National Guard shuttle people to the malls.

On the Saskatchewan story....hundreds of billions of barrels!

The huge potential of the Bakken play has industry and government officials gushing with superlatives.

Under my breath, I mutter, "OK, but at what rate and at what cost?"

Sure enough, they wait until page TWO to lay this stinkin' egg:

But how much of the Bakken oil in place is recoverable using today's technology? Based on conventional production methods, perhaps only 10 per cent. But horizontal drilling, combined with a new production technique, known as hydraulic fracturing, has increased recovery rates by another five per cent.

15% recovery. Tops. Wiki says:

Porosities in the Bakken average about 5%, and permeabilities are very low, averaging 0.04 millidarcies—much lower than typical oil reservoirs

So, yes. There are hundreds of billions of barrels in the Bakken.

Locked in a friggin vault.

There are hundreds of billions of barrels in the Bakken.

Have you heard? Germany holds so much oil, they are going to join the OPEC next year!

Seriously: There are oodles of shale oil in the southwest of Germany (Schwaebische Alb, really!), incredible amounts of oil.

There's just one problem: it takes a barrel or two to produce one barrel of that oil. But it' s good news anyway .. boy, what a lot of oil!

Italian stand still

On the second day of a strike by italian lorry drivers 80% percent of italian gas stations ran dry.

Wow, there's almost no coverage of this story in English.

I found this AFP story, but that's about it:

Italian truck strike causes chaos

Actually, it's AP. :-)

Still doesn't have the part about 80% of gas stations running dry...

Wow! 100,000 Transport companies just in Italy. It's quite interesting to read the demands, one of which is to throw more money at money-loser Alitalia. Also note the reason given for less transport monies: EU rules.

More from Reuters Here

Nothing on the BBC website yet. Surprising as the UK is going to have its own truckers strike on Saturday. In fact I can't find anything about that either on the BBC. Either I'm doing something wrong or there is a news blackout on the subject on the BBC.

France 24 has it on the front page.

I don't know how long it'll be before people here in the U.S. respond to energy problems in an organized, cooperative fashion (whether that cooperative response is productive or destructive is obviously a different story).

Unlike the citizens of Italy, France, and the U.K., consumers here have been alienated and isolated from one another. The idea of reacting to our problems (like high fuel prices) through community solidarity is just unthinkable for most people. We'd rather moan, groan, hoard, and riot until "they" take care of it.

I don't think it was always this way. People living in major cities during the early 1900's probably would have responded more along the lines of what we're seeing throughout Europe today.

Our US society has become fragmented so that we do not identify with one large group any longer...unions, civil rights leaders, etc. When a powerful personality comes along that might sway the masses...along comes a swift boat and knocks them down a few notches...effective governance against rebellion.



I don't know how long it'll be before people here in the U.S. respond to energy problems in an organized, cooperative fashion (whether that cooperative response is productive or destructive is obviously a different story).

Unlike the citizens of Italy, France, and the U.K., consumers here have been alienated and isolated from one another. The idea of reacting to our problems (like high fuel prices) through community solidarity is just unthinkable for most people. We'd rather moan, groan, hoard, and riot until "they" take care of it.

I don't think it was always this way. People living in major cities during the early 1900's probably would have responded more along the lines of what we're seeing throughout Europe today.

Thank you for posting that. I never Grokked it, or I had a epiphany of how important that fact is.

That explains alot of the lack of outcry on a number of subjects.

We're damn'd near like being Eloi (from The Time Machine -HG Wells).

Civility has been bred out of us. As a matter of fact, I saw a 1950's era high school level booklet about being a "Civilian"

How to treat the flag, What the different branches of goverment do, Your duty to Vote, get involved in the local gov. etc. A handbook of your DUTIES as being a Member of the Community

That loss of "Community Solidarity" Turning into Consumers has been "Almost", "Seemingly" "Like it was" ....
Never mind.

The pent up anxieties and anger in America Not being expressed through community solidarity will be expressed. More like a teutonic plate shift maybe.

Teutonic plate shift ok .... *wiping tears of laughter from eyes* Yeah, we know what you mean...

I've been studying this stuff for years, and basically the US'ians have no idea of working-class solidarity, and all types of ethnic solidarity have been wiped out as threatening, which of course they are in a Nation where we all need to get along. The "American Citizenship" stuff like mentioned, films and saluting the flag and being taught to look out for your neighborhood etc., have all been suppressed. The American population has been encouraged to "get rich or die trying" which means generally moving every few years, changing jobs more often than that, on the basic "ape" level making oneself a refugee with regularity, over one's lifetime.

Any sort of unity that's not loyalty to a brand of detergent or a TV channel is a threat to the rulers and has been artfully discouraged.

You have to read a lot of Chomsky and Socialist stuff to break out of the brainwashing, frankly, every American from the just above homeless to Warren Buffet considers themself middle-class.

Hey--It's called "The Melting Pot."

Any sort of unity that's not loyalty to a brand of detergent or a TV channel is a threat to the rulers and has been artfully discouraged.

The invention of the nuclear "family" (1 mother, 1 father, 2 happy days children) worked well to destroy traditional tribal ties and realign allegiance to the on-tube, false-flag "community".

Lately as I watch the NBC Today show I wonder when are they going to stop pretending they are some happy get-along family and start reporting the news for G-d's sake?

Unions were fairly strong until Macarthy and his bogus red scare. Lots of people were hauled up before the senate committee on unamerican activities and lots of people were black listed for being socialists or communists. All that worked in Hollywood got the message, so they made 'On The Waterfront' showing every American moviegoer just how bad and corrupt unions were. Unions equaled socialisim equaled corruption. Well, some were corrupt, some were not. No unions were nearly as corrupt as the government that was persecuting them. After 'Waterfront' we were fed a steady diet of 'Dorris Day', 'Pat Boone','Beach Blanket', and other such garbage that resembled no ones life that I knew...But, the drumbeat to destroy unions continued with Bobby Kennedy as Atty General. Then came the worst...Ronnie busted the air controllers union and a succession of others. Suddenly 'Right To Work' was all the rage followed by a zillion service jobs and the exportation of high wage (mostly union) manufacturing jobs...NAFTA, GATT, et al, and Americans still dont know what happend to their economy, their middle class, the hope that their children might do better than themselves. They are clueless about the propaganda that they are fed on a daily basis and they never think for themselves. If they are too lazy to think critically and make decisions based upon their conclusions then they deserve exactly what they have now.

You would be surprised at how many people still practice the old values. I find people that are respectful and ethical all over in my travels. In many rural areas all the way from MT to TX the great majority of people are fine.
It is just the cities where one has to be very selective as to who one deals with.

Hello Leanan,

My guess is Italy will soon be doing their version of the 'Fifth of September, 2000' scenario. Too bad, but Peak Outreach to the masses would convince these Italians to work together, instead of promoting massive losses to drive cascading blowbacks.

It is the main story on all italian news papers. The 80% of dry gas stations was reached around midday (36 Hours of strike) after everybody wanting to fill up in the morning. Here another link: http://www.repubblica.it/2007/12/sezioni/cronaca/sciopero-autotrasporto/...
The governement Prodi is ordering the truck drivers back to work from midnight, with penalties for non compliance going up to €25.000 and up to four years in prison. It will be real interesting to see if italian workers part that easily with their right to strike. The sciopero (strike) is against high fuel taxes, not the oil companies.

The truckers said they won't give up. On strike until Friday 12.00 PM.
Here in Northern Italy gasoline and diesel are not available anymore.
I've seen supermarket shelves nearly empty.
This is with only 2 days of strike...

I'm sorry about your country's (and your) situation.

I believed you posted before about how to prepare on a limited budget. Urbansurvivial.com has been including a segment at the end of his daily post called “Coping:“ . It is about low budget ways of dealing with these situations. It may be helpful to look back over his archive. It might prove useful after the strike ends.


(His sites layout can be a little quirky.)


Kindly keep us posted.
thank you

Talks between truckers unions and government have been suspended. The government said no more talks until the blockage is removed. Automaker Fiat shut down production plants for lack of parts. 17000 workers sent home. More industries had to stop production. Supermarket shelves going empty. Last night I saw lines of vehicles at gas stations, the few that still had fuel. Heard that is nearly impossible to find gasoline and diesel in the big cities.
Country at a standstill.

Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier postings defining why I think NPK demand elasticity is much less than FFs. Downward pressures on NPK pricing will be extremely difficult, if not impossible because there is no substitutes for these Elements.

I hope the world will gladly sit in the nightly cold and darkness in exchange for food still arriving at their table.

Demand Drives Record Fertilizer Prices

Spring supplies could be in question despite more imports.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hi, Bob:
The unanswered question is how much of this year's un-freakin'-believeable runup in MOS and POT is inertia, and how much is pure speculation. Sure, the chemical elements are essential and irreplaceable, but that's not the same as saying there's support for current fertilizer prices when the equity markets tank.

Hello Nelsone,

Thxs for responding. I am certainly no expert at this NPK topic, but I can't get it out of my head that Americans in 1914 were so desperate for fertilizer that the price went from $35 to $500/ton [2007 inflation adjusted price hit $10,500/ton], and I am guessing that was the wholesale price--who knows what the retail price/ton went to at the local hardware stores back then.

retail at Lowes Garden Center: 12-12-12 NPK @ $8.97 per 33lb. bag
It would take 2000/33 =60.6 bags x $8.97 = $543/ton retail.

So clearly, we are not really hungry yet compared to the earlier Americans. An earlier link stated that 3 gallons of gasoline equivalent were embedded in a single forty lb. bag of fertilizer and if we apply this to the info in this link:

Real Gas Price -- $1,400.00 per gallon, or two weeks hard labor

3 X $1,400/gal = $4,200 per forty lb. bag or $210,000/ton!

One last thing: if your soil has a Liebig nutrient minimum, no amount of backbreaking labor will increase the yield; your simply wasting your precious time--you must have the required element to add to the soil--No Substitution allowed!

Thus, recall my earlier posting of the backbreaking labor required to pick, shovel, and the wheelbarrow extraction 3300 feet underground just to get raw rock potash.

I think there is plenty of support for NPK prices if the equity markets tank--people hate starvation.

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

Oh no, they only cut 1/4 point - market plummets! I find it quite amusing really.

In my view, the FED enhanced their credibility today.


How about did less damage to their already mangled reputation than they would have with a 1/2 point cut instead?

1/2 point cut would have indicated to the world that they will throw caution to the wind trying to promote growth (despite falling dollar and high oil). Bad news that.

There are far too many Americans expecting the Fed to solve their problems. But it can't. It can, however, do a lot of damage pretending to.

All commentators on CNBC thought the fed should have cut more. Some expressed real frustration. So, obviously Ben and the gang are doing something right!!

The Fed takes a longer view on oil than many people think. Read the chapter on energy in Greenspan's autobio. It will surprise you.

The babies on the street didn't get their full rate cut bottle?


Actually it's psyops.
They got everyone complaining that they only cut 25bp, when in reality they commit the crime of currency debasement by cutting at all.

Only 17 more cuts to go, and then they'll be all out of cuts.

never heard of negative interest rate?

We are probably close to negative interest rate already if you count in inflation.

We probably alreay have a negative interest rate, when the inflation rate is factored in.

Negative net interest rates happen often with regards to the Bond Market. Thus the FED's mantra about being tough on inflation is always about placating the fears of bond holders. And the Bond Market is many times larger than the various US stock markets. Those who've read Secrets of the Temple will recall that Volkers war on inflation was all about bringing balance back to the Bond Market because bonds, not stocks, are corporations' primary form of debt/capital fundraising. Interestingly, this huge and most important market is almost never mentioned in the financial media.

Hello TODers,

Seems like many stockholders don't have much faith in Helicopter Ben--he cuts rates, the market tanks. I hope they are moving their money to biosolar mission-critical investments, at every scale, to help speed the transition of 60-75% of us engaged in relocalized permaculture.

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

Hi Bob, big difference in 'stockholders' and speculators. Real stockholders are not usually day traders and do not hang on every word the Fed utters nor do they wait, breathless, for any rate cut or hike. Stockholders usually have diversified porfolios and are in the market long term, making only occasional changes in their holdings. Unfortunately stockholders seem to be in the minority now which no doubt makes the people on skreech box very happy cause speculators trade constantly creating large commissions for someone, somewhere. I think of speculators like guys in a table stakes poker game where no more money can be added to the game and the house takes a percentage of each pot. Soon the house has all the money.

Warren Buffet is a good example of a guy that creates a porfolio and makes changes only as conditions warrant...He has done pretty well as an investor. :)

Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the dollar has lost (if I remember correctly) 94% of its value, the vast majority of it since Nixon uncoupled the dollar from gold in the early '70s. Since all the US stock exchanges quote in dollars, you have to take the dollar decline into account when calculating gains. It isn't clear that an investor with a diversified portfolio has made any real gains at all. Certainly since Bush took office, they've been losing value at a significant rate. During times of stagflation (the 70's and again now), they absolutely get killed.

Warren Buffet is a (very) sophisticated investor who is constantly moving his money around, effectively "speculating" on which stocks are going up and down. Given what's coming in the PO/AGW/financial-meltdown world, the average investor who owns stocks is going to get taken to the cleaner.

Agreed. The Fed is resposible for the problems that are occuring right now, but they are portrayed as brilliant economists who protect us from financial troubles. The Fed system is that of robbery, they print money without producing anything of value, and not backing their money with anything. This is a private company. Is that not legalized fraud? How can anybody but those directly connected to the fraud stand a chance of increasing their wealth? The Federal Reserve creates the business cycle, the Federal Reserve creates inflation, and the Federal Reserve works through deception.

All ponzi schemes end. When this one is through, people will once again realise that only asset-backed money can be of any value. Stock markets will crash at some point in the near future, and there will be a rush of money towards things of inherent value. Gold and Silver have been currency for the majority of the past 6000 years. I would bet that there is a reason for this.

'I would bet that there is a reason for this'...and you would win your bet. The older cultures, China, India, and a few others, have seen many fiat currencies come and go. The people there know that if they hold paper they will lose to inflation. The largest purchaser of gold jewelry in the world is India, followed by China, and in India there are gold shops everywhere one looks. The exchange of gold for currencies, and vice versa, there is a normal daily transaction.

Indian jewelers use the age old river rock (called a touchstone) to find the percent of gold in jewelry. They are extremely good with touchstones.

I will make you a bet. I bet you cannot find a jeweler anywhere in the US, outside a very large city, that has even heard of a touchstone or its use. Of course if you happen upon an Indian or Chinese jeweler working in the US they would be able to accomodate you.

All ponzi schemes end.

One way or another - yes.

When this one is through, people will once again realise that only asset-backed money can be of any value.

There will be people who call for such -- sure because humans will go back over old habits. But other things could become "money" like the kWH. (If only kWHs were storable)

It must be nice to have a crystal ball. I have a piece of advice for you...When all are betting one way it sometimes can pay to bet the other way...be a contrarian, in other words.

At the same time always hold positions in gold as inflation hedges.

If this link is correct:

then it means that sea ice area have been shrinking in December. This is weird.

Another article about Arctic melt.

Combining the shrinking area covered by sea ice with the new thinness of the remaining ice, scientists calculate that the overall volume of ice is half of 2004's total.

Do you think the people negotiating in Bali are aware of this fact - or maybe supping another bottle of Krug (on expenses) as the sun goes down!

Maybe they notice that there's a little less Bali the next morning.

Hello TODers,

I wonder if climatologists are getting worried about the WAIS:

In a mission of unprecedented scale, scientists are about to cover West Antarctica with a network of sensors to monitor the interactions between the ice and the earth below -- 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Also, this is worrisome:

Fleming Glacier in Antarctica shows signs of receding

With a land mass of 6,200 square kilometers and two kilometers thick, Fleming Glacier is one of the largest in the region. Aerial photographs of the glacier’s surface reveal cracks that are so large that small planes could fit into them. Furthermore, numerous ice floes border the edge of the glacier – a sign that the ice mass is splintering.

Even more alarming, however, is the rate at which the glacier is receding.
Recall my previous posting on what a caldera in the Bentley Subglacial Trench could do to the WAIS.

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

Thanks Bob. It's good to see the statement that the global average is up one half a degree C but the Antarctic peninsula is up 6C or about eleven degrees in Oldspeak. Makes my case. Dozen to one ratio so far.

Hello Petrosaurus,

It is a common misconception that the melting of floating ice shelves will not raise sea levels at all. There is, however, a small effect. Because ice shelves are fresh ice, when melted their water is less dense than sea water; i.e they have greater volume for given mass than sea water. The volume of the sea water needed to displace the ice shelf is less than the volume of the water contained in the ice shelf. If the ice is melted, a small fraction of the volume of the ice that is above sea level is added the volume of the seas, increasing sea level.[5]

It is important to remember that the Wordie Ice Shelf has been breaking up for decades, starting in 1940:


Potential Collapse of the WAIS

Rapley said, "Parts of the Antarctic ice sheet that rest on bedrock below sea level have begun to discharge ice fast enough to make a significant contribution to sea level rise. Understanding the reason for this change is urgent in order to be able to predict how much ice may ultimately be discharged and over what timescale. Current computer models do not include the effect of liquid water on ice sheet sliding and flow, and so provide only conservative estimates of future behaviour." [5]

Jim Hansen, a senior NASA scientist who is a leading climate adviser to the US government, said the results were deeply worrying. "Once a sheet starts to disintegrate, it can reach a tipping point beyond which break-up is explosively rapid," he said. [6]

Once the Bentley Subglacial Trench [alone--it is the size of Mexico], and other subsea areas break up, the prodigeous amounts of land-based ice freely flowing into the sea will be something to see. Don't forget all the above sea level freshwater lakes, currently under lots of the ice, helping to speed this process.

I liked that item on new solar systems. When I saw it I thought for a minuite that this board had branched in to astronomy.

Ha! I saw it and though "oh boy, the next cornocopian solution - we're running out of hydrocarbons, but in another solar system......assume we have a working ftl drive...."

Hello TODers,

It would be fascinating to know the number of subglacial lakes, and their respective volumes, of lakes that don't freeze, even at minus fifty below in Antarctica:

Water in Cold, Dry Environments

An example of deep groundwater flow from a confined aquifer in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica is Don Juan Pond, which was discovered in 1962 (Harris and Cartwright 1981). Don Juan pond (DJP) is an intermittent brine pool located in the south fork of Wright Valley formed as result of groundwater discharge.

It is chemically unique among surface waters in the Antarctic and is perhaps one of the more unique waters of the world. The brine consists of a concentrated solution of calcium chloride (>90%) and remains unfrozen all year, even when temperatures have dropped to –50°C near the eutectic point of the solution. The spring appears to originate from water that is in equilibrium with a sill of Ferrar Dolerite, a fractured basaltic rock constituting a confined aquifer (Harris and Cartwright 1981).
If this exists in significant quantities in the fractured basaltic rock of the subsea rift valleys of Antarctica, it could have a dramatic effect on the lubricity for ice movement.

Crustal and lithospheric structure of the West Antarctic Rift System from geophysical investigations — a review


CaCl actually gives off heat when it dissolves into brine--a very beneficial characteristic. A mixture of calcium chloride and salt can be very effective. Even a small amount of calcium chloride will start melting at low temperatures. The resulting brine and heat allow the salt to start working. The graph [above] shows how well a mixture (three parts salt to one part calcium chloride) works at lower temperatures.

I found it interesting in the top article where even small quantities of this had no problems boring through hundreds of meters of ice to reach the surface. Explains why the Antarctic dry valleys have no ice--come to think of it, it is no different than de-icing a road, except the CaCl would be volcanically hot plus chemically reactively hot.

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

Interesting observations and hypothesis. My understanding is that the Antarctic dry valleys have no ice owing to extremely low precipitation (Antarctica is a giant cold desert, and in dry air ice sublimes as well as melts). The quantity of ice should be VERY much greater than the potential quantity of CaCl2 salt, at least on land. Extreme fractional crystallization (via ice freezing) of a buried brine might concentrate enough CaCl2 to explain the small spring at Don Juan Pond (type locality for the mineral antarcticite, hydrated CaCl2, BTW), but probably not enough to cause much in the way of wholesale glacial melting (or auto-lubrication at the base). Salts in soil certainly might contribute to melting, though, and a salty spring at just the right (or wrong) location might do more than that to speed a glacier (or ice sheet) on its way to the sea.

I'm going to get on my bike now, as I do most days at this time, turn on my nicad powered headlight, and bike home in 36 degree F weather. Thank goodness for global warming or it would be 35 degrees. But more seriously, please read this while you meditate on the post oil future:

Ross Gelbspan, "Beyond the Point of No Return: It’s too late to stop climate change — so what do we do now?"

Hello Oregon7,

Thxs for the link. Sadly, in the true spirit of Xmas, my Asphalt Wonderland cannot even abandon the bare minimum energy-conservation thought of foregoing outside XMAX lighting, then donating some funds to charity.

Even my local, delusional thinktank: Global Institute for Sustainability [GIOS] has nothing about asking people to forego the XMAX practice of burning energy to try to get black tarmac to reflect photons:


[I typed Christmas lighting into their search function--nothing]

We could get more Peak Outreach accomplished if we covertly replaced the plastic, illuminated Santa Claus' with biodegradeable, paper-mache', non-illuminated Grim Reapers' in peoples' front yards.

'Tis the Season for radical energy change? GIOS doesn't think so.

I wonder how many babies will freeze to death tonight in mangers around the globe?

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

Funny, the very idea of sustainability seems absurd in Arizona. I suppose it is all relative, but it is hard to imagine that peak oil or climate change will support a sustainable human settlement of any size in Arizona. Or perhaps we should give them credit for trying?

I expect the Hopi Navaho and Havasupai to continue on as they have for thousands of years. If you've never been to any of the cliff dwellings at say Mesa Verde or Walnut Canyon, you'll be very impressed at what a small group of people can engineer with zero fossil fuels and next to zero metal in a very forbiding environment.

Should have said "of any great size"... yes the native populations tell us just about exactly what the sustainable population of Arizona might be. We might even be able to go a little larger with certain modern technologies. But not much, I'd wager.

Thanks for the link - there is a lot in there that matches how I've been thinking and feeling.

You're most welcome....

For me peak oil is a likely near term event, but its impact on my life and my children's lives is obscured by the problem of predicting the rate of decline and our ability to adjust.

By contrast, global climate change is a more certain, slightly longer term event, that doesn't just threaten "the economy", or "Western civillization", but rich and poor alike, everywhere and for hundreds of years to come.

It's the difference between an event in the flow of history... human beings and their civilizations existed before the oil age and will exist in some form after it... and an event in the history of the biosphere and planet... climate change and global extinction events end the existence of species. Climate events are recorded in geological layers, and alter the physical basis of every life form.

Peak oil will affect me soon...but I don't know exactly how. I'm mainly interested in peak oil in terms of how it will affect our response to climate change. Do we burn more coal? Achieve a new collective awareness of our shared fate (ha!)? Begin investing in technologies to survive peak oil, and find that those technologies help us address climate change inadvertently or advertently?

How do these two processes... one big (peak oil) and the second VERY BIG (climate change), interact on the political and geophysical level? And how do I respond as a human being to them, in my personal life and politically?

Those are the big questions for me, and why I post about climate change here on The Oil Drum.

By contrast, global climate change is a more certain, slightly longer term event, that doesn't just threaten "the economy", or "Western civillization", but rich and poor alike, everywhere and for hundreds of years to come.

very much so. to some of the poor, PO would be a nonissue yet CC will be much harder problem for them to cope without the aid of nonhuman power sources.

Has anyone found really good info on coal prices during the 1930s recession?

Previously, a bit of searching uncovered that consumption of coal [in the UK] dropped by about a third. I had assumed, but hadn't checked, that this meant the price of coal would have tumbled. Stumbling across a couple of comments about farmers burning corn, because that was more economic than selling it to buy expensive coal got me wondering.

While it's certainly no solid indicator for what might happen if the western economies go into deep recession due to market collapse, I thought 1930s coal (ie:energy) prices could give one possibility for oil in this scenario. Remembering that coal wasn't in short supply as oil is (even if not at peak yet), the following passage makes for interesting reading (click for larger):

This is from "Strikes and Solidarity: Coalfield Conflict in Britain 1889-1966" via Google Books

This graph (source) of US and Canadian prices seems to bear it out:

Is there something to learn in this. If global recession taught coal suppliers that they could voluntarily shut-in coal to maintain price, is it reasonable to think that global recession combined with peaking supply would do the same for the oil industry?

I guess this comes down to - if the US economy tanks due to the financial/credit situation, and oil consumption drops, does it necessarily follow that oil prices will too?

With apologies if I've missed this in a previous DrumBeat.

Has anybody seen this article in Foreign Policy about the primacy of the U.S. dollar? Economist Thomas Palley writes:

A growing number of observers, pointing to persistent U.S. trade deficits and the dollar’s depreciation against the euro, have begun to speculate that the dollar’s day is coming to an end.

Fortunately, these fears are misplaced....

Countries hold dollar assets because they want trade surpluses with the United States. Many countries can’t generate enough domestic consumption to spur growth and full employment, forcing them to rely on exports. As the United States is the world’s largest consumer market, countries therefore have an incentive to make their goods cheaper and more competitive by undervaluing their currencies against the dollar.

At some point,green paper turns back to green paper.Full faith and credit of the usa is getting thinner and thinner.Tell me how many overseas banks got SERIOUSLY burned by the SIV.MBS,CBOs ect.And told to kiss-off?There is a dark desire to see us get a bloody nose,if not a ass-whup by a lot of folks overseas right now.We have not been making a lot of friends with our war making ,and our selling worthless billion worth of smoke.The current house of cards that is our economy will be faceing a big wind from the "lack"of x-mas shoppers in the malls.....and the shock from that will start the spiral I fear...

The real answer to climate change is to leave fossil fuels in the ground

George Monbiot
Tuesday December 11, 2007
The Guardian

"When you review the plans for fossil fuel extraction, the horrible truth dawns that every carbon-cutting programme is a con. Without supply-side policies, runaway climate change is inevitable, however hard we try to cut demand. The talks in Bali will be meaningless unless they produce a programme for leaving fossil fuels in the ground."


Yes, and it won't happen. Every molecule of hydrocarbon that can be gotten to by somebody will be dug up and burned - ALL of it. And it will end up doing what the very worst case forecast says it will do to the earth -- if not even worse.

Mitigation only leaves more to be burned by the non-mitigators. Sad, but true.

Best to accept the reality of the situation and focus on coping and adaptation.

One reason I like the SPR. Take oil out of one hole and put it into another.

I HOPE that an aversion to coal will result in those with coal to leave it in the ground, or at least burn it over 250 years rather than 100 years.

Slow GW is better than fast GW. More time to adjust.

Best Hopes for SOME mitigation,,


Oil spill seen near N.Sea Statfjord field

An oil spill has been observed in the Norwegian sector of North Sea near the Statfjord oilfield [...] the spill was estimated at 3,840 cubic metres of oil, which corresponds to 24,154 barrels of oil.