DrumBeat: December 16, 2007

OPEC May Increase Oil Quotas in February, Algeria's Khelil Says

OPEC, producer of more than 40 percent of the world's crude oil, may increase output quotas when it meets February 1 because stronger demand is expected during the winter season, Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said.

"The forecasts now point toward a cold winter, and the economy seems to be improving. That means stronger demand" for oil, Khelil said today in an interview in Limassol, Cyprus. "The chances that we could decide to increase output are greater than reducing output."

Friend or foe?

Friend or foe, or something uneasily in-between? That's the question Europe is asking about Russia, and Russia about a newly aggressive Europe. President Vladimir Putin's choice of Dmitri Medvedev, chairman of Gazprom, the gas company with an emerging stranglehold on European energy supplies, only throws this question into an even starker light.

Gazprom warns of tensions with Ukraine if new govt tries to amend price accords

Russian energy giant Gazprom Sunday warned of a risk of "tensions" with Ukraine's future government, two days before a vote in the Ukrainian parliament on pro-Western Yulia Tymoshenko for prime minister.

"Today, the only place where there could be tensions is in Ukraine," said Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kuprianov on the Russian news channel Vesti 24.

India: `The era of easy oil is over`

There has been a paradigm shift in the oil market. On the demand side there are today many more drivers of demand than before. Earlier, the OECD countries were the principal engines of demand growth.

Today in addition to OECD, there is China, India, Russia and the West Asia. On the supply side, there is anxiety. The era of 'easy oil' is over. Globally, there is no shortage of hydrocarbons.

It is simply difficult to find them and then once found difficult to develop them. This is because they are in geologically difficult and logistically extreme topography (eg. Deep waters, Arctic etc).

Finland: Electricity Prices Continue to Rise

According to Timo Pylvänen, the managing director of Savon Voima, the price of wholesale electricity will skyrocket next year. Wholesale prices are expected to be 60 percent higher next year than this year in Nordic countries.

Iraqi Oil Tanker Company launches first ship in 27 years

The Iraqi Oil Tanker Company is launching its first oil tanker Monday in 27 years. While the company already has 22 ships in its fleet, the 14,000 ton capacity ship being delivered Monday is the first time the Tanker Company has been able to add new ships to its fleet since the onset of the Iraqi-Iranian war in 1980.

Michael Pollan: Our Decrepit Food Factories

To call a practice or system unsustainable is not just to lodge an objection based on aesthetics, say, or fairness or some ideal of environmental rectitude. What it means is that the practice or process can’t go on indefinitely because it is destroying the very conditions on which it depends. It means that, as the Marxists used to say, there are internal contradictions that sooner or later will lead to a breakdown.

For years now, critics have been speaking of modern industrial agriculture as “unsustainable” in precisely these terms, though what form the “breakdown” might take or when it might happen has never been certain. Would the aquifers run dry? The pesticides stop working? The soil lose its fertility? All these breakdowns have been predicted and they may yet come to pass. But if a system is unsustainable — if its workings offend the rules of nature — the cracks and signs of breakdown may show up in the most unexpected times and places. Two stories in the news this year, stories that on their faces would seem to have nothing to do with each other let alone with agriculture, may point to an imminent breakdown in the way we’re growing food today.

In China, Farming Fish in Toxic Waters

Fuqing is one of the centers of a booming industry that over two decades has transformed this country into the biggest producer and exporter of seafood in the world, and the fastest-growing supplier to the United States.

But that growth is threatened by the two most glaring environmental weaknesses in China: acute water shortages and water supplies contaminated by sewage, industrial waste and agricultural runoff that includes pesticides. The fish farms, in turn, are discharging wastewater that further pollutes the water supply.

“Our waters here are filthy,” said Ye Chao, an eel and shrimp farmer who has 20 giant ponds in western Fuqing. “There are simply too many aquaculture farms in this area. They’re all discharging water here, fouling up other farms.”

Lice in Fish Farms Endanger Wild Salmon, Study Says

Parasites that breed in fish farms kill so many passing juvenile wild salmon that they threaten the survival of fish populations in some rivers and streams, Canadian researchers are reporting.

The researchers studied pink salmon in an area north of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. But they said their findings, and earlier studies of the effects of farm-borne parasites on wild salmon, were so damning that they challenged aspects of aquaculture generally.

OPEC had several reasons for not boosting production this month

OPEC, producer of 40 percent of the world's oil, kept their output targets unchanged, dismissing calls to add more oil to the market with prices hovering around $90 a barrel.

This came as no surprise as we assumed the cartel would not boost production for several practical reasons.

Syrian oil minister says Syria-Iraq pipeline will reopen within 2 years

A pipeline linking Iraq's northern oil fields with Syria's Mediterranean coastline will be operational within two years but needs repairs in Iraq, Syria's oil minister said Sunday after meeting with a visiting Iraqi delegation.

Reservoirs Closed After Carcinogen Is Found

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two reservoirs that supply drinking water to parts of the city have been shut down and will be drained after a rare sunlight and chlorine reaction tainted the water with a cancer-causing chemical, utility officials said Friday.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plans to drain 600 million gallons from the reservoirs, the Elysian and the Silver Lake, early next year, said a water department spokesman, Joseph Ramallo. The reservoirs will be out of use for three to four months amid drought conditions.

New 'Great Game' for Central Asia riches

In the past few years, Chinese fruit, vegetables, TV sets, T-shirts and tires have flooded markets along the old Silk Road in former Soviet Central Asia. Each day, all along the Chinese border, hundreds of tractor-trailers rattle west.

These goods are the most visible sign of Beijing's growing power here as China, Russia, the United States and others compete for financial and strategic advantage on the borders of some of the world's most turbulent countries - Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It's a struggle in which China seems to be gaining the upper hand.

Turkey Reports Airstrike on Iraq

Turkish warplanes hit Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq early Sunday, Turkey's military said, the first such attack since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. An Iraqi official said the planes attacked several villages, killing one woman.

Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek urged Kurdish separatists to surrender and said Turkey would press ahead with operations against rebel bases in northern Iraq ''with determination when necessary.''

Vietnam: Nationwide blackouts for December

Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) announced it would start massive load-shedding until the end of the year, because of water shortages and technical break-downs at power plants.

The EVN’s National Load Dispatch Center (NLDC) said in a statement on Wednesday, power would be cut between 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. everyday on a massive scale throughout Vietnam.

Should a fireplace fire make you guilty?

Is it right to be among the 3.2 million Canadian households that enjoy a soul-warming fire at least some of the time? And if you eschew fossil fuels and electricity as sources of heat, relying on wood burning to warm up at least part of your residence, are you doing the atmosphere a favour?

As with anything pertaining to the environment, the answers aren't simple.

Homespun Electricity, From the Wind

Until recently, wind turbines were used primarily by those who lived outside the range of local utility lines, or who wanted to live completely off the grid. Now, reductions in their size and cost, along with improvements in their efficiency, are allowing suburban homeowners with no dissident leanings to speak of to install them in growing numbers, with concerns over rising energy costs and global warming driving the demand.

Building a Greener Cardboard Box

AMERICANS are using more cardboard in different ways each year. But tree replanting and technological advances in making cardboard are easing the environmental impact, says Patrick J. Moore, chairman and chief executive of the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, the largest maker of paper-based packaging products, with $7.2 billion in sales in 2006. Mr. Moore, who is based in St. Louis, says recycling programs are also improving the environmental impact of all the packaging that Americans consume.

Points of no return ahead

For the last few years, James Hansen, the man who first warned Congress of global warming in testimony last century, and the man considered NASA's "top scientist" on climate questions, has been giving talks around the country asking can we avoid dangerous climate change (PDF)?

But Hansen has changed his tune: no longer does he ask if we have passed the tipping points of climate change. In a press conference Thursday morning at the American Geophysical Union, he stated that we have passed several tipping points. He said scientists now know that soon the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer, that huge ice sheets will melt, and the climactic zones will shift towards the poles of the earth, among other consequences.

Before It Disappears

The Woodses are part of a travel trend that Ken Shapiro, the editor in chief of TravelAge West, a magazine for travel agents, calls “the Tourism of Doom.”

“It’s not just about going to an exotic place,” Mr. Shapiro said. “It’s about going someplace they expect will be gone in a generation.”

From the tropics to the ice fields, doom is big business. Quark Expeditions, a leader in arctic travel, doubled capacity for its 2008 season of trips to the northern and southernmost reaches of the planet. Travel agents report clients are increasingly requesting trips to see the melting glaciers of Patagonia, the threatened coral of the Great Barrier Reef, and the eroding atolls of the Maldives, Mr. Shapiro said.

In Duck Blinds, Visions of Global Warming

After 32 years of hunting ducks in the wetlands of Missouri, Chuck Geier knows when temperatures will drop and waters will freeze. That means he also knows when the birds will fly and hunting will be best.

Except that much of what he knows is now in question.

Saudi calls to cut carbon emissions

Saudi Arabia is in agreement with the call for greater efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and invest in new technology to curb environmental pollution.

As China Goes, So Goes Global Warming

The tide can only be turned, a host of scientists and economists with varied perspectives agree, if China and other rising powers like India speed through the familiar path in nation building — resource extraction, industrial and economic growth, accompanying despoliation, and then environmental restoration and protection. If they don’t, their emissions will eventually swamp all other sources, according to many analyses.

Plenty of oil left in the global tank

The “peak oil has already happened” argument was partly based on the fact that global oil production, on International Energy Agency figures, had never been higher than the 86.13m barrels a day of July 2006.

That, however, is no longer true. World oil output in October was 86.5m barrels a day, 1m more than in October last year and 3m more than in October 2005. It edged up to 86.55m last month.

Even if it was the case that global oil production had been flat over the past couple of years, however, it would prove very little.

Crude Oil Demand to Continue Accelerating for Decades - Energy Sector Trends Analysis

Texas oilman and hedge fund manager T. Boone Pickens for well over a year now has questioned whether global production of crude oil liquids can exceed 86 million barrels per day. Many analysts disputed his analysis, claiming production could be increased well above the 86 million barrel per day level as new supplies were brought online and older fields were upgraded.

While not making a judgment whether Mr. Pickens is correct or not, the chart at right is quite interesting in light of his comments. Keep in mind global demand for crude oil has been increasing about 1.5 million barrels per day per year with global demand for petroleum liquids correlating very closely with economic growth.

Peak performance: commodities still on the up

PEAK oil, peak metals, and this year, peak food. Every bookshop has a corner warning that mankind will soon outrun the basic resources of the globe.

Peak Oil reporting and internet advertising - Big Oil enters the debate

The Google and Yahoo ads that ran alongside those stories at that time occasionally were energy-related, usually investment tips sheets or newsletters attempting to sell on the fear (and greed) that shadow peak oil. I viewed these as good things, as putting a dollar figure on peak oil brings the story home in real, tangible way.

But our recent energy package, which initially appeared in print in the December 7 issue of the North Denver News, has ads running from Big Oil's mouthpiece, the American Petroleum Institute, next to the story. (Editor's note: The Cherry Creek News does not control Google or Yahoo advertising-- they are placed by those companies using a content sensitive process external to our websites) This means that Big Oil (and the American Petroleum Institute), which has generally avoided engaging Peak Oil directly, are now paying to join the fight.

Japan: High Fuel Prices Problem for Sea Transport to Outlying Islands

The skyrocketing cost of oil is driving up fuel prices and causing problems for the businesses and local governments offering sea transport to the outlying islands. Theyve cut personnel costs, and reduced ship speeds and the number of trips, but operators claim prices have risen beyond the point where these efforts can succeed. The 40 operators in the region operating 47 sea transport routes lost an aggregate 4.2 billion yen in the first half of the current fiscal year. Continued price rises may cause sharp cutbacks in service, which could seriously inconvenience the islanders.

Belarus to pay more for Russian gas

- Belarus will pay nearly 20 percent more for Russian gas beginning next year, Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly said Saturday.

The statement came one day after President Vladimir Putin announced $1.5 billion in loans to help the Belarus economy adjust to rising prices.

The Tribulations of Iraq's Oil Industry Due to the Ambiguity of the Constitution

Among the many humanitarian and political crises that Iraq is currently experiencing, there is a vital economic problem that will have a negative impact on the country's economic course over the foreseeable future. This problem is having an affect today, and it is represented by the vagueness surrounding the constitutional articles that deal with the management of Iraq's oil and gas resources.

Crude oil spilled from Saudi Aramco pipeline

Large quantities of crude oil were spilled from a pipeline owned by the state oil company Aramco, the third accident in the country's energy industry in about one month, Saudi newspapers reported Sunday.

Al-Riyadh daily said the spill on Saturday covered about three kilometers (two miles) of an uninhabited open area in the al-Dawadmi district near the capital, Riyadh.

Nicaragua to Rent Disputed Oil Tanks

The Nicaraguan government has agreed to rent - and later probably buy - a tank farm owned by an ExxonMobile subsidiary that is needed to store Venezuelan oil, ending a bitter dispute.

Sen. Landrieu (R-Big Oil)

You couldn't help but notice that it was Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana who broke ranks and gave President Bush and the Republican leadership the one-vote margin they needed to defeat the Democratic version of the energy bill last week. Landrieu's problem was with a provision eliminating a $1 billion-a-year tax break now enjoyed by five giant oil companies; the money would have be redirected to subsidize cleaner alternative fuels. As Landrieu saw it, that was "one-sided policymaking" that left "Louisiana industry footing the bill."

Landrieu's attempt to gussy up her cave-in to back-home special interests was laughable. There was nothing one-sided about the bill -- it was a comprehensive approach to energy supply and demand with bipartisan support that had been watered down at several stages to accommodate business concerns. And does anyone really believe that Louisiana -- which, thanks to sky-high energy prices, has been fleecing the rest of the country -- would suffer grievous economic harm because of a puny tax increase on five multinationals that do the bulk of their business elsewhere?

British Hand Over Basra to Iraqi Control

British forces formally handed over responsibility Sunday for the last region in Iraq under their control, marking the start of what Britain hopes will be a transition to a mission aimed at aiding the economy and providing jobs in an oil-rich region beset by militia infighting.

With the handover of Basra, in Iraq's far south, nine of the country's 18 provinces have reverted to Iraqi government control.

Victoria urged to cut dirty industry subsidies

He said the transport sector, the greatest consumer of energy in Victoria (37%), must also form part of government energy efficiency measures, attacking a "legacy of inadequate funding of public transport".

"The current level of car dependency means we are not well placed to address the challenges of climate change and peak oil," he said.

The scarcest resource humanity has is time

According to Ian Dunlop, a former senior executive in the international oil, coal and gas industries, who chaired the Australian Coal Association from 1987 to 1988 and is now deputy convener of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, "it is morally indefensible and unrealistic to expect the developed world can continue to emit at these levels, with the developing world absorbing the bulk of the climatic impact and being asked to constrain its own growth".

Hawaii: The holidays are upon us — for better or worse

I expect that in future years, as we pass peak oil production, American consumerism will fade as the central issue of our lives. Those of us living on Kaua’i will have simpler lives, growing our own food and providing more of the basic necessities for ourselves.

Napa should slam door on all development

Never before have we had such a convergence of crises that can end life as we know it sitting dead ahead. If you see the American Dream as a pathway of life, small pebbles are growing to the size of insurmountable boulders from which there may be no getting by.

You hear about them in the news: the housing/credit debacle; peak oil, resource depletion and the energy crisis; the runaway debt; the dollar’s collapse; global warming; and a exploding population we can no longer feed or take care of. These crises are not going away nor getting smaller. All of these need drastic action on the national level but I’ve got news for you: Don’t count on it. Short of a violent revolution a la 1776, it’s not going to happen.

Climate Plan Looks Beyond Bush’s Tenure

The world’s faltering effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions got a new lease on life on Saturday, as delegates from 187 countries agreed to negotiate a new accord over the next two years — pushing the crucial debates about United States participation into the administration of a new American president.

Nice charts here:


showing wheat at all time highs today.

And h/t to the site above, this chart:


showing lowest world stocks/use ratio at least since
May 1943 (Time Article-have to find it).

And here:


World v US Stocks/use ratio

Found two Time Articles.

One from June 42, the second from May 43.

What a difference a year makes

From June 42:


"In 1943, therefore, the U.S. Government is likely to pay for another bumper wheat crop it does not need and cannot store. Meanwhile, Leon Henderson's assurance that wheat rationing is not immediately likely remains the year's greatest understatement.

Only possible out: after the war, Europe may be close to starvation and the U.S. may be able to give its wheat surplus away. Then it can start piling up a subsidized surplus all over again."

May 43:


" Wheat, of all things, is no longer a surplus commodity in the U.S. Last week Franklin Roosevelt underlined this fact by suspending wheat-import quotas to allow Canadian and Australian wheat to come into the country in quantity.

Statistically the U.S. is not yet short of wheat. But the estimated carry-over by next July will be only 550,000,000 bu., less than a year's supply even in normal times; less than half the expected needs for the 1943-44 season. Moreover, most of the carry-over is Government-owned, and Congress refuses to let it be sold below parity prices (over $1.40 a bu.). Since that is much too high to make it economical for cattle feed, and since the $1.05 ceiling on corn has kept that feed crop off the market, Eastern farmers, who grow only part of their own feed, have been pinched.

Western cattlemen, looking ahead for a year or so, fear a pinch sooner or later too. If they turn out to be right, the U.S. decision to upgrade the feeding habits of the world (from plain grain to grain converted to meat) will turn out to have been one of the costliest decisions of World War II."

Today, courtesy http://www.investmenttools.com/futures/soy/chicago_wheat_futures_market.htm

12/13/07 Since cumulative wheat sales have reached an amazing 89.6% of the USDA forecast as compared to 66.7% on average, there is now talk, that stocks will at some point be wiped out and the US may be forced to curtail or embargo further sales.

12/6/07 Statistics Canada estimates Canada's 2007 wheat production at 20.05 million tons, down 21% YoY and down 587,000 tons from their September guess.

With Prices High, Farming Is Bright Spot In U.S.

Sky-high prices for corn, soybeans and wheat, and a jump in the value of farmland across the U.S. heartland, have boosted the fortunes of farmers this year and breathed fresh life into rural communities.

Thanx Leanan. I saw a couple of firsts in that article.

The main one:

"The Bush administration has threatened to veto the bill."

And Lugar (IN)'s siding with Bush.

Not lightly considered move.

And historically, farmers only benefit about two years
and then struggle thru about 14.

Secondary in the article:

Farmers buying land.

Bad move. Buy the land in one of those later
14 year periods.

In case you didn't notice, the times are changing now...with climate change and peak oil hurting agricultural yields worldwide we're in a whole new ballgame now, I can't see the value of well-watered farmland going anywhere but UP in future...

I can't see the value of well-watered farmland going anywhere but UP in future...

Up relative to other things - perhaps. If the population collapes from some form of pandemic then perhaps not.

Only an economic/poverty pandemic (lack of food and water and sewerage and basic medical care) or a pandemic of resource wars...

Seems to me I recall the same thing being said about California real estate a couple of years ago.

I bought land in 1977 near the top of the previous cycle when corn was about $2.50/bu.. I have spent the last 30 years trying to pay for it as corn fell to as low as 1.45/bu. locally in 2005. Corn today at it's recent new high is still ridiculously under priced compared to oil, but if the anti ethanol types and the power down crowd get the upper hand, it could easily revisit the recent lows. I'm sure farm land would drop in such a scenario.

I tend to agree also for people looking for land more for personal farms you probably are looking for more of a mixed type acreage. I expect that a lot of people that now live on mini farms but have debt and are dependent on their jobs for income to try and sell as job/fuel pressures make "toy" farms unpractical. This will have a negative impact on land prices in general. Next commercial oil base farming will get squeezed like any other business and a lot of farmers are in debt so farmer bankruptcies will lower land values. Almost all the pressure on land prices has come from expansion of suburbia not the need of land for agriculture. So even if land was needed to expand agriculture the price points one would need to make it profitable to expand given the above are much lower than they are today. So a purely agricultural induced increase in land prices is at best in some far of distant future.

Short term I'd have to think that as long as oil supply is stable and we go into a recession we will see a pull back in oil prices which will probably cut the throat of the ethanol boom this coupled with the collapse of suburban expansion will probably lead to a collapse in land prices. I just can't see land prices remaining high give the general economic situation. The other choice that oil supply drops sharply and the economy slows with high oil prices still indicates to me that land prices will drop a lot.

Maybe farmers, but not much for ranchers. Cattle remain one area factory farms don't seem able to dominate. Yes, most all are eventually sent to feedlots, but no one has yet found a profitable method of calf production other than the unsubsidized, dispersed farms and ranches. Compared to the hog and poultry industries Poulan mentions in the toplink above, it's a world different.

Edit-Deleted as most covered in Leanan link's.

Looks like it's Mission Unaccomplished in Afghanistan, too:

Afghan Mission Is Reviewed as Concerns Rise

Deeply concerned about the prospect of failure in Afghanistan, the Bush administration and NATO have begun three top-to-bottom reviews of the entire mission, from security and counterterrorism to political consolidation and economic development, according to American and alliance officials.

To avoid my usual diatribe to my friends on why Canada should not be in Afganistan, we will never "win" there as long as the US military thinks it is ok to put a bomb into a school or house, killing kids and other innocents just because they saw a "Talaban" run into the place. This in the end converts the population to the other side and was one of the reasons Viet Nam was never going to be a victory.
There is no good out but in the end, negotiating with the Talaban with the goal of freezing out Al Quaeda seems the only least of all evils solution. The war lords and drug organisations in the north may be the real stop to any solution.

This is the same Taliban who said they would hand over OBL
if the US showed proof of 911 Connection.

Why did we attack Afghanistan?

And notice how the "war lords and drug organizations" are having no trouble staying in Afghanistan.

Especially since the 'evil' Taliban had managed to cut it's opium crop by 96% in one year! (2000/2001) The 'war lords and drug organizations' must be in a place called Washington, DC.

Mike C Ruppert, who ran the From The Wilderness site, was not always correct, but correct far far too often for my taste.

whatever happened to Mike Ruppert. Flamed out in Venezuela, it was reported. Is he just going to join all the "disappeared" scientists and journalists who got too close to the truth?

Go over to Carolyn Baker's site.

She's been keeping tabs and doing a yeo(wo)man's
job of reporting.


Last I heard, he was in NY getting treatment for serious medical problems. He's said he's planning to move back to Oregon when he can.

As I understood - he got sick about the same time he got threatened and left the US of A. Went to Venezuela, then to Canada and may be visiting the US of A for treatment.

Considering any of us can 'get' cancer from viruses, various mycotoxins, many different industrial chemicals, and the various radio-isotopes - plenty of fertile ground to grow conspiracies to be watered with historical deceptions/behaviors of humans VS other humans.

It would be impossible to prove any conspiracy-- not enough people care.

Mike Ruppert cut as close to the flame as anyone could -- he may have been burned, or maybe his illness was just "natural".

Either way, he is missed, I can say that for myself, anyway.

Either way, he is missed, I can say that for myself, anyway

Ditto. I found out about Peak Oil at www.FromTheWilderness.com back in 2001.

We miss ya Mike.

"I found out about Peak Oil at www.FromTheWilderness.com"

As did I, from one of his staffer's articles. There was definitely a lot of good stuff there...

Yes. A shame he could not continue his work.

If 90% of the people cared, there is no 'proof' for some - even if someone were to show a film of them doing the conspiortial act.

We, the readers of TOD will never know. But with the history of 'black bag/wet operations' of people in power VS people who make statements not flattering to power - there will allways be people who will feel it was some form of assassination.

(And you want that kind of suspicion to stop? Support open records in every place you can.)

Watch this:

Takes less than 5 minutes:


Jenna Orkin's blog mentions Mike sometimes. I think she is a friend of his. Or at least an admirer; note the URL of the blog.

Yes, Look at the Opium production graphs for something interesting.

A January 10, 2002
Creeping Collapse in Credibility at the White House:
From ENRON Entanglements to UNOCAL Bringing the Taliban to Texas and Controlling Afghanistan

According to a December 17, 1997 article in the British paper, The Telegraph, headlined, "Oil barons court Taliban in Texas," the Taliban was about to sign a "£2 billion contract with an American oil company to build a pipeline across the war-torn country. ... The Islamic warriors appear to have been persuaded to close the deal, not through delicate negotiation but by old-fashioned Texan hospitality. ... Dressed in traditional salwar khameez,Afghan waistcoats and loose, black turbans, the high-ranking delegation was given VIP treatment during the four-day stay."

At the same time, U.S. government documents reveal that the Taliban were harboring Osama bin Laden as their "guest" since June 1996.


1997 Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline

A senior delegation from the Taleban movement in Afghanistan is in the United States for talks with an international energy company that wants to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.



The only thing new in the world is history you don't know
Harry Truman

I have no problem if Canada wants to send troops to Afghanistan, but I don't want to pay for it because I don't support it. The purpose of the military is to protect OUR nation, not to be a freakin charity. I think that if people had the option of supporting the miliary financially for peacekeeping missions (this is what Afghanistan really is), those with a blind faith in military action wouldn't be so quick to pony up the cash to back up their belief.

Jografy: We already won. The taliban did a major number on the global heroin trade-since we have been there, the Afghan crop is as safe for production as previously-I think this year was a record output.

The Taliban were paid 22 million dollars in April 2001 for reducing Poppy production, which leads to argument that the US Government financed 9/11 through its ridiculous drug war.

The Taliban, at the time, did not slash poppy fields for moral reasons or ‘agreements’ only. They did it to make prices rise and for reasons of control. Recent history is known.

The main problem is that without a banking system farmers cannot borrow for other crops, only opium affords credit and certain revenue, as well as protection and so on. The UN, the FAO, the US, NATO, none of them have done anything to change this system. (imho. Nothing serious.) The burning of crops and the dismantling of labs is symbolic. There is prostitution and AIDS in Kaboul - where none was before. Right at the end of the chain small sellers become users. Women are very affected as well - begging soon turns to prostitution and to relieve the pain drugs help.

RE: Afghan Mission Is Reviewed as Concerns Rise...

'The administration is now committed to finding an international coordinator, described as a “super envoy,” to synchronize the full range of efforts in Afghanistan, and to continue pressing for more NATO troops to fight an insurgency that made this the most violent year since the Taliban and Al Qaeda were routed in December 2001.'

Routing...Like the routing of the north-south Afganistan pipeline? Once again the choice to use force to reach a goal, in this case a secure pipeline right-of-way, has blown up in the faces of the neo-cons. Negotiation with the various tribal leaders was rejected out of hand in favor of 'lets take the land we want by force' for the right-of-way. Now that the attempt to use force is failing Bush wants to hand the 'co-ordination of NATO efforts' over to yet another layer of military management (please excuse the phrase). Where have we heard this before?

Re: the failures in Saudi oil infrastructure. There are two obvious causes: old infrastructure starting to fail, a very big problem in itself if this is the cause; or terrorism is actually having success but is not being acknowledged. The first cause might be of more concern than the second and perhaps more likely based upon similar problems the big int'l companies have been having. In any case another factor contributing to the grim ELM projections.

Re: Re: failures in oil infrastructure.


(with pic of explosion)

"There's no indication of what went wrong," said spokesman Diron D. White of NiSource, which owns the pipeline.
The company and its subsidiaries, including Columbia Gulf Transmission, own and operate about 17,000 miles of interstate natural gas pipelines and underground storage systems in North America.

White, who was at the scene Friday evening, said the 30-inch pipeline was installed in 1954. Another 30-inch line and a 36-inch line also run through the area. The pipelines are for long-distance transmission and do not service local customers, White said.

Pipelines in the Richland Parish area originate in south Louisiana. They continue through Mississippi and enter Tennessee and Kentucky."

Personal note. I went from deep sleep to instant wide awake
when this pipeline exploded back in 1981.

And it was 5 miles away.

"old infrastructure starting to fail"

Sounds like Simmons thoughts on infrastructure degredation are coming home to roost. His latest publication discussed not only pipelines getting old, but also offshore rigs and such.

We're just wrong, and that's that.

But what about the peak-oil “ultras”, who claim world oil production has reached or passed the summit? It has such a widespread following on the internet that surely it must be true. Actually, it is wrong.


There doesn't appear to be any further reason for The Oil Drum to even exist; the concern has evaporated.

Nevertheless, I crave a world with a little less stink and noise, and since I had pinned my hopes on a decline in oil supply to moderate the mechanical excess of our age (clearly good taste alone was never going to prevail), and since that apparently will not happen in my lifetime I will have to look elsewhere for solace and even sanity.

Huh, so....when does oil drop back to $10 a barrel?

well, when the economy collapses and no one is doing anything, there won't be any demand for oil. Then it could be $10/bbl or $10,000 -- it wouldn't make any difference because people wouldn't have any money. You could buy a cup of coffee for a nickel in 1931 -- if you had a nickel.

My dad worked the mid-west wheat harvest for about 6 weeks each fall during the depression years of 1936-38. To reach the mid-west he would ride box cars with the hobos. Then he would travel with a crew that had their own harvesters and trucks and the farmers would pay for harvesting by the bushel or acre. Dad said that many times they would run out of money between jobs and would have to decide if they should spend their last nickle on a pouch of Bull Durham Tobacco or a bowl of chili. Lot of hard work but little money. After the harvesting he would ride the box cars back home with a few dollars cash if he was lucky. Having a meal each day, something most of us take for granted, was not a sure thing during the depression.

OK now takes that nickel and "times" it by 10, to come up with a conservative modern value. you'd actually have to double it again to arrive at the modern worth of what a nickel was back then. A buck.

Now, are you going to spend a BUCK on coffee?? If you're flush and feelin' good maybe. Otherwise, forget about it! You're going to make it at home, hell if you're that hard up you'll grow chicory and mix it with a little 'mormon tea' and call that coffee.

People are getting to that stage soon, some of us now. Last 'store boughten' cup of coffee I had was a lil' sample at a starbucks I got for a nice smile and a few kind words. Little cup, but it was nice. I savored it like it was the tallest frappachino in the place.

The TimesOnline article has a lie or at best ignorant misunderstanding in it. Global oil production has never been 86.13, 86.55 or any other number of millions of barrels per day in the 80s.

The figure represents global "liquids" production. Global crude oil production has never passed much above 75 million bbl/day. The other 10+ Mbpd is made up of coal gasification, LPG, NGL, ethanol, biodiesel and so on.

Given that crude oil production has been flat or declining globally, and given that coal gasification and biofuels production is up, it's easy to see that the increase in total liquids comes from sources which have their own problems. We can't turn coal to gas, nor can we get condensates from natural gas forever, there are limits to how much food we can turn into fuel, and so on.

Remove the lie or misunderstanding from his article, and you're left with, "don't worry, there's plenty of oil... er, coal... um... natural gas... ack, corn."

The figure represents global "liquids" production. Global crude oil production has never passed much above 75 million bbl/day. The other 10+ Mbpd is made up of coal gasification, LPG, NGL, ethanol, biodiesel and so on.

Over and over, this English teacher has pondered this very issue. Over and over, I've asked more informed people for explanations of how these "liquids" are counted, how they're added up, whether the energy from the "oil" category gets recounted in the "other" category, whether or not the net energy is actually declining.

I've never gotten satisfactory answers to a single one of these questions.

So I'm declining to speak about oil anymore, for if someone were to ask me what the state of the oil supply is, I would honestly have to answer: "Well, it depends upon what your definition of oil is."

One is inclined to believe, like "Thatsitimout," that we don't even know what the hell we're doing.

Crude oil (generally C+C) is: (1) The principal feedstock for refineries; (2) The principal inventory number; (3) The principal index price (Brent and WTI).

Why do we talk about the price of crude oil, but we discuss the volume of total liquids?

Perhaps because "total liquids" is amenable to Enron-style fuzzy accounting (slight exaggeration), while C+C is a definite, measurable quantity?

Why do we talk about the price of crude oil, but we discuss the volume of total liquids?

Because, as the vast majority component of oil supply, crude sets the price. The other liquids directly compete with crude in some major uses (e.g., ethylene feedstocks), though, so their use can displace crude to be used elsewhere. As such, they functionally increase the overall amount of crude in the system.

Right, and coal competes with crude oil as well. To be consistent they should say "liquids plus coal". But wait, natural gas is even more competitive with crude oil. It should be "all liquids plus coal plus natural gas".

Or, they could just be sensible and say crude oil.

Ron Patterson

Right, and coal competes with crude oil as well.

But not directly, and these other liquids do.

Go read about ethylene feedstocks - i.e., "makin' plastic". Those plants will use liquids derived from crude or will use NGL, depending on what's cheaper.

NGL - which is about 90% of "other liquids" - substitutes directly for crude in that application, and it's one that consumes millions of barrels per day.

Or, they could just be sensible and say crude oil.

The IEA, the EIA, and major oil consumers all disagree with you.

But not directly, and these other liquids do.

Technically bottled gas is not a liquid. NGL is only a few degrees difference from LNG. They are both liquefied gas. Both compete with crude oil. But I noticed Pitt, that you confidently omitted mentioning natural gas.

It is just dumb to include ethanol, palm oil, liquefied coal, liquefied gas, but not all liquefied gas, under the category of "all liquids" simply because they compete with crude oil. If liquefied gas competes with crude oil then by God you should include ALL liquefied gas.

It is all nothing but a fudge factor that enables the EIA and the IEA to say oil production is up when it is actually down, or at least not up nearly as much, simply because liquefied gas or palm oil or ethanol production is up. Dumb, just plain dumb!

We need to get all of the confusion factors, all the fudge factors and concentrate on the production, up or down, of crude oil.

Ron Patterson

Both compete with crude oil. But I noticed Pitt, that you confidently omitted mentioning natural gas.

I mentioned NGLs because those compete directly with crude, as in major consumers who say "I need oil" will say "I'll buy whichever's cheaper".

I did not mention natural gas because there's no evidence it has a similar relationship. "It competes because you can burn both for heat" is a silly argument, and it's deeply misleading to assert that the kind of substitution I'm talking about is anything like that.

Some crude is burned for electricity; does that mean coal is a direct substitute for crude? No - electricity can be produced in all kinds of ways, so it's not something that requires oil. Do ethylene feedstocks require crude? As I understand the situation, yes. They can also be satisfied by NGLs, though, so that's one of the ways NGLs can do what only crude is otherwise used for.

If liquefied gas competes with crude oil then by God you should include ALL liquefied gas.

Why? A substance should be included in "oil supply" if it substitutes for crude in a major use that cannot otherwise be satisfied.

We know NGLs do - ethylene feedstocks.
We know ethanol does - gasoline.
We know palm oil does - diesel.

We do not know that LNG does, so you need to provide evidence of that claim.

More than that, though - you're saying both the IEA and EIA are wrong in what they call "total oil supply", and you're going to need substantial evidence to make "random internet guy" more believable than "most important oil-tracking organizations in the world".

Because, from my perspective, your complaints are no more valid than insisting that only onshore oil "counts", and all of this offshore nonsense is a fudge factor to mask a peak that happened many years ago.

When crude oil peaked in the US in 1970, it was crude oil, not bottled gas, ethanol, palm oil or any agricultural product. Counting bottled gas and agricultural products in the same basket as crude oil does not make it crude oil.

So far peak oil was in 2005. The average production for oil was 73,807,000 barrels per day. So far, for the first nine months of 2007, oil production has been 73,134,000 barrels per day or 673,000 barrels per day less than in 2005.

You can count ethanol, palm oil, bottled gas or whatever you wish Pitt. But peak oil will be peak oil and so far peak oil was in 2005, and I am betting that record will hold.

Ron Patterson

When crude oil peaked in the US in 1970, it was crude oil, not bottled gas, ethanol, palm oil or any agricultural product.

So? More types of oil are widely available today, and totals are updated to take that fact into account. The IEA, for example, has included all liquids in its total oil supply for at least the last 15 years.

You can insist that only your favourite subset of oil "counts" until you're blue in the face, but the strength of your beliefs does not make a convincing argument. The simple fact of the matter is that the rest of the world cares about the total oil supply because that's what affects the real world.

If crude supplies fell by 1Mb/d and other liquids increased by 5Mb/d, what do you think the price would do? Do you think the people buying ethylene feedstock or fuel for process heat give a damn about your definition of what is or is not "true" oil? No - they'll happily buy more NGLs instead of crude products, meaning the increased supply will pressure the price of oil and cause it to fall. And for exactly the same reason, a 5Mb/d fall in other liquids accompanied by a 1Mb/d rise in crude would shoot the price of oil up as more crude had to be used for feedstock, causing a bidding war that would stop only when enough demand had been destroyed.

By insisting that your peculiar definition of oil is the only "true" definition, you're just making people concerned about peak oil look like crackpots with a tenuous grasp on reality. Give it up already, it's irrelevant to the main problem, which is the increased (and likely to worsen) tightness in supply. Your insistence on a definition nobody uses gains you nothing.

If crude supplies fell by 1Mb/d and other liquids increased by 5Mb/d, what do you think the price would do?

Since 70% of all crude oil is used for transportation, I would bet my bottom dollar that the price would go up. Automobiles, trucks, ships, trains and airplanes use oil, not ethanol or bottled gas for fuel.

Also people who use fuel oil for heat cannot just switch to propane. They require different stoves and different tanks. They could switch, at considerable expense, and time but it is not as simple as you seem to believe. Do you actually believe that NYMEC crude traders check the propane inventories before trading? The price goes up or down on crude oil inventories, not propane inventories.

No, crude oil prices depend on the supply and demand of crude oil, not the supply of propane. Propane could mitigate a small part of oil demand but only perhaps 5 percent or so, and that would take time and money.

You don't seem to know much about the commodities market Pitt. Perhaps you need to study up a bit.

Ron Patterson

The last time that I checked, crude oil (presumably C+C) accounted for about 98% of the input into US refineries.

If crude supplies fell by 1Mb/d and other liquids increased by 5Mb/d, what do you think the price would do?

Since 70% of all crude oil is used for transportation, I would bet my bottom dollar that the price would go up.

Let's put some numbers to this:

  • There are about 73Mb/d of crude oil, 8Mb/d of NGLs, and 4Mb/d of other oil.
  • 15% of NGLs is natural gasoline ("Pentanes Plus"), which has "the chief components of ordinary refinery gasoline", and is a refinery/blender input.
  • Accordingly, about 1.2Mb/d of gasoline is from NGLs, which directly produce many refined products, "such as motor gasoline, special naphthas, jet fuel, kerosene, and distillate fuel oil."
  • 70% of 85Mb/d of oil = 59Mb/d is used for transportation.
  • That 59Mb/d is composed of an unknown mixture of crude and other liquids such as ethanol and NGL-derived gasoline and other fuels. A minimum of 1.2Mb/d (natural gasoline) + 1.3Mb/d (ethanol) + 0.1Mb/d (biodiesel) = 2.6Mb/d of that is not from crude.
  • Accordingly, at least 2.6/12 = 22% of non-crude liquids are directly used for transportation.
  • At least 16.6Mb/d of crude is used for non-transportation uses, such as ethylene feedstocks which are known to switch between crude and NGLs as price warrants.

So we have direct substitution for crude in both transportation and non-transportation uses, some of which are known to flexibly switch between the two. Yet you claim 5Mb/d of NGLs can't compensate for the loss of 1Mb/d of crude? Based on what do you make that claim?

From the data, 22% of non-crude liquids are used for transportation. Based on that alone, a 5Mb/d increase in those liquids would displace 1Mb/d of crude used for transportation, as well as some unknown-but-large amount of the 16.6+Mb/d used for non-transportation purposes.


So you'd bet your bottom dollar that the price would go up? You'd lose your bottom dollar - the overall supply of transportation fuel would increase, even without taking into account crude being pushed from ethylene feedstocks into transportation uses.

You don't seem to know much about the commodities market Pitt. Perhaps you need to study up a bit.

See, it's funny when you say things like that after providing nothing as evidence but a load of hot air.

You want to argue with me, argue with the EIA and their petroleum consumption data. Their hard numbers say you have no idea what you're talking about.

A little follow-up on this:

By EIA data, "other liquids" is 11.1Mb/d (2006), of which:

  • 7.8Mb/d is NGLs
  • 2.1Mb/d is refinery gains
  • 1.2Mb/d is "other liquids"

Refinery gains are the same fraction of C+C as they were five years ago, so that's nothing more than a constant multiplier. (Oddly enough, though, they increased from 1.5% in 1980 to 2.8% by 2002.)

The 1.2Mb/d of other "other liquids" is largely ethanol (70% is from the US/Brazil), but also includes biodiesel and South Africa's CTL; adjusted for energy density, it's about 0.9Mb/d of crude.

The other 85% is NGLs. The EIA link above shows that 30% of US NGL consumption is used as refinery/blender input, representing another 27% of "other liquids" - 2.3Mb/d - that goes into the normal oil pipeline. In total, at least 3.5Mb/d - ~40% - of "other liquids" is used in the same way as crude (although accounting for energy density could push that figure down to directly displacing 30% of its volume in crude, depending on how energy-dense the components of NGLs used are).

Accordingly, one would expect 1Mb/d of "other liquids" - distributed according to the current mix - to add the equivalent of 0.3-0.4Mb/d to the effective level of crude as well as displacing 0.4-0.6Mb/d of crude products from other uses (with the range being due to the uncertain effects of energy density on, for example, ethylene feedstocks).

" Right, and coal competes with crude oil as well."

But not directly, and these other liquids do.

What about in electricity generation? Where I live (japan) a good deal of my electricity is generated in oil fired thermal plants.

How is coal not in direct competition with oil in this regard?

David Smith, economics editor of UK quality newspaper The Sunday Times, and the witer of this leader, told me a few weeks ago that he was going to write this piece.

At best, in my opinion, it is a farago of twisted facts.He has used a lie, as you say, but also he uses a classic denialist tactic (also use by Anthropogenic Climate Change deniers) by refuting the several years of historical data with two dubious (that will probably be revised down) all liquids figures.

I intend to reply to him by telling him his 'mistakes' (they may be deliberate misinformation?) - to write a piece such as this means main stream media economists (at the least) are getting concerned by the current high price of oil.

This MSM piece is the first stage of dealing with a crisis, i.e. denial, surely it can't be happening!

Here on TOD, I am sure we have enough knowlege to refute his arguments/assertions line by line - and maybe we should do so to help any newcomers visiting here for the first time?

Please help me by pointing out obvious errors in the article, faulty logic, ad hominems etc.

Thanks, Xeroid.

The problem is that it is the JOB of the TimesOnline and all other MSM to lie.

It is the JOB of the people to believe them and go on shopping and take vacations in Corsica.

It will all work out in the end.

I think it has more to do with 'it's difficult to get somebody to understand something when continuation of their lifestyle depends on them not understanding it!'

I now know that there are people in the UK government who will not allow the words 'peak' and 'oil' to be in the same sentence and also will not allow peak oil contingency plans to be made just in case the public get to know about their existence and panic!

There are a LOT of people who are paid to "not understand".

And most people seem to feel they can't do anything about it, so why worry -- get what you can while you can.

Gotta go -- I'm off to Corsica

Problem is he is an economist, so believes the economic dogma: "Higher prices will bring more output on stream". Will high prices create oil? He believes they will. You can't really argue logically with that sort of belief system.

He gives the impression of understanding the subject, yet admits he is "surprised" by high oil prices. If you are suprised by something, it shows you don't really understand it.

BTW, he doesn't think much of "the internet" but that doesn't stop him from having his own website where he offers "consultancy" ;)

Higher prices will eventually lower demand, and effectively bring more output on stream. Those who can't afford to buy will die or become invisible. Prices will go down.

Economists aren't wrong -- just amoral. They are scientists, not philosophers or theologists. Feel free to add your own value system.

Nevertheless, like scientists, some of them actually do lie for various reasons.

I can recognise a scientist when I see one and economists definitely aren't scientists!

Anyway as far as I know David Smith has no qualifications as an economist, he is just a journalist with a fancy title.

I'm no expert, but I have done some economics courses as part of my engineering degree. I was of the understanding that higher prices would not necessarily make more of a product available, but could just make substitutes more attractive.

There's nothing to say that the substitute for oil would even be another liquid fuel.

"Problem is he is an economist, so believes the economic dogma: "Higher prices will bring more output on stream"."

To some extent this is true. See the expansions in the tar sands, or Petrobras' new field (that probably wouldn't be drilled without the expectation of continuing high prices). Note that I'm not claiming that high prices will bring more oil next year than this year. Just that high prices will bring more oil next year than low prices would.

But, it's unclear what fraction of oil producers will follow this (maximal revenue) model. The western majors probably will. But there's some evidence that OPEC countries have pursued either "target revenue" (producing more during low prices and less during high, to meet a targeted revenue) or "cartel" behavior. With most of the world's oil in the hands of NOCs, it's hard to say how overall supply will respond to high prices.

At last, we get to the heart of the peak oil problem ... thank you.

The economists view is that the invisible hand of the market will allow us to eat a sufficient amount of 'cake' when there is no 'bread' - but 50,000 or so people die every day because the invisible hand is picking it's nose (or something similar) completely proving their theory does not work when there are insufficient alternatives.

Clearly, for the net importing countries the increasing part of 'total liquids' that is 'alternative' liquid has to ramp up at least as fast as conventional declines + the 2% we need for BAU - the sad reality is that for the last three years 'net exports' of total liquids haven't kept up - and the official view from the IEA can also now see it won't in the near future either, despite what David Smith and other economists think.

The lack of sufficient 'total liquids' will be the cause of any economic slowdown, not the other way about.

Freely moving prices will balance the supply and demand but the supply might not grow at the rate required for business as usual growth, the constrained 'total liquids' oil supply growth of the last 3 years (shown by the massive price rises visible for all to see) is evidence of this even without any IEA statistics.

higher prices will increase supply. and for crude oil cant you define supply as either reserves or production ? we are currently depleting (producing) our supply(reserves) faster that we are finding new supply (reserves). whether the world can or will bring increased supply (production) on line is questionable at best. we are on a treadmill, running faster will get us to the end of the treadmill faster.

back in the olden days (that was the late '70). texaco's E & P (that was when major oil companies even had a domestic E & P) was essentially a service co to their refineries. if texaco needed higher production they released money for projects (workovers, waterflood projects and rarely, drilling) and that seemed to do the trick. so there was and probably is a culture within the industry that believes money can increase supply.
at that time texaco usually had more projects available than they were willing or able to fund.

Higher prices also increase producer costs. Therefore it is not higher price that encourages increased output but profit. It is called the profit motive for that reason.

Substitutes must also be produced at a competitive price and profit margin to be realised as substitutes. Otherwise methane from Titan is a substitute... want to invest in my Titan Import biz?

The plus point of free markets is that if there is a good substitute out there that can be found, the profit motive will help find it. But the invisible hand can't wave an invisible wand and create things that don't exist.

two dubious (that will probably be revised down) all liquids figures.

Based on what do you assert this? To fall below the previous high of 86.16, both October and November would have to be revised down by more than 0.3Mb/d. Can you point to any previous instance where the two most recent months have both been revised down by that much? (There might be, but it's unlikely we'll see that, and very unlikely without a prior example of it happening.)

Besides, it doesn't matter.

Whether or not month A is higher or lower than month B is only barely relevant to the overall point of peak oil, which is that oil supplies are likely to get increasingly tight and it would be in our best interests to lower our consumption. Obsessing over this month or that month is just a distraction.

The TimesOnline article has a lie or at best ignorant misunderstanding in it. Global oil production has never been 86.13, 86.55 or any other number of millions of barrels per day in the 80s.

The figure represents global "liquids" production.

The figure also represents the "total oil supply" as reported by both the IEA and EIA, so it's not at all an unreasonable thing for the Times to report.

Indeed, given how those non-crude liquids directly compete with crude in major uses - ethylene feedstocks, for example - it seems rather pointless to obsess about which liquid is or is not "real" oil. If it does the job, it counts.

Tilting at windmills like these isn't going to help make concerns about peak oil be taken seriously.

The current administration's switch to talking about 'total liquids', now being followed by the MSM, is the same kind of BS as the 'core inflation' numbers. It is intended to HIDE the true state of affairs.

The current administration's switch to talking about 'total liquids'

Don't be dense; "oil supply" has meant "all liquids" for at least 15 years.

RE: Climate Plan Looks Beyond Bushs Tenure...

Everything is beyond Bushs tenure except the ability to start and wage wars. Bush, when faced with the options of waging a war on 'terrorisim' or waging an all out effort to cut greenhouse emissions, chose the former. Why did he make this choice? The possibilities are many but I think that it boiled down to the facts that we already had a huge military in place but nothing in place to lower emissions globally except the UN, and we all know what this administration thinks of the UN. Putting the full weight of the US Gov behind the UN to strengthen the organization with the goal to impose real limits on FF use was out of the question. Money for 'friends of the administration' was also a big factor. Now we are embroiled in a seemingly endless war in the ME that could easily escalate and there are few resources and even less attention being given to the very real problem of GW...Just a bit of lip service here and there. While Bush focused on the ME a world wide economic meltdown began, thanks to efforts by more friends of the administration to contrive and market ever more complex debt instruments. Bush shot himself in the foot but we are all going to feel the pain.

Arctic sets records on all fronts

Scientists have detailed what was an extraordinary melting season in the Arctic during the summer of 2007.


yep, it's the perennial ice that is the real worry as this is the foundation for next winters ice.

I think 2008 will be interesting on all fronts, GW, oil shortages and global financial meldown, depleted foodstocks.

Time to clear the bondage gear out of the basement and get it filled with razors, asprin, matches and toilet paper, oh and some baked beans!!


"Time to clear the bondage gear out of the basement and get it filled with razors, asprin, matches and toilet paper, oh and some baked beans!!"

And rice, milk, cheese, butter, wheat, maybe some cans of seeds, a fire starting block, canning jars and extra lids,...






Oh, and grafting trees is a good skill to pick up.

Pack Rat

Time to clear the bondage gear out of the basement


I was sitting here trying to puzzle out if you wanted to purchase them or if you were hoping for one last go at the ball gag and furry handcuffs before he puts them on Ebay ...

The handcuffs are NOT furry.

And besides they will come in useful for apprehending the guy trying to steal the potatoes I am growing.

Then he gets to be my gimp. Alright jokes over. Sorry Leanan, these are dark days and we need to lighten the tone a bit with some humour.


Regarding "the Tourism of Doom" in 'Before it Disappears' above:

Don't forget to add Miami Florida and the Everglades to your list!

Errol in Miami

Or NC's Outer Banks. The ribbons of sand will still be there several miles to the west, but the tourism infrastructure won't be.

From USA Today:

"2007 among the warmest years on record"


I realize that there would be no way of measuring the amount of heat to any degree of precision but the 'warmest years' are measured by temperature and there may be a different picture of the situation if we could measure the amount of heat retained each year. I strongly suspect it would show an even more dire picture with the polar ice masses absorbing a great deal of heat without exhibiting a corresponding rise in temperature.

"I strongly suspect it would show an even more dire picture with the polar ice masses absorbing a great deal of heat without exhibiting a corresponding rise in temperature."

That's a really good point. The amount of heat required to melt a pound of water ice is enough to raise the temperature of a pound of liquid water by almost eighty degrees. After the Arctic sea ice is gone, a huge amount of heat will then go toward raising the temperature of the water. When I lived in Vermont, I noticed that the seasonal temperature decline seemed delayed during October, and the seasonal warming was delayed in April--by the heat of fusion of water. The Arctic ice is suppressing the rate of temperature rise--and when it's gone, all hell will break loose in the north.

Mark Folsom

Bush shot himself in the foot but we are all going to feel the pain.

He didn't shoot himself in the foot, he shot US in the head. We just haven't hit the floor yet.

If he can avoid being brought before the International Criminal Court for 'crimes against humanity' he'll just kick back for the rest of his life laughing at the rest of us for being such easy marks.

Bush can ‘officially’ wage war. However the ppl behind the curtain, whoever they might be, and the International community, recently put a damper on an attack on Iran, in the public shape of the latest NIE report (all of which are now politically motivated, as such contradictory rubbish has no other purpose. I’m not suggesting Iran had or has a ‘nuke’ program, or did not, that is another question.) It probably would not have happened anyway, but many were very alarmed, and the propaganda went on for too long, being misused, and dragging sheeples into BS. Even some rabid neo-cons have written that an attack on Iran is off the table. (Sarkozy, who is an ass, still rumbles on about it.) Iraq was signed on to by everyone (sanctions and then invasion) but once was enough, particularly after Gulf War I, paid for by the Internationals, Japan in first place if I recall correctly.

Lowering emissions means giving up power - military power, world domination hubris, lifestyle cock-a-snoot; generally, the global reach of the superpower. (I almost typed industrial power and then decided not do, it should read, neo-colonialist import power.) Then, all the reasons River mentions. The world has been told regularly that the American life style is not negotiable. Not because Bush or US elites care about Joe and Alicia and their BBQ (their fate is rather dim, as can be clearly seen now), but because without energy capture and domination the whole tower of cards will tumble down.

The EU’s atlanticist drift (eg. Merkel, Sarkozy, NATO expansion, Kosovo independence, etc.) and their uneasy opposition, the small quarrels, the condemnations, etc. re. Putin signals that the EU aligns to the superpower - what a bunch of poodly fools.

Just wanted to note that the November 25, 2007 Rod Dreher op-ed from the Dallas Morning News on PO was syndicated in my local newspaper this morning. The original article is at http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/columnists/rdrehe... .

My paper--the Wilmington, NC Star-News--entitled Dreher's work "Running on Empty."

Turkey bombs northern Iraq: Iraq officials

'By Sherko Raouf
Sun Dec 16, 8:00 AM ET


SULAIMANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - Turkish warplanes targeting Kurdish rebels bombed villages deep in northern Iraq on Sunday, killing one woman and forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes, local officials said.

In Ankara, the Turkish military's General Staff said in a statement its warplanes had attacked targets of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which uses northern Iraq as a base from which to attack security forces inside Turkey'...snip...

Feliz Navidad!

I wonder why Turkey, our NATO ally, simply didnt give targeting data for the villages that they wanted bombed to the US? We cant fix a damned thing but we excell at bombing stuff.

Fine form today, Never.
Opening one's eyes really wide will do that to ya.

Sure, you're welcome.

I'm teetering on the brink of realizing that the "Government of the People, by the People and for the People" has just perished from the Earth. It was a noble experiment, but it has been replaced by the usual government of the rich and powerful over all.

The happy new year is a sort of Zen-ish realization that what most of us do doesn't matter to anyone except the people we are close to.

Talk doesn't cook rice, they say.

Oops, looks like you slipped off.
try joining in prayer with the solft landing crowd.

Sorry, just trying to keep the sarcasm flowing.
Beats global warming denial, anyway.

Aaaummmmm... please don't crash until I can relocate out of my McHouse in the McBurbs.

And thanks for the sustainability tour, b3NDZ3La!

Yer welcome. I don't know how sustainable it is, but it sure is cold!

Actually, I shouldn't joke about it.

Low income, cold prospects

With the price of a gallon of home heating oil now at $3.18 a gallon, up 37 percent from a year ago, and kerosene prices up by 31 percent and propane by 26 percent, many low-income Mainers are flooding social service agencies with requests for help.

"People are absolutely panicking. What we are trying to do is calm people down," said Suzanne McCormick, executive director of the People's Regional Opportunity Program, the agency that administers fuel assistance in Cumberland County.

"What we are trying to do is calm people down"

Well that should sort things out. Can't have panicky people freezing, they must freeze calmly so as to not upset things so.

Rather than:

A) Calm them down.

B) Subsidize their heating bills.

Why not try to solve the deeper problems with poor people living in a place with high and rising heating costs? I can think of a few better responses that involve the welfare state (and I say this as someone who is not a fan of the welfare state):

C) Subsidize their move to a state with milder weather.

D) Subsidize their move to highly insulated multi-unit dwellings.

E) Subsidize installation of insulation.

F) Subsidize installation of ground loop heat pumps.

Why bother? I'd think it more likely the State of Maine would follow the path of New Orleans and rip down their homes. Lewiston did. It's called "Economic Development". Democrat, Republican doesn't matter, it's the wealthy developer class. If you are not wealthy, you have failed, so you get what you deserve, bulldozed.

Given the failure of political parties as organizations, I suspect there will be no FDR to rescue the wealthy. It will come to violence. It already has if one considers destruction of planet and web of life.

cfm in Gray, ME


You are from Maine. So any idea why does Maine use so much more energy per capita than New Hampshire and Vermont? Is that due to a heavy energy using industry? Or are all the houses less well insulated? Or what?

I'll jump in with some supposition. There are 2 maines, sometimes 3. Portland and south has the most population and is more like New Hampshire or Mass than Maine. Really almost a "bedroom community" for Mass. You can see rows and rows of what we used to call track houses.

I'd venture a guess that if you could split those figures up, you'd see a great difference with the suburbs of Mass really not being a part of "Maine" at all.

It's a very large state with a relatively small population, with most of it clustered from Portland south. From there north and east everyone I've ever met knows the meaning of the word "frugal".

Maine never does well, in boom times there's a little uptick, in bad times it's life as usual. Up where I am we still have families that need to get 2 deer to make it through the winter, and most everybody looks the other way when they do, game wardens included. We have a tendency to lose game wardens out here. They just never make it back out of the woods.

So I think those figures are skewed for a small physical part of a very large state.


The energy usage per capita by state chart is very interesting because it shows huge variations in amount of energy used per capita in the United States - differences larger than the differences between the US and Western Europe.

Your point about two different Maines reminds me of a larger pattern: I always hear things like "Europeans use energy more efficiently than Americans" or others along the line of "Large aggregate X is different than large aggregate Y in some way" and those large aggregates hide big differences within each aggregate. I want to see inside those aggregates. Why do some states use so much more energy than others? How much does energy usage vary within states? What does all this tell us about the consequences of Peak Oil?

It tells you that Louisiana is a major oil refining and petrochemical center, just as the Netherlands is in the EU (despite Amsterdam being the bicycle leader in the world, the new (decade ago) Royal Dutch Shell HQ in Amsterdam was zoned one parking space per 4 employees).

Texas is both an industrial user and a nightmare of sprawl (with a preference for SUVs and large pickups).

Best Hopes,


I'd guess, too, that it has to do with the extent of poverty here. No money to fix up old houses properly. Long distances to drive to work and to the store. Perhaps even a lack of awareness and education. Poverty isn't efficient. You find ways to do things cheaply, today. The long run doesn't come till after mud season.

Several years back, the state of Michigan ended General Assistance(welfare). They set it to expire October 1 just as the first snows were about to fly. The public was informed this was happening. Private companies offered 1 way bus tickets out of state for those losing their benefits. Many did not leave and October 1 started ripping the wiring and copper gas lines out of the walls of Apt. buildings. Landlords took up shotguns to protect their property. By Nov 1, all the excitement was over and most had left the state or gotten jobs.

Citgo has a program (not sure how large) for low-cost heating oil.


No soft landing in any future I can imagine.

And sarcasm is the weapon of choice of the impotent.

Feh. I am having my own Kafkaesque moment here on the inflation/deflation credit crunch roller coaster.

I can drive to a place later this week, work a day, do some other stuff, and I get a $2,000 check in a week or two.

Except its a car dealership. Not just any dealership, but the one where I got my car. Excuse me, the bank's car, and they want their car back - so I drive up for work, make 3x what I need to get current, but have to walk home?

I do have enough to get current. Just. But it would take me down to functionally zero. No operating funds, no way to get to the next job, revenue drops, then they come get their car next month. I think that last month I was insolvent, but now I just have a liquidity problem :-)

I am not griping, mind you. Work has picked up dramatically for me and I should get back to my regime of double payments soon enough, I just wanted to share my absurd puzzle for the afternoon.

Likely solution - agree to job, park car at a friend's house in a city about two hours from there, and take a rental. They can look all they want but they won't find it before I manage to sort things out.

Best hopes for those who face such troubles without a simple solution on the horizon :-(

Regarding the Victoria piece on the Great Game in Central Asia, I think the writers have it wrong in concluding that China is the inevitable winner there, and also that the U.S. is out of the contest.

I can say from 11 years living out there that the Central Asians are highly suspicious of the Chinese, to say the least. With relatively small populations, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the other 'Stans fear a wholesale invasion by what they see as a giant Chinese horde, and use Russia as leverage in order to halt it.

That's smart. To the degree they keep Russia, the U.S. and China struggling for influence, the Central Asians can continue to spread some prosperity from their resources.
Some TODers may not like this, but oil and natural gas are bringing much-needed cash to this region otherwise lacking in a financial channel. Not all of it is being stolen.

Steve LeVine, author
The Oil and the Glory


It's nice you keep us informed on the disinformation of the MSM articles regarding Russia/Central Asia just as we do the same generally on the total oil flow amounts reported in MSM articles and their fake take on PO generally. Specialists are needed in all areas and with geographic spread to combat propaganda or just plain stupid MSM reporting.

Did nobody spot the joke on one of the links at the top?


"Saudi calls to cut carbon emmision". For some reson my eyes go all strange when I read that and I get the urge to go to the toilet.

Should it not read. "Saudi to reduce it's output by 20% to rest it's fields, cause a global crisis, and sell it's oil for $200 a barrel"


Of course it shouldn't read that. Instead, it should read something like 'World discovers that the Saudis having been deeply involved in green activities for decades.'

The key to this is to remember that Wahhabi madrasas financed by the keepers of Mecca and Medina have always been green -
'The color green has a special place in Islam. It is used in the decoration of mosques, the bindings of Qur'ans, the silken covers for the graves of Sufi saints, and in the flags of various Muslim countries.

The color green has been associated with Islam for many centuries. It is not clear why this is so. Some say green was Muhammad’s favorite color and that he wore a green cloak and turban. Others believe that it symbolizes nature and life, hence the physical manifestation of God. In the Qur'an (Surah 18:32), it is said that the inhabitants of paradise will wear green garments of fine silk. While the reference to the Qur'an is verifiable, it is not clear if other explanations are reliable or mere folklore. Regardless of its origins, the color green has been considered especially Islamic for centuries. Crusaders avoided using any green in their coats of arms, so that they could not possibly be mistaken for their Muslim opponents in the heat of battle.'


The new green... Hmmmm


"Supertankers arrive at Ras Tanura with cargoes of liquid C02 ready to be pumped into the now empty Ghawar oil field"

Seriously though that would be one hell of a C02 storage tank!

I think you'd just end up with carbonated salt water; remember, as someone joked, 'we're in the water business with oil as a byproduct.' These old fields aren't empty but just refilled. No doubt there will be a final scouring yet to go. Maybe solar assisted gas injection.

LNG over, CO2 back! What a grand scheme.

Here on the Columbia we worry about the LNG tankers taking on ballast water from the river, with all sorts of evil consequences. Clearly, CO2 is the obvious choice.

It should be read, "We can't maintain our production level, let alone raise it and this is as good an excuse to cover it up as any".

Here's a snapshot of the future. This is more than a story of the poor in the Bronx:

Without Heat in the Bronx, Making Do in the Cold

Henry Wren’s home is a two-bedroom Bronx apartment. But he and his family do not live there so much as survive there.

Their building, a five-story walk-up at 1277 Morris Avenue, has been without steady heat and hot water for months, he and other tenants said.

Residents dress for the outdoors even while indoors, wearing scarves and hats. They use the stove as if it were a fireplace, huddling around it with the burners aflame and the oven turned on. They wash up in the mornings with water heated in pots. At night, the temperature drops to the low 30s in the stairways and hovers in the 40s and 50s in the rooms.


Theirs is a dismal, surreal housing arrangement that seems as much out of Kafka as Dickens. While Mr. Wren and other tenants live heat-free, they also live rent-free. Several residents said they had not paid rent in months because of the conditions.


And though the building has not had heat or hot water, it does have a super, a sad-faced man who lives in the building. The man, who did not want to give his name, says he keeps the place up as best he can, but he does not get paid. He said there had been no heat because the oil tank in the boiler room had been empty for weeks.

Before a PO perspective, I might have seen this as an annual winter story a newspaper would run about a bad landlord and unfortunate tenants. Now, in a different context, I see it as portending how things will go post-peak.

Beyond the mega-crises oft-discussed on TOD which I think are real, the breakdown [will be/is starting to be] played out building by building, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood. As the economics of maintaining rental property get even steeper for property owners, loss of these services will erode the well-being of many people - regardless of race or class - who might otherwise be able to maintain themselves.


PS: I speak as a former landlord of property in both NJ and NYC. In the past week I completed the sale of my 2-family residence (phew!) and moved to a rental in an owner-occupied house that has been in the owner's family for 50 years ... and has no mortgage.

I read the story - this group needs to get a lawyer between them, sue the company that doesn't show up for hearings, and turn the place into a cooperative. If the landlord implodes don't suffer in silence, just take the property by using the court and keep it up yourself.

Well, thats what I'd do if I was the building super.

Brings to mind the joke about the irate tenant in the heat of midsummer berating the landlord, "Why can't you run cold water through the radiators to cool the apartments, you manage to do that all winter!"

At some point the pipes will freeze. That's one disadvantage of indoor plumbing, I guess.

Solar Power based on dyes from Dyesol. The interesting thing about Dyesol is that they sell all the parts (and materials) to make the solar panels.

About dye solar cells: they are much cheaper/easier to produce than silicon-based solar panels. While not as efficient (currently around 7-8%) in comparison, they work in much lower light (even indoors).


Supposedly these can make back their carbon footprint created from production in 6 months - as opposed to 2 years for silicon-based cells.

I'll have to do more research but these particular cells look interesting. I'd be curious how much a solar plant startup would cost. I'm not sure if this has been talked about specifically on TOD before. Nonetheless, I think this is an important step in the right direction.

I can't imagine a pigment cell having anywhere near the service life of a semiconductor cell.

If it's similar to the die in recordable cd's/dvd's then the life span is about 2 to 3 years under good conditions.

The cutesy $400 desk demo unit is a good step - gets them out to people, the price point ensures serious buyers only and no hobbyists gumming up the works. I'd like it if they had a sample device at the $100 price point ... that I could spend, but $400 would buy many doomer prep bits around here.


I guess I should go back beneath my bridge and do things related to improving my finances instead of reading here ...

Bingo SCT,

That's what I did after my first year here. Just finished off my 3KW silicon installation (went for proven longevity). Make it and spend on good stuff before things go downhill.

I found this video called "Greensumption" on iTulip.com. It's a satire on ill-informed green consumerism. I don't know if it's been posted here before but I got a could chuckle and thought it should be shared.

The video is short enough even for family members. ;)


Fun with anagrams....

Daniel Yergin = A Lying Denier

Regards Chris

Does Yergin really exist? Maybe he has been a PR spoof all along.

good one!

Isn't that Stuart's chart in the above article? The formats of both look to be exactly the same (ie, colors).


There's no credit to Stuart, and the authors a professor at a law school?

They credit TheOilDrum, which is all we ask.

(We have a creative commons license, that allows people to use our work as long as they credit it.)

PNM electricity rates are GOING UP!

[t]he ability to pass changing fuel costs along to our customers, similar to how we do in our natural gas business ...


This is what happens when the system breaks down.

Smart high school and college students joining Mara Salvatrucha (wise trout), a Salvadoran gang spawned in Los Angeles that has now spread nation wide. When the opportunities dry up here in the U.S. if we've got a repressive rather than progressive government this will be our lot, too - the tax man on Tuesday, the bag man for protection money Thursday.


I am so glad I am getting established in a rural area ahead of the wave that will be coming from the south.

Friend or foe? from the guardian UK suns it up pretty well. Russia has similar interest to Europe reagarding terrorists and energy policy but distrust is great as Putin thinks EU is ineffective politically and EU thinks Russia is autocratic. So I see a leadership style difference here, very cultural. Putin wants a strong decisive partner that can tke action but gets a bureacracy which follows USA on military/economic front. If EU had its own army and peresident then it would likely be more moderate than Washington to Russia I would think and get into a decisive partnership with Russia more easily that would neutralize the negative American tone. Maybe this is naive, comments?

Tempers are rising in both Russia and Europe, yet, paradoxically, when it comes to the major challenges they face, their interests are largely identical. Both are threatened by Islamic extremism and growing unrest. Both have much to lose if the Middle East erupts into fresh violence. And both face serious demographic problems, given shrinking and aging populations, as well as the challenge of Asia's rising superpowers.

The breakdown in relations has been gradual and undramatic - more a morose and resentful refusal to see each other's point of view than a succession of rows. This owes much to the humiliations that Russia suffered when the end of communism forced its economy to its knees, and to western short-sightedness about Russia's fundamental strengths and resilience.

The EU is as much to blame as the Kremlin. In the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, neither EU nor European national policymakers have devised a coherent strategy setting out the relationship that Europe wants with the Russian Federation.

Today, it is more important than ever that the EU, which now includes not only former Soviet satellites but countries that were part of the USSR, should create a strategic policy framework. This reflects not only worries about energy and shared security concerns, but also the need to head off any looming crisis in the Middle East that could plunge large parts of the world into turmoil, if not armed conflict.

Yes, it's obvious that Europe and Russia should have a symbiotic relationship. The problem is that Europe's elites are tightly linked with those in the US and obstruct any move towards Russia. Which is really dumb. The US isn't going to send Europe oil and gas when the SHTF.

Europe can build a relationship now, based on mutual benefits, or Europe can crawl on its knees later to Russia with the begging bowl. I would imagine Russia is already nurturing a replacement group of elites for the day when regime change befalls the current batch of quislings.

Europe's future lies with Asia IMO.

Russian Oil Executive Comments About Estimated Russian Peak Oil Production Window


"The Russian oil industry has reached peak production..."
Leonid Fedun (Lukoil), December 14, 2007.

According to earlier commentary the new energy bill is supposed to boost ethanol production seven fold from existing production levels.


This might end all grain exports and make the United States a net grain importer.

The bill mandates taking 6 billion bushels from an 11 bushel corn harvest or over half the corn harvest and close to half the total grain (wheat + corn) harvest to supply little more than 5% of the nation's gasoline needs. The other five percent to come from a process than has never proven to be profitable -- cellulosic ethanol.

It is an incredibly ignorant waste of tax payers money and if not stopped is likely to devastate the economy. Without opposition to this bill the neighborhoods will go downhill.

I've been spending an extra buck to get Alaskan salmon instead of Chinese salmon so I wouldn't increase the trade deficit. I didn't realize it was a health issue as well.

Here's to more Alaska Salmon. My watercraft is full of eels.

Re the comment about the water in Saudi oil fields. I can't help wondering that since Saudi is mainly desert could they pump out the water and put it to good use?

Weatherman, it is salt water! Previously injected salt water. They do inject some aquifer water but it is mostly salt water.

Ron Patterson

salt water, sulfur, etc. Great on pipelines and pumps and bearings and seals. Are they attending to the infrastructure any better than US firms?

Wow, I'm reading this book entitled, "Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth," edited by William L. Thomas, published in 1956. It's a great book on anthropology all around, but it has an excellent chapter on "The Age of Fossil Fuels." I am coming to realize that we are hardly more knowledgeable now than we were back then---still so much ignorance, obfuscation, and outright distortion pervade our society on this pivotal issue. It makes me kinda sad. Here are a few very prescient passages from the book (I highly recommend looking for it at your local library, if only to read its chapter on the age of fossil fuels):

"In the case of oil the tank is not likely to be empty for several thousand years, because much of the oil will not be found for a long, long time. But it is possible to draw a curve of production rates for the future, and the curve is not a prediction. It is a definite thing if the assumptions upon which it is based are correct. The assumptions are (1) that geologists are reasonably correct in their present estimates of the total remaining oil to be discovered and (2) that demand for oil will keep on rising for a few years. Both of these assumptions may be wrong...According to these studies, we are likely to reach the peak of petroleum production in the United States about 1965, and the peak of United States production of coal of all grades about 2025. Some technologists believe these dates are too early...but if ample allowances are made--if present estimates of recoverable reserves prove to be only half of what they should be, if the demand curves rise only half as steeply as they have in the past, if we are destined to put only half as much effort in exploration and drilling and mining as demands would justify--the cold mathematics of the problem shows only moderate postponement of peaks of production: perhaps 1970 for United States oil production, 1975 for [U.S.] gas, 2000 for world petroleum, and 2050 for United States coal.

The United States and the world have other fossil fuels to fall back upon--oil shale and tar sands. Oil shale is undoubtedly abundant in the United States. Ample supplies of shale oil can be obtained at an indeterminate average cost, and and undetermined amount can be obtained at a moderate cost. These are about the only safe statements that can be made at this time. Most of the oil shale is in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, where water for processing is scarce. The consensus of technologists is that we may expect not more than seven billion barrels of shale-oil production during the first twenty years of operation. Since we are consuming more than two billion barrels of petroleum a year, the shale-oil figures are not impressive. But, to produce even this amount, we would need a mining force five times as large as that employed by the entire United States iron-ore-mining industry, extensive intermountain water-storage reservoirs would have to be created, and seven billion dollars would have to be invested. Any increase in shale-oil production would depend upon the rates at which labor, money, and water can be provided and, of course, upon th location and quality of oil shale. Oil shale will provide another chapter in the fossil fuel story, but it will be a small one unless present technical studies of underground retorting of oil shale should lead to a practicable process. As far as the United States is concerned, tar sands will provide not a chapter but a sentence, for our reserves of tar sands are small. Canadian reserves are great but are not economically accessible. A little oil will be produced there in the course of time.

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, oil shale, and tar sands are believed to be continually forming in the earth, but they are of no use to us as fuels until they accumulate in massive deposits from which they may be produced. When they are gone, we shall have to wait for hundreds of millions of years and for unpredictable geologic shifts in the earth's crust before the present fossil fuel age could be repeated."

"Contemporary estimates of the life of coal reserves of the United States and the world are interesting today, because they were so fearfully wrong. It was thought then that Pennsylvania had as much coal as we now believe can be produced ultimately by the entire nation. United States coal was expected to be adequate for a great many thousand years. This fallacious conception lasted a full century. We believe now that out peak of coal production (all grades) will come within a hundred years if some of the higher coal-consumption estimates can be relied upon. United States anthracite reached its peak of production in 1915. The peak of production of "cheap coal"--coal that can be mined at anything like present costs--is likely to be around 1975. It was thought that the coal fields in Britain could produce 116 billion tons, "or more than 5,500 years of supply for consumption and exportation." But Britain's coal production has already passed its peak."

Alan Drake will appreciate this quote:

"By 1870, when both coal and petroleum had been launched in the world, no country was yet mechanized with mobile power except for the locomotive. We had more than half the railroad mileage of the world, and steam locomotives had finally supplanted horses and mules; but railroads had all been built without benefit of tractors, bulldozers, or power equipment of any sort. Our system, and all other systems, had been built by the sweat of men and horses--as the ancient pyramics had been built by the sweat of the Egyptians."

And here are some fascinating passages on the history of fossil fuel use:

"By the thirteenth century, England's forests had been seriously depleted and people were cold. King Henry III gave his gruding consent to the inhabitants of Newcastle to mine coal. This was about a thousand years after the Roman invaders had burned coal in England and more than a thousand years after the beginning of Chinese coal production...Henry's son, Edward I, found it necessary to propitiate the barons, and he signed a decree prescribing the death penalty for the burning of coal in London while Parliament was in session, "lest the health of the Knights of the Shire should suffer during their residence in London."...Later, Queen Elizabeth I also signed a decree against the use of coal...Oliver Cromwell's Parliament was petitioned by the people of London against two nuisances--hops and coal--because "they spoyle the taste of drinck and endanger the people." Gas at this time was described by the Chinese as being applied very advantageously to economic uses. These uses were not understood by contemporary European reporters--in no sense technologists--who said, in effect: "We have wells of water in Europe, but the Chinese have wells of fire. Beneath the surface of the earth are mines of sulfur which are already lighted. They have only to make a small opening whence issues heat enough to cook whatever they wish. We know now that the Chinese at this time were carrying out certain industrial operations with the heat of burning natural gas...gas was being distributed in bamboo pipe lines with clay terminals to homes and industrial establishments. Streets of some towns and many homes were lighted with gas, and gas was being used to heat buildings and evaporate brine. Central heating with gas and coal had been widely practiced for many centuries, although not continuously. Such arts were used for a few generations, lost because of some cataclysm, and then rediscovered. (One period of rediscovery of central heating in China came about A.D. 900.)...Coal in Peiping was abundant and was sold at a moderate price. The provinces of Shansi and Chihli were supplying large quantities of coal. Many boats were being used continuously for transportation of anthracite from Liaotung to Tientsin."

"In the 1750's Samuel Johnson completed his famous Dictionary of the English Language. "Coal" was well defined, and so was "petroleum," but a "mill" was "in general an engine in which any operation is performed by means of wind or water; sometimes it is used of engines turned by hand, or by animal force." No mention was made of steam as a motive force."

"The indifference of Western nations is odd, considering the fact that the suitability of petroleum as a fuel was then well known in Europe."

"In 1800...more than 99 percent of the heat produced in America was from the burning of wood."

In 1808, for the first time in America, a grate was constructed for the use of anthracite for domestic heat...News of this sensational discovery spread over the countryside, and people came to witness the phenomenon that had been so familiar to the Chinese about two milleniums earlier...In the same year, John and Obigah Smith loaded two arks with anthracite in Ronson's Creek and floated them down the Susquehanna to Columbia. The people of Columbia had seen bituminous a few years before, but never anthracite, and no one could be induced to buy. The "black stones" had to be left behind in a dump heap."

"The periods from 1780 to 1820 in America and from 1800 to 1820 in England saw intensive development of power uses for the steam engine, but this had no effect on fossil fuel consumption, for wood was used almost entirely as fuel for steam-raising, and wood charcoal was the preferred fuel for iron manufacture."

"During the first decade of the 19th century the Chinese are said to have had about ten thousand wells at the foot of the high mountains of the Tibetan chains. Many individual Chinese personally owned hundreds of wells producting brine and natural gas and averaging about 12 barrels a day of oil. The wells were through rock, with walls as polished as glass. In general, they were almost 2,000 feet deep (sometimes 3,000) and 5 or 6 inches in diameter. They had been drilled without power machinery, but so was the famous Drake well that came forty-seven years later...The famous Drake well, drilled in 1859, was not the first well for petroleum and by no means the largest. The well was drilled in about the same way that the Chinese and Burmese had drilled their wells a thousand years earlier. But, for some strange reason, the Drake well aroused the imagination of speculators."

"McCormick reapers were multiplying on the farms, but they were all horse-operated. Most mining was still done with wood as fuel, and many thousands of acres of woodland were being denuded to supply fuel for steam boilers."

Comradez, great post. Very interesting that the Chinese could drill wells 5-6 inches in diameter, with smoothly polished walls, 2,000-3,000 feet deep...and without the use of any power. Astounding accomplishment imho, and another example of how much 'know how' has been lost. Are there any drillers out there that know how the Chinese did this?

Thanks for this post. I have often wondered what my high school biology teacher (1970) had read, because we whipped thru the program, from the cell to pop. stats, in 20 weeks, and then we had to join his passion, which was the ecology of ponds. So we tramped around and it was all kinda loose, water and insects, pollution and erosion, algae and birds, evaporation, weather, and so on. He told us that some resources would be exhausted. The two examples we worked out in class were gold (can be recycled) and fossil fuels (burn up in smoke.) I will get hold of that book if I can.

Here’s to all the great teachers in the world, with a special tribute to Mr. B.

Its Xmas! Sentiment!

Another practice session. Nor-easter howling outside. Power has been out (second time this week)Around ten inches of snow today and then sleet and freezing rain. This on top of the 14 inches that was already there. Temp went from 4 degrees to 42 degrees. Windchill when shoveling out today hovered right around 0.

Nice pot roast simmered on the wood stove all day, did manage to top off the battery bank prior to this new outage so we have what power we need. CF's drain very little and it's a small house (24'x24')so you really only need one on.

We knew this was coming so have plenty of dry firewood in the house. So where's GW when you need it? (ducks)

Seriously more and frequent blackouts will be the rule not the exception and it does make you look closely at what you really need. For years we used lamps using lamp oil, but I really like the grid charge battery bank better. Severely reduces the possibility of a fire.

It is nice have the laptop, and Sat modem powered up (wild blue modem draws 20 watts), this means when it all goes to shit I can check in at TOD and watch it all go swirling down the drain.

Anyway cheerio, just practicing up on the coast of maine.

Only if TOD's server still has power thus online ;-)

Our "storm" was real whimpy; winds never got over 30 and rain was light. Maybe the Cascades will be hit hard anyway.

Waiting for the ocean to drown me here on the central Oregon coast.

Russia delivers first nuclear fuel to Iran

Russia, contracted by Iran to build its first ever nuclear power station at Bushehr, has been delaying delivery of the fuel for months after the project was drawn into the international row over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In a statement issued early on Monday, Russia's foreign ministry said the project was back on track. "On December 16 the delivery of fuel began from Russia to the Iranian atomic power station in Bushehr," the foreign ministry said.