DrumBeat: December 21, 2007

Forecasters Converging On 100 Million B/D

While predictions by Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie and others that world oil production is facing a limit of 100 million barrels per day or less have received a lot of attention lately, new long-term energy forecasts from major oil companies and government organizations seem to be quietly converging with that stark assessment. While the latest mainstream energy forecasts don't predict a peak or plateau, they do see little more than 100 million b/d of conventional oil output by 2030 -- the end of the forecast period.

2 Million Acres Proposed for Oil Shale

Federal land managers have proposed setting aside nearly 2 million acres of public land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for potential commercial oil shale development.

The draft plan released Thursday by the Bureau of Land Management is meant to provide a framework for developing the region's large reserves of oil shale and tar sands. Except for experimental projects, there is no current program for commercial oil shale development on federal land.

Sakhalin Energy postpones LNG exports to Asia

Sakhalin Energy, one of the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, will delay first exports to Asia by six months to spring 2009 due to problems with pipelines, the governor of Sakhalin said.

The comment confirms a report that the project leader, Russia's Gazprom, and its partner Royal Dutch Shell will effectively delay supplies due to project holdups.

"There will be no LNG supplies next year. They are delayed to spring 2009. Other plants will help meet the customers needs," governor Alexander Khoroshavin said.

Hydrocarbons And Funny Money

Economic trends can always be seen either in terms of materials or in terms of money. One can say that the future will be one of diminishing fossil fuels, and hence diminishing gasoline, plastic, paint, asphalt, fertilizer, and electricity. Or one can say that it will be a period of stagflation: rising prices and falling wages — since rising oil prices "drag up" all other prices. Eventually faith in the dollar will collapse, and money will be replaced by barter. (No, I don’t meant "the barter system"; barter is the opposite of "system.") From "economic hardship" of a financial kind we will pass to "economic hardship" of a physical kind: hard manual labor and a scarcity of material goods. Then, of course, economic trends will be describable only in terms of materials, not money.

Chavez Announces The Beginning Of "a New Geopolitics Of Oil" At The Petrocaribe Summit

The hawkish Venezuelan leader called on his Caribbean and Latin American counterparts to come together against the "failed dictatorship of world capitalism." He said he wants to use Venezuela's oil reserves to help create a confederation of republics free of U.S. interests.

Sky-high fuel costs hit American Airlines

Steadily rising fuel prices and special charges will raise AMR Corp.'s unit costs for fourth quarter, the airline said in a regulatory filing Friday.

It's unfair to blame Asia for high oil prices

But amid all the noise about high prices from the West, Asia chugs along. While a lot has been said about how prices will affect growth, Asia has so far been successful in absorbing the high prices because of rapid economic growth. And, it needs oil, irrespective of price, to sustain this growth. Conversely, European and American economies are not growing at the same rate, which makes them scream for lower prices.

High Price of Oil is Chinese Petroleum Industry's Biggest Woe

The high price of oil is the Chinese petroleum and chemical industry's biggest problem, in addition to over investment and a low number of purchases, the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association (CPCIA) said in a report released on Tuesday in Beijing.

Sakhalin sees Exxon oil output falling in 2008

An Exxon Mobil-led group developing Russia's Sakhalin-1 oil block is likely to reduce production to around 200,000 bpd next year from the peak of 250,000 bpd in 2007, the governor of Sakhalin said on Friday.

Russian gas deal dashes EU hopes

Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have signed a landmark deal to build a gas pipeline.

The pipeline will strengthen Moscow's control over Central Asian energy export routes, analysts said.

It also deals a blow to European Union hopes of securing alternative routes that would bypass Russia.

Vitol ends Iran contract

Iran's largest supplier of gasoline, independent oil trader Vitol, has decided to end its long-running contract to provide the country with the fuel from next year, an industry source said.

The source said Swiss-based Vitol has made the decision because it had made a loss of an estimated $70 million for the calendar year 2007 from its existing contract. The source did not mention any political considerations.

BP, Chronic Offender, Should Lose Its Sweet Deal

BP Plc could publish an insider's guide to courthouses across America, so often does the company and its subsidiaries find themselves in them.

They get prosecuted. They get sued. They get rapped by regulators. If it's not BP oil spilling in Alaska, it's a BP refinery exploding in Texas and claiming 15 lives.

The Philippines: Oil firms urged to speed up ethanol blend to cut fuel prices

Major biofuels player Seaoil Philippines Inc. on Friday urged other oil firms to speed up blend of ethanol in gasoline and increase the percentage blend to further reduce fuel prices.

As West's industry moves East, China now the world's smokestack

In its rush to recreate the industrial revolution that made the West rich, China has absorbed most of the major industries that once made the West dirty. Spurred by strong state support, Chinese companies have become the dominant makers of steel, coke, aluminum, cement, chemicals, leather, paper and other goods that faced high costs, including tougher environmental rules, in other parts of the world. China has become the world's factory, but also its smokestack.

China: Perfect storm of problems leaves many short of water nationwide

Zhang said in the 1950s, China annually lost 4.35 billion kilograms of grain to drought, or 2.5 percent of the annual total yield. But during the 1990s, agricultural losses increased sharply, to an annual figure of 20.9 billion kg, or 4.4 percent of the total yield. Since 2000, the situation has worsened further, with annual losses of about 37 billion kg, or more than 7 percent of the total.

This year, 39.93 million hectares of crops were affected by drought, with 349,267 ha yielding no grain at all, and 37.36 billion kg of grain were lost, according to Zhang.

Chavez oil diplomacy gains ground in Caribbean

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will assert his regional leadership at a summit in Cuba on Friday for Petrocaribe, his initiative to sell oil to Caribbean nations with soft financing.

With oil prices above $90 a barrel, Petrocaribe is offering terms that few can refuse, even the best allies of the United States: deferred payment of 40 percent of their oil bill for up to 25 years, at 1 percent interest.

Nigeria: Ateke Tom Dares FG, Claims Attack On NNPC Jetty

THE Tom Ateke-led Niger Delta Vigilante claimed responsibility, yesterday, for Wednesday's attack on the NNPC jetty at Okiriama -village in Okrika, Rivers State, and threatened more.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) vowed to get him at all costs but preferably alive "so that he can face justice."

India: The Poverty Of The Rich

The prognosis for North America is bad but not as dire. In fact, the IPCC predicts increased “aggregate yields of rain-fed agriculture by 5-20 percent.” This is ironical. North America, the largest contributor to global warming, is less severely affected than poorer nations in South Asia whose emissions are less than a tenth of the United States. There is a perverse consistency in this irony, though. Even within poorer nations, it is the poorest of the poor that will pay heavily for the excesses of the well-to-do.

Cuba’s Blackouts, an Dark Episode of the Past

It was May 2004 when Cuba’s national power grid took a tremendous hit: a breakdown occurred during regular maintenance at the Antonio Guiteras Power Plant in Matanzas.

Millions in investments in the production and distribution of electric power, as well as the delivery of more than 22 million new energy-saving appliances have signaled the “Energy Revolution” carried out in Cuba over the last few years

Canada: Another jump at the pump has drivers fuming

'Tis the season for a cash grab.

Gas prices have gone up today -- a day after some gas stations run dry.

And drivers feel the pumps are being used to suck back lost revenue.

The dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy

We live in a positive-sum world economy and have done so for about two centuries. This, I believe, is why democracy has become a political norm, empires have largely vanished, legal slavery and serfdom have disappeared and measures of well-being have risen almost everywhere. What then do I mean by a positive-sum economy? It is one in which everybody can become better off. It is one in which real incomes per head are able to rise indefinitely.

How long might such a world last, and what might happen if it ends? The debate on the connected issues of climate change and energy security raises these absolutely central questions. As I argued in a previous column ("Welcome to a world of runaway energy demand", November 14, 2007), fossilised sunlight and ideas have been the twin drivers of the world economy. So nothing less is at stake than the world we inhabit, by which I mean its political and economic, as well as physical, nature.

(If the FT link doesn't work, read it here)

KSA set to have sustainable capacity of 12mbpd by ’09

By the end of 2009, Saudi Arabia will have a sustainable oil capacity of 12 million barrels per day, compared to 10 million barrels per day in 2004.

"These days the oil industry is overwhelmed, to say the least, with issues such as prices, cost, peak oil, safety, environment, and security of supply and demand," Abd Allah S. Al Saif, Saudi Aramco's senior vice-president, said in his keynote address to the first drilling symposium organised by the state-owned oil company in Al Khobar, Eastern Province, recently.

Gazprom Neft Q3 net falls 7.4% as it reduces oil exports

Gazprom Neft said third-quarter net profit slipped to 957 mln usd, down 7.4 pct from 1.034 bln, as it reduced crude exports, and expanded domestic oil refining and petroleum product sales.

South Korean president-elect eyes energy deal with Russia

President-elect Lee Myung-bak expressed strong interest Friday in jointly developing energy resources in Russia's resource-rich Siberia with the help of North Korean labor.

Lee told Russian Ambassador Gleb Ivashentsov that he would make a massive development project there a priority after taking office in February.

Refinery firm seeks state permit

A Texas firm that hopes to build a huge oil refinery in Union County has filed for a state air permit.

A project engineer for Hyperion Resources says the permit is 1 of several that must be acquired before construction of the refinery can begin.

Petrobank Plans C$225 Million Oil-Sands Project in Alberta

Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd., the best performing energy stock this year in Canada, plans to spend C$225 million ($225.05 million) to develop an oil-sands project in northern Alberta.

India: Govt to hike fuel prices next year

The Union Government is expected to raise petrol and diesel prices moderately by the middle of January to help state-run oil firms reduce the loss they are incurring on selling fuel below cost.

"Be prepared for a modest or moderate hike in the prices of petrol and diesel, after a meeting of the Group of Ministers in the first week of January," Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan told reporters here.

Gas Crisis in South East Bangladesh

Energy & Power magazine has published a write up of Mr. Muinul Ahsan, our long time senior colleague and one of gas professional of glorious track record on the prevailing gas crisis of Bakhrabd Franchise Area (South East Bangladesh). It is already alarming and getting worse day by day with no immediate prospect of improvement.

Argentina To Unveil Strict New Power Saving Plan Friday

The Argentine government will on Friday announce sweeping new measures to reduce power consumption to head off a possible crisis in the coming summer months, an industry official said Thursday.

The key elements involve strict limits on power usage in state-owned buildings and public spaces and a nationwide incentive plan to exchange low-usage light bulbs for regular ones.

Bush says nuclear energy 'best' for greenhouse gases

US President George W. Bush said Thursday that nuclear power represents the "best solution" to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and stressed he was serious about fighting climate change.

Higher fares don't deter holiday fliers

The price of flying home for Christmas has jumped nearly 14% in the last two years, but higher fares haven't put a dent in robust holiday demand for air travel.

Time to call it a wrap for wrapping paper?

Some dream of a 'green Christmas' without the gift wrap, while others can't give up the element of surprise it brings.

An energetic law

The energy bill Bush signed Wednesday with great bipartisan fanfare does things that should have been done many times in the 32 years since the last time the law imposed tougher fuel economy standards on the auto industry.

At this rate, the other energy crisis facing the world — greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change — might be seriously addressed sometime around the year 2039. About the time that, by the most optimistic predictions, the Arctic ice cap will be gone.

Global warming, peak oil affect town's land policy

Energy supply is also a local issue. "Peak oil" - the point at which global oil production begins a permanent decline - is a reality and, although experts disagree on the exact timing, it is clear that our well-being in the coming decades depends on how well we prepare now for energy shortages and high energy prices.

Climate Change and the Economy

But another critically important problem that has arisen is this: Because energy drives the world economy, and because the “March to Market” of alternative energies has been blocked, and because the world is now sitting on a mountain of debt, we have a serious economic problem brewing . How can we possibly stimulate the world economy sufficiently to pay down the debt? The answer, in short, is: “We can't”. Let's not use up oxygen debating this issue. The debt will never be repaid. Alternatively, if it is repaid, it will be repaid in worthless dollars. That does not represent a solution and we should not go down that path.

I have been monitoring the “tactics” of the Western politicians since the 1980s. From time to time they use a “feint” tactic to divert the public's attention away from pressing issues. In my view, this whole brouhaha about Global Warming has been to deflect the public's attention away from the brewing economic problems. This behaviour does not result from “conspiracies”. It results from paternalism. We all do it with our children. We divert the child's attention away from the scraped knee by offering him a sweet. If he keeps wailing we belt him one.

The Gathering Net Export Storm

Increasing signs of problems with Russian oil production and net exports this year.

The EIA shows crude oil production to basically be flat since 10/06 (between 9.3 and 9.5 mbpd), and more and more investment banks are warning of problems with Russian production.

I received an e-mail from an energy analyst to the effect that preliminary Russian data show a pretty good drop in production and exports for November.

And now, the Russians themselves are forecasting lower exports (note that these are gross, not net exports).

Dec. 21, 2007
Russia Turns Down the Crude Tap a Bit

Russia’s Industry and Energy Ministry has approved the crude oil export schedule for the first quarter of 2008. The export will go down by 1.5 percent vs. the fourth quarter of this year.

People in the RF Industry and Energy Ministry said yesterday that the ministry had approved the Q1’08 schedule for crude oil export via Transneft pipelines. Some 45 million tons of crude will be supplied to the far-abroad states from January to March, which is 1.5 percent down on quarter.

The schedule specifies the decline in deliveries in Novorossiysk and Primorsk direction. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary will get less crude oil via the pipelines. But Belarus will receive the same 4.5 million tons, although Ukraine may count on just 4.8 million tons vs. 5.1 million tons in the fourth quarter. The shipment to Pavlodarsk refinery, Kazakhstan, will shed to 1.07 million tons from 1.2 million tons.

At the same time, the transit supplies via Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan will increase (?) to 5.38 million tons from 5.87 million tons, and the transit to Germany via Belarus will step up from 300,000 tons to 375,000 tons. The schedule sets forth the first transit supplies to China via Kazakhstan. The amount is 300,000 tons of crude – TNK-BP and Gazpromneft will deliver 150,000 tons each.

In the ministry, they urge not to dramatize the situation and blame the decline on the seasonal nature of deliveries. But the analysts give different reasons, attributing the drop in crude export not to the cold winter but rather to the surge in export duties coupled with petroleum growth.

Putin attends opening of Toyota's new St. Petersburg plant

ST. PETERSBURG, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the launch ceremony of a new Toyota plant, which opened on Friday near his home town of St. Petersburg in northwest Russia.
The Russian president said about 1,000,000 cars annually would roll off production lines with foreign involvement in Russia over the next three-four years.

Here is what I don't get.... if indeed Russian energy industry insiders know/expect Russia to be peaking in oil imminently, with future declines steep, then why is Time's Man of the Year (and now supposedly the richest man in Europe) encouraging the increase of consumption in his own country, while at the same time also promoting Russia as a export savior (source of energy) to a great deal of Eurasia? Is he anticipating that NG/NGL can more than make up for the loss of crude?

Here is what I don't get.... if indeed Russian energy industry insiders know/expect Russia to be peaking in oil imminently, with future declines steep . .

I suspect that your premise is wrong. I suspect that they believe that the current forecast of a small decline in exports is a result of what they consider to be a short term drop in production combined with the ongoing rapid increase in consumption.

Denial is rampant in oil producing areas.

I have frequently described the comments by the Texas Stage Geologist (in response to a question from me in 2005, 33 years after Texas peaked) that while Texas may not be able to equal its peak oil production, we could, with the use of "better technology," significantly increase our production.

Re: Sakhalin sees Exxon oil output falling in 2008 (posted up top)

Consider this report in light of the following observation about Sakhalin production:

RenCap again cuts Russian
oil output forecast

Thu Oct 18, 2007
MOSCOW, Oct 18 (Reuters)

. . Excluding the Exxon Mobil's Sakhalin-1, daily crude output in Russia, the world's second biggest crude exporter after Saudi Arabia, has been down year-on-year since May. . .

I've been following a Russian website that publishes their crude oil production on a daily basis. Their oil production is expressed in tons. For all of December so far, it has been in an extremely narrow range of 1341-1349 thousand tons per day. Using 7.33 barrels of oil per ton, that translates to over 9.8 million barrels per day. However, I'm not sure 7.33 is the right conversion factor - there are several different ones on the Internet. Does anyone know anything about this?

NASAguy, I, and I know several others, have been looking for such a web site. Could you please post the link.

Thanks a million,

Ron Patterson

It depends on the gravity of the crude. I don't know what the average number is for Russia. The advantage of using tons is that the weight before and after refining is pretty much the same, whereas the volume (barrels) increases after refining. However, when using barrels you don't have to worry about the API gravity.

In any case, are they talking about C+C or total liquids?

BTW, good article I had forgotten about, with pertinent quotes:

Published on 3 Jun 2006 by Energy Bulletin. Archived on 3 Jun 2006.
Confessions of a statistician
by Sohbet Karbuz
(former head of Non-OECD Energy Statistics Section of the International Energy Agency)

. . . Furthermore, it is not correct to make a peak oil analysis based on “all liquids,” because the non-conventional fuels I mentioned above do not come from an oil reservoir . . .

. . . Moreover, customs office and ministry/statistics office may not agree with each other on trade statistics (e.g. Russia). . .

. . . Best data come from EIA petroleum supply monthly but it comes out 2 months after the fact. . . .

. . . Missing link - Conversion Factors: Oil statistics in the world over are expressed by using four most common conventions - litre, cubic metre, barrel, and ton. Since world oil balances are usually expressed in barrels, the selection of appropriate conversion factor is essential. Interestingly, not enough attention is paid how different measurement units for oil are aggregated and which conversion factors are in use.

Although, the relationship between volume and mass measured by density or specific gravity, the number of barrels of crude oil per ton for the same country varies widely, depending on the source. The discrepancies in conversion factors in use, although seem small, are not negligible and in fact already play an important role in world oil balance. This can be demonstrated by using the Russian crude oil production. Russia releases its oil production in tons. Take an original Russian production figure in tons for any year. Then apply EIA and IEA’s conversion factors and see the difference. Do the same exercise for other countries that measure their oil in tons. Sum them up and compare the difference. You will be surprised! . . .

NASAguy thanks a million for the link. Now I can answer Jeffery's question.

In any case, are they talking about C+C or total liquids?

It is total liquids:

Crude Oil&Liquids (000 t)
Lukoil 245.4 0.2
Rosneft 312.7 -0.3
TNK-BP 188.3 0.1
Surgutneftegas 172.3 0.0
Gazprom Neft 88.6 0.3
Yukos 1.2 0.0
Tatneft 68.5 -0.1
Slavneft 55.7 0.0
Gazprom 36.1 -0.1
Bashneft 31.5 0.0
Russneft 39.2 0.6
Total in RF 1349.0 2.1

Ron Patterson

For what it's worth, I interpreted one of your excerpts incorrectly until I read it in context:

For instance, American Petroleum Institute and EIA regularly publish weekly data on the US stock position (with sometimes conflicting with each other). Note that the weekly bulletin of API is based on voluntary reporting with coverage of about 90-95% on most major series. Best data come from EIA petroleum supply monthly but it comes out 2 months after the fact.

The ex-IEA guy isn't saying the EIA data is better than IEA data (which is how I originally interpreted it), but rather appears to be saying that EIA's monthly data is better than EIA or API's weekly data, but comes out much later.

Just a heads-up in case anyone misreads that like I did.

Russia releases its oil production in tons. Take an original Russian production figure in tons for any year. Then apply EIA and IEA’s conversion factors and see the difference. Do the same exercise for other countries that measure their oil in tons. Sum them up and compare the difference.

What are these conversion factors? Might they account for the divergence between EIA and IEA figures?

the conversion from api gravity to specific gravity is:
spg= 141.5/(131.5 + api), a metric tonne is 2204.6 (us)lbs.
and a barrel (42 gallons) of water weights 350.5 lbs. the conversion is bbls/tonne = 6.29/spg or bbls/tonne = 6.29*(131.5 + api)/141.5.

so your conversion of 7.33 bbls/tonne would be correct for an api gravity of 33.4 degrees.

i think you mean tonnes (metric) i.e. 1000 kg

In the ministry, they urge not to dramatize the situation. . .

I think that there are two key points here: (1) The Russians themselves are forecasting lower exports and (2) They felt compelled to urge people not to panic.

My "Assume the Opposite" theory is, regarding oil production forecasts, peak oil, etc. by public officials, that one should generally--but not always--assume that the opposite of what they are saying is the truth.

I find Russia's Gazprom future natural gas supplies troubling. Russia is also the world's largest exporter of commerial fertilizer. I very concerned that Russia will impose export tarriffs on fertilizer to stem ag input cost inflation.

I see that natural gas is discounted to crude oil at historic levels all the way through 2013.

My question is, does it make sense for the spread between crude and nat gas to tighten? Isn't nat gas a relative bargain? Thanks in advance for help with this question.

As a producer, I feel it is crucial to find ways to hedge against the coming fertilizer crisis.

Because natural gas (NG) is so difficult to transport, it can't readily be shipped around the world the same way that oil can, although as LNG capacity increases this will gradually change, although I think that the bulk of LNG cargoes are under long term contract.

In any case, a long time NG guy told me one time that the difference between a North American NG glut and a shortage is 2% either way. In the short term, it's weather, weather, weather.

Longer term, I expect that the price spread between oil and NG to narrow considerably, partly because NG will increasingly be used as a transportation fuel, especially in fleet vehicles. And of course, we are probably facing severe supply problems. It's a question of how fast nonconventional production comes on line and how fast LNG imports increase, versus the ongoing decline in conventional production.

My understanding -- correct me if I am wrong -- is that the four LNG import terminals in the U.S. are not now operating at full capacity. I am not certain whether supply or demand is the problem, but I suspect it is both -- there is inadequate LNG supply, and the cost of the LNG is higher than competing natural gas in the same area as the import terminals.

Any one of the existing four could be enlarged at significantly less expense than building a new terminal (for example, on the Columbia River) and new pipelines (for example, from Astoria to Northern California).

Where do you think future expansions of LNG supply are going to come from, and where are they going to go?

Euan is much more on top of the global LNG situation, but I don't think that he is very optimistic.

The reason that US LNG import facilities are running at very low capacity levels is a function of price.

US NG prices are in the region of $7 per mmbtu, UK and European NG prices are in the region of $10.50 per mmbtu, Asian (predominantly Japan and South Korea) NG prices are indexed to oil and thus are close to $14 per mmbtu.

Since there is a defciit of liquefactin relative to regasification, the price in import markets determines where the LNG goes. US prices would have to go up a lot to compete for those supplies this winter. However, weather-related demand will also have to increase a lot to make prices rise. There is a historically high volume of NG in storage for the winter and no sign in the forecasts that there will be a prolonged cold snap in the key consumption areas.

Certainly true in the short term; the question is longer term LNG supply and demand.

Maybe they have figured out how to tap the thawing permafrost for methane.

Russian natural gas prices are pegged to oil prices (except few cases where Russia is forced to sell at lower price). So higher oil price will increase nat gas prices.

High Plains Farmer
If Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas made ammonium nitrate fertiliser or urea fertiliser, and we are among the world's largest importers, than Russia is the dominant world agricultural producers, because they decide who will grow enough food to eat.

re: wkwillis,

I find that unsettling.

Siwmae (Hiya) Leanan,

I just love your first pick, from the silly FT. I'm still giggling at it. Martin Wolf's last paragraph reads thus:

"The optimists believe that economic growth can and will continue. The pessimists believe either that it will not do so or that it must not if we are to avoid the destruction of the environment. I think we have to try to marry what makes sense in these opposing visions. It is vital for hopes of peace and freedom that we sustain the positive-sum world economy. But it is no less vital to tackle the environmental and resource challenges the economy has thrown up. This is going to be hard. The condition for success is successful investment in human ingenuity. Without it, dark days will come. That has never been truer than it is today."

Translated into straight, uncoded English this means:

"The only hope for peace and democracy is for economic growth to continue for ever. [Wrong]

On a finite, living planet this is impossible. [Right]

So we must use our best ingenuity to square this circle. [Ripe FT ridiculousness]"

The paradigms they are a-changin'. The comfortable beneficiiaries of the old paradigm are awakening from their state of unhappy and defiant denial, as that becomes palpably no longer tenable, and are just now passing through the state of magic-spell thinking to make all the horrible new paradigms go away.

As that becomes untenable too, what will they do? Wake up, wise up, and face up to what's coming whatever they do, maybe.

I know, I know, shadenfreude is cruel and useless. But it ain't half fun, when the victims are the cornucopian economists and their camp-followers. I love it!

I never waste time with the FT normally, Leanan, so thanks for this laugh.

Cofiona gorau (Best remembrances), Rhisiart Gwilym

And when the FT's man says this:

But it is no less vital to tackle the environmental and resource challenges the economy has thrown up.

...it is a very interesting way of assigning "blame." What does that mean, exactly, that the economy has thrown up environmental and resource challenges?

Maybe its Gaia that's throwing up.

By the end of 2009, Saudi Arabia will have a sustainable oil capacity of 12 million barrels per day, compared to 10 million barrels per day in 2004.

If I correctly remember prior graphs posted on the topic, KSA had their largest output in 2006? This plateau sure is bumpy, let me say, but it still is a plateau. I suspect, as most others here do, that the KSA is simply blowing smoke as to their possible sustainable output.

~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com)

Saudi production in both 2006 and 2007 will be down relative to 2005. We shall see what happens in 2008, but in any case the current data show an annual accelerating net export decline rate.

Actually, Martin Wolf is changing his song quite dramatically. I had a lengthy exchange with him only months ago in which he basically reasoned that peak oil is not happening soon and is not such a big deal anyway.

I think, if one is a journalist who wants to keep one's job, it is important to present things that are only slightly ahead of the readers' expectations. If you are too far ahead, like the scout, you will get an arrow in the back!

Rich Karlgaard, who writes a print column for Forbes called "Digital Rules" and who also runs a blog with the same name, blogged on this column a couple of days ago. You can find his blog entry here. The vast majority of the comments had to with global warming, with Al Gore being lambasted for his "boondoggle." Interestingly, Rich's tag line for the blog entry is "Would placing limits on growth, in the cause of planet saving, lead us away from democracy and even civilization?" So he is positioning this as a voluntary choice rather than a fundamental limit imposed by geology and various "above-ground" constraints. I do believe that the cornucopians are going to attempt to pin the blame for declining oil production on environmentalists. This strategy might meet with some success, at least initially.

Martin Wolf also had another column called Welcome to the new world of runaway energy demand. This is about one month old and may have been discussed previously on TOD. Wolf concludes that piece by saying

What is the bottom line? It is simple: commercial energy is the staff of our contemporary life. As demand for energy rises, nothing is more important than ensuring increased supply and efficient use, while curbing environmental damage. Today's high prices are a start. Fundamental innovation and high prices on greenhouse gas emissions must follow.

I actually think the FT article is very good, even though I'm less optimistic than the author (Martin Wolf). One interesting point he makes is the existence of a "plunder-based economy." From the article:

A zero-sum economy leads, inevitably, to repression at home and plunder abroad...

...Some peoples made almost a business out of such plunder: the Roman republic was one example...In a world of stagnant living standards the gains of one group came at the expense of equal, if not still bigger, losses for others. This, then, was a world of savage repression and brutal predation...

...The age of the plunderer is past. Or is it?

I can't help but look at what the USA is doing in Iraq, and thinking that we are watching an updated version of Pirates of the Caribbean (better call it Pirates of the Persian Gulf). I expect to see more of it. And more repression at home (ie the USA) too. In fact, looking at the way the US economy has been restructured since "Reaganomics" came to the forefront, I think we were seeing the beginnings of the plunder-based economy long before the peak oil crisis came into the politicians' consciousness (maybe I'm assuming too much when I say it "has yet come into the politician's consciousness" - only a few of them yet seem to "get it", but they all will in time).

So yes, Martin Wolf makes a good point. He actually doesn't sound all that optimistic to me, but suggests that maybe there is a way to reconcile the dilemma between endless growth and the need to plunder the poor when resources run low. I guess he hopes that technology will come to the rescue, allowing use to continue the positive-sum game.

As that ancient Chinese proverb/curse says, May you live in interesting times.

best wishes to all for a Happy Holiday,
and may your bomb shelter be well-stocked,

- Oz

Jimmy Carter's sweater speech in 1977 awoke the smarter people to the idea that the future was going to be a zero sum game. It did not lead to altruistic behavior. The plunder mentality really took hold in the US 1978 - 1980. It started in California with the 1978 proposition 13 tax revolt that benefitted existing property owners at the expense of future property owners. The January 1980 proclamation of the Carter Doctrine - that the US would go to war for oil - was the coming out party of the US as a plunder state. The election of Reagan was just the icing on the cake.

Good historical perspective.... the peak of US oil production... followed by the oil shock... followed by Carter era economic stringencies... and calls for conservation... leading to the 1978 Proposition 13 "I've got mine" resolution... and laying the ground for the election of Reagan and the new American fascism under Reagan....

As Naomi Klein would put it the fascists used the sense of fear and unraveling that was deeply linked to domestic (U.S.) peak oil to shift the body politic far to the right under Reagan, re-create a military empire capable of assuring foreign oil supplies, and set up extra-governmental power centers (both corporate and extra territorial) that could maintain right wing dominance even in the event of a temporary loss of control of the government (as happened ultimately with Clinton.)

The Reagan years were the years of military rebuilding and empire re-making, the years in which the "military industrial" complex that Eisenhower warned against essentially took over the U.S. Congress and government.

So, no I don't think the Reagan election was mere icing... that was the seminal event itself, but kudos to you for pointing out the line that runs from early in the 1970's energy crisis up to the real fascist revolution under Reagan and the beginning of the plunder state.

In the coming decade, as global peak oil bites, look for more of the same, but biting harder, as personal fears for economic and social position lead people to support empire, violence and militarism.

IDEOLOGY trumps objectively reality until reality grabs the present by the scruff of the neck and gives it a good shaking. Then, if one is lucky, a new paradigm/ideology emerges that hopefully is closer to the real world.

'Russia, Iran Tighten the Energy Noose...'

Russia continues to beat us at every move on the chessboard of the 'Stans'. Will close ties between Russia and Iran finally pry the US geopolitical grip loose from mainland Europe? Will Europe choose energy or US protection via NATO? Is Putin a rival of King Solomon as the wisest man to ever lead a country? Does one have to be smarter than a bag of rocks to answer these questions?


...snip...'Russia consolidates in 2007
In fact, how Moscow proceeds with the reconfiguration of Russo-Iranian relations could well form the centerpiece of the geopolitics of energy security in Eurasia during 2008. The dynamics on this front will doubtless play out on a vast theater stretching well beyond the Eurasian space, all the way to China and Japan in the east and to the very heart of Europe in the west where the Rhine River flows.'...snip...

'Ariel Cohen, a prominent Russia specialist at the US think-tank, Heritage Foundation, who is closely connected with the George W Bush administration, wrote recently, "It is in the US's strategic interests to mitigate Europe's dependence on Russian energy. The Kremlin will likely use Europe's dependence to promote its largely anti-American foreign policy agenda. This would significantly limit the maneuvering space available to America's European allies, forcing them to choose between an affordable and stable energy supply and siding with the US on some key issues.'...snip...

...snip...'In other words, Moscow is planning that the volumes of oil coming on stream (thanks to massive investment by American oil majors Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil) in some of Kazakhstan's richest fields (Tengiz oil field, Karachaganak oil, gas and condensate field, Kashagan oil field, etc) would be absorbed into the Russian-controlled transit route for marketing in Europe. An American specialist wrote bitterly, "This could defraud the [American] companies and their shareholders, reinforce Russia's quasi-monopoly on the transit of oil from Kazakhstan, defeat the US-promoted east-west Caspian energy corridor, and create instead a Russian-controlled oil export axis stretching from Kazakhstan to Greece and further afield.'...snip...

Ariel Cohen, foaming at the mouth neocon russophobe. How dare Russia resist the brazenly anti-Russian policies of the the neocons!

What happened to freedom of choice? If Kazakhstan *chooses* to ship oil via Russian pipelines then it is not the right of western oil majors and their investors to try to sabotage this. The western oil majors and their investors are getting quite a large cut of the revenue from that oil and nobody is "defrauding" them of anything. Kazakhstan didn't give its oil away to the western oil majors and their investors to do with as they please. Time for the west to wake up and realize that the world is not its oyster.

Putin will go down in history, at least in Russia, as one of the great leaders, something close to a hero. A leader, who coming from the last remaining and still functioning remnants of the state apparatus; the security services, stepped forward and tried to stop the slide into total social and economic chaos.

A few more years and Russia would have probably broken into peices, four or five big chunks of territory, which would have been relatively weak and easy prey for the 'vultures' waiting to pick the bones clean. Putin, whatever one thinks of him, stopped and reveresed this national decline, and for that he can never be forgiven.

Putin, whatever one thinks of him, stopped and reveresed this national decline, and for that he can never be forgiven.

Never be forgiven ?? LOL !!

I thought you were going all nationalistic and everything and expected 'and for that he will be a hero'

Great set up. Could you give some context to why your view ?

I'm not Russian. I don't live in Russia. Though some memebers of my family come from Russia and have had interests in Russia. I consider myself neutral in the tussel between East and West. Personally I feel it's like having to choose between two rival families in the Godfather, or two medieval lords. I don't feel an allegiance to any of them. I don't intend to take sides in the coming conflict over Russia's resources and territory.

I don't think it's particularly 'nationalistic' to mention that Putin and the forces he represents have stopped and reversed Russia's decline. That seems like a fact. When I wrote that Putin would never be forgiven for his efforts, I was refering to those people in the West who wanted Russia weak, dependent and dominated by Western interests, that is like a typical third world country.

I was refering to those people in the West who wanted Russia weak, dependent and dominated by Western interests

Ahhh, the vultures, yes I forgot that there are those that think that way. It's not natural to the way I think.
I've always had a strong anti-state bias that views government as a necessary evil.


I hope your not too angry with me, as I have a lot of sympathy for anarchy as well. At school I was often described as being an anarchist, or that might have been anti-Christ, it's difficult to tell when someone is shouting at you! I'm still, in theory, fond of anarchist principles, I'm just not sure how one gets to the ideal anarchist society from where we are now. The Spanish anarchists during the Civil War had their problems when faced with Fraco's fascists on one side and Stalin's communists one the other side, but this is of course a digression.

Putin will go down in history, at least in Russia, as one of the great leaders, something close to a hero.

Which, I have little doubt, will not have happened had Russian not been endowed with such abundant crude oil resources

I think you're correct. Russia has apparently abundant oil and gas reserves, and substantial reserves of many other valuable raw materials. Making it a prime target and great prize, if one can gain unfettered access to them, one way or another.

But I don't think Putin has just been lucky. I think he and the people around him have also been skilful and determined and ruthless in their battle to stop the country falling apart. Ordinary Russians wanted order and stability after the years of chaos, and one can hardly criticize them for this. I visited Russia during the years of decline and I met university professors who were standing on the streets selling their possessions to buy bread. Russia looked like a country ripe for total disintegration, like a carcass being circled by vultures. The last time I went there things had changed dramatically and for the people I met for the better.

Suffering and disaster have been a characteristic of Russian history. But so has almost super-human resistance and opposition to foreign intervention. Russians have often been on the very edge of total collapse, especially when their leaders have been bad, and then something happens, the national mood changes and they pull back from the abyss. I think it was stupid and ignorant us to push the Russians too far and humiliate them. It's like we knew and understood even less of their history and national character. But that's another story.

I still think our longterm aim is to dominate Russia and gain access to their natural resources, only under Putin this is going to be infinitely more difficult, if not impossible as long as oil prices remain high.

And winter defeated Napoleon and Hitler (LOL). Actually it was Primakov, when he was prime minister in the wake of the 1998 financial implosion, who threw out the monetarist voodoo economics of Gaidar (and his western advisors such as Jeffrey Sachs and the IMF). Putin continued the realist economics policies of Primakov and Russia's economy was growing over 7% since the year 2000. Industrial production rebounded 11% in 1999 alone.

So the claim that Russia's economic performance depends on oil and natural gas is total rubbish. Oil prices began to rise after 2004 and Russia was still shipping natural gas to Ukraine for $50 per tcm. Putin is popular because he made the right choices and was not a drunk stooge like Yeltsin. All the neocon inspired propaganda about him being a tyrant is pathetic. Canada's Trudeau and Roosevelt must have been tyrants too by this "logic".

Industrial production rebounded 11% in 1999 alone.

Oil prices rebounded 130% in 1999 alone.

Certainly not all of Russia's resurgence is due to oil&gas, but a great deal of it is.

Oil prices began to rise after 2004

Oil started 1999 under $10 and finished it at $24.


I'm getting tired and frayed from drinking too much Russian vodka and writing too much.

But the point is, the world our oyster. We think we own the world, and our narrow interests are really the interests of the world, if only the rest of the world had the sense to realise it. We own the world.

This is yet another reason why it is so bad to have a clueless git for a president. The Iranians, the Chinese, and the Russian all run diplomatic rings around him. Even Kim in NK is a diplomatic genius compared to Bush and the neocons.

American foreign policy has been relatively inept for most of our history, even at its best. The last seven years have hardly been at our best; quite the contrary.

I'm not sure about this 'inept' theory at all. I used to believe it, then I stopped to wonder. I then concluded that American foreign policy wasn't inept at all. It was, on the contrary, masterful. What made it appear inept was the discrepancy between the publically stated aims of the various administrations and the methods they employed to pursue these aims.

But what if the stated aims, the window dressing, are merely propaganda for public consumption? What if the real, concrete, actions of the administration actually reflect the real aims of the state? Only these aims are so repugnant to the wishes and values of most ordinary Americans that they can't be stated openly? So one developes an elaborate masquerade to conceal what's really happening and disguise the true motivations. Iraq and WMD's for example. It's almost like there's a stage, with sets and a backdrop, and lights and actors in makeup playing ritualized roles; only this isn't reality, it's a sophisticated, elaborate and brilliantley produced 'play'. And the actors would prefer that we thought them 'stupid' and clownish, rather than recognise them for what they really are?

This is anecdotal, but perhaps relevant. Laura Bush was asked if her son George was really as unsmart as he appeared to be. Laura replied that her son wasn't quite what he appeared to be. He was smart, smart like a fox.

Just like the Monty Python skit about the village idiot.

Clarification please: Do you mean Barbara Bush? Or was Laura Bush asked about her husband?


Yes, sorry, I meant Barbara Bush refering to her son George Bush! I've been drinking too much vodka!

Hope that's Russian Vodka. Multi-purpose stuff: helps us to forget our troubles and in a worst case scenario, may fuel our cars.

Egad! The next century truly will belong to Russia :-)

That's what I told the Chinese - if they are to increasingly rely on the resources from without.

Writerman: IMO, there are a lot more layers than you realize. Does Putin need 40 Billion to do his job effectively? No. Is he going to get more if he can? Yep. Will he use the Russian guv to accomplish this goal. Yes, if he can. Few stumble into great fortunes. I have no idea why so many fervently believe that Bush, Cheney, Paulson, and the rest want nothing more in life than great perpetual success for "America". These guys aren't working for the "state" as you put it, effectively the "state" is working for them-there is a major difference between the two.

Gosh, I didn't realize I was going to have to qualify or explain my statements about Putin and Russia! I thought they were pretty neutral. I feel slightly uneasy having to 'defend' Putin and Russia, when I don't really think I was praising him particularly. Though I do think he's probably done a better job defending Russia's national interests than was expected of him. He seems extremely popular in Russia.

I'm not sure about this story about Putin and his millions, or is it billions? Why would he need so much? It's not as if he could ever spend that much. I don't think I could be bothered after the first couple of hundred million? Is there really all that much difference in the lifestyle of a guy who has a hundred million dollars compared to a guy who has a billion? Can one eat a bigger dinner, or drive a bigger car, or own a bigger house/palace, or build a bigger yacht?

This argument about the nature of the 'state' is very complicated. Is the state serving the interests of Bush or is Bush serving the interests of the state? Are these people, including Putin, just bandits and criminals, who are using the state to increase their power and wealth, or are other factors at work? It would appear that there are probably easier ways of earning money than becoming president of the United States! Bush was fabulously wealthy to start with. Maybe power is what they really want, as they got wealth already.

I think there is a campaign in the Western media to de-ligitimize Putin and Russia, which has little to do with what's happening in Russia, and lot to do with what we wish was happening inside Russia. We have a tendency to demonize foreign leaders who don't agree that we own the world and act accordingly. And now I seem like I'm Putin's biggest fan and an apologist for Russia again! I don't actually feel especially pro-Russian, though I know I'm not anti-Russian either. On the other hand, maybe one is supposed to be either with us, or against us? And as I not with us, then automatically that makes me the enemy too?

Writerman: Putin is a hyper-capitalist yet all the American "leaders" are Socialists. Sounds reasonable. Why should they want more wealth? They already have enough. Now it is their time to serve the "people" unfailingly. I wonder if Hank Paulson's friends and associates are uncomfortable around him since he became such a pinko. I heard a rumour he might be joining the Peace Corps as his next step in the journey.

I'm not really sure what Putin is. If I lived in Russia and spoke Russian like my father, I might have a better idea. If Putin is a hyper-capitalist and our leaders are also hyper-capitalist, then what have they got against Putin, we're all hyper-capitalists together!

On the other hand maybe it is the problem? Maybe Putin is too successful a capitalist? Maybe Putin is a nationalist-capitalist? Of course, historically, capitalist countries haven't always been particularly friendly towards one another.

Pursuit of endless "wealth" really is the pursuit of power, since, as you wrote, one can only eat that much caviar.

So, does Putin own a controlling stake in Gazprom? Where is the evidence for this 40 billion US? It is quite interesting how there is all of a sudden concern in the west about alleged money accumulation by Russia's president. Where was this concern during the ultra-corrupt Yeltsin years? Yeltsin's family were infamous for their corruption but I haven't seen anything about Putin and his relatives getting rich. You can't hide something like this. Also, one of the eleven presidential candidates that will appear on the ballot, Kasyanov, is well known for his corruption (Misha 2%) but the west will be painting him as one of the few good choices for Russia (obviously not Medvedev). It is quite sad how people in the west swallow the crap that their media feeds them. At least in Russia, the default position is not to give the media the benefit of the doubt.


One of the points is that Yeltsin may have been a bumbling and corrupt sonofabitch, but he was our sonofabitch, and that's the crucial difference. For decades the Western powers have had willing sonsofbitches under their control, people who were willing to sell their own countries to foreigners in return for power and vast wealth. The list is a very long one. These guys can usually get away with almost anything, as long as they remember their real loyalty lies, not with their own country, but with their Western sponsors.

If, If, Putin is a capitalist, criminal, dictator, who is robbing Russia blind, he could easily get away with this kind of behaviour, if he was at the same time loyal to the West. If he was inside, not outside the empire. Only he isn't. He is too independent and 'nationalist' and a threat. A poor Russia was deemed a threat, a rich Russia is even more of a threat.

It's not as if the current leadership in Russia wants confrontation with the West, they don't. On the other hand they don't want to be slaves to the West. If they are as corrupt and evil as we now suddenly say they are, why should they share all their power and ill-gotten gains with us, when we insult and criticize them? Surely the 'criminals' should keep the lot for themselves? And that's the problem. We want to control the knife that's slicing up the Russian cake and decide who gets the biggest slice, and that is Putin's real 'crime' he's removed our fingers from the knife.

Russia, US, UK, abc, etc.

Even the Gambinos and the Genevieve families wouldn't accuse one another of illegal activities in public.

As Bob Dylan said
To Live Outside The Law You Must Be Honest...
(so where are you tonight sweet...)

writerman wrote;
Yeltsin...but he was our sonofabitch,...

And that's the problem. We want to control the knife that's slicing up the Russian cake and decide who gets the biggest slice, and that is Putin's real 'crime' he's removed our fingers from the knife.

Here's just one example of some of the background on what you just said,
Here's one of the fingers lifted from the knife.
(Remember him?)

...Control of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's shares in the Russian oil giant Yukos have passed to renowned banker [the Rt Hon Lord] Jacob Rothschild, under a deal they concluded prior to Mr. Khodorkovsky's arrest, the Sunday Times reported....

Mr. Rothschild is the British head of Europe's wealthy and influential Rothschild family, and runs his own investment empire



Dissident: Google it- if you were Putin, how much money would you be worth?

I agree that there is a big difference between the stated and real aims of US foreign policy. However, with Dubya I'm basing my belief in incompetency solely from the point of view of Bush's self-interest. I think he invaded Iraq to get Iraq's oil. So far at least, he doesn't have it. I don't think he got in Afghanistan what he was looking for. I don't think the rebirth of Russia as a world power or the rise of China as an economic powerhouse is what he was looking for. I don't think that Chinese diplomatic successes in Korea and throughout Africa is what he was looking for. I don't think pushing Iran closer to both Russia and China is what he was looking for.

I believe the man set out to extend American hegemony throughout the world and to make sure the US could do whatever it wanted, and to make sure that never again could another country rival America's military or economic might. He set out to do that from an extremely favorable staring point. And he screwed it up royally.

Now I do believe that the hyenas and carrion crows that attend Bush have grown fat feasting off the carnage he has strewn about. However, excepting only them, Bush is a colossal failure by just about any standard.

I think he invaded Iraq to get Iraq's oil. So far at least, he doesn't have it.

Maybe you can explain who has it then.

Don't be silly. As long as it is in the ground it belongs to the Iraqis. It's still in play. Some day there will be enough stability in Iraq to develop the oil. You won't know until then who will profit.

Good article along this thread discussion:

"Strategic Siege" in the Great Game

I read until I got to factual errors. Silly errors. In 1939 Russia had far greater economic production than Germany and Italy combined, in all sectors of the economy. That idiot thought otherwise. See Ellis, "Brute Force", on economics and warfare.

Dear Shargash,

I appriciate your remarks. You're intelligent and informed enough to realize that this isn't an easy subject. It's complex in the extreme. What really motivates United States foreign policy? This is the subject one could devote an entire career to!

I'm just not sure this incompetence theory is accurate. I don't think great men set out to be 'incompetent'. Ruling countries and fighting wars is a challange, and that's an understatement!

I don't believe George Bush is stupid. Nor do I believe that Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove, are stupid or incompetent or fools. I don't believe Bush is personally responsible for the invasion of Iraq, in the same way as I don't believe he was personally responsible for getting himself elected president. Individuals do not become president by themselves. They have the support of the Republican or Democratic parties and a vast apparatus behind them. Not only that, these leaders represent factions or interests inside and outside the major parties, or even 'movements' or attitudes that exist in the people as a whole.

The whole argument about unintended consequences is also complex. Perhaps Bush and his administration, which is highly influenced by neo-conservative intellectuals, just see the world differently and are trying desparately to draq a reluctant United States into a posture that they believe serves the interests of America best? Are they totally cynical and criminals? Have a mere bunch of gangsters gained control of the most powerful nation of earth? An empire ruled by the Al Capone? I don't think so?

I don't think Bush has acted alone and his view of America's role in the world isn't his exclusively, one can make a convincing argument that he merely represents attitudes that have been developing for decades and will continue well into the future, though the rhetoric may well be modified.

I sort of like the theory of 3 'motives' for political decisions. 1. the publicly stated motive. 2. the motive that the purveyor thinks is the 'real' motive. 3. the 'real'motive.

Now, figuring out the 'real' motive is the knotty part.

In general, I tend toward the incompetency theory of human nature rather than the conspiracy theory. I have caught a few conspiracy minded folks unawares with the assertion that they must have a lot more faith in human nature than I do. They'll say "Huh!" and I'll have to explain that they seem to think that humans are capable of not only incredible intelligence and perceptions in terms of how humans will behave, but they are invested with incredible managerial skills; skills enabling them to perpetrate schemes that must come off flawlessly down to the minutest detail in order to be successful.

I tend to think humans are rather an inept bunch. Comforting thought in a backhanded sort of way.


I think there's a lot in what you say. But I find it hard enough to understand what 'really' motivates individuals, let alone countries! Countries being collections of individuals.

The ancient Greeks has trouble with these awkward questions too. I'm rather a fan of the ancient Greeks, especially their poetry, philosophy, and mythology.

I rather like their idea that there are two parallel 'realities' co-existing side by side, so to speak. This is a simplification. The Gods and mortals and that they interact with each other in subtle and complicated ways.

I don't believe people set out to fail, or that we strive after ineptitude. I think we do the best we can. I remember Rumsfeld saying that sometimes one has to work with the army you have rather than the one you wish you had. Clearly he wanted a leaner and meaner army, that one could actually use, rather than one they had, which was organized to make fighting certain types of wars rather difficult, unless there was a solid national concensus behind the war aims.

Clearly ineptitude exists as do conspiracies.

One of my favourites is the famous Gunpowder Plot, when Guy Fawkes and his Catholic chums attempted to blow up Parliament on the 5th of November 1606 and murder King James the first. The conspirators dug a tunnel underneath Parliament into the cellars and filled it with barrels of gunpowder. But the 'terrorist' plot was foiled by the 'secret service' who were aware of the 'inept' plotters and their plan. They were captured and an anti-Catholic backlash ensued. However, was it an inside job? The conspiracy inside a conspiracy? Ineptitude disquising aptitude? As gunpowder was extremely expensive and under strict government control, for obvious reasons, how on earth did they get hold of several tons of the stuff? Was the real 'conspiracy' not the famous Gunpowder Plot, but rather the 'conspiracy' to find an excuse to launch an anti-Catholic crusade, and hapless Guy walked straight into it?

I think you are absolutely right. Due to a quirk of history, the US has to adopt a double standard when it comes to its imperial nature.

The USA was founded upon freedom from tyranny, freedom from imposition of imperial will. Therefore when the US acts abroad, it cannot admit what it is doing is effectively imposing imperial will. In order to receive popular support, it must be phrased as "bringing freedom".

This message is largely accepted by US public, but is infuriating to people outside the US, especially in the countries where the US is "bringing freedom". For them, US marines smashing down doors are no different to British redcoats smashing down doors.

Funny that we've come all this way, and still this is considered "fringe." What is the oil business? The oil business is a) acquire some oil-in-the-ground, b) get the oil out of the ground, c) sell the oil for money.

The Iraq war is stage a) for a certain small group of "investors". It has nothing to do with "America," although "America" is paying for it.

This is nothing new. Did the British Empire improve the livelihood of the British people by any significant degree? They paid for it.

How do you know where the money goes from the sale of oil from state oil companies? I've heard that the Saudis pay 30% of gross receipts as "protection money" to certain influential US interests, including the Bush family.

On the domestic level, do you have any idea where the revenues of the Federal government go? You might think you do, but you don't. There is no accounting. Every attempt to have normal, corporate-style accounting has been stymied. (See Catherine Austin-Fitts at solari.com for example.) The GAO reports that over $3 trillion of Department of Defense spending is untraceable. Nobody knows (officialy) where the money went. I've heard from some sources that 25% of total US Federal tax revenues (roughly $750 billion yearly) are diverted into private coffers.

And yet people think these people are "stupid"! Nothing stupid about making off with tens or hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money, or using the taxpayer-funded military to steal oil for your private gain. The only stupid people are the taxpayers, who get fleeced year after year and still can't figure out the scam.

GWB and friends have accomplished nearly all of their very ambitious goals. It appears that they will fail in the end, but that is apparently due to extraordinary intervention.

Even as the Empire implodes.

The people in DC have no learning curve.

""Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."-Mark Twain

While I agree with you that Bush is a git to the highest degree...he has some things that those other countries don't and this allows him to be an overt gitwit with no repercussions.

1. More military capabilities than everyone else.
2. A currency that is used globally (for how long?).
3. Covert abilities probably unmatched by anyone on the planet.
4. Financial/economic tools not available to any other country in the world.
5. A national population unwilling to remove him.

Therefore, he has no incentive to not be a git and will thereby continue his gittiness.

i recommend you read "empire of debt"

America stages its own version of the Babylonian Captivity. Russia proffers up the late great
Persian Empire.

Surprise, surprise. After the passage of 50 centuries, Babylon and Persia still matter. Wasn’t the
Garden of Eden said to be planted in that neighbourhood? Paradise is as illusive as ever.

Ça plus change, ça plus la même chose.

Meanwhile, back at the Center of Empire...

Spontaneous combustion in the OEOB as Cheney deals with the Devil.

And there is still no definitive proof that Mr Claus underwent "enhanced interrogation" in the Naval Observatory Dungeon last year. The Tapes were destroyed.

"Putin: Grave danger may await Iran
Wed, 19 Dec 2007 23:48:41
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russia urges Iran to keep a wary eye on Washington for the NIE report may be aimed at fooling Tehran into halting defense preparations.

In an interview with Time magazine, President Vladimir Putin said that it is theoretically possible that Washington published the US National Intelligence Estimate in order to 'divert Iran's attention from preparations for military action', which would be a 'grave mistake'.

"Assuming that the report was released to give an objective picture of events, this only goes to show that the Russian side, in formulating its foreign policy positions, is after all guided by objective data," he said.


Russia considered such a decision (My Edit-Iraq Invasion) was wrong from the start, and there is no solid argument now to change our criteria, Putin told Time magazine who named him 'Person of the Year' on Wednesday.

The Russian president said the Iraqi people, though a small population, are proud, and took the US-UK military occupation as a particular offense to their country, creating problems never seen in that country before.

Putin said he had differences with US President George W. Bush, particularly his arguments that he cannot set a concrete time limit for withdrawal of foreign troops.

Putin said the best thing to do is remove the troops as soon as possible to leave control with the local authorities.


"Russia continues to beat us at every move on the chessboard of the 'Stans'."

How could that not be? Russia has resources, US has... credit?

It doesn't really matter if your current president is dumb as Bush, the best he can do is make pro-Russia acts and anti-US acts a disjoint set. That is not enough to maintain an empire.

I don't believe it really matters whether the president is 'dumb' or not. The president doesn't run the country. He is a figurhead at the top of an eloborate system of power and influence.

I believe we look at these things from the wrong perspective. What we need to do is remember those old movies about Robin Hood. In those movies Prince John was a weak and usually not very smart regent, ruling for his brother King Richard who was away from England on the crusades. Prince John was surrounded by ruthless, intelligent and powerful men who were all competing for power in the absence of Richard. We all surely remember them in the legends and movies. The Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy of Gisbourne and the rest. When the 'prince' is weak the 'court' is strong. When the prince is strong, the court is relatively weaker. Bush is a weak prince.

The Kremlin will likely use Europe's dependence to promote its largely anti-American foreign policy agenda.

This guy has been asleep for 20 years... Russia does not have "anti-American agenda". It's absolutely in Russia's interests to have as good relationship with US as possible, but Russia can't go against own interests to archive that goal as it would be self defeating. But I think Russia has always worked openly or behind the scenes to accommodate US interests as much as possible.

Good news....
Consumer spending surges

Americans ignore slumping home sales and high gas prices and spend 1.1% more in November - largest surge in more than 3 years.

Bad news...
Chrysler CEO: We're 'operationally' bankrupt

Chrysler Corp., the troubled automaker bought by private equity just four months ago, is scrambling to sell assets amid indications of huge losses, as access to cash becomes increasingly scarce, according to a published report Friday.

"Someone asked me, 'Are we bankrupt?'" the Wall Street Journal quoted Chrysler boss Robert Nardelli telling employees at a meeting earlier this month. "Technically, no. Operationally, yes. The only thing that keeps us from going into bankruptcy is the $10 billion investors entrusted us with."

Breaking News:

Federal Reserve to lend $20 billion to banks at 4.67% as part of its continuing effort to fire up the credit markets.

"Federal Reserve to lend $20 billion to banks at 4.67% as part of its continuing effort to fire up the credit markets."

Same old, same old. A group of men meeting in secret to approve lending more money against questionable collateral to "operationally" bankrupt institutions. We the people's money. And we dont get asked. What about the part in a democracy where spending gets approved by our elected leaders?

In Brittain they did the same thing - lent around $2000.00 PER PERSON to bankrupt Northern Rock, with not even a thought about checking with we the people.

Democracy - "the worst form of government except for the others"....Churchill.

This is credit... Money out of thin air. It didn't exist before the loan. More than that, it's generally replacing other credit which is being sucked out of existence so it isn't even inflationary.

As I recall, November was an odd month, in that it had a couple extra days in the reporting period (or maybe more post-Thanksgiving days). Also, retailers aggressively discounted merchandise in late November, anticipating a poor holiday season. Of course, the market rallies every time they find a straw they can grasp, so stocks are up today on the news.

And may be even the average person figures that there are wiser things to do with money than leaving it in a bank..

Sadly that smarter thing to do wasn't paying off debt but instead buying more junk. Even I'm guilty on that count.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com)

Thanksgiving falls on the 4th Thursday in November, so this year it fell on the earliest date possible, 22 November, giving shoppers the maximum number of post-Black-Friday shopping days in November.

That "spending" is based on the Number of "new jobs"

Already the Birth/Death Model of the BLS has been/will
be revised downward by 80% for the year.

Probably 100% when all is said and done.

But by 2009 over 10 million homes will have negative equity.


"Within the next couple of years, probably somewhere between 10 million and 20 million U.S. homeowners will owe more on their homes, than their homes are worth. (See Homeowners With Negative Equity)

"If every upside down homeowner resorted to "jingle mail" (mailing the keys to the lender), the losses for the lenders could be staggering. Assuming a 15% total price decline, and a 50% average loss per mortgage, the losses for lenders and investors would be about $1 trillion. Assuming a 30% price decline, the losses would be over $2 trillion.

"Not every upside down homeowner will use jingle mail, but if prices drop 30%, the losses for the lenders and investors might well be over $1 trillion (far in excess of the $70 to $80 billion in losses reported so far).

"One of the greatest fears for lenders (and investors in mortgage backed securities) is that it will become socially acceptable for upside down middle class Americans to walk away from their homes."

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Millions of Americans could receive their tax refunds later than expected, President Bush said in a year-end news conference Thursday.

And here is:
RIP for the SUV

Federal Reserve to lend $20 billion to banks at 4.67% as part of its continuing effort to fire up the credit markets.

Maybe not. Things don't seem to be what they seem:

Taffy Pull

Lee Adler goes more into the issue on so called central bank activity, but suffice to say that any new lending provided through the Fed new Taffy Pull has been offset by significant drains in the Fed’s TOMO account. On Thursday and Friday a net $19.0 billion was pulled at the same time $20 billion in Taffies were conducted.

Lee also commented on the heralded ECB “massive liquidity” injection. Regardless this has succeeded in taking Libor rates down about 40 bps to 4.86%:

I don’t see where the ECB injected $500 billion. 12/20 MRO of $348 billion add expires Jan 4. LTRO- $48.5 billion add expires March 27. Total $396.5 billion

Expirations: 12/19 $280.6 billion 12/20 $50 billion Total $330.6 billion

Net add $66 billion. Yeah, it’s a lot, but it ain’t no $500 billion.

And they did $150 billion 1 day reverse operation today. So for one day at least that $66 billion net add turns into an $84 billion net drain.

Lee Adler's talk is behind a Radio Free Wall Street paywall:

Fed Not Adding Liquidity

Lee Adler and special guest, Fed and Treasury analyst Steve Northwood discuss the fact that, contrary to popular belief, the Fed is not adding liquidity to the market. This has serious implications for the market.

Aaron Krowne's comment:
Brilliantly illuminating Radio Free Wall Street discussion with Lee Adler and Steve Northwood. The Fed isn't adding money to the system -- in fact it is subtracting it! Instead, the Fed is trying to move the money around the major money center banks to where it is supposedly needed in the "credit crunch". This is not going so well -- the fact that the problem is insolvency, not lack of liquidity, is rearing its ugly head here.

Banks to abandon 'Super-SIV' fund

Plans to establish the "Super SIV" fund that would bail out battered off-book entities of big financial institutions appear doomed, sources close to the matter told CNNMoney.com Friday.

This is a relief in a way. I saw that plan, thought to myself Malarkey!, and figured it would be a way to get the taxpayers involved.

Stuff is worth less now. Some of it will soon be worthless. We need to take our medicine, assess where we are after the fact, and then chart a new course.

I saw this kind of stuff in both of the public companies I worked for that went bankrupt. Grand plans with catchy acronyms were hatched, but no funds and no customers to go with means its an exercise in futility. The banks don't trust each other and the situation won't improve until the SIV swamp is fully drained.

i saw the consumer spending number on CNBC earlier - did you notice that they also put up the growth in wages for those consumers: 0.4%

now i am no economist... but increased income of 0.4% leading to increased outgoing of 1.1% appears to be doing something funny - increasing debt? unsustainable spending that will crash again shortly?

And: "Incomes were also up last month, rising by 0.4 percent, double the October increase but slightly below the advance that had been expected." That's a nearly 5% annual rate of wage increase. Who was asking how we could have stagflation without rising wages?

Thanks for the deletion, Leanan. I was just about to post that no one should respond. Sometimes it just takes one bozo. (you can delete this too - since no one knows what I'm talking about.)

Amen. Good work Leanen.

doh! oh how i hate to be teased... late to the party again i guess

In 1998, the US Government, aided and abetted by the Australian Government, derailed the Kyoto protocols agreement. This had two implications:
§ It blocked the emergence of alternatives to Fossil Fuel energy technologies

Since 1998, wind power has grown at 28% annually. That does not seem particularly "blocked".

Mind you, it's perhaps not surprising that the article's grasp of the facts is somewhat sketchy, as it seems to be driven much more by belief than by research. For example:

Non repayment of the debt will in fact not be as a serious as it sounds, but it is also a fact that our ability to keep servicing it is becoming more difficult.

Interest payments on the debt as a fraction of GDP are at a multi-decade low - down from 3.9% in 1988 to 3.1% in 2007 - so his "fact" is just plain false.

You seem to be making the assumption that the only factor involved in the service of the debt is what percentage it is of the GDP. This is especially questionable since the GDP is not used directly to service the debt.

You seem to be making the assumption that the only factor involved in the service of the debt is what percentage it is of the GDP. This is especially questionable since the GDP is not used directly to service the debt.

No, but it's quite close. Government revenues as a percentage of GDP are remarkably stable - it's around 20% for the US federal government - so fraction of GDP and fraction of government revenue are very strongly related.

So interest payments as a fraction of government revenue have also been falling; see, for example, here.

Pitt - certainly the US did not block other countries from developing renewable energy, but it has done very little to change US emissions since the Kyoto targets.

Since you mentioned growth in wind of 28% (note this for the world, starting on a very small installed base in 1998), let's look at some US numbers.

US electricity generation (in TWh) and CO2 emissions (in Tgms)



where primary energy sources for electricity are fossil fuels (FF), nulcear (NE), renewable including hydro (RE), and I listed the total as reported, and my calculated fraction of renewable-to-fossil energy. Finally, I added GHG emissions from electricity generation, for years where I could find reliable data.

Electricty data from this EIA table in TWh; CO2 equivelant from electricity is from the EPA Table 3-6, in Tgms.

So GHG increased 23% from '95 to '05, which the fraction of renewable to fossil energy went from 0.17 to 0.13.

So while the US may not have blocked renewables, it seems based on this data it effectively reduced the contribtion of renewable to total primary energy for electricity, with consequent rise in CO2 emissions. You could lump nuclear in with reneables as 'clean' energy, but the conclusion wouldn't change.

the fraction of renewable to fossil energy went from 0.17 to 0.13.

That's driven completely by the decline in hydro power from 1997 to 2001 (which is huge - anyone know what happened?). Non-hydro renewables have increased their share from 2.2% to 2.4%.

Which, of course, is still fairly trivial, but that's not the point. The point is that they've been growing rapidly (mostly outside the US, but installed wind capacity in the US has doubled in the last two years), so it's probably unreasonable to state that the US "blocked" them - "failed to mandate their use" would be closer to the truth.

Accordingly, given that lack-of-blocking, the large growth rate in wind and solar, and the substantial magnitude of wind power added in the last couple of years, both in the world as a whole and in the US in particular, one would expect to see that "Other Renewable" column become more important in the near future, which is something that would be possible if active blocking was occurring.

It'd happen more and faster if more active support was occurring, though.


But look at 'other renewables' (no hydro) and FFs for 1995 and 2005. FFs increased 27% while RE w/o hydro increased 17% over this decade. Renewables are increasing but we're not displacing FFs. And as a result from '95-'05, GHG emissions increased 23%.

All these numbers being associated with electricity generation.

That's driven completely by the decline in hydro power from 1997 to 2001 (which is huge - anyone know what happened?).

Anthropogenic Global Weirding, methinks.

That's driven completely by the decline in hydro power from 1997 to 2001 (which is huge - anyone know what happened?).

Anthropogenic Global Weirding, methinks.

Highly unlikely - world hydro power did not decline over that period, and since 2001 has grown by ~15%.

The 40% decline seen in the US over that period was vastly more than any other country with major hydro power saw. Of countries with > 50BkWh/yr of hydro at some point in that period, the US (-39%), Canada (-5%), Brazil (-4%), Paraguay (-11%), and Japan (-6%) saw declines, vs. increases in Venezuela (+6%), France (+17%), Norway (+8%), Sweden (+14%), Russia (+11%), and China (+34%). Moreover, of those nations which saw declines during that period, the US is the only one to have not seen its production head above the 1997 level since then.

So it seems fairly unlikely that global climate change is the reason - the change isn't global, it's just in America.

the interest on the debt was $430 billion for the fy ended 9-30-07. over $ 1400 per capita. and what good is that interest doing us ? is it mitigating peak oil ?

and speaking of servicing the debt, we arent even able to do that, the us treasury borrowed $ 500 billion in the last fy, $ 70 billion more than the interest on the debt.

like the shopaholic unable to leave the credit cards at home, borrowing more money just to pay the interest .

By the end of 2009, Saudi Arabia will have a sustainable oil capacity of 12 million barrels per day

Weren't they announcing just that for the end of 2008?

Capcity does not = production. I guess if I had $50 billion I could build the capacity to handle 20 MBPD. But without the oil is is meaningless.

Toonsmith, I think they mean "capacity to produce" not "capacity to handle". Nevertheless they can say anything they wish. They can say they have the capacity to produce 25 mb/d but are producing less than 9 because "the market if fully supplied", or whatever.

We have no idea how much oil they have in the ground. They say over 260 billion barrels with another 200 billion "yet to be found". But we know that is a myth. The best guessers put them somewhere between 65 billion and 130 billion barrels of reserves.

At any rate their estimates of how much they could produce if they wished is just as reliable as how many barrels of reserves they have.

All that being said, there is one caveat that I don't think anyone has thought about. Saudi has for decades now relied on water drive to keep the pressure up on their reservoirs. Now it stands to reason if you just wanted more oil out, all you must do is inject more water. Push harder on the reservoir and more comes out of the reservoir. It is like squeezing a toothpaste tube. Squeeze a lot harder and the toothpaste comes out a lot faster. But there is only so much toothpaste in the tube.

I think that is how they plan to get 1.2 mb/d from Khurais. In 1980 Khurais produced 68,000 bp/d. Then they initiated a gas injection program and pushed real hard on Khurais. They more than doubled the production in 1981 to 144,000 bp/d. The next year the pushing of gas into the well did not help and production dropped dramatically. But now they plan to push with water and get 1.2 mb/d from that tired old field. Well, if they push about 1.5 million barrels per day of water into the reservoir, they are going to get over 1 million barrels of something out. How much of it will be oil and for how long it will flow is another question.

And right now they are pushing a lot of water into all their fields. They claim to have gotten the decline rate down from an average of 8% to an average of 2%. That may be the case but the depletion rate would have to be much higher, like the depletion rate of toothpaste in the tube if you squeezed a lot harder.

Ron Patterson

Somebody needs to break the shocking news to them that there is no such thing as a "sustainable oil capacity".

via Drudge
I dare anyone to make it to the end of this

Just what the U.S. needs, lots more young folks who are likely to find the high paying middle class jobs of their parents have been moved overseas. We already have a situation where the real income for the bottom 80% of the population is in decline. Back in the 1970's, Paul Ehrlich in his book "The Population Bomb" discussed the demographics of age distribution, showing "Population Pyramids" for countries with larger growth rates, such as that of Mexico, compared with the U.S. and Europe. Look HERE for a site which offers graphs of current and projected distributions for any country.

I think the statistics just show that abstinence doesn't work. But, we sort of knew that from the start, or, rather anyone that really thought about knew. Perhaps another example of the unintended impacts in the U.S. of Christian Fundamentalism, which is an early 19th Century world view transposed to a 21st Century setting.

E. Swanson

Yes, I heard the "good news" on right-wing-nut-case radio this morning. They didn't say what they thought was causing the increased birth rate, but they were ecstatic that the USA now has a birth rate that is approaching that of Third World countries.

I personally wonder if it's the result of "abstinence-only sex education", or just the general dumbing down of America. Or both.

From the article:

"We also have a relatively high percentage of part-time jobs available," said Ronald Rindfuss, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina. "There's also more shift work outside the normal nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday schedule that enables parents to share child care."

The nation's religiosity also contributes to the higher fertility rate, which varies geographically, experts said. Red states tend to have both more religious people and higher fertility rates.

Gosh, it reads like an April Fool's joke, doesn't it?

- Oz

Perhaps the increase in home ownership over the past 5 years has led many people to feel secure enough to have more children. Less than a year ago the average bloke who got into a house, through inventive mortage schemes, thought this was going to be their gravy train, which we all know is not the case any longer. It will be interesting to see if the birth rate drops in lock step with home foreclosures.

The "abstinence-only" education programs had an unintended consequence in that girls who took the pledge were between 4 and 6 times more likely than non-programmed students to engage in alternative sexual activities, and less likely to use condoms when they do become active.

This is certainly another wise use of our resources, programs that try to prevent sexual activity among adolescents, because teenagers aren't very horny to begin with, and the programs are quite effective against pervasive, highly sexualized mass media. Close sarcanol tag.

Interesting, the highest rate since 1970... gee what happened in the US in 1970 which could be possibly happening today? Hmmm...

More wage-slaves and cannon fodder for the corporatocracy.

The FT article is a little screechy on the global warming myth for my taste. The usual hotbutton keywords are there; CO2, emissions, climate change and even 'industrial revolution' and 'destruction of the environment'.

Stripping out and discarding these diversions we find the real message. Humans are Tribal and Predatory, we cooperate because we are all energy rich.

When that energy is gone people will find that their lives have been an illusion of fantasy, the new reality will be - cooperate with like minded folk but be prepared to fight for what you need and fight again to keep it.

Imagine a 17th Century government controlling a 21st Century military with a 14th Century populace.

Consider the people around you, what they do, where they go. Imagine the fuel is gone, the electricity is off, there is no food in the shops. Now the water stops and you can't even flush the the toilet. Someone near by is likely to have an illegal handgun and believes the world owes them a living.

Consider the the people around you again...

Concerning next week's TWIP weekly US Dept of energy weekly report;

I assume it comes out Thurs instead of Weds due to Holiday?

I view it as two reports instead of just one, so I'll really be biting my nails. The reason so much rides on it is the fog delay last week. Where are those missing 5.5 mb? That's only a pair of big tankers or maybe 3 tankers. Wasn't the fog in the middle of the week?

How long could it possibly take to unload 2 supertankers? If they were delayed a few miles off coast for a couple days, they still should have gotten unloaded by Friday for the inventory count wouldn't they?

What time of the day on Friday does the US Dept of energy do their survey?

I'm an SD cowpoke, and this may sound stupid to you guys, but how big of a mystery could it be about whether the 2 "missing" oil tankers unloaded after the dept of energy inventory report?

Isn't it logical thi info is logged somewhere? I mean its one port that numbers need audited by a big investment fund. Getting the info seems rather worth it to me.

Any info is appreciated, because if we have any sort of a drop next week, its gonna get very ugly on the farm.

Thanks in advance.

Forms have to be recieved by e-mail by 7:00 am est Fri.Data would be as of Thurs??

Where are those missing 5.5 mb? That's only a pair of big tankers or maybe 3 tankers.

For those who are curious, here's a reference for that being 2-3 supertankers worth of oil.

We had an eight million barrel drop for the week ending November 30. Everyone said it was due to fog in the Houston Ship Channel. Half that drop, if it was due to fog, should have shown up the next week for about a 4 million barrel build. Instead we had another drop. Only 700 thousand barrels but a drop nevertheless.

I doubt that very much oil was delayed because of fog. We may have a build next week but it will likely be rather small, if any build at all. Lower imports combined with lower US oil production are causing the decline.

At any rate since reaching a peak the week ending June 29th inventories have dropped 57,100,000 barrels for an average drop of 2,379,000 barrels per week. That was not due to fog!

Ron Patterson

re Darwinian,

I agree that the "missing barrels" will likely stay missing, meaning we will likely observe a small draw or a tiny build next week.

If that is the case, then surely the "Smart" money must already know this.

Could this be part of today's big crude price runnup? Smart money knows that fog had nothing to do with it? I'd like to see reporters at Bloomberg lead with THAT one. LOL

I've been thinking about something recently and I wonder if anyone else has been pondering it as well...

What's going to happen to all of the cars after they've become too expensive to run?

I'm in the US. Go anywhere in the country and just noitce how many cars are all over the place... even littered on properties... we've become a slum for cars. You have to actually think about it now since it's become normal. What's going to happen when many, or even most, of them aren't worth using any longer? What a colossal waste. And yet, people are still buying them! It seems to me that we already have more cars then we will ever be able to fully use.

I currently own two: a 1998 4-cyl. Ford Ranger with about 119,000 miles and a 2006 Prius. I never plan to buy another car again. Right now the Ranger gets about 2,000 miles per year as I've become a bicycle commuter. My hope is to move to a planned TOD in my area, get rid if it, and keep just the Prius, which would also then get used much less since we'd be near the streetcar station (we're already fairly close, 3.3 miles). My hope is that my wife (currently looking for employment) will work very close or very close to a train stop and not need the car for the commute. Even if we don't move and keep driving how we are now, our car usage would be much less than average.

Of course, the economy could very well crash, I could lose my job, and none of that would happen.

But still, what about all the people buying new cars now, especially less efficient models, and making long commutes with them? Sure, some could be sold for scrap, but how much desire will there be for scrap if our economy stalls and there's not a lot of demand for the steel?

At what point do people making minimum wage realize that the expense of making the car commute doesn't make working that job worthwhile?

Will people start to use cars more wisely, and do more carpooling? It seems that alone has much more unused potential - another reason why I think gas isn't expensive at all. People still expect to commute by themselves in big cars cheaply.

Thought on what will become of all of the cars when they become obsolete.

They will become housing, storage, chicken coops, raw materials, you name it.

I think there's more than one car PER PERSON in the US. That's right, counting every doddering great-grandmother and mewling baby.

In a way, maybe the SUVs were bought following an instinct, that they can be lived in when no longer driven.

I think there's more than one car PER PERSON in the US.

8 cars per 10 Americans

(Including all types of passenger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks.)

Thanks for your reply on the increase in world energy consumption the other day. I checked it much later.

here is an extremely funny site.

It talks about how hummers have changed lives and the great stories behind its owners.

This is only registered vehicles. I can drive through my neighborhood and count a dozen or so vehicles up on blocks or with grass growing out from under the hood. I doubt they are registered. I'll bet the 1:1 ratio is about right, we just have a start on the 'recycling' of useless vehicles.

We could set one of these up with a wind turbine and recycle cars on windy days :-)


you must live in east des moines

Or in any of a hundred places between Chicago and Toronto that I saw when traveling by train.


Well, if you're a country boy like me, a vehicle is literally a warehouse on wheels. If you blacksmith, even nominally like I do, springs make great cutting tools and chisels. Then there's all that wiring and the lights. The sheet metal can be used for a gazillion things. Even things like the heater blower can be used on a wood gas generator. One guy I know got several junkers, ran flex pipe to them and back to his house for a solar heating system - the cars were free so they were far cheaper then commercial units. And, if push came to shove, a vehicle could be used to keep animals in, although I've never seen anyone do it. I have a '72 Buick Roadmaster four door hardtop out back that I was going to turn into a hot rod but spent the money on solar panels. It's just sitting there waiting to be used in a differnt way. I also have the frame and motor of a Model T car. It has lots of good stuff.

dont forget with rising sea levels, some of them might make good boats, some better than others.

i once had a cadillac eldorado.........and.......well... you get the picture, i am sure

I am amazed at the Raw Material we DIY guys will have. Like you say, cars have some incredible stuff to salvage.

I saw on UrbanSurvival.com a tip to make a canner vacuum sealer using an car airconditioner as a vacuum pump.

At fieldlines.com shows how(hugh pignot) to make a windturbine using a car brake rotor and spindle, on and on.

Wiring, metal great stuff.

How much steel, glass, nickel, chrome, copper is there in a million cars? Much better than most natural ores for refinement. With a reduced population we would have Raw Materials for a while.

Now, add in DEconstructing Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson all the houses, etc. How much in raw materials would that be to be "REpurposed"?

why do you think we allowed all of the recent imigration?

who do you think bought all those used cars ?

I think the DIYers are even more diffuse and dispersed than the supply of automobiles, especially compared to the raw material caches of oil, copper, iron, and what-not that went into making the cars. There was energy expended to refine those raw materials, but then more energy was expended to distribute the end products far and wide.

It speaks to the loss of centralization and large systems in favor of smaller, more local endeavors.

Now if we could just figure out how to address overpopulation and the resultant problems of mass extinctions, climate change, overshoot and die-off on a local scale.

I just wanted to clarify something. I should have stated that we, the wife and I, have two cars; they aren't mine alone. Most of the times I am driving it's with the wife. Most of the trips I take alone are on bicycle. She's now showing an interest in cycling, which is great.

It seems we'll have an excess of material, between McHouses and cars, available in the post-peak US. Hopefully that doesn't mean our landscape will become even more trashed than it is now. In other words, the same amount of stuff, just in pieces, laying all over the place like the cars are now. Like a junkyard, but slightly less dense. I'm not looking forward to that. What else could we do with it? Perhaps the steel could be used to help build solar and wind installations?

Maybe if sea levels rise enough to cover much of the country we can use the wood from the McHouses to build boats and stay afloat. Anyone else play the video game Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker? Kinda like that! We can continue on, for a little while perhaps, living on the high(er) seas!

What else could we do with the material that would be beneficial to society? Will we be able to put it to good use, or will it mostly end up in landfills - that is, if we will have the capability of moving it all there?

It's a great time to be alive, isn't it? Thank God I'm only 27 now. I just can't wait to see everything unfold - provided that I'll be able to stay alive.

Tanker rates goes up like a rocket

Graph displays tanker rates in dollar/week.

Got an article link to go with that picture?

Good sign that "Globalism" will die a horrible death from PO. Chinese factories making goods for America may soon move back to Mexico.

It's here.

But don't ask me what it means. I don't know a word of Swedish.

Gyllene tider för tankredare

2007-12-21 | Publicerad 07:04
Tankmarknaden har vänt, närmast över natten. Från att frakthyrorna har legat på 20000 dollar per dag för en supertanker har de rusat upp i närmare 300 000 dollar per dag. De goda tiderna kan vara i alla fall under januari. För torrlastrederierna har däremot kulmen passerats för denna gång.

Ya get what ya pay for: http://free.translated.net/

Golden times for tankredare

Tankmarknaden has turned, closest over the night. From that the transporting hires have to lain on 20000 dollars per day for a supertanker has they dashed up in more detailed 300 000 dollars per day. The good times can last in all cases during January. For the dry load shipping companies has on the other hand kulmen been passed for this time.

It is deficiency on big tankers in the export ports in Mellanöstern that has done that tankerredarna sudden may överhanden. They need just over 25 000 dollars per day in order to cover operation expenditure and capital costs. Therefore, the shipping companies that happen to do to have free and easy boats on-the-spot now an extreme good earning.

- it has been yet another record setting week for VLCC-marknaden. It becomes all more difficult to getupto words that correct way describes the situation that advices now, types skeppsmäklare PFBassøe in your last report.

VLCC is an abbreviation for Very Large Crude Carrier, and is the name on it that normally be reported as supertankrar, on 220 000 - 300 000 deadweight tonne.

Behind the upturn on tankmarknaden lies also that Opecländerna produces more oil. As from November the increased production with 500 000 drums per day, but when the oil price touched wide 100 dollars per drums against the end of that month seems Saudi Arabia have increased their production additional.

The improved the security situation in Iraq has also meant that the oil production where now lies higher than during Saddam Husseins time. Iraq's oil export lies 400 000 drums higher per day than what the done earlier this year. The country exports today almost two millions drums oil per day.

The increase comes above all in order to the mess management from the oil fields in Kirkuk to Turkey functions. According to a report from the American Ministry of Defence functioned the mess management during 70 days average August and October, compared with only seven days for same period last year.

Iraq has even got itself an own oiltankers, the first on 27 years. The boat has been built in China and has only a transporting capacity on 14 000 tonne oil, but additional two boats have been ordered.

Also Russia has sea thickset new tankers. It acts about tankers that will be used in order to transport oil from the port Varandej, that lies in Nenetsien in northern Russia. The boat Vasily Dinkov, for example, is on 70 000 deadweight tonne and has strengthened keel. It will can to operate in minus 40 degrees and will can to break itself through 1,5 metres thick ice without help from isbrytare.

Additional two boats of same type beonthepointof to be built.

The world's biggest tankredare, John Fredriksen, lowered yesterday the good times with your traditional Christma dinner on Theatercaféen in Oslo. Among the guests, others were shippingveteraner as Herbjørn Hansson and finance tips that Anders Onarheim in Carnegie and skeppsmäklare as Peder Anker.

Fredrika tendon has emigrated to Cyprus, but are visible often in Oslo, where his companies weigh heavily on Oslo stock exchange. This year it has hit stock exchange indexes with 7 percents, according to NA24.no that reports with equally big devotion about the party that Nobelmiddagen in Stockholm farms to may.

Bjorn Lindahl

I found this pretty interesting. I don't know if any of you have seen the Will Smith movie that just came out, "I am Legend", but the die-off of humanity due to a virus occurs in 2009. When pretty much everybody is already dead, you see Smith walking the streets of New York. At one point you see a gas station, and the prices are around $6.50 a gallon. I know its a fictional movie, but kind of eerie considering what's going on...

Oh, look, California has a Hooverville.


Don't blame HH for this one -- that's a BUSHVILLE

I was trying to figure out what this sort of encampment would be called, but I couldn't come up with a good name that had Bush in it. Bushville just sounds clumsy to me ...




Dunno if its widespread, but that is the word I'm gonna use :-)

I like it. Souperman has a way with words. He invented "sarconol," too...

OH my God that's funny

Yes yes yes...The shrubs!

Mike, the English teacher and failed writer, says:

"I hate you, that's so brilliant!"

Sarcanol, too!

(FWIW, I recommend that spelling, as it's "sarcAsm" plus the "-nol" suffix.)

I wonder if Kunstler will see it and popularize it :)

It's actually pretty funny if you do a google search for "sarconol"/"sarcanol" It pulls up TOD threads and a couple of random sites and sometimes the random sites will be TOD people.

California's got Hoovervilles all over the place, that's just a new one, in a place that's been an uber-suburb for a long time, and it's near an airport that's recently expanded. It's an area that's been gentrifying for quite a while, this new Hooverville sprouting up just points out how quickly things are falling.

Used to be horses and cows and pigs and stuff out there, and tons of flies lol. The big place to go and be seen was Flo's Restaurant. We're talking country. Then it got gentrified like crazy with the real estate bubble pushing house building and house prices like crazy.

I think the whole process is hilarious. At least as long as I'm not in a Hooverville myself!

Let me fix that up a bit for you...

Fleam says:
California's got Hoovervilles Shruburbs all over the place, that's just a new one, in a place that's been an uber-suburb for a long time, and it's near an airport that's recently expanded. It's an area that's been gentrifying for quite a while, this new Hooverville Shruburb sprouting up just points out how quickly things are falling.

Used to be horses and cows and pigs and stuff out there, and tons of flies lol. The big place to go and be seen was Flo's Restaurant. We're talking country. Then it got gentrified like crazy with the real estate bubble pushing house building and house prices like crazy.

I think the whole process is hilarious. At least as long as I'm not in a Hooverville Shruburb myself!

Much better ;)

The Guardian article says that California is number two in foreclosures. This Bloomberg article says that the other top problem places are Florida and Ohio.

The metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates are:
Stockton, CA
Detroit, MI
Riverside/San Bernardino, CA
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Las Vegas, NV
Sacramento, CA
Cleveland, OH
Miami, FL
Bakersfield, CA
Oakland, CA

Will we see more shruburbs sprout up like weeds?

I've added "shruburb" to my Firefox dictionary.

I don't know if anyone has posted this:

Insurer Friends Provident has told investors in its £1.2bn property fund that they must wait to access their money because of a market downturn. It said it had taken the measure to avoid having to sell commercial property such as shops and office blocks in a hurry at low prices.


It is similar to the bank run situation in which banks restrict withdrawals. Now it is hedge funds doing the same thing.

Forecaster: Next year's drought shaping up to be even worse

ATLANTA - Georgia's state climatologist warned Friday that without more rain over the next three months, the state could face a drought next year even worse than this year's record conditions.

David Stooksbury said the severe drought gripping north Georgia and parts of the Southeast could expand through the rest of the state and lead to "catastrophic" conditions in the summer.


The year end update is up at Financial Sense. It will be interesting to hear their discussions regarding deflation/inflation in 2008.

Hello TODers,

Probably the cheapest item in our US grocery stores is plain old salt. Remember the Morton's salt motto?

...When it rains, it pours...

Grim tales from Zimbabwe

Basic necessities like salt are in short supply, even in the capital Harare. Inflation is estimated to run between 40,000% and 90,000%. Everyone from laborers to professionals must hustle to try and make ends meet and about the only thing that seems to function properly is the government’s secret police.

In the olden days, caravans of up to forty thousand camels, laden with salt, would cross the African deserts to trade this vital good. This info just helps to further illustrate how bad things are getting in Zimbabwe.


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

Are we going to return to the days when the value of humanity defined the old way: "Is he worth his salt?".


It's really difficult today to think of those times, as recent as the U.S. Civil War, when salt was a critical war material.

E. Swanson