DrumBeat: January 10, 2008

Totally different: Christophe de Margerie, the boss of Total, thinks that the world's oil production may be nearing its peak

Mr de Margerie is careful to point out that he is not predicting “peak oil” in a geological sense. His definition of peak oil is “when supply cannot meet demand”. He believes that the fuel that the world needs to keep its cars and factories running may well be out there, somewhere. It is just getting harder and harder to extract, for technical as well as political reasons. For one thing, he points out, the output of existing fields is declining by 5m-6m b/d every year. That means that oil firms have to find lots of new fields just to keep production at today's levels. Moreover, the sorts of fields that Western oil firms are starting to develop, in very deep water, or of nearly solid, tar-like oil, are ever more technically challenging. There is not enough skilled labour and fancy equipment in the world, he believes, to ramp up production as quickly as people hope.

Oil might be a little easier to get at in places like the Middle East or Russia. “But we can't just say we'd like it, we want it, we'll take it,” says Mr de Margerie. Oil-soaked countries, he believes, will not open up their reserves for exploitation just to make life easier for companies like his. All of which leaves Western oil giants in something of a pickle. “We all think the same,” he says of other oil bosses, “it's just a question of whether we say it.”

OPEC Should Increase Output to Rebuild Inventories, Lehman Says

OPEC, the producer of 40 percent of the world's oil, should agree to add more supplies to the market when it meets early next month, the chief energy economist of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said.

"What they should do is put more oil in the market to allow inventories to rebuild," Edward Morse said today in an interview in Amsterdam. Inventories have shrunk to an "extremely low level," he added.

$750-Million Contract Boosts Gulf Hurricane Cleanup Work

Two years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf of Mexico, oil and gas companies have cleaned up just half the mess made by the storms, and the work is expected to continue until 2013, according to the federal Minerals Management Service (MMS). But a $750-million contract recently awarded by a group of platform owners to Harvey, La.-based Superior Energy Services signals that some companies are ready to finish the work. The contract is the biggest hurricane-cleanup contract yet, industry officials say.

Report: Oil, LNG Tankers Vulnerable

The Coast Guard lacks the resources to adequately protect tankers carrying liquefied petroleum or crude oil from a possible terrorist attack, congressional auditors reported Wednesday.

The report by the Government Accountability Office said the Coast Guard is stretched too thin in some cases "to meet its own self-imposed security standards such as escorting ships carrying liquefied natural gas."

Also, said the report, some ports visited by the government auditors did not have the resources needed to promptly respond to a terrorist attack on a crude oil or LNG tanker, including a shortage of fire boats and inadequately trained people.

C-Realm Podcast: The Long Emergency

KMO welcomes author Dmitry Orlov back to the program for a discussion of keeping people fed in times of turmoil and for a reading from Orlov’s soon-to-be-published book, Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects. After that, James H. Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century, drops by to talk about the fate of surburbia in the post-petroleum era.

Colorado gas cheapest in nation

Hougland attributes Colorado's cheap pump price to Suncor, owner of Colorado's only refinery in Commerce City, and other bigger suppliers supporting a low wholesale gasoline price.

That, in turn, discourages other suppliers from bringing additional gasoline from Oklahoma or Texas to bolster the market here. So, any supply disruption, caused by an unplanned refinery outage or a pipeline leak, could trigger a fuel shortage in the Denver area.

Specter of energy rationing looms heavily over Brazil

Rainfall in the beginning of January was 55% lower than usual, O Globo said, and low reservoir levels prompted officials to switch on all thermoelectric power plants to reduce the strain on hydroelectric dams that generate more than 80% of its electric energy.

But Kelman said that Brazil's state-run oil company, Petrobras, does not have enough natural gas to fuel the thermoelectric plants, mainly because of rising domestic demand and supply hurdles in Bolivia, which provides 50% of Brazil's gas.

Natural gas cuts affect Greek pipelines

Cold weather affecting a wide region from Central Asia to the Balkans has sparked new international traffic among energy bureaucrats and government officials of countries from Turkmenistan to Greece as a gas deficit spreads.

Turkey has halted the flow of Azerbaijani gas to Greece due to a suspension of gas supplies from Iran to Turkey, a senior Turkish Energy Ministry official told Reuters yesterday.

Canada's AECL agrees on nuclear study in China

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. has agreed to cooperate with the Nuclear Power Institute of China to study nuclear technology that uses less uranium in response to a possible future shortage of the fuel.

China's plan to build 40 gigawatts of nuclear generation capacity by 2020 would require seven times the uranium that it can currently count among its proven reserves, said AECL's China representative Yang Q. Ruan. This has forced the country to redouble efforts to ensure uranium supply.

China gets first toehold in Canadian uranium

Chinese steelmaker Sinosteel Corp has signed a memorandum of understanding with small Canadian explorer Ditem Explorations that could lead to it taking an equity stake in the firm.

Ditem said it had signed the deal with Sinosteel last month, providing the groundwork for exploration of its uranium properties and new properties in the Athabasca basin.

Kazakhstan to Increase Uranium Output Fivefold, Overtake Canada

Kazakhstan, the world's third-biggest uranium producer, plans to increase output fivefold within a decade and overtake Canada as the largest supplier of nuclear fuel.

The Central Asian nation intends to mine 30,000 metric tons a year by 2018, Mukhtar Dzhakishev, president of state-run producer Kazatomprom, said in an e-mailed response to questions on Jan. 8. Kazakhstan extracted 5,279 tons in 2006, about 4,600 tons less than Canada, according to the World Nuclear Association in London.

Germany to remain anti-nuclear stronghold

Germany will uphold staunch political opposition to atomic energy, unperturbed by the mood swinging back in favour of nuclear power elsewhere.

Oil at record highs, climate worries, and the need to cut dependency on energy imports is due to move the British government to back new nuclear power plants on Thursday.

But Germany, Europe's biggest and most central power market, will not follow suit.

China poised to be world leader in renewable energy, expert predicts

China is poised to become a global leader in renewable energy in the next few years, the head of environmental research group Worldwatch said Wednesday.

"I think China will be number one in less than three years in every renewable energy market in the world," Worldwatch president Chris Flavin told reporters at the launch of the annual "State of the World" report.

Daimler, ADM, Bayer to test Jatropha for biodiesel

German carmaker Daimler AG has teamed up with Archer Daniels Midland and Bayer CropScience to explore tropical plant Jatropha as a biodiesel fuel, Daimler said.

"Biodiesel derived from Jatropha nut kernels has properties similar to those of biofuels obtained from oilseed rapes. It is also characterised by a positive CO2 balance and can thus contribute to protecting the climate," the companies said in a statement.

The High Price of Malaysias Palm Oil Boom

The Malaysian stock exchange hit a new all-time high in trade on Monday, but I do not believe it is something to celebrate for the people of Malaysia. Indeed, it looks like the have-nots of the emerging Asian country are going to have even less because of this. This record-causing jump in palm oil prices came on the day that the Malaysian government announced that it was planning to do something about the countrys new cooking oil crisis.

Cohen: Is ethanol everybody's fuel?

Ethanol, renewable and relatively clean, is lovely. The life of the migrant Brazilian rural worker, finite and hot, is not.

Global warming 'changing world economy'

Global warming is forcing the world to change the way it does business, according to a new report.

A more sustainable global economy is emerging as countries and companies move to combat the challenges posed by climate change.

Huge amounts of money are pouring into clean energy projects, carbon trading and environmental and energy hedge funds, says the annual State of the World 2008 report from the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organisation.

Korea’s Fight Against Record Oil Prices and Weak Dollar

The world has long enjoyed a Goldilocks economy ― an economy that is not so hot that it causes inflation, and not so cold that it causes a recession ― since 2003 before eventually hitting a snag in the second half of 2007, disturbed by oil price spikes and a meltdown in the global financial market. Departing from the golden days, many nations are now apparently heading toward a slowdown or even a recession in the face of greater inflation risks pressured by record oil prices and an unusual credit crunch in the global financial market.

Carpooling: A way to meet friends, influence people

It was the first night of a conference in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in October, and I needed a ride to my motel, 10 miles from the conference site. As part of my ongoing experiment in traveling without my own car, I approached a stranger, wondering how he would react to a request that he let me into his car. It turns out he was a transportation planner, and he was delighted when I asked him for a ride.

Global Oil Supply Challenges Will Drive Crude Prices to US$150 - Modest Russian Production Growth to be Gobbled up by Domestic Demand

As part of its research, CIBC World Markets reviewed nearly 200 new oil projects slated to start oil production over the next five years and found that scheduled production timelines are far too optimistic, with project delays the norm, not the exception, among the group.

It found that heavy reliance on increasingly high cost and technically challenging fields like the Kashagan project in Kazakhstan, Russia's Sakhalin II and Canadian and Venezuelan oil sands have left world supply growth vulnerable to a seemingly never-ending series of project delays.

...These project delays are also happening at a time of accelerated global depletion in existing fields. The rate has climbed to over four per cent, which cuts nearly four million barrels per day out of each year's production. The recent increases are in part, related to the growing importance of offshore, and, in particular, deepwater fields, which have depletion rates twice that of conventional fields.

"Cliff-like depletion rates have already been in evidence in the North Sea and now the huge Cantarell field in Mexico," adds Mr. Rubin. "Since 2000, offshore fields have been the single-largest source of new supply growth. As their weight in total production increases, future depletion rates will continue to rise. Even holding the current depletion rate constant over the next five years, we must produce nearly 20 million barrels per day of new oil just to offset what will be lost through depletion during this period."

Carmaker in India unveils $2,500 car

NEW DELHI — India's Tata Motors on Thursday unveiled its much anticipated $2,500 car, an ultra-cheap price tag that suddenly brings car ownership into the reach of tens of millions of people.

While the price has created a buzz, critics say the vehicle, called the Tata Nano, will lead to possibly millions more cars hitting already clogged Indian roads, adding to mounting air and noise pollution problems. Others have said Tata will have to sacrifice quality and safety standards to meet the target price.

Company Chairman Ratan Tata has said the car will be the least polluting car in India and meet necessary safety standards.

Chief U.N. climate scientist Rajendra Pachauri, who shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize, said last month that "I am having nightmares" about the prospect of the low-cost car.

Pakistan: Iron, steel products’ prices shoot up

The prices T-iron, iron belts and other allied products of the steel industry have sharply increased as the current energy shortage in the country has almost stopped production at steel furnaces.

This stoppage has led to reduced supplies of raw material like iron billets and ingots to the steel re-rolling industry.

Pakistan: Coal-fired power plants

A high-level government meeting on Friday will decide the tariff for coal-fired power plants as the country struggles to cope with a worsening energy crisis, The News has learnt.

South Africa: The silver lining in power outages

The stark reality is that expensive and unreliable energy can only be good for the long-term health of our planet. Our electricity is among the cheapest in the world and our consumption among the highest if one excludes the top industrial countries.

NASA climatologist: Coal plant would be "waste of money"

One of the world's top climate scientists says a new coal-fired power plant planned for Marshalltown would be a waste of money because it will soon be necessary to close such coal-burning facilities to save the earth's climate.

James Hansen, an Iowa native who heads NASA's Goddard Space Center in Manhattan, is expected to testify as a private citizen before the Iowa Utilities Board next week in opposition to Alliant Energy's proposed Marshalltown power plant.

UK: Taxpayers To Pay As Britain Goes Nuclear

The Tories claimed the programme could be massively expensive as private firms will demand generous subsidies from the state.

The cost of decommissioning the stations at the end of their lifespan - which could cost tens of millions of pounds - is also expected to be paid by the taxpayer.

Timeline: Nuclear power in the United Kingdom

Key events in the history of nuclear power in Britain

Nuclear power around the world

A look at nuclear energy production and policies around the world, as the UK government announces its long-term nuclear energy plans.

Sun doctor: A man’s 3000-mile trek raises solar-energy awareness

Heading towards the rising sun, Martin Vosseler is a man on a mission. The 59-year-old Swiss doctor began his latest adventure last week—a 3000-mile walk across the country.

From Los Angeles to Boston, Dr. Vosseler is heading east, hoping his journey will teach him about the United States and what Americans are doing in the field of renewable energy

On his coast-to-coast trek, called SunWalk 2008, Dr. Vosseler hopes to raise awareness for the need of solar and other renewable energy sources. He believes that the sun is the answer to the growing energy crisis in the world and plans to share his vision with those he meets along the way.

Mexico's Pemex stopping US West Coast oil exports

Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex will stop shipping crude oil to the U.S. West Coast from February due in part to a shortage of infrastructure at Salina Cruz port, the company said on Wednesday.

Pemex was only shipping a tiny 20,000 barrels per day of oil to the U.S. Pacific coast out of its total daily exports of around 1.7 million barrels, but will now focus on exports to the U.S. Gulf coast and smaller shipments to Europe and Asia.

Pemex said the decision was made because of limited storage space at Salina Cruz, on the Pacific coast, and bottlenecks with transporting crude oil there from Dos Bocas on the Gulf of Mexico coast where much the country's oil is produced.

Russia Struggles To Supply Power To Domestic Consumers

Distracted by the country's longest festive season, Russia has faced a series of power outages in early January, including in areas where temperatures plummet to extreme lows. The accidents came as an ominous reminder that Russia needs to improve and redevelop its basic infrastructure, specifically to rehabilitate power and heating supply systems after years of under investment.

Pakistan to increase Iran gas import

Islamabad says it will ask Tehran to increase Pakistan's gas supply by 50 percent if India stays away from the peace pipeline project.

Pemex Needs Internal Reorganization, Opposition Says

Petroleos Mexicanos, the nation's state oil monopoly, can boost slumping crude output through internal reorganization and thus avoid intrusion from private or foreign investors, the main opposition party said.

Sinopec falls after Beijing says to curb fuel price rise

Shares in Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, fell nearly 5 percent on Thursday after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said there should be no immediate increase of oil product prices.

Judge refuses to delay Elk Point oil refinery rezoning meetings

ELK POINT, S.D. (AP) - Two Union County meetings on a proposed oil refinery are set to go on as scheduled, despite a request in court by opponents to stop them.

Hyperion Resources of Texas is asking to rezone nearly 4,000 acres of farmland to build a $10 billion refinery near Elk Point.

Chileans Balk at Geysers Generating Electricity, Not Tourism

Tourist guide Patricia Salazar sees a marvel of nature when she looks at Chile's El Tatio geysers shooting plumes of heated white water vapor high into the air. Italy's Enel SA sees an untapped energy source.

Enel and Empresa Nacional del Petroleo, known as Enap, want to convert water heated by magma into electricity. Surrounding towns are lobbying the government to reject the proposal, saying it threatens their revenue from almost 100,000 tourists who visit the geysers annually.

Peak Oil & Beyond: An Interview with Matthew Simmons

The start of 2008 has brought with it the first official sighting of $100 oil. I say ”first” because the age of cheap oil is coming to a close. While no one can say with absolute certainty where prices will go from here, the odds are in favor of them moving much, much higher. You can stand by and watch helplessly as your gasoline and other energy costs skyrocket, or you can make the trend your friend and profit from it. As you might have guessed, I’m in the latter camp.

I’m not alone. Matt Simmons is one of the world’s foremost authorities on peak oil. Below is a transcript of a recent conversation he had with Bud Conrad, Casey Research’s chief economist, about the dynamics at the tail end of our petroleum age.

Saudi not set to sell more for Feb despite $100 oil

Saudi Arabia is unlikely to offer extra crude for February to Asian buyers, even after oil hit $100 last week, as most refiners have little need and ability to process additional heavy sour crude, refining sources said.

The kingdom raised term exports to Asia by a tenth for November to full contracted volumes after it convinced other OPEC members to boost daily output by 500,000 barrels from Nov.1, in response to a jump in prices past $80 a barrel for the first time in September.

North Sea Brent Oil Daily Shipments Will Fall 8% in February

Daily shipments of North Sea Brent crude, part of the price benchmark for almost two-thirds of the world's oil, will fall by about 8 percent in February.

Tankers are set to load 184,552 barrels a day of Brent crude in February, down from 200,645 barrels a day scheduled for January, according to the loading program of field operator Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's largest oil company.

A total of 5.35 million barrels will be shipped next month, compared with 6.22 million barrels in January.

UK trade gap widens as oil deficit climbs

Britain's goods trade deficit with the rest of the world widened in November as the deficit in oil climbed to its highest in more than two years.

The figures also showed a worrying climb in import inflation, a trend that is likely to worsen further given the pound's recent fall.

Russia's Arctic scientists receive ‘hero' awards

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday granted “hero” awards to scientists backing Moscow's claim to a mountain range under the Arctic Ocean that is believed to contain huge oil and gas reserves.

The scientists planted a Russian flag under the North Pole ice in August as part of an Arctic expedition that heated up the controversy over the area which a U.S. study suggests may contain as much as 25 per cent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.

Suncor oil sands production falls just short of target

Suncor Energy Inc. says its oil sands production during 2007 averaged about 236,000 barrels per day, short of the target 240,000 to 245,000 bpd.

In December, output at Suncor's oil sands operation at Fort McMurray, Alta., averaged 234,000 barrels per day, down from 266,000 in November.

Nigerian rebels claim ship attacks, threaten more

In an email to the media, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it sponsored gunmen who shot at six oil industry vessels in the Bonny River channel on Wednesday, in which two people were injured.

"MEND will be supporting these small independent groups to harass and sabotage the oil industry at will," the group said.

Britain backs new nuclear power plants

The British government on Thursday announced support for the construction of new nuclear power plants, backing atomic energy as a clean source of power to fight climate change.

Business Secretary John Hutton told lawmakers that nuclear power "should have a role to play in this country's future energy mix, alongside other low-carbon sources." He said nuclear energy was a "tried and tested, safe and secure" source of power.

Sydney: Cycling the way to go in this overcrowded city

We are past the day when we have any choice but to pursue alternatives: oil is running out and global warming is increasing at an alarming rate. Our streets are becoming impossibly congested, polluted and unpleasant to use. The health costs, in respiratory disease and obesity, to name but two, are well-documented.

Many people choose cars over bikes because they can get directly to any destination. Get on a bike, and you'll be lucky to find continuous safe passage.

CSIRO’s Future Fuels Forum set to deliver report in June

Emissions trading, future fuels and international oil supply are just some of the factors that will be considered as the CSIRO's newly formed Future Fuels Forum (FFF) articulates the main challenges for the nation in arriving at a secure and sustainable transport fuel mix for road, rail, air and sea to 2050.

Director of the CSIRO Energy Transformed National Research Flagship, Dr John Wright, says the FFF comes at an ideal time as the decisions made today will set the course for Australia’s fuel mix to the middle of the century.

Green prospects for new year exciting

Like conjoined twins, climate change and peak oil are the defining issues of our times. Our use of fossil fuels is exactly what is fueling climate change and our entire society is based on a cheap and plentiful supply. Peak oil refers to the eminent decline of crude oil production. But make no mistake, the same holds true for any nonrenewable resource, including natural gas, coal and even uranium.

Fortunately for Us, We Have No Inflation?

Realistically, oil is going to stay up here for a while. And if oil costs $90 or $100, you know that the prices of everything else we buy will cost more. Transportation costs more for everything we buy. All the yummy foods from the grocery are up as well.

But the headline for the foreseeable future is no inflation. $3 gasoline. $4 milk. A McDonald's double cheeseburger moving off the dollar menu? That's lamentable.

Why is there no inflation? Housing. This little bubble deal we've been talking about in this space since spring is causing something no one expected to ever be a worry again ... deflation. Try to sell a house in West Virginia, any house. Then try to go get a new loan or some sort of refinance yourself. Good luck without a note from your Mom, a huge down payment and proof of income.

Will nations build on climate-change momentum of 2007?

If 2007 was the year when an international scientific – and popular – momentum built around tackling global warming, this year is likely to be one of boosting that commitment. Last year, three major reports from the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change covered the science of global warming, its potential effects, and ways for addressing the challenge. A special UN meeting in September ahead of climate-change talks in Bali last month was matched by a Washington-led initiative for major carbon-emitting nations. In 2008, expect developing nations to play a more active role in negotiations for the post-Kyoto Protocol period, (as they did in Bali). Will the Bush administration steal a march this year on the UN climate talks? The US will be pumping more research money into carbon sequestration – ways to capture CO2 – and solar energy, and several climate bills are pending before Congress.

Groups to sue for polar bear protection

Three conservation groups notified the federal government Wednesday they intend to sue to get polar bears listed as a threatened species due to global warming.

The formal notice filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace is a necessary step before a lawsuit is filed. The notice cited a missed deadline by the federal agencies and officials in Washington on whether polar bears will be listed.

Global warming could make Australia's outback tougher: study

Life in Australia's rugged outback could get even tougher when the effects of global warming bite, with extreme weather and outbreaks of exotic diseases in unexpected places, a new study suggests.

The world's driest inhabited continent is predicted to be among the regions worst hit by climate change and is already grappling with a long-running drought thought by some researchers to be linked to global warming.

As well as droughts, the study, says the outback can expect to face floods and cyclones as temperatures rise.

Japan temperatures could rise five degrees by 2100: panel

Global warming could cause temperatures in Japan to rise an average of 4.7 degrees Celsius (8.5 Fahrenheit) above normal by the last three decades of the century, an environment ministry panel has warned.

Japan's rainfall may fluctuate widely between a 2.4 percent decline and a 16.4 percent increase compared with the levels recorded in the final four decades of the last century, the panel said in an interim report this week.

Canadian Emissions Market Recommended

A Canadian government panel recommended Monday that prices be set for greenhouse gas emissions and that taxes, caps and emissions trading plans be quickly established.

F.T.C. Asks if Carbon-Offset Money Is Well Spent

Corporations and shoppers in the United States spent more than $54 million last year on carbon offset credits toward tree planting, wind farms, solar plants and other projects to balance the emissions created by, say, using a laptop computer or flying on a jet.

But where exactly is that money going?

Disruption of LPG unit at Baiji refinery worsens power supply

By Ali a-Mawsawi

Azzaman, January 9, 2008

The blaze at Iraq’s largest refinery of Baiji north of Baghdad has taken out the country’s largest Liquefied Petroleum Gas processing unit, according to Oil Ministry sources.

Iraq relies on LPG to power major electricity plants. LPG is also the main cooking fuel for Iraqi households.

But the blaze is reported to have damaged the unit exacerbating the already acute shortages of gas in the country.

An Electricity Ministry source told the newspaper that northern Iraq, comprising the three Kurdish provinces of Dahouk, Arbil and Sulaimaniay as well as Mosul and Kirkuk, has plunged into darkness as the gas-driven power plants had no more fuel to operate.


Though holding massive oil reserves, Iraq has turned into a net fuel importer. Fuel shortages started with the 2003 U.S. invasion and have aggravated since.

I'm curious, how much of SA's crude is now marketable? By this I mean, have they sold most of their easily refinable sweet/light crude?

To go on to a bigger question, how will this affect the LEM? When all that remains is heavy/sour, who's going to build/refurbish the refineries and where?

When all that remains is heavy/sour, who's going to build/refurbish the refineries and where?

It's being done. Lots of refiners are installing cokers, primarily to take advantage of a large light/heavy price differential. Hydrotreaters/hydrocrackers are also being installed to handle sour crudes. However, it is a substantial capital investment, and with margins where they are some of these projects are likely to be delayed, and some that are still on the drawing board may be scrapped. If there was certainty that last summer's margins would return, everyone who doesn't have a coker would install one.

RR, Do you have any idea why margins were so large last summer and why they are much tighter now?

$100/bbl perhaps?

RR, Do you have any idea why margins were so large last summer and why they are much tighter now?

Demand is pretty soft right now. Refiners have had trouble making price increases stick. You can see that in the fact that gasoline inventories have been building. If inventories were falling, price increases would stick and margins would firm up.

Interestingly, the smartest, forward-looking folks on heavy/sour refining have been the Indians, specifically Mukesh Ambani of Reliance, who in one year built an enormous, 500,000 b/d heavy/sour refinery in Jamnagar to process Saudi heavy and other such crudes. Then he did it again -- doubled the refinery's size, again in a year. Jamnagar has a 1-million- barrel-a-day capacity now. I met Ambani in Bombay for a story for the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago. Unlike the flat-footed U.S. and European majors, Ambani is quick-thinking, decisive and willing to commit enormous resources to execute his ideas. The result is enormous profits. He's one of the world's richest men now.

Steve LeVine, author
The Oil and the Glory

This is the same guy who bought his wife an Airbus.

And is building a multi story billion dollar home.


"The customised monster-of-a-bird, that should have been delivered in April, rolled into Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport en route to Mumbai on Thursday morning," the paper reported. If the price tag – reportedly £30m – sounds preposterous, it is worth bearing in mind that Mr Ambani is the latest man to be identified as the world's richest person.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported last week that Mr Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, had seen his worth soar to more than £30bn, taking him past Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Mexican Carlos Slim."

Behind every great fortune there is a crime. Honore de Balzac

the Chinese saying:为富不仁
不:not, no

Taking advantage of people and situations is called "good business sense." Where is the crime?

Giant houses and private Airbusses might be tasteless hyperconsumption -- but at least it provides jobs for some people, and no doubt Mr. Ambani has plenty of supporters and sycophants.

"Taking advantage of people and situations is called "good business sense." Where is the crime?"

We are all law breakers. Who has never trespassed, never j-walked, never gone a mile over the speed limit, never littered, never failed to indicate when changing lanes, and never broken a single one of the multitude of obscure laws that each land has? There are in all probability laws that we have all broken that we are unaware of, because few , if anyone, is aware of all the laws in their country.

Their are plenty of people who are criminal however, without breaking laws or being caught. And I would include some business practises in that category. The "Behind every great fortune there is a crime" comment presumably refers to the fact that great fortunes are usually won with the help of some criminal practise - even if the law has not been broken or they haven't been caught.

Behind every great fortune there is a crime. Honore de Balzac

"Taking advantage of people and situations is called "good business sense." Where is the crime?"

I think NeverLNG is confusing politics with business. Good business is where an equitable 'trade' has been made between two parties. In Balzac's day the third partner to a deal, the World, was not considered and for the main still isn't. I think he would have a field day commenting on our business practices, since its not not now necessary to have a great fortune to be defined as a criminal.

The biggest criminals accumulate enough wealth so that they can buy enough politicians to change the laws so that their crimes are redefined away as "good business practices in the national interest".

A Possible Future Pemex Article (January, 2009?) Follows:

Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex will stop shipping crude oil to Europe and Asia from February due in part to a shortage of infrastructure at Salina Cruz port, the company said on Wednesday. Pemex will now focus on exports to the U.S. Gulf coast.

Pemex said the decision was made because of limited storage space at Salina Cruz, on the Pacific coast, and bottlenecks with transporting crude oil there from Dos Bocas on the Gulf of Mexico coast where much the country's oil is produced.

Mexico, at peak production in 2004, was in the "red zone," regarding net oil exports--with consumption as a percentage of production in the same range as UK (final peak net exports to zero in 7 years) and Indonesia (final peak net exports to zero in 8 years).

They didn't say they were cutting net exports, though. They may be, but that article just said they are cutting a small amount in one area to focus on another area. Because it is only 1% of their total exports, and they don't even say that the total will be reduced (versus reallocated), to me this isn't even a noteworthy story.

I found it interesting that declining oil exports were causing "bottlenecks."

At peak in 2004, Mexico consumed 51% of their total liquids production, actually making it a prime example of the ELM. Their net exports have fallen from 1.9 mbpd in 2004 to 1.7 mbpd in 2006. The 2006 decline would have been much sharper (in double digits) if not for the decline in consumption, presumably as a result in a sharp falloff in transfer payments back home from migrant workers in the US. Mexico was alone among top 10 net oil exporters in 2006 in showing a decline in consumption.

In any case, my bet is that Mexico--the #2 source of imported crude to the US--will be approaching zero net oil exports by 2014.

Westexas, the latest blog is dedicated to you.

Thank you very much. I'm in good company, but I should note that the bulk of my analysis has been based on Khebab's superb technical work.

BTW, the top five net exports paper is up on Financial Sense, under Financial Sense Editorials. Khebab was left off as co-author. It should be corrected shortly.

That seems like anudder way to look at it...


that was a good one.

With some small modifications and a good headline, it would make a great TheOnion.com story. TheOnion claims that they do not take submissions, but I know for a fact that they do.

I tried to submit a reversion of the Louisiana Purchase (GWB unloads a lot of D voters and a "fix-it-upper" on Chirac) story to the Onion and got that reply (we do not take submittals). Is there a back door ?



Rubin, from uptop:

"Not only is there virtually no price elasticity between OPEC's own oil consumption and world oil prices but paradoxically, domestic consumption of oil in those countries may actually increase with rising world oil prices because higher crude prices boost incomes, which in turn, further boosts demand for massively subsidized domestic gasoline."

The result of this unchecked soaring demand in most oil-producing nations means they will not be able to add any additional exports to meet the surging demand in developing countries. While Russian production is expected to grow very modestly over the next five years, all of those production gains will be gobbled up by domestic demand growth. Since crude demand in countries like China and India is far more income-elastic than price-elastic, these countries are likely to outbid OECD markets for increasingly scarce global supply.

No argument from me. FYI--Simmons was there before me.

The decline in consumption got a lot of help from the numerous strikes and roadblockages as their rigged election approached.

The 20Kbd seems small, but annulaized it's 7.3Mbbls that won't become gasoilne, diesel, propane, etc.

Mexico's gross crude oil exports were down about 90,000 bpd, through November, versus average 2006 exports. They had an uptick in November, but I suspect it was because of export delays in October.

Line of the day:

"The crude has better opportunities elsewhere," the source said.

And I think it's the story of the day, after NH vote fraud.

Cantarell is down to 1.28 mbpd.

Dropping 8000 bpw.

Somebody's going to lose.

Is anybody here going to comment on this?

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve) dropped by 6.8 million barrels compared to the previous week.
At 282.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of
the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories
increased by 5.3 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the
average range.

Like how crude dropping $3 is going to turn it around?

And I think it's the story of the day, after NH vote fraud.
Cantarell is down to 1.28 mbpd.
Dropping 8000 bpw.
Somebody's going to lose.
Is anybody here going to comment on this?

What is there to say? Various problems, some will squeeze people one way or another.

How about 'change that threatens people's views or ways they have existed will not be accepted without resistance'?

Thank you. Just checking to see if anybody's out there.


Is Mexico obligated to ante up because of NAFTA, as the Canadians are?

No, Mexico didn't agree to the proportionality clause. They are exempt.

No. Mexico declined to sign the part of NAFTA that would force them to maintain/increase hydrocarbon deliveries.

If our NAFTA Partners Can Have National Energy Programs, Why Can't We?

How did Canada get saddled with having to continue oil and gas exports even in times of shortage, when Mexico got exempted?

When NAFTA was being negotiated in 1993, oil and gas corporations based in Canada, many of them foreign-owned, lobbied for a proportionality clause to be included in the agreement. Under proportionality, Canada can cut exports to the U.S. to deal with shortages only if it cuts the same proportion of supplies to Canadians.

Canada currently produces about 40 per cent more oil than it consumes and so should not have to worry about shortages. Yet, because of NAFTA, Canada has put itself in a position that is as precarious as that of the United States, relying on imports of oil from offshore. Canada now exports 70 per cent of its supply to the U.S., and imports almost 60 per cent of the oil it consumes.

The Mexicans were smart and got an exemption from energy sharing in times of shortage. Consider the respect that the exemption got Mexico in the U.S. national energy task force report: "Mexico will make its own sovereign decisions on the breadth, pace, and extent to which it will expand and reform its electricity and oil and gas capacities."

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve) dropped by 6.8 million barrels compared to the previous week.

Hmmmm ... but Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 8.1 million barrels last week.

As I noted up the thread, I found it interesting that declining crude oil exports from Mexico were causing "bottlenecks" requiring them to eliminate exports to the West Coast. And Comp-USA is closing stores because of bottlenecks resulting from too many buyers trying to get in the doors.

I noted that the Texas Railroad Commission just announced lower crude oil production for Texas, as a result of our 35 year inability to find buyers for all of our oil, "even our light/sweet oil." Makes as much sense as the Pemex statement.

Of course one can't find buyers for light sweet crude one does not have.

The NH vote fraud isn't getting the press it deserves, in my book. a 7% swing in Obama/Clinton where Diebold machines are in use versus where votes are hand-counted. A hand-count audit should take place of those optical-scan ballots. In fact, I think that a manual hand-count should follow ANY AND ALL optical scan ballots, with a stub that is provided to the voter to show what the machine read. I could (and have) scream in frustration at how people can not stand for complete accountability with our voting.

I guess Diebold is bipartisan now! This doesn't seem to belong in an energy discussion; neither of the candidates have given any indication they have a clue about oil

Just stop. There is ZERO evidence of fraud in New Hampshire, and it's an insult to suggest it. Their "Diebold machines" were not touch-screens. They were optical scanning machines, the most accurate method of vote-counting. And there are paper ballots, so there's a paper trail.

If there's a difference between the hand-counted and the machine-scanned, it's probably due to the urban vs. rural thing. It's not unusual for urban areas to go for one candidate, rural voters to go for another. Urban areas are far more likely to have scanning machines. Is Dixville Notch, with 17 registered voters, going to buy a vote-scanning machine?

Enough with the "Diebold Hacked the NH Primary" Lunacy

What happened was simply that the polls were wrong. There's a reason why they call New Hampshire the place where political pollsters go to die. I think this article has the best explanation, from Zogby:

"I have polled many races, especially close ones, where 4% to 8% have said they finally decided on their vote the day of the election, and that can wreak havoc on those of us who are in the business of capturing pre-election movements and trends," Zogby wrote on his website.

How many decided on the day of the election in NH? 17%. If 4% can wreak havoc with the polls, what can 17% do? I think we saw it.

The only thing that happened in New Hampshire is that a lot of people made up their minds at the last minute, after the pollsters had gone away. Here's a graph of the New Hampshire polls leading up to the election:

Hillary was leading for year. Obama didn't get ahead until five days before the election. Is is really a surprise that the undecideds came home to her in the end? Especially since the Clinton machine in NH is amazing. It's been there since her husband ran, so it's well-established and well-organized compared to the other candidates'.

Thank you, Leanan. I agree conspiracy speculation has no place here

Just stop.

Tis your section...

They were optical scanning machines, the most accurate method of vote-counting.

Have you seen the HBO special or the research where optical scanners had count-cards pre-loaded with non zero starting numbers, such that the end count was therefore off.

And there are paper ballots, so there's a paper trail.

Claims exist that the paper versions had higher numbers than the non paper versions of voting.

Dr. Paul/Obamaa can call for hand recounts. I'm guessing the same web that can raise 'money bombs' and blimp money can raise funds for recounts/examinations of the voting.

If you wanna squak - ask Dr. Paul/Obama when he'll be calling for a recount.

Claims exist that the paper versions had higher numbers than the non paper versions of voting.

They are ALL paper in NH. The difference is whether the paper ballots are hand-counted or machine-scanned. If you think about it, there's an obvious reason why Clinton did better in the machine-scanned areas. She did better in urban areas, Obama did better in small towns. Urban areas are far more likely to use machines to count the votes. Correlation is not causation.

And if there were any shenanigans, a hand count would reveal them, because there's a paper trail.

Dr. Paul/Obamaa can call for hand recounts. I'm guessing the same web that can raise 'money bombs' and blimp money can raise funds for recounts/examinations of the voting.

If they had any suspicions, they would demand a recount. They aren't, because they know the election was not rigged. To do so would require more than hacking a few voting machines. The exit polls at all the different polling places would also have to be rigged, since the exit polls matched the voting results.

Thanks for explaining that Leanan. I had a post all typed up mentioning the fact that the exit polls matched the actual vote but deleted it since I did not want to get into this debate. But since you said almost the exact same thing I was going to write, I will just second your motion that there was no fraud.

At any rate we have the same type of machines here in Pensacola and I used the exact same type of machines in Huntsville, Al. You are correct, there is a paper trail. All ballots are paper but scanned by the machine. You poke your ballot into the machine when you are finished marking it. If there is any doubt then the ballots can simply be recounted by hand.

But all the conspiracy theory wingnuts on the net are blogging about it. After all, what the hell could we expect.

Ron Patterson

I thought voter conspiracies only applied when Republicans won. :)

On the other hand, maybe I can come up with a conspiracy theory of my own. It's a known fact that a lot of these vote totals are tallied on computers that use the Windows operating system, and Windows was developed by Bill Gates' Microsoft corporation, and Bill Gates is a big Democratic party donor. Hmmm.. this could explain the 2006 congressional elections...

Joking aside, the worry is that big business can fiddle it. I suggest reading this:


to get the low down on the Florida no-voting history, and why Clintons are more dangerous than Bushes..

A little off topic (because I don't think NH was rigged), but...

polls, shmolls.

I lie to pollsters...have for years. Am I the only one here who lies to pollsters?

Even better yet is to pretend to be mentally unstable. Alternating back and forth between paranoia and delusions of grandeur is particularly effective.


I notice how you left alone the bit about optical scanners being accurate.

Obama also appears to have won in hand-counted precincts while Clinton seems to have dominated in precincts which counted the votes with the Diebold Accuvote TSx optical-scan machines, which have been shown to be susceptible to a memory card hack.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiiaBqwqkXs (memory card hack)

Optical scan machines are still the most accurate - more accurate than hand-counting, as the Ron Paul incident shows. There are representatives from both parties present at the polls, and I seriously doubt they'd let someone hook up a laptop to the machine. And they would have had to do it at multiple precincts. And what about the paper trail? If someone requests a handcount, the fraud would be instantly apparent.

The reason Clinton dominated in the scanned precincts is because she did better in urban areas, and urban areas are more likely to have scanning machines. Small towns don't need vote counting machines.

If you look here, you can see how Clinton and Obama did by town size and vote-counting method. The sample sizes are pretty small, and not surprisingly, it looks pretty random to me. For "large towns" (more than 1,500 votes), Hillary got a bigger percentage of the hand-counts than of the machine-counted votes, and Obama got a bigger percentage of the machine-counted votes. Was Hillary robbed by Diebold?

At issue is the chain of custody of the voting machines: from BlackBoxVoting.org

John Silvestro and his small private business, LHS Associates, has exclusive programming contracts for ALL New Hampshire voting machines, which combined will count about 81 percent of the vote in the primary. And as to Super Tuesday and beyond: Silvestro also has the programming contracts for the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

Silvestro IS the New Hampshire chain of custody in New England -- Or at least, a very large component in it.
One area of disagreement between Hursti and Silvestro was the amount of expertise needed to exploit the Diebold 1.94w optical scan system. Silvestro claimed (in a strange contortion of reasoning) that he doesn't hire very skilled programmers, implying that this makes New Hampshire elections more secure.

While I consider the machines and the company suspect just because of what and who they are, as Leanan pointed out (and I failed to mention in my earlier comment) that the exit polls matched the actual votes by a margin of less than 1%. Exit polls DO have the capability of being biased, if the people who are chosen are not done so randomly.

However, my opinion is that while electronic vote counters can be used to obtain the initial counts, ALL vote counts should be backed up by manual counts with observers from any candidate who chooses to send observers to ensure that the manual count matches with the electronic count by a given percentage. (1% maybe?) Any variation beyond that should cause a second hand-count, and if it matches with the first hand-count, then the hand-count is used as the final answer, and the electronic count invalidated.

OK, I know this is a peak oil forum, but since nobody else has mentioned the following yet...

From today's Slashdot:


Another issue is the Republican results from Sutton precinct. The final results showed Ron Paul with 0 votes in Sutton. The next day a Ron Paul supporter came forward claiming that both she and several of her family members had voted for Ron Paul in Sutton. Black Box Voting reports that after being asked about the discrepancy Sutton officials decided that Ron Paul actually received 31 votes in Sutton, but they were left off of the tally sheet due to 'human error.'"

And from blackboxvoting.org forum:


I just got off the phone with Jennifer Call, Town Clerk for Sutton. She confirmed that the Ron Paul totals in Sutton were actually 31, and said that they were "left off the tally sheet" and it was human error.

This is not an acceptable answer, especially because one of the most common forms of fraud in a hand count system is to alter or omit results on the reporting sheet. Hand count is lovely, transparent. They then fill out another reconciliation sheet, often in front of witnesses, and it looks fine. Then they provide a summary or media sheet with the incorrect results.

So, now hand-counting is also suspect? Maybe Hillary would have won by double-digits, if not for those crooked hand-counts.

You can't eliminate human error.

And really, if you were stealing votes, why bother to steal them from Ron Paul? He wasn't going to win anyway, or even come close. Heck, that's probably why the error slipped through. They'd have noticed if McCain or Romney had zero votes.

I'll accept your take on it, Leanan, since the candidates don't seem to be complaining, but I confess I got cold chills when I heard the polls were off by 9 points or so. The last time that happened George Bush ended up President of the US. I don't put it past Bill Clinton and the Democratic machine to pull off something like this in the face of total meltdown of their candidate.

What plecks me off is the media crowning a winner before the people have voted. Based on polls, of course, which they know are not always reliable. First it was Hillary. They set her up as unbeatable, so when she lost in Iowa, it was a "meltdown." Then they did the same to Obama. They were preparing for the coronation, but oops, those pesky voters didn't go along with it.

The race is wide open, and it bloody hell should be. Two very small states have voted. Don't the rest of us get a say?


Ozone: I have no idea if the votes were counted accurately (or if the polls were done with honest intent). Having said that, the latest report by the GAO of the USA cannot give an opinion on 26% or 740 BILLION of annual spending of taxpayers money-the internal controls are too weak (especially at DOD). Basically the GAO is saying in black and white that the USA has devolved to third world standards when it comes to safeguarding government revenues. I have no idea what the GAO would conclude if they were entrusted to audit USA vote tallying methods but I wouldn't bet any money that they couldn't locate major discrepancies/errors, IMO.

This is what happens when people begin to lose confidence in their election process. This sort of thing is only supposed to happen in third world countries with weak democratic traditions.

The integrity of the vote counting process is CRITICAL in a democracy. This is why respected international figures observe elections in third world countries (unless the ruling party has reasons why it doesn't want to be observed). This is also why Diebold, and the people who let them get away with it, are complete idiots for not having a paper trail with their touch screen machines (unless they have reasons why they don't want a paper trail), not to mention physically securing the voting equipment and polling places.

IMO, this is another example of how the US is slowly (or maybe not so slowly) turning into a 3rd world country, even before Peak Oil forces it on us.

Ironic isn't it that since we have had electronic voting, so far, our presidents have been either a Bush or a Clinton.

Maybe. Then again what evidence is there that the machines were distributed differently in between rural and urban NH.

It's common sense. (And there's plenty of evidence, if you actually look at the distribution of the voting machines.)

Voting machines are expensive, and only useful if you have a lot of votes to count. Dixville Notch had 10 votes to count. Manchester had 20,000. Which is more likely to have bought a voting machine?

I'd love the see the results of a post-election poll in NH that asks who they voted for during the NH primary election.

My bet is that Hillary would win by an even bigger margin. It's human nature. People somehow seem to remember voting for the winner, no matter how they actually voted. :)

Well then they exceeded their goal to keep the decline to 200,000 per day by year end (2007) according to this article: Mexico Tries To Save Big, Fading Oil Field

The Reuters article said Pemex needed the export storage facilities for its refinery at Salina Cruz.

Saudi Arabia scraps wheat growing to save water

Saudi Arabia is abandoning a 30-year programme to grow wheat that achieved self-sufficiency but depleted the desert kingdom's scarce water supplies.

The government will start reducing purchases of wheat from local farmers by 12.5 percent per year from this year, officials from the agriculture and finance ministries said on Tuesday.

The kingdom aims to rely entirely on imports by 2016.

"The reason is water resources," said one official, who did not want to be identified.

Peak Water.

I know, the H2O cycle is essentially a global closed loop, zero-sum thing. But due to changing precipitation patterns driven by global climate change, and due to the increasing costs of energy inputs to acquire and distribute irrigation water, many inhabited areas of the world may indeed be looking at Peak Water for all practical purposes.

wind/solar+air+(sea)water -> NH3+O2 -> energy(heat, electricity)+H2O

"the H2O cycle is essentially a global closed loop, zero-sum thing"

Closed loop - right. Zero-sum - Wrong.

The total fresh water available depend on how much energy we and Nature put dessalinizating it and on the speed the closed loop cycles.

Less plants leads to less total fresh water, as more dessalinization plants leads to more total fresh water.

Desalination plants couldn't begin to provide a teensy fraction of what the sun's energy provides. And at the cost of a lot of fossil fuel. Dream on, if anyone thinks desalination is the way to go -- except for very limited, specific purposes.

Unless of course your power source happens to be energy derived from the thermo nuclear reactions of a nearby star? Why do you suppose it rains now and then? I know this link just outlines a theoretical possibility but it does give one some food for thought. http://www.globalwarmingsolutions.co.uk/large_scale_solar_desalination_u...
BTW for those of you who live along warm tropical sea shores or spend time in small boats on the ocean this one is real:

solar cartoon

Aw...and after they put in all those nice crop circles.

Maybe we should sell the Saudis our wheat at $1000 a bushel. See how they like it.

You seem personally put out by geology, economy, and human nature. What are you suggesting here? That KSA pump every last drop of a resource declining in availability and gaining in value for ... our gratification? If I had oil I'd be raising price, cutting supplies, and trying to make it last, but doing so in a fashion that didn't totally jack up my customer base. This would look like profiteering from the customer side, perhaps, but that wouldn't be the motivation ...

No, but that the tide is changing. Few countries other than Canada and the US have the surplus in food. China can bearly feed itself, same with India. With food stocks so low those countries that can export will do well.

As for the quip that the Saudis pay a premium for grains, yes. Not like they can't afford it with the trillions they have accumulated from the sale of oil. And in fact, it would be doing their population a big favour. Talk about wealth disallocation, the Saudi Royal Family cares little for their own people. One of the wealthiest countries in the world due to their oil and the main bulk of their population lives in poverty. Forcing them to spend some of their oil wealth on Canadian grain will force them to spend more to feed their own people. It will also benifit us as our farmers are hurting and we could do much with the extra money to prepare for peak oil.

Besides, the shoe would finally be in the other foot for the Saudis for a change.

yes, how DARE they charge the going market rate (or actually under it for the US) for OUR oil!

aren't you one of those big free-market supporters? I mean the US could try the $1,000/bushel wheat - and watch Australia and Chile and China undersell us - or would be start bombing them to hold onto our market share - I'm never sure where we go with these sorts of attitudes...

Yep, the price is set by supply and demand. If the Saudis have a high demand and they are willing to pay, then so be it. It's not like they don't have the money. Perfect for redistributing the wealth too from the super rich to us.

China would sell them wheat for $999. Problem solved.

I have mentioned before that the ability of the USA to supply food crops to the Middle East where other big petroleum users like China, Japan, India have no surplus crops could mean the USA is in a better position to get oil in the future than many might suspect.
Do you think we will keep supplying them with food if they will not keep supplying us with oil?
Anyone know what the current status is of Iran on being able to grow enough food to supply their current and predicted population levels?
Significant food shortages in either Iran or Saudia Arabia could cause sufficient unrest to perhaps topple governments there?

Argentina and Brazil can supply all of the food import needs of all of the oil exporting nations. Even France is a significant wheat exporter.

There will be a desperate need for food in the not so distant future, but not by the oil exporters. The 3rd World (likely including China and India) will be needing more food than is exported today, but those suffering will NOT include oil exporters.


He can start with this one in Fulton Ar.

This entire area only lacked Grover Cleveland's signature
to become the Ouachita National Park.


I was told by tree experts at the UofA that some of the
richest men in the world own Grassy Lake, which by itself should be
a National Park.

Grassy Lake will be less than 5 miles from the Coal fired plant.

"Addison represents four duck-hunting clubs in southwest Arkansas administratively contesting a proposal by American Electric Power (AEP) and its subsidiary in Arkansas, Louisi-
ana, and northeast Texas—Southwestern Electric Power Company, or SWEPCO—to build a 600-megawatt, pulverized-coal plant in Hempstead County, 15 miles northeast of Texarkana. The site is close to some of the best fish and wildlife habitat in America, including a federal wilderness area, a national wildlife refuge, and 30,000 acres of interlocking flood-basin swamps, cypress brakes, bottomland hardwoods, savannas, and wet grasslands. Locals, who tend to be economically disadvantaged, generally see the project as a get-out-of-jail-free card. They call those who question it rich NIMBYs from away."

Ivory-billed wood-
peckers occurred here historically, and unconfirmed sightings persist.

As the day warmed, squadrons of dragonflies appeared, and the head and snout of an alligator pushed up through the duckweed, looking so much like a log we debated which it was until it submerged. When the millinery trade threatened egrets in the early 20th century, Grassy Lake provided one of their last refuges. In the 1960s, when alligators had been extirpated from the rest of the state, Grassy Lake still sus-
tained a viable population.

Hunt-club members are said by locals to be “rich,” which may be partially true by southwest Arkansas standards.

BTW-this Audubon guy's an idiot on, rich by AR standards. The Rockefellers
and Waltons live in Arkansas. Jerry Jones still calls it home.


"corn-based ethanol has a very low octane"

That's not true, it has a very high octane which is why many "tuners" are converting their turbocharged vehicles to E85 in order to raise the boost pressure from their turbos to create more power from their engines. You need alot more fuel though, bigger injectors, bigger fuel pump.

You'll need a couple extra continents of cropland for it to mean much as something other than a fuel additive, too.

Corn-Based Ethanol: Is This a Solution?

Financialsense.com attracts nutball commentators. They can't really find anyone else to fill their space. Supposed "experts" who think octane refers to energy per unit volume. One small step up from Drudge.

Matt Simmons has trouble getting his facts straight when he gets out of his area of expertise. His hatred of ethanol screws up his thinking IMO.

Yes, the octane rating of E85 is said to be between 100 and 110. There are two versions of the octane test, which give different results. But, either way, E85 has a higher octane value than "regular" gasoline.



The higher octane rating of ethanol allows engines to operate at higher compression ratios, which would produce improved efficiency, compared with those designed for regular gasoline. This improvement in efficiency would offset the fact that there's less energy available in a ethanol on a volume basis. Building engines to run on both requires some compromise, which usually means lower compression ratios so that gasoline may be used without the possibility of engine damage.

E. Swanson

NH3 has even higher octane rating.

Ethanol and TetraEthylLead competed in early ICE days for the position of dominant [and necessary] automotive, octane-booster. TEL had the advantage of being monopolizable.

TEL won.

Airborne lead-poisoning became worldwide, but TEL was immensely profitable. A very interesting chunk of history.

Matt Simmons is not a "nut ball." Maybe he's wrong with his statement, I don't know, but your comment is just a cheap shot.

MS: Corn-based ethanol was just a terrible, tragic mistake.

BC: No argument there. Just on the net energy alone, not to mention the effects it’s had on agricultural products.

MS: Even worse, it’s a very low-quality source of energy. Low BTU, highly corrosive, you can’t mix it with anything, it was just a terrible idea.

BC: It’s stunning that it has even gotten this far.

MS: Well, because ADM cleverly labeled it grain. So the environmentalists just embraced it like it was some miracle drug. And no one ever took the time to figure out if this stuff made any sense. Ocean energy, on the other hand, could actually be very surprising. Liquid ammonia created by warm seawater could turn out to be a surprisingly fast replacement, and a high-quality replacement for motor gasoline.

BC: Liquid ammonia? We’ve never heard of this.

MS: Well, no one has because there’s only about five people that are working on this. But we have transported liquid ammonia, and we have a history of almost 50 years of using it. It can be moved with exactly the same sort of pipeline system as motor gasoline. It has 111 octane, whereas corn-based ethanol has a very low octane. The biggest rap on it is that it’s dangerous to your health if you drink it. Well, I keep telling people, “Have you ever had a good swig of motor gasoline?” (laughter)

BC: Liquid ammonia? We’ve never heard of this.

MS: Well, no one has because there’s only about five people that are working on this. But we have transported liquid ammonia, and we have a history of almost 50 years of using it. It can be moved with exactly the same sort of pipeline system as motor gasoline. It has 111 octane, whereas corn-based ethanol has a very low octane. The biggest rap on it is that it’s dangerous to your health if you drink it. Well, I keep telling people, “Have you ever had a good swig of motor gasoline?” (laughter)

i "informed" MS about NH3 as a fuel two years ago and sent him a long list of references and presentations. stating only five people working on NH3 as fuel is a bit screwed up. but we still appreciate his effort in spreading the word.

I would love to read a guest post on this subject here at TOD -have you put anything here in the past?


There may be something the works later on. In the mean time:


the numbers listed there for liquid ammonia are not quite right. the ones for hydrazine is also applicable to NH3. basically about 40% of gasoline energy density both by weight or volume.

the numbers listed there for liquid ammonia are not quite right. the ones for hydrazine is also applicable to NH3. basically about 40% of gasoline energy density both by weight or volume.

Anhydrous Ammonia is extremely poisonous. It wouldn't take much to kill a boat load of people. FWIW: Ammonia use to be used in refrigeration but was replaced by less efficient CFCs because its lethal. Putting Ammonia in fuel tanks for transportation will never happen.

but it has happened many times in the past in many countries Belgium, France, Italy, Norway, etc. if you care to check historical record. someone in U of Michigan has been doing it in his pickup truck for years and another one did a cross country last year. the list goes on...

of course, anyone has fear about it better stay away and let the ones with proper training handle it.

Collision activated release of ammonia will limit the potential applications. City buses & garbage trucks might be massive enough to provide adequate safety (see your local lawyer for a definition of that) on public roads, but the potential liability of a bus load of people probably means NA for city buses.

Any vehicle much less massive seems unlikely IMO on public roads (with today's safety concerns).


I don't see that energy density is a significant property, at least when comparing different liquid fuels. Say a car that burns gasoline has a 300 mile range on a full tank. Using the same capacity tank, the car would go about 100 miles on NH3. Doubling the tank capacity (50 liters, or the volume of a suitcase), the NH3 range is 200 miles.
Sure, people will be put out abit because they will only be able to travel 2 hours on the interstate before refueling and resting, instead of 3 hours. IMO, most people really need to take more breaks while driving long distances anyway :-)

Energy density is VERY important when comparing energy sources, but yes, if comparing liquid fuels, the variation is probably not enough to warrant too much concern. The energy density of NH3 is still reasonable, even if it is only about 40% of petrol.

only through comments and redirection:

if there is enough interest here, i am sure many would be interested in doing a guest post.

Yes, I'd like to see a dedicated thread for NH3 as liquid ICE fuel.

The issues you might like to address include:
1. Low efficiency inherent in ICE's, irrespective of fuel.
2. Low efficiency of the Born-Haber process for NH3 fab: high temp & pressure.
3. Low efficiency in a process that first makes high-energy H2, then turns it into lower-energy NH3.
4. Toxicity of NH3; its mobility in the gaseous state.

I think Matt has probably never had a whiff of anhydrous ammonia, or he wouldn't be comparing it to gasoline. My personal experience is that NH3 smells just like a baseball bat to the face.

My personal experience is that NH3 smells just like a baseball bat to the face.

That about sums it up!

I don't think you would want to be anywhere near a leak of that stuff, gasoline it ain't!


25-50 ppm - Detectable odor; unlikely to experience adverse effects
50-100 ppm - Mild eye, nose, and throat irritation; may develop tolerance in 1-2 weeks with no adverse effects thereafter
140 ppm - Moderate eye irritation; no long-term sequelae in exposures of less than 2 hours
400 ppm - Moderate throat irritation
500 ppm - IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health)
700 ppm - Immediate eye injury
1000 ppm - Directly caustic to airway
1700 ppm - Laryngospasm
2500 ppm - Fatality (after half-hour exposure)
2500-6500 ppm - Sloughing and necrosis of airway mucosa, chest pain, pulmonary edema, and bronchospasm
5000 ppm - Rapidly fatal exposure

though Matt talked about NH3 as motor fuel. NH3 is a liquid fuel. (period!) it can be used in ICE or ECE or FC or any other suitable energy conversion devices. so if we start a dedicated thread, let's discuss it as a liquid fuel and nothing excluded.

now let's take a quick look at the points raised:

1. Low efficiency inherent in ICE's, irrespective of fuel.

the meaningfulness of examining ICE "irregardless" of fuel is questionable for fuel with high octane ratings can surely make ICE more efficient. but let's not forgetting there is a trade-off between the fuel efficiency and the equipment cost, size, weight and the rate (time wise) or power rating of the energy conversion.

2. Low efficiency of the Born-Haber process for NH3 fab: high temp & pressure.

low efficiency in terms of? high temp & pressure, yes. but need very little extra energy to maintain that if the plant is properly designed. besides, solid-state ammonia synthesis (SSAS) is on the way.

3. Low efficiency in a process that first makes high-energy H2, then turns it into lower-energy NH3.

with SSAS, one don't need to make H2 in the first place. it is hard to understand the meaning of high-energy H2 and low-energy NH3. there is little energy lost from H2 to NH3 via HB process. H2 is ideal by itself and is where it belong. in practical world, when container is included, NH3 has much higher energy density than H2.

4. Toxicity of NH3; its mobility in the gaseous state.

the mobility is upwards as gaseous NH3 is lighter than air, so if it is not in a closed space, most will be gone quickly. is NH3 toxic? not according to the rating agencies. it is rated hazardous but not toxic. does it have toxicity? sure. so does oxygen or most of things one encounters everyday.

My personal experience is that NH3 smells just like a baseball bat to the face.

i am sure anyone took chemistry class in high school (where it is offered) would have the experience. but that is also a built-in alarm that can save lives. if there will be some kind of gas leak out there each with its corresponding lethal level of concentration, which one is least likely to get someone killed: NH3, CO2, CO, CH4, H2?

Thanks for the response.
1. I know we have large investment in big diesels, but we're talking about an even larger investment in new NH3 plants to fuel them. So why not back up a step and ask about the most efficient way to plow, sow, or harvest? IMO it doesn't have to be with a (~15% efficient?) ICE, because it's not a crash program. We'll have more than enough petroleum to drive the tractors into the ground, once it's allocated away from personal autos and toward essential uses. So we're talking about a multidecade program here, where farm equipment is ultimately weaned off petroleum.
BTW, the higher the compression rating, the more NOx is formed in combustion, which not only requires treatment before release, it robs the process of energy, since some of the nitrogen oxides' formation is endothermic, IIRC. The diesels that run as high as 20:1 compression are more efficient, but not fabulously so, and they're dirty!

2. The heat and pressure of the Born-Haber process are necessary for catalysis - maybe 500C and 20atm - just to get the reaction launched. The inputs required to maintain the heat and pressure represent lost energy, radiated to the surroundings as waste heat. That's one reason why the plants are large - it's easier to retain heat (or cold) in a larger container, with less surface area per unit volume. That's a big hill to overcome, energy-wise, just to roll so far down the other side to make ammonia. There's no way to help this - the N-H bond is 110kcal/mol.

3. I'm all for a new process. Let's do it! Where's the first full-scale plant going to be built, and when? The articles I googled said they used proton conductors, typically palladium, and the starting gasses were N2 and H2. Unless you mean bubbling HCl gas through molten salts, and electrolytically generating ammonia (along with Cl2). Do you think either of those sounds promising?

4. Liquid ammonia absorbs massive amounts of heat when it boils to a gas. I'd guess that it would easily reach its -33C boiling point at 1 ATM, which means it won't all fly away, it'll remain close to the ground until it evaporates. Not as persistent as gasoline, of course, but not nearly as high as hydrogen's fugacity.

I'm a believer in hydrogen - it has the energy, the efficient fab, the safe combustion products, and it's been working in Pd:C fuel cells for many decades. Compressed gas doesn't have to be a problem for vehicles that traverse flat, level fields at low speeds. But it hardly matters, if the goal is to replace a thousand barrels of oil per SECOND - It ain't gonna happen.

haven't we touched some of the questions before? i know sometimes one has to repeat to get message through but i also know for a no-good communicator like me, there is little hope for that no matter how many times i repeat. so, if you are indeed searching for answers with an open mind, please go this site and read from there:

some points to enhance your reading interest there:
ammonia powered engine can reach efficiency of 50%.
ammonia engine produces less NOx than the hydrocarbon engine.
look for the SSAS in the 2007 conference digest on the above site. you might even know one of the authors of the paper if you were in Stanford at the same time.

i am not here trying to advocate using NH3 to replace hydrocarbon at 1000bbl/s. so long as food production and transportation are secure. i am content. burning hydrocarbon till all tractors dead on the ground? we better not. we've used up enough of the stuff that does not belong to and can not be replaced by us.

if there will be some kind of gas leak out there each with its corresponding lethal level of concentration, which one is least likely to get someone killed: NH3, CO2, CO, CH4, H2?

I'm pretty sure I've heard of farmers dying from NH3 exposure. The liquid is very cold, but it is also infinitely miscible with water. Get a dab of it on your skin and you are pretty far along the way to a lethal dose, as it soaks right in.

OTOH I have gotten a little dab of gasoline on my skin and lived. Of your list, I'd choose CH4 as the fuel of preference. It can also be liquefied albeit with somewhat more difficulty than ammonia. Propane with a trace of methanethiol would actually be my first choice gaseous fuel... lotsa BTUs, easy to store as liquid, not at all corrosive, etc etc etc.

more have died from gas (all kinds of hydrocarbons included) tank fires or explosions for sure.

Methane can't be liquified at room temp; its critical point is -83C, above which it can't be liquified at any pressure.

You know, ammonia has great "warning factors," meaning it stinks and burns like hell, which actually makes it safer than CO, not that I'd want a tank of either one in my vehicle.

Sort of like H2S versus HCN; the former is more toxic, but because it smells so awful, it's considered less dangerous than the latter.

And I think ethanethiol is most commonly used as an odorant in NG/LP.

  1. Liquid, supercritical. The average doofus won't know the diff
  2. Yup it stinks. Like someone said "baseball bat to the face"
  3. ...
  4. Rest assured, it is also used in propane.

there will be some kind of gas leak out there each with its corresponding lethal level of concentration, which one is least likely to get someone killed: NH3, CO2, CO, CH4, H2?

CO, NH3, CH4, CO2, H2

1. NH3 is the second lethal gas in your list. What if the car is in a parking garage, or in garage at home and the tank leaks.

2. Liquid NH3 only exists at very cool temperature at 1 atm, or very high pressure at higher temperatures. You can't vent the gas in over pressure conditions because its a poison. What happens if the car is in an accident and there is a fire. (pressurized NH3 = Big boom!)

You have better luck strapping rocket engines to every car than you have getting NH3 as a transportation fuel. The rockets would be far safer.

Lets use a little common sense. Please!

Interesting theory, but it runs counter to the real world where people have already invested money in producing ammonia powered engines and I have no doubt there will be more investment in this area. No one has suggested its appropriate for minivans, but we'll do just fine with ammonia powered field equipment.

If you're a believer in H2 as a fuel whip up a plan, corner some bankers, and get the money to start building it ...

I'd have to GET IN LINE!
There are so many folks pursuing low-pressure H2 storage, and some of the metal-hydride schemes look plausible. But even pressurized gas isn't out of the question, because there's such an advantage to a fuel that can be made so efficiently by electrolysis of something as common as seawater. And in a process that doesn't require scale for economy.
My one and only point here isn't about the toxicity of NH3, it's about that too-stable N-H bond, which saps ammonia of so much of its potential as a fuel.

check this out and see if anything there would change your mind:

Yeah, you need a little shot of propane or H2 as a starter fuel. This, to my mind, is a selling point.

NH3 as a fuel is surely only fit for people with knowledge and training somewhat beyond common sense. it is better to let those personal car lay waste than go on BAU.

You know, I'm starting to like the idea. Chem-lab darwinism! If they forgot their safety goggles, well ta heck with 'em. Excess population.

I'm going to stop posting drunk now and go to bed...

Liquid NH3 is VERY dangerous in modest quantities. As it is heavier than air, a spill will quickly vaporize and travel rapidly, hugging the ground and instantly asphixiating all beings.

Large chillers use liquid NH3. Cities and states demand emergency preparedness to mitigate such an event. [Liquid NH3 and vapors are very susceptible to water-spray dilution and that is the major action on any sizable spill.]

Yes, it does have a very high-octane. Where does someone get off making a patently FALSE statement and not being crucified for it? In fact, given the high subsidies of E85, if you mix it right, you can use it to get a higher octane gas for cheaper than the 93 octane gas at the station. Just fill up 1/10 or 1/9 of your tank with E85, and the rest of your tank with 87 octane gasoline. :)

Sadly where I live, there are no E85 stations, but there is one where you can get E10, which is marginally more expensive than 87 octane. (Around Arkansas, at least.)

E10 should cost less since you are getting less energy for your dollar. Missouri has just required that all gasoline have at least 10% ethanol, except premium grades. They just made the switch over Jan.1 and gas prices did not go down, they actually went up (although I supposed that had to do to the recent oil price surge above $100 barrel). E10 will give you about 1-2 mpg less. If premium is $.20 more per gallon, versus E10 gasoline, and you assume a 2 mpg loss with E10 gasoline, you will save money by purchasing the more expensive premium gasoline. Of course the same thing holds true with E85 (big drop in mpg, everyone knows that by now) which is why most people don't buy it, except for government agencies that are REQUIRED to fill their vehicles such as the postman I talked with who was filling his Jeep while I was filling my govt. issued Stratus.

Also, be careful with mixing E85, Matt Simmons is correct when saying it is very corrosive. If your fuel system is not designed for it, such as exposed aluminum fuel rails, you could have a serious corrosion problem with it.

Loose Lips Sink Ships...or maybe rigs...

Interesting anecdotes in the Simmons interview above.

If you think Saudi Arabia’s a secretive place, within Saudi Aramco, it was even more secretive. And one of the first times that I got a glimpse of this was when I was a keynote speaker, this must have been six years ago or eight years ago now, at the bi-annual SPE global conference for coil tubing. This guy comes up to me afterwards and he’s an American. I saw his card and he’s from Saudi Aramco. So I said “Oh, do you live over there?” and he said “Yeah, I just flew over for the coil tubing conference.” I asked him what he knew about Safaniya. He replied, “You know what – I’ve never heard anything about it. I’ve been there 18 years. I know where the field is, that’s about it. Where did you get that data? You never hear field data in Saudi Arabia!” So I said, “What do you do at Saudi Aramco?” He said “I’m a production manager at Ghawar.” I said “Gosh, Ghawar is the largest oil field in the world.” He nodded, “Yep.” I queried, “How big is Ghawar?” He said “God, I couldn’t tell you that, I’d be sacked.” I said, “Okay. Now if you walked from north to south and east to west, how big is it?” He said, “Oh, it’s about 145 miles long and 20-25 miles wide at its widest point, but don’t ever quote me on that. I could lose my job.” And I’ve just talked about the dimensions! (laughter) Any map shows this.

How does a bureaucracy keep secrets? The attempts at obfuscation by Saudi Aramco are intermittently bizarre, arbitrary, pathetic, or sometimes just comical. SPE papers will refer to a "large carbonate field in eastern Saudi Arabia", often giving field dimensions or reservoirs tapped, but they just can't say the name. Sometimes, fields will be referred to as "X, Y, and Z". However, another one deals with tar mat problems in fields "G" and "Q". Well, duh. Diagrams with well layouts are often described as being where they are not. Examples of this can be found in Paul Voelker's Thesis. Other maps are invariably skewed in some way, and one map of Ghawar showing well locations was doctored to hide them -- but they did such a poor job that you can get the idea anyway.

The authors of these papers are bright people. The only conclusion that makes sense is that some low-level bureaucrats with no clue are assigned to redact "sensitive" information, and the scientists and engineer find ways to let a few facts slip through since their #$@ is covered. Maybe it's a game.

Anyway, to all you Saudi Aramco censors out there:
Keep up the good work!

rent "the kingdom" on dvd this weekend.

What it lacks in intellectual stimulation, it certainly makes one wonder about what the country is really like. I would like to hear more about this from former or current expats.

I wonder how many are employed in internal security in Aramco alone.

And weekly I check www.spe.org for new Aramco papers.


You get information from stupid Hollywood films? Watch Lawrence of Arabia -- it has lots of information about the people of area that now encompasses Jordan, Israel, etc., most of it wrong.

I'm starting to like ammonia as a fuel. Matt Simmons comments on it as well in the FinancialSense article, suggesting ocean energy. The Stranded Wind concept of SacredCowTipper to make ammonia fuel and fertilizer is very interesting as well.

"MS: ...Ocean energy, on the other hand, could actually be very surprising. Liquid ammonia created by warm seawater could turn out to be a surprisingly fast replacement, and a high-quality replacement for motor gasoline.

BC: Liquid ammonia? We’ve never heard of this.

MS: Well, no one has because there’s only about five people that are working on this. But we have transported liquid ammonia, and we have a history of almost 50 years of using it. It can be moved with exactly the same sort of pipeline system as motor gasoline. It has 111 octane, whereas corn-based ethanol has a very low octane. The biggest rap on it is that it’s dangerous to your health if you drink it. Well, I keep telling people, “Have you ever had a good swig of motor gasoline?” (laughter)"

The biggest rap on ammonia is that you need hydrogen to make it -- and there are no hydrogen (or ammonia) wells. It does beat out hydrogen for transportability, but you sacrifice a lot of the energy spent making the hydrogen when you subsequently make the ammonia.

you sacrifice a lot of the energy spent making the hydrogen when you subsequently make the ammonia

may be i misunderstood you but the syn loop - step of ammonia synthesis from H and N consumes almost no energy once started.

The Haber-Bosch process requires moderately high temperatures (400-600C) for reasonable kinetics and 200-400 atmosphere pressures to drive the reaction to completion. And you need to start with pure nitrogen.

It's true that the reaction of H2 and N2 to make ammonia is exothermic such that some of that stored energy can be used to augment the energy inputs, but that's the point: you have shot that wad. After it's said and done, you have less energy available than if you had just burned the hydrogen. Given the benefits of having a liquid fuel, it's worth considering. Perhaps the extra energy lost in trying to transport hydrogen around is considerably more than that lost by converting to ammonia. I'd like to see a complete analysis.

Beyond that, the toxicity issue can't be brushed aside as easily as Simmons would like:


I've (accidently) both swallowed gasoline and breathed ammonia, and I'll tell ya which one I prefer.

True, farmers have been working with it for quite awhile, but it's also true that farming is the most dangerous profession out there.

I'd like to see a complete analysis

OTEC and nuclear people have done that long ago. check Avery/Wu.

it's also true that farming is the most dangerous profession out there

because of ammonia handling?


Huh? Ammonia used as a working fluid in OTEC doesn't speak to the relative energetics of using ammonia as a fuel vs. just using the hydrogen.

Re: farmers

They learn to deal with hazards or they don't survive at it. I'm more worried about the guy next to me at the gas pump. For more fun:


The general public isn't going to be handling ammonia, IMHO. We'll see it in tractors and combines, maybe in the service vehicles for agriculture, but the idea that Mary Sue Soccermom is going to fill her minivan with the stuff is just silly. I hear tell of fuel cells and hydrogen reformation with it, and I'd support the efforts to break down the door at DoE on this point, but I suspect that should that come to pass it'll be bulk haulers and people movers as our individual mobility fades away.

Huh? Ammonia used as a working fluid in OTEC doesn't speak to the relative energetics of using ammonia as a fuel vs. just using the hydrogen.

for grazing OTEC plant and remotely located nuclear plant, the choice of energy carrier (as end product! not working fluid) is NH3. that's where Matt's comment of ammonia from warm ocean water coming from.

i am advocating NH3 as a fuel that can be used to save lives. personal motoring at current mode is something better to disappear.

Heh that reminds me, my brother once told me of a chem lab prank gone wrong.

They had some party balloons around the lab, I'm not sure what for, someone had a birthday or something. Well, he thought it would be a cool joke to fill one with smelly ammonia. Since it's lighter than air the balloon should float ... like helium, right? When the balloon pops, you'd have an ammonia surprise in the office. (yeah I know, what were they thinking)

Anyhoo, he said they were shocked to find that the NH3 just passes through a rubber membrane like it isn't there. They could never manage to inflate the balloon for more than a second or two. The prank attempt never made it out of the fume hood.

Why not just substitute carbon for the nitrogen and make hydrocarbon fuels (synthetic diesel and gasoline) that can be transported in the existing pipelines, hauled in the existing tankers, stored in the existing underground tanks and burned in the existing internal combustion engines?
It would save a heck of a lot of infrastructure replacement?

Nice theory, but not a sensible process. The atmosphere is 79% N2, H2 is easily produced from water, but where do you get CO2? That substance is .038% of the atmosphere ... no nice way to concentrate it. The only other sources are underground reservoirs which are currently worked for oil field pressurization or capturing a power plant output. Both of the latter mean more CO2 in the air.

in one of OTEC design schemes, methanol was targeted as the end product wherein coal is shipped to the OTEC plant on the ocean and CO is produced then combined with H2 to produce methanol. if one doesn't care about the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, it is doable.

If the CO2 is captured from a power-plant, at least it isn't going into the atmosphere (just yet).

But really, we're not going to be able to save the millions of ICE vehicles on the road by some simple substitution. Public transit and localization are the biggest ways to save here. Attempting to fuel 50 million cars with NH3 or ethanol or propane will prove to be an exercise in futility. Get used to it.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that idea, myself.

Simmons might have talked about NH3 as fuel for personal vehicles but we are not. i couldn't wait to see hydrocarbon price go through the roof as soon as all the farming equipment and food, public transportation fleet are modified to run on clean fuels.

Actually I could see it in mini vehicles. You wouldn't fill a tank, you'd change a cartridge. A total release would only matter in an enclosed space.

And if you are bound and determined to use hydrogen fuel cells, just frontend an ammonia dissociator.

You don't need carbon dioxide, you need carbon. There is lots of that in plants, and it could be combined with other processes like the production of biomethane where you needed liquid fuels.

I like it. But aren't we supposed to be mitigating CO2 as good citizens?

Of course it consumes energy - if not for maintaining the reaction, you still need to compress and heat the inputs and to cycle them through the reactor, separate the amonia etc. - this consumes energy.

If the second low of thermodynamics is not repealed yet, the produced amonia will have substantially lower energy content than the energy content of the inputs that went into it. Do you have some figures for the efficiency of the process? I could not find any in my quick googling...

Given the convenience of using liquid amonia vs hydrogen though, any good efficiency (say above 60-70%) would be enough to beat it as a preferred fuel for ICE, or as a way to store hydrogen for fuel cells.

Having read through some of the NH3 material linked above I can answer some questions. WRT energy efficiency only 15% of the energy content of the H2 input is lost in the conversion process. About 10% of the total energy input goes into nitrogen separation. Cooling of the output stream can be used to generate some of the electricity needed for the process. NH3 is promoted as a way of efficiently storing and transporting intermittent renewable energy for generating electricity in distant population centers many months after the energy was originally captured. Proponents claim that it is more cost effective to store and transport NH3 than H2. It is more a matter of economic efficiency than energy efficiency.

10% seems a bit low. Just based on the formation enthalpies of water and ammonia (ignoring entropy), about 13% of the energy is lost. Maybe some can be recovered to generate electricity or something, but not that much. Then there is the energy for compression and separation.

I don't know if this has been mentioned of TOD, but Wikipedia had a link to this report from Denmark of storing ammonia in a salt:




Storage volume is slightly less than that of liquid ammonia with a RT vapor pressure about 0.002 atmosphere vs. about 8 atm for liquid ammonia.

At any given moment, ammonia can be released by heating an AdAmmine block. Amminex is in the process of testing different heating strategies to ensure optimal performance. As the ammonia evaporates from the AdAmmine, it leaves behind a very porous structure allowing the ammonia from deeper within the AdAmmine block to easily find its way out.

Once a block of AdAmmine has released all of its ammonia, it can be resaturated by exposing it to ammonia. The resulting material is then ready for reuse. This completely reversible process effectively makes the AdAmmine a refillable ammonia container.

Plus, you could develop blueprints while you drive.

"Plus, you could develop blueprints while you drive."
Your age is showing!

It must be noted that I'm dumb as a stump about that stuff, except for what I've learned here, and my contributions are being talkative and knowing how to run a Drupal server a little bit. The important things are the principles of using stranded wind for relocalization and ammonia for fuel as well as fertilizer - I'm glad to see talk of this is spreading, sparks have to come first, but we need a great big roaring crown fire of enthusiasm for this as well as other sensible renewable efforts.

It seems like the concept would be even more applicable here in Canada where we have lots of land per capita - but 60% of the people within a couple hundred km of the border. A lot of wind potential could be stranded and hindered by transmission line costs but in this case contributing a liquid fuel & fertilizer to whatever agriculture and industry is in these communities.


(Edit: that MS-BC interview actually took place almost half a year ago. i subscribe to one of the Casey Research publications and read that last year. but anyone read Simmons' presentations regularly and carefully should have picked this idea up early last year. i actually tried to spread the idea around to those so called experts often appeared in that FS site, they seemed all got lost. i tried to tell JHK the idea as well and his reaction was rather shocking.)

Do you have any idea of the cost of engine conversions (or crate engines)? What would it cost to convert as a baseline say an I-6 5.9L Cummins diesel (or another common engine)? And are there any problems associated with using ammonia in compression ignition engines? Despite the use for ICEs, the fertilizer aspect seems to me to be the key. Thanks for the welcome.

it is hard to put a number on it because the ones who have done it worked on all type of different engines with different objectives. some credible operators like HEC may consider conversion service if there is a market out there. if you are close to Toronto, you might also want to look into an operation there though its credibility is yet to be established. check the wikipedia ammonia's fuel subsection and some of the links there.

First the SUVs, now the houses...

Will foreclosures spark an arson boom?

As homeowners get more desperate, the insurance industry is bracing for an increase in arson.

Combine this with a severe drought -- dead and dying trees, shrubs & lawns, not enough water left in the reservoirs to maintain enough water pressure to put out all the fires -- and you could be looking at "The Buring of Atlanta II". If the fires become widespread and consolidate, you could be looking at a Hamburg-style firestorm. There might not be much left by the time it finally burns itself out.

Combine that thought with the article about the Insurance companies concerns about the rising risk of arson from desperate homeowners and companies. WNC has struck upon a coinky dink perhaps

Actually been getting a lot of rain here in NE Atlanta - may get an inch today.
I live on Lake Lanier right at the dam. The ground is now pretty damp so I think the fire risk has reduced a little. Of course we really need about 10-15 inches of rain in a 10-20 day period to make a serious dent in the water level.

BTW - I think it was Dresden where the really NASTY fire storms were started. As well as Tokyo from Lemay's B-29s.

We've gotten good rain here in WNC, too, but it is this next summer and autumn that concern me.

You are right about Dresden & Tokyo, but I do think Hamburg was the first firestorm.

Maybe these houses could be crushed and the wood used as to make cellulosic ethanol...


From Energy Blog: Biogas Could Replace All EU Natural Gas Imports From Russia.

Oh Crap!

Last year, the German Greens (Grüne) commissioned a report on the potential of biogas in Europe. The Öko-Instituts and the Institut für Energetik in Leipzig carried out the study and came to some startling conclusions: Germany alone can produce more biogas by 2020 than all of the EU's current natural gas imports from Russia.

The growing interest in the gaseous biofuel can be easily explained: it can be produced in a decentralised manner, it is highly efficient - yielding more than twice as much energy per hectare of energy crops than ethanol from similar crops - and it can be obtained in a straightforward way from a large variety of biomass resources (organic waste, manure, dedicated energy crops). What is more, the fuel has two highly efficient uses: as a gas for CNG-capable vehicles (taking you twice around the world on a hectare's worth of biogas) as well as a fuel that can be used for the cogeneration of power and heat.

Original story at Biopact.

Biogas is the forgotten stepchild of biofuels. Which is too bad, because it is the one biofuel that actually makes a very good deal of sense. This is proven, scalable, low-tech, already in operation around the world. While it may not be a silver bullet, it makes good sense to capture what methane one can from the agricultural and municipal waste streams. Capturing the methane in anaerobic digesters also has the advantage of reducing the amounts of a potent greenhouse gas escaping into the atmosphere. Once the methane has been produced, the remaining slurry can be used as a soil amendment, helping out with the NPK problem.

There is no good reason not to put biogas on a fast track and develop it as quickly as the financing can be arranged.

Is also dispatchable, and can be fed with lots of different biological feedstocks. dCHP can run on lots of different fuels, and I reckon they would run with stored compressed air to increase their efficiency. They would help fill the gap between large scale CSP and wind power schemes with nuclear acting as baseload.

Has anyone had any experience fitting heat recovery ventilation to an existing property?

If the current system is forced-air adding an HRV would exhaust from the return air right before the furnace and the fresh air supply would tie into the furnace supply. Some care must be taken as the HRV fresh air can be quite cold and there is concern about cracking the furnace heat exchanger so you may have to dump it in downline a ways. Ideally an HRV/ERV has it's own separate duct system but this is all but impossible in an existing house, especially a 2 story.

While we could a lot do more with biogas generation, you've got to realize that the anaerobic digestion of both animal wastes and municipal sewage treatment plant sludge is already widely practiced. Typically, the biogas produced is used either for heating or to run generators to help power onsite operations.

Three other considerations:

i) In addition to producing methane, the anaerobic digestion of wastes also produces a proportionate amount of CO2, so it doesn't totally elimate greenhouse gases associated with the waste.

ii) If you want to run a high-rate anaerobic digester in a cold climate, a significant portion of the biogas generated needs to be used to heat the digester, so as to maintain it at an optimal operating temperture (which can be well over 100 degrees F). Thus, not all of the biogas generated can be used to displace an equivalent amount of fossil fuel.

iii) Even though the digested material contains signficant amounts of NPK, compared to synthetic fertilizers it is still very dilute, thus restricting its economic application to a relatively small radius of the source. However, as fertilizers get more and more expensive, we should see that radius of use get greater and greater.

I'm all for doing more of this, but I really don't see it making all that big of a dent in the overall energy picture.

The guys at Iowa State's BECON (Biomass Energy Conversion Facility) would disagree to this statement :-) I visited them briefly a few weeks back and there are already feedlot driven commercialization efforts on this stuff happening here. Oh, and these guys should do something with their municipal waste generated gas other than flaring it ... I believe the city is about 7,000 total - Storm Lake, Iowa.



Disagree with what?

All I pointed out was that biogas generation is already being practiced for both animal waste and municipal sewage treatment plant sludge. I didn't say it was being practiced by EVERYONE, and I did say that we could do a lot more of it.

You see, it's one thing if you already have a waste material on site, such as cow manure at a feedlot, and are faced with the problem of what to do with it. In such a case, anaerobic digestion makes sense from a disposal point of view, as it reduces the volume of solid material and (perhaps more important, makes it less offensive). The reason it has not been done more has mainly been economics. In the past it very often was just not worth the investment. But, as we all know, that picture is changing. I believe countries like Denmark and The Netherlands are way ahead of us in this respect.

However, it is something else again to propose a money-making venture wherein you actually go out looking for waste in the hope of profitably generating biogas for sale. That poses all sorts of expensive material handling and storage headaches, and appears to me to be an economically dubious scheme. I could be wrong.

That small town flaring the biogas is probably doing so only because the town's budget just doesn't have the money to invest in a biogas-powered electrical generating system. Sadly, this is pretty much the same ol' story with so many things .... 'It's a great idea, but I just don't have the bucks to do it.'


I think we have some mutual contacts. I was at BECON this week on some business and was asking if a gentleman from northern Iowa had contacted them about stranded wind. The answer was yes, I assume that was you.

Any chance we can trade some E-mails outside this forum?

sct at strandedwind dot org is a way to get started ...

Worth pointing to Jean Pain, here.

A frenchman who used a homebuilt digestion scheme with multiple outputs. The process was EXOthermic, as long as it was insulated deeply enough with it's own mass of woodchips, and blanketed in plastic, I believe.

From it he got Methane/NaturalGas(?), which he used for cooking, very small-scale electric generation (~100watts), and converted his truck to run on the gas. He also extracted heat from the pile for home heating and domestic water heat, and finally, used the spent biomass to rebuild the poor soil in his area.

Despite the 'Diluteness' mentioned in item iii) above, it seems that he found a few considerable BB's he could glean from the efforts. The pile would produce for some 18months before it had to be cleared and remade. I would be inclined to have two piles, one 'dry', being built-up over the 18mos that the other one, the 'wet' one (watering triggers and enhances the breakdown) is working. I don't know how well you can keep the standby pile from breaking down ahead of time on you, but as with my designs for firewood curing, I would consider a greenhouse set up as a drying center. This could be integrated with the whole 'Digester Barn', all set up for making the work as convenient as possible, holding heat where needed, etc..

Bob Fiske

Well, a newly built biogas plant south of here, near Freiburg, blew up a couple of weeks ago. At least that seemed to be the news we heard on the radio.

In the Sydney Morning Herald article on cycling, it may be a little unclear where the Sydney mayor, Clover Moore, is coming from. The article seems to be in response to an earlier article on behalf of their National Road Motorists' Association, harshly lambasting the Sydney local government for installing cycle lanes. You might think that in a place like Sydney, with a benign climate where it's apparently never been below freezing in recorded history, they would find the lanes more useful than in places with harsh climates and actual winters, but, oh, well, who's to say...

PaulS thanks for that.
The quotes about how much money it cost for each cyclist made me laugh. Also how the reasoning went about roads already being filled bumper to bumper with cars so no room for bike lanes.
Devote 18 percent of our lives and money to the horseless carnage or a few dollars to the best fitness machine known to humankind.
I expect the bike/car interface thing to gain a lot more importance in our very near future. Wherever preparations and mindsets are positive the 'road' will be easier.

Hi Team,

It’s interesting that this was picked up on. I have been listening with amusement as the NRMA has become more and more vocal of late. Just before Christmas as the price of oil dropped a bit (US$95 to $90?) the NRMA spokesperson was all over morning TV announcing that the oil refiners had no right to keep petrol at a such a ridiculous price – about AU$1.20/l. I thought then that he was losing it a bit.

I thought two things; firstly they must be under some serious pressure to become so antagonistic, the second thing I thought was that as they become shriller they may start to loose credibility with the general (moderate) public.

Has anyone else found motoring bodies becoming a bit more desperate to keep the status quo?

Cheers, Justin in Brisbane

I seem to be hosting a Skypecast this morning, with the topic being "Lets talk about peak oil."

We shall see if anyone bothers to turn up ... begins in two minutes ...

Great idea tipper.

I tried to join but my headset went on the blink.

Next time.

someone stole my username so I did soupermanII

NH3, I, and some knowledgeable guy from Canada who didn't know about TOD carried the discussion. We're probably going to try to do this on a regular basis, anchored by a diary on DailyKos announcing the event and a front page article at StrandedWind. There are, however, many of the offspring of Hothgar who cruise for busy Skypecasts, so we'll need someone standing by with a troll hammer :-)

any experts on climate modeling, wind turbine design and ocean vessel design around here?

I wish I knew more about this. If you've got 15M/s steady wind and an oil platform that is declining in production when do you reach the tipping point? Sooner or later the 1.5MW you could harvest from the platform exceeds the energy value of the oil coming out, even if it does have to be converted to ammonia for transport.

The value of the oil from a sea-platform is around 60 times that of the electricity that a windmill generates.
You also don't need so many platforms, and you have to get the spacing right for wind power.
In addition you need to provide an electrical cable to get the power off of an off-shore rig, and oil rigs are usually in deeper water than windmills.
In the UK the proposals are for most of the 33GWs planned to be close enough to land so that some are going to object to them as an eyesore!
You don't really save anything by trying to convert an oil-rig, although it;s a nice idea.

I looked at this twice and I'm thinking there are some unstated assumptions ... like, say, how many barrels per day are coming out of the platform in question. I think I specified it would be a wind to ammonia setup, so no need for power cables, just periodic tanker visits.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'd like to ensure we starve the NIMBYs first when it comes to that.

Didn't catch the ammonia bit - sorry.
I haven't got an agenda here, just trying to give some information on what I took to be a question.
The figures I gave were for an average oil well, I believe in the North sea, and were intended only to be indicative, otherwise I would have sourced them better.
If you are going to to through all the intermediate stages of converting to ammonia rather than exporting it as electricity, then you have a lot of additional equipment, which you then have to operate in one of the most hostile environments imaginable.
You also run into large conversion inefficiencies.
Invest in what you want though, and if you fancy bidding for old north sea platforms and building windmills on them, go right ahead!

OK, what you said before just didn't add up :-)

And wind driven ammonia is price competitive with NG derived now ... and NG isn't getting any more common/cheaper.

Canada could ride out global gloom

The economic gloom deepened on Wednesday as the United Nations warned of the risk of worldwide recession, Goldman Sachs became the latest to forecast a U.S. contraction, shares of European retailers plummeted on fears a consumer retrenchment would cross the Atlantic, and safe-haven gold touched a new record high of US$891.40 an ounce.

But amid the pessimism one economic stalwart stands out: Canada.

It may not be an easy year but with inflation quiescent, governments rich enough to open the fiscal floodgates, and most importantly, the consumer in robust health, Canada is well-placed to withstand a U.S. slump.

It's ironic. Thanks to Bush's war on terrorism, the Canadian border is becoming more difficult to cross. The USA has forced Canada (and Mexico) to start requiring passports (in the past you only needed a driver's license), and there is a lot more patrolling along the border. This was supposed to keep Canadian (and Mexican) "terrorists" out of the USA. As if there was such a thing as Canadian/Mexican terrorists.

But in the near future, all this extra security will likely be used by the Canadians to keep American economic refugees out of their country. Our next US president will have to go hat in hand to ask the Canadians for work permits for American "guest workers," or "amnesty for undocumented American workers. Maybe the USA will lobby Canada to permit illegal American residents to get driver's licenses. And perhaps the next Canadian prime minister will decide that a "border fence" is needed.

Would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

Funny stuff, on Squawk Box, when referring to the Goldman Sachs prediction on CONTRACTION, they kept referring to it as "negative growth." Keep the word "growth" in there, as it's just "negative" growth, not contraction, reduction, or whatever other phrase you might want to choose from. I really do get some good laughs from that show every morning. (But it's better than any variation of Faux News, which would simply irritate me.)

More on the "negative growth" front....

Weakest holiday season in years

Retailers reported deep declines in their December sales Thursday, reflecting a 2007 holiday shopping season that is turning out to be one of the weakest in years.

Capital One slashes profit outlook

Credit card issuer says it won't meet its 2007 forecast because of a rise in loan delinquencies and weakening economy.

Bank of America's Countrywide trap

The financial behemoth's $2 billion investment in the mortgage lender is disappearing fast. Too bad its options are limited.

Recession may already be here

Economists shift from wondering if there will be a recession to asking if the U.S. economy has already shifted into reverse.

But don't worry, "Helicopter Ben" to the rescue!

Bernanke: Fed ready to cut interest rates again

Any confusion as to whether the Federal Reserve plans to cut rates further to help a struggling economy may have been cleared up today.

In prepared remarks, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke pledged Thursday to slash interest rates yet again to prevent housing and credit problems from plunging the country into a recession.

From that Bernanke speech:

"Even as the outlook for real activity has weakened, there have been some important developments on the inflation front. Most notably, the same increase in oil prices that may be a negative influence on growth is also lifting overall consumer prices and probably putting some upward pressure on core inflation measures as well. Last year, food prices also increased exceptionally rapidly by recent standards, further boosting overall consumer price inflation. Thus far, inflation expectations appear to have remained reasonably well anchored, and pressures on resource utilization have diminished a bit. However, any tendency of inflation expectations to become unmoored or for the Fed’s inflation-fighting credibility to be eroded could greatly complicate the task of sustaining price stability and reduce the central bank’s policy flexibility to counter shortfalls in growth in the future. Accordingly, in the months ahead we will be closely monitoring the inflation situation, particularly as regards inflation expectations."


Also from the Bernanke speech:

...Notably, the civilian unemployment rate declined from a high of 6.3 percent in June 2003 to 4.4 percent in March 2007. As the economy approached full employment, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policymaking arm of the Federal Reserve System, was faced with the classic problem of managing the mid-cycle slowdown--that is, of setting policy to help guide the economy toward sustainable growth without inflation...

Bernanke's statement is typical for an economist, as we again see the notion that growth is "sustainable", when it clearly isn't. Sooner or later, growth in the rate of material consumption, particularly fossil fuels, must stop, since the Earth's stock of high grade materials is finite. Like the "stagflation" of the 1970's, as the price of oil and other energy sources increases to reflect the fact that demand is becoming greater than supply, prices for other ingredients in the economic stew will also increase, thus inflation will spread. If the Fed continues to cut interest rates in an effort to prevent recession, look for more inflation to result. Then, we have Peak Oil waiting in the wings to slap everybody up side the head...

E. Swanson

Note that the article itself shows small positive growth figures, but then doesn't mention the all-important inflation factor (or the 1% population growth factor). The analyst says people are buying less, but that's only clear if you take inflation into account. And if the media can't openly challenge Federal inflation figures, then it's cleverly left to the reader to apply his own belief about the true inflation rate, perhaps 5%-plus.

So we've got the same inflation and unemployment numbers we saw in the early 1970s, but the government lies more now than it did even under Nixon.

Where are the stories about what we've learned about fighting '70s-style stagflation? Perhaps those stories would be too bleak to stomach.

It's not a recession, it's negative prosperity!

Russian Arctic Oil? Anyone know if this is possible, some 25% of the world's oil is up there?

Seems to me to not be possible, if any but tricles. The geology is wrong, it's a spreading ridge up there, the sea floor thus being less than 200myo and has always been at the pole. Not the kind of life concentrations needed to make Saudi like fields.

most likely gas.

And 25% is just a WAG

So far Norway's explorations into the Barents Sea - their part of the Arctic region - have been very disappointing. Very little oil, some gas, but nothing like they were hoping. I'd have to recheck the numbers, but I recall something like 2 or 3 hydrocarbon finds (none really major) that could be commercial out of about 70 wildcats (which are always drilled in what they think are the most promising locations of course).

Leanan, are you Oily Cassandra?

LOL. No, I am not OilyCassandra. I don't think there really is an OilyCassandra, to tell you the truth. That is, I think the young woman who appears in the video is a hired actress, and not the person behind the web site, nor the person who answers the e-mails. I'm with Asebius: if she was really interested in peak oil, she'd know how to pronounce "hybrid." (Call me cynical. I don't think the "Obama Girl" is really going to vote for Obama, either.)

I have no clue who is behind it. Some suspect Matt Savinar; it seems like the kind of thing he would do.

When the post office went to the bar codes back in the early nineties, and starting using the high speed scanners. I directed and produced a training video to explain where and how to place it properly on the envelopes when printing etc. I used very pretty girls in a fantasy, some "Angels" that knew all the rules for the very attractive secretary that had to have a letter delivered on time. Big smash with all the guys in the mailrooms etc, and the post office I heard. I worked a little harder though to combine the message with the visuals.

This piece was designed to look like a "webcam" hottie with a message imo. If not an actress I was guessing it was someone 'dancing" there way to an education and had an interest in peak oil. Except for the gaff she read well and wasn't afraid of the camera. Like most kids of today they have grown up with camera's shoved in their faces constantly.

I missed EXACTLY something like this in the final edit with the voice over. One of the actresses mis-used a word, just like Oily did. Which leads to the hired category as most likely of the two though imo.

It would be very easy to get an actress for something like this for free. You call in a favor or they work for a small fee.

The points about being distracted by the movement on the left combined with the static visual of Oily on the right with the pitch is ok, but I think it would be more effective if she delivered the message,.. while entertaining. Something along the lines of perhaps say, the "fan dance" except she exchanges, and uses for modesty some of Westexas's ELM charts,

''I have no clue who is behind it. Some suspect Matt Savinar; it seems like the kind of thing he would do.''

LATOC pictures a rather nice young lady holding up a can of post apocalyptic canned goods.

Not her is it?

I have nothing to do with this but god-dammit I wish I had though of it! I just did a google search for "oily cassandra" and found this video:


I haven't laughed this hard in ages. This is unbelievable.

Ha, if she IS actually peak-oil aware/concerned/totally effing freaked out - you should invite her to join your doomsday cult, I mean organic farming cooperative ;-)

gotta give whoever came up with the concept credit - combine a total doomerish message with the Brittany Spears generation attention getter - it's a win-win!

There was a woman in the 'How Cuba survived Peak Oil' video I watched a while back that I thought could have been Oily. I'll have to have a look at that again. To be honest, I never realized how much you need your eyes to listen after watching the Oily youtube.

Torrent of Cuba vid 4-29-2007

What, Megan Quinn? Dunno about that.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Gasoline to hit $1.50 a litre: CIBC

Canadians can expect gasoline prices to soon rise to $1.50 a litre, says a new report from CIBC World Markets that offers a bleak assessment of world oil supply.

The report, released Thursday, calls for world crude oil prices to rise to $150 a barrel in the next five years.

CIBC World Markets predicts surging demand in developing economies combined with accelerated depletion of existing supplies and widespread delays in getting new oil projects up and running, such as those in the Alberta oilsands, will see the global supply of oil fall as much as eight million barrels a day below United States Department of Energy and International Energy Agency estimates by 2012.

"Those projections ignore two fundamental forces that have, in recent years, brought global production to a virtual standstill," said Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets. "The first is depletion. You have to run faster to stand still. Depletion from existing fields has accelerated to over 4%, a rate that currently cuts four million barrels a day out of each year's production."

I don't like the look of this at all: Part of this is pretty much confirmation of the ELM... (just in time to include in Westexes' upcoming report!)

I just checked and the full CIBC .pdf file of the report is not currently available from their website -did anyone get it? Why has it been pulled??

If they are saying $150 by 2012 you can bet it will probably be a lot sooner...


The report is posted on the Energy Bulletin, Graphoilogy and Financial Sense (Editorials). These guys picked it up too: http://www.inveslogic.com/sectors/directory/graphoilogy/961692

Actually, Rubin's latest missive came out after our report.

$150 by 2012 would represent a pretty dramatic slowdown in the recent rate of oil price increase. Since 2000 oil has gone from $20 to $95? That's about a 375% increase in 7 years. Which is about 25%/year annualized. Were oil to continue at that overall pace, it should be at $291/b by 2012.

He needs to say moderate stuff to get reinvited on CNBC. I think CIBC (rubin) had put out a report in 2005 saying oil could go to $300 by 2012.
Erin Burnett was youtube worthy. "Saudis have this really really large field with which they can flood the market..."
LOL. Yeah Erin They have one. Its called Ghawar and if necessary it can flood the market with 5 million barrels per day of water.

I made some decent money shorting Cheesecake Factory. If their share price gets up to 22-23 again, I'll do it again.

Hello TODers,

Standard disclaimer: I am not a farmer or gardener. I hope those with more expertise will jump in to expound their wisdom.

Today, farmers need better nutrients to boost their crop yields to meet global demand for food, livestock feed and making fuel.

The average U.S. corn yields have risen to more than 150 bushels per acre today, from less than 80 bushels in 1970.

Nutrient use efficiency has increased during the same period. Today, farmers use 1.5 pounds of nutrient per corn bushel, half the amount used in 1970.

"The strong fertilizer industry fundamentals should continue to lead to higher nutrient prices over the next two years, particularly in potash and phosphate," Rodriguez said.
Since we passed global Peak Phosphorus back in 1989 [See EB's Anderson and Dery article]: how close are we to the receding horizon of agro-Liebig Minimums and plummeting harvest yields? Can we get down to an annual organic & non-organic NPK application of 1.0 pounds/bushel and still keep yields high? Will high yields still be achievable at 0.5 lbs/bushel if 60-75% of the labor force is engaged in very carefully tended relocalized permaculture?

Remember, optimal photosynthesis requires a healthy balance of soil nutrients [NPK & trace minerals] and water to cause maximum soil biovitality to leverage plant uptake and growth. No substitution allowed for these ELEMENTS.

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

Hello TODers,

A little more info for newbies to NPK. It is one thing to be sitting in the postPeak natural darkness with a full stomach vs sitting while starving.

Phosphate mining is a concentrated industry, with just six U.S. companies operating 12 mines in four states – Florida, North Carolina, primarily, with Idaho and Utah contributing less. Those six companies raked in $852 million-worth of phosphate – 30.7 million tons – in 2006, according to the latest U.S. Geological Survey statistics. Virtually all of that rock – 95% – goes into the manufacturing of fertilizer. Morocco supplies virtually all the phosphate used in the U.S. that isn't mined domestically, and the U.S. uses, consumes and supplies more phosphate than any other nation on earth.

But as with so many other things, China is becoming a major player. U.S. phosphate production dropped to 40-year lows and looks to continue that trajectory, according to the USGS, as we exhaust mines and China competes more effectively. China has more phosphate reserves than any other nation, with Morocco, South Africa and the U.S. following behind.
I don't think the US will do very well if we become entirely dependent upon China and Morocco to graciously sell us some of their depleting reserves. Recall my earlier posting when Germany cutoff potash supplies in 1914--prices skyrocketed to $10,500/ton in 2007 dollars. P & K's true value is $210,000/ton if mined by hand-- I certainly hope that does not occur soon.

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

Whats up with Canadian dollar? Its dropped 12% vs Euro (and US dollar) in past 3 months. In October US$ was same place as now ($1.48) per Euro but at $1.11 vs CD. Now at .98 and change. And of the three currencies the only one that is energy independent...

Housing stalled in December, BoC has cut interest rates and has indicated more on the way. There is also a shift in perception in the government on future growth prospects. Typical stuff, no big deal.


REFUSES TO PROCESS TRANSACTIONS . . . Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp. are refusing to process any credit card transactions between federally licensed firearms retailers, distributors and manufacturers -- a move which will severely limit available inventory of firearms and ammunition to military, law enforcement and law-abiding Americans.

This limits FFL to FFL across state lines - a very common thing. This is very worrying - a move to constrain firearms availability can potentially mean that there is a strong expectation that people will be trying to use them.

The expectation is not the same as a real probability, but it is a projection and subject to eye-of-the-beholder. The expectation might be inflated for budget purposes or for self-importance or both. Fearmongering 101.

cfm in Gray, ME

Hello TODers,

Gold breaks $1000 down under, how long before it does the same here in the US?

AUSTRALIA'S gold mining sector yesterday gloried in rising inflation fears and US economic woes that helped push the Australian dollar price of the yellow metal past $1000 an ounce to a record high.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

In regards to the first article on today's Drum Beat, I find it rather interesting that a magazine such as The Economist (globalization cheerleader par excellence) is running an article that not only shows an industry leader talking about an immediate oil supply peak, but also does not take any steps to try and refute his argument. The ending of the article is a question, but it seems to be loaded in favor of the idea of peak oil. Any thoughts?

"Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

Edit: Has anyone seen anything like this from The Economist in the past?

Yes, but for an entirely different industry--Telecoms--back in 1997-8, wherein it predicted the demise of the "elephants" and rise of smaller, more "nimble" companies.

The Economist may be pro-capitalism, but that is not to say they are stupid. Many of the smarter editorials you will find are from the magazine and I can't say the idea of them accepting PO and subtly warning people of it now is all that surprising.

Hello The Fool,

Welcome to TOD!

Your Quote:
"Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

Edit: Has anyone seen anything like this from The Economist in the past?

Haven't seen anything like Yoda in The Economist, but he parses the Dark Path to Olduvai Gorge very well:

It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on the Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing intelligence this is not correct. We have or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only. (Hoyle, 1964)

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

Hardy har har! Come to think of it, maybe Yoda is an economist. They both share a strange way of speaking and they always talk about this invisible force that rules the galaxy...

Hah! Good one. May the bull-puckey be with you. ...

Re: India unveils $2,500 car.

Currently, here in the United States there are 1,000 cars for every one thousand adults. We have a population of 300 million. China has 8 cars for every one thousand adults and a population of 1.3 billion (1,300 million). India has 4 cars for every one thousand adults and a population of 1 billion. Obviously, compared to the United States, China and India are under-supplied with cars.

The solution? A $2,500 Car. Made in India. What a wonderful idea. Move over Toyota. Make room for the Tata Nano.

Next question: Where's the fuel going to come from to fill all of these additional gas tanks?

Americans won't be driving as many miles as they do currently.

Certainly a US recession would free up some.

I think the West must lead the way re sustainability and we may have to get used to the sight of them partying a little while we do the Lent thing.

As the West cleans up it's act, the best solution would be that our new energy leanness and breathable air looks increasingly attractive world-wide. i.e. Make their new lung-wrenching car culture look dinosaurish and repugnant. The development of some very sexy low emissions vehicles would help!

Ethanol Backlash

In 2005 corn was $2.00 a bushel. With more corn required for Federal ethanol mandates the price of corn is now close to $4.50 a bushel.

In 2005 wheat was $3.40 a bushel. Since more farmers switched from planting wheat to planting higher priced corn, the price of wheat went from $3.40 a bushel to $10.00 a bushel in the past several weeks.


Russia is expected to halt all wheat exports as worldwide grain reserves were being rapidly depleted.

United States Federal Government mandates might ignorantly starve off the masses to produce an energy inefficient system in order to please special interest groups who prepared deceitful statements. If voters will push the issue some worthless ethanol legislation might be repealed.

Hello TODers,

More on the recent US-Iran Hormuz ship encounter [with Iranian video]:

Iran airs its version of encounter with U.S. ships
The pissing match continues...

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

Iranian Speedboats, The pissing match continues...

An "Incident" in the Persian Gulf with speed boats right at the start of the primary races. Danger, Careful, Heightened Emotions, Breaking News...

Great timing. In another month no one will remember this incident. BUT it was convienent news a day before the NH primary.

Count me sceptical.

Some good news....The drought areas of the SE, especially the extreme D4 drought areas are starting to shrink. :) Also heavy rains and storms heading that way now. :)


Re: Report: Oil, LNG Tankers Vulnerable

US Coast Guard shouldn't worry; a kid with a jet ski and RPG launcher will light them up in the Straits of Hormuz, way before they get into US territorial waters. Or just sail around in front of them, dropping packages into the water.

Unless someone's working on a plan to make all of that part of the world US territory...

UK is building a LNG terminal in Wales to receive LNG shipped from Qatar. Maybe that's another explanation for Tony Blair's resolve to stand by GWB over Iraq. Convoys, anyone?

Among the arguments for (earlier rather than later) Peak Oil from some of the cognoscenti is that, besides the geologic problem, there are issues are issues with aging infrastructure and personnel. I came across an article that self aware or not builds a case for Peak Oil :


With local oil and gas reserves diminishing and armed with close to RM30 billion (US$9.1 billion) in cash, Malaysia's national oil company, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), is seeking to expand aggressively overseas. The company has little choice.

A top Ministry of Finance official told Asia Sentinel in November that Malaysia is expected to become a net importer of energy as early as 2011 – and it can look for stiff competition for additional supplies from China and India, which are roaming the planet tying up tracts in countries that include pariahs like Burma and Somalia. Malaysia’s domestic crude oil and condensate reserves are officially estimated at about 4.8 billion barrels, a 19-year reserve. But falling production means imports will surpass exports in just three years.

[Petronas] is well run and is known to have quality management and engineers. However, a key problem in the last few months is that they have been losing a lot of staff to the Middle East, which offers doubling of salaries. This is worrying because Petronas’s highly trained and experienced staff is one of its strengths.

So the article touches on Peak Oil, ELM, the problems of national oil companies, etc. though it is not explicitly a "Peal Oil" paper. Recommend read.

Has anybody got any information about the Yemen LNG project? I've gone through the company website (yemenlng.com) and they obviously make it seem like a wonderful project. I'd love to find some critical analyses of their claims.

Sounds like Lou Dobbs is jumping on the subprime mortgage thing. He has a long segment on it tonight. Unlike most of the MSM, he said it could get a lot worse, and could go on for a long time.

People haven't quite figured out yet that we've already passed Peak Mortgages and Peak Housing -- subsets of Peak Everything.

It's all downhill from here.

Hello TODers,

Pakistan is truly becoming a rotten mess:

SINGAPORE, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said any unilateral action by U.S.-led coalition forces against militants in the border region with Afghanistan will be regarded as an invasion, a newspaper reported on Friday.

Musharraf told Singapore's The Straits Times that Islamabad will resist any entry by coalition forces in the tribal areas to hunt down Islamic militants, regarding that as a breach of Pakistan's sovereignty.

"I challenge anybody coming into our mountains. They would regret the day," he told the newspaper in an interview conducted in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
Is he just bluffing, or is Pervez really serious?

IMO, he is really caught between a rock and a hard place. The militants are constantly trying to overthrow him, yet Coalition Forces coming in from Afghanistan probably offers his best chance at suppressing extremism. Yet, any invasion will probably cause more extremism... round and round the Pakistani nukes we all go.

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