DrumBeat: January 16, 2008

World oil demand to peak before supply - BP

World oil production may peak in in the coming years, but it will be because of a decline in demand for petroleum not a lack of supply, a BP economist said on Wednesday.

"I believe there is a realistic possibility that world oil production will peak within the next generation as a result of peaking demand," Peter Davies, BP's Special Economic Advisor, told a meeting at parliament of a group of lawmakers formed to study peak oil.

More Oil, Please?

It may have been a consummate effort to extract blood from a turnip. That, at least, is my assessment of President Bush's recent hat-in-hand request that OPEC pump more oil.

France takes on strategic role in key Gulf oil route

France's first permanent military base since the end of the colonial era gives it a strategic role in the Strait of Hormuz bordering Iran, the main supply route for world oil.

France and the United Arab Emirates signed an accord during a visit by President Nicolas Sarkozy Tuesday, which calls for Paris to set up a military base in Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest and largest of the UAE's seven emirates.

IEA blames falling stock levels for $100 oil

The International Energy Agency attributed recent record oil prices above 100 dollars per barrel to tensions in the market caused by falling stock levels in top consuming countries.

"The most recent rise would appear the easiest to explain: OECD stocks have been falling since July 2007, reflecting a tightening physical market," the organisation said in its monthly oil report.

..."Total OECD oil inventories are now below five-year average levels," the IEA report said.

This would appear to be at odds with oil export cartel OPEC whose secretary general, Abdullah al-Badri, told AFP on Wednesday that the market was adequately supplied and that OECD stocks were within their five-year averages.

OPEC: no oil shortage; investors abandoning US dollar

OPEC Secretary General said that current oil prices do not reflect the market fundamentals of supply and demand, blaming instead persistent geopolitical unrest, the weakness of the dollar, outages in the US refining system and the growing role of speculators.

These investors, he said, having turned away from the depressed US real estate and financial markets, have increased volatility in the oil market and pushed prices to an artificially high level, which is not justified by the underlying fundamentals of the market.

Oil below $90 on surprise supply increase

Oil prices fell sharply Wednesday after the government reported a surprise increase in crude supplies.

U.S. light crude for February delivery fell $2.20 to $89.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had traded down $1.21 prior to the report's release.

Argentina government OKs renewed fuel exports for all but Shell

The Argentine government will allow three of the nation's four top fuel retailers to continue to export fuels after they rolled back pump prices to October levels, a government official told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday.

...Royal Dutch Shell won't be allowed to export fuels, however, "because it didn't lower its prices," the official said. A spokesman for Shell said the company had not been formally notified, adding that he planned later Wednesday to check on pending export requests filed with the government. Argentina's top price controller, Interior Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, called officials from Repsol, Exxon, and Petrobras on Jan. 7, threatening to cut off fuel exports if the companies didn't roll back pump prices.

E.U. sees Kashagan agreement as favorable for energy markets

The European Union Wednesday said an agreement between major oil companies and the government of Kazakhstan over a massive oil field, should ease energy markets.

Chávez pardons USD 30 million debt to Honduras

"Last year I initialed a resolution pardoning a debt Honduras owed to Venezuela. It is an old debt dating back to the 80's for some USD 30 million. We would be senseless if we tried to collect that debt. You do not owe anything now," said President Hugo Chávez during a brief official visit to Honduras on Tuesday.

The Venezuelan ruler was welcomed by his Honduran counterpart Manuel Zelaya, and both moved to speed up the process for Honduras to join Petrocaribe. "Honduran people, do not worry about oil, if you do not have oil here, you will find it in Venezuela," Chávez reassured, and estimated the Honduran oil bill at USD 730 million a year.

How to Keep Heating Oil From Torching Your Budget

I didn't think too much about the natural-gas bill in our previous home. It was just another necessary cost of living arising from a seemingly intangible heating source located somewhere under the ground. We were reasonable about energy use, setting our thermostat to about 69 degrees during the day, and lowering it to around 62 degrees at night. But there never seemed to be much of a connection between our family and the possibly finite nature of the energy supply.

The 250-gallon heating-oil tank in my yard has changed that view. A small gauge on the top -- with a line that floats between a simple "F" for full and an "E" for empty -- is a constant reminder of how much fuel we're burning. Slowing the progression from full to empty can save my family cash.

For sale: Greenhouse gasses by the ton

A number of small but well-backed companies are looking to make money selling carbon dioxide, but federal law seems needed to jumpstart sales.

The little car that could

The Nano is inspiring because it symbolizes the rise of a middle class in a country that has been far too impoverished for far too long. Many of the people who will buy these cars grew up thinking they'd never have more than an ox cart. Now they will be able to get around on India's bustling streets in more comfort and safety than they ever imagined. While these cars won't have airbags or fancy braking systems, merely being surrounded by an auto body and sheltered from the elements is a dramatic advance that's hard to begrudge.

But the car is also disconcerting because it speaks volumes about the enormous environmental and social challenges the world faces as millions join the car-owning classes. India has more people (1.1 billion) than there are cars in the world (about 600 million). As more of its citizens drive cars, live in larger homes and consume more power, this will make it harder to come to grips with climate change, no matter what Western countries do to curb their greenhouse gas emissions.

As Bush, King Talk Oil, Saudis Gain In US Market

As the leader of the world's largest oil consumer and the world's largest oil exporter met at the king's horse ranch, a startling trend emerged from U.S. government oil data: The Saudis already are playing the strongest role they have in supplying the U.S. crude oil market in nearly five years.

In the first 11 months of 2007, the kingdom eclipsed Mexico as the No. 2 crude oil source, figures from the Energy Information Administration show. The Saudis haven't ranked as the second-biggest crude supplier to the U.S. for a full year since 2002.

Saudi Arabia freezes as weather records shattered

Unusually cold weather has smashed decades-old records in Saudi Arabia, with meteorologists forecasting a further cooling, the al-Watan newspaper said on Wednesday.

The cold snap has mainly hit northern parts of the country, where temperatures reached a record low of -6 degree Centigrade (21.2 degree Fahrenheit), freezing water in pipes and closing schools and other facilities. Local authorities had to ration kerosene due to an acute shortage of fuel for heating purposes.

AFGHANISTAN: Over 140 killed, dozens injured as winter bites

"Our reports indicate that 105 people died and 17 others are missing across the province," said Agha Mohammad Siddiqi, chairman of the emergency response commission in Herat Province.

In neighbouring Ghor Province cold weather and heavy snow killed at least 20 people and injured 25 others, Abdul Matin Edrabk, director of ANDMA, told IRIN.

About 20 people, mostly children, also died in Farah and Daykundi provinces where a shortage of food and fuel in local markets has caused widespread concerns among rural inhabitants, ANDMA said.

Venezuela's Chavez: No Plans to Cut Oil Exports to U.S.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday during an official visit to Honduras that his country will leave oil exports to the U.S. untouched.

"We have no plans to stop exporting oil to the United States," Chavez said during a press conference from Honduras televised by a Venezuelan state television channel.

Chavez also blamed high energy consumption in the U.S. for the latest surge in oil prices. The president didn't offer more details on Venezuela's oil exports.

Russia boosts gas exports to Turkey

Russia has further boosted natural gas exports to Turkey to help the country avoid an energy crisis, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said, as a cut in Iranian gas supplies to Turkey continued.

Our oily near-future

But if prices continue to stay in this general high-ish area, keep an eye on the budgets of developing countries with fuel subsidies. India is running up a huge subsidy bill already, and Indonesia and Malaysia feeling the pain as well.

The Shame Of Groveling For $100 Oil

Instead of begging oil sheiks to open the spigots, as the president shamefully did Tuesday in Riyadh, he should be pressuring Congress to open up Alaskan and Gulf Coast refuges to drilling.

Uganda: Fuel Shortage Jolts Energy

The Uganda government is considering generation of more megawatts of hydropower to fill the gap created by a reduction in the amount of thermal power caused by the fuel shortage.

Pakistan: Hosiery exporters losing orders

Hosiery, an export oriented industry has become unable to meet commitments to foreign buyers and further orders are not being confirmed from importers on the plea that power and gas crisis will not let the exporters fulfil their commitments.

Pakistan: Power shortage hitting pharma industry

The current energy crisis has badly affected the production of the pharmaceutical industry in the country, which has an export target of around $ 1 billion by 2010, said Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) Chairman (North) Muhammad Asad on Tuesday.

He said the pharmaceutical industry was facing difficulties in production of life saving medicines due to gas and electricity load shedding.

Great Offshore to Acquire Two Oil Rigs Amid Shortage

Great Offshore Ltd., spun off from India's biggest sea carrier, agreed to buy an overseas oil services company, gaining two rigs under construction at a time a global shortage is pushing up rental rates.

Wood boilers fuel air quality debate

A surge in sales of outdoor wood boilers, cheaper alternatives to oil and gas home heating, has neighbors fuming over the smoke they produce and states and towns rushing to regulate them.

At least seven states and dozens of towns in the Northeast and Midwest have passed or are considering measures to ban, restrict or monitor the wood-burning devices known as OWBs.

Anti-smog devices stolen for metals

The rash of catalytic converter thefts mirrors an epidemic of copper thefts. Thieves have targeted utilities, construction sites, farms, churches and even homeowners whose air conditioning units have copper coils. A survey last year by the U.S. Department of Energy found that copper thefts cost utilities nearly $1 billion over a one-year period.

EU energy chief warns about 'peak oil'

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has drawn attention to the 'overlooked' issue of dwindling oil reserves coupled with rapidly growing and unprecedented global demand. His comments were made in the run-up to the publication of a widely-anticipated package of Commission legislative proposals on energy and climate change.

...Highlighting the potential gravity of the problem, Piebalgs noted that the oil crisis of the 1970s presented a discrepancy between oil supply and demand of only 5%, but that in a post-peak oil scenario, the gap between supply capacity and demand could widen by 4% annually, leading to a 20% gap within five years.

IEA cuts 2008 oil demand growth forecast

World oil demand growth this year will be lower than previously forecast and could fall further if an economic slowdown in top consumer the United States accelerates, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The adviser to 27 industrialised countries in its monthly Oil Market Report cut its world oil demand growth forecast to 1.98 million barrels per day (bpd), down 130,000 bpd from its forecast last month.

Iraq Beiji Refinery Remains Closed After Fire - Official

Iraq's largest oil refinery in the northern town of Beiji was still shut down after a fire Jan. 7, an Iraqi oil official said Wednesday.

The official said the refinery, which is used to process around 140,000 barrels a day, remained shut because of a power cut.

"It depends on resuming stable power to operate the refinery," the official said. He didn't know how long the refinery will remain closed.

Are we heading for Peak Coal?

Peak oil, yes; but 'peak coal'? India's Tata Power recently acquired 30% stakes in Indonesia's two largest coal mines, securing 20 million tons of coal to fuel its 750 kilowatt project on India's west coast. This is a shrewd and opportune move.

There's a sustained and tightening squeeze on global supplies of the 'thermal' coal needed to power the world's coal-fired power stations, just as Asia (except Japan ) embarks on a massive expansion of planned generating capacity based on coal, despite rising concerns about carbon pollution.

Recognizing the tarsands

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave investors in Canada's oilsands a long-awaited gift by voting to review its rules on how companies are allowed to report "proven reserves" of petroleum. The existing regime, adopted in 1978 at the peak of the energy crisis, is a textbook case of bad regulation, consisting of guidelines adopted in a state of panic and subsequently allowed to stagnate.

Pumping more oil

America and its president remain addicted to oil. What will happen when the supply runs low? We will live to see that day.

The Coming Oil Price Decline

Oil prices have finally reached $100 a barrel. I now hear predictions of $200 a barrel. People who make forecasts like round numbers.

I do not expect $200 oil any time soon. I expect $85 oil first, and $70 oil first, and $50 oil first.

I do not believe in doomsday scenarios that relate to the earth’s resources. There are phenomena in the universe that can end the earth or human life on it. They do not include running out of energy because we lack resources.

World must address tight oil supply: Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned on Tuesday that the world's biggest oil consumers face shrinking supplies and that Venezuela hoped to work with Brazil and Mexico to bolster the region's reserves.

Naimi tightlipped on Bush oil appeal

Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia's oil minister, said on Tuesday that US president George W. Bush had "every right" to call for increased oil production to damp the effect of $100-a-barrel prices on the US economy.

But Mr Naimi would not be drawn on whether his country or the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would favour such a step.

China coal shortage to continue

China, the world's largest coal consuming nation, used more coal than it produced in 2007 and will stay short through at least 2010, a coal industry official said on Tuesday.

China's demand for coal is expected to rise to 2.76 billion tonnes in 2008, from 2.62 billion tonnes in 2007, said Wu Chenghou, executive director of the Coal Sale and Transportation Association of China.

EU's stand on palm-biofuel to hit Asian plants

The European Union's talk of toughening environment criteria for biofuels, including a clampdown on palm biodiesel, is another blow for Southeast Asia's struggling biodiesel business.

German biodiesel output collapses

Germany's biodiesel industry is only producing at about 10 percent of capacity largely because a biofuels tax increase on Jan 1 hugely cut sales, the head of the German renewable fuels industry association BBK said on Tuesday.

This was down from output at 20 percent capacity in November 2007 and many companies were facing closure, Peter Schrum, the association's president, told the Reuters biofuels summit.

Why a warmer Arctic needs new laws

The Arctic Ocean has until recently received about as much attention from politicians, economists and foreign policy experts as the back of the moon. But before long, thanks to global warming, the ocean may turn into a new economic frontier. About 20-30 per cent of the world's likely but undiscovered oil reserves lie beneath it. High energy prices and advances in ship design, drilling equipment and remote sensing combine to open up opportunities to exploit these reserves and ship freight between the Pacific and the North Atlantic via the Arctic. The five Arctic Ocean states (the US, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia) are boosting military capacity to assert competing territorial claims.

Britain: Climate change threatens coasts

Climate change is warming Britain's waters, eroding its coastline, harming its marine wildlife and increasing the likelihood of devastating storms and floods, the government said in a report published Wednesday.

Lifestyle changes can curb climate change: IPCC chief

Don't eat meat, ride a bike, and be a frugal shopper -- that's how you can help brake global warming, the head of the United Nation's Nobel Prize-winning scientific panel on climate change said Tuesday.

The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued last year, highlights "the importance of lifestyle changes," said Rajendra Pachauri at a press conference in Paris.

"This is something that the IPCC was afraid to say earlier, but now we have said it."

IEA OECD stocks from the monthly Oil Market Report Highlights:

OECD ... stocks fell by 38.1 mb in November ... move below the five year average and lowering forward cover to 51 days. Preliminary December data for the US, Japan and EU-16 show another 30.7 mb draw.

I extended the charts from the previous month's report (available for free) with those numbers. [click for larger]

But OPEC says stocks are not low.


Robert, have stocks hit the point, in your opinion, that if OPEC does not raise output on Feb. 1 (or later) that OPEC might not have that much more in them--based on your litmus test? Or that they have up to 2 Million Barrels spare but its heavy? I say this in all humility since I don't know much about this and I really don't want to get into a big argument about all this--we've already been there.

I guess my question is: How low is low?

Well, stocks are still in the average range for 2002-2006 in these graphs. And the graphs are not zero-scaled.

Better look at the charts again. OECD Total Oil is well below average. It's touching the very bottom of the range.

Moe, thanks for responding. The bottom of the range is still the range.
I think we can agree it means trouble ahead anyway, as consumption is still higher each year. PO & ELM does not bode well for refilling these stocks. Basically why I come here: to observe and learn.

I feel the exact same way. That's why I wanted Robert's opinion--he is much, much, smarter than me about oil. In fact, I think the litmus test makes tons of sense and I never would have thought of it.

I just wanted to know where he thought the line was. Well under the range? Bottom of range?

It makes a difference to me because it helps me keep track of how much time left to prepare.

"it helps me keep track of how much time left to prepare"

Exactly. But I guess this is different for everybody. When you get laid off for example, it's more difficult to fund preperations.

BTW, yesterday a hilarious article in my newpaper (Dutch nrc.nl), mentioning Hubbert. The actual advise given was (take a seat and hold on) that if you wanted to buy a new flat screen TV you should do it asap, because all these luxury items will get more expensive to produce as resource constraints kick in. IOW, spend your money NOW!

I could see an argument for spending your money now. If you think inflation will make things more expensive, say. Or if your dream is to walk atop the Great Wall of China, and are afraid peak oil will mean no more tourism.

But to buy a power-sucking TV? That's nuts.

I'm going to Japan this year while I still can. Something tells me that in a few years all of these Frequent Flier miles and hotel points I have will be worthless. hehe

They say that spending money on experiences rather than things will make you happier. Things never make you as happier as you think they will. But experiences only get better in your memory.

"I could see an argument for spending your money now"

I' ll be spending my savings for a new roof and a solar water heater.

If you look at US stocks as presented in Tom Whipple's review from EB here: http://www.energybulletin.net/38683.html you can see that each year from '04-'06 moved up. This makes sense, as there are more people using more energy in a growing population/economy time-bomb. Presumably this is also the case for the OECD. But then in '07, esp. after mid-year, US stocks began to be less than the prior year, then years. So being anywhere near the lower end of the five year range seems to be a significant tightening of supply. The five-year average is misleading in the sense that the population and economy has grown during those five years, so stocks, to keep pace, would have to grow as well.

I've been reading article after article over the past week or so from refineries in consuming nations saying that the Saudi two million barrels are heavy sour, and they can't use it. I know some of the articles have been at Bloomberg. Some of them might have been here.

IMO, we are still way above the nominal levels for OECD oil inventories. Nominal levels (in red below) are based on a linear regression model estimated using the years 1994-2001 taking into account seasonal fluctuations:

I think Saudis are looking at that curve and they don't see any reasons to rise production.

Note the big drop in 2003 that nobody seemed to have noticed.

Thanks Khebab--as always your work is excellent.

Of course this gets ignored:

World oil supply averaged 87.0 mb/d in December, up 870 kb/d from November on increases in OPEC-10, North America, the FSU, Brazil and China

Of course this is a preliminary number, but in any case it will be interesting to see what happens to total liquids production when some of the fields, like Brent, finish blowing down their gas caps--in the last stages of depletion.

Wow. Back down to 51 Days Supply in OECD Total Oil Stocks. No wonder oil has been on a tear.

My call this week to fellow trading friends is that the Crude Oil Futures Curve is going to have to go back to contango again to encourage storage. I believe that process is now underway.

I keep key data on my front page: www.gregor.us

Meanwhile, the dark horse of the complex, Natural Gas, which has been consolidating in price for two years now continues to advance against a backdrop where most investors long since left it for dead. Coal too has given a supporting signal, to NG, the past 120 days.

With the liklihood that a DEM enters the White House, and with their pledge to w/d from Iraq, it doesn't take a trader to figure out how the oil market might price in US troop w/d in Q1 and Q2 2009. Concurrently, I am getting into position to add big to my menu of alternative energy positions as the current massacre in Solar, etc, is the classic set up to the next leg in this group. Wow. US troops getting pulled out of Iraq and a new Admin. throwing tons of cash at Alternative Energy. Yum. I want it all. Oil contracts. Alt. Energy equities. And of course the Railroads--the sleeper peak oil play.

Best to all,


Did anyone record Bush on Nightline last night talking about the possibility that Saudi Arabia can't meaningfully increase their production? It would make a great You Tube clip.

It's up now on ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/?CMP=google&partner=google&gclid=CMyu_Y3...

Click on exclusive interview.

Couple of boards have mentioned it,west.Someone will get creative


As a suggestion, have the editors of TOD considered putting up a You Tube page for clips such as this one? It would be nice to have videos of importance to discussions here collected in one place.

Here's a direct link to the 7-minute interview clip

It appears another finance guy has found a new energy source...high oil prices.Mr Rozeff is going to find out resource depletion changes things...his retirement for instance

Yet another case of acknowledging that individual wells, fields and countries peak and decline, but our aggregate production--the sum of individual wells, fields and countries--never peaks and declines.

Ah, but if you add individual wells, fields, and countries faster than the existing ones decline...oh, wait a minute... ;)

Some exciting news on the Bussard Fusion work, not sure if it was posted yet:


"We got first plasma yesterday," Nebel said - but he and
his colleagues in Santa Fe, N.M., still have a long way to
get the WB-7 experiment up to the power levels Bussard
was working with. This work is very important because we could have
commercial fusion in as little as 5 years if the work is
successful. Success would also transform space travel
(40 to 1000 times cheaper to get into space).


The initial analysis showed that Bussard's data on energy yields were consistent with expectations, Nebel said.

Yes, it was posted on an MSNBC blog and linked here, I believe.

Still wondering at how this will all turn out. I do not doubt the possibility of achieving fusion via a device like Bussard's; however, from what I have read of his work, the remaining engineering challenges will be great. That can be said of all fusion - the first hydrogen bomb proved fusion could be done, and now we've spent 50 years working on the engineering problem of controlling it.

It would be nice to see that work reported in Science or Nature. Not that they are infallible, but they have some additional credibility over MSNBC

The number one indicator that your dealing with pseudo-science is the researchers do press releases instead of white papers.

I think classifying it as pseudo-science is misplaced.. Richard Nebel (on leave from Los Alamos laboratory) might be trolling for investors by making press releases.

Actually, this is that rare case where pseudoscience isn't exactly the problem. Devices of this sort can be used as neutron sources even now. The real issue is that you put hundreds of watts into the apparatus, and you get enough neutrons so that you can infer that you are getting a few tens of microwatts of fusion energy. So to make an energy source out of it, that needs to improve by a factor of some tens of millions.

The reason we're hearing so much about it when it's so far from fruition seems to be carelessness on the part of breathless reporters and bloggers who write as if it's already been brought to fruition. That, in turn, is probably driven by a combination of desperation and wishful thinking. After all, if it takes too long to come up fusion that works, then people like Ted Kennedy and his neighbors might have to be told that they will be looking at wind turbines way off in the far distance, like it or not.

This work is very important because we could have
commercial fusion in as little as 5 years if the work is
successful. Success would also transform space travel
(40 to 1000 times cheaper to get into space).

You should learn to be more careful with quotes. The part cited above is not something Richard Nebel said in the sources I searched, but rather by an extremely optimistic, putting mildly, blog commentator. In fact Nebel's comments, posted on the Daily Kos, were far more guarded:

"We're not out trying to make a big splash on any of this stuff at this point," Nebel said. But he said he's hoping to find out by this spring whether or not Bussard's concept is worth pursuing with a larger demonstration project.

The source is probably this quote:

Bussard noted that, "Thus, we have the ability to do away with oil (and other fossil fuels) but it will take 4-6 years and ca. 100-200 M$ to build the full-scale plant and demonstrate it."

Citation [7] at Wikipedia on Polywell

Yeah, I seen that one. Still, it is proper to attribute quote to it’s source to eliminate any misunderstandings. It is still for a demonstration plant, not a commercial one - which after regulatory approval, and testing for reliability would still take years.

"40 to 1000 times cheaper to get into space" (emphasis added.)

Excuse me while I clean up my spilled coffee. OK. The fusion reaction in these things is a copious source of neutrons. Nobody is ever going put it into some kind of rocket engine that lifts off from Cape Canaveral to get into space. To get around in deep space, maybe.

In the future, when posting on complicated technical devices, please try to find writeups by reporters or bloggers who have at least some bare minimum of competence, as opposed to being complete fools in the relevant subject matter. (This principle would have saved considerable bandwidth WRT the Steorn nonsense a while back, too.)

Edit: I was forgetting: besides blanketing South Florida with neutrons, the energy-to-thrust ratio would be so enormous that the launch pad and its environs would be vaporized.

That would be interesting ... if we had five years to wait, then five more years for a pilot, then ten years to get a bunch of them built.

I love talking about Iraq.

So many resources. Everyone must want a piece of it.

"The official said the refinery, which is used to process around 140,000 barrels a day, remained shut because of a power cut.

"It depends on resuming stable power to operate the refinery," the official said. He didn't know how long the refinery will remain closed."

Al Jazeera English - News - Iraq Diary: Baghdad's Snow Day
They admit that security has improved somehow, but it's snowing, it's cold, and they have no electricity or hot water. Nor do they have jobs. ...
english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6DE4D7C8-435D-4660-AB81-514BBE4F85DA.htm - 65k - Cached - Similar pages

Global Voices Online » Iraq: Snow in Baghdad
Iraq: Snow in Baghdad. a small portrait of this author .... I got ready to go to school in such cold weather with no electricity just like everyday, ...
www.globalvoicesonline.org/2008/01/14/iraq-snow-in-baghdad/ - 90k

Looks like the "Inventory Tax" adherents are betting on a big build in inventories this week of about 4.8 million barrels (spread across oil, gasoline, and heating oil) to confirm there inventory reduction theory. Anybody feel this is going to happen? Oh another 4 million barrel increase in "Blending components" doesn't count

Looks like they were right.

About the increase at least.

Impressive amount of product imports no wonder the refinery utilization was down, Dang good gas demand up 1.4% looks like they put some lipstick on the pig but supplies are still down over 9% from a year ago. Hardly deserving of another $2.50 on the downside. If I'm reading this correctly Blending components now make up 45% of our Conventional Gasoline Supplies (98 million of 217 million barrels. Is that freaking crazy or what? Can we burn straight blending components I thought not.

Great buying opportunity?

My WAG is that blending components (which seem to be trending down this time of year) build when the ethanol crop is most readily availiable and tend to go down through the winter.
But yeah this is interesting. I would expect the blending componets to be needed in higher percentages in the winter but not to really contribute to gasoline MOL and real inventory cause ethanol (for instance) has to be added post pipeline. (and as you allude to only in specific amounts) If all this is so then it has real implications for the true inventory picture.
Anybody have firsthand knowledge?

Didn't see anything on housing, Leanan.

But I might've missed it.

Greenspan 2004 Fed Speech: h/t http://www.doctorhousingbubble.com/

“American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage. To the degree that households are driven by fears of payment shocks but are willing to manage their own interest rate risks, the traditional fixed-rate mortgage may be an expensive method of financing a home.”


"Similarly, if one looks at the error bars in the regional numbers, the variations due to the annualizing algorithm are always less than the error bars. All the sturm und drang over the housing market is noise in the annualizing algorithm.

Without seasonal adjustments, 2006 year-to-date home sales are down 11% from 2005 sales, but that means almost nothing as the summer sales season is not incorporated in that data yet, and month-to-month sales vary significantly due to exogenous (weather, gas prices, world events, etc.) and random factors.

Bottom Line: The housing market implosion is overblown, or even non-existent.


As of the December 2007 distribution date, total delinquencies for the 2006 vintage had increased to 28.79% and severe delinquencies were 18.83% of the remaining principal balance of the transactions. This delinquency trend has caused us to increase our expected lifetime loss projection.

There’s also some very serious discussion about the fact that cumulative losses thus far have been far below expectations, while foreclosure volume is strongly outstripping projections — which means there is a whole lot of REO out there that isn’t getting sold. Losses don’t get recorded until they’re actually losses, meaning the REO inventory is sold off and losses start to get real.

h/t CalculatedRisk Blogspot

In a mainstream magazine I subscribe to here in the UK. I found enclosed a flyer for a book called “Oil Apocalypse” by someone called Vernon Coleman.

A sample of his style:-

“The lorry that collects your rubbish won’t be running…Streetlights won’t burn. Hospitals will have to close. Factories will shut their gates. Offices will close. Banks will shut. There won’t be any more television . You won’t be able to charge your mobile phone.
Within a generation five out of six people on the planet will be dead. This isn’t the script for a horror movie. It isn’t fiction. It’s going to happen. And it’s already started”

He quotes from Twilight in the Desert and also says that the IEA has

“already published the draft version of a report telling countries to prepare contingency plans to use when the oil shortfalls start”

A Wikipedia article about Mr Coleman says “Vernon Coleman (born in Walsall, West Midlands, England) is a former general practitioner,[1] and the author of 90 books, including non-fiction works about human health, politics, cricket, and animal issues, and a range of novels.

I have never heard of Mr Coleman, and his style from the flyer looks more than a little purple. I might be doing him an injustice however, and I wonder has anyone here read this book ? Or do I hear the sound of bandwagons being noisily clambered upon?

So he finally wrote it then?

Well, good for him.

Bit of a awkward old sod is Vernon:


That sounds like a recommendation, maybe I'm being a bit of a sour old git

I have never heard of Mr. Coleman but if I were a fan of cricket perhaps I would have. On the same theme of doom and gloom Gordon Brown has admitted that GB is considering nationializing Northern Rock...


'Gordon Brown delivered his strongest signal yet that stricken bank Northern Rock could face nationalisation.

Speaking after rebel shareholders failed in an attempt to gain a greater say in the future of the mortgage lender, the Prime Minister confirmed that the Government was now actively considering the option of taking it into public ownership.

Although "a number" of private companies had expressed an interest, the move may be necessary to protect the British economy, Mr Brown said in an interview for ITV News at Ten.

"Because stability is the issue we will look at every option and that includes taking the company into public ownership and then moving it later back into the private sector," he said. "So that is, yes, one of the options that has got to be considered."'...snip...

I can't even watch Frickin' Mary Poppins with my 4 year old without you guys somehow being in the room with me!

Mr. Banks:

'A British bank is run with precision
A British home requires nothing less!
Tradition, discipline, and rules must be the tools
Without them - disorder! Chaos!
Moral disintegration!
In short, we have a ghastly mess!'

Mary Poppins:

'I quite agree! .. They must feel the thrill of totting up a balanced book
A thousand ciphers neatly in a row
When gazing at a graph that shows the profits up
Their little cup of joy should overflow!'

Who knew Walt Disney and “P. L. Travers,” (nee, Helen Lyndon Goff, of Queensland,OZ) were so visionary!


"For me there are no answers, only questions, and I am grateful that the questions go on and on. I don’t look for an answer, because I don’t think there is one. I'm very glad to be the bearer of a question."
- P. L. Travers

From the link of the German biodiesel output collapses:

"Germany in late 2006 started taxing biodiesel as the government said it could not afford to lose the large tax revenue from fossil diesel"

Many, many European states have high taxes on FF. One wonders what this means when less and less becomes available over the coming years. Taxing the cr*p out of people and business?

Taxing the cr*p out of people and business?

Well, that is what Tainter predicts as societies near collapse. ;-)

Here in the states, they are talking about taxing vehicles per mile, to make up for the gas tax money lost due to hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles. Sounds crazy, but it's really expensive to maintain infrastructure. And if gas tax revenue is dropping, they have to make it up somehow.

Rome also put taxes on the farmers so high they abandoned their land, so yes, I'm affraid it's likely.

Here in Holland tax on car purchases have been severely increased as per 1/1/2008 on large cars (causing record SUV sales last December). The normal road tax will be replaced by taxing per distance travelled (conveniently imposing Big Brother tracking tech as well). Of fuel purchased around 65% goes straight in The Hague's coffins. NG benefits add up to billions of €'s a year for the state.

One day in the not to distant future, they're gonna have to tax something else. Like eating. Or breathing.

Of fuel purchased around 65% goes straight in The Hague's coffins.

I think you meant coffers and not coffins :-)

No no, that is "coffins", not "coffers". That IS the Western World's trade so far...

Maybe we'll end up with an ownership society with two owners, the extremely wealty and government.

"Back in the USSR, boys...."

Surely we can come up with something better than that?

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 11, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending January 11, down 760,000 barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 87.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production moved lower compared to the previous week, averaging about 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production fell last week, averaging nearly 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 10.4 million barrels per day last week, up 583,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 10.0 million barrels per day, or 219,000 barrels per day more than averaged over the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 938,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 309,000 barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) rose by 4.3 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 287.1 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 2.2 million barrels last week, and are near the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.6 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

And here's what they were expecting:

Analysts were expecting crude to draw down by 300,000 barrels, the ninth straight draw, according to the mean forecast in an updated Dow Jones Newswires survey of 14 analysts.

Gasoline stockpiles were seen rising 2.4 million barrels, and distillates, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, were seen growing 1 million barrels. Refinery use was seen falling 0.7 percentage point to 90.6% of capacity.

Can't say I am surprised, it was expected.

But as usual, the hypermath doesn't add up.

Imports were nothing new - but stocks were bumped in both Crude and Gasoline - where utilization was also down almost 3%, yet demand was DEAD steady at 9.3MMBPD, and 1.2% over 2006.

Everything UP but Propane...will someone please explain the propane deal - it has been negative for 6 months - now 14.6% off 2006. IIRC, the biggest build in the last 6 (or so) months was around 100-200K barrels, where the average draw was in the 1+ Million barrels for the rest.

During 2006 propane stocks were Min. @ 25 million barrels on about April 1st there was then a slow build for 30 weeks to 62 million barrels by the final week of Oct.
Avg. weekly build about 1.25 Million.

There is then a slow draw for about 22 weeks. Some weeks draws can exceed 5 million barrels if it is cold enough, as the first 3 weeks of last Feb. stocks dropped from 51MM to 35MM.

I paid $3.20 gal for propane last week. This is the highest that I can remeber. Upstate NY

That’s what I paid two weeks ago in South Central Illinois. Yesterday I picked up a wood stove from Menards that was on sale. They were going like hotcakes. I have three plus forested acres with some dying trees that have to be cleared, and firewood is fairly cheap where I’m at. In the future I could probably barter for firewood with my crops, beer, and wine.

Sure enough, I understand the cycle. It is outside of this cycle significantly in 2007, with a near 15% draw(over 2006) on stockpiles starting way back in the summer.

I know Robert and I tossed around the concept that it could be crude type based - ie. heavier crudes may yield less propane, plus the fact that we are importing more refined items, but not propane. But Robert was unsure, and obviously so I am I.


From what I understand, there is a lot of stranded natural gas located here and there around the world.

Where there is NG, there should be NGL.

NGL is where propane - in part - comes from.

Could that propane not be separated out, and then shipped to places that need it - like the US?

It would seem to me that transporting propane by ship would be considerably less dangerous and costly than LNG. It would also seem to me that separating out and shipping off the propane for sale would be more profitable than just flaring off the whole lot of it.

Unless I'm mistaken, this isn't being done to any great extent. There must be a reason. Why?

Someone like Robert or even WT, might have better information.

Separating the NGL into components could be the issue.

The stranded nature of some the NG probably makes it unlikely someone would try to aggregate and separate somehow, IMO.

So the only reason crude inventory rose was because refineries put thru less.

That sound right, anyone?

Pretty much, plus an bit more imports.

760,000 barrels per day less into refineries = ~5.3 Millon barrels

219,000 barrels more imports per day = ~ 1.5 Million barrels


Net gain ~ 4 Million barrels of crude, and ~2 Million barrels of gasoline and components.


The big surprise was the refinery utilization number. IMO, refiners are cutting back because they aren't making enough, or any, net profits on refined products. In order for refinery utilization to go up, I would think that the price of crude has to fall and/or the price of refined products has to increase.

In any case, longer term I expect to see less efficient refineries in importing countries shutting down for this very reason--they can't charge enough for refined products in order to justify buying expensive imported oil.

The question that I have previously asked. Assume a geometric increase in gasoline prices: $2, $4, $8, $16, etc.

At each doubling, wouldn't one would expect to see demand--and refinery utilization in importing countries--declining?

Declining Net Oil Exports Versus “Near Record High” Crude Oil Inventories: What is going on? (September, 2007)

Refiners are unlikely to let their inventories drop below certain critical levels, and given the expectation of declining world oil exports, refiners will have two choices: (1) Bid the price up enough to keep their inventories up and/or (2) Reduce their crude oil input, thus reducing product output.

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

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

I would say that this article supports your thesis..

Refiners at Risk From Demand Slump, Marathon Says (Update1)


Tesoro Corp., owner of seven U.S. refineries, cut fuel production this month after prices for refined products such as gasoline and diesel failed to keep pace with the oil needed to make them.

One sliver of bullish data.Inventories at Cushing down 1.2mm at 16.5 from 17.7.General liquidation of everything on mkts.

My contention is that the industry basically had to reduce refinery utilization. They were down to about 20 hours of supply in excess of MOL (assuming 270 mb for MOL).

If they had maintained last week's utilization rate, crude inventories would have dropped by one mb.

Didn't US refiners have the luxury of doing this because product inventories were fairly high?
As crude price takes a breather I guess China will resume filling their SPR and US refiners will build inventory again. Chinese refiners were getting squeezed hard and fuel was flowing out pretty slow.
Do you expect crude to stay much below $90 for any duration?

It looks like total product inventories are down about 5%, year over year, but they are still okay. As I said, I don't think refiners had a choice. The crack spread is weak, which would hardly justify bidding the price of crude up, so they had to cut utilization to keep their inventories above MOL.

Lots of cross currents affecting oil prices, as usual. My guess is that the big driver is declining net oil exports.

Posted upthread but the big increase in product imports was interesting as was the continued build in "Blending Components" based on "Conventional Gasoline Inventories" at 217 million barrels "Blending Compenents at 98 million barrels make up 45% of the inventory.

Does anyone at TOD or ASPO who cares to comment know anything about Eugene Ayers [AYRES, EUGENE AND CHARLES A. SCARLOTT. Energy sources--the wealth of the world. New York : McGraw-Hill, 1952]

His book, which I got from Abebooks after I saw it cited by someone on TOD, seems to be curiously neglected. He published about the same period as Hubbert, and he was an oil-industry insider. The book reads like a condensed, organized, and edited version of the best of TOD.

It is a catalog of known energy sources and resources, methods of transforming one to another, and some projections of future trends (he steered clear of "prediction.") He suggested that domestic petroleum would peak in the late 1960's or mid "70's at the latest, and had a lot of material on proper building techniques for using solar radiation for space heating to cut down demand on petroleum and wood and coal use for that purpose.

It seems to me that the industry must have somehow suppressed all that talk, perhaps in the interest of increasing a market for petroleum. If we had followed Ayers' projections, and continued the research he reported, we would have been a long way toward the sort of future that we are groping our way to now -- but somehow, we got hijacked into hyper-consumption.

Interestingly, while he is well represented in Google searches, Hubbert and Ayers almost never appear on the same page.

Hi Never,

In case it's helpful, the spelling is "Ayres" - like you said at first.

Well, thus far in 2008, it looks like JHK is finally getting his stock market implosion. Is he a stopped clock or is he on to something?

Glenn Beck, who I usually can't stand, was on CNN last night. I was about to change the station, when he started saying things that wouldn't be out of place here. He said stagflation is back, and that many experts think what we're facing will make 1929 look like a picnic. Then he started talking about the price of oil, and how we can't afford the war in Iraq.

I've also noticed that it's become commonplace and no big deal for commentators on CNBC, Bloomberg and many publications to declare that they believe that oil supply has peaked or is at least a serious issue. The only step remaining is for some event to thrust the concept peak oil front and center of the general population. However, that will require a major gasoline price spike or actual shortages to make that happen.


Glenn Beck said that? Wow. I watched a few minutes of one of his first shows and decided to go skip rocks on the river. He came across as a tv version of Rush. Makes me wonder what they will watch on tv in the 'red states'? :)

Yeah, he's a wingnut. A wingnut that accuses Bush of being a liberal masquerading as a conservative. He gloated a bit about how the surge in Iraq is working, but eventually admitted that we're still going to be there 40-100 years, and we can't afford it. He thinks we should just kill everybody and leave.

The first thing you ask someone who is threatening suicide is "Do you have a plan?"

What is his plan?

He thinks we should just kill everybody and leave.

Aw come on Leanan, he said that "tongue in cheek."

No, he didn't. He said the purpose of war is to kill people, and we're not letting our soldiers do that. His style is exaggerated, maybe, but not really tongue in cheek. He means it.

Yeah, that was the hawk's explanation for the US being run out of Vietnam -- that the generals weren't given free rein to "kill 'em all and let God sort it out." The war caused 2 million deaths. Just think about how many more it would have caused had the "kill them all" folks had their way.

Land of the free. Home of the brave.

That is either insane, or monstrous. How can a civilized society tolerate that sort of talk? Kill all who? And how?

Has the entire population of the middle east become an enemy? Does he plan to use nuclear weapons to annihilate them? What else would work. The current war of attrition will destroy the united states, and there won't be any oil at the end.

A country that is dependent on consumer spending and service industries (which I lump together as doing each others laundry) and banking services, and is now watching as these tax bases head south and east, what is left to tax? Now that the major Wall St banks are conducting a fire sale I see the goose that laid the golden eggs flying off toward the East. Americas intellectual property of 'how to conduct consumer rip offs via off book bank scams' is being purchased by foreigners. Not that the Chinese or Mid Easterners need tutors in how to conduct rip offs but by denying the US control of our own largest banks we will be ceeding more of our foreign policy decisions to those who might not have the best interests of Americans at heart. But, considering the foreign policy decisions of the current administration, we might see some improvement in the long run.

As a society we had no reservations about off-shoring production and thereby destroying tens of thousands of middle class jobs.

Now we're off-shoring ownership.

I would imagine our self-enriched senior management class is going to get laid off.

Let's see if WSJ/NYT continues to tell us Globalism is a "win-win" proposition.

Will, I expect to see a wave of nationalist sentiment as the screws tighten more on Americans. When people get cold and hungry they are going to forget about all the minor politically correct bs and demand the politicians get their collective butts in gear and do something. Globalisim is going to change in a major way, the globalists just do not fully realize it yet. What is interesting is that many Americans that are 'wealthy' are living far beyond their means just as the not so wealthy are doing. So, we will wind up with a new class to add to the FWOs...the FVWOs (formerly very well offs). Already there is surprise among the talking heads at sqeek box about increasing delinquency payments on very expensive auto loans.
We have a couple of choices...Fight resource wars that actually return some wealth to Americas treasury. Or, Get busy producing lots of innovative stuff that we can sell to the rest of the world denominated in cheap dollars. I am in favor of the latter.

Innovative stuff? On what human resource would that be based? The world is beginning to figure out that Americans are ignorant as rocks. If great inventors come up with simple solutions to common problems, then Americans live a life so different than those of most humans that they won't encounter those problems. Instead, bigger cupholders!

Any mechanical solution to a problem that we could come up with would be hampered by our shortage of US-born engineers, and our lack of entrepreneurs who understand anything about machines, and our lack of investors who give a damn about the long term. Which is just as well because as soon as something is invented it becomes a race between the inventor to get Chinese sweatshops making it, and Chinese businessmen to steal it so their sweatshops can make it. If we don't know how to make it, then we don't know how to repair it, which may be crucial one day.

The only logical outcome is for the Chinese to actually invent their own cheap stuff and sell it to people across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Emigre Chinese scientists are being lured home and set up with their own labs to pay off that Beijing-funded education. Generally I think it's a good thing, but I worry about the genetic engineers.

The world is beginning to figure out that Americans are ignorant as rocks.

...and poor as church-mice.

Well, this gets us to the not so minor consequences of 'minor politically-correct bs'. Our so-called education system has become merely a gigantic spa for the nurturance of the already-vast egos of the congenitally incapable and shiftless.

But, no problem. Did I mention, we had solved all of humanity's economic-production problems by 1970, so the hippies told us. All that remained was to redistribute the magically appearing industrial spoils 'fairly'. If anything turned up missing, well, all possible work had already been done, so one's agents and subcontractors merely needed to look hard enough for anything and, presto, it would already be there. No need ever again to sully oneself with the slightest effort, work, or study, nor to accept any grade less than A.

A few folks here and there in the hungrier parts of the world seem to have realized that there is a limit to how far that sort of 'fairness' can be carried, that goods and services don't appear by magic. They will inherit whatever is left of the earth. That penny has dropped even for the Chinese communist party.

So while I really dislike the doomophile philosophy, when we get into this stuff, I always wonder. I wonder about a society where college graduates "educated" at limitless expense can't even assemble coherent sentences. I wonder because they don't even know that they are incapable and unemployable, as they always got automatic A grades on account of the PC obsession with the wretched egos of the stupid and lazy. All they do know is solipsism, that they are monumentally entitled and irreplaceable gifts to the universe without which that universe would instantly collapse in a catastrophic reversal of the Big Bang.


Yeah, good rant, PaulS. Done? (Tag, I'M it..)

Great, now how about naming someone besides 'Hippies' and the 'PC' and 'Ego' -obsessed as responsible for the state we're in? Possibly those who have helped destroy the Antitrust and Anti-monopoly policies, so that by Giving MORE and MORE to the richest corps and letting them consolidate unhampered, particularly in the Media Sector (Which Darwinian will assure us is free of any divisive or manipulative urges, since 'News is news is news is news...'), which seems satisfied enough to create a lot of 'choice' in their content, as long as it's just a choice between 'Dumb, Petty and Selfish'

You want to accuse the Hippies of proposing that a 'fair' society might function better has somehow, perversely only exacerbated the inequality an educational morass that we find ourselves in?

Bah! You're feeding back exactly the line that keeps them safely distant from taking any responsibility for their behavior. I heard a discussion about HealthCare today, suggesting that people be held responsible for their lifestyle choices. I think that's fair, with the condition that industries and government be held to the same measure, with a restoration of the safeguards and checks/balances that keep the overly powerful from exerting their unfair influence to escape from meaningful judgements and restrictions that are placed on them.

"The Irving, Texas, oil company has been fighting the civil judgment, originally set at $5 billion, since the 1994 trial.

Exxon Mobil has held that it should not be responsible for the ship's captain, Joseph Hazelwood, who the company says violated clear company rules when the ship ran aground on March 23, 1989."

Well, actually, the Exxon Valdez perfectly illustrates the problem. We moaned and complained when employers tried to hire trustworthy qualified persons, and to exclude those who couldn't do the job. So then we moaned and complained when employers instead took harsh measures (for example intrusive drug testing in utter disregard of civil liberties) to ensure that their employees were doing what they should. No matter what we did, it just wasn't "fair" to the professionally aggrieved, as everybody no matter how incompetent is "entitled".

So, courtesy of the force of the Federal Government, we wound up with a sorry specimen of incompetent and most likely drunken rubbish - who without doubt was also taught he was the ultimate gift to the universe - driving a supertanker. And then we moan and complain because the supertanker ran aground, the almost infinite bill came due, and all the PC nonsense had ensured that the responsibility was so widely distributed that it couldn't be assigned.

How many captains were they supposed to have in that wheelhouse in order to "accommodate" rubbish, and how in the world would such a group have been expected to come to a decision on which way to turn the wheel? No, we simply can't have it both ways.

Try not to get your info from the MSM.

Hazelwood was *not* on duty. The expensive radar was broken, as Exxon decided not to pay to have it fixed. And Exxon was found guilty in a court of law. But Bush/Cheney's friends get a free pass.

The world is beginning to figure out that Americans are ignorant as rocks.

Rocks are much more useful, though. You can really do a lot of productive things with rocks.

Yeah, no one noticed or cared when we were throwing away our manufacturing and then design capability, but oh the horror when we sell off the banks. I feel bad for all those who will lose their jobs associated with the arcane fields of moving other people's money (debt) around, as they will suffer on a personal level. But honestly, they don't have any skills that will be useful to the society we will become - now they can join all the others who have gone before them.

Just bitter I guess - I know that the whole structure of our society, predicated as it was on huge quantities of cheap and available energy, could never have been continued. However, it was just so stupid to throw away the capabilities we had long before it would otherwise have been necessary. All to enrich the few at the expense of the many. It will make the transition so much harder. So it's a little hard to worry about selling off the banks.

Banking is the last resort of a scoundrel. It's a trademark of an aging society and a declining empire.

As for dumping banks on foreigners, I figure it's a repeat of the bad assets we fooled foreigners into buying in the early '90s. The new empire always thinks the old empire's costume jewelry is actually productive assets. Better to be a Chinese bank with bad debt when your debtors' per capita income is going up by 10% a year. Even if there's a crash you will have plenty of opportunity to recover. But no, they're gonna come here and try to squeeze payments out of aging people whose hourly wages have hardly budged in years.

"As a society we had no reservations about off-shoring production and thereby destroying tens of thousands of middle class jobs."

it's called capitalism. nobody has a right to their job. what about the hundreds of millions of poor people in china and india that were lifted out of poverty? do they not count?

"As a society we had no reservations about off-shoring production and thereby destroying tens of thousands of middle class jobs."

it's called capitalism.

Folks - the poster who can't define or show a free market now has defined capitalism!

So, next time John15 says 'capitalism' - check that it meets his definition he just made.

Globalization was never about "lifting all boats." It was merely a way for the multi-nationals to get their mitts on the cheapest resources available -- human and otherwise.

The goal here is not to share the wealth, it is to lock it up. If globalization has been such a wonderful thing for poor folks in China, why is it that young Chinese women have the highest suicide rate of any demographic on the planet?

The dirty little secret here is that when the multi-nationals have exhausted the resources that they came for, they'll pack and leave. Africa is their ace in the hole.

"Globalization was never about "lifting all boats." It was merely a way for the multi-nationals to get their mitts on the cheapest resources available -- human and otherwise."

we should thank god that greedy corporations want cheap resources and consumers want cheap goods or else hundreds of millions of chinese and indians would not have been lifted out of poverty.

"they'll pack and leave. Africa is their ace in the hole."

if you are dirt poor in Africa you better hope those greedy corporations do that.

We don't create misery, we just profit from it.


Think about what I said and I think it will come to you. And while you're at it, thank God for placing your fat ass on top of the heap.

Might wanna be careful - John15 smacks of Owen Robinson


Your post crosses a line to sounding like a physical threat

"Your post crosses a line to sounding like a physical threat"

huh? are you talking to me?

John15 - keep opening your mouth and proving that you have trouble understanding what you read.

You do the best job of refuting what you have to say.

How do you know I'm on the top of the heap?

The ability to post puts you at the top of the heap. :) It is just your perspective that is warped.

what is my perspective?

This may be considered beating a dead horse but I could sure use a TOD:Canada round-up with all this financial intrigue going on. Can anyone suggest a link to a financial news aggregator comparable to what we use to have here? ( I don't mind if that sounds a bit snarky either )

Could we get maybe one last guest post from Stoneleigh to discuss how this could affect oil prices/consumption? I don't feel so clever anymore. Just this one last time? Please? LOL

I emailed Stoneleigh yesterday asking her for one, but no answer yet. I miss them.

Here are two that I use, though I do miss the finance round-ups on TOD: Canada



I agree...as much as I fear the overall impact of PO, the economic armageddon underway is horrifying. Translated - I really appreciated Stoneleigh's and Ilargi's roundups.

My own snooping turns up fresh news on STAGFLATION concerns.

Fed Says Economy Slowed at Year-End, With Sales `Disappointing'


``The economy is slowing down rapidly,'' Kurt Karl, chief U.S. economist at Swiss Reinsurance Co. in New York, said before the report. ``Manufacturing seems to be softening. We are pretty much on the knife's edge'' of heading into recession.


The Beige Book said increases in prices were ``widely reported'' for food and energy, while wage increases were ``moderate.''

The Fed's preferred gauge of consumer prices rose 2.2 percent in November from a year before, the most since March. The three-month annualized rate for the personal consumption expenditures price index, minus food and energy, was 2.6 percent.


and another in the EU.

ECB's Mersch Urges Caution as Growth Risks Increase


``We have certainly downside risks to economic activity,'' Mersch, 58, said in an interview at his office in Luxembourg yesterday.
the growth outlook is ``surrounded by considerable uncertainty.''


``we're not unaware of mitigation to price developments,'' he said, citing a stronger euro, near-record oil prices, the slowing U.S. economy and higher credit costs.


And, it looks like the ECB is going to flip-flop and reduce rates...so much for inflation - growth is more important.

And, the gang at Financialsense.com seem to think this all ends in 2010 with a DEPRESSION.

When you add PO to the mix, I think they are right.

What happened at TOD:Canada? Why the abrupt end to the updates?

The TOD staff refuses to discuss it in public but apparently there was some sort of falling out between the various parties. There's little more than that available to us readers of TOD.

Thanks GreyZone, I was wondering what happened. Content problem or something else?

No idea, really. I've seen various and conflicting partial public statements but nothing that really explains it and PG made it clear that it was none of our business anyway.

Is that Stoneleigh's work?

(I can't tell. LATOC just won't display in anything resembling readable form on my computers.)

She said they were thinking of opening up shop at LATOC.

Don't think so. Matt's been leading with financial posts for a while now. The financial world is so precarious that I look for posts that help me understand what's going on.

Yes, I'm hoping to hear where Stoneleigh and ilargi are going as well. It was rather ironic that the plug got pulled right at the time of a mini implosion in stocks.

Here are some of my favorites for financial info:

The Big Picture's Disclosures & Terms of Use are fun reading:

" 3B: Comments by Trolls and Asshats:

This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal fiefdom. I rule over all as benevolent dictator/philospher king/utility infielder. Fear my wrath, mortals!

I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments -- usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it."


From the Drumbeat http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1501&statu...

Not much has changed in Saudi Arabia over the past six years. Only now, it's richer than ever, flush with petrodollars that are helping finance the jihad. Which means Americans are helping finance their own destruction every time they go to the pumps.

Given this chain of events — the bigger bankrolling of jihad, along with a looming recession — the mind boggles that our government's only recourse is to genuflect before oil sheiks........

A few years ago, such talk would consign you to the loony bin, or else you would be branded "anti-American"- I can tell you that I was. Apparently, it is mainstream now!

But of course, the proposed "American" remedy is not to decrease consumption, but to increase local exploitation

. .......We've argued in the past, and are still convinced, that popping the lid on Alaskan and Gulf drilling would puncture at least the "war premium" built into crude prices over tensions in Iraq and now Iran. That, in turn, would lower prices at the pump.

I think that material presented on TOD will demolish that argument pretty handily, and I imagine that the Mainstream is being forced ever closer to Reality

"The Coming Oil Price Decline" from Lew Rockwell's site, and I realize this is an ad hominem remark:

Rockwell has long been associated with extreme right, Nazi/KKK, etc. He has evidently found a new niche as 'libertarian.'

But the article's notion that high oil prices are a government manipulation is not worth posting to this site in my view. Maybe if it's in the MSM, but digging around in the dung heap of Lew Rockwell's site is a bit like turning to Lyndon LaRouche for news.

Just my 2 cents. In general, the scope and array of news articles is impressive and always interesting!

In my view, Lew Rockwell's site typically often has some very good articles and commentaries on personal liberty, government malfeasance, and the creeping threat of the US turning into a fascist police state.

However, the web site and it's contributers have two serious blind spots: i) environmental issues, and ii) energy issues. On these they get it wrong at least 90% of the time, largely because they tend to be of a mindset that such issues do not exist, and that everything will be OK as long as 'The Market' is given free reign.

So, I wouldn't totally dismiss the site, it's just that it's often necessary to cherry-pick the articles.


Lew Rockwell Dunnit - in interviews with Reason, a half-dozen longtime libertarian activists—including some still close to Paul—all named the same man as responsible for writing Ron Paul's newsletters containing inflammatory rhetoric under his name: Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr. [more inside]

Karen Kwiatkowski's columns are often quite good when she sticks to military and foriegn policy. She is about the only one I read at that site. I’ve had my fill of libertarians years ago.

I found that article so full of contradictions, logical non-sequitars and blatant ignorance that I was tempted to send an email to the address at the end of the article and criticize him severely. I resisted and didn't because I felt it would ultimately be a waste of time.
The main reason I am convinced about peak oil is that the arguments are usually quite logical and cogent. Those who deny peak oil, on the other hand, use arguments that are so full of holes and misconceptions that it's mind boggling to think that so many actually believe them.

Here's an example from that article:

I do not expect $200 oil any time soon. I expect $85 oil first, and $70 oil first, and $50 oil first.

Some predictions of $200 oil rest on the idea of peak oil. I am not betting on $200 oil any time soon because of peak oil. Peak oil rests on the assumption of depleting a known stock of oil. It is logical that as a fixed supply declines and demand rises, the price of oil will rise. The supply of oil will rise as its real price rises, however. New oil fields are being discovered all the time. Oil exploration companies are hard at work. Oil drilling service firms are hard at work. They are looking for employees across the board. Supply won’t stay fixed as the peak oil idea requires. Neither will demand. As oil price rises, demand for oil will be curtailed, and people will turn to alternative sources of energy.

So his basic contention is that oil prices will decline to 50 first because they will rise and spur new supply. So prices have to rise so that they can fall. Of cource he uses the arbitrary level of $200 a barrel from which to defend his position because that's what he heard someone else predict.


You are failing to understand the " (Peter) Huber Principle," to-wit, that while discrete sources of energy peak and decline, our aggregate energy production rate, which is the sum of discrete sources of energy, will always increase.

I liked that item about the big freeze in Saudi Arabia. What price global warming?

Unfortunately CLIMATE CHANGE will not just cost lives, money and water.

Something I haven't seen mentioned is the cost of energy due to CC at the time of an energy crisis. This is exagerated by the way the Saudi probably has to crank up the heat to feel close to normal in their home built for warm weather.

Is this offset by warmer weather needing less energy for heating? Not when I drys out your Hydro dams so you can't produce electricity.

I believe temperature/climate volatility in either direction cost a non-linear amount of energy. Great timing Gaia.

Teacher, I need some help.

Per the info below, refineries were at 87.1, gasoline and distillate production moved lower, but demand for gasoline and distillates
is up 1.2 and 2.1% respectively.


U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 15.0 million barrels per day
during the week ending January 11, down 760,000 barrels per day from the
previous week's average. Refineries operated at 87.1 percent of their operable
capacity last week. Gasoline production moved lower compared to the previous
week, averaging about 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production
fell last week, averaging nearly 4.3 million barrels per day.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged nearly 21.2
million barrels per day, up by 2.2 percent compared to the similar period last

Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged about 9.3
million barrels per day, or 1.2 percent above the same period last year.

Distillate fuel demand has averaged nearly 4.4 million barrels per day over the
last four weeks, up 2.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

Jet fuel
demand is 3.3 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same
four-week period last year."

Matt Simmons (MS): (1/11/2008 11:40:38 AM | Casey Research)

My opinion is that it’s increasingly likely that we actually set an all-time record in May 2005 of 74,252,000 barrels per day. And for the first three months of 2007, we’re almost a million barrels per day behind that, and we’re dropping fast. If that record still holds a year from now, I’ll bet someone ten-to-one that we set peak oil in May 2005 and it’s now past tense."

My question teacher is this:

What does zero sum mean?

A term used to describe a situation in which one entity can gain only if other entities suffer an equal loss; for example, a private poker game. ...

I found this in the frontpage Sydney Morning Herald the other day and hadn't seen it posted in the drum beat or comments below, but sorry if already posted: http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/times-up-for-petrol-cars-says-gm-...

Big Boss at General Motors says we have reached peak oil, need to switch to electrics and use ethanol. I have no doubt GM will continue to sell large trucks and other inneficient vehicles. THough I do give him credit for recognising that ethanol is not a longterm silver bullet, meerly and interim fuel used to cover a transition period. Glad to see PO continue to enter the mainstream.

btw, this is my first comment here after reading/luriking for maybe 2 years now. many thanks and i say great work to all the editors and contributors here at TOD.


This story has been discussed a lot over the past two days. TOD:ANZ even has a dedicated thread.

Sounds to me like the Australian reporter kind of jumped to conclusions about what Wagoner actually said.

You can't put much weight on what Rick Wagoner says. Over at The Truth About Cars they call him Rabid Rick because so much of what he says does not make sense. GM is in a death spiral flailing about with no coherent plan that anyone with half a brain can figure out. It's a toss up who is more confused Rabid Rick or the Car Czar Bob Lutz. They are liquidating assets to stay in business. They are cutting prices to move inventory glued to the car lots. I watched a local Pontiac dealer sit on seven 2008 Pontiac Vibes (same as the Toyota Matrix) for about two months. The list price on these is $20,410. I have a GM card with earnings applicable to GM vehicles. With all the discounts and my GM earnings I bought one Monday for $14,872. There's a new body style coming out but still seems to be a pretty good discount. How long can GM go on doing this? Rick Wagoner never says how he is going to fix GM, never sets a timetable to do it, and is never held accountable by the board of directors for his actions.

I bought a Vibe in January 06 and paid $15500. I have had 2 customers come into my store and tell me they have paid the same amount recently. Also I had a customer last week that bought a new Chevy Aveo for $6750, no air and manual transmission. This sounds like deflation to me or GM has too many vehicles to move off the lots. Upstate NY.

Maybe some day soon he'll announce that GM is getting out of the business of making and selling real cars, and instead is setting up shop in Second Life to sell virtual cars.

They already have such good experience with the Volt, after all.

Hey wasn't Andris Piebalgs the EU energy commisioner who is now discussing peak oil the turd who said in '06 that peak oil is only a theory? What a jagoff, hey Andris ya only wasted 2 years to say what ya just said.


WRT the lead story on Saudi Arabia overtaking Mexico for the #2 US importer, the real take-away question is this:

What does one get by being a "Gold Member" at cattlenetwork.com?

Now for an update on the 'Iranian Gunboat Attack on US Naval Vessels'...Odd how our Navy on scene in the Persian Gulf and the butt kissers infesting the pentagon and DC seem to be at loggerheads about Iranian intentions. Also, notice that ALL the MSM picked up the story that the pentagon wanted released...not the real story as related by the Captains of the US Navy ships involved in the incident...No media conspiracy here, move along.


'How the Pentagon planted a false story
The ballyhooed US-Iranian Strait of Hormuz speedboat incident was essentially a propaganda hoax concocted by the Pentagon as evidence of a dire Iranian threat. It has since failed to pass scrutiny and even the US Navy is distancing itself from this public relations debacle. - Gareth Porter (Jan 16, '08)

'WASHINGTON - Senior Pentagon officials, evidently reflecting a broader administration policy decision, used an off-the-record Pentagon briefing to turn the January 6 US-Iranian incident in the Strait of Hormuz into a sensational story demonstrating Iran's military aggressiveness, a reconstruction of the events following the incident shows.

The initial press stories on the incident, all of which can be traced to a briefing by deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs in charge of media operations, Bryan Whitman, contained similar information that has since been repudiated by the navy itself.'...snip...

The decision to treat the January 6 incident as evidence of an Iranian threat reveals a chasm between the interests of political officials in Washington and navy officials in the Gulf. Asked whether the navy's reporting of the episode was distorted by Pentagon officials, Lydia Robertson of Fifth Fleet Public Affairs would not comment directly. But she said, "There is a different perspective over there."

Yeah, there perspective is from 'over there'!

Sounds to me like it was just a bunch of idiot hoaxsters:


Aided and abetted by White House warmongerers on your dime. That's why we all believed the original story for a day or two. I've heard Lyndon Johnson spent his first year in office looking for an excuse to bomb Vietnam. If at first you don't succeed...

From thousands of 'these kinds of things' to hundreds to just a bunch of idiot hoaxsters


The first casualty in a war is truth (or innocence, take your pick).

Does that mean the war has begun?

That ALL the media picked it up right away does not say "usually reliable source" or "credible sources" or even "official information". It says "sources we always defer to" or "persons we take orders from". Bryan Whitman sounds a likely source but I would bet many reporters normally bypass his pressers.

That after a start like that a large swathe of the MSM has attempted to report further twists to the story is astonishing.
Very hard to believe any of this shadowdance is coming from lowly captains. Sounds more like multiple factions all operating out of Oval Office. But who knows? It's shadow play.

Filipino Monkey is rapidly becoming my favorite person in the Middle East. He can't stand the way things are, so he tries to provoke a regional nuclear war to end it all. And he's been getting away with it for 26 years from the comfort of his own home. Much easier than shooting Archduke Ferdinand.

Super390, forgive my naivety, but I just don't know, who's the "Filipino Monkey"?

More like a social concept than a person: ‘Filipino Monkey’ and the Naval Confrontation With Iran

Thanks PaulS.

Who'd have thunk it? WWIII could begin b/c hams (like in ham operators) like to ham it up.

Still don't know if I understand what the Filipino Monkey is exactly -- perhaps nobody does -- but one would hope the U.S. Navy will continue to be able to distinguish between belligerent chatter and idle gibberish.

Perhaps it can be taken as a promising sign that the naval crews on the Straits of Hormuz didn't fire first and ask later.

There are times when we can be grateful for military discipline and professionalism.

If only we could send our beloved statesmens, television personalities, and arm-chair warriors to boot camp:-)

BTW, I am aware that the story broke just before Bush's visit to the ME.

The Filipino Monkey isn't the only one up to monkey business.

Hi River--Something I searched for in relation to this atimes item, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JA16Ak02.html about "Gulf Allies turn their backs on Bush" is this interview with El Baradei the head honcho at IAEA, http://english.daralhayat.com/Spec/01-2008/Article-20080111-696004c1-c0a... and http://english.daralhayat.com/Spec/01-2008/Article-20080110-639032eb-c0a...

The interview covers lots of ground and is very informative. And as El Baradei is perhaps the most visible and upstanding Arab leader in the world today, knowing his thoughts and outlooks is of value, IMO.

France and the UAE have signed a deal allowing France to set up a permanent military base, the first in the Gulf for a Western power other than the US.

The two countries also signed a deal to develop peaceful nuclear energy during a visit by President Nicolas Sarkozy.


The greenest mile is the one you never travel. Assuming that the Transition will still see people working on PCs/Macs for a while, why even try to commute more efficiently? Just work from home.

Ah, but how does the boss know you're really working and not using the firm's time to, say, post on the Oil Drum?

Bill Gates thinks he knows how:

Microsoft seeks patent for office 'spy' software

Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.

Easy enough, you get paid for PRODUCT and not TIME, just like the good old days. :)

OIL PRICE CORRELATION WTI/BRENT vs. all 400+ other crudes!
The World portion in trade is 0,68% for Brent and 1,77% for WTI

Everybody talks about oil hitting 100USD.
By looking at refinery feeds, it seems that the amount of high quality crude being used varies widely.

My question:
a)How strong correlate other crudes with the benchmark crudes WTI/Brent....?
b) Are "speculators" also strongly involved in the trading of the other crudes ?


The Good News About the Recession

The juxtaposition of a shrinking U.S. economy with a continuing global boom should function as a wake-up call. Yes, we matter. But we don't matter nearly as much as we used to. Between 2000 and 2006, according to Goldman Sachs, America's share of global GDP fell from 31 percent to 27.7 percent. Last year, with the pace of U.S. economic growth lagging that of the world, the slippage continued. In January 2001, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ accounted for 48.4 percent of the globe's stock market capitalization. In December 2007, by my calculation of data from the World Federation of Stock Exchanges, that proportion had fallen to 31.4 percent.

The world is running away from us. The volume of global trade in merchandise has been increasing rapidly. And it's not just the United States importing goods from China. It's China importing natural resources from everywhere and building infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa, sub-Saharan Africa buying oil from the Persian Gulf, Dubai investors purchasing Indian real estate, Indian builders buying German engineering products and services, and German engineers buying toys made in China. With each passing day, an increasing number of transactions in the global marketplace do not involve the United States. We're still a powerful engine. But the world's economy now has a set of auxiliary motors.

Maybe Matt Simmons is right, and oil prices will stay high even if the US goes into recession...

I put it this way:

In the Twenties & Thirties, millions of people wanted to buy cars for the first time.

Today, billions of people want to buy cars for the first time.

This information reinforces my thesis that the overall global economy will continue onward while the US economy slides into an ever deeper stagflation-based recession. I also think whoever becomes president will only last one term as s/he will utterly fail to end this structural economic slide. I would point to the problems facing California--massive revenue and thus budgetary shortfalls--as a microcosm for the country. Since there can be no deficit spending, the choice is to cut spending or raise taxes or both. This can serve as a proxy for the problem facing the federal government as it is already too mired in debt to increase it enough to stimulate BAU--which is exactly the wrong thing to stimulate and will only serve to increase the severity of the economic slide. There is a way out--total rollback of the US Empire--but it's blocked by the triangulation of the military-industrial-congressional complex. For ANY substantive Change to happen, this complex must be eliminated.

The problem is not a shortfall in revenues. It is runaway SPENDING GROWTH.


Leanan, I think that there will be enough emerging economic demand to place a fairly stable floor of $70 under oil, unless we see a world wide depression accompanied by deflation. Some time ago on TOD you posted an article that said in part that off shore drillers needed $70 to make a profit and that they would cease operations if the price went lower. (please correct me if I am wrong about this). I believe that Darwinian also said that this was correct? OPEC producers will use the floor to their advantage. If OPEC has spare capicity they can drive prices below $70 very short term and destroy IOCs with less than deep pockets. As you pointed out up thread the US economy is not as important as it once was and a recession here is not going to take oil back to levels below $70...imo. A world wide depression could lead to very low oil prices short term but it could also trigger some very large wars and large (non nuclear) wars will require lots of oil. Untill central banks slow down the printing presses oil will stay high in $ denominated terms. As long as auto sales are booming in Russia, India, China, etc, and central banks printing money like crazy, why would oil prices drop below $70 (nominal dollars)? What I am saying is that I see lots of scenarios for oil to remain above $70 and few for oil to go below that figure for any sustained period...and, much of what I see happening is without factoring in the fact of geologic PO...another huge log on the fire.

There are two breakeven prices. One is a project planning hurdle/justification, "Will we order and set up a platform, etc. to exploit a small new offshore find ?" , or just let it go.

The word is that this project justification oil price is as low as $50, with COP having the highest project breakeven price of the majors.

The other is the marginal cost of production once the investment has been made, and this varies by production levels, age and location (GoM < North Sea). A rough guess is around $25-$30.barrel.

I hope this helps,


Weather is not climate, but if the unusual weather patterns around the globe currently are caused by climate change, perhaps we have far more serious problem than we think.

Huge fracture in Beaufort Sea ice pack worries scientists

A massive fracture discovered this winter in the Beaufort Sea ice pack could be a sign of things to come as climate change continues to warm the Arctic, according to a leading climate researcher

Ocean currents respond to climate change

The latest ocean research shows currents around Antarctica are responding to climate change. Scientists studying the freshness of seawater have found the ocean is becoming less salty in areas near the Antarctic continent. Salty water is critical to driving the ocean currents, which in turn, send heat around the world.

Antarctic ice sheet shrinking at faster rate

But a new study released yesterday, based on some of the most extensive measurements to date of the continent's ice mass, presents a worrisome development: Antarctica's ice sheet is shrinking, at a rate that increased dramatically from 1996 to 2006

"Over the time period of our survey, the ice sheet as a whole was certainly losing mass, and the mass loss increased by 75 per cent in 10 years," the study said.

Is what's happening at the poles causing this?

Snow in the desert as cold snap grips Middle East

Dust storms hit WA wheatbelt

The region doesn't usually see wind storms until the end of summer, and farmers are now worried about how much topsoil they have lost.

Dr Daniel Murphy from the University of WA says nutrients have been blown away. "Within the top ten centimetres you have between 50 to 70 per cent of your soil biology and most of that is concentrated in the first few centimetres," he says.

Changing climate 'is leading to rougher seas'

The report says climate change is already causing warmer, saltier and more acidic seas with a greater incidence of severe winds and bigger waves.

There is also evidence that the Atlantic Heat Conveyor, of which the Gulf Stream is part, and which helps maintain relatively mild temperatures in north-west Europe, has reduced in strength by up to 30 per cent in the last 100 years.

Are we now entering the abrupt part of "abrupt climate change"? If so, everything else will pale in significance as our infrastructure is tested to destruction.

Hello TODers,

As most know, I am becoming increasingly concerned about NPK, both organic and industrial. Job specialization is only possible when food surpluses exist, and NPK are the critical elements to leverage high crop yields above dire Liebig Minimums.

I believe Victory Compost Pits are essential to induce as much organic NPK Victory Gardens as possible. This can greatly dampen the need for new urban permaculturists to buy, use, and hoard industrial NPK as this could terribly distort the current NPK distribution.

A simple way to achieve this is for a town's mayor to announce that landscape gardeners will not be allowed to haul their lawn & hedge & tree & leaf clippings outside the city limits to the landfills anymore; that homeowners and businesses must provide reasonable spots for composting on their property. This will not cost anyone any money, in fact, it will reduce landscaping costs because labor time and the fuel to pull the trailer to the landfill is now eliminated. The professional gardeners can easily stir the compost pit faster than the time required for a round trip to the landfill [or the homeowner could do it himself for additional savings].

To further incentivize composting: each neighborhood could have a judging contest to determine who has the best compost. The winners would get to choose something highly desireable: old scotch or wine, home beer brewing kit, solar water heater, bicycles, 500 canning jars, etc. The basic idea is to make people brag about how organic they are vs bragging about their vehicles. The cost savings to the city in reduced haulage to the landfills could easily pay for this rewards program.

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

Amen Bob - I am pushing for this in my neck o the woods.

There used to be a farm that took away restaurant scraps from us and others but they quit doing it as they say it was too much work and very messy.

There are a few companies that are starting to explore the profitability of it and with the price of ammonia nitrate over $600 per ton it's looking pretty good.

Several of my local growers are telling me that because they have been selling more of what they grow as of late their compost build-up is dwindling. IMO another reason why bio-fuels are a bad idea. We need all waste and scrap for compost.

Compost not Bio-fuel


Hi Bob,

Interesting, as always.

re: "landscape gardeners will not be allowed to haul their lawn & hedge & tree & leaf clippings outside the city limits to the landfills anymore;"

Isn't one reason they do this to avoid the energy/(money, equipment) cost of shredding? To get "trimmings" down to a manageable composting size, they need to be shredded - ? "Gardening services" I've observed routinely...cut things down and pile them in the dumpster for pick-up by the city/county.

In other words, there are costs associated with transport to landfills, but they are born by different actors.

Ok, we had our little radio talk on KBOO this morning. I referenced Alan's electrified rail, Jeffrey's ELM and ELP, and the oil drum a few times. My favorite part of the interview was toward the end, when a caller said this topic reminded him of his Marxist past, when he would have referred to the whole mess as "fiscal crackpotism." He went on to say that the $500+ trillion estimate of the derivatives market made him want to line the speculators up against the wall and... disempower them (with extreme prejudice, of course!). Ha, what a great line.

Kurt L. aka rototillerman
Portland, OR

Hello TODers,

Sadly, the National PTA has never responded to my long ago Peak Outreach email asking for schools to transform their playing fields into gardens and livestock pens. Yet I still believe it is vital that the next generation become permaculture trained as it takes a long time to develop skilled organic and livestock proficiency.

Perhaps a tax credit to those homeowners, within easy walking or bicycling distance from the schools, that allow the students to garden their property might do the trick. The students could quickly dig up the non-edible lawns and bushes, then plant vegetables for later use in the school kitchens. The kids swarming through these neighborhoods, under the supervision of their teachers, would also greatly reduce the likelihood of burglars breaking in while the homeowners were away at their jobs. So besides enjoying a tax credit, his homeowners insurance premium would also go down from the reduced risk of break-ins.

Could this idea help spur relocalized permaculture? I think the younger kids would be excited to eat the vegetables that they grew themselves, and the older kids would enjoy their butchered chickens and livestock that they raised on the schoolgrounds. IMO, this is a much better alternative than Bill Payne's great cartoon of future kids pointlessly chucking wooden spears at a small herd of wire grocery carts.

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

It would be interesting to compile an estimate of the total area covered by parks and golf courses in urban/suburban areas in the US. Future farms?

One approach, reported on by the German Council for Sustainable Development, was taken by a secondary school in Wuppertal, Germany, with the aim of engaging the teenage students in a sustainable business. Teachers helped students found the company "Food Factory", which is a catering business with a focus on seasonal foods and locally-grown organic produce. Sounds promising. German-language links:


A loyal lurker sent me this link:

Bob Ebersole Online Tribute Site

(For those who haven't heard, "Oilmanbob" passed away last month.)

For the past couple of weeks I have been fretting over the absence of postings from Oilmanbob. It's been a busy week and I missed the threads in Drumbeat on the 14th and 15th.

Oilmanbob was the very first person to ever respond to one of my postings. His comments were personal and insightful and I had hoped to continue our discussion online or off. But then my life went into a tizzy of selling my home and moving (which I see now was the day before he died) and I couldn't devote much time to saying anything thoughtful here on TOD.

I do want to remark on Oilmanbob's willingness to talk about himself in a deeply personal way. I was astounded at the way he was able to talk about his struggle with drugs and homelessness. Those experiences seemed to bring him to new understandings about himself and the world. And his talk about his spiritual path was fascinating to see in such a technical venue...but everything worked. His words fell right into place. He was compassionate and thoughtful.

And I don't want to minimize his political insights which helped me see the world more clearly. Finally, he made the oil industry understandable for people like me who have no direct connection with it except at the gas pump.

I am surprised at myself for being so upset at Oilmanbob's passing. We never met or spoke, but clearly he touched me in some deep place.

Dragging something up from a few days ago, which was quite justifiably put to bed by Leanan at the time, perhaps things have moved on sufficiently that it's worth another look?

this "diebold effect" varies in magnitude depending on the exact covariates used, it seems to center around an additional 5.2% of votes going for Clinton from Diebold machines. The same analysis shows a Diebold disadvantage for Obama of about -4.2%

A lot of number crunching has been going on around the New Hampshire primary results, one example that these quotes are taken from is: "The Diebold Effect": Hillary's Votes Higher From Diebold Machines Even Controlling for Demographics (education, income, population, etc)"

there was an easy explanation: towns with Diebold machines are more urban on average, and Hillary was always thought to have more support in urban areas. So, like many others, I was supremely irritated by the lack of analyses [...] So I got a copy of the vote counts, [...] the % holding bachelor's degrees, the median household income, the total town population, population density [...]

To my complete (and continuing) amazement, the "diebold effect" on Hillary's votes remains after controlling for any and all of those demographic variables, with a p-value of <.001: that is, there are less than 1:1000 odds for this difference occurring through chance alone, and that's after adjusting for variability in Hillary's votes due to education, income, total population, and population density.

So who knows, perhaps there is another significant variable that needs to be controlled for that no one has thought of. It's got as far as:

Update 4: I used [a] list of precincts with Clinton campaign offices to use as a covariate for "campaigning presence", and the diebold effect is still significant at p<.001 controlling for that and all other covariates mentioned above.

It could of course be a true 1:1000+ fluke as to who voted where...

the general conclusion is buttressed by the following analyses, all of which have come to similar conclusions: [these are links at the source blog]
- Elecion Archive's analysis
- This one by an econ professor at Dartmouth.
- The european tribune reviews the case, with a variety of analyses
- An analysis using R
- BrFox's analysis

Whatever, the story perhaps deserves another look? Whereas a few days ago it was: "If they had any suspicions, they would demand a recount." Now both R and D recounts are underway, and questions are being raised about obstruction and control of the ballots between the election and the recount - it seems to me that any obstruction reported so far has the ring of petty bureaucracy rather than fraud to it though.

BradBlog is quite good for running commentary. Of course, these election fraud watchers seem as excitable as a bunch of peak-oilers talking about Saudi production declines... It's almost like they WANT to find fraud ;-)

I say wait until the recount is done. I took a brief look at the recounts in Manchester so far, and Hillary has actually gained votes in all wards. The differences are all small, in any case. There doesn't seem to be evidence of fraud. I would have been surprised if the recount was exactly the same.

IMO, this really isn't on-topic. We know humans and machines make errors. It's good they are checking, and this is why I like optical scanners: the paper trail. But so far, there's no news here.

IMO, this really isn't on-topic

That's why I held off until this DrumBeat had pretty much finished it's run... I do try and be good :-)