DrumBeat: January 30, 2008

Refiners raid European fuel market as run cuts bite

LONDON (Reuters) - Two refiners, their European plants running at reduced rates as they seek to defend their profit margins from $90 per barrel oil, lifted European fuel prices as they bid for cargoes on Tuesday, trade sources said.

Interest in diesel from ConocoPhillips and gasoline from Petroplus helped cargo prices rise while prices in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp refining hub, which are more reflective of inland European end-user demand, declined.

The companies are among about dozen refiners worldwide who have taken more than 400,000 barrels per day of distillation capacity off line this month to restore the margin between crude prices and oil product prices, which have lagged crude's rally.

China in lockdown as weather worsens

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- China's worst winter in more than half a century showed no signs of abating Wednesday as forecasters told citizens to brace for three more days of snow and sleet.

"The heavy snow and sleet has paralyzed transport and coal shipments, and led to travelers cramming railways stations and airports and power supply reductions in almost half of the 31 provinces and regions on the Chinese mainland," China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Suncor, Shell oil sands output unaffected by cold

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Oil sand projects operated by Suncor Energy Inc and Royal Dutch Shell are running normally despite a bitter cold snap in northern Alberta that forced Syncrude Canada Ltd to suspend production at its 350,000 barrel per day project.

Suncor and Shell both said that their oil sands mining projects near Fort McMurray, Alberta, were producing at normal rates. Suncor's output is about 260,000 bpd, while Shell has a capacity of 155,000 bpd.

Europe thinks alternatively in quest to go 'green'

LONDON — Europeans are experimenting with alternative, eco-friendly sources of energy that are, well, quite alternative.

Businesses and individuals are trying ways large, small and controversial to wean the Continent off expensive oil, gas and coal — and to combat climate change.

OPEC Meeting: No change seen in oil production quotas Friday but later cut likely

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - OPEC is set to leave its production quotas unchanged this Friday but the likelihood of a cut at its next scheduled meeting in March is growing as the prospect of a global economic slowdown looms.

OPEC ministers have begun to arrive in Vienna ahead of the cartel's specially convened meeting this week in an attempt to pacify consumers worried that tight supply was pushing prices too high.

However, oil ministers from OPEC member states Ecuador, Nigeria and Qatar have already indicated that they see no change to output at this week's meeting, although the cartel's largest producer and de facto leader Saudi Arabia has yet to comment.

Monbiot: Population growth is a threat. But it pales against the greed of the rich

It's easy to blame the poor for growing pressure on the world's resources. But still the wealthy west takes the lion's share.

Stratfor: Iraq's oil offensive

The Iraqi government cut off oil exports to South Korean energy firm SK Energy on January 1, and will deny the company oil for all of 2008 unless it backs out of its deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) by January 31, Reuters reported today (January 28), citing Iraqi Oil Ministry sources.

The move represents an important development in the ongoing dispute between the KRG and the Shiite-dominated central government in Baghdad over control of Iraq’s oil resources.

Why Cape Breton shakes in the echo of this distant boom

NEW WATERFORD, N.S. — When Frankie Morrison wanted to remodel his kitchen, he didn't take out a loan, or dip into his retirement savings. Instead, the 53-year-old father of three followed in the footsteps of his son, his eldest daughter, his brother-in-law and just about every other working-age man in this former coal-mining town: He headed west for a spell, to take part in the Great Economic Miracle known as the oil sands.

“I came home with $9,200 in my pocket after six weeks,” he explained, flashing a $200 watch his employer gave him for avoiding accidents on the job. “My buddy just came back and he made $43,000. He bought a four-wheel drive, put new cupboards in his home, a new kitchen and new flooring. As a fella says, you make hay while the sun shines.”

China's CNPC wants to purchase Russian gas at European prices

MOSCOW (Thomson Financial) - The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has informed Russia's OAO Gazprom that it wants to pay a price similar to that which European clients currently pay for its natural gas, a source close to the negotiations told Interfax.

'The Chinese are insisting that Gazprom proceed from the gas price for Europe at the starting period of determining the price formula,' the source said.

Iraq 'set for oil price windfall'

Increasing oil production and higher oil prices mean Iraq could be set for an influx of extra money towards reconstruction, a report has said.

Iraq oil cash not spent for reconstruction

Increased Iraqi oil revenues stemming from high prices and improved security are piling up in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rather than being spent on needed reconstruction projects, a Washington Times study of Iraq's spending and revenue figures has shown.

Friction over coal price at root of power shortage

In the longer term, the rolling cuts are the product of a clash between the power and coal industries over price and profits, with Beijing standing by, sometimes ineffectively, as referee.

The state power companies have bristled in recent years at the rising cost of the coal they buy to fire their generators. While coal prices have been largely deregulated, and become increasingly tied to global markets, power prices are still set by the government.

NTPC Coal Imports to Jump 67%, May Burn Lower Grades

(Bloomberg) -- NTPC Ltd., India's biggest utility, plans to import 67 percent more coal next fiscal year and switch to lower grades, to curb the impact of record fuel prices as its meets soaring electricity demand.

The generator may have to pay 39 percent more to import the fuel in the year starting April, Chairman T. Sankaralingam said by telephone from New Delhi today. At current prices NTPC will on average pay as much as $75 a metric ton for imports next year compared with $54 in the year to March 31, he said.

Sinopec's Maoming further delays coker maintenance

BEIJING (Reuters) - Sinopec's Maoming refinery has postponed further the maintenance of a delayed coking unit to the second quarter as it operates at near full speed to meet firm domestic fuel demand, an industry source said.

Tokyo Electric Expects Record Loss on Oil, Gas Costs

(Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co., forced to shut the world's biggest nuclear plant after an earthquake, predicted a record loss for the year ending March because of higher costs for oil and natural gas.

...``Fuel costs are leaping far more than we expected,'' Managing Director Masaru Takei told reporters Tokyo today. ``Spikes in oil prices force us to pay more for liquefied natural gas as well. Sellers are taking a tough stance to increase their fuel prices.''

Malaysia: Stockpile sign of a responsible govt

IT is the duty of every responsible government to ensure a constant supply of essential foodstuff so that people will have access to such goods on a daily basis.

One way of doing this is to stockpile enough food and fuel in case of an emergency leading to a shortage, whether due to natural causes or other factors. There must be enough supply to last the storm.

High Oil Prices Boost Energy Efficiency - Report

LONDON - High oil prices have spurred countries to use energy more efficiently, a report by an energy industry group said, but the authors say concerted government action is still needed to encourage less waste.

Days of cheap energy are over, lawmaker says

DES MOINES -- Iowa should implement efficiency standards for utility companies as part of the state's drive to create green jobs and reduce energy consumption, a group of lawmakers announced Tuesday.

"Iowans are used to the concept that energy will be cheap, and those days are now over," said Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids. "Energy is no longer going to be cheap, so we have to become better energy consumers."

A load of hot air?

Green and vegan claims that meat is a climate crime are based on a UN statistic that could lead to more industrialised farming.

UK: Beef shortage brings call for price increase

With fertiliser, feed and fuel prices all escalating, NFUS has huge concerns that the production of both beef and lamb could be about to suffer a serious drop unless prices start to reflect both the tight supply situation and rising costs.

Figures produced by the Scottish Government revealed drops in both breeding sheep and cattle numbers since June 2007.

Risk of restarting nuclear reactor too high: Keen

The woman who was fired by the federal Conservatives as president of Canada's nuclear safety watchdog said Tuesday the safety risk of resuming the Chalk River, Ont., reactor was 1,000 times higher than accepted international standards.

Where Industry Has Failed Us

The second half of the 20th century was, in some key respects, a time of stagnation. Have we learned any lessons from the failure of industry (and governments)? We could be enjoying universal supersonic jet travel, with aircraft capable of vertical takeoffs and landings; electric cars; and cheap nuclear power. Instead, we've been deprived of these things by timidity and cowardice in high places, by a lack of vision and initiative and by a failing of the energetic, entrepreneurial spirit of technical adventure that dominated the West from 1750 to 1950.

Saying Goodbye To The Oil Age

The litany of "bigger, faster, and more complex," mega-this and mega-that, as a cure for the initial problem of "bigger, faster, and more complex" is self-evidently ludicrous, so ludicrous that we cannot see it. It is sheer bigness — overpopulation, resource-consumption, and environmental destruction — that has led us to the first days of systemic collapse. Dragging images out of science-fiction movies to create "bigger, faster, and more complex" machines will not do the trick. The paradigm is elusive but real: the worship of technology creates a chain reaction, a spiral, a thermostat set to zero tolerance. The technophile is a junkie with a need for an ever-larger fix, a millionaire with an ever-greater fear of poverty, a Uriah Heep who creates his own enemies.

Mexico sees big oil field's output sliding further

MEXICO CITY, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Crude oil reserves in Mexico's huge but waning Cantarell oil field will continue to decline this year at around the same pace as in 2007, Pemex Director General Jesus Reyes Heroles said on Tuesday.

Reyes Heroles told Reuters average daily production at Cantarell, in the Gulf of Mexico, would drop by 200,000 barrels over 2008, increasing pressure on the state-owned oil monopoly to ramp up output at smaller oil fields.

The decrease would be a drop of 16 percent from Cantarell's December 2007 output of 1.26 million barrels per day (bpd), its lowest level of the year. Yields at Cantarell declined 16 percent during 2007, slightly more than forecast.

Oil scarcity has 'snuck up on us', expert says

Dr Jim Buckee has just retired as president and chief executive of Talisman Energy, a major independent Canadian oil company with a market capitalisation of $25 billion.

..."I think it's pretty alarmist if one or more of the world's largest oil companies say, 'listen guys, supplies of oil are going to get tight'. The ramifications are immense.

"Always the line of the major oil companies, Exxon, Shell, BP has been, 'there's plenty of oil, technology will overcome shortages; we'll find it'.

"They changed a little bit to, 'there's plenty of oil, but access is difficult' and then this is a change again saying, 'well actually, it looks like it's finite and we're looking over the hill'."

Syncrude production suspended after extreme cold

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Production at the 350,000 barrel per day Syncrude Canada Ltd oil sands project has been suspended after instruments began freezing up due to a bitter cold snap in northern Alberta, the joint-venture's biggest shareholder said on Tuesday.

China Oilfield Shares Rise on Profit, Cnooc Spending

(Bloomberg) -- China Oilfield Services Ltd. rose in Hong Kong trading after saying profit almost doubled and its biggest customer Cnooc Ltd. budgeted a 44 percent jump in spending to meet Chinese energy demand.

Suncor plans major oil sands spending

TORONTO (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc said on Wednesday its board approved a C$20.6 billion investment aimed at boosting crude oil production at the company's oil sands operation north of Fort McMurray in Alberta.

The investment will boost its production by 200,000 barrels per day, and help the company achieve its goal of raising crude oil production capacity to 550,000 bpd in 2012, it said.

Gazprom looms large on EU's gas supply horizon

Russian energy giant Gazprom has secured further pipeline deals with individual EU member states and announced its ambition to move into the UK market this week, casting further doubts over the EU's ambition to "speak with one voice" on external energy matters.

Energy: It's real money now

Jeff Hohensee, CEO of the local sustainability consulting/education firm Natural Capital Solutions (NCS), said demand for NCS services is increasing, partially because the “drivers of change” are staring businesses in the economic face.

Hohensee said businesses face “durably” increasing energy costs; what he called the “reality” of climate change; increases in resource costs as the world population approaches 7 billion people; and the possibility of “peak oil,” or the point at which worldwide oil production capacity will begin to decline, in the foreseeable future.

Another view of Plan B

Seawater agriculture and seawater/saline algae farms are an important part of an approach to try and head off warming as opposed to "living in a warmer world." Evidently we reached "peak oil" in 2006. With the tremendous growth in Asian demand, oil prices are expected to rise rapidly.

Therefore, both from an economic and a climate perspective we need to -- soon -- replace petroleum fuels for transportation. The only viable candidates are hydrogen and biofuels. Hydrogen has major storage and infrastructure issues; biofuels appear to be the approach of choice going forward. Replacing oil will require tremendous capacity, which is only available for biomass if we utilize seawater agriculture and seawater/saline algae farms.

Kirschenmann says agriculture must change to survive

Agriculture and other industries are based on a system of easily extracted fossil fuel.

"We tap into the earth's crust, pull it out and process it," Kirschenmann said. "Up until we reached peak oil in the 1970s, we were getting 100 kilocalories of energy for every kilocalorie we invested. Our whole economy was based on cheap energy."

Today every kilocalorie invested generates just 20 kilocalories.

Prof Says Fiscal System Holding Back Uk Oil and Gas Projects

"Currently the UK continental shelf is suffering from serious cost escalation, and this has meant that some projects/fields are unattractive.

"Among the examples is gas from the west of Shetland area. There are around 20 undeveloped discoveries there, but the development and infrastructure costs are very high, and even an integrated development scheme with a common hub and pipeline system is uneconomic. Tax reliefs could help such high-cost developments."

Another showdown with Alberta

The noble idea, part of Trudeau's plan at nation-building by spreading the public weal between the haves and have-nots, was to force Albertans to share the oil boom's petrobucks with all the rest of us. The result was the rise of western separatism and an anger that lasted for decades, and still makes Alberta a no man's land for Liberals.

Mines to get 90% of power supply back, says Eskom

Johannesburg – South Africa‘s mines should have 90 per cent of their power back by tomorrow, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said yesterday.

“The target is on Thursday to go to 90%,” said Erwin after a meeting of the government, the mining industry and Eskom.

Brazil's Politicians Set to Cash in on Oil and Gas Discoveries

As if Brazil was not blessed with a bounty of natural resources it seems that God has decided to help his favorite nation once again by unveiling his latest gifts - massive reserves of oil and gas. The state-owned oil company Petrobras announced on January 21 that it had discovered huge offshore gas reserves which could be as large as the oil resources it discovered in November at the nearby Tupi field, which are estimated at five to eight billion barrels.

This means that Brazil is on its way to becoming one of the world's leading oil and gas producers. Brazil is already self-reliant in oil and when the natural gas is flowing in 2014 it will no longer depend on Bolivia. Ironically, this good news comes amidst fears of energy rationing this year as the country's current power resources cope to meet with the rising demand from a growing economy.

China weather chaos a sign of things to come: experts

BEIJING (AFP) — Don't tell the thousands of Chinese stuck at railway stations or airports, but the chaos caused by a vicious cold spell afflicting much of China could be just a taste of things to come, experts say.

The inclement weather and ensuing problems merely highlight the country's increasing vulnerability to the extreme weather swings characteristic of global climate change, experts say, and is likely to be repeated in future years.

Bush Administration wants to kill Coal CO2 Sequestration Power Plant

I believe that GWB, is his annual State of the Union lies, came out in favor of "clean coal" with sequestration a couple of days ago.


Best Hopes for 356 more days,


How can we have best hopes for 356 more days of war crimes, crimes against humanity (secret prisons, torture, rape, murder) and these terrible continued crimes against the planet and the very "life support system" that makes life possible for our species?

By the end of 365 days,what further crimes will be committed?

How many more lies will be told?

How many more false promises will be made related to the environment?

How many more budgets will be slashed for projects that work toward cleaner energy or energy conservation?

My best hope is for a minimum number of all of the above.

Incompetence in all areas, including doing evil, in other words.

Best Hopes for Continued GWB Incompetence,


Check out C-span right now.

Sen. Leahy presiding over Senate discussion with AG Mukasey.

Already in opening remarks, Leahy has warned against 'King George'.. maybe not enough, but it's better than last year.


Pardon the detail-errors,

it's a Judiciary Ctte Oversight hearing, and I don't know how the AG's name is spelled.. got it on audio right now..


Unfortunately doing evil seems to be the one thing they're good at.

Although, maybe with the economy in trouble they'll be distracted from opening up a can of worms in Iran...

You've forgotten? New wars are the way that us here Murricans solve our economic problems...

It's an old Republican party trick. I honestly wouldn't put it past them to try and retain power by starting trouble in an election cycle. But then, that's just me being cynical...

The Bush 'say one thing and do another' political approach only seems to support the corps and the worst ones of the bunch at that.

I kinda' figured your hopes were along these lines, Alan.

My best hopes have been dashed on the rocks of -- ahem! -- "political reality" so many times that I truly am in a mourning mode. Not feeling sorry for myself, but lamenting the folly of our nation. Hey, it's a dirty job, but somebody has got to do it! Who better to lament than a "Beggar"?

Meanwhile, my shoulder is to the wheel and my nose is to the grindstone, working for sustainability in spite of the floods of folly.

One day, it just may be that some good will come of the positive efforts -- and if not, at least I (and so Many People!) will have put forth their best efforts.

"Atta Boy" to you Alan, and to many others who are still in there working for positive change!

And an "ATTA Boy !" to you ! :=)

Best Hopes for Citizen Action & Activity,


The FutureGen was to be built in Mattoon, Illinois, twenty miles from my house. Lots of people are really upset and feel betrayed after going through the long process to get the Mattoon for the new plant. I wonder if the Energy Department would have pulled support if Texas, the main competitor for the new plant, was the site location .

It's interesting how marketing affects peoples' perceptions and the resulting NIMBY/PIMBY attitudes.

So, local people are PIMBY (Please in my back yard) on a project that will inject millions of tonnes of extremely dangerous suffocating gas right there below their feet. A first of kind project, involving technology that has never been demonstrated or proven it will work properly.

Then they would vigorously protest a nuclear reactor at the same place - even though for all 50 years of existence nuclear plants in the developed world have practically hurt noone. Even though for the same investment such a plant will be producing more then 3 times the energy of the "clean coal" plant... Talk about rationality.

What I'd really like to start seeing is RIMBY - Renewables In My Back Yard

Two things, LevinK

1) False Dichotomy. You make it sound as if the people who oppose Nuke are therefore Pro 'CleanCoal' .. Survey the Green Nimbys and convince me that they are really Pro either one.. both are dirty, and are tearing up all sorts of land and fouling waterways to access their fuels.

2) No Injuries... Keep Repeating it. In a hundred thousand years, you won't have made it true. I've linked to Native villages in the American west that have been inundated with cancers from their Uranium Mining, testimonies to the Cancers birth defects in the Ukraine, underreported reactor accidents.. Of course, we're still effecting some 'Waste Disposal' by packaging our high explosives in DU and giving it as a gift to the future generations of Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan. But that doesn't count as a peripheral effect of Nuclear Power, does it?


1) False Dichotomy. You make it sound as if the people who oppose Nuke are therefore Pro 'CleanCoal' ..

No, I'm not and I'm not talking about that here. The same people are likely to object wind mills if they clog their view. I'm simply pointing out that people choose which dangers to fear from, based on mere preconceptions and irrelevant of rational argumentation.

I've linked to Native villages in the American west that have been inundated with cancers from their Uranium Mining, testimonies to the Cancers birth defects in the Ukraine, underreported reactor accidents..

I am well aware that in the early days of the US nuclear program the safety and environmental standards were much lower than today. This almost exclusively applies to the military nuclear program, which you conveniently lump together with the civilian program. Which is pretty much the same as lumping together the Chemical Industry and the Nazi gas chambers.

I do not stand corrected - Nuclear Power Plants in the developed world have not caused even a single death or injury among the public. If you include employees in the public, nuclear is still the safest among all major energy sources:

6. A 2001 study by the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland (quoted in “The Revenge of Gaia”) found that, beteween 1970 and 1992, nuclear power had the best safety record of all major energy sources, both in terms of total deaths and deaths per terawatt of energy produced each year. The results for the top four sources were coal: 6,400 total deaths, 342 deaths per terawatt per year; hydro power: 4,000 total deaths, 884 deaths per terawatt per year; natural gas: 1,200 total deaths, 85 deaths per terawatt per year; nuclear power: 31 total deaths, 8 deaths per terawatt per year.


Unfortunately wind or solar power were not included here because of their minuscule contribution but it is delusional to think they do not present any dangers on their own. There is nothing perfectly safe.

jokuhl -

To be fair, I think you would need to compare the deaths from exposure to radiation from the mining and processing of uranium, plus exposure from nuclear powe plant accidents to the deaths resulting from the mining, transport, and burning of coal.

If you do that, I think you will see that coal has caused far more death and disease than nuclear power.

As I have said several times before on TOD, if you are really worried about dying from radiation poisoning, your worries would be far better directed toward the possibility of a nuclear exchange resulting from an energy resource war that got out of control.

Orders of magnitude more people died of radiation during that shameful day at Hiroshima than have died from the following 50 years of worldwide nuclear power plant operation.

I don't doubt that coal's death toll is far worse. So Far. My objection is that this makes nuclear appear safe, while it's only been in operation for a sliver of the time that it's materials will remain concentrated and harmful, and add to that the fact that this very unique period of time has seen most of the countries that could sustain a Nuclear Reactor industry able to be kept stable enough to maintain the level of security required to keep the systems going, the fences guarded, the guards paid.

When a Windturbine stops turning, decades after anyone cares, and it sits up there rusting and tottering, at least you can see it, and should have the good sense not to stand underneath. Nuclear is one of the countless unperceivable and concentrated poisons that we've drawn from the earth and brought into the biosphere where it can and does disrupt living systems. I'm not that worried about getting radiation poisoning myself, aside from the cumulative effects of living in an environment where we have also inundated our bodies with Mercury, Dioxin, Phthalated Polymers, Bromates, etc etc.. but no, my greater worry is what I'm doing to my neighbors, our kids and to the biosphere over the foreseeable future if I advocate such a selfish and reckless form of Technocopian energy, heedless of the likelihood that I won't be able to assure it is safely kept for as long as it is a danger to others.

As far as that Nuclear Exchange goes, does your scenario preclude the likelihood that Nuclear Energy can also play a role with inspiring such a development? It seems that the See-saw of Iran's 'Peaceful Atom' program vs their 'Desire for Doomsday Weapons' is as close a link for a WarStarter as you could ask for. This source is Trouble. It's overpowered, lending itself to Monopolistic Business Practises, Political Gamesmanship, and AntiDemocratic Infrastructure. It's complex and requires a Big, Stable system to be operated safely.


Mattoon, eh? I work in Rantoul sometimes ...

I'm about twenty miles south of Mattoon, and six miles west of Toledo (pop. 1100); ten acres at the end of a dead end gravel road in God’s country. Nice and isolated, but not too isolated. Rantoul has declined somewhat since they closed down the base Air Force base there. Mattoon is not doing so well either, sometimes referred to as “Methtoon”.

We have a tasty airforce command bunker, retired, with 1/4th inch copper plating all around for EMP protection, which houses all of our servers. The only way the place could get any more solid would be bricking up the slit windows in the outer offices, but any tornado that comes through those to trouble the insides is going to get the power and carry off the generators (one gas, one diesel) in the process ... and its unlikely that such a beast would also get the backup facility in Champaign :-)

I suspect I will be in the area around Valentine's Day, if you'd like to get together for an evening.

The article says that Bodman wants to pursue other carbon sequestration projects. Wonder what those are. Stuffing carbon where the sun don't shine? Now that would be a winner.

This is just another version of so called clean coal. Whenever the coal industry is threatened they step up their PR campaign to convince millions of gullible Americans that clean coal is just around the corner or they show you some showplace somewhere where some former mountain top in West Virginia has been reclaimed with a green golf course. Throw in a few bunnies and happy dear grazing on this newly reclaimed land and you've got a winner.

Clean coal is not going to happen and sequestration is not going to happen and we don't have time to wait for it to happen anyway if we are relying on a billion dollar plus show projects here and there. The only thing that will get the coal industry's attention and its enablers, the utilities is to announce the phase out of all coal plants that do not, in fact, sequester at least 90% of CO2. It is really very simple. We will not meet necessary reductions in co2 if we continue down a path that relies on coal.

Obama says that he supports coal liquefaction and coal in general if it can be done in a environmentally safe manner. That is just a way to delay the hard decisions that need to be done now. Expect that in an Obama Presidency, and in a Clinton Presidency for that matter, additional projects to put us all to sleep thinking that we are moving towards a bright clean future.

Edwards, who is dropping out today, had the only sensible policy. Shut coal plants down unless they can sequester CO2, period.

Shutting down this project seems to confirm that the Bush administration is not serious about climate change. No surprise here because they have never been serious about climate change. However, there is no reason to trust that they would be spending money on this project wisely, anyway.

The potential silver lining here is that this may be a wake up call. But then we get wake up calls from the Bush administration every day, don't we? Anyone who has not awakened thus far is probably dead.

I support coal as along as it can be shown that coal is not coal.

I support using the energy that is released by breaking the carbon bonds in fossil fuels as long that does not release carbon.

I support everyone having access to lots and lots of cheap energy that does not result in any negative impact on the environment or growth of population.

I believe in magic.


I do not believe there is any "answer" that does not include massive changes to who we are, how we live, and likely how many of us there are, and I cannot even imagine how such a transition will play out. All I know is that this type of nonsense is just that. And I do not really believe that we will be able, as a society, to do anything useful that would help in the transition, let alone address any larger questions.

All of this talk by the candidates, the whole pretense of "choice" and participation, it just means.......nothing.

There simply is no "solution" as most people would define it.

Really a great post, very well worded, and I agree completely.

Thanks - I wish it were different though.

Shutting down this project seems to confirm that the Bush administration is not serious about climate change. No surprise here because they have never been serious about climate change.

Not true. Dumbya is VERY aware of, and scared of, climate change and PO. How do we know this? Dumbya lives off the grid. While killing virtually all useful climate legislation, denying PO and GW, and spending our future in Iraq to get more oil, he built himself an off-grid home out in Crawford.

He cares about climate change and peak oil, he just doesn't care what it does to *you.*

Draw your own conclusions/parallels/conspiracy theories.


He's not off the grid. He's got a geothermal system, and recycles graywater to irrigate his landscaping.

There was talk of possible solar panels to run the swimming pool, but they didn't do it. Wasn't practical, I guess.

IMHO, the cleanest coal is the coal that remains underground

Righto! Conveniently pre-sequestered!

I grew up near New Straitsville, Ohio sight of the mine fire that still burns today.... started I believe in the 1903 strike (I'm probably off a few years).

There is a little book called "smoke in the valley" about it.

I have often wondered (and Im sure there has been a lot of research done) about injecting air into deep coal drilling horizontal well grid and lighting it. In situ combustion of the coal. Circulate water through the horizontals to make the steam. Keep it all underground.

Want to shut off the fire--- shut off the air.

Makes more sense to me.

Why not do it in the Tar Sands as well??

Someone here probably knows a lot about this I do not.


Now I remember and I was talking about this with someone and we couldn't get by the mass balance ...

adding air would cause it to explode without some relief...

Then we starting talking about the coalbed methane in the San Juan and how the pressure was reduced so much in that coal leaving a lot of room for the combustion gas... and there is a lot of deep coal there.

that was as far as we got.


You are talking about the THAI process for the oil patch. I covered in-situ combustion of coal in one or two earlier posts. And no, once it starts it becomes very difficult to shut off the air, due to cracking in the adjacent rock. The fire burns at different levels in different horizons and becomes quite difficult to control even over quite short distances.

Does anyone know the details of this announcement? What "other options for CO2 sequestration" are they talking about? I wonder if they are talking about ZECA?

Maybe this is a good news.

It's time someone stands up and admits loud and clear that "clean coal" will never happen. That from the very beginning it has been a dangerous boondoggle, a distraction to let coal companies continue operating on the promise for that great future, when "technology" is going to solve all our problems.

Just think about it - how could the coal industry survive an effective doubling of both their capital and fuel costs? How could old plants and plants already on the line be retrofitted when they were never designed for CS? Who is going to cover the cost of the pipeline network to pump CO2 from locations such as WY?

CS is the definition of a pipe dream, an illustration of how we can delude ourselves, how we rationalize doing what we want to, not what needs to be done.

Its like I've said before the coal industry (Peabody) loves carbon sequestration.

The coal companies don't build and operate the plants, the utilities do. Duke, AEP, you name it.

Thirty percent of the output of that coal plant will go to provide a compressed pure CO2 stream.

That means more coal sales for the coal company.

The utilities will like it since their rates are regulated but they will charge overhead and supervision on a "cost plus" basis .... the more money they spend the more money they make.

So much pure CO2 would be available for the oil companies to inject for enhanced oil recovery that they will be paid to dispose of it.

It is a win win win for the industries you think oppose it.

The payer is the utility consumer.


Two related questions:

First, on a net energy basis wouldn't the increase in oil production be offset by the additional coal consumption?

Second, wouldn't the CO2 not emitted at power plants be offset by the CO2 emitted by burning liquid transportation fuels?

ff and half empty
here is a story about great point energy and peabody jv-ing on a coal to ngas project in the powder river basin:

not much detail here, but presumably the sequestered co2 would be used for oil recovery. i have heard rumors that both wyoming and montana's governors are pushing the idea.

Coal companies may like it in the short term, but as evidenced by the China's recent problems, overreliance on coal could turn devastating in the longer term. Already the railroad infrastructure is under severe strain, what about after we are presented with that additional demand? I see coal companies simply unable to fulfill their contracts and falling under both commercial and public pressure (much like oil companies are now).

There is no way utilities will like it. Half of the utilities are already operating in unregulated markets, and the additional costs is a pure loss. For the other half - first it is not that easy to receive permission for a rate hike - this has always been a sensitive political issue; second other sources like nuclear or wind may turn out better options (which is a good news). Third - it is critically dependant on what is the legislation for the old power plants - if these are required to do CS, the costs of retrofitting will be truly prohibitive. It's not realistic that this will ever happen.

What is more likely to happen is only new power plants will be required to do CS, while old ones will be scheduled for phase out. The result of course will be that utilities will ramp up old capacity as much as they can, until they can, and fight for extensions (using the threat of impending shortages) when the phase-out dates approach.

Fractional Flow -

I agree totally!

I've always been highly doubtful about carbon sequestration, but once I put pencil to paper to make a very rough guestimate of the amount of CO2 that would have to be removed, compressed, transported, and reinjected, and the amount of additional energy that would require, I've concluded that carbon sequestration is way beyond impractical ........ it's preposterous!

Another issue that doesn't get much discussion, but should be an obvious one is: not all stationary power plants are located at or near a geological formation suitable for CO2 injection, and to practice sequestration for these plants would require the pipeline transport of liquid C02 some very long distances. What are we going to do: crisscross the country with a network of CO2 pipelines comparable in size to our massive oil pipeline system?

Then we have to be concerned with the question of whether injected CO2 is going to remain where it was injected or is going to slowly migrate vertically and/or horizontally. As any geologist will tell you, moving things around in the subsurface is a very tricky proposition with many inherent unknowns.

Also, carbon sequestration is only applicable to stationary combustion sources, thus not affecting transportation at all (or until all transportation is electric).

And last but not least, the capital investment for widespread carbon sequestration will be staggering. Compared to what could be had in terms of wind, solar, energy storage technology, conservation, and other steps intended to lessen our fossil fuel usage, carbon sequestration represents a very poor investment.

But not to worry .... given how difficult it is to get even modest alternative energy projects off the ground, and given the worsening economic climate, it just ain't gonna happen. (Apart from government-sponsored demonstration boondoggle projects.)

"Another issue that doesn't get much discussion, but should be an obvious one is: not all stationary power plants are located at or near a geological formation suitable for CO2 injection, and to practice sequestration for these plants would require the pipeline transport of liquid C02 some very long distances. What are we going to do: crisscross the country with a network of CO2 pipelines comparable in size to our massive oil pipeline system? "

you got it the secret is the power of eminent domain


Actually I submit that in a certain limited set of cases CS could work, and might even be beneficial - for example where EOR is applicable. However, realistically this will be applicable for just a minute portion of all CO2 that gets emitted in this country. I am far more concerned about using such occasions as political showcases for us continuing BAU, and waiting for the technological magic wand do its trick.

Now for a simple number twisting:
- US utilities burn about 1bln.tonnes of coal per year which emit about 3 billion tonnes of CO2
- US oil production is ~5mln.bpd, half of it offshore. So onshore oil production is - 2.5mln.bpd which translates to just 136mln.tonnes of oil per year.

So if ALL onshore oil starts being produced using CO2 EOR, it will take a little more than 4% of the coal-originated CO2 emissions! Or just 1.5% of total CO2 emissions, given that coal accounts for roughly 1/3rd of them.



Your analysis shows exactly why CS should be adopted. It will be ridiculously expensive and potentially unfeasible at any cost. Which is exactly the point. Require all new capacity to be CS and start moth balling old capacity. The cost will be so outrageous that it will drive utilites to renewable energy.

But we must go with nuclear for base load if we are going to reduce and shut down coal plants. As it is, WTF are we doing? Waiting for technology to save us along the lines of Bush and Drooliani.

Interesting that McCain is only Republican candidate who believe is cap and trade and that GW is urgent. But I guess his big selling point is the hundred years war. He beats both Hillary and Barack while talking about endless war even though big majority of people is against Iraq war. Go figure.

Btw, I would still love to hear how we avoid both nuclear and coal. I am not in love with Nuclear but have yet to see a convincing alternative.

In the end global warming appears to be about cost.... the cost of doing something now to mitigate or the cost to fix the problem created.

But both have their price.

Compromise will likely be required.


Interesting, what would be the cost of temperatures rising by 6 degrees in 2100 and the humanity going extinct in 2150, because it is unable to adapt in the collapsing environment?

If you ask an economist - whatever cost you put to that, it will be acceptable today - after all we will be discounting an event 150 years from now, so it's current cost will be minuscule. To quote someone else "no worries, keep on shopping".

"If you ask an economist - whatever cost you put to that, it will be acceptable today - after all we will be discounting an event 150 years from now, so it's current cost will be minuscule."

Excellent- 1/(1.035)^150= .00574

You are qualified for high political office.


Its not often we agree LevinK, but I have never seen any likelihood or practical purpose in CO2 capture.

And I know a thing or two..

Terra Preta is one of the very few technologies that really gets me enthusiastic. I'd rather see 10,000 square miles of bamboo plantations and charcoal factories than I would 10,000 square miles of solar panels.

bamboo charcoal is prized in China for being useful in many other ways - one the best filtration material for water purifications, - bacteria and oder suppressant.

it would be beneficial if the methane released during charcoal production can somehow be captured and utilized.

Although their web site doesn't make that clear, this is exactly what Eprida is all about.

what is the difference between this fancy thing and the basic biodigesters of some sort that have been used for ages to turn human/animal/agriculture waste into biogas and fertilizer?

I can only redirect you back to the site.
Charcoal which is added to the soil takes the carbon in the biomass and removes it from the atmosphere, apparently for geologic time.
The fertilizers produced by digesters return the carbon to the atmosphere in a short period of time, usually 10 yrs or less, which is why the U.N. won't consider them or regular composting as viable carbon sequestration.

The ECOSS process "scrubs" the NOX emmissions from coal fired plants giving the charcoal some impressive fertilization qualities.
If we have to go back to coal, this deserves serious scrutiny.

I agree. Probably another industry delaying tactic. All the more reason to buy solar panels, electric cars, and wind mills now.

I'm pretty sceptical about CCS. The most efficient possible way to sequester carbon is to bury biomass underneath geologic strata, and nature has already done that. I wonder what sort of unanticipated consequences will come from pumping CO2 underground. This just has the look and feel of a megaproject that is going to end up horribly wrong.

I favor just imposing a broad-based carbon tax -- one that begins to come close to internalizing the huge externalities associated with burning FF. If this were to result in CCS becoming an attractive option, fine. I suspect that finding ways to just stop burning the stuff altogether and switch to renewables will be far more attractive, though.

Bush Administration prolongs Death Throes of Subway to Dulles and Tysons Corner

Construction was originally planned to start by tomorrow, an economic stimulus as well as a significant oil savings (20 to 25,000 b/day). This was literally a last minute blind-side decision last week. Sen. Warner (R-VA) was reported to be livid.


Best Hopes for 356 more days,


I know the gentleman who was likely to be the Chief Engineer during the construction phase, I have had only a brief talk with him.

Best hopes for LESS THAN 356 more days, despite years of bitter disappointment.

You know what's been said.. If you want something done right, do it yourself! ;)

As I mentioned before, I live right in the middle of where the subway extension was supposed to have been built. A lot of people around here are baffled by exactly what this means. Some say we just need a time-out for a year or so (implying a wait until a new administration that is likely to be more competent). Although it isn't final yet, people here are resigned to the idea that the Feds are going to nix the project, and once that happens we will need to figure out how to go from there.

Some are of the hope that the project can be properly bid out. There really wasn't any need for a single-source no-bid contract, and lots of folks here don't trust Bechtel after the Big Dig fiasco.

Giving the Airports commission control over the thing was probably a mistake too.

There are lots of armchair quarterbacks around here. Lots of people don't get the idea of transit oriented development - they look at the region the way it is today, and argue that Metro doesn't make sense. They don't see how things are to change over the next 20-30 years or so. The county does get the idea, and they have been having lots of public meetings to explain how the concept is supposed to work. They are using the Rosslyn-Balston corridor as an example of something to be emulated as best they can.

Anyways, this evening the County is unveiling a new county-wide bike map. Hopefully I will have good things to report, and for something like this you don't really need the Feds to ante up any cash.

I'll be giving a general-audience lecture in Ottawa tonight entitled "The Converging Crisis: Ecology, Energy and Economics". It will cover the background (i.e. the litany of doom) that we're all too familiar with. However, the second half of the talk is dedicated to community responses -- a potpourri of ideas for community action with a decidedly adaptive/protective orientation. The topics of hope will include Kerala, "Gaia's antibodies", Permaculture, Terra Preta, Transition Towns, local currencies and co-housing.

I don't breath a word about die-off.

A PDF of the slides and speakers notes is available on my web site: The Converging Crisis (2.5 Mb PDF)

On the hope side would be the results (to be published, I am working on the draft with Andrea Bassi & Hans Herren) from the Millennium Institute.

We used Colin Campbells oil supply #s in all cases.

A maximum push for renewable energy coupled with a maximum push for electrified rail (intercity & Urban) and related Transit Orientated Development# with market related push for better fleet fuel economy (PHEVs & EVs) resulted in (2007 = 1):

The best economic results (GDP 1.50 in 2038)

The best environmental results (GHG from FF 0.50 in 2038)

The lowest oil consumption (oil use 0.38 in 2038)

of all of the strategies modeled.

# We wanted to model increased bicycle use but had trouble doing so numerically, so we did not. A serious oversight that would improve all of the metrics above. Perhaps a last minute addition.

Best Hopes for Solving Peak Oil and Global Warming together,


I mention rail electrification in the discussion of alternatives to oil (it's the only one I give any credence to, incidentally). However, I kept the focus on the things small groups of citizens in a hostile town could reasonably do. And make no mistake, municipally, Ottawa is enormously hostile to green initiatives. There are only three city councilors that are clued in. For the rest of them and the mayor, when you say "sustainable development" they hear "sustained development".

The current mayor is even hostile to a previously planned single light rail line running through downtown (it's now off the table with his election). The inability of elected governments to grapple with these issues is deeply discouraging.

Yes, I am aware of the debacle of Light Rail in Ottawa. One could have hardly scripted a worse comedy of errors :-(

Public lectures such as yours CAN have an impact (with the aid of rising oil prices) as they enter the body politic.

One advantage (the only one I can think of) is that Ottawa now has plans on the shelf for more than one Light Rail line. This will be an enormous time saver when policy makers panic post-Peak Oil.

A few words that a comprehensive solution is possible would seem to be worth adding, if only to inspire hope and action (many here are familiar with Peak Awareness Depression).

Thus my signature line, Best Hopes,


Whereabouts is your talk? I'm in Ottawa, and though I probably couldn't make it myself, I'd certainly recommend it to others.

Any reminder of 'the current mayor' makes me want to puke -- sure we don't have light rail but at least we've got a $280 million lawsuit against the city! :)

"Zero means zero means 5.8, reduced services and plenty of new 'user fees'"

It's at 7:00 at the McNabb Community Center, 180 Percy St., free admission. Please let anyone who might be interested know about it.


excellent I will

Sounds very interesting. Will the lecture be broadcast or taped for a wider audience review?

Any press coverage? CBC? Local media?

Being on the Canadian east coast, I wouldn't be able to get to Ottawa tonight, but would like to hear/ read about it later. Thanks & Godspeed!!

We're trying with the local media, but it's a tough go. For the CBC, stories like this are a non-starter. I don't think the organizers are planning on taping it, unfortunately.

That's OK - it's still early days for this evolution of the talk. Now that I'm saying something besides, "Quick everyone, wake up and kiss your children goodbye!" it might get a wider audience.

Looking forward to hearing more about how the presentation is received. Please keep us posted.


Why is it a non starter at the CBC? Did you try once and then get a specific response?

All the best to you, GliderGuider.

Unfortunately, Ottawa's mayor and councillors equate the Queensway with modern progress. It is what they take for granted. As far as they are concerned the highway that cuts its way through the city has always been there and thus shall always be.

Whatever colour-label -- green or black or white or rainbowed -- community leaders decide to dress up in today, they generally see red whenever green proposals question whether these beloved asphalt monstrosities are a blessing or a curse.

Don't be discouraged. They'll be singing a different tune once the liabilities of business-as-usual come to the forefront. By voicing another perspective, you will be giving your fellow citizens something firm to grasp and a hope for a different way.

The seeds planted this year may very well take root next.

AlanfromBigEasy - I think it is a mistake to simply dismiss GWB as incompetent.

This administration has been highly successful in accomplishing their agenda while everyone watches pitiful, bumbling, stupid. GW.

P.S. Sorry I couldn’t come up with any catchy tags for your admirable project but I only seem able to cook up stuff using liberal amounts of sarconol which is not appropriate in your needs.


"This administration has been highly successful in accomplishing their agenda while everyone watches pitiful, bumbling, stupid. GW."

So true. The 'War on Terror' and the 'War on Drugs' are obviously failing, but the 'war on the poor' has succeeded admirably. But then, class war has always been the right wing's strong suit.

The War on Drugs and the War on Terror are in fact huge successes, given that the originally stated reasons for both were false.

The "wars" are not failing; they are just horribly (and deliberately) misnamed. We are in a war by the global elite on everyone else. And they are smart enough to get the peons to fight each other-- we are stupid enough to pay for our own destruction.

I wish that I could believe that Hilary or Obama would change the order of things, but I just don't.

G. Edward Griffin

A false dichotomy devised for the reason you said NeverLNG.

The illusion in the US is that our "left" wing is the opposite of our "right" wing. Most Americans have no idea how right wing their country is from a global perspective. Plop our major parties into the context of many other countries, and our Democratic party would be pretty much a CENTER-RIGHT party; the Republicans would be extreme right wing. The illusion is that the US even HAS a left wing; compared to what are left wing political movements in many other countries, what we have is so marginalized and tiny as to be totally ignored.

I'm fond of saying that in the US government the right hand does not know what the ultra-right hand is doing.


Have a little fun at the end and put Figure #4 as you take questions and answers.

It's a classic. Even Matt Simmons used it in one of his presentations. You don't even have to talk about it.

If anyone asks, Just say it was a graph someone predicted back 7-10 years ago.


( http://www.dieoff.com/page224.htm )

Dammit. I started calling this The Perfect Storm almost a year ago... Figures. I invented the paint ball concept with brothers and cousins back in about '73, too... (I kid you not.)

Always one step too slow...




PS. as evidence of the above, you can look at my blog. :)

So, I delivered the presentation last night.

We had audience competition because the leader of the national NDP, Jack Layton, was in town talking about pulling out of Afghanistan, and there was another major social action meeting that got more publicity than we did. We pulled an audience of about 20, all of whom were "members of the choir". So while I didn't gain any new converts to the cause, they were very interested in the picture I painted, and were willing to listen to what turned out to be a LOT of information for a one hour talk.

Stoneleigh, ilargi and outtacontrol were in the audience. It was great to have a TOD contingent there, but I'll admit to some trepidation over trotting out my paper-thin comprehension of the global financial crisis in front of such economic luminaries.

There was over an hour of discussion afterwards, which was very lively and came at the problems and solutions from a number of different angles. There was general agreement that:

* a collapse of some sort is unavoidable
* communities are the only answer
* we will not be able to count on politicians
* the idea of perpetual growth on a finite planet is pretty stupid
* most people won't wake up until after TSHTF
* you can't make terra preta in a suburban back yard
* authority and responsibility for decision-making needs to be repatriated to the lowest appropriate level for the community it will affect
* this is unlikely to happen because power is addictive
* there is too much useless crap and not enough humanity in our lives.

I got off to a bumpy start, as I usually do when I present a new talk for the first time, but the audience was forgiving and after a few slides it got rolling. I was in a bit of dark and serious mood, so I wasn't as uproariously funny as usual when talking about Malthusian collapse in Africa.

The talk seems to strike the right balance between urgency and hope. Although one person congratulated me afterwards on how depressing it was, everyone seemed energized rather than paralyzed. The audience discussion was the best I've had in the dozen times I've spoken.

Altogether it was a most intense and enjoyable evening.

Thanks for sharing this and yes, it is neat to have some TODers on hand for moral support.

Any chance you might take your talk on the road? To Halifax?

I'm just kidding on the last point. No point in burning up extra FFs and besides such a lecture tour would defeat the whole of idea of living local with an emphasis on our own communities as the answer.

Kudos to you for the courage to present this material in a meaningful way.


Regarding the Cantarell Field story uptop.

IMO, Ghawar and Cantarell have been two warning beacons burning brightly in the night sky heralding the onset of Peak Oil. A TOD post from August, 2006:

Heinberg: Middle East at a Crossroads
Posted by Prof. Goose on August 4, 2006

Rich Heinberg has an interesting piece that should be brought to the attention of TOD. Here is the link to it at The Energy Bulletin. Worth reading.

The [Middle East] situation clearly requires comment [and integration], as it has enormous implications both for the world as a whole and for the small but growing community of people involved in preparations for Peak Oil. Mainstream reporting seems to miss much of the context of events and, when discussing the Middle East, the geopolitical struggle for control of energy resources nearly always forms much of that context.
At the ASPO conference a well-connected industry insider who wishes not to be directly quoted told me that his own sources inside Saudi Arabia insist that production from Ghawar is now down to less than three million barrels per day, and that the Saudis are maintaining total production at only slowly dwindling levels by producing other fields at maximum rates. This, if true, would be a bombshell: most estimates give production from Ghawar at 5.5 Mb/d.

IMO, I think that Heinberg was more or less correct and that a rapid rise in the water cut on the north end of the Ghawar complex caught the Saudis by surprise--in much the same way that a rapid increase in the water cut in the Yibal Field caught Shell by surprise--and the Saudis have been desperately trying to compensate by maximizing their other production and accelerating their exploration and developmental programs.

In any case, as I have said for some time, IMO the key difference between Saudi Aramco and Pemex is that the latter has acknowledged the decline of its largest oil field.

Yet the rhetoric in the past few weeks from the Sauid's seems to sound more confident than ever that I would suspect one of the following:

1) We are misinformed and they really are going to ramp up to 11.5MB/D or//

2) They are lying through their teeth and are planning the mother of all terrorist strikes on their own facilities to smokescreen the depletion.

Considering $60 a barrel was unacceptably high to them last year and they 'would pump more' should that price level be sustained and it is now at $90-$100 and they now refuse; then the evidence pretty much is in facvour of point 2!


In August 2007 the Saudis said $80 was too high.

In November they said Khursaniyah would be right on time in December. Then in January, after Khursaniyah was already late, they said it would be online in February. A week after that announcement, there were murmurs from Saudi Arabia that it would be late March.

They say they have all this spare capacity available right now, including light sweet crude, and yet refineries report that all that's available is heavy sour, which they can't use.

I think it must be a cultural thing.

The Saudis have been promising to go to around 12mbpd for about 5 years now. Every time they fail to get there, the MSM conveniently forgets and then puts their next promise up in bright lights so that one more sucker can be drawn into the great casino on Wall Street. Draw your own conclusions.

Hi Jeffrey,

Looking forward to your comments on Stuart's posting of Joules' Ghawar images. I wonder if they provide some validation for Heinberg's statement and your second of it.

Leanan - thanks for the Oil Sands coverage up top.

I would love to see more of this.

Out of sight, out of mind.

On thing I notice that is missing from TOD lately is serious coverage of the Canada oil sands.

IMO the mining activity in that region illustrates the level of desperation we are at.

When ever I bring up the fact that this process is going on I get the same reaction;

“I didn’t know they had started doing that. I thought they were just saying that it’s there if we need it.”

Now I realize that some of this misperception is due to the fact that there are no major "mining for oil" operations in the US, but as for the operations in Canada it’s still “our oil” after all;}

A good documentary showing the horrors of this would expose the tragedy that is occurring up there as well as wake up people to the realities of peak oil.
(if there is already one made please point the way for me. Thanks in advance)

I don’t want to stir up controversy but S and I @ tod canada used to do a pretty good job of keeping this issue up front.

Just sayin’

A very interesting metric to track on an ongoing basis would be net hydrocarbon exports from Canada--Net Liquids Exports + Net Natural Gas Exports (converted to Barrels of Oil Equivalent).

A good documentary showing the horrors of this would expose the tragedy that is occurring up there as well as wake up people to the realities of peak oil.
(if there is already one made please point the way for me. Thanks in advance)

The CBC had something I saw a while back.
A quick google turns up this, which I think is probably what I saw but I can't confirm since I can't watch video at work:
Alberta Oil Sands

There is also A Town's Toxic Questions

The environmental destruction caused by these mining operations is quite amazing, and the people living downstream of these operations have experienced an increase in the rate of cancer and other health problems. Apparently fish from the river taste of gasoline. Of course this is one of the main food supplies of the native peoples in the area. Pretty disturbing.

Sustainable - Thanks for those. Alberta oil sands is a keeper.

By the way if anyone wants to learn more about oil sands there is an industry produced documentary loaded with info;
(warning: they say "We are not running out of oil. We are running in to oil." often)

Walking on oil - Alberta's oil sands


"Alberta oil sands is a keeper."

- but how to "keep" it? Seems to be stream-able only - no downloads?

People have probably gone over this in the past, but I have two questions about oil sands production:

1. What is the EROI? I heard about 1.4/1 somewher, but that was a long time ago.

2. What percentage of the synthetic crude is light conventional crude used to dilute the syncrude?

Thanks :)

Some food stories...

Last dairy closing in Oahu; milk a concern

HONOLULU — The last dairy on the Hawaiian island of Oahu will shut down on Feb. 15, leaving the island's 910,000 residents dependent on imported milk.

That's a concern, because the shuttering of local dairies makes Hawaii more dependent on the mainland and more vulnerable in an emergency, according to Chin Lee, a dairy extension specialist at the University of Hawaii.

"The bottom line is in the event that we have any kind of disruption of any kind of transportation, this time around there will

Poor Haitians resort to eating dirt

It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

Biggs's Tips for Rich: Expect War, Study Blitz, Mind Markets

(Bloomberg) -- Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with ``seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.''

The ``etc.'' must mean guns.

``A few rounds over the approaching brigands' heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,'' he writes in his new book, ``Wealth, War and Wisdom.''

Biggs is no paranoid survivalist. He was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley before leaving in 2003 to form hedge fund Traxis Partners.

The Biggs article is pretty stunning. IMO, it's time for MELP--Maximize your ELP plans.

ELP Plan (April, 2007)

As I have repeatedly said, what is the downside to minimizing your consumption and living below your means? Granted, there is a downside to the overall economy, but that is coming no matter what.

As I have also said before, immediately after the Titanic hit the iceberg, there were two types of passengers: those who then realized that the ship would sink and those who would realize that the ship would sink.

Two types of Americans today: those who now realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base, and those who will realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base.

I think that we have a small, but quickly closing, window of opportunity to unload highly energy dependent assets on the true believers in the Yerginite Community.

Two types of Americans today: those who now realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base, and those who will realize that we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base.

This tired little quip doesn't ring true. I would be suprised if a majority ever realized that "we can't have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base." Saying it over and over doesn't make it any more valid. Part of managing decline will be managing the impact of ignorance.

Very much agreed. That is the big problem, IMO. A lot of us will never understand that infinite growth can't go on forever.

The failure to consume ever more will always be dismissed as an "above neck" problem.

"A lot of us will never understand that infinite growth can't go on forever."

As part of the cultural force that binds people together together in a society, this is the way it has to be. The idea of unending progress, growth, and technological improvement is part of that culture.

This idea is part of an organizing meaning, and we should expect that most people in that culture will fight and die defending it. Because it is the only life they know, and the belief is inherent to their only options for meaning.

Along the same line, I have a best friend from high school that I have maintained contact over the intervening decades. He never went to college. We keep in constant e-mail contact, me informing him of peak oil a couple years before the MSM started reporting it. It is for me a look into the thinking of "the masses". At times it feels like a third dimensional creature trying to describe a three dimensional object to a two dimensional being. Generally, they resort to cliche to provide frame of reference, sort of like a "floating" a priori. Most people do not have an integral philosophy with internal consistency. This is why logical arguments do not work and propaganda slogans do. The slogans provide a rock to stand on for them to form an opinion, reducing the stress of uncertainty.

This is why the masses will never comprehend a logical argument, let alone be convinced by one. Get everyone around them repeating the same slogans and you can steer them to whatever position you want them to have. Control the media and you control the masses.

(Note: I live in the United States where logic and epistomology are not taught in public schools, intentionally would be my guess)

i think it all boils down to intellectual lazyness, it's just too much work to do any real thinking.

This is a marvellous working description of the sheeple thought process. Keeping this in mind whilst attempting to converse with such types will be very useful as it helps to remind that you are not just trying to give information to those lacking it, you are also dealing with a person's lack of ability to think critically. Their response can often be an emotional one as these "rocks" that they stand on are perceived to be under attack.
I frequently feel that I am conversing with a playback machine rather than a person in such encounters. I can almost hear the cluncking and whirring of the mechanism as it searches for a stock response phrase it can offer me. There doesn't appear to be anything real-time going on in there. Hence, I suppose, their complete lack of curiosity.
Unfortunately, they also often lack inner resources. I am reminded of a recent segment aired on local radio which examined inappropriate calls to the emergency services. A recording of one such incidence was broadcast, which went something like this:
Emergency Operator: Emergency services, how can I help you?
Caller: I've been driving round for hours now, and I can't find my local Homebase (DIY store). I'm getting very distressed.
Emergency Operator: Do you think this is a good reason to call for emergency assistance...?
I think in trying to map out a sequence of unfolding events in a collapse, one early event is likely to be the utter overwhelming of all services with those clamouring for solutions to their problems, be they real or imaginary.

there is an incident in "babbit" (sinclair lewis) where george babbit is confounded by something his son says, babbit doesn't know what to think because there is no official republican party policy to cover this one. i cant find my copy of babbit, or i would relate it more correctly.

As I also said, it's an opportunity to unload high energy dependent assets. On one level, it would be a sort of Darwinian reallocation of capital.

Someone should go on the other thread and encourage JD to buy financials.

Hello WT,

The annual Yerginite pilgrimage to my sprawling Asphalt Wonderland is in full force this week with the Superbowl, FBR Open Golf Tournament, and the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction.

Lobsters from Maine, king crab from Alaska, bananas and grapes from Chile, toothfish from Antarctica, millions of shrimp, expensive Eurowines, scotch, Russian vodka; the full phenomena of the Kunstlerian 3,000 mile ceasar salad; all vacuumed into the asphalt blackhole under maximal delusional drive.

Compare 600,000 chinese huddled outside in the blowing snow vs the expected 600,000 attendence of the FBR Open. The largest crowds on the PGA tour will be basking in liquor and sunshine drunkenly roaring on the pursuit of a little white ball while 20,000 children under five will die a horrible death today.

The frenzy continues with the lavish action and bidding for the ultimate chrome penis at the Barret-Jackson. Acres of vehicles, huge crowds--as if the 'Church of Endless Concrete and Asphalt' is the holy goal of our existence. Mecca's Black Kaaba is nothing compared to the easy-motoring crowds' frenzied circling around the fabulous black cube of a cubic mile of dark crude.

The migration culminates with Vegas callgirls, private jets, stretch limos, lavish parties; everything is a full-power go to hyperthrust afterburner drive onward to the max clusterf**k of the Superbowl. More Viagra will be washed down than the volumetric flow of the pounding Niagara for the throbbing Thermo/Gene climax. Millions wordwide will Cialis televised as the triumphal Chrome Scrotum is hoisted aloft by the maximum detritovore victors.

Then the inevitable Superbowl flush... magnitudes of waste and pollution into an area that even a gila monster seeks to avoid.

The mothers cry as their babies die, but the Yerginites only seek the Virginites for continued Thermo/Gene Collisions at nite. Peak Outreach is the last thing on their minds; nothing less than a 'Mile-High-Club' private jet plummet and crash into the Grand Canyon's bottom basaltic abyss will do.

Kenya hear the machete'?-- or wheelbarrow some wisdom, then change. Time will tell.

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

"Onward Consumption Soldiers, Marching as to War. . . "

"Mecca's Black Kaaba is nothing compared to the easy-motoring crowds' frenzied circling around the fabulous black cube of a cubic mile of dark crude."

You win! that is the best ever....the entire post was great, but that sentence, well lets just say Kunstler is looking over his shoulder.

I come here to drink from the pool of knowledge and science, but once in a while the sheer literary talent blows all the facts away, and I relax and forget the fix we are in and just enjoy the sheer passion and emotion of some of TOD's regular


I despise football. In fact, I despise professional sports as a whole. Players paid millions of dollars while scientists make a comparative pittance. Entertainment, I suppose. A sad state of affairs, but keep the colosseums running, keep the government bread flowing.. Keep the masses occupied, pacified, and asleep.

Go back to sleep.

"...iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli vendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses."
—Juvenal, Satires X 80

[a people who once would never have sold their votes have long since ceased to care; they who once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now care about just (the) two things, nothing more, that (are all) they long for — bread and circuses.]

Some things never change.

I sense great fear in you. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side.

hey antidoomer,

look over there..


Oh my Bob! You have outdone yourself. Poetic prose. Wasted on the nattering nabobs, and not so bobs, of TOD.

clap clap (standing up) clap clap clap

toto you are a national treasure,

or at least a TOD treasure.


But it is an interesting question:


It is 2030, and world crude oil production has fallen by 50% and world net oil exports have fallen by 90%.


What percentage of Americans would still believe that world crude oil production had not peaked?

My prediction: a lot. Most would still not know about peak oil, let alone understand it. (Even here at TOD, where people are presumably interested in peak oil, you have people saying things like, "If Texas oil production had been declining at 4% a year since 1971 it would now be -100%.")

Of those that do know about it and understand it, many will blame "green Nazis," greedy Arabs, greedy Chinese, communist dictators, pacifist cowards who "wouldn't let the troops win" in Iraq, high taxes, terrorists, government regulation that "doesn't let the free market work," etc.

Despite your boundless optimism :-) for public awareness... I'm pretty sure 100% of the public will get it by 2030.

For starters, nobody will be driving gas cars in 2030, not even the rich.

Why? Because maintaining our extensive network of fuel stations requires substantial sales volume. By even 2015, that volume is going to be stressed. Stations will start closing. It won't matter if you have the big bucks, if 20-30% of your neighbors don't, your stations are gonzo.

For starters, nobody will be driving gas cars in 2030, not even the rich.

Anything's possible, but I would bet that people will still be driving....most especially the rich. They used to drive when everyone else was walking or using horses. They may have to have their own fuel stations. (Actually, many people around here already do. Because there are still a lot of farms. Even people who don't farm any more often have their own private gas stations. One of my friends was in her 30s before she learned to use a gas station. Because she always filled up her car at daddy's pump.)

I think the system may stagger on a lot longer than you think. Already, there are spot shortages, and gas stations are closing in some farflung areas. But most of us don't even know about it. People gripe about having to drive 40 miles to the next town to get gas, but they aren't giving up their cars.

And the "demand destruction" is hitting the poor disproportionately, far more than I had expected. We Americans are continuing with the happy motoring, while people in Africa and Asia are struggling to keep the lights on and get enough fertilizer to feed themselves. The high prices are killing the governments that subsidize it. Eventually, they'll have to give up the subsidies. Yay, more oil for us.

Already, there are spot shortages, and gas stations are closing in some farflung areas. But most of us don't even know about it.

And don't expect the ordinary media to show you those who go without -- their job is to render unimportant (i.e., not part of the market economy) people invisible. Maybe Amy Goodman will shed a little light on the suffering people in the world, but no one wants to look at that, it's such a bummer.

Some of us are doing just fine here in Asia.

It is always a mistake to underestimate the stupidity of the American public: http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_...

Easy: what percent would not be starving or dead?


By 2030 ...

There is no America. There may be other independent nation-states, or it may be chaos and anarchy, but there is no USA.

The population is at most 40 million on the entire continent, Mexico and Canada included.

Over 75% of the population are illiterate and can barely speak anything we would call "English".

How many of those remaining would think we hadn't peaked? Yeah, like Leanan said, a lot.

Anything's possible, but I think those who are expecting that kind of sudden, catastrophic change by 2030 are going to be disappointed. I suspect inertia is going to keep us going for a lot longer than the "fast crashers" think.

I'll give this "inertia" thing another shot. I know you're an engineer and know most of this, this is also for the spectators.

inertia: The tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or a body in motion to remain in motion unless disturbed by an external force.

So, which are we, at rest or in motion? In motion, obviously, and under power. 6.6 billion of us use about 85 million barrels of oil a day to keep going, ignoring other energy sources.

What is the typical reason that slows down a body in motion? Friction (aka resistance).

If one barrel of oil is only 12,000 hours of human labor, what is needed to propel each individual forward is 0.013 barrels of oil per day, or 154 hours of exogenous human labor each day per person, on top of whatever the individual human must invest, between 8 and 16 hours of labor.

Add in more hours of labor for coal, methane, uranium, solar, geothermal, hydro, and wind.

In order to propel sustainable tribal cultures forward, about 3 to 4 hours of inherent human labor per person is necessary, with minimal exogenous energy.

The natural resistance forces to human population growth are disease and biological waste, social chaos from undue complexity, competition with other species for resources and food, and war with other humans. In order to push civilization forward through these forces, we require over ten times the energy per person than a single human is capable of producing.

If you're in a jet going 900kph in the air and you cut the engines, is the rate of deceleration lesser or greater than if you cut the engines in a battleship traveling at 900 kph in the water? Will inertia allow the jet and the battleship to go the same distance afterward?

10,000 years ago, what was necessary to deal with food? You would go out and look for it, there was plenty around. Then you walk a bit and dump the wastes in another area -- good fertilizer for the plants you or your game will eat next season.

Today, what's necessary? Fence and till a monocultured field, which creates a haven for the crop's pests, so then apply pesticides and herbicides. Because sufficient biological wastes don't end up in the field, apply fertilizer. Then irrigate because rain isn't good enough, then harvest. Package and preserve, transport, maybe refrigerate some more, then cook. Then truck the remains to a landfill and pump human wastes into a sewer or septic system.

We are in overshoot, and it takes an order of magnitude more energy than is humanly producible (sans cheap fossil fuel energy) to keep moving us "forward" into more overshoot.

The forces of friction and resistance which work against inertia will grind us to a halt faster than even many of the fast crashers think.

The forces of friction and resistance which work against inertia will grind us to a halt faster than even many of the fast crashers think.

And yet...it's not happening. Peak oil was almost three years ago, and there's no crash so far.

It's not happening?

You put together the DrumBeat with all the stories about spreading disease, electrical shortages and blackouts, platform shutdowns, country chaos, dire and worsening living conditions, and economic meltdowns, and you say it's not happening?

Is this like when ... it's a recession when your neighbor is out of work, and it's not a depression unless it happens to you?

Just with oil, we plateaued about two and a half years ago at about 85 million barrels to propel 6.467 billion people forward. 0.01314 barrels per person per day.

Population clock (enter July 1, 2005)

Today, at still roughly 85 million barrels per day, we are at 6.653 billion people. 0.01277 barrels per person per day.

A decline in external energy from 157.7 to 153.3 hours of human labor supplied by oil. This is only a 2.8% decline in the oil energy per person.

Yet accompanying that 2.8% decline over the last 30 months, we have seen more social turmoil, more blackouts, more war, more disease, economic havoc, and a decline in food stocks. The US Constitution has been gutted, the average Saudi income has plummeted, the war in Iraq escalates, Pakistan and Zimbabwe are in chaos, and the whole world is gripped in a credit meltdown that will make the Great Depression look like a rainy weekend.

And to all the resistance forces we have dealt with up until now, we must also add in global climate change. How many hundreds of thousands are stranded in China right now?

This is not yet evidence of a crash unfolding? Ok. Wait. There will be far more evidence.

You put together the DrumBeat with all the stories about spreading disease, electrical shortages and blackouts, platform shutdowns, country chaos, dire and worsening living conditions, and economic meltdowns, and you say it's not happening?


It's causing problems, yes, but so far, it's not causing anything out of line with what those countries usually put up with. Shortages, poverty, famine, epidemics, frequent blackouts...it's nothing new in the developing world.

Is this like when ... it's a recession when your neighbor is out of work, and it's not a depression unless it happens to you?

Bingo. We were talking about the US, were we not? Or at least North America.

That is what I meant when I said the poor would suffer disproportionately, far more than I originally anticipated.

Yes, we were talking about NA.

But it's nothing new in the developing world? Ok, it's not happening.

We'll revisit this at another time in the near future, I'm quite positive. And it won't be because of anything I say, but you'll change your mind. Unfortunately.

It's happening...but it's happening in slow motion. It's not a sudden crash, it's more a drip, drip, drip. Eventually, there may be a sudden collapse, but I think that could be a lot further in the future than many here think.

Honestly, how many hard-crash doomers would have predicted that it would be still pretty much BAU three years after the peak? Americans gripe about gas prices, but are still more concerned about Britney Spears, American Idol, and the Super Bowl.

(BTW, did you see that Wal-Mart press release? They announced that, out of their kindly concern for their cash-strapped customers, they would lower the prices on things Americans need. Yup, price cuts on Doritos and LCD TVs! Essentials...for the Super Bowl!)

We'll revisit this at another time in the near future, I'm quite positive. And it won't be because of anything I say, but you'll change your mind. Unfortunately.

I doubt it. If it does unfold as you think, we'll both have better things to do than post about it on the Internet...assuming the Internet is even still around.

Would you care to set a date? What do you mean by "near future"? I'll mark it on my calendar, and we'll see if I've changed my mind or not. Assuming TOD still exists, of course.

Of course, you're right about it appearing to happen in slow motion. And you could be right and I could be wrong about a fast crash. I'd very much like that to happen, despite my being what most would call a hard crash doomer.

But I'm not a doomer, I'm a realist. Mankind isn't going extinct, and this transition is not unlike the Toba volcanic eruption of 70K years ago that played a part in a human population crash then, when we went from a few million to as few as 10,000 breeding pairs.

The survivors of this will do something else and maybe learn.

By October of this year, the economy will be a pathetic wreck, and most everyone will know it. That's date 1.

By January, 2010, I expect at least one of the following will happen: nuclear detonation during war; at least one area of the US will seriously attempt secession; North America will experience riots related to heat, food, gas, or electricity; Mexico will fail as a nation-state; or an infectious disease epidemic will sweep the continent. That's date 2.

But if something happens before October, well, it wouldn't give me any pleasure to say "told ya so". I'd rather that the people who prepared, who made it through the bottleneck, are those like you and other posters who have the capacity for the critical thinking and independence necessary to sow a new mentality post-crash. Which is why I'm attempt to make the case that when the crash begins in earnest and when it hits the US, it will be relatively swift and sudden and there won't be time to prepare.

The economy may well be hurting by October, but my bet is few will think it's anything more than an ordinary recession.

January 2010 is probably too far in the future. Just given the way the Internet works, it's likely by then that either you or I will have lost interest and wandered off.

However, I will mark it down, and if we're both still around, we'll see if you're correct.

My bet is in January 2010, it will still be pretty much BAU. People may not be spending as much for big-screen TVs, but they'll still be more interested in the Super Bowl than in peak oil.

It's happening...but it's happening in slow motion. It's not a sudden crash, it's more a drip, drip, drip. Eventually, there may be a sudden collapse, but I think that could be a lot further in the future than many here think.

Honestly, how many hard-crash doomers would have predicted that it would be still pretty much BAU three years after the peak? Americans gripe about gas prices, but are still more concerned about Britney Spears, American Idol, and the Super Bowl.

Leanan... Have you ever read "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell?

One major tipping point will surely be the behavior of millions of unemployed Murkins' (we'll also have a tapped-out credit system, and a government that will be lucky to be able "to answer the phones"). Without a source of income, millions will be unable to buy food, and will desperately need government welfare (which likely won't be there).

This rise in unemployment will certainly occur well before 2030. The "Oil Shockwave" exercise led to the loss of millions of jobs, and that was with a 4% drop in production!

I second the recommendation for The Tipping Point.

If you haven't already, also please check out Chaos, by James Gleick.

This rise in unemployment will certainly occur well before 2030. The "Oil Shockwave" exercise led to the loss of millions of jobs, and that was with a 4% drop in production!

I certainly could see that happening. If you said we'd be in the teeth of a "Greater Depression" by 2030, I would agree it's very possible.

But that's a far cry from a dieoff that leaves only 40 million people left in the Americas (current population: about 900 million, with 300 million in the US alone).

It's happening...but it's happening in slow motion. It's not a sudden crash, it's more a drip, drip, drip. Eventually, there may be a sudden collapse, but I think that could be a lot further in the future than many here think.

Actually its happening very fast. More than Half of Africa is already experiencing difficulties, including regions that were fairly well off such as South Africa, and Egypt. The problems will spread and the amount of destablization will increase in a non-linear way.

I suspect that the next regions that will begin to face difficulties is the poor western countries in Europe, and South America. Mexico is already destablizing and its a major oil exporter.

Sooner or later, poor people fleeing Mexico and South America will come to the US, bring diseases with them. Since they are illegals and poor, they won't be able to seek medical treatment. They will begin to spread disease to poor americans (since illegals will likely roam in poor american neighborhoods). Poor Americans also lack access to quality medical care. The more people that become infected, the more likelyhood of drug resistant and highly-contaginous diseases will develop.

Actually its happening very fast. More than Half of Africa is already experiencing difficulties, including regions that were fairly well off such as South Africa, and Egypt.

That is not really unusual, though. Anyone who's lived in a third world country can tell you: the infrastructure is unreliable. It's not the end of the world, contrary to what many Americans think. You get used to it.

The problems will spread and the amount of destablization will increase in a non-linear way.

That is the essential point of disagreement here. If things go nonlinear, then yes, collapse could come very quickly.

But there's no evidence so far that things are going non-linear. Yes, there are shortages and unrest, but there have always been shortages and unrest in places like Africa.

I think it's going stay "linear" for a lot longer than you think. Maybe longer than our lifetimes. Life will be increasingly difficult and poverty-stricken, but it won't go non-linear.

You put together the DrumBeat with all the stories about spreading disease, electrical shortages and blackouts, platform shutdowns, country chaos, dire and worsening living conditions, and economic meltdowns, and you say it's not happening?

There is no evidence that I have seen that any of this is happening at a greater frequency than at any given time in the past. It just that the combination of the internet and doom fixation puts it on our monitors every day.

The number of stories we see about doom is only up because the number of stories about everything is up. Again, no evidence at all that the underlying reality isn't improving.

"Again, no evidence at all that the underlying reality isn't improving."

There are beau-coup amounts of evidence up the wazoo. I could go on, and have gone on, and so have many others, about climate change, increasing poverty, social isolation and fragmentation, mass extinctions, disease, economic anarchy, war, resource depletion, human population overshoot, and environmental degradation.

But it's not a wise use of time to continue preaching to the choir any more today, as those who don't understand won't be convinced by more evidence, logical arguments, systemic thinking, or three dollar words.

For many people, understanding will only occur when it's happening outside their window in real-time, not a future abstracted by pixels on a screen.

For many people, understanding will only occur when it's happening outside their window in real-time, not a future abstracted by pixels on a screen.

And by that time it would be much too late for these people to do anything about their situation except panic. I believe it will get very ugly, especially in the densely populated urban areas.

There's evidence, but it's not peak oil that's given the blame. It's climate change.

Even now, with the disaster in China...it's the heavy snows that are blamed.

I think the two are intimately entwined. People blame China's regulatory environment (when they aren't blaming the weather). But a big reason for that regulatory environment is the high cost of energy.

Similarly, the blackouts in some developing countries are blamed on droughts or heat waves or cold snaps...but exacerbating the problem is high prices that have made governments and businesses keep far lower stockpiles than they used to.

But do you have any data the supports either of your conclusions?

1) Blackout are more frequent than in the past. If they are less frequent, it really kills the argument.

2) Lower stockpiles are a significant cause of blackouts. It seems to me the causes are the same as they always were old transformers, poor maintenance, theft of parts, corruption, etc.

I don't think anyone can disprove the hypothesis that blackouts are less frequent than in that past and that the causes are similar.

OK. I read the link, but don't quite follow your thinking. You can't be suggesting a greater frequency of storms is not actually caused by global warming, but instead by lower fuel inventories.

Clearly, the situation in China is made far worse by the fact that an increasingly complex society has spread workers all over on new infrastructure. But this is hardly the end of the world, or evidence of a trend. I had to stay home from school in NYC in the 1970s. Millions dies of starvation in China decades ago.

As you probably know, my views on climate change are probably not out of consensus on this website. I don't doubt that oil supplies are permanently waning.

However, I haven't yet seen even a half hearted effort to put one iota of evidence behind the assertion that the fact that more news about blackouts shows up on our computer sceens proves anything more than Google's ability to bring more news to us. And I have asked for evidence many, many times.

OK. I read the link, but don't quite follow your thinking. You can't be suggesting a greater frequency of storms is not actually caused by global warming, but instead by lower fuel inventories.

No. As I said, they are entwined, and hence, people may never understand the true cause. (Which is what we are talking about: when will Joe Public understand/accept peak oil?)

Tainter points out that natural disasters are often blamed for the collapse of ancient societies. Drought, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. But that is not the real cause. Instead, the society was struggling with declining marginal returns - basically, an energy crisis - and a natural disaster that they could once weather easily becomes a killing blow. The lack of resources to deal with the disaster is the problem, not the disaster itself.

And yet...it's not happening. Peak oil was almost three years ago, and there's no crash so far.

Africa, Asia, Mexico, are all experience difficulties. Sooner or later those difficultlies will walk up the ladder. A Credit Crunch, and devalued US dollar will certianly speed things up.

That's the horrible thing. The longer inertia keeps us afloat, the more damage we do potentially further eroding carrying capacity.


That's why I think catabolic collapse is actually the most doomerish scenario, even though it will be pretty much BAU for those alive now.

Excellent, 710, Grey Zone, and Leanan!

Now we're getting somewhere!

yeah, it's BAU right now. people are buying smaller cars, the prius outsold the explorer and ridership on amtrak is up for the 5th year in a row. sounds like BAU to me.

Yes, that is BAU. Look at what we're talking about. The "not BAU" option is massive dieoff - almost everyone alive now dies prematurely of starvation, violence, or disease.

Buying Priuses instead of Explorers is very much BAU.

Basically all that is happening at this point is a modest percentage of enlightened lefties are changing a few habits.
Buy a Prius, screw in the right lighbulbs, turn down the 'stat
5 degrees at night.....it's just peeing into a hurricane.

The BAU crowd has not even noticed....yet. And when they finally do it won't turn out well....

Yes, also what GreyZone said.

My guesstimate would be 600 million for NAFTA poulation by 2030. Get ready for dramatically increased immigration-the only chance to keep the Ponzi scheme afloat for TPTB.

Or maybe not...

Immigrants hit hard by U.S. slowdown and subprime crisis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As an economic slowdown and the subprime mortgage crisis deepen across the United States, Hispanic immigrants are increasingly in danger of losing their jobs and their homes.

...Although there is no formal tally, Mexican consular sources say a growing number of illegal immigrants across the United States are starting to pack their bags and return home.

As the economy falters, and we have more people competing for jobs that "only immigrants will do," I suspect that we will have increasingly greater levels of jingoism and immigrant bashing. Nobody complains when immigrants are doing low-paid jobs when the locals can then move on to higher paying jobs. But when it comes down to it, I suspect that there will be many more new laws preventing immigrants from getting those roofing and bus-boy jobs.

Or, by 2030 a better question to ask might be: "How many people remember what crude oil is?"

Sounds kind of silly to me - we have functionally 95% literacy now, and you're suggesting that in 23 years all of the old folks will be dead and a generation of ignorant kids will take their place? People will go back to reading as travel, TV production, and the like decline.

I didn't say it would take 23 years. It will take less than 10 for the population to drop 90%.

It isn't extinction, it's only TEOTWAWKI, and we rebuild afterward. Some knowledge will get lost for a while and then rediscovered.

There is even a slight chance we may learn from our mistakes.

But a steep population crash is as unavoidable as our own mortality.

Reading will be a luxury few will be able to engage in post-crash.

About the same percentage as those who still believe there is WMD in Iraq. Or the same percentage who don't believe in evolution. Or the same percentage who believe Elvis is alive. We create our own reality. And goddamn it, no one has the right to take that reality away from us. Science is fine as long as it agrees with our burned in conception of reality. Otherwise, it's junk science, or we just simply deny the facts.

"Or the same percentage who believe Elvis is alive."

Like Leanan says, "Anything is possible."


Ah, but you changed the question ;)

You started by running on about "an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base". For most in the US, badly educated by a dysfunctional US system concerned only with inflating bloated egos, that will appear as vaguely mathematical and therefore incomprehensible gobbledygook. Of course, it's also overly tautological - the Sun is every bit as finite as the oil supply or even a grain of sand, but I decline to worry about it - so it begs the more usual argument over whether the finite oil supply is for us to worry over now, or, like the Sun, is for somebody else to worry about in the distant future. That argument brings in stuff like the exponential function, which might be understood by, what, up to one percent of the US population?

As to your new question, it depends on what you mean by "peaked". The important issue is not whether there is less, but how to respond. I see two interpretations of the new scenario, though there might be more. (1) It is 2030, and we find ourselves in a pickle because we needed to do more to shift/adjust our resource use accordingly. (2) It is 2030, and we find ourselves in a pickle because we needed to do whatever it takes to attack the political bottleneck ("above-ground factor" in TOD jargon) that's giving us these unnecessary fits.

Now, given, for example, that the emerging 'electable' candidates for US president have all promised to "reduce the stress on hard-working families", or some such, by way of cheaper gasoline and the like (obtained by scaring the Saudis into submission with the specter of biofuel, or by actually growing enough biofuel to massively raise supply, take your pick), then do we suppose politicans and the media will espouse (1), or (2), for the sake of their public pronouncements? Given that spin, how do we suppose Americans in general, whose cognition extends not far beyond sound bites, might respond?

What percentage of Americans would still believe that world crude oil production had not peaked?

Wrong Question. The correct Question is, How many americans will be alive?

1. War - Fighting overseas to bring Oil back home.
2. Pestilence - Declining energy resources means less food resources, poor access to medical and sanitation services. Rise of Global and Domestic Pandemics caused by rising mal-nutrition, declining sanitation & healthcare services.

If the US is extremely lucky, half of the US population will still be alive by 2030.

And here's an example. It's behind a paywall, but the free summary says it all:

Scathing Taxes Send Russian Oil Sales To Fresh Lows

Faced with Moscow's scorching crude oil export taxes and range-bound global commodity prices, Russia's oil firms are turning their backs to exports, which will drop to one of the lowest levels seen in two years, according to finalized February port loading schedules set by Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft.

ELM, hah! The problem is taxes!

Right! The demand internally just magically appeared to allow these companies to avoid the taxes. How convenient. There is no way it could be ELM.

The taxes on exported oil in Russia are very high. Basically, the after-tax revenues do not justify the capex for the next generation of development and expansion of the Russian oilfields. So, they just stick with their existing projects, which of course have a declining trend.

Alternatively, Russia has now made up for what was not produced following the collapse of the Soviet Union:

In Defense of the Hubbert Linearization Method (June, 2007)

Russia was getting $88 per barrel in December 2007. The export tariff is $45.53 per barrel as of February 1st. Extraction costs are not higher than $15 per barrel in Russia. So it is dubious that about $28 per barrel of profit is not enough to justify field development. If $28 per barrel is so little then why was anybody in the oil business in the 1990s when the price was less than $25?

''(Bloomberg) -- Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with ``seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.''

Also known as....


Isn't that the truth. It seems to me that our little Shangri las are for the good times.

We have gravity feed spring water-still can use the toilet when the power's out-have a well stocked basement and root cellar, barn with livestock and feed for a year.

We're just painting circles on our back.

Think of it this way.

About once every two years, some bloke (usually blokes) wandering around lowland countryside, mostly in England, turns up a hoard. The hoards are usually silver, coins, scrap silver. Some times, about once every ten years, the hoard could be significant, maybe large, maybe gold coins.

Usually buried in a pot or box.

Most have Roman or Romano-British Origins. All must have belonged to reasonably or significantly wealthy persons.

But the one thing they all have in common:

The owners never came back for them...

Not if you have friends in low places and a few dozen of these in the welcoming commitee.


I think one of these would nicely complement a field stone house on a hilltop ...



The rich are too smart for that ..
Their 'bug out bag' of choice is a megayacht ..

Triff ..

historically, lots of Chinese also ate dirt during the famines. unfortunately, they don't have the kind of dirt prized by the Haitians. instead, they ate kaolin which is indigestible ergo relatively harmless. many, however, died of constipation consequently. it was about 50 years ago when last time that happened. officially, natural disaster --three consecutive years of ruinous weather-- was to blame.


Russia's government on Tuesday opened the door to applications from entrepreneurs and big polluters to profit from greenhouse gas emissions cuts by selling these to Western countries.

The U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol puts limits on greenhouse gases from 36 rich nations but softens the restrictions by allowing governments to fund emissions-cutting projects in poor and former communist countries and count the cuts as their own.

EU carbon trading scheme to wipe out paper industry profits

Paper companies have warned that the rising cost of raw materials and the introduction of an EU CO2 carbon emission trading scheme will raise prices and kill off profits.

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) said the trading scheme will take £750m out of the European paper industry, effectively wiping out its annual profits.

Climate-Control Talks to Address Barriers to Green-Technology Profit

After years of debate over who will foot the bill to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, world leaders are now taking up a new matter: Who will profit.


Big money is at stake. Globally, exports in the environmental-technology
sector, including such machinery as wind turbines, solar panels and biomass
boilers, have grown at an average annual rate of 15% since 2000, the U.S.
government says.

Emissions trading

European power is a great business. Like producers everywhere, Europe's utilities are shielded from international competition by the need to produce electricity near their customers. Many get extra protection from authorities' foot-dragging on structural reform. And, since 2005, most have enjoyed an additional fillip. Under the European Emissions Trading Scheme, customers have paid for the permits the utilities require to produce carbon, despite the fact that, so far, the companies have received them for free. Between now and 2013 the number of permits granted will fall, and the proportion of free permits will be reduced to two-thirds. But Centrica, the UK's biggest residential energy supplier, estimates the windfall from free permits will still be worth €110bn for the European utilities.

Last week, though, spelled the end of this cosy arrangement. From 2013, the European Commission has proposed that power suppliers will have to buy all the permits they need at auction, while overall emissions volumes will be cut.

By 2020, it hopes, emissions covered by the scheme will fall by 21 per cent from 2005 levels. Suppliers will not only have to cut emissions but will no longer receive any windfall gains from free permits.

The commission has sugared the pill by suggesting that allowances during the 2008-12 phase may be banked for use after 2013. But costs for all polluters, from buying permits to investment in carbon capture and storage facilities, will inevitably rise. Not all will suffer equally. The negative impact on cleaner European generators such as British Energy, EDF and Fortum will be less than on companies such as Drax, Enel, Eon and RWE. It is clear who will meet higher costs. Since power provision is still a quasi-monopoly, the customer will pay the price.

UBS subprime losses mount, bank deep in red

Subprime-related problems at UBS AG mounted on Wednesday as the Swiss bank unveiled US$4-billion in new write-downs in a surprise statement and sank deep into the red for the year.

The latest disclosure lifted the bank's total write-downs from the subprime debacle to US$18.4-billion and will likely increase pressure on chairman Marcel Ospel, at the UBS helm during its push into risky U.S. investments, to resign.

UBS, world banking's leading wealth manager, posted a 12.5-billion Swiss franc ($11.45-billion) loss for the last three months of 2007 and a full-year loss of 4.4-billion francs, a grim closure to its worst performance in history.

Hark! Is that the sound of helicopters starting?

Economy much weaker than expected

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The economy grew at a much slower pace in the last three months of the year, according to a government report Wednesday that came in well below Wall Street expectations.

The report raised fears of a recession and hopes for another significant interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

We will know in a few hours. Perhaps 0.25% !

My guesstimate is .50%

You called it. Congratulations.

Ben has three and a half helicopters left...

1/2 chopper down!

Going down...

Does anyone know when or if they have EVER reduced rates 1.25% in one month before?

thanks...I thought I heard of another time.

The consumers of America groaned under their debt burdens
home prices fell, and banks failed, and the markets sank.

The Lord Ben heard the cries of the people of America
and remembered his covenant with Bush, Cheney, and the powers that be

So the Lord Ben said "let there be helicopters"
and there were helicopters, and money fell from the helicopters.

The people of America saw the helicopters and the money falling thereof
and knew it was good, and the markets cheered
and there was much rejoicing in the land of America

Now is it only me, or can I equate rate cuts to addictive drugs, where the first time puts someone out is space for a long time, then each subsequent "dose" the effect isn't as good or as long.... Well looking at the ticker on CNBC, it appears todays "dose" lasted about 3 hours. Looks like wall street needs rehab.

As Musashi pointed out after the last Fed rate cut 'it doesnt matter how much they cut'(paraphrased). Imo, The worlds central banks have lost control of the money supply. Every new home foreclosure is a contraction of the money supply...and...The Fed cannot make 'bad debt' good. Every contraction of the money supply puts additional pressure on governments, businesses and employees. By thousands of little cuts we bleed to death.

Fed helpless in its own crisis
By Henry C K Liu


'But money can be and is created by all debt issuers, public and private, in the money markets, many of which are not strictly regulated by government. WHILE A PROMINENT AMOUNT OF GLOBAL DEBT IS DENOMINATED IN DOLLARS, ON WHICH THE FED HAS MONOPOLISTIC AUTHORITY, THE NOTONAL VALUE USED IN STRUCTURED FINANCE DENOMINATED IN DOLLARS, WHICH REACHED A RECORD $681 TRILLION IN THIRD QUARTER 2007, IS TOTALLY OUTSIDE CONTROL OF THE FED. Virtual money is largely unregulated, with the dollar acting merely as an accounting unit. When US homeowners default on their mortgages en mass, they destroy money faster than the Fed can replace it through normal channels. The result is a liquidity crisis which deflates asset prices and reduces monetized wealth'...snip...(caps mine)

'As economist Hyman Minsky (1919-1996) observed insightfully, money is created whenever credit is issued. The corollary is that money is destroyed when debts are not paid back. That is why home mortgage defaults create liquidity crises. THIS SIMPLE INSIGHT DEMOLISHES THE MYTH THAT THE CENTRAL BANK IS THE SOLE CONTROLLER OF A NATIONS MONEY SUPPLY. While the Federal Reserve commands a monopoly on the issuance of the nation's currency in the form of Federal Reserve notes, which are "legal tender for all debts public and private", it does not command a monopoly on the creation of money in the economy'...snip...(caps mine)

'As the debt securitization market collapses, banks cannot roll over their off-balance sheet liabilities by selling new securities and are forced to put the liabilities back on their own balance sheets. This puts stress on bank capital requirements. Since the volume of debt securitization is geometrically larger than bank deposits, a widespread inability to roll over short term debt securities will threaten banks with insolvency'...snip...

THIS SIMPLE INSIGHT DEMOLISHES THE MYTH THAT THE CENTRAL BANK IS THE SOLE CONTROLLER OF A NATIONS MONEY SUPPLY. While the Federal Reserve commands a monopoly on the issuance of the nation's currency in the form of Federal Reserve notes, which are "legal tender for all debts public and private", it does not command a monopoly on the creation of money in the economy'

This is correct. However, overall liquidity for those notes, and the banks that fractionally create more money comes from FED control.

I maintain that this time, the FED is NOT in the control that they think/thought they were. The excesses of electronic money creation may have turned out to be beyond even their comprehension and control.

So we have two scenarios:

1) The FED is able to regain control by flooding the markets with cash (inflation)...leading to US economic pain due to its horribly devalued currency.

2) They lose control of the markets and inflation does not calm nor liquify the system. The system collapses into deflation.

Ugh...which to choose?

I think deflation is inevitable in the face of peak everything...but only in the face of systemic collapse.

But economically, in the short term, inflation and monetary debasing may be the LEAST painful for the US as it would reduce debt burdens.

Or put it another way, deflation is REALLY REALLY painful.

Running update - US banks are effectively broke (negative non-borrowed reserves - ie. no fractional part of the fractional reserve) for the last week.

Another 30 billion thru the TAF window this week puts more than 100 billion into the banks in 7 weeks.

Running update - US banks are effectively broke (negative non-borrowed reserves - ie. no fractional part of the fractional reserve) for the last week.

It varies by bank, right? Citigroup seems to need bi-weekly injections to keep going, whereas other banks like JP Morgan Chase reported reasonable profits.

That's not how I understand the problem. This has nothing to do with profits. I think of it like this:

Your wife says, "I insist that we keep a balance of $10,000 in our chequing account so we can pay any bills that come due." You agree, and for a long time you maintain that balance. But then a good deal on a bass boat comes along and you spend your reserve. So as not to upset your partner, you quietly go to the bank and take out a $10,000 loan. When she looks at the account statement she sees $10,000 and is perfectly happy. Unfortunately, the bass boat you bought turns out to be riddled with corrosion, and is useless. Now your wife comes along and says, "I need a vacation. Let's use some of our reserve for that - after all, we've got $10,000. You can always top it up with a loan..."

Why the worry?

It comes down to withdrawals. A bank is supposed to keep so much on hand to handle everyday withdrawals.

Now, they have none. Which means if you want your 100K from your term deposit, they have to loan it from the FED to give it to you. Directly, or indirectly (ie. negative non-borrowed rate means they redeemed more deposits than they had).

This is yet another empty instrument...as in, when they borrow money to give you back the money (you loaned them...ie deposited), they then have no asset to back the credit. Not unlike the subprime, cdo, toxic waste we see elsewhere.

I agree that with fractional banking, several times more money is loaned out than is deposited. However, the quality of assets held by individual banks does vary. JP Morgan Chase had only slight exposure to the cdos, etc. which explains why they do not need equity injections like Citigroup. The aggregate non-borrowed reserves are negative because of banks like Citigroup and Countrywide, but many individual banks have positive non-borrowed reserves.

I believe Merrill Lynch was at 38% of assets and all the rest of the banks were underwater. Not my area, I don't track it closely, but those you name I recall as being troubled.

Merrill Lynch is an investment bank, and not part of the Federal Reserve System. Most banks are safe.

It is related to earnings - the banks are required to write off the bad assets from their balance sheets. The next round of quarterly earnings should reveal more of the writedowns.

Exactly right PeakTO...The tremendous leveraging that has led to all the crazy debt instruments, to the tune of $631 Trillion, is beyond the control of any and all central banks.

This morning (finally) the talking heads on squeek blab mentioned the possibility of a default of monoline insurers. The monolines are very heavily leveraged and very undercapitalized...Who is going to step up and bail them out? Bond insurance has been skyrocketing, bond issuance dropping or cancelled, IPs dropping or cancelled, and meanwhile businesses need capital to continue doing business. If all the banks are scared and holding onto the cash they have been getting from the Fed then there is nothing for businesses to borrow.

If 'Joe Sixpack' gets a whiff of whats going on and a run on the banks begins the jig is up. Of course if all the Joe Sixpacks have only $22 or so in a checking account then it might work out all right for a while. :)

I am not wishing for doomsday in the world financial system. I am wishing for a return to sound banking standards...If that is even possible in the face of PO is another question.

Here's the BBC report on the latest rate cut

Last week Ben was in a panic. This would have been a good opportunity to pull back and make it at least look like he had a grip - an opportunity not taken.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 25, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.6 million barrels per day during the week ending January 25,down 302,000 barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 85.0 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production edged slightly lower compared to the previous week, averaging about 8.9 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production fell last week, averaging nearly 3.9 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 10.1 million barrels per day last week, down 100,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 10.1 million barrels per day, unchanged from the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged nearly 1.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 277,000 barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) rose by 3.6 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 293.0 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 3.6 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories declined by 1.5 million barrels, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 3.0 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

And here's what was expected:

Oil inventories likely rose last week by around 2.3 million barrels, their third straight increase, according to analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.

...Gasoline inventories were expected to have grown around 1.9 million barrels last week, according to the average figure from the survey, while stocks of distillate, which includes heating oil and diesel fuel, were expected to have gained around 1.6 million barrels.

Continued big decline in refinery utilization, resulting in the crude inventory build. Robert attributes it to an early start to the turn around season.

Note that total product inventories fell (by 4.6 mb).

In any case, IMO refiners are going to have to see lower crude oil prices and/or higher product prices, before they meaningfully boost refinery utilization.

Yes, that is what I see too.

Total Petro inventories DOWN 1 Million barrels, so much for a couple weeks of gains.

Propane continues into uncharted territory - at 16.2% LOWER than 2006.

Distillates lower (on lower refinery production and cold weather), while gasoline is up on increased imports and slightly lower demand than busier weeks at 9.1MMBPD, but still up 1.4% over 2006.

Propane stocks are not in uncharted territory. Stocks were lower in 2003 and 2004 for this week in Jan. Also 2007 stocks were at nearly record highs except for 2001 in this decade for this week in Jan.

DipChip...it is clear there is less being produced over 2006. That is what I am saying and EIA is saying.

After your comment, I have gone in and extracted and charted the EIA Propane
production and import data for the past 5 years plus 2008.

2008 is avg. weekly data for the first 4 weeks. In 2006 and 2007 first 4 week avg totals were 1225, 1287, respectively.

Avg. weekly production

year 2003 959
year 2004 1109
year 2005 1063
year 2006 1049
year 2007 1086
year 2008 1117

Avg. weekly imports

year 2003 149
year 2004 196
year 2005 223
year 2006 191
year 2007 173
year 2008 207

Avg. weekly Total Imports & Production

year 2003 1108
year 2004 1305
year 2005 1286
year 2006 1240
year 2007 1259
year 2008 1324

The reason I am interested in propane is I use it at 3 different locations. I don’t see anything that would cause panic for the balance of this winter season.

I see no reason for panic either...just asking what the difference is to cause 16.2% difference over 2006. No other product is down that much...so the question I ask is WHY?

Also, this is still the tail of the imports from when the price was in the upper $90s-$100 area. I'm going to be very interested in the imports report next week.

If you watch the markets, the heavy selling pressure from the hedgers has definitely lightened up.

As for the refiners, about all anyone seems to hope for is that they'll not lose as much as expected: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601213&sid=a.bN93iQSoxc&refer=home

Note that Tapis was just below $98 overnight. I suspect that any oil not bought by US refiners is being snapped up by other importers. (As I believe that Robert has been pointing out) we are probably looking at some pretty big increases in product prices later this year.

Can you provide the link to Tapis? Thanks.


The physical market seems to be pulling the paper market higher.

There are a couple of stages to this. One is to go into turnaround early because margins are low, so why not start turnaround now? Robert was mentioning this not long ago. But the second stage is more akin to what WT is saying, if margins remain too tight, some of the less efficient refineries may just shut down. We may begin to see that this year unless there are significant price increases that allow margins to improve again.

I see total product inventory falling from 972.3 to 971.3 MB's. Where do you find -4.6 mb?

The numbers you are looking at are total crude + product. You have to subtract out crude oil inventories.

Thanks: Now I know what you are talking about.

Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged about 9.1 million
barrels per day, or 1.4 percent above the same period last year.

Despite economic difficulties...

Monbiot's latest article is worth a read:


"Population Growth Is A Threat. But It Pales Against The Greed Of The Rich."

from the article:

"Surely there is one respect in which the growing human population constitutes the primary threat? The amount of food the world eats bears a direct relationship to the number of mouths. After years of glut, the storerooms are suddenly empty and grain prices are rocketing. How will another 3 billion be fed?

Even here, however, population growth is not the most immediate issue: another sector is expanding much faster. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation expects that global meat production will double by 2050 - growing, in other words, at two and a half times the rate of human numbers. The supply of meat has already trebled since 1980: farm animals now take up 70% of all agricultural land and eat one third of the world’s grain. In the rich nations we consume three times as much meat and four times as much milk per capita as the people of the poor world. While human population growth is one of the factors that could contribute to a global food deficit, it is not the most urgent.

None of this means that we should forget about it. Even if there were no environmental pressures caused by population growth, we should still support the measures required to tackle it: universal sex education, universal access to contraceptives, better schooling and opportunities for poor women. Stabilising or even reducing the human population would ameliorate almost all environmental impacts. But to suggest, as many of my correspondents do, that population growth is largely responsible for the ecological crisis is to blame the poor for the excesses of the rich."

Study says Black Death did not kill indiscriminately

The Black Death that decimated populations in Europe and elsewhere during the middle of the 14th century may not have been a blindly indiscriminate killer, as some experts have believed.

An analysis of 490 skeletons from a London cemetery for Black Death victims demonstrated that the infection did not affect everyone equally, two U.S. scientists said on Monday.

While many perfectly healthy people certainly were cut down, those already in poor health prior to the arrival of the plague were more likely to have perished, they found.

Not really surprising, but interesting, because it ties into a theory that the Black Death was basically a Malthusian issue. Bubonic plague is endemic to Eurasia, so why did it suddenly become so virulent? Some theorize that it was a different disease, or a mutation. But others think the population was just uniquely vulnerable. Europe had hit "peak wood." Forests had been burned for firewood and cleared for farming. People could no longer afford to heat water for bathing and washing clothes. And famine (including the Great Famine, only 30 years earlier), had greatly weakened the population.


The two summers prior to the arrival of the Black Death were some of the worst known in living memory at the time. Crops rotted in the fields before harvest, beasts in the field suffered from 'divers murrains'.

The general population was under considerable nutritional stress when the Black Death hit the British Isles and were unlikely to be in any shape to offer resistance against infection.

Though it appears from many of the record that the well fed succumbed almost as much as the poor in most parts with 30-50 % mortality.

In fact in some parts of Britain, mortality in villages was 100%.

What I find curious (and unanswered) is the virulance of (this) Bubonic Plague outbreak and the fantastic rate of geographic spread.

Go to the Aetiology Site. Much research was put into this very subject.



Interesting discussion relative to the one above about whether people in the future will recognize PO as the cause of so many problems. It's how many centuries after the Black Death, and how many think it was just the fleas, unable to understand the big picture situation? There will always be a flea to blame, especially when the reality is so unpleasant.

Interestingly, the Black Death was not bad for all.

The peasant survivors gained wealth from the accumulation of larger land holdings and properties from dead relatives. Food costs went up, but so did the cost of labour.

The population reduction meant that marginal lands such as poorly drained soils, higher altitude moorland was abandoned as the remaining peasantry acquired richer fertile lowlands. Whole villages became 'lost' in the marginal areas, or at least reduced to a point where a few surviving families could make a go of it.

It got so bad that the king passed a series of laws, one of which was the 'Sumptuary Law' which codified dress for each class of person as richer peasants began to dress above their station. The land owning classes at first resisted wage hikes, but then, failing to get the peasants to get the crops in, relented and paid more.

The Church never really recovered its authority and soon after, the Renaissance began.

There's also this from a few years back:

Black Death Aids

In Africa Aids is proving a real scourge, in Europe less so.

New research suggests that Europeans have inherited a resistance to Aids because of the devastating effects of the bubonic plague. Science In Action reports.


According to the researchers the mutation is absent in Africa and throughout East Asian populations and evident in varying amounts across Europe. O’Brien explains:

‘It was present as high as 15% in Scandinavia; it was less in Europe, about 10% in France, Germany and England. Further south it was 5% and in Saudi Arabia and Sub-Saharan Africa it was 0%.’

MUDLOGGER, you might find 'The Intelligent Universe' 'A New View Of Creation And Evolution' by Sir Fred Hoyle an interesting read. Pgs 113, 134 is a conclusion of research that Hoyle did with other scientists concerning the very uneven spread of viral and bacterial infections among groups living in close proximity. The gist?...No decernable pattern, no ryme or reason. Unless one considers unconventional wisdom as a possibility. More research by Hoyle and associates turned up many cases where remote islands with village residents completely cut off from each other became infected with the same organisims at exactly the same date.

Fred Hoyle was a brilliant scientist but his unconventional views in the many fields of science that he studied and wrote about often left him at odds with fellow researchers. But the man is revered by many, including me, as one of the greatest scientists that we have been fortunate enough to have among us, and as time has passed his views are beginning to be viewed in a more favorable light.

The book is very readable and fun for the lay person and gives one a real sense of the immense complexity of genes and their constituent parts. I am still in awe of genetic complexity and how it came to be.

Hoyle was an advocate of an extra terrestrial origin for virus invasion. I dont have a problem in general, but as far as I know, the Black Death did not make it to Sub-Saharan Africa or North and South America, or Japan. It was specically Eurasian and Mediterranean.

So if from a comet, why not and folk myths or lore from these places?

Equally. If fleas were a vector of an unusually virulent strain of Bubonic Plague, how come it spread so fast and did not fall off in North European Winters - It just marched straight on to Scotland, Northern Russia, Northern Norway etc.

So what does that leave? Haemorragic fever? But are they not mostly tropical and the radius of infection and death so fast they burn them selves out?

Who knows these things.

But whatever it was, as Leanan pointed out: The North European Population was already under stress and probably made vulnerable by a weakened immune system.

Not a good pointer for future Pandemics in an energy poor and crowded world.

Perhaps the vector for bubonic plague to the British Isles was flea-ridden rats carried by ships? Or the flea-ridden passengers on those ships.

Even back then there was a suprising amount of trade between the Continent and the British Isles.

Yes, the Hanseatic League and shipping around the continent and into Scandinavia could be an unintentional vector to coastal regions. and then inland.

MUDLOGGER, I dont have the answers for the sudden appearance of the various diseases that have swept the world, or parts of it, only to disappear just as suddenly. I simply think that some of Hoyles hypothesis make more sense than some others that have been shown to be inconsistent with the known facts but are still lingering in acedemia for want of more research or brighter scientists getting the needed funding. Perhaps funding is going to the wrong projects. Personally, I have no doubt that life (viral) exists throughout the universe and that it can travel via ice and rock moving through space. Tiny organisims are tolerant to tremendous heat, cold and pressures that larger organisims are not. It has recently been proven that virus living in solid rock two miles beneath the surface of the earth lie in a state of 'suspended animation', but upon surfacing in rock cores and fed a nutrient solution they start to eat and reproduce within a matter of a couple of weeks...and these virus have been lying dormant for hundreds of millions of years.

BTW, another fascinating book is 'The River' subtitled 'A Journey To The Source Of HIV And AIDS' by Edward Hooper. This one was difficult to locate (used) and cost a bit but was worth it. By the time that I slogged my way through 'The River' I felt like I had been in virology or immunology classes. The true life characters in the book are fascinating people...fascinating like Dr Frankenstein. Lots of litigation and intrigue connected to the book and the BBC documentary that was made based on the book. Parts of the documentary used to be on You Tube but I havent checked in a year or two. BBC would not sell me a copy of the documentary. Contrary to some opinions on TOD, The River represents a conspiracy of a great number of people...and a few, under pressure of possible prosecution, managed to say just enough to keep the spotlight off themselves. Most would say nothing at all. I have seen murder convictions returned by juries with less evidence than is presented in 'The River'.

I remember watching a documentary about the anthrax theory of the black death about 30 years ago. Things move slowly in academic history.

Think about it. They had ran almost out of wood, in Europe, for heating and cooking in 1350 when the world population was an estimated 443 million people. This led to poor health and well as poor hygiene and massive death when a plague came along.

Now the population is over 15 times that. What are we going to do when fossil fuel is gone. For sure there will not be enough wood to supply one fifteenth the current population with fuel. And the anti doomers say "not to worry, science will think of something."

Ron Patterson

"not to worry, science will think of something."

Yeah, maybe cook up another Black Death...

I wonder what really happened to all those microbiologists...

The crazy thing about it all is that if we were to devote all of our military spending towards putting solar panels on every house and building large wind farms, banning the sale of ICE powered vehicles and replacing them with electric drive vehiclees, and did all of this to have all ICE vehicles eliminated in 10 years, we could have a very soft, pillowed decline.

But.. That will NEVER happen. "I can't take a long trip in my electric car." So what? It will go long enough to take you to the bloody train station. The same thing with cargo. We require a complete turn in our thinking on how the world should operate, and until that happens, we ARE doomed. If we can break out of the idea of "personal mobility" that can go on for thousands of miles in a week, and instead settle for vehicles that can go within town or a little way out of town, we can survive.

I'm not holding my breath, though. In the mean-time, I'll take my $800 bribe check from the politicians and buy some solar panels for my cabin in the woods.

That 'some solar panels' you are going to buy will be very small indeed, if you are going to buy them for $800. I've been setting aside and buying panels, the best I can find, and am spending in excess of that per panel for the higher wattage panels. Good luck.

It will only buy me around 130 or 140 watts of power. That's OK though, as I will combine it with some other cash I have laying around to buy a combined 600 or 700 watts. I'm not looking to run my home in a BAU manner. If you seriously conserve, you can get a lot out of 600 watts. After all, my laptop only consumes 45 watts, and I'm willing to do without on things such as A/C, and instead just have a couple of fans running. I'll need power to have a blower operating with my wood heater, etc. Sure, a 600w system might only generate 90kwh a month, but how much electricity do you NEED? (As opposed to want?)

I am reminded of the book the Great Wave.

Fischer examines four periods of prolonged inflation in European history: the first, beginning in the late 12th century; the second, beginning in the 15th century; the third, beginning in the early 18th century; and the modern period of inflation, starting in the 1890s. In each of these periods, inflation was preceded by widening income inequality and reductions in real wages for most people. As inflation proceeded in each episode, income inequality became greater and social unrest increased. Each episode of inflation was followed by a crisis: sometimes plague, sometimes war, sometimes revolution. After the crises in earlier centuries, an equilibrium of relatively stable prices, decreased income inequality and increased social stability prevailed.


Blackouts won’t harm economy:South Africa


On Monday, The Times reported economists had warned that South Africa’s economic growth could dip to below 3 percent this year


He said: “Government is confident if we do reduce electricity use, we can maintain the current healthy [economic] growth.


“We will do all to make sure 6 percent growth is reached … we are committed to it.”

Does anyone else see a problem with these statements?

Investment Solutions chief economist Chris Hart told The Times this week that power cuts were bad for economic growth.

Ummm...did he need an PHD to make that statement? /snarkoff


This report by provides technical background for the estimation of the environmentally compatible bioenergy potential from agriculture that the EEA published in 2006.

Ag effect on 'da south:

Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi make up only one-third of the 31-state Mississippi River drainage area, but contribute more than 75 percent of nitrogen and phosphorus to the Gulf.

A 2 fer from the GAO:

1. Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: Action Is Needed to Avoid the Possibility of a Serious Economic Disruption in the Future, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on the Budget. GAO-08-411T, January 29.
3. Federal Oversight of Food Safety: FDA's Food Protection Plan Proposes Positive First Steps, but Capacity to Carry Them Out Is Critical, by Lisa R. Shames, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-08-435T, January 29.

And for Fleam:

Our analysis, based on a sample of 4514 eBay auctions, indicates that consumers extract a median surplus of at least $4 per eBay auction.

Russia to Be Europe's Biggest Car Market in 2 Years
2008-01-30 08:26 (New York)
By Lyubov Pronina

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Russia will surpass Germany to become
Europe's biggest car market within two years, Renault SA Chief
Officer Carlos Ghosn said.

The Russian market has more than doubled during the past five
years and can grow further, Ghosn said at a conference in Moscow
today organized by investment bank Troika Dialog. This growth has
attracted many global manufacturers to open plants, he said,
according to a Jan. 22 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. . .

. . . ``In the next two years, Russia will become the largest car
market in Europe,'' Ghosn said. ``Russians love cars and it shows
in statistics." . . .

"Rich nations will have their oil."

That was a point blank comment my Irish wife made to me about Peak Oil. Her comment shocked me by its simplicity. Even with the third world reduced to eating mud, we in the West only have to tough it out with higher gas prices, but we can still get it. Our legions will ensure that it continues to flow. It's going to get nasty.

MAJ, U.S. Army

Normally I would agree, sir, but this time around I'm wondering who will make our stuff? We at this forum look at the ever-growing list of states experiencing energy disruptions, and we're beginning to see names that are stamped into objects in our households, preceded by "MADE IN". Of course a government might be corrupted enough by foreign capital to divert all remaining energy to keep the export sweatshops running, but citizens seem to take to rioting before that point can be reached.

Do you think the Army's evolving urban combat doctrine might add a chapter on how to stand guard at a forced labor factory?

Your suggestion that "our" legions will ensure the flow makes one wonder just who those legions will be. We have more contractors in Iraq than regular troops. I'd say that the use of military force has, in fact, been at the heart of U.S. energy policy since 1981. Our intrusions into the Persian Gulf have allowed the continued flow of cheap oil to the U.S. and one might think this could continue. The "fly in the ointment" is that Peak Oil means less oil for everybody and the other consuming nations are going to make every effort to continue the flows into their nations, just as we might wish to do. Worse yet, there will be less available each passing year.

One would think by now that the U.S. would realize that there's a whole lot more of them than there are of us. This simple fact shows that it is unlikely that "the military option" could succeed. We find ourselves in 2 nations involved in ground combat situations. We are already using our reserve National Guard troops. Iraq has a population of about 24 million. How would we do against Iran with 75 million population? If Pakistan (population about 170 million) falls to the Islamic Fundamentalist, would we attempt to use "our legions" there as well?

But, the big bull in the China shop is (whoa), China, with 1,300 million, followed by India with 1,100 million. Each might find themselves better off were they to lose a couple of hundred million in population, if only because they might be better able to feed the remaining populations with the fixed amount of land available to them. And, they have nukes, don't forget. Could the U.S. survive as a nation after a loss of 100-200 million in a nuclear exchange?

E. Swanson

Re: Kirschenmann Says Agriculture Must Change To Survive

I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Fred Kirschenmann and he is a very pleasant and thoughtful person. He is a long time, fairly large scale (diverse) organic farmer from ND, this article is worth a read. I would put more stock in what he says about the future of a sustainable agriculture than anyone else in the US.

Something I doubt many here would have expected from freddy

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Is this our very own Freddy?

Kill the Fatted Calf!!!

How dare he copywrite it.

From TOD's early days, Freddy's every jab was met by Greyzone's counterpunch.

It appears Freddy is finally saying; " No mas!"

You know you can look at analysis like his all day and go 'ho-hum'...sure enough. 2005, 2008, 2011, 2015..pick your peak date.

But, this is where I believe you have to look at the big picture...if its in 2011, give another 3 years for it to sink in - 2014 before we take action, that's another 6 years of population growth, consumption and misallocated infrastructure.

And, the biggest miss of all is to not take into account Net Exports - if it was 2011/2014 then you have many more years of BAU to grow those internal populations up to western standards of consumption.

What's my point...the longer we put off the recognition the steeper the cliff, IMO.

BTW, where does he find support for rapid ramp to 10MMBPD for SHALE by 2030? That is a hard number to swallow that fast...it took what...30 years to get oil sands to 3 MMBPD and he seems to think that they can do that for approx. 500 years...no bull...look at his chart. WTH?

A Trucker's View Of The US Economy

This is really pretty interesting, and the video clips are well worth watching. Much talk about oil and gas prices.

I was intrigued by that item about Alberta bieng leaned on by the Canadian government over emisions and revenue's. Could Alberta secede and joint the United States. With all that oil they would be wecomed, and in a country dominated by big oil they would get a lot less hastle, and keep their revenues.

why would alberta want to join the empire of debt ?

It's rude to take other people's provinces! Bad Yanks, Bad! No BC Bud for you!

However, we might be able to arrange a swap... say for the bits of Oregon and Washington west of the Cascades? Check out a modest proposal along these lines:


my guess is that if the citizens of Western WA St were to be informed that we had just been traded to Canada, we would raise holy hell for, oh, at least a good 5 minutes...

Hello TODers,

Obviously, if carried to its logical extreme, the ultimate in carbon sesquestration is to pump carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into maternity wards for profit, but in the meantime profits can accrue by this method:

Sick Cattle Used to Feed School Children
EDIT: maybe those Haitian kids eating mudpies might have a higher survival rate.

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

Hi Bob...Our early ancestors, the worms, survived on the nutrients in 'mud' for a very long time. Not to sound cruel but maybe the Hatians are trend setters? Perhaps we are headed back to a time prior to Olduvai?...As Fred Hoyle pointed out in the mid 1950s, there are only enough resources on the earth for a one time 'human civilization event'. Our successors will have to come up with replacements for FF and many other resources that are at or near peak. Better yet, maybe they will live in harmony with the earth and not develop a stupid economic model based on continual expansion?

I hope the Albatross makes it through the GW event. I admire their lifestyle.

Better yet, maybe they will live in harmony with the earth and not develop a stupid economic model based on continual expansion?

only if they are/become naturally equipped to perceive the Dao. LaoZi foresaw all this some 2500 years ago and summarized the ground rule of sustainability in merely 8 words. but he also knew it's useless to talk about it to anyone who is not naturally equipped (evolved?) to grasp it - Confucius included - thusly - those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.

Don't think this has been posted yet.


Shell sets new UK profits record

Shell has broken its own record of profits for a UK firm
The Anglo-Dutch oil firm Royal Dutch Shell has reported annual profits of $27.56bn (£13.9bn), a record for a UK-listed company.

Much of the rise in profits has been attributed to rising oil prices, which currently stand at about $91 a barrel compared with $57 this time last year.

But there is concern among analysts that Shell has delayed publishing figures showing its oil reserves.

Profits, measured by current cost of supply, beat a 2006 record of £12.9bn.

Suspicious traders

The oil reserves figure, which shows whether Shell found enough oil in the ground to replace the amount it was taking out, will not be published until the spring.

"The market really has taken this to imply that the figures aren't going to be great," said Nick MacGregor, an oil analyst from Redmayne Bentley.

"If they were that good Shell would be telling the world about it now."