DrumBeat: February 11, 2008

Oilsands producers can't fill gap if Venezuela cuts off oil to U.S.

CALGARY - With Venezuela talking tough about cutting off its oil exports to the United States, the Americans might look to their friendly neighbour to the north - already the No. 1 exporter to the U.S. - for a stable fuel supply.

But the question is whether companies who operate in Northern Alberta's vast oilsands can step up production fast enough to fill the gap should the South American communist state, the fourth largest exporter to the U.S., decide to follow through on its threat.

"The U.S. may have to get supply from other countries, including Canada," said Gordon Laxer, a University of Alberta political economist.

But shortages in labour and pipeline capacity might put a damper on that plan, he said.

"I really don't think that we can ramp up production quickly. We don't have surplus production capacity."

Chavez's Big Oil Bluff

Peeved by Exxon's legal victory, Venezuela's President is threatening to end oil exports to the U.S.—a move that would probably backfire

Omani company's output to decline for eighth year

Muscat: The fall in Oman's oil production last year and the next four years has been attributed by the Managing Director of state-controlled Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), John Malcolm, to ageing oilfields and complex operations to produce oil.

Gas Talks Come Down to The Wire

Emergency talks between Gazprom and Ukraine failed to resolve a simmering debt dispute Monday as the possibility of a mid-winter shut-off of gas supplies to the country inched closer.

Britannia field resumes output after evacuation

London: Oil and gas production from Chev-ron Corp's Britannia field in the UK North Sea resumed yesterday after a halt forced by an emergency platform evacuation.

Production at Britannia was "shut in as a precaution," Chevron spokes-woman Laura Easton said today in a telephone interview. It resumed at about 4:30pm local time yesterday, she said.

ConocoPhillips Lobbied on Climate, Trade

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Oil company ConocoPhillips spent more than $4 million in 2007 to lobby the federal government on environmental, energy and trade issues.

Russia Writes Off Iraq's Debt In Return For Greater Access To Oil

(RTTNews) - Russia signed an agreement with Iraq to write off the lion's share of 13 billion dollarsIraq owed to them in debt. Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiar Al Zibari, who is on a state visit to Russia, in turn, assured renewed opportunities for Moscow's participation in the country's lucrative oil sector.

Clouds on the Horizon

Peaceful Kurdistan has been the silver lining amidst the upheaval of the Iraq War. But controversial oil deals threaten the stability.

Liquefied natural gas has got a logistic appeal as well

Although not all the news in LNG is good - there are still not enough regasification facilities in relation to the amount of LNG produced, for instance - 2008 is looking to be a brilliant year as many projects finally reach completion.

New production is set to come on line this year in Russia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Australia, Yemen and Qatar, where production is expected to eventually hit 39 million tonnes per year.

Peak oil and the seismic silver lining

The launch of International Hydrographic & Seismic Search Magazine raises an interesting question: have the publishers taken leave of their senses? True, the coffers of their target audience have been swollen by the near-$100 barrel, but the outlook for the global oil industry and economy is darkening by the week. The fate of the oil service sector is ultimately tied to that of the producers, and both IOCs and NOCs are clearly in trouble. In the circumstances, it is reasonable to ask whether hydrographic and seismic contractors’ fortunes are about to nosedive, and whether the first edition of this magazine might also be its last.

Crude Oil Rises to 1-Month After Valero Shuts Delaware Refinery

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose to a one-month high after Valero Energy Corp. shut a Delaware refinery because of a power failure late yesterday.

Valero, the biggest U.S. refining company, said it is restarting units at the company's refinery in Delaware City after the shutdown, caused by storm-related high winds.

Producer prices at 16-year-high

Price inflation of goods leaving UK factories has reached its highest rate in 16 years, driven higher by petrol and food costs, official figures show.

Annual output price inflation reached 5.7% in January, up from 5% the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Oil rig dream bomb taxpayer bill 'astronomical'

A false bomb alert over the weekend led to scores of offshore workers being unnecessarily evacuated by helicopter from a North Sea platform at taxpayers' expense. Blame for the panic is being placed variously on oil company management (by unions) and on a young female worker aboard the rig (by management).

Daniel Ortega brands Exxon Mobil's move as another US attack

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega slashed out at US oil firm Exxon Mobil for launching "a clear offensive of the empire in order to push (Venezuelan state-run oil firm) Pdvsa into bankruptcy," Efe reported.

The Sandinist leader claimed it was not by chance that the US National Security Director Michael McConnell told the US Congress that "the things that are happening in Latin America involve a threat."

Gunmen attack Naval escort boat in southern Nigeria, killing one sailor

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria: Unidentified assailants on Monday attacked a Naval vessel escorting petroleum-industry watercraft in chaotic southern Nigeria, killing one sailor and injuring another, officials said.

The gunmen fired on the boats serving the natural gas industry as they headed toward an island hosting an oil-export terminal, said a senior security officer on condition of anonymity, citing prohibition on speaking with the media.

Venezuela moves bank accounts after Exxon embargo

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has moved its export payment accounts to UBS bank in Switzerland, traders said on Monday, after Exxon Mobil Corp secured an embargo of up to $12 billion of PDVSA's global assets.

Australia: Government Strategy to Reduce Oil Demand

The State Government is to develop a strategy to help Queenslanders lessen their reliance on liquid fossil fuels as the price of oil increases and supply diminishes. Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, Andrew McNamara, said the future availability of fossil fuel and alternative energy supplies is one of the main sustainability issues facing society today.

PR, Media Attention & Consumers Driving Climate Change in the Corporation

A recent survey of corporate executives published in the latest McKinsey Quarterly indicates that though climate change is considered important and awareness is high, relatively little is being done in terms of building climate change mitigation, energy usage and emissions reduction into corporate decision-making or operational processes. And yet while a large majority expect some form of regulation coming in their home countries, one-third see opportunities and risks equally balanced and more than one-third believe the effect on profits will, to varying degrees, be positive on the whole.

Biofuel demand leading to human rights abuses, report claims

EU politicians should reject targets for expanding the use of biofuels because the demand for palm oil is leading to human rights abuses in Indonesia, a coalition of international environmental groups claimed today.

A new report, published by Friends of the Earth and indigenous rights groups LifeMosaic and Sawit Watch, said that increasing demands for palm oil for food and biofuels was causing millions of hectares of forests to be cleared for plantations and destroying the livelihoods of indigenous peoples.

Agencies discover hydrocarbon in Aceh

Indonesian and German research agencies have claimed a massive finding of underwater hydrocarbon, which may contain oil and gas reserves, off the western shore of Aceh Nangroe Darussalam.

In its press statement on Saturday, the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and its counterpart Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) said the unproven reserve might reach 107 billion barrels of oil or gas as a minimum.

Coal mining plans put fresh water at risk

Plans to mine for coal in the catchment areas of major rivers present a serious threat to South Africa's fresh water resources.

Acid pollution caused by coal mining has already destroyed the Wilge River that flows through the Ezemvelo Reserve near Bronkhorstpruit, Mpumalanga, and has caused mass deaths of fish and crocodiles at the Olifants River inlet to Loskop Dam, between Middelburg and Groblersdal.

Scottish dolphins 'at risk from oil drilling'

The bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth in Scotland are the best known and most studied dolphins in the UK. They entertain onlookers with their energetic playing and feeding, and are regularly seen near the shore. In 2005 they were given their own sanctuary under European law.

But the Government says it is "likely" to grant a licence for sub-seabed oil and gas exploration in the sanctuary, which means the dolphins will be seriously disturbed, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS). It says that if oil and gas production goes ahead they will face the threats of waste discharge and oil spills.

As Asia food prices bite, analysts warn of worse to come

HONG KONG (AFP) — Rising food prices have hit Asia's poor so hard that many have taken to the streets in protest, but experts see few signs of respite from the growing problem.

An array of factors, from rising food demand and high oil prices to global warming, could make high costs for essentials such as rice, wheat and milk a permanent fixture, they say.

China Turns to Economic Controls

Beijing's resort to command economy decrees has not been confined to electricity alone. Beset by inflation galloping at a decade high of more than 6 percent, the government has steadily widened price controls, finally freezing all food prices last month as well as clamping limits on fertilizer prices and raising price supports for rice and wheat.

The controls are meant to shield China's poor and working classes, who spend up to half their incomes on food. But the inflation spike is blamed on shortages of pork and grain, and economists warn that putting a lid on prices just shifts the hardship to farmers, discouraging them from raising output, which would bring down high prices.

Reformers battle global oil price tide

Policymakers working to determine when to close the gap between the comparatively lower prices of refined oil products in China and those on the international market have been struggling with the record-setting global price.

Thailand: Driven to be green

Thailand has been one of the most successful countries in Asean in creating demand for greener energy, but there's still a long way to go. No matter how energetically the government promotes the alternatives, a lot of drivers can't imagine putting anything in their tanks but 100% petroleum-based fuel.

Recently, however, soaring oil prices have triggered a big shift in public opinion. What cost $40 a barrel in 2001 costs around $90 today - it briefly touched $100 last month. The tank of premium gasoline that cost you 600 baht at the start of 1995 costs 1,200 baht now. How many of your other regular expenses have doubled in three years?

In Gaza, cars are cooking with gas

Apart from trucks and taxis, which mostly run on diesel fuel – still sporadically available – it's probably a safe bet that most of the cars still seeing action in the gas wars of Gaza have a canister of cooking gas hooked up in the back seat or trunk.

The conversion of cars to run on cooking gas is by no means unique to Gaza. It is popular in India and many other countries because it offers improved fuel economy and a cleaner-burning engine.

The difference in Gaza is that, here, the procedure is being used to help circumvent a hostile blockade.

Energy independence, yes; income equality, no

During the next few weeks and months, I plan to write a series of columns about energy. I plan to write about what we must do to add to all sources of energy. I hope to be able to satisfy any reader's skepticism about the need to move beyond our dependence on fossil fuels, but also hope to demonstrate that fossil fuels will remain an important part of the total energy solution.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Carbon Offsets

Millions of people here in America are now buying into the concept of carbon offsets, are spending their hard earned money to purchase them. Imagine if that money were being invested in greening poor communities! With state and federal rebates, solar could be deployed onto homes for around $20,000 dollars. Now, let’s just imagine one million Americans each spending $100 to purchase carbon offsets from one of these companies...you have just given them the ability to own $100 million dollars in green infrastructure. What if your carbon offset money were used instead to put solar on the homes of poor Americans. With $100 million dollars, at $20,000 a home, we could put solar on the roofs of 5,000 American families homes that otherwise could not afford it.

The poverty of nations

The universal sense of impoverishment in rich societies is simply the subjective expression of an objective need for more; a need as vast as it is impersonal, for it is the essential characteristic of a system and not of humanity. We are all poor in this scheme of things, for our own frail individuality is pitted against measureless engines of global production. It is now our destiny to gain as much of this abundance as we can cram into one poor limited lifetime. To frame our response in moral terms, as some do, is mistaken. Greed, avidity, eagerness for experience, sensation and novelty are names, not of vices or virtues, but of the urgencies that we inhabit and which inhabit us - the impulse towards perpetual growth and increase; "development" it is sometimes called.

Southern Iraq being drained of oil

BASRA, Iraq, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The Iraqi government has accused neighboring Iran of taking over more than 15 oil wells on the Iraq-Iran border.

Inadequate security permit militia groups in the south -- allegedly backed by neighboring countries -- to loot the region's riches, particularly along the borders, the Alsumaria Iraqi satellite network reported Monday.

A U.S. report estimated oil smugglers pocketed yearly revenues of nearly $4 billion, equal to some developing states' budgets, the network reported.

Petrobras' global quest for power

Analysts say the Brazilian government's decision to open the company up to outside investors, to break its monopoly on the nation's oil fields and to push the company to develop deep-water drilling technology were critical to its growth. But the company's adventuresome spirit is also paying dividends.

Russia may cut Ukraine gas supply by a quarter

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom will cut supplies to Ukraine by a quarter from Tuesday morning if no deal over debts for previous supplies is reached, Gazprom's spokesman said on Monday.

Sergei Kupriyanov told Ekho Moskvy radio station Gazprom would cut supplies of Russian-produced gas while continuing to supply gas that originates from Central Asia. "That (the Russian gas) represents around 25 percent of our gas supplies to Ukraine," he said.

Saudi backs limit on foreign residency in Gulf

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia’s labour minister said in remarks published on Monday that Riyadh supports a residency limit on the millions of foreign workers in the Gulf to prevent them from ever gaining a political voice in the oil-rich region.

‘We do not want the day to come when we are forced allow the (foreign) workers to be represented in our parliaments or municipal councils,’ Ghazi Al Gosaibi told the Arabic language Al Eqtisadiah.

Woman due in court over North Sea oil rig evacuation

LONDON (AFP) - A 23-year-old woman was due in court later on Monday in connection with the evacuation of a North Sea oil rig off Scotland following a telephoned warning of a suspicious device.

Rep. Bartlett - Talk to your Representative about peak oil!

I had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Bartlett last December in his office near Frederick (north of Washington DC). During our meeting, he had some specific suggestions about how to raise awareness of peak oil.

Economics: Energy mercantilism

Jeff Vail, an energy analyst, describes the phase that the world of oil is moving into as “energy mercantilism”. Mercantilism is an economic philosophy that rests on the idea that the amount of wealth in the world is limited; if someone is getting more, it must be because someone else is getting less. Mercantilism played a huge role in strengthening the hand of the European states during the middle of the last millennium — and was one of the early justifications for securing colonies.

The worry that oil is running out, with gas not far behind, has led to a situation where a perceived essential ingredient of economic growth is dwindling before our eyes. The aggressive manoeuvring of national oil companies (NOCs), especially Asian ones, a resurgence in resource nationalism, and a rush to secure oil by exclusive bilateral contracts are all rooted in the belief that energy will be very scarce, very soon.

BP: Changing perspectives on Peak Oil - Investment vs. Supply vs. Demand

In 2004, the British Petroleum (BP) exploration consultant Francis Harper told London's The Business newspaper that world oil supply would be peaking earlier than expected, and that "the world's total original usable oil resources — the amount of oil before drilling began — at about 2.4 trillion barrels of oil. This is considerably less than the 3 trillion assumed by bullish commentators such as the US government's Geological Survey. This points to oil production peaking between 2010 and 2020."

When the world peaks isn't the critical thing. What's more salient is when non-Opec oil peaks, then you'll have the control of marginal production passed back to a progressively smaller group of countries."

Uganda: Fuel Reserves - Govt Quiet, Cites Security Concerns

THE failure of the government to disclose the status of the national fuel reserves in Jinja has been linked to fear of a possible attack by enemies.

Sunday Monitor has learnt that Security Minister Amama Mbabazi told ruling party MPs during a caucus meeting at Statistics House in Kampala on Thursday that the government would not reveal how much fuel it has in its reserve tanks because such information would be exploited by state enemies.

Energy Crisis Hits Tajik Press

Many Tajik newspapers may not be published this week because of the severe energy shortage affecting the country, the privately- owned Tajik news agency Asia-Plus reported on 11 February.

(The energy crisis has been caused by what the state meteorological agency says is the country's coldest winter for a quarter of a century. This has led to the icing up of a river feeding the lake that drives the key Norak hydroelectric power station. The problem has been exacerbated by cuts to fuel and electricity imports from neighbouring Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.)

India: Tidal power plants given go-ahead

KOLKATA: After a 13-year long wait, the Centre has finally cleared the setting up of four MW tidal power plants in the Sundarbans.

“I'm happy that the pilot project of tidal power plant will be set up in our state,'' Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today at a workshop on "Energy: Crisis and Remedies" jointly organised by IIT Kharagpur and West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA).

Southeast Asia’s Looming Nuclear Power Industry

The 2005-07 spike in petroleum prices topping out at $100 a barrel has prodded economic planners across the globe to reconsider their energy options in an age of growing concern over global warming and carbon emissions. The Southeast Asian economies, themselves beneficiaries of an oil and gas export bonanza through the 1970s-1990s, also find themselves in an energy crunch as once ample reserves run down and the search is on for new and cleaner energy supplies.

Europe vulnerable without common energy policy

Europe needs a common energy policy with the emphasis on security of supply and more openness towards technologies - including nuclear - that can make the region less dependent on energy imports, according to a newly released study from the World Energy Council.

UN gathering to address climate change

UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. General Assembly is bringing together business leaders, activists and government officials for a debate on climate change starting Monday — an effort to keep up the momentum for a new treaty by 2009 to fight global warming.

Seems to me like the airline industry is in serious trouble. Emphasis added to their worries about the lead market -- uh, what about the oil market?

Green fuel, sky-blue dreams

Stirm said the aviation industry has sought an unleaded fuel, but no one has been able to create one that had an octane rating high enough to maintain power.

"There's been a frustration in the industry to come up with a substitute," Stirm said. "What are we going to use to power our airplanes if something happens to the lead market?"

Octane is a scale of how fast fuel burns, Stirm said. The higher the octane rating, the longer it burns and the more energy you get. Lead slows the burning of gasoline, so you can get more power out of it. Stirm said the FAA twice has received permission from the Environmental Protection Agency to keep using leaded fuel, but that extension expires in 2010.

"It's how you use that energy in the engine," he said. "In aviation, the issue has always been power- to-weight ratio. Here we're talking about a fuel that would revolutionize not only the aviation business, but also all our other modes of transportation."
Other solutions to the leaded gas problem have included ethanol, but the Ruseks said the biofuel isn't efficient as a combustible -- and could freeze at high altitudes.

John Rusek said ethanol, when burned in an engine, uses 17 percent of its energy; by comparison, an ethanol fuel cell uses 76 percent of available energy.

E85 gasoline -- the kind many cars and trucks now can burn -- is less efficient, cutting mileage by about 25 percent. "In an airplane, you can't afford to lose 25 percent of your range," he said.

Octane rating is really only pertinent to gasoline powered piston engines, so it has almost no effect on airlines, since they almost exclusively use jet fuel in turbine engines.

This is discussing the use of aviation gas in light aircraft. It is a tiny market compared with kerosine as used by jet aircraft. I am amazed that lead is still permitted at all - high octane lead free petrol has been available in the UK for decades. It can only be a price issue. I'm sure a light aircraft operator would accept a 25% reduction in range if the option is not flying at all.

The article states they use 1.7 million gallons per day of leaded fuel for aircraft, as opposed to 40 million gallons per day of jet fuel being used.

From my (now old) internal combustion engines course, I recall that the higher octane fuels allow higher compression ratios in an gasoline engine. It's the higher compression ratio which produces the improvement in conversion efficiency. This also applies to engines with superchargers, which are common on more expensive aircraft. The use of high octane gas used by small general aviation craft might not see much benefit from this fuel, unless it happens to be made of longer chain hydrocarbons. This might produce problems at high altitudes, where temperatures are low.

It's rather well known that cars which are designed to run on "regular" road gasoline do not experience any gain in fuel economy from higher octane grades. There may even be a drop in gas mileage, as some of the higher octane rating may be the result of ethanol added to the blend. There are some cars on the road which are designed for high octane fuel, but are "detuned" to operate on the regular grade. One way to accomplish this is thru the use of a "knock sensor", which detects pre-ignition and retards the spark timing to compensate. These cars would be able to take advantage of the higher octane by operating at optimal spark advance.

E. Swanson

It's more likely a performance issue, not price. Aircraft performance is defined within a stable range of the four opposing forces - thrust, drag, lift, and weight. Change any one of these (like lowering octane) and you reduce the size of the "stable envelope". Pilots don't like that.

Most small aircraft have 4 or 6 cylinder air cooled piston engines, the vast majority designed in the 1950's and early 1960s. It is my impression that FAA certification applies to fuel as well as the engine, and the process of accepting any change is a lengthy one. A small percentage can run on regular unleaded but most private piston aircraft require 100LL which is dyed blue. I guess it's 100 octane low lead, but how low I don't know.

On the subject of 'honest business' and such between nation states and business:

For some U.S. companies, "business as usual" has included setting up complicated partnerships in which prominent U.S., European, and Japanese investors give equity stakes in investments to family members and business associates of leaders in developing countries in order to obtain favorable treatment. Several of the companies, after vetting the partnership arrangements with independent counsel and auditing firms, informed the U.S. Ex-Im Bank, OPIC, and the SEC about the details, and encountered no objections.

The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits

This paper explores the interface between personality psychology and economics. We examine the predictive power of personality and the stability of personality traits over the life cycle. We develop simple analytical frameworks for interpreting the evidence in personality psychology and suggest promising avenues for future research.

From the Project for Defense Alternatives

The United States is entering a period of policy transition, but there is a dearth of new thinking regarding security policy. The debate remains paralyzed by 9/11 and mesmerized by military primacy. Progress depends on rethinking the role of force.

Ag in Canada:

USDA Ag report

The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report provides USDA's comprehensive forecasts of supply and demand for major U.S. and global crops and U.S. livestock.

And Finally - thoughts on the "rebate check" from the IRS for you to spend.

My in the Saturday post, was (and is) that what was sold to us taxpayers as a rebate is nothing of the sort. It is a tax credit against 2008 taxes. In other words, if you would owe $15,000 for the year, and you got an $800 "credit", then your adjusted tax bill less credit would be $14,200.

They did the same with the last "rebate".

Do not spend that money, invest it, and you'll lose the minimum possible next year.

Or why not just give $100 million to every American?

All our problems would be solved.

Hey, look on the bright side. You get the advance during the Bush regime but only have to pay it back during the Obama regime. By the time Bush leaves office you will probably will be able to pay the 800 dollars back by rummaging through the return slots of a dozen vending machines.

it can be called an advanced rebate and it will be a rebate for most. it its not a rebate for people who don't pay taxes. people with children will get a rebate for each child, but children won't pay taxes. people with children will pay less taxes (welfare for reproduction).
low income seniors and disabled veterans will get a check whether they pay taxes or not.
if the objective is to stimulate comsumer spending, why not call it by its name: consumer welfare.

in summary, it's not a not-rebate because of the timing, it's a not-rebate because of who will be getting the checks.

Energy sector braces for carbon costs

Within the next two years, legal and industry experts say Canadian companies will likely have to publicize details about the scale and cost of their emissions.

Promising. Nanowires seems to be the answer to many things lately. There is also the promising development of nanowire use in battery technology.


Hairy Solar Panels Could Result From Nanowire Breakthrough

The aim is to produce flexible, affordable solar cells composed of Group III-V nanowires that, within five years, will achieve a conversion efficiency of 20 percent. Longer term, he says, it's theoretically possible to achieve 40 percent efficiency, given the superior ability of such materials to absorb energy from sunlight and the light-trapping nature of nanowire structures. By comparison, current thin-film technologies offer efficiencies of between 6 and 9 percent.

Nanowires seems to be the answer

You didn't spot the important words! Well, the words that are important to a researcher anyway.

The aim .... five years ...

The people working on this need somebody to fund them, ideally for the rest of their working lives but five years is a good start!

What questions do they answer?

Bicycle Only Parking Lot in Manhattan


Best Hopes for More,


Outdoor bike storage would need security or it will never work. Bike thieves will kill this idea before long. The ideal solution is indoor storage. Leaving your bike out in the elements also would discourage many from riding. Just about any parking garage could be outfitted with hanging racks in poorly utilized spaces. Most underground lots already have video surveillance. I don't think it would take $200,000 to make this work in parking garages. Just need a safe way to get in and out without getting run over. But that concern doesn't end once you get outside.

Regarding the theft there's


It's very interesting stuff. Of course there are the usual caveats that incurable optimists don't make: this is a research project and recognition false positive/false negative rates whilst good, aren't yet high enough for real world use. And productising the technology would likely take a few years.

A few business executives have dreamed up a private-sector solution to the problem of secure bicycle parking in New York: the city’s first bikes-only parking lot. They have a space on West 33rd Street. All they need is a corporation willing to pay as much as $200,000 a year to sponsor it.

Cheap! Why not incorporate bike lockers into architecture?

Hanging racks in odd spots of parking garages wouldn't deter thievery - by definition they'd be in areas not well monitored by CCTV, thus security would be hard pressed to keep tabs on them - or know who was an owner and who was a thief as they rode off, unless all traffic goes through the exit gates, which wouldn't stop a thief from riding around one; and the attendant wouldn't have much ability to stop them at any rate. A better idea would be to cluster bike storage near the attendant, who could monitor them on their own.

Wonder how pricy the Leeds system will be? By definition the cameras are remote from the operators, thus a thief speeding away on a bike will likely be gone by the time security can get to them anyway.

Here's a REALLY cheap solution - hire a few guards at near-minimum wage to sit all day at a bike lock-up area (chainlink fence in an unused corner of a parking garage) - same sort of coat-check type system they use at ski areas to prevent ski & board theft

costs: chainlink fence, hooks or racks for hanging/storing bikes, ~$8/hr for a couple of people

bet I just beat the costs of building some fancy bike locker system..

Hmm, maybe if the govmint gave ALL the citzins a new bike for xmas instead of the tax rebate da bad guys would have less incentive to steal em. Heck imagine if we saved a few extra bucks by not starting and waging wars for oil, uh I mean promoting democracy around the world. Nah, fuggedaboutit, those are really dumb ideas.
Just for the record I purchased a really nice used bike a few years ago for about $250.00
Hey, I just though of a new slogan: Ride a Bike or take a Hike...

Short the markets long the Trek.
Quit the car bout 5 months back.
Ridin every day shine or pour.
Battery gone dead gas goin sour.

When I first saw the Tajik media article I thought it was saying that they are only now just reporting on the energy crisis over there.

Whew, for a moment I thought somebody else's MSM was as slow as ours.

According to EIA statistics World ‘Total Liquids’ Oil production increased from an average 57.9 mbpd in 1983 to an average of 84.6 mbpd in 2005 - a steady exponential increase of about 1.5% a year, which is why the IEA says we need this rate of increase to continue BAU world economic growth. Without this growth systems that depend on it, such as the debt-based financial system, will not function correctly.

However, for the three years since 2004 the IEA prediction has been wrong since we haven’t had 1.5% 'all liquids' growth - world all liquids supply has been essentially flat and according to Rembrand Koppelar’s Oilwatch Monthly the nearly 55% that is traded (the ‘net exports’) has actually peaked and fallen by about 1% over this period – real world evidence of the Export Land Model (ELM) in action.

The ‘net importer’ countries, in total, have had an impossible task to grow oil consumption at BAU ~1.5% with an already declining ‘net exports’ supply.

Each year production peaks and goes into decline in more and more of the ‘net importer’ countries – only 8 non-OPEC producers haven’t peaked – this has serious implications.

Once past peak, in order to maintain their essential (say 1.5%) BAU consumption growth the importers will actually try and demand much more than an extra 1.5% from the declining ‘net exports’ available (import growth = their consumption growth + their decline rate).

Some examples of the inconvenient truth (from the EIA data) of the huge extra demands on the currently declining net export volume that resulted in the significant price rises we have seen in recent years:

UK growth of ‘net imports’ is ~ 8% per year

From 2000 to 2006:

USA consumption growth was ~5%, net imports grew by ~16%
China consumption growth was ~51%, net imports grew by ~140%
India consumption growth was ~17%, net imports grew by ~22%

It would be really handy to have a measure that took EROI into account. The "Total Liquids" number is much like revenue to a business. What really matters to the profitability a business is net income. With oil, we could easily see an increase in total liquids at the same time as a decrease in liquids available for use, because of declining EROI.

Rep. Bartlett - Talk to your Representative about peak oil!

So far he has made about 30 speeches on peak oil, and a book on peak oil is in the works.

The Congressman does not seem happy about the views of other members of Congress on the energy crisis. Some members say we just need to drill for more oil -- there’s plenty out there. They just don’t comprehend the significance of the situation.


So Let's see, 30 presentations before CONgress. And he says that the other memebers "Just Don't Get It"

He spoke to Resident Bush for a half hour on Peak Oil

If anyone feels that we will wake up and the Gov. will be there to help and lead the way.... Maybe you should visit New Orleans and see the help we will get.

Bartlett's presentations before an empty house in CONgress, And "Nobody Getting It", should tell you all you need to know that "We Are On Our Own" on this one.

We will keep doing what we are doing until we can't then we won't.

We will keep doing what we are doing until we can't then we won't.

That looks like the general plan - it is what has worked for us and every other living creature for the last 3,500,000,000 years or so.

Life doesn't stop and start - it is contiuous - the reason you are here is because you have a direct line back to the first cell that ever evolved.

So, incredible and improbable though it may seem, it is a very good proven and very sustainable strategy!

Well, except for the ~99% of species that are now extinct.

They can't fix what is obviously wrong because they don't want to fix what is obviously wrong. So they are now pretending there is nothing really wrong and doesn't need fixing, so there! This childish view of reality is classic. Humans like to think this way. It makes life much easier. Working out real problems and then changing systems is hard work.

After the Warming (James Burke 1989)

This Video was my first introduction to Global Warming way back when.

In the style of his 'Connections' series, it takes place in 2050, looking back at the history and what led to where they are in 2050.

Totally excellent.


The problem that spells the end of humanity as I now see it is WEALTH.

Those that have it want more and certainly do not want to find themselves without it.

Those that are on their way, or at least believe they are on their way, to having it will not stand for anything getting in the way of their getting it.

Those that do not have it, will do whatever it takes to get it.

This spells WAR, degradation if the environment, economic collapse, and worse.

Sure we pay lip service to ending poverty and may even have made a few inroads but it is a drop in the bucket and it will do very little to address the negative effects of wealth.

Wealth is energy. More wealth = more energy consumption and consumption in general.

We need to end wealth. But it will never happen. Just read the following refutations that might get posted if any respond at all, to understand how deep this issue is.

Every human produced beyond hunter/gatherer methods is
part of overshoot.

"As we run up against all of the renewable and non-renewable resource depletions (Peak Oil, Peak Soil, Peak Minerals, etc.) that will characterize the foreseeable future, we require an entire rethink as to how we do business, due to the fact that the human enterprise has been living on borrowed time for millennia.

After 44 years of research and thinking about agricultural cultivation and silviculture, I have reluctantly been forced (I am a passionate farmer/gardener) to conclude that:


Humanity has been in overshoot of the Earth's carrying capacity since it abandoned hunting and gathering in favor of crop cultivation (~ 8,000 BC) and it has been running up its ecological debt since then."

Every time the planet has shown us that we're in Overshoot
we've blasted thru to a new paradigm (using virgin resources, "borrowed"
again) arguing all the way
that this time is different.

The Last Americans
Environmental Collapse and the End of Civilization
JARED DIAMOND / Harper's Magazine Jun03


"Because peak population, wealth, resource consumption, and waste production are accompanied by peak environmental impact—approaching the limit at which impact outstrips resources—we can now understand why declines of societies tend to follow swiftly on their peaks."

There have only been about 24 civilizations in all of human history.

Everyone occurring in the Holocene.

As we have left the Holocene, now in the Anthropocene, we must
leave agriculture as well.



"Our ultimate goal, as we attempt to achieve a sustainable human culture on Earth, must be to move toward the sustainable exploitation of complex, species-diverse, self-managing, nutrient-conservative, natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems at rates that do not cause the loss of physical soil mass or plant nutrient capital any faster than they can be replaced by biological and weathering processes."

It really is as simple as that.


Why not go the whole hog; ever since the first bacteria life has been unsustainable. The sun and geothermal energy are limited resources after all.

the mechanisms are essentially the same- you are either growing or you are dying. The behavior, however, of the very same strategy and mechanism at different level of scale and with different constraints, yields very different results. In the natural ecology, there are considerably small limits
on the size of individual entities. The very largest of them might be measured in the tens of tons. The activity of any particular individual in the community of life is insignificant to the whole. If a species developes a particularly pathogenic behavior toward the rest of the community, the physical and geographic isolation afforded by the same matters of scale have proven over 3.5 billion years to be sufficient to ensure the extinction (or squelching) of that offender through his own exhaustion of his available resources and theese strategies have reinforced increasing biodiversity.

Industrial technologies, however, and agriculture along with them, have entirely different scaling factors. They can grow to enormous size - single units of metabolism, which you might call an organism, span the whole globe. Modern monoculture farming can span hundreds of suqare miles at a stretch. Not only does this imply that the growth of those pathogenic organisms will only reach its limits when they have engulfed the whole globe, it also implies that the isolation which served as a buffer for such destructive phenomena in the past is not an effective safeguard against disaster brought on by these globe-devouring technologies.

Nevertheless, the mechanics of grow-or-die are inescapable for this modern civilization as well- in fact that imperative is made all the more urgent.
We have spanned and bound the whole globe for a while.

Agriculture and Industrialisation are merely very pathogenic, very lethal, natural phenomena which will occur when all the right conditions for them are present and the right spark falls on those conditions - by random cultural evolutions that stumbled onto the beginnings of agriculture in this case. Like a supernova or a volcano, they are very destructive phenomena which tend to wipe out everything in their path. They burn out after a while, of course, and that's just how they work. Of course, it sucks if you're caught up in the destruction.

The main difference between the grow-or-die strategy played by an individual organism and that played by agriculture and industrial civilisation is that the latter have wholly different parameters of scale which permit them to become global disasters. The parameters of the former result in a
diverse, stable (though certainly not static) ecosystem.
Those of the latter are universally lethal.

Of course people, being clever, have been able to see this for a while. But, we were caught up in this civilisation we had built, and couldn't easily stop- to stop means immediate disaster for those involved- and of course we evolved, culturally, a whole succession of ever-stronger anesthetics to protect ourselves from this reality that we were killing the world and ourselves, and could no more help ourselves than a smack addict can help himself in kicking his habit. Most of these anesthetics we call religion. Some of them are functionally equivalent but have different names. They
are competing brands that all tell different versions of Why Everything Will Be Just Fine. In some of them we will find some techno-utopia if we just hang in there a little longer and destroy the earth a little more. In some, it doesnt matter what we do because some deity will somehow 'save' us in a way that makes destroying the world irrelevant. in all of them, we are told to viciously attack all non-believers, though believers in a competing brand we will try to recruit. Not buying any of these anesthetics, however, is considered to be one of the most extreme offences.

First they ignore you...

I'm glad congressman Bartlett isn't as hopeless as you are. He is getting listened to, by many of us anyway.. the rest of Congress has a lot of louder voices still ruling their eardrums.


While waiting to see Bartlett, I chatted with some of his staff. I learned that his offices get around 30,000 emails per year! The staff answers them with a written response via the post office.

Great emoticon!

Our cars Really Are very energy inefficient. This IS getting ready to change. The new VVT, Direct Injection (Ford Ecoboost, for example) engines will allow for much greater fuel economy with more power. The aforementioned ecoboost, for example, will deliver 280 hp from a 2.0 liter engine. It will give up even more hp when, probably next year, they adapt it to ethanol.

The key to this is a small engine running at higher rpm uses less fuel than a large engine running at low rpm. You don't have the amount of vacuum on the down-stroke.

The neat thing is that the most efficient processes are usually the "cleanest" processes.

There is no need for a 280 hp engine, none at all for a private car.

Total waste of resources to develop this engine, I noted no mention of specific fuel economy improvements, so I assume the improvement is small (say 15% would be small) compared to a larger engine getting only 250 hp.

Best Hopes for my 62 HP M-B 240D, and bankruptcy for Ford if this is where they "invest" their resources,


we need a 280 hp engine so we can go 140 mph in a 70 mph zone.

we need a 280 hp engine so we can go 140 mph in a 70 mph zone.

Where traffic is actually moving at about 15 to 20 mph.

I agree. The Loremo gets 150 mpg on a fairly simple 20hp turbodiesel. Simple, proven technology, cheap, robust, repairable, lots of infrastructure. The Ford Model T had 20 hp. The Volkswagen Beetle had 28 hp. The main "problem" with this approach is that it doesn't give people a technology hard-on. Maybe you could epoxy an iPhone to the hood or something.

As for super performance, you'd be best off with a superbike like a Suzuki GSX-R. 0-60mph in less than THREE seconds, with a 1000 cc engine and under $13,000.

Absolutely! High performance automobiles are toys for a world with cheap, abundant energy.

You don't get it. Some customers do require 280 hp (farmers, ranchers, contractors, etc.) They will be able to get their needed hp using much less fuel.

If your requirement is 180 hp, you will be able to get it with an even smaller engine (that uses even less fuel.) Efficiency is GOOD.

Are we talking about trucks or Cars with 280 Hp. No body needs a car with 280 Hp, Only to fit their ego Same as 95% of people dont need SUV to take kids to school.Even if you do live in a snow area there are plenty of cars with 4WD avalible. SUV should be alowed to be used by persons with genuine reason for the extra grip. Farmers/builders and the likes. 4WD will only pull you out of a hole what matters for safety is grip /Suspension/tyre design areas where SUV are all poor compared to any well designed car.
First Car was vw jetta/Rabbit diesel 55hp 60 mpg did everythig you need (sadly no power steering electric windows or any other toys, we have just come to expect these things)

The listed customers need torque more for hauling than hp. They need a diesel.

You know and I know this new engine is for the next Mustang.

Efficiency doing useless things is BAD !

And I do not need 180 hp (almost no one does). 62 hp works just fine for me :-)

Best Hopes for a Quick bankruptcy for Ford if this is their "solution",


This approach allows Ford to use gasoline (or ethanol, E-85) in a car engine instead of a diesel engine.

Here's what they plan to do with it first:

In 2009, Ford first will introduce EcoBoost on the Lincoln MKS featuring a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6. It will produce the power and torque of a V-8 engine with the fuel efficiency of a V-6. In fact, with an estimated 340-horsepower and more than 340 lb.-ft. of torque, the Lincoln MKS will be the most powerful and fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive luxury sedan in the market...

At the same time, this V-6 gives customers an approximate 2 mpg improvement and emits up to 15 percent fewer CO2 emissions to the environment.

Their improved fuel economy is also results from the use of a 6 speed automatic transmission, which borders on being a continuously variable one. Notice from the linked article that the projected increase in fuel economy is for a vehicle such as the Explorer and includes a host of changes besides just that of the engine. They are still trying to push the high profit SUV concept, when what is needed is lower cost transportation with even greater efficiency.

E. Swanson

They are still trying to push the high profit SUV concept, when what is needed is lower cost transportation with even greater efficiency.

BD, I'm sure you know Ford and GM and not structured to make a profit on small cars in North America with their existing cost structures. They can't craft a business plan to stay in business with small cars to save their lives. (cost of pensions exceeding steel). They lack imagination and ability.

Car companies have not yet received The Message. Most drivers have not yet received The Message.

There are two methods for communicating The Message to our fellow citizens:

1) The price has to skyrocket breathtakingly quickly (+100% in a few days)
2) Shortages, beginning with spot shortages and ending with systemic ones, of diesel and gas.

Ranting, being right, being wrong, nothing else matters. Life in the marketplace.

The Good News: you're ahead of 99% of the human population in understanding.
The Bad News: you have to wait for everyone else to catch up.

I'm sure you know Ford and GM and not structured to make a profit on small cars in North America with their existing cost structures. They can't craft a business plan to stay in business with small cars to save their lives. (cost of pensions exceeding steel).

Terrific point, NervousRex. They have a real structural problem, and I don't think it's a problem that can be solved with creative approaches to new cars, no matter how creative.

Possibly a key to greater efficiency would be a different mechanism for dealing with the pension/health insurance problem. Maybe that's the kind of creativity we need.

2 mpg improvement and emits up to 15 percent fewer CO2 emissions

I presume that means this vehicle does around 13 mpg? ... for a private car? ... and the average American thinks this is a such a good idea that the US must go killing innocent men, women and children in Iraq and converting food to fuel to burn in it?

Don't forget that the rest of the world is likely to "tar all Americans with the same brush"! - Beware!

The car companies aren't stupid. GM makes a perfectly nice little compact car called the Aveo. It's actually a Korean Daewoo. There's just way more money in the Hummer H2 WITH AN EXTRA 2 MPG to give you bragging rights at the Sun Valley country club. They are simply responding to the marketplace and the profitability of various models.

Even the Audi A2, which is a lovely little car that seats 4 and gets 75+ mpg (sort of an upgraded Rabbit Diesel) was not a big seller or moneymaker in Europe.

Cars are still mostly guy toys rather than a utilitarian appliance like a water heater. I'm looking forward to the time when people get their technology hard-on from superlight/super high mileage designs. If the road bike/mountain bike aesthetic was transferred to cars, we'd have a 700lb 200 mpg four-seat vehicle in three years.

"If your requirement is 180 hp, you will be able to get it with an even smaller engine"

Then make the 100 or the 60 HP engine, and create a product that helps people not feel they have to compensate for their sense of 'Powerlessness' with a fantasy machine. That fantasy is hurting us all.


'Efficiency isn't perfect. You don't want to envision an Efficient Gas Chamber, for example..'
- William McDonough 'From Cradle to Cradle' (very loose paraphrase)

My car is rated at 75Hp. It carries me, my family, and a reasonable amount of stuff at the legal speed limit without too much trouble. I could cope with less power. My first car was rated at 60hp. It was slow up mountains with a full load, but it got there.

Are Auto Insurers Readying
For a War on Horsepower?

February 11, 2008

The freedom to drive fast in a powerful car is fundamental to the mystique that auto makers use to sell cars. Now, as if the auto industry didn't have enough trouble, come more signs of a looming war on horsepower and speed.

The average horsepower for new cars has risen steadily since 1985, both in absolute terms and in terms of horsepower per 100 pounds of vehicle weight. A 1981 Honda Accord had a base engine with just 75 horsepower. A base model 2008 Accord has a 177 horsepower four-cylinder engine, and you can buy a six-cylinder model with 275 horsepower. As recently as the mid-1990s, that would have made the current Accord more powerful than a Cadillac Eldorado.

As recently as the mid-1990s, that would have made the current Accord more powerful than a Cadillac Eldorado.

That's going into the quote bag. Of course we're assuming someone who wants a guzzling muscle machine to have the cortex processor speed to understand insurance rates, or that an auto dealer will bother to explain them.

Our cars Really Are very energy inefficient. This IS getting ready to change. The new VVT, Direct Injection (Ford Ecoboost, for example) engines will allow for much greater fuel economy with more power. The aforementioned ecoboost, for example, will deliver 280 hp from a 2.0 liter engine. It will give up even more hp when, probably next year, they adapt it to ethanol.

How about 28 hp from a 200 cc engine? thats the scale we need to be implementing

Displacement is a meaningless parameter - power output per quantity of fuel used, and per unit mass, are what matter.

Don't know whether to laugh or cry on this one:

Blackouts taking fizz out of fizzy drinks


But cider drinkers can rest easy because the biggest producer of their tipple has switched from using bottled carbon dioxide to tapping the gas that is given off naturally during fermentation.

Gert Loubser, director of quality management at Distell, said the company had begun capturing carbon dioxide from fermenting apples then pumping it into the finished product to create the fizz.

“We are achieving two goals,” Loubser said. “We are no longer releasing carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere, and we ensure that our products are always on the shelves.”

Loubser said the bottling industry was suffering a “critical” shortage of bottled carbon dioxide, most of which is a by-product of the refining at Sasol and Mossgas.

One of the major suppliers of carbon dioxide, Air Liquide, said there was a countrywide shortage of the gas, forcing them to ration supplies to customers in the beverage and other industries.


Madden said Air Liquide was importing carbon dioxide as a short- term relief measure.

Do you think the CIDER company with get a CO2 credit for not releasing those gases at their plant?! Instead their drinkers will need to pay carbon tax on the cider since they are now the ones releasing it! :-P

Cap and trade is so not going to do anything (not that this story has anything to do with it)

That is just so wrong...importing CO2.

Found this over at:

Jim Kunstler (kunstler.com):

February 11, 2008
Burning Down the House

This new depression, which I call The Long Emergency, will play out against the background of a society that has pissed away its oil endowment, bulldozed its factories, arbitraged its productive labor, destroyed both family farms and the commercial infrastructure of main street, and trained its population to become overfed diabetic TV zombie "consumers" of other peoples' productivity, paid for by "money" they haven't earned.

I wouldn't mind these conditions so much except that the hard-working countries that replaced our productive labor and factories to keep our zombies happy are now equally trapped by our model and the money they lent us to keep things going. At least when Rome fell, the Goths weren't dragged down into the black hole with it.

WT: Great rant by Kunstler. It would be humorous if it wasn't so accurate. Interestingly, he didn't mention immigration. According to current trends, by 2050 the USA population will be 438 million with an Hispanic population of 127 million (this is without factoring in Mexico's oil production collapse) http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-02-11-population-study_N.htm

Today in the Debt Rattle at The Automatic Earth:

Robert Shiller not on the Great Depression. Not.

Yale Economics professor Robert Shiller, whose S&P/Case-Shiller House Index is one of the prime barometers for the US economy, tries to reassure the public that we will not dive into another Great Depression, by constantly talking about.. the Great Depression. No, it won’t get that bad, well, the housing bust will be as bad, or actually much worse, since we come from far higher peaks, but we have Bernanke, and he should be able to avoid us going into a next Great Depression, so, no, no way, we won’t go into a Great Depression. That is, unless we make mistakes. We come away from this interview wondering what exactly Shiller is trying to convey.

Great Depression, no way. Sure, the housing and investment bubble is worse now than then, but no way. Who said anything about a Depression? No, not me. Surely not me.

Jet lag must be affecting the brain cells.

Methinks Mr. Shiller doth protest too much.

Must... ignore... elephant... in room...


Is this the kind of drivel that passes for education at Yale and other institutions of higher learning these days? Kinda cheapens those expensive degrees a bit, don't it? WTF ever happened to critical thinking skills?

I think I'm finally going to bite the bullet and apply for a loan to invest in a PV system. Here in Florida a large part will be subsidized. Any advice, and does anyone know a good place to get wholesale panels, or should I just get them from the local installer?

thinking about investing a little in a long dated (2010-2012) option on oil. Can anyone recommend a good place to do so?
Thanks in advance.

You should start your research with a phone call or email to the Florida Solar Center, which is one of the best solar centers in the country. Forget the oil options and just double the size of your PV system!


Best of luck!

PBR and APA might be a better way to invest in higher oil prices. APA has the best portfolio of depleted oil fields, ready for EOR and PBR has 65% of Tapis (latest supergiant oil field discovered) and possibly more. Gov't owns majority so some protection there.

Buy on a downtick in oil prices.

Just Thoughts,


Thanks, Oilmanbob (may he rest in peace) recommended PBT and that has worked quite well for me over the past few months. I wonder if they take that money and invest it in more production?

If you want to get really ambitious, see if you can find a group of other homeowners/families using the web or local classifieds, and see if you can't find some volume discounts for panels.

Besides that, I'd tend to recommend supporting the local installers and suppliers, and also by shopping locally, you're taking advantage of product that was bulk-shipped to your region, if that is important to you.


I've love to add PVs to my home, too, but I think I'd hold off for now (due to many reasons; maybe some other time).

I believe it is better to first improve efficiency, reduce consumption, and maybe even look into passive designs that does not require electricity. Often times, efficiency improvements cost less and thus the payback period is shorter. Also, with less requirements for electricity, this will lead to a significant cost reduction when it comes time to design a generation/storage system.

You can buy long-dated options on oil at any decent online broker like Ameritrade or optionsxpress. I think they're a great idea. Long-dated options right now are priced based on traders' expectations of the marginal cost of production in these upcoming years. In other words, traders are betting that there will be no supply/demand imbalance in the future. I think that's insane.

Read this for more info before you buy: http://www.energyinvestmentstrategies.com/2007/12/04/eis-newsletter-8-de...

Look for the section titled "The Options on Futures Strategy".

I invested 3% of portfolio assets in a series of call options on oil futures contracts that give me rights to buy oil at prices between $100 and $120 per barrel up through dates ranging from 11/20/09 through 11/20/12. If I am right in believing that the price will exceed $300 per barrel by late 2012, these options are sufficient to double the value of the portfolio. If I am wrong, and if the price does not rise beyond $125 per barrel in three to five years, I will have lost 3% of the portfolio.

Here’s an example: a contract that gives you the right to buy 1000 barrels of crude for $120 per barrel in November, 2012, costs about $5,000, so breakeven is $125 per barrel. At $150 per barrel, the profit is $25,000 — 500% in five years or less. At my expected price of $300 per barrel the profit is $175,000. You figure out the percentage gain.

I assume you're interested in options because you want the leverage. Another more conservative investment suitable for something like an IRA would be a CD in which the return is based on the price of a commodity index, or a subset of a commodity index, such as the GSCI. I know Wells Fargo sells these CDs, and I've noticed on the Internet that other banks sell them as well.

The way these work is you're putting your money into a CD that is FDIC insured up to the normal limits of FDIC insurance. You are guaranteed to get your principle back, although you are not guaranteed a return. The return you get on your principle is based on the rise in price of the commodity linked to the CD. That's nice, because you don't have the usual concerns you have when investing in stock--is the company replacing reserves at an adequate rate? Are its costs going up as fast as the price of the product?

All you care about is the price of the commodity. You don't have to evaluate the management of a company, or its capitalization. You don't even have to know whether the commodity price rise is caused by peak oil or inflation. And if the commodity goes down in price, or we see the deflation that many people fear, you still get your initial investment back.

neon9 where in South Florida are you? I live in Hollywood and there is a place called the Energy Store within strolling distance from where I live. www.energystore-usa.com. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way but I have purchased a small PV panel from them. Nice people.

An interesting 2MB Powerpoint presentation on Magellan's (formerly Williams) petroleum products pipeline (map on slide 5) and ethanol transportation/blending:


There will be an API call next week on the subject of biofuels. I imagine the API investigation of the feasibility of an ethanol pipeline (mentioned in the presentation) will be one of the items discussed on the call.

Thanks for sharing this.

The Choice between Food and Fuel
Food prices are skyrocketing. Arable land is becoming scarce. And forests continue to disappear across the globe. The world must decide between affordable food and biofuels.


Reader here might be interested in the end of money as we currently know it:

World News Net reports that the United States Treasury will no longer be involved in minting coins or printing dollars. In a press conference held earlier today John Snow, Secretary of the Treasury, announced that in an effort to control costs all minting will now be outsourced to “an unspecified Asian supplier with an excellent reputation in coinage duplication and print replication processes.” According to a confidential source within the Treasury the “unspecified supplier” is a world leader in “funny money” and is located somewhere north of the DMZ.

Snow said that he’s proudly announcing a new coin called the Victory Jack. This new coin will be made from scrapped field equipment being returned from Iraq. In order to give the new coin a substantial feel it will contain “a small amount of depleted uranium, but not so much as to give you thyroid cancer or kill your pet.”

Paper money will be printed from a new bio-sustainable paper product formed from sea weed and kelp. This new process will mean that people can either spend the money on food or just eat the money and skip the food. A spokesperson for Snow said that a hundred of the new one dollar bills contain all the United States Department of Agriculture’s requirements for a healthy diet. Later this year the Treasury Department will release a free new cookbook titled “Uncle Sam’s New World Order Eat Your Earnings Cookbook”. When one reporter asked why anyone would want to eat money made from seaweed when one could buy cheaper and better tasting food, the spokesperson responded that new currency will come with an expiration date, after which it will convert to greenish goo with a “dead fish” aroma. “Besides,” he said, “it tastes better than you would expect.”

Sorry, just kidding. Am I in trouble now?

You're in SO much trouble!

I'm coming up with recipes, despite myself.. the first is 'In Spring Rolls we Trust' (Will any of the coinage be made with Rice?)



Just felt like a little diversion from Doomerism that (not unreasonably) populates some of the topics.

LOL. Byron, thank you:-)

Coming up next: Soylent Green

You Are What You Spend

Income statistics, however, don’t tell the whole story of Americans’ living standards. Looking at a far more direct measure of American families’ economic status — household consumption — indicates that the gap between rich and poor is far less than most assume, and that the abstract, income-based way in which we measure the so-called poverty rate no longer applies to our society.

The article argues that what counts isn't income, but consumption, and measured that way, the gap between rich and poor isn't very wide at all. Because the poor are spending a lot more than their incomes. (No mention of whether credit is involved.)

And I was worried...

What a vile article that is! As the article says, poor people are spending twice as much as they earn to fuel consumption. And how are they doing that? It isn't by "drawing down their bank accounts". Leaving out a handful of well-off seniors, the poor just don't have bank accounts equal to 2x their income that they can drawn annually.

I'd say Cox (the author) was a moron, except that as the chief economist for the Dallas Fed, he knows damn well how the poor are financing their consumption. They are taking on debts that they can no longer afford to service. The long run of consumer debt fueled growth is coming to an end, and the only thing we'll have accomplished (other than making the rich richer) is to create an underclass of debt slaves.

But Cox doesn't say anything about how the poor are financing their over-consumption, nor what the consequences of that are. All he cares about is keeping the globalization gravy train running.

Not only that, but if the poor must spend beyond their incomes to create this happy egalitarian commune, then what are the rich doing with their unconsumed money? They invest it in Exxon (global warming denial propaganda), Fox (Goebbels, Inc), lobbyists and politicians. Control over government, control over my access to information, control over what scientific research is done, etc.

So if Mr. Cox measured the gap between rich and poor in terms of how much voice I have in the detailed operations of my democracy versus Bill Gates, what would the ratio be?

Sounds like they're laying the attitudinal groundwork to kick the poor out of the lifeboat.

In The Automatic Earth: Debt Rattle, February 11 2008, Dean Baker's reaction to Cox' painful blabber:

Obligatory Nonsense on Inequality at the NYT

Every year or so, the NYT feels obligated to print a piece of nonsense masquerading as economics from W. Michael Cox, the senior Vice-President of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.[..]

This year's nonsense concerns consumption. Cox tells us that there is much less inequality in consumption than income, so therefore we should not really be concerned about inequality.[..] The average after-tax income reported in the survey is $58,101. Average consumption expenditures are $48,398. This implies a savings rate of 16.7 percent. The National Income and Product Accounts data show a savings rate of less than 1 percent.

You may wonder why the NYT would print columns from someone with such a consistent reputation for getting things wrong. I guess that is the price that we pay for having a regular column from Paul Krugman.

I wonder what they mean by "savings rate"?

"Savings accounts" at a bank are about the last place I would keep my savings. I feel the tax consequences of bank savings investments, as well as the loss of purchasing power via inflation, make a savings accounts a losing proposition from the day of deposit. The government denies me a writeoff for the loss of value of my deposit from inflation, but wants every penny of interest paid me reported.... and even then I have yet to see bank interest exceed inflation. The least the government could do (in my estimation) is declare all interest earned in FDIC banks as tax exempt.

Does this "savings rate" incluce purchase of investment property? Stocks, bonds, mutual funds? Other investment vehicles? Or do they just count bank CD's and savings accounts?

I consider the entire worth of the stock market and real properties are "savings", just as valid as bank CD's as far as their value as "containers of wealth".

Ok, so it’s the daily mail…

But, uncannily this was a water cooler discussion about 2 years ago…


Return of the blackout: Crime fear as councils switch off streetlights to save the planet

By DAVID DERBYSHIRE - More by this author » Last updated at 13:57pm on 11th February 2008

Comments (97)

Thousands of street lamps in suburban areas are being switched off after midnight.
The blackouts are being imposed by councils to cut energy bills and meet climate change targets.
Buckinghamshire is carrying out one of the most radical trials of the new approach.
More than 1,700 lights, which illuminate 25 miles of roads, will soon be switched off completely.
The council claims the scheme will save £100,000 and nearly 600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
But the Government-backed blackouts have provoked anger from police leaders and motoring organisations.
Derek Barnett, of the Police Superintendents' Association, said: "Good street lighting reduces crime, it makes the public feel safe and it reduces the risk of road traffic accidents.
"I would need to feel confident that the environmental savings were being balanced against the impact on local crime."
The latest move is the most draconian rationing of street lighting since the power cuts of the 1970s.

Hello Mudlogger,

Thxs for this info. As posted before: people should gladly accept the nightly darkness in exchange for food.

Vehicles have headlights--drivers will slow down in poorly lit areas over time, especially with future monster potholes, lots of pedestrians and bicyclists, and high fuel prices being the norm.

Expect people to always carry flashlights, lanterns, or torches after dark, and if some non-illuminated person is not willing to identify himself to a local protection nightsquad, who is illuminated--expect the group to draw their weapons in defense. I expect it to be a very common postPeak social norm that organized vigilantes, in each neighborhood, will deal very swift justice to thieves, child-molesters, etc.

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

you are most certainly correct.

Esp. re. the vigilantes.

just thought (hoped?) it might be a while away yet.

This stuff is supposed to happen in some land called the future.

Not in real time...

Better than vigilantes is an organized community militia operating as a police auxiliary under the authoriy and control of the local government. We should all be prepared to ask our local governments to take the lead in organizing these when the time is "ripe" (don't talk about it too soon, you'll just get the "nut" label attached to yourself and therefore ruin your effectiveness in instigating this when it is really needed), and in being prepared to participate to the maximum extent that we are able.

I consider "vigilantes" to be a poor substitute, and really a failure. If a community can't get its act together enough to to organize a militia under government control when it needs one, and defaults to impromptu vigilantes, then it is just one step away from total collapse -- and probably won't be able to prevent it in the long-term.

As for getting around in darkness, those crank-powered LED flashlights are what you want to have. Have several on hand, including several spares that remain unused until the ones you are using finally lose their ability to hold a charge.

I thought the idea of the 'Solar Tree' was cool:
Introducing the Solar Tree

Not sure how practical it is for areas further north than Italy in the winter, but it is an ideal application - you can save on all the cabling and have autonomous streetlights - I'm all in favour of solar, when it is used appropriately.

Chavez threatens to end oil exports to U.S.

"I speak to the American empire, because that's the master," Chavez said. "Continue, and you will see that we won't send one drop of oil to the empire of the United States."

Venezuela is the fourth-largest supplier of crude oil to the United States, sending 1.2 million barrels a day to American refineries.


Bloomberg is attributing oil's rise to the fact that it's cold in NY today (cold in NYC = cold in US) and the temporary closure of a Valero refinery in Delaware (because everyone knows declining demand always drives prices up).

Are they morons, or are they trying to ignore Chavez?

If Chavez cuts off the U.S., it will be like a shell game. Import oil from somewhere else and Venezuelan oil to displace some other nations' imports. The U.S. already had experience living without Iranian oil for years and also lived without Libyan exports for years. After Castro seized US assets we did not have to buy our sugar from Cuba, nor smoke terrible Cuban cigars. Chavez wanted a revolution and to seize foreign assets because his people wanted the money fast and easy. He did not like it when he was threatened with having to pay for some of what he stole.

smoke terrible Cuban cigars

You lost *ALL* credibility there !

I was given a Cuban cigar in Iceland (perfectly legal) and, although I do not often smoke cigars (never really liked them) THIS one changed my mind !

Romeo y Joliet I think.

Best Hopes for an End to the Cuban embargo,


Chavez wanted a revolution and to seize foreign assets because his people wanted the money fast and easy.

When Chavez was first elected, Venezuela had the largest gap between rich & poor in Latin America. The wealthy few (a surprisingly large number of whom are blonde and fair-skinned for some reason) lived in guarded, gated communities while the people of Venezuela lived in squalor. The state oil company was being run as a private corporation for the benefit of the elites, despite the Venezuelan constitution's saying that the oil of Venezuela belongs to the people of Venezuela (all of them).

To talk about the people wanting "the money fast and easy" trivializes the aspirations of the Venezuelan poor and glosses over the corruption that Exxon/Mobile previously benefited from. So one of the world's vilest and most despicable imperialist corporations got booted out of Venezuela... Well, boo hoo hoo.

So what is Chavez up to? He's a clever guy. Maybe he's just talking the price of oil up until he makes the extra 12 billion the West is freezing.

If Chavez cuts off the U.S., it will be like a shell game. Import oil from somewhere else and Venezuelan oil to displace some other nations' imports.

This is the conventional wisdom, but it is very short-term thinking. Chavez woudl likely not just "cut off the US", he would also probably sign a long term supply contract with China -- something China very, very much wants.

The thing is, we're cutting ourselves off from more and more exporters at the same time that there are getting to be fewer and fewer exporters left on the map (per WT's ELM). It is just like we're playing that game where one chair is removed each time, and the person left standing is out of the game. Only we're labeling more and more of the remaining chairs as "off limits" for ourselves. Sooner or later we're going to run out of free chairs to sit down on when the music stops, then we'll be the ones that are out of the game.

Yes, we can play the shell game and replace the oil, but if anyone doesn't think that this would represent a long-term strategic disaster for the US, they have no idea what the term means.

high school kids do what Car Companies can't seem to manage.....

Students converting car from gasoline to electricity


Tom Nicholls, owner of The Nicholls Electric Car Co. in Brooklyn, is the project's sponsor and is footing the bill. Nicholls purchased the 1995 Saturn SL1, the electric motor and the components for the conversion for about $7,000. When finished, the car could be worth as much as $12,000.

Battery range for the car is expected to be about 70 miles (115 kilometers), but the knowledge and inspiration given to the students will surely be priceless.

Interesting about the value of the car going up. As gas prices increase could we see business to convert current gas powered cars to electric? With higher gas prices and the prospect of increasing their cars value, it may be no brainer in the near future.

Seriously? You think the auto manufacturers couldn't manage to make a custom, one-off EV that has a 70 mile range? And I'm sure lots of people would pay $12k for a one-off EV conversion of a 13 year old Saturn.

Of what relevance is this? It's not future technology, it's old technology. And it's still touted as the car of the future.

We should start calling them CVs - Coal Vehicles.

Not that they can't. Just that they don't.

Coal Vehicle?
Not necessarily, but the more descriptive term is already taken.


"Of what relevance is this? It's not future technology, it's old technology."
What makes you think that only 'Future Technology' is going to be pertinent in this matter?

An old hammer can still pound a nail when a depressurized Nail Gun is going to be slower and messier.

This from a guy who converted an old tractor to Electric..

"When I built our first electric tractor, I had NO EXPERIENCE working with electric motors, and only limited exerience working on gasoline engines. That first tractor is well into it's third year now, and still working beautifully on a full-time basis, with NO tune-ups or adjustments necessary (unlike it's earlier gasoline incarnation!)

"Quick 2007 Update: Several Dozen of these tractors have been built recently and people seem really happy with them. I have to say even after all these years, I can't imagine farming without them! We put a lot of hours on them and they haven't broken down (see my new note on the parts page) and the batteries still seem fine. Prices have gone up somewhat, but you also "get more" -again see my notes on the parts page."


.. and in case anyone's interested, this guy put some Solar Panels on Pallettes and leaves them next to the field he's working on, to charge one of the two Tractors.

He goes into the costs and benefits and detriments of this arrangement..



CNN is reporting that Russian bombers buzzed the USS Nimitz. The return of the Cold War?

The cold war never really went away. It is just now starting to heat up.

How were they allowed to get that close? If they had been hostile the Nimitz could have been sunk.
Very lax.

Surely the Nimitz can see out about 200 miles or more so?

Lots of escorts, constant top cover, even satellites and IFF.

Seem to remember an Iranian Passenger flight got a little too close to a US Navy vessel and got shot down over the gulf.

If (IF) true, then such games could cause the 'war to end all wars'...

They scrambled fighters and intercepted the Russian bombers.

This apparently happened quite often during the Cold War. Big game of chicken.

Surely the Nimitz can see out about 200 miles or more so?

Lots of escorts, constant top cover, even satellites and IFF.

No, they cannot see out 200 miles. The curveature of the earth puts the radar at over 30,000 feet at 200 miles. They could fly at 100 feet above the sea and not be seen by radar until they were on top of the Nimitz. IFF is a transponder. Obviously Russian planes would not respond to an IFF request. Carriers are not normally escorted by planes in the air. Planes are launched only during exercises.

Bottom line, Russian planes could easiely buzz the carrier and be gone before the pilots got up from their poker game.

Ron Patterson

Although not a navy man myself, your comments about "planes in the air" does not match my understanding - I was under the impression that an E2C Hawkeye was up providing long-distance radar coverage for the pair of F-14's that are up round the clock providing defense? - with another pair on standby on the deck - or am I mistaken and this is only in combat scenarios?

Well, it has been many years since I was in the Navy but I think you will find such precautions are only taken when near a war zone. Carriers do not normally have a constant escort of early warning radar planes. Of course they always travel in battle groups of many other destroyers, crusiers and other support ships. But be that as it may, international air space is open to everyone. Russian planes have just as much right to it as does the US. Of course once they act in a threatening manner then the carrier would likely launch. But they could not act in a threatening manner until they were right upon the carrier.

But speculate as you wish, I am done with this thread.

Ron Patterson

It's quite likely that the Russians are increasingly realizing that they too are very interested in Middle Eastern oil reserves. Our worst case is that Russia approaches zero net oil exports around 2024.

And then there's the story about the Russians cutting a deal with Iraq for improved access to Iraqi oil. I wonder how that is going over in the Cheyney bunker...

They were trying to be friendly. Just saying 'Hi' to Nimitz.

"What were you doing there?"


"Keeping up foreign relations"

"I was, you know, giving him the bird
- You know, the finger."

Highway to the dangerzone

How the f*ck can bombers (Tu-95, Tu-160) "buzz" and aircraft carrier. These are not jet fighters. If they flew overhead then they did so in international airspace above international waters. The Nimitz does not have special legal status carrying US territory wherever it sails.

Proofread before you psot.

The latest EIA International Petroleum Monthly is out.

The October world C+C figures have been revised downward by 205 thousand barrels per day and the November world C+C figures are down from that another 202 thousand barrels per day, or down 407 thousand b arrels per day below the the previous months reported averages. The current November figures for world C+C production is 73,717 thousand barrels per day. That is 582 thousand barrels per day below the May 2005 figures. The record is still May of 2005. The record year is still, by far, 2005.

I will comment more tomorrow after I have had time to analyze the data.

Ron Patterson

Thank you for this info. I suspected a lot of those barrels were b.s.

The cumulative shortfall, between what we would have produced at the 5/05 rate and what we actually produced, continues to grow--to about 770 mb through November, 2007.

If we're going to look at depletion, let's look at additional demand, to. Using 2% and the peak production in '05 we should be up to 77,300,000. Total shortfall around 3.7mb/d... and we're at the plateau...


It looks to me like the big three countries in terms of crude and condensate production gains between 2006 and 2007 YTD are

Angola +309,000
Azerbaijan +210,000
Russia +194,000

None of these gains is a very big gain. All of the gains of other countries are less than 100,000 barrels per day.

The uptick in production toward the end of the year seems to be Iraq (about +220,000) and Saudi Arabia (about +200,000 in September and October; +400,000 in November), and Angola (about +200,000), plus small increases in some of the other OPEC countries.

If one looks at production trends for the largest producing areas in the world, the amounts are as follows. (What is shown is 2005 - 2006 - 2007 YTD C+C production amounts in thousand barrels per day.)

Saudi Arabia___9,550____9,152____8,686
United States___5,178____5,102___5,105
North Sea____4,740__4,343___4,101

Thus, 2005 looks still to be the high year for C+C production for the world. Of the areas producing over 3 million barrels a day, the only two that are still gaining are Russia and China. Even with the uptick at the end of the year, Saudi Arabia's production is still down for the year.

Have you ever thought about starting your own blog? Just a simple page on blogspot where you can collect your tracking and anaylsis of the supply figures.

Monthly price of WTI, rounded to nearest $5 for 2004 - 2008

February35 50 60 60
March35 55 65 60
April35 55 70 65
May40 50 70 65
June40 55 70 70
July40 60 75 75
August45 65 75 70
September45 65 65 80
October55 60 60 85
November50 60 60 95
December45 60 60 90


I think Venezuelan capitalists will share a hearty laugh over the Canadian propaganda calling Venezuela "communist." As the prof who's most of the source for the CANOE piece said, Canada has zero extra capacity and China and India will gladly buy any additional oil, but if this happened they would supposedly NOT buy from others--This I very much doubt as both India and China have SPRs to fill.

Total world export volume is in decline; the pie is shrinking. For any country to increase its portion of the shrinking pie, another country is going to have its portion reduced. Countries not prepared for the shrinking-pie-effect will experience chaos. This we see already. For China's economy to grow 10% in 2008, its hydrocarbon imports will need to grow at least by that amount, which further reduces the pie. Heinberg is right: Without the Depletion Protocal, there will be wars--more than those already: Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Chad, Timor, Kenya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, are Hot Wars while Iran, Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China, Myanmar, are Cold Wars (the list could include more). I predict Iceland will be the Last "Man" Standing.

When on earth did Venezuela turn communist? May be Senator Joe McCarthy isn't dead after all.

So much for the credibility of the Canadian Press. This propaganda in inane.

dissident, Canoe appears to be a new online magazine. It is owned by one of the world's largest printing companies, Quebecor, that also happens to have financial troubles.

Looks like Iceland is as much caught up in the economic maelstrom as anybody else. See Automatic Earth, Sunday, 3rd February 2008:

Last one standing perchance Bhutan, high up in the Hymalayas, far from the maddening crowd?

Pet peeve: It's "Far from the madding crowd" ...but in your case you're almost certainly correct.

BTW, it's a pet peeve I share:-) But it is a mad, mad world!!

I imagine this will be up for the Feb 12 Drumbeat, but the IPM was released late yesterday afternoon on the EIA website. Some prelliminary numbers revised downward. Looks like 2007 will be another down year for C+C and flat for the third year in the all liquids category.

New graphs for my walls this morning.

May 2005 still rules!

Of course, a recession is a good way to "hide a peak." (Isn't that what CERA and Daniel "Hide a Peak" Yergin need and are all about?)

Q. What was so memorable about November 15, 2001?

A. WTI closed at $17.50, the lowest price (so far), this decade.

Source: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/rwtcd.htm

It was also 11 years, to the day, since the signing of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.