DrumBeat: February 19, 2008

Oil breaks $100, hits new all-time high

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil prices hit new record highs Tuesday as a Texas refinery fire and fears of an OPEC production cut pushed crude to settle at over $100 a barrel for the first time ever.

U.S. crude for March delivery jumped $4.51 to settle at $100.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, topping the previous settlement record of $99.62 set Jan. 2.

Oil also hit a new all-time trading high of $100.10 a barrel, besting the previous high of $100.9 set Jan. 3.

Nigerian President Spokesman: Okah 'Alive, Safe In Custody'

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP)--Nigerian authorities said Tuesday that a militant leader was alive after allied fighters threatened further attacks on the country's oil infrastructure if the government did not address rumors their leader had died in custody of gunshot wounds.

Henry Okah was "alive and safe in custody," presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi told The Associated Press.

Alon refinery shut by blast; gasoline at historic high

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Alon USA Energy Inc. said Tuesday that an explosion and fire temporarily shut production at its Texas refinery, 290 miles west of Dallas.

The accident drove gasoline prices to an historic high Tuesday. Crude futures also rallied.

...Crude oil for March delivery surged more than $3 to surpass $99 a barrel Tuesday, and March motor-gasoline futures rallied 10.59 cents, or 4.3%, to $2.5993 a gallon. It earlier rose to $2.6084, the highest level a gasoline front-month contract has ever seen.

Nigerian oil delta rebels say leader shot dead

LAGOS (Reuters) - A Nigerian rebel group from the oil producing Niger Delta said on Tuesday its leader, Henry Okah, was shot dead in detention in northern Nigeria.

There was no immediate official confirmation.

If confirmed, news of Okah's death could spark a new round of violence in the delta, home of Africa's biggest oil industry which produces 2.1 million barrels per day. It could also derail tentative peace talks between rebels and the government.

Venezuela asks ExxonMobil to talk, drop legal cases

CARACAS, Feb 19, 2008 (AFP) - Venezuela has asked US oil giant ExxonMobil to resume World Bank-sponsored talks to resolve a nationalization dispute and to drop legal cases in New York and London, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said Tuesday.

"We have heard various messages from Exxon -- what we are asking is that we return to the situation as it was under arbitration" under the auspices of the World Bank's mediation body, Ramirez said.

Russia, Algeria talk energy, mum on gas OPEC

A growing warmth in ties between Algeria and Russia in the past few years has fuelled market and media speculation that the creation of an OPEC-style gas charter is in the pipeline.

President Vladimir Putin last year described the concept of a "gas OPEC" as an "interesting idea." Analysts have ruled out the possibility that such a grouping could move world prices to the same degree as OPEC because gas is much harder to transport and a world market in gas does not exist.

But the prospect of a "gas OPEC" has alarmed the European Union and the United States, which believe such an organisation will threaten global energy security.

Redefining Urban and Rural: Cooperation in a Time of Local Need

A landscape of blended urban and rural uses is only one of the forces pushing for cooperation. High energy prices and global warming will make it necessary for us to develop a strong, resilient, local economy - parallel, and in addition to, the global one.

"Squeezed in" subway ad angers passengers

BEIJING (Reuters) - An advertisement on Beijing's subway proclaiming "Squeezed in?! Go and buy a car then!" has angered passengers who said it only encourages traffic jams, a state newspaper said Friday.

Australia seeking fatter mailmen

Australia Post had a weight limit of 90 kgs (198 pounds) for "posties" because its 110cc motorcycles had a safe working limit of 130kg (286 pounds) -- that's 40kg (88 pounds) for letters and up to 90 kgs for mailmen and women fully clothed.

But after talks with motorcycle manufacturer Honda it was agreed the bikes could safely carry a "postie" weighing 105 kgs (231 pounds), said Sydney's the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

But the "posties" will only carry 25 kgs of mail.

Lukoil Cuts German Oil Exports by Pipeline on Pricing

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Lukoil, Russia's largest independent oil producer, may cut March shipments of crude oil to Germany by pipeline, continuing the halt ordered yesterday because of a pricing dispute.

Lukoil stopped February exports through the Druzhba pipeline and will consider cutting March sales while demanding higher prices from traders in Germany, spokesman Dmitry Dolgov said by phone today. The Moscow-based oil producer has reserved space in the pipeline for next month, he said.

"Why should we sell oil cheap?" Dolgov said. "We have found alternatives."

Venezuela's Boscan Oilfield Shut by Protest, Universal Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela's Boscan oilfield, which typically produces 108,000 barrels a day, suspended operations yesterday after a worker protest, El Universal reported.

About 200 oil workers blocked the road to the field, preventing about 750 workers from reaching their posts, the newspaper said, citing Rafael Ramirez, a member of the oil workers' union.

Kazakhstan plans to double oil production by 2015

LONDON(RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan intends to double oil production by 2015 up to 120-130 million metric tons (about 880-950 million bbl) per year, a Kazakh energy and mineral resources vice minister said on Tuesday.

"We plan to produce 70-80 million tons of oil annually by 2010 and to increase production to 120-130 million by 2015. The figures are not insignificant," Lyazzat Kiinov said.

Gazprom says gas exports to rise 4-5 pct in 2008

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom expects its shipments to key European markets to rise by 4-5 percent in volume terms this year, a Gazprom executive told a conference call on Tuesday.

West African gas pipeline delayed till April

ACCRA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The startup of a West African gas pipeline operated by Chevron Corp. has been delayed by over three months due to repairs on supply pipes in Nigeria but first gas should flow by April, its director said on Tuesday.

The 678 km (420 mile) pipeline will transport natural gas from Nigeria's Niger Delta to Benin, Togo and Ghana to help ease chronic power shortages around West Africa, seen as a major hindrance to development in the region.

The future for off-roading looks electric

Like civilians, the Army wants to cut fuel use, because fuel constitutes 70 percent of the materiel it moves into combat zones, according to Andy Abele, Quantum’s executive director of strategic development. Hybrid electric vehicles not only give soldiers the ability to sneak around quietly, they also serve as generators to power the myriad computer, radar, GPS, radio and other electronic systems upon which the modern military depends, he added.

Tajikistan: UN Urges Food Aid, As Anger Mounts Over Energy Crisis

As the United Nations appeals for urgent food aid to stave off a humanitarian crisis in Tajikistan, critics say anger is mounting among Tajiks, who for the first time since their civil war in the 1990s may be ready to protest for major change.

It’s been the harshest winter in living memory for Tajikistan, leaving hundreds of thousands of people bitterly cold and hungry.

In some areas, temperatures have dropped below -20 and even -30 C. Rivers have frozen over, dealing a severe blow to the country’s decrepit and out-of-date hydroelectric power system, on which Tajiks are dependent.

Energy supplies have also been cut from neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The result: severe shortages of gas and electricity, with a knock-on effect on food supplies.

ConocoPhillips adds 1.34 boe of reserves in 2007

NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips said on Tuesday it added 1.34 billion barrels of oil equivalent to its reserves in 2007, bringing its total proved reserves to 10.6 billion boe.

Excluding Venezuela's seizure of more than 1 billion boe of reserves in there last year, the company said its reserves replacement rate was 159 percent, based on 842 million boe of production in 2007.

Exxon Chairman: Willing to Work with Venezuela if It Honors Contract

At an energy conference in London, ExxonMobil Chairman Robert Olsen said that his company legal battle with Venezuela is due to the South American country's failure to honor the terms and obligations of the original contract.

Iran ups Feb gas oil imports from Singapore

Iran is importing 250,000 tonnes of gas oil from Singapore in February, up from 200,000 tonnes bought for January as the icy winter boosted demand for heating and power generation, industry sources said on Tuesday.

The Opec member has been buying gas oil from Singapore since early this year, after India's Reliance halted supplies last year when French banks BNP Paribas and Calyon stopped offering credit on the deals, company and industry sources had said.

Nigeria's oil production outages

(Reuters) - Oil companies and industry sources have detailed about 515,000 barrels per day of shut-in Nigerian production due to militant attacks and sabotage.

The amount represents around 17 percent of the West African country's installed output capacity of around 3 million bpd.

Shell says southern Nigeria pipeline repaired

ABUJA (AFP) - Crude oil output from the Forcados export terminal in southern Nigeria is back up to "between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels per day" after a pipeline repair, Royal Dutch Shell said Tuesday.

Last month, Shell declared a force majeure on exports from Forcados for the rest of January and February after pipeline sabotage, but Shell regional executive Vice President for Africa Ann Pickard said output was back up.

Bashing private oil companies no longer valid

Those famous "seven sisters" -- Standard Oil, Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Texaco, Chevron, Exxon, and Mobil -- are no longer what they once were. Whereas they once hogged 80 percent of the world's production and reserves of crude oil and natural gas, today they hold less than 10 percent and are just shadows of their former selves.

They have been replaced by seven other sisters, in this case state-owned enterprises, to which we can attribute the astronomical price of oil and other associated calamities. According to Financial Times, these are the new villains: Saudi ARAMCO (Saudi Arabia), Gazprom (Russia), CNPC (China), NIOC (Iran), PDVSA (Venezuela), Petrobrás (Brazil) and Petronas (Malaysia).

NOCs, IOCs need to find new partnership models

National oil companies are delivering higher levels of growth in market capitalization compared with international oil companies, and new models of collaboration are necessary to deliver secure and sustainable energy supplies to the global market, speakers told delegates at International Petroleum Week in London.

Boomtown, Iraq

Imagine a country where Americans are beloved, mini-mansions are springing up, and oil bubbles forth unaided. Is this the future of Iraq or just a desert mirage?

S.Africa firms want tax breaks for energy spending

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African businesses crippled by an energy crisis are unlikely to receive the tax breaks and other concessions they crave from Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's budget on Wednesday.

An expected slowdown in growth, partly on the power crunch, global economic woes and higher domestic interest rates point to reduced revenue, and pressure on the national accounts.

Yar’Adua apologises to Nigerians over energy crisis

President Umaru Yar’Adua on Monday apologised to Nigerians over what he described as embarrassing power failure in the country. Yar’Adua made the public apology on Monday in Abuja at the 20th anniversary of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) while restating the determination of his administration to address the problem.

Bangladesh: Mining coal for energy security

To conserve the environment from pollution by restricting the use of sulphur-rich coal, mining of local coal has become urgent. The use of local coal will not only help keep pollution at a low level but also save hard-earned foreign currency. The use of this natural resource has become urgent also on another score. The present recoverable reserve of natural gas may last only another four years. Otherwise, if the gas resource depletes Bangladesh would face energy crisis of insurmountable proportions.

Canadian companies lagging in green IT practice

Take a 1,000 PC company. If it can ensure computers are turned off at night and on the weekends, it will save enough to cover wages and benefits for another full-time employee.

California casts a wary eye on deregulation

California's energy crisis ended seven years ago, but electricity customers are still paying for it, lawyers are arguing over it and regulators are reigniting debate over the policies that led up to it.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today about whether the high-priced energy contracts signed amid the crisis can be reopened to make sure the rates are fair.

It's waste not, want not at super green Subaru plant

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Subaru's giant assembly plant here is on track to produce 180,000 cars this year. Yet the automaker pledges that virtually none of the waste generated from its eye-popping output will wind up in a dump.

Copper-laden slag left over from welding is collected and shipped to Spain for recycling. Styrofoam forms encasing delicate engine parts are returned to Japan for the next round of deliveries. Even small protective plastic caps are collected in bins to be melted down to make something else.

All told, Subaru says 99.8% of the plant's refuse is recycled or reused so it doesn't go to a landfill. That includes a small portion, about 5%, that goes to a waste-to-energy plant that burns waste to make steam to heat Indianapolis' downtown.

With Oil Prices Rising, Wood Makes a Comeback

NEWPORT, Vt. — As a child, Brian Cook remembers hurling wood into the big orange boiler his father bought during the oil crisis of the late 1970s, helping feed the fire that provided heat and hot water to his family.

Thirty years later, Mr. Cook dragged the boiler out of his childhood home and hooked it up in the house that he and his wife, Jennifer, own to cut their oil bills.

“I did not want to pay $3,000 to heat this house,” Mr. Cook said in his garage here in Vermont’s heavily wooded Northeast Kingdom. “I see a lot more people burning wood this year.”

After years of steep decline, wood heat is back, with people flocking to dealers to buy new wood stoves, wood boilers and stoves that burn pellets made of wood byproducts. Others like Mr. Cook, to the dismay of environmentalists, are dusting off old wood-burning devices that are less efficient and more polluting.

Oil nears $98 on supply worries, OPEC

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil rose on Tuesday to the highest level in a month, near $98 a barrel, driven by expectations that supplies will be tight.

...The market is on edge over a quarrel between OPEC producer Venezuela and the world's biggest oil company, Exxon Mobil.

OPEC unlikely to cut oil output: sources

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - OPEC is unlikely to cut oil output at a meeting in March due to rising prices and uncertainty about supply from Venezuela and Nigeria, OPEC sources said on Tuesday.

Refineries to take more of Russia's crude - TNK-BP

LONDON (Reuters) - Up to 10 million to 15 million tonnes of Russian crude per year (200,000-300,000 barrels per day) could be sucked into a few well placed Russian refineries over the next 3-5 years, a senior refining executive said on Tuesday.

As crude production growth flags, that could mean a cut in exports.

Africa enters world economy

African Union (AU) member countries at the weekend launched Africa’s answer to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) – the African Energy Commission or Afrec.

Afrec, which has been set up with the intention of co-ordinating policy for the energy-rich continent, was launched following a three-day meeting of AU energy ministers in Algiers.

Nippon Oil Buys Crude From Sakhalin-1 Under Long Term Contract

(Bloomberg) -- Nippon Oil Corp., Japan's largest refiner, signed a long-term contract to buy Russian oil from Sakhalin island, the first such agreement by the country's refiners in a drive to diversify supply from the Middle East.

New Arctic sea floor mapping data could bolster US claims, scientists say

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - New mapping data could bolster any claims the U.S. might make in the Arctic as countries including Canada in the region compete for potentially rich reserves of oil, gas and minerals buried beneath the sea floor, U.S. scientists said Monday.

...Bathymetric soundings taken last year showed the foot of Alaska's continental slope extending more than 100 nautical miles farther from the U.S. coast than previously believed, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"We found evidence that the foot of the slope was much farther out than we thought," said Larry Mayer, the chief scientist for the expedition last year. "That was the big discovery."

Oil companies 'are facing greater risks'

DUBAI: Oil companies face the risk of underinsurance as world oil prices reach record highs, a global insurance broker and risk adviser warned yesterday.

"An increase in activity in the oil sector means that any major loss will cost more than ever to replace," Marsh managing director Andrew George said.

Nigeria: Oil Exploration - Gazprom Revives North's Hope

Years after the search for petroleum deposits in the North appeared to have been jettisoned, a new effort is on to explore gas resources believed to be abundant in the area.

Pakistan: Farmers prefer to sow oil seed crops instead of cereal crops

LAHORE: The farmers would get attractive price of canola and other seed crops, as the price of palm oil has increased in the international market, Daily Times learnt here on Monday.

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) has also suggested for cultivating oilseed crops, as the profitability of these crops are the highest.

Biofuel blight threatens spectacular Kenyan wetland

A flourishing wetland on Kenya’s northern coast is under serious threat from plans to grow vast amounts of sugarcane, partly for biofuel production.

Developers want to transform nearly 50,000 acres (20,000 hectares) of the spectacular Tana River Delta into sugarcane plantations with other parts of the Delta earmarked for rice.

The scary oil sands

Canadians' concerns over Alberta oil-sands development centre largely around its impact on climate change.

And for good reason. In a list of 207 nations ranked by greenhouse gas emissions, Alberta's oil sands come out higher than 145 of them.

Australia PM most popular for 20 years: poll

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is the country's most popular leader in two decades after apologizing to Aborigines for past injustices and ratifying the Kyoto climate pact, a poll showed on Tuesday.

24 world cities in 'Earth Hour' black-out: organisers

SYDNEY (AFP) - Twenty-four cities around the world will fall into shadow next month as homes and businesses turn off the lights to raise awareness about global warming, organisers said Tuesday.

RE: Oil Geopolitics

Chalmers Johnson has written an article on "Economic Disaster and Geopolitics" available here:


Also, two video interviews are available here:

"The Blowback Syndrome: Oil Wars and Overreach"



"Decline of Empires: Signs of Decay"


As we get disinformation filtered through the Corporatist grid, these are a good balance.

Thanks for those beggar.

I always enjoy hearing Chalmers.

Another heavy lifter in speaking truth is Joseph Stiglitz;

"Joseph Stiglitz: The Economics of Information"


A very realist talk on Globalization

Re: Chalmers Johnson article
"By 1990 the value of the weapons, equipment and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83% of the value of all plants and equipment in US manufacturing."

83% 18 years ago. By now what is it 98%?

Understand this is a somewhat distorted figure - this means that one F18, which some estimates place as costing as high as 100 million dollars (I'm assuming this includes all necessary electronics, spare parts, armanent, etc.), is thus worth 5,000 or more new cars, or 500 average houses. Which is a silly comparison, since the dollar figure of the F18 does not actually represent much in the way of 'worth.' And I am quite certain that the scrap value of 5,000 cars is much, much higher than the scrap value of an F18, which would be another way to generate a comparison.

Nonetheless, the U.S. has an incredibly distorted economy, biased to militaristic expenditures which tend to enrich the same companies that are now spreading out into non-military functions - Lockheed and traffic cameras comes to mind.

This analysis of conservation possibilities from McKinsey seems worthy of attention to me:

Unless there is a shift in world energy policies, global energy demand is set to accelerate, putting increasing strain on the world economy and the environment. Yet additional annual investments in energy productivity of $170 billion through 2020 could cut global energy demand growth by at least half—the equivalent of 64 million barrels of oil a day or almost one and a half times today’s entire U.S. energy consumption.


This should mean that there are good possibilities to keep going after oil peak, as large savings are possible.
That would also enhance the prospects for renewables and nuclear, as it is cheaper to produce less energy.

Disregarding the likelihood or the funding source of this $170 billion dollar investment, McKinsey's projection turns on the word "could."

You then supplement this with "should."

And then conclude with a "would." (And somehow inexplicably try to connect this to the claim that it is "cheaper to produce less energy"?)

What is your reader to make of this? Without even referencing the content of the argument, the deployment of rather loose semantics suggests the conclusion is rather suspect.

The amount they are talking about is not large in comparison to energy expenditure, and in fact amounts to just $26 per person per year.

This also fits in well with European estimates of the cost of dealing with reducing CO2, which I believe centre on a figure of around 0.5% of gnp.

As for financing, a lot of it would become worthwhile in any case if energy costs stay high, and so would come under normal capital investment. Government programs as in the EU also help.

I substituted the word 'should' as as far as I am aware this accords well with the potential for improvement in present rather inefficient energy use, which has been the product of cheap oil.

As far as I am aware the claim that it is usually cheaper to produce one kilowatt of electricity rather than two is not normally regarded as contentious.

With regards to funding - I thought I said disregarding it? ;-)

But if you really want to go there, I think your response is precisely the kind of problem I would warn about. No, $170 billion is not huge if spread across a big enough population. Hey, the U.S. will spend close to $800 billion on various military ventures. But, the size of the expenditure, it's appropriateness (your European reference) and even it's worthwhileness, matter little when it comes to funding large projects.

As for your "should" - you have repeated the basic fallacy; potential is not the same actual. It is easy (and common) to make that that normative slip (we could so we should so we would).

On the decreased cost claim, I wasn't questioning it's veracity, I was questioning it's connection to the preceding "observation."

Obviously the expenditure is more likely to be approximately proportional to energy use than evenly distributed.

It still only amounts to a small fraction of GDP, and as I said it is pretty well budgeted for already in Europe, so it should be possible in most of the big energy using countries.

As for your quibble regarding the use of should, I apologise if I was mistaken, as I had assumed that most people who read this blog, being of normal intelligence, would easily fill in the gaps.

It seems that I was mistaken in one or another of my assumptions.

To write it out in full for your benefit, a similar program to this should, if implemented, reduce greenhouse gas emissions considerably in my judgement.

I hope this helps.

You're still not getting it on the funding. So, I'll suggest this - when you find the 170 billion, let me know and we'll start the project.

As for your poor attempt to insult my intelligence, maybe you need to back up a step or two and ask first "did I understand what he was saying?" Because from where I'm standing, you didn't come off too well there.

To write it out in full for your benefit, a similarly funded program should, if implemented, feed all the starving people, or provide health insurance for all Americans, or put humans on Mars, or (choose your favorite pipe dream).

I cannot understand why you entirely ignore the already vast sums budgeted by Europe, and still say it is politicly impossible when similar amounts are already being budgeted in some parts off the world, it seems your vision is conditioned solely by experience in the US.
Much of the $170 billion would be part of the normal cost of doing business anyway, and be released in the event of fuel costs staying high by both individuals and private people as they try to economise rather than being on the Government budget.

Why you should attempt to be so wilfully obtuse baffles me.

I cannot understand why you entirely ignore the already vast sums budgeted by Europe...

Until these vast sums are actually aloocated they remain just that, vast sums budgeted. You do understand the difference between budget and allocation, correct? At any point in the proceedings until the funds are disbursed they remain just a promise. When Europe actually provides funds then let's talk. Until then it's still just more Microsoft vapourware.

Have you any idea of the vast expenditure by Germany alone to date on renewables?

I assume you do, so that will suffice for me. Exactly what does that have to do with vast budgeted sums yet to be disbursed? The past is just that, the past. History. Finished. Unless I'm mistaken you're considering the future. When do the budgeted amounts become disbursed amounts? Is it a 100% disbursement? Will it be disbursed over the life of the project? These are rather important questions. Changing economic circumstances may very well cause funding to dry up at any point in the disbursement cycle. When all is said and done Europe's budgets remain dreams until the cheque clears.

shaman already said it best, when you've got the money, let's talk.

I really can't understand what you are asking for. You dismissed future projections of disbursements in the EU on the grounds that they hadn't yet happened and now don't seem happy to consider actual monies spent.

The point I am seeking to make is that actual disbursements in some countries actually approach the levels called for in this report, and that still does not take account of the natural incentive supplied by higher energy costs in future, if oil remains at around $100 barrel and natural gas is in short supply.
To give some indication of present voluntary expenditures on reducing carbon emissions, here is a current report about EU subsidies in this respect.

You can see that the subsidies for renewables range up to 15% of total electricity bills for Denmark, and this does not include on Government budget costs.

So if you are not intersted in plans, and not in expenditure, what are you interested in?
I am baffled.

On the vast sums - I would suppose that next you will provide the links to show this?

Did I say it was politically impossible? Please don't put words in my mouth. What I said was that you made the (admittedly quite common) normative slip from could to should to would. I also notice that this is completely dropped from your response.

On the "normal cost of doing business" - So do we need the $170 billion investment or not. If it's all already been budgeted by the EU and businesses, what was the original number thrown out there for.

Willfully obtuse? I'll just let that slide.

I really don't know what your issue is. For some indication of present EU expenditures on carbon reduction, see my answer to Goritza.

McKinsey assume lower energy costs than most of us here would, and so more of the expenditure would have to be on the Government's budget, or at least mandated by Government by feed-in tariffs and such.

As for why they suggest it, see the paragraph above and it also seems likely that the report is more concerned with the US.

I am not interested in your word quibbles which I have already addressed.

I followed your link and it is a generic news blog with no apparent references to EU expenditures on carbon reduction.

"word quibbles"? - fine, if that makes you feel better.

Apologies - I did not specify the link properly - please scroll down to the item 'Feed in Tariffs for Renewable Energy'

In that you will find some of the subsidies paid by electricity users in Europe to support renewables.

This is only part of the support they receive, as there are also substantial on-budget tax measures, but it seems to be difficult to find them specified - I did track down one figure of 27bn Euros for the EU , but it was in 2004 and did not specify whether some of that was included in the electricity users subsidies, or whether it included figures for subsidies for extra insulation for houses or so on.

I should add that I really am confused as to exactly what information is being requested, and what you seem to find hard to swallow.

In most of Europe they certainly have been paying big-time for carbon reduction measures, perhaps of the order of the figures McKinsey suggest here, and I am trying to explain that a lot of conservation measures would occur anyway if fuel prices are higher than McKinsey suggest and would not require so much Government subsidy.

If you could specify exactly what is unclear to you perhaps I can respond better.

Here is a link to what they are doing in Sweden to counteract climate change, I don't know how much this is costing them but it can't be cheap - a fair amount of the expenditure has already gone ahead:
The Oil Drum | We Won't Stop Global Warming

I hope that you see the connection to the basic point I am trying to make, that apparently people are prepared to pay pretty substantial amounts to prevent GW, and perhaps what can be done in one place can be done in another.

Personally I tend to the opinion that China may outperform the US on this - when a country is in the midst of a very vigorous expansion, as the US was a century or so ago or China is today, it is remarkable how fast change can be instituted.

Thanks for the clarification - I did scroll down and here is what I found

"European Environment Agency figures in 2004 gave indicative estimates of total energy subsidies in the EU-15 for 2001: solid fuel (coal) EUR 13.0, oil & gas EUR 8.7, nuclear EUR 2.2, renewables EUR 5.3 billion."

So - of some 29+ billion euros of energy subsidies in 2001, renewables received 5.3 billion. Which on the surface isn't too bad, until you recognize that coal got more than twice that amount.

Now here's the problem - your original post quoted a source that said that we need $170 billion additional per year. I read that as meaning on top of the amount being spent already. I'm also going to assume that you don't want to include coal subsidies in that total. Recognize, too, that your original article was talking about investment in energy productivity - it is not entirely clear that there is a one to one dollar correspondence between subsidies and investments in productivity.

I'll try to be clear here. I am not requesting any particular information. And you have been completely clear in laying out what you were thinking. What I am encouraging is not clarity in information, but clarity in understanding our own thought processes.

What you previously wrote off as "word quibbles" was hardly any such thing. You had made a fairly common rhetorical move that is found frequently in normative discussions and writing. I was merely trying to push you to examine this and to make it explicit.

At the start I was honest in noting that I was interested in the funding question, largely because I already knew where that would go. But I let you proceed because I wanted to see how critical you would be of your own arguments.

We all have a strong tendency to read into texts support for things we already believe. You did exactly that with the Feed in tariffs article. Now that this has been pointed out to you, the question is can you go back and recalibrate your own thinking to deal with the incongruence?

Reading for information is one thing, reading for meaning takes you so much deeper. And it's not just a matter of "spin," you can frequently read from a particular rhetorical deployment much more about the author, their thought patterns and beliefs, than the author may be aware of.

That's not really the sort of thing that interests me, but thanks for the clarification.

So, you have no interest in understanding? Are you only here to butt heads with people? That's truly sad.

What you regard as understanding I am afraid I would tend to think of as nitpicking - we just don't think alike, it is as simple as that.

Ok - I'll be blunt. You do not even understand the background of your own thinking. Nor do you care that you don't understand. This lack of critical thinking on your part is your worst enemy. It is why you keep coming to the same point in your attempt to discuss issues here - you claim the other person either a) isn't understanding what you say, or b) needs you to provide them with more info (and typically you claim you don't know what more info you need to provide them). Hint: it's not always about information

Dave - I chose to engage you on this, because you seemed to be an intelligent man, but one with divergent ideas from my own. But I'm afraid that your own belief in your infallibility makes it really difficult to have a fruitful exchange. Until you recognize that your way of thinking might not be the only way to approach things, you'll probably wind up with the same sort of end result. Too bad, really.

IOW my first instincts were correct, and behind all the absurd semantic quibbles you were disguising your true animus, and instead of coming out and saying what your problem was tried to demonstrate how clever you were and how faulty my thought processes.

Failure to directly express what is concerning you is a sure sign of muddy thinking.

As for my other discussions and infallibility and so on blah, in actual fact I have withdrawn or amended my points whenever it has been shown that I was in error, on several occasions in fact.

So you simply don't know what you are talking about.

Doubtless you find your pedantry proof of your clarity of thought and intelligence. The word is, buddy, that it is usually a sign of a narrow understanding, and that saying what you mean is the best form of communication, but until you realise that you will probably end up without fruitful discussion.

So sad.

If you have points to make germane to the discussion at hand, go ahead and make them, until then stop wasting my time - and do try think clearly enough to express what you mean.

Well heck, the Iraq war is costing the United States $120 billion a year... But obviously TPTB think it's better to spend that money on killing people, blowing things up, and consuming vast amounts of fuel instead of investing that money in solar panels locally.

And isn't that just the crux of the problem?

Durandal -

Well, as I had pointed out a while ago, the Bush Regime probably views our occupation of Iraq as a necessary investment in energy security, sort of energy futures provided military dominance.

If indeed Iraq has something on the order of 100+ billion bbls of recoverable oil reserves, at an assumed price of $100/bbl, that amounts to an imputed value of rough $10 trillion. So, even if we will have spent something like $1 trillion by the end of 2008, and even if 4,000 American young men and women have been killed and many times that number permanently phisically and/or mentally maimed, the Bush Regime no doubt views this as a good return on investment. In fact, a better investment than wind, solar, etc.

There's just one little problem though: it ain't working now, and it ain't gonna be working any better even if we're still in Iraq 20 years from now. Furthermore, this strategy all but guarantees a permanent state of global resource war, one that conceivably might eventually go nuclear if one side finds itself become desperate enough.

I've worked with these guys on aspects of this report. They fervently do not believe in peak oil, they feel high prices will result in seamless substitution and efficiency gains, and they model the "base case" with $50 oil and their "high case" at $70, assuming economic growth over the entire period. They also assume current costs will obtain over the next 20 years. To me, this is a cry for business as usual.

If we assume that energy costs are higher than they do, then even larger savings should be possible, and more by resort to normal economic processes, and rather less from Government action.

"then even larger savings should be possible"

I doubt very much this is the case - as energy costs increase, so to will everything associated with switching out - making solar panels, windmills, tidal, nukes etc.

AND less $ will be available in budgets to do this as prices across the board increase

this is one of the elements of the "easy changeover" that I think many techno-cornocopians miss

and we see evidence of this around us every day - South Africa being one of the best recent examples - power outages effecting mines, driving the price of metals up - driving the prices of things made from those metals; and of course the price of transporting those metals to the factories, the cost of the energy to then fashion them into something useful to the "changeover" and then transport them to the destination etc.

This is specifically looking at conservation, not new build and the higher the price the stronger the measures are likely.

In a small example from Britain, the recent rise in electricity and gas prices have lead some to stick bubble-wrap on their windows in winter, which costs pennies but is unsightly.

I am not sure what I have done to deserve the title 'techno-cornocupian' as I have never said that change will be easy - indeed in a recent post today on this blog I bemoaned the likely energy gap sure to develop in Britain in the near future.

I do however think that easy or difficult we had better get on with it.

Have lead some to stick bubble-wrap on their windows in winter, which costs pennies but is unsightly

I use Reflectix, a custom made insulating product (aluminized bubble wrap) in my windows during extreme weather (winter & summer).

I will take most of them down in a week or so.

Best Hopes for Cheap, Fast & Efficient (if ugly) Energy Efficiency,


I do not have any windows overlooking the street (so no flax from neighbors. It sometimes feels odd to be living inside a silver box though. For most I would recommend leaving one window (or the bottom half of a window) in a frequently used room clear.

All this time I thought you were insulating just the window frame, now I understand you are covering the entire window! A true energy conservationist who is willing to live in the dark to save energy and the planet.

note I didn't call you a techno-cornocopian - I insinuated that like them, you have discounted how expensive the transition over to non-ff technologies will be (as costs soar) - making the transition more difficult and less likely to happen (vs just digging and burning more coal AGW be damned).

as for conservation - I sure haven't seen much of a sign of it rearing up anywhere in my little corner of the US - I am a real standout with my unlit pilot lights on my heaters ~98% of the year (Southern California just doesn't have that many cold days), my walking to work, market etc. (car stays parked for days at a time), powerstrips on all appliances that get turned off, etc. etc.

those things that I do are totally bizarre to many of my friends. I think prices will have to go up a LOT more to provoke a response from many Americans, and I'm afraid the response will be "use that military and get us the OIL!"

conservation is not something addicts give a lot of thought to, imo.

Thermal Shutters and Shades, by Wm Shurcliff

Out of print, but one can usually find a used copy. The exhaustive reference on the subject.

Solar Cell Directly Splits Water To Produce Recoverable Hydrogen
ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2008) — Plants trees and algae do it. Even some bacteria and moss do it, but scientists have had a difficult time developing methods to turn sunlight into useful fuel. Now, Penn State researchers have a proof-of-concept device that can split water and produce recoverable hydrogen.


Their current system achieves an efficiency of about 0.3 percent.

Move along ... nothing to see here (yet) ... just researchers looking for a grant, I suspect!

You're right. This is definitely a lame attempt to get a grant. I used electricity in high school chemistry lab to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. How is it anything special to use a solar panel to generate the electricity used in the process.

What you are describing is INDIRECTLY using solar energy to split water. What they are trying to do is accomplish this directly by having the light absorber and catalyst be one and the same (or at least closely spaced on an atomic scale). Using a small make-up voltage to do make this happen is often done in photoelectrochemistry. It's not cheating unless you don't account for it when calculating net efficiency.

I don't want to overstate where they are at in their research, but I think it is worth pursuing.

They can certainly move to reducing another chemical as the research goes forward. Ketones or aldhydes for example. I actually looked at reducing formaldehyde. Since water is not the best choice for electrolysis.


And Carbon Monoxide are interesting.


Along of course with Ammonia/ Nitrates.

Hydrogen may are may not be the best route for research but I suspect that direct
photochemical reduction of some small oxidized organic or nitrogen based compound is quite feasible.
Given the right compounds a fuel cell could complete the process closed loop.


Efficiency is only going to tell you how much surface area you need.

It's the cost per Square Meter to produce this collector, or similarly the cost per unit of H2 Produced/Time that will be the point that makes this fly or not. Efficiency is just a variable in the middle of that.

As it is Titanium and Iridium dependent, it sounds like a trick to get a product that you can make a sufficient amount of surface area, if it is to challenge other technologies.. and then you've got all the H2 issues.


Crude just hit 98.54 and The Dow just shot up 150 points in the first 5 minutes. Hmmm... Someones's throwing money around.

Didn't you get the memo...Tuesdays and Thursdays are "Inflation Days" while Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays are "Deflation Days". Gotta keep people guessing.

I'm seeing alot of forest fire analogies today.

"This concept is the 'fire brake' business where one does a controlled burn to stop a forest fire." -Elaine Supkis

"The bankers were shocked and dismayed. Instead of being the first to hear the news as part of their intense, ongoing discussions with New York State regulators, they heard about it on CNBC. And instead of responding with fear and remorse, their primary reaction is anger and rebellion.

What's next? Follow along with me, and you'll see that, like four different pathways engulfed by the same forest fire, all four likely scenarios lead to essentially the same result: Credit collapse.

Scenario A
Bank Rescue...


The small to medium-sized banks should be pissed at the bigger banks and the FED because the big banks/institutions are getting "nationalized" and the little guys are left out in the cold.

Laugh of the Day:

CNBC theme:

American Dream (splashed in the background)

Sub theme:

How to make $$ on foreclosures.

"Mommy, when I grow up I wanna make money on the misery of others."

"You'll be rich, son, and I'll be proud."

Yes, mcgowanmc, it's always good to see a good sales pitch.

Banks "quietly" borrow $50 billion from Fed: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Banks in the United States have been quietly borrowing "massive amounts" from the U.S. Federal Reserve in recent weeks, using a new measure the Fed introduced two months ago to help ease the credit crunch, according to a report on the web site of The Financial Times.

...The Financial Times said the move has sparked unease among some analysts about the stress developing in opaque corners of the U.S. banking system and the banks' growing reliance on indirect forms of government support.

... and the banks' growing reliance on indirect forms of government support.

What bollocks. Compared to the ECB's totally secret interventions in recent months the U.S. is a paragon of direct intervention. When the full extent of the ECB's involvement is finally exposed the U.S. will look angelic. No matter the size of the U.S. problem, Europe is going to be decapitated.

Does this increase in money supply directly affect the price of oil? 50B more dollars created then a run up in oil?

It's fine with me! I'm looking for a bit of a rally for me to offload my remaining stocks. I dumped 90% of my portfolio last year before things started going to pot, but I saw a few buying opportunities during the most recent decline, knowing that Wall Street would produce a few irrational rallies.

Recession? What recession?

Passed $99.

"Right now, prices are up on refinery issues, perception that OPEC won't raise output at their next meeting, and the cold weather," said Phil Flynn, an analyst for Alaron Trading.

"The thinking seems to be that, if the March contract doesn't hit the record $100 here, it might be perceived as a failure and we might see selling after that."

Wait, refinery issues results in higher *crude* prices?

Did they bother to think for a second? Refineries are customers for crude, not suppliers.

Refinery problems result in higher prices for refined products and lower prices for crude inputs.

Or maybe, there isn't any single reason at all other than too many people and not enough oil.

It's weird, but it's always been that way. For some reason, energy prices tend to go up together. They've been blaming the "refinery bottleneck" for high crude prices for years now.

When the refinery gets fixed and comes back on line, that'll mean more demand for oil, so the market is discounting that eventuality now.


Or another refinery could have to purchase more crude to make up for the output lost at the damaged refinery.

Crude now at $99.50. As it crossed $99, Bloomberg helpfully showed extracts of the Mad Max movies. Who says they don't get it? You just have to watch closely!

I'm interested to see how this keeps going. My things are going to get worse scenario has oil reaching 150 early in the summer and near 200 by the end of the summer. This requires that we are unable to drop back prices to around 80 over the coming months. However pretty much business is usual has us back at 80 before April.

The strong prices signal in my scenario is driven by aggregate declines in smaller fields coupled with lack of new infield development capable of increasing production in existing fields. This oil production which is substantial is not well documented or reported so it won't really show up that well on the stats we have. However it forces more people to take spot shipments.

Its to early to tell but lets hope we drop back to 80 soon.

If OPEC do actually cut production on March 5, it will be very difficult to argue the cut is voluntary. They have already said they will not increase production. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

By rights they should increase now. Anything less lends support to your 'duck' scenario.

This is all against the backdrop of a falling dollar to be sure but. The pattern has repeated several times. The stocks start off with a bang on light volume. Commodities esp. oil and gold surge and the stocks retreat.

Call it a lack of headroom. Sure looks like we are bumping that jar lid.

Perhaps the type of crude that can be ramped up doesn't match well with the refineries that have excess capacity to process crude of a different type. Isn't/wasn't that the OPEC line at any rate? And isn't that in part why US refiners positioned to handle heavier, more sour grades were enjoying (still enjoy?) such excellent margins?

I should go ahead and buy my next 6 months of weekly airfare today, before they decide to jack up prices due to fuel costs.. Hell, it would only be $12k in airfare paid up front..

Its to early to tell but lets hope we drop back to 80 soon.

80 would require some large destruction of demand, which we haven't seen forecast so far. I don't think it's likely.

Not really I suspect 80 is the "real" price that we might have had give demand and the slowing economy. The problem is geopolitical tension/problems coupled with I suspect undocumented real tightening of the oil supply may work to prevent us ever seeing oil priced according to the current situation again.

In a sense what we seem to be seeing is the market is finally starting to price in peak oil. In time if KSA does not respond with a flood of oil the markets will become I suspect increasingly forward looking.

By this I mean once they realize they oil will only get more expensive and potentially much more expensive overtime the markets will begin to lead real demand even more.

I'm not talking about the market as far as economics but the market in terms of people thinking and interacting. As people get more peak oil aware this awareness will influence the market more and more.

Right now its responding I think to simple a tight market it will be interesting once it becomes a shortage market.

In any case it may well still come down we have time but prices should have already started declining if we where going to hit 80. Now I'm wondering if we will even hit 90 at our low before the summer.

Time will tell. I really hope we touch 80 again of only briefly. Since I think once oil tops 150 direct economic hardship from oil prices will become widespread.

We've had an $86 bottom tested twice. As demand goes up in the spring, refinery utilization will rise (from the current low levels of ~84%) and take the crude and products prices up. And so far, I don't hear of actions related to mass conservation.

Now over $100, nat gas 15 mo. high, RBOB All time high. $2.60 (a bit under Katrina but hey!)
Nigerian Rebels Say Leader Shot Dead

Hit $100.10 - a new record (by 1 cent)

[Edit and the Dow plunged 100 points on the news, wiping out the gains for the day so far. Maybe throwing a spanner in the works of the Power Point Team (PPT) - I mean Plunge Protection Team ;-)]

New record close, too:

Oil settles at all-time high of $100.01. OPEC cuts, refinery fire and Exxon's Chavez fight all contribute to runup.

Look for 4 or maybe 5 of the major benchmarks over 100 by morning Wednesday.

This is a first too.

Frankly, it is amazing to watch how easily this happened, giving volatility is relatively low at the moment. Another sign of the times.

Taking markers on $120 oil for May long weekend. :P

I have created a new contest for when oil will hit $120/barrel! Guess the correct WEEK that it hits $120/barrel, and I'll send you a gift card for $100! No cost of entry....

Good Luck! (I'll post this link again tomorrow for fellow TOD'ers, and then refrain from then on out.)


So that $1000 bet was lost by only 50 days...

It was lost by one day. Well, two, technically, but markets were closed New Year's Day. Oil broke $100 on the first trading day of 2008.

How many Yergin's is that? :-)

Wood is not really a substitute for oil, any more than ethanol is.

The scale is just too different. Wood for heat certainly has its place, and certainly gains points for being CO2 neutral, but it is also a fairly dirty fuel, especially if not properly dried and burnt.

And considering how Americans have been handling long term challenges over the past couple of decades, the idea of trying to replace oil heating with wood because it is cheaper is almost scary - after all, got to keep gas in the car, right?

That said, I load up on any available wood from a compost station near my workplace any time I drive - and the weather is decent enough for what may sit in the car the entire work day. This has been something I've done for years, and I have been the only one taking wood out, instead of throwing wood out, so to speak. But recently, on several occasions, there have been a couple of older men also going through the potential fuel. One with a moped/trailer combination, who actually carries a fair bit, and a couple on bicycle. Seeing my luxury reflected in their need is almost frightening - especially the man who was only taking dead wood that could be immediately burned.

Food inflation has been shockingly high, while energy costs continue their steady climb, and its effects are starting to spill over.

Watch to see how wood burning develops in the U.S. - I don't think the NYT is likely to cover such little details as are cropping up.

expat wrote: "Wood is not really a substitute for oil, any more than ethanol is."

That is a response to an assertion that no one has made to my knowledge. Wood is a regionally appropriate fuel, not one that is universally suitable for everyone, everywhere. But people who wish to slam wood fuel and those who use it often use the straw man of universality as a hammer.

The fact is there are no influential proponents of wood heating because the fuel supply side is totally unorganized and the appliance manufacturing sector is split because most manufacturers also build gas appliances. I'm about as close to a proponent as there is, and I always point out that wood is a lousy urban fuel.

The retailers I talk to, as well as the industry news magazine, have been expecting a big surge in wood stove sales, but aside from a few pockets, it is not as big as forecast. Mild weather in the Fall seemed to lull householders into complacency.

It will be interesting, though, to watch how householders respond when energy prices really take off. My feeling is that people will do whatever they have to in order to protect their families, and if that means putting in a wood stove and scrounging for fuel, then so be it. This will happen regardless of what urban environmentalists would like.

Instead of fretting about all the resulting air pollution, it is too bad governments and environmental agencies haven't been doing good public information on the real limitations of wood heating and pointing people to good technologies and operating practices.

I have no doubt that if things get really grim economically and in terms of conventional energy prices, there will be huge numbers of households moving to wood fuel. And many of them will do it on the cheap, meaning air pollution will be terrible and lots of houses will burn down. I've spent most of my working life trying to make wood heating safer and less environmentally damaging, so I'm not looking forward to the effect that peak oil will have on the forest resource in some places and on air quality in others.

OTOH, I can't really blame people for acting on their survival instinct.

Well put. I live in quite a rural situation and heat with wood that I cut from my own land. Most folks around here heat with wood, but we are rather widely spaced. But as an urban heating option? I don't think so.

The first energy crisis in (what would become) the US was Boston running out of firewood, a long, long time ago.

Hello Sgage,

I expect the postPeak rich in Az to burn wood and cacti to power a steam engine to mechanically run their air-conditioning in our blazing summer heat. PV panels will be so expensive that the rich will only be able to afford enough solar power and batteries to run a refrigerator.

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

The Germans plan on using heat to provide refrigeration!

"If you've ever had to go behind your refrigerator, you may have noticed that cold makes heat," said Rainer Braun, a professor at IWG. "That is, the apparatus which keeps your food cold is often too hot to touch. Why, then, can't heat make cold?"

"Anybody can produce heat by producing coolness," Braun said. "But we at IWG are the only ones producing coolness from heat."


That's good thinking, in my book!

Guess Bob Shaw will be drinking Cold Beer after all.:)

Hello Antidoomer,

Obviously you have not read my earlier posts whereby I fully expect and accept the fact that I will be an early American victim. Such is life.

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

Not exactly a new concept. You've been able to do that for a really long time.
You can buy a Kerosene Refrigerator at Lehmans.

Try this wiki link:

Or buy a solar ice maker

Yeah, that is why they said 1810 in the link I gave.

It is hardly in common use for refrigeration though, and shoes good potential for energy savings in hot climates, which is why I though it of interest.

I'm building a charcoal cooker this week. I'll use a couple of fifty five gallon drums, and some pipe, and cinder blocks. Charcoal is an incredible soil amendment. (Look up bio char.) It allows you to cut your fertilizer usage by up to 75%, and helps the soil hold it's moisture.

The first few batches will be for my private use; but, I smell a small business opportunity, also. The part I like is I will be using "scrap" wood: and the scrap wood, plus the gasses captured from the heating will fuel the process.

Some might say a charcoal oven is wasteful since wood is a scarce commodity for most. If you are using metal drums you are also wasting a lot of radiant heat. To produce a saleable product you might need to also get a crusher and briquette press.

Down the track we need gasifiers that can handle straw and green waste as well as wood. The surplus gas and heat should be used in other ways such as fuel for electrical generators or water heating. Then in the last step the charcoal is briquetted or applied to soil.

Yikes!, charcoal production is one of the dirtiest businesses there is. To get charcoal you have to get rid of most of the organic compounds that are released as smoke. These not only contain about half of the wood's original energy, but all the really nasty pollutants, many of which are carcinogens.

Charcoal production is a wasteful and polluting process, especially if done at the level of a couple of oil drums. If you go ahead, I sure hope you don't have any neighbors within a mile or two.

Twenty five years ago there was a charcoal factory around here and it stunk the place up for miles around and it continued to stink for a couple of years after it closed.

Just realize if you try this commercially you're going to be violating a shitpile of emissions regulations. A neighbor could shut you down instantly.

And a few other cautions...

1. There are commerical companies currently producing bio-char.
2. People can simply use barbeque "charcoal". I can get 50# bags of mesquite charcoal at my farm supply for 15 bucks. Now, I started playing with terra preta several years ago and used mesquite for my first additions. Mesquite is so hard I had to run it through a chipper. But, it is cheap.
3. Continuing #2, you are going to have to grind the stuff to have a saleable product that works. Hunks of charcoal won't do it.
4. It takes far more "bio-char" than you might believe - it appears you actually haven't done any plant trials. This means people spending significant money and, if they do, they are going to expect significant results.

My guess is that aside from being busted for air pollution as TJ mentioned, by the time you figure in gathering the raw wood, firing it, grinding it, bagging it and distributing the final product that a profit will be hard to come by.

BTW, in my case, I make charcoal from slash leftover from cutting firewood and limbing along our road. I make little piles that are about 6'x6'x5'high, light them up and rake out the charcoal as it is done.


After hearing of the rediscovery of terra preta 2 years ago, I've experimented with a few retort designs of my own, with the hopes of scaling one up to use as an auxilliary heater for my home.
With the proper design, gas from the pyrolytic chamber should be consumed in the hot coal bed of the primary heating chamber. At least they have for me.
You're quite correct that it takes a significant amount of char to ammend soil, I estimate the volume loss of the original material(I use the byproducts of my "logging", sawdust, bark, branches, etc) is at least 50%, grinding it reduces it to about 1/3 of that.
Despite this rather pathetic attempt, in the face of the enormity of greenhouse gas emissions, I feel I'm doing something right.
Carbon sequestration on a YIMBY level.
So go ahead kdolliso, knock yourself out but remember that you're dealing with very high temperatures with that drum/cinder block rig you're thinking of, enough to catch anything near it afire.
Good luck.

Lukoil Cuts German Oil Exports by Pipeline on Pricing (link uptop) =

Bidding War for Declining Oil Exports

More likely Germany's support of Kosovo caused this price issue.

No doubt Germany upset the Russian Oil applecart and that is more the world we will be living in. "We can sell our oil to someone else!" Lots of bidders these days and it seems the market is getting tighter. Energy may well have been what caused Germany and others to take the stance they did with Kosovo. I believe Serbia and Russia just signed a significant energy/oil pipeline deal last month.

It will be an interesting chess game especially as Mr. Putin is beginning to flex his muscles and has an obvious inferiority complex, as evidenced by his 5 hour meeting with the Russian media last week. All the articles I read made Mr. Putin look like a tough, vulgar and threatening Russian peasant who is upset with his neighbours.

Germany was simply getting oil cheaper then market price. Lukoil wants to be paid a market price. If one customer unwilling to pay, it simply sells to somebody else. This is what every company always does. Take a look at ebay you might get a better idea of how capitalism works. If somebody bids higher price then yours it does not mean that seller does not like you.

5 hour press conference is a measure of democracy. It should be a requirement for all normal democracies. Governments must explain it's actions and the best person to do it is a leader of a country. Otherwise we get into "interesting" statements a such:

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true."


By the way Putin was very open and honest in that press conference. You should read the transcript. If you do not have a preconceived opinion about him you will not find him: "tough, vulgar and threatening" anymore.

I hear you hifi, but the timing of the cut has me spinning... BTW ebay doesn't shut you off from the internet if you don't pay:-)

In any case, when production starts declining the resulting net export decline rate tends to accelerate with time:

Not sure if this was already posted, but came across this today. Apologies if already discussed.

CEO of oil company, John Hess of Hess Oil of NY, talking like Matt Simmons and WT at I believe the CERA conference.

Funny that it seems so old hat in many ways today, yet a year ago it would have been major news.

"As the population in developing countries grows, the demand for oil for personal transportation will increase, too. In many cases, the political decision has been made to put subsidies on gasoline, which inflates demand even more," said Hess.

Since 1980, discoveries have not replaced our annual global crude oil production," Hess noted. "Discoveries are getting smaller and located in more difficult environments, such as the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West Africa, where companies are now drilling in water depths of up to 7,000 ft and searching for targets that are in some cases more than 30,000 ft deep. Such numbers were unimaginable 10 years ago...

He said, "We need to find a new production province like the Alaska North Slope or Angola every year to ensure that we can grow our oil resource base to support increases in production for future generations. We stopped making such meaningful discoveries during the late 1990s."


Popularity of new Australian PM.

Talk is cheap as they say. The apology was for forced removal of mixed race aboriginal children in the 60s. So far it hasn't cost Middle Australia a cent. Australia ratified the Kyoto protocol but so far has done nothing to actually curb emissions. I see no sign there will any real carbon restrictions in the near future. I'd see this in the context of Robert Rapier's item on lip service to GW; it's all about attitudes that don't require any sacrifice.

The way Australia will comply with Kyoto is by restricting coal exports. You think buying coal at 300$ a ton is expensive? Try not buying coal at 300$ a ton. Coal cost 30$ a ton only a few years ago.
Australia is going to make a profit off Kyoto.

Australia reduced it's emmisions below it's Kyoto target before the election. Joining it was a no cost gesture.

Wales thinks they can produce 100% of Electricity from Renewables by 2025.


Re that item about Iran importing natural gas from Singapore. I thought Iran had the World's largest reserves of Natural gas. What'd going on?

The article discusses gas oil - which I think is diesel. They have anomalous cold weather at the moment in Iran.

NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips said on Tuesday it added 1.34 billion barrels of oil equivalent to its reserves in 2007, bringing its total proved reserves to 10.6 billion boe.

Excluding Venezuela's seizure of more than 1 billion boe of reserves in there last year, the company said its reserves replacement rate was 159 percent, based on 842 million boe of production in 2007.

It's not a very well kept secret that I work for ConocoPhillips. I have never publicly mentioned this, although lots of people know it. But since I am leaving the company at the end of next week, no point in continuing the charade.

Having said that, I read this article and thought "What are we (and XOM) thinking with those press releases?" What we are saying is, "If Venezuela didn't count...." Well, Venezuela does count. So in that context, we actually produced 842 million barrels, and added less than a third of that net. The bottom line is that we found 1.34 million barrels, and Venezuela took a billion. So, any way you slice it, our reserves increased by much less than we produced.

Thanks for the clarification. The press release certainly doesn't say that very clearly.

Robert: I think it is a reasonable spin. All companies try to downplay negative results by labelling them as extraordinary-Conoco is saying that we have no problem replacing our reserves (we did 159%) as long as communist governments don`t illegally seize our reserves-they are implying that the Chavez situation is unlikely to happen in the future (and we will keep doing 159% replacement).

exactly , and this is just how CERA likes it.

Now there is 1 billion barrels made available , and they can count it TWICE. One on behalf on Conoco and the "other" found by the Venezuelan National Oil Co.

Iran announced production from its Azedegan Field has begun. They claimed it is a 42 GB field.


According to some previous work this field was thought to contain 5 GB of oil, but was being downgraded.

I recall the late Bakhtiari, a retired Iranian oil minister, was one of those who blew the whistle on Iranian attempts to overstate the reserves of this field. Iranian oil production was yet rising nonetheless.

'Saboteurs' may have cut Mideast telecom cables, says UN agency

The specialist team investigating the damage to several undersea internet cables that caused web and telecoms outages across the Middle East and Asia said it could have been an act of sabotage.

"We do not want to pre-empt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago," the UN agency's head of development, Sami al-Murshed, told AFP.

So, maybe not so innocuous as some people were trying to make it out to be. Or maybe it is that innocuous. I hope we get to learn about the results of the investigations, whatever they turn out to be.

Hello TODers,

Obviously, a energy prices escalate, I-NPK prices rise too. Depleting Potash rocks 3300 ft underground in Saskatchewan, or Phosphate rocks in Morocco, do not magically transport and spread themselves across far-inland acres in South America, Africa, etc. A brief look at the fertilizer company stocks shows that they rose strongly today.

Also this news:

Morocco & US Govt Strengthen Security Ties [19 February 2008]

The United States government is determined to strengthen its partnership with Morocco, notably in security issues and counter-terrorism, says US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for African Affairs Theresa Whelan.

"The US has excellent cooperation relations with Morocco, one of America's oldest allies," Ms Whelan said Monday on the sidelines of a conference in London on "AFRICOM: US-Africa Security".
Al-Qaida means 'The Base'. I would argue that control of the Moroccan Reserve Base; The Base of Life's Bottleneck of Element P is the true goal. Recall my numerous earlier postings related to this topic. Time will tell.

EDIT: My guess is the historic Guano Wars will be very small potatoes compared to the coming postPeak P&K Wars.

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

Bob; I had a question that I thought I would email to you but you do not have an email address in your profile. Can you email me ?

And me as well, Bob? Thanks.

The British Columbia budget speech is being broadcast (cbc.ca) now.

- Corporate income tax will be the lowest in North America
- Reduction in personal income tax
- A new carbon tax of 2.5%, increasing by 2.5% each year until 2012, on all carbon-positive fuels.
- $2,000 in addition to the federal $2,000 rebate for new fuel efficient cars
- No PST on electric bicycles and motorcycles.
- Replacement of diesel generation with microhydro in remote communities.
- Money for tree planting and biofuels

The transition is intended to be revenue-neutral, with the goal of replacing income tax with carbon tax.

That's a heck of a good budget.

I suspect that the carbon tax will have to be higher than that to make a huge difference, at least in the North American context where fossil fuels are relatively cheap.

Just the same, what business loves is to know where it stands, and this rolling increase in carbon tax lets them plan properly.

I would have liked to see the increases carried on for ten years, not five, even if at a slightly slower rate at 2%, to end up at around 20%.

Fast forwarding of greenroofs in planning applications would be nice too.

$4k rebate for fuel efficient cars should make plug-in hybrids viable.

Yes. I wish the rebate had been available last year, and applied to used as well as new. Then my Suzuki Carry would have cost me $2,900 :)

Because of the mini-truck, I will come out ahead on the gas/tax tradeoff. It remains to be seen how this will indirectly affect other expenses, though.

What sort of mileage do those things get? 500cc seems a bit small for highway use :-)

The Carry, Hi-Jet, and Honda Acty are all built to the current Kei-truck standard of 660 cc. displacement. I've put taller tires on mine, to stretch out the top speed a bit. It will go 120 kmh on the highway, but mileage drops above 105. Combined city/hwy is about 48 mpg. Some of the other local owners have installed smaller carb jets, and say they get up to 60 mpg with careful driving. That is all lightly loaded of course, and you really notice the difference with the bed full.

You can get an electric version of this kind of truck from Tiger Trucks. They are Chinese assembled in Oklahoma and sold as LSV's. Most states limit the top speed to 25 mph but a couple of enlightened ones (Montana and Washington) allow 35 mph. Price at about $15,000. The motor system is impressively sturdy. ( www.tigertruck.com )

The Japanese mini-trucks are awesome! Where did you get it?

Westshore Auto Ltd, in Victoria. They sell in B.C. and California. The trucks are street-legal in some states, not in others, so you have to check first regarding where you will be able to drive it.

From the very famous Paul Krugman, economist and columnist of the New York Times (nobody is more main stream left than Krugman):

Just a short blog entry but demonstrates how much peak oil has gained credence....(even among economists)

Feeling a Bit Peaked

Peak oil, that is — a dismal theory that keeps getting more plausible.

You left out the best Steve Forbes line of all:

Forbes said the high oil prices currently dampening the US economy, which peaked at more than 70 usd a barrel yesterday as Hurricane Katrina headed for the US Gulf Coast, would fall to 30-35 usd a barrel within a year.

Sounds a lot like Mike Lynch or Daniel Yergin.

Ron Patterson

Mother Nature will not hear Krugman's chatter because he is a left leaning, commie, pinko, you know what.

Mother Nature will listen to and follow Steve Forbes' pontifications because he is always "right".

Long live Captain Capitalism. Forbes you're our man. We'll follow you anywhere, to the cliff's edge and beyond.

Only cowards cut and run. Righteous men stay the course.


On a more serious note, I recall Krugman writing a piece titled "Oil Crunch" several years ago where he warned of Peak Oil. Krugman is no Johnny come lately to the Peak Oil awareness club.

The following in this May 2004 Donald Luskin piece is priceless:

So, stirring up fears about a new “oil crunch” gives Krugman an opportunity to take a swipe at George W. Bush about an economy that is otherwise booming in almost every respect. It’s nothing more than grasping at straws — standard operating procedure for America’s most dangerous liberal pundit. ... What Krugman has forgotten is history. The more oil the world has used over time, the more new oil we have always seemed to find. ... Krugman finds himself in the unenviable position of defending the four most dangerous words in economics — “this time it’s different.”

And then we have the immortal words of Larry Kudlow:

Sell Oil! Buy Financials!

It just hit me that the oil exporting nations of the world have another incentive to cut back production.

Looking ahead, they can see a day when renewable energy technologies become important to them, also. Yet they don't have any expertise in those areas and certainly aren't at the forefront of research and commercialization.

How best, as an oil exporter, to encourage the development of renewables on which you yourself will one day depend? How to light a fire under Europe, Japan, Australia and the US??

Easy: be relaxed about future investment in your fields. Don't be in any hurry to increase production, if you can.

Force those G7 bastards to get their innovating asses in gear!!!

The problem with generalizations is that they are usually wrong. The gold nanoparticle metamaterials invented by Dubna researchers, which have vastly higher dielectric constants than typical solar panel semiconductors, will transform solar power generation (i.e. 55% efficiency instead of 20%).

The west does not have a monopoly on human intelligence.

But Dubna is technically in Europe! :-)

>The west does not have a monopoly on human intelligence.

Of course not. But with the exception of Russia and Canada, the major oil exporters are not big on tech.

So let me change G7 to G8 in the above.

I'll reference Abu Dhabi's proposed Masdar City as a counterpoint.