DrumBeat: March 2, 2008

Russian Feb oil exports slump, output stagnates

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian February oil exports slumped to the lowest level since 2004 as record-high crude export duties forced oil firms to re-route volumes to domestic refineries, while output stagnated for a second month in a row.

Energy Ministry data showed on Monday that February oil production was 9.79 million barrels per day, almost unchanged from 9.78 million bpd in January, while pipeline exports to Europe fell to 3.99 million bpd from 4.28 million in January.

Rove: Iraq Redeployment Would Cause Oil Prices To Skyrocket To $200 A Barrel (with video)

This morning on Fox News Sunday, former White House adviser Karl Rove claimed that redeployment from Iraq would cause oil prices to shoot to $200 a barrel...

Gas is key to future growth of oil groups

The world’s international oil groups are turning to gas for future growth after increasingly being blocked by national companies from pursuing oil opportunities.

OPEC rethinking production cut plans

NEW YORK: With high oil prices weighing on a struggling U.S. economy, the OPEC oil cartel is reconsidering plans to cut production this week, which could push prices above their current record levels. Instead, OPEC is likely to keep its output unchanged when its members meet Wednesday.

Industry veteran Seifollah Jashnsaz to head Iranian oil firm

Tehran: Iran's oil minister has named an industry veteran to head the state National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), tasking him with boosting capacity in the country, the oil ministry's website said on Sunday.

Mexico Abruptly Restricts Car Imports

Beginning Monday, only cars built in 1998 -- none older and none newer -- can be legally imported into Mexico. Car dealers were given notice only a month ago.

...Cars newer than that were banned from imports as unwelcome competition for Mexican car dealers, and anything more than 15 years old was seen as a potential environmental and safety hazard.

But now, under pressure from Mexico's new car dealers who say "vehiculos chatarra," or jalopies, undercut their sales, the Mexican government is allowing only 10-year-old used cars to be legally imported into Mexico.

Oil minister says prices will remain high, Saudi not running out of oil

SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali Al Nuaimi believes that his country would have production capacity of 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd) at the end of 2009, from 11.0 million bpd currently, with spare capacity of 1.5-2.0 million bpd.

In an interview released Sunday, Al Nuaimi also said that Saudi Arabia, which already has the biggest proven oil reserves in the world and exports 10 million bpd, planned to add another 200 billion barrels of oil to its proven reserves figure.

He said this was "to reassure the world that we are not going to run out of oil in the next five to ten years as peak oil theorists say."

How Many Windmills Does It Take to Power the World?

Power densities are a measure of the land required for both energy sources and energy users. The current infrastructure matches the small footprint of energy sources against the large footprint of energy users. With the drive toward renewable energy sources, this relationship is about to be reversed with consequences few people understand.

Independent truckers see end of the road

Trucker Robert Griffith is on the road three weeks out of four, pulling oversize loads like crane booms, railroad ties and air conditioning ducts. One of his biggest worries: How he'll find the money to buy his daughter a prom dress.

As the cost of diesel doubled over the last four years, his take-home pay has plummeted, from $50,000 to $11,000 last year. He's literally burning money; he spent $64,000 on diesel in the last eight months. Since he canceled his satellite radio, he's on citizens band radio constantly (handle: Instigator) talking about what needs to change so truckers like him can survive.

Ecuador says SOTE pipeline repairs ahead of schedule

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador's repairs on its damaged SOTE pipeline are ahead of schedule and pumping should start late Sunday, Oil Minister Galo Chiriboga told Reuters on Sunday.

He said Petroecuador output will not be disrupted by the early repairs.

Calderon's idea of seeking foreign help to find oil irks rivals

MEXICO CITY -- The political showdown over the future of Pemex, the Mexican government's crucial oil monopoly, appears to loom at last.

At stake, people on both sides of the clash say, is the viability of Mexico's petroleum industry, which ranks as the third-largest source of imported U.S. oil and supplies nearly 40 percent of the Mexican government's budget.

Pipe dreamers

It's time the conspiracy theorists accepted that oil had nothing to do with the US invasion of Afghanistan.

The New Conquistadores

500 years down history's highway, the Conquistadores have returned to the New World. From Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego, the "Reconquista" is in full swing:

*Item - Repsol, the Spanish energy consortium, signs fat contracts with Argentina, battles Evo Morales for the right to exploit Bolivia's immense natural gas deposits, and is in the mix to pick up a chunk of the about-to-be privatized Mexican giant, PEMEX.

Pakistan: Inflation tsunami brewing

LAHORE - Following a surge in the oil prices, a tsunami of inflation is all set to immediately hit all the economic sectors in the country particularly the industrial and agricultural, increasing the cost of production and multiplying the miseries of the businessmen and growers.

The industrialists while strongly criticising the government for bulk increase in the oil prices have termed it a very bad news for the country’s economy. However, agriculture experts say that the oil prices surge has put an additional burden of worth over Rs 8 billion on the farmers.

Pakistan: Businessmen call rise in fuel, power rates anti-industry

LAHORE: Rejecting raise in petroleum products, the local business community has urged the government to immediately withdraw it. "Increase in POL prices is unjustified and unwanted and if not withdrawn, will bring unprecedented price hike besides putting the salaried class in miserable position and affecting the industry, adversely," observed representatives of business associations and trade bodies.

Local survey of 15 staples finds 16% rise since '03

IF IT FEELS like you are spending more for groceries but bringing home less, you are.

Food prices have been on the increase, numerous government studies have found, but a Blade visit to Toledo-area grocery chains last week to check prices on milk, bread, eggs, coffee, and 11 other food staples revealed a 16 percent increase from a similar survey five years ago.

BHP go-ahead for $1bn South African coal project

THERE was little song and dance at the weekend about BHP Billiton's go-ahead for a $US975 million ($A1.04 billion) investment in one of its South African coal projects, the so-called Douglas-Middelburg optimisation (DMO) project.

That was not surprising given that the capital cost estimate is up hugely from the original estimate of $US548 million on a 100% basis (BHP 84% and operator and Xstrata 16%).

Xstrata has decided not to participate in the DMO, leaving the bill for the integration and upgrade of the Douglas and Middelburg collieries to BHP.

Keeping coal in the spotlight

Coal people think their industry is misunderstood.

So they set out last fall to change the hearts and minds of the American public.

They hired R&R Partners, a public relations company with an office in Salt Lake City that was behind the popular "What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas" slogan, to develop a $35 million campaign. Its aim is to influence people to think of coal as a cost-efficient source of electricity rather than one of the culprits behind global warming - and to keep coal central to discussions about the country's energy future.

Sandinista ideals fail to resurrect a crippled nation

Much of his hopes seem pinned on Venezuelan aid and oil. Shortly after he took power, Nicaragua joined Venezuela and Cuba in the left-leaning Alba bloc of countries designed to offset US influence. One plan would see a $4 billion oil refinery built in Nicaragua with cash from the South American country.

One incident last August saw Ortega at loggerheads with US-owned Esso, which owns Nicaragua's only existing refinery. Reeling from an energy crisis blackouts plagued the nation last year and an inability to get his hands on oil promised by Chavez, Ortega briefly took control of the refinery site under the guise that Esso owed almost $3m in back taxes in order to offload some of the Venezuelan oil.

Oil giant Saudi to become solar power centre - oil minister

PARIS (Thomson Financial) - Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, plans to become an expert in another, cleaner, field of energy by investing in solar power, the country's oil minister said in an interview released today.

Greener Green Energy: Today's solar cells give more than they take

The new tally shows that net emissions from solar power have decreased significantly in recent years. "There have been studies before, but they've become outdated because technology has been changing," says Fthenakis, the study's lead scientist.

Solar without the Panels

Utilities are using the sun's heat to boil water for steam turbines.

South Africa: Eskom plans wind energy farm

The Western Cape has the highest wind speeds in the country, and Eskom plans to harness the full potential of this weather pattern as a long-term resolution to the persisting energy crisis.

The state-owned energy utility has put out a tender for the development of a commercial 100MW wind energy farm on the West Coast, north of the Olifants River mouth, near Vredendal. At this stage Eskom is applying for a licence and conducting environmental impact assessments.

Miracle solution or imminent disaster?

With worldwide attention on global warming and extremely high fossil fuel prices, interest in alternative energy is booming. The European Union has targeted 5.75 per cent of the market share for fossil fuel mixed with biofuel by 2010. While waiting for more sophisticated techniques to be developed, biofuel is now produced on vast areas of land, both in Western countries and increasingly in developing countries. Indonesia is one of the relatively new biofuel-producing countries. The national government aims to increase the share of biofuel in domestic fuel consumption and to increase production for export. Oil palm, sugarcane, cassava and Jatropha (known in Indonesian as jarak pagar) are the four priority crops in Indonesia for biofuel production.

Clinton’s Efforts on Ethanol Overlap Her Husband’s Interests

Several months earlier, Mrs. Clinton had sponsored legislation to provide billions in new federal incentives for ethanol, and, especially in her home state of New York, she has worked to foster a business climate that favors the sort of ethanol investments pursued by her husband’s friends and her political supporters.

One potential beneficiary is the Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm where Mr. Clinton has been a senior adviser and whose founder, Mr. Burkle, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mrs. Clinton’s campaigns. Yucaipa has invested millions in Cilion Inc. — a start-up venture also backed by Mr. Branson, the British entrepreneur, and Mr. Khosla, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist — that is building seven ethanol plants around the country. Two are in upstate New York.

Australia: Big carbon emitters face drop in earnings

EARNINGS of high carbon-emitting businesses could drop by up to 10% if they do not cut their greenhouse gases before an emissions trading scheme starts, with moderately sized companies such as OneSteel and PaperlinX in the gun.

An analysis of large energy, utilities and materials companies on the S&P ASX 200 by research firm RepuTex shows that moderate-to-large companies are most at risk, with the materials sector particularly exposed.

Family is founded on cartography

Davis tries to raise awareness about the energy crisis, which is tied to global warming. He's concerned about whether his family can stay in Hawaii, pointing out, "Oil resources are going to begin to diminish very soon and Hawaii is totally dependent on oil, not only electricity but the entire economy."

My Forbidden Fruits (and Vegetables)

Consumers who would like to be able to buy local fruits and vegetables not just at farmers’ markets, but also in the produce aisle of their supermarket, will be dismayed to learn that the federal government works deliberately and forcefully to prevent the local food movement from expanding. And the barriers that the United States Department of Agriculture has put in place will be extended when the farm bill that House and Senate negotiators are working on now goes into effect.

Yemen Sleepwalks into Water Nightmare

Yemen relies on groundwater, which nature cannot recharge fast enough to keep pace with a population of 22.4 million expanding by more than 3 percent a year.

More water is being consumed than resupplied to 19 of the impoverished country's 21 aquifers, Iryani said.

New York committed to cutting carbon emissions - with help from utilities

THE STATE Public Service Commission has offered a "straw proposal" that it hopes will be the first step toward achieving Gov. Eliot Spitzer's goal to cut the state's greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2015.

Reducing New York's carbon dioxide emissions could have a major global impact because the state contributes about 0.6 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, according to the Public Service Commission. The commission also hopes the state can implement a policy that will serve as an example for the rest of the country.

Sacramento-based Sunoptics enjoys skylight success with Wal-Mart

Starting in the mid-1990s, the world's largest retailer began to "daylight" its new stores across the country, installing skylights – mostly those made by Blomberg's firm, Sunoptics Prismatic Skylights Inc. – and turning off electric lights during the day. Daylighting cuts each store's electric bill by as much as 15 percent, according to Wal-Mart officials, and has helped the company build a reputation as an environmental leader.

The Red Queen (audio)

First up Dmitry Orlov and Albert K. Bates explore visions of a post-collapse America, and later KMO talks food, consciousness, and the forces of darkness with Neil Kramer of the Cleaver.

Democrat's Tax On Oil Companies Won't Ease Price At Pump

While it might produce a sense of satisfaction to punish oil companies for their profits, this tax bill will do little more than provoke an increase in the price of gasoline. The Democrats’ tax hike will discourage investment in natural gas and oil exploration, thereby creating a shortage of energy. This is an easy scenario to predict because we’ve seen it before. A windfall profit tax was imposed during the Carter Administration as a way of penalizing oil companies for reaping large profits. The tax was so damaging it was repealed in 1988, during the Reagan Administration. Due to the windfall profit tax, domestic oil production fell and oil imports rose.

The Transition Handbook

The publication of the much anticipated Transition Handbook marks the latest landmark in what has become the fastest growing environmental movement since CND in the 1960s: the phenomenon that is sweeping the UK, the Transition Towns movement.

The man who turns wheat into gold

Why are food prices so hot at the moment? Demand for the three Fs: food, feed and fuels. Most of the demand for food and animal ent on oil. The US is producing about five billion gallons of bioethanol a year, has 120 bio-fuel production plants and is building 68 more. But there is room for massive growth.

As with tech, though, aren’t we seeing a bubble? Not at all. We are at the start of a super-cycle that will see commodity prices trend upwards for the next 15 years or longer.

Commodity cycles tend to last an average of 20 years. We are only in year six with oil, year four with metals and year two for agriculture.

When it doesn’t rain, economic troubles flow in a chain reaction

In much of Virginia, a hot, dry spring and summer dried up pastures where cattle and horses normally graze during the growing season. Owners had to start feeding hay months earlier than normal.

But the drought also kept hayfields from growing, and farmers who usually get up to four cuttings off a field got, in many cases, only one, or none at all.

No pasture, a shortage of hay. The price, by January, had risen from $3.50 a bale to nearly $12. Cattlemen sold their stock before it reached full market weight; horses were given away.

Districts face soaring cost of building; alternative materials, construction methods considered for new schools

Tom Oehler, managing principal at SHW Architects, said that since 2003 construction costs have gone up between 7 percent and 12 percent annually.

He said higher fuel prices play a role in the increase, but there are other factors.

“Hurricanes Rita and Katrina created a big demand on materials and created a shortage on materials nationally,” Oehler said. “At the same time China, with all their construction for the Olympics, has been dominating the scrap steel market. Those types of raw goods usually seen in good supply in the United States are becoming scarce.”

Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell

The world has seen some extraordinary winter conditions in both hemispheres over the past year: snow in Johannesburg last June and in Baghdad in January, Arctic sea ice returning with a vengeance after a record retreat last summer, paralyzing blizzards in China, and a sharp drop in the globe’s average temperature.

It is no wonder that some scientists, opinion writers, political operatives and other people who challenge warnings about dangerous human-caused global warming have jumped on this as a teachable moment.

Danish Guest Asks Bush to Back Climate Treaty

It remained unclear whether Mr. Bush was offering anything beyond a rhetorical blessing. The administration has long been at odds with many European countries that would like to forge a new treaty with mandated limits on greenhouse gas-causing emissions.

Global Warming Paradox?

If only the masses could understand the science of global warming, they’d be alarmed, right? Wrong, according to the surprising results of a survey of Americans published in the journal Risk Analysis by researchers at Texas A&M University.

'Enjoy life while you can'

Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam. So what would he do?

Oilfield faces delay

RIYADH: Production at Saudi Arabia's 500,000 bpd Khursaniyah oilfield may be delayed beyond the first half of this year.

"The oilfield may start pumping limited quantities in May but it will not be able to meet the announced production capacity ... since the gas plant has not been completed yet," an industry source said.

"The project's completion ... might be delayed to beyond the first half of this year," the source added.

Oil prices to stay above 60-70 dollars: Saudi Arabia

PARIS (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's oil minister believes oil prices are set to stay above a minimum price of 60-70 dollars per barrel, signalling a new era for world energy markets, he said in an interview released Sunday.

Ali al-Nuaimi, one of the most influential people in the business as oil minister for the world's biggest crude producer, said "a line has been drawn below which prices will not fall."

Energy policy a top priority for U.S.

Energy has been a critical political and economic issue throughout American history. The steamboat, coal-powered railroads, steel production, electrification, Standard Oil Trust, the Model T and the production line, the Teapot Dome scandal, commercial nuclear power, the Arab oil embargo - each of these and more have defined entire eras.

Down with King Corn

The path the GMO companies are on is leading to higher energy and food prices. The corporate petrochemical-dependent plan to own the means of producing food and energy won’t save the planet in a post peak oil world... their efforts will only make things worse. What we need is to grow our own food here on Kaua‘i. Every experimental corn plot is a field that could otherwise be used to produce local organic vegetables, eggs, dairy or meat to feed the people of Hawai‘i.

Contributing to our local food supply

How secure do you feel about the global food supply right now? The price of food is going up and there are unprecedented food surplus shortages due to impacts of climate change, peak oil, soil degradation, bee colony collapse, population explosion and fresh water shortages on global agriculture. How does the fact that, overall, BC imports 50 percent of the food it consumes strike you? (Vancouver Island imports 95 percent.)

Clothing (partially) made in Vermont

I asked around to find stories about local clothing and fiber production in Vermont or the region. It seemed like an economic niche closely related to local food. It is farmers, after all, who produce natural fibers like wool, flax, hemp and cotton. As with foods, some fibers are easily produced here, and others not so easily, for reasons related to both the climate and the law. Wool and flax grow well in our climate, like strawberries or parsnips or potatoes; heat-loving cotton is more like oranges or bananas. Hemp grows easily here, but farmers are no longer allowed to grow it. (Hemp is in a thornier regulatory thicket than even raw milk or chickens slaughtered on the farm. At least farmers are allowed to produce, possess and sell small amounts of raw milk or their own chicken meat. A Vermont farmer who produced the hemp that goes into clothing sold a few blocks from the Statehouse could be thrown in jail for years.)

10 Plus: Megan Quinn Bachman

We saw that people were scared to death by so many of the movies and the articles predicting doom and gloom, and they were so much in a state of despair and denial that they weren't doing anything. They just continued their overconsumptive lifestyle because they were immobilized by fear. So, we wanted to provide people with some possibilities for action, some practical options. We were so inspired by the innovation and perseverance of the Cuban people when the Soviet Union collapsed and they lost half their oil overnight. We thought we could motivate Americans to do a little bit more and start taking some small steps to address peak oil and climate change before we have a crisis like Cuba.

The world has to get used to high oil prices

The international hydrocarbons expert, Nicolas Sarkis said the world has to get used to high oil prices in the future, as the depletion of oil and the drop of reserves in several countries are a fact not fiction. He further said some OPEC member countries, like Indonesia transformed into non-exporter countries, while the US reserves have dropped. He pointed out that Western countries tend imposing guilt complex on OPEC country members as they exercise an intellectual terror against OPEC while making it always responsible for oil soaring prices.

Oil to drop as OPEC turns up the taps

The IMF appears still behind the curve in its forecasts for the U.S. economy in 2008. End of January revisions to 2.2% growth for 2008, down from 2.7%, appear overly optimistic. The IMF also noted that the "balance of risks to the global growth outlook is still tilted to the downside." In other words, more downward revisions are likely. Therefore cuts to oil demand in '08 loom large over US$100 per barrel oil prices.

Completing the story, additions to OPEC spare capacity in 2008 means that falling demand will be well covered by rising supply. OPEC appears to be bringing on a significant amount of spare capacity with gross additions of 3.1 mbd translating to over 800,000 bpd in net capacity additions by the end of the year. This figure represents the highest level for OPEC spare capacity in years (excluding the first half of 2007 when oil prices had briefly plummeted to the US$55) range.

Pipeline deal strengthens Russian grip on Europe’s gas supplies

Russia notched up major success in its quest to establish a strategic stranglehold on gas supplies to western Europe last week.

Exxon Mobil Needs a Hug

Mr. Obama is clearly an intelligent man. So it may not be too early to start a small process of education about Exxon Mobil and other oil companies and why attacking them is not smart. First, Exxon Mobil, like all the other gigantic integrated energy companies in this country, is owned not by a cabal of reactionary businessmen holding clandestine meetings in a lodge in the Texas scrublands (as Oliver Stone so brilliantly illustrated in “Nixon”).

Exxon Mobil, in fact, is owned mostly by ordinary Americans. Mutual funds, index funds and pension funds (including union pension funds) own about 52 percent of Exxon Mobil’s shares. Individual shareholders, about two million or so, own almost all the rest. The pooh-bahs who run Exxon own less than 1 percent of the company.

Insecurity Rocks Increasingly Valuable Saharan Desert

The Sahara has become a much more attractive place to invest, as countries struggle to meet their energy needs. The price of uranium, used to produce nuclear energy and mined in northern Niger, has multiplied six times within the past decade. Planning has begun for a more than $10 billion Trans-Saharan natural gas pipeline, expected to pump Nigerian gas to energy-hungry neighbors by the year 2015.

As the desert's value increases, so has its crime level.

Flight of biofuel fancy?

Virgin concedes that, while babassu and coconut oil could potentially fuel a small fleet of aircraft, it is not a realistic fuel source for aircraft globally.

As Paul Charles, director of corporate communications at Virgin Atlantic says, this is not a "long-term solution", rather "the first stage on the journey through to biofuels for aviation."

Experts to consider coal-burning stoves for Mongolia

Korean energy and environmental protection experts plan to conduct a fact-finding mission to determine the feasibility of providing Mongolia with coal-fired stoves, a publicly run non-profit organization said Sunday (Mar. 2).

The Korea Mine Reclamation Corp. (MIRECO) said the mission will determine if providing 40,000 coal stoves would help reduce air pollution in the land-locked country.

The Key to Safe and Effective Carbon Sequestration

To the dismay of environmentalists, coal is still king in the U.S. electricity market. Nearly 50 percent of the electric power in this country comes from burning coal to create steam that drives electricity-generating turbines. Coal-burning power plants in the United States emit about 2.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year—nearly 17 percent of worldwide coal emissions—and finding technologies that reduce those emissions in the United States and China, which burns even more coal than we do, is crucial to combating global warming. One oft-cited but little-used solution is to catch carbon dioxide as it is released from smokestacks and pump it underground into rocks capped by impermeable shale, a process called carbon capture and storage. The worry is that the injected material could leak and bubble to the surface, negating the whole point of the process.

Faith Birol - We can't cling to crude: we should leave oil before it leaves us

We are on the brink of a new energy order. Over the next few decades, our reserves of oil will start to run out and it is imperative that governments in both producing and consuming nations prepare now for that time. We should not cling to crude down to the last drop – we should leave oil before it leaves us. That means new approaches must be found soon.

Even now, we are seeing a shift in the balance of power away from publicly listed international oil companies. In areas such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, production is in decline. Mergers and acquisitions will allow "big oil" to replenish reserves for a while,and new technologies will let them stretch the lives of existing fields and dip into marginal and hard-to-reach pools. But this will not change the underlying problem. Oil production by public companies is reaching its peak. They will have to find new ways to conduct business.

Rising prices threaten millions with starvation, despite bumper crops

There has never been anything remotely like the food crisis that is now increasingly gripping the world, threatening millions with starvation. For it is happening at a time of bumper crops.

All the familiar signs of impending disaster are here, and in spades. Across the developing world already hungry people are now having to eat even less. Food stocks have plunged to record lows. Food prices have scaled new heights. Food riots are spreading around the globe. Yet the world is still harvesting record amounts of grain.

£42 a day: cost of UK family bills

The price of keeping a car has also gone up, with petrol costing 18p more a litre than this time last year, according to the AA, and motor insurance up by an average 5 per cent.

Evidence is emerging that some households are struggling. 'Our debt inquiry figures suggest that growing numbers of people are not only finding themselves over-committed on credit cards, loans and overdrafts, but are also struggling to meet their day-to-day living expenses,' said Moira Haynes of the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Gas and electricity bosses told 'give back profits'

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt the chief executives of the utility giants have been summoned to Downing Street and given a dressing-down over the soaring sums being made from millions of customers.

They are being told that, unless they agree to subsidise a new nationwide "fuel poverty" scheme aimed at the 4.5 million poorest households, a levy will be put on their profits. It is understood that the fuel poverty programme is to be unveiled by Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, as part of the Budget on March 12.

All eyes on record oil prices as OPEC prepares to meet

LONDON (AFP) - OPEC, whose member countries together pump 40 percent of the world's oil, was expected to maintain its official output ceiling on Wednesday as crude prices trade at record highs above 100 dollars.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil said the 13-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries would decide to either cut or hold its current daily output level of 29.67 million oil barrels when it meets in Vienna.

Thirsting for Energy in India’s Boomtowns and Beyond

A beacon of India’s red-hot economy, this new suburb on the edge of the capital, New Delhi, is also a symbol of India’s fast-growing hunger for energy. By the government’s own estimates, energy consumption in this country of 1.1 billion is expected to quadruple over the next 25 years, inevitably expanding India’s emissions of greenhouse gases.

At the moment, it is a mixed blessing that Gurgaon remains an island of air-conditioned malls and roaring, round-the-clock office towers, and that behind this brightly lighted boomtown lies a vast nation of darkness and cow-dung-fueled stoves.

Reduce computer power waste

While computers alone are not being blamed for global warming, the phenomenal amounts of electricity used by some big computer centres are prompting a re-think about reducing waste.

Texas companies quicker to switch to green energy than residents

Thousands of Texans are consciously agreeing, even searching for a way to pay more for electricity. They want wind power.

More consumers are buying wind power than ever before. But the sweet spot of the market – the biggest, fastest-growing customer segment for wind – is corporations. Companies will pay a little extra for electricity to earn green bragging rights.

Pakistan: Millers raise flour price

LAHORE: The Pakistan Flour Mills Association, Punjab branch, on Saturday announced a Rs5 increase in the price of a 20kg flour bag in view of hike in production cost due to upward revision of POL rates and electricity tariff.

India: No place for pedestrians?

The BBMP, in its enthusiasm to provide motorists with hassle-free rides, has let pedestrian safety fall by the wayside. Flyovers, underpasses and one-ways have squeezed pedestrians out of the roads.

Major infrastructure projects either eat up footpaths or shrink them so much that they are practically useless.

Michigan: DTE pledges millions to keep power flowing

"I've lost $2,600 on repairs to appliances caused by outages and got a $20 credit from DTE. That's an insult," said Linda Mexicotte, who lives in Burton Hollow. "Things had better get better or I'm going to sue."

UK: Lower tax call for oil companies

Liberal Democrats have called for lower taxes on North Sea oil firms, accusing the Westminster Government of discouraging investment in the sector.

Malaysian scientist turns rice husk into high-tech insulator that could cut electric bills

SKUDAI, Malaysia (AP) - A Malaysian scientist says she has discovered a cheap way to turn discarded rice husks into a high-tech material that could reduce electricity bills, protect buildings from bomb blasts and make airplanes and tennis rackets lighter.

Climate crisis getting short shrift in US president race: Gore

MONTEREY, California (AFP) - Former US vice president and renowned climate change fighter Al Gore said Saturday that the global warming crisis is getting short shrift in this year's presidential race.

Russia is emerging as a global economic giant
By Liam Halligan

Three years ago, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest crude exporter (correction: note that they are the top producer, not exporter). And the country's post-Soviet recovery was initially built on a 50 per cent rise in annual crude production. Had that increase not happened (had Russia chosen to join OPEC, for example), oil would now be way above $150 a barrel, rather than close to $100. Imagine how much that would now be hurting oil importers like America and the UK.

But Russia is now far more than "just an oil and gas economy". Retail sales are growing at around 13 per cent a year in real terms - one reason why leading multi-nationals are now piling into Russia. Construction is expanding by 16 per cent a year, and domestic investment by 20 per cent - as Russia rebuilds its shattered post-Soviet infrastructure. Again, this trend is now attracting massive - and welcome - foreign investment.

So, what happens when Russian oil production starts, or more accurately, continues to decline? Our (Khebab/Brown) projection for Russian net oil exports:

Hi WT--I would expect oil price to climb as output falls, thus keeping current income in a rough balance. Add to that revenues from NatGas, and Russia is going to exhibit BAU-type growth for at least a decade. This means that internal consumption will grow and thus reduce exports even more than the decline rate, thus driving up export price still more. Pricing energy exports in rubles will cause them to increase in value against other currencies, increase Russians' purchasing power and their rate of consumption. My question are, How long can/will this burst of economic affluence last, and what will the Russians build during this period--US Style sprawl, or infrastructure to sustain Russians after their hydrocarbon wealth is spent? Then there is the question, What will Russia's hydrocarbon customers do when its exports decline to zero?

My question are, How long can/will this burst of economic affluence last, and what will the Russians build during this period--US Style sprawl, or infrastructure to sustain Russians after their hydrocarbon wealth is spent? Then there is the question, What will Russia's hydrocarbon customers do when its exports decline to zero?

Russia is on track, within two years, to become the largest market for new car sales in Europe. Note that Midland, Texas in the Seventies--benefiting from high oil prices even as production fell--reportedly had the largest Rolls Royce dealership in the world outside of the UK.

I have compared a gradual post-peak production decline to a commercial airliner doing a gradual descent for landing. A net export crash is more akin to a terrifying near vertical dive into the ground.

IMO, the lifeblood of the world industrial economy--net oil export capacity--is draining away in front of our very eyes.

Once net export capacity drains away, what of regional industrial economies instead of one that is global based on the production of renewable energy devices? Or do you see resource wars detering any chance of fundamental systemic change?

You are just repeating the myth that has been drilled into your head by the western media. Russia's GDP growth took off in 2000 (industrial production went up by 11% in 1999) and was growing fast before 2005 when oil prices changed significantly. In fact the GDP growth took a hit from high fossil fuel prices. One of the key changes under Putin's administration is that people and businesses started to pay fair taxes so the government and the economy could function.

When oil production starts to decline it will not be at the expense of domestic consumption (transportation fuel is not subsidized in Russia). Since the fraction of the oil and gas sector in Russia's GDP is declining steadily from year to year (less than 6% now) the impact of downsizing in this sector after 2020 is not going to have the impact that some are wishing for.

The economy in Russia is just too diversified to be governed by oil and gas. It is, like all economies, dependent on fossil fuel energy to function. But Russia isn't going to run out of energy any time soon. It is building the BN-800 fast breeder and has plans for commerical BN-1800 by 2020. For the next 30 years at least it has all the natural gas and oil that it needs.

Regarding the rapid growth in GDP since 2000, you might want to compare it to the net oil export chart shown above. I agree with you that Russia has a much better tax system.

If oil production continues to decline, I agree that importers will be hit much harder than exporters. Russia, IMO, is in what I call a Phase One decline--where cash sales from declining oil export volumes increase, because of rising oil prices.

Using the production data through 1984 to construct a HL model suggests that Russia--at least from mature producing basins--is roughly at the same stage of depletion as the Lower 48, in the vicinity of 85% or so. Cumulative Russian production has recently "caught up" to where it should, based on the HL model. Excluding the Sakhalin-1 Field (which was not producing in the Eighties), daily crude output in Russia has been down year-on-year since May, 2007 and very recent data show declining total production.

My premise is that frontier Russian basins are to mature Russian basins as Alaska is to the Lower 48--it helps, but it's no panacea.

I agree with you that Russia's oil and gas production will decline, sooner rather than later. Oil export revenues did not jump in 2000, they jumped after 2004. The post collapse production decline was already over by 2000. But the export revenue increase in the last three years is only part of the general increase in government revenues and private sector profitability in the last eight years. Also, until Putin's second term a major part of the oil revenues was being siphoned off into offshore banks by oligarchs like Khodorkovsky. Much like in Venezuela until "petrotyrant" Chavez and his "socialism".

One of the biggest factors in the 2000 GDP growth was import substitution driven by the devaluation of the ruble in the wake of the 1998 financial collapse. The 1998 financial crisis was the best thing to have happen since the collapse of communism. It killed off the monetarist voodoo economics that was destroying Russian industry and turning people into paupers.

Perhaps all the sanctimonious windbags in the western media and punditocracy should take into account the experience of the average Russian in the last 20 years when trying to explain the political evolution of the country.

Oil export revenues did not jump in 2000, they jumped after 2004.

We may be looking at different net export graphs. I'm looking at the one just up the thread.

Granted, world oil prices did not move out of the teens to twenties until 2004, but Russian net exports started a steep increase in 2000.

According to your graph the exports were 4 million bpd in 2000, which is about the same as in 1999 and they hit 6 million barrels per day in 2005. Convolving a linear increase of 50% over 5 years with an exponential increase in price after 2005 produces a spike in revenues after 2005. So your graph does not back up your claim that Russian oil revenues shot up in 2000. Like I said, Khodorkovsky and friends were shipping the money out of Russia until Putin's second term (i.e. after 2004).

Believe whatever you want.

I've been researching Peak Oil for the better part of four years now and at no time has there been such a disconnect between what the news and government agencies have been reporting and what is actually happening. Now that's really saying something as, so far, the IEA, the EIA, and other thinktanks have been mostly wrong on all their predictions.

1. Your points on Russia and the following article piqued my interest:

According to these statements, Russian production is now in decline. But we have the EIA predicting a substantial increase in Russian output (around 800,000 barrels per day) by the end of this year.

2. Saudi Arabia is supposed to increase net oil production, according to the EIA, by about the same amount as Russia. But, according to the Saudis, we are seeing lower output from new projects in addition to delays. This coupled with OPEC threating to cut or keep production steady in the face of record oil prices does not inspire confidence and begs the question -- is OPEC even able to increase production for significant periods of time?

3. Biofuels are feeling the crunch due to food shortages and high food prices. So one wonders if biofuels will be able to grow at the pace predicted for 2008.

4. We had a bump in supply at the end of last year and early this year. But what I want to know is do you guys think it's sustainable? If you read the reports at face value it seems to be the usual fluff. But look a little deeper and things get a little scary. For one, the EIA keeps revising its estimates downward and while stocks are building in the US, they're falling everywhere else.

In all, what I want to know is where is all this expected new supply going to come from? Maybe it's a little too early to call but it seems 2008 may shape up to be a Peak Oil year after all.

IMO, Deffeyes was right and crude oil (C+C) peaked in 2005. Like the initial 48 decline we have seen two years of slow declines worldwide.

As Simmons pointed out, a lot of the total liquids bump is probably coming from oil fields blowing down their gas caps and temporarily boosting NGL production.

But the big problem is net exports.

How long does this added gas last in a mature field?

And I have to hand it to you guys RE the Export Land Model. It really helps put the problem into perspective.

Unfortunately, the first perspective many Americans will have ont he problem will be looking down out of their SUV window at a gas pump with a "No Gas" bag draped over the nozzle.

Ah, the dreaded out of gas yellow plastic bag with black lettering. That will be the last day for the Cornucopians when everyone is forced to become a Peak Oiler, whether they like it or not.

Oil exports are a curse for the exporting country - in this case Russia. It raises the value of their currency and makes domestic industries uncompetitive.

True. in Britain oil has pushed up the pound to levels which have made manufacturing uncompetative. Output in the sectors has hardly grown since the 1970's, when North Sea oil first came online. Now it is starting to run out the pound is falling, so hopefully the sector will revive, but there may be too big a hole to plug.

Hello Dissident,

See my posting downthread--Do you have any news on why Gazprom is raising sulphur prices 7-fold, or is this a journalistic mistake?

TODer Samsara had a good point the other day that there are huge stockpiles globally from the oilsands, sour crude and gas, coal scrubbers, etc. This should make sulphur products dirt cheap, but prices are rising rapidly--why isn't this stuff moving through the supply chain on a timely basis to where it can be used? Thxs for any reply from you or other TODers.

Gazprom is to increase the price of sulphur from 400 rubles ($16)to 3000 rubles ($120) in 2008
The reason for the price increase is the world market price ~ $600
The Russian consumers prepare to fight the price increase.

The only thing I can think of is transportation costs. Food prices are also being affected by transportation costs. I am not sure that the tar sand syncrude producers care enough to try to sell it. As noted by MYXOMOP Gazprom's price is still cheap.

Hello MYXOMOP & Dissident,

Thxs for the replies. I wonder what the correlation is between Peakoil and sulphur, since sulphur is such a crucial, strategic element in chem-mining metallic ores and activating industrial fertilizers. I suppose if the very worst happens: you would like to have a small stockpile for making matches--sure beats rubbing sticks or trying to get sparks from rocks. :(

You could always light a fire during the daytime using a lens and keep the fire burning into the night.

Bravo! Russia's economy is going strong because of the wonderful flat tax program, mostly. How is the economy in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran?

I don't think dwindling Russian oil production will necessarily have any special effect on Russia, beyond the broader overall effect shared by everyone. The US didn't suffer any particular problem resulting from going from a net exporter to a net importer. Not that Russia will be a net importer anytime soon, mind you. There are a lot of countries that are heavy importers, due to the lack of domestic resources, and obviously someone must export to them. Russia is a likely candidate for some time. Already there is some effort to normalize fuel prices in Russia, to reduce overconsumption. In the end, probably everyone will reduce their consumption somewhat, and Russia will continue to export to western Europe.

There is a popular myth or metaphor here at TOD, which is that the economy is like some sort of machine that runs on fossil fuels, and without fossil fuels the machine stops working. Actually, and "economy" is just what people do all day. It doesn't judge between one thing or another.

With a little imagination, it is easy to think of an abundant, prosperous economy that uses perhaps 20% of today's total energy use. Instead of an economy (what people do all day) with a heavy focus on driving 6000 lb SUVs, and all the associated roadways and parking lots, and gigantic houses and excessive consumer goods, you could have an economy focused on something else.

For example, you could have a teahouse economy. Japanese history has funny periods in which the elite classes got very serous about tea, and their teahouses. They would spend ridiculous sums on tea and teahouses. OF course this was just a silly game among the aristocrats. But, I'm not sure that expending one's economic effort on exquisite teahouses is any different than expending one's effort on personal automobiles and giant suburban houses, and all the other stuff such as buying about 10x more clothing than one can possibly wear out, along with all the other home furnishings. Both are really just a matter of aesthetics. For whatever reason, people today prefer the aesthetics of cars and suburban houses and constant shopping for generally mass-produced low-quality goods (compared to handmade artisan pieces) to the aesthetics of teahouses. Thus, the economy today is organized to create enormous quantities of cars and suburban houses and mass-produced low-quality goods. However, you could have an economy organized to create exquisite teahouses.

In a teahouse economy, there might be a very large teahouse industry. Many, many people would be involved in the design and construction of exquisite teahouses. This does not necessarily mean a large number of teahouses. You can just as easily put effort into making very expensive and labor-intensive teahouses. There are some teahouses in Japan that are completely covered in gold leaf, for example. And, since each one would be completely original and artisan-built, they would be very expensive.

There is no distinction, in economics, between building one gold-leaf covered teahouse for $10m or building 10,000 plastic Home Depot teahouses for $1000 each. Both are perfectly valid ways to spend one's time. Indeed, it could well be argued that it makes more sense to build one $10m teahouse, as that could be a work of art appreciated for centuries, while the 10,000 plastic Home Depot teahouses are really just a bunch of disposable junk.

I'll stop there, but we can see from this example that, perhaps, making one $10m teahouse, by hand, could be much less energy-intensive than making 10,000 plastic Home Depot teahouses in a factory in China. Also, it would be much less energy intensive than buying 200 $25,000 SUVs (for $5m) and then burning up $5m of petroleum driving around the countryside. And yet, all three options are counted as "$10m of GDP" by statisticians. (Not that statistics are the last word on anything, but you see the point.)

Which is not to say that there will not be a "collapse of civilization as we know it" corresponding to the period of declining fossil fuel production. However, you don't need declining fossil fuel production to have an economic collapse. The Soviet Union collapsed just fine despite sitting on huge quantities of fossil fuels.

I use the example of teahouses because teahouses are a "thing", and most people still imagine an economy as creating "things." However, there is no distinction between things and services. Creating a $100 tennis racquet and offering a $100 tennis lesson are both counted as $100 of GDP.

You could have, for example, a back massage economy. Half the population works all morning to create all the necessities of life, such as shelter, food, education, medical care and the like. Then they take the afternoon off. The other half of the population takes the morning off, then they spend all afternoon giving back massages to the first half. After all, the first half is tired from providing all the necessities of life, except for back massages.

If you think of an economy as how people spend their time, it is clear that one can spend their time giving back massages, or even just doing nothing at all, instead of making things or consuming energy.

FWIW: I seriously doubt that KSA will continue to pump at the maxiumum rate for much longer. While mathematical models can show potential future production, it does not factor in the unpredictable human equation.

1. High oil prices means KSA can maintain high export income buy pumping less. When Oil was about $10 bbl, KSA had to pump 10 times the amount to reach the same revenue of $100 bbl oil.

2. I doubt KSA will sell its last barrel of oil. Its far more likely that KSA will cut back production to make its remaining reserves last. Is also likely that internal domestic issues will also shape the way KSA exports oil. Whether its terriorism, or just the kindom's population forcing policy changes on the gov't.

3. I doubt that KSA will beable to maintain a decline rate of 8.4%. From some of the reports posted on TOD, it looks like KSA is holding declines by drilling for oil trapped in large pockets. Its very likely that with in the next 12 to 18 months, they will run out of the big pockets and start chasing after the small ones. If the smaller pockets are on average half the size of the large pockets, KSA will need to double up on drilling. If the smaller pockets average out at 25% of the large pockets, they'll need to quadruple drilling.

I think sometime between 2010 and 2012, KSA will radically alter its oil export policies. We might see some small changes happen in 2009. Just a hunch.

Saudi Arabia: No Exports of Natural Gas Today, No Oil Exports Tomorrow?

Chances of Launching an Arab Market for Gas Weakened in the Absence of a Declared Regional Price
Walid Khadduri
Al-Hayat 02/03/08

Saudi Arabia which possesses huge reserves utilizes natural gas in local industries and has no intention to export it at present as a result of the excessive increase in local consumption, not to mention the anticipated future increase in consumption.

>It's time the conspiracy theorists accepted that oil had nothing to do with the
>US invasion of Afghanistan.

It is my understanding that economic interests want to build a (natural gas) pipeline through Afghanistan.

There was a lot of discussion of this prior to the invasion.

The trans-Afghanistan pipeline? Yes, they were trying to but the project stalled BECAUSE of the US-led overthrow of the taliban.

The Taliban were being uncooperative at the meetings they attended in Texas during Clinton's last term. Unocal did a lot of manuvering to get a competitor removed from the game, and its VP for overseas operations actively lobbied and testified before congress to help implement the pipeline plan. The plans for Afghanistan's invasion were drawn up PRIOR to 9/11. 9/11 provided the necessary "Pearl Harbor" element called for by the PNAC plan to invade Iraq for its hydrocarbons. After that, the remaining dominoes would fall and "The Prize" as termed by Cheney in 1999 would be in Neocon hands. If Afghanistan was the only game in town, you can be sure the Neocons would have consolidated control and the pipeline would be finished by now. History of the Afghan pipeline is detailed in Ahmed Rashid's book about the Taliban, and the Unocal exec's testimony is widely available online. The alledged "Carpet of Gold, or Carpet of Bombs" threat hasn't ever been proven, but sounds like a BushCo/Neocon negotiating ploy.

As for the Rove quote regarding oil going to $200 if we correct his crime and withdrawl, he's absolutely full of Bantha pudu. The same is true of sanctions on Iran. Withdrawl the troops and lift the sanctions and oil will fall as above ground factors abate and facilitate an increase in below ground extraction rates. The increased supply and lessened war premium would allow oil to drop back to about $80, perhaps; but it certainly won't go to $200, yet.

"The increased supply and lessened war premium would allow oil to drop back to about $80, perhaps."
Posted by Karlof 1

For a year or two, perhaps. We would remain on the "Bumpy Plateau" for a while longer, while worldwide demand would continue to grow and the older fields would continue to decline. We would just kick the issue down the tracks a couple of years, after which we would remain in the same jam we are now; trembling on the brink of the dropoff at the edge of the Plateau.

Antoinetta III

Afghanistan is a strategic location. It borders Iran, the Caspian and a number of oil producing countries to the north. The pipeline through Afganistan was not the only oil project in the region. I think it's pretty small minded to say that oil wasn't a factor in the invasion. Certainly, Al Qaeda was there and we were going to go after them no matter where they were. But holding Afghanistan has strategic benefit when it comes to oil.

You don't say.

People that expect the end of the oil age to be a slow decline don't pay much attention to the strategic moves made by the US.

imo, there is little doubt that viet nam was also an attempt to secure oil supply.
take a look at what is happening there today. and how did the cia know there was oil off vietnam ? .......................probably had something to do with the terms "mekong" and "delta" in the same sentence.

I've often thought there was a connection between the Vietnam War and oil. At the very least, there was the oil in Indonesia, which the Japanese had tried to corner when they jumped into WW II. We surely didn't want the Red Dominos to fall that way. Then too, ideas like Plate Tectonics had not been accepted in the geology world, so I can imagine those Texas oil guys looking at the Mekong River and thinking Mississippi/Gulf of Mexico. Another idea I've often thought to be plausible was that the U.S. got into the war to show the Soviets that we were really seriously bad nasty enough to Drop The Big One, should things get down to that level.

E. Swanson

The French were very keen to hold on to Vietnam and fought a long war ending in 1954. Strange because the place was worthless. Perhaps the French liked rice.

But holding Afghanistan has strategic benefit when it comes to oil.

Don't forget the poppies!

(I would not be shocked to see, as a suggestion, here - all the free heroin you want - forget about the trials of PeakOil! Gettign high and tuning out will be a reaction for many)

Faith Birol : We can't cling to crude: we should leave oil before it leaves us

The headline is all fine, sending out some sort of s-o-s , but inside the text this ridiculous nonsense occurs ...

... we may see very high prices – perhaps oil at $150 a barrel by 2030.

Last January (2007) oil was sold at $ 49
This January (2008) ................ $ 100

and then there is this idea of $ 150 for January 2030 , 22 years from now - hallelujah and amen!

To me it is all clear; those governmental institutions (IEA, et al) have NO vision at all , whatsoever, as to what may be ready and set in the pipeline for the years to come. It scares me ….

It’s a little like saying : "Thy shall not drink alcohol – bottoms up for Gods sake, one more ?!"

and then there is this idea of $ 150 for January 2030 , 22 years from now - hallelujah and amen!

Perhaps you need your Faith Birol decoder ring. I got mine in a box of Lucky Charms. There are always 2 worlds to these articles - what someone semi-in-the-know will read: that we need change now; and what some casual reader will see: we need change, but don't worry about it quite yet.

That's the way all of these official publications read.

From the article:

By 2020, India will be the world's third-largest oil importer, and we expect China will be importing 13 million barrels in 2030, which means another US in the market.

What is this? Another 20 million barrels per day (say India has 7 million per day) by 2030. When others in this industry wonder if we can go above 100 million bpd, how is this going to work? The joke is that if you extrapolate the values in conjunction with "Oil production by public companies is reaching its peak." - you see that China/India using even a couple million more bpd and will probably have $150 oil... in a couple years.

That's how these articles work - high scary numbers way off in the future; and when you extrapolate those numbers to the near-term you get values just as scary, imo (assuming we're "reaching peak.")

I saw that same line and had to laugh too. probably not this year, but we will see $150 in 2009 or 2010 at the latest. Other than that obvious flaw, most of the article was right on.

We could see 150 by Sep easily your not including the sliding dollar.

I've said this in a few forums. The oil producing nations have large reserves of dollars. Every time the US devalues the dollar its costs them billions. The easiest way to overcome this is to pump less oil so the price increases.

For this reason alone regardless of peak oil or not I think that OPEC will cut production in lockstep with the falling dollar.

Not impossible to see $150 this year. I would say highly likely. Oil rose 100% last year so a rise of 50% would be slowing of the trend.

Some have argued that oil price will drop
with recession in the US but the BRIC countries may now have enough steam to plough on regardless of any drag effect of US slowdown. Couple that with rapidly deflating USD and IMO we will be lucky if oil price doesn't see $150 by year end.

The only blip might be when China closes down some industry and bans cars around Beijing for the Olympics to clear the air. This might act as a psychological brake on the oil price rather than having any real impact on Chinese demand. look for a surge of Chinese consumption just after the Olympics as their chests swell with nationalistic pride at just having pulled off the "best games ever". IMHO they will also try to spend the goodwill built up, by attempting to spend as much of their US dollars buying international assets as fast as possible.

Probably a typo- $1500 US is a more reasonable estimate for 2030.

The Independent's editors can't even get the author's name correct, it's Fatih not Faith, so anything is possible!

there have been estimates on TOD as to how much recent increases in oil price was due to
supply/demand of oil & how much was due to increases in our money supply M3. Assuming shadowstats.com is correct 14% currently for US & somewhat higher worldwide it seems a significant portion is due to the M3 increase. Commodities are on such a tear upward that i am suspicious that money supply is the most significant factor.

on the other hand pop. growth,energy involved in most commodities argue supply/demand -natural cost factors.

Any thoughts on how to quantify these factors.

The quick and dirty method is to look at oil prices in Euros rather than dollars. The euro was worth 80 cents in 2001, a dollar fifty today.

In Euros, the stock market has been flat since Bush took office, and the GDP has fallen.

Yes, it is interesting how OPEC and the 'big oil companies' are getting the blame for gas price increases at the pump or heating oil but no one wants to talk about the Feds policy of lowering interests rates in an attempt to keep Wall St afloat. Bernanke assumed he knew how to fight deflation and so far he is striking out with the Feds lower interest rate policy. What Bernanke is doing is creating vast amounts of new money that has to go somewhere...for confirmation look at the 3 month T rates, and look at the flood of money into all commodities, and SWFs. The Fed attempts to unstick the credit markets and keep banks afloat with its TAF auctions are accomplishing...what? Lending institutions are afraid to loan to each other and this is a psychological problem as much as a credit problem. There is a disconnect between Fed rates and mortgage rates because bankers have been burned badly, and will continue to be burned by their bad loans, and are afraid because they know that more bad debt is going to be written down and they will need all the cash that they can horde. Nothing but future inflation is being created by current Fed actions and some of this inflation will not be seen for a long time on Main St, but it will show up. We are at the beginning of inflationary spiral, not near the end. Paulson continues to say that a strong dollar policy is the goal but watch the dollar to continue to slide against the Euro and other world currencies.
The price to US consumers of FFs has more to do with expectations of a continuing fall of the dollar against other currencies than real FF shortage...imo. Commodities are forward looking markets.

But since wages have not increased in the US or Japan for that matter. These price increases have been real increases to US consumers. Also price inflation is strong in Europe it has its own housing bubble for example.

In my opinion the real metric is price vs income adjusted for general price inflation. Using this metric gasoline has gotten very expensive in the US over the last few years and it has gone up in Europe.

Countries that have subsidized pricing are getting hammered.

Even as the US destroys the dollar as a reserve currency the Euro is probably not ready to take over the role. The problem we have now is fairly simple with flat oil supplies and tepid economic growth and falling interest rates and finally saturated housing/retail business market people are limited on what they can borrow money to invest in.

I'd say the US is playing smart getting out of being the reserve currency of choice you don't want to be the fiat currency everyone uses during deflation.

The US has been swapping worthless paper for oil for many years and the cluless Arabs went along with this scam for the last 40 years, believing that America and the paper it was issuing was good for it.

And so Americans have had the good life, spending recklessly, saving nothing, borrowing more and more each year. And not just from the Arabs. The Chinese got in on the act not that long ago by using the free market system as a weapon agaisnt America. The Chinese could outwork Americans for a tenth of the cost, and feckless American corporations were drawn in like bears to a honeypot. The fat ugly American consumer was sucked into the cheap big box reatail fiesta and performed on cue with credit cards on goods designed to keep them fat and lazy (plasma screens, games consoles et al) and all the trappings that went along with it. The citizens elected governments who promised more of the same and this year is no different.

The US dollar deflation is the highly predicatbale outcome of this mess called American free market democracy. What is left of the productive assets (farms, mines, timber, factories) are being marked down in a deflationary spiral, while everything imported including vast amounts of oil, is being inflated. The Fed has chosen to fight deflation first in an attempt to head off a Japan style decade long slump. It is simply trying to refinance the home loan inot a bigger loan to buy some breathing space. The problem is it has refinanced more times than it should have without ever working out how to pay off the debt. Americans collectively and individually are complicit in this vast borrowing spreee which is rapidly coming to an end.

How does a nation declare bankruptcy and start again?

In answer to your last qestion - there is only 1 answer!

By ceding it's power and global dominance.


Unfortunately I can think of another answer.

When America goes bankrupt its leaders will simply place the entire country on an aggressive war footing. Most likely against Venezuela first, but all the little puppets in South America can be made to play "Punch and Judy". Good jobs available in the military, will be the battle cry. Feed your family and free America's lifeblood from getting strangled by the evil doers Chavez & Castro. Short tours of duty, rapid rotations, nothing like Iraq, you'll be back in the bosom of your family before you know it ... with a big fat cheque made out in real oil-backed Ameros!

Legal tender ... just so long as we got oil ...


'I'd say the US is playing smart getting out of being the reserve currency of choice you don't want to be the fiat currency everyone uses during deflation.'

this implies blame??

i'd think we'll appear to cause the deflation as we hyperinflate & lead into the deflation; i. e. we won't get out of the reserve spot in time[there is nothing to take our place IMO- euro not tied to a country].

The US doesn't have a choice. The gig is up. The rest of the world is now starting to doubt that the US is good for the tangible asset promises implied on the currency.

The US had choices we could have put the brakes on the housing bubble we did not. We could have worked to internationalize the Iraq situation after the fact. We did not.

The evidence is that the TPTB felt for what ever reasons that now was the time to trash the dollar. Why ?

Well we can guess peak oil and the rise of Chinda and the obvious fact they the world cannot support three Americas. Its been obviously impossible for a long time. Why take the route they took I can't say but whats happening now is not a accident by well meaning people.

Hasta Mas Pasta?

The EU required Europe to come up with biofuels to meet 10% of its fuel needs by 2020. As European farmers grew less wheat to comply with the law, wheat shortages have been appearing. Pasta plants were forced to "reduce operations."

http://www.ecoearth.info/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=93082 (Feb 18)

Some marginal economies such as Pakistan and Afghanistan were experiencing severe wheat shortages.

In the span of ONE year alone, what will happen next year ?

European Union wheat inventories have plummeted from 14 million to 1 million tons

Global Food Shortages Could ‘Continue for Decades'

For the first time, we are seeing the emergence of a global agricultural market driven by the growing demand for grains and a scarcity of supply. Wheat inventories, for example, have reached a 30-year low. In one year inventories in the European Union have plummeted from 14 million to one million tons. The fact is that arable land cannot be increased at will. Over the past three decades, the amount of arable land worldwide has stagnated at about 1.5 billion hectares (3.7 billion acres).

Exactly. "In the span of ONE year alone, what will happen next year ?"

There will be no next year. This is what we've been screaming when
we say biofuels are negative EROEI.

And this grain stockpile that the EU and the US have just destroyed was built with $1.50 diesel.

"And something notsogood is happening with France and Germany:

"Europe's closest friendship falls apart
By: John Lichfield and Tony Paterson on: 01.03.2008

"To cancel one high-level Franco-German meeting is unfortunate. To cancel two in less than a week implies a bank of freezing fog is descending over the Rhine.

By John Lichfield in Paris and Tony Paterson in Berlin

Thursday, 28 February 2008


And I think it's total grains at 30 yr low. Wheat's at a 60-100
yr low, depending on who's measuring.

There will be no next year. This is what we've been screaming when
we say biofuels are negative EROEI.

And that ,as they say, is the crux of the matter.
Food inflation, forced wheat exports, and higher fuel ,unabated, as far as the eye can see.
Power down or send your last dollar. We are literally not gonna 'grow' our way out of it!

Perhaps the Germans should invade them again. We can laugh from the sidelines.

Or, maybe they'll just "Plant" that 10% of their wheatland they held out of production last year. OH, they did that; Check.

Maybe the drought will break in Australia. Oh, it DID. Check

Maybe the U.S. will increase their wheat planting. Huh? oh . . .

So, I periodically check out the Nymex oil and NG futures and today I looked at the NG futures and they now go out to 2020. 2020! Last time I checked they stopped at 2013.

If the minis went out that far I'd buy one. I simply don't have the bread to hold a position for a full NG contract as +/1 $1 dollar in the price of NG translates into +/- $10k for the holder of the contract.

Israeli aircraft target Hamas office


Can anyone tell what possesses supposedly intelligent people to do actions like this? Does anyone think that military forces killing babies and 14 year old girls is going to promote peaceful resolution?

I can't imagine any scenario for the future earth that doesn't end in widespread war, famine and disease.

You wrote:

I can't imagine any scenario for the future earth that doesn't end in widespread war, famine and disease.

Mankind has lived with war, famine and disease as constant facts of life for thousands of years. Any study of history before the Age of Fossil Fuels will show this quite clearly. That many now live in situations which are isolated from these facts is a consequence of the rapid use of the stored energy capital in FFs and those of us who live this way have all come to expect this to be normal.

The trouble is, all those high energy lifestyles are not normal. Once the party is over, well, it will be back to business as usual, unless, by way of some yet unknown discovery, another source of energy can be found to keep the game going. While I doubt that the high energy lifestyles can continue, as an engineer I do know of ways to produce useful energy at lower concentrations. The other problem is that we should have started a worldwide effort to make use of these sources after the first OPEC Embargo and the Iranian Crisis. Instead, we let the greedy idiots have their way and people like Ronnie RayGun kept feeding the illusion of Eternal Oil and the party kept rocking. Maybe this time, the party really is over but we won't know until after the crowds have gone home and we wakeup with a permanent hangover...

E. Swanson

by way of some yet unknown discovery

you mean like conservation and using electricity to power cars?

The simple answer is religion makes smart people do dumb things..
The complex answer is that the religious ideology that currently is in control of Israel, which is technically called Zionist. Which is the name of the sect of jewish people who believe it's their right and divine right no less, that they own all the land which made up so called 'great jewish state of Israel' as named in the tora. In reality while a jewish state existed at that time(forcefully brought together from many regional tribes by one that worshiped a god of war named yawaeh(i think thats the correct spelling)), text from nearby states at the time rarely if at all mention such a state. Discounting the 'great state of Israel known throughout the world' as both the tora and the bible says. Because of this add a pinch of paranoia and a dash of racism and you get this. A state that screams from the mountain tops to remember how Germany treated them and anyone they deemed their enemy's during ww2, while at the same time committing the same atrocity's to the Palestinians.
As mark twain once said, history doesn't repeat. It rhymes.

I look at the Israel/Palestine conflict as a Cockfight beneficently set up by US/UK, and left to fester. Occasionally, they holler in from the sidelines, shouting 'Bad Roosters, Sit! Sit!'

Look at the brand names of the tools used in these airstrikes and follow that money,

then look at Secretary Rice flitting in to sanctimoniously preach Peace, while reaping the benefits of being able to point to this 'Source of Turmoil of the Middle East' to make her wars and violations of International Law look tame by comparison.

The New Gaza 'Crush your Heart' Bra, Lifts, Separates, and Destroys everything not valuable to us.



What sticks in my craw is the complete lack of ironical sense with which Israeli politicians denounce terrorism, apparently unaware of the fact that many of the lionised founders of the Israeli state were terrorists in the last days of the British mandate - although presumably they justify the doublespeak by classifying them as 'freedom fighters'

enviro attny -

The current Israeli government does not seem to be the least bit uncomfortable that Gaza circa 2008 is more and more resembling the Warsaw ghetto circa 1943.

There is no desire for an equitable peaceful resolution, but rather what we have here is a ruthless strategy to make life so impossible for Arabs living within Israeli's border that they will pack up and go somewhere else. That has been the general idea from the very beginning, and the only reason Israel has been getting away with it has been the continued unconditional backing by the US. This of course will guarantee a perpetual state of low-level war in the region.

I think a not dissimilar paradigm rules on both sides of the Israel Gaza conflict. They are hurting us, this will only stop when we make them pay enough. So Israel sees real (but limited) harm from rocket attacks, and inflicts serious harm on Gaza. Gaza residents respond with more rocket attacks. In such an environment it is considered an act of treason to ask if the prevailing paradigm might not be the problem.

I've talked to a few Palestinians in the US about this and also a few American Jews. Probably the closest example is Northern Ireland.

The mistake a lot of people make is that this is some sort of limited conflict and peace is possible if people are reasonable.

On the Palestinian side they are pretty much left with only the dream of regaining all of Israel. I was struck by the fact that this financial motivation was the root of the struggle. If you look into the conflict in Northern Ireland the roots lay in control of the land by wealthy English settlers.

We can see from the outside that this dream is similar to buying a lottery ticket and won't happen but the Palestinians feel that its just beyond their grasp. They truly believe they can defeat Israel.

I think that as long as they cling to this dream we won't see peace. On the Israeli side if the Palestinians ever decided to become sensible I'd say world pressure would force the Israeli's to bow and integrate with the Palestinians. Given birth rates and other factors over the long term Israel would become another Lebanon but hopefully more peaceful. Sort of like parts of California and Texas becoming mixed American/Mexican culture.

Same for that matter Northern Ireland.

But you have to look beyond the tit for tat war and the root of the problem is unrealistic expectations on the part of the Palestinians this has nothing to do with moral high ground. Until they start negotiating for incremental changes nothing will change in the region.

Another example you could look at is South Africa. Its not a matter of who is right or wrong but a matter of both parties agreeing to solve issues one step at a time. Unless the Palestinians change this will never happen.

Flame away about how awful Israel is towards the Palestinians that has little to do with the root of the conflict.

It's amazing the sanctimonious railing against Israel that always shows up with "How on earth can they do this?" Americans would respond much more harshly if there were mortars and rockets raining down daily in New York, Chicago, or your home town. Even one rocket or mortar round on US soil would spark a harsh outcry and would have all the major news stations hyperventilating with outrage and indignation. The crisis there is truly horrible and tragic. I think the the insanity of the Palestinian "government" is given may too much indulgence and their refusal negotiate or stop the violence is equivalent to defecating in your own well.

It's a mess, and I hope it doesn't come home to US soil very soon for I fear much worse from how Americans will respond.

That is true. Look at the stupid, harmful, useless responses to 9/11.

In September 2001, our so-called "leaders" should admitted that the reason 9/11 happened was that we had to stick our noses into middle-east affairs because our country would cease to exist without middle east oil. If they had then outlined a plan to double the fuel efficiency of the US auto fleet, begin Alan's program of rail transport, and essentially ban all new power generation not based upon solar, wind and nuclear, we would have an entirely new world at this point.


You are correct that Americans would have responded long ago to a few hundred missiles launched, say, into Texas from Mexico over the past few days. Whether someone died or not. No matter how crappy the missiles were.

It's also clear that bombing civilian areas this way is a War Crime, and collective punishment is too. So that sucks. If I was in charge I'd make that point a lot.

Israel is sitting on a demographic timebomb, in the sense that the fertility rate for Gaza is 5.79 children per fertile woman, where in Israel it's 2.7 including Arab citizens and Orthodox Jews.

It's only a matter of time before Gaza and the West bank exceed Israel's total population. (Israel has 5.4 million Jews or so, and WB+Gaza is about 4 million Arabs).

Gaza in particular is already bursting at the seams due to restrictions in size and the occupation. The land there is small, rocky and only productive under certain circumstances, most of which are not being met.

For perspective note that 3000+ children a day in Africa alone are dying from malaria, a preventable disease. So roughly the total number of Palestinians killed in the Second Intifada since 2000, every 1.5 days. That's almost 3,000 times as many people killed. Is it because they are Africans that they are not on the front page?

We are also seeing probable genocide now in Africa, and saw genocide 10 years ago in Africa. Ten years before that was Cambodia.

And the US just killed between 250,000 and 1,000,000 Iraqis, maybe more, depending on when you count and how.

So our hands are not clean, and we are not equitable or fair, and we posture an ethical high-ground at our own risk.

It's amazing the sanctimonious railing against Israel that always shows up with "How on earth can they do this?"

If it makes you feel any better, I can go show you parts of the web where there is railing about what the US does to other parts of the world.

Americans would respond much more harshly if there were mortars and rockets raining down daily in New York, Chicago, or your home town.

There is another option - ask the question 'why' the event is happening and see if there is an addressable reason.

Ya see, in the US of A there is a (somewhat) functioning court system. One where parties can address conflict w/o going to displays of force.

So - where is the court system where parties in conflict in the "Israel issue" you are referring to meet to obtain resolution?

Even one rocket or mortar round on US soil would spark a harsh outcry and would have all the major news stations hyperventilating with outrage and indignation.

So somehow if the media says something that makes it valid, right, just and proper?

If so - why are you here? The End of Cheap Oil is the thread that one weaves theories about conspiracies - and "the media" does not discuss the matter, let alone hyperventlating with rage or whatever.

Odysseus -

In your little analogy of the US harshly retaliating "if there were mortars and rockets raining down daily on New York or Chicago" you have conveniently left out the key element: WHY would there be mortars and rockets raining down daily on New York or Chicago? In the affairs of men things generally don't happen for no reason (even though those reasons may have been deliberately obscured).

Getting back to your analogy, perhaps New York rounded up most of its Jewish population, stole their land, and then banished them to live a life of poverty in the swamps of New Jersey. Or perhaps Chicago rounded up most of its Polish population, stole their land, and then banished them to live a life of poverty in the grimy industrial wasteland around Gary, Indiana.

In either case, the rocket attacks on New York or Chicago would be a rational response of a displaced people attempting to avenge a wrong and to get their stolen land back. Two wrong do not make a right, but the behavior of the Palestinians is hardly irrational. This is a life-and-death struggle between people who have literally nothing and an oppressing regime backed by the most powerful military power in the history of the world.

It's David and Goliath all over again, only this time the Israel/US axis is Goliath. This whole thing is tragic in the true sense of the word and the ending of which will likely amount to 'genocide light'.

Your post made that comparison much more balanced. Of course, it leads inevitably to the fact that we did have that 'displaced Population' already with the Indian Wars, our own '(All but)Final Solution', Trail of Tears, etc.. The similarities, now that I look at it, make me very unhappy to consider, but it should be a reminder of at least attempting to learn from history.


jokuhl -

The treatment of the American Indian by the US and the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis are quite similar examples of oppression and planned ethnic cleansing.

As an American, I am deeply ashamed of our country's treatment of the Native Americans, as I'm sure many Jewish people with a stong conscience and a long memory must be equally ashamed of what's going on in Gaza.

Since the Holocaust, the Jewish people have enjoyed the moral high ground in the eyes of the world, but I think that position is rapidly eroding, and Israel will soon find itself being viewed as just another brutal authoritarian state actively engaged in the abuse and persecution of an indigenous minority. And the US is already being viewed as Israel's enabler.

It's tragic to see how easily the oppressed can become the oppressor.

Since the Holocaust,

I believe one could say just *A* Holocaust. Be it the American Indians (that Hitler mentions in his best selling book), Rwanda, http://www.blackholocaustmuseum.org/ , to the public use of the work Holocaust by Churchill to describe the Turk-Armeanin conflict - there has been plenty of Man treating Man badly in bulk.

Now - man has tools even more awesome than the gattling gun (a tool that was to make war so horrific that therefore war will stop) to kill each other.

So - exactly how does is this all gonna end well - given "how easily the oppressed can become the oppressor"?

We have a very similar situation in the USA. Violence constantly pours across the Mexican border due to drug trafficking and people smuggling.


Hence the constant calls for a border fence.

Historically we dealt with problems like this by committing genocide on the native people we displaced.

I've been waiting for Israel to commit genocide for decades. If it were to occur, I suspect the irony of the situation will make peoples head explode.

According to the halfpasthuman.com and Urbansurvival.com
“we are within days of a 'surprise' war in the Middle East. “


“we are within days of a 'surprise' war in the Middle East. “

I've seen a summary claiming Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait have all told their citizens to bugger outta Lebanon in under the next 36 hours. (Should be able to be compared to statements from the various embassy)

So hey! Lets get the talking points ready of "how does the attack in Lebanon effect the election in Ohio/Texas!"

I would advise everyone to watch the Israeli thing.

For the last few weeks UrbanSurvival has been warning of something popping into reality concerning Israel doing something really bad.

This snippet is from 2/27

".... and then throw in that we're just days or a few weeks at most from an Israeli 'surprise' outburst which linguistically will be regretted for 9-generations

U.S. sends warship off Lebanon coast
Thu Feb 28

Saudis urged to leave Lebanon

And Next Saturday, the 8th is a New Moon.

Samsara: For the last few weeks UrbanSurvival has been warning of something

Do you know if anyone has tracked their predictions to see how accurate they are? Do you know of other isochronous events that they have predicted when nobody else has?

It looks like UrbanSurvival is quoting halfpasthuman, a site which claims to analyze web pages to predict the future. It tells me to flee now before it's too late.

I think it's too late, or is it too early :-! Causality has been violated.


Check out the accuracy for yourself.

Here is a pdf of their predictions
from 20080102

from 20080124

Edit: I will say that he was harping on "out of season wind events", then we ended up with tornadoes in February.

They seem to do their best on economic issues. Which would be expected since such events are human in origin, so "internet chatter" would be very predictive.

February tornadoes are not that unusual.
I just checked on Ark as an example.
1950 to 1979: Feb Tornadoes 14 of 30 different years.
1980 to 2008: Feb Tornadoes 8 of 29 different years.


I've been reading George Ure's UrbanSurvival for about the last year or two. And YES they have had some really scary dead on hits. Off the wall things that no one would say was coming.

You'd have to read it yourself for a while and see what you think.

George is my morning paper at 9am 6 days a week.

WHAT does this posting have to do with Peak Oil ??

About the above-mentioned story, Reduce Computer Power Waste...

To reduce your computing power consumption, you have a few options. Ideally, you could run a computer off a 12-volt solar panel, but you don't want to waste energy with an inverter boosting the voltage from 12v to 110v. You can go directly 12v DC to 12v DC if you've got the right kind of computer (note: your solar panels will need a voltage regulator to keep the output at a steady 12 volts).

Aside from buying a laptop that can run on a car adaptor, you can do even better with a 12-volt DC desktop "mini-itx" system. True, mini-itx systems are not high-performance machines, but certainly adequate. I wouldn't run Windows Vista on a mini-itx (I prefer Linux anyway). I would suggest upgrading the memory though to 1 GB (most come standard with 256 MB).

You can buy do-it-yourself kits to build your own, but a number of companies will build it for you. Where to buy these? Definitely NOT from the big box stores like Best Buy or Circuit City. If you don't happen to have a local computer shop that knows how to build mini-itx systems, you might want to consider going with this company:


Another source is Damn Small Linux:


Or go to the mini-itx website:



A variation to consider is to find the 'Car Adapter' for your model of Laptop, which converts from the car's 12volt-range (matching what solar provides) to the computer's input voltage, which is often in the 18-20volt range (but varies model by model) - this would allow the computer to keep it's own batteries charged, so a cloud-pass doesn't shut down the machine.

I would still set this up with a 12volt battery getting charged in-between the PV and the Laptop-car adapter. Keeping that battery topped up would run you into the nighttime, as well, and just reduce the up-and-down of solar availability that could kill the adapter or even the laptop over time.

A simple 12volt sealed lead acid battery of about 12 amphours costs anywhere from $10-surplus to $30 new, and a small charge controller like the Sunguard 4.5 to control the battery charging..


Greetings jokuhl,

Yes, I've been looking for a car adapter for my laptop (Dell Inspiron 1420), and though I haven't yet found one, it might be possible to rig something up.

But about the battery-backup method that you suggested...Yes, it's definitely a good idea, but I don't think you can use just any 12-volt battery. The 12-volt batteries designed for a car or motorcycle are not meant to be fully discharged and recharged frequently - that will cause them to fail pre-maturely. The best thing to use is a "deep-cycle battery." These are a bit more expensive than car batteries, but well worth it. A google search of "deep cycle batteries" will reveal many sources. Any good battery shop will sell these.

This is a good place to start for info on deep-cycle batteries:


And the following will give you all kinds of important details:



Hi Oz;
Thanks for the notes.

Batts- Yes, I was talking about SLA or Sealed Lead Acid, or 'Gell Cells', commonly used in UPS backups, Emergency Lighting, other portable applications. It's important to know their top charge voltage, and their 'floor'.. while that discussion yields varying numbers. I would cut of discharge at 11 volts on these batts now.. which brings in the other vital piece of circuitry, an LVD, or 'Low-Voltage Disconnect', which interrupts the circuit when the battery is at the stage of depletion you set it for.

Laptop Adapter.. I did buy one surplus from American Science & Surplus www.sciplus.com , which has a settable voltage output and connectors for a range of laptops, but I have not tried it out yet.. haven't had the mental space to devote to it. Some laptops can have peak draws that might overpower such a device..

(I don't see it at their site anymore, but a search will surely turn up a few.. Caveat Emptor! Here's a page with some solar panels and batteries, though! Prob shouldn't buy PV at $10/watt, tho. You can do much better at Solar Distributors)


EU is planning to impose carbon tax on Chinese goods.

Microsoft is using every trick to push customers to upgrade every two years for more expensive, more power hungry computer systems.

MS impact on the environment is largely underestimated and if Chinese goods get taxed the same should be done for ms software.

I don't think Microsoft will survive peak oil - it designs software for the world where electricity is free and plentiful

While it's certainly true that "Microsoft is using every trick to push customers to upgrade every two years...", I disagree that the system is "more expensive, more power hungry" as the one I recently purchased was less expensive and uses less power than the one it replaced.

Great points about mini-ITX; I've built several of these mini-itx systems and they work fine.

Am using one as a lightning detector and weather processor. It's a fanless (saves more energy) 800MHz Cyrix CPU running linux, and it takes about 18 watts idle and 25 or so "full speed."

Intel would like everyone to run out right away and buy a new computer but since ACPI and APM came out your computer already has these energy settings built in.

Once more for good measure, Khebab's link to localcooling.com.

Perhaps some sort of green tie-in would work, where people get bonus points for every 1 KWh they save and can apply it to environmental projects. Have to ponder that one.

Khebab's already saved 32 KWH/1.7 trees!

p.s., Note that DC-DC converters are in the 90%+ efficiency range now so the voltage doesn't matter very much.

When I wanted to simplify my computer setup last year, I went the Mac Mini route. I needed some flavor of UNIX running 24/7 and capable of occasional heavy-duty number crunching for personal use, and Windows XP for some work-related software. I'm running Mac OS X (Leopard, 10.5) for the UNIX stuff and as the host for VMware's Fusion product, and XP in a Fusion virtual machine.

Idling, the box draws 17 watts. Running flat out -- disk I/O, network I/O, and the Core Duo maxed -- I can occasionally get it up to 57. I have been pleasantly surprised by how quickly it drops back to an idle. If I'm just surfing the Web, there's a spike while a page downloads and renders, then it drops back to 17 watts while I'm reading. Without my 24/7 requirement, the box would draw a watt in hibernation.

It's probably not the lowest power arrangement for meeting all of my needs, but I'm not sure I could beat it and stay with a single box.

I have done something similar.

I have made two machines using the new VIA C7 EX 1000 motherboards with a solid-state hard drive.

The power consumption is a round 15~20 watts (about 1/10 of what a normal PC would use), they are totally silent and can be run from a 12V supply if needed.

One runs Fedora-8 and the other one runs FreeBSD-6.4

To reduce your computing power consumption, you have a few options. Ideally, you could run a computer off a 12-volt solar panel,

Naw - look to copying the Telcos with the -48VDC systems.

You can buy 48VDC rack mount EQ and power supplies.

These days you'll be converting from DC to high freq.AC then back to DC for voltage/current conversion control - so don't be too worried about the 12vDC.

One other thought..

Using a Kill-a-watt meter, I see my laptop's consumption change noticably with the screen brightness. I am toying with a Modification that makes the back face of the LCD hingable, bringing the backlight away with it, and then reflecting in daylight as the source. This could cut a quarter to a third of my power, and help use the power of the sun to HELP me see the screen, instead of fighting against it at sunny tables, etc.. (It would probably have to include a hood shielding the screen as well) A wise use of gathering reflections could make the screen brighter than ever, while saving on battery consumption, backlight life, and 'carbon footprint'..

Some LCD's allow the backlight to be detached, but probably not all.. we'll see.


I don't see much demand destruction from high prices for gas here in Texas.($3.01 gal.) As an example, yesterday on a visit to the local
big box mega-store, when I returned from shopping to my vehicle I noticed the Ford Explorer parked in the next space had the motor running and no one in it. This was being done in order to keep the interior cool until the driver returned.(Air temperature at that time was only 78 deg. F.) This vehicle was four or five years old so you wouldn't think the owner was necessarily wealthy.
I have noticed this behavior frequently in the past during the warmer
months.I think gas prices will have to at least double to curb this kind of activity.

I ran across a quote in a New Urbanism project proposal for a town in West Central Texas:

"The American love affair with the automobile can be compared to the Stockholm Syndrome."

I couldn't find any attribution, but it's a good observation.

I think that a lot of this comes down to the almost complete lack of understanding of physics in 99% of the population. They just can't imagine how their actions, such as driving style affect their use of fuel/energy. They will whine about prices, but never seem to question, or think about what they could change to reduce their consumption.

The biggest worry I have about the lack of change of behaviour as petrol prices increase is that because people buy petrol regularly, there's a fairly immediate signal to see how much they're spending. If this doesn't lead to behaviour changes, I can't see how electricity/home heating (generally paid quarterly, often direct from a bank account) or even car/insulation purchases (even less price feedback) can be shifted to more peak oil/FF suitable stuff.

embryonic- we adapted in the 70s and we'll adapt again.

we adapted in the 70s and we'll adapt again

As usual you miss the point - in the 70s the world had three major recessions - the adaptation caused by Joe Public's delayed responses isn't typically one of growth!

In the 70s the recesions were temporary because the energy restrictions were temporary.

For much of the world, lack of economic growth doesn't matter too much, but for the complex OECD economies it matters a great deal.

If our proximity to peak oil means ongoing increases in energy and commodity prices (and their availability in gereral) then going by the previous 70s experience 'net importers' can expect an ongoing recession, year after year after year. In the last 10 years we have seen an 800% increase in the price of light sweet crude - world 'light sweet' production peaked in 1998, so expect more price increases as other more difficult alternate grades of crude have to be used.


In the 70s the recesions were temporary because the energy restrictions were temporary.

oil is only 30% of our energy use. my crystal ball doesn't see much past 5 years does yours? you can't predict the future. you can't say today our world is energy constrained because you don't know what invention or event is down the road.

As someone who lived through the 70's, I would like to say the experience was more about endurance than adaptation. We hung on till opec turned the tap back on.

The only substantial changes I see, are no more oil fired electric generation plants.

We started 'thinking about adapting' in the 70's, and then stopped when Reagan, Alaska and the North Sea convinced us that Real Men don't take responsibility for their energy consumption.

This may not come on anywhere near as pleasantly as it did in the 70's. Considering our willingness to engage in a "Preemptive War", it should be clear that those pleasantries are over.


jokuhl- humans are highly adaptable. we aren't resigned to any fate. higher oil prices and climate change are starting to really drive investment in alternative energy.

I hate that. Aren't you tempted to drive the damn thing off. Same thing happens here every day at the Post Office.

Agreed. What has made this behavior possible are the keyless and remote door lock systems.

maybe these people know what Lovelock's talking about: 'Enjoy life while you can' (story on top)--we are doomed anyway.


The headline about the Malaysian scientist and the rice hulls links to a different story.

this was put up at upstream on friday - it beggars belief that even on a specialist site the journalism is so sloppy:

A very 1984 headline, indeed.

Hello TODers,

Since Gazprom recently announced a 7-fold increase in sulphur pricing[see bottom of yesterday's DB]--I have been trying to find further confirmation of this ASTOUNDING news, but it has not been easy. If sulphur cannot be cheaply moved to where it is needed: it could have a dramatic effect on mining & metals & I-NPK & food prices going forward. Recall posting of Credit Suisse calling $12,000/ton for copper!

November '07 weblink [14-page PDF Warning]:

Pentasul World Monthy Review

Russian deliveries disrupted by storm

China’s low October imports lead to panic
buying in November.

A fire at the Scotford oil-sands upgrader
causes significant loss in Canada’s sulphur
Does someone want to ante up $1250 for the latest report?

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

Hello TODers,

This just in:

Better to sell your dollars and buy oil

...The message is crystal clear to those who have dollars. Don't keep your dollars or any weak currency. It is better to get rid of your dollars today. Use the money to buy anything, such as gold, silver or any metal, while it is still valuable. A better option is to buy crude oil as it is cheaper compared to base and precious metals like aluminium, copper, lead, gold and silver.
Recall the earlier TOD posting that more Arabs understand Peakoil ramifications than the average 'Murkan J6P.

EDIT: Consider the contrast: OPEC is telling us importers to party on; we got 200 billion barrels of extra reserves for your SUVs--> while locally telling the people to bail ASAP on the greenback and buy FF and precious metals if you hope to have a future survival chance.

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

Wild & Crazy Speculation?

From an Asimov's Foundation point of view: shutting off and hoarding sulphur could make food prices and metals more expensive than FFs. Will this be a way to force global mitigation and change? I still am confused why sulphur prices are rising.

Hi totoneila,

Use the money to buy anything, such as gold, silver or any metal, while it is still valuable

Interesting! but one thing reads sort of odd to this western eye is that, while it is still valuable, part. Sort of implies an expected lower price in future! So why would anyone rush out to buy ? Just poor wording maybe?

Another wild and crazy speculation about rising sulphur prices, as I was under the impression there is lots about, is that it is a commodity so that would be the long and short of the matter for a broker with commodity prices rising?

BTW, you would likely know how well sulphur would be tied to potash production, any thoughts there?

Chavez sends tanks to Colombia border in dispute

"I am putting Venezuela on alert and we will support Ecuador in any situation," he said.

Uribe is "a liar, a Mafia boss, a paramilitary who leads a narco-government and leads a government that is a lackey of the United States," Chavez added.

Where I come from those are "fighting words." But Mr. Chavez has been florid on occasion, so we'll see.

Imported in 2006 from Columbia: 155,000 bpd
Imported in 2006 from Venezuela: 1,419,000 bpd
(Source: EIA)

Between the Lovelock story and the Texas A&M Study about "Global Warming Paradox" (both up top), it seems like the whole principle behind "salvation via education" is a questionable assumption. Our neocortices function most of the time to rationalize what our more-primitive lower brains have already decided. Thus, there is a strong predilection to rationalize in favor of "not doing anything which would impact short-term pleasure-seeking", regardless of the nature or basis of the rationalization. In this way, Lovelock - who thinks we're entirely hosed, reaches the same functional/motivational conclusion as those who don't try to understand complex system behavior at all: have fun and don't do anything.

Of course, Lovelock is bright and could ultimately turn out to be right - we could be irretrievably screwed. That doesn't mean that his position is logically cogent, though, he's just decided which pony to bet on. The conclusion suits his temperament; he's a brilliant guy but he's working off the same data as everyone else and isn't privy to the fine details of positive and negative feedback the earth may have in store; no human is. Rather, it's simpler past a certain point to just 'decide' one way or another rather than to continue thinking about it. This mental tie-breaking is an evolved human trait and a useful one to 'reboot' the mind into thinking about other things. But that doesn't mean it's valid. Remediation has no significant downside and a potentially large upside.

In fact, I think Lovelock may be right, but I also bear in mind that he doesn't know. The "tipping point" to runaway heating could have been passed yesterday, it may be passed tomorrow, we may be dancing back and forth on both sides of it, or it may not happen for 11.3 years, etc. Using the delusion of sufficient knowledge to rationalize doing nothing is about as low on the dumber-than-yeast scale as you can go.

We also see "the delusion of sufficient knowledge" in the Texas A&M study. I'd take it with a larger grain of salt except that I've seen precisely that effect for years: people acquiring enough information on a subject to rationalize away cognitive dissonance and do what they want to do anyhow. A little knowledge is, indeed, a dangerous thing. So on global heating there are levels of education; a rarefied few who are climatologists or complex system analysists and actually DO understand the systems and their own level of ignorance (and who are pretty much unanimous in their conclusions), a much larger segment of the populace who 'feel like' they understand the issues but don't, and take the position which feels right to them, and a segment who admittedly don't understand it but also often take a position based on belief. You'd see this same pattern with any issue, so those who see this study itself as confirmation of their own pre-held position on anthropogenic greenhouse issues rather miss the point. It's another human delusion for Nate to add to the list! And a particularly insidious one, for it immobilizes the 'clever' along with the 'fools'.

What do Lovelock and the Global-warming deniers have in common? From a practical point of view, pretty much everything. We may well be freakin' doomed, but if so it may be as much due to this mental quirk as the current hopelessness of the physical situation.

Perhaps thats why EO Wilson, who understands biology and humans about as well as anyone, has chosen to spend his energy explaining environmental issues to baptist/religious leaders. Via this infrastructure, a new 'belief' can be expanded quickly downward, which is much easier than filtering new beliefs (knowledge) upwards.

(The hardest thing about working and thinking about human biases is at every new step one has to question ones own biases....The only thing I know for sure is that I'm right...;-)

Ah but Nate you overlook sideways not to mention the foward lateral. All kindsa expansion and filtering goin on out here, too many to number.Take something that's not known upwards or downwards but known sidewards. Like if I swipe the ham out of your sandwich do your hands know what the bread doesn't?

Take Lovelock is he up there speaking down, the reverse, or is he sitting there quite happily eatin ham?

From on high comes the message that alternate energy will save us. How long would it take to spread Lovelocks message that way? Sorry but that is a sideways thing, will spread faster that way.

Of course I think he doesn't go far enough in what he says about alternate energy; as at this point in time it will do nothing but increase the problems by adding more excess to our already energy polluted planet. But that is just my opinion and who knows what direction I am coming from, eh?:)

BTW I don't seem to be able to find a garden shovel that is made on this continent; you wouldn't know any sources would you.

Good luck to you and everyone and keep a garden shovel in your packs even if it is made in China.

I hope you read 'Gaia' prior to attempting to discredit Lovelock. The man is brilliant and has done lots of research. You, on the other hand have opinions and have researched_____, please fill in the blank. BTW, this stance of 'its too late' is not new for Lovelock...He has been saying the same for a number of years.

Who's attempting to discredit Lovelock? Not me, I'm just pointing out that he may not be correct, and that no human can game the ultimate chaotic system with 100% certainty. Frankly, my point is that even if he probably is correct, the most responsible course would be to minimize greenhouse emissions. Unless you're just a straight hedonist, that's not opinion, that's logically and objectively true. So please cut me some slack, I have read his stuff, I too think he's brilliant, and argument from authority isn't much of an argument.

River, I am surprised at you, cheap shots are my prerogative on this site:)

a Chinese proverb loosely translated: it is worth the effort to rescue a horse even if it may have been dead.

Your observations on decision making by humans and how education on any given subject might be a wash in tipping the balance one way or another is very interesting.

However, as regards Climate Change, my conclusion that we're screwed, was arrived at in a pretty straight forward manner.

I simply looked at the observed data from last year's Arctic Ice melt and compared it to the IPCC projections of when something like that was supposed to occur: 2070

The IPCC is supposed to be the world's "Best and Brightest" collection of talent. Having observable events happen roughly 63 years earlier than they predicted makes them look like more like "Ass-Clowns-R-US", not the 'A' Team of world Climate Change science.

Not even close. Not even 'almost', which as the old saying goes, only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

If the Arctic Ice Melt is this far off, can you imagine how far off the Sea Level Increase estimates are?

You know, like when Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Shelf give up the ghost a slide into the deep blue sea.

It actually had very little to do with:

'Our neocortices function most of the time to rationalize what our more-primitive lower brains have already decided...'

It was more just run of the mill grade school logic. Look at what happened, compare it to what the 'authorities' tell you, and draw your own conclusions.

No amount of education will ever change the dominant culture in the US of willfull ignorance. It's the real religion of America, not what passes off as Christian theology in the home of the brave.

Well, for the record I think we're probably screwed too, and for much the same reasons as you do, and Lovelock does, and I was well along in my conclusions by the early '70's and drastically altering my life based on those conclusions.

Where I probably depart from Lovelock is that I think there may be "degrees of screwedness" still possible. As in, a world where all the humans are dead but hummingbirds still exist is, all else being equal, better than a world where humans are all dead and hummingbirds are too. We're so invested in a human perspective that this doesn't get a lot of discussion, but there's possibly a world of difference between the still-possible outcomes.

My comment on neocortices was just a matter of filing the referenced study alongside the other fallacies Nate has indexed as part of the reason we're screwed. "oh good, another potentially fatal cognitive flaw".


A new sub sub title for The Oil Drum just below the 'Discussions About Energy and Our Future:

"Human kind cannot bear too much reality"

T S Elliot


TOD ahead of the curb again. Story about "King Corn"

Now let's step off the curb and get ahead of the "curve" by golly!

I guess the other side of the coin is:

What would gasoline cost if we WEREN'T using 500,000 barrels of ethanol/day?

The price of gasoline and food would both have been lower. And so would have taxes. And so would have CO2 emissions.


Now, a much better question would be: What would the price of gasoline have been if Bush had pushed through the CAFE standards the moment he arrived in office?

Or if the Bush administration had sided with California and insisted on zero emissions vehicles. Or if the Bush administration had not cut back the matching of federal funds for mass transit.

Maybe a bunch of people wouldn't have been fooled by the ethanol (no need to worry) bandwagon, and wouldn't have bought SUVs? Maybe the 400000 barrels of diesel fuel that we used to grow the corn wouldn't have been used? Maybe higher near term gasoline prices is exactly what we need in order to change our ways?

Next stop for Tapis $US110/barrel?

Tapis is now over $US106.

Check out the currency market. The USD is now the US-diving-D.

Silver just hit $20. Asian markets melting again. Toyotas priced in dollars. $1k gold soon.

"$1k gold soon."

maybe monday afternoon!

Yeah probably. OPEC meeting. Super Tuesday II. Interesting times.

The only way that Repsol will get a foothold in Bolivia, is if Morales is deposed, or the US grabs the oil and gas producing departments(regions) and recognizes them as independent nations like Kosovo. Even then they would have to compete with US corporations.

Colombia is the war proxy, and Uribe an arrogant puppet deeply in bed with the rightwing terrorists supported by the US military. Chavez's productive negotiations have freed a number of FARC's hostages, which has humiliated Uribe. I expect Uribe to arrive in Miami soon with family and loot in tow.

As for Repsol's inroads, they are just making up for previously lost positions. If South America ever gets its trade bloc together, look for few hydrocarbons to be exported beyond the bloc. Rather, they will build more refineries and export the finished products at the value added prices. But if the Amazon dies, it will all be for naught.

Karl Rove?! There is no source more oriented to partisan political interest than Rove, and thus anything he says must be considered in that context. The result is we are put in the position of trying to determine his intention when making bold statements, rather than considering any part of it as truth.

Fact is oil exports from Iraq dropped significantly during this war, at the same time Bush was busy filling the strategic reserve with billions of barrels of oil. The result was that both strategies caused the price of oil to rise.

Listening to Rove about oil on Fox is not an option. Next!

The Afghan war started in October of 2001. In 2002 the dollar was losing value until it was worth the same as the euro (1 to 1 exchange). The war in Iraq started in 2003 and according to Bush was supposed to only cost 40 billion. That estimate was off more than ten fold. Since the massive budget deficits were enacted the value of the euro grew to 1.5 dollars for every euro. How much of the rising cost of oil was from the dollar falling due to escalating battle costs, low return on investment from integrated killing systems, tax cuts to the rich (whom he would have needed to pay more if he were to support a dollar based economy during wartime), and an out of balance import-export trade account?

"at the same time Bush was busy filling the strategic reserve with billions of barrels of oil."

The SPR has only increased by a little less than 10 million barrels over the past year.
That is .032% or 1 part in 3,110

Hey, I have a somewhat off-topic question:

Would it be possible to take a huge (>1 sq. meter) fresnel lens, focus it on a sort of black kettle or boiler with water in it, boil water, and direct the steam into a the exhaust portion of a turbocharger from a used car, such that the turbocharger's blades spin (just as they do in a car from the hot exhaust gases), and then instead of using that work to drive another set of blades that suck in air into a compressor, just have the spinning axle hook right into a cheap alternator from a used car, thereby generating some small amount of electricity (50 watts?) Does this sound feasible?

generating some small amount of electricity (50 watts?) Does this sound feasible?

Possibly feasable, >1000 Watts in and 50 Watts out, ~5% efficiency - what you are talking about is a mini version of solar thermal electric power - but it's probably much easier, simpler and cheaper to use a solar PV panel at ~15% efficiency.

A limitation of fresnel lenses is you definitely have engineer some way to track the sun - so, if you are going to have to track the sun, using solar PV becomes MUCH more productive.

Not to be difficult, Xeroid, but aside from the inefficient components that CompaneroZ suggested, Solar Thermal Concentrators have potential for a much better efficiency than this, even at home-scales.

It would take a better combination of turbine and generator, and I'm not even sure that you'd get your 50w from the combo you outlined. You need a water-feed, for one thing, to get an ongoing flash boiler functioning, instead of a batch heater like this.

Tracking and rigging the lenses or a trough is not all that challenging.. and to amend Bob Cousins' link, the Redrok site has a whole page of simple and slightly less simple tracker circuits, some for sale.. and plenty of photos showing you how other DIY'ers have tackled the problem. http://www.redrok.com/electron.htm

Water Flowspeed and Steam Pressure management would be bigger nuts to crack, then turbine efficiency, matching the generator (don't use car gennies, probably. Permanent Magnet DC Motor/Generators are favorites, like the 90v motors from abandoned Treadmills!!) is next, and then the circuitry to charge batts from this source, or otherwise put it to use. But don't let that all stop you! Try it.. with proper UV Eye protection and Steam-handling Precautions!

Lotsa great sites out there will fill your head with more things to try! Go to it, Vergil!


I don't think that setup will be the most efficient way to do it, turbos are designed for different type of application. But the general idea is quite common, I recommend googling for ideas, e.g. http://www.redrok.com/engine.htm.

Another off-topic question.
Wondering if anyone knowledgeable can help?
I'm currently doing my best to highlight the over-use of disposable plastics and I keep getting the same response from the petro industry that "the grade of naptha used to make low density polyethylene is an otherwise useless by-product of the refining process that would be flared off if it weren't turned into grocery bags"
Does this sound accurate to you guys or are they spinning me a polymer yarn?
Would love some pointers to the facts if anyone has them.

I can't answer your question, but find it interesting. You might want to repost it to today's Drumbeat.

One thing comes to my mind here..

The plastic itself isn't the problem.. Throwing it away is. LDPE is a very useful material.

From their perspective, the Petro Industry just wants to be able to sell of what is otherwise 'thrown out' one product-level sooner. Is this a supply-side or a demand-side issue? It seems that "Paper or Plastic or Canvas?" Is gradually getting out there. Can we do something to see these plastics (and everything) be produced into Durable items, and/or to have an End-of-Life plan as part of their product design?

I hope that we can start reusing glass bottles again, as a parallel issue, instead of crushing and reblowing bottles long before it's necessary. I have a Coke Bottle from Korea from a job last fall, with all the nicks and scratches of a proper reusable item! The date on the printing suggests this bottle was in circulation for a dozen years before I put it in my 'Museum'..

Build 'em to last!