DrumBeat: April 2, 2008

Military feels the gouge of fuel costs as Iraq, allies watch oil profits soar

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Think you're being gouged by Big Oil? U.S. troops in Iraq are paying almost as much as Americans back home, despite burning fuel at staggering rates in a war to stabilize a country known for its oil reserves.

Military units pay an average of $3.23 a gallon for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, some $88 a day per service member in Iraq, according to an Associated Press review and interviews with defense officials. A penny or two increase in the price of fuel can add millions of dollars to U.S. costs.

Critics in Congress are fuming. The U.S., they say, is getting suckered as the cost of the war exceeds half a trillion dollars - $10.3 billion a month, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Forest Oil makes big gas discovery in Quebec

CALGARY — Forest Oil Corp. says it has made a huge natural gas discovery in Quebec, a development that could potentially transform the province from a relative energy backwater to the next Canadian exploration hot spot.

While exploration is at an early stage, drilling results so far suggest that the Utica shale play in the St. Lawrence Lowlands, between Montreal and Quebec City, may hold as much as 4 trillion cubic feet of gas, Forest Oil said in an investor presentation Tuesday.

Porsche sues over London plans to charge gas-guzzlers

London - German luxury carmaker Porsche on Wednesday said it was suing the London local authority over plans by the British capital for an extra toll on gas-guzzling cars.

The toll envisaged by London Mayor Ken Livingstone was unfair, unproportional and illegally took advantage of his powers, Andy Goss, head of Porsche Cars GB said.

Nigerian oil rebel to appear in court for first time

LAGOS (Reuters) - A rebel leader from Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta will appear in court for the first time on Thursday to be formally charged with treason, one of his lawyers said on Wednesday.

Henry Okah is the suspected leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), whose 2006 campaign of pipeline bombings and kidnappings of foreign oil workers forced the closure of a fifth of Nigerian crude output.

Concern over 'zero carbon' homes

UK home-owners are not prepared to make the changes needed to live in "zero carbon" homes, according to a report.

People felt the eco-friendly buildings would require extra maintenance and that they would have to cut back on certain appliances, it added.

There Is No Gas Shortage

Gasoline reserves on hand are at the highest levels since the early 1990s, which is remarkable considering the nation's refineries have been cutting back on the production of gasoline because their margins have declined. In fact, average gasoline reserves on hand have risen since this past October, while oil reserves in this country have gone up virtually every week this year—and only fog in the Houston Ship Channel that kept oil tankers from unloading their crude one week kept it from being every week.

Auto sector feels pinch of credit crunch

Rising inflation, high gas prices and a tightening home mortgage market have driven up auto-loan delinquencies, according to Fitch Ratings, the credit-rating agency. The number of Americans who are more than 60 days late on their car-loan payments rose to a 10-year high in January, Fitch recently reported, attributing the rise in late payments to “increasing pressure on the consumer” in a weakening economy.

The problem is so acute it could weigh on the overall U.S. economy, according to Lawrence B. Lindsey, former director of the National Economic Council and now CEO of the Lindsey Group, an economic advisory company in Washington. He told CNBC last week that “the next shoe to drop” in the credit crunch could be the auto-loan sector.

Brazil biodiesel sputters on social, green goals

IRAQUARA, Brazil (Reuters) - Booming demand for biodiesel has become a lifeline for some poor farmers who plant oil seeds in Brazil's dry northeast but critics say the fuel is not as clean, equitable and bountiful as the government boasts.

Soaring energy costs 'to change how society operates'

ENERGY costs could increase up to tenfold over the next few years, profoundly changing the way business and society operate, a former Woolworths chief says.

Roger Corbett told a Queensland University of Technology business leaders' forum in Brisbane today that rising energy costs would "no doubt" present challenges for the retailing and business sectors.

"Our lives in the Western world are absolutely dependent upon the unit energy cost, whatever it may be, most of all the petroleum costs," Mr Corbett said.

"And I don't think it's ill-conceived to think in the next few years that energy cost may go up by a factor of five or 10 times - certainly five."

Russian March oil output falls again, exports recover

MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - Russia failed to grow its oil output for a third month in a row in March and closed the first quarter with a one percent production decline year-on-year, confirming gloomy outlook by analysts for the whole of 2008.

Energy Ministry data showed on Wednesday March oil production edged down to 9.76 million barrels per day from 9.79 million bpd in February, and well below the post Soviet high of 9.93 million bpd reached in October last year.

Jordan Govt Dismisses Allegations Of 'Conspiracy' On Oil Reserves

The government on Sunday dismissed allegations made by some lawmakers that it is involved in "a political conspiracy" to cover up the discovery of half-a-billion barrels of oil in the Dead Sea area.

"This is rejected and unacceptable. I hope what was said is a slip of the tongue and not an ideology of thinking," Minister of Interior Eid Fayez said in response to remarks by several MPs, who claimed the government is aware of the existence of oil reserves but does not wish to reveal the fact.

Expert asks Ecuador court to fine Chevron $7-$16 bln

QUITO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - An independent environmental expert told a court in Ecuador that oil company Chevron Corp should pay $7 billion to $16 billion in compensation for environmental damage in the country.

In a report to the court, geologist Richard Cabrera said the low end of the range represented the cost to remediate soils and pay for health care costs, a water system and infrastructure improvements.

Oil Theft May Be To Blame For Pipeline Fires In Nigeria

While the supply of crude pumped through a pipeline at K-Dere, owned by Nigeria National Petroleum, has been threatened by the breakout of a fire on Monday, Shell said that it is "'too early to tell'" if a second fire along the Trans Niger Pipeline will affect exports.

Husky says White Rose production halted by ice

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Husky Energy Inc said on Wednesday that ice conditions have forced it to suspend oil production at its 140,000 barrel per day White Rose oil field off Newfoundland.

Husky spokesman Graham White said the company halted production at the field on Tuesday because of the ice. He was unable to say when output was expected to resume.

Trucks keep rolling...for now

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Despite a threatened strike by some independent truck drivers, many trucks were still on the road Tuesday. But for how much longer?

Several industry experts predict problems ahead finding drivers because of higher fuel costs.

Bangladesh: Govt urged to stock food grains for lean period

The government should aim at achieving self-sufficiency instead of self-reliance to ensure food security by increasing production and sufficient procurement from local and foreign sources.

Thailand: Oil-rich gulf waters to be negotiated

Thailand expects to start negotiations with Cambodia on April 21 in Bangkok on offshore petroleum fields in the disputed waters in the Gulf of Thailand, according to Songpop Polachan, deputy director-general of the Department of Mineral Fuels.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would host the first official negotiations between the two countries in the hope of reaching a conclusion over the controversial area, which covers 26,000 square kilometres.

Nuclear Watchdog Gets China's Iran Intel

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- China has recently given the International Atomic Energy Agency intelligence about Iran's nuclear program despite Beijing's opposition to harsh U.N. Security Council sanctions on Tehran, according to diplomats familiar with the matter.

Australia: Not enough 'green energy' to meet carbon emission targets

Electricity suppliers say they cannot source enough so-called 'green energy' to meet ambitious new carbon emission targets.

The Commonwealth Government has committed to cutting emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, mirroring a commitment made last year by the ACT Government.

However John Mackay, the chief executive of Canberra's power supplier ACTEW AGL, says given the current state of the industry, there is little chance of meeting the target.

Solar power moves towards grid parity

In a Green Wave Panel discussion on the future of solar power at Credit Suisse's Asian Investment Conference, an underlying theme emerged that “grid parity” with rival energy sources must be attained to make it a cost-effective choice for governments. It also became clear that this might be sooner rather than later.

States take detours to fund road repairs

(AP) - Frozen credit markets, sky-high gas prices and a rising federal budget deficit are hurting cash-strapped states as they confront increasing congestion on the nation's deteriorating roads and bridges.

From Texas to Pennsylvania and New Jersey to California, states are more desperate than ever to tap every possible source of funding -- tolls on leased roads, sharp hikes in motor fuel taxes and partnering with the private sector -- to finance the building and repairing of roads and bridges.

Experts see a sharp increases in states partnering with the private sector for funding. Some analysts say highway funding may be the next 'sweet spot' for institutional investors as the burst housing bubble leaves firms looking for ways to put their money to work.

South Africa: Load shedding here to stay

Load shedding is a reality South Africans will have to live with until 2013, says the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica.

Speaking during a media briefing at Nasrec, South of Johannesburg today, the minister said power shortages have reached a critical level in the country and load shedding is the only option to help reduce demand and normalise the energy crisis.

Bangladesh: Gas Supply to Some Industries to Remain on Hold 5 hrs a Day

In order to provide power plants with required quantity of fuel, energy ministry has asked Petrobangla to stop gas supply to re-rolling mills, lime and dyeing industries for five hours from 6 pm everyday.

FACTBOX - Mexico energy reform debate

(Reuters) - Latest developments as Mexico's ruling conservatives court PRI and PRD opposition lawmakers to agree on an energy reform proposal aimed at revitalizing the country's flagging oil industry.

Ireland: Gas plant gets 'green light'

A MASSIVE €500m gas storage plant as big as five Croke Park pitches was approved yesterday.

Fears raised by residents about a high risk of explosions were dismissed by An Bord Pleanala which ordered the developers to pay the local community €200,000 a year.

Bush defies Russia over Nato membership

George W Bush has raised the stakes in a row with Vladimir Putin over plans by former Soviet states to join Nato.

The US president said during talks with Ukraine's leaders that the Kremlin would not be allowed to veto their ambitions or those of Georgia, another one of Russia's neighbours, to join the Western military alliance.

Mr Bush's slap-down of the Russian president over the plan is likely to sour an important Nato summit which begins in Romania tomorrow.

Declare an energy emergency, and get going on likely solutions

Gasoline and diesel fuel prices have reached the point of inflicting pain and prompting protest.

The truckers' parade around the Capitol Monday is proof that, at long last, the unfolding energy crisis is starting to attract attention.

Americans have long believed in an inalienable right -- it must be in the Constitution somewhere -- to low energy prices. Unfortunately, there's little the government can do to bring them back. What the country needs is a national strategy to conserve and develop alternatives for a finite resource.

Waiting for the Apocalpyse again

Greed drives the commercial exploitation, corporate interests, privatization and private values that are at the heart of the crises we face.

Louis Farrakhan: Is Oil The Motive For War

America has come to a crossroads. You must understand that power is linked, in world politics, to oil. And as the greatest industrial nation on the Earth, America has an insatiable appetite for oil. When coal was the number one energy in the world, Great Britain ruled the world. She had the greatest deposits of coal. But when the power to move engines moved from coal to oil, England and America began vying for control of the places on this Earth that produce oil.

Fuel or folly? - Ethanol and the law of unintended consequences

In the pantheon of well-intentioned governmental policies gone awry, massive ethanol biofuel production may go down as one of the biggest blunders in history. An unholy alliance of environmentalists, agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians has been touting ethanol as the cure to all our environmental ills, when in fact it may be doing more harm than good. An array of unintended consequences is wreaking havoc on the economy, food production and, perhaps most ironically, the environment.

Groups Intend to Sue Agency Selling Sham Clean Air Credits

LOS ANGELES, California (ENS) - Demanding an end to "years of unregulated and illegitimate pollution credits" provided by South Coast Air Quality Management District, AQMD, to polluting companies, a coalition of environmental groups today delivered a 60-day notice of intent to sue to the agency.

People driving their cars to the end of the oil age

OTTAWA - Gasoline-powered cars are driving humanity to the end of the oil age, leaving electric vehicles as the best weapon against global warming.

This is the major conclusion in a dramatic international report written by a former Exxon insider and released Tuesday to Canwest News Service.

"Sometime during the year 2008, humanity will probably pass the point at which it collectively consumes 1,000 barrels of crude oil every second of every day. More than half of it - and the share continues to rise - is dedicated to the movement of goods, services and people," said the analysis by physical chemist Dr. Gary Kendall, titled Plugged in: The End of the Oil Age. "Despite the pivotal role which oil is playing during the early years of the 21st century we are, without a doubt, entering the twilight of the Oil Age."

Shell CEO: Easy-to-produce oil, gas to peak in next decade

WASHINGTON: Royal Dutch Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer said Tuesday he expected easy-to-produce oil and gas would likely peak in the next 10 years.

Van der Veer said while depletion of maturing conventional resources would certainly play a key role in peak production, lack of access to remaining large reserves, such as in Saudi Arabia, was also a central component in his forecast.

Remaining resources, such as gas trapped in difficult-to-tap reservoirs or oil sands and shales, will require increasingly costly investments per barrel to produce.

Truckers protest high fuel prices: Independent haulers snarl traffic, idle rigs

TRENTON, N.J. - A convoy protesting high diesel prices pulled out of a truck stop south of Atlanta about 30 strong, and got a lot stronger.

By the time the truckers reached a section of Interstate 285 east of the city Tuesday morning, there were about three miles of tractor-trailers, headlights on, caution lights flashing, puttering along at about 20 mph.

Oman sees dollar recovering, lifting pegged rial

SANAA (Reuters) - Oman, one of five Gulf oil producers which peg their currencies to the dollar, said on Wednesday it expects the U.S. currency to recover this year, helping lift its own rial.

Credit crunch hits Imperial Energy

LONDON — Russia-focused oil firm Imperial Energy Corp Plc has ditched a planned debt financing due to the problems in credit markets, and said it will likely issue up to $600-million in shares, sending its stock into freefall.

Iran torpedoes US plans for Iraqi oil

In the highly competitive world of international politics, nation states very rarely miss an opportunity to crow about success stories. The opportunity comes rare, mostly by default, and seldom enduring. By any standards of showmanship, therefore, Tehran has set a new benchmark of reticence.

By all accounts, Iran played a decisive role in hammering out the peace deal among the Shi'ite factions in Iraq. A bloody week of human killing on the Tigris River ended on Sunday. Details are sketchy, however, since they must come from non-Iranian sources. Tehran keeps silent about its role.

Russia Duma OKs foreign investment rules

MOSCOW—Russia's lower house of parliament on Wednesday backed restrictions limiting foreign investment in key sectors such as oil and gas, aerospace and mass media.

Our view on gasoline prices: With crude at $100 a barrel, Big Oil needs no tax breaks

Beating up energy executives is no policy, but at least end the giveaways.

Opposing view: Don't blame oil companies

Tax hikes would take away income that could be reinvested in oil, gas.

Poor nations demand climate money

BANGKOK, Thailand - Poor countries at a U.N. conference said Tuesday they won't sign a global warming pact unless industrialized nations guarantee them billions of dollars needed to adapt to the impact of climate change.

Merrill Thinks Green, Invents Carbon Indexes

Merrill Lynch has rolled out a set of indexes anticipating the growth of carbon emissions markets.

Francisco Blanch, Merrill's head of global commodities research, says the indexes track the value of carbon emissions credits.

Green hotels and resorts reach out to eco-conscious travellers

HUA HIN, Thailand (AFP) - As climate change guilt among tourists grows, hotels and resorts are finding they need to do more to please the green consumer than simply ask them to re-use their towels.

Under-sea air cooling systems, intelligent lighting, organically-fertilised herb gardens and spas constructed entirely from mud are all being employed to woo tourists concerned about their carbon footprint.

Australia opens carbon burying plant

CANBERRA, Australia - Australia on Wednesday began pumping carbon dioxide underground to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, using a technology that locks dangerous gases deep in the Earth.

Officials opened a plant in southern Victoria state that they said would capture and compress 110,231 tons of carbon dioxide from industry emissions and then inject it 6,500 feet underground into a depleted natural gas reservoir.

Global economy woes cast shadow on climate talks

BANGKOK (AFP) - As more than 160 nations continued talks here Wednesday about what to do after the Kyoto Protocol's obligations end in 2012, environmentalists say the painstakingly tough negotiations are getting even harder as concerns mount that the global economy is heading into recession.

Test on Carbon Footprint


Best Hopes for a Low Score,


I got a 276. Not bad eh?

267 :-) Who makes better

MY SCORE 263 8.5
WINDHAM 312 12.8
VERMONT * 328 13.4
WORLD 339 14.1

I am filled with moral rectitude!

I was 211, with about 30 of that coming from air travel. They do not have an option for GSHP on heating and cooling, and the thermostat setting did not specify summer or winter. The two are different, of course, and it should be pegged to your electicity/natural gas consumption. I have taken all sorts of different tests on carbon footprints, and they all differ in amounts. "Buying local" for groceries means one thing when you still eat fresh strawberries from the Southern Hemisphere in November, versus eating in season, from what comes out of your backyard, or local farmer's market.

I do not see how my carbon footprint is lower than the world's carbon footprint, or that Vermont's average is lower than the world's average. I assume that this is on a per captia basis.


Living in a passive solar, PV-powered home certainly helps, along with recycling, etc, though 3 bedrooms with family seems to bump it up.

Shouldn't we be worrying more about peak oil/gas/coal than this warming stuff. After all where I live we have had 2 days of spring weather so far, and it's april. I see Canada and the Northern US are still snowbound.

Yeah, lets wait till summer and then worry about this warming stuff, at least until it is winter again, when we won't have to worry any more.

it's April. Shoulden't the US and Canada be thawing out by now? Scandanavia seems a bit late with spring as well. Spring seems late everywhere.

As I discuss in my Part 3 article today, this is the coldest winter since 2001 worldwide...

Was in the low 20s this morning and this is Arizona!

"Shouldn't we be worrying more about peak oil/gas/coal than this warming stuff."

Please write
"Weather doesn't equal climate.." 500 times, and then clean the chalkboard.

Luckily, we get to worry about BOTH. We don't have to choose.

I suggest s/he also write "The US and Canada does not equal the world..." 500 times after that.

Weather isn't climate, yes, quite so, but this US-and-Canada thing, I dunno. China is a huge landmass too and they had big, well-publicized record-setting problems this year, and that extended on west through Iran. That leaves only the micro-countries of Europe, where, IIRC, on the whole it was warm-ish. Then there's the Southern Hemisphere, but there's precious little land (outside of Antarctica) that has much of a winter (in almost all inhabited places, the average low in the coldest month seems to be over freezing.) So there's no significant sample to go on. No matter what happens in the very, very few inhabited areas that do have real winter, one can always attribute it to a localized effect perhaps caused by a high or a low parking somewhere for a while, which after all does happen now and again.


1) The sea has more say about average global temperature than land mass.

2) Average global temperature is average global temperature. Ignore some cherry picked countries - even if they are big.

3) And what has winter got to do with average global temperature? Winter and summer happen at the same time on this planet.

The people who are scoring lowest are generally the ones contributing least to Peak Fossil Fuels. Conservation helps both causes.


As the price of fuels is asked for in $/euros Im sure that discriminates against europeans. In the Uk we are paying about 20c per kwh for electric and 0.47c per kwh equivalent for gas. Shame it doesnt give you the option of actually putting in usage figures

Yup. I have no idea what electricity costs in the US, or if the calculator even counts on the ever-depreciating dollar value.. Would be better if you could put your actual usage there, not the amount paid for it (I use about 990kWh/year at home).

My score was 165 and carbon output 1.4 tons.

0.47c per kwh equivalent for gas.

Don't know what you meant to type but that's just not right. See UK Gas and Electricity Prices

234! Always knew I was a cheap bastard.

screw that.
i got something against forms that require a zip-code and e-mail, just to let you take a test.

information wants to be free :P

I had a typo in that section.

The score means little (IMHO), I was interested in the tons of carbon (6.7 tons in my case, mostly flying).

I do not compost, but I have little to compost and no need in my neighborhood, do I lost out there,

My score was 2...but I cheated. Had I not cheated my score would have been 7...if I wasn't a liar.

Actually I have printed up a vast number of carbon credits and awarded them to...myself. If I apply a few of my carbon credits my score is a minus number.

Before I am jumped on for my somewhat questionable carbon credits I would like to point out that I am only following the lead of some governments. Besides, Cheney has said that my way of life is not negotiable...He is my roll model. Tomorrow I will take my shotgun and try to scare up a covey of lawyers.

Good hunting !

BTW, isn't it a "swarm" of lawyers ?

Best Hopes for Renewable Resources, Like Lawyers,


I was thinking of quail. Swarm does seem more appropriate for a bunch of lawyers. Maybe 'plague of lawyers' would be even better? Something from the Old Testament seems appropriate.

Best hopes for lawyer repellent in a spray can...

A slime of lawyers?

A deposition of lawyers, maybe?

How about a "murder" of lawyers? They use that for crows.

A "murder" of lawyers, like a murder of crows

I kind of have an issue with the tons of carbon number. How does this determine if you flew 4000 miles on a 100 seat jet or a 500 seat jet? Wouldn't your carbon usage be split among the number of passengers? Determined by the efficiency of the plane?

MY SCORE 161 1
My City 286 10.9
WASHINGTON * 302 11.5
WORLD 339 14.1

The only things I can see that I'm doing to contribute to such a low score are walking to work and living in a tiny little 400 sq foot house (with another person).

Using four people in the house, we're at 223. However, that doesn't give us any credit for all the trees we plant or the charcoal we put in the soil. Our electric use is $66/month, which fits between 50 and $75 so I had to use the higher number. If I use $50 a month it calculates a 216, so the real number is around 220.

The real question - what do we have to get it down to? The answer is something negative. I just hope we're planting enough trees.

RE: Test on Carbon Footprint Scores

My scores: ECP of 501 and carbon output is 26.1 tons per year. Do I win?? B^)

196 hrummph! (mostly thanks to a mate who can skin the white off the rice, and being retired)

misleading considering the fact I produce local food and have carved out a niche of building solar spaces onto existing homes.

267 here, and I was as honest as I could be. I heat primarily with wood that I put up myself from my own woodlot, using a horse for the pulling, so it's basically all renewable. Solar, if you think about it. But there was no entry for wood in the heating question! Oh well. We do have an oil furnace for extra cold times and going away, so I just put in oil. Maybe I should have put in solar.

I would suspect my biggest hit was my truck - I gotta have a pickup truck out here. And where I live means absolutely zero chance of walking/biking/mass-transiting anywhere. Just not gonna happen.

But the exact scores are not as important as at least understanding and thinking about what the variables are - just like with the "footprint" quizzes you can find on the web.

I had a 155, but I live and work underground. No heat requirements

Our final score came to 273. I got dinged two points for washing clothes in warm water, then bitch slapped because of my partner's HEMI V8. :-(



Qld farmers invest in diesel-producing trees

The tree produces an oil that can be extracted, filtered and used to power vehicles and farm machinery. It is estimated a one-hectare crop could produce enough fuel for an average-sized family farm.

No, not a silver bullet but could be enough to keep farmers operating cost cheap, hence keep food prices down.

I got to tell you Anti..

Your posts are the most DOOMERISH ones on the drum.

Coolit would ya!

"If I'm lucky enough to live that long enough - I'm 64 now - it is going to take about 15 to 20 years before they are big enough to harvest the oil so that I can use them in a vehicle," he said.

15 to 20 years! Wow, that is doomerish. And they grow only in the high rainfall areas of the tropics, like Northern Queensland. That means we need to start now clearing the rain forest and planting lots of diesel trees.

Clearing more rain forest, damn this is depressing. Us doomers have so much to worry about. Now Anti has given us more bad news, more rain forest will be destroyed in order to produce a few barrels of diesel.

Ron Patterson

Well that's definitly an interesting article.

I wonder what the extraction process entails... A very intensive extraction process would take away alot of time farmers could otherwise use to... farm.

On the other hand, I imagine the process being similar to extracting the sap from maple trees (i.e. stick a faucet in it) which would be a fairly easy solution, and it would just require the farmer to drive the tractor by in the morning and pour the buckets of oil into the tank.

Honestly, even though farming is a lot of work the work tends to be bunched up.
Preparation and planting, wait and watch, harvest. More work is needed to maintain the livestock year-round, but for farmers that are primarily producing plant products setting aside some land for fuel production is a win even if the processing is fairly intensive.

There are a lot of other things that a farmer can do during the "wait and watch" step.

This last year should have given you a hint-food prices are set by world supply, not farmers operating costs.

The article was fluff piece-didn't even give the name of the tree. Or how the oil is extracted. We have no idea, only assumptions from that writing.

But it did state that growing it was no piece of cake, that germination was difficult, and it required shade. It would do best as an understory among other trees in a mixed plantation. Yet the accompanying photo misleads the reader with a shot of a tractor on nearly barren land.

Floating Turbines

Offshore wind-farm developers would love to build in deep water more than 32 kilometers from shore, where stronger and steadier winds prevail and complaints about marred scenery are less likely. But building foundations to support wind turbines in water deeper than 20 meters is prohibitively expensive. Now, technology developers are stepping up work in floating turbines to make such farms feasible.

Technology Review: Wind Power That Floats

This would seem to bring some prospect of reducing the present disparity between on-shore wind power costs and off-shore, which presently runs at about two to one.

However it should be bourne in mind that the anchoring will not be cheap, and that the longer cables to bring the power shore are also costly.

To offset that though wind is both steadier and more powerful further off-shore, greatly mitigating intermittency issues.

One thing we need to consider is the future need for urban protection from rising, more violent oceans. Anything we can build offshore that can absorb or disperse waves while producing energy will have a double benefit. The owners of oceanfront property will learn to mind the eyesores less than the risk of being washed out.

For our next trick, build it out of wood.

I dunno,

There is alot of resistance to such projects. Prime example, in my neck of the woods, is the Cape Wind project that had been mentioned on this site a few times. After reading up on the details of it, one of the articles made a very good point. When normal people cry NIMBY, the rest of the population can overrule them with great enough need. But in Massachusetts, when the Kennedys cry NIMBY, the government tends to listen.

The point is that high profile objectors can stall these problems regardless of how necesarry they are.

That's one of the advantages of floating turbines - they can be way out of sight of land, so should arouse less opposition.

I am not aware of significant opposition to off-shore turbines in the UK, however the costs are very high.

You don't understand, That's where they sail! :-)

What? They don't know how to tack and jibe? Must be some darn lousy sailors up there ;-)

Not as bad as the driving in Chappaquiddick.

In Israel I bought gas at about $7.00 a gallon today. They have a bus system that picked up and let out people along rural routes and junctions. The roads are not as crowded due to the high price of fuel.

Heard on the hotel cable news (Fox) that Napa Valley vineyards were installing photoelectic systems and that the systems were supposed to pay for themselves in 15 years.

If electricity prices rise they will pay for themselves sooner. Caliofornia offered tax incentives for solar electric systems. The solar electric industry is one of the fastest growing industries in California.


Payback is a red herring when it comes to the cost of solar electric systems because it assumes that the cost of electricity will remain at today's rates for the next 30 years. SunPower Corporation has a residential finance program where qualified homeowners can finance their systems for 25 years. In some states that currently have tax incentives or grants, a new solar electric system can generate positive cash flow from day 1 today.

For a list of current incentives, go to DSIREUSA.org.

Yesterday I posted a link to a story about Haynesville Shale gas. Today, I ran across a similar story in the WSJ about Marcellus Shale. I believe that Marcellus Shale is better known, however.

Gas Producers Rush to Pennsylvania
Promising Results For Wells There Spur Investment

PITTSBURGH -- Natural-gas producers are swarming into Pennsylvania to chase what many are betting could be the next big thing: a thick wedge of gas-bearing rock called the Marcellus Shale.

Information about the potential of the Marcellus gas field has emerged slowly because of Pennsylvania rules that allow companies to keep well-production data and drilling logs confidential for five years, compared with about 60 days in Texas.

This is another area that hopes to compete in size with Barnett Shale. One supposedly conservative estimate of resources 168 trillion cubic feet, made by Terry Engelder, a Pennsylvania State University geosciences professor. The area is having difficulty finding enough drilling rigs and people with experience at this kind of thing.


Could you find the WSJ story on Marcellus shale above that isn't behind a paywall? My search of Google news only finds references to the story in other pubs.

You can read the whole thing for free if you go in through Google News.

If you live in North America that seems to be true, but down under I've never been able to get into any WSJ paywall protected articles, whether I click on Leanan's link or go and do a search myself at Google News.

We could use the WSJ "Email-This" links that are good for 7 days. It probably breaks the terms of service, but I didn't look into that.

I generally send the links to myself and then format an e-mail to many recipients with my comments rather than the WSJ summary.

My family has several hundred acres of land in the Southern Tier of New York. Just recently, a gas outfit purchased an exploration lease from my father. (I think that's the correct type of transaction; please forgive my ignorance of the proper terminology.) I Googled the Marcellus Shale and it looks like our part of NY state is also part of this deposit. The map I used is located here:


Maybe it's nothing, but it seems to me that the exploration extends into NY. What about New York State's laws? Any ideas on public access to drilling / production data?

I once owned land in Otego NY. The title search revealed expired oil and gas drilling rights.

Petrohawk will spud its first horizontal well in April. Neither Chesapeake nor its smaller rivals have released flow rates or other actual well data, although Petrohawk has projected potential reserves of 5 Bcf/well, and analysts are projecting 4-5 Bcf/well for Chesapeake.

These would be very large wells for unconventional gas. Larger than anything I have seen for Barnett. They don't provide drilling cost numbers (but the wells are deep) or flow rates.

This article quotes the Barnette Shales at 0.808 Bcf/well.


Wow. What a spin job in the USA Today:

"What our nation needs is more energy of all kinds, including alternatives. These taxes would move us in the wrong direction by taking away income that could be reinvested in more oil and gas."

"Red Cavaney is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, a national trade association that represents the oil and natural gas industry."

I love the juxtaposition of alternatives with "more oil and gas".

Our tax code is as nebulous as the financial markets, maybe more so. Has there ever been an accurate accounting of exactly how much the oil industry pays in taxes in the US? I wonder what they would pay if they were paying the same rates as your average tech firm?

from the following API presentation http://www.energytomorrow.org/energy_issues/truth_about_oil_gasoline_pri...

it shows on slide 19 that they paid $81.5 Billion in taxes in 2006 with an effective tax rate of 40.7% from slide 20

Slatz, that document illustrates perfectly the spin. No straight numbers, just obfuscation.

On page 17:

"According to publicly available data on the top
27 energy companies tracked by the EIA, the
total current income taxes paid worldwide by
these companies nearly doubled between 2004
and 2006, increasing from $44.8 billion to
$81.5 billion."

They paid $81.5 Billion WORLDWIDE in 'total current income taxes'. They then immediately follow with a paragraph about potential US tax increases. My BS meter pegged. Does the $81.5 number include income taxes paid in countries other than the US? Presumably so, since they said "worldwide".

On the next page, they say:

"An important part of the revenue earned by
U.S. oil and natural gas companies goes to
taxes. U.S. oil and natural gas companies
pay considerably more in taxes than do
manufacturing companies. According to
the U.S. Energy Information Administration,
their 2006 income taxes (both current and
deferred), as a share of net income before income
taxes averaged 40.7 percent, compared to 22.1
percent for U.S. manufacturing companies."

OK. Two problems. They are talking about "current and deferred" taxes in the second paragraph. Meaning they are not actually paying "40.7%". What are they actually paying in dollars to the US? Less than that.

Another point that is conspicuously absent is the OVERALL tax rate. Income taxes are only part of a company's tax burden. Property taxes? Payroll taxes? What is the total tax burden compared to other industries? I think that would look a little different.

A final point would be a comparison of what the lease and severance tax rates are in the US compared to the rest of the world.

RE: Iran Torpedoes US Plans For Iraqi Oil...
Or, Cheney goes back to the drawing board to develop plan B while 5 former Secs Of State meet to call for the next administration to open a dialogue with Iran.

'What has happened is essentially that Iran has frustrated the joint US-British objective of gaining control of Basra, without which the strategy of establishing control over the fabulous oil fields of southern Iraq will not work. Control of Basra is a pre-requisite before American oil majors make their multi-billion investments to kick start large-scale oil production in Iraq. Iraq's Southern Oil Company is headquartered in Basra. Highly strategic installations are concentrated in the region, such as pipeline networks, pumping stations, refineries and loading terminals. The American oil majors will insist on fastening these installations.'

Sounds interesting, River. Have you got a link to the article?

Leanan posted it in the initial stories upthread. RE: meaning that I am referencing Leanans link/story.

Here is the original link from ATOL:


"Iranian who brokered Iraqi peace is on U.S. terrorist watch list....Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who helped U.S.-backed Iraqi leaders negotiate a deal with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to stop the fighting in Iraq's largely Shiite south, is named on U.S. Treasury Department and U.N. Security Council watch lists for alleged involvement in terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear and missile technology"

So what? Probably the majority that post on this site, and many other sites, are on some sort of US Gov watch list. Do you really care? I don't.

Bush/Cheney and all their neo con pals should be on a watch list of lunatics that are not incarcerated in asylums...

It's just the irony of an Iranian, on a "terror watch list" brokering this peace (well, "peace", not for very long I guess)why I posted that.

And yes, I would care to be on the neocon terrorists "terrorist watch list" (This comment probably gets me there)

PaulusP, with all respect to you, I do not believe that we should be cowed by a bunch of lunatics that have temporarily taken over the asylum. If we show weakness by allowing the scum to destroy all our freedoms, including free speach, we are doomed to a life of cowardice. The morons in charge are incompetent thieves...why should citizens be afraid of these idealistic draft dodging fools? Sure they can kill some of us, but if we stand together they haven't got a chance of success.

I realize this might sound corny, but the old saying 'a brave person dies but once, a coward dies a thousand deaths', is true. They might march us off to some detention camp but we can still say what we believe to be truth untill that time. Don't let the SOBs get you down.

rant off

rant off

Good rant!

Exactly. The only way they can win is if they convince us we can't.

Actually, "they" can win simply by convincing us that we need them to do our dirty work for us. "They" will sell us on the notion that they have solutions to our pressing needs when TSHTF, so we will blindly give them permission to take away our freedoms. All it would take would be a situation like the Depression, where unemployment hit 25% or so. Starving people will certainly follow the loud mouths that offer them a way to survive. That's what old Adolph did in Germany and I would expect that the folks at Black Water would jump at the chance to run things in the U.S. of A. For all I know, they are already doing so, working behind the scenes. The old Cold Warriors didn't just hang up their badges and go into retirement.

Inside the Black Budget

E. Swanson

I agree completely.

When people realise that they were ripped off by "Them!", they might find themselves already so deep in the shit that they can't do anything anymore, even if they wanted to.
And even if they managed to get rid of the plundering elites, I'd say, there's a great probability that they will be replaced by people who are just as bad.
(Not that I think, we shouldn't excise the parasitic tumor that is in charge now.)

(And by the way, it's Adolf, with "F". Sorry for the nitpicking, but this mistake is so common, I cannot bear it anymore.)

'Any who relenquish their freedoms for the promise of security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

gaining control of Basra, without which the strategy of establishing control over the fabulous oil fields of southern Iraq will not work.

Highly strategic installations are concentrated in the region, such as pipeline networks, pumping stations, refineries and loading terminals

River I think that was a really good find and maybe a very significan angle.

Wonder if that pipeline from Basra to Saudi Arabia has any flowing?

Whatta think?

Gasoline-powered cars are driving humanity to the end of the oil age, leaving electric vehicles as the best weapon against global warming.

Peak oil is the end of the internal combustion engine (which wastes 90% of energy as heat), but we will not have electric cars in big numbers simply because our #1 job is to get rid of our coal fired power plants first and as fast as possible - before we can think of anything else.

We can expect some nasty climate change events in the next years which will teach us this lesson. We don't know what this event will be but it could be caused by the disappearance of the Arctic summer sea ice or by ice shelves in the Antarctic collpasing at such a speed that ice sheets become instable and start tumbling into the ocean with immediate sea level rises.

James Hansen: "......And over the next 25-30 years we are going to have to phase out those [coal fired power plants] that exist. And this is going to become very clear within the next several years......Once the government really understands how serious the problem is these plants are going to have to go....."

So forget about electric cars recharged by electricity from coal fired power plants.

The liquids crisis peak oil - together with global warming - will trigger a clean primary energy crisis of the 1st order.

It will be feasible to convert compacts and subcompacts into what are essentially NEVs with maybe a 20 mile range (or less, if the owner can only afford a few lead-acid batteries), and <35-40 mph max speed. These can be recharged with a PV pannel. This will be the future of individual automobile ownership for most people in the next 5-15 years. Purpose-built new NEVs will be produced in quantity, and some people with middle-class jobs and incomes will be able to afford them. These too can be recharged with a PV pannel. Employers will set up PV-powered metered recharging stations in their parking lots once a significant percentage of their employees are driving EVs.

This is all transitional. I have my doubts as to how sustainable even this is on a long-term basis. But it could describe the future for most of what is left of our lifetimes.

There are numerous conversions working at highway speeds, and getting better ranges than this, too.
Here's a Gallery from the SanFran EV site.. http://sfeva.org/wiki/EV_Gallery

..And then the factory-built EV's

" The RAV4-EV, for example, a small SUV, can be measured on any day to hold at most 28 kWh. On that power, it goes 80 miles at 80 mph (high wind resistance), 100 miles at 65 mph, 120 miles at 55 mph, and up to 150 miles at 35 mph. Thus, from 3 miles per kWh up to 6 miles per kWh. The EV1, much more aerodynamic, went 4 to 6 miles per kWh..."

"...RAV4-EV plug-in EV (74,000 miles, 4 years so far) charging directly from our solar rooftop array. Usually, we charge off-peak, and this valuable daytime peak power is donated to the grid; but we can charge right from the solar panels!"


In that article is this quote:

"...An increase in electric vehicles would be expected to put more demands on electric utilities and power grids, but Kendall noted that a recent impact assessment of plug-in hybrid vehicles in the U.S. concluded that power companies already had enough energy to charge 84 per cent of cars in the country, driving an average of 53 kilometres per day..."

This is quite an eye-opener. I guess this is because most cars will be charged at night when electricity demand is currently at its lowest, therefore the US/Detroit already has an answer at hand once the nettle is grasped.

Assuming that Nations with a high current % penetration of personal vehicles transition to Electric vehicles (PHEVs and pure Electrics) over the next 20 years we can dramatically reduce oil demand and increase electrical some small amount using coal / LNG / nuclear / wind / solar /etc. If we have to phase out coal and if natural gas / LNG start to decline then the problem gets more serious and we would have to ramp up LNG / nuclear / wind / solar much faster to 'fill the gap'.

I think the main issues will result from the 'pinch points' (read increasingly shortly spaced recessions) that will likely emerge in the next two transitional decades...

Buy a PHEV, get a fixed rate mortgage or ideally pay it off, invest in some inflation proof assets like Gold, Energy, Infastructure plays, expect and prepare for less overall dicretional spending power amongst the masses...

The end of the dark tunnel could be indicated by a 'Black Swan' Energy event like a succesful test firing of Buzzards Inertial Electrostatic Fusion (should know soon), efficiency breakthroughs in thin film, nanotech, biotech, etc, etc. I'm not writing us off just yet.


Yah, you'll just have to get the electric cars and trains that can be powered by Concentrated Solar, PV, Hydro, Wind, Tide, Geothermal.

In the meantime, however, I'm sure you've seen the posts that propose that even coal-fired electric>to> EV has a better carbon footprint than an ICE. Is there some part of 'Less Carbon' in this scheme that you disagree with?

DISCLAIMER: Yes, we'll need to do what we do with Far Fewer vehicles on the roads, Far Fewer miles to work for pretty much everyone, Much more Mass Transit in place of the Once-and-Future SUV, and far less net energy available to each of us. But to get there, we have to take steps in that direction.


I am skeptical about CO2 capture, but where the heck is the national discussion of coal plant cogeneration? In an emergency situation where we can't shut down the coal plants, we should at least put their waste heat to as many uses as humanly possible.

Pretty difficult to do for a heavily polluting coal plant, I would have thought. I would not fancy having one in the middle of my city.

You could certainly do it with a nuclear plant though, and the underground siting you would want would provide additional security.
This would also effectively eliminate the problem of the release of heated water to rivers.

Build costs for the water pipes aside, you would than have virtually free hot water and heating.

Sounds like a great idea, but, the energy isn't "free". There's no "waste heat" from a thermal/electric plant. When some energy is removed from the cycle in the form of water at higher temperatures than the environment, the amount of electricity produced is reduced. That's because the steam cycle efficiency is a function of the temperature of the "heat sink" which is used to condense the steam as it exits the turbine.

The loss in efficiency may turn out to be the desirable choice if the thermal energy taken out of the cycle is used instead of electric resistance heating at the point of use. At temperate latitudes in winter, a heat pump driven by electricity may be the better choice, while at higher latitudes, the district heating might be cheaper. Thus, a determination can only be made after careful calculation including the demand side as well as the supply side of the equation.

E. Swanson

Thanks for straightening me out on that one.

Heat pumps are not cheap though, and you would also reduce the issue of heated water entering the environment, so it might be a good option in areas of high water stress.

Another critical parameter would presumably be the density of housing, as it is a great deal easier to build district heating systems for high density houses.

Many European cities already do this, and additionally it enables them to make use of heat from burning waste etc.

Short of a massive increase in urban density in the States it seems unlikely to be practical there.

I wonder if you would put some ball-park figures on this?

If you assume that a nuclear plant currently has a thermal efficiency of 33%, if you wanted to provide hot water at 65degrees, how much would you reduce your electricity supply by?

Assuming a closed loop system (hot water or steam out to city, warmish water back in), it depends upon the return water temperature. Assuming no effort to retain heat on the return line, not much difference.

I am assuming low grade heat is extracted downstream of the turbine, and the city serves as an extended radiator for part of the heat transfer.

Relatively large flows will be required, with associated pumping energy, if low grade heat is extracted.

Best Hopes,


Thanks Alan - useful to know.

As for prospects for this sort of solution in Europe, quite a few cities in places like the Netherlands already supply hot water to houses in a piped system, but heated by natural gas and so on, with some inputs from renewables.

In those areas it would seem rather easy if NG supply reaches crisis point to build a reactor and supply power, and of course the point of doing that is that you would have greatly reduced capital costs, so you could power your society with relatively few reactors.

France though is pretty well set to go the air heat pump route, with a large input from residential solar thermal.

I suspect that that would be a better solution for Britain too, as much housing is not so dense as on the continent and there is no infrastructure installed for sending hot water to homes.

I think you have it backwards.
There is free energy to heat the city.
And the city is a free way to sink heat from the electric plant.
The improved heat sink improves the efficiency of the plant.

The alternative would be that a really crappy heat sink is
required to improve the efficiency of the plant.

But then why would they build those huge cooling towers?

More info on cogeneration. BTW, I work at a cogeneration facility at a large state university.


I don't think geothermal is suitable for CHP:

A German town is subsiding after authorities drilled underground to harness "green" energy.

Staufen, in the Black Forest, was proud of its innovative geothermal power plan that was supposed to provide environmentally-friendly heating.

But only two weeks after contractors drilled down 460ft to extract heat, large cracks have appeared in buildings as the town centre has subsided about a third of an inch (8mm).


That is not to say that geothermal energy is not a good bet for rural locations, of course, but you don't want to be doing it under cities, and you can't transport hot water too far.

Concerning the link up top: Shell CEO: Easy-to-produce oil, gas to peak in next decade

Question: Where is the cutoff between "easy to produce oil" and "hard to produce oil?" We all know that on shore oil is easy oil and even oil that can be drilled from jack up rigs and produced from platforms that sit on the shallow ocean bottom is easy oil. And oil sands oil is hard to produce oil. But what about deep water oil?

If drilling required a drill ship instead of a jack up rig and the platform must be a floating tethered platform, would that be "hard to produce oil? I know all the oil in the Persian Gulf is produced from platforms that sit on the ocean floor but I am unsure about West Africa oil. And how much of the GOM oil is produced from tethered platforms? Is that "hard to produce oil?" I would imagine so since I heard on CNBC this morning that production from such deep water wells cost about $70 a barrel to produce.

I am trying to figure out how much of the oil produced today is easy oil verses hard to produce oil. I really don't think easy oil will peak in the next decade, I think it already peaked in this decade.

Ron Patterson

It's all a matter of definition off course, but to me easy to produce oil is light sweet that can be produced without applying secondary and/or tertiary recovery techniques. Low cost, easy to refine oil. That peaked last century.

At least Jeroen now openly talks PO.

BP's Thunderhorse has had it's first production pushed back again, now to Nov 08. Is this the result of poorer tech initially used--realizing that many of the woes couldn't be predicted after feeder pipes sitting on the seafloor empty so long--or does it forewarn even greater problems in getting Brazil's deeper Tupi field online?

Maybe UK is saving some oil for later, as an afterthought.

Thinking of CTL for 'defence', one thing is for sure no one will be invading anyone using electric vehicles in the near future.

One thing that keeps bugging me though is demand destruction.
This would allow for a 'last country driving' possibility.
There's up to 75% of world's oil production spare for 'demand destruction' to make oil available to the U.S.

I think that at the Congressional hearings yesterday, the implication was that 'Hard-to-reach' oil would commence after the Tax-breaks get repealed..

Interesting how the financial stocks, among others, made some big gains yesterday on Wall St. At the same time precious metals are taking it on the chin. What is causing these perturbations?

A Conspiracy Against Gold
Chan Akya

'The global conspiracy against gold has been gathering steam, with central banks rallying around the US Federal Reserve to prevent a full-scale economic collapse. This will succeed over the near term, but as the US runs out of things to sell, so will the latest bout of risk-taking in global markets.'...snip...

'Into this vacuum, investors globally found that the sole store of purchasing power was something of value that central bankers couldn't manipulate for their own dirty ends, namely gold. That created a huge problem of sorts for the global economy, because a collapse of faith in fiat currencies - so called because their value rests entirely on a stated nominal denomination rather than any notion of intrinsic purchasing power - also means the unwinding of the global financial system. Simple translation: these central bankers would no longer have any power through their inane market policies to wreak destruction willy-nilly.'...snip...


But you have to admit that Gold has had a fantastic run and was starting to look a bit 'frothy'. Demand has droppped through the floor in consuming Nations and since Gold is treated increasingly like a stock via ETFs I think we can expect to see some stomach churning action. Same for a lot of other commodities. As an investor the ideal commodity post peak oil would be one that is used widely, is highly price inelastic and takes a lot of energy to produce. The value of this commodity is going to go through the roof. I guess Oil fits the bill nicely!

The long term trend is favourable though. The Yuan is going higher, the Dollar lower, Inflation is going to make a return -the only question being by how much?


Gold is real, fiat paper is fiat paper. I did not sell any gold, even when it went over $1K per oz. I will not trade gold for potentially bad toilet paper. Other items that I might need, yes. But not for dollars that I do not need, I have enough dollars already and, BTW, I am not trading dollars for financial equities, either.

Now that the US Gov is directly backing the financial system, financial equities should have a good run. But nothing is as good as gold in the long run.

I like oil but its difficult to physically hold oil. I don't see an upside limit in oil priced in dollars. But when dollars will no longer purchase oil, gold will.

BTW, these are my personal opinions, your milage might vary.

Hey River, can I has some of your dollars plz? ^_^

Hello River,

Good points, but may I suggest again that I-NPK and other biosolar mission-critical items such as seeds, bicycles, etc, due to the inherent built in future-potential, may be of greater postPeak value than Precious Metals [PM]? The inherent energy potential of NPK to foster food will be a paramount concern,IMO.

Smuggling, stealing, or hoarding PM or concentrated fuels is much easier than bulkier grains or I-NPK. Recall the photos of Nigerians stealing fuel quite readily from pipelines until a spark occurs. Thus, IMO, it only makes sense that govts are heading for tight ELEMENTAL control of sulphur, potassium, and phosphorus as the next control chokepoint. Recall that Gazprom is seeking a Sevenfold increase in sulphur pricing, and the increasing legal restrictions of I-NPK fertilizer ownership in the US.

EDIT: In summation: I would expect at some point that there will be more concern to post snipers guarding foodstuff, seed, and I-NPK warehouses than concern for protecting Ft. Knox [which may be already empty anyway].

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

A Conspiracy Against Gold

I have the strong impression (market experts on the list can shoot me down if this is off-base) that it is easier for futures traders to bid down a price for an extended period than it is for them to bid the price up. One past piece of evidence was the mythical crude oil 'glut' of 1998-99 which Matthew Simmons demonstrated didn't really exist.

Precious metal mavens might be familiar with Ted Butler's rants on the manipulation of silver prices, and I'm sure there are other examples.

In fact, it seems to me that the market is generally oriented toward keeping prices as low as possible and this tendency is reflected in how rules governing futures trading are formulated to favor shorts over longs. This way of doing things makes sense to the classical economist who sees the development and marketing of any resource as a process of initial 'high' price because of initial development, leading to lower and lower prices over the long run.

The trouble is, this is the principle on which our whole economy is built. We are basically 'shorting' the Earth's resource base by massive selling of futures to keep the prices down. Now physical shortages are catching up with us. The classical economists are waving their arms and recommending even more shorting as a solution, after perhaps another phase of development and infrastructure build up.

Shorting is basically selling what you don't have, with the expectation of getting it later at a cheaper price than current market. In strict moral terms, it is completely dishonest and yet the market favor this over 'longing' which is considered 'hoarding' and therefore morally reprehensible.

This all ties in to Nate Hagen's analyses of discounting the future and other such views on how we value the prospect of future shortages. A sea change in attitudes is necessary, but we have a long way to go.

Hi ET, thanks for responding. I believe that the thrust of the article was to demonstrate that western governments cannot let people and institutions flock into precious metals and other commodities. To allow such a flight to the safety of commodities would destroy fiat based financial systems...But, if an individual or institution does not care to participate in the hectic world of commodities trading they can opt to hold physical metals.

If the purchase of metals are made over a lifetime, with no or little regard for the value of the currency that they are being bought with, then a permanent 'inflation bridge' will be constructed. That is my motivation and what I have attempted to accomplish. I realized at a fairly early age that fiat currencies were based on little but the whims of governments and bankers.

My wife and I are not very wealthy but we own some properties and some metals and some dollars. We have worked hard to avoid debt. We have been and continue to be frugal, living on a small part of income and investing the rest. I do not consider our life style as 'hoarding'...we are thrifty. In the past, when we were young, thrifty was a good thing, our parents told us all about the great depression and we experienced some some of it in our youth...Now, consumerisim seems to be in vogue and we hear that a slowdown in consumer spending is going to hurt the economy and that not spending more than one makes is almost unAmerican. Well, so be it. I do not believe that a consumer economy on a finite planet is worth saving. Fiat money will make debt slaves out of all that play the game. Precious metals are not a part of that game.

'A secondary and perhaps more lethal result of investors flocking to a fixed-value currency like gold would be to reduce the velocity of the global financial system to essentially zero as gold doesn't lend itself to value manipulation.

In the finance-based economy of the US and Britain, if not the rest of Europe, this collapse in monetary system velocity would be the equivalent of a thousand bank runs: simultaneously. This was the key stake that the US was playing for, ie to avoid a complete destruction of risk-taking in the economy that would in turn paralyze the unreal economy of excessive consumption that underpinned it.'

Sounds like you and your mate are on the same page as us. No debt, some hard earned real wealth along with a non-consumerist lifestyle. What some consider hoarding, we consider conservationist.

New engine delivers 27% saving on Fuel -makes a 2 litre seem like a 4 litre.


(27% represents 6 years of decline @ 4% per year...)


Sounds like yet another Popular Mechanics 'flying car' story. I wonder if Lucas Electric is making the circuitry for this engine? Lucas was infamous for their Brit Motorcycle electrical systems, so much so that a joke among motorcyclists was: 'Do you know why the Brits drink warm beer?' Answer: 'Because Lucas makes their refrigerators too.'

A shorter version: 'Dipped in glue and rolled in parts.'

They also called Lucas "The Prince of Darkness" because of electric failures.

Yeah, they sure did, and lots of names that I cannot repeat here. I had a '68 TR6C, and two mid 60s Bonnies and a 74 Norton Commando. Fortunately some interprising sole came up with a regulator box to replace the rediculous Lucas diode.

Mr Honda had no problem leaving the Britt Bike biz in the dust and a large part of the credit goes to Lucas. Did you ever try to start a '75 Norton with the electric starter? It would work if the engine was warm but forget it on a cool morning.

A friend of mine had a MGB which had the typical Brit sports car behaviour of dieseling after shutting off the ignition. This led to the joke that the British Empire would never end because after turning off the ignition it would just keep right on running.

Hah! Of course, who needs electronics?

There was a similair improvement back in the 90's from an engine that had a bigger spark and swirled the combustion in a vortex. More complete and faster combustion. I have a paper reference from Electronics World - but no URL. The engine improved in all parameters.

UK+US research, funded by GM who then sat on the development data. The only downside I can think of was heat management/bearings as it ran very fast [think race-bike revs].

High revs + roller bearing rod and crank journals = oil changes every 1,000 miles. Oil still looks like new but it's ability to lubricate is gone.

Laverda and some other Italian bike makers found this out in the early 80s with their racing programs.

Possibly linked before
Singapore-listed shipyard Cosco Corp has begun quoting new sales contracts in Chinese yuan to reduce the impact of any further decline in the U.S. dollar

The U.N.'s World Food Program is struggling as costs of food and fuel skyrocket while the numbers of people needing help surge across the globe. Millions are in danger.

Analyst Predicts Corn Rationing in 2008

I just wonder if there will be a new "Peak Oil Update" anytime soon ... when will new production data be publicly available?

You might want to check out my latest market outlook piece, in which I review the demand & price picture for oil, gasoline, natural gas, coal, electricity, and renewables, and some investing angles on each:
Market Outlook Part 2: Energy

Thanks for the link! Very interesting.

Glad you liked it, Puntaldia. I just published part 3: Market Outlook Part 3: The Bread Also Rises -
Energy, Weather and Higher Food Prices

Weekly Inventory Data

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve) increased by 7.4 million barrels from the previous week. At
319.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper half of the
average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased
by 4.5 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average
range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components
inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.6
million barrels, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time
of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.5 million barrels last
week. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 1.5 million barrels
last week, and are in the upper half of the average range for this
time of year.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 10.3 million barrels per day last week, up
nearly 1.4 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four
weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 9.8 million barrels per day,
486,000 barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor
gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending
components) last week averaged 944,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports
averaged 322,000 barrels per day last week.

Crude much higher than expected, but gas and distillates fell....

Oil edges higher on mixed supply report

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices edged higher Wednesday after a government report showed crude supplies jumped in the latest week, but gasoline and distillate inventories fell.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose 12 cents to $101.10 a barrel. Oil prices had been narrowly higher immediately before the report's release Wednesday morning.

Yes, with refinery ultilization at 82.4% and distilate production flat. Methinks more unhappy truckers.

The current refinery utilization number is several percentage points below what we have seen at the end of March in prior years. I think that what we are seeing is a partial strike by the refiners. They need: (1) lower crude oil prices and/or (2) higher product prices.

As I said in my September, 2007 post, I think that the crude oil inventory number is a misleading number. IMO, these refiners are caught in a squeeze between higher crude oil prices--the result of a importers bidding for declining oil exports--and the volume of product that consumers can and will buy at a price high enough to support buying high priced crude.

Think of it this way. Assume a small refiner in Africa, that only serves a local market. While there is a small minority of wealthy people who can pay almost any price for refined products, the aggregate demand falls sharply as the price of imported crude rises. So, what does the refinery in Africa do? They curtail their utilization rate, or even shut down. So, what happens as forced energy conservation moves up the food chain?

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

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

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

Jeff, inventories could trend up while both exports and production trend down. This would be because of demand destruction caused by record high prices. Rich countries, like the US, will be the last to show serious inventory decline because we can afford to pay higher prices while other much poorer nations cannot.

Ron Patterson

My point in the September piece is that the five year US crude inventory numbers just reflect minor variations in inventories in excess of the Minimum Operating Level (MOL), since the industry has clearly gone to a Just In Time inventory system. Currently, we probably have about 85 hours of crude oil supply in excess of MOL.

Regarding aggregate US product demand, let's assume a continuum, from Bill Sixpack, making say $30,000 or so for a family of four (and who can probably no longer afford to buy a sixpack of beer) on one end and Bill Gates on the other end. And let's further assume a geometric progression in product prices per gallon: $2, $4, $8, $16. At each doubling the volume of product that Americans can and will buy declines.

BTW, some interesting Russian numbers from my Wall Street source (no link). As I have previously noted, when an exporting country starts showing lower production, the resulting net export decline tends to accelerate with time. Russian exports increased from February, because of a big increase in export duties in April, but year over year, gross Russian exports are down 3.9%.

Russian Oil Output Falls 1.3% in March
2008-04-02 05:28 (New York)
By Torrey Clark

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Russia, the world's second-largest
supplier of crude, produced 1.3 percent less oil in March than a
year earlier as output continued to fall at OAO Lukoil, OAO
Surgutneftegaz and at Exxon Mobil Corp.'s Sakhalin-1 project.

Production dropped to 9.76 million barrels a day (41.3
million tons) last month from 9.89 million barrels a day in March
2007, according to data released late yesterday by CDU TEK, the
dispatch center for the Energy Ministry in Moscow. Compared with
February, production fell 0.3 percent. . . . Exports
fell 3.9 percent compared with March last year. . .

I never understood Just-In-Time (JIT) practices. The Japanese fought the Battle for Guadalcanal with a JIT philosophy. We, on the other hand, put so much overwheming effort into the battle that Japanese Army units survived by living off of USMC rations, that were easily available in large numbers, lying about. Reference: John Toland's book, "The Rising Sun".

Ironically, in the 1980s the USN (the winner at Guadalcanal) adapted the JIT philosophy (as did most US businesses) as a sound business practice. Heck, most companies pay insurance premiums without complaint... what's the problem with using excess inventory as insurance against supply disruptions?

what's the problem with using excess inventory as insurance against supply disruptions?

Under most normal conditions, holding inventory costs money. To cover the inventory you either have to borrow money and pay interest, or else forgo some possibly more productive use of the money. And, apparently, many businesses simply do not care about supply disruptions, those are the customer's problem - just look at the airlines, which are one continuous and gigantic supply disruption but apparently lose few customers (and no money on non-refundable tickets) over it.

In most local jurisdictions, you get socked with property taxes on inventory. So when tax time comes around you either hold a fire sale, or else pay through the nose. Easier, simpler, and less costly to just not hold the inventory in the first place.

If your business is of any significant size, you have to keep the books and pay taxes on the accrual method (rather than the cash method.) That usually means you must pay business income tax on the inventory as if it were already sold at full price, the moment you acquire or produce the inventory. (This is why you couldn't get out-of-print books or music from publishers until the computer kiosks came along - even though it costs almost nothing to print or press a modest overrun, the tax consequences are horrendous.) Now, you can write off the inventory down the road and get the tax back, but in the meantime you have to front the money.

So you can thank your ever-voracious Federal, State, and local gov'ts for some major pieces of the puzzle. One way or another, all those stadiums, nonbank bank bailouts, flood bailouts, ethanol subsidies, and so on, ultimately have to be paid for.

It's a screwy system.

It's a screwy system.

I think that the refiners have let the inventories fall (since the Eighties) because they have the SPR as a backup. From my September, 2007 article:

First, the industry has clearly gone to a Just In Time inventory system. In the Eighties, the industry maintained much higher crude oil inventories, especially in terms of Days of Supply, which have fallen to about 21 Days of Supply currently, from about 29 Days of Supply in September, 1982.

Second, we need to evaluate crude oil inventories based on Days of Supply in excess of Minimum Operating Level (MOL). In the US, the MOL for crude oil is probably about 270 million barrels (mb). At about 322 mb, US crude oil inventories are probably best characterized by Hours of Supply in excess of MOL (about 80 hours). In my opinion, recent fluctuations in US crude oil inventories merely reflect minor changes in a thin margin of supply in excess of MOL.

But the SPR is for national emergencies and takes several days to get flowing. Also, I'm not even sure what extraction rates are practical from the SPR... can you take out a full day's worth (for the nation) within one day's time?

The assumption is that we only have to deal with a temporary disruption in a portion of our imported oil supplies. If one anticipates a supply disruption, one might expect to see a move to fill the SPR to current capacity, which come to think of it, is what the Bush administration is doing--should be finished by about 30 days before the November elections.

You know, I was wondering about this earlier today as I read the EIA report. Total stocks excluding the SPR are down 1.2 million barrels from a year ago. But total stocks including the SPR are unchanged from a year ago. That would seem to validate your theory.

The UK Min of Defence (MOD) went to a JIT System.

Just before Iraq two, they held off placing orders for desert kit, flak jackets etc.

They reckoned that the informatuion would leak out that the UK was prepping up and at the time, Bliar and co. had not fully suckered the UK Pop and Parliament into the WMD scam.

Orders were placed late, troops went in without kit in many circumstances.

One heartbreakingly tragic case was that of a sergeant who was sent a flak jacket by his wife (she bought it herself). As he was a tank comander he was ordered to give it to troops associated with his unit, but not in a tank.

He was shot and killed while outside the tank. The Jacket would have saved his life.

I wonder if the Management Consultants who smarmed JIT into the MOD and trousered the cash in fees ever felt a pang of guilt.

I doubt it.

Anyway, wait till we get a pandemic and see how JIT stocking of face masks made in China works for the west...



And no, the Minister of Defence did not resign....

The article never mentions that his armor was purchased and sent to him by his wife. I'd like to see authentication of that bit, as it would be the important part.

I doubt the military would take his personal effects from him, otherwise US military outfitters such as Brigade Quartermasters wouldn't see so much business (assuming the US would do the same as the UK, which the UK does for the US...).

We go to war with the army we have, it's a fact, not a regret. Of course we're in an occupation, so the entire theory is flawed.

We go to war with the Cost/Benefit Analysis we have.

It's nothing personal, it's just business.

Underlying all of this is your ELM. WT, it 'walks like a duck' to me.

OTW it would seem that a 7.4 increase would be pretty bearish. The talking heads have been saying in the last week that such a report would herald a return to $90 oil but after repeated assaults $100 still holds.

Seems it would only take a few large refiners to automatically kick in (be buyers) at that bid to establish the new price floor. Given that they are squeezed on spread as far as they can go they know they will be producing product that is at least as expensive as it is today or as you say they can always close up shop. ($100 oil in the tanks)

With currencies doing what they are probably China can afford to set on a $100 bid all day and continue to squeeze their refiners with fixed fuel costs. I wonder what their ultilization rate is? Probably similar? In effect that fact alone would tend to put a lid on the pot of crude price leaving most of the potential on the up side. If this were poker I think somebody just said 'call' and now we get to see who can still stay in the game.

Hello WT,

Suggestion: You or Khebab will need to keep track of refinery closings as time goes on, then have an adjustment factor for this.

Brief example: 100 refineries at 90% utilization eventually becomes 80 refineries at 90% utilization, then 60 refineries at 90% utilization, and so on as ELM hammers home.

here's my colleague's commentary on the truckers' rebellion


i would note that as has been posted on TOD, there were HUGE UK/France petrol protests by truckers which actually amounted to a damn, several years back...

IIRC they caused quite a lot of disruption and controversy over there but in the end their fuel costs and other expenses are about the same as if they had never bothered. So I guess that here in the USA, they'll just have to raise their rates, or, if they can't, then that proves they're redundant and that, like it or not, some will have to find another line of work...

US Oil Use, Last Week vs. Same Week Last Year

I use this to measure short term elasticity of demand

Finished Motor Gasoline... 9,162... 9,164... 0.0
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel..... 1,613... . 1,556 ... +3.7
Distillate Fuel Oil............. .. 4,205... 4,338... -3.1
Residual Fuel Oil................. . 612....... 769... -20.4
Propane/Propylene.............. 1,372.... 1,307... +5.0
Other Oils............................ .3,319... 3,422.... -3.0

Total Products Supplied...... 20,283... 20,556... -1.3

Not Much Hope,


Alan, Easter falls on different days each year. I imagine there was some extra demand for gasoline the past week for easter travel. Easter was on April 8th last year. Watch the gasoline demand for that week, I would guess it would be down.

Best hopes for Easter being the same day every year?


Last time I checked (last week ?), y-o-y US gasoline demand was down -0.3%

The price elasticity of demand for gasoline in the USA is dismally low. I expected a minimum of -1.x% y-o-y.


Tim Haab has a discussion of gasoline price elasticity here.

Population is probably up about 1%, gas prices about 21%, year-on-year; and elasticity (from Haab) might be 0.1 . So estimate consumption as down 2% due to price, up 1% due to population. Since it's down only 0.3%, that makes the population-corrected drop 1.3%, elasticity 0.06 instead of 0.1, according to this single data point. Considering Haab's and other discussions of elasticity guesstimates, there's no huge surprise in this. And I haven't considered the simple fact that as the population expands, so too does the physical size of towns and cities, adding even more driving.

Oh, and on an anecdotal basis, I recall - with no fondness - riding three hours in a car to go five miles outbound from London, on a route involving the Great West. So even sky high petrol taxes and monumental congestion only deter driving somewhat, given the awfulness of the alternatives. Only God knows whether the wrong kind of leaves were falling on the rail line notwithstanding that it was springtime, or whether there was a labor slowdown or railcar shortage or "engineering works", or whether there was even a suitable rail line at all.

"The price elasticity of demand for gasoline in the USA is dismally low"

maybe the demand for gasoline is not so much elastic as it is compressible.


The price of gas is so ridiculously low in the US that IMHO it will have to increase substantially to reduce demand in any significant way.

Did you adjust for population growth, though? If not, recalculating on a per-capita basis might result in a greater decrease.

Unfortunately, oil exporters do not care what our capita is.

Yes, we have some hidden elasticity, perhaps useful in projecting what the demand response will be when gasoline doubles in price in a few months.

But from a national survival POV, the results are dismal.


You're bieng too hasty. The price elasticity of oil will be low in the short term. People still have to get to work and heat their holmes. In time though they will buy more fuel efficiant cars and abandon oil fired heating for other sources(heat pumps?). Then reduction will be dramatic. Though if your population is increasing by 1% a year it will be an uphil job.

No, I am not.

The medium and long term elasticity of demand will be higher than the short term response, BUT Peak Oil & ELM will hit harder and faster than it takes for buying more economic cars (it ain't happening yet in any significant way). more efficient heat, etc.

The default option for reducing US oil demand will no doubt be used if all else fails in reducing demand. Reduced economic activity works EVERY time.

Unemployed, repossessed people use far less oil.

Not much hope for a robust US economy post-Peak Oil,


BUT Peak Oil & ELM will hit harder and faster than it takes for buying more economic cars (it ain't happening yet in any significant way). more efficient heat, etc.

This is it in a nutshell. The oil is not coming at a price most can afford. But that will not prevent the hanging on until ,one by one, 'prosperity' is wrested away. The marginal and overleveraged consumer is, as we have said before, the 3rd world situation among us. Yesterday we noted again how the Joe Sixpack economic chokehold will chew up through this bountiful facade like a hot knife through butter. Right passed the median income level and throughout the 'middle class' As per my training ..resembling fire.

Solutions will be ad hoc, mitigative, defensive at best. At worst economic 'control burns' (such as taxpayer bailouts to lending institutions) will get away and alignment of conditions (like 'essentials'inflation, unemployment, and sector collapse) will overwhelm suppression efforts.

I hope that we throw our last bit of economic muscle (small but potent) for rail ,gardening, and bike sized transport. And that recognition comes quickly. (The beauty of ELP=pre-emption)

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is the failure to understand...

Exactly, at some price point everyone who can take public transit will take it. People will pack into car pools and year of year consumption should drop.

Strong hopes for a robust US economy.

at some price point everyone who can take public transit will take it. People will pack into car pools and year of year consumption should drop.

Care to speculate ?

$9/gallon, or $15/gallon ?

My estimation is that 9% unemployment will kick in as a significant demand suppressor before $9 gas does :-(

Best Hopes for Americans taking voluntary action,


You seem well-read, intelligent, and insightful, Alan ... so do you really think there's any chance in hell of Americans taking voluntary action? Involuntary, sure, coerced, definitely, but voluntary?

When the effects of TSHTF cannot be ignored, panic will set in. And when panicked, yes Americans will change "voluntarily".

I am trying to pre-position good mitigation strategies before panic.

And not every political leadership in US history is as bad as the current set.

Best Hopes for Directed panic,


Ok, "directed panic", I like that.

My gut level guess is that $5/gal will be a tipping point where we start to see significant car pooling. Not everyone, of course, but it will make the cover of Time Magazine and be featured on the evening news. Also lots of articles about "How to get along in a car pool with people you don't really like".

$10/gal is the next tipping point where you start seeing really crowded urban mass transit systems during rush hour - and start seeing lots of letters to the editors, petitions, and protests in front of city hall because there isn't enough/any mass transit.

I won't speculate where the tipping point is for mobs burning down city hall because there isn't enough/any mass transit, but there probably is one somewhere out there!

There is little significant car sharing in the UK with gas at $8/gal, although we perhaps do rather less mileage on average than in the States.

Most people, although not all, do drive smaller cars.

Carpooling is essentially a stop-gap measure. Because gasoline has long been relatively expensive in the UK, people have adapted. Public transit is much better, and those who choose to use private cars, or must use them, have small efficient ones.

Many North Americans will not have these easy options. Replacing a fleet of gas-guzzlers with European-style cars cannot be done overnight -- it would be prohibitably expensive. It WILL be done, but it will take time. The same goes for upgraded transit.

Car-pooling is the least satisfactory way of cutting commuting costs, but it is the easiest to implement on a short-term basis.

Car pooling is not ideal and people don't like it, but they WILL do it if they have to. I was in a car pool myself for a while in the late 70s, as were many of my co-workers.

This time around, we've got websites to facilitate getting car pools together. That was a real pain back in the 70s, and was one big reason why more of it wasn't done then.

I'm of the same basic opinion. Consider that the rich stock broker and the country carpenter use the same amount of gasoline one for his limo one for his big truck. Next assume that gasoline prices are increasing. The easiest way to moderate demand is for the country carpenter to effectively loose his job because gasoline costs exceed what people are willing to pay for his services. He has no easy way out since lets he makes 10 dollars and hour and in this case his truck is repossed and sold to the stock broker to be a seldom used farm truck on his horse estate.

This cuts the total fuel consumption of the two by close to 50% with this simple scenario. You can see that the easiest way to force conservation is to force people with marginal jobs and fuel inefficient cars and trucks into poverty.

Considering that full size trucks have been the best seller in the US for years plenty of people in marginal jobs are underwater as gasoline prices climb. These are often the same people in subprime loans. And to put it shall we say financially unsophisticated. They are in general not going to cut their losses buy a subcompact sell the truck and let the new ranch house in the country go back to the lender and save money to get a squalid apt in the city. Especially since in many US cities this causes mixing of ethnic/religious groups in the lower classes where bigotry and racism is rampant. Surprisingly the ghetto dweller now are marginally better off since they either drive shorter distances or take public transport.

So overall conservation or better demand destruction consists of certain lifestyles becoming cash flow negative with the person practicing the lifestyle unwilling and then unable to change until they are bankrupt.

As gasoline prices increase more and more people fall into this category. As each one fails and runs out of money the rest experience a slower rate of increase in price and greater overall drop in demand than if they had attempted any change in lifestyle. So at a given price point a certain lifestyle becomes untenable.

I'd say that right now the losers are people making less than 30k for a family a year with large trucks/SUVs and subprime loans that live in the exurbs and commute 50+ miles a day.

So 50 miles a day five days a week with a 15mgp SUV and 3 dollars a gallon gas gives -> 200 dollars a month
30000/12 ==> 2500 say 2200 after taxes insurance. Assume a house payment of 1200 a month gives 1000.

Car payment + insurance leaves say 800. Food takes say 300 this leaves 500 dollars.
Gas is 200 so this leaves 300 dollars a month. Add in utilities small bills etc and the person is negative.

Now lets assume that its not one person but two people making 15k each. And assume that the other drives a large car your negative. So a family with a income of 30k a year that commutes a total of 100 miles a day which is a reasonable 25 miles from work is probably underwater right now.

Since most people that make more would spend more on a home you don't get a real increase in disposable income for a fairly wide salary range. And we have not even added in things like credit cards.

Given a median household income of 48,202 and median per household member income is 26,202.


I suspect a large percentage of the lower half of the median that have made poor financial decisions is underwater with gasoline prices between 3-5 dollars a gallon. And the main point is these people can only conserve by making a lifestyle change since they are underwater on their house and cars and credit card debt. All they can do is cycle downwards since they have no cash and are already technically bankrupt.

The problem is they have both leveraged themselves and purchased gas guzzlers so they are wiped out by the combination of increasing food and gasoline costs coupled with falling car and house values.

Given that the median per household member income is 26,202 and that these extra household member will have additional costs ( generally children ) practically all of the bottom half of our households could well be technically bankrupt right now as gasoline approaches 5 dollars a gallon and large cars and houses continue to depreciate more of them will be forced into abrupt lifestyle changes as their credit lines collapse and houses and cars are repossessed.

So I don't think that its wrong to assume that 20% of the population will suffer lifestyle dislocations that result in lower gasoline consumption this year. However I'm not convinced it will result in gasoline usage overall dropping and prices decreasing but in consumption or demand flattening and then falling as gasoline prices continue to increase.

The key is that as gasoline prices increase whole segments of the population become negative.

Whats happening now is that a lower class traditional American life style is not possible given a minimum wage of 8 dollars and hour and two workers. This results in my 30k a year income. So as gasoline prices increase this year this entire segment of the population is underwater and headed to certain bankruptcy.


During the depression we had unemployment rates of about 25% in my opinion if you do the math we are just on the verge of similar stats over the next two years. So by 2009 the US will have a income distribution in line with that of the Great Depression with the lower 50% of the work force no longer living American lifestyles but reduced to third world living conditions.

Notice the increasing oil prices have far less effect on the upper half since they have enough of a income cushion to down size their cars before they lose credit or take losses. They have problems of course but as you cross say 70k in income increased fuel costs alone are not sufficient to send a household into negative cash flow bankruptcy. This is going to cause a large class division in the US so we should see social tensions skyrocket with the combination of forced mixing of the lower classes ethnic/social groups and a stark lifestyle difference between the lower and upper 50% of wage earners.

Welcome to the third world.

Excellent article Memmel!

I'd say that right now the losers are people making less than 30k for a family a year with large trucks/SUVs and subprime loans that live in the exurbs and commute 50+ miles a day.

That's what is going on here. Family income is around $30k or less, everything is a 50-mile round trip, and the poverty is amazing.

More homeless here than anyplace in the Bay Area except maybe a few small pockets like the Tenderloin, downtown here is full of the derelict and desperate. The whole town's holding its breath for an influx of tourists that may not come this year.

You describe the problems of Exurbia very well.

Excellent article Memmel!

I'd say that right now the losers are people making less than 30k for a family a year with large trucks/SUVs and subprime loans that live in the exurbs and commute 50+ miles a day.

That's what is going on here. Family income is around $30k or less, everything is a 50-mile round trip, and the poverty is amazing.

More homeless here than anyplace in the Bay Area except maybe a few small pockets like the Tenderloin, downtown here is full of the derelict and desperate. The whole town's holding its breath for an influx of tourists that may not come this year.

You describe the problems of Exurbia very well.

Fleam: Here in Honolulu you can live rather well rather cheaply except for housing costs (as you have pointed out previously).

Thanks, I actually know Honolulu well.

Leanan, I believe, is another "Haole" who grew up there, and I think both of us feel the same way, that gosh, it's home, but at the same time, that place is SO ready to go "Easter Island".

I know I can live well, in fact the housing costs aren't even that bad there. Good food over there too. If I went back there I'd have to take the chance on being homeless for a while, but that's about the easiest place to deal with it - you won't get frostbite.

I've just decided that I'd rather chance it on the Mainland for now. I don't want to be in a place that requires flying to get in and out. It's very limited too. It has too many people already.

Wow, memmel,

That sure lays it right out there. Just when I think maybe things won't get so bad, you present the cold hard facts.

Even though my family is at the top of the graph, we will all be affected by the many that just won't be able to afford what we consider to be the basics.

Technically they are not bad its just that people will refuse to change their lifestyle until its too late.
Its a cultural thing. Having a small apt in a city with good parks that safe could be a lot of fun. You could have a real neighborhood. If we had good trains then you could even live in a quaint village and commute to work. The only reason it will get bad for these people is that they refuse to accept that by trying to keep up with the Jones they have ruined themselves financially. The only reason its bad for them in the US is we have allowed our inner suburbs and cities to turn into poorly policed ghettos and these people will have little choice but to move back to these areas. If they are "good people" they can work to make it a vibrant community. If they bring their hatred and bitterness with them then theirs a good chance these areas will become even more squalid.

Whats even more ironic is that if they can make these areas good places to live and raise children they would have even more disposable income since they would no longer be paying for a house and car. Also you can only put so much crap in a small apt so your more apt to save and buy nicer furniture etc. Quality would become important.

Hopefully you see the that peak oil is simply a lifestyle issue. Certain lifestyles are no longer tenable but this does not mean that alternative lifestyles are bad in fact given a chance you would have a richer life in a close knit borough or small town then in sprawling exurbia.

Finally farther in the future if our towns do compact then the countryside would actually be closer and I'm sure that nature centric activities such as hiking trips, fishing trips etc would be just a bus ride away for the town dwellers. And the countryside would be sparsely populated and generally more natural. So the quality of experiencing nature would be higher and actually more accessible since points of interest would be public or low cost.

You can see that a good and in fact better life is possible for all if we choose to reverse the tragedy of the commons and introduce true public resources.

Just because it will get bad for for some people for a bit does not mean good won't result. Its like our periodic recessions they strengthen the economy by removing weak businesses. The loss of economic Darwinism is whats gotten us so screwed up that people are no longer willing to live sensibly its considered lower class. Most people are no longer capable of being happy with a decent life.
The saying you get what you pay for seems to be appropriate. I think most people just don't realize what they bought with the American dream. They forgot to check the expiration date.

Consider that the rich stock broker and the country carpenter use the same amount of gasoline one for his limo one for his big truck. Next assume that gasoline prices are increasing. The easiest way to moderate demand is for the country carpenter to effectively loose his job because gasoline costs exceed what people are willing to pay for his services.

Yes, but the carpenter has buddies who probably work on the same job site and probably don't live all that far away from him. You can get two or three guys inside the cab of that pickup, and even more in the bed if they don't mind it out there. (OK in the summer, probably not feasible in winter -- but then again, how likely is it that they'll be working in the winter anyway? And I know the law frowns on that sort of thing, but maybe it is time for the law to loosen up just a bit.) So now you can spread the cost of that commute among 2, 3 or maybe up to 6 or 8 people, and also eliminate that many minus one vehicles from the road. I think that given the choice between losing work altogether and doing this, it is a no-brainer what they'll actually do.

What is the likelihood that the stock broker is going to be able to do this? First of all, he'll only be able to fit 3 others in his car at the max. Second, he is less likely to have many co-workers living nearby; more likely, they are spread out all around the suburbs and exurbs. Third, none of these people punch a time clock, and often have to work late; that generally precludes participation in a car pool.

Furthermore, those guys with the trucks do have a resource that could be put into productive use. They could spend their free time cutting firewood and hauling it. Or they could haul the household goods of foreclosed people. Or they could do some remodeling jobs on the side, building in accessory apartments or converting single family homes into duplexes to house all of the dispossesed, or doing energy conservation retrofits. Expect to see a lot more people doing a lot more work on the side like this as things develop. Why have a pickup truck unless you are going to use it to haul stuff? Those truck owners that are unable or unwilling to do such things probably will sell their trucks to others that are able and willing to do so, and downsize to a more economical car. In contrast, your stock broker's car is only an expense.

The fact that propane leads the pack with a 5% increase is interesting. I wonder why? Anyone have any theories?

Weather. Late cold snap required many users to get one last fill when they thought that they could carry over till next fall.

This is a one week 2008 vs. one week 2007 snapshot. I follow it most weeks to find trends.


That rings true. I got another 200 gal a few weeks ago. Ouch!


Please note that the EIA consumption data you posted is now presented as 4 week averages. The data for stocks in storage are for the end of the reporting period.

E. Swanson

Thanks, I was not aware of that.

Best Hopes for interpreting data properly,


It's always interesting when a report that is viewed as bearish in the morning turns bullish in the afternoon. About a $5 swing today.

Speaking of EIA, is anyone else attending the DC conference next week?
It's convenient for me, so I'll attend some sessions.


"States Take Detour To Fund Road Repairs" There is a little "gotcha" in the leasing of toll roads that is not commonly known. The companies that lease the roads will demand a non-compete clause that prohibits the building of new roads or even upgrades to existing roads, if the improvements are presumed to lower traffic on the toll road. Colorado has signed a ONE HUNDRED YEAR non-compete in order to grease the lease bail out an ill-advised, little used, and outrageously expensive toll road. The first thing the lessee (A Portugese concern) did was announce an increase in tolls. Once the new tolls are implemented the road will cost about 25 cents per mile.

A couple of stoplights were recently removed from another area nearby that were admitted to have been place solely to delay drivers to incent them to use the toll road!!! Incredible.

Most people today don't realize that a couple of hundred years ago or more, toll roads were the rule rather than the exception. It looks like in another century or so, they will once again be the rule rather than the exception.

Peak freeways

Well, I guess it's one way to wean us off the happy motoring lifestyle...

Which toll road was that in Colorado?

The toll road is called the Northwest Parkway. http://www.northwestparkway.org/

I urge everyone to read Karl Denningers article "Off The Reservation"? at:

Although verbose it is a definitive appraisal of the final step in our long march to Totalitarianism, enabling the Lords to transfer wealth to themselves from the serfs and be the survivors of the eventual comming of peak oil-food-water.

I saw it. I think the hammer-and-sickle on the US flag in his illustration should have been a swastika, since the principle he decries is that the more property you have, the more the government protects you. What's good for Krupp is good for America...

Mortgage defaults force Denver exodus

"Usually the handwriting on the wall has already dried by the time they realize they have to find another living arrangement," says Lou Tisler, the executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, a foreclosure counseling group in a city that ranks among the nation's worst for lost homes. "They're focused on the crisis at hand, not realizing there's another crisis behind" it.

...In Kalamazoo, Mich., "people are doubling up" and moving in with relatives, Vice Mayor Hannah McKinney says. Almost 1,000 properties were seized in foreclosures in the county last year, and the city doesn't have enough affordable apartments.

"You can't take everyone who used to be a homeowner, who can no longer afford the home they're in, and find a place in Kalamazoo, or I would imagine in any city," McKinney says.

Could an economic lesson from Sweden work in the U.S.?

As U.S. officials hunt for solutions to what many economists are calling the most serious financial crisis since the Depression, they might draw lessons from another painful and costly banking emergency.

In the early 1990s, a massive Swedish real estate bubble burst, littering the Nordic economy with broken finance companies, failing businesses and jobless workers. It was the first systemic banking crisis in an industrialized country since the 1930s and it saw the Swedish economy actually shrink for three straight years — something that hasn't happened in the United States since the rapid demobilization after World War II.

In Kalamazoo, Mich., "people are doubling up" and moving in with relatives

What Sharon Astyk refers to as the "Brother in law on the couch (BOC) syndrome."

At the recent Casey Research meeting, where I presented a talk on Peak Oil/Peak Exports, I described the BOC Syndrome as perhaps "the most serious problem" facing us. Of course, a more positive way to look at it is more like the TV series "The Waltons."

In any case, IMO the BOC Syndrome is a key reason to own a small organic farm. When your unemployed college graduates and in-laws move in with you, you can put them to work in the family garden/farm.

The Waltons were a bad role model. Not exactly practicing population control.

I was wondering why all those foreclosed homes were sitting empty and not being rented out.

This is one way to increase population density and decrease square feet per person a lot quicker than anyone could have imagined.

"Usually the handwriting on the wall has already dried by the time they realize they have to find another living arrangement..."

Is this guy channeling Kunstler?

Reports are coming in from the automakers and retailers...

Ford's US sales down 14 percent in March

U.S. sales fell 14 percent
Truck and SUV sales fell 16 percent
Ford Expedition fell 34 percent
F-Series pickup fell 24 percent
Car sales were down 10 percent
Small cars fared best as consumers focused on fuel efficiency. The Ford Focus saw sales jump 24 percent for the month.

GM March U.S. sales fall an adjusted 13 percent

General Motors Corp (GM) said on Tuesday that its U.S. sales fell an adjusted 13 percent in March to 282,732 vehicles and left intact its second-quarter production forecast.

Toyota says U.S. March sales down adjusted 3.4 percent

Toyota Motor Co on Tuesday posted a 3.4 percent decline in March sales after adjusting for two fewer sales days in the month compared with a year earlier.

The automaker, ranked No. 2 in the U.S. market by sales, said its Toyota-brand sales were down 2.9 percent. Sales for the Japanese automaker's luxury Lexus brand were down 6.9 percent, it said.

Toyota said its car sales were up 1.5 percent in the month, while truck sales dropped by 8.8 percent in March.

Chrysler didn't report because they laid off their accounting staff and didn't sell any vehicles. Chrysler execs say they are stock piling vehicles because they expect gas prices to fall back below 80 cents a gallon, at which time their vehicles will sell for exhorbitant prices... Sorry, couldn't resist the late April Fool!

Bloomberg is reporting U.S. Retailer Group Cuts Sales Estimate Second Time.

A U.S. retailer group cut its March sales estimate for a second time as shoppers concerned about job security and the worst housing slump in a quarter century cut apparel spending.

'"We've been in a recession ever since October," said Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group in Charleston, South Carolina. "I'm predicting a very soft next 14 months in consumer spending until Memorial Day in May of 2009." WOW...May, 2009!

Tax Refunds

Seventy percent of consumers who have received their 2007 income tax refund are using it to pay off credit cards and bills, the first time in 20 years that figure has topped 50 percent, according to Beemer. People who may have never seen the inside of a Wal-Mart are now buying groceries there, he said.


Deflationary trends in auto, housing & finance--inflationary trends in food & energy . . . I don't expect this pattern to really change.

I expect auto makers will respond to the move toward smaller cars by trying to load the little cars with expensive but useless bells and whistles in an attempt to get back some of the huge profit margins they were getting on SUVs. I also expect this effort will largely fail because of lower aggregate income in the buying public.

And this is what the flunkies who keep telling us that the current "economic downturn" will be short and mild don't understand. The current economic troubles would seem to be playing out in two only loosely connected arenas -- Wall St and Main St. But the troubles on Wall Street are rooted in troubles that began on Main St some time ago.

As far as North America is concerned, until we see (a) real gains in middle class wages or (b) substantial price declines in food and energy -- the only goods that really matter -- we will not see the economic outlook improve.

Some folks here (no names) like to post articles touting some new "green" technology that is going to heat and light our homes or propel our personal chariots "without oil." To that I say: It had not only better be "oil free" but cheap -- and I mean CHEAP -- because the middle class is up against the wall. Soon that will be true of middle class Chinese and Indians, too.

Honda and Nissan both posted gains on their sales, after adjustment for the number of sales days. No surprise, given the fuel economy of Honda's fleet in general, and Nissan's Versa. Honda has other benefits over GM and Toyota as well. They make motorcycles. :)

Is there a list someplace of year-by-year energy consumption data?

This is an article featuring myself:

Biking to a better future

Nice write up.

More pedal to ya!


Nice work man.

From the cited article: "It's all the vehicles," he said. "They think they own the roads and they don't."

From today's news: "About 1:50 a.m., police saw the two cars driving down 5400 South at speeds well over 100 miles per hour. The Cadillac was driving in the middle turn lane and the other vehicle was driving side-by-side, going at least 80-100 miles per hour..."

From yet another article: "On one drive through the jungle, a car driving in front of us suddenly came to a stop right on the road. Right in front of us!"

(Cue the theme from the Twilight Zone) A strange pattern takes shape from the primordial ooze. Remarkably, automobiles have now evolved to exercise autonomy and agency. There's no stopping them ... ;)

Haha... I believe the columnist may have misquoted me a bit there. I don't feel that all drivers (not cars) think they own the roads, and at least after learning to ride properly, the vast majority of drivers give me no problems whatsoever, giving me more than enough room. But all the cars - in numbers alone - most certainly intimidate many others from trying what I've been doing. That is what I truly meant by "the biggest obstacle". People shouldn't feel terrorized by cars when they choose to bike, and roads should be understood to be for more than cars. Bikes are, as I have proven even in my current suburban dwellings, a very legitimate form of transportation that should not be seen as limited to recreational use on special pathways.

Cars (yes they have autonomy and agency - notice humans alone are not so bad, add a car and you've got instant asshole) seem to get along with single cyclists, but boy do they get pissed off at groups of cyclists. It's weird - all of my "utility" riding, pretty much no problem. But get even two cyclists together, and it seems to threaten the cars' monopoly on getting together in huge groups and taking over the road. Cars get very pissed off at that.

Pray for $15 gas.

It's truly unfortunate that car-craziness is so imbedded in the US. It is totally insane. It is just totally unfuckingbelieveable how many cars are all over the place all the time. People are bitching and moaning now, and almost none of them can even consider a life without total car dependence. This is true even among those who claim to be "green". It has been a perhaps somewhat sadistic wish of mine to see gas get to $5 and see a major reduction in auto usage (though I understand the ramifications that would negatively effect me), but I have to now admit that I do feel a little sorry for folks - hell, I was there myself just a few years ago, and used to commute around 15 miles each way to college. But at least I chose to live a relatively close 7 miles from work, which has now allowed my bicycle commuting to be actually quite reasonable. It's a good hour-plus of exercise most days, which I should be getting anyway, so who am I to complain?

Folks are clueless, and certainly deserve much of the blame, but how about the behavior of our "leaders", who mostly just want more oil? What about the car companies, who are constantly assuring us that we'll be able to keep driving by some other means, pushing "green" cars that they claim will help the environment (which I think is largely bullshit)? How about the typical American's steady diet of cars, TV, and cars on TV?

What we really need more than anything is a unified understanding that oil is a limited resource that has been largely pissed away, and that we had better start taking this situation seriously, including sacrificing some of our conveniences. The best thing we can do, I think, is to reform our incredibly short-sighted and increasingly impractical land-use zoning that promotes and you might say even requires driving everywhere, and move back to more walkable, compact, mixed-use development. That this article has allowed me to voice these concerns has been incredibly rewarding. I realize my views may be unpopular, but I have no regrets, and I'm glad I did it. The response has been more positive than I thought it would be - overwhelmingly and almost completely positive, in fact. Perhaps people aren't as clueless as I thought.

I feel a little more hopeful.

A couple years ago when I was living in Portland and riding my bike across the mess of a west side (about 12 miles each way)I was run off the road multiple times from jerks in big pick ups that think it is hilarious to drive right up on a biker and honk and swerve towards them.

The east side and downtown are WAY more biker friendly. But I agree, the hardest part is definately the cars (jerks + fumes).

Bikes are, as I have proven even in my current suburban dwellings, a very legitimate form of transportation that should not be seen as limited to recreational use on special pathways.

Amen, brother!

From the article:

"Our cities should be made on the human scale, not the car scale."


I'm also a suburban rider. It's not just the scale that's a problem, it's also the layout. Endless rat-maze culdesacs are a scourge.

Good one!

Studded tires, yeah. The last thing a driver expects to see at night in a snowstorm is a small lone headlight coming at them. But hey, they'll get used to it!

"Studded tires...they'll get used to it!" You've forgotten this guy, from back in December.

LOL from the article

The bicyclists who braved the week's second storm should be taken out and shot. Spare them and the poor driver, when they skid on treacherous streets and slide under the wheels of a truck delivering fresh vegetables.

This too shall pass.

Yes indeeed, the roads in Madison, Wisconsin, in December are clogged to bursting with delivery trucks carrying fresh vegetables. ROFL.

Oh, and, yes, he was sort of a hippie type at one time, even still as mayor, but he is now middle-aged, prosperous, and, clearly, a bit cranky.

However, the attitude is not entirely new - even in the hippie days his administration closed off signalled crosswalks with great gusto, to 'keep the traffic moving'. To be fair, it started with the previous mayor, and it never got quite as bad as in Pennsylvania cities/suburbs, where so many crosswalks are off-limits - very often all four at the same intersection - that even when sidewalks are present, walking anywhere at all outside the downtown core is essentially illegal and has been for decades. (I have no idea whether biking is also illegal.)

And over the years, the Madison crosswalks have gradually been reopened with little discernible effect on the now much heavier traffic. So - Pennsylvania residents/TOD readers take note - I infer that closing crosswalks and banning all pedestrians will rarely do much to move the traffic.

Something about his sadistic fantasy involving an enterprising local citizen thrown under the wheels of the 3000 mile Cesar Salad Machine.

The traffic will thin out over time and there'll likely be plenty more cyclists where we came from.

Madison is populated with tree hugging, tofu snorting, sandal wearing (winter too), calcified hippies who do not know the 60's are over.

Hey I resemble that. (and it sounds like the author did too at one time)

Way to go!

You articulated several ideas very well. My guess is that many readers will mull this over -- they will actually think and consider perspectives that are not quite so auto-centric. Other readers may actually dust off the old bike and see if they can still stay on it for more than a block or two!

The journalist seemed to me to ask good, basic questions and to have a friendly way of presenting what many would view as a challenging combination of ideas and information about the changes we need to make.

A refreshing article!

Keep on pedaling!

Today comedian Rush Limbaugh was tauting this as evidence that we have no oil problem:

America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant.

In the next 30 days the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) will release a new report giving an accurate resource assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota and portions of South Dakota and Montana. With new horizontal drilling technology it is believed that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951.

So our energy worries are now over?

Every time I read one of these stories, I am reminded of Pacific Ethanol. I suspect that some people owning oil stocks are suggesting that Bakken Formation = Saudi Arabia.

From the article:

. . . one of the greatest booms in Oil discovery since Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938.

Notice how the article equated the 400 Gb oil in place to recoverable?

As I understand it, the two shale members have recoveries in the low single digit range, and there is some question about whether there will be area wide commercial production, or just on heavily faulted and fractured structures. The middle siltstone to sandstone member has higher recoveries, but it is productive only in discrete traps.

But fundamentally it's the old bacteria in the petri dish problem--an exponential growth rate against a finite resource base. From fossil fuel + nuclear sources, worldwide we are consuming the energy equivalent of about a billion barrels of oil every five days.

Let's assume 200 Gb from the Bakken--the same estimated recoverable reserves as the entire Lower 48, and more than three times the URR from Texas. It would take decades to produce the oil, and it would be equivalent to 2.7 years of world fossil fuel + nuclear energy consumption--at current rates off consumption.

We also have another huge and quickly developing problem in these shale resource type plays--sufficient experienced personnel and sufficient equipment.

WT, from what I have read the Bakken formation might fall into the category of 'non-anticlinal' oil formations. Would this be a correct assumption as far as you know? If so, it would seem that extraction would be slow and tedious.

The Bakken Shale, like the Barnett Shale, is both source bed and reservoir, albeit a very poor reservoir--thus most people describe them as nonconventional plays. The absolutely critical difference between the two plays is the relative permeability of oil versus gas (relative permeability to oil being much lower than to gas). I am not an expert on these plays, but my understanding is that the key question for Bakken fields is the presence or absence of natural fractures.

The common connection between the two plays is very high costs + generally rapid decline rates.

Again, I am reminded of the Austin Chalk Play, which had a resurgence when operators started using horizontal wells. Check out the effect that the Austin Chalk Play had on the long term Texas oil decline (Texas has shown year over year declines for 34 out of 35 years).

And as I have previously described, the Barnett Shale Play has basically stabilized Texas gas production at about 60% of our 1972 peak rate--after a vast increase in the number of producing wells.

This is not to say that Bakken operators will not make money, but there is a huge difference between oil companies making money finding smaller conventional fields and developing nonconventional resource plays and making a real difference for consumers.

It seems that flow rate or production rate ought to be addressed here. No matter how many billion barrels of oil in place, it will be largely irrelevant if it's not available at the rate demanded by the global cheap oil economy.

Later the USGS reported that porosity and permeability of the Bakken formation was similar in character to Rush Limbaugh's brain.

However this should not be seen as a limitation to potential production flows as it has been observed that Mr Limbaugh has maintained high flowrates from an intellectually depleted strata for decades.

It was the "medication" talking.

In all seriousness anybody find out an exact date for the release of the USGS report?

"175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve"

where to start?

well for one these are not "reserves", the ooip is also open to much debate.

even at the low end of the quoted "recoverable" 175 gb in 200,000 sq mile works out to ..............lessee here........3/4 million barrels per sq mile(2.5 million for the 500 gb case). companies drilling the "sweet spots" are using roughly 1/3 of that(300kbbls) as recoverable, over a 40 yr life.
the productive "sweet spots" dont cover anywhere near 200,000 sq miles.

i came across an overide for sale in a horizontal bakken well that has produced 67 mbo in about 2 yrs and is producing a little over 100 bopd. that is reality, this other crap is fantasy.


12 Cities Selected to Become New "Solar America Cities"

DOE is moving forward with a plan to make available up to $2.4m to 12 so-called "Solar America Cities" (up to $200,000 for each) - cities that will receive funding and technical assistance to build a robust solar infrastructure. The 12 lucky winners include the California cities of San Jose, Santa Rosa and Sacramento; the Texas cities of Houston and San Antonio; the Minnesota cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul; Knoxville, Tennessee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Denver, Colorado; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Seattle, Washington.

Best hopes for this being increased to 240 Million in the coming years.

up to $200,000 for each

That probably won't even pay for the billboards touting the city as a "Solar America City." You sure that wasn't the US Chanber of Commerce giving out the grants?

The point is its a start. At least with a program established a Democratic Administration could seriously pump up funding next year.

"The point is its a start."

right..............the start of another doe boondoggle.......................kiss your hard earned tax dollars goodbye.

What leads you to believe that a Democratic Administration would pour money into a program started by Republicans? It is more likely that the Democrats would start a parallel program, so twice the money would be wasted.

There was probably an application process the cities went through that included getting matching funds up to 60% of the total cost. Perhaps that $200k is accompanied by each city putting up to $200k toward the project themselves. Still a pretty low number, but better.

More information on the Knoxville plan here.

Seattle, WA, for solar projects.


Seattle averages 53 sunny days a year.

You have no idea how hard it is to not post a stream of expletives.

Best hopes for being among those receiving kickbacks and pork.

Grifter nation.

Thats pretty dismal.... but in their defense PV panels do work in overcast conditions.

Hello TODers,

Aramco upgrades refineries to meet US rules on sulphur
I am in favor of this because I think we all enjoy clean air, but consider that Aramco can potentially make bigBuck$$$ selling the accumulated sulphur and/or sulphuric acid, or use it for tertiary CO2/acid gas EOR. Or just stockpile it to help wither away other countries' industries that need it. Recall my post yesterday of the shutdown Indian titanium processing plant due to sulphur becoming Unobtainium.

Rant on/ Makes one wonder where this trend towards Element Control all ends. The most extreme privatisation profit scheme I can imagine is that we could be required to purchase separate, highly pressurized tanks of Oxygen & Hydrogen if we wish a drink of water. The trick for most would be to avoid being killed during the sparked-off recombinant explosion so that you could finally sip the miniscule amounts of the lifesaving chemical-combo of H2O. /Rant off

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

Bob, due to your persistent nagging, I just went out and bought 500 lb. of rock phosphate. I figure it should last us 10-15 years for gardening.

$12.65 per 50 lb bag for comparison to anyone's local price.

Cool--$506/ton--remember that number to compare against future prices.

Each 50 lb. bag represents roughly 4 gallons of gasoline at $3.16/gallon--remember that 4:1 future Photosynthesis/FF ratio.

Since there are no substitutes for NPK: will that ratio be 5:1 [or higher] soon if untold millions of First Worlders start gardening?

EDIT: topsoil without NPK is like a vehicle without gasoline.

I just went out and bought 500 lb. of rock phosphate. I figure it should last us 10-15 years for gardening.

Be careful fertilizing with P. It can inhibit the mycorrhizae.

Just a quick update: You have mentioned MINEMAKERS, Australia (MAK) as a probable phosphate producer on January 15th. I bought the options (MAKO) as well as the shares (MAK) on 2nd of February. Up to date I made a awful 650% profit with the options and a staggering 359% yield with the shares. Keep on with your comments. I'm reading EVERY word, you write. Thanks many times. You are more worth than Gold.

Cheers, Jan

Hello Euro,

Good for you! I have posted much before on the critical need for everyone to consider biosolar mission-critical investing, at every scale, from seeds to wheelbarrows, I-NPK farmer/investor strategies, venture capitalists jumpstarting real-assets Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK, govt. legislation to force price-scarcity signaling, investing in these biosolar companies before outside SWFs do, and so on.

Sadly, all I can afford is a wheelbarrow and some gardening tools that I am not allowed to use to grow veggies where I am now renting. Recall my earlier failed efforts to prevent some vacant city land from being paved over for a pointless Senior Center, but to be a community garden instead. Such is life in Asphaltistan. TODer Fleam is smart to flee.

Toto - thanks for the nod. I am indeed making plans to leave.

This area is actually a pretty good analogy to living on a cruise ship. Some retirees apparently just go live on a cruise ship, paying X amount a month, there was some mention of this in the news a year or two ago.

Like a cruise ship, this area is not one where you can grow things, there's really not much produced out of this area at all - maybe a little local crafts, some precious metals (mainly panned gold but very little of that) and gov't subsidies ensure there will always be a few range cattle. Tourism is the main industry, that and retirees.

I had hopes of going to the local college (can't, it's 25 miles away) or getting a job (working at mcdonald's maybe, but jobs are disappearing), I can't grow stuff, I can't even make stuff - too expensive to make things here, whether it'd be bows 'n' arrows or antenna parts, I'd lose money on every one.

The main way of life around here is receiving government benefits. Everyone who possibly can is on disability, food stamps, WIC, drug rehab, SS, SSI, SSDI, you name it. It's a way of life. Going on Food Stamps was kind of a requirement of living here I was told about after a couple of months, and after a few more months, I saw why they're a way of life - with very few jobs, it's how you eat.

Jobs are a 50-mile or more round trip away. Anything is a 50-mile round trip away. During the winter, tourism shuts down and so does all but the most necessary economic activity. Even if you do land that minimum-wage job, you're likely only going to be working 6 months of the year, and wintered in the rest of the time.

Aside from tourism, the mainstay of the economy here was sprawl. Building McMansions on the range land, and the retirees would come. Now that real estate's collapsing, the jobs have been disappearing. There was a mass exodus of handymen, painters, etc here, and how any job, no matter how small, in the way of handywork has 100 people trying to get it.

This is exactly the kind of place Kunstler talks about. A place that takes a constant input of fuel, food, etc all trucked in from elsewhere, producing nothing on its own.

As crowded as the Bay Area is, after some turmoil a good part of the Bay Area population would be able to grow their own food. But out here, people will be eating their horses (high priced pets) then eating each other.

Hello Fleam,

Thxs for responding. I am unemployed too. Haven't checked yet, but I bet I easily qualify for food stamps.

Totneila - since I can't email you, and you can't email me, here it is:

I think even Phoenix will be much more "jobful" for me than up here, and I am wondering, do you have a room you could rent me for say a month or so? I might be able to do OK down there, and would like to look up some old friends, one I know may hire me.

As for food stamps, I'm getting $154 a month, which is apparently the standard for adult, one each, no dependents, no income. You'll also get something called ACCHHSS which is a nearly-useless health plan. Actually I should say that up here, in phoenix there should be some health resources.

The food stamps provide about $5/day to eat on, which is fine. You'll be doing all this through a DES (dept of economic security) office, which will also have some job search resources, a computer room, that sort of thing.

If you're eligible for Unemployment Insurance, by all means work with that system too.

I could pay you a couple'a hundred anyway for a room, and pull my own weight on food of course. I have stuff I can sell down there, that I can't up here in Pennilessville. And, I know phoenix and can get around and get job apps in.

I'd be moving down with the standard regulation big ol' pickup truck, then return that and buzz back down on my little motorcycle. So I'd have wheels, and no bum you for rides.

Going from running a small biz to sitting around on benefits (the way of life up here) is getting old. I want to get to work again!

WTI has jumped 4 dollars in tbe last hour or so. It's now just about $105.

Yeah, I just sent an e-mail to my Wall Street friend, "Don't blink." Pretty amazing volatility.

Hello WT,

Perhaps the following news led to the sudden jump in crude:

Israel's security Cabinet has decided to redistribute gas masks to the entire population amid fears of a non-conventional war with Iran. The last distribution was before the U.S. invasion of Iraq four years ago.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Crude is tracking RBOB, which is up sharply due to lower inventories.

Do you suppose that the fact that we're using about 550,000 Barrels of Ethanol/Day might have something to do with the low refinery runs?

I wonder what the price of gasoline might be without this?

I wonder how much lower diesel prices might be if it were not for the increased diesel consumption related to higher corn production?

In any case, IMO the fundamental problem that refiners have is matching expensive crude oil against the slow decline in demand for refined products. It's really the same problem that auto makers, home builders and airlines have. As the cost of: Driving a car, Driving to and from and heating a large home and Flying an airplane goes up, the demand will inevitably decline.

But the absolutely key point is this: In Post-Peak Exporting Countries, Net Export Decline Rates Tend To Accelerate With Time.

Combine this with the fact that energy costs as a percentage of income decline as forced energy conservation moves up the food chain, and I see geometric progressions (the price doubles, and then doubles again) in oil and refined product prices.

Probably not much, WT. Total land under production stayed about the same. Corn production was up, Beans (and, I think, Wheat) was down.

Combine this with the fact that energy costs as a percentage of income decline as forced energy conservation moves up the food chain, and I see geometric progressions (the price doubles, and then doubles again) in oil and refined product prices.

Does that mean if oil is still in the low 100's or around 100 at the end of the year, we can say oil is at 1/2 of a Westexan?

As they say, either predict price, or time frame, but not both. Of course, Matt Simmons is literally betting on $200, in 2005 dollars, by 2010.

However, we have predicted a range of net exports from the top five net exporters, and so far, they are following the "script," down 800,000 bpd in 2006 and probably down a full one mbpd in 2007.

The interesting thing about Russia is that they showed a month over month increase in gross oil exports, because of the increase in the export tariff in April, but this still resulted in a 3.9% export decline relative to March, 2007. Makes one wonder about the export decline in future months. Based on our model, it could be quite severe, and the net export decline rate should accelerate with time.

But, as I said previously, I would plan on $8 gasoline by 8/8/08 (not that I am predicting it), but the whole point of the ELP recommendations is to rearrange your lifestyle based on an assumption of lower income and significantly higher food and energy prices.

that's not how I understand it.
I thought we put a lot of hay fields into corn production

Maybe in in some areas there was a little bit of that, Earl; but, I think, mainly, it was the corn/bean farmers going corn on corn. Maybe a little more wheat got plowed under than usual, also.

I plant half corn and half beans here in north Iowa. This is rather common and there are good reasons for it:

1. Soybeans add about a pound of nitrogen to the soil for each bushel of yield. I usually get about 50 bushels on my good land and about 40 on my poor land. This saves on N fertilizer expense.

2. Soybeans balance the field work since they have a shorter growing season than corn. They are planted last and harvested first. The yield is generally about 1/3 that of corn and so less storage space is required.

3. I apply no fertilizer for soybeans. I put it only on corn. This reduces spreading costs which I hire done. Corn is the big glutton when it comes to fertilizer because of its high yield and it can't fix nitrogen out of the air like soybeans.

4. Half soybeans and half corn reduces market risk since if one or the other has a big gain you win. Last year many farmers switched to corn because corn prices were higher relative to beans. Of course soybeans prices rose the most until the recent crash. In general it is usually better not to follow the crowd but do the opposite in farming. This is a good principle in many other things.

I have a hard time believing westexas's $8.00 gas by August. If that happens ethanol prices should follow. Maybe that is the reason corn is making new highs again which I did not expect so soon. In my opinion ethanol is holding the price of gasoline down. It is competition from 145 ethanol plants that is holding gasoline prices in check for the moment. The recession and the election coming up help too. With the glut of ethanol it is hard to tell who is having the harder time: the ethanol producers or the oil refiners. That is the way markets are suppose to work.

I have a hard time believing westexas's $8.00 gas by August

It might help if you guys read what I write.

Let me put it this way. I recommend that you arrange your affairs based on the assumption that gasoline is $8 per gallon tomorrow morning. The point is to start rearranging your lifestyle based on an assumption of lower income and much higher food and energy prices.


BrightSource to Build 500 Megawatts of Solar-Thermal Power in Mojave Desert

Because of California law, PG&E needs to get 20% of its electricity from renewable sources (not including big hydro) by 2010, so it has contracted with Brightsource Energy for 3 new solar-thermal power plants in the Mojave desert, one of the best spots for solar power in the world.

The Grand Solar Plan begins to move into action.

Will they be able to keep building ever increasingly more of these solar genplants faster than the ramping population demand as the FF-genplants start suffering ever increasingly more from FF-depletion and ELM?

For all our sakes: I hope "The Grand Solar Plan begins to move into action" VERY FAST. Recall that Morocco is building solar genplants too; much better to keep the phosphate moving versus hand-digging in the sun:

Morocco's strategy in the energy sector aims at boosting national production to 5,000 MGW during the upcoming five years to satisfy the growing demand for energy, the kingdom's Minister of Energy and Mines, Amina Benkhadra was quoted as saying by MAP. The statement came after the launch of the world's first combined cycle thermo-solar power plant, which will cost some US$ 631 million. It is located near the eastern city of Oujda.

The plant, due to open in mid 2009, will boast an output capacity of 472 MGW, including 20 MGW from solar energy, and is set to supply up to 8.5% of national energy production.
Another link:

Eight thermal solar plants are under construction in Spain, Algeria and Morocco and others are being planned in Mexico, Israel, South Africa, China and Egypt.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I think it would be interesting for the TopTODers, or some other genius, to statistically figure out if we are in a double Red Queen situation. Will the Red Queen racing for the last FFs beat the Red Queen racing like Icarus towards the Sun? For example: can oil and natgas pipemakers and drillrig mfgs easily outbid the solar genplant mfgs for the steel they need to hold the mirrors/PVs towards the sun?

Or will the Green Queen [water, food, NPK] easily outbid these Red Queens? Steel for hydrodams, farm tractors, water & sewage, grain silos, NPK warehouses, irrigation and pumping equipment, conveyor belts and above or belowground mining equipment, etc?

Hi Bob, I cannot answer your question but I suspect that capital controls will be implemented at some point. IOW, I think the Feds lastest moves, which were a flexing of muscle and definitely beyond their mandate, were the beginning of 'bringing order to chaotic markets', as the Fed would probably word their actions.

I think we will move more toward a planned economy and markets that are controlled or eliminated.

Few realize yet how big the move to bail out Bear Stearns was. The Fed put up the money, by breaking the law, but now have turned over the $29B debt to the Treasury. The Treasury is American taxpayers. In a speach recently Obama said that if the government is going to loan money to the banks then the government should have control over those banks (paraphrasing). What does that statement mean to you?

Maybe we are at the end of capitalisim as we have known it? The last straw might have been the latest out of control derivatives formation, overcapacity in housing and liar lending, imbalance in wages and prices, serial bubbles, ad infinum. Maybe the central bankers realize that one more bubble like housing and its ripples will finish off the world economy. Maybe bankers realize that in a resource constrained world the silent hand of the market no longer works? Maybe resource constraints make self correcting markets an impossibility?

So, back to your question, I do not think that a few years from now there will be bidding wars for resources ie, FFs, steel, commodities, water, even money. I think the government is already beginning to step in and take control of capital markets...and, it is a short step from here to a planned economy where resources are allocated by government bureaucrats. We all know how well that works.

OK, you've finally put your finger on what I believe will prove to be the ultimate and determining Liebig limit:


How are we going to come up with all of the capital needed for:

Massive, widespread energy efficiency & conservation;


Huge new mass transit and electrified passenger and freight rail systems;


Massive new alternative energy facilities;


A new round of nuclear power plants;


Massive new FF megaprojects, including ultra-deep water offshore drilling, arctic, oil sands, oil shale, synfuel CTL;


Repairs and replacements of a crumbling infrastructure;


Economic development of booming BRIC and other countries playing catch-up;


Bailing out various bankers, brokers, investors, borrowers, and other assorted imprudent gamblers;


Financing huge US trade and budget deficits (including huge unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities)??????

Answer: We can't. There isn't enough money in the world for all this, even if everyone were to move into mud huts, just eat rice, and hand over every remaining penny for capital investment. There is no possible way that we can generate enough capital through economic growth (which is just about over anyway). There simply is not, and will not be, enough capital to go around.

So what will happen? Obviously, if there isn't enough capital to go around, then all of the above won't be fully funded. Those demands for capital that can offer the most attractive combination of superior returns with low risk will win the competition; those demands for capital that offer the lowest returns and/or highest risks will lose out and not be funded. (EDIT: At least that's the way it should be in theory, but see below.)

So which will be the winners and which will be the losers? Beats me. Energy conservation and efficiency does offer relatively high returns with low risk, so that is the one thing I'd definitely put in the winner's column. Unfortunately, it appears that many of the present capital allocation decisions are apparently being made on the basis of politics or ideology or personal cronyism rather than on the basis of any rational analysis. Thus, insider information would probably be the most reliable guide for identifying the probable winners and losers.

Does anyone own an E-Go scooter? These seem very well suited to where I live. Looks like they get about 24 miles on a charge.


I decided to go with mountain bike chassis in case I ran out of power I could still ride home comfortably. It also uses 36V and runs on lithium ion. I'm hoping a123 starts making batteries with nano technology. http://ecolo-cycle.com/Mundial_en_new.htm

Hello notalemming;

Sounds like you and I are building similar bikes. I found that A123 Nano batteries are avaliable in developer packs and in Dewalt Nano battery packs. I'm sure you have seen the Ping packs on Ebay too. They are hot (as in bidding is fierce) but then the Dewalts are too. I found lots on good info on V is for voltage and endless sphere for various configs and charging/balancing.

I have a friend who bought one. It's a nice scooter - lots of metal in the frame, and many of the components are standard bicycle parts for easier repairs. Hers is legal to drive on the road (lights, horn, tag, etc.) but they've since added a low-end model that isn't. I think the max speed is something like 20-25 mph though, so even though it's road legal I wouldn't feel comfortable driving it down the center of the lane with an Escalade breathing down my neck.

I just got my first electric bike yesterday. Absolutely love it. Can't wait to ride it to work. The irony is that I bought it with a small chunk of the 2008 profits I've made on oil/gas futures contracts. Basically I ended up using money I skimmed from the brainless consumption of the sheeple to finance my own gasoline amelioration program. Part of 2007's profits went toward a 21 SEER A/C unit to cut my electric cost down here in Georgia. Maybe solar panels next if the energy markets leg up soon. Something vaguely Sun Tzu about the whole proposition. Only problem is now my wife wants one too. It's a 500 w Bionx jobby from electric cyclery. The 2400 dollar price tag made me blanch, but still cheaper than a car.

Good piece in the Columbia Journalism Review for those interested in press coverage of peak oil:


Heads up! A mainstream economist has just noticed the food crisis:


"The financial crisis gets most of the attention from the business press — but in terms of sheer human impact, the current food crisis may well be a bigger deal."

Perfect opportunity to help him understand the issue better. Particularly the link between Hubbert's Peak of oil production + growing oil demand = rising oil prices => more incentive to divert agricultural feedstock into biofuels.

RE the Krugman question: Could there be a compounding effect of food supply shortages + high oil prices creating exponential growth in food prices?

About the North Dakota Bakken field.

Let's not trivialize the potential of this field. There appears to be a significant amount of light sweet crude oil there. Wells that produce over 1700 bbls/day and over 2000 bbls/day are mighty impressive. Using the most pessimistic recovery figures you end up a North Slope or larger reserve. Using the latest in frac recovery and horizontal drilling you end up with the largest reserve ever in the USA. Also because there are a number of different companies involved I fell the play will be developed relatively fast. I fell over the next five years or so you will see US reserves take a significant increase.

For a straight forward, non-emotional analysis use this link:


Yep, that's an objective assessment--another Saudi Arabia. Another whiff of Pacific Ethanol in the air.

I agree that initial 1,000 BOPD plus flow rates are impressive. The question is, what will they be producing one year, two years and three years later?

We saw exactly this same kind of hype in the Austin Chalk, when they introduced horizontal drilling, which is not to say that companies will not make money, but I would not be in a rush to go out and buy an SUV to drive to and from a $500,000 suburban mortgage based on an assumption that the Bakken Formation production will drive the price of crude oil down.

"The production “life expectancy” of a new Bakken well is around 40 years. The resource is significant with approximately 4.5 million barrels of original oil-in-place per section of land in the greater play area." The figures I mentioned above were for the first production. You would expect regular production to be anywhere from 50 to 60% of that rate. You might want to check out the Bakken Shale Discussion Group which has a large number of knowledgeable members familiar with the play.


" EOG opened Parshall field in May 2006 with the completion of the 1-36H Parshall producing oil from a horizontal Bakken lateral. The company recently completed the field's fifth producer—the 1-02H Patten—initially flowing 1,487 bbls of oil and 384,000 cu ft of gas per day, with no water, from a horizontal Bakken lateral at 9480-14,437 ft, measured total depth.

" Between May 2006 and June 2007, the first five producers in Parshall field combined to produce 371,675 bbls of oil, 125.9 million cu ft of gas and 595 bbls of water from Bakken."
A number of the wells produce no water.

Your comparison of the Austin Chalk is comparing apples to oranges. The only commonality is both use "fracturing” and horizontal drilling.

The Austin Chalk was also a promoter's paradise. Does the following sound familiar?

EnerMax Rethinks the Austin Chalk
Submitted Monday, November 20, 2006
Submitted by: Heather Dessinger

The sounds of oil and gas drilling are steadily humming in South Texas. At more than $55 a barrel, oil companies are picking up their drill bits and grinding away like never before. This is especially true of the Austin Chalk Trend in South Texas. Once thought to be past its peak, the Austin Chalk has recaptured the attention of prominent companies within the industry. What’s changed? Two things: First, the refinement of horizontal drilling techniques has reduced the overall cost of exploration while maintaining or increasing extraction rates. Second, commodity prices are making even modest-sized reservoirs very attractive.

EnerMax, Inc. is one of the companies currently working in the Austin Chalk. Bret L. Boteler, president of EnerMax, Inc, directed his company in 2006 to acquire approximately 11,000 acres in order to exploit the vast reserves still present. “The Austin Chalk has already produced millions of barrels of oil, but experts believe oil reserves for this trend should be calculated in the billions. That’s exciting."

The first wave of activity occurred in the Austin Chalk in the 1980’s with the discovery of the Giddings Field. Initial production rates immediately got the attention of big name exploration companies. However, it wasn’t long before short production lives and rapid decline curves led many to think the Austin Chalk was done. As it turns out, it was just waiting for its moment.

The key to the Austin Chalk is horizontal drilling. During the first boom, production was obtained using vertical wellbores, which were only able to extract oil & gas from a small area surrounding the base of the well. With today’s technology, horizontal drilling can penetrate multiple hydrocarbon zones using just one wellbore. A horizontal well is like an upside down tree. It has a trunk, or the wellbore. It also has two to four long branches, called laterals. The laterals are able to drain a significantly larger area than a traditional wellbore. It does the work of three or four traditional wells and costs significantly less than that of drilling each individual well.

"Between May 2006 and June 2007, the first five producers in Parshall field combined to produce 371,675 bbls of oil"

great, using your numbers, these 2000 bopd wells averaged just over 200 bopd in the 1st year on prod.


Thanks for the good work Puhkawn. You seem to know what you're talking about on this topic. Please continue to post as you learn more on the subject.

how's your stock in aoag doin' ?

"great, using your numbers, these 2000 bopd wells averaged just over 200 bopd in the 1st year on prod."

Had every well been brought in on the first of January your comment would be somewhat meaningful.

Because there was lots of hype to promote investment in Austin Chalk projects it therefore logically follows, ah, exactly what? Geology means nothing? Production specifics of the first wells are not meaningful? There is a lot of hype about Anwar, too. If it is ever developed my understanding is a lot of horizontal drilling will be used to reduce rig footprints. Using your criteria Anwar will be a "bust," too? No? Yes? Why?

I own no stock in aoag. I do own a 500 index fund and an energy fund.

Geology means nothing?

Interesting comment, since you are debating a petroleum geologist and a petroleum engineer.

In any case, you guys are the ones equating a sometimes fractured shale reservoir, with virtually zero matrix permeability, to what is basically the world's best large scale permeability, in Saudi Arabia.

West Texas, I, personally, think this is a significant play.I think this has great potential that can only be decided by more development. I am not personally equating this with Saudi Arabia's reservoirs.I do know the difference between a sometimes fractured shale reservoir and what happens under the sand in the Middle East. I an old man who's father was a petroleum engineer. I grew up in the shadow of a major South Louisiana field and have been (Past tense)a very small time producer and a non-producing producer. I have lost money in wildcat ventures. I have bought, sold, and still own (Small time) mineral interests. I would not begin to argue technical points with a petroleum geologist/engineer. Perhaps we are just different sides of the same coin. You actually sound a lot like my dad, I could always count on him to find the dark lining of any cloud. Is that an engineer thing?

"Had every well been brought in on the first of January your comment would be somewhat meaningful."

that is why i refer to them as "your numbers".

"Production specifics of the first wells are not meaningful?"

first wells of what ? these are not the first wells, nor the first horizontal wells, completed in the bakken. if you have looked at any data at all beyond the press releases for these multi-thousand bopd wells you would be aware that the decline rate for the 1st year is really really steep. eog has undoubtedly found a sweet spot, to project sweetness to the entire hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory that "may" be potential in montana, saskatchewan, nd and any surrounding states is rediculous.
wake me up when the cummulative production from the bakken reaches 1 billion barrels.

anwar ? i dont know and nobody else knows either. i know for sure that the current RESERVES in anwar are zero.

the reference to aoag was directed at antidoomer.

and welcome to tod! and as jaaaaaaaaaaack once said in a forgetable movie:
"dont come around here selling crazy, we're all full up"

I have looked at the data from a number of wells and I am aware of current production rates on a number of wells vs. their initial rates. Am I selling crazy? I don't think so, I guess I am more of an optimist and you seem more of a pessimist. A billion bbls? Seems reasonable to me.

"About the North Dakota Bakken field"

the bakken is not a single field

"For a straight forward, non-emotional analysis use this link:"

that is your opinion. note that the article only mentions the 2000 bopd wells and wells "expected to achieve similar rates"
is there any mention of dry holes ?
well, i have a news flash for ya, there are dry holes being drilled.
when a well is tested, it will normally come on strong and die off over a period of time(as the reservoir pressure adjust to the flow). if an early one hour flow rate is used and extrapolated to 24 hrs...... buyer beware.
using eog's reserve estimate of 80 mmbo and their acerage holding of 175,000 acres works out to under 300 kbbls/section, in line with other operator's reserve estimates. the typical initial rate(used by other operators) is in the range of 400-450 bopd.

and finally do you know what eog is the abbreviation for ?

hint: this company was spun off by "kenny boy" lay.

Well, I give up.

I've been trying to find an email address for Totoneila, I've been trying to contact Leanan to act as a go-between, to try to establish communications between Totoneila and myself, and none of it is working.

Totoneila, I'd like to talk with you about some stuff, we'll have to talk out in public, no other way.


I can meet you up North to talk. PM on LATOC.

Sorry, I don't see any e-mail addresses that you don't. If someone does not put an e-mail address in their profile, I can't contact them, and neither can anyone else. For an emergency, I can get SuperG to look up the e-mail address they used when they registered. But that is often out of date, and he's really busy, so I don't bother him unless it's really important.

The bottom line: if you want people to be able to contact you, you must put an e-mail address in your profile.

"The Kuwaitis have been good allies. But let's face it, that nation would not be there if not for the American liberation of Kuwait," he said, referring to the 1991 conflict.

I think the point he is trying to make is that all Kuwait's oil are belong to US. ^_^

Another disguised warning by the IEA to reduce oil consumption, because of peak oil, in this soon to be released 500 page publication.

Energy Technology Perspectives 2008 -- Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 - Released on 6 June 2008

Excerpts from the flyer

The world needs ever increasing energy supplies to sustain economic growth and development. But energy resources are under pressure and CO2 emissions from today’s energy use already threaten our climate.
The IEA analysis demonstrates that a more sustainable energy future is within our reach, and that technology is the key. Increased energy efficiency, CO2 capture and storage, renewables, and nuclear power will all be important. We must act NOW if we are to unlock the potential of current and emerging technologies and reduce the dependency on fossil fuels with its consequent effects on energy security and the environment.

(Italics of now is from IEA; bolding and caps is mine)

I think the IEA is really saying is "find some way to use less fossil fuels because there will be less fossil fuels to use".

If you look carefully at the front cover of the report, shown by the image above, you will see three peaks, like a repeating sine wave. Maybe this is Dr Fatih Birol's hidden message about peak oil...

This video of Fatih Birol on March 6, 2008 is worth viewing.

When the video appears, select Fatih Birol on the "Choose Chapter" drop down menu. This takes you to 2:09:00 in the video.

Some quotes from Birol

2:10:00 "we are entering a new world energy order"

2:12:00 "non OPEC production is declining"

2:17:00 "world needs 37.5 mbd new capacity by 2015 to meet demand and to offset natural decline but only 25 mbd available in sanctioned new projects to 2015"

Here is Birol's accompanying presentation

Birol's estimate of 25 mbd new capacity to 2015 is a little less than that of the Oil Megaprojects total new capacity of about 27 mbd from now until 2015.


On slide 6 of Birol's presentation, he says that 13.6 mbd is needed to meet demand to 2015 and 23.9 mbd to replace decline. But he says that only 25 mbd new capacity is availably which is enough to offset decline. In other words, Birol is forecasting that the world is now on a peak oil production plateau which will last until 2015.

Birol's peak oil plateau forecast coincidentally happens to be very similar to that of Sadad al Husseini's forecast shown below.

It's no surprise that Birol states on his concluding slide 23:

Global energy system is on an increasingly unsustainable path

China and India are engines of global energy demand -- countries putting
economic development as top priority

Next 10 years are critical

Another gem from his speech:

"the bulk of future increase in production, if it ever comes, will come from OPEC countries.."

Not exact quote but the bold part was there.

Off topic a bit but,

SATELLITE images show that a large hunk of Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf has started to collapse in a fast-warming region of the continent.

The area of collapse measured about 160 square miles (415 square km) of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, according to satellite imagery from the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Centre.


Might have been already posted, but Ted Turner is spinning some pretty good doomer porn http://www.worldnetdaily.com/?pageId=60581

I'd say worldnetdaily is doing a lot of that Spinning, actually.

Here's the actual video. He might be scared of what we're heading for, but he's not as wild-eyed as WND would like to paint him.

The interview started with his $200m contribution to the Lutheran Church and a UN effort to fight population growth, poverty, disease, overfishing, nuclear weapons proliferation.. "I like to make things better.." was my initial take away from this.


Slatz posted this link earlier and I wonder how many OD readers have seen this document from the American Petroleum Institute? The date on the document is March 31, 2008, so it is very recent.


I have read through it, and IMHO there is an amazing amount of deception going on in there. Masterful marketing spin. For example, there is a chart showing optimistic projections of available oil reserves in the US with a notation that the oil would provide enough gasoline for "60 Million Cars for 60 Years".

Yes, but we have a lot more than 60 Million cars. At our current burn rate, if we squeezed out every drop of these theoretically recoverable reserves, we would burn through the oil in 15 years and have no domestic oil and likely an environmental catastrophe. They also used the 60 Million number when referring to households using natural gas. They said our gas reserves would satisfy "60 Million homes for 160 years". Unfortunately, we have well over 60 million homes using NG, and home heating is only part of the demand for NG.

The final deception to me is that they never even bother to define "API" in the document, even though the logo appears throughout. Do they think people knowing "API" stands for "American Petroleum Institute" is going to alert them to the possibility the report may be a little biased?


Net Oil Exports and the “Iron Triangle” (July, 2007)

To some extent, what we are seeing across the board, from large sectors of the energy industry to the auto/housing/finance industry, media and beyond, is the "Enron Effect," i.e., many people know that we have huge problems ahead, but their paychecks are dependent on the status quo.

The suburbanites are caught in the middle of this, although they have a strong inclination to believe the prevailing message from the "Iron Triangle." As in the movie "The Sixth Sense," for most of us the automobile based suburban lifestyle is dead, but we just don't know it yet, and we see only what we want to see.

Why was the font size changed on TOD?
It was more readable before IMHO...