Tapis Breaks US$115

The price of Tapis broke through the US$115 barrier in Singapore today, so you can expect to see petrol prices on the rise again soon.

Hmmm, five bucks up a month this year. I'm still saying we'll hit $180 by four quarter 2008. We'll get a little panicked jump just before then as the US economy goes tits-up.

The sagging US$ makes this a bit misleading in some ways - it would be nice if oil prices were expressed against a basket of currencies, instead of one that is under huge pressure from all directions.

Well, taking the "Freezing Point" approach, it doesn't matter if the oil price rises or the currency drops or the economy enters a recession with negative growth or there's overall inflation of - the key thing is that fuel affordability drops for that country.

The people could afford so much fuel, and now they can afford less. The wasteful industrial society comes under strain.

RE sagging US $
There is some analysis that has the $ leveling out and perhaps even rising a bit. At this point, it is beginning to make sense to think of almost all the dollar-index currencies as being under downward pressure. If the $ sinks more it is only because the Euro is not sinking as fast. A real race to the bottom. If the remnimbi was in the dollar-index basket, it would probably be rising for real.

If the US economy goes tits-up, the oil price will
fall because of expectations of falling demand. IMO
falling demand - "demand destruction" -
will be much greater than currently anticipated in
the US; when foreclosures and bankruptcies really bite,
consumers will be forced to completely reconfigure how frequently
they use their autos - how many times a week they
go to WalMart, the mall, chauffeuring family etc. And
if we think that the rest of the world has indeed
not decoupled from the States (there are prelim indications
of slowing economic activity in China, for example),
then it would be reasonable to assume at least very
low growth in oil demand from previously-voracious
importing countries. But of course, the respite will
be short-lived...

Whatever demand gets destroyed in the US, China and India will suck up, thus keeping price rising. China announced yesterday they expected to increase oil use 63% by 2020. They also expect vehicle sales to exceed 10 Million next year. Then there's unprecedented increases in domestic use by Persian Gulf exporters, causing them to export less. And on top of that, it's becoming clearer that Russia's exports are decreasing due to declines in production and increased domestic consumption. These three items were all in yesterday's Peak Oil Daily published by ASPO-USA.

I was reading today about coal, a bloke at Newcastle was saying that since they had 30 or so ships waiting to pick up coal, if they could increase output by 30% (from their a bit under 100Mt annual), it'd get immediately snapped up.

If there's that much excess demand in coal, I don't see why oil and gas would be different.

Realistically, assuming a recession in the US, how much is US consumption going to drop? A million barrels a day? Ten million?


Here we see that the oil shock of the 1970s took only about 1Mbbl/day consumption off the US, efficiency and a recession around 1981 knocked 2.5-3Mbbl off, but at the rate of only 1Mbbl a year; and another recession around 1991 knocked 1Mbbl consumption off.

So we can as a rough guide expect that each year of recession will take 1Mbbl/day consumption from the US.

If it's another Depression, it's difficult to say what effect it'd have on oil demand - private car use and freight trucks weren't anywhere near as widespread in 1930. But a recession - that's around 1Mbbl/day demand lost over a year.

Set against world production of 85Mbbl or so, 1Mbbl is bugger all. They'll snap it up.

10Mbbl mightn't all get taken up by other customers, but 1 or 2Mbbl certainly would.

Thanks Kiashu - interesting. A lot of previously oil burning industrial applications would have changed over to gas since the 80's soI wouldexpect a lot less elastcity in oil consumption this time around. Transportation may now represent a much larger proportion of oil consumption so recession induced demand destruction may not be all that much.

A google image search for "US oil consumption by sector" brings up,

So it seems that you're right, that industry and electricity generation use of oil has dropped, and transport use risen.

How elastic that transport use is, would be hard to say. Of course "transport" is not just Ma and Pa Kettle in their jalopy, it's freight. In a general slowdown or decline of the economy, we'd expect freight to drop quite a bit. But how much of transport oil use is freight?

I assume that "shipping" is domestic only, and that "light duty vehicles" is basically all private vehicles. Rail makes up only 2%, and freight trucks 16%. Air is 9.8% and shipping 3%. Of course not all rail etc is freight, but we can set it as a maximum: 30.8% of oil consumed is for freight, 61% for private transport, and the remaining 8.2% for other stuff.

It's hard to say off-hand which would have the most response to price rises. Logically you'd expect people to cut down on discretionary fuel use - ie, no more driving 500 yards to the shops for a bottle of milk, less weekends away, etc. But in a slowing or declining economy, people generally buy less stuff, so that freight should decline, too. Of course, if oil becomes expensive enough, that means some freight might move from trucking to the more efficient rail - but are the USA's railways up to it, or have they been neglected like Australia's? I wouldn't know.

All this - which areas of the economy, which kinds of consumption and such - get affected first and in what ways, that seems like a subject for a TOD article. It's a bit over my head. I'm up there with the big global picture, and with the gritty details down on the ground, but that middle level is a bit out for me.

It looks like indusrial and electricity generation took the big hit in the 70's, but they had viable alternatives to go to. Transport didn't really contribute much to any lowering of demand. Suburban patterns have changed a great deal too so that more people are driving further distances to commute to jobs, which is not exactly discretionary. I also think it is hard to judge what will happen with freight. Short term you just load the truck with 30 tonnes rather 40 but the truck still does the same trip. Mid term, freight gets consolidated onto fewer trucks as the demand for goods moderates. Long term we will haveto see a complet restructure ofteh logistics industry.

If you take Woolworths as an example, they currently only load the trucks half full from the giant distribution centres as it is more efficient to deliver the goods straight to the supermarket floor, that way, rather than unpack pallets by an army of night fillers. It is hard to imagine that sort of just in time freight network being turned around quickly just becasue the oil price goes up astronomically. It will definitely be felt at the checkout counter no doubt.

One idea that IMO makes a great deal of sense is home delivery of Internet shopping.

One (possibly electric or hybrid) truck can replace dozens of trips.

If we had a carbon trading scheme it might be possible for end consumers to earn a small amount of 'carbon credits' by this method thus incentizising it. Alternatively if fuel costs go through the roof the price signal may be incentive enough.

Regards, Nick.

As I am convinced that the long term outlook on crude prices will be ever higher,(as are 99% of people) I am more curious over what prices we will never see again rather than those prices we will probably inevitably reach in the coming months and years.

Im curious... what is the lowest price you think we will ever see again?

My guess, is that we will be lucky to see oil below $85 again

On Dec 27, 2007,Nate Hagens posted a poll of oil price volatility in 2008. I predicted the following:

I'm going with a high of $109 and a low of $83, for a range of $26, which is 27.1% of $96.

That puts me in #3 which is my guess.

Mild but prolonged US and EU recession in 2008 combined with continued but slower growth in Asia will keep prices from going too high or too low. Relative stability world wide during 2008 election campaign and increasing relative political stability in the Middle East will keep prices relatively stable.

Wild cards: Turkish/Kurdish situation may get out of hand. Relative "stability" in Iraq could deteriorate quickly. Potential domestic turmoil in Saudi Arabia could destabilize the country. Potential, although not probable, serious 1930's style depression in US could cause prices to drop significantly. US sponsored destabilizing action in Venezuela (unlikely) or significant rise in tensions between Russia and US could affect volatility.

If wild card events occur, all bets are off re volatility. I will, however, stick with my #3 (27.1%) prediction.

I think I will stick with the low of $83. Although, my high of $109 has been passed at $111, but not by much.

Could we not use the Trade Weighted Index as a guide to how much we are paying for oil in relation to our own currency. Any ideas?

the key thing is that fuel affordability drops for that country.

This IS the down under Oil Drum, I would like to see the price in AUS/NZ for this very reason. Unfortunately gold and oil are always given in US; which brings us back to the original question - what does the graph look like in Euroes (say, or any other currency that didn't forget its parachute).

One of the first graphs in the Oil Watch Monthly is a graph of oil prices in dollars (US) and Euros.


You cam see the WTI chart in AUS Dollar here:


They don't seem to have any of the other oil indexes in their symbol list.


This is a bit out of date but shows a few graphs that overlay the dollar with other currencies which I think is easier to see the difference.


We do need to break this meme of dollar = valuation vehicle. The dollar, when well circulated, will be suitable for wiping before too long. Rather than valuing oil in dollars, we need to be valuing all currencies in oil drum equivalents, no?

As I said above, while crude in US dollars may not have much use as a measuring stick for the world, it has use for the US.

If US per capita GDP remains steady (as in a "light" recession), then as the price in US$ of crude rises, they can afford less, and come udner strain. If the price rises high enough, they come under severe strain, and eventually can no longer be a wasteful industrial economy, they have to give up some of their waste or some of their industry.

See The Freezing Point of Industrial Society, or for a version you can comment on, begin here on my blog.

a little while back (on this site) it was suggested that countries had the ability to industrialize / de-industrialized when the earnings per person within the country passed 10k barrels of oil/year.

Perhaps a sensible metric would be the number of barrels of oil someone on a median wage can afford.

I wrote that, see link ;)

And it's not quite as you put it. I simply observed that all countries where the GDP per capita could buy 10,000+ litres of petrol/gasoline in that country, all those were wasteful industrial economies; all countries where the GDP per capita could buy 1,500lt or less were manual economies. Those where fuel affordability was 1,500-10,000lt were a mixture, with a wasteful industrial elite and manual masses, and a few bits of machinery here and there.

The international crude price is not really relevant to individual countries and their level of industrialisation. That's because some countries export a lot, so they can subsidise their own oil consumption (eg Venezuela, Qatar) while others import a lot and tax it (eg Denmark), and so on.

If you're going to set up a factory or consider whether to buy a $30,000 Prius or $30,000 SUV or forget vehicles and get a $30,000 plot of land and build a home and market garden on it, then the international price of crude doesn't matter; what matters is the local price of fuel. Whether that price is low because of subsidies or because of high supply, or the price is high because of taxes or low supply, doesn't matter to you. Just the price.

Valuing everything in gold seems to be a more relevant way than any ppaer currency. Gold is a universal currency that can't be just printed. Mining it has an energy cost so more of it doesn't necessarly become inflationary. Gold is also only a marginal industrial metal so the demand for it is closer to purely financial rather than economic. You still ned to put some numbers on it so a common medium of exchange is required. USD are OK for this becasue both commodities are priced this way by very fluid markets. Converting the cost of barrels of oil in oz of gold is therfore very straightforward and may give us a truer sense of the actual price versus the deflated/infalted currency fluctuations.

Gold is a universal currency that can't be just printed.

It's not a currency, let alone universal currency. Try purchasing something at a store with gold metal.

Mining it has an energy cost so more of it doesn't necessarly become inflationary. Gold is also only a marginal industrial metal so the demand for it is closer to purely financial rather than economic.

That's a whole lot of energy you'll have to expend on extracting something with little utillity. It's volatile and prone to periods of deflation, which are much worse for an economy than a slight inflation that can be adjusted for in interest rates.

All the gold ever mined is not valuable enough to use it as a basis for a currency without either inflating it's value by decree or using a feduciary currency with fractional reserve banking. Either approach is subject to the same kinds of shennanigans as fiat currency if your government cannot be regarded as thrustworthy, so I do not see how this solves anything.

It has few practical applications, so economical uses rely on it being valuable without having a justification for it. That's similar to fiat currency, with the exception that you can guarantee that it'll always be worth more than toilet paper because it is after all shiny.

Converting the cost of barrels of oil in oz of gold is therfore very straightforward and may give us a truer sense of the actual price versus the deflated/infalted currency fluctuations.

The cost of living and GDP hasn't changed very much in Europe since 2000, when gold was roughly half the price. That makes no sense unless gold is just another commodity, affected by bubbles, volatility, changes in expectations, in demand, speculation and use as a disaster hedge.

It makes much more sense to use a measure like the number of barrels of oil an average income person can buy for a day's work or the fraction of disposable income an average person spends on oil.

Hi Termoil,

Here's some charts showing ratios between gold and oil


A measure against gold is interesting since gold has been used as a store of value for a long time and since it has few practical uses and does not rust almost every ounce is still around and will be long after oil.

Soylent, you have it wrong about needing more gold to use as a backing for a currency than has ever been mined. In fact a country does not need any gold to have a gold linked currency, just the discipline or will to make the necessary changes to the base money supply to keep the fixed exchange rate. since the bankers want the shennanigans of fiat currency they will fight tooth and nail against a gold standard. Oh and by the way gold and silver are also subject to shennanigans, aka lending.

It is probably not possible for one country to establish a gold standard on its own. IMHO today it would take a couple of large blocks to make it work, e.g. USD and EUR. Anyway this is not the place for a discussion on gold.

Basically energy has been cheap over the last few years and will revert to being expensive as will things that use lots of energy.

part of golds rise is that the world is also reaching peak gold along with peak silver and peak copper. Gold mines in the US have been going empty. There is also the problem of peak coal contributing to massive worldwide loadshedding of electricity including South Africa that leads to prolonged mine closure. Gold is simply part of this universal trend of rising commodity price, which can be translated as weaker global currencies. Anyone looking for the holy Grail of afixed point can keep looking if they want.

My thesis is that increasingly desperate importers are bidding against each other for declining oil exports, and as forced energy conservation moves up the food chain, it requires an accelerating increase in oil prices, because energy costs represent a declining percentage of income as one moves up the food chain.

In the past six months, oil prices have shown an annual rate of increase of 50%/year. If the rate of increase falls to 24%/year, it would still mean a doubling every three years.

I am sure the significance of $115 has not passed you by - oil is now above Three yergins - (a yergin is $38 per barrel)

My Theory is that as the price of oil rises, the layers of world economy will show in the most dramatic ways first with the poorest countries. At the bottom of the heap is sub-saharan Africa. Here's an article today regarding their grave situation trying to pay for food: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080408/wl_afp/euauafricapovertyinflation;_...

Unfortunately what's going to happen is famine will spread throughout the weakest economic layers outward, eventually hitting all countries at some threshold of oil price. Some experts predict $200 bucks a barrel. I can't even imagine what that kind of price would portend.

This is my first post. I have lurked on this website for some time, mainly for amusement. Anyway these are some of my thoughts about the religion/ cult of peak oil.

I think the views of the majority of peak oil enthusiasts come from a combination of a few factors. I am guessing most peak-oilers are-

A] Middle class whites (sorry guys, things are not going to get better for you. You have peaked, but that is your own fault).
B] Assorted control freaks and racists (we must all ride bicycles, conserve, sterilize people, live in stone-age economies, ‘local’ communities)
C] ‘Educated’ People who drink their own kool aid (just because you can cherry-pick what you want to see does not make it so)
D] Parasites (how do I make money out of stupid scared people)
E] People who want to find a new religion that validates their existence better than others. (Have you noticed the rather disturbing similarities between people who believe in rapture and peak oil). In any case Christianity is a doomsday cult.

Do you guys really believe that mathematical models based on past data can predict the middle or long term future of complex systems- like the future of civilization? I am involved in developing & using computational models for studying certain complex physical systems- some of the simplest and best understood complex systems. Even with such systems it is hard to create models that can predict what will happen in a millisecond- ironic since we can experimentally measure the same changes over the same timespan with accuracies of better than 1 part in 10k. I think it is you who are indulging in more wishful thinking than those you hate – yes ‘hate’.

Having said that- let us discuss about your wish to hurt/ control/ kill others- I mean your concern about ‘peak oil’.

Let us assume for a moment that oil is biotic (ignore the hydrocarbon lakes on titan) and limited (we have thoroughly explored every area on earth, haven’t we). The immediate issue seems to be reduction in cheap, easy to obtain crude. Well, is that a surprise given how little of the world we have explored or are allowed to explore (in the US). Let us further assume (to humor you guys) that what we have is pretty much what there will ever be.

The question you have to ask yourself is- what about Tar Sands and CTL. Sure they are an eyesore and belch out “greenhouse” gases, but do you think people are going to care if oil shortages affect their quality of life to any significant extent. Obstructionists tend to have a reduced life expectancy during times of sudden changes.

But won’t the magic of NIMBYs, lawyers, environmentalists, activist investors stop them? The sad answer to that question is NO. If people start to suffer to a significant extent on a large scale- all of the above will start ending up in wood-chippers or incinerators. You seem to forget what humans can do to other humans, if they see you as an obstacle to their survival. On a side note- Do you really think nukes will not be used to ensure Venezuela and KSA do comply with world demands. Venezuela in particular has oil sands, water and proximity to the US. It would be rather easy to start more oil sand plants there if there was a real shortage – Chavez and dissenting Venezuelans be dammed. 3 years and lots of jobs for US citizens and Venezuelans – a win-win proposition. Of course that will be easier once shrub (aka the village idiot) leaves office.

But what about the resources, water etc to build and run them? I suggest you read a little history and see how fast nations can make things work when they want to achieve something. Even better, they create employment – lots of stable well paying middle class jobs. Water is not an issue if you are prepared to take simple steps to increase its efficient use in agriculture.

Nuclear plants can be constructed in less than 5 years (If Russia, Japan, China, France, India can do it- so can anyone else) and many designs can be built without expensive technology. Waste can be reprocessed. Sure it is costly and messy – but it beats not having electricity. Again if things start getting bad, NIMBYs and their obstructionist ilk might suddenly find that other people do not recognize their right to live.

If you think there will be an EPA similar to what exists today a decade from now, I have a bridge to sell you.

I will write more about what I think about your other peaks and AGW. I am guessing that you might not like it and might disturb your ‘synthetic’ reality - but that is not something I care about.

I suggest that you read a bit about how very complex systems evolve- like ‘the black swan’ and ‘fooled by randomness’. Try to understand what Taleb is really trying to say. Hint- Complex systems are not predictable over the medium/long term. Discoveries/ profits/ changes/ rare events and their effects cannot be foreseen.

Your real problem is precisely what you accuse others of- hubris. You think that only you know what can be done, how fast it can be done, everyone else (especially non-whites) are stupid etc. You seem to have your own god, rituals, code words etc.

What you do not understand (or admit) is that you are just doing what chimps do- try to kill/ hurt/ subdue your perceived competitors. All the talk of gaia, environmentalism, sustainability etc is just talk- you want others and their kids dead. Ironically the converse is more likely- middle class whites are the endangered species and the rest of the world has copied enough of concepts of post renaissance western civilization to go on without you.

It is also important that start realizing that you are not smarter or more innovative tha others- given similar conditions. The renaissance occurred first in Europe only because of the background inventions by others and the right set of conditions. Your ancestors were just lucky to be at the right place at the right time. Do not confuse a peculiar convergence of events with your mental ability. But the genie is now out of the bottle and you have no technological advantage now- sadly for you others have a demographic advantage.

It very well may be the end of the road for you. However for others it is just a chance to make some more money and move on.

Man, Peak Oil and "your" very uncertain future have really got "you" rattled.

Assorted control freaks and racists (we must all ride bicycles, conserve, sterilize people, live in stone-age economies, ‘local’ communities)

Obstructionists tend to have a reduced life expectancy during times of sudden changes.

you are just doing what chimps do - try to kill/ hurt/ subdue your perceived competitors.

It very well may be the end of the road for you. However for others it is just a chance to make some more money and move on.

Risking to only feed the troll: Am I glad you don't live in my neighbourhood, there seems to be much resentment inside you.. If you've been lurking here for a bit, you should have noticed this is a site where people gather who are concerned about the growing gap between fossil fuel demand and supply. That's a pretty diverse group of people, with a pretty diverse view of what's happening and what the future might hold. Luckily there are few malignant posts like yours, and many people try to contribute positively. If you feel offended about what you're reading on TOD then don't read it. Noone is forcing you. If you want to stay informed about the global fossil fuel situation, there are few alternatives on the web, though.

Hello Who Cares,

May I recommend you check the sitemeter [right hand column], and its myriad selection options, to see the truly global reach of the parent TOD & the various regional TODs? I think you will be stunned at how the total readership is quite geographically inclusive. Check ASPO too: official chapter in China now, and many other places around the globe. Consider that we are just getting started!

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

If it wasn't for all us middle class white guys, your shiny arse of whatever colour it is wouldn't have a place to do your bullshit research on complex systems. As for your ignorance of peak oil and its potential to really fuck up the world, I think your view is utter crap and based on your observance that the gas station has never run out therefore it will always have plenty! Whatever your race, age, education or voting patterns, IMO you are a complete idiot with nothing to contribute. This thread was about the price of TAPIS crude going to US$115 so unless you have some relevant comment, I'd suggest you just keep lurking. Or better still, piss off altogether.

Please don't swear at the troll.

Everything else you said is fine.

Sorry Gav. But he really pissed me off. :)

This is my first post. I have lurked on this website for some time, mainly for amusement.

You should continue lurking and being amused.

Alternately, you could come to my blog, and we could have a full and frank expression of views, since while TOD tolerates posts such as yours, they don't tolerate the most appropriate responses.

You seem to be unhappy and frustated. There are plenty sites on the internet where you can discuss your personal problems, but this is not one. Otherwise, I suggest you commit suicide. We have someone else dead, as we wish, and you proved your point. A win-win situation!

Wow, your post would be amusing if it were not such a classic case...


Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one's viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical assertions.


Who Cares ~

There there, now, get it all out. Feel any better? It's hard having your world view turned on its ear, isn't it? Your denial stage is in full flower, and that's just the beginning. It will be rough, but you have embarked on a wondrous journey...

Who: You are not being paid by the word-try to be concise. Your last line is by far your best one (IMO).

Do you guys really believe that mathematical models based on past data can predict the middle or long term future of complex systems- like the future of civilization?

Obviously not, otherwise TOD wouldn’t exist. Science doesn’t only furnish ‘past data’ but principles, laws, paradigms, and accepted facts; these are atemporal, if one likes, or ‘of the present’ in the sense that they might change in the future because of new developments of many different kinds, scientific revolutions, new insights, reviews, what have you. As for the mathematical models part, for ‘PO’, one has to distinguish measurement itself (eg. barrels of oil, dollars, CO2 concentration, etc. etc.) as based on physical or even psychological reality and how they are conceptualized, as well as many real life constraints inherent therein; the current or conventional calculation or computational or just plain descriptive *tools* (eg. %, graphs, standard deviation, some equations, etc. etc.) and modeling of complex processes that can take many forms, integrate many aspects, etc. Mathematical modelling doesn’t play a big role, compare with particle physics for ex - maths as a tool does. This point you make yourself, I think, in the parag. that follows the quote.

That Nimbys and lawyers etc. won’t stop eg. exploitation of tar sands, as in yr example, speaks to that complexity. Certainly, the impulse to forge ahead regardless, to consume more, to thrash the world, is strong; but the opposing force exists as well, and reasoned discourse can help. As for nuclear arms, it is understood today that military might of that type is a threat; but a defanged one; nuking Venez. would not serve the US, and even neo-cons understand this (to boil down complexity to a sound bite which could be contested.)

how fast nations can make things work when they want to achieve something.

Precisely. That is the whole point. But ‘nations’ - isn’t that a little old hat for Gaia?

Dissing middle-class whites has its place, as do considerations about domination thru history and geography. More other topics.


A few more things-

1] I have a deep dislike for anything driven by ideology or an -ism. I do not think that any theory, world view, model of the world/ universe is a true representation of reality. Models by their very nature are snippets of reality. They are good for short term predictions within a well characterized range of data. Once you leave that zone- the model becomes worthless.

2] Ideologies are essentially models for human civilizations. That is why one religion or economic system does not work well under all circumstances.Same with scientific theories (dogmas)- know the basis, assumptions and limits of each theory otherwise you will be wrong.

3] Bias is very easy to see in others, but hard to recognize in oneself. I appreciate that fact well, not so sure about most others.

4] There are certain groups that digust me - fascists of both the right(religion, vodoo economics) & left (environmentalism, excessive socialism), NIMBYs, people who make money by renting or gambling other people's money ("financial engineers")and high level managers in pretty much any corporation (sociopaths) to name a few. I believe that society is best served by keeping such people from trying to harm others.

5] I am not an optimist, but see no reason or profit in being pesimistic. I am however deeply skeptical about the motivations of people- regardless of their status or education. Below every smiling, helpful human is a greedy, murderous ape - the operative word is 'every'.

6] The best way to make things "work" is by creating real prosperity for the majority- everything else be dammed.

who cares

We do! that is why we are here.

Nice to hear skeptical words from a newcomer with some intelligence and independent thought. I sort of get bored hearing preaching to the choir although a permanent bar brawl with trolls/skeptic can get tiresome.

This thing unfolds very slowly and you can put any type of value judgement(left/right/religious/social theory) you want on global events/trends of great import. Trying to be ahead of the curve certainly puts you in the minority but can be useful/profitable for the individual if correct.

Everyone wants to be normal and accepted so we all speculate online and read up. Some of us are public figures but most hide their negative outlook/convictions about future trends as it can be disturbing to others and to oneself to rock the boat of colleagues/friends and family.

Obviously if we were really an unrealistic sect of crazies we would not be worth reading (10 million unique visits for TOD) by so many.

At any rate resource depletion is not a theory or belief but an observation of fact. How we react to that is our problem.

For example it seems that food shortages caused by market and climate problems could cause starvation and revolution or wars between poor countries. Oil shortages could cause the same between the industrial countries. No big surprises here. US military, big banks, think tanks, govt. and international agencies all have their studies.

Make up your own mind by setting a test for 6 then 12 and 18 and 24 months from now for energy/food prices for you personally. Follow objective data. If the theory holds then who cares what freak moths gather around the flame with their favourite End of the World/Salvation Theories and start of the New Milennium. It is just a physical/biological system to be measured and observed.

Once you know which trend is correct for sure, then you can panic or not as the case may be, but meanwhile don't bug us true believers/early converts in our delusions as we could have a psychotic episode if disturbed and might hurt ourselves or others :).

Below every smiling, helpful human is a greedy, murderous ape - the operative word is 'every'.

Sounds to me like you are a serious threat to society in your present condition, unless of course you are just a helpful extraterrestial.

Yo! if haven't already, please get some psychiatric assistance ASAP!! Either that or get back on your meds.

There are certain groups that digust me - fascists of both the right(religion, vodoo economics) & left (environmentalism, excessive socialism), NIMBYs, people who make money by renting or gambling other people's money ("financial engineers")and high level managers in pretty much any corporation (sociopaths) to name a few. I believe that society is best served by keeping such people from trying to harm others.

If we ignore the "fascists" word in there, you would actually fit quite well into most brownshirt movements out of the past based on that list of dislikes.

I am not an optimist, but see no reason or profit in being pesimistic. I am however deeply skeptical about the motivations of people- regardless of their status or education. Below every smiling, helpful human is a greedy, murderous ape - the operative word is 'every'.

Wow. Next time the Good Samaritans come knocking at my door I'm going to look at the *very* differently.

The best way to make things "work" is by creating real prosperity for the majority- everything else be dammed.

This is the only thing you said that made any sense whatsoever - I agree with it - congratulations.

But you should have said "sustainable prosperity". Otherwise you might be accused of paraphrasing Dick Cheney's "the American way of life is not negotiable" line (or was it Bush the first that said it ?).

Who cares, Using numbers to mark the order of incoherent ramblings doesn't make them anymore legitimate. Either you have something of value to exchange in relation to the topic, or you don't.

A Call to Optimists

We could use some optimism here. As somebody else posted, without optimism, it’s difficult to motivate. How can a poor third world country solve its own problems? What happens to the poor who spend half their income on food when prices double? What happens to the government that allows the poor to riot or starve? What happens to the rich of that country? Do the citizens of that country have significant motivation to change their situation? Has anything changed since the age of oil began? http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-04-02-voa16.cfm

OZ and NZ are resource rich, but OZ/NZ are also fossil fuel dependent. The only difference between Egypt and OZ/NZ is that when OZ/NZ collapse, the rich will have nowhere to go.

Remember, global energy and liquid productions haven’t even nosed over. (Quibble)

Life sucks for most world citizens today. I realistically believe that peak oil will cause things to grow significantly worse for an extended period of time. I cannot envision a realistic scenario that allows most of humanity to die peacefully of old age. But if you think otherwise, why don't you post your detailed plan?

I try to envision realistic scenarios that allow most of humanity to die peacefully of old age. But every time I become excited, harsh reality interferes. I’ve gone through every twist and turn a dozen times. I keep trying to find a solution at any level. But reality bites. The numbers don't crunch, no matter how I try to cheat.

Human nature doesn’t scale down easily. Sure, an individual can Gandhi, but look at India now. Be real. Humans aren’t smarter than yeast.

If energy dependency problems overwhelm Egypt and Haiti and Nauru and Indonesia and Bangladesh, what makes you think that any nation will escape?

I doubt OZ/NZ will run out of food before 2050. But I also doubt that OZ/NZ will continue to enjoy cold Fosters that long. But IF we can make Egypt energy and food self-sufficient, THEN you could use the same technology and keep electrical and transportation systems running post-peak down under. But IF we can’t solve Egypt’s food problem, THEN I suggest that life in OZ/NZ might not be so nice, post-peak. Kiss your cold Steinlager goodbye. (REAL energy is bountiful. Remember what the U.S. did in WWII? Yeah baby! That’s what I’m talking about.)

Please, don’t take offense to my tone. I am humble in my heart. No sangfroid here. I seriously want to learn of a real solution for a single country, individual, or region. If any country could become fossil fuel independent, it should be OZ or NZ. You guys have brains, money, technology and lots of pluck. If you fail, so will we.

My point: There isn’t any answer for the world. This world is a cruel place. I don’t have a solution for Egypt or even my own blessed country. The only answers are local, and even those are horrific, because the human suffering costs are so high. Without optimism, I am seriously de-motivated. I do not like the nasty … brutish … cruel world that I see coming. But I am also seriously honest. Between doom and gloom, I choose gloom. If you are an optimist, put up… or shut up.

Once again, please don’t take offense to my tone. I’m a little down in motivation now, so my tone is intended to shock. If you are offended by my tone, I apologize in advance.

This note is not intended for any particular TOD poster. If you are an optimist, please put your suggestions forward into TOD caldron. If you are a doomer, am I asking the right questions?

Cold Camel

The best you can do is to stay informed and prepare. And indeed, a major part of the preparation is psychological. If you are literate and have access to the internet, your relative position in the grand scheme is already pretty good if that's any consolation. Already in the best of times, there is massive suffering because of diseases, hunger, wars. It's not like we're about to exchange paradise-on-earth for hell-on-earth, though it'll probably indeed be a very challenging time ahead even for people with a headstart like you and me. Maybe you can get some motivation from rising to the challenge, meeting the future with your head held high no matter what. Just trying to make the best of it can be a source of satisfaction and pride, at least it works for me so far :)

Hi, Cold Camel ~

My brother, nephew and niece and I have a "remedy" that gives us a little optimism: every morning we watch reruns of The Waltons. Does wonders for the soul.

(Disclaimer: this is from a purely U.S. perspective. Your mileage may vary.)

Now I know what to watch after "All Creatures Great and Small" and listening to "Farmer Boy."
Cold Camel


"I seriously want to learn of a real solution for a single country, individual, or region"

I don't know of any solution. I also don't know if you ask the right questions. But I have a few things that may come in handy.

Maybe you should first ask yourself: Am I afraid to die? I think if you are able to answer "no" to this question, it helps in many ways, including going a path in some sort of optimistic way. I am not afraid to die, but I am terrified for the horror that may await my children (2 and 5) in the future.

Another thing to consider: Happiness. Are you happy? If yes, why? Where do you derive this happiness from? Lots of money, a big house, nice car(s), the newest gagdets? Probably not. You probably derive it from little things, like your kid playing outside in the sunshine, a pretty girl in the streets that smiles at you, things like that.
Now if you're not happy, realise at least that material wealth is no guarantee for happiness, but personal welfare is (you can't be hungry and happy at the same time). Off course one can be unhappy when having lost a loved one, but that's usually temporary.
Mind you that many people in the world we consider to be poor, are perfectly happy.

Despite the grim outlook for the worlds' future (and me being a doomer to the bone) I consider myself a verry happy person. Being PO aware even adds to that because, contrary to so what's belief expressed above, it gives me an edge in preparedness. I may not be able to get physically prepared, I can cope with disaster mentally, so I have an edge nonetheless. No denial here.

You are correct, the world is a cruel place. It always was and always will be (see a pack of lions selecting a newborn wildebeast for lunch). We can praise ourselves lucky bastards to live luxurious lifes in a relative peacefull time in the stable places of the world (still).

I can't lay out a detailed plan, but I have some plans, but on an individual level only. Neither does this plan offer many real solutions to the problems I face, but here it goes:
I will cling to my job for as long as possible. I serve the shipping industry, which is the most economical way to transport. It may hold for a long time or it may not. I have no other options at this moment.
I ride my moped to work in 5 minutes. The 2nd hand car I have, 11 year old Nissan, will not be replaced. It is in excellent condition, now used for holidays (no airplanes for me), day trips and the like. I live 10 minutes walk from the railway station and city center.
My wife tends the veggie garden. 100 M2 allotment, 25 Euro per year (+20 Euro cow dung) We have a SSR (Strategic Seed Reserve). Rough guess is 1/3rd of our food is home grown. I do the fishing (seashore 5 minutes by foot). I have about 12 fishing rods for different fisheries, 7 reels, several thousands of hooks in different sizes, approximately 36 kilometers of fishing line, and a tackleshop with spare parts for several centuries, the owner doing the repairs on my gear for free (wonder why that is :-)). I have stored a bit of food as well.
We now collect some rainwater for watering the garden in dry periods. We could collect all, filter and cook it, easily
I got the wood stove installed last year, 5 kw for my small house only. It's more then enough. The stove has a cooking plate. For wood we use felt trees from the garden, leftovers from construction and clearing, what washed ashore, and anything we can scavange. I will have a new roof in June, and am presently saving to get a solar water heater installed with it. The plan is also PV and these www.windside.com later for electricity generation.
No debt but the tax-deductable mortgage. Interest rate can fluctuate but only to 6.9% maximally(now at 5.2 or so). Fixed for 30 years (not to reset). Some savings but soon to evaporate in the new roof (no central bank to tax this through inflation). Small collection of heritated silver coins. The plan is to start a SBR for barter purposes (Strategic Brandy Reserve). A little cash stashed away in an old sock in case of a run on the banks. Now I think of it, a STR may prove usefull(Strategic Toiletpaper Reserve)
Knives and tools, jars, sowing kit, kayak, canoe, etc.
We have another place were we can go to where we are welcome and known, and which is relatively safe and highly selfsufficient. Only to be implemented when all, ALL, is lost here. I mean, no one is going to live with his parents in law voluntarily.

A sense of humor will greatly help.

First, thank you for your perspective.
Second, thank you for you plan/actions.
Third, a joke:
PP: "Do you smoke after reading TOD?"
CC: "I don't know, next time I'll look in the mirror!"
Cold Camel

Cold Camel,

Since you mention Egypt no fewer than five times in your post, I am more or less obliged to say something - I was born in Egypt and left it 46 years ago.

The population of Egypt was around 10 million when my father was born there in 1917. It was 20 million when I was born there in 1950. I believe it is now around 80 million.

For millennia, the population of Egypt moved between a lower limit of 2 million and an upper limit of 6 million - until the Age of Petroleum. There have been many cycles of feast and famine and the bible only mentioned one of them.

In all honesty, I cannot see how disaster is to be avoided in Egypt. I would love to be able to. The best scenario that I can envisage is that they will suffer enormously until a wise dictator will get them to work in a collective and scientific manner to harvest the colossal energy of the sun and the water of the Nile. It goes without saying that there will have to be an abandonment of the Deities that brought them to this end - Christianity and Islam. Having children will have to be very strictly controlled.

I just cannot see it happening. I guess I am lacking in imagination.

EIA is claiming an average of $100 / barrel as the oil price for 2008.

Now, this can only mean two things in my quick reading of the situation:

1) They are assuming a hefty speculative premium on current price and expect this bubble to burst and bring price down to 90 or even below.

2) Long and severe recession and not just in the US. History has shown us that even during mild recessions, oil consumption growth barely slows. There needs to be a big one, in order to make any dent, which in turn could bring down the price.

Now, they could also be wrong on their price forecast.

In fact, as show by other TOD posters, they have been consistently wrong for so many years that I consider their current $100 price forecast a strong buy signal for oil, the price of which will quickly climb over miniminum of $120/barrel :)

This is huge news.

I saw it this morning on another site and was surprised it hadent popped up here.

Given the EIA's passed predictions oil is probably going to $200..

Hi found this tonight on another blog


l do hope this comes off and pulls back oil price??

Thanks for that link to global oil market prices.

Why is Tapis about $5 above other indices?

I see that "Resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson has warned the country's growing dependence on imported energy could reach critical proportions, speaking at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Perth."

As you know, I wrote a column Peak Oil Down Under last summer. Are they going to wake up and smell the coffee?



Not this government, no. They acknowledge the existence of climate change, but don't want to do anything about it. It went like this,

October 2007, before election
Rudd: "Of course we must do something, we've commissioned Garnaut, a respected economist, corporate shill, economic rationalist and liberal to do a report recommending how we should respond - we have to wait for his report."
Garnaut: "Obviously we must leave it to the market to decide."

January 2008, after election
Garnaut: "Wow, now that I actually know about the issue... We're all in the shit, and have to act quickly, set heavy reductions targets."
Rudd: "Well of course we're going to be getting a diversity of opinions from various groups and advisors, it's not just Garnaut..."

Hi Dave,

Tapis is very light on the API scale and has very little sulphur, most oil fields are close to the refineries that use it (Malaysia / Indonesia -> Singapore), and presumably the supply/demand balance may be out of whack for these refineries with Indonesia and Malaysia declining in production (I think thats the case - feel free to correct me anyone).

Mr Ferguson thinks GTL and CTL will save us - which might be true, theoretically, for a few decades - if this output wasn't allowed to go to the world market as well as the internal one - but I don't think the Export Land Model would hold up that well in our case - highest bidder will get the liquids...

As for oil depletion here - they clearly understand the issue - but they are living in a dreamworld of miraculous discoveries in the unexploited basins and no supply crunch offshore.

No doubt this has been detailed at some point somewhere on TOD, but does anyone have a rule of thumb for how long it takes a high oil price in Singapore to become a high petrol price in Australia and NZ?

About 24 hours would be my guess. ULP yesterday in Albury-Wodonga was 143.9 cpl. Today 149.9.

I think they have painted the .9 on permanently as it never seems to change.

According to the AIP - "Generally, there is a short time lag of 1-2 weeks between changes in Singapore prices and changes in Australian wholesale prices."