DrumBeat: April 16, 2008

Oil futures jump to record over $115 on supply concerns

NEW YORK - Crude futures made their first foray past $115 Wednesday, propelled to a new record by concerns about how much gas will be available during the peak summer months.

Inventories of gas fell by 5.5 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, a much bigger decline than forecast by analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires. Light, sweet crude for May delivery responded by rising as high as $115.07 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and later settled up $1.14 at a record $114.93 a barrel.

...But the market was torn and traded sharply lower at times due to data deeper in the report showing that the country's appetite for increasingly expensive gas is declining.

"Demand for gasoline is terrible," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago. Gas demand has fallen an average of 1 percent each of the last four weeks compared to the same period last year. "Demand should be rising this time of year."

Pilots claim airliners forced to fly with low fuel

As cash-strapped airlines pack more passengers on flights into ever-busier airports, pilots are filing internal complaints warning that airline cost-cutting on fuel supplies could be creating a major safety risk.

The complaints, compiled by msnbc.com and NBC News from a database of safety incident reports maintained on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration, reveal wide-ranging concern among pilots that airlines are compelling them to fly with too little fuel.

American Airlines expects to spend $9.3 billion on fuel this year, 39 percent more than last year, said Andy Backover, a company spokesman.

United increases domestic fuel charge to $20

NEW YORK - United Airlines said Wednesday it raised its domestic fuel surcharges by $10 to $20 roundtrip, less than a week after the U.S.'s second-largest carrier increased fares to offset rising fuel expenses.

The move, which went into effect late Tuesday night, comes after oil prices topped $114 a barrel for the first time, and will likely put pressure on other airlines to follow suit.

Consumer prices continue to climb

WASHINGTON - Consumer prices pushed higher last month as increases in energy, food and airline tickets overwhelmed the biggest drop in clothing prices in nearly a decade.

...Over the past 12 months, inflation is up by 4 percent, reflecting relentless gains in energy costs, which are up 17 percent over that period, and food prices, which are up 4.4 percent.

The great white hope of the oil industry

The province of Alberta in Western Canada is a forbidding place – a desolate landscape of peat bog and sparse boreal forest, where icy winds can gust the temperature to 40 degrees below freezing. Despite the fact that there are estimated to be 1.7 trillion barrels of oil beneath its surface, it wasn’t until 1964 that the oil industry plucked up the courage to drill in the province.

But now that global oil reserves are dwindling, the Alberta oil sands are being tagged as the great white hope of the oil industry. And while Alberta remains a challenging place to source oil, Canadian tar sands developers are sure to be a big part of the oil story over the next 20 years.

Oil through Israeli pipeline?

NEW DELHI: India is gazing at Israel for a passage to energy security in the age of high oil prices, a move that will give Asia's fastest growing economy easy access to the abundant Russian, Caucasian and Central Asian crude as an alternative to volatile West Asian supplies but will perhaps also raise hackles of pro-Arab political elements at home.

Kazakhstan supports China tapping Caspian oil and gas

BEIJING (Reuters) - Kazakhstan will support China in developing oil and gas resources on the continental shelf of the Caspian Sea, a joint communique by the two governments showed on Tuesday, as the two seek closer ties.

The two sides will try to complete talks on the Darhan block, the communique posted on Chinese foreign ministry's Web site (www.fmprc.gov.cn) said, without providing details about existing discussions.

Unsustainable World

There are places in the world where history seems to be running backwards: children are stopping going to school. The reason, so they can work in the fields because it's the only way their family can get enough to eat.

Farming report released amid food shortage riots

UNESCO calls for a 'paradigm change' to move away from fossil fuels in agriculture

PARIS — As riots erupt over food shortages in the Caribbean and Africa and hunger approaches crisis stage in parts of Asia, an international report said farmers worldwide must reduce dependency on fossil fuels and better protect the environment.

The report, three years in the making, was released Tuesday at UNESCO headquarters in Paris as surging food prices fanned violence and exposed serious concerns about the global food supply in coming decades.

ArcelorMittal to Increase U.S. Prices by $250 a Ton

(Bloomberg) -- ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, plans to boost prices on some steel shipments in the U.S. by $250 a ton, or about 33 percent of current prices, to recoup surging costs for energy and iron ore.

Corn, Soybeans Rise on `Buying Panic' to Avoid Food Shortages

(Bloomberg) -- Corn and soybeans rose for a second straight day on speculation global demand will increase as nations seek to slow inflation and avoid food shortages.

The Philippines, the biggest rice importer, yesterday urged Asian nations to convene an emergency meeting on the region's food crisis. Kazakhstan, the world's fifth-largest wheat exporter, banned shipments of the grain until Sept. 1 to control domestic prices for bread and other foods. Wheat and rice prices have doubled to records in the past year.

The cost of green tinkering is in famine and starvation

Farewell the age of reason, welcome the idiocracy. Only George Orwell could have invented - and named - the government's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) that came into operation yesterday. It is the latest in a long line of measures intended to ease the conscience of the rich while keeping the poor miserable, in this case spectacularly so.

Unwelcome face of ag-inflation

BY the autumn, farm costs will have increased by almost a quarter over 18 months.

...Not surprisingly, the rises in fertiliser, fuel and feed prices are now coming through to have a significant impact on agricultural cost inflation.

Rice for sale, any takers?

While international markets are suffering from rice shortage and price surges, Chinese rice farmers are experiencing the opposite – they are unable to unload their harvests at fair prices.

As a result, Wang said he lacked the money to buy enough seed and fertilizer needed for the upcoming spring planting season.

UK: Is changing our diet the key to resolving the global food crisis?

We are eating 50 per cent more meat than in the 1960s, and global consumption is forecast to double by 2050. More of the extra is chicken, and we eat less red meat than in the past (and a lot less than the Americans). But in terms of overall meat consumption, we are not even going in the right direction.

Inflation is everybody's problem

Housing headaches get all the headlines, but many CNNMoney.com readers say they are more concerned about rising food and gas prices than the credit crunch.

McCain's gas tax cut draws fire

Skeptics say it will do little to reduce prices and stimulate the economy, and could leave road projects unfunded.

Iran to Crescent: agree price or lose gas

Iran has told Crescent Petroleum that it will sell gas planned for the privately-owned company domestically if a dispute over price is not resolved, said Iran’s Oil Minister, Gholamhossein Nozari.

Oil rockets to new record after inventory report

NEW YORK — Gasoline and oil futures prices rocketed to new records Wednesday, propelled by concerns about how much gas will be available during the peak summer months. Crude futures approached $115 (U.S.) for the first time.

Brazil Field Smaller Than Claimed, Credit Suisse Says

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil's Carioca prospect may have 98 percent less crude than a figure cited by the country's oil agency, Credit Suisse Group said, challenging claims that the field is the biggest-ever discovery outside the Middle East.

Chinese oil giants to get tax rebate amid price controls

BEIJING (AP) — China's two major state oil companies will get a tax rebate on gasoline and diesel imports to help offset losses blamed on price controls, the government said Wednesday.

China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., better known as Sinopec, will receive a refund on a 17 percent value-added tax on imports between April 1 and June 30, the Finance Ministry said on its Web site.

Oil sit-in pushes out Mexico MPs

A sit-in protest by leftist politicians over energy reform plans has forced Mexico's Congress to relocate for the first time in almost 20 years.

Africa Now a Force in Global Gas Industry

Angola may absorb more gas in the future in its own gas fired power plants and South Africa could also be an option for piped gas, but at present LNG represents Luanda's best chance of making commercial use of its gas reserves, in December, the Angola LNG consortium agreed to proceed with the construction of an LNG production plant at Soyo in Zaire Province, around 350km north of Luanda. It will have production capacity of 5.2m tonnes a year in a single production line, known in the industry as a train.

Labour shortage to delay LNG projects

MORE than $US100 billion ($108 billion) of liquefied natural gas projects in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Timor Sea are planned over the next decade, but a severe labour shortage and surging costs mean many projects will not go to schedule, keeping global supply tight.

Pakistan: Why not ban wedding meals, lighting?

The worst and most insensitive manifestation of our unresponsiveness is witnessed at local wedding ceremonies wherein all halls, enclosures and houses at the eve of marriage ceremonies are lighted up, irrespective of how much electricity is being wasted. Interestingly, even the authorities concerned fail to act in the matter. The blatant waste of power continues, unrepentantly.

Likewise, wedding tables are laden with food that most often than not goes to waste. Pakistanis not only eat to their hearts content, but at times over-indulge themselves. Still, almost half of the food served is dumped later. The quantity exceeds the eating demands of many. But what sickens the sight is food being turned into junk, the youth's concept of fun. It throws light not only on how insensitive people could be, but also how mindless - worst than Yahoos of Gulliver's Travels in certain cases. It is criminal on the part of both the guests and the hosts to waste food when the country and the world in general face an acute food shortage.

Pakistan: Electricity riots in Multan

Power riots in Multan on Monday have done a lot of damage – Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) office was attacked, vehicles burnt and banks and stores looted. A probe into the incident is overdue but what is worrisome is that the Wapda employees’ union has threatened to cut off power supplies to the entire city of Multan if the culprits are not nabbed and tried.

Pakistan: Is violent protest inevitable?

What one saw the whole of last year in Karachi is now happening in Punjab. And this may spread unless the new government makes a complex calculus about protecting certain communities against unemployment by electricity outages. This is important because an ancillary crisis is also looming: the crisis of scarcity of food items at affordable prices. If people have money to buy food, they can survive the hardship of high prices; but if they are unemployed they have no other course but suicide or rioting. Now both these “options” are about to be exercised.

Namibia: Electricity Tariffs Skyrocket

After weeks of speculation and uncertainty, the Electricity Control Board (ECB) yesterday finally announced the highest ever electricity consumer tariff increase of 18.06 percent for the year 2008/9.

...Last week, the ECB conducted an electricity consumer survey soliciting public input on whether to introduce higher tariffs or introduce load-shedding in the near future.

Simasiku revealed yesterday that 68.7 percent of electricity consumers across the country voted for load-shedding and 31.3 percent higher tariffs. This means the approved tariffs would have been even higher if the majority of customers had opted for higher tariffs.

Where Will Germany's Energy Come From?

Nuclear power is too dangerous. Coal is too dirty. Gas involves too much dependence on Russia. And renewables are insufficient. So just where is Germany going to get its power from?

Clean coal is vital to our future

AUSTRALIA is one of the developed countries most at risk from climate change. That's why Kevin Rudd and his key adviser Ross Garnaut have been unequivocal in their support for deep cuts to greenhouse emissions. There is broad agreement that developed countries will need to lead in managing this transition.

Global crises inspire local action in city of the future

YOU know an idea is hovering around the edges of the mainstream when it makes it into the script of Radio 4's The Archers.

Organic farmer Pat Archer is starting an action group called Transition Ambridge, a move to plan how the community can act now and survive rather than allow itself to be battered by two mammoth geopolitical and environmental problems ahead of us in the real world.

McCain needs plan to boost oil supply

In any event, both Sen. McCain and Sen. Clinton are proposing short-term measures that would do nothing to help the nation come to grips with the long-term energy crisis.

A boost in the domestic supply of oil definitely would relieve some of the long-term pressure on prices. Yet the three presidential contenders -- Sens. McCain, Clinton and Barack Obama -- have shown no interest in opening more oil-rich areas to drilling.

Greer: The specialization trap

When archeologists uncovered the grave of a sixth-century Saxon king at Sutton Hoo in eastern Britain, for example, the pottery found among the grave goods told an astonishing tale of technical collapse. Had it been made in fourth century Britain, the Sutton Hoo pottery would have been unusually crude for a peasant farmhouse; two centuries later, it sat on the table of a king. What’s more, much of it had to be imported, because so simple a tool as a potter’s wheel dropped entirely out of use in post-Roman Britain, as part of a cascading collapse that took Britain down to levels of economic and social complexity not seen there since the subsistence crises of the middle Bronze Age more than a thousand years before.

Ward-Perkins’ book contains many other illustrations of the human cost of the Roman collapse – the demographic traces of massive depopulation, the way that trends in graffiti track the end of widespread literacy, the decline in the size of post-Roman cattle as a marker of agricultural contraction, and much more – but I want to focus on the pottery here, because it tells a tale with more than a little relevance to our own time. Cooking vessels, food containers, and roofing that keeps the rain out, after all, are basic to any form of settled life. An agricultural society that cannot produce them is impoverished by any definition; an agricultural society that had the ability to produce them, and loses it, has clearly undergone an appalling decline.

Oil sets new record in 'new era' of higher prices

"I think we're in for a new era in oil where higher prices are here to stay," said John Stephenson, an oil industry analyst with First Asset Funds.

"We've seen 35 years go by without a major discovery in the oil patch anywhere in the globe."

Stephenson also noted increased demand outside of Europe and the U.S. is also raising oil prices.

"Unless you think people in Asia are going to go back to riding bicycles and give up their cars, I think we're into an era of high oil (prices)."

Brazil oil find announcement spurs excitement, official rage

RIO DE JANEIRO: The discovery of a massive new oil field off Brazil triggered speculation yesterday the country will become a major world energy supplier of the 21st century - and also official fury the find was revealed so soon.

Russian mother who took on oil giant and won

MOSCOW (Reuters) - When Russia's government announced a plan to build an oil pipeline near Lake Baikal, Marina Rikhvanova, a softly spoken 46-year-old from Siberia, could not stand by and watch.

The world's largest freshwater lake, Baikal is home to hundreds of unique species of animals and plants. "We knew we had to do something, the lake is just too important," Rikhvanova told Reuters in an interview.

Pocket Pads

­As concerns about the environment grow, a few architects are betting that buyers will want radically smaller homes.

Gas station anger should be directed at Washington

On PBS’ Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Lisa Margonelli, author of “Oil on the Brain” and an expert on the economics of energy, said Americans are incredibly resentful over higher fuel prices. Even though gas stations make about a paltry three cents a gallon on the gas they sell (their profits come from what they can sell inside the store), people abuse gas station attendants, blaming them for the high prices. Some angry customers are driving off without paying.

“I’ve talked to truckers,” Margonelli said, “who said that people started screaming at them in the middle of the gas station as they’re trying to refill the station’s tanks.”

The skies less traveled - Air woes a glimpse into the future?

If you think America's skies have become a little less friendly than they once were -- what with bankruptcies, inspection problems and skyrocketing fuel prices -- just wait. Chances are good that the era of convenient, cheap air travel is ending.

A climate for change

"There are two main driving factors: climate change and what we call 'peak oil', which means that in the next few years oil reserves will peak and we are going to have to get used to life without it.

"The question is, how do communities make the transition?"

Renewable Energy facts

Renewable energy generated as much electric power worldwide in 2006 as one-quarter of the world’s nuclear power plants, not counting large hydropower. (And more than nuclear counting large hydropower.)

The largest component of renewables generation capacity is wind power, which grew by 28 percent worldwide in 2007 to reach an estimated 95 GW. Annual capacity additions increased even more: 40 percent higher in 2007 compared to 2006.

Michael Klare: The rise of the new energy world order

Oil at US$110 a barrel. Gasoline at $3.35 (or more) per gallon. Diesel fuel at $4 per gallon. Independent truckers forced off the road. Home heating oil rising to unconscionable price levels. Jet fuel so expensive that three low-cost airlines stopped flying in the past few weeks. This is just a taste of the latest energy news, signaling a profound change in how all of us, in this country and around the world, are going to live - trends that, so far as anyone can predict, will only become more pronounced as energy supplies dwindle and the global struggle over their allocation intensifies.

Crude Oil Rises to Record Above $114 a Barrel as Dollar Plunges

Oil rose to a record above $114 a barrel in New York for a second day as the dollar plunged to an all-time low against the euro.

..."This bull market has got a long way to run," Puru Saxena, Chief Executive Officer of Puru Saxena Ltd., said in a television interview. "We have severe supply-and-demand imbalances all across the commodities complex, whether it's food, base metals, precious metals, energy."

Iran questions need for OPEC to cool oil prices

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's oil minister on Wednesday questioned the need for OPEC to hike production to cool surging oil prices, snubbing calls for more crude from its Western foes, the United States and Britain.

..."Why should OPEC try to lower prices? ... Let America and Britain continue demanding," Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Tehran when asked about the calls from consumers for OPEC to act.

UK: Pumping trouble

Motorists could find themselves paying £5 a gallon for petrol, after warnings that $120 a barrel oil was on its way

It seems only yesterday that we were wringing our hands as oil prices hit $100 a barrel. Back then, many hoped this was a temporary aberration. Now it looks as though oil will be trading at $120 a barrel within weeks as prices hit $113 earlier today. The US Department of Energy is expected to report a tightening of the oil supply later today.

The simple explanation is that there is a long-term problem with supply. Oil and gas are finite resources. If some of the people who have them don’t want to sell (even if one asks nicely, as Gordon Brown tried yesterday) supply will be limited and prices will go up. The current situation is rather more complicated.

Krugman: Oil numbers

This is what peak oil is supposed to look like — not Oh My God We’ve Just Run Out Of Oil, but steady pressure on the economy and the way we live from rising energy prices and their consequences. And it doesn’t matter much whether we’re literally at the peak, or whether production can rise by a few million more barrels a day; unless there are big sources of oil out there, we’ll be feeling peakish for the foreseeable future.

What lies beneath: Is there really an ocean of oil off Brazil?

JUST how much oil is there off the coast of Brazil? Until recently, Brazil’s oil reserves were thought to be relatively modest: about 12 billion barrels at the beginning of 2007, according to BP, or about 1% of the world’s total. But last year, Petrobras, Brazil’s partly state-owned oil firm, announced the world’s biggest oil discovery since 2000: the Tupi field, which it hopes will produce between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels. Now the head of Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) says another nearby discovery might hold as much as 33 billion barrels, which would make it the third-largest field ever found. That alone would be enough to raise Brazil to eighth position in the global oil rankings—and there is talk of further big discoveries. But the peculiar way in which the information came to light is casting doubt on its significance.

Shy lenders, and the oil patch, will help Canada fend off recession

Luck and conservative mortgage practices mean Canada can avoid falling into recession even while the U.S. economy contracts, a new analysis suggests.

The luck comes in having ample energy supplies that the United States needs, says Dale Orr, chief economist for forecasting firm Global Insight Canada.

Venezuela approves windfall oil tax

Venezuela moved Tuesday to take a greater cut of windfall oil profits, approving a 50 percent tax on foreign oil companies when crude tops $70 a barrel.

The tax rate would rise to 60 percent when the average monthly price for benchmark Brent crude exceeds $100, according to the bill approved by Venezuela's National Assembly. The legislation will take effect as soon as it is published in the official gazette.

Iraq to Open Six Big Fields for Oil, Gas Exploration

(Bloomberg) -- Iraq will open at least six major oil and natural-gas fields for exploration and production in its first licensing round since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, as the country seeks to raise output without a national energy law.

No cost overruns at Maersk Oil Qatar project

KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Bhd said on Wednesday there were no cost overruns for its on-going offshore project for Maersk Oil Qatar (MOQ).

It refuted recent reports that its unit Sime Darby Engineering has incurred cost overruns of between RM120mil and RM150mil for the project involving engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC).

Looking For the Black Swan

But when it comes to specific scenarios for dislocation and upheaval, my default instinct tends to be that precisely because “black swan” events are by their nature wildly unpredictable, there’s little to be gained by trying to predict which one – peak oil? avian flu? the next Great Depression? – will actually end up throwing our society for a loop. Better to pursue a politics geared toward all eventualities, in other words, than to play a guessing game that’s only likely to cost you precious resources, and still more precious sleep.

Bush revises climate strategy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Revising his stance on global warming, President Bush will propose a new target for stopping the growth of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

The president also will call Wednesday for putting the brakes on greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plans within 10 to 15 years, according to a senior administration official familiar with the afternoon speech Bush will deliver in the Rose Garden.

World Sea Levels To Rise 1.5m By 2100 – Scientists

VIENNA - Melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warming water could lift sea levels by as much as 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) by the end of this century, displacing tens of millions of people, new research showed on Tuesday.

Presented at a European Geosciences Union conference, the research forecasts a rise in sea levels three times higher than that predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year. The UN climate panel shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice President Al Gore.

Kunstler's latest is hilarious as usual and right on the money. Hillary as President as harried single mom in public housing is classic.

What's the protocol for stories appearing on the front page? I very much enjoyed Jean Laherrère's Hydrates updated and figured it would warrant more attention than a single comment with a link to a news story. Perhaps some of us aren't checking the sidebar very diligently?

What's the protocol for stories appearing on the front page?

I don't think there is one. A lot depends on what else is going on. Our contributors aren't paid, and so write when they feel like it and have time. And sometimes, current events take over (like yesterday's McCain story and the new discovery off Brazil). When things are slow, older stories and stories from the "baby Drums" will be promoted to the front page.

FWIW, the "baby Drums" have a disadvantage in that a lot of US corporate filtering software blocks them. The main page is not blocked, but TOD:Europe, etc., are. (As "political sites," no doubt.)


FWIW, the "baby Drums" have a disadvantage in that a lot of US corporate filtering software blocks them.

This can't possibly be true! We live in a free country. Right?

The country may be free. Your office computer is not.

I posted a link the latest hydrate story on yesterdays Drumbeat. There were a few comments.

Haven't been able to get around the paywall on this one...

Why Oil's Rally Has Room to Run

Hope is not an effective strategy, but cash-strapped consumers watching the price of crude oil trek higher lately have little else. Here are five reasons why crude oil, which settled Tuesday at a record $113.79 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, might not be done with its rally.

1. Capacity. Oil-producing giants such as Saudi Arabia and Iran are pumping about as much oil per day as they can while demand continues to soar.

Their blogs used to be free, but it looks like that's changing. :-P

Price May Drop
Some analysts, including Gareth Lewis-Davies, a London- based analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Securities Ltd., expect crude oil prices to fall this year.
``The increase in oil price in 2007 largely reflected lower stocks arising from OPEC production constraint,'' Lewis-Davies said in a report yesterday. ``Our oil price projection for 2008 remains predicated on a recovery in inventories due to increased OPEC supply, a pick-up in non-OPEC supply and demand weakness due to economic slowdown.''
Brent oil will average $78.70 a barrel through this year and will drop to $70 a barrel by the end of the year, Dresdner Kleinwort forecast.
Higher oil supports natural gas prices, Deutsche Bank said. European gas prices will increase to $340.70 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2008, compared with the previous forecast of $327.10, the bank said in its reports.
The bank has increased it forecast for gas to $332.3 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2009, up from the earlier estimate of $308.20. It has also increased its forecast for 2010 to $305.50 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2010.

I wonder what their projection is for the 1st of July? Could they be correct?

Is Gareth your cousin? Why do you care what this guy has to say?

When the comment was posted there was a date of Jan 11 2008. Some how it disappeared.

It was supposed to show the hopelessness of projections.

Sorry, I must have removed it. I deleted a lot of clutter from the post, such as the author's e-mail address. I didn't understand what you were trying to say.

Gasoline & Diesel Demand and Supply

I have heard that US refineries are designed for a maximum of gasoline and most EU refineries for a minimum. Very roughly yields are 50% and 25% gasoline respectively, with diesel and other middle distillates being the other major product.

If so, and USA gasoline demand is flat with EU gasoline demand falling considerably (new cars are about 70% diesel, more apparent reduced demand in EU since they have a Non-Oil Transportation alternative), and diesel demand falling faster than gasoline, what we see (I think) makes sense.

Reduce utilization in USA refineries and increase utilization of EU refineries, and the USA should import surplus EU gasoline instead of crude oil.


That could be exactly why utilization in the US is at lows. Using somebody else's excess while the crack spread is negative.

I guess we will see how long that can continue...which leads to the question how high will gasoline go this summer.

Check out the comments at this blog posting:


[shakes head]

It's hard to believe that there are so many ignorant people out there. I've seen comments like this before, but never so many in one place. It's entertaining though. This is one of my favorites:

OK so apparently they were talking over my head. Not the first time. I was always leery of biotic oil. There couldn’t've been that many dinosaurs all dieing in one place to produce oil. Coal, I can understand, but abiotic origins makes more sense.

Kinda like Intelligent Design.

Don Carne on April 15, 2008 at 3:43 PM

I'm wondering if this "dinosaur oil" meme has its origins in the old Sinclair Oil logo, which featured a dinosaur (brontosaurus, I think)?

'dinosaur bones' has bin around a while.

not put as well by anyone than johnny cash:

You wired me awake
And hit me with a hand of broken nails
You tied my lead and pulled my chain
To watch my blood begin to boil

But I'm gonna break
I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

Too cold to start a fire
I'm burning diesel, burning dinosaur bones
I'll take the river down to still water
And ride a pack of dogs

From Rusty Cage - Unchained 1996

I believe this song was originally by Soundgarden. Chris Cornell and whomever else wrote it.

Yep - Soundgarden song

but Johnny's version with Rick Rubin producing was awesome - as was Johnny's cover of NIN's "Hurt"

that said, I ALWAYS crack a grin at the lyric "I'm burnin dinosaur bones" - such a poetic way of putting it
and "burning fossil algae" just wouldn't work as well

Yep, just goes to show, I think, that Cash could make any good song great. And probably a bad one good.

Words and music by Chris Cornell. Johnny's version is very cool but the original is untouchable.

Cash is great. I think we all miss him....

I think if you did a "Jay (Leno) Walking" type survey you'd find most Americans indeed think oil came from dinosaurs. I've have engineers tell me this! I've had people who should know better, tell me oil must be abiotic, because there were never enough dinosaurs to supply the deposits of oil we know about....

chevron had adds in the 70's that implied as much. and as we know advertisements are a great source of truthful scientific information.

This is geology by and for people who never took a geology course.

What are arguments against abiotic oil?

Besides wikipedia:


I don't understand how abiotic oil could keep up with our production; even abiotic processes for oil can oil produce so much.

And they really missed the point of cost of drilling in the article - the cost of one well is 200 million - did I read that right? So even if there is a decent amount of oil, I doubt production will ever be very high. Unless they are SURE there is a lot more oil.

As for other planets have "oil" - it's always methane, the simple hydrocarbon. Petroleum, as I understand it, is a much more complex molecule that is cracked.

For the record I am NOT an Abiotic believer.

The argument goes the Abiotic process creates the oil deep, very deep (forget the fact that at those depths the temperatures and pressures could not create and do break down hydrocarbon chains)by some hitherto unexplained geologic process that involves magma and from my best guess pixie dust, some of it trickles up to pool near the surface which is what we are now tapping. The theory then postulates that if we drill extremely deep not 30,000 but 300,000 feet and in the right places (one suggestion not on but near plate boundaries) then we can tap directly in to the area the oil is created and have literally billions of barrels for each person on the face of the earth available.

As for arguments against Abiotic oil, one of the strongest I know is that if the current pools of oil we are tapped into are caused by some kind of seepage from deep below (not just overlapping deposits) then on the better mapped out and studied fields there should be some evidence of this happening.

Yup, the Earth is just like a big chocolate candy with a petroleum center. Just think of how much CO2 we could put in the air if we burned it all - Venus wouldn't have nuttin' on us!

I suppose I should care that people think this way, but I don't. It does not matter - I think that the details of what is coming will be impossible to predict, but that the big picture is already locked in. Let the masses believe in fairytales if they want - focus on those few who will listen. The article by JMG is much more relevant.

It my understanding that the chirality (clockwise or counter-clockwise) of certain molecules in crude oil indicates biotic rather than abiotic origins.

Abiotic creation would create random (50-50) chirality. Not observed.


The ring of truth. Thank you.

Put it this way - consider first our rate of consumption. What's obvious here is that any abiotic rate of production that is less than our rate of consumption still ultimately exhausts the oil supply, right?

So what if abiotic oil was produced at the same rate we consume oil today? Pencil that rate of production in for, oh, say they last 500 million years and you have a planet that is covered in miles deep oceans of oil.

Yet we don't have that, do we? So, even if abiotic oil exists, the rate of production would appear to be so slow (on a geologic time scale) that it still does not stop us from facing peak oil. The only way that abiotic oil would matter is if it gets produced at variable rates that increase as we increase our consumption. And frankly, anyone damn fool enough to believe that is too sub-human for further discussions.

Working at a truck stop, I am confronted with such misinformation/disinformation on a daily basis. I tell you, it's enough to drive a man to drink. I've been thinking about writing another Truckstop Perspective, but I think I'll have another Sam Adams first...

I am looking forward to your "truckstop perspective".
I haven't read one in a while.

I saw a science program discussing the origin of the magnetic field being caused by the molten iron core and that this is kept molten and churning presumably by a nuclear reator at the core of the earth. Apparently this is unproven but not kook science. The black hole at the center of our galaxy is also a relatively new idea.

Anyway. We just need to tap that energy directly, not thermally, but directly and then we have a truly unlimited supply of energy here on earth. We just have to pull out Jules Verne "Journey to the centre of the earth" to get some tips on how to go about this of course.

At least this solution is "scientific" although quite mad and impractical and since I had not heard it mentioned before now I thought it worth a shot.

Tapping the core transfers out the heat. Now, unless you have a plan for humans to go somewhere else, when the core freezes like mars, that means the field that has kept the atmosphere in place and the solar winds at bay will be gone.

So - what's the plan to find someplace else once the magnetic field stops?

Actually considering that without the magnetic field we would all be dead then it is safe to say that all energy is not solar but that we rely on both our magnetic core, nuclear plant and the fusion of the sun, both, to live.

So we are using the core energy already. If there really is such a nuke in the center of the earth then where does the waste go and how long till it turns off? Perhaps a running down of the core (and corresponding weakening of the magnetic field) explains the more frequent ice ages compared to previously and the more frequent magnet field switches of the earth.


EIA tables for average prices for all crude types by day, week, month and year. March avg. for WTI was $105.45, te first month over $100. Since november it has been above $90.

Annually as follows:

2000 30.38
2001 25.98 -14.5%
2002 26.18 - .7%
2003 31.08 + 18.72 %
2004 41.51 +33.56%
2005 56.64 +32.43%
2006 66.05 +16.61%
2007 72.34 +9.52%
2008Q1 97.94 my calculation +35.38%

Just a little arithmetic here to see where we are at pricewise relatively speaking. Last year was not bad at all and 2008 looks real bad if the prices hold and even keep on climbing we could see an average price up 50% or more yoy.

Fair enough...but I guess we need to keep in the back of our minds that a fair bit of that gain is USD depreciation.

So, at the end of the year the actual Oil Y-o-Y gain may be similar to other years.


Year over year, the USD is down circa 15% against the euro and oil up circa 70% in USD.

Declining export supply and rising import demand.

Moreover, the rising cost of oil, in any currency you choose to name, is a major factor, perhaps the major factor, in the decaying greenback.

Let's try that again...

At this point, Oil may be only up 16-20% in nominal terms if you factor the USD, so far this year.

Supply and demand is a bigger driver, yes.

Another couple of hours have now passed. It's time to recalculate.

Heh. I doubt even the US is into hyper-inflation... yet.

I don't know why I ask, maybe b/c of 'triple yergin day' or some such, but a year or so ago you mentioned you don't expect any reward 'in this world or the next' for doing this...any insight into why you do?

I would say it's a thankless job, and if it wasn't for the large # of people here that really appreciate all your work, it really would be...
Anyway, thanks :-)

Yes, Thanks!!!

any insight into why you do?

I like it. :-)

It's an INTP thing. We like sharing knowledge. But we're often too introverted to enjoy dealing with people in person. I suppose in an earlier era, I would write a book or something. But here, at the pinnacle of the Age of Oil, there's the Internet.

I feel the same way sometimes. I've practically given up trying to change anyone's mind besides just telling them like it is, and I don't care much for interacting with a lot of the folks out there anyway. I guess you could say I like individuals, but people as a group scare me :-)

Not really on topic, but I attended a city council meeting for a project (I'm also an engineer, civil) and they were debating a new 'fire fee' before that. One guy said they could lower costs by not having fire trucks respond to minor things....like the time this guy found a snake in his house and called the police to take it out.

Our client and myself just shook our heads...people want free reptile removal (no doubt a little black racer or something) but don't think they should have to pay for it? Such a small thing, but so absurd...

I agree. If someone comes out because you called, you should get billed at least a small fee, even if it doesn't cover the actual cost of the response. Waivers could be given for those who actually have an emergency and who cannot afford the fee.

We INTJs are pretty much the same, except we know that anybody who disagrees with us is wrong.

Hey, are you sure about that P? ;-)

I wonder how the percentage of "N"s among peakists compares to the population at large. I'll bet it's high.

Hmmm ...INTP, I learn something new every day here, today it's that I'm an INTP and didn't know it!

My company paid me well for my strange eccentric skills ... I thought I was alone, I know my thought patterns are different to most others ... often, what is trivially obvious to me isn't obvious or understandable to other people at all ... what percentage of the population are INTP?

If I recall correctly, it is the rarest type, somewhere in the 5-10% range?

I am certainly different (as a matter of policy) to most others in a very big organisation - tolerated 'cos I am usually correct - but because I can see fundamental limitations and boundaries always seem negative to the directors/senior managers - they are paid to deal with risk, I deal with reality and clear up after errors based on optimistic thinking that tomorrow will always be like today, only better - sadly, that isn't the real world, for many (mostly poor people) the world gets worse each day.

The people above you got there by being optimistic and being lucky enough to have things go their way. They will stay on their roll until they get unlucky, and then the golden parachutes deploy for the top dogs. Our economy and history is littered with the wreckage left behind by formerly lucky, optimistic high fliers. Some day not too far in the future that might pretty much describe our entire economic landscape.

Of course, what are out of sight are the optimistic ones that hit a patch of bad luck early on, and are spending the rest of their lives out of the game because they proved themselves to be "damaged merchandise". This group of "losers" probably far outnumbers the above "winners" by an order of magnitude or more, but we never hear about them. (Although we briefly heard a little bit about some of these during the first big waves of corporate downsizings a couple of decades ago.)

Seems one personality type on Wikipedia wants to wipe you out !


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The Thinker

As an INTP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is external, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the "absent-minded professors", who highly value intelligence and the ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions. They typically are so strongly driven to turn problems into logical explanations, that they live much of their lives within their own heads, and may not place as much importance or value on the external world. Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve theoretical problems, and help society move towards a higher understanding.

I highly appreciate your sharing, Leanan.

Thanks for mentioning you are INTP. I am also strong INTP according to a bunch of personality tests my employer gave me back in the days I was employed. It is not easy being an INTP, as - like you mentioned - we are way too introverted to enjoy dealing with people.

When dealing with physical systems, there is a comfort of knowing that the elements consistently follow the rules.

People do not.

Office politics drive me crazy. The stuff the others like to do is hell for me - they think sitting for hours at a sporting event, formal dinners, or crammed onto a small sailboat is FUN?!!!? I'd rather visit the dentist. At least something useful will be accomplished.

I have to understand, there are people so well paid they do not need to worry about physical infrastructure. They can make more money in seconds with a pen than I will make in my whole lifetime with tools.

So I can see why you love TOD. Its your baby. We all love our babies. I sure appreciate all the effort you go through for us. It shows. I highly miss it when you take a break. Its kinda like finding out Star Trek was pre-empted by some ball game. That used to be a real pisser for me in the 60's.


The commodity train keeps on rolling...

Saskatchewan potash producers have cut an export deal with China that calls for the price of fertilizer shipped during the rest of this year to more than double, one of the producers said Wednesday.


POT is insane this morning. Up 10 points I think.

I wish I had the patience of MoeGamble. I left a lot of money on the table.

Hello Neon9,

Ah, NPK--my favorite topic!

People want to eat more than anything else, and rising FFs have a double or triple whammy effect upon the I-NPK supply chain. Recall my posting of reducing a 40 lb boulder to powder, then hiking it to the far ends of the earth. Remember, there are NO SUBSTITUTES for NPK and other trace Elements, thus my writings on the need for the rapid ramping of O-NPK recycling and SpiderWebRiding to try and reduce the ramping price of I-NPK.

Hell, if you read my posting at the very bottom of yesterday's DB: we may need my Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK if only so we can guard the fertilizer until it is applied to the ground!

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

To show how badly people want NPK so they can continue to eat:

Chinese fertilizer importers agreed on Wednesday to pay more than triple what they did a year ago to reserve tight supplies of potash, sending the shares of global fertilizer makers to record levels.

"With the intense pressure on global food production and continued growth in potash demand, this is the reality for our industry for the foreseeable future," Bill Doyle, chief executive of Potash Corp , said in a statement.
I expect, probably within a couple of years, where we start reading press reports of people trading their big screen TVs for a wheelbarrow. Such is life.

If only there were enough wheelbarrows /Sigh/

Bob, you rock. How's your mom? Your advise is worth millions...

Hello PaulusP,

Thxs for responding. My Mother is hanging in there--I appreciate your concern--but I sure wish I could share a yeasty drink with my Father again [deceased Aug. '05].

Luther Vandross classic, 'Dance with My Father again':

"Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence...

Hey Bob;
Just reporting in from 'Wheelbarrows East' that I took my camera package to a (probono) job yesterday and another today, commuting through the town with an '8-wheeled Barrow', more commonly known as an 'umbrella stroller' in the child-rearing trades. This was guided by ONE hand, while the other carried my perennial coffee 'car-cup'.. The stroller was a cast off from the sidewalk that needed minor frame-bending, but has now proven it's worth a few times.. AND, I met Dryki! The first time I've met another TODer face to face.

Best Hopes for hand-propelled toolkits! (Used to see a lot of these kinds of homebuilts rolled on skateboard wheels by tradespeople on the subways of NY!)


Fertilizer would be an item to stockpile, assuming the feds didn't think you were trying to blow something up with it. :(

Bob, what you've been talking about here has been a real wake up call. And that's been no small amount of time.


I see lots of consciousness raising going on this month -- fertilizer, food, oil. I'm pretty doomerish, but I do find it encouraging. Recognition of the problem ...

And so what?

The planet can comfortably support probably 1-2 billion and we're approaching 7 billion. Recognition of the problem is going to make it easier for 5 billion to roll over and die? Recognition of the problem is going to produce some new magical solution that will save all 7 billion of us?

I don't see how this ends other than tragically.

I agree, and I think a lot about what it means. It always comes down to rate - if the population could somehow decline over the span of several generations, then it would not HAVE to be a catastrophe. But I doubt we'll be that lucky, or be able to take advantage of such good fortune anyway. So then what? There is no "solution" to it.

It will certainly have tragedies, but it will not end in all likelihood. But Life does go on, and so the 'so what' is that of all the people who will try to survive, some will.

Where does it get you to piss on someone's hopefulness? They're not saying 'nothing will happen', 'nothing will go wrong' .. just that there are positives in the midst of all this, and they are worth being encouraged by.

Do you ever think of yourself as actually dead lying in a box with a lid on it?


Nor do I really.

It's silly to be depressed by it. I mean, one thinks of it like being alive in a box, and one keeps forgetting to take into account the fact that one is dead...

which should make all the difference... shouldn't it?

-Tom Stoppard 'Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead'

You're right about that. I was particularly surprised to see Krugman's blog (I saw it yesterday, but it's linked above). It's the first time I've seen someone who I knew ahead of time to be a bonafide economist talking about peak oil in something other than a dismissive manner. But this isn't the first time Krugman has talked about this, he even talked about the oil price contribution to the food prices in his normal column a few days ago... Yet, the more I look at things like McCain's loony tax cut scheme, I'm convinced that a responsible energy policy will go the same way as the environmental policy has in the U.S. That is, too little, too late, otherwise known as "Closing the barn door after the horse has left."

I was glad to see Krugman addressing peak oil yesterday too, but as much as I respect and enjoy his columns and books, I think he's been sadly behind the curve on this one. I asked him at a book signing FIVE YEARS AGO why he hadn't commented on peak oil, and he mumbled something about how he hadn't studied it enough to comment. I begged him to take it up. Since then I've counted perhaps two or three brief references to peak oil in his writings, all of them delivered in a "balanced" (as in, uncommitted) fashion, but that's it. I suspect he's as loath to admit the reality of peak as anybody else.

Hello ChrisN,

Thxs for sharing this personal experience with Krugman. Makes one wonder if he would have changed his mindset and writing topics much earlier if Richard Rainwater had offered him a tour of his lifeboat-farm. Of course, I have no idea if they have the same social and business circle of friends.

Bob, I would imagine that Krugman has heard about "the new survivalism," since it's been featured in NYT and elsewhere. But who knows how he deals with that personally...

Hey I've got a few side questions for you, if you've got a minute. Please email me--address in my profile.

It could be a trend. Jeffery Sachs just mentioned peak oil on Charlie Rose. Perhaps the economists are going to come on board.


At least a few. Jeffrey Sachs is concerned about world poverty. He names all the issues: water, global warming, peak oil, land use. Peak oil deserved a mention, but global warming was a bigger focus for him. He wants investment in alternatives: nuclear, solar, wind, carbon capture for coal to see what works.

I think that for investors, commodities are really the place to be right now, esp. on the ag side (but look at the news from RTP today!). The indexes are all down YTD while the better commodity plays are all up double digits. I put out a new article on this yesterday with a good handful of suggestions on ways to play it in stocks, ETFs and ETNs:
Commodities Soar as Stocks Sink

This small company has staked leases that represent more than thirty barrels of bitumen in place per share of stock. The stock is priced under a dollar per share.


I am not sure whether or not it is a good investment. People seem skeptical about tar sands as an investment and there are supposed to be more than a trillion barrels of bitumen in place in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Developing the resources is costlier than leasing the mineral rights to attain the deposits.

Having oil in the ground is not the same as having oil production capacity.

rainsong, it sounds good as an investment. Suppose however, you are an investor with a X amount to invest. You are likely to try and find the best results you can get from your investment. So if you're looking for any energy related investment, what you do is look at prospects. You then may found out that the outlook for NG, which is required for tar sands production, is precarious to say the least. Do you invest in that? Or do you start looking for something with better returns, like LNG?

I'm not an investor. Just my 2 cts.

"The stock is priced under a dollar per share."

what company is it? (wasnt able to download the document in a reasonable time)

from experience, i can tell you this: getting in early is generally risky, especially with a project like the oil sands.

the early "investors" are the suckers. either the stock gets diluted or the principals award themselves a big piece of the pie or they have to go heavily into debt to finance such a play.

The company is Alberta Oilsands Inc. It is listed in Canada and is a pink sheet (OTC) stock in the United States. Normally I invested in more established companies in the oil and natural gas sectors. Made money in coal stocks in the past too. I only put a small amount of my portfolio in this small cap company. Typically some of the strongest growth occurred in small cap companies and also the highest percentage of business failures.

They have hundreds of millions of barrels proven with probability for more if newer technologies such as solvent extraction or fireflood work. In one of their documents they listed 2.375 billion barrels recoverable if they can get 50% recovery (London Oil Sands Forum PDF at website listed below). Some newer technologies were reported to be able to be likely to recover 30-50% or more of the bitumen in place.


Would not mortgage the home to buy this one, but thought I should hold onto a block of shares and am not willing to sell them at this point. Oil prices were volatile. Today was a tremendous upsurge in most oil stock prices. I experienced major gains today after the inventory report was released. Other days were sinking feeling in the gut days.

The porosity was 30%, bitumen saturation 75% in their primary site. The officers of the company worked for various large oil and gas integrated corporations before forming this company.
As for whether to invest in LNG or dry natural gas production is hard to say. Most LNG production is with the large multinational companies who had all sorts of projects going. It is not easy to find a pure LNG play. One investor recommended one should invest in what one knows. If one is guessing the result may be haphazard.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending April 11, 2008

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.3 million barrels from the previous week. At
313.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the
average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased
by 5.5 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 increased by 0.1
million barrels, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of
year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.1 million barrels last week.
Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 8.0 million barrels last
week, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.


Gasoline down 5.5 million barrels with the refinery utilization at 81.4 %...

At this rate will be riding in horse drawn buggies come Memorial Day.

Robert Rapier has a thread up about summer gasoline now. Maye he'll weigh in on this inventory report.

This is what worries me...

Total Motor Gasoline 215.8 221.3 199.8 -2.5 8.0
Reformulated 1.8 2.2 1.9 -18.2 -5.3
Conventional 106.1 108.2 106.8 -1.9 -0.7
Blending Components 107.8 110.8 91.1 -2.7 18.3

WTF can you do with blending components if you dont have any conventional gasoline? O_o

idomar comment from PeakOil.com , regarding blending components and gasoline:

Total Motor Gasoline 215.8 Reformulated 1.8
Conventional 106.1
Blending Components 107.8

I mean its a good job blending components can be counted?

someone correct me here, but isnt this like saying 'I have 1kg of cookies and 1 kg of chopped nuts and chocolate bits therefore I have 2kg of cookies.

what happens if the cookies run out and I am left holding my nuts?


May RBOB currently at 2.913 =/

And how close are these numbers bringing the USA to MOL?


Assuming a Minimum Operating Level (MOL) of 270 mb of crude oil, the US has about 96 hours of crude oil supply in excess of MOL.
Assuming a MOL of 185 mb of gasoline, the US has about 15 hours of supply in excess of MOL.

9/10/07 WSJ comments one Jeffery Brown

The thing that grabbed my attention was refinery utilization - 81.4% sounds awfully low. So low that I grabbed the historical data from the EIA web site, pulled it into Excel and graphed this value for the last 2 years.


Click the image for a bigger version.

Any explanation why this is so low? There is crude right? Turnaround?

My explanation, from September, 2007:

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.

Agree 100% and I'd like to add one more thing. In my opinion nations such as the US that import both finished components and oil to meet demand will be facing a double export land model. WT post shows that regions in the world will begin to operate closer and closer to MOL. This is disruptive and if a shortage develops you will have a lot of pressure to alleviate it. What this means is that as a shortage develops in a region refinery utilization will go up and he crack spread for that region will increase to draw imports.

If that region was also one that generally produced excess product for export we expect the net result to be a drop in exports from the region and greater imports into the region. This is all finished product. So the first place we should see problems is variability in supply of finished product exports leading to instability and eventually real spot shortages developing.

This scenario has actually been going on for some time its just now for example with diesel that its gotten large enough to strain the system.

The net result is that the crude supply market itself will become unstable with different regions suddenly experiencing heavy demand for crude as finished product imports fail to meet expectations and crude inventories are drawn down to meet local shortfalls.

Eventually of course KSA will have to do some emergency releases draining what I believe to be very limited and short term spare capacity. Prices will be very variable further destabilizing the system in general they will be going up but the markets will be unable to resolve the situation since its now in cascading failure mode.

And finally I believe that real oil production itself is now down sharply having dropped significantly since about November of last year. Eventually I suspect my position will be vindicated. So not only did we not hit a new peak we are now well of peak.

Excellent observations, memmel and WT. I've been looking at the same things. Tesoro is a poster child for the regional dynamics you're talking about.

I have been wishing I knew more about where all the imported gasoline we're getting comes from, and what the specifics of their refining, crude sources, etc. are. We're going to have to think more globally about refined products than we have been...

I have been wishing I knew more about where all the imported gasoline we're getting comes from

Chris, it's all available at the EIA. I actually started a post once entitled "Where Our Gasoline Imports Come From" but I never finished it. (In fact, I thought I had but just found it still in draft form). When I checked, the UK was our top gasoline importer, but the Virgin Islands came out on top in some months.

Chris, you inspired me to finish my long-forgotten post:


Here are the Top 10 importers of finished gasoline into the U.S. in thousand barrels per day in 2007:

1. United Kingdom (Thousand Barrels) 25147
2. U.S. Virgin Islands (Thousand Barrels) 23590
3. France (Thousand Barrels) 11209
4. Canada (Thousand Barrels) 10605
5. Netherlands (Thousand Barrels) 10518
6. Norway (Thousand Barrels) 8406
7. Germany (Thousand Barrels) 8351
8. Russia (Thousand Barrels) 7387
9. Italy (Thousand Barrels) 7239
10. OPEC Countries (Thousand Barrels) 5516

You da man, as always. Thanks buddy! (I should have thought to dig a little more at the EIA myself...)

One correction: That's "thousand barrels", not "thousand barrels per day." In other words, the UK sent 25.147 million barrels of gasoline to the U.S. in 2007.

It's a surprising list, and reinforces my point that gasoline imports and crude imports are very different things, coming from different sources. It also points up that gasoline is much more fungible than it was only a few years ago, which has important implications for the American refiners. Now we know where the crack spread went!

Robert, that doesn't look right. Thousands of barrels per day? That would mean 25,147,000 barrels per day from the UK? That can't possibly be right. Is that per week? Or am I misunderstanding something here?

Bah, ignore. I had not refreshed the page when I posted and you had already answered. Thanks Robert!

Memmel--Why do you feel "KSA will have to do some emergency releases"?

Do you think the Saudi Royal family want every single business deal that are involved with reviewed for legit problems of kickbacks and other shady deals ? And maybe problems with banking transactions arms deals, wheat sales etc. Unannounced but real pressure can be applied on KSA in the short term. And of course the US could preemtively announce KSA is past peak production. The US if forced could even do a 180 on Iran. The point is they are not omnipotent Mutually Assured Destruction is a valid tactic for the US.

Also I believe that wish to keep the impression of being a swing producer that can make a difference for a while longer. This points to some token increases later on in the year.

Finally KSA still has a chance of increasing production for a few years. I think they will never go above 10mbpd but the exact production profile will depend on how they bring fields online and decline rates. I don't think they know how this is going to play out.
We don't. So the day of reckoning when they have to admit peak could be 1-2 years from now. As long is they can show steady or periodic increases the fact that they are down from the previous high seems to not be all that important politically. Real US production around its peak did not fit our simple models. We can't expect KSA production to be smooth over a short time period. I think by 2010 they will be forced to come clean but if Ghawar really collapses this year it could be now.

Understand that once KSA has been forced to admit peak either by outside consensuses or a real announcement OPEC/ME politics and internal KSA politics will take on a whole new level of stress if you will. I'm pretty sure they are going to avoid this as long as possible.

I'd guess 5 years to not argue the point of peak oil - there are a lot of options to say that technical difficulties have delayed production from such and such a field and so on.

People like Yergin will also continue to over-estimate the potential of non-conventional resources to distort the global picture.

It would seem that King Abdullah has something else in mind

"On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah also suggested that new oil discoveries in the kingdom would remain untapped to preserve the nation’s wealth for future generation, according to various wire reports. “Let them remain in the ground for our children and grandchildren who need them,” the king said in a speech, according the official Saudi Press Agency."

I also got to thinking about possible political motivations for the Russians to admit they've peaked. I would say the chances for Campbell's Oil Depletion Protocol would greatly increase if KSA also admitted to peaking or is quite close. If OPEC + Russia were to adopt the Protocol, there's very little the OECD countries could do aside from accepting geologic fate.

It would seem that King Abdullah has something else in mind
"On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah also suggested that new oil discoveries in the kingdom would remain untapped to preserve the nation’s wealth for future generation

I think many people forget that KSA is a center of Muslim world and many Muslim countries suffer or will suffer from food and fuel shortages. I don't think KSA in position to supply oil to infidels while population of Muslim countries will die out because of fuel shortages.

I expect that KSA at least will allocate a fair share of production to friendly Muslim countries to ensure survival of the population.

The King soon will be in position to decide fate of a lot of countries around the world.

I don't think KSA is in a position to supply oil to infidels while population of Muslim countries will die out because of fuel shortages.

On the other hand, knowing human nature, if fuel (or food) goes to short supply and countries mandate that exports stop until domestic needs are met (such as the US with corn ethanol) would you want to be sitting on the biggest reserves of it?

westexas ..

With domestic refinery utilization down and
refinery margins in the tank, wouldn't one
be importing finished product from Europe
which has excess gasoline ( due to higher
diesel usage ) as much as possible ??

I assume there's a price advantage/arbitrage
going on between landed costs of imported product
vs domestic refinery margins ??

Triff ..

Any explanation why this [refinery utilization] is so low? There is crude right? Turnaround?

1) Gasoline inventories are still pretty high (though falling)
2) The crack spread is low, making it not very profitable to refine oil into finished products right now.

yes it is strange, more than 10% drop in a matter of 3 months.

Does this mean in plain words there is a 10% drop in refining (sure yes) .... but is this temporary due to retooling for summer gasoline? Or is it simply a sign of less oil flowing into the US? Anyone..

I think the theory that is circulating TOD is that this is driven by the relative shortage of diesel and heating oil worldwide, relative to gasoline. European refineries are generally configured to produce a higher fraction of diesel and less gasoline from each barrel. If diesel is in short supply, it makes sense for European refineries to run flat out, and sell excess gasoline to the US, at a lower price than the US can produce the gasoline given the price of crude. Of course this leads to a double ELM situation, when oil gets really hard to find, the European refineries will still be able to outbid the US refineries for oil, but will then keep the gasoline for local consumption.

My guess is that it's a combination of retooling for summer, and refineries' reluctance to buy crude at such high prices. They're waiting for the price to drop.

Profit margins on refining are piss-poor right now, so refiners are cutting back. Refiners are getting squeezed at both ends. Crude oil is very expensive, and competition is keeping gasoline prices lower than necessary for decent refining margins. Hence, the refiners are reducing output in an attempt to run up prices.

Thanks for replies , folks above here. Your general take is that (merikan) crude-oil is too expensive, for the time being (!!??). Ehh.. even the refinery administrators don’t have to be spare time taxi drivers to understand that this will be the situation into the foreseeable future ,no?
If high costs should be the reason ....well then, as I see it, widedspread demand destruction is actually starting to take place in the US, not only from the drivers part but also the providers side (refineries)

The free market is working hurrah

Ehh.. even the refinery administrators don’t have to be spare time taxi drivers to understand that this will be the situation into the foreseeable future ,no?

I don't think so. I think a lot of people are still expecting prices to drop. Because of a worldwide recession, because the Saudis really can open up the taps if they want to, because of new discoveries prompted by high prices, because of renewable energy, etc.

Exhibit A is the fact that airlines have not hedged fuel prices this year. If they thought they'd be looking at $115 oil or higher, they'd have hedged.

Doesn't a hedge require an opposite party expecting the price to fall? I.e., a counterparty essentially selling insurance that they don't think they'll have to pay out on? Perhaps no one is expecting the price to fall, so buying the hedge was more expensive than simply buying the oil in the first place.

Oil futures prices have generally been (and continue to be) in backwardation. This means futures prices are less than the current price. Pretty much at any time during the run-up of oil prices (see the oil futures chain), it would have been possible to lock in lower prices than the price on that day. The only reason not to do that is if you believe future prices will be even lower than the backwardated(??) futures price.

That will change at some point, when it finally dawns on the masses that oil is going up, and going up a lot. But for now, the conventional wisdom is that oil prices are going to drop (though the amount of backwardation has been decreasing, which is a sign that the reality of oil depletion is finally starting to set in).

I don't think futures will ever go into being more expensive the further out you go. This is because of the way futures work. If a future contract for oil in jan 2010 would be a lot more expensive than one for oil of the upcoming month, everyone would buy oil at the current price and store it until jan 2010 and sell the futures contract for oil delivery in jan 2010 now.

Do you mean oil futures specifically, or futures in general? There is a word -- contago -- for increasing future futures prices. Words don't exist for something that doesn't happen. Besides, oil isn't that easy (or cheap) to store.

Producers deferring production is another issue (in that case they're storing it by not pumping). But that is a complex topic, and I'm not sure what effect it will have on the futures curve; drive it up, I'd guess, but I don't really know.

Tommy, premise not true in numerous ways. Oil has already spent a significant amount of time in contango; the majority of the time, I believe, until just the last few years. In fact, it could be argued to be the "natural" state, barring price speculation, for a number of reasons. First, physically storing oil must take into account not just storage cost, but opportunity costs as well. If you purchase a $110 barrel of oil today, you'd better write at least a $114 contract a year from now just to keep up with 3% inflation, even assuming no storage costs. Also, the percentage of oil which is storable at Cushing is relatively small compared to the value of the spot market. As you try to store more and oil to combat the contango, the storage facilities fill up and your storage cost will rise dramatically, allowing higher rates of contango to occur. Unless the contango slope gets so steep that people are actually willing to construct new storage facilities, I have read physical storage in oil doesn't act as much of a brake in the intermediate to long term. A perfect counter-example is gold, which has an almost unlimited storage capability and costs far less to store than oil, yet is in contango >95 percent of the time. In fact, the slope almost never deviates from a contango formula of T-bill rate + storage cost + insurance rates precisely because it's so easy to warehouse or liquidate based on the fundamentals.

Oil has been in contango many times in the past and will be again many times in the future. (Unless of course we have a total collapse of the economy before that happens.) Many commodities are in contango right now. Gold for instance:

December 2012 gold is over $120 an ounce greater than the April 2028 contract. You could buy gold now for about $947 an ounce and sell December 12 gold for $1067. However is something very important that might keep you from making that $120. There is what is referred to in the business as "cost to carry". Cost to carry is the interest you would lose on the money while it is tied up in the commodity and the storage cost. Storage cost for gold would not be all that great but it would be very expensive for oil.

Ron Patterson

Hedge funds have changed greatly over the years. Most of them don't really hedge, they are an investment fund for the rich.

It is important to note that hedging is actually the practice of attempting to reduce risk, but the goal of most hedge funds is to maximize return on investment. The name is mostly historical, as the first hedge funds tried to hedge against the downside risk of a bear market by shorting the market (mutual funds generally can't enter into short positions as one of their primary goals). Nowadays, hedge funds use dozens of different strategies, so it isn't accurate to say that hedge funds just "hedge risk". In fact, because hedge fund managers make speculative investments, these funds can carry more risk than the overall market.

That being said, you are correct, for every position a hedge fund takes someone else must take the opposite side. And, contrary to what a lot of people would lead you to believe, it is just as likely that a hedge fund would be taking the short position as the long position.

Ron Patterson

Doesn't a hedge require an opposite party expecting the price to fall? I.e., a counterparty essentially selling insurance that they don't think they'll have to pay out on? Perhaps no one is expecting the price to fall, so buying the hedge was more expensive than simply buying the oil in the first place.

There are, as I understand it, two kinds of hedges, speculative, which requires the counter-party, and non-speculative, in which the buyer simply contracts forward prices from the producer. The producer's incentive is to have a guaranteed price for a given amount of production going forward. In a volatile market, this is an advantage for the buyer in terms of business planning purposes, such as airlines' future ticket prices. I suppose that technically, the producer becomes the counter-party, but the hedge is done for price stability purposes rather than speculative purposes.

and non-speculative, in which the buyer simply contracts forward prices from the producer.

No doubt this happens but such a buyer would not likely be a fund. A buyer who contracts to actually buy oil would likely be a refinery or some other user of oil. At any rate this would not affect the price of the futures market. A buyer contracting directly from the producer would have no direct effect on the price of oil on the NYMEX.

As I pointed out above, the term "hedge fund" in mostly historical. People who invest in or run such funds, like Boone Pickens, are not really hedging, they are just trying to make a buck. And they are just as likely to be short as long. That is the primary reason that "hedge funds" are not responsible for the high price of oil. That is a myth pure and simple.

Ron Patterson

Ron - We used to do EFP's (Exchange of Futures for Physical) with producers all of the time. We could by the futures whenever we wanted - looking for a low price. The producer could sell futures whenever they wanted - looking for a high price. We then cancelled our NYMEX contracts pursuant to NYMEX rules (our longs against producers shorts) and took physical deliver at agreed upon locations with previously agreed upon differentials. So a buyer purchasing directly from a producer can do this easily with the NYMEX. In fact it is easier, since the buyer and the seller can act independently of each other (and therefore, do not have to mutually agree on a price).

Jbunt -I understand what you are saying and I have no problem with anything you said. We are fortunate here at TOD to have such a trader, or former trader, as a member of our list. I personally have never been a trader of actual oil, but only a speculator in oil futures and for a short while, a commodities broker.

That being said I don't think you understood the point of my post. The subject was hedge funds. I understand that producers and large purchasers such as refineries or propane dealers often use NYMEX contracts as a hedge. My point was that these are not funds. The question was (I think anyway): "What effect on the market do hedge funds have?" Are these guys the villains that many make them out to be? Are hedge funds responsible for approximately $20 of the price of oil? ($20 is the figure we here most often as the amount of "premium hedge funds and speculators are responsible for".)

There was a time, not too many years ago, when hedge funds were truly hedge funds. That is, they hedged, they reduced the risk for people who wished to invest in commodities, while at the same time of course, reducing the possible reward. The title "Hedge Fund" is now largely historical. Hedge funds do not hedge at all, they would better be titled "Funds for Speculators" who wish to have experienced fund managers managing their bets.

Actual hedgers, as you described, do often use the NYMEX. However these guys are not "funds." That was my point. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

Ron Pattersson

"an opposite party expecting the price to fall"

that or a counter party (producer)wanting to guarantee a minimum revenue stream.

Sorry, but I see no demand destruction here, http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/twip/twip_gasoline.html

Well Phil Flynn says demand is weak so it must be! Apparently the guy hasnt looked at this weeks charts...

I just experienced vertigo looking at the price charts.

By the way, last night, well before today's EIA report, the price of Tapis soared past $121. The yergin indicator is turning out to be as valuable a predictive tool as HL. I'm going to write our beloved Queen to see if a West Texan can be knighted for perspicacity.

At the moment 6 of ll benchmark crudes have surpassed 3 yergins.


Price Elasticity of Demand
4 Week Averages 08 vs. 07

Finished Motor Gasoline. . . 9,268 . . 9,192 .+0.8%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel . . . . 1,540 . . 1,588 . -3.0%
Distillate Fuel Oil . . . . . . . . . 4,248 . . 4,287 . -0.9%
Residual Fuel Oil . . . . . . . . . . . 689 . . . . 746 . -7.6%
Propane/Propylene . . . . . . . . .1,235 . . 1,214 . +1.7%
Other Oils. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,583. . 3,521 . +1.8%

Total Products Supplied . . . 20,562 . 20,547 . +0.1%

Not Much Hope,


If the gasoline is being supplied from European refineries, where's the propane coming from?

Maybe from natural gas liquids, as well as the relatively late end of the heating season.

E. Swanson

Increased NGL production, especially LNG, which efficiently strips every thing but methane out as it cools it. (Pipeline NG has a richer mixture of other gases in it).


Truckers grapple with soaring fuel bills

With the price of diesel fuel hovering at $1.29 per litre, trucking industry veteran Chuck Snow says it now costs about $1,000 to fill up one of his company's tractor-trailers, compared to about $650 just a few years ago.


Snow said bankruptcies have become a near-daily occurrence in the industry, particularly among smaller operators.

"What we've seen in the last six months is a real clean out of the herd," he said. "I get phone calls from finance companies weekly seeing if I'll take over equipment."

Eric Blair in a previous Drumbeat thread asked me to verify my claim that the heat transfer efficiency of gas cook tops is no more than 50 or 55 per cent. For some odd reason when I try to reply in that thread I'm told "You are not authorized to post comments".

For those who may be interested, according to Table 1.18 of this Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report, the EF [energy factor] of gas cook tops equipped with electronic ignition is 39.9 per cent (for those with pilot lights, it's just 15.6 per cent).

One other reference in this same report:

According to the boiling water tests conducted in the report, the efficiency of conventional burners ranged from 42 to 48%, while the sealed burner was rated at an efficiency of 53%.

Source: http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/residential/pdf...

I confess I don't honestly know the difference between sealed and non-sealed burners, but if I were to guess, mine appear to be of the conventional garden-variety. So rather than 50 or 55 per cent, it looks like I should be using 42 to 48 per cent as the appropriate conversion factor.


I'm kicking myself for switching out my dryer and my stove for gas last year. I was focusing so much attention on trying to reduce the amount of electricity that I use, that I did not take into account peak natural gas. The worst part is that I pay a small amount extra each month for 100% renewable electricity, so if I would have stuck with electricity, it would at least been renewable.

I cannot find the previous Drumbeat that you are referring to that included the discussion about the heat transfer rate of gas cook tops. I would like to read more. I would be interested in any ideas for increasing the efficiency of my gas cook top. I do a lot of backpacking and there are some cool heat exchangers that one can buy to increase the performance of backpacking stoves, I would think there would be something like this for home stoves.

One advantage to an all-electric home is that you don't pay a monthly minimum fee for the village idiot to come read your meter.

Hi Shaun,

I just lost another reply due to a permission error, but to answer your question, it was in regards to a comment I had made in the April 14th issue of Drumbeat which, in turn, ties to a previous discussion with respect to induction cookers.

I have a bit of a hate on for propane right now (natural gas is not available in our neighbourhood). I currently pay $1.25 per litre or $4.70/gallon, not including taxes. In addition, I pay an annual tank rental of $105.00, which I'm told will be increasing to $210.00/year due to my low usage, as well as a transportation and hazardous material handling fee of $15.95 with each fill [as noted before, these folks have done just about everything humanly possible to piss me off short of kicking the family dog]. If it were not for my need to have a backup fuel that is operationally independent of electricity, I would be ripping the damn thing out and kicking its sorry ass and that of my propane dryer all the way to the curb.

In terms of operating performance, one litre of propane contains approximately 24,200 BTUs. Assuming 45 per cent conversion efficiency, we net 10,890 BTUs or 3.19 kWh per litre (12.0 kWh/gallon). At $1.25 per litre, that works out to be 39 cents per kWh(e), which makes it 3.3 times more expensive than induction at $0.1067 per kWh and 90 per cent conversion efficiency.


Hey Paul;
Got a wacky DIY notion to toss in here. I'll get wacked for it, no doubt, but I'm looking at using my (under construction) solar Hot Air panels in the non-wintertime re-routed to provide hot-air into a dryer which has the heating coils (or gas burner) put onto a bypass switch. I know it's much simpler to hang a clothesline, but we don't have the yardspace (dense intown location) to make that really a useful solution. It would probably have to run a bit longer, as the heat levels would be lower, and I don't know what the motor draws, but it's going to be FAR beneath resistance heat.

Other advantages would be that your clothes aren't getting street pollution (truck diesel particulates, pollen, etc) all over them, they won't get bleached out by the sun, blown onto the ground or snagged by passersby, or rained on if the weather turns.. It could be that even in winter, using this would bring in the heat and recapture some of the moisture in a home that gets too dry in the winter.

A couple variations would be;
1) to make a Cedar Closet that you hang your wet laundry in, and the airflow is routed in there from your hot-air panels to gently dry these clothes, and then they are already put away, save a step in your household chores! (output vents could switch from 'to house' / 'to outdoors )

2) to use that hot air source to feed a food-dehydrator or sourdough or fermentation warmer, etc, when not being used for laundry or home heating. (Chick Incubator, Boot/Mitten Dryer, Hairdryer??)

Bob Fiske

I'm planning on making a microwave dryer for use on clothes items that don't have any metal in them. (Shirts, sheets, socks, underwear, towels....) Anything that does have metal will be put into the regular dryer. When companies have experimented with microwave based dryers, the benefits have been 1/3 of the drying time and electricity usage, along with NO shrinkage for cotton items, as the temperature that is required for drying the clothes is much lower.

Of course, if you mess up or have a guest put their jeans into your microwave dryer, expect there to be a fire.

Hi Bob,

Sounds like a great idea to me. Dryers exhaust a fairly large volume of air (perhaps an average of 40 minutes worth per load), so supplying this air from an outside source and pre-heating it with a solar collector might make sense.

FWIW, we have a large capacity front load washer and we average about two loads a week (a bit more during the winter months due to heavier, bulkier clothing and a little less in the summer when t-shirts and shorts are the order of the day). That translates to about three dryer loads week, as most loads have to be split. My dryer has a rated capacity of 20,000 BTUs/hr and from what I can tell the burner cycles on and off roughly 50 per cent of time. Assuming an average drying time of 30 minutes per load (40 minutes including the cool down cycle), our propane consumption is something in the range of 5,000 BTUs or 0.20 litres per load. $0.26 @ $1.25/litre is not all that unreasonable. During the winter months the true cost would be higher, taking into consideration the conditioned room air that is exhausted (however many litres per second).

My parents in the U.K. have a traditional "drying cupboard" that is powered by the standby losses of their DHW cylinder and it works pretty much as you describe. I also recall seeing a Consumers Gas (Toronto) advertisement dating back the 20s that heralded gas dryers as "sunshine in a box" if I've got that correct; from what I could tell, these appliances were basically wooden boxes with some sort of gas burner... once again proving that odd adage that everything old is new again. :-)

Best regards,

Hi Paul, Bob,

This sounds like a great idea. I'm wondering how you get rid of the humidity from the dryer output. Maybe vent it directly outside and have the solar heater draw partly from outside, partly from within your living space.

My electric dryer draws about 5000W when the element is on, somewhere around 500W with the element off. The big question is how hot is the solar heater outlet temperature when you're constantly sucking air through it. Someone needs to monitor the dryer and see how hot its air is. Even if it took twice the time, you'd be saving a lot by avoiding the electric heater.

Let's see, 300 loads/year x 1 hour x 4.5 KW = 1450 KWH.

Hmm, duty cycle is less than 100%, so less savings. And, 1450KWH costs us about $150 here. It would take quite a few years to break even with a large collector. But worth thinking about.


(PS) Paul, I have some raw data from my friends' new house with a GSHP. I haven't summarized it yet but amazingly he's paying nearly as much as I do for overall heating, but he keeps his house at a between 65 and 72 F year-round while I have to burn 3 cords of oak to heat the winter, and sleep in uncomfortable heat during the summer. I don't have an apples-apples comparison. I'll try to boil down the numbers and post them soon. One big surprise was there's only a 5F temp difference between coolant leaving the house and coolant coming back from the loop, 600 ft of tubing 8 ft down. I had thought it would be much more of a delta-T...

Hi Chris,

You'd definitely want to continue exhausting your dryer outdoors. As you suggest, humidity could be an issue and so too indoor air quality. With my parent's drying cupboard this isn't a problem because U.K. homes are notorious leaky and clothing is hung on hangers so there's no lint as you would have with a conventional dryer. [A minor point, but I should clarify that both my parents are deceased; it's my step-mother who lives in Wales.]

As I think about this a little more, you would require a considerable amount of solar gain to make any significant difference in temperature, given the volume of air that passes through a conventional dryer. In practical terms, it could be a bit hit or miss, especially if cold air leaks into the home during the times when it’s not in use.

In terms of calculating your dryer's electrical usage, its EnerGuide rating should provide you with a reasonable estimate. If I recall correctly, this number is based on 8 loads per week, so you can easily scale it up or down accordingly. Also, those of us who use front load washers can probably trim this number by 30 per cent or more because our machines extract water more efficiently and thus our clothes take less time to dry. BTW, there are heat pump clothes dryers now under development that use a fraction of the electricity of a conventional clothes dryer and that require no venting whatsoever (the waste heat from the operation of compressor raises the dryer temperature and the water is condensed out through the evaporator).

Thanks for the follow-up on your friend's GSHP. I didn't want to say anything at the time, but I wasn't too optimistic about the savings because it sounded like he was simply pumping water through a loop without the benefit of any temperature boost by way of a compressor [please correct me if I got that wrong]. In any event, a 5 degree spread in temperature suggests that the heat transfer is rather weak and taking into consideration the pumping losses any gain would likely be fairly modest.


We use a 1600 spin washer ( for stuff that doesn't crease to death in that speed ) and a condenser tumble dryer with steam injection.
Running a condenser that is top rated for not leaking humidity inside the house is a good balance. The waste heat heats the interior and isn't vented to outside but the humidity is acceptable ( I measured 56% in our closed laundry room after 40 mins of drying wet towels on full heat ).
When summer comes and the waste heat is a nuisance you're drying 90% outside and the rest in south facing rooms anyway.
GSHP is a load of eco-bull. Given a realistic COP of 3 you are burning 1kWh of 9p unit electricity against 3kWh of 2.2p unit gas - so losing money even before considering capital, servicing and repair. pointless.
Same for PV, Solar Hot Water etc. The only economicaly viable way is a black painted old radiator on a wooden A frame facing south by south west and looping through your tank.
I've gone through every energy saving potential for my house and only loft insulation and draught proofing pay back at current energy costs. Lagging ( pun ) behind them are other insualtion methods with active 'solutions' like the above just a waste of money unless gas is 10p+ kWh.
When pricing the benfits of these things most people don't consider either the cumulative decrease in absolute savings by stacking % savings or, worse, the lifetime of the improvement.
I'm not even convinced by the condensing boilers given that they have 10yr lifespans and 5 times the componentry to fail.

Solid wall exterior insulation ( ie 6m+ homes in the UK ) - 15+ years
Low E Double Glaze - > 50 years !

Do you gamble on 500% rises and do the whole wall, windows, floor, CSP and wind etc or wait and see ?
On the other hand I have an AGA that can run on coal if needed, open fires in 5 rooms that are currently semi-sealed and decorative but could burn coal and 200m2 of south facing sloping driveway and 60m2 of south facing roof. So potential.

Hi orbit,

Thanks for sharing your views. With respect to making our homes more energy-efficient, I spent a considerable amount of money upgrading the thermal performance of my home and on the purchase of a new heating system, but some six years later it has paid for itself in several tangible ways: 1) it has dramatically reduced my household expenditures, 2) turned an uncomfortably cold and drafty home into one far more enjoyable, especially when things turn particularly nasty outside (e.g., -25C and winds blowing at 50km/hr -- let's not forget, this is Canada after all), 3) added to the resale value (all things being equal, a more energy-efficient home will be more desirable in an era of rapidly increasing energy costs) and 4) provided me with the peace of mind of knowing I won't likely have to give up my home because I can no longer afford to maintain it (a fear many of us develop as we grow older), 5) greatly reduced my environmental footprint, a matter of some personal pride and 6) arguably extended the useful life of my home by way of its improved economic performance.

As I've mentioned here before, the previous owners of my home consumed 5,700 litres of fuel oil in the year prior to my purchase and I believe something in the order of 14,000 kWh of electricity (I confess my memory is a bit vague on the latter but razor sharp regarding the former). Fuel oil is currently selling for $1.10 per litre and electricity is priced at $0.1067 per kWh; natural gas is not available in this area. Assuming we had done nothing to improve our home's energy efficiency, we would be spending, on average, $6,270.00 on heating oil and an additional $1,490.00 on electricity, for a combined expenditure of $7,760.00 year -- £3,900.00 at current exchange rates.

This year, I will have consume about 750 litres of fuel oil (I'll know the exact amount when my tank is topped-up later this month or next) and approximately 10,500 kWh of electricity based on my 12-month rolling average, and a further 75 litres of propane. My combined utility costs as of 07/08 total $2,040.00, for a net savings in excess of $5,700.00 or roughly £2,900.00. I should also note that fuel oil costs have tripled in the six years I've owned this home and I wouldn't be surprised if they were to double or triple again in the next six, given all that we know. In any event, I'm reasonably confident that the money I spent upgrading my home has already been recovered in my energy savings and that this investment will continue to generate very high returns in the years ahead.


Thank you for the source.

Backpackers use heat shield to help contain the heat - so I'm betting that number could be adjusted up via pot insulation/shielding. In the winter if you going to use some gas for heating - the only thing the indoor burning does is add some more water vapor to the indoors it would seem.

And where your electric power is via natural gas anyway.....

All of it become arguments for using solar power to warming water as far as I am concerned.

Hi Eric,

Thank you for the source.

My pleasure. I knew the losses were rather high but, frankly, I was a little surprised to discover the EF was just 39.9 per cent.

Backpackers use heat shield to help contain the heat - so I'm betting that number could be adjusted up via pot insulation/shielding.

That might be possible, but I'm reluctant to make any modifications to the burner assembly or incorporate other devices that could potentially void my homeowner's insurance policy (I'm kinda paranoid about such things). I also suspect the particularly complicated design of my cook top's grates prevent me from doing anything too creative.

In the winter if you going to use some gas for heating - the only thing the indoor burning does is add some more water vapor to the indoors it would seem.

Actually, we've reduced our home's air leakage to the point where we have to be careful about controlling excess humidity. If we operate one or more burners for any length of time our windows fog up. I'm also concerned about the release of combustion by-products in the home. For these reasons, we turn on the exhaust hood whenever a burner is ignited and during the winter months this obviously adds to our heating demands.

And where your electric power is via natural gas anyway.....

I regret to say the bulk of our electricity is coal-fired, however, I purchase green power (125 kWh blocks @ $5.00 ea.) for roughly half my consumption and have made other arrangements to cover-off the rest.

All of it become arguments for using solar power to warming water as far as I am concerned.

For those who can take advantage of it, it's the best way to go. Unfortunately, given our maritime climate, sunshine is something that's always in short supply.


BTW, this is the third time today I've lost a post. Is anyone else encountering unusual problems with this forum or does Netscape no longer love me?

But solar water will save you about 1500kWh, being generous, which at $5@125kWh comes in at about $60 for gas. Unless your system costs you less than $500 or you pay > 20c kWh it just isn't worth it.
As for air leakage and condensation - get a heat recovery ventilator ! They are marginal but do return if installed on a tight sealed house and vent from a hot kitchen.

Hi orbit,

Solar hot water is not an economically viable option for me due to an unfavourable local climate, my home's east-west orientation, heavy shading on the southern exposure and a roof design that doesn't lend itself to the installation of panels (multiple dormers). I do use my "poor man's solar collector" to heat my laundry water -- a standard garden hose left out on the back patio where it is exposed to the sun. By scheduling washing on sunny days (perhaps the biggest challenge living here on the east coast), I can eliminate at least some of my hot water demands roughly six months of the year. Looking at my fuel oil records, heating my wash water in this way lowered my summer fuel oil use from an average of 1.22 litres per day to 1.07, a 12 per cent savings. Not a huge monetary gain by any means, but it doesn't require much effort on my part and the personal reward makes it worthwhile.


Diesel prices pumped up

Consumers will ultimately pay the price as shippers pass on a 30% jump in fuel costs


The cost of transporting trash to Michigan, importing blueberries from Chile, and shipping in heavy cargo from Europe continues to soar alongside the skyrocketing price of diesel fuel, which these days makes gasoline look like a bargain.

The specialization trap were an intresting read.

I think one significant difference between the collapse of West Rome and our era is that Rome were much more static. We have ongoing industrialization and regions are transformed within a few generations from simple to advanced technology. It is a lot easier to retool an active or lazy industrialized country or region then building one from scratch. And knowledge is a lot more accessible now, its not all locked inside a few peoples heads.

But it would not be bad with more vertical integration to lower transportation costs.

I found that a fascinating read as well.

I'm not sure how it will shake out in the end. My guess is our collapse will be far slower, for the reasons you state.

OTOH, it's possible that our high complexity has made us much more fragile. Forget potter's wheels. We have to build microprocessors to keep our society going.

And look at the trouble Boeing is having with the supply chain for their 787s. A fastener shortage is killing them.

Also interesting was the bit about how the population crash meant that they didn't need any new pottery for awhile, so knowing how to make it didn't seem like valuable knowledge. Reminds me of those people who claim we'll fine, because we can scavenge all the parts thrown away in better times. No doubt, but they won't last forever.

A fastener shortage is killing them.

I guess some things never change:

In Weak Rivets, a Possible Key to Titanic’s Doom

Researchers have discovered that the builder of the Titanic struggled for years to obtain enough good rivets and riveters and ultimately settled on faulty materials that doomed the ship, which sank 96 years ago Tuesday.
Each of the great ships under construction required three million rivets that acted like glue to hold everything together. In a new book, the scientists say the shortages peaked during the Titanic’s construction.

faulty materials that doomed the ship, which sank 96 years ago Tuesday.

Rivets ??

The iceberg ruptured the hull plates below
the waterline along five "water tight" compartments.
We all know what happened next ..

Triff ..

That was always what I had believed as well - but you read the article and it turns out that remote vehicles did not find the big gashes in the plates - instead it looks like the impact forced the plates to buckle at the joins as rivets gave way

now whether or not faulty rivets can be blamed is another story in my mind - joins always seem to be weak spots and I imagine the impact of the racing ship with the iceberg must have generated a lot of energy

As an exercise given the kinetic energy of the ship, please calculate how many white dinner jackets and Dowager Countess' fox stoles this could have dry cleaned assuming a parity of braying Oxbridge toffs and haughty elderly heiresses.


It's interesting how differently people can see the same thing (Greer's essay). Unlike you and MR, I anticipate a fast crash partly based upon a statement by MR:

And knowledge is a lot more accessible now, its not all locked inside a few peoples heads.

My answer is, "Really"?

I picked an old book off my shelf entitled, Simplified Engineering for Architects and Builders, 1975. Now, it is simple in that it doesn't require differential calculus but it does require a knowledge of at least advanced algebra. However, it does presuppose this. It also presupposes that someone will know that this could be important stuff when constructing something. It also assumes that the person will know something about forces and stresses, moments and reactions, shear and bending moments, etc. What good is that information to a person who doesn't speak the language of engineering?

I could also carry this over to when I was a chem plant manager. If someone had the "recipe", could they go out into the plant and make the product? Would they know what a chemical reactor was? Would they understand reflux and on and on. Probably not.

The same thing applies to food production. How many people know what cation exchange capacity is and why it is importantor the rhizosphere or even what essential nutrients plants require...and it's more than NPK (sorry Bob).

My point is all of this is that our society has become far too specialized to survive. The generalist has been replaced by the specialist. Not to put our local Phd's down but the worst people I have had to work with over the years were people with a Phd. Why? They were tied to the research paradigm and couldn't step outside of it or their specialty. They couldn't take a flier based upon intuition and a gut feeling. I had a junior chem engineer working for my and he could crank out any answer...as long as he had all the data. But, he could never do crap if he had to "assume."

Finally, anyone who thinks they are going to bugout to the boondocks had better be prepared to be a real generalist* or you aren't going to make it.


*The list of skill sets is so long I'm not even going to get into it.

yes but all this is a matter of degrees, isn't it ?
The mechanical engineer would be able to throw up a 40 storey glass edifice but, assuming the population isn't de-capitated, anyone from the top 5% could pick up the books and put up a reasonable 2 storey house. Likewise the expert horticulturalist would get the mega yield but Joe Six can plant a row of ppotatoes and keep the weeds away.
How many people are involved in Agriculture nowadays ? 1% ? The rest is labour.
We don't really need Boeings and the rest to 'survive' - it's just our standard of living will drop for the vast majority. People were flying trans Atlantic and eating fabulous meals whilst people starved and froze in rags in the Glasgow slums.
Anyway the very title "Simplified Engineering for Architects and Builders" scares the crap out of me as a physics and maths major and someone who lives in houses :)

There are plenty of generalists out there (I consider myself one of them), but you won't find them in the upper echelons of the economy. We're ubiquitous, but mostly stay out of sight. Public libraries and DIY building supply centers and community college continuing education programs are three good places to look for generalists.

In important ways this mimics what you see in ecology. Specialist species are highly adapted to very narrow niches, while generalist species are far more widespread and opportunistic. The specialist species thrive -- as long as their niche continues. If their niche goes, it's extinction time. Generalist species, on the other hand, inherit the earth.

We even see paralels in our popular culture and entertainment. Just like it is the colorful, charismatic specialist species that get featured in National Geographic and the nature TV programs and movies ("March of the Penguins") and are the most popular exhibits in the zoos, so it is the human specialists that get articles or entire books written about them, or get interviewed on TV, or attract crowds at confabs like Davos. You are unlikely to ever see a hit movie entitled "Flight of the Crows" (unless it is turned into a cartoon about imaginary clowns rather than the real things), or see crowds flocking around the carp tank at the acquarium; similarly, generalist people pretty much live their lives and labor on in obscurity.

I thought I'd point out that Dave Cohen posted an excellent discussion today of oil production potential from the Bakken Formation over on the ASPO-USA website. This has been a matter of some recent discussion and I think his piece is a very good synopsis:


Yes, thank you. Even I understood (most) of it.


I saw that too, and agree that it is very good. I forwarded the link to the office pals that had insisted that "North Dakota would solve our problems."

good summary by dave cohen. the unfortunate thing is that dave's voice of reason is (currently) being shouted down by 1000 rush limbaugh's.

i predict a peak and steep decline in limbaugh fantacy speek.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink:

Farming report released amid food shortage riots
UNESCO calls for a 'paradigm change' to move away from fossil fuels in agriculture
I hope this spurs the brilliant engineers and scientists here on TOD to take a closer look in the archives at my voluminous SpiderWebRiding postings as a possible silver bb to ramp O-NPK recycling plus to help continue the efficient dispersal of I-NPK postPeak. Of course, geographically emanating as the 'ribcage' from the 'spine & limbs' of Alan Drake's RR & TOD ideas.

I sure would like the Presidential candidates to discuss my speculative proposals for Strategic Reserves of bicycles & wheelbarrows too, as this would be very cheap insurance to help prevent most of us from imitating the sad efficiency of heavily laden, backpacking Nuahtl Tlamemes.

IMO, solar evaporative methods to vastly improve the 20:1 average bulk ratio disparity of O-NPK/I-NPK is a huge business opportunity too. I wish I had the expertise to really expound upon my postings in a scientific manner, but hopefully us TODers can mutually collaborate to help speed the postPeak paradigm change that UNESCO says is urgently needed.

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

" a 'paradigm change' to move away from fossil fuels in agriculture"

I think in many respects, it is occurring now. I've been looking for nearly a year for good, used ground driven chain manure spreader. They're either too far away, or a p.o.s. Locals aren't giving them up. New ones at the implement dealer are cheaply built and expensive-basically for a horse or two.

Nuclear power is too dangerous. Coal is too dirty. Gas involves too much dependence on Russia. And renewables are insufficient. So just where is Germany going to get its power from?

Geothermal power. http://www.tab.fzk.de/en/projekt/zusammenfassung/ab84.htm

The total technical potential for geothermal electricity generation is around 1,200 exajoules (c. 300,000 TWh), which represents some 600 times German annual electricity demand of c. 2 exajoules. 95% of the potential is from crystalline rocks, 4% from fault zones and around 1% from hot water aquifers. The additional potential from thermal energy (heat in cogeneration operation) is around 1.5 times the potential from electricity generation if no heat pumps are used, and 2.5 times if heat pumps are used.

The caveats and later explications in the same report put the realistic potential in a different light:

To get a more realistic estimate, the share of low temperature heat demand which could be supplied through heating grids was calculated. If this amount of heat was provided solely by geothermal cogeneration plants, this would mean associated geothermal electricity generation of c. 66 TWh/y. This option would require substantial expansion of the heat distribution grid.

Such expansion is not very likely, even in the future. As a result, it was assumed in a further stage that "only" the lower temperature heat fed into existing district heating grids would be supplied by geothermal cogeneration plants. This yields associated geothermal electricity cogeneration of c. 10 TWh/y, corresponding to around 2% of German annual gross electricity generation.

Furthermore due to it's low temperature geothermal power is most effective when used where the hot water can also be used as thermal heat - and that can cause problems:

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)


The CPI came out this morning. Food Costs up 0.2%

Yep, 2.4% annualized.

This, in spite of energy costs being up 1.9% (22.8% Annualized.)

I think we'd better take all this global "food shortage" talk with a grain of salt, folks. This is looking like a lot of really bad "Government" decisions to me.

Export Controls will, invariably, lead to shortages, and "higher" prices in the long run (e.g. the article in Drumbeat where the Chinese rice farmer is having to cut back on production because the government is interfering in his ability to sell at a profit that will pay for his increased cost of production.)

Who are you going to believe? Government statistics, or your lying eyes?

In any case, you can't possibly compare a short-term US-only indicator (even in the unlikely case of its being accurate) with what is happening in the 30 countries that have had food riots this year. People don't riot over 0.2% increases.

Given the disparity between US gov stats on food price increases, and what I see in my own food shopping, my theory is that what they count in a "basket" of food is quite different from what I buy. I.e., they assume (rightly of wrongly) that the "average American" is buying a lot of highly-processed boutique foods. These (e.g., the $5/pound breakfast cereals) have not increased in price, precentage-wise, as much as their ingredients have. Yet.

The official stats probably also assume a lot of "eating out" at restaurants. They too may be delaying raising their prices as fast as the ingredients, for now their other expenses have not risen as much.

To the extent that lower-income people eat out less and buy more basic foods, their food price inflation rate is much higher than the official stats. Mine certainly is, and I am not really low-income, but I do prefer buying "food with no ingredients" to a large extent, and rarely eat out.

Grocery store prices were, also, 0.2%.


Remember how Mexico was having "Tortilla" demonstrations last year? Then what happened? The section of NAFTA dealing with the import of corn, and beans from the U.S. kicked in on Jan 1st; and, now the only demonstrations are Mexican Farmers demonstrating against Cheap U.S. Corn.

Look, again, at that list of countries that are experiencing "riots." It's a list of countries with inefficient, "command" economies with antiquated agricultural/economic systems.

Look folks, those people in Haiti are paying many times more for "Mud Patties" than it would cost to make those cookies out of corn, or wheat imported from the U.S. In short, it isn't the Iowa corn farmer, or ethanol producer that's screwing those poor people; it's their own despicable, corrupt government, and elites that are marking cereal grains up by as much as 600%.

Kevin Phillips (Republican) explains in the current Harper's Magazine how the official statistics have been utterly corrupted. The powers that be have every reason to fudge the numbers. Read the mag.

It is a good article. Too bad it won't be online for a month. Not just CPI, but unemployment, GDP are documented back to the sixties in what is refeerred to as Pollyanna Creep.

He says, based on the criteria in plac a quarter century ago, US unemployment is somewhere between 9 and 12%; the inflation rate is as high as 7 to 10, eocnomic growth has been mediocre despite a huge surge n wealth and income of the superrich.

duplication, sorry

One data point does not a trend make. By the way, this time of year a lot of the food on the store shelves is from foodstuffs harvested months ago.

Like subsidizing ethanol?

Nah, you would never admit that was the core mistake here, would you?


Oh, the CPI. The CPI has been modified with hedonic adjustments for quite a while so I wouldn't say those numbers are gold. I'm more interested in the amount of dollars people are actually paying than the CPI. Please read:


You can read more at the BEA. Moreover, also consider substitution:


Yes food prices are up only up 0.2% this month. I had to substitute cat food for chicken since I can't afford chicken anymore. Cat food has more protein than chicken and comes in a vacuum sealed can. The can is an improvement over the usual shrink wrapped container for chicken. Therefore, by the magic of hedonics and substitution cat food is truly better than chicken. By buying cat food my cost of living actually improved!

The cat food I'm buying is more expensive than chicken used to be. But since cat food is a better product than chicken for so many reasons we need to adjust the price of cat food for these improvements. Thus, cat food is same price that chicken used to be. Yay! What food price problem?


Mish has some thoughts on peak oil today.

6 benchmarks past the TRIPLE YERGIN.

TAPIS blew past 120 without a hiccup. Currently, 121.62.


I don't follow the various futures markets very closely, but didn't Nymex oil used to be generally more expensive?

If I may post briefly about climate change (and given today's Whitehouse speech AGW is back on the front page...)

Recently on TOD there was a brief discussion that touched on glaciers and their retreat, with some loud dissenting voices. So, to add some data that discussion.... At this weeks meeting of the EGU there are a couple of notable papers by researchers who are studying glacier retreat among the major fields. Here are the presentation abstracts (pdf):

Remotely-sensed Western Canadian Glacier Inventory 1985-2005 and regional Glacier Recession Rates

We report on a recently completed glacier inventory for the Canadian Cordillera south
of 60 ºN - a region that contains 30,000 km2 of glacierized terrain.
Glaciers in British Columbia lost about 12.5% of their area over the period 1985-2005. The annual retreat rate 0.6% [per year] is comparable to rates reported in other mountain ranges in the late twentieth century. Least glacierized mountain ranges lost the largest fraction of ice cover. Highest ice loss (30%) occurred in the Northern Interior Ranges, while glaciers in the Northern Coast Mountains retreated least (6-7%). The Southern Rocky Mountains lost about 17% of their glacierized area since the 1980s. The retreat rates between 2000 and 2005 in the Interior Ranges and Rocky Mountains are higher than in the Coast Mountains, and are the highest in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Work is underway to examine the relation between glacier recession and climatic variability over the period 1985-2005.

Glacier and lake variations in some regions on Tibetan Plateau using remote sensing and GIS technologies

Extensive studies have found that glacial retreats occurred widely and asynchronously across the Tibetan Plateau due to the warmer climate, glacial lakes have increased much in the recent years.
Our results show that areas of both glacier retreat and advance exist in the middle and western Himalaya Mountains. Retreat dominates and accelerates through time in the two regions. Glaciers in the south and southeast are retreating faster than those in the northwest. The glacier decrease of 9.8% in the Mt. Qomolangma in 1974- 2003 and 8.4% in the Mt. Naimona’Nyi region in 1976-2003 are dramatic compared with the Mt. Geladandong region of central Tibet in 1969-2002 (4.8%), which are faster than the average glacier recession in High Asia since the 1960s (7%).
Also, our research on a catchment of two glacial lakes, Pida and Longbasaba, shows that the glacial lakes have increased 131.5% in recent thirty years with accelerating enlargement, while the area of glaciers nearby are retreating faster and faster.

It indicates that glacier recession in Tibet was accelerated in recent decades due to
warmer climate.

There is more ice in Antarctica than all of the glaciers in the world, plus the Arctic by a significant magnitude. And, Antarctica ice is growing.

The dissenter (Mr. Wakefield) had raised specific questions about glaciers, and was concerned that there were not peer reviewed studies.

As for the Arctic... ice mass is decreasing on Greenland as well of course significant loss of sea ice.

As for the Antarctic... appears to be some gain on the East, but the WAIS it is not clear and the one obvious observation is the loss of ice shelves.

As for impact on humanity... loss of glaciers in the Himalayas and Tibet in general has the potential for much more serious impact on people than any gain in Antarctica.

Climate change policy issues will come to a head (in the US) when it is realized that the US will need to continue to rely on coal and need to develop CTG/CTL to meet the energy needs no longer filled by "oil". I expect to see that play out over the next 8 years of the US political cycle.

Mass measurements from polar-orbiting satellites, only available in the past few years, show a net mass reduction in Antarctica. See NASA Mission Detects Significant Antarctic Ice Mass Loss from the official NASA web site. Area and mass are not the same thing.

Besides, basic atmospheric physics says that extremely cold areas will get more snow as the weather warms. Antarctica is technically a desert, because the air is so cold it can hold little moisture, and so there is little precipitation. As the air warms, it can hold more water, which means an increase in snowfall.

This phenomenon is observable in Greenland as well. The interior regions are receiving more snow than normal at the same time that the ice cap is losing mass.

The laws of physics say the earth should be warming. Overwhelmingly, the evidence is that the earth is indeed warming. Denial doesn't overturn the laws of physics.

There ya go - using facts again.

The only study of which I am aware claiming Antarctic ice mass increase was done from 1992 to 2003. Further, the study notes that only the interior was increasing.

However, more recent studies show ice mass loss in Antarctica from 2002 to the present. Additional research is confirming the loss of ice over the last decade.

Finally, a temporary increase in interior ice mass is expected by global warming, as warming places more water vapor into the atmosphere, resulting in increased snowfalls in certain locations.

Of course, none of this probably matters to you if you've already made up your mind.

The distinction between area and volume is too subtle for most deniers.

William Connaly had some discussion of this on his blog stoat. He just quit his climate scientist job for some more lucrative commercial work. He is highly skeptical of their methodology. I would tend to agree, I don't we have a climate analogy from the past that is a good measure of what we are doing to the climate. I consider the predicted 100 year sea level rises to sound reasonable (.8-1.5)meters, but that doesn't mean the methodology is correct.

I suspect mountain glaciers and ice caps may not melt similarly. The former are rapidly accelerating their melt, but only contain enough ice for about 20cm of sea level rise, so they aren't a huge concern for sea levels. The real question is how fast Greenland, and WAIS can lose mass. I don't think these are easy questions for science to answer. Melting mountain glaciers accumulate dirt on the surface as they melt, and the darker color can greatly speed up the melting process. Arctic ice caps are much much cleaner, but I don't know if anyone has a good idea if the small amounts of dust and black carbon in the ice will wash away, or accumulate on the surface. If these surfaces got significantly darker than melt rates could accelerate substantially. Also faster flow rates towards the sea, as melt water sinks to the base have been observed, but the water tends to form into subglacial rivers and drain. I don't think anyone knows how to predict how much faster these glacier flows can go, perhaps not much more than has been seen -or perhaps much faster. I suspect we may need to wait a couple of decades to find out.

Personally IMHO the IPCC numbers are way too conservative about sea level rise, but the actual rate of future melting should be considered to be highly uncertain.

Hi my name is insanity,
I work on Wall Street where I do things that no sane person would ever do based off of false hope and shoddy logic. By the way do you want to invest a billion in my elitist hedge fund that has never lost a single cent and made billions for all your yachting friends? You see I want to go gamble away, err, make a few more sound investments in the Ponzi, errr, financial sector before the next collapse (I.E. tomorrow morning), whoops did I just say "collapse", I meant before the next market adjustment on a temporary downward trend that, I assure you, will be extremely shallow and self-correcting to the upside (and besides, this tiny, shallow recession will really just the "cheap buying opportunity of a lifetime"!!!) just as soon as we find the bottom which I assure you is imminent with the overall outlook being bullish in the extreme which my friend, is a personal "you'll never get your money back" GUARAN-FUCKIN-TEE-MOTHER-F-ER! So buy in now before this market takes off to the upside like a bat out of hell!
In fact I'll give you the tip of your lifetime for free right here and now, all you need to do is just look for the next bad news is good news to come out shortly, preferably from one of our many fine financial institutions like well, you know, another insolvent bank announcing it ONLY lost $5 billion the last quarter instead of the $5.1 billion those silly analysis had "expected" and jump in with both feet, Bitch!
Oh hell, just "invest" that billion with my hedge fund and I'll turn it into nothing in no time, whoops there I go again, I mean I'll leverage that billion into a trillion take 20% off the top as commission for myself (of course) and then "temporarily" freeze any withdraws from my Ponzi…err Hedge Fund. So how about it my little preferred investor to my hedge fund? Please, pretty, pretty please? I don't want to have to go back to selling used cars, I mean that business is so deceptive and frankly immoral that it makes my stomach turn just thinking about it!

Hooray for propaganda and suckers (and today's close at $115 for a barrel of oil)
Insanity, err, the powers that be on Wall Street

Market Update for 4/16/08:
S&P 500
US $
1 EUR = $1.5954

Schneid72 -Well, at least you got your name right ("insanity" - your word). You must be short the market and losing your ass, or a democrat just praying for a collapse of the US. Meanwhile, the other readers of TOD are invested in energy and doing quite nicely. Why would anyone ever follow this site and not invest in energy? Pay attention!! There are some smart people here who give you enough broad-based energy related investment information to make a lot of money. Meanwhile, your "insane" rant is laughable.

"democrat just praying for a collapse of the US"

Yeah thats it. Damn better go call Soros and tell him conservatives are on to our plan to submit America to the U.N. Have you ever thought that Democrats are just regular people who have a different ideological slant on life than you from different life experiences and not Extremist Zealots who want the U.S. to collapse?

On second reading I responded harshly and posted in a hotheaded mood before collecting my thoughts. I'm sorry. I just don't understand the Liberals or conservatives are evil b.s. I see good and bad in both.


Your response seems fine to me.

Me, too. It was certainly far more civil than the post it was responding to.

Leanan - Sorry for the uncivil post. I guess that I should have stuck to language as in the post that I was objecting to - to quote "GUARAN-FUCKIN-TEE-MOTHER-F-ER!" If kids walk in the room, this is just what I would want them to see.

If kids walk in the room, this is just what I would want them to see.

Oh Noez! Think of the children!

(Is that the best you have? A 'think of the children' argument? Rather than address matters with numbers or data, you go for 'think of the children'? Leadership and adults set examples - sure. But when the vice president is telling others in the leadership class "fuck you, sir" - what you are seeking - 'thinking of the children' - is broken at the top. So exactly what are you doing to 'fix' things at the top, or ya just going for the complaining with others at the bottom?)

"or a democrat just praying for a collapse of the US"

Is that what you think democrats do? Did Rush instruct you to spread this meme.

You really have become a laughable fool.

jbunt is our current nincompoop and is probably a great danger to himself in the kitchen not knowing which end of the knife to use and such as he's easily confused about a great many things.

Why would anyone ever follow this site and not invest in energy?

Because they don't have any money?

Meanwhile, your "insane" rant is laughable.

As it was doubtless intended to be.

The inflation issues are much different depending of where a person is in income classification. If in the lower 30%, the effect is horrible because there are no ways to improve earnings except more hours or second jobs. The next 30% can probably get a raise, and have more skills that employers will pay more for. The upper 30% or at least the upper 10% will hardly notice. The debtors win and savers lose in the beginning. The retirees lose big including all of those military retirees that we owe so much to.
Young workers can never get ahead and all must work to stay afloat. Democrats are in all income strata and work just as hard as anybody else. Most Democrats and some Republicans want a more level playing field for all. Life can be cruel if incomes can't keep up to the inflation rate. The rich, if talented enough, can deal with any economic environment.

jbunt: I'm not totally sure I understand you response to my rant, which was really just a poke at the pathetic delusions that so many gamblers suffer from on Wall Street which leads to delusional rallies like today's (otherwise known as the now semi-monthly "suckers rally") which was clearly not driven by your ingenous "energy" investing but by J.P. Morgan not losing even more money last quarter and Coke selling more Coke's than expected. I don't invest in the market but I do find sucker rallies like today's to be pathetic in a "yes that's my drunk uncle peeing on himself again, yes he has a drinking problem, no he doesn't want help" kind of way. But now that you have shown me the way and the light to hugely profitable, ground breaking energy investing, going forward I'll try to "pay attention" here so that I too can make lots of money,(mmmmm, money). By the way, I don't think you need to pray, hope for or be a democrat at this point as the collapse is now baked in the cake even for non-praying (do they exist?) Republicans too. But rave on and go get that that energy money as clearly the bell now tolls for everyone but sharp energy investing, money making jbunt.

Perhaps, although on a different level maybe insanity is indeed an apt term to describe our entire society, economy and culture.

His rant appears to be satire, or at least it ought to be.

I, too, think the post is sarcastic. Good Mogambo Guru type stuff.

However, sarcasm, irony, etc just do NOT do well on the Internet. The Internet is just too American-dominated.


or a democrat just praying for a collapse of the US.

Got proof to back up your claim? Or ya just yap-flapping.

Why would anyone ever follow this site and not invest in energy?

Err because 'energy' is temporary?

Better to look to get things that are not as temporary as, oh say, electricity.

Pay attention!!

As you track investments - what is the going pay rate for attention?

Hello TODers,

The Sims passes 100-million mark
I don't play videogames so I don't know a great deal about all the different Sims versions. Sadly, they never replied to my much earlier email request to develop a 'Sims: Peakoil' videogame. I was hoping that this version would incorporate, at a minimum, Alan Drake's & JHKunstler's postPeak visions. I think it would have been especially cool if they designed a version of 'SpiderWebRiding Sims' so millions of people could get an glimpse of my proposals.

My fear is that "Sims: Machete' Moshpit" is the next top-selling release.

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

I think it would have been especially cool if they designed a version of 'SpiderWebRiding Sims' so millions of people could get an glimpse of my proposals.

Do it yourself. That's the beauty of games like The Sims or Second Life. You can build your own props and stuff. People even sell their digital models to other gamers and make big bucks.

Modern suburbia not just in America anymore

A Chinese delegation from Beijing arrived in Phoenix last month and headed west to the Sonoran Desert, deep into suburbia. Its destination: a quintessential American residential development in Buckeye, one of the many suburbs dotting the sprawling metropolitan area.

Members of the group studied the streetscape, the golf course, the spa, the cybercafé, the health care amenities and the design of the single-family homes at Sun City Festival, a 3,000-acre, planned community for people over 55. They commented on the cleanliness and orderliness of it all.

The 25 Chinese who toured the Del Webb development were not seniors planning their retirement but government officials and their spouses, a couple of architects and a banker. Their mission: study American suburbia with an eye toward replicating it back home.

that's it.
Game over, see ya in hell

Wow, that's a trip. Being a Tucson boy, I remember when Buckeye was a little broken down ol cowtown, and wondered when Phoenix would come to resemble L.A. I had no inkling it would happen so fast.

There ought to be a special circle of Hell for Dell Webb and the rest of his ilk...

I can only hope with that many Chinese there must be some that are nuts, and hopefully no one back home will listen to them. Of all the things to copy!

Hello The_Rage,

Thxs for this link, another excerpt below:
China, where major cities are choking on stifling pollution, is striving to build the world's first sustainable city — Dongtan, which broke ground last summer. Designed by a London-based global consulting company and built on an island outside Shanghai, Dongtan, ultimately to house 50,000, will ban cars that pollute (even hybrids), grow its own food, recycle almost everything — including wastewater — and create its own energy from wind, the sun and human and animal waste.
Maybe they specifically hired Kunstler to give them the SHTF-tour of my Asphalt Wonderland. After he was done pointing out the Overshoot stupidity and social fragility of paving over the desert--the Chinese did a 180 as evidenced by Dongtan above.

I would love to have JHK tour Dongtan after it is done to see what he thinks they have done right.

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

Youtube flyover of Dongtan:


Perhaps the Chinese forgot about sealevel rise from climate change?

Another link:


Finally, something the US can export to China!

They are sending us their best lead-painted toys and poisoned pet food, so let's return the favor by giving them the best that the US has to offer - suburbia!

If the Chinese copy our Suburban experiment of the last 50 years, it truly is game over. Can you imagine the pressure on oil prices with 1 billion Chinese grilling steaks in the backyards of their 3000 SQF homes while their kids sit in the back of the SUV (running, to keep the A/C on) watching a DVD? G-d help us.

I have acquintances in Beijing. Ten years ago they cycled everywhere, lived in the city in an apartment and shopped the local produce markets. Now they have a place way out in the exburbs, so new that it is still farmland on Google maps. To get there, there is now a 4 lane expressway, also new, and a cluster of new malls. Instead of biking to the local market, they now drive to Walmart.

Interesting. And I just want to move back to the Bay Area so I can live in an apartment, cycle everywhere, and shop the local produce markets.

I met a fellow who was exporting to China. He was selling the TECHNOLOGY to produce those Pringle type chips. It turns out that the breakthrough came when the Chinese allowed American potato seed stock to be imported. Sales skyrocketed.
I had to buy him a drink for his fabulous work. Imagine the implications; Junk food addicts, cholesterol, ag exports, machinery design. Well done , mate.

Good to see that stupidity is universal. Copy America? At least 40 years too late.

It'll be a Donna Reed reality show..

.. the reality won't be pretty, though.

I don't think China will get very far with this. I'm thinking of the Death-Star Ray just starting to fire when the whole shebang goes kabluey! Or maybe more like a Bounding Dog hitting the end of his leash.

Guess we'll see.

"bounding Dog hitting the end of his leash".
that's great imagery.

I noticed this on the hit list at yahoo finance.

6 ways to profit from peak oil

Yes! My ol' buddy Aaron Task really seems to be coming around about peak oil...he was far more skeptical a few years back. Nice to see an elder statesman of the peaker camp like Charlie Maxwell getting some overdue airtime! Here's the second part of the interview:


Whenever I read the comments following articles like this, it really makes me depressed and fatalistic. There's a little light, maybe a little more than a few years ago, but the amount of energy required to educate some of these commenting folks far exceeds anything our sun has left to supply.

You said it! It's appalling, isn't it? Oh well...at least I know I've got a little job security, since educating people about this is my work...at least, until things start to really break down.


I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came, and went and came, and brought no day,


It is my opinion that by definition peak oil is now past-tense as far as symptoms.

My reasoning behind this is that:

- Crude oil cost has been constantly growing the last years.

- The only way we can change this trend is to find projects that can replace depletion at a lower production cost than the depleted source itself. There is NO sign of this happening, all new production costs more than the depleted source and exploration costs are always rising.

- Production curve has basically been flat since 2005 despite increasing demand from developing countries.

- Regardless of whether the masses admit it or not, resource wars have already begun.

- Riots and long lineups are happening over energy shortages more often each year.

What I am trying to get at there is that max global production output may or may not have been reached but it is no longer time to debate that, the symptoms of peak oil are here now and the public needs to be educated as to where their anger needs to be directed.

What we are likely to see happen is people assaulting fuel stations or going after politicians saying there is no reason behind the price increases (which is very easy to understand when the media reports only new finds and over-praises unconventional sources like the Tar Sands and don't thoroughly report data on declining fields) or that its just an excuse to raise the price of other commodities as I've heard said before.

This is why we need to continue raising public awareness to help them direct their anger in a productive way. Ex: Requesting better public transportation.

In my attempt to do this, I am compiling a book called "Apologies to the World" with the following content which I pulled from various sources available online:

Basically the book goes through

1 - Denial, 2 - Economy, 3 - Consumption, 4 - Peak Oil, 5 - Alternatives (Conservation), 6 - Resource Wars, 7 - Carbon Lifecycle (Climate Change)

The purpose of this book is to educate relatives and friends about what is happening without going through the all-too-familiar process of debate that leads nowhere with most.

In order to add secondary input to this book, I would like to devote a page for each person that wants to explain the problem to loved ones and friends in order to warn them and the best course of action they can take. Please provide how long you have been researching peak oil as well.

Thanks to anyone that takes the time to do this!

"The fact is that the subsidies paid for fossil and nuclear energy are much higher - hundreds of millions of pounds a year - around 10 times more than has been spent on renewables over the past two decades," he says. "And nuclear power stations, for instance, are even relieved from having to pay their huge insurance bill because the taxpayer picks it up. So this argument about renewables and subsidies doesn't stand up."


Endless possibility (How feed-in tariffs work)

Hermann Scheer is the force behind Germany's renewables revolution, and now he's on his way to the UK to try to persuade Britain that old technologies are best left in the past. Kate Connolly hears his case

* Kate Connolly
* The Guardian,
* Wednesday April 16 2008


No surprise to TOD, but today Nigeria is predicting their oil production will decline by a third by 2015 http://www.africasia.com/services/news/newsitem.php?area=africa&item=080...

Maybe the reason they went from sophisticated, imported, French china to cheap, locally made pottery, is that the rich people lost power to the poor people. No money, no importada French china.
Doesn't mean that people were worse off, just that rich people were worse off.

As noted in the article, the King's pottery would have been unusually crude for a peasant 200 years before. Under Roman civilization, almost every household had French pottery and terra cotta roof tiles.

A good roof is hardly a luxury, especially in the rather damp England.

The standard of living of the average English household (those that did not die out), declined substantially when the Roman legions pulled out.

Best Hopes for Better Results as The American Empire shrinks and transmutes,