DrumBeat: April 21, 2008

Energy Secretary does not favor tapping SPR

CAMERON, Louisiana (Reuters) - Energy Secretary Sam Bodman on Monday said he did not favor releasing the nation's strategic oil reserves to help bring down record high crude prices.

"You could affect things for a week or a month but you're then in a very sticky wicket," Bodman told Reuters on the sidelines of an LNG event when asked about tapping the reserve.

Bodman added he had pushed oil cartel OPEC as far as he could in asking the group to increase production to help alleviate record high oil prices near $117 a barrel.

"I have done everything that I know how to do with OPEC. I have a very good relationship with (Saudi oil minister Ali al-) Naimi and all the people that work at OPEC. I wish they would open it up and issue more oil. That's my wish but I can't order them to," Bodman said.

Mexican oil output falls 7.8 pct in first quarter

Mexico's state-run oil company said Monday that oil production fell 7.8 percent to 2.91 million barrels a day in the first quarter as current reserves dwindle.

Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has struggled with falling reserves, especially at its main Cantarell oil field, and lacks the money and expertise to launch new drilling projects. Pemex only has enough proven oil reserves to last nine years at current production rates.

...Pemex also said Monday that oil exports had dropped 12.5 percent in the first quarter, mostly due to falling production and port closures caused by bad weather in February.

Saudi King's Quiet Bombshell

Charles T. Maxwell, senior energy analyst, Weeden & Co:
"If Saudi Arabia's oil reserves are not going to be made available to the world in future years, beyond the expansion they have already signaled (to 12.5 million barrels/day), then the geologic oil supply constraints that we are feeling in many other parts of the world are going to close in on us earlier and more severely than we previously thought. It's a major change in policy. It's a powerful message. It makes the geologic message that much more decisive."

Retail gas hits record $3.50 a gallon as oil marches higher

NEW YORK - Rising gasoline prices tightened the squeeze on drivers Monday, jumping to an average $3.50 a gallon at filling stations across the country.

Crude oil, meanwhile, set a new record of its own, spiking after an attack on a Japanese oil tanker in the Middle East to close above $117 a barrel for the first time.

"It's killing us," said Jean Beuns, a cab driver in New York who estimated he is making $125 to $150 a month less than in the fall because of costlier fuel. "And it was so quick. Every day you see the price go up 5, 6, 10 cents more."

Diesel prices at the pump also struck a record high, of $4.20 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, putting pressure on truckers and other shippers who rely on the fuel to transport goods to market.

...Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose to a record $117.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before settling at $117.48, up 79 cents from Friday's close.

International Energy Agency says world energy demand will more than double by 2030

The International Energy Agency (IEA), the Paris-based energy adviser to industrialised countries including Ireland, said today that during the past five years, spare oil producing capacity has fallen below the 3-4 mb/d (million barrels per day)typical of the past decade. The IEA also said that without policy change, world energy demand will more than double by 2030; Meeting IPCC emissions cut of 50% by 2050 would require huge amount of investment and unprecedented technological breakthroughs.

The United States, China, Peak Oil, and the Demise of Neoliberalism

At the current growth rate, China’s energy consumption will double in seven years and China will soon overtake the United States to become the world’s largest energy consumer. China depends on coal for about 70 percent of its total energy consumption and China’s coal consumption is also growing at a rate indicating a doubling in seven years. China’s oil consumption (already accounting for one-third of the world’s incremental demand for oil) is growing at a rate that implies a doubling in nine years. In other words, in about a decade if the current trend holds up, China will consume one and a half times as much energy as the United States consumes today. Will the world energy supply keep pace with China’s rapidly growing demand while meeting the demand from the rest of the world?

Shell Meets Iranians as Pressure Ups for Gas Deal

Royal Dutch Shell Group PLC (RDSB) met Iranian officials about a prospective natural gas project in the country, a top oil official said Monday, just as the Islamic republic said it hoped Shell and Total SA (TOT) would commit to multibillion dollar gas deals by June.

Australia Expands Continental Shelf Under U.N. Agreement

Australia has extended its continental shelf under an agreement with the United Nations.

"I am pleased to announce that Australia, the largest island in the world, has just been dramatically increased in size," Resources Minister Martin Ferguson told reporters in Canberra Monday.

Venezuela to seek end to asset freeze in Dutch court

Venezuela expects to appear in a court in the Netherlands by the end of the month to demand an end to an asset freeze won by Exxon Mobil.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA will tell the court that Exxon is abusing the bilateral investment protection treaty between the Netherlands and Venezuela, the South American country's energy and oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, said today in Rome.

"A lot of companies register in the Netherlands like Dutch companies and they are not," Ramirez said. "Exxon now appears to be Dutch also and that is obviously an abuse and will be denounced."

Ecuador mining law to boost state control in deals

QUITO, April 21 (Reuters) - Ecuador wants more royalties and tougther enviromental controls over mining firms exploring in the Andean country as part of a new mining law, Mines and Oil Minister Galo Chiriboga said on Monday.

Ecuador froze all mining exploration and revoked most concessions on Friday, in a move to increase state control over the nascent sector that has worried foreign investors.

ConocoPhillips, GE unit to work on Qatar water issues

ConocoPhillips, the third-biggest U.S. oil company, and a unit of General Electric Co. said they will work together to develop water solutions in Qatar primarily for the petroleum and petrochemical industries.

The water sustainability center, situated in the Qatar Science and Technology Park, is expected to open in late 2008, the companies said today in a statement. Financial terms weren't provided.

UK refinery shuts for strike, fuel prices soar

Refinery owner Ineos' Communications Manager Richard Longden said the shutdown was starting on the petrochemicals side and moving to the refinery.

"It will take about a week from start to finish," Longden said by telephone.

Ineos said it was shutting a primary distillation unit, which takes in North Sea crude and processes it for further refining into consumer fuels.

China to crack down on petrol racketeers

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China's oil industry regulators are to launch a nationwide crackdown on wholesalers who sell to illegal filling stations and dealers in the wake of supply shortages.

Militants claim 2 attacks on Nigerian oil pipelines

Militants said they blew up two more oil pipelines Monday in restive southern Nigeria and called for former President Jimmy Carter to help mediate an end to the crisis.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, said in a statement that fighters hit two pipelines it believes are operated by Chevron Corp. and a Royal Dutch Shell PLC joint venture in southern Rivers state.

Energy industry says more construction needed

Environmentalists argue more energy efficiency could greatly reduce the need for a huge new wave of power plants and transmission lines.

In two studies out Monday, the power industry gives its terse response: Don't count on it.

Oil surcharges are killing my business

We are a manufacturer of products for many industries and ship all over the world. We are starting to see a lot of fuel surcharges from UPS, FedEx, Roadway, ABF and many others, 20 to 30 percent! Examples: April 2007 — 17.7 percent; July 7, 2007 — 18.8 percent; October 2007 — 21.2 percent; March 2008 — 30.7 percent. I would think the big boys like the above would have fuel contracts. So why are we being charged fuel surcharges and they keep going up?

Halliburton wins Manifa contract

Halliburton has bagged a three-year contract by Saudi Aramco to provide several oilfield services in the Manifa mega-project.

The Manifa project has a production target of 900 thousand barrels of oil per day, Saudi Aramco’s second largest incremental oil production project.

Supreme Court Rejects Exxon Appeal In Property Cleanup Case

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) on Monday lost an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider overturning a $112 million punitive damages award against the oil giant over radioactive contamination at a Harvey, La., industrial property.

Atmos seeks huge gas storage site in NE Louisiana

FORT NECESSITY, La. — Atmos Energy, a Texas-based natural gas company, wants to use massive salt domes in northeastern Louisiana to store large volumes of natural gas.

The company is seeking to get Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for its $300 million storage facility. If approved, the project would be a boost for a section of Louisiana where the economy is sluggish.

A Switch on the Tracks: Railroads Roar Ahead

The freight railway industry is enjoying its biggest building boom in nearly a century, a turnaround as abrupt as it is ambitious. It is largely fueled by growing global trade and rising fuel costs for 18-wheelers. In 2002, the major railroads laid off 4,700 workers; in 2006, they hired more than 5,000. Profit has doubled industry-wide since 2003, and stock prices have soared. The value of the largest railroad, the Union Pacific, has tripled since 2001.

This year alone, the railroads will spend nearly $10 billion to add track, build switchyards and terminals, and open tunnels to handle the coming flood of traffic. Freight rail tonnage will rise nearly 90 percent by 2035, according to the Transportation Department.

Australia's Newcastle Thermal Coal Price Rises for Third Week

(Bloomberg) -- Thermal coal prices at Australia's Newcastle port, a benchmark for Asia, rose for a third week as constraints on exports in New South Wales and Queensland limit supplies amid rising demand from power generators.

Transport witnesses a slow switch to rail and water

With oil prices at record highs and staffing and other costs rising, the economic arguments for using less fuel-intensive - and cleaner - transport modes are growing more compelling.

Water-borne transport can often shift goods in larger blocks with less fuel per tonne of cargo moved than land-borne alternatives. Land and water use fuel more sparingly than air.

Modest proposals to prevent famine

Most of us are used to buying food when we want and it is disconcerting to find that no amount of money will buy you a meal.

It happened to me once near Quelimane in Mozambique in the 1980s. Even the offer of dollars in the midst of abject poverty produced only shrugs, because there was simply no food to buy. And it is happening now in the Philippines. Manila has not been able to buy enough rice abroad to secure food for its people, because no one has wanted to sell.

Recycling program begun in Colorado for light bulbs, thermostats

Xcel Energy Inc. and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Monday unveiled a recycling program for compact fluorescent light bulbs and thermostats containing mercury.

The light bulbs and thermostats can be dropped off at any Ace Hardware location in Colorado. The retailer has 104 locations in the state.

Africa: Large-Scale Biofuel Production May Increase Marginalization of Women

Rapid increases in the large-scale production of liquid biofuels in developing countries could exacerbate the marginalization of women in rural areas threatening their livelihoods, according to a new FAO study.

The study notes that large-scale plantations for the production of liquid biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel require an intensive use of resources and inputs to which small farmers, particularly women, traditionally have limited access. These resources include land and water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Moms' new battle: The food price bulge

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As American families face the double whammy of higher gas and food prices, moms nationwide are resorting to considerable ingenuity to stretch their monthly grocery budget.

In lean times, biotech grains are less taboo

Soaring food prices and global grain shortages are bringing new pressures on governments, food companies and consumers to relax their longstanding resistance to genetically engineered crops.

In Japan and South Korea, some manufacturers for the first time have begun buying genetically engineered corn for use in soft drinks, snacks and other foods. Until now, to avoid consumer backlash, the companies have paid extra to buy conventionally grown corn. But with prices having tripled in two years, it has become too expensive to be so finicky.

More people buying hybrid cars

U.S. registrations of new hybrid vehicles rose 38 percent in 2007 to a record 350,289, according to data to be released Monday by R.L. Polk & Co., a Southfield-based automotive marketing and research company.

Hybrids made up just 2.2 percent of the U.S. market share for the year, but they were growing steadily even as overall sales declined 3 percent.

GM To Sell Hybrid Cars In China

(AP) General Motors Corp. will sell its first gas-electric hybrid cars in China in July, introducing a model created in part by GM's Shanghai design center, the company said Saturday.

The Buick LaCrosse will be the second hybrid to enter the Chinese automobile market following Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius in early 2006.

GM on the road to greener cars

BEIJING, April 21 -- General Motors Corp has opened a new Energy Research Center in Beijing over the weekend, part of GM's new collaborative strategy to strengthen its development of new energy models on the world's second largest auto market.

The ‘green’ way to dump electronic junk

The EPA has created a Web site to help you determine whether you should recycle or donate your e-waste. You can also find links and resources for recycling, donating or reselling your equipment at eBay’s Rethink Program. The eBay site also offers tools to erase data on computers and cell phone.

MaxWest snags Florida poop-to-power deal

A Houston start-up has signed an agreement to turn a Florida municipality's human waste stream into energy.

Oil prices too high, production sufficient - IEA

ROME (Thomson Financial) - Oil prices at their current level are too high for everyone, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Nobuo Tanaka, said on Monday. At the same time, output from oil producing countries is sufficient, Tanaka added.

'The IEA's view is that the prices are too high for everybody, especially for developing countries,' Tanaka told journalists on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum here.

At the same time, 'the current level of production is enough and sufficient,' he added.

Rules for the energy game unlikely to get accord

"There is a lot that producers themselves could do to enhance market transparency by being more forthcoming and transparent about their own production, reserve, trade and demand data," said Halff.

Analyst Matthew Simmons, a leading exponent of the peak oil theory that oil supplies are at or near a peak, famously questioned whether Saudi Arabia's reserves were as big as it has said.

His remarks stung Saudi Aramco into a rare public rundown of its resource bases, but still no OPEC producer has allowed an independent audit of its reserves.

Shell Sydney Gasoline Unit Repairs to Take `Several Weeks' More

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, one of Australia's four crude-oil refiners, said repairs to a gasoline- making unit at its Clyde refinery in Sydney will take ``several weeks'' more, extending fuel shortages in the region.

Pakistan's largest private power firm defaults to government

Karachi - Pakistan's energy crisis is set to worsen as its largest private power company, HUBCO, faces defaults of billions of rupees amid rising oil prices and a financial crunch.

The Hub Power Company or Hubco is facing a default of between 3.5 and 3.8 billion rupees (55 to 57 million dollars) to state-owned Pakistan State Oil (PSO), the country's largest private oil firm, sources on Karachi Stock Exchange said.

Sobering signs

“The end of the world as we know it” is how Michael T. Klare, an American professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, Massachusetts, describes our crisis-hobbled home planet. His book, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, is disturbing but highly recommended reading for realists.

At this point of world history, when more people have learned to want it all, putting on farmers’ eyes would help everyone think over a second hard fact: the close interconnection between producing our suddenly shockingly expensive food and the now severely threatened conditions for producing and bringing it to our dining tables. And nowhere is the impact of climate change on agriculture more dramatically illustrated than in the recent closing of what was once the largest rice mill in the Southern Hemisphere.

Against the grain: weak dollar hits the poor

The world may be close to peak oil (the highest point of production) and suggestions that two key producers, Nigeria and Russia, may have achieved maximum output add weight to that thesis. Yet even those who believe fervently in dwindling reserves of crude in the coming decades would struggle to argue that peak oil is the reason prices are five times higher than in 2002 and up from $70 to $115 in a year. Similarly, turning land used for food over to crops for biofuels may have something to do with the 120% increase in the cost of wheat and the 75% rise in the price of rice over the past year but, again, it is not the whole story.

Reliance Profit Misses Estimates on Raw Material Cost

(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd., India's biggest company by market value, reported profit that missed analysts' estimates for the first time in nine quarters after earning less from making chemicals.

China's thirst for oil isn't being quenched by Albertan crude

Despite Asia's insatiable thirst for oil, the prospects for oil exports from Alberta to the Far East are growing more remote by the day, a leading China expert said in Calgary last week.

"It looks like we're in hibernation. We're ignoring the dragon," said Dr. Wenran Jiang, director of the University of Alberta's China Institute, on the sidelines of the Canadian Energy Research Institute's annual oil conference.

South Africa: Mthombo vs Mafutha

As Mokaba sees it, we live in an age of escalating oil prices and increasing energy insecurity, not to mention “peak oil” -- the idea that the world’s oil reserves have peaked and are already, or soon will be, in a state of inexorable decline.

But South Africa has enough coal reserves, Mokaba says, that if stated in the terms of crude oil equivalent, we are an oil power bigger than Kuwait, perhaps even approaching Iran.

Why tribes may be key players in eco-energy

An effort to transform American Indian tribes into the world's new energy barons is being nurtured at a company founded by a Puget Sound region Indian.

Native Green Energy, formed in October, is building wind turbines and delivering them to Indian tribes that will use the energy to power their own reservations and will sell energy to nearby cities and other governments.

Russia plans nuclear project for Kaliningrad

Russian plans to build a nuclear power plant in the Kaliningrad Region have provoked protests from Europeans concerned about environmental and radiological safety.

The plant is intended to ensure the Baltic enclave's energy security. Russian physicist Anatoly Zrodnikov once said, "The world is now not ruled by the dollar or the euro, but by the joule."

Survivalists get ready for meltdown

Derek, 60, who moved from London to the countryside in the southeast of England four years ago, puts it another way.

"There's going to be absolute pandemonium when it does happen, so I just want to be prepared so that I'm not a burden on anyone," he says.

What this disaster might be is anyone's guess, says Derek, but he's got his hunches.

Climate change is high up on the list. Also up there is the fallout from a global economic collapse, possibly resulting from a state of peak oil -- the point where oil production reaches its peak and thereafter goes into freefall.

Shell shuts some Nigeria output, force majeure on Bonny

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday it was forced to shut 169,000 barrels of crude oil production in Nigeria for repair work following sabotage to a pipeline.

Shell had declared force majeure on Bonny Light exports for the rest of April and throughout May, a company spokesman said.

Algeria shortens gas contracts to earn more

ROME (Reuters) - Algeria plans to shift from long-term gas contracts to deals lasting around five years to maximise earnings from rising fuel prices, Sonatrach's chief executive said on Monday.

Gas contracts, often based on the cost of oil products, have traditionally been fixed for long periods, which has limited gains for gas producers from record high oil prices.

Iraqi says Kurdish contracts not valid

ROME - Iraq's Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said Monday that oil contracts between the autonomous Northern Iraqi Kurds and foreign companies remain invalid, despite recent amicable talks between the two sides over the country's long-delayed federal oil law.

Kazakhstan threatens Chevron with fine

ALMATY (Thomson Financial) - Kazakhstan's government on Monday threatened U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. with a fine equivalent to $309 million for alleged environmental violations, Interfax news agency reported.

CH Energy lowers earnings estimates

"Preliminary results from the first quarter indicate that 2008 will be a challenging year, in large part because high fuel supply prices appear to have induced Central Hudson's and Griffith's customers to further conserve energy and, coupled with a weakening economic environment, have also caused accounts receivables in arrears to increase," said Steven Lant, chairman, president and CEO of CH Energy.

"There is a lot of showing off that goes on in this field"

Do you think green firms are currently getting their communications wrong?
There is a lot of terminology people just don't understand unless they are very familiar with the environmental movement and its history. I sometimes get the sense that a lot of these terms are only being used by individuals and firms so that they can appear knowledgeable – there is a lot of showing off that goes on in this field. But you have to remember you are trying to reach people and communicate with them and a lot of these terms don't help achieve that. In fact they just alienate the audience, they scare people, and until mass consumers are comfortable with these ideas and understand how green products can benefit them we are not going to make any progress.

What types of terms would you say are alienating?
Terms like peak oil, carbon footprint, organic, even global warming. There is a whole plethora of words that large numbers of regular consumers still find alien. I'd absolutely endorse a simplification of a lot of this terminology when communicating with customers.

Using Food to Make Fuel Is `Criminal,' Venezuela's Ramirez Says

(Bloomberg) -- Using crops to produce fuel is ``criminal'' as the world suffers a food shortage, Venezuela's oil minister said in Rome where energy ministers from around the globe are meeting to discuss investment plans.

``Look at the effect it has, the craziness,'' Rafael Ramirez told reporters today in the Italian capital, where he is attending the three-day International Energy Forum. ``All countries, and particularly in Latin America, have problems with food stuffs. It is such a bad idea to use foodstuffs for fuel, it is criminal.''

Greenpeace seeks moratorium on palm oil plantations

The environmental group Greenpeace has called for a moratorium on the expansion of palm oil plantations in Indonesia.

It says a two-year investigation into the health of the country's rainforests and peatlands shows wholesale destruction, driven by demand from food, cosmetic and biofuel companies.

Emerging Market Oil Use Exceeds U.S. as Prices Rise

(Bloomberg) -- Traffic jams in Beijing and humming air conditioners in Dubai are replacing U.S. highways and suburbs as the driver of global oil prices.

China, India, Russia and the Middle East for the first time will consume more crude oil than the U.S., burning 20.67 million barrels a day this year, an increase of 4.4 percent, according to the International Energy Agency in Paris. U.S. demand will contract 2 percent to 20.38 million barrels daily, the IEA says.

Oil prices to head even higher says Opec chief

The secretary-general of Opec said yesterday that oil prices could rise even higher than the present record level of $117 a barrel.

Speaking at the start of the biannual conference between oil-producing and consumer countries in Rome, Abdullah al-Badri said that factors other than supply and demand, particularly the weakness of the US dollar, were pushing oil prices higher.

Saudis put oil capacity rise on hold

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer, has put on hold any plans to further increase long-term production capacity from its vast oil fields, its most powerful policymakers have said.

In a series of statements, including one by the king himself, the kingdom has warned consumers it does not reckon there is a need for further expansion, an assumption disputed by the world’s biggest developed countries.

Russia starts to pay price for its energy strategy

Russian oil output in 2003 was increasing at such a swift pace even Saudi Arabia worried about upstart energy companies - including Yukos and Sibneft - then posting production gains of more than 20 per cent.

But from 2004 the Moscow government changed its tax regime and began to take over privately held assets, including Yukos, and so Saudi Arabia's fears proved short-lived.

As a result of these and other policies, average production growth in Russia has slowed to 2.5 per cent from a high point of 12 per cent in 2003. The problem has become so severe that Russian politicians and energy executives fear that this year the world's second biggest exporter may see its first decline in 10 years.

ConocoPhillips Says J-Block Gas, Oil Fields Shut Down Yesterday

(Bloomberg) -- ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil producer, stopped production at its J-Block oil and gas fields in the U.K.'s North Sea on an ``operational problem.''

Why flowers have lost their scent

Pollution is dulling the scent of flowers and impeding some of the most basic processes of nature, disrupting insect life and imperilling food supplies, a new study suggests.

The potentially hugely significant research – funded by the blue-chip US National Science Foundation – has found that gases mainly formed from the emissions of car exhausts prevent flowers from attracting bees and other insects in order to pollinate them. And the scientists who have conducted the study fear that insects' ability to repel enemies and attract mates may also be impeded.

Oil soars to record above $117

LONDON (Reuters) - Crude oil prices surged above $117, setting a new record high on Monday because of worries of supply disruptions from major producers and comments by OPEC reiterating there is no need to raise output.

U.S. light crude struck a record high of $117.40 a barrel. It was trading 27 cents higher at $116.96 by 1155 GMT (7:55 a.m. EDT).

London Brent crude also struck its all time peak of $114.65. It was trading at $114.20, up by 28 cents.

Japan oil tanker attacked off Yemen

TOKYO - An unidentified ship fired on a Japanese oil tanker Monday off the eastern coast of Yemen, leaving a hole from which hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked, the ship's operator said. No one was injured.

The 150,000-ton tanker Takayama was attacked about 270 miles off the coast of Aden in southwestern Yemen while it was heading for Saudi Arabia, its Japanese operator, Nippon Yusen K.K., said in a statement.

Peak oil theory: The Indian response

It will be better for India to start planning for a time when oil will be in limited quantity and prices far above the current level.

Petrol panic looms as protesters threaten blockade, strike closes major refinery and oil hits new high

Fears are growing today that Britain could lurch towards another fuel crisis.

As forecourt prices hit record levels and oil went above $117 a barrel, campaigners said they were secretly planning a series of blockades in an attempt to bring the country to its knees.

Angered by the Government's planned 2p rise in fuel duty, they pledged to recreate the chaotic scenes which saw tens of thousands of drivers panic-buying in 2000.

They said they would hold demonstrations across the country to coincide with a two-day strike being staged by workers at a major oil refinery in Scotland.

The fuel panic begins

MOTORISTS laid siege to Scotland's forecourts yesterday, stockpiling against a feared fuel shortage as the country's only oil refinery continued a phased shutdown in the face of strike action.

With ministers warning against panic, a snapshot survey of garages by The Scotsman found 5am queues at the pumps, sales increases of up to 50 per cent and prices already on the rise. At least one petrol station ran out of fuel completely.

UK: Now Energy Bills Will Rocket 25%

The impending 25 per cent increase for gas and electricity could push annual bills beyond £1,250, with industry analysts predicting the credit crisis will be overtaken by an energy crunch.

Consumer groups say the move will be “catastrophic” for families already struggling with inflation-busting rises of about 15 per cent earlier this year.

Oil price unlikely to fall back below $90: Venezuela

ROME (AFP) - Oil prices, which surged to record 117.40 dollars a barrel on Monday, are unlikely to fall back below 90 dollars, the Venezuelan energy minister Rafael Ramirez said here.

"We believe that prices will remain around this level, at least around 90 dollars," Ramirez told reporters on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum here.

"Oil prices can't fall" much further because "production costs have increased," he said.

The boom is over in Detroit. But now India has its own motor city

The car industry in the region around Pune, Maharashtra, is growing apace as manufacturers see the potential for the Indian market to overtake China.

UK: New school run charges for high-C02 cars

Parents are to be charged up to £75 a year by councils to drop their children off on the school run.

Families with people carriers and four-wheel-drive cars will be hit hardest by new council parking permits, which have been condemned by motoring organisations and parents groups.

Ed Begley acts on his eco-beliefs

The money others might spend on a fancy house and big cars, Begley, 59, puts to infrastructure. Solar panels on his roof track the sun. The latest electric car sits in his garage next to a bank of batteries. In the basement, a high-tech heating system uses sun-warmed water.

What's green and funny and read all over? Earth Day cartoon strips

The comics pages go "green" for Earth Day on Tuesday as 46 cartoon strips, from Blondie and Family Circus to Mutts and Zippy the Pinhead try to save the planet, one panel at a time.

McCartney urges vegetarianism to fight climate ills

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Beatle Paul McCartney is urging the world to go vegetarian in a bid to fight global warming and is surprised more green groups don't promote it.

Canada's polar bears in dire straits: WWF

OTTAWA (AFP) - Some of Canada's polar bear populations risk being wiped out within four decades because of climate change and human activity including hunting, the World Wide Fund For Nature warned Sunday.

Thousands march in Spain over climate change

MADRID (AFP) - Thousands marched through Madrid on Sunday to demand that the Spanish government adopt concrete measures to fight climate change, organisers said.

"We demand a law against climate change that calls for an increase in the use of renewable energy and that favours saving energy," Raquel Monton, a spokeswoman for the Spanish branch of Greenpeace, told Cadena Ser radio.

No improvement in climate fight since 2006 film: Gore

LONDON (AFP) - Nobel Peace Prize-winner Al Gore said in an interview published Monday that there had been no improvement in the fight against climate change since his Oscar-winning film on the issue was released.

Speaking to The Sun tabloid, the former US vice-president said that the situation had instead gotten worse since his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" hit cinemas in 2006.

Food & Energy. . . Food & Energy

In my opinion, the common connection between these two articles is the
Export Land Model, i.e., food & energy exporters tend to take care of
domestic consumers before they export. Food & energy prices are being
set at the margin as importers bid for declining food & energy exports.

On the energy side, our model and recent case histories suggest that
net oil export decline rates tend to get worse with time, i.e., the
decline rate tends to accelerate with time.

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World
Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 21, 2008

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy. "Where's the rice?" an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. "You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous."

Running Out of Planet to Exploit

Published: April 21, 2008

Nine years ago The Economist ran a big story on oil, which was then selling for $10 a barrel. The magazine warned that this might not last. Instead, it suggested, oil might well fall to $5 a barrel.

In any case, The Economist asserted, the world faced “the prospect of cheap, plentiful oil for the foreseeable future.” Last week, oil hit $117. It’s not just oil that has defied the complacency of a few years back. Food prices have also soared, as have the prices of basic metals. And the global surge in commodity prices is reviving a question we haven’t heard much since the 1970s: Will limited supplies of natural resources pose an obstacle to future world economic growth?

. . . Don’t look now, but the good times may have just stopped rolling.

I don't disagree with Krugman's conclusion that speculators are not driving the price of oil. But he errs when the evidence he provides for this conclusion is that inventories are about normal. On his blog he points to OECD inventories, which are about normal, but so what. Almost all new demand and an increasing part of total demand is coming from countries with no known inventory.

As noted previously on TOD, Krugman in his blog also heaps derision on the 'limits to growth crowd of the 1970's'. This only betrays Krugman's failure to grasp the limits of the economics discipline.

Still it's nice to see that Jeff Rubin isn't the only economist of note who silently peruses these pages. And it's decent of Krugman to offer a tip of the hat to TOD.

In an incredible excursion into Orwellian Doublespeak Land, a talking head on CNBC this morning blamed high oil prices on a shortage of refining capacity, and then wondered why oil prices were so high if there was insufficient refining capacity.

The most recent US refinery utilization numbers show that we are about 4 to 9 percentage points below our usual utilization rate for early April.

IMO, refineries in importing countries are caught between a rising crude oil price--as importers bid for declining oil exports--and the volume of refined product that consumers can and will buy.

* Imagine rubbing #40 sandpaper on your skin. Now guess what happens to every pipe, vessel, pump and valve that handles the tar sand slurry. The company has two separate process trains working in parallel, switching from one to the other in order to constantly replace worn parts.

* The giant 400-ton trucks that carry the sands cost $6 million. Their 3.550 HP engines have to be replaced every two years, at $1+ million a pop. Tires cost $60.000 - each."

Suddendebt gets it:


Speaking of Orwellian speak, Kunstler has some in his clusterfuck nation today:..(more equal) ..


With a feeling for dramatics he applies George Orwell's Animal Farm as an analogy to our social structure in a post PO environment.

And finishes off by saying:"It's imperative that this country gets serious about restoring the passenger rail system. We can't not talk about it for another year"

Got that?

On his blog he points to OECD inventories, which are about normal, but so what. Almost all new demand and an increasing part of total demand is coming from countries with no known inventory.

It's hard to speculate on information you don't have. If they have inventories it actually makes the Peak Oil stance weaker (because then there could be evidence of hoarding).

As noted previously on TOD, Krugman in his blog also heaps derision on the 'limits to growth crowd of the 1970's'. This only betrays Krugman's failure to grasp the limits of the economics discipline.

Hmmmm... dunno about this one - it would be nice if he (Mr. Krugman) gave some more details on this. The wikipedia page on limits to growth seems more logical than scientific (we know we can't grow forever, but the specific details they give appear sketchy).

I haven't read Limits to Growth - but my guess is the best way to approach this is basic physics of energy and efficiency. Like the Circulatory System - it was originally thought that blood pump out of the heart and was replaced by new blood (didn't return, circulate), until someone proved (quite simply) this wasn't possible because of how much blood would need to be produced (something like the weight of the human body per day).

Oh actually more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Harvey

This is the same fundamental deduction needed to get people on the right track. And I think that is the basic message Krugman is conveying.

I didn't see any "tip of the hat to TOD" there, but it did seem like a direct response to our criticism last week. So here's a tip of the hat back to Krugman! He may not be quite ready to throw in the towel on economics, but at least he "gets it," not just with oil but food and commodities and resource exploitation in general. If you think about it, given what the rest of the MSM is on about these days, he's staked out a pretty bold position here.

Yeah, well, he "gets it", but this is like 30 years to late . . .

This isn't an anecdote, my wife and I are building up a 6-month store of groats (wheat). We live in the Northwest and she bakes most of our bread. We grow most of our fruits and vegetables on our property (1/2 acre), and have 4 four chickens to supply all of our egg needs. We recently organized a club to buy a cow (naturally raised, no hormones or drugs) from a local farmer and our freezer is well stocked with 1/4 of the cow. Our next project is organize our neighbors into a cooperative food growing association.

Krugman's piece was preceded by a another oil crisis in the Week In Review (NYT) section Sunday. In just this last week or so a tipping point has been reached in which PO has crossed a threshold into the mainstream, perhaps not yet the dominant opinion, but certainly a respectable one. (Oh how I hate entertaining a respectable opinion.)

The big debate now (I will hazard) is going to be: what can be done about it, what are our options? Here I am happy again. I am with those holding the very disreputable opinion: our high energy way of life is doomed, that no combination of alternative sources can sustain it, and that there is no alternative but for humanity to cooperate in radically retrenching and radically changing our relationship with the biosphere.

I also happen to believe that Cheney and his ilk were early converts to the premise of the above but drew a different conclusion: Rather than planning for a graceful descent and retrenchment that accommodates everybody, let's prepare to keep the show going as it is, but for an ever smaller percentage of the population, by grabbing what can be grabbed and doing whatever is necessary to hold in check the ever growing masses of the excluded.

our high energy way of life is doomed, that no combination of alternative sources can sustain it

No one has demonstrated to me that we could not build up fission to about 60% of total energy by 2050 which would include a significant rise in the total from today. I am not trying to pick a fight. Just cannot let that claim go unchallenged.

If you look at the currently being written book at


on pages 128-134 in pdf page-numbers there's some calculation. He basically says that the most rosy, optimistic assumptions yield energy/person on earth is only slightly higher than current energy consumption per person in the west.

Some points to note about the book:

(i) the author trained as a physicist but has done most of his research (which is high quality) in coding theory, so he's not a practicing nuclear physicist.

(ii) in case you don't read the whole book: his approach is to make lower and upper bound estimates of both energy usage and energy generation. Partly because he's "generous" in his generation estimates he gets higher figures than the people developing the technologies, but they're significantly less than energy usage (which he claims no-one really understands the magnitude of).

(iii) his policy is that resources ought to be shared equally amongst the 6 billion population. This is not universally held on the oil-drum and might change conclusions.

(iv) he's clearly got strong feelings about vegetarianism, consumption society, etc. He provides sources for all his figures and you'll have to decide the extent of bias for yourself.

This is a book that I read a couple of months ago, and I think it'd be of general interest to those on the oil drum. I hadn't mentioned it before as I was waiting until it was declared final. As mentioned above, his key point is that most people really underestimate how much energy is currently used when talking about future power sources.

his policy is that resources ought to be shared equally amongst the 6 billion population

Telling me he is a Marxist does not really help his credibility.

Perhaps we should hold off using his book as a source until it has been peer reviewed. A year down the road when we have been able to dissect his arguments we will know whether they hold up. Until then we have had great debates here on the subject and it is pretty clear to me that there are no good reasons why we could not build a primarily fission based economy that transitions us from the fossil fuel era to wind and solar and fusion and ocean sources or just sticks with fission.

The one best reason for me is fairly simple - we are incapable politically of dealing with the issue of nuclear waste disposal in a manner that is safe for us and future generations.

While not accepting that that contention is true, if it were, would that mean we should just rule out nuclear?

The Fission power industry is dangerous enough in the US of A that the government must have special legislation to provide it insurance coverage.

I'm stating a very simple and important fact that's used a lot in his calculations: he divides a total available resource by the world population to figure out the maximum sustainable level. He doesn't discuss how such equilibrium should come about, merely making the point that if you assume that the world's population eventually equilibrates economically then that gets you one physical maximum. If you follow the rhetoric of even right-wing groups like the American Enterprise Institute they profess to want other parts of the world to acheive a US standard of living via the free market. If they do then they'll have equal purchasing power.

I pointed out specifically because if you argue that one group uses more than their per-capita "share" (eg, having army bases to secure mid-east oil resources) or if you argue that free market rhetoric is just a smoke-screen, then conclusions might be different. (I'm not arguing either of those things here, just pointing out they're views that someone could take.) You're free to politically disklike the book, but it does provide concrete sourced numbers for various things that can be anlaysed, criticised and used, something that's often lacking seriously in discussions about the future.

Sorry but I went off on your post without really looking at your link, thinking I knew what it was.

there are no good reasons why we could not build a primarily fission based economy

I can think of several. First, there's not enough uranium (~50 years at current consumption), and breeder reactors are dangerous, dirty, and prime targets for terrorists. Secondly, fission produces electricity and our transportation system is entirely geared towards the internal combustion engine.

Note that I'm not opposed to expanding the use of nuclear fission (I've always preferred it to coal). I just don't see how it scales, and I don't see how it replaces oil.

our transportation system is entirely geared towards the internal combustion engine

So we build a new transportation system. The issue is whether there is any way to sustain a high energy way of life. Not whether doing so would be easy.

There are millions of years of Uranium. I have made the case many times here.

How many times does it have to be pointed out that "in place" does not equal economically recoverable (in any sense of the phrase). A much larger proportion of the earth is made of iron, but that doesn't mean we can mine millions of years of it at increasing rates, either...

How many times does it have to be pointed out that "in place" does not equal economically recoverable (in any sense of the phrase).

To be fair for light water reactors there are only several tens of thousands of years worth of uranium at energy multiples we're familiar with for coal mining. These in place resources aren't economically recoverable because there is cheaper uranium to be had today, and thats all it means. It has little bearing on the economics of nuclear power itself given nuclear power accounts uranium as less than 1% of the cost of the production.

For breeder reactors the case is far more extreme.

For your analogy of iron... why couldn't we mine it for millions of years at increasing rates? Its everywhere.

"For your analogy of iron... why couldn't we mine it for millions of years at increasing rates? Its everywhere."

As far as analogy goes, apart from the general idea being ridiculous, you choose to ignore the power of the exponential function.

At a fictional modest growth of 1% per year, we would double production every 70-odd years. After only about 1400 years we would require more iron than there is in the earth every year...

The issue is whether growth can continue for the next 100 years or so, until people in the developing world can reach a decent standard of living and population growth naturally decline, not a strawman argument of exponential growth forever.

I agree. I was merely responding to part of his post. Of course, the idea of having the entire growing world at a decent standard of living in one hundred years, means we must support a high energy, high pollution, all-resource intensive lifestyle for billions of people for some centuries to come, not just those one hundred years... that's why I am very much against BAU, and all for power down -> immediate steps to curb population growth through having less children, and encouraging lifestyles of much lower energy/resource use. I doubt it'll happen in a voluntary manner, but we are free to work towards ideals.

I see BAU as a negative, in that respect, and most pro nukes implicitly support the idea of BAU. Even when they claim not to, the claims of virtually unlimited supplies of energy, converting over entire transport networks, growing the world for another hundred years until everyone is living high-energy lifestyles, etc. say otherwise.

I would agree with you that there are very many other serious issues in the way we manage things, not just energy use, for instance our dumping vast quantities of fertiliser into the sea from our river systems.
I would also agree that provision of adequate energy supplies also means that BAU can continue.

Where we would differ though is that I feel that it is precisely the availability of such energy that means that it is possible to clean things up and manage them, for instance in providing clean drinking water.

I would also feel that a 'power down' is just not going to work, and should we fail to provide adequate energy would go along with the 'doomer' scenarios, with a massive die-off and nuclear war.

There are too many of us to make some sort of survivalist and green low-energy lifestyle viable.

A lot of those idea come from places which are comparatively sparsely populated, like parts of the US and New Zealand.
The chances of those areas being left in peace whilst billions in the more densely populated areas starve is non-existent, in my view.

It seems simply weird to me that so many focus on the supposed dangers of nuclear energy when not having enough energy is likely to kill billions, or GW from fossil fuels also lead to massive die-offs after changes to the climate - in practise to date the massive coal burn arising from the failure to expand nuclear power may have already lead to irreversible climate change, and certainly has killed bucket loads of people, contrasting with the exemplary actual safety record of peaceful nuclear energy in the West despite purely theoretical concerns.

Don't get me wrong, I think that our first option should always be conservation, and will take with both hands any renewables that become in the right ball-park economically, but at the moment it seems to this observer to be the height of folly to reject proven nuclear technology to meet our needs - we need all the help we can get.

First, there's not enough uranium

This has been taken apart over and over again. It just isn't so.

and breeder reactors are dangerous, dirty, and prime targets for terrorists.

You really aren't familiar with breeders. They aren't necissary because we have so much uranium, so if they are to compete they'll have to do so on more than just fuel utilization.

Note that I'm not opposed to expanding the use of nuclear fission (I've always preferred it to coal). I just don't see how it scales, and I don't see how it replaces oil.

Well it frees up coal for synfuel production and long term it can provide hydrogen production for synfuels.

I don't know Sterling you have been around here for a long time .. remember that „Uranium Report“ from December 2006 ?

anyways here it is and add your own imaginations - also hold that up against "that cubic mile of oil substitution-program"

EWG Uranium Report =>> http://www.energywatchgroup.org/Reports.24+M5d637b1e38d.0.html

That cubic mile =>> http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2320

That remaining uranium is gonna do a lot under all circumstances. 60% of all energy in 2050 possible, when most fossils are gone, that is.

I am not sure what you point is but your reference to the EWG Uranium Report suggests that you question the availability of Uranium. We have gone over and over this. I think the conclusions of the report are worthless. The bottom line is that that report relies on mining industry reserves. Think of these as short and mid term inventory. I argue that these numbers would never be expected to show more than 50 years or so of reserves no matter the amount of resource. Because once the mining companies have enough for their mid term business needs (50 years or so), they stop looking. It takes time and money to qualify resources as reserves.

This situation does not exist for the oil industry. They do not have enough inventory for their mid term business needs so they must relenlessly explore. That is why they have explored the areas that might have oil about 100,000 times more intensively that the comparable areas has been explored for Uranium.

The only way to estimate the amount of recoverable resource where not much exploration has been done is to extrapolate based on known resources distribution in the crust generally. Here is an example of that by Ken Deffeyes that shows recoverable resources in the one trillion ton range with decent EROEI.

I knew it, I have been through this once before .... with you Sterling, you are part of the Nuke-Super-Max-Triangle!

The EWG Uranium Report is still warm ... but you still cite old stuff like this :
"The following table is from Deffeyes & MacGregor, "World Uranium resources" Scientific American, Vol 242, No 1, January 1980 "

This is 2008 Sterling and welcome to the future

They aren't at odds with each other. One is reasonable assure resources from current plays at a set price, the other is ultimately recoverable resources with a set energy cost. They're not in opposition, and theres nothing that has been posted to counter the Deffeyes & MacGregor report in the nearly three decades since its been posted.

Fission powered what? Cars, busses, trains, airplanes, ships, harvesters, plows, backhoes, cranes, bulldozers?

It's too late for fission as an alternative resource for anything other than the Phd.s applying for the grant $.

Alternative societal structure is the only rational avenue we have left.

We all missed the boat, but walked off the dock anyway.


Fission powered what? Cars, busses, trains, airplanes, ships, harvesters, plows, backhoes, cranes, bulldozers?

Exactly. Did you not see Stuart Staniford's article a few months ago about building 4 billion electric cars?

I am not sure about airplanes, but I would not rule it out.

I am not trying to pick a fight. Just cannot let that claim go unchallenged.

I personally see nothing wrong with picking a fight -- over ideas and facts, which is what you are doing. En garde!

1. There are additional issues with fission which are not pretty. They appear solvable but depend much on fallible human beings.

2. There is a difference between could and will. Ponder that for several moments.

3. The growing financial crisis is going to make capital for investments very hard to come by and thus new infrastructure work less rather than more likely. If Bernanke fails, which even he has alluded to such possibility, then the entire economic system grinds to a halt. You probably fail to understand what that means but it's 1929 or worse all over again. That was when M. King Hubbert himself noted that we still had the factories, the mines, the lumberyards, but everything stopped because the odd thing we call economics ground to a halt.

There is a difference between could and will.

The contention was "our high energy way of life is doomed, that no combination of alternative sources can sustain it". I was just taking exception to that.

I think that if it can be done, it probably will. If the only way to maintain the high energy lifestyle is to build 5,000 reactors (my 60% by 2050), then that will probably happen. I think it is very unlikely people will walk away from that.

I notice how you did not challenge the statement

They appear solvable but depend much on fallible human beings.

Thus you let that stand as true and correct?

450-odd reactors today produce ~ 2650TWh.

World energy use is 118,000TWh (after all, you are talking about energy, right? Our high energy way of life = all external energy use, not just electricity)

Your 5000 reactors would be approx. 30% of today's required energy.

Your "60% by 2050" assumes 9 billion+ people live with with an average of about 1/3 the energy available per person today... and all that requires is 120+ reactors per year to be built, using a large portion of the world's PO mitigation resources. But that's okay. Let's push for BAU... do or die!

You are assuming that future reactors would be the same size as the current fleet.
New reactors are often around 1.6GW, much larger than the average for the existing fleet.
Using electricity to power transport is also much more efficient than using oil.
A lot of measures to reduce power use are also no-brainers, such as residential solar thermal for hot water.
Another way of looking at your 120 reactors a year figure, which you imply is unreasonable, would be to say that one new reactor needs to be built every year for every 75 million people. surely do-able, or to put it another way if you take $6bn as the cost per reactor then the build would cost $80 per person per year.

All this assumes no input whatsoever from improved solar PV and geothermal etc.
To take just the case for PV, it seems to be vanishingly improbable given the advances across a broad front that it will not make massive contributions to energy supply.

There seems to be no technical reason why an energy supply sufficient to provide similar standards to today's way of life in the advanced world can not be provided, although it may look more like Japan's way of doing things than America's.

That does not mean that the road to get there will not be bumpy though.

"All this assumes no input whatsoever from improved solar PV and geothermal etc."

All what? I never said anything about there not being other sources. I said why take away from PO mitigation by wasting the money on nuclear.

Assuming no resource or other constraints as would also be the case for building 5000 nukes, why not generate that electricity from solar? At the 30 trillion cost you are talking about we could have upwards of 70,000 of these, with money to spare and more power generation, no decommissioning costs would cover maintenance, and we don't have to worry about the waste, security is less of an issue, etc...


You seem to be making some pretty heroic assumptions about solar costs, storage costs and so on.

I hope it will fall to something reasonable, but I don't know so, and prefer to base plans on actual engineering.

France already produces most of it's electricity from nuclear power, and has some of the cheapest rates in Europe.

With the exception of residential solar thermal solar power remains to date fantastically expensive, even in warm countries.

A realistic near-term target would be to try to provide for peak power in hot areas with this, probably in the form of utility-scale solar thermal.

Currently only a tiny fraction of energy use is generated by solar means, and your assumptions on it's ability to run everything at any reasonable cost are unwarrented.

I would refer you to actual experience to date in Spain and elsewhere.

Hoping that something will work out doesn't make it happen.

Between the completely unnecessary and unrelated-to-the-GWOT war in Iraq on the one hand, and vast domestic internment camps being constructed across the US on the other, it's hard to argue that that isn't a possibility.

But I'm sure that the Neocons will be impeached, brought up on criminal charges, convicted of all the crimes they've committed during their tenures in office, and be thrown in jail. Just like Nixon was.

Oh, wait a second...

How long do you think it will take before the grain exporting countries start pricing their grain based upon energy content tied to the price of oil?
The price per 100,000 btu for oil is one heck of a lot higher than the price per 100,000 btu for corn, wheat, oats, etc......
Why should the grain exporting countries pay high prices per btu for the oil they import to grow the grain crops and then sell them for much lower prices per btu to those exporting the oil to us?
I think we are selling our land useage and labor way to cheap!

Using all the grain (corn + wheat) in the country each year to make ethanol might replace 12 percent of the energy we get from oil. The danger of converting grain to ethanol, is that it is an irreversible process. You cannot convert ethanol to grain. If there were no laws requiring ethanol production then the price of grain might rise above the costs of profitable ethanol production and the grain would be saved. By requiring ethanol production without government mechanisms for monitoring the effects of biofuels production on grain stocks, an impending disaster might occur. One might presume malnutrition is on the rise in areas where people spend most of their income on food.

The Irish Potatoe famine might have eliminated more than 20 percent of the population of Ireland in one year.


“There is no evidence that the warming is going to continue,” he maintains. “In fact, some of our meteorological stations on the eastern-Siberian coast have been registering colder temperatures since l995. The Holocene interglacial warm period has been going on for 11,000 years, already longer than any previous one. Its end is overdue.”

This, I will learn after talking with half a dozen other scientists in Moscow, is the Russian party line: it is starting to get colder, and the effect of human CO2 emissions on the world’s climate is negligible.

Sure...That's why the Russians planted their flag on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean--to take advantage of its ice cover becoming even thicker and harder to navigate. Seems to rank right alongside abiotic oil....

Yeah, maybe they just wanted to get that flag down there before it got covered with ice.....

Roughly speaking, it appears that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) underwent a slow transition from warm phase to cold phase from about 1994-1999. Though sea surface temperatures showed some excursions back to warm-phase conditions in the early 2000s, it seems that the transition is now well underway as suggested by a near-record-cold La Nina (ENSO and the PDO likely interact), which, for instance, has probably contributed to the mid-April snowfalls in much of the Pacific Northwest and Lower Mainland of BC.

When the PDO shifted to a persistent warm phase starting in 1976-77 (Californians may remember this as the mother of all drought years)--known as the great transition--temperatures step-jumped about 1C throughout a large part of western North America north of about 45-50N. The PDO signature is relatively strong. Thus, it's entirely possible that colder temperatures along the eastern Siberian coast are simply the result of a decades-long natural cycle that has enough influence in the region to overwhelm an anthropogentic global warming signature.


Wolf, in YVR BC

Yet other Russian scientists are measuring growing methane levels over the Arctic Ocean, implying the worst news imaginable, that methane hydrates are beginning to evaporate. Not what the oil-happy Russian government wants to hear. Warming means unstable tundra, which makes further Siberian oil development scary for outside investors.

Maybe in Russia scientists are still free to fight it out in the journals like they're supposed to.

This is national tv turn off week.


China, India, Russia and the Middle East for the first time will consume more crude oil than the U.S., burning 20.67 million barrels a day this year, an increase of 4.4 percent, according to the International Energy Agency in Paris. U.S. demand will contract 2 percent to 20.38 million barrels daily, the IEA says.

So, now ~2.7 billion Asian/ME people burn more oil than ~300 million Americans. As an American, I feel SO much better now. The guilt is off.

Hah. :-(

I read that article and thought it covered a lot of ground, quotes Rubin saying $120 average price for the year, talks about how USA now unimportant, the increasing number of cars and investment in transport infrastructure in the BRICS, gives a 20 USD spike in the summer because of A/C needs in Middle East using NatGas (instead of making them to NatGas liquids I presume).

``The U.S. recession will be a footnote as far as the oil market is concerned,'' says Jeffrey Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets Inc. in Toronto, who has correctly forecast higher oil prices since 2000. ``Supply isn't growing and demand is growing robustly in the developing world.''

Oil will average $120 a barrel for all of 2008, compared with almost $98 in the first quarter of the year, and reach $150 ``by the end of the decade,'' Rubin said.
Historically, a recession in the U.S. would lead to lower prices.

Oil fell 26 percent to $19.84 a barrel in New York in 2001 when the economy contracted. The U.S. consumes 24 percent of the world's oil, down from 26 percent seven years ago.

I think Bloomberg is really getting almost all the points (they note only at the end the increase in commmdities funds investments,i.e. speculation as a marginal cause of price increases), even though they don't mention PO explicitly.

According to this report linked at Energy Bulletin the global public already gets PO.


Sign me up, it's not like there's anything interesting on anyhow :-/

Does this mean I have to sign up for cable now, so I can show the willpower of not using it?

I just rode with a State Trooper on friday night, filming OUI arrests for a Statewide Drinking/Driving spot (Watch it with the Sox games).. and at this point, I don't even get to see my own work, as we don't have TV, or the time to watch it if we did get broadcast.

Most of the other TV people I work with also say they never watch TV. 'There's nothing on..'

BUT, I did watch the TED link from yesterday's Drumbeat with Al Gore talking about some new thoughts on Approaching the Climate issue, and how he's not under some illusion that CFL lightbulbs will solve this problem. I hope Michael Pollan takes note, while I was glad to see his article as well.

Gore > http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/243
Pollan, NYT > http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/magazine/20wwln-lede-t.html?ref=world

Gore had a good line or two near the beginning about Optimism, by the way, and how not to confuse it with 'Belief' or Blind Faith. Tied it in with Gandhi's 'Be the change you want to see in the world.' ..in that your optimism is expressed through actions, and doesn't come about magically by itself, just because you believe it will. Worth watching.


"My optimism rests on my belief in the infinite possibilities of the individual to develop nonviolence. . . . In a gentle way you can shake the world." M Gandhi

Haven't had one for over 20 years--
The more teevee you watch, the less you know.

"The more teevee you watch, the less you know."

Agreed, But like Solar energy, that's because it's an underutilized tool, instead of a 'useless' tool.

I think television/movies could be a great teaching aid, and sometimes it is. Just not currently. I had an epiphany about our economic system today, actually, which TV fits into all too well. For some time, I've been thinking that our brand of Market Capitalism, or whatever tag you want to put onto it, is designed to thrive when the customer base is addicted to it's most profitable products, and buys them without real conscious control of their actions. Today's revelation for me was to add that the 'Market' itself is simply 'Addicted to having Addicts lined up at the cash-registers.'

My most prosperous clients lately as a video cameraman (and don't imagine that the irony is lost on me, please) has been a Drinking and Driving Campaign, funded by a Beverage Company for a Sports Program, and my work on Poker tournaments for a well-known Sports Channel. Gambling Addictions, Sports Spectating Addictions, Drinking ... yada yada yada.. yowch!

Luckily, I have a diverse clientbase which includes information campaigns for our local schools, health programs, aging and disability services, etc, which I hope fit better into the 'NonDiscretionary' side of the Economy than the 'Unintentionally NonDiscretionary' aspect of the above-mentioned Involuntary Necessities.


EDIT: One more tie-in to the Addiction theme is the notion I keep coming back to which has words that signify some sort of 'Sobriety' being seen as undesirable or laughable in our Alcoholic Society. Sobering thought. Who's needs another drink? Anyone?

I think television/movies could be a great teaching aid...

"Could be" but isn't. TV became totally subverted to the pimping of stuff early on. Similarly, the internet has become subverted to pimping stuff & to porn. Attempting to persuade people to buy stuff they didn't know they "needed" is a form of violence. I haven't watched TV since 1975 and am thinking about dropping my ISP. A decade ago the internet was like the Wild West and was interesting. Now it's all about spam & porn, as the ad on TOD immediately to the left as I type these words makes clear.

It sounds like you need Firefox and the AdBlock Plus extension. It makes the web usable for me by blocking out most of the ads. I really don't enjoy surfing the web without it. There's also the AdBlock Plus element hiding add-on that aids in blocking even more ads.

But yeah, TV is a lost cause because you don't have much control over it. TV is just a mixture of advertising, propaganda, and entertainment (and very little entertainment). It's mainly a vehicle for advertising and consumption. If you want information from the TV, you're better off buying or renting documentaries.

Thanks for the tip. Firefox is my browser & my son showed me the adblock extension but I found it tedious to apply. I spend a lot of time online but I'm beginning to seriously consider trying to kick my addiction. I've lived without TV for so long that I don't miss it, and I think I could get by without the internet as well. I'd still need the computer for stats & word processing but then, I still have a TV for watching DVDs & VCRs - it just isn't hooked up to cable or a dish or antenna. I think that I'd get a lot more done if I simply unplugged from the net. Thoreau said that a person is rich in terms of what they can afford to do without. We're all going to have to start thinking about what we can do without: TV, car, internet, trucked food, power tools, antibiotics... in the years to come.

You can set adblock so it is the default, and you wouldn't have to do anything.
You should also download no-script, as it blocks trojans being placed on your computer - I have it on by default, but just click on the icon to allow the site I am visiting to use Java if I trust the site, and other people such as the advertisers still remain blocked.

Get AdBlock and the AdBlock Filterset. The Filterset automatically blocks the most common ads. There are frequent updates to deal with new ads. Probably 95% or more will disappear, and you can add any that they miss. You only have to do it once. No work at all once it's set up.

Basically, the only time I see ads now are on foreign sites, and I could probably nuke those, too, using the Asian and European filtersets. (So far, I haven't bothered.)

'Could be, but isn't ENOUGH..' It's a high ratio of Chaff/Wheat, noone is denying that.. but like the internet, it is a powerful tool, and does have some successes. There are smart people trying to work in the 'belly of the beasts', there on TV, here on the internet, in Oil Co's, everywhere. You see something you call "Porn" on the sidebar, but the discussion seems interesting enough to keep you here. The discussion isn't just porn, even if it's enabled by a bunch of Advertising in order to happen.

Is this like the EROIE question for renewables with you? Does it have to be immaculately clean and unblemished to qualify? I'm not saying that to be snarky, I just really don't understand if anything comes up to a high enough level to suit you.

Like a friend said about a UU church we both attended, commenting on some of the 'freaks' she discovered there among the other, wonderful folks.. "It WOULD be perfect, just there are human beings involved.." And she was right.


In case it was unclear, and as I reread what I wrote, the 'Freaks' comment was absolutely not a reference to you or the people here.. and since I have posted several comments that have been very critical of your statements, I didn't notice at first that this might be taken as a backhanded swipe, which was certainly not the intent.

It was just referring to a situation where there were complex positives and negatives, and had to be taken for what good could be gleaned from it.. as we will surely be finding to be the case with energy or with communications.


Hi Jokuhl

" 'It WOULD be perfect, just there are human beings involved..' And she was right."
Kind of like Ghandi on Christians : "Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
As applies to TV, internet, et al, we as we are seem so advanced, progress oriented, and we seem to be just as good or better at turning gold to sh*t. I guess it boils down to what I make of what is available to me. Turn sh*t to gold if you will. ;^)


Hey Slink,

or as 'Life in Hell' (Matt Groening) told us..

"When life gives you crap, make crapade." (..and we're back to methane..)


A decade ago the internet was like the Wild West and was interesting.

I've not bothered with what are called 'darknets' - but perhaps such would interest you. Specialized little internets built on the Internet. Many are for illegal activities, but perhaps one of them would have content that would interest you.

The more teevee you watch, the less you know.

Naw, it all depends on what you watch. I am a big fan of The History Channel, The Science Channel, The Discovery Channel, The National Geographic Channel and occasionally even The Animal Planet. And of course there is always Public Television. Over the years I have gotten some really good stuff off all these channels, and I feel I am much wiser for watching these many of these shows.

The History Channel and The Science Channel have even shown a couple of shows on the crude oil crisis and they were not really all that bad. They didn't cover it as many on this list would like but their coverage was far better than the usual denials you get from the news channels.

Ron Patterson

Don't let the names fool you just because it's called The Science Channel it's still all boils down to let's put something on for the masses so they will watch the commercials. I think the final nail in the coffin came for me last year, I was surfing the 300 channels of nothing on when I came across a classic from my youth "Mad Max: The Road Warrior" ah a few hours of a post apocalyptic vision of a Peak Oil future, and what station was running this drivel you ask USA Network, Spike, HBO none of the above it was on, wait for it .... The History Channel! They don't care folks whatever the masses will consume they will put on the air it's all about making a buck.

Be aware I'm not opposed to anyone making a buck appealing to the lowest common denominator, just be aware that when you watch television this is the target audience.

IME, all the good documentaries were made overseas. In the UK, Australia, Europe, etc. They just dub in an American narrator.

I find it really depressing, how the science channels have gotten so....unscientific. The Discovery Channel airs so many shows about ghosts, UFOs, and bigfoot (with never any effort at a critical view).

The National Geographic Channel is the best. They have their share of hauntings and such, but they actually debunk them, unlike the other channels.

I've heard through the grapevine that the National Geographic Magazine is doing another cover story on Peak Oil--to the effect that we have already peaked, or we are very close.

I wish they'd do a documentary. The History Channel one (actually made in Australia) was quite good, but IMO it was undermined by the ads for other History Channel shows that aired during the broadcast. The predictions of Nostradamus. In search of Bigfoot. Lake monsters.

Leanan - "I find it really depressing." You got that right! Paddy Chayefsky couldn't have dreamed up the nightmare that is cable TV. If you turn on MSNBC you have snarky Chris Matthews talking to the same tired talking heads rehashing the same opinions followed smartly by Countdown. CNN has Lou Dobbs who is appealing to the crassest motives of American paranoia, The Situation Room, Meet the Press, local news, NBC, CBS, and ABC with their 22 minutes of infotainment leading you into American Idol or some other reality based show where you can see real people being humiliated in strange and unique ways.

What I have done is become very selective about watching TV. I first look at the schedule for PBS and I'll usually watch NewsHour (some of it anyway), Frontline, Nova, Nature, NOW, Bill Moyers Journal, American Experience. I watch no Network TV, period. I will watch National Geographic, if something interests me, not the History Channel unless I want to watch a guy named Jeter lead a group of rednecks clearcuting a hillside. Discovery Channel No! Overall I watch less than 2 hours of TV a day and finding that much worth watching is a challenge. I recently scaled back my cable subscription to basic cable.

One show that has been consistently good for years is CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Yesterday they did a show on the Colorado River that showed how dire that river is and how it is affecting life in the southwest today and going forward. Scary stuff! I think they are able to produce a good show because it remains under the radar. If it ever becomes mainstream I'll have to stop watching that too.

Now take the next step - turn it OFF, and never look at it again. Yes, there are some good shows, some informative, and some entertaining, but the propaganda is always there and it is not always apparent even when you're expecting it. I was never much of a TV addict, as pro sports and sitcoms never interested me, but turning off the TV several years ago was still one of the most liberating things my wife and I ever did.

Information and knowledge of what is happening in the world around us is not something that one passively receives from authority, rather it is something that you actively research. It takes effort and time, and a willingness to learn and make decisions.

I make only one exception now - on occasion I will watch Equator HD. It is almost all images of places I will never see in person. Some of it is tourist promotional stuff, but I can ignore that.

I heard once that a study by Burger King or Wendy's showed that their commercials did not actually divert people to their stores from competitors. It just made them hungry for hamburgers in general.

Now consider the broadest messages of commercials, shared by nearly all of them: consumption makes you feel good, the corporations are good, America is wonderful. Have all the billions spent by the corporations on commercials really helped them individually, or did they stumble onto a formula to collectively create a Big Brother to mold the public into passive peasants who will not challenge their power?

I try very had to ignore advertising. I don't watch TV or listen to commercial radio, and I do not subscribe to any magazines. I may be naive, but I do think this has helped, as I simply am not as tuned into the message. I find that when I'm subjected to advertising I reflexively block it out and ignore it, and even if I later recall the add (if it was funny, for instance), I often have no idea what it was for. I think the constant barrage of advertising softens you up - you become trained to receive that stuff.

Now take the next step - turn it OFF, and never look at it again.

When TV goes to HD in 2009 that looks like an opportunity to not bother 'upgrading'. If interesting content shows up, it looks like most of it exists as DLs somewhere.

I haven't owned a TV in 10 years. One of the best decisions of my life.

I've wondered if a lot of people might not end up making that choice. Not because they want to, but because they can't afford it.

TV is not going HD in 2009. But broadcast TV is going to a digital signal.

That means if you are one of the few that use an actual antenna to get your TV, you are going to have to shell out 30 bucks to get a converter box. And if you ask, the government will give you a coupon for a free converter box.

Dish Network has Free Speech TV on channel 9415 which has a daily hour long news and interview show and also a number of taped lectures by such as Bill Moyers, Scott Ritter, General Taguba, Jim Hansen, etc. Also UCTV has lectures on climate, geology, oil, etc. Better than msm.

I saw that clip. I live not too far from the southern en d of the Colorado river.

It used to flow all the way to the sea but for many years now it has not. It stops several miles from the mouth in a muddy marsh.

The Mexicans south of the border where the mouth used to be complained for years about the fishing declining in the sea near the mouth of the Colorado river, saying that the lack of fresh water going in to the sea has altered the fishing catch. Their complaints land on deaf ears.

While it is true that all the channels have their share of junk, UFOs, hauntings and such, they also have a lot of very good stuff. The History Channel recently had a great series on the American Revolution. It was really good and educational. And there recently have been a lot of good stuff on WWII. And on The Science Channel there has recently been some great stuff on Yellowstone and other super volcanos as well as a lot of other real good stuff.

I watch it Badger, so how can I be fooled by the name? I know crap when I see it and only about 25% of the stuff on these channels is crap. And I don't watch that. Simply because they sell advertising does not mean that they cannot be educational as well. Speaking of educational, here is one of the best NOVA presentations ever shown. It is called Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. Two hours long but broken up in ten minute segments so you can watch it piecemeal.

Ron Patterson

It is the banal advertising that turned me off television over 45 years ago! I cannot say that any of it has improved in the intervening years. The advertising that is. My wife like to watch a few shows I cannot tell you their names because I will leave the room if the TV is switched on. If I need to purchase something or want to know about a product I will search for it. As for content I find much more in books and places like this.

yes Nova Nova Nova is splendid.
I recommend the "The Elegant Universe" (3 hours) over here ... http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html

fasten your seatbelt, and open your mind

There *is* a lot of good stuff on, however out here in Red State America, I hardly ever get to watch PBS, there's all kinds of stuff that's on and I never get to see. NASCAR, "Mixed Martial Arts" beatdowns, and "Married With Children" rule the night here, and of course lots of FOX 'news' and Glenn Beck ranting.

Fleam, many of their programs are available via streaming downloads,,, Like my recommendation ;-)

Don't forget the comedy network for the Daily show & Colbert Report; It's good to follow the election at least a little bit.

My motto:
Don't be a spectator in life.
Be a participant in life!

I dumped TV over 10 years ago & still can't begin to get all the things done that I would like to do, try, accomplish, learn and have fun at!

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."

Groucho Marx

I suppose I could plug the thing in and then turn it off, but just leaving it unplugged would work as well...

Definitely better to just turn it off. Even regarding 'history' programming, it is all so subjective. TV is only good for advertising. Here's a great book about why.

this one plus Long Emergency and Crossing the Rubicon by Ruppert are the 3 books that really make me realize there is no hope. Live life for today!!!

TV is only good for advertising.

We commonly think that television programming is produced by the networks and we, the audience, consume it. This is backwards, the product that networks make IS the audience. The network then sells the product, the captive audience, to advertisers. The goal is to produce the highest quality audience possible for the advertisers to consume. Critical thought is not conducive to selling tons of crap that one doesn't really need.

There is nothing wrong with the technology of television, it's content/advertising link that makes for poor programming. Here is another good book about why.

Leanan thanks for that story up top;

"Why flowers have lost their scent"

This is HUGE

Like I said the other day...

It's not nice to fool Mothernature! (cue lightning)

Ah, 70's TV spots!
That story had me thinking about the 'Crying Indian' commercial.. but I couldn't think of any way to do a Crying Bumblebee that wasn't just goofy..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3QKvEy0AIk "Back by popular Neglect"

(The music has me expecting the Six-million dollar man to jump into the shot)

Happy Earth Day, folks!

(I'm working on a Banner for the Town Square Tomorrow.. any brilliant notions? So far, the winner is a huge Earth-Globe with fabric or plastic 'Flames' fluttering off of it downwind. Maybe I'll put a running Pumpjack on the North Pole, too! Fanning the flames.(EDIT: Of course, the pumpjack will be wind powered!)

-A couple PO tags I've toyed with are

1) "Crude Oil! You're Soaking in it! (But Not for long..)" www.theoildrum.com
-With a 50's 'Pretty Housewife Illus. Graphic, dipping her nails, of course!)

2) "Look, PEAK OIL, you just passed it! (Objects in Mirror are more Important than they appear)
-Watch the Road, America. Happy Motoring!!" IMAGE: Monopoly Car and Driver(?)

3) PEAK OIL- Coming soon to a Highway Near You! Got Options?
(Currently my car's only bumper sticker)

4) Happy Earth Day! Remember the REAL Superpower! (Pictures of Earth, Sun, Flowers)

Feel free to use, change, staple or mutilate.


OK, Think I've got it.

Sending an email to my sister, a Typo introduced me to the concept of 'Darth Day'.. so my Flaming Terra on one side of this 5' coin, will be a Flaming Terror on the other, with the 'DARTH DAY' typo under Anakin, and the Pumpjack visible on Both sides, hopefully tying in the obscure meaning for the 'Whole Coin'..

I know.. Leslie is just going to shake her head and say "I married him, I should have known when I saw the Luke Skywalker Bedsheets!"

It is a good day to die!


Finally found the organizers for Portland's Earth Day Festival..
turns out the theme is going to involve Transportation alternatives and Public Transit, so I'm jumping to 'Plan E', which is a Model Train set powered by Solar Panels (and Batteries, snark if you must!)

I will print out and display a copy of Alan Drake's Light Rail Proposal, or Alan, if you have something newer or better, do let me know today and I'll try to incorporate it.


Deadline ?

Hi Alan;
I'll be doing Hardware and Rolling stock today. Printing will be late tonight, I suspect.

My 'vision' so far is to have an Article or two, like your '10% Reduction..' posted behind or below the Train track, which will be a 3'/4' circle/oval, and to have a few Boxcars and Flatcars carry whatever signage I can come up with ('The Oil Drum.com', etc) ..

Time and paper allowing, I'll have a few copies available to hand out, or maybe just cards with a few URL's on them.

Best hopes for keeping our childhood toys dusted off and functioning! 'No Honey, I'm working right now. Yes, with my Trainset.. that's right! Working!'

What a great concept for a display!

My city has talked about re-introducing street car (trolley) system, but I think people have a hard time visualizing it.

Imagine a very large blow-up of an aerial view of a town with a small functioning train set placed on it and running in the proposed areas. You could find your house on the map, and your school, and your work, and your stores - and see how the trolley could link them.

Do they make powered model train sets smaller than the usual HO scale? Is there a tiny powered model trolley out there?

Anybody ever see such a display used before? How did it work out?

Greg in MO

Do they make powered model train sets smaller than the usual HO scale? Is there a tiny powered model trolley out there?

There definitely are smaller than HO scale. N scale is quite a bit smaller, and I think Z scale is even smaller, though less popular.

Wikipedia has a nice summary.

There is also "N" scale, with track that's about 3/8" - 1/2" across.

My HO loco has passed the Solar Test this afternoon (15w panel), and the 'Truncated Triangle' Track that I have been assembling has a Diameter of about 44", having been spread out a little with three straight pieces, so it seems like a fairly modest and still portable size.

Yeah, I hope this draws 'kids of all ages'. Model Trains are just too fun to not come over a take a peek at. Then, you can make cars with 'the spectrum' of messages, ideas on them. I have to hand it to Toys-r-us. I was involved in the opening of their TimesSquare store, and they have a 3-story (more?) Ferris Wheel IN the 'Hollow-core' of the store, and each seat is a 'Product' concept, like the 'Toy Story' Seats, etc.. and then, as you're riding, all you've got to look at is their floors of product. While I'm as critical as anyone of the crass advertising of UNnecessary stuff, I don't disparage a good promotional idea, since there actually are worthwhile things that need promoting, and we might as well benefit from their creativity in finding tools with which to do it.


HO scale is 1:87 and is, as you have noticed a bit large to show a real town with.
N scale is 1:160 or a bit more than half the size of HO scale and has a very wide variety of equipment (but smaller than HO) including trams. However, for the project you describe, it may still be too big. Consider that a one square mile town in N scale would be 33 feet on a side. The smallest common model railroad scale is z scale or 1:220. Equipment selection is much smaller than for N scale, but some trams should be available. It is a bit more than 1/3 the size of HO and a scale mile works out to 24 feet.

There are 2 smaller scales ZZ at 1:300 and TT at 1:450 but neither is widely available outside Japan.

This is how you handle the situation: First tell her they were Boba Fett bedsheets! and second tell her the reason you keep those 28 year old Burger King plastic Empire Strikes Back cups is so they don't end up in a landfill. When she says "What plastic cups?" Tell her their in the garage next to the box of AOL CD's on top of the "working" model of a black hole you made from a very large funnel and some marbles for that Science Fair where that stupid Tornado machine won. This will lead to one of two possible outcomes she will either roll her eyes and walk away or stare at you for a second pat you on the head give you a big hug and then walk away. Either way you are now free to finish your Darth Day banner. :)

yeeesh! I feel so naked! Is my garage on You Tube or something?

Well, she didn't complain that I went to the 'New England R2D2 Builder's' Meeting last week, so I guess she's cool with it.


For those watching,

TAPIS is at 124.05!!!

Watching TAPIS should frighten everyone...there doesn't seem to be any point of resistance...it just punching new highs with little pull back between.


All 11 benchmarks above 107, looks like 90s are history. 6 benchmarks at Triple YERGIN or better, 2 benchmarks above 120!

I have to admit, these numbers have accelerated faster than I would have imagined. Just under 1 month to Memorial day.

IMO, the conventional wisdom, about speculators driving oil prices higher, is mostly wrong. I think that it is the physical market driving the paper market higher as importers bidding for declining oil exports.

Hi WT,

Last there was brief discussion on the gasoline levels - last wed. at 215.8 and the breakdown of conventional(106.1) vs. BLENDING COMPONENTS (107.8) in Million of barrels.

(for reference - http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/weekly_pe...)

But my question for comments discussion is about the MOL (minimum operating levels).

Last year we guessed at MOL around 215 MM barrels, IIRC. (or for argument's sake, let's say it was 200).

Either way, there definitely isn't enough in the system to keep the pipelines full if we look at the conventional numbers (106.1) plus some percentage of blending components (say 20%).

So, my concern is understanding this balance of conventional to blending, and whether our estimate of MOL is accurate? And, if it is, how long we can keep conventional numbers that low?

I could be wrong, but I thought that the best guess for MOL for gasoline was 170 mb, and for crude about 270 mb.


I wasn't sure of the numbers and the search was taking forever.

Either way, 215, 200, 170.

106.1 + (20% of 107.8) = 127.66 MM Barrels.

We seem to be in a bad place. Alter the blending component % as you like, it isn't 100% so just about any number up to 60% puts us in the RED ZONE.

So, my question is one of rather do we have the MOL right, or are we just witnessing the calm before the storm and the current weeks pipeline levels get depleted and we dip into the negative territory.

Just thought I would put this out there for further discussion.

Yes I would be interested in a clearer picture on 'blending componets'. Do they indeed not go through the pipeline like ethanol?

For anyone wanting a primer on Gasoline MOL Here is some from last spring when this was a hot topic. A search turned up the 170 million barrel number and this from the energy bulletin comments following Simmons.

[*Editor’s note: A description of this Minimum Operating level clipped from an EIA publication follows. “…maintaining minimum operating levels (e.g., gasoline must be present in the pipeline at all times to push product further through the pipe. When actual inventories drop below minimum operating levels, the system effectively may be running on empty. EIA reported that PADD II inventory levels in May and June 2000 were at or near minimum operating levels.]

Zeroing in on Mid-West PADD 2 and pipeline ,for gasoline, a prime Spring troublespot.
Pad 2 weekly data 1999 to 2008

Those averaged (in thousand barrels) was 46887 for May of 2000 (an 'event' worth googlin'). May 2007 the average was 46522 and the midwest wholesale pipeline price was jumping like 20cents a session. Have to find that link on Platts here for you tomorrow. Some of the watchers here said that spiking terminal price was one of the better indicators the MOL was nearly breached. This year April 11 49900. So high enough unless (non pipeline?) blending components are distorting the picture.

27 million barrel minimum for pad 5
Last year 26,329 and 27,444 a week later got the west coast price surging, and a 'comfortable' 28,622 a week after that resulted in a price drop. Currently sitting at 30,500. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/wgtstp51w.htm
Like last year we see all the PADDs moving down now.

And this quote from another EIA publication.

Buyers watch weekly reports of stock levels for unusual and persistent declines in levels during
periods of high demand. If stocks are falling and approach minimum operating levels (i.e., the level
needed to keep gasoline flowing from refineries to end users), wholesale buyers sometimes become
concerned that supplies may not be adequate over the short term, and willingly bid prices higher to
assure that they have product.

It occurs to me this is one way to get the refinery margins back up.

In another Congressional report the gasoline number came up 185. But still the interesting part of your question on blending components remains. I do remember on gasoline watching the various terminal FOB wholesale prices was a pretty good guide to when they feared the 'giant sucking sound'. When they had the Midwest scare at 46,500 and Chicago retail was going crazy the FOB terminal price spiked and WT reported they were shorting gasoling stations in Dallas and trucking it north. That was probably a close one.

One day this regulation by rapid price adjustment system is going break down like during Katrina and then what? A side note. Today I drove down the Okanogan Valley Wa. for work. I was amazed at the traffic ,we live pretty remote, zooming by the $3.79 regular unleaded and $4.64 cent diesel signs. We'll pass $4. by Memorial day easy. Super is at $4.04 already

If there are any speculators distorting the market, they are mostly like those known collectively as OPEC. The inventories that they would be speculating on, those that they think will be worth more in the future, are being kept in the ground. Fortunately for these speculators, the warehousing costs are really quite reasonable.

The King of Saudi Arabia's recent comments could be interpreted in this way, supporting the idea that he thinks future value makes holding oil off the market worthwhile. Yes, the King certainly may be an important speculator.

The troubling aspect of this is that these possible speculators, OPEC, appear to have the market in a headlock now that non-OPEC production is flat. It's also a headlock that they can maintain well into the future, baring coercion of some form from those who don't like this policy.

I'm guessing that unless OPEC blinks soon, realizes the risks attached to this policy and raises production, then in fact they are unable to raise production. A.K.A. global oil peak, give or take a few million BPD.

I think it is a mistake to call the OPEC leaders speculators. What's to speculate? They see that oil is worth more going forward.

If England could have a "do-over" for the North Sea... would they sell it for $10? Hell no. They probably feel very stupid right now.

Ask yourself... it is wise to produce maximum oil today? So fools can run Tahoes and F250s around the suburbs...

I agree, there are a number of good reasons to hold back production, and vastly better ways to use oil than driving to the mall because you are bored.

When I called OPEC speculators, I meant it in a narrow way, simply that they think the future value will likely be greater than the present value. All of the analysts who explain high oil prices by blaming "speculators" seem to ignore the biggest player of all, the one that can really shape the market.

OPEC has started to corner the oil market, and they are letting us know it in the form of $117 oil. Or maybe they are simply not able to raise production in a meaningful, sustainable way.

Lady Thatcher got exactly what she wanted from selling the oil right away: she got a lot of quick cash that created the illusion that her Victorian economic theories were valid, and fed the West with cheap oil for that last big push against the Commies. Once the idea that the poor were better off resisting the rich was exterminated in 1990, capitalism was able to return to its natural Spencerian form with no consequences... until now.

Hey Westexas...you keep bringing up the declining imports...is there any good data on this? I have understood this is very difficult to get.

The EIA publishes annual data on net oil exports by country, as does BP, and a couple of people are tracking estimated monthly data. Khebab and I have done a lot of work on net oil exports. For more info, do a Google Search for: Net Oil Exports + Jeffrey Brown, or search the Energy Bulletin, under authors, for Jeffrey Brown.

It was sort of funny to see about three stories linked by leanan in one DB last week: Oil hits new record ($114) Oil sets new high ($115) Oil breaks highest ever ($116). Or something along these lines..

Funny ha ha or funny like "oh shit!"

This accelerated decline of everything from oil to rice to water and even air is rather like the situation of a person who has smoked cigarettes all his life and denied every indication there might be a problem-- "it's my only pleasure in life...." And then has the first of many attacks of acute bronchitis, winds up on a ventilator, and keeps on saying -- "I don't understand. There was never anything wrong with my lungs!"

I see it very frequently. And in 40 years of dealing with this sort of thing, I have never figured out a way to reach the successful "deniers" before the point of collapse.

Same really, with alcohol, or for that matter, any addiction

Let them drown in their own fluids, I say. Certainly don't let health insurance or the government pick up the tab, even though one of them well. In the end, everyone has to pay for their denial of reality, not just them. :(

What got me was seeing these patients with their drips
and bottles (oxygen) outside the hospital smoking.

mcgowanmc -

The human capacity for denial is indeed almost limitless. One of my favorite examples is that of the late John Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas. He developed a serious drug and alcohol problem in the 1970s and eventually had to have a liver transplant sometime during the 1990s.

Well, less than a month after the operation some friends spotted him in a bar getting himself falling-down drunk. They were astounded to see that after this second chance at life, he's back at it again. When they asked him if he was crazy and if he knew what the hell he thought he was doing, he calmly replied, "Of course I know what I'm doing: I'm just breaking in my new liver." He died a few years later.

Kurt Vonnegut was famous for saying "I'm committing suicide by cigarette" when someone asked him what he was doing. Of course, there's also his famous (faux) lawsuit against Pall Mall cigarettes for their failure to kill him (which they promised they would).

In the end he died from a tumble and the resulting head trauma. I don't mean to defend smoking, I think it's disgusting, but not everyone is in denial. It would be nice if they went easy on the healthcare system though.

As another anecdote, my local hospitals began enforcing the 'no smoking within 15m of an entrance' rule, and the parade of wheel chairs, crutches, and IVs across the road to a little grassy knoll is absolutely surreal.

Fortunately most hospitals are now going to a completely smoke free campus.

I often see patients who've been in the hospital for weeks due to an illness. On the day of discharge, I'll walk in and say, "congrats, you're now a former smoker- you haven't had a cigarette in 3 weeks". The first few days are the hardest, and after being sick as snot in the hospital like that, you think they'd be glad to have gotten off of cigarettes. Almost invariably, however, they tell me the first thing they're going to do when they're out of the hospital is light up a cigarette.

Along these same lines, back in the late '80s one of my clients was a cancer treatment hospital in Toronto. Every time I'd pass through the front doors, I had to make my way through a gaggle of doctors and nurses puffing outside on their butts (something right out South Park or The Simpsons). I often wondered why the hospital administrators didn't ask employees to smoke at the rear entrance where they would be mostly hidden from the public.


What got me was seeing these patients with their drips
and bottles (oxygen) outside the hospital smoking.

... or smoking a cigarette through a tracheostomy that was installed because of throat cancer.

Many years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a media-stinal germ cell tumor (have fun researching that) and the proximate cause was apparently my own mother's smoking during her pregnancy with me decades earlier. I beat that cancer, largely because of a doctor with an innovative new therapy plus excellent physical condition and having never smoked myself. But what struck me, as I was a patient at the M.D. Anderson Cancer center, was the number of lung cancer patients who, towing an IV drip bottle on a wheeled stand behind them, would cross the street to light up on the other side. One of the doctors with whom I frequently chatted told me that those were frustrating patients. Cancer therapy even then had advanced to where they had a good chance to save the patient, if the patient cooperated. But these people were smoking themselves right into their own graves.

Having been first hand witness to such utter total denial, I came to realize that homo sapiens truly is not a rational animal but is really a rationalizing animal. The oil cornucopians and the climate change deniers are both in that camp - rationalizing away what is too horrible for them to really contemplate. Unfortunately for homo sapiens, mother nature doesn't give a rat's ass what we think, only what we do. And so far we continue to race down the road to destruction, foot to the accelerator.

Don't let the pushers of these drug factories off by simply blaming the victims of "denial".
Chemical addiction of any sort is no accident and the manufacturers of cigarettes bear at least equal responsibility for enslaving the minds and bodies of millions of teens and pre-teens, the prefered targeted customer.
Visual hypnotic appeal in the slick ads and clever product placement in the MSM are incredibly effective at luring and hooking the young and impressionable, when they're most likely to become hardcore smokers .
If you were able to avoid these skillfully laid traps, just count yourself among the fortunate.

"Let them drown in their own fluids, I say. "

Easier said than done. Try turning off a ventilator with a living person attached to it -- whether or not they have insurance. Prepare to talk to the D.A. very shortly thereafter.

Until recently, cigarettes were heavily discounted at V.A. hospitals, and military "liquor mess" gave incredibly cheap access to the best booze.

One of the reasons that the "free market" doesn't work is that there is no such thing.

When I was a medical student, our local VA allowed us to order beer for the patients. Budweiser was the brand, and up to 3 a day was permissible. This was preferable (and cheaper) than having most the vets going into withdrawal 2 or 3 days after they were admitted.

Smoke a pipe. Nothing but tobacco and you don't inhale, ala 3 dollar Bill.

Ten Obscure Factoids Concerning Albert Einstein

5. He Smoked Like A Chimney

A life member of the Montreal Pipe Smokers Club, Einstein was quoted as saying: "Pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment of human affairs." He once fell into the water during a boating expedition but managed heroically to hold on to his pipe.

When I see someone puffing on a cig I always ask if they're enjoying the taste of burning formaldehyde/gunpowder. Wasn't surprised to see most every character in World Made By Hand depicted as wreathed in clouds of tobacco and pot smoke.

"Try turning off a ventilator with a living person attached to it --"

I have; I'll give lessons in exchange for gasoline.


looking at the link to http://www.upstreamonline.com/market_data/?id=markets_crude, I see that I can buy oil at around $60 a barrel on a one year option. Does this mean I could buy a 1000 barrels now at around $60 a barrel and then sell it in a years time at the market price at that time?
What additional cost's are involved?

It just seems to simple to make money on that bet. What am I missing

Hey hey Speedy,

I believe that $60 is what the price was one year ago, not an option to buy.
Here is the futures chain for WTI.



Thanks for that, I feel rather silly now.
I find a number of people here in Germany are peak oil aware, it's just that they have not thought through the consequences.

I have to admit, these numbers have accelerated faster than I would have imagined. Just under 1 month to Memorial day.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!


The end is nigh! The end is nigh!

Criminy... I wish I were joking...

Best for all to factor this

(Found here.)

into your expectations and planning.


Fatih Birol (IEA) interview in Internationale Politik, April 2008,

please excuse if already known:
http://www.internationalepolitik.de/archiv/jahrgang-2008/april/download/... (PDF ! in German can be translated via freetranslation.com)

My translation:

"F.B: Prices will not immediately rise x-fold but gradually, so some time remains to adapt but longterm it is clear. If oil is finished in 2030, 2040 or 2050 doesn't change a thing.

S: You say that?

F.B: Yes, one day it will definitely come to an end and I think we should leave oil before it leaves us. This should be our motto.
F.B. We sounded the alarm bells in Nov. 2007 and this Nov. with WEO 2008 the bells may well shrill much louder.
... It is up to the governments, we have warned them. "

Sorry, your translation is spot on (I checked).

We sounded the alarm bells in Nov. 2007 and this Nov. with WEO 2008 the bells may well shrill much louder ...

For clarification: WEO 2008 = World Energy Outlook 2008.

Interesting to compare the upcoming WEO 2008 (due November) with WEO 2004 (a copy of which I have before me):

“The average IEA crude oil import price, a proxy for international prices, is assumed in the Reference Scenario to fall back from current highs to $22 in 2006. It is assumed to remain flat until 2010, and then to begin to climb in a more-or-less linear way to $29 in 2030.”

(WEO 2004, page 47)

Always trust the experts.

Thx Sorry and Carolus !

That reminder from 2004 ".... It (oil) is assumed to remain flat until 2010, and then to begin to climb in a more-or-less linear way to $29 in 2030" .... is just a gem.

Afterall IEA is starting to see some faint taggings on the wall, but sounding the alarm they never did ! Mr Fatih Birol is starting to see his reputation going down the drain as "things" are happening too fast for them. Reducing their max production forecasts from 130 mb/d in 2030 to say 90 mb/d max production in 2010 (po)) ..... is too much of a span in only 2-3 years.

I would like to add a claim that OECD countries never got any REAL advices from the IEA ever, because what has happened up until now, would have happened anyway w/wo IEA :-)

regarding panic in 'Scotland and possible union blockades. I think Scotland needs some sort of Iron Lady/Thatcher to crush the unions, like she did with the coal unions. First they should stock up two years worth of oil and then switchover in the meantime to solar/wind like Thatcher govt. did switched over to nat gas.

(sarcanol alert)

I wonder if Conoco's J-Block( being suspended)
is processed thru Grangemouth?

"without providing further details" it would be hard to know.


The J-Block fields (Judy, Jade, Joanne, Janice) feed into the CATS Pipeline which makes land fall at Teeside in the north of England.

Thank you for that info.

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- U.K. oil major BP PLC (BP) said Sunday plant shutdowns at the huge Grangemouth refinery in Scotland ahead of a two-day strike haven't yet impacted the Forties Pipeline System that feeds crude oil into the refinery.

I understand Blackwater is available .... I wish it were

If the tooth and fang soothsayers have it right, and we do tumble into a madmax abyss, I'm going to seize the occasion to hunt down, capture, and, ounce of flesh by ounce of flesh, slowly feed every commentator who ever used the word 'vast' in reference to oil and gas to my pet rat.

That's going to be one big rat.

5'10", 145 lbs; not that big.


Errr, good luck with that. You do realize that what you have expressed here might be seen as a threat?


Be careful, you might upset someone who is not all mentally there.



Between the surburbia desire,this story, and coal plants, it makes you wonder whatever happened to chinese wisdom,eh?


this is a real time site.



This new paradigm of abrupt climate change has been well established over the last decade by research of ocean, earth and atmosphere scientists at many institutions worldwide. But the concept remains little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of scientists, economists, policy makers, and world political and business leaders. Thus, world leaders may be planning for climate scenarios of global warming that are opposite to what might actually occur.1

It is important to clarify that we are not contemplating a situation of either abrupt cooling or global warming. Rather, abrupt regional cooling and gradual global warming can unfold simultaneously. Indeed, greenhouse warming is a destabilizing factor that makes abrupt climate change more probable. A 2002 report by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) said, “available evidence suggests that abrupt climate changes are not only possible but likely in the future, potentially with large impacts on ecosystems and societies.”2

So said Spencer Weart. So say I to all the anti-climate change trolls.


About a week and a half ago, we had record high temps for this time of year here in the SF Bay Area...no wind, stifling temps in the 80s near the coast and low 90s inland. And for the last three days, we've had record cold...the Klondike Express blowing straight down from Alaka, bringing chilly high winds and freeze warnings for farmers. Overnight temps in the high 30s-low 40s. Wacky.

What will be interesting is how all the 'see its getting colder' posters do if the summer is one of the hottest on record.

I get a little tied of the "it was cold yesterday so global warming can't be true" comments. Is the concept really that difficult?!

No, it isn't all that difficult. This is why I give them no slack. To persist in the belief (the use of that word is not an accident) that climate change is not being driven by the acts of mankind requires complete lack of intelligence, a blind eye to reality, or an allegiance to an ideology that won't accept the facts as they run counter to the paradigm being pushed.

If you don't have the intelligence, remember the old saw about opening your mouth and removing all doubt.

If you can't face reality, what difference does it make if climate change is coming or not?

If you are so ideologically driven, you're a damned fool or a scumbag.

If the stakes weren't so high, I'd have patience with #1's, but the stakes are high and any further dithering simply equates to lives and futures lost.


Don't have to remind me of that here in Prince George. Spring made a titillating appearance like a decent movie trailer and then you find out Mario Van Peebles is in the movie. It sucks, really sucks. -11C this morning with beachside balmy high of -1C.

What's your point? Gagosian's article is a good summary of the problem of abrupt climate change thru changes in ocean circulation. But, why show the graphic of the current Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperatures? And why post these along with the article about Iraq?

My observation of a particular indicator suggests that the THC may have partially shutdown in the Greenland Sea this past winter. That might explain the colder than usual conditions in some areas of the U.S. this past winter. My indicator is not good enough to make a solid claim, so I will await the latest measurement data from the pros. Of course, the latest data for March points to a record warm month over the whole of the Earth.

E. Swanson

Hello Black_Dog,
When you wrote
"But, why show the graphic of the current Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperatures? And why post these along with the article about Iraq?"

Perhaps you can think of it like the three blind men trying to identify the elephant based on some part in which they could feel. I hope you found the links informative. Heres another


The interesting feature here is you can go back 5 years to any date. You can also load the entire sequence and view an animated visual of GS velocity. If you or anybody else can find a date that is half as disrupted as the current velocity please share.


I keep reading quotes from various officials saying that "supply is adequate" but "prices are too high". I'm having a hard time fitting this together with what little I know about economics. Is this part of some new economic principle I should be learning about?

Nah, it's a known principle.
Called inelastic demand.

When small changes in demand (currently slightly higher) and supply (currently same or lower) cause huge variations in the price.
i. e. the oil supply machine works just fine, but inelasticity of demand amplifies any tiny ripples into huge waves in the price of oil.


Hello TODers,

Recall my posting yesterday on pyrites & sulfide mining:

FMI plans to build sulphur burner near Safford

The sulphur burner, which will have a closed vessel, will also produce electricity that will be used for mining operations.

“The emissions will be tightly controlled by our operating permit,” Peterson said. “It’s anticipated all the acid will be used in Safford.”

First Uranium to build acid plant to secure future supply of sulphuric acid for its uranium plants at reduced costs

To view Sulphur Spot Price Comparison Graph please visit:

"...We are in a fortunate position to have access to pyrite...Consistent and reasonably priced acid supply is a fundamental requirement for our operations and the decision to build an acid plant will not only secure supply and protect us from rampant acid price inflation, it will also assist with future power requirements"..
As FFs-deplete: the extracted sulphur will deplete. Thus, is it possible that eventually Fools' Gold [pyrite] will be more valuable than real gold because the sulphur creates electricity, is vital for I-NPK, and is used in many other chem-processes?

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

Heh, it would be great if someone could figure out a use for pyrite. But I'm guessing producing sulfuric acid is great for a local use but won't withstand a larger-scale production. From the article you linked to yesterday: "There has never been a sulfide mine anywhere in the world that has not released a toxic brew and contaminated everything it comes into contact with." Here's some data from Pennsylvania on what happens to fish when there's coal burning (which has pyrite in it).

Pyrite constitutes the bulk of reduced sulfur in the crust, which is generally held responsible for about 20% of atmospheric oxygen (carbon is responsible for the rest). So if you like your air to be 20.9% O2 you've got a use for it. Much more useful than true gold, which just sits there looking shiny.

The caveat is that pyrite can only do this if you leave it buried in the ground or otherwise sequestered away from oxygen.

My father was a mining engineer employed by Freeport Sulphur mining sulphur down on the delta of the Mississippi River in the late 30's and early 40's.
Drill down into the sulphur deposits off shore and put a pipe within a pipe down the well. Pump hot water down the outside pipe and the hot water melts the sulphur and the molten sulphur and hot water come up the inside pipe. Pipe the molten sulphur/hot water onto shore to 1 block square forms where the water evaporates and the sulphur solidifies. When the sulphur block reaches a couple stories high you use large steam shovels to break the blocks apart and load into train cars to ship to the end user.
Production is still continuing today. There is probably still lots of sulphur down there that can be mined if needed?



I thought those interested in sulphur might find this interesting.

This appeared in yesterday's New York Times. It provides good indication of how it will be much easier than you might think to chop America's oil usage by 1/3. Reminds me of Stuart's article from a little over a year ago.

I'd trim the following down, but it's a single graphic.

So what? this just substitutes diesel for gasoline.

As for driving less, no one is going to do that voluntarily.
More realistically, look at how much the price of gas has to go up to drop demand by 25%.
Katrina did what, 1-2% temporary dent in demand?
IMO we are looking at $7-8/gallon prices and constantly increasing to achieve the 25% effect and maintain it.

>> IMO we are looking at $7-8/gallon prices and constantly increasing to achieve the 25% effect and maintain it.

Actually, no. Take a look at gasoline consumption in the early 80's, late 70's. Prices rose to exorbitant levels. Consumption did not fall. (Sound familiar?) Then it fell like a rock!!! (12% in just a couple of years).

However, by then oil prices were falling and Reagan was in power. So, consumption stopped falling.

Here is a glance at the IEA's revisions of global demand over just the last few months. High prices work!

High prices work!

I agree, and it's called demand destruction, or forced energy conservation. Our middle case is that around 2017 it would take all of the net exports from the top five net oil exporters to meet 2007 US petroleum import demand.

Actually, in the case of Americans it's most often not forced. Americans generally are free to cut back on other things in order to buy $5 gas. However, a great number will choose to cut back on gas. With some, however, it is forced through job loss etc.

In Canada, our total energy consumption (all forms together) has fallen over the past 2 years while the economy has grown.

In popular parlance, one might say I was forced to select a smaller engine when buying the model of car I chose (which many are doing). But, in reality, there was no force. Incomes have risen in Canada. What happened was that people go tired of spending money on energy that they would prefer to spend elsewhere.

Hello G. Asebius,

Your quote: "What happened was that people go tired of spending money on energy that they would prefer to spend elsewhere."

Thxs for the chart. Since people are driving less: I hope they are spending their money on bicycles, wheelbarrows, I-NPK & seeds, garden tools, and O-NPK composters.

Does this link prove it? I have no idea, perhaps one of the much-admired TOD data-freaks could investigate this statistically for posting.

Garden trends reflect our life and times

As our lives become more rushed and stressful we seek peace and tranquility in our lives, and our gardens - as well as our homes - become sanctuaries.

It is no wonder that gardening is the fastest growing hobby in America.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

WT 'High Prices Work' "forced energy conservation"

If it gets expensive enough even Bubba might park that F-250 but that doesn't mean he's going to go along peacefully. There was a link yesterday to an aritcle based on the book by Orlov detailing the collapse of American Society.

"Orlov points out :"...because we are so identified with owning a car as part of this American middle class identity we will be hard put to let it go. And when we are forced to (due to diminishing and increasingly expensive gasoline supplies) so will go the myth of the middle class."

Orlov's reasoning is that the only common denominator in American middle-class society is owning and driving a car. If that car is taken away from him even by demand destruction then the myth of the American middle class goes with it. Americans by and large, never knowing a time without cheap and abundant energy, might be inclined to revolt rather than accept being disenfranchised.

Maybe Obama's right: "...bitter Americans will turn to guns and reliegion".

From what I've read the big drop-off was related to the fact that electric plants switched from oil to other energy sources (gas, coal I presume). This is certainly an interesting historical fact, but it certainly can't happen again (there is not much if any of oil fired power plants in US). Driving less is highly unlikely (unless oil prices will keep on going up and up) either as in most cases it will have direct impact on quality of life. Switch to diesel and less SUVs are possible but over long period of time (it could take 10 years for SUVs and maybe 20+ for switch to diesel). In any case any reasonable decrease in oil consumption (if any, after all US population is increasing) will be more then compensated by even larger demand from rapidly growing countries.

From what I've read the big drop-off was related to the fact that electric plants switched from oil to other energy sources (gas, coal I presume).

But I'm talking gasoline here, not oil. Gasoline use dropped substantially in the early 80's, too.

The drop in oil was 20%. Gasoline use dropped 12%. From the data I've seen the difference is that the oil drop was over more than 4 years, but the gasoline drop was restricted to the first 2 of those years. Once gas prices began to fall, conservation stopped. Conservation in general oil consumption continued for a few years even as oil prices fell.

The idea that the price of gas price doesn't have a substantial effect on American consumption is a myth. It doesn't until it does. And then it really does. (As long as prices stay elevated).

In any case any reasonable decrease in oil consumption (if any, after all US population is increasing) will be more then compensated by even larger demand from rapidly growing countries.

Demand depends on price (among other things). Over the last few months the IEA has been reducing their demand growth projections (see diagram above).

There is a price that stops world demand growth completely.

What is it? I'd guess something like $150 oil.

Much above that and IMO there is a very decent chance the entire globe begins to curb consumption in absolute terms even though some countries are still increasing.

The short-term elasticity of demand for gasoline is known to be very small. But there's also work on the long-term elasticity which suggests a value around -0.5. A ten percent price rise results in five percent less demand, or a quadrupling of price cuts demand by half (the formula is log/log, but the linear approximation is good enough for small deviations). About 40% of this is from reduced vehicle ownership, 40% from beter mpg, 20% from fewer miles/vehicle.

Note that total sales of cars are down slightly, light trucks/SUVs are down substantially, hybrids and subcompacts are up.



Re: Vaclav Smil

Interesting.... See below, two examples of his prior comments re Peak Oil.

Perhaps we are witnessing a Pauline moment?


Vaclav Smil, TCS Daily
Peter Odell, one of the most astute, life-long observers of global oil scene, calls them "peak-oilers." Some of them were quite unhappy when I pointed out (in Energy at the Crossroads, in these pages, and in Worldwatch in January 2006) their propensity for wholesaling catastrophic scenarios of the world once the global oil production peaks and begins to decline. But how else can one label such writings as Richard C. Duncan's "Olduvai theory" according to which the declining oil extraction will plunge humanity into life comparable to that experienced by some of the first primitive hominids who inhabited that famous Kenyan gorge some 2.5 million years ago?

And no one else can be blamed for the repeated failure of their forecasts but the prominent peak-oilers themselves. According to Colin Campbell the global oil extraction was to peak in 1989; Ivanhoe's peak was in 2000; Deffeyes set it first in 2003 and then, with ridiculous accuracy, on the Thanksgiving of 2005.

Well, the numbers for 2006 are in. And they show that even after OPEC once again cut its production (by 1.2 million barrels a day effective November 1, 2006) in order to arrest yet another rapid fall in prices, the global oil supply for the entire year rose once again, by about 0.85 million barrels a day.

Vaclav Smil (website home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~vsmil) lectures at the University of Manitoba in Canada. His latest published books are Transforming the 20th Century: Technical Innovations and Their Consequences and Energy: A Beginner's Guide. Energy in Nature and Society will appear later this year.
(23 Feb 2007)
Some familiar objections to peak oil. When are we going to get that Wiki up with the answers to the skeptics in a codified form? How nice it would be to be able to respond to Vaclav Smil's article with a series of links: "#7b Confusion about the symmetrical production curve", "#25 Strawman of an imminent collapse," etc. -BA


Peak Oil: A Catastrophist Cult And Complex Realities
by Vaclav Smil on December 15, 2005
University of Manitoba
Proponents of the imminent peak of global oil extraction—led by Colin Campbell, Jean Laherrère, L.F. Ivanhoe, Richard Duncan, and Kenneth Deffeyes—resort to deliberately alarmist arguments as they mix incontestable facts with caricatures of complex realities and as they ignore anything that does not fit their preconceived conclusions in order to issue their obituaries of modern civilization. Ivanhoe sees an early end of the oil era as “the inevitable doomsday” followed by “economic implosion” that will make “many of the world’s developed societies look more like today’s Russia than the U.S.” Duncan’s future brings massive unemployment, breadlines, homelessness, and a catastrophic end of industrial civilization.
These conclusions are based on interpretations that lack any nuanced understanding of the human quest for energy, disregard the role of prices, ignore any historical perspectives, and presuppose the end of human inventiveness and adaptability. I will raise just three key points aimed at dismantling the foundations of…

hey ho....

And no one else can be blamed for the repeated failure of their forecasts but the prominent peak-oilers themselves. According to Colin Campbell the global oil extraction was to peak in 1989; Ivanhoe's peak was in 2000; Deffeyes set it first in 2003 and then, with ridiculous accuracy, on the Thanksgiving of 2005.

For starters Deffeyes stated that the mathematically smooth Hubbert curve would peak Thanksgiving day.

Although it is a bit silly, we can now pick a day to celebrate passing the top of the mathematically smooth Hubbert curve: Nov 24, 2005. It falls right smack dab on top of Thanksgiving Day 2005. http://www.princeton.edu/hubbert/current-events-04-01.html

And as far as I am concerned he hit if pretty close. 2005 is still the highest yearly average and the top of the mathematically smooth Hubbert curve might just be November of 2005. But that is not my complaint. Where did he make the 2003 prediction?

Before you make such claims Mudlogger, before you start running off at the mouth about people's missed predictions, you need to state your source!

Please post the URL where Campbell said oil would peak in 1989.
Please post the URL where Ivenhoe said oil would peak in 2000.
And by all means please post the URL where Deffeyes said oil would peak in 2003. One should not make such claims without the data to back them up. Otherwise people will just think you are pulling this stuff right out of your ass.

Ron Patteson


I think that he was quoting Vaclav Smil--to show the contrast between the NYT quote and his prior statements.

My apologies if that is the case. But I just scan most posts, far too many to read them all. Not seeing any indication that this was a quote, I just naturally assumed the author of the post had written it.

There are three ways to show you are quoting,


which I always use, italics or just old fashion "quotation marks".

Again, sorry if I have misread you Mudlogger, but please make it a little clearer when you are quoting someone.

Ron Patterson

Ron, no offence taken.

....how the hell do you do the block quotes anyway?


Use the blockquote tag.

quoted text here

Please remember to include the slash in the second tag, or things get screwy. Preview is your friend!

....how the hell do you do the block quotes anyway?

The HTML tags are listed right below the the box you key your response in.

Each end in a / included

< * blockquote * > starts it < * /blockquote * > ends it

same with the others. Use preview to play


read the post!

I am re-quoting the rather snide remarks of Vaclav Smil .

He was (maybe still is) anti-peakist.

I am wondering if Smil is not trying to back-peddle his way out of his previous positions.

I scan a lot of posts too, but it is usually best to read those you intend replying to fairly carefully, as that gives them the respect one hopes will also be accorded to one's own response - casual reading surely precludes the possibility of having given due weight to the arguments one seeks to address.

Hello TODers,

Recall that I earlier labeled sulphur, potash, and phosphate as strategic postPeak biosolar mission-critical resources:

Role of Potash as strategic resource could push China to make acquisitions
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

Hello TODers,

Some 'wild & crazy' strategic speculation ahead!

Recall that potash hit a [inflation-adjusted] $14,500/ton in 1914 until the discovery of a potash deposit in New Mexico. How ironic would it be if this upcoming IPO was entirely bought by foreign Sovereign Wealth Funds [SWFs]:

IPO Spotlight: Intrepid Potash seen as hot commodity

NEW YORK (AP) -- With demand for potash reaching unprecedented levels, fertilizer maker Intrepid Potash is likely to prove it is in the right place at the right time when its shares begin trading this week.

Another factor working in Intrepid's favor is its location, analysts said. The U.S. currently imports the majority of its potash from Canada and Russia. The company currently owns five active potash production facilities in New Mexico and Utah.
This IPO could be an interesting test of which countries have the highest levels of Peak Outreach and the deep understanding of postPeak biosolar mission-criticality.

Recall the huge outcry when China wanted to buy Unocal a few years ago, then mentally extrapolate:

Will the US Security & Exchange Commission [SEC] stop the selling of this IPO if SWFs are buying up all the shares of stock and American investors are not? Will the SEC instantly declare these mines as strategic resources essential for national security, then nationalize them?

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

The Treasury Department proposed new rules on foreign investment in the U.S. on Monday that a Bush administration official said will safeguard U.S. national security and keep the country open to foreign businesses.

Amid strong farm economy, some dire signs

DES MOINES, Iowa - At a time of record agricultural profits, concerns are mounting that American farmers could be edging toward a financial crisis not seen since the 1980s farm-economy collapse.

Soaring land values, increasing debt and a reliance on government subsidies for ethanol production have prompted economists to warn that what some describe as a golden age of agriculture could come to a sudden end.

The article might be true if there is no Peak Oil. Everyone complains about corn prices rising so much. My response: compared to what?

I checked NPK prices last week at the local elevator: N (urea) up 45% from last year, P and K up 245% from last year. Corn is up maybe 50%. Still a bushel of cash corn at about $5.65 and will not buy 2 gallons of gas at the local price of $3.39. It will buy just over a gallon of diesel at the local price of $4.19.

In inflationary times like this, it is those who borrow who get ahead. In the fall of 2006 I watched a nearby piece of land sell at auction. The bidders mostly hemmed and hawed.

But one smart alic couple met every bid with an increase. They finally got the land for $2750/acre. Today a short year and a half later the same land probably would sell for $4000/acre or more.

Relatives of mine bought a lot of land during the 1970's and did quite well as prices went up rapidly. Today they have several thousand acres built up using lots of debt. Greed and lust for land were behind the decline in rural Iowa population over the last 50 years.

As far as ethanol subsidies go, the 51 cent blender's credit was established at much lower ethanol and gasoline prices. As these prices increase, the 51 cent subsidy gets smaller and smaller percentage wise. It is not approaching insignificance like the Federal 18 cent gas tax yet, but it is getting there. Already ethanol can be imported profitably into places like Florida even after paying the 54 cent ethanol import tax. Ethanol is produced that cheaply in Brazil.

If farm state representative can get some oil subsidies eliminated at the same time, they should cave on ethanol to placate the opposition. Peak Oil will quickly make up the lost ethanol subsidy.

Anti ethanol critics will immediately take on another talking point. But the subsidy one would be dead.

I suspect it will be the blenders who will object because they get a lot of the benefit. Their taxes will increase. To compensate they will raise the price of gasoline to stations and the public will end up paying more. So what else is new?

The Pemex report is out giving Mexican production numbers for March.

All liquids are down 83,000 barrels per day from February and C+C is down 82,000 bp/d. However their exports were up 197,000 bp/d. I don't know how they pulled that one off. They must have been exporting from storage.

Ron Patterson

Ron, if you look at Volume of Domestic Sales of Refined Petroleum Products and Natural Gas you will see declining domestic consumption too. Because of the economic crisis, domestic consumption in Mexico dropped 72,000 barrels per day from February to March. That certainly softened the production decline. There may be other domestic data numbers we are not fully seeing that also partially contribute to exports. I suspect that you are correct that at least part of that export increease came from storage, but I also wonder if part of that came out of former domestic consumption totals.

To Jeffrey - Mexico may show us some of the practical limitations of ELM, especially in economies under potentially severe economic strain as well. I find ELM to be an excellent working model but like any such model, there will be deviations in reality from the predicted results.

Of course there are always some outliers, and Mexico was the only top 10 net oil exporter to show a decline in consumption from 2005 to 2006; however, consider the ELM:

If we assume a peak production rate of 2 mbpd, consumption of one mbpd, a -5%/year production decline rate and a +2.5%/year rate of increase in consumption, Export Land goes to zero net oil exports in 9 years. With a zero rate of increase in consumption, they would go to zero net oil exports in 14 years.

France, Japan, Germany and Spain should be out hustling the oil exporters (China already is working with Iran) to sell Urban Rail and electrified (or even diesel) railroads. Pitch - Preserve oil for exports and prepare for the day when oil depletes.

Besides Iran, Dubai, Kazakhstan, and Venezuela have strong programs and Saudi is working on a couple of railroads.

Unfortunately, the USA has little to sell except diesel locomotives.


I´d charge the fall in internal sales in March en Mexico just to the fact that "Semana Santa" (a catholic holiday) was this year in March, last year was in April (check the fall in consupmtion in 2007 fron March to April)

The Pemex March 08 numbers revealed a crude oil production decline of 335,000 b/d from March 07.

Delta-Northwest and the case for Passenger Rail revival.

From the (es)steemed Mr. Kunstler in and around Minneapolis this time.

In other words, this region of the country has next-to-zero railroad service. Can we pause a moment here to ask: exactly how far does America have its head up its ass? Do you get the picture? Can you connect the dots? The airline industry is dying and absolutely no thought is being given to how people will get around this big country -- except to make the stupid assumption that we can just drive our cars instead. Even during the several days I was around Minneapolis, no news media or politician raised the subject of reviving passenger railroad service.

In point of fact, these are exactly the kind of trips that would be better served by rail, anyway -- the towns that are less than five hundred miles apart. The travel time between trains and planes would be comparable, considering the two hours or so that you have to add to every airplane trip because of all the security crap, not to mention the delays. As a matter of fact, USA today ran a front page story two days after the Delta / Northwest announcement saying "Air Trips Slowest [now than] in Past 20 Years." Subhead: "Trend likely to persist as congestion worsens."


Hello TODers,

Is a new postPeak biosolar mission-critical trend developing where gold-mining companies would rather mine potash and phosphate?

Lateegra Announces Phosphate Acquisition

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwire - April 21, 2008) - Lateegra Gold Corp. (the "Company") (TSX-V: LRG) (FRANKFURT: LTG) is pleased to announce the acquisition of a 100% interest in the "Fernie" claims, consisting of 117 claims encompassing 56,000 hectares in the Fernie Formation Phosphate Belt, located near Fernie, British Columbia. The Fernie claims encompass two important potential deposit areas known as the Line Creek and Barnes Lake areas.
Recall my earlier posting where I suggested Ft. Knox would store I-NPK inside, and the gold bricks would be stacked outside to make protective machine-gun bunkers for the soldiers.

When do we start building my speculative 'Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK'?

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

LTG surged over 12% today in Germany.

I stick with Minemakers, Australia. That stock has been suggested by you in January. Since then it skyrocket by roughly 500%.

Wait until they come up against our BC eco-nazis, exploiting these mines won't be so easy. Fernie has plans to be a golf and ski resort town and don't want unsightly developments (you might see the irony in this).

I'm not for ruining the environment, but these objectors and protesters live in a fairy tale. They think these problems can be solved by sprinkling pixie dust and then we can all just fly around for transport. And they never want to grow up.

"Thermodynamics doesn't give a damn what you think." - me

So according to the IEA, the price of oil is a complete mystery? How can the price of a commodity be a mystery? Wouldn't that mean all commodities are at prices that aren't determined by market forces? I thought supply and demand were the driving forces behind the price for everything from eggs to oil (econ. 101).

At the same time I thought TOD saw this oil price reality as a plateau of crude production coupled with rising demand from China and India.

So is it a mystery or a reality?

Here's an article supporting McCartney's vegetarian call:
Food miles don't feed climate change - meat does

That locally-produced, free-range, organic hamburger might not be as green as you think.

An analysis of the environmental toll of food production concludes that transportation is a mere drop in the carbon bucket. Foods such as beef and dairy make a far deeper impression on a consumer's carbon footprint.


And here's an article about smog and global warming.
Clearing smog reveals true extent of global warming

As the smog of pollution has cleared from the skies, a true measurement of global warming can finally be made. No, it's not good news.

The cleaner, clearer skies mean measurements of warming temperatures are not confused by smog. So the current measurements of a 0.04 °C warming per year can be taken as the true signal of man-made global warming.

Interesting indeed: 0.04 C warming per year!

That's shocking!!

Indeed, that would mean that in 100 years southern Canada will have the climate of the Texas of today as they are about 4C apart. In Europe, Switzerland will have the climate of Libya.

Global dimming is a well-known issue to climate scientists and has been documented. For Asia particularly, dimming has been so extensive that if we cleaned up Asia's atmosphere, we'd see several degrees increase in temperatures.

Further, the conclusions of the study are not consistent with the climate variations seen by Ohio State University when they conducted their study of reductions in dimming in 2001 in the "no fly" period right after 9/11. The Ohio State work suggests that even for the US where dimming is under 10% and for Europe where dimming is about 16% that significant temperature rises can still occur if further particulates cease to enter the atmosphere.

So as long as we increase the ash coming out of coal fired power plants along with the C02 and the ash from other combustion process in general, we can keep global warming in check. As Homer Simpson would say "WooHoo! Problem solved." :) Sad thing is you know someone will really propose this as a solution. Witness the end of 2.5 Million (6000 for you true believers out there) years of big brained hominid evolution (design), we have turned the entire planet into one giant hole in the ground.

So as long as we increase the ash coming out of coal fired power plants along with the C02 and the ash from other combustion process in general, we can keep global warming in check. As Homer Simpson would say "WooHoo! Problem solved." :) Sad thing is you know someone will really propose this as a solution. Witness the end of 2.5 Million (6000 for you true believers out there) years of big brained hominid evolution (design), we have turned the entire planet into one giant hole in the ground.

You forgot "(rapture or apocalypse)" at the end ;-)

So as long as we increase the ash coming out of coal fired power plants along with the C02 and the ash from other combustion process in general, we can keep global warming in check. As Homer Simpson would say "WooHoo! Problem solved." :) Sad thing is you know someone will really propose this as a solution.

Ya think? As if on cue, here's one of the responses posted to that original New Scientist article:

If we start limiting carbon emmisions [sic] and start cleaning up we will excellerate [sic] global warming. So all these wackos trying to "clean things up" in the name up global warming will cause massive global warming.

In the future here on Mondays, I'm going to defend an unpopular position that I believe is warranted by recent data.

I think that at least 2/3 of peak oil mitigation for the US and Canada can be handled well by market forces. Increased government intervention may be needed for the rest in some scenarios.

Recently on the supply side, high prices are providing incentive for new, larger, supplies of "all liquids". Even crude and condensate is rising and thus Deffeyes's peak is on life support.

On the demand side, well.... there is plenty of evidence of falling demand in the OECD including the United States and Canada.

RE: Net exports. I keep hoping that a real economist will show up and explain how this is likely to fade as an issue. You guys are very good at attacking straw economists but I don't think you know the real thing.

For instance: my first year econ text (mid-80's) actually uses the phrase "our addiction to petroleum". In another place it states flatly that the exhaustion of natural resources is a real possibility. Even better, it talks about resources being ruined by contamination. Nowhere is infinite growth offered as a real possibility.

Neoclassical economics hasn't changed since then. Although it's likely that some economists believe in infinite growth, I'm having trouble finding it .... even in the textbooks of the last few years. For instance, I can't find it in Mankiw's very popular text.

It sucks, but I'm not an economist. My puny credentials: I'm a half course short of a minor in economics. And it's rusty. But, unfortunately, it seems that I'm all you got. And you guys are in desperate need! ;-) (Remember those 'alligator' diagrams -- I guess he's getting lock jaw)

Next Monday: NET EXPORTS - Why you don't need to worry much.

To give Jeffrey fair warning: my strategy will be to briefly explain why in theory they shouldn't be a huge problem, long term. And then to show that in practice, very powerful economic pressures are building to limit the rate of decline.

See you next week!

[If you are a real economist, feel free to step in at any time]

There is no doubt that high energy prices incentivize energy conservation and efficient energy use. Period. There is no doubt in my mind that the key to competitive advantage for an industrial nation in the post peak oil world is the ability to conserve energy and use if efficiently.

NPR ran an interesting report this morning about the length of commuting times and its relation to the housing downturn. The price of suburban housing on public transportation lines and close to jobs is holding up much better than far-outer-edge-of-suburbia housing. This is the clearest indication possible of the connection between oil prices and the housing downturn.

The point is, even the housing market can adjust to a dramatically altered energy landscape. We aren't doomed by the existence of suburbia. We simply undo it. Reurbanize. It will be painful and recessionary, but it will happen.

The point is, even the housing market can adjust to a dramatically altered energy landscape. We aren't doomed by the existence of suburbia. We simply undo it. Reurbanize. It will be painful and recessionary, but it will happen.

It does take an energy source to "reurbanize." Since the preferred source appears to be at or near peak and will likely only become more expensive, perhaps you would like to suggest what new cheap energy source will allow for this reurbanization? I would agree that a certain amount of return to urban areas will occur, but you make it sound as though once we reurbanize we'll be all set to return to "normal life."

I also heard the NPR story this morning and found it interesting until the very end. In typical msm fashion their assumption was that this is just a business cycle problem, that soon the housing slump will turn around and we'll begin to work toward sprawl again. Perhaps you are making a similar, if less optimistic, assumption?

You always get replies like this whenever there is a suggestion that people live in something besides a suburban environment, and it might be OK. Suburbia really is "non-negotiable" within the American psyche. We can't leave Suburbia...it's IMPOSSSSIBBBBBLLLLLEEEE!!!! Never mind that whatever "urbanization" America had was built before the age of automobiles. People built cities in 2000 BC, for goodness' sake. With their bare hands!

It's a funny quirk that you'll notice if you pay attention to the replies here at TOD.

I think people resist the idea because implicit in it is a lower standard of living. Probably much lower. That's what we Americans can't wrap our brains around.

Yes, it would take a hell of a lot of energy to build enough infrastructure to let us re-create our suburban lives in the city or near rail lines or other public transportation.

It would not take so much energy to move in with mom and dad and grandma and grandpa and cousin Joe. Indeed, in other countries, having 15 people in a one-bedroom apartment is not unusual. We have laws against that kind of thing in the US. But it doesn't take much energy to change or ignore laws.

Of course, as Sharon Astyk noted, many of us would prefer almost any horror to the "brother in law on the couch version of the apocalypse."

Didn't urbanization proceed during the industrial revolution because of productivity increases in farming (much of which was due to oil-driven mechanization)? As oil gets scarce, I would think farming productivity would fall, leading to de-urbanization. I think a more likely transition would be to take the people living in the suburbs (or at least the exurbs) and put them to work in the fields growing food for the people left behind in the cities. If we all pack into our cities, we risk becomong modern-day versions of Rome, in which large numbers of grain ships from north Africa were required to feed a huge, largely unemployed population.

I'm concerned that if collapse happens quickly, the cities will become death traps if the food stops showing up at the grocery store or the corner bodega. How many people can walk from a major city and find food? And how long will it take for fleeing urbanites to strip the nearby fields like locusts?

It seems to me that moving to the city is something of an "all-in" bet on a particular collapse scenario. I don't feel confident enough in the future to make that bet.

I live in the very antithesis of a city. I live in deepest, Reddest, Exurbia.

You can't grow anything here. (Except filaree, that stuff grows like crazy, I wonder what can be done with it?) No crops, no water except at the bottom of deep wells, brought up with electric pumps. Everything is brought in from outside. Everything is a minimum of 20 miles away, and a lot of people commute to Phoenix, more than 100 miles away, for work.

The percentage of homeless in the population is higher than it is in San Francisco. Everyone has acres of land (except for the homeless lol) and nothing grows on it. Nothing is produced on it. Birds come around because we feed them seed bought at Wal-Mart.

In a collapse, this area is going to be well and truly fucked. Humans will go the way of the Anasazi. You can't walk out of here, or even bicycle out of here, to the verdant other side of the Sierras, without the modern network of convenience stores and truck stops, at the very least to refill your water jugs.

Meanwhile, in the SF Bay Area, stuff grows. On its own. While the population density is high, there are large "green" zones as well as all the little lawns and side-yards of this closely-built, bicycleable suburbia and "city". Asian/Mexican/Indian type small intensive farming would work well in the SF Bay Area. Tear down the abandoned "see through" buildings and depave, and you'd really have something. And the area has lots of Indians, Asians, and Mexicans, folks who at least in recent memory knew how to farm on small plots. Also with a diverse population like this you get a diversity of foods, and a wider range of what's considered acceptable food.

The crash is going to suck no matter where you are. But a "metro" area that's been around a while, has some history, will have a history of having producing its own food and some hope of doing that again. And as many authors have noted who've been through collapses, food and water is often available in the cities when it's not in the countryside.

to the verdant other side of the Sierras,

Without the massive inputs of water from the Colorado and Northern Cal, the "verdant" locales due west of you are... semi-arid, near-desert.


It was coal (industrially and in trains), not oil, horse drawn farm tools and water commerce that supported the primary wave of industrialization and urbanization. Like at US cities in 1910. Oil was a minor source of energy then.

I am 2.5 miles from where the nearest frozen chicken processor (for export @ port) will be relocated, and about 16 miles from the nearest grain elevator. Sugar refinery (hard to live on that alone) 4 miles or so. Likewise coffee processing, bananas, mayonnaise, hot sauce, etc. if the city is not flooded.

Crabs and crawfish can be had in some quantity within long walking distance, sugar cane is a pest, no one fishes the Mississippi (because the fish taste "muddy") but the fish are there. Rice fields are a day or two walk away (those that tried to walk out of New Orleans were chased back by police gunfire, so that can be an issue).

If local government can stay organized and larger gov't does not take over, food can be found and distributed.


Sugar refinery (hard to live on that alone) 4 miles or so.

I was a stone's throw from you over the weekend. Just came back from Lafayette this morning. Had quite a bit of crawfish, lot of good Southern hospitality, and even had a sample of home made moonshine.

Some potentially interesting opportunities down there. We will have to hook up the next time I come down.

Cities have been around a lot longer than the industrial revolution, and I expect they will persist for as long as you or I have to be concerned about it.

If we all pack into our cities, we risk becomong modern-day versions of Rome, in which large numbers of grain ships from north Africa were required to feed a huge, largely unemployed population.

I think that's probably a good guess. Judging from the past, people cluster closer to the cities as collapse nears. Because that's where the government still offers services, where food is still available, where there is safety in numbers.

You can see hints of it already. It's the rural areas at the end of the pipelines that are experiencing shortages. There are "food deserts" in rural areas where the only food stores are gas station convenience stores. And the people there no longer farm; they either have to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest Wal-Mart, or live off Slim Jims and potato chips.

In the long run, we might go back to a societal structure where 99% of us are farmers, but I don't think it will happen right away. As Stuart noted, agriculture doesn't take that much oil, and will likely be a priority for any government that hopes to stay in power.

People tend to gyrate between two scenarios:

1) I'm an independent farmer living on my land (suburban fantasy).


2) I'm an independent farmer living on my land, keeping the hungry hordes away with a shotgun. (doomer fantasy)


Very briefly. It is not a question of 'straw men' -- it is about what most economist-pundits write in the quality press, in op-eds and comments and glosses, stuff we read day in and day out. Forget the textbooks. Economists may indeed at some level of abstraction agree that infinite growth is an impossibility, but in the real existing short-term and medium-term world we live in (so to speak) it is still the same old neoclassical, perpetual-motion story that is being rammed down the throats of the general public.

Where are the straw men at the Wall Street Journal?

More later (perhaps) ....

And there were people who thought that the Titanic was unsinkable. Some of them learned otherwise as they were drowning, or dying from hypothermia.

Similarly Heading Out has used the metaphor of an Oil Tanker on the rocks.

Quite frankly, I don't think our society is strictly speaking that much like a big machine with a captain at the helm. In some key ways, it's more like a supra-organism that isn't centrally controlled. For instance: it has a vast nervous system that gathers and processes information via means that aren't machine-like. Often when it suffers a shock it reacts as though stung. It adjusts and carries on, whereas a machine might simply grind to a halt. It has the capacity to become leaner without anybody ordering it to do that.

People see market economics as a recipe for runaway growth. But I think it can also make our society more like a creature that is responsive to it's environment (in good times and bad).

Global warming may require centralized control in order to force adaptation to a situation that the parts can't detect.

Resource depletion is something different. As scarcity is detected and the information flows along the nerves via prices, much successful adjustment can occur without the captain directing.

Do we really need George Bush to tell us how to adapt to $5, $10 gasoline? To a large extent, we are each going to figure out our unique situation in our own way. And I think most of us are going to do ok.

It would be better, of course, if the government did it's part too!

the government did it's part too!


Military units pay an average of $3.23 a gallon for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, some $88 a day per service member in Iraq

It sucks, but I'm not an economist. My puny credentials: I'm a half course short of a minor in economics. And it's rusty. But, unfortunately, it seems that I'm all you got. And you guys are in desperate need!"

What can an economist add to the discussion of Peak Oil? There are many qualified engineers and geologists who post here. They do real work, unlike economists. They have "dug in the dirt", unlike economists. Last time I checked, Mankiw and Kudlow missed the current recession, or else they still deny we are in one.

Whether we are in a recession or not, like it or not, the term "recession" is defined - kind of like "earth" is a defined term. So, if you reject the definition, maybe we are in a recession as defined by you. But, the standard is 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth. And, until that is published as a fact, who knows.


Don't forget that GDP is also defined. Real GDP is nominal GDP adjusted for price increases. These price increases are defined too-mostly lower than reality.


The incentive for the government to report CPI a little lower than reality using these tools is huge. Government is our biggest employer. Raises for governmental workers and cost of living adjustments for social security and government pensions are tied to the CPI. If the government can understate price increases just a percent or two per year over the course of many years the savings are immense.

A nice side benefit is that it makes the GDP look better too. Now, lets just say CPI is generally understated by 1.5% a quarter (who knows how much it really is) using hedonics and substitution. Well, then 4th quarter GDP was actually -0.9 instead of 0.6 and I'm pretty confident Q1 2008 isn't going to come in over 1.5%. So, by my definition, its pretty clear we are in a recession.

Thanks for writing this. I think there is a "strawman" economist in some commentors writings.

Certainly we will see demand destruction as oil becomes more precious; Americans choosing option B (lower energy activity) over option A in their daily activities, etc. Last year I was harping on the US population statistics, as even though the aggregate US gasoline use did grow here and there, on a per capita basis one could see negative growth in some periods.

The political problem though transcends economics, in that the expression of angst will force government (to at least look like) to attempt more.

The Pemex report today gives evidence of why exports will fall faster than production for crude oil producers. In two years exports to the US have fallen 518,000 b/d from 2006 to 2008. Yet Pemex's revenue has risen. It is the same all over the world, if you care to look at the numbers. Mexico's consumption has increased over that same time period. It is the same for producers all over the world, if you care to look at the numbers. The growth in China and India will not be stopped by higher oil prices because the governments will subsidize the commodity if they can. Producers know that there are no big surprises in oil discoveries coming on line. They know of the decline of existing fields like Norway, the North Sea and the UK. All producers know that the cost of new discovery goes up over 10% a year and the expense of getting oil to market is escalating for IOC's and sovereign producers alike. Oil is not a widget, and economists like Jeffery Rubin get it, but most are brainwashed by widget analysis so that a finite resource problem will not be ever acknowledged until long after the fact, as occurred in the US in the 1970's. In fact, because of the focus of economic graduate schools, most economists forget the first rule of economic study, that economics is the study of reality. Steven Levitt is an exception to the rule.

I don't claim to be a real economist but I do have a degree in it and everything I knew back in the 70s about resource depletion and even global warming was gathered from economics course in the early 70s. But then, perhaps, the school I attended was enlightened in this regard.

I think it's a great idea to give TOD a little smack up the head at the start of every week. I don't doubt that I will disagree, at least to some extent, with what you bring up, but we should be mindful of 'group polarization' if we scare off all the dissenting opinions.

To quote Kurt Vonnegut for the second time today: "people are agreeing machines," and if we spend all our time nodding our heads through the DrumBeat we risk getting repetitive stress disorders.

Personally, I treat net exports as a very useful scenario, i.e. this is what will happen if...

To date nothing has changed that "if," but I do think the fact that the media is really picking up on the energy issue will (at some point... in theory) provoke a better response to energy depletion... at least better than the North Sea blowout.

As a totally unrelated aside, I only now noticed that "more info about formatting options" link below -- maybe now I'll post more now that I finally have a rudimentary understanding of HTML --> many thanks!

Ha! I'm 1/2 of a credit up on you in economics! I did get a minor in the subject and it always drove me nuts that the graphs were upside down. Caused a real facial twitch disconnect jumping between econ and filter theory. Anyway, what you say may be true from an economics point of view, but I've found over the same period of years the economics zeitgeist relied on an infinite supply. They didn't always know what the substitute supply was going to be, but it was sure to come. Sounds quasi-religious now that I think about it...

Hopefully, hopefully we go through a few iterations which gives us some breathing room to get it right. However, one theory we didn't cover in econ was Jevon's Paradox and this may come up to bite us in the derierre (hey, we're bilingual in Canada, don't ya know). As we make efficiency and resource reduction measures, Joe six pack will appreciate the 20% decrease in fuel prices and take to 4-wheelin' on weekends again.

Therefore, part of the measure has to be a mechanism to dissuade rampant FF use. Is it taxes? God, I hope not. Maybe its a GVW licensing and insurance fee for non-commercial use that prevents the Excursion school commuter from rearing it's ugly head again. Similar to the present disincentive for me to buy a fuel efficient motorcycle - the bike may not kill you, but the insurance rates will.

Ya, I know, Hope is not a plan. But if I can't remain somewhat optimistic, what's the point of getting out of bed in the morning?

Not sure if this has been posted yet, but apparently there are more people that believe oil has peaked than deny it.

On average, 70 percent of respondents in 15 countries and the Palestinian territories said they thought oil supplies had peaked. Only 22 percent of the nearly 15,000 respondents in nations ranging from China to Mexico believed enough new oil would be found to keep it a primary fuel source.


Someone posted it yesterday.

Aside from the usual problems with surveys, I suspect the support is broad...but shallow. It's like those surveys that find 80% of Americans want prayer in schools. They say they want it, but they don't actually vote on the issue, let alone do anything more strenuous.

The trillion-dollar mortgage time bomb

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Among the nightmares lurking around the corner for the already battered housing and credit markets would be a meltdown at mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Although few are predicting an imminent need for a bailout just yet, credit rating agency Standard & Poor's recently placed an estimated price tag on this worst case scenario -- $420 billion to $1.1 trillion of taxpayer's money.

Looks like the mortgage meltdown is continuing in Britain too.

Bank of England's mortgage bailout

LONDON (MarketWatch) - The Bank of England on Monday fired another salvo in the effort by central banks to counter a global credit crunch, announcing a long-awaited plan to let commercial banks swap up to 50 billion pounds worth of hard-to-move mortgage-backed debt for British government bonds....

Under the "special liquidity scheme" put in place Monday morning, commercial banks can swap AAA-rated, mortgage-backed securities that were on their books by the end of 2007 for nine-month U.K. treasury bills....

E. Swanson

Russian plans to build a nuclear power plant in the Kaliningrad Region have provoked protests from Europeans concerned about environmental and radiological safety.

Yes! 2 x 1150 MW in Kaliningrad would be great news. It is likely that the baltic states will build their own twin reactors at Ingnalina to also be independant. With Kaliningrad independant from Baltic transmission and the baltic states independant from Russian import both sides will be confident with their positions and can trade on equal terms.

Estonia has a low capacity HVDC link to Finland and there are suggestions for high capacity HVDC cabels to Finland and Sweden wich would integrate them and Kaliningrad in the Nordel electricity trading area.

Hopefully these reactors and the grid extensions will be the end for the realy dirty oil shale powerplants in Estonia. The power production ought to give a prosperous Kaliningrad and then it will be easier to shame them into environmental cleanups like building proper sewage treatment plants that also will have electricity to run for 50+ years.

This is indeed great news, I realy hope its more then a rumour!

I saw that earlier.

A 200 or 250 MW nuclear plant would supplied all that they need in Kaliningrad (3,500 GWh annual demand, assuming a small excess of nuke over base load, coal and NG for balance of demand and load following).

This is an export plant (2 x 1150 MW), designed to supply mainly Germany (and whoever else can outbid them).

France builds new nukes on the Rhine, Russia builds them in Kaliningrad, perhaps Finland (HV DC to Germany) and even (maybe) Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland all build nukes and sell the power to Germany (except when they need the power for themselves).

The first new German nuclear plant in decades !

Best Hopes for more,


I do not know the energy and peak power demand for Kaliningrad but assuming your figures are correct the project size makes sense. 3500 GWh is 400 MW constant production. If I assume that the dimensioning goal is to run a stable isolated grid and that the old powerplants are worn out a larger capacity makes sense and they need spare capacity for growth. A nuclear powerplant slightly larger then 1000 MW is then reasonable and they could build it to make it efficient on half load with dual 580 MW turbines. They could then complement it with dual fuel gas turbines running on natural gas or diesel in case the natural gas supplies are interrupted.

And they need two reactors to allways have one running.

It leaves 3/4 of the installed capacity for export wich provides a very good incentive to turn the paranoia project into a free trade project.

This illustrates the capital efficiency gain by sharing production resources and spare capacity. That economical efficiency gain is the major reason for building large area grids.

Nuclear reactors cannot be easily modulated for partial load. Nukes are *ONLY* good for base load (or pumped storage).

Absent better information, setting base load at half of average load is close to right. Thus 200 MW of nuke is the maximum useful without massive exports.

The concept that one would build two 1150 MW nuke reactors for such a small market is economic fantasy ! And to think that one would keep a nuke (5 to 6 times larger than needed) as a spare is "unrealistic".

These reactors are being built for the German market (with some sales to Poland et al).


probably not.

It is on David Icke's website.

David, who can scientifically be best described as completely off his trolly announced that a ) he was the second coming and b ) that the human race were controlled by 7 foot tall alien lizards.

I kid you not.

Its the 7 foot tall I cannot handle, I mean how would you get a 7 foot tall alien lizard into a Dick Cheney or Hillary Clinton suit?

They did it on Dr Who last year. Although they didn't look much like lizards, they were more like retarded ETs.

90 million barrels per day??? WTF?

My guess: Dude is seriously off his rocker.

And another one bites the dust...

Ex-bishop Fernando Lugo wins Paraguay poll

A former Roman Catholic bishop has ended more than six decades of one-party rule with victory in Paraguay's presidential election.

Promising to help the nation's poor and indigenous, Fernando Lugo toppled the ruling Colorado Party's Blanca Ovelar, in the latest success for politicians espousing left-wing philosophies in South America.


Hello TODers,

We had recent postings on Chinese visitors examining my Asphalt Wonderland's outer asteriod belt of McMansions. I guess they also noticed all the blinged-out 'chrome penises' we drive around here too:

Gas guzzlers a hit in China, where car sales are booming

Auto sales in China are booming, with analysts and automakers forecasting growth at 15-20 percent this year. But demand for the biggest vehicles is even stronger, with sales of luxury cars and SUVs expected to surge by 40-45 percent.
Will the rising level of Chinese air pollution make driver and passenger 'drop-down' oxygen masks the 'must have' interior accessory? Think how much status accrues to the 'affluent' driver proudly sporting his mask while the poor outside are gasping from the emitted 'effluent'. Who will be the first Chinese driver to model a 'drop-dead gorgeous' bejewelled mask while easy-motoring in their Escalade?

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

While we are certainly not in a position to criticize the Chinese for excessive and stupid consumption as long as we engage in excessive and stupid consumption, it would be nice if they had a rather different model for growth, not based on resources that are constrained, declining, and doomed.

The other problem is that it is rather difficult to exhort or implement policies to have Americans cut back on consumption when the Chinese persist in copying our obsolete model. I guess they are under the illusion that this will lead to happiness, not something I would associate with traditional Chinese wisdom as found in the TAO, for example.

Assuming we can't outbid the world, and assuming the amount of oil remains pretty stable or even grows a bit, we are just transferring excess from one continent to another and not really improving the overall situation regarding oil conservation or global warming.

Regardless, we have to get our own act together first. If that happens, then we can consider measure to encourage the Chinese to pursue an alternative to their clearly flawed growth model.

A hundred years ago, we did not have the benefit of hindsight, so perhaps our pursuit of our flawed growth model can be partially excused. The Chinese, however, have the benefit of seeing what we have done to our country and the world. And yet they choose this insane path, anyway. Go figure. The capacity for human folly is clearly universal.

To their credit, the Chinese gov't adopted European fuel-economy standards. And they're investing heavily in subway systems for all those booming cities.

The Chinese already tried another model, it just didn't work. They have moved towards capitalism because it does. A billion Chinese are a lot healthier and happier than they used to be.

Please tell me that is from The Onion!

And today, no I don't think they are smarter than Yeast. I don't think they are smarter than the petri dish. Calling them dumber than a post would be an insult to the structural participants of our infrastructure. Sorry for the rant, but I also saw an article about a guy who built a $6 million home theater system.

I really hope the Alien Archaeologists don't fall on their ass laughing. (If they have one).

Saudi King Abdullah drops quiet bombshell; U.S. media sleep through it


E-mail Charlie Rose to get Randy Udall on his program. Is it possible ??

Commuter Rail proposals are in the works for Yamhill County, Oregon, SW of Portland. The crucial problem is a traffic bottleneck created by Dundee, a small town of 3000 to the SW of Newberg, where I live, which has 20k; the county seat, McMinnville, is 15 miles further SW of Dundee and has 30k residents. Nearly 10k commute daily to the three counties that comprise the Portland area; Newberg expanded its roads a few years ago to handle expanded traffic but Dundee remains a much worn down 2 lane bottleneck.

Rail study focuses on 3 options

Originally, officials envisioned options for connecting Grand Ronde and McMinnville. But it became evident early on, they say, that there was not enough potential ridership on that route to qualify for federal transportation money.

"The numbers on ridership, it just isn't enough," said Yamhill County Commissioner Leslie Lewis. "They're trying to come up with something that would be feasible to apply for federal funding."

Thus the critical traffic issue in the area gets swept under the rug, leaving it up to hashing out plans for local busing, joining the Portland area MT provider Tri-Met, widening the road through Dundee (which the locals aren't keen on - primarily tourist based economy, Dundee was where the local winemaking industry started in the early 70s and they want it to remain "quaint" etc.), punching a road east to I-5 (which would require a new bridge over the Willamette River), and so forth.

Of course perhaps we'll have to give up these 40 mile commutes in the end anyway.

Hey Dude--I've driven through Dundee many times on my way to Portland from Yachats, or maybe to one of the regions fine wineries. There seems to be a lot of local resistence to widening, or making it a toll, road there. Widening it would destroy a lot of businesses. As gas continues to rise in price, I think it will become easy to get rail approved--but of course there must be jobs for the commuters to commute to. IMO, states and locales must learn to do things without federal monies. Further, IMO, we must get commuter traffic removed from I-5, as that volume trumps all other traffic corridors. Commuter train service through the gorge would be my second priority, at least as far as Hood River. The lightrail could be pushed out to Government Camp. The problem is financing

Perhaps this is a quandary - we could build rail on the cheap but would it be up to federal standards? Cheap bus lines I bet will be more common, despite their drawbacks, acting as a transition to more durable rail systems. As you say, it'll be more clear what to do after the economy takes a few more stunning blows and oil production makes its inexorable decline more apparent. Right now telling people we should be building rail because there will be less oil in the future still gets you funny looks.

I don't see light rail out to Government Camp anytime soon - not exactly a booming population. Seem to recall the line through the Hood River Valley did double duty in the past, however.

"I have done everything that I know how to do with OPEC. I have a very good relationship with (Saudi oil minister Ali al-) Naimi and all the people that work at OPEC. I wish they would open it up and issue more oil. That's my wish but I can't order them to," Bodman said.

How very interesting. Let's assume for a moment the KSA actually could ramp up to 15 or 20mb/d. (No giggling, please.) The risk to the US and world economies is great, right? We invaded Iraq for no reason whatsoever, right? (No giggling, please.) So, here we are with a very real threat, but we can't tell them what to do?

I'll let you fill in the blanks...


Senators Clinton, Kerry, Biden and Reid were adamant that we had to invade Iraq because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

The future is here, it's just not widely distributed dept.......

Shipbreakers in India, yes, breaking up US military ships also, by hand..... lots of photos but worth it.


I'm speechless.

Thxs Fleam for the photo-link!

I am Not Trying to minimize the sad existence of these Asian shipbreakers, but these working conditions are highly desirable compared to the horrific task of deep underground manual labor for ores or coals. The death rate of non safety regulated Asian coal mines is atrocious.

Imagine kids crawling on hands and knees to work the thin coal seams. I would prefer the sea-air and sunshine of shipbreaking to an underground suffocation.

Recall my posting of pick & shovel & wheelbarrow hand labor 3300 feet underground for Potash at some postPeak inflection point.

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

At least the potash mines are a lot cleaner than coal or heavy metals.

Amazing. I started this comment about 5 times, saying various things about what it means. But this is one of those things I'm going to have to think about for some time. Damn, life can be hard - if indeed that is a life. I don't know if I could do that.

That's why we rejected ship breaking here on the Oregon coast. The jobs it provides are literaally killers, as are the environmental costs.

Three years ago Canadian photographer and photo mentor Michael Reichmann visited Chittagong (which he locates in Bangladesh) and was moved by the scene. His brief writeup and some images is here:
but he also has a short video from the location:

Ship graveyards... kind of strange in several ways. Is this a vision of the world ca. 2100AD?

I guess that is what is so frightening about it - in a resource constrained world with too many people, life will be cheap. I can imagine many large old industrial sites being dismantled by hand in similar conditions. I know such conditions exist for many in other places right now.

Wow fleam!

Thanks for that link. It's in my favorites now, and will be a regular stop for me. As an artist/musician I was very moved by the imagery. Some of the best I've seen. This is the world we live in NOW. The west will be there soon.

By the way, good luck and success with your street art/music. I'm totally with ya on that.


I'll add my standard refrain: one of the things that annoys me is that economists point to "economic pressure" and say "see, that incentive will result in the tech guys over there coming up with an answer to our problem; don't ask me how". I'm not saying I don't believe in human ingenuity, I do. But research often drifts from the original problem it was supposed to solve into doing something else, society gets some cool new thing but the original problem is still unsolved. Eg, from the 60's humanity has provided a huge "cure cancer" incentive and result was supposed to be cured cancer. We'll we've got to the point where we can get a significant proportion into long enough complete remission (decades even) that they die of something else, but no-one would say we've cured cancer. We're getting there, but the magnitude of the incentive hasn't allowed the technologists to magic the complete solution from thin air immediately.

So if your analyses posit the creation of new alternatives due to economic incentives, there's more of the jigsaw for you to justify.

Must have pressed the wrong button. This in a comment for George Asebius "Monday economics"

If it's possible, we should try, I think, to get beyond the two extremes that are often advanced...

Technology will provide a seamless transition to a post-oil economy


Technology will not help because net energy is declining.
[or similar view that tech is helpless]

The first is probably false and the second is emphatically false.

Tech will give us something. Maybe a lot! Where it falls short, we will have to make up with efficiency finding and out-in-out conservation. Market economics really helps -- non-magically! -- with all that stuff.

The point to remember is that the market will not let you sit around waiting for the cavalry to come over the hill with new tech. In the meantime it's providing incentives for conservation, efficiency finding and even saving resources for the future.

I somewhat agree but, my question is what amount of the population will be helped by technology? I think that is a matter of how fast prices go up and how much economic damage there is due to high prices and how much of the population is able to convert to new technologies before getting run over be the peak oil pain train...

From the Halliburton wins Manifa contract article:

hahaha... Cheney goes to Saudi and Halliburton gets a contract..

So with gas prices now about $3.50/gallon I'm wondering, 1) when will the media, especially the financial media like CNBC, admit to the reality of peak oil and 2) at what price will people begin to openly protest? As for the first point I think the answer is never considering that the sole purpose of the corporate media is to make money for advertisers and telling people about the peak oil crisis is bad for business. And as for the second question, I think that people won't protest unless prices spike as they are set to do, but if they go up gradually to $5 or $6/gallon over say 5 years then people will grudgingly accept this. Personally I believe that gas will be $4/gallon by July 4th, and at least $4.50/gallon by New Years 2009. Any comments on the aforementioned questions?

So with gas prices now about $3.50/gallon I'm wondering, 1) when will the media, especially the financial media like CNBC, admit to the reality of peak oil and

Well, If you want to see the closest thing to CNBC airing that we are close to total collapse with 1/3 of the banks going under.
Tom Barrick Goes into Energy alliances in the middle east and more.

It is an incredible video with the title of

"Parade of Potential Horribles"

On CNBC today.

and you said

As for the first point I think the answer is never considering that the sole purpose of the corporate media is to make money for advertisers and telling people about the peak oil crisis is bad for business.

Lets hit this one again.

How about straight up controlling public opinion for national control?

Got to see how this guy used "Google Trends" a tool, that I didn't know existed, to show it in graphs.

See what he shows about Presidential candidates right now.

Media caught lying about Presidential Candidates

Hello Samsara,

Outstanding Link--Huge Kudos!

I expect NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX to all feature this video on their Primetime newscasts immediately!--NOT :(


Thanks for that video - it was very good!

Yes, the video confirms many things. But I wonder what a similar comparison would show about Kucinich and Edwards. Kucinich, especially, to paraphrase the narrator, knows economics and knows the roots of Iraq, and not just exclusively, as the narrator lies regarding Mr Paul being the only candidate willing to speak the truth about our condition.

Did a comparison. Quite interesting. Here are the results for a three way trends search between Paul, Clinton, and Obama. Another comparing Obama and Paul. And last, Clinton, Paul, Obama, McCain.

The point made by the video, that the media "choose" for us, is well stated, but the data is somewhat different when you look for yourself.


You asked the question:

When will the media, especially the financial media like CNBC, admit to the reality of peak oil?


The media will admit to peak oil when the International Energy Agency (IEA) admits to peak oil. The IEA has about 28 OECD member countries including USA, UK, Japan, Germany and France. The OECD member country governments rely upon the IEA's reports. When the IEA admits to peak oil then its OECD members will also admit to peak oil.

There are two important reports which the IEA would use to admit peak oil. One is the Medium Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR). The last MTOMR was released in July 2007 and the next should be in July 2008. http://omrpublic.iea.org/mtomr.htm
The other report is the World Energy Outlook (WEO) which will be released in November 12 just after the US presidential election.

An action that all readers of the Oil Drum can take is to email the IEA and urge them to admit to peak oil in either their soon to be released MTOMR July 2008 or in their WEO November 2008 report.

Below is a copy of the email which I sent to the IEA on April 14, 2008. I addressed the email to Dr. Birol, Chief Economist, who has been employed at the IEA for the last 13 years. In addition, copies were sent to other senior IEA staff including Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director; William Ramsay, Deputy Executive Director; David Fyfe, Supply Analyst; Lawrence Eagles, MTOMR Editor; and Anne Mayne, MTOMR Editorial Assistant.

More information about these senior IEA people can be found at the link below.

Here is the email that I sent:

To: fatih.birol@iea.org
CC: david.fyfe@iea.org ; lawrence.eagles@iea.org ; eppd@iea.org ; info@iea.org ; william.ramsay@iea.org ; nobuo.tanaka@iea.org ; anne.mayne@iea.org
Subject: IRREVERSIBLE World Crude Oil Production Decline
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2008 21:49:22 +1000

Dear Dr. Fatih Birol,

I strongly believe that the world crude oil and lease condensate production rate (C&C) is now in IRREVERSIBLE DECLINE as explained below. I sincerely hope that you have time to read my email and seriously consider a stronger warning about C&C declining in your soon to be released IEA Medium Term Oil Market Report July 2008. (However, I think that you already agree with many of the reasons below).

In the IEA World Energy Outlook 1998 (page 100), you showed a crude oil forecast to 2030 with a peak of about 80 mbd in 2012 based on an ultimate recoverable crude oil reserves (URR) of 2,300 billion barrels (Gb). That forecast is attached (and shown below). I believe that the URR used in 1998 was too high. Colin Campbell has an estimate of 2,230 Gb but that includes 143 Gb yet to find. Campbell's adjusted URR is then about 2,100 Gb. My estimate of C&C URR is about 1,850 Gb as I think Campbell's URR for OPEC countries is a little high. The link to your 1998 IEA report is below.

IEA World Energy Outlook 1998 - Oil Forecast to 2030 click to enlarge

(I do not understand why the IEA, from 2000 to now, accepted the overoptimistic results of the USGS World Petroleum Assessment 2000 report discussed in the links below.)

A lower world C&C URR would bring forward the C&C peak a few years before 2012. The second attached file (also shown below) shows my forecast of the peak C&C having occurred on Feb 2008 at about 74.6 mbd. The forecast shows a slight decline to the end of this year, followed by a 3%/yr decline to the end of 2012. This forecast is bottom up based on over 350 regions/projects.

World Crude Oil & Lease Condensate Production to 2012 (bottom up project based forecast) click to enlarge

I think that the drop in C&C production is IRREVERSIBLE because too many countries are now in decline or on plateau. Angola has just said that 2 mbd is their peak about now. Russia is either in decline or on peak plateau now. Venezuela is on a plateau or slight decline. Offshore areas such as North Sea, USA Gulf of Mexico and Mexico are in serious decline. Canada's tar sands production has been increasing but only offsets Canada's declining conventional production. Above ground factors such as skilled worker shortages, rig shortages and protracted tax negotiations with goverments are adding further constraints to any possibility of increased production.

Increasing production from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Brazil and possibly Nigeria and Iraq won't be able to offset all the declining countries. Saudi Arabia also appears to be on a plateau or slow decline since its C&C peak in 2005. This comment yesterday by King Abdullah about restricting development of new discoveries adds further support to Saudi Arabia being on a 9 mbd C&C plateau now. There is also a statement in the link below about Saudi Arabia cutting its crude output from 9.2 mbd to only 9 mbd now.

The last attachment (also below) shows my C&C forecast to the year 2100. The year 2008 could be the historic annual average C&C peak at just over 74 mbd. I have shown two forecast curves. One is shown by the green line which is an exponential fit to Colin Campbell's URR of 2,230 Gb. The red line shows my estimate using a smaller URR of 1,850 Gb. Note that in both cases the forecast to 2012 is derived from the bottom-up project based 2012 forecast in the previous attachment. The source of Colin Campbell's URR is from his recent newsletter.

World Crude Oil & Lease Condensate Production to 2100 click to enlarge

Your March 6, 2008 presentation in Norway indicated to me that you believed that world total liquids production is on a peak plateau now.

Your accompany presentation to your speech, The New World Energy Order and Implications for Climate Change, made some interesting statements.
On slide 6, you said that '37.5 mbd of gross capacity additions needed in 2006-2015 - 13.6 mbd to meet demand & rest to replace decline in existing fields.' That means that the difference of 23.9 mbd is needed to replace decline. Then you say that 'OPEC & non-OPEC producers have announced plans to add 25 mbd through to 2015'. As 25 mbd is only slightly greater than the 23.9 mbd, I am assuming that you are forecasting a total liquids peak production plateau.

If you are now forecasting a total liquids peak production plateau which is supported by rising natural gas liquids and biofuels, then you must also be forecasting a decline in C&C production. Would you agree with my attached C&C forecasts to 2012 and 2100? If not, would you agree with ex Saudi Aramco Sadad al-Husseini's forecast of a 10 year production plateau of C&C and NGLs, shown below?

Sadad Al-Husseini Forecast to 2030 click to enlarge also see http://www.davidstrahan.com/blog/?p=67

For further information please refer to my recent articles:

World Oil Forecasts Including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE - Update Feb 2008

Saudi Arabia’s Crude Oil Reserves Propaganda

Yours sincerely,

Tony Eriksen

Hi Ace--That's a very powerful message, most of which we've seen here. I think it should be sent to every editor-in-chief of every major news publication worldwide. Would you mind that being done for you?

Hi karlof1,

Please send the message to anyone you want!

Here are more signs of peak oil.

OPEC Lays It on the Line at IEF: 'Increase Security for Demand' April 21, 2008

OPEC needs to have "security for demand" before they invest more and OPEC reassures the world that "there is no doubt that the world has enough resources of oil to satisfy consumers for decades to come".

Guess who they rely upon to make this statement? The ever optimistic USGS. "Estimates from the US Geological Survey of ultimately recoverable reserves have practically doubled since the early 1980s, from just under 1.7 trillion barrels to over 3.3 trillion barrels -- while cumulative production, during the same period, has been less than one-third of this increase."

But now the IEA is getting more worried as they probably know that peak oil is upon us.

'Oil prices may tip world into recession' April 22, 2008

"International Energy Agency boss Nobuo Tanaka warned today that there is a risk record oil prices could tip the world economy into recession."

It's extremely disappointing that the world will react to peak oil rather than preparing for peak oil about ten years ago. It would have been easier to prepare when economies were stronger rather than weaker.

"International Energy Agency boss Nobuo Tanaka warned today that there is a risk record oil prices could tip the world economy into recession."

Huh? How much do those guys get paid? He understands the scenario exactly!

It is the price which will cause less to be demanded - and the need for the oil companies to make a profit which will decide the price.

A recession is the economy demanding less - the essence of peak oil - supply and demand are always equal, the fact that the oil companies and IEA only seem to look at the world from the supply point of view is bizarre.

There is a lot of oil in the world, just not enough to keep on growing the economy at today's oil prices - there is no $10 a barrel oil available any more.

Yeah, that USGS "study" is causing all sorts of trouble. And thanks for your permission and for your very diligent work.

Kudos Ace for doing something !

Why do I have the feeling that if the IEA came out saying that peak oil is happening that people wouldn't believe them, just like they didn't believe the IAEA when they said that Saddam wasn't making new WMD's?

Frog on a slow boil.

Hello TODers,

The latest in my multi-year postings on Zimbabwe:

New arms for Zim being flown in

Pretoria - A second shipment of considerably-more-sophisticated Chinese weaponry destined for Zimbabwe will be flown to Harare from China within the next week.
Are the Chinese positioning themselves first to thwart any potential later invasion from the Western allies for Zimbabwe's breadbasket? Perchance that the Chinese see the UG99 wheat rust, plus other looming problems, at such an Everything Peak that making a military move for Zimbabwe now is considered a national priority emergency?

From Chinese news source:

Zimbabwe 'free to source arms from any country'
(Xinhua) Updated: 2008-04-22 08:02

HARARE -- The government of Zimbabwe was free to source arms from any country in the world as long as they were for the defense of its sovereignty, an official said Monday.
I wonder what if the US Generals and Admirals at AFRICOM HQ are up and working very late these nights?

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

As I have said, it's not a good time to be both a net food and a net energy importer, such as Japan:

Japan's hunger becomes a dire warning for other nations

. . . While soaring food prices have triggered rioting among the starving millions of the third world, in wealthy Japan they have forced a pampered population to contemplate the shocking possibility of a long-term — perhaps permanent — reduction in the quality and quantity of its food.

A 130% rise in the global cost of wheat in the past year, caused partly by surging demand from China and India and a huge injection of speculative funds into wheat futures, has forced the Government to hit flour millers with three rounds of stiff mark-ups. The latest — a 30% increase this month — has given rise to speculation that Japan, which relies on imports for 90% of its annual wheat consumption, is no longer on the brink of a food crisis, but has fallen off the cliff. According to one government poll, 80% of Japanese are frightened about what the future holds for their food supply. . . .

. . . In the wake of the decision this week by Kazakhstan, the world's fifth biggest wheat exporter, to join Russia, Ukraine and Argentina in stopping exports to satisfy domestic demand, the situation in Japan is expected to worsen. . . .

. . . In view of recent predictions by Goldman Sachs analysts that commodities could experience "explosive rallies" in the next two years, many are wondering if Japan could become an example to other rich nations that have relied too much on foreign supplies to put food on their tables.

Hello WT,

Thxs for this info! I sadly agree: future prospects for Japan look really grim. If I was Japan their best bet is to use their SWFs to buy All the Intrepid Potash IPO stock, plus some good mining companies of phosphate and sulphur, then somehow beat the Chinese in the postPeak race for African topsoil.

Yes, and I rather fear there is another overcrowded island nation with much the same problems - net food and energy importer with a bloated welfare state - namely, the United Kingdom. I just don't understand how the UK is going to "get by" post Peak Everything.

Japan too is highly sensitive to economic developments elsewhere:

Briefly: Nation's economic outlook drops

The Finance Ministry on Monday downgraded its national economic outlook for the first time in six years and three months.

The assessment came after the last five of 11 local finance bureau chiefs reported bleaker economic outlooks in their regions.

At Monday's meeting of the ministry's 11 local finance bureau chiefs, the chiefs agreed the nation's economy was at a standstill for the January to March quarter, the first drop in the overall assessment since the October-December period of 2001.

A downturn in the US will mean one in Japan too, most likely. Will this cause 2007 oil demand to drop enough to ever lower prices this year?

80% of a G-7 country are "frightened about what the future holds for their food supply."

Hello--is anybody home? This is major news!


While farmers are expected to grow more canola and wheat, planting of barley and oats is expected to fall by 14 and 17 per cent respectively, the report noted. Those commodities are mainly used to make animal feed and the livestock industry is generally not doing well.

Canola (a nicer name than rapeseed) makes a better margarine than soybean oil (IMHO). This is probably in response to the higher soy prices. However, I wonder how long it will be before existing livestock is culled and feed prices start to bring up the cost of meat? At the moment farmers are still selling livestock at a discount so they don't have to feed it.

Vegetarians were supposed to have a 5% lower mortality rate than those who ate meat.

According to the Tend-R-Lean Tech Report it takes 5.1 pounds of feed (primarily corn) to produce one pound of beef. The steer weighed a hundred pounds at birth and was fed until it weighed 1270 pounds. The average feed given was 5.1 pounds per day. It took 414 days to raise the steer. Of these 1270 pounds of steer only part of the steer was of high enough quality for use in ground beef or steak. The bones, hooves, tendons, head, and hide were of lesser nutritional value.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association may have put out some bum steer rumor stating the grain required to produce an eight ounce steak was much less than the actual requirement in order to promote its own self interest.

Steers are grown on grass till they are 500 lbs or so (lately larger grass fed steers are preferred, more grass. less corn, fewer cattle).

That statistic is VERY badly skewed/biased by assuming corn feed before they are even weaned.



Perhaps one trend will be to move towards fish farming. Apparently, fish eat chicken, soy, and other fish. Who coodanode?

Apparently, kona kampachi (yellowtail) are really good at turning proteins no one wants to eat into tasty human-edible proteins. Close to 1:1. This sounds like a reasonable way to eke out a little more meat-like protein, now that we've eaten pretty much everything else.