DrumBeat: May 24, 2008

StatoilHydro Shuts North Sea Platform After Oil Leak (Update2)

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- StatoilHydro ASA, the Nordic region's largest oil and natural-gas producer, shut down 138,000 barrels a day of oil production from three platforms in the North Sea following a leak. . . .

The platforms were shut down after an oil leak in a storage cell in one of Statfjord A's shafts, the company said in a separate e-mailed statement. The leak now has been stopped, Aanestad said.

Mexican oil production falls 9 percent in first four months of year

Mexico's state-run oil company says output fell 9 percent to 2.87 million barrels a day in the first four months of the year, as production at its biggest oil field sagged.

Petroleos Mexicanos said Friday that output at its main Cantarell oil field dropped by 416,000 barrels a day, or 26 percent over the same period last year.

That decline helped sink exports to 1.48 million barrels a day, down 13 percent from the year-ago period.

Soaring prices are a warning that we need to change

This is not the end of the world. In fact, it is the medicine we need to help us kick our economic dependence on fossil fuels. The oil shocks of the 1970s helped to persuade the motor industry to develop more fuel-economic vehicles. There was a drive across the world for energy conservation. Two subsequent decades of historically cheap oil undid much of that progress.

Yet we can do it again. . . .

Energy from hot air?

Power Tower Pty (Ltd) wants to develop a 250 megawatts up draught power station; proposed site is within the Zone 2 ranch area 80km south of Orapa, between Malatswai and Letlhakane.
“The power generation process involves the creation of “wind” by heating the air under a glass roof which escapes through the concrete chimney and drives the linear generator turbine in the chimney.

The chimney will be approximately 1500 m high while land that will be required will be about 110km.”

Trawlers protest in the Straits of Dover

The 25 trawlers, sailing abreast, dawdled along at three knots, instead of the normal 25-knot speed of freighters and oil-tankers passing between Kent and the Pas de Calais. The maritime go-slow escalated a week-long series of protests, including blockades of French oil refineries and attacks on the fish counters of supermarkets. The fishermen say diesel fuel forms 40 per cent of their costs and they cannot survive the steep increases in oil prices of the past three months.

Amazon Indians protest hydroelectric scheme

Altamira, Brazil: The Amazonian city of Altamira played host to one of the more uneven contests in recent Brazilian history this week, as a colourful alliance of indigenous leaders gathered to take on the might of the state power corporation and stop the construction of an immense hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the Amazon.

Azerbaijani-Turkmen Summit Marks Potentially Lucrative Thaw In Relations

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev declared that "all issues have been resolved" with Turkmenistan following his talks in Baku this week with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.

Aliyev and Berdymukhammedov declared a "new stage" has been reached in relations that could enrich both countries as they seek -- with prodding from the United States and European Union -- to find ways to ship their Caspian energy resources to Western markets. . . . . But when it came to the major question -- the construction of a pipeline to carry Turkmen gas across the Caspian to Azerbaijan and on to Europe, bypassing Russia -- the presidents were optimistic but noncommittal.

Russian food problems increase

Russia's food problem also has an international dimension. In recent years, Moscow -- as a major exporter of energy to the European Union and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States -- has used its position of strength for political ends, arguing that it is the seller, not the buyer, who determines prices. Now Russia finds itself in the position of an importer of a vital resource that cannot be replenished domestically any time soon. Russia, for instance, imports 35 percent of its beef and 40 percent of its pork from the European Union. 
Because of the humanitarian nature of food supplies, it is unlikely the Western democracies would openly use their leverage to pressure Moscow except in a crisis situation. However, the Putin-Medvedev leadership is aware of Russia's vulnerability on this point. In practical terms, this realization will serve as a natural constraint on Moscow's assertiveness in both the near and far abroad

The British and their cars

The dream is turning into a nightmare. The car, the one mechanical object that offers unlimited personal freedom plus the rapture of ownership, has become a millstone that is dragging us down to despair. There is a classical, Faustian symmetry to the story of Britain's relationship with the car over the past 50 years – how the symbol of universal love and desire became one of near-unanimous loathing and misery.

StatoilHydro to test deepwater floating wind turbine

Oslo • Norwegian oil company StatoilHydro will build the world’s first deepwater floating wind turbine next year off Norway’s coast, it said yesterday. Offshore wind turbines already exist in numerous places around the world but they have all been stationary turbines planted on the bottom of the seabed.

Indonesia to cut fuel subsidies

JAKARTA: Indonesia will raise fuel prices from Saturday, the energy minister said Friday, as the government cuts fuel subsidies despite concerns about possible social unrest. The government "decided to increase prices of subsidized fuel starting midnight," the energy minister, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, told reporters. Fuel prices are set to rise on average by 28.7 percent, with the price of gasoline increasing by a third to 6,000 rupiah, or 65 U.S. cents, a liter.

Italy signals turnaround on nuclear power

ROME: Italy's newly elected government said Thursday that within five years it planned to resume building nuclear plants, a type of energy that the country dropped 20 years ago after a referendum resoundingly condemned nuclear power.

Plans made to stop miner exodus

Johannesburg - The biggest mineworkers' union said on Friday it would tackle xenophobia among its membership, dismissing the prospect that attacks on migrants could prompt an exodus of skilled miners.
Migrant workers are accused by many poor South Africans of taking scarce jobs and fuelling violent crime. At least 42 people have been killed and 25 000 others displaced as a result of attacks in shantytowns since May 11.

China/Russia: Focus On Pipelines During Medvedev Visit

At a joint press conference in Astana on May 22, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev confirmed that he and Medvedev spoke about how Russian oil could also be transported across Kazakhstan and into China when the final portions of that pipeline are completed.

"Most of Kazakhstan's oil and gas is exported via pipelines running through Russia," he said. "There is a reverse process too, and that is the transportation of Russian oil to China through Kazakhstan, which is planned for this year. Besides oil transit, our countries are cooperating actively in the development of Caspian oil and gas fields."

Dmitry Orlov's Book Released - Reinventing Collapse: Soviet Example and American Prospects

Rather than focusing on doom and gloom, Reinventing Collapse suggests that there is room for optimism if we focus our efforts on personal and cultural transformation. With characteristic dry humor, Orlov identifies three progressive stages of response to the looming crisis:

Mitigation – alleviating the impact of the coming upheaval
Adaptation – adjusting to the reality of changed conditions
Opportunity – flourishing after the collapse

He argues that by examining maladaptive parts of our common cultural baggage we can survive and thrive and discover more meaningful and fulfilling lives, in spite of steadily deteriorating circumstances.

the world is fine today :)

I have monitored the right-wing-nut talk shows for discussions on oil depletion for years now. They have historically never brought up the topic of peak oil, or shown much concerns at all about reserves. But recently, they have started talking about it out of necessity, only because their largely clueless listeners are getting socked by prices. The interesting thing is that the hosts still think everything is fine, as long as they can keep drilling.

Myron Ebell was on the Lars Larson show yesterday and he said everything was fine, just drill off the coast of California and release all federal lands.

My favorite quote was from Jim Quinn, another rabid winger, who said, paraphrasing "They say we can't make up for lack of oil by drilling more. That's as crazy as saying we can't make up a shortage of food by growing more crops"

And the reason to drill in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is because "mosquitos can kill a man alive in 15 minutes" up there.

In the upside-down world of the 'minionist, everything is fine in the world today.

Thanks for the opening line.

The few exceptions to the rule includes Glenn Beck, who apparently is a believer in peak oil. I haven't caught one of his rants on the topic myself, but that has been brought up on good authority on discussion threads here.

If you go back and look through archives on right-wing blogs, the typical links to oil discussion involve one of two topics-- the Saddam "Oil For Food" controversy and opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling. I believe those discussions only occur because they are used to bludgeon progressive politicians and attack environmentalists.

Recently the topic of ethanol is becoming a real wedge issue.

Interesting to watch how this will change the dynamics on the discussion. Winger pols have a habit of attacking their opponents strengths and trying to turn them into weaknesses. Ethanol support is something democrats have to be very careful about. The best of the left-wing talk show hosts, however few there are, know oil depletion just as well as Beck and have been going at it much longer. Hartmann, Malloy, know this stuff very well.

i really mean what i said. if you look beyond all this, you'll see that all will be fine. a couple of billions of us might die, but there are far worse things than death. it hurts because we won't ditch our bad habbits

in the end, we're going to have a self sustainable lifestyle, wether we like it or not :)

Quoting REM's song "It's The End Of The World & I Feel Fine"? They said it first.

The Homeless people I see and talk to think everything is going just fine, but they don't want all the newer influx of homeless people messing up their good things.

I have noticed a great big influx of newer homeless people in the soup lines and Breakfast feeding areas.

I Know some of this is because Little Rock Arkansas was the Place to come for Diaster Relief after all the Tornados of the previous few weeks and months, so some of these new faces are not really here to stay. They are just finding the feeding stations as a great place to go while in town.

As one of my friends stated it, " the real homeless are the front runners of the newly homeless." ( Miss Jeesie Goodrum: Local author and Homeless advocate ).

I wonder where we will be in 5 years?

Energy fears looming, new survivalists prepare

Convinced the planet's oil supply is dwindling and the world's economies are heading for a crash, some people around the country are moving onto homesteads, learning to live off their land, conserving fuel and, in some cases, stocking up on guns they expect to use to defend themselves and their supplies from desperate crowds of people who didn't prepare.

The exact number of people taking such steps is impossible to determine, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the movement has been gaining momentum in the last few years.

These energy survivalists are not leading some sort of green revolution meant to save the planet. Many of them believe it is too late for that, seeing signs in soaring fuel and food prices and a faltering U.S. economy, and are largely focused on saving themselves.

Some are doing it quietly, giving few details of their preparations _ afraid that revealing such information as the location of their supplies will endanger themselves and their loved ones. They envision a future in which the nation's cities will be filled with hungry, desperate refugees forced to go looking for food, shelter and water.


I saw that. PeakOil.com is mentioned:

On the PeakOil.com Web site, where upward of 800 people gathered on recent evenings, believers engage in a debate about what kind of world awaits.

Some members argue there will be no financial crash, but a slow slide into harder times. Some believe the federal government will respond to the loss of energy security with a clampdown on personal freedoms. Others simply don't trust that the government can maintain basic services in the face of an energy crisis.

To me the interesting thing is with some of the libertarian bloggers like Michael Rivero and Alex Jones. They've been in the forefront of the 9-11 stuff, for which I give them credit, but totally blind to the evidence in the case of peak oil and global warming and the general ecological crisis. I give credit to Mike Ruppert (no longer active) and Colin Campbell for having linked peak oil and 9-11 (and geopolitics in general), whereas most peakers like to shy away from it. (And, I agree, it certainly shouldn't be a focus here at TOD.)

It's of great interest to me to see the reactions of people (including me!) to the various calamities that have started befalling us in this century. It's a whole study in itself.

The thing about 9/11 is that for most people the topic loses interest logically-you either accept the evidence that factions in the USA government were possibly/probably involved, or you don't. If you accept the evidence, now what? Unlike oil depletion, insights gained into 9/11 cannot really be used to advance your life, so naturally people leave it alone.

Another group besides the Libertarian is the Coast-to-Coast/Art Bell crowd. They seem to be interested in whatever has a conspiratorial bent to it. The problem is that with Peak Oil, there is historically very little by the way of conspiracies associated with it. Perhaps the "oil industry collusion" or guvmint cover-up will grow in stature, and these guys will get all confused and not know which side to believe. It's possible that the C2C crowd will swing from believing in Peak Oil to believing in a Peak Oil conspiracy.

The problem is that with Peak Oil, there is historically very little by the way of conspiracies associated with it.

'conspiracies' in oil/energy I can think of tight off the top of my head.

Teapot Dome scandal
The price fixing conviction in propane in the past few years
Standard oil

That list is as fast as I can type. With digging, I'm sure more could be found.

I meant with "Peak Oil" not with regular corporate shenanigans.

An example would be that the government is hiding the fact that there are vast quantities of abiotic oil available that is off limits because it would anger the Martians who are secretly siphoning it off.

I meant with "Peak Oil" not with regular corporate shenanigans.

Ahhh, but this is where the two parties talk past each other. Alex and others like him can point to corporate historical 'shenanigans' and raise the question - "Is it happening again?" What they can see is actions that do not match past claims, money being transfered at record rates, and "oilmen" in charge of the nation. Any data that does not support their believe is deemed 'a lie' or what 'a useful idiot' has to say.

An example

An actual example would be nice. Of the ones who get air time, William Deagle has the Linsey insider (common to others) and claims the alien tech that he knows of will save us.

I guess this is the triangle of talk show politics. We have progressive politics, conservative politics, and the marginalized libertarian/conspiracy politics. I hear things about the latter, Alex Jones and such, but don't pay excessive attention to it.

No kidding, from an academic point of view this is fascinating. From an emotional point of view frightening. The first thing I check every morning is the price of oil as if the sequel to a movie, what's going to happen next.

The "9-11 stuff" is a sheer waste of time, it has served superbly to distract attention from real problems. Like UFOs, the PTB are probably quite happy to see people distracted by it. It's a honey pot for the "wingnut" category.

Far from giving credit, the association of PO with the other wingnuts has only harmed the credibility of PO.

Your attempt to link 9/11 to UFOs or Santa Claus is transparent-logically it would be grouped with the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK.

Not even Roswell? But yours are probably better examples.

I don't think the government has ever been accused of a cover up regarding Santa Claus ;)

I have monitored the right-wing-nut talk shows for discussions on oil depletion for years now.

You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. The contemplation alone pales me.


You are not the first person to say this to me. I am by nature a curious fellow, and the mindset on the right forever boggles me.

I'd sure like to sit down at a picnic table in a nice quiet location with you and have a long friendly discussion about a wide range of topics. 'Cause I am a right wing peak oil believer!
I don't think either of us would change our minds about much of anything, but I think we would both learn much of how the other thinks.
I would hope you would not be quite so Boggled when we finished.
Anyone who likes telescopes can't be too bad? (big grin) You ever grind your own mirrors? Or think about it?

No. I have no interest in telescopes. The nickname is something that doesn't mean anything. At best it is an amalgamation of Webster Hubble and Hubble Telescope. Right-wingers generally want to see things in terms of B&W and never see shades of gray. As a shade of gray, that is how I see the right-wing and fundie mind-set.

I watch the wing nuts for fun. I particularly like Kudlow and Fast Money. My wife says, "how can you watch that?", and I respond, "think if it as reading the National Inquirer."

I like how Kudlow proclaims of late; "America is NOT in a recession !"

Do you all know how to find the nude beach? Look for the signs that say, "NO nude sun bathing"

Kudlow....thou protest too much.

Two favorite Kudlow'isms (resulting from his excessive cocaine binging in the 80's)

"We are enjoying a Goldilocks economy"

"The G.W. Bush economy is the least reported and best kept secret in recent years."

Nothing bugs me like overstated generalizations.. yours is a perfect example.

"Right-wingers generally want to see things in terms of B&W and never see shades of gray."

That, even with its disclaimer of 'generally', is another Black and White viewpoint.
People on the right and the left have been dragged out to the extremes, made to feel that there is no common ground, and those on the 'other' side are too alien to communicate with.

Don't believe it. Just keep clear of the blowhards, and try not to be one..

well, apart from this, everything's fine;

Vast cracks in Arctic ice (tv report)

Evidence of the break-up of the Arctic ice-cap has emerged from research during an expedition by the Canadian military.

Scientists travelling with troops found major new fractures in giant ice shelves in Canada's far north



where some good points are made.

Your graph is missing the dogleg up that now takes it above the red line. It's bizarre this year. right after record melt we get sudden rebound much closer to the long term mean.


loooooooong graph -click bottom right to enlarge.


As always, it is not the quantity that counts, it is the quality. Arctic Sea ice has been thinning for a long period and by far the most is now just 1 years worth. This is a crucial factor; and the ice that has formed since last September over open water is young and thin; and therefore is much more likely to melt this northern summer.

Source: http://environment.newscientist.com

I wouldn't call that a rebound, that graph could fall off the cliff come northern summer. A multi-point average on that graph gives a near linear with negative slope.

Large fall, large rise could also be a new signal, a new harmonic, it might start swinging all over the place, it could go chaotic - then anywhere.

Worst case; a quantum state shift in the planet's axis of rotation from all the extra wobbly water floating around.

It would be great if data like this could predict the future, everyone would be making a fortune on the stock market.

I really believe that we are way beyond being in a position to do anything about human induced global warming.

Another thought, as the earths crust warms it expands = Earthquakes.

We might just start seeing mega-folks being wiped out by hurricanes and earthquakes - no sign of that yet though.

We might just start seeing mega-folks being wiped out by hurricanes and earthquakes - no sign of that yet though.

China might beg to differ. A possible sign, yes. Proof, no. Personally, I'm not expecting the world to fall apart due to earthquakes. Any effect will be minor compared to all the other issues we face. Besides, I'm not sure your info is correct. I believe I just read somewhere that a hotter earth locks the plates and stops tectonics...


What you are talking about and what that graph is measuring are not the same thing. The dogleg you are talking about happens EVERY year. The graph posted above is measuring long-term trends, not monthly changes.


last years lost was caused by a freak wind conditions as well as warming. If those conditions are not repeated the ice loss should return to trend.

I remember reading somewhere (sorry, no link) that the buoys they set out to measure said wind patterns are disturbingly similar to last year's patterns.

I think we'll see much more melting...

Could be self sustaining positive feedback - unusual polar sea ice conditions inducing unusual polar winds, further affecting sea ice conditions.

Weatherman, please, knock it off. The globe is warming. It's our fault. Get over it. Even Bushie says so. The rebound? Same freaking thing happened after the big loss in 2005. What, pray tell, happened in summer '07?

BTW, they weren't "freak" conditions, they were part of a normal change/oscillation.

As someone else has posted the pics, the ice extent is the most talked about, but least important measure of how much ice there is. Total ice has declined by 80%. What do you not get about that?

Feedback loops are kicking in. Do you not understand bifurcations? Do you understand nothing of resonances? Do you not understand that the heat absorbed last year is still in the system and melting the ice from below?

They even pushed the CO2 records back another couple hundred thousand years to almost 1,000,000, and the CO2 is far higher than during that entire span of time.

The science is more than 1,000/1 for AGW, yet you keep yappin'.


Norwegian MSM went completely mute on the Climate-issuse some 3 months ago - it just died away without any mitigations to my knowledge, just no more talk of it . This week MSM was occupied with petrol-prices. I think the latter will be here to stay, as a Facebook entry on petrolprices got 60 000 members (Norway only) in a swoosh .... and growing.

50 MPs warn government that global oil production may be peaking

London, 23rd May 2008 - A cross-party group of MPs including former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell have signed a Commons motion urging the government to review its estimates as to when global oil production will peak and begin to decline.

As crude oil hit another record high of $135 a barrel on Wednesday, and as UK motorists notice the impact of sustained high prices at the petrol pumps, MPs are beginning to mobilise around the idea that current high oil prices may just be the beginning of a permanent trend. Experts at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) have warned of an overall liquid fuel peak likely between 2010-2012, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) have predicted an oil 'supply crunch' in 2012.


as seen on reddit today
Shell CEO says record oil not due to shortage

There are no tankers waiting in the Middle East, there are no cars waiting at gasoline stations because they are out of stock. This has to do with psychology in the markets and you cannot forecast psychology"

Yeah, high prices do have a way of balancing supply & demand--but then net oil exports drop again.

Yeah, I always found these statements by oil execs to be rather stupid. Of course the market is well supplied. If it wasn't, the price would go up until it was. lol.

Exactly. Although it may sound like nonsense when an OPEC'er says "There is plenty of supply" it is in fact quite true. There is always plenty of supply - at the current price!

I think I commented on this a year or two ago, maybe not I'd have to look, but in any event I think the oil inventory supplies of developed nations are a very insensitive indicator of supply and demand and so far just a red herring.

For US inventories to significantly decline, either 1) sufficient oil can no longer be afforded 2) the US is no longer the high bidder, which is essentially the same as one or 3) there is no oil left at any price to allow for the continuation of a shortage free economy. Shortages of inventory would commonsensically be expected to show up in wealthy nations last and would indicate a real bottom of the barrel scenario. Of course 250/barrel oil and a ruined economy would lead likely to declining inventory levels and consumption but at that point one is no longer a wealthy country. Without price controls I see gas lines as one of the last signs of PO, actually the stations might likely be less crowded as the oil would be there but fewer and fewer could afford it.

I could be entirely wrong here, but at least historically there has been a more than quadrupling of oil price without any commensurate signal from oil inventories. When inventories might provide a signal, I have no idea, but I would guess it's still a little ways off.

And he is correct, there is no current shortage. The market is however beginning to predict future shortages. The market sees something that others fail to. It knows that if nothing changes, oil is worth more now than it used to be and will be worth even more in the future.

Gasoline did not go up because of any “shortage” either. You can refine all you want now but the oil that it came from is worth more so the gasoline is now worth more.

I gotta go adjust the Turbo on my Yukon.


We are also skimming that thin line of JIT delivery I believe. This brings to mind an error people have in forecasting according to Nassim Taleb. Just because something has worked in the past, does not mean it will act the same way in the future.

He gives the example of a turkey getting feed quite nicely for the 1,000 of days of its life until one day...off to the chopping block. The turkey, according to his calculations and expectations, was expecting to get fed again that day.

I've wondered about that example. Did the turkey have a good life? Was it fulfilled? Did it leave the world a better place? What about the turkeys that were Left Behind?

cfm in Gray, ME

The problem with the turkey's analysis was this; his variables did not capture the factors that could have predicted the event. All the turkey was plotting was the fact that as he got older, he was supplied with more feed.

If he had plotted the disappearance of fellow turkeys along with the age and weight of said turkeys or perhaps the presence of axes around the grounds at certain times of the year, he could have predicted this Black Swan event. That is the point, however. Black Swan events are the ones not predicted due to focus and resolution of the data set.

To answer your question, let me pose another. Will we leave this party of happy financing and happy motoring a better place when the events unforcasted by companies and governments materialize?

Will we leave this party of happy financing and happy motoring a better place when the events unforcasted by companies and governments materialize?

Not to worry -- the "place" will take care of itself. The planet will go on merrily with or without us...

Hmmm...reread my post and that was not what I meant to say. This is more what I was getting at.

In a post-peak world, will we believe that we had lived a "good life" in the pre-peak world? Sure, we had fun and consumed at will, but at what cost to the future. We did not leave the world in a better place because we failed to see the farmer's running around with axes. Those left behind may be unaware of the axe-wielding farmers and happy in their ignorance, but will meet the same fate eventually...the realization that all that feed was merely a lead up to the fateful day.

Wouldnt that be a Black Turkey event?

Are humans smarter than turkeys?

I'll take that question to the next level:
Are humans smarter than yeast?

I gotta go adjust the Turbo on my Yukon.

Something I've wondered about - hobbyists are always talking about 'chipping' their vehicles for more horsepower. Is it possible to 'chip' for better fuel mileage? Could this make a dent if widely used?

Rick in WA, USA

Yes, it is possible - but most people use the extra efficiency for power.

The difficulty is that better fuel mileage requires leaner burns. If the engine is setup for a specific quantity of fuel, increasing the fuel can increase the power with the additive effect of cooling the combustion. Lowering the quantity of fuel is much more difficult to do without causing damage to the piston, valves or contributing to pre-detonation (knocking). I am working on developing a economy targeted fuel injection control system as a replacement for cars that are carbureted (there are lots where I live). I think the solution lies in a voltage controlled throttle plate, thus the injection controller also controls how much throttle to provide. Drive by wire system for economy.

there are no cars waiting at gasoline stations because they are out of stock.

That's just not true! There's been serious diesel and gasoline shortages in Argentina and Honduras recently. I know it's for a variety of above ground factor reasons, but to say this shows a degree of ignorance about world energy issues.

Argentina: Otro fin de semana con poco combustible en las estaciones

At 7 and 66 the picture is repeated. "Since we have no diesel on Thursday. It's a disaster. Deliveries are irregular, the truck comes when it wants and leave us the liters they want," said Julia, an employee of the dispenser of Spain Square, and assured us that "not only are clients inconvenienced by this situation, we do not benefit at all. "

I think there have been diesel shortages in China for some time now. Also, I read last night there are aviation fuel shortages at Cape Town - because of electricity shortages. We live in a house of cards economy!

Fuel shortage at CT airport
05/02/2008 14:02 - (SA)

Cape Town - The Airports Company of SA (Acsa) says it is monitoring supplies of aircraft fuel available in Cape Town after a power outage last week caused a local refinery's aviation fuel plant to close down.

"As of today (Tuesday), we can confirm that we have seven days worth of aviation fuel supply in Cape Town, which means that normal flight operations will not be affected for the time being," Cape Town airport manager George Uriesi said.

The fuel consortium that supplied the airport was currently discussing the situation, and had undertaken to advise Acsa by Thursday morning at the latest of "what steps they have taken to restore fuel supply".

According to Business Report on Tuesday, the process of restarting the knocked-out refinery fuel plant takes seven days.

- Sapa

Let's make a few basic observations.

1) Accepting that oil production has been basically plateaued for two years and assuming no large change in the degree to which oil is placed in storage. Then the total world stocks of oil in storage is essentially the same as it was two years ago. I do believe I just constructed an Aristotelian logical syllogism.
2) If one accepts the export land model, then it would be expected that oil inventories have overall increased in exporting countries and decreased in importing countries.
3) The decrease in importing countries oil stocks would be expected to show up first in those countries with more constrained financial resources. This jibes with some of the anecdotes about shortages provided upstream from this comment. Unfortunately, if I am not mistaken, there is no good source of data readily available, or for that matter kept, for oil inventory stocks in many nations. That is to say, if we had the data, it is quite likely Argentina oil inventories have declined a good deal and are well below normal.

Ethanol is Cheaper than Blood.

kdolliso -

Whose blood?

Yours, mine, or those 'other' peoples'?

Biofuels = death.

Ethanol is Cheaper than Blood.

I presume this is in reference to oil = blood? So tell me, does ethanol production consume oil? Take your time.

Depends. If you grow the corn manually, then process and distill it with your wife and kids using firewood etc. Of course you wouldn't get very much; and by the time you have done all that you might just drink it to drown your sorrows.

"Take your time."

man, I love your posts Robert. First laugh today.....a very hard day for me.

Does anyone else think that gasoline should move toward price parity with diesel as refiners focus on producing the more profitable diesel and gasoline stocks fall? Does that mean $4.50 gasoline at the pump even if crude stays put at ~$135?

I'm blogging on the importance of low-carbon alternatives to oil so we can get our climate house in order while we mitigate the oil situation:

Looks to me like it's got to go in exactly the "other" direction, Den. You can only "tweak" it a small amount. Diesel, it appears, is going to be in shorter, and shorter, supply relative to gasoline.

There are serious demand pressures on diesel from Europe and the developing world. But can refiners not change the ratio of diesel to gasoline they get out of a barrel of crude? If very little, how little? And if a price differential exists between diesel and gasoline, wouldn't drivers shift to gasoline-powered vehicles and thus lower demand of diesel?
Interesting stuff - we'll see what happens.

Hey DM, in Europe the truth is out about the economies of diesel compared to gasoline: diesel engines last more than 3 times as long, more energy in a gallon of diesel than gasoline. So if the market has its way, diesel will likely rise in comparison to gasoline. My truth about our diesel Smart Car is that with prices here in BC almost 10% highter, it could reach the point (diesel 30-40% higher)where a gas guzzler is more economical to run. Of course for those driving 30,000 miles per year or more, diesel will continue to be more economical.

But can refiners not change the ratio of diesel to gasoline they get out of a barrel of crude? If very little, how little?

In an existing refinery, about 5%.

Given all this, Robert, are you still so down on biodiesel? We all know it isn't going to save the world, but wouldn't an injection of a reasonable quantity of biodiesel into the mix help to balance things a little better?

When you produce diesel, you're going to get gasoline whether you like it or not. You can tweak it a little, and I'm sure refiners are doing that. However, the rest of the world is producing large amounts of gasoline they don't want. They are selling it to the US cheap, maybe below cost, essentially subsidizing gasoline production from diesel profits.

This is why the US is importing gasoline even as refinery utilization goes down. It is why gasoline is so much cheaper than diesel. It is why gasoline inventories are strong.

The ramifications of this are significant. First, it means that there is a relative glut of gasoline that is keeping prices artificially low (Americans should be happy gasoline is so cheap). Second, it means that American driving habits will have little effect on oil prices. Many analysts have been incorrectly assuming that a drop in consumption in the US will cause oil prices to fall. It will cause gasoline to stay cheap, but it will have little effect on oil, which is being driven by other things, mainly diesel consumption. Finally, I think it means that the spread between diesel and gasoline will continue to rise. Since producer prices are influenced more by diesel costs, producer prices will continue to rise, even during an economic slowdown.

Now, presumably this imbalance will correct itself as consumers of diesel begin to switch to gasoline. However, that requires a different engine in trucks, so it isn't going to happen overnight. Most likely it will happen slowly as corporations gradualy replace their truck fleets, something that will be difficult for many corporations to do in a recession.

In response to a question I asked a couple of weeks ago concerning the relative future of availability and price of gsoline vs. diesel, karlof1 responded that we can expect the scarcity of diesel to accelerate as compared to gasoline. The brief explanation was that diesel consists of long chain hydrocarbons and gasoline of short chain. The long chain hydrocarbons in crude oil can be "cracked" into smaller ones for gasoline, but not vice versa.

Thus there is a seriously limited amount of diesel that can be produced from a given amount of crude, but less so for gasoline. The only bright spot on this horizon, if you can call it that, is that as more heavy crude comes on line, more diesel will be available per barrel of crude.

Excuse if I have some of the terminology a little mixed, but that's the basic message I heard from karlof1.

Shargash and Panama, thanks for the analysis.

I have been trying to understand what's been going on with all the price differentials. What I was totally missing was the amount of refined product moving around the globe by tanker. Makes a lot more sense now.

Which raises another question in my mind: Can refinery fractions be adjusted to increase the percentage of propane instead of gasoline? Or could the fraction going to gasoline be cracked into propane?

This line of thinking is relevant for air travel, too, not so? I think jet fuel and diesel come from the same (CH_2)n ballpark. [I am an american expat in switzerland, planning to come home in 1.5 years ... sometimes I wonder if I will come home by boat?]

You mean sailboat?

Plenty of empty houses available. Bring your friends!

Last week I spent some time studying the gas and crude prices on http://www.grandrapidsgasprices.com. In past years there did appear to be a lag between changes in crude and retail gasoline. I couldn't say whether it was 6 weeks exactly, but it was in that ballpark.

But looking at the last 6 months, the data don't seem to support much of a lag at all.

Why the disparity? It could be an artifact of "zooming out" displaying less detail for historical prices, I suppose. But it could also be that refiners and retailers are anticipating future increases and factoring them into the current price in advance of a supply price change. Is this possible? Is there independent data that supports it other than the site I showed above?

I guess the question is: do current gas and diesel prices reflect $135/bbl oil, or a value some weeks ago, or something else? Ultimately the refiners will refuse to absorb future cost increases and must pass it along.

Diesel and kerosene (aka Jet A1/Aviation Fuel) are very similar and I presume very interchangable at a refinery level (Robert Rapier - I need your help here!). These are the "vital" fuels, well vital for governments anyway. Diesel/Kerosene power trucks, aviation, the military and food production, so not only do I expect it to be more expensive (irrespective of its production cost), but expect that when physical shortages manifest themselves these fuels will be the first to be directly controlled by government.

I drive a diesel VW Golf, my wife drives a Toyota Yaris (sub-compact) gasoline and we live 5 minutes walk from the train station. We should be OK with car use for as long as there is an economy. However, I do expect diesel supply to become sporadic at some point before gasoline. I have enjoyed the fuel economy of the diesel car and never expected when I bought it four years ago that I would be worrying about actual shortage in such a short period of time.

Like Jeffrey Browns Export Land Model, I think the diesel/kerosene angle is worth more research. These are the fuels that are going to expose the weak spots in the economy.

If you intend to keep the car, you might consider converting to B100 while you can. That might keep you running a little longer.

A thought, new to me: since in the USA (and some other countries) we've replaced some gasoline with ethanol, and since ethanol has a poor EROEI*, and since the main fuel used for the EI side of that ratio is diesel, that means that there has been a noticable shift of demand from gasoline to diesel. This is in addition to all the other reasons for higher diesel demand, including European prefence for diesel cars, some diesel used to replace the power generation of the nuclear plant that was damaged by an earthquake in Japan, small generators used in the many countries with rolling blackouts, and of course the booming Chinese economy.

*) EROEI = Energy Returned On Energy Invested

Yep. Been wondering the same thing. How much does ethanol subsidise the price of gasoline at the expense of an increase in the cost/demand on diesel? Like the old GoGo commercial asked, 'Is this any way to run an airline?' You bet it isn't.

While I don't think that biodiesel is a silver bullet, the thought does occur to me that if we put all of this effort and money in corn ethanol into sunflower or rapeseed biodiesel instead, we would have gotten a much better EROI and less distortion in the gasoline/diesel spread.

A coworker told me there was no shortage of oil. I reponded, "There is no shortage of drivers."

Khebab posted the Export Land Model in July of 2007:


It is based on the observation that oil exporting nations were increasing consumption of oil due to rising income levels after oil export profits. As their internal consumption rose and oil production remained level or declined, then oil available for importing nations to purchase entered a phase of short supply, i.e. shortages.

no shortage of drivers and no shortage of thirsty cars. what is going to happen with all those depreciating suv-s in america? will their owners have the money to sell it and buy a smaller car? will somebody buy their suv, even if it's up for sale?

seems to me that some people are haunted by their past decisions.

I'm think we will see the SUV for a long while yet. A rather solid phantom of our opera.

If one has the choice between an SUV priced, several thousand dollars less than the more efficient auto that one would prefer, that difference applied to the price of gasoline purchased could make the SUV the personal better buy.

Using an ecological 'better buy' view, considering the energy cost in producing that SUV as well as the energy to immediately replace it does it make sense to keep them running, and for how long? Maybe until they are replaced by public transit or that private transport mode, feet?

You know, many are big enough to be houses of a sort. As the conspicuous consumption types tend to go for the big house + big car package, perhaps they are just preparing backup.

Hey Dennis, good to see you are still alive.


Another factor besides depreciation is the length of auto loans has been going up. I don't have a source handy, but I read somewhere recently that the average is now around 6 years. With a six-year amortization, the buyer has to have put a lot of money down on the car for it EVER to be worth more than outstanding value of the loan.

Because of this, I suspect that a high percentage of car owners have negative equity in their cars. When you're talking about SUVs, you're talking about cars that were pretty expensive to start with, and are now depreciating at an accelerated rate. People aren't going to be able to afford to drive them. They aren't going to be able to afford to sell them, because the proceeds of the sale won't come close to paying off the loan. And they aren't going to be able to afford to service the loan for a vehicle that just sits in the driveway getting unused.

You'll see SUVs around for a long time and when gas gets really expensive they'll make for nice mini-buses. A Tahoe or Expedition seats 6 to 7 people in pretty decent comfort and will last alot longer on crappy roads than the smaller cars. Keep them under 55, and the mileage will surprise you. I would much rather car pool in Tahoe than drive a Prius. For those single trips, motorcycles do better than any car.

"We have a real problem right now with newer-model, high-dollar cars and gas guzzlers being reported stolen," Huddleston said. "Nothing is taken from them, but they're taken to a location and torched."

"The most common cars burned of late are SUVs, trucks and Escalades at an average of $13,000 loss each, he said."


I guess its obvious these are likely the acts of desperate owners trying to rid themselves of the responsibility of maintaining payments on illiquid investments that lost their utility.

illiquid investments that lost their utility virility.

LOL! former blinged-out, throbbing V8 chrome penis to a 'limp chimp'.

Alan, thanks for the better descriptor! It is SO appropriate - and funny!


This is actually a new service business in the U.S. - I recall reading that it's $200 - $300 to get your SUV stolen and burned. Of course the insurance company will turn over an SUV theft ending in this fashion to the police for an arson investigation ... there was a DailyKos diary about this, I think - guy got saddled with $26k and a very curious detective instead of getting free of his SUV.

My wife has a Volvo XC70 which she drives occasionally. Gas is about $30 every two weeks.

I would prefer to walk/telecommute/carpool or take public transit to work and keep a *real* car for pleasure driving. Nothing beats 4WD for driving in the winter plus Volvos have heated seats and mirrors. Great car.

I suspect that a high percentage of car owners have negative equity in their cars.

A car is not an investment, it's a durable good. Unless one pays a decent down payment, they have negative equity the minute they drive off the lot.

hey, not to worry... the Fed now takes junky auto loan as collateral at the TAF and other facility lending schticks. we'll just get them to pay for this fiasco!

It should be noted that a huge percentage of high priced cars and SUVs are leased.

I am retired and live on a farm. My main transportation is via 2 old rusty beatup 70's Chevy pickups. A 2 wheel drive and a 4 wheel drive. I only put 3-5k miles on a year at the most and a good part of that is in the summer when I drive my 60's VW (30+ MPG). So I don't really care if gas prices go to $10 per gallon - I'll still be driving my big pickups to haul stuff back and forth to town. At $10 gallon with the miles I drive I could never recoupe my investment in a new high milage car in my lifetime. People who drive relatively few miles per year are better off economically to keep their paid for SUV than to go out and spend a lot of money for a high milage new car.
If the price on the newer used pickups that get a little better milage drops down low enough then I might stepup to one of those.
There is a truck garden farm (large) down the road from me and they use 3/4 ton pickups to haul their produce to town and sell from the truck bed. They operate 6-10 of the 3/4 ton pickups - mostly older used ones and they only get used during the summer months when they are selling. A lot of those hauling to and selling at the farmers markets are also using the full size pickups to haul their produce.
When the farmers can not get or afford fuel for their full size pickups and the 18 wheel truckers hauling produce can't get or afford fuel then a lot of people in towns are going to starve - And that is not going to be very nice.
SUVs might have some market problems, but full size pickups for agriculture and construction will always be needed and in demand.
4x4 SUV's are also popular with the rural mail delivery carriers up here in the frozen north in the winter to get through the snow and ice on the rural roads.
When the State can no longer afford to pay for the salt to cover all the roads with it in the winter then 4x4 SUV's will be popular with a lot of people who have to travel on the outside of town roads in the winter.

Placing tongue firmly in cheek - "So all you City folks need to start walking more to make sure I have and can afford gas out here on the farm!"

You probably need a pickup.

It's the fat family next door that drives the fat kids 400 yards to school in a truck that is real problem. I've seen what crawls out of vehicles as I walk my daughter, in her wheel chair no less, to school. Unfortunately, it becomes clear why the need a truck. A car can't hold that much weight.

Small cars need re-design to cope with poorly maintained roads.
The old Citroen 2CV was designed with the appalling French post WW2 roads in mind, and coped superbly.
A modern 4WD version would do even better.

As people begin to grow their own food SUV's could be used for chicken coops.

In the first three months this year, used SUV sales dropped 8%, 8%, and 14%. New SUV sales have plunged 23%.


I just caught Robert Hirsch on MSNBC. He said: "It is essentially certain that world oil production has peaked." He also stated that as oil production fell, world GDP would fall at the same rate. The host asked: "What can we do to solve this problem?" Dr. Hirsch answered: "There is no silver bullet that will fix everything." As the segment ended the host reminded her audience that: "There are others who do not share the opinions of Dr. Hirsch." The subtle but unstated message in that line was: "Not to worry, there are experts who disagree so things cannot really be all that bad."

Ron Patterson

The GDP/oil production link is not that simple-it exists, but it is not as simple as that statement.

I agree. There are far too many interconnecting factors for it to be that simple. My guess is that GDP would drop slower than world oil production at first, then faster after a few years, especially if the decline in oil production goes over two percent per year. But the connections are far too complex to give anything but a guess.

Ron Patterson

On the face of it, it would seem that if oil declines without significant replacements, conservation that is also more efficient, and a concomitant rise in the industries around replacements, then the two curves will be pretty well correlated.



After the oil shock of 1979 people switched to smaller cars and demand dropped for awhile. More oil production increases occurred in the 80's.

Suppose that some people who were shocked when gasoline went to $3.50 have already cut back driving as much as possible and those who are shocked by $4.00 a gallon gas might begin cutting back. At the same time as many as a third of the population do not think that $4.00 is much money; more likely it is like a bit of small change. It is probable that the richest third of Americans use more fuel than the poorest third who are already cutting back as much as possible.

Airlines are cutting back the number of flights offered and may refuse to serve smaller airports where they cannot fill an entire plane with passengers to defray the cost of jet fuel. People were canceling driving vacations.

I listened to a recording of Ken Deffeyes' broadcast in Australia yesterday. Hubbert was right about the United States approaching peak oil when he made his prediction years before it happened. We are now facing a situation where world oil production will decline and it is as if nothing can stop it.

This year I switched to compact flourescent bulbs after picking up a package at the home improvement store. I read that installing two bulbs might save more than a hundred dollars worth of electricity over the life of the bulb. Any investment that returns more than ten fold in ten years is a good investment. There were enough people trying to sell energy solutions that will not give me a good rate of return.

This year I switched to compact flourescent bulbs after picking up a package at the home improvement store. I read that installing two bulbs might save more than a hundred dollars worth of electricity over the life of the bulb. Any investment that returns more than ten fold in ten years is a good investment. There were enough people trying to sell energy solutions that will not give me a good rate of return.

The only problem I have with CFLs is that the ones you tend to find are junk - the light quality is terrible (unless you like green hues to your lights), and they don't last very long.

I have found a very nice CFL in the Phillips Alto line. Home Depot only carries the dimmable version, so you pay a price premium on it (affecting the return on investment), but the light quality, once warmed up, is indistinguishable from an incandescent. I wish I could find the non-dimmable ones for my kitchen can lights, as at $11 a piece it adds up pretty quick.

I switched to CFL bulbs several years ago but now question the value of CFL in cool weather for those who heat with LP or electric space heaters like I do (when it is too warm to start up my corn stove). At LP's current price electricity is cheaper for me.

If one is using electricity to heat as I am now, does it make sense to try to save on lighting when the excess electricity use of old fashioned light bulbs helps to heat the house? We have many wind farms around here. Wind electricity is renewable.

Shouldn't I prefer a renewable form of energy over a fossil fuel which is more expensive and depleting? I think so.

It seems to me that in cool weather, old fashioned light bulbs are no worse than using small space heaters if the electricity is generated by wind.

Heating with Lightbulbs: A Bad Idea
As you can see, electric heat (light bulbs) is the most CO2- intensive heat source. The inefficiency stems mostly from the energy wasted in converting fossil fuel energy into electricity and then to heat, versus converting fossil fuel directly into heat.

So the next time someone tells you that incandescent light bulbs are okay for winter use, set him straight!

That is the general wisdom, however I would disagree.

I think that is more a case of: the next time an environmental science PhD gives an explanation of something, go and figure out the obvious flaws:

1] His critique involves where the electricity comes from. That is not under the management of most bulb users. It is up to the gov to decide where it comes from and legislate accordingly. Electricity could be 'greener' than other heating.

2] His critique while moving away from 'is it a good heater?' to energy sources ignores the lifespan of the cfl [which are way overstated in real world fittings], manufacturing costs, power factor in use, un-dim-ability, etc.

Rod Elliot is the only person I have seen who has analysed the comparison himself, and there are a hell of a lot of caveats:


For the record, in my Northern latitude, I have both in the cupboard. If a bulb blows after Easter, I would put a cfl in - cooler over summer [and hope it lasts longer]. If it blows after August, then an incandescent. Anything switched on/off a lot is a cheap filament bulb.

My suggestion is, if you need any odd type filament bulbs, find a cheap supplier [eg edison screws are overpriced in the UK] soon and stockpile what you will need.

And LEDS are as 'heat sensitive-vs-lifespan' as CFLs...

Odd, over the many years I have used CFLs, I have had 3 wear out and I have one that is at least 15 years old still going. It is the one of the two I use most often. A "slow on" CFL, good for when one awakes. All the CFLs are the more expensive makes.

All LEDs I have are still going, although nightlite one may be dimmer.

Best Hopes for Quality CFLs,


This is maybe a b.s. comment, but it is something I've had bouncing around my head for a little while thinking about ... everything discussed here.
There are a lot of economic transactions that contribute to GDP don't involve any significant expenditure of energy. Some people pay a lot of money to take dance classes, listen to musical performances, visit museums, receive private tutoring for calculus, have sex with prostitutes (sorry), etc,...

As energy and physical resources become scarcer, economic growth that depends on consumption of non-renewable items will no longer be sustainable ... but our modern economic system will still by inherent nature seek to expand. We will still need to buy and sell something just to keep the whole show running. Could we as a society adapt by substituting non resource consuming economic activity and save ourselves from collapse by buying and selling dance lessons, unforgettable musical performances, cultural knowledge, how to integrate, and (f...) ?

[I wouldn't mind living in such a world if I still had something to eat]

This has been debated elsewhere. The short answer is that there is no such thing as economic activity totally divorced from energy and resource use. Even "service" uses some resources directly: people drive to take those lessons or attend the concert, a building needs to be built/maintained/heated/cooled, etc etc. But more deeply, those who make their living selling those services then turn around and spend much of their earnings on energy-using essentials (and non-essentials). That economic arrangement is only possible due to the availability of cheap energy. Reduce the energy supply and people will either have to forego those services, or the service providers will need to accept lower pay. The latter means they can afford less energy and resources themselves. And it also means the GDP decreases, since it measures the amount of money transacted, not the service itself.

I can't find the link, but I'm sure it could be researched. Decades ago, business leaders were concerned because all of consumers basic needs were already met. The question was, how do we as businesses continue to grow richer as there is no longer any immediate incentive for increased consumption. The result is in large part the consumer oriented economy we have now along with the disparaging of traditional virtues of thrift and saving replaced by debt and consumption.
Just think of the Visa Freedom (i.e. slavery to debt) card. By world and historical standards the United States remains embarrassingly rich, the problem is this wealth does not belong to the citizens. A set of contractual obligations have been entered into whereby very very many, especially those with a "negative" net worth (what a terrible term) are for lack of a better term financially enslaved. When, in hard times, these financial obligations are defaulted on there is the risk of coercive force from the defaulted party often enacted through the state, and similar problems in nation to nation relations. The (non) Federal (no) Reserve(s) took the position of charging the rest of the country so far for the defaults in housing to repay the obligations to the banks (who own the Federal Reserve). Though with no similar bailout of affected citizens. If the nation becomes wholly impoverished this strategy likely won't work.

The danger of PO is very, very real. However, I am firmly convinced that any number of societal arrangements are possible that would, despite PO, provide people with essentials and a very high (better than now?) quality of life. I hate to be too Kunsterleseque as I don't entirely agree with him but the problem is the society as it is presently arranged will be hit by PO like a deer in the headlights.

But just think what previous generations would have done for the labor saving tools available to us. I have not done this yet, but i will state the problem, if each of us provides the close equivalent of our own food (not simply monetary equivalent), owns and maintains our own shelter, provides a close equivalent of the energy we use in transportation and socializing -i.e the ancient concept of self reliance, we are free.

2'nd the motion. I've been pumping self-reliance here for a while. It is a concept that is pushed down hard. Self-reliant people are not easy to control. Self reliance means "you" decide on your future. It isn't imposed on you by a fiat government or people who think they are your peers.

Self-reliance makes you dangerous.

Self-reliance makes you dangerous.

Yes. If you have solar and are part of a distributed grid - the utility looses control. Note also how the people pushing for fission power are not pimp'n the small nukes - they push the big plants. All about control.

I've posted this previously but Prof Goose advised me to post it again here:-
"Hi, this is my first post here but I've been following TOD for a year or so. Pardon my english as I'm not from an english speaking country.
I'm seeking views on global crude oil supply demand scenario from TOD'ers. I noticed that when people talk about global demand(future) or consumption(history) of crude oil, nobody really linked them to total global economical refining capacity (plus very small percentage for storage and direct burning in power plants). These are the direct consumers for C&C and not the people on the street.

What I'm trying to say is that as long as there's no new refining capacity additions, the C&C consumption/demand and thus supply will stay flat at maximum feasible refining utilisation(which is probably happening now as global capacity is about 87 mbd at 95% utilisation).

This is probably the reason global C&C consumption/supply being flat at around those numbers for the last two years or so. Not because supply already peaked. OPEC might be telling the truth when they say they are pumping up to demand. I know this will not however explain the current high prices.

It's only when new refining capacities coming up next year in India, China, Vietnam etc that the real party will start...."

Any views?

Art, if there were a shortage of refining capacity right now, then there would likely be a glut of oil waiting in storage. That glut would then drive prices down. That has not happened.

The price of crude oil is being bid up by people who want that crude. They would not bid so high if they had no use for the oil, that is, if they had no refining capacity left and could not refine the oil.

Also, a lack of refining capacity would increase the crack spread. That is, the difference between crude and the price of gasoline, diesel and fuel oil would be extremely high. But crack spreads right now are near their all time lows. I don't know what world refining utilization is running right now but a few months ago it was running at about 86%. Refinery utilization in the US is running at 87.9%, up from 85% just two weeks ago. Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data

Ron Patterson


About that non glut, are you considering in this any national hoarding that may be occurring?

CrystalRadio, there is not a glut of oil on the market! That is all that matters. If oil is kept in the ground, not produced, then that oil is not produced. You cannot possibly have a glut of oil that is not extracted! All that counts is oil that is available to buyers today.

Of course hording is probably happening and most definitely will get much worse. That will only exacerbate the Peak Oil problem, not mitigate it.

Ron Patterson

Shit man , just asking a question abou8ot that non glut! Doesn't it make a difference how much suck there is on the straw? No matter where it comes from if some guy buys a bunch of oil in the market and shoves it in the ground or up his ass isn't that reflected in the market? There is just that much less oil to be traded among the punters. So what is this about saying that I am saying that it isn't exacerbating the problem? Like I say, I just asked a question, you want to read things into it, that, I guess, is up to you!

And it's worth bearing in mind that every sustained 1%increase in US refinery utilisation requires a corresponding 175kbpd increase in crude oil throughput. If US refiners ramp up to 91% for any length of time over the summer, then they will be consuming an additional 1/2 million barrels of oil per day or so.

Whilst everyone keeps going on about Chinese and Indian demand being the driver of crude prices, the additional oil being used by US refiners as their utilisation rates increase seems to me, at least, to be the ACTUAL driver of the recent price run-up.

Thanks Darwinian for the reply. I did mentioned that refining bottleneck does not explain current crude oil high prices but it might explain FUTURE high prices as people view that crude supply will struggle to meet future refining capacity. There's no glut of crude waiting now, cause OPEC is pumping only up to demand(by refiners). Refiners rarely buy crude on spot so there's not much bidding. Most purchases are lock on yearly basis with floating prices. At least that's how crude traded East of Suez. Low crack spread might be the reason refiners not pushing above 90%. Fuel prices need to go higher for them to crank up more. I still think it's too early to say C&C supply now peaked until refiners start improving their utlilisation rates and most importantly once new refineries jump in. Then the acid test starts.

There's no glut of crude waiting now, cause OPEC is pumping only up to demand(by refiners).

That is a highly debatable conclusion. The general consensus is that only Saudi has any spare capacity, that all other OPEC nations are pumping flat out. Most people here at TOD believe that if Saudi does have any spare capacity, it is all very heavy sour that no one wants. As for myself I saw their increase of 300,000 barrels per day in early May as an attempt to get more revenue by pumping every barrel they possibly can.

OPEC, for all practical purposes, is dead. They are dead because they cannot increase production at a time when the world is desperately short of oil. I realize this point is debatable but I think there is considerable evidence to support it.

Refiners rarely buy crude on spot so there's not much bidding.

When I say bidding, I do not mean bidding as if it were an auction. Oil exporters negotiate with importers for every tanker load. Crude Oil Estimated Contract Prices change almost daily based on bids in all the world's oil markets. In short, the price of oil depends on the settlement of what the seller will accept and the buyer will offer. That is a form of bidding.

I still think it's too early to say C&C supply now peaked until refiners start improving their utlilisation rates and most importantly once new refineries jump in. Then the acid test starts.

I do not understand that reasoning at all. Low refinery utilization is a sure sign that refineries cannot get enough oil. How can they possibly increase their utilization if they cannot get enough oil to utilize? New refineries are being built primarily by oil exporting nations. There are several reasons they are doing this. They want a bigger piece of the action, they need more refined products for domestic consumption and do not like importing gasoline or diesel, and they are building refineries that will handle the heavy sour stuff that they are only selling at a heavy discount right now. At any rate, increasing refinery capacity will not automatically bring more oil to the market.

I agree with Dr. Robert Hirsch who stated, this morning, on MSNBC: "It is essentially certain that world oil production has peaked."

Ron Patterson

In the US, refinery utilization has generally trended down in recent months. You can find information at the EIA web site in its weekly reports. It has recently been 85-86%, though it was up to 87.9% in the most recent report (possibly refiners gearing up for the Memorial Day holiday, the traditional start of the driving season).

Lots of countries have been building refineries in recent years. I believe there is a global glut of refining capacity, at least of refineries capable of processing light sweet crude, which is why US refinery utilization is down. There is probably still a shortage of refineries capable of cracking heavy sour crude, however.

So I think the idea that production is flat because there are not enough refinery capacity is fundamentally incorrect. If it were true, refined products would be expensive, but oil would be cheap. Supply & demand set prices. Over-utilized refiners would require less oil, so that would tend to drive oil down. On the other hand, because they are producing as much as they could, there would be unmet demand for finished products, which would cause prices of those to rise.

In other words, a refinery bottleneck would produce wide crack spreads. We're seeing extremely narrow crack spreads, which implies an excess of refinery capacity.

Crikey! There's (only?) 2.5 mb/d of refinery capacity... Actually, that's probably just about enough. I suppose it's possible we'll go over 90mb/d, but I'm doubtful... And from posts here I know refineries are being built as we speak, so...

In the end it won't likely be about refining capacity.

Perhaps the question is, considering the stories out of Iran and possible reasons they aren't/can't sell their heavy oil, how much of what types of refining capacity?


I believe there is a global glut of refining capacity, at least of refineries capable of processing light sweet crude

I agree, especially in importing countries, where we are probably not too far away from seeing some refineries beginning to shut down.

I agree, especially in importing countries

I was about to write the same thing. A global glut, but in the U.S., we don't have nearly enough refining capacity to meet our demands. That's fine, as long as the gasoline imports keep flowing...

Wouldn't that make more sense in the long run ??

I would expect the ME and other crude exporters to
invest in local ( to the source of crude ) refineries
to both supply their domestic markets with gasoline and
diesel etc and for export .. Any statistics on the ratio
of crude exports to finished product exports worldwide
over time ??

Triff ..

Saudia Arabia is in the early steps of building refineries now. They have figured out that they can make more money if they export finished products.

If you want a glimpse into what the Government might do when this PO thing doesn’t just go away check this out. Not that I think that it can happen.

This is just a section of his presentation, which is a very techoncopian, maintain BAU, dream. Plugin cars, biofuels, etc.

Sen.Lamar Alexander on a Clean Energy Manhattan Project


"Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander outlines his proposed new Manhattan Project, a five year project that puts America on the path to clean energy independence."

James Woolsey, the former CIA director, is also a big proponent of plug-in hybrids. Actually, I think the idea makes a lot of sense.

I don't see the need (as yet) for a "new Manhattan project". The senator making this pitch, coincidentally, happens to be from Tennessee which is where the new Manhattan project would take place. Recently, I watched a video from some senator in a western state wanting a big Federal program for oil shale - (BTW Shell didn't renew some oil shale leases because they don't think it is practical). And let's not forget all the subsidies for ethanol and "clean coal".

A few years ago, I watched a televised debate in Quebec about exporting electricity to the US (I grew up in Quebec and speak fluent French). There was a Hydro-Quebec engineer who basically said that it was impossible at the moment. From memory, what he said was:

"... in Quebec, our distribution system is like a series of super-highways. But as soon as you get to the US border, it's like a bunch of country roads."

AFIK, there are still plenty of undeveloped sites in northern Quebec and Labrador that can produce cheap reliable hydro power. Forget the Manhattan project and build some decent transmission lines.

Wanderings and trivia:

I returned to my farm in Kentucky while the dogwoods were still in bloom. I had recovered fully from the removal of the cancer on my kidney and left two months afterwards when my wife had recovered from her triple heart bypass(the reason for my two month stay in N. Carolina).

It was fine to be leaving the land of the walking dead wherein one occasionally caught a glimpse of the four horseman,grooming their mounts and getting their tack in good order. I knew they would be riding soon for the resident of that area, encompassing Raleigh and the huge sprawl of Cary were emotionally dead already.

I caught a glimpse when I stopped to buy a doughnut and the price was somewhere around $1.50 each. To put my 90 yr old mom in a nursing home would cost about $13,000 per month, to hire a day sitter for 8 hr/day and 5 days a week would be in the neighborhood of close to $5,000.....the zombies on the outer and inner belts were still consuming everything in sight that wasn't nailed down.

The Mexicans boyz realized that indeed the streets were paved with gold (I worked with a crew of tree service for a few weeks)as they stood on the streets in awe of the massive and expensive autos rolled by,the high wages they were being paid and all the rest of the unreal day to day conspicious consuming yuppies of every variety and ilk.

Yes,great to be back on the farm and starting my garden late though it be. Were the culture is far far different and the gas prices hurt far more yet commodities are still affordable.

Everyone was leaving the Raleigh area right after my departure. My son to Palm Beach and my wife to Illinois. Both upcoming death camps for sure.

I have no internet access except what I get from the farm shop where I do some ocassional work such as right now. So I won't be bothering the flow of info here on TOD much anymore. I figure the net won't be around that much longer anyway,yet I will use it when I can til it goes tits-up.

BTW my screening test come back clear and so perhaps I will be living during the upcoming apocalypse anyway. Today my plans are plant some more beans(green and otherwise) and go do a little flying in a friends aircraft.

I have not followed TOD at all since my surgery until just recently but the commmentary is as usual. Highly readable and right on the mark. Good work by all.


PS. Their is a huge abundant bloom of wild blackberries in this area. My blueberry shrub is heavily loaded. The drought is over and lots of timber is being cut and burned to increase crop acreage. Some are putting in huge huge grain bins. Big enough to hold a couple million dollars easily in corn or soybeans. The farmers are loving it but they are nervous and know something is coming they can't seem to get a handle on.Everyone is very worried. Gas just hit over $4/gal here bouts. I am learning how to make tortillas , grinding the corn etc.

Oh yes and to date I have not seen a single honey bee. No where. Not even on the white clover thats blooming. I think its getting worse than ever for them. I did get a little fruit set on my trees but not much. I saw one wood bee buzzing around the few late blooms when I came home last month. People are trying to give away horses they had as pets. Everyone is cutting hay like mad and rolling it in plastic.

Life goes on,for a while at least.

Good to hear from you Airdale. Glad you are doing well. Things do seem to be heating up a bit and should be interesting for us old geezers to watch. Peace be upon you.

Hey, AD, welcome back, no matter how briefly. Glad to hear your treatment is thus far successful.
Illegitimi non carborundum.



Hey, glad you made it back home. You know, a lot of people don't understand about a sense of place where we're supposed to be.

Our spring was the pits; it got nice and warm and everything began to bloom and then, ZAP!, down into the low 20's. The fruit trees look pretty good but with little fruit and the grapes were darn near killed. At least we have bees.


ZAP!, down into the low 20's."

You should have added it was close to 100 last week and it is a cold rain today.

Don't come off your hill for a while. The world is looking ugly.

Hi Mike,

Yea, we also planted all of our tomatoes and squash plants, seeded bush and pole beans, sweet corn, et. al. when it was hot. Then this past Thursday morning it was down to 30 degrees with frost on the roof and none of it was protected. Amazingly, it all came through OK (even some stevia seedlings) but we've started to cover everything since then. The only things I have left to plant is some quinoa and native corn. What a year!

I'm glad to stay on the hill but I do go to town twice a week for the mail. I wish to heck people understood what is coming down. I have never been so concerned.


even some stevia seedlings

Suggestions for how to start these?


I tried growing stevia from seed a few years ago without success. This year we bought plants from Nichols Garden Nursery. They have a web site although I forget the URL. It was about $10 per plant including shipping.

According to the books we have on stevia, it is easy to root. Also, the plants die if they are allowed to bloom so you have to remove any blooms. I'll probably take cuttings this fall in just case.


PS for those who don't know, stevia leaves are used as a sweetener.

"I wish to heck people understood what is coming down. I have never been so concerned."
You have that right. It's scary.


Just wait til this winter. They barely made it through this last winter in the north-east. How the heck are most of them going to be able to afford to heat their homes all winter? I'm surprised there isn't more of an exodus to the southern states in evidence. I'm afraid we may see a significant death toll, especially if there is a harsh winter.

I'm afraid we may see a significant death toll, especially if there is a harsh winter.

How will many homes and people survive a week in many large cities when the power is off for a week in -40 deg weather?

How about if the pressure "goes away" in the nat. gas pipeline(s)?

Welcome back, Airdale. Though we are half a world away, be assured that TODers in Australia are glad to hear that you are out of hospital and back home. Long may you flourish.

Glad to hear about your improvements .

Hope you have time/inclination to continue updates here on the
observations of nature in your neck of the country.

Heya, Airdale. Glad to hear about your cancer prognosis. I live in PA, just outside the suburbs, and your comments apply to here as well, of course.

Since I moved back to PA in 2001, I have seen exactly 2 honey bees, doubtless from a commercial hive somewhere. Last fall I planted two very young fruit trees, a peach and an apple. To my great surprise they exploded in full bloom this year, and are now loaded with fruit. Some branches that are little more than twigs have 3 or 4 pieces of fruit on them. These are very ambitious trees to think they can hold that much heavy fruit. I'll have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don't damage themselves as the fruit grows. I did not expect them to produce for several years. I take it as a good omen.

I attribute most of it to the bumblebees, though I suppose butterflies and humming birds contribute too. I'm loaded with bumblbees. In true Darwinian form, they seem to be exanding to occupy the niche left vacant by the honey bees. In a way I prefer them to honey bees. Honey bees look too much like yellow jackets at a casual glance, which I have all-to-many of.

Inspired by my success, I planted 2 more apple trees this spring. In the fall, I'll put in 2 or 3 more, probably another apple or two, and maybe a pear.

I'm going to have an issue with deer, at least until the trees get bigger. In particular, there is a fawn who has been sampling the apple trees. She isn't eating the fruit, just munching on branches & leaves. I expect she'll grow out of it. But I also expect she & her family will be back for the fruit later in the summer.

Good to see you back, take care.


Ditto from me too. Flog this blog anytime you want Airedale!

So what took you so long, can't start the apocalypse without you.

Glad about your negative results. On that ,to maybe get a bit of wind up around here, I was chatting with my Dr. the other day and I don't know if he was smoking something at the time but he made mention that the PSA was a jolly good test as there was a 65% cancer of the prostate incidence in chaps my age. Now considering the demographics around here that should get a bit of a breeze up:)

About bees, well for the first time (almost a third time loser) my bees made it through winter and in a very strong condition. Been out checking the trees this morning and their effect has been quite salutary especially on the pear trees which previously haven't borne particularly well. As well as the bees I have gotten a hold of a few ducks and a drake, well maybe more than one drake as 5 of my flock of 7 are unsexed and I await the outcome. The one duck, laying, is a Khkai Campbell and is giving an egg a day. If I end up heavy in ducks I am not sure what I will do with all the eggs but I guess problems like that tend to sort themselves out,eh?

Good to see you on site again and have fun on that farm of yours, remember in these days of the apocalypse one still has only one life to live and I always figure it is better to live it as a fun loving maniac, or even better as a fun loving blond maniac. (imagine you as having very dark hair and, if so, don't worry as hydrogen peroxide, for the nonce, is still only a drug store away;)

Glad to see you back! Alanfrombigeasy had you written off as dead. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3762. Everything is growing great, too great in the case of the weeds, poison ivy, and brambles.

I had recovered fully from the removal of the cancer on my kidney and left two months afterwards when my wife had recovered from her triple heart bypass(the reason for my two month stay in N. Carolina).

Hey guy, good to hear from you. I have often wondered how you were coming along. Good to hear that things are looking up.

Hey guyz(and galz) thanks for the welcome backs and thoughts.

Ifn I do ever get back on full time then we can once more agree to disagree and talk of many things ,,but all in the realm of friendship and brotherhood and preparedness for the future.

My dire predictions is that soon the anger will set in and real pain will begin, then chaos will start to reign. Hope everyone is clued in here and ready.

I still at 69 yrs of age take no meds and except for the one surgery thats it for all of my life so far. I am a believer in eating garden food and canned goods from there. Just finished two more rows of peas and beans.
They are real easy to store dried and I eat more than my share of them. Mississippi Pinkeye Purple-hulled peas, Navy beans and next Great Northern. Tomatoes are Heirloom and Rutgers. I will save lots of seed this fall. White Hickory and Truckers Favorite for my open pollen corn varieties. Still have lots of last years crop on the ear.

Airdale-will be reading the postings ,time permitting but not posting much due to garden chores and a lot more.

Hey hey Airdale! Here's to ya!

How are the lads, the terriers doing?

I hope now and again you can feel the sun on your skin and and say "yeah, life is good".


I thank God (and modern medicine) that you're doing well. I've thought of you many times as I sat on my little tractor trying a disc harrow for the first time in my life. Have you thought of writing a blog? I'd love to pick your brain for advice, but this isn't the place for it. Welcome back!


Good to hear from you.

This is looking like a bumper crop year for blackcap raspberries around here, too - I'm seeing brambles in bloom everywhere, including places where I've not seen them before. My apple and peach trees are loaded, too, they came through that late frost OK. It almost seems like nature is making up for last year's killing forst. My new beehive is busy, though they seem more interested in things on my neighbor's property than my own - the carpenter bees seemed to do most of the work of pollenating my fruit trees.

The big change I'm seeing around here wrt motor fuel prices is that lots more people are driving scooters. They are flying out the dealer's door, they are everywhere on the road, and there are articles about them in the local paper. I think that at least in the short-term, scooters are a "winner".

Meanwhile, I've started commuting to work on foot, 1.7 miles each way. Good exercise, need to drop some excess weight, costs nothing. Only one around here yet to walk to work, as far as I can tell. Very few cyclists, either, except for the after-school kids on mountain bikes and a few thirtysomethings all decked out like they were in the Tour de France, all of which have always been around here.

The big shoe I'm waiting to see drop: when will the airlines give up entirely on the Asheville airport, and when will tourists decide that gasoline costs too much for the drive to WNC for their vacation? Without direct Amtrak service, that will hit our local economy very, very hard when it comes. Meanwhile, construction continues on the retirement communities and condos and hotels that will all end up as vacant blights on the landscape.

Good exercise, need to drop some excess weight, costs nothing.


My cobbler and I are on a first name basis, There is an outside chance that I will spend more on shoe repair than diesel this year.

Walking is not quite as free as you think !

Best Hopes for Cobblers,


It is if you don't wear shoes!


Welcome to the land of the cancer survivor. There are many of us in that land and we've had our own individual existence tested in ways that many have not. I wish you a long life and a quiet peaceful death surrounded by those you love, which is the most that any of us can really hope to have.

I am not in the habit of predicting dates and such but things do seem to be starting to push the limits. The assumption of too many is that because things were moving one way for so long they will stay moving that way, either a little faster or little slower. But reality has a way of throwing tipping points in the way of apparently smooth curves. I fear a tipping point comes in the next few years here. My major concern is the economy, as we currently have at least 76 major banks with bad "Texas ratios", a precursor sign of financial collapse for a bank.

My own plantings are much expanded over last year but still not enough, I fear. However my grandchildren are learning about growing beans and other plants and about dealing with pests (like ants in my brussel sprouts and carrots) without destroying the viability of the soil at the same time. I'm even dabbling in strawberries this year, against the advice of some friends who say they tend to be more trouble than they are worth.

Life will go on, in some form, for someone.

Just found this long essay on The Agonist, via Eschaton - a snippet:

Fire is one of the defining differences between human beings and virtually every other animal. Fire has been tended for tens of thousands of years, and the ability to make fire part of the tool kit [changes] how people think and act. It can be argued that we are able to think ahead for three primary reasons: to predict people, to predict the movements of animals, and to predict fire.

But economically, the age of combustion truly began when we could, with greater and greater ability, convert combustion into mechanical work...

I haven't noticed this essay mentioned in the past few DrumBeats, so read the whole thing. This is my first attempted use of embedded links, so here's the essay link again in case I've screwed it up...


(Edited after testing - Eschaton's top article right now is about urban mass transit - Atrios, the proprietor, is an economist as well as a primo snarkmeister)

The lead comment: the world is fine today! From the perspective of the world, yes. From the perspective of individual human beings, perhaps not.

Peak oil is a looming challenge of unprecedented magnitude for humanity. But it is only one of many linked challenges that must be tackled concurrently. I am starting a series of blog posts that will explore how the various challenges interrelate and how to consider the kinds of changes that will actually help the greatest number for the longest time.

The current blog kicks off with at question: What will the world be like in 20 years (and beyond)?

Question Everything


Hello TODers,

The Hungry Planet
Is fertilizer the 'Most important business on Earth?'
IMO, potable water is first, then the combo of seeds & NPK is an extremely close second on the hierarchy of vital needs. Recall that we are evolved to enjoy the nightly darkness, but not starvation.

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

Angry protests as Indonesia hikes fuel prices

JAKARTA - Angry students hurled molotov cocktails at police after Indonesia hiked the cost of gasoline by 33 percent Saturday to rein in subsidies that are exploding along with world oil prices.

More than 100 protesters were arrested as students burned tires and threw homemade fire-bombs outside the National University in Jakarta in response to the midnight price hike, police said.

- How did they mark peak oil grandad?

- threw petrol over each other and set fire to ICE components ...


Hello Leanan,

They are not students, they are just punks.

If they were studying books like Simmons 'Twilight in the Desert', or Heinberg's 'Powerdown', or equivalent websites like EB & TOD--then the very last thing they would want to do is riot, burn, loot, and pillage.

For miniscule expenditure by govts on Peak Outreach--it can save billions in infrastructure from damage and/or destruction so that these goods can be re-utilized, in some fashion, for the Paradigm Shift.

Very evident in Switz. and France.

Even legit. allowed, ‘demos’ by e.g. Unions or other ‘proper’ bodies, such as State employees, doing the usual slow-down and marching thing, in their (eg) white uniforms covered in symbolic blood, become infested by gangsters, opportunists, criminals.

The demonstraters or protesters are easy game, for theft - cash, mobile phones, clothes, bankcards, and gratuitous violence, intimidation, semi-sexual assault.

In the confusion, who knows what goes on, and one might escape capture, and if caught, argue muddle-headed ideology, the heat of the moment, and so on.

The police thus end up having to protect the demonstraters...

You're not doing the drumbeats anymore?

Contrary to popular belief, I do have a life away from the computer. ;-) I'm on the road for a couple of weeks, and my schedule does not allow me to put up the DrumBeats at the usual time. I thought it would be better to have the Threadbot do it than keep people waiting.

I am still around, and still moderating the DrumBeats. (This means you, Wharf Rat.) I will be back to doing the DrumBeats in a week or so.

No Problem,

Enjoy your life :-)

I'd forgotten about this thing. Eons ago Greenpeace, as a kind of f*&k you! to automakers, took a bone stock Renault Twingo and doubled it's fuel efficiency.


I also ran across this site this morning describing some interesting mods made to a Honda Insight...including a drop down electric fifth wheel. Potential development of hybrid hitch-mounted fifth wheel for any vehicle with a hitch.


And since I seem to be on a technocopian binge this morning here are some perennial favorites:

Loremo: http://evolution.loremo.com/
VW 1 Liter: http://www.seriouswheels.com/cars/top-vw-1-liter-car.htm

The homebrew EV crowd at work - EVAlbum: http://www.evalbum.com/

What do you do when you're post WWII Europe? Microcars: http://microcarmuseum.com/

The defunct Corbin Sparrow (http://www.corbinsparrow.com/) reborn as Myers Motors NMG: http://www.myersmotors.com/ ($36,000 - cripes!)

I have 2 EVs and I feel that this is the direction to move to

http://www.greenvehicles.com/ 3 wheels ... highway ready

Here's another interesting 'solution' which creates a plug-in hybrid as a bolt on to any existing vehicle.
They are producing a kit which sells for $3300. including LA batteries for 72v and a LiPo set coming.
What's kind of slick about the concept is that it also creates a mild 4WD on a formerly FWD vehicle. Could be moved from one vehicle to another. 15 hp is enough to 'cruise' a small car or aero-trike.
Not a silver bullet but maybe a copper BB. Many things will be tried but BAU it will not be.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a blog about electric cars. The author, Ricardo Parker, is getting kinda doomerish.

Electric Cars - A Pipe Dream?

I've also done some soul-searching during this time. I have lost some enthusiasm for electric cars. I fear electric vehicles are too little too late. The world is changing very fast, especially life in the US. We have done so little in the US to prepare for a post-Peak Oil world. Of all developed countries the US is probably the least prepared for a decline of energy, and our economy is heavily dependent on fossil-fuels. I'm afraid population simply cannot adapt to a rapidly changing environment. All that has happened with ever-increasing gas prices, airlines merging or going out of business, inflation and increase in food prices - this was all predicted by many people many years ago and by some reputable oil industry experts such as Colin Campbell even over a decade ago.

I am afraid the reality is that the whole American way of life (that everyone in the world, so to speak, is striving to achieve) is based on resources that we don't have - resources that should have been left for future generations. As far as oil is concerned, two-thirds of the oil we consume in the US is imported. Even after the oil embargo of the 70's America has increased internal consumption while US oil production has steadily decreased. This situation is so out of control that I'm afraid Electric Vehicles simply cannot save us - it feels as if everyone knows what is going on and we're going to drive our cars and burn gasoline until the last minute when our economy collapses.

The author, Ricardo Parker, is getting kinda doomerish.

You mean getting kind of realistic. ;)

what no comment about james kunstler's opinion piece "wake up america, we're driving towards disaster?" in tomorrow's washington post?

You mean this one?

Wake Up, America. We're Driving Toward Disaster.

It's a holiday weekend here in the US. Probably be kind of quiet here the next couple of days.

its very impressive to see him go from being called a doomer/conspiracy theorist to one of america leading papers in such a brief time.

as i wrote in yesterday's drumbeat an end game, one that's going to be quite unpleasant, is in sight.

its very impressive to see him go from being called a doomer/conspiracy theorist to one of america leading papers in such a brief time.

A couple of us PO doomers realists were celebrating the other day how mainstream and normal we have become all of a sudden.

Generally for me, JHK as a bit too doomerish. But I liked this article and particularly the end paragraph:

We don't have time to be crybabies about this. The talk on the presidential campaign trail about "hope" has its purpose. We cannot afford to remain befuddled and demoralized. But we must understand that hope is not something applied externally. Real hope resides within us. We generate it -- by proving that we are competent, earnest individuals who can discern between wishing and doing, who don't figure on getting something for nothing and who can be honest about the way the universe really works.

a nice concise article by JHK in his inimitable style (kudos, sir, if you're scanning today).

but what's the deal with it being in the "religion" section?

$135 and rising ... has cheap oil gone for ever?

Graham Turner, of London-based consultancy GFC Economics, said: "Oil prices are on a moon-shoot, with peak oil and a global shortage taking centre stage. Many of the concerns about long term supplies are valid and it is impossible to know how far prices will climb in the coming weeks and months. However, if calls for $150 per barrel are realised by the summer, it will do little to help a world economy struggling with a slide in housing markets across much of the industrialised west."

...If the peak oil theories are right, the market frenzy seen this week is likely to return even if prices drop back temporarily when the bubble bursts. "Because the price of oil is particularly vulnerable to global events, it will always be volatile, displaying peaks and troughs like a hospital monitor tracking an irregular heartbeat," said Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation.

"What's different today is that there is no way back compared to the price hikes of the 1970s. There are no 'swing producers' to fill the gap. Even the more conservative estimates for the global peak of oil production give us little more than a decade before supplies plateau and begin a long decline."

Now we face the £6 fish supper

SCOTLAND's favourite dish, the fish supper, is set to soar in price by up to 50 per cent because of rising fuel prices, food industry leaders have claimed.

A fish supper is likely to cost about £6 this time next year – the current average is about £4.50. Experts also warn that other food prices will continue to rise, including staples such as bread, butter and milk.

If bread prices increase at the same rate as in the past year, an average wholemeal loaf will cost £1.40 by this time next year.

Analysts say the rise in food prices is partly due to the soaring price of fuel, and also to increased worldwide demand for dairy products, poor wheat production after last year's floods and loss of land to biofuels.

If these food cost increases are weighted towards being fuel related, why have airline tickets not risen in price as much as the price of wholesale grains?

Is the high price of wheat in Pakistan due to increased fuel prices or decreased wheat output combined with very low worldwide stocks combined with North American plans to continue to increase biofuels production at the expense of the amount of grain available for export to world markets.

If you take grain out of the food account to increase the energy account, you have not solved all of the world's problems. The energy yield of corn is low and its food value is high. When an ethanol company recently reported they were earning a nickle on every gallon of ethanol they produced and the ethanol subsidy was about fifty cents then they were actually losing about forty five cents that the tax payer had to pay. The net effect of the 45 cent loss was that their food prices increased.

Thanks to Wildster for their comment regarding the All Parliamentry Group on Peak Oil.
I just went along to their web site and was very pleased to see the TOD's RSS feed is included on the main page.

Congratulations to all at TOD. Not just for having made it onto the UK government's radar, but also for having built up and maintained the resource.
Let's hope they spend some time reading previous posts .. and then act !


The idea that UK is having an “All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil” comes across to me in an obscure fashion. In one way it is simply fantastic ……… they are PO-aware (!) and that in turn will render discussion, proposals and ultimately political solutions to the challenge - which in turn will be advanced, voted over and implemented…
But no, nothing , not even a whisper on the subject – dead silence in MSM from their side. (at least that’s my impression) . Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will be mentioned alongside Neville Chamberlain in future history books – eyes wide shut - my guess. But never forget, the voters got exactly what they asked for – period -

I never post, but do a lot of lurking on here...

If you can believe this, my wife actually testified on the stand that one of the reasons I am mentally unstable is that I believe in Peak Oil (she and I are getting a divorce and she is trying to get the kids by proving I am a lunatic, although I've seen a counselor 3 times total in my 45 year lifetime).

Anyway, I'm sure no one can top this story, and it is the absolute truth!

I hope that $131 oil will help your case.

Another silver lining :-)


Post: LOL-you should post more-your stuff is hilarious. Good luck with the divorce.

Best of luck and hold fast. Refusing to pander to the mainstream can be costly in terms of loss of Brownie points, and in a bitter divorce, convention and so on will always win out. Judges have little choice. Anything can be a black mark.

Peak oil ‘belief’ is a minor sin compared to drugs and pedophilia...fight back.

Yes I can believe you postoak99, sorry for your situation.
Po is not for the fainthearted even though it is part of the nature we all live in, strange isn’t it? It’s as easy to understand as night follows day, given you understand what fossils are of course…

I recommend you the fresh animation-movie “Horton Hears a Who!” it is hilarious, it will cheer you up ! One day, Horton the elephant hears a cry for help coming from a speck of dust. Even though he can't see anyone on the speck, he decides to help it.......

There are some brilliant PO denial parallels and moral in it as well along the lines of “if you can’t see, hear or feel it, IT’S not there “….. Storyline and 3d-craftsmanship is at their respective Peaks … http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451079/

postoak99- It is a very difficult balancing act that I do with my friends and loved ones. I have been called insane as well. I always replay "crazy is the new sane". With the recent events of the run up in prices, airlines going BK and that famine outbreak helped my credibility with my family, since I predicted them a year ago. They are starting to listen. Sorry about your situation. Cheers

postoak, for what it's worth:

I took my ex-wife to see "An Inconvenient Truth". Walking out of the theater, she said to me "For twenty years I thought you were a fooking raving lunatic".

You will be vindicated, and it probably won't take so long...

Errol in Miami

Wow. Now, if you could only get a judge to be able to provide a retro-active payment to you if you are right.

In oil.

Hi all.

I am wondering what people think of this idea as a potential way of easing oil consumption internationally. That is simply to implement a UN mandated upper speed limit just as Carter did in the 70s. I realize there was a lot of public resistance back then and there probably would right now as well. But as prices get higher and higher I would think people may start to agree with the idea. In fact I can imagine people getting quite upset with others that break such a speed limit. How much consumption would be saved by a 50 or 55 mph limit world wide? I also don't see why this would be particularly hard to negotiate at the international level as the crisis deepens.


I think I'll have to repair my speedometer.

Amen. I'm all for a reduction in the speed limit. However, anything that is UN-mandated is likely to get the right-wing paranoids into a tizzy. If enough people start hypermiling on their own, the defacto speed limits may come down anyway due to a bottlenecking effect. Of course, road rage against hypermilers may be a problem.

get the right-wing paranoids into a tizzy.

Yes. To get an idea as to how that will work out, read about 'adjenda 21' as an example. Or watershed monitoring/water table monitoring in the west.

Hah! A little reverse psychology should help (and, in the medium term, reduce the numbers ;0)

The UN should demand that everyone drives as fast as possible (on the spurious grounds that driving faster = arriving sooner, leading to less traffic) Maybe even have tax incentives for those who can average more than 140mph!

Of course, once individuals have bankrupted themselves buying a car capable of well over 140mph (in order to get to the average), they soon won't be in a position to drive anywhere.

Also, some of those that do will succumb to darwin award-esque annhiliation...

Sarconol running freely ;-)


I guess questioning why cars which can travel 100 mph in excess of the speed limit are street legal is too politically incorrect.

As a political matter, you gotta be kidding, right? For whatever good works the UN may do, it's also a cesspit of corruption. If it is seen as micromanaging Americans' lives, look out for the political fallout, because it will come on thick, fast, and radioactive.

As a practical matter, IMO, it would only reduce consumption a tiny bit - maybe offsetting a few months' demand growth. In some countries, like Japan, there is little opportunity to go faster than 55 anyhow; the roads are well-maintained, but, for example, the speed limit on Tokyo-area expressways is mostly 38mph (60kph), and out in the sticks I think it got up to 49mph (80kph). And in less-developed countries, many roads are in too poor shape to drive even that fast.

And even in the US, I get the chance to go faster than 55 for maybe 15% of my miles. In rural areas it's different, but few live there. For most, the big issue will be congestion, stop-and-go city and commuter traffic at 15-30mph. As Matthew Simmons points out, that's the real mileage killer (though hybrid cars will help if they ever come down out of the price range of show-offish yuppie bling.) Maybe the irony is that a low global speed limit would hit self-righteous Europeans the hardest. For the most part they did not reduce their 75-80 and even 85mph (120-130-140kph) motorway speed limits in the 1970s; visiting Europeans thought it hilarious that rural Americans with huge distances to cover wasted such immense amounts of time crawling along at 55 under Jimmy Carter, just to garner insignificant oil savings.

In any case the fuel reduction effect of a speed limit could be achieved by putting a bit of extra air in tour tyres. Polititians love pointless gestures.

Why stop there? You can get even better results enforcing a maximum home heating limit. They could drive around with infrared thermometers, handing out fines to people who keep a house too warm.

If that isn't enough conservation, perhaps the program could be expanded to cover food as well, with over-eating being punishable by reduced rations.

My wife swims in the morning and the locker room talk this morning was about the Time mag article. Apparently, it covered everything, economic collapse, AGW, PO.

All ages of women. All talked about what they could give up or cut back on.

Younger one in her 30’s. (well that’s young to me) said “it’s all really scary to me”.

The room got silent then one of the older gals said that that was enough of this intelligent discussion this early in the morning.

Not sure if anyone else has posted it... but the link IHT article at the top of the drumbeat is "not found"... looks like the URL changed.

You can see it here:


Zzz ...

"This techno-futurist, hipster-libertarian, self-consciously contrarian shtick was fresh and interesting ... back in 1996, when Wired was founded. Since then, it has congealed into a set of knee-jerk mannerisms and affectations. It has lost its edge. At this point it just makes me yawn."

A critique of Tired (er Wired) magazine, and the clueless yuppies who read it.

Bombing Iran: The Clamor Persists

But those expressing caution and skepticism in Washington are not the only voices the commander in chief of U.S. armed forces is hearing. In Israel, from which President Bush recently returned, one doesn't have to go far to find deep, existential concern. "A military option is not a good option," for dealing with Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, a senior Israeli official told TIME on the sidelines of one of Bush's meetings, "But there's only one thing worse than that, which is Iran going nuclear."

Those outside the Israeli government express even greater urgency. "I'm worried that by November it's going to be too late," to stop Iran from gaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons, said Yossi Kuperwasser, the former senior intelligence officer for the Central Command of the Israeli Defense. On military action against nuclear sites in Iran, he said, "Just do it. For Christ's sake, do it and solve our problem."

Do it for Christ's sake?

No he's worried that by NOVEMBER there re going to no nutcases in power that will listen to him.

Folks, just a reminder or two...

1. TOD is on twitter now with our RSS feed: http://twitter.com/theoildrum. If you are a tweeter, erm twitterer, erm, give us a follow...and tweet your friends about our posts now and again.

2. If you have a blog, or are a member of a messageboard, or play at a link farm like metafilter or anything else, the more you plant links to our stuff, the more eyes it gets...it's that simple. Every little bit helps.

3. Tell your friends, tell the people you don't like. :) We're all doing this for free, and we really do need and appreciate your support. That and "doing good" is what keeps us all going.

Thanks muchly.

Predictions of $150 or even $200 oil are no longer treated as posturing after long-term prices recently passed $140 a barrel.

Paul Horsnell, head of commodities research at Barclays Capital, will answer readers’ questions on where oil prices are heading at 2pm on Tuesday, May 27.

Crude Awakening for Oil Comsumers

I'm sure people here have some questions to pose of this FT 'expert'. Maybe something like "what makes you an expert when your predictions been wrong up until now, and ours have been more accurate?"
- but that wouldn't be polite right?

Paul Horsnell quote.

"Peak oil is a red herring."

I've just asked the FT expert what are the implications for future supply and pricing for oil imports as a result of WT's ELM!

Maybe crude oil has not peaked yet! Maybe the "peak" we are seeing is due to total global refining. See the chart below by BP on world refining capacity.


Please note that global refining capacity for 2006 was about 87mbd, which explain total world C&C production of around same. My own monitoring shows that global refining capacity has been holding steady around that level which explain the apparent peak or plateuing of "supply" for the last two years. If crude producers are to pump 100mbd today, who's goin' to take the extra 10mbd ?

Only in 2009 the capacity will leapfrog by 2-3 mbd. Let see then if OPEC can match that.


The refiners would hardly be bidding the price up not to recieve crude!

unless they all agreed to bid for oil that didn't exist just to make it more expensive..................wait a miunte maybe you are onto something........hmmmmm.


Please note that global refining capacity for 2006 was about 87mbd, which explain total world C&C production of around same.

Well no it was not even close to being 87mbd. It was actually 73,539,000 bp/d. That puts refinery utilization, in 2006, at 84.5 percent. You are looking at All Liquids Art, not C+C. Now I understand the flaw in your logic Art. Natural gas liquids and other liquids are not refinery inputs, only crude oil.


Ron Patterson

Also, total liquids counts refinery gains, so if there was ever an example of circular logic this is it, i.e., the volume increase from refinery gains is assumed to be an input to refineries.

yup Marco........I'm yet to hear any news of any refinery that ran out of feedstock to process just because they can't buy them. So far so good. Once i hear THAT news, welcome peak oil!

Refiners are constrained by the volume of product that consumers in their market can and will buy. I've previously put it this way. Assume a geometric price progression for petroleum products per gallon: $2, $4, $8, $16. . .

At each doubling, what happens to the volume of refined product in a given market that consumers can and will buy? Wouldn't you expect refinery utilization to fall?

As refiners in importing countries bid against each other for declining crude oil exports, they have to balance how much crude to buy against the demand for refined products. This will gradually lead to refineries in importing countries shutting down, especially light, sweet refineries.

This is the basically the same situation that airlines are facing, which is why American Airlines is grounding a large portion of their fleet.

Declining Net Oil Exports Versus “Near Record High” Crude Oil Inventories: What is going on?
This is a guest post by Friend of TOD Jeffrey J. Brown, an independent petroleum geologist in the Dallas, Texas area.

In my opinion, the five year range for US crude oil inventories, as an indication of what is going on in oil markets, is highly misleading.

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

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

Refiners are unlikely to let their inventories drop below certain critical levels, and given the expectation of declining world oil exports, refiners will have two choices: (1) Bid the price up enough to keep their inventories up and/or (2) Reduce their crude oil input, thus reducing product output.

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

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

This is why preaching peak oil doom and gloom is a big joke.

Cory Asmus of Temecula, Calif., just bought a $4,800 motorcycle for his 20-mile drive to work so he could cut his gas bill to $8 a week, from $110.

Florian Bialas, a retiree who lives near Chicago, sold his Pontiac Sunfire for $3,000 and plans to give up his license when it expires in September. “I can walk to most places where I need to go,” he said.

And Debbie Gloyd of Cleveland has parked her Chrysler Concorde and started taking the bus to work. “I can’t afford these gas prices,” she said. “They’re insane.”

How does it feel to be a Linearist now? that's the magic of the market.

You keep restating the same fact- Americans have a finite quantity of money they will spend on gasoline-somehow you feel this is "magical".

You keep restating the same fact- Americans have a finite quantity of money they will spend on gasoline-somehow you feel this is "magical".

no, the doomers have told us that if we use less oil our world will be a disaster. that is simply not true and "faith-based" economics like this example proves that.

if I buy a Prius and get a clothes hanger I am using less energy, has my standard of living declined drastically because I'm using less energy? NO!

If I sell the car because I can walk has my standard of living declined drastically? if I car pool from the suburbs because of high gas prices has my standard of living declined drastically? no it hasn't, yet these are the steps we'll take to cope with peak oil. a lot of these steps are actually better for us physically and emotionally. car pooling is good because it gives us someone to talk to and a break from driving. walking or biking to work is very healthy for us.

far from being a disaster, peak oil could be a blessing.

You're right. Rob Hopkins (transition towns) gives a mention to the doctor who 'got' peak oil and then realised that the ten most common illnesses that he prescribed for - stress, type 2 diabetes, depression etc... - were caused by too much cheap ff's.

Towards the end of

Then we add in the fact that one's income reduces its correlation with reported happiness over $20,000 /annum (referred to by Layard in "Happiness") and there's no reason to panic ... once you no longer (falsely) correlate your happiness to the acquisition of 'things', and once others do likewise.

Yes, let us ignore the economic impact of everyone cutting back.

Don't get me wrong: I think anything from a smooth transition to complete, likely catabolic, collapse is POSSIBLE.

But your insulting posts are just as one-sided, deluded and pollyanna as the opposite is doomer. You are what you preach against. For chrisake, man, you rail against "faith-based" pronunciations, then do the same! Collapse can't happen! The sky can't fall!

All that flailing about to only end up what you don't want to be. Like a chicken with its head cut off.


"But your insulting posts are just as one-sided, deluded and pollyanna as the opposite is doomer."

I am polyanna only in the extreme world of TOD.

That's the magic of the GLOBAL market.

The more we conserve, the more within reach a middle class lifestyle is for 500 million Chindians.

I'm not in the "fast crash, total collapse and massive die-off", so I sort of partially agree with you. People are and will adjust, as best as they can. Unfortunately, that is mostly at the individual level. That will help, but much needs to be done at the large-scale, economy-wide level. A person can decide to switch to mass transit, for example, but only if that mass transit option actually exists. If it doesn't, they might want to take mass transit, and that desire might register in some mystical way as "increased demand", but that doesn't alter the fact that it takes many years, megabucks of money, and most of all, leadership and facilitation of government, to make it actually happen. It is here where we are really falling down, and thus it is here where scepticism and pessimism are quite warrented.

"The British and their cars" -- that's really astounding that they have 8000 cars per km of motorway. I've seen people from that part of the world complain about the price of petrol now and then across the Internet, but never so much as recently they remark on the high price of diesel. Reminds me that I saw the claim made somewhere, perhaps here for all I know, that 40% of UK households have negative monthly cash flow, that is they're spending more money than they earn.

Between that and all the news from America, it seems like these two great english-speaking homes of car culture are about to hit the point of serious demand destruction.

Front page of today's L.A. Times

Relentless rise in oil prices tests economy's resilience


And there are signs the nation may have reached an economic tipping point after years of shrugging off the petroleum problem.

"We may finally have crossed the line where the price of crude actually matters for most companies," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at New York financial firm Miller Tabak & Co. "The stock market has been in la-la land when it comes to oil, but they got a pretty good dose of reality the last few days."

"The economic outlook has been taken hostage by the relentless surge in oil prices," said Robert V. DiClemente, chief U.S. economist at Citigroup in New York.

"We're seeing an inexorable increase, and it doesn't seem like anybody's in charge or can do anything about it," added Bank of America senior economist Peter E. Kretzmer.

A Truckstop Perspective

"One hunnerd 'n' TEN dollars!" He handed me a credit card.

"Just the fuel, then?" I asked in my cut-to-the-chase manner as I sized him up.

"Ain't that enough?" he fairly bellowed. He was a large burly fellow. Fairly local; I'd seen him before.

I looked at him sideways. "I dunno. Ya want cigs or anything?"

He shook his head. "Not like I can afford 'em, after you take all my money." He snatched a pen from the counter as I ran his card.

"I swear, a hunnert'n ten dollars jest ta fill a pickup," he fumed. "'T's gettin' ta where a man can't even drive 'is own truck! I hope our next President has a plan ta fix this crap!"

I shuffled my feet, waiting for the register to spit out the tickertape. Something about him grated on my nerves. Maybe it was the sense of god-given entitlement that he fairly radiated. Like, this is America, dammit, and I have the right to drive my American-made pickup! I hope my eye-roll was discreet.

"An' I hope we don't get another Clinton in office, but if we do, it's better than tha you-know-what." He gave me a knowing look as the register finally started printing his receipt. "Y'know, that Muslim."

As I handed him his receipt, something made me ask, "What makes you think he's Muslim?" I immediately winced (discreetly, I hope). I handed him the slip of paper and a pen.

"Oh hell, it's all over the internet, I c'n show ya the proof!" He scrawled his name with a flourish and pushed the receipt across the counter.

The devil on my shoulder made me say, "So he's part of a sleeper cell, eh?"


"I mean, he's been a member of a Baptist church in Illinois for twenty years, now. I'll bet there'd be a lotta people surprised ta find out he's been Muslim all those years."

It was interesting, watching the thought take hold as he pretended to look at his fuel ticket. I couldn't resist. "Oh, and by the way, if you like these fuel prices, you'll love what's coming."

Planting seeds. It's what I do ;)

A Truckstop Perspective

You are the guy on I-35, somewhere near Blackwell. Right?

That guy could be my brother-in-law down in Southeastern Oklahoma. I know the type well. At the same time, I have been warning the entire family about the coming storm for the past few years - but I really picked up the pace over the past year.

You are the guy on I-35, somewhere near Blackwell. Right?

Yes indeed. I see clones of your brother-in-law every waking day :) You know whereof I speak...

Actually, I'm at the truck stop in the little town north of Blackwell.

I have been warning family members too and finally they are listening!!! My spouse has started to think about getting some land outside the city. My parents are getting concerned about their pensions and a car-less future......finally.

I wonder if he will drive to vote (he must drive EVERYWHERE) if his last fill-up was $4.83/9 and his budget is strained.

Somehow, I suspect that he will belly ache rather than take affirmative action.


Somehow, I suspect that he will belly ache rather than take affirmative action.

Somehow, I suspect you're right. After all, what is a cowboy without his truck? (semi-sarcasm alert)

Peak oil simulation from last year

Can someone please explain how Pemex claims that production is down 9% in the 4 months of the year when the EIA lists production up from 3.35 mbd in Jan/08 to 3.41 in Apr/08?


CasualCannibal, you are looking in the wrong place. You are looking at the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook. That is nothing more than a guess of what Mexico would produce in April. Obviously they guessed quite wrong, as they usually do. It was published before Mexico came out with their official numbers. Go here to get the actual numbers through April.


The numbers in the far left column are the All Liquids numbers. The column just to the right of that are the C+C figures. And these are the numbers the EIA will use in their International Petroleum Monthly...eventually.

Ron Patterson

Thanks, Darwinian!

Cheap oil is history. But why?


From the UK Telegraph, sorry guys were are all cranks and conspiracy theorists.

Until recently, the notion that international production was about to reach its limits – the so-called “peak oil” theory – was the preserve of cranks and crackpots.

The orthodoxy was that we had decades of growth left to come. Now peak oil conspiracy theories are passing into the mainstream.

But never fear Yergin is here (to bring some reasonable input top the debate)

One of the most respected historians of the oil age, Dan Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research, predicts an imminent “breaking point” when changes in behaviour and use of alternative energy sources start to drive down the oil price again. Put simply: “Very high oil prices will change the world.”

Wasn't that something that the 'cranks' and 'theorists' have been trying to proclaim for years?

Change from one global theory to another is more akin to a religious conversion than a rational decision. Science only changes when the older theory can't cope with some arbitrary number of anomalies, and is in 'crisis'. When this happens, the scientific community acts like someone looking at those dual-aspect pictures like the famous old crone/young woman picture. They 'snap' from one view to another, what Kuhn called a 'paradigm shift'. Science undergoes revolutions, and the only way to determine if something is scientific is to see what scientists do (there is an obvious circularity here).


Give it time, and everybody will be crying "why didn't the governments prepare for something so blindingly obvious as Peak Oil!" There will be conspiracy theories that the oil companies and our Governments never wanted to prepare, rather than that they simply could never conceive of the notion.

Hmmm, I have been giving some thought as to how we should process this comment, using the "Yergin Indicator."

He has gone from saying that higher production would drive down prices to saying that alternative energy sources will drive down prices. On balance, I would have to still treat it as a "Yergin issues strong buy signal for oil," situation, since he is in fact calling for lower oil prices.

So, I expect that oil prices will trade around $270 or so within one to two years of May, 2008.

Cranks and crackpots like Mr Cheney?

In 1999

For the world as a whole, oil companies are expected to keep finding and developing enough oil to offset our seventy one million plus barrel a day of oil depletion, but also to meet new demand. By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day.


How is geology a conspiracy theory?

Suppose they might say next that the federal reserve is neither federal or a reserve

Mexico: Oil privatisation halted due to mass protests

this can't be good

Hello TODers,

How come there are no veggie greenhouses on the very top of Mt Everest?

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"

I know, it is a nonsense question to us TODers who understand the Thermo/Gene Collision, but much of the world acts as if energy and other resources are so plentiful, that if we need to: we could easily cover the planet with the infrastructure required to keep us all happily fed, clothed, temperature controlled, and blissfully mobile.

I would suggest they need to shatter this ancient mindset that has crystallized inside their skulls, and massive Peak Outreach is the best way to do it.

I can just see the Cornucopian Engineers eagerly designing the thick, aero-steel skeletal framework and the 6-inch thick plexiglass to withstand the howling external winds, but still let adequate sunshine in, and to also withstand the required internal pressurization so that the plants and workers would oxygen thrive inside. If you will, a crystal, globular submarine on high, just as we built the opposite to explore the oceanic dark and deep..."Ain't no mountain high enough", then many more greenhouses cascading down the mountainside to the valley low.

So-->Why did Europe and the US sail guano around the world; wasn't that the energy-equivalent of building a gleaming skeleton of heated greenhouses all over Mt Everest, topped by a magnificent, shiny greenhouse skull?

I think most 'Murkans need to buy a bag of I-NPK, then marvel at the tiny, shiny, elemental crystals packed inside, instead of packing into the movie theaters this weekend to see Indiana Jones.

The mineral adventure thrill-ride from deep Saskatchewan 3300 ft underground [element K] to Morroccan sun-blasted deserts [element P], to Haber-Bosch [element N] from tropical Trinidad to application in the Ozzie Outback exceeds the excitement of any movie.

The desperate real life and death battles of the Guano Wars, the stark desolation and exhaustion of mining the Atacama Desert in the frenzied gold rush for nitrates, NPK freighterships battling hurricane winds as the sailors aloft scream in terror amidst the yardarms, and the hair-raising horror of plucking bones, and the teeth from shattered skulls in the catacombs and graveyards across Europe for dead-heading home outrivals any of the merely virtual frights in a movie.

Yet consider how many VLCCs will go up in smoke so millions of people can see this movie in the poorly replicated dark confines of a batcave. To make it more postpeak realistic: the theater owners should fill the theaters with thousands of white-fungus infected bats, peppering those popcorn-eating below with fresh and pungeant guano, and dying, flapping critters.

I think the world has a vast misunderstanding of logistics and the energy required to move vital goods like NPK and food around the globe. Recall my earlier weblink that stated that it cost $100/ton to just oceanically move NPK from Florida to India, even more money or energy to get it far inland and uphill too.

Thus, as continual ELM and depletion in FFs kicks in, it has the net effect of vastly shrinking the available acreage that can benefit from the application of fertilizers above Liebig Minimums. Please try to wrap your brains around that; let it penetrate deeply into your cranial structure until it is crystal clear. It has a multiplicative decreasing effect upon harvest yields; less I-NPK fertilizer affordable per/acre resulting in less yield/acre.

What happens when the shipping cost is $200/ton, $500/ton...and so on? Recall, from deep inside your skull, that job specialization is only possible from food surpluses. I would suggest that if we do not move to rapid O-NPK recycling, starting with those areas furthest inland and/or highest uphill [starting at the head, if you will], then as I-NPK becomes logistically unaffordable, these areas will collapse precipitiously just from the cascading blowbacks from the involved transport physics alone. Even Indiana Jones cannot save us from this MPP 'Temple of Doom'.

Recall my earlier posts on SpiderWebRiding as the 'ribcage' to Alan Drake's 'spine & limbs' of RR & TOD ideas to help keep both I-NPK and O-NPK moving with minimal FF-inputs. I hope this is another useful 'heads-up' that can spur mitigative change. The 'Search for the Holy Grail' must be the Circle of Life.

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

Don't think this has been posted to the drumbeat before but it's an amazing statement given who made it.

Energy boss foretells future scarred by oil wars

THE world's dwindling oil and gas reserves will become the main cause of global political tension if consumers continue to "run on empty", the head of one of Scotland's leading energy companies warned yesterday.
Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, told delegates at a renewable energy conference that world oil and gas production was rapidly reaching a plateau where demand would outstrip supply.

He said: "If we carry on, oil and gas reserves will be the biggest source by far of global political tension and potential conflicts.

"If we don't sort this out, there will be wars fought over oil. You can argue there already have been."

His warning came in a keynote speech on the opening day of All-Energy 08, an annual showcase for Britain's renewable energy industry in Aberdeen.

Wow! That's a pretty clear statement from the head of one of the UK's biggest energy supply companies.

Mexico's becomes oil importer in less than 12 months? Back of the envelope --

Current Production: 2.87 Mbpd
Current Consumption: 2.2 Mbpd (per IEA)

Assuming linear decline at 26% per year (not accounting for accelerating decline rates) --

Production in 12 months: 2.12 Mbpd

So in 12 months they will convert from --
Oil exports now: 670 kbpd
Imports needed in 12 months: 80 kbpd

Time to update Mexico's Export Land Model...

Craig Wichner

Mexico seems to be in the deepest sort of shit. Frankly they should grab the bulls horn or balls or whatever they think may work today. - anyways end exporting now, that's the easy part.

Does anybody else feel like we do not have 12 months before the economic and political SHF?

I see a multi-step progression. We mau take a step or two down, but we are still *FAR* from the bottom.

I feel a certain pleasure that the early steps are happening on GWB's watch.


Hmmm...and the IEA is releasing their "revised" figures in November. Perhaps, since it will be obvious to everyone on the planet by then what the real figures were anyway, they want to try to redeem themselves before the EIA does.

Wait a second Dragonfly41-

TODer PeakedMyInterest posted this from EIA yesterday !
EIA is inside a completely different solarsystem, north of Cera's as far as I can figure.....

Annual Energy Outlook 2008 (Early Release) (at http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/prices.html) states:

"EIA raised the reference case path for world oil prices....The real world crude oil price (which for the purposes of AEO2008 is defined as the price of light, low-sulfur crude oil delivered in Cushing, Oklahoma, in 2006 dollars) declines gradually from current levels to $57 per barrel in 2016 ($68 per barrel in nominal dollars), as expanded investment in exploration and development brings new supplies to world markets. After 2016, real prices begin to rise (Figure 1), as demand continues to grow and higher cost supplies are brought to market. In 2030, the average real price of crude oil is $70 per barrel in 2006 dollars, or about $113 per barrel in nominal dollars."

Your tax dollars at work. Read it and weep....

Some were seeing a great effort to build new deepwater rigs occurring. Deepwater ocean shelf is one of the last frontiers of oil exploration. With Brazil reporting multi-billion barrel oil field finds and exploration opportunities in West Africa, India, the Gulf of Mexico, North Africa, and elsewhere, there is some hope. There is also hope for heavy oil and advances that might be made in heavy oil extraction and refining. Technology that is needed, more than greed.

The future looks bright for solar-thermal power production research and development:


hope - hope - hope rainsong. ok there is always hope. But do you quantify your "hope" 8 years into the future - at $57 barrel - given what reality show you in fat types on the wall today ? Some advisors can see $200 within years end !
.... deepwater-extraction itself will demand "some $57" only to go break-even... ELM ... Megaprojects struggling to come online ... and most important of all; the permanent underlying decline in older and peaked fields has to be compensated for every year just to stay flat.

Look at this chart http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/figure_1.html what energy-revolution have they hidden from us , since energyprices seems to just "go flat" hereinafter ...

(To be honest I struggle with that chart, I'm not sure what it intend to convey, but it is about "prices ans stuff" and curves go flat)

Does anybody else feel like we do not have 12 months before the economic and political SHF?

You are correct. Economy this fall. Fuel this winter. Civil unrest come spring along with migrations.

Uh, the article said Cantarell was declining at 26% not all of Mexico.

Even so, I have uneasy feelings about what will happen to Mexico..

Hello TODers,

Some interesting and hopeful statistics in this article:

A growing crop of gardeners

A perfect storm is brewing over Wisconsin garden centers....

...High gas prices help boost gardening because less summer travel means more time at home to tend vegetables, Nardozzi said.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?


The oil companies, governments, auto industry and news media refuse to understand peak oil and oil depletion. The best comprehendible example is the "Ancient Old Cow Principle." The old cow has been milked for too many years, but now gives diminishing milk and butter. The old cow is now relentlessly being milked to the last drop. Somehow, the oil comapnies, governments, auto industry and the news media find this "Ancient Old Cow Principle" incomprehensible, in spite of the fact that they have milked (bilked) and shoveled huge piles of manure for decades. Force feeding (more oil depletion allowances) does not appear to rejuvenate the old cash cow any longer. The old Cow is just worn out. This is not very difficult to understand, but the oil companies, governments, auto industry and the news media still have to argue that the "Ancient Old Cow Principle" is simply too complicated to fathom. For more information, please see my website: www.MZ-Energy.com

What do you all make of this one?


A LARGE WAREHOUSE in Amsterdam may seem an unusual place to attract the City’s top traders and hedge funds. But, in the past few months, Morgan Stanley has been accumulating warehouse space in the Netherlands to store its hottest new property — oil.

nevermind...thought it was a current article..it is not.


That fact that is a 3 and a half year old story makes it all the more interesting!

It is fascinating to try to figure out what the "quiet" players are doing under the table. The real game is almost certainly happening in the biggest way below the water line, where like an iceberg, the biggest part of the action is.

What we are beginning to see is interesting in that there is now a large (possibly huge) portion of the financial community that is increasingly dependant on high oil and gas prices. We cannot know how huge, because so much of this stuff happens "off book" and in the hedge funds who operate almost completely without oversight.

In other words, "peak oil" which was once viewed as an economic catastrophe is becoming for more and more investors and investment promoters a financial necessity! I love the quote by one insider in the oil investment game..."oil is the new NASDAQ" (!!)

Of course, Treasury Secretary Paulson has assured us that specualtion has nothing to do with oil prices so it must be true...

While one contemplates the possible horrors of $200 per barrel oil, we should also contemplate, just for fun, the effects of a very fast drop back to $80 or $90 per barrel price...how many so called "hedge funds" and banks have their hands in the current price using pension fund money, municipal fund money from major cities, University endowment money and mutual fund money as the bankroll, of which all most half could disappear in a matter of weeks? If you think the "sub prime" mess was costly and painful, you ain't seen nothing yet...

Amazing, from PrudentBear.com, no less...

Time to do something about oil

To avoid this dreadful fate, what should we do? There are a number of possibilities:

We could invade somewhere. Considered as an oil acquisition exercise, Operation Iraqi Freedom has been a smashing success, and only appalling Wilsonian wimpiness in the US government has prevented the United States from taking full advantage of it. Iraq’s known oil reserves have been increased by about 100 billion barrels since the invasion, as competent US oil companies have been free to explore for new oil employing techniques more advanced than the 40-year-old dowsing sticks used by Saddam’s oil operation. At today’s oil price of $130, less a generous $20 for drilling and extraction, those additional reserves have a value of $11 trillion – approximately 10 times the most alarmist estimate of the cost of the war to date.


The obvious place to invade is Venezuela (even if current estimates of Venezuelan and Saudi reserves are wrong and there is in reality more oil in Saudi Arabia that could be unlocked if ExxonMobil and the boys were given free rein, the Saudis are nominally our allies, so an invasion would be considered unsporting by world opinion.)

There's lots more but that captures the gist of it - open calls for imperial America to take from others at gunpoint.

Hello Greyzone,

Thxs for this link. IMO, sending the military into the Orinoco Vastly Increases the chance of the full-on nuclear gift exchange, plus I think this US action would signal that everyone and every country needs to start resource grab wars and hoarding everywhere. It would be a hell of a mess, and the US at a minimum would have to restart the Draft long before we actually invaded Venezuela--which at this point would probably plunge us into a Civil War and/or rapid breakups and Secessions.

I think it would be far better for our pop. to go to full-on Peak Outreach, then pledge to go to 5% of global pop. using only 5% of the energy [as opposed to our current 5% using 25% of the energy].

If you want a laugh

Peak Oil is the point in human civilization where everything goes to shit. The common man will end up running around aimlessly, with or without a head, yet will still fail to realize the key to solving the world's energy problems lies in his aimless running.

Reasonably accurate summary of the situation.