DrumBeat: June 7, 2008

Oil explorers find new fields to conquer

Payne’s North Sea adventure is a small example of what $130-a-barrel oil — on Friday it reached $139, with many analysts predicting $150 next month — is doing to the oil-exploration game across the globe. Fields that were once thought too small, too deep under the sea, or in too dangerous a country, are being rushed into production.

Companies are also dipping into “unconventional” hydrocarbon deposits — the sticky mountains of tar sands in Alberta, Canada and on the banks of Venezuela’s Orinoco river, the “tight sands” gas reserves of western Australia, and the methane trapped in long-disused European coal mines.

Oil sector faces seismic changes

The potential peak oil crisis that is dominating headlines around the world has been “just around the corner” for decades.

Could Brazil Take No. 1?

Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant formerly derided as "Petrosaurus," could become the world's most valuable company, based on its stock price. That startling forecast, made recently by mutual-fund maestro Ken Heebner, speaks volumes about how fast Petrobras, Brazil and world markets are changing.

Manufacturers Sharing the Pain of High Oil Costs

Surging oil prices are beginning to cut into the profits of a wide range of American businesses, pushing many to raise prices and maneuver aggressively to offset the rising cost of merchandise made from petroleum.

Airlines, package shippers and car owners are no longer the only ones being squeezed by the ever-mounting price of oil, which shot up almost $11 a barrel on Friday alone, to $138.54, a record.

Companies that make hard goods using raw materials derived from oil, like tires, toiletries, plastic packaging and computer screens, are watching their costs skyrocket, and they find themselves forced into unpleasant choices: Should they raise prices, shift to less costly procedures, cut workers, or all three?

Alternative energy no quick fix for world - oil execs

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Alternative energy sources such as solar, wind power and biofuels will not provide the answer to global energy shortages for at least the next 10 years, major oil company executives said on Saturday. Such forms of energy are expensive to develop, despite record oil prices, and would require further research before providing a viable alternative to oil and gas, Western oil major officials said during the St Petersburg Economic Forum.

"Alternatives are not going to solve the challenges the world faces over the next decade," Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP Plc, told a roundtable meeting during the forum.

Taiwan's China Airlines cuts flights by 10%

TAIPEI : China Airlines (CAL), one of Taiwan's leading international carriers, said Saturday it has cut its monthly flights by 10 percent to combat rising oil prices.

Official news agency: Former gas pipeline owners seek compensation from Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) - Bolivia's government news agency says an arbitration request has been filed against the Bolivian government in response to the nationalization of gas pipeline company Transredes.

President Evo Morales nationalized all assets of the pipeline company on Monday. The company was half-owned by Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Ashmore Energy International.

Canadian oil sure to be U.S. election issue

Environmentalists are pinning their hopes on a change in the U.S. government -- and especially the ascension of Democratic nominee Barack Obama -- to stem what they see as a rising tide of "dirty oil" from Alberta, a coalition of Canadian and American environment groups said.

But Canadian officials said it doesn't really matter who wins the election; Alberta oil will continue to remain an important source of supply south of the border. Canada regularly alternates between Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico as the No. 1 exporter to the world's largest oil consumer.

Shell, Gazprom Agree to Study Arctic LNG Projects

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc and OAO Gazprom, Russia's gas exporter, signed a preliminary agreement to study liquefied natural gas projects on the Yamal peninsula in Russia's far north.

Kremlin chief says BP, TNK-BP interests not always aligned

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin said on Saturday that BP Plc's interests were not always aligned with those of its Russian joint venture TNK-BP, repeating a criticism made by the venture's Russian shareholders.

Russian finance minister questions abilities of oil and gas cartels

ST. PETERSBURG (RIA Novosti) - Russia's deputy prime minister and finance minister questioned on Saturday the abilities of oil and natural gas cartels to cut market risks.

"I have a cautious attitude to organizations like OPEC [the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries]," Alexei Kudrin said, speaking at an international economic forum in St. Petersburg. "Those institutions cannot reduce market risks, including in terms of prices."

Russia may cut oil taxes by up to $8.4 bln from 2010

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russian oil firms are set to receive another round of tax cuts worth up to $8.4 billion from 2010 as recently approved reductions would not be enough to revive output growth, top officials said on Saturday.

US Unable to Paralyze Iran's Oil, Gas Sector

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- A string of recent natural gas deals involving Iran has raised eyebrows in Washington, including a substantial supply agreement with Switzerland and two other deals involving Malaysia and Oman.

Motorists feeling the pinch after oil prices surge

Matt Simmons, chairman of an energy financing company in Houston, believes oil prices are still too low. He told CBC News there are "very strong signs" that the global supply of crude oil has levelled out and is probably now in a gentle decline.

"We know categorically that $130-$140 oil has not stopped demand. It's still growing," he said. "And our stocks are very skinny. Our usuable inventories of diesel and gasoline are razor-thin.

"So I think we need to bold ourselves and be prepared for a continual steady rise. If we ever have shortages, it's going to be a sharp rise," he said.

Strikers step up pressure on top French oil port

PARIS (Reuters) - Workers at France's largest oil port of Fos-Lavera near Marseille prolonged on Friday the blockade they started the previous day, the port authority said.

The two-day long strike blocked 21 oil tankers from entering the port or from being loaded or unloaded, the port said in a statement.

Fuel, dairy products, beef in short supply in Argentine cities

Buenos Aires - Several Argentine towns experienced a shortage of fuel, dairy products, beef and fresh produce on Friday due to road blockades set up by truck drivers protesting a farmers' strike.

The farmers have been protesting new agricultural tarriffs, and their move sparked protests by drivers suffering from a lack of products to transport.

Nigeria: Government to Hike Petrol Price January 1

The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that the current pump price of petrol would be adjusted upwards with effect from January 1, 2009.

However, it said the modalities of what will be the new price regime would be worked out by the organised labour and other stakeholders between now and the effective date.

Pakistan: The oil crisis

We poor Pakistanis are suffering with 50 percent living below the poverty line, and many more being pushed under thanks to the current oil crisis which has managed to create tsunami that is a threat worldwide. With no remedy in sight. Electricity riots are already a common sight but the frequency of breadlines breaking into riots is increasing daily, not just in Somalia but in parts of the third world where we thought wheat was never in critical shortage. The riots in Pakistan are for two reasons. Firstly, the price - a worldwide phenomenon, and second, a physical shortage due mainly to incompetence in the many layers of our government.

WALL ST CRUNCH: Oil on troubled housing

When it comes to oil, the simple fact is that in the midst of incredible Middle Eastern volatility, we have not made the discoveries required to satisfy the demand of China, India and other emerging countries. The oil required to fill this gap is in Iraq, and if we could get Iraq under control the problem would ease. But given the turmoil in the region that still remains a long shot despite the big improvements of the last six months. Australia needs to remember that if Iran is attacked the Chinese have indicated that they may regard it as an attack on China. The Iran/ Israel powder keg is extremely dangerous not just to the oil price, but to world security.

No easy way out of Gulf food inflation

Thanks to a number of elements that are causing food prices to rise across the globe, Gulf economies, which import most of their provisions, are expected to continue to experience high levels of food price inflation.

The high food prices are a result of the worldwide shortages of grain in the face of increasing demand. With increasingly more mouths to feed and supply capacities relatively fixed, prices the world over will continue their upward movement.

Stop the Insanity!!

There comes a point when the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few, or the one. I say this because there is one very obvious step that Congress could take to relieve the cost of fuel and help green gas omissions at the same time. It is a sure fire solution that could be done, legislated and put into effect very quickly and it would have an almost instant effect on the prices of nearly everything from bread to milk to gas and everything else. We are being painted into a smaller and smaller corner, we HAVE to do something.

The solution of which I speak? Pass legislation that requires all big corporations (Wal-mart, Kmart, Sears, JC Penney, Dollar Stores, etc, etc) to transport via train instead of semi-trucks.

Rising fuel costs may mean comeback for freight trains

Spiking diesel fuel prices have deflated trucking stocks and made road kill out of many a small motor carrier.

It’s sweet irony for anyone who’s worn a pinstriped cotton cap to work. The rising price of diesel is poised to invigorate a mode of transportation that trucks nearly annihilated—the 40 freight railroads crisscrossing the state.

Philippines mulls opening Bataan nuclear power plant--energy chief

MANILA, Philippines -- The government is seriously studying the option of opening the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to bolster the country's energy supply, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said Saturday.

Reyes said that a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency that inspected the power plant in Bataan months ago has reported that this could be rehabilitated in at least five years at a cost of $800 million.

Is this what's next for drivers?

VANCOUVER — Barbara Turpin loves driving. Expensive gasoline is changing everything about Ms. Turpin's driving.

She drives more slowly. She drives less. She puts $20 worth in the tank instead of filling it up. She walks to the nearby Tim Hortons. She and her partner, Ray Davis, make fewer visits to friends scattered around British Columbia's Lower Mainland. And they're looking to buy an electric car to replace a 1990 Volvo.

Maine governor sees energy crisis

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. John Baldacci says Maine is caught in the vise of a national energy price crisis, with gasoline hovering around $4 dollars a gallon.

In his weekly radio address, Baldacci says food prices related to energy prices are rising fast too.

Lehman survey of major oil company spending

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Worldwide spending on oil and gas exploration and production is expected to rise by 20 percent to $418 billion this year, driven by higher energy prices, Lehman Brothers said on Friday in its semiannual survey of energy companies.

The following is a breakdown of the largest oil and gas companies' spending plans. (in billions of U.S. dollars)

Global demand sees oil on fire

Be careful what you wish for. It may be the only way to get sharply lower oil prices in a world recession.

Fuel price hike without measures to check oil guzzling is meaningless: CSE

It is unacceptable that, when India is reeling under severe economic pressure and household budgets are stretched, there is no official strategy to help reduce energy consumption in the transport sector, says the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and the Environment. It is time the government announces a policy of mandatory disclosure of fuel economy of vehicle models with complete details of technical parameters including weight, power etc and at the same time implements fuel economy standards.

Philippines: Congress won’t give President ‘crisis’ powers

Congress is not keen on granting emergency powers to President Arroyo to address the emerging food and energy crisis.

Senate President Manuel Villar said Mrs. Arroyo would be able to address the situation without special powers granted by Congress.

Botswana: High costs force mining firm to shelve plans

The plant was expected to create about 3 500 jobs of which 500 were to be on a permanent basis after its completion in the next eight months.

However the jobs would have to wait as high construction costs, equipment cost and the current energy crisis currently engulfing the region did not justify the capital expenditure.

Why decarbonise? And how?

The phenomenal rise in oil prices over the past six months, nearly doubling to $127 a barrel, is no happenstance. It is increasingly becoming clear that the much-anticipated ‘peak oil' phenomena is here, and to stay. ‘Peak oil', refers to the fact that roughly when one-half of the global oil reserves have been exploited, in a situation of increasing demand, oil prices would rise irreversibly.

Russian president blasts U.S. 'economic egotism'

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday criticized the United States for "economic egotism," saying it has fueled global troubles, and portrayed Russia's growing economic might as a force for worldwide stabilization.

Hansen on Next Climate Steps: Charge Polluters; Pay People

In Dr. Hansen’s approach, a straightforward rising tax is imposed on the carbon content of fuels, instead of Mr. Barnes’s notion of a shrinking supply of purchased, and traded, permits. But the basic concept, making polluters pay while shielding consumers from rising costs, is the same. (It’s part of a menu of moves he seeks, including an end by 2030 to coal-burning power plants unless the carbon dioxide is captured; shifts in farming and forestry to pull more of the gas from the air; and cuts in other heat-trapping substances, including methane and soot.)

Goldman Oil Bull Speaks: Yes, Oil Still Going to $150-$200 A Barrel, Gas to $4-$6

The man who predicted the current oil "super-spike," Goldman's Arjun Murti, is smart enough not to let himself get photographed (in some idiot circles, Arjun is blamed for today's $138 a barrel), but he did consent to a long interview with Barron's this week. Bottom line, Murti's thesis that oil will spike to $150-$200 a barrel is perfectly reasonable. As is his belief that prices will thereafter crash.

Forum sees oil peak as world crisis

CAPITAL REGION — Paul Swartz, a former scientist for General Electric and local business leader, says he believes worldwide oil production either has, or soon will, reach peak production, which he thinks will probably mean the end of modern western civilization generally and the collapse of the American way of life specifically.

He doesn’t think it will take long for this to happen.

“There is a growing insufficiency [of oil] and it’s going to undermine civilization as we know it. Not tomorrow, not in the next year or two, but in the next five to 10 years,” Swartz said.

Refusing to build roads isn’t the answer to climate change

The recent debate about Ottawa’s new mass transportation plan became somewhat emotional in spots.

At one point, Councillor Clive Doucette, a staunch supporter of light rail, opposed the plan because it includes, as well as light rail, extension of the city’s bus-only transitways — more roads, in other words.

What price petrol?

Subsiding fuel instead of taxing it may be an interesting concept to us, but it’s surprisingly common – Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Malaysia are just a few examples, but more importantly for world consumption, the treasuries of China and India also chip in towards the cost of a tankful for their citizens. With such huge markets offering their citizens an incentive to use fuel unwisely, there are comments from pundits in the west that these governments should act more responsibly, especially in view of global warming, peak oil and the other catastrophes awaiting us just over what would be the horizon if it wasn’t hidden by the smog. Although this is understandable, it does smack of a fair amount of selfishness on our part – having spent a century using all the cheaply available oil inefficiently we now have all the sanctimony of a reformed smoker. We’ve finally realised that our habit can’t be sustained without serious consequences, so we now feel entitled to insist that everyone else should share in our self righteous zeal.

The 2x4 of Reality

The howls for increases in margin requirements (Dennis Kneale) on energy grow daily, funny how these calls where mysteriously absent when tech stocks did the moonshot or when investment banks like Lehman and Bear Stearns, to only mention a few, were leveraging 40:1. But not with energy as these new religion finders are the case like white on rice. Comical, their selective thinking.

Oil price and marginal supply

The thrust of Abdullah's argument is that you have to believe in peak oil to believe that high oil prices are sustainable. If you don't believe in peak oil then you must believe that oil prices will revert to the marginal cost of supply in short order.

There are two points here I want to address. First of all, peak oil. Second, the marginal cost of supply. They are intertwined with one another.

Oil in a Bubble?

We believe that all the talk of speculators being the cause of the rise in the price of oil as being pure fiction, although some very respected analysts believe otherwise. They are a handy scapegoat when you don’t want to examine the real reasons. If one examined the prices of commodities that don’t actually trade on any exchange, some of them have risen faster than have oil prices or most other futures-traded commodities.

Australia: Petrol to hit $1.75 next week

PETROL is forecast to hit $1.75 a litre next week due to a spike in the cost of crude oil, putting more pressure on the Australian fuel market.

But the government and opposition remain divided over how to deal with the petrol crisis.

The Ultimate Race: Peak Oil vs. Climate Change

This is starting to become a familiar pattern. Peak Oil looks rough and ready and unbeatable, like the Lakers or Kimbo Slice. It puts up great numbers ($130 a barrel, again!) and awesome highlights (it's too expensive to fill in potholes this summer)!

Global Warming looks bedraggled, wheezing through every week, like the Celtics. And yet, it keeps showing up, keeps stealing wins, occasionally comes up huge with a cyclone and …

Peak oil debate will rage as long as doubts remain over Opec’s reserves

Nopec intends to break up the Opec cartel and therefore free up global supply, but debate rages over whether there is enough to go around.

And as Rembrant Koppelaar, from the sector forum www.theoildrum.com, points out: "The question of spare capacity is a difficult one because it is based on trust, not on any fact."

Protests around the globe as oil prices pinch

(Reuters) - Oil prices have doubled over the last year and risen 44 percent this year alone, with U.S. crude surging to a record high $139.12 a barrel on Friday, a troubling rise for energy ministers of the Group of Eight Nations plus China, India and South Korea, who are meeting in northern Japan this weekend.

Since 2004, oil prices have shed their typical $20-$30 a barrel stability to climb steadily, due to factors such as new demand from India and China and supply threats from conflict in the Middle East.

The First Signs of “Peak Gas”?

Consumers the world over are beginning to protest at the huge gasoline prices they are paying at the pump. But whilst the world goes crazy over the oil prices, there are worrying signs about what is happening in the gas market that could also spell disaster.

Energy chief: Flat production behind oil prices

Production has stalled since 2005 at 85 million barrels a day, while economic growth — particularly in China and India — has pushed demand ever higher, Bodman said before a meeting of ministers from the U.S., Japan, South Korea, India and China.

"We're in a difficult position where we have a lid on production and we have increasing demand in the world," he told a small group of reporters, dismissing the effects of speculation and unclear inventory levels and other factors on oil prices.

The Peak Oil Crisis: On Slowing Down

Studies showed that by the early 1980’s 83 percent of the motorists on New York interstates were cruising above the posted limit. Speed limits soon became an ideological issue when the Heritage Foundation put out a report saying that speed limits were only saving trivial amounts of gasoline. In 1999, Cato Institute concluded that deaths from car accidents did not increase after the speed limits were raised and there was a net economic benefit of $2-$3 billion a year from everybody driving faster.

A review of comments on web sites advocating a return to the 55 mph limit suggests that the idea is vastly unpopular. Slowing down is not going to come easily.

Mexico, an Oil Producer, Hasn’t Benefited From Soaring Prices

MEXICO CITY — Mexico is the world’s sixth-largest oil producer, and the steady climb in the price of oil has reached record highs. The soaring prices should have generated $3 billion above budget estimates for the state oil monopoly, Pemex. But now the government says that windfall just is not there.

The recent announcement by the finance ministry angered opposition politicians, who declared that government technocrats were manipulating the numbers.

BP's Russia Trouble

LONDON - BP seems to have nerves of steel when it comes to dealing with its Russian venture. Chief Executive Tony Hayward said Thursday that BP remains committed to the country, even as troubles for its Russian joint venture mounted.

The Export Cops Are Watching

In April, two Louisiana executives of Engineering Dynamics pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate U.S. export laws by selling computer-aided design software for the oil and gas industry to a Brazilian distributor.

How is that a crime? U.S. prosecutors alleged--and the men eventually admitted--that they knew the distributor was reselling the software to Iranian companies.

Feinstein Fights McCain on Burma Tax Break for Big Oil: Democrat Sides With Chevron in Rangoon Deal

The Republican Party's presumptive nominee for president, Senator McCain, is locked in a disagreement with a Democratic senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, over whether to permit Chevron to do business with the regime in Rangoon. One of them is taking a hard-line human-rights stand against the military junta in Burma. The other is carrying water for the interests of America's second largest oil company.

In Venezuela, the Newest State Business Is a Dairy

BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela -- Mauricio Herrera describes himself as a devoted soldier in President Hugo Chávez's self-styled revolution. So when oil workers opposed to Chávez went on strike in 2002, Herrera was among loyalists at the state oil company who revived production.

Now, with the government bedeviled by food shortages, Herrera has been called upon to carry out the president's orders in an entirely different sector: milk.

Asia Gasoline-Pakistan seeks summer gasoline import

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Pakistan State Oil Company has issued a tender to buy up to 40,000 tonnes of 87-octane gasoline for delivery over the next three months, the latest in a sporadic series of imports, the company Web site showed on Monday.

At $4, Everybody Gets Rational

So now we know: The price point is $4.

At $3 a gallon, Americans just grin and bear it, suck it up and, while complaining profusely, keep driving like crazy. At $4, it is a world transformed. Americans become rational creatures. Mass transit ridership is at a 50-year high. Driving is down 4 percent. (Any U.S. decline is something close to a miracle.) Hybrids and compacts are flying off the lots. SUV sales are in free fall.

Fewer Tickets to Ride: As Gas Prices Rise, Tourists and Companies Cut Back

The Spirit of Washington dinner boat packs powerful twin diesel engines that carry 600 people on sightseeing voyages along the Potomac. Two eight-cylinder generators keep the neon lights glowing at the onboard bar. The bow thruster helps it push away from the dock.

Fueling them all are 7,000 gallons of diesel that have shot up in price by about 40 percent over the past year. Add four other boats with a total of 20 engines among them, and it's one big financial headache for Sal Naso. He's worried.

Republican lawmakers block US climate bill

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US lawmakers blocked a sweeping climate change bill Friday, after Republican warnings of high energy costs dashed Democrats' hopes for pollution caps under President George W. Bush's administration.

Environmentalists looked ahead to the November election for the next opportunity for legislative change, after the much-anticipated bill met a swift demise in the Senate following a week of partisan bickering.

$4.00 average toady:


$4.35 for regular at the cheapest place around. No price movement for gas in 4 or 5 days, but diesel has dropped 10-20 cents, as low as $4.95, in the last 2 days.

Price jumped 11c in my neck-o-the-woods yesterday, from $1.29 to $1.41/L (over US $5.15/gal)

Current average in Canada is $1.34/L, (US $5.09/gal)

I'm excited.. I'm giving a presentation to my City Council (Port Alberni) on Peak Oil and Transition Towns. At least two of the councillors are already Peak Oil aware... the past few days will mean the rest will be more than a little interested as well.

Fingers crossed for a receptive, audience...

I lived in Port Alberni for a couple of years in the 1960's. Beautiful place. Good luck with your speech.

BTW, I gave my first PO speech last week at Toastmasters - it went over very well.

Gas price today Campbell River / North Island = $1.419/L
Fuel capacity of a Ford Super Duty (most popular vehicle here) = 144 L. Cost of a fill-up = $204.34.

Four fill-ups, one $550 lease payment, and one $150 monthly insurance payment (assuming full 43% safe driving discount) = $1,517.34 per month, after tax.

Yet I still encounter pickups blasting past me on the highway at 130 kmh. Since $1.30/L this spring I have been driving my Suzuki Carry at 90 kmh (it is capable of 120) and getting a consistent 5.7L/100km.

I've had the truck for a year now, and recently notice that nobody laughs when they see the truck anymore. Funny, that.


Ya, saw a guy yesterday putting $175 of Diesel in the tank of his Dodge Ram...

If you hadn't seen it the last time I posted it.. you'll be interested in these two posts on my blog on commuting on Vancouver Island.

Also please go to Our Corridor.ca and sign up to support revitalizing the E&N railway!

Commuting on the Island

Commuting to Victoria

I did. Thanks for the links, and thanks for your efforts.

In the town nearest me, which has only one public gas station, the price for unleaded regular gas, 87 octane, was raised to $5.009 last night at 9pm. Diesel is $5.509. This is in very rural northeastern California

Canadian gasoline consumption grew 3.5% in 2007.


Well you know, there is always a remote place in Norway ...... take a deep breath :

På Joker på Lovund koster 95 oktan hele 15,34 kroner per liter. (norwegian language alert, both links)

From within this article you can spot this ..... 15, 34 kr/ liter ( $1 US = 5 kr) = $ 3.07 /liter

1 US gallon = $ 3.07 / liter * 3.78541178 liter/ gallon = $ 11.62 gallon

This link claims that a gallon is at US $ 12.60 .... (and rising).... but there may be an error to that number the story tells.

*** EDIT : So nobody seemed to be able to interrelate to my Sci-Fi- numbers :-)

FWIW, Google has a great built-in calculator that can handle currency conversion as well. Here's an example.

$4.02 now. AAA will update their price in the AM hours to above $4/gallon and this news will probably get little coverage due to the fact that it's the weekend.

Missouri side of KC Metro went from $3.79 last night to $3.92 this morning. I told my wife, once it hit $4.00, I would take the bus to work. I better go get my bus pass on Monday.

In LA we're at $4.40s for reg and $4.60s for premium. We had about a 30 cent jump over the last 5 days.


h/t bl00k at the POForum if the image works. ;) [it didn't. I'll
keep at it. The gif is a chart of the NYMEX front month.]

I see $167-172.61 w/in a month and a half. Continuation of the parabolic.

That'll be the top.

After that we'll be in a different world.

There's the chart. You need to use html, not bbcode on TOD

The following line produceed the image above. Note that I also resized it to fit the TOD width better (optional height and width)

<img width=600 height=400 src="http://wtrg.com/daily/clfclose.gif">

Thank you very much.

I live to learn.



If you use percentages width=100% height=100% etc you can get some better layout. IMHO.

I hate re-sizing images with HTML. It forces everyone to download a huge image, even if it only displays the size of a postage stamp. And HTML is lousy at re-sizing images. The quality will be poor.

Thumbnailing is a much better idea. Where a small image is a clickable link to a larger one. Some sites like ImageShack will do it for you automatically.

Or just post a text link. Remember, some people are still on dial-up. And it may be a lot more, if the economy goes down the tubes.

If it's a huge image I would resize it and re-upload it. The gif I posted is only 16k though. The browser re-sizing is a real problem with Firefox which hopefully will be fixed in Firefox 3. Internet Explorer is much, much better at it - virtually the only things it's better at. Often TOD keyposts (but not drumbeat) are filled with browser re-sized images and Firefox really slows down when displaying them. It's as if Firefox stupidly rescales the image as it scrolls.

If anyone's running Firefox 3 RC2 it would be nice to know if they've finally fixed this.

I've just noticed that due to a typo my post with the graph actually looks different in IE and Firefox anyway as they both interpret my mistake (mismatched <code> ) differently. Firefox displayed it the way I wanted but most people use IE so will see the mishtake.

Often TOD keyposts (but not drumbeat) are filled with browser re-sized images and Firefox really slows down when displaying them.

Don't think I haven't begged them to change that. I think it's really clunky and unprofessional.

But nobody's getting paid here, and most of us have little web design experience. When you're getting free labor, you really can't complain too much.

What's Going On in the Oil Market?

Unusual amount of chart-analysis for left-political blog (DailyKos).

Editorial-DKos is only left compared to everything from Hillary to the

Too much censorship on too many topics.

From someone kicked out of DKos. ;}

I agree-
Dkos is still drinking the kool aid of market capitalism---
It would be center-right in any other first world industrial power.

Mac...I also ran into some head winds over at DKos...I didn't get kicked off the site but lost interest in their narrow POV.

If you want to see a real right wingnut site, with everything from overt racisim to cheerleading for yet more wars for oil check out:


I did get kicked off tigerdroppings after offering my opinions of their opinions. I am ashamed to say that the site is in any way connected with LSU and I feel few that post on the site actually attended LSU.

Thanx for that info.

I do not generalize and coming from Razorback Land, I would never disparage
you fine folks, except when we play you-8D.

I also dated a fine lady from LSU.

Geaux Tigas!

The best part of DKos were Jerome's diaries. That was how I found TOD :-) Too many ideologues there with the simple belief; Dem=Good, Rep=Bad. The world is not quite as black and white as many believe.

Yes, Jerome and I exchanged views.

I remember while there that we disagreed over the importance of BRIC and the Shanghai

Most of those assembled declared that when a party’s representatives chose a man one must stand by him. They might choose unwisely, but the party support must be maintained. Clemens said:

"No party holds the privilege of dictating to me how I shall vote. If loyalty to party is a form of patriotism, I am no patriot. If there is any valuable difference between a monarchist and an American, it lies in the theory that the American can decide for himself what is patriotic and what isn’t. I claim that difference. I am the only person in the sixty millions that is privileged to dictate my patriotism."

- Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography

If there is any valuable difference between a monarchist and an American, it lies in the theory that the American can decide for himself what is patriotic and what isn’t. I claim that difference.

US Air Force leaders purged in 'hastily arranged' meetings

One of the Most important stories you will never hear the truth about through the media.

In August of 2007, A covert operation was launched to 'steal' a US nuclear cruise missile. This may have been accomplished. Civilian authorities at the highest levels were involved in bypassing / subverting Air Force protocols to accomplish this. Certain high level officers threw a wrench in the works in an attempt to halt the transfer.

Since then, the US Air Force has been resistant to certain objectives by the civilian aurthorities, engaging in a form of passive resistance in an attempt to prevent a wider Middle East war and the possible use of nuclear weapons.

Air Force Chief of Staff General T Michael Moseley and Secretary Michael W Wynne were forced to resign Thursday.

Defense Secretary Gates claims the reason was the August incident, but not for the real reason

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and Secretary Michael W. Wynne were forced to resign Thursday during hastily arranged meetings with their Pentagon bosses.

Moseley was summoned from the Corona leadership summit at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to an early morning meeting at the Pentagon with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Moseley resigned.

Later in the morning, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England was dispatched to Wright-Patterson to ask for Wynne’s resignation, sources said. Wynne resigned during the meeting.

Why "hastily arranged"?

Secretary of Defense Gates, who began his career working nuclear security issues as an Air Force intelligence officer in the 1960s, also said a substantial number of Air Force general officers and colonels more immediately responsible for recent lapses could still be reprimanded or fired.


Awwww, c'mon Cid, where's
'the truth' ? - the STORY !

I didn't see any 'news' in that report.Call it an update.

So, there's lots of smoke. Where's
the fire ?

That's alright, I don't really expect anyone, except a whistleblower type to have the in-depth story. The WHY.
Now that would be material for debate.

I'm sorry if you don't consider a purge of the top officers in the United States Air Force news.

I'm sure if Putin or Medvedev did the same with the Russian Air Force it would be splashed across the headlines of EVERY western news source for a week.

It's no secret that the Air Force has practically been in all out rebellion against the Bush Administration.

Why the sudden haste, and why now?

Could something be about to happen that required the decks to be cleared in the Air Force?

Sorry to leave this out - warandpiece.com is on my short reading list and she's been on the story.

I certainly do consider the relationship between the AF and
the administration news. Guess
I'm just short of patience about
the lack of in-depth reporting, even with Rozen's coverage

Sounds like this will become just
another version 'your with us, or
against us' and if the latter you're out the door.

The real question is, after replacing the head, will the body do what it's told.

There are real ideological differences involved here, including a belief within the officer ranks that the Air Force is the final defender of the Constitution.

For all we know, this may have set forces in motion. It will be interesting to see if there are further repercussions.

Perhaps the Flag Officers were trying intervene with the administration's intentions...one can always hope.

That's what they HAVE been doing. The network extends beyond the Air Force. I guess it could be called a 'cold civil war'(or a civil cold war) for now. It will become a revolutionary war if they do not relinquish control come January.

Ah, Bonddad. I remember him as a peak oil denier.

Looks like nothing much has changed over the past few years...


It`s getting near the end of the party now, and the beer is running low. It is not really a good time to be inviting more people in.

Personally, I`d be a bit disappointed if anyone in this forum is still medically capable of bearing children. (yes, maybe a bit extreme, I know.)

So to get this clear: are you advocating that the human race stop reproducing, or merely the more thoughtful, environmentally aware types that might be interested in TOD? If the former then you are profoundly misanthropic, if the latter then you're merely perverse.

Does anyone know where I can source a spreadsheet of past data + prediction, going out to 2030ish. Something with reasonable assumptions about reserves, megaprojects, old decline rates, etc.

On a related note, does anyone have similar spreadsheet data on exports, and in particular future export expectation on a world scale. I've looked westexas/khebab wise but I'm not seeing it.

As for why, I have the opportunity to get in at the transport strategy level and I'm looking for some predictive data to backup the articulation of a case.

Cheers for any leads.

Here's a good paper that Luis de Sousa did in 11/06 on 18 key exporters:


I suspect that if he were revising it today, he would take a more pessimistic view.

My guess is that total world net oil exports in 2031 will be down by about 75% to 90% from their 2005 level.

Looking at it:

Saudi Arabia looks a bit optimistic (but who knows what the current megaprojects may bring)
Russia looks very optimisitic
Venezuela looks optimistic
Kuwait looks optimistic
Algeria might well be pessimistic, given their recent increases.

Bringing that lot together, I tend to think the net might be to bring the 2010 value down to ~33Mbpd and the 2020 value to 20-22Mbpd on a straight exportland basis. Your 2031 figures of 75% to 90% would bring the export level in at ~7Mbpd.

How do those rough figures sound to you?

Note that Luis was working with 18 key exporters, not total world net oil exports.

Regarding my WAG, it would be about 5 mbpd to 12 mbpd in worldwide net oil exports in 2031.

Yep, I'm looking at a peak of 40-41Mbpd compared to 37Mbpd here, so prorata the rest will be accurate enough I'd suggest.

I'm intending to use this as a basis for other deductions (I think those countries that can manage it will scale back exports post peak to sustain production). Thus I'd probably go for something like:

KSA: 5Mbpd
FSU: 0Mbpd
Norway: 0Mpbd
Venezuela: 1Mbpd
UAE: 1Mpbd
Kuwait: 1.0Mbpd
Algeria: 1.2Mpbd
Qatar: 0.3Mpbd
Angola: 1.2Mbpd (not on graph)
Rest: 3Mpbd
Total = 13.7Mbpd

by the 2020 timeframe. Probably less to take account of a war or two. That's an average export decline rate of 8%+ pa over the period.

I believe that the EIA showed a 2005 peak net export rate of 46.3 mbpd, and 44.8 mbpd for 2007, down a total of 3.2% in two years. As expected, it was an accelerating decline rate:

Is a net export hurricane hitting the US Gulf Coast?

Since we are going to be wrong in our prognostications--it's just a question of how wrong--in general I prefer to stick with the simplest possible model, and one very simple way to model future total world net oil exports is to assume a linear decline (a fixed volume per year).

So, if we assume net exports of 5 mbpd in 2031, it would be a linear decline of 1.6 mbpd per year from 2005 to 2031.

If we assume net exports of 12 mbpd in 2031, it would be a linear decline of 1.3 mbpd per year from 2005 to 2031.

Note that a linear decline is an accelerating annual decline rate, which is what we have seen with the ELM and the UK and Indonesian case histories.

The 2007 drop was about one mbpd per year.

(Welcome to the world of EO-OCD, Exported Oil Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

The way I look at it, if I were say Saudi Arabia, and I decided to cut production by 1Mbpd today - I could expect to see a $130 -> $150 type price movement.

So for a 10% reduction in supply, I could see a 15% increase in price for the remainder. Or $1200m receipts goes to $1245m, AND I get to sell the 1Mbpd later. And that's today, before people are truly aware of the sticky place we're in.

Add popular feeling into that and I can see the decline being faster than exportland would suggest. I can also see it being nonuniform as power blocks form and heavy handed tactics are used (and backfire). All very messy, but also very predictable if you stand far enough back. It would be a strange and unlikely situation where everyone decided to play fair and equitable.

Thus we end up with a series of decline multipliers. There is the basic global decline rate in production. Add to that the base exportland effect and importers see a faster rate of decline. Add to that the hoarding effect (call it 'noexportland') and importers see an even faster rate. Add to that a war or two, an embargo, etc. and not only are some exporters hit, the importers see a faster rate again (let's call that 'battleland'). Add to that the expected action of governments ('rationland') and what is seen by the man on the street is the multiplicative combination of the lot (eg zero available export oil in the 20 teens). Each factor steepens the decline curve effect for those in the firing line.

While we can't nail down the precise magnitudes or dates, we can combine estimates and be reasonably certain the attractors of systems will shine through. To me that is that each added factor increases the nonuniformity of the supply situation and thus the local effect; with the average commuter motorist in an importer nation being hit early and hard.

A pretty good approach might be to assume a low case decline (one mbpd per year), middle case (1.3 mbpd per year) and high case (1.6 mbpd per year).

This would respectively result in 50%, 75% and 90% declines by 2031.

I don't really view it as simple as that. Maybe a graph will make it more obvious. Take this as a scenario, not a prediction - since there are many assumptions and its quite benign in some respects.

Each factor brings its own wiggles to the line, some proportional, some fixed value, some discrete. However from the perspective of the general driver the bottom curve defines a decline from current availability to zero over less than a decade - which is the key part.

They have to find a balance though. They might not want to become too unpopular with their customers. Also they have some favourable 'things' going on for them in the military world courtesy of US and UK, to mention a few other countries.


There may not be any way to find such a balance.

We don't know what is being said behind closed doors at the recent meeting between Dick & Dubya. But I presume that balance is being negotiated.

True, but did you see that huge Saudi fuel oil order that Leanan posted two days ago? 160,000 tonnes a month for the rest of the year. You know what that's going to do to prices?

That's for basics like desalination and electricity. How do you get around that quickly?

Some net export math for Saudi Arabia:


Production: 10.2 mbpd
Consumption: 2.3
Net exports: 7.9

If the Saudis maintained their 2007 rate of total liquids production for 10 years, with no decline and if they maintained their 2007 rate of increase in consumption, in 10 years the numbers would look this:


Production: 10.2 mbpd
Consumption: 4.6
Net Exports: 5.6

This would be a 10 year net export decline rate of -4.4%/year.

If we assume a 4% production decline rate and the 2007 rate of increase in consumption, in 10 years the numbers look like this:

Production: 6.8 mbpd
Consumption: 4.6
Net Exports: 2.2 mbpd

This would be a 10 year net export decline rate of -12.8%/year.

A question about the Saudis, though, as compared to some other export lands. From the point of view of sustaining themselves, the Saudis might as well be on the Moon - all they've got in any quantity is hot rocks and hot sand. That's it. Period. Not that their oil can't decline, but how do they go on living if they allow their net exports of crude plus crude-derived products approach or fall below zero? Most large places that have gone through zero have other economic activity, but what do the Saudis have, besides oil, that could support more than about two orders of magnitude fewer people? This is going to get messy, and not just for current import-lands.

what do the Saudis have, besides oil, that could support more than about two orders of magnitude fewer people?

Enough money to buy anything they want?

How about buying Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill or Monsanto or a shipping line or a rail line ... build a complete food supply-chain that is sustainable long term maybe?

Why does the economic activity have to be in their country? China isn't in the USA for example.

If imperialism is good enough for one country, it's good enough for others maybe? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?

WT, quick off topic questions. I posted the questions last pm but believe you were already elsewhere.

Are all oil imports from Mexico via tanker or are some via pipeline across US/Mexican border?

Does Mexico import nat gas into US via pipelines?

Thanks in advance.

I believe that all, or virtually all of Mexican oil exports are via tanker.

And yes, Mexico imports natural gas from the US via pipelines.

WT, doesn't it seem odd that refinery utilization jumped to 89.7% last week? Did you find that surprising, along with the large gasoline build? (sorry to threadjack, but I've been meaning to ask WT this).

Not to cut off WT, but we're now exporting diesel, and our diesel exports will be going up.

The US is exporting diesel? I'm not sure what's happening here, could you explain your understanding of the situation.

The US has been importing gasoline. If it is exporting diesel, I would just assume it is balancing refinery products. We use proportionately more gasoline than the rest of the world (hence the gasoline imports). The rest of the world consumes proportionately more diesel.

That would explain it, if true. To whom are we exporting diesel and when did it start? It sounds crazy.

"I think the economics will draw refiners to higher levels of diesel fuel production over time. The fact that the U.S. imports gasoline and exports diesel is a good indicator that the market is increasingly calling for more diesel and refiners will have to make this investment," said Kevin Lindemar, an analyst with Global Insight.

(emphasis mine)


Hello CSS,

Thxs for the link. I have posted before that I would expect Caterpillar and/or Cummins to offer a big gasoline-powered motor suitable for swapping out a diesel motor when the diesel/gas price ratio gets too far out of whack.

Has anyone tried to calculate when this price point will occur? If gasoline hits $6/gal and distillates [diesel/heating oil/jet fuel] hits $10/gal--will this cause a stampede towards big gasoline motors until an approx. diesel-gas pricing parity occurs?

Caterpillar already offers natgas-powered and other gaseous-fuel engines: is this the more likely direction? Picture a Peterbilt tractor pulling a set of doubles--first trailer, a big tank to power the rig, and the second trailer hauling the goods.

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

You mean like this one:


Not really for a big rig, but definitely in the space where diesel engines are traditional. GM is making their sales pitch for it here:


Eventually, you're bound to see a big "High Compression," Ethanol-Optimized Spark Engine.

With the wholesale cost of ethanol, minus tax credit, at about $2.00, and ethanol's ability to generate high horsepower and torqe in optimized, high compression engines it's just a matter of time.

Imagine a company like "Yellow-Roadway" that specializes in short hauls. They can buy the ethanol from the refinery, blend it themselves (thus taking the $0.45 tax credits, themselves,) and, possibly, save up to 50% on their fuel bills in 09'. When you have 5,000 trucks running up and down the road that's big money, Kemo-Sabe.

And maybe a 30 speed gearbox to go with it. The power delivery characteristics of a diesel are considerably different (=better for hauling) than that of a gasoline engine. Not that you couldn't do it, but just swapping the engine will probably not be effective.

Hello Twilight & WinstonK,

Thxs for responding. I didn't know GM already had big gasoline engines--good to know. We will have to monitor their sales rate as time goes on, or else just count the heavy-duty trucks pulling up to the gas-pumps instead of the diesel-pumps. I don't have the expertise to know what kind of transmissions, gear ratios, and rear axle designs are required for an engine swap.

I am refining a model on how much transportation can move to non-oil transportation, and how quickly. Isues of Elasticity of Supply, Maximum Commercial Urgency, etc.


I already posted this in response to the post above but, I would like to know if anyone knows of a more senior US gov official that sounds this close to being Peak Oil aware, in public at least.

Sect. of Energy, Samuel Bodman sounds like he's as close to being a Peak Oil believer as you could get out of a senior US gov official, especially when the article says:

At the same time, he urged nations to pay heed to an IEA report that the world needs $22 trillion investment in energy supply infrastructure by 2030 to meet rising demand, while developing alternative energy sources.

"We have a situation where we have these high prices and the only solution is to diversify your resources, diversify your sources of fuel," he said, listing nuclear energy, natural gas and renewable sources such as wind and hydropower.

Notice he says "diversify your sources". What he did NOT do is repeat the big oil mantra of opening up ANWR and the continental shelf ie. drill more. He also doesn't sound as if he really believes that much more can be done about production when he says:

"I would devoutly hope we ... see a reduction of the use of oil in the world on the one hand, and an increase in the supply so we can see some mitigation in the pressure on price,"

"I would devoutly hope"? What's that? Sounds kinda like "I really wish upon a star"!


Alan from the islands

Sam Bodman has made many statements that indirectly admit to his knowledge of Peak Oil and his agreement with it. I think he and Bartlett must talk a lot offline.

Our Treasury Sec, Paulson, is once again beating the bushes in an attempt to flush some money from soverign wealth funds to prop up failing US banks and businesses. Paulson said that the SWFs are not trying to acquire sensitive strategic or economic assets to advance political ends of a state.

Hank, we all know that. What country would try to profit from US misfortune? They will come willingly to our rescue in our time of need...and if they dont our congress will sue OPEC for running a cartel...and, and, we will not sell inferior weapons to Saudia Arabia for twice as much as better quality weapons systems from elsewhere would cost. Boy, have we got them over a barrel...I set it up, someone knock it down. :)


'US to remain open to SWFs, says Paulson
Tuesday, June 03 - 2008 at 07:48
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Monday that America will remain open to investment from private firms and sovereign wealth funds, reported AFP. Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Paulson said the US 'rejects measures that would isolate it from the world economy.'


'Sovereign wealth fund study finds concerns overblown
Posted: Thu, 05 Jun 2008 21:19:00 GMT
Thomson Reuters reports that, “Heightened national security concerns over strategic investing by sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) appear to be overblown, a new study released on Friday found. The study, conducted by consulting firm Monitor Group, found that the bulk of SWF investing appears to be aimed at furthering the economic development at a host or allied country, not to acquire sensitive strategic or economic assets to advance political aims of a state.'



Somebody started talking about gas prices the other day at work, and it seems like everyone has an opinion - mostly uninformed. One person offered that it was all because of environmentalists who keep us from drilling. I just stayed out of it and walked away. I felt like it would have been futile to bring up depletion of supply, as it would likely have fallen on deaf or disbelieving ears.

In situations like that I've found that although most will be dismissive, you may end up reaching one or two people well enough that they later might look into it on their own.

Of course the ones that don't get it will think you're a little "touched" after that, but you know what? That's their problem. The people you help will more than make up for that loss.

Occasionally you will get an opportunity to spread the word. Just this morning a client of mine was returning some stuff he rented from me. He drives a Mitsubishi Montero which is a fairly common SUV on Jamaican roads and is considered a gas guzzler compared to the subcompacts that make up most of the traffic here. So I asked him how he was making out with the price of gas (~$5.60/gal). He started complaining, at which point I introduced the concept of Peak Oil as an explanation for the current state of affairs.

I can tell you, he was all ears. He left with a copy of my Peak Oil/Global Warming resource CD, which contains a few news clips, the Hirsch Report and links to all the stuff on the disc plus web sites like this one. He has taken the red pill. He will soon find out how deep the rabbit hole goes! He is very close to the party that lost the general election here last September so, I expect he'll spread the word.

(Red pill analogy from the movie "The Matrix" for those who haven't seen it.)

It seems we have reached the "price point" where people have become more receptive to the PO idea. It was bound to happen eventually, but I thought it would be when unleaded gas was closer to $5.

Hi, Pedalpower ~
Welcome to my world -- I work at a truck stop :)

Hello Earthbound Misfit,

Please let us know if you start seeing big trucks running gasoline engines instead of diesel. Thxs!

I responded to a co-worker yesterday who was blaming yesterday's jump on the speculators. (Previously he was more in the oil company conspiracy camp.) I told him speculation might account for a minor amount of prices, but there's as many people taking a short position as a long position. I offered him the opinion that Gulf Coast inventories are way low as a result of plunging exports from VenMex and that basically we are now filling up a much longer supply "pipe" from Africa and the Middle East just to stay even. He got that concept and liked the idea of latching onto something concrete. (I then mentioned the unhelpful comments of the Israeli Cabinet Member re: Iran and my co-worker then shifted to the crazies in the Middle East.)

It's hard to blame people if they get most of their news from, say, CNN, they'll either think the market's invisible hand will make everything right. (Or if they get their news from Fox, they'll think there's this giant pool of oil we'd be able to drill were it not for those damn environmentalists.)

Just keep pushing the idea that underlying whatever above-ground factors there may be right now, there is an underlying supply problem. Don't need to get fully into peak oil intially, just that there are problems maintaining a ready supply of oil.

Yes ... I turned on the NBC Nightly News last night and the first thing out of the reporters mouth about the price jump in crude yesterday was "speculation". That was the first and only reason I believe he gave, then he went on to interview a few disgruntled drivers at the pumps.

I asked yesterday what would be the magical headline or what price for a gallon of gas that would really start to get some attention. This article seems to believe it is $4.00.


BTW, this link and a snippet can be found in the Drum Beat updates at the top of the page. :-)

they'll either think the market's invisible hand will make everything right.

it will. the markets response to peak oil in the form higher prices have done more for the peak oil movement than anything else. it's not even a close race.

Too true, john15, and just like the market response, so will be the Mother Nature response. Only it won't be so kind. Have a nice day :)

I can usually tell when someone will be receptive to information about PO or climate change, etc. But usually the very few who are already know of these issues - at least then we can have interesting discussions of what the effects will be. It is not very many, but it is interesting to find them, as they tend to crop up in unexpected places.

At work the rest of the Engineers in my group already know of my silly ideas - when you've worked with people for up to 20years you can get away with letting them know that you are an eccentric. Some of them are listening a little more now. I guess it is more effective to be consistently correct than it is to be forceful.

In general however, my attitude has ended up like this: In the changes that are coming (now!), many will be unprepared, and many will be hurt. I do not want this to happen to those around me that I care about, and I will try to give them the information that they need to prepare. But I will not force it upon them. In the end, they are adults, a most have the tools and the capacity to prepare, at least mentally, and it is their responsibility to do so. I cannot save the world, I will be lucky to take sufficient actions on the information that I understand.

I have a few friends and coworkers, people I care about, who are ideologically unable to accept what is coming, or to adapt to it. They are bright people, and they see the signs that creep through around the edges, but they are incapable of accepting the underlying causes and the implications of those. So they consistently draw the wrong conclusions. It is sad, because they are going to be hit hard. I cannot say anything to them, but perhaps by simply setting an example they will be able to understand someday. I don't know if that will be enough though.

I only put out mild hints, like maybe it is PO, and mentioning the fact the even if the oil is available to import, the US simply cannot continue to afford so much bleeding of capital. Mostly, it is just seeds, as they realize I was right, I think my credibility should gradually grow.

BBC News:

Oil hike sparks 'serious concern'


Leanan: Kindly delete if redundant.

About IEA reports, I attended the IEA briefing for the new country assessement for Sweden and it were quite positive. Nobuo Tanaka urged for more of the implemented polices, with energy savings, market mechanism and so on, a higher investment pace and a clear medium and long term policy for (more) nuclear power.


Has anybody here read it and feels for a comment or two?
Do IEA in general give good advice?

In 1999, Cato Institute concluded that deaths from car accidents did not increase after the speed limits were raised and there was a net economic benefit of $2-$3 billion a year from everybody driving faster.

The Cato institute is a biased organization. By their own mission statement they want to limit the influence of government on people's lives. Thus, any study done by them that concerns the government is not valid.

As for the Feinstein vs. McCain article, I used to live in California and wrote Feinstein on a few occasions. She completely ignored my opinion. I believe she basically does whatever Hollywood or whatever her big donors want her to do. I don't know if she's technically corrupt or not, but she's certainly morally corrupt or at least amoral. I wish she'd lose an election or be brought up on charges, but for some reason institutionalized corruption in the form of campaign donations is still legal in the U.S.

I would any day take a clearly stated bias over a faked objectivity.

Is there any way we can "date" these articles on the opening page? When you have 5000+ characters to read thru, and a chunk of the articles are repeats, if they can be sorted by (latest) date so we can scroll thru them faster, it would be appreciated. :)



Not sure what you're talking about. Do you mean the articles on TOD front page? Like "Peak Oil 101" and "Peak Oil and Reflexivity and Peak Oil" etc.?

Jivefive, I think you are mistaken. All the articles at the top of the page are from today's headlines, or at least late yesterday. Of course some of the news may rather dated but the articles are all new.

Ron Patterson

I think he might be talking about the main TOD page. PG likes to re-heat leftovers sometimes. Newcomers who don't realize he does this think there's no new content because an old article is posted above newer ones.

Sometimes leftovers are the best thing in the fridge :)

Two words:


More drumbeat stuff:

Nine meals from anarchy - how Britain is facing a very real food crisis


July corn is now $7.01.

Soy $14.35 as far as the eye can see.

KC Wheat at $8.50 with a bullet.

We'll know for sure Monday after the 4th of July.

"As of June 1, according to the Illinois Weather and Crops report,
Illinois farmers had completed 92% of their corn planting, up 5% from
last week. This compares to 100% last year and the five year average
of 98%. Wet soil conditions from last weekend's storms, plus rains
received this week kept farmers out of the field much of this week too.
Corn planting in the southern areas of the state ranges from 80-89%
complete, compared to 95-99% for the central and northern regions.
Soybean planting in Illinois was 57% complete, compared to 95% one
year ago and the five year average of 86%. The southwest region of the
state was noticeably behind with their soybean planting at only 18%
complete, with the rest of the southern areas ranging from 33-51% done.
The central and northern parts of Illinois have completed 57-81% of
their soybean crop. As of June 1 conditions, the Illinois corn crop
placed 54% in Good to Excellent condition, with 35% Fair and 11% Very
Poor to Poor."-USDA

Look for some ethnol refineries to shut down, or at least cut back production, at these prices.

Be careful betting on food commodities, though. Sometimes these conditions are followed by Big harvests. It all depends on the weather. These prices can "turn on a dime."

Many of the fields around me, South Central Illinois, and as far north as Iroquois county are extremely wet with some even being under a foot or more of water. We had a real “gully washer” come through yesterday that knocked out the power in Effingham; and it looks like the forecast doesn’t give much relief from this wet weather pattern. I’m fortunate my fields are surrounded by deep ravines that provide very good drainage. Last year was dry as a bone.

I'm glad your fields are okay.

Thanks for the news from the front.

Likewise here on the Oklahoma/Kansas line -- wet, wet, wet. Harvest is supposed to start around here between June 8 and June 12, traditionally. We have a bumper crop in the fields, but can we get it out? The wheat looks beautiful, out there in the mud...

Here in France too, its wet. Farmers were late letting their animals into the fields due to the poor weather, probably leading to increased meat prices. Not sure what the weather conditions will have overall, but its certainly affected my plantings, etc. But, then again I'm new to this and still trying to get organised.

Even though its June, we're still seeing low overnight temperatures of 5c and it never seems to stop raining. Al Nina? Or something more serious, like a warming Arctic forcing cooler, wetter weather South?

Climate Instability rather than Climate Change?

...And THAT'S the whole under appreciated deal with climate change.

Nobody cares if the temperature goes up 1 degree. But, the instability is what will kill you (or a billion of you):

Late freezing in the Spring
Heat waves
Hail and tornadoes
Pests and predators born out-of-synch
maximum high- and low-temp's your long-time crops can't stand

We grow what we grow based on many years experience. The past weather is NO LONGER an indication of future weather. Agricultural yields will plummet as AGW kicks-in, starving millions if not billions...

Nicely said, got2surf. I wish I could convey that to Joe Sixpack.

I agree totally. Current agricultural yields are produced via the control of the agricultural space, achieved through leveraging climatic stability, resources and technology. All of which seem to be threatening instability and thus increasing volatility in agricultural output.

Planting corn late produced a statistical likelihood of getting a reduced harvest.

Europe has been increasing its hunger for soybean oil in order to produce biofuels to satisfy an EU directive to replace over 5% of its transport fuels with biofuels. In 2007 the United States farmers planted more acres of corn after reducing acres of soybeans, cotton, and other crops. The price of soybeans soared. This year there were fewer acres of corn planted and more acres of soybeans planted in the United States. The United States taxpayer was paying a one dollar per gallon subsidy on biodiesel produced in the United States in order for it to be exported to the EU.


The United States has laws requiring mandatory use of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. 21 billion gallons of this production is supposed to be in the form of cellulosic ethanol. Most of the research indicates that cellulosic ethanol is more expensive to produce than grain or sugar ethanol. The mandatory quota does not protect the consumer if the ethanol industry will find the cost to mass produce ethanol exceeds ten dollars a gallon as some have predicted. Due to the low EROEI of ethanol, it is not a solution to the world's need to replace oil & natural gas with renewable energy. The renewable energies with some of the lowest operating costs are hydroelectric, wind power, and solar PV. Rising costs of energy are leading to localization as a way to reduce transport expenses.

I looked at a piece of land in Southern Illinois recently, but it was more than I needed. I'd like to find more like 2 to 10 acres... let me know if you see anything like that, eh? E-mail is in my profile.



This is in line with the MI5 statement I have posted previously from a few years ago. They stated the UK was three meals from anarchy - three days. The counting of nine meals in three days is probably a little out of step with most people today.

Cut most of the food supply and I would say the UK has serious problems in this timescale. Problem is there are enough social problems already and everything is supposedly working as it should! Heaven forbid when it doesn't.

Re: Krauthammer: At $4, everybody gets rational, up top.

While saying everybody gets rational at $4, he still dosen't think there is any chance of a gas tax increase by next year. So everyone is still not rational, if that is true including Krauthammer. He can't say everyone gets rational and still hold out little hope for a gas tax increase.

The problem is, of course, that the most people believe that they will never see any personal benefit from the tax increase. From past experience they are right.

However the dynamics of the situation are changing fast. If gas prices rise to levels westexas is predicting, there are going to be severe economic repercussions. Locally Winnebago Industries is all but shut down during its normal busy season. And GM just announced closing of several truck and SUV plants.

The situation is that at ever higher oil and gas prices, ever higher amounts of wealth have to be transferred to oil exporting countries to pay for imports. This is a constantly increasing drain on the economy which results in higher unemployment, witness the latest employment numbers. At some point hopefully people will put two and two together.

This is the most compelling reason for the tax increase and also for ethanol. Instead of sending ever larger amounts of wealth outside the economy, increased taxes to reduce oil imports and ethanol serve to keep more wealth inside the country.

With a change of administration and less Republican anti-tax propaganda, it might be possible to increase oil and gas taxes if the economic meltdown is severe enough and there is a visible, salable way to show that the tax increase would benefit everyone. Since everyone who works pays SS taxes and many of those who don't work collect SS, it seems to me it is the vehicle to use.

Couple the gas tax increase with a cut is SS taxes for workers and an increase in SS benefits for SS recipients. Only Democrats can pull this off since no one trusts Republicans tinkering with SS as they have been out to destroy it since FDR.

Overall, I like the idea. And unlike most such suggestions, it offers something to those on Social Security.

But I think I agree with Krauthammer. It's not happening.

The AARP set is going to pitch a fit at any messing with social security. And no, I don't they'll be mollified by increasing the benefits. They're far more concerned about long-term fiscal health than short-term goodies.

And that is what this would be. Giving away more while taking in less - they're going to see straight through that.

And no, the increased gas taxes won't balance it. If they work as advertised, and people cut back, then there will be less and less gas tax taken in each year. While the expense of higher benefits and lower SS taxes remains.

One of the things that drives me bananas is comparing US gasoline prices to those in Europe along the lines of "In EU gas is $8/gal and people are still happily motoring..." It's a legitimate point, but the problem is that for that $8/gal...they're actually getting stuff back from it. Healthcare, public transit, road repair, etc. Unlike the US where we only pay about half that per gallon, but also get much less back. The other half is made up for somewhere else more expensively, or not at all, which causes other problems.


We are actually at $10 / gallon - petrol and nearly $12 / gallon - diesel

And we dont actually see anything near a hypothecation of fuel duty, VAT or road fund licence.

Less than half of the tax take actually goes to transport issues.

We blow it on the government payroll - which has expanded enormously in the last 10 years.

Who else would you expect to pay for final - salary , indexed linked pension pots of the many Government retirees?

Think Sherrif of Nottingham and his happy band of Norman Men-at-Arms.

But this screw is as tight as it will get. The Villagers are getting angry. They are sick of being fleeced.

As productivity falls, unemployment rises and the tax take reduces, UK will become an interesting place in the next 5 years. Especially now that we are importing hydrocarbons at market rates.


Anyone here younger than 45 who seriously expects a Pension at 65?

A current 45 year old hits 'Golden Pond' in the year 2028...

Think again. The days of 'entitlement' are rapidly closing off.

Get used to a different world soon.

Non essential jobs will evaporate.
Unemployment will rise, unemployment benefits will be pegged to a fantasy figure for inflation.
True inflation will play a game called strip jack naked
Food or Fuel? will be the question starting this coming winter.
Winter Cold deaths will increase year-on-year.
Summer Heat deaths will increase year on year.
Public Hospital Triage will become the norm. (dont be an Octogenerian).
Civil disobedience will occur, followed by outright tribal warfare.
The black economy will flourish as people hide wealth from a rapacious government and barter services for cash or kind.

The list will be endless.

The five dollars per gallon of gas I do not pay in taxes compared to some EU countries, I might pay for my own food, clothes, and shelter rather than relying on government to return pennies on the tax dollar to me in the form of rock collecting trips to Mars, subsidies for ethanol, and money paid to protect polar bears. I may thank the government people and their contractors for the roads and airport security. Much else I had to provide for myself.

The AARP set is going to pitch a fit at any messing with social security. And no, I don't they'll be mollified by increasing the benefits. They're far more concerned about long-term fiscal health than short-term goodies.

The AARP more concerned with increasing their membership and their power than anything else just like any other special interest group. They would love to see someone in congress tinkering with SS. The adds the they could run scaring seniors would bring in tons of new members and donations.

Intelligent design of the tax and applications can address these issues.

Example: Figure out what % of gasoline is used by people on Social Security. Apply first $ to improving the Medicare trust fund (it is quite weak and needs new $). Once Medicare is secure, take the gas taxes collected from retirees last year and reduce the Medicare fee for the current year (it is changed every year anyway).

Something like this can be done IMHO.


How rational will 'everybody' be when the pump price is $8? What president would slap a gas tax on top of an $8 pump price? Even if that president's party occupied every seat in the house and senate nd the bill was passed they would all be gone come the next election. I am not saying it is impossible, just unlikely.

During a large gulf war with oil exports from most of the world shut down or restrained I believe rationing implementation would come before a gas tax.

It's way too late to use increases in taxes to modify people's fuel use. Some form of rationing will be the only way, as that won't push many more people into bankruptcy. By allowing the sale of extra allocations, many people could get what they need, but it would cost them more. Or, an allocation plan could be like a limited subsidy where an individual is allowed a small amount of fuel at a reduced price, then would pay full market price beyond that.

Whatever is done, it's going to be painful and TPTB won't give up their grip on things without a fight. There are, however, many more of us po' fok than there's dem rich guys at the country club. As the economy tanks and the jobs run out, people can get real nasty.

E. Swanson

Well, unless it's hard rationing without the sale of higher-priced allocations, the economic effect will be the same as letting the price rise and giving everybody a periodic 'stimulus' check for the difference between the officially set price and the market price for a set number of gallons. And the latter would require far less fiddling and bureaucracy, and could easily be made to benefit the poorest, who don't have vehicles at all.

But as for pushing people into bankruptcy, it's not going to make a huge difference one way or another. A lot of "po'fok" are going to be at reduced hours or jobless if a rationing program fouls up access to fuel in order to shave a few cents off the price. After all, two of the biggest opportunities, if you can call them that, for unskilled low-wage jobs are tourism and retailing. Tourism is entirely discretionary, and retailing is largely discretionary. Both will shrink markedly over time if access to fuel is made dicey and time-consuming, and/or a serious risk is created of being randomly stranded (and at the mercy of walk-up room rates) for unknown periods of time.

The problem with the "stimulus" check in the mail is that it isn't targeted directly at the consumer. And, some folks didn't get those refund checks. I certainly didn't, as I had no "earned income" last year (darned!). That's just part of the problem with any allocation program, i.e., to whom do you give the allocation? Do you give every licensed driver a share, even though they have no car, or do you give the shares per vehicle? Either way, there's opportunities to game the system. I may not have a job, but I do have several vehicles registered and insured (don't ask why). Also, if the amount of the refund is fixed, it will buy less fuel if the retail price continues to increase, as must happen for "rationing by price" to work, since the "dollar/gallon" ratio is not fixed. No, I think the direct rationing approach is best, since it allows everybody a chance at using the limited resource and also makes it possible to do some planning for the future.

I agree that those in a business which depends on discretionary spending are the most likely to suffer immediate failure. However, some tourism, especially the more local kind, may benefit at first as people will tend to stay closer to home. As things progress, many workers will be pushed to the edge of survival where there won't be any money leftover for discretionary activities, beyond the basics of eating and staying warm. Then, it will likely get worse...

E. Swanson

Thank you for stating the case so succinctly. I've been banging my head against the wall for a while now at the truck stop, fighting disinformation and misinformation, as well as pure ignorance. I wish I could just open their heads and pour the overall concept in... but, that continues to be my wish...

I am still sticking to $1000 in 7 -10 years.

Needless to say, I think it's a pretty reasonable estimate--because of an accelerating net export decline rate and because of tougher bidding as forced energy conservation moves up the food chain.

Using May, 2005 as the starting point, $1000 in May 2012 would be 42%/year. $1,000 in May, 2015 would be 30%/year. Actually, these are both below what we have seen in the past year.

Some monthly May average WTI spot prices:

2005: $50

2006: $71

2007: $63

2008: $125

Rule of 72, we have seen a compound rate of increase of about 72%/year from 5/07 to 5/08. At this current rate increase, it suggests an average June price of $133, $141 in july and $150 in August.

IMO, what has happened in the past few months is that Europe, the US and Asia have stopped bidding against poor third world consumers for declining net oil exports, and they are now bidding against each other for declining net oil exports.

At this rate, Matt Simmons is going to easily win his bet regarding $200 oil, in (sort of) inflation adjusted 2005 dollars.

Hi Jeffrey,

Why do you expect the compound rate of increase to remain constant? How would you have forecast the a year ago, and what would you have forecast for June-August 2007? (If you can post links to anything you wrote then, so much the better).



My firm prediction is that oil prices will fluctuate, with an upward bias. I do expect to see this pattern: $50, $100, $200, $400, $800. . .

It's a question of the time periods between the doublings.


I don't know where you find the courage, westexas. I've reached the point where I no longer say my intermediate- and long-term price projections aloud.

I cling to the faint hope that Alan Drake's plans--what I call my Peak Oil Tranquilizer--can make things not as bad as they would otherwise have been.

I've had my sights set on being ready by 2012. In my opinion, things are happening scary-fast.

Ah, but the rule is never to name both a price and a date, isn't it? ;)

And westexas does say, "It's a question of the time periods between the doublings." So it's a little like the local weather forecasts for the last few weeks and for next week - 40% chance of thunderstorms, give or take a little, day in and day out, which tells us nothing more than that it's summertime. We didn't need to spend billions on the NWS just to learn that. We spent those billions to no avail, in part to know, for purposes of scheduling outdoor work and events, when it would be stormy.

Now, economists generally hold that a little inflation is desirable, and politicians take that as license to spend money that's not theirs as freely as if it were seawater. So even if we had access to the mythical Creamy Nougat Center Of Oil, we'd surely reach $800 sooner or later, no?

Well in all reality I have not had too much trouble naming dates or weeks that oil will hit prices. Its quite simple to tell really.. Prices are going up they go up at said rate between incremental. At said rate of incremental it seems to get more exponential at rate. Thus leading to faster climb in prices, The bellcurve is easy to predict to the week :)

Next week if Oil hits 140$ a barrel it will be another "correct" in my belt :)

Not to toot my own horn but there ya go it can be done.

You just have to say it.. And say it to everybody you know.. No matter how crazy or difficult or even hopeless. People NEED to know. IMO

Without seeking to question the basic pattern of geometric increases in west texas's analysis, and without going along with their premise that oil price increases will increase supply, it still seems possible to me that some elements of Goldman-Sach's analysis will intervene.
In other words, at some stage doubling the price of oil will result in a big enough recession to halt the process, so we have:
$50, $100, $200...economy halves, at least in oil related sectors, $200...economy halves...etc
The basic thesis here is that oil is so basic to advanced economies that geometric increases are unsupportable without collapsing the economy, and above a certain pain threshold the result will be massive demand destruction severe enough to equal the otherwise geometric increases in price.
I would also suggest that this level may be about $150/barrel.
At those levels whole industries, for instance the air tourist industry, become unsustainable, which has knock-on effects and causes rapid contraction in the overall economy.
So the suggestion is that, minus inflation, the oil price remains stable, whilst the overall economy shrinks, to give effectively the same price levels as suggested by west texas.
This is not good news, of course, as it suggests much less money available to look for new oil resources than suggested in wt's analysis when oil is at the equivalent of $800/barrel.
Perhaps at some point mitigation might be offered by power being supplied by non-oil parts of the economy, and the contribution of renewables, to allow the more optimistic pattern wt suggests to renew.

I'm not quite as pessimistic, but I do think that the processes of economic contraction, and switching to alternatives (as they become cheaper than classic methods for doing the same thing), will tend to slow down, or halt the price rise. Just where this equilibrium price point is, and the time trajectory of it is today's $64B quetion. I don't pretend to know the answer, but it seems to me that at some point the price rises will be self limiting.

Demand reduction seems as though it must be the main mechanism for many years - ie depression.
The technology to replace oil is available for most uses, but now is used on a tiny scale, and gas needs replacing to a large extent too.
Some back of the envelope figures to see whether this holds true:
Around 50% of the oil consumption in the US is for private cars.
We just about have, or will have within around 2-3 years, the technology to replace that with electric/plug in hybrid vehicles.
Half of the mileage of all cars is done be those under 5 years old.
So if production switched to these, then you would reduce consumption by 50% over 5 years.
That would be a saving of around 10% in total US oil consumption per year.
Large although not equivalent savings could be made in other countries - they use less of their oil for passenger vehicles.
So that is the problem solved?
Nope, because of time lags.
2-3 years to sort the basic production out, then add to that time to ramp up the build.
Being very optimistic indeed, and allowing for most of the vehicles being just quick and dirty conversions of existing models, that might take 4-5 years.
The only thing which would hold demand in the interim would be depression.
By the time that all electric production could be done the economy would be gravely weakened.
From 15million car and trucks in the US, the new output figure might be 5 million or so.
In practise mobility is likely to be provided largely by electric bikes and trikes..
So the primary mechanism for coping with higher oil prices will in reality be massive demand destruction and a reduction in convenience, and in the productivity of the economy, although to some degree technology will mitigate this.
You come up with similar considerations for energy provision.
Nuclear has a long lead time, which may shorten as planning is relaxed but will still be substantial.
Technologies like nuclear batteries may be capable of mass-production, but since the designs are not fully authorised let alone the production lines set up you have a similar lag to EV car build, of at least 8-10 years to really get it going.
Solar power is a very small player at the moment, and will also take many years to ramp up.
Overall then I would see demand destruction as the main mechanism to restrict demand from 2009 until at least 2015, with the very difficult post peak financial and political environment likely delaying real recovery from a much lower level until around 2020-5.
This is still not quite so pessimistic as Gail, who looks to progressive decay of the system and no recovery.

"IMO, what has happened in the past few months is that Europe, the US and Asia have stopped bidding against poor third world consumers for declining net oil exports, and they are now bidding against each other for declining net oil exports."


By the way, a thirty percent increase on average is less than we have actually experienced since the end of 1998. Run the numbers yourself, (average price in December of 1998 was $8.64) http://www.ioga.com/Special/crudeoil_Hist.htm
The rate has been ramping up significantly over the last three years. Must be them "waskely" speculators.
But this would indicate that barring severe economic reduction in demand the continuation of greater than 30% per year is highly likely.

Absolutely: there's a lot of unrest right now in the third world, look at Myanmar and the protests. They were sparked by a subsidy decrease. Africa is looking similar, e.g., Kenya is having unrest which is normally a stable country. I can't help but think that one is related to fuel prices too.

Does anyone know if Iran is still "storing" oil in tankers offshore?
I had some funny thoughts running through my head this morning as I woke up:

Some people are focused on Iran gaining nuclear weapons, but what about Iran using relatively conventional weapons on a grand scale? If Iran truly felt seriously threatened (does anyone think they do not currently feel that way?), how difficult would it be for them to produce 10 to 20 thousand tons of high explosives? How difficult would it be to install several thousand tons of said explosives into the bottom of a number of crude tankers?

The explosives alone would have the effect of a small nuclear device, but would detonating them inside a crude tanker increase the effect significantly? If so, how difficult would it be to get such a tanker within range (several miles away should still be quite effective I would think) of quality targets (a US carrier group, a large crude exporting/importing terminal somewhere, etc.)?

How difficult would it be to turn a crude tanker into an extremely large fuel/air bomb?
If it could be done without too much difficulty, how effective would it be?

Anyone have thoughts on these musings?

It would certainly be possible to do that from a logistics point of view, and it would cause alot of trouble at whatever port its at, but I don't think the crude oil would actually, "explode," so to speak. It would certainly burn. Think of a massive oil spill, but on fire.

One thing though, is that Iran doesn't export any oil to the US (sanctions) and I'd imagine not Israel either. So I wonder who they export to (anyone know). Is there even anyone worth attacking in such a mannar?

If they really tried to do that, the first thing is that the importer would notice the tanker being pretty late. That much of an obstruction on the bottom of the ship would probably produce alot of underwater drag and slow the tanker down considerably.

Also, aren't tankers inspected before entering port?

Lots of explosives would weigh the ship down, so they'd have to put less fuel in it so it sits at the same level. Then coast guard inspectors might notice something is up upon discovering that the fuel tanks are only partially full.

I suppose most of my post is speculation (like yours). But it is something that could become a problem as things get hot.

freeyourmind -

I suppose from a purely theoretical technical point of view it would be possible to hide several thousand tons of conventional explosives deep within the bowls of a supertanker after making some relatively minor structural modifications. As these vessels typically displace anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 tons, such a load of explosives would not be made manifest in any external visual sort of way.

But an Iranian tanker would in all likelihood be going to an Iranian oil customer, so why would they want to harm one of their customers? If the tanker were leased to someone else, then it would be pretty difficult to hide unless the tanker had a crew that was in on the plot. I think such a scheme would be highly unlikely.

On the other hand, if the US/Israel did attack Iran, I think it would be quite easy for small Iranian torpedo and/or missile boats manned by suicide crews to disable several tankers on their way out of or into the Persian Gulf. They wouldn't even have to actually sink a tanker. Just put a large tanker bound for the US or Europe out of commission, and there would be instant panic on the global oil market. The US could eventually try to neutralize such a threat by forming WW II-style heavily guarded tanker convoys, but that would also do wonders for the price of oil and shipping insurance.

The Bush Regime appears to have conflicting goals when it comes to Iran and the next presidential election. On the one hand, an attack on Iran and the ensuing mess would strengthen the position of McCain, whom the Republicans would portray as a better 'war president'. But on the other hand, if such a war causes the price of oil to go off the scale, the economy is going to tank, and there would be a lot of pissed-off motorist/voters come November, which would work against the Republicans. "It's the economy, stupid" is always a good principle to abide by in presidential elections. The US economy is in dicey condition as it is, and totally out of control oil prices caused by an attack on Iran would surely push it right over the edge.

I hope the Bush crowd is not that stupid, but empirical observation over the course of this Administration strongly suggest that they are that stupid.

The Bush Regime appears to have conflicting goals when it comes to Iran and the next presidential election.

Always assuming, of course, that they want the election to go ahead in November. Timing is everything - if things go bad enough at the perfect time, then the election could be delayed...


Not ManCon -

Of course there is another possibility: that the Bush Regime will wait to see who wins the 2008 presidential election. If it is McCain, then Bush will defer a decision to attack Iran to him (which he would probably do), but if Obama is the winner, then Bush will attack Iran in the last 10 weeks of his lame-duck presidency and leave the resultant mess for Obama to clean up.

An interesting Constitutional question in that regard is this: What if Obama informs the Pentagon high command that if there is an attack on Iran after the election but before he is inaugurated, after he becomes President he will court martial everyone involved, then could Bush have Obama arrested on Homeland Security charges that he aided and abetted a terrorist nation while still a private citizen and thus nullify the election?

Can't happen here? Think again!

If you believe some of the more conspirational news sites then the attack happens after the vote but before the changeover and senior democrats have already privately told Bush they will seek to impeach him if he launches a surprise attack against Iran.

If you believe these same sites then five nuclear armed missiles were "accidentally" loaded. Four were recovered. Probably nonsense but this is a strange world.

So, to avoid impeachment (which can happen between election day and inauguration day), or "crimes against..." charges (which can be after GWB steps down), the options would appear to be:

"Force" a McCain victory (anything from a public opinion shift / encouraging traditional non-voters to come out and vote to outright vote-rigging - "It'll never happen")

Delay the election (as was considered for 2004)

Of course, the US probably wants the feel-good factor of winning a sackful of gold medals at the Olympics (while China wants to use them for its own ends - not sure what their plans are, but certainly won't help anyone other than China, IMHO), so any Middle East adventures would need to be after 24th August.

I would call some it unlikely if it wasn't for previous actions.

I'm sick of people who keep saying Bush & Co are so stupid. They're not stupid. They only appear stupid if you assume their *stated* goals are their actual goals. That would be a very naive assumption.

a fuel/air bomb would not be that difficult to rig,imo. a simple manipulation of the real gas law is about all the physics needed.

dont try this at home.

While looking for some information on the Strait of Hormuz, I stumbled upon THIS little bit of journalistic speculation.

Not that the Iranians would THINK of trying some of these things if attacked. Besides, they probably have better ideas by now. And, no, I'm not going to offer any schemes myself. Wouldn't want Gee Dubyah's boys to think I'm one of the bad guys...

E. Swanson

Oh man, America is great! We've got the best comedians for leaders. Check out the recent news:

Unemployment shoots up to 5.5%

The Dow looses 395 points.

Oil goes from $122 to $139 in two days.

Bush says, "We're beginning to see signs that the stimulus may be working."

That man is pure comic genius!


Yeah, that Bush is a real card. He probably missed his true calling as a second rate stand up commedian. That said, I want to thank him for our stimulus check. We were so stimulated that we bought some more silver eagles. Feel free to send some more stimulus checks any time George...but do it while the bullion dealers are still willing to take dollars for gold/silver and there are still groceries on the market shelves.

Now, now Bush does have some good points.
He was reportedly a very good Cheer Leader at Yale (at least while somewhat sober).
I think without the connections, he would of made it as a aerobics instructor in Family Fitness in Dallas.
That is if could of kept the drugs and alcohol under control.
Bush was drunk until age 40, so he has accomplished mass chaos in short time, and that cannot be discounted.

RE: Russian car usage. implications for exports etc..

Quick read this before it gets paywalled:


pretty scary reading if you put in in the content of their net exports.


Japanese Automaker, U.S. Firm Team Up To Convert Cars to Electric Power

Cervan says, "I think in the past, the electric vehicle ware held back by the batteries. Battery technology in the past 10 years has come a long way. We were running at about 600 pounds [72 kilograms] of batteries to get the same mileage we use to be running at about 2,400 pounds [1088 kilograms] of batteries," he said. Cerven says lithium powered cars are just as powerful as vehicles fueled by gas. For example, with ten packs of these lithium batteries, a PT Cruiser can accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour in seven point two seconds, rivaling the performance of a six cylinder, gas-powered car. A six-hour electrical charge provides enough power to drive the car nearly 200 kilometers.

Will the alternatives be affordable enough for enough people to make a difference ?

Maybe .... Maybe not

Ah, this is the thin line we walk...

Big enough numbers of electric cars to replace the present fleet do not seem possible in the time available.
However, the replacement of cars with electric bikes and trikes to transport the family does seem possible, so personal mobility would not cease, although the convenience and comfort of it would.
EVWORLD FEATURE: China's EV Future Is Now: China | Electric Bicycles | Scooters

I saw a broad range of EV choices available and in use. The majority used lead-acid batteries, although use of lithium-ion batteries was on the rise. Most of the EVs had two wheels, although I also saw many electric tricycles used for hauling larger loads. Almost all of them used small motors mounted in the hub of one of the wheels. The smallest motors produced about 100 Watts (W) of power, but the majority of electric bicycles used motors in the 180-250W range.

The good news is that since Americans by and large would not have to haul their bikes up the steps of their apartments they would likely get relatively powerful scooters!

I definitely think electric bikes and scooters will be playing a significant role much sooner than electric cars, simply because of the price factor involved. Chinese cities like Shanghai may be providing us with a glimpse of the future in this respect.

There has been a noticeable movement towards regular bikes and gas-powered scooters and mopeds in recent months here in LA, I could see electric bikes becoming a much bigger thing here in the future. At this point I think the whole idea is still relatively unknown here in the US.

One of the main problems here in LA of course is the scarcity of useful bike paths, but once there are a lot more riders this will be solved by political pressure I expect. Then electric bikes could be a workable and ultra-cheap alternative for a lot of people in SoCal...with our mild weather here and relatively flat landscape for the most part, this is a potential cycling paradise with just a bit of redesigning of how we use our streets.

AlanFromBigEasy or others: wouldn't this be a quicker/cheaper/easier solution for many people than building expensive electric rail everywhere? I am all for building as much electric rail as we can get, but even in the best case scenarios millions of people are not going to live close to a station, electric bikes and well-regulated bikeways would be a structure that we could implement very quickly at relatively low cost and still maintain a degree of personal mobility.

Electric bikes for short/medium distance transit also carry the advantage that they can be carried on heavy rail like the SoCal Metrolink when commuting longer distances. Folding bikes are particularly great for this, I commuted for a year by riding a folding (non-electric) bike to the Metrolink and then catching the Red Line subway downtown to my job in Hollywood. People could use electric trikes for going to the supermarket or other errands.

I think electric bikes can go 20-25 mph steadily, this is already faster than LA traffic a lot of the time! If we had large designated bike paths you could probably get to a lot of places faster than we do now in cars...

Check out this article from Bicycle magazine about the potential for bike transport in LA:

Best Cities For Cycling
A Future Best City: Los Angeles

On a related topic, here's a great quote from an LA Times blogger recently:

Update: Oil prices rise to $138 a barrel

Our region is built on many assumptions, one of them being the expectation that people here can travel easily and cheaply across vast distances without using mass transportation. I don't know of too many people who penciled out a budget that includes the cost of gas at $5/gallon, or higher. If oil prices hold at these levels it is a sucker punch to this region's economy, and by extension, to the housing market.

A sucker punch? That implies you couldn't see it coming right? But you should have seen this one coming a mile away if you've been paying attention..

Electric bikes are virtually unavailable in the UK at present AFAIK but that should change soon.
The latest versions can manage hills as well, which is great as not everyone is in good enough health to cycle.
The reliability of Chinese electric bikes is supposed to be rubbish, but no doubt the Japanese will get into the act.
Here in the UK there are a fair few cycle paths, but on the road unless you have visited here you would not believe how close they are to the vehicles with the narrow roads!

I recently have started working with a California bicycle consulting firm to get a better idea of the potential.

Bicycles can be implemented faster, but there is, in all experience (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, etc.) an upper limit to their modal share. I see them as a significant part (and a quickly implemented part) of the post-Peak Oil response byt only a part.

Best Hopes for Bikes,


Upper limit to bike share may not be best estimated by recent experience. For instance, in your examples of low energy use such as even hilly Switzerland during or just after the Second World War I am willing to bet that bicycle use was a lot higher than anything in recent modern experience - ie in an energy constrained environment.
At that time Electric bikes were also unavailable, and so the less fit members of society were restricted in their use.
As a child in Portsmouth I remember the huge rush of bicyclists from the dockyard gates when the whistle for the end of shift went.
It appears that around 25% of journeys then were by bike.
I haven't spotted much on percentage use, but here is a pdf on safety:

Best wishes for your new venture.

20% to 25% appears to be the limits today in Amsterdam & Copenhagen (and a decade ago in China). Walking will always compete for modal share (not a bad thing) as will public transit.

How much impact will eBikes and eTrikes have ?

Best Hopes,


Well, assuming that my own situation is by no means unique, and it isn't, the main use for my car is to go shopping or to get a couple of miles into town to work.
Biking is impractical in my health, but an electric bike would be fine, providing it could cope with moderate hills and could be got up the steps to my flat.
My guess is that in the UK at least it could add at least another 20% or so to your figure.
Should we move to the south-east Asian type trikes then you would access another large part of the market, the women with small children.
The main issue here would be security, as bicycle theft is very common.
I would guess that supermarkets etc would need to lay on secure parking to greatly increase the practicality of bike use, electric and otherwise.

I read somewhere (I thought the link was from drumbeat, but cannot seem to link it), that nickel metal hydride battery production is maxed out, and several automobile companies are bidding for the currently fixed supply. Maybe someone can find the link. IIRC (from only several hours ago), it claimed that production can't increase until a new battery factory is completed, in 2010! If that is true, (and LiIon isn't ready to take over yet), can anyone say PeakHybrids! In any case when I took my Prius in for its 15000mile service this morning, the service manager said they aren't getting many Priuses anymore (he though Toyota was conspiring with the oil companies). In any case, they used to get 20-22 Priuses every 15days, now they only get 6! I tried to tell him, I thought they couldn't build them due to battery supply problems, but it didn't seem to sink in. In any case, it looks like my prediction that once TSHTF, hybrid production would prove to very very much less than demand.

The other interesting phenomena lately, are the mini-cooper advertising. They are claiming 38mpg, at something like $18K. If those numbers check out, that may be one of the better buys in low cost fuel efficiency available to the masses today.

Hello Enemy of state,

In yesterday's DB: I posted a link where possibly the IOCs & NOCs will be aiming for an additional fivefold increase in sulfur pricing. IMO, the resultant pricing ripples [tidal waves?] throughout the total industrial supply chain will make widespread battery availability a very difficult goal to achieve.

IMO, we need to postPeak move towards battery-powered, heavy-duty, short haul delivery trucks instead of trying to provide personal battery transportation for a select few. My feeble two cents.

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

An interesting (if disturning) thought. Is sulfur an essential supply chain ingredient for any of the current hybrid battery types? I had thought the article didn't claim that battery production was being forced to retrench, just that an increase requires the construction of new factories. But then my confidence in our reporting profession being able to get a story correct has been running very low recently.

There are of course multiple potential battery technologies involved, hopefully they won't all be affected by commodity constraints.

The problem with postpeak electrification of transport is that a large amount of research development, and especially capital investment in production capacity have to be made prepeak. Unless we are being faked out by a false peak (ie. if the real peak is 2015 or later), we just don't have the infrastructure in place for a semi-seamless transition toe electric transportation. It looks like the market won't invest until the demand is proven to be there, and that means the preparations will/are be woefully inadequate for the scale of the problem.

Thxs for responding. Your Quote: "Is sulfur an essential supply chain ingredient for any of the current hybrid battery types?

...Sulfuric acid has many applications, and is one of the top products of the chemical industry. World production in 2001 was 165 million metric tons, with an approximate value of US$8 billion. Principal uses include ore processing, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining, wastewater processing, and chemical synthesis.

...Sulfuric acid is a very important commodity chemical, and indeed, a nation's sulfuric acid production is a good indicator of its industrial strength.[5] The major use (60% of total production worldwide) for sulfuric acid is in the "wet method" for the production of phosphoric acid, used for manufacture of phosphate fertilizers...
If sulfur goes skyhigh--besides I-NPK, everything industrial goes skyhigh--which obviously will severely limit metals used for electric vehicles and batteries.

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

Just another weblink example of the rapidly rising price of sulfur:

High input costs hit chemical industry

These are testing times for the chemical industry. Prices of many chemicals, which are used as raw material in pesticides, fertilisers, dyes and dyestuffs, paints and pigments sectors, have gone up drastically. What's more, the high leap in raw material prices, which is up to 300% in some cases, has come in last two to six months.

...For example sulphur was Rs 4 per kg a year ago, now it is at Rs 35 per kg. Sulphur is basic mineral used in the production of sulphuric acid. Same is the case with rock phosphate which too is used in production of many chemicals.
That is almost a ninefold increase: 4 X 9 = 36. Other weblinks have already listed past sulfur sales that have gone up thirteenfold. It is important to remember that when a process is input-dependent upon certain Elements--there are No Substitutes. For example: you cannot substitute lead, uranium, and gold for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium [NPK], then expect your crops to flourish.

News items from the past week with a PO flavor:

  • Last night on PBS "Nightly Business Report" a shell-shocking looking oil trdaer at NYMEX talked about the day's action. When asked about the price if war started with Iran "... uh $300? ... look, we really don't know what the limits are"
  • Also on PBS NBR, a Virginia-based investment guru "... I'm firmly in the camp of Boone Pickens and Matt Simmons". His top picks were Burlington-Northern Railroad, Encana (gas), and Walmart
  • Quebec manufacturer of swimming pool equipment moving their factory from China back to Quebec - can no longer afford the shipping costs
  • also in Quebec, a new form of tourism is suddenly becoming very popular. You get on a bus and are taken to see a variety of working farms near where you live
  • Wisconson signs a huge long-term deal with Manitoba to import hydro power. The deal will finance construction of dams in the north of Manitoba

Matt Simmons being mentioned by an investment guru?; factories moving *back* from China?; farm tourism?; and maybe people have started to understand that hydro will still be there when all the gas, oil and coal have gone.

Looks like the game (of surviving PO) is underway.

I think I may have come across that investment guru, in my morning news trawl.

"Market Monitor"-Derwood Chase, President of Chase Investment Counsel

these clowns keep telling me to invest in walmart while in the same breath say fuel prices are going to rise. Is this an oxymoron or am I a moron. I can see walmart doing better and better as everyone gets poorer and poorer and can't afford to buy anywhere else. But hasn't walmart already won the race to the bottom? Isn't there jit business model going to be there undoing?
I'd recommend investing in a local food co-op
Leanan, if you came directly to me and paid 6$/lb for my asparagus, I could afford to give you a head of lettuce and 1/2 a lb of baby spinach.
Thanks for your dedication.

There's a local CSA, but they don't have much yet.

$6 was too rich for my blood. It was nice-looking asparagus, perfect for grilling, but I passed. Bought some rainbow chard instead.

Here's a good one
The U.S. Has No Remaining Grain Reserves
haven't seen it here yet

Rainbow chard is one of my favorites too, I'm growing a whole box of it on the porch.

I was at the Hollywood Farmer's Market this morning buying some more herb seedlings from a local farmer and I heard him saying how he's doubled his business since last year and never seen good times like this for local growers...

Yep, that's the one.

The cost of shipping from China is going to boost US/Canadian/Mexican manufacturing. Wages in China are rising thanks to the US importing inflation to China via the weak dollar and, believe it or not, China is beginning to have labor shortages in some fields. As many have commented in the past PO might drive a spike through the heart of globalization...at least for items that are large, cheap, and expensive to ship.

Containerized horror
By The Mogambo Guru

'The report notes that "it currently costs US$8,000 to ship a standard 40-foot container from Shanghai to the North American east coast, including in-land transportation. That's up from just US$3,000 in 2000 when oil was US$20 per barrel. At US$200 per barrel of oil, the cost to ship the same container is likely to reach US $15,000.'


So, I went grocery shopping this morning. I'd noticed prices were getting higher, but it was really noticeable this week.

In particular, I couldn't believe asparagus was $6/lb. Christ on a cracker. Usually it's $3/lb. at this time of year. The most I've ever seen it before was $4/lb., even out of season when there was "storm damage in California." o_O

Looks like the 175 asparagus plants I put in the last couple of years are going to pay off. The manager at the local IGA told me she'll buy all I can provide.

asparagus are a long term commitment, but great payoff in the future.
I grew asparagus in Maui (upcountry in Kula).
My garden in Marin is bursting to life, and we very rarely buy veggies now.

Hey, by the way, thanks to all you gardening guys who post tips here, I just picked the first piece of food I've ever grown myself--a delicious peach.

Thanks, Moe Gamble, for one of the few belly-laughs I've had recently. I sincerely hope it was a good peach :)

I just put in a dwarf peach tree in the front garden myself.

A couple of years ago I had a short conversation with a relative (who has a small kitchen garden on her farm) about whether it made sense, financially, to grow one's own vegetables. Her answer was that there were a number of reasons to grow, but it wasn't really clear that money was one of them. For many people the equation must be changing.

I didn't get a chance to add to yesterday's thread on what to put in your shipping container, an appropriate topic on a day when oil jumped 10.75... my suggestion is salt, at least some of it iodized (who wants swelling in their neck?).

There was a report I recall about salt selling for (?) $80 a kilo (2.2 lbs) in the most desperate parts of Bosnia in the '90s. Michael Pollan in The Omnivore's Dilemma describes his fairly hilarious attempts to gather sea salt for the sourdough bread that he was making. Makes your box of salt from the supermarket seem pretty cheap.

Of course I prefer the proposals of Peter Barnes (Sky Trust), Feasta (Cap and Share), or James Hansen (Tax and %100 Dividend) to stocking up on salt. But I can't blame anyone who feels unsettled - I do. And to think how expensive all that gold bullion is, and hard on the earth to boot, when what you really might regret not having is some NaCl treated with iodine.

Okay call me silly but I just bought 10 kilos/22lbs of bulk sea salt.

My friends think this is crazy so I don't talk about these kinds of purchases with them very much. But I don't have the money to buy or capacity to store a lot of big stuff like many people who post here. I'm just trying to think along less obvious lines for my larder: medical stuff with a long shelf life, small tools, Castile soap, etc. Plus I'm gardening on borrowed ground as much as I can manage, from potatoes and amaranth to medicinal herbs. I think we're likely to have very poor quality food in the very near future and I want to supplement it as much as possible with home grown. It may not be a survivable solution, but it's what I can manage as a single woman of a certain age.

Salt will last forever and you'll always need it. Because our food is so full of it now we tend to think of it as a poison, not as something we would die without. Salt is like the air - we would pay anything for it if there wasn't enough to go around. I know I'm sounding a little over the top right now.

Sea salt is great, but also expensive. If you increase your inventory you might just go with regular table salt and save some money. Plus goitre is still a problem in poorer parts of the world, which is telling us that iodine is of value too.

Wasn't salt used as money in ancient times? Need to google that and see, but it sticks in my brain for some reason.

Roman soldiers were paid in part with salt - root of the word 'salary'

it was also essential for preserving food too.


40 Pound bags of Water Softener Salt at the local mega-mart, may be a more cost effective solution.

Whether it saves money to grow your own vegetables depends on which vegetables you eat and how much.
I eat a lot of fresh fruit, but not too much in the way of vegetables. I am pretty much a carnivore. So for me it makes alot more sense to grow chickens,beef and pork. While vegetables and fruit are expensive, meat is going through the roof. $5.00+ per pound for bits of stew meat! And there is a much bigger chance for your store bought meat to be adulterated than there is for vegetables. (Think 10% to 20% salt water+chemicals "patented solution") Also the "good virus" sprays on lunch meats to kill the "bad viruses" And also the packaging gasses that can make rotten meat look fresh.
Buy your vegetables from a local truck gardener and raise chickens for meat and eggs!

Economics and agriculture don't mix, they're opposites (illusion vis reality), hence the need for agricultural subsidies to square the circle (otherwise we'd have nothing to eat). We need food, end of story. Scrub the economic analysis from any thinking about food or its production its just nonsense.

Yesterday I saw fresh sugar snap peas at a farmer's market also at $6.00. They looked delicious, but I took a pass. Rhubarb is a bargain at $3.00/lb.

1 US gallon = 3.78541178 litres X ($ 1.40 (Vancouver, Can)/ltr. X 0.9818 ex. rate) = $5.20 US per US gallon.

And you guys are blubing at $4.00? ... Phooey! is all I can say :)

This is significant, and was briefly mentioned as a possibility on the Drum Beat yesterday, but here it is in black and white today:

Shura member calls for oil production curbs in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Shura council (parliament) will hold a series of meetings over the next two weeks to discuss a controversial proposal by a key member to curb oil production to save reserves for better prices, Saudi media reported. The council will listen to a report by deputy chairman of the Shura water and public utilities committee, Salim bin Rashid Al Marri, who will argue for cutting crude supplies to maintain the Kingdom's underground reserves.

The article continues with more detail. Looks like this could easily become as big a factor for the ELM as increased domestic consumption.

There's some discussion of this article in the June 4 DrumBeat.

IMO, it's the latest in a long line of excuses (starting with, we can't find buyers for light/sweet crude) for what are largely involuntary production declines.

And yet...it makes perfect sense, even if it is a smokescreen. I can't help but give some credence to this statement that came out last year:

Saudi oil executive Sadad Al-Husseini, June 2007: "There has been a paradigm shift in the energy world whereby oil producers are no longer inclined to rapidly exhaust their resource for the sake of accelerating the misuse of a precious and finite commodity. This sentiment prevails inside and outside of OPEC countries, but has yet to be appreciated among the major energy-consuming countries of the world."

Anyway ya look at it, whether it's declining production, increased internal consumption or hoarding, the result to the developed world is the same. We're screwed.

The US has had this policy in place for some time. Keeping a lid on our URR. Albeit for seemingly different reasons. The right has been getting louder and louder calling for a release of these URR's. Which leads me to wonder, without doing any analysis, what if we did go all out and begin tapping ANWR, the outer continental shelfs, the shale oil, etc... I know I have read from WT that according to Hubbert's analysis of the lower 48, that the addition of ANWR would only give us another 5-10 years. I don't recall or think I have ever read what the estimated reserves are in the continental shelves.

The median estimate of maximum production rate for ANWR is .78mbpd. If we recognize that it is world supply/demand that matters (for price anyway), that only delays the downsloping part of the Hubbert curve by a few months. I've long claimed that we should do ANWR for two reasons, (1) to remove the distraction effect, that it has -causing many to believe that supply problems will end if only they can defeat the dirty hippies, and (2) we could hopefully capture a significant part of the revenue from the leases to conservation. At this point I think the rightwing needs this issue, to try to convince Jow Sixpack, that their problems are caused by the dirty hippy libruls.

My skepticism is largely based on the Texas case history--a long term decline rate of -4%/year, despite a very intensive drilling program, combined with secondary & tertiary recovery techniques.

Telling, that. I am speechless.

I don't know how much of the recent upblast in oil price is to be blamed on any Iran/Israel thing as I feel that the price action over the last 6 months is mostly an ELM thing. But the move last week from bottom to top of trading channel, some 14% in just two days? I think that could be signaling something other than the typical recovery after the typical 10% ($135 to $122) bull market correction.

That something could be a new feature of the 4 year old to-bomb-or-not-to bomb agony over Iran that has developed since the situation I summarized here. One of the options that has been active on the table besides the undesirable military option is the isolate option.

The isolate option hasn't received much press but has been methodically pursued by both the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. has been at work creating what could be called a "banking embargo" of Iran. Economic sanctions have been levied on Iran for years, but about a year ago, the U.S. wielded it's favorite tool for getting anything done (debt) as a weapon of mass destruction against Iran. The idea was to use American influence in the global banking system to blacklist Iran's banks from access to credit based on their ties to terrorism. This has been more effective than you might think:

Already, many banks in Germany, France, and Britain have ended or sharply reduced their dealings with Iranian banks. As they have done so, much of this business has ended up in Austria, financial-intelligence officials say.

But Austria recently has this to say

As a result with our proactive dialogue with the U.S. Treasury we implemented a very strict Iran policy in 2007...The bank has not pursued an expansion of Iranian business.

Meanwhile, Israel has been at work creating what could be called an "oil trade embargo" of Iran. Geographically, Syria is situated at a very critical trading location for oil, especially as it concerns China. If a miracle were to happen and Syria would join the non-terrorist community, it would open up a bevy of very desirable trade options for the region that would take the oil trade out from under the guns of the Gulf and away from Iranian leverage, isolating their traditional geopolitical ace card. Pipelines are being built to reroute Gulf oil

Thus, even though it may take another two years for the Saudis to finish their western pipeline to connect to Syria, it looks as if time is running out for the Iranian chokepoint on the Straits of Hormuz, which means the end of their power

Well, hold onto your hat, because a Syrian miracle has recently (May 30) shown promise! As John Loftus reported in the link above

While I understand that no "final" understandings have been reached, the mere fact that Syrian and Israeli governments chose this week to openly acknowledge the ongoing peace talks gives credence to the Israeli Director of military intelligence's amazing asertion last weekend. Mr. Yadlin claimed that Syria may be planning to sever its ties with Iran

Last year's successful strike on the Syrian nuclear facilty (or whatever it was) through their new anti-aircraft system may have caused some rethinking in Syria.

This could explain the sudden interest of the Chinese in building the world's largest refinery in Syria, which has almost no oil of its own and is presently under an American-lead export embargo because of Syria's support for terrorism against Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq. That could all change of course, if the peace deal gets signed, and Iraqi oil gets shipped to Syria.

If enough rerouting of oil gets done, an export blockcade could even be imposed on Iran's exported oil. This would cause a big spike in oil price. But it is thought that, along with the banking embargo strangling Iran's government, just a month or two of no exported oil would do in the regime and accomplish a peaceful regime change.

That's all a pretty neat way of defusing the Iran problem with nobody getting blown up, no nukes, and new oil trade routes opened up diversified away from the guns of Hormuz.

But alas, this angle has been somewhat dashed to bits over the last month or so. The banking embargo, as noted above and here, has a tendency to just push the Iranian business around to Austria, then on to others who are willing to help out global public enemy #1 (Iran, not the U.S.A.); Iran has applied for full membership in the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, "a would-be nascent EU-esque community". Asia seems quite willing to embrace any business driven away from others by embargo efforts.

If Iran's state media is reporting Zhai's (China's Assistant Foreign Minister) remarks correctly, China is not spurning Iran's advances: Zhai said that China is prepared to cooperate with Iran in the area of key industries such as oil and gas.

The banking embargo, unfortunately, is only as strong as its weakest link as the japanfocus.org article notes:

American efforts to isolate Iran through the international financial system provide an object lesson in the iron law of unintended consequences. Instead of briskly destroying the Iranian Death Star with the help of our coalition of the willing, we appear to be engaged in global whack-a-mole, with a continuously expanding supply of holes and moles, and Uncle Sam demanding more and bigger hammers so he can win the game.

As for the oil trade embargo, this all hinges on Syria switching sides. Just over the last week or so, this has fallen apart as detailed in a June 2 article titled "New Iranian-Syrian Pact is both Dangerous and an Insult".

This pact comes on the heels of not only the failure of the Lebanese government ...to thwart this month's terrorist attacks and political gains acheived by Hezbollah; but it comes during a series of so-called peace talks between Syria and Israel...And the U.S. was hoping in a pipe dream that an ongoing peace process developing between Israel and Syria might isolate Iran.

The serious set-backs for the isolation option have perhaps given a green light to the other pressing option on the table, resulting in the pronouncement this week by the Israeli government that a strike on Iran was "unavoidable". If the unusual behavior of the oil market continues next week, it could be more geopolitical than ELM or anything else.

Nice analysis. I will say this about the run up in gas prices, OMFG! I sell expensive toys nobody really needs to own, plasma, LCD TV’s and other electronic gadgets and business is soft in my store. If gas goes to $5.00 gal., IMO retail in the US will completely crash.

Yikers! Good gawd, I fervently hope your analysis is flawed, though I'm not smart or informed enough to discredit it. I see the writing on the wall, though...

Well, I can tell you that it's more or less bollix.

Syria is not, and never has been, a remotely crucial strategic location for oil, and there's no strategic re-routing of pipelines away from the Gulf.

If you give it a moment's thought, it's nonsense, as there is a massive, developed infrastructure for the export of Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Emirati and Iranian oil that is centred on the Persian Gulf - when someone can show me the pipelines, tanker loading infrastructure, storage and port facilities for 5 million barrels per day, or more, of Gulf crude popping up, like a mirage, somewhere else, then I'd take it a tad more seriously.

The Saudis have a large (5 million b/day) crude pipeline to Red Sea ports (and internal West Coast consumption). Larger pumps could increase this capacity.

A listing of all possibilities to bypass the Straits of Hormuz.


I could see Iraqi exports > 0 if Iran is attacked. Maybe some from Kurdistan, maybe.


That's all a pretty neat way of defusing the Iran problem

An even neater way would be to just let Iran alone. Iran has a right to develop nuclear power under treaties signed by both Iran and the US. Iran has fully complied with their obligations under the treaty and have even voluntarily assumed additional obligations no other country in the world is subject to. Unlike the US & Israel, Iran hasn't invaded anybody in hundreds of years. The supposed threats against Israel were (a) a disinformation campaign based on a deliberate mistranslation by a right-wing Israeli organization, and (b) made in any case by someone who has no authority over the military whatsoever.

A blockade of Iran (a blatant act of war, btw) was never going to work. To take Iran's 4 million barrels/day off the market would do more than cause a spike in oil prices. Also, Iran would entirely justified in retaliating, and they would strike where it hurt the most -- at other oil production in the area. Much more than 4 million barrels would come offline. The result would be global chaos.

Fortunately, it is not in China or Russia's interests to allow the US to dictate world oil policy. At this point the best thing would be if we could run out the clock on the neocon madmen in Washington. Unfortunately, I don't think the madmen in Israel are going to let that happen.

It just doesn't seem to be in the American psyche to let sleeping dogs lie. I am fully in agreement with your analysis/suggestion here. But note the moniker that I am using implies that I feel very much out of step with both my government and countrymen. None of our candidates can resist the temptation to demonize Iran. Assuming they haven't completely misread the mood of the people (and that is a massively important skill for a politician to have), that indicates to me that the people are severely Iraniphobic.

The blockade/isolate option, if successful, wouldn't be very "neat", just not as ugly as the other choices. The option of just letting sleeping dogs lie isn't very neat either considering what the sleeping dogs did one quiet morning on September 11, 2001 and what they've tried to do with several disrupted plots since then. Striking back indiscriminately isn't a good option either. With the Middle East, there are no neat options - they're all ugly.

If a miracle were to happen and Syria would join the non-terrorist community

Then all that would be necessary is for another miracle to happen ... a non-terrorist community to join.

Of course maybe they could hook up with these guys and you know, get a bit of sun and fun, get away from the worries about being crushed in the death throes of another megalomaniac empire. It must get to be a bit repetitious in those parts with first the French then the British throwing their weight about. Tendency to get a bit paranoid, maybe start thinking that 'they' were out to get you, and be very choosy in the choice of friends.

This is too funny, and proof it's hitting the mainstream:


As a basketball fan, and follower of both peak oil and global warming, this is great stuff.

Maybe TOD folks should head over to ESPN and root for peak oil...

That is pretty darn funny, even though I don't get most of the sports stuff. Several references to TOD also.

I read the whole series and will follow the updates.

Like KrisCan (www.kriscan.com) it is one more way to get the message across to a different sector of the populace.

Don't forget Oily Cassandra, the original Peak Oil Temptress.



Self Serving Denial

We must end our suicidal ways and begin to take action - even if it is a bit late.

Well, of course, posts like that are partly Rorschach tests for the pre-existing social views of the authors. For example:

Steven Spielberg's comfort is not as important as the WWII vet with 2 purple hearts living in a mobile home in Wisconsin and freezing his ass off.

Perhaps so. But even during the Great Depression, people exerted great efforts to scrape together their pennies and go see movies. The point was to get a couple of hours off from confronting the echoing emptiness inside their own skulls, so when the studios got rich, few seriously cared. No one really tried to repeal the copyright law, which makes possible the wealth of the Steven Spielbergs of both our day and theirs.

I don't care if Eliot Spitzer got it for free or paid $5000 for it (although I love the smell of former prosecutor cooking in the morning).

Rampant unchecked governmental corruption will not improve the outcome. And people are always going to enjoy it when self-righteous guys like Spitzer are hoist by their own petard. And they may spend more time, not less, enjoying it if they have fewer opportunities to spend that time driving or flying around aimlessly.

The Global Energy Prize 2008 has been awarded.
Two out of three laureates are specialists in extracting oil from shale and oil sands
The third one is a specialist in off-grid power supply.


Russian president Medvedev took part in the awards ceremony (held yesterday http://www.rian.ru/politics/20080607/109490316.html). Strange, but there is no report in English on http://en.rian.ru/

Charles Krauthammer: America's sudden change in car-buying habits makes suitable mockery of that absurd debate Congress put on last December on [35 mpg]fuel efficiency standards.

I know that the figures used for CAFE differ from the EPA figures but none of May's top 10 selling vehicles are rated at even 30 mpg combined. The 4-cylinder Accord has grown so large and powerful that it is only rated at 24 mpg combined.

Among the top 20 only 2 are rated above 30 mpg combined(Yaris/Prius) and only 1 at the target 35 mpg or higher.


The top model Accord, Camry, and Sentra models all would give muscle cars a run for their money. The V6 Accord puts out nearly 270hp - damn near 300, and the others are close by. The top model Civic is currently putting out almost 200 horsepower, previous generation was around 160hp or so, its competitors are always in the same neighborhood. People have come to expect their cars to perform like Formula 1 on their bumper to bumper commute to work, and if a new model doesn't have more horsepower than the previous one, and doesn't have the highest horsepower in its class then it's kicked to the curb.

I had been thinking about the plastic industry and how much oil feedstock is required/needed by this industry. It seemed to me like some low hanging fruit to reduce oil demand with the countless useless crap I see made by plastic. Oh, and there is an incredibly amount of useful crap made too of course. I think it would be pretty difficult for our society to live without plastic products today. At any rate, I didn't get very far ...but I did find this interesting article from a surprising source:


The best estimate I could find says that about 4 percent of the world's annual oil production of some 84.5 million barrels per day is used as feedstock for plastic, and another 4 percent or so provides the energy to transform the feedstock into handy plastic.

The good news is most any plastic can be made with biostock.


I am not sure that is good news or not...considering the raging debate of diverting food soures to other uses than food. And, I am guessing the percentage of plastic products made from biomass is low. I don't know though.

Well, considering that plastic mainly replaces metals and wood I'd say it's a wash from a biomass standpoint.

I would expect to see more leather and less vinyl as the prices shift, however.

I think it's Very Low right now, Peak_a_boo; but, DR Congo could probably replace all the plastic in the world, before breakfast.

Africa has Unbelievable Potential for food, and biofuel/bioplastic production. Tens of millions of hectares of arable land lying fallow. Looks very similar to Brazil in many respects. Probably needs a little lime, I would think.

I think it means that we will never have to give up using plastic. Biofeedstock could replace that size of usage without major disruption to foodsupply. The doomer argument, that we won't be able to make plastics and chemicals after PO is not credible to me for this reason. The problem with biofeedstocks comes when we try to use them to support our massive demand for fuel.

I agree with you on using biofeedstock for our fuel supply. And I think what you say about using biofeedstock to replace the oil feedstock for the plastic industry...seems plausible. This seems to me like a better strategy than what we have going today as one thing we could be doing.

The only thing that the argument has going against it (IHNSHO) is the timing. Using a small part of the oil for such feedstock purposes is not really a big problem until long after peak. The nearterm incentive to develop biofeedstocks is thus low or nonexistant, unless it can compete on price.

Time out! The acronym soup is getting a bit too thick for me. I tried the following site when I couldn't quite figure out from the context what it meant but IHNSHO "isn't defined yet"


Any one care to enlighten me?

Alan from the islands

In his(?) not so humble opinion.

Normally: IMNSHO = In my not-so-humble opinion; grew out of IMHO.

Hello TODers,

Of course, I have previously posted much on this before in the TOD archives in greater detail, but I think it bears another review:

IMO, potable water, and the energy, chemicals, and infrastructure to provide convenient at-home use, then the sewage removal, are wildly unappreciated by the huddled masses.

I have no idea of the extent of flush toilet use in the MidEast, but desalinized water does not come cheap, and KSA has already admitted their aquifers are largely kaput. The recent newslink postings of California drought raises additional alarm for conservation. Here is the latest from Bart's EB:


Both CA & KSA could greatly benefit, plus ease the way for eventual universal O-NPK humanure recycling, by the early adoption of camping chemical toilets-- the water savings would be tremendous, and the periodic disposal into the existing sewage system is convenient.

IMO, most people would currently wildly resist the notion of full-on humanure recycling, but a move to a cheap camping toilet should be no big deal. It will help people prepare for the eventual postPeak move to humanure recycling. Here is an example of what is available:


As water pricing skyrockets: I would expect the demand for these toilets to follow suit. I suggest getting one or two for your family now before they become mostly Unobtainium, especially if you live in the US Southwest.

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

Folks, don't get caught "Predicting the Present" when you have people like Craig Venter on the loose.

Biofuels from CO2. Hmmm

If I was the Mexican topdog: I would seriously consider pegging FF exports to the US upon huge increases in Colorado River flows to the Mexican Delta and the Sea of Cortez:

In Colorado River Delta, waters -- and prospects -- are drying up
Is Cascadia ready for a huge migration influx when SouthWestern water shortages become unbearable?

Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over. This could get real ugly in California, Arizona, Nevada, Mexico...

Haven't they gotten the memo... "at least a few decades"?

"To be sure, the world still has plenty of light crude to meet global demand for at least a few decades. But the long-term outlook for light crude, combined with oil prices over $135 a barrel, has encouraged some countries to bump up their investment in producing heavy grades of crude."

From CBS MarketWatch - Saudi Arabia Plans Royal Treatment for Heavy Crude

I gave a talk in Hilo, Hawaii yesterday, at an energy conference for about 150 local businessmen and politicians. My talk was written up in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Free registration is required.

Energy Freedom Begins at Home

One message: Small steps residents can take at home will not only make a difference, but are actually much more viable than large, uncertain efforts funded from outside.

As outside help becomes less likely in tough economic times, Hawaii should look to itself for answers, said Gail Tverberg, a risks and oil markets analyst. Think in terms of encouraging everyone to grow a garden, harness solar energy and build small hydroelectric projects to meet household energy needs, she said.

Do more to teach agriculture in schools, invest in a bicycle, use boats as a cheap mode of transportation that won't wear out the highways. Try the bootstrap approach, Tverberg said, "as opposed to huge government programs that take 20 years, a zillion dollars and are less likely to get done, especially given the economic situation we're talking about."

Great job, Gail! Now if only Oahu were sane enough to have a meeting like that...

Drive carefully, there aren't many doctors there these days. But it could be a good place to be in many ways. Enjoy yourself!

aloha from the urban isle

Thanks, I am enjoying myself.

Besides the big group of legislators/businessmen, I also met with a group called the Kanaka Council, which is made up of several Hawaiian groups. They are very interested in Hawaiian traditions and are concerned about peak oil. They are more of a grass roots organization.

Thirty percent of the electricity on Hawaii's big island was produced from geothermal heat associated with the Kilauea Volcano.



Bodman conceded that even quick action would not pull down prices immediately.

"There are relatively few things we can do short term," he said. "This has been a long time in coming ... this is going to take a long time to accomplish."

All this talk of reflexivity and quantum physics is interesting but it appears to my pea brain an effort to fit an inifinitely complex market into a scientific model. If your motivation is to have some pinpoint predictive answer pop out the other side, I am afraid that you will be disappointed.

The approach that has served me well is to look at history and how human behavior repeats itself over and over and over. Is this some new paradigm? Are things are different this time? Have we reached peak oil? I doubt it. Have the laws of supply and demand been repealed? I doubt it. Is the price of oil truly inelastic like insulin to a diabetic? I doubt it.

It is all about money, playing the odds and people talking their book. It is a BUBBLE. Sure, this one is a little bigger in scope. The ramifications of a negative outcome hold the world's people and economies hostage. But, in the end it is a bubble and it will pop. Higher lows? Don't count on it. I wouldn't be a bit surprised too see $10 (in real terms) oil again.

A few observations:

Virtual hoarding - Is it possible? Heck yeah. The fast and hot money is all about making money. The money chasing oil futures is driving the price just like easy mortgage money drove home prices and low float internet stocks went up 10 fold in days. As far as settlement vs. the price of rolling futures contracts, think about which one is driving the price. The market is in futures, not at delivery. How much choice does an entity taking delivery have to back out at the last second? VERY LITTLE. How much choice does fast money have to roll to another contract? NO PROBLEM.

Peak oil - Is the supply limited? Sure. But so were the number of available homes and the available shares of hot internet IPOs. Is demand incresing? Sure. Is Chindia a never ending growth machine? Don't count on it. These are the stories used by fast money to foster fear and greed. Don't believe it! There is always a story as to why it is different this time. It is no different this time. The supply/demand equation can change. It will change. How? When? I can't tell you. Oil at $500 a barrel? Who knows? It is all about playing to your fears and fast money talking their book and selling their story.

Most importantly it is about MONEY and history that repeats itself over and over in so many different mutations.

So another person in the "I don't know where the new capacity will come from, but it will." camp?

Yeah. You're right. History repeats. (But apparently not collapse. Nope. That never repeats.)


"I wouldn't be a bit surprised too see $10 (in real terms) oil again"


lets bet on it - I'll purchase a future long, you go short

or just bet the farm on it - you could short right down to $10 - put your "this is all a bubble" money where your mouth is

I'm looking at a production plateau since 2005 in the charts - and I see supply issues - some above ground that the media loves to talk about (Nigerian rebels and Iraqi insurgency) - but declining production in all those supergiant fields and not enough replacement barrels
- speculation may be a "froth" on top - but that's pure unfiltered supply/demand problems underneath

kahunabear, if your pea brain has an attention span thats long enough, see if you can watch the following video at google video:

Dr. Albert A. Bartlett - Arithmetic, Population and Energy.

if you prefer it in aprox 8min segments at youtube, start at:

The Most IMPORTANT Video You'll Ever See (part 1 of 8)

Might I also suggest that you add the following book to your reading list:

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows

Warning!, The above link is to the amazon.com page for the book.

This time what is different is, it appears that just maybe, we are running into limits to growth. In the classic market, higher prices mean that you just make more or find a suitable substitute. In this case the finding more looks like it's going to be a little difficult and finding a substitute on the scale required is going to take some time (a few years at best).

In the meantime there are over six BILLION of us that depend on the black stuff to provide all sorts of stuff for us, most importantly food! I guess the price will drop back to $10 when that more than six billion drops to a figure that is more in line with the available supply of oil. Now if the available supply of oil drops by 20% in five years, which 20% of your family would you want to get rid of?

Alan from the islands


Samuel Bodman, attending two days of meetings in northern Japan among energy chiefs from Group of Eight industrialized countries and other top economies, said the surge in world oil prices was largely a simple problem of supply and demand.

Production has stalled since 2005 at 85 million barrels a day, while economic growth — particularly in China and India — has pushed demand ever higher, Bodman said before a meeting of ministers from the U.S., Japan, South Korea, India and China.

"We're in a difficult position where we have a lid on production and we have increasing demand in the world," he told a small group of reporters, dismissing the effects of speculation and unclear inventory levels and other factors on oil prices.

Call it what it is dammit...just say it...SAY IT...come one...say those words...that's all I ask...say "PEAK OIL"....please?

[edit: Added the following...]

These guys drive me nuts!!! The ones that say, "The problem is supply (or really production) can't keep up with demand, but Peak Oil is not a reality".