DrumBeat: June 11, 2008

Fade to black: Is this the end of oil?

For generations, we've taken it for granted. But as prices soar and reserves dwindle, the time is fast approaching when mankind will have to live without oil. Are we ready to confront some really inconvenient truths?

...Whereas Campbell's fears once branded him a wacky radical, as the years have gone by he has been joined by a growing band of industry experts who have reached a similarly grim conclusion. One of those was an American investment banker examining "flow rates" – the speed at which oil was being taken out of the ground. After being asked to advise Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush on energy policy during the 2000 election campaign, Matthew Simmons found that more and more oil fields had begun to decline. That was because, though new technology was helping to extract oil faster than ever before, it was also causing the fields to run dry more quickly, too. "All of a sudden there were fields that were declining by as much as 30 per cent per year," he says. "But I didn't call it 'peak oil' – I didn't even know what that was back then."

World has enough oil reserves, says BP boss

The world is not running out of oil and can continue to produce hydrocarbons for the next 40 years provided restrictions are lifted on where companies can operate, the head of BP said today.

The Arctic and currently closed areas off the coast of America should be considered for exploration if rising global energy demand is to be met in future, said chief executive Tony Hayward.

He insisted that all other forms of energy, whether clean-tech or otherwise, also need to be developed simultaneously while rising carbon emissions could still be curbed.

Oil Could Hit $400 a Barrel by 2018

That's the forecast from U.S. Navy Admiral William Owens, who sees rising tensions between the U.S. and China as they scramble for energy

Bush doesn't rule out military strike in Iran

MESEBERG, Germany (AP) — President Bush on Wednesday raised unprompted the possibility of a military strike to thwart Tehran's presumed nuclear weapons ambitions, speaking bullishly on Iran even as he admitted having been unwise to do so previously about Iraq.

Bush's host in two days of meetings at a baroque castle, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, made clear her views on the saber-rattling — however subtle — without directly countering her guest. "I very clearly pin my hopes on diplomatic efforts," Merkel said, reflecting the deeply held European opinion that military action against Iran is nearly unthinkable.

Brave calls: Oil will fall

Move over, peak oil: Toronto-Dominion Bank is running with the idea that the world will soon become more interested in peak oil demand, which should cool the rally in oil prices.

Kuwait plans measures to combat soaring inflation

KUWAIT CITY - Oil-rich Kuwait plans to take a series of measures including increasing subsidies on food items to combat record inflation, the commerce minister told parliament Wednesday.

Nigeria: Oil Installations - Government Beefs Up Security

A security operative who spoke anonymously told Vanguard that all commands have been directed to be on red alert in the wake of the renewed tension in the Niger Delta.

Saudi wants heads of state at oil talks: diplomats

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the top world oil exporter, wants heads of state to attend a June 22 meeting it is hosting of producers and consumers to discuss record oil prices, diplomats said on Wednesday.

It was unclear, however, if any leaders would attend the talks in Jeddah, the diplomats said. U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday they would attend.

Subsidies: a big culprit in high gas prices

Shielding consumers from the real costs of an oil-based economy only makes it more difficult for them to face the coming end of the oil era.

BP Says Russia's Oil Output May Continue to Decline

(Bloomberg) -- Russia, the world's second-largest oil supplier, may continue to experience declining production as the government seeks to lure investment, BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said.

Russia's tax system takes 90 percent of a company's earnings when oil prices rise above $30 a barrel, Hayward said. The nation's crude production will fall this year, according to his estimates.

Shifting gear to save planet

While $45 trillion is a lot of money, it has to be put in perspective.

It would be spread over more than 40 years and across the whole world economy. It would equate to just over 1 per cent of global gross domestic product over that period, the IEA estimates.

And it would be offset by the cost of the fossil-fuel use avoided, which could be of a similar order, the IEA says. As it acknowledges, however, in a world where the oil price can jump $11 in a single day, any estimates of that are "debatable".

The problem for this scenario, it says, is not the cost but the "burden sharing", which is diplomatic language for dealing with free rider problems.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission finds answers to soaring oil prices elusive

It's a time-honored Washington ritual. When the price of oil goes up, so does the blood pressure of politicians. And that means government agencies must do something, even if all they do is offer sympathy.

So it was Tuesday for the CFTC -- normally one of the quietest areas of the federal government and an agency traditionally more focused on the price of soybeans and pork bellies than energy.

Want to sell your gas hog? Do the math first

Consumer advocates are urging anxious car owners to slow down and do the math before they race to get rid of that larger vehicle.

“People need to think very carefully before they dump their gas guzzlers,” advises Jack Gillis, author of "The Car Book." “It doesn’t make economic sense if you take a loss on the transaction.”

How Less Zoom Zoom Could Power the Future

Hybrids may be the great green hope, but new research shows that improvements to normal cars could reduce the nation's fuel consumption sooner and cheaper.

"We can absolutely reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years," said Anup Bandivadekar of the International Council on Clean Transportation. "But in order to do that, we must halt increases in vehicle size and horsepower."

Global fuel protests escalate

MADRID (AFP) — Global protests over fuel prices intensified Wednesday as blockades by Spanish and Portuguese truckers heightened food shortages and traffic chaos, and their counterparts in Thailand and South Korea threatened to join them on strike.

In Portugal, the strike hit air transport as authorities at Lisbon airport banned planes from refuelling, except those on high priority flights.

"We cannot refuel any planes, except those on urgent, military or state flights," a spokesman for the airport authority, Rui Oliveira, told Lusa news agency.

The Spanish auto plants of Seat, Nissan, Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Mercedes Benz were all forced to either cut or halt production as the strike left them short of parts.

Fuel strikes: last-ditch talks begin in bid to avert panic buying

Last-ditch talks to avert a strike by 641 tanker drivers who supply one in 10 UK petrol stations have begun at a secret location.

Despite pleas from Downing Sreet for motorists to stay calm and refrain from panic buying, industry experts believe the move will backfire and that in the next 48 hours before Friday’s 6am deadline for strike action, motorists in parts of the country will rush to the pumps.

There is particular concern that motorists with almost full tanks could exacerbate problems by topping up with 10 or 15 extra litres instead of buying normally.

UK: Flintshire drivers ignore advice and panic buy at the pumps

SIGNS of panic buying at the petrol pumps are breaking out across Flintshire as drivers attempt to beat the planned tanker strike.

Despite government warnings that attempts to stock up on fuel in advance would be counter-productive, and could actually cause a shortage of fuel, unusually long queues have been reported on forecourts across Flintshire and North East Wales.

Police escort petrol tankers as truck strike hits hard

MADRID: Police escorted petrol tankers into Barcelona yesterday as a protest strike by thousands of truckers against rising fuel prices caused food and fuel shortages and huge tailbacks on the Spanish-French border.

Fuel shortages in Guinea Bissau and Senegal lead to power cuts

Fuel shortages in the poor West African nation of Guinea Bissau and its bigger neighbour Senegal have led to days of power cuts and disruptions of the water supply, residents reported Tuesday.

In the capital of Bissau the seven gas stations have been closed for almost two weeks, a situation that has seen a skyrocketing number of black market fuel sellers.

...The lack of fuel is also affecting water supplies as most pumps to get the water to homes also work on fuel.

In the capital of Bissau women and children carrying bottles, jerry cans and buckets can be seen scouring different neighbourhoods for water.

Power cuts also started in the Senegalese capital Dakar in the last week which officials blamed on problems with getting fuel to electricity company Senelec because of the price hike in oil.

Fuel shortage hits Republic of Congo's transport sector

In the few service stations where there is fuel, ugly scenes of skirmishes have ensued and the authorities have been force to send police and gendarmerie units to intervene and calm the situation before getting out of hand, according to a number of eyewitnesses.

Sinopec refutes "hefty storage behind fuel shortage" report

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China's leading refiner Sinopec Wednesday refuted a media report that refiners in the country were keeping a high storage amid spreading fuel shortage.

Sinopec was not at all piling up oil products and was endeavoring to guarantee market supply, a Sinopec source that declined to be named told Xinhua.

$250 oil? Don't bet on it

The CEO of Russian oil firm Gazprom, the world's largest energy company, is predicting a huge jump in the price of oil. Could he possibly be right?

'Unethical behavior' to blame for gas prices - poll

62% of survey respondents say record runup in prices is fault of actions by players in the gasoline supply chain.

Gasoline: Shaving off one tax at a time

In this time of high prices, the government is levying a tax on imported ethanol. Is it time for that tax to go?

Oil Leaps To A New Record (audio)

Chris Skrebowski of the UK Petroleum Review, director of PeakOil Consulting and author of the Megaprojects report, speaks with GPM's Julian Darley and offers some unusual analysis of the recent largest oil price rise in history, along with an explanation of the extraordinary run up in diesel prices and how soon we may enter oil decline.

Oil Change

Forget change you can believe in and start dealing with the changes coming at you as fast as the price of fuel makes its way skyward.

With gasoline prices headed toward $5 a gallon, more than half the population has, in a matter of a year, become marooned in the suburbs. The economics of housing combined with the lunacies of city planning have left most Americans stranded, miles away from their places of work, their schools, their stores and medical facilities.

The physical plant of the United States for the past sixty years was designed on a premise of cheap energy. This has left much of our population locked into homes and communities they now can ill afford to leave in the morning, come back to at night, heat in the winter or cool in summer. Nor they can sell out and go elsewhere.

Expert: Oil industry at peak production

KUALA LUMPUR: The world’s oil industry has started to reach its peak production rate and every nation now needs to build a “crash mat” to cushion the fall, an expert warned yesterday.

Kjell Aleklett, physics professor at Sweden’s Uppsala University, said such a move was important as the world was now already in a phase of transition to an uncertain future with oil getting more difficult and costly to produce.

OPEC Wants `Solution' to High Oil Prices From Saudi Meeting

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC wants a ``solution'' to record oil prices and an examination of the role of energy speculators when governments of oil consuming and producing countries meet later this month in Saudi Arabia, OPEC's Secretary General said.

Nigeria: Ogoni People Jubilate Over Sacking of Shell

Thousands of Ogoni of Rivers State took to the streets of Port Harcourt, Monday, jubilating over the sacking of Shell Petroleum Development Company by the Federal Government from their land, and the resolve to replace the oil giant with another oil prospecting company.

The people carried placards with various inscriptions, some of which read "Non violence pays, bye-bye to Shell, no more shell in Ogoni land, justice for Ogoni, justice for all, thank you President Yar'Adua, no more genocide in Ogoni land", among others,

Emulate Japan to cope with oil shocks

With the price of oil rocketing to the unprecedented level of US$130 a barrel and more, there is a talk of another oil shock. Unlike past instances, this one is unlikely to subside and may indeed keep intensifying. The only way out is for Western nations, the gluttonous users of petroleum, to cut their consumption and emulate Japan in its consistent drive for energy efficiency and alternate sources.

As oil rises, Americans rediscover the railroad

BOSTON (Reuters) - As oil prices spike, many Americans are rediscovering the railroad.

Amtrak, America's struggling passenger railroad, saw record numbers in May when ridership rose 12.3 percent from a year earlier, and ticket sales climbed 15.6 percent, according to company data.

Hawai`i: Energy 'crisis is here,' Kaya says

HILO, Hawai'i — A former state energy manager is calling for Hawai'i to change its energy habits as costs spiral upward and the Islands maintain a potentially dangerous dependency on foreign fossil fuels.

"The crisis is here, and it's going to be a long one," said Maurice Kaya, now a strategic energy and management consultant. "We are well beyond the time to act, and business owners need to be pro-active in demanding clean energy at predictable costs from suppliers. We are precariously dependent on oil, but there are some things we can do."

It will take governmental guts to cure America's gas pains

Big Oil's profits far exceed those of the other industries that you used to think needed to be reined in -- Big Pharm, Big Farm, the old Ma Bell. Big Oil's response is short and crude: The world price of crude oil is at record highs. That's why you must pay record prices at the pumps.

The notion that the burden should be shared by all -- with you paying less at the pump and oil companies taking lesser profits that, even so, are still higher than those in other industries -- is something big oil considers to be insultingly crude (only this time they pronounce it without the "e").

IBM rolls out 'green' data centers

While consumers are bemoaning the price of filling up the gas tank, big businesses are experiencing their own energy crisis as the cost of powering data centers rises.

Armonk-based IBM Corp., in the second phase of its Project Big Green, is today announcing new services, technologies and financing to help its customers cut their energy costs in the data center.

Poor Harvests May Worsen Global Food Shortages

In a year when global harvests need to be excellent to ease the threat of pervasive food shortages, evidence is mounting that they will be average at best. Some farmers are starting to fear disaster.

Top Gulf exporters cut heavy crude prices to lows

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Kuwait and Iran on Wednesday joined Saudi Arabia in slashing the price of their heavy crude exports to the deepest discounts in at least nine years, seeming to support OPEC's view that the world has enough of its supplies.

The 35- to 50-cent mark-downs on the differential for July shipments hardly compensates for the surge in benchmark prices -- U.S. light, sweet crude is up $5 a barrel so far this week alone -- but reflects the poorer profits for simple refiners who are unable to convert heavy Gulf crudes into higher-value fuels.

'Future of oil' in focus in Congress

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Experts projected that demand for energy will continue to grow and called for the use of biofuels and other measures to respond to the nation's energy crisis, at a committee meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

"The heat has slowly been turned up on the American consumer and now they are being boiled alive," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "The same can be said for our planet. A fundamental change is needed in the way America uses energy."

Retailers May Choose Local Suppliers as Oil Rises, PwC Says

(Bloomberg) -- Global retailers may cut orders from China and India and source more goods locally in developed markets because of increased energy and transportation costs, PricewaterhouseCoopers said.

Companies from supermarket owner Tesco Plc to jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. are forging partnerships with local producers to reduce shipping expenses, ease environmental concerns and improve quality, according to ``Global Sourcing: Shifting Strategies,'' a study by the consulting firm released today.

China's oil imports up by double digits in first 5 months

BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) -- China's oil imports posted double-digit growth in the first five months of 2008 as global crude prices more than doubled from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said Wednesday.

The country imported 75.97 million tons of crude oil, up 12.7 percent from a year earlier, with average prices rising 64.1 percent to 689.9 U.S. dollars per ton.

Norway's May oil output rises to 2.11 mln bpd

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's oil production rose to a preliminary 2.11 million barrels per day on average in May from 2.03 million in April, Norwegian energy officials said on Wednesday.

Indonesia expects to raise oil production

JAKARTA (Xinhua) -- Indonesia is expected to increase its oil production to more than one million barrel per day in the next three years as some companies will start production by the end of this year, chairman of the upstream oil and gas regulator BP Migas Raden Priyono said here Wednesday.

BP and Russian talks break down

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Talks between oil major BP and its Russian partners over the future of its joint venture TNK-BP broke down on Wednesday, sources close to BP told Reuters.

"BP rejected the ultimatum," a source said, referring to three demands presented to BP by the Russian shareholders, for a 60 percent reduction in foreign employees, a 50-50 representation on all boards and increased power of attorney for one Russian shareholder, German Khan.

Why listen to scientists?

Professor Don Aitkin’s recent promotion (PDF 258KB) of the “sceptical” view of global warming and the ensuing heated debates on several web sites bring to the fore the question of what authority attaches to the published conclusions and judgments of climate scientists.

Professor Aitkin, who is not a scientist, is in no doubt himself that the more outspoken climate scientists have a “quasi-religious” attitude. That is the mild end of the spectrum of opinions of sceptics/denialists/contrarians.

Most of the media and many politicians seem to have the view that scientists are just another interest group, and that scientists’ opinions are just opinions, to be heard or discarded like any others. The Australian government seems to credit only the very conservative end of climate scientists’ warnings, because it is acting as though we have many decades in which to adjust, and many years before anything serious needs to be under way.

U.S. Carbon-Dioxide Emissions Exceed China's, BP Data Indicate

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. released more carbon dioxide into the air from burning fossil fuels than any other country last year, barely keeping its lead over China, whose emissions surged on coal use, estimates based on BP Plc data show.

Deregulate Transportation to Beat 100 MPG

Beat 100 mpg, 5 times current gas mileage standards (CAFÉ, Corporate Average Fuel Economy). Start small; iterate often. Set an objective for innovation and grant rights of way to anyone willing to privately finance and build transport to beat that standard. We know there is vastly better, cleaner and safer transport. Obtaining it requires a free market, allowing risks, innovators and small, non-traditional suppliers. Governments currently plan and regulate against this.

What Congress should do now about gasoline prices

This is a list of basic actions by Congress that would begin to address the devastating impact on U.S. consumers of the unpredictable surges in oil prices. They also would have a positive impact globally in that America accounted for one-quarter of the world's oil demand in 2007.

Gasoline rationing and small car loan subsidies are measures intended to bring oil consumption for private transportation under predictable control and to encourage drivers to adopt small private vehicles. Gasoline rationing has been viewed as a last resort, but it is an essential step toward reducing oil consumption in a planned way while giving everyone an equal shot at gasoline regardless of her or his income.

Iraqi oil and peak oil: our true 'flawed intelligence'

Q: So why did Dick Cheney invade Iraq?

A: To gain control of Iraqi oil. (Stay with me here: The record is clear.)

Q:Then, why are our troops still in Iraq?

A: Because those stubborn Iraqis won't surrender control of their oil.

Q:So, when the Iraqis surrender control of their oil our troops can come home?

A: Well, actually, no. They will have to stay there to protect the companies that are pumping the oil.

Q: How long will that be?

A: A long time. Depending on whose figures you use, Iraq has the fourth-largest oil reserves in the world. There are also reports of a huge untapped oil field in western Iraq.

'Fuel Prices Will Come Down - One Day'

Volatile, frightening and unpredictable. The price of the world's lubrication is at unbelievable levels.

Unbelievable a year ago on what we knew then, and unbelievable now because no-one has a definitive idea of where the price is going or indeed why it's going anywhere.

Recession 'inevitable' while UK economy depends on oil

The UK's economy must break free of its dependence on oil to make a sustainable recovery from the current credit crunch.

That is the warning from University of Liverpool expert Simon Snowden, who said the world is heading for a "supply plateau".

Oil: Extract up your own

It is customary to run into brazenly racist commentary coming out of the U.S. liberals and right-wingers alike, especially when it comes to the question of oil. Besides the occasional surreal headlines about congressional members suing OPEC, it is normal to read headlines urging OPEC member countries to increase production. It is as if we were at a restaurant, trying to get more service. 'Hey waiter! More drinks over here!'

The more liberal ones, of course, take it to another level. In the context of 'oil shortages,' when the right wingers assert that more internal exploration/extraction is needed, the inevitable liberal knee-jerk reaction is, 'Of course not! Leave our wildlife alone!'

Shocking bulletin to Western 'environmentalists': 'Oil Producing' countries too have environments.

Kelpie Wilson: Talking peak oil in the heartland

Arriving in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the ambitiously named “International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change,” I could see that the airport was undergoing a major expansion. The soaring, optimistic curves of the new Gerald R. Ford International Airport seemed at odds with recent news about sky-high jet fuel prices and crumbling airlines – the new reality that was the subject of the conference.

Spanish gas groups fear reliance on Algeria

The debate on energy security in Europe has previously centred on northern Europe's dependence on Russian gas and overlooked southern Europe's high dependence on Algerian gas. But that is about to change.

Egypt wants more money for gas

A years-old agreement between Egypt to sell natural gas to Israel may take new form, and mainly a more expensive price, after dramatic but secret talks between the two countries. Egypt may be willing to supply more gas to its natural-resource-poor neighbor, possibly at the price of reopening the original agreement.

Spurred by opposition anger over Egypt's supply of natural gas to Israel, and mainly its low price, the Egyptian petroleum minister, Sameh Fahmy, vowed to "review prices of natural gas in all agreements without any exception".

China stumbles in forging Russia gas deals

MOSCOW - China is a power behind global commodity flows as well as prices. But Beijing has been slow to understand that it is the horse that pulls the cart; the whip hand belongs to the coachman.

Chinese negotiators have already made one colossal mistake in pricing their supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG). They are making a second in trying to draw out of Russia a discount for natural gas. For China to insist on tying Gazprom down to the extraction cost of Siberian gas - at a fraction of the price Gazprom sells its gas to Western Europe - is producing an impasse in current negotiations and slowing down Russia’s readiness to invest in the pipeline systems, on which Chinese calculations depend.

China Orders Coal Companies to Increase Production, Steps in to Keep Prices Stable

BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Amid coal shortage in some localities, China's State Administration of Coal Mine Safety on Sunday issued an urgent circular ordering domestic coal companies to increase production on the premise work place safety be ensured.

China Plans More Nuclear Reactors, Uranium Imports

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world's second-biggest energy consumer, plans to add more nuclear-power capacity by 2020, step up uranium imports and explore for the fuel in nations as diverse as Kazakhstan and Niger.

China Using Up Natural Resources Fast, Report Says

GENEVA - China is drawing on natural resources such as farm land, timber and water twice as fast as they can be renewed in its drive for development, a report from Chinese and international environmentalists said on Tuesday.

Capture carbon to avert catastrophic climate change, say world's scientists

The world must have a clear plan to fit power stations with facilities to capture carbon dioxide within a year to prevent "catastrophic" climate change, the world's leading scientific bodies said today.

But the warning came as Britain's support for the technology was blasted as "woefully inadequate" by experts.

Eco coal power may cost 'double'

Electricity produced from the next generation of clean coal power stations could be twice as expensive as other coal-fired stations, BBC File On 4 has been told.

The government's hopes for early success in defeating global warming by cleaning up coal fired power stations have been challenged by a leading power generator.

An executive at RWE Npower, expected to be a major player in "carbon capture" technology, has spoken of fears about both the cost and the timescale.

Food-related industries launch anti-biofuel campaign

Industry groups representing companies including Kellogg, Tyson Foods and Kroger are coordinating efforts to reduce U.S. biofuels-use requirements with a new "Food Before Fuel" lobbying campaign.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Restaurant Association and other groups say rising corn-based ethanol production is pushing food costs higher. Adding industry muscle to fight a federal requirement to about double ethanol production to 15 billion gallons by 2015 may slow the increase, helping company profits and easing consumer prices, said grocery association chief Cal Dooley.

Japan, US say to cooperate on new 'ice' energy

AOMORI, Japan (AFP) — Japan and the United States on Saturday agreed to cooperate on research into methane hydrate, known as the "ice that burns" which is seen as a promising future energy source.

A New Wind Power Design Good For Rural And Urban Environments

A U.S. company is offering a propeller-free personal windmill that can be set up in city or suburb. The president of Mariah Power, Mike Hess, demonstrates what he calls the "Windspire."

"This one generates 25 to 30 percent of the power in your house, but if we are building a three kilowatts version, which is only twice the width, same height, then it generates 100 percent of your power requirements," Hess said.

World oil output falls for first time since 2002

LONDON (Reuters) - World oil production fell by 0.2 percent in 2007, the first decline since 2002, and proven oil reserves were flat, BP Plc said in an annual review released on Wednesday.

Production fell by 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) last year to 81.53 million bpd and reserves were essentially flat at 1.24 trillion barrels, London-based BP said in its 2008 Statistical Review of World Energy.

The figures compiled by BP underline the world's challenge of boosting production to meet growing demand. Oil prices have been rising since 2002 and last week hit a record $139.12 a barrel, partly because of supply concerns.

World Faces `Oil Crisis;' IEA Ready to Tap Reserves

(Bloomberg) -- The world faces an ``oil crisis,'' and the International Energy Agency stands ready to release emergency stockpiles even as the biggest consumers discuss measures to contain spiraling demand, the agency's chief said.

BP chairman rejects "apocalyptic" talk of $250 oil

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The chairman of British oil major BP (BP.L) rejected as "apocalyptic" a prediction by the head of Russian gas giant Gazprom of oil prices soaring to $250 a barrel by the end of next year.

BP chairman Peter Sutherland told the European Policy Centre on Wednesday there was no problem with available supplies of fossil fuels in the medium term, but there was a need for more investment to develop those resources.

"(I) personally don't believe in some of the more apocalyptic predictions," Sutherland said when asked about Tuesday's forecast by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

"I don't believe we're in for a spike to $250 as suggested in price per barrel."

Oil price crisis threatens to reverse globalisation

With brutal efficiency, the oil price is beginning to duff up a monster of the 20th century: globalisation. Those great tentacles that gripped our world in a hideous embrace are suddenly weakening and the multinational octopus is looking a bit pale and sickly. The extraordinary rise in the price of crude oil is wrecking outsourced business models everywhere and distance from your customer is no longer merely a matter of dull logistics. Whether you are selling coiled steel or cut flowers, the cost of transport is a problem.

Fuel Prices Challenge Cars' Reign

Gasoline prices, which shattered the $4-a-gallon mark on average in the Washington area Friday, ranged as high as $4.39 a gallon for regular yesterday amid signs that cash-strapped Americans are changing vacation plans, consolidating errands, and turning to carpools and mass transit.

..."The fear here is that we've crossed a Rubicon," said John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA. "Normally, prices plateau after Memorial Day . . . But I don't think we're going to get much relief this summer."

In a society nurtured on cheap gasoline, the high fuel prices are having disparate effects: the end of free pizza deliveries at major franchises, a plunge in the sales of sport-utility vehicles, a steep drop in the price of houses that are far from jobs or mass transit.

Iberdrola backs energy curbs

Oil and gas should be the preserve of makers of industrial goods such as plastics and fertilisers, with consumers relying for the bulk of their energy needs on more sustainable sources such as wind, water and sunlight, according to the head of one of Europe’s largest energy groups.

Technological advances in renewable energy such as wind and solar generation meant the power industry was better equipped to wean itself off oil and gas than many industrial goods makers, said Ignacio Sanchez Galan, executive chairman of Spain’s Iberdrola.

“Can we live in the future without things like fertilisers, plastics and certain types of polymers?” he said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“How is urea going to be produced and most industrial goods going to be produced without oil? We do not currently have alternatives for these products. However, we do have alternatives for energy production.”

Fuel prices: how to save £500 a year (even if it does mean driving at 20mph)

Record prices at the pumps could succeed where 6,000 cameras and millions of pounds in road-saftey advertising have failed for decades – by securing compliance with the speed limit.

Driving more slowly will save drivers up to £500 a year in fuel costs, according to a study, which reveals that the most efficient speed is much lower than most people think.

Car manufacturers suggest that the optimum speed for fuel efficiency is between 50mph and 60mph and a recent survey found that two thirds of drivers believe this to be the case. But the study, commissioned by What Car? magazine and based on five cars of different sizes ranging from a 1 litre Toyota Aygo to a 2.2 litre Land Rover Freelander, found that the most efficient speed was below 40mph for all five and as low as 20mph for two.

UK Energy Minister to ask Saudi Arabia for oil market rethink

Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, is to meet the Saudi Oil Minister this week to discuss global concerns over the soaring price of oil, which hit nearly $140 a barrel on Friday.

UK: Petrol is bound to run out in strike

PETROL stations will run dry over the weekend causing havoc for motorists if a tanker drivers’ strike goes ahead.

About 1,000 Shell garages – one in 10 of all filling stations – will be hit by the four-day walkout due to start on Friday.

UK: Petrol sales fall 20% as drivers feel the pinch

Petrol retailers have disclosed that fuel sales dropped sharply over the past few weeks and the latest figures appear to show that demand for petrol in Britain has slumped by as much as 20 per cent over the past 12 months.

Energy surge prompts move to 4-day work week in US

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Skyrocketing energy costs have fueled fresh interest in the four-day workweek across the United States as a means to help workers as well as employers cope with the surge.

Supply of hybrids runs out of gas as demand soars

Even as car buyers stampede for vehicles with better fuel mileage, there are fewer hybrids, the gas-stingiest, to go around.

While sales of conventional small cars soared last month, sales of the most popular gas-electric hybrids were flat or down because dealers had fewer left. There was plenty of demand, but hybrid assembly plants are running as fast as they can, and some are short of components, particularly batteries.

The global economy will have to adjust – and it will

Economies always adjust. The world is far less reliant on oil than it was in the 1970s. The high price will – again – call forth those traditional economic responses, substitution and increased supply.

Even the much-rumoured oil in the Falkland Islands might be recovered at these prices. The world's car makers will, as ever, offer more fuel-efficient vehicles. Small things – energy saving light bulbs, double glazing, more efficient appliances – will help, as will the more ambitious technologies: the hydrogen fuel cell, renewable energy supplies, second, third and fourth-generation biofuels (which will be sustainable).

All the signs are coming clear and worse, peak oil is near

Suddenly it has hit home. The big news is oil. I went back to see when I first mentioned the phrase PEAK OIL, and discovered that it was way back in 2003: five years ago. So the event should not be a surprise, yet, it hurts, and will keep on hurting from here to eternity.

Senate GOP blocks windfall taxes on Big Oil

WASHINGTON - Saved by Senate Republicans, big oil companies dodged an attempt Tuesday to slap them with a windfall profits tax and take away billions of dollars in tax breaks in response to the record gasoline prices that have the nation fuming.

GOP senators shoved aside the Democratic proposal, arguing that punishing Big Oil won't do a thing to lower the $4-a-gallon-price of gasoline that is sending economic waves across the country. High prices at the pump are threatening everything from summer vacations to Meals on Wheels deliveries to the elderly.

These steps could lower oil prices, but nobody'll take them

WASHINGTON — As gasoline prices soar to new records, America's president — and the two men who hope to succeed him — are offering only partial or long-term solutions and ignoring three steps that many experts say could bring some relief now.

Government steps up review of oil, commods price surge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators stepped up their efforts on Tuesday to determine why prices for oil and a range of other commodities have surged dramatically this year.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that an interagency panel, including the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and others, will assess price increases and trading in a range of commodities.

"High commodity prices are posing a significant strain on U.S. households," the CFTC said.

Retail gasoline demand down vs year ago: MasterCard

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. retail gasoline demand slipped 3.8 percent from last year's levels, as gasoline prices posted yet another record high last week, MasterCard Advisors said Tuesday.

Year-to-date, American gasoline consumption is down 1.9 percent from last year's levels, according to MasterCard's weekly Spendingpulse report.

Scientists blame drilling for mud flow

JAKARTA, Indonesia - International scientists said Tuesday they are almost certain a mud volcano that has displaced tens of thousands of villagers in central Indonesia was caused by faulty drilling of a gas exploration well — not an earthquake as claimed by the company.

..."We are more certain than ever that the Lusi mud volcano is an unnatural disaster and was triggered by drilling the Banjar-Panji-1 well," Richard Davies, a geologist at Durham University in Britain, said Tuesday.

Hurt by rain, U.S. corn crop to fall short of demand

WASHINGTON — Torrential rains and flooding in the Midwest could soon mean consumers face even higher prices for meat, eggs, dairy and other foods.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday slashed its estimate for the volume of this year's corn crop because of wet and flooded fields, prompting corn prices to surge to new records on Chicago futures exchanges. Contracts for July delivery hit $6.73 a bushel, with prices for later months soaring above $7.25 per bushel, more than double 2006 levels.

Bush: Global climate pact possible on my watch

BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (AFP) - US President George W. Bush said Tuesday that a global climate change deal was possible before he leaves office in January 2009.

"I think we can actually get an agreement on global climate change during my presidency," Bush said at his final summit with leaders of the European Union, which is at odds with the US approach.

Atlas shows effects of climate change on Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The United Nations environment agency unveiled a new atlas Tuesday that shows what the agency says are the dramatic effects of climate change on Africa.

The nearly 400-page publication features over 300 satellite images taken in every African country. The before and after photographs, some of which span a 35-year period, appear to show striking environmental changes across the continent.

Study: Arctic warming rate could triple

Rapid Arctic sea ice loss could triple the rate of warming over northern Alaska, Canada and Russia and trigger permafrost thawing that unleashes extremely potent greenhouse gases, according to a new study.

"Our study suggests that, if sea ice continues to contract rapidly over the next several years, Arctic land warming and permafrost thaw are likely to accelerate," lead author David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research said in a statement.

Pea Koil 1

Is that an upward spiral or a downward spiral?

Pea Coil, in a downward spiral.


Right up there with "visualize whirled peas", uh?


Pea stalks


Ha...are we, here at TOD, not the most cleverest bunch of coconuts? Nice pic.

That's good, but where's the cat??

A question to TOD : why does the graph showing the oil price on the TOD page, always have a straight line from the current price, to the end of the day. Somewhat confusing. Until about a month ago, there was no such line, and the price-plot just stopped at the current time.
Not of earth-shattering importance, but it's kinda weird.

It's a portent. Think of a flat line on a heart monitor.

the line is not flat- it indicates the deviation from the opening price- steeper slope is a quick gauge of a large deviation.

It's a Yahoo bug as it's their graph. Only started doing that a month or so ago. Someone at Yahoo will notice eventually and fix it - probably.

It's a long standing technical problem at Yahoo! or their data supplier. This email is from them to me in October last year after we'd been back and forth and I sent them screenshots etc:

Hello Justin,

We thank you very much for reporting the suspected problem. It does not
appear to be a technical problem, but appears to be with the source of
the information.

We source US and Canadian historical price and volume data from CSI.

If you have questions about US and Canadian historical data, please


International historical price and volume data is sourced from Hemscott.

If you have questions about international historical data, please


Again thank you for your report, it is with the help of customers like
you that we can improve Yahoo! Services.

Kindest Regards,

Blog Escalation Agent
Yahoo! Customer Care-Account Services

Ri-ight. So I'm supposed to talk to Yahoo's data supplier to sort out an issue between them and Yahoo! I decided to give up.

It's a problem with Yahoo in my book no matter what they say. They plot data for a a part of the day which has not occurred yet. It certainly hasn't done it continually for me since last October. Wonder if there's any timezone dependency.

Interesting about the time zone thing - but I see the same from NZ and UK (can't state October for both).

Correction: just been looking at what I sent them previously.

In the UK, the first quarter of each on the 5-day graph is actually supposed to be in the first quarter of the following day; whereas in NZ, the first quarter is just empty. And then random vertical lines try and connect everything back up as though it makes sense.

The bug appears to be a wrap around problem, so that data from the first 15 mins or so of each day is assigned to the end of the day. Could be related to the way delayed data is recorded.

It's a very lame bug and a pathetic excuse from Yahoo, IMHO.

"Never underestimate the power of denial" ---from the movie "American Beauty" (1999)

British, French, Spanish, Portuguese lorry drivers all demand relief from high diesel prices.
Barrack Obama demands a windfall tax on oil companies. John McCain proposes a summer driving tax holiday.
In India and Pakistan, the public demands the prices for petrol and cooking gas be rolled back.
On BBC World, politicians blame OPEC and speculators for high oil prices.


Everywhere, people are in denial. They pretend that fossil fuel shortages are contrived and conspired by wealthy opportunists. What happens when the truth can no longer be denied ????

What happens when the truth can no longer be denied ????

Then, it is too late.

I think the truth can probably be denied a lot longer than you'd expect.

I've been thinking about this lately, because the news these days...well, it reeks of peak oil. Fuel protests in Asia and Europe, production falling despite record high prices, energy agencies admitting that future production has a tendency to be overestimated, fertilizer shortages, even talk of rationing by usually free-market-type publications.

I've been a member of PeakOil.com since 2004, and was reading it before I became a member. It's been partly amusing, partly horrifying, to watch the cornucopians and peak oil deniers drawing a line in the sand, seeing it washed away by real world events, backing up and drawing another in the sand, etc. Rinse and repeat. For the most part, they are still unwilling to admit they might be wrong.

So...I ain't holding my breath, waiting for that moment when the truth can no longer be denied.

Thanks for that leanan. I was going to ask you about your unique perspective re the news you post.

You have to admit tho that things are accelerating awfully fast, no?

You have to admit tho that things are accelerating awfully fast, no?

Yes. Terrifyingly so.

And yet...here in the US, we are surprisingly unaffected. Yes, people complain about gas and food prices, but so far, they're still spending. Still going on vacations, still renovating their homes, still driving five hours every other weekend to see the grandkids. My best friend is on an Alaska cruise now. My parents just got back from a vacation that took them to several southwestern states. My sister's new house has depreciated rather more quickly than she expected (even though I warned her), but she's not in the least worried.

One striking thing (pun not intended) is that Europe seems harder hit than we are. Fisherman and truckers are striking over fuel prices, and it's affecting ordinary people. Here, labor was eviscerated long ago, so our fishermen and truckers have little recourse. No protests for us. We have that goofy guy praying for lower gas prices, but it's just an "odd news" story. People are hurting (trying Googling meals on wheels and gas prices), but they're largely invisible. The impression people get is that Americans are far less affected by the oil price spike than are Europeans, and I'm not sure that's accurate.

One striking thing (pun not intended) is that Europe seems harder hit than we are.

I guess it depends on what you are looking at. I live in Germany and to be honest, talking to the general public here, no one seems to be particularly worried. Of course there are the general moans that the price of petrol is high.

I eat every work day at a local restaurant for lunch. There have not been any price rises so far this year on the menu. The number of people wanting to do a Tandem Skydive at my Skydiving club has doubled so far this year. When money is tight the number usually goes down.

Maybe I am just not looking hard enough to see what is going on, but I would say most Germans are not yet experiencing to much discomfort.

I am sure the problems will come, but they are not there just yet.

I live in Germany and to be honest, talking to the general public here, no one seems to be particularly worried. Of course there are the general moans that the price of petrol is high.

There's a chart in today's Peak Oil Newsshowing gasoline prices for a select group of countries worldwide as of Maay 30,(I'd post it, but haven't figured out how to do that) which places Germany and Turkey at the top, $11.49/gal, followed by France, $9.66, and Britain, $8.31.

If "most Germans are not yet experiencing to much discomfort" at $11.49/gal, then something unnatural must be happening there in comparison to the rest of Europe.

What's unnatural is that up to the most recent economic numbers, Germany's economy is hot despite its high wages. And Germans didn't get way into personal debt like Americans and Britons, so they're not getting squeezed on both ends. However, German banks gave in to greed and invested in American mortgage garbage, and German exports will run out of solvent buyers soon, so all this could change rapidly.

And Germans didn't get way into personal debt

That is so true, credits cards only started to be widely used in Resturants and shops within the last 10 years and it was only a couple of years ago that I saw the first super market accepting credit cards.

Cars were and still are often paid for in cash. Mortgages tend to be paid off as quickly as possible. There again most people rent in Germany.

Of course when we can no longer sell the Porsche's and Merc's, then we are screwed.

I guess I would be surprised if industrial machinery were not a much bigger euro volume of German exports than autos?

Siemens electric drive systems should still be in high demand.

It will take supply shortages before the reality of PO hits home - both in the US and in Europe.

It's a cultural issue. Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position. Things will have to get much worse before outright blockages and the like. Frankly, I lean towards the American attitude.

Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position.

Prove this claim.

Because LevinK's post here
shows that your position is needing defending.

Dude, compare the frequency of large scale strikes in Europe and in America.

More importantly, observe that in Europe the fishermen and the truckers are expressly demanding fuel subsidies, which you will never see happen in America.

This is your 'well researched' response?


Having tried to educate various members of TOD over the years, I know better than trying to educate someone who believes 'Dude' is a good start to showing how right their view is and follows up with no numbers.

Strikes and workers unions have a long history. In the US of A the powers of unions to strike were weakened by Ronald Reagan.


LEAD: Leaders of an air traffic controllers union formed after President Reagan broke a 1981 walkout pledged at their first meeting today to deal with grievances legally, and discounted the possibility that the new union would ever strike.

And the US of A has low union membership


In the United States, union membership dropped by 3.7 percent from 1985 to 1995, while the percentage of the work force in unions fell by one-fifth, to 14 percent, one of the lowest rates of union membership among industrial countries.

Now *YOU* can believe your strike thinking - but for the rest of you - stikes in the US of A don't happen often because the protection laws are weakly enforced. Air America used to have a show called 'working it' and they'd talk about the weak state of the Union. If you wish to dig into the matter of unions - contact the local AFL-CIO for info.

Now - back to "Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position." being a bogus claim:

"The American Way of life is non-negotiable" (Hrmmm isn't that a stated policy?)
How about this position? From: http://democrats.senate.gov/agenda/

The New Direction Congress is providing the keys to the American dream—investing in American ingenuity and innovation.....We are making America’s rural heartland a key to America’s future economic and energy security.

Now - care to ACTUALLY defend Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position.?

I gave you one particular example: while Americans will defend implicit subsidies, few, if any of the truckers who did demonstrate last month would ask for government fuel subsidies. The remedies they were asking for did not include that, because that does not fit the American worldview.

So now you go with a 'topic change'?

You said:

Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position.

I've went so far as to quote from the Democratic party that they are going to, in the 110th congress work to provide economic security. I used a quote from the serving VP of the US of A. Now, I can't changed a closed mind, but I'm sure others have found your argument refuted.

I asked you to defend

Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position.

. You have not.

Your problems with reading comprehension are not my problem. Have a nice day, sir.

And your in-ability to provide quotes from 'a majority' supporting your position is noted.

VS showing members of 'the leadership' class expressing that the US of A 'deserves' a 'secure economy'.

Do feel free to come back when you have data VS handwaving.

And when you come back, I'll post data on the common claims that 'if you work hard you can enhance your economic position', thus showing a change in position.

I interject a little sideways thinking into this argument. I think that Americans don't believe that they, personally, are entitled to economic security. They just believe that if you make the 'correct' choices you should be successful in life.
If making the 'correct' choices does not make you successful in life, then it is the establishment's fault. And the establishment should be changed.
I expect radical change in the US very soon. Peacefully, because the people of the US are very heavily armed and it is unlikely that the establishment would dare to stop the election of Obama, or someone even more radical if Obama should be assassinated. But change.

Do you really believe that?

Obama would not have gotten as far as he has if the establishment were not behind him.

The anecdotal evidence supports you:

- Iraq stance not robust.

- BAU with a twist on health care.

- Pissing in the wind on energy.


Yup. "Loud" members of the establishment have made their choice. For 'change' to happen, you'd have to be rid of various laws and change things like the tax code and perhaps even the money system.

If Mr. O made 'really big changes' - the common response of the people who think elites run things is that Mr. O would end up dead.

If there is a big game that abuses you, the only way to 'win' the game is to not play. Good luck on not playing.

How does this statement help your argument?

The New Direction Congress is providing the keys to the American dream—investing in American ingenuity and innovation.....We are making America’s rural heartland a key to America’s future economic and energy security.

It states that by investing in American ingenuity and innovation, America can help secure its economic future. Where does entitlement fit into this vision? Ingenuity and innovation require ideas, thought, creativity, and work. Entitlement requires nothing.

P.S. I am an American an I do not believe that I am entitled to a secure economic position.

Where does entitlement fit into this vision?

And where was 'entitlement' claimed in the original argument?

P.S. I am an American an I do not believe that I am entitled to a secure economic position.

And this position is reflected HOW in published policy? I don't believe "I am entitled" either. But I'm posting on TOD. And that puts me in a minority right off the top. So unless you want to argue that 'you are in the majority' in the US of A, your PS supports the minority POV

And where was 'entitlement' claimed in the original argument?

I was under the impression that Congress' new vision was your rebuttal to Apuleius' "Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position".

In what way do these statements:

"I've went so far as to quote from the Democratic party that they are going to, in the 110th congress work to provide economic security."

"prove" or indicate that Americans believe they are entitled to a secure economic position?

And where was 'entitlement' claimed in the original argument?

I was under the impression that Congress' new vision was your rebuttal to Apuleius' "Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position".

I was under the impression I asked 'where was 'entitlement' claimed in the original argument?' not 'restate the discredited claim of Apuleius' as a question.

But hey, just keep not answering direct questions. No skin of my teeth.

"prove" or indicate that Americans believe they are entitled to a secure economic position?

Interesting that you've opted to leave out 'the majority' portion.
Other links claiming to want 'economic security'

Daniel Hill, Director Strategic Industries and Economic Security
(A director position for 'economic security'.)

Education for Economic Security, Inc. (EES, Inc.)is a Massachusetts based, non-profit corporation focused on using education to promote the CGFW plan for Cascading Generations of Family Wealth.

(A not for profit claiming they want economic security VS some handwaving billshit about strikes and singlecarrier's waek rebuttal)

Good morning, Chairman Grassley and Members of the Caucus. I am honored to appear before you to discuss the financial enforcement and economic security efforts and accomplishments of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

(more of my public attempts at removing the ignorance of those who claim the US of A citizens as a whole have no interest in economic security. )

So far I've provided plenty of supporting data to refute the claim

Most Americans do not believe they are entitled to a secure economic position.

Do feel free to actually post supporting data VS handwaving at any time.

You are not entirely correct. Remember the fuel protests of small trucking companies a while back? This was in liberal, free-market US.

It is logical that truckers and farmers would be the first to be hit. They both operate on very small margins and rising energy costs can virtually wipe out many of them, especially the smallest. Here is another difference - in US trucking and farming industries are dominated by huge corporations. Huge corporations do not organize protests, they buy themselves politicians. They can also afford to take the hit for much longer than the smaller guys.

Remember the fuel protests of small trucking companies a while back?


Those aren't small trucking companies. They are independents. Basically, guys who have to keep working to pay the mortgage on their trucks, even if they're losing money at it.

And it wasn't a very successful protest. I know I never saw any sign of any protest, nor heard from anyone who did. One trucker explained that the cost of fuel was too high to waste any going to a protest.

OK, sorry for not recognizing the difference.

The point remains though - individual and small truckers are the hardest to be hit. US lacks the culture of public protests, so I guess it will take time before it goes up the foodchain. I don't expect Delta or LongHaul's stuff to hit the streets if they are about to go belly up, but there will be some heavy lobbying for bailouts. In the long term even this won't work and we can very well see the "European disease" coming to the New World.

It's not that we lack the culture of protests. There's a long tradition of them.

It's that they are no longer effective. Workers have become disposable.

Right now, we have more truckers than we have demand for truckers. I expect demand will fall as fast as truckers are wiped out, so there may never be a labor crunch.

The American system to control workers is probably the best one ever thought of - lure the people to get into debt up to their necks and import/outsource to low cost labor. Then they tell you that you can protest all you want, but then how many are those that can survive without income? The beauty of it is that according to the free market ideology, it's all your own fault that you are in trouble.

However once huge corporations start dropping out, and unemployment rises anyway things will change. You can fear nothing if you have nothing left to lose... who said that?

I suspect the protests, when they happen, will be more like what you are seeing Asia now than what you are seeing in Europe. Rather than labor-based, they will be consumer-based. People who can't afford to buy food and fuel, not people linked by a common profession.

Might be quite awhile before we reach that point, though.

You can fear nothing if you have nothing left to lose... who said that?

Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster wrote it and Janis Joplin made it famous signing Me and Bobby McGee.

And trucker protests did take place and were blacked out by the propaganda system, although various alt-media covered them.

Also Mr. Dylan, in Like a Rollin' Stone:

'When you got nothin, you got nothin' to lose'.

Not surprisingly, Americans have been very aware of this for quite a while.

"Sixteen Tons"
Merle Travis, 1947 (But may have been stolen from George S. Davis, 1930s)

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;
I owe my soul to the company store...

I do believe Paulo Friere might have a thought or two on that...

Dont worry,

the world is getting larger and rounder again...

As spotted up top, the flat earth economy is curling at the edges:

>>Oil price crisis threatens to reverse globalisation Carl Mortished: World Business Briefing

With brutal efficiency, the oil price is beginning to duff up a monster of the 20th century: globalisation. Those great tentacles that gripped our world in a hideous embrace are suddenly weakening and the multinational octopus is looking a bit pale and sickly. The extraordinary rise in the price of crude oil is wrecking outsourced business models everywhere and distance from your customer is no longer merely a matter of dull logistics. Whether you are selling coiled steel or cut flowers, the cost of transport is a problem.

America's steel industry is enjoying an unexpected revival, its competitive edge sharpened by the tariff wall erected by the cost of shipping heavy, low added-value products across the Pacific. We hear fewer complaints from Americans about Asian steel-dumping; instead, it is Asian exporters who are feeling the pinch and the pressure is from inputs as well as shipping to customers<<

Dont worry,

the world is getting larger and rounder again...

As spotted up top, the flat earth economy is curling at the edges:

I've got a copy of The World is Flat that I guess is going to be outdated before I read it. Oh well, gives me something to read by the glow of the burning shopping mall. ;)

Although I could update to the 2006 edition. That's sure to be more robust. ;)

According to US department of transportation data there are 7 million trucks in the US consuming 3 mbpd - they estimate there are a large number of trucks aged 40-50 years old, and that replacement of 50% of the fleet would take 15-20 years. This would indicate that the US truck fleet is not entirely owned by large corporations, with modern fleets

But they only pay 4 dollars not 9 dollars for their transportation fuel, and possibly are not feeling the same pressure as UK private contractor truck companies

FYI the 130 million autos consumer approx the same as the 80 m SUV (4-5 mbpd) WHILST THE 8500 commercial airlines use 1.1mbpd of jetfuel. Of course the problem with jet fuel demand is that a barrel of crude is not a barrel of jet fuel (in california its only 12% of the barrel). So one may wonder at the impact of US activation of the Military Industrial Complex, and a military force comprising 4000+ aircraft just in the navy (I think its 16000 in the combined armed forces)...

people in Europe can protest because by doing so they don't sacrifice jobs and the whole house of cards they built up in their life to that point.
If you miss a day of work here to attend a protest, you will be looking for a new job the following day.

If you miss a day of work here to attend a protest, you will be looking for a new job the following day.

Or if you are an independent, losing the day's income might mean you can't make your mortgage payment.

"accelerating awfully fast"

I have to wonder if it is really that events are preceding apace or if it is simply your (mine, anyone's) awareness of events that have changed. I was first introduced to the whole set of environmental/resource/growth issues in the mid seventies. The "Limits to Growth" had been published, Paul Erlich had a best sellers called "The Population Bomb" and "The End of Affluence." And then during the late seventies their were a slew of books from all over the political spectrum.

Most people back then believed that the real troubles would start to emerge in 90's. Well, we got a bit of a reprieve in that we dramatically reduced our oil consumption growth (and economic growth) for more than a decade. But now many of the shortages that were projected are now coming to be (ten years behind schedule?).

Makes we wonder if some future historian writing about our current era will argue that the period from 1981 - 2002 was the first "stair step" down from the height of the growth based economy. Consider that the first "oil shock" just happened to coincide with US peak oil production. Consider, too, that present wages are still below (inflation adjusted) their 1973 peaks. (The U.S. has managed increased household income by reintroducing the multi-income household model.)

Makes we wonder if some future historian writing about our current era will argue that the period from 1981 - 2002 was the first "stair step" down from the height of the growth based economy.

As a historian, I would write that during that time period we really put a lot of effort into burning the candle at both ends even faster than before thanks to Alaska, North Sea, and offshore GOM and Nova Scotia oil combined with the rise of Neoliberal Imperialist Ideology. The candle is now almost burnt out, and we haven't built a new one of sufficient size to continue as before because the construction material doesn't exist.

I think it's more like skipping a stone off a lake. You only get two bounces, and then you sink like a stone should.

Thanks for pointing out how we've used multiple household incomes to cover up wage declines. I wish more people would recognize this. Forcing the wives and children back into the workforce (though many women wanted careers) was a non-renewable resource for Big Business to depress labor markets while making GNP rise. Apparently we've used it up.

From Econbrowser - "The Oil Shock of 2008."

Looks to me like things really are moving quickly.

Bush to Iran: 'All options' are open over nukes - Europe- msnbc.com President George W. Bush threatened Iran on Wednesday with more sanctions if it fails to stop enriching uranium and said all options were on the table to ... www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25091410/ - 1 hour ago - Similar pages - Note this

Interview of the President by Israeli Television Channel 1 Aug 12, 2005 ... THE PRESIDENT: Well, all options are on the table. ... Saddam Hussein -- you know, we made the decision on a lot of factors. ... www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050812-2.html - 30k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

President Bush: "This is a Defining Moment for the U.N. Security ... Saddam Hussein has not disarmed. Colin Powell made that case very clear. ... THE PRESIDENT: All options are on the table, but I believe we can solve this ... www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030207-3.html

"Chris Hedges

The failure by Barack Obama to chart another course in the Middle East, to defy the Israel lobby and to denounce the Bush administration’s inexorable march toward a conflict with Iran is a failure to challenge the collective insanity that has gripped the political leadership in the United States and Israel."

"All options" is code for attack soon.

The US must shoot down any Israeli jet crossing it's airspace.

The US attacks Iran and your car becomes worthless. Well, almost.

You can still live in it. ;}

Don't get me started on the greatest circle-j3rk of brown-nosed @$$-clowns in the 3,000 ring circus called Washington DC. The French were too merciful in their use of the guilletine, it's much too fast and painless. (I'm sure there's some historical bit I'm missing where that's just the stereotype and they were drawn & quartered or some such business... Roll with it, people.)

Obama has come out against alleged US demands for a security treaty with Iraq - which include control of Iraqi airspace. Whether intentionally or not, if he gets what he wants, the Baghdad regime regains control of Israel's route to attacking its patron Iran. How about we all start sending letters to our congressmen to keep pushing on this issue so that Bush can't get that scrap of paper?

Here's more info on that developing situation from McClatchy News:


On Capitol Hill, top Democrats and Republicans complain that Bush is rushing the negotiations to try to tie his successor's hands.

Six senators, including the chairmen of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees and their ranking minority members have written Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the past week asking for transparency in the negotiations and more briefings. White House, State Department and Pentagon officials briefed lawmakers and staff members on the talks Tuesday.

"There's a tremendous amount of concern up here about the state of these negotiations. ... It's been expressed repeatedly," said a senior congressional staffer, who requested anonymity. He noted that their appeared to be growing talk in Iraq of simply extending the U.N. mandate.

A spokesman for Obama (D-Ill) said any long-term U.S. security commitment to Iraq must be subject to Congressional approval; alternatively the administration should seek an extension of the current UN mandate. Obama wants a new administration to make it "absolutely clear that the United States will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq," said spokesman Bill Burton.


Not much but it's a start if we make news out of it.

all i have to say is that he is purposefully setting up negotiations to fail. If you set up the prerequisite of the talks you want as the actual goal then of course Iran won't agree to them. It's like telling a person who is holding hostages that you will talk to them if they first release the hostages.

It seems to me that the underlying reason for denial by both the general public and TPTB is that to admit that peak energy is here or nearly here also requires acceptance that current societal and economic paradigms are dead.

It means that standards of living are going to change in what is considered to be a negative direction. It means that up-coming generations will not live at the same "scale" as older generations. It means that economic growth as a source of "wealth" is dead. And, given the current emphasis upon "sustainable growth" it seems clear that a goodly number of economists are shaking in their boots.

I rather doubt that there will ever be an official admission that energy is the problem.


Very good observation, Todd. I have family members who are in exactly that boat, refusing to recognize the severity of the moment. Most interesting is my father-in-law who for years lectured me about the finiteness of oil but now, in his twilight years, does not want to face that maybe that moment has come while he is still alive.

I've seen the contrary,

Family members whose reaction used to be 'Don't be silly, there's plenty off oil' are now seeing the sense of public transport among other things.


I agree. However, at least in my case, the family members that were denying we had a problem are insisting that moving to more public transportation, etc. will save the day. They still refuse to look at the whole picture. Our civilization is built on cheap energy. When it goes away, there's a damn good chance that civilization goes away too. It might take a awhile, but most falls do.

"I am trying to help people prepare psychologically. An economic collapse is the worst possible time to have a nervous breakdown, but that's what typically happens. If people have a chance to think about it ahead of time, they will be better prepared for it."
Dmitry Orlov


I think most of those who are deliberately avoiding this issue now are the ones Orlov cites.
But I wonder if our preparations are just smug imaginings.
Many years ago I was camping alone in the Kingston Plains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula when I was blasted from sleep by an earthshaking explosion that seemed to fill the world.
"It's over" I thought, "the bastards have dropped the bomb and this is the end of the world."
And I was seized by horror and an instant depression that made my mind wobble.
It wasn't until my hearing returned that I could hear the roar of the receding, low-flying military jet that broke the sound barrier, apparently right over my tent.
Despite the realization that it was just a jet flying low and fast, I could not shake that utter feeling of hopelessness that had descended upon me.

One may have the fully stocked lifeboat, guns, PV and such but how do you prepare for the mental impact of collapse?

IMO there will be much scarring and not all of it visible.

how do you prepare for the mental impact of collapse?

People. Community.

Though I'm having a damned hard time marshalling people and creating a community.


There was another good discussion on the BBC yesterday as posted by DaveMart last night. I've uploaded a link (for those outisde the UK) to the show in Real Media format. This time the discussion was broadcast worldwide and not just in Scotland. Here's the info for those who missed it in last night drumbeat.

Hardtalk: Energy Crisis (Download Link)

It's in RealMedia format so you'll need RealPlayer (or anything else capable of playing the format such as mplayer, realalternative, total media player etc). It's also low bandwidth and just a 6mb download for a 25min program.

Hardtalk: Energy Crisis

In a HARDtalk interview shown on 10th June 2008, Zeinab Badawi discusses the energy crisis with a panel of specialists.

Is the soaring cost of oil fuelling a global energy crisis?

Senator Jeff Bingaman is the Chairman of the US Senate's Energy Committee.

Lord Oxburgh was Chairman of Shell from 2004 to 2005 and Brian Wilson is a former British Energy Minister.

Bingaman is my congressman. From the clip, it appears he either doesn't have a clue, or is not wanting to come straight out and tell the truth for fear he'll be punished in some way. I'm going to write him an email.

Here's a better iPlayer link for UK use only. A much higher bandwidth version. It's also available on iPlayer on Virgin cable so you can watch it on tv for the next 5 days.

Leanan. Rather alarmingly as you have commented previously the denial comes not only from the uneducated or uninformed, it comes from intelligent people and those with agendas.

I read constantly on TOD about how we can engineer to mitigate, ameliorate and even continue BAU. Build railways, 2 billion electric cars, spend trillions on windmills and so on. The plea is to consume the non renewables now so we at least, can continue to live in the style we are accustomed.

It was engineers and engineering practices which led the world to the predicament we now find ourselves, to think and expect that we can engineer our way out of this mess is tantamount to denial with elements of magical thinking.

Engineers will be the first to protest and deny what I have just said. It will simply be rationalized away.

The only thing I'll deny is the last part. I am an engineer, and I don't think we'll engineer our way out of this.

As an engineer, I don't think we can continue BAU. Perhaps we can mitigate the transition to crashing gracefully, as opposed to abruptly and catastrophically. Engineering may give technological tools to facilitate this transition, but the formulation of policy and governance that can actually use these tools wisely is not merely an engineering problem (perhaps a systems and social engineering problem though).

We need to consume nonrenewables to make the infrastructure to harvest renewables (aka wind), otherwise we will certainly crash and burn globally. Is this guaranteed to work? No, but what are the other options?

Thinking logically (as engineers are trained to do), it is quite easy to engineer a way out of this mess. Birth control, real practical education, and a commitment to replace our consumer driven economy with one that is centered on innovation, renewable energy and self-development, and we could easily pass through this crisis.

It is politics, ignorance, religion and greed that is going to do us in, not engineers.

You see, engineers act like such responses from our monkey brains are somehow an aberration but the reality is that those exact responses are the norm. Logical thinking is the aberration.

And also, when applied to 'social engineering' - quite an illogical approach in-and-of-itself. It requires a logical-premise that people/society will accept the solution that logical thinking imposes as required. Faulty assumption which hides circular logic.

Is it possible to engineer a workable solution which accounts for the 'stresses' and 'material properties' of "politics, ignorance, religion and greed"?

Much of "New Urbanism" is to create a physical environment that can promote positive social changes (vs. alternatives such as Suburbia).

The physical form can, and does, impact society in myriad ways.

IMHO, the New Urbanists are not as good as the "Old Urbanists" that designed large sections of New Orleans for example. But they are trying.

I see this type of engineering as preparing fertile ground for a better society. It does not guarantee the result, but it allows a better result to come into existence.

And that is my overall attitude, not to compel or control behavior, but to allow better options to develop.

Best Hopes for Better Options,


Maybe what we need is for a bio-chemical engineer at Merck or some such to invent a "logical thinking" vaccine that could be slipped into the world's drinking water supplies. Or at least into the water coolers in the congress and senate.

the image of a person continually pressing the power button on their tv when there is no power and no reason given for it comes to mind.

Everywhere, people are in denial.

Not true anymore - BP admits that volume declined in 2007!


Since 2006 was the previous high that must mean a peak - whether it is the final peak or not.

This admission is in direct contradiction to what the BP Special Economic Advisor Peter Davies told a UK House of Parliament Peak Oil Commitee meeting on the 18th of January 2008!!!

- what chance do you think that he will return to Parliament to appologise?


The rapidly rising price shows that the 2007 peak is clearly due to lack of supply.

While there are some seriously uncomfortable numbers staring us in the face, BP seems to be continuing to accentuate the positive. For example, they conclude their "2007 in review" oil summary with the following:

"International trade in crude oil and refined products rose despite OPEC production cuts and rising domestic consumption in oil-exporting countries. Much of this growth was in refined products, a reflection of imbalances and constraints in the world’s refining system."


But unless I am mistaken, according to the analysis done here net exports declined last year...

Maybe someone who's more familiar with BP's review than I can tell me what's going on. Are they using the dollar value of international trade, as opposed to the volume of trade? In other words, are they using the rising price of oil to obscure the fact that oil exports fell?

It's also noteworthy how assumptions/opinions are built into the language that they use - no doubt I am guilty of this too. But since we are parsing BP's influential report and not my marginal views, here goes. BP talks about "OPEC production cuts." But there is a powerful assumption/opinion built into that phrase. A cut is a voluntary action. And yet how do they truly know that those "cuts" were not imposed by geological constraints? In other words, they are taking OPEC at their word and in the process sending a subtle but powerful message against peak oil.

What comes after denial? Anger, people on the streets raging for their fix. Then bargaining : Just keep the price down and let me fill up one more time.

After that depression sinks in, and finally, for those who get that far, comes acceptance.

It'll be a long road.


That spurs a question in me. What do you all think the form of the "Bargaining" will take?

"If we drill in ANWR, will the oil last forever?"
"If I ride a bike to work, will the price of gas go down?"
"If we ask real nice, will the Saudi's pump more?"

"If we stop fixing the roads, can we suspend the gas tax?"
"If we round up all the Mexicans, will we save enough gas to make up for the fact that the Mexicans do all the road-fixing?"
"If we accuse each other of being terrorists until almost everyone has been put in a concentration camp, will I still be free to drive around in a Mustang like the Omega Man on the shattered and useless roads?"

It's gonna be that stupid.

It's the goddam boomers, I tellya. String 'em up!

(I am both a boomer and an environmentalist - see you in the camps!)

Peak Oil, the even less convenient truth

Damn, and I was only supporting this system for the conveniences.

High-speed train to victory?
Swing states need green manufacturing


The first comment...

Drake's proposal

See also the proposal by Alan Drake, What is Required to Displace Heavy Trucks (and Some Air Freight) in the USA? Drake proposes an incremental upgrade strategy that maximizes cost effectiveness, speed, reliability and practicality. He describes the proposal:

Commuter Rail Electrification FAQ


Please note that I have claimed a generic 15% improvement in average trip times by electrification.

Also the dispute between Caltrain (commuter rail) and BART (Rapid Rail i.e. subway) is noted (from a one sided POV). BART wants to extend down the East Side of SF Bay to San Jose, Caltrain wants to electrify existing service on the West Side of the SF Bay.

Best Hopes for Urban Rail,


Those are only competing projects to the extent that they both compete for money. The point of BART to San Jose is to allow East Bay workers to commute to San Jose. The point of Caltrain electrification is to boost Caltrain ridership on the peninsula which serves both San Francisco and San Jose. Electrifying Caltrain, especially as Caltrain plans with lightweight non-FRA compliant equipment and operating rules is the better project because it should only cost $500 million vs. the $4 billion for BART to San Jose. However, I would argue that there is more need for improved transit between the East Bay and San Jose than there is on the peninsula. I would like to see and expansion of commuter rail along the Alviso line (which is a more direct route than either BART or the so-called Caltrain East proposals that Bay Area rail advocates want). However, the real problem with commuter rail in the U.S. is that American operators are required to use heavy, dangerous, slow and costly to operate equipment because of the FRA's stupid 800,000 lb buffing strength requirement which results in equipment that is both much more expensive and more dangerous than that used in Europe where trains are typically required to be around half as stiff but to incorporate energy management techniques (this comparison is similar to comparing a 1960's, tank-like automobile to a modern one. The modern car is lighter and safer because it relies on crumple zones to absorb the energy of a crash).

On the EU vs FRA safety standards debate, I find knowledgeable advocates on both sides (Most, including FRA, generally agree that if one is not operating with freight trains, FRA equipment is not needed). Ed Tennyson is pro-FRA and, unlike me, he has been on site after a number of rail collisions, some with injuries, some with deaths.

Pro-FRA is that the "crumple zones" for autos are where engines and trunks are. For rail cars, people are sitting in the crumple zones and they will be sacrificed in a collision.

I would like to see a weakening of the FRA rules and adopting EU standards, and accepting the extra deaths. The lives saved from auto deaths will more than offset extra rail deaths (cheaper rail cars > more rail cars IMHO).

I strongly support allowing FRA passenger EMUs to mix with non-FRA equipment.

And I agree that East Bay BART to San Jose has more value than West Bay Caltrain electrification. On a per $ basis ???

BOTH need to be built ASAP !


On FRA vs. EU safety standards:

The FRA has increased their strength requirements to a very high level which makes passenger rail very expensive to operate. If they changed their requirements to the EU requirements they would still require stronger cars than were standard in the US in the 1950's which would also be designed to dissipate energy in a crash better than the cars from the 1950's did. As it stands US rail equipment is 2-4 times as expensive as equivalent European equipment, is slower, just as dangerous in a crash and requires more energy to operate. The problem is particularly severe if you want to run high speed service which is essentially impossible within FRA rules. However, in addition to having equipment that performs as well or better in a collision, the real secret to European (and Japanese) rail safety is avoiding collisions with good signaling. The other safety advantage of the European model is that it is much more economical so you are able to afford to put a larger proportion of your commuters on trains.

On BART to San Jose:

Although there is more of a need for rail in the East Bay, BART is not the way to do it (actually, not even the folks at BART were initially in favor of the San Jose extension and tried to block it). It is 4 times as expensive as providing similar commuter service using conventional rail would be. It would make far more sense to do that. As it stands, electrifying Caltrain gives a far better bang for the buck. The CA HSR bond is important here because Cltrain's tracks are the ones that CAHSRA is planning to use for the route from SF to LA.

I still think the only long term solution to rail service improvements in the USA is for the track and national rail traffic control to be owned and operated by the government the same as the airways and air traffic control are owned by the government and the roads and road traffic control are owned and controlled by the government.
Then you can have efficient passenger and freight service throughout the USA. And when things get too congested on the rails the government can easily go in and build double, triple or quadruple track - which would be very difficult for the private rail owners to do today. Look at the hell that DM&E (Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern) has gone through for many years trying to extend their service for just a few hundred extra miles in western Dakota & Montana. Compare DM&E's problems with the government deciding to upgrade a 2 lane interstate highway to 4 lane and extending it a few hundred miles.

David Gunn, the best rail manager is recent years, was quite opposed to separating operations from track. There are too many details that can go wrong when the track people have different goals, and different bosses than the guys who run the trains on the tracks.

Separating the two has been a disaster in (from memory) New Zealand and the UK and some other places.

Common trackage rights (BNSF can run trains on CSX tracks for a regulated fee might work better). Or Public Belt ownership of congested sections of tracks or ....

A difficult issue I agree.


I would agree with Alan. Years ago I was in the camp of believing track ownership should be separated (largely from frustation with freight railroads that didn't want to allow passenger trains on their tracks). Now I have completely reversed my opinion. The UK has had some major problems with that issue. I believe it was this last Christmas when a mainline track was not released from maintenance work during the holiday travel season IIRC. There were a LOT of angry people: passengers, train operators and politicians. Many American railroads have long cooperated when necessary in using each others tracks - SP and ATSF (now UP and BNSF) on Tehachapi, UP and ATSF (now also UP and BNSF) on Cajon, to name just a couple out this way in the west. Belt lines and switching districts are another as Alan mentions. BTW I now believe passenger trains should, in many cases, run on separate tracks from freight trains, due to the current high volume of freight traffic. I have also come up with ideas where those passenger tracks could be used for local freight switching by a shortline railroad, which is something else the big freight railroads have largely given up on along their mainlines. This would actually go back to the concept of the steam road with paralleling interurban - long-haul vs. short haul freight plus passenger intensive business.

Toyota vows plug-in hybrid by 2010

Toyota is introducing a plug-in hybrid with next-generation lithium-ion batteries in Japan, the U.S. and Europe by 2010, under a widespread green strategy outlined Wednesday.


Storage Boosts the Power of Renewable Energy

"Grid-scale storage is here now," said Ed Cazalet of MegaWatt Storage Farms. "Storage should be deployed now at the gigawatt (GW)

scale...where capacity, ancillary services and energy time-shifting are clearly needed."


Petroalgae - Life on Mars: The Secret Ingredient for Biofuel

PetroAlgae, a biodiesel startup in Melbourne, Fla., has leased environmental-simulation chambers originally developed for the Mars

mission. It hopes to use the chambers to discover the optimal environment for growing algae and then to create it on an industrial



Tchenguiz and Tata go green

Vincent Tchenguiz, the property and clean-energy billionaire investor, is in talks with Indian conglomerate Tata about investing

in a new $10bn environment fund.
The fund would invest in clean-energy projects in India and develop alternative technologies to replace fossil fuels.


Regarding the news about Toyota's plug-in hybrid plans, this related article indicates that Toyota's view is that oil production will peak in the near future

In your link, this is potentially the main thing:

'Toyota also aims to develop a battery that significantly outperforms lithium-ion batteries,' Watanabe said.

Now the critical thing here is whether they have missed our a 'present', so that it should read 'present lithium ion batteries'

All I can think of that might fit the bill would be zinc batteries as they don't have to carry their oxygen, or maybe boron as Mr Cowan advocates:

If they actually should have said 'present' then silicon nanotubes would seem likeliest:
New Nanowire Battery Holds 10 Times The Charge Of Existing Ones

Anyone any ideas?
Anyone read Japanese so that they could check what he actually said?

I think they are referring to Lithium Polymer batteries. To be honest, I don't know what the difference is, but they are apparently two different things.

Panasonic is making the current gen. They are staying mum on the new battery. Probably quite a ways off. As is the PHEV Prius, 2010 is only for goverment and fleets. It won't be available to the public in the US or Europe until 2011 or 2012 at the earliest. Of course you can shell out $20K now to have yours converted.

Prices are going down. I was at Luscious Garage in San Francisco on Saturday for the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association Meeting and the owner, Carolyn, told me that her 15 mile pack was going to decrease in price from $8500 to just over $5000 in 45 days. This is using lead-acid batteries. Presumably better batteries will provide more range but fundamentally the Prius still weighs 2700 lb.

That's just too heavy. Cut 1000 lb, install the batteries in the factory, change the chemistry and maybe they can get 40 miles out of one charge without depleting the battery 100%, which shortens the battery life considerably, I've been told.

I think the plug-in Prius will take just baby steps, maybe 15 or 20 all-electric miles, but not much more. It's just too heavy and the better battery chemistries are also much more expensive.

In any case, it's too late. 90% of us would have to be driving electric cars right now to have any hope of a soft landing. The only options left, in my view, are hard landing or incredibly hard landing.


How batteries react to deep discharge varies according to the chemistry used.
In any case, capacitors have been successfully used to prevent deep discharge and increase life at reasonable cost:http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/01/ultrabattery-combines-supercapacitor.html
Next Big Future: UltraBattery combines a supercapacitor and a lead acid battery

Firefly battery technology can also do the job at around twice the price of conventional lead-acid, far cheaper than lithium and with good deep discharge characteristics:
Home - fireflyenergy.com

I would however agree that within the time available to us there is little possibility that a smooth changeover will be made to hybrid or EV vehicles.

It will though help a lot. At the moment the hybrid and EV technology is trying to establish itself against a background of expectations set when gas was cheap. That is a tough target to hit, and at comparable build costs will likely not be achievable before around 2020. A commuter EV capable of 80-100 miles can though be built at reasonable cost:
UKP14,000 TH!NK city electric car ready for showrooms

They can't be ramped fast enough to keep anything like BAU though, but the same battery technology will allow the build of all sorts of electric bikes and trikes.
Emergency service vehicles should also be able to switch to hybrids.

So not all of our problems will be solved but there is a lot of help available here.

On a different note, has anyone got more information on solid-state lithium batteries?
I could not find anything much by googling.

The metal battery is likely zinc-air, here is some information on this technology:
This would enhance capabilities considerably, and lay to rest concerns expressed about lithium availability.

Here is Masatami Takimoto's presentation on Toyota's Initiatives for Realizing Sustainable Mobility

On slide 29 it shows that Toyota's interest in "next generation" batteries lies with "solid-state", "metal-air", and "Sakichi" batteries

The presentation is very interesting - it highlights Toyota's wide-ranging efforts to improve the efficiency of its vehicles. The company appears to be looking at any and all options.

A summary of Toyota's initiatives can also be found in this press release

Does anyone what a "Sakichi" battery is? I see the oval on slide 29, but no clue as to what this might be. 2x performance of metal-air!

Spacecraft have used nuclear batteries for a long time - And they don't even need recharging?
Just replace the battery once a year (or 100,000 kilometers which ever comes first?) and the nuclear battery is sent back to the factory to be reprocessed to make a new battery.
Plenty of power for air conditioning/heating, entertainment, lights and mototive power.

What do you recon that development would do to the price of oil?

Considering our massive hangup about the possibility of terrorists getting ahold of material for a dirty bomb, you ain't gonna see it. Then there is price. Polonium is a great energy source (and assasination tool as we saw last fall), but enough to kill a person (not nearly enough for a car) is something like $.5M. That might be fine for powering a hundred million dollar satelite, but as a prectical energy source nada. Batteries are supposed to be energy storage mechanisms in any case, these nuclear "batteries" are not batteries, you cannot plug them in to charge them up. Nor can you throttle the rate of radioactive decay. Its lifetime is totally independent of whether you actually use the output.

A notable line in that Toyota PHEV article:

"Japan's top automaker, which leads the industry in gas-electric hybrids, has said it will rev up hybrid sales to 1 million a year sometime after 2010."

Toyota has sold 1 million Priuses in the past decade. So a couple years from now, Toyota plans to be selling as many hybrids annually as they've sold Priuses in the past 10 years.

The last I read on such things is that they plan on offering hybrid versions on all of their vehicles. I would also speculate that likely many vehicles will migrate towards hybrid only, or make the hybrid verion the luxury trim.

Well hey, with Toyota's new vehicle combined with gigawatt storage and biofuel being developed on the fast track in Melborne, Fla plus a $10 Billion commitment to Tata via Vinny T we can shut down TOD and say that new technologies have carried the day.

Dave ol bean, you are a marvel. I love the way you string together all these just around the corner miraculous new technologies to put peak oil in proper perspective and that is...'oil? what oil? we don' need no stinkin' oil!'

I will hazard a guess that at the rate you are posting that within 30 years, give or take, Leanan will no longer be necessary on TOD. You will have totally replaced any possible board monitor along with readers and other posters, with a cornucopia of just around the corner fixes for oil depletion and a crashing world economy. Hey, TOD don't need no stinkin' reality, we got Dave. Keep up the flow rate...you are gaining on reality.

What on earth do you mean River? Surely there'll be plugin hybrid tractors, combine harvesters and trucks soon too? Not to mention plugin hybrid fertilizer, asphalt, aeroplanes, ships and plastics?

I heard a bunch of people on the train this morning talking in glowing techno-cornucopian terms about the plugin cars we'll all soon be driving. I get to work & the guy at the desk beside me restarts the same conversation. Forget about the fact that our fossil-fuel driven electricity generation wouldn't cope with the load, or that it'd take far more years to replace the vehicle fleet than Peak Oil + ELM will give us. For every objection there's another "don't worry, they'll fix that with " answer. It seems to be such a widely distributed thought pattern :\

Unless peak oil doesn't happen until 2025, this schedule is pathetically to slow to make a meaningful impact. Given the trajectory of the oil price, we would need to be around 50% of production being hybrids today, to reach a meaningful level of mitigation on time. The CERAs, and IEA's have led us (and the worlds industrial planners) down the garden path, until it is far too late. As a consumer, when I see the price of fuel double in a year, but efficiency only goes up by 28% in a decade, it is obvious that the technology isn't coming fast enough to avoid the crash.

Was in a little dealership for these folks


yesterday. They are converting Daihatsus to run batteried AC pulse and have them currently for sale as NEV's. Owner told me they are 5 mo. out for lith-ion full electrics for use on highways. The battery SUV is about $19,000 with a 60 mi range but the new model will do 100 miles and top at 55mph. We got on the wait list just so I'll know when they hit.

(aside) Portland, Or. is teeming with bicycles more than usual and lots of bike-truck situations happening too. Max line peak hour ridership 10% above last year. In spite of all there are still plenty of cars and the background music is gasoline numbers changers out every morning. ($4.21 mostly)

Everything I've heard with the Javlon (they've renamed it to some letter/number combo) is that it tops at 70+. I'm still holding my breath that this car will be successful. I know people that have driven a prototype and said it was incredible. Target price of $30k isn't really feasible anymore, but it is way ahead of the game at the lowest possible price.

Here's to finally having a choice...

A Hybrid with no Transmission…..and it gets 160 MPG too!!!

But now Volvo has come up with an ingenious idea for Hybrid cars. Eliminate the Transmission altogether! Well that was simple enough…but wait….how will the car get going then without a transmission? Ahh…very good young grasshopper. The Volvo ReCharge “packs a small electric motor in each wheel, so that no power is lost in the drivetrain.”

Locomotives have worked that way for decades.

Sounds great. Or you could buy a 250cc motorcycle for $4000 and get similar performance.

Millions of people in asia ride around on motorcyles - it might catch on with westerners too once high oil prices collide with their increasingly third world wages.

Hub motors are not a new idea, and Volvo didn't come up with it. They go back to at least 1902 when Ferdinand Porsche put them in what became an early hybrid vehicle. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hub_motor.

Yep, and nobody uses Hub motors because of too much un-sprung weight.

Hi Rethin,
Could you elaborate?
I had a discussion with a coworker(nonengineer) who argued that hub motors were THE NEXT BIG THING.
I felt they could lead to handling problems despite the fact that they lowered the center of gravity.
They may be useful on rail vehicles though.

I'm not automotive engineer, so take this with a bit of though.
But my understanding is this.

They are not the next big thing. They are an old idea (1902 Porsche).
The reason they are not used is because of un-sprung weight. That is weight that is not supported by the suspension. This leads to very big handling problems.

Engineers like the idea because hub motors are so much more efficient. I believe there is an all electric mini running around out there with 4 motors in the wheels.

In fact, hobbyists have been building electric cars without transmissions for decades. Dr. Porsche built a car with wheel motors in 1900. It's definitely the way things are headed, but the catch is that even an electric motor has its torque limits. Your car uses gearing to multiply the engine's rated torque - if your final drive ratio is 4 to 1, then 200 ft/lbs of torque get converted to 800. But a directly-geared motor or wheel motor must actually put out that 800. This is not a bad thing, because ideally that same motor will be used for regenerative braking - and then all that torque goes into reverse to save your life. But it means wheel motors must be more powerful and heavier, and that becomes unsprung weight, which is a bad thing.

Mitsubishi, which is far closer to putting an electric into production than Volvo, has come up with a high-speed variant of its MIEV prototype which has the regular electric motor with halfshafts in the rear, and newly added wheel motors in the front. Not sure of the intent of this, but perhaps the more expensive wheel motors are expected to be used in sportier electrics.

But with an electric motor you get 100% of your torque at 1 RPM, which is not true with gasoline engines, which get their top torque ratings anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 RPM typically. You can have a transmission on an electric vehicle if you like, but there's really little advantage to it.

Plus, you can put 2 or 4 hub motors in a car, and then you only need 200 to 400 lbs of torque.

I gave the Oil Drum a nice mention in my MoneyandMarkets.com column today. Many thanks to Jeffrey Brown and others for all their fine work.

How the New Oil Crisis Affects You
In ancient times, when mapmakers came to uncharted territory, they would scrawl: "Here There Be Dragons." Flash-forward to the 21st Century; oil markets went into uncharted territory on the charts last week. Friday's dramatic spike up was the biggest one-day move EVER. Morgan Stanley now predicts that oil prices could hit $150 per barrel by the 4th of July.

The dragons are coming to dinner. Are Americans on the menu? More specifically, are you?

"affect" meaning affection. I have no affection for what's going on right now.
"effect" meaning changing the way you live.

He got it right.

Dictionary.com says:

af·fect1 /v. əˈfɛkt; n. ˈæfɛkt/
–verb (used with object)
1. to act on; produce an effect or change in: Cold weather affected the crops.
2. to impress the mind or move the feelings of: The music affected him deeply.

Bank of England Governor wants banks to set up compensation scheme

Mervyn King used the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) conference, attended by the chief executives of the country’s three biggest banking companies, to suggest that banks make upfront payments to a new scheme to compensate savers who lose money in a bank



Bank of England governor warns 'innocent bystanders' may lose homes

Mervyn King today called for an improved system of financial stability for Britain as he admitted that prolonged turmoil in the

markets had left the economy facing a period of rising inflation and weaker growth.


Shares in top housebuilders crumble

Concerns are mounting that Barratt will be forced to write down hundreds of millions of pounds from its land holdings over the next three weeks as it is forced to reappraise with auditors the value of its sales sites in time for its June 30 financial year-end. That in turn could force Barratt closer to breaching loan-to-value covenants on its bank borrowings.


Regarding the above article from the UK " Petrol sales fall 20pc as drivers feel the pinch":

There is quite a contrast to Switzerland. Today there was announced in the press, that demand for diesel surged 15% during January - April, compared to the same period in 2007, whereas the the demand for gasoline was flat.


I'm not sure but this 20% sales drop may have to do with the Grangemouth refinery strike.

Total UK passenger car mileage was still rising at the start of last year. By the fourth quarter - before pump prices really began to rise - it was down 3% vs. Q4 of 2006.

I'd guess the decline in mileage is accelerating (Peak Mileage?), along with people driving more carefully to stretch their fuel consumption. Van mileage was up last year (people buying more stuff online, perhaps).

All the same, a 20% fall looks somewhat exaggerated compared with the view from my office window, which looks like a slightly slower and quieter version of BAU.

Having said that, I've just been commissioned to write a 20-page guide to fuel-efficient driving for a 30,000-employee business. They're not even trying to disguise it as a "green guide" to cutting CO2. A corner is being turned.

It's a misleading figure. See this comment to the article. The actual drop is closer to 8%

Contrary to what the article states, I made it very clear to the interviewer that we should not extrapolate from a single data point (March, which shows a 20% year-on-year fall), which is liable to be revised. In addition, April deliveries were probably higher as Easter occurred in April, rather than in March. As such, the March-April average would be in line with January and February - an 8% drop, rather than the 20% decrease that the story reports, and more in line with current market conditions.
I would be grateful if you publish this comment in the benefit of your readers.
Eduardo Lopez, Senior Oil Demand Analyst, IEA
Posted by Eduardo Lopez on June 11, 2008 2:24 PM

Diesel use is up in the US, while gasoline use is down. I think it is important to distinguish between the two, because they have very different demand characteristics these days.

Why the Brain Follows the Rules

One of the interesting things about social norm compliance, however, is that there is tremendous individual variation. Some people would never cut in line or act unfairly, whereas others don’t think twice about it. Using a questionnaire, the researchers measured each participant’s “Machiavellism,” a combination of selfishness and opportunism, which is often used to describe someone’s tendency to manipulate other people for personal gain. Sure enough, the people with high Machiavellism scores gave less money away when there was no punishment threat and were best at avoiding punishment when the threat of punishment was present. Therefore, these individuals earned the most money overall.


That rather sociopathic group would seem to include our rulers by definition.
It would seem then to be a prerequisite of a liveable society to ensure that heavy punishment follows wrongdoing.
Therefore it is not a waste of resources to press for inditement, or to pursue those who authorise torture, or pursue those who have manipulated the system to grab vast wealth, in short pushed to the head of the queue, but a necessary part of the maintenance of a civil society.
For those in the UK, we need to pursue the MP's who have abused expenses, and those who ordered records burnt.
The answer to that is simple.
Any funds which cannot be properly accounted for should be returned, and banging on about retrospective legislation is nonsense, as all they would need is retrospective common sense.

The theory of the dominant culture is that the sociopathic (psychopathic) individuals will overwhelm those less aggressive individuals in social systems.

That is the case with our government, business, finacial and justice systems which are run by and for psychotics who spend little time considereing the unforseen impacts of their short-sighted actions.

Will this trend subside with the rise of peak oil and the long emergecy? NO. Peak oil will be a reverse revolution but as in any revolution there will be opportunities. Psychopathic personalities will be there to harvest those opportunites as well.

I see a rise in totalitarianism.

...I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat. George Orwell - Animal Farm

I see a rise in totalitarianism.

You are not alone in projecting this. I know it is a fear frequently expressed by our friend DaveMart when we start talking about ending growth economics as well.

My suspicion, though, is that what is really feared is that a society will arise that does not share the values of the person speaking. Consider what a totalitarian regime is. Working from the route of the word, "total," the idea is that the regime (at least attempts to) controls the totality of the society.

Those of us who were raised on western belief in "democracy," "free will," "self-determinism" and "freedom" generally see in this the attempt to control our thoughts and actions. What we fail to see is that our experienced freedom is really in a very small range of thought and action. Indeed, I would argue that the single greatest and most effective totalitarian system ever created is the one we currently live in. It has been totalized across the globe (a penetration level probably reaching more than 95% of humanity). It has been totalized most deeply in the societies where it was born (but none more deeply than the U.S.) such that our very identity is defined by it (consumer, employee, business owner, etc.). It has so totalized our experience of the world that we don't even recognize it as such, for we speak in it's metaphors without even recognizing them as such (not "sold" on that idea yet?; not "buying" my argument?)

Don't believe me? Try this thought experiment. What would you need to do to completely separate yourself from this totalizing system? Would you have to buy some land to grow your own food? How do you do that without participating in that system? Going to become a scavenger? While the most adept "street people" certainly have a freer existence than most, they require the rest of us to remain in place in order to create the "garbage" that they live off. How about some hunting and gathering? Not too many places on the planet where you'd be allowed to carry this out (and those that are left are rapidly disappearing). Choose your path and follow the logic.

The reality is that we already live in a totalitarian society - we just don't recognize it because we've been "drinking the kool-aid" since birth.

I'll buy that!

Just my two cents...

Leanan - thanks for the laugh. That was truly funny!

shaman - we're in complete agreement. What I meant to communicate is the prediction that rather than a cash starved (bankrupt) federal government giving way to more localized and egalitarian societies that instead the feds will ramp up repressive activities to ensure that the rich continue to hold the means of production. Wait for the next security threat that they have to protect us from.

I have thought through scenarios where I could unhook from this "totalizing system" and short of leaving the country and learning how to live in a tree I don't know how to be free of it. But I do recognize my dependency.

"I am a patriot. I believe it is necessary to protect your country from your government" Edward Abbey

joe - I've no doubt you are correct that the "rich" will be protected at the expense of the "non-rich." Where I would quibble is with the locus of the decision making. I'm not quite sure who you mean when you refer to "the feds." Certainly there is a bureaucracy that comprises a good portion of what our government is, but I don't see that the people in those positions are necessarily aligned with the "rich." They tend to be middle to upper middle-class types - technocrats, hirelings of the elite.

But the bureaucracy is only part of what comprises the institutional apparatus we call our government. There is also the legal system and courts, the financial sovereignty, the land owned, and let's not forget the military.

So, rather than identify "the Feds" as the locus of the decision to protect wealth at the expense of the rest of us, look to the groups within our society who control the institutional apparatus. It has always been this way (the great "democracy" lie) with the possible exception of a few scattered years at the start of the republic. But once Mr. Hamilton got his hands on the thing, it has been increasingly codified into the very structure of the institution.

Of course, not all the elite speak with one voice and the history of our politics has been the competition between various groups within the elite to control the governmental apparatus. But you are almost certainly warranted in your assumption that they will "close ranks" and use whatever means they can to maintain their privileged position. Expect, also, that they will use other institutions available to them, most especially the newest big player in the power game, the corporation.

'The rich' need the services of 'the poor', and if 'the poor' ever:

1) Figured that out
2) Banded together to not 'do business' with 'the rich' - it strikes me that 'the rich' would be in a big world of hurt.

The way the rich have gotten around this is pretty simple, money. They buy off a portion of the underclasses - welcome to the technocratic class.

What I meant to communicate is the prediction that rather than a cash starved (bankrupt) federal government giving way to more localized and egalitarian societies that instead the feds will ramp up repressive activities to ensure that the rich continue to hold the means of production. Wait for the next security threat that they have to protect us from.

One reason I strongly advocate micro systems over maintaining and transforming the current system is the potential to then decouple from the BAU paradigm. If the populace is not dependent upon the government for their survival, and are not feeding the beast with income taxes, I could see a reasonable chance for transformation. But you'd have to have widespread change and passive resistance. What could the government do if you never *needed* to leave your homestead?

Attack. Only that. Not that it wouldn't...



So your post in it's self is just hewing to the Totalitarian line. Congratulations, you have just met the recursiveness of language and hence it's meaninglessness. Many thanks to Goedel.

I'm not sure I see your point - but I would grant you that the current totalizing system allows for a substantial amount of apparently subversive sub cultures (e.g., reggae/rastafarianism).

As for the recursiveness of language signifying it's meaninglessness, you're going to have to go some distance to convince me that is the correct conclusion. I would see it's recursiveness as defining it's meaningfulness. Simply rejecting a correspondence theory of truth does not equate to a complete un-tethering of language from meaning.

You are using language to talk about language. According to Kurt Goedel you can't prove it's consistency, hence it is fundamentally meaningless as is what I just typed.

Godel proved that you can make self-referential statements that are undecidable, e.g. "this statement is false", but that does not result in all statements being meaningless.

Bob - exactly what I told Hank in my response to him. But, he apparently is more interested in playing language games then actually discussing language. Anyone seriously interested in the subject understands that meaning is attributed to language, and that is what allows us to communicate. But Hank apparently doesn't think we are communicating.

Is the word "meaningful" included? Well, never mind. There's no useful meta-language to talk about it anyway. Sorry for the distraction.

Most people use totalitarianism and authoritarianism interchangeably. Personally, I believe the decentralization that accompanies peak oil will mean a reduction of totalitarianism, just as it is going to mean a reduction in globalization.

Authoritarianism, on the other hand, is already on the rise in the world, including & especially the US. I think we'll see much more of it in the future as social cohesion breaks down. As the social contract breaks down, force will increasingly be used (increasingly ineffectively) in an attempt to maintain social cohesion.

Shargas - for the most part I agree however IMO as things unravel the government will move into triage government and military, police and spying activities will remain funded.

The Oil Drum may disapear as a consequence.

If you aren't yet paranoid watch this:


Richard Lovelace
To Althea, From Prison

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.

Just a verse from a poem I read this morning. It is of course easy to believe when one is outside of prison that one is free but I think personal happiness makes one free beyond any political or economic system. The king or TPTB must be wise to try to maintain a maximum happiness in society. Lacking this people will seek true happiness in relationships despite any barriers even under worst dictaorships.

See 'Tragedy of the Commons'

Iraqis Object to 60 Permanent US Military Bases


Best Hopes for "Running the Calender" till GWB leaves,


Anyone knowledgeable to say whether an attack on Iran would be do-able without an agreement in place to use Iraqi bases?
The statement that they want an agreement by July shows pretty clearly what they are aiming at.
Let's hope the Iraqui's manage to put a spoke in the neo-cons wheel.

No Iraqi government is going to permit the use of its airspace/territory for an attack on Iran for the following reasons:

1) its current government is made up of long-standing Iranian allies, and this will continue to be the case for as long as some form of majoritarian Shia-Kurd alliance remains in power. Shia nativist-nationalist groups such as the Sadrists and Fadhila have no interest in a war with Iran, and have made this explicit at various points.

2) Iraq, along with just about everyone else, has no "interest" in becoming a party in a US-Iranian war; permitting the use of territory/airspace for a third party to engage in war makes said third-party a co-belligerent. Al the talk about the SOFA wish-list is fantasy, just like the oil law, which you may dimly recall went nowhere.

3) War with Iran is neither a "doable" nor a desirable proposition for the US at present.

"Anyone knowledgeable to say whether an attack on Iran would be do-able without an agreement in place to use Iraqi bases?"

An attack on Iran changes everything on the ground.

Agreement or no. And remember that theses Iraquis are our puppets.

Hung out the instant our protection is removed.

Iran captures/kills Ceasars.

And Russia will not stand by.

DaveMart -

Well, we already have military bases in Iraq; they just haven't yet been made officially permanent.

On the presumption that an attack on Iran would be confined to an attack from the air, I don't see that anything the Iraqi government could say or do would be able to stop such an attack from taking place. Also, a large part of an air attack on Iran would not necessarily have to involve US planes launched from Iraqi. We have substantial naval assets in the area, as well as the base at Diego Garcia and other possible launch points.

Having said that, launching an air attack on Iran from Iraq (even if only part of the attack comes from Iraq) would not be without serious repercussions, to put it mildly. One might reasonably expect Sadr's Mahdi Army to go into full-scale guerilla warfare against the US forces, and I doubt the present Iraqi government (such as it is) would last more than a week after the attack.

So, while the US could physically launch an air attack on Iran from Iraq, there would be hell to pay come the day after. It's a recipe for chaos. I still think there's a 50/50 chance it's going to happen, either directly by the US or indirectly by Israel. Looks like we might have the makings of a long hot summer.

I can't get rid of this mental image of Chaney playing golf with some of his wealthy well-connected chums. One of them casually asks him if he thinks short-term oil futures might be good to get into. With a wink, a nod, and a nudge, Chaney says with a straight face that he really doesn't know.

First you reorganise the oil futures market in order to stabilise price. Then you attack Iran. Or you do it the other way around, which would leave a brief window of opportunity for the better informed to reap their benefits.

Wouldn't that be funny if the thing they finally busted Cheney for was insider trading for tipping off his buddies about the upcoming war. I mean not Ha Ha funny, but funny.

joule - I wish the U.S. Government would drop the pretense that we give a sh*t about the people who live in and around the countries we choose to bomb and invade. Let's strip off this fig-leaf of moral correctness and confess our motives and get on with the business of pillaging and raping. We now have 2 stripers in the Air Force controlling drone aircraft that fly over primitive villages looking for "suspects". I wonder how connected these kids are to the death and suffering they inflict with their toggles.

The bonus for the government is that these genuises come into the military already knowing how to murder efficiently having played countless hours of Grand Theft Auto prior to enlistment.

If you think GTA teaches how to murder with efficiency, you've obviously never played the game. For the training of efficient murder, there are much better games for that task.

As a whole, video games teach people how to make good pawn soldiers, but not soldiers. Why? These games have you "respawn" the second you die, encouraging reckless and fearless attacks. I prefer games that punish you heartily if you die, by making you go back to square 1. It encourages you to think tactically.

Airstrikes, certainly, without Iraq bases. Effectiveness of those airstrikes depends on the objective, and is another matter entirely.

Full-scale ground invasion, not realistic with today's military (and certainly not wise in any even, just my opinion).

Insufficient network in place to use a limited ground incursion/combination of special operations teams and airstrikes to support a domestic resistance group to affect regime change.

A ground invasion from Iraq is outright stupid if your goal is to get to Tehran, because there are huge terrain issues and plenty of room for effective defense-in-depth. So I'm not sure that Iraqi bases are really that important from that perspective. However, if your goal is to capture Khuzestan (where most of their oil is, and largely in the flat plain bordering southern Iraq), then this is doable. This could easily be under the cover of controlling the region where the Iranians are staging their support to Iraqi resistance.

The ground scenario most frequently advanced (and not requiring bases in Iraq) is using Azerbaijan as a leapfrog point for following the coastal plain of the black sea down to near Tehran, then only a single set of mountains to pass to get to the capital. This is also stupid--if the goal is regime change, the last thing you want is to get embroiled in urban combat in another city the size of Baghdad.

Finally, any option must be considered in light of our ability to prevent Iran from shutting down the Strait of Hormuz. Without occupying and controlling sufficient land north of the Strait, we probably don't have the capacity to prevent them from shutting it down--their ability to use small boat swarms, mobile ASCMs, shore-based artillery, etc. is just too hard for us to completely eliminate by air to keep the Strait effectively open. No really viable options for seizing the land north of the Strait of Hormuz, there is just too much mountainous shoreline from which they can operate, and they only need 1-5% survival of their equipment to effectively keep the Strait closed.

So, for what it's worth, I don't see any viable options to confront Iran militarily. We could significantly delay their nuclear program through airstrikes, but I don't know if the consequences re: oil prices could be justified. I don't think we have the groundwork in place to affect regime change without occupying the country, and we certainly don't have the capability to do that. I don't think even Bush & Co. are stupid enough to try to seize Khuzestan for the oil. That said, standard disclaimer: I didn't think they were stupid enough to actually invade Iraq, either, so in August 2002 I booked a trip to Hawaii for December 2002. By December I was sitting in a tent in the desert making plans.

I'd see their plans as centring on air strikes against nuclear capability and taking Khuzestan.
Stupid, yup, but that is basically an operational requirement.
Sack anyone who says that the mountainous terrain north of the straights will be a problem on trumped-up charges, and employ the same guys who did not see a need for 'boots on the ground' after the invasion of Iraq.
Thanks for the insights.

The US unilaterally attacked the soverign nation of Iraq and to my knowledge there was no 'written agreement' between Iraq and the US to allow that action.

jeff - Sorry to hear that you got caught up in that nonsense.

Q: How many carriers do we have floating around the Persian gulf? They can launch a sea attack take out "suspected" sites as well as ground their primitive Air Force, their PT boats and navy would be wiped out in minutes not hours. If there is no full scale invasion how long will the Iranians want to keep the fight going with a superpower that can easily crush them militarily?

The U.S. doesn't want to occupy Iran, they just want a conflict that they might be able to win.

Don't be too sure about how this will go. I don't have a link handy, but some years back the Navy was running a Persian Gulf war game and made the mistake of having a retired Marine general run the Iranian team. He figured out how to launch an all-out attack using the PT boats and Iran's imported anti-ship missiles and was credited with blowing up a carrier - which in real life would have been nuclear. In a sure sign that there's a serious problem with our military, the Navy responded by changing the rules of the war game to make carriers magically off-limits.

Since then, the missiles have improved more than the carriers. We're in another weapons revolution, like the carrier revolution that had to wait from 1919 to 1941 to prove it had already happened. The Russians and Chinese are on their 3rd generation of anti-ship missiles since the Iraq War began and I've lost track of the nicknames. But the Sunburns from a couple of years ago would probably be bad enough if you could launch a hundred.

I thought the biggest downside to attacking Iran is that Russia will jump in to help the Iranians. Or am I mixing up my doomsday predictions again?

Myth Of US Invincibility
Floats In The Persian Gulf

I think most people look at it as an airpower problem, but in reality it's more of a "time critical targeting" problem.

Our carriers in the Persian Gulf aren't really the critical point--they do have a lot of airpower in an abstract sense, but nowhere near the kind of ability to strike mobile targets that will be needed. Old as they are, USAF B-52s flying out of Diego Garcia, B-1s flying out of Thumbrait (Oman), or B-2s flying out of the US would deliver the vast majority of the precision airpower. The Navy won't be marginalized, but their ship and sub-launched cruise missiles will be their main game. I remember in 2001 trying to coordinate a single bomb to be dropped from a single F/A-18 off a carrier onto a bridge in Afghanistan in a time-critical manner (meaning the plane was already airborne when we were tasked to target the bridge and get the info to the pilot). It took a lot of reachback manpower--we really couldn't have done many of these at once. This will be the key with an air campaign against Iran--the ability to (sorry, devolving into Air Force speak here) find, fix, target, track, engage, and assess highly mobile Iranian targets. The Iranians have essentially three critical assets that can shut down the Strait of Hormuz: small patrol boats, mobile shore artillery, and mobile anti-ship cruise missile launchers. What they'll do, as it becomes clear that hostilities are imminent (or immediately after they begin), is to begin to move these assets among thousands of prepared and semi-prepared sites every few hours. This means that we'll need to scour these known sites (and look for unknown ones), identify and prioritize targets at these sites, targeteer and weaponeer these targets, and get them to strike aircraft. Here's the sticking point--that whole cycle, including the time it takes to re-route planes already in the air or get planes overhead--must be completed before the targets move, which can be as often as every hour. That's a very, very difficult task. It can certainly be done, but we just don't have the capability to do it under those time constraints against more than a few targets at a time. If Iran only had 100 of these mobile targets, then it might be doable. They have a lot more than that, and I really don't know if we'll be able to deal with them. If they keep just 2 or 3 ASCM launcher teams operational, or if they keep just one or two of the right shore artillery teams operational, they will be able to effectively close the Strait. Not to mention the small boat swarming tactics (mentioned in a response below), mines, midget subs, etc. Sure, you'll still be able to get 9 out of 10 ships through, but that isn't acceptable if that 10th ship is a US navy vessel or an oil tanker.

Tangentially, Australia is in a similar situation.

Sorrounded by water, with populous nations to our north and west who, while not seriously contemplating an invasion (imo) in BAU, might decide their citizens need more room in a Post-Peak world.

The only way to get here is by ship or air.

So we're buying F-35's, and, because the previous government was so... ahem, taken, by Bush and Co, we're too far along in winding down the F-111's (which had a public reputation of unreliability, but really were rock-solid after we got the maintainence issues sorted out around 2000). This would be no problem if the F-35 had anything like the range, throw-weight, or endurance of the F-111, but it doesn't. Neither does it have the endurance, radar, or weapons that of the Sukhoi fighters that nations around us are buying.

In my spare time, I'm working on something that I can present to my local MP that will 'keep the lights on' in nearby countries, and hopefully convince the locals to stay put even though they can't afford food, but I'm not hopeful of getting anything more than a handshake and a 'thanks for coming'.


Watch this great video of Dr Richard Pike discussing that there is twice as much oil in the ground as claimed by major producers


Very interesting

Leave comments on friction.tv to start a good debate

Inclined to agree - as the saying goes 'the stone age did not end due to a lack of stones'

And now while I'm at it, the stone age ended because we managed to master metals. IOW, we found something better.

So far, we did not find anything better then fossil fuels, even after trying for 50 years.

Not only that, but the transition from stones to metals was probably rather smooth since the stone tools could be used over and over and fancy new metal tools were just an addition to the existing stone tool supply.

Energy, OTOH, cannot be used over and over- we depend on a massive amount to be available for immediate consumption each day and once we use it, it is gone, "poof". New day, new supply. We rely on a diminishing fossil resource to give us that supply, and the rate at which we can extract it is declining. The comparison to stones in the stone age is very poor and I wish people would stop using it.

I read in my archaeology lessons, that at least in the UK, high quality flint used in stone axes became harder and more expensive to find towards the end of the stone age. Quite deep mines were dug (with antler axes) at a location called 'Grimes Graves' to get to the flint layer. The product was exported widely across Europe. The first metal axes were made of copper, and in many ways these were inferior to flint, very soft and easily blunted. It was only the with the development of bronze that flint was replaced as the primary working material. Ceremonial stone axes of very high quality continued to be made throughout the bronze age.

So it was a shortage of stone that provoked the development of metalworking.

Actually we haven't really been trying, at least not in any truly serious way

Hmm, let me just check this out:

friction.tv - member for 1hr 11m
Colin Danielsson - member for 1hr 11m

Gee, what a surprise.

1972 Texas peak and 1999 North Sea peak lined up with each other, different vertical scales.

These two regions were developed by private companies, using the best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling. Texas has declined at about -4%/year, the North Sea at about -4.5%/year.

In 2005, based on HL, Saudi Arabia was at about the same stage of depletion at which Texas peaked, and the world was at about the same stage of depletion at which the North Sea peaked.

In neither case did oil companies stop finding oil fields. The problem is that we have not been able to offset the declines from the older, larger oil fields.

So why in 2006 was the following comment made?

“We are looking at more than four and a half trillion barrels of potentially recoverable oil. That number translates into 140 years of oil at current rates of consumption, or to put it anther way, the world has only consumed about 18 percent of its conventional oil potential.

"That fact alone should discredit the argument that peak oil is imminent and put our minds at ease concerning future petrol supplies.”

"The Impact of Upstream Technological Advances on Future Oil Supply" - Mr. Abdallah S. Jum'ah, President & Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Aramco, address to OPEC, Vienna, Austria, Sept. 13, 2006

How much of the price is actually driven by speculation?

I see that you appear to be the Cornucopian du jour.

Net Oil Exports & the "Iron Triangle"

If one resides in the oil industry leg of the Iron Triangle, and if one has concluded that Peak Oil is upon us, or extremely close, does one say, "We cannot increase our production," and thereby encourage massive conservation and alternative energy efforts, or does one say "We choose not to increase production and/or we are temporarily unable to increase production for the following reasons (fill in the blank)?"

Regarding oil prices, it's very simple. Importers are bidding for declining oil exports, and our model and recent data suggest that the net oil export decline rate is accelerating.

Tell him your infinite-consumption-growth-vs.-finite-resource-base gem.

Two versions.

CPSR--Cornucopian Primal Scream Response, as cornucopians scream that there must be some way, somehow that we can maintain an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base; in effect, all that people want is an infinite supply of cheap energy.

The Titanic Analogy--After the ship hit the iceberg, two types of passengers, those who realized that the ship would sink and those who would realize that they ship would sink; some of them realized it as they were drowning or dying from hypothermia. Two types of Americans, those who now realize that we live in a finite world, and those who will realize that we live in a finite world (although in a lot of cases, they may be unable to acknowledge that a finite world has finite limits).

Given enough warning some of the men (who would not have been allowed on the life rafts anyway) could have jumped onto the iceberg as it drifted by...

...I bet that didn't sink :o)


Agreed - supply and demand should dictate the price and that the price should be higher. However, taking the surge in price literally, the suggestion that actual supply has fallen to 70% of demand so far this year is absurd. Some investors with a vested interest are even suggesting 50% (or $200 a barrel) by the end of this year. The housing bubble was the same - not enough houses...

Strictly speaking, supply and demand--what consumers are willing and able to buy--are generally in a rough equilibrium. And it only takes a small decline in net oil exports to cause a large move in oil prices. The problem is that we have been expecting, and we are currently seeing, an accelerating net export decline rate. For a number of reasons, this will almost certainly require an accelerating rate of increase in oil prices--especially as forced energy conservation moves up the food chain.

I'm not sure I follow your reasoning, but a 1% shortage in a market does not automatically mean that a 1% rise in prices will level supply and demand. The price will rise as much is needed to balance demand and supply.

In the case of oil, prices will have to rise substantially more (in %) to balance supply and demand, because we cannot go without the stuff. A rise in prices will not easily destruct demand for oil.

Absolutely. During the Enron-induced shortages in California, a 2% shortfall in natural gas produced a 300% increase in price.

Shargash, do you have a source for this? I've spent hours looking for it on previous occasions. I was told it was a 4% shortfall.

Or as we call it on ebay, last-minute crazy bidding.

The price has to rise enough that people change their behavior, and businesses that consume oil go out of business. Everyone is trying to outbid everyone else to try to avoid being one of the triage victims. Unless we can get government to perform the triage, the pricing mechanism will do the dirty work.

The housing bubble was the same - not enough houses...

Not enough houses?!?!? Jeesh.

The huge price increases in the UK housing market was to a large extent predicated on the assumption that demand (due to cheap money) completely outstripped supply. The market was vastly overvalued since the media, and indeed the government suggested this was the case for a number of reasons including higher than expected rates of migrant workers. People lost sight of the underlying value, so yes - not enough houses!

No just too many stupid people over here in the UK who have believed you can have something for nothing.

I would like to point out a small difference between markets like the housing market and the energy market that seems to be evading some people like my fellow newbie, Colin. Many commodities (not including food) can be recycled or reused after they have been bought and used by their first purchaser. In addition to which, commodities like metal ores are processed into more useful products that have a useful life of years/decades/centuries. One can cite many examples of this:

limestone + energy = cement -> cement + agregate + steel + energy = buildings

wood pulp + energy = paper -> paper + inspiration = books

iron ore + energy = steel -> steel + rubber/plastic = bicycles

In the above cases the non energy portion of the product can be used over and over again for a considerable length of time by significant numbers of people. Energy on the other hand is transient, you use it it is all gone. The little energy that can be recycled (such as done in a combined cycle gas turbine electricity generator), is just as transient. So when one buys a bicycle, one can use it till its all worn out, while when buys a gallon of gas and drives 10-60 miles (Hummer vs. Prius), that's it, one gallon gone. An important distinction between the market for houses and the market for oil; Both oil and housing are finite resources. Housing can be reused, oil can not.

Of course, there is no dispute that oil cannot be reused (except, I suppose, some plastics). The parrallel with housing is to demonstrate that markets can be hugely over valued. Similarly, the discourse about the stone age is about alternatives...

Your choice of words: "the suggestion that actual supply has fallen to 70% of demand so far this year is absurd." It shows you do not understand what supply and demand are.

Supply and demand are not single quantities. They are 1D curves in 2D space. Get thee to an intro to microeconomics textbook.

It takes roughly a 15% increase in price to kill 1% of demand: http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1062&context=u...

That depends upon the elasticity of what you're talking about. For some things, a 15% increase in price may kill 100% of demand. The same increase may kill none of the demand.

First, you take any random assessment without gauging the quality of the assessment and then ask why we don't all believe that 4 trillion barrel BS? A better question is why we should believe that estimate? Have you evaluated the errors made by the USGS consistently over the last 20 years? Have you evaluated the USGS's 30 year estimate (from the 1990s) of oil to be found by 2025? Guess what, the oil predicted to be found in the first third of that period turns out to have been way too optimistic. Are even aware that global discoveries (not production, so don't give me environmentalist excuses!!) peaked in 1964 and have gone down drastically ever since? Are you aware that globally in the 1960s we found 8 barrels for every barrel consumed but today we consume 6 barrels for every new one discovered?

Then you try extrapolate prices linearly. Do you even understand price elasticity? And that oil has a very low elasticity thus requiring nearly exponential increases in prices to achieve linear changes in consumption?

It would be in your best interests to critically evaluate all such claims yourself. Everyone I know who has looked at the oil problem with an open mind, people as different as Bill Clinton and Glenn Beck, have agreed that there is a supply-demand issue and that it is growing. Everyone who has examined this realizes that it's time to begin the move away from fossil fuels. The marketplace is telling you to move away from fossil fuels. There is also very little speculation in the oil market since all that oil has to be physically delivered at the end of each contract month.

I strongly suggest you really investigate the physical data, which is available, for discovery and production over the last 50 years. And there are real solutions, if we would get off our fat rear ends and move on them. If you ask people around here, I'm a "doomer" and expect serious social upheaval. Why? Not because we lack ways to mitigate this crisis but because of empty suits who keep us from ever beginning to mitigate this crisis. We have the technology. We lack the political will.

"There is also very little speculation in the oil market since all that oil has to be physically delivered at the end of each contract month."

Speculators trade contracts before they are delivered so have the net effect of driving up the actual price without having to physically take delivery of the oil. For example:
"We're paying, some believe, as high as a 50% premium to the pockets of speculators that are operating in markets that are completely unpoliced," said Michael Greenburger, a University of Maryland professor and former CFTC official. "At least 70% of the US crude oil market is driven by speculators and not people with commercial interests."

To re-iterate an earlier point, yes oil should cost more for all the good reasons made by people far cleverer than me on this forum - flow, EROEI etc. - but one has to recognise that the underlying price may be far less than speculators with a vested interest in the price becoming a self fulfilling prophecy might suggest. Do investment banks use oil?

Colin - if you think this through you'd recognize where you have missed the obvious. If a speculator trades a contract just before the end date to avoid taking delivery, who is buying that contract? How is the price set? How much would you pay for a contract about to close?

As for your quote, some prof providing unsubstantiated estimates of the size of the impact of speculators proves absolutely nothing.

The sock puppet offers a straw man.

Ever heard of elasticity of demand?

Another point that is often overlooked is that oil has been under priced historically. The mindset of most people has and is that there are these trillions of barrels of oil and we can go on slurping the stuff up indefinitely. I thin the market is just re-pricing oil to reflect its true nature - high energy density compared to almost all other sources and its scarcity. Scarcity of oil is a brand new concept and scarcity = high prices.

Consider the source.

Dear Colin,

Welcome on TOD.
Reserves are not at all that important. It's flow rates that determine production. Obviously syntetic crude from tar sands for example, has a very slow extraction rate.

Furthermore, how much energy (best expressed in BTU's so one can compare one source of energy with another)is needed to harvest a resource. Tar sands, for example again, suffer from low EROEI (Energy return on energy invested).

See for example http://www.eoearth.org/article/Ten_fundamental_principles_of_net_energy

We can have 4.5 trillion barrels of oil in "reserves" but if we can't get it out (fast enough), economically, or with positive EROEI it's not really a pretty prospect.

I guess the comment you wrote down was made by someone who lacks this basic information.

Also, note that technology is not the same as, and is NOT interchangeble with, energy, i.e. technology will not put more oil in the ground. In fact the recovery rate (the amount of oil that can be extracted from an oil field) typically hoovers around 35-40% (IIRC), despite decades of oil tech improvements.


Thanks for the Welcome Paulus (and indeed the patience westtexas). Very interesting insights...

My pleasure. Note that I'm not an oil industry insider, nor a professional scientist. I'm just a working class hero worried about the future of himself and his kids. As Nate Hagens correctly stated, I'm one of those who is seeking a comparitative advantage.

Colin Danielsson,

If you get a chance - and have the time - I would suggest reading Kenneth Deffeyes' books on Hubbert's Peak. In particular, the part on the probability of finding a field of oil vs. size of field. (His books are written in easy to read style, with bits of humor thrown in).

In short, we found all (or pretty much most) of the large fields. As you get to the remaining smaller fields you are basically (to drill) spending as much (as on a big field) as you are on a smaller one but only to find less oil. Eventually, you're going to get to fields where the oil recovered isn't going to cover 1) the expenses, and then it won't 2) cover the energy that you used to drill for that oil.

For all practical purposes, even if we had over 300 - or even 1,000 -trillion barrels of oil down below the ground, unless we see a REALLY significant advance in technology, it's all unrecoverable as we approach the smaller-sized fields.

Another way of saying what PaulusP said is;

Imagine you had $1 million dollars in the bank, BUT you could only withdraw or otherwise use just $5 a month.

Just $5 a month....

Would it really matter if you had $1 million or $5 Million in the bank?

If you only getting $5 a month, the bank account/Reserve QTY starts to be just a cruel joke.

Reserves don't matter.

It's the FlowRate Baby.

Another way of saying what PaulusP said is;

Imagine you had $1 million dollars in the bank, BUT you could only withdraw or otherwise use just $5 a month.

I think we can bring EROEI into this equation so it would be:
Imagine you had $1 million dollars in the bank, BUT you could only withdraw or otherwise use just $5 a month. For every withdrawal of $5 currently you have to pay 50 cents (taken from the money withdrawn) but the bank increases the charge all the time and when the charge reaches $5 you won't be able to withdraw money at all.

Reserves are not at all that important. It's flow rates that determine production.

Just to give a concrete example of this:

North Sea reserves were initially about 63Bbbl, and after production started went up to over 6Mb/d in 25 years, with very rapid increases in production - to 1Mb/d in 5 years, and from 1Mb/d to 3Mb/d in just 6 years (1977-1983).

Oil sands reserves are about 175Bbbl as currently booked, and will likely go higher (they're based on $65/bbl oil). Flow rates, however, have not increased nearly as quickly: it's taken decades to get to 1Mb/d, and most estimates are for 15 years to go from 1Mb/d to 3Mb/d, or more than twice as long as the North Sea, despite more than twice the resource base.

Resources matter, certainly - you can't produce oil that's not there - but, as you say, it's far from the only consideration.

In fact the recovery rate (the amount of oil that can be extracted from an oil field) typically hoovers around 35-40% (IIRC), despite decades of oil tech improvements.

Recovery rate does appear to be increasing, albeit slowly. There was some discussion about that here.

Apparently, the learning curve is longer than the oil depletion curve.

I am astounded by the patience shown by WestTexas and all the other founders of the OilDrum

Methinks we are getting a lot more "newbies" on this board who are testing their ideas. My husband (Ph.D.) is giving "peak oil" talks to a group of teachers in Texas this week (sponsored by TXU). He is directing them to this site as a source of good information on the subject. Yes, back in the 60's/early 70's we were taught about population overshoot and peak oil. We've just been waiting patiently for effects to appear. That's why 20 years ago we bought acreage with good water.

Methinks we are getting a lot more "newbies" on this board who are testing their ideas.

Methinks the two are not newbies. They came with agenda in hand. That is, trolling ain't just for fishermen anymore.


Yeah, "start of a good debate", like the one over evolution. Or abortion. Have fun with that "debate" and let me know when any of them are "settled". The planet, meanwhile, is indifferent.

like the quote this site uses.

“Men argue; nature acts.”

I couldn't help noticing in the article:

"UK: Petrol is bound to run out in strike"

In the comments section, two out of the first five comments mentioned Peak Oil. People are beginning to see that this is a greater threat than striking workers. I think we may be getting somewhere!

A Truckstop Perspective

"If things keep up this way, there will be a rising-up." Another truck driver complaining about the prices. What a surprise.

I raised my eyebrows. I'd had my share of ignorance for one day, and my nerves were frayed. Besides, he was the only customer in the store, so I had time to chat. "What'r ya gonna do, shake yer fist at the sky?"

"We'll take control. Constitution gives us the right ta bear arms." He gave me a conspiratorial wink. "The ones in power need ta go."

I counted out his change diligently. "So, who's to blame? I mean, who are you going after, exactly?"

"Those rich bastards," he fairly spat. "They need ta be taken down. They screw us all and don't think twice about it."

I gave a crooked smile. "That doesn't sound very sustainable. It might feel good at the time, but then what?"

He looked at the floor. "Hell, we do things the right way, where everyone has a decent chance."

I snorted unabashedly. "And go back to being sharecroppers, eh?"

The man gave me a wounded look, ducked his head, and fairly flew out the door to the haven of his truck.

This job is going to get more and more interesting in the times to come, I thought grimly.

Note the comment, linked uptop, from the IEA about releasing oil from emergency reserves. Of course, my prediction was more specific--before Labor Day, we will hear calls to release oil from the SPR, specifically because of supply problems on the Gulf Coast.

As the CPSR--Cornucopian Primal Scream Response--grows louder, Bush is going to be under tremendous pressure to release oil from emergency reserves.

I had a driver tell me that the so-called oil shortage is a crock -- that our reserves are full.

"You mean the Strategic Oil Reserve?" I asked.

He nodded. "Yup. They got all we need an' more."

"It's my understanding that, since this country burns through twenty million barrels a day, those reserves would last maybe two months."

"Yeah, right." He didn't look so sure, though, as he walked out the door.

Does anyone know what the max possible flow rate from the SPR is? Not that I'm advocating, I would just like to know.

Factoids about the USA SPR

* Maximum drawdown capability - 4.4 million barrels per day
* Time for oil to enter U.S. market - 13 days from Presidential decision

Question: How fast can oil be released from the Reserve?

Answer: Should the President order an emergency sale of Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil, DOE can conduct a competition, select offers, award contracts, and be prepared to begin deliveries of oil into the marketplace within 13 days. Oil can be pumped from the Reserve at a maximum rate of 4.4 million barrels per day for up to 90 days, then the drawdown rate begins to decline as storage caverns are emptied. At 1 million barrels per day, the Reserve can release oil into the market continuously for nearly a year-and-a-half.

more (such as 40% sweet, 60% sour stored in SPR) at


Best Hopes for a SLOW drawdown of the SPR,


What happens after it's pumped? How does it get to the market? Trains, trucks, pipeline...?

SPR oil gets shipped via pipeline and taknker truck depending on the repository to refiners.

The 700 million barrels in the SPR, if not rationed and instead used at normal rates of 21 mbpd, would last 33 days, just barely over one month. Feed that to your customer next time he pokes his head in.

Or, if we just replace all US imports with the SPR (14-15 mbpd), it would last all of about 50 days, still not a full two months. :)

People don't like hearing that but people don't realize how much oil this country sucks down every day.

People don't like hearing that but people don't realize how much oil this country sucks down every day.

Ain't that the truth! When I tell most folks the numbers, their eyes kinda glaze over, like I'm trying to make them do calculus or something because the numbers are beyond their grasp. It's like their rational mind shuts down and they retreat to their Happy Place.

the SPR can only release 4.5 to 5mbpd...physical constraints on piping it out

Earthbound Misfit , Could you PLEASE write more often about your observations on the ground? You working where you do is very close to where the pain is felt. I very much enjoy you sharing what people tell you.

Please don't get someone T'd off at you and do something crazy. Folk's emotions are about to go vertical.

Thank you, Samsara. As I've said before, I've got a million of 'em -- the problem is trying to find time to write 'em down :)

Yes, please do as we don't seem to have any sociologists conducting the sorts of field work you experience at your job daily.

I've always thought of it as a psychology major's Dream Job ;)

EM -

" the problem is trying to find time to write 'em down :) "

I can surely understand that, but I must echo what was said above. Your observations really fill a gap in the reportage (as well as being quite nicely written). I hope you can find time to send a few more our way, as time allows...

We tend to get plenty of virtual reality in our diets, but not nearly enough actual reality. AKA, Reality.


sgage ~ thanks for the compliment. Maybe my tag line could be Keeping it Real.

Might I suggest starting a free blog (at a place like Wordpress) and taking a laptop to work with you? Even if you just jot things down in your spare time, then post to the blog when you get home. Insights from 'Ground Zero' are always welcome and appreciated.

Westexas - Where is the IEA's emergency reserves?

The IEA requires each member country in the OECD to hold emergency reserves. Interesting that the head of the IEA has already brought up the possibility of releasing reserves.

Hang on to your SPR.

You will need it for the Death - Ride of the Panzers.

Ah, that great scene from The Battle of the Bulge where the SS tank commander tries to capture the fuel depot and the injured Henry Fonda and pals roll the gas drums at him and he explodes in a massive fireball.

The Panzer Song scene is one of the great pieces of cinematography of all time: where Robert Shaw rolls his head and the light/shadow changes, the doubts disappear, and he becomes the supremely confident panzer wolf instead of the half-beaten man that he was until that point in the movie. Excellent.

I was at an oil summit not 10 weeks ago when the IEA specifically said they would not release reserves unless their was a supply shock - they also declared they would release a new report NOV08 ACCOUNTING FOR "DEPLETION" on 400 reservoirs-fields, because there appeared to be a lack of understanding of the role of depletion

You are correct: todays comments of a crisis, by the IEA are almost 180 degree U-TURN - PRICE not just supply disruptions now matters ...its amazing the IEA signal, which is no doubt "sanctioned" from above, has been largely overlooked

Am expecting curbs on demand in OECD within hours-days.-weeks , perhaps the Saudi summit which the IEA said today it will attend will hold off the OECD implementation, but expecting IEA release of x mbpd to create cushion of supply, due to inability or lack of access to tap reserves, expecting demand curbs to displace IEA releases within x days (i.e. 30-60-90 days of implementation) and curbs on spec positions thru london new york exchanges (see CFTC setting up of interagency panel yesterday and discussions with UK FSA).

In a nutshell oecd stock crash (dampening of economic growth in OECD)

PRICE not just supply disruptions now matters

Fascinating, indeed. And just think: what if we experience an "active" hurricane season, to boot?

On the surface, shouldn't this lead to a huge expansion in contango? Maybe not initially, but after the consequences sink in to the market?

iea members hold about 4 billion barrels in reserves - ie the US SPR has 712 million or something, these reserves have been built up since 74. The iea has the ability to release 11mbpd on to the market, within about 4 (US) to 7 days notification. The us spr is designed to release 4.5/5mbpd onto the market - sufficient to displace US opec CONSUMPTION - hence it risk manages US exposure to the oil weapon

the rest of the OECD reserves are held as predominantly commercial stockpiles

the iea since 2003 ish has been encouraging members to increase stockpiles to 120 days cover - india, china, sk have been building stockpiles- which feeds into front end demand at a time of supply constraint, accentuating price movements (classic public sector crowding out effect at work)

if one visits the IEA website, all is available

The headline says "ready" the actual text says "ready in case of an interruption". Thank you MSM

but the key wording of the IEA release is the Uturn to consider oil prices as an issue rather than just supply disruptions, thus the IEA call is important on two fronts -first a change of emphasis, and second if the IEA calls crisis the signatory nations are under some obligations to respond by curbing demand, in line with IEA guidelines of the size of the problem..

GWB will think up a reason (not peak oil) to release oil from the spr, perhaps a high breeze in the GOM, the oil will start to flow in the late summer or early fall, the economic bump will be in full swing by early November, GWB will say all is well, (McCain will start singing "happy days are here again"). The run up to the election will be the last blow out of the cheap oil era, the post election hangover will be a duzey.

I doubt there's enough refinery capacity to turn any released SPR oil into an economic stimulus package. Refiners are at just under 89% now. Add any hurricane-caused outage, and any effect of an SPR release will be nil. No, there is no cavalry that can ride to the rescue; the lead time is far too long and the supply needed far too great.

We will see.

Interesting. Glad you didn't get shot...

Interesting. Glad you didn't get shot...

My brother and I have discussed this possibility more than once. As people get more desperate, some are likely to come unhinged...

As people get more desperate, some are likely to come unhinged...

Yes. Now these unhinged people - how can one point them in a direction AWAY from onesself and towards someone else?

Pretend to be one of them.

Pretend to be one of them.

Or, one could take a lesson from the MSM... For instance, point at someone else and yell, "It's his fault!"

Tell them to run for congress ;)

Here's another drop in the bucket of things that can help mitigate FF depletion, picked up on slashdot.org yesterday

Say Goodbye to Wimpy Paper

In addition to improving paper products directly, the new cellulose nanofibers could help create reinforced plastic composites cheaper than those reinforced by carbon fibers, the researchers say.

Here's to hoping that this stuff will make affordable, lighter, more efficient transportation that much more possible :-)

Alan from the Islands

C-SPAN 3 - Oil Supply and Demand Discussion.

"The Blind beating the Blind"

Every Republican so far has emphasized only that we need to be allowed to drill and explore shale, offshore, etc..

The Dems are likewise, barely able to reach the unhappy conclusion that the word "Less" is going to be fundamental to finding a way forward.

Please watch and share your views here. I still don't know how to answer the 'offshore' claims. What are the reserves considered to be out there?


Adam Sieminski of DeutsheBank and Rep.John Shadegg from AZ are currently hemming and hawing over offshore/OCS drilling, while noone has asked this body what happened irrevocably to US Oil production in 1973. They are bickering over the change under the sofa cushions, oblivious to the fact that the last robust paycheck was cashed 3 decades ago..

As to ANWR, if I remember correctly what Gail the Actuary stated a short while back, the Alaska Pipeline has a MOL (minimum operating level) and when the Prudho Bay oil field production drops below that MOL the remainder of the oil in Prudho will become stranded oil. The pipeline would then start to deteriorate from lack of use and if we wanted to access the ANWR oil in the "future" we would not be able to afford to build a new pipeline, so the ANWR would all be stranded oil.
To remedy that, we should start the process of drilling ANWR now so it can come on line before Prudho declines below MOL.
ANWR won't solve our oil problems, but it might make the slide down the hill a little gentler and safer?

Sorry about the mis-spellings. Spell Checker is a bit on the fritz - Some crazy biodieseler stole the oil for the fries to power the spell checker (Big Grin)

Some months after we start producing natural gas from Prudhoe Bay, instead of reinjecting it, oil production will stop.

It seems the best strategy would be to throttle back North Slope (Prudhoe Bay & other smaller fields) production to the minimum and stretch out the production to the maximum total quantity.

Of course, zero % of such logic taking place.


If Global Warming continues we can use offshore rigs to get the oil out of ANWAR. Also, the tribal lands to the east. And, don't forget the Alaskan Strategic Petrolum Reserve west of Prudoe Bay.

Do you have a link for the source for this?

Gas is often reinjected to maintain field pressure, Prudhoe Bay being one such.

After "enough" oil has been produced, NG is produced "blowing the gas cap" and rapidly reducing oil production (not counting NGLs produced with NG) as pressure drops.

This is what is happening in the UK North Sea with the Brent field,


Prudhoe Bay is being depleted fairly severely (soon at 15% of peak) and it is a decade away from gas production. It seems reasonable that reducing pressure would rapidly reduced residual oil production.

I wonder if railroad tank cars would be a viable method of extracting "small" quantities of oil from associated small & medium size oil fields close to Prudhoe Bay. The Alaskan RR goes to Anchorage already.

Hope this helps,


PS: I do NOT have more then a shallow understanding of Prudhoe Bay geology and petroleum engineering.



Didn't see this on a quick scan, so, here ya go.

Alas, it's behind a paywall. But I can imagine how the rest of it goes. That guy's been giving a lot of interviews lately.


I don't have an online subscription and I got it. He says some pretty amazing things.

FT.com is weird. Their articles are free for a short while, then go behind a paywall. Or they allow people from some countries, but not from others. Or if you come in through an approved referrer, like Google - but only once. Try again, and you'll be blocked (unless you delete your FT.com cookie).

Hopefully this article will be picked up by a free media source, like Yahoo or MSNBC so the rest of us can see it.

Try This link

It's exactly the same link except I change the authorised= to "true" in the URL. Worked for me anyway!

It also exposes some myths that need to be put to rest if we are to find the right solutions to big global problems such as energy security and climate change.

The first myth is that high prices are caused by technical factors, such as speculation. While these factors may have an impact on the margins, the data clearly show that high prices are really caused by economic fundamentals.

I get a 404 message with that link.

Stopped working for me as well now. Maybe the read The Oil Drum :-)

I could quote the whole thing but I know that's frowned upon. However the text only is here

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c3f54e4c-36eb-11dd-bc1c-0000779fd2ac,Authorise... <-- Right-click and copy the link address, and paste it into your browser. Worked for me first time.

Odd, it worked for me. I tried it again just now, and it worked again. Weird!

Last time I heard, FT gives you 30 free "reads" a month, then blocks you.

It works the first five times you use it on your IP address within any given 30 days. After that it goes behind a paywall. That means that you can only look 5 articles on FT.com per month. Refreshing the page sometimes seems to increment the counter.

The only way round it (barring paying) is to create a free account, bumping it up to 30 pages per month. That should let you see your article.

When the 30 pages run out, make another free account and view another 30!

(BTW, this is an article by the BP CEO)

From the article:

Another big impact on supply is Russia, where production has begun to decline. . . . Myth number two is that the world is running out of hydrocarbons. . .

Of course, Peak Oil is about flow rates, not about running out out of oil. What is ironic is that the renewed Russian decline is consistent with the HL based estimate of URR for Russia. The overall Russian peak, in the Eighties, was at about the same stage of depletion (at least in regard to mature Russian basins) at which the North Sea peaked. And the world in 2005 was about the same stage of depletion at which Russia and the North Sea peaked.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 6, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.3 million barrels per day during the week ending June 6, down 161 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 88.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production moved lower compared to the previous week, averaging about 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging nearly 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 9.7 million barrels per day last week, down 98 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.4 million barrels per day, 819 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged about 1.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged127 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.6 million barrels from the previous week. At 302.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are at the lower boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories remained unchanged last week while gasoline blending components inventories increased during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels last week but remain near the bottom of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels last week, and are near the bottom of the average range for this time of year.

And here's what they were expecting:

Analysts at MF Global expect the data to show that crude supplies fell by 600,000 barrels for the week ended June 6. Distillates likely rose by 1.1 million, while motor gasoline inventories likely rose by 300,000 barrels, they said.

Analysts polled by Platts are looking for a decline of 1.4 million barrels in crude supplies as well as increases in distillates of 1.7 million barrels and gasoline of 1.1 million barrels, according to the energy information provider. They also expect an increase in refinery utilization to 90.3% of capacity for last week, up from 89.7% in the prior week.

Gulf Coast boys and girls, Gulf Coast. Close to 80% of the crude oil inventory decline was on the Gulf Coast.

Good call!Who do we beat up now to extract more crude?

Meeting of big wigs on Jun 22 in Saudi Arabia:
I can see the king telling everyone there that their PIE is getting smaller and they will always take the biggest slice!!

"With Demand Destruction coming, who wants to get stuck with $135 oil?"

Jul 08--1471--1497--1471--1485 Jun 11, 09:57
+38 4/8

Jul 08 --686--703 2/8--686--698 4/8 Jun 11, 09:59
+25 2/8

Soy/Corn respectively.

There was a net build in total petroleum stocks; about 300,000 barrels. Not a significant loss of crude + products inventory.

There was also more oil added to the SPR; about 200,000 barrels.

These are four week averages for the past four weeks. One must factor in the large stock losses in the earlier part of the current 30 day average. It seems as if due to high prices the U.S. might be attracting more petroleum stocks and using less.

There is elasticity in demand. You can get the gas and diesel if you have money. Most of the world does not have the high salaries that the United States has and may not be able to purchase more petroleum products as the price goes up regardless of whether or not they need them.

Aviation fuel use was up again, slightly more than last week. The 4-week average for diesel was up, but by a much smaller amount (0.7% vs 1.6%). If I did the math right, that implies something like a 2% drop this past week.

I'm puzzled by the aviation fuel. I'm pretty sure the airlines are using less. Could it be the military is stepping up its activity? If so, it could be a harbinger of the attack on Iran.

Price Elasticity of Demand
4 Week Averages 08 vs. 07 plus % YTD 08 vs. 07

Finished Motor Gasoline. .9,318 . 9,444 . -1.3% -1.0%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel. . . 1,628 . 1,622 . +0.4% . -3.7%
Distillate Fuel Oil. . . . . . . . 4,101 . 4,073 . +0.7% . -2.4%
Residual Fuel Oil . . . . . . . . . 670. . . 747 . -10.3%. -16.1%
Propane/Propylene. . . . . . . . 976. . . 975 . . +0.1%. -5.4%
Other Oils. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,695. . 3,790 . . -2.5%. -3.4%

Total Products Supplied . 20,388. 20,650 .-1.3% -2.8%

Not Much Hope,


It's quite amazing, isn't it?

If the oil price gets to the $150-$160 range, I believe the economy will tip over into severe recession, which will have the "desired" effect on demand.

Hope? Emily Dickinson had something to say about that.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

"Hope" asks nothing except that we do nothing (Derrick Jensen)

Hope is, in fact, a curse, a bane. I say this not only because of the lovely Buddhist saying “Hope and fear chase each other’s tails,” not only because hope leads us away from the present, away from who and where we are right now and toward some imaginary future state. I say this because of what hope is.


The OilDrum is great because it is full of good information -- the best anywhere on the internet -- and full of stories from people who are actually doing something about the transition our civilization is undergoing. Not much hope here -- but I see a lot of action.

Don't confuse wishing with hope.

Hope is the faith that doing something can make a difference, that all is not lost and swimming for shore even as the waves wash you towards the rocks just might work.

Without hope, why bother doing anything?

Hope as in wishes we could do with less of. Wish in one hand...

And if we 're bringing American lit. into the picture, my recommendation for Peak Oil relevant material is the wonderful Moby Dick!! You can't beat this one for a warning. Melville was such an eloquent doomer!!

U.S. Refinery Utilization


That's a beauty of a sequence, dramtic and quite interesting. So what is the reason for decreasing utilization? Is it because US refineries are unable to process the heavier crude which is available on the spot market? Is it that European gasoline imports are cheaper than refining domestically? Is it that refinery throuput capability has grown faster than refining demand?

My guess is that they're waiting (hoping) for the price of crude to go down.

Sent you a story about the upcoming Saudi meeting from my oil trader friend, unfortunately no link, maybe you can fine one.

The meeting appears to be an elaborate attempt at shooting the messengers, i.e., the oil traders.

Could you explain briefly what their plan is?

The first paragraph pretty well sums it up--shoot the messenger.

I told my oil trader friend that I knew him before he was tried for international crimes against humanity--oil trading.

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- OPEC wants a ``solution'' to record
oil prices and an examination of the role of energy speculators
when governments of oil consuming and producing countries meet
later this month in Saudi Arabia, OPEC's secretary general said.

It was posted up top this morning. The article called "OPEC Wants Oil Price `Solution' From Saudi Meeting"

Wishing for the price of crude to go down.

Let's assume that importers are bidding for declining net oil exports, and thus cause an accelerating rate of increase in oil prices, as the net export decline rate accelerates.

Then let's assume that the minimum price per gallon that refiners can charge for refined product, and still stay in business, shows a geometric progression that looks like this: $2, $4, $8, $16. . .

At each doubling, what happens to the demand for refined product, and thus to the refinery utilization rate?

My September, 2007 essay in the subject: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2975

I think everything the EIA tracks was at the bottom (or bottom of the average) range for the time of year. Maybe the refiners are getting really good at JIT.

My Wednesday column has been published at ASPO-USA.

Black Friday

I untangle the "devaluing dollar/higher oil price death spiral."

Although we've got the expected high prices for oil, I would say that we've got 3 or 4 more years to go before this "peak oil" debate is finally resolved. Some can point to slightly higher crude oil supply (EIA) this year. Others will concoct any reason to explain away events. There's still a lot of new oil due to come on-stream in the 2008-2010 period.

Regarding exports, if you look at Jeffrey's Net Export Hurricane data carefully, you will see that net exports are basically flat over the last 3 years if you exclude Saudi Arabia. (Do the math to see for yourself).

The Saudis are increasing output just as they are using more of their own oil. On balance, however, global exports will likely show an increase this year if the Saudis continue to produce oil at their current level. So, even the exports question is a bit up in the air at this point, although I expect this issue will also resolve itself in the next few years. We'll have to wait and see what they do with the new Khursaniyah oil due later this year. It's good oil, so they may put some of it on the market right away.

I'm not sure why Saudi Arabia has upped its output this year. This runs counter to their stated policies of restraining production to maximize the long-term value of their reserves (whatever those are).

Naturally, once we can be sure of a permanent plateau (to be followed by a decline at some point) of world oil production, it will be far too late to do anything about it, just as it is now. It is surely foolish (and futile) to produce as much oil as we can now and in the next few years if it's not going to help matters in the long run. All of this is in the nature of Tragedy because the necessary re-arrangements of the way we live are not being made.

Have a good one,

-- Dave

It occurred to me that Cantarell crash may have allowed the Saudis to sell more heavy/sour crude, but I have no argument regarding the importance of the top net oil exporters, which is why we modeled the top five.

In any case, it is very likely that the Saudis will show an increase in net exports over 2007, but it will almost certainly also be below their 2005 rate. However, given the Russian decline, the Venezuelan decline, the Norwegian decline and the Mexican crash, etc., my bet is that we see an acceleration in the total net export decline rate in 2008.

Dave, This is a great article and great introduction to the relationship between oil prices and the dollar.

A point I would like to see emphasized more is the possibility that rising oil prices due to approaching peak oil are causing the dollar decline. America is the most fossil fuel dependant society in the world and so more of our currency goes overseas as oil prices rise, causing the dollar to decline on international currency markets. This makes it harder (And in the long term impossible) to finance our national debt, which puts more pressure on the dollar. Raising interest rates or propping up the dollar in some other way will only work in the very short term, but in the end the dollar will continue to decline due to rising fossil fuel prices. Peak oil is causing oil prices to rise and pushing the dollar down, and any attempt to prop up the dollar will ultimately fail. High oil prices are a matter of geology, not dollar policy.

One of my commodities trading book opens with something like this: "It is important to understand that if you are long commodities you are implicitly short the dollar." The value of the dollar is ultimately affected by many things, but commodities are certainly one of them.


So far the increases (and decreases) have been so small that they largely fall within bounds for reporting errors. Thus effectively we've been on a plateau for several years.

As you note, lots more oil is supposed to come on line "real soon now". Of course I recall this same refrain from Skrebowski and others back in 2005 talking about 2006, or in 2006 talking about 2007. The reality, at least so far, has been that the full production of all those projects has not come together in the time frames (or for the original costs) that were estimated.

My own "best case" scenario sees this plateau extending out until maybe 2013 and that includes even a small bump up as high as 88 mbpd but I'm not counting on that. Worst case is if Bakhtiari (RIP) was right and we get to see 55 mbpd by 2020.

P.S. Thanks for yet another article that helps show that dollar decline is not the only reason for oil's increase. It's part of the reason but the other part, that people seem to adamantly want to deny, is fundamental supply-demand issues.

Although we've got the expected high prices for oil, I would say that we've got 3 or 4 more years to go before this "peak oil" debate is finally resolved. Some can point to slightly higher crude oil supply (EIA) this year. Others will concoct any reason to explain away events. There's still a lot of new oil due to come on-stream in the 2008-2010 period.

I'm hoping that this "peak oil" debate is resolved in 3 or 4 months, rather than in 3 or 4 years! If there is a sudden supply shortage, in the next 3 or 4 months, due to a hurricane, terrorist attack or invasion of Iran then Saudi Arabia's surplus capacity will be tested. If Saudi Arabia is unable to increase production to compensate for any near term supply shortages then the "peak oil" debate will be resolved.

There is just enough oil coming on stream in 2008 and 2009 to extend the oil (total liquids) production plateau to the end of 2009. Many of the new project capacity additions are overstated especially those from Canada's tar sands, Brazil offshore and Saudi Aramco. For example, Khursaniyah may have an Aramco capacity of 0.5 mbd but its actual production will probably be much less at 0.3 mbd. Aramco's head Jumah would admit only to a 0.3 mbd production capability when he said that "Khursaniyah would be producing 0.3 mbd within a month" but would eventually pump 0.5 mbd.

Khursaniyah, including Abu Hadriya and Fadhili (AFK), is a large workover project as these three fields have already produced about 2 billion barrels (IHS, Rand & Simmons). Khursaniyah peaked at 0.21 mbd in 1979 which dropped down to 0.05 mbd in 1995. Abu Hadriyah and Fadhili peaked in 1977 at 0.13 mbd and 0.06 mbd, respectively. I agree with Matt Simmons when he says on page 221 of his book that he is amazed that the AFK project "to rehabilitate old, underperforming oilfields targets a production level of 500,000 barrels a day for a very long period of time. It is even more surprising that so many oil experts then simply accept these aggressive predictions without question or comment, as if predicting high production were tantamount to achieving it".

The ultimate recoverable oil reserves of AFK is probably about 5 Gb. If 2 Gb has been produced then 3 Gb oil remains. Since the easy oil would have been produced first from AFK, a suitable depletion rate of remaining harder to produce oil might be around 4%/yr. Applying 4%/yr to the remaining 3 Gb gives a realistic production rate of 0.33 mbd which is close to the previous estimate of 0.3 mbd.

The chart below shows supply additions, on a peak oil basis. An eight year average of 4 mbd is also shown which is a better indication of actual annual supply additions. CERA estimated a decline rate of 4.5%/yr which when applied to annual C&C&NGL production of 82 mbd means that at least 3.7 mbd must be added just to maintain the same production.

Consequently, world oil production (total liquids) is on a plateau now. The best case scenario is that this plateau is maintained until the end of 2009.

The chart below also shows that capacity additions from 2006 to 2015 are 34 mbd. The underlying projects are those that have been officially sanctioned and those that are likely to be sanctioned. This figure of 34 mbd is more than the figure of 25 mbd quoted by IEA's Fatih Birol in March 2008 as Birol includes only sanctioned projects. If Birol's lower figure of 25 mbd were used, then the world oil production plateau might last only to middle of 2009.
slide 6 of http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/UD/Vedlegg/klima/birol.pdf

click to enlarge

Colin Campbell has just revised his peak total liquids year to 2008 at 85.3 mbd.

The main reason for his revision forward is changes to his deepwater forecasting model for oil production.

Colin Campbell's deepwater model (deeper than 500 m and mainly USA, Brazil, Angola & Nigeria) shows deepwater production in 2000 of 1.6 mbd, 2005, 3.6 mbd, 2007, 6.7 mbd and a peak of just over 9 mbd in 2013. Up to 2009, this deepwater oil production increase will probably just offset declining oil production from other declining offshore regions such as the North Sea and Mexico. Angola's oil production is now on a peak plateau. Despite 460 kbd of new offshore additions from Roncador and Golfinho in late 2007, Brazil's C&C production has actually been in a temporary decline from Dec 2007 to Mar 2008(EIA).
Deepwater oil production is difficult and field decline rates can be up to 20%/yr(IEA OMR Mar 2008).

The world total crude and condensate production plateau, which started in 2005, is likely to end in early 2009 as shown by the chart below.

click to enlarge

World total liquids peak plateau should last until end of 2009. IEA total liquids production for 2006 was 85.4 mbd and 2007 was 85.6 mbd. My forecast for 2008 is 86.6 mbd and for 2009, 86.0 mbd. However the 2010 forecast is a drop off of the plateau to 84.3 mbd, even allowing for increased ethanol production.

Perhaps OPEC and Saudi Arabia will be making a statement on OPEC's real production capability at the June 22 meeting which might resolve the "peak oil" debate.

This meeting is different than other OPEC meetings because OPEC has invited heads of state from importing nations and bank executives. It is worth noting that the OPEC Secretary General said that "The quota is 'irrelevant' under today's market circumstances, el-Badri said today. A meeting of energy ministers from producing and consuming nations at the International Energy Forum in Rome in April achieved 'nothing' to solve high oil prices"

Hello Ace,

Thxs for this very important information! I hope all TODers will give this a close examination and consideration.

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

Folks with an interest in the machinations of the NYMEX might be interested in a couple of links I've found recently...

Firstly, http://nymexdatardc.cme.com/ is continually updated streaming real-time data for the front six contracts, including the nearest bids and asks. I'm quite surprised to find so many trades are for single-digit volumes of contracts. Perhaps Moe_G can tell us something about that.

Secondly, just for the curious, this PDF http://www.oxfordfutures.com/docs/Handsignals.pdf gives at least a little insight into the mad hand waving that goes on during pit trading.

Jaymax, the little traders are a small percentage of the market (roughly 10% of open interest) but they are very active traders, as opposed to, for example, those hedging index fund positions.

An alternative View of the Iraq War

Whether wrong or right, I think that most people are watching the wrong “game.” It is like, if someone did not know chess and saw a player apparently stupidly losing a Bishop to a pawn. But, on the next move the player moves his Queen to take the pawn and says checkmate.

The facts as I understand it. (1) In 1941 Roosevelt went to Saudi Arabia (Sunni’s) and said sell us your oil and we will defend you with our military. (2) Iran is Shiite. (3) Iraq (Saddam) was controlled by the Sunni, even though the Shiite were the most populous. (4) Most of the 911 attackers were Sunni from Saudi Arabia. (5) In early 2002, Saudi Arabia asked us to leave. (6) Saudi Arabia said that we could not launch an airstrike from Saudi Arabia against Iraq and we had to close our airbase there. So, it looked as if our relationship with Saudi Arabia was coming apart.

Well who is the main threat to Saudi Arabia? It is the Shiite. So the US, after attacking Iraq, lets the Shiite destroy the ruling Sunni’s including all of the lootings and killings, which we gladly let happen. Then, we set up elections and the Shiite take control. Then we go to Saudi Arabia and say, now you really need us. Not only is Iran controlled by the Shiite, so is Iraq. But, we will continue to defend you for the oil.


Good call.

That makes a strong case, but I still think that Bush firmly believed that he could set up a Western style democracy in Iraq, one that would allow IOCs in to drill for oil, and possibly inspire other democracies in the region.

I really think that Bush believes in the Bush Doctrine.

Bush has been trying to destroy Western-style democracy in the United States. I mean, read his signing statements sometime. And do you really believe he hasn't been spying on antiwar groups and Democrats, which any Westerner would regard as a dictatorial move?

Now if you're saying that Bush was trying to install "capitalism" when he overthrew the Baath Party, that makes sense. Recall that US corporations have a fine relationship with Saudi Arabia and China - they're the main suckers propping up our economy now. They sure aren't democracies. They don't even fit a classical definition of capitalism, but they bail out the US, so they are "honorary" capitalists. Bush would be happy to have honorary capitalists running Baghdad.

I think you are half-right. Yes, Bush has ridden roughshod all over the constitution. Yes he wants capitalism in Iraq, but I don't think he wants a Saudi-style NOC. Our IOC's do not have the best relationship with the Saudi's (can't drill there, no control). He wanted somewhere with the reserves of KSA that Exxon could drill with the wanton abandon of Texas or the North Sea.

The part I can't figure out is why Saddam didn't just pump as much as he could. He could have been our best friend, been even richer, and not run out of oil in his lifetime.

The part I can't figure out is why Saddam didn't just pump as much as he could. He could have been our best friend, been even richer, and not run out of oil in his lifetime.

Saddam was playing to the 'I oppose the oppressor' people, just like some groups in the US of A say 'they believe in the bible' - makes 'em all feel good about themselves.

He was limited by the "Oil for Food" agreement. We didn't want him to get the cash to rebuild his military. That also limited the money he had to buy new oil equipment. Of course we could have cut a deal - he was a reasonable businessman!

Since I've completely overthrown my CNN world view(let alone Fox), maybe, just maybe, Saddam was a hero of the Arab people?

Go back to why he invaded Kuwait to begin with - the US gave him vague assurances that we thought it was ok. So he invaded based on the advice of his "friend". And the rest, as they say, is history.

Your facts are generally right, however I don't quite agree with your conclusions. The US felt it needed (for several reasons) to get bases elsewhere than KSA. Iraq is perfect because of its central location. IMO, the reason the US invaded Iraq was to control middle-eastern oil. All of it, including the KSA, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran.

Shargash, That has been my contention all along. It is to control the middle east. Just more of the Carter doctrine.

Hi jbunt--Interesting. FDR met Abdul-Aziz in 1945. This link tells the story and more. You are mistaken about #6, http://www.cfr.org/publication/7739/saudi_arabia.html What is your basis for the Shiia being "the main threat" to Saudi?

I think you need to look more closely at the vast contradictions that exist within Saudi to see where the main threat lies. As a primer, read The Battle for Saudi Arabia by As'ad Abukhalil. You probably also need to know more about Iran. A good place to start is Modern Iran, which is a standard college text. Also, there are very deep, longstanding ties between the Bush family and the ruling Saudi family that cannot be discounted, which really put a crimp on your thesis. But you are clearly using your head, which is more than most Americans.


I do not view #6 as being wrong. Read


From the second link I provided:

after months of prewar uncertainty, the Saudi government granted U.S. access to some of its military facilities. The number of U.S. forces in the kingdom doubled to 10,000, and the coalition air attacks were coordinated by U.S. commanders in the Prince Sultan airbase south of Riyadh, the capital. The Saudis granted over-flight rights to U.S. planes and missiles. And Saudi Arabia also reportedly provided U.S. Special Operations Forces secret staging grounds from which they mounted assaults into western Iraq. In another important move, the Saudis used their vast oil reserves to keep the world oil market stable during the war. The close cooperation was reported in the American press. But Saudi leaders, who faced strong domestic opposition to the war, repeatedly denied that they were allowing attacks from Saudi soil.

Seems like your CNN link is trying to reinforce the last sentence in mine, and the general jist gibes, except for the SpecForceOps. However, the main thrust of your thesis rests on providing an answer to my previous question: What is your basis for the Shiia being "the main threat" to Saudi?


And, from "my" link titled "US to Move Operations from Saudi Base" - "During the war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia allowed the United States to use Prince Sultan as a command and control center for U.S. aircraft. U.S. aerial refueling tankers, reconnaissance planes and other noncombat aircraft were allowed to land and take off there, but Saudi Arabia denied the United States permission to use its bases to attack Iraq."

Last 15 words starting with "but" seems pretty clear (I did not write the story, and was not there, so....)

With respect to threats to Saudi Arabia, I would be interested in what you would rank ahead of Shia neighbors (Iraq & Iran)? (Israel?; France?; China?; Russia?; England?; Turkey?; Egypt?; Germany?; Japan?; Kuwaitt?; Syria?; Lybia?; - by the way, per my rules, you cannot say the US)

Hi jbunt--I agreed that your link and mine basicly agreed. As for your query, I gave a hint with the intro to the book I suggested. The main threat to Saudi resides within itself. Externally, the most covetous aggressive country is Israel, and they have the means both militarily and ideologically. China has already shown itself an ally. The English are becoming desperate, and they have a very belligerent history in the region and globally. Germany and Japan seem to be satisfied with their commercial relations. I'm surprised you didn't list Australia. The OPEC members plus Russia are all on the same side in a de facto manner. And France, like Australia, is covetous but too busy with its own internal problems to do any more than bluster. Iraq has just proposed a method for dealing with the shared oil fields in a reasonable, cooperative manner. And Iran has recently broken new diplomatic ground and is looking to win Saudi as an ally against the USA. From the Iranian clerics's POV, Saudi is part of the Umma regardless of its (Islamic) faults, wherein the Koran counsels reasoned negotiation, not jihad (the Wahhabbi view has been somewhat the opposite, but is being softened by pragmatism). Turkey and Egypt also have grave internal problems they must solve, although Egypt's Islamic movement is already a factor in destabilizing Saudi and presents the greatest Arab threat. And Palestinians present the same problem for Saudi as Egypt's Islamics. Hezbollah is far too involved in Lebanon and with Israel to pose any threat, which is also the case with Syria. Al-Qaeda is part of the internal threat. Lastly, the Taliban, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are all to much ivolved with each other to cause any direct problems; indirectly, like Iraq, they provide a training ground that the Saudis would like to go away.

The Saudis demanding heads-of-state attend their emergency meeting over oil price is quite interesting. I think they want to nip the Blame Game in the bud. The rate of decline in net exports must worry them too as it hinders their program of leaving some oil in the ground for the future generation, which they must do for internal political reasons.

I had an a thought this morning that the forthcoming attack on Iran is all about protecting US military supply lines in Iraq - the nuclear/Israeli chatter is just the cover story.

Look at a map of the northern end of the Persian Gulf in the area around Basra and Kuwait City. Abadan, Iran is only about 150km from Kuwait City.

My understanding is that the vast majority of supplies for US forces in Iraq come in throught the port in Kuwait City.

It would make sense to destroy any Iranian military capabilities near the Iraqi border that could threaten the supply lines north from Kuwait City or the port itself.

OTOH, once a war with Iran is started, the maritime supply lines become difficult through the Straights of Hormuz (34 km wide) and the islands at the mouth of the Gulf. I can't see how a navy could defend against waves of shore-launched cruise missiles (or mines laid during the night).

There was a recent video on Google of Scott Ritter talking about attacking Iran with US troops from Azerbaijan. He concluded that the US would be forced to use nuclear weapons very early in the conflict.

I think that the Neocon plan for Peak Oil has always been to seize the major oilfields of the Gulf - eastern Saudi Arabia, Iraq and western Iran. They have to play out the scenario in full or it will fail. And that means protecting their flanks by attacking Iran.

My nightmare is that one morning the news headlines read that a US warship or carrier has been sunk with all hands aboard. I'm beginning to think that it is now inevitable.

What if it were planned that way? What if the carrier group commanders had repeatedly requested permission to move out of the Gulf due to tactical issues? What if Bush repeatedly denied that request? Wow! Wouldn't that make a wild Tom Clancy novel?

Except that it's what has actually occurred...

GZ, when did this occur?

This seems to be the week where the MSM has finally made peak oil their number one issue. Not that they call it "peak oil" - to do so would be to admit that oil reserves are not infinite, and they are not prepared to go that far. They still insist that there is enough oil in the ground to supply us for the next 1000 years, if not forever. They prefer the term "gas crisis" since a "crisis" is usually a temporary condition brought about by politics.

What I am hearing on Fox News and AM hate radio is that America has enough oil to make us energy independent, and the only reason for the current shortage is because liberal leftist environmental wackos prohibit American oil companies from producing. I hear things like "85% of US oil reserves are off limits." It's all the fault of Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. Bill O'Reilly on his Orwellian-titled show "The No-Spin Zone" (which is nothing but spin) adds that we could immediately lower gas prices by importing ethanol from Brazil, if only the Democrats would allow it.

The most vicious of the AM prevaricators, in my opinion, is Mark Levin. Literally screaming at the top of his lungs (while tied up in a straight jacket?), he declares that liberals deliberately created the oil crisis so that they could destroy America and then seize power. Their goal is to create a Marxist state. He suggests that they be tried for treason, because they are obviously working with Hugo Chavez and OPEC (which is controlled by Al Qaeda?).

Not that I'm a big fan of the left or anything. But all of the above is just a media circus that will not do anything to solve the peak oil problem. More likely, it's a self-destructive distraction that will prevent us from taking needed actions like improving rail service or rapidly increasing fuel economy standards.

The propaganda campaign is having an effect. This week I've noticed the appearance of bumper stickers (usually seen on SUVs) which say "DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW!" Talking with my mostly conservative neighbors (all of whom drive SUVs and pickup trucks), I'm hearing the same line - we can free ourselves from Hugo Chavez and OPEC if the environmental wackos get out of the way and let us drill.

Now excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

I understand your frustration Ozonehole. I've been a petroleum geologist for over 30 years and have seen first hand where we've been and where we're going. Whenever O'reilly and the like start their tirades all I can think: "Please don't help us anymore". Increased access to drilling projects would lessen the impact of PO to a degree but won't change the curve by much. And if we had been drilling in the currently off limits area we would have just delayed the inevitable. In an odd way by preserving some of these areas we've allowed ourselves potential for a little relief. But if tomorrow every bit of bounds area were made available it would take the better part of a decade to effect the economy. But we will need those reserves whenever they are developed.

The oil industry is nearing its own peak...we're almost peaked out on drilling rigs and materials. But even worse we're about 5 years from peaking out personnel. It's a long story but the current personnel in the oil biz represent a true peak of experience averaging an age in their late 50's. There is a huge gap in experience level younger than us. The younger generation is a lot better at the game then we were at the same age. But it's a numbers game. No matter how smart they are they can't be in two places at the same time. I haven't seen anyone's guess but it's probably safe to say that 20% to 40% of the oil professionals will be retiring in the next 5 to 8 years.

Whatcha think of my Gulf Coast thesis: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4092

Given the sharp decline in crude shipments from Venezuela & Mexico to the US, the problem, it seems to me, is that it is going to be very difficult to redirect oil shipments away from their traditional destinations, especially as other importers match the price that we are willing to pay. Ultimately someone has to blink, as forced energy conservation moves up the food chain (or Bush gives in and releases oil from the SPR).

Hi Rockman.

I have a 17-year-old niece who will be heading to college next year. She's unsure about what to major in. As it turns out, she just had a geography course, with several chapters in the book devoted to geology. She really liked it, and aced the course.

Recently, she asked me what she should major in. In view of how well she did in that class, I've suggested petroleum geology.

However, almost everyone else in the family thinks I'm nuts. They say that a girl shouldn't major in stuff like that. Geology is for boys. Even her parents have suggested she become an art teacher. I see that as a guaranteed ticket to starvation. Of course, they're figuring that she'll meet some smart guy at college (majoring in computers?), get married, have kids and stay at home.

What do you think? I realize that petroleum geology is not an oft chosen career for females and perhaps she'd even face some job discrimination, but given the developing personnel shortage, I think she'd be able to write her own ticket if she went into this field.

ozonehole -

One very important consideration in choosing geology as a career is that most geologists, particularly in the early stages of their career, typically spend a great deal of time in the field, very often for extended periods of time and very often in some not so nice locations.

This might at first seem exciting and adventuresome when one is young, but it can quickly become quite a drag as one gets older. And for a woman who may eventually want to have children, it can be particularly problematic.

Just another consideration to factor in.

Ozonehole-I suggested the same to my daughter you loves rocks and such. She also likes to travel. I also said she'd have a guaranteed job for her whole life, immune to recessions and such. She liked the idea, but hasn't acted on it very well as she was never inclined to do what it takes to be a good student. I looked into the details of the major, and it is difficult, which is part of the whole gatekeeping process of college. There are other aspects of the industry that don't involve the petrogeo curriccula that are just as critical and in short supply. Feel free to share this comment with her. I agree that teaching music is a very poor choice.

Hello Rockman,

I am a female electrical engineer who works 8on/6off at a mine / processing plant.
In a couple of weeks I start a new job were I am going to Indonesia to work on power plants.

1. Any male dominated area pays more and since there are so few females it is not worth
2. Men are usually very helpful and if anything your niece would be discriminated in favour of rather than against.
3. Many sites are now trying to get more female workers because it makes for a steadier work force.
4. Most of the women engineers are married. Some have trouble meeting suitable men but the men also have problems meeting women so no real difference there. Yes I am married.
5. Basically it is up to your neice. It can be hard but the alternatives are worse. She will always be able to take care of herself and have an interesting life.

By the time she gets out of college (about 6 years?) we might be doing most of our drilling in shale and coal on the Lakes and East Coast because the cheap gas has already been found and we might as well go for the stuff near the demand and cut transport costs.
That is not exactly 'the field'. It's will involve moving around for a few years till the inevitable bust, which is when she can take another few years out to have children.
There will be a bust. Concentrating Solar Photovoltaic will take out the summer peak, global warming, boomer retirement, insulation, and baseload nuke/coal will take out the winter peak. Nothing lasts forever.
Mining is different. It's probably always going to be in the 'field', like oil and gas used to be and pretty much is now.

Find some working female geologists, e.g.:


Many would be very happy to give a little advice to an intelligent young woman interested in their work.

Huge shortage in personnel, huge profits, one of the few industries that will have zero chance of disappearing even if TSHTF...

This is a no-brainer.


this is correct, although I have heard of higher percentages than this. I read an article on this shortly after joining my father's company, an energy management firm. I'm hoping for some vacancies to open up, but I am 22 and no one else in the office is under 30, most are over 45 so I agree, there will be a huge demand for energy professionals, I'm glad I got started building my knowledge early, kind of the same way I'm glad I've started on my RRSP


Try half of BP's G+G and Drilling Management in less than 5 years.

If you go to a helicopter check-in in Aberdeen these days, it looks like a day out for the local crown green bowling club.

At least there are no whippersnappers behind us and looking for our jobs :-)

But rigs will soon require Zimmer Frame access on the helideck.

I say we waterboard Al Gore until he admits that global warming and peak oil are all a big conspiracy.


Do you mean that we should take Old Al up to the North Pole and let him water ski on the open water as the sea-ice melts away?

{some times, sarcanol isn't so funny..:<) }

E. Swanson

Hate radio is just getting warmed up for November.

Remember in March when Rush urged the Republicans in Texas to vote for Clinton, to keep her in the game longer? (yes, in Texas primaries you are not required to vote for the party you register for) Well, it worked, and the Texas votes were a big part of her "I won the popular vote" Mantra.

Why does it matter? Because anything at all that divides the Democratic Party, that introduces any conflict, is a Good Thing to the right. The prevailing thinking was that Hillary would be crushed in November by all the Clinton haters who would come out of the woodwork to save us.

Now, they are stirring up all the bubbas against the Democrats, in a general "we don't have evidence but it's them and you know it, wink wink" sort of way.

Makes me sick, and is why I can't stand to look or listen to that whole side of the "news." We can't let the facts get in the way, or even have an intelligent debate. It's all about playing off of fears.

I listen to “conservative” talk radio every day. They say something about this on just about every broadcast. Pretty much all of it is BS, because they ignore things like flow rates and recoverability of reserves.

However, the environmental movement has gotten quite a bit off-track IMO. They are not good about picking the lesser of several evils.

Personally, I think the environmental lobby should concede drilling in ANWR and OCS in return for large concessions in efficiency/conservation and funding for electric rail transit. This seems to me the best of both worlds.

Personally, I think the environmental lobby should concede drilling in ANWR and OCS in return for large concessions in efficiency/conservation and funding for electric rail transit. This seems to me the best of both worlds.

I agree entirely. I have doubts though that the neocons would agree to such concessions, but it's worth trying.

If it were up to me (obviously, not the case), I'd open ANWR and OCS in return for:

1) Average gas mileage raised to 50 mpg phased in over 10 years, no exception for SUVs or private pickup trucks (exception for commercial trucks only - cheating punishable by heavy fines). No ethanol exemption.

2) Bring back the electric car program that California had in late 1990s (note: see the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car").

3) Property tax exemption for railways. Revenue loss to be made up by removing tax credits previously granted to the oil companies.

Probably more could be done, but that would be my minimum pound of flesh. I'll bet there's no chance of this ever happening. I'd be surprised if it even gets debated outside of blogs like this one.

4) All lease proceeds to be applied to Federal aid to build Urban Rail.


The enviromentalists were happy with ANWAR if the profits went to buying up old growth timber and such. Bush said 'trust me' and the talks ended.
When Obama comes in the enviromentalists will get their endangered species buyouts and we will get the oil.
I think we had the same sort of deal with off shore oil but the environmentalists didn't get paid off on the promises and they are still holding a grudge.

What good did it do the pioneer environmentalists of the 1970s to make concessions in obtaining CAFE and the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act? As soon as the economy went bad Reagan and his movement blamed everything on them, and promised a quick, easy prosperity by letting the corporations run wild. He simply refused to enforce the laws his bankrollers didn't like. You can't pick the lesser evil when you're up against an ideology that intends to exterminate you anyway. Regrettably, you must make the case for revolutionary change, and the American people must be made to remember later that you were right and they were wrong.

The US has <3% of the world's oil reserves, but produces about 7% of the world's oil. That means we're pumping our oil more than twice as fast as the rest of the world. That's not a pretty place to be approaching peak oil. I think at this point the best thing is to leave as much in the ground as we can, so it is there when it is (a) more valuable and (b) we'll do something with it better than pour it in a Hummer's gas tank.

No reason to bang your head against a wall. These responses were predictible and predicted. As I note up thread, the Germans and Turks are paying $11.49/gallon for gas, more than $7 above the current US average. That we're such wimps compared to them would make a good talking point.

"We would have won World War One but the Jews stabbed us in the back!"

I saw a great article back around 2005, maybe on Tomdispatch.com, on how the German reich-wingers laid the foundation for the myth that Germany was betrayed by its Jews, and how our own right-wing talk show hosts were already beginning to develop a back-stab myth in case we got run out of Iraq. It worked in Germany because the groundwork was laid by the Kaiser, not Hitler. The Kaiser's millions of suck-ups couldn't admit in 1918 that they were wrong about the premises of his regime. They were in denial. All Hitler had to do was point the blame in a direction they were comfortable with. Note that the regime he created was in fact very different than the Kaiser's, but its emotional theme was restoration of "the way things oughtta be."

There's also a remarkable John Cusack movie, "Max", in which Hitler in 1919 is depicted as undergoing this process himself; the Jewish socialist Max tries to get him to understand that he was a dupe of the military-industrial complex, but Hitler can't cast loose his love of authority and inequality for which he has truly sacrificed everything, so to preserve it he must convince himself that Max is the enemy.

Now imagine the veterans returning home from Iraq next year, everything they were told on their bases by Fox News now ridiculed, gasoline three times as expensive, homes sitting unsold, no jobs. Someone will be waiting for them with an explanation.

Alea Jacta Est.

>>Suetonius also described how Caesar was apparently still undecided as he approached the river, and the author gave credit for the actual moment of crossing to a supernatural apparition. The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has survived to refer to any people committing themselves irrevocably to a risky and revolutionary course of action – similar to the current phrase "passing the point of no return".<<


>>It also refers, in limited usage, to its plainer meaning of using military power in a non-receptive homeland.<<

Super390 -

I fear that Moslems will be to 21st-Century America as Jews were to 1930s Germany.

Would it be too far-fetched and paranoid of me to visualize a near future in which all Moslem in the US were forced to wear a yellow cresent (or perhaps more timely and more realistically, an electronic surveillance equivalent)?

I know of at least one sane, reasonably well-informed relative who would have no qualms whatsoever about rounding up all 'them ragheads' and putting them in detention camps, Gitmo style.

Speaking of detention camps, when the shite hits the fan, it ain't just gonna be for 'them'.

To paraphrase: Ask not for whom the detention camps beckon, they beckon for thee.

Or as we say around here...

don't get on the bus.

My mother was of German descent. She always believed that that Germany had been "betrayed" in WWI and she would never accept any evidence to the contrary.

In in a similar vein, the right wing idealogues are saying that "if the market were allowed to function freely, there would be plenty of cheap oil". The fact that there is not cheap oil means that some "outside influence" must be causing the problem. Possible vilains include big government, liberals, environmentalists, speculators, Islamists, greedy oil companies, "Communist" Chinese, Arabs, Saudis, and the ever popular Iranians.

Nobody wants to give up their cherished world-views. The coming collision between fantasy and reality is not going to be pretty.

When the Germans surrendered in WWI, I think the entire Western front was outside Germany (in other words, the enemy had never set foot on German soil). Furthermore, the Germans had soundly beaten the Russians in the East, triggering the Revolution & peace on the Eastern front. The treaty signed of Versailles was a very harsh treaty, even for a thoroughly defeated enemy, and Germany wasn't yet thoroughly defeated.

Now, a very good case can be made that Germany was on the verge of collapse, both economically and militarily, at the time she surrendered. However, it didn't look like defeat to a lot the German people. And who is to say the Allies had the werewithal to march all the way to Berlin?

I think there is a decent chance the Germans could have got a much more favorable treaty to sign, if they had made it clear they would contest every foot of land on the way to Berlin. So, in a sense, the German people were betrayed when their leaders agreed to such a harsh treaty. Britain and France were in very bad shape as well. If the Americans hadn't stepped in and meddled in a war they had no stake in, WWI might have ended on much better terms & WWII averted, at least in Europe.

The Germans in WWI were in fact betrayed. Woodrow Wilson promised them the fourteen points and amnesty for the great destruction they had wrecked on Belgium, France, what is now Poland, Serbia, etc. The Germans signed an armistice based on those promises.
When the Germans had disarmed and withdrawn from the West Bank and given the Allies enclaves on the east side of the Rhine and could no longer defend themselves, the Allies inflicted Versailles on them.
Then the Allies refrained from actually making them pay reparations. In fact, the US gave them money to help them rebuild and avoid going Bolshevik. The US and the Allies gave huge amounts of money to the Whites in the Russian war, and to the antiBolshevik forces everywhere in Europe. We spent more money after the Armistice on antiBolshevik subsidies than we spent on antiGerman subsidies before when we were fighting a war.
Eventually the Germans elected Hitler and as a reward the Allies supported the Nazis till the day after they signed that treaty with the Soviets, and then the Allies gave a defence treaty to Poland.
Weird, crazy, behavior.

The most vicious of the AM prevaricators, in my opinion, is Mark Levin. Literally screaming at the top of his lungs (while tied up in a straight jacket?), he declares that liberals deliberately created the oil crisis so that they could destroy America and then seize power. Their goal is to create a Marxist state. He suggests that they be tried for treason, because they are obviously working with Hugo Chavez and OPEC (which is controlled by Al Qaeda?).

Funny (?) thing is that I can almost hear the Shock Jocks saying this...

Oil price hearing live on Capitol Hill,
Go to CNN.com

Just took a peak and Dorgan was going on and on about speculation. Has anyone said anything about supply/demand?

Took a 'Peak', huh? Freudian Typo.

I just wrote to my Congressman (Tom Allen, ME-1), practically begging him to understand that all this talk about expanding drilling in the US is tantamount to slurping louder at the end of a milkshake, and to tell his colleagues, whenever the Right and the OilCo's are whinnying about more drilling rights, that the US Peaked in 1973(ish), and has been dropping reliably ever since.


That was painful - I watched it (most of it), now I feel lobotomized. Anytime a congressional hearing brings out a select panel of "experts" one can be sure that the favorite soapboxes of the congressmen get stood upon. That statements can be offered as "facts" when in reality they are opinion is so disingenuous. That elected officials pander to their constituency is expected (it is their job), but I hope that behind closed doors a more sane discussion occurs.

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I have learned a lot here on TOD no doubt. It was only this last January that I really became peak oil aware (POA?). Anyway, it has cast the world in a different light for me.

I have been making a lot of connections between light/heavy oil. The fact that Iran is holding lots of it in barges off their coast, the GOA wanting to swap heavy for light in the SPR, , VenMex primarily importing to US the heavy stuff, Chevron making plans to handle the increases in the sulfer content in crude (http://www.contracostatimes.com/richmond/ci_9505788), etc.

Is there a way to quantify global oil reserves in light versus heavy oil?

I was talking to one of the dads at my daughters gym, He works at one of the local refineries here. We get to talking and he mentions they have a new coker. Thinking that they are using this for heavy oil I ask him if they are making more diesel. Yes he says. I forget what he said but the increase was like 10/15k b/d (sound right?). Their wharf used for shipping the product is closed from a recent accident (boat crashed into it damaging the pipeline). I asked him what they were doing with all the finished product. Storing most of it he tells me. Some of it is making it to market. The wharf is schedule to be repaired by July. So we should see a bit of diesel product influx into the market from this refinery in July.

Not exactly sure the point I am trying to make..I think it is that sweet crude is more on the decline...and we will see more of the heavy stuff..and this has some effects on the refinery process. Not sure exactly where I am taking this...TOD has armed me with enough knowledge to be dangerous I think!

Unfortunately, other than price, there is very little data collected by oil type.


The Oil & Gas Journal has had a few articles with projections. IIRC, the mix of oil will degrade (heavier, more sour) in the future, but the degradation is pretty modest.

I was just reading through today's drumbeat and had found an article that had many arguments against "peak oil theory", the author touched on hoarding in his discussion and this made me think of the possible implications and whether or not is was acutally happening.

Lots of financial whizzes have been saying that speculators cannot be having an effect on the price because in the end they do not take delivery of the oil, they have to even up at market prices so unless they take delivery and hoard the oil, they cannot effect prices.

I began to think of this globally, does a speculator need to be a privately operating individual or fund? What is it that the saudi's are doing if not hoarding, they "leave some oil in the ground for future generations" thus implying that they could extract more (suspend for a minute TOD's top minds valid arguments about OPEC not pumping more because they have no more to pump) but that they are not because they are holding on to it... or hoarding it. Just because it never comes out of the ground does not mean they aren't hoarding supply. In fact, they are hoarding in the cheapest possible way, by just leaving the oil in the natural forming super barrels (oil fields).

Just wanted to start a discussion on the possibility that we are seeing hoarding, not by traditional speculators, but by ME governements (though they have every right to hold on to what is theirs instead of selling it). This would allow speculation to affect the price level, meaning the price is artificially high. At what point does it become hoarding and at what point does this affect the market price. Even the US not drilling in ANWR and other places could be viewed as hoarding.

I am not a financial expert nor a geologist, just an analyst working in the energy management industry so I welcome any and all comments by the actual experts.

I don't think hoarding has happened yet to any great extent by producing nations. However, it makes sense for them to hoarde at some point. There definitely IS hoarding going on in consuming nations. That's what the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is.

I have read that China has their own SPR. I wonder what other nations have had or are starting an SPR.

India has been talking about it. I don't know if they've done anything yet. Also, the IEA asks countries to maintain a reserve. I don't know how many do or how large they are.

Membership in the big economic organization (I forget the name) of countries REQUIRES those countries to have SPR's. The US SPR is NOT hoarding. Is a spare roll of toilet paper hoarding?

if there is a finite supply of toilet paper and you have an extra one sitting around just in case....yes that is hoarding

It may be mandatory, but it's still hoarding. If you are not using it, and not selling it, it is by definition hoarding (v) save up for future use

Of course, these terms all have a double standard. I top up my tank just in case, you are a panic buyer. I invest, you speculate. I keep a stock for emergencies, you are a hoarder.

The standard being it's always someone else's fault.

Yes, I've been trying to take this a step further
The common wisdom here is that to be a speculator must take delivery of the commodity. Well, there you have it. When did congress tell bush to stop filling the spr? Will that bring prices down?

Will that bring prices down?

The additions to the SPR recently have been very small. Stopping delivery will have a negligible effect on prices.

US SPR is NOT hoarding

Acquiring something in excess of what you need to hedge against future shortages is both a definition of hoarding and what the US government is doing when it puts oil in the SPR.

The mistake you are making is to apply a value judgement to the word. You assume hoarding is always bad; the SPR is not bad; therefore the SPR is not hoarding. Hoarding is sometimes bad, but the word can be used descriptively and not just perjoratively.


Is Saudi Arabia considered a speculator? Are they speculating that oil in the future is going to be worth more than it is now, so why pump more(if they could)now. Most exporters are coming to the realization that pumping flat out is not in their country's best interest. I think it is unlikely when we do start down the other side of the curve that exporters will pump even close to their capacity.


Don, I agree, if I were a ME country, and everyone seems to be predicting that oil will be worth a lot more in not too long, then why wouldn't you save your stock for when you can get more, the opportunity cost of selling now as opposed to later is quite high.

My question was if this is artificially inflating the price. Financial analysts are saying speculators aren't running the cost up because they're not hoarding, perhaps Saudi Arabia isn't considered a speculator because they don't actively trade futures on the US exchanges, but they are speculating that oil will be worth more and are saving some of it (or making it appear as though they are). This accounts to the same thing as hoarding IMO, and would have the same effect.

I am coming to believe that speculators are affecting the price, just not the ones on wall street...

bigpatty -

I wouldn't go so far as to call an oil producer electing not produce at full capacity as guilty of 'hoarding'. Rather I would be more inclined to call it engaging in conservation. In that vein, is a lumber company that sets aside a given amount of forest land for future use guilty of hoarding? In my view, something has to have already been produced in a usable form and then deliberately kept off the market for it to legitimately be considered hoarding.

What I think fits the more common definition of hoarding is buying oil, storing it, and then waiting for the price to go up. However, buying oil and storing it for a rainy day is what I'd prefer to call stockpiling.

These distinctions are more than semantical nitpicking, as the terms, hoarding, conservation, and stockpiling have vastly different connotations - hoarding being negative, stockpiling being neutral, and conservation being positive.

I agree with you Joule,

I don't think that what they are doing can be called hoarding, I don't think that there is anything wrong with what they're doing, in fact I think it's the smart, and right thing to do.

I was just trying to postulate that even though it is not hoarding, i wanted to get some input on whether or not it would have the same consequences. Perhaps they are not speculators hoarding oil, but they are market forecasters holding on to oil in large quantities...same effect, different terminology?

A key issue often overlooked, with regard to reserves versus production, is the ability of the producer to absorb the financial inflows created from excessive production, or the ability of the producer to manage those financial resources, and preserve their value for future generations

unfortunately a large number of petro-exporters are typified by small populations, state planned economies. The decision for producers to produce must also be countered by the ability to preserve value in an environment of devaluing dollars, or switch those dollars in to other safe (non domestic) assets - the nation cannot repatriate the wealth into domestic currency without reducing the value of future income priced in dollars.

we should not expect producers to produce just to meet our thirst, preserving reserves, as do the saudis, is simpler than the financial woes of managing huge capital surplus, where debtors (typified by the US) prefer inflation, and creditors (typified by petro-exporters) preference for mild inflation or even deflation are at loggerheads

with regard to specific hoarding - the chinese have been sucking in imports of physical commodities including oil as a means of diversyfying central bank reserves, without incurring currency exposure - that is to say rather than diversify central bank reserves from accrued dollars into the euro and create fx exposure to usd priced commodities, its simpler to buy commodities, priced in dollars and reduce exposure to the value of the dollar by means of owning physical, rather than paper assets

alternatively, these (paper) cb reserves can be "laid off" by securing access to physical resources yet to be exploited "i.e. african petroleum resources"

finally, as you are no doubt aware, countries like china, s korea and others not just in the non-oecd but also the oecd like the usa have been building strategic stockpiles, which is in essence hoarding, and adds to front end demand

"the prize" also highlights the material impact of general gasoline consumers, switching from running their petrol tanks half empty to half full. In todays environment, with possibly 350million autos in the OECD, keeping the tank topped up on fears of higher or rising prices, would add 350 x 7 gallon/ 42gallons barrel= 58million barrels to front end demand - that very approximate, accuracy isnt required to understand that in a daily output market of 80-87mbpd, a shift over say 2 months, by consumers to top up would add possibly 1mbpd to gasoline-diesel demand - i.e its material, moreover, as a barrel of crude is not a barrel of diesel or gasoline, there is a multiplier effect - may be 1mbpd of gasoline requires 2mbpd of crude

However in a nutshell if we are lookign at what is causing the problems in the oil market - its whole host of all the things discussed on the drum
- it collapse of output at cantarell, north sea and usa (i.e. oecd output)
- restrained output by producers for fear of the problems of managing excess capital for decades
- it the huge boost to military fuel consumption - which is jet fuel and a huge multiplier effect on crude oil demand
- it the boost to petro exporter gdp from the rise in value of existing exports, which in turn fuels domestic demand, especially with subsidized prices prevailing in those nations (note growth in opec oil demand has been a pretty good match for china since 1970)
- its supply disruptions, the lack of the right types of crudes, and economic preference of refineries to use light sweets and not dirty crudes that may be in abundance but dont fit the consumption demand

..its so many things, which come to the fore, when one encourages just in time delivery and no spare capacity, once that point is reached it very hard to alleviate shortfalls, or the pressure on demand, because new types of demand (non-economic) kick in: militarization, stock building, common sense topping up, etc etc

hence commodity booms usually last a long time, and usually do not fade - they end with a bang as per 73-74...demand crush is required and that means either a price spike triggered by real supply shock - we havent had one yet this round, or dramatically higher interest rates- why induce a domestic recession if the rest spur demand

Jampacked transit systems running on fumes

Transportation experts who have pushed mass transit since the 1970s are getting their wish as soaring gas prices persuade Americans to abandon their cars for buses and trains in record numbers. But as the adage says, be careful what you wish for.
While many major cities cities have invested heavily in mass transit over the past 15 years, many more have not. Now that people are demanding service, there isn’t the infrastructure to provide it.

“We’re seeing it in a lot of other metropolitan areas where there just [aren’t] viable transit options — places like Indianapolis, Orlando or Raleigh,” said Robert Puentes, a transportation and urban planning scholar with the Brookings Institution, a public policy association in Washington. “They haven’t put the money into it. They haven’t put the resources into it.”

Even those big cities with robust systems are struggling, Puentes said.

“There are major challenges in most of the older, established transit systems, places like New York or Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston — places that are really starting to show their age,” he said.


Why did no one warn us that we needed more mass transit? Oh, wait a minute . . .

Electrification of Transportation (March, 2006)

Our future?


Imagine how the demand for new buses is going to explode in the not too distant future, from all parts of the world. Who builds them, and how many can they build how fast?

If GM had any interest in actually developing a long-term survival plan, that could be one important piece of it. Don't hold your breath, though.

CNN takes comments: $250 Oil? Don't bet on it.


They seem to be allowing peakish comments, so feel free to let the USA know what's really up.

My comment was at the top of the CNN link for over 20 minutes - made me wish I had checked my spelling.

Energy Sec'y Bodman Sings the "3-Year Plateau" Tune

Bodman is positively beginning to sound like a peak oiler. "Strictly supply and demand" indeed!

As oil prices have surged 40 percent since January, Washington has differed with Saudi Arabia — the world’s top exporter — on the reason behind the price increase.

“The issue is we have a difference of opinion,” Mr. Bodman said. “The reason we’re looking at these very high prices for oil is strictly supply and demand.”

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s most influential member, will host the meeting of producers and consumers in Jeddah on June 22, OPEC’s secretary general, Abdullah al-Badri, said.

For their part, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members insist that there is no shortage of supply, even as oil hit a record $139.12 a barrel last week.

“I differ with them,” Mr. Bodman said. “We’ve had flat production over three years.”

I added stocks/inventory levels for a few items to Pictures of Oil. Here's an example including data released today:

Nice. You have an interesting way of looking at this. Would like to see demand superimposed on these supply graphs.

I hate to look naive, but is this the REASON OF THE DAY, for $6 upswing in crude?

I see all these stories out of Europe about strikes. So many reasons to pick from, but I would just be speculating.

I was just watching CNBC. He was blaming bankers spreading rumours. As my young daughter says...whateva


Brent has hit a historical level in both dollars and Euros : 89.63 Euros and 139.53$. (Exchange rate 1.5563)

If Brent hits slightly above 140$, the 90€ marker will have been broken. However we are still a bit away from the 100€ marker at 155$. But that is only +10% from today's level, nothing impossible with current volatility!

Besides, thanks to Leannan for all the news and the covering for Europe. I had a demonstration in front of my office with ambulance-drivers. Very noisy for 1 hour. Yesterday we had farmers and , last week farmers, truckers, teachers, almost one demonstration per day. Mostly people complain about high gas prices.

Underreporting in the media only drives tensions greater I believe. I still hope things will settle. The trade-unions keep their nerves.

Some encouraging news from North Carolina:

More train service planned on Raleigh-Charlotte route

Midday train service will be added to the Raleigh to Charlotte route to meet growing ridership demand, Gov. Mike Easley announced Wednesday.

Currently, two rail routes serve the two cities. At a travel time of just over three hours, and a cost of $50 roundtrip, the train is increasingly popular with travelers confronted with rising gas prices. . . Ridership on those trains has increased 22 percent over the past six months, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which sponsors Amtrak service in the state. . . The additional route will cost $3 million a year. The governor's office said that money will come from federal clean air funds. . . N.C. DOT officials estimated the train would be on the tracks before the end of the calendar year.

[Now, if NCDOT could just get passenger rail service going to WNC!]

Duke Energy Carolinas seeks to install solar panels across North Carolina in $100M plan

A unit of Duke Energy Corp. said Monday it is proposing to North Carolina regulators spending about $100 million to install electricity-generating solar panels at as many as 850 sites. The proposal, filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission on Friday, aims to install the panels at schools, homes, stores and factories. If approved, Duke Energy Carolinas would spend two years installing the panels, which will add about 16 megawatts of power, enough to serve more than 2,600 homes, the company said.

Another talking point to counter the screaming righties: Bush wanted to kill AMTRAK.

Fortunately, passenger rail service in NC is partially state funded, so is not totally held hostage to the Amtrak and federal funding. If the plug were to be pulled on Amtrak, I suspect that NC would come up with the money to continue running the Piedmont, at least. Whether enough southern states could agree to cooperate and come up with enough funding to keep the Carolinian and Crescent lines running is an open question, but I hope they would have sense enough to see that it would be in their mutual interest to do so.

"passenger rail service going to WNC!"

Would that mean reviving the ET&WNC ?

The plans presently on the shelf at NCDOT would be for a spur off of the Piedmont/Carolinian route that would run through Conover/Hickory and up into Asheville on N&S lines. Extension of the route (or a connecting line) past Asheville, through Hot Springs and into ETN would be the next logical step, though, once service to Asheville had been implemented, if a NC/TN compact could be negotiated.

On the other hand, the Great Smokey Mtn RR could be very feasibly converted from an excursion RR back into a working passenger RR, and service could be extended east from Dillsboro to connect with Asheville. Service maybe could be extended west all the way to Chattanooga?

I am hoping that this will all eventually happen.

Another thought on current price levels.

Perhaps with the advent of these new energy sources (ethanol, solar, wind, nuclear, etc...) we finally have a measuring stick with which to find the true value of a barrel of oil. We have always used it and priced it for how much it costs to create, instead of it's actual value. With these new technologies we can see exactly how much it costs to create (harness/transfer) energy for our own needs and we realise that oil is far more valuable than we have been paying, so the price goes up to meet the actual price.

When there is the perception of an infinite supply, then the price is how much it costs to extract the oil, when the supply is finite, the price is how much value we can get out of it, and we can get a lot of value out of one barrel of oil...maybe even $150 worth? or more?

"We have always used it and priced it for how much it costs to create"

We did not create it, we extracted it from the ground.

But I agree that with your premise - we are discovering what this stuff is really worth!

yes thank you for clearing that up, by creating I meant producing, and by producing I meant extracting.

further to this I wonder if any attemps have been made to quantify the dollar value of a unit of energy in terms of all the methods used to create it.

I realise such a project would be ungodly in it's amount of work, but if we could figure out relative to all technologies how much it currently costs to maufacture 1 unit of usable energy, we could discover the true value of a barrel of oil.

this is purely a thought problem, clearly too many variables in the methods we use to convert fuels to energy to relate all of them, but a useful thought problem for valuing a barrel of oil.

Well, Coskata is still saying they can replace a barrel of it for $42.00. GM believes them.


But hardly anyone who can do math does....

This is hard to do because there is no perfect substitute, i.e. one that can do everything that oil can in the same quantities.

Ethanol is great - it can run cars. Therefore you can determine how much it costs to replace a gallon of motor gasoline. But can ethanol be produced in the neccessary quantities? If not, it doesn't really have the same value, as it is not a perfect macro substitute (i.e. you can't change all the infrastructure over).

Same with solar. You can do some of the same things with solar (heat a house) that you can do with oil, but not everything (fly an airplane, make a plastic bottle).

Maybe someone here can help me. I have been reading the oildrum for some time now, long before I registered.
This question keeps popping into my head all the time.
When I consider the magnitude of the problem we are facing, at least as it is presented here, I cannot believe that the governments of the world are not prepared for the problem.
I just get the feeling, that it cannot be, that only a relativly small group of people are predicting what is going to happen in the next few years, against the grain of the majority.

There are perfectly good presentations here explaining why oil companies, goverments and the MSM are not aware of the problem, or are at least not being honest about it. There are also "good" arguements at junkscience.com as why global warming is a hoax.
Please, try not to be offended at that comparison, rather try to explain to the average Joe what is different. After all, just like junkscience.com, you guys seem to have an awful lot of people that disagree with you.

Again, I do not want to offend with this post and apologize in advance if I have caused offence.

Denial is a very human trait.

Cognitive Dissonance.

People are trained to analyze in one way and most have difficulty in finding another way on their own.

TOD self selects for a minority that seek new ways to analyze.

To take one concept, creating a parallel Non-Oil Transportation system has several advantages going for it. Although the physics and economics are good, no one has really looked at all aspects of creating such an alternative except, perhaps, me.

Hirsch focused on CTL, tar sands, oil shale and ignored this alternative.

In the USA alone, over 300 million people, yet self selection narrows down the field.

ELM is almost self evident once pointed out, but NO ONE did till Jeffrey Brown did.

I think the case is clear that free, original thinking is quite rare. The majority will never do it.

Best Hopes for TOD,


I think that I quantified some production, consumption and net export relationships, but I first paid attention to the issue because of Matt Simmons' work on rising consumption in exporting countries, and I think that Nate found some prior work on the topic (that I was not aware of).

ELM is almost self evident once pointed out, but NO ONE did till Jeffrey Brown did.

Not to denigrate Jeffrey's contributions, and I do think the ELM tag is useful, but to suggest that no one pointed this out previously is simply not the case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Is_Beautiful is just one, though possibly the most well known, example.

http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Coming-Dark-L-S-Stavrianos/dp/071670496X is another one of interest to those with a darker vision.

I could go on, but the point is made.

I saw nothing in Schumacher's Wikipedia article that could be interpreted as ELM.

And the Stavrianos link was just an Amazon book entry.


Might he be confusing the Export Land Model, with Economize, Localize, Produce?

You are correct. My mistake. Apologies to all.

From the movie Thank You for Smoking.

Joey Naylor: ...so what happens when you're wrong?
Nick Naylor: -Whoa, Joey I'm never wrong.
Joey Naylor: But you can't always be right...
Nick Naylor: -Well if it's your job to be right, then you're never wrong.
Joey Naylor: But what if you are wrong?
Nick Naylor: -OK, let's say that you're defending chocolate, and I'm defending vanilla. Now if I were to say to you: 'Vanilla is the best flavour ice-cream', you'd say:
Joey Naylor: No, chocolate is.
Nick Naylor: Exactly, but you can't win that argument... so, I'll ask you: so you think chocolate is the end all and the all of ice-cream, do you?
Joey Naylor: It's the best ice-cream, I wouldn't order any other.
Nick Naylor: -Oh! So it's all chocolate for you is it?
Joey Naylor: Yes, chocolate is all I need.
Nick Naylor: Well I need more than chocolate, and for that matter I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom. And choice when it comes to our ice-cream, and that Joey Naylor, that is the defintion of liberty.
Joey Naylor: But that's not what we're talking about
Nick Naylor: -Ah! But that's what I'm talking about.
Joey Naylor: ...but you didn't prove that vanilla was the best...
Nick Naylor: I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong I'm right.
Joey Naylor: But you still didn't convince me
Nick Naylor: It's that I'm not after you. I'm after them." ***Points into the crowd***

I fully underatnd your confusion, as it was mine at first as well.

Denial and dissonance aside, there is tremendous momentum at play; political, business, cultural, and psychological momentum. This propensity and desire to keep the engine of commerce and cultural delusion running full tilt is all but impossible to halt, newfound awareness or not. It will take a punch in the gut to gain even the first level of acceptance.

There is also an implied belief that any situation so dire as this one will not come to pass simply because the pain and suffering is in fact suggested to be so dire. When I told my sister of PO, her response was, "Oh come on...I just can't believe that THEY would let that happen".

Many hold the false belief that governments and corporations are inherently altruistic, that they will not fail to respond effectively. That this decent is going to be beyond amelioration flies in the face of that belief.

This is a very good question, which falls into the general category "How do I know what is true?"

Unfortunately there is no simple or easy method to determine what is true. That does not mean all opinions are equally valid. The best method for finding the truth we have so far is the scientific method (aka science). Science does not usually give quick answers, and may take missteps along the way, as it relies on scientists to perform diligently, and being human they often do not.

The question I would ask therefore in assessing a novel theory is to look at the method that produced it. If it is based on sound reasoning, it may at least be a viable theory. The theory still needs verification. If the theory makes predictions, then these should be borne out by future events. If a theory makes predictions that do not occur, and the predictions are repeatedly altered to fit data, then it is probably not a sound theory.

As for being in a minority, it is not necessarily so surprising. The majority of people are ignorant about most things, so it would be easy to miss something, even something really important. Humans are very prone to being overconfident, that particularly applies to opinion formers, like those in politics, media, big business. Leaders must maintain the illusion that they "know what they are doing".

At the end of the day, you either have to sweat the details, or ask someone you trust for their judgment.

Thanks for your answer BobCousins.

The best method for finding the truth we have so far is the scientific method (aka science).

The problem for the average Joe is he does not know what science is (see junkscience.com)

If the theory makes predictions, then these should be borne out by future events.

I have a number of predictions from westexas hung on the pin board in my office. They are being monitored. However, I did look back at discussions here from 2005 when the oildrum first started, unless someone cleared up mistakes, it appears the predictions fit what was then the future.

It still seems strange though, westexas said "I see dead people", I understand the connection, but it seems so surreal. I just find it so confusing. How can you guys be right and at the same time I find it impossible to have a serious conversation about this subject with anyone I know personally. I work as a software engineer in a company full of people with PhD's, peak oil is not even worth a second glance to them.

I think everyone knew about EROIE berfore it popped up here. I have a wood burning stove. It was clear to me that investing money on collecting wood (with a diesel powered truck), using a gasoline powered chain saw to cut the wood into burnable pieces and then an electric powered splitter did not make economic sense. The burning wood looked pretty though.

Speedy, you've got the key. Ideally, good scientists make hypotheses, each of which should be testable (should make predictions). The peak oil hypothesis, first explicitly made in 1956 by Hubbert, has certainly been testable over time, and so far it has passed essentially all the tests that anyone could have thrown at it (allowing for so-called above-ground factors). Competing hypotheses have not.

Another mark of a good scientist is that, given multiple complex explanations, he or she tries to choose the simplest and most direct. Nothing could be simpler and more direct than the principle of supply and demand, or of depletion (e.g., of drinking a liquid through a straw and watching the level drop). Many (most?) people intuitively seem to distrust simple, direct explanations, especially if these upset their preconceptions and assumptions, or require breaking with past traditions. Explanations involving conspiracies or even deities seem preferable to them.

Even my fellow geoscientists mostly can't easily accept that a vague "some day" for peak actually means "yesterday" or "tomorrow," let alone the implications.

It was clear to me that investing money on collecting wood (with a diesel powered truck), using a gasoline powered chain saw to cut the wood into burnable pieces and then an electric powered splitter did not make economic sense.

Yes, but dragging downed limbs from your own and neighbor's yards by hand, using a one or two-person crosscut saw to cut them up by hand, and using an axe or a sledge and wedge to spit them will have a much better EROI. A garden cart and an axe to fell standing timber can be added to the above. If you are going to be depending upon wood for heat, you need to be equipping yourself with these things.


You pose a very valid question to which I feel I am sort of uniquely qualified to answer . (This is also my first time posting a comment).

For one long hard campaign season (about a year in 2006) I had the privileged position to be hired as a sort of chauffeur/handler for a prominent political VIP along the talking-head/behind-the-scene-player type. Many prospective presidential candidates and party leaders graced my/our presence. Being Peak Oil Aware (POA) since Katrina I eventually worked up the courage (and was lucky enough to have a good opportunity) to ask a former Bush administration official on a long car ride, what he thought about the whole 'peak oil' concept. I won't name names, but you've seen him in on TV. At the time I was concerned that their might even be some sort of cover-up, or 'public denial of true intentions' within the inner circle at high levels and was worried that he would think me too forward for a lowly driver. This was all done without the knowledge of my boss, who was out of town

Shockingly, this guy had NO IDEA what I was talking about. He discounted my almost alarmist concerns with a reference to his soybean ethanol investments and some fluffy fake concern politico talk. It was immediately clear that our nation's energy security was not exactly 'topic number one' at white house meetings. I dropped my inquiry. From then on I've believed that the CNN/Fox etc. talking heads and their like have great influence even the elite decision makers.

Since then, this and similar encounters inform my opinion on our democratically elected leaders. While intelligent, these leaders see the world through a very different lens than TOD readers almost by career necessity. The pressure to conform was so intense that I felt that I would probably be demoted if my world-view were to be known, much less vocalized around the office.

Rather than thinking about the way the real world works and seeing cause/effect problem/solution, it is often more useful for political types (Fortune 500 CEO's are often political types in my opinion)
to think in terms of everybody else's perception. If my boss had become peak oil aware it wouldn't have been nearly as handy as knowing how to capitalize on people's distrust of oil companies with the right talking points, or at best would only allow him set himself up image-wise to later capitalize on world events. He would NEVER reveal himself to be different from the herd in the way peak oil awareness is apt to do. Consequently, his intellectual curiosity categorically did not include such things. It would be like me wondering about the best way to raise unicorn whelps or something.

P.S. Sorry this post is so long.

Welcome VIPdriver. My apologies for this being so late, but you're near the end of nearly 400 responses to read through, and I got home kinda late tonight.

One of the little "wisdom boxes" to the upper right occasionally(to paraphrase) says something to the effect of it being soooo difficult to convince a person to believe something if his/her salary/position/status demands he/she believe something else. This is exactly the effect you are witnessing here(and thank you for witnessing it to our community).

That effect, plus the immense denial of the free energy paradigm coming to an end, is why I have become so pessimistic in recent months(the last 18 or so). I have read the Oil Drum for 3 1/2 years or so now and ben registered for over two. I am in the short haul trucking business so hence my interest in the topic.

My quick take, and greater powers than I who reside around here can add to mine, is that we have had a "free energy" society/economy for more than 100 years now. That, basically, is what the 100:1 EROEI of early EXTRACTED fossil fuels means. We have been able to suspend the laws of thermodynamics, in effect, for a century.

The sun has provided the energy to the ecological system over tens of millions of years, and the temparature and pressure of earthly tectonic forces has processed that in such a way over additional tens of millions of years, that we have access to an energy source that is finite, depleting, and of unprecedented and IMPOSSIBLE TO DUPLICATE quality.

We have plenty of energy but, wind/solar/low eroie fossil; possibly, but not likely, large scale intro of nuclear; will not provide the suspension of the laws of thermodynamics that the 100:1 eroei of EXTRACTED fossils has provided us in the past 100 years or so. This "suspension" of the laws of thermodynamics has allowed us to expand population by a factor of five or so, agricultural production by a factor of ten or so, and industrial production by a similar order of magnitude.

This will end. This is what my time on The Oil Drum has taught me. I welcome you and wish you well in the coming turmoil. I also
apologize for the length of my reply. This is by far the longest post I have made, and wish you had posted earlier, and that it was a day that I had had the chance to check in often on the Drum. This is my treatise.

Raymond Condon


very nice summary. i have been here a while too & u helped me pull together the eroei. ford used to have a commercial ' no limits , no bounds' or similar. that is how free oil has made us feel. i would add the energy intensity of oil is soooo great the two together made that suspension of the 2nd law. but it was only a suspension; as u say.

the over expanding by orders is good too. nice!

No need to be concerned about the length if you have something to say :-)

I am wondering about the mindset of these "VIPs". How can one reach them.

One on one I can get almost everyone to agree that electrifying railroads and shifting freight from truck to rail is a good thing that ought to be done. Likewise expanding Urban Rail, making it easier to bicycle and walkable neighborhoods.

People just need to be exposed to the ideas.

Just wondering about approaching this group.

Any ideas ?

You did not list your eMail address on your profile. Send me an eMail if you don't mind (in my profile and Alan_Drake at Juno dott conn (written to defeat bots)).

Best Hopes,


The BAU paradigm has been very good to these VIPs - they are the "winners" under that paradigm, and obviously have a vested interest in maintaining it. (Actually, "vested interest" is much too mild of a term, their entire lives and fortunes are invested in maintaining it.) IMHO, they are too much invested in the BAU paradigm to be capable of thinking out of the box and adjusting to the new depletion and decline paradigm. As we are now at the tipping point of paradigm shift, they will not be leaders and problem-solvers, only obstructionists and problem-makers as we struggle to adapt to the new paradigm. If you are looking for positive leadership and constructive problem solving, you'll have to look elsewhere, you won't find it among that lot.

We do a woeful job in modern society of teaching critical thinking. This is aggravated by the media which, rather than doing critical analyses of things like peak oil, simply get two talking heads on to shout at eatch other from opposite points of view. The average person is left without the information necessary to have an informed opinion. Befuddled by the media, and lacking critical thinking skills, they tend to go with whichever side of the debate they accept as an authority.

The Powers That Be (governments, industry, the media) have a very strong vested interest in the status quo for the simple reason that, if the status quo wasn't good for them, they wouldn't be TPTB. This makes them reluctant even to believe anything that challenges the status quo. If they do believe it, they will try to deny it in an attempt to preserve the status quo as long as possible.

I think peak oil is where climate change was 5 or 10 years ago. Both theories (in the scientific sense of the word, as in "the theory of gravity") are well supported by evidence & models. The predictions have generally been good. The deniers (and we forget that AGW deniers used to be the majority) generally have more arm waving than evidence, and their predictions have been laughable.

So, yes, a lot of people disagree with us about peak oil. But that number is growing smaller every day. It gets harder and harder to deny reality when reality is biting you in the ass.

"We do a woeful job in modern society of teaching critical thinking."

And yet, some of us try. Among my various ecology and environmental science courses, I also am called upon to teach an occasional 'Critical Thinking' course. This is a college level, adult education type clientele.

It can be tough indeed. As you say, "befuddled by media". It seems to me that people are just putting their heads down and trying to get by day to day. They're working on a degree, taking evening classes after their day job, often involving considerable travel distance. Many of them have children. Some of them are single parents. I really respect, admire, and just plain like these folks.

I think it's easy to forget how much simple 'day to day' uses up people's energy and attention. That's just one of the many important and profound things I've learned from teaching this particular demographic.

And yet, some of us try.

And I am very thankful for that. I had a series of professors in college that really helped me develop mine. I owe them a great deal. :)

We're all in this together, as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for the good word :-)

A good place to start is to look at the great uproar and denial the ensued after The Limits to Growth was published (There is an item here at TOD that reviews this and is very good), along with the repudiation of Carter by Reagan and the propaganda system. Further look into your own indoctrination into the "Empire Story" as David Korten calls it:

Yes. Part of breaking out of this, breaking out of what I call the cultural trance of empire, is to recognize the stories, essentially the lies, that the system feeds us to keep us locked into this trance. And the key in the empire prosperity story is the idea that money is wealth, that economic growth is the key to prosperity, that when people are making money, they are creating wealth, and the idea that inequality is essential to growth because the rich people have the money to invest, and so we should honor rich people, we should welcome inequality, because in the end it makes us all better off. Now, we’re seeing that play out, of course, in the corporations now, you know: we’re benevolent, and so forth.

Another point in connection with what Korten says is the inertia of BAU and the vast numbers who are totally dependent on its continuation. People deny and fail to comprehend because they must; the coming paradigm change petrifies them--deer in the headlight syndrome. What further aggravates is the fact that this is all based on facts--as westexas said recently: Don't confuse me with the facts. It's like Reaganomics was/is: Voodoo, in the sense that folks believe the snakeoil peddler because they want to. When you look at the international organizations that have blossomed, primarily the ASPOs in this case, and the highly credible people who give presentations at their conferences, are members and donate, and are not pushing a political agenda, it's hard to not stop and look more closely at the problem of Peak Oil, especially when there is a very high profile example of it actually happening--The USA. It's a scientificly proven hypothesis, and thus a 100% credible theory. This is the #1 aspect the deniers cannot shake. But because power and positions of power rely on the continuance of BAU, the howls of denial and protest will continue.

The facts are convincing; but you must be open to being convinced by the facts.

Three points real quick

1) Follow the money, oil price is increasing supply is not, let's sure as h@ll hope demand destruction shows some elasticity.
2) US Foreign policy: we have invaded and inexplicably (re any domestic threat issue) continue to occupy one of the last major somewhat undeveloped oil resource areas in the world. We continue to make bizarre proclamations about needing to possibly invade Iran, another oil rich nation - despite a real risk of initiating a world war if we did so.
3) Ignoring the unrelated (at least directly) issue of global warming, is it easier for a media person to tell you, "you are f%$#@#^#&*!" ... now give me my money, or to say, things look super boss, we'll be doing even better next month?

Peak Oil talked about in the beginning of Charlie Rose Program

Hubbert , US peaking in 70's ,etc

Best show I have seen ... especially the begining by Charles Maxwell


OIL REACHED A NEW RECORD!!! An ounce of gold will only buy 6.45 barrels of oil at this time. We are in new territory with the value of oil.

hey guys,
this is my first post here but someone asked roughly what the real value price of oil could be. Ive heard froma variety of sources that one barrel contains the energy of 12 men working constantly for a year. Im english so i did my calculations based on sterling, a rough eastimate for minimum wage, £6 say? 12 guys at £6 an hour thats £72, so for 24 hours thats £1728 and for the 365 days... £630'720 (about $1.25 million), imagine a world in where it costs half a million quid a barrel. Obviously this is vague and im only 20 and relatively new to the topic (became PO aware about september/october last year). Just thought id share that, tell me if im way off. Kris

It's about 12 men, but working regular hours ;) A barrel is something like 20,000 hours of work, so it's worth around £120,000 per barrel. It's still a lot more than $130.

It's a great way to get a perspective on it, especially when people say "oil should cost $60/barrel". How many slaves do these guys own?

That's not a valid way of pricing it if the work can be done in other, cheaper ways (electricity, etc.).

Welcome Kris--No, you're quite close, which is why you'll see us saying oil is undervalued at its current price.

A lot of posters like to compare unlike and unlike here at TOD. This is a logic no no. Comparing things that are different proves nothing.

Why select human workers to calculate the value of oil anyway? If the logic error of comparing unlike to unlike is going to be made why not select the traditional animal that was used for transportation that oil replaced: horses. Oil is still probably undervalued but comparing work done that is totally physical to human work which generally involves some intelligence is unreasoning on top of unreasoning. Sorry if I just insulted any intelligent horses reading this.

In selecting the horse at least it performed the same general function. It does not earn wages which is more similar to oil which does not earn wages. True it eats, but it also can reproduce itself and can be eaten. The fact that oil is finite and can not be replaced is a big negative to its value although the market treats this defect as a price plus.

In short comparing the work done by people to the work done by oil is fallacious logic. It grossly over estimates the value of oil.

Comparing unlike and unlike i.e. apples and oranges is a logic error and proves nothing. Things that are not alike can not validly be compared.

Energy and work are energy and work.

The units are what they are.

Your post was not logical. Comparing the work done by people to the work done by oil is not "fallacious logic", as you put it.

Work is work.

What the hell is your point?

X's point is always to sow disinformation upon which he then builds his pro-ethanol BS.


Comparisons are PRECISELY to evaluate and understand unlike things in common circumstances. They have common features, and they have differences, and the comparison weighs that out. It would be fallacious if you didn't openly express the differences, ie 'Manpower' vs 'Oilpower', or your own 'Horsepower' vs 'Oilpower'..

You can certainly compare Apples with Oranges, even if the adage suggests they are immune to comparison. Both are edible, both have sugar, both are round and grow on trees and can be made into juice.

Understanding oil's energy in comparison to human energy IS useful, for reminding us quickly just how much outside power we puny bipeds have been accessing to get through our days, whether from Horses, Oil, Gunpowder or Uranium. It further serves to point out that we have never moved too many steps away from slavery, and if we're not careful about our willingness to usurp power that doesn't come from our own hands, could be there again.

Hi Kris, nice to correspond with someone on here who is about my own age (22), I think getting our generation peak oil aware is the next step, although most of my buddies have no clue, or even have the knowledge that would let them udnerstand the implications, somehow kids can get through high school and college with almost no understanding of science these days...

I was the one who asked for a relative value of oil, I was saying I thought the advent of new technologies for energy provides a measuring stick to compare oil against, and that when it was considered infinite it was priced as production costs, but at a finite consideration it is priced by value of output/work done. Thus I wanted to see if anyone could get an estimate for how much work could be done/energy output.

Your calculations seem to be starting the debate nicely, once we have an estimate for human labour equivalent, we would need X's horse labour equivalent, then solar power equivalent, wind power, etc... then we could see exactly how much value we get out of a barrel of oil by equating it with substitutions. As most TODers think, the value is much higher than $135 a barrel... I'm thinking GAZPROM's recent estimate is a little more likely.

This would mean that oil prices are reflecting the true value, and that they will now stay this high and not come down ever again... unless something awful happens to the world.

thanks for the insight kris!


This is 2 days old, but in case anyone missed it:

Central bank body warns of Great Depression

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the organisation that fosters cooperation between central banks, has warned that the credit crisis could lead world economies into a crash on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

According to the BIS, complex credit instruments, a strong appetite for risk, rising levels of household debt and long-term imbalances in the world currency system, all form part of the loose monetarist policy that could result in another Great Depression.

Probably nothing to worry about. I mean, it wasn't in the papers or anything...

Woops. Probably because the story author is exaggerating a wee bit. The report is here if anyone wants to take a browse. I don't see anything about a depression, unless i am missing the econ-speak translation.

Self-serve bike rental program in Montreal

Montreal, which is mostly French-speaking, is very attuned to European developments. There are currently program like this in Paris, Lyon, and Barcelona.

I hope that this program works and spreads to other cities.

Velib is in dozens of French cities. My favorite of Mulhouse France has 200 velibs (rental bicycles, first 30 minutes free). Enough so far for 110,900 people.

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation,


Just north of me in the small town of Waldport is a FREE bike-borrow program. Green-painted bakes of various types are stationed around town, some even with helmets. Take one off the rack and ride it wherever you need to go and leave it in a visually prominant place for someone else to use. This in a town with a populace of 2050, yet a large, affluent city like Montreal must charge a fee.

The free bike borrowing program was tried here in Phoenix. The bikes were painted bright purple, and were mostly unclaimed bikes recovered by the police, which were stripped down (i.e. any gearing was removed) as part of a job training program. Within a couple of weeks of being placed around downtown the bikes had all disappeared, taken by the homeless. There had been an acknowledgement that this would happen, the plan being to keep "saturating the market" with more bikes (since they were cheap) until the "demand" was satisfied. They quickly gave up. I do wish a Velib type program would be started here. Downtown Phoenix, and indeed most of the Valley is quite bikeable, being flat. We were the first large transit system to go to bike racks on all buses available at all stops, and it is quite popular. If you see a bus chances are there's at least one bike on its rack. Our light rail cars all have bike racks (internal) as well.

They've found that charging a fee, taking a credit card number, or requiring registration/ID is necessary in big cities, because otherwise, people will trash the bikes. Vandalize them, throw them in rivers, etc.

Perhaps in a small town, it's not necessary, because everyone knows everyone, and if they see you throw a bike off a bridge, they know who your mom is.

Our buddy Mike Lynch, from about three months ago:

Peak oil, uncommon ground
by Michael C. Lynch
March 17th, 2008

. . . Certainly, given that we’ve produced only 10-15% of conventional oil resources and unconventional resources are larger than that, there seems no reason to consider petroleum to be a scarce resource. . .

. . . we appear to be experiencing a financially-driven oil price bubble, which will eventually burst and leave oil prices much lower than the current $110/barrel. (Prices might not go below $80 this year, but longer term, $45 is more likely the norm.) The industry will once again lament that they “screwed up the boom,” companies with deep pockets will buy up those who are cash short, resource nationalism will recede as will upstream costs, while investors in alternative energies flock to Washington in search of ever more government support. . .

I believe that you just have to look at things from his perspective. For him, time flows backwards and in a few years oil will be back down to $20 bucks and the Saudis will be saying that the target market price is $22 to $28 dollars.

And even my hair will grow back.

I'm a snooty Audi driver (4 banger with stick) and sometimes hang on the VWVortex forum where I try to suggest an alternative reality to what so many of the posters write with respect to the price of oil/gas. Everyone here has heard it before... it's about 80% made up by a bunch of little Michael Lynch's. But there is a small and hopefully growing voice of car nuts that do understand the big picture of supply/demand/geology.

As always many thanks for the great tech articles and hard work of TOD writers.

the key issue with non conventional resources is they require non conventional (i.e. not 20-40 dollar) prices, yes we can keep adding "reserves" by including tar, deep water, shale, biofuels or whatever you like - but they are commercialized at a price and require in excess of commercialization costs + in addition expectations of prolonged above commercialization costs, in order to induce investment sufficient to induce meaningful supply additions. So 100 dollar oil induces 60 dollar liquid fuel projects, 140 dollar oil induces 80 dollar projects - but the more volatile the price despite its level - the less confidence in long term price projections

the non peakists seem to say "look, we arent short of apples, i got 3 bunches of bananas"...

there probably is not a shortage of liquid fuel supply, in terms of reservoirs, or land to be cultivated - but it requires a price, and that price may be more costly than can be absorbed by consumers, and that price may spur a "re think" on "business strategy" to glocalization rather then navigating the world in search of cheap labour and exhausting precious resources at "knock down prices" (i.e. 20-40 bucks)..may be we should not ship bottled water from A to B just to have a choice..may be we should conserve that liquid fuel for future generations and to buy time to make the transition to the new energy mix, and perhaps when we globalize what used to be the "third world", we should help them to build the right infrastructure the first time round, rather than hook them on SUV's, and highly polluting infrastructure and inefficiency just as the scarcity of "conventional" and "cheap to tap" resources dwindles and emissions becomes a major issue. In so doing, we would actually buy time to allow our capital stock to reach its expected economic lifetime, rather than become redundant, and throw the lesser developed nations back a few more decades

OF COURSE the problem is reaching consensus of opinion on a topic that is taboo...so prices will just have to force the issue - as they now do

Price is a big part of the equation. However, I think net energy is bigger. Plastics and asphalt notwithstanding, we produce oil primarily for its energy content. So what is important to the price is how much energy is available for purchase by oil consumers. If you burn 1 million barrels of oil to produce 2 million barrels of ethanol, you haven't increased the energy content of "all liquids" by 2 million barrels, you've increased it by 1 million barrels, less 10% because of the lower energy density of a barrel of ethanol.

And when the IEA reports that February '08 was a new peak in C+C production, it really ought to take into account the EROEI of what was produced. The EROEI in 2005 was certainly higher than in 2008, so 2008 may not have been a peak in net energy at all.

And all that is before taking net exports into account. Now, I think net exports effectively take EROEI into account, because oil that is used to produce oil never makes it to the export market. Because of that, it is possible Khebab's & Westexas' model may understate the rate of decline of net exports.

In any case, it isn't just that the unconventional sources are more expensive. It is also that you have to produce more of them to make up for the energy lost in production.

OF COURSE the problem is reaching consensus of opinion on a topic that is taboo...so prices will just have to force the issue - as they now do

It's going to get real Darwinian.

Saving the planet, one giant race boat at a time...

Race Boat Fueled with Owner’s Body Fat

The Earthrace is a high-tech speedcraft on its way to breaking the round-the-world speed record. Hell-bent on creating a net-zero carbon footprint to prove that earth-friendly high-power boats are possible, the 24 meter boat is lubricated with vegetable oils, the bedding foams are made from canola oils, and the crew sups on organic and local foods as they race around the world, trying to beat the 75 day record set 10 years ago by the British boat Cable and Wireless Adventurer. And the Earthrace is run, in part, on human fat.

Pete Bethune, skipper of Earthrace, and his family sold their home and belongings to fund the boat, and Pete put in a little more than other members of the family, liposuctioning out enough of his own fat to create 100ml of biofuel to toss in the tank with other biodiesel fuels. There’s one way to put a little elbow grease into it, though I don’t think that’s where they put the lipo tube…

I am not sure how to react to this story. Do I laugh? Do I cry? I guess I shall remain stunned.

lipo tube indeed ;-)

Discovery has launched their new Planet Green cable channel. I've watched a couple of shows on it. There is an American version of the Aussie show "Wasted". On the Aussie version, people are required to recycle, compost, garden etc. to get paid. The American family on the episode I watched were required to cut back on paper towels (they were using 40 rolls per month!), install CFL's, and reduce their vehicle usage (which they really didn't do.) The four of them live in 9,000 sq. ft house with four SUV's.

The only show I've seen that hasn't made me want to put a bullet through the screen is this show with Bill Nye, Stuff Happens. He shows how many resources are required to provide us with everyday items and how our choices as consumers affect the environment.

"Greenwashing" has become the new way to make money from consumers and we're just licking it up like good little slaves. Now excuse me, I have to go take an eco-drive in my Prius, over to Whole Foods, so that I can buy some organic mangoes from Costa Rica. Maybe I can purchase some carbon offsets while I'm there...

In the 'greenwashing' vein...

I care about the environment, says Trump (and not just the greens)

Donald Trump wants to create the world's finest golf course on an unspoilt stretch of northern Scotland. Merely creating a "world class" course would not be good enough; it has to be better than the Old Course at St Andrews, he claimed yesterday.

The US billionaire was giving evidence at the opening day of a public inquiry into his plan to develop a site that includes sand dunes that are home to a rich variety of wildlife, on the Menie estate near Aberdeen. Mr Trump presented himself as an ecologically concerned entrepreneur, but when he described himself as "an environmentalist", the reaction from the public gallery was so loud that the inquiry chairman, James McCulloch, demanded silence.

Seeing how Mr. Trump is concerned with the fate of the environment, perhaps an email from Mr. Shaw could convince Trump to instead use the site as an organic farm.

The show is very useful for those living in or around Los Angeles. No sacrifices are required and you still get paid. No suggestion to the people who lived in the giant house about perhaps reducing their planetary footprint by downsizing their house. Life is good when you can be a total pig and still save the planet. The other shows on the channel mainly focus on how the beautiful people are doing their part. Not sure how this show is selling in the heartland.

I just read through the BP Statistical Review of World Energy and found it to be a snapshot of a global energy system in critical condition. One of the crazier parts of it was the huge downward revision of coal reserves (7.3%) largely due to a fall in estimates of Indian coal. Here is my blog on it at my new Sustainable Energy Transitioner blog which is http://www.setenergy.org

We'll see how much efficiency and renewables we can put in place in the energy importing world...

Hello TODers,

Fertilizer fury spreads

...Hundreds of farmers who had gathered before the talk Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) turned violent after officials abruptly suspended the sale of fertilizer, displaying a "No stock" board...


[Please see included price chart: sulphur up sixteenfold, phosphoric acid nearly $2,000]
Like China, [India should] ban exports of sulphuric, phosphoric acid

Also, the Government should come out with measures to support domestic manufacturers by banning export of raw materials such as sulphur, sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid.

This is all the more necessary because the global fertiliser industry is at the hands of two large players — OCP of Morocco and Phoschem-Mosaic of the US — who cartelise and fix prices, sources said.

“Even as the fertiliser industry is facing crippling supply-side constraints in getting raw materials, Indian producers of sulphur, sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid are merrily exporting the products,” sources in the fertiliser industry said, calling upon the government to ban the exports.

Asked if banning exports of a commodity would be feasible in a free market, the sources noted that if there was no ban, the domestic industry may have to close down and India will have to face the consequences such as loss of economic value addition in the country and a huge import bill.

Potash CEO says fertilizer prices not near peak

Most TODers have read my detailed posting thread on biosolar mission-critical investing, at every scale, plus my FF/NPK latency minithread.

The VERY LAST thing a country needs is it farmers being desperately short of NPK, whether I-NPK or O-NPK, plus missing the seasonal planting timeframe to optimally leverage this photsynthesis growth for the best possible harvest yield. Recall that job specialization is only possible is food surpluses are achieved.

The wealthy Indians need to be proactive biosolar mission-critical investors, using the methods I have previously outlined, to quickly bring this crisis to a close, thus enabling the farmers can get back to what they do best. If they fail: the skyrocketing food prices and resulting violence will affect everyone. Time will tell.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

The wealthy Indians need to be proactive biosolar mission-critical investors, using the methods I have previously outlined, to quickly bring this crisis to a close, thus enabling the farmers can get back to what they do best. If they fail: the skyrocketing food prices and resulting violence will affect everyone. Time will tell.

The wealthy and not so wealthy Indians are even more clueless than the Americans.
That is because they see their standard of living rising as opposed to most Americans who
see their standard of living stagnating or declining. Almost everyone in English speaking urban India believes that economic growth will continue and some day they will live like Europeans or Americans. There is even talk of becoming an "economic superpower".
Problems faced by rural farmers are seen as distant and of no concern to the urban middle class. This is the first generation of urban Indians that has hope that the future will be better than the present and doesn't see emigration to the West as the only route out of poverty.

They are not going to invest in bio-solar missions. They are dreaming of driving big cars and buying houses with multiple bathrooms and walk-in closets :-)

Bob I wonder if you would point me to a posting of yours which gives the basics in your comments about fertiliser shortages?
Or perhaps an article?
I am looking for a 101 on the subject, as it is difficult to pick up the argument in mid-flow, knowing nothing about agriculture.
With thanks,


Holy Shit!
So true, but the depth of it had never occurred to me.

But the impact of such power cuts on the Britain of today would be far more damaging than they were in the time of Edward Heath 35 years ago.

Compared with then, our dependence on continuous electricity supplies is infinitely greater - thanks, above all, to our reliance on computers.

We are no longer talking just about factories shutting down or lighting our homes with candles. Without computers, our entire economy would grind to a halt.

Scarcely an office, shop, bank or hospital in the land would be able to function. Our railway system would be immobilised. Road traffic would be in chaos as traffic lights ceased to operate and petrol stations closed down.

Big factor for the fast crash theory.

I've always told my fellow computer nerds that I could care less how much gas costs, especially since I ride a bicycle to and from work. My biggest fear is losing electricity, and all the great things that come with it, such as computers, which my profession is totally dependent (System Admin).

Let's keep the lights on plz?!!

Why is it that US citizens (consumers) use the expression "I could care less" when they mean "I could'nt care less"??????? The real expression is, and means, I COULD NOT CARE LESS!!!!. The US version means EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE!!!!!. Whilst the US spelling of many words makes a great deal of sense, this usage of the language shows that the majority of US writers are unable to formulate a simple, meaningful , sentence. Whilst one could be excused for allowing computer geeks to so thoroughly f**k the language, there is surely no reason for double or triple digit IQ users who contribute to the TOD discussions to be so screwed up.

Here is hoping for a return to the use of ENGLISH in the postings to TOD.

Appologies to Alan for the 'here's hoping'.

Merv (in NZ who hates the misuse of ordinary language.)

It's not the US version. Some Americans misuse the phrase, that's all. Many of us, maybe even most, use it correctly.

Funny thing is, enough people use it incorrectly for long enough and its not longer incorrect.

Remember don't end your sentences a preposition with.

oh god do I agree, I've pissed off more than a few people trying to espouse this debate... but most of them "could care less" about how they use the english language... almost like when i hear people say "it's pitch dark out"....

It's called usage. Colloquial language. Change. There is likely not a major language on the planet that isn't substantially different than it was 100 years ago. Americans are also slowly dropping -ly adverbs.

Shoot 'em! Shoot 'em all!

But, hey, coming from people that say, "...at the weekend..." as if it were a location....




Hello TheMagus,

Thxs for the link. Yep, I have been a fast-crash realist ever since I found Dieoff.com.

I am old enough to remember hand-cranked adding machines, typewriters, cash registers, and gasoline pumps, plus people that knew how to make correct change from a cash sale. When the power goes out--we will sure be wishing for this old equipment and mental skillset.

Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier postings of sulfur as our global industrial and fertilizer lifeblood--FIFTEENFOLD increase, 80% in one month! Recall that sulfur spot prices are much higher now than back in March.

USGS Monthly Sulfur Report for June [PDF WARNING]:

Prices continued to increase through March as supplies
remained tight globally. The average customs value of elemental
sulfur imported into the United States in March 2008 was $221
per ton, 15 times what it was 1 year earlier. The March 2008
average customs value was about 80% higher than it was in
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

..as usual, Morocco again makes the news:

U.S. deems 'very positive' military cooperation with Morocco

Rabat, June 11 - American Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Theresa Marie Whelan, said, here Wednesday, that Morocco and the United States have long-standing and very positive military relationships...

LONDON (AP) — The U.S. government has photographic evidence that a Guantanamo Bay inmate was tortured with a knife after being taken to Morocco by U.S. forces, a British human rights group said Tuesday.

Reprieve said their client, Binyam Mohamed, had his...

...GENITALS SLASHED REPEATEDLY with a doctor's scalpel...[emphasis by me].....

... while in custody in Morocco after he was flown there from Pakistan by American officials in 2002.
Yikes! How would you like to be on the sharp receiving end of that 'Very Positive Military Cooperation'? I would choose waterboarding myself!

I think it is interesting that news like this is released, but the US Census Bureau suppresses info on our Morocco imports:

Imports of phosphate rock were estimated based on U.S.
Census Bureau figures and export data from the Moroccan
producer. Morocco supplies more than 99% of the phosphate
rock imported into the United States; however, the U.S. Census
Bureau suppresses much of the phosphate rock data from
Morocco. In addition, Census trade data were not available for
the current month.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Today (now yesterday) there were two articles and associated comment threads about oil at the CommonDreams website, http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/06/11/9549

I don't concentrate on the articles as much as I try to educate within the comments, which I've done ever since the inaguration of comment threads there about a year ago. Reading them provides a good indication of just how far we need to go to educate folks and dispel often great misconceptions. What little commentary I see on other sites tells me this isn't isolated, a fact often proven here. As I state in a post above, I sometimes wonder if these people really want to know when displaying such collective inanity.

Ah yes, confessing is good for the soul.

Fertiliser shortage to create agrarian crisis

...Mr Naidu asked the government to address the issue expeditiously, or else be prepared to face a severe drop in agricultural input next year.
As posted up above in my earlier text: IMO, India needa to send out a nationwide call for biosolar mission-critical investors to team up with farmers across the country to bring this to an end; it will be quite dire if they miss the planting/fertilizing seasonal timeframes. The FF/NPK latency delay will turn out to be a real killer.

I think this strategy will accomplish more than doing what is mandated in this link:

Bangalore: 36,000 temples to pray for Yeddyurappa!

Bangalore, June 12: Guess how one can bail Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa out of his trouble? Perform archana in the CM’s name in all temples! Or, at least, this is what Muzarai Minister Krishnaiah Shetty strongly believes.

In fact, the Minister has issued an order dated June 9, directing all 36,000 Muzarai temples across the State to perform archana in the name of Yeddyurappa and State government every day.

Meanwhile, in Africa:

Race against time for farmers who missed planting season

Publication Date: 6/11/2008
For maize farmers in the North Rift, May was critical. The last week of the month marked the close of the traditional maize planting season.

However, by last week, two in every seven acres in the larger Trans Nzoia District - Kenya’s grain basket - lay fallow.

Yet the race was not just against time. The farmers had to contend with the dear cost of farm inputs.“They (inputs) are beyond my reach,” says farmer John Kibet at Moi’s Bridge, Uasin Gishu District.
He planted his maize without fertiliser...
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

And Richard Duncan thought that 2008 would be an important year. . .

China crude imports leap 25 pct, fastest in 10 mths
Reuters, Wednesday, June 11 2008


Are we expected to be able to read that page? Depending on what you mean by 25% that sure could account for some price activity I would think.

update on Western Australian energy supplies

Rumours some companies are paying 10 times more for gas (from $3 to $30 dollar per MJ for gas)
Government refusing to regulate prices
Diesel going up $1.87 / litre in South Western Western Australia yesterday. I heard it was more than $2.60 on the nullabour Plain. 4 wheel drives (SUV) are very popular here
Companies shutting down, one company laid of 600 people on the first day of the crisis
Apart from that not much difference yet.

It's happenning in WA, which is more or less isolated from the major population centres. But in WA, they're practically screaming.

No significant Demand Destruction here in the East yet, that I can see.